In which Ukrainian refugees in Poland have their aid cut, Australia and the US (as well as everywhere else) faces fuel and energy problems, the back-and-forth on how bad the US economy really is continues, Joe Biden tries to convince us that everything is fine actually, Ukraine and the West finally begins admitting that things might be going badly, US imperialism is good and Russian imperialism is bad, and Scott Ritter discusses a potential Phase Three.

Link back to the discussion thread.


  • Elements of private equity firms resemble Ponzi schemes, Europe’s largest asset manager says Business Insider

No shit.

“Some parts of private equity look like a pyramid scheme in a way. You know you can sell [assets] to another private equity firm for 20 or 30 times earnings. That’s why you can talk about a Ponzi. It’s a circular thing,” he said in a presentation, according to the Financial Times.

  • Europe Braces for Stagflation After EU Bans, At Least Officially, Two-Thirds of Russian Oil Naked Capitalism

There’s a ton of good stuff in here for the more economically-minded among us, I just pulled out a small portion of it:

The EU’s latest hare-brained gambit is likely to put further downward pressure on economic activity while exerting further upward pressure on inflation, making stagflation all but inevitable.

Official inflation reached new record highs in the Euro Area in the month of May, clocking in at 8.1%, well above the consensus estimate of 7.7%. In six of the 19 Euro Area countries the “harmonized” (calculated the same way for all countries) inflation rate was in double digits: Estonia (20.1%), Lithuania (18.5%), Latvia (16.4%), Slovakia (11.8%), Greece (10.7%) and Netherlands (10.2%). The three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were the first EU Member States to stop all imports of Russian oil and gas, which they did in early April.

Now, Europe’s political leaders have decided to make matters even worse by further exacerbating its largely self-inflicted energy crisis. As part of its sixth sanctions package against Russia, the EU’s 27 Member States have agreed to ban all seaborne Russian oil, with a temporary exemption for pipeline oil. As a result, roughly two thirds of the oil EU Member States buy from Russia will no longer be available — at least not officially. The Council of the EU said that by the end of the year 90% of Russian oil will be banned.

Unemployment in the EU is currently 9%, which means that by Zandi’s standards stagflation is not here yet. But one thing that is clear is that across the world prices, particularly for the most basic of goods such as food, accommodation, healthcare and energy, are surging at the same time that many economies appear to be stagnating. There is a whole host of reasons why these two things are happening.

Economies are stagnating due in part to central banks’ recent reversal of more than a decade of ultra-loose monetary policy, in a desperate (and most likely futile) bid to tame inflation by cooling growth. Other factors (and this not remotely an exhaustive list) include the recent withdrawal of many COVID-19 stimulus programs as well as the ongoing supply chain crisis. Rather than abating, the crisis appears to be getting worse, as a trifecta of forces — the recent lockdowns of vital industrial centers and port cities in China, the war in Ukraine and the West’s ratcheting sanctions against Russia — have exacerbated preexisting logistical dislocations and distortions.

Like most large central banks, the ECB has painted itself into a corner. If they begin withdrawing their monetary stimulus, which has fueled one of the largest financial bubbles of all time, there is likely to be a sharp sell-off of stocks, real estate and many other financial assets, in particular high-risk assets such as junk bonds, raising the risk of another financial crisis. This is exactly what happened the last time the Fed tried to increase rates above 2%, in 2018: there was a sharp market sell-off, prompting the Fed to quickly reverse policy.


  • Ukrainian EU Accession Remains ‘Many Years’ Away Newsweek

Ukraine has passed through the initial stages of the European Union accession process in record time. It submitted a membership application on February 28 and could receive a formal acceptance of its candidacy as early as June 23-24, when the European Council meets to discuss a range of issues.

However, even if a decision is made to grant Ukraine formal candidate status, the full accession process could drag on past the end of this decade.


  • Russia has limited the export of key gas for the production of semiconductors 24Happenings

Until the end of the year, Russia has restricted the export of inert gases, including neon, argon, helium and others, following the resolution approved by the Government of the Russian Federation

As explained, these gases are actively used for the production of semiconductors, which, in turn, are used to manufacture microcircuits.

According to the publication, Russia supplies up to 30% of the world’s neon consumption. The document indicates that from now on gas exports will only be available by government decision, based on proposals from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

  • Teetering on default, Russia misses $1.9 mln payment, committee determines Reuters

Russia’s failure to pay $1.9 million in accrued interest on a dollar bond will trigger payouts potentially worth billions of dollars, a panel of investors determined on Wednesday, as the country teeters on its first major external debt default in over a century.

Sanctions imposed by western countries and their allies on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, as well as counter measures by Moscow, have all but excluded the country from the global financial system. The lapse last month of a key U.S. license allowing Russia to make payments put the prospect of the country defaulting back into focus.

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said last month that Moscow will service its external debt obligations in roubles if the United States blocks other options and will not call itself in default as it has the means to pay. Not all bonds allow for payment in roubles, however.

Russia has said it could extend a scheme used for its gas payments to sovereign bondholders, allowing Eurobond investors to open Russian FX and rouble accounts. The money would be channelled through Russia’s National Settlement Depository (NSD), which is not under Western sanctions.

Russian dollar-denominated bonds rose between 1 cent and 2.5 cents on Wednesday, Refinitiv data show. They are in very distressed territory, ranging in price from 30 cents on the dollar to as low as 19 cents.

  • Gazprom cuts gas supply to Orsted and Shell Energy Reuters

  • Western countries rallying countries to protect status quo, Russia FM says Middle East Monitor

“The formation of a multipolar world is underway and our western colleagues are trying to thwart these processes. They want to maintain control and extend to all regions. They are trying to mobilize all other countries to raise the flag, using the situation in Ukraine and its surroundings as an excuse,” he said.He added Russia is ready for dialogue to consider global issues under the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.“We hope that our western partners will recognize the need to consider global issues at some stage and agree on ways for further development by the international community, rather than on dictatorship.”

Lavrov, who visited Bahrain earlier in the day, met ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh.


  • EU government wants to cut off aid to Ukrainian refugees RT

Most of the Ukrainian refugees in Poland are able to earn a living, the government believes, so it intends to cut its aid to them, an official announced on Monday. Four month of assistance is enough, a high-level politician with the ruling PiS party was cited by the media as saying.

Poland has taken in over 3.5 million people fleeing from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian military operation in February. Warsaw offered a number of benefits, but is now planning to cut back. Starting this month, refugees will not receive free tickets for public transportation, and in July, many of them will no longer receive a daily allowance (around $93 per day) for food and housing.


  • After criticism, Germany’s Merkel shows solidarity for Ukraine Reuters

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed solidarity for Ukraine in what she described as a “barbaric war” with Russia at an event on Wednesday, after months of silence prompted criticism of her own policy towards Moscow.

United Kingdom

  • Britain, Netherlands approve new North Sea gas projects Seattle Times

British regulators gave final approval Wednesday to develop a new North Sea gas field, while the Dutch government announced that it has issued permits for a joint gas exploration project with Germany.


  • Inflation in France has peaked – Finance Minister RT

Inflation in France has peaked, but is expected to stay at a high level for several more months before progressively decreasing, according to the country’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. The rate reached 5.2% in May.


  • Denmark to join EU defence policy after historic vote Reuters

Denmark will join the European Union’s defence policy after a referendum on Wednesday, final results showed, signalling the latest shift among Nordic countries to deepen defence ties in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Denmark is the only EU member that is not part of the bloc’s defence and security policy. The referendum marks the first time a government has succeeded in abolishing one of several exemptions secured in a 1993 referendum on the Maastricht Treaty.

Final results showed almost 67% of voters were in favour of removing an opt-out to the EU’s so-called Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), in what was the largest recorded show of support in a referendum on an EU matter in Denmark.

“We have sent a signal to our allies in NATO, in Europe. And we have sent a clear signal to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said late on Wednesday after most votes had been counted.

“When Putin invades a free and independent country, when Putin threatens peace and stability, we all move closer together,” Frederiksen said.


  • Austria makes gas payment in rubles RT)

Austria’s oil and gas conglomerate OMV has said its recent payment for Russian gas under the new ruble settlement mechanism was successful, TASS reported on Wednesday.

“We paid in May according to the new payment method. There were no problems at all,” an OMV representative said, as quoted by the news agency.

Asia and Oceania

  • Asian markets drop on recession fears, output report drags oil down Inquirer

Equities fell in Asia on Thursday as traders grow increasingly worried that central bank moves to rein in inflation could tip economies into recession.

However, price pressures were eased by a drop in crude following a report saying Saudi Arabia had indicated it was willing to pump more if Russia was unable to fulfil pledges to boost production.


  • China leans on state-run banks for $120bn to boost economy Al Jazeera

Beijing is turning to state-owned policy banks once again to help rescue an economy under strain, ordering them to provide 800 billion yuan ($120 billion) in funding for infrastructure projects.

The stimulus, announced at a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, could help finance a significant chunk of infrastructure costs this year and give some relief to local governments grappling with plunging revenues.

  • Canada says Chinese warplanes are buzzing its North Korea reconnaissance flights CNN

Canadian surveillance planes helping to enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea are being repeatedly buzzed by Chinese jets that fly so close their crews can see each other, Canada’s military has alleged.

In some instances the Chinese warplanes have come so close the Canadian aircraft have had to change course to avoid a collision, the Canadian Armed Forces said Wednesday.

“In these interactions, PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) aircraft did not adhere to international air safety norms. These interactions are unprofessional and/or put the safety of our RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) personnel at risk,” said Dan Le Bouthillier, media relations chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.


  • Aviation worried about losing trillions in the midst of fuel ‘price storm’ VietnamInsider

With this increase more than doubled, the production and business results of airlines were strongly affected. The more airlines fly, the higher the costs and the more losses. According to calculations, with just 1 USD/barrel/year increase or decrease, the cost increase or decrease will be equivalent to 87 billion VND/year. Currently, the cost of flight fuel of Vietnam Airlines in the first quarter of 2022 accounts for more than 30% of operating costs and is expected to increase in shock due to the increasing trend of world gasoline prices.


  • Indonesia to scrap subsidy for bulk cooking oil AsiaNews

The Industry Ministry has announced it would scrap the subsidy for bulk cooking oil, effective from Tuesday, leaving many producers unable to file a subsidy claim for selling the staple food below market prices. Introduced in January, the subsidy scheme compensated producers for selling cooking oil at Rp 14,000 (96 US cents) per liter at a time when market prices were at Rp 20,000 per liter due to high global crude palm oil (CPO) prices. The difference was covered using funds from the Palm Oil Support Fund Agency (BPDPKS).


  • First solar net-metered community in Philippines launched PhilStar


  • More seek gun training in Taiwan as Ukraine war drives home China threat Inquirer

From tour guides to tattoo artists, some in Taiwan are taking shooting lessons for the first time in their lives as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ratchets up anxiety at the prospect of giant neighbour China making a similar move on the democratic island.

China’s growing military pressure on the island it claims as its own, combined with the conflict in Ukraine, has spurred debate about how to boost defences in Taiwan, which is weighing whether to extend compulsory military service.


  • New Delhi to Exclude Myanmar Junta From Upcoming India-ASEAN Meeting The Diplomat


  • What’s Causing the Currency Crisis in Laos? The Diplomat

Over the last several weeks, the economic situation in Laos has begun to worsen. Fuel shortages have been widely reported as a plummeting currency is driving up the cost of imports. The Lao kip was trading at around 9,400 to the dollar back in September 2021, but fell to 13,450 last week. The central bank announced measures to combat the squeeze, seemingly pinning the blame on currency manipulators and speculators. There is probably some of that going on, but there are also deeper structural issues at play here.

The first is that the U.S. Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, causing the dollar to increase in value relative to most currencies. This happens whenever the Fed raises interest rates, and it often causes capital to flow out of emerging markets, especially those that are running large fiscal or current account deficits. To hedge against this, emerging market central banks generally stockpile large foreign exchange reserves which can be used to backstop the currency during times of high volatility. Doing so sends a message to global creditors that the country in question can cover its debts.

There have been doubts for some time that Laos is capable of covering its debts. The country imported $6.36 billion worth of goods in 2021, and has also been accumulating significant liabilities on its balance of payments, all of which increases vulnerability to capital flight. Investors appear to believe that the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves, which stood at $1.26 billion in December 2021, are insufficient.

Added to that is the double shock of high commodity prices, which have driven the price of fuel imports way up. That is hardly unique to Laos. Every country in the world is struggling with the same issue and for short-term liquidity crunches such as these there are tools available to smooth things out until fuel prices stabilize. It is obviously creating economic hardship in the short-term, but eventually the price of fuel will come down.


  • 4 reasons our gas and electricity prices are suddenly sky-high The Conversation

Gas users and the incoming government are describing Australia’s sudden east coast energy crisis as “apocalyptic” and “a perfect storm”.

  1. Coal-fired generators have been failing […] More than one quarter of coal-fired plants have been offline for much of the year so far, which is far from usual. The system is designed so that when that happens, gas generators take their place.
  1. Australia is running low on gas […] Second, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has been warning of gas supply shortages in the southeast for some time as traditional gas resources, mainly in offshore Victoria, run low.
  1. Europe wants non-Russian gas […] Third, in their desperation to reduce their dependence on piped Russian gas, European countries have been pushing the international price of liquefied natural gas sky high, buying from countries such as Australia, Qatar and the United States.
  1. Suddenly, there’s a cold snap […] Finally, a cold snap on Australia’s east coast has brought forward the winter spike in demand for gas for heating.
  • Why did gas prices go from $10 a gigajoule to $800 a gigajoule? An expert on the energy crisis engulfing Australia The Conversation

Australia’s east coast has been plunged into an energy crisis just as winter takes hold, which will see many people struggle to heat their homes due to soaring gas bills.


  • Samoa’s PM says China’s expectation of Pacific-wide deal ‘something we could not agree to’ The Guardian

Samoa’s prime minister has suggested it was unreasonable for China to expect a Pacific trade and security deal to be rushed through this week, as she warmly welcomed the new Australian government’s climate policy.

The prime minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, played down the bilateral cooperation agreements her country signed when China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, visited the country.

Fiame said the signing ceremony was for bilateral programs and projects, most of which “had started a number of years ago, and it was a formalising process”.

“Our position was that you cannot have regional agreement when the region hasn’t met to discuss it, and to be called in to have that discussion and to have an expectation that there would be a comprehensive decision or outcome was something that we could not agree to.”

The new Australian government wants to persuade countries in the region to view Beijing’s offers of security assistance with scepticism – and consider consequences for their sovereignty 10 years down the track.

Middle East


  • Iraq defaults on $1.6 billion gas payments to Iran Iraqi News


  • Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in occupied West Bank Al Jazeera

Mheisen was the third Palestinian to be shot dead in the occupied West Bank in less than 24 hours. He was a father of three and a former prisoner who spent three years in Israeli jails, Palestinian prisoner rights groups said.

  • Israel says laser missile shield to cost just $2 per interception Middle East Eye

A laser-based air defence system that Israel hopes to deploy from next year to neutralise enemy rockets and drones will cost just $2 per interception, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Israel currently depends on shoot-down systems that launch interceptor missiles, costing between tens of thousands and millions of dollars to track such projectiles.

But the Iron Beam system, a prototype of which was unveiled last year, uses lasers to super-heat and disable aerial threats. Bennett predicted it would enter service by early 2023.

“Until today, it cost us a lot of money to intercept each rocket. Today they (the enemy) can invest tens of thousands of dollars in a rocket and we will invest $2 on the electricity for intercepting that rocket,” Bennett said in a video issued by his office.

  • How the UAE went from boycotting Israel to investing billions in its economy CNN

There was a time in the United Arab Emirates when the depiction of the Star of David on a t-shirt sold in local markets could prompt investigations by officials charged with policing the country’s boycott of Israel.

But much has changed since then. Nearly two years ago, the UAE formally ended its near-half-century boycott, and on Tuesday, it became the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with the Jewish state. The pact was described by UAE trade minister Thani Al Zeyoudi as “a new chapter in the history of the Middle East.”

If trade is a barometer of how serious the UAE is about its nascent partnership with Israel, then the numbers speak for themselves. The agreement would lift trade between the two nations to more than $10 billion within five years, from what Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics says was about $1.2 billion last year.

  • Israel PM publishes Iran intel documents alleging it spied on UN nuclear agency Middle East Monitor

Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, today published documents he claims were stolen from Iran, which allegedly show that Iranian intelligence spied on the United Nations' Atomic Agency.

After Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, was asked a question at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last week regarding allegations of Iran spying on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he stated that “unfortunately, the Zionists are spreading lots of lies”.

The Israeli premier today posted a video on his Twitter account showing the Iranian Foreign Minister’s comment, after which Bennett appears and says: “Spreading lies? Come on. I’m holding the proof of your lies right here in my hands” while holding up photocopies of the documents.

“You see, after Iran stole classified documents from the UN’s Atomic Agency, Iran used that information to figure out what the Atomic Agency was hoping to find, and then created cover stories and hid evidence to evade their nuclear probes”, he claimed.

“So how do we know this? Because we got our hands on Iran’s deception plan a few years back. And it’s right here in my hands,” he stated, referring to an operation by Israeli agents in 2018, which saw them attain and steal hundreds of thousands of Iranian documents detailing the country’s nuclear programme.

“Here it is, in the Persian language, hundreds of pages marked with the stamp of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence,” Bennett said in the video. He afterwards posted a Google drive link containing the documents, which consist of IAEA documents allegedly stolen by Iran, false company registration papers and confidential Iranian intelligence papers regarding the Atomic Agency.

Although most of the documents bear official stamps, insignias, and signatures – as well as handwritten notes such as one written by Iran’s Defence Minister to the now-assassinated top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – it cannot be independently verified whether they are real or fabricated.

Saudi Arabia

  • As gas prices soar, Biden leans toward visiting Saudi Arabia ABC

President Joe Biden is leaning towards making a visit to Saudi Arabia — a trip that would likely bring him face-to-face with the Saudi crown prince he once shunned as a killer.

The White House is weighing a visit to Saudi Arabia that would also include a meeting of the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) as well as Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, according to a person familiar with White House planning. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the yet-to-be finalized plans.

It comes at a moment when overriding U.S. strategic interests in oil and security have pushed the administration to rethink the arms-length stance that Biden pledged to take with the Saudis as a candidate for the White House.

  • Canada’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia jumped in 2021, government report says Middle East Eye

In a report released on Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada - the government department which oversees the country’s diplomatic affairs - said Ottawa exported more than C$1.7bn ($1.34bn) worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia in 2021, an increase from C$1.3bn ($1.03bn) in 2020.

The report ranks the kingdom as Canada’s top export destination for such goods after the United States, making up 64 percent of the total value of non-US military exports.

The report marks the 10th year in which Saudi Arabia has been Canada’s second-largest purchaser of military equipment.

According to the report, arms exports to the kingdom continued even after a spat between the two countries erupted in 2018.


  • Erdogan says Turkey to rid Syria’s Tal Rifaat, Manbij of terrorists Reuters

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey will rid northern Syria’s Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas of terrorists, confirming the targets of the new incursion for the first time and saying it will continue into other regions.

“We are going into the new phase of our determination to form a 30-km (20-mile) deep safe zone along our southern border. We will clear Tal Rifaat and Manbij of terrorists, and we will do the same to other regions step-by-step,” he said.

I’m keeping a close eye on the inevitable wave of outrage in the media and social media, that will surely be equal to the outrage at Russia calling a bunch of people who just so happened to have various Nazi tattoos and beliefs “neo-Nazis”, about Turkey calling these people “terrorists” as a way to justify their “special operation” in Syria. Europe will surely not consider diplomacy with these violators of the international rules-based ord–

  • Finland and Sweden say will continue NATO talks with Turkey Reuters


  • Turkey hikes gas, power prices citing ‘perfect storm’ in global markets Reuters

Turkey raised natural gas and power prices on Wednesday and its energy importer blamed a “perfect storm” in global markets, feeding into an inflationary surge in the country that likely hit a 24-year high last month.

Turkey imports virtually all of its energy needs, leaving it vulnerable to the big price rises seen this year, and soaring world energy costs in recent months sharply raised the import bill.

Natural gas prices were raised by 30% for households, by 16.3% for gas used in electricity production and by 10.2% for gas used in industry, state energy importer BOTAS said. This follows a 35% hike in household gas prices in April.


  • Uzbek President says work will start on long-awaited rail link with China EU Reporter


  • Rising Soviet Nostalgia in Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan’s Young Pioneers The Diplomat

An article published by Jamiliya Musuralieva for Kaktus about Shamakhov’s comments sparked heated debates on social media. Concerns about “going back to the Soviet system” voiced in these debates echo the previous week’s discourse about commemorating a communist youth organization.

On May 19, schools across Kyrgyzstan celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Vladimir Lenin All-Union Pioneer Organization. At the behest of the deputy minister of education, teachers organized celebrations in commemoration of the Pioneer Organization, which ceased activity following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Students at one school in Karakol were given the classic red kerchief of the Pioneer uniform and lined up to sing the organization’s anthem without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The father of a third grader at the school wrote a scorching critique of the Pioneer cosplay on Facebook. The Facebook post went viral, with hundreds chiming in on the debate. Some users agreed with the father, but the comments are also filled with disparaging remarks, accusing the author of denying history and ignoring the need for children to have guidance in becoming patriots. They cite their parents’ and grandparents’ positive experiences as young pioneers.


  • African Lender Wants to Leverage Rich Nations’ IMF Reserve Funds Bloomberg

The African Development Bank is lobbying rich nations to use their rights to International Monetary Fund reserve assets to help it raise funding to support poorer countries, the first such initiative undertaken by a multilateral lender.

“We’re pioneering for Africa but also pioneering for multilateral development banks,” which can complement and magnify the work of the IMF, AfDB Chief Financial Officer Hassatou Diop N’Sele said in an interview in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

The IMF injected a record $650 billion into the global fiscal system last year to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus by releasing special drawing rights to its member states.

Allocations were based on predetermined quotas, which take into account the size of countries’ economies and other factors, meaning just $33 billion went to the 54 African nations – as much as France and Italy combined, and less than half of what the US received.

The African Union has called for an additional $67 billion to support the continent, with part of it channeled through its regional lender. Under an AfDB proposal, wealthy nations would lend their SDRs to the Abidjan-based bank, which could account for these assets as equity and leverage them to raise three to four times as much funding to support African economies.


  • Libya Oil Firm Says Crude Gushing From Desert Pipeline AllAfrica

A broken pipeline in Libya is releasing thousands of barrels of oil into the desert every day. The news is the latest blow to the country’s struggling oil sector.


  • US stops supporting Sudan over military coup, urges Israel to do the same Middle East Eye

“The United States is not moving forward at this time with assistance originally committed to Sudan’s civilian-led transitional government in connection with its efforts to improve Sudan’s bilateral relationship with Israel,” a State Department spokesman said in an email on Friday in response to a query. “This includes wheat shipments and certain development and trade and investment assistance.”

General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan led a military coup on 25 October that ended a partnership between the army and civilian parties which was meant to lead to democratic elections. Months of protests have ensued coupled with Western condemnation.

US officials have warned they are looking into options to respond to the killing of at least 79 protesters, according to a toll by medics, and moves to impede the civilian-led government.

“Any moves made in this regard by Sudan’s military leaders would not enjoy credibility with the Sudanese people,” he said. “We strongly encourage the State of Israel to join us and the broader international community in vocally pressing for Sudan’s military leaders to cede power to a credible civilian-led transitional government.”


  • Morocco economic rebound threatened by drought, Ukraine war Iraqi News

A withering drought and poor harvests plus price hikes fuelled by the war in Ukraine are threatening Morocco’s fragile economic recovery and exposing structural weaknesses, experts say.

The North African kingdom had bounced back last year after a sharp recession in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the government of gas tycoon Aziz Akhannouch had forecast growth this year topping three percent.

But since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine he has been forced to slash that figure to at most 1.7 percent, telling parliament that “sudden external events and climate change” were to blame.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast even lower growth of 1.1 percent.

North America

United States

  • Record Gas Prices Hit Americans’ Start to Summer Travel Season WSJ

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit $4.67 as of Wednesday, according to AAA, $1.63 higher than a year earlier and about 14% above the pre-2022 high of $4.11 set in 2008. Prices have risen about 12% over the past month, the organization’s figures indicated, and was recently above $4 in all 50 states.

  • Biden’s June agenda: convince Americans the economy is healthy Reuters

President Joe Biden is planning a media blitz to lift his sagging opinion poll numbers before November’s congressional election, promoting his management of America’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to cool spiraling inflation.

Biden’s meeting with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell to discuss inflation on Tuesday was the first event in a multi-week agenda, a White House official said.

Through June, the official said, the White House plans to emphasize the historic levels of job creation and low unemployment rate seen through Biden’s first 17 months in office, his pledge to respect the Fed’s independence and coming efforts to “put more money in the pockets of working families."

  • No Relief In Sight For Gas Prices Or Biden Forbes

Oil prices extended a bull run Tuesday after the EU agreed to a partial and phased ban on Russian oil and China lifted some of its coronavirus restrictions amid rising demand for gasoline ahead of the peak summer driving season.

International benchmark Brent crude surged over $124 a barrel – its highest since March 9 – before dropping back to $117 a barrel on Wednesday. By breaking through $120, from a technical trading perspective, crude is now more likely to climb toward $150 than retreat under $100.

  • Who’s to Blame for a Recession, Biden or Powell? Bloomberg

When inflation is raging in an important election year, the best political move may be to outsource the fight to central banks. After all, price stability is a huge part of their job. Government leaders might discover, though, that the cost of curbing inflation is an ugly recession. It’s unclear whether they’re prepared to handle that outcome.

With price increases running at the fastest pace in decades across Europe, the Americas and the Antipodes, there’s good reason to let monetary chiefs get on with their task absent political pressure. Central banks, in theory at least, are able to move quickly and free of the horse-trading that comes with legislative solutions.

For governments, it’s a win-win: They get to shift the blame for any failure while basking in the event of success. There was a strong whiff of such empowerment in President Joe Biden’s remarks to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday. “My plan is to address inflation,” the president declared. “That starts with a simple proposition: respect the Fed, respect the Fed’s independence, which I have done and will continue to do.”

  • Predicting a recession and a ‘hurricane’ CNN

There’s a consensus emerging that some tougher economic times are ahead of us. The leader of the largest US bank sees not just a storm, but an economic “hurricane.”

“That hurricane is right out there down the road coming our way,” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said Wednesday at a financial conference in New York.

Larry Summers, a former treasury secretary and White House economic adviser under two Democratic presidents, told CNN “the unfortunate, painful fact” is that with such low unemployment and high inflation as the US is experiencing now, a recession is almost certain within the next two years.

  • The stock market will recover all of its 2022 losses by year-end as the economy avoids recession and Ukraine risks lessen, JPMorgan says Business Insider

The stock market is poised to erase all of its losses and finish the year flat, according to JPMorgan’s quant guru Marko Kolanvoic.

That would be quite the feat, given that the S&P 500 was down nearly 20% at its low last month as investors worry about rising inflation, higher interest rates, and the potential of an economic recession.

But Kolanovic reiterated his view in a note on Wednesday that the US will avoid a recession this year thanks to a strong US consumer, a continued post-COVID economic reopening around the world, and the reopening of China’s economy following stringent COVID-19 shutdowns.

  • Here are the industries where 11 million jobs sit open — just waiting for Great Resigners to fill them Business Insider

The US is absolutely rife with job openings, but just a handful of sectors account for the majority of today’s extraordinary demand for workers.

Data published Wednesday morning showed job openings totaling 11.4 million at the end of April, down slightly from the prior month’s record high but still almost doubling the pre-pandemic average.

The report generally showed the labor shortage holding strong into the second quarter. Job openings continued to outstrip available workers by a factor of two-to-one. Quits exceeded 4 million for the 11th consecutive month. The labor market is recovering fast, but firms are still having a tough go at finding and keeping employees.

Perhaps it has something to do with pay? Just maybe?

The imbalance of job openings varies dramatically from sector to sector. Some industries, like mining and logging, have just a few thousand openings. Others boast counts in the millions as they struggle to return to pre-pandemic payroll counts, as seen in the following chart.

“I would say it’s the best job seekers' market of all time,” Pollak told Insider, pointing to the fact that there are about 63% more job openings in April 2022 than February 2020.

Pollak also noted that there are “almost twice as many job openings as unemployed people seeking them” and “employers are having to do all kinds of unusual things to fill positions and to fill vacancies,” including trying to hold on to employees instead of laying them off.

“NOT laying your employees off? Then how do you install fear into our underclass?! What an utterly bizarre reality we live in. God, we need our little slaves and debt peons back in their place before they start getting a little too uppity."

  • The Red-Hot US Labor Market Is Suddenly Not Bloomberg

The Federal Reserve looks like it’s finally getting what it really needs in its fight to tame inflation: a cooling in the red-hot labor market. Although recent data suggest a firming in the economy, with consumer confidence, manufacturing and personal spending all exceeding forecasts, buried deep in those reports is more compelling information about the Fed’s ability to get inflation back under control without forcing the economy into a recession.

The current situation means that the Labor Department’s critical monthly jobs report this Friday could be the rare situation where a bad report could be seen as good news. (The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg is for the government to say that 325,000 jobs were created in May, the fewest since April 2021.) As my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Conor Sen has pointed out, the Fed has told us that the labor market is out of balance and needs to soften at least a little if it hopes to get inflation under control. The reason being is that wage gains, a big driver of inflation, have averaged 5.3% year-over-year since October, double the pre-pandemic average between 2014 and 2019, according to the Labor Department.

Utterly deranged.

  • Janet Yellen confesses ‘I was wrong’ about how big a risk inflation was and didn’t fully understand the situation Business Insider

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has admitted she failed to recognize last year just how big a problem inflation would become, when she dismissed it as a small and manageable risk.

The former Federal Reserve chair on Tuesday discussed the challenge facing the US central bank right now, as it tries to tame inflation running at 40-year highs.

“I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take,” she said, when shown clips of her downplaying inflation risks on CNN’s “The Situation Room”.

Well, as we live in a meritocratic system, then I eagerly await her to be removed as Treasury Secretary for her error in causing such massive current and future suffering to the American people.

  • 25% of Americans are delaying retirement due to inflation Fortune

A full quarter of workers are now postponing their retirement as inflation forces more and more Americans to dip into their savings accounts, according to a new report by BMO Harris Bank, which found that 36% of Americans have already seen their savings hit by inflation.

  • Russian oil products are likely ending up in the US after being refined in India, report says Business Insider

Russian oil products are still reaching the US market because traders are obscuring their origin by blending crude and refining it elsewhere.

Supplies believed to be at least partially composed of Russian oil arrived in New York and New Jersey last month, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Those likely came from India — which has been buying discounted Russian barrels for months.

If you zoom in far enough on a hydrocarbon molecule, you can see that the Russian ones actually form an image of a hammer and sickle, and so can be differentiated from other types of oil.

  • Elections: a global ranking rates US weakest among liberal democracies The Conversation

No shit.

Our new research report provides a global assessment of the quality of national elections around the world from 2012-21, based on nearly 500 elections across 170 countries. The US is the lowest ranked liberal democracy in the list. It comes just 15th in the 29 states in the Americas, behind Costa Rica, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago and others, and 75th overall.

There were claims made by former president Donald Trump of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Theses claims were baseless, but they still caused the US elections ranking to fall.

Elections with disputed results score lower on our rankings because a key part of democracy is the peaceful transition of power through accepted results, rather than force and violence. Trump’s comments led to post-election violence as his supporters stormed the Capitol building and sowed doubt about the legitimacy of the outcome amongst much of America.

This illustrates that electoral integrity is not just about designing laws – it is also dependent on candidates and supporters acting responsibly throughout the electoral process.

Problems with US elections run much deeper than this one event, however. Our report shows that the way electoral boundaries are drawn up in the US are a main area of concern. There has been a long history of gerrymandering, where political districts are craftily drawn by legislators so that populations that are more likely to vote for them are included in a given constituency – as was recently seen in North Carolina.

Voter registration and the polls is another problem. Some US states have recently implemented laws that make it harder to vote, such as requiring ID, which is raising concern about what effect that will have on turnout. We already know that the costs, time and complexity of completing the ID process, alongside the added difficulties for those with high residential mobility or insecure housing situations, makes it even less likely that under-represented groups will take part in elections.

How politicians and political parties receive and spend money was found to be the weakest part of the electoral process in general. There are all kinds of threats to the integrity of elections that revolve around campaign money. Where campaign money comes from, for example, could affect a candidate’s ideology or policies on important issues. It is also often the case that the candidate who spends the most money wins – which means unequal opportunities are often part and parcel of an election.

  • U.S. Will Airlift Baby Formula From Abroad as Shortages Grow Worse NYT


  • US lifts Cuba flight restrictions imposed under Trump CNN


  • The dollar’s dominance is shrinking — and it’s the krona and the won that are replacing it in reserves, the IMF says Business Insider

The dollar has reigned supreme as the world’s global reserve for decades — but that story has been changing, according to economists at the International Monetary Fund.

In fact, the dollar’s share of global foreign exchange reserves dipped below 59% in the final quarter of last year, continuing a downtrend that has been going on for two decades, an IMF blog post on Wednesday said.

“The dollar has not become more dominant. It has not even maintained the dominance of prior years,” economists Serkan Arslanalp, Barry Eichengreen, and Chima Simpson-Bell wrote.

The shift away from the dollar is being driven by central banks' interest in non-traditional reserves, including the Swedish krona, the South Korean won, and the Australian and Canadian dollars. The currencies of smaller economies that traditionally haven’t been in reserve holdings account for three-quarters of the shift away from dollars, IMF economists said.

  • OPEC+ to stick to oil rise plan despite EU sanctions Reuters

OPEC+ is set to stick this week to its monthly modest oil output increases despite seeing tighter global markets, five OPEC+ sources said on Wednesday as the group fast approaches its maximum production capacity.

Oil prices rallied above $124 per barrel this week following new EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and China’s recovery from the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

The world’s most industrialised countries, known as G7, called again this week on OPEC to help ease a global energy crunch that worsened as a result of Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

  • Citi says oil should be around $70 as demand drops and recession looms Business Insider

Brent crude oil is overvalued and should fall significantly as demand drops and recession fears loom, according to Citi’s global head of commodity research.

“I’d say it’s more in the $70 range than it is in the $120 range,” Ed Morse said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday. “If you look at the fair value for oil, look at the flowing curve. It’s exaggerated.”


The Ukraine War

  • Biden announces new $700 million in military aid for Ukraine Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday a new $700 million weapons package for Ukraine that will include high mobility artillery rocket systems, which can accurately hit targets as far away as 80 km (50 miles).

  • UK seeks to arm Ukraine with weapons US won’t send RT

Britain wants to send to Ukraine the M270 MLRS systems, the heavier cousins of the M142 HIMARS included by Washington in the latest batch of arms aid to Kiev. Both rocket artillery systems are US-made, so the UK will need American permission for the proposed weapons transfer.

London’s intention was confirmed by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday. He said the launchers will be able to strike targets up to 80 km away and offer “a significant boost in capability for the Ukrainian forces,” according to a statement released by the British Foreign Office.

  • Ukraine May Get U.S. Attack Drones That Can Strike Moscow Forbes

The U.S. is preparing to sell MQ-1C attack drones to Ukraine, according to Reuters.

If true, the Biden administration may find itself caught in a contradiction: despite a policy of not selling Ukraine long-range artillery and other weapons that can strike deep into Russian territory, it may send drones that could potentially reach Moscow and beyond.

For now, the White House is planning to sell four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, which is a model already in use with the U.S. Army, said Reuters, citing multiple unnamed government sources. The MQ-1C has an operational range of almost 300 miles, an endurance of 27 to 40 hours depending on whether the drone is the base or Extended Range model, and can carry four Hellfire missiles.

  • Swiss veto Danish request to send Ukraine armoured vehicles Reuters

Would be very funny if Switzerland has been designated the Joe Manchin of Europe, by blocking as much as it can and then the other countries going “Well, shucks! Can’t do anything about this!"

The Swiss government has vetoed Denmark’s request to send Swiss-made armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, citing its neutrality policy of not supplying arms to conflict zones, Swiss broadcaster SRF reported on Wednesday.

  • German army doesn’t have weapons promised to Ukraine RT

The German Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it could not provide details on Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s pledge to supply Ukraine with a certain air defense system. The reason cited being that the Bundeswehr – the nation’s armed forces – does not have the weapon in stock.

The weapon in question, IRIS-T, can be deployed as a short-range air-to-air missile, or a ground-based short-range or medium-range air defense system.

When asked which system Berlin plans to send Kiev, Defense Ministry spokesman, Naval Captain David Helmbold, replied that “this question should be ultimately addressed to the [defense] industry since we do not have these systems in our service.” He added that he could not clarify the issue as the Bundeswehr does not possess such systems in its arsenal.

  • Russia has captured most of eastern city of Sievierodonetsk EuroNews

  • All critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s Sieveirodonetsk destroyed, Zelenskiy says EU Reporter

Again, if Zelensky says something has been destroyed, it means Russia has captured it and they want it to appear that Russia has only captured something already ruined, thus minimizing the gain.

  • Ukrainian officials report ‘shutdown of all communications’ in Kherson region EU Reporter

  • Russia and the west compete to secure safe passage for Ukraine’s grain The Guardian

In a game of diplomatic cat and mouse, Russia and the west are coming up with similar if sometimes competing ideas for how Ukraine’s badly needed grain can be given safe passage through the Black Sea and on to the world markets. They are also competing to win the battle for world opinion if the plans collapse.

In what is beginning to look like the main plan, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has agreed to meet the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but not until 8 June, over proposals for Turkey to de-mine Odesa and then escort grain ships through to the Bosphorous along a naval corridor. Erdoğan spoke with Vladimir Putin about the proposal on Monday, and according to the Turkish read-out, Putin was willing to cooperate, on conditions.

The Ukrainians have said they are willing to see Odesa de-mined, but conditions would have to be set on how the Russian navy would not use the clearance of mines as an opportunity for its warships to move closer to the port. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said: “We must be very careful, because a unilateral guarantee from the Kremlin is not enough. We need third countries to take responsibility for enforcing the agreement.”

  • Ukrainians are still trying to buy fighter jets, but a Ukrainian pilot says the changing air war requires different weapons Yahoo

Since Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, Ukrainians — from the general public to top officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — have urged the US and its allies to provide fighter jets so Ukraine’s air force can fight off Russia’s larger, better-equipped military.

The US has provided spare parts that have allowed Ukraine to put more jets into service, but so far no one has delivered jets to Kyiv. Now a group of Ukrainian volunteers is taking that search into their own hands, creating a crowdfunding campaign called “Buy Me a Fighter Jet” to raise money for the jets.

Despite the interest, “Buy Me a Fighter Jet” is quite far from its financial goals. As of May 12, only $221,600 had been raised, much of it from Ukrainians, according to Maselko, and not billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos whom the campaign has targeted on Twitter.

Some wealthy individuals with Ukrainian ties have expressed interest, however. In mid-May, Ukrainian singer Kamaliya Zahoor, known as Kamaliya, said her husband, British-Pakistani multimillionaire Mohammad Zahoor, and other philanthropists had collected the money to purchase two aircraft, according to the Kyiv Post, an English-language outlet that Zahoor owned from 2009 to 2018.

Kamaliya was more circumspect in a later interview, and Mohammad Zahoor did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Insider on his role in a potential purchase.

Maselko said in a WhatsApp message that while the campaign has been in discussions with the Zahoors, “they were not buying jets” but “just pushing Pakistan[’s] government to provide fighter jets to Ukraine.”

“I think, at this moment, for Ukraine the number-one priority to get from the Western countries, from NATO, would be surface-to-air missiles,” he said, “because now [Russian aircraft] are not really flying deeply into our airspace but they’re still using those cruise missiles to hit targets all over Ukraine.” Surface-to-air missiles have “been proven to be more effective against” those cruise missiles, the pilot said.

  • DHS ‘Concerned’ Over Nazis Returning To US After Fighting In Ukraine Popular Resistance

I think we predicted this, like, a day after the conflict began.

As the United States undergoes a national mourning process over a spate of mass shootings, American white nationalists with documented histories of violence are attaining combat experience with advanced US-made weapons in a foreign proxy war.

That’s according to the Department of Homeland Security, which has been gathering intelligence on Americans who have joined the ranks of the more than 20,000 foreign volunteers in Ukraine.

The FBI has indicted several American white nationalists associated with the Rise Above Movement after they trained with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and its civilian wing, the National Corps, in Kiev. But that was almost four years ago. Today, federal law enforcement has no idea how many US neo-Nazis are participating in the war in Ukraine, or what they are doing there.

Earth and Space

  • Powering Electric Cars: the Race to Mine Lithium in America’s Backyard Inside Climate News

  • Current policies will bring ‘catastrophic’ climate breakdown, warn former UN leaders The Guardian

There is a stark gap between what governments have promised to do to protect the climate, and the measures and policies needed to achieve the targets. At the Cop26 summit last November, countries agreed to bring forward plans to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the limit of safety, according to scientists. They have so far submitted pledges that would limit temperatures to under 2C.

But the policies and measures passed and implemented by governments would lead to far greater temperature rises, of at least 2.7C, well beyond the threshold of relative safety, and potentially as much as 3.6C. That would have “catastrophic” impacts, in the form of extreme weather, sea-level rises and irreversible changes to the global climate.

  • From EV batteries to coffee: Ideas about recycling and nature are changing how firms do business CNBC

“We need to change our development model,” Andrea Illy said at the World Economic Forum earlier this month, referencing the “extractive model” of the present and past.

The chairman of Italian coffee giant Illycaffe, who was talking in broad terms, said the current system was depleting natural resources and producing an “infinite” amount of residues.

These were “polluting and accumulating in the biosphere, eventually suffocating it and preventing the biosphere to self-regenerate,” he added.

“The idea is we need to shift this model and create a new ‘bio-mimic’ model, working like nature, using only renewables … possibly solar.”

“We are talking about the energy transition, but it is … a prerequisite of a much bigger transition, which is the ecological one,” Illy also told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on the panel at WEF.

Illy’s argument feeds into the notion of the circular economy. The idea has gained traction in recent years, with many companies around the world looking to operate in ways that minimize waste and encourage re-use.

  • House Republicans to unveil conservative road map on climate, energy WaPo

The fossil fuel industry is really getting nutty with it.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plans to unveil a strategy Thursday outlining how Republicans would address climate change, energy and environmental issues if their party gains control of the House in the midterm elections, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The strategy calls for streamlining the permitting process for large infrastructure projects, increasing domestic fossil fuel production and boosting exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas, which proponents say is cleaner than gas produced in other countries, according to the individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe details that are not yet public.

The individuals cautioned that the road map is far-reaching and includes a variety of environmental priorities with broad support across the Republican conference. The final details will be announced Thursday afternoon, although additional information will be shared in the coming weeks, according to one of the people.

The plan is expected to take a much more modest approach to slashing planet-warming emissions than proposals from President Biden and congressional Democrats, who have focused on accelerating the nation’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Leading scientists have said the world must rapidly phase out fossil fuels to stave off the consequences of unchecked climate change.

Republicans have historically opposed measures to tackle climate change, and the de facto leader of the party, former president Donald Trump, has mocked the scientific consensus on global warming. It is unclear whether the GOP plans would, in fact, reduce carbon emissions, or if they instead largely amount to an attempt to deflect political blame over Republicans’ long-standing opposition to addressing catastrophic global warming.

“Most people understand that a serious climate solution requires a shift towards cleaner sources of energy, but the Republicans apparently want to take us in the opposite direction, with more dependence on dangerous, dirty energy sources,” Beyer added. “I understand that my Republican colleagues love fossil fuel production, but it simply isn’t genuine or helpful to call that a climate change strategy.”

  • Climate change could spell the end for Midwestern corn, study finds Yahoo. The ghost of Khrushchev must be celebrating the collapse of American corn and the rise of Russian corn. Maybe he was right all along.

  • Global emissions goals won’t be met by 2050 if metal shortages aren’t addressed and mining firms don’t ramp up investment, Bank of America says Business Insider

  • Fossil Fuels Are ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ Preventing Economic Development, New Report Finds Forbes.

Always have been.

Unchecked production and use of oil, coal and gas is undermining economic development and is incompatible with poverty alleviation worldwide, a new report has found, presenting a strong counter-narrative to fossil fuel industry claims that their operations improve lives and livelihoods.

Finally, a strong counter-narrative to the fossil fuel industry. Surely, through logic and reasoned debate, we now can convince them to reduce their emissions. We have so many sources and references and studies!

  • California drought could cut state’s hydropower in half this summer CNN

  • ‘Consequences will be dire’: Chile’s water crisis is reaching breaking point The Guardian

From the Atacama Desert to Patagonia, a 13-year megadrought is straining Chile’s freshwater resources to breaking point. By the end of 2021, the fourth driest year on record, more than half of Chile’s 19 million population lived in an area suffering from “severe water scarcity”, and in April an unprecedented water rationing plan was announced for the capital, Santiago.

In hundreds of rural communities in the centre and north of the country, Chileans are forced to rely on emergency tankers to deliver drinking water.

  • Record low wild salmon catch in Scotland alarms ecologists The Guardian

The latest official data shows that 35,693 Atlantic salmon were caught by anglers on Scottish rivers last year, the lowest number since records began in 1952 and just 75% of the average over the last five years.

The figures for sea trout, a species that uses the same rivers as salmon, were also the lowest on record, at 12,636 and 77% of the latest five-year average.

Finland has passed arguably the world’s most ambitious climate target into law. It aims to be the first developed country to reach net zero, in 2035, and net negative – absorbing more CO2 than it emits – by 2040.

  • European Commission overreported climate spending by €72 billion, auditors find Climate Home News

Only 13% of EU spending 2014-20 was relevant to climate action, not 20% as claimed, the European Court of Auditors said, with the biggest gap in farming policy


  • Russia is on track to make more money off oil and gas exports this year than it did in 2021, and it’s got the EU to thank Business Insider

Despite intensifying sanctions, Russia could still rake in $800 million a day from oil and gas revenues this year amid soaring energy prices, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Russia’s coffers have been bolstered by a rally in oil prices, which have risen about 50% this year and are at 13-year highs. The gains could bring Russia’s oil and gas sales to a total of $285 billion this year, Bloomberg forecasts. That’s 20% higher than the country’s $235.6 billion takings from oil and gas in 2021.

Much of the windfall can be traced back to the European Union (EU), due to the bloc’s reliance on Russian energy.

Sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine have “been undermined by continued fossil fuel imports from Russia, particularly to the EU,” the CREA said in its report.

“Fossil fuel exports are a key enabler of Russia’s military buildup and brutal aggression against Ukraine,” it added.

  • West demands publication of UN’s long-awaited Xinjiang report The Guardian

Pressure to release a long-awaited Xinjiang report is mounting on the UN’s rights head, as her recent six-day visit to China left activists, western governments and commentators unsatisfied.

In a press conference on Saturday, Bachelet promised to “follow up” on instances of China’s human rights abuse, calling for the authorities in Beijing to review their counter-terrorism policies in the Uyghur minority region. She also appealed for information about missing Uyghurs.

But her diplomatic dance with one of the UN system’s most significant stakeholders drew the ire of western governments. The US said China had “restricted” and “manipulated” Bachelet’s visit, while the UK’s Foreign Office vowed to increase international pressure on China to “immediately cease its appalling human rights violations in Xinjiang, and release those unjustly detained”.

Activists accused Bachelet – who herself is a survivor of torture in her native Chile – of “diminishing” the credibility of her office and called her visit “a betrayal”.


  • ‘We were all wrong’: how Germany got hooked on Russian energy The Guardian

An arrangement that began as a peacetime opening to a former foe has turned into an instrument of aggression. Germany is now funding Russia’s war. In the first two months after the start of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, Germany is estimated to have paid nearly €8.3bn for Russian energy – money used by Moscow to prop up the rouble and buy the artillery shells firing at Ukrainian positions in Donetsk. In that time, EU countries are estimated to have paid a total of €39bn for Russian energy, more than double the sum they have given to help Ukraine defend itself. The irony is painful. “For thirty years, Germans lectured Ukrainians about fascism,” the historian Timothy Snyder wrote recently. “When fascism actually arrived, Germans funded it, and Ukrainians died fighting it.”

When Putin invaded Ukraine in February, Germany faced a particular problem. Its rejection of nuclear power and its transition away from coal meant that Germany had very few alternatives to Russian gas. Berlin has been forced to accept that it was a cataclysmic error to have made itself so dependent on Russian energy – whatever the motives behind it. The foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, says Germany failed to listen to the warnings from countries that had once suffered under Russia’s occupation, such as Poland and the Baltic states. For Norbert Röttgen, a former environment minister and member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union (CDU), the German government bowed to industry forces pressing for cheap gas “all too easily”, while “completely ignoring the geopolitical risks”.

In February this year, German Green economic affairs and climate action minister Robert Habeck said that gas storage facilities owned by Gazprom in Germany had been “systematically emptied” over the winter, to drive up prices and exert political pressure. It was a staggering admission of Russia’s power to disrupt energy supplies.

“I was wrong,” the former German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, says, simply. “We were all wrong.”

In recent weeks even Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German president, a totemic figure of the Social Democrats and greatest German advocate of the trade “bridge” between east and west, has recanted. He admits he misread Russia’s intentions as he pursued the construction of a new undersea gas pipeline. “My adherence to Nord Stream 2 was clearly a mistake,” he told German media in April. “We held on to bridges that Russia no longer believed in, and that our partners warned us about.”

To be fair to Germany, it’s not like this situation was at all predictable. I mean, you spend decades forming a trade partnership with Russia, and then one day, for no reason whatsoever, and definitely not because you tried to extend a military alliance which is specifically designed to counter Russia up to its borders a stone throw away from Moscow, after the US performed a coup in Ukraine that replaced a more pro-Russian president with a pro-Western one, they invade Ukraine. It couldn’t have been that, of course, so it was really just an unfortunate roll of the dice on Putin’s brain chemistry that caused Russia to flip out. It’s just an inherently authoritarian country and no amount of trade deals with a 50% bonus to the Democracy stat could have toppled it.

  • Ukraine’s Zelensky Rejects Trading Land for Peace With Russia WSJ

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country won’t surrender any territory to Russia in exchange for peace despite losing terrain and soldiers daily to Moscow’s forces.

“We’re not ready to concede any of our territories, because our territories are our territories,” Mr. Zelensky said in an interview with Newsmax that aired late Tuesday, doubling down on earlier refusals. Trading land for peace “is not something we can agree on.”

“The situation in the east is very difficult,” Mr. Zelensky said in the interview. “We are losing 60 to 100 soldiers every day and something like 500 wounded in combat.”

  • Ukraine’s first lady tells ABC News that giving up land is ‘like conceding a freedom’ ABC

“You just can’t concede…parts of your territory. It’s like conceding a freedom,” Zelenska said. “Even if we would consider territories, the aggressor would not stop at that. He would continue pressing, he would continue launching more and more steps forward, more and more attacks against our territory.”

I mean, yeah, Russia might at this point! But you’ve had several opportunities at diplomacy that you’ve completely squandered and every day, you lose leverage! That’s not even mentioning the two Minsk agreements that you broke!

  • West’s “irrational fear” of Russia driving ceasefire push- Ukrainian negotiator Reuters

Yeah, Russia only has several thousand extremely non-terrifying nuclear missiles.

A Ukrainian presidential advisor and peace talks negotiator accused Europe and the United States of having an “irrational fear” of Russia in an interview released on Wednesday by news agency Interfax Ukraine.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a key negotiator for Ukraine during previous talks with Russia, said the political elites of the West “want to return to the pre-war period and do not want to solve problems,” adding that their financial priorities took precedence in decision-making.

  • Russians Trading Drinking Water for Help Covering Up Crimes: Mariupol Mayor Newsweek

Russians are using residents of Mariupol to hide evidence of alleged “war crimes” in the occupied Ukrainian city in order to gain access to drinking water, according to Mayor Vadym Boychenko.

“In a hurry, the people of Mariupol told us that they continue to be bullied: They simply do not give away the imported drinking water but want the people of Mariupol to go to dismantle the debris and help them hide these war crimes,” he said, according to a translation of his comments.

  • ‘There’s No Food’: Russian Soldiers Forced To Eat Dogs, Ukraine Claims Newsweek

Russian troops are being forced to eat dogs because of food shortages, Ukraine’s security service has claimed.

The SBU, Kyiv’s security and intelligence agency, released a text message exchange purportedly between two Russian soldiers, in which a serviceman stationed in the occupied parts of the Kherson region, close to Crimea, told his friend that he and other troops had eaten a Yorkshire terrier.

“It’s all fucked. [Ukrainians] are fucking beating us like kids. We eat dogs, there’s no food. Today we ate a Yorkie. A Yorkshire terrier,” the soldier was quoted as saying by the SBU.

The Ukrainian agency said it had intercepted the conversation. “This is evidenced by the correspondence of the Russian aggressor, which was intercepted by the SBU,” it added.

The soldier also texted that the Russian army had no logistics and “simply can’t deliver” rations, according to the security service.

  • Russian army mopping up Ukraine, seeing it as a springboard for offensive against Europe - deputy minister Yahoo

Does NATO exist or not? Is it functional or not? Are you a unified front against Russian aggression that is completely willing and able to take down the Russian hordes and deter Russian aggression or not? How can you simultaneously claim that joining NATO is the only way to prevent Russia from invading your country, and then go “Oh god, Russia is going to invade your country too, NATO member!"

  • Joe Biden: My Plan for Fighting Inflation WSJ Written by the man himself. I quote in full:

The global economy faces serious challenges. Inflation is elevated, exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Energy markets are in turmoil. Supply chains that haven’t fully healed are causing shortages and price hikes.

Americans are anxious. I know that feeling. I grew up in a family where it mattered when the price of gas or groceries rose. We felt it around the kitchen table. But the American people should have confidence that our economy faces these challenges from a position of strength.

In January 2021, when I took office, the recovery had stalled and Covid was out of control. In less than a year and a half, my administration’s economic and vaccination plans helped achieve the most robust recovery in modern history. The job market is the strongest since the post-World War II era, with 8.3 million new jobs, the fastest decline in unemployment on record, and millions of Americans getting jobs with better pay.

Since I took office, families have increased their savings and have less debt: A recent Federal Reserve report found that a higher percentage of Americans reported feeling financially comfortable at the end of 2021 than at any time since the survey began in 2013. Business investment is up 20% and manufacturing jobs are growing at their fastest rate in 30 years. There were more new small business applications in 2021 than in any previous year.

The U.S. is in a better economic position than almost any other country. According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. economy will be larger at the end of this year—relative to its prepandemic size—than any other Group of 7 economy. The U.S. economy may grow faster this year than China’s economy for the first time since 1976.

With the right policies, the U.S. can transition from recovery to stable, steady growth and bring down inflation without giving up all these historic gains. During this transition, growth will look different. We will likely see fewer record job-creation numbers, but this won’t be cause for concern. Rather, if average monthly job creation shifts in the next year from current levels of 500,000 to something closer to 150,000, it will be a sign that we are successfully moving into the next phase of recovery—as this kind of job growth is consistent with a low unemployment rate and a healthy economy. Things should also look different from the decades before the pandemic, when too often we had low growth, low wage gains, and an economy that worked best for the wealthiest Americans.

I ran for president because I was tired of the so-called trickle-down economy. We now have a chance to build on a historic recovery with an economy that works for working families. The most important thing we can do now to transition from rapid recovery to stable, steady growth is to bring inflation down. That is why I have made tackling inflation my top economic priority. My plan has three parts:

First, the Federal Reserve has a primary responsibility to control inflation. My predecessor demeaned the Fed, and past presidents have sought to influence its decisions inappropriately during periods of elevated inflation. I won’t do this. I have appointed highly qualified people from both parties to lead that institution. I agree with their assessment that fighting inflation is our top economic challenge right now.

Second, we need to take every practical step to make things more affordable for families during this moment of economic uncertainty—and to boost the productive capacity of our economy over time. The price at the pump is elevated in large part because Russian oil, gas and refining capacity are off the market. We can’t let up on our global effort to punish Mr. Putin for what he’s done, and we must mitigate these effects for American consumers. That is why I led the largest release from global oil reserves in history. Congress could help right away by passing clean energy tax credits and investments that I have proposed. A dozen CEOs of America’s largest utility companies told me earlier this year that my plan would reduce the average family’s annual utility bills by $500 and accelerate our transition from energy produced by autocrats.

We can also reduce the cost of everyday goods by fixing broken supply chains, improving infrastructure, and cracking down on the exorbitant fees that foreign ocean freight companies charge to move products. My Housing Supply Action Plan will make housing more affordable by building more than a million more units, closing the housing shortfall in the next five years. We can reduce the price of prescription drugs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and capping the cost of insulin. And we can lower the cost of child and elder care to help parents get back to work. I’ve done what I can on my own to help working families during this challenging time—and will keep acting to lower costs where I can—but now Congress needs to act too.

Third, we need to keep reducing the federal deficit, which will help ease price pressures. Last week the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit will fall by $1.7 trillion this year—the largest reduction in history. That will leave the deficit as a share of the economy lower than prepandemic levels and lower than CBO projected for this year before the American Rescue Plan passed. This deficit progress wasn’t preordained. In addition to winding down emergency programs responsibly, about half the reduction is driven by an increase in revenue—as my economic policies powered a rapid recovery.

My plan would reduce the deficit even more by making common-sense reforms to the tax code. The Internal Revenue Service should have the resources to collect taxes that Americans already owe. We should level the international taxation playing field so companies no longer have an incentive to shift jobs and profits overseas. And we should end the outrageous unfairness in the tax code that allows a billionaire to pay lower rates than a teacher or firefighter.

I welcome debate on my plan to tackle inflation and move the economy to stable and steady growth. I have a very different approach from Congressional Republicans, led by Sen. Rick Scott, whose plan would raise taxes on people making less than $100,000 and require that Congress reauthorize bedrock programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid every five years. That would make American families poorer and more economically insecure.

The economic policy choices we make today will determine whether a sustained recovery that benefits all Americans is possible. I will work with anyone—Democrat, Republican, or independent—willing to have an open and honest discussion that delivers real solutions for the American people.

  • Garment factories urged to switch to solar power Khmer Times. Isn’t this article just pure, distilled neoliberalism?“Yes, we’ve heard you, the garment factories are a problem. We’re going to take action, today, to solve this massive issue, by putting solar panels on the roof."

The European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in Cambodia on Tuesday called for quicker adoption of renewable energy and rooftop solar panels in the country’s garment sector to make it more competitive.

“Rooftop solar can attract new, modern suppliers and raise production. This is all about being competitive, and my job is to make Cambodia more competitive as a production hub for different products,” said a representative of the chamber’s garment and manufacturing committee.

“At some point, if we cannot compete with other manufacturing hubs, we will have to close down the factories,” said the representative.

“The garment industry, in particular, remains hugely important. Modern, middle-class customers from Asian, European, American and Japanese markets continue to demand more sustainable products. For Cambodia, this is an opportunity for better business, better jobs, new investment and growth,” Tassilo said.

  • Is Breaking Up Russia the Only Way to End Its Imperialism? Bloomberg

Imperialism is when countries other than the United States do literally anything outside of their borders.

Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine showed the world that a resurgent Russia means, of necessity, an imperialist Russia. And it revived discussions about whether Russia needs to be “decolonized,” or perhaps “defederalized,” to bury its imperialist ambitions and subdue its military threat. A breakup of today’s Russia, similar to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is seen as a possible, for some even the most desirable, outcome of a failed Ukraine invasion. Regrets are voiced that the US didn’t make it a goal in the 1990s, when post-Soviet Russia lay in ruins and struggled to hold onto one, tiny secessionist region: Chechnya.

These discussions bring on a sense of literary deja-vu — a Russia turned into a quilt of statelets has been almost too easy to imagine since the Soviet Union came apart with such seeming ease. In the 2013 novel “Telluria,” Vladimir Sorokin, one of the most uncannily precise prophets of Russia’s turn to fascism, had one of the characters write of the Russian empire: “If she, this splendidly ruthless giantess in her diamond diadem and her snow mantle, collapsed conveniently in February, 1917, and disintegrated into several states of manageable size, everything would have turned out in the spirit of modern history, and the peoples held down by czarist power finally would have come into possession of their post-imperial identities and lived in freedom. But that’s not how it went.”

In “Telluria,” Russia is finally split into mostly autocratic principalities of “manageable size” after a series of domestic shake-ups. Not even Sorokin saw a lost war of invasion as a trigger for a breakup of Russia. And yet a defeat in Ukraine, accompanied by Western economic pressure, could realistically lead to an economic disaster like the one that set off the Soviet Union’s collapse, and could thus strengthen the centrifugal tendencies that Putin is so proud of having stifled by establishing his “vertical of power.”

There are good reasons why it might make sense even for the Russian people — especially those who do not live in Central Russia.

In a way, Putin hasn’t just unleashed the breakup discussion by his irrational attack. He has also enabled it intellectually by talking of “historical Russia,” which in his view includes much of modern Ukraine. If it’s possible to discuss a core Russian state, rather than the country in its current borders, then it can be argued that this core is in fact much smaller than today’s Russia — if one peels off all the country’s imperial conquests, some of which, including the takeover of much of Siberia, predate 1721, when Russia officially became an empire.

In a way, the inclusion of some territories in the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic — the entity that became the Russian Federation when the Soviet Union gave up the ghost — is as much a Soviet-era accident as the higher-grade statehood of ex-Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Moldova.

It could be argued that splintering Russia would not really remove its revanchist ability to pick itself up after bad defeats and major territorial losses — and become a threat to its rivals again. It did so after the Bolshevik Revolution and the punishing Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers, and it did so again after the Soviet project wound down. A Russia dismembered will not necessarily stay that way; extreme nationalist and populist forces may even be empowered by such a humiliation, and they will inherit Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which won’t simply disappear even if Russia disintegrates. But those who entertain the “decolonization” of Russia aren’t necessarily thinking centuries ahead. A couple of decades might be enough to integrate Russia’s neighbors into the Western world and build stronger defenses against further imperialist resurgence.

As a Russian, I get an uneasy feeling from all this talk of my country’s dismemberment, as if Russia were a cancer patient lying semiconscious on an operating table with only multiple amputations able to stop the tumor from metastasizing further. I hate the idea that the only way to stop our being a threat to neighboring countries is to break us up — and I hope it’s not the imperialist in me that rebels at the thought. Russia’s vastness and diversity are foundational to our nationhood as it exists today. “Manageable size” is not us.

And yet, on an intellectual level, I understand that many Russian people might actually be well served by the Russian Federation’s dissolution. As Putin strengthened his “vertical” after his predecessor Boris Yeltsin’s offer to Russia’s regions of “as much sovereignty as you can swallow,” the recentralization bled Russia’s periphery. Only 23 of Russia’s 85 regions aren’t funded by federal subsidies this year, most of them with a predominantly ethnic Russian population (Tatarstan is the exception). This creates the impression that a majority of the provinces, and in particular those with distinct national identities, would be helpless if separated from the center. But that’s just how the Putin system operates, sucking money out of the periphery and then “generously” redistributing some of it back.


Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries The Guardian

“In 2012, the last year of recorded data, developing countries received a total of $1.3tn, including all aid, investment, and income from abroad. But that same year some $3.3tn flowed out of them. In other words, developing countries sent $2tn more to the rest of the world than they received. If we look at all years since 1980, these net outflows add up to an eye-popping total of $16.3tn – that’s how much money has been drained out of the global south over the past few decades. To get a sense for the scale of this, $16.3tn is roughly the GDP of the United States."

Back to the first article:

I still hope against hope that democracy, an end to aggressive imperialism, a commitment to the equal development of territories and a true equality of all ethnic groups are possible within Russia’s current borders. This hope, however, may well be no more than an atavism. Russia doesn’t carry its size well. Perhaps it will never learn.

Oh my god. Oh my fucking god. You actual fucking ghoulish motherfucker.

  • The World Doesn’t Need a More Restrained America Bloomberg

New arguments for the US to stop involving itself in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere fail to confront the global instability such a change would bring.


It has been a bumpy year for the restraint coalition — that loose network of analysts, advocates and politicians calling for a sharply reduced US role in the world. Having reached peak influence with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, this group initially found itself marginalized by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Now, the restraint crowd is offering a renewed critique of US policy, one that will probably prove to be persistent, though not persuasive.

Some restrainers seek wholesale global retrenchment; others mainly decry ongoing US involvement in Europe and the Middle East. What unites them is a conviction that the overuse of US power has been catastrophic for America and the world.

This coalition seemed ascendant a year ago, when President Joe Biden denounced the “forever wars” while pulling out of Afghanistan. That decision, two analysts argued, marked Biden as a hard-nosed realist — and perhaps an ally in the struggle to reshape American diplomacy.

Yet the moment didn’t last. The collapse of the Afghan state even before the US finished withdrawing showed that, while waging wars is expensive, losing them can impose a serious cost. Then came Russia’s assault on Ukraine. As Vladimir Putin’s forces sought to restore the Soviet empire and murdered Ukrainian citizens, they revealed just how awful a world shaped by great powers other than Washington might be.

Indeed, Biden isn’t getting much praise from self-proclaimed realists today. While refusing to intervene militarily, Biden has otherwise backed Ukraine with money, weapons and other support. NATO — whose peaceful expansion allegedly forced Putin to order a campaign of aggression and murder — now appears likely to add two new members, Finland and Sweden. Biden has even invoked the rhetorical legacy of his cold war predecessors, declaring that Ukraine is a vital front in the struggle to save the free world.

[…] the perpetual problem with restraint is the corresponding unwillingness to consider what happens after America pulls back. Suppose Washington does slash support to Ukraine and leave European security to the Europeans. What does that bring?

Judging by the past century — or even the past six months — the answer is not a stable Europe and a more solvent America. Rather, the result is likely to be a partially successful Russian war of conquest that creates pervasive insecurity in Europe; a continent that, lacking American leadership, is less united and confident in opposing Putin; and greater global instability that ultimately makes it harder to contain China, as well.

As if American involvement in the Ukraine has been an example of restraint, and not them deliberately trying to provoke Russia into a war to boost the military-industrial complex and make the world even more indebted and reliant upon the United States by starving them into compliance.

Similarly in the Middle East, reasonable people can debate the proper level of U.S. involvement, or what constitutes a reasonable risk to accept on a variety of issues, from containing Iran to opposing Putin’s ambitions in Ukraine. But recent events have reminded us that a world less influenced by the US will be one in which autocratic predation becomes more common. The Ukraine war has reminded the world about the stubborn persistence of evil. In doing so, it has also illuminated the virtues of American power.

  • Maybe It’s Time to Break Up Russia Bloomberg

This is by a different person, but references the authors of the two previous articles.

Anyway, the article begins:

A fun thing about playing the video game “Civilization”

Oh no. Oh god. Okay. Deep breath in… deep breath out. Okay. Calm. Let’s try that again.

A fun thing about playing the video game “Civilization” was that your early cities would suit whatever country you were playing — for example, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novgorod (and yes, gulp, “Kiev” and “Odessa”) if you were playing as Russia. But then as you absorbed other countries, you’d get all their cities too. So if you played the game right but were also too lazy to rename your conquests, then, like, Washington, Beijing, Paris and Delhi would be “Russian” cities too.

This is sort of how real-life civilization works, only with fewer triremes. The country currently known as the Russian Federation is a patchwork of communities conquered over the centuries, notes Leonid Bershidsky, many of which still retain their old place names, not to mention cultures, languages and preference not to be Russian. This makes the whole messy quilt somewhat difficult to manage, giving rise to strongman leaders like like Stalin and Vladimir Putin.

The latter dictator’s attempt to absorb Ukraine back into the fold has been a military and economic disaster, not unlike the debacle in Afghanistan that helped bring down the Soviet Union. That episode saw Russia lose control of Ukraine and several other territories. Could this one lead to a further breakup? Leonid suggests it’s possible, and maybe even desirable. Just as in the video game, the further conquered lands are from the country’s core, the more they’re likely to be exploited and the less they’re likely to enjoy the arrangement.

The Ukraine war has also refreshed memories, at home and abroad, of how important it is to have an assertive America in the world, writes Hal Brands. Putin’s gambit might have been more successful without US intervention. It’s best for civilization to keep people like Putin playing on the hardest setting.

I would say what this person deserves but it would be fedposting, so I’m just gonna move on. By the way, the article continues in a different section:

One key to becoming a god-level economics and markets understander like me is to put aside such childish notions as “jobs are good” or “I like having money.” When too many people have jobs or money, the stock market gets upset for many reasons, including the possibility the Federal Reserve will take away the free money and crush the economy to prevent an inflationary wage-price spiral. That’s why, when Robert Burgess points out there are signs the red-hot job market is cooling off, you should say, “Hooray!” instead of “Oh, no, that sounds bad.”

I won’t go any further than that. Example number 944332432 that meritocracy does not exist.


  • Oil embargo will hurt Putin more than EU Reuters

After some hesitation, the European Union has decided to ban most Russian oil imports. Replacing Urals crude with more expensive Brent will swell the bloc’s already red-hot energy bill. Still, the move will shrink Moscow’s most lucrative export revenue source and help stunt Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

The uneven implementation of Europe’s most powerful sanctions tool is an eyesore. It will also result in a higher energy bill for already strained consumers. The EU has been importing between 3 and 3.7 million barrels of Russian Urals oil per day, says Rystad Energy. Replacing 75% of that with $120-a-barrel Brent would imply an extra cost of at least $2 billion a month.

Yet the embargo is still significant. Russian exports of crude oil and condensate amounted to $110 billion, more than a fifth of Moscow’s entire commodity export proceeds in 2021. Even though oil can be more easily shipped elsewhere than gas, Russia will struggle to fully replace those lost EU exports. India has been buying record amounts of discounted Russian crude, but is already running its refineries above their official capacity, RBC analysts say. China has yet to ramp up imports, but its economy is less buoyant following extensive Covid lockdowns. And the EU embargo will discourage non-Russian tankers from transporting Moscow’s crude.

Russia could earn at least $8.1 billion per month by exporting 3 million barrels per day to the EU at current Urals crude prices. Rystad analysts say Moscow may be able to reroute at best 1 million of the barrels previously destined for the EU, implying that exports of 3 million barrels will quickly shrink to just 1.75 million barrels. That means lost revenue of at least $3.4 billion per month in the initial phase of the embargo, or just over 40% of Moscow’s estimated monthly proceeds from EU exports, Breakingviews calculations show. That loss could rise to at least $4.5 billion a month once the full EU ban kicks in. The EU oil embargo will hurt Russia more than Europe.

  • Ukraine Could Get German Air-Defenses. They Might Prevent Devastating Bombing Raids By Russian Planes. Forbes

Germany has announced it will supply Ukraine with its latest air-defense system. This might help the Ukrainians ward off carpet-bombing raids by Russian bombers as Russia’s wider war on Ukraine enters its bloody fourth month.

But who knows how long delivery might take.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday said his government would donate to Kyiv a batch of IRIS-T SL missile-launchers. Scholz described the IRIS-T SL as “the most modern air-defense system that Germany has.”

An IRIS-T SL battery includes several eight-round launchers plus a command post and a radar, all mounted on heavy-duty trucks. The Ukrainian government requested 10 of the launchers, German media reported. That’s enough for one very big battery, or several batteries.

There are different models of the IRIS-T SL. A short-range version firing missiles out to eight miles. A medium-range model with a 25-mile reach. There also is a new, longer-range version in development. Ukraine apparently wants the medium model.

The S-300 is the backbone of Ukraine’s long-range air-defense. Pre-war, the army and air force between them fielded around 300 S-300 launchers in around 100 batteries. An S-300 launcher can lob a missile as far as 125 miles, depending on the model.

After nearly 100 days of bombardment, the Russians have destroyed a couple dozen of Ukraine’s original S-300 launchers.

Kyiv still possesses enough longer-range air-defenses to deny its deep air space to direct overflight by Russian aircraft. Moscow’s helicopters and planes have stuck close to the front lines. For deeper strikes, Russian bombers, ships and ground launchers fire cruise missiles and ballistic missiles from hundreds of miles away.

But those missiles are expensive and Russian industry, which depends on Western-made electronics that now are under sanction, can’t easily replace them. The Kremlin clearly is eager to deploy bombers for direct attacks using cheap gravity bombs.

  • Russia seeing success in Ukraine after months of failure, analysts say — but don’t expect it to last long Business Insider

Russia is finding success in its invasion of Ukraine after ripping up its original plan to focus on a far narrower area, analysts told Insider.

Two experts pointed to recent gains in the Donbas region, which align with bleaker assessments from Ukrainian officials who are urgently seeking Western aid to rebalance the odds.

It is a stark reversal from the early weeks of the war, when Russia appeared to expect Ukraine to fall within weeks. Its troops tried to seize Kyiv while also attacking on several other fronts, but were humiliatingly pushed back.

On March 25, Russia redefined its main goal, saying it wanted to take the eastern Donbas region which had been partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Since then Russian artillery has pummeled the region and Russia began to achieve its narrower aims, albeit while taking heavy losses.

In a downbeat message to his people, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday: “The situation in Donbas remains extremely difficult. The Russian army is trying to gather overwhelming forces in certain areas to put more and more pressure on our defenders.”

On Tuesday officials said Russian forces had overrun part of Sievierodonetsk, the largest city in the Donbas still controlled by Ukraine, the latest in a string of territorial losses.

It’s no surprise that Russia is finding some success, according to experts, since it is focusing a large number of troops on a smaller space.

“It makes a lot of sense,” he said. “Once the Russians got into Ukraine they just extended their lines too far and ther ability to move people and supplies throughout of Ukraine is just too much,” … “But as they draw closer to their own territory their ability to resupply and bring in more people is a lot easier.”

Mathieu Boulègue, a senior research fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, suggested that Russia was making the most of a temporary advantage.

Its forces, he said, would likely try to gain as much ground as possible before running out of steam.

“What we will see in the next weeks is a shift between movement warfare, the advance of troops, to positional warfare. Basically, Russia bunkering down inside Ukrainian territory,” he told Insider.

“It’s a headlong rush, and they’re full of exhaustion and this exhaustion will turn into attrition,” Boulègue said.

“We see this in Kherson, where Russia is bunkering down, instead of being more offensive and pushing deeper in Ukraine. This is what we see in Donbas,” he said. “There’s only so much they can throw at Ukraine before they’re exhausted.”

Spalding agreed, predicting that Russian advances would soon halt. “I don’t think the Russian’s are going to get too far from where they are now as they don’t have the ability to sustain that, and I don’t think the Ukrainians are going to be able to push them out,” he said.


  • US sending missile systems to Ukraine, but unclear if they’re a game-changer Straits Times

The United States announced on Tuesday (May 31) it is sending advanced missile systems to Ukraine, but the jury is out on whether they will be the game-changer hoped for in Kyiv’s war with Russia.

The new weapon is the Himars multiple launch rocket system, or MLRS, a mobile unit that can simultaneously launch multiple precision-guided missiles.

Both Ukraine and Russia already operate MLRS, but the Himars has superior range and precision.

President Joe Biden wrote in The New York Times that the advanced rockets will enable the Ukrainians “to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine”.

Yet the US plans to limit the range of the missiles it gives Ukraine to avoid them being used to hit targets deep inside Russia.

  • Zelenskyy says Ukraine is losing 60 to 100 soldiers a day, a rare glimpse of Ukraine’s losses during Russia’s invasion Business Insider

  • When Henry Kissinger gives advice on ending the Ukraine conflict, the West should listen RT

Realistically I don’t advise listening to Kissinger’s advice on anything, but this is one of the few things where he actually has a point.

The ideologues who dominate today’s Western foreign policy establishment are largely responsible for escalating tensions with Russia to the point of military conflict in Ukraine. And now the grandmaster of realpolitik — that is, foreign relations shaped by pragmatism and on-the-ground truth rather than wishful thinking — has just delivered a rhetorical blow to NATO’s ambitions over Ukraine.

Henry Kissinger, the Nixon-era US secretary of state and a living legend of international politics, celebrates his 99th birthday this week. On Monday, he took to the stage via videoconference at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to offer his advice for resolving the Ukraine conflict.

“Parties should be brought to peace talks within the next two months. Ukraine should’ve been a bridge between Europe and Russia, but now, as the relationships are reshaped, we may enter a space where the dividing line is redrawn and Russia is entirely isolated,” Kissinger said in a conversation with WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab.

“We are facing a situation now where Russia could alienate itself completely from Europe and seek a permanent alliance elsewhere,” Kissinger said. “This may lead to Cold War-like diplomatic distances, which will set us back decades. We should strive for long-term peace.” By far, the most likely scenario is even greater Russian rapprochement with China.

The end result could be a stronger military-industrial bloc in competition with the US for economic and political influence worldwide and a loss of clout for the EU, which would simply be reduced to a less influential partner of Washington’s, with less autonomy than it would have enjoyed had it not subordinated all of its interests to Washington and had instead maintained a more independent and balanced position.

  • NATO, US say Ukraine war likely to end through talks Al Jazeera

Couldn’t we have started with those, then? Why not save the bloodshed and the misery and just do the talks from the beginning?

The war in Ukraine is likely to end at the negotiating table, but Ukrainians must be able to defend themselves to strengthen their position at peace talks, top NATO and US officials have said.

Great. Awesome. We’re going to be in a repeating process of Ukraine looking back to a month ago and going “Damn, should have done negotiations then, when we had more territory. Well, we can’t do it now, because we don’t have enough leverage! Let’s keep fighting for another month and see what happens!” over and over until they have to do a full surrender with no terms.

  • A whistle, then a deadly barrage. Ukraine’s soldiers are under relentless fire. NYT

It all starts with a whistle, said Vladislav Goncharenko, a Ukrainian army sergeant, describing the relentless Russian shelling. “You lie in a trench,” he said, waiting in an ambulance packed with other wounded soldiers. “There are very loud explosions. You want to get deeper into the ground. And you have shrapnel whistling above you, like flies.” Soldiers, he said, “just want it to stop.”

Though much of the world’s focus in the war has been on Russia’s disorganized and flawed campaign, Ukraine, too, is struggling. Ukraine’s army has suffered heavy losses, shown signs of disarray and, step by step, fallen back from some long-held areas in Donbas, the eastern region that is now the war’s epicenter.

The momentum Ukraine generated after pushing Russian forces back from Kyiv, the capital, and Kharkiv, the second-largest city, has given way in the east to weeks of give-and-take over villages, heavy shelling — and a stream of Ukrainian dead and wounded from the battlefields.

Ukraine’s troops now face a Russian force that has shifted strategy from the hasty, reckless advances of the early weeks of the war to a creeping, grinding march enabled by massive artillery bombardments.

Good Takes that are Dope

War and sanctions are now the main drivers of increased food insecurity. Russia and Ukraine produce almost a third of world wheat exports, nearly 20% of corn (maize) exports and close to 80% of sunflower seed products, including oil. Related Black Sea shipping blockades have helped keep Russian exports down.

All these have driven up world prices for grain and oilseeds, raising food costs for all. As of 19 May, the Agricultural Price Index was up 42% from January 2021, with wheat prices 91% higher and corn up 55%.

The World Bank’s April 2022 Commodity Markets Outlook notes the war has changed world production, trade and consumption. It expects prices to be historically high, at least through 2024, worsening food insecurity and inflation.

Western bans on Russian oil have sharply increased energy prices. Both Russia and its ally, Belarus – also hit by economic sanctions – are major suppliers of agricultural fertilizers – including 38% of potassic fertilizers, 17% of compound fertilizers, and 15% of nitrogenous fertilizers.

Fertilizer prices surged in March, up nearly 20% from two months before, and almost three times higher than in March 2021! Less supplies at higher prices will set back agricultural production for years.

With food agriculture less sustainable, e.g., due to global warming, sanctions are further reducing output and incomes, besides raising food prices in the short and longer term.

Even when supposedly targeted, sanctions are blunt instruments, often generating unintended consequences, sometimes contrary to those intended. Hence, sanctions typically fail to achieve their stated objectives.

Many poor and food insecure countries are major wheat importers from Russia and Ukraine. The duo provided 90% of Somalia’s imports, 80% of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s, and about 40% of both Yemen’s and Ethiopia’s.

It appears the financial blockade on Russia has hurt its smaller and more vulnerable Central Asian neighbours more: 4.5 million from Uzbekistan, 2.4 million from Tajikistan, and almost a million from Kyrgyzstan work in Russia. Difficulties sending remittances cause much hardship to their families at home.

As polemical recriminations between Russia and the US-led coalition intensify over rising food and fuel prices, the world is racing to an “apocalyptic” human “catastrophe”. Higher prices, prolonged shortages and recessions may trigger political upheavals, or worse.

In a May 2021 article in The Atlantic magazine entitled “Return the National Parks to the Tribes,” Native American author and activist David Treuer details the genocidal violence through which Native American tribes were expelled from some of the US’s earliest and most famous national parks. He begins with the story of the Mariposa Battalion, a white militia composed largely of miners who came upon the Yosemite Valley in 1851 during an expedition to hunt and kill members of California’s Miwok tribes. The militia set fire to Miwok wigwams and shot people as they fled, ultimately driving the tribes from Yosemite. Thirty-nine years later, Yosemite became the first national park, the crown jewel in what would become a continent-spanning archipelago of parks. Purged of Native Americans, the parks could be celebrated by John Muir and other conservationists as Edenic “wild gardens” in an influential paradigm of conservation that resonates around the world to this day. Viewed from the perspective of history, Treuer notes laceratingly, America’s national parks are a crime scene.

How should the nation atone for this violence against Native Americans? And how can the US National Park system cope with crippling challenges of overcrowding, habitat loss, and lack of adequate scientific research? Treuer provides a solution: return the parks to those who once inhabited and sustainably stewarded them—Native Americans. It’s a simple demand: give the stolen land back.

For a reader unfamiliar with Native American political movements, Treuer’s suggestion may come across as quite radical, linked to the kind of forceful challenges to settler colonial commonsense articulated in recent years. Yet however one might feel about such broader decolonial demands, it is important to note that Treuer’s suggestion echoes the demands of a broader global movement for indigenous rights.

Russia’s “Special Military Operation”, which began on Feb. 24, is entering its fourth month. Despite stiffer than expected Ukrainian resistance (bolstered by billions of dollars of western military assistance and accurate, real-time battlefield intelligence by the U.S. and other NATO members) Russia is winning the war on the ground, and in a big way.

After more than ninety days of incessant Ukrainian propaganda, echoed mindlessly by a complicit western mainstream media that extolls the battlefield successes of the Ukrainian armed forces and the alleged incompetence of the Russian military, the Russians are on the cusp of achieving the stated goal of its operation, namely the liberation of the newly independent Donbass Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, which Russia recognized two days before its invasion.

The article talks about the success of Phase 1 and 2 for Russia, then:

Indeed, several observers of this conflict, myself included, projected that based upon predictive analysis drawn from the basic military math regarding actual and projected casualty levels, there was a real expectation that Russia, upon completion of Phase Two, would have been able to claim, with justification, that it had accomplished most, if not all the political and military objectives set out at the start of the operation.

Logic dictated that the Ukrainian government, stripped of a viable military, would have no choice but a modern-day version of the surrender of France in June 1940, following decisive battlefield victories by the German army.

While Russia continues to position itself for a decisive military victory in eastern Ukraine, it may likely confine itself to the liberation of the Donbass, seizures of the land bridge connecting Crimea with the Russian Federation mainland (via Donbass), and the expansion of the Kherson bridgehead to secure fresh water resources to Crimea which had been cut off by the Ukrainian government since 2014.

Whereas Russia may have earlier been able to conceive a political settlement that saw the Ukrainian government right-wing political parties and their militarized progeny, the fact is today the Ukrainian government has increasingly aligned itself with the neo-Nazi movement to strengthen its rule in the face of growing domestic political opposition to war with Russia.

True denazification, in my view, would require Russia to remove the Zelensky government from power and replace it with a new political leadership that will aggressively sustain the Russian objective of an eradication neo-Nazi ideology in Ukraine. So far there is no indication that that is a Russian objective.

Likewise, demilitarization has become much more difficult since the invasion of Feb. 24. While military aid provided to Ukraine by the U.S. and NATO before that date could be measured in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars, since Phase Two operations began this aid has grown to the point where total military aid provided to Ukraine by the U.S. alone approximates $53 billion.

Not only has this aid had a measurable impact on the battlefield in terms of Russian military personnel killed and equipment destroyed, but it has also enabled Ukraine to reconstitute combat power, which had been previously destroyed by Russian forces.

A problem, however, emerges when Russia completes its task of destroying, dismantling, or dispersing the Ukrainian military in the Donbass region. While one could have previously argued that an imminent threat would continue to exist so long as the Ukrainian forces possessed sufficient combat power to retake Donbass region, such an argument cannot be made today.

At some point soon, Russia will announce that it has defeated the Ukrainian military forces arrayed in the east and, in doing so, end the notion of the imminent threat that gave Russia the legal justification to undertake its operation.

That came about because of the major battlefield successes of the Russian military. But it will leave Russia with a number of unfulfilled political objectives, including denazification, demilitarization, permanent Ukrainian neutrality, and NATO concurrence with a new European security framework along the lines drawn up by Russia in its December 2021 treaty proposals. If Russia were to call a halt to its military operation at this juncture, it would be ceding political victory to Ukraine, which “wins” by not losing.

The challenge facing Russia going forward, therefore, is how to define the scale and the scope of Phase Three so that it retains the kind of legal authority it asserted for the first two phases, while assembling sufficient combat power to accomplish its tasks. Among these would appear to me to include overthrowing the Zelensky government and replacing it with one willing and able to outlaw the ideology of Stepan Bandera. It might also entail launching a military operation into central and western Ukraine to completely destroy the reconstituted elements of the Ukrainian military along with the surviving neo-Nazi affiliated forces.

As things currently stand, Russia’s actions are being implemented upon the limited legal authorities granted to Putin by the Russian Duma, or parliament. One of the most constraining aspects of these authorities is that it limits Russia’s force structure to what can be assembled under peacetime conditions. Most observers believe Russia is reaching the limit of what can be asked of these forces.

Any large-scale expansion of Russian military operations in Ukraine,which seeks to push beyond the territory conquered by Russia during Phase One and Phase Two, will require additional resources which Russia may struggle to assemble under the constraints imposed by a peacetime posture. This task would become virtually impossible if the Ukrainian conflict were to spread to Poland, Transnistria, Finland and Sweden.

Bloomerism and Hope

  • How do U.S. officials involved in General Soleimani assassination deal with their fear Tehran Times

Recently, in a recent report titled “Sensitive but Unclassified,” the U.S. State Department announced that it has spent $13.1 million between August 2021 and February 2022 on protecting former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook. The two men have reportedly been receiving 24-hour security, according to The Hill.

Hossein Mousavian, a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University, during an Iranian documentary named “72 Hours”, said “after returning to the U.S., an American told me that Brian Hook’s wife had not slept for several days and that she was shaking and crying. That’s how afraid they were.”

Additionally, Pompeo, another official involved in the terror strike has lost 41kg (90lb) over six months following his exit from the Trump administration last year. There’s certainly no denying that Pompeo has undergone a kind of physical transformation. But his claims that he has lost weight through minor diet and exercise have created controversy among nutritionists and fitness industry professionals – none of whom believe such dramatic weight loss would be possible, especially for his age, according to The Guardian.

Thank you, Iran, for making these ghouls shit their pants and lose sleep.

  • China says a third of electricity will come from renewables by 2025 Reuters

China will aim to ensure that its grids source about 33% of power from renewable sources by 2025, up from 28.8% in 2020, the state planning agency said on Wednesday in a new “five-year plan” for the renewable sector.

China, the biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, has pledged to raise total wind and solar capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by 2030, almost double the current rate, with plans to build large-scale renewable energy bases in northwestern desert regions.

China is aiming to start cutting coal consumption in 2026, but in the meantime could put as much as 150 gigawatts of new coal capacity into operation by then, according to research from the State Grid.

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT labour union has declared a general strike on 16 June in protest of the government’s refusal to reform public companies, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Union said the strike was called “over government’s unwillingness to reform public companies”.

It said the general strike will cover 159 public institutions in the country.

Tunisia faces its worst financial crisis and is seeking a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The UGTT, which has more than a million members, calls for wage increases for state workers as inflation reached a record level of 7.5 per cent in April, from 7.2 per cent in March and 7 per cent in February.

  • China Is Winning in Asia. Biden’s Plans Won’t Change That. NYT

President Biden has said the United States won’t stand by and let China “win the 21st century,” and his first trip to Asia was meant to match words with action.

Mr. Biden huddled last week with leaders of the four-nation “Quad” group formed to counter Beijing, vowed to defend Taiwan against China and launched a new economic pact involving a dozen nations to shore up U.S. economic influence in the region.

Yet China is already winning throughout much of Asia on both the economic and diplomatic front, and nothing the United States is doing seems likely to change that.

The Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index, which tracks economic data to assess regional power dynamics, shows that U.S. leverage has declined precipitously since as recently as 2018, while China has surged ahead.

Twenty years ago, just 5 percent of exports from Southeast Asia went to China, and 16 percent to the United States. By 2020, they were even at around 15 percent. China’s increasing clout becomes clearer when considering total trade: it does around two and a half times more volume in the region than the United States. China is now the largest trading partner of almost every Asian country.

Investment — driven by a vibrant U.S. private sector — has long been an American advantage in Asia. But that edge is rapidly eroding, too. In 2018, 10-year cumulative flows of investment from China to other countries in the region were half those of the United States. They are now 75 percent of the U.S. total and rising.

Competing robustly in the region is essential for America. The Obama administration recognized this with its proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would have been the largest trade bloc ever. But President Donald Trump withdrew over concerns that it would erode U.S. competitiveness and ship American jobs overseas.

That was a gift to Beijing. China is already the largest economy in a separate trade grouping called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and last year applied to join the TPP’s successor agreement, which retains many of the original pact’s core provisions. The United States is out of both.

The Biden administration’s answer, unveiled last week in Tokyo, is its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. It falls far short.

The plan calls for cooperation on trade, supply chains, infrastructure and fighting corruption. But it does not include better access to the huge U.S. import market, a crucial carrot that normally underpins trade agreements.

U.S. officials counter that the plan is more suited to the 21st century than “past models.” But potential Asian partners have trouble seeing what’s in it for them. A lack of buy-in could undermine the United States’ ability to set the rules on emerging issues like the digital economy, which would give American firms a leg up.

Meanwhile, China has forged ahead. State-owned companies have locked up big projects around the region, often under the umbrella of China’s sprawling Belt and Road Initiative.

China also practices persistent diplomacy. Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s travels in Southeast Asia and the Pacific has far outstripped the pace of his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken. Despite the fanfare of Mr. Biden’s recent trip to Asia, it was his first to the region since taking office 16 months ago and only included visits to close allies South Korea and Japan.

China also cultivates powerful elites. In the Philippines, its newly elected president and vice president have both politically benefited from China’s investments in their home constituencies. In Cambodia and the Solomon Islands, China has opened pathways for expanding its military presence far from home. In Indonesia, a strong relationship with the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment gives Beijing the access needed to pursue objectives such as deals for Huawei in the country’s 5G network.

The United States does have something China lacks: time-tested alliances with what the Biden administration calls “like-minded” democracies such as its fellow members of the “Quad” grouping — Japan, Australia and India — as well as South Korea. The Quad is meant to demonstrate that the United States and its partners can provide an alternative to China on, for example, vaccines and infrastructure.

But the Quad is yet to have much real impact. An ambitious pledge to deliver one billion vaccines to Indo-Pacific countries by the end of this year has run into manufacturing obstacles in India.

The Quad, in fact, highlights an American weakness: the United States is strong in the democracies fringing the region but weak at the center in Southeast Asia. Over time, a more dominant China could impede U.S. military access to regional bases during crises, pose challenges for American companies doing business and force U.S. diplomats to work harder to make their voices heard.

Unless Washington’s economic statecraft improves, its influence in Asia will continue to ebb. Rather than its uninspiring new regional economic plan, the Biden administration should summon the political courage to join the TPP’s successor pact, making clear to U.S. domestic opponents that it would be an important tool in countering China. It also needs to more aggressively engage with smaller but still important non-aligned countries of Southeast Asia and the Pacific that China is steadily winning over.

Competing with China in Asia will not be easy. But it starts with recognizing that right now the United States is losing.

  • How China strengthened food security and fought poverty with state-funded co-operatives Multipolarista

  • How Amazon And Starbucks Workers Are Upending The Organizing Rules Popular Resistance

“Workers are reaching out to our union in unprecedented numbers,” says Alan Hanson, organizing director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 in the Washington, D.C., area. “And they’re coming to us in a way I’ve never seen.

“The checklist that staff organizers have — get a list, identify leaders, make sure the organizing committee is diverse and represents all departments and classifications — these workers are coming to us and they have already done all of that. I haven’t had four successful worker-generated organizing campaigns in my entire career and we just had four in four months.”

At one of those shops, Union Kitchen, a D.C.-based grocery store, workers went on a three-day strike before their union was even certified, a level of militancy that seemed all but extinct but has now begun reappearing in nascent organizing campaigns. After the strike and before the election, four Union Kitchen activists were fired, Hanson says — a scorched earth union-busting tactic that is usually the death knell for a certification vote — but workers voted overwhelmingly for their union anyway.

“People getting fired during a union organizing campaign isn’t having the same impact it had in the past,” Hanson says. “Most of these workers are moving from one shitty job to another anyway, so they figure that they might as well organize to make them better while they are there.”


  • Pathogens jumping to humans from animals becoming more frequent, warns WHO Inquirer

Outbreaks of endemic diseases such as monkeypox and lassa fever are becoming more persistent and frequent, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergencies director, Mike Ryan, warned on Wednesday.

As climate change contributes to rapidly changing weather conditions like drought, animals and human are changing their behaviour, including food-seeking habits. As a result of this “ecologic fragility”, pathogens that typically circulate in animals are increasingly jumping into humans, he said.

Link back to the discussion thread.