Friday, March 22, 2019

MixedTimes - John Hayward

Report: Final Islamic State Stronghold in Syria Falls

Report: Final Islamic State Stronghold in Syria Falls

Fox News reported on Thursday that the final Islamic State stronghold in Syria, the village of Baghouz, has been liberated by the Kurdish-led, U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces.

Germany Furious at U.S. Ambassador for Calling Out Low Defense Spending

Germany Furious at U.S. Ambassador for Calling Out Low Defense Spending

German politicians on Tuesday threatened to expel U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell over his sharp criticism of Germany’s low defense spending. Grenell took Germany to task for failing to meet its own spending goals, let alone its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Obama Administration Refused to Declare Public Health Emergency for Fentanyl

Obama Administration Refused to Declare Public Health Emergency for Fentanyl

The Washington Post on Wednesday published a searing indictment of the Obama administration for disregarding a plea from health experts to declare a public health emergency for overdoses from fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that was already racking up a body count in 2016 and would go on to kill thousands of people over the next three years.

U.S. State Department Compares China’s Human Rights Abuses to Stalin and Hitler

U.S. State Department Compares China’s Human Rights Abuses to Stalin and Hitler

The U.S. State Department published its annual report on global human rights abuses on Wednesday, spotlighting China’s mass detention of Uighur Muslims in the rollout. The head of the State Department human rights bureau compared China’s actions to the horrors of Stalin’s Russia and Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Doctors Report Dozens of Attacks on Ebola Treatment Centers in Congo

Doctors Report Dozens of Attacks on Ebola Treatment Centers in Congo

Medical teams frequently complain about the dangerous conditions in the violent rural areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). An alarming report published by Doctors Without Borders on Thursday said the effort to contain the Ebola outbreak in the Congo is “failing” due to community distrust and factional violence, including over 30 attacks on Ebola treatment centers over the past seven months.

Maduro: Massive Venezuelan Blackout ‘Directed by Imperialist United States’

Maduro: Massive Venezuelan Blackout ‘Directed by Imperialist United States’

Venezuela literally shut down on Friday as a massive nationwide blackout rolled into a second day, causing schools and business operations to close. Socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro blamed the blackout on sabotage “directed by the imperialist United States” and carried out by agents of the Venezuelan opposition.

Chinese Actress Blocked from Travel by Social Credit System

Chinese Actress Blocked from Travel by Social Credit System

Actress and former Miss Chinese International Michelle Ye Xuan, whose resume includes numerous films and television shows, has become the highest-profile “untrustworthy” citizen to be banned from travel by China’s social credit system, a massive surveillance and data-mining operation that grades Chinese for the quality of their citizenship and punishes those with poor scores.

Captive American Journalist Released, Deported from Venezuela

Captive American Journalist Released, Deported from Venezuela

American journalist Cody Weddle was released by the Maduro regime and expelled from Venezuela on Wednesday night after spending ten hours in captivity. Weddle said his captors seemed particularly upset about a report he filed about rank-and-file Venezuelan soldiers preparing to switch their allegiance to internationally-recognized interim president Juan Guaido.

Data Leak Reveals China Monitoring 364 Million Social Media Accounts

Data Leak Reveals China Monitoring 364 Million Social Media Accounts

A Dutch cybersecurity analyst claimed on Monday to have discovered a database created by Chinese police that contains private information about 364 million social media users, revealing a government surveillance network of breathtaking scale and uncertain purpose.

Chinese Hackers Target Universities to Steal Naval Technology

Chinese Hackers Target Universities to Steal Naval Technology

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday quoted cybersecurity experts, including current and former U.S. officials, who said Chinese hackers have targeted almost 30 universities around the world since April 2017 in a bid to steal research associated with military naval technology.

China Uses Trudeau Scandal to Attack Canada for Arresting Meng Wanzhou

China Uses Trudeau Scandal to Attack Canada for Arresting Meng Wanzhou

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday used the scandal engulfing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration to question the fairness and independence of the Canadian judiciary and once again challenge the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Al-Shabaab Gunmen, Suicide Bombers Attack Mogadishu Hotel

Al-Shabaab Gunmen, Suicide Bombers Attack Mogadishu Hotel

A suicide bombing attack on a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday evening quickly escalated into a massive gun battle between Somali security forces and jihadis loyal to al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda ally that is becoming increasingly active across the region.

North Korea Disputes Trump’s Account of Hanoi Negotiations

North Korea Disputes Trump’s Account of Hanoi Negotiations

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho gave a press conference from Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday in which he disputed U.S. President Donald Trump’s account of unsuccessful negotiations with dictator Kim Jong-un.

Maduro Removes Eight Tons of Gold from Venezuela’s Central Bank

Maduro Removes Eight Tons of Gold from Venezuela’s Central Bank

Opposition legislator Angel Alvarado told Reuters on Wednesday the Maduro regime has removed at least eight tons of gold from Venezuela’s central bank for unknown reasons. At current prices, the gold is worth over $300 million.

President Trump Announces Release of Hostage Danny Burch from Yemen

President Trump Announces Release of Hostage Danny Burch from Yemen

President Donald Trump on Monday announced the release of Danny Burch, an American citizen who has been held hostage in Yemen since 2017. Trump thanked the United Arab Emirates for assisting with Burch’s liberation and said his administration has now secured the freedom of 20 Americans held captive in various countries.

China Using American-Made Equipment to Track Uighurs with DNA

China Using American-Made Equipment to Track Uighurs with DNA

The Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher company on Wednesday announced it will no longer sell its equipment in the Xinjiang province of China because the Chinese government is using the gear to track Uighur Muslims through their DNA.

China Teams Up with Iran to Preserve Nuclear Deal

China Teams Up with Iran to Preserve Nuclear Deal

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi welcomed his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to Beijing on Tuesday, stressing the importance of China’s relationship with Iran and telling Zarif he became a “famous person” in China with his speech at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.

China Freezes Couple’s Bank Account as Punishment for Illegal Third Child

China Freezes Couple’s Bank Account as Punishment for Illegal Third Child

China’s authoritarian government has been sending mixed signals about population control to the populace. On one hand, the government admits it faces a demographic crisis that can only be solved by increased fertility rates and large families, sending signals to the public that having two or three children is now their patriotic duty.

Study: North Korea Produced Fuel for Seven More Nuclear Bombs

Study: North Korea Produced Fuel for Seven More Nuclear Bombs

A study published Monday by Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) estimated that North Korea produced enough fissile material last year to construct seven more nuclear bombs, even as it was negotiating denuclearization with the United States.

Hayward: ‘Moderate’ Democrats Put On a Green New Deal Kabuki Show

Hayward: ‘Moderate’ Democrats Put On a Green New Deal Kabuki Show

Conventional wisdom holds that relatively moderate, or at least politically savvy, leaders in the Democrat Party are horrified by the rollout of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put AOC in her place when she “threw shade” at the program (as CNN put it) by sniffing disdainfully that “nobody knows what it is.

Chinese Media Gives Thumbs Down to State of the Union 2019

Chinese Media Gives Thumbs Down to State of the Union 2019

China’s state-run Global Times on Wednesday offered a lukewarm review of President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union Address, applauding his effort to build political unity in the United States but insisting the U.S.

Saudi Arabia Concludes Corruption Probe, Banks over $100 Billion

Saudi Arabia Concludes Corruption Probe, Banks over $100 Billion

The government of Saudi Arabia announced the formal conclusion of its anti-corruption probe on Wednesday, claiming the recovery of $107 billion in “real estate, companies, cash, and other assets” through settlements reached with 87 individuals.

Report: North Korea Sends Nuclear Negotiator to Labor Camp for ‘Breaching Doctrine’

Report: North Korea Sends Nuclear Negotiator to Labor Camp for ‘Breaching Doctrine’

North Korea has reportedly dispatched Han Song-ryol, vice foreign minister and one of that country’s most experienced negotiators, to a labor camp along with five other top officials for the crime of “breaching doctrine” by suggesting innovative tactics for breaking the diplomatic stalemate with the United States.

Hayward: The Left’s Comfort with Infanticide Is a Warning About ‘Medicare for All’

Hayward: The Left’s Comfort with Infanticide Is a Warning About ‘Medicare for All’

It’s been a shocking few weeks for abortion extremism, from New York’s shocking late-term abortion law to Virginia’s mercifully unsuccessful attempt to legalize infanticide. It’s time to start talking about death panels again, because this casual attitude toward the destruction of human life is a grim omen of what “Medicare for All” would be like.

Russian Board Game Mocks Skripal Nerve Agent Attack

Russian Board Game Mocks Skripal Nerve Agent Attack

British officials, particularly those in the town of Salisbury, are appalled by the release of a Russian board game that mocks the attempt to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the Novichok nerve agent last year.

Maduro Closes Venezuelan Embassy and Consulates in U.S.

Maduro Closes Venezuelan Embassy and Consulates in U.S.

Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro on Thursday ordered the Venezuelan embassy and all of its consulates in the United States to close, recalling all diplomatic personnel from America by Saturday.

Erdogan Supporters Hijack Twitter to Support Venezuelan Dictator Maduro

Erdogan Supporters Hijack Twitter to Support Venezuelan Dictator Maduro

Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his support for semi-deposed Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday and Thursday. Erdogan supporters, and even some of his critics, enthusiastically followed his lead and pushed their #WeAreMADURO hashtag to the top of trending topics on Twitter.

China Confirms Birth of Gene-Edited Twins

China Confirms Birth of Gene-Edited Twins

Chinese authorities answered one of the lingering questions in the case of rogue scientist He Jiankui on Monday by confirming the twin girls he claims to have genetically edited as embryos were born and are currently under medical supervision.

Trump, North Korean Envoy Agree to Kim Summit at 'End of February'

Trump, North Korean Envoy Agree to Kim Summit at 'End of February'

The White House announced on Friday afternoon that President Donald Trump met for an hour and a half with North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol to “discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February.

Massive Data Breach May Have Compromised 773 Million Email Accounts

Massive Data Breach May Have Compromised 773 Million Email Accounts

Cybersecurity researcher Troy Hunt on Thursday announced the discovery of a gigantic trove of pilfered usernames and addresses for email accounts from a variety of services, quite possibly representing the largest breach of account information in history.

China Threatens U.S. Freedom of Navigation Patrols with Anti-Ship Missiles

China Threatens U.S. Freedom of Navigation Patrols with Anti-Ship Missiles

China responded to the latest U.S. Navy freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea by declaring it would “take necessary actions to protect state sovereignty” and touting its deployment of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles as a step toward doing so.

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un Spends Birthday in China

North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un Spends Birthday in China

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un made his fourth known trip to China on Monday at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Kim made the journey by train, as is his habit, bringing most of the top North Korean Communist Party officials and his wife Ri Sol-ju along for the four-day excursion.

China Anticipates Population Decline by 2030

China Anticipates Population Decline by 2030

China’s effort to perform a U-turn on its notorious population control policies and stave off demographic collapse continued this week with a new report warning of negative population growth by 2030 unless Chinese couples begin having the children they would have been arrested for conceiving just a few years ago.

Report: Terrorists Seize Anti-Tank Missiles U.S. Intended for Syrian Rebels

Report: Terrorists Seize Anti-Tank Missiles U.S. Intended for Syrian Rebels

The Wall Street Journal ran a troubling report on Wednesday describing how high-powered anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) are now in the hands of terrorist groups thanks to years of outside programs for arming various factions in Syria, including the Obama administration’s effort to arm “white hat” Syrian rebels.

Iranian Exports Collapse Under U.S. Sanctions

Iranian Exports Collapse Under U.S. Sanctions

Economic data released by Iran this week indicated oil exports are sharply down and the export of products other than oil has been cut in half by U.S.

The State of North Korean Diplomacy in 2019

The State of North Korean Diplomacy in 2019

It is a safe bet that 2019 will be a crucial year for North Korea. Dictator Kim Jong-un closed out the year by sending South Korean President Moon Jae-in a letter with a “positive” message, an invitation to hold further summit meetings, and a vague commitment from Kim to make his long-promised historic visit to Seoul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Suggests Larger Role in Syria After U.S. Withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Suggests Larger Role in Syria After U.S. Withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Madhi told reporters on Sunday that U.S. withdrawal from Syria will create “a lot of complications,” so it might be necessary for Iraq to take a stronger hand against Syrian terrorist groups to protect its own security interests.

Congo: 24 Ebola Patients Flee Treatment Center Attacked by Protesters

Congo: 24 Ebola Patients Flee Treatment Center Attacked by Protesters

The struggle to contain an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) suffered another setback on Thursday when a treatment center came under attack from protesters enraged by the cancellation of Sunday’s presidential vote in the city of Beni.

Chinese Police Kidnap Marxist Student Leader on Mao’s 125th Birthday

Chinese Police Kidnap Marxist Student Leader on Mao’s 125th Birthday

Qiu Zhanxuan, a prominent Marxist student leader and head of the Marxist Society at Peking University, was grabbed by a group of “heavy set men who identified themselves as police” and stuffed into an unmarked car outside the campus on Wednesday, which happened to be the 125th birthday of Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of the modern Chinese state.

Islamic State Claims Attack on Libyan Foreign Ministry

Islamic State Claims Attack on Libyan Foreign Ministry

The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a gun attack on the Libyan Foreign Ministry in Tripoli that killed three people, including a high-ranking ministry official.

New York Times Salutes the Christmas Spirit of Hezbollah

New York Times Salutes the Christmas Spirit of Hezbollah

In a bizarre article published on Christmas Eve, the New York Times saluted the murderous Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah for its wonderful Christmas spirit, applauding the group for helping to “ring in the season” and implying the United States has unfairly designated it as a foreign terrorist organization.

China Claims U.S. Fabricated Charges Against Hackers

China Claims U.S. Fabricated Charges Against Hackers

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday rejected U.S. allegations against two Chinese nationals accused of masterminding a global scheme to steal technology, business secrets, military information, and personal data for the benefit of China’s intelligence apparatus.

Syria, Russia, and Iran Applaud U.S. Troop Withdrawal

Syria, Russia, and Iran Applaud U.S. Troop Withdrawal

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Russia, Iran, and Syria are “not happy” about the American troop withdrawal from Syria because they will now be required to shoulder the burden of fighting terrorist groups like the Islamic State.

China Detains Third Canadian Citizen Since Huawei CFO Arrest

China Detains Third Canadian Citizen Since Huawei CFO Arrest

The Canadian government said on Wednesday that police have detained a third Canadian citizen in China. While Ottawa provided no details of the arrest, an official said there is “no reason to believe that this case is linked” to the detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – whose arrests last week were in turn clearly linked to Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Japan Announces First Aircraft Carriers Since World War II

Japan Announces First Aircraft Carriers Since World War II

The Japanese government announced on Tuesday that it will deploy aircraft carriers for the first time since World War II as part of a defense strategy that will involve purchasing a great deal of American military hardware, a course of action U.S.

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