UN Approves Russia and China Backed Internet Convention

Russia, with the backing of China, has had a resolution passed to see the establishment of a panel to look at the use of the internet for illegal purposes. The panel will work to set up “a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes,” the resolution said.

However the US, Europe and other western nations fear the purpose of any restrictions would be to limit freedom of speech.

“It is precisely our fear that (a new convention) would allow the codification at an international and global level of these types of controls that’s driving our opposition and our concerns about this resolution,” a US official said.

Human Rights Watch called the UN resolution’s list of sponsors “a rogue’s gallery of some of the earth’s most repressive governments.”

The countries who have backed the resolution have a history of repression of free speech, and actively try to restrict their citizens access to the internet. China for example blocks internet searches they deem harmful to their regime. India cut off the internet to muslim-majority Kashmir earlier this year; and Iran took most of their nation off-line for a time amid protests.

Read More: Breitbart

Iran, China and Russia Hold Joint Naval Drills in Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman

Iran, China and Russia have held joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. The operations come at a time of increased  tension between the US and Iran. In  May last year the US withdrew from the nuclear deal signed by Obama.

“The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity… and its effect will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television.

Iranian State television said the co-operation between the nations signals  “the new triangle of power in the sea”.

Iran said the drills aims were to increase security, combat piracy, and  strengthen intelligence sharing operations.

Japan also said on Friday it would send its own battle ships to the region to aid security, but would not join a US-led collision. The Japanese Chief of Cabinet said  “Japan’s own measure aimed at peace and stability in the Middle East as well as ensuring safety of Japan-related vessels,”

90% of Japan’s crude oil comes from the region.

Read More: France 24

Pentagon warns home DNA kits could expose personal info

The Pentagon wants US military personnel to stay out of the booming market for home DNA tests.

The Department of Defense recently warned service members that test kits like those offered by Ancestry and 23AndMe could pose security risks to military operations.

Such direct-to-consumer tests “are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” defense officials wrote in a Dec. 20 memo.

The do-it-yourself tests generally use a saliva sample to determine the user’s ethnic heritage and risks for certain health problems. Some tests have led people to find family members whom they didn’t know.

Testing companies have been marketing the kits to defense personnel with military discounts and other incentives, according to the memo. But “possible inaccuracies” in the tests make them risky for military personnel, who are required to disclose medical information that affects their readiness to serve, Pentagon officials wrote.

“Moreover, there is increased concern in the scientific community that outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic data for questionable purposes, including mass surveillance and the ability to track individuals without their authorization or awareness,” said the memo, which Yahoo News first reported.

The popularity of at-home DNA tests has exploded in recent years  More than 26 million people had taken one by the end of this January, and companies offering them sold as many in 2018 as in all prior years combined, according to the MIT Technology Review.

Ancestry and 23AndMe are the largest players in an industry that was worth more than $750 million last year, according to an estimate from Infinium Global Research. The two companies had tested a total of 23 million people through January of this year, while their competitors had only tested 3.5 million, MIT has reported.

Ancestry is getting ready for another initial public offering amid the boom in the market, Bloomberg News has reported. The company first went public in 2009 but was taken private in 2012.

23AndMe did not respond to a request for comment on the Pentagon’s memo. But Ancestry spokeswoman Gina Spatafore said protecting users’ privacy and data is the company’s “highest priority.”

“Ancestry does not share customer DNA data with insurers, employers, or third-party marketers,” Spatafore said in an email. “Ancestry will also not share customer personal information with law enforcement unless compelled to by valid legal process, such as a court order or search warrant.”

Original Article

$1 Trillion Brought Back to U.S. Under Trump

The Commerce Department has released figures that show $1 trillion dollars have been repatriated back to the U.S. since 2017. After taking office the President passed new tax rates to make it more desirable for companies to hold their assets in the U.S. Bloomberg explains:

Investment banks and think tanks have estimated that American corporations held $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion in offshore cash at the time the law was enacted. Before the overhaul, companies were incentivized to keep profits overseas because they owed a 35% tax when bringing it back and could defer payment by keeping funds offshore. The law set a one-time 15.5% tax rate on cash and 8% on non-cash or illiquid assets. 

Obama has long sought to clamp down on the practise of companies move profits offshore. His strategy was to penalise such companies with higher taxes and higher penalties.

However, the repatriation of assets has been slower than some expected. The Wall Street Journal explained taxes are not the only reason companies move profit offshore:

Some companies, such as Chevron Corp. and Archer Daniels MidlandCo. , have long plowed foreign profits into foreign factories, equipment and other assets that aren’t likely to move. Other companies said they need funds overseas for acquisitions, debt retirement and expansion in growing markets. Moreover, foreign regulators require banks and other financial companies to maintain substantial capital reserves abroad. Those corporations don’t plan to bring much cash home.

Even without the federal government taxing new foreign income as it comes home, costs remain to moving cash across borders. Some U.S. states tax repatriated profits, and some countries impose taxes on dividends paid to parent companies.

Read More: Breitbart 

Robert De Niro: Trump Needs to Be Humiliated, ‘I’d Like to See a Bag of Sh*t Right in His Face’

Robert De Niro sat down with Michael Moore on his new podcast Rumble with Michael Moore and again unloaded on President Donald Trump.

“There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming, as far as I can see,” De Niro said, before going off on Republicans for not standing up to him.

“Shame on them,” he said.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:

At one point, he talked about the time he mused about punching Trump in the face, saying he didn’t mean it literally. He went on to tell Moore, “I’d like to see a bag of shit right in his face. Hit him right in the face like that, and let the picture go all over the world.”

“He needs to be humiliated,” De Niro continued. “He needs to be confronted and humiliated by whoever his opponent is… They have to stand up to him, they don’t have to do it in an obvious physical way, but they have to have the formidability to confront him and to put him in his place, because the people have to see that, to see him be humiliated.”

You can listen to the full episode above.

Original Article

Editor for Christianity today writes- “Trump Should Be Removed from Office”

In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.

The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.

That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.

Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.

But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:

The President’s failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.

And this:

Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.

Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?

We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.

Original Source

George Soros Named 2nd Most Influential Person in Ukraine

A prominent Ukraine news agency has named the Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros as the second most influential person in the country. He comes second only to the Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelensky.

Soros, has been using his influence in the dozens of political organisations throughout the country that he funds.

Soros is known for his far-left, pro globalisation agenda.

Read More: Voice of Europe

Is a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial?

Can 20 U.S. senators withstand the potentially irresistible temptation to reverse the results of the 2016 election and remove a president a number of them openly or privately dislike?

Since Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the White House on June 16, 2015, many of the entrenched elites across the various power centers of Washington and beyond have spent many of their waking hours trying to stop or unseat him.

The political charade of an impeachment “investigation” is but the latest example. But that impeachment charade could harbor the greatest threat to Trump’s presidency.

Over the past week, I have heard from three seasoned Republicans who fear that President Trump and the West Wing are seriously underestimating the potential danger of a Senate trial. Human nature and common sense dictate that, despite the well-meaning resolution circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) condemning the House impeachment process, it’s important for the White House to understand that the weight of history is settling upon the shoulders of these senators — some of them quite weak — and because of that pressure, private conversations are taking place and a trap may be sprung for the president in that trial. 

A potential trap set by seemingly loyal Republican senators.

Those I spoke with, like others, worry that the impeachment process, especially a potential conviction in the Senate, will forever poison the integrity of our constitutional and congressional processes and put every future president at risk of having his or her election reversed for partisan and ideological reasons.

But such is the lingering animosity about Trump by many in the GOP establishment, and there very well may be enough Republican senators willing to topple the first domino and set in motion a chain reaction — no matter the consequences.

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in October, former governor and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley put her finger on the greater issue, saying in part, “President Trump is a disruptor. That makes some people very happy, and it makes some people very mad. … When I was in the administration, I served alongside colleagues who believed the best thing to do for America was to undermine and obstruct the president. Some wrote about it anonymously in The New York Times. Others just did it. They sincerely believed they were doing the right thing. I sincerely believed they weren’t. … No policy disagreement with him … justifies undermining the lawful authority that is vested in his office by the Constitution.”

What’s at stake, Haley said, “is not President Trump’s policies. What’s at stake is the Constitution.”

She is correct, but does all of this go beyond Trump being a disruptor? As we have witnessed, Trump is being opposed, called out and undermined through leaks by multiple anonymous and named sources from the “deep state,” his own National Security Council, former White House staff, former and current Pentagon, State Department and diplomatic officials, members of Congress and their staffs, and basically every other agency within the federal government.

There appears to be a common thread that runs through all of this opposition and stated hatred: “He is not part of the club. He is not one of us. He can’t be controlled.”

The unrelenting opposition to Trump is not based on the fictional quid pro quo with Ukraine’s president but rather a desperate need by the entrenched establishment from both political parties to maintain the status quo of their all-powerful club — aka part of the “swamp” Trump sought to drain.

For Trump to be convicted in a Senate trial, 20 Republican senators would have to join forces with the 47 Democrats. We should not worry about those who openly dislike Trump, such as Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine) or Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); we should worry about those in the purple states, who face tough reelection fights in 2020, and those who have continually criticized and demeaned the president in private.  

What is driving all of this, of course, is the fear that Trump will win reelection. Well, 63 million Americans voted for him in 2016, and 20 GOP senators soon may have the power to invalidate those votes. Can they resist doing so and vote not to convict? Conventional wisdom says that will be the outcome. But as we all know when it comes to Donald Trump, you can throw conventional wisdom right out the window.

For that reason, when it comes to a trial in the Senate, Trump and the West Wing need to remember the sage advice of President Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.”

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant and author, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

Original Article

Random Events, Free Will, Pre-destiny or Something Darker ?