Signs Of The Times RSS

Signs of the Times: The World for People who Think. Featuring independent, unbiased, alternative news and commentary on world events.
  1. A four-year-old boy was killed in Kurnool district on Tuesday after he was attacked by stray dogs. The parents of the boy, Ibrahim had taken him along with them to a groundnut field. Since the boy was sleeping, they kept him on a swing nearby and went for their work. However, the boy was attacked by two stray dogs and his screams fell short due to the sounds of the groundnut crusher machine. The parents later tried to locate their son and found the body half a kilometre away as they heard two dogs growling at each other.
  2. The secret to living long into ripe old age has been heavily debated for quite some time. Eating a healthier diet, regularly practising yoga in a peaceful park, visiting exotic hot springs to cleanse your body... people have tried all sorts of things to ensure longevity. However, a study has discovered that the key to reaching past the age of 90 could all come down to drinking a couple of glasses of alcohol a night and putting on a few extra pounds.
  3. A wide assortment of US-supplied weapons ended up for sale on an online terrorist marketplace in Syria, a CNN investigation revealed on Tuesday. "Grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, thermal sniper scopes and body armor all appear on the jihadist channels, which also offer tips on encryption and even introduce smugglers to get people in and out of Syria," the CNN report said. The media outlet also published a string of messages between someone in Syria's Idlib province and a reporter, in which the reporter negotiated a discount to purchase the M-16 rifle for $775 using the encryption app Telegram.
  4. Pyongyang officials refused to meet with US Vice President on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, amid belligerent rhetoric and threats of new sanctions, as well as US distrust of a recent rapprochement between South and North. Pence arrived in South Korea at a time when the Trump administration is applying every effort to downplay the significance of the recent thaw between the two Koreas that came about as a result of the "Peace Olympics." While initially denying intentions to meet with the North Korean delegation, Pence's team apparently worked relentlessly hoping to break the ice with the ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, and Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the North's leader, Kim Jong Un. After all, the vice president was seated just a few feet away from Kim Yo Jong during the opening ceremonies, but failed to acknowledge her.
  5. Residents of Salvador, the capital of Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia, reported a bright meteor fireball streaking through the night sky around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday 20th February according to A Tarde On Line. Sightings of the event were also recorded in other parts of the region and shared on social media reports Mídia Bahia. "Has anyone else seen a 'meteor' crossing Pituba now?" asked a Facebook user. "I do not know it was a shooting star, but I just saw a fireball falling from the sky with a huge flash. Did anyone else from Salvador see?" Another on Twitter said "Does anyone explain this glare in the sky of Salvador? And that object falling and catching fire? I do not know what it was, I've never seen anything like it."
  6. The US Department of State stated that it did not rule out potentially introducing sanctions against the 13 Russian individuals charged last week for alleged election meddling. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that US threats to impose new sanctions on Moscow were aiming to escalate tensions ahead of the presidential election, which is scheduled for March 2018. "Paradoxically, the Americans are taking steps that are aimed at intervening in our internal affairs, intensifying tension in bilateral relations ahead of presidential elections, but they continue to groundlessly, unprovenly blame us for allegedly interfering in their electoral processes," Ryabkov on Wednesday to journalists in Moscow.
  7. Money is Power! Legal Drugs for Profits, Pain, and Stupidity? President Donald Trump's nominee for drug czar, Republican Congressmember Tom Marino, had to withdraw from consideration after a Washington Post / "60 Minutes" investigation found he led a drug industry-backed effort to pass a law that weakened the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to crack down on addictive opioids. Meanwhile, calls are growing to look at the major pharmaceutical companies that have fueled the opioid crisis. A new investigation by Esquire magazine reveals how the secretive Sackler family, owners of the company that invented OxyContin, downplayed the risks of addiction and exploited doctors' confusion over the drug's strength. We speak with Christopher Glazek, the Esquire reporter behind the story.
  8. The teenager is said to have been forced to have sex with the rabbi along with 30 other men by two US residents aged 18 and 23. A rabbi from New Jersey has been accused of having sex with a juvenile prostitute and is currently facing charges of engaging in prostitution with a child and endangering the welfare of a child, as reported by NJ.com. Aryeh Goodman, 35, who runs a Jewish education center at his home was allegedly one of some 30 men using sex services, provided by the 17-year-old girl.
  9. Over the weekend, Israel used the long-standing adversarial threat of Iran as a pretext to launch a barrage of attacks against targets in Syrian territory. According to the Israeli side, an Iranian drone launched from Syria flew deep into Israeli airspace, which prompted Israel to not only down the drone, but to also target the base the drone was allegedly launched from in Syria. In turn, Syria activated its air defenses, which saw Israel lose one of its fighter jets soon after. Unhappy with this result, Israel launched a number of retaliatory strikes against Syria's air defenses, including bases allegedly staffed with Iranian personnel as opposed to Iran's mere proxy forces. Israel claimed it successfully destroyed half of Syria's air defenses, and because this is allegedly the first time Israel has actually struck Iranian targets as opposed to Iranian proxies, the weekend's developments undoubtedly represent an escalation. "We are seeing a renegotiation of the rules of the game with regard to the kind of military activity that each side tolerates in the other," said Ofer Zalzberg, the senior analyst for Israel/Palestine at the International Crisis Group. "We will see more and more friction between the parties, given that we are seeing more and more this sense that Assad has the upper hand [against Syrian rebels]", he added.
  10. The rockstar of modern psychology strips the mythology off divisive beliefs. Jordan Peterson is a Canadian psychologist whose seemingly overnight ascent to cultural rockstar comes after years of deep scholarship in many disciplines. His new book, 12 Rules for Life, is atop bestseller lists, and millions have followed his lectures on YouTube. He has a penchant for seeing the application of micro-scale information to societal problems. Over a breakfast Skype from New York to his hometown of Fairview, Alberta, he spoke on topics ranging from intellectual and economic inequality to sexual mythology.
  11. Death is such a pain. There's no opt-out, and decomposing is a hassle. Not for long, though. According to scientist Dr. Ian Pearson, immortality may be achieved by as early as 2050... For some of us. The past few decades have brought phenomenal developments in medical science that significantly improve our chances of living longer, healthier lives. But could we take it even further? Experts are debating just how possible it might be in the near future to extend life indefinitely. Some argue that it's impossible to keep a body going forever; others contend that it's only a matter of time before science makes death a thing of the past. Pearson expects we'll see the beginnings of immortality within the next few decades, but (initially, at least) it will be far too expensive for the masses: "By 2050, it will only really be for the rich and famous. Most people on middle-class incomes and reasonable working-class incomes can probably afford this in the 2060s. So anyone 90 or under by 2060. If you were born sometime in 1970 onwards, that would make you 48 this year, so anybody under 50 has got a good chance of it, and anyone under 40 almost definitely will have access to this." This all sounds a bit too much like the recent Netflix show Altered Carbon, in which the world's wealthy elite are able to enjoy endless lifetimes of fun while the poorer among society only get a relatively short span of time on Earth.
  12. "If I was running the Russian intel services, I'd just pay to send a few Nebraska county commissioners to Disneyland - that would keep our seventeen US intel agencies busy until kingdom come trying to figure out the angle." Forget about sharks. In their Valentine's Day editorial: Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia?, The New York Times jumped several blue whales (all the ones left on earth), a cruise ship, a subtropical archipelago, a giant vortex of plastic bottles, and the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit shoot. The lede said: The phalanx of intelligence chiefs who testified on Capitol Hill delivered a chilling message: Not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country's political and social divisions. Hmmm.... After almost two years of relentless public paranoia about Russia and US elections, don't you suppose these Ruskie gremlins would find some other way to make mischief in our world - maybe meddle in the NHL playoffs, or hack WalMart's bookkeeping department, or covertly switch out the real Dwayne Johnson with a robot? I kind of completely and absolutely doubt that they'll bother with our elections.
  13. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Friday with Antonio Guterres, the head of the UN, and told him that the Golan Heights would remain in Israel's hands forever. Meeting at the Munich Security Conference, Netanyahu told the UN secretary general that Israel would not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria. Reiterating past comments, Netanyahu added that Israel would act against any Iranian attempt to build bases in Syria. Netanyahu also thanked Guterres for holding an informal UN Security Council session on Israelis held by Hamas together with the remains of Israeli soldiers killed during fighting in Gaza and said that there must be additional action on this issue. Netanyahu has made similar comments regarding the Golan in the past. Last year, Netanyahu asked U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel made a similar request to the Obama administration in 2015, but it was rejected, diplomats said at the time.
  14. A 19-year-old man in Sweden has been charged with abuse after he beat his 14-year-old sister with a baseball bat because she refused to wear an Islamic veil. The young man, who lives in the municipality of Karlskrona, was brought before the Blekinge District Court last week on charges of abuse and assault. He is alleged to have struck his younger sister with a baseball bat several times while yelling at her "wear a veil", 24Blekinge reports. The 19-year-old is said to have become angry with his sister after she returned from a shopping trip with their mother and he noticed she was not wearing an Islamic veil. When he asked her why she was not wearing a veil, the girl refused to answer. The brother then walked to his room and emerged with a baseball bat which he used to strike the 14-year-old on the head, leg, and arm.
  15. The dominant view of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), Operation Inherent Resolve, is that its fundamental goal is the defeat of ISIS. And so, in the wake of the routing of ISIS from Iraq and Syria, the core justification for an ongoing US military presence in Syria is ensuring that no post-mortem ISIS insurgency arises. That the US is unequivocally opposed to ISIS is simply taken for granted. Yet a closer look at the history of US involvement shows that counterterrorism has been a lesser concern relative to geopolitical and strategic goals. Whenever the goals of expanding territorial control or weakening rivals conflicts with the goal of opposing ISIS, the entity was either ignored or even empowered in pursuit of these more paramount concerns. In some ways, by providing a pretext for extended military operations on foreign soil, and by helping to diminish the military might of the Syrian regime and its allies, some coalition officials have seen the Islamic State as a potentially beneficial phenomenon to the wider ends of weakening the Syrian state and opposing Iranian influence in the Levant.
  16. Archaeologists exploring the word's biggest flooded cave in Mexico have discovered ancient human remains at least 9,000 years old and the bones of animals who roamed the earth during the last Ice Age. A group of divers recently connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilization. The Yucatan peninsula is studded with monumental relics of the Maya people, whose cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes linked to subterranean waters known as cenotes. Researchers say they found 248 cenotes at the 347-km (216-mile) cave system known as Sac Actun, near the beach resort of Tulum. Of the 200 archaeological sites they have discovered there, around 140 are Mayan.
  17. A new study explores a strange paradox: In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions. Comment: Not a paradox for those that still value common sense and paying attention to reality.
  18. Yale University has launched a new course entitled 'Constructions of Whiteness,' which explores ideas of 'whiteness.' The Ivy League school's initiative has not been met with universal approval, however. The undergraduate course at Yale aims to instill "an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of whiteness." It is taught by Claudine Rankine, an award-winning Jamaican-born poet. The spring 2018 semester class offers students a "discussion of whiteness as a culturally constructed and economic incorporated entity, which touches upon and assigns value to nearly every aspect of American life and culture," according to its website. The class is divided into eight topics about "whiteness," including property, masculinity, femininity, speech, prosperity, spaces and imagination, according to College Fix, which claims to have obtained the syllabus. Required reading includes Michael Kimmel's 'Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era,' Richard Dyer's 'White: Essays on Race and Culture,' and Richard Delgado and Jean Stefanic's 'Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror.'
  19. Several days ago, Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned after he admitted lying about having met Russian President Putin in 2006 and overhearing him talk about his plans to create a "Greater Russia". After former Shell executive Jeroen van der Veer told the Dutch Volkskrant newspaper that Zijlstra wasn't even present at that 2006 meeting with Putin, Zijlstra confessed that he'd been lying all these years. In response to Zijlstra admitting that he'd never attended a meeting with Putin, the Parliamentary leader of the Democrats 66 (D66) party, Alexander Pechtold, told state-run broadcaster NOS, that he appreciated Zijlstra's frankness, and that he has "yet to meet the first Russian who corrects his mistakes himself." This statement raised many eyebrows in the Netherlands, including among Dutch-Russians. Several of them have now filed a complaint against Pechtold, calling his statement "offensive" and "hurtful".
  20. Okay, a quick summary first: one of the Russian athletes participating in the Winter Olympics has tested positive for Meldonium. On two different probes. There is no way to explain that away, Alexander Krushelnitsky did have Meldonium in his body. But he was also tested for the same substance just before leaving Russia for Japan (where the athletes were training) and he was clean then. So he must have ingested that during the past two weeks while already abroad. Wait, it gets better! The dosage detected is the equivalent of one dose only. Not only that, but Meldonium increases blood-flow and helps athletes who engage is extremely high intensity sports. Have you ever seen a curling match? Finally, to be effective Meldonium needs to be taken regularly, not just once. Now let's sum it up. A Russian athlete takes one singe dose of Meldonium even though he knows with absolute certainty that 1) this will detected (Meldonium is THE drug Russians athletes, including Maria Sharapova, have been accused of taking in the past) 2) that this will not help him at all 3) that no amount of Meldonium could help, even in theory, an athlete competing in curling (in fact, if anything, it could be harmful). Needless to say, anybody and everybody involved in this issue in Russia understands: this is self-evidently a "provocation". Even British newspapers realize the enormity of the nonsense the US press is now feeding its zombified readers and listeners (you know, the kind of folks who believe that magic bullets can zigzag or that 2 aircraft can bring about the collapse of 3 buildings).
  21. Nine civilians were killed and 49 others were injured on Tuesday as armed groups in the Eastern Ghouta area continued their breach of the de-escalation zones agreement, targeting residential areas and public facilities in Damascus and its countryside with rocket shells. A source at Damascus Police Command told SANA that tens of rocket and mortar shells fired by armed groups fell in al-Abbasyein, Bab Touma, al-Sha'alan, al-Bramkeh, and al-Qassaa areas, leaving 6 civilians dead and 34 others injured, in addition to damaging cars, public and private properties. The source said earlier that a rocket shell landed on al-Abbasyein square injuring nine civilians, while two persons were killed due to shelling attacks on the vicinity of al-Tahrir and Umawyeen Squares. Meanwhile, a source at Damascus Countryside Police Command said that armed groups fired a number of shells at Jaramana city in Damascus Countryside, killing one civilian, injuring six others, and damaging shops and houses. Later, two persons were killed, 5 other injured in shells fired by armed group on Jaramana.
  22. On April 11, 2017, Newcomerstown police launched a massive statewide "Blue Alert" manhunt for two suspects who allegedly opened fire on officer Brian Eubanks. Departments statewide combed the streets looking for two men in a black Geo Tracker, one wearing a red sweatshirt and the other wearing a lime green shirt. One was in a tactical vest and they were armed with a shotgun and handguns, the attorney general's office said. Authorities even had a suspect's name, Chaz Gillilan. Social media took to sharing the story and prayers were sent the officer's way. Local media kept the town updated on Eubanks' status, and the town was relieved when they found out he would make a full recovery. But everyone - the police departments, the state politicians, the media, and the citizens - had all been duped. Chaz Gillilan never shot at Eubanks, nor did the other mythical suspect. No, Eubanks shot Eubanks. That's right. The blue alert, the statewide manhunt, the deprivation of Chaz Gillilan's rights, all of these happened because officer Eubanks shot himself - in an attempt to collect workers compensation - and then fabricated an elaborate story to cover it up.
  23. It reflects how polarised our age has become that Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian professor of psychology, has become both a cultural rock star and an object of intense hate. For Camille Paglia, the contrarian social historian, he is "the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan". (I would give the philosopher Charles Taylor that prize.) Canadian columnist Tabatha Southey dismissed Peterson as "the stupid man's smart person" in a snarky article where she lampoons "his long, rambling pseudo-academic takes on common self-help advice and his weird fixation on Disney movies". Peterson came to public attention when he opposed a Canadian law that added gender expression and identity to anti-discrimination law. He objected to the law being used to force people to use pronouns such as "ze" and "zher".
  24. Israeli soldiers attacked, Thursday, many Palestinians, who were planting olive trees in Beita village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and injured many of them. Fuad Ma'ali, the head of Beita Local Council, said the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against the Palestinians, and fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades at them. He added that dozens of residents suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, and received the needed treatment by local medics. The official stated that the Palestinians were planting olive trees in their lands, which the army has been trying to illegally confiscate from them.
  25. On February 20, 1943, the farmer Dionisio Pulido observed the birth of a volcano. For weeks the ground near the village of Uruapan, about 200 miles west of Mexico City, had been trembling and deep underground rumblings were heard. That day the earth rose up more than six feet and from a fissure ash and vapors were emitted with a loud hissing sound. In the night a cone of ash formed. Another farmer, Celedonio Gutierrez, described the scene as follows: "In the evening, when night began to fall, we heard noises like the surge of the sea, and red flames of fire rose into the darkened sky, some rising 2,600 feet or more into the air, that burst like golden marigolds, and a rain like artificial fire fell to the ground."
  26. A 70-year-old knifeman has assaulted three refugees in Germany, allegedly over dissatisfaction with the country's refugee policy. The attacker, however, has been released by police, who said there were no grounds to detain him. The man assaulted three refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria outside a church in the western German town of Heilbronn on Saturday evening, local police said in a statement. All three men were injured, and a 25-year-old Iraqi was taken to hospital with severe injuries. The assailant was overpowered by a passerby, who restrained him until police arrived. The 70-year old was "heavily intoxicated" at the time of the attack, the Heilbronn Prosecutor's Office and the police said in a joint statement on February 18. They also noted that the perpetrator had a clean criminal record and was "previously unknown to the police." The incident is currently being treated as an "aggravated assault,"according to another joint statement that was issued on February 20. It added, however, that the case could be reclassified as "attempted murder."
  27. Sputnik has received reports that the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, a peace monitoring and humanitarian organization jointly run by Russia and Turkey, came under attack on Tuesday. No Russian casualties were reported from the incident, but Syrian civilians have been reported dead and injured. "Residential areas, hotels in Damascus, as well as the Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation came under massive shelling by illegal armed groups operating in East Ghouta area today, causing significant infrastructural damage and casualties among the civilian population," the center said in a statement. "There are no casualties among the Russian military personnel," the statement added.
  28. Make America great again means spend money you don't have. This is not a recipe for success but rather one of failure. When do we come to our senses that America is bankrupted?
  29. Sound recording equipment is getting better all the time. Researchers from Boise State University, Stanford University, and Chile's University of Concepcion have just found a new, very specific application for low-frequency microphones, however, potentially helping to predict the eruption of certain volcanoes around the world. Their technology involves monitoring inaudible low frequencies, called infrasound, which are produced by a type of active volcano such as the in southern Chile. "Many volcanoes produce energetic infrasound — not ultrasound — which is low-frequency sound that travels long distances through the atmosphere and can be recorded with specialized microphophones," Jeffrey Johnson, an associate professor of geophysics at Boise State, told Digital Trends. "Although humans can't perceive infrasound, it can be incredibly energetic."
  30. I fear the indictment of Russian internet trolls may lead to less freedom for both Americans and Russians. "They are laughing their asses off in Moscow," President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday as part of his damage control after 13 Russian Facebook trolls were indicted for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Really? Some Russians -- including the man who runs the indicted troll factory -- are indeed laughing, but I'm one Russian who isn't. The fallout from the indictment comes too close to a couple of lines, both in U.S.-Russian relations and in attitudes toward free speech, that it would be best not to cross. The Internet Research Agency, a notorious St. Petersburg outfit specializing in propaganda, disinformation and cyberbullying, has been known to Russians -- especially those critical of President Vladimir Putin -- since 2013, when the investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta published the first report about it. The organization had a strict security policy but also high staff turnover, so its vacancy ads and reports from people who have worked there or applied for jobs have been easy to find on the internet. Links to its many websites and the staunchly pro-Putin comments of its employees are a common sight on the social networks (I've had my share too from them).
  31. The leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia have agreed in principle to a summit on Syria to be held in Istanbul. The decision follows recent phone calls by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The date is yet to be determined. Foreign ministers from the three countries will hold a preliminary meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, in March. Given the latest developments in Syria, which require increased military coordination and cooperation among the three countries, Ankara would clearly like the summit to take place sooner rather than later. Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terrorist organization, and Russia's joint operations with Syrian regime forces and Iranian-backed fighters in Idlib have caused strains between Ankara and its informal allies in Moscow and Tehran. Attempts by the United States to consolidate its position in territories held by the YPG in northern Syria, nevertheless, remain the main motive for keeping the informal, tripartite alliance alive. Regardless of Turkey's suspicions about long-term Russian and Iranian intentions in Syria, and vice versa, the three do not want to allow potential strains among them to work to the United States' advantage, not only in Syria, but in the region as a whole.
  32. A routine refrain among casual observers in recent months has been a sense of relief that the conflict in Syria is coming to an end. However, the alleged shooting down of an Iranian drone, major Israeli air attacks in Syria, the downing of a Russian fighter jet and a Turkish helicopter, and a Turkish invasion of the northwest should shake this bout of wishful thinking to the core. The multiple wars in Syria have life and plenty of death left in them yet. The Syrian versus Syrian component is still ongoing, though the opposition is struggling for survival, at least in its armed form. As regime forces edge ever further into Idlib and decimate East Ghouta, it is tough to see a reverse in this process without a major change in the balance of power. This phase of the Syrian wars, and there are many wars, is all about the international and regional powers feasting on the cadaver of the Syrian state. Turkey is shaping the contours of a new power arrangement in the north, which will be deprived of any meaningful Kurdish threat. Yet the real long-term fallout for Syria will be the resentment caused by the numbers of Syrian Arab fighters who have become Turkey's tool for this. Kurds, Arabs and Turks will have to learn to live with each other again at some point.
  33. For an event designed to address real global security issues, the Munich Security Conference has shown itself to be a useless talking shop. But it does add more propaganda fodder for Russia-bashing. How ironic. A forum proclaiming to uphold global security is acting like a bullhorn for war. The release on Friday of the US Department of Justice's indictment of 13 Russian citizens for alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election went on to dominate the conference being held in Munich over the weekend. Rather than being a peripheral matter owing to its dubious claims, the Washington hobby horse of "Russian meddling" was given free rein in Munich. Instead of parsing the latest Russophobia with intelligent skepticism, the conference added fuel to the bonfire of warmongering. The annual gathering in the Bavarian capital is supposed to be an occasion when international political, military and intelligence leaders gather to discuss pressing security issues. The pro-NATO bias of the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) - never too disguised at best of times - was this year openly brandished. A flurry of speakers eagerly took the latest US indictments at face value and cited them as "evidence" of Russian subversion and cyber warfare against Western democracies.
  34. Take off the terrorist's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the revolutionary's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the Hollywood producer's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the billionaire tech plutocrat's mask, and it's the CIA. Take off the news man's mask, and guess what? It's the motherf*cking CIA. CIA influence is everywhere. Anywhere anything is happening which could potentially interfere with the interests of America's unelected power establishment, whether inside the US or outside, the depraved, lying, torturing, propagandizing, drug trafficking, coup-staging, warmongering CIA has its fingers in it. Which is why its former director made a cutesy wisecrack and burst out laughing when asked if the US is currently interfering in other democracies.
  35. US Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged the lawyer of Paul Manafort's business partner Rick Gates with lying to Russia probe investigators. Both Gates and former Trump adviser Manafort have already been indicted. As well as allegedly lying about his communications with Manafort partner Gates, lawyer Alex Van der Zwaan has been accused of deleting, or failing to produce, emails sought by the Mueller's investigation team which is looking into alleged collusion between Donald Trump's presidential campaign team and Russia.
  36. New legal problems for embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have erupted less that a week after police in the Middle Eastern nation recommended that the leader be indicted on charges of corruption. Seven members of Netanyahu's closest cabal were arrested Sunday in the deepening 'Case 4000' corruption probe into Netanyahu and his innermost circle of cronies. The most recent arrests follow what investigators say were interventions by the suspects with telecommunications regulators in the country to fastrack permissions for communications giant Bezeq in exchange for a media reputation whitewash of Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. Case 4000 has not yet directly named Netanyahu as a suspect although several news outlets have reported that he will be questioned by investigators 'under caution,' a phrase used to describe defendants in criminal cases, according to the Los Angeles Times. The seven Netanyahu associates arrested have not yet been named, although prior to the imposition of a quickly-leveraged gag order surrounding the investigation, Haaretz was reporting that they included Netanyahu close friend Nir Hefetz, a former communications director for the Israeli prime minister, and associate Shlomo Filber, a former Communications Ministry director general. On Tuesday February 15, investigators unveiled recommendations to the attorney general that Netanyahu be charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery in two cases not related to Case 4000. Both of the additional cases accuse the Israeli prime minister of using his influence and power to provide favorable deals to those close to him.
  37. Key Russian election infrastructure could be targeted by a cyberattack during the March presidential vote, said the head of the National Security Council in a report on cybersecurity. The warning came from Nikolay Patrushev, who outlined on Tuesday the damage caused by hacking attacks in Russia last year and the government's response to the threat. He said over 500,000 computers in Russia were disabled in 2017, many of them targeted during three major waves of ransomware infection. Computer networks belonging to the Russian Interior Ministry and companies Rosneft and Evraz were among those affected by the attacks, he said. He added that Russian law enforcement had established some flaws in the cybersecurity of certain critical elements of infrastructure, particularly in the south of Russia, identifying "a high accessibility to IT resources to espionage penetration." The Russian government may consider a centralized approach to protecting potential targets, banning governing bodies from outsourcing their cybersecurity to providers not vetted by the Kremlin. One of the major potential targets for cyber interference this year will be the national ballot-tallying system, Patrushev said. "We expect cyber operations, the introduction of malware into critical parts of the [electronic system used by Russia for elections]," he said.
  38. Edina High School in suburban Minneapolis was long regarded as one of the country's top secondary schools. In recent years, its national ratings and its local reputation have slipped, perhaps in part because teachers are spending time promoting a left-wing agenda and bullying conservative students rather than teaching the subjects they are paid to teach. Following last November's election, 80 Edina High School teachers - which must represent pretty much the entire faculty - signed an editorial in the school's newspaper that was basically a Democratic Party manifesto. The editorial was authored by Tim Klobuchar (second cousin). It went so far as to oppose calls for unity; unity, it implied, will exist only when all conservatives have been banished from the stage.
  39. I can look into your eyes and see straight to your heart. It may sound like a sappy sentiment from a Hallmark card. Essentially though, that's what researchers at Google did in applying artificial intelligence to predict something deadly serious: the likelihood that a patient will suffer a heart attack or stroke. The researchers made these determinations by examining images of the patient's retina. Google, which is presenting its findings Monday in Nature Biomedical Engineering, an online medical journal, says that such a method is as accurate as predicting cardiovascular disease through more invasive measures that involve sticking a needle in a patient's arm. At the same time, Google cautions that more research needs to be done.
  40. A single volcano can change the world's atmosphere, even permanently, depending on the intensity of the volcanic eruption, a pollution expert said. According to Mylene Cayetano, PhD, the head of the Environmental Pollution Studies Laboratory of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology at University of the Philippines Diliman, on top of being a fiery spectacle of nature, volcanoes are a force to be reckoned with. "A single volcano has the ability to completely change the world's entire atmosphere, maybe even permanently," Cayetano said in statement. Cayetano issued the statement in light of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) statement that Mayon's restiveness is still far from the peak of explosion, which may come in the coming weks. According to Cayetano, Southeast Asia is one of the most geologically active regions, of the world, if not the most, and had been home to the most destructive and powerful volcanic eruptions in history. Mayon, one of the world's renowned volcanoes because of its almost-perfect conical shape, is the most active volcano in the Philippines.
  41. A Japanese court has ordered the operators of the Fukushima nuclear plant to pay 15.2 million yen (US$143,400) in compensation to the family of 102-year-old Fumio Okubo, who killed himself rather than leave his home village. On Tuesday, the Fukushima District Court ruled that the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had to pay damages to Okubo's family, ruling that the nuclear disaster of 2011 was in large part responsible for his death. "It is significant that the court recognized the eldest man in the village who would have lived out his final days in his homeland was hit by such a terrible tragedy," lawyer Yukio Yasuda said. Okubo, who used to work as a farmer, had lived his whole life in the village of Iitate, some 40km (25 miles) from the disaster site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the northeast of Japan. On March 11, 2011 the power plant was hit by a tsunami, sending its reactors into a meltdown.
  42. The end game is clear: Assad, Russia and Iran will emerge victorious. The conflict in Syria has been the most vicious in contemporary history, creating a geo-political hall of mirrors pitting Syrian against Syrian, Saudi Arabia against Iran and Russia against the United States. To say that it is the most complicated proxy war of our times is an understatement. The war has had international and regional dimensions which have served to prolong, fuel and perpetuate the crisis. The latest of which, a dramatic clash between Syria and Israel leading to the unprecedented downing of an Israeli F-16 after the latter targeted a group of Iranian installations in Syria, has threatened to further escalate to conflict. But in stepped Russia, and after promises made to either side, the situation calmed down, for now. This only highlighted the growing importance of Moscow in Syria and the increasingly brave power plays Putin is making in the region.
  43. According to preliminary information shared by the Russian Foreign Ministry last week, at least 5 Russian volunteers were killed in US-led coalition's airstrike on pro-Damascus forces in Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that tens of Russian and CIS nationals had been killed in recent clashes in Syria, emphasizing that they were not military. "In the course of the recent military clashes, in which the Russian servicemen did not participate in any way [...], Russian and CIS countries' nationals were killed and several others were wounded."
  44. A new Irish study has found that the rate of ingestion of microplastics by deepwater fish in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean is among the highest in the world. The NUI Galway (NUIG) study published today found that 73 per cent out of 233 deep water fish examined had ingested plastic particles. According to the study, the ingestion of microplastics by these animals may cause internal physical damage, inflammation of intestines, reduced feeding and other effects. Marine scientists took dead deep sea fish from midwater trawls in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from a depth of up to 600 metres using large fishing nets.
  45. The ongoing crisis in Syria's Afrin, the subject of the Turkish military operation Olive Branch, cannot be resolved without an understanding between Turkey and Syria, Hemin Hawrami, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Leadership Council, told Sputnik. "If there will be Turkey involved with Syria and others to find a solution to end the miseries of the people, then it is most welcome. But if there is no mutual understanding between Turkey and Syria, between Russia and Turkey, and Turkey and Iran, and Iran and Syria, with taking into consideration the concerns of the Kurds on the ground, then it's a recipe for further destabilization and confrontation," Hemin Hawrami, who used to be a senior assistant to Iraqi Kurdistan's ex-President Massoud Barzani, said during Valdai Discussion Club's Middle East Conference when asked if such a deal between YPG and Damascus can be a way out. He stressed that for the Kurds, any solution which would protect the life of the Kurds and other citizens in Syria would be a beginning to bring violence to an end.
  46. The awakening of Sinabung among other volcanoes awakening on a multi century cycle, indicates that the grand solar minimum intensification of intense eruptions has begun. This latest eruption of Sinabung has sent ash 17KM/55,000ft into the atmosphere which reached the troposphere and will spread across Asia. Iceland awakens as well and the world is not ready to handle another "Year Without a Summer" which this signals. Good luck in your preparations.
  47. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a package of laws extending a capital amnesty until February 28, 2019. It allows Russians to voluntarily declare assets and accounts in banks. A total amnesty for all funds returning to Russia follows an anti-offshore bill requiring individuals and businesses to report foreign profits. The bill was aimed at curbing the outflow of capital from Russia, which was estimated at over $2 trillion in recent years. The bill was explained by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov as allowing people who have made any mistakes in their business activities to declare the property and become completely law-abiding citizens.
  48. Afrin is waiting for Damascus to stop the Turkish attack. It seems that the Kurdish project and the Kurdish self-management in Syria are facing their first defeat since 2012, and the gradual withdrawal from the West Euphrates to settle in the areas where the Americans are located and under their umbrella. Hostage to the next conflict between Russia and America It is more likely that the turning point that makes all the areas where the Arab presence is intertwined in Kurdish in northern Syria, especially in Manbij, Tel Labid, Ras Al Ain and around it, is subject to a similar fate. The Kurdish project is locked in Qamishli.
  49. There's a remarkable amount of value in chasing discomfort. Look at the projects on your plate, and ask which make you feel the least comfortable. You'll usually find these projects are extraordinarily valuable, and that your aversion is caused by the fact that they're difficult, frustrating, and ambiguous. While these feelings are uncomfortable, they are precisely what make certain experiences valuable. Similarly, think of the conversations you've been meaning to have at work and at home. The ones you're most averse to are probably the most important. The same goes for DIY projects you're avoiding; emails left unanswered in your inbox; and books you've been meaning to read, but have been too intimidated to start. Anyone can do easy tasks, but few want to do ones that make them uncomfortable. By running towards discomfort, instead of away from it, you do what others don't want to-and as a result, deliver unique value. This gives you a leg up on others who don't want to do the work.
  50. On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works. Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team to provide Flynn's attorneys "any exculpatory evidence," Washington Examiner columnist Byron York detailed the oddities of Flynn's case. The next day, former assistant U.S. attorney and National Review contributing editor Andrew McCarthy connected more of the questionable dots. York added even more details a couple of days later. Together these articles provide the backdrop necessary to understand the significance of Sullivan's order on Friday. What's Happened in the Michael Flynn Case So Far To recap: On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later - and without explanation - Flynn's case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. One of Sullivan's first orders of business was to enter a standing order, on December 12, 2017, directing "the government to produce to defendant in a timely manner - including during plea negotiations - any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant's guilt or punishment." Sullivan's standing order further directed the government, if it "has identified any information which is favorable to the defendant but which the government believes not to be material," to "submit such information to the Court for in camera review."