News Burst 11 August 2022
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News Burst 11 August 2022 – Featured News
- A San Francisco federal jury convicted a former Twitter manager of spying for Saudi Arabia and selling private user information to the kingdom’s government, in a ruling on Tuesday. Ahmad Abouammo is a US-Lebanese dual national whose job was to help oversee relationships with journalists and celebrities in the Middle East and North Africa. Prosecutors say that Abouammo, 44, received over $300,000 as well as a watch valued at over $20,000 from the Saudis in exchange for revealing information about critics of their government, such as their email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and other data used to identify people behind anonymous accounts.
- Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has expressed remorse after posing for an upbeat photo with a glass of champagne in her hand during a trip to Ukraine in late July. “I regret the photo,” Faeser said on Tuesday after being asked about it during a live event with the RND news network in Potsdam. It was “certainly not appropriate,” she added. The interior minister was lambasted by commentators and the opposition after the image of her, along with Germany’s Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen, enjoying drinks with Kiev Mayor and boxing legend Vitaly Klitschko on an open balcony, surfaced online. Critics pointed out that Ukraine, which is now in conflict with Russia, was not a vacation spot or a place to post smiling pictures from. The Secretary General of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), Mario Czaja, insisted that the photo with champagne flutes “spoke volumes” about the Social Democratic Party (SPD) members in the governing coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
- Per Wastberg, who co-founded the Swedish branch of Amnesty International, resigned from the organization on Wednesday. The Swedish activist said his departure was due to Amnesty’s report about the conflict in Ukraine, and that the organization has gone beyond its original mandate to advocate for political prisoners. “From its inception, Amnesty worked for the freedom of political prisoners everywhere in the world,” said Wastberg, who co-founded the Swedish branch in 1964. “It has since gradually, sometimes debatably, expanded its mandate” and become a different kind of organization, he added. Amnesty has faced a torrent of criticism after publishing a report on August 4 that said Ukraine was deliberately placing troops and military vehicles in residential areas and hospitals. The report was based on research in eastern Ukraine, from April to July.
- US Federal agents have seized the cell phone of Representative Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania), the lawmaker said, blasting the agency for “banana republic tactics” amid an investigation into the 2020 presidential race. Perry announced the move in a statement on Tuesday, saying “3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone” while he was traveling with his family. “They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish,” Perry said, adding “I’m outraged – though not surprised – that the FBI under the direction of Merrick Garland’s DOJ, would seize the phone of a sitting Member of Congress.” The FBI executed a search warrant against Perry soon after conducting a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
- Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and other Republican lawmakers have condemned President Joe Biden’s administration for raiding the Florida home of Donald Trump, warning that they will investigate politicization of the Department of Justice (DOJ) when they take back control of Congress. “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy said on Monday night, hours after FBI agents executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. “When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned. Attorney General [Merrick] Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, removing several ministers linked to the controversial Unification Church, which came into the spotlight after the murder of former PM Shinzo Abe. Abe, who led the government between 2012 and 2020, was fatally shot during a public event in July. His killer said he had a grudge against the politician, whom he accused of promoting the church, which allegedly bankrupted his mother through donations. Multiple ministers from Kishida’s cabinet and members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party had disclosed links to the Unification Church, now officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification. Some representatives of the church had previously been convicted in Japan for soliciting money from followers through illegal means, including threats. Critics claim the organization is actually a cult.
- Dozens of US race and food activist groups have reportedly signed on to a letter accusing the federal government of “dietary racism” in its program for free or subsidized school lunches, saying the USDA is forcing millions of non-white, lactose-intolerant children to drink cow’s milk. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is “inherently inequitable and socially unjust,” the groups said in a letter to the USDA’s Equity Commission. The letter, which was first reported by The Hill on Tuesday, added that “black, Native American, Asian and Latino kids are being punished for their race and heritage.” The NSLP provides free or discounted lunches to about 30 million children at 100,000 schools across the US. Although nearly half of the children who qualify for such assistance are white, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the activist groups said non-white children are disproportionately reliant on subsidized meals. They argued, too, that non-white children have far higher rates of lactose intolerance.
- Twitter has temporarily suspended the account belonging to Russia’s foreign ministry, officials in Moscow have revealed. According to the ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, the punitive measure was imposed after the diplomats cited a Russian military commander, who had alleged the US could have been behind the Covid-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, Zakharova posted a message on her Telegram channel, saying that on August 5, Twitter “blocked for seven days the official account of the foreign ministry in English.” The diplomat explained that the harsh reaction had been triggered by the ministry posting a tweet featuring excerpts from a speech delivered earlier by the head of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops, General-Lieutenant, Igor Kirillov. The ministry’s tweet in question cited claims that the United States Agency for International Development could have been behind the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Madrid’s Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida has expressed his readiness to send Ukrainian refugees back to take part in the country’s hostilities after being caught off-guard by a question from Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus. During the prank call, in which the Russians impersonated Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko, Martínez-Almeida said that he had no problem with sending the Ukrainians back. He was told by the pranksters that the refugees were mandated to enlist in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and either “die on the battlefield” or win the fight, instead of enjoying Spanish beaches. Martínez-Almeida added that his city is even ready to organize their transportation to Kiev. When confronted with the proposal, the mayor replied, “Of course. I think it’s not a problem. I think […] that it’s necessary to provide more soldiers to fight against Russia. And Madrid [can] provide, if it would be necessary, transport to deport people to Ukraine in this moment.” Martínez-Almeida was also generous enough to agree to organize a gay pride parade named after Stepan Bandera – the late head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which collaborated with Nazi Germany during the Second World War in its fight against the USSR, as well as carrying out ethnic cleansing. Bandera is widely revered in Ukraine since the 2014-coup, but he is hardly the gay icon Martínez-Almeida was led to believe he is by the fake Klitschko.
- Florida Federal Magistrate Bruce Reinhart was sued by victims of child sex trafficker and abuser Jeffrey Epstein in 2011. They claimed that his defection from the US attorney’s office to work for the high-flying finance tycoon in the midst of Epstein’s plea bargain helped him get off with a lighter sentence. The judge who signed off the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Florida home reportedly donated thousands of dollars to Barack Obama’s 2008 election fund and hundreds to a Trump GOP rival, all while working for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. According to the New York Post, which has seen publicly-filed documents, Florida Magistrate Bruce Reinhart donated $1,000 to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and another $1,000 to the Obama Victory Fund. Reinhart later donated a further $500 to the 2016 primary campaign of Jeb Bush, one of Trump’s main rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. His signature led to a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion on Monday in search of official classified documents the former president allegedly took with him when he left the White House in January 2021. Agents reportedly went through Melania Trump’s wardrobe, as well as spending hours in the former president’s private office.
- On August 10, 1961, American forces for the first time spayed Agent Orange in Vietnam as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand. The Vietnamese government said that up to four million people in the country were exposed to Agent Orange, and as many as three million people had suffered illness because of the defoliant. The Vietnam Red Cross in turn pointed out that the defoliant had affected at least 150,000 children, and that babies in Vietnam are still being born with birth defects due to Agent Orange. In this regard, numerous studies revealed that dioxin levels are still in place in the blood samples of the citizens of both North and South Vietnam. The chemical also caused immense environmental damage in Vietnam, with more than 3,100,000 hectares (31,000 km2) of forest being defoliated ( for comparison’s sake, Taiwan measures 36,197 km2).
- Netizens, notably Twitterians and TikTokers, have become increasingly concerned with “Zombies in China” virally trending online. Dozens of netizens have posted inquiries over whether such an outbreak was possible and if it had already silently began. Others uploaded videos supposed to be footage of the horrible fictional phenomenon, but really stemming from widely used movie, series and videogame scenes. Some netizens even made their own footage, cosplaying the undead. Despite being fake, these videos appear to have got some netizens worried. “I’m not trying to scare anyone but why are there people on TikTok saying there are zombies in China?” one netizen cautiously wondered, while another suggested that he is ready to be move to another planet, even inhospitable Mars, just to stay away from the brain-hungry infected. Others took the trend for what it was – a big joke – humorously suggesting that a nation so proficient in building walls as China should start building a new one named the ‘Great Barbed Wire Wall’.
News Burst 11 August 2022 – Bonus IMG
Lake Cheko bottoms out at 54m and resides in the Tungussky Nature Reserve, a rural stretch in central Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region.
A quartet of geophysicists and hydrobiologists has obtained a permit to dive beyond the 30-metre mark of Lake Cheko in Siberia. Their research, started in February will focus on the cataclysmic Tunguska event. It will be the deepest expedition ever conducted at the site. Using lakebed samples, the team aims to answer a century-old question posed by the leader of the first Tunguska research expedition, mineralogist Leonid Kulik. His question was this: If a meteorite caused the explosion, where is the epicenter of its crater and the extraterrestrial matter from it?
In July 1908, a meteoroid measuring 50-60 metres in diameter plunged through the atmosphere above the Siberian taiga, catalyzing the 12-megaton Tunguska explosion. Experts estimate that the blast decimated some 80 million trees and dispatched at least three human beings. It is Earth’s largest impact event on record, but scientists have yet to locate its crater. Some believe the blast was caused by a mid-air explosion. Others think it was caused by hard impact. In 2012, an Italian research team found evidence that pointed to a small 500m crater in Lake Cheko as the point of impact. The study was hotly contested because that crater is located some eight kilometres from the Tunguska event’s supposed epicenter. The Italian group collected seismic measurements of the crater’s bottom, which showed about 100 years’ worth of accumulated sediment. And Lake Cheko’s bed — which is shaped like a crater — was deeper than is typical for the region. Dense stony substrate beneath the sediment was likely the remains of the exploded meteoroid, they concluded. In 2017, a Russian team contested those findings. Core samples drawn by the Russians seemed to indicate that the lake bed was nearly 200 years older than the Tunguska event. Geologically young, but not young enough to be the epicenter.
News Burst 11 August 2022 – Bonus IMG
Namibia, Where The Desert Meets The Ocean
News Burst 11 August 2022 – Bonus Video
Whales In The Garden – Canada
News Burst 11 August 2022 – Bonus Video
Oh How Lively!
News Burst 11 August 2022 – Earthquakes
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