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Russia To Ban VPN Providers That Refuse To Aid Censorship

Back in 2016 Russia introduced a new surveillance bill promising to deliver greater security to the country. Of course, as with so many similar efforts around the world the bill actually did the exact opposite — not only mandating new encryption backdoors, but also imposing harsh new data-retention requirements on ISPs and VPN providers. As a result, some VPN providers like Private Internet Access wound up leaving the country after finding their entire function eroded and having some of their servers seized. Last March Russia upped the ante, demanding that VPN providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and HideMyAss help block…

Pentagram readies ‘contingency plans’ for Iran amid heightened tensions

Pentagon officials are drafting a slew of “contingency plans” for the U.S. and its Middle East allies, should growing tensions between Washington and Iran escalate in the region, says acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. U.S. national security officials are also reaching out to American allies, in a effort to gin up “an international consensus” to increase pressure on Tehran, in the wake of a pair of attacks on commercial oil vessels in the Gulf of Oman, Mr. Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday. “When you look at the situation … 15 percent of the world’s oil flows through…

US sends destroyer to Gulf of Oman tanker incident site as Pentagon says ‘no interest’ in new war

The US has dispatched another warship to the Gulf of Oman, but says it has “no interest” in engaging in a new Middle East conflict. The State Department accused Iran of attacking two tankers there, which Tehran denies. Guided missile destroyer USS Mason will join the destroyer USS Bainbridge on station near the Kokuka Courageous, a damaged tanker just outside the Persain Gulf, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Thursday, adding that “Iranian small boats” were spotted in the area. No interference with USS Bainbridge, or its mission, will be tolerated. The Florida-based combat command called the attacks on…

‘Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what happened’: Iran’s FM on tanker ‘attacks’ in Gulf of Oman

ran’s foreign minister has labeled the reported attack on two “Japan-related” oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as “suspicious,” occurring just as Japanese Prime Minister Abe came to Tehran for major talks. Expressing his misgivings on Twitter, Javad Zarif noted that the incidents on the two vessels on Thursday, one of which had been reportedly struck by a torpedo, had occurred as Abe sat down for “extensive and friendly” discussions with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning Later in the day, Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo confirmed that…

Convenient “Tanker Attacks” as US Seeks War with Iran

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it.  – Brookings Institution, “Which Path to Persia?” 2009  For the second time since the United States unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal, Western reports of “suspected…

Surveillance-savvy Hong Kong protesters go digitally dark

Hong Kong’s tech-savvy protesters are going digitally dark as they try to avoid surveillance and potential future prosecutions, disabling location tracking on their phones, buying train tickets with cash and purging their social media conversations. Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up crowds opposed to a China extradition law on Wednesday, in the worst unrest the city has witnessed in decades. Many of those on the streets are predominantly young and have grown up in a digital world, but they are all too aware of the dangers of surveillance and leaving online footprints. Ben, a masked office…

Iran Has NOTHING to Gain From Oman Tanker Attacks

Two oil tankers have been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. This is the second incident in four weeks, and raises the question of who gains what from them. Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn’t responsible, it will still suffer the consequences. The first tanker to report a problem was the Front Altair. It was reported to be carrying 75,000…

‘Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what happened’: Iran’s FM on tanker ‘attacks’ in Gulf of Oman

Iran’s foreign minister has labeled the reported attack on two “Japan-related” oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as “suspicious,” occurring just as Japanese Prime Minister Abe came to Tehran for major talks. Expressing his misgivings on Twitter, Javad Zarif noted that the incidents on the two vessels on Thursday, one of which had been reportedly struck by a torpedo, had occurred as Abe sat down for “extensive and friendly” discussions with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning Later in the day, Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo confirmed that…

British Home Secretary signs extradition order to send Julian Assange to US

Britain’s Home Secretary has revealed he has signed a request for the extradition of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US, where he is accused of violating the Espionage Act. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Sajid Javid said that he signed and certified the papers on Wednesday, with the order going before the UK courts on Friday. He’s rightly behind bars. There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow. The US justice…

This Is Not Journalism: Univision Warps Reality to Push US War Agenda

MIAMI — Univision’s Jorge Ramos, sometimes called the “Walter Cronkite of Latin America,” flagrantly lied about his interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in February, the recording, which was leaked to Univision itself, reveals. The network’s reporting on other issues surrounding Venezuela is also characterized by unprofessionalism and overreaching, according to an account by one activist. MintPress News previously reported on the discrepancies in Jorge Ramos’ account of what happened during his U.S. government-approved interview with Maduro. Ramos said he was detained after the interview and was unable to release it because his equipment was confiscated. Last week, however, Univision…

Germany festival bars US rapper for refusing to condemn BDS

A German music festival has recently disinvited American hip hop singer Talib Kweli for refusing to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Kweli revealed last week that he had received an email from the Artistic Director of the German Open Source Festival, Philipp Maiburg, asking artists to announce their position regarding the BDS movement following a decision by the German parliament designating the movement “anti-Semitic”. “As you know, there are many discussions around the BDS in Germany and artists which have signed to it. There has also been a lot of confusion even with much bigger festivals than…

France’s Le Pen to go on trial for tweeting gruesome IS images

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has been ordered to stand trial for tweeting pictures of Islamic State atrocities, a judicial source told AFP on Wednesday. Le Pen shared the gruesome images in December 2015, a few weeks after IS jihadists killed 130 people in attacks in Paris. A judge in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre ordered that the National Rally leader stand trial on charges of circulating “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity” and that can be viewed by a minor. The charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison…

What the Hell Is Going On In the Dominican Republic?

On Monday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that back in April, an American tourist named Robert Wallace died under mysterious circumstances at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana. According to his niece, Wallace, 67, was last seen having a Scotch from the hotel mini bar before he fell ill. “He started feeling very sick, he had blood in his urine and stool right afterward,” Wallace’s niece, Chloe Arnold, said. He died in a local hospital three days later. Wallace’s death, while strange, wouldn’t be considered all that unusual, if not for the fact that it is the…

Putin Warns of Nuclear “Global Catastrophe” Once Treaties Expire in 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the expiration of nuclear disarmament treaties could lead to “global catastrophe.” Putin slammed the mainstream media’s silence on the imminent threat and urged cooperation to renew such treaties, during this year’s International Economic Forum held in St. Petersburg. “Please note that there is no formal negotiating process, and everything will expire in 2021,” said Putin. “Mind you, there will be no more instruments to limit the arms race.” “It means that we’ll basically have to live with nuclear missiles hanging above our heads. Permanently!” “If we do not keep this fiery serpent under control, if…

The Saudi government is hunting down women who flee the country by tracking the IMEI number on their cellphones

Women who flee Saudi Arabia expect to be chased. They expect their friends to be interviewed, their social media to be scoured, their passports to be frozen. They mostly do not expect Saudi government agents to hunt down the old box for their iPhone. But according to multiple sources who spoke with INSIDER, this is what has been happening in Saudi Arabia’s quest to track down the growing number of women who flee the country every year. Cellphone packaging can provide information that could — with the help of spy-grade tracking equipment — trace a Saudi runaway to within a…

It’s more dangerous to live in America than to travel abroad

As summer travel season begins, friends and relatives have asked me if it’s safe to travel outside the US. I understand their fears. The news is filled with scary stories, like a tourist bus being bombed near Egypt’s pyramids, people being knifed at a bus stop in Japan, and continuing coverage of the two Boeing 737 Max air crashes, both of which happened overseas. As a macroeconomist I travel frequently to understand global trends. I crunched the numbers on US fatalities abroad, and what I found might surprise you. Americans abroad In 2018, over 56 million US citizens got on…

Mystery surrounds American deaths in Dominican Republic

US authorities are scrambling to get to the bottom of a rash of deaths of US tourists in the Dominican Republic, with the number of reported fatalities over the past year now rising to six. Three people whose deaths have been confirmed all arrived on May 25 in San Pedro de Macoris, a seaside resort in the south of the Caribbean country, Dominican authorities said. Miranda Schaup-Werner, 41, booked a room with her husband at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville hotel. She lost consciousness on the day of her arrival after going out on the balcony. She could not be…

“The Biggest Animal Disease Outbreak We’ve Ever Had On The Planet” Has Already Killed Millions – And There Is “No Way To Stop It”

We have never seen an animal disease outbreak like this before, and it is rapidly getting worse.  African Swine Fever, also referred to as “pig Ebola”, has already wiped out millions upon millions of pigs and it continues to spread to even more countries.  There is no vaccine and there is no cure, and so essentially we don’t have any way to stop this disease.  At this point, the only solution is to kill all the pigs wherever the virus is found and desperately hope that it doesn’t spread anywhere else.  But that approach clearly hasn’t been working, and according…

Japan plans new driver’s license system for elderly as accidents surge

In the wake of a slew of fatal accidents involving elderly drivers, the government plans to create a new driver’s license system that limits senior citizens to cars with safety features such as automatic brakes. The proposal will be included in the government’s growth strategy to be approved by the Cabinet later this month, sources said Monday. The National Police Agency, the land ministry and other related ministries will hold further discussions to work out the details, which will be released by the end of the current fiscal year. The new license system will target drivers aged 75 years or…

China asks India to team up to ward off US ‘bullying’ trade practices

Chinese authorities have invited the Indian government to join efforts to effectively offset the potential impact of “protectionist“ and “unilateral“ trade practices implemented by the US across the world over recent months. According to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui, “trade frictions between China and the US and the specter of trade frictions between the US and India” may become a crucial subject for talks between the two states, bullied by Washington. “Trade protectionism and unilateralism are very much on the rise. How to respond to the bullying practices of the United States … its practices of trade protectionism is…

Egypt nearly ‘bankrupt’ due to mishandling of public funds

An article in Foreign Policy authored by the Muslim Brotherhood’s former minister of investment Yehia Hamed has said that the chronic mismanagement of public finances by the current administration in Egypt has meant that in the last five years external debt has risen fivefold and public debt has more than doubled. “The government currently allocates 38 percent of its entire budget merely to pay off the interest on its outstanding debt. Add loans and instalments, and more than 58 percent is eaten up,” writes Hamed. If the current trend continues, Egypt will soon be bankrupt. Critics draw attention to a 2016 IMF loan…

‘We can’t prove sex with children does them harm’ says Labour-linked NCCL

EVIDENCE has emerged that the views of the Paedophile Information Exchange influenced policy-making at the National Council for Civil Liberties when it was run by former Labour Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. PIE members were lobbying NCCL officials for the age of consent to be reduced and campaigning for “paedophile love”. Their view that children were not harmed by having sex with adults appears to have been adopted by those at the top of the civil liberties group. Today we publish extracts from an NCCL report written for the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1976 when Mrs Hewitt was general secretary.…

Backlash as BBC Reportedly Plans to Remove the Word ‘Terror’ From Its Coverage

Reporters will be asked not to use the word “terror” while covering any such attack, except in cases when they are quoting somebody else, the Daily Mail said on Sunday. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will no longer use the word “terror” in its reporting to avoid the risk of being biased, the paper said, citing “well-placed BBC sources”. According to the Daily Mail, this rule will come into effect after the company’s new editorial guidelines are published later in June.  The paper quotes a senior news source, who said: “It boils down to that phrase, ‘One man’s terrorist is…

Chinese Exporters Dodge US Tariffs With Fake ‘Made In Vietnam’ Tags

Chinese exporters who are hoping to evade tariffs as high as 25% on some of their goods are hoping to capitalize on the explosion of exports from Vietnam to the US – and not by simply and legally routing their products through Vietnam as a legal transshipment point, but by masking their true origins, provoking fears that the US might seek to punish the Vietnamese for failing to crack down on this type of fraud. On Sunday, Vietnam released a statement pledging to increase penalties on trade-related fraud. It was one of the first times an Asian government has ever alleged such…

Canadian Federal Prison Poised To Introduce Heroin Injection Site For Inmates

A federal prison in the Canadian province of Alberta is reportedly ready to begin the first supervised drug injection site for prisoners. A correctional officers’ union says the facility in Drumheller — in the heart of the province’s dinosaur fossil country — could be up and running by the end of June, the National Post reported Friday. Supervised inflection sites already dot the Canadian urban landscape with numerous programs in operation in cities from Vancouver to Toronto. The sites allow drug addicts to inject themselves with heroin — illegal anywhere in Canada — without fear of police intervention. The Trudeau government…

CDC Director Robert Redfield, now telling Congress “Prepare for Ebola to Spread Internationally”

Today leaders from the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains contained to a small geographic area, but that does not mean the virus is retreating. “At any point it could flare up within a zone,” said Mike Ryan, MD, a WHO assistant director-general. Ryan, citing information contained in yesterday’s WHO Ebola situation report, said there are some encouraging signs, including lower transmission rates in known hot spots and more surveillance. “Surveillance has intensified to 1,300 alerts per day, of which between 200 and 300 are validated and tested,” Ryan…

‘Biggest Animal Disease Outbreak We’ve Ever Had on the Planet’: Swine Fever Spreads Like Wildfire Across Asia….”We have no way to stop it from spreading.”

Officials across Asia are reportedly calling on farmers to diversify their farms to offset the effects of the rapidly spreading African swine fever, a virus that’s forced the region to slaughter millions of pigs in recent months. The fever, which is believed to be harmless to humans and is also known as pig Ebola, has been spreading across Southeast Asia at an alarming rate since last August, forcing pig farmers to cull the animals by the millions and causing the price of pork, a widely-used meat worldwide, to soar. The epidemic is “the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had…

Mexico Freezes Human Traffickers’ Bank Accounts, Sends National Guard To Border Amid ‘Very Good Discussion’

Update: After both the United States and Mexico claimed to have had a ‘very good discussion’ to avert President Trump’s tariff threat – and the US weighing a delay over concerns that both sides wouldn’t be able to reach an agreement on all the measures Mexico would need to take to avert them, Mexico showed yet another act of good faith on Thursday – freezing the bank accounts of 26 alleged human traffickers.  The ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) said in a statement it froze the accounts due to “probable links with human trafficking and illegal aid to migrant caravans.” The FIU added that…

Major Russian Defense Contractor Exits Venezuela In Huge Blow To Maduro

A major Russian defense contractor has pulled out of Venezuela and withdrawn most of its advisers in what appears to signal a broader Russian exit of defense support to the Maduro government. The Wall Street Journal notes that it’s a huge blow to Maduro — and though it appears primarily motivated by lack of confidence in Caracas’ ability to pay the bills — this could mark the writing on the wall in terms of the future powerful backing of Maduro’s biggest international supporter. It further comes as the US has vowed to keep up the pressure and after the Kremlin condemned what it called ongoing “US-backed coup attempts”.…

Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela

Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for President Nicolás Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against growing U.S. pressure. Russian state defense contractor Rostec, which has trained Venezuelan troops and advised on securing arms contracts, has cut its staff in Venezuela to just a few dozen, from about 1,000 at the height of cooperation between Moscow and Caracas several years ago, said a person close to the Russian defense ministry. The gradual pullout, which has escalated over the last several months, according to people familiar with the situation, is due to a…

Pompeo, North Korea, and the Empire of Lies

I believe this is more propaganda designed to further demonize Kim Jung-un for refusing to humbly accept the submission of his country to the neoliberal creed.  Michael McFaul might be considered the “Russia reset” guy during the Obama administration. He helped found the Moscow Carnegie Center and sits on the board of trustees at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an organization long ago dedicated to manipulating public opinion and engineering consent for the establishment agenda.  Of course, there is a little direct evidence Kim Hyok Chol was executed. The report came from South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper. It is…

Mexico City will decriminalize sex work in move against trafficking

Mexico City lawmakers have given the green light to decriminalize sex work in the capital, hoping it will be a first step to a crackdown on sex trafficking that traps thousands of Mexican women and children. Lawmakers in Mexico City’s congress on Friday voted 38-0, with eight abstentions, in favor of a bill to remove a line in the civic culture law which said prostitutes and their clients can be fined or arrested if neighbors complained. Temistocles Villanueva, a local representative with the ruling center-left Morena party, said the new law recognized that people had the right to engage in…

Ranking The World’s Best And Worst Passports

As of 2019, there are 195 countries in the world, all varying widely in terms of size, culture, prosperity and influence. Some allow wide access to foreign countries for their citizens, and some don’t. Any would-be global citizens might wonder: While exploring the broader world, which passports offer the most opportunities, and which, well, don’t? To try and quantify this, Nomad Capitalisthas released its latest annual ranking of the best and worst passports. The consultancy based its ranking on five criteria: Visa-Free travel, taxation, perception, dual citizenship and personal freedom, with the goal of educating aspiring global citizens “about the…

In “Jaw-Dropping” Speech Malaysian PM Says “No Evidence” Russia Shot Down MH17

In unexpected statements Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has questioned the methodology behind Dutch investigators who produced what the West considers the authoritative report on the tragic shoot down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 while flying over war-torn eastern Ukraine. He criticized that the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) seems “to be concentrated on trying to pin it on the Russians”. The Malaysian leader told reporters at the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCJ) in Tokyo on Thursday “They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence?” Mahathir said his country accepted that a “Russian-made missile” shot down its civilian airliner, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew…

Chinese dissidents are being executed for their organs, former hospital worker says

Zheng Qiaozhi — we will call him George — still has nightmares. He was interning at China’s Shenyang Army General Hospital when he was drafted to be part of an organ-harvesting team. The prisoner was brought in, tied hand and foot, but very much alive. The army doctor in charge sliced him open from chest to belly button and exposed his two kidneys. “Cut the veins and arteries,” he told his shocked intern. George did as he was told. Blood spurted everywhere. The kidneys were placed in an organ-transplant container. Then the doctor ordered George to remove the man’s eyeballs.…

Protesters set fire to U.S. Embassy in Honduras in second day of demonstrations

Protesters torched the access gate to the U.S. Embassy in the Honduran capital on Friday during a second day of major protests against President Juan Orlando Hernandez. The protesters set fire to the entrance of the building in downtown ​​Tegucigalpa with about a dozen tires after dousing them with fuel, Reuters witnesses and fire services officials said. A fire department official said there were no damage to the embassy apart from the access gate.     The attack came on the second day of protests over decrees by Hernandez that his critics argue will lead to the privatization of public services. The…

Dumpster diving for food is considered theft in Germany…

Till Steffen, Hamburg’s senator for justice, believes people who take discarded food from garbage bins should no longer be punished, according to reports from German newspapers Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung and Pinneberger Tageblatt. Under German law, it is a criminal offense to take food from garbage bins outside grocery stores and factories, even if the food has been thrown away because the optimum sell-by date has expired or there are pressure marks in the food. The disposed of food is legally classified as “foreign movable property” — a label it surrenders it only during garbage removal. That makes taking food from garbage…

‘Done deal’: India will lose its trade benefits, US officials say

The removal of India from a preferential trade deal which allowed for $5.6bn in duty-free imports, is inevitable, American officials have stressed, claiming, however, that the US wants nothing but good relations with its partner. Calling India a “high tariff nation” and repeatedly accusing the South Asian country of failing to provide the US with unlimited access to its markets, Washington announced its intention to terminate India’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) designation in March. Though the 60-day notice period for New Delhi ended on May 3, the US has yet to issue a statement on the fate of India’s…

World Police investigating Honduran president for cocaine smuggling and money laundering

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is one of the main targets of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into “large-scale drug-trafficking and money laundering activities” related to the “importation of cocaine into the United States,” according to a court filing. The document, filed Thursday, states the DEA has been investigating Hernández and eight others since 2013. Hernández became president in January 2014. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hernández’s brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, was charged by U.S. federal prosecutors in New York last November for “large-scale” cocaine trafficking from 2004 to 2016. The charges…

The Welfare State is Tearing Sweden Apart

The Swedish Welfare State and Multiculturalism Swedes do not toil under a Communist yoke. We are thankfully a market oriented society, and particularly in rural areas, Swedes are ruggedly individualistic and responsible citizens. But we do have an enormous welfare state with which to contend — and it poisons our nation much in the same manner that full blown communism would; if perhaps not to the same degree. Doubtlessly; it sets the stage for some rather dystopian developments, both in terms of its steady consumption of productive capabilities — but also in its toxic effects on our culture. On top…

Palestinians to be sacrificed for Israel-Gulf marriage

Ties between Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, and Israel are warmer than ever as the United States beats its war drums against Iran and prepares to reveal its so-called “Deal of the Century.” President Donald Trump last pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement, recently sent some 1,500 troops to the region and is imposing “tougher sanctions on Iran than ever before.” This economic and political warfare is part of an escalating regime change effort led by the US, Israel and Gulf states following a Saudi-led campaign against Iran that spans more than a decade. Palestinians are…

Nothing Pays In Venezuela Anymore, Including Crime: There’s Nothing Left To Steal

Socialism in Venezuela has destroyed so much of the country’s economic wellbeing that even criminals are having a hard time making ends meet.  Bullets and weapons have become too expensive for even the most violent out there, plus, there’s just nothing left to steal. Bullets are expensive at $1 each for the distressed Venezuelan criminal. And with less cash circulating on the street, gang members say robberies just don’t pay like they used to. Imagine that. According to the Associated Press, criminals are even having a hard time in the nation ripped apart by socialism.  Not even breaking the law…

Dead bodies litter Mount Everest because it’s so dangerous and expensive to get them down

Dead bodies are a common sight on top of Mount Everest. “I cannot believe what I saw up there,” Everest filmmaker Elia Saikaly wrote on Instagram last week. “Death. Carnage. Chaos. Lineups. Dead bodies on the route.” Eleven people have died climbing Mount Everest this spring, in what has become the peak’s deadliest climbing sprint in recent memory. In 2015, an avalanche roared through Everest, killing at least 19 people. When people die on Everest, it can be difficult to remove their bodies. Final repatriation costs tens of thousands of dollars (in some cases, around $70,000) and can also come…

John Bolton says Iran is ‘almost certainly’ behind oil tanker ‘attacks’

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Wednesday that Iran was likely behind the attacks on four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates earlier this month. Bolton made the remarks in Abu Dhabi, during a visit to the Emirati capital “to discuss important and timely regional security matters.” Bolton, known for his hawkish stance on Iran, alleged that the four ships were attacked by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.” He did not offer any details or evidence to back up the claim. What we know so far: On May 12, the United Arab Emirates claimed that four…

New Zealand schools hit by ‘mega-strike’ as 50,000 teachers walk out

More than 50,000 primary and high school teachers have gone on strike in the biggest industrial action ever seen in New Zealand’s schools. Since a Labour coalition government took power in late 2017, teachers have held three strikes calling for pay rises, better working conditions and more respect for their profession. But Wednesday’s one-day strike is the first time primary and high school teachers have united in action, dubbing Wednesday’s protest a “mega-strike”. The protesters have so far turned down three pay rise offers from the government of 3%, and say they want 15% or more to continue their work.…

China Gears Up to Weaponize Rare Earths in Trade War

Beijing is gearing up to use its dominance of rare earths to hit back in its deepening trade war with Washington. A flurry of Chinese media reports on Wednesday, including an editorial in the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party, raised the prospect of Beijing cutting exports of the commodities that are critical in defense, energy, electronics and automobile sectors. The world’s biggest producer, China supplies about 80% of U.S. imports of rare earths, which are used in a host of applications from smartphones to electric vehicles and wind turbines. The threat to weaponize strategic materials ratchets up the tension…

Russia: Deployment of 1,500 More US Troops to Mideast Will Increase Risk of War

Russia’s foreign minister on Monday said U.S. plans to send 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East would lead to increased risks of conflict, and he voiced the hope that “sensible voices” arguing against “war against Iran” will be heeded. Pentagon officials are stressing that deployment of the 1,500 troops is a defensive and deterrent measure, and that the U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran. But Sergei Lavrov, speaking alongside his visiting Cuban counterpart in Moscow, took a different view. “Risks always grow with the buildup of military potential,” he said. “I hope that sensible voices that come from…

Israeli who headed Colombia child prostitution ring arrested in Portugal

An ex-Israeli soldier wanted in Colombia for heading a child prostitution ring and sex trafficking offences has been arrested in Portugal. Forty-five-year-old Assi Ben-Mosh – also known as Assi Moosh – was arrested near the Portuguese capital Lisbon on Wednesday during an operation by Spain’s Guardia Civil police force. The Guardia Civil said in a statement that Ben-Mosh is thought to have been hiding on the Spanish island of Ibiza, and then in Barcelona, before eventually being arrested in Portugal this week. It added that Ben-Mosh had been using a fake Israeli ID, the Times of Israel reported yesterday. Ben-Mosh…

California Is Shaken By More Than 80 Earthquakes As Chile Is Hit By The Largest Quake In 12 Years

Very early on Sunday morning, a massive 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck a sparsely populated area of Peru.  As you will see below, it was the largest earthquake to hit Peru in 12 years, and other areas of “the Ring of Fire” experienced unusual shaking afterwards.  Here in the United States, there were dozens of detectable earthquakes in the state of California on Sunday, and a lot of people are concerned about what all of these small earthquakes could mean.  More than 80 percent of the world’s earthquakes happen within the Ring of Fire, and many scientists believe that shaking along…

US Military Fears Being Outplayed By China in Africa as Power Struggle Heats Up

Beijing maintains a commercial and military presence in Djibouti, located south of the Bab-el-Mandeb strait that connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean; the tiny country is also home to the sole enduring US military outpost on the continent. China’s increasing military presence in Africa is seen as disturbing in Washington, with Pentagon officials airing concerns that Asia’s biggest economy is gaining the upper hand in winning regional allies. “They (China) have upped their game, in plain language, and ultimately they are offering things that our partners want, that our partners need,” an official with US Africa Command (AFRICOM) told CNN. “In places, we have concerns…