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Hungary allegedly blocked joint EU statement on Putin's arrest warrant

hungary parliament
Hungary blocked European Union member states from issuing a joint statement about an international arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Budapest's veto meant that the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, instead released a statement in his own name 'taking note" of the decision by the International Criminal Court.

'The EU sees the decision by the ICC as a beginning of the process of accountability and holding Russian leaders to account for the crimes and atrocities they are ordering, enabling or committing in Ukraine," Borrell said in the statement published on Sunday evening. EU justice ministers issued their own statement supporting the ICC decision Monday, which Hungary did not sign.

Comment: RFE/RL adds this detail not included in the Bloomberg article above: Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mate Paczolay denied the report, telling Bloomberg, "It's a lie that Hungary vetoed an EU statement on the ICC case."

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Shotgun marriage: Swiss bank UBS 'is prepared to take over troubled rival Credit Suisse but only for knockdown price' UPDATE

UBS Swiss bank Credit Suisse
© Associated Press
Swiss bank UBS is prepared to take over troubled rival Credit Suisse but only for a knockdown price, reports said March 19, 2023
Swiss bank UBS is prepared to take over its troubled rival Credit Suisse but only for a knockdown price, reports said today.

It comes amid urgent talks aimed at saving the embattled bank from a bloodbath when the markets reopen.

The two largest banks in the wealthy Alpine nation famed for its banking prominence have been in negotiations with the government throughout the weekend, with the central bank and financial regulators all involved.

The Financial Times, which was the first on Friday to report the prospect of Switzerland's biggest bank swallowing up Credit Suisse, said UBS had offered to buy it for up to $1billion.

The transaction would be worth 25 cents (0.23 Swiss francs) per Credit Suisse share, the FT said.

Comment: UPDATE 3/19/2023:
Credit Suisse has agreed to be bought by its arch-rival UBS at a discount to Friday's close price. "With the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, a solution has been found to secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy in this exceptional situation," the SNB said in a statement.

UBS UBS, +11.97% will buy Credit Suisse CS, +2.46% for 3 billion francs ($3.25 billion), or 0.76 francs per share, in an all-stock deal, the bank announced.

UBS said it benefits from 25 billion francs of downside protection from the transaction to support marks, purchase price adjustments and restructuring costs, and additional 50% downside protection on non-core assets. The Swiss financial regulator said Credit Suisse's AT1 securities, worth 16 billion francs, will be entirely written down.

"This is a commercial solution and not a bailout," said Karin Keller-Sutter, the Swiss finance minister. "Bankruptcy would have been the highest risk."

UBS said the combination of the two businesses is expected to generate annual run-rate of cost reductions of more than $8 billion by 2027.


Ukraine given EU and NATO membership ultimatum by Hungary

Hungarian politician Peter Szijjart
© AFP / Daniel Mihailescu
FILE PHOTO: Peter Szijjarto arrives for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, November 30, 2022. Kiev can't join either bloc unless it respects Hungarian minority rights, Budapest insists.
Ukraine will not be allowed to join the EU or NATO until it restores the rights of ethnic Hungarians living in its Transcarpathian Region, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, warned on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Szijjarto added that the US-led military bloc was violating its own rules by pushing ahead with a set of meetings involving Kiev's officials, despite his government's objections.

"I would like to say that we will not support any significant integration movement of Ukraine towards the EU or NATO until the rights of the Hungarian ethnic community that it had prior to 2015 are restored in Ukraine," the foreign minister told reporters.

Cowboy Hat

Russia reacts to Canadian call for 'regime change' in Moscow

© Hans Neleman/Getty Images
Moscow says it reserves the right to respond to Ottawa's stated goal of toppling the country's government
The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned Canada's top diplomat in Moscow to lodge a formal complaint, after the Canadian foreign minister made "inadmissible remarks" earlier this month.

Melanie Joly told a news conference on March 10 that Ottawa was seeking "potential regime change in Russia." Members of the cabinet are "seeing potential" for that outcome thanks to their efforts to isolate "the Russian regime" economically, politically and diplomatically, she stated.

The Canadian charge d'affaires in Moscow, Brian Ebel, was summoned on March 20 and issued with a formal protest over the remarks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. Moscow believes the comments to be "inadmissible and at variance with Canada's obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

Better Earth

Putin, Xi talks at the Kremlin cover Ukraine peace roadmap proposal, boosting Russian-Chinese cooperation

putin xi
© Mikhail Tereshchenko/AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21. Putin lauds Chinese peace roadmap for Ukraine It can be implemented only when West and Kiev are "ready" for it, Russian president said after talks with his Chinese counterpart.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Beijing's 12-point peace roadmap for Ukraine, during a summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The Chinese leader is making a three-day visit to Moscow, and today's official talks took place at the Kremlin.

"We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with the Russian stance and can be taken as a foundation for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for it in the West and in Kiev. However, so far we have not observed such readiness on their part," Putin stated.

Comment: Al Mayadeen provides further detail:
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping had formal talks at the Kremlin on Tuesday, marking the second day of the Chinese leader's first trip to Russia since the outbreak of the Ukraine war.

The trip was described by Beijing as a peace mission after it had last month made a peace proposal to put an end to the conflict taking Ukraine by storm.

Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined in light of the talks that Moscow was ready to support Chinese businesses in replacing their Western counterparts that have left the country in light of the Ukraine war.

"We are ready to support Chinese business in replacing the production facilities of Western enterprises that have left Russia," Putin underlined during the meeting with Xi and senior Russian officials in the Kremlin.

This comes after numerous Western corporations withdrew from Russia under the pretext of the Ukraine war in a bid to corner Moscow and force it into withdrawing from Ukraine and the Donbass.

This comes as economic sanctions against Moscow resulted in a hike in the prices of global fuel and food, boosting Russia's trade balance, financing its operation, and putting a significant strain on Western economies, according to analysts.

Moscow supports use of Yuan

Furthermore, President Putin said his country supported the usage of the Chinese yuan in settlements between Russia and Asian, Latin American, and African states.

According to Putin, "these forms of settlements will take place in yuan between Russian partners and colleagues from third countries."

It was reported in August 2022 that Russia wanted Chinese yuan-dominated debt to help bolster the Russian market, with Bloomberg saying yuan bonds would debut in the Russian market in 2023.

Trading volumes between the Chinese currency and the Russian ruble had grown 40-fold since the start of 2022 at that point.

Moreover, the Chinese foreign ministry said last year that it did not rule out the possibility of using rubles or yuans in energy commerce with Russia.

Siberia-2 project nearly completely agreed-upon

Russia and China have agreed on almost all the aspects of the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline project, Putin highlighted after record daily deliveries were reached in December of 2022 between the two countries.

The highest record of Russian gas delivery was reached after the joint Russian-Chinese project to construct a new 750km-long pipeline section linking Taian, Shandong, and Taixing, Jiangsu to reach the Chinese Yangtze River Delta became operational.

"We have just discussed a good project, this is the new Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline through Mongolia. Almost all the parameters of this agreement have been agreed upon. This is 50 billion cubic meters of gas - reliable, stable supplies from Russia," Putin explained.

Last year, Gazprom announced the existence of a study on the results of the feasibility of the Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline project with Mongolia, which will be a continuation of the Power of Siberia - 2.

China-Russian ties healthy

The existing relations between China and Russia demonstrate healthy development dynamics, Chinese President Xi Jinping underlined.

"Thanks to our joint efforts, Russian-Chinese relations demonstrate a healthy and stable dynamic of development. Political mutual trust is deepening between our countries, and common interests are multiplying," Xi said at a meeting with Putin in Moscow.

It is worth noting that despite Western sanctions and blackmail, economic turnover between Russia and China has reached historic highs, with Moscow saying the objective of increasing trade volumes to $200 billion would be met ahead of time.

Arrow Down

Biden issues first veto of his presidency over influence from 'MAGA Republicans'

© Joe Raedle/Getty Images
President Joe Biden ranting on retirement accountability demanded by Republicans
President Joe Biden vetoed a bill for the first time in his presidency on Monday, arguing that the legislation was overly influenced by "MAGA Republicans."

The Republican-led legislation prevented Biden's administration from taking environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues into account when making investment decisions. GOP lawmakers argue ESG is a measure of a corporation's loyalty to "woke" cultural movements and should not be taken into account.

"I just vetoed my first bill. This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don't like. Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not," Biden announced in a Monday tweet.

The bill specifically ended enforcement of a new Labor Department rule that urged private retirement plan fiduciaries to consider ESG in their investment decisions.


This Has Got to Stop

Mom and child
© WeAreChange.org
"As the evidence mounts of an even broader censorship effort by the Biden administration, the Democrats' attacks have become more unhinged and unscrupulous. After shredding any fealty to free speech, they now are attacking journalists, demanding their sources and claiming their reporting is a public threat." — Jonathan Turley
And it will stop because, as the old wag Herb Stein laid down in his law years ago: Things that can't go on, stop. Which raises the question: which things? And the answer is the things Western Civ is doing in its attempted suicide: inciting war, recklessly running up debt, persecuting its own citizens and stealing their liberties, subjecting them to medical malfeasance, destroying their goods production and food-growing capabilities, and subjecting the public to incessant mind-fuckery in a campaign to falsify and disfigure reality.

A consortium of public and corporate bureaucracies has institutionalized the falsification of reality under the pretense of saving the human race from a pack of hobgoblins led by climate change, racism, and normal sexual reproduction. They have been driven insane by the actual reality of pending economic collapse, which has only been accelerated by their own suicidal activities. What they apparently really want to save is their own positions, perquisites, and power. Their enabling mechanism is the digital computer and its many ways of assembling and controlling information, and thus controlling people, especially those who object to totalizing control. They do it because they can.

Magic Wand

Ukraine's Crimea military plans detailed by Bild

Uke Tank
© Aris Messinis/AFP
Ukrainian servicemen on a 2S7 Pion tank
The German newspaper has cited an unnamed NATO official as claiming that Kiev is preparing to strike in Zaporozhye and Lugansk...

Russia and Ukraine are approaching a decisive period in their conflict, with Kiev aiming to sever the Russian land bridge to Crimea this spring, Germany's Bild newspaper has reported. The tabloid cited an anonymous NATO source who claimed the bloc is providing Ukraine with everything it needs to retake its former territories.

In a report on Tuesday, Bild quoted a "leading" NATO official as stating that the alliance's analysts expect the conflict to reach a climax in the spring and summer. The official expressed confidence that heavy weaponry being delivered to Ukraine will be brought to bear in several counteroffensives as early as May.

"The coming six months will be a key period in the war not only for Ukraine, but also for the allies," the unnamed source predicted.

While refusing to go into detail regarding planned operations, the official asserted that Ukrainian forces will focus their efforts on the regions of Zaporozhye and Lugansk.

Comment: 'A Hail Mary' to save the day...according to a west-obedient publication? More likely it would be the 'Last Hurrah'. Considering the tip of the hand, it is a deflection.


Biden signs legislation to declassify info on COVID-19 origins

© Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
US President Joe Biden and the power of the pen
President Biden on Monday signed legislation to declassify information related to the origins of COVID-19 after the measure was passed unanimously in Congress.

The House had passed the bill earlier this month, but the White House had been non-committal about whether Biden would sign it into law.

Biden said in a statement:
"We need to get to the bottom of COVID-19's origins to help ensure we can better prevent future pandemics. My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID-19's origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

"In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security."
The president noted that he directed intelligence agencies in 2021 to investigate the virus' origins.

The legislation, titled the COVID-19 Origin Act, was originally sponsored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). The bill directs the Director of National Intelligence to "declassify any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin" of COVID-19.

Comment: Come clean? We know where this is going. The Fibber in Chief will obviscate pertinent details to misdirect perception and deter investigation. Question is: Why now?


Comer says '6 or 7 Biden family members' may have been involved in overseas business schemes

© Getty Images
US Rep James Comer (R-KY) Chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer believes that more than half a dozen members of the Biden clan may have been involved in various worldwide business schemes that profited off their family name.

Comer, whose committee is investigating the Biden family's business dealings, shared the insight in a Wednesday night interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

Referring to his panel's far-reaching probe, Comer (R-KY) said:
"At the end of this I think we're gonna see there are probably six or seven Biden family members that were involved in various business schemes around the world."
Comer didn't mention any names in the interview and declined to reveal the identity of the unnamed Biden family member who got proceeds from a $3 million wire to Hunter Biden associate John "Rob" Walker just weeks after Joe Biden left the vice presidency in 2017.

Comment: What took so long? The Bidens obviously had 'protection' given the length of time for these reveals to surface.