Permalink Russia mulls buying $70bn in yuan, other ‘friendly’ FX to stem ruble's surge

Russia is reportedly weighing a plan to buy up to $70 billion in the Chinese yuan and other "friendly" currencies this year to stem the ruble's sharp surge amid Western sanctions against Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine | The ambitious plan gained initial support at a special “strategic” planning meeting of the top Russian government and central bank officials on August 30, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the deliberations.  The move comes after the Kremlin’s years-long policy of containing spending and saving hundreds of billions in dollars, euros, and other foreign currencies as a cushion to insulate the Russian economy from the shocks of oil prices.

💬 “In the new situation, accumulating liquid foreign exchange reserves for future crises is extremely difficult and not expedient," the report stated. “The frozen $300 billion were of no help to Russia; on the contrary, they became vulnerability and a symbol of missed opportunities,” the report said, adding that saving that money “is a direct reduction of investments in Russia in favor of investments in other countries.”

Bloomberg said in the short term, with earnings from exports of oil and gas flooding in and driving the current account surplus to a record this year and pushing the ruble higher, the proposal calls for spending 4.4 trillion rubles ($70 billion) to buy the currencies of “friendly” countries, mostly yuan.  Before the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in late February, Moscow had steadily increased its yuan investments as part of its diversification campaign, becoming one of the largest holders of reserves in the Chinese currency in the world.

Permalink Türkiye’s 2nd 'Kindness Train' sets off with aid for flood-ravaged Pakistan

Torrential rains and raging floods have swept away entire villages. Train carrying 394 tons of aid leaves from Ankara: Turkiye's second "Kindness Train" set off for Pakistan with aid for the victims of catastrophic floods which have submerged one-third of the South Asian country.  The train, which left the capital Ankara on Thursday, is carrying 394 tons of disaster relief materials.  This shipment is being coordinated by the state-run Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).  The sendoff ceremony was attended by AFAD President Yunus Sezer and Pakistan's Ambassador to Ankara Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi.  Nearly 1,200 people have lost their lives, while more than a million houses have been destroyed or damaged since mid-June, according to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority.

Watch | Horrifying images and videos from Pakistan's 'monsoon on steroids' (08/30/22)

Permalink Argentina VP targeted in apparent assassination attempt (VIDEO)

Argentina's police have detained a Brazilian armed man, 35, who was trying to assassinate Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner, the TN broadcaster reports.  The handgun was loaded but did not go off, according to the report.

An assailant aimed a pistol directly at Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's head (RT.com)

Permalink US children suffer sharp drops in test scores

America’s schools have wiped out two decades of progress in math and posted their biggest decline in reading scores since 1990 | Student test scores in US elementary schools have dropped to levels not seen in decades, marking an historic educational setback that observers have blamed largely on classroom shutdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released on Thursday, showed that reading scores dropped the most since 1990, and math scores fell for the first time in the five-decade history of the study. The declines between 2020 and 2022 wiped out decades of progress in math and reading proficiency.  The report, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” marks the first national assessment comparing test results before the [alleged] pandemic with current performance. It’s based on tests taken by 9-year-olds in early 2022 and early 2020 – just before most of America’s schools were shut due to Covid-19.

Permalink How Dick Cheney Created Anthony Fauci

America's biodefence strategy has finally backfired | Few people in America today are as powerful and polarising as Anthony Fauci. For the Left, Fauci is a consummate cool-headed scientist, emblematic of the essential role of government. On the Right, he is a Deep State operative who destroyed the lives of countless people to serve a hidden agenda, all while mysteriously taking home a bigger paycheck than any other of the country’s two million federal employees (including their collective boss, the President).  The reality is that both narratives fundamentally misunderstand the position Fauci occupies in American government. Far from being a public health expert, Fauci sits at the very top of America’s biodefence infrastructure. And contrary to the notion that he is a Deep State string-puller of the Democratic party, it was George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who not only put Fauci there but created the very framework that the immunologist-physician commands.  This in part accounts for the otherwise inexplicable fact that Fauci, loathed by President Trump, was never fired by the notoriously vengeful politician who galvanised his brand with the phrase “You’re fired!”. But Fauci’s untouchability raises an even more perplexing question: Why did the media beatify him as the country’s beneficent, infallible Covid saviour rather than look into the reality of his position and the source of his nearly limitless authority?


INDIGENOUS ALASKANS’ LONG FIGHT FOR SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION | Alaska Natives have been fighting for self-determination for more than 60 years since the area became a US state through an illegitimate vote. Now, Indigenous rights’ advocates are calling on the international community to support their cause. Alaska is home to over 200 federally recognized Indigenous tribes – more than in any other state in the US.  As Ambassador Ronald Barnes of the Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition points out, none of the people belonging to those tribes have had the right to choose whether to be part of the United States. Instead, US “occupation” was imposed upon them, he said. That’s why Barnes has turned to international law to fight for Alaska Natives’ right to self-determination. (LINK)

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