Society's ChildS


Ukrainian women should prepare for conscription - top Kiev official

FILE PHOTO: A woman demonstrate body armor during a presentation in Kiev
© Oleksii Chumachenko / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty ImagesFILE PHOTO: A woman demonstrate body armor during a presentation in Kiev, September 14, 2023
Kiev has been struggling to mobilize enough men to send to the frontline

The Ukrainian government should leave its "old-school mentality" behind and implement true equality in its armed forces, Kiev's chief military adviser for gender issues, Oksana Grigorieva, has argued.

Kiev is currently overhauling its military conscription system, with lawmakers debating amendments to lower the mobilization age and penalize draft-dodgers. There are currently no plans to conscript women, but the idea has previously been raised.

Comment: From the same source:
10 Apr, 2024 16:46
Ukraine moves closer to drafting convicts
Lawmakers have been eager to allow inmates to serve on the frontline of Kiev's armed conflict with Russia

The Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday advanced the proposal to enable the mobilization of certain categories of convicted criminals. Those who join up may see their sentences reduced or commuted.

With no votes against and 281 in favor, proposal 11079-1 sailed through the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading, lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak wrote on his Telegram channel.

As written, the bill allows courts to grant conditional parole to inmates serving sentences at correctional facilities, so they can enlist in the military.

Persons convicted of rape, sexual assault, murder of two or more persons, crimes against the national security of Ukraine, drunk driving that resulted in death of at least one person, corruption, terrorism or financing of terrorism would not be eligible.

However, Zheleznyak said he expected the second version of the bill would expand eligibility to those convicted of corruption and more "serious" crimes.

The bill would also add a provision to the criminal code that evasion of military service by those paroled would be punishable by 5-10 years in prison.

Ukraine has had to rely on forced conscription to replenish its frontline units, due to a shortage of volunteers and a high number of battlefield casualties. In early February, prior to losing the Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka, several commanders told reporters that their units were already operating at 35% strength or less.

Denmark becomes latest European country to conscript women into military (Mar 2024)
Denmark will call up women as well as men as it expands conscription to respond to Europe's changing security climate.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the revised policy was designed to increase the number of young people doing military service.

Conscripts will also be expected to serve more time in the military - 11 months, compared with four months at the moment.

"We are not rearming because we want war, destruction, or suffering. We are rearming right now to avoid war and in a world where the international order is being challenged," Frederiksen told reporters on Wednesday, indirectly referring to Russia's military moves in recent years and months.
Ukraine dramatically expands military conscription to women under 60 (Dec 2021)
Norway Armed Forces Colonel says women in army result in decreased combat effectiveness (Dec 2017)
Russian ombudsman says excluding women from military conscription is a violation of their rights (Jul 2017)
The Defense Ministry commented on the ombudsman's words on Thursday, telling Zvezda TV channel that the manning of forces is currently accomplished with conscripted recruits and contract servicemen, and that women's rights were not being infringed upon.

The ministry added that conscription for men is a duty, not a right, and that women can join the forces voluntarily and reach any rank - from private soldier to general.

The ministry also stated that Russia currently has about 45,000 females in the military, most of whom serve in communications troops, logistics units, and in military schools. The total number of active military servicemen is currently about 830,000.
Ukraine women speaking out: Citizens resisting conscription (Feb 2015)
A line in the sand: When Ukrainians choose not to die in a war (Feb 2015)


OJ Simpson dead at 76 after cancer battle

OJ Simpson
© X / @TheRealOJ32OJ Simpson has died at age 76, his family confirmed.
OJ Simpson, the once-beloved NFL superstar and Hollywood actor who was acquitted in a 1995 murder trial that gripped the nation, died at his Las Vegas home Wednesday. He was 76.

Simpson — whose fame, fortune and legacy were forever changed despite being cleared by a Los Angeles jury of killing his ex-wife and her male friend in what was dubbed the "trial of the century" — had been battling prostate cancer.

"On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer," his family announced on social media Thursday. "He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren."

Comment: See also:


Why explore space when you can wage war there instead?

man in space
Elon Musk's space company SpaceX recently secured a classified contract to build an extensive network of "spy satellites" for an undisclosed U.S. intelligence agency, with one source telling Reuters that "no one can hide" under the prospective network's reach.

While the deal suggests the space company, which currently operates over half the active satellites orbiting Earth, has warmed to U.S. national security agencies, it's not the first Washington investment in conflict-forward space machinery. Rather, the U.S. is funding or otherwise supporting a range of defense contractors and startups working to create a new generation of space-bound weapons, surveillance systems, and adjacent technologies.

In other words, America is hell-bent on a new arms race — in space.

Space arms, then and now

Attempts to regulate weapons' presence and use in space span decades. Responding to an intense, Cold War-era arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty established that space, while free for all countries to explore and use, was limited to peaceful endeavors. Almost 60 years later, the Outer Space Treaty's vague language regarding military limitations in space, as space policy experts Michelle L.D. Hanlon and Greg Autry highlight, "leave more than enough room for interpretation to result in conflict."

Grey Alien

Most Russians believe in aliens - poll

Alien, extraterrestrial, ET
© Getty Images / MediaProduction
Three-quarters of Russians believe the existence of sentient life forms on other planets is possible, a survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM) has revealed ahead of International Day of Human Space Flight on April 12.

The figure represents a 14% increase compared to a similar poll carried out by VTSIOM in 2008. Some 36% of respondents believed in the existence of intelligent life forms from outer space, while 39% said this was possible but unlikely.

Meanwhile, one in five people dismissed the prospect of aliens living on other planets as virtually impossible.

According to the poll, 66% believe that people will live on other planets in the future, which marks a sharp rise from the 51% that backed this prospect in 2008.

More than a third of respondents (35%) are certain that cosmic phenomena like solar flares and explosions, meteorite infalls, and the formation of black holes somehow affect people's lives.

Some 33% of those surveyed claimed that phenomena of this kind have a negative impact on people's general physical state, with 15% complaining about elevated blood pressure, headaches, or dizziness as a result.

Comment: One wonders, how many of those who think extraterrestrial life is virtually impossible would continue to believe so even if a ship landed on their front yard and asked to be taken to their leader?


Trump Organization's former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg sentenced to 5 months in jail

© Curtis Means/PoolDonald Trump's former XFO Allen Weisselberg appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court
The Trump Organization's former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail Wednesday after he admitted to lying during former President Donald Trump's New York civil fraud trial.

Weisselberg, 76, did not make a statement as he was sentenced by Judge Laurie Peterson during a two-minute hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court that sent him back to the slammer.

The ex-Trump money wizard, wearing a black jacket and blue sweatpants, was cuffed and led away from the hearing by court officers.

He spent about 100 days in lockup last year on a tax fraud conviction for accepting $1.7 million in company perks off the books, including free rent on a Manhattan pad and tuition payments for his grandkids.

Weisselberg, in another plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of perjury.

Prosecutors said the former Trump CFO admitted to prosecutors that he lied to New York Attorney General Letitia James and her investigators in a May 12, 2023, deposition and while on the stand during Trump's civil fraud case on Oct. 10.

Arrow Up

More Russian LNG being exported to Europe than Asia

LNG plant
© Unknown
Russia's liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports gained over 4% in the first quarter of this year as it increased output to replace sanctioned pipeline gas exports to Europe, Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday.

Citing a 4.3% (8.7 million metric ton) increase in unsanctioned LNG exports in Q1 2024 based on data from Kpler, said exports to the European Union were rising, while those to Asia were declining. Russia's LNG exports to Asia for the first quarter of the year saw a 7% decline, which was made up for by a 4% increase in exports to Europe, which received some 5 million tons of Russian LNG during that time period. The bulk of LNG production in Russia comes from the Yamal LNG project, run by Novatak, and the Sakhalin Energy project, run by Gazprom.

The new data showing the rise in Russian LNG exports to the European Union indicates that Europe has replaced piped Russian gas from its eastern ports with Russian LNG at its western ports as the bloc becomes the biggest buyer of Russian LNG, clocking in half of all Russian LNG export volume this year so far, followed by China, which scooped up 21% as of February data.

Reuters data analysis in February also showed that the EU has replaced Russian piped gas flows with Russian LNG imported primarily to Spain, Belgium and France.


Zelensky is Pinocchio, officer tells The New Yorker

© David Young/picture alliance/Getty ImagesFlags fly over the graves of killed soldiers.
The president's claim that just 31,000 Ukrainian troops were killed in action obfuscates reality, according to magazine interview...

Ukrainian frontline casualties are far higher than the country's leadership is willing to admit, according to The New Yorker.

The American magazine published a deep dive on Monday into frontline realities of the Ukraine conflict, based on observations by reporter Luke Mogelson while embedded in a Ukrainian unit in January. He mentioned hearing of an acquaintance, an infantry officer with whom he'd worked on another story, who had since been killed, to which Mogelson replied that the best Ukrainian men appeared to be dying these days.
"Everyone dies here. The best, the worst. We remember the bright, strong personalities. Everyone else just fades into nothingness."
The report's source went on to compare Vladimir Zelensky to Pinocchio, the children's-book character whose nose grows when he tells lies.


Pacific castaways' 'HELP' sign sparks US rescue mission, unexpected family reunion

rescue castaways help signal micronesia
© Handout/U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia via CNN NewsourceThe crew of a Hawaii-based Coast Guard HC-130J Hercules aircraft made contact with three mariners stranded on Pikelot Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, after dropping them a radio on April 8, 2024
A US Navy and Coast Guard operation on Tuesday rescued three mariners stranded on a tiny Pacific Ocean islet for more than a week after the trio spelled out "HELP" using palm fronds laid on a white-sand beach.

The mission also unexpectedly turned into a family reunion.

The three men had been planning to fish the waters around the Pikelot Atoll, part of Micronesia, on March 31 when their 20-foot open skiff was caught by swells and its outboard motor was damaged, according to US Coast Guard officials.

They scrambled ashore on uninhabited Pikelot, but their radio ran out of battery power before they could call for help.

Arrow Up

Inflation accelerates more than expected in March as high prices persist

UK grocery story
© Getty Images / SolStock
Inflation accelerated in March for the third straight month, keeping prices painfully high for millions of Americans and likely delaying any interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price of everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rent, rose 0.4% in March from the previous month. Prices climbed 3.5% from the same time last year, above the 3.2% figure recorded in February.

Both of those figures came in higher than the 0.3% monthly increase and 3.2% headline gain forecast by LSEG economists.

Other parts of the report also pointed to stubborn price pressures within the economy. Core prices, which exclude the more volatile measurements of food and energy, climbed 0.4%, as they did in January and February, for an annual gain of 3.8%. Those figures are also higher than estimates.


'Harry Potter' stars would not be forgiven if they apologised to me - JK Rowling

jk rowling transgender opposition
© Debra Hurford-BrownJK Rowling has hit the headlines since 2019 for her views on transgender issues
Author accuses Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson for having 'cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women's hard-won rights'

JK Rowling has suggested she would not forgive Harry Potter actors who have criticised her views on gender.

In a social media post she criticised celebrities who "used their platforms to cheer on the transitioning" of children, in an apparent attack on Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.

Rowling accused the pair for having "cosied up to a movement intent on eroding women's hard-won rights," and suggested they instead made a public apology to those harmed by trans ideology.

Her comments came following a series of remarks on the Cass review, a landmark study into how children with gender issues had been let down by their treatment by the NHS in England.

Comment: One doesn't often agree with Boris Johnson, but he is right about Rowling. She's stuck to sane, sensible principles while weathering a years'-long sh*tstorm for her trouble. History will be on Rowling's side.