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Ukrainian official alleges Twitter conspiracy

Mikhail Podoliak
© Ukraine Presidential Office
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podoliak speaks in an interview last month in Kiev.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podoliak has blasted Twitter owner Elon Musk as a sympathizer for Russian propagandists, accusing the billionaire entrepreneur of "forcibly reducing" the reach of the Kiev government's accounts on the social media platform.

"Maybe you should stop pessimizing Ukrainian official accounts and forcibly reducing their reach," Podoliak told Musk on Wednesday in a Twitter post. "It's too obvious."

He went on to suggest that Musk has tried to help "talentless" purveyors of Russian propaganda. "It won't help them, and Twitter's reputation is dying," Podoliak claimed. "Maybe a regulator is needed to explain competition rules to the owner."

It's not clear which regulatory agency Podoliak wants to unleash on Musk or which antitrust law he has supposedly violated. Many Twitter users have complained in recent days of declining reach and engagement of their posts. The company's engineers are reportedly working to resolve a glitch that apparently arose when the platform tweaked some of its features last month.

Megaphone

Britain hit by biggest strike in more than a decade over cost of living

UK strikes
© Kirsty O’connor - Pa Images | Pa Images | Getty Images
Union members gather outside Westminster Central Hall, in London, on Feb. 1 ahead of a march and rally against the Government’s controversial plans for a new law on minimum service levels during strikes.
More than half a million British workers are due to take strike action through Wednesday, with unions across a range of sectors in industrial disputes over pay and working conditions.

They include 300,000 teachers in England, who the National Education Union says have experienced at least a 23% real-terms pay cut since 2010; teachers across two unions in Scotland; around 100,000 civil servants across more than 100 departments, including driving instructors, coastguards and Department of Work and Pensions staff; 70,000 university workers, including lecturers and security staff; and roughly 100,000 train and bus drivers.

Such widespread strike action has not taken place since a dispute over public sector pay in 2011, when more than a million workers are estimated to have taken industrial action.

Tens of thousands of schools will be closed or partially closed, travel and other services will be disrupted, while workers will set up hundreds of picket lines and hold rallies.

Comment: See also: France rocked by protests as 2 MILLION march against government reforms in 2nd wave of mass strikes to hit this month


Dollars

Shell reports highest profits in 115 years

Shell Oil
© Getty Images
Oil and gas giant Shell has reported record annual profits after energy prices surged last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Profits hit $39.9bn (£32.2bn) in 2022, double last year's total and the highest in its 115-year history.

Energy firms have seen record earnings since oil and gas prices jumped following the invasion of Ukraine.

It has heaped pressure on firms to pay more tax as households struggle with rising bills.

Opposition parties said Shell's profits were "outrageous" and the government was letting energy firms "off the hook". They also called for the planned increase in the energy price cap due in April to be scrapped.

Energy prices had begun to climb after the end of Covid lockdowns but rose sharply in March last year after the events in Ukraine led to worries over supplies.

Comment: See also: Exxon posts record $56bn profit for 2022 in historic high for western oil industry


Gear

Testimony to Arizona Senate Election Committee reveals thousands of misdemeanors allegedly committed by Maricopa County in 2022 election

arizona senate election committee
The Arizona Senate's Election Committee continued the second part of a hearing on Monday that began last week, featuring testimony from election integrity proponents. Shelby Busch, the co-founder of We the People AZ, and Heather Honey of Verify Vote, went over five areas where their team found apparent law violations by Maricopa County in the 2022 election.

Busch said during her presentation, "We want safe elections, not convenient ones," sparking applause from the audience. State Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), the committee chair, kept a tight rein over the proceedings, often calling out the Democratic senators on the committee when they were out of line. One used the phrase "election denier," and Rogers told her it was inappropriate.

Busch explained that her team found many violations of the state's Election Procedures Manual (EPM), which are class 2 misdemeanors. The statute that addresses the EPM, A.R.S. 16-452(C), states that "A person who violates any rule adopted pursuant to this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor."

Comment: See also:


Eye 1

Kiev's ombudsman calls for ban on Russian language on all university campuses

ukraine

Universities should set an example by ditching the use of Russian, the commissioner for protecting the Ukrainian language says
Speaking Russian should be banned on all university campuses in Ukraine, in and outside lectures, the ombudsman in charge of protecting the Ukrainian language, Taras Kremen, has said.

Last week the renowned "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" (NaUKMA), one of the oldest universities in Ukraine, officially forbade students and educators from using Russian within its grounds. "While teaching in Russian hasn't been conducted at the university for a very long time, now the ban also applies to communicating with each other in the language of the occupiers," the head of the institution's supervisory board, Gennady Zunko, announced.

Kremen reacted to the move by NaUKMA in a Facebook post on Monday, saying it was "a rather powerful initiative, which I hope will be replicated by other universities in Ukraine."

Comment: See also: Zelensky's purge continues with raids on oligarch & politician Kolomoisky and ex-interior minister


Dollars

Watchdog says federal government gave $5.4 billion in Covid aid to small businesses with 'questionable' Social Security numbers

The US Treasury building in Washington, D.C., US

The US Treasury building in Washington, D.C., US, on Sunday, May 22, 2022.
The federal government gave $5.4 billion in Covid-19 aid to small businesses with "questionable" Social Security numbers, according to a report released by a watchdog overseeing pandemic aid.

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) issued a fraud alert Monday identifying nearly 70,000 questionable Social Security numbers used to obtain pandemic aid from two programs started under then-President Donald Trump and run by the Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

PRAC's fraud alert comes as the House Oversight Committee, now led by Republican Rep. James Comer, is set to hold its first public hearing on Covid fraud on Wednesday. PRAC chair Michael Horowitz is expected to testify.

PRAC's fraud alert was first reported by The Washington Post.

Comment: The numbers and claims in the above article have to be checked carefully. In 2020 there was a campaign against Donald Trump blaming his administration for a poor Pandemic response, this from pure political reasons, from the Democrats of course.

Then, when they roll out the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to help small businesses survive the lockdowns, a lot of money ended up in the pockets of big corporations instead of small businesses that were struggling to survive.

Who, and why was this, allowed that to happen. It must be investigated. Probably some "big elite" players wanting to mess their fingers in all this so they can destroy as many small businesses as possible, and make a serious blow to the already declining economy.

A perfect situation for the PTB to gain even more control.

See also:


Megaphone

UK's largest mass strike in a decade: 500,000 teachers, transport staff, and civil servants walk out over pay & working conditions

strike uk Feb 2023
© Jordan Pettitt/PA Images/Getty Images
Members of the National Education Union protest over pay and working conditions during a march to the seat of parliament in Westminster, London on February 1, 2023.
Up to half a million British teachers, civil servants, and train drivers walked out over pay in the largest coordinated strike action for a decade on Wednesday, with unions threatening more disruption as the government digs its heels in over pay demands.

The mass walkouts across the country shut schools, halted most rail services, and forced the military to be put on standby to help with border checks on a day dubbed "Walkout Wednesday".

According to unions, as many as 300,000 teachers took part, the biggest group involved, as part of wider action by 500,000 people, the highest number since 2011, when civil servants walked out en masse.


Comment: Note the events of 2011 were a consequence of the financial collapse of 2008 which led to the government slashing budgets to public services and the economy as a whole began to plummet.


Comment: There has been a surge in protests and mass strikes across Europe in just the last month; France has recorded 2 days where over 1 million people have taken to the streets. However this upheaval is likely only just the beginning: France rocked by protests as 2 MILLION march against government reforms in 2nd wave of mass strikes to hit this month


For more on the dire situation over in the UK, check out The Duran's latest podcast:





Bomb

Ukrainian army maimed own civilians with banned mines - NGO

warning
© Juan Barreto/AFP
Landmine warning sign in Russian and Ukrainian • Izium, Ukraine
The Ukrainian military injured scores of civilians when it fired thousands of illegal mines across the city of Izium last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has alleged. The mines, similar to those allegedly used by Ukraine against civilians in Donetsk, were found near schools and kindergartens.

The mines were fired into the city by rocket while it was occupied by Russian forces between April and September of last year, the NGO said in a report published on Tuesday. Dispersed hundreds at a time, the Soviet-era PFM mines are distinctively butterfly- or petal-shaped devices and are designed to maim rather than kill those unfortunate enough to step on them or pick them up.

The HRW team entered the city following Russia's withdrawal in mid-September and found the mines in nine locations, including a school, and kindergarten, and a hospital.

Healthcare workers said that more than 50 civilians, including at least five children, were wounded by the mines. Around half of the injuries led to amputations of the foot or lower leg. At least one death was recorded, that of an elderly man who picked up one of the devices in his yard. However, investigators could not rule out other factors in the man's death.

Comment: Indiscriminate human sacrifice, the mark of true leadership.


Stop

DeSantis' bid to root out sexually explicit content in schools attacked as book-banning scheme

DeSantis
© Sarasota Herald Tribune
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Florida public schools have begun to implement a new state law to weed out sexually explicit content and other inappropriate material from classroom bookshelves, triggering accusations from the left that Gov. Ron DeSantis is banning books and threatening to jail teachers for stocking their bookshelves.

Mr. DeSantis, a Republican eyed as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, signed legislation that required schools to give parents access to an inventory of books made available in public schools. The schools are now beginning to implement the law.

Specially trained school officials must review every book they make available to students to ensure none of the material is considered pornography or is deemed otherwise inappropriate under state education laws. School districts must annually report to the state any books that parents have challenged as inappropriate.

The law responds to demands from parents for greater transparency about the kinds of books their children can access in school and follows complaints from parents' rights groups that learned some of the books available in Florida's public schools were sexually explicit and, they believe, inappropriate.

No Entry

US farmers sound alarm on single-most catastrophic thing headed for corn crops

Corn/flag
© Adobe Stock
Corn farmers visit DC warning they could go out of business over Mexico's genetically modified corn ban...

A regulatory move within Mexico's agricultural sector has U.S. farmers concerned it will "corn-er" their corn crop production.

"Most farmers, my generation and younger, have never even used conventional corn. We're not set up to do it. We don't have the equipment to do it," Hinkel Farms' Elizabeth Hinkel told FOX Business' Madison Alworth on "Mornings with Maria" Tuesday. "So it would be a huge investment if we had to go back to growing conventional. And on top of that, our yields would be decreased."

American farmers are headed to Capitol Hill to voice concerns about Mexico's proposed ban on U.S. imports of genetically modified corn, reportedly warning the move could become the most catastrophic thing to happen to corn farmers.


Comment: Reasons abound to refuse GMO corn: