Only two parts? Slow news day I guess.
If you want yesterday’s update, click here.
- Europe’s economy slows to a crawl as war and inflation take a toll.
- Europe wants to ban Russian oil, but cutting off supplies is an economic and political nightmare
- Europe: Eastern Europe teams up to reduce EU’s dependence on Russian gas
- Ukraine: Ukrainians Suffer Gasoline Shortages After Russian Strikes on Fuel Infrastructure
- Russia: Haribo suspends supplies to Russia.
- Russia: Gazprom to quit foreign exchanges
- Russia makes last-minute bond payment to avoid default
- Ukraine accuses Russia of stealing grain during war
- UK: ‘What Are We Supposed to Cut Back?’ Britons at Risk as Fuel Bills Skyrocket.
- Poland: ‘Gas was like our drug’: defiant Poland vows to wean itself off Russian energy. Do not, my friends, become addicted to electricity. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence.
- Poland is restoring gas supplies halted by Russian firm
- Germany: Mercedes looking at energy options should Russia turn off the gas
- Swiss National Bank opposed to holding bitcoin as a reserve currency
Asia and Oceania
- India: Farmer union rep vows Indian people will resist FTAs
- India’s heatwave continues: Flames continue to emerge from landfill site, firefighting operation still underway, releasing toxic fumes
- India: India’s peak power demand touches all-time high as extreme heatwave sweeps country
- China: How China Will Dominate the Global Competition Over Data
- China: Huawei defeats US chip ban to post record profits
- China’s Tech Crackdown Could Give It an Edge
- China has a youth unemployment problem
- China manufacturing output drops to lowest level in 2 years
- Supply chain snarls and the war in Ukraine will change cargo flows
- World on brink of commodities shock
Diplomatically and Politically
Involving Ukraine or Russia
- Lifting sanctions against Russia part of peace talks with Ukraine
- Article by Pepe Escobar: Why Europe cannot understand Russia
- On Ukraine, The World Majority Sides With Russia Over US
- Ukraine sets out how security guarantees could work
- Ukraine warns talks with Russia may collapse as battles rage in east
- Ukraine spars with Russia over talks, says Moscow not succeeding in east
- Ukraine War Is Bigger Threat than Cuban Missile Crisis: Khrushchev Relative
- Russia Will Quit International Space Station Over Sanctions
- Europe: Over 3,000 Migrants Died at Sea in 2021 to Reach Europe
- Poland: Human rights group warns Poland about safety of Ukrainian refugees
- Norway: A new Iron Curtain is eroding Norway’s hard-won ties with Russia on Arctic issues
Asia and Oceania
- Australia: China–Solomons deal ‘politically illiterate’ if Beijing wants better ties with Australia: Rudd. lol.
- Australia’s Monroe Doctrine in the Age of the China-Solomon Islands Security Deal
- Indonesia: Landslide at Gold Mine Leaves Fatalities in Indonesia
- India: The China Factor in India’s Engagements With Europe
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka leaders signal prime minister may quit as prices soar
- Iran: Israel creating conditions for own destruction, Iran’s IRGC chief says
- Afghanistan: US left behind $7 billion of military equipment in Afghanistan after 2021 withdrawal, Pentagon report says
- Central African Republic: Demonstrators demand constitutional change in CAR
- Guinea: Guinea considers proposals for political transition
- Libya: US is Trying to Restrain Libya with its Power Collar
- Zimbabwe: UK Minister Says Zimbabwe Not Ready for Commonwealth Re-Admission - Cites Rule of Law and Rights Abuses
- Ethiopian drought leading to ‘dramatic’ increase in child marriage, Unicef warns
- USA: Are We in the Middle of an Invisible COVID Wave?
- USA: FBI Conducted Potentially Millions of Searches of Americans’ Data Last Year, Report Says
- USA: Biden seeks to lure Russia’s top scientists to the U.S.
- Trump said ‘he would rather not say’ whether China was committing human rights abuses against Uighurs
- Venezuela: How the imperialist system works, and how Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution resists it
- Venezuela: Venezuela and Turkey Sign Eight Cooperation Agreements
- Peru: Peru’s Legislators Propose Reducing Term Of President Castillo
- US training Ukrainian troops in Europe
- Sweden to Invest in Gotland’s Military Infrastructure
- Turkey to boycott NATO drill
- Ukraine admits ‘serious losses’ in eastern battles, but says Russia’s are ‘colossal’. Must be going REALLY bad for Ukraine, then.
- How this U.S.-made, $176,000 anti-tank weapon could change the war in Ukraine. Another article about the Javelin despite it not really being used in Ukraine! Man, either they’re running out of material or the military really wants to jerk off their weaponry and paid for this propaganda piece.
- Russian Air Defense Forces shot down another strike UAV Bayraktar TB2.
- The mayor’s office urges the people of Kiev not to drive due to fuel shortages.
- Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the United States demanded that all their citizens leave Moldova and Transnistria as soon as possible.
- The Russian army is advancing on Liman.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces blew up the railway bridge across the Seversky Donets, trying to slow down the advance of Russian troops on Slavyansk.
- Russian troops are advancing towards Slavyansk and Baranovka.
- Russian forces driving Ukrainian forces out of the Rubizhne industrial zone.
- Fights for the city of Lozovaya in the Kharkiv region
- Pensions in rubles started to be paid in Kherson region.
- The new mayor of Berdyansk says that in the near future the city will switch to paying salaries and pensions in rubles.
- 25 people have left the Azovstal plant, 6 of them are children.
Dipshittery and Cope
- Russian forces likely suffering from ‘weakened morale’, UK says
- With Victory Day Looming, The West Has 10 Days To Target Putin
With Moscow’s big Victory Day parade set for May 9, commemorating the 1945 surrender of Nazi Germany, observers expect Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, to rattle some sabers. Putin has nothing else to offer in his ongoing effort to “de-Nazify” Ukraine—no major victories or battlefield trophies are available.
- How Russia’s grim demographics could thwart Putin’s global ambitions
With vast territory and abundant mineral reserves, Russia since the days of the czars has banked upon parlaying natural wealth into geopolitical power. The strategy of becoming an “energy superpower” was always a dubious one, but especially so today. Putin is flailing against the history of modern economic development. The wealth of modern nations is overwhelmingly generated by human beings and their capabilities. Natural resources (land, energy and all the rest) have accounted for a shrinking share of global output for the past two centuries, with no end in sight.
- Russia’s economy could spiral into a depression under an EU oil embargo. An energy analyst breaks down why Moscow won’t be able to rely on China and India to fill the gap.
- Former US Marine colonel training soldiers in Ukraine says ‘Russians are worse than ISIS’
- Russians are several days behind their goal in Ukraine, Pentagon assesses
- Zelensky Misspoke When Referring To A ‘900-Body Mass Grave’: Aide
- Pentagon spokesman becomes visibly emotional as he talks about Putin’s ‘depravity’. Suck my entire dick, you imperial genocidal lunatics. You would be content to bathe the world in the blood of billions to squeeze an extra dollar out of it.
- Ukraine’s Pilots Are Flying Into Battle With Old, Dumb Missiles. It’s One Reason They Get Shot Down.
But it’s worth noting that Ukraine with just 125 jets, pre-war, has lost no fewer than 16 of them. Russia has deployed hundreds of warplanes for the Ukraine campaign and has lost at least 24 of them.
Even with inadequate weapons, Kyiv’s pilots have proved surprisingly resilient against overwhelming odds.
- Western artillery surging into Ukraine will reshape war with Russia
- Lloyd Austin Says Ukraine’s Resistance Will ‘Go Down in Military History’. He’s not wrong, just for the opposite reason.
“Ukraine’s hospitals have been bombed,” Austin tweeted. “Their citizens have been executed. Their children have been traumatized. And yet, despite all that, they have done a magnificent job defending their sovereignty. Ukraine’s valor and skill will go down in military history.”
The US is famous for not bombing hospitals, not executing citizens, and not traumatizing children.
- Brutal Sect of Putin’s Army Accused of Murdering Their Own Comrades. Even if it’s true, we’ve heard time and time again of how neo-Nazis embedded in Ukraine’s forces will shoot those who try to surrender, and I’d wager it’s a much more systemic problem in Ukraine’s forces than in Russia’s.
- Xi Jinping Is Betting It All on Zero Covid. In a similar vein, As covid evolves, China’s obstinance grows — at huge economic cost
China’s Leninist political system is very good at mass mobilization but very bad at stopping mass mobilization once it has begun.
Mao Zedong proved this most destructively with the Great Leap Forward in 1958. Today Xi Jinping’s bold embrace of the zero-Covid policy, in the face of an increasingly transmissible Omicron variant, is evoking Mao’s legacy and running the risk of repeating Mao’s mistakes. Like Mao, Mr. Xi’s position within the Chinese Communist Party is rock-solid. Yet the grass-roots effort he has mobilized against Covid is gathering internal momentum and is increasingly likely to last past the National Party Congress in October.
This will have severe and long-lasting consequences for China’s economy and society—and for investors and firms with exposure to the Chinese market. Mr. Xi has unambiguously hitched his personal legacy to the successful preservation of the zero-Covid policy. His speech at the Two Sessions conference on March 17 “swept down from the commanding heights” and “set the tone for all,” National Health Commissioner Ma Xiaowei wrote in a leading party journal this week. “He has personally commanded and made arrangements for the epidemic, taken overall control, and made resolute decisions.” Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who has taken over supervision of the pandemic response in Shanghai, said this week that she had come to implement “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s requirements.”
Given the rising cost of containing the Omicron variant, this is a risky macroeconomic bet. As of Monday, 45 cities with 373 million people, representing 40% of China’s gross domestic product, were under partial or full lockdown, according to Nomura estimates. More cities and counties are under “static management,” a euphemism for quasi-lockdown.
Yet Mr. Xi’s logic is primarily political, not economic. To abandon the policy would require the Communist Party to countermand an order that it has repeatedly and unequivocally given for more than two years. This not only would be an admission of failure, it would badly delegitimize Mr. Xi’s carefully constructed hero-cult. The Chinese people have become accustomed to life with zero Covid. If Mr. Xi lifts the policy now, he could be seen as personally responsible for every death that follows. To revise the policy would therefore be an unacceptable risk for Mr. Xi ahead of the Party Congress.
In the wake of the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s more-pragmatic colleagues Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping tried to return to market economic reforms. To resist them, Mao turned to an increasingly paranoid style of repressive and ideological politics, leading eventually to the Cultural Revolution.
In China, more than in other countries, the shadow of history looms large over politics. When Xi Jinping doubles down on a pandemic policy that makes no macroeconomic sense, rallying the people and the Communist Party to eradicate the virus, he knows that he is ordering a Mao-style mass mobilization. History suggests that such movements gain momentum over time and are not easily reversed. It’s possible Mr. Xi has no intention of returning China to the relatively open-facing, gradually marketizing country that it was before the pandemic. If so, China will become a less dynamic, more statist and more ideological society in which the party rules and the masses follow.
- Why are so many democracies unwilling to condemn Russia?
It’s true that many of the world’s democracies have lined up to support Ukraine. But the world’s most populous democracy, India, has neither condemned the Russian aggression nor promised to abide by the sanctions against Moscow. And it’s not just India. Asia’s second-largest democracy, Indonesia, has been reserved in its stance on Russia. The largest successful democracy on the African continent, South Africa, has also refused to condemn Russia and has even blamed NATO expansion for provoking Moscow’s invasion. The two largest democracies in Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, have mostly remained neutral, and abstained from voting to remove Russia from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Iraq, the Arab world’s only functioning democracy, voted to abstain on the resolution condemning Russia. Most people who live in democracies have chosen, in this great ideological struggle, to sit on the fence.
At one level, this might seem a simple case of national interest trumping idealism.
Yeah, that seems like a fairly reasonable explana–
A much better way to frame the division in the world is between countries that believe in a rules-based international order and those that don’t.
”Oh, nevermind, actually there’s a bump on the skulls of non-westerners that prevents them from comprehending a rules-based order. Yeah, we’ve done the measurements and everything.”
I Thought I’d Mention
- ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ killed in battle, identity revealed. This is fake news, it’s still John McCain.