Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Chinese Proposal Is A Start

You have to start somewhere. An obvious starting point would be to get both Russia and Ukraine to agree on a ceasefire and for Russia to pledge to no longer issue nuclear threats. With that the peace negotiations can begin.

It is not going to be possible for Ukraine to cede any territory, but it could proactively pledge to not join NATO and Russia could pledge to not cross its borders in the future, with China and the US as guarantors for the pledge.

Ukraine could pledge to rearchitect its constitution and have a federal structure and a major devolution of power.

War crimes and destroyed infrastructure and buildings are going to be thorny issues. Instead of making the Russians to pay for it all, the US, China and the EU could help take off some of the load. Bucha asks for judicial action. Some Russian army units might have to face The Hague, or something designed separately and of limited jurisdiction in time.

At that point all sanctions can be lifted.

And the refugees can come home.

25: Poland

Tempered in a Crucible of Violence, Zelensky Rises to the Moment In much of the world, President Volodymyr Zelensky, once brushed off as a political lightweight, has become a household name, representing Ukraine’s tenacity and underdog victories against Russia........ one thing remained constant: Mr. Zelensky showing up in selfies filmed on his phone, to deliver speeches and to appear in slickly produced videos beamed into foreign parliaments, his haggard, bearded but defiant appearance becoming the face of Ukraine’s struggle at home and abroad. ........ After three successful counteroffensives, in which his army defeated Russian forces on the battlefield and upended long-held ideas about the balance of military power in Europe, Mr. Zelensky, 45, has grown more confident and battle-tested. ......... Zelensky has been transformed by the war into a leader on the world stage with as much gravitas as any other. ........... He has softened his early chiding of foreign leaders over weapons supplies, which irritated Western officials, including Mr. Biden; he was cordial and diplomatic in meetings with European leaders this month — in part because he has largely gotten what he wanted from them. ......... “He has a clear understanding what Ukraine should do. There is no ambiguity: There is no peace with Russia, and Ukraine must arm itself to the teeth.” ........ As commander in chief, Mr. Zelensky decides key military questions, like the major offensives Ukraine has undertaken, but otherwise delegates to his generals. He is briefed on battlefield developments early every morning .......... Television news broadcasts from several channels were banded into one, for example, controlled by the state, which critics say stifles free speech. ........... And in a country accustomed to pluralistic politics, opposition parties have seen in Mr. Zelensky’s leadership an over-personification of Ukraine’s struggle, centered on him at the expense of the thousands of other top officials and the millions of Ukrainians engaged in the war effort. .......... once the invasion began, Mr. Zelensky decided he would need to maintain a continual public presence, to show the country that he was confident and had no fear ...........

Zelensky is often said to lead through public relations

.......... copious wartime output — in videos, ad-libbed comments on his cellphone and nightly addresses to Ukrainians ........... recurring themes: Ukraine will prevail through unity and patriotism, Russia is a terrorist state, and Ukraine will be blunt in asking for aid from allies. ............ He is doing a great job as commander in chief. He became the face of Ukraine and a face the world admires.” ............ Through 2021, Mr. Zelensky had tried, without success, to revive talks with Moscow over settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine that had been simmering since Russia intervened militarily in 2014. And, brushing off criticism of naïveté, in 2019, Mr. Zelensky even surrendered territory to Russian proxies in a policy of disengagement along the front line, in hopes of easing talks. ........... A more forceful tone emerged when Mr. Zelensky thought it necessary — and it became a hallmark of his wartime interaction with allied governments. His relationship with Western allies has at times grown tense as he pressured them for more aid and resisted suggestions from leaders like Emmanuel Macron of France that he should negotiate a peace deal. .......

Adam Tooze: How Poland Became an Economic Powerhouse Its economy has skyrocketed since the end of communism, but so has its wealth disparity. ......... post-communist Poland hasn’t only been a success on matters of diplomacy and security. It has also been the most successful economy in Europe, in relative terms, since 1989—more dynamic not only than other Eastern European countries but also Europe’s big heavyweights France and Germany. That economic story is a central part of Poland’s growing influence on the continent and in the world more broadly.

The Promise and Peril of a ‘Normal’ Politician I do not want to hear any more about how we need an American Caesar or that the time has come for full revolution. ........... “the craziest son of a bitch in the race.” ...... online platforms, where sounding like the kind of person people would avoid at parties can get you incredible engagement. ......... Our media has a tendency to favor extremes — telling us a lot about the people on the farthest fringe (cult members, Instagram influencers who think that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote) and less about the people those extremes leave behind. ........ There is something alienating about any form of fame, any type of visibility in which many people can see you and know you and develop very deeply held opinions about you but you can’t see or know them back. .......... I’m a biracial bisexual adult.

25: India

My message in India: To fight climate change, improve global health Climate change and global health are inextricably linked. We need to make progress on both problems at the same time. ....... More than two decades ago, I set out to give the vast majority of my resources back to society. My goal from the beginning was to help reduce the awful inequities I saw around the world. ....... When I started this work, my biggest focus was global health, because it’s the worst inequity in the world and it’s a solvable problem. That’s still the case today. ........ Hotter temperatures will make poverty reduction harder by increasing food insecurity and the prevalence of infectious diseases and diverting resources away from those who need them the most ........ It’s no exaggeration to say that India’s agricultural future is growing right now in a field in Pusa. ....... The country eradicated polio, lowered HIV transmission, reduced poverty, cut infant mortality, and increased access to sanitation and financial services....... India has developed a world-leading approach to innovation that ensures solutions reach those who need them. When the rotavirus vaccine—which prevents the virus that causes many fatal cases of diarrhea—was too expensive to reach every child, India decided to make the vaccine themselves. They worked with experts and funders (including the Gates Foundation) to build factories and create large-scale delivery channels to distribute the vaccines. By 2021, 83 percent of 1-year-olds had been inoculated against rotavirus—and these low-cost vaccines are now being used in other countries around the world.

India is winning its war on human waste In India toilets are saving lives and boosting the economy. ....... Modi said: “We are living in the 21st century. Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?... The poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends, they can`t go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act might engender. Can`t we make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?” ........

I can’t think of another time when a national leader has broached such a sensitive topic so frankly and so publicly.

........ installing 75 million toilets throughout the country—75 million! ...... Of the 1.7 million people worldwide who die from unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene each year, more than 600,000 are in India. A quarter of young girls there drop out of school because there’s no decent toilet available. When you factor in the deaths, sickness, and lost opportunity,

poor sanitation costs India more than $106 billion a year.

......... Indian researchers are testing a variety of new tools, including redesigned toilets that don’t require sewer systems and advanced ways to treat human waste. ......... In 2014, when Clean India began, just 42 percent of Indians had access to proper sanitation. Today 63 percent do. And the government has a detailed plan to finish the job by October 2, 2019, the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Officials know which states are on track and which are lagging behind, thanks to a robust reporting system that includes photographing and geotagging each newly installed toilet....... Even India’s currency features the Swachh Bharat logo. ......... Today more than 30 percent of Indian villages have been declared free of open defecation, up from 8 percent in 2015. ...... What I love most about Clean India is that it identified a big problem, got everyone working on it, and is using measurement to show where things need to be done differently. As the old saying goes, What gets measured gets done.

This War May Be Heading for a Cease-Fire On the battlefield, battered armies contest small strips of territory, at a terrible cost. ...... one war stands out for its relevance to the current blood bath in Ukraine: the war in Korea from 1950-53 ...... In Ukraine, an end to the war seems a long way off. ....... In Korea, the situation was similar: Neither North nor South Koreans, nor their sponsors, were in a hurry to end the war. But the conflict — which claimed as many as three million lives and destroyed entire cities — gradually fizzled out, leading to a cease-fire and a temporary division of the Korean Peninsula that proved more lasting than anyone could have imagined at the time. ......... North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950, soon capturing Seoul and pushing forward in a grand sweep that could well have ended with their capture of all of Korea. ....... It was clear by the summer of 1951 that the war was not going anywhere, yet it took two more years — punctuated by a lethal artillery barrage across the line of control and intermittent fighting — before the fighting was brought to an end. ......... many Chinese and North Korean prisoners of war showed no interest in being exchanged, preferring to stay with their captors. ........ It was only with Stalin’s death in March 1953 that Soviet leaders reconsidered the whole misadventure and prodded their allies toward an agreement. ......... Technically, the war is still frozen, not finished. ......... In the 1970s North Korea began to fall substantially behind in economic competition with the South. ........ if we have learned anything from the Korean War, it is that a frozen conflict is better than either an outright defeat or an exhausting war of attrition........ Today, the glittering metropolis of Seoul — savaged by the Korean War — stands as a reminder that it is not those who win the war who matter, but those who win the peace. .

Wonking Out: Conservatives Face a Rude Fiscal Awokening The document uses the word “woke” 77 times, and — weirdly for a fiscal blueprint — also manages to mention critical race theory 16 times. ........ the Florida officials who wanted to know whether the Advanced Placement course in African American history was “trying to advance Black Panther thinking.” ....... In modern America, however, some of the biggest beneficiaries of means-tested programs are rural white people — who also happen to be the core of the Republican base. ......... the beneficiaries of these programs are disproportionately children. Medicaid covers 39 percent of all American children under 18; in West Virginia, another almost all-white and very Trumpy part of the Eastern Heartland, the number is 46 percent. More than 65 percent of SNAP recipients are families with children. ........ Childhood safety net programs lead to improved outcomes in adulthood, including better health and greater economic self-sufficiency........ there’s another benefit to Medicaid, in particular: It helps keep rural hospitals alive. America has a growing crisis in simple availability of medical care in rural areas, presumably tied to the growing geographic divergence that has stranded places like eastern Kentucky. ......... Medicaid doesn’t just help its direct recipients; it helps anyone seeking medical care, by helping to keep hospitals afloat. .

Friday, February 24, 2023

24: Nepal

Why the West Is Afraid of Ukraine’s Victory The West’s historical anxieties have made it impossible to come to terms with the war’s reality. ...... The West at the time thought it would be easier if Ukraine simply surrendered. ...... European and Western countries in general agreed and accepted beforehand that another European nation might be deprived of its sovereignty, freedom, and independent institutions, and it might find itself militarily occupied. (If this isn’t how they felt, then they wouldn’t have evacuated their embassies in Kyiv.) ........ The West’s political discourse, rationalized in the ivory tower language of non-escalation and nonprovocation, is still basically about how best to ensure that exposure to the continued risk of military aggression and death is restricted to Ukrainians. ......... The first is the West’s profound non-revolutionism. Ukraine is now bearing an unthinkable price for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the so-called Friedliche Revolution (or Peaceful Revolution) of 1989 that was so much celebrated in Germany. .........

Ukraine’s victory over Russia would indeed mean a genuine revolution for the West.

.......... And the third one was a war Euromaidan, when the whole country became one armed revolution opposing Russia’s military invasion in February 2022. .......... The second reason the West cannot come to terms with a Ukrainian victory over Russia is because of its own colonial legacy and its current post-colonial position. The West has effectively shifted its experience with colonialism to the past and maintains a blind eye toward colonial experiences in other parts of the European continent. This is motivated in part by a bad conscience as well as the West’s own self-recognition and direct involvement in these ongoing experiences of oppression. Europe’s East is invisible in the Western post-colonial discourse precisely because it is so central. ........... Eastern Europe has struggled with Russian imperialism for decades at the very least—and in some cases even centuries. ......... the EU indulged in its repressed colonial mindset and separated itself from the so-called under-civilized, second-hand Eastern Europe. .......... From a hegemonic viewpoint, it is the colonized who are not supposed to be equipped to apply violence—much less to win. It is only the colonizers who are allowed to fully possess and dispose of the right to violence at their own discretion. .......... What characterizes the West’s constant belatedness and inability to act is a time out of joint, to quote William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s a profoundly wicked logic that requires another mass grave to trigger the next set of sanctions against an aggressor or deliver a minimal portion of arms to a country in dire need. ........... Zeitenwende is actually a form of political self-deception that shows how hard it is for the West to really be contemporary, to keep pace with the demands of the present. ......... Violent events like revolutions or wars especially depend on time—if one doesn’t act when needed, then the situation only deteriorates and becomes more violent. ........ the actual choice the West is currently confronted with is either to apply all the military, political, and economic means it has without delay to defeat Russian aggressors and restore Ukraine’s borders or to intervene when that aggression has proliferated elsewhere and Eastern Europe has become a battlefield again.

CHEAP TESLA DID TESLA JUST ACCIDENTALLY LEAK WHAT ITS $25,000 CAR WILL LOOK LIKE? IT'S A COMPELLING DESIGN. In 2023, a $25,000 price point is a seriously aggressive target for Tesla, considering its current cheapest offering is the Model 3, which starts at well over $40,000. .

काठमाण्डौंमा साँढेको लडाई अन्त्य भएपछि मात्र हाम्रो काम हो : डा. राउत
प्रधानमन्त्री प्रचण्ड र अध्यक्ष ओलीबीच छलफल

रामचन्द्र पौडेललाई राष्ट्रपतिको उम्मेदवार बनाउने कांग्रेसको निर्णय
राष्ट्रपति र सरकारबारे निर्णय लिन एमालेको सचिवालय बैठक सुरु
एमालेका झन्डै १०० महत्त्वपूर्ण पद धरापमा !
प्रधानमन्त्रीमा प्रचण्ड, देउवा र नेपालको आलोपालो
ओलीले चेतावनी दिँदै भने–...नत्र भोलि नै सरकारबाट बाहिरिन्छौँ बैठकमा प्रधानमन्त्री प्रचण्डले एमाले अध्यक्ष ओलीसँगबारे गुनासो समेत पोखेका थिए । ‘ओलीजीसँग सहकार्यका लागि धेरै प्रयास गरेँ । तर, सत्तारुढ गठबन्धनभित्र रास्वपा र राप्रपासँग छुट्टै साँठगाँठ गरेर ममाथि अनावश्यक दबाब दिने काम भयो,’ बैठकमा सहभागी एक नेताले प्रधानमन्त्रीको भनाई उद्धृत गर्दै भने, ‘मलाई काम गर्नै दिएनन् । उहाँले फेरि एउटा अवसर गुमाउनुभयो । उहाँको दम्भले गर्दा नै कोर्स करेक्सन गर्न बाध्य भएँ ।’

24: Russia

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

22: Ukraine

5/8/23 Update: Goshen (NY) puts Third World corruption to shame, thanks to greedy, corrupt, unethical lawyers like Andra Dumais. ..... I toppled a Third World dictator and German Radio called me Robin Hood On The Internet. I am not going to get intimidated by some small-town racist. Andrea Dumais is a small-town racist. ....... You are treating me worse than the people 2,000 years ago.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

21: Putin

21: Putin, Biden

Two Supreme Court cases this week could upend the entire internet An expansion of apps and websites’ legal risk for hosting or promoting content could lead to major changes at sites, including Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube, to name a few....... Many Republican officials allege that Section 230 gives social media platforms a license to censor conservative viewpoints. Prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have argued Section 230 prevents tech giants from being held accountable for spreading misinformation and hate speech. ........ Rulings in the cases are expected by the end of June. ........ The case involving Google zeroes in on whether it can be sued because of its subsidiary YouTube’s algorithmic promotion of terrorist videos on its platform. ........ Google and other tech companies have said that that interpretation of Section 230 would increase the legal risks associated with ranking, sorting and curating online content, a basic feature of the modern internet. Google has claimed that in such a scenario, websites would seek to play it safe by either removing far more content than is necessary, or by giving up on content moderation altogether and allowing even more harmful material on their platforms. ......... Friend-of-the-court filings by Craigslist, Microsoft, Yelp and others have suggested that the stakes are not limited to algorithms and could also end up affecting virtually anything on the web that might be construed as making a recommendation. That might mean even average internet users who volunteer as moderators on various sites could face legal risks, according to a filing by Reddit and several volunteer Reddit moderators. Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and former California Republican Rep. Chris Cox, the original co-authors of Section 230, argued to the Court that Congress’ intent in passing the law was to give websites broad discretion to moderate content as they saw fit. .......... In recent years, however, several Supreme Court justices have shown an active interest in Section 230, and have appeared to invite opportunities to hear cases related to the law. Last year, Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch wrote that new state laws, such as Texas’s that would force social media platforms to host content they would rather remove, raise questions of “great importance” about “the power of dominant social media corporations to shape public discussion of the important issues of the day.”

The housing market correction just took a new turn Brutal. That’s the best way to describe KB Home’s fourth quarter, which saw its buyer cancellation rate spike to 68%. That figure dwarfed the publicly traded homebuilder’s 13% cancellation rate from the previous year’s period. It also surpassed the industry’s peak cancellation rate of 47% during the darkest days of the 2008-era crash.

‘Treason!’ Wagner boss slams Russia’s military leaders They want to ‘destroy’ Wagner, says Yevgeny Prigozhin about Russia’s defense minister and army chief........ Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the private Wagner Group, has claimed that the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, are trying to “destroy” Wagner — marking an escalation in hostilities between the influential paramilitary boss and Russia’s military establishment. ......... Prigozhin’s remarks are another sign of infighting in the Russian military. Ultranationalist figures such as Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov have long pushed for a restructuring of the top echelons of the military command. ....... The Wagner boss has been continuously increasing power in the shrinking inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin

How Vladimir Putin sells his war against ‘the West’ Unable to explain setbacks in Ukraine, the Kremlin appeals to past victories. ....... “It’s unbelievable but true: we are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin, who traveled to Volgograd to deliver a speech on February 2. “Again and again, we have to repel the aggression of the collective West.” ........ Putin’s statement was full of factual inaccuracies: Russia is fighting not the West but Ukraine, because it invaded the country; the German Leopards being delivered to Kyiv date back only to the 1960s; there’s no plan for them to enter Russian territory. ......... But the Russian president’s evocation of former victories was telling — it was a distillation of his approach to justifying an invasion that hasn’t gone to plan. These days in Russia, if the present is hard to explain, appeal to the past. ........... “The language of history has replaced the language of politics,” said Ivan Kurilla, a historian at the European University at St. Petersburg. “It is used to explain what is happening in a simple way that Russians understand.” ........ Putin has long harkened back to World War II — known in the country as The Great Patriotic War, in which more than 20 million Soviet citizens are estimated to have died. ............. On the streets, however, Russians seemed confused. ........ The term “special military operation” at least was somewhat clearer. It suggested a speedy, professional, targeted offensive. ...... As the special military operation turned into a protracted conflict, and the facts on the ground refused to bend to Putin’s narrative, the Kremlin has gradually been forced to change its story. ......... by spring the terms “demilitarization” and “denazification” had practically disappeared from the public sphere .......... In October, Putin declared that one of the main goals of the war had been to provide Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, with a stable water supply. .........

But the appeal to history has remained central to Putin’s communication effort.

......... In June, he referenced Peter the Great’s campaign to “return what was Russia’s.” And during an October ceremony to lay claim to four regions in Ukraine, it was Catherine the Great who got a mention. ......... “Especially in spring and early summer, there was an attempt to Sovietize the war, with people waving red flags, trying to make sense of it through that lens.” ........ Throughout, the Kremlin has sought to depict the conflict as a battle against powerful Western interests bent on using Ukraine to undermine Russia — a narrative that has become increasingly important as the Kremlin demands bigger sacrifices from the Russian population ......... “What we observe today is the culmination of that feeling of resentment, of unrealized illusions, especially among those over 50” ......... “We are moving away from a special military operation towards a holy war … against 50 countries united by Satanism,” the veteran propagandist Vladimir Solovyov said on his program in January. .............. Russians are now expecting the war to last another six months or longer. “The majority keep to the sidelines, and passively support the war, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly” ........... reports of Western weapons deliveries have been used to reinforce the argument that Russia is battling the West under the umbrella of NATO — no longer in an ideological sense, but in a literal one. ........... “What started out as a historic metaphor is being fueled by actual spilled blood.” .......... In newspaper stands, Russians will find magazines such as “The Historian,” full of detailed spreads arguing that the Soviet Union’s Western allies in World War II were, in fact, Nazi sympathizers all along — another recycled trope from Russian history. ......... “This level of hatred and aggressive nationalism has not been seen since the late Stalin period”

Zelenskyy: Macron is ‘wasting his time’ with Putin ‘It’s a useless dialogue,’ Ukraine’s president says. ........ Macron added that although he wished for the Kremlin to lose, the war would end not on the battlefield but with peace talks — and that France would “never” support “crushing Russia.” ........ “He likes vodka? If that’s the case, we have some of the finest quality in Ukraine — we can offer him some,” Zelenskyy said. ........ The Ukrainian president also commented on recent reports from the U.S. that China was ready to send weapons to Russia, saying he hoped Beijing would keep a “pragmatic approach,” to avoid a “Third World War.”

Biden’s Military-First Posture in the East Is a Problem A singular focus on countering the threat of Chinese aggression made America neglect economic ties in the Indo-Pacific. ........ Changi Naval Base, which sits on the east coast of Singapore near the busy shipping lanes of the Singapore Strait, has in the first months of 2023 been welcoming well-armed American visitors. Less than two weeks into the new year came a visit from the USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship. Days later, the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier with a small city’s worth of crew members, made a port call—accompanied by three destroyers. ........ U.S. troops have access to five military bases in the Philippines, which is a former U.S. colony and America’s oldest treaty ally in Asia. Earlier this month, the two countries reached an agreement that gives U.S. forces access to four more. That announcement followed a decision by American and Japanese officials to enhance their military cooperation. ........

The aim—sometimes spoken, other times left unsaid—of such developments is to counter China’s more assertive presence in the region.

Washington now views Beijing as a growing threat to America and its partners and allies there. These concerns have only intensified since a spy balloon launched by China was shot down two weeks ago. Hence the Biden administration’s focus on defense and security in the Indo-Pacific.

Friday, February 17, 2023

17: Ukraine

U.S. tries to woo India away from Russia with display of F-35s, bombers The United States brought its most advanced fighter jet, the F-35, to India for the first time this week alongside F-16s, Super Hornets and B-1B bombers as Washington looks to woo New Delhi away from its traditional military supplier, Russia. ........ In contrast, Russia, India's largest weapons supplier since the Soviet Union days, had a nominal presence. Its state-owned weapons exporter Rosoboronexport had a joint stall with United Aircraft and Almaz-Antey, displaying miniature models of aircraft, trucks, radars and tanks. ....... The United States is selective about which countries it allows to buy the F-35. ....... The United States has approved arms sales worth more than $6 billion to India in the last six years, including transport aircraft, Apache, Chinook and MH-60 helicopters, missiles, air defence systems, naval guns and P-8I Poseidon surveillance aircraft. ....... .

How a Tiny NATO Nation Tackled a Big Problem: Arming Ukraine Luxembourg’s challenges in buying arms on the open market underscore the struggle to keep Ukraine supplied until sophisticated Western weapons arrive in the spring........ Luxembourg’s military consists of fewer than 1,000 troops, one cargo plane, two helicopters shared with police forces and fewer than 200 trucks ......... the vexing problem of supplying Ukraine with the arms it needs to hold off Russia until the arrival of sophisticated Western rockets, missiles and tanks later this year. ........ Ukraine has been burning through ammunition at a prodigious rate since the start of the war ........ But determined to make a greater contribution to the war effort, Luxembourg set up a two-man team of in-house arms dealers soon after the Russian invasion. They set out to scour commercial weapons markets in Europe and the United States, and to demonstrate that their country’s commitment to defeating Russia was every bit as big as that of its much larger NATO partners. ......... He also drew a parallel to Luxembourg’s history as an invaded state during World War I and World War II. “We were occupied many times in the last century, so we have an enormous sensibility for what it means for what is now happening in Ukraine” ..............

“We cannot let Putin do what he intends.”

......... Luxembourg spends less on its military than any other NATO country, and was the only state in the alliance to contribute less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product to national defense last year. .......... Luxembourg, with a G.D.P. above $130,000 per person — by far the highest in NATO ........ painstaking, often frustrating negotiations with commercial brokers, cold calls to manufacturers and even Google searches to track down weapons that Ukraine says it needs.

How Democracy Can Win The Right Way to Counter Autocracy ............ the failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Without a doubt, American democracy had been shown to be far more fragile than it was when Biden left the vice presidency in 2017. ......... early 2022 may prove to be a high-water mark for authoritarianism. Putin’s ambitions to dominate Ukraine failed miserably, thanks to the unwavering resolve and courage of the Ukrainian people. Putin made mistake after strategic mistake while the free people of Ukraine successfully mobilized, innovated, and adapted. ......... Graft has rotted the Russian military from within, yielding reports of soldiers selling fuel and weapons on the black market. Russian commanders have taken massive risks with the lives of their soldiers: conscripts arrive at the front having been lied to and manipulated rather than properly trained. To avoid upsetting their superiors, military leaders have supplied overly rosy assessments of their ability to conquer Ukraine, leading one pro-Russian militia commander to call self-deception “the herpes of the Russian army.” ............ Most European countries are in a race to decouple their economies from Russia, and Finland and Sweden are on the brink of joining an expanded and united NATO. Public opinion of Russia and Putin has plummeted in countries around the world, reaching record lows ......... In Russia’s immediate neighborhood, Moscow’s traditional security and economic partners are staying neutral, refusing to host joint military exercises, seeking to reduce their economic dependence on Russia, and upholding the sanctions regimes. Russians themselves are voting with their feet: officially, hundreds of thousands of citizens have fled, but the true number is likely well over one million and includes tens of thousands of valued high-tech workers. ........... Between mid-2020 and the end of 2022, populist leaders saw an average decline of 10 percentage points in their approval ratings in 27 countries ........

Autocrats are now on the back foot.

....... For the last three decades, advocates of democracy have focused too narrowly on defending rights and freedoms, neglecting the pain and dangers of economic hardship and inequality. We have also failed to contend with the risks associated with new digital technologies, including surveillance technologies, that autocratic governments have learned to exploit to their advantage. It is time to coalesce around a new agenda for aiding the cause of global freedom, one that addresses the economic grievances that populists have so effectively exploited, that defangs so-called digital authoritarianism, and that reorients traditional democracy assistance to grapple with modern challenges......... The U.S. Agency for International Development, the institution I lead and the largest provider of democracy assistance in the world, has had “clear and consistent impacts” on civil society, judicial and electoral processes, media independence, and overall democratization ..........

The Inflation Story Has Changed Significantly. Paul Krugman Breaks It Down. The Nobel laureate economist discusses inflation’s slowdown, the G.O.P.’s incoherent economic agenda and A.I.’s impact on the labor market. ........... Brad DeLong, my friend, an economist and historian, has this wonderful book called “Slouching Towards Utopia,” which is a history of what he calls the long 20th century. And if you just want to understand how the world changed from — he says that 1870 was the pivot point of history ........ “How the War Was Won” by Phillips O’Brien, who’s a military historian. And it’s a book about World War II, but he’s become a prolific commentator on the war in Ukraine, and it’s mostly — it’s this wonderfully unromantic, anti-glory view of war. It’s all about, look, it’s really about — modern war is about production and logistics. The opening sentence is, I think, “There were no decisive battles of World War II.” And it opened my eyes to thinking about how both about that history and about how to think about what’s happening in Ukraine now. ........... a fantasy novel by Leigh Bardugo called “Ninth House,” which is set at Yale. ........... every $10 million of democracy assistance it provided between 1992 and 2000 contributed to a seven-point jump on the 100-point global electoral democracy index maintained by the nonprofit Varieties of Democracy. ........... a host of interrelated factors contribute to democracy’s struggles: polarization, significant inequality and widespread economic dissatisfaction, the explosion of disinformation in the public sphere, political gridlock, the rise of China as a strategic competitor of the United States, and the spread of digital authoritarianism aimed at repressing free expression and expanding government power. ......... must help societies address economic concerns that antidemocratic forces have exploited; take the fight for democracy into the digital realm, just as autocracies have.........

At the core of democratic theory and practice is respect for the dignity of the individual.

........ But among the biggest errors many democracies have made since the Cold War is to view individual dignity primarily through the prism of political freedom without being sufficiently attentive to the indignity of corruption, inequality, and a lack of economic opportunity. ......... building coalitions to tackle these intersecting problems. ......... When we help democratic leaders provide vaccines to their people, bring down inflation or high food prices, send children to school, or reopen markets after a natural disaster, we are demonstrating—in a way that a free press or vibrant civil society cannot always do—that democracy delivers. ....... The task before reformist leaders is enormous. Often they inherit budgets laden with debt, economies hollowed out by corruption, civil services built on patronage, or a combination of all three. When Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema took office in 2021 after winning a landslide victory over an incumbent whose regime had arrested him more than a dozen times, he discovered that his predecessors had accumulated over $30 billion in unserviceable debt, nearly one and a half times the country’s GDP, with very little new infrastructure or return on borrowing to show for it. In Moldova, where the anticorruption advocate Maia Sandu was elected president in 2020, a single corruption scandal had previously siphoned off a whopping 12 percent of the country’s GDP. ........ USAID has also partnered with Vodafone to expand the reach of a mobile app called m-mama to every region in Tanzania. The app is akin to an Uber for expectant mothers, helping pregnant women who lack ambulance services reach health facilities and contributing to a significant decrease in maternal mortality. .......... Even individuals can do their part to support democracy by considering a democratic bright spot for their next vacation. ........... Over the past four decades, Beijing has transformed from one of the largest recipients of foreign assistance to the largest bilateral provider of development finance, mostly in the form of loans. ........... Much of the development financing China offers, even to highly indebted poor countries, is provided at nonconcessional market rates through opaque agreements hidden from the public. According to the World Bank, 40 percent of the debt owed by the world’s poorest countries is held by China. .......... with Chinese lenders rarely agreeing to reductions in interest rates or the principal. ......... Chinese lending to African countries increased closer to elections and that funds disproportionately wound up in the hometowns of political leaders. ....... Together with the rest of the G-7, the United States plans to mobilize $600 billion in private and public investment by 2027 to finance global infrastructure. .......... and expand secure and open 5G and 6G digital networks so that countries don’t have to rely on Chinese-built networks that may be susceptible to surveillance. ............. Authoritarian regimes use surveillance systems and facial recognition software to track and monitor critics, journalists, and other members of civil society with the goal of repressing opponents and stifling protests. They also export this technology abroad; China has provided surveillance technology to at least 80 countries through its Digital Silk Road initiative. .......... We blacklisted flagrant offenders, such as Positive Technologies and NSO Group, both of which sold hacking tools to authoritarian governments. ........ perhaps the biggest threat to democracy from the digital realm is disinformation and other forms of information manipulation. ......... 81 governments have used social media in malign campaigns to spread disinformation, in some cases in concert with the regimes in Moscow and Beijing .............. Both countries have spent vast sums manipulating the information environment to fit their narratives by disseminating false stories, flooding search engines to drown out unfavorable results, and attacking and doxxing their critics. ...........

We also helped support the production of the online comedy show Newspalm, which regularly racks up tens of thousands of views as it skewers Putin’s lies.

........... have heard from independent journalists around the world that one of the major impediments to their work, in addition to death threats and intimidation, is lawsuits brought against them by those whose corruption they seek to expose ......... These frivolous lawsuits can cost journalists and their outlets millions of dollars, putting some out of business and creating a chilling effect for others. ............ Autocrats no longer simply stuff ballot boxes on election day; they spend years tilting the playing field through cyber-hacking and voter suppression. ........... corruption that is occurring on a grand international scale, abetted by an industry of shadowy facilitators. .......... We support global investigative units that unite forensic accountants and journalists to expose illicit dealings, including those detailed in the Luxembourg Leaks and the Pandora Papers. And as corruption grows more complex and global in scope, we are helping link investigative journalists across borders, including in Latin America, where such efforts have uncovered the mismanagement of nearly $300 million in public funding. ............ Democracy is not in decline. Rather, it is under attack. Under attack from within by forces of division, ethno­nationalism, and repression. And under attack from without by autocratic governments and leaders who seek to exploit the inherent vulnerabilities of open societies by undermining election integrity, weaponizing corruption, and spreading disinformation to strengthen their own grip on power. Worse, these autocrats increasingly work together, sharing tricks and technologies to repress their populations at home and weaken democracy abroad. ............ second Democracy Summit—this time, held simultaneously in Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United States, and Zambia—

How did Hindenburg short Adani stock? People familiar with the firm’s modus operandi say it may have used single stock futures and the help of western banks in Singapore ....... the firm had taken a short position in Adani “through US-traded bonds and non-Indian-traded derivative instruments”. ........ a 100-page report .......... Despite Adani denying the allegations in a 400-page rebuttal, Hindenburg’s report has triggered a sell-off in the group’s listed entities, knocking more than $100bn off their combined market value. ......... Short sellers typically borrow stocks through a broker, sell those shares on the market and hope that the price will go down. If it does, they buy shares to hand back to the lender and pocket the difference........ “I was looking at Adani myself for a short last summer and one of the reasons why I decided not to investigate it further is because of the difficulty of shorting it in India,” said Gabriel Grego, a hedge fund manager at Quintessential Capital, who is waging a short selling campaign at cyber security group Darktrace......... Hindenburg found a way. Investors who want to bet against an Indian company can do so using India’s main stock index, the Nifty 50, in which Adani Enterprises is one of the largest constituents ....... short sellers can do these types of trades, can create a product called a single stock future. ........ In Hindenburg’s case, it would receive the value of Adani Enterprises’ weighting in the index and the rest would be sold in the market. ........ the research took two years. ........... Hindenburg enlisted the help of an outside analyst who focused on Indian companies to investigate Adani. This analyst led the research with the help of a team of five Hindenburg employees. The team decided to release the report days before a planned $2.4bn share sale by Adani last month.......... The timing was crucial because Hindenburg’s report cast doubts on the anchor investor group involved in the fundraising, which included Mauritius-based entities. The short seller alleged these had links to the Adani family and were buying shares to prop up the stock price of the listed businesses in the group. Adani has denied the allegations. .......... a now infamous video that showed a functioning Nikola prototype that the short seller said was actually moving only because it was rolling downhill. ........ Anderson also made a winning bet on Twitter, shorting the company’s stock in May just as Elon Musk sought to get out of his offer to buy it. ......... Shares in property investment group Welltower have risen more than 15 per cent since Hindenburg published a report in December alleging one of its critical partnerships was a “sham”. ......... Shares in medical devices group Establishment Labs are up more than 30 per cent since Hindenburg described it as a “financially stretched silicone safety charade” in October. ........... have portrayed the report as an attack on India and a “hit job” on its markets. ........ accused Hindenburg of spreading “malicious lies” .

Adani hires US legal powerhouse Wachtell in short-seller battle
Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce it. Inside the Pentagon’s plan to close the gap The US and its allies have already sent nearly $50 billion in aid and equipment to Ukraine’s military over the past year. To keep that up, and to rebuild its own stockpiles, the Pentagon is racing to re-arm, embarking on the biggest increase in ammunition production in decades, and putting portions of the US defense industry on a war-footing despite America technically not being at war. ........ The Pentagon has allocated roughly $3 billion alone to buy munitions overseas from allies and to ramp up production at home. Some of that money will go toward producing what has become a staple of the war – 155 millimeter artillery shells. ........ The Army is planning a 500% increase in artillery shell production, from 15,000 a month to 70,000 ....... Across the US, munitions factories are increasing production as fast as possible. A Lockheed Martin plant in Camden, Arkansas, is cranking out a series of rockets and missiles, including those used by the Army’s Patriot missile system – all of which are in high demand in Ukraine. Bush told reporters in January that the Army was standing up a new plant in Garland, Texas to make artillery shells, while an existing plant is being expanded in Middletown, Iowa that loads, packs and assembles 155 millimeter shells. ........ the Army intends to double the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, make roughly 33% more Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) surface-to-surface medium-range missiles a year, and produce each month a minimum of 60 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles – which were “almost not in production at all” ........

Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce them

. ........ As Ukraine prepares for a much-anticipated spring offensive in the coming weeks, the US is still years away from reaching its expected level of increased weapons production. ........ “For Ukraine, the challenges are more immediate and medium term, while much of the added US production capacity appears to be two years in the future” ......... it will take anywhere from 12 to 18 months for the US to reach its “max” production rate of 70,00 artillery shells a month. ........ In Brussels this week, top US defense officials struck an optimistic tone about being able to deliver Ukraine what it needs. ......... the international community “will continue to support Ukraine” until Russian President Vladimir Putin “ends his war of choice.” .........

the rate of weapons production could make all the difference on the battlefield.

....... “We are still the arsenal of democracy,” Bush said. “And nobody does it better than the United States.”

The Taliban are digging an enormous canal A mega-project in northern Afghanistan risks raising regional tensions some 5,500 people are working around the clock on the project, using over 3,300 bits of machinery. Once completed, the Qosh Tepa Canal will divert water from the Amu Darya river for irrigation. The river, once known as the Oxus, rises in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, flows into Uzbekistan and is one of the longest in Central Asia. The Taliban expects the project to turn 550,000 hectares of desert into much-needed farmland. .

माओवादी कांग्रेसतिर ढल्किन खोज्दा ओलीको नजरमा महन्थ र अशोक ! माघ २७ मा ओलीले गाडीमा लिफ्ट दिएर ठाकुरलाई आफ्नो निवास बोलकोट लिएका थिए । ओली र ठाकुरबीच राष्ट्रपतिका सन्दर्भमा एक घण्टा छलफल भएको थियो । लोसपाका एक नेताका अनुसार ओलीले राष्ट्रपतिका लागि ठाकुरलाई प्रस्ताव गरेका थिए । ....... ओलीको भनाइ उद्धत गर्दै लोसपाका एक नेताले भने, ‘मेरो प्रयत्न पुस १० को सहमति कार्यान्वयन गराउने छ । त्यो परिस्थिति बन्छ जस्तो लागेको छैन । राष्ट्रपतिमा तपाई पनि उठ्नुपर्ने हुन सक्छ । के छ मनस्थिति ?’ ...... प्रमुख दलहरुले राष्ट्रपतिमा आवश्यकता महसुस गरे आफू तयार रहेको ओलीलाई ठाकुरको जवाफ थियो । ....... भारतका विश्वासपात्र ठाकुरलाई राष्ट्रपतिमा प्रस्ताव गरेर ओलीले कांग्रेस–माओवादीलाई अप्ठ्यारो पार्ने नीति लिएको नेताहरू बताउँछन् । ....... ओलीको प्रस्तावपछि ठाकुरले पनि राष्ट्रपतिका लागि आन्तरिक गृहकार्य बढाएको पाइएको छ । लोसपाका नेता डा. सुरेन्द्र झाका अनुसार केही दिनमा कांग्रेस सभापति शेरबहादुर देउवासँग भेटवार्ता गर्ने तयारी छ । ...... ‘उहाँ माओवादी, कांग्रेस र एमालेका लागि स्वीकार्य व्यक्ति हो । गणतन्त्र र संघीयतामा प्रधानमन्त्रीजीसँग स्प्रीड मिल्छ भने कांग्रेसमा उहाँले लामो समय राजनीति गर्नु भएको छ,’ नेता झा भन्छन्, ‘ओलीजीलाई विगतमा गुन लगाउन भएको छ । उहाँको नाममा राष्ट्रिय सहमति भन्ने परिस्थिति बन्दै गएको छ ।’ ... तर ओलीले भने ठाकुरका साथै अहिले एमालेसँग नजिक रहेका जसपाका अध्यक्ष राईलाई पनि राष्ट्रपतिको उम्मेदवार बन्न ग्रीनसिंनल दिएको स्रोतले रातोपाटीलाई बतायो । पूर्व एमाले पृष्ठभूमिका राई गत निर्वाचनमा एमालेको साथमा सुनसरी १ बाट सांसद निर्वाचित भएका थिए । ........ सत्ता दलीय गठबन्धनमा पुस १० मा भएको सहमति कार्यान्वयन गर्न जटिल भएपछि ओलीले एमाले बाहेकको खोजी थालेको कांग्रेस नेताहरू पनि बताउँछन् । ...... साना दलका नेता पनि खोजिराख्नु भएको छ । नागरिक समाजबाट पनि खोजिराख्नु भएको छ ।’ ....... ‘पार्टीले सबैलाई मान्य हुनेगरी उपयुक्त उम्मेदवार उठाउँछ । गठबन्धन कायम रहन्छ ।’

के छ बालेन शाहको मुद्दामा सर्वोच्चले दिएको अन्तरिम आदेशमा ? (आदेशसहित)
डिल्लीबजार कारागारमा रेशम चौधरीको हाइफाई जिन्दगी, पाउँछन् अतिरिक्त सुविधा
राष्ट्रपतिबारे ओलीको प्रस्तावमा प्रचण्डले दिए तीन विकल्प

Moscow’s Military Capabilities Are in Question After Failed Battle for Ukrainian City A disastrous Russian assault on Vuhledar, viewed as an opening move in an expected spring offensive, has renewed doubts about Moscow’s ability to sustain a large-scale ground assault.......... a faltering Russian campaign that continues to be plagued by battlefield dysfunction. ......... as President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces seek to demonstrate progress before the anniversary of his invasion on Feb. 24. ........ a large part of Russia’s army is already fighting in Ukraine. ....... about 80 percent of Russia’s ground forces are dedicated to the war effort. ........ Vuhledar, which sits at the intersection of the eastern front in the Donetsk region and the southern front in the Zaporizhzhia region, has long been in Moscow’s sights. It has been used by Ukraine as a base for harassing shipments on an important rail line supplying Russian forces. ......... He said the attacks on Vuhledar had been no surprise — the Russians even warned the Ukrainians of the coming assault through social media channels, in an apparent attempt to scare them ............. As they have done throughout the war, the Russian commanders made some basic mistakes, in this case failing to take into account the terrain — open fields littered with antitank mines — or the strength of the Ukrainian forces ........ In one week alone in the Vuhledar clash, the Ukrainian General Staff estimates, Russia lost at least 130 armored vehicles, including 36 tanks. ......... “a whole Russian brigade was effectively annihilated” in Vuhledar, where he said that Moscow “lost over 1,000 people in two days.” ......... “a president and a Russian general staff that defies reality or ignores reality and simply doesn’t care how many people they are killing of their own, let alone of the people they are trying to oppress.” ........... The Russians faced another problem in Vuhledar from Ukraine’s deployment of American-made HIMARS missiles that forced commanders to position large concentrations of forces more than 50 miles from the front. That made it hard to attack with either speed or surprise. ....... those who survived the battle were considered deserters. .......... Despite the setbacks, Moscow has continued to insist that all is going according to plan. On Sunday, Mr. Putin said that the “marine infantry is working as it should. Right now. Fighting heroically.” .

In 46 Words, Biden Sends a Clear Message to Israel a concern that the radical transformation of Israel’s judicial system that Netanyahu’s ultranationalist, ultrareligious coalition is trying to slam through the Knesset could seriously damage Israel’s democracy and therefore its close ties to America and democracies everywhere. ......... “I can’t be silent,” Mandelblit concluded. “If there is no independent judiciary, it’s over. It’s a different system of government.” ...... Biden is telling Israel our relationship has never truly rested on shared interests. It’s always been built up from our shared values. That is why it has endured so long — even when we disagree on interests. .

Canned Tomatoes, Explained Whole peeled, crushed, puréed or paste? There’s a time and a place for each. ...... Tomato purée is already cooked, blended and strained, so it’s seed-free and more concentrated ....... .