Weekly round-up of news: 12 June
The Bible predicts a day when a global government will arise, promising peace but ushering in the worst reign of evil the world has ever seen. Surely, present events hasten that future, though its precise timings remain utterly in the Lord’s hands (Ps 2). With the utmost respect to my friends who have chosen to align themselves with Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion and other such movements, it is worth remembering that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We need a reality check, because sin (including racism) is present in every nation and culture and will stain fallen humanity for as long as this world exists (2 Pet 3:13). Only the Gospel can transform the condition of the heart and resolve the genuine injustices in our society. Only the Gospel holds out the hope of the return of the Lord, who alone will set all wrongs to right.
We need to face up to the facts of our own history – that our wealth and our status in the world as the greatest and most extensive empire the world has ever known was all achieved through the exploitation of our fellow human beings. The industrial revolution at home and slavery in the colonies produced our wealth and contributed to our colonial expansion. We forced poor working men, women and children to live and work under appalling conditions in the factories, the cotton mills and down in the coal mines in Britain. And we transported millions of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic and forced them to live subjected to incredible cruelty and inhumanity in the so-called New World of the Caribbean islands and North and South America. We deliberately destroyed the identity of Africans whom we enslaved, robbing them of their language, their tribal and family links, their individual identity, their names, their dignity and their personal humanity – even giving them British names. Of all the millions of people living in the Caribbean islands and among the Caribbean immigrants in Britain today – none of them have African names! We dehumanised every one of their forebears, robbing them of their identity and culture – giving them the name of their white British owner.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who murdered George Floyd, had 18 complaints against him. He was disciplined twice. Why was he still on the force? We do not know whether any of the other complaints were valid or not. But 18 seems like quite a bit and it is certain that most valid charges are swept under the rug. Already, the Minneapolis union signaled it wants to protect the other three officers complicit in the death of George Floyd…… Union leaders have a mandated goal of protecting bad cops, bad teachers, and corrupt politicians. Unions blackmail politicians and threaten the public they are supposed to serve. Union leaders will do anything to stay in power, the kids and the public be damned. The only way to deal with the situation is to "effectively" abolish public unions entirely. The key word is effectively. What do I mean by that? Take away 100% of their power as opposed to ending their right of association.
Riotous rage has spread across the globe in the wake of the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, ostensibly as a result of brutal arrest by a police officer. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the shocking incident is being used as a Trojan Horse to fan the flames of fear and fury of a restless generation further emboldened to express their distaste for authority. And the anarchic forces of darkness committed to wrecking the foundations of Western civilisation are rubbing their hands in glee. Of course, black lives matter and justice is paramount, but our topsy-turvy world portrays the victim as a saint rather than a convicted armed robber who threatened to shoot a pregnant woman. Indeed, the truth is hard to uncover as a generally biased mainstream media pursues its own agenda……. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the riots in Ephesus over the preaching of the Apostle Paul, about which Scripture records: “Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there” (Acts 19:32). We are witnessing days of rage and violence of the kind our Lord suggested would indicate his imminent return (Luke 17:26f; Gen 6:11). Where are the people of God raising their voices in the wilderness of wickedness, preparing the way of the Lord in warning a rebellious generation of coming judgment? The Bible talks of how truth is suppressed by the godlessness of wicked men, as a result of which the ‘wrath of God’ is revealed. In other words, God ‘gives them over’ to their sinful desires – he lets them get on with it – which in turns reaps a whirlwind of trouble and strife in society (read Romans 1:18-32 for a full explanation)
While Black Lives Matter seems on the outside to be a social justice organization that aims to further the rights of African-Americans, many are surprised to discover that the group has an alarming pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and anti-family agenda at the core of its mission to remake America. In its online manifesto titled “What We Believe,” the Black Lives Matter organizers Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi say they and their followers “disrupt” the “Western-prescribed” family. They also say they have freed themselves from “heteronormative thinking” and demand “reproductive justice.” “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable,” they wrote.
It’s unclear how many Christians are going along with the current neo-Marxist collective guilt movement out of fear, a misunderstanding of what they’ve signed onto, or an authentic conversion to the cause. What is clear, however, is that you can’t be a Christian and a Marxist at the same time—not without irresolvable contradictions. Whereas traditional garden-variety Marxism views history as a struggle between the wealthy and the working class “proletariat,” neo-Marxism cranks up the heat and redefines the fight to incorporate biological sex, race, ethnicity, and a whole gambit of various “identity” badges.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has described abortion figures for 2019, released today by the Department for Health and Social Care, as “a national tragedy”. 209,519 unborn children were aborted in England and Wales in 2019; the highest number since the Abortion Act came into force in April 1968. Antonia Tully, SPUC Director of Campaigns, said: “We are looking at a national tragedy here. This appalling figure shows us that abortion is becoming more and more normalised. Propaganda telling women that abortion is ‘simple and safe’ coupled with easier access to abortion pills is driving up abortion numbers. “But behind the figures are real women who have taken an irreversible step and who are likely to be suffering physically or emotionally….. “The lockdown measure to allow DIY home abortions is compounding the myth that abortion is a normal and easy thing to do. It isn’t. “Women deserve the truth about the harm that abortion can do to them. Agencies such as ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline) can help heal the wounds of abortion in both women and men. Nothing can bring back a dead baby.” Judge dismisses lawsuit against Trump admin rule that cut $60m from Planned Parenthood News - The Protect Life Rule requires “clear financial and physical separation between Title X-funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning” and bans “referral for abortion as a method of family planning.” The abortion lobby has responded with multiple lawsuits, and Planned Parenthood chose to withdraw from Title X rather than comply with it, despite the company’s repeated claim that abortion is only a fraction of their “services.” WATCH: Viral video shows pregnant mom astonished at preborn baby ‘literally standing’ in her womb
Trump finalizes rollback of Obama-era LGBTQ patient protections The Trump administration is eliminating an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender. he Trump administration is eliminating an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender. CNN notes the move comes on the four-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed. Many Democrats were not happy with the move. One commentator on Twitter wrote “Donald Trump is getting rid of LGBT patient protections during Pride Month, on the Orlando Pulse anniversary. He’s obviously doing it on purpose. Just like he’s doing the Tulsa thing on purpose…..
J.K. Rowling, author of the best selling “Harry Potter” book series, has published a lengthy essay on her website today why she opposes the transgender agenda and refuses to “bow down” to it despite massive public pressure to capitulate. “Well, I’ve got five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism, and deciding I need to speak up,” she wrote…. Rowling said she was “concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be de-transitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility. Some say they decided to transition after realising they were same-sex attracted, and that transitioning was partly driven by homophobia, either in society or in their families.” She also argued that allowing men who identify as women into female-only spaces, such as bathrooms, shower rooms, and changing rooms, makes all women less safe.
Following on from our legal challenge to the government on DIY abortions, MPs have been questioning the government about the policy. The High Court hearing last week uncovered how the abortion industry has been at work in the Department of Health, able to get its way without proper scrutiny. Now, thanks to media coverage and people writing letters, MPs are beginning to realise the extent of the problem….. This answer strongly suggests that the only evidence the department considered was an emotive email sent by BPAS to try to get what they wanted all along – DIY abortions. Pro-choice activists used to say that legal abortion was needed to stop dangerous backstreet abortions – now they seem to be encouraging very risky treatments. The government’s original position was that DIY abortions risked women being coerced into abortions and that in-person visits were an “essential safeguard”. It appears that this, and significant other risks of home abortion simply weren’t taken into consideration.
The Satanic Temple's creepy-looking leader has turned his organization into a military vehicle of the culture war, launching hideous protests against pro-lifers outside abortion clinics. One June 9, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit launched by an anonymous woman, “Judy Doe,” against a Missouri law that requires abortion patients to receive a pamphlet noting that, “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.” Doe, who is a member of the Satanic Temple, argued that the law violated her religious freedom as a Satanist, claiming (erroneously) that the scientific facts laid out in the pamphlet were specifically Catholic beliefs. This is the second loss for the downtrodden Satanist—the appeals court is agreeing with the ruling of a federal district judge in 2019—and the court highlighted the obvious fact that all viewpoints align with someone’s religious beliefs. “Any theory of when life [begins] necessarily aligns with some religious beliefs and not others,” the court stated. “So under Doe’s theory, Missouri’s only option would be to avoid legislating in this area altogether.”
The government is reportedly planning to suspend Sunday trading laws to boost the economy, however churches will only be allowed to open up for private prayer….. Meanwhile, the government has announced that places of worship will be allowed to open for individual private prayer only from Monday 15 June. Communally led prayer, worship of informal prayer meetings will remain prohibited…. This means that large businesses are trusted to open up for long hours on Sundays, while churches remain highly restricted in what they are allowed to do. The government therefore trusts large businesses, but does not trust churches to minimise the risks of infection. Churches are also not permitted to host informal prayer meetings for those who may wish to attend with appropriate social distancing and cleansing. However, hundreds of people will be allowed to visit supermarkets where they will open fridge doors and handle goods which others may have handled very shortly before.
A letter sent to the government on behalf of a group of 25 church leaders urges the government to reconsider its approach to the blanket lockdown of churches. The pre-action letter, supported by Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, argues that lockdown restrictions imposed on churches are both unlawful and unnecessary, and asks the government to reprioritise the opening of churches as soon as possible…… It is absolutely shocking and disturbing that gathered church ministry is currently criminalised here in the UK. In France, the supreme court recently ruled that a blanket ban on meetings at places of worship was “manifestly illegal.” In Florida, church services were ruled to be an “essential activity” as far back as 7 April. In Ontario, Canada, over 400 churches have signed a letter which complains about church ministry being restricted. Want to go to a church service? Nope! Want to riot, loot, and tear up city? Have at it!
Are Christians being targeted by a new 'health dictatorship'? Before being elected president in 2008, Barack Obama stated the following: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Some theorized that one of the planned transformations included suppression of Christianity and implementation of society-destroying socialist ideologies. He was then elected president by, presumably, many people with a similar mindset; some of those people remained in government jobs, including public health jobs, until the present time. They are sometimes referred to as the “Washington Establishment” or “the Establishment.” ….. For example, when the COVID-19 discussions began, multiple people published the theory that public health officials and the mainstream media were propagating potentially unscientific, false, and/or misleading statistics. Soon thereafter, the theory was proven to be correct; if multiple people had not first questioned, theorized, and published their theories, such very important information may have never been brought to light. Another theory is in regards to public health officials’ potential plans for forced or ordered vaccinations in the U.S. There is evidence that the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has considered forced drugging or forced vaccinations as a part of their discussion on social distancing and the “legal preparedness for pandemic influenza” or other infectious disease outbreak (Page 31) ……. Recently, significant evidence surfaced supporting the suggestion that some will attempt to suppress Christianity under the guise of protecting “public health” or “public safety” from the spread of viruses. The evidence is from a court opinion in which the Federal District Court in Chicago refused to block the restrictions on religion imposed by the governor of Illinois due to COVID-19. The opinion states:……
Christians were among those targeted and killed when armed jihadists launched three separate attacks within 48 hours in Burkina Faso that left at least 58 dead. Fifteen were killed when a convoy of traders, including children, was attacked while travelling from Titao to Sollé, in Loroum province, on 29 May. On 30 May, armed Islamist militants opened fire at random in a cattle market in Kompienga province, killing at least 30 people and injuring many others. On the same day, a humanitarian convoy was attacked by extremists in Barsalogho, Sanmatenga province, claiming the lives of six civilians and seven soldiers. Another 20 people were injured and a number were reported missing.
Two things are true of the Pakistani Church. First, locals are more open than ever to the Gospel message. Second, there are fewer and fewer foreign missionaries there to answer the call for answers. According to Jonathan, a Christian worker focused in Pakistan, local interest in the Gospel partly stems from a growing disenchantment with Islam. “A lot of this is because of some of the horrific things that have been done in the name of Islam by people claiming to be good Muslims,” he explains. “Al Qaeda and the Taliban and ISIS are sort of chief among them. And I think there’s this growing sense among many Muslims that… if this is what Islam is, I want nothing to do with it.”
Pope Francis and Italian Bishop Domenico Sorrentino have taken part in an interreligious video project which describes borders as “more and more irrelevant” and calls on all people to come together in response to the coronavirus. The “Coronaspection” project, produced by The Elijah Interfaith Institute, features more than 30 different religious leaders from various faiths and stresses that “everything is interconnected.”…… The Elijah Interfaith Institute receives funding from a variety of international groups, including the U.N. agency Unesco and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. They say that their mission is to “foster unity in diversity, creating a harmonious world.” Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI also took part in interreligious events organized by The Elijah Interfaith Institute. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is on the institute’s board of Christian leaders.
This is Part I of a 2-Part report by LifeSite's France correspondent revealing disturbing efforts by medical and political authorities to smear or otherwise stop physicians who found a very effective way to treat coronavirus infection using falsely maligned hyrdoxychloroquine.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a possible cure for COVID-19 was prohibited in France on May 27 because of a recent study published on May 22 by The Lancet. The study cast doubts on the safety of the drug, which it says has no positive effects on the health of patients who swallowed it after being infected by the Chinese coronavirus. It also claimed that mortality of hospitalized patients went up from over 9 percent of the control group to 23 percent of patients receiving the drug in combination with a macrolide antibiotic. Despite many issues surrounding the data collected for the study, their use and the company that did the statistical work, Surgisphere, both the World Health Organization and France reacted immediately. WHO stopped a study of the drug and it took French Health Minister Olivier Véran only one day after the publication by The Lancet to ask the French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) to decide whether hydroxychloroquine should continue to be allowed to be prescribed in hospitals to COVID-19 patients. HCSP came back with its answer on May 26: all prescriptions in this context should be stopped, it said. Serious doubts had immediately been cast on the validity of the Lancet study in various countries, leading to the medical journal’s publishing of an “Expression of concern” on June 3. Part 2 Doctors insist this cheap, safe drug is “key to preventing huge loss of life” from Wuhan virus - This is Part II of an astonishing 2-part article by LifeSite’s Paris correspondent Jeanne Smits on the “spectacular” results doctors have seen treating covid-infected patients with a drug that powerful forces are trying to stop from saving lives. The Coronavirus Crisis: Big Pharma Prepares to Profit From the Coronavirus
I think most people have already figured out you can't trust the mass media on the subject of the chloroquine drugs and Covid-19... let's avoid the question of which subjects can they be trusted with?...... The Jakarta Post reported on May 27 that WHO had instructed Indonesia's health ministry to suspend the use of hydroxychloroquine, not only in clinical trials, but also for treatment of Covid-19. Indonesia, the world's 4th most populous country, had been using the drug early for all cases, independent of severity, with good results. Indonesia refused to comply. Tony Fauci announced the same day that the drug was ineffective, and a Guardian article said that the US FDA is reconsidering its guidance permitting prescribing of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19. I will go further down this disturbing and fascinating rabbit hole later in this post.
Recently business man David Noakes was released from prison having served six months following his conviction on four charges relating to the manufacture, sale and supply of an unlicensed medicine……. For reasons we’ll soon discuss, David Noakes knew it was pointless seeking a license from the MHRA to develop GcMAF. However, he reasoned that he and his team should be safe from prosecution. Firstly they had approval from the Guernsey authorities and had applied for and been given an import licence for GcMAF by the Guernsey Border Agency which they withdrew only after the MHRA allegations. All tests and scientific evidence showed that GcMAF was safe, it caused no known adverse drug reaction (ADR) and has never harmed or killed anyone. So he proceeded with the trials and subsequent distribution of GcMAF. He did so in the knowledge the MHRA hadn’t even admonished pharmaceutical corporations who had sold drugs which were proven to kill people…. Approximately 300 scientists, around the world, have published more than 140 peer reviewed scientific papers on GcMAF in so called reputable journals. The American National Library of Medicine, through its PubMed collaboration with the National Center for Biotechnology Information, has alone published 73 papers from 180 scientists spanning 8 different nations. The GcMAF used in these studies was predominantly provided by Immuno Biotech.
The most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes,” is how Boris Johnson described the search for a coronavirus vaccine just a month ago. At the time, the prime minister urged countries to pull together and share their expertise. Yet if his government’s actions are anything to go by, it seems more interested in siding with big pharmaceutical corporations than turning vaccine research into a genuinely collective endeavour. The last straw came on Friday, when the government refused to support a World Health Organization initiative to encourage countries to share research on coronavirus treatments and produce any final medicines patent-free. This would mean they could be distributed fairly according to need. The proposal, a voluntary scheme that would pool knowledge, intellectual property and data about coronavirus health technologies, is not particularly radical – but you wouldn’t guess that from the recent protestations of pharmaceutical corporations.
Coercion: the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats or force.
Over the course of the Covid-19 ‘crisis’, scientific advice to the UK Government has been co-ordinated by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). SAGE is co-chaired by Sir Patrick Vallance (the Government Chief Science Advisor) and Professor Chris Whitty (the Chief Medical Officer). We have already seen how SAGE has used external advisors to help direct the medical and social response. But the UK government also claims that “many issues around the coronavirus response relate to behaviour”.
After a prolonged tug of war with officials at the CDC, they acknowledged in Federal Court that CDC has no scientific basis for claiming, as it does on its website, and in public declarations, that “vaccines do not cause autism.” The Emperor has no clothes. The basis for the incessant, widely made claims that “vaccines are safe and effective; vaccines do not cause autism” has no basis in science — There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER. This acknowledgement provides added confirmation to the acknowledgement in December 2019, by a consortium of highest level international vaccine authorities. They acknowledged the lack of vaccine safety science. These authorities also acknowledged that due to widespread vaccination, herd immunity is no longer reliable:…….
WHO Walks Back Statement That Asymptomatic Coronavirus Transmission Is ‘Very Rare,’ Now Says It Could Be ‘Around 40%’ The World Health Organization (WHO) walked back a statement made yesterday that asymptomatic transmission is “very rare,” saying at a press conference Tuesday morning that some estimates show asymptomatic transmission rate could be as high as 40%.
The U.S. has not withheld funding from the World Health Organization despite pledges by President Donald Trump to do so in May, a spokesman for the WHO told The Hill. Trump on May 29 said the U.S. would terminate its relationship with the organization over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak in China……. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, said the agency is still working with the U.S. "We rely heavily on our colleagues and institutions in the U.S. like CDC, like NIH and like the hundreds of collaborating centers that this organization has across the United States," Ryan said during a press briefing Monday. "We will continue to do that until we are otherwise instructed or informed."
A view from Canada
While governments literally yell at people to stay at home, going so far as to arrest some intrepid joggers or park walkers they systematically ignore the charnel houses senior care facilities have become. In Spain soldiers entered a care home to find residents, unfed, unwashed, some lying in their own waste, others already dead from neglect….. While the media covered Covid-19 virtually 24/7, indulging shamelessly in associated “fear porn,” they somehow missed where the largest number of deaths were occurring. Television was the worst, with headlines continually stoking people’s fear of vulnerability to an agonising death. Endless videos of people on life-support, harried medics saying “we’re doing all we can” but looking hopeless; worried spouses pacing hospital corridors. Meanwhile the most gruesome deaths were being ignored, which doesn’t mean there were no stories but as they used to say in journalism, they were buried on the back pages--mostly in the print press. TV was for the Nightmare on all of our Elm Streets.
A fortnight ago Dr M., a consultant surgeon at Barnsley Hospital, saved the life of a Mr MSP, a 34-year-old man suffering from serious bowel problems. The only way to save him was by inserting a ‘stoma bag’ – a surgical hole in the stomach to which a colostomy bag is attached to collect digestive waste. Like most patients who need a stoma bag, MSP. hated the idea and was previously eloquent in stating he would rather die. However, when he ultimately faced that choice in the Intensive Care Unit, he changed his mind and agreed to the operation, which successfully went ahead on 27 May. Medically, he now had a good chance of living to a ripe old age. However, he has not been allowed to. In a judgment last week, Mr Justice Hayden ordered the Hospital to dehydrate MSP to death – on the grounds that the embarrassment and inconvenience of living with a stoma bag is not in his best interests. Today we have heard news that MSP has died. The judge in the case is the same Mr Justice Hayden who infamously condemned 1-year-old Alfie Evans to death in 2018, crushing the resistance of Alife’s parents and thousands of their ‘Alfie’s Army’ supporters. Exploring Euthanasia - Government Destruction Of The NHS - It has been stated that even operations with an 80% success rate will be categorised as of “no clinical value” and stopped. These types of surgery are classed as “elective”, even though they may mean an enormous difference to the quality of life a person may have and can mean that without surgery, a condition will then deteriorate and could become acute or even fatal…… Another area of healthcare which is undoubtedly leading to untimely deaths is the practice of passive euthenasia. Since 1993 in the Bland ruling, assisted suicides which involve omissions, ie the removal of life-saving care are not illegal. This is a very distressing subject, which many of us may not want to even consider, but this is happening now in the UK.
'Forcing a child into ‘conversion therapy’ is child abuse and it absolutely must be banned,' said the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership candidate
Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership candidate Peter MacKay has called it “child abuse” for parents to seek help for their children who suffer from gender dysphoria. MacKay, considered by many to be the frontrunner in the leadership race to replace party leader Andrew Scheer, made the comment in a June 3 tweet directed toward pro-life and pro-family leadership candidate Derek Sloan. Govt-funded pro-abortion group calls on Trudeau Liberals to ban National March for Life
This week, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the government’s disastrous no-fault divorce bill, which could be made law as early as next month. If approved, the bill would make divorce easier and quicker – at a time when getting married remains illegal. Despite the proposal being featured nowhere in the Conservative manifesto, the bill was approved by 231 votes to 16….. Conflict, pain and trauma stemming from a divorce does not simply stop when the couple is no longer a couple. The fact remains that family breakdown is one of the quickest routes into poverty. It is also far more likely to lead to future emotional and societal problems for any children involved. During the government lockdown, divorce inquiries have risen some 42% – and this without ‘no-fault’ divorce. If the bill is passed, the Coalition for Marriage estimates that a further 10,000 couples could divorce every year in the UK. At a time when stress on families has increased, the government should be focusing on how to support families, not on how to split them up.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was celebrated in the early weeks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His approval ratings shot up and his conflicts with President Trump had some on the left toying with the idea of drafting Cuomo to replace Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket in November. And then the New York City area became a coronavirus hotspot, not just in the United States, but the hotspot of the world, and the combined failures of Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were suddenly too difficult to deny…… A Wall Street Journal investigation published Thursday details how their response “was marred by missed warning signs and policies that many health-care workers say put residents at greater risk and led to unnecessary deaths.”…. The failures of Cuomo and de Blasio largely get a pass from the media, which seems intent on blaming Trump for the pandemic and those who died because of it. It’s about time they start answering for it.
'Unless you're able to record some of this data in a way that people can use it's going to be difficult to go back to anything like a near normal in things like transport,' said Tony Blair.
Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for the creation of digital IDs to track “disease status” as part of the plans for restarting international travel after the global coronavirus crisis…… Blair, who now leads the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, said in a recorded message digital IDs were a “natural evolution of the way that we're going to use technology in any event to transact daily life, and this covid crisis gives an additional reason for doing that.”
Yet those who have experienced the government’s emerging testing and tracing operations for Covid-19 have had limited contact with the NHS. Instead, Britons with symptoms are directed to a network of 50 drive-through testing centres, set up by management consultants at Deloitte. Upon arrival, patients are marshalled not by NHS staff, but workers in hi-vis jackets supplied by outsourcing companies, such as Serco, G4S, Mitie and Sodexo. Those who cannot make the drive have received postal test kits, processed by the private diagnostics company Randox and delivered by Amazon……. Two years after Osborne’s announcement, with austerity beginning to bite, the then health secretary, Andrew Lansley, embarked on a complete market-oriented restructuring of the NHS. Despite Cameron’s pre-election promise that there would be no more pointless, disruptive top-down reorganisations, critics argue that Lansley’s 2012 Health and Social Care Act did just that. Labour had done its fair share of subjecting the NHS to upheaval. Its programme of building new hospitals under the private finance initiative required other hospital and community health services to close, and shrank bed numbers to help cover the high annual fees to private companies. It accelerated changes brought in by the Conservatives to mimic a market, and created NHS trusts that could operate as semi-autonomous corporate bodies. By 2006, Labour’s reorganisations had created 152 primary care trusts (PCTs). Overarching priorities were set by regional strategic health authorities and the Department of Health. Sell-Off - The Full Movie – A documentary by NHS doctors revealing the extent of private sector involvement awarded to medical corporations, while still receiving taxpayers’ funds.
There are hundreds of non-NHS organisations providing services under the NHS, these range from large corporations, such as Interserve and Ramsay Healthcare, to smaller companies such as Babylon Health and Totally Health. Here we have published overviews of many of the most active companies, and more overviews are in the pipeline.
The private sector has been given an unprecedented chance to run NHS services, winning over £10bn worth of NHS contracts in the last five years. However, after a catalogue of controversial failures, NHS leaders have said that they want a change in policy direction, but the politics of this are not simple; legislation is unlikely and private sector's roots now run deep. Campaigners remain unconvinced simply because major NHS contracts keep being awarded to the private sector and NHS leaders are forced to lean on private firms's capacity due to underinvestment in the NHS.
Babylon Health is the most prominent of the new private companies seeking to develop digital technology in the NHS. The company has developed a smartphone app, known as GP at Hand, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of a chatbot to triage, diagnose and link with a GP for a consultation…… In China, Babylon teamed up with Tencent’s WeChat social messaging platform in April 2018. The deal means the one billion WeChat users can enter their symptoms to Babylon’s app, which will then send back healthcare advice. In Saudi Arabia, Babylon has a contract with the Kingdom to provide its technology to the population. Babylon launched its smartphone app in Rwanda in 2016. In November 2017, a partnership with the Rwandan government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led to the launch of the app to the entire population of Rwanda. The deal was part of a drive by the government of Rwanda to deliver affordable, accessible healthcare to the people of Rwanda. NHS saves £330m thanks to Bill Gates - The NHS has reached a "landmark" new deal with computer giant Microsoft which will save it £330m. The announcement by the health minister, John Hutton, comes only weeks after reports that the costs of introducing and running the service's national information technology programme are continuing to soar, with the eventual budget now expected to be £40bn over 10 years. Bill Gates to help modernise NHS - Alan Milburn, the health secretary, has enlisted Bill Gates to help pull the health service out of the stone age in information technology….. The government is committing £1bn by 2005 to create electronic patient record systems for all acute hospitals and 24-hour emergency care access to patient records.
Ahead of the June 4 pledge event, TIME spoke with Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates about equitable solutions to COVID-19, the need for optimism in times of anxiety and what will happen to the WHO.
Gates: What happened to George Floyd was brutal and horrible and should never happen to anyone, anywhere. This is a moment of reckoning in the United States. We all need to really pause during this time and learn as best we can from it. Even before we saw this senseless death, COVID had already started to show us gaps and structural problems in our country. We are seeing black men die at a disproportionate rate. We know the way out of COVID-19 will be a vaccine, and it needs to go out equitably.
A large scale malaria vaccine “pilot study” led by the World Health Organization is being conducted in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya. The definition of a pilot study: “A pilot study is defined as “A small-scale test of the methods and procedures to be used on a larger scale” (Porta, Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2008)….. In essence, by declaring that 720,000 children are part of a “pilot study” rather than a clinical trial – i.e., a medical experiment — the World Health Organization is resorting to the use of a devious ploy in an effort to avoid full disclosure of the risks, and written informed consent by the children’s parents. Efforts to circumvent the painfully hard won, mandatory ethical safeguards for human subjects of medical research, is more acute today than ever before in the 73-year history of the Nuremberg Code. The first, and foremost principle enshrined in this foundational Code is the unalterable: “The voluntary, informed consent of the human subject is absolutely essential”.
A member of the ID2020 Alliance, which aims to bring digital identities to billions of people, has resigned over the organization’s direction on digital immunity passes and COVID-19. In her resignation email Friday, Elizabeth Renieris cited ID2020’s opacity, “techno-solutionism” and corporate influence along with the risks of applying blockchain to immunity passes. “At this stage, I can no longer even describe what ID2020’s mission is with any confidence,” wrote Renieris, who was one of six members of ID2020’s technical advisory committee. “All I can perceive is a desire to promote decentralized identity solutions at all costs.”….. Renieris worries about how the influence of corporations like Microsoft may influence the development of these systems. Kim Cameron, Architect of Identity at Microsoft, sits on ID2020’s board, and Kim Gagné, newly appointed as Board Chair, also worked at Microsoft. …… According to Renieris, the paper initially cited the Covid Credentials Initiative (which is advocating for immunity passes based in part on blockchain) and Microsoft’s work with blockchain. It said these are potential solutions for privacy and identity questions around immunity passes. But when Renieris queried their inclusion, the section was dropped because, says Renieris, ID2020 did not want to deal with the tech problems those initiatives would raise.
SpaceX has launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites, growing the constellation by another 58 spacecraft just 10 days after its most recent Starlink launch. That brings the total number of operational Starlink broadband internet satellites on orbit to 538. SpaceX also split the payload for this Starlink mission for the first time, giving up two of its usual Starlink payload complement in order to also carry three Planet Skysat spacecraft on behalf of that client.
Quite a few people actually like the GACT platform. According to them, the platform protects privacy, because it uses a decentralised form of contact tracing (where no central server learns who were in close contact). Moreover, if Apple and Google only offer access to the Bluetooth hardware (necessary to do contact tracing in the first place) through this interface, this would prevent apps form doing contact tracing in a centralised way (where the central server does learn which people were in close contact). In this view, the move by Google and Apple saves the whole world from a centralised contact tracing disaster. I beg to differ, however, for the following reasons (expanding on my previous blog post and clarifying some of my arguments). How U.S. Tech Giants Are Helping to Build China’s Surveillance State - An American organization founded by tech giants Google and IBM is working with a company that is helping China’s authoritarian government conduct mass surveillance against its citizens, The Intercept can reveal. The OpenPower Foundation — a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to “drive innovation” — has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently.
This Chinese Artist Criticized Google and Xi Jinping. Now He’s Facing Government Harassment. - The Chinese dissident artist Badiucao had been busy preparing an exhibition in Hong Kong to celebrate Free Expression Week, a series of events organized by rights groups. His show was partly inspired by Google’s plan to build a censored search engine in China, and was set to include work that the artist had created skewering the U.S. tech giant for cooperating with the Communist Party regime’s suppression of internet freedom. But just days before the exhibition was set to launch last year, at a high-profile event featuring members of Russian punk-activist group Pussy Riot, it was canceled by organizers. Badiucao had received threats from the Chinese government and soon went into hiding. Twitter's Hiring of China-Linked AI Expert Sparks Concern - Commentators have been raising concerns over Twitter's recent hiring of artificial intelligence (AI) star Fei-Fei Li, who has links to the Chinese Communist Party. Twitter appointed Stanford professor and former Google vice president Li to its board as an independent director earlier this month, citing her AI expertise.
Zoom Video Communications, whose remote meeting app made the obscure California company a hub for global communications during the coronavirus pandemic, now finds itself fighting political battles in Washington and Beijing. Even before Zoom ran into criticism from U.S. lawmakers about its relations with China this week, it had prepared itself for political problems. The California-based company recently brought on board several lobbyists, including a former Trump campaign official, and added a former White House official to its board. This month, Zoom suspended accounts of three U.S. and Hong Kong activists at Beijing's request after they tried to commemorate the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Then on Thursday, three U.S. lawmakers asked Zoom to clarify its data-collection practices and relationship with the Chinese government. Zoom security flaws and Chinese links make US authorities nervous - Zoom is a company which is listed in the US on the NASDAQ, but the software appears to be developed by three companies in China, all known as Ruanshi Software, only two of which are owned by Zoom. The ownership of the third company, also known as American Cloud Video Software Technology, is unknown.
As it stands, 700 employees are currently in China, which is not unusual as it can save on salaries in comparison to the US, though it does open up the firm to pressure and influence from the Chinese Government. This is not a position which will make US authorities comfortable.
The Prime Minister has been warned by senior Conservatives that he must issue a clear give legally-binding date to strip Huawei from the United Kingdom’s 5G network or face defeat in the Commons. Conservatives are pressing for a concrete pledge by HM’s Government within the next two months, while crucial legislation is expected to go through Parliament. Writing in The Telegraph, Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Bob Seely said: “Parliament is feeling increasingly restless about the UK’s dependency on China. More and more legislators are recognising that how we handle this issue hugely affects our constituents.” HM’s Government is currently planning to put a ban on new Huawei equipment being installed into the UK network from 2023 or 2024, however many MPs feel this does not go far enough. Instead, they have called on the Government to agree to having “all Huawei equipment removed from the UK network, root and branch, by a fixed date”. Sir Iain and Mr Seely confirmed that 59 MPs have now joined the Huawei Interest Group of Conservative MPs.
Amazon, Facebook and Google turn to deep network of political allies to battle back antitrust probes David Espinoza appeared unhappy when Arizona joined scores of states investigating Google last year. The Phoenix-based owner of a shoe-and-leather store wrote in a local newspaper he was “amazed and a little dumbfounded” by regulators’ campaign to “change how digital platforms operate.” “The current system is working for small businesses, and as the old saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he wrote How Big Tech Manipulates Academia to Avoid Regulation
On the heels of Amazon and IBM taking stances about selling facial-recognition technology to law enforcement officials, Microsoft officials are weighing in, again, on the issue. Microsoft President and Chief Counsel Brad Smith said today, June 11, that the company won’t sell the technology to police departments until there’s a federal law regulating the technology, as noted in a Washington Post report…. On June 10, Amazon said it will implement a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition technology Rekognition. The day before, IBM said it wouldn't offer general purpose facial recognition technology in fear it could promote racial discrimination and injustice.
Platforms still aren’t doing enough to tackle disinformation related to the coronavirus crisis, the European Commission said today. In a Communication it is pressing tech platforms to produce monthly reports about their efforts in this area, asking for more detailed data on actions being taken to promote authoritative content; improve users’ awareness; and limit coronavirus disinformation and advertising related to it. It also wants to see increased cooperation from platforms towards researchers, and fact-checkers in all EU Members States (for all languages), along with increased transparency around the implementation of policies to inform users in instances where they interact with disinformation.
To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism. The Great Reset: A Unique Twin Summit to Begin 2021 - “The Great Reset” will be the theme of a unique twin summit to be convened by the World Economic Forum in January 2021. The 51st World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will bring together global leaders from government, business and civil society, and stakeholders from around the world in a unique configuration that includes both in-person and virtual dialogues. “We only have one planet and we know that climate change could be the next global disaster with even more dramatic consequences for humankind. We have to decarbonize the economy in the short window still remaining and bring our thinking and behaviour once more into harmony with nature,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “In order to secure our future and to prosper, we need to evolve our economic model and put people and planet at the heart of global value creation. If there is one critical lesson to learn from this crisis, it is that we need to put nature at the heart of how we operate. We simply can’t waste more time,” said HRH The Prince of Wales. https://www.weforum.org/great-reset.
For months we have seen our way of life change dramatically. We have been told time and time again things will never be the same and we must accept the new normal. Now the social engineers have revealed their hand and officially launched their solution to this crisis. The proposed solution is the Great Reset. In this report we examine what exactly is the great reset and who is involved. We also explore what the Great Reset means for humanity as face unprecedented times.
The coronavirus pandemic inflicted a “swift and massive shock” that has caused the broadest collapse of the global economy since 1870 despite unprecedented government support, the World Bank said Monday. The world economy is expected to contract by 5.2 percent this year — the worst recession in 80 years — but the sheer number of countries suffering economic losses means the scale of the downturn is worse than any recession in 150 years, the World Bank said in its latest Global Economic Prospects report.
Most of these people work in what is sometimes referred to as the informal economy. In other words, they either work as casual labourers, or are self-employed but working on a tiny scale, and play no part in the tax system. What this means in practice is that if they stop working, they immediately lose their income, with few, if any, savings to keep them going. Often there are no state benefits available, which means that if they stop working they quickly face the spectre of starvation. Not because there is necessarily a lack of food, but because they lack the means to pay for it.
Take the following story from South Africa. Two women were arrested in Soweto for breaking the Covid-19 regulations. Their reported crime? Selling peanuts, boiled eggs and biscuits. When one was asked whether she was aware that special permits were needed, she replied: ‘We heard, but it is the hunger. We couldn’t stay at home any longer. Our families are hungry.’…… So the impact of lockdown measures – related to but distinct from the pandemic itself – will cause great harm to poorer countries. They are undermining their own economies through a generalised lockdown, and at the same time damaging the welfare of their citizens. What is more, these countries have meagre economic resources to soften the blows they face. Compared with rich countries they lack the capacity to increase state spending, or to pump money into the economy through their central banks.
Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown set the country on course for the worst recession in more than three centuries. The official figures for gross domestic product (GDP) from the Office for National Statistics showed no area of the economy was left unscathed after the government imposed tight controls on business and social life to limit the spread of the disease….. Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England governor, said he stood ready to take further action to support jobs and growth if necessary, although added that there were “signs of the economy now beginning to come back to life”.
A new video from Project Veritas shows an “anti-fascist” group, whose main aim is to take down the Trump administration, admitting to having received funding from globalist billionaire George Soros…… “The main about this, is that we see that this is not going to happen through ‘normal channels’ because we are living in abnormal times, and the way we see this is that there is going to be a need for thousands of people and then millions, to come into the streets, and demand that the Trump-Pence regime must go.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign published an open letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, calling for the company to fact-check politicians’ ads in the two weeks ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. The letter’s other demands included that Facebook promptly remove false, viral information and that there be clear rules "applied to everyone, including Donald Trump — that prohibit threatening behavior and lies about how to participate in the election." The move adds to pressure faced by Facebook, which exempts politicians’ content from its third-party fact-checking program, to alter its policies on political ads and speech. Biden Dropped $4.7 Million on Facebook Ads in June While Decrying ‘Misinformation’ on Platform - Campaign spent more money on Facebook ads over the past week than all of 2019
People across the U.S. and around the world gathered in major demonstrations on Sunday against racism and police violence, marking the 13th consecutive day of protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota last month. In Washington D.C., tens of thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and near the White House Saturday in what was likely the city’s largest demonstration yet.
We’ve seen this in both the spread through the west of jihadi Islam and the rise across Europe of political parties and groups with racist or fascist backgrounds and antecedents……. Yet now the British establishment is kow-towing to a movement which is behaving like the Taliban, pulling down statues and other artefacts in order to erase aspects of British history as the product of a rotten society that’s institutionally racist and so must be supplanted by another. The death of Floyd, under the the knee of a police officer who pressed down on his neck for almost nine minutes, was shocking and it’s right that this officer and three others involved in this death are being brought to justice.
And of course there’s racial prejudice in Britain. But so there is in every single society, in the developing world as well as in the west. Slavery was not invented by the west but has been practised across the world. It was the British and Americans who, having participated in it, eventually abolished it in their societies, while it remains practised in parts of the developing world even today.
Nigel Farage has said leaving LBC wasn’t as bad as surviving a near-fatal plane crash as he doubled down on his criticism of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The Brexit Party leader was unceremoniously dropped by the station on Thursday following talks with Global Media bosses. Speaking to Talk Radio today, he insisted that he felt no bitterness about the decision. He said: ‘We’ve been in negotiations for some time, but as often with things in life it happened rather suddenly. And I’ve got no wish to comment about it, I’ve no wish to display sour grapes.’
Something terrifying has descended on America. Terrible ideas suddenly have free reign and no one pushed back
There are good cops and then there are bad cops. Thirteen police officers took refuge from the riots going on nearby in an office. They popped some popcorn, made coffee, some took naps, while stores within sight were being looted and burned……. Their refuge was the office of Congressman Bobby Rush, a major critic of the Chicago police. The office had been burglarized earlier. Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a press conference with Rush, showing video of the lounging officers.
The Department of Justice has evidence that the far-left extremist organization Antifa and other similar groups have been behind the recent riots in order to fuel their own violent agenda, according to Attorney General William Barr. Barr told reporters at a June 4 presser that there are “three different sets of actors” involved, including peaceful demonstrators, opportunistic looters, and extremist agitators. Foreign actors have also played a role in the violence, he said.
Corporations are opening up their treasuries to give money to social justice causes, including Black Lives Matter, in the wake of nationwide protests and riots over the death of George Floyd.
Minneapolis City Council Unanimously Votes To Get Rid Of Police The Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted Friday to “dismantle” the city’s police department as their solution to police violence after George Floyd’s death. The City Council passed a resolution to focus on a community-based public safety system…council members made the announcement at a rally Sunday afternoon, saying they plan to “dismantle” their police department.
And rebuilt the department from the ground up. The strange, hopeful, politically complicated story of Camden, N.J…… Behind that image is a years long story of how Camden officials transformed policing in a city where the murder rate was once on par with Honduras. The police were despised by residents for being ineffective at best and corrupt at worst. Today, violent crime in the city has decreased, and police officers are a regular presence at community block parties.
What drives the civil unrest we see unfolding in the streets today? Is this an organic form of resistance against an oppressive system of control? Or is there an ulterior motive striving to restructure the current system of control under the guise of social and racial injustice?
Many are afraid to ask these questions because they may be labeled a racist, for daring to question the legitimacy of the groups who seem to defy the rule of law with complete immunity from the judicial system. At the same time they receive the endorsement of political leaders, celebrities and mega corporations.
Rather than directly engage in controversial contracts, Google is providing financial, technological, and engineering support to a range of startups through Gradient Ventures, a venture capital arm that Google launched in 2017 to nurture companies deploying AI in a range of fields. Google promises interested firms access to its own AI training data and sometimes places Google engineers within the companies as a resource. The firms it supports include companies that provide AI technology to military and law enforcement. Leaked reports show EU police are planning a Pan-European network of facial recognition databases - The report was produced as part of discussions on expanding the Prüm system, an EU-wide initiative connecting DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration databases for mutual searching. A similar system exists between the U.S. and any country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program, which includes the majority of EU countries; bilateral agreements allow U.S. and European agencies to access one another’s fingerprint and DNA databases.
“I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police – as well as people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public”, said High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in statement. She spelled out that authorities in the United States must take “serious action” to stop such killings, and to ensure that justice is done when they do occur. “Procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and above all police officers who resort to excessive use of force, should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed”, the High Commissioner underscored. The Kigali Principles On The Protection Of Civilians: Peacekeeping Or War Fighting? - There are 18 principles, which makes them difficult to summarize, but the key operational changes lie in principles 3, 8, and 13, whereby peacekeepers pledge “to be prepared to use force to protect civilians;” “not to hesitate to take action to protect civilians;” and “to take disciplinary action against our own personnel if and when they fail to act to protect civilians.”
Left completely to his own devices, President Trump apparently sees no problem with deploying U.S. military forces to American streets even when there’s no need for such intervention. The president reportedly wanted to deploy 10,000 troops just last week in the face of nationwide protests over racial injustice even though no state requested such assistance. But that’s not the only scenario worrying many close observers. Other potential situations include the president’s invoking emergency powers to put boots on the ground to suppress voting in the November election or to quell mass protests if he disputes the outcome……. What’s not so keenly or widely understood is if the president were to deploy the U.S. military in the name of quelling civil disturbances, the cabinet member who would have lead responsibility for those military operations would not be the Secretary of Defense. It would be the Attorney General. That’s according to internal government policies that long predate the Trump administration.
he family of George Floyd and their legal team are asking the United Nations to intervene in the case of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody. Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, said Monday they have submitted an Urgent Appeal to the UN to intervene in the case. In their appeal, the family members and their lawyers asked the UN to support their call for all four officers involved in Floyd’s death to be charged with murder and for systemic police reform.
A brick-laying robot named Hadrian X can lay 200 concrete blocks per hour, with another A.I. – Hadrian 112 – attempting to lay 1,000 bricks as automation moves into the construction industry. Hadrian X has broken its own record for speed-laying bricks, which is now up to 200 concrete blocks per hour—with the next goal at laying 240 blocks. The Hadrian X robot was created by Australian firm Fastbrick Robotics (FBR) and is named after the UK’s Hadrian Wall. Such a robot will surely replace construction workers worldwide due to being “cost efficient.”
Singapore has been dealing with one of the highest infection totals in all of Asia, mainly because of foreign worker dormitories in the country that have led to a surge in cases since April. This prompted the government to deploy autonomous robots to at least one dormitory, a move that would hopefully enforce strict social distancing rules. The tiny, Asian country continues to reopen its severely damaged economy after several months of lockdowns — confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country breached 38,000 cases on Monday, with a total of 25 deaths.
A newly declassified Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) attachment to the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russian election activities proves that top FBI leaders, including fired former director James Comey, deliberately misled President Donald Trump about the Steele dossier in early 2017. The annex to the ICA, which was declassified by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on June 9 and provided to Congress, consists of a two-page summary of the debunked anti-Trump dossier by British foreign national Christopher Steele. The declassified Steele dossier annex, which was attached to the full ICA at the demand of the FBI, is noteworthy both for what it included and what it refused to disclose about the dossier and its author. Although the debunked dossier was jointly funded by the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, the FBI never disclosed that information in the annex. The FBI did not disclose that the allegations were funded by a political opponent of the incoming president, nor did it disclose that Steele himself, aside from the political motivations of his paymasters, was also personally “desperate” to prevent Trump’s election and inauguration as president.
US fighter jets intercept 8 Russian warplanes 30 miles from Alaska The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed it intercepted the Russian aircraft early Wednesday morning in a series of tweets. “North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, completed two intercepts of Russian Bomber formations entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone early this morning,” NORAD tweeted.
The U.S. deployed two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Pacific under new health procedures to guard against another coronavirus outbreak, as China’s military steps up its activity in the region. The deployments of the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz boost the U.S. naval presence in an area marked by tension with China over territory. Taiwan’s defense ministry said Tuesday that several Chinese jet fighters briefly crossed into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, an area adjacent to coastlines considered sensitive for national security. Japan reported a return-trip by a Chinese aircraft carrier and its strike group of smaller military vessels through Japan’s southern island string for the first time in April, and tensions have also risen in the South China Sea. The U.S. carrier deployments come after the USS Theodore Roosevelt was forced into port in Guam in late March after several crew members tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about U.S. military preparedness in the Pacific. The outbreak eventually infected nearly 1,200 and killed one.
A group of Chinese warplanes flew into the Taiwan Strait and briefly approached Taiwan, just hours after a US transport plane passed over the island on Tuesday. Taiwan scrambled its warplanes to warn off the People’s Liberation Army fighter jets which crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday morning, the island’s defence ministry said in a statement. “The military detected multiple numbers of Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets flying southwest into Taiwan briefly this morning,” it said, adding the air force immediately scrambled jets to shadow, intercept and disperse them through radio warnings. “The military has full surveillance and control of all activities in the sea and air that surround Taiwan, and the public can rest assured of our capability to uphold security for our national territory.
Russia and China have started making the case at the United Nations against Washington's claim that it can trigger a return of all sanctions on Iran at the Security Council, with Moscow invoking a 50-year-old international legal opinion to argue against the move. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, both wrote to the 15-member council and UN chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018. Lavrov wrote in the May 27 letter, made public this week, that the United States was being "ridiculous and irresponsible." "This is absolutely unacceptable and serves only to recall the famous English proverb about having one's cake and eating it," Lavrov wrote.
Iran may be preparing for conflict with Israel in Syria and no longer will accept Israeli airstrikes on its warehouses without a response, a report over the weekend suggested. Veteran journalist Elijah Magnier wrote on the website Medium about whether the “great Middle Eastern war will begin in the Levant” and cited Syria as a potential flashpoint. Magnier’s report is interesting because he asserts that according to “private” sources, Iran is evacuating “sites of the gatherings of its advisers, not for withdrawal or for redeployment, but to find bases within the Syrian Army barracks. Hezbollah has taken over the vacated Iranian buildings. Russia has been informed of the change so that the information would reach Israel.” In mid-May, reports emerged that Iran might be withdrawing some of its forces from Syria, estimated at some 1,000 IRGC personnel. But analysts and US officials rejected this assessment at the time.
Chinese state-owned telecommunications firms are operating with little U.S. oversight and using their access in America to conduct espionage operations on behalf of the Communist Party, putting the personal information of millions of Americans at risk, according to a new congressional report.
Multiple Chinese telecom firms have operated in the United States with "little-to-no oversight" from government agencies for the past 20 years, the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations disclosed on Tuesday in a new report. These companies are permitted near-total penetration of American communications networks and have used this access to collect data on millions of Americans, including military members and those working in sensitive government posts.
Satellite images of hospital parking lots in the Chinese city of Wuhan suggest the coronavirus may have already begun to spread as early as last August, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School. The yet-to-be-peer-reviewed study, led by Boston Children’s Hospital chief innovation officer John Brownstein, found a significantly higher number of cars in parking lots at five Wuhan hospitals in the late summer and fall of 2019 compared to a year earlier. Researchers said they saw “a steep increase in volume starting in August 2019 and culminating with a peak in December 2019,” far earlier than the prevailing assessment that the outbreak began in late November.
The U.K. Friday formally confirmed it will not seek an extension of the Brexit transition period beyond December 31, British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said.
Gove spoke with European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič and EU negotiator Michel Barnier at the second meeting of the EU-U.K. Joint Committee on implementing the Withdrawal Agreement earlier Friday, where he reiterated Downing Street's refusal.
Emmanuel Macron has stunned Brussels by overriding Michel Barnier's decision to compromise with British negiotators. There are fears among Downing Street officials that the EU's chief negotiator has essentially been ousted in the talks by the French leader. The revelation came during a Institute for Government panel discussion on fisheries from one of the think tank's associates James Kane.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has sent a letter to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove demanding an extension to the Brexit transition period. The pro-Remain London Mayor insisted the “last thing” Britain needs is “more chaos and uncertainty” as Britain attempts to rebuild its economy after the coronavirus pandemic. The letter from Mr Khan comes as the fourth round of trade talks between the UK and the EU start on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Johnson set to show face at some of the negotiations.
How many people know who Mark Sedwill is let alone how much power he wields – yet he is a very powerful entity pulling the strings from behind the scenes….. In May 2019 PoliticsHome ran an article stating:- “Sir Mark Sedwill faces the axe as Cabinet Secretary if a Brexiteer wins the race to become Tory leader, PoliticsHome has learned.”….. One minister stated Sir Mark – who was Permanent Secretary in the Home Office when Mrs May ran the department – was “almost certain to be “moved on” as Cabinet Secretary by a new Tory leader. He was unpopular with a number of high profile Conservatives including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. “Sedwill was seen very much as Mrs May’s creature’. “The hardline Brexiteers didn’t like him because he basically stopped “no deal”. From Sir Mark Sedwill’s No Deal Brexit letter to the Cabinet, April 2nd 2019. We believe there would be significant disruption in the short term. Food prices would increase by up to 10 per cent with steeper rises in fresh produce prices…. Unlike in 2008 our recession would be a local one, not an international one. This would make the currency depreciation more harmful… Yet when Boris Johnson won the Tory leadership, he didn’t remove Mark Sedwill. Mark Sedwill is a man who keeps on grabbing control of more and more committees…… from combatting fake news, to future responses to biowarfare and health emergencies, on the Cabinet Office, on Security Affairs and on the future shape of the entire Whitehall machine. Sedwill is in charge of surveillance (GCHQ), Internal Security (MI5), Overseas Intelligence (MI6 and Special Branch), and Germ Warfare (Biosecurity). In addition, he controls the entire information flow to the FCO (diplomacy), the Cabinet (Political Executive) and the Rapid Response Unit (77th Brigade, formed in 2015) with Sedwill’s close involvement – to deal with large-scale emergencies). He is also Head of the Civil service. Sedwill is our most powerful unelected official.
US secretary of state hold virtual talks with EU ministers and appeal for Europe’s support against China. That' s the polite reply U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is likely to get when he meets EU foreign ministers on Monday for an hour and a half of virtual discussion, in which he is expected to request support for Washington's confrontations with Beijing. For the Europeans, who have watched President Donald Trump mount a steady assault on transatlantic relations in recent weeks, including a plan to pull U.S. troops out of Germany and new sanctions targeting the International Criminal Court, it may seem more like a dance with the devil. "He wants to talk mainly about China," a senior EU diplomat said. "We want to talk also about other issues."
Donald Trump's former envoy to Germany Richard Grenell has confirmed plans to pull around 9,700 U.S. troops stationed in the country, telling German newspaper Bild that Americans are "tired" of paying for the defense of other countries. The drawdown — which amounts to around 30 percent of the current force and would leave around 25,000 American soldiers stationed in Germany — was first reported by the Wall Street Journal last week, but NATO allies and Berlin were blindsided by the plan. The Pentagon and White House did not confirm the move, and on Tuesday, Germany's Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Berlin had received no official word about the withdrawal.
The French presidency on Thursday denied a media report claiming that President Emmanuel Macron suggested he might resign and call early elections in a videoconference with a group of his super donors. "The president never took part in a videoconference with donors, and he never mentioned his possible resignation; the information printed in Le Figaro is false," said an Elysée official. The article, citing one participant, claimed that Macron had told, via videoconference, a small group of donors in London two weeks ago that he was mulling resigning and calling early presidential elections as a way to reset his presidency after the coronavirus crisis. But the French presidency's denial was not straightforward.
If Israel annexes part of the West Bank on July 1, the Palestinian Authority will declare a Palestinian state based on the armistice lines from before the 1967 Six Day War and call on the international community to recognize it, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh warned on Tuesday. Speaking to members of the foreign press from the Prime Minister’s Office in Ramallah, he also said that he would expect the international front to impose sanctions on Israel if such a move was made. “We are facing the moment of truth: No where on earth can we live with this annexation,” he threatened. “If Israel goes to annexation, it is a different day for us… Annexation is an existential threat to our future.”
The US wants Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz to agree to extend Israeli law to parts of the West Bank before it gives Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to move forward with it, and it would have to take place this summer, The Jerusalem Post has learned. US Ambassador David Friedman took part in a meeting with Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, a member of the US-Israel settlement mapping committee, to discuss annexation late Sunday night. An American source said Gantz needs to be on board with annexation for the US to back it. One reason is because, according to Israeli law, sovereignty can be extended to land that was part of the British Mandate with only a cabinet vote. Though the Right has a majority in the cabinet, it is narrow, and the US wants broad support in Israel for the move – without having to go to the much-messier Knesset for it.
A Blue and White minister on Tuesday said the centrist party has reached an agreement with Likud on annexing the Jordan Valley, but that party chair Defense Minister Benny Gantz would only support the plan if it was backed by the United States and some Arab countries. “There is agreement on the Jordan Valley,” said Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shai in an interview with Army Radio. “But,” he noted, “Gantz has said it would only be done in coordination with the Arab states and with the US.” Shai did not specify which Arab states would be consulted, but Israel is likely to be most concerned about the diplomatic annexation fallout among its neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, with which it has peace treaties.
The World Council of Churches is asking European diplomats to punish Israel with sanctions if it annexes West Bank lands. The request has triggered a heated debate in Christian circles.
The call to punish Israel came last month in a letter to EU foreign ministers from the Geneva headquarters of the council, an umbrella body established in 1948 that now has 350 member churches with about 500,000 followers among them. The Catholic Church is not a member.
If Israel annexes land, the letter said, “the EU must surely suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement,” a reference to a 1995 contract that promotes trade between the bloc and the Jewish state. In addition, the EU should apply sanctions on Israel “at least commensurate with those adopted by the EU in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.” As Germany issues warning, Israel vows to act responsibly in sovereignty bid
Israelis woke up to a potential new era on Friday with an article by the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the US warning that Israel's planned annexation of parts of the West Bank would "upend Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and with the UAE."….. Going directly to the mainstream Israeli public was a unique choice. What's important also is that while it was in Hebrew, it was not at Israel HaYom or Haaretz. That means it was not seeking to appeal to the left, which is largely harshly critical of Israel's policies and that it wasn't in Israel HaYom, which is widely perceived as very close to Benjamin Netanyahu. That could mean this is an appeal to Benny Gantz, the partner in Netanyahu's current coalition. It can also be seen as a message to Netanyahu to give him a way out of going down the path of annexation because Netanyahu has long championed Israel's foreign relations. What matters is that it appears it was directed at the largest possible Hebrew audience, with knowledge it would be picked up in English as well.
After threats comes action: Years of American warnings about the International Criminal Court's continued probes prompted US President Donald Trump to take unprecedented steps against the problematic institution in The Hague on Thursday. Trump, being Trump, has struck a direct blow to the staff of the ICC who were supposed to investigate US soldiers who were active in Afghanistan and Iraq. This applies not only ICC personnel, but also their property in the US and their families, who will not be allowed to enter the US.
By distancing itself from Jerusalem on annexation, the lobby is creating a crisis for the pro-Israel community, no matter who wins the next US election.
Some 25 years ago, I sat in on a briefing of some pro-Israel activists conducted by Steve Rosen, who was then AIPAC's director of foreign-policy issues. It was the heyday of the Oslo Accords, in which the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was gambling on the willingness of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Yasser Arafat to make peace. Some of those present were opponents of the agreement and were deeply frustrated by the lobby's support for the peace process, which they believed was harming the Jewish state. Rosen's reply to those present that day was clear: AIPAC's job is to support the policies of the government of Israel. Period. If you don't like what that government is doing, then tell your friends in Israel who oppose Rabin to win the next election. Until then, anyone connected to the lobby had two choices: Get on board with the group's support for Oslo or shut up….. Reports out of Washington are indicating that AIPAC is doing something it has never done before: signal members of Congress that they won't complain or work against them if they criticize the Netanyahu's effort to extend Israeli law to West Bank settlements in line with the terms of President Donald Trump's "Peace to Prosperity" plan unveiled earlier this year.
European Court of Human Rights finds French authorities violated the freedom of expression of pro-Palestinian BDS activists convicted for campaigning against Israeli goods, orders they be paid $115,000 in damages. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement hails decision as a major victory….. Israel and its supporters have promoted a number of anti-BDS legislative initiatives overseas, particularly in the US and Europe. The US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution last year condemning the boycott-Israel movement as damaging to peace efforts. And German lawmakers approved a resolution last year describing the movement's methods as anti-Semitic and reminiscent of Nazi-era calls to boycott Jews.
Rapper and film actor Ice Cube has been getting a chilly reception, including from Jewish and pro-Israel groups, for sharing on Twitter anti-Semitic images amid the backlash over the death of 46-year-old African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. On June 6, as part of expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Ice Cube (whose real name is O’Shea Jackson) posted to his 5.3 million Twitter followers the caricature of a group of white-skinned older men, some with large hooked noses, sitting around a Monopoly-like game board with a fully-bearded man counting dollar bills. The board is on top of bowed, naked backs of a group of mostly black men.
Authorities say incident ‘not terror-related’ but have not named a motive; victim Alter Yaakov Schlesinger, 50, father of six from Satmar Yeshiva in Stamford Hill, is stable. The victim was named as 50-year-old Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger of the Satmar Yeshiva in Stamford Hill, according to the Jewish Chronicle. He suffered multiple stab wounds and was airlifted to hospital but is reported to be in stable condition. The suspect, a man in his 40s, was wrestled to the ground and pinned down until authorities arrived. The stabbing occurred in broad daylight Friday morning at a bank in Stoke Newington High Street, police said without specifying further.
On June 9, 2020, the YouTube channel of Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Ministry uploaded a video of an interview that Turkish Energy And Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez gave on June 8, on the state-run TRT Haber news channel. In the interview, Dönmez said that "in three or four months," the state-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation will begin seismic search activities in the parts of the Mediterranean Sea affected by the memorandum upon which Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, agreed in November 2019. Dönmez listed other countries in which the Turkish government is involved in developing petroleum resources, including Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Azerbaijan. He further said that, regarding Libyan territory, "President [Erdoğan] and the honorable [Fayez] Al-Sarraj declared in a joint press statement that they had discussed further developing their cooperation on searching for hydrocarbons, that is, oil and natural gas" and that "right now, the construction of two large electrical plants [in Libya] belongs to two large private firms of ours.
Greece and Italy signed a historic agreement on Wednesday that demarcates the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the two countries in the Ionian Sea. The agreement signed between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio has many ramifications in the entire Eastern Mediterranean region, but especially against Turkey’s ambitions of East Mediterranean hegemony. The agreement helps establish Italy as an energy player, especially as it has already taken an active position in the construction of the Eastmed pipeline – a major project between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, whose joint pipeline will eventually reach Italy through a secondary pipeline project. The EEZ signing comes as Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt have strengthened their relations at a time when Italy was acting unilaterally to serve their own interests. This changed however as Rome was becoming increasingly excluded from developments in the region. An example of this is Italy not having as much influence as they wanted over the war in Libya. By acting unilaterally, albeit not as aggressive as Turkey, Rome ran the risk of being completely left on the fringes of East Mediterranean issues. This is because Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt continued to make deals, improve multilateral relations and assert strong influence over events in the region….. From the Greek perspective, the signing of an EEZ with Italy has massive ramifications for Turkey’s plans to steal oil and gas from Greece’s maritime zone – thus hindering its efforts for complete East Mediterranean dominance. In November last year, Turkey signed a maritime deal with the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya to carve out Greece’s oil and gas rich waters between them without acknowledging that islands were in EEZ. UNCLOS defends Greece’s vision of how the EEZ between Greece and Turkey should look. However, this is rejected by Ankara who refuse to acknowledge that islands have an EEZ or continental shelves, and is the main reason why Turkey is one of only 15 countries in the whole world not to sign and/or ratify UNCLOS. The biggest obstacle to the Turkey-Libyan Muslim Brotherhood pact will be the declaration of a Greek EEZ with Egypt.
Israeli and Saudi officials have been conducting secret talks since December, mediated by the United States, with the aim of integrating representatives from Riyadh onto the Islamic Waqf Council that controls the Temple Mount, the Israel Hayom daily reported Monday. The move was said to come as Jordan is reportedly increasingly worried by the levels of Turkish influence in Palestinian affairs and matters concerning East Jerusalem….. In February 2019, Jordan decided to bolster the central committee of the Waqf from 11 members to 18, and all seven additions were senior Fatah and PA members. Israel Hayom said that the new delegates allowed Turkish Islamic organizations to establish organizations at the complex that were funded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars by Ankara, under the direct orders of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Parts of a proposal by Egypt for a truce in Libya are “helpful,” but a United Nations-led bid to broker peace in the North African country is the best way forward, the State Department’s top Middle East diplomat said on Thursday. The oil-producing state descended into chaos after the NATO-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Since 2014, Libya has been split, with the internationally recognized government controlling the capital, Tripoli, and the northwest, while military leader Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi rules the east. Haftar - who launched an offensive a year ago to grab Tripoli - is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the government is backed by Turkey. On Saturday, Egypt called for a ceasefire starting on Monday, as part of an initiative that also proposed an elected leadership council. Turkey dismissed the proposal, saying the plan aimed to save Haftar after the collapse of his offensive.
Russia launches nuke-powered submarine as fears rise of Moscow’s growing arsenal Russia launched a nuclear-powered submarine today amid growing concerns of a developing arms race between Moscow and the West. The Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) – designed to carry Bulava intercontinental nuclear missiles – was enrolled into the navy during Friday’s Russia Day celebrations. Russia’s announcement comes against the background of a rift with Western powers over Ukraine and fears of a burgeoning arms race…
Putin Says ‘Majority’ Back Plan to Change Russian Constitution President Vladimir Putin said Friday an “absolute majority” of Russians back his controversial plan to change the Constitution, as he made his first public appearance after weeks of lockdown. Russia, which has the world’s third-largest coronavirus caseload, this week lifted tight restrictions as Putin set the stage for a vote on July 1 that could extend his hold on power until 2036.
The various external links to news outlets do not imply a recommendation for all the content found on these sites and do not necessarily represent my views. In particular, I have been using Catholic news sites, many who are critical of Vatican II and Pope Francis. I do not support the Catholic ideology and all that it represents. But I use these media platforms to gain better coverage of current events in relation to end-time biblical events.