Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/26/2022

While in Warsaw, President Joe Biden appeared to call for regime change in Russia when he said, concerning Vladimir Putin, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” However, the White House later walked back the president’s remarks, saying that he did not mean what everyone thought he meant.

In other news, Italy may have to ration the home use of natural gas, since up until now it has imported half of its gas from Russia.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to Dean, JAS, Reader from Chicago, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. I check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» Brazil’s Inflation Rises to Highest Level in 7 Years for Mid-March
» Hungary: Jobless Rate Falls to 3.8 PC in February
 
USA
» 66% of Americans Believe Hunter Biden Laptop Story is ‘Important’
» Biden Declares New World Order is Coming
» Biden Admin Quietly Slashes COVID-19 Death Tally
» Daily Mail Drops Hunter Biden Emails Linking Him to Ukraine Biolab Funding
» Elon Musk Asks ‘Is a New Platform Needed?’ After Twitter Free Speech Criticism
» FBI Depicts Maine Teenager at Center of ISIS-Inspired Martyrdom Mission in Chicago Plotted Over Instagram
» FBI Releasing More FOIA Records on Its Infiltration Activities
» Final Statewide Mask Mandate Ends as Hawaii Restriction Expires
» Former President Donald Trump Holds ‘Save America’ Rally in Georgia
» House Republicans Will Subpoena Hunter Biden
» Ketanji Brown Jackson Will Recuse Herself From Harvard Race Case
» Linfield University Investigates Professor Over Social Media Post
» More People Left Illinois Than Any Other State Last Year: Study
» Ron DeSantis Predicts School Board Races Will be ‘Some of the Most Important Elections’
» Rumble Adds Bob + Brad, David Pakman, Reason Mag, The Body Language Guy, And More Amid Massive Growth
» The Policeman Who Mysteriously Died After the Oklahoma City Bombing
» Twitter Flags RINO Adam Kinzinger for Ukraine Misinformation
» Twitter Says it Was a Mistake to Block Links to News Outlet the Federalist
» Watch: The Daily Wire’s Co-CEO Explains Why He Launched Jeremy’s Razors to Compete With Woke Companies
» White House Walks Back Biden’s Apparent Call for Regime Change in Russia
» YouTube Responds to CPAC Censorship Complaints With More Censorship
 
Canada
» Calgary Freedom Rally Takes Place Despite Anti-Protest Court Injunction
» Convoy Protesters Were Expected to Leave Ottawa During 1st Week, City Says
» Home Depot Slammed on Twitter for Woke Worksheet That Shames White, Male and Christian Staff
» Trudeau’s Evisceration in EU Parliament: His Foreign Critics Are More Effective Than Canadian Ones
 
Europe and the EU
» Biden Meets With Polish President, Ukrainian Officials in Warsaw
» Czechia: Thousands of Russians Rally Against Putin in Prague
» EU Summit Marked by Zelenskyy Shaming Hungary’s Orban
» German States Outlaw Display of Russia’s ‘Z’ War Symbol
» Hungary: One Week Until 2022 Election, Fidesz Retains Lead Ahead of Opposition Alliance
» Italy May Have to Ration Gas Due to Russia Sanctions War
» Opposition Leader: ‘No Longer Neutral’ Sweden Must Apply for NATO Membership
» Sweden, Finland Participate in NATO Military Exercises
» The EU’s Digital Markets Act is an Unprecedented Move Against Big Tech
» Truckers’ Strike to Continue in Spain Despite Government Support Package
» UK: Rotherham: Child Rape Gangs Epicentre Brands Itself ‘Children’s Capital of Culture’
 
Middle East
» Microsoft is Tied to Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Foreign Bribes, Whistleblower Alleges
 
Russia
» Biden Offers Further Military Support to Ukraine as Russian Troops Falter
» Latest Developments
» Pope Consecrates ‘The Church and All Humanity, Especially Russia and Ukraine’ To Immaculate Heart of Mary
» Russia Releases Its Forces’ Death Toll in Ukraine, Revealing Staggering Losses
» Ukrainian Mayor Taken Hostage, Released After Protesters Push Russian Troops Back
» UN: Over 6.5 Million Ukrainians Displaced After One Month of War
 
Caucasus
» As War in Ukraine Rages, Russia Ally Armenia Sees Bloodshed on Own Border
 
Australia — Pacific
» Convoy Back in Canberra Ahead of Budget Release
» South Australia Social Worker Receives Gag Order, Ban on Providing Info on COVID/Vaccines
 
Latin America
» Jamaica Looks to Drop British Queen as Head of State, Drifts Toward Communist China
 
Immigration
» Illegal Migrants Indicted for Rape of Disabled Man in France
» Italy: Tunisian Migrants Arrested for Livestreaming Sexual Abuse of Boy and His Mother
» Polish Authorities Report New Surge of African and Mid East Migrants From Belarus
» Two-Thirds of French Support Concept of Mass ‘Remigration’
 
Culture Wars
» ‘Her Penis’? — Cancelled ‘Father Ted’ Creator Defies Trans Lobby, Insists ‘Women Are Real’
» School Board Trustee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is Required to Support LGBT Agenda for Fourth Graders
» Twitch Streamer Destiny Says Ban is Permanent
 

Brazil’s Inflation Rises to Highest Level in 7 Years for Mid-March

BRASILIA (Reuters) — Inflation in Brazil grew more than expected in the month to mid-March, the biggest jump for that period in seven years, data showed on Friday, underscoring across-the-board price pressures despite aggressive monetary tightening led by the central bank.

Brazil’s official IPCA-15 consumer price index rose 0.95% in the month, down from 0.99% in February but above the median forecast in a Reuters poll of a 0.87% increase.

According to IBGE statistics agency, all nine groups of products and services surveyed recorded higher prices, especially food and beverages, which rose 1.95% over the previous month.

Inflation in the 12 months to mid-March climbed to 10.79%, also above the 10.69% projection in the poll.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Hungary: Jobless Rate Falls to 3.8 PC in February

Hungary’s jobless rate was 3.8 percent in February, down from 4.2 percent in January and 4.5 percent in the same month a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Friday.

The rate covers unemployment among people between the ages of 15 and 74.

[Comment: That’s a low unemployment rate.]

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

66% of Americans Believe Hunter Biden Laptop Story is ‘Important’

Findings from a recent Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday indicate that almost two-thirds of likely American voters surveyed believe that the Hunter Biden laptop story is “important” as it enters the national spotlight again.

66 percent of respondents consider the Hunter Biden laptop story “important,” including 48 percent who think the story is “very important,” the survey found.

Along party lines, 75 of voters identifying as Republican, 26 percent of Democrats, and 46 percent of unaffiliated voters believe the story is “very important.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Biden Declares New World Order is Coming

On Monday, March 21, 2022 in a speech at Business Roundtable’s CEO Quarterly Meeting, Biden said “There’s going to be a new world order out there.”

Dr. Kerry Chant is “the chief health officer of the Australian state of New South Wales.

“We will be looking at what contact tracing looks like in the new world order,” said Chant during a September Covid-19 press conference.”

           — Hat tip: JAS [Return to headlines]
 

Biden Admin Quietly Slashes COVID-19 Death Tally

The CDC’s Covid Data Tracker was updated last week “with lower death tolls across all age groups, reducing the overall count by more than 71,000, including by 416 deaths of children. Prior to the fix, the CDC had claimed that 1,755 US children had succumbed to the virus, including 738 this year, amid the Omicron outbreak.

Legacy media outlets and vaccine advocates had cited the erroneous data to suggest that Omicron is particularly dangerous for children, further justifying that they be inoculated against Covid-19. Last November, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky referred to the agency’s tracking figures in calling for regulatory approval to vaccinate children as young as five.

           — Hat tip: JAS [Return to headlines]
 

Daily Mail Drops Hunter Biden Emails Linking Him to Ukraine Biolab Funding

Emails from Hunter Biden’s notorious laptop reveal that the first son helped secure millions of dollars for a DoD contractor — Metabiota — which specializes in researching pandemic-causing diseases that could be used as bioweapons, according to the Daily Mail, which obtained Hunter’s emails.

Moscow’s claim that Hunter Biden helped finance a US military ‘bioweapons’ research program in Ukraine is at least partially true, according to new emails obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.

The commander of the Russian Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Forces, claimed there was a ‘scheme of interaction between US government agencies and Ukrainian biological objects’ and pointed to the ‘financing of such activities by structures close to the current US leadership, in particular the investment fund Rosemont Seneca, which is headed by Hunter Biden.’ —Daily Mail

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Elon Musk Asks ‘Is a New Platform Needed?’ After Twitter Free Speech Criticism

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk wondered aloud on Twitter whether another platform is needed, causing his millions of followers to call for him to buy the social media giant.

“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk tweeted Saturday. “What should be done?”

In a follow-up post, Musk asked, “Is a new platform needed?”

Musk’s 79.1 million followers immediately called on him to either buy Twitter himself or build a new platform.

“Buy this one!!!” Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis responded.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

FBI Depicts Maine Teenager at Center of ISIS-Inspired Martyrdom Mission in Chicago Plotted Over Instagram

PORTLAND, Maine — Federal prosecutors are offering new details about an alleged terrorist plot involving a Waterville, Maine, teenager arrested a month ago, and two unidentified juveniles in Illinois and Kentucky.

A five-page declaration from Maine-based FBI Agent Garret Drew, unsealed Friday, depicts 18-year-old Xavier Pelkey as wanting to die as a martyr in an ISIS-inspired attack allegedly targeting Chicago-area mosques and a synagogue.

As new evidence attached to the declaration, the FBI pointed to a hand-painted ISIS flag hanging on the wall of Pelkey’s bedroom in the apartment where agents seized three homemade explosive devices when they arrested him on Feb. 11.

Pelkey is currently charged with one count of possession of unregistered destructive devices and is being detained without bail.

However, the FBI declaration goes further than the criminal complaint, saying Pelkey “conspired” with a 15-year-old in Chicago and 17-year-old in Kentucky with whom he communicated over Instagram using the name “Abdullah.”

Citing statements from the other teens, the declaration alleges Pelkey intended to bring guns and ammunition to Chicago, in addition to his explosive devices, after traveling there by bus or by train in late March.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

FBI Releasing More FOIA Records on Its Infiltration Activities

In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request the FBI said it found 2,665 more pages of documents on its PATCON program, and will start releasing the documents in May. The FBI said they must review and redact information in them first.

People have been trying for years without success to obtain more information about PATCON, which stands for Patriot Conspiracy. PATCON is a program where the FBI says it infiltrates right wing groups but an attorney who has had a multiyear FOIA lawsuit seeking information on the program says it is really a program to incite right-wing groups to violence.

The FBI had previously released thousands of pages to Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue and others. In a long-running FOIA lawsuit from 2006 against the FBI and CIA seeking information on their involvement in the Oklahoma City Bombing, Trentadue sought to have a former FBI informant working in the PATCON program testify at the trial set for 2014. The DOJ opposed the motion but the courts sided with the attorney. Subsequently, although the informant had expressed a desire to expose the program and get it in the news, the night before his scheduled testimony he suddenly refused to testify. The court found witness tampering was plausible and in 2015 appointed a magistrate to investigate. “That investigation has been ongoing behind closed doors for the last seven years, and Trentadue’s case records have been sealed for that duration.”

[As a primer about suspected FBI involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing I have also included a year-old article on the topic.]

           — Hat tip: JAS [Return to headlines]
 

Final Statewide Mask Mandate Ends as Hawaii Restriction Expires

Hawaii’s mask mandate is set to expire Friday, making it the last of the 50 states to lift the restriction as leaders appear hopeful that the pandemic is receding despite a recent surge in Europe.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Former President Donald Trump Holds ‘Save America’ Rally in Georgia

Former President Donald Trump is speaking at a rally in Commerce, Georgia on Saturday night.

The rally comes as the former president has issued highly coveted endorsements in prominent Georgia races.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

House Republicans Will Subpoena Hunter Biden

If the GOP retakes control of Congress, Hunter Biden will be hauled before the House of Representatives and forced to reveal the identity of “the big guy” and address other unanswered questions about the contents of his infamous laptop, Republicans said.

“We will subpoena Hunter Biden,” said House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik bluntly in an interview with The Post.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Ketanji Brown Jackson Will Recuse Herself From Harvard Race Case

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Wednesday that she would recuse herself from an upcoming case alleging racial discrimination against Harvard University over affirmative action if she were to be confirmed by the Senate.

Judge Jackson confirmed that she would recuse herself under questioning from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). A graduate from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School, the nominee is also a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, a governing body.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Linfield University Investigates Professor Over Social Media Post

Linfield University is investigating a professor over social media posts criticizing the school for shifting the Business department to the current location of the English Department.

On March 9, English professor Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt was in the TJ Day Hall, the current location of the English Department, when she came across boards with quotes highlighting that English majors are not less important than business majors.

She took pictures of the quotes and posted them on social media adding her own commentary.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

More People Left Illinois Than Any Other State Last Year: Study

ILLINOIS — An analysis by a moving company shows people continue to flee the Land of Lincoln.

The Allied Magnet States report shows Illinois had the highest percentage of outbound residents in 2021, more than any other state. The report analyzes moves by Allied Van Lines customers and home-value data from Zillow to provide moving and housing trends.

“Illinois is primarily about work and cost of living,” Allied President Steve McKenna said. “People are looking to lower their cost of living by buying the Sun Belt.”

Of the total number of people moving over the Illinois state line in 2021, 68 percent were moving away, while 32 percent were inbound.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Ron DeSantis Predicts School Board Races Will be ‘Some of the Most Important Elections’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said during a press conference in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Friday that school board races will be “some of the most important” elections this year.

“I’m a big believer in term limits, but you don’t always even have to wait for that to attach. You can throw the bums out in the election,” DeSantis said at the presser, where he signed a measure ensuring curriculum transparency for parents.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Rumble Adds Bob + Brad, David Pakman, Reason Mag, The Body Language Guy, And More Amid Massive Growth

Neutral video sharing platform has added several popular news, health, cryptocurrency, finance, and body language creators to its growing roster.

Physical therapy channel Bob & Brad (3.98 million YouTube subscribers), progressive political commentator David Pakman (1.44 million YouTube subscribers), libertarian magazine Reason Magazine (751,000 YouTube subscribers), human behavior analyst Jesús Enrique Rosas — The Body Language Guy (344,000 YouTube subscribers), Bitcoin news channel Bitcoin Magazine (67,900 YouTube subscribers), and financial news channel Benzinga (151,000 YouTube subscribers) have all moved to the platform this month.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

The Policeman Who Mysteriously Died After the Oklahoma City Bombing

Terrance Yeakey, a sergeant at the Oklahoma City Police Department, was the first to arrive at the scene of the Oklahoma City Bombing. His heroic actions that day saved the lives of multiple people, who he pulled from the rubble after the explosion… His family and friends say that he saw something disturbing at the site that day, prompting him to reject the government narrative of the attack and conduct his own private investigation… “It’s not true. It’s not what they are saying. It didn’t happen that way,” said Yeakey.

He then began to receive strange and threatening phone calls at his home by unknown persons. Yeakey told people close to him that he believed he was being intimidated and monitored by federal agents.

Tanya Yeakey, the wife of Terrance Yeakey, said “We had people putting nails in our tires, breaking our back windows, just strange bizzare little things” and “after his death, it continued” in an interview conducted by Craig Roberts and Ken Rank.

After Yeakey found “evidence of a cover-up of the bombing by federal agents,” he was found dead…

Yeakey’s body was found in a field in his hometown of El Reno, a little over a mile away from a bloody, abandoned vehicle. A witness said it looked like someone had “butchered a hog” inside the car.

His body was mutilated, with 11 slashes on his wrists, arms, elbows and stab wounds on both sides of his neck, near the jugular vein. It was evident that he had been shot in the side of the head with a small caliber revolver at a 45 degree angle.

It appeared that Yeakey had been bound, indicated by the apparent rope burns that ran around his neck, the bruises that were on his wrists, and the muddy grass embedded in his slash wounds.

“I was being lied to about the wounds to Terry’s body. They simply told me had he shot himself in the head and I did not get a call until May 9th. They didn’t even call me and let me know that he was deceased,” said Tanya Yeakey.

40 officers combed the scene for a suicide weapon for over an hour with no luck, until an FBI helicopter arrived with FBI SAC Bob Ricks. The weapon was apparently found five minutes later, though the description of the weapon has not been released to the public.

The government asserts that Yeaky was distraught and felt guilty, ultimately causing him to mutilate himself and walk 8,000 feet through rough terrain to then shoot himself in the head. His wife maintains that this is not true. “I don’t believe he was suicidal,” said Tanya Yeaky.

“It was very obvious that the police department was very unconcerned with the children, more concerned with trying to promote a story that simply wasn’t true, such as ‘he was a distraught officer, divorced, wasn’t able to see his kids,’ all kinds of things that simply weren’t true.

I was very confused at the time why they were doing that. It was all a shock to me. I mean, I got bombarded pretty quickly, so it was pretty overwhelming. I knew that there was something going on.”

           — Hat tip: JAS [Return to headlines]
 

Twitter Flags RINO Adam Kinzinger for Ukraine Misinformation

Twitter has started placing “misleading” labels on Ukraine-related tweets posted by anti-Trump Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-IL) Twitter account.

Kinzinger, the vocal Trump critic currently representing the 16th congressional district of Illinois, has recently been flagged by Twitter for attempting to pass off a years-old image as a current-day depiction of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Twitter Says it Was a Mistake to Block Links to News Outlet the Federalist

Earlier this week, Twitter was flagging links to articles by the news and commentary outlet The Federalist as “violent or misleading content that could lead to real-world harm.” The social media giant later claimed the flagging was a mistake.

The Federalist’s CEO announced the censorship via Twitter on Wednesday. He said some of the stories that were flagged covered Hunter Biden, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, and even a specialized style of pottery called majolica art.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Watch: The Daily Wire’s Co-CEO Explains Why He Launched Jeremy’s Razors to Compete With Woke Companies

Jeremy Boreing, the co-CEO of The Daily Wire, founded his own razor company after woke Harry’s Razors pulled its advertising a year ago. Since the launch of Jeremy’s Razors earlier in the week, the fledgling razor company sold 30,000 razor kits and razor blade subscriptions in its first 72 hours online, Boreing announced.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

White House Walks Back Biden’s Apparent Call for Regime Change in Russia

The White House is rushing to walk back President Joe Biden’s recent remarks declaring that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”

“A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire, will never erase the people’s love for liberty,” Biden told an audience of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness. For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

YouTube Responds to CPAC Censorship Complaints With More Censorship

YouTube removed several hours of live streams from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event held in February for violating its misinformation policies. The removal of the videos cost the CPAC channel a strike, which could restrict the organization’s ability to use the platform in the future.

In response to the initial removals, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp wrote a letter to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, urging him to reverse the decision.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Calgary Freedom Rally Takes Place Despite Anti-Protest Court Injunction

Alberta’s biggest city announced on March 25 that they negotiated with protest organizers to comply with their “protest injunction” — however hundreds of freedom demonstrators showed up peacefully against vaccine mandates. This is the second week of the city’s enforcement crackdown on the long-running weekly anti-mandate protest that takes place every Saturday in Memorial Park.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Convoy Protesters Were Expected to Leave Ottawa During 1st Week, City Says

A new City of Ottawa memo is shedding more light on the early days of the truck convoy protest and when officials thought participants in the disruptive occupation were going to leave town.

The so-called Freedom Convoy, which occupied large swaths of downtown Ottawa for weeks, was dispersed by police from several agencies on Feb. 19, after protesters ignored many orders to leave.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Home Depot Slammed on Twitter for Woke Worksheet That Shames White, Male and Christian Staff

It appears Home Depot is the latest organization to push a wokefully bigoted ideology on their employees.

The company’s Leading Practices policy for “unpacking privilege” has been making its rounds on social media, after a poster by the name of LLB posted a photo of it on Twitter. The poster claims she obtained the photo from a friend who works at Home Depot, and that it was “put on display in the lunchroom” of the organization. The policy documents have since been reported to have been distributed in at least one Calgary location.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Trudeau’s Evisceration in EU Parliament: His Foreign Critics Are More Effective Than Canadian Ones

On last night’s episode of The Ezra Levant Show, Ezra Discussed Justin Trudeau’s embarrassing censure before the whole of the European Parliament, wherein several MEPs did not mince words as they harshly criticized Canada’s prime minister.

Here’s a bit of what Ezra had to say:

You know, it’s quite something for people from the former Warsaw Pact countries — Eastern Europe, who were under the Soviet Bloc — to speak. Those people have within their lifetime’s memories the knowledge of what an authoritarian regime is like. I mean, the Berlin Wall only fell 30-odd years ago — it’s incredible to have them scorch Trudeau, we don’t see that kind of opposition in our own country.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Biden Meets With Polish President, Ukrainian Officials in Warsaw

President Biden began his third day of diplomacy in Europe with a surprise meeting Saturday morning with Ukrainian officials who traveled to Warsaw from their war-torn nation to plead for more help from the West.

As the month-long battle with invading Russian forces grinds on, Biden sat down for 40 minutes with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in a conference room at Warsaw’s Marriott Hotel ahead of his scheduled one-on-one conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Czechia: Thousands of Russians Rally Against Putin in Prague

Thousands of largely Russian protesters rallied against President Vladimir Putin in central Prague on Saturday, calling on him to stop the war in Ukraine.

Around 5,000 people, according to the organisers, chanted “Russia without Putin”, “Freedom for Russia, peace for Ukraine” and “Putin is not Russia” as they marched through Prague’s historic centre.

“The Czech Republic is home to 40,000 Russians and up to now these Russians have been unknown to the Czechs,” organiser Anton Litvin told AFP.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

EU Summit Marked by Zelenskyy Shaming Hungary’s Orban

EU leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday (24 March) making no major decisions, the summit being marked by the presence of US President Joe Biden and by a sharp video message by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

EU leaders repeated their pledges of support and future path to Ukraine, but stopped short of agreeing on new painful sanctions on Russia or a fast-track to candidate status.

In their joint statement at the end of a long summit day, EU leaders stated the “European Union stands by Ukraine and its people and the European Council reaffirms the Versailles Declaration, acknowledging the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine, as stated in the Association Agreement”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

German States Outlaw Display of Russia’s ‘Z’ War Symbol

Two German states on Saturday said they have outlawed public displays of the “Z” symbol used by the Russian army in their invasion of Ukraine.

Anyone who brandishes the symbol at demonstrations or paints it on cars or buildings in a show of support for Vladimir Putin’s war could risk up to three years in jail or a fine in Lower Saxony or Bavaria.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Hungary: One Week Until 2022 Election, Fidesz Retains Lead Ahead of Opposition Alliance

It seems that Russia’s month-long war waged against Ukraine has not significantly altered the party preferences of the Hungarian people. Just over a week ahead of the 2022 Hungarian parliamentary elections, all recently conducted polls show the lead of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party. However, there is a significant difference in how closely the six-party alliance of the opposition follows the governing party in surveys.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Italy May Have to Ration Gas Due to Russia Sanctions War

Italy may be forced to ration gas supplies due to the country’s reliance on supplies from Russia, which could lead to businesses and households not being allowed to use air conditioning this summer.

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a big impact on Italy, which uses gas for half of its energy needs and imports half of that gas from Russia. Now, some fear that the country may be forced to ration the supply of gas as prices continue to surge.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Opposition Leader: ‘No Longer Neutral’ Sweden Must Apply for NATO Membership

Sweden must apply for NATO membership as it is “no longer neutral”, Ulf Kristersson, president of the Moderate party in opposition, told SVT’s Morgonsstudio in an interview on Wednesday where he repeated his call for membership.

Whether Sweden should apply for NATO membership creates a major split between the Social-democrat government and the opposition.

However, the main opposition party, the Moderates, believe Sweden’s neutrality is over. The party has promised to submit an application if it wins the next election — regardless of the current government’s position on the matter.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Sweden, Finland Participate in NATO Military Exercises

Sweden and Finland are participating in NATO military exercises this week, NBC News reported on Thursday, despite the fact that neither country is a member of the military alliance.

Both European nations are participating in an exercise in which Norway is hypothetically invaded and NATO subsequently invokes Article 5, which states that an attack against one NATO member is considered an attack on all NATO members, the network noted.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

The EU’s Digital Markets Act is an Unprecedented Move Against Big Tech

On Friday, the European Union announced that it had agreed to new laws for Big Tech, focusing on privacy and anti-competitive practices, under the proposed legislation dubbed the “Digital Markets Act” (DMA).

The DMA will affect tech companies with net worths of over $83 billion, in markets such as social networking, messaging, mobile operating systems, search engines, and browsers. Most of these companies are US-based; the likes of Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple.

The rules will prohibit Google from using “personal data for targeted advertising” without the consent of users. Since the DMA affects browsers, digital assistants, and search engines, Android will have to allow users to have alternatives like Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and Opera.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Truckers’ Strike to Continue in Spain Despite Government Support Package

Spain’s government has unveiled a €1 billion plan to reduce fuel prices amid an unprecedented strike by lorry drivers.

Self-employed truckers said on Friday they would continue a 12-day strike despite reaching an agreement on financial support.

Dozens of tractors drove slowly towards the Spanish capital, Madrid, to protest against the “brutal increase” in fuel prices, as well as the low revenue of farm produce.

The Madrid region farmers also complained that the price of fertiliser — much of which has previously arrived from Ukraine — has climbed around 300%.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Rotherham: Child Rape Gangs Epicentre Brands Itself ‘Children’s Capital of Culture’

Child rape gangs hotspot Rotherham is attempting to brand itself “the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture”, attempting to distance itself from its reputation as the place where 1,400 girls were systematically groomed and raped while officials failed to act.

During the February school half-term Rotherham Council transformed its town centre into a playground “for the young community” as part of a wider festival.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Microsoft is Tied to Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Foreign Bribes, Whistleblower Alleges

Qatar’s ministry of education was paying $9.5 million a year for Office and Windows licenses that were never installed. One way or another, money would end up leaking out of the contracting process, most likely split between the government, the subcontractor, and any Microsoft employees in on the deal… The cost is typically borne by the country’s taxpayers…

“It’s going on at all levels,” a whistle blower said in an interview with The Verge. “All the executives are aware of it, and they’re promoting the bad people. If you’re doing the right thing, they won’t promote you.” …

Microsoft has struggled with foreign bribery in the past. A senior executive at Hungary was found to have inflated margins as part of a bribery scheme between 2013 and 2015, according to a Justice Department investigation. A separate SEC case alleged that more than $440,000 in marketing funds were diverted to gifts for employees of the Saudi government. Microsoft settled both cases in 2019, paying a combined $25 million to investigating agencies.

           — Hat tip: JAS [Return to headlines]
 

Biden Offers Further Military Support to Ukraine as Russian Troops Falter

US president risks wrath of Putin over pledge to provide ‘further defence cooperation’ during Poland visit

Joe Biden has risked the wrath of Vladimir Putin by offering Ukraine extra military support as Russian troops appeared to struggle to hold even the territory it has secured since the invasion began.

The US president’s pledge over “further defence cooperation” was said to have been made during a meeting with Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in Warsaw on Saturday.

Biden’s administration has already made available $1bn (£760m) worth of military lethal weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft systems Javelin missiles, light anti-armour weapons.

Volodmyr Zelenskiy has been pushing the US to also facilitate the transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland but the White House is yet to be convinced by the Ukrainian president’s arguments, fearing a widening of the conflict.

The Kremlin had hinted on Friday that it may be scaling back its war ambitions, saying it was close to completing the “first phase” of its military campaign and would now focus on the complete “liberation” of Donbas in eastern Ukraine…

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]
 

Latest Developments

In Ukraine: Russian missiles struck a site in western Ukraine, near Lviv, the city’s mayor said. The attack occurred as President Biden was visiting the Polish capital Warsaw, about 210 miles away. Meanwhile, Russian forces were regrouping in what appeared to be preparations for a renewed offensive in the contested area that stretches from Luhansk, along Russia’s southern border with Ukraine, to west of the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine’s military said.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Saturday the country’s forces were fighting to take two villages around Donetsk, a city held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

In Russia: On Friday, Moscow said it was nearing the end of the first phase of its military operation in Ukraine. “Our forces and resources will focus on the primary objective: full liberation of the Donbas,” said Sergei Rudskoy, head of the Russian general staff’s main operational department. Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his first public appearance in about two weeks.

In the EU: President Biden appeared to call for Vladimir Putin’s ouster in a speech in Warsaw on Saturday, saying, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” The White House said he “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” President Biden discussed with Polish President Andrzej Duda and senior Ukrainian officials how Washington can bolster its assistance to both countries. Unity between the U.S. and its allies in Europe is beginning to show its limits, with differences emerging over how far to press their campaign of economic sanctions against Russia.

Roughly 3.8 million people have left Ukraine for other countries since Russia began its assault little more than a month ago.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Pope Consecrates ‘The Church and All Humanity, Especially Russia and Ukraine’ To Immaculate Heart of Mary

Pope Francis “solemnly entrust[ed]” and consecrated “the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary today. Many of the world’s bishops and priests joined him from their respective locations. Today is the Solemnity of Annunciation.

[Comment: Article dated March 25, 2022.]

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Russia Releases Its Forces’ Death Toll in Ukraine, Revealing Staggering Losses

Russia on Friday released how many of its forces it says have died so far in the month-long war in Ukraine offering, predictably, a far smaller accounting of its battlefield losses than Western powers and Kyiv have estimated.

More than 1,300 Russian troops have been killed during what Russian President Vladimir Putin insists on calling a “special military operation” in Ukraine that began on Feb. 24, according to Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, first deputy chief of the general staff at the Russian Ministry of Defense. He said the state would take over supporting these soldiers’ families, including paying for higher education, loan forgiveness and housing stipends.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Ukrainian Mayor Taken Hostage, Released After Protesters Push Russian Troops Back

Russian forces entered the northern Ukrainian city of Slavutych and seized a hospital there Saturday, taking the mayor hostage, and then releasing him as thousands of residents filled the streets in protest and pushed the troops back to the outskirts of town.

The city had seen little violence since the start of the war a month ago, but shelling was reported there Friday. The town, about 100 miles north of Kyiv near the Belarus border, was built after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster to house the nuclear power plant’s workers.

Oleksandr Pavlyuk, the head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, said in a post on the messaging app Telegram Saturday that the Russians also kidnapped and then released the city’s mayor, Yuri Fomichev.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UN: Over 6.5 Million Ukrainians Displaced After One Month of War

More than 6.5 million people are currently displaced inside Ukraine while 3.7 million have fled the country since the Russian invasion started one month ago, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday (25 March).

“Over the past month, everything has changed for Ukraine,” the UNHCR representative in Ukraine, Karolina Lindholm Billing, told a UN press conference in Geneva via video link from Lviv.

Billing said one month of the war has set back Ukraine “further than where we were eight years ago.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

As War in Ukraine Rages, Russia Ally Armenia Sees Bloodshed on Own Border

As the war in Ukraine enters its second month, Russian ally Armenia worries of a new front erupting on its own border with rival Azerbaijan amid a new row of unrest between the South Caucasus neighbors.

Like Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan are two post-Soviet nations with a long history of deadly territorial disputes. Their most recent war erupted in September 2020 in the form of a bloody, 44-day conflict focused on the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, where ethnic Armenians established a separatist state called the Artsakh Republic three decades ago on land recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan.

The latest all-out bout of hostilities in the century-long feud over this soil largely ended with an agreement that allowed Russian peacekeeping forces to enter the battlefield. but as Moscow focuses on what it has deemed to be a “special military operation” against Ukraine, reports are emerging of new conflict in Europe’s southern boundary with Asia.

“Azeri forces are attacking Armenian soldiers in Artsakh at the moment while I’m speaking,” Hayk Mamijanyan, a deputy of the Armenian parliament and secretary of its “I Have Honor” coalition, told Newsweek.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Convoy Back in Canberra Ahead of Budget Release

Thousands of protesters marched to Parliament House in Canberra this weekend as part of the Convoy which aims to turn out in force in the lead-up to the Federal Budget announcement.

The last freedom protest to occupy the lawns around Parliament was one of the largest ever seen in the Capital.

Protesters are still making their way to the capital as part of the Convoy To Canberra ahead of the federal budget release on Tuesday.

The protesters rallied against vaccine mandates and vaccine passports which continue to keep people locked out of work in many states.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

South Australia Social Worker Receives Gag Order, Ban on Providing Info on COVID/Vaccines

In an unprecedented gag order, South Australia’s Health and Community Services Commissioner has banned a social worker from communicating any information about Covid and its vaccines, after she sent two emails contradicting the official narrative from public health bodies.

In one email, the social worker, Matilda Bawden said she would not provide her services to clients who had been vaccinated.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Jamaica Looks to Drop British Queen as Head of State, Drifts Toward Communist China

Almost 400 years after the British conquered Spanish-occupied Jamaica, the Caribbean island has indicated it plans to follow Barbados in removing the Queen as head of state and becoming a republic.

The news has been announced during Prince William’s royal Caribbean tour, where they were told by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, of the Jamaica Labour Party, that due to “unresolved issues” Jamaica will be looking to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of their state, and be “moving on” to fulfil their “true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Illegal Migrants Indicted for Rape of Disabled Man in France

Two illegal immigrants have been indicted by a French court and charged with raping a 20-year-old disabled man, robbery, and violence.

The two illegal migrants, a 20-year-old who claims to be from Morocco and a 28-year-old Algerian, are said to have raped the 20-year-old disabled man in the village of Enveitg over the course of last Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Tunisian Migrants Arrested for Livestreaming Sexual Abuse of Boy and His Mother

Two Tunisian migrants were arrested in Rome after allegedly sexually abusing a teenage boy as well as his mother and livestreaming the abuse on Facebook.

The alleged incident took place in Rome and saw the 17-year-old male victim robbed and repeatedly abused by a pair of Tunisian migrants, supposedly aged 16 and 17, who lived in local migrant accommodation.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Polish Authorities Report New Surge of African and Mid East Migrants From Belarus

The Polish Border Guard saw a surge in illegal immigrants coming via Belarus this week, with 134 attempting to cross into the EU and NATO member on Tuesday — a daily record number for the year so far.

The Border Guard released a statement on Wednesday indicating that the 134 migrants who attempted to cross from Belarus illegally were of various nationalities, including Afghans, Iraqis, Egyptians, Sudanese, and Cubans.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Two-Thirds of French Support Concept of Mass ‘Remigration’

A poll has found that 66 per cent of French would support a mass “remigration” of illegal immigrants, foreigners on terror watchlists, and foreign criminals from France.

A poll released by the firm Ifop on behalf of Sud Radio has revealed that 66 per cent of French saw the mass remigration of illegals, foreign criminals, and foreigners on terrorist watchlists, such as the S-File, as an objective they would support.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

‘Her Penis’? — Cancelled ‘Father Ted’ Creator Defies Trans Lobby, Insists ‘Women Are Real’

Graham Linehan, the cancelled co-creator of Father Ted, has once again defied the trans lobby by insisting that “women are real”.

The co-creator of hit TV comedy Father Ted has once again doubled-down on his defiance of the trans lobby, insisting in an interview that “women are real”.

Linehan has come under extreme pressure from hardline trans activists in the past, with the comedian claiming that he has received visits from the British police multiple times over reports from people he describes as “trolls”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

School Board Trustee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is Required to Support LGBT Agenda for Fourth Graders

Georgetown Day School, the private Pre K-12 school where Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson sits on the board of trustees, promotes the homosexual and gender fluid lifestyle, including using fourth graders in a “Free to Be Me” school assembly aimed to educate “lower class students.”

As a member of the board of the Washington, DC, school, Jackson is required to “support” and “promote” the school’s activities, including teaching children to be “activists” and “allies” for the LGBT rights movement.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Twitch Streamer Destiny Says Ban is Permanent

Popular Twitch streamer Destiny has been banned from the Amazon-owned platform permanently for violating the platform’s community guidelines on “hateful conduct.”

Destiny confirmed the permanent Twitch ban on YouTube. He was told he was banned for violating a policy but, as is the standard for Twitch, he was not told what he did to violate the policy.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

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