1445: Trusted Flaggers

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 59m
April 24th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Sir Reverend CyberTrucker, Knight of the Asphalt Rivers, Sir Stoner Boner, Michael Jewell, Lee North, Sir Goon, Viscount Ed LeBouthillier

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Ever of the What, Andrew Kresic, Daniela Pompeu

Cover Artist: Dame Kenny-Ben

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Curry Family Reunion Report
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Washington DC Shooting
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19:16
GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's Leaked Tape on January 6th
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39:13
Back to The 70's
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44:02
President Biden Uses Words
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49:59
Oil From US Strategic Reserve Shipped to Europe
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54:52
Ukraine War
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1:01:46
History Channel Promo with the Four Horseman
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CNN+
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NPR on Totalitarianism
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Credits
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The Florida Situation
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International Health Regulations
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COVID
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Concerns Over Increasing Number of Hepatitis Cases Under Children
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Ukraine
Oil From U.S. Strategic Reserve Heads for Europe Amid Global Supply Crunch - Bloomberg
"A tanker known as the Advantage Spring loaded low-sulfur crude originally pumped from the strategic reserve caverns in Southwest Louisiana at a port in Nederland, Texas earlier this month, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ship, chartered by an affiliate of French energy giant TotalEnergies SE, is bound for the key European port of Rotterdam, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg."
Food Intelligence
Great Reset
Oil From U.S. Strategic Reserve Heads for Europe Amid Global Supply Crunch - Bloomberg
"A tanker known as the Advantage Spring loaded low-sulfur crude originally pumped from the strategic reserve caverns in Southwest Louisiana at a port in Nederland, Texas earlier this month, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ship, chartered by an affiliate of French energy giant TotalEnergies SE, is bound for the key European port of Rotterdam, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg."
Cyber Pandemic
Hunter Laptop
Mandates & Boosters
M5M & Big Tech
Europe fit for the Digital Age: new online rules for platforms | European Commission
Trusted Flaggers
Amazon, Google, Meta Among Targets of EU Law on Disinformation, Harmful Content - CNET
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Pizza Playbook
1970's
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STORIES
Micro-apartments coming to south Austin | KXAN Austin
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:30
by: Michelle Pitcher
Posted: Apr 21, 2022 / 02:43 PM CDT
Updated: Apr 21, 2022 / 02:43 PM CDT
by: Michelle Pitcher
Posted: Apr 21, 2022 / 02:43 PM CDT
Updated: Apr 21, 2022 / 02:43 PM CDT
AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) '-- Austin-based StoryBuilt announced this week plans to develop a community at 2001 S. First St. It will include 42 attainable ''micro-units'' as well as 3,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial and retail space.
The community, named Bruno, will include 38 studio units and four one-bedroom units for rent. The units will range from 308 square feet to 703 square feet.
StoryBuilt, which will be both the developer and the manager of the building, has not yet announced pricing for the units, but executives say they aim to make them ''attainably priced.'' Four of the units will be designated affordable for those making less than half of the area's median family income level.
Read the full story in the Austin Business Journal.
Top StoriesMore StoriesAustin-Travis County KXAN Austin VideoBestReviewsMore from KXAN AustinStoryBuilt'¯has built more than 40 communities across five'¯markets. (Courtesy: Storybuilt via ABJ)
StoryBuilt'¯has built more than 40 communities across five'¯markets. (Courtesy: Storybuilt via ABJ) Tracking the CoronavirusCurrent80° Cloudy
Tonight68° Scattered Thunderstorms Precip: 60%
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Truth Social Migrates to Rumble Cloud | Rumble
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:30
04/22/2022
Rumble's Infrastructure Propels Truth Social to New, Uncancellable Heights
LONGBOAT KEY, Fla., April 22, 2022 '-- Today, the video platform Rumble announced that Truth Social, the social media platform created by the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), has successfully migrated its website and mobile applications to Rumble's cloud infrastructure. This migration will enable the Truth Social platform to scale significantly on a new and cancel-culture-free cloud platform. Truth Social's move also marks the first significant customer to onboard with Rumble's cloud services business.
''We are excited to partner with one of the fastest-growing social media companies on the internet. Providing top-notch cloud infrastructure is essential, and Truth Social users will start to see the fruits of our efforts immediately,'' said Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski.
''Yesterday, Truth Social and Rumble took a major stride toward rescuing the internet from the grip of the Big Tech tyrants. Our teams have worked tirelessly to realize this great endeavor. Rumble's cloud infrastructure is second to none and will be the backbone for the restoration of free speech online for ages to come,'' said CEO of TMTG Devin Nunes.
About Rumble
Rumble is a high-growth neutral video platform that is creating the rails and independent infrastructure designed to be immune to cancel culture. Rumble's mission is to restore the Internet to its roots by making it free and open once again. Additionally, the company announced in December 2021 the execution of a definitive business combination agreement with CF Acquisition Corp. VI (NASDAQ: CFVI). See the announcement here: https://corp.rumble.com.
About Trump Media & Technology Group
Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) is a social media and technology company. Truth Social, TMTG's social media platform, is a Big Tech alternative that seeks to create a free-speech haven without viewpoint discrimination or oppressive censorship. In October 2021, TMTG announced that TMTG entered into a definitive merger agreement with Digital World Acquisition Company (NASDAQ: DWAC). To learn more, visit www.tmtgcorp.com.
The New Homophobia | Opinion
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:29
There is a frightening new version of homophobia pervading the U.S., disguised as, of all things, "LGBTQ" activism. For adult gay people like me, it's clear that this activism does not advance our equality, but in fact compromises our ability to live peacefully in society. In fact, it is threatening our very existence.
I first became aware of this new homophobia in the summer of 2017, when I interned at a major LGBTQ-rights organization. That January, I had enrolled at Columbia University to complete my undergraduate degree, a goal I had been postponing for over a decade. After volunteering for Maryland's marriage equality campaign and a subsequent transgender rights legislation campaign, my aspiration was to become a social justice writer and activist.
My excitement about the internship quickly gave way to a nauseating mixture of fear and shame. I was, I quickly learned, not the right kind of "queer." I was just another "cis" (short for "cisgender," a word I had never even heard until it was assigned to me, typically as a slur) gay male'--in other words, a privileged and unevolved relic of the past. After all, I had my rights'--the right to marry, the right to serve openly in the military, the right to assimilate into this oppressive, "cisheteronormative," patriarchal society. It was time to make way for a new generation of "queer," one that had very little to do with sex-based rights and more to do with abolishing the concepts of sex and sexuality altogether.
At the time, I was exhausting so much mental energy memorizing my coworkers' pronouns and all of the new progressive dogmas out of fear that I would be fiercely condemned if I slipped up, I had none left to think critically or to question where any of these dogmas had even come from. Thankfully, and somewhat serendipitously, the following semester I enrolled in a class called U.S. Lesbian and Gay History, led by the prominent gay historian George Chauncey. It was there that the culture I had encountered at my internship'--and, of course, on Columbia's uber-progressive and exceedingly "queer" campus'--began to make sense.
In that class, I learned about queer theory, an obscure academic discipline based largely on the writing of the late French intellectual Michel Foucault, who believed that society categorizes people'--male or female, heterosexual or homosexual'--in order to oppress them. The solution is to intentionally blur'--or "queer"'--the boundaries of these categories. Soon this "queering" became the predominant method of discussing and analyzing gender and sexuality in universities.
With the proliferation of social media, which disseminates ideological dogma faster than any religious institution in history, academics-cum-activists can reduce these theories into palatable, easy-to-digest-and-regurgitate maxims, especially on platforms like Twitter, Tumblr and now TikTok. Which is how, suddenly, we have a massive uptick in trans- and "non-binary"-identifying youth. Queer theorists insist that subverting the categorizations which have been imposed upon young people'--for example, the sex they were "assigned" at birth'--is the ultimate expression of autonomy, and further, the key to liberating society from a system devised largely, so they claim, by cisgender white men. (Never mind the scientific and cultural achievements of women and racial minorities.)
This might not be a concern if, by adopting these new identities, young people were merely playing with the boundaries of normative gender expression'--something that gays, lesbians, feminists, most liberals and even many conservatives would welcome two decades into the 21st century. But many young boys do not stop at simply painting their fingernails and wearing dresses, and young girls do more than cut their hair short and play football. With increasing frequency, these children are given drugs to block their puberty, cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries, all the while cheered on first by online communities, then the mainstream media and now the current presidential administration.
A Progress Pride flag and rainbow flags are seen at the Stonewall National Monument, the first US national monument dedicated to LGBTQ history and rights, marking the birthplace of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights movement, on June 1, 2020 in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP/Getty ImagesIn rare instances, medicalization is the proper path for gender-nonconforming youth, in particular those whose gender dysphoria'--a "marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and their assigned gender, lasting at least 6 months," as the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 defines it'--originated very early in life, causes acute mental distress and shows no signs of ceasing without medical intervention. But according to the 10 major follow-up studies on youth gender dysphoria to date, the vast majority (as much as 85 percent) end up desisting during or after puberty'--that is, they become comfortable with their biological sex and no longer wish to identify as the opposite sex.
And what else did these studies find? That the vast majority identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual in adulthood.
Even without these studies, most gays and lesbians could have told you as much. Gender-nonconformity, after all, is a very common experience for most of us during childhood. I, for one, was relentlessly bullied in grade school for my femininity. "Are you a boy or a girl?" the kids would taunt, when they hadn't already flung that oh-so-effective six-letter F-word at me. As a child, spinning around in my older sisters' flowery skirts, I often imagined myself as a girl, too. Even in adulthood, I occasionally, though not often, think of myself as the opposite sex, an experience I speculate is common for gay men. After all, our inherent disposition gives us the benefit of perceiving life through a dual-gendered lens. But I have grown up to be a well-adjusted, successful, even masculine man, comfortable in his sex and, at long last'--and despite the long-term effects of bullying and of a childhood spent in anti-gay religious fundamentalism'--with my homosexuality.
Sure, the religious far right remains something of a threat, and I, like any other gay person, can still be stung by anti-gay slurs and can fear the threat of violence in less-accepting spaces. But today I am equally fearful of the radical activists I once longed to emulate, activists who push a regressive, anti-liberal agenda that reifies gender stereotypes, downplays the seriousness of long-term medicalization and ultimately seeks to abolish my identity'--for without biological sex, there is no homosexuality. Today, the least-accepting spaces for people like me are, of all places, the halls of LGBT rights organizations, where the threat might not be violence but is nevertheless terrible stigmatization and shame.
Speaking recently about these issues with a LGBT mental health specialist'--one among many who have serious concerns about the hastiness of medical transition for youth in the U.S.'--it struck me that, if radical activists can convince enough people that biological sex is a farce, that "trans women are women" and "trans men are men," then the path to the full erasure of gender-role-nonconforming gay people will be fully paved.
You may have heard stories of distressed parents whose children have suddenly announced trans identification. Perhaps you are one of them. Activists who favor medical intervention often ask these parents a morbid question: "Would you rather have a trans daughter or a dead son?" But the real question should be, "Would you rather have a trans daughter or an effeminate gay son?" I fear that for many, if they were honest, the answer would be the former.
It's time that LGBT rights organizations answer to the growing number of gays, lesbians and trans people sounding the alarm on the medicalization of homosexuality by radical queer activists. And it's time Americans ask themselves, despite all the progress gays and lesbians have made in this country in recent years, how comfortable they really are with the idea of raising effeminate gay sons and masculine lesbian daughters. Our very existence depends on it.
Ben Appel is a writer based in New York. His memoir, Cis White Gay, for Post Hill Press, is forthcoming.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.
Europe fit for the Digital Age: new online rules for platforms | European Commission
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:28
Clear gatekeeper obligations across the EUToday the way in which gatekeepers conduct their businesses is either largely unregulated or based on sets of rules many of which pre-date the digital economy. This is the case across the EU.
Gatekeeper-related problems are currently not effectively addressed by Member States or the EU in existing regulation.
What the new Digital Markets Act changes:Gatekeepers will be identified based on clearly defined conditions. If designated as a ''gatekeeper'' under the Digital Markets Act, companies will have to comply with a clearly defined set of prohibitions and obligations to avoid a number of unfair practices.These include, for example, prohibitions to discriminate in favour of own services, obligations to ensure interoperability with its platform, and obligations to share, in compliance with privacy rules, data that is provided or generated through business users' and their customers' interactions on the gatekeepers' platform. Outside those practices, gatekeepers will continue to offer new and innovative services as they have done until now, but without taking advantage of unfair behaviour.Legal certainty for platformsToday, national legislative initiatives in EU Member States may partially address the problems identified but also lead to increased regulatory fragmentation in the EU. This can create increased compliance costs for platforms operating cross-border.
What the new Digital Markets Act changes:Gatekeepers know beforehand the obligations they have to respect.Other platforms will not be subject to these rules but will be able to benefit from fairer behaviours when doing businesses with gatekeepers.Reduced compliance costs for gatekeepers and their business users.What the new Digital Services Act changes:One set of rules applicable throughout the EUThe new rules set up mechanisms for the Commission and Member States to coordinate their actions and ensure a proper implementation of the framework across the EU.Tailored asymmetric obligationsToday, users are exposed to illegal goods, content or services, and all decisions are mostly at the discretion of the platforms. The biggest impact comes from those platforms which have become quasi-public spaces for communication and trading.
What the new Digital Services Act changes:Measures to counter illegal goods, services or content online, such as a mechanism for users to flag such content and for platforms to cooperate with ''trusted flaggers''.New obligations on traceability of business users in online market places, to help identify sellers of illegal goods.Effective safeguards for users, including the possibility to challenge platforms' content moderation decisionsTransparency measures for online platforms that are wide-ranging, including on the algorithms used for recommendationObligations for very large platforms that reach more than 10% of the EU's population to prevent abuse of their systems by taking risk-based action and through independent audits of their risk management systems.Researchers will have access to data of key platforms, in order to scrutinise how platforms work.Codes of conduct and technical standards will assist platforms in their compliance with the new rules.All online intermediaries offering their services in the single market, whether they are established in the EU or outside, will have to comply with the new rules.Oversight structure to match the complexity of the online space: Member States will have the primary role, supported by a new European Board for Digital Services; for very large platforms, enhanced supervision and enforcement by the Commission Intermediary servicesHostingservicesOnlineplatformsVery largeplatformsTransparency reporting'—'—'—'—Requirements on terms of service due account of fundamental rights'—'—'—'—Cooperation with national authorities following orders'—'—'—'—Points of contact and, where necessary, legal representative'—'—'—'—Notice and action and obligation to provide information to users '—'—'—Complaint and redress mechanism and out of court dispute settlement '—'—Trusted flaggers '—'—Measures against abusive notices and counter-notices '—'—Vetting credentials of third party suppliers ("KYBC") '—'—User-facing transparency of online advertising '—'—Reporting criminal offences '—'—Risk management obligations and compliance officer '—External risk auditing and public accountability '—Transparency of recommender systems and user choice for access to information '—Data sharing with authorities and researchers '—Codes of conduct '—Crisis response cooperation '—Clarified liability and efficient compliance mechanismThe liability exemption for online intermediaries is a cornerstone of internet regulation, ensuring that it is possible to tackle illegal content, goods or services swiftly, but also that platforms are not incentivised to remove legitimate content and are not obliged to monitor their users. Today, some of the rules led to fragmentation across the single market, and there are uncertainties for diligent platforms who want to take measures and protect their users from illegal content.
What the new Digital Services Act changes:Reinforce and further clarify the conditions for liability exemptions: Platforms and other intermediaries are not liable for users' unlawful behaviour unless they are aware of illegal acts and fail to remove them.Rules for the liability exception will now be harmonised and uniform across the EU thanks to a directly applicable Regulation.New clarifications on how these conditions apply for consumer protection liability.Solving the paradox of voluntary measures taken by small platforms: diligent platforms are not liable for illegal content they detect themselvesMore legal certainty on interaction with authorities: Legal orders and orders to access information about users will have minimum common criteria, and platforms will know how to react to themSmall online platform scaling-up in the EUThere are more than 10,000 platforms in the EU, over 90% of which are small and medium sized enterprises, according to Commission estimates. Digital services in the EU currently have to deal with 27 different sets of national rules. Only the largest companies can deal with the resulting compliance costs.
What the new Digital Services Act changes:Ensure that small online platforms are not disproportionately affected but they remain accountable.Small and micro-enterprises are exempted from the most costly obligations, but are free to apply the best practices, for their competitive advantage.A single set of rules for the entire EU will create the right conditions for cross-border digital services to prosper. This can create up to 2% more cross-border digital trade in the single market. Small players will have legal certainty to develop services and protect users from illegal activities as they will be supported by standards and guidelines.
Beijing braces for rise in Covid cases amid outcry over Shanghai blockade | China | The Guardian
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:20
Authorities in Beijing are on high alert for a surge in coronavirus cases amid a fresh outcry in Shanghai over buildings blockaded under China's zero Covid policy.
The number of new cases in the capital rose by 22 on Sunday '' all locally transmitted '' compared with six the day before, according to official reports. Beijing authorities have so far not taken steps to lock down the capital, but they have ordered a number of gyms and after-school activity providers to suspend in-person classes.
Residents rushed to stockpile food amid rumours of tougher measures in the coming days.
Health official Pang Xinghuo said preliminary observations suggested Covid had been ''spreading invisibly'' within the capital for a week, affecting ''schools, tour groups and many families''.
''The risk of continued and hidden transmission is high, and the situation is grim,'' Tian Wei of Beijing's municipal party committee told a press briefing. ''The whole city of Beijing must act immediately.''
The outbreak in Beijing came as Mainland China's most crucial financial hub, Shanghai, enters its fourth week of city-wide lockdown. Thirty-nine new deaths were reported on Sunday, compared with 12 the previous day and by far the most during the current outbreak.
'Hard isolation'As the situation did not seem to have improved following three weeks of stringent lockdown in Shanghai, desperate officials erected mesh barriers outside some residential buildings on Saturday. This move '' described in the official directive ''hard isolation'' '' sparked a fresh public outcry over a lockdown that has forced many of the city's 25 million people to stay home.
Images of white hazmat suit-clad workers sealing entrances of housing blocks and even closing off entire streets with 2-metre-tall green fencing went viral on social media on Saturday, prompting questions and complaints from residents.
''Isn't this a fire hazard?'' said one user on the social media platform Weibo. ''This is so disrespectful of the rights of the people inside, using metal barriers to enclose them like domestic animals,'' said another.
Most of the barriers appeared to have been erected around compounds designated as ''sealed areas'', which are buildings where at least one person has tested positive for Covid and so its residents are forbidden from leaving their front doors.
The move from the local government, as some Shanghai residents pointed out, appeared to have contradicted an earlier advisory from China's top legislative body that was issued during the first round of Covid outbreak in March 2020.
In that advisory, as was reported by state news agency, Xinhua, a spokesperson at the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress said that measures to enforce ''hard isolation'' were ''illegal'' and ''unreasonable''.
The Shanghai government did not respond to a request for comment.
In the past three weeks, the lockdown in Shanghai has fuelled frustration over difficulties accessing food and medical care as well as over lost wages, family separation, conditions at quarantine centres and censorship of efforts to vent online.
It has also exacted a toll on the world's second-largest economy, with factory efforts to resume production disrupted by snarled supply chains and difficulties faced by locked-down residents returning to work.
Authorities did not report any deaths from Covid during the first few weeks of its latest case surge, fuelling doubt among residents about the figures. It has since reported 87 fatalities from the virus, all in the past seven days.
New case numbers fell slightly for Saturday, but remained in the tens of thousands. Shanghai recorded 19,657 new local asymptomatic cases, down from 20,634 a day earlier, and 1,401 symptomatic cases, down from 2,736.
Nationwide, China reported 20,285 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases for Saturday, down from 21,423 a day earlier, with 1,580 symptomatic cases, down from 2,988.
With Reuters and Agence France-Presse
Amazon, Google, Meta Among Targets of EU Law on Disinformation, Harmful Content - CNET
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:20
An activist wearing a mask depicting Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook parent Meta, during an action marking the initial announcement of the Digital Services Act in Brussels in 2020.
Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty Images Lawmakers in the European Union reached an agreement Saturday on the basic points of major legislation designed to curb negative impacts from social media sites and other digital platforms.
The Digital Services Act would, among other things, compel services including Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to crack down on the spread of disinformation on their platforms and to reveal how their algorithms recommend content to users. The DSA would also prohibit certain kinds of ads on the platforms, such as targeted ads aimed at children or tailored to people's ethnicity or sexual orientation.
"With the DSA we help create a safe and accountable online environment," European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "Platforms should be transparent about their content moderation decisions, prevent dangerous disinformation from going viral and avoid unsafe products being offered on market places. With today's agreement we ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks their services can pose to society and citizens."
The DSA is one of two pillars of a major tech-regulation overhaul first unveiled in draft form by the EU in December 2020. The other pillar, the Digital Markets Act, received preliminary approval last month and is designed to address issues such as anticompetitive behavior. Both acts still await a final vote, but major changes aren't expected. The EU has also passed the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which is designed to give people more control over the collection and sharing of their personal information.
"With today's agreement we ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks their services can pose to society and citizens."European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager
Europe has long taken the lead in efforts to rein in big tech, and both the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act could influence efforts by governments worldwide to address problems around major technology platforms. The US so far hasn't passed any comprehensive laws to tackle such issues.
Under the DSA, platforms that reach more than 10% of the EU's population would be subject to independent audits of the steps they're taking to prevent their systems from being abused, according to a rundown posted by the European Commission. Other steps the law would take include compelling online marketplaces to help identify sellers of illegal goods, and setting up ways for users to flag illegal goods, services or content and for platforms to work with "trusted flaggers."
Companies that break the law could face fines of billions of dollars, as well as possible damage to the reputation of their brands.
Major tech companies said they support the EU's goals but that specifics of the legislation are key.
"As the law is finalized and implemented, the details will matter," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to working with policymakers to get the remaining technical details right to ensure the law works for everyone." In addition to its massive search engine, Google owns top video site YouTube.
Twitter said it looks forward to reviewing the DSA in detail and working with the EU. "We support smart, forward thinking regulation that balances the need to tackle online harm with protecting the Open Internet -- while also understanding that a one-size-fits all approach fails to consider the diversity of our online environment," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.
TikTok said it's also awaiting details on the legislation. The company supports the EU's "aim to harmonise the approach to online content issues" and welcomes the DSA's "focus on transparency as a means to show accountability," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.
Amazon pointed to comments made this past June by James Waterworth, its EU public policy director. Waterworth said Amazon supports the DSA "introducing regulated obligations to ensure that services act against illegal content." But such obligations "need to be carefully balanced to provide certainty while allowing flexibility."
Facebook didn't respond to a request for comment.
Read more: Obama Slams Misinformation on Social Media: 'People Are Dying'
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How AT&T May Become a Winner in the Streaming Wars - Variety
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:19
After a topsy-turvy week, the thought occurred to me during AT&T's investor call on Thursday: What if John Stankey wound up on the winning side of the streaming wars?
Netflix took a nosedive on Tuesday with an earnings report that proved that it could not suspend the law of gravity forever. The steady upward climb of Netflix subscriber gains had to stop sometime, and that sometime was Q1 2022.
The jolt that the news of six-figure losses in Q1 and a projected seven-figure loss for Q2 packed a wallop on Netflix stock price. It also dealt a blow to the Hollywood psyche about the long-term promise of streaming, reminiscent of how the earth quaked in August 2015 when then-Disney CEO Bob Iger acknowledged that even the mighty ESPN had faced ''some subscriber losses.''
That became the moment that Hollywood begrudgingly had to acknowledge that cord-cutting was a real threat. Will Netflix's big miss become enshrined eventually as the moment the content bubble burst? Only time and content spend disclosures will tell.
The sense of relief in the AT&T CEO's voice came in crystal clear even through the tinny webcast audio. The telco giant is glad to be seeing WarnerMedia in the rear-view mirror after closing the spinoff transaction with Discovery on April 8.
AT&T's Q1 results message to Wall Street analysts took inspiration from the Shakers: 'Tis a gift to be simple.
Stankey and AT&T chief financial officer Pascal Desroches used the words ''simple'' and ''simplified'' no less than eight times during the 70-minute call to describe the new-and-improved AT&T balance sheet. The company's new growth focus even comes with handy built-in alliteration: 5G and fiber.
It's not hard to understand why Stankey sounded happy to be talking about its direct stewardship of Warner Bros., HBO and the Turner networks in the past tense. With the streaming wars now being synonymous with the spending wars, AT&T has just offloaded $55 billion in debt and a metric ton of competitive pressures and headwinds in media and entertainment. And it got a boatload of cash in return, plus a majority of the equity in the successor company.
The responsibility for funding HBO Max's growth is now off of AT&T's books (mostly). If David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery's intrepid new leader, manages to make the enlarged company work on a global scale, upside will flow to AT&T shareholders. And if not, Stankey, who is nothing if not an experienced dealmaker, made the best of a bad situation to help mitigate the pain for AT&T shareholders after the telco's wild ride in media.
''With the completion of the WarnerMedia transaction, AT&T received $40.4 billion in cash and WarnerMedia's retention of certain existing debt. Additionally, AT&T shareholders received 1.7 billion shares of Warner Bros. Discovery, representing 71% of the new company,'' Stankey intoned. ''This transaction greatly strengthens our balance sheet and provides us with financial flexibility going forward. We now have a simplified capital allocation framework.''
Surely, AT&T created a smoking crater in its balance sheet with ill-timed purchases of DirecTV (for $48 billion) in 2015 and Time Warner (for $84.5 billion) in 2018. There's no totaling the lost opportunity costs for both sides of the AT&T/TW merger for the more than five years of unhappy marriage that began with the initial acquisition agreement in October 2016. (The final pricetag for AT&T also has to include the untold millions it spent to prevail against the Justice Department's quixotic antitrust lawsuit.)
On Thursday, Stankey presided over the disclosure of HBO Max's subscriber figures for the last time '-- and they were credible with a 3 million gain over Q4 reaching a 76.8 million total worldwide. Hours after he spoke, David Zaslav, the new leader of Warner Bros. Discovery, pulled the plug on niche streamer CNN+ less than 30 days after it was launched in the waning weeks of the previous WarnerMedia regime's tenure. Chalk it up to merger mania.
HBO Max's numbers looked downright strong compared to Netflix's slump. So why did the AT&T chief sound even happier to be talking in granular terms regarding AT&T's standing in telco and wireless ''flow share'' and the like? The answer seems pretty simple.
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What Is Velveeta, Anyway?
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:07
By: Margeaux Baulch Klein
The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.
It's a melty, gooey staple of many casserole dishes and dip recipes, but what is Velveeta, exactly? Should it be considered a real cheese, alongside the likes of cheddar, Swiss and American?
Here is what you should know about this distinctively orange-colored food before eating it, from its ingredients to how it's changed with the times and even some tips for using it in recipes. Plus, we've found some entertaining video clips from Velveeta's ever-evolving marketing campaigns over the decades. You might even be shocked to learn how old this brand is!
Keep reading to unlock the mysteries of Velveeta.
Is Velveeta Real Cheese?So, what is Velveeta? The most important thing to understand about Velveeta is that it isn't a cheese so much as a ''pasteurized process cheese product.'' That's its official designation by the Food and Drug Administration. However, because it tastes like a mild processed cheese that's similar to American cheese, many people think of Velveeta as a cheese, even though it's technically not anymore.
AdobeThe original Velveeta that was created in 1918 was, in fact, made from discarded bits of Swiss cheese, but over the years, the brand has tweaked its formula. Swiss-born cheesemaker Emil Frey reportedly invented Velveeta while working at a cheese factory in New York as a way to salvage broken cheese wheels that would otherwise go to waste.
Frey realized that by adding a bit of whey to the cheese, he could create a smoother cheese product that kept a consistent texture when melted (unlike regular cheese that tends to separate and become stringy upon melting). Frey reportedly dubbed it ''Velveeta'' because its texture was as smooth as velvet.
These days, Velveeta is still as smooth as ever, but it's considered a highly processed food with a long ingredient list. Its main ingredients include whey, milk, milk protein concentrate, modified food starch, canola oil, sodium citrate. These ingredients work together to create a shelf-stable and easy-to-melt cheese-like substance. However, take note that cheese is not among Velveeta's listed ingredients any more, although whey, milk and cheese culture are.
AmazonPopular Velveeta UsesThanks to its smooth texture, Velveeta is ideal for incorporating into macaroni and cheese, casseroles (including in some versions of the perennial Thanksgiving favorite, green bean casserole) and just about any recipe that calls for a cheese sauce, like queso dips and soups.
While typically sold in a block '-- or a ''loaf'' as it's called by the brand's owner, Kraft Heinz '-- Velveeta is also easy to cut up and shred. This means it can be used as a cheese replacement in recipes that call for melted or cooked cheese. Some creative recipes that utilize Velveeta in more unusual ways include Velveeta cheese fudge and Velveeta tuna shortcake!
You can even find vintage Velveeta recipe books on eBay from generations past if you want to dive deep into the strange culinary world unlocked with a box of this food.
Adobe Where to find VelveetaVelveeta is ubiquitous at pretty much any grocery store you'll find in America, but you won't typically see it with the cheese. It's usually in one of the middle aisles with pantry staples. Amazon also sells it if you don't feel like searching for it at the store.
You may find it for sale as a loaf, as pre-cut slices, in sauce packets or as part of ready-to-serve meals, like the classic boxed Velveeta Shells and Cheese.
Adobe What Is Velveeta's Reputation?Not all of the publicity Velveeta has received in recent years is positive. An article from Delish, entitled ''Seven Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever Eat Velveet,'' pointed out some downsides to the snack: chiefly, it is especially high in lactose, has a rubbery texture in its non-melted state and has what some consider a bland taste. Velveeta is also a high-calorie and high-fat food. A single box reportedly has over 2,500 calories.
Still, in the 100-plus years since its invention, Velveeta has attained iconic status, even if it isn't given much respect among gourmet circles. It's got a devoted following and remains a huge seller after all these years. Even people who've never had it likely know what Velveeta is, thanks to its prominence in stores and its many marketing campaigns.
If you simply take a look at Velveeta commercials that have aired over the decades, you'll notice that the brand has tried to change with the times. For instance, in a commercial that aired in 1958, Kraft highlighted the brand's purported nutritional benefits.
Meanwhile, a Velveeta commercial that aired in the 1980s was a bit more Hollywood and featured the slogan, ''There is no single cheese like Velveeta.'' It even starred a young Kirk Cameron before he gained fame on ''Growing Pains.''
Capitalizing on the low-fat food craze that dominated the 1990s, the brand introduced Velveeta Light, a version of the cheese product that contained less fat and no cholesterol. They showed it off in this commercial.
In more recent years, it seems Velveeta has embraced its place as an offbeat, kitschy staple of the American pantry. It dubbed itself ''Liquid Gold'' in a popular marketing campaign in the early 2010s that opted for humor.
In 2021, Kraft Heinz debuted a new logo and another tongue-in-cheek commercial entitled ''That's La Dolce Velveeta.'' Inspired by Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini's iconic 1960 film, ''La Dolce Vita,'' the ad shows people indulging in Velveeta in a variety of hyperrealistic ways, from a woman riding around a lawnmower holding a martini glass of Velveeta mac and cheese to several people having a tea party where melted Velveeta is poured from the kettle into cups.
What do you think of Velveeta '-- do you love eating or cooking with it or do you only prefer ''real'' cheese?
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.
Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Russia-Ukraine War Live: Blinken and Austin Expected in Kyiv - The New York Times
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 16:49
Ukraine observed a solemn Orthodox Easter on Sunday as Russia's offensive in the east claimed more lives, and as President Volodymyr Zelensky was preparing for a milestone visit later in the day from two top American officials.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, who were expected to arrive in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, in the early afternoon for a brief visit, would be the highest-level U.S. officials to travel to Ukraine since Russia invaded two months ago. Their visit underscored the Biden administration's increasingly muscular approach to the war, as Ukraine's Western allies race to supply heavy weapons and equipment to fend off Russia's renewed onslaught in the eastern region known as the Donbas.
The U.S. government, which did not publicly confirm the officials' visit, has allocated roughly $3.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine over the course of the war '-- part of an extraordinary international coalition that now includes more than two dozen nations racing to help expand and resupply the Ukrainian arsenal.
The Biden administration had come under pressure to send a high-level official to Kyiv after recent visits there by a host of European leaders, many of whom have been brought to witness firsthand evidence of atrocities committed by Russian soldiers in the suburbs of Kyiv before they were driven out by the Ukrainian military.
Russia has since refocused its immediate military objectives on trying to conquer territory in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland. In order to combat Russian forces in that region's often wide-open expanses, military analysts say its forces need more long-range weapons and the ability to quickly move troops on the ground and in the air. With long-range artillery cannons, helicopters, armored vehicles, tanks, radar defense systems and deadly drones now flowing into the country, Ukrainian leaders have said they have the opportunity not only to defend their land but also to drive the Russians out.
Here are some other major developments:
Russia continued to drop bombs from the air and direct ground-based artillery fire at the sprawling steel factory in the port city of Mariupol, where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians remain holed up, said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president.
As Russia tries to penetrate Ukrainian defenses along the 300-mile-long eastern front, the Ukrainian defense intelligence agency warned that Moscow's forces were trying to identify the Ukrainian military's most vulnerable points.
Allies were speeding up efforts to deliver heavy arms to Ukraine. Britain is considering sending tanks to Poland so that Warsaw can then send its own tanks to Ukraine. Canada announced that it had sent heavy artillery to Ukraine in conjunction with the United States.
Ukrainian soldiers celebrated Easter, the holiest day of the year for Orthodox Christians, with muted ceremony far from home.
April 24, 2022, 12:32 p.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 12:32 p.m. ET Marc Santora
Image Father Andrii Aleksejev conducts a small Orthodox Easter service on Sunday for troops along the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine. Credit... Lynsey Addario for The New York Times Rejecting calls from Ukrainians and humanitarian organizations for a cease-fire over the Orthodox Easter holiday, Russian forces continued to bombard towns and villages across Ukraine over the weekend.
Before dawn on Sunday, two young girls, aged 5 and 14, were killed when their home in the Donetsk region, near the eastern border with Russia, was destroyed, according to the Donetsk Regional Military Administration.
Nearly 100 miles to the west, three Russian missiles slammed into the city of Pavlograd. The strikes damaged railway infrastructure and eight buildings and also killed a 48-year-old man, according to local authorities.
In the eastern region of Luhansk, at least eight people were killed when seven houses and a police station were struck by Russian artillery fire, according to Ukrainian authorities.
The statements from state and local officials offered only a partial accounting of the growing toll as fighting along the 300-mile front line in eastern and southern Ukraine intensifies. The heavy fighting has so far resulted in only small gains for Russian forces, but the situation for civilians caught in the crossfire grows more dire by the day.
The fighting once again hindered evacuation efforts.
There were no humanitarian routes established out of the port city of Mariupol on Sunday, Ukraine's deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said in a statement.
With the city in ruins, the estimated 120,000 people are surviving in what witnesses have described as barbaric conditions. At the same time, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday that Russian forces continued to bombard the sprawling steel factory where hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are trapped.
Ms. Vereshchuk said that the government would try to organize an evacuation again on Monday. She called for U.N. Secretary General Ant"nio Guterres, who is scheduled to travel to Moscow before visiting Kyiv next week, to demand a cease-fire and open up humanitarian corridors.
''This is what Guterres should talk about in Moscow, if he is preparing to talk about peace,'' Vereshchuk said.
April 24, 2022, 11:58 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 11:58 a.m. ET Eduardo Medina
Igor Zhovkva, an adviser to President Zelensky, criticized Ant"nio Guterres, the U.N. secretary general, for planning to travel to Moscow this week. Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," he said the U.N. should focus more on providing humanitarian support to Ukraine.
April 24, 2022, 11:28 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 11:28 a.m. ET Eduardo Medina
When Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal of Ukraine was asked on CBS's ''Face the Nation'' if the atrocities committed in Mariupol by Russian forces could diminish the possibility of a diplomatic end to the war, he replied: ''Russia has done many atrocities and many war crimes in Ukraine. But we understand that this terrible war could be finished only on the table of negotiations.''
April 24, 2022, 11:13 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 11:13 a.m. ET Eduardo Medina
Igor Zhovkva, an adviser to President Zelensky, told NBC's ''Meet the Press'' said that, despite claims from Russia that it had taken control of Mariupol, Ukrainian forces and civilians remained in the city. He added that many soldiers were wounded. ''Today, we turn to Russian authorities to open the humanitarian corridors for civilians,'' he said.
April 24, 2022, 10:21 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 10:21 a.m. ET Eduardo Medina
Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniya Kravchuk told ABC's ''This Week With George Stephanopoulos'' that the expected visit by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would send ''a powerful signal to Russia that Ukraine will not be left alone with this war.''
A few weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, Valerie Glodan, wrote in a post on Instagram that she was living with ''a new level of happiness'' after she gave birth to her first child.
''Our girl is one month old now,'' she wrote in the post, showing a photograph taken in late pregnancy. ''It has been the best 40 weeks.''
But the chapter ended in tragedy on Saturday, when Ms. Glodan, 27, was killed with her 3-month-old daughter, Kira, after a missile hit a residential area on the outskirts of the Black Sea port of Odesa, where they were staying. They had just moved in with Ms. Glodan's mother, who was also killed in the attack.
The Instagram post and the violent death of a newborn broke through the daily reports of Russian attacks, whose randomness has caught many civilians '-- unable to flee or refusing to do so '-- in the middle.
''The war started when this baby was one month old. Can you imagine what is happening?'' President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said, in tears, at a news conference a few hours after the attack.
Five others were also killed when two cruise missiles hit the residential neighborhood in the Tairove district in the far western corner of the city and the number is set to rise given the extent of the damage, Ukrainian officials said. Photographs and video appeared to show extensive damage.
Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, reacted with anger on Twitter, saying the only objective of Russian missile strikes in Odesa is terror.
One of Ms. Glodan's closest friends, Oleksandra Iliashenko, said she was ''filled with emptiness.'' Ms. Glodan was ''a bright light, full of life,'' she said and added: ''She gave me hope for our future.''
A few weeks earlier, Ms. Glodan had called Ms. Iliashenko to tell her that she was starting to feel uneasy about the mounting violence. She said she had moved her family from their high-rise apartment, close to Odesa's airport, to her mother's home in the Tairove district, which is further from the city center.
The two friends talked and agreed that if the apartment the family abandoned was hit, it would be time to leave Odesa. Instead, the mother's home was destroyed.
The two women met while studying journalism at the University of Odesa, and since then their lives ran in tandem. After college they started their first jobs at the same time and found husbands who became good friends. They bought neighboring apartments and were always rotating through each other's front doors, planning parties, exchanging pets, looking after plants and later, children.
''We were planning on raising our families together. She was always telling me that we were in our prime, with such amazing opportunities ­'-- she believed we had great lives,'' Ms. Iliashenko said, between sobs. She spoke in a phone interview from Warsaw, where she has been staying for the past few weeks.
She described her friend as strong-willed and industrious with a warm sense of humor. She loved her work in public relations, but had a talent for painting and an ear for poetry. ''She built everything that she had. I admired her very much,'' Ms. Iliashenko said.
In the weeks following the invasion, the two friends told each other they doubted the war would come to Odesa, and they believed the conflict would be over in three weeks, Ms. Iliashenko said. They tried to distract each other by cooking meals together and dreaming up vacations their families could take when the war ended.
Ms. Glodan's husband, Uri, who survived the attack, was around the corner at a shop when the missile struck, Ms. Iliashenko said.
Mr. Glodan, a well-known Odesa baker, had spent the lead-up to the Orthodox Easter weekend making cakes for sale, decorated in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. On Sunday, he posted a series of photos to his Instagram account, commemorating his wife, daughter and mother-in-law. ''My dear ones'' he wrote under the images. ''You are in our hearts!''
Correction:April 24, 2022
An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the Ukrainian president. It is Volodymyr Zelensky, not Vladimir.
April 24, 2022, 9:23 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 9:23 a.m. ET Image Ukrainian refugees lining up last month at the National Stadium in Warsaw to receive Polish identification numbers. Credit... Maciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times Warsaw's biggest pediatric hospital has put patients from Ukraine on its waiting list for liver transplants, sometimes ahead of Polish children. Schools in Poland's capital have had to search for extra teachers to keep up with the influx of new pupils. Public transport has risked buckling under the strain of so many new residents.
Yet to just about everyone's surprise, Warsaw has kept working, defying predictions of a breakdown and an angry public backlash. The city, which has welcomed hundreds of thousands of fleeing refugees, has decked itself with Ukrainian flags and banners of support for Poland's war-ravaged eastern neighbor.
But just as the tsunami of refugees, which increased the capital's population by nearly 20 percent in just a few weeks, seemed to be receding, Warsaw's mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, is now bracing for a possible new influx as Russia's military pushes to achieve what President Vladimir V. Putin last week vowed would be the ''full completion'' of his war in Ukraine.
''Warsaw is at capacity,'' Mr. Trzaskowski, a liberal opponent of Poland's conservative governing party, Law and Justice, said in an interview. ''We accepted more than 300,000 people but we cannot accept more. With the escalation by Russia in eastern Ukraine we could have a second wave.''
April 24, 2022, 7:42 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 7:42 a.m. ET Maria Varenikova
Easter services at the damaged Voznesenska Church in Bobryk village, northeast of Kyiv, on Sunday. Credit... David Guttenfelder for The New York Times BOBRYK, Ukraine '-- A few dozen faithful stood, tightly packed, in the one part of their church that remained whole: a tiny room meant for private worship, not a holiday crowd.
The main chapel of the Voznesenska Church, or Church of the Ascension, in this village northeast of Kyiv is now a ruin, after a Russian rocket tore through the roof, exploded inside and destroyed treasured religious objects.
Plaster peeled from the walls. A spray of shrapnel pierced the iconostasis, the traditional wall of icons in Orthodox churches. One shard had ripped through the head of an icon of Jesus Christ.
It was a scene that repeated itself across areas liberated from Russian forces in Ukraine, where Orthodox Easter services were held on Sunday in destroyed or damaged churches that offered a searing reminder of the terror that gripped communities as fighting raged.
''It was horrible here,'' said Kateryna Skorobahatko, 69, a parishioner. ''We had just finished the service and went home when the rocket hit the church.''
When the Russian Army entered the village a few days later, she said, soldiers were unapologetic. ''What horrible things your people are doing here,'' she said she told a Russian soldier. But when residents accused them of damaging a Ukrainian church, the Russians replied that it was impossible '-- because there is no such thing as Ukraine. Her village, she was told, was part of Russia.
On a sunny Sunday morning, dozens of parishioners arrived carrying traditional baskets of bread, eggs and other food to bless. Outside in the churchyard, apricot trees were in bloom. Roosters crowed in the village.
The priest, Henadiy Shevchenko, dedicated his sermon to a message of helping those who defend their country, saying they were doing God's work.
After the service, people encircled the church, standing in the fresh green grass, and lit candles that were placed on the traditional Easter bread.
By custom, the bread is the first food a believer eats on Easter. Those who observe the tradition fast through the morning until they can bring their blessed Easter bread home to share with their families.
In Easters past, as worshipers gathered around the church, they formed multiple circles. The crowd on this holiday was smaller, with many families in Bobryk, and across the country, having fled their homes.
As the faithful encircled Voznesenska Church on Sunday, they could not complete a single circle.
April 24, 2022, 7:24 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 7:24 a.m. ET Image Gerhard Schr¶der's work for Russia has come under new scruitny in the wake of war. Credit... Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times On the evening of Dec. 9, 2005, 17 days after Gerhard Schr¶der left office as chancellor of Germany, he got a call on his cellphone. It was his friend President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Mr. Putin was pressing Mr. Schr¶der to accept an offer to lead the shareholder committee of Nord Stream, the Russian-controlled company in charge of building the first undersea gas pipeline directly connecting Russia and Germany.
''Are you afraid to work for us?'' Mr. Putin had joked. Mr. Schr¶der might well have been, given the appearance of possible impropriety '-- the pipeline he was now being asked to head had been agreed to in the final weeks of his chancellorship, with his strong support.
He took the job anyway.
Seventeen years later, the former chancellor, who recounted the events himself in a pair of rare interviews, remains as defiant as ever.
Image Russian military vehicles in an area controlled by Russia-backed forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Saturday. Credit... Alexei Alexandrov/Associated Press The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Sunday that it was ''deeply alarmed'' by the situation in Mariupol, calling for unimpeded access to help residents, including hundreds of wounded.
Russian forces continued on Sunday to drop heavy bombs from the air and direct artillery fire at the sprawling Azovstal steel factory, where a few thousand Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are holed up, according Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president.
There were signs, he said, that Russian troops were gathering around the plant for a possible assault despite President Vladimir V. Putin's televised announcement last week in which he ordered his defense minister not to storm the facility, but to blockade it instead.
''New facts about the crimes of the occupiers against our Mariupol residents are being revealed,'' President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said overnight Sunday. ''New graves of people killed by the occupiers are being found. We are talking about tens of thousands of dead Mariupol residents.''
At a news conference on Saturday, Mr. Zelensky said that if the civilians and soldiers in the steel factory were killed, Ukraine would ''withdraw from any negotiation process.''
The Red Cross has tried repeatedly in recent weeks to send a humanitarian convoy to Mariupol to help treat injured people and evacuate the remaining civilians, but violence has stymied the efforts. Tens of thousands of civilians are believed still to be in the city, out of a prewar population of nearly half a million.
''Immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access is urgently required to allow for the voluntary safe passage of thousands of civilians and hundreds of wounded out of the city, including from the Azovstal plant area,'' the group said.
Ukrainian officials say that 20,000 civilians have been killed in Russian assault on the southeastern port city, which Moscow's forces have failed to control completely despite two months of attacks.
April 24, 2022, 3:45 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 3:45 a.m. ET Maria Varenikova
Image The Rev. Taras Melnyk, second from right, led an Easter service for Ukrainian soldiers on the outskirts of Kyiv on Saturday. Credit... David Guttenfelder for The New York Times KYIV, Ukraine '-- The Ukrainian soldiers took their jackets off, squinting under the rising sun as the Rev. Taras Melnyk blessed them and their traditional Easter bread with holy water on Saturday.
For a brief moment, the dozens of soldiers under towering pines seemed to lose themselves in the prayers and blessings that come on the holiest day of the year for Orthodox Christians. Far from their families, unable to celebrate on Easter Sunday for military reasons, they were able to enjoy one tradition: paska, a sweet bread. They joked that Father Melnyk had brought with him the first taste of spring sunshine after more than two months of war.
''Easter shows people that life doesn't end with death,'' Father Melnyk said, holding a golden crucifix and wearing a white stole over military fatigues. Hours earlier, he had been in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, presiding over the funeral of an 18-year-old woman who had been killed by Russian forces.
Between mentions of the resurrection of Christ, Father Melnyk reminded the soldiers of their duty and drew a parallel to their struggle.
''We stand here and pray for Ukraine to also rise, and for this bloody war to end with victory,'' Father Melnyk said. He was torn by the nature of the conflict, he said, because most of the Russian soldiers shared their faith.
''The most painful is that they are also Orthodox,'' he said.
Father Melnyk did not end the prayers with the usual amen.
''Glory to Ukraine,'' he yelled. ''Glory to the heroes,'' the soldiers shouted back.
April 24, 2022, 3:23 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 3:23 a.m. ET Cora Engelbrecht
Reporting from Krakow, Poland
Russian attacks targeting the towns of Gorske and Zolote in the eastern Luhansk region killed six people on Saturday, the region's governor, Sergiy Haidai, said in a Telegram post. Two women were also found dead under a house that collapsed from shelling in the city of Popasna.
April 24, 2022, 2:56 a.m. ET
April 24, 2022, 2:56 a.m. ET Cora Engelbrecht
Reporting from Krakow, Poland
Russian troops are suffering from poor morale and have not taken time to ''reconstitute, re-equip and reorganize'' for offensives in the east, ''likely hindering'' their ability to combat strong Ukrainian resistance in the Donbas region, according to the British Defense Ministry's latest assessment.
April 23, 2022, 10:00 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 10:00 p.m. ET The New York Times
For the past nine weeks, photographers with The New York Times and other news organizations throughout Ukraine have chronicled the ordeal of war.
A rocket barrage slammed into central Kharkiv last week, lighting apartment buildings and a market on fire. At least three people were killed and five were wounded, according to police officials, though that number is expected to rise.
Ukrainian families arrived in the south-central city of Zaporizhzhia on Thursday after fleeing from Mariupol, the port city that has been a scene of intense fighting and destruction.
A man and a woman walk across a bombed bridge over the Irpin River recently in Bucha. The city outside the capital, Kyiv, endured days of a Russian assault and atrocities against civilians.
A Ukrainian soldier kisses his girlfriend next to an underpass entrance sandbagged for security on Kyiv's Maidan Square on Thursday.
April 23, 2022, 9:18 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 9:18 p.m. ET Nancy Ramsey
In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky noted that it was Holy Saturday of the Eastern Orthodox Easter weekend, which most of Ukraine is celebrating. ''But there will be a resurrection,'' said the president, who is Jewish, using the story of Easter for inspiration. ''Life will defeat death.'' He asked people to stay home and wait until morning to head out for church over safety concerns.
April 23, 2022, 7:50 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 7:50 p.m. ET A series of artillery strikes hit an industrial area in central Kharkiv and an abandoned mall in the city's east on Saturday, as Russia's campaign in eastern Ukraine continued to batter cities and test Ukrainian defensive positions.
There were no casualties in the strike on central Kharkiv, officials said. In recent days, shelling has intensified around the city, which had been Ukraine's second-largest before the invasion set off the flight of thousands of people. Ukrainian forces have tried to counterattack Russian units arrayed around the city's periphery, and fighting has taken place in the vicinity of the city since the earliest days of the war.
One of the three areas bombed Saturday afternoon included a large residential area in Kharkiv. A strike there hit a warehouse in the Saltivka neighborhood, and in the aftermath of the bombings emergency crews raced to respond to fires.
Image A warehouse was hit in the Saltivka neighborhood. Credit... Tyler Hicks/The New York Times Image A fireman takes cover in Kharkiv as a building burns. Credit... Tyler Hicks/The New York Times April 23, 2022, 7:16 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 7:16 p.m. ET Eduardo Medina
In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain by phone and ''thanked him for the significant defensive and financial support'' on the day before the American secretaries of state and defense are to visit Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
April 23, 2022, 5:28 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 5:28 p.m. ET Eduardo Medina
President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters that Ukraine had appealed to Pope Francis to try to help civilians in Mariupol, the southern city left in ruins by Russian bombardment and cut off for weeks from supplies of food, water and power. He suggested the pope help with negotiations to try ''to unblock the humanitarian corridors'' into the city. ''He is trusted by a large number of people," Mr. Zelensky said.
April 23, 2022, 5:12 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 5:12 p.m. ET Lynsey Addario
Reporting from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine
Volunteers in Zaporizhzhia in south-central Ukraine on Saturday prepared humanitarian aid for people fleeing from eastern parts of the country, where Russian forces are expanding the territory they control.
Image Credit... Lynsey Addario for The New York Times Image Credit... Lynsey Addario for The New York Times April 23, 2022, 4:44 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 4:44 p.m. ET Marc Santora
Image A satellite image showing an overview of a mass grave site on the northwestern edge of Manhush, Ukraine (located approximately 20 kilometers west of Mariupol) and adjacent to an existing village cemetery, on April 3. Credit... Maxar Technologies Ukrainian officials warned on Saturday that tens of thousands of people remaining in Mariupol are in mortal danger if desperately needed humanitarian assistance is not allowed into the city, as new satellite images emerged showing a possible mass burial site on its outskirts.
''This is the biggest genocide in Europe since the Holocaust,'' Mariupol's mayor, Vadym Boichenko, said in a statement. ''At least 15,000 elderly and those with chronic diseases may die in Mariupol. There is a catastrophic shortage of drinking water, food and medicine in the besieged city.''
Local officials have acknowledged that it has been impossible to get an exact toll of those injured and killed in the city as government agencies stopped functioning weeks ago and independent observers like the Red Cross have been barred from the city by Russian forces.
But Ukrainian officials have said that more than 20,000 people may have been killed in the city since the start of the war. An estimated 120,000 civilians remain in the city '-- including hundreds believed to be holed up in a sprawling steel factory with the last remaining Ukrainian fighters.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the government was hoping to evacuate some civilians from the city on Saturday, but noted that past evacuation efforts have failed because of heavy fighting and that there was no indication yet that the Russians would allow safe passage.
While it is impossible to verify much of the information released by local officials, eyewitness accounts from those who have fled Mariupol support the descriptions of a hellscape where the streets were littered with dead bodies.
Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of burying those bodies in at least two mass burial sites as part of an orchestrated effort to cover up atrocities committed in their two-month long campaign to gain control over the southern port city.
One such site is in Manhush, a village about nine miles west of Mariupol. Satellite images released this past week by the U.S.-based space technology company Maxar Technologies and reviewed by The New York Times show 300 pits '-- each about 6 by 10 feet in diameter '-- dug over a two-week period between March and April, while Russian forces were in control of the town.
Late Friday, the Ukrainians pointed to another set of images from a different company specializing in earth observation from space, Planet Labs. The City Council of Mariupol said the images, taken April 29, showed another possible mass burial site outside the village of Vynohradne, which is just east of Mariupol.
Radio Free Europe reported the imagery on Friday, and Maxar released its own images of the same location.
The site is smaller than the one that was discovered in Manhush, but the images show what appear to be long trenches, instead of pits. The site is close to an existing cemetery.
Digging there started somewhere between mid and late March, according to a New York Times analysis of the images. The village was under Russian control at the time. The size of the apparent trenches dramatically increased in size between early April and the time the satellite images were captured.
Though the imagery showed that the apparent trenches had grown in size, it was not clear whether they had been filled with bodies or how many they could potentially hold.
''We are begging the world to save our people,'' Mr. Boichenko, the mayor of Mariupol, said. ''The city must finally be evacuated. Immediately.''
Christiaan Triebert contributed reporting.
April 23, 2022, 4:11 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 4:11 p.m. ET Video President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told reporters inside a subway station that U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, and the defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, would visit Kyiv, the capital, on Sunday. The State Department and the Pentagon did not immediately confirm. Credit Credit... Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine gave a defiant news conference in Kyiv on Saturday and revealed that the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, and the defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, would visit Kyiv on Sunday.
There was no immediate comment or confirmation from the U.S. State Department or the Pentagon, which has said Mr. Austin would be in Germany next week for meetings about Ukraine's future needs.
Mr. Zelensky spoke to reporters in a subway station in Kyiv, the capital, as Russia continued to press its offensive in the east and batter Ukrainian cities, including with a missile strike that killed at least eight people in the southern port of Odesa.
Mr. Zelensky lingered over questions of Western weapon supplies and Russian war crimes. He sat on a low stage, far enough underground to be secure from airstrikes, framed by escalators and an array of Ukrainian flags. He apologized for the racket at several points as trains rumbled by.
As he has done in many social media videos, Mr. Zelensky hammered home a message about Ukraine's need for more advanced weapons to defeat the Russian army, though he said the United States and other allies had finally been answering his pleas for heavier armaments and longer-range weapons.
Mr. Zelensky praised the United States for pouring howitzers, armed drones and large quantities of artillery ammunition into Ukraine. Then he announced the American secretaries of state and defense were coming to Kyiv the next day, joining a parade of high-ranking officials and elected leaders who have made the pilgrimage to the embattled capital to show their support.
''I do believe in the strategic partnership,'' Mr. Zelensky said, ''But I want everything to go faster, to move faster.''
Asked if the weapons shipments from the United States and other allies might provoke Russia to escalate its war, Mr. Zelensky answered with a barb at the Russian forces that had been forced to withdraw after failing to capture the capital. ''In their retreat, they left a lot of tanks behind and I'm grateful to them for that,'' he said.
He added that he did not care what the Russian government thought about the weapons that NATO allies were providing his army. In light of evidence of human rights abuses and war crimes by retreating Russian soldiers around Kyiv, Mr. Zelensky said that stopping Russia's forces elsewhere should be viewed as a moral imperative for Ukraine's allies.
''For the civilized world it is important, and we can see that from the level of support we are receiving,'' Mr. Zelensky said.
Mr. Zelensky said he intended to continue talks with Russia over a possible peace treaty or a cease-fire, but he said he would consider breaking them off if Russia staged a referendum in the Kherson region aimed at giving legitimacy to a separatist state. He also said he may pull out of negotiations if Russian forces stormed the last pocket of Ukrainian soldiers holding out in a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol, where hundreds of civilians are believed to be taking refuge.
Mr. Zelensky, a former actor, said Russia had continually shifted its demands in negotiations. He described the talks as ''just theater with very bad actors.'' But he said negotiations were nonetheless needed. ''It's not about trust,'' he said. ''It's about pragmatic dialogue.''
Image Russian backed troops at the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday. Credit... Chingis Kondarov/Reuters Russian forces have resumed attacks on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, attempting to root out the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the decimated port city, Ukrainian and Western officials said on Saturday.
Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukraine's president, said that Russia had carried out airstrikes against the facility and Russian ground forces had attempted to storm it. But he said the Ukrainian fighters still inside had put up fierce resistance.
''Our defenders are holding on despite the very difficult situation, and have even launched counterattacks,'' Mr. Arestovich said.
His description of events at the plant was backed up by a British Defense Ministry report published on Saturday that said heavy fighting continued to take place in Mariupol, frustrating Russia's attempts to capture the entirety of the city.
Those assessments contradicted the Kremlin's recent assertion that Mariupol had fallen fully under Russian control. Last week, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia ordered his defense minister to put off a final assault on the Azovstal plant and blockade it instead.
Staff Sgt. Leonid Kuznetsov, a Ukrainian National Guard soldier fighting inside the factory, told The New York Times last week that, despite Mr. Putin's order, Russian forces continued to shell the plant and had come to within 20 meters of the place where he and his comrades were positioned.
The Times has not been able to reach Sergeant Kuznetsov, or any other soldiers at the factory, for two days.
Ukrainian officials estimate that besides the soldiers still holding the plant, there are about 2,000 civilians, including women and children, who took shelter in bunkers there during the two-month long siege. Efforts to negotiate safe passage out for them have so far failed.
April 23, 2022, 2:55 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 2:55 p.m. ET Alan Yuhas
The mayor of Odesa, Gennady Trukhanov, said in a Telegram video that the death toll from a Russian missile strike on the city had risen to at least eight people, including a 3-month-old child.
April 23, 2022, 2:03 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 2:03 p.m. ET Cassandra Vinograd
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told a news conference that the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, and the defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, would visit Ukraine's capital on Sunday to discuss "the military assistance we need." There was no immediate comment or confirmation from the U.S. State Department or the Pentagon, which has said Mr. Austin would be in Germany next week for meetings about Ukraine's future needs.
April 23, 2022, 1:19 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 1:19 p.m. ET Cassandra Vinograd
Boris Johnson, Britain's prime minister, told President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that Britain would give Ukraine more military aid, including protected mobility vehicles, drones and anti-tank weapons, according to Mr. Johnson's office. It added that the two leaders also condemned Russian attacks against civilian targets in Mariupol and Odesa.
April 23, 2022, 12:41 p.m. ET
April 23, 2022, 12:41 p.m. ET Cassandra Vinograd
Russia's military ''thwarted'' the evacuation of civilians from the besieged port of Mariupol, according to Pyotr Andryushchenko, an aide to the city's mayor. He said on Telegram that Russian troops had dispersed some 200 civilians who'd assembled to await evacuation buses, telling them ''there will be shelling now.'' Previous evacuation efforts have repeatedly failed due to heavy fighting.
Image A priest blessing worshippers and their food baskets a day before Easter Sunday, at Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, on Saturday. Credit... Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times Image Orthodox Christians wait to be blessed by a priest on the day before Easter Sunday in Lviv, Ukraine. Credit... Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times Image Orthodox Christians outside St.George's Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine. Credit... Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times LVIV, Ukraine '-- On the eve of the most important Christian religious festival of the year, Ukrainians clung to centuries-old Easter traditions in the shadow of a war that has brought devastation and sorrow to much of the country.
At the Greek Catholic Church of the Transfiguration in Lviv's historic city center, a line of churchgoers stood next to wicker baskets they had brought, covered with embroidered cloths and filled with sausages, smoked hams, Easter breads, butter and cheeses to be blessed by the priest.
It was a ritual celebrated throughout Ukraine, in Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic churches, which follow the Julian calender and will celebrate Easter this year on Sunday.
The food was destined to be eaten in elaborate Easter breakfasts after Mass on Sunday.
Other residents carried Easter baskets through the cobblestone streets on their way to churches of every denomination that line the central market district, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As air raid sirens sounded, cafes closed their doors and a group of street musicians took a break from the folk music they were playing on traditional Ukrainian stringed instruments.
At a nearby intersection, some residents had laid bouquets of flowers at the feet of a statue of the Virgin Mary, next to piles of white sandbags intended to protect the statue from bombings. Since the start of the war, churches have shrouded religious statues in protective wrapping and have boarded up stained glass windows.
Russia, which is also predominantly Eastern Orthodox, rejected calls this week by Ukraine and the United Nations for an Easter cease-fire.
Though most Ukrainians and Russians are Orthodox Christians, long-simmering tensions between church leaders in the two nations have deepened in recent years. In 2019, the church in Ukraine, which had been subordinate to Moscow since 1686, was granted its independence.
Image Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces holding Easter sweet bread near their trenches in a forest defensive position on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, on Saturday. Credit... David Guttenfelder for The New York Times This week Russian airstrikes killed at least seven people in Lviv, but the city has been spared most of the fighting raging in the east of the country for the past two months. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have sought refuge here or have passed through on the way to Poland and other countries.
At Lviv's central train station, volunteers handed out Easter chocolates to displaced children arriving from other cities. One family who received the treats had walked for five days with their four children from the devastated southern port of Mariupol on their way to the relative safety of western Ukraine.
Many Ukrainians said they were sticking to their traditions in the face of a pervasive sadness and fear the war had brought.
''This year there's not so much happiness in people's faces and eyes,'' said Myroslava Zakharkiv, a college English instructor. ''Many people are grieving, many men are gone to the front.''
Ms. Zakharkiv, 48, said that she had done a traditional Easter cleaning of her home in a village near Lviv. She also had baked Easter bread and prepared foods to put in a basket to be blessed at the church.
''We hope there will be no bombs and no alarms but no one knows what will happen so we are a bit afraid,'' she said.
For many of the displaced, the war has also meant separation from their families.
Anna Mukoida, 22, said this was the first Easter she would spend away from her family, who stayed in Bila Tserkva, a town 50 miles south of the capital, Kyiv, while she fled to the southwestern city of Chernivtsi.
Despite the danger and uncertainty, many Ukrainians were determined to hold on to tradition.
''Easter in the time of the war is like the sun on a rainy day,'' said Ms. Mukoida. ''It is very important now to have such days just to feel alive and remember that there was life before the war.''
Neonila Vodolska, 22, was also displaced. She was staying in the western city of Kalush, far from her family in Kyiv. To ease the pain of separation from her family, she said she bought a white shirt with traditional dark red embroidery to wear on Easter Day.
''Now I fully understand the importance of saving such traditions,'' Ms. Vodolska said. ''Doing something normal, celebrating something that reminds me of the good times, of my childhood, brings me hope.''
Image A priest, Fotiy, blessing Easter sweet bread on Saturday before they were to be distributed by volunteers from a humanitarian aid center in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Credit... Lynsey Addario for The New York Times In most parts of the country, curfews remained in place over Saturday night, when many Christians traditionally hold vigils and celebrate a midnight Mass in memory of those who waited on Holy Saturday by Christ's tomb. Instead many people planned to watch the Mass on television.
''We must understand that the gathering of civilians at a predetermined time of all-night service can be a target for missiles, aircraft and artillery,'' the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Saturday morning.
In Lviv, the authorities initially announced the curfew would be lifted but then reimposed it after receiving intelligence that pro-Russia saboteurs could be planning attacks in the city.
Earlier in the week, the head of Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Metropolitan Epifaniy, asked clergy to forgo nighttime Easter services in areas of the country affected by fighting, fearing Russian bombardments.
''It is not hard to believe this will really happen, because the enemy is trying to completely destroy us,'' he said in a televised speech.
Image Ukrainian officials reported that several missiles were fired at the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Saturday, and that two hit a neighborhood. Credit... Max Pshybyshevsky/Associated Press At least eight people were killed when two cruise missiles struck a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said. Given the extent of the damage, officials said the number of victims was certain to climb.
''There will be more,'' Sergei Nazarov, an aide to Odesa's mayor, said in a text message.
He said the missiles struck a residential neighborhood in the Tairove district in the far west of the city. Photographs and video from the scene, including those posted to the city government's Telegram channel, appeared to show extensive damage to a large housing complex, which was partially obscured by plumes of thick, black smoke.
''All of this is while peaceful Odesa was preparing for Easter Sunday,'' the mayor of Odesa, Gennady Trukhanov, said in a statement posted to the city's Telegram channel. Orthodox Christians, who make up the majority in Ukraine, celebrate Easter this Sunday, and some in the Ukrainian military had expected, or hoped, that there might be some letup in the shelling.
At least 18 were wounded in the strike, according to Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential administration. He said a three-month-old baby was among the dead.
The missile attack on Odesa comes a day after a Russian general outlined what appeared to be a broad new set of military objectives, including the seizure of all Ukrainian lands along the Black Sea, including Odesa.
While taking Odesa had appeared to be a major goal of the Russian military at the outset of the war, efforts by Russian forces to march westward along the coastline have been hindered by fierce Ukrainian resistance and logistical issues. The sinking this month of the Moskva, a warship in Russia's Black Sea fleet, seemed to put an end to speculation that Moscow could mount an amphibious assault on the city.
In the past, Russian forces have launched rocket attacks against Odesa and the surrounding region by both air and sea, but those strikes have largely been aimed at military targets and strategic infrastructure. Until Saturday, Odesa had been largely spared the high-casualty attacks on civilians suffered by other Ukrainian cities.
Saturday's attack was carried out by a Russian Tu-95 strategic bomber flying over the Caspian Sea, according to a statement by Ukraine's southern air defense forces. It said the bomber fired six cruise missiles, two of which were taken out by Ukraine's missile defense system.
''Unfortunately two missiles hit military targets and two hit residential homes,'' the statement said, adding that Ukrainian forces also destroyed two Russian drones that were being used to help target the missiles.
Russia's Defense Ministry later said that it had fired ''high-precision long-range'' missiles at a logistics terminal at a military airfield near Odesa, which it said was storing weapons provided by the United States and European countries.
Ukraine's foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, described the missile strikes as a terrorist attack.
''The only aim of Russian missile strikes on Odesa is terror,'' Mr. Kuleba wrote on Twitter. ''We need a wall between civilization and barbarians striking peaceful cities with missiles.''
Opinion | It's Not Just High Oil Prices. It's a Full-Blown Energy Crisis. - The New York Times
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 16:48
Guest Essay
April 23, 2022
In Peru, protests that began in March against rising fuel and fertilizer costs spread throughout the country. Credit... Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters By Helen Thompson
Dr. Thompson is a professor of political economy at the University of Cambridge and the author of ''Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century.''
Americans are worrying about their gas prices. Germans are turning down their heating. Peru has seen violent protests '-- and a violent crackdown on them '-- over rising fuel costs. Nigeria's national energy grid recently collapsed. And that's just this spring. Focused on the future, the United Nations Intergovernmental Planet on Climate Change warned in a report on April 4 that too much investment is going into fossil fuels and too little into the energy transition that could prevent a devastating increase in global temperatures.
This persistent, simmering crisis around energy, its cost and the politics around it will not end soon.
Vladimir Putin has escalated this crisis. His invasion of Ukraine has pushed up prices and forced Europe '-- until now the largest importer of Russian natural gas '-- to begin an attempt to end its longstanding dependence on Russian gas. But Mr. Putin didn't cause this crisis alone. For nearly a year before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supply struggled to meet demand, causing prices to surge. For the best part of a decade, the American shale boom met the world's rising energy needs, but in 2020 shale oil output slumped and the rate of growth of shale gas fell.
President Biden's hope that he could focus his presidency on the climate, not fixing the world's oil supply, shattered. Unable to resurrect a nuclear deal with Iran that would have restored Iranian oil to world markets, Mr. Biden began last year to ask other producers to increase their output. His pressure was to no avail. Meanwhile, China's demand for gas imports grew by 20 percent over 2021, helping push European gas prices up nearly sixfold between March and December.
That was already putting pressure on politicians, but the Putin shock '-- oil prices rose by one third in the first two weeks after the invasion '-- has exposed just how much governments fear rising fossil fuel costs, never mind their optimistic rhetoric that high prices will encourage a transition to greener energy sources. By releasing one million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve between May and November, Mr. Biden will inject the largest-ever volume of emergency American supply into the market since the stockpile was established in 1975. It will provide, at best, temporary relief. And as Asian countries start to adjust to a world in which ships bearing liquid natural gas turn away from the Pacific and redirect to Europe, their demand for coal is going up.
All of this means higher energy prices for everyone, everywhere '-- unless economies return to the recessions they endured during the pandemic, an option no one hopes for.
The parallels with the 1970s are obvious. The oil shock in the wake of the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, which involved the world's rising oil producer, Saudi Arabia, was extremely disruptive economically and geopolitically. That first shock was followed in 1978-79 by the revolution in Iran and Iraq's invasion of Iran, plunging the two oil producers into a long war.
Then, one geopolitical era ­'-- with the United States as the world's largest oil producer and Britain as (when Washington let it act) the military guarantor of Western energy interests in the Middle East '-- unraveled. As the Arab states seized control of production and prices from the seven big Anglo-American companies that had controlled oil in the Middle East for decades, Western economies stagnated under the inflationary pressure, supercharging protests, strikes and electoral realignments across Western democracies.
What lies ahead promises to be more disorderly '-- and ultimately transformative '-- than the events of the 1970s. This is, indeed, a bigger disruption. During the geopolitical upheaval of the 1970s, the physical supply of oil from the world's reserves was never the issue. Now, with Asian energy demand vastly higher than it was, it is. And demand for gas and coal may well also exceed worldwide output over the next few years. We appear to have entered a time when countries will have to compete for the world's remaining accessible fossil fuels and governments openly choose geopolitical alliances to secure them.
Look to the Mediterranean, for an example. Europe's decoupling from Russia will intensify the geopolitical tensions over gas around the sea. In the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey resents its exclusion from energy projects and has been increasingly confrontational in asserting its interests. When Turkey struck a deal with Libya in November 2019 to claim new maritime economic boundaries for itself in the eastern Mediterranean, European Union leaders denounced the agreement as a violation of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty and incompatible with United Nations law. Now the route for a pipeline to bring eastern Mediterranean gas to Europe is causing tensions, not just between Turkey and its neighbors, but also within NATO.
On the other side of the Mediterranean, Algeria is another potential energy source for Europe. But this, too, comes with geopolitical complications: The state-owned Algerian energy firm Sonatrach announced last month it might increase gas prices to Spain after Madrid withdrew support for Algeria in mid-March over the longstanding dispute between Algeria and Morocco over the Western Sahara.
Less Russia also means more trouble in the Middle East. Without Russian help, another Iran nuclear deal becomes less likely, even as Moscow's war amplifies all of Mr. Biden's incentives to restore Iran's energy exports. Rather than breaking with Russia, Arab oil producers appear to have doubled down on OPEC Plus, the world's new oil cartel with an implicit anti-American bent. The shale boom forced Saudi Arabia to seek wider alliances, including with Russia. Now, as tensions between Russia and Saudi Arabia over Syria and Yemen lessen, the Saudis will prioritize managing their competition with Russia over China '-- the world's largest oil export market '-- and the two states' shared interests in a nondollar payment system.
It's not just international politics that are being shaped by the sustainability of present energy consumption. Domestic politics are being shaken up, too.
By damning oil companies that aren't ramping up production, Mr. Biden has decided to privilege the voters desperate for lower immediate prices over the Democrats who insist the climate crisis should remain the priority. For the European Union, the fact that European consumers are filling Moscow's war coffers has forced unpalatable ethical issues to the surface. As the prime minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, asked Italians: ''Do you prefer peace or the air conditioning on?''
But the reality is, as Robert Habeck, Germany's vice chancellor and economic minister, acknowledged before departing for a trip to gas-rich Qatar last month, there is no ''value-based'' fossil fuel energy strategy for European countries other than importing all their energy from the United States, Canada or Australia, which is impossible.
In Europe, an innocence about energy has been shredded and won't readily be restored. There, the Western political taboo about talking about reducing energy consumption by means other than greater efficiency is morally exhausted. It remains to be seen whether in the United States, ghosts of President Jimmy Carter's failed exhortations for sacrifices to personal comfort (wearing sweaters indoors, for instance) as a way to restore American energy independence will prove any less fleeting. Thanks to shale, the United States is the world's largest oil and gas producer, rendering the country's energy politics vastly different from that in most European countries, where foreign-energy dependency has been an uncomfortable fact of life for more than a century.
What does this mean for the most existential geopolitical issue of all '-- climate change?
Back in 2019, an energy transformation to address the climate crisis appeared on the horizon. Across the world, more new renewable power was added than ever before, and sustainability-minded investors looked to pour capital into green energy innovation. Several Group of 7 governments passed legislation to establish legally binding net-zero targets for 2050.
But over 2021, as prices rose, optimism dissipated. Mr. Biden's signature climate change bill stalled in Congress. In Britain, the Committee on Climate Change set up to advise Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government reported that the country was nowhere near hitting its transition targets because ''the policy is just not there.'' As much of Europe experienced low winds in 2021, it became clear that there was still much work to be done to operate electricity grids based on renewables. There were a number of factors, but the overall impact was the same.
Now the momentum has changed again. For the green transition, the renewed public awareness that the supply of hydrocarbons does not take care of itself, even as Western governments promise to curtail their use, is '-- paradoxically '-- a step forward. If governments and citizens are serious about transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward greener energy, a necessary transformation that requires nothing less than changing the material basis of modern civilization, then they will have to admit that oil, gas and coal '-- the energy sources of the past, on which we continue to rely '-- can't be taken for granted. Their extraction and use are inseparable from the difficult work of politics. That is evident today. Let's hope we can remember it in the future.
Helen Thompson (@HelenHet20) is a professor of political economy at the University of Cambridge and the author of ''Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century.''
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Conn. school 'pizza' assignment using toppings as sexual 'likes' and 'dislikes' was a 'mistake: Superintendent | Fox News
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:58
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One Connecticut school is under fire for handing out a "Pizza and Consent" assignment, where eighth-grade students were given a handout stating that pizza can be used as a "metaphor for sex," which instructed students to list their favorite and least favorite pizza toppings "in relation to sex."
"Here are some examples: Likes: Cheese = Kissing," the assignment states. "Dislikes: Olives = Giving Oral," stated the assignment given to eighth graders within the Enfield Public Schools.
"Now that you know this metaphor for sex, let's explore your preferences! Draw and color your favorite type of pizza. What's your favorite style of pizza? Your favorite toppings? What are your pizza no-nos? Now mirror these preferences in relation to sex!," the assignment states.
The assignment has a section for "likes" and "dislikes," where students can "mirror" their preferences for pizza toppings "in relation to sex."
VA SCHOOL DISTRICT SEEKS 'SOCIAL MEDIA LISTENING' FOR 'HATE SPEECH,' TO DETER 'NEGATIVE ACTIONS' TOWARDS STAFF
One Connecticut school is under fire for handing out a 'Pizza and Consent' assignment, where eighth grade students were given a handout stating that pizza can be used as a "metaphor for sex," which instructed students to list their favorite and least favorite pizza toppings "in relation to sex." (Enfield Public Schools)
After Parents Defending Education exposed the assignment on Monday, Enfield Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Drezek said during a school board meeting on Tuesday that the assignment was sent "inadvertently" to eighth-graders, and said it was a "mistake."
"The simple truth was it was a mistake. And I know that there are some who may not believe that. I know there are some who don't necessarily maybe want that answer," Drezek said. "In this particular case, I didn't even get a chance to because the person who made the mistake jumped ahead of it before I was even notified that it had happened."
He said that the content in the assignment was "inappropriate," and said that there's no "hidden agenda."
MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL DISTRICT BACKS AWAY FROM RACIALLY SEGREGATED 'AFFINITY GROUPS' AFTER LAWSUIT
One Connecticut school is under fire for handing out a 'Pizza and Consent' assignment, where eighth grade students were given a handout stating that pizza can be used as a "metaphor for sex," which instructed students to list their favorite and least favorite pizza toppings "in relation to sex."
"There was no secret cabal to indoctrinate kids on something. They sent the wrong document," Drezek. And I'm not going to perpetuate this story any longer on their behalf. So that's what happened. And none of us are happy that it happened. No one feels worse that it happened and the person that did it."
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One Connecticut school is under fire for handing out a 'Pizza and Consent' assignment, where eighth grade students were given a handout stating that pizza can be used as a "metaphor for sex," which instructed students to list their favorite and least favorite pizza toppings "in relation to sex."
According to Parents Defending Education, the district's Health and Physical Education Coordinator emailed parents and apologized for the error.
"The incorrect version, as opposed to the revised version of this assignment was mistakenly posted on our grade 8 curriculum page, and was inadvertently used for instruction to grade 8 Health classes. I caught the error after our curriculum revision in June, but failed to post the intended version. I own that, and apologize for the error," the coordinator reportedly said.
CNN+ Streaming Service Will Shut Down Weeks After Its Start - The New York Times
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:55
A major investment by CNN, which poached big-name anchors and threw a splashy launch party, ends abruptly at the hands of a new corporate leadership team.
Chris Wallace inside the CNN+ studio in Washington in January. He was among the media stars CNN hired for the launch of the new streaming operation. Credit... Andrew Mangum for The New York Times At sunset on the last Monday of March, CNN stars gathered for a gala on the 101st floor of a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper to celebrate the launch of CNN+, the streaming service that was supposed to take the network into the digital future.
Ethan Hawke, who directed a film for CNN+, mingled with Anderson Cooper and Carl Bernstein as guests nibbled on miniature lobster rolls and gawked at the dizzying views of the New York City skyline.
It took three weeks for CNN's new owners to bring them down to earth.
In a move that stunned the media and tech worlds, Warner Bros. Discovery said on Thursday that it will abruptly shut down CNN+ on April 30. ''While today's decision is incredibly difficult, it is the right one for the long-term success of CNN,'' Chris Licht, the network's incoming president, told staff.
The shutdown is an ignominious end to an operation into which CNN sank tens of millions of dollars: from a nationwide marketing campaign to hundreds of newly hired employees to big contracts for name-brand anchors, including the former ''Fox News Sunday'' host Chris Wallace and the former NPR co-host Audie Cornish.
It collapsed just two days after Netflix reported a quarterly decline in subscriptions for the first time in a decade, a potential warning sign for major media companies joining the increasingly crowded field of streaming services.
The abrupt demise of CNN+, as well as Netflix's projection that it will lose two million more subscribers over the next three months, has raised questions about how many people are willing to pay for numerous streaming services, as well as how profitable these businesses can become in the next few years.
Image Andrew Morse, CNN's chief digital officer, at the CNN+ launch event last month in Manhattan. Credit... Monica Schipper/Getty Images CNN+ was the brainchild of CNN's former corporate parent, WarnerMedia, and its former president Jeff Zucker, who envisioned a versatile digital product with big-name hosts that could buttress the network amid a decline in traditional cable viewership.
But the service had a powerful skeptic: David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery, who was on the verge of completing a merger with WarnerMedia that would put him in control of the news network.
Executives at Discovery, wary of antitrust rules, were constrained from advising their counterparts at CNN until the merger was done. CNN+ had lost its champion when Mr. Zucker left in February because of an undisclosed romantic relationship with a colleague. But Jason Kilar, the WarnerMedia chief executive, forged ahead anyway, launching the streaming platform on March 29 to the frustration of the Discovery leadership.
It quickly became apparent that Mr. Zaslav had a very different view on digital strategy.
On the morning of April 11, the first business day of Discovery's ownership '-- and 90 minutes before its WBD stock even went live on Nasdaq '-- JB Perrette, Discovery's global head of streaming, convened a meeting with CNN executives.
Mr. Perrette had a message: Marketing of CNN+ was to be suspended, pending a formal review of the business, three people familiar with the conversation said.
Executives at Warner Bros. Discovery wanted to merge its other subscription platforms '-- Discovery+ and HBO Max '-- into one giant streaming service. They were not convinced that a niche product like CNN+ could be viable on its own.
And there was the matter of the debt. Discovery's merger left the conglomerate owing about $55 billion, which executives are now under pressure to repay. CNN had been planning to spend more than $1 billion on CNN+ over four years, two people familiar with the matter said, even renting out an additional floor of its pricey Manhattan skyscraper.
Andrew Morse, CNN's chief digital officer and a key architect of CNN+, who became the biggest internal champion of the service, countered that subscription-based online news could be successful, citing The New York Times as an example. Executives at CNN+ said they had secured 150,000 paying subscribers and were on a pace to hit first-year subscription goals.
Executives at Discovery were not impressed: At any given time, fewer than 10,000 people were watching the service, said two people familiar with the numbers, who were not authorized to speak publicly. (On Thursday, Mr. Morse said he was leaving the network entirely.)
As the corporate tug of war played out, CNN+ anchors tried to go about their jobs. On his daily interview hour, Mr. Wallace questioned Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, about federal mask policy; Ms. Cornish was developing a show slated to debut in May. Programs featuring the actress Eva Longoria and the food writer Alison Roman were expected soon.
All that came to a halt on Thursday morning.
''It's not your fault that you had the rug pulled out from underneath you,'' Mr. Licht, CNN's new president, told the shocked staff during a solemn all-hands meeting, according to a recording reviewed by The New York Times.
Mr. Licht, who officially starts his role on May 2, compared CNN+ to a residential property that had been constructed without the input of its intended owner.
''Then the new owner came in and said: 'What a beautiful house! But I need an apartment,''' he said, according to the recording. ''And that doesn't take anything away from this beautiful house you built. I am proud of it, and I am proud of this team, and I am gutted by what this means for you.''
Image Chris Licht, the incoming president of CNN, called a staff meeting on Thursday to announce the shutdown. Credit... Chad Batka for The New York Times To the left of Mr. Licht sat Mr. Perrette of Discovery. He invoked tweets that called the service ''CNN Minus,'' because it did not include any programming from CNN's cable network, ''the global calling card of this new organization,'' he said. (CNN+ carried only unique programming to avoid running afoul of CNN's agreements with cable carriers.)
Mr. Perrette also referred to Discovery's own ''painful'' history of starting niche streaming services '-- focused on cars, food and golf '-- and said they were costly to market and ended up with few subscribers.
''We have failed almost at every turn launching these products,'' he said, according to the recording.
More than 300 employees had already started working at CNN+, and the network said it would try to transfer them to open positions in the company. Layoffs are likely for people who are not placed in new jobs; they would receive at least six months of severance.
Existing subscribers will receive prorated refunds.
The fate of CNN+ programs '-- and the future of the anchors it poached from rival networks '-- remains unclear. Several titles are expected to be moved to HBO Max, Discovery+ or CNN.com, two people familiar with the discussions said.
Kasie Hunt, who left a role at MSNBC to host a CNN+ show, wrote on Twitter that she was taking the announcement in stride. ''The news is the news is the news is the news no matter how or where it airs or comes from,'' she wrote. ''Will keep at it tomorrow.''
Scott Galloway, a professor and financial journalist who was planning to host a show on business and technology, posted a tweet with a blunter take.
''Well,'' he said, ''that was fast.''
Xi launches siege of Shanghai faction - Nikkei Asia
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:38
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Shanghai's Pilot Free Trade Zone is seen in this Nov. 11, 2013 photo. KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer December 18, 2015 18:00 JST | ChinaTOKYO -- Ai Baojun, Shanghai's 55-year-old vice mayor, was placed under investigation for disciplinary violations and dismissed in November, sending shock waves through political, bureaucratic and business circles in China's financial and economic center.
Sponsored Content About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau. Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.
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When Did Podcasts Start? A Brief History of Podcasting
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:31
Some say that Conan O'Brien invented podcasting. Others say that the first podcast was Serial with Sarah Koenig. And, some people say that Al Gore said he invented the Internet. There is a ton of information about the history of podcasting. Some bits of data complement each other, and some conflict. Like the camera, radio communication, and television, podcasting is a child with many midwives. It may also have many birthdays. In this article, we're going to try to answer the question, ''when did podcasting start?''
When Did People Start Listening to Podcasts? Most people became aware of podcasts around 2005. Then, iTunes 4.9 made it easier for people to subscribe to podcasts. At the time, podcasts and music used the same app, so you could make playlists containing both. However, the iPod wasn't unique. People used various kinds of mp3 players to download and share audio, even after Apple's iPod hit consumer shelves in October 2001. The i2Go, ''a deliverer of personalized Internet audio content to mobile Internet appliances for businesses and consumers,'' blew through $7 million in funding in the same year. People used other mp3 players to download and listen to audio content. But, none of them had the PR muscle of Apple.
Despite inventing the iPod, though, Apple didn't invent the podcast. So, when did podcasting start?
When Did People Start Podcasting?In 2000, there was a lot of time and energy spent on making communication faster, cheaper, and more efficient. Because music is high in demand, people tend to focus a lot of attention on how to share music easily (whether for profit or fun). So, a lot of the history of podcasting is tied up in music sharing.
The audio drama podcast Limetown's fourth episode, written by Chris Littler, proposed an idea that isn't fiction. In the story, entrepreneur Max Finlayson divulges a secret and explains his scientific goal:
''Since we've been walking upright, man has been trying to answer the same question: how do I, Max, transmit an idea from my mind to yours, Lia, with the least amount of information lost during dissemination? Cave drawings and the alphabet, telegraph, television, telephone, the Internet'... these were all precursors.''
''Precursors to what?''
''Your head. Ding, ding, ding. Mind-to-mind communication.''
Record. Edit. Publish. All in one Tool.Alitu records calls, solo segments, cleans up your audio, adds music & transitions, helps you edit & publishes right to your host.
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Podcasting isn't a psychic connection, thank goodness. But, it's definitely a simpler and more efficient way to communicate as much information as possible with the least amount of data lost. And, since the creator tends to be the owner, it allows for the most efficient freedom of information since the handwritten letter.
The Slow Internet File-Sharing ConundrumIn the early years of the iPod, the devices didn't connect to the internet with wi-fi. Typically you would transfer audio files from a CD, convert them to an mp3, and put them in your iTunes library. Or, you could buy tracks on iTunes, if you weren't downloading them from Napster. It was time-consuming and required attention to detail. If a friend wanted to share their audio or video with you over the Internet, that could take even longer. The majority of people in the US had dial-up internet in the early 2000s, and it was slow. For a three-minute pop song, this wasn't all that big of a deal. But it added up. What if you wanted to share something bigger than that?
In the US, The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was meant to keep radio stations profitable. Unfortunately, it meant that large corporations like Clear Channel (now iHeart Media) could buy more than one radio or television station in the same geographic market. The result was a homogenization of radio culture. It was much harder for individual artists to share their work with a broader audience. As the 21st century rolled in, creative folks needed the Internet so badly, that they had to invent it and popularize it.
Music Sharing, Blogging, and PodcastingIn February of 2004, journalist Ben Hammersley wrote for The Guardian that an audible revolution was taking place. ''But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?'' So, is that when it started? Nope.
Adam Curry (of The Podcast Index) was emotionally invested in music and radio, and getting new music and video from peer to peer as efficiently as possible. He told me that ''Karlheinz Brandenburg or whoever holds the patent on the mp3 needs to be kissed and hugged,'' for their contribution to efficient audio sharing. Curry studied Apple Script and worked with developer Kevin Marks to create iPodder. This program made it easier to consume and share audio on your iPod via RSS feeds. One could say that this is when podcasting started. But, podcasting didn't explode from any one person's head, fully formed, like Athena's birth from Zeus'.
Prior to that, Dave Winer and Adam Curry partnered to popularize the idea of sharing audio, video and text via an RSS feed. Curry said that at the time he was living in The Netherlands. With the nine-hour time difference, Winer could send him a QuickTime file and the next morning when Curry woke up, it would be there on his computer. Around the same time, in October of 2000, entrepreneur Tristan Louis proposed an idea to Winer and other developers to share audio and video more efficiently via RSS.
So, Curry already had ideas about efficient file sharing, the drive, emotional attachment and the connections to promote it. Louis had the details of the concept, and Winer was the RSS expert of the three. He proposed sharing the audio and video inside an enclosure, like a letter in an envelope, or like peas in a pod.
Podcasting peas in a pod.There you have it. When did podcasts start? October of 2000. In fact, if we really want to have fun with this, we can say it's October 30, 2000, because it would be the anniversary of the War of the Worlds broadcast.
Is This Really When Podcasts Started, Everywhere?A Russian samizdat radio program, The Illusion of Independent Radio, shared music, interviews and panel discussions via an underground network of subscribers. This was an audio companion to a magazine of Russian underground culture, called Hurray Boom Boom!
Between 1989 and 1990, the producers distributed music and ideas both Eastern European and Western. You can still hear some of The Illusion of Independent Radio on YouTube. Like podcasts we know today, the creators recorded and edited in home studios, and people who opted in of their own volition, outside of government or corporate control, consumed it.
Is this a podcast? At the time, there was no Internet in Russia. Cassette tapes were the norm. The Illusion of Independent Radio had a unifying theme, independent creation and distribution, and a willing audience who opted in of their own volition with shared interests. It has many of the features of what we now call a podcast. It even meets the criteria that Louis, Winer and Curry, and other developers, batted back and forth; audio and ideas in a package that gives it the most efficient means of delivery. In this case, it was the cassette tape, rather than the RSS feed.
How Do We Define, ''Podcast?''Today, Substack newsletters include audio, images and text. Are they podcasts? My friend Kyle in Philadelphia records his knitting lessons over Zoom with his teacher in Iceland, shares them on YouTube, and calls it a podcast (Drunk Knitting Iceland). It's a unified series of episodes with a goal, but it doesn't have an RSS feed. Raucous, a theatre collective in the UK, has created a web-based series of connected audio fiction experiences, The Prick and The Sting, without an RSS feed or subscription element. As I write this, Stephanie is writing an article about what makes a podcast a podcast. Once we have her definition, then we can figure out where podcasting can go next.
Researchers Claim Emissions at World's Largest Meatpacker Rose 50% in Half a Decade - The Daily Upside
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:19
In the world of meatpacking, there's nothing wrong with beefing up your business. Just not like this.
The carbon footprint of Brazil's JBS, the world's largest meatpacking company, has grown over 50% in the past five years, according to a report released Thursday by the Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. This flies in the face of the company's plan to go net-zero on carbon emissions.
An Unpleasant MeatingIn the last two years, investigations by Brazil's R(C)porter Brasil, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, The Guardian, Greenpeace, and Amnesty International have connected JBS to farms in the Amazon that practice deforestation. In 2020, Northern Europe's largest wealth manager, Nordea Asset Management, dropped JBS from its $250 billion portfolio. In December, three major European supermarket chains '-- Sainsbury, Carrefour, and Ahold Delhaize '-- said they would stop selling many Brazilian meat products as a result of their environmental record.
JBS pledged to reduce its emissions to net-zero by 2040, but this latest controversy makes that promise sound rather like the faint din of a distant cowbell. The calculations by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy use a framework developed by the UN that includes Scope 3 emissions '-- the indirect emissions occurring throughout a company's supply chain. In this case, that means the emissions from a growing number of animals. Confronted with the evidence, JBS failed to offer a reaction that was convincing '-- or even in good faith:
The researchers determined that by processing 27 million cattle, 47 million pigs, and 5 billion chickens last year, JBS had increased its annual emissions to 422 million metric tons, up from 280 million metric tons in 2016.JBS responded by claiming its total emissions in 2020 were a mere 6.8 million metric tons, but then acknowledged that its figures don't account for animals in the company's supply chain.''Their model does a good job of accurately capturing most of the supply chain impacts that they're describing here as Scope 3,'' Matthew Hayek, an environmental science professor at NYU, told the Financial Times. ''Emissions from animals certainly should be considered a part of any agrifood company's supply chain.''
Is that Kosher? On a related note, here's one meat company that won't have to deal with animal emissions. Upside Foods, a private company developing lab-grown meat by cultivating animal cells in a lab, raised $400 million on Thursday. The startup said it expects to soon sell ''chicken'' in the US, pending regulatory approval (see what Richard Branson thought of the taste here) . Rabbis, meanwhile, are debating whether lab-grown pork, which is also in development, could be considered kosher.
Georgia Declares a State of Emergency Over Supply Chain Shortages
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:08
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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper's Guide to Post-Disaster Communications. Things have apparently gotten so bad in Georgia that the governor has now declared that the state is living under a state of emergency due to supply chain shortages.
Republican Brian Kemp decreed this executive order on April 14, stating that covid was the reason for all economic distress and supply chain issues within the state of Georgia. Kemp locked down Georgia at the beginning of 2020, and Georgians received another notification in November 2020 that they would be locked down again for another two months .
The unconstitutional lockdowns aren't mentioned within the executive order as being the cause of the economic woes of the people of Georgia.
Does Kemp now have unlimited powers? From the wording of his executive order, it appears so.
As he cites within the order, Code Section 38-3-28 says that ''all orders, rules, and regulations promulgated by the Governor'' have the force and effect of law. This gives the appearance that Georgia is no longer ruled by law but instead by decree.
The order cites Code Section 38-3-51, saying that Kemp now gets to ''assume direct operational control of all civil forces and helpers in the state'' and that he can do whatever is ''necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.''
At the moment, do the three branches of government exist within the state of Georgia? From the wording of this executive order, it appears as if t here is the executive branch, and that is it.
Price gouging is now considered to be illegal. No specific rate of markup is defined to delineate what exactly price gouging is. I suppose that this is left up to the discretion of whoever shows up to enforce this new order? Will the shop owner have to prove how much he paid for an item to avoid being fined and/or being sent to jail? Will shop owners be forced to accept lower profit margins than they are used to in order to avoid being labeled a price gouger? What will this do for businesses?
To help with the supply chain problems, it was apparently thought that there needed to be longer hours for truckers. Part 395 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations '' the part that dictates how many hours a semi-truck driver can operate his rig has now been removed from Georgia as well. A clause was added to explicitly state that no carrier could force any of their truck drivers to work when they were either ill or fatigued as well.
At the very bottom of this executive order, Kemp added that if any part of the order is found to be ''in violation of the Georgia Constitution, in violation of Georgia law, or unenforceable in any respect, such invalidity, violation, or unenforceability shall not affect any other provisions of this Order, but, in such case, this Order shall be construed as if such invalid, illegal, or unenforceable provision had never been contained within the Order.''
As things stand, this state of emergency is slated to last for the next 30 days unless things magically get better in Georgia before then, in which case, the order will be lifted early.
The full executive order can be read HERE .
(Sounds like a good time to read our free QUICKSTART Guide to emergency evacuations, if you ask me.)
This is likely the first domino to fall. There is no reason to believe that there won't be more states to make similar proclamations in the near future. There's no reason to believe that just by extending the number of hours that a trucker can drive that there will be an easing of the supply chain issues within Georgia within the next 30 days either.
The current supply chain issues are multi-factorial, and there's no reason to believe that squeezing three to five extra hours per week will just cause things to get better. If there's no product, to begin with, there's nothing to ship.
Let Georgia serve as the canary in the coal mine for you. Being in the middle of the South, Georgia is typically considered to be a relatively conservative area (minus the city of Atlanta). If the governor there is willing to give an executive order that appears to drastically expand his powers and seemingly shutter the other branches of government, what could happen in your state?
If supply chain problems can lead to a state of emergency being declared that dictates how much you can charge for an item, how long will it be before further measures are taken in Georgia? Once it is realized that extended trucker hours don't help when inflation has wrecked the economy, what next steps will be taken to ''solve'' the crisis? Will confiscation of privately-owned food from ''hoarders'' be used to fight the crisis? Will further powers be granted to Georgia's governor? Perhaps gas rations will come into place? What do you expect to see?
Whatever comes next, I can tell you one thing: I don't think you're going to like it.
(I mean, I like cream cheese as much as the next guy, but drafting an entire executive order for supply chain issues? It just seems a bit excessive to me.)
About Aden Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has three published books, The Faithful Prepper , The Prepper's Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices . You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers' Broadcasting Network.
Scary.
anytime the government gets involved, they make it worse'.... everytime.
As someone from south Carolina & only an hour from the state line with family much closer to GA & in GA this is something I have been and will continue to follow closely
Power mad Uniparty RinoPeople get what they deserve/vote for
Voting for sometime has been a farce, since both parties are corrupt to the core. There are not enough people in the sytem to stop corruption or have integrity to fix anything, incl Trump. There is no accountability as politicians are bought off to follow globalist agendas.
Did you watch the2000Mules Trailer?annetteWe Did not get what we voted for or who we voted for!
Kemp will have to sanction the WEF and White House to have any real effect, this statewide mandate is about controlling the denizens that live in Atlanta'...
Trudeau did it in Canada so that he could use force against peaceful protesters. And the first order of business was to freeze the bank accounts of anybody that donated to the protest. He actually gave the banks the power to seize accounts that they determined had ''suspicious'' activity, and decreed that they couldn't be held legally liable for their actions. The only thing that reversed his decision was the fact that it caused a mini-run on the banks.
Call it a test run if you like. Georgia will probably be your test run. If he is allowed to do it, expect other governors, especially in blue states, to follow suit. They've had their taste of absolute power thanks to Covid, and now they want more. If you can declare a state of emergency over supply chain issues, you have now lowered the bar for what constitutes an ''emergency'', and from this point forward you can pretty much declare one and take control whenever you want '' or whenever something happens that you don't like.
Spot on.
So, who decides what fuel price is ''gouging'' or not? Enacting arbitrary price controls on goods and services will further shortages, as you are overriding market economics. Is that the governor's intent?
''who decides what fuel price is 'gouging' or not?''
you misunderstand. whoever is working for the ones behind all this will be deemed legitimate no matter what they charge, and anyone who is not working for the ones behind all this will be deemed to be ''gouging'' no matter what they charge.
What are you talking about? I live in Georgia and don't remember the first two lockdowns you mentioned or this latest executive order. We've never worn masks or even self-distanced. We still have idiots wearing face-diapers and getting clot shots but the majority of us just ignore them and await their death or injury from the bioweapon injection. Kemp as well as our two communist senators disgust us but play no part in our daily lives. We just passed and signed into law constitutional carry and most of us are armed to the teeth. I would rather live in rural Georgia than most other states. Atlanta is a hell hole which we avoid as if it were NY, commiefornia or the Nazi republic of Illinois. America is over and soon to become a banana republic but until then we prefer our once great state over any other.
I like your attitude: if you get knocked down, you will get up again!
You are right that most of Georgia never really locked down, at least outside of the larger cities. The government probably did order lockdowns, but we just ignored this and did not comply. Our rural schools, churches, and restaurants have mostly stayed open, at least outside the urban areas, and we have not been as affected by the lockdowns as have a lot of the states. Most rural Georgians refuse to be vaccinated and have not given in to the mask wearing craze. A lot of us had mild covid and recovered within a week, without the immune system ruining vaccines. We are well armed as you stated, and we resist any government mandates. We do have inflation and supply chain problems, many stemming from people not wanting to work in warehouses or in trucking. For those of us who are prepared, those problems are an inconvenience but not a dire emergency. We rural people are supplying a lot of our own food and helping our neighbors do the same.
Alabama agrees. Y'all want a war? Bring it.
I live in the North GA mtns and like 99% of rural Georgians wish the great cesspool (Atlanta) would just disappear (Sherman where are you when we need you), maybe Putin will help us out. Kemp's EO is directed at the sewer cities of Atlanta, Columbus, Maconga, Albany and Augusta which, due to the demographics, will become even bigger war zones if there is a food crisis and that wouldn't bother me in the least.
My niece lives near Atlanta and apparently it's a totally different story around there. Kinda like I live in IL but nowhere near Chicago (thank goodness) but they ruin it for the whole state.
I live in the state just South of Georgia, the Free-State of Florida. The thought of a mostly conservative state like Georgia doing a SOE is very scary and something every state need to keep an eye on. I'm surprised Marxist-run states haven't already done SOEs.
I lived in GA during the lockdowns, I must say Kemp and the mayor of Atlanta had different ideas and GA was kept freer than what I heard was happening in other states. We only wore masks if a store required it and sometimes we just walked right on in and nothing was ever said. No one chased us down. I moved away in February so will have to ask local friends what their take is on this state of emergency. Two things comes to mind, homicides in Atlanta have gone up 60% since this show started and well, whenever there is a hint of snow/ice in the forecast, people panic. The grocery store shelves are wiped clean. Is this a way to warn people without actually coming out and saying that the shortages are getting really dicey? Saw a video the other day where an ex-CEO of Google said if food production stopped there was only 90 days of food for the entire world in the system. This is where we are at it seems.
'Saw a video the other day where an ex-CEO of Google said if food production stopped there was only 90 days of food for the entire world in the system.''
in every consideration of grid down, the single biggest active problem is how to deal with all the people who cannot be saved but who will try to save themselves. if the video is true this puts the first delimiter on that issue that I've seen anywhere.
I have another question for you. I live in the Savannah GA area and if there is a supply chain issue and shortages and all that, why are they steadily building warehouses? Huge warehouses, like 1M sq ft and bigger. I have been asking this question for a few months, but keep getting told that ''they'' need places to store stuff. What stuff?
Sandra, see if you can find out more about those facilities and pass the information along. If there is any government involvement, either local, county, or state, you can file a freedom of information act request under your state's laws to request information. Every one of the 50 states has an equivalent of the FOIA act. Use it. I do.
''keep getting told that 'they' need places to store stuff. What stuff?''
easy. stuff that's for ''them'', not you.
''Will confiscation of privately-owned food from ''hoarders'' be used to fight the crisis?''
yes, though by the time it comes to this they'll be unable to enforce it officially. you might then see ''purge'' laws legalizing private theft '' already see that in california with shoplifting less than $1000 being decriminalized, probably see it applied generally.
''Perhaps gas rations will come into place?''
more likely price controls. they always work temporarily.
Private theft could be stopped by store owners using a good shotgun backed up by an AR-15. But some states don't allow those tools to be used in businesses! You should see the large numbers of the store owners in communities near my location that have pistols strapped to their hips and a shotgun behind the counter.We may indeed see gas rationing and laws against hoarding, but there are ways around those potential problems.
''But some states don't allow those tools to be used in businesses!''
''some states'' covers about .9 of the population. and if their goods for sale are subject to sanctioned theft, the shippers will stop shipping the goods '' and that means you won't get them either, unless you pay 10x, and maybe not even then.
I live in a very rural area in West Central Georgia. Kemp is a globalist who has gotten money from China by adding hundreds of Chinese students to the University of Georgia and getting investments into Atlanta. He is up for re-election and may not make it through the May 28 primary, as he is not really liked by conservative rural people. He was only elected as the lesser of two evils, to keep dangerous Stacy Abrams from becoming governor. That said, this new executive order is a ploy to give the impression that he is doing something to help Georgians cope with inflation, as well as giving himself a more powerful position to influence the Republican Primary. Outside of the six county Atlanta area, controlled by Democrats, most Georgians are relatively poor and over a third of the people depend upon the Government for their sustenance.While a lot of people in the very rural areas are more prepared and produce a portion of their own food, most of the inhabitants of the small towns and cities are poorly prepared. The majority of the Georgia population probably has no more than a few days-supply of food, very little stored water, and is deeply affected by supply chain problems. The Democrats are promising to improve everyone's lives by better managing the economy, so it seems that this measure by Kemp is intended to blunt their attempts to get small town Georgians to vote for Abrams in November. The few neighbors that I have, scattered along a several of miles of rural road, mostly seem to be increasing their agricultural outputs, raising more livestock, and preserving more food. The people along this rural backroad are also well armed with plenty of ammo to protect their stockpiles of food, their livestock, and their families. We are also working more closely together to better enable us to weather the economic and social collapse that seems to be upon us.
Fr. Bob, and other Georgia posters,Thank you for your comments.I do find it interesting the differences between what you are commenting on in the urban areas and your personal experiences outside those areas.
''The few neighbors that I have, scattered along a several of miles of rural road, mostly seem to be increasing their agricultural outputs, raising more livestock, and preserving more food.''
in the past farmers everywhere did this entirely on their own, but in the last century they have become dependent on outside supplies to provide the tools and materials to do this '' fuel, lumber, fertilizer, feed, pesticides, tools, etc. can you viably function alone with no outside input?
Perhaps it is time for outsiders to help them.
'' can you viably function alone with no outside input?''
Without hesitation, yes.
patrols to deal with bandits, manual crop recovery and food storage year by year, cobbler, some level of medical care, space and forage for adequate work animals, leather working to replace worn out equipment, fiber crops for clothing '' you've got all that covered? I'm impressed.
Why would I need fiber crops when I have wool, can brain tan leather and have bolts of denim, fleece, linen and flannel?
~Jim,Runt7 is a perfect example of the lack of outside of the box thinking. Comes from lack of real world experience.As preppers, based off your posts, you have thought through the problem and adjusted accordingly. While current events seem distant, we are seeing a serious change in the global economy in which, as I previously mention, second and third order effects can and are currently impacting each and every single one of us. Some were in denial about this, until they went to fill up at the pump, or looked at their grocery bill.I am seeing message traffic of companies re-thinking long logistical trains and considering near-shoring or on-shoring of their manufacturing facilities. It is not lost on me Intel is opening a semi-conductor facility in Columbus OH.Some countries (e.g. Hungry) are also rethinking their dependency on food imports.Other countries assumed that the JIT/BAU paradigm would continue on and on, as many did, and import cheap food forever. That system is coming to an end. Unfortunately, 45 countries that are dependent on the Ukraine and Russian wheat and other food commodities are going to feel it in their citizens going hungry or worse.Another trend I am seeing is farmers looking for alternatives to fertilizer. Some are looking to the pre-modern agriculture practices. Note: Gene Logsgon (RIP) wrote a book called Holy Sh!t: Managing Manure to Save Mankind. If you dont have it, I highly recommend it.Some have posit we are seeing the end of globalism. Time will tell. As preppers, we need to look back to the past for possible solutions, and stop thinking globally. Think locally.
It would be difficult to function without the outside products that you mention, but a lot of us could do so by working together and sharing resources within a small community. It would not be easy, and it would not be something that any of us want to see happen, but some of us are preparing to try to make it. What is the alternative? Do we give up? No, we may not have a good solution but at least a few of us working together (maybe only two dozen households in our case) are going to do the best we can and hope that our preparations help us to survive. Trying to survive without some sort of community might be impossible. That is why some of us are stockpiling fertilizer, tools, and other supplies, in addition to stored foods. That is why my neighbors are growing corn for cattle feed and others are raising cattle. That is why a couple of us are putting in greenhouses and plowing each other's gardens. That is why we are cooperating in firearms training, and why one neighbor has opened a small engine repair shop. Those things are taking place in a very small section, along a few miles of rural roadway, but I believe they are also happening in other rural communities as well.
Spot on.
Fr. Bob,Well said, sir!
excellent.
''stockpiling fertilizer''
growing alfalfa replenishes soil nitrogen.
just remember that if you succeed, that will make you a target.
Happy False-Flag Day. Makes me wonder what the globalists have in store for the day.
Although it may be somewhat troubling that an executive order was used to do this blame the dysfunctional state houses and congress and the political parties for not addressing problems and offering solutions. True Leaders actually lead and do something, not just talk about it.
As for extending truckers hours not stopping the supply problems, you are right it won't fix it, but it is a start. It is better to do something rather than nothing.
If a person is hungry. one small meal will not fix their hunger forever, but it is a good start and it should be well appreciated, rather than being derided as not being enough.
NO!! ''doing something'' is NOT better than nothing! That is what is happening all over the world today! ''Something'' is being done and this knee-jerk, un-thought outness is what is killing us! No one stops & considers the consequences of these decisions'... they ''do something'' and release more hell into our lives when the consequences of these decisions follow! Hence, covid and all it brought. They were ''doing something''.
. . .if there's no cream cheese, won't there still be 'gov'mint cheese'?
they can't give you anything they don't take from someone else first.
Living just a stones throw from south Georgia, this scares me. Very much. More and more I feel that our government has decided that freedom is the enemy. Reminds me of the CCP drones outside the windows of highrises, loudspeakers going ''Control your souls desire for freedom!''
Basic civil rights, enumerated by the constitution, gone at the whim of one person who has an agenda. We have moved into that dystopian culture Orwell predicted. I wish I believed we can stop this. I'm typing to remain hopeful.
''I wish I believed we can stop this''
do you mean you think you can't, or that you're unwilling to pay the cost?
Do you even read your own sources? The November 2020 lock-down article was for the NATION of Georgia, not the STATE of Georgia. Kemp lifted the lock-down after a month, to much criticism. Florida was in lock-down longer than us. As to the lock-down, there were so many exempted businesses that it was hardly a lock-down at all. For me, the kids staying home from school and less traffic on my daily commute was all I noticed of it.
Could the Governor of GA, already knows about or anticipates some future catastrophe that is definitely or 'likely' to happen in or around the next 30 days or so? So, he wants to get ahead of this 'happening' and have circumstances, people, law enforcement, and so forth, in place ahead of time to manage the situation?
as the national systems fail, some states will attempt their own actions to stand independently, sure. though how focusing on trucking would advance that is not clear.
But also look at it this way. We've been spoiled rotten; what with this woke, multi-fluid-gender, faux social-justice crap. Nature knows what it's doing and this predictable great hardship is her way of forcing us to reset our priorities. And that's good for all. I mean, if you're concerned about your starving kids wearing Covid masks, you're insane!
Kemp is a wanna be dictator. He certified the election results for Joe Bi-Dung. Paid by China. Good Luck with whatever you have planned, vermin!
Testing the waters by seeing how much you are willing to give up for, yes, cream cheese.
No state of emergency here but at the local building supply there is no plywood or OSB to be had'...'.....and they re not able to re-supply for some weeks.Grocery store has adequate food, but limited choices.
I'm curious'.....what items are unavailable or in limited supply due to 'ongoing severe disruptions to the State's supply chain and economy' as stated on Page 2 of Kemp's EO?
Or is it as has been noted in an earlier posting in this thread '' is a supply disruption and shortage of certain items going to occur in the relatively near future, and the State is preparing because they know what these items are?
There are going to be big-time shortages over the next few months. The globalists have locked down much of China and are preparing another ''variation of Covid'' for the rest of the world. They are using the ''Bird Flu'' and the Ukraine War to further limit the food supply and change the world economy. I am advising people to buy what you might need over the next year now, to stockpile as much food and other supplies as can be afforded, and to stock up on any fertilizer and building supplies that can be found at an affordable price. I am telling people to fill the freezers, start a seed bank, enlarge gardens, and start working with neighbors to build stronger cooperative relationships.
Nursing homes are having supply chain issues with certain medical supplies needed for the immediate treatment of their residents. The problem is nationwide, their suppliers cannot obtain certain medications which are on backorder. I know this from personal experience.
Sounds like a chapter out of the History of Bolshevism.
Witmer in MI tried this same thing, but was beaten back, at least for now. Keep up the good fight.
Kemp is facing re-election in November. Trump has endorsed his opponent. I seems to me that Kemp taking this unwarranted action will further hurt his chances at re-election. Nothing in his emergency action that I can see solves anything about shortages. So, whats up? Just another little tyrant assuming authority that is unwarranted, effectively impotent at solving any problems, and vague enough that any state bureaucrat potentially can enforce however they please. Sad day for Georgia.
The answer is'.... he's ''doing something''. He'll point to his little charade and the idiots who never think through anything will nod their heads in unison and smile.
As a Georgia resident, I can say that Kemp has done a pretty ok job throughout the plannedemic. Indeed, he didn't do enough to keep Stacey Abrams and Biden from stealing the 2020 presidential and 2021 Senate contests in the state (and for that alone he should be condemned forever along with Raffensperger), but he imposed no mask mandates and whatever ''lockdowns'' you are talking about went unnoticed by my family. He was actually begged by Atlanta businesses to step in and stop the insanity imposed by the Atlanta mayor, and he did to the extent possible. He recently signed Constitutional Carry law in the state, and has generally worked to make things better. The GA legislature only meets for 45 active days a year. Those are passed. From what I read in this executive order, he is giving himself leeway to step in and ease barriers if they show up. I'm a libertarian, so my preference would be for no government whatsoever, and I absolutely am appalled by any individual claiming dictatorial powers for any reason. I am also against any and ALL price controls, ''gouging'' restrictions, etc. Prices are the ONLY signal to the market that more supply or less supply is needed. Capping prices will only mean that short supplies will NEVER be addressed by anyone any distance away. Indeed it is a thing to watch, and sets a bad precedent for the petty dictators throughout the nation. But as a Georgian that has watched Kemp's other actions, I am not seriously worried. Now if Stacey Abrams was governor, I'd already be packing up the car.
''Will shop owners be forced to accept lower profit margins than they are used to in order to avoid being labeled a price gouger? What will this do for businesses?'' When this question came up in Venezuela, in regard as to how basic necessities could be put within reach of the multitudes of eating-out-of-trash-cans-poor, Maduro put a ceiling on profits for certain items. Not everything, and not no profit, just a small profit on some items. The rich Capitalists responded by with holding everything, to force the People to elect a government that would allow them to charge what they want. 8 million trash scavengers and beggars walked across the border to more affluent Colombia. WIN for Maduro, now they're Colombia's problem. WIN for Capitalist Colombia, point finger at Failure of Socialism, lower price of labor for Capitalist Employers. And here they are, can't go in the center of town after dark without being robbed, begging at all the intersections, digging through trash cans'... better pickings, one supposes. When the Rich of Georgia with hold goods in protest, where will Georgians go? Alabama? North Carolina? Will low laying Florida sink under their combined weight?
Exclusive: France and Germany evaded arms embargo to sell weapons to Russia
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:04
France and Germany armed Russia with '‚¬273 million (£230 million) of military hardware now likely being used in Ukraine, an EU analysis shared with The Telegraph has revealed.
They sent equipment, which included bombs, rockets, missiles and guns, to Moscow despite an EU-wide embargo on arms shipments to Russia, introduced in the wake of its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The European Commission was this month forced to close a loophole in its blockade after it was found that at least 10 member states exported almost '‚¬350 million (£294 million) in hardware to Vladimir Putin's regime. Some 78 per cent of that total was supplied by German and French firms.
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, has faced fierce criticism this week for his reluctance to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron's efforts to negotiate with Putin have seen the French president accused of appeasement.
Both Paris and Berlin have resisted an EU ban on buying gas from Russia, with the bloc currently paying Moscow '‚¬1 billion (£840 million) per day for energy supplies.
The EU report emerged as a top Russian commander said Moscow had expanded its goals to take ''full control'' of southern Ukraine, as well as the eastern Donbas region.
Russian forces would create a land bridge to Crimea and could push as far as the border of Moldova, said Major General Rustam Minnekayev, the deputy commander of the Russian central military district.
In New Delhi, Boris Johnson on Friday warned that Russia could still win the war, announcing plans to send British tanks to Poland so that Ukraine could receive Warsaw's Soviet-era T-72 models.
Asked if Russia could win the war in Ukraine, the Prime Minister conceded it was a ''realistic possibility'' and that Moscow was very close to seizing Mariupol.
On Friday, Putin told Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, that the marines holed up in the city's Azovstal steel plant would be allowed to live if they surrendered.
Meanwhile, Mr Scholz pointed to the threat of nuclear war as he sought to answer critics over Berlin's reluctance to provide Ukraine with high-powered arms.
Criticism increased when it emerged that German firms had used a loophole in an EU embargo on arms exports to Russia, making sales worth '‚¬121 million (£107 million) of ''dual-use'' equipment, including rifles and special protection vehicles, to Moscow.
Berlin defended its use of an ambiguity within the EU's 2014 arms blockade, insisting that the goods were sold only after the Kremlin guaranteed they were for civilian use, rather than military application.
''If there were indications of any kind of military use, the export licenses were not granted,'' a spokesman for the country's economy ministry added.
France was also found to have been responsible for sending shipments worth '‚¬152 million (£128 million) to Russia, as part of 76 export licences. Paris allowed exporters to fulfil contracts agreed before 2014, using a backdoor technicality in the EU embargo.
Alongside bombs, rockets and torpedoes, French firms sent thermal imaging cameras for more than 1,000 Russian tanks as well as navigation systems for fighter jets and attack helicopters.
Since the start of the invasion on Feb 24, the EU has introduced further restrictions on the export of dual-use items to Moscow, closing the loophole.
However, it took the bloc until its fifth package of sanctions, described as the most draconian ever introduced by Brussels, until the exemption on previously agreed arms sales to Russia was scrapped.
The French government did not comment on its use of the exemption, but has previously defended the ''grandfather'' clause.
The loophole, eventually closed on April 8, was only shut after mounting protests from Baltic and eastern member states.
Envoys from Poland and Lithuania ensured the text of the original 2014 arms embargo was amended when it emerged weapons were still pouring into Russia.
According to European Commission data, EU countries last year sold Russia weapons and ammunition worth '‚¬39 million (£33 million) as the Kremlin prepared for its invasion of Ukraine.
Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence committee, said that all Nato member states should have to declare they are not sending arms to Russia at the Madrid summit in June.
''If we agree Russia now presents an existential threat to European security, then there is no excuse for any European country to continue supplying Russia arms,'' he said.
Admiral Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord, said: ''Using loopholes to avoid the EU arms embargo of Russia post the Crimean invasion is effectively a crime and breathtakingly stupid.''
A senior EU source added: ''It's time for France and Germany to wake up and get real.''
Cristian Terhes, the Romanian MEP who shared the EU analysis, said: ''While Ukraine is desperately crying out for weapons to defend itself from Putin's invasion, Germany and France are silent, but were happy enough to quietly and disgracefully sell their wares to Moscow.''
The EU report followed probes last month into Europe's worst offenders for weapons exports to Russia by Disclose and Investigate Europe, two investigative news websites.
As well as Germany and France, Italy was responsible for sending arms worth '‚¬22.5 million (£19 million) to Moscow after the EU embargo was imposed, while Britain made sales of '‚¬2.4 million (£2 million).
Austria, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic exported '‚¬49.3 million (£41 million) between them in arms to Russia between 2015 and 2022.
Wikipedia deletes entry for Hunter Biden firm Rosemont Seneca Partners
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:00
Wikipedia removed an article on Hunter Biden's investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesWikipedia editors removed the entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners earlier this week on the ground that it was ''not notable,'' archived comments from its Talk Page reveal.
The deletion happened Wednesday. The investment company co-founded by Hunter Biden has been at the heart of numerous questions surrounding his overseas business dealings.
''This organization is only mentioned in connection with its famous founders, Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz,'' said a Wiki editor identified only as Alex who additionally warned that ''keeping it around'' ran the risk of the page becoming ''a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.''
Arguments to merge the story with Hunter Biden's official wikipedia page were also overruled.
The brief article was thin on details and in bad need of an overhaul, but did provide information about the company's founding by Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Chris Heinz.
Devon Archer founded Rosemont Seneca Partners with Biden and Chris Heinz. Alec Tabak for NY PostWikipedia has tilted so far left in recent years that its co-founder Larry Sanger now says the site can not longer be trusted and has become ''propaganda.''
''There's a very big, nasty, complex game being played behind the scenes to make the article say what somebody wants them to say,'' Sanger said last year.
Activist editors on the site have long tried to delete an entry for 'Mass killings under communist regimes' '-- though for now it remains online.
The original entry for Rosemont Seneca Partners in Wikipedia. Wikipedia A Wikipedia editor claimed the article is could be ''a magnet for conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.'' WikipediaCritics said the Rosemont decision showed a double standard.
''If a Trump-linked company had its Wikipedia page wiped or one from the Russia probe, it's more than a safe bet to say that CNN would be dedicating multiple reporters to following the internet trail,'' said Curtis Houck, Managing Editor of the Media Research Center told The Post.
Russian Airlines Told To Prepare For World Without GPS | ZeroHedge
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:53
Russia's air traffic regulator sent a warning to airlines about potential upcoming flights without using the American Global Positioning System (GPS).
Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Friday that a letter from the Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA) instructed national airlines to be aware of "GPS failures, degradations, and abnormal performance."
Areas prone to "jamming" of GPS signals and spoofing attacks include Russia's western enclave, the Kaliningrad region, over the Black Sea, east of Finland, and the Mediterranean.
The letter said FATA would assist aircraft crews when GPS signals are disrupted or turned off.
Pilots are advised to immediately inform air traffic controllers of "glitches, degradation and abnormal performance of GPS" or related avionics. Carriers need to assess the risks and limitations associated with failures of navigation instruments and on-board systems using the GPS signal, and conduct additional exercises with flight crews to practice actions in the event of failures in the operation of satellite navigation systems. - Izvestia
The letter said aircraft crews must be prepared to perform take-off and landings without GPS and rely on backup air navigation aids.
Izvestia outlined: "Experts believe that the recommendation to prepare does not mean a ban on the use of GPS."
Several Russian carriers, including Aeroflot and S7, have received FATA's letter. So far, they've yet to encounter GPS issues since the invasion of Ukraine.
In mid-March, Dmitry Rogozin, the director-general of Roscosmos and former deputy prime minister of Russia, said the US considered disconnecting Russia from the GPS. He noted that it would be very challenging for the US to do so.
FATA's warning comes after the European Union Aviation Safety Agency warned about increased GPS jamming and spoofing incidents following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Since Western sanctions are pushing Russia closer to China as a multi-polar world emerges, perhaps, if the US decides to kick Russian commercial jets off GPS, they could gravitate to a Chinese version.
Oil From U.S. Strategic Reserve Heads for Europe Amid Global Supply Crunch - Bloomberg
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:36
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CFOs On the Move: Week Ending April 14
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:31
John Rainey
Walmart hired John Rainey as the retail giant's new finance chief, effective June 6. Rainey works at PayPal, where he is CFO and executive vice president of global customer operations. Before PayPal, Rainey was CFO at United Airlines and spent a combined 18 years between United and Continental Airlines. He is also on Nasdaq's board of directors, where he is a member of the audit committee and chair of the finance committee. Rainey replaces long-time CFO Brett Biggs, who will stay as an adviser until he leaves the company January 31.
Jorge Gomez
Moderna appointed Jorge Gomez as the biotechnology company's new chief financial officer, effective May 9. Gomez most recently worked at dental equipment manufacturer Dentsply Sirona, where he has been chief financial officer since August 2019. Before that, he spent 13 years at Cardinal Health, most recently serving as CFO. Before becoming CFO, he held several other positions, including medical segment CFO, pharmaceutical segment CFO, corporate treasurer, and corporate controller. Gomez worked at General Motors earlier in his career. Current Moderna CFO David Meline is retiring and will remain with the company as a consultant.
David Denton will take over as finance chief at Pfizer on May 2. Denton joins the drugmaker from home improvement chain Lowe's, where he has been CFO since 2018. Before that, he was CFO of CVS Health, where he played a role in CVS's acquisition of Aetna. Before becoming CFO at CVS, he held several leadership roles, including senior vice president and controller/chief accounting officer. Denton succeeds Frank D'Amelio, who is retiring after 15-years as Pfizer's CFO.
Brandon Sink
Lowe's promoted Brandon Sink to chief financial officer, replacing outgoing CFO David Denton. Sink, who is currently senior vice president of retail finance, joined the company in 2010 and has held several positions in the finance organization, including vice president of merchandising finance and vice president of enterprise strategy. Before joining Lowe's, he held accounting and finance positions with Deloitte and Nucor.
Rukmini Sivaraman
Cloud software provider Nutanix promoted Rukmini Sivaraman as CFO, effective May 1. Sivaraman joined the company in 2017 and is currently senior vice president of financial planning and analysis. During her time at the company, she has been chief people officer and senior vice president of people and business operations. Sivaraman previously spent eight years as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. She replaces Duston Williams, who is leaving to become CFO of a pre-IPO company.
Samuel Chong has been appointed CFO of Hyzon Motors. Most recently, Chong was treasurer and head of investor relations at energy storage technology and services provider Fluence Energy. Previously, he was the treasurer of in-flight internet provider Gogo. At Gogo, Chong helped to lead a series of debt refinancing and strategic initiatives. Chong replaces Mark Gordon, who has been CFO since August 2020.
Kristine Newman
Construction company McCarthy Holdings promoted Kristine Newman to chief financial officer. Newman joined the company in 2005 as controller for the builder's Southwest region and was previously vice president of finance and senior vice president of finance. In 2019, she took over as executive vice president of finance and became a member of McCarthy's enterprise leadership team. Newman began her career with Arthur Andersen, where she worked on audit and consulting engagements. Newman replaces Doug Audiffred, who is retiring.
Notarize hired Kartik Ramachandran as its first chief financial officer. Before joining the online notarization company Ramachandran held several CFO and executive leadership positions, including deputy CFO at Splunk, president of Asia Pacific and CFO international at Groupon, vice president of finance at Activision Blizzard, and CFO and chief operating officer at Xome. He started his career as a management consultant at Accenture.
Roberto Simon
Nexthink, a digital employee experience management software provider, named Roberto Simon as finance chief. Simon's previous CFO experience includes six years at B2B payments company WEX as well as three years at professional beauty company The Colomer Group. At The Colomer Group, Roberto supported the acquisition by cosmetics company Revlon. After the sale, Roberto went on to become Revlon's finance chief.
Sergio Cervantes
Grove Collaborative hired Sergio Cervantes as its new CFO. Cervantes' finance experience in global consumer products includes 18 years with Unilever and four years at Gillette. For the past six years, Cervantes has been CFO of Murad, a high-end skin-care brand acquired by Unilever in 2015. At Murad, Cervantes led the post-acquisition integration into Unilever's beauty and personal care prestige division. In June 2021, Cervantes took on the additional role of acting CEO of Murad. Cervantes replaces interim co-CFOs Phil Moon and Janae De Crescenzo, who will continue with the household and personal care product company as vice president of finance and chief accounting officer, respectively.
Biden planning Global COVID Summit to 'vaccinate the world'
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:08
President Joe Biden receives a briefing from infectious diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, at the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)
Despite the failure of the COVID-19 vaccines to stop infection and transmission of the virus mid alarming safety signals, President Biden is calling on the world's political and private sector leaders to meet for a second COVID "summit" to "make new commitments and bring solutions to vaccinate the world."
The White House said in a statement Monday that the second second Global COVID-19 Summit will be held virtually May 12.
"The Summit will redouble our collective efforts to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future health threats."
The U.S., as the chair of the first summit last September, is co-hosting the upcoming meeting with Belize, as CARICOM (Caribbean Community) chair; Germany, holding the G7 presidency; Indonesia, holding the G20 presidency; and Senegal as African Union chair.
TRENDING: The left's panic over the end of the mask mandates
The summit, the White House said, will "redouble our collective efforts to end the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future health threats."
The hosts "are calling on world leaders, members of civil society, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists, and the private sector to make new commitments and bring solutions to vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build better health security '-- for everyone, everywhere."
The White House said the summit, among other "commitments," will emphasize "getting shots into arms" and "deploying tests and treatments, especially for the highest-risk populations."
Meanwhile, CDC and U.K. government data have indicated that the COVID-19 vaccines not only are ineffective in preventing cases and transmission, they rapidly lose protection against severe illness or death while posing risks.
Is Biden pushing COVID vaccines so more people can be harmed?
99% (370 Votes)
1% (2 Votes)
A newly published long-term study by the prestigious British journal The Lancet that followed up on participants in the Moderna and Pfizer trials found the vaccines had no effect on overall mortality.
Last month, a former adviser to the FDA commissioner who continues to serve in an oversight role said the agency is ignoring its requirement to disclose clear safety and efficacy problems with the COVID-19 vaccines. Also in March, an Army flight surgeon testified in federal court that she was ordered by high-level command not to discuss the controversy over Department of Defense data indicating a massive spike in serious injuries and illnesses among military personnel when the vaccines were rolled out in 2021. And, among many other safety signals, an analysis of CDC data by a former Wall Street executive an an insurance industry expert shows an alarming rise in excess deaths among Millennials over the past year amid the COVID vaccine rollout.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration released a briefing document that says the composition of the current COVID-19 vaccines might need to be changed to ensure high levels of protection.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Last year, America's doctors, nurses and paramedics were celebrated as frontline heroes battling a fearsome new pandemic. Today, under Joe Biden, tens of thousands of these same heroes are denounced as rebels, conspiracy theorists, extremists and potential terrorists. Along with massive numbers of police, firemen, Border Patrol agents, Navy SEALs, pilots, air-traffic controllers, and countless other truly essential Americans, they're all considered so dangerous as to merit termination, their professional and personal lives turned upside down due to their decision not to be injected with the experimental COVID vaccines. Biden's tyrannical mandate threatens to cripple American society '' from law enforcement to airlines to commercial supply chains to hospitals. It's already happening. But the good news is that huge numbers of "yesterday's heroes" are now fighting back '' bravely and boldly. The whole epic showdown is laid out as never before in the sensational October issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "THE GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION: 'We will not comply!' COVID-19 power grab ignites bold new era of national defiance."
Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] .
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Food Plant Explosions Headline The Latest "Informed Consent" LiveCast | Peak Prosperity
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:04
By Peak Team
Thursday, April 21st, 2022
Original ContentBy Peak Team on
Thursday, April 21st, 2022
Explosions, accidents and cyberattacks at multiple food plants are adding yet another layer of uncertainty to the global food supply. With the farms of Europe's ''breadbasket'' (Ukraine) decimated by war, and fertilizer shortages impacting farmers worldwide, this latest news only clarifies the harsh reality that food shortages and famines may be closer than we ever imagined.
And then there is the ''othering'' that continues to divide so many people. Add to the bad news that governments, corporations, oligarchs and bureaucrats are creating more policies and pushing for more outcomes pointing us down a perilous road, you can't miss this video. Can we survive and thrive?
This LiveCast aired live April 21, watch the full video below.
Watch the video
'' Peak Prosperity ''
Kramatorsk train station attack: The key to finding the perpetrator lies in this overlooked detail '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 08:55
Kiev and its Western backers immediately blamed Russia for the incident, but a proper investigation is likely to disagree
In a conflict where accusations of wrongdoing fly back and forth between Russia and Ukraine on a daily basis, when it comes to the missile attack on the Kramatorsk train station that occurred at 10:30am on April 8, 2022, both sides are in rare agreement '' the missile used was a Tochka-U, a Soviet-era weapon known in the West by its NATO reporting name as the SS-21 Scarab, and in the former Soviet republics that use the weapon by its GRAU designation, 9K79.
Beyond that one technical piece of information, however, any semblance of unanimity regarding the narrative surrounding how that missile came to strike a bustling railway station, killing and wounding dozens of civilians desperately trying to evacuate from eastern Ukraine in anticipation of a large-scale Russian offensive, collapses, with each side blaming the other. Making this tragedy even more bizarre, the Russian words Za Detei '' ''for the children'' '' had been hand-painted on the missile in white.
The Tochka made its appearance in the Soviet military in 1975. A single-stage, solid-fuel tactical ballistic missile, the Tochka was assembled at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant before being delivered to the Soviet Army, where it was further disseminated to the various units equipped with the system. An improved version of the Tochka, known as the Tochka-U (Uluchshenny, or ''improved'') was introduced in 1989; the improvements included increased range and accuracy.
The Tochka-U operates as a simple inertially-guided ballistic missile. Simply put, the operators, working from a known location, orient the launcher in the direction of their target, and then calculate the distance between the point of launch and point of impact. The solid-fuel engine of the Tochka-U burns for 28 seconds, meaning that the range of the missile isn't determined by engine burn-time alone, but rather the angle that the missile was launched '' the more vertical the missile at time of launch, the shorter its range will be.
Because the missile burns to depletion, once the engine shuts down, the missile will cease its pure ballistic trajectory, and instead assume a near-vertical posture as it heads toward its target. The warhead is released at a designated point above the target. In the case of the Kramatorsk attack, the Tochka-U was equipped with the 9N123K cluster warhead, containing fifty submunitions, each of which has the effect of a single hand grenade in terms of explosive and lethal impact.
The flight characteristics of the Tochka-U result in a debris pattern which has the cluster munitions impacting on the ground first, followed by the depleted booster, which hits the earth some distance behind the impact of the warhead. This creates a tell-tale signature, so to speak, of the direction from where the missile was launched, which can be crudely calculated by shooting a reverse azimuth from the point of impact of the warhead through the booster.
It is this physical reality which provides the first real clue as to who fired the Tochka-U that hit Kramatorsk. The relationship of the booster when it came to earth, when assessed to the impact zone of the cluster munitions, provides a reverse azimuth which, even when factoring in a generous margin of error for potential drift, points to territory that was under the exclusive control of the Ukrainian government, which means that there is little doubt that the missile that struck the Kramatorsk train station was fired by a launcher under the operational control of the 19th Missile Brigade, Ukraine's only Tochka-U-equipped unit. More specifically, a forensic evaluation of the missile debris clearly shows that it was launched by the 19th Ukrainian Missile Brigade, based near Dobropolia, some 45 kilometers from Kramatorsk.
The 19th Missile Brigade is considered a strategic asset, meaning that it responds directly to the orders of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Command. In short, if the missile was, as it appears, fired by the 19th Missile Brigade, it was doing so based on orders given from high up the chain of command. The launch was no accident.
For its part, the Ukrainian government has attempted to flip the script, blaming Russia for an attack using a missile which Russia is on record as having retired from service in 2019. To back up this assertion, the Ukrainian government has noted that Tochka-U launchers were seen participating in joint military training exercises involving Russian and Belarus forces on Belarusian soil in February 2022, on the eve of Russia's special military operation commencing against Ukraine.
This was according to Ambassador Evgeny Tsimbaliuk, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, while addressing a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council about the attack.
The US backed up the Ukrainian allegation, with its Department of Defense announcing during a closed-door briefing to journalists that Russia had at first announced the missile strike against Kramatorsk, only to retract it once the announcement about civilian casualties was made.
The problem with both the Kiev and Washington claims is that neither is backed up by anything that remotely resembles solid evidence. The television images referred to by the Ukrainians showed Belarusian Tochka-U launchers, not Russian ones, and the ''claims'' cited by the US referred to the private Telegram accounts of persons having no affiliation with the Russian government or military.
There is no question that both Russia and the US are sitting on de facto proof of where the Tochka missile was fired. The US has deployed in the region a variety of intelligence-collection platforms which would have detected the location of the missile at the time of launch, and would also have tracked the ballistic trajectory of the missile as it flew toward its target. Likewise, Russia has deployed numerous advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems, including the advanced S-400, which would have tracked the flight of the missile from launch to impact.
The fact that the US has not declassified this data to replicate a Cuban missile crisis-like moment at the UN to demonstrate to the world the scope and scale of a Russan lie strongly suggests that the Russians are not, in fact, lying. Moreover, Russia's failure to do the same to reinforce its contention that Ukraine fired the missile points to the reality that any Russian radar is operating as part of an active military action zone, and as such Russia would be loath to publish data that could provide Ukraine with a tactical edge on the battlefield.
There is, however, one piece of evidence which proves without a doubt who owned the Tochka-U missile in question that was fired on Kramatorsk, the release of which would not compromise the security interests of the providing nation. Painted onto the booster of the missile, in black, is a unique serial number assigned to the Tochka-U at the time of production (in the Cyrillic alphabet, Ш91579, or Sh91579 in the Latin alphabet.) This serial number was assigned to it at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant and represents the unique identifying mark for the missile that follows it through its military life cycle.
The use of the production serial number as a unique identifier has been used by the United Nations in Iraq as part of a series of intrusive forensic investigations into the accounting of Iraq's SCUD missile inventory. The UN used these numbers to track the arrival of Soviet-made SCUD missiles into Iraq, and to account for their final disposition, whether it be through unilateral destruction at the hands of the Iraqis, during training, during maintenance, or during combat operations. The procedures used by the Iraqis for tracking and accounting for its SCUD missiles was derived from official Soviet procedures for the same, and therefore mirror those used by the Ukrainian government.
The serial number of the Tochka-U shows that it was produced in 1991, during the time of Soviet authority. At that time, when a Tochka-U was fully assembled at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant, it belonged to the Ministry of Defense Industry. The missile would be shipped by rail from the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant to a receiving point, where the Soviet military would take possession of the missile and formally absorb it into its inventory. Each missile is accompanied by a document known as a ''passport,'' which records every transaction associated with the missile in question. The missile would either be assigned to an operational unit or to a storage unit '' again, details that would be recorded in the missile passport.
Each missile had a life span of ten years, after which the manufacturer's warranty, so to speak, was no longer valid. That meant that a missile produced in 1991 would, under normal circumstances, be retired by 2001. However, the Russian military has often extended the operational lifetime of missiles such as the Tochka-U by implementing inspection procedures designed to extend the lifecycle of the missile. Each such inspection would be recorded in the passport, as would all operational deployments or field exercises where the missile was subjected to handling and movement.
Before a missile is fired, it is formally removed from the owning unit's inventory, and orders are issued authorizing its use by the Ukrainian General Staff which include the serial number in question. When the missile is launched, the missile passport is closed out, and included with the other paperwork associated with the expenditure of the missile. The missile serial number is recorded at each step.
The Russian military should have in its archives documentation which lists the Tochka-U missiles officially turned over to Ukraine when the Soviet Union collapsed. Likewise, the Ukrainian military should have documents which record the missiles being absorbed into the Ukrainian armed forces. In either case, there exists undisputed records of ownership. Russia could end the discussion of who owned the missile in question simply by providing document-based evidence proving missile ownership (i.e., the transfer of ownership from the Soviet Union to Ukraine.) Likewise, Ukraine could do the same simply by providing a copy of the documentation surrounding its receipt of all Tochka-U missiles from Soviet authority, thereby enabling '' if the Ukrainian version is to be believed '' that it never possessed the missile in question.
Ukraine's embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared that the missile strike on Kramatorsk ''must be one of the charges at the tribunal'' he envisages at the International Criminal Court. ''Like the massacre in Bucha, like many other Russian war crimes.''
Zelensky might want to be careful about what he wishes for. Any serious investigation into the Kramatorsk train station bombing will include an inquiry into the missile involved, and questions of ownership in which the missile serial number inscribed on the booster will play a leading role. If this is indeed the case '' and the available evidence strongly suggests that it is '' then it will be Zelensky and his leadership on the docket for the crime of slaughtering the very civilians whose lives he claims to be protecting.
A puzzling phenomenon: Patients report a rebound of COVID-19 symptoms after taking the antiviral Paxlovid - The Boston Globe
Fri, 22 Apr 2022 11:26
Twitter and Reddit have been filled with patients and doctors sharing their experiences and hypotheses over the past few days, including John Donoghue, a 71-year-old emeritus physics professor in Amherst.
''We had three cases in the house with the same pattern,'' Donoghue said, in an interview.
He, his wife, and her 95-year-old mother all were infected with COVID in the last month. All three received Paxlovid, felt better, and tested negative on rapid tests for four or five days. Then their symptoms returned and each one tested positive again.
''The symptoms the second time were milder,'' Donoghue said. ''In some ways, we feel that Paxlovid did its job. It took away the extreme symptoms of the first round and reduced them very quickly in all three cases.''
Paxlovid, granted an emergency use authorization by federal regulators in late December, is an at-home treatment prescribed at the first sign of infection to patients at high risk of serious COVID complications. The treatment consists of a series of three pills taken twice a day for five days.
In its clinical trial, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures Paxlovid, reported an 89 percent reduction in COVID-related hospitalization or death from any cause in patients who received Paxlovid within three days of symptoms, compared with patients who received a placebo.
The pills had initially been in short supply and hard to find for some but are more widely available now. Doctors have hailed the antiviral as an invaluable treatment, helping to keep vulnerable people from developing life-threatening complications.
But some infectious disease specialists, while still extolling Paxlovid's benefits, have expressed concern that the rebounds they are seeing and hearing about may indicate patients, after completing treatment '-- and testing negative and then positive, again '-- may still be infectious and transmitting the virus to others.
''If you have a rebound after 12 days and are back at work and not wearing a mask, are you still contagious?'' said Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an infectious disease physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. ''If you are testing positive on a rapid antigen test, then you have a decent amount of virus and likely an infectious amount of virus,'' she said.
Stephenson is researching why some people in a household get infected with COVID while others do not. She is enrolling volunteers in the study and said she expects to also examine why some patients who've taken Paxlovid get sick again.
Stephenson said the project will frequently test volunteers using PCR nasal tests, and scientists can scrutinize those specimens for genomic information to determine whether the virus developed a resistance to Paxlovid, or perhaps patients were quickly infected with a different variant of COVID.
Pfizer noted in the documents submitted last fall to federal regulators for its emergency use authorization that ''several subjects appeared to have a rebound in SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels around Day 10 or Day 14'' but said that ''currently there are no clear signals'' the virus had developed a resistance to one of Paxlovid's primary components. The documents said Pfizer would continue analyzing the data.
In a statement to the Globe, the company said, ''We continue to monitor data from our ongoing clinical studies and real-world evidence. We have not seen any resistance to Paxlovid, and remain very confident in its clinical effectiveness.''
Dr. Michael Charness, chief of staff at the VA Boston Healthcare System, recently completed an in-depth study of one patient who experienced a rebound after taking Paxlovid.
Charness sequenced three nasal swabs from the patient and tested the patient for a battery of other respiratory illnesses. He concluded that the virus was not resistant to Paxlovid and that the patient had not been infected with any other respiratory viruses or other variants of COVID. Rather, he concluded some patients may need a longer course of treatment for their immune system to mount a robust defense.
''It's literally that the Paxlovid is the cat, it suppresses the virus, and then when the cat's gone, the mice come out to play,'' Charness said.
''Paxlovid works really well while it's there, and for many people, they can eliminate the virus in a single phase of infection,'' he said. ''But for some people, maybe because it takes a little longer to ramp up immunity, they can't get rid of [all the virus] and the Paxlovid is no longer there to help.''
Charness said his study is being reviewed by a medical journal and has not yet been published.
Dr. Paul Sax, clinical director of the division of infectious disease at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said he is hearing about the issue from patients.
''At the very least, people who take Paxlovid and clinically recover should not ignore their symptoms if they come back,'' Sax said. ''They should think this is a recurrence of COVID, and then [test] themselves again.''
There is little scientific data at this point about the Paxlovid rebound phenomenon, prompting Sax and other infectious disease specialists to say they aren't sure of the best approach.
He noted that the problem is not addressed in any of Paxlovid's clinical trials or its treatment guidelines.
But Sax said it makes ''intuitive sense'' to re-treat patients with a second course of Paxlovid if they rebound after the first course.
''That's what I would recommend to someone who had it,'' he said.
Meanwhile, Donoghue, the Amherst professor who suffered a COVID rebound along with his wife and mother-in-law, was so concerned about their experiences '-- and worried for others '-- that he contacted Pfizer via its online site to report their cases.
''They mailed me a questionnaire asking for more information,'' he said.
Donoghue said the family's doctors did not recommend a second round of Paxlovid. But he believes he and his family have finally beaten the virus.
His mother-in-law is still very tired and his wife continues to suffer cold-like symptoms, though all three have recently tested negative.
''The second round was mild,'' he said. ''We are feeling mostly OK.''
Kay Lazar can be reached at kay.lazar@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.
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Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:32
Nicholas Fondacaro : In one of his last shows on the now-dead CNN+, Brian Stelter argues doxxing Libs of TikTok is worth it because "the'... https://t.co/0qFrPIl99O
Thu Apr 21 17:14:34 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (24) Greg Price on Twitter: "Obama: ''People like Putin, and Steve Bannon for that matter, understand it's not necessary for people to believe disinformation... You just have to flood a country's public square with enough raw sewage.'' https
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:22
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Thu Apr 21 20:29:21 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (29) Wittgenstein on Twitter: "Obama: "Despite the fact that we have now essentially clinically tested the vaccine on billions of people worldwide. Around 1 in 5 Americans is still going to put themselves at risk... rather than get vaccinated." ht
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 17:04
Wittgenstein : Obama: "Despite the fact that we have now essentially clinically tested the vaccine on billions of people worldwide'... https://t.co/K0Qiofw1Kk
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VIDEO - Why Your EV Battery Might Soon Be Used to Power Your House
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 16:51
George Downs Episode 25 April 21, 2022
Vehicle-to-Grid technology, also known as V2G, is being explored as a way to transfer energy from a vehicle back to the grid
By George Downs Apr 21, 2022 9:19 pmThe latest electric vehicles offer the power to charge household devices or other EVs using the energy stored in the car's battery. WSJ's George Downs explores how some companies are developing vehicle-to-grid technology that would enable energy to flow from the EV into the electricity grid itself. Illustration: George Downs
George DownsGeorge Downs explores the evolution of transportation, from electric vehicles to commercial aviation and the future of spaceflight.
Up Next in George Downs E24 Closed Russian Airspace Means Fewer, Longer and Costlier Flights for Some Some airlines are being forced to take huge detours to avoid closed Russian airspace amid fighting with Ukraine. As WSJ's George Downs reports, that means passengers' journeys between Europe and Asia have become longer, less frequent and even more expensive. Illustration: George Downs
E23 NASA's Artemis Mission Could Mean One Giant Leap for Bezos' Blue Origin Potential additional funding for NASA's Artemis mission means the agency is on the hunt for a second lunar lander provider. WSJ's George Downs breaks down how the new competition could reopen a window for Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin. Illustration: Blue Origin
E22 Electric vs. Gas Cars: Four Ways to Know if an EV Is Right for You With gas prices on a wild ride, many consumers are exploring whether buying an electric vehicle could save them money in the long run. WSJ's George Downs breaks down four factors to consider when buying a new car. Photo composite: George Downs
VIDEO - CDC issues alert for rare liver damage in children
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:29
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking physicians nationwide to be on the lookout for unusual cases of severe hepatitis in children. The agency issued a health advisory on the matter Thursday.
Nine cases have been reported in Alabama, and an additional two have been identified in North Carolina, according to those states' health departments.
Dozens of such cases have also been identified in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control announced Tuesday.
Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver, a condition that can result in diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Some of the children in Alabama developed jaundice, and blood tests showed signs of elevated liver enzymes.
Several children in that state became so ill that they needed a liver transplant. No deaths have been reported. All were ages 1 through 6 and were healthy previously, without any underlying conditions.
Bailey Pennington, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said two "school-aged" children in that state developed severe hepatitis and have since recovered.
"No cause has been found and no common exposures were identified," Pennington said in a statement.
In Europe, cases have generally been seen in children ages 2 through 5.
Viruses are often the cause of liver inflammation, particularly the hepatitis type A, B, C, D and E viruses. All clinical labs in the U.S. are required to report those viruses when they're discovered, so health authorities can work to stop outbreaks.
So far, however, all of the usual hepatitis viruses have been ruled out.
Investigators also say neither Covid-19 nor the Covid vaccines have anything to do with the hepatitis cases.
"None of the children in the cluster tested positive for Covid-19 disease. None had previously reported Covid-19 disease," said Dr. Karen Landers, a health officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, adding, "None of the children received Covid-19 vaccine."
Increasingly, signs are pointing to a virus not usually associated with hepatitis: adenovirus type 41. According to the CDC, this particular type of virus is known to cause vomiting and diarrhea in kids, as well as respiratory symptoms akin to the common cold.
"While there have been case reports of hepatitis in immunocompromised children with adenovirus type 41 infection, adenovirus type 41 is not known to be a cause of hepatitis in otherwise healthy children," the CDC said in its alert.
Five of the nine children in Alabama tested positive for the virus. Their cases occurred from October to February.
The CDC's health advisory urged "clinicians who may encounter pediatric patients with hepatitis of unknown etiology to consider adenovirus testing and to elicit reporting of such cases to state public health authorities and to CDC."
A spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health said officials there are "following the situation closely" and "will be working with health care providers to detect cases in California."
"Noninfectious causes of hepatitis or cases where a virus is not recognized may not be routinely reported," said AnneMarie Harper, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We will be reaching out to Colorado health care providers to share information and actively monitor for possible cases in Colorado consistent with these reports."
Idaho's state epidemiologist, Dr. Christine Hahn, also said her team is reaching out to pediatric infectious disease physicians and pediatric gastroenterologists.
"So far they are reporting no cases," she said. "Stay tuned."
Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook.
Erika Edwards is a health and medical news writer and reporter for NBC News and "TODAY."
VIDEO - (20) ApartmentBoss on Twitter: "So how do you recharge them on a battlefield? I'll tell you. With massive generators powered by internal combustion engines. ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤ðŸ¤" / Twitter
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 10:01
ApartmentBoss : So how do you recharge them on a battlefield?I'll tell you. With massive generators powered by internal combustion'... https://t.co/Nwwure3t9J
Sat Apr 23 19:59:01 +0000 2022
morechairs : @ApartmentBoss fuck all this mess.. watch chippah https://t.co/qSoXujQEut
Sun Apr 24 07:29:36 +0000 2022
Ric Kn : @ApartmentBoss There are no more legitimate threats to world peace. Its all theatre until we get Elon Musk bots, t'... https://t.co/WFhLv50UWX
Sun Apr 24 06:28:38 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (20) Michael Tracey on Twitter: "Marie Yovanovitch -- the former US Ambassador to Ukraine under Trump who testified against him in the 2019 impeachment, and was lauded as a hero -- suggests that if Trump were in office, he'd have averted the war d
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:55
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VIDEO - (1265) Zelensky discusses Putin negotiations in unusual press conference - YouTube
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:33
VIDEO - (1265) Food Theory: They're STEALING Your Food! - YouTube
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:27
VIDEO - (1265) Ex-CIA head reacts to audio purporting Russian troops feeling abandoned - YouTube
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:19
VIDEO - (21) Plan Marcus on Twitter: "IMF Director sums it up: - We printed too much money and didn't think of unintended consequences - We are acting like 8 year olds playing soccer chasing the ball https://t.co/36eWvBVmx2" / Twitter
Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:11
Plan Marcus : IMF Director sums it up:- We printed too much money and didn't think of unintended consequences - We are acting'... https://t.co/D0TtzKvtZd
Thu Apr 21 18:20:11 +0000 2022
Jos(C) Luis : @plan_marcus @KGeorgieva Don't worry Ms. Georgieva, everyone is anesthetized, you can keep stealing for now but, be careful
Sun Apr 24 08:56:28 +0000 2022
Quote'em : @plan_marcus That these people still are in positions of power to this day, is beyond me.The IMF is as much respon'... https://t.co/M4sHvSqCEQ
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Mr B. : @plan_marcus @aruizmontoya They are smarter than that, it is just one step further for the great reset.
Sun Apr 24 08:11:06 +0000 2022
ChadNft.Ξth+ThisIsNotARe'‚rand+DankMemeMachine+$'‚TC : @plan_marcus They don't even try to hide it anymore lmao
Sun Apr 24 07:51:01 +0000 2022
lance duplex : @plan_marcus If they're telling us to look here, we should be looking over there.
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Abs : @plan_marcus Finally, IMF actually talking sense!
Sun Apr 24 07:45:55 +0000 2022
glynster ðŸ´ó §ó ó ¥ó ®ó §ó ðŸ‡¬ðŸ‡§ : @plan_marcus @TheTwatRises Here's an idea, why don't they write off all national debt worldwide!Within a month Ven'... https://t.co/E3Ewjdbis2
Sun Apr 24 07:28:57 +0000 2022
Fabrice Peltier : @plan_marcus @OIBAN_ @pierrejovanovic
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Athena : @plan_marcus These people need to be held to account for their actions. They just see what they do as a game, they'... https://t.co/PSmGP3Zjwe
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Dave DotXXX : @plan_marcus It is not needs to be commented.
Sun Apr 24 07:04:54 +0000 2022
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VIDEO - (21) National Security Council on Twitter: "Thank you to everyone who participated in the #COVIDSummit. Like @POTUS said, together we can end the pandemic for all and build back better to prevent and prepare for future pandemics. https://t.co/V4Lf
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