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Thu, 28 May 2020
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Prison for buying bitcoin? Proposed law could see Russians serving time for using cryptocurrencies

© Getty Images / Yuriko Nakao
Politicians in Russia have suggested punishment of up to 2 million rubles and seven years in jail for the illegal use of digital assets and currencies. Some say the proposed law amounts to a total ban on cryptocurrencies.

Members of the State Duma, Russia's parliament, are in the process of creating legislation that would introduce criminal liability for using digital financial assets and currencies.

Under the new law, Russians could be penalized for any use of cryptocurrency, from full-blown operations like owning an exchange or mining farm, to smaller transactions, such as buying bitcoin with a Russian bank account.

Comment: One wonders if this includes the e-RMB, aka the crypto-yuan.


New York Post: 'End New York City's lockdown now!'

New York Post cover May 21, 2020

New York Post cover for May 21, 2020
Sometimes, a good rant is all a writer can offer. Bear with me.

Last Friday morning, some 3,500 New Yorkers lined up at a Catholic church in Queens to receive free food hours before it even opened, ­according to the New York Police Department. Catholic Charities has reported a 200 percent increase in demand over the past month and a half.

By prolonging the coronavirus shutdown long after its core mission was accomplished, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have plunged tens of thousands of New Yorkers into poverty.

It needs to end. Now.

Comment: While some can see the need for getting back to business, others are still ignoring the fact that economies are opening back up and masses of people aren't dying.


Say what? Zacarias Moussaoui renounces terrorism, calls Bin Laden a CIA tool, warns Muslims against fake jihadis

moussaoui bin laden
The only man ever convicted in a U.S. court for a role in the Sept. 11 attacks now says he is renouncing terrorism, al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

Zacarias Moussaoui is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Colorado after narrowly escaping the death penalty at his 2006 trial.

He was sometimes referred to as the missing 20th hijacker, and while he was clearly a member of al-Qaida there is scant evidence to suggest he was slated to hijack a plane on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead, prosecutors pinned responsibility on Moussaoui because they said he could have prevented the attacks if he had not lied to the FBI about his knowledge of al-Qaida and its efforts to attack the U.S. when he was arrested in August 2001.

In a handwritten court motion Moussaoui filed with the federal court in Alexandria last month, Moussaoui wrote, "I denounce, repudiate Usama bin Laden as a useful idiot of the CIA/Saudi. I also proclaim unequivocally my opposition to any terrorist action, attack, propaganda against the U.S."

He also said he wants "to warn young Muslim against the deception and the manipulation of these fake Jihadis."

His remarks are a far cry from his 2006 trial, when he taunted victims and flashed a victory sign after a jury opted to send him to prison for life rather than execute him. At his final sentencing hearing, he told the judge "God save Osama bin Laden you will never get him."

Comment: Well, he may not be right in the head, but he's not wrong...

People 2

Jobless claims total 2.4 million, still elevated levels but a declining pace from previous weeks

out of business
First-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 2.44 million last week as the tail effects of the coronavirus shutdown continued to impact the U.S. jobs market.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.4 million claims.

The seasonally adjusted total, while still well above anything the nation had seen in pre-coronavirus America, represents the seventh straight week of a declining pace following the record peak of 6.9 million in late March.

In addition, a review from last week brought the number down substantially, from 2.98 million to 2.69 million. In the nine weeks since the coronavirus-induced lockdown has closed large parts of the U.S. economy, some 38.6 million workers have filed claims.

Light Saber

Not welcome: Syrian troops force another US convoy to turn around, go back where it came from

syria troops turn back US convoy
© YouTube/ SANA
Syrian servicemen observe US armoured vehicles as they drive away after failing to breach a local checkpoint in al-Hasakah province.
The incident is but the latest in a series of tense but mostly non-violent confrontations between Syrian civilians and troops and US occupation forces in oil-rich northeastern Syria.

Syrian Army troops manning a security checkpoint outside the town of Tell Tamer in western al-Hasakah province intercepted a convoy of US armoured vehicles on Wednesday and forced it to turn around and head back the way it came from, SANA has reported.

A short video clip of the incident shows an US Army Oshkosh M-ATV MRAP vehicle with an American Flag mounted on its rear turning around and driving away, while several Syrian servicemen armed with assault rifles slowly walk behind it. Other US vehicles are seen in the distance.


Red Flag

Company behind UK's Covid-19 tracing app leaks 296 emails, killing trust in both the government & the scandal-riddled contractor

© Getty Images / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Igor Goiovniov
Serco, the company behind the UK's upcoming Covid-19 tracing app, has admitted to a data breach that leaked details of nearly 300 people. But how did it get the government contract in the first place, given its track record?

The British government has been trying to mesmerise the public, like a snake charmer does a king cobra, with its contact tracing app.

Our supposed world-power nation, with a relatively small population, has performed dismally in this Covid-19 crisis so far, with the death toll now possibly topping 55,000. But the app was going to solve everything.

It had been trialed on the Isle of Wight and everything was set to go live imminently, even though it is already behind schedule.

The only bump in the road was the issue of privacy.

Arrow Down

Unemployment rate in India at 24% for week ended May 17

India protest
© AP
Indian students participate in a protest rally in New Delhi, India this week. The march called the Young India Adhikaar March, or Young India Rights March, was held to demand the government address the problem of unemployment.
Unemployment rate in India continued to be high at 24% for the week ended May 17, same as week before. However, with industries opening up gradually, there is an increase in labour participation rate which has bounced back from the 35.4% for week ended April 26 to 38.8% now, the Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy said cautioning that uncertainty continues to prevail.

"Halfway into the month of May, it appears that the unemployment rate is around the same level as it was in April, mostly higher by a whisker," it said, adding that the small relaxations in the lockdown since April 20 have not had any positive impact on the unemployment rate yet.

"A persistently high unemployment rate indicates that a large proportion of labour that is willing to work is unable to find jobs," it said in its weekly report released on Tuesday. According to CMIE, urban India has a higher unemployment rate of 27% compared to rural India's 23% and a lower labour participation rate of 34% compared to 41% in rural India.


Facebook censorship rolls on: PragerU demoted from normal public visibility amid claims of 'repeated sharing of false news'

Mark Zuckerberg
© Reuters / Leah Millis
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook has buried the page of Conservative non-profit group PragerU and "reduced distribution" of its posts claiming that PragerU has engaged in "repeated sharing of false news." The decision comes on the heels of a fact check of a PragerU video about polar bears by Facebook third-party fact-checker Climate Feedback.

Conservative non-profit group PragerU is once again facing censorship from tech giants. Facebook has reportedly reduced the reach of PragerU's page on its platform and implemented restriction for the "repeated sharing of false news," according to notifications that PragerU has received from Facebook following Mark Zuckerberg's third-party fact-checker Climate Feedback labeling a PragerU video on polar bears as fake news.

Comment: This is just the latest skirmish in PragerU's running battle with social media censorship:

Yellow Vest

Food riots break out in Santiago, Chile, as government extends lockdown for third month and makes it even STRICTER

Comment: This kind of reaction is likely to spread globally over the next few months...

protest chile food covid lockdown
Coronavirus cases soared in Chile Tuesday as soldiers were deployed to back up riot police in Santiago following clashes with demonstrators angry about food shortages and job losses.

Comment: Note how AFP opened this piece on mass protests against the totalitarian lockdown because people are hungry by first insinuating that lots more people died there... because of the protests!

So many people on this planet are in for a reckoning, and MSM journos are chief among them.

Soldiers in armored vehicles and wielding automatic weapons were deployed to the working class neighborhood of El Bosque, where on Monday residents armed with clubs and stones clashed with riot police.

Overnight Monday to Tuesday rioters looted a neighborhood gas station, while downtown a mob set a bus ablaze. Residents in both poor and middle-class neighborhoods banged pots and pans in protest.

The military deployment came as Chile recorded 3,520 new coronavirus cases, its biggest daily increase, for a total of almost 50,000 infections.

Comment: The timing of this 'factual increase' in Covid deaths is interesting, as it suggests that they expressly spiked the number in order to dampen support for the protesters and justify police/military repression against them.

Comment: The political class seems to be oblivious about what they are setting up to come next: major, bloody revolution.


Migrant crossings from France to UK spiked during lockdown

Comment: You won't hear a single word of complaint about this from the 'Karens' and authoritarians screaming bloody murder about 'maintaining social distancing'...

migrant crossings UK
The number of unaccompanied young migrants crossing the Channel from France to Britain has spiked during the coronavirus outbreak, as travel restrictions force them onto boats rather than trucks.

Kent County Council in southeast England, which includes the major port of Dover, was dealing with "230 to 250" young migrants a year ago, its chief executive, Roger Gough, said.

"But that number has pretty much doubled. It's now nearly 470 and new arrivals are coming in all the time," he told AFP.

Channel crossing attempts have increased since the end of 2018, despite the danger of heavy maritime traffic, strong currents and low water temperatures.

In 2019, 2,758 migrants were rescued by the French and British authorities while trying to cross the strait -- four times more than in 2018, according to French officials.

The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced the trend, with the reduced number of trucks going through the Channel Tunnel leading migrants to make the crossing in small boats instead.

Comment: So much for Brexit ending illegal mass migration to the UK. Why, it's as if the UK govt continues to tacitly encourage it in order to drive down wages and maintain a social 'strategy of tension'...