Russia’s power over Belarus is in the spotlight after plane ‘hijacking’ incident
Reported yesterday: Belarus hijacked a passenger plane in order to arrest a foe of its government
As global leaders expressed outrage at Belarus’ “hijacking” of a Ryanair plane and the detention of an opposition activist, Russia was notable for its vociferous defense of the country. Now, analysts are saying Moscow stands to benefit from Belarus’ further estrangement from the West.
Belarus on Sunday ordered a Ryanair flight carrying prominent Belarusian opposition activist Roman Protasevich to divert to its capital Minsk, whereupon the activist was detained. Russia described the uproar in the U.S. and Europe as “shocking” and accused the West of having double standards.
Russia has been steadily increasing its power and influence over its neighbor Belarus, but the countries’ leaders President Vladimir Putin and President Alexander Lukashenko are somewhat uncomfortable allies — it’s arguable that any allegiance is fragile at best, and borne out of necessity.
For Belarus, Russia is a powerful economic and political partner and a source of support, having backed Lukashenko’s leadership.
For Russia, Belarus offers an opportunity to exert economic and political influence in the region, and is a convenient bulwark against what it sees as the European encroachment upon its former territories, such as Ukraine.CNBC
If there's one thing Rocky IV taught me, it's that you can never trust the Russian government.
I'll stand by those teachings 'til the day I die.
Blinken says US will aid Gaza without helping Hamas
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed Tuesday to “rally international support” to aid Gaza following a devastating war there while keeping any assistance out of the hands of its militant Hamas rulers, as he began a regional tour to shore up last week’s cease-fire.
The 11-day war between Israel and Hamas killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished coastal territory. The truce that came into effect Friday has so far held, but it did not address any of the underlying issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something Blinken acknowledged after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges. And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” he said.AP
It's about time.
Mysterious air base being built on volcanic island off Yemen
A mysterious air base is being built on a volcanic island off Yemen that sits in one of the world’s crucial maritime chokepoints for both energy shipments and commercial cargo.
While no country has claimed the Mayun Island air base in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, shipping traffic associated with a prior attempt to build a massive runway across the 5.6-kilometer (3.5 mile)-long island years ago links back to the United Arab Emirates.
Officials in Yemen’s internationally recognized government now say the Emiratis are behind this latest effort as well, even though the UAE announced in 2019 it was withdrawing its troops from a Saudi-led military campaign battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
“This does seem to be a longer-term strategic aim to establish a relatively permanent presence,” said Jeremy Binnie, the Mideast editor at the open-source intelligence company Janes who has followed construction on Mayun for years. It’s “possibly not just about the Yemen war and you’ve got to see the shipping situation as fairly key there.”AP
Not gonna lie: I put this here mainly for the headline.
The White House Is Partnering With Dating Apps To Get Horny People Vaccinated
In a national effort to get through to horny but vaccine-hesitant Americans, the White House announced Friday that it is joining forces with dating apps to encourage people to get their COVID-19 vaccines so that they can go forth and fuck freely this summer.
Vaccinated users on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and Badoo will have access to some premium features for free. OkCupid, Chispa, BLK, and Match are giving out a free “Boost” to those who've been vaccinated so that their profiles are more likely to be seen first. Plenty of Fish is also offering free credits to vaccinated members for its livestreaming feature.Buzzfeed News
Not gonna lie, Part Deux: I put this here ONLY for the headline.
The Climate Real Estate Bubble: Is the U.S. on the Verge of Another Financial Crisis?
Increasingly, experts see a collective threat to the U.S. economy. As the risks of owning a home in places affected by climate change stack up, economists and policymakers say climate-induced flight from threatened areas could shock the U.S. economy as home prices plummet, lending dries up and the local tax base diminishes in hard-hit regions.
“The degree of capital reallocation and the speed of that is going to be larger and happen more quickly than most market participants expect,” Brian Deese, President Joe Biden’s chief economic adviser, told TIME last year when he was the head of sustainable investing at BlackRock. Zimmerman calls herself “the canary in the coal mine.” She may be one of the first, but if the U.S. doesn’t heed her warnings, she won’t be the last.Time
I'll go out on a limb here (while trees still exist): Real estate prices will plummet long before the climate change makes it happen. Prices are so inflated right now (in so many asset classes), and asset bubbles are popping up all over the place. Like all bubbles, some will burst and others will deflate slowly.
Look at student debt, credit card debt, housing prices, stock indexes, precious metals, and cryptocurrencies.
Political artist John Sims detained, handcuffed by S.C. police in his gallery apartment
“When a police culture suffocates the voice of justice, why should I trust the police with my body? Why? If resisting and cooperating bring the same outcome — death — what am I to do, especially if good cops cannot stand up to bad cops? When there are no internal moral checks and balances, you become a pack of animals in an uncivilized wilderness motivated by fear and the naked power to punish and destroy,” Sims said last June in a commentary in the Orlando Sentinel. “You become the judge, jury and looter of Black bodies. You become a virus of racism and white supremacy. You become the face of a broken America.”Yahoo!
Thanks for the story, Mike. I think it sums up well what we all want to say about police violence on Black people.