"In times of war, the law falls silent." -- Cicero

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A drawn-out back and forth between Ukraine, the U.S. and European NATO countries in January led to the first pledges for deliveries of Western-made tanks to the Ukrainian military.

However, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz reportsat the end of March, only one full battalion will have been delivered to Ukraine from Europe instead of the planned two as even promises from countries pushing for the deliveries were taken back or delayed.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian soldiers finished a four-week training on German-designed Leopard 2 tanks in Spain, making the country's military ready to receive the tanks. Poland will have provided 14 Leopard 2 units by the end of the month - some of which have already arrived in Ukraine -, while Germany and Portugal will have delivered 18 and 3, respectively. This is according to the Ukrainian online publication Defense Express. In fact, Poland is hoping to deliver 16 more tanks it is currently fixing up by the end of April, according to Bloomberg. Spain itself is attempting to get six out of the 10 promised Leopard 2 tanks, which are currently mothballed, ready for delivery this spring.

At a total count of 57, these deliveries would still fall short of the 62 tanks needed for two Ukrainian tank battalions.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:33

"A little Napoleon with no Grande Armee threatens war with Russia and China while the UK doesn’t have enough troops to defend its own borders, Iraq War 20 years on and Imran Khan with the murderers at his gates

Posted on: Mar 16 07:32

Multimillionaire California Governor Gavin Newsom failed to disclose his ties to Silicon Valley Bank while lobbying the White House and the Treasury Department over a pending bailoutThe Intercept reported on Tuesday.

The White House “acted swiftly and decisively to protect the American economy and strengthen public confidence in our banking system,” Newsom said in a statementWhat Newsom didn’t mention is that it also protected his own companies if they held over $250,000 in deposits.

CADE, Odette, and PlumpJack, three wineries owned by Newsom, are listed as clients of SVB on the bank’s website. Newsom also maintained personal accounts at SVB for years, according to a longtime former employee of Newsom’s who handled his finances, and who requested anonymity to avoid professional reprisal.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:31

Opponents of a controversial judicial overhaul sought by Israel's government demonstrated on Wednesday at Ben Gurion airport ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's departure on an official trip to Germany.

"Dictator on the run" and "Don't come back", read placards held up by demonstrators near the airport, where a convoy of cars bearing Israeli flags circulated between the terminals, making them difficult to access, an AFP correspondent reported.

The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, voted Tuesday to approve a bill in first reading that would, among other things, allow lawmakers to scrap Supreme Court rulings with a simple majority vote.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:31

After a highly acclaimed run in North America, Roger Waters will take his “This Is Not a Drill” tour across Europe. The long journey includes shows in Germany, with the final concert in the country originally planned to take place in Frankfurt on May 28. On February 24, however, Frankfurt’s city council and the Hessian state government announced the cancellation of the Frankfurt concert, for “persistent anti-Israel behavior,” and called Waters an antisemite.

The cancellation of Waters’s concert is a threat to free speech and artistic freedom. It is designed to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s government emanating from the world human rights community and within Israel itself. Waters’s music has captivated the world for more than five decades. Over that time, he has also become a respected human rights advocate. In response to the decision by Frankfurt’s city council, artists and human rights leaders, including Peter Gabriel, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Alia Shawkat, and Glenn Greenwald, have signed a petition calling on the German government to uncancel the concert.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:29

Saudi Arabia's finance minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, said on Wednesday that Saudi investments in Iran could happen "very quickly", following a reconciliation deal between the two countries last week which was brokered by China

Speaking during a private sector forum of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, Jadaan said that “there are lots of opportunities for Saudi investments in Iran.

“We don't see impediments as long as the terms of any agreement would be respected,” he added.

The news that Riyadh is seriously considering investing in Iran, a country heavily sanctioned by the West, is likely to raise eyebrows in Washington, historically one of the kingdom's closest allies.  

Posted on: Mar 16 07:28

Hunger and malnutrition are rising sharply in Syria and more than half its population is short of food after 12 years of war, economic pressures and last month's earthquake, the World Food Program said on Wednesday.

"The situation is worse than ever in Syria, the United Nations agency's Middle East director, Corrine Fleischer, told Reuters.

About 55% of Syria's population of some 12.1 million people are food insecure and a further 2.9 million are at risk of sliding into hunger, a WFP report said.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:26

A week ago an interesting story surfaced briefly in the news about how the developing Republican presidential candidate bids by Nikki Haley and others had been attacked over the past eleven months by possibly as many as hundreds of thousands of false automated personas, referred to in the trade as “bots,” on Twitter and other internet based social media. Interestingly, the activity was discovered and shared with Associated Press by an Israeli internet security company called Cyabra, which also claimed that the “bots” generation seem to have originated in three separate networks of false Twitter accounts. The accounts appear to have been created in the United States and it is believed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications are increasingly being used to create completely lifelike fake personas, extremely difficult for security filters and censors to detect.

The article claimed that those thousands of electronically generated non-persons had been programmed to disparage Haley and Ron DeSantis and others, often using “fake news” or alleged leaks of embarrassing personal information, while also praising the virtues of Donald Trump. The apparent intention was to build popular support for Trump by exploiting the social media sites’ algorithms to reach a large audience at the expense of the other possible GOP candidates. There are also concerns among some Republicans that the effort to give life to the Trump campaign by materially impacting on online political discussion might possibly be orchestrated and paid for by major outside interests that could actually be either foreign or criminal. Of course, as the operation has been exposed by an Israeli company, the possibility exists that the story is itself at least in part a false flag to plausibly deny any involvement by the Jewish state if that were to be demonstrable.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:26

A court in the Pakistani city of Lahore has ordered the immediate halt of a two-day operation to arrest former Prime Minister Imran Khan until Thursday morning.

Security forces first attempted to take the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party into custody on Tuesday afternoon after an Islamabad court issued an arrest warrant to ensure his attendance in court by March 18. Khan has repeatedly skipped hearings in a case related to selling state gifts.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:24

A team of defence scientists in Beijing says it has simulated an intercontinental ballistic missile attack against the United States mainland by North Korea.

The North Korean missile could hit the central US in 1,997 seconds, or about 33 minutes, if the US missile defence network failed to intercept it, according to the simulation.

Similar studies conducted by Chinese scientists in the past have not usually named specific countries or locations, especially when the findings were made available to the public.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:23

The German military is suffering from a greater shortage of weapons and equipment than before Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces said in her annual report on Tuesday.

"The Bundeswehr has too little of everything, and it has even less since (Russia's invasion on) Feb. 24, 2022," Eva Hoegl, who acts as an advocate defending the rights of the troops, told reporters in Berlin.

She denounced the government for being slow not only in spending the 100 billion euro special fund set up last year to bring the forces back up to scratch, but also in replenishing the military's stocks after rushing arms to Kyiv.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:22

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, on Wednesday over the downing of the US MQ-9 Reaper drone in the Black Sea.

It marked the first time since October that the two military leaders spoke, as high-level engagement between the US and Russia has been rare since the invasion of Ukraine was launched in February 2022.

“I just got off the phone with my Russian counterpart, Minister Shoigu,” Austin told reporters at a press conference alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Posted on: Mar 16 07:13