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Monthly News Items Part Two – 29 / 31 January 2021

Post-US 2020 Election:

White House shifts from Middle East quagmires to a showdown with China Biden is pivoting to Asia. Just don’t expect him to say so explicitly. National security adviser Jake Sullivan has restructured the National Security staff in the Middle East and Asia directorates — downsizing the team devoted to the Middle East and bulking up the unit that coordinates U.S. policy toward the vast region of the world stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. The move, which has not been previously reported, is the latest sign that the new administration will prioritize Asia in its foreign policy initiatives.

Biden hands over control of America’s power grid to communist China – DC Clothesline Biden has already revoked an executive order signed by President Donald Trump that barred communist China and other hostile foreign entities from gaining access to America’s power grid

A new magazine cover of the Jacobin is striking a nerve after it appears that the magazine is saying the government is now god and our religion, to be worshipped. It sure begs the age-old question: who do you serve? Here’s the cover of the magazine in its entirety for you to have a look at. Biden’s larger-than-life, bare-chested figure is shown surrounded by ‘holy spirits’ of Twitter and ‘saints’. The latter include kneeling Democrat leaders in the US Congress, Dr. Anthony Fauci, fawning journalists, and manager-class devotees eagerly consuming the ‘holy scripture’ from what is probably the latest Barack Obama memoir. The former president himself is shown as a six-winged seraphim bracketed by the likewise angelic Hillary and Bill Clinton, with the trio gazing benignly from the heavens. A crowd of mask-wearing suburban laymen on Earth celebrates Biden’s ascension. A pair of Reaper drones complete the picture, providing a clear hint for the doubtful that the image should be taken with a grain of salt.

Impeachment Follies: Why the Senate Cannot Try Trump By defining those three categories, Article II limits removal and future ineligibility only to current officeholders. After all, the 20th Amendment defines the president’s term as four years (with a possible second term). Once a president leaves office, as a matter of law, he or she is no longer president and, therefore, cannot be “removed” from that office.

Pelosi (D-California) has demanded additional security for lawmakers, citing threats from “within” the House, while the temporary fence around the Capitol is on the way to become permanent.

History is shaped by Ideas. Good ideas that are in tune with the truthful nature of reality vs bad ideas that are out of tune with said reality, Matt Ehret writes. With Trump’s ascension to the presidency in 2016, the Rhodes Scholars that had permeated the U.S. Deep State over many years found themselves choking on humble pie as they were removed from the drivers’ seat of world affairs for the first time in decades. The paradigm of post-nation state unipolarism that had been carefully built up over the post-WWII period had somehow been successfully challenged by an outsider as the republic was slowly returned to its patriotic traditions as a nation committed to non-interventionism, industrial progress and protectionism. In the last few days, it has become clear that these Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholars have re-emerged as leading voices in Biden’s cabinet, and since a general understanding of this problem is so lacking today (leading many patriots to be duped into believing that the evil Chinese are at the heart of their woes), I think some preliminary words are needed as a matter of historical context.

In a brutal display of presidential powers that would have made Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un green with envy, Joe Biden rammed through a raft of pro-globalist executive orders just hours after being sworn in as president. For those U.S. voters who were more obsessed with removing Donald Trump than seriously questioning who or what would replace him, they got their answer shortly after Biden made it through his locked-down inauguration where the soldiers outnumbered the guests by a margin one would not expect to find during a democratic pageant. Critics Who Called Trump ‘Authoritarian’ Are Silent On Biden’s Executive Order Spree - Just more than one week into Joe Biden’s administration, he’s issued approximately 40 executive orders, significantly more than any of his predecessors discharged in their first weeks.

Biden Executive Order Creates ‘Civilian Climate Corps’ to Fight Climate Change On Wednesday, Biden unveiled a flurry of executive actions his administration planned to undertake to “tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad.” The president, who campaigned for the White House last year on a platform “environmental justice,” argued the actions were necessary if the United States had any hopes of leading a “global response” to the climate crisis.

Biden Administration Sued For Halting Oil, Gas Leasing On Federal Lands The Biden administration was sued on Jan. 27 over its executive order to halt oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. The lawsuit (pdf) was filed in the U.S. District Court in Wyoming by the Western Energy Alliance, a group representing fossil fuel producers on federal lands. They say President Joe Biden exceeded his authority with the recent order. “The law is clear. Presidents don’t have authority to ban leasing on public lands. All Americans own the oil and natural gas beneath public lands, and Congress has directed them to be responsibly developed on their behalf,”

In a brutal display of presidential powers that would have made Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un green with envy, Joe Biden rammed through a raft of pro-globalist executive orders just hours after being sworn in as president. For those U.S. voters who were more obsessed with removing Donald Trump than seriously questioning who or what would replace him, they got their answer shortly after Biden made it through his locked-down inauguration where the soldiers outnumbered the guests by a margin one would not expect to find during a democratic pageant.

What makes the current state of war against “terrorism” so dangerous is that the national security apparatus has been politicized, Phil Giraldi writes. How the FBI Created Domestic Terrorism: 80 Years of Psychological Warfare Revealed - The “war on terror” is now expanding to target a broad spectrum of the American population who would be morally resistant to the sorts of anti-human policies demanded by Great Reset Technocrats, Matthew Ehret writes.

The Presidency of billionaire businessman Donald Trump, the most pro-vaccine President in the history of the United States, came to an end today as he and Melania left Washington D.C. to head back to Florida. President Trump continued to brag about how fast his administration issued authorization for the experimental mRNA COVID injections until the very end, mentioning it again as one of his administration’s biggest successes today in his farewell speech. The Q cult following that has worshipped him for the past 4 years held up hope until the last minute that he was going to unleash hundreds of thousands of indictments and arrest the “deep state” traitors guilty of “treason,” preventing Joe Biden from becoming President, as well as hoping that he was going to pardon two whistleblowers who have risked their lives to reveal the workings of the deep state, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. At least 10 of the 143 people who were pardoned by former President Donald Trump were convicted of defrauding health care programs or other crimes involving the health care industry, Becker's Hospital Review reports.

An article in Vanity Fair by Adam Ciralsky has laid bare some kay aspects of US president Donald Trumps final days in office. The article sheds light on the crucial role of the US Defense Department during the weeks leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden….The article includes important insights from Miller, Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the under-secretary of defense for intelligence. Miller came with experience from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had commanded an airborne Special Forces battalion. The report looks at a week in his life prior to January 19. Miller had three goals, he told the writer: “No military coup, no major war and no troops in the street,” before observing dryly, “The ‘no troops in the street’ claim changed dramatically about 14:30... So that one’s off [the list].” It shows the extraordinary place the US was in, during the fall of 2020 after the US election, and that a “coup” was even considered. The reference to a coup is left hanging. It’s not clear what Ciralsky meant. It is known that Trump attempted to reverse the election result. US National Guard were called into Washington on January 6, and more than 20,000 have been deployed.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday declared there was a “great deal of evidence of fraud” and illegal election law changes that merit a “thorough investigation.” In a contentious exchange on ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopolous,” Paul said liberal journalists are calling anybody that believes the election was stolen is a fool to bring up the subject. "There are two sides to every story. George, you're forgetting who you are. You’re forgetting who you are as a journalist if you think there's only one side," Paul said. "You're inserting yourself into the story to say I’m a liar because I want to look at election fraud and I want to look at secretaries of state who illegally changed the voter laws without the permission of their state legislatures. That is incontrovertible, it happened. "And you can't just sweep it under the rug and say, oh, nothing to see here, and everybody is a liar and you're a fool if you bring this up. You’re inserting yourself into the story. A journalist would hear both sides and there are two sides of a story." Trump meets with Kevin McCarthy and commits to 2022 fight for GOP House majority

Govs. Ron DeSantis, Chris Sununu and Greg Abbott announced that they are bringing their National Guard troops back from Washington, D.C., after reports they were posted up in a parking garage near the Capitol to rest during their shifts, a move that caused outrage at the treatment of the servicemembers. The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) ordered the troops to move their rest area during their 12-hour shifts from inside the Capitol to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center parking garage, the National Guard said Friday.

Joe Biden's incoming Asia policy czar was a top leader at a nonprofit group that was bankrolled by the head of a Chinese propaganda front group and partnered with a Chinese foreign mission. Kurt Campbell, a former Obama State Department official and businessman, was until August 2020 listed as board vice chairman of the U.S.-China Strong Foundation, ostensibly a nonprofit group that promotes student language exchanges with Beijing but whose leaders included prominent members of the Chinese government’s overseas propaganda fronts, according to State Department and Department of Justice records. Campbell is slated to serve as the chief coordinator for President Joe Biden’s Asia policy on the National Security Council, but his leadership role with the foundation is raising concerns with China hawks in Washington. The foundation has promoted the Chinese army and China's Belt and Road Initiative—deemed a national security threat by U.S. officials.

A Turkish social media site that usually posts about armed conflict attacked Jews as “overrepresented in Biden cabinet,” part of a rising crescendo of antisemitism and anti-Biden media coverage in Turkey. Turkey’s ruling AKP Party and its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan were close to Trump, and Turkish pro-government media cultivated ties with America’s far-right, including the Proud Boys, often pushing conspiracy theories about Antifa and the US “deep state.”

Turkey seeks to cement Iran alliance Turkey hosted Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Ankara on Friday in a sign of Turkey’s growing relations that seek to work closely with Tehran against US interests in the Middle East. The meeting illustrated that Turkey’s recent push for Azerbaijan to fight Armenians in the Caucasus now will end with Ankara, Moscow and Tehran cooperating in the Caucasus region to carve it up into spheres of influence…

Over the last four years Turkey was allowed, often with approval from the Trump administration, to attack protesters in Washington, invade Afrin in Syria, threaten NATO partners, host Hamas, recruit poverty-stricken Syrians as mercenaries, encourage a war against Armenians and even threaten US troops in Syria. Now Turkey’s key allies in Washington are leaving office, including envoys and friends in the State Department that empowered Ankara’s authoritarianism and aggression. Turkey fears that President-elect Joe Biden and his incoming team may not take orders from Ankara and may not welcome its threats. Turkey has stopped its aggressive behavior since learning of Biden’s victory, sensing the blank check to attack others has been reduced. For years, Turkey had been shifting from its interest in joining the European Union, which would require it having a free press and respecting human rights, to becoming a more authoritarian state. Ankara is the largest jailor of journalists in the world today.

Geopolitics, Culture and Other News

The situation in the Central African Republic's (CAR) capital of Bangui is "apocalyptic" as rebels encircle the city, a former prime minister says. Martin Ziguélé said there was daily fighting across the country and that he couldn't leave Bangui without an armed escort. The UN says more than 200,000 people have fled their homes since the conflict erupted last month. Rebel forces now control two-thirds of the country. The CAR is one of Africa's poorest and most unstable countries, even though it is rich in resources such as diamonds and uranium. The UN estimates that about half the population is dependent on humanitarian aid.

Uganda witnessed a total internet shut down on the afternoon of January 13, 2021, on the eve of its presidential election. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, 76, who took power in 1986, following a guerrilla war, and has ruled the country since — ran for reelection. Museveni’s biggest opponent was Robert Kyagulanyi, 38, better known by his stage name, Bobi Wine, a musician-turned-politician. Wine became a member of parliament, representing Kyadondo East constituency, in 2017. In a pre-election address, the president had announced the indefinite ban on Facebook in Uganda stating that Facebook was taking sides with the opposition when they banned accounts belonging to the ruling party’s supporters.

In the beginning of the year, the tension between Iran and the US reached an all-time high, casting the shadow of yet another war over the Middle East. Later, Sino-Indian border skirmishes were about to get out of control. The conflict was ignited with the beginning of a road construction project in the disputed Galwan River valley, which displeased Beijing. Fortunately, and thanks to restraint shown by both sides, a full-blown military confrontation was avoided: the last thing the world needed in 2020 was a war between the world's two most populous powers. Toward the end of 2020, however, the world did witness a tragic war between two nations in the Caucasus. Between September and November, 2020, Azerbaijani and Armenian forces excIn the meantime, many took up arms in Africa to solve their own internal issues and border skirmishes. Regrettably, many such conflicts in Africa were overshadowed by other news, though they did not escape the notice of The Business Year. Below, we have compiled a list of growing military tensions in Africa in 2020, their historical background, and prospects for the coming year. hanged fire over their age-old claims regarding the ownership of the Nagorno-Karabakh region…..

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Saturday, and Taiwan’s air force deployed missiles to “monitor” the incursion, the island’s Defence Ministry said. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months. However they have generally consisted of just one or two reconnaissance aircraft. The presence of so many Chinese combat aircraft on this mission - Taiwan said it was made up of eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets - is unusual. China sharpens language, warns Taiwan that independence 'means war'

China passed a law on Friday that for the first time explicitly allows its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels, a move that could make the contested waters around China more choppy. China has maritime sovereignty disputes with Japan in the East China Sea and with several Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea. It has sent its coast guard to chase away fishing vessels from other countries, sometimes resulting in the sinking of these vessels.

Taiwan reported a “large incursion of Chinese warplanes for a second day running,” the BBC reported. Some 15 aircraft flew near Pratas Island in the northern part of the South China Sea administered by Taiwan. From Beijing’s perspective, it is merely flying over areas it claims.

On Monday, a day after the report of the overflight, Chinese and Indian troops reportedly clashed in a high-altitude disputed area. There have been casualties. The clash apparently happened last week.

China is trying to collect Americans’ DNA and more, fmr. US intel official says A former U.S. intelligence official warned this week that the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a Chinese company called BGI Group, is trying to collect Americans’ DNA for China, and could use the data to monopolize critical medical supplies. “This shows the nefarious mindset of the Communist Party of China, to take advantage of a worldwide crisis like COVID,” Evanina told CBS. “We put out an advisory to not only every American, but to hospitals, associations, and clinics. Knowing that BGI is a Chinese company, do we understand where that data’s going?”

Tech giant Google plans to establish a new Google Cloud region in Saudi Arabia. Access Now, a nongovernmental digital rights organization, has raised alarm and requested the immediate halting of the plan, referring to the country’s “appalling human rights record.”….The statement warned against the “dangerous” implications of Google’s plans to store Snapchat data on Saudi-based servers, which it said would “place millions of the Snapchat users’ personal information under the jurisdiction of a government with a longstanding record of surveillance.” “Saudi Arabia and human rights safeguards, historically, do not mix,” said Marwa Fatafta, Middle East and North Africa policy manager at Access Now….

South Africa and India, two of the largest coal-dependent emerging economies, are beginning to explore how to ensure no one is left behind in the transition, particularly in coal-dependent regions, and the most vulnerable can access emerging opportunities including new quality jobs in net zero sectors…..Project launch will be organised on January 19…Ensuring the transition to net zero and resilient economies is just and inclusive has never been more important as climate action builds momentum and the urgent need for a green and just recovery from Covid-19 arises….. The Just Transition Finance Roadmaps in South Africa and India project will build on existing local processes and encourage tangible action, particularly on the road to COP26. The following partners are involved: Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies, National Business Initiative, Observer Research Foundation, LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and Harvard Kennedy School’s Initiative for Responsible Investment, with support from the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. Just Transition Finance Roadmaps in South Africa and India: Project Launch

Jewish and pro-Israel groups are speaking out against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), with some calling for her to be removed from her Congressional committees, over anti-Semitic statements. “We are outraged by the statements, past and present, of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. She routinely traffics in unfounded conspiracy theories that are often anti-Semitic in nature. As an avid supporter of QAnon, Representative Greene espouses anti-Semitic canards, such as placing blame on ‘the Rothschilds’ for recent wildfires in California and declaring that ‘Zionist supremacists’ are behind supposed nefarious plots,” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said of Greene’s comments.

The president's power is not forever - and scenes on Moscow's streets reflect a movement accelerated by the internet quicksands. This last day of January deserves a mark in the history of Putin's Russia. More people were detained this Sunday in the latest round of anti-Putin protests - in excess of 5,000 at the time of writing - than at any other point in Vladimir Putin's 21 year rule.

It is a measure both of the Russian president's power and his paranoia that he cannot allow peaceful protest in the name of his arch-nemesis, Alexei Navalny, and that his police will use batons, brute force and stun guns against entirely peaceful protesters.

Jailed Kremlin critic and anti-Putin activist Alexei Navalny has been urging supporters to take to the streets since his homecoming a week ago. Immediately upon exiting his commercial flight from Germany he was taken into police custody and a hasty court proceeding sentenced him to 30 days in jail over a probation violation based on the terms of a 2014 conviction. On Saturday in various Russian cities, including in the Far East, hundreds and in some cases thousands took to the streets to demand his freedom……The 44-year-old Kremlin critic and political figure returned to Russia knowing he'd be arrested while also asking his supporters to come out en masse to cheer his arrival at the airport. Over the past months he's given media interviews from Germany where's he's directly accused Vladimir Putin for ordering his alleged poisoning by a nerve agent last August - something which the Kremlin has vehemently denied.

The government of France will include information about the faith and political opinions in the police files of people who could be a threat to national security. The Interior Ministry has issued three decrees that now allow to collect information about the "political opinions", "philosophical or religious convictions" and "labour union membership" of individuals followed by the government for representing potential threats to the state. Views expressed on social media will also be collected, the government confirmed. Until now, the law only allowed to gather information about the "activities" of individuals, not opinions or beliefs.

The bill would allow children to spy on their parents for government agencies to break the law if their actions would prevent or detect crime – and even permits those over the age of 16 to be recruited to inform on their parents if they are suspected of terror or criminal involvement. It allows 22 state agencies, including the intelligence service, the military and the police, to use children as undercover agents, though there must be a senior executive overseeing the operation. The measures are likely to be used in operations against “county lines” drug gangs, as well as investigating suspected terror plots. Last year, the high court ruled police recruitment of children was lawful. As well as police, MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency, they include the Gambling Commission, county and district councils, the Environment Agency and the Food Standards Agency. The Covert Human Intelligence Source is currently before the parliament in the UK and will return to the House of Commons after the House of Lords added an amendment to curtail the use of children in spy activity. This is straight out George Orwell's novel 1984. This is what totalitarian communists do in East Germany, China, Russia and North Korea. This isn't just about reporting suspicious behaviour or committing crime but it will be used against "sins" relating to the environmental, Covid, diet, LGBTQ, and so on. Watch Sky News Australia with Rowan Dean and British journalist, Brendan O’Neill, discussing it.

Ben Habib: "As for the biggest area of cooperation established in the TCA – the so-called “level playing field” (LPF) – there is nothing good about these provisions. Yes, we have managed to avoid EU laws forming the basis of the LPF. But don’t be mistaken: we have still entered into onerous non-regression undertakings which will make it difficult for us to diverge and deregulate….So in matters of state aid, competition, the environment, employment and taxation we will be effectively joined at the hip with the EU. We will remain a highly regulated and taxed economy. To make matters worse, we have undertaken to become carbon neutral by 2050 (to which Theresa May had admittedly committed us in domestic law but now we will be bound by it in treaty)." Government accused of undermining scrutiny of EU trade deal, as Jacob Rees-Mogg shuts down Commons Brexit committee - Move blocks plan for six-month inquiry into Boris Johnson’s Christmas Eve agreement

The European Commission reversed course Friday night on triggering an emergency override provision in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement as part of efforts to control vaccine exports, after howls of protest from the U.K. and Ireland. The decision to trigger the provision blindsided Dublin and London and set off a firestorm as it could have seen checks on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, temporarily nullifying the special border arrangement intended to preserve the Good Friday peace agreement. The Commission invoked the emergency provision — Article 16 of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland — as part of a new export control mechanism that is designed to restrict international shipments of coronavirus vaccines if the EU's own orders are not being met. EU vaccine export row: Bloc backtracks on controls for NI

The European Union is introducing export controls on coronavirus vaccines made in the bloc, amid a row about delivery shortfalls. The so-called transparency mechanism gives EU countries powers to deny authorisation for vaccine exports if the company making them has not honoured existing contracts with the EU. "The protection and safety of our citizens is a priority and the challenges we now face left us with no choice but to act," the European Commission said. COVID-19: EU 'recognise they made a mistake' in move to block vaccine exports, says Gove

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is reportedly under pressure to resign her post, after a disastrous and shortlived decision to block vaccines traveling to the UK. The call to block vaccines entering the UK, after a dispute with drugmaker AstraZeneca over supplies of its vaccines, would have breached the Belfast Good Friday peace agreement by creating an internal border on the island of Ireland….The EU quickly retreated from its position after a global backlash, with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove saying Brussels had recognised its “mistake”. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the decision was taken by von der Leyen without consulting other top EU officials and that Brussels diplomats were now calling for her resignation.

Transatlantic tensions over how to handle China will come into the open next week when MEPs condemn the European commission for rushing to sign a controversial investment agreement with China that they say undermines the EU’s credibility on human rights. The criticism, echoing views held inside the Biden administration in the US, will confirm the view of those including the UK that believe the determination of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to secure the China deal, and assert European autonomy from Washington on China, was a geopolitical blunder. The EU had set a deadline of the end of 2020 to reach the agreement.

But as Laschet’s profile has increased, recently unearthed comments in which he has defended Russian President Vladimir Putin and espoused controversial views about the war in Syria have raised eyebrows among foreign policy experts. In a 2014 interview after the Russian annexation of Crimea, Laschet was critical of what he viewed as “marketable anti-Putin populism” among Germans. He has also previously cautioned against vilifying Russia and expressed skepticism about Russia’s involvement in the 2018 poisoning of a U.K. double agent and his daughter. Laschet’s past statements on Russia aren’t exactly out of the ordinary in Germany, according to Garret Martin, a professor in American University’s School of International Service. “There are others in the German political sphere that have these views toward Russia,” Martin told Jewish Insider. While Laschet has “shown some tendency to cozy up toward autocratic figures,” Martin said, “he tends to probably prioritize economic interests over foreign policy considerations.”

Prime minister resigns after party named as suspect in inquiry into property project

Estonia’s prime minister has resigned after police and prosecutors launched an investigation into an alleged corruption scandal involving his left-leaning Centre party related to a property development. Jüri Ratas, the prime minister since 2016, handed his resignation letter to the president on Wednesday, local media reported, bringing down the centre-right coalition government he heads that also includes a far-right party.

Mr Conte’s decision is a political gamble that he can stay in office by cobbling together a new ruling coalition after his government was stripped of its majority by the resignation of former prime minister Matteo Renzi’s small Italia Viva party in protest against its handling of the pandemic response. There is however no guarantee of his success, and the move creates political uncertainty at a time when the country has suffered over 85,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic and is facing the worst economic crisis since the second world war. The political turmoil also raises uncertainty about Italy’s plans to spend €200bn in EU funds disbursed to tackle the economic fallout from the pandemic, with Rome being the single largest beneficiary.

Some 10,000 families, some of whom were racially profiled, were forced to repay tens of thousands of euros of subsidies.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced the resignation of his government, accepting responsibility for years of mismanagement of childcare subsidies, which wrongfully drove thousands of families to financial ruin…..The resignation follows a parliamentary inquiry last month that found bureaucrats at the tax service had wrongly accused families of fraud. The inquiry report said approximately 10,000 families had been forced to repay tens of thousands of euros of subsidies, in some cases leading to unemployment, bankruptcies and divorces, in what it called an “unprecedented injustice”.

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