Link back to the discussion thread.



  • Combat drone plant will open in Ukraine as planned RT

Ukraine’s plan to host a manufacturing facility for Turkish drone producer Baykar is progressing and will be realized despite the conflict with Russia, the country’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasily Bondar, has told journalists.

A Ukrainian firm established by the Turkish defense contractor has already bought a land plot where the factory will be built, the diplomat said. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian authorities are in the process of ratifying the necessary agreement with Turkey for it to operate, he told RBK Ukraine.

  • Ukrainian region announces vote on joining Russia RT

Zaporozhye Region will hold a referendum on whether to secede from Ukraine and request joining Russia, the head of its administration announced on Monday.

Evgeny Balitskiy said that he had signed an order to organize the plebiscite during a regional forum held in the city of Melitopol. Over 700 representatives from various parts of the Ukrainian region approved the idea, according to RIA Novosti.

Earlier comments by administration officials indicated the referendum may be held as soon as mid-September.


  • Western sanctions are good for Moscow – US economist RT

That’s right - it’s the one, the only…

The economic war unleashed by the West against Russia has backfired and may bring the country much good, former Wall Street financier Michael Hudson has told the German news outlet Junge Welt.

“The West’s sanctions are great for Russia. Any country threatened by US sanctions is forced to become self-sufficient,” Hudson said in an interview published on Saturday.

He said that sanctions have effectively pushed Russia toward import-substitution, and the country is on track to becoming completely free of reliance on Western goods.

“Instead of importing German cars, Russia is turning to China to develop its own automotive industry. Russia is now moving very quickly to replace its dependence on the West for manufactured goods with its own domestic production. The only things they can’t produce are Walt Disney movies and Italian handbags,” the economist said, adding that while Russia is unlikely to be able to mass produce some of the luxury items it used to import, its economy will become largely self-sufficient.

Hudson also noted that sanctions, while aimed at reducing Russia’s profits from energy exports, instead “brought additional revenue to the Russian state budget.”

“Russia is the big beneficiary of Germany’s energy embargo plans. The less gas Russia sells, the more money it makes,” he stated, referring to the skyrocketing energy prices that grow in correlation with the drop in Russia’s exports.


  • EU country refuses to share gas RT

The European Commission will not be able to force Poland to adhere to the EU’s new plan to cut gas consumption, nor will Poland share its gas reserves with other members of the bloc, the country’s climate and environment minister, Anna Moskwa, has told the news outlet Sieci.

“Energy security is the exclusive competence of each state, and we will never agree cede it to the European Union. No one can force us to regulate gas or introduce other restrictive measures. Moreover, we do not want to make decisions about restrictions in other states,” the minister was cited as saying.

Her comments refer to the EU’s plan to cut gas consumption across the bloc by 15%, which, it is hoped, will help member states fill storages amid concerns of a possible halt of Russian gas supplies. In the interview, Moskwa noted that the plan was not made mandatory and thus should be seen as guidance rather than law.


  • ‘Millions’ of Germans won’t be able to pay for heating – union RT

At least a third of Germans on low incomes may not be able to pay increasingly high energy bills, the German Tenants’ Association (DMB) has warned, urging the government to make changes to housing programs.

“That’s a hell of a lot of people,” Lukas Siebenkotten, the DMB’s chief, told newspaper Der Tagesspiegel on Sunday. “We’re talking about millions here.”

Siebenkotten urged the government to allow more people to claim housing benefits in the wake of rising energy prices. “Tenants must also be protected from the termination of contracts if they cannot make increased advance payments,” he said.

The remarks came after Klaus Mueller, the head of the Federal Network Agency, Germany’s gas regulator, warned that consumers should conserve at least 20% of gas in order to avoid shortages during the winter.

“In all other scenarios, we either face the threat of a gas shortage as early as December, or have low-level shortages at the end of the upcoming heating season,” Mueller said, describing current gas prices as “astronomically high.”

  • Trade war with China could cost Germany six times as much as Brexit, study shows Inquirer

Germany would face costs almost six times as high as Brexit if it and the European Union were to shut China out of their economies, the Ifo institute said on Monday, citing the results of a study.

The biggest losers of a trade war with China would be the automotive industry with a 8.47 percent loss of value-added, manufacturers of transport equipment with a 5.14 percent loss and mechanical engineering with a 4.34 percent loss, the Ifo said.

The goal of German and EU economic policy should be “to establish strategic partnerships and free trade agreements with like-minded nations such as the U.S.,” co-author Florian Dorn said.

The analysis simulated five scenarios, including a decoupling of Western economies from China combined with a trade agreement between the EU and the United States.

While such an agreement could cushion the effects of a trade war with China, it would not offset them entirely. Rather, it would result in the net costs of a trade war equaling roughly the expected costs of Brexit, Ifo said.

  • Siemens Energy blames Russia restructuring for wider 2022 loss Reuters

Siemens Energy on Monday blamed a 200 million euro ($204 million) charge related to the wind-down of its Russian business for a wider net loss in 2022, but said it was still prepared to maintain turbines for the Nord Stream 1 Russian gas pipeline.

The supplier of equipment to the power sector said that its Russian business activities could be sold or wound down and the company was in touch with public authorities to work out the details.


  • Temperatures rise as France tackles its worst drought on record EU Reporter

France is bracing for a fourth heatwave this summer. The country’s worst drought ever recorded left dry villages without water. Farmers warned of a possible shortage of milk this winter.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has established a crisis team to address a drought which has forced many villages to rely upon water delivery by truck. This has prompted the state-run utility EDF to reduce nuclear power output and stressed crop yields.

On Sunday (7 August), temperatures were expected to reach 37 Celsius in the southwest before the baking heat air moves north.

Meteo France, the national weather agency, stated that it was the worst drought in history. It also said that the drought would continue until the middle of next month. France received an average of less than 1cm in rain during July.

According to the ministry of agriculture, the corn harvest will be 18.5% less this year than 2021. This is in line with Europeans' higher food prices due to lower-than-normal exports from Russia or Ukraine.


  • Italy’s centre-left dealt blow as centrist party quits electoral pact EU Reporter

The leader of Italy’s centrist Azione party announced on Sunday (7 August) that it would resign from a centre-left alliance it had formed with the Democratic Party (PD) last week, putting an end to the odds of the coalition before a 25 September election.

The Green leftist federation had just agreed to join the PD bloc with the centrist party Impegno Civico, a move seen as strengthening a centre that is already lagging behind its conservative counterparts.

According to polls, a conservative alliance looks set to win the next month’s elections. The far-right Brothers of Italy is expected to be the largest single party. Italy’s election law favors parties that form large alliances.


  • Finland records record refugee numbers after Ukraine war Inquirer

Finland has registered a record number of asylum seekers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, beating a previous high set during the 2015 migrant crisis, Finnish authorities said Monday.

“By August 4, those fleeing Ukraine due to the Russian military attack had submitted 35,074 applications for temporary protection,” the Finnish Immigration Service said in a statement.

More than 37,000 people are currently registered in the reception system, “which is more than ever before.”

The previous record in the Nordic country was 32,000, during the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe.

United Kingdom

  • Energy Bills Are Set To Soar In The UK Oil Price

The average energy bill is set to climb to nearly £4,000 a year from January as gas prices continue to push upwards, new analysis has shown.

Energy consultancy Auxilione warned that the Government’s price cap, which sets bills for more than 20 million households in Great Britain, could be increased further than previously expected.

It said that between October and December the price cap is likely to be £3,488 per year for the average household. Energy bills are currently capped at £1,971 – already a record high.

Asia and Oceania


  • Taiwan, once world’s factory, taps tourism to keep plants alive Al Jazeera

Inside one of many small factories near the Taiwanese capital Taipei, a group of about 30 school children is seated before traditional sock rings, learning about knitting methods from a bygone era.

It is the way Andrew Wu’s grandfather, Nai Yang, used to make socks when he established the business in then-Japanese-occupied Taiwan in the 1930s: pull the yarn through the hook with a needle, attach it to the ring and then crank over 200 times.

In Nai Yang’s day, workers could spend six to eight hours on one pair of high-quality socks, a luxury product at the time that sold for about 4,000 New Taiwan dollars ($135) in today’s currency. But at Wu’s Wufuyang Socks Museum, tourists can knit their own socks, water bottle holders, stuffed animals, or scarves in just an hour as they learn the history of sock manufacturing in Taiwan — and see how the process is done today with advanced machines.

“With our DIY classes, we teach them how to thread everything,” Wu told Al Jazeera. “So they actually know how long it takes to make socks. So they value their things more.”

Wu’s “tourism factory” is part of an effort by Taiwan’s Economic Development Bureau to boost local tourism by directing funds towards infrastructure that already exists: its factories.

Once considered the “factory of the world”, Taiwan hopes its industrial tourism initiative will encourage some factories to keep operations local rather than following the international trend of moving to China or Southeast Asia, where land and labour costs are low.

The 20-year effort has resulted in more than 150 government-approved “tourism factories” and “manufacturing culture centres”, and up to 100 more independent examples. Curious tourists can visit museums for shoes, robots, suitcases, pencils, and even condoms, and come home with a DIY product to remember their visit.

The hope is that a greater emphasis on service – rather than just production – will build stronger brand loyalty and trust in Taiwanese companies in an increasingly competitive international market.

  • Taiwan to hold anti-invasion drills after China exercises Inquirer

Taiwan will hold live-fire military drills this week simulating a defense of the island against a Chinese invasion, officials said Monday, as Beijing carries out fresh exercises around its neighbor.

The island’s forces will hold anti-landing exercises in the southernmost county of Pingtung on Tuesday and Thursday, the Taiwanese army said.

“We will practice counter moves against simulated enemy attacks on Taiwan,” Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for the Eighth Army Corps, told AFP. They will include the deployment of hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzer guns, the army said.

  • Beijing keeps Taiwan drills running RT

The Chinese military said its drills around Taiwan will continue on Monday, despite initial plans announced last week that they would last until mid-Sunday. They were launched in response to a visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The training on Monday will take place in the sea and airspace near the self-governed island, and will focus on anti-submarine and amphibious assault operations, a statement released by China’s Eastern Theater Command said.

Monday’s prolongation of the exercises near Taiwan is the second announced by the People’s Liberation Army in as many days. The initial plan was to wrap up the training around noon on Sunday.

It would be very funny if the way that the war plays out is that both China and Taiwan claim that they’re just holding very realistic, long-running military drills. The Chinese equivalent of the US not technically being at war since WW2 or whatever, or Russia saying that it’s a special military operation.

  • Taiwan Says Economic Ties to China Make More Sanctions Unlikely Bloomberg

China’s economic measures against Taiwan are unlikely to have a major impact on trade between the two economies given how closely they’re intertwined, a finance ministry official in Taipei said Monday.

The remarks from the Finance Ministry’s chief statistician, Beatrice Tsai, came as Beijing-Taipei relations remain fraught, with the former slapping Taiwan last week with trade curbs on some fish and fruit imports and sand exports following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.

Countries with close economic ties would never sanction each other - that would be insane. I mean, look at Germany and Russ– hang on, I’m getting a voice in my ear, telling me som– oh. Oh no."


  • China posts record $101 billion trade surplus but export boom could fade CNN

China’s export sector delivered robust growth in July, providing much-need support for the world’s second largest economy that is almost certain to miss its GDP target this year.

Exports measured in US dollars jumped 18% in July from a year ago, marking the fastest pace of growth this year, according to Chinese customs statistics released on Sunday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 15% increase. In June, exports increased 17.9%.

Imports, meanwhile, grew 2.3% from a year earlier, slightly missing expectations and suggesting domestic demand remains weak.

July’s strong export performance sent China’s trade surplus to a record $101 billion for the month, the first time it has surpassed the $100 billion threshold. By comparison, the trade surplus in July 2021 was just $56.6 billion.

“The monthly trade data shows that China’s factories continue to march towards a robust comeback from the latest Omicron wave,” said David Chao, global market strategist for Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) at Invesco.

“Despite a softening global demand backdrop, the export beat was largely driven by normalizing production activity in places like the Yangtze River Delta [region],” he said. The Yangtze River Delta, which comprises Shanghai and parts of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, is a key foreign trade hub.

Activity at Shanghai, the world’s busiest container port, hit a record high in July, after the city gradually emerged from a grueling Covid lockdown that almost paralyzed its economy for months.

  • China cuts tariffs, cosies up to 16 of world’s poorest nations with US, Australia trade ties strained SCMP

China will cut import tariffs on almost all taxable items shipped from 16 of the world’s poorest countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Djibouti, Rwanda and Togo

Three Chinese organisations are leading the charge to create an international carbon market for green hydrogen.

They have proposed a methodology, pending approval from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), for calculating emission reductions from green hydrogen projects to sell as carbon credits. The buyers of those reductions – mainly countries and companies – could use them towards their net zero goals.

The first project in line for this new market is a hydrogen production station (called Guohua Hebei Chicheng wind hydrogen project) in the city of Zhangjiakou, in northwest China.

The project was one of the stations that provided fuel for more than 1,200 hydrogen powered vehicles during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The city of Zhangjiakou, in particular, has become a hub for hydrogen infrastructure, among them is a 20MW plant operated by Shell.

Middle East


  • 5 of Turkey’s banks have adopted Russia’s payment system, and Western officials are concerned it could be used to skirt sanctions Business Insider

Five of Turkey’s banks have started using Russia’s Mir payments system, raising concerns that it could be used to skirt sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. As Mastercard and Visa have halted operations in Russia, Mir card payments will allow Russian tourists to pay for their purchases in Turkey.

There are “very serious developments” on the adoption of the system that will let Russians in Turkey pay for their purchases, said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in the resort city of Sochi, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

The Turkish leader’s meeting with Putin on Friday came three weeks after they met in Iran. The deepening of the relationship between the two countries is worrying Western officials, some of whom are thinking about punitive actions for Turkey, such as asking companies to reduce financing to Turkish firms, the Financial Times reported. There have been no official talks about such actions for Turkey so far, the media outlet added.


  • More than 40 people killed in Gaza in weekend of violence CNN

Palestinian militants launched rockets toward Jerusalem on Sunday, after Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight killed a senior militant commander – the second since Israel’s operation against Islamic Jihad began. The response from the Iran-backed group marked another escalation in a weekend of violence that has left dozens of people dead in Gaza and sent thousands of Israelis scrambling for shelters.

Overnight, Khaled Mansour, a leader of Islamic Jihad’s operations in southern Gaza, was killed in an airstrike on a building in Rafah, close to Egypt’s border, according to Israeli officials. Israel said that Mansour was responsible for a number of terror attacks against Israelis.

He is the second Islamic Jihad commander to be killed since Friday, when Israel launched a surprise operation, “Breaking Dawn,” triggering the worst bout of violence between Israeli and Palestinian militants since a brief war last May. On the same day, Israel killed Tayseer Al-Jabari, the head of the group’s operations in the north of Gaza, in what it described a “pre-emptive” strike.

Since then, the Israeli military says it has hit dozens of additional targets including rocket launching sites, weapons manufacturing facilities and a tunnel it said was being built to allow militants to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks. The Israeli military has also extended its campaign into the West Bank, detaining about 40 suspected Islamic Jihad militants across the territory in two nights of operations.

Islamic Jihad, which is the smaller of the two main militant groups in Gaza, has fired more than seven hundred rockets since Friday, according to Israeli officials, mainly launched toward Israeli communities living close to the Gaza Strip, but also firing several longer-range rockets.

About twenty per cent of the launches have landed inside Gaza, an army spokesman told reporters. The Iron Dome aerial defense system, which is deployed against any incoming fire assessed to be a threat to people or buildings, and which intercepted the rockets fired at Jerusalem, is currently operating at a 97% success rate, the spokesman said.


  • ‘We stand five minutes from the finish line,” Russia’s Ulyanov says of Vienna talks Tehran Times

Nuclear negotiators who have gathered in Vienna after a five month-hiatus have indicated that they are optimistic about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We stand five minutes or five seconds from the finish line,” Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov told reporters outside Vienna’s Palais Coburg on Sunday, four days into the talks. He said there are “three or four issues” left to be resolved.

“They are sensitive, especially for Iranians and Americans,” Ulyanov said. “I cannot guarantee, but the impression is that we are moving in the right direction.”

Enrique Mora, the European Union’s top negotiator who acts as mediator between Iran and the U.S., also said he is “absolutely” optimistic about the talks’ progress so far.

“We are advancing and I expect we will close the negotiations soon,” he told Iranian media.

“The great potential of African countries is an opportunity for Iran to expand its trade with these nations,” Hamed Forouzan, a ministerial official, said on Saturday at a forum held for discussing the first Iran-Burundi Joint Economic Committee meeting,, the government’s official portal, reported.

Speaking at the gathering, Forouzan pointed to the approach adopted by his ministry to develop and boost cooperation with African states and added that seven cooperation documents were inked between Iran and Burundi after the visit of the president of Burundi to Iran.

Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia To Join The Ranks Of Trillion-Dollar Economies, Buoyed By Oil Surge Forbes

Saudi Arabia is set to join the ranks of the trillion-dollar economies this year, helped by a surge in oil revenues following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There were 18 countries with a gross domestic product (GDP) larger than $1 trillion in 2021, according to the IMF. They were led by the U.S. with its $23 trillion economy, followed by China in second place with $17.5 trillion and Japan in third with $4.9 trillion.

Saudi Arabia had the 19th largest economy last year, but it was still some way off the $1 trillion threshold, with GDP of $834 billion.

What’s changed this year is the spike in oil prices, the key element of the Saudi economy, notwithstanding official efforts to diversify. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the cost of a barrel of Brent crude – the key international benchmark – is expected to average more than $104 this year, up from $70.89 in 2021 and just $41.69 in 2020.


  • Sanctions Are Making It Difficult For Afghanistan To Pay Its Energy Debts Oil Price

Afghanistan has settled its multimillion-dollar outstanding debts owed to Uzbekistan for electric power supplies, the Uzbek Energy Ministry has announced.

The Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, or DABS, power company has fully settled what it owed Uzbekistan for the 2,151.3 kilowatt hours of electricity supplied in 2021, the ministry reported on August 1.

DABS is also paying on time for this year’s supplies, it said.

The Energy Ministry did not specify the size of the debt that had been owed. However, in May the Afghan government said it owed Uzbekistan and Tajikistan $100 million for electricity, the bulk of it, in the region of $70 million, due to Uzbekistan.

It had been unable to pay because of problems with the country’s sanctioned Taliban rulers transferring funds via the international banking system.

Now it has found a solution of some sort, although neither side explained what that was.

Tajikistan, by contrast, says it remains unable to receive the funds it is owed.

North America

United States

  • Americans see bleak economic outlook RT

Americans are more pessimistic about the US economy than at any time since the global financial crisis of 2008, suggesting that President Joe Biden has failed to convince voters that conditions are improving under his leadership, a new poll has revealed.

Just 12% of Americans believe the nation’s economy is ‘getting better’, compared with 69% who see it ‘getting worse’, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday. Although the survey is weighted toward Democrats, only 37% of respondents approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, while just 29% give him a thumbs-up on dealing with inflation, which is at a 40-year high.

In fact, just three months away from the US midterm elections, Biden got negative marks in every category other than his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The president has tried to convince Americans that he has the economic recovery on the right track – at one point even making a false claim that the US has the fastest-growing economy in the world – but Republicans and Democrats alike see a different reality.

  • US gas prices will jump back to $4.35 soon because supplies are running low, Goldman Sachs says Business Insider

Goldman Sachs has predicted the cost of US gas at the pump will jump back to around $4.35 a gallon by the end of the year, and then reach an average of $4.40 next year, as supply shortages push up prices.

Gas prices have fallen dramatically over the past month or so after topping $5 a gallon in June, as oil prices have fallen and bottlenecks at refineries have eased. The AAA said the average price was $4.059 a gallon on Monday.

But Goldman said in a note Sunday it expects oil prices to pick up from here, after sharp falls in recent weeks. That’s because supplies are still running low, while global demand has remained relatively strong.

Goldman’s analysts, led by Damien Courvalin, said they think fuel demand from US drivers will rise after showing signs of slowing over the past month. And they said they expect more congestion at oil refineries — for example, from the coming fall maintenance season — to limit supply.

  • No male sea turtles are being born in Florida because hotter sand from climate change is producing only females, scientist said Business Insider

A turtle hospital in Florida said all the turtles they tested for the past four years have been female, a worrying trend it attributes to climate change.

The temperature of the sand where the eggs are buried influences the sex of sea turtles.

Males are already a small minority of sea turtles — outnumbered around 10 to one — and as the sand gets hotter fewer and fewer males develop.

Experts disagree about the effect of this trend on the survival of sea turtle species. Regardless, climate change is putting heavy pressure on the endangered animals, an expert told Insider.


  • One Dead And 121 Injured In Fuel Storage Depot Fire In Matanzas, Cuba Popular Resistance

At least one person has died, 17 firefighters are missing, and 121 people have been injured in a huge fire that broke out on Friday, August 5, in a fuel depot in Matanzas, in western Cuba, 60 miles east of Havana.

The fire started on Friday evening after a lighting hit a fuel tank in Matanzas, and then in the early hours of Saturday it spread to a second tank, causing a big explosion around 5:00 A.M. while government officials and firefighter teams were trying to control the first explosion. All throughout Saturday Cuban authorities worked tirelessly to prevent the fire from reaching a third tank. The storage facility consists of eight storage tanks overall.

The governments of Mexico and Venezuela have already sent expert teams to help the Cubans in the midst of the catastrophe that has shaken the island nation subjected to more than 60 years of an illegal US blockade. The total economic, financial and trade blockade against Cuba has recently created an energy crisis there, affecting electricity generation, among other criminal consequences. The storage facility under fire is an important hub for distribution of fuel to different thermoelectrical plants in the country.

The Cuban News Agency (ACN) reported that the impacted container was at 50% of its capacity of 300,000 barrels and that the lightning arrestor it had could not protect the tank as the discharge was of extremely high power.

South America


  • Argentina and China share “territorial integrity” concept. Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan “a provocation,” Argentine ambassador in Beijing Merco Press

Argentine controversial ambassador to China, Sabiuo Vaca Narvaja openly supported Beijing’s position condemning US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan, which he described as “a provocation” and “a problem for the international community”.

Sabino Vaca Narvaja strongly defended the concept of “territorial integrity” on which Beijing argues its claim over the “rogue province” of Taiwan, and which Argentina likewise applies to the Falkland/Malvinas Islands in its sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom.

“We are sure that this visit has been a provocation for China and a problem for the entire international community. That is why we want to condemn this visit and join the voices of Latin America, but also of the United Nations,” Vaca Narvaja told Chinese and Argentine official news agencies.


  • The Global Diesel Crunch Is Going To Get Worse Oil Price

Despite signs of weakening economic growth globally, regional diesel markets are tight and could tighten even further when winter comes and when Europe bans imports of Russian crude and fuels. Distillate fuel inventories are low in the United States and Europe. Stockpiles in the U.S. haven’t increased this summer as usual, and in one month since the end of June, they have seen the biggest drawdown for this time of the year in at least 32 years. The fuel market in Europe is even tighter as industries and utilities look to switch to oil products from natural gas, whose prices are at record highs after Russia slashed deliveries to the EU and showed it could not be considered a reliable energy supplier.

Over the next few months, the shortages could become even worse when heating season begins, which will coincide with the planned EU ban on imports of Russian seaborne fuels at the start of 2023.


The Ukraine War

  • CBS partially retracts documentary that outraged Ukraine by claiming that US weapon shipments were going missing Business Insider

CBS partially retracted a documentary in which it said that shipments of weapons to Ukraine from the US had been going missing.

CBS tweeted on Monday that it had removed a a video promoting the documentary that included a months-old quote saying most aid was not making it to Ukraine’s front lines.

It said it was updating the documentary, called “Arming Ukraine,” with “new information” about the delivery of military aid to Ukraine.

Among the material removed was a quote the founder of pro-Ukraine nonprofit Blue-Yellow, Jonas Ohman, who said in late April that only around 30% of aid was reaching the front lines in Ukraine.

CBS said that “Since that time, Ohman says delivery has improved.” It also noted that the US had sent an official — Brigadier General Garrick M. Harmon — to Kyiv specifically to monitor the use of military aid.

“We are updating our documentary to reflect this new information and air at a later date,” CBS said.

“I’ll have you know that a full 40% of military aid now reaches Ukraine, Mr CBS, sir. That’s basically 100% of it."

  • Amnesty ‘regrets pain’ caused by Ukraine report as criticism continues Euro News

Get a backbone, jesus christ. First with saying that Israel is an apartheid state, now this - every time, Amnesty is like “H-hey, you’re doing a bad thing!” and then they get yelled at by the people doing those bad things and are like “S-sowwy, I didn’t mean to h-hurt your feelings, I’ll stop talking…” on the verge of tears.

The furore over Amnesty International’s report accusing Kyiv of endangering civilians continued on Monday, drawing angry reactions from Ukrainian officials and criticism from Western diplomats.

The report also sparked fears it would serve as a further justification for Moscow in its increased bombardment of civilian targets in recent weeks.

On Sunday, the rights group said it regrets the pain caused by the report, which infuriated President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and triggered the resignation of its Kyiv office head.

In the meantime, the Russian Mission in Geneva tweeted that if a civilian building “is used for military purposes, it turns into a legitimate target for a precision strike”, sparking further reactions against the report.

  • Ukraine probing almost 26000 suspected war crimes cases EU Reporter

Ukraine has arrested 135 people in connection with nearly 26,000 war crime cases that were committed since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, according to its chief war crimes prosecutor.

Yuriy Bilosov, the head of the War Crimes Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, stated that approximately 15 of those being charged are currently in Ukrainian custody while the rest 120 remain at large. He spoke to journalists in Kyiv.

  • Russia takes out 45,000 tons of NATO ammo RT

The Russian military has taken out a depot in southern Ukraine that stored NATO-supplied ammunition, the Defense Ministry claimed on Sunday.

“In the Voznesensk area of the Nikolaev region an arsenal that stored 45,000 tons of ammunition recently supplied to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by NATO countries has been destroyed,” the ministry stated, adding that Russian forces eliminated five other ammo depots.

Dipshittery and Cope

For bad takes, awful analysis that makes you wonder why these people get paid, predictions that reveal a staggering lack of knowledge, and hope for a future that would be worse than the present.


  • ‘Highly likely’ that Russia has lost or fired 16 of its top generals since the start of the war in Ukraine: UK intelligence Business Insider

I see an article from “UK intelligence” basically every day and I’ve stopped mentioning them because it’s always the same shit like “UK intelligence says that Russia is about to run out of fuel/ammo/men” while Russia continues to advance just like it has for the whole of the war since the beginning of Phase 2, but I liked this one. “UK intelligence says that all of Russia’s generals were packed into one clown car and that a single drone strike by Ukraine managed to slaughter 30 of them."

  • The Ukrainians Are Hitting The Russians Where They Aren’t Forbes, by David Axe, who I regard as a slightly smarter, military-minded version of Max Boot.

The Russian army in Ukraine apparently is shifting a third of its forces in eastern Ukraine to southern Ukraine in order to defend against Ukrainian attacks in the south.

But that’s exposing gaps in Russian defenses in the east. And now the Ukrainian army reportedly is exploiting those gaps, especially around Sloviansk and Izium. Hitting the Russians where they aren’t.

In pressing these attacks, however, the Ukrainians risk overextending their own forces.

“Ukrainian forces are likely taking advantage of the redeployment of Russian forces away from the Sloviansk axis and conducted localized counterattacks to regain ground southwest of Izium and northwest of Sloviansk on Aug. 4,” the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C. reported.

The purported Ukrainian counteroffensive around Izium, reportedly involving the 93rd Brigade and other units, at best has liberated a few villages such as Dibrovne, Mazanivka and Dmytrivka.

But the eastern counteroffensive belies what ISW described as a more profound shift in Russia’s wider war in Ukraine, which began in late February.

“Ukraine’s preparations for the counteroffensive in Kherson and the initial operations in that counteroffensive, combined with the dramatic weakening of Russian forces generally, appear to be allowing Ukraine to begin actively shaping the course of the war for the first time.”

Five months into the wider war, Kyiv finally has the momentum, according to ISW. It’s an open question, however, whether the Ukrainian army has the resources to sustain this momentum.

It’s clear how we got here. Russia went to war in Ukraine with too few troops to achieve its aims.

Etc etc, the article continues with the identical pre-packaged spiel that every article on the war has.

  • Amnesty’s Impartiality Plays to Russia’s Advantage Bloomberg

No one is quite able to pinpoint where the expression “useful idiot” comes from. Vladimir Lenin is supposed to have coined it, but it’s almost certainly older.

The Oxford dictionary defines “useful idiot” as…

All of us, though, have seen demonstrations of this behavior in recent months as too many adherents of both the far left and right in Europe and the US — in search of balance, or angry with Western wrongs — have provided the Kremlin propaganda machine with fuel.

So it is with the report published late last week by human rights group Amnesty International, which argues Ukrainian forces have put ordinary citizens in harm’s way by establishing bases in residential areas, including in schools emptied of their pupils. There is a pattern of putting civilians at risk, the organization says, and of violating the laws of war.

Amnesty’s concern for citizens’ lives is laudable, as is the commitment to impartiality and its effort to look at all actors on the battlefield. It has spoken out on Russian atrocities in Ukraine and on Moscow’s actions against its own citizens opposing the war. Yet Thursday’s statement on Ukraine’s actions is, at best, naive. By allowing Moscow to portray residential areas as fair game, it’s also perilous.

Where does the report go awry? First, by suggesting choice. Amnesty says it found evidence of Ukrainian forces “launching strikes from within populated residential areas”, basing themselves in civilian buildings and, in one instance, “basing armoured vehicles under trees in purely residential neighbourhoods.”

Ukraine has clear obligations with regards to its citizens, but as the defending force, it is holding back attackers where it must. Armed forces should avoid urban areas, but that is clearly not always possible given Ukrainian soldiers are defending towns and settlements, which are often seen as strategic by the Russian military. The fighting cannot always be shifted to woodlands or open fields. Amnesty experts say there are many “viable alternatives” but provide scant evidence for them in the brief report.

Then there’s the missing context. For example, the report says that, in the cases it documented, Amnesty was “not aware” of efforts by military stationed in schools, hospitals and the like to evacuate civilians in nearby buildings. But it makes no reference to Kyiv’s broader efforts to relocate civilians — or to the reality that many are reluctant to leave, understandably fearing a worse fate away from Ukraine’s soldiers. Forced displacement is itself a violation.

There’s also the basic question of how the research was carried out. Amnesty says the report followed “extensive on the ground investigations,” and that the outside experts from its Crisis Response Programme had also looked into Russian war crimes. Their findings reflect rigorous research standards, the organization says. All of that may be true, even if the current report offers only a snapshot. It’s still hard to see why their expertise should require excluding Amnesty’s local team, ignoring their objections and requests. At the very least that requires an explanation. “Although unwittingly, the organization created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives,” the head of Amnesty’s Ukraine office, Oksana Pokalchuk, said in a Facebook statement. She has resigned.

That’s so weird! Reality seems to have a slightly pro-Russian bent! This must be evidence that the universe itself is a Putinist stooge and on the Kremlin’s payroll!

All violations of international law deserve to be investigated, but the danger of creating a false equivalence between attackers and defenders is real and requires far greater care, balance and self-awareness than Amnesty has demonstrated. Simply stating, as Amnesty does, that the violations don’t justify Russian attacks does not solve the problem that the report creates. This is a brutal war of conquest led by a regime seeking to wipe out a nation — not a skirmish in which both sides share the blame.

“Of course, all military actions that America takes on foreign nations are skirmishes in which both sides share the blame, and not brutal wars of conquest seeking to wipe out a nation, such as Korea, or Vietnam, or Iraq, or Syria, or Libya, or… well, anyway, both sides share the blame, and the enemy side has most of it. But we’ll take like, 5%."

“To say that issuing a four-page press release compares to hundreds of pages that we’ve published since the beginning of the Russian invasion… it’s just not true,” Amnesty’s senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera has said, defending the organization’s actions. That may be correct from the researcher’s perspective, but not for many readers. Nor, of course, for Kremlin propagandists, who have enthusiastically seized upon the report.

Which brings us to what is perhaps the most worrying aspect of all here — the response from Amnesty International’s secretary general. Agnes Callamard at first rejected allegations of bias, but in follow-up comments suggested “attacks” were coming from “social media mobs and trolls.” “This is called war propaganda, disinformation, misinformation,” she tweets. Reasonable questions, including from Amnesty’s own team, deserve credible answers, not arrogance. Finding balance in the fog of war while retaining trust requires openness, not an effort to dig in.

Which brings us to what is perhaps the most worrying aspect of all here — the response from Amnesty International’s secretary general. Agnes Callamard at first rejected allegations of bias, but in follow-up comments suggested “attacks” were coming from “social media mobs and trolls.” “This is called war propaganda, disinformation, misinformation,” she tweets. Reasonable questions, including from Amnesty’s own team, deserve credible answers, not arrogance. Finding balance in the fog of war while retaining trust requires openness, not an effort to dig in.

No one will suggest that Ukrainian forces are always heroic. Few participants emerge unsullied from war and it’s clear to all that Ukraine has challenges that predate the conflict.

Wait, really? Because reading all these articles for the last five to six months - and trust me, I HAVE done the reading - would make it appear that Ukraine, and Ukrainians, are unambiguously heroic. And all previous issues with neo-Nazi paramilitary groups and fascist rhetoric and the Donbass shelling have been effortlessly swept away, to the point where if you teleported an article about Azov from just nine months ago to the present day, that author would be put to death on a stake on social media.

But impartiality is simply not about publishing on one side, and then on the other.

What is it, then?

Amnesty might have reflected on the danger of presenting its findings as it has — and how a report so short of context and explanation would be used. Russia has attacked a theater sheltering civilians, bombed a shopping center and prevented civilian evacuations; it hardly needed more reason to strike residential targets. Amnesty has blundered before. Last year, it referred to Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny as a prisoner of conscience after his arrest, but then revoked that because of past xenophobic comments — never mind the context, or the fact that it’s possible to object to both racism and unjustified imprisonment. It then changed its mind again. The rights group might have thought back to that instead of handing Russia another propaganda win.

It was a heated gamer moment, and Amnesty realized and respected that.

Amnesty’s work matters. Its reports matter, and people’s lives depend on them, as does justice. All the more reason to do it right.

I fucking hate when these authors end with a “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” sentence in their articles. To go off on a bit of a tangent, it reminds me when Chapo’s Felix made the point that all of society is increasingly just a giant nursery for adults, with adverts like “You worked SO HARD today, and we’re so proud of you. Give yourself some [insert product here] as a reward!” and “Here’s a water bottle that has positive messages on the side telling you to sip from your baby bottle every hour!” We’re all still in elementary school, and these are supposed to be our teachers.

  • ‘Realists’ have it wrong: Putin, not Zelensky, is the one who can end the war. WaPo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gets a lot of advice on how he can end the war in his country, and most of it pushes in one direction: Swap some sovereignty for peace. If only Zelensky would give Russian President Vladimir Putin another chunk of Ukrainian territory, the argument goes, the war would end.

In May, Zelensky reported that French President Emmanuel Macron “suggested to me certain things related to concessions on our sovereignty in order to help Putin save his face.” Henry A. Kissinger echoed that advice. Speaking at the World Economic Forum that same month, the former U.S. secretary of state warned Western leaders not to push Putin into an embarrassing defeat, and instead suggested they urge Zelensky to give up Ukrainian territory as a means to ending the war. Op-ed pages in Europe and the United States have been filled with self-appointed strategists suggesting ways for Zelensky to halt the carnage.

And Ukrainians I know harbor a very specific, private worry: Should Putin succeed in fully taking Donbas, he might declare his war of conquest over for now, quickly prompting some Western leaders to urge Zelensky to accept the loss of occupied land as the price of peace.

Strangely, few in this army of advisers direct their wisdom toward Moscow. Why does no one offer Putin advice for how to end his invasion? To those claiming to make the “case for diplomacy,” in alleged opposition to the “case for war,” please detail how you would persuade or compel Putin to stop the conflict. Real diplomacy takes two to tango. Recommendations for peace that instruct only Zelensky to capitulate are not only repulsive, but also highly unrealistic.

…because Putin is winning the war? What incentive does he have to end a war that he is winning and not taking particularly large casualties from? Zelensky is therefore in the position to surrender, stop fighting, and give up territory. This seems like pretty basic stuff. Sure, it’s against the “international rules-based order” but that’s fake anyway. It isn’t real. All political relations are based on power, and the more powerful people and countries can, unfortunately, dictate their whims on less powerful ones, because there is a hierarchy. That might sound like a villain’s speech at the end of a Harry Potter movie or something but that is the world we live in. My political ideology, communism, seeks to change that system to be much more fair and equitable and ultimately get rid of the current understanding of the concepts of “country” and “hierarchy” altogether, but we won’t get anywhere by pretending that the system is already basically fair and equitable and that there are just some big meanies out there who want to destroy it like badly-written bad guys in books and movies.

The repulsive part should be obvious. Putin was not provoked into invading; Russia faced no security threat from Ukraine. Putin has now recognized two regions of Ukraine — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent states, and he has plans to annex them, along with other southern Ukrainian cities and regions that together constitute what Putin calls “Novorossiya.” To try to please Putin by giving him more territory would normalize annexation and reward imperialism.

People are only capable of using words like this when they’re talking about other countries, aren’t they? They’ll use all the latest jargon if they’re talking about “authoritarianism” in China, but if the topic turns to the USA, that language disappears like an anti-CIA journalist.

And no, this is not just what great powers do. After World War II, the great powers endorsed a set of norms to prevent annexation and end colonization. For several decades thereafter, including during the Cold War, they were rare.

Oh, come ON, dude. You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. Seriously? I’m sorry for even putting this article in the update now, I now realize it’s really low-hanging fruit.

Giving Putin more Ukrainian land now would not only radically undermine Ukrainian sovereignty, but it would also threaten to unravel the post-World War II international system more generally. If Russia is allowed to forcibly annex neighboring territory, what would stop other countries from doing the same?

Oh no, not the post-World War II international system! Other countries have been doing essentially the same things that Putin has done for the last century. It was just hidden by a layer of abstraction and propaganda that, because you were born into, you cannot see, in the same way that a fish cannot see water.

The self-appointed Zelensky advisers understand these distasteful facts. They just claim to be realists and assert that their proposal — land for peace — is the only way to end the war. But they are in fact unrealistic, if not downright naive, about Putin and power.

The article continues for a little long but I don’t really care. But you know what? I will graciously concede a single minor point to him, in this deluge of dipshittery - Ukraine giving up the Donbass would not guarantee that Putin would not go further in the future. Even the most pro-Russian people on this side of the issue cannot say with absolute certainty that even once peace is made, that maybe 5-10 years down the road, the circumstances have changed so much that Putin (or his successor) would once again go to war with Ukraine. Maybe there’s an upsurge in fascist terrorism, for example.

The problem with this guy’s entire point is that Ukraine does not have a real choice. The choice is not “Either surrender now and lose the territory or don’t surrender and have a chance of pushing Russia back”, it’s “Either surrender now and lose the territory but the casualties stop, or lose that land anyway after another hundred thousand of your men have died.” This entire article was only able to be written because the author has a false understanding of the current state of the war. And really, that’s every article written by western journalists on this war. They’re analysing the wrong universe. They read the physics question on the exam too fast and are doing the correct calculations, but with the wrong parameters. They’re writing an essay on the themes of the Great Gatsby, but the question asked about the themes of Pride and Prejudice. They made a perfect cocktail, but they misheard the order and the customer actually just wanted a pint of beer.

Bloomerism and Hope

For events that show that a better, more equitable, and happier world is possible than the neoliberal hell we inhabit.

Workers across at least 4 Amazon warehouses in the UK have staged walkouts to protest pay offers that would raise wages by only 0.35-0.50 per hour. This will amount to a real-terms pay cut as the UK’s inflation is on track to hit 13%.

  • The Starbucks Union Drive Is Slowing Down but Still Moving Forward Jacobin

In July, the Starbucks Union filed 52 unfair labor practice (ULP) charges against Starbucks, bringing the total number of ULP charges to 276. These charges typically allege that Starbucks has engaged in retaliation of one sort or another.

The Starbucks Union won twenty-three union elections last month, which increased the size of the union by around 578 workers. At the end of July, the Starbucks Union had successfully organized 208 stores covering around 5,588 workers.

Also in July, the union filed for fourteen new elections. Based on the current win rate and average unit size, these fourteen stores will eventually yield around eleven victories covering 304 Starbucks workers.

At the end of July, there were forty-four open election filings where an election had not yet been run. These forty-four open elections should yield around thirty-six victories covering 957 Starbucks workers.

Overall, what the July data shows us is that the Starbucks union drive is slowing down. This was already apparent a few months ago when the rate of new elections being filed for began declining. But it took a few months for the election-filings decline to result in an election-victories decline because the NLRB was still working through a huge backlog of Starbucks elections that had been filed earlier this year. That backlog is mostly gone, and so the rate of election victories is now constrained by the rate of election filings rather than the NLRB’s capacity to process the cases.

Of course, even with the decline, the rate of growth is still impressive. Prior to this year, nobody would have believed that a Starbucks union could organize a new store every few days. And yet that is what the Starbucks union did last month.


  • Meet the woman risking her life to save animals in Ukraine Euro News

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Natalia Popova has been rescuing and rehoming hundreds of wild animals and pets devastated by the war.

In cooperation with the Ukrainian rights group UA animals, Popova has saved and sent abroad 200 animals.

She rehomed another 100 animals in Western Ukraine, away from the fighting.

And she is currently housing another 133 animals, including a leopard and 13 lions, in her shelter in the Kyiv region.

Poznań Zoo in Poland is also helping her evacuate some of the animals, sending them abroad to places as far away as Spain, France and South Africa.

Link back to the discussion thread.