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Russia has no intention of attacking NATO member states and will retaliate only if attacked first, President Vladimir Putin told American journalist Tucker Carlson in an interview aired on Thursday.

Western countries are “trying to intimidate their own population with an imaginary Russian threat,” Putin said. He added that “smart people understand perfectly well that that is false.”

Carlson asked the president if he can “imagine a scenario where you send Russian troops to Poland.” 

Putin replied: “Only in one case: if there is an attack on Russia from Poland. Why? Because we have no interests in Poland, Latvia or any other [NATO member].”

Webmaster addition: 

Tags: EUROPE, NATO, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged every effort on the part of the European Union and the United States to resist attempts to drag NATO into the Ukraine conflict.

"We don’t see ourselves at war with Russia and don’t seek confrontation with Russia," Scholz wrote in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal. According to the German chancellor, the United States and the EU "will resist any attempt to drag the North Atlantic Treaty Organization into" the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Scholz said that NATO’s collective deterrence and defense must be credible. He called on Germany’s NATO allies to ensure their defense spending at 2% of the gross domestic product. Scholz also mentioned the European Sky Shield Initiative launched to boost European air-defense capabilities and Berlin’s plans to base a full combat brigade in Lithuania.

Tags: GERMANY, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, NATO, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Disgraced late financier, suspected intelligence asset and convicted pedophile and human trafficker Jeffrey Epstein returned to the media spotlight last month after a New York court unsealed documents containing the names of some of the powerful politicians, businessmen, and show business stars he cavorted with in the abuse of minors.

Jes Staley, the US-born banker and former CEO of British banking giant Barclays, is facing fresh scrutiny after court documents revealed him to have secretly maintained contacts with Jeffrey Epstein for years after becoming the bank’s boss, and lying about it.

According to the legal documents, which were seen by Bloomberg, Staley and Epstein used an intermediary to communicate long after the former became Barclays CEO in October 2015, contradicting testimony by Staley, and that of a British probe, that the contacts had stopped.

Staley resigned in disgrace from Barclays in November 2021 after being found to have “recklessly” mislead regulators about his relationship with Epstein, a year after the bank’s board steadfastly defended him and assured that he had been “sufficiently transparent” in his commitment to stop communicating with the New York financier, who was found dead in a jail cell in August 2019, a month after his arrest on sex trafficking charges.

Tags: ECONOMY, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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The German authorities are discussing nationalizing the local subsidiary of Russian state-controlled energy major Rosneft, which has been under a trusteeship since 2022, the company said on Thursday.

The newspaper Handelsblatt reported, citing government sources, that a hearing that began on Monday marks the first step towards a formal expropriation procedure the government is seeking to carry out. 

According to the Russian oil giant’s law firm, Germany’s Economy Ministry informed Rosneft earlier this week that it was considering expropriating the stakes in the company’s German assets.

Rosneft Deutschland manages the company’s stakes in several German oil refineries. The assets include a 24% share in the country’s largest refinery in the city of Karlsruhe, a 28.57% share in BAYERNOIL Raffineriegesellschaft and a 54.17% stake in the PCK Raffinerie plant in Schwedt.

Tags: ECONOMY, GERMANY, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
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The European Commission has launched legal action against Hungary for its recent enactment of laws on “protecting national sovereignty”.

The European Union executive said on Wednesday that it has sent a formal notice to Budapest informing it that the legislation violates the bloc’s democratic values and fundamental rights. Opponents of Prime Minster Viktor Orban’s authoritarian regime claim the new laws threaten to stifle his political rivals, as well as critical media and civil society.

Tags: EUROPE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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Republican lawmakers in Kentucky introduced a bill last Tuesday that would criminalize homeless encampments and expand the state’s Stand Your Ground law to allow property owners to confront unhoused people with a gun. The bill, dubbed the “Safer Kentucky Act,” already has received more than 45 Republican co-sponsors and the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police has committed to testify in support of the legislation when it has a committee hearing.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, ECONOMY
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Vladimir Putin said a deal can be reached to secure the return of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich — but his country has run out of “gestures of goodwill.”

In a rare one-on-one interview with Tucker Carlson, the Russian President said he could see a deal being reached for the journalist, who has been charged with spying, “if our partners take reciprocal steps.”

“There is no taboo to settle this issue,” he told Carlson in the pre-recorded interview at the Kremlin in Moscow. 

“We are willing to solve it but there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached.”

Gershkovich, 32, was detained by Russian authorities in March while on a reporting trip to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
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BEIRUT — Foreign diplomats have put forward proposals to bring calm to the volatile Lebanon-Israel border in parallel with the ongoing Gaza truce negotiations, according to officials Wednesday. This includes a pullback by the Hezbollah terror group from the frontier and the deployment of thousands of additional Lebanese army troops.

The proposal put forward by European diplomats would be based on the “partial implementation” of the UN Security Council resolution that ended a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, two Lebanese political officials and a Lebanese diplomat based in Europe told The Associated Press.

Claire's Observations:This is not at all the outcome Israel wants here; they want a true war, with which they expect to:  1. Wipe out Hezbollah,  and 2. Claim that Southern Lebanon is part of Israel (they are desperate for the water from the Litani  River, which is only about 12 miles away from Israel's current border with Lebanon.)  Peace here, does not serve the Israeli government's motives at all.  

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, ISRAEL, LEBANON, MIDDLE EAST, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WMD
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On February 7, 2024, a U.S. drone strike assassinated an Iraqi militia leader, Abu Baqir al-Saadi, in the heart of Baghdad. This was a further U.S. escalation in a major new front in the U.S.-Israeli war on the Middle East, centered on the Israeli genocide in Gaza, but already also including ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Syria, and the U.S. and U.K.’s bombing of Yemen.

This latest U.S. attack followed the U.S. bombing of seven targets on February 2, three in Iraq and four in Syria, with 125 bombs and missiles, killing at least 39 people, which Iran called “a strategic mistake” that would bring “disastrous consequences” for the Middle East.

At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been touring the shrinking number of capitals in the region where leaders will still talk to him, playing the United States’ traditional role as a dishonest broker between Israel and its neighbors, in reality partnering with Israel to offer the Palestinians impossible, virtually suicidal terms for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Tags: IRAQ, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, SYRIA, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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This week, the biggest news story in the entire world is Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin.  Honestly, it was kind of a bizarre interview, and  you can watch it for yourself below.  But I give Tucker Carlson a ton of credit for going to Russia and sitting down with Putin.  I think that the real reason he did this is because he wanted to see for himself if there is any hope of avoiding a cataclysmic conflict between our two nations.  Every day we get even closer to the unthinkable, and so it would make sense for both sides to pursue a peaceful way out of this mess.  But at this point the western elite are not interested in peace, and they don’t want any talk of peace in the media.  So they are going to great lengths to discredit Tucker Carlson’s interview with Putin, because they don’t want their carefully crafted narratives to be disrupted.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday removed Valery Zaluzhny as the country's military commander-in-chief — ending months of tensions between the two.

"I thanked him for two years of defense of Ukraine," Zelenskyy said on social media, adding: "We also discussed who could be in the renewed leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

Zaluzhny will be replaced by General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukrainian ground forces who is seen as closer to the president.

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Tags: IRAQ, SYRIA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Seham al-Najjar and her family have nowhere else to run if Israel intensifies its assault on Rafah, a town in southernmost Gaza. Like 1.8 million people, Seham fled to Rafah in search of relative safety from Israel’s relentless bombardment and ground invasion in other parts of the Gaza Strip.

She arrived weeks ago with 20 members of her family from Khan Younis, a city that Israel designated as “safe” at the start of the war and then reduced to rubble in December. Seham fears that Rafah could suffer an even worse fate.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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NEW DELHI (AP) — India on Thursday said it will replace its military personnel in Maldives with civilian technical staff who will operate three aircraft from India that provide humanitarian services.

The decision comes after new Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu demanded that the Indian military personnel be withdrawn by March 15.

At least 75 Indian military personnel are believed to be in Maldives and their known activities include transporting patients from remote islands and rescuing people at sea. India earlier gave Maldives a Dornier airplane and two helicopters.

Tensions between India and Maldives have grown since Muizzu came to power last year and adopted a pro-China stance.

Claire's observations:  

The Maldives are strategically located  as a "gateway" to the Indian ocean.  IF the Chinese are developing any military enhancements in these islands, that means that they will have the means to strategically control at least some of India's trade, so I can understand India's concerns

Tags: CHINA, ECONOMY, PAKISTAN/ INDIA
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