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Mastercard launches its biometric retail payment system in Europe, using Poland as a testing ground

Mastercard launches retail biometrics program
After running pilot tests in Brazil and parts of the Asia Pacific for roughly two years, Mastercard is finally rolling out its biometric retail payments system in Europe. The world's largest payment card company appears to be determined to wean consumers off not only cash, its eternal rival, but also credit and debit cards, its main line of business until now. To that end, it is piloting its Biometric Checkout Program in Poland in collaboration with local fintech company PayEye, which will be providing its iris and face biometric technology.
Mastercard's global Biometric Checkout Program, represents a first-of-its-kind technology framework to help establish standards for new ways to pay, allowing cardholders to use a wide range of biometric payment authentication methods such as palm, face or iris scan. This simplifies the checkout process in store, as consumers no longer need to use a physical payment card, cash or a mobile device to pay for purchases. With Mastercard Biometric Checkout Program, secure and convenient experiences are possible simply by using your biometrics.

"Mastercard is a pioneer of innovative payment methods and drive security, and standardization and Poland is an (sic) perfect place for such a groundbreaking pilot," said Marta Życińska, general manager Poland, Mastercard.

Comment: Don't miss: Visa & Mastercard: The real threat of the Digital ID control system

Life Preserver

Here's what a prepper learned surviving a flood of biblical proportions

Rio Grande do Sul flood
Only 13 months have passed since I wrote an article telling of my experience as a volunteer after the catastrophic storms and landslides that killed more than 60 people in my state's North Shore region. A similar yet even bigger tragedy is unfolding, this time in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Earlier this month, it rained more than half the volume expected for the entire year in a few days. According to the Brazilian Geological Service (SBG), a rare confluence of conditions amplified by the El Niño phenomenon caused deluges so off-the-charts technicians thought the monitoring equipment was malfunctioning. It wasn't, unfortunately.

Natural events like that happen all the time around the world. Rain season is causing floods in East Africa, with more than 400 deaths and a cholera outbreak thanks to the same El Niño phenomenon. Tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, snow storms - the planet is alive. The forces of nature are constantly hitting somewhere to humble us.


Migrant charged with destroying crypt in 1,000-year-old Dublin church containing mummified remains of Crusaders

mummies crypt michan's church
The mummies at St Michan's Church crypt in Dublin, Ireland
A man has been charged in relation to the investigation of a fire which is believed to have "destroyed" the remains of five historical mummified remains at St. Michan's Church in Dublin.

Christian Topiter, 38, appeared before the Dublin District Court earlier today charged in relation to the fire at the church crypt where remains are housed including the 800 year old remains of a man known as 'The Crusader'.

For the Irish Mirror Tom Tuite reported that Topiter has "various addresses and had a Romanian travel card" and "was detained at a north Dublin station overnight" although Garda witnesses said they were not 100% certain of his identity.

The court heard that Topiter had been living in a hostel about 200m away from the scene of the incident and that around 4pm a tour guide had become aware of fire and raised the alarm.

Comment: The Archdeacon's response isn't much better than the police's. This isn't about tourism money, you fool.


Why young Germans vote for the AfD

Germany bewildered
In the aftermath of the European elections last Sunday, the German establishment has been trying to come to terms with radically altered political realities. Despite advance polls predicting a notable shift to the Right, the result still shook the country. Less than a third of voters stuck with the parties of the ruling centre-left coalition, and the Right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) became the second largest political force after the conservative Union. Young people in particular defied expectations, many turning their backs on the Greens and switching to the Right.

For the first time, 16- and 17-year-old Germans were allowed to vote in EU elections, something the Greens had strongly advocated as one of three parties in the governing coalition. Arguing that the "lowering of the voting age takes young people and their concerns seriously", they had no doubt hoped that these concerns would align with their own.

Comment: Parts of the Western world are slowly waking up to the fact that basic quality of life concerns are just not on the list of priorities for many Green Parties, Democrats, etc. - or most mainstream establishment political groups for that matter.

See also:


Why did it take Russia so long to realize Donbass was worth fighting for?

Scott Ritter
© Scott RitterScott Ritter (center) visits the city of Luhansk, founded in 1795, accompanied by bodyguards from the Sparta Battalion

As its military operation enters a critical stage, the question of why it took Moscow eight years to intervene remains a sensitive topic

On May 26, the Donetsk People's Republic marked the tenth anniversary of the first battle for the region's international airport. This was a key clash in the fight between Ukraine and local citizens who opposed the nationalist-dominated government that had seized power in Kiev as a result of the US-backed coup in February 2014. The anniversary was but one in a succession of similar commemorations of events which, together, draw attention to the fact that the war in Donbass has been ongoing for a decade.

Earlier this year I traveled to the Chechen Republic, Crimea, and the New Russian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhye, all locations which comprised what I called Russia's "Path of Redemption," the geographic expression of actions undertaken by Moscow. The fourth -and final- destination of my trip, the two people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk that are collectively referred to as the Donbass, brought this journey to a close. By visiting the literal ground zero of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict, I was able to put a punctation mark at the end of a long and complicated passage which delved into the very essence of modern-day Russia — what it means to be Russian, and the price the Russian nation has been willing to pay to preserve this definition.


Pope repeats 'gay slur' in closed-door meeting, states homosexual men should not enter seminary

Comment: Well, this really did need to be said!

Pope Francis holds weekly audience at the Vatican, December 2, 2020.
© VATICAN MEDIA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERSFILE: Pope Francis holds weekly audience at the Vatican, December 2, 2020.
The pope has again used a highly disparaging word against gay people for which he had already apologised last month, ANSA news agency said on Tuesday.

Italian media had attributed to the pope the use of the word "frociaggine", a vulgar Italian term roughly translating as "faggotness", on May 20 during a closed-door meeting with Italian bishops.

According to ANSA, Francis repeated the term on Tuesday as he met Roman priests, saying "there is an air of faggotness in the Vatican," and it was better that young men with a homosexual tendency not be allowed to enter the seminary.

Comment: Based! This is an acknowledgement that is long overdue from the head of the Roman church. Francis is of course not 'bigoted', he means well for everyone, INCLUDING those who would fall victim to such "frociaggine"...

We're glad the pope has said the quiet part out loud, but this problem has long since become way too 'institutionalized' in the Church. On this issue, the protestants are right: celibacy is too high a bar for most men.

Asked about the latest report, the Vatican's press office made reference to a statement it had issued regarding Tuesday's meeting with the priests, in which the pope reiterated the need to welcome gay people into the Church and the need for caution regarding them becoming seminarians.

Comment: Well, he was informed a month ago it was considered a slur, but perhaps he just slipped. One would imagine he wasn't intending to insult all homosexuals, because he was apparently also talking about welcoming them into the church (as congregants).

That said, it may be that he had a certain kind of character in mind, because the Catholic church has been plagued by sex scandals in the recent decades:

Light Sabers

Russia halts dollar and euro trade on its biggest exchange 1 hour after US announces new sanctions

Maria Zakharova russia stock exchange
© AFP / YURI KADOBNOV; RIA / FileFILE: Exchange office in central Moscow, Russia. (inset) Maria Zakharova in Moscow, Russia.
New U.S. sanctions against Russia have forced an immediate suspension of trading in dollars and euros on its leading financial marketplace, the Moscow Exchange.

The exchange and the central bank rushed out statements on Wednesday - a public holiday in Russia - within an hour of Washington announcing a new round of sanctions aimed at cutting the flow of money and goods to sustain Russia's war in Ukraine.

"Due to the introduction of restrictive measures by the United States against the Moscow Exchange Group, exchange trading and settlements of deliverable instruments in U.S. dollars and euros are suspended," the central bank said.

Comment: It seems likely that, as with the other sanctions packages, this is also going to backfire. After all, in contrast to the recession hit West, Russia's economy is doing rather well:

Bizarro Earth

Our Apocalyptic "New Normal"

apocalyptic events
Our world is witnessing apocalyptic events so frequently that many of us are starting to become numb to it all. Major wars are raging all over the globe, children in Africa are literally dropping dead from starvation as hunger spreads like wildfire, and "billion dollar disasters" are hitting us more frequently than we have ever seen before. But as long as these tragedies are not affecting us directly, most people don't really care too much. As the level of worldwide suffering rises, it seems as though hearts are getting colder at the same time. The traumatic events of the past several years have left deep scars, and there are many that prefer to ignore the apocalyptic things that are happening in the world because it is just too much for them to handle emotionally.

Cell Phone

Tokyo to launch dating app

Tokyo, Japan
© Getty Images / Adam PrettyFILE PHOTO. Tokyo, Japan.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is preparing to launch its own dating app as part of a national effort to boost the country's dwindling birth rate, The Japan Times reported on Wednesday, citing a government official.

The app will be called 'Tokyo Futari Story', with 'futari' meaning two people, or a couple. Users of the app will be asked to provide documentation indicating that they are single, go through an interview to confirm their identity, and sign a paper stating that they are willing to get married.

A special website offering counsel and general information to those seeking a partner is already up, while the actual app remains in development. According to Tokyo authorities, the mobile and web version of the service are expected to be launched later this year.

"We learned that 70% of people who want to get married aren't actively joining events or apps to look for a partner," the Tokyo government official in charge of the new app was quoted as saying by The Japan Times. "We want to give them a gentle push to find one."

According to Japan's Health Ministry, in 2023, the country recorded only 799,728 births, compared to 1.58 million deaths.

Stock Down

Financially 'gasping for air': Nearly two-thirds of middle-class Americans say they are struggling

Dollar General
© Alamy
Americans are feeling pessimistic about their finances amid ongoing inflation

A majority of middle-class Americans are experiencing financial hardship that they expect will continue for the rest of their lives, according to a new poll.

Findings published by the National True Cost of Living Coalition show that 65% of Americans whose incomes are 200% above the national poverty line - which is about $62,300 for a family of four, often considered middle class - said they are struggling financially.

Respondents include those with high school diplomas and graduate degrees as well as blue- and white-collar workers who live in both rural and urban America.

While many of these people said they are able to afford the most basic expenses, they expressed concern about their inability to save for the future. Tellingly, about 40% of Americans said they are unable to plan beyond their next paycheck, while another 46% said they do not have $500 saved for emergencies.

Comment: Should Trump make it back into office, he will do his best to turn things around. But the Biden/Obama/Deep State are conducting a stealth scorched-earth policy with respect to the U.S. economy. By the time Trump takes office, the problems are likely to be intractable, with Trump holding the bag.