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Thought for the day
"Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible." -- George Carlin
Bangladesh has approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a multibillion-dollar loan, making it the third South Asian country – after Sri Lanka and Pakistan – to have sought financial help from the multi-lateral lender in the past two months.
Sporadic protests erupted in several of Bangladesh’s cities on Saturday in response to a significant rise in oil and gas prices. After the price rise, public transport fares also rocketed up to 35 percent. Several organizations related to transportation have suspended their operations for 24 hours and declared their sales would resume on Monday.
The Bangladesh Tank-Lorry Owners’ Association and the Petrol Pump Owners’ Association staged a 24-hr strike on Sunday. They stopped collecting fuel from the Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna depots – major oil repositories for the country in the Khulna division.
“The strike started at 8am and will continue until 8am on Monday,” Md Farhad Hossain, an official of Bangladesh Tank-Lorry Owners’
The association has been demanding 7.5 percent commission on the present fuel price.
Millions of boxes of oranges are spoiling in containers stranded at European ports as South Africa and the European Union lock horns in a dispute over import rules, citrus growers have said.
South Africa, the world’s second largest exporter of fresh citrus after Spain, filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month after the EU introduced new plant and health safety requirements that orange farmers say threaten their survival.
The measures came into force in July as ships were already at sea carrying hundreds of containers full of South African fruit to Europe, resulting in them being held up on arrival, South Africa’s Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) says.
UK Conservative leadership contender Liz Truss said she would consider moving the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if she becomes prime minister next month.
In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Truss wrote she understands the “importance and sensitivity” of the location of the British embassy in Israel.
“I’ve had many conversations with my good friend Prime Minister Lapid on this topic. Acknowledging that, I will review a move to ensure we are operating on the strongest footing within Israel.”
The U.S. became the first country to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem under former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Truss also pledged she would ensure the passage of a bill to end local councils bringing in Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policies that target Israel.
Eight months ago, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee became involved directly in the political campaign space by founding two political action committees. Now, after the Democratic primary in Michigan this week, the influential lobby group’s political experiment can be evaluated based on months of election results in key races it chose to get involved with.
In Michigan this week, AIPAC spent nearly $8.4 million on two Democratic races. One of the races, between Reps. Andy Levin and Haley Stevens in the 11th district, became a referendum on the internal American-Jewish conversation on Israel and how the Democratic Party handles debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By contrast J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group, has spent only $700,000 against Stevens over AIPAC's support.
When night falls in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, just 20 km (12 miles) from the front line with Russia, police officers cruise through the dark and empty streets, looking for curfew violators, thieves and spies.
The 65,000 people remaining in the eastern industrial city, which before the war had a population of around 150,000, have to stay inside from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m.
Yet over the past week, police say they have found 33 violators: seven suspected spotters for Russian artillery, five looters - and 21 caught drinking alcohol outside in the summer heat.
The front line is just to the northeast and parts of the city have been hit by Russian shell fire. Police know to keep an eye out on office buildings and shelled residential districts that now sit empty.
Israeli air raids have continued to hit Gaza and the violence has gone into a third day on Sunday.
At least 30 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed and over 200 injured.
It marks the latest assault by Israel on Gaza since the 11-day war in May 2021 killed hundreds and wounded thousands.
The following timeline lists major attacks carried out by Israeli forces on Gaza since 2005 when it withdrew from the Gaza Strip, a coastal enclave home to 2.3 million people:
With less than 100 days to go before the US mid-term elections, many US media outlets, polls and observers see the Democrats’ prospects dim. A new Bloomberg Economics study showed that “President Joe Biden’s party can expect to lose 30 to 40 seats in the House and a few in the Senate too, easily wiping out razor-thin Democratic majorities,” Bloomberg reported on Saturday.
Democratic Party’s favorability has been falling, due to Biden administration’s incompetence in handling foreign and domestic affairs. Inflation at a 40-year high has gravely impacted ordinary people’s life in the US and domestic racial conflict and populism are also rampant. Biden’s promises in 2020 election campaign on unity and restoring prosperity have fallen short. “Democrats suffering defeats in the upcoming midterm elections is a high probability event,” said a Beijing-based expert on international relations who asked for anonymity.
For the moment, given the difficulty of a significant improvement in terms of economy, politics and diplomacy, the Democratic Party seems to be willing to take risky gambits to rescue its unfavorable electoral situation.
Polish columnist Hanna Kramer published an article about the "US Vassals and Political Morons", where she noted that the main clash between Washington and Moscow will take place on the territory of Poland.
"It's no secret that the ruling Law and Justice party has been seeking for Poland the status of one of the world leaders for years. The White House skillfully took advantage of this desire. The goal is simple: to create a hot spot in Europe and once again flex their muscles in front of Russia," Kramer says.
She notes that the current Russophobic policy of the Polish government is programmed for many years to come. The political scientist believes that the Ukrainian conflict is the first US project against Russia. Next is Poland.
"The main battle between Washington and Moscow will unfold in Poland, which is currently in the way of the Ukrainians! Meanwhile, a growing atmosphere of Russophobia reigns in our country. <...> Citizens of Poland and Ukraine are cannon fodder for the Americans!" Kramer writes in a material for the Dziennik Polityczny.
Republican lawmakers are feeling vindicated for opposing a $40 billion Ukraine aid package after a CBS News report showed that only 30% of the Western weapons flooding into the country are actually making it to the front lines in Kiev’s conflict with Russia.
“This [is] one of the reasons I voted ‘no,’” US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) said on Twitter in a retweet of the CBS News post. Greene was among 57 House Republicans who voted against the massive aid bill, which passed overwhelmingly in May with the support of all Democrats and most GOP lawmakers. Eleven Republicans opposed the bill in the Senate, where it passed by an 86-11 margin.
The CBS story noted that with nearly $60 billion in US and Western European aid approved for Ukraine since Russia’s military offensive began in February, most of the weaponry has failed to get through to Ukrainian fighters. Getting weapons to the troops involves navigating a complex network of “power lords, oligarchs [and] political players,” the outlet cited Lithuanian aid group founder Jonas Ohman as saying. Amnesty International senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera told CBS that “there is really no information” on where the weapons are going.
Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) said such scrutiny had been dismissed prior to the CBS report. “How many people were called Russian bots for saying this exact same thing since March? Now, when CBS says it, it’s perfectly fine. Whatever the case, glad the facts are out now. The majority of the Ukraine aid is a scam.”
The shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP by the Kiev government forces create a radioactive threat for Ukraine and the entire Europe, the Russian embassy in Washington said in a statement on Sunday.
"We paid attention to the disinformation campaign unfolding in the US media in order to attribute responsibility for the situation with the Zaporozhye NPP to our country. It is indiscriminately claimed that the Russian military launched artillery strikes on the territory of the nuclear power plant," the embassy said.
"We note that this is not the first provocation by Kiev at radiation-hazardous sites. The shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP by the Ukrainian armed formations is deliberate. In order to discredit Russia, the Ukrainian authorities do not shun anything, creating a real threat to the nuclear security not only of Ukraine, but of Europe as well," it said.
According to Russia’s Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response, Ukrainian nationalists launched an artillery strike on the territory of the nuclear power plant on August 5. Two high-voltage power lines and a water pipeline were damaged as a result of the shelling. "Only thanks to the effective and timely actions of the Russian military in covering the nuclear power facility, its critical infrastructure was not affected," the Russian embassy in the US said.
US-based Google has notified Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec about blocking of its YouTube channel citing previously imposed sanctions, the Russian company said in a statement.
"Google notified us today about the blocking of Rostec’s YouTube channel and cited sanctions as a reason," Rostec said in its statement.
"It was a channel about the Russian engineering, our engineers and our technical innovations. The channel had about 45,000 subscribers and hundreds of thousands viewers annually," the company stated.
"This is an obvious example of how the Western democracy works in reality. This is not a democracy, but its imitation, when the freedom of an opinion is being strangled and mouths are being shut. There is no force and truth in such actions," the statement added.
Russia’s hi-tech state corporation Rostec also added that it was prepared for a possible elimination of its YouTube channel and copied all of its previously published videos to Rutube channel.
Guo Wengui, also known as Guo Haoyun, and by his English names Miles Kwok and Miles Guo, is a politically connected, self-proclaimed exiled Chinese billionaire who tried to start a U.S.-China war.
On Feb. 15, the billionaire filed for Chapter 11, personal bankruptcy protection in US Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport, CT, listing assets of just $3,850 and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. Guo’s declaration came after a Hong Kong money manager, Pacific Alliance Group, sued him over unpaid debts.
That certainly didn’t add up. Only three months after filing for bankruptcy, Guo had spent nearly $2 million on legal fees. Yet on May 11, he filed a waiver of personal bankruptcy with the court through his lawyer, stating he had no more funds to pay his legal fees.
During the bankruptcy hearing, Guo claimed he owned no house, no car, and no credit cards. That certainly didn’t square up with the lavish lifestyle he flaunted on social media – replete with mansion, private jet and yacht.
So is this story really about bankruptcy? Or a very elaborate ruse?
A majority of Britons fear the energy and cost of living crisis will end with people unable to heat their homes in winter dying and riots on the streets.
Polling commissioned by the More in Common group — whose director Luke Tryl said the results should be “a wake-up call to our next Prime Minister” that “people want help now” — found that some almost nine-tenths of Britons believe the crisis will impact their day to day lives. Shockingly, around three-quarters believe there will be deaths this winter as people find themselves unable to afford their heating bills and succumb to the cold.
Eighty per cent believe people will resort to shoplifting to keep their heads above water, 70 per cent believe people will simply refuse to pay their bills, and over half — 51 per cent — believe things will degrade to the point that their are riots in the streets, The Sun reports.
You can always tell how important narrative control is by watching the way people react when their control of the narrative is jeopardized.
Empire apologists are raging at Amnesty International for pausing its aggressive facilitation of western imperialism to issue one brief criticism of the way Ukrainian forces have been endangering civilian lives with their warfare tactics against the Russian military.
Amnesty is far from the first to highlight this extensively documented issue; that Ukrainian forces have been deliberately positioning themselves in civilian populations without taking proper measures to protect noncombatants is a concern that has been voiced repeatedly since the war began and reported on by both mainstream western news outlets and the United Nations.
Nevertheless, Amnesty’s claim that “Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals” has drawn fire from Ukrainian officials, from mass media pundits, from the brainwashed rank-and-file on social media, and from President Zelensky himself.
The President of the Dutch police union, Jan Struijs, says the Netherlands has become a 'narco-state,' in which drug dealing criminals are operating a parallel economy which has had deleterious effects - including higher housing prices, and legal businesses turning into fronts for money laundering.
"I call the Netherlands a narcostate 2.0 because the drugs pump so much money into the legal economy that it takes over," Struijs told Swedish broadcaster SVT, adding "It undermines democracy but also the economy."
Webmaster addition: You know. just like here in the US!
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has voiced concerns over a potential disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power station, after Russia accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant in the country’s southern Zaporozhye Region on Friday.
Kiev claims that Moscow – which holds the area – is using the facility as a “shield” for its soldiers.
“Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing. I hope that those attacks will end, and at the same time I hope that the IAEA will be able to access the plant,” Guterres said at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday morning, without blaming either side.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Saturday it was “extremely concerned” by the Friday shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. Targeting the facility with any “military firepower” amounts to “playing with fire, with potentially catastrophic consequences,” the UN nuclear watchdog’s director general, Rafael Grossi, said.
Post by Rob Renfroe via Facebook. “Below I announced that The Woodlands Methodist voted to disaffiliate today by a 96% margin. Now, word just in, the Texas Annual Conference’s second largest church, Faithbridge, has announced the results of the vote it took today. They voted to leave by a vote of 100%.” (Added 8-7-2022)
On Saturday, July 30, just after 9pm, thunderous explosions rocked central Donetsk. Shortly after, there were announcements that air defense had shot down Ukrainian-fired missiles containing 'butterfly' (or 'petal') mines. Given that over 300 of these explosives are packed into each of the Ukrainian-fired rockets, central Donetsk could literally become a minefield if they successfully landed.
Social media and Telegram warnings urged residents to stay inside and wait for Emergency Services to clear the streets and sidewalks – which they began doing during the night. But come daylight, untold numbers of these tiny devices still remained. More warnings were issued to stay at home – better to be late for work than lose a leg. Residents that absolutely have to go out are advised to keep their eyes down to watch where they step, avoid grassy areas, and walk extremely carefully.
Usually when a government starts taking your weapons you begin to lose other freedoms. Also, assault style weapons aren't the problem, I could do more damage with an LPG tanker, some chains and locks for doors, some road flares,and a cutting torch.The whole idea is ludicrous, these laws won't stop homegrown terrorists and people with mental health issues. I’ve owned firearms since I was 5 and had received my first single shot .22. I've never posted a picture of myself holding my weapon on social media.
Zaporozhye Region will hold a referendum on whether to secede from Ukraine and request joining Russia, the head of its administration announced on Monday.
Evgeny Balitskiy said that he had signed an order to organize the plebiscite during a regional forum held in the city of Melitopol. Over 700 representatives from various parts of the Ukrainian region approved the idea, according to RIA Novosti.
Earlier comments by administration officials indicated the referendum may be held as soon as mid-September.
Russian forces took partial control of the region during the initial offensive against Ukraine launched in late February. The eponymous city located in the north of the region on the Dnepr River remains under Ukrainian control.
Officials in Kherson Region, another Russia-controlled part of Ukraine, voiced similar plans to put to a vote the proposal of breaking away from Kiev and seeking to join Russia.
Waters, 78, who is currently on a solo tour, branded Biden with the provocative title during a montage played at his rock show.
The British musician got into a heated debate with CNN host Michael Smerconish over the weekend after the journalist questioned Waters' decision to include Biden in the provocative segment of his show.
Waters justified including Biden in his war criminal montage by saying the US president committed a 'huge crime' by not encouraging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to negotiate and put an end to 'this horrific, horrendous war.'
China’s military announced fresh military drills on Monday in the seas and airspace around Taiwan a day after the scheduled end of its largest ever exercises to protest against last week’s visit to Taipei by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China’s Eastern Theatre Command said it would conduct joint drills focusing on anti-submarine and sea assault operations - confirming the fears of some security analysts and diplomats that Beijing would continue to maintain pressure on Taiwan’s defences.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week infuriated China, which regards the self-ruled island as its own and responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, as well as ditching some lines of dialogue with Washington.
The duration and precise location of the latest drills is not yet known, but Taiwan has already eased flight restrictions near the six earlier Chinese exercise areas surrounding the island.
Shortly before the latest drills were announced, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met visiting St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, telling him she was moved by his determination to visit despite China’s military pressure.
TikTok is facing calls to remove videos of a controversial influencer and former Big Brother star who has been accused of spreading misogynistic 'rape culture' content to audiences as young as 13 on the platform.
British-American kickboxer Andrew Tate, 35, was raised on an estate in Luton, England, as the son of a catering assistant and an American chess master Emory Tate.
But in the last three months the Chicago-born described as the 'king of toxic masculinity' has been searched on Google more than Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian. Today, he's worth an estimated £24million, with millions of social media followers.
He also has thousands of acolytes emulating him in his £39-a-month 'Hustler's University' - where self-described experts use Discord servers to promise followers get rich quick schemes using cryptocurrency, property or e-commerce.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) let a U.S. Senate adviser kill key parts of Democrats’ promised drug pricing legislation, as Schumer has become the Senate’s second largest recipient of pharmaceutical industry cash.
On Saturday, the Senate's parliamentary adviser Elizabeth MacDonough — who Schumer can remove — issued a non-binding advisory opinion saying Democrats should remove provisions in their spending bill that would punish drugmakers for inflating their prices for patients in private health insurance plans. The provision could have saved $40 billion, according to one estimate.
“The exclusion of the private insurance price limits means there is little left that will reduce costs for the vast majority of Americans who receive health insurance through their private sector employer,” reported Politico.
The United States and its European allies have committed tens of billions of dollars in military and economic support for Kiev over the past five months. Moscow has warned repeatedly of the dangers of weapons falling into the hands of black marketeers and making their way onto the international arms black market.
CBS News has curiously deleted a bombshell documentary which uncovered that just “30%” of the military assistance sent to Ukraine by Western countries during the first months of the conflict with Russia actually reached the front lines.
Upon clicking on the link to the documentary, called “Arming Ukraine,” users are greeted with a “The page cannot be found” error.