Permalink Germany arrests foreign intelligence employee suspected of spying for Russia

German authorities said on Thursday they had arrested an employee of its foreign intelligence service (BND) on suspicion of sharing state secrets with Russia this year and thereby committing treason. (Ground News // Articles)

Permalink US Senate Authorizes "Confiscation" (Theft) of Russian Assets

Lawmakers agreed to the measure as part of a $1.7 trillion spending package that doles out an additional $44 billion to Kiev | The US Senate has greenlit legislation authorizing the administration of President Joe Biden to seize the American assets of Russian officials, businessmen and entities and send the proceeds to Ukraine. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the change in the law would raise “billions of dollars” for Kiev.  The amendment was proposed by Graham and Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat. It passed unanimously and was added to a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package, which the Senate then passed by 68 votes to 29, comfortably clearing the 60-vote threshold necessary to advance the legislation.  Graham and Whitehouse have been among the loudest anti-Russian voices on Capitol Hill, even since before Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February. Graham traveled to Ukraine in 2016 in a show of support for Kiev as its forces shelled civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk, and in recent months has called for the assassination of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Putin Must Be 'Taken Out'

Permalink Russia sets its own gas-price cap for EU

Gazprom has been banned from buying gas from its projects with Western partners at above a price to be set by Kremlin | Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday that partially relieves state energy major Gazprom from fulfilling its obligations to its foreign partners who hail from countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow. According to the decree, published on the official government portal, Gazprom and its subsidiaries are prohibited from paying for gas, or for its production and transport, from joint projects with its EU partners in Russia if the amount of payment is higher than the cost established by the Russian government.  The decree targets Gazprom's joint ventures with Germany’s Wintershall and Austria's OMV. In partnership with the two companies, Gazprom is developing two large natural gas deposits in Russia, the Yuzhno-Russkoye and the Urengoyskoye fields.  The regulation has been introduced retroactively, and so is enforeceable from March 1, 2022, and will be effective until October 1, 2023. The government has been charged with setting a price limit within ten days.

Permalink Thoughtcrime is now a reality in Britain

Andrew Tettenborn (Spiked!) A recent event in suburban Birmingham offers a stark reminder of the threat to free speech posed by Britain’s censorious state. | Earlier this month, Isabel Vaughan-Spruce was standing silently in a public street. She was doing, saying and displaying absolutely nothing, apparently lost in thought. A policeman approached her. He asked if she was inwardly praying. When she said she might have been, he immediately arrested her, took her to a police station and searched her. Last week, Vaughan-Spruce was told she faces prosecution.  How did this happen? First, Vaughan-Spruce was known to be a member of a pro-life organisation. And second, she was within 150 metres of an abortion clinic, inside a so-called buffer zone. In September, Birmingham City Council introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which makes any ‘act of approval or disapproval’ toward abortion in the surroundings of the clinic a criminal offence, on pain of a £1,000 fine. This restriction applies to any expression related to abortion services, by any method: whether by graphic, verbal or written means, prayer or counselling, or in any other way. So Vaughan-Spruce’s alleged silent prayer was apparently enough. Someone had disapproved of her presence and asked the police to get rid of her. All the ploddingly literal-minded copper needed was Vaughan-Spruce’s admission that she might have been privately communing with her god and might therefore have been illegally praying in a restricted area.  Whatever your view on abortion, even if you are strongly pro-choice, this whole episode should worry you immensely. The implications for personal liberty are terrifying. If an arrest for silent prayer is not an instance of Orwellian ‘thoughtcrime’, then I don’t know what is.

Permalink FT: Are British women out on the streets? It's the crisis's fault!

Elena Panina (Елена Панина) | There's another fraud on the record of the global crisis. | The Financial Times tells us about it in a heartbreaking article entitled "Women Go into the Sex Industry to Survive. There, a Tiffany is very proud of herself - in hard times she figured out to change her line of work and can now support her family. Her husband is happy, too.

FT conducted a survey and found out: British women, including married ones, have started to trade under the table. The worsening economic situation in the kingdom, they say, is to blame. Inflation at 11% promises a prolonged recession in Britain, and food and utilities are rising in price. And many people are burdened by credit - the scourge of modern society. But the English Prostitutes Association is always happy to help fellow citizens with advice on how to start a business. This includes advice for mothers, office workers and ex-saleswomen.

According to statistics, one in ten Britons resort to sex services. However, ladies, taking the first steps in this field, complain that British men are not behaving as a gentleman and sometimes steal money at the end of the work. Sometimes it even came to a fight. Moreover, stiff competition means that women have to dump their wages. The average fee is £ 20 per client. Another £200 a month are paid by the authorities. The fact is that prostitution in the kingdom is not considered legal work, that is, the ladies of the semi-luxury are listed as unemployed. High relations!

Meanwhile, at 10 Downing Street, there is a heated debate about the legality of the business and the tasks of the police. Suggestions range from full legalization of sex services to a crackdown on the shameful trade. But most importantly, everyone unanimously blames the economic crisis in the spirit of "life is not what we are. Decline in morals? No, we haven't. (T)

Permalink IDF alerts thousands of reservists

The military said the overnight calls and texts were an “accident” | Tens of thousands of Israeli army reservists received obscure phone calls and messages via an automated emergency call-up system early Thursday morning, in what the Israel Defense Forces called a technical “malfunction” during a planned maintenance. 💬 “Tonight, a planned maintenance operation was carried out on the IDF dialer system, as part of which a malfunction occurred and as a result an error message was sent in English,” the IDF said in a tweet.  According to Israeli media reports, the robocalls did not actually call up any reservists for duty, but only issued an “Error” message before hanging up. The military also reassured the public that there was no emergency, issuing an apology and wishing everyone a happy Hanukkah.  A similar accident happened in 2018, during the country’s independence day celebrations amid heightened tensions following the shooting of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border. Back then thousands of Israelis received more specific messages that read: “You are to report immediately to the meeting place. Reminder, you are to bring your protection kit and your military kit.” Once the error was realized, a message canceling the original order was issued.

Permalink Sweden Confirms 'Baltic Titanic' Was Used for Secret Military Transports

The Estonia’s sinking in 1994 killed 852 people and is seen as the second-worst peacetime maritime disaster, ranking only behind the Titanic. With decades having gone by, questions about the tragedy abound, despite survivors’ numerous calls for justice. | In a sensational confession, the Swedish Armed Forces have admitted that the Estonia passenger ferry, whose demise in 1994 is seen as one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century, was used for secret military transports.  Ever since the Estonia sank on September 28, 1994, there have been rumors that the ferry had military cargo on board on the night of the accident. The accident commission appointed shortly afterwards dismissed the rumors as unsubstantiated fantasies. However, in 2004 Swedish media revealed that at least on two occasions, two weeks and one week before the accident, cars loaded with military gear were transported to Sweden.  In a new document, “a handful” of military transports from the Baltic countries with the Swedish Armed Forces as recipients were finally confirmed, yet without exact dates. However, the document features “electronic equipment without any connection to weapons systems” transported in civilian vehicles.

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