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Wed, 12 May 2021
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The woman set to be richer than Bill Gates

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© The Australian
Gina Rinehart
You probably haven't heard of Gina Rinehart - the 57-year-old Australian widow - but you'll know the people her wealth is set to eclipse.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Carlos Sim are currently rated as the richest people alive by Forbes magazine, while Lakshmi Mittal is the UK's richest person and sixth-richest overall.

But Rinehart is about to leapfrog them all to the top of the list - and become the first woman to ever hold the number one spot.

Where her money's come from

Rinehart was a recently widowed mother of four in her 30s when she inherited her father's debt-laden mining firm. But she wasn't new to the business world.

She had been groomed to inherit the family firm from the age of 12 and, since taking over, has quietly gone about making it one of the world's biggest operations.

War Whore

Another Day in the Empire: US drone kills 8 in Pakistan

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The US has conducted another non-UN-sanctioned drone strike in Pakistan's troubled northwest, leaving at least eight people dead and several others wounded.

The US drone hit a vehicle in South Waziristan region, which borders Afghanistan.

The US has expanded its airstrikes in Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

The US often carries out such attacks on Pakistan's tribal regions, claiming that the militants are their target.

But locals say civilians are the main victims of the unauthorized US strikes. Hundreds of people have been killed in the attacks.

There have also been numerous demonstrations across Pakistan against the US drone attacks.

The issue of civilian casualties has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington with the Pakistani government repeatedly objecting to the attacks.

Handcuffs

International Criminal Court goes after another patsy, issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi on charges of committing crimes against humanity.

"The chamber hereby, issues a warrant of arrest against Muammar Gaddafi," Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said during a court hearing on Monday.

The ICC also issued warrants for Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi for committing crimes against Libyan revolutionaries since the Libyan revolution in began in mid-February, AFP reported.

The warrants are a response to ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo's call on the court to issue arrest warrants for the three influential Libyan figures.

NATO is conducting airstrikes in Libya to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1973, and says that its air campaign aims at protecting civilians. However, Libyan officials say hundreds of civilians have been killed as a result of the attacks.

Experts say the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves of the North African country.

Arrow Down

Soros: 'Eurozone on verge of economic collapse'

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Believe me, I'd know
Billionaire George Soros says Europe's debt crisis has brought the eurozone to the brink of an "economic collapse" and inevitably some of its members will leave the union.

"There's no arrangement for any countries leaving the euro, which in current circumstances is probably inevitable," Soros said at a panel discussion in Vienna, Austria on Sunday, Bloomberg reported.

He added, "We are on the verge of an economic collapse which starts, let's say, in Greece, but it could easily spread. The financial system remains extremely vulnerable."

"I think most of us actually agree that Europe's crisis is actually centered around the euro," the 80-year-old investor added.

Arrow Down

Taliban shoot down US drone

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NATO says Taliban militants have shot down an unmanned aircraft belonging to US-led forces in the troubled northeastern Afghanistan.

The US-led military alliance said in a statement that the unmanned plane was shot down by Taliban militants over Kapisa Province, a Press TV correspondent reported on Monday.

Taliban says it has the wreckage of the NATO drone.

The militants have proven resilient faced with NATO's 150,000 strong-contingent.

They have stepped up their attacks on US-led forces, inflicting an increasing number of casualties.

The Taliban claim they have shot down several aircraft and NATO choppers in different parts of Afghanistan over the past few months.

MIB

Russian double agent sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison for betraying Russian spies

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© Yuri Kochetkov/EPA
Chief justice Alexander Ababkov (back centre) announces a sentence, in absentia, on the Russian foreign intelligence service's Colonel Alexander Poteyev in the Moscow district military court.
A Russian double agent who fled to the US after betraying the espionage ring which included Anna Chapman has been convicted in absentia and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Alexander Poteyev was found guilty of state treason and desertion.

Both Chapman and Poteyev's wife, Marina, appeared as witnesses during the trial, and in its judgment the Moscow district military court revealed that he had sent a plaintive text message to the latter after leaving Russia, saying: "Mari, try to take this calmly: I'm not going away for a while, I'm going away forever. I did not want to, but I had to. I will start a new life. I'll try to help the children."

Chapman, 29, and nine other sleeper agents known as "illegals" were captured last year in America after they had been under US intelligence surveillance for several years. They were later swapped for four men imprisoned in Russia who had allegedly spied for MI6 and the CIA. An 11th agent was arrested in Cyprus but then skipped bail and disappeared.

No Entry

Israel threatens to halt flights from Denmark

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...or maybe not if you're flying from Denmark
Israel has threatened to halt all direct flights to Denmark after Copenhagen refused to allow Israeli security personnel to perform security checks at the country's main airport.

Tel Aviv had demanded that Israeli security personnel carry out independent security checks on passengers flying from Copenhagen to Tel Aviv on the newly-launched Israeli Arkia Airlines' Copenhagen-Tel Aviv route.

Israel had also demanded that Danish aviation authorities allow armed Israeli guards patrol certain 'Israeli security zones' at Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport.

Danish aviation authorities, however, rejected both demands, saying they are in sharp contrast with laws of freedom and human dignity.

Vader

Feinberg Can't Do Public Job, Take Secret Pay

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© N/A
The deadline for submitting claims to the $20 billion BP oil spill compensation fund is midnight Tuesday. The wrangling over payouts will go on, perhaps for years. Yet the administrator of the fund, Kenneth Feinberg, stubbornly refuses to say how much he's being paid by the oil company, eroding the trust of frustrated claimants and the public.

If BP had funneled the $20 billion through government, which hired Feinberg to administer it, his pay would have been public from day one. BP was allowed to skip the government intermediary, but BP didn't hire Feinberg - President Obama appointed him, straight out of a real public job as White House overseer of executive pay at bailed-out companies.

Obama said as Feinberg took the job: "I'm confident he will assure that claims are administered as quickly, as fairly and as transparently as possible."

Bizarro Earth

Feds Finally Release List Of Chemicals Found In Oil Spill Dispersants

corexit,plane

It took over a year, but earlier this month the Environmental Protection Agency finally released a partial list of the chemical components in oil dispersants used to "clean up" portions of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

EPA released a list of the 57 ingredients in all of the dispersants eligible for use in oil spills and identified the specific ingredients of some of them - in particular, Dispersit, Mare Clean, and COREXIT 9500 and COREXIT 9527, which were used in response to the oil disaster in the Gulf.

"This disclosure was long overdue," said Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado. "These dispersants were used in massive quantities, nearly 2 million gallons, exposing workers, community residents, and wildlife to toxic chemicals, without adequate information about whether they were adding injury to the already tragic circumstances."

Bad Guys

Israel: Netanahyu orders defense establishment to stop Gaza-bound flotilla

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© Ronen Zvulun / Reuters
Cabinet accepts Navy's plan to prevent upcoming flotilla from arriving in Gaza; ministers agree that flotilla members will be allowed to unload humanitarian cargo at Egyptian port of El-Arish and Ashdod port.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered the defense establishment not to allow any ship to reach Gaza's shores, Israel Radio reported.

Netanahyu made the comments during a meeting of the security cabinet over preparations Israel was taking to deal with a new flotilla expected to be setting sail for Gaza this week.