Ukrainian Drone Swarms Target Four Russian Refineries In Major Attack

Ukrainian Drone Swarms Target Four Russian Refineries In Major Attack:

https://archive.is/y7EFi

Brent crude futures were flat on Friday amid rising geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe, which seems counterintuitive as escalating war risks could result in supply disruptions.

In the overnight hours, four refineries in southern Russia were targeted, with one facility damaged, in one of the largest drone swarm attacks since the war in Ukraine began, Bloomberg reports.

Seventy drones were intercepted and destroyed over Crimea and the Black Sea and 43 over the Krasnodar region, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram, without saying how many drones took part in the attack. The Afipsky, Ilsky, Krasnodar and Astrakhan refineries were attacked, Ukraine’s General Staff said later in a Facebook post.

In the Seversky district of the Krasnodar region, where the Afipsky and Ilsky refineries are located, “administrative buildings were damaged on the territory of an oil refinery” as a result of the attack, local governor Veniamin Kondratyev said on Telegram. Interfax earlier reported that a fire affecting area of ​​50 square meters (538 square feet) was extinguished by morning, with two people injured. -BBG

Ukraine’s military claimed responsibility for the drone swarm attack, saying it launched drones against “the Afipskiy, Ilskiy, Krasnodar and Astrakhan oil refineries.” They also said an intelligence center in southern Russia was targeted.

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Russia Will ‘Never’ Withdraw Troops As Precondition To Negotiate: Putin

Russia Will ‘Never’ Withdraw Troops As Precondition To Negotiate: Putin:

Russian President Vladimir Putin while speaking at a press conference in Hanoi to close out his two-day visit to Vietnam on Thursday said that he will “never” withdraw his troops from Ukraine as a pre-condition for negotiations with the Zelensky government.

“If negotiations are linked to the withdrawal of our troops, about which the Kiev regime dreams, then this will never happen,” Putin told reporters according to state media translation.

Read moreRussia Will ‘Never’ Withdraw Troops As Precondition To Negotiate: Putin

School Apologizes For Teaching Children That ISIS Is A Terrorist Group After Muslims Complain

School Apologizes For Teaching Children That ISIS Is A Terrorist Group After Muslims Complain:

A middle school in New Jersey has issued an apology for teaching children that the Islamic State (ISIS) is a designated terrorist organisation.

Students at Schuyler Colfax Middle School in Wayne, New Jersey, were asked to select one answer in a multiple choice test that fits with the description, “It is a terrorist organization that commits acts of violence, destroys cultural artifacts, and encourages loss of life in order to achieve its goal of global rule under strict Islamic Sharia law.”

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US Bans Kaspersky Antivirus Software, Citing Russian Influence

US Bans Kaspersky Antivirus Software, Citing Russian Influence:

Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times,

The U.S. Department of Commerce banned Russian company Kaspersky from selling its anti-virus software and other cybersecurity products in the country after determining that the firm posed an “undue or unacceptable risk to national security.”

“Kaspersky will generally no longer be able to, among other activities, sell its software within the United States or provide updates to software already in use,” the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) said in a June 20 press release.

Read moreUS Bans Kaspersky Antivirus Software, Citing Russian Influence

The State Wants To Nationalize Second Mortgages. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The State Wants To Nationalize Second Mortgages. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?:

Recently, Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored enterprise, sought approval from its oversight agency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), to purchase and guarantee second mortgages in the United States.

While the business case for this proposal is deficient (for an excellent perspective on that, see the article by R. Christopher Whalen), I will discuss the economic and political premises behind this move and its possible consequences.

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Biden Haemorrhaging Voters In All Demographics: Women’s Support At 20-Year-Low

– Biden Haemorrhaging Voters In All Demographics: Women’s Support At 20-Year-Low:

Analysis By The New York Times reveals that support for Joe Biden among women is at a 20 year low for any Democrat.

The polling shows that Donald Trump has an eight-point lead over Biden among women.

The turnaround is once again insane. 

Four years ago, Biden led Trump by 13 points among women. Now, Trump has gained 21 points. The figures were gleaned from the Times’s average of more than 30 polls conducted since January.

The Times notes “Overall, twice as many women say they were better off financially under Mr. Trump.”

It adds that “Young women, a key constituency that Democrats are hoping to retain this cycle, were nearly three times as likely to say things were better for them financially under Mr. Trump than Mr. Biden.”

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Escalating Red Sea Attacks Drive Up Vessel Insurance Costs

Escalating Red Sea Attacks Drive Up Vessel Insurance Costs:

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been intensifying missile and drone attacks, targeting commercial vessels in the southern Red Sea, critical Bab el-Mandeb chokepoint, and the Gulf of Aden. The rebels have even threatened to extend their reach to the Mediterranean Sea. The recent sinking of the Tutor dry-bulk carrier by a kamikaze drone boat marks a significant escalation. The ongoing turmoil has sent containerized freight costs soaring, along with insurance costs back on the rise.

Bloomberg spoke with two individuals familiar with the maritime insurance market. They said the price of covering a commercial vessel for transit has jumped from .3% to .4% of the ship’s total value to .6%. In other words, a vessel worth $50 million must pay upwards of $300k of insurance for one sail.

“The rate is nevertheless slightly below a peak reached earlier this year when attacks ramped up,” Bloomberg said. But if Houthi attacks persist through summer, the rate will likely increase further.

The sinking of the commodity-hauling bulk carrier this week by a drone boat was a real eye-opener for the shipping community and commodity industry as President Biden’s Operation Prosperity Guardian fails to counter endless Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the critical shipping lane.

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KitKat-Maker Warns ‘Cocoaflation’ Will Send Chocolate Bar Prices Higher For Consumers

KitKat-Maker Warns ‘Cocoaflation’ Will Send Chocolate Bar Prices Higher For Consumers:

Mark Davies, managing director at Nestlé Confectionery UK & Ireland, has issued a stark warning to chocolate lovers: while secured and hedged supplies of cocoa beans have kept KitKat bar prices relatively low amid the cocoa price storm, the full impact is about to be felt as candy bar prices will be hiked. 

“Demand appears to be resilient at the moment, but as prices go up, we would expect to see dampening demand,” Davies said during a visit to the company’s factory in York, England, which Bloomberg quoted. The York plant produces more than 200k KitKat bars every hour.

Read moreKitKat-Maker Warns ‘Cocoaflation’ Will Send Chocolate Bar Prices Higher For Consumers

US Pauses All Patriot Shipments To Other Countries, Will Redirect To Ukraine

US Pauses All Patriot Shipments To Other Countries, Will Redirect To Ukraine:

The Biden administration continues going ‘all in’ on support for Ukraine, despite clear and universal acknowledgement that its forces are being beaten back along front lines, and a manpower crisis which is worsening by the day.

A Thursday Biden administration statement has revealed a major decision which is to significantly impact Washington’s allies: the United States is pausing all shipments of Patriot interceptor missiles to foreign countries and redirecting them to Ukraine.

US National Security Council spokeman John Kirby confirmed to reporters that the “difficult but necessary decision” of prioritizing the delivery of Patriot and NASAM missiles to Ukraine has been made.

He also acknowledged this will come at the expense of allies which had struck deals with Washington for Patriots. Kirby described that Kiev must urgently have the ability to maintain its stockpiles “at a key moment in the war.”

“We’re going to reprioritize the deliveries of these exports so that those missiles rolling off the production line will now be provided to Ukraine,” he affirmed. The shipments in question were expected to begin rolling out by late summer.

Read moreUS Pauses All Patriot Shipments To Other Countries, Will Redirect To Ukraine

Ron Paul: We Spent A Billion Dollars Fighting The Houthis… And Lost

We Spent A Billion Dollars Fighting The Houthis… And Lost:

Why does it seem the Pentagon is far better at spending money than actually putting together a successful operation? The failed “Operation Prosperity Guardian” and the disastrous floating Gaza pier are but two recent examples of enormously expensive initiatives that, though they no-doubt enriched military contractors, were incapable of meeting their stated goals.

To great fanfare, last December the Pentagon announced the launch of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a joint US/UK military operation to halt the Yemeni Houthi disruption of Israel-linked commercial shipping through the Red Sea. The Houthis announced their policy in response to civilian deaths in Israel’s war on Gaza, but when the US and UK military became involved they announced they would target US and UK shipping as well.

Read moreRon Paul: We Spent A Billion Dollars Fighting The Houthis… And Lost

Major Cyber Incident Paralyzes Thousands Of US Auto Dealerships

Major Cyber Incident Paralyzes Thousands Of US Auto Dealerships:

The company supplying software for managing sales and services to thousands of auto dealerships across the US reported yet another cyber disruption on Thursday, disrupting sales of new and used vehicles.

X user Car Dealership Guy reports that CDK Global sent an email to auto dealers informing them of “an additional cyber incident late in the evening on June 19th.”

“Out of continued caution and to protect our customers, we are once again proactively shutting down most of our systems,” the email read.

CDX told its clients, which includes almost 15,000 dealerships, “At this time, we do not have an estimated time frame for resolution, and therefore, our dealers’ systems will not be available at a minimum on Thursday, June 20th.”

The auto industry is a powerhouse in the US economy, contributing 3-3.5% of the nation’s GDP. It employs over 1.7 million people at automakers, suppliers, and thousands of dealerships.

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Head Of German Teachers Association Warns Education System Being Overwhelmed With Migrants

Head Of German Teachers Association Warns Education System Being Overwhelmed With Migrants:

The president of the German Teachers Association has warned that the country’s education system is being overwhelmed with migrant students, many of whom are illiterate and can barely speak the language.

“Due to immigration in 2015, the war in Ukraine and other immigration, new people are constantly coming into the system, but the system is slow to keep up because it is moving too fast,” said Stefan Düll.

Düll warned that a massive burden was being placed on educators because many of the children speak little or no German whatsoever.

“After all, they don’t speak Farsi or Ukrainian. How are they supposed to teach them?” he asked.

Read moreHead Of German Teachers Association Warns Education System Being Overwhelmed With Migrants

John & Nisha Whitehead: Mission Creep: How The Police State Acclimates Us To Being Modern-Day Slaves

Mission Creep: How The Police State Acclimates Us To Being Modern-Day Slaves:

“In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can present grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless, we have a tyranny without a tyrant.”

– Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Like the proverbial boiling frogs, the government has been gradually acclimating us to the specter of a police state for years now: Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.

This is how you prepare a populace to accept a police state willingly, even gratefully.

You don’t scare them by making dramatic changes. Rather, you acclimate them slowly to their prison walls. Persuade the citizenry that their prison walls are merely intended to keep them safe and danger out. Desensitize them to violence, acclimate them to a military presence in their communities, and persuade them that only a militarized government can alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation.

It’s happening already.

Read moreJohn & Nisha Whitehead: Mission Creep: How The Police State Acclimates Us To Being Modern-Day Slaves

Putin Says West Prepared To Scapegoat Zelensky For War Failures: ‘Replaced By Next Year’

Putin Says West Prepared To Scapegoat Zelensky For War Failures: ‘Replaced By Next Year’:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Vietnam, where he signed at least a dozen energy and trade deals with the country’s President To Lam, on his tour to shore up ties in Asia in an effort to offset the West’s drive to isolate Moscow.

On his last day in the country he made some wide-ranging remarks to the press, and among the most interesting was a statement on the future of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Putin predicted at a moment things are going very badly for Ukrainian forces, and at a rare time Western media seems to be turning on Zelensky, that the Ukrainian leader will soon be replaced over his poor and unpopular decision-making. Putin suggested Washington is essentially going to make him a scapegoat.

“In the West, they simply do not want to replace him [Zelenskyy], the time is not right. I think it’s obvious to anyone. They will blame all unpopular decisions on him, including lowering the [military] draft age, and that’s it,” Putin asserted, according to Russian media translation.

That’s when he followed with: “And then they’ll replace him. I think it will happen sometime in the first half of next year.”

Read morePutin Says West Prepared To Scapegoat Zelensky For War Failures: ‘Replaced By Next Year’

Allstate Reports May Pretax Catastrophe Losses Of $1.4 Billion

Allstate Reports May Pretax Catastrophe Losses Of $1.4 Billion:

Allstate Corp. on Thursday reported May pretax catastrophe losses of about $1.4 billion.

The Northbrook, Illinois-based insurer said 14 events contributed to nearly $1.5 billion in catastrophe losses for May, with 70% attributable to five wind and hail events mostly in the states of Texas, Colorado, and Illinois.

A year ago Allstate recorded pretax catastrophe losses for May of about $885 million.

Allstate reached its $150 million threshold to report catastrophe losses in May, as it did in April when the company announced estimated catastrophe losses of $494 million from 11 events.

Losses for May were about $1.1 billion after tax, Allstate said. Total year-to-date pretax catastrophe losses were about $2.6 billion, the insurer added.

The insurer’s catastrophe losses for the first quarter fell 56.8% to $731 million.

Second quarter 2023 financial results for Allstate included net catastrophe losses of $2.7 billion, resulting in a net loss for the period of $1.4 billion.

With monthly catastrophe losses, the insurer had also been giving monthly updates on implemented home and auto insurance rate increases.

The practice ended with the March report.

Competitor Progressive late last week said severe storms mostly in Texas and the Midwest caused about $722 million in net catastrophe losses in May.

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