Thursday, March 31, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval in Russia rises while Biden's drops in US

    Thursday, March 31, 2022   No comments

 


Approval numbers regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's activities since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War have seen a steep increase in recent months, according to a new poll from independent pollster Levada.

The poll showed that approval of Putin's actions increased from 69 percent in January to 83 percent in March.

But in the U.S., Putin's confidence rating has dropped to dismal lows, according to another new poll from the Pew Research Center. Just 6 percent of surveyed U.S. adults said that they have confidence in Putin after his decision to invade Ukraine.

....

The Pew Research poll found that 72 percent of Americans have some or a lot of confidence in Zelensky, the highest rating out of any global leader included in the survey.

When it comes to U.S. President Joe Biden's handling of international affairs, Americans are much more divided. Of the respondents, 48 percent said that they have confidence in Biden's handling of international affairs, while 52 percent said that they have no confidence or not too much confidence.

A Quinnipiac University national poll, conducted between March 10 and 14, found that 49 percent of respondents have a negative view of Biden's response to the war, compared to 42 percent who approve.

Read the source article...

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Saudi Arabia announces the cessation of military operations in Yemen

    Tuesday, March 29, 2022   No comments

The Saudi coalition announced, on Tuesday evening, the cessation of military operations in Yemen, starting from 6 am tomorrow, Wednesday.

In the details, Saudi media reported that "the coalition announced the cessation of military operations inside Yemen in response to the invitation of the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council."

The Gulf Cooperation Council called on the leadership of the "Saudi coalition" and all Yemeni parties to "stop the military operations that have been going on for nearly seven years in Yemen."

According to a statement by the council, its president, Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, issued an appeal "calling on the leadership of the Saudi coalition in Yemen and all Yemeni parties to stop military operations inside Yemen."

On March 26, the head of Yemen's Supreme Political Council, Mahdi al-Mashat, announced unilaterally, "the suspension of missile and drone strikes and all military actions towards Saudi Arabia, by land, sea and air, for a period of 3 days."

Al-Mashat affirmed, "Sana'a's readiness to turn this declaration into a final and firm commitment, if Saudi Arabia commits to end the siege and stop its raids on Yemen, once and for all."

The initiative announced by Al-Mashat went into effect last Sunday, at six o'clock in the evening, Sana'a time.

Built by an Unknown Culture, This Is The Oldest Sun Observatory in The Americas

    Tuesday, March 29, 2022   No comments

Long before the Incas rose to power in Peru and began to celebrate their sun god, a little known civilization was building the earliest known astronomical observatory in the Americas.

While not quite as old as sites like Stonehenge, these ancient ruins, known as Chankillo, are considered a "masterpiece of human creative genius", holding unique features not seen anywhere else in the world. 

Based in the coastal desert of Peru, the archaeological site famously contains a row of 13 stone towers, which together trace the horizon of a hill, north to south, like a toothy bottom grin.

Apart from this remarkable structure, known as the Thirteen Towers, the ruins of the observatory also include a triple-walled hilltop complex called the Fortified Temple and two building complexes called the Observatory and the Administrative Center. 

Completed over 2,300 years ago and abandoned in the first century of the common era, the site has remained a mystery to travelers for centuries.

Only when official excavations began at the turn of the 21st century, did archaeologists realize what they were looking at.

 read more...


Meet the nuke the U.S. keeps in Europe, just waiting to not be used

    Tuesday, March 29, 2022   No comments

Media review: 

Near steep vineyards of riesling grapes, in an underground vault at an air force base in western Germany, sits an American nuclear bomb. More than one of them, actually. Each bomb is about the length of two refrigerators laid down end to end and as heavy as the average adult male musk ox. The bombs are slender and pointy and a little more than a foot wide.

Experts estimate that there are about 100 such bombs stored among five NATO countries, ready to be loaded on jets and dropped by the United States and its allies - old-school style, parachute and all - toward an enemy target. One version of this bomb can carry the explosive equivalent of 11 Hiroshimas.

source: 

... countinue reading the original article



Ukrainian government representatives appear to accept Russia's demands, including neutral status, disarmament, and non-NATO membership

    Tuesday, March 29, 2022   No comments

Based on the optimism of the first round of talks between Russia and Ukraine, it would appear that Ukraine will in fact give up its drive to join NATO, remove or limit nuclear capacity, allow for a referendum on autonomy or independence of eastern regions, where Russian speaking people are majority, and negotiate the status of Crimea. Should Ukraine agree to these terms now, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, would appear to have made the costliest miscalculations. Since these are the same terms put forth by Russia before the war, had he accepted them then, he would have saved many lives, avoided the destruction of the nation's infrastructure, and perhaps reached even a more favorable agreement. But his home that EU and the West will step in to help led him to believe that Russia will not attack. He now negotiates from a weaker position, with Russian troops just miles away from his seat of government, not outside the border. 

Here is a summary of the first day of talks held in Turkey:

The head of the Russian delegation, Vladimir Medinsky, confirmed today, Tuesday, that "the negotiations with Ukraine were constructive," at the conclusion of the first round of negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul.

Medinsky added, "We have received written proposals from Ukraine confirming its quest to be a neutral state free of nuclear weapons," which was confirmed by the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, explaining that "Kyiv proposed adopting a neutral situation in exchange for security guarantees."

Medinsky said that "Russia will study Ukraine's proposals," noting that "President Vladimir Putin will see them."

The chief Russian negotiator pointed out that "a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is possible, but after preparing the text of the agreement between the two countries."

He stressed in the context that "negotiations will continue in the coming weeks," noting that "if negotiations continue in this way, reaching an agreement will be much easier and faster."

Head of the Ukrainian delegation: Kyiv will not join "NATO"

In turn, the head of the Ukrainian delegation stressed that his country "will not join NATO" and that it will not host foreign military bases on its territory.

He added, "We are seeking security guarantees," noting that "Turkey may be among the guarantor countries."

With regard to the Donbas region, the head of the Ukrainian delegation considered that "a completely different issue, and a popular referendum can be held in the region," explaining that "the issue of Crimea can also be discussed calmly and without resorting to arms and fighting."

President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier that "the issue of Ukraine's neutrality, which is one of the central items in negotiations with Russia to end the conflict, is being studied in depth."

The delegations of Moscow and Kiev had held 3 rounds of negotiations in Belarus, and a meeting in Turkey, between the foreign ministers of the two countries, Sergey Lavrov and Dmitry Kuleba.

Friday, March 25, 2022

The many ways Ukraine war exposed Western racism and double standard: Paris to Russia: the satirical cartoon is “Unacceptable”

    Friday, March 25, 2022   No comments

 You simply can't make this stuff up!

Today, Friday, Paris summoned the Russian ambassador to the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after he posted on his Twitter account cartoons that French diplomacy considered "unacceptable".

  

"We are striving to maintain a necessary channel of dialogue with Russia, but this behavior is totally inappropriate," the French Foreign Ministry said, referring in particular to a cartoon showing Europeans kneeling in front of Uncle Sam, who symbolizes the United States.

  

It should be noted that, France supported and defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist as protected form of freedom of speech even if they offend Muslims.

 

The Russian Embassy confirmed that “the question of the published tweet had been raised, among other points” during the interview on Friday morning. The Russian ambassador has on his side “draw the attention of our French colleagues to the provocations and acts of vandalism against Russian diplomatic representations in France” she added.



Updated story (3/29/2022): 


Limits of Freedom of Speech in Europe: German states to ban "Z" symbolizing support for Russia's war.
Apparently, publishing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in offensive ways to millions of Muslims is an absolute right; but taking a position on an a war in Europe is not freedom of speech.

Russia-Ukriane War, after 1 month of fighting: about 1 Russian solier dead for every 10 Ukrainians, plus global economic costs

    Friday, March 25, 2022   No comments

Today, the Russian war on Ukraine completes its first month, amid continuing battles on several fronts, tightening sanctions against Russia and its leaders, and Western summits threatening Moscow with further escalation.

The Russian army announced Friday that 1,351 of its soldiers had died since the start of the country's war on Ukraine on February 24, accusing Western countries of making a "mistake" in delivering weapons to Kiev.

"During the special military operation, 1,351 soldiers were killed and 3,825 others were wounded," Deputy Chief of Staff Sergei Rudskoy told a press conference.

On the Ukrainian side, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that more than 14,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and about 16,000 wounded during the month of the war.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Adding to at least 3 other indepedent reports with the same conclusion, aUN Human Rights Report Says Israel Guilty of ‘Apartheid’

    Thursday, March 24, 2022   No comments


The UN’s human rights body has accused Israel of the “crime of apartheid,” saying it has established a “regime of systematic racial oppression and discrimination” against Palestinians. The conclusion follows a long line of similar findings from from Israeli, Palestinian and international organizations.

A report issued Monday by United Nations investigator Michael Lynk states that Israel’s system “ensures the supremacy of one group over, and to the detriment of, the other,” namely in the occupied West Bank, arguing that it meets the legal definition for apartheid.

“The political system of entrenched rule in the occupied Palestinian territory which endows one racial-national-ethnic group with substantial rights, benefits and privileges while intentionally subjecting another group to live behind walls, checkpoints and under a permanent military rule… satisfies the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid,” he wrote.

Lynk’s report mirrors previous findings from a number of humanitarian orgs, among them Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’Tselem, which have each similarly accused Israel of apartheid and the persecution of Palestinians. 


Read the Reports...





In the first visit of its kind... the Chinese Foreign Minister arrives in Kabul

    Thursday, March 24, 2022   No comments

 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Kabul today, according to a Taliban official, a week before Beijing hosts a meeting between Afghanistan's neighbors to discuss ways to help the country after the Taliban seized power.

In the context, a government official, Ahmed Yasir, wrote in a tweet, that "the Chinese Foreign Minister arrived in Kabul to meet officials from the Islamic Emirate."

The minister arrived in Kabul from Islamabad, where he participated, over two days, in a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

It is noteworthy that China shares with Afghanistan a small part of its border, 76 kilometers at a very high altitude, but Beijing has long feared that its neighbor could become a base for separatists and Islamists from the Uighur ethnicity.

Before the Taliban seized power on August 15, Beijing sought to maintain its ties with the hardline Islamic movement, at a time when US and NATO forces were withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Monday, March 21, 2022

FBI Documents Link Saudi Spy to Attacks on 9/11

    Monday, March 21, 2022   No comments

 A 510-page secret FBI report, written in 2017 and declassified last week without any fanfare by the FBI or Justice Department, concludes that the California-based Saudi spy, Omar al Bayoumi, not only helped several 9/11 hijackers to find housing in San Diego, but that there was a “50/50 chance” he “had advanced knowledge” of their deadly plans.


While heavily redacted, the report offers the most direct link yet between the Saudi government, its secretive royal family and the team of 19 operatives of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terror network who hijacked four jetliners on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. 

The findings in the FBI report are coming to light just as the Biden administration is reportedly reaching out to several oil producing nations — including Saudi Arabia — to increase production and help curtail rising gas prices across the United States. Whether the FBI’s report will impact negotiations with Saudi oil officials remains to be seen. But for decades, critics have pointed to Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves and their importance to the economies of many western nations as a reason the U.S. has not pushed harder for more information on alleged Saudi links to 9/11 and other Islamist-based terrorist attacks.  


Read the FBI Report

   


Friday, March 18, 2022

On the anniversary of the outbreak of the events that led to his islation by Gulf States, President Assad of Syria visits the UAE

    Friday, March 18, 2022   No comments

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited UAE, where he met Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Friday. 

The Emirates News Agency said that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi received the Syrian President, and discussed with him "brotherly relations, cooperation and joint coordination."

The agency added that the UAE Prime Minister affirmed his country's keenness to "discover new paths for constructive cooperation with Syria, and to monitor opportunities through which various aspects of cooperation can be pushed forward."

The agency indicated that Assad left the UAE after meeting with senior officials.

The UAE has been at the fore in the efforts of some Arab countries to normalize relations with Syria in recent times.

Al-Assad received in Damascus the UAE Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed, last November, and this was the first visit of a high-ranking Gulf official since several Gulf countries cut diplomatic relations with the Syrian government following the outbreak of violence in Syria in 2011. The United States expressed its dissatisfaction with the visit.

Other Gulf States, especially, Qatar, is holding back normalization with the Syrian government given their initial support of the armed groups that wanted to overthrow the Syrian government. In 2012, Qatar hosted the Arab League Summit, its leader, Hamad, offered Syria's seat to an opposition figure, which they recognized as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Saudi Arabia, too, held the position that "Assad must go--peacefully or violently." 

It is not clear if UAE will try to mend relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia, though it is unlikely that it will advocate for the warming of relations between Qatar and Syria goven that UAE still has frosty relations with its neighbor.















View from China: China sends tough signal ahead of Xi-Biden talk to set firm position on bilateral ties, Ukraine issue

    Friday, March 18, 2022   No comments

 

Just hours before the phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden on Friday, China, in a rare move, sent tough signals, stating it will never accept US threats and coercion over the Ukraine issue and vowing to make a strong response if the US takes measures harming China's legitimate interests. 

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, an anonymous Chinese official said China accepted the US' proposal for the phone call between the heads of the two countries on China-US relations and the Ukraine situation out of considerations of bilateral relations, promoting peace talks and urging the US to take right stance. 

Continue to read the article...



Monday, March 14, 2022

Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in one day; No reaction from Western Democracies

    Monday, March 14, 2022   No comments

 Saudi Arabia beheaded at least 81 people in one day, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian, state media reported on Saturday. 

Activists said, 41 of them were Shia Muslims from the eastern Qatif region.

The mass carrying out of capital punishment appears to be the largest execution in the kingdom in its modern history. The total number of those put to death surpassed that of the January 1980 mass execution of militants convicted of seizing the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which saw 63 people beheaded.

Human rights group Reprieve condemned the executions and said it feared for prisoners of conscience, including individuals arrested as children, on Saudi death row. 

"The world should know by now that when Mohammed bin Salman promises reform, bloodshed is bound to follow,"  said Reprieve deputy director Soraya Bauwens in a statement. 

"Just last week the crown prince told journalists he plans to modernise Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system, only to order the largest mass execution in the country’s history.

Since taking power, Crown Prince Mohammed under his father has increasingly liberalized life in the kingdom, opening movie theaters, allowing women to drive and defanging the country's once-feared religious police.

However, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the crown prince also ordered the slaying and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, while overseeing airstrikes in Yemen that killed hundreds of civilians.

World reacts--or not

Other than Iran, no government, including Western democracies, reacted to the mass killing.  Iran has unilaterally suspended talks aimed at defusing longstanding tensions with regional rival Saudi Arabia, Iranian state media reported on March 13.

The New York Time noted the silence of Western demcracies linking it to events in Ukraine.

Noting that Western countries were looking to Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, to help make up for the shortfall in oil supplies as many countries shun energy from Russia because of President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, she added, “We cannot show our revulsion for Putin’s atrocities by rewarding those of the crown prince.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/12/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-executions.html 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

The West has instrumentalized human rights for its benefits and conveniently ignored it otherwise

    Sunday, March 13, 2022   No comments

 Trusting governments with human rights matters is like trusting a wolf to watch over your sheep; this reality is more evident now with the Western governments' reaction to the war in Ukraine. Human rights are secondary to their economic interests. British government is making the case for this argument.

Britain defended, on Sunday, its efforts to persuade Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production, after Western consumers began to feel the repercussions of sanctions imposed on Russia, and after the kingdom carried out record death sentences against 81 convicts in one day.

The Minister of Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, did not deny reports published on Saturday by "The Times" that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit Saudi Arabia within days.

And the newspaper reported that Johnson will seek to urge Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help ease the impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia on Westerners against the backdrop of its invasion of Ukraine, after Britain and the United States announced a ban on Russian oil imports.


Friday, March 11, 2022

China delivers first J-10CE fighter jets to Pakistan in a milestone move

    Friday, March 11, 2022   No comments

The Pakistan Air Force on Friday held an induction ceremony for the first batch of six J-10CE fighter jets in Kamra, with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan attending the event.

The official commissioning of China's new-generation main battle aircraft into the Pakistan Air Force marks the systematized, organic export of such aviation equipment by China, and is yet another major milestone in the export of China's advanced aviation equipment, the Global Times learned from the aircraft's maker, state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), on Friday.


With the delivery of the J-10CEs, China and Pakistan opened a new chapter in aviation defense cooperation, and it will significantly contribute to the further deepening of the China-Pakistan All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership, AVIC said.


Welcome To Ukrainistan

    Friday, March 11, 2022   No comments

... 

As soon as the war in Ukraine broke, leaders of that country called on people from around the world to join their fight. There is no evidence that Ukraine ever sent its people, in such an organized fashion, to support other communities devastated by wars, many were illegal wars of aggression. Yet, here we are, Ukraine is enabling its embassies around the world to facilitate the transfer of volunteers. As expected, Russian officials appear to do the same: they will transfer volunteers from the Middle East and Africa to eastern Ukraine to join the fight there. Another proxy-war is under way.

...

read article...

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan to Western leaders: "We are not your Slaves"

    Tuesday, March 08, 2022   No comments

Ukraine Russia War: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday responded to a joint letter by the heads of diplomatic missions of the European Union urging Pakistan to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine. In response to this joint letter, Imran said, ‘What do you think about us.. You think that we are your slaves.. That we will do whatever you say?’

Imran Khan fiercely targeted Western envoys during a rally in Islamabad on Sunday. He said that I want to ask the ambassadors of the European Union whether they have sent a similar letter to India to abstain from voting? Given that Pakistan’s arch rival had also not participated, the EU did not send the letter to India. He said that the United Nations has never condemned India for its actions in Kashmir.

Imran Khan further says, ‘We are friends with Russia, and we are also friends with America, we also have good relations with China and Europe. We are not in any camp.” Khan said Pakistan would remain “neutral” and work with those who are trying to end the war in Ukraine.

After SoS, Blinken appeared to geenlight Poland sending fighter jets to Ukraine, the Pentagon clarifies: ‘No Decisions Made’

    Tuesday, March 08, 2022   No comments

The Ukrainian government asked Western nations to supply them fighter jets or impose no-fly-zone over Ukraine. US state department appeared to support the idea of Poland providing such military support. Russia responded saying that any such move by a European nation will make them directly involved in the conflict and Russia will respond accordingly. Once that threat was issued and when Poland felt the lack of support should Russia respond, the Polish government commented on it sending fighter jets to Ukraine: "Fake News".

 On Monday, the Pentagon downplayed the chances of Poland sending Ukraine Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said such a plan would get a “green light” from the US.

Blinken said that the US was in discussions with Poland to replenish Warsaw’s fleet with US-made jets if it transfers the MiG-29s to Ukraine. But as recently as Sunday, Polish officials have characterized the idea of Poland sending warplanes to Ukraine as “fake news.”

When asked about the comments from Polish officials, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, “no decisions have been made,” and that the decision was ultimately up to Poland.

“This will be a sovereign decision for a nation-state to make. Whether it’s Poland or anybody else, that should they want to provide aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force, that’s a sovereign decision that they can make,” he said.

read more...

China seeks clarification from the United States on military biological activities

    Tuesday, March 08, 2022   No comments

US urged to clarify biomilitary activities, accept multilateral inspections as Ukraine found to have 30 biolabs

China has urged the US to make full clarification of its biological militarization activities at home and abroad and accept multilateral inspections, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, following media reports that revealed a network of about 30 biological laboratories were formed in Ukraine at the request of the US.


The US' biological laboratories in Ukraine have aroused great concern, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in remarks during a press conference. Zhao cited media reports as saying that the biological laboratories store large quantities of dangerous viruses, and Russia has found during its military operations that the US is using these facilities for biomilitary projects.

 read article...

Monday, March 7, 2022

Media bias or media doing what it has always done: mainstream propaganda

    Monday, March 07, 2022   No comments


 Not every war gets the same coverage as Russia's invasion — and that has consequences

It's a fact of modern life that some wars get more attention than others. And Russia's invasion of Ukraine has captured the public's attention in the West in a way that other recent wars — like those in Yemen or Ethiopia — simply haven't.

The reason is obvious, says Christopher Blattman, an economist at the University of Chicago and the author of Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace. This is more than a regional conflict. It's a potential global conflagration. Superpowers are taking sides. There are fears that it could lead to nuclear escalation.


read more...

    


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