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The smoking gun in America: COVID-19 virus transmits in American lab animals but not Chinese lab animals

© screenshotGoing Batty
Is it now case closed on the Wuhan lab leak? After EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak appeared before the U.S. Congress last week and revealed himself as a man of dubious honesty, that's what many are saying. Some of Daszak's key earlier claims, such as that he knew what was in the hidden Wuhan virus database (he now admits he had no access to it and has never seen it) and that he had published every SARS-like virus from the WIV (he confessed he hasn't published any discovered after 2015), collapsed under questioning. In response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has now suspended EcoHealth Alliance from receiving federal funds and initiated debarment proceedings against it.

Daszak's performance, as well as that of University of North Carolina virologist Professor Ralph Baric (the transcript of whose January closed-door session was released last week) has added to the sense that the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is now all but confirmed. Something like a consensus - at least among those not still wedded to the idea of a natural zoonotic origin - is emerging: that the virus was a product of Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) research into coronaviruses in 2019 that was inspired by Ralph Baric's DEFUSE proposal (regarded as a blueprint for SARS-CoV-2) but in which Baric and other U.S. scientists were not personally involved.

DRASTIC's Yuri Deigin gives perhaps the clearest account of this scenario in a lengthy post on Medium (handily summarised at the start and end). He also succinctly sums it up in a Facebook post, where he contrasts a lab origin with the obviously hopeless zoonotic theory:

Comment: Lab origin and zoonotic theory? Where has this detective work been hiding?

Brick Wall

Netherlands: Geert Wilders government set to bring in 'strictest-ever' asylum policy

Geert Wilers
© ANP/AFP/GettyPVV party leader Geert Wilders
The new coalition parties said they would file a request to the European Commission for an opt-out on European asylum policy 'as soon as possible'

The Netherlands has today said it will opt out of European Union rules and bring in its 'strictest-ever' asylum policy following ' shock election victory.

The newly agreed Dutch coalition government said the new policy will see people removed from the European country 'by force' - setting up a clash with leaders in Brussels even before it has taken office.

The 26-page coalition agreement emerged early this morning after six months of gruelling talks between four parties following last years' stunning election victory by Wilders, the long-time Euro-sceptic and leader of the far-Right PVV party.


Biden invokes executive privilege to shield Robert Hur interview tapes from House

© APUS President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege Thursday to keep the recording of his deposition about storing classified documents at his home confidential as House Republicans set two committee votes to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for refusing to release the recording.

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel determined the recording falls under executive privilege and Garland shouldn't be punished for following the president's order to keep the recording confidential, according to Carlos Uriarte, an associate attorney general.

The Office of Legal Counsel has long held that executive privilege extends to a "closed criminal investigation where disclosure is likely to damage future law enforcement efforts," Garland wrote to Biden on Wednesday.


Xi outlines solution to Ukraine conflict

Xi Jinping
© Segei Guneyev/SputnikChinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed that peace negotiations recognized by both Russia and Ukraine are the best way to end the ongoing conflict between the two nations.

Speaking during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at the Chinese leader's residential compound at Zhongnanhai, Xi argued that the entire global security architecture must be amended in order to end the fighting and avoid similar hostilities in the future, according to the Xinhua news outlet.

Putin is on his first state visit to China since he took office for the fifth time earlier this month.

Xi was cited as saying:
"China supports the timely convening of an international peace conference recognized by both Russia and Ukraine, with equal participation by all parties, and fair discussion of all options. Beijing is willing to aid in brokering the peace talks."

"Global powers must address both the symptoms and the root cause [of the conflict], and we must consider both the present and the long term.

"The fundamental solution to the Ukraine crisis is to promote the construction of a balanced, effective, and sustainable new security architecture."

Blue Planet

Putin and Xi are world statesmen while Western elites are shown to be the real threat to global peace

Putin and XI russia china
© Mikhail Metzel/ReutersRussian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have tea in Beijing, May 20, 2024.
The combined military and economic strength of Russia and China along with the political wisdom of their leaders are a guarantor for a better world.

This week, for those willing to perceive reality objectively, displayed two kinds of world order. The heartening news is that one will prevail over the other and thereby produce a better world for humanity, one of dignity and development for the common good.

It was a momentous occasion this week when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited China where he was warmly greeted by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Both leaders affirmed their friendship and their vision of a multipolar world based on partnership and mutual benefit. Putin and Xi signed numerous agreements on a wide range of trade and development projects covering energy, technology, engineering, construction, agriculture, infrastructure and military defense.

The visit was Putin's second to China since October last year. It was his first foreign trip since he was inaugurated earlier this month as president for a fifth term. Both leaders have established a tradition of visiting each other's countries as a first international stop upon their respective inaugurations. On beginning his third time as China's president in 2023, Xi made Russia his first international destination. Over the past two decades, both men have met as leaders on at least 40 occasions.


Ice Cube

Russia 'done' with Western Europe 'for at least a generation' - Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
© Sputnik/Alexey FilippovRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
An "acute phase of the military-political confrontation with the West is in full swing," Moscow's foreign minister has said

Russia won't view Western European countries as partners again for "at least one generation," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has predicted.The diplomat remarked that Moscow and the West are already locked in a confrontation that has no end in sight.

Top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly described Moscow's ongoing military conflict with Kiev as a proxy war waged by NATO against Russia. Evidence of this, the Kremlin says, is the material aid, the training, and the intelligence that the US and many European countries have been providing to defend Ukraine.

Speaking on Saturday, Lavrov cited an article by Russian political scientist Dmitry Trenin, who has written that "Europe as a partner is not relevant for us for at least one generation."
See the original Russian article from the magazin, Profil. (Browser translation works reasonably well from Russian to English.)
In an interview with TASS on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Ryabkov compared Western elites to delinquent youths and provocateurs intent on escalating tensions to the brink of a "catastrophic collapse," and with no regard for the consequences.
See more details in: Russia-obsessed Western elites acting like delinquents - Moscow which has additional links to related articles.

3) From the same source:
26 Apr, 2024 19:44
West must rebuild relations with Russia from scratch - Kremlin
Moscow has had enough of Europe's hostile attitude, Dmitry Peskov has said

Contacts between Russia and Europe will never be the same even after the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev ends, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday. Russia has seen enough of the West's hostile treatment and does not want to stick to the old model of relations, he said.

"Russia threatens no one in Europe and expects no one in Europe to threaten it," Peskov said. That does not mean, though, that the West would be able to continue "business as usual" with Moscow, he warned.

European nations will still have Russia as their neighbor after the conflict and will be bound to maintain certain relations with it, the Kremlin spokesman said. "There will be no relations as before. No one will want it," he stated, adding that Moscow would certainly oppose reverting to old practices.

"We have had a lot of experience with how the Europeans treat us," the official explained. "We will always take this experience into account." Any future relations would thus be based on some "new foundations," according to Peskov.

The Kremlin spokesman's words echoed earlier statements by top Russian officials, including by President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In January, the nation's top diplomat said that the Ukraine conflict had clearly shown that Moscow cannot trust the West.

"If there had been any illusions left over from the 1990s, that the West would open its arms to embrace us and that democracy would unite us all, they have been completely dispelled," the minister said at that time, adding that the only thing Washington and its allies wanted was to "live at the expense of others."

Late last year, Vladimir Putin admitted that he'd been "naive" early on in his political career, despite having served in the Soviet KGB. He said he believed that there was no fundamental reason for the West and Moscow to be at odds after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The president then said that he eventually understood that the West was seeking to break Russia into several entities that would have less ability to protect their national interests.

Earlier this month, Moscow also pinned the blame on Washington for the current crisis in relations between Russia and Western nations. The ongoing standoff was an exclusive choice of the West itself, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said at the time. It was not Moscow that "moved its war machine to NATO's borders" and spearheaded unprecedented economic and personal sanctions, the diplomat said, adding that America simply refuses to understand that Moscow would never give up on its national interests.


Russia-obsessed Western elites acting like delinquents - Moscow

FILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
© Sputnik / Gavriil GrigorovFILE PHOTO: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
Testing Russia's resolve seems to be the life goal of some leaders in the West, Deputy Foreign minister Sergey Ryakbov has said

Some Western leaders are so obsessed with sticking it to Moscow that they're behaving like delinquent youths who have no regard for the consequences of their actions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said.

He made the comment in an extensive interview with TASS on Friday, during which he discussed the poor state of US-Russia relations. Washington and its allies are "prepared to balance on the edge of direct armed conflict with us," even though it undermines their national security, he added.

"There are plenty of people among those in power in the US and other key Western states, who are de facto provocateurs. They've made testing Moscow's resolve the goal of their existence," Ryabkov said.



Victory Day remembrance, why the Western elites want to forget

victory day
Many ordinary citizens around the world, including in the United States and across Europe, are united with Russia in properly honoring Victory Day.

Russian historian Roman Shumov aptly captured the sublime significance of Victory Day. He wrote this week, "For Russians, May 9 isn't just a celebration of military triumph - it is a celebration of victory over death."

This week Russia and allied nations celebrated Victory Day with the customary splendor and respect on display in Moscow's Red Square. All across Russia, and on a smaller scale in other European countries too, there were commemorations in honor of the soldiers and civilians who gave their lives to defeat Nazi Germany in May 1945.

When Nazi Germany officially surrendered on May 9, the people of the Soviet Union had made the most excruciating and crucial sacrifice to gain victory. There is still no exact figure, but it is estimated that 27 to 30 million Soviet citizens died in the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). About 10 million of that total were Red Army soldiers, the rest civilians who died through unimaginable suffering of violence and deprivation. It was their collective sacrifice and heroism in the face of barbarism that finally wielded defeat on the Nazi Third Reich. It is only fitting that the Battle of Berlin was the last stand for Hitler's regime and that the hoisting of the Soviet flag over the Reichstag was the iconic moment of triumph.

Георгиевская ленточка

Russia & China — Two against one

putin and xi
© Konstantin Zavrazhin, Kremlin
Chinese President Xi Jinping's extremely warm reception of President Vladimir Putin yesterday in Beijing sealed the increasingly formidable Russia-China strategic relationship. It amounts to a tectonic shift in the world balance of power.

The Russia-China entente also sounds the death knell for attempts by U.S. foreign policy neophytes to drive a wedge between the two countries. The triangular relationship has become two-against-one, with serious implications, particularly for the war in Ukraine. If U.S. President Joe Biden's foreign policy geniuses remain in denial, escalation is almost certain.

In a pre-visit interview with Xinhua, Putin noted the "unprecedented level of strategic partnership between our countries." He and Xi have met more than 40 times in person or virtually. In June 2018, Xi described Putin as "an old friend of the Chinese people" and, personally, his "best friend."

For his part, Putin noted Thursday that he and Xi are "in constant contact to keep personal control over all pressing issues on the Russian-Chinese and international agenda." Putin brought along Defense Minister Andrey Belousov as well as veterans like Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and key business leaders.


Putin reveals plans for Kharkov

Russian soldier
© SputnikFILE PHOTO.
Russian combat operations are not aimed at capturing the city, the president has said

Russia has no intention of capturing the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, which is close to the Russian border, President Vladimir Putin has said. Moscow's forces have been making notable gains in the area in recent days.

Speaking to reporters at the Harbin Institute of Technology during his two-day visit to China, Putin commented on Russia's operations in Kharkov Region, asserting that Moscow is achieving success on the battlefield by acting "strictly according to plan."


From the same source:
17 May, 2024 13:20
Ukraine was warned about Russia's Kharkov offensive - Guardian
Despite the advance notice from the UK, Kiev's defense lines on the border were "thin to absent," the paper said

The UK warned Ukraine ahead of the Russian offensive in Kharkov Region, but Kiev failed to prepare for the attack that resulted in Moscow's troops making rapid gains, The Guardian reported on Thursday, citing sources.

British intelligence provided Ukraine with advance warning about the attack, according to one of the newspaper's sources, although he did not say how much time Kiev had to prepare.

However, the alert had followed a public warning by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, saying Moscow could move to establish a "cordon sanitaire" in Kiev-controlled territories to protect civilians in Russian border regions, particularly in Belgorod, from indiscriminate Ukrainian artillery and drone bombardment.

Given that Ukrainian officials had also reported a concentration of Russian troops in the area ahead of the offensive, "it might have been expected that the attack would be swiftly repulsed," The Guardian said.

However, Ukrainian defensive lines "were thin to absent" in Kharkov Region, the paper said. As a result, the Russian Defense Ministry reported the capture of several border settlements in Kharkov Region in recent days.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky recently admitted that Kiev was not ready to meet a large-scale Russian attack due to delays in Western arms shipments. He has canceled scheduled trips to Spain and Portugal, heading to Kharkov instead. Zelensky described the situation as "very serious," but promised that Kiev was redeploying reinforcements to the area from other frontline sectors.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Kiev to reassure Ukraine that it was "not alone" in the face of the Russian onslaught. He noted that the country was now going through its "critical moment" on the battlefield.

Echoing The Guardian report, some Ukrainian service members complained about the absence of fortifications and minefields in Kharkov Region, while local outlet Ukrainska Pravda reported that funds earmarked for creating defenses had simply been stolen. Ukrainian officials, however, have dismissed the narrative about the lack of defenses as "Russian propaganda" aimed at driving a wedge between local administrations and the top brass in Kiev.

On Friday, during his visit to China, Putin confirmed that Moscow's combat operations in the region were aimed at creating a "cordon sanitaire," stressing that his country had no plans to capture Kharkov, Ukraine's second-largest city, at this point.
The following article explains the process of corruption:
Ukrainian military stole money intended for fortifications - local media
14 May, 2024 14:15
Ukrainian military stole money intended for fortifications - local media
With millions of dollars reportedly embezzled, Russian armor was free to roll across the border into Kharkov


Writing in Ukrainska Pravda on Monday, Ukrainian anti-corruption activist Martina Boguslavets explained that Kharkov's Department of Housing and Communal Services (ZhKG) and Regional Military Administration (OVA) had been given 7 billion hryvnias ($176.5 million to build fortifications to hold back this advance.

Much of this money was embezzled, Boguslavets claimed. For the supply of wood, the ZhKG and OVA signed contracts worth 270 million hryvnias ($6.8 million) with five companies that were set up immediately after the contracts were announced. No bidding process took place, and at least two of these companies were owned by the same person, Boguslavets wrote.

"Moreover, the owners of these firms do not resemble successful businessmen and businesswomen," she wrote. "They have dozens of court cases, from whiskey theft to domestic violence against a husband and mother; some of them are deprived of parental rights and have had enforcement proceedings for bank loans."

Boguslavets described these business owners as "avatars," placed in charge of the companies either for a small fee or without their knowledge. One of the supposed CEOs, whose firm was paid 52 million hryvnias ($1.3 million) is an agricultural laborer, according to Boguslavets' documents.

"The naked eye can see how a government official mercilessly registers new companies, using for this purpose people who, due to the circumstances, may not be aware of this," she wrote. "And this someone continues to make money on blood."
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