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Gender: Male
Hometown: TX
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Jul 23, 2020, 07:05 PM
Number of posts: 624

Journal Archives

Omicron's 'stealth' subvariant BA.2 could go 'wild' in Europe before going global

Source: CNBC

LONDON — While war rages in Ukraine, not much attention is being paid to surging Covid-19 cases across Europe that could soon start to filter out to the rest of the world.

The rise in cases across the continent, from the U.K. and France to Italy and Austria, is being driven by several factors: The lifting of most — if not all — Covid restrictions, waning immunity from vaccines and booster shots, and the spread of the more transmissible omicron subvariant, BA.2.

“We all hoped and expected a different turn now at the beginning of spring,” Ralf Reintjes, professor of epidemiology at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, told CNBC this week.


Germany is seeing a surge in cases and has reported daily tallies of new infections of between 200,000 to 300,000 a day in the last week.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/23/omicrons-subvariant-bapoint2-could-spread-wildly-in-europe-epidemiologist.html

Biden press secretary has COVID-19, won't travel to Europe

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that she is positive again for COVID-19 and will not accompany President Joe Biden to Europe this week for urgent meetings with world counterparts on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden tested negative on Tuesday, she said.

Psaki’s reinfection is the latest COVID-19 scare for the White House after recent positive tests for Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband and Ireland’s prime minister, who was in the nation’s capital last week for a series of in-person celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day with Biden and other officials.

The scares come as the Biden administration is trying to help the United States ease back into its pre-pandemic norms, even as cases climb in Europe due to a new variant of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-biden-covid-health-europe-c68d2677aa3d9040a5772bbc80d4b84f

Great piece for history buffs, re: Ukraine

Ukrainian Tales

Since it became its first imperial possession in the 18th century, Russia has denied Ukraine’s national existence, while seeing it as an exotic threat.

Ukrainians have long been aware of Russian imperial mythmaking. Nostalgia for the 17th and 18th centuries, when Ukraine’s Cossacks enjoyed significant autonomy and its peasants felt protected by them, developed soon after Russia’s expansion southwards. With Ukrainian historiography obstructed by tsarist censorship, the job of preserving the past fell to writers like Taras Shevchenko, Ukraine’s national poet. Born a serf in 1814, he felt the reality of Russia’s ‘enlightened’ rule, which had drastically worsened the conditions of the peasants in the decades before his birth. Shevchenko, despite his poverty, was able to gain a basic education and displayed a flair for drawing. His owner cultivated him as his personal artist and allowed him to enter the St Petersburg art world. Through the efforts of his well-connected friends, Shevchenko was able to buy his freedom.


Picking Sides: Not everyone wants to make Putin an economic pariah over the Ukraine war

The United States and its European allies, with the backing of close partners such as Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea, have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia. Those measures are pummeling the Russian economy, crashing the ruble and driving some of the world’s best-known brands to exit the country.

But not everyone is on board with imposing full-on pariah status on Putin.

In referring to “world giants” that have chosen to not fully repudiate the Russian leader, Zakharova was principally referring to China, which the Biden administration is trying to dissuade from giving wartime aid to Moscow.

But some of the world’s most populous states — India, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Mexico among them — are also signaling a desire to maintain trade ties and other links with Russia while declaring impartiality on the war.

The four states that directly sided with Russia in voting against the nonbinding U.N. resolution were themselves international outliers: North Korea, Syria, Eritrea and Russia’s ally Belarus. Although the U.S. and its allies portrayed the vote as a stark choice between freedom and repression, the abstainers included India, the world’s largest democracy.


Hackers drop deepfake of Zelenskyy ordering troops to surrender on Ukrainian news site

A deepfake video showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asking his soldiers to lay down their weapons has surfaced online amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.

The altered footage appeared on the website for Segodnya, a Russian-language Ukrainian tabloid newspaper. Text claiming that Zelensky had ordered his troops to stand down was also placed on a news ticker during a live television broadcast from Ukraine 24.

In a statement on Instagram, Segodnya accused “enemy hackers” of being responsible.

“Friends, we have repeatedly warned about this,” Segodnya wrote. “Nobody is going to give up. Especially in conditions when the Russian army is defeated in battles with the Ukrainian army!”

The Ukrainian government had warned in remarks on Facebook just two weeks ago that it believed Russian President Vladimir Putin would deploy deepfake technology as part of his attempts to overthrow Zelensky’s government.


Jimmy Hill, American Killed in Ukraine, 'Gunned Down' in Bread Line: Family

Source: Newsweek

Jimmy Hill, an American born in Minnesota, was killed in Ukraine while waiting in line for bread, his family wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Anton Gerashchenko, the adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, confirmed on Telegram that Hill, 67, was killed in Chernihiv Wednesday. The city, about 80 miles from Kyiv, has been suffering "heavy artillery" attacks from Russian forces and Ukrainian police wrote on Facebook that several United States citizens have died there.

Cheryl Hill Gordon, Hill's sister, posted about her brother's death on Facebook. "He was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snipers," Gordon wrote. "His body was found in the street by the local police."

According to Gordon, Hill was staying in Ukraine with a friend, mentioned as Ira, who was "severely ill," and had been stranded in a hospital with her when the war began on February 24.

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/american-jimmy-hill-dead-ukraine-1689155

Quinnipiac: Would Americans Stay and Fight or Flee?

As the world witnesses what is happening to Ukraine, Americans were asked what they would do if they were in the same position as Ukrainians are now: stay and fight or leave the country? A majority (55 percent) say they would stay and fight, while 38 percent say they would leave the country. Republicans say 68 - 25 percent and independents say 57 - 36 percent they would stay and fight, while Democrats say 52 - 40 percent they would leave the country.


“When confronted with a terrible hypothetical that would put them in the shoes of the Ukrainians, Americans say they would stand and fight rather than seek safety in another country,” said Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy. That’s one way to spin it, I guess. For me, the fact that just under half of my friends and neighbors would hypothetically abandon their homeland and all it stands for in the face of a foreign invader is less than encouraging. Many people don’t even seem to have hypothetical patriotism, let alone fortitude. Further disheartening is that the youngest Americans, those ages 18-34 and most physically capable, were even less likely to stay and fight. Only 45% said they would remain, while 48% would flee. Comparatively, two-thirds of the 50-to-64-year-old cohort said they would remain. That’s not wholly surprising given that so much of the recent discontentment with America is concentrated among the youth. Equally unsurprising is that political differences also play a role in willingness to defend our nation.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article259392144.html#storylink=cpy

A covid surge in western Europe has U.S. bracing for another wave

Source: Washington Post

A surge in coronavirus infections in western Europe has experts and health authorities on alert for another wave of the pandemic in the United States even as most of the country has done away with restrictions after a sharp decline in cases.

Infectious-disease experts are closely watching the subvariant of omicron known as BA. 2, which appears to be more transmissible than the original strain, BA. 1, and is fueling the outbreak overseas.
What to know about BA.2, a new version of the omicron variant

Germany, a nation of 83 million people, saw more than 250,000 new cases and 249 deaths Friday, when Health Minister Karl Lauterbach called the nation’s situation “critical.” The country is allowing most coronavirus restrictions to end Sunday, despite the increase. The United Kingdom had a seven-day average of 65,894 cases and 79 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center. The Netherlands, home to fewer than 18 million people, was averaging more than 60,000 cases the same day.

In all, about a dozen nations are seeing spikes in coronavirus infections caused by BA. 2, a cousin of the BA. 1 form of virus that tore through the United States over the past three months.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-covid-surge-in-western-europe-has-us-bracing-for-another-wave/ar-AAV8kgb

China has expressed some openness to providing military and financial aid to Russia, US cable sugges

Source: CNN

(CNN)The US has information suggesting China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with requested military and financial assistance as part of its war on Ukraine, a Western official and a US diplomat told CNN, and is conveying what it knows to its NATO allies.

It is not yet clear whether China intends to provide Russia with that assistance, US officials familiar with the intelligence tell CNN. But during an intense, seven-hour meeting in Rome, a top aide to President Joe Biden warned his Chinese counterpart of "potential implications and consequences" for China should support for Russia be forthcoming, a senior administration official said.

The series of events underscored the growing concern among American officials at the budding partnership between Moscow and Beijing as Biden works to isolate and punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine. While officials have said the Chinese President was alarmed at what has taken place since Russia invaded, there is little to indicate China is prepared to cut off its support entirely.

That leaves open a troubling possibility for American officials -- that China may help prolong a bloody conflict that is increasingly killing civilians, while also cementing an authoritarian alliance in direct competition with the United States.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/14/politics/us-china-russia-ukraine/index.html

President Biden: "We will not fight the third world war in Ukraine."

"The idea that we're going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in, American pilots and American crews, just understand. Don't kid yourself, no matter what you all say, that's called World War Three, okay?"


Video of President Biden's statement included.
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