Daily News, via SOTT.net aggregation.

Something unusual filmed in the skies of Montana

Something unusual filmed in the skies of Montana

The team at Into The Little Belts shot some aerial video in the Highwood Mountains on Monday, May 21st, and captured something that has people puzzled. They wrote: "When we turned the drone to get a view of Round and Square Butte, we captured something pretty interesting... a UFO? maybe just a plastic bag? Either way, it is a pretty strange thing we captured. In this video we slow the footage down and zoom in. What do you think it is?" On Thursday, Into The Little Belts shared the video with KRTV with the following message: KRTV- The other day, we were using our aerial camera in the Highwood Mountains and captured this strange anomaly. We posted it to our page and got a ton of responses of what it could be such as "ball Lightning", Ice from the storm, Cottonwood fluff, weather balloon and many other theories. We have landed on ice, but still have our doubts. Maybe you could help us figure this out?

Kiev: Masked thugs attack Liverpool football fans

Kiev: Masked thugs attack Liverpool football fans

Masked thugs in Kiev have attacked Liverpool fans in the city for Saturday's UEFA Champions League final. A video, published by the Mirror, shows a 20-strong gang throwing glasses, tables and chairs, causing their targets to scatter. Two men were arrested while others were able to flee the scene without being detained. Witnesses described the troublemakers as a 'pack of dogs' as they laid into Liverpool fans who were eating dinner at a restaurant called Rooster Grill, not far from the final venue Olimpiyskiy Stadium, the Independent reports. Liverpool fans were left battered and covered in blood with wounds to their heads and necks as they ran for cover.

Family pit bull terrier kills 6-year-old boy in Altoona, Pennsylvania

Family pit bull terrier kills 6-year-old boy in Altoona, Pennsylvania

A 6-year-old boy is dead after a family dog attacked him, according to two reports. Rick Vaughan, a friend of the boy's family, told the Altoona Mirror that the attack happened just before 6 p.m. when the child's father was cutting grass, heard the mother screaming and discovered "the dog on the boy." The deadly attack occurred in the family's home on Gesser Avenue in Lakemont, which is just south of Altoona. Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross told WTAJ that the dog was a pit bull and that the boy died of blunt force trauma. News outlets are withholding the boy's name out of respect for the family's wishes.

Funnel clouds and waterspouts recorded across southeast Texas

Funnel clouds and waterspouts recorded across southeast Texas

As scattered downpours pop up around southeast Texas, funnel clouds and waterspouts are appearing as well. + Waterspout was spotted near the high school stadium in Texas City at 11:51 a.m. + Funnel clouds in Galveston County at 12:05 p.m. + Funnel cloud reported near the intersection of Highway 6 and FM 521 in Fort Bend County + Funnel cloud reported along FM 1462 in Iowa Colony in Brazoria County at 12:16 p.m. + Funnel cloud reported in north Alvin, heading to Pearland in Brazoria County at 12:50 p.m. + Funnel cloud reported at Sienna Plantation moving north towards Shadow Creek in Fort Bend County at 12:50 p.m.

Putin to Europe: Let's talk rules on cyberwarfare

Putin to Europe: Let's talk rules on cyberwarfare

Nations that don't like being the targets of cyberwarfare have the incentive to work on common rules of cyberspace the same way rules for nuclear weapons were negotiated, said the Russian president. Vladimir Putin made the comparison in response to a journalist's question about the latest accusation in the US that Russia used its cyber capabilities to interfere with the 2016 election during a joint conference with French President Emmanuel Macron. "This is what I can say about cyberattacks or war of words in the press and other issues. Action always causes reaction. Always. If one does not want to get a reaction he does not like, rules for actions need to be set," he said. "When the humanity invented nuclear weapons, everyone realized how dangerous it is and agreed on rules, which were aimed at preventing a tragedy. It's obvious that cyber now is a most important field affecting millions of people. Let's agree on how we work in it."

Can Trump lawfully investigate his investigators?

Can Trump lawfully investigate his investigators?

This past weekend, President Donald Trump suggested that his presidential campaign may have been the victim of spies or moles who were FBI informants or undercover agents. He demanded an investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. At the same time that the president was fuming over this, Republican congressional leaders were fuming about the reluctance of senior officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI to turn over documents that might reveal political origins of the current criminal investigation of the president by special counsel Robert Mueller. Can the president intercede in a federal criminal investigation of which he himself is a subject? Can Congress intercede in a DOJ criminal investigation? Here is the back story.

N. Korea still wants peace with US, ready to talk 'any time, any way'

N. Korea still wants peace with US, ready to talk 'any time, any way'

The decision by US President Donald Trump to cancel the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "not in line with the world's wishes," the government in Pyongyang has announced. Kim has made the "utmost efforts" to hold a summit with Trump, said the North Korean first vice minister for foreign affairs, Kim Kye-gwan, according to the state news agency KCNA. The meeting between two leaders was scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. Pyongyang is "still willing to resolve issues with the United States," the official said, holding onto the hope that the meeting could still be rescheduled.

"Pothole Killer" falls into sinkhole in Niagara Falls, New York

"Pothole Killer" falls into sinkhole in Niagara Falls, New York

A sinkhole halted a piece of large equipment ironically dubbed a "Pothole Killer" at 18th and South Streets in Niagara Falls on Thursday. There were no injuries, Niagara Falls Police have confirmed. They are working to get the truck out of the sinkhole. The "Pothole Killer" belongs to a Pennsylvania-based service which the City of Niagara Falls contracts with to fill potholes.

The left and the right don't hear the same Jordan Peterson

The left and the right don't hear the same Jordan Peterson

A New York Times Magazine hit piece says more about the mainstream media than it says about Jordan Peterson. Dr. Jordan Peterson, who has enjoyed a surge into fame over the past year, has become a bit like the Yanny and Laurel audio meme. People listen to what he has to say but disagree wildly about what they are hearing. Some hear a man with important ideas that can help people live a more fulfilling life, others hear a dangerous misogynist who wants to set back the cause of liberated women, trans people, and the rest of the cast(e) of oppression. In a feature for The New York Times Magazine this weekend, Nellie Bowles clearly came down on the latter side.

Child Development research shows siblings play a role in the development of empathy

Child Development research shows siblings play a role in the development of empathy

For decades, researchers have demonstrated the numerous ways in which parents can positively influence their children's development. This includes how confident they are, how well they do in school and how they interact with their friends Far less attention has focused on the impact of children's relationships with their brothers and sisters, despite the fact that most people grow up with at least one sibling and they tend to spend more time with one another than with parents or friends. Our research at the University of Calgary and the University of Toronto shows that siblings, like parents, can have a dramatic impact on one another's development. We've found, for example, that warmth and support from an older sibling can help boost the younger sibling's language development and their understanding of others' minds and points of view.

Macron addresses "dear Putin" and Russia's "irreplaceable role in solving international problems", meanwhile France's businesses make billion dollar deals

Macron addresses "dear Putin" and Russia's "irreplaceable role in solving international problems", meanwhile France's businesses make billion dollar deals

Russia is irreplaceable in international relations, including in the Middle East, French President Emmanuel Macron said at a joint media conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. While delivering a lyrical speech that lasted over 20 minutes, starting with the long history of Franco-Russian ties, Macron underlined that France is an independent country and that dialogue with Russia is a "manifestation of this independent position." "I am perfectly aware of Russia's irreplaceable role in solving international problems," he said after several hours of talks with Putin, where the two discussed Syria and the Iran nuclear deal among other international issues in which both countries are taking an active part. Comment: Duplicitous Macron says after joining the renewed illegal Western bombing of Syria when Russia had already routed US-backed ISIS, initiated a peace deal and was in the process of rehabilitating the country.

Gazprom to reduce gas prices for Eastern & Central Europe after apparent EU anti-trust breach

Gazprom to reduce gas prices for Eastern & Central Europe after apparent EU anti-trust breach

The European Union is imposing a series of obligations on Russian energy giant Gazprom to improve the flow of gas at competitive prices in Eastern Europe, EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday. Gazprom will have to ease its hold on the European market, said Vestager, giving consumers "an effective tool to make sure that the price they pay is competitive." The Commission's decision comes after three years of legal action. It means Gazprom will have to remove restrictions on customers to resell gas across borders and improve gas flows to members like Bulgaria and the Baltic nations.

Russian central bank boasts of "operational" SWIFT alternative as defense against US sanctions

Russian central bank boasts of "operational" SWIFT alternative as defense against US sanctions

Russia has managed to develop a national system for money transfers that could protect its banking from the possible cut off from SWIFT transfer services in case of tougher US penalties, the central bank chief said at SPIEF. "There are risks in using the global financial networks, the global financial system, of which Russia is a part," the Central Bank of Russia's governor, Elvira Nabiullina, said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). "Therefore, since back in 2014, we have been developing our own systems, including a payments system. Inside Russia we have created a system for transferring financial data, which is similar to SWIFT."

Huge fissures tears through homes and infrastructure after heavy rains in Uganda

Huge fissures tears through homes and infrastructure after heavy rains in Uganda

Over 300 homes have been destroyed and several people displaced after several big cracks developed following heavy rain in Bupoto Sub County and Namisindwa town council in Namisindwa district, Uganda on May 23, 2018. The fissures in the ground go right through people's houses, gardens and bridges have been washed away. Like Kenya, Uganda is situated in the valley of the East African Rift, which is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates - the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate. After giant cracks opened up in Kenya, now Uganda has its own cracks. Something big is happening in the region right now! Just to say... Here some more pictures of the dramatic situation... As if an earthquake had just struck the area:

At least 15 injured as two men blow up IED inside Indian restaurant in Canada

At least 15 injured as two men blow up IED inside Indian restaurant in Canada

Police have released a photo of two suspects who detonated an explosive device in a restaurant in Mississauga, a city in the Canadian province of Ontario. At least 15 people have been injured. Police say they received a call for "an incident" at 10:32 pm and have cordoned off the area. Local media report that there has been an explosion at an Indian restaurant in the central area of the city. Law enforcement is asking for public assistance in the hunt for the two male suspects who "fled the scene immediately after the incident." Apart from pictures of the suspected perpetrators, they published a detailed description of the men's outfits. Both wore jeans and hoodies, and had their faces covered.

Syrian air defense intercepts Israeli missile strike on airport near Homs

Syrian air defense intercepts Israeli missile strike on airport near Homs

Syrian air defense systems have repelled a missile attack on an airport near the western city of Homs, less than a day after US-led coalition jets targeted several Syrian military positions in the country's eastern Dayr al-Zawr province. "One of our military airports in the central region was exposed to a hostile missile attack, and our air defense systems confronted the attack and prevented it from achieving its aim," Syria's official news agency, SANA, reported on Thursday night. The news agency had earlier said that sounds of explosions were heard near Dabaa airport, which lies about 20 kilometers southwest of Homs near the Lebanese border.

The mainstream media want you to see only one collusion story

The mainstream media want you to see only one collusion story

Anyone examining FBI and Justice Department abuses is smeared and ridiculed. President Trump is opening a whole new chapter in the war between him and the investigators pursuing him. Today, he tweeted: "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!" It's unclear how the Justice Department will respond. In March, Justice's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, announced he would be examining exactly how the DOJ set about employing the so-called Steele dossier to help obtain permission from a special court, the FISA court, to eavesdrop on Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page. Apparently, Trump is demanding that the DOJ now look at a range of recent developments, including the news that an FBI informant was fishing for information from Trump officials before any Justice investigation of possible Trump-campaign collusion with Russia was supposed to have begun.

RT exposes mainstream media's pro-Israel bias when reporting on Gaza massacre

RT exposes mainstream media's pro-Israel bias when reporting on Gaza massacre

RT makes a huge contribution every day to the public's understanding of world events. No wonder the deep state hates them. RT does invaluable work in challenging the Western (largely Jewish influenced) media monopolies. The media's coverage of the Gaza massacre is a great chance to look at how the media's portrayal of ethnic conflicts is distorted when Jewish interests are involved. When Syrian President Bashar Assad violently suppresses protests (or actual terrorists) the western media immediately demonizes him as an "animal" and a monster. When "white supremacists" in Charlottesville have a rally that ends in the death of one of the violent "counter-protestors", the western media pushes for vicious consequences.

Pilot captures mystery object in sky over Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Pilot captures mystery object in sky over Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

An unidentified flying object was spotted hovering above rural Hastings yesterday. A student pilot captured a shot of the mysterious object, which seemed rather indecisive about what direction it was going. Freelance photographer Tim Whittaker posted the photos on his Facebook page and received plenty of suggestions about what the object might be, from a drone wearing a raincoat to an escaped roast turkey. Hawke's Bay Aerodrome flight instructor Cassandra Jefferies said the object was first spotted at about 600m or 2000ft above the aerodrome and aircraft was sent up in an attempt to identify it.

Late May SNOW DAY for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador - foot of snow in 24 hours

Late May SNOW DAY for New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador - foot of snow in 24 hours

Although not completely unheard of, scenes like THIS are no doubt, tough on the psyche. Especially during the last full week of May. AND to add insult to injury, another round of snow is possible for parts of Newfoundland on Friday. More on that below. A cold front that crossed through the region changed widespread rainfall over to snow through central Newfoundland Wednesday night, steadily falling and accumulating through the overnight hours. Several photos taken in the Gander area show scenes of green grass QUICKLY replaced by a foot of snow in less than 24 hours.

Photographer captures yet another photo of 'rare' red sprites - in skies above Oklahoma

Photographer captures yet another photo of 'rare' red sprites - in skies above Oklahoma

Back in October 2017, EarthSky.org reported that photographer Paul Smith believed he had captured some of the first images of red sprites in Oklahoma. Since then, Smith has captured two more instances of the ethereal high-altitude phenomenon: one on May 12th, 2018, and again today, on May 24th, pictured above. All images have been published on his interesting Facebook group, International Observers of Upper-Atmospheric Electric Phenomena: Lots of TLEs from Oklahoma tonight. This one stands out as my best to date. 12.55am/6:55 UTC 5/24/2018 looking WNW from north Edmond, Oklahoma. It even has the blue/purple ends on the tendrils 'TLE' stands for Transient Luminous Event, which includes upper-atmosphere electric phenomena known as sprites, jets and ELVES. These high-altitude discharges were once considered to 'possibly occur' because pilots reported seeing them, but meteorologists discounted the idea until 1989 when the first visual documentation was made in support of the claims.

Family removes Alexa devices after it sends recordings of their private conversations to a stranger

Family removes Alexa devices after it sends recordings of their private conversations to a stranger

A concerned family is speaking out after they claim that their Amazon Alexa device recorded a conversation they were having in their home, and sent it to a random contact who alerted them to the fact that he had heard everything they said. A homeowner named Danielle, who asked for her last name to remain anonymous, told KIRO 7 that she and her husband were in their house, discussing home improvement projects and hardwood floors when they received an urgent call from one of her husband's employees in Seattle. "The person on the other line said, 'unplug your Alexa devices right now, you're being hacked,'" Danielle said. "We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house," she said. "At first, my husband was, like, 'no you didn't!' And the (recipient of the message) said 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'oh gosh, you really did hear us.'" The employee sent the couple the email he had received with the audio files, and Danielle confirmed that it was, in fact, a direct recording of their conversation. She told KIRO 7 that the Amazon Alexa had access to every room in her house because it controlled the heating, lighting and security system in her home.

Meteor fireball over the Mediterranean Sea

Meteor fireball over the Mediterranean Sea

This meteor event was recorded over the Mediterranean Sea on 23 May 2018 at 1:37 local time (23:37 universal time on 22 May). The event was produced by a fragment from an asteroid that hit the atmosphere at about 90000 km/h. The fireball began at an altitude of around 89 km over the sea, and ended at a height of about 19 km. The analysis of its atmospheric path shows that this was a meteorite-producing event. The meteorite would have fallen into the sea. The event was recorded by the meteor observing stations operated by the SMART Project (University of Huelva) from the astronomical observatories of Calar Alto, La Sagra, La Hita and Sevilla.

SOTT FOCUS: The Meat-Guilt Industry: The Quest For The Perfect Veggie Burger Can't Remove The Taste of Lies

SOTT FOCUS: The Meat-Guilt Industry: The Quest For The Perfect Veggie Burger Can't Remove The Taste of Lies

Exploiting guilt has probably been used as a manipulative technique for driving behavior since humans evolved the ability to feel emotions. Most of us are thoroughly conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce feelings of guilt, and the reality-creators who decide what is and is not acceptable are as adept as an Italian mother at exploiting this fact. Global warming, identity politics, smoking, being overweight - by establishing through repetitive conditioning what is considered acceptable, and thoroughly admonishing those who don't conform to such behavior, the actions of the populace at large are controlled via emotional manipulation. People are heavily guilt-tripped into correct behavior via diet. A lot of this comes from advertising, which is manipulative by nature, but it's also coming from most diet-related 'news' items in the mainstream media. These days the party line is essentially that meat is bad for you, bad for the environment, bad for the planet - and is unspeakably cruel on top of that. The closer you are to hardcore vegan, the better you are as a person. See this manipulative meme as an example:

Ice Age Farmer Report: NASA data confirms Global Cooling, buildings collapse, crop losses and food shortages

Ice Age Farmer Report: NASA data confirms Global Cooling, buildings collapse, crop losses and food shortages

NASA official data confirms 2 years of #GlobalCooling -- yet media is silent. Meanwhile, buildings collapsing under snow, infrastructure failing, crops lost, food shortages -- welcome to the #GrandSolarMinimum. Are you taking steps today to thrive tomorrow? Sources

Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: Earth's winds and clouds are changing

Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: Earth's winds and clouds are changing

Earth's winds and cloud patterns are now starting to show definite signs of incredible changes versus what was considered the normal just two years ago. Now every colliding weather front of a record rain downpour, a record hail depth event and a record wind or electrical event. There has been a noticeable change which is affecting crop yields and climate mix-ups are beginning to take a toll. These are a few explanations of how cosmic rays effect our Earth's climate systems with dozens of examples of extremes we are seeing right now. Do you really think a foot of hail in Paris is normal? Sources

'Pharmaceutical approach should be our last resort' - Safe ways to address chronic pain

'Pharmaceutical approach should be our last resort' - Safe ways to address chronic pain

Soon after I moved to California, almost 15 years ago, I received a notice saying that all physicians in California needed to take and pass a course on pain management to renew their license. The motivation behind this initiative, we were told, was that pain syndromes were left unrecognized and inadequately treated in the U.S. to an alarming degree. We were told that because of new drugs, physicians now could see to it that no person was left to suffer with chronic pain. About a month ago, I took a follow-up class largely devoted to the state of pain management in 2018. We learned that as a result of the initiatives to effectively treat patients with pain, mostly with newer opiate medicines, at least tens of thousands of people died. Countless other people have had their lives devastated as a result of chronic opiate use, benzodiazepine use (medicines such as Valium, Librium, Xanax, etc.), or the deadly combination of opiates and "benzos." Physicians, encouraged by pharmaceutical companies, created what many call an epidemic of tragic proportions, not only for the individuals whose health was undermined through chronic medication use, but also for their families and communities. We even heard that a new study indicated that the chronic use of prescription sleeping pills, which an extraordinary percentage of older Americans uses, dramatically increases the all-cause mortality rate. The course was designed to alert us to the dangers these drugs cause and to teach us how to "safely" and "legally" prescribe them. Most of the doctors in the room were older practitioners, most in solo or small-group practices; in other words, part of the dying breed. The sense of despair and futility in the room was palpable, as these men and women were aware that, given the constraints of their practices, they have no effective way to comply with the regulations concerning opiate prescriptions. Perhaps more important, most have no clue what to tell their patients who are in pain, as they have no other tools in their toolbox besides pharmaceutical medicines. All they know is how to prescribe drugs, and yet it is crystal clear that these substances are literally killing people. This is clearly a horrible situation for these doctors and the patients who rely on them for their care.

Gigantic and unique 'divergent eddy' appears in the sky above Antwerp, Belgium

Gigantic and unique 'divergent eddy' appears in the sky above Antwerp, Belgium

In the north of the Belgian province of Antwerp, clouds turned into one great swirl on the evening of Tuesday May 22nd. Many residents of the municipality Schilde and its surrounding area were amazed on seeing the bizarre weather phenomenon in the sky. It was Facebook page Weerstation Zoersel & omstreken that received pictures of the phenomenon and published them online. Excited about the sight in the sky, Belgian weather caster Jill Peeters tweeted: "I'm going for a walk - without a phone - and I keep seeing a motionless, gigantic swirl in the clouds. Thankfully, you all, such as in Zoersel and Antwerp, are taking pictures of it."

Australian parents furious as city council seeks to ban use of "boy" or "girl" in books

Australian parents furious as city council seeks to ban use of "boy" or "girl" in books

"For goodness sake, this is social engineering gone crazy... Leave kids alone to be kids. Stop trying to destroy kids' childhoods..." That is an example of the furious reaction from parents in Victoria, Australia where the local city council has announced plans to audit children's books and toys with a plan to ban them from kindergartens, schools and libraries if they don't meet strict gender guidelines. The Herald Sun reports that the local government's justice warriors were inspired by research from the Australian National University that showed children were influenced by gender stereotyping, and urged a ban on the terms 'boy' and 'girl'.

UK Labour Party lunacy: Men who self-identify as women will be eligible for all-female shortlists

UK Labour Party lunacy: Men who self-identify as women will be eligible for all-female shortlists

Labour confirmed that men who self-identify as women will be eligible for all-female shortlists. It comes days after a party member was suspended for saying he was female on Wednesdays in an attempt to test their 'self-ID' policy. On Monday it was revealed that Labour activist David Lewis was suspended from the party after standing as a women's officer, claiming he identified as a woman on one day of the week - Wednesday. Lewis said that he pulled the stunt to highlight problems with self-identification, arguing that he wanted to "inform the constituency Labour Party, and maybe some other people, about what this policy means, about what happens when you say that someone's gender depends only on what they say and nothing else."

Anti-semitism: Israel's perpetual get-out-of-jail-free card

Anti-semitism: Israel's perpetual get-out-of-jail-free card

The silencing of critics of Israel using anti-semitism as the pretext is far from restricted to the current wave of attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party. It is now used to intimidate anyone who steps out of line on Israel. Once we raged against the conflation of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. We have so lost that battle that it is now standard operating procedure for Israel's apologists to conflate anti-semitism with simple criticisms of the current ultra-nationalist Israeli government. Here is an illustration of our defeat, reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz. It concerns what would in other circumstances be a fairly standard satirical cartoon: this one published by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung about Israel winning the Eurovision song contest last week. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is shown on stage dressed as Israel's winning singer, Netta, and proclaiming "Next year in Jerusalem!". After the usual outcry, the cartoonist, Dieter Hanitzsch, was sacked. No Charlie Hebdo-style concerns about free speech on this occasion, it seems.

Severe hailstorms hit Ukrainian fruit crops

Severe hailstorms hit Ukrainian fruit crops

Hail storms which hit Ukraine last week (16-17 May), have caused damage to the largest berry producing regions in Central and Western Ukraine. There is concern that these recent storms will have an impact on berry quality and production for the coming season, but it is too early to say exactly what the losses will be at this point. This most recent weather development occurred just after an industry meeting had been held on the 15th of May, discussing how the unusually warm spring weather caused many fruits to flower to quickly, and how it might have an effect on the 2018 fruit and berry harvest.

N. Korea labels Pence a 'political dummy', threatens 'appalling tragedy' and summit cancellation

N. Korea labels Pence a 'political dummy', threatens 'appalling tragedy' and summit cancellation

Pyongyang has threatened to scrap the US-North Korean leadership meeting and make the US face "an appalling tragedy." The remarks came in response to Vice President Mike Pence's warning on a Libyan scenario for the country. "As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice-president," North Korean vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-hui said as cited by state media on Thursday. "We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them." US officials are apparently continuing with President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" approach despite the recent relief in tensions on the Korean peninsula. On Monday, Pence said that if the North's leader Kim Jong-un tries to play Trump and fails to make a deal on its nukes, it will "only end like the Libyan model ended." He was not the first high ranking official to mention Libya while speaking about the North's denuclearization. Earlier US national security adviser John Bolton brought up the "Libyan model"of giving up the nuclear arsenal as well.

Trump cancels June meeting with Kim

Trump cancels June meeting with Kim

President Donald Trump has cancelled a much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility" from Kim, who threatened the US with a "nuclear to nuclear showdown." "I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," read the letter, sent a few hours after North Korea blew up its nuke testing site at Punggye-ri. The demolition was witnessed by a small pool of foreign journalists, and was considered a goodwill gesture from Kim ahead of the planned summit.

Trump touts military strength as 'powerful and ready' after cancelling Kim summit

Trump touts military strength as 'powerful and ready' after cancelling Kim summit

After cancelling a long-awaited summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump reverted to his earlier rhetoric, saying that the US military is "more ready than...ever before," [if] Kim does something 'foolish.' Delivering remarks on the cancellation Thursday, Trump chose to spend much of his time touting his military strength. "Our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world," he said, "is ready if necessary," should Kim react badly to the cancellation. Trump also announced that South Korea and Japan were onboard and ready to shoulder some of the cost of military operations, should the need arise. Trump called the latest development "setback," yet he expressed hope for the positive outcome. In his usual manner, he said that that the summit still may happen. "If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialog, I am waiting," said Trump. Failing that, he warned Kim against "foolish and reckless" acts. The cancellation came hours after Pyongyang dismantled its nuclear test site as promised.

Khamenei: Trump will 'vanish from history' and US will 'be defeated'

Khamenei: Trump will 'vanish from history' and US will 'be defeated'

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Iran would defeat the United States if Iranian officials did their duty, and that US President Donald Trump will vanish from history, like his predecessors. "There is no doubt that the Americans will be defeated, provided Iranian officials fully perform their duties," Khamenei said in his first public comments since US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed 12 demands for Iran on Monday. Khamenei also said that the US had no excuse to quit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, adding "you see how easily they can cancel it," according to Iranian state television. The Iranian leader said that the US has always wanted regime change in Tehran, but that America would be defeated if they tried. On Monday, Pompeo laid out 12 "basic requirements" for Iran to abide by if it wants to "keep its economy alive." The list of directives included withdrawing from Syria, ending support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and promising to never process plutonium. Tehran must also allow "unqualified access" to all nuclear sites in the country. If Iran fails to comply with Washington's list of demands, the US will impose the "strongest sanctions in history," Pompeo warned.

New (old) Pentagon report says Pyongyang sees nukes as key to its survival

New (old) Pentagon report says Pyongyang sees nukes as key to its survival

With uncertainty surrounding the summit between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the Pentagon has pulled a trump card, releasing a February report that finds no reason for Kim to abandon nuclear weapons. The DOD's report on 'Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea' draws on data obtained before December 15, meaning it neither reflects the Olympics charm offensive of the Kim government, nor the historic intra-Korean talks, nor US President Donald Trump's acceptance of the invitation to a summit with the North Korean leader. The report, compiled in February, was submitted to Congress in April. Last week, Bloomberg cited excerpts. While the published report did not provide any new insights due to its reliance on largely outdated data, its timing could have hardly come at a more crucial moment for the fate of the meeting between the US and North Korean leaders, which had already been up in the air.

Pompeo: 'We're light-years ahead' of Obama concerning Russia

Pompeo: 'We're light-years ahead' of Obama concerning Russia

State Secretary Mike Pompeo declared that the Trump administration was "light-years" ahead of Obama's in dealing with Russia, and he offered his European allies advice on pushing back for themselves. Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday on his department's 2019 budget request, Pompeo was grilled on issues from North Korea talks to women's rights as he tried to justify $39.3 billion in funding for the State Department and USAID. Russia could not have been avoided. Lawmakers questioned Pompeo on whether his department was doing enough to prevent Russian actors from meddling in the 2018 midterm elections this November. Pompeo did not say what 'meddling' could possibly take place, but he assured lawmakers that his administration will take "appropriate countermeasures," to fight what he called "continued efforts." Comment: Is Pompeo saying Russia is meddling? ...and in doing so, throwing the Trump administration under the Mueller bus? Predictably, the specter of Russian collusion was raised by the Committee's top-ranking Democrat, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York), who accused the Trump administration of "giving Russia a pass," citing unproven allegations of Russian support for Trump in the 2016 election.

Iranian leader's demand for Europe to keep nuclear deal: 'Europe must buy our oil'

Iranian leader's demand for Europe to keep nuclear deal: 'Europe must buy our oil'

Iran's Supreme Leader said Europe must make up for any and all adverse effects the US pullout from the nuclear deal might have on its economy and not seek to include its ballistic missile program and regional policy in the deal. The list of conditions under which Iran would stay in the nuclear deal was laid out by the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday. In a speech before government officials, Khamenei listed a set of demands that France, Britain and Germany must comply with if they don't want to see Iran restart its nuclear program that was phased out under the 2015 deal. While European countries that are party to the landmark agreement have criticized the US exit and vowed to stick to the deal, Khamenei argued that words were not enough and that Europe needs to formally denounce the US' decision at the UN. "During the last two years, the US violated the JCPOA several times, and Europe remained silent. Europe must compensate for that silence,"Khamenei said, calling for Europe to "explicitly stand up to the US sanctions." While saying Iran doesn't seek a "fight" with Europe, Khamenei noted, "these three countries have proved that, on the most sensitive issues, they follow the US."

US 'disinvites' China from RIMPAC 2018 naval exercises citing 'militarization' of Spratly Islands

US 'disinvites' China from RIMPAC 2018 naval exercises citing 'militarization' of Spratly Islands

The US has revoked the Chinese navy's invitation to participate in the RIMPAC 2018 naval drills, citing Beijing's militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea. The two countries vie for influence in the region. "As an initial response to China's continued militarization of the South China Sea we have disinvited the PLA Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise," US Department of Defense spokesman Marine Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Logan said in a statement on Wednesday. At issue is the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy presence in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei. "We have strong evidence that China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, and electronic jammers to contested features in the Spratly Islands region of the South China Sea," Logan said. "We have called on China to remove the military systems immediately and to reverse course on the militarization of disputed South China Sea features."

Afghanistan: US' worth questioned; Pentagon watchdog admits lack of progress

Afghanistan: US' worth questioned; Pentagon watchdog admits lack of progress

Despite committing additional resources to Afghanistan, US troops and local security forces have made little inroads against the Taliban. Some Afghan lawmakers are questioning whether the country needs US assistance at all. A report to Congress prepared by the Pentagon's inspector general challenges an earlier assessment of the US military that the latest increase of support to the Afghan national security forces helped turn the corner and gain momentum against the militant movement. Over the first quarter of 2018 the Taliban's threat has not greatly diminished. "The Taliban continued to hold territory and launched devastating terrorist attacks in Kabul and across the country," Glenn Fine, the deputy Pentagon inspector general, wrote in an introductory note to the report, which was released on Monday. The Trump administration changed the US Afghanistan policy in August last year, deploying 3,000 additional troops to the country. Yet Kabul is far from achieving the benchmark of controlling areas where at least 80 percent of the Afghan population lives, as set out by Washington. As of the end of January, the figure stood at 65 percent, compared to 64 percent last quarter, the report said. There were few changes in control over territory too, with the Taliban controlling or contesting almost half of Afghanistan.

Clapper lies (again) about his previous lies on NSA spying

Clapper lies (again) about his previous lies on NSA spying

In an interview with the ladies of The View Tuesday afternoon, James Clapper told another lie about his previous lies about the NSA program to spy on American citizens. Meghan McCain confronted Clapper about a statement he made while testifying before Congress five years ago, when he was asked whether or not the NSA was spying on Americans. "In 2013 when you were asked about it, you said 'no,'" McCain said. "So that is a lie." "I made a mistake," Clapper said. "I didn't lie. I was thinking about something else, another program." Clapper then proceeded to prattle on about two different surveillance programs in an attempt to obfuscate his answer. "I've been trotting up the Hill testifying for 25 years," Clapper said. "Gee, just for a change of pace, I think I'll lie on this one question and by the way do it on live television and do it in front of one of my oversight committees. So I made a mistake, but I didn't lie." Let's revisit the exchange that Clapper referenced.

'First step' accomplished: House passes prison reform bill uniting some Dems and Trump

'First step' accomplished: House passes prison reform bill uniting some Dems and Trump

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly backed the First Step Act, which would allow more inmates to earn an early release from federal prisons and end practices such as shackling female prisoners during childbirth. The bill, House Resolution 5682, was approved on Tuesday evening by a vote of 360 in favor and 59 opposed. Co-sponsored by Representatives Doug Collins (R-Georgia) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York), the bill managed to unite President Donald Trump and some of his critics among the Democrats. Under the law, federal inmates would be able to earn up to 54 days per year in "good time credits" towards an early release, up from the previous cap of 47. This would apply retroactively, meaning that around 4,000 inmates could be released immediately once it is signed into law, according to Axios. The law also seeks to fund additional vocational and rehabilitative programs in federal prisons, to the tune of $50 million over five years, in order to help former convicts rebuild their lives after release. Among the reforms in the treatment of inmates, it would abolish the practice of shackling female prisoners during childbirth and place inmates no further than 500 miles away from their families.

Yesterday's man rages against the dying of the light: Michael McFaul's Russian memoir

Yesterday's man rages against the dying of the light: Michael McFaul's Russian memoir

From Cold War to Hot Peace: 483 pages of a controversial former US ambassador to Moscow venting his agitation over unfulfilled potential. As Theresa May might say, it's "highly likely" that Michael McFaul, given he's a professional scholar, is familiar with the work of George Berkeley. For the uninitiated, or those who couldn't care less, he was a philosopher from Kilkenny, Ireland, famous for advancing a theory now known as "subjective idealism." Whether he knows it or not, McFaul has spent decades channeling Berkeley, except he's substituted the Irishman's mystic optimism for a messianic devotion to his own "higher calling:" that of "democracy promotion." Yet, in reality, the former US ambassador to Russia has mostly indulged in pretty selective idealism.

Israel: Hospitals segregate Arab and Jewish women in maternity wards

Israel: Hospitals segregate Arab and Jewish women in maternity wards

In at least four Israeli hospitals, Arab women are separated from Jewish women in maternity wards, Haaretz newspaper reported. In a report based on testimonies collected from the four hospitals, the paper said the segregation policy has become the norm, explaining that the hospitals segregate the mothers either at their request or because they deem it right. According to the paper, the testimonies were collected from women who gave birth at the Hadassah University Hospital, Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem; Haemek in Afula; Nahariya's Western Galilee Hospital in and Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and who were victims of the segregation policy. "We are trying to make separate rooms because the culture is really different and the visit hours," the paper quoted a hospital nurse as saying during a recorded phone call. "We feel very strongly that there is one person, and there is a clan, We try, we can't say 100 per cent, but on days that there's no pressure, we arrange separate accommodations [for people speaking] different languages," she added. Comment: Others would call this an administrative excuse for apartheid. According to Haaretz, four Arab women filed a class demanding the hospitals end the policy and compensate those who were subjected to it, they believe the Ministry of Health is aware of the policy but turns a blind eye to it.

Ontario beekeepers report 'unsustainable losses' over the winter

Ontario beekeepers report 'unsustainable losses' over the winter

Beekeepers across the country are expressing concern about the effects of poor weather on their colonies. In Ontario, which has the largest number of beekeepers in Canada, the situation is being described as serious. A survey of almost 900 Ontario beekeepers indicated that 70 per cent suffered unsustainable losses.

Russia ready to toss dollar like a smelly sock in favor of Euro for foreign trade

Russia ready to toss dollar like a smelly sock in favor of Euro for foreign trade

Settlements in US currency could be dropped by Russia in favor of the euro if the EU takes a stand against the latest US sanctions on Moscow, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. "As we see, restrictions imposed by the American partners are of an extraterritorial nature. The possibility of switching from the US dollar to the euro in settlements depends on Europe's stance toward Washington's position," said Siluanov, who is also Russia's first deputy prime minister.

Dutch newspaper report - Over 1,000 underage girls forced into sex slavery by migrant traffickers

Dutch newspaper report - Over 1,000 underage girls forced into sex slavery by migrant traffickers

In the Netherlands, almost 1,400 underage girls are blackmailed into sex slavery every year by migrant traffickers who are utilizing social media and revenge porn, according to a new report. Today's sex traffickers are no longer "wasting time" on luring young girls with expensive gifts and hollow words of promise, instead, they are utilizing social media to gain the affection of a vulnerable teen and eventually blackmail her with sordid footage of their tryst. That is, according to a report by the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. Traffickers use social media to gain the trust of their victims, allowing them to continue to work, according to Floor 't Sas, a GZ psychologist based in Amsterdam. Then, young girls - especially those coming from an unstable home environment, but not always - can be lured by promises of parties, drinks or drugs.

Severe hailstorm pounds Eddy County, New Mexico - damages homes and cars

Severe hailstorm pounds Eddy County, New Mexico - damages homes and cars

A storm hit Eddy County Tuesday and dropped some huge hail, in some areas as big as half dollars, but it wasn't just the hail that scared people. Hail pounded the small town of Otis on Tuesday, damaging cars and homes. "We had a skylight break out on our house, two windows broke," said Steve Walterscheid. "Damaged the cotton, too, that we had planted." Walterscheid says he had 300 acres of cotton and is looking at thousands of dollars in losses. In nearby Carlsbad, the winds we so strong they ripped a roof off a business.

Whale carcass washed up at Bolinas Beach, California - latest in a series

Whale carcass washed up at Bolinas Beach, California - latest in a series

A dead whale was on Bolinas Beach Wednesday, the latest in a number of carcasses that have washed ashore in recent weeks. The whale at the west end of Bolinas Beach is believed to be a female fin whale, but a necropsy has yet to be conducted. That will occur in the coming days, officials said. A whale found Friday on Tennessee Valley Beach, and a second taken to Angel Island for a necropsy on the same day, both died because of human interactions, Marine Mammal Center officials said Wednesday. Severe entanglement with fishing gear was confirmed as the cause of death for a 36-foot adult female gray whale that washed ashore on the Marin beach. The Angel Island necropsy results of a 45-foot juvenile female fin whale — found initially offshore of Alameda County and then towed to the island — showed it died due to a vessel collision.