RT: Russian oil transfers at sea surge as freight costs rise – Bloomberg

Ship-to-ship (STS) transfers of Russian crude oil have reached record volumes since the start of January amid rising freight costs from EU sanctions, Bloomberg has reported citing tracking data.

WSWS: UK anti-strike legislation goes to third reading in parliament

Open Democracy: Tech meltdown caused by UK heatwave cost London hospital £1.4m

TeleSUR: Germany Faces Biggest Teacher Shortage in 50 Years

TeleSUR: Germans Gloomy About Their Country’s Economic Prospects: Survey

Only 39 percent of respondents to a survey published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper on Thursday said they were confident that Germany will still be one of the leading economic nations in ten to 15 years, compared with 59 percent five years ago.

Another survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research (IfD) found that 14 percent of the respondents thought that Germany would emerge stronger from the crises of the past few years.

Reuters: Norway finds ‘substantial’ mineral resources on its seabed

A Norwegian study has found a “substantial” amount of metals and minerals ranging from copper to rare earth metals on the seabed of its extended continental shelf, authorities said on Friday in their first official estimates.

The Nordic country, a major oil and gas exporter, is considering whether to open its offshore areas to deep-sea mining, a process that requires parliament’s approval and has sparked environmental concerns.

East Asia and Oceania

TeleSUR: Tokyo to Ban Exports of Radioactive Material to Russia

The Japanese government will ban exports to Russia of radioactive materials, vaccines and medical equipment, and robots as part of a new package of sanctions against Moscow over Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday.

The ban will also include equipment for nuclear facilities, oil and natural gas exploration, and various chemicals, including tear gas and fingerprint powder.

RT: South Korea unveils path to ‘normalize’ ties with Pyongyang

South Korea will use NGOs and international bodies to tilt Pyongyang towards restarting dialogue, the country’s Unification Ministry said on Friday. It added that the ban on North Korean media may be eased as a goodwill gesture.

The South Korean Unification Ministry, responsible for engaging with Pyongyang, said the government would “seek direct and indirect contact with North Korea through civic groups and international organizations in a bid to open up chances to improve strained inter-Korean ties.”

According to the Yonhap news agency, the Unification Ministry now plans to devise a more detailed strategy provisionally named the New Future Initiative on Unification. As one of the measures, the ministry said it was considering allowing people to read the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s leading newspaper, at designated locations, but online access would not be allowed. North Korean media is currently banned in South Korea.

North Korea suspended nearly all cooperation with South Korea in 2019 after its negotiations with the US had broken down.

At the same time, the Kyunghyang Shinmun newspaper quoted the Unification Ministry as saying that Seoul was hoping to push its neighbor towards negotiations by strengthening diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea and by maintaining the alliance with the US. “We will create conditions, in which North Korea… will have no choice but to come to dialogue,” Kwon said, as quoted by the newspaper.

This is so fucking funny. “Okay, that’s it, we’re prepared to come to the table with North Korea. How are we gonna do it? Well, there’s this very unheard-of method called ‘sanctions’…"

WSWS: Union membership in Australia continues to fall as workers face deepening wage cuts

Over the past three decades, the percentage of Australian workers who are union members has fallen from 39.6 percent to 12.5 percent, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in December.

TeleSUR: Thousands Attended ‘Invasion Day’ Rallies Across Australia

On Thursday, tens of thousands of people attended “Invasion Day” rallies held across Australia’s major cities, calling for changing or abolishing the date as the country celebrates its national holiday Australia Day.

Central Asia and the Middle East

Climate Change News: Azerbaijan weaponises conservation law in conflict with Armenia

MEMO: Seven dead in synagogue attack outside Jerusalem, Israel officials say

MEMO: Afghans in dire need of aid to survive freezing winter

MEMO: France, Iraq sign strategic partnership treaty

MEMO: Four Yemenis freeze to death while fleeing to Europe

MEE: Syria carried out 2018 chlorine attack on Douma, OPCW finds

The OPCW has investigated multiple chemical attacks during the eight-year Syrian civil war and has previously confirmed the use of “chlorine, sulphur mustard, and sarin as chemical weapons” in other incidents.

Damascus has long denied using chemical weapons and claimed that rescue workers belonging to the White Helmets had “staged” the Douma attack.

The chemical weapons watchdog tested the validity of that scenario, among others, but reached the conclusion on the basis of “reasonable grounds” that Syrian forces had perpetrated it.

Well, that settles it. The West has investigated itself and found no wrongdoing.


RT: Berlin apologizes after African Union accuses it of insult

Germany’s attempt to mock the trip of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Africa has backfired after the African Union chided Berlin over the use of a stereotypical emoji. The criticism prompted Berlin to issue a hasty apology.

On Tuesday, the German Foreign Office tweeted that Lavrov had embarked on a tour of Africa “not to see leopards, but to bluntly claim that Ukraine’s partners ‘want to destroy everything Russian’.” The word ‘leopards’ was depicted in the form of an emoji.

Aside from the joke: it would perhaps be a good idea to not try and ban Russian books, plays, etc, even from literally hundreds of years ago, if you wanted to try and reinforce the point that you’re not trying to destroy everything Russian.

Reuters: Archaeologist hails possibly ‘oldest’ mummy yet found in Egypt

Egyptologists have uncovered a Pharaonic tomb near the capital Cairo containing what may be the oldest and “most complete” mummy yet to be discovered in the country, the excavation team leader said on Thursday.

The 4,300-year-old mummy was found at the bottom of a 15-metre shaft in a recently uncovered group of fifth and sixth dynasty tombs near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Zahi Hawass, director of the team, told reporters.

Africa News: Russian foreign minister visits Eritrea, an ally in its war on Ukraine

Africa News: Activists welcome EU rebuke to Morocco on human rights

Africa News: 237 migrants rescued off Libyan coast - Doctors Without Borders

Africa News: Herders blame airstrike that killed dozens on Nigeria’s air force

Africa News: Sudan is “in agreement” with Ethiopia over its Blue Nile dam

Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has said that Khartoum and Addis Ababa are “aligned and in agreement” on a controversial Ethiopian dam on the Blue Nile which Egypt views as a threat.

North America

Reuters: Ford recalls 462,000 vehicles for rear camera display failure

WSWS: Caterpillar workers in US gear up for 2023 contract battle

On Friday, roughly 7,000 workers at Caterpillar are taking part in strike authorization votes in preparation for their upcoming contract fight with the global construction and heavy equipment giant. The six-year labor agreement between the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and the company expires on March 1.

WSWS: US Labor Department levies paltry $60,000 fine against Amazon for “failing to keep workers safe”

I wonder how many milliseconds it took Bezos to make that back.

StatNews: FDA eases rules again for gay men seeking to donate blood

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced draft guidelines that would do away with the current three-month abstinence requirement for donations from men who have sex with men. Instead, potential donors would be screened with a questionnaire that evaluates their individual risks for HIV based on sexual behavior, recent partners and other factors.

Reuters: Intel’s ‘historic collapse’ set to erase $10 billion from market value

Intel Corp was set to erase nearly $10 billion in market value on Friday after the U.S. chipmaker stumped Wall Street with dismal earnings projections, fanning fears around a slump in the personal-computer market.

The company predicted a surprise loss for the first quarter and its revenue forecast was $3 billion below estimates as it also struggled with slowing growth in the data center business.

Fuck around and find out also applies to the chips war with China, I guess.

WSWS: 5 Memphis cops charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping for beating Tyre Nichols to death

South America

TeleSUR: UN Office In Haiti Rejects Gangs' Attacks On Police Officers

On Thursday, the Haitian Police National Union coordinator Lionel Lazarre denounced that gangs in his country have so far this year killed 15 police officers, 10 of whom died last week.

Canadian Dimension: El Salvador arrests anti-mining activists as transnational companies eye investment

TeleSUR: Why is Venezuela’s Gold Still Frozen in the Bank of England?

Now that Guaidó has been ousted, the legal argument for transferring the gold to the Venezuelan opposition has effectively disintegrated. Despite this, the gold remains frozen in the Bank of England, with no clear resolution in sight.

Whatever happens next, this case sets a precedent which could have far-reaching consequences: the UK’s coup weapons now include asset stripping a foreign state, and transferring those assets to political actors engaged in regime change. This will surely serve as a warning to any state which plans to store its gold in the Bank of England.

TeleSUR: Colombian President to Promote Pension, Labor, Health Reforms

The Ukraine Proxy Conflict

Common Dreams: Russia Warns US Delivery of Depleted Uranium Arms to Ukraine Would Be Akin to Use of Nukes

“We know that Leopard 2 tanks, as well as Bradley and Marder armored fighting vehicles, can use depleted uranium shells, which can contaminate terrain, just like it happened in Yugoslavia and Iraq,” Konstantin Gavrilov, head of the Russian delegation to the Vienna Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control, said at an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting on Wednesday. “If Kyiv were to be supplied with such munitions for the use in Western heavy military hardware, we would regard it as the use of ‘dirty nuclear bombs’ against Russia, with all the consequences that entails.”

Garilov also warned of grave consequences should Ukraine’s backers supply it with more long-range weapons.

“If Washington and NATO countries provide Kyiv with weapons for striking against the cities deep inside the Russian territory and for attempting to seize our constitutionally affirmed territories, it would force Moscow to undertake harsh retaliatory actions,” he said. “Do not say that we did not warn you.”

RT: Germany comments on fighter jets for Ukraine

Pistorius told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that such deliveries are “out of the question.”

“Fighter aircraft are much more complex systems than main battle tanks and have a completely different range and firepower,” Pistorius said, adding that delivering them would “venture into dimensions that I would currently warn against.”

Translation: There will be German fighter jets in Ukraine by the end of the year.

Responsible Statecraft: Diplomacy Watch: Switzerland weighs break with policy of neutrality

A group of Swiss lawmakers has moved forward a proposal to allow countries to give Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine, in a move that would soften Switzerland’s centuries-old policy of neutrality toward foreign conflicts.

RT: Brazil refuses to sell tank ammo for Ukraine

Brazilian President Lula da Silva shot down an offer to sell tank ammunition to Germany for use in Ukraine, Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported on Friday. A vocal critic of the West’s policy toward Ukraine, Lula has striven to remain neutral on its conflict with Russia.

Responsible Statecraft: New senator JD Vance leads GOP effort to put Ukraine aid under a microscope

Newly minted Republican senator JD Vance came right out of the gate on Ukraine aid last week, making not a strong case for more, but for oversight on the billions already allocated to Kyiv last year.

He and three dozen other Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, urging a full accounting of the level and scope of the security assistance sent to the war ravaged country to date.


Retrospectives, History, Theory, and Technology

Jacobin: Equating the Soviet Union With Nazi Germany Is Terrible History

Across Eastern Europe, the war in Ukraine has reinvigorated narratives that present life under Soviet rule as akin to Nazi genocide. It’s bad history — and it indulges the nationalist groups who collaborated with Adolf Hitler.

Genuinely shocked that there are still people at Jacobin who don’t believe the “Holodomor” = Holocaust propaganda narrative.

Naked Capitalism: USAID Quietly Unveils Plans to Export Ukraine’s Digital Governance Model Around World

A very interesting read, once you get past the hilarity of Ukraine having a digital currency or government given its current predictament. The idea, in essence, is to have the government in a smartphone - Zelensky himself said as much - to simplify things like accessing services and voting. If a shudder of pure terror just ran down your spine, you are not alone. If you are questioning how this is meant to work if not everybody has or wants to use a smartphone for that kind of thing, you are not alone. If you are questioning what happens when the power goes out, you are not alone.

All in all, it’s yet another desperate attempt to try and firmly entrench an eternal liberal panopticon into society as everything continues to decline and the bourgeoisie seek to maintain their control. The Torment Nexus of Neverending Agony must be implemented, of course - you’re a communist anarchofascist if you believe otherwise - the debate is whether it should be amplified to fill every moment of our lives.

The Left and the Right

Monthly Review: It was the workers who brought us democracy, and it will be the workers who establish a deeper democracy yet: The Fourth Newsletter (2023)

Inside the Imperial Core

Jacobin: Irish Unity Is Now a Realistic Goal, but There’s Still a Long Road to Travel

Sinn Féin has become the largest party on both sides of the Irish border. But the party’s effort to eliminate that border for good will have to overcome some powerful obstacles that stand in the way of a united Ireland.

Canadian Dimension: What happened to Canada’s foreign policy?

Canada is rapidly losing any hope of being able to claim that it is an honest international broker or peacemaker

Where have these people been for the last few decades? What the hell?

Outside the Imperial Core

Monthly Review: U.S. Lawfare and the destabilization of Latin America

Monthly Review: “Chinese aggression” sure looks an awful lot like U.S. aggression

Climate Change

Naked Capitalism: New Report Highlights Pesticides’ Overlooked Climate Connection

I Love My Trans Comrades!

Open Democracy: Patriarchy, not biology, disadvantages cis women in sport

Cis women who do this nonsense towards trans women are not really concerned with advantage. The reason this happens on such a collective level is class consciousness – or, to be more specific, class anxiety. They recognise that, all other things being equal, they occupy a class position above trans women that gives them greater (sometimes even exclusive) access to resources and spaces, and want to maintain that class position at our expense – even where that means siding with the patriarchy. This is part of a wider phenomenon of transmisogyny, which is also what locks us out of housing, jobs in the formal economy, and access to gendered spaces.

Siding with the patriarchy, which oppresses women and people of marginalised genders, is not only going to delay women’s liberation and gender self-determination: it also actively harms cis women, too, especially cis women at the margins. Reactionary cis women will gladly throw Black cis women like Caster Samenya – who was told she would have to undergo hormone treatment if she wanted to defend her titles at the World Championship and Olympic Games – under the bus. If Samenya had agreed, the treatment was expected to have made her seven seconds slower over 800m. The difference between gold and silver in the last Olympics was 0.67 seconds. So much for fairness. Horrible conspiracy theories claiming that tennis superstar Serena Williams is a man show this same instinct at work.

A genuine concern for fairness for women (the majority of whom are non-trans) in sport would start with addressing the unequal allocation of resources towards the men’s and women’s games, not with a weird pseudo-scientific obsession with “biology”. Let’s stop letting patriarchy off the hook.