Haiti Spiral into Chaos as Gangs Control Over Capital 

Violence escalated in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, over the weekend as heavily armed gangs attacked the National Palace and set part of the Interior Ministry ablaze. The chaos follows a sustained assault on the international airport, which remains closed, hindering Prime Minister Ariel Henry's return from the United States. Stranded in Puerto Rico, Henry is unable to enter his own country. Meanwhile, the US military airlifted non-essential staff from the US embassy in Port-au-Prince as the EU evacuated its diplomats. In the midst of the turmoil, Haiti's State University Hospital is deserted, leaving patients unattended and bodies decomposing. Gangs wield significant control over the capital, prompting demands for Henry's resignation. With law enforcement overwhelmed and looting rampant, citizens are forced to risk their lives for survival. Haiti's instability poses a regional concern, prompting emergency summits and diplomatic maneuvers amid fears of further deterioration and the specter of mass migration. 

US Embassy Staff Evacuated by US Military in Haiti 

Over the weekend, the United States military conducted an airlift evacuation of non-essential staff from the U.S. embassy in Haiti and bolstered security amid escalating gang violence threatening the country. U.S. Southern Command, responding to the Department of State's request, augmented embassy security and facilitated the departure of non-essential personnel to ensure mission operations amidst the deteriorating security situation. Gangs, released after raiding Port-au-Prince jail, have initiated attacks on police stations, the international airport, and blocked aid shipments, prompting a state of emergency. Prime Minister Ariel Henry remains unable to return to Haiti due to ongoing armed conflicts. The State Department warned of the perilous conditions, advising against travel to Haiti and urging caution for Americans already there. Despite embassy evacuations, efforts continue to support Haiti, including backing the Haitian National Police and expediting UN-led security missions. The evacuation marks another instance under President Joe Biden's administration, following similar actions in various global hotspots. 

Here is a list of U.S. embassies or consulates that Biden has been forced to evacuate since taking office:  

  • Kabul, Afghanistan - August 2021 Kyiv,  
  • Ukraine - February 2022 Minsk,  
  • Belarus - August 2021 Khartoum,  
  • Sudan - April 2023  
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti - July 2023  
  • Niamey, Niger - January 2024  
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti - March 2024 

As Haiti Descends into Chaos US Deploys Elite Marine Team to Protect US Embassy

In response to escalating gang violence in Haiti, a U.S. Marine Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (F.A.S.T.) has been deployed to safeguard the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince. The violence, led by gangs controlling 80% of the capital, has resulted in the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Amidst the chaos, the U.S. evacuated non-essential embassy personnel. Gangs have stormed the city’s jail, attacked the airport, and engaged in firefights with police. Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) led a mission to evacuate 10 Americans from an orphanage in the capital, criticizing the Biden administration for its “pattern of abandonment” of U.S. citizens. Mills has previously assisted in evacuating Americans from Afghanistan and Israel. The ongoing violence in Haiti has resulted in nearly 1,200 deaths. 

Camera Footage of Work on MAX Jet Door that Blew Out ‘Overwrote’ by Boeing

Boeing's tumultuous saga continues with a series of bizarre incidents and allegations. Under regulatory scrutiny for safety-related mishaps, including a door blowing off a flight, missing bolts on wings, and engine fires, Boeing faces intensified pressure amid suspicions of interference reminiscent of the MCAS scandal. Recently, security camera footage showing work on a faulty door plug mysteriously vanished, adding to the intrigue. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy expressed frustration over Boeing's inability to provide crucial information, raising doubts about the company's transparency. In a tragic turn, whistleblower John Barnett, a former quality control manager, was found dead after raising concerns about safety standards at Boeing's North Charleston plant. Meanwhile, questionable stock trading by Congressman William R. Keating before news of a DOJ investigation into Boeing deepens the intrigue. With each twist, the saga unfolds, leaving lingering questions about accountability and transparency within the aerospace giant. 

West Point to Remove ‘Duty, Honor, Country’ from Mission Statement 

Lt. Gen. Steven Gilland, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, announced a significant alteration to the institution's mission statement, removing the long-standing motto "Duty, Honor, Country." The new mission statement emphasizes building, educating, training, and inspiring cadets to become leaders of character committed to the Army Values and prepared for a lifetime of service to the Army and nation. This change comes after a review process involving internal and external stakeholders, with approval from Army Chief of Staff Randy George and Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. Gilland defended the decision by highlighting the evolution of West Point's mission statement over the years and emphasizing that "Duty, Honor, Country" remains foundational and synonymous with the academy's identity. Despite the removal from the official mission statement, Gilland stressed that these words continue to define the cadet experience and unite the institution's graduates throughout its history. 

NATO Drills River Crossing in Poland Near Russia’s Kaliningrad 

Forces from nine NATO member countries participated in the Polish-led Dragon-24 military exercise, focusing on amphibious operations near Poland's border with Russia's Kaliningrad exclave. Amid concerns over potential Russian aggression, troops conducted a challenging river crossing over the Vistula River, simulating logistics, defense coordination, and troop movement. Maj. Gen. Cezary Wiśniewski emphasized the exercise's difficulty due to high water levels and strong winds, noting its relevance given lessons learned from the conflict in Ukraine. The training included the deployment of floating bridges and tank navigation across the river. A tactical road march is planned, involving both wheeled and tracked military vehicles, navigating various terrains and encountering simulated threats such as ambushes and misinformation. The exercise is part of NATO's larger Steadfast Defender-24 initiative, aimed at demonstrating defensive capabilities and deterring potential aggression, particularly from Russia. 

1,000 National Guardsmen Deployed in NYC Subways by NY Gov; Terror Threat? 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the mobilization of 1,000 National Guard troops and State Police officers to patrol New York City's subway system, aiming to deter criminals terrorizing passengers. With 750 guardsmen and 250 law enforcement officers deployed across the city's busiest transit stations, the move comes in response to escalating violent crime incidents. Governor Hochul emphasized a zero-tolerance policy toward such attacks, framing the deployment as part of a broader five-point plan to combat the city's crime wave. The decision to involve the National Guard has raised questions about the nature of the perceived threat, suggesting concerns beyond conventional criminal activity. Recent FBI warnings about potential assassination attempts by an Iranian intelligence officer and hints at terrorism-related concerns have fueled speculation. Hochul's move underscores the seriousness of the situation, hinting at broader security implications possibly linked to upcoming events like the US presidential election. 

If Trump Wins Re-election, America will be a ‘Threat to the World Order’ Says MSNBC Ancor

MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace expressed concern on "Deadline" that if former President Donald Trump were to be re-elected, the United States would pose a threat to the world order. Wallace highlighted the contrasting dynamics between Republicans and Democrats, noting Republicans' loyalty to Trump despite significant resistance, while Democrats express uncertainty and seek stronger leadership. She emphasized the potential consequences of a second Trump term, citing concerns from former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about continued intelligence sharing. Wallace suggested that many within the national security establishment believe America could survive one Trump term but not a second, citing the endorsement of Trump by Mitch McConnell despite this knowledge. She underscored the gravity of the situation, suggesting that even those tasked with protecting national security during Trump's presidency share these concerns about the implications of his potential re-election. 

    FBI Director Wray Warns of Smuggling Network at Southern Border with ISIS Ties 

    The FBI Director Christopher Wray warned of various threats emanating from the U.S. border, including drug trafficking, violent gangs, and smugglers with links to ISIS. Wray highlighted concerns about dangerous individuals entering via the southern border, citing the FBI's seizure of enough fentanyl in the last two years to kill 270 million people. He emphasized the involvement of gangs in distributing fentanyl and the potential ties between smuggling networks and terrorist organizations like ISIS. Wray confirmed the existence of a network with facilitators connected to ISIS, stating it is the subject of ongoing investigations. The border situation has become a contentious political issue, with Republicans blaming the administration for the crisis and the administration seeking more funding and immigration reform from Congress. 

    Camera Footage of Work on MAX Jet Door that Blew Out ‘Overwrote’ by Boeing 

    Boeing's tumultuous saga continues with a series of bizarre incidents and allegations. Under regulatory scrutiny for safety-related mishaps, including a door blowing off a flight, missing bolts on wings, and engine fires, Boeing faces intensified pressure amid suspicions of interference reminiscent of the MCAS scandal. Recently, security camera footage showing work on a faulty door plug mysteriously vanished, adding to the intrigue. NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy expressed frustration over Boeing's inability to provide crucial information, raising doubts about the company's transparency. In a tragic turn, whistleblower John Barnett, a former quality control manager, was found dead after raising concerns about safety standards at Boeing's North Charleston plant. Meanwhile, questionable stock trading by Congressman William R. Keating before news of a DOJ investigation into Boeing deepens the intrigue. With each twist, the saga unfolds, leaving lingering questions about accountability and transparency within the aerospace giant. 


    Using DHS Amnesty App, Biden Admin Secretly Flies 320,000 Illegals into US Cities 

    A new investigation has revealed that President Joe Biden's administration secretly flew hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Latin American airports to 43 cities across the United States. This program, undisclosed to the public, involved at least 320,000 "inadmissible" immigrants, significantly more than previously reported. Despite facing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the US Customs and Border Protection has refused to disclose the names of the airports involved. The administration cited concerns about "bad actors" undermining law enforcement efforts if they knew the volume of immigrant traffic. This program allows illegal immigrants to gain access to the US using a cellphone scheduling app, avoiding travel through Mexico. Todd Bensman, the author of the report, highlighted the legal ambiguity of the parole programs, which grant temporary legal status and work authorization to applicants. Additionally, another program has allowed 420,000 immigrants from various nations to enter the US through direct flights since May 2021.

    CBP Sources Say Encounters at Southern Border Surpass 21K in 72 Hours 

    The United States is potentially facing a spring surge in illegal border crossings as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported over 21,000 migrant encounters in three days, according to sources disclosed to Fox News on Monday. The encounters, exceeding 7,000 on Sunday alone, mirrored similar numbers on Friday and Saturday. The Tucson sector in Arizona led with over 5,400 encounters, followed by the San Diego sector in California with over 3,600. This surge suggests a shift away from Texas, where encounters remained relatively low. While still below December's highs, the numbers follow a typical trend seen since President Biden's inauguration: a decrease in January and February followed by an increase in March, peaking in spring. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is intensifying state-level immigration enforcement efforts, including deploying the National Guard and implementing barriers along the border. The border issue has become pivotal in the 2024 presidential election, with both Biden and former President Trump visiting the Texas border recently.

    SCOTUS Puts Temporary Block on New Texas Immigration Enforcement Law 

    The US Supreme Court granted a temporary block on Texas' new immigration law following a request from the Biden administration. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito issued the order, halting a lower court decision that would have allowed the law, SB4, to take effect on Sunday. The freeze remains until March 13, providing time for all nine justices to deliberate on further actions. Alito instructed Texas to respond to the administration's request by March 11. SB4 permits police to arrest migrants who cross the border illegally and imposes criminal penalties. The Biden administration views the law as conflicting with longstanding Supreme Court precedents. The dispute underscores ongoing tensions between the administration and Texas over immigration enforcement. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar argued that the law infringes on the federal government's authority over immigration. The emergency filing also addresses challenges from El Paso and immigrant rights groups against the law. 

    The Strain on Public School by Flood Illegal Migrant Children Estimated to be $2 Billion 

    CBO Director Phill Swagel projected that the influx of illegal immigrants in the United States would contribute approximately $7 trillion to GDP from 2023 to 2034. However, a new report from the Heritage Foundation contradicts this, estimating that the arrival of 470,000 unaccompanied migrant children since Joe Biden's inauguration in 2021 is costing American taxpayers billions of dollars. The report highlights that most of these children have been enrolled in public schools, increasing national education spending significantly. For instance, in FY2023, 145,474 accompanied and unaccompanied minors encountered by CBP could raise education spending by over $2 billion based on the national average spending per student. In California and New York alone, where significant numbers of migrant children were sent to sponsors, taxpayers face additional costs of approximately $189 million and $240 million, respectively. The report also raises concerns about the strain on school resources, teacher attention, academic rigor, and classroom management due to the sudden influx of migrant students.

    Biden Seeks $13 Billion for Migrants and Sanctuary Cities from Congress 

    President Joe Biden's administration is seeking over $13 billion from Congress to facilitate the integration of economic migrants into American communities. The budget request, spearheaded by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, aims to provide funding for various initiatives, including city bailouts for sanctuary cities, border enforcement capacity, and refugee assistance programs. Despite facing potential GOP opposition, the funding request for 2025 could significantly impact migration policies and resources. The influx of migrants has already affected the labor market and housing prices, sparking concerns among some Americans. Mayorkas' budget emphasizes border enforcement capacity flexibility and city bailout funds to manage the surge of economic migrants. The State Department's allocation includes funding for refugee resettlement and the operation of "Safe Mobility Offices" to facilitate legal migration pathways. These proposed measures aim to address the ongoing challenges associated with immigration while supporting migrants' integration into American society. 


    House Passes $460 Billion ‘Minibus’ Spending Bill Just Ahead of Shutdown Deadline 

    The GOP-led House passed a $460 billion six-bill package on Wednesday to fund part of the federal government through the 2024 fiscal year, addressing previous stop-gap measures and averting a shutdown. The legislation, approved by a 339-85 vote, covers various sectors and now moves to the Democrat-controlled Senate before the March 8 deadline, with Senate leadership and the White House's support. Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger highlighted conservative bills, increased defense funding, and maintained legacy riders. The package encompasses multiple sectors, including agriculture, veterans affairs, transportation, and housing. While praised by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries for preventing a shutdown, it faced criticism from conservatives like Rep. Thomas Massie for increased spending. Two Democrats opposed over a gun-related provision for veterans. Speaker Mike Johnson touted conservative victories, including safeguarding free speech rights and Second Amendment protections, while imposing cuts on agencies perceived as threatening freedoms. 

    Biden Proposes Massive $7.3 Trillion Budget, $5.5T in Tax Hikes 

    President Biden presented a $5.5 trillion tax increase proposal targeting the wealthy and corporations alongside a $7.3 trillion spending plan for defense, federal benefits, housing, and student debt relief. While the fiscal year 2025 budget aims to reduce the federal deficit by $3 trillion over a decade, critics including fiscal hawks and Republicans condemn the proposed spending as reckless. Concerns arise as the plan projects a surge in national debt to $45.1 trillion by 2034. Biden's budget includes tax hikes on corporations and billionaires, with additional funding directed towards healthcare, climate resilience, immigration, and education. The proposal faces skepticism regarding its feasibility and potential impacts on inflation and entitlement programs. Republicans advocate for deficit reduction through spending cuts, including to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, contrasting with Biden's expansive spending agenda. The budget debate underscores deep divisions over economic policy and government spending priorities. 

    US Finds an Additional $300 Million in Weapons to Send to Ukraine 

    The Pentagon announced plans to send approximately $300 million in weapons to Ukraine to support its fight against Russia. This aid package marks the Pentagon's first assistance to Ukraine since December due to depleted funds, with a shortfall of about $10 billion for replenishing weapons. Major General Pat Ryder explained that negotiations for weapon contracts resulted in cost savings, allowing for the allocation of this aid without significant impact on military readiness. However, he acknowledged that the provided assistance is modest and insufficient for Ukraine's needs. Despite warnings of Ukraine's dwindling munitions, efforts in Congress have stalled, with Republicans opposing the tying of Ukraine aid to border security measures. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Congress for support, but House Republican leadership has not prioritized Ukraine aid. The United States has committed over $44.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since President Biden took office. Polish leaders visited Washington to advocate for the replenishment of funds for Ukraine amid ongoing conflict. 

    It includes, in particular: 

    • Stinger anti-aircraft missiles 
    • additional ammunition for HIMARS 
    • 155mm caliber artillery shells 
    • artillery shells of 105mm caliber 
    • AT-4 anti-tank grenade launchers 
    • additional ammunition for small arms 
    • spare parts, maintenance and other support equipment. 

     WAR (and rumors of war) 


    US to Test Hypersonic Weapon in Western Pacific 

    The U.S. Air Force appears to be gearing up for another live-fire test of its AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), with indications suggesting it will be staged from Guam. The presence of a live AGM-183A under a B-52H bomber's wing at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam last week hinted at potential testing. While the Air Force has neither confirmed nor denied the test, warning notices to aviators and mariners suggest an imminent air-launched weapon test over the Western Pacific. The Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll is a likely location, known for supporting missile tests, including hypersonic weapons like ARRW. Flight tracking data indicates specialized aircraft have been operating from Guam, possibly to support the upcoming test. Ground-based sensors and specialized vessels are also poised to monitor the test. ARRW's capabilities, including high maneuverability and hypersonic speeds, present significant challenges for defenders, making it difficult to detect and track. 

    Helicopter Crash Near Border Kills 2 Nat’l Guardsmen and 1 CBP Agent 

    On Friday, a UH-72 Lakota helicopter crashed near Rio Grande City, Texas, killing two U.S. National Guard members and one border agent while injuring another guardsman. Joint Task Force North reported the incident during aviation operations for the federal Southwest border support mission. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Victims were identified as 28-year-old pilot Casey Frankoski, 30-year-old New York State Trooper John Grassia III, and 49-year-old Border Patrol Agent Chris Luna. Grassia's service was hailed by the New York State Troopers PBA for his dedication to protecting citizens. Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel mourned Frankoski's loss, acknowledging her as a remarkable pilot. President Joe Biden expressed condolences, praising the service members' dedication and recognizing their ultimate sacrifice. While details on the third guardsman's condition were not provided, Biden noted the soldier's severe injuries and hospitalization. 


    After 150 Days of War in Gaza, Israel Far from Eliminating Hamas 

    Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza has resulted in thousands of Palestinian deaths and widespread destruction, but experts argue that Israel has failed to achieve its war objectives. Analysts from the International Crisis Group and King’s College London suggest that Israel’s strategy has been unsuccessful, with Hamas continuing to engage in urban warfare and Israel unable to significantly diminish Hamas’ fighting force or missile capability. The release of Israeli hostages has largely been achieved through negotiations rather than military action. Israel’s army is reportedly demoralized and there is a growing divide between the military and political establishment. Claims made by Israel about Hamas’ base and command center have been debunked, and there is skepticism about Israel’s assertions regarding the situation in Rafah. Hamas continues to resist, employing tactics of asymmetrical warfare and diplomacy, and is prepared to endure until Israel is compelled to negotiate. 

    Israel Prepping for Invasion into Southern Lebanon 

    Israel is preparing for a major operation against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, with contingency plans for a wide-scale attack. This follows months of escalation, with 80,000 Israeli residents near the border evacuated. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is planning “Operation Steady Anchor” to protect civilians during the expected escalation in fighting. The operation involves setting up mass shelters in fortified abandoned buildings and underground parking garages. The IDF is also conducting logistics supply drills in preparation for a Lebanon offensive. Meanwhile, Hezbollah is reportedly training for a possible war with Israel. Daily attacks by Hezbollah continue, with a recent Israeli airstrike killing a family of five in south Lebanon. A broader Israel-Hezbollah war is predicted within the next six to eight months. Such a war could spill over into Syria and Iraq, where US forces have already come under frequent attack. 


    Ukraine’s Odesa Hit by Russian Drone After Attack on St. Petersburg 

    Russia appears to be targeting Ukraine's key southern port city of Odesa, with a series of drone and artillery strikes claiming at least 11 lives. Ukrainian officials confirmed eight deaths, including a child and a baby, after a drone strike destroyed a residential apartment block. President Zelensky urgently called for additional advanced anti-air defense systems to protect civilians from Russian attacks, emphasizing the need for more air defenses to save lives. Meanwhile, Ukraine's cross-border attacks on Russian territory have escalated, with a rare drone strike reaching St. Petersburg. Russia reported intercepting 38 drones over Crimea but acknowledged that some may have evaded detection. Explosions near an oil depot in Crimea raised concerns, with videos showing significant damage. The recent months have seen repeated cross-border attacks on Russian infrastructure, leading to casualties among civilians. Moscow has condemned Western powers and Kiev, alleging the use of Western-supplied weapons in these attacks.

    NATO’s Article 5 ‘Within 500 Feet’ of Being Triggered by Russia Strike in Odesa 

    Former U.S. representative Adam Kinzinger revealed that Moscow nearly provoked a collective response from NATO by launching a missile that reportedly landed close to a convoy carrying the Greek prime minister and Ukraine's president in Odesa. Kyriakos Mitsotakis recounted hearing sirens and explosions near their location, with differing accounts stating the missile struck within 150 to 500 meters of the leaders. Although Ukraine is not a NATO member, the proximity of the strike to Mitsotakis, representing a NATO state, raised concerns about triggering Article 5 of the NATO charter, which calls for a collective defense response. Kinzinger's post on social media garnered significant attention, emphasizing the potential implications of the incident. While the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed the strike targeted a naval drone preparation facility, the exact motive remains uncertain amidst heightened tensions in the region, including increased drone strikes in the Odesa region. 

    Polish Government Says ‘NATO Soldiers Already in Ukraine’ 

    Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radosław Sikorski, asserted during a parliamentary event marking Poland's NATO treaty anniversary that NATO soldiers are already present in Ukraine, acknowledging the member states deploying troops and thanking them for taking the risk. While Sikorski refrained from specifying the contributing nations, his comments come amidst increasing discussions across Europe regarding direct military involvement in Ukraine. He alluded to French President Emmanuel Macron's recent remarks advocating for all options to counter Russia, implying a possibility of NATO troops being dispatched to Ukraine. Despite skepticism from some NATO leaders, Macron and a minority persist in discussing the idea. Russia, which has no moral high ground on foreign troop presence in Ukraine, reacted to Sikorski's statement, acknowledging the presence of Western soldiers as an "open secret." Sikorski, historically hawkish on Russia, previously advocated for a U.S. military base in Poland to deter Russian aggression, reflecting his longstanding concerns. Additionally, Sikorski was embroiled in controversy in 2014 after leaked tapes allegedly showed him criticizing Poland's relationship with the U.S. and UK Prime Minister David Cameron's leadership.

    In Response to NATO Accession, Russia to Deploy Troops Along Finland Border 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized Finland and Sweden's decision to join NATO, calling it "meaningless" from the perspective of their national interests. Despite previously ideal relations with Finland, Putin stated that Moscow would deploy troops and "systems of destruction" to the Finnish border in response to Finland's NATO accession, emphasizing that the decision was driven by a desire to align with the West. Sweden's formal entry into NATO followed suit, with its Prime Minister citing Russia's invasion of Ukraine as the catalyst for abandoning historic neutrality. Tensions between Russia and Nordic countries are escalating, with Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo warning of Russia's preparations for a "long conflict with the West" and emphasizing the need for a united European response. Meanwhile, Denmark is advocating for increased defense spending and coordination in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and decreased US funding. European leaders are urgently seeking to address the gap left by stalled US aid to Kiev. 

    Russia Ready for Nuclear War Warns Russian President Putin 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the West, stating that Russia was technically prepared for nuclear war and emphasized that any deployment of US troops to Ukraine would be seen as a significant escalation. Speaking ahead of an upcoming election, Putin clarified that while Russia was ready from a military-technical standpoint, he saw no immediate need for nuclear weapons in Ukraine. "Weapons exist in order to use them," Putin said. Despite tensions, the Biden administration reiterated its stance against sending troops to Ukraine but emphasized the importance of approving stalled security aid. Ukrainian officials viewed Putin's nuclear rhetoric as propaganda aimed at intimidating the West. Meanwhile, the chief of the UN nuclear watchdog downplayed the likelihood of a nuclear conflict in Ukraine. Putin's warning coincided with an offer for talks on Ukraine, although the US remains skeptical of Russia's readiness for serious negotiations. US intelligence warned of further territorial losses for Ukraine without increased Western support, a situation that could embolden other adversaries like China. Putin stressed the need for written security guarantees in any settlement, expressing mistrust but emphasizing the importance of satisfactory assurances. 


    China Plans to 7.2% Boost in Defense Spending

    China announced a 7.2 percent increase in its defense spending for 2024, totaling 1.665 trillion yuan ($231.4 billion), amid growing tensions over Taiwan and in the South China Sea. This boost, identical to last year's, was unveiled during the National People's Congress. China's military expenditure, the world's second-largest after the United States, is viewed with suspicion internationally. Despite its economic growth, China's military spending as a percentage of its GDP remains relatively low. Nevertheless, its expansion, particularly in nuclear capabilities, raises concerns, especially for neighboring countries like Japan and Taiwan. China's ambition to challenge the US as the world's pre-eminent military power is hindered by issues such as military corruption. Despite China's increasing military might, the United States remains the dominant military force globally, with extensive alliance networks and superior military capabilities. However, tensions between the US and China pose risks of potential conflict escalation, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. 


    Three Crew Members killed When Bulk Carrier Hit by Houthi Missile in Gulf of Aden 

    A missile launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels struck a bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden, resulting in three deaths and at least four injuries, according to the US military. This marks the first reported fatalities from such attacks on merchant vessels, highlighting the escalating threat to maritime traffic in the vital Red Sea trade route. The missile hit the Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned M/V True Confidence, prompting the crew to abandon ship. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) reported significant damage to the vessel, with coalition warships responding to assess the situation. The Indian Navy rescued 21 crew members, including an Indian national, while the Philippine government confirmed two Filipino crew members killed and two severely injured. The Houthis have been targeting ships in the region, leading to disruptions in global trade and prompting military responses from the US and Britain to protect freedom of navigation. The incidents have caused major shipping firms to suspend passage through the Red Sea, impacting global trade routes.

    $10 Billion in Iranian Frozen Funds Released Though Sanctions Waiver by US 

    Iranian frozen funds, totaling over $10 billion, have been unlocked by the Biden administration through a sanctions waiver, allowing Iraq to facilitate electricity payments to Iran via third-party countries. Despite GOP opposition, the waiver, last approved in November, permits Iraq to convert dinars into Euros for transfers to Iranian accounts in Oman. Republican leaders cite concerns over Iran's support for terrorist groups like Hamas, while the State Department asserts the funds are solely for humanitarian purposes. They emphasize that the money, held abroad, cannot be used for sanctioned activities and never reaches Iran. However, critics argue the waiver indirectly supports Iran's malign activities. The State Department defends the waiver as vital for Iraq's energy needs and debt repayment to Tehran. The issue underscores ongoing debates over Iran's access to frozen assets and concerns about its potential misuse for non-humanitarian purposes. 


    US Adding $1Trillion Every 100 Days as Debt Spirals Out of Control 

    Since June last year, the U.S. has been accumulating $1 trillion in debt approximately every three months, according to Bank of America's Michael Hartnett. The national debt currently stands at $34.48 trillion, reaching $34 trillion for the first time on January 4. This increase is attributed to ongoing deficits, with the national deficit at $531.86 billion fiscal year to date, a $72 billion rise from the same period last year. Hartnett predicts the national debt will hit $35 trillion this month. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch have downgraded the U.S. federal government's credit ratings due to concerns about the growing debt and budget deficit. Economists and CEOs warn of an impending recession, citing high-interest rates, layoffs, and increased part-time employment. To address these issues, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to testify before Congress this week, with expectations of proposed solutions and a potential interest rate cut. 

    US Unfunded Liabilities for Social Security and Medicare Hits $175.3 Trillion 

    The Financial Report of the United States Government, signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, reveals that Social Security and Medicare face a staggering underfunding of $175.3 trillion. This amount exceeds the combined GDP of all countries on Earth and is nearly equivalent to all federal spending since the Constitution was ratified. Despite this dire outlook, Congress has been inactive on reforming these vital programs for over four decades. The report predicts that Medicare will begin cutting benefits in seven years, with Social Security following suit in ten years, with funds projected to be depleted by 2041. The projected shortfall of $78.3 trillion can only be addressed through increased borrowing, higher taxes, reduced benefits, or a combination of these measures, all of which pose significant political challenges. Additionally, the report highlights the mismanagement of funds, rampant improper payments, and the urgent need for immigration reform to address the growing crisis. 


    Congress Discusses Bill to Sell Off US Northeast Gasoline Reserve 

    A funding bill under discussion in the U.S. Congress proposes selling off the 1-million-barrel Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR) in fiscal year 2024. The bill mandates the Secretary of Energy to draw down and sell the reserve's refined petroleum products, followed by its closure. It also prohibits the establishment of new regional petroleum product reserves without prior funding approval. Established in 2014 after Superstorm Sandy, the NGSR contains one million barrels of gasoline distributed across the northeastern United States. The bill additionally seeks to prevent Chinese entities from purchasing crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), reflecting efforts to restrict Chinese access to U.S. markets. The proposed measure comes after a sale of 1 million barrels from the SPR to a Chinese-owned U.S. subsidiary in 2022, aimed at stabilizing oil prices. While pending House approval, the bill enjoys bipartisan support due to prevailing anti-Chinese sentiments. 


    Tyson Foods Shuts its Perry Pork Packing Plant Laying Off 1,200 Employees 

    Tyson Foods announced the closure of its pork packing plant in Perry, Iowa, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,200 jobs due to decreased demand for its products. The closure, planned for the end of June, is part of the company's efforts to cut costs and optimize efficiency. Tyson, which still employs around 9,000 people in Iowa, plans to assist affected employees in applying for other positions within the company. This decision reflects Tyson's strategy to streamline operations, as evidenced by the closure of nine processing facilities since 2023 in various locations. Despite the closures, Tyson reported better-than-expected financial results in its recent quarterly report, emphasizing a focus on liquidity, operational excellence, and customer satisfaction. Looking ahead, Tyson anticipates flat revenue for FY24 compared to FY23, with capital expenditure spending projected between $1.0 billion and $1.5 billion for the full year. 


    New Mexico Man Dies from Bubonic Plague 

    A New Mexico man has died from complications related to the bubonic plague, prompting state health officials to assess the ongoing risk in the region. The individual, a resident of Lincoln County whose identity remains undisclosed, was hospitalized with the bacterial infection recently, although the specifics of his contraction and decline in health remain unclear. Despite medical intervention, the patient succumbed to the illness, marking New Mexico's first recorded case of bubonic plague since 2021 and the state's first related fatality since 2020. The disease, transmitted through infected flea bites or direct contact with infected animals, poses a threat to humans, prompting the Department of Health to conduct community outreach and assess the risk. While antibiotics can treat the plague if detected early, it can be fatal if left untreated. Although rare in the United States, with an average of five to 15 cases annually in the West, the recent incident underscores the importance of preventive measures and awareness regarding this ancient disease. 



    Russia, Germany at Odds Over Leaked Audio on Missiles for Ukraine 

    The German government refuted allegations by Russia that leaked conversations among high-ranking German military officers indicated Germany's preparation for war against Russia. Chancellor Olaf Scholz's spokesperson dismissed the claims as "absurdly infamous Russian propaganda," attributing the leak to Russia's "information war" aimed at sowing discord within Germany. The leaked 38-minute recording, featuring discussions on deploying Taurus long-range cruise missiles in Ukraine, prompted concerns about Germany's involvement in the conflict. Despite the authenticity of the recording, Scholz reiterated his opposition to directly supplying these missiles to Ukraine. Russia's foreign ministry issued veiled threats against Germany, warning of "dire consequences" if the situation persists. Relations between the two nations have deteriorated since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Germany is investigating the leak and plans to enhance measures to counter disinformation campaigns, particularly from Russia. The Kremlin awaits the outcome of Germany's investigation, emphasizing the need for a swift and effective resolution. 

    Russia, Iran, and China Prepare to Conduct Joint Naval Drills in Gulf of Oman 

    Russia, Iran, and China are preparing to conduct joint warship drills named "Maritime Security Belt - 2024" in the Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean. The purpose is to enhance maritime safety for economic activities. Russia's Pacific Fleet missile cruiser, the Varyag, will lead its contingent. Observers from nations like Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and South Africa will witness the drills. The exercise aims to strengthen regional security, promote multilateral cooperation, and demonstrate collective capabilities for global peace. Objectives include securing trade routes, combating piracy and terrorism, conducting humanitarian operations, and sharing rescue operation information. The participating countries will exchange operational experiences to boost readiness against maritime challenges. This announcement follows Iran's plans for joint naval exercises, showcasing its advancements in naval capabilities. The drills signify a strategic collaboration among Russia, Iran, and China in maintaining maritime security and fostering international cooperation. 

    Senior Israeli Official Says US Trying to Overthrow Netanyahu 

    A senior Israeli official has accused the Biden administration of attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. This follows the U.S. annual Threat Assessment report suggesting Netanyahu’s coalition could be replaced by a more moderate one. The report expressed doubt about Netanyahu’s leadership and predicted large protests demanding his resignation. The Israeli official retorted that only Israeli citizens elect their prime minister. A diplomatic feud between Netanyahu and Biden has escalated, with Biden criticizing Netanyahu’s policies. These comments align with Biden’s reelection campaign, where he faces accusations from the Democratic Party’s left flank of supporting genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Despite this, Netanyahu expressed appreciation for Biden’s support in a virtual address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    TikTok Ban ‘Will Come Back to Bite’ US Warns China 

    Amidst the US House of Representatives' impending vote on a bill targeting TikTok's ties with its Chinese owner, Beijing issued a warning, suggesting repercussions for the United States. The proposed legislation poses a significant threat to the popular video-sharing app, aiming to sever its Chinese connections amid concerns over national security. While expected to pass the House, its fate remains uncertain in the Senate. President Biden intends to sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is lobbying in Washington against the bill, expressing constitutional concerns over its rapid progression. China condemned the move, highlighting the lack of evidence linking TikTok to US national security threats and labeling the initiative as bullying. Despite past attempts by former President Trump to exert control over TikTok, legal challenges and free speech concerns have impeded previous efforts to ban the platform. TikTok maintains its independence from the Chinese government and emphasizes data localization for US users. 


    Nikki Haley Suspends Bid for President Setting Up Trump-Biden Rematch 

    Nikki Haley ended her challenge to Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, conceding after Trump's victory in 14 of 15 Super Tuesday contests. Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, emphasized U.S. global leadership and urged Trump to earn broader party support. Trump, unfazed, criticized Haley and asserted his dominance. Despite Biden's invitation to Haley's supporters, Trump remains confident, reiterating his willingness to debate Biden. Haley's challenge, though falling short, underscored Trump's vulnerability among moderate Republicans and independents, despite his strong grip on the party base. With both Biden and Trump facing low approval ratings, the rematch promises to be divisive, focusing on issues of democratic principles and the 2020 election's legitimacy. Despite her efforts to rally conservative voters against Trump, Haley's candidacy highlighted divisions within the Republican Party and the challenges Trump may face in the general election against Biden.

    Biden Approval Rating Drops as Trump’s Lead Grows 

    Following President Joe Biden's State of the Union address, a HarrisX/Forbes poll revealed a decline in his approval rating and a slight increase in former President Donald Trump's 2024 lead. Pre-State of the Union, Biden's approval rating stood at 39 percent, dropping to 37 percent post-address. Trump's lead in the 2024 election also saw a slight uptick, from 46 percent to 47 percent. In a five-way race, Trump's support increased post-State of the Union, gaining two points. However, Biden's approval ratings for a potential second term remained unchanged, with 64 percent of respondents opposing his reelection. Trump's ratings for a second term saw a minor decline of two points. Despite efforts by Team Biden to downplay the impact of the State of the Union address on public perception, the poll results favored Trump, signaling challenges ahead for Biden's reelection campaign. 

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