This Week in the World Affairs Brief:

WILL PUTIN INVADE EASTERN UKRAINE?

Acting Interior Minister for Ukraine, Arsen Avakov, said Wednesday that the recent uprising by ethnic Russians in Ukraine's eastern region demanding independence would be resolved one way or the other within 48 hours—either by negotiations or police confrontation. That means we should see that development today—but I suspect they may just let things slide. Ukraine’s government used police force earlier this week to arrest one set of protestors who occupied a government building and predictably this caused more protests demanding their release. If Ukraine uses force on the other two cities where rebels are well armed, there may be bloodshed and it could be the excuse Putin has been waiting for to add Eastern Ukraine to his conquests. If he’s smart, Putin will engineer another covert invasion by continuing to dress up professionals as local militias as he did in Crimea and let them create the image of a local civilian crisis, rather than a direct invasion. If he does invade, it would blow his non-threatening cover before he’s ready for war and force the West to react militarily, which they aren’t financially prepared to do. You can request a one-time free sample of the briefs by sending an email to editor@worldaffairsbrief.com.

Also:

  • US Keeps Disarming in the Face of Russian Aggression
  • Bad Cops Keep Getting Judicial Support
  • Bad Analysis on the Yuan as New Reserve Currency
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Daily News

Bloomberg to spend $50 million targeting NRA, 'make them afraid'

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
...Mr. Bloomberg's already put considerable cash into scaling back the NRA's lobby and legislative influences - to little avail. Congress still hasn't passed any substantial background check laws or federal limits on certain types of weapons that Mr. Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group has placed on its ban list. But he’s hoping the fresh cash inflow will ratchet up the rhetoric and lead to widespread Second Amendment reform. Instead of simply relying on television anti-gun ads, Mr. Bloomberg said he'll now put chunks of money into community campaigns - much in the spirit of the NRA, the New York Times reported. Moreover, his new campaign will target women and mothers, in hopes of replicating the success stories of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to lower legal alcohol limits for drivers. — Washington Times

The US's Invasion of Africa That Nobody Knows About

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
...Washington has been increasing its support for African regimes, many with records of human rights violations, and boosting efforts to train African militaries to keep them dependent on the Pentagon. The U.S. is training and equipping militaries in countries including Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia - not to mention operations in Libya, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, et al. Reporter Nick Turse has been at the forefront of reporting on America's gradual infiltration of Africa. He writes this week about, among other things, the difference between what military officials say about Africa policy when asked by reporters and what they tell U.S. contractors looking to do business for taxpayer money. — The New American

U.K. Lawmakers Seek Extreme Crackdown on Climate Realists

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
Faced with the implosion of discredited United Nations theories on "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming," climate alarmists in the United Kingdom, including some in Parliament, are now pushing for a major crackdown on skeptics - or "realists," depending on one's point of view - in government, media, and more. As more and more scientists defect from the crumbling alarmist bandwagon, however, critics say the hysterical shrieking and dangerous rhetoric from politicians only serve to further illustrate the accelerating collapse of what many climate experts refer to as the "global-warming hoax." — The New American

War on the West: Why More Bundy Standoffs Are Coming

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
The federal government's over-the-top police action against the Bundy family ranch is an ominous portent of more to come, as rogue agencies and their corporate/NGO partners attempt to "cleanse" the West of ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers, and other determined property owners. — The New American

US Confirms 'Support' as Syrian Rebels Show US Missiles in Videos

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
Though the details of how they are being smuggled into Syria remain somewhat unclear, Syrian rebels have released yet more videos showing themselves in possession of US-made anti-tank missiles, and US officials are privately confirming that they are part of the US "backing" of rebellion. — Antiwar.com

Putin warns of Ukraine civil war as Kiev moves on rebels

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
...Tensions have mounted in recent days after pro-Russian rebels seized buildings in about 10 towns and cities across eastern Ukraine. They are demanding greater autonomy or referendums on secession from Ukraine. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said Russia had sent in "thinly disguised" armed groups to spearhead the occupation of buildings. Speaking in London, he said Moscow faced "serious long-term consequences" if it continued to destabilise Ukraine. Ukrainian acting President Olexander Turchynov said on Tuesday that troops had regained control of a military airfield in Kramatorsk after fighting with armed pro-Russian groups. — BBC

Five dead in Calgary's worst mass murder; son of police officer charged

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
The son of a senior Calgary police officer is behind bars after the worst mass murder in the city's history - a bloody night that saw the lives of five young people snuffed out in a sudden knife attack at a house party. Matthew de Grood, a 22-year-old University of Calgary graduate and son of a 33-year veteran of the police force, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder Tuesday afternoon in connection with the death of four men and one woman — Canada Star

China growth slows to 7.4pc as hopes rise of state stimulus

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
China's gross domestic product grew 7.4pc in the first three months of the year, increasing the chances Beijing will move to stanch a slowdown in the world's number two economy. The year-on-year figure is sharply down from the 7.7pc expansion in the final three months of 2013, with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) blaming a slower-than-expected global recovery as well as economic structural reforms at home. — UK Telegraph

Health reform to play massive role in midterm elections

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 16 2014
It's no surprise that health care reform is a wedge issue in national polls. However, the reality is that Obamacare is not only a wedge issue, it is a toxic issue in tight races. As the White House declares victory with more than 7 million enrollees under the Affordable Care Act, the struggle over national health reform will once again return to the political trenches. For the 2014 midterm elections, both Democrats and Republicans are focused on the U.S. Senate. — The Tennessean

DEMINT: White House land grab

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
You'd think the Obama administration is busy enough controlling the banks, insurance companies and automakers, but thanks to whistleblowers at the Department of the Interior, we now learn they're planning to increase their control over energy-rich land in the West. A secret administration memo has surfaced revealing plans for the federal government to seize more than 10 million acres from Montana to New Mexico, halting job- creating activities like ranching, forestry, mining and energy development. Worse, this land grab would dry up tax revenue that's essential for funding schools, firehouses and community centers. — Washington Times

EU Ministers Blame Russia for Ukraine Interference

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
The coordinated action of armed pro-Russian groups occupying government buildings in eastern Ukraine clearly "is something that is being planned and brought about by Russia," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts. In retaliation, the 28 EU ministers could decide to add more names to a list of Russian officials whose assets in EU member nations have been frozen. But a dramatic ratcheting up of sanctions wasn't expected. — ABC News

No sign of crackdown as Ukraine deadline passes

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
...Protesters forced police officers out of their four-story headquarters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka, witnesses said, adding a new complication for a Kiev government worried about demonstrators' escalating activity in the east and a Russian neighbor that it accuses of fomenting the discontent. — CNN

Feds end high-profile cattle roundup

posted by askousen - Monday, April 14 2014
The Bureau of Land Management on Saturday pulled back from its high-profile confrontation with a Nevada rancher whose cattle were grazing on public lands. — USA Today

Internet Revolt Begins as Condi Rice Joins Dropbox Board

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
...Dropbox CEO Drew Houston didn't mention the appointment during his keynote at a press event on Wednesday, but a day later, Rice's arrival had eclipsed the rest of the company's carefully crafted public event. Unsurprisingly, some people aren't too happy about the move. Over on Hacker News, a leading barometer for what's on the minds of tech geeks, the day's most popular link connects to DropDropbox, a new site calling on users to boycott the company unless it removes Rice....The campaign's apparently anonymous creators are calling for her removal in part because of her support for the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program, including claims that Rice herself authorized eavesdropping on UN Security Council members. "Why on earth would we want someone like her involved with Dropbox, an organization we are trusting with our most important business and personal data?" the site asks. — Wired.com

Ukraine says Russia stoking unrest as gunmen seize more buildings

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
Ukraine appealed to Russia to halt "provocative actions" in its eastern regions on Saturday as pro-Russian militants seized two more government buildings and called for autonomy from Kiev. At least 20 armed militants wearing mismatched camouflage outfits took over the police and security services headquarters in the eastern city of Slaviansk, about 150 km (90 miles) from the border with Russia, seizing hundreds of handguns. Police said gunmen later took over the local headquarters of Ukraine's SBU security service. — Reuters

Claims of new poison gas attack in Syria

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
The government and opposition forces in Syria have accused each other of using poison gas in an attack on a village on Friday. State TV said the jihadist Nusra Front group launched the attack on Kafr Zita in Hama province, killing two people and injuring dozens of others. But opposition groups quoted doctors as saying that an attack by regime planes led to suffocation and poisoning. There was no independent verification of either of the claims. — BBC

Exclusive: Lois Lerner's IRS is still targeting Tea Party and Liberty Groups

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
...Belsom told Cook that the FBI never asked her any questions regarding the IRS' illegal targeting of conservative groups. Watch this video to learn more about the IRS targeting the Laurens Tea Party. Today the DailyPaul is reporting that the IRS is targeting Campaign for Liberty, issuing the organization a hefty fine and demanding they turn over sensitive contributor information. Both cases above illustrate that nothing has changed. The government is still targeting these groups. So far the Lerner hearings haven't produced any results. It appears that the Lerner campaign is still in play and the Obama IRS attack machine is still open for business. — Ben Swann

Out-of-state groups ride in to stand with Nevada rancher in battle with feds over grazing rights

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
Groups from as far away as New Hampshire are riding out to Nevada to join the cattle rancher whose standoff with the federal government is growing tenser by the day. The groups said they were going to the ranch, some 80 miles north of Las Vegas to stand with Cliven Bundy, who property is surrounded by federal agents. Bundy's herd, which once numbered nearly 1,000, is being thinned out by private contractors under the watch of dozens of armed federal agents in SUVs and helicopters, the government says, he has refused for two decades to pay fees to allow the cattle to graze on federal lands. — Fox News

Report: NSA Exploited Heartbleed to Siphon Passwords for Two Years

posted by askousen - Saturday, April 12 2014
The NSA knew about and exploited the Heartbleed vulnerability for two years before it was publicly exposed this week, and used it to steal account passwords and other data, according to a news report. Speculation had been rampant this week that the spy agency might have known about the critical flaw in OpenSSL that would allow hackers to siphon passwords, email content and other data from the memory of vulnerable web servers and other systems using the important encryption protocol. That speculation appears to be confirmed by two unnamed sources who told Bloomberg that the NSA discovered the flaw shortly after it was accidentally introduced into OpenSSl in 2012 by a programmer. — Wired.com

Standards, scandals, and sex in Louisiana

posted by askousen - Friday, April 11 2014
...Or more to the point, why is it, exactly, that the same Louisiana Republicans calling for McAllister's ouster are holding the congressman to an entirely different standard than the one applied to Vitter after the "family values" senator was caught having hired prostitutes?...But going one step further, let's also not forget that when McAllister was elected just six months ago in a special election, he was running against a state senator that the party establishment loved. Neil Riser had received endorsements from nearly all of Louisiana's Republican congressional delegation, the NRA, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but he lost anyway to McAllister, a first-time candidate. Party insiders were not pleased, and his messy personal life suddenly offers them a chance to smack him down. — MSNBC

Vigilantes with a Badge: The War Against the American People

posted by askousen - Friday, April 11 2014
... The following incidents are cautionary tales for anyone who still thinks that they can defy police officers, even if it's simply to disagree about a speeding ticket, challenge a search warrant or defend oneself against an unreasonable or unjust charge, without deadly repercussions. The message they send is that "we the people" have very little protection from the standing army that is law enforcement. For example, Seattle police repeatedly tasered seven-months pregnant Malaika Brooks for refusing to sign a speeding ticket. While Brooks bears permanent burn scars on her body from the encounter, police were cleared of any wrongdoing on the grounds that they didn’t know that tasering a pregnant woman was wrong. — John W. Whitehead/Rutherford Institute

Albuquerque Police Violated Civil Rights, Justice Department finds

posted by askousen - Friday, April 11 2014
City police here committed civil-rights violations by engaging in a widespread pattern of excessive and deadly force during encounters with civilians who posed little if any threat, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday. The sharply critical findings were the result of a 16-month civil-rights investigation examining the Albuquerque Police Department's high rate of officer-involved shootings, and accusations that police too often resorted to force. — WSJ

Justice: Albuquerque police use 'excessive force'

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 10 2014
The U.S. Justice Department charged Thursday that an investigation of the Albuquerque police force found that the department "engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force." — USA Today

MP Nigel Evans cleared of sexual assault charges

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 10 2014
Nigel Evans, the former Commons deputy Speaker, has been cleared of nine charges, including raping a student and sexually assaulting six other men. The MP was found not guilty after a five-week trial in Preston, where he was accused of attacks between 2002 and last year. — The Financial Times

Pro-Russia separatists reject amnesty offer in Ukraine standoff

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 10 2014
Armed pro-Russia separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk rejected Kiev's offer of amnesty for those who seized government buildings this week and called on others to defy the pro-European government in Kiev. Protesters wearing bullet-proof vests and armed with Kalashnikov rifles, pistols and other guns inside the security building, a former KGB headquarters, said they would only lay down their weapons if Kiev agreed to hold a referendum on the future of the region. — Reuters

Russia warns Europe of gas supply cuts over Ukraine debt

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 10 2014
President Vladimir Putin warned European leaders on Thursday Russia would cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine if it did not pay its bills and said this could lead to a reduction of onward deliveries to Europe. In a letter to the leaders of 18 countries, he demanded urgent talks with Europe on pulling Ukraine's economy out of crisis but made clear his patience was running out over Kiev's $2.2 billion gas debt to its former Soviet master. — Reuters

Social Services Arrests, Imprisons Pregnant Woman for a Drug She Wasn't Taking

posted by askousen - Thursday, April 10 2014
Now, another story of Social Services out of control has emerged from Jackson, Wisconsin, where social workers instigated the arrest and illegal imprisonment of 28 year old Alicia Beltran, a pregnant mother-to-be after a routine prenatal visit. Alicia's nightmare began shortly after visiting a health clinic about a mile from her home for a prenatal checkup when she was 12 weeks pregnant. — The Healthy Home Economist

The War on Raw Milk

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 9 2014
Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers have recently introduced legislation to allow for the sale of raw milk, i.e., unpasteurized milk. Their Milk Freedom Act of 2014 would make it legal for "certified dairy farmers" to sell unpasteurized milk products without harassment and criminal prosecution on the part of the FDA. If enacted, this would be a major victory for those who are health conscious and understand the grievous misperception by our medical establishment regarding the safety of raw milk. — The Daily Bell

Top Medicare Doctor Paid $21 Million in 2012, Data Shows

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 9 2014
A doctor who treats a degenerative eye disease in seniors was paid $21 million by Medicare in 2012, twice the amount received by the next ophthalmologist on a list of 880,000 medical providers released by the government. The data on the payments was given to the public for the first time today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The list, a detailed account of how $77 billion in federal health-care funds were spent in 2012, showed a wide range in which some top earners were paid as much as 100 times the average for their respective fields. — Business Week

Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare

posted by askousen - Wednesday, April 9 2014
In 2012, an enterprising ophthalmologist in south Florida received $20.8 million in Medicare payments, the highest amount the government health plan for the elderly paid an individual provider that year, according to a preliminary analysis of federal data. A family-practice doctor in Maryland may have received an average of more than $86,000 per patient that year, according to a Reuters review of the data. And a California laboratory apparently received $190 million, the most Medicare paid a single entity in 2012. — Reuters