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"Beliefs are chains used to hold free minds in slavery. No chains of steel ever bound a human tighter than the chains made of beliefs." -- Michael Rivero
China’s president Xi Jinping on Friday laid out an ambitious plan for co-operation with Central Asian countries on defence and security, pushing into a region traditionally seen as Russia’s backyard at a moment when Moscow is distracted by the war in Ukraine.
Hosting his first in-person summit with leaders of the group of Central Asian countries known as the “C5”, Xi also offered to increase transport and energy ties with the region. The group consists of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
“Xi stressed that China is ready to help Central Asian countries improve their law enforcement, security and defence capacity building in an effort to safeguard regional peace,” state news agency Xinhua reported.
The Ministry of Oil and Minerals of the Sanaa government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese firm, Anton Oilfield Services Group, and a representative of the Chinese government, to allow oil exploration in the Republic of Yemen, Saba News reported on 21 May.
The memorandum of understanding comes after many negotiations and coordination with several foreign companies to convince them to invest in the oil sector of the war torn country.
The Minister of Oil and Minerals, Ahmed Dares, has called on investment companies to visit Yemen to see the potential investment opportunities, advantages and facilities that investment in the sector would provide.
Minister Dares noted that negotiations are ongoing with several international companies to enter the field of oil exploration in Yemen, and work will be done to finalise memorandums of understanding with several of them.
He noted the efforts of the ministry to encourage investments and development in this vital sector for the benefit of the country.
Bahrain and Lebanon are to restore diplomatic relations after a year-and-a-half break prompted by a spat over the conflict in Yemen.
Bahrain and other Gulf countries followed Saudi Arabia in recalling their diplomats towards the end of 2021 after a Lebanese minister criticised Riyadh's military intervention in the war in Yemen.
Manama, a staunch ally of Riyadh, also called on its citizens in Lebanon to leave the country.
The tiny Gulf kingdom said on Saturday that it was bringing an end to the impasse, a move welcomed by Beirut.
Two Saudi astronauts will be travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time on a private mission to carry out a number of experiments, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Rayyanah Barnawi, the first female Arab astronaut and breast cancer researcher, and fighter pilot Ali al-Qarni are scheduled to blast off in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida on Sunday.
As the final days of the holy month of Ramadan approached, Muqtada al-Sadr busied himself with preparations for his annual itikaf, a period of reflection to be spent in the great mosque of Kufa.
To those around him, it seemed clear he was trying to divert his attention away from events in the world outside the walls of his home in central Najaf's Hanana.
It has been almost a year since the influential Shia cleric announced his withdrawal from politics. Over the past few months, as a new Iraqi government was formed without his participation, he resolutely refused to enter into any political dialogue or receive visitors trying to speak to him about developments or issues the country was facing.
While the American public and even some U.S. politicians have been sounding the alarm recently over the dangers of the potential future rollout of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the loss of all privacy in any financial transactions, a new blockchain financial network that was launched in 2019, before COVID, has been gaining momentum here in 2023 and is now being used in dozens of countries around the world with over 1.5 million users.
And it is now being launched in the United States: World ID with the Worldcoin cryptocurrency.
World ID is not some concept for the future. It is already here, and already being used around the world with the World App and Worldcoin, for both financial transactions and “World ID checks.”
Since its initial debut, 1.5 million people have joined the World App pre-release, more than 500,000 of which use it every month. On a typical day, it sees around 60,000 transactions and 25,000 World ID checks among other actions from over 100,000 people in a handful of countries. Today we’re excited to introduce Phase I of World App, and to make it globally available for the first time. (Source.)
Why have so many people around the world so quickly signed up for a World ID?
Because they are being offered free cryptocurrency, and in some cases even free money in their local currencies, by using their new World ID.
And what do they have to do to receive this free money?
They just have to have their eyeball scanned by the Worldcoin “Orb” which will then create their unique World ID.
Last Saturday the Washington Post published an exposé of classified American intelligence documents showing that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, working behind the back of the Biden White House, pushed hard earlier this year for an expanded series of missile attacks inside Russia. The documents were part of a large cache of classified materials posted online by an Air Force enlisted man now in custody. A senior official of the Biden administration, asked by the Post for comment on the newly revealed intelligence, said that Zelensky has never violated his pledge never to use American weapons to strike inside Russia. In the view of the White House, Zelensky can do no wrong.
Zelensky’s desire to take the war to Russia may not be clear to the president and senior foreign policy aides in the White House, but it is to those in the American intelligence community who have found it difficult to get their intelligence and their assessments a hearing in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, the slaughter in the city of Bakhmut continues. It is similar in idiocy, if not in numbers, to the slaughter in Verdun and the Somme during World War I. The men in charge of today’s war—in Moscow, Kiev, and Washington—have shown no interest even in temporary ceasefire talks that could serve as a prelude to something permanent. The talk now is only about the possibilities of a late spring or summer offensive by either party.
But something else is cooking, as some in the American intelligence community know and have reported in secret, at the instigation of government officials at various levels in Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, and Latvia. These countries are all allies of Ukraine and declared enemies of Vladimir Putin.
This group is led by Poland, whose leadership no longer fears the Russian army because its performance in Ukraine has left the glow of its success at Stalingrad during the Second World War in tatters. It has been quietly urging Zelensky to find a way to end the war—even by resigning himself, if necessary—and to allow the process of rebuilding his nation to get under way. Zelensky is not budging, according to intercepts and other data known inside the Central Intelligence Agency, but he is beginning to lose the private support of his neighbors.
House lawmakers took part in a contentious debate over how stablecoins should be regulated at a hearing held by the Financial Services Committee’s digital assets panel - where there were also some hopeful signs from both sides.
At the heart of the debate on May 16 was the level of involvement of state regulators and the Federal Reserve.
Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.), who chairs the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, supports legislation that gives more power to state regulators, while Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the overall committee, advocates for a leading role for the Federal Reserve in the Democratic proposal.
Hill challenged a previous notion put forth by Waters that yielding oversight to the states would be a step backwards in establishing a clear legal framework.
Beauty is supposedly in the eye of the beholder.
Still, Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, has its interpretation of what the "ideal" male and female should look like, according to a report published by The Bulimia Project.
The Daily Caller reports when The Bulimia Project was published is unclear, but the results are pretty...literally.
According to the report, the project used data cultivated from postings on social media. One of the project's goals was to determine how psychology played a role in social media's ability to distort body imagery. The project used multiple AI technology platforms, which included Dall-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion.
The U.S. State Department has offered free therapy to employees affected by a system glitch that assigned random pronouns to staff members in emails.
Greece's government bonds and stocks gained Monday as market-friendly Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis received a strong vote from the people compared to his opposition in Sunday's national election.
Mitsotakis' center-right New Democracy received 41% of the vote versus 20% for the leftist Syriza party of former premier Alexis Tsipras. However, Mitsotakis was short of achieving a majority in parliament, but political analysts expect he will secure a single-party government in the next elections in about a month, according to Bloomberg.
Privacy authorities from the European Union have slapped a record-breaking fine of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, for sending user data to the US. Authorities have also given a deadline by which Meta must cease all personal data transfers across the Atlantic.
The Irish Data Protection Commission revealed that Meta breached the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when it transferred the personal data of Europeans to the US without sufficiently protecting them from "surveillance programmes" operated by the US government.
The Irish privacy watchdog pointed out concerns about NSA spy programs:
US futures are flat as we start a new week and inch closer to the debt ceiling x-date: as a reminder, according to Janet Yellen the US could be in default in just 10 days. At 8:00am ET , S&P futures were up 0.1%, near session highs, after trading in a narrow range overnight; the tech-heavy Nasdaq was pressured by losses on semiconductor stocks after China said products from Micron Technology had failed a cybersecurity review. Micron shares dropped more than 5% in New York premarket trading, dragging down other chipmakers, including Nvidia and Qualcomm. Asian markets are higher, while European stocks trade near session lows. Bond yields are higher, rebounding from session lows, while the USD is slightly in the green with commodities also erasing earlier losses. MegaCap Tech names are up slightly pre-market. McCarthy and Biden spoke on Sunday and will resume negotiations today. Fed’s Kashkari, a Fed dove turned hawk (and soon to turn dove again) is now open to holding rates steady in June; OIS now sees more than 80% odds of a pause at the June mtg. Biden expected ties with China to improve very shortly and considers lifting sanctions on Chinese Defense Minister.
A Russian official said Saturday that the Western plans to provide Ukraine with American-made F-16 fighter jets bring “colossal risks” after the US announced it would sign off on European countries delivering the aircraft.
“We see that Western countries are still adhering to the escalation scenario. It involves colossal risks for themselves,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, according to TASS.
“In any case, this will be taken into account in all our plans, and we have all the necessary means to achieve the goals we have set,” Grushko added.
During the last day of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, President Biden was asked about Russia calling the F-16 plan a “colossal risk.” He replied, “It is for them.”
Once again, the police state is up to its old tricks, stoking tensions over whether or not the government is forced to shut down, even partially, due to a default on the national debt.
Yet while these political games dominate news headlines, send the stock market into a nosedive, and put federal employees at risk of having to work without pay, nothing about these high-handed theatrics will diminish the immediate and very real dangers of the American Police State with its roadside strip searches, government surveillance, biometric databases, citizens being treated like terrorists, imprisonments for criticizing the government, national ID cards, SWAT team raids, censorship, forcible blood draws and DNA extractions, private prisons, weaponized drones, red light cameras, tasers, active shooter drills, police misconduct and government corruption.
Default or not, war will continue. Drone killings will continue. Surveillance will continue. Censorship and persecution of anyone who criticizes the government will continue. The government’s efforts to label dissidents as extremists and terrorists will continue.
The turn of the last century brought an age of revolutions, industrial warfare and nearly instantaneous communications across long distances. With these developments came an emphasis on another method of war: information war. This was the type of fight waged with what World War II Deputy Director of the Office of Censorship, Theodore F. Koop, called “Silent Weapons,” in a wartime memoir he published in 1946. Wrote Koop:
The censors’ shears were bayonets that not only formed a rear-guard national defense but also struck hard at the enemy in all three phases of warfare—military, economic, and psychological.
Koop would go on to run CBS News in Washington, DC. Well-known as a powerful media figure, he was also a trusted one, the man who hired Walter Cronkite.
Less well-known was that in 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower asked him to run a secret national censorship program intended for use in Cold War emergencies. He accepted the offer while still a network news executive, serving in that contingency role under Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
House Republicans took to the podium on May 17 to condemn the Biden administration’s negotiation of global pandemic agreements that they say will grant additional power to the World Health Organization (WHO) and centralize authority in an organization they say failed the American public during the COVID pandemic.
Shortly thereafter, on May 19, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a report to member nations stating that, while the “re-emergence of epidemic-prone diseases continues to accelerate,” the WHO’s mandate regarding “health emergencies” must extend beyond pandemics to include hunger, poverty, ecological degradation, climate change, and social and economic inequalities.
The Director General wrote that member nations must establish a “global architecture for health emergency preparedness, prevention, response, and resilience (HEPR),” which includes “global governance, financing and HEPR systems.”
But GOP lawmakers disagreed with the WHO.
President Biden on Sunday met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, and announced a new military aid package for Kyiv that’s worth $375 million.
“I’m announcing the next tranche of US security assistance to Ukraine — a package that includes more ammunition, artillery, armored vehicles to bolster Ukraine’s battlefield abilities,” Biden said alongside Zelensky.
The funds for the new weapons package are being drawn from the $45 billion Congress authorized to spend on the war in December. Recent media reports said US aid for Ukraine might be exhausted by the end of the summer and that the White House will have to ask Congress for more.
However, the Pentagon has discovered an “error” that overvalued weapons sent to Ukraine by at least $3 billion, which could give the Biden administration more funds to work with.
Like all Democrat-run cities that turned against police in 2020, New York City has a crime problem, including an explosive uptick in shoplifting. Fortunately for New York City store owners, Mayor Eric Adams has a plan. The problem is that, as with all lefty plans, it will cost money and almost certainly be completely useless.
Ever since the George Floyd riots caused leftist-managed cities to defund their police, all sorts of crimes have increased. In New York City, the crime that’s really taken off is shoplifting.
In the first eight months of 2021, shoplifting in New York increased by 30% over rates in 2020. Of course, one could argue that slowly ending the lockdown was what made the difference. However, that wouldn’t explain what happened in 2022. In that year, shoplifting went up by another 45% over rates in 2021, with an even better marker being the fact that it was 275% higher than a decade or so earlier.
Shoplifting may be a non-violent crime, but it has a disastrous effect on people in the community because stores, including big box stores, respond to theft in two different ways: First, they raise their prices; then when that proves ineffective, they pick up their marbles and go home by shutting down stores. In San Francisco, for example, Walgreens closed five stores due to shoplifting. Target, meanwhile, predicts that retail crime will cost it as much as $1.3 billion:
There is a new and interesting development in Arkansas where attorneys for Lunden Alexis Roberts have prepared a list of witnesses for the upcoming proceedings involving Hunter Biden’s daughter, Navy.
As previously discussed, Hunter Biden is seeking to reduce child support payments and has balked at Navy being able to use the Biden name. If successful, this could get a lot worse for Hunter in his alleged efforts to conceal his past income.
On the list are business partners at the center of the influence peddling scandal.
On the list are business partners who are connected to millions of dollars acquired from foreign interests in China, Ukraine and other countries. Also on the list is New York City art gallery owner Georges Bergès who continues to sell his art. Bergès has reportedly pushed back on congressional efforts to reveal details on these proceeds and buyers even though former government ethicists have raised concerns over the sales.
The costs of these proceedings and high-priced legal team would seem to undermine claims of financial distress by Biden. However, by putting his financial worth at issue, Hunter has opened up a new front in battling over the disclosure of his past dealings. Some of his past associates are reportedly cooperating with House investigators in tracking foreign payments.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has asked the U.S. government for greater intelligence sharing and warned of a resurgence in Islamic terrorist threats in Europe ahead of France hosting global sporting events in the coming year.
During a two-day trip to Washington and New York this week, the French minister asked for more efficient Franco-American counter-terrorism cooperation and claimed Islamic terrorism remains the biggest threat to national security in Europe.
“We have come to remind them that for Europeans and for France the primary risk is Sunni Islamist terrorism and that anti-terrorist collaboration between intelligence services is absolutely essential,” Darmanin said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
“At a time when Americans may have a more national perspective in terms of challenges (today) — white supremacy, repeated shootings, conspiracies — they must not forget what appears to us to be the primary threat in Europe: Sunni terrorism,” he added.
Last week, The New York Times published a full-page advertisement signed by 15 U.S. national security experts about the war in Ukraine. It was headed “The U.S. Should Be a Force for Peace in the World,” and was drafted by the Eisenhower Media Network.
While condemning Russia’s invasion, the statement provides a more objective account of the crisis in Ukraine than the U.S. government or The New York Times has previously presented to the public, including the disastrous U.S. role in NATO expansion, the warnings ignored by successive U.S. administrations and the escalating tensions that ultimately led to war.
The statement calls the war an “unmitigated disaster,” and urges President Joe Biden and Congress “to end the war speedily through diplomacy, especially given the dangers of military escalation that could spiral out of control.”
This call for diplomacy by wise, experienced former insiders — U.S. diplomats, military officers and civilian officials — would have been a welcome intervention on any one of the past 442 days of this war. Yet their appeal now comes at an especially critical moment in the war.
On May 10, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he is delaying Ukraine’s long-awaited “spring offensive” to avoid “unacceptable” losses to Ukrainian forces.
If the United States and China ever enter into conflict, one of the key battlegrounds could be the Middle East. China has been busily trying to shore up its energy security and diversify its energy portfolio around the world, but the country remains heavily dependent on the Middle East for oil. Unfortunately for Beijing, the United States retains a significant amount of leverage and military might in the region which could be used as a powerful weapon in a war of wills between the two global superpowers.
Maintaining a reliable and increasing energy supply is crucial to the well-being and continued growth of the Chinese economy. But as the country continues to develop, Beijing is having a hard time keeping up with demand. For several years in a row, China has suffered major rolling blackouts, with entire cities sometimes going dark for extended periods. And last year, China’s energy industry underwent an extreme stress test as drought crippled the domestic hydropower sector at the same time that the global energy market was in crisis due to a myriad of factors stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Beijing has been hard at work increasing the size and breadth of its own energy empire, paying special attention to increasing its energy footprint in developing countries with large and mostly untapped energy production potential. Back in 2020, Barron’s proclaimed that China had already become “the center of gravity for global energy markets”, and its sphere of influence has only continued to grow since then. On top of Beijing’s heavy investing in other nation’s burgeoning energy markets, China has also blown everyone else away in terms of clean energy spending in recent years. But it’s still not enough to fill the country’s nearly insatiable hunger for additional energy supply.
The federal government recently revealed that at least 50 U.S. government personnel working in 10 foreign countries have had their mobile devices hacked by unknown persons who employed software known as "zero-click." The zero-click product, called Pegasus, is manufactured by an Israeli high-tech company, called NSO Group.
Pegasus enables the user to download the contents of the target’s mobile device or desktop without having to trick the target into clicking onto a link. It also enables the user to follow the person in possession of the device, capturing all texts and emails, as well as listening to conversations on the device or that take place in near proximity to it.
Pegasus is so sophisticated that its victims are largely unaware of the digital attack on their devices. The feds learned that they have been victimized by this software when Apple informed them. Apple told the feds to expect much more of this. The feds are deeply troubled by this warning, as they don’t know who the victims are. The president himself was recently in Ireland, where his personal phone may have been targeted.
But don’t feel sorry for the feds. They have been using this software and similar products on unsuspecting Americans since the Trump administration.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced a piece of legislation last week that would formally accuse Russia of violating New START and call on the US to withdraw from the treaty.
New START is the last nuclear arms control treaty remaining between the US and Russia and places limits on the deployment of nuclear warheads and launchers. Russia suspended its participation in the treaty earlier this year but has said it will continue to abide by its limits.
In a press release, Cotton slammed President Biden for agreeing with Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend New START for five years back in 2021. “President Biden should never have extended this treaty that has only made Russia and China stronger and America weaker. We should withdraw from the treaty and bolster our nuclear forces,” Cotton said.
Biden said that he can’t reveal specifics as to when the offensive will begin or where it will be targeted, adding that doing so would amount to an intelligence failure. “But the fact is that we did discuss, privately, I did discuss with Zelensky how… let me put it this way; we and our NATO allies know how many brigades we have trained, know what the status of those brigades are and have an expectation as to what their likelihood of succeeding are,” the president said. “We don’t know that for certain. War is uncertain, war is uncertain, to state the obvious.”
“So and my, it will proceed. Even if, I think I do know but I’m not gonna tell you because that would not be a smart thing to do either. So having said that, the expectation and hope is that they will be successful and make it clear to Russia that the cost – for example, Bakhmut, Bakhmut is a discussion about whether or not it’s been lost or whatever. And the truth of the matter is that Russia has suffered over 100,000 casualties in Bakhmut. That’s hard to make up, hard to make up.”
President Joe Biden on Sunday slammed Republican demands in negotiations to resolve the US debt ceiling standoff as “unacceptable” but said a solution can still be found before a disastrous default.
Speaking at a press conference just before leaving to return to Washington from the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, Biden said Republicans’ latest demands for spending cuts as a condition for raising the US government borrowing authority were “frankly unacceptable.”
“It’s time for the other side to move from their extreme positions,” he said.
Biden said he would talk directly with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during his Air Force One flight on Sunday back to Washington and said “we can reach an agreement.”
However, he cautioned that he could not “guarantee that they wouldn’t force a default by doing something outrageous.”
President Joe Biden stated on Sunday that the president should bear no responsibility if the United States were to default on its debt in the near future.
Biden made the assertion during a press appearance in Hiroshima, Japan, where he had traveled for meetings with G-7 nations. After the White House insisted for months that there would be no debate on the matter, Republicans in Congress finally drove Biden to the negotiation table.
In his latest argument, Biden claims that some “MAGA Republicans” are trying to start a default in order to destroy the economy before Biden’s reelection bid.
President Joe Biden has at least two challengers for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination, but he’s not likely going to have to face off against them on a debate stage — and that’s by design, according to a leading party figure.
In an interview Friday, Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina admitted that the Democratic National Committee changed its primary calendar in a way that helps and boosts Biden.
“I don’t think you’re stacking the deck. I think you’re avoiding embarrassment,” Clyburn told CNN’s Chris Wallace, Politico reported. “And that is what he is attempting to avoid here. And I would expect anybody to do the same.”
In February, the DNC changed the primary calendar, removing the Iowa caucuses from their traditional first-in-the-nation spot, as well as moving the New Hampshire presidential primary from its position as the first. Now, Nevada and New Hampshire will hold their votes on February 6.
In the latest attempt to “rainbow” the U.S. military, the Department of the Air Force has authorized its bases to hold celebrations “in honor of Pride Month.” The announcement came days after the Navy got busted for using a drag queen to recruit new sailors into service.
On May 3, the department issued a memo reaffirming the branch’s recognition of June as “Pride Month.” The memo also includes a provision that “empower[s]” Air Force installation commanders to “plan and conduct” so-called “appropriate activities” on bases to commemorate “rainbow” month.
“During this time, we celebrate the progress we have made towards inclusivity, commemorate the contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans, and recognize the obstacles they have faced and overcome along the way,” the memo reads.