During the early 1950s War on Korea the U.S. used biological weapons against North Korea and China. Bombs designed to spread leaflets were filled with plague infested rats and dropped on Korean towns. Various infecting insects were released. Leaflets were contaminated with small pox and then distributed. Several local epidemics were caused by these attacks. The program was a continuation of one which a special unit of the Imperial Japanese Army had developed during the second world war. Unit 731 and its leaders were not indicted for the war crimes they had committed during the war but integrated into the U.S. biological warfare program.

The Soviet Union and China made political noise about the use of biological weapons but the U.S. stoically denied that it ever used such weapons. U.S. pilots, shot down and imprisoned by the North Korean forces, admitted that they had dropped such bombs. The U.S. then falsely alleged that the pilots had been tortured and must have lied. The Chinese and Soviets sponsored the International Scientific Commission (ISC) headed by one of the foremost British scientists of his time, Sir Joseph Needham, to investigate the use of biological weapons during the war. For a long time the commission’s report and its appendices with the witness statements were suppressed and not available online. Jefferey Kay, a psychologist and author living in northern California, dug them up and recently published them on the web for the first time. Now Jeffrey Kaye has dug up additional documents which confirm the other reports of U.S. germ attacks on North Korea and China. Interestingly these documents are from the CIA.

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores on Sunday

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores on Sunday (Source

TikTok and WeChat will be banned from US app stores starting on Sunday, September 20th, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced. The Chinese-owned apps from Tencent and ByteDance will not only be banned from the iOS App Store and Google’s Play Store on Sunday, but companies will be barred from hosting them in the US starting on November 12th. The move was taken “at the President’s direction,” according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a statement. “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.” The app ban has come despite a possible partnership between Oracle and ByteDance. Yesterday, Trump said that he didn’t like that deal, according to Bloomberg, while adding that he was “not prepared to sign off on anything.” The DOC’s wording makes clear that it wants the apps to disappear in the US. It has not only banned the apps, code and updates, but any payments associated with WeChat. By November 12th, it will also prohibit.

TikTok has 100 million users in the US, while WeChat has 19 million daily active users, according to Reuters. The order doesn’t prevent companies from hosting WeChat and TikTok outside the US, nor does it affect other Tencent games and apps.

WHO warns of ‘very serious situation’ in Europe

WHO warns of ‘very serious situation’ in Europe, with ‘alarming rates’ of virus transmission

(Source The World Health Organization 

(WHO) has warned that coronavirus cases are surging alarmingly in Europe, as a “very serious situation” unfolds across the continent. As Covid-19 infections spike to record numbers, European governments are imposing strict local measures and weighing up further lockdowns in a bid to halt a second wave of the pandemic.

But WHO regional director Hans Kluge said at a Thursday news conference that the increase in cases should serve as a warning of what is to come.

“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” Kluge said. “Last week, the region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients.”

Jerusalem Al-Aqsa mosque compound to close over virus

Jerusalem Al-Aqsa mosque compound to close over virus (Source

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, will be closed from Friday following a spike in coronavirus cases, the authority that administers the city’s Muslim holy places announced. With cases of the virus on the rise in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Waqf authority held an emergency meeting with health officials.

The closure coincides with a three-week lockdown to be imposed by Israel, which controls the entrances of the compound. The call to prayer will continue to ring out across Jerusalem’s Old City, Qader said, while Waqf employees will be allowed to pray at the site. Jordan is the custodian of the compound, known by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or Holy Sanctuary, and as the Temple Mount by Jews.

Maryland Episcopal Church vows to create $1M reparation fund

Maryland Episcopal Church vows to create $1M reparation fund (Source

A Maryland religious institution has pledged to create a $1 million fund for programs benefiting the Black community in an effort to make reparations for its role in slavery and racial injustice.

The Maryland diocese of the Episcopal Church voted Saturday in favor of establishing the fund, The Baltimore Sun reported. Historians for the diocese have found that a majority of its churches built before 1860 were constructed using slave labor or by those who benefited financially from slave labor, and that the establishment of some churches contributed to the racial segregation of neighborhoods.

The diocese, which includes more than 44,000 congregants across the state, is 90 percent white, according to Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton.

“Why should we continue to benefit as an institution when so many in the Black community have never had the opportunity to have a good education, good jobs or good medical care?” said Sutton, who is Black. “We’ve benefited from racist institutions, and now we are going to invest financially.”

The $1 million makes up more than 20 percent of the diocese’s operating budget and existing funds in the diocese’s endowment will provide the capital, The Sun quoted the diocese as saying. Sutton said the million-dollar commitment “is going to hurt us, and it should.”

Ray Dalio Warns of Threat to Dollar as Reserve Currency

Ray Dalio Warns of Threat to Dollar as Reserve Currency (Source Bloomberg)

The dollar’s decades-long position as the global reserve currency is in jeopardy because of steps the U.S. has taken to support its economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Ray Dalio, founder of hedge fund giant Bridgewater Associates. While equities and gold benefited from the trillions of dollars in fiscal spending and monetary injections, those efforts are debasing the currency and have raised the possibility that the U.S. will go too far in testing the limits of government stimulus, Dalio said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “There is so much debt production and debt monetization,” Dalio said. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index has dropped 10% from its peak in late March as investors responded to the pandemic and efforts by central bank and government officials to contain the economic fallout. All of the world’s major developed currencies have gained against the dollar as have precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Dalio said in July that investors should favor stocks and gold over bonds and cash because the latter offer a negative rate of return and central banks will print more money. Bridgewater has been moving into gold and inflation-linked bonds in its All Weather portfolio, diversifying the countries it invests in and finding more stocks with stable cash flow.

What Germans Fear Most

What Germans Fear Most (Source

For 28 years Germany’s largest insurance firm, has sponsored a survey to learn what Germans fear most. In an increasingly complex world, the answers varied greatly this year. But one fear stands out predominantly. Some may call this fear irrational, but it certainly has geopolitical consequences.

“Despite the covid-19 pandemic,” Deutsche Welle noted September 16, “[United States President Donald] Trump tops the list of things Germans fear the most, a new survey found.”

Many Western countries distrust Trump. “A few weeks before the American presidential election, the U.S.’s reputation in a number of Western nations has fallen to its worst level in around two decades,” Die Welt noted. “The citizens of these countries give President Donald Trump and his management a miserable testimony to the coronavirus crisis. Germany turns out to be particularly critical”. Only 9 percent of Germans praised the Trump administration’s coronavirus crisis management. Conversely, 88 percent of Germans view their own government’s response to the virus positively.

Die Welt reported that in 13 surveyed countries, President Trump is, on average, less popular than Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Nine percent of Belgians expressed confidence in Trump in general, followed by 10 percent of Danes and Germans and 11 percent of French. Hostility toward America is growing around the world.

‘Vicious little suckers’: Massive clouds of mosquitoes kill cows

‘Vicious little suckers’: Massive clouds of mosquitoes kill cows, horses in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura (Source

Swarms of mosquitoes have killed cows, deer, horses and other livestock in Louisiana after rain from Hurricane Laura led to an explosion in the pests’ population. Thousands of mosquitoes have attacked animals as large as bulls, draining their blood and driving the massive creatures to pace in summer heat until they were exhausted, according to a Louisiana State University AgCenter veterinarian, agent and press release. 

While recent aerial spraying efforts have helped bring the outbreak of mosquitoes under control, residents and animals in a portion of the state faced clouds of the bloodsucking insects in the days after Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 27.

It’s a Race Against Heat, and Humanity Is Losing

It’s a Race Against Heat, and Humanity Is Losing

(Source Add this to your already long list of 2020 oddities: Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to experience their steepest drop in modern history while the world remains on track to mark its second-hottest, if not hottest, year. The two facts demonstrate the relentless pace of climate change and the extreme measures we need to take to slow it down.

It’s a perverse race: The later we cut emissions, the faster the planet warms. Right now, it’s one humanity is losing.  The pandemic lockdowns and the dramatic decline in economic activity that followed will reduce emissions this year by an estimated 8%. But the level of carbon dioxide will continue to climb as long as humanity continues to add it to the atmosphere. Emissions need to come down to zero by midcentury to keep warming below 1.5C. That will require a 7% decline every year during this decade.

Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers all targeting 2020 election

Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers all targeting 2020 election, Microsoft says(Source

Russian, Chinese and Iranian hackers have all attempted to hack people and organizations involved in the 2020 US presidential election, Microsoft said on Thursday. Thursday’s disclosure sheds new light on efforts by Chinese and Iranian hackers to break into US political campaigns and suggests that Russian hacking efforts have continued apace.

“The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election,” Microsoft said in a post on its website. Top US cybersecurity officials acknowledged that Microsoft detected attempts to compromise email accounts of people and organizations associated with the presidential race but said there is no evidence election systems were affected.