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"I can think of no human activity more pointless than to murder each other over myths and legends." -- Michael Rivero
Israeli forces punitively blew up the home of slain Palestinian Mutaz Khawaja in the village of Ni’lin, in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Tuesday, May 23. Khawaja’s family home was located on the second floor of an apartment building, and was home to five people. According to Wafa news agency, a large number of Israeli troops raided the village of Ni’lin, sparking confrontations with local residents. Israeli forces reportedly fired live ammunition and tear gas at locals, injuring two people. Khawaja was killed in March 2023 after he carried out a shooting that killed one Israeli and injured at least one other on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Israel’s policy of punitive home demolitions have long been criticized by human rights groups as “court sanctioned revenge” against Palestinian families, and a form of collective punishment. Israel claims the policy to be a “deterrent” measure against “terrorism”, but Israeli military officials have previously made recommendations to the government that the practice did not in fact deter attacks against Israelis.
The UAE has become a hub for Russia’s gold trade since western sanctions cut Russia’s traditional export routes and the Emirates positions itself as a neutral player in the Ukraine war.
The Gulf state imported 75.7 tonnes of Russian gold worth $4.3 billion in the year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine - up from just 1.3 tonnes during 2021, according to Russian customs records first reported by Reuters.
China and Turkey were the next biggest destinations, importing about 20 tonnes each between 24 February 2022 and 3 March 2023. Together with the UAE, the three countries accounted for 99.8 percent of Russian gold exports, according to trade data reviewed by Reuters.
The disclosure underlines how states like Turkey and the UAE have become an economic lifeline for Moscow as it faces isolation in the West.
The rising waters came as a relief at first, for both the tiny community living on the islands in the southern Kakhovka Reservoir and for everyone who had feared the low levels risked a meltdown at the nearby Russian-occupied nuclear power plant.
Since mid-February, the water level in the reservoir has steadily increased, according to data from Theia, a French geospatial analytical organisation. An Associated Press analysis of satellite imagery showed the water has now risen so high that it is washing over the top of the damaged Russian-occupied dam downstream.
The waves first covered the natural shoreline, and then submerged the marsh grasses. Next, they came for Lyudmila Kulachok’s garden, then Ihor Medyunov’s guest room. The wild boars fled for higher ground, replaced by waterfowl. Medyunov’s four dogs have an ever-smaller patch of grass to roam, and Kulachok serves meals on a picnic table sloshing through the murk in waders.
Sens. Ted Budd, Thom Tillis and seven other lawmakers demanded answers Wednesday on why their constituents continue to die from Camp Lejeune’s toxic waters while the Department of Justice and the Navy refuses to settle their claims.
On Wednesday, the lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and Attorney General Merrick Garland voicing concerns about delays in settling claims and lawsuits filed by veterans, military personnel and their families affected by toxic waters on the base in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
“It is imperative that the Navy Judge Advocate General and Department of Justice act expeditiously to ensure these individuals receive the justice they deserve without undue delay,” the lawmakers wrote.
On May 22, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the country may be unable to service its debt by June 1 unless Congress raises its ceiling or suspends it. In turn, President Joe Biden ruled out the declaration of default. At the same time, despite all the predictions of doom and gloom, the US could benefit from a default, especially to wreak havoc on the international economy and competitors.
In the US, the amount of public debt is limited by law. Currently, it has reached $31.4 trillion. It is up to the US Congress to raise the national debt ceiling, but this year the issue became a major contention between Republicans and Democrats. The Republican party, with a majority in the House of Representatives, set a condition: it will vote to raise the ceiling if the Democratic government accepts significant cuts in budget spending.
Specifically, the Republicans propose cutting tax credits for the purchase of electric cars and the installation of solar panels, as well as reducing public spending on the repayment of educational loans. For Democrats, if they want to win the 2024 presidential election on their terms, these conditions are unacceptable.
During the G7 summit held from 19 to 21 May in Japan, US President Joe Biden gave permission for other countries to deliver F-16 fighter jets - manufactured by the U.S. company Lockheed Martin- to Ukraine.
As Statista's Martin Armstrong notes, the "historic" decision, welcomed by Ukrainian President Zelensky, the delivery of these planes developed in the 1970s and currently used by 25 countries, had so far been blocked by Washington.
If these deliveries become a reality, it would allow Kiev to replenish its air combat capabilities, after the loss of about 60 of the roughly 100 combat aircraft it had at the beginning of the Russian invasion.
A senior ally of President Vladimir Putin warned on Friday that the West was seriously underestimating the risk of a nuclear war over Ukraine, cautioning that Russia would launch a pre-emptive strike if Ukraine gets nuclear weapons.
Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine has triggered the deadliest European conflict since World War II and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Russia, which has more nuclear weapons than any other state, has repeatedly said the West is engaged in a proxy war with Russia over Ukraine that could escalate into a much bigger conflict.
Japan scrambled fighter jets Thursday after Russian “intelligence-gathering” aircraft were detected off its coasts along the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan, the country’s Joint Staff said.
One Russian aircraft traveled from Japan’s north down along part of its west coast, while the other took a similar route along the opposite coast and returned the same way, the Joint Staff said in a brief statement.
“In response, fighters of the Air Self-Defense Force’s Northern Air Force and other units were scrambled,” it added.
There was no further information on the incident, which comes days after Japan hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 in Hiroshima.
Vietnam on Thursday accused a Chinese survey vessel and its escorts of violating its sovereignty, and demanded that Beijing remove the ships from its waters.
Vietnam and China have long been embroiled in a territorial dispute over a potentially energy-rich stretch in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway through which more than $3 trillion of commerce passes annually.
"Vietnam demands that China immediately remove the survey ship Xiang Yang Hong 10, Chinese coast guard ships and fishing vessels out of Vietnam's waters," foreign ministry spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said in a government statement.
"Vietnam has made contact with China several times and implemented measures in accordance with international law and Vietnamese law to ensure lawful and legitimate rights and interests of Vietnam," the statement added.
With the acrid smell of burning tyres hanging in the air, Conakry resident Mariame Diallo pointed to blood splatters on a wall where she said her teenage brother was shot at close range during a protest in the capital against Guinea’s military government on May 11.
“I will never forgive those who killed him,” she said between bouts of quiet crying.
Clutching a bag of blood-soaked clothes that she hopes will be used for a police investigation that has yet to begin, she recalled how her apprentice brother, Boubacar, fearing the anti-government demonstrations, stayed at home, only to be shot dead by police in front of the family house.
A spokesman for the Guinean government did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comments on Thursday.
A study published Wednesday revealed that Seoul, South Korea, lost one in ten of its pediatric clinics in the last five years, a dramatic reduction largely attributed to the nation’s catastrophically low birth rate.
South Korea has the world’s lowest fertility rate as of 2022: 0.78 children per woman throughout her childbearing years, down from 0.81 in 2021 and well below the 2.1 children per mother demographers believe necessary for any country to maintain its current population.
A study published last year suggested that South Korea will lose over half its population by 2100 if fertility rates remain as they currently are. South Korea is believed to currently be home to about 52 million people.
Tuesday, during an appearance on FNC’s “Hannity,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) warned the FBI and IRS were trying to suppress the whistleblowers who had stepped forward about how the Hunter Biden investigation was handled.
“Congressman Jordan, let me start with you,” host Sean Hannity said. “All right. So, first, we have — I thought we had whistleblower protection laws in this country, and I also thought that Democrats love to even hearsay whistleblowers, but they only apparently like whistleblowers if they’re going after Donald Trump. We now have allegations by both FBI whistleblowers and IRS whistleblowers that they’re not being protected by the laws in this country and that the retaliation has taken place. What can you tell us about it?”
“No, they’re trying to cross him, and you’re exactly right, Sean. It was an anonymous whistleblower who was behind the whole impeachment of President Trump a few years ago,” Jordan replied. “So they’re trying to crush these guys because they’re coming forward and not only tell us about the double standard in the attack on President Trump but the attack on we the people. That’s the scariest part of all. But if you step back and think about this double standard for a second, Sean, think about this, seven years ago, it was Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok who went after President Trump and his campaign with no probable cause, no predicate, no evidence whatsoever. Mr. Durham told us that this past week.”
Business Insider reports that the recent layoffs at Facebook (now known as Meta) have caused a wave of confusion and tension among the remaining employees, with some reportedly making up their own tasks or skipping work because of unclear instructions.
On Wednesday, the latest round of layoffs at Facebook began with 21,000 workers expected to be affected. Despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s declaration of a “Year of Efficiency,” this decision has left a void of clarity among the remaining staff.
The current layoffs represent the third and supposedly final phase of the company’s most recent downsizing initiative. The tech and recruiting divisions have already laid off over 4,000 workers, and the business division is expected to lay off an additional 5,000 workers. This comes after a previous round of layoffs in November that led to the dismissal of 11,000 workers, or 13 percent of the company’s entire workforce.
The Gateway Pundit previously reported in May that then Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, along with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, filed a lawsuit (Missouri v. Biden) against the Biden Administration, including Biden himself, Anthony Fauci, the Department of Homeland Security, and nearly a dozen federal agencies and Secretaries. Schmitt has moved on to represent Missouri in the US Senate.
The suit alleges a massive coordinated effort by the Deep State (permanent administrative state) to work with Big Tech to censor and manipulate Americans – from average citizens to news outlets – on issues including the Hunter Biden Laptop from Hell, 2020 Election Integrity, COVID-19 origin and extent skepticism, COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, among other issues.
The Walt Disney Co. has reportedly begun laying off personnel overseas as it continues to eliminate jobs at home, with an additional 2,500 U.S. workers receiving pink slips this week.
Disney began notifying around 100 overseas workers this week that their jobs are at risk of elimination, according to a Deadline report. The staff are based in London and across the EMEA region — or Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The number of impacted workers is expected to be proportionate to the number of U.S. layoffs.
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ethiopia’s Tigray region staged massive demonstrations on Tuesday to protest delays in returning to their homes, the continued presence of hostile tribal militia forces on their lands, and the suspension of humanitarian aid.
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he will nominate Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
At a White House ceremony, Biden described Brown as “a warrior descended from a proud line of warriors,” noting that Brown’s father served as an Army colonel in Vietnam and his grandfather was an Army master sergeant who led a segregated unit during World War II.
“No matter how complicated the mission, from helping build and lead the coalition now more than 80 nations strong to counter ISIS threats in the Middle East, to positioning our Air Force for the future in the Indo-Pacific, Gen. Brown has built a reputation across the force as an unflappable and highly effective leader, and someone who creates an environment of teamwork, trust, and executes with excellence,” Biden said.
Biden also praised Brown for his ethos while serving as Air Force chief of staff: Accelerate change or lose.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are enjoying millions in taxpayer-funded grants to facilitate illegal immigration throughout the United States, Reps. Lance Gooden (R-TX) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) say.
In a letter to the National Board of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), Gooden and Jordan demanded a full accounting for all taxpayer-funded grants that have been awarded to NGOs.
“The surge of illegal immigration, fueled in part by NGOs like those on the EFSP National Board is unsustainable and unfair to law-abiding citizens and immigrants alike,” Gooden said in a statement.
The EFSP was initially created to help homeless Americans.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) should not resign from office despite her health travails. So says twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who has cautioned her to stay on in the face of Republicans who would seek to block Democrats from filling a vacancy on the Judiciary Committee and stall President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.
“Here’s the dilemma: The Republicans will not agree to add someone else to the Judiciary Committee if she retires,” Clinton laid out to Time magazine Monday during an interview with Charlotte Alter at the Chicago Humanities Festival.
“I want you to think about how crummy that is. So I don’t know what’s in her heart about whether she really would or wouldn’t, but right now, she can’t. Because if we’re going to get judges confirmed, which is one of the most important continuing obligations that we have, then we cannot afford to have her seat vacant.”
New figures show the German economy suffered an unexpected dip in the first quarter of this year, putting the country formally into recession.
Data released Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office shows Germany’s gross domestic product, or GDP, down by 0.3% in the period from January to March. This follows a drop of 0.5% in Europe’s biggest economy during the last quarter of 2022. Two consecutive quarters of decline constitute a technical recession.
The figures are a blow to the German government, which last month boldly doubled its growth forecast for this year after a feared winter energy crunch failed to materialize. It said GDP will grow by 0.4% – up from a 0.2% expansion predicted in late January – a forecast that may now need to be revised downward.
Economists said high inflation hit consumer spending, with prices in April 7.2% higher than a year ago.
Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is championing a populist-nationalist approach to the United States economy, vowing to impose tariffs on foreign imports to protect American workers and industries from unfair trade competition.
In a series of Twitter posts, Kennedy detailed the nation’s growing wealth inequalities whereby the very top earners — many of which are billionaires — have seen their share of income grow exponentially while the share of income among working- and middle-class Americans has steadily declined.
The breakdown of unions — in part, as a result of decades-long job-killing free trade policies — has coincided with growing income inequalities, Kennedy noted.
Most of the world’s economies, including the United States, are rapidly ramping up to digitize their currency and ultimately end “paper cash” by creating a Central Bank Digital Currency (or CBDC for short).
Part of the “Great Reset” agenda is to eliminate or reduce untraceable and untaxable cash and crypto transactions and clear the way to establish national government-controlled digital currency.
The agenda is to get a CBDC in every country, get people used to it, and then connect those digital systems into a one-world digitized payment system.
Does this sound too far-fetched? Consider that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors have already issued a white paper titled “Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation” as a “first step” in exploring the creation of a CBDC.
Make no mistake, a centralized digital currency is coming. President Biden has already sounded what many consider to be the paper dollar’s death knell when he signed Executive Order 14067, which calls for the implementation of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is aiming to strike a deal soon with the White House on raising the debt ceiling, he indicated to reporters Wednesday afternoon.
McCarthy said staff planned to meet at the White House “to try to finish up the negotiations” between House Republicans and President Joe Biden that day and made clear that spending cuts remain a condition of any debt ceiling hike.
The speaker also caveated that “there’s a number of places that we are still far apart.”
House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act in April, which would raise the debt ceiling through early next year while drastically reducing spending. The bill’s provisions include blocking Biden’s student loan bailout, rescinding recent funding to the IRS, repealing climate-related parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, and expanding work requirements for welfare recipients.
The cuts are meant to help rein in government spending that, according to Republicans, has driven growth of the national debt, which stands at $31 trillion.
Thirty years ago, billionaire financier George Soros articulated a plan for a “New World Order” that he wanted to promote through his philanthropic efforts.
I first came across Soros’s old essays when I was working on the biography of my mother-in-law, Rhoda Kadalie. She knew Soros from his work in South Africa. She broke with him later, but kept a few of his publications in her collection.
There are some interesting, long-lost gems. In one address in South Africa in 1994, for example, Soros amusingly admitted that he once pulled his funding out of that country because local activists seemed more interested in seizing his money than in producing results.
Today, Soros is presumed by his critics to be an evil manipulator intent on destroying society. Certainly some of the radical prosecutors he has backed, and the far-left groups funded by his Open Society Foundations, have earned him an infamous reputation, though it is debatable whether the 92-year-old is running his own operation anymore.
Regardless, thirty years ago at least, Soros seemed genuinely concerned about freedom.
Shares in computer chip designer Nvidia soared this week, taking the company's valuation close to the trillion dollar mark.
The surge was sparked by its latest quarterly results which were released late on Wednesday. The company said it was raising production of chips to meet "surging demand".
Nvidia has come to dominate the market for chips used in artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
Interest in that sector reached frenzied levels after ChatGPT went public last November, which sent a jolt well beyond the technology industry.
Socialist Spain is leading the way in attempts to ban private messaging technology in the European Union, according to a leaked survey of member state opinions on encryption.
A leaked document from the European Council, originally obtained by the tech magazine Wired, which surveyed EU member states on the proposed law that would force messaging companies, like WhatsApp and Signal, to break their encryption and scan the content of private messages to supposedly stop the spread of child pornography.
The proposed legislation has been criticised by privacy rights campaigners as well as by tech experts, who say that it is not possible for encrypted messages to be ‘scanned’ by the providers as the very point of end-to-end messengers is that they are only visible to the parties involved, with even the provider itself being blocked from viewing the content. Therefore, the law would in reality force the companies to break their encrypted services.
Even with all the protests and mentions of Nakba Day on social media, commemorating this horrific, sad event is nowhere near where it ought to be. Arguably one of the darkest and most awful chapters in the long history of Palestine, the Nakba needs to be fully commemorated in every capital in the world.
The politicization of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the consequent installment of an apartheid regime to govern it is such that few countries dare even to mention these crimes against humanity.
The full scope of the Nakba, a combination of several crimes against humanity, is yet to be understood.
To begin with, the Nakba is a tragedy that began over seventy-five years ago and continues in full force. Furthermore, the full extent of the crimes committed in the early Nakba, from 1947 to 1952, is still being uncovered.
The latest discovery was just published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. According to the article, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, ordered chemicals to be used to poison wells in Palestinian villages.