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Wed, 22 Mar 2023
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Transneft reports explosive devices found at Russian pipeline

russia oil pumping station transneft
© Igor Grussak / picture alliance via Getty Images
The oil transport company says it has uncovered evidence of a plot to attack the connector supplying oil to western European markets

Workers at the Russian oil pipeline transport company Transneft have reportedly found several explosive devices at the Novozybkov oil-pumping station of its Druzhba pipeline in the Bryansk region near Ukraine, according to company spokesperson Igor Demin.

Speaking to TASS, he stated that on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning, the devices were found in destroyed plastic cases of "non-industrial production" with a striking warhead in the form of steel balls.

"Presumably, the destruction of the cases occurred after hitting the ground when falling from drones," Demin suggested. He added that on Wednesday afternoon another explosive device was seen being dropped from a UAV, "likely similar to the other two [devices]."

Eye 1

Trans-identified biological male daycare worker charged with sexual abuse of infant in Kentucky

post millenial
Kentucky transgender daycare worker Maria Childers is accused of sexually abusing a baby while changing the child's diaper, according to official documents obtained by WPSD Local 6.

The Paducah Police Department got a complaint of the alleged abuse on February 8 from the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services after an anonymous tip came in about trans-identified male Childers, 25, who was employed at the Explore Learning Academy in November when the crime allegedly took place.


Power transformer shortage is wreaking havoc in the U.S.

© Virginia Transformer
Massive Grid Transformer
The New Scientist carries a story dated 11 March 2023 with this headline:

A nationwide shortage of power grid transformers is causing delays across the US for everything from infrastructure for electric vehicles to new homes.
Across the US, new houses sit unfinished - construction can't be completed until they are connected to the electricity grid. Utility companies worry about how quickly they can restore power after damage caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters. And nationwide efforts to modernize aging electrical grids face delays of months or even years.

Comment: Supplying wind turbines with transformers may be a task too large and expensive to achieve:
Orders for distribution transformers, they said, now take an average of one year or more to arrive. The backlog for distribution transformers continues to grow. The problem has been growing for years, with federal agencies sounding the alarm under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Demand for the $4 million large power transformers is expected to climb from 700 in 2019 to 900 in 2027, DOE reported.

Power line capacity nationally would have to double or triple. U.S. manufacturers say that's a major challenge. High schools don't train students in the welding, coil winding and transformer testing necessary, and few universities offer programs for engineers in power electronics, electrical design and quality assurance.

"The cost is the issue. We have to be able to compete with the rest of the world" in materials and labor. U.S.-based manufacturers supply less than 20 percent of the annual demand for transformers."

China, India, Taiwan and South Korea have manufactured transformers far more cheaply.
America is increasingly inept at solving its problems and meeting its challenges. The Biden administration is a 'negative transformer'.


US arrests Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui, who backed Trump advisor Bannon

© Twitter
Guo Wengui meeting with Steve Bannon.
A Chinese tycoon wanted in China and closely tied to president Donald Trump's former political advisor Steve Bannon was arrested in New York Wednesday and charged with bilking some US$1 billion from supporters of his anti-Beijing activities.

The US Justice Department accused Guo Wengui and still-at-large British co-conspirator Je Kin Ming of stealing funds from participants in an investment scheme so they could buy luxuries, including a yacht, a 50,000 square foot (4,645 square meter) mansion and a US$3.5 million Ferrari.

A court official said late Wednesday that Guo pleaded not guilty but consented to detention in an initial arrest hearing.

Hours after his 6:00 am arrest at his Manhattan penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park, a fire broke out in his building, raising suspicions the two could be linked.


Tyson to close 2 chicken plants, cutting 1,700 jobs

© April L. brown/AP
Tyson Headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas
Tyson Foods Inc. plans to shut down two of its poultry plants and lay off nearly 1,700 workers as it tries to improve its chicken operations that produce about one-fifth of the U.S. supply.

Tyson notified the nearly 1,000 employees at its Van Buren, Ark., chicken plant on Monday that it would close on May 12, the company said. About 700 workers at Tyson's plant in Glen Allen, Va., also found out on Monday that its plant would close in May, according to the local United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents employees at the Virginia plant.

The Springdale, Ark.-based meat company said production would be shifted to other Tyson plants. The company said the closures were part of a broader plan in its chicken division to improve operations and use full available capacity at each plant.

"The current scale and inability to economically improve operations has led to the difficult decision to close the facilities," a company spokesman said in a statement.

People 2

Sexual politics is damaging young men

cartoon male is over
Masculinity has been in crisis for as long as anyone can remember. The usual explanation is that post-industrial society doesn't much care for brawn. We're all office dwellers now, mutely churning out spreadsheets for other spreadsheet producers. The theory makes sense as far as it goes. But something else has changed much more recently: a rejection of the very concept of masculinity.

The polling company YouGov found that just 8 per cent of people have positive views of white men in their twenties, by far the lowest of any ethnicity or age group. Males are routinely presented as inherently dangerous, aggressive and animalistic, incapable of controlling their own instincts. You can see it on public transport, where government adverts announce that staring is sexual harassment. Us blokes can't even be trusted to use our eyes properly.

Teenage boys are routinely disciplined by their schools for even the most minor infractions of an insurgent sexual politics. A friend's son at a smart English day school was recently hauled up for the crime of unprompted communication with a girl. The boy had sent a message introducing himself to a student from another school. There was, according to the friend, no sexual element to the message. It was a simple greeting. No matter. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable.

Comment: See also:

Stock Down

BlackRock's tyrannical ESG agenda

larry fink black rock esg policies
© Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Larry Fink owes investors an apology.
Is Larry Fink a threat to democracy?

As February turns to March, the finance world is waiting with bated breath for one of its most dubious annual traditions: The Larry Fink Annual Letter to CEOs. Since 2012, when the BlackRock chief executive wrote his first letter, the occasion has come to symbolise the growing threat both to shareholder capitalism and American democracy posed by investment houses' crusade to force the principles of ESG, or "environmental, social, and governance" investing, down the throats of companies, investors, and the public.

ESG first entered the investment and banking mainstream as a survival strategy. In 2009, BlackRock had acquired Barclay's Global Investors Ltd, making it the largest investment firm in the world with almost $3 trillion in assets under management (AUM), a sum larger than the total revenue of the US federal treasury. Politically speaking, BlackRock's emergence as an investment superpower could hardly have come at a worse time. Amid the wreckage of the 2008 Financial Crisis and then the ululations of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, public suspicion of big banks and corporations was at an all-time high. Finance, in particular, became a morality play: financial institutions were the greedy villains, while policymakers played the heroic civic advocates reining them in. For BlackRock, the chances of continuing to grow freely in such a hostile policy climate seemed remote.

Comment: It is heartening to see than within the ever-narrowing parameters of free-choice investing, that common sense is able to prevail. May the trend continue.

Bad Guys

Beware: Oscar-winning 'Navalny' documentary is packed with misinformation

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny, opening credits of the
"Navalny" is a slick production full of highly dubious claims, misinformation, and enough new Cold War propaganda impact to win an Oscar for best documentary.

The Oscar-winning 2022 documentary film Navalny tells the story of the opposition figure who has become the West's favorite Russian activist. Despite having garnered the support of about 2% of Russian voters, according to the polling firm Levada, Alexei Navalny is presented in the film as a national hero whose anti-corruption work made him such a threat to Vladimir Putin that he had to be targeted for elimination.

The film's authors are Canadian Daniel Roher, who admits to having never visited Russia or speaking Russian; Bulgarian Christo Grozev of Bellingcat, an "open source" media organization openly hostile to the Russian government, and which acknowledges financing by governments of the US, UK and EU. The production team also includes the Russian opposition activist Maria Pevchikh, who has worked for Navalny's organization but has lived mostly outside Russia since 2006 and in 2019 obtained a British passport. CNN and Der Spiegel, which have put their names on the findings put forward by the film, acknowledge they collaborated on an investigation with Bellingcat. This fact severely undercuts the film's credibility as an independent production.


Israeli forces kill man 'wearing suicide vest' following roadside bomb near occupied West Bank

Israeli soldiers
© Reuters
Israeli soldiers walk by a military base leading to the border crossing with Lebanon in Rosh Hanikra, northern Israel October 27, 2022.
Israeli security forces killed a man suspected of planting a roadside bomb that injured a man near the occupied West Bank this week, the military said on Wednesday, adding that the suspect's potential ties to the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah were being investigated.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortened a scheduled trip to Berlin on Wednesday, according to his office, which earlier said he had held consultations "on developments in national security".

While a preliminary itinerary circulated last week had said he would return on Friday, the new statement said he would return on Thursday.


See also: Over 400,000 protest in Israel against Netanyahu's 'dictatorial' judicial reforms, top IDF reservists refuse training in solidarity

Quenelle - Golden

7,000 tonnes of foul-smelling garbage pile up in Paris as 9 day strike extended for another 5 days

paris garbage
More than 7,000 tonnes of foul-smelling rubbish and waste continued to pile up in Paris, blocking doorways and pavements, as refuse collectors extended their nine-day strike for at least another five days in protest at Emmanuel Macron's plan to increase the retirement age.

With bin lorries grounded at depots and at least three waste incinerators in the Paris area at a standstill, the national government and the capital's socialist-run city hall were engaged in a bitter standoff over rotting debris in the city.

The interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, instructed the Paris police chief to make city hall force bin collectors to break their strike and go back to work. But the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said that while the city was working on its own solutions for urgent cases, it supported the strikes against pension changes.

Macron, you're screwed, all of Marseille is in the street

All against Macron the psychopath who is putting France into compulsory liquidation, all together against inflation, petrol, pensions, electricity, gas, etc.

Meanwhile over in the UK: Hundreds of thousands strike over working conditions, includes gov't border force, nurses, lawyers, teachers, transport workers, journalists