David Hockney A bigger splash 1967
Tucker Malone RFKjr
No, it won’t. As always with articles like the WaPo one, you have to scrutinize the timing.
• Former US Secretaries: Russia Won’t Return Annexed Ukrainian Provinces (Az.)
The Washington Post has published an opinion article by Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009, and Robert M. Gates, US Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, Report informs. “When it comes to the war in Ukraine, about the only thing that’s certain right now is that the fighting and destruction will continue. Vladimir Putin remains fully committed to bringing all of Ukraine back under Russian control or — failing that — destroying it as a viable country. He believes it is his historical destiny — his messianic mission — to reestablish the Russian Empire and, as Zbigniew Brzezinski observed years ago, there can be no Russian Empire without Ukraine. Both of us have dealt with Putin on a number of occasions, and we are convinced he believes time is on his side: that he can wear down the Ukrainians and that US and European unity and support for Ukraine will eventually erode and fracture.
To be sure, the Russian economy and people will suffer as the war continues, but Russians have endured far worse,” reads the article. “For Putin, defeat is not an option. He cannot cede to Ukraine the four eastern provinces he has declared part of Russia. If he cannot be militarily successful this year, he must retain control of positions in eastern and southern Ukraine that provide future jumping-off points for renewed offensives to take the rest of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, control the entire Donbas region and then move west. Eight years separated Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its invasion nearly a year ago. Count on Putin to be patient to achieve his destiny.
“Meanwhile, although Ukraine’s response to the invasion has been heroic and its military has performed brilliantly, the country’s economy is in a shambles, millions of its people have fled, its infrastructure is being destroyed, and much of its mineral wealth, industrial capacity and considerable agricultural land are under Russian control. Ukraine’s military capability and economy are now dependent almost entirely on lifelines from the West — primarily, the United States. Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressures on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will grow as months of military stalemate pass. Under current circumstances, any negotiated cease-fire would leave Russian forces in a strong position to resume their invasion whenever they are ready. That is unacceptable.”
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“All four top officials shattered prior narratives by either admitting Ukraine’s proxy role and/or acknowledging the success of Russia’s special operation thus far.”
• Top Officials Are Panicking That $100 Billion In Aid Isn’t Enough (Korybko)
Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov and Ambassador to the UK Vadim Prystaiko tried guilting NATO into sending more arms by emphasizing Ukraine’s status as that group’s proxy in the hopes of swaying popular Western perceptions to its side, while the second-mentioned also contributed to former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s fearmongering that the failure to do so would leave Russia in control of extremely strategic territory. All four top officials shattered prior narratives by either admitting Ukraine’s proxy role and/or acknowledging the success of Russia’s special operation thus far.
Zelensky’s trip to DC last month wasn’t the success that the US-led West’s Mainstream Media (MSM) spun it as being as evidenced by the panic that’s since taken hold of top Ukrainian and former US officials. They’ve begun an information warfare offensive alleging that the approximately $100 billion in American aid that Kiev’s received thus far supposedly isn’t enough to completely dislodge Russia from that former Soviet Republic’s pre-2014 borders, let alone defend against any forthcoming offensives. Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov told national TV last week that “Today, Ukraine is addressing [the] threat (of Russia). We’re carrying out NATO’s mission today, without shedding their blood. We shed our blood, so we expect them to provide weapons.”
This was followed up by Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadim Prystaiko telling Newsweek something similar in spirit shortly thereafter. According to him, “The West now has a unique chance. There are not many nations in the world who would allow themselves to sacrifice so many lives, territories and decades of development for the purpose of defeating the archenemy…This is what I mean: All hands on deck, every single thing we can spare to help Ukraine win.” He also expressed concern that the West might pressure Kiev to agree to a ceasefire with Russia if the present stalemate isn’t soon broken. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice then jointly authored an opinion piece for the Washington Post on Saturday dramatically headlined that “Time is not on Ukraine’s side”.
Their narrative is completely contrary to the “official” one that’s popular among most Westerners claiming that Russia will inevitably collapse the longer that its special operation drags on for. Instead, Gates and Rice warned that “Absent another major Ukrainian breakthrough and success against Russian forces, Western pressures on Ukraine to negotiate a cease-fire will grow as months of military stalemate pass”, which would result in Russia retaining “much of [Ukraine’s] mineral wealth, industrial capacity and considerable agricultural land” if the Line of Control (LOC) is frozen. This is an important point that was also reaffirmed by Prystaiko.
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“..if relations between Europe and Russia are relatively friendly, there is less need for NATO, less need for expensive US-made weapon systems and less need for a US military presence on the continent..”
• The Attack On Western Europe (Ugo Bardi)
As the journalist Mike Whitney notes, if relations between Europe and Russia are relatively friendly, there is less need for NATO, less need for expensive US-made weapon systems and less need for a US military presence on the continent. But wouldn’t all that be a plus from the US point of view? Like former President Trump, don’t most Americans want to stop subsidising Europe’s security? They might, but that’s not how many in the US foreign policy establishment see things. Which raises an important point: when I refer to what “the US wants”, I’m really talking about what certain elements within the foreign policy establishment want (“US hawks” is a useful shorthand).
As Hastings Ismay, the first Secretary General of NATO, is reputed to have said: the purpose of NATO is not only “to keep the Soviets out”, but also to “keep the Americans in, and the Germans down”. Although Ismay was an Indian-born British general, his quip undoubtedly reflected the views of the organisation’s main backers, the Americans. This awkward truth was not lost on more nationalistic European leaders at the time. Noting that “Europe is useless if it doesn’t control its own defence,” the French President Charles de Gaulle described NATO as “a machine to disguise the stranglehold of America over Europe.” He added, “Thanks to NATO, Europe is placed under the dependence of the U.S. without seeming to be”.
And you don’t have to go back to the sixties to find evidence that US hawks see NATO as vehicle for exerting influence over Europe, rather than as a costly burden on American taxpayers. In 1997, the Project for the New American Century (a thinktank closely tied to the Bush administration) published a report titled ‘Rebuilding America’s Defences’, which explained how the US can “preserve and extend its position of global leadership”. Regarding Europe, it noted: The region is stable, but a continued American presence helps to assure the major European powers, especially Germany, that the United States retains its longstanding security interest in the continent. This is especially important in light of the nascent European moves toward an independent defense “identity” and policy; it is important that NATO not be replaced by the European Union, leaving the United States without a voice in European security affairs.
Of course, American subsidisation of European security is hardly something that had to be forced on unwilling European leaders. Most of them were quite happy to spend less on defence, while prioritising election-winners like better healthcare, larger pensions and a bigger safety net. At the same time, increasing talk of European strategic autonomy evidently worried some US hawks for whom American “leadership” of the West remains crucial.
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Pepe has been busy.
“Apart from Ukraine and Poland there is no NATO force worth mentioning.”
• Bye Bye 1991-2022 (Escobar)
The CIA abandoned Afghanistan in a humiliating retreat – even ditching the heroin ratline – just to relocate to Ukraine and continue playing the same old broken records. The CIA is behind the ongoing sabotage of Russian infrastructure – in tandem with MI6 and others. Sooner or later there will be blowback. Few people – including CIA operatives – may know that New York City, for instance, may be destroyed with a single move: blowing up the George Washington bridge. The city can’t be supplied with food and most of its requirements without the bridge. The New York City electrical grid can be destroyed by knocking out the central controls; putting it back together could take a year. Even trespassed by infinite layers of fog of war, the current situation in Ukraine is still a skirmish. The real war has not even started yet. It might – soon.
Apart from Ukraine and Poland there is no NATO force worth mentioning. Germany has a risible two-day supply of ammunition. Turkey will not send a single soldier to fight Russians in Ukraine. Out of 80,000 U.S. troops stationed in Europe, only 10% are weaponized. Recently 20,000 were added, not a big deal. If the Americans activated their troops in Europe – something rather ridiculous in itself – they would not have any place to land supplies or reinforcements. All airports and seaports would be destroyed by Russian hypersonic missiles in a matter of minutes – in continental Europe as well as the UK. In addition, all fuel centers such as Rotterdam for oil and natural gas would be destroyed, as well as all military installations, including top American bases in Europe: Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Ramstein, Baumholder, Vilseck, Spangdahlem, and Wiesbaden in Germany (for the Army and Air Force); Aviano Air Base in Italy; Lajes Air Base in Portugal’s Azores islands; Naval Station Rota in Spain; Incirlik Air Base in Turkey; and Royal Air Force stations Lakenheath and Mildenhall in the UK.
All fighter jets and bombers would be destroyed – after they land or while landed: there would be no place to land except on the autobahn, where they would be sitting ducks. Patriot missiles are worthless – as the whole Global South saw in Saudi Arabia when they tried to knock out Houthi missiles coming from Yemen. Israel’s Iron Dome can’t even knock out all primitive missiles coming from Gaza. U.S. military power is the supreme myth of the fish to be fried variety. Essentially, they hide behind proxies – as the Ukraine Armed Forces. U.S. forces are worthless except in turkey shoots as in Iraq in 1991 and 2003, against a disabled opponent in the middle of the desert with no air cover. And never forget how NATO was completely humiliated by the Taliban.
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How could the West let this slip through their hands?
• BRI Is Back With A Bang In 2023 (Escobar)
The year 2022 ended with a Zoom call to end all Zoom calls: Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping discussing all aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership in an exclusive video call. Putin told Xi how “Russia and China managed to ensure record high growth rates of mutual trade,” meaning “we will be able to reach our target of $200 billion by 2024 ahead of schedule.” On their coordination to “form a just world order based on international law,” Putin emphasized how “we share the same views on the causes, course, and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape.”
Facing “unprecedented pressure and provocations from the west,” Putin noted how Russia-China are not only defending their own interests “but also all those who stand for a truly democratic world order and the right of countries to freely determine their own destiny.” Earlier, Xi had announced that Beijing will hold the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in 2023. This has been confirmed, off the record, by diplomatic sources. The forum was initially designed to be bi-annual, first held in 2017 and then 2019. 2021 didn’t happen because of Covid-19. The return of the forum signals not only a renewed drive but an extremely significant landmark as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in Astana and then Jakarta in 2013, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.
That set the tone for 2023 across the whole geopolitical and geoeconomic spectrum. In parallel to its geoconomic breadth and reach, BRI has been conceived as China’s overarching foreign policy concept up to the mid-century. Now it’s time to tweak things. BRI 2.0 projects, along its several connectivity corridors, are bound to be re-dimensioned to adapt to the post-Covid environment, the reverberations of the war in Ukraine, and a deeply debt-distressed world. And then there’s the interlocking of the connectivity drive via BRI with the connectivity drive via the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC), whose main players are Russia, Iran and India.
Expanding on the geoeconomic drive of the Russia-China partnership as discussed by Putin and Xi, the fact that Russia, China, Iran and India are developing interlocking trade partnerships should establish that BRICS members Russia, India and China, plus Iran as one of the upcoming members of the expanded BRICS+, are the ‘Quad’ that really matter across Eurasia. The new Politburo Standing Committee in Beijing, which are totally aligned with Xi’s priorities, will be keenly focused on solidifying concentric spheres of geoeconomic influence across the Global South.
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“..the imperial machine – following trademark, decades-long mockery of international law – assassinated a de-facto diplomatic envoy.”
• General Soleimani Kick-started The Multipolar World (Escobar)
The consensus among future historians will be inevitable: the 2020s started with a diabolic murder. Baghdad airport, January 3, 2020, 00:52 a.m. local time. The assassination of Gen.QassemSoleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic RevolutionGuards Corps (IRGC), alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi, by laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles launched from two MQ-9 Reaper drones, was, in fact, murder as an act of war. This act of war set the tone for the new decade and inspired my book Raging Twenties: Great Power Politics Meets Techno-Feudalism, published in early 2021.
The drone strikes at Baghdad airport, directly approved by the pop entertainer/entrepreneur then ruling the Hegemon, Donald Trump, constituted an imperial act engineered as a stark provocation, capable of engendering an Iranian reaction that would then be countered by, “self-defense”, packaged as “deterrence”. The proverbial narrative barrage spun to saturation, ruled it as a “targeted killing”: a pre-emptive op squashing Gen. Soleimani’s alleged planning of “imminent attacks” against US diplomats and troops.No evidence whatsoever was provided to support the claim. Everyone not only along the Axis of Resistance – Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah – but across the Global South had been aware of how Gen. Soleimani led the fight against Daesh in Iraq from 2014 to 2015, and how he had been instrumental in retaking Tikrit in 2015.
This was his real role – a true warrior of the war on terror, not the war of terror. For the Empire, to admit his aura glowed even across – vassalized – lands of Sunni Islam was anathema. It was up to then-Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, in front of Parliament in Baghdad, to offer the definitive context: Gen. Soleimani, on a diplomatic mission, had boarded a regular Cham Wings Airbus A320 flight from Damascus to Baghdad. He was involved in complex negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh, with the Iraqi Prime Minister as a mediator, and all that at the request of President Trump. So the imperial machine – following trademark, decades-long mockery of international law – assassinated a de-facto diplomatic envoy.
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Jan 6 revisited. Which side is more corrupt?
• Brazil Anti-Lula Protestors Storm Presidential Palace, National Congress (PM)
The headquarters of Brazil’s executive and legislative branches were stormed by demonstrators protesting against the election of socialist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Sunday, breaking into the presidential palace as well as the National Congress building. Palácio do Planalto, or Planalto Palace in English, is the workplace of Brazilian presidents, and is located in the same plaza as the National Congress of Brazil, as well as the Supreme Federal Court. The Praça dos Três Poderes, or Three Towers Plaza, is in the capital city of Brasília.
Brazilian outlet Metropoles reports that a hundreds of “Bolsonarists,” or supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, “broke through blocks that prevent the entry of non-accredited people and entered the Planalto parking lot,” before eventually making their way into the Planalto Palace and National Congress buildings. Footage shared by American conservative activist ALX shows the moment protestors broke through the barrier as police attempted to subdue them. Eventually the police had to retreat while the crowd stormed through. Video from inside the Planalto Palace shows the protestors, decked out in patriotic outfits, walking through the gas around the offices. Around 2:40 pm, the protestors also entered the National Congress building under a “shower of tear gas bombs.”
More footage shows masses of protestors climbing up the ramps on the outside of the congressional building to get inside. Renato Souza, a reporter with Brazilian publication Portal R7, shared video from the inside of the building. “President Lula is not on site,” he reported. Portuguese news outlet LUSA reports that the protestors are calling for “military intervention” to overthrow President Lula. In response to the invasion, Lula has “decreed federal intervention in the Federal District,” according to the Brazil-based Tupi Report. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro is suspected to have been in Orlando, Florida, since December, reported The Hill. Lula, who was inaugurated just one week ago, won 50.83 percent of the vote compared to conservative incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who won 49.17, in the country’s October 2 vote. There was a runoff election afterwards on October 30 which Lula won, and that win was immediately ratified by the Superior Electoral Court.
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• El Paso Cleans Migrant Camps Ahead of Visit By President Biden (CB)
The city of El Paso is putting its best face on for President Joe Biden who is finally making a visit to the Southern border. The city has been cleaning up migrant encampments that have been languishing, ahead of the president’s photo op visit, The New York Post reported. Encampments near the downtown bus station and the Sacred Heart Church, which operates a shelter, have been dismantled by local authorities over the last two nights as the city prepares to host President Biden’s first visit to the southern border, according to a photographer for The Post who witnessed it. Six buses loaded with mostly Venezuelan migrants were spotted crossing a downtown bridge to Ciudad Juarez, the frontier city in Mexico, Saturday, as police escorted dozens more to a pedestrian crossing.
A Border Patrol agent who did not want to be identified told The Post that 200 people were sent back to Mexico Saturday. “People are saying that if you are out in the streets the Border Patrol will get you and deport you because the President is coming to El Paso and they don’t want to show him the reality of things,” said Venezuelan migrant Maria Rodriguez said to The Post. She said that for the past three days she has been living in a dumpster in El Paso. “I hope we get shelter tonight because it took us a lot of courage to go out of that dumpster after three days…We just don’t want to keep running. All we are asking is for one chance,” she said. Another Venezuelan migrant, Joan Enriquez, 21, said he had been sleeping on the steps of a church and is furious with President Biden for making false promises.
“I really think politicians are playing with us,” he said. “Both side, Democrats and Republicans. We are props to them because like Biden, he first said he wanted to help us, and then he shut the border down and we can’t find a way to get legal in this country.” And critics are seizing on the cleaning of the camps by El Paso authorities saying that they are attempting to cover up what is really happening. “El Paso being cleaned up as if nothing unusual ever happened there. Just in time for Biden’s ‘visit to the border’. We suggest just landing in Des Moines, Iowa and telling him it’s El Paso. He’ll never know the difference,” the Border Patrol Union said.
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“..if ‘reduction’ means ‘pumping our most vaccine hesitant audience with [T]ucker Carlson saying it doesn’t work’ then … I’m not sure it’s reduction!”
• White House Pushed Facebook to Censor Tucker Carlson on COVID-19 Vaccines (ET)
The White House pressured Facebook to take action against Fox News host Tucker Carlson for supposedly saying COVID-19 vaccines “don’t work,” according to a document released by Louisiana’s Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, who characterized the move as a request to censor the journalist. Landry shared the document—an email exchange between White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty and an unidentified Facebook employee—in a Jan. 7 post on Twitter, with the comment: “Rob Flaherty tells facebook to censor” Tucker Carlson. “Since we’ve been on the phone—the top post about vaccines today is [T]ucker Carlson saying they don’t work. Yesterday it was Tomi Lehren [sic] saying she won’t take one,” Flaherty reportedly said in the message to the Facebook staffer, whose name and email address have been redacted.
“This is exactly why I want to know what ‘Reduction’ actually looks like—if ‘reduction’ means ‘pumping our most vaccine hesitant audience with [T]ucker Carlson saying it doesn’t work’ then … I’m not sure it’s reduction!” Flaherty continued, per the document shared by Landry. Signaling action regarding the request, the unidentified Facebook employee then reportedly wrote: “Running this down now.” [..] Landry, together with Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, sued the Biden administration in May 2022 for allegedly pressuring and colluding with social media giants to suppress free speech. Schmitt on Jan. 5 was sworn in as a U.S. senator and has been replaced in his role as Missouri attorney general by Andrew Bailey.
Bailey took to Twitter on Jan. 7 to say that when he took the oath of office, he swore he would protect the Constitution and explained “why.” “We now have hard evidence that President Biden’s Administration colluded with social media companies to censor differing viewpoints and silence ‘misinformation’ that was later deemed true,” Bailey wrote in a series of posts. Bailey shared a screenshot of an email from White House COVID-19 Digital Director Clarke E. Humphrey to an unidentified Twitter employee with the subject line “Flagging Hank Aaron misinfo” and requesting the Twitter staff to “get moving on the process for having it removed ASAP.” In her request, Humphrey provided a link to a Twitter post by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a known critic of the Biden administration’s narrative on COVID-19 vaccines.
Tucker Jan 6 – real good
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“..Every order, every action and every failure will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry..”
• DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Responds To Impeachment Talk (CB)
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is hitting back at Republicans who want him to resign or to impeach him. He appeared on the ABC show “This Week” on Sunday and said he does not have any intention of resigning, knowing that he faces investigations and even a possible impeachment from the Republican House of Representatives. “As of yesterday morning, Kevin McCarthy is speaker of the House. And back in November, he suggested that you might be impeached if you don’t resign. Here’s what he said,” host George Stephanopoulos said as he played a clip of what Speaker Kevin McCarthy said. “If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate. Every order, every action and every failure will determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry,” the Speaker said.
“What’s your response to the speaker?” the host said. “I am joining the president today on his visit to El Paso, Texas. I’ve been to the border quite a number of times,” the secretary said. “I’m joining the president at the North Mexican Leader’s Summit in Mexico City to work with our partners in Mexico and Canada to address the security of the homeland. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m proud to do it, alongside 250,000 incredibly dedicated and talented individuals in the Department of Homeland Security and I’m going to continue to do my work,” he said. “So, you have no intention of resigning?” the host said. “I do not. I’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to do it,” the secretary said. “Are you prepared for the investigations?” the host said. “I am. I will be. And I’ll continue to do my work throughout them,” the secretary said.
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“..NSW’s reports became so inconvenient for COVID vaccine promoters that NSW decided to stop reporting hospitalizations and deaths by vaccine status.”
• A Summer of Illness and Excess Death in Australia (Chudov)
January marks the middle of summer in Australia. Unfortunately, despite “health experts” hoping that Covid is a seasonal disease and would go away in summer, Australia is in the middle of yet another wave of Covid. New South Wales, one of the Australian states, publishes “weekly surveillance reports.” Compared to November, COVID hospitalizations more than tripled, according to the latest report. Here’s the strange part: the unvaccinated comprise exactly ZERO out of 1,779 hospitalized people. If we are to believe that so many unvaccinated people die of Covid without ever being hospitalized (a phenomenon seen only in NSW and not anywhere in the world), only 6% of deaths in NSW are unvaccinated.
94% of deaths are in vaccinated people, but only 84.3% of all Australians are vaccinated. NSW health authorities want us to believe that unvaccinated people die of Covid without being hospitalized before dying! While people certainly do die without being hospitalized, the pattern I compiled from recent reports is odd.
The table shows that out of 27 dead unvaccinated people, only four were hospitalized before death. Not sure about you, but to me, this isn’t easy to accept. Are they counting any deaths with “unknown” status as unvaccinated to pad their numbers? I looked at persons over 16 in NSW and compiled hospitalization data (with known status) and percentages of the population with the respective number of doses.
While some of this is explained by age affecting the number of vaccines received, the NSW data shows the utter failure of Covid vaccines. A year ago, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said at 2:12: There is no question that we will NOT get out of this pandemic without a very substantial portion of our population being vaccinated. Now this “substantial portion,” sadly, is quite sick as Brad is nearing his retirement – while no unvaccinated people are in NSW’s hospitals. NSW’s reports became so inconvenient for COVID vaccine promoters that NSW decided to stop reporting hospitalizations and deaths by vaccine status.
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Is this real?
• Experts Trying to Explain White Lungs in China (ET)
While the official data from China reports mild disease and low mortalities surrounding the latest COVID-19 outbreaks, Chinese social media is awash with reports of “white lung,” a form of pneumonia often seen in moderate to severe disease. Anecdotal accounts of deaths after infections, and overwhelmed hospitals and morgues, have flooded Weibo and Chinese short-form video platforms. Pulmonary critical care specialist Dr. Joseph Varon from Baylor University expressed his perplexity at the white-lung reports on Chinese social media. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said, referring to the official reports from China that state the dominant circulating strains as BA.5.2 and BF.7, both Omicron variants that cause mild disease.
Omicron in general, “[doesn’t] give you white lungs,” he argued. “Those images [on social media] suggest that you’re dealing with something very similar to Delta.” Whiteness in Computed Tomography (CT) scans is a telling sign of severe disease. “The whiter the lungs are, the more chances of dying you have,” said Varon, referring to a study he co-authored on disease prognosis. Omicron’s different surface markers make the variant more capable of infecting the upper airways rather than causing inflammation and pneumonia in the lungs. Pneumonia is more likely seen in patients infected with Omicron if they are old and severely immunocompromised.
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“It is equivalent to slightly more than the annual GDP of Morocco..”
• Swiss National Bank Posts Record $143 Billion Loss In 2022 (R.)
The Swiss National Bank posted an annual loss of 132 billion Swiss francs ($143 billion) in 2022, it said on Monday, the biggest in its 115-year history as falling stock and fixed-income markets hit the value of its share and bond portfolio. A strengthening Swiss franc also had a negative impact. Monday’s provisional figure, which marked a reverse from a 26 billion franc profit in 2021, was far bigger than the previous record loss of 23 billion francs chalked up in 2015. It is equivalent to slightly more than the annual GDP of Morocco. The SNB will release detailed annual figures on March 6. It made a loss of 131 billion francs from its foreign currency positions – the more than 800 billion francs in stocks and bonds it bought during a long campaign to weaken the Swiss franc.
Global stock markets weakened and bond prices fell last year as central banks around the world, including the SNB, hiked interest rates to combat inflation. The strong Swiss franc – it rose above parity versus against the euro in July – led to exchange rate-related losses. The only positive was the SNB’s gold holdings which stood at 1,040 tonnes at the end of 2021 and gained 400 million francs in value during 2022. The 2022 loss meant the central bank will not make its usual payout to the Swiss central and regional governments, it said. Last year the SNB paid out 6 billion francs. Still, the loss is unlikely to have an impact on SNB policy. It hiked interest rates three times in 2022 as Chairman Thomas Jordan moved to stem high Swiss inflation, analysts said.
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Stir it up
Paul Newman and Marlon Brando at a sit-in protest for fair housing in California in 1963.
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