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Thu, 02 Feb 2023
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Eye 1

Sex, lies and videotapes: Yet another scandal involving Western mercenaries engulfs Ukraine

Mozart Group
© Juan BARRETO / AFP
FILE PHOTO. Volunteers take part in training during courses with The Mozart Group, in the Donetsk region on September 22, 2022
A lawsuit filed by a former member of the mercenary Mozart Group has raised serious questions about the controversial outfit, including its founder - former US marine Andy Milburn. It's just the latest example of how grift in the Ukraine conflict has led to very serious consequences.

What is 'Mozart Group'?

Founded in mid-March 2022, the organization was designed to make a major impact in the Ukraine conflict, in every way. Its name was attention seeking, a provocative pun on Wagner, the Russian private military company that in recent weeks has been steadily liberating Ukraine-occupied territory in the Donbass. The media-savvy, combat-experienced Milburn was highly effective at inserting himself into the coverage, being widely quoted by Western news outlets.

Comment: See also:


House

Young UK adults worry they won't afford family - survey

worried parents, parents, financial difficulty
© Getty Images / Monty Rakusen
FILE PHOTO
Nearly half (45%) of young adults aged 16 to 25 in the UK fear they will never make enough money to support a family, according to a report from the Prince's Trust charity published Monday. The figure increases to 53% among young people from more modest backgrounds.

Their concern seems to have affected long-term planning, with only 36% of respondents telling the charity their biggest goal was having a family. Much more popular, with 64% of the responses, was achieving financial security. Another 43% picked good mental health as their primary goal.

As for how to achieve that goal, 70% of respondents said having a job that provides financial stability was good for their mental health, and 59% said merely being employed no matter the salary improved their mental state.

The biggest worry for the age group, named by 57% of respondents, was the cost-of-living crisis. Another 34% cited the looming recession - predicted by a growing majority of economic experts worldwide - as their chief concern.

Dollars

Russian governor puts bounty on Western tanks

Leopard 2 tank
© AP / Michael Sohn
FILE PHOTO: A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr near Hannover, Germany, September 28, 2011
The governor of Zabaikalsky Region in eastern Russia has offered soldiers from the province a chance to earn bounties on NATO tanks that are captured or destroyed in Ukraine. The governor's announcement came as a private company offered a similar reward for captured Western-made armor.

In an order signed on Friday, Governor Alexander Osipov declared that any local soldier who managed to seize a Leopard tank "in working condition" could earn 3 million rubles ($42,909). A bounty of one million rubles ($14,303) will be paid to anyone who destroys one of these German tanks, while those assisting with a successful capture will be paid $7,150 and those assisting in the destruction of a Leopard will earn $2,240.

A sum of 1.5 million rubles ($21,450) will be paid for the successful capture of an American M1 Abrams tank, with destruction paying 500,000 rubles ($7,150). As with the Leopards, smaller bounties are offered to assisting soldiers.

Osipov's order ended with a warning that soldiers seeking out tanks to destroy or capture should first and foremost work to "preserve their life and health."

Comment: And the bounties just keep coming! See also: Russian troops offered rewards for destroying NATO tanks


Eye 1

It's time for the scientific community to admit we were wrong about COVID and it cost lives

business closed lockdown
As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence, and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines, and boosters.

I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.

I can see now that the scientific community from the CDC to the WHO to the FDA and their representatives, repeatedly overstated the evidence and misled the public about its own views and policies, including on naturalvs. artificial immunity, school closuresand disease transmission, aerosol spread, mask mandates, and vaccine effectiveness andsafety, especially among the young. All of these were scientific mistakes at the time, not in hindsight. Amazingly, some of these obfuscations continue to the present day.

But perhaps more important than any individual error was how inherently flawed the overall approach of the scientific community was, and continues to be. It was flawed in a way that undermined its efficacy and resulted in thousands if not millions of preventable deaths.

What we did not properly appreciate is that preferences determine how scientific expertise is used, and that our preferences might be — indeed, our preferences were — very different from many of the people that we serve. We created policy based on our preferences, then justified it using data. And then we portrayed those opposing our efforts as misguided, ignorant, selfish, and evil.

Bad Guys

The NATO-Russian Ukraine war's new, most dangerous phase

Ukraine war map
We are entering the most dangerous phase of the NATO-Russian Ukraine war up till now. The West is undertaking a major escalation in the war by increasing the lethality of weapons it is supplying Ukraine to include tanks and the largest tranche of military equipment supplied to Kiev so far. Meanwhile, Russia is on the verge of an offensive on the background of slow but steady gains in the east, taking Soledar, moving into Vugledar (Ugledar) and the outskirts of Bakhmut (Atemevsk), threatening Ukrainian forces with operational encirclements in several areas.

Russia now has available in and around Ukraine 5-600,000 regular troops, almost none of which have been used so far, with Moscow having been relying on the DPR and LNR forces, the Wagner troops, Chechens, and massive attacks from the air by artillery, rockets, drones and such in previous phases of the war.

Comment: See also:


Pirates

US halts licences for companies to export to Huawei

huawei

White House moving closer to imposing total ban on sale of American tech to Chinese company
The Biden administration has stopped providing US companies with licences to export to Huawei as it moves towards imposing a total ban on the sale of American technology to the Chinese telecom equipment giant.

Several people familiar with the discussions inside the administration said the commerce department had notified some companies that it would no longer grant licences to any group wanting to export American technology to Huawei.

The move marks the latest prong in Washington's campaign to curb the Shenzhen-based tech company, which US security officials believe helps China engage in espionage. Huawei denies any involvement in spying.


Comment: It's pretty clear that this is just part of the US' attempts to contain China by way of sanctions by another name


Comment: : US chip ban won't hurt China's revenue and will accelerate innovation - CEO


Recycle

Giant wind turbines keep falling over, quality control issues blamed

Wind turbine blown over

Wind turbine blown over by storm in 2017
The taller the wind turbine, the harder they fall. And they sure are falling.

Wind turbine failures are on the uptick, from Oklahoma to Sweden and Colorado to Germany, with all three of the major manufacturers admitting that the race to create bigger turbines has invited manufacturing issues, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Multiple turbines that are taller than 750 feet are collapsing across the world, with the tallest — 784 feet in stature — falling in Germany in September 2021. To put it in perspective, those turbines are taller than both the Space Needle in Seattle and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Even smaller turbines that recently took a tumble in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Wales, and Colorado were about the height of the Statue of Liberty.

Quenelle

US chip ban won't hurt China's revenue and will accelerate innovation - CEO

china chip
© SMEE.com.cn
Although China successfully replicated some old ASML lithography, chipmakers stick with foreign technology
Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment said its SSZ600/20 could make 90nm chips.
Despite Western media reports that the Netherlands would follow the US guidelines on technology exports to China, ASML's chief executive Peter Wennink said Wednesday that the company would probably maintain its level of exports to mainland China this year.

ASML's sales of chipmaking equipment to China rose from about US$700 million in 2016 to US$2.8 billion in 2022.

Wennink also said that any further export ban would accelerate China's plan to develop its own lithography tools.

His comment came after media reports said the Netherlands and Japan, which have dominated the lithography markets for decades, would impose certain export restrictions on China as soon as the end of this month.

Comment: What are the chances that these bans, as with those against Russia, will backfire on the US and its lackeys in the West?


People 2

Food Stamp reduction to hit millions of Americans after February

US supermarket
Millions of Americans who are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see decreases in payments after February, a federal agency said.

The decreases in payments are driven by two main factors, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) said in an update in early January.

FNS is an agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Firstly, the temporary increase to SNAP benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic - also known as emergency allotments - will end after the February 2023 payment.

The emergency allotments gave most SNAP households approximately $95 in extra payment, the agency said.

Comment: Crime in the US is already reaching record levels, and if welfare for the poor prevents people from procuring the necessities, crime will inevitably get many times worse.


Light Saber

After public outcry, Scotland changes policy on sending transgender inmates to all-female prison

islia bryson adam graham transgender rapist

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, arrives at the High Court in Glasgow.
Justice warns against stigmatizing transgender women as threat against women, adding, 'predatory men are the risk to women'

After facing pressure to intervene in the transfer of a transgender convicted rapist to an all-women's prison, Scotland's government has decided to stop transferring such inmates with a history of violence against women to its all-female prison, according to reports.

The Agence France-Presse, or AFP, reported the decision was made just days after a rapist was removed from the all-female prison.

Some people worry women-only spaces are being compromised by those who are fighting for transgender rights.

Comment: Who knew that author J.K. Rowling would emerge as a staunch defender of women's rights. But given her experiences with raising a child while on the edge of poverty, perhaps its not so surprising.