Members sworn in for Baltimore's first ever Trauma-Informed Care Task Force
- The Daily Beast
Mark Schiefelbein-Pool/GettyMOSCOW–With Vladimir Putin’s popularity already in decline, news of the United States’ latest round of sanctions on Russia has alarmed the Kremlin, prompting its cast of experts, advisers, and anti-American ideologues to float several possible responses.Senator Olga Kovitidi promised that Russia would “send America to a blind knockout.” One expert suggested publishing lists of Russian media “spreading fake news.” Certain military experts proposed the formation of “information battalions” in cyberspace, modeled after the masked Russian soldiers deployed in the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Ultimately, the government landed on a familiar strategy: they will try to change the perception of Russia by pouring even more money into propaganda.After the sanctions were announced—this time in response to the poisoning of the opposition politician Alexei Navalny–the Russian government is reportedly aiming to expand the global audience of the Kremlin-funded RT television channel from 800 to 900 million viewers. They want to raise viewership on online platforms by promoting the internet content of the entire fleet of both Russian and foreign-oriented media outlets, including RT, RIA Novosti and Sputnik radio. In order to achieve this, the Kremlin has ramped up the state media budget to 211 billion rubles (about $2.8 billion)—a 34 billion-ruble ($460 million) increase from previous years.“No doubt, RT’s information soldiers will use this significant budget effectively to influence Euro-sceptics, anti-globalists, and Washington critics,” an opposition politician in Moscow, Ilya Yashin, told The Daily Beast. “Putin believes that if the West has its state-sponsored Radio Liberty or BBC, the Kremlin should become serious in what they like to call a ‘mirror response.’ This is a new stage of the ongoing Cold War.”“Do not underestimate RT’s growing influence,” he added.Some say the media battle goes both ways. Maria Baronova, a former opposition activist covering Russian social issues for RT, was banned from American social media platforms last year. “The Cold War goes for both sides. I have been banned on Twitter for working for RT in April, 2020. That is nonsense,” Baronova added.Russia’s Opposition Movement Starts To CrackInvestment in propaganda at home has already turned Russia into a nation of skeptics. In the early days of the conflict in Ukraine, 48 percent of Russians told the Public Opinion Foundation that they think propaganda harms their society.According to a social study by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 88 percent of young Russians aged 18-24 said they were on YouTube. Even the Kremlin’s most notorious propagandist, Vladimir Solovyev, admitted in a recent interview for Komsomolskaya Pravda that “the television audience is growing terribly old.”Young Russians are hungry for the truth, and in recent years, influential Russian YouTubers have started to take a more open approach with their content. Russia’s top online interviewer, Yury Dud, has 8.7 million subscribers and more than 500 million views on his channel. Tens of millions watched Dud’s documentaries on the AIDs epidemic and poverty and neglect in Kamchatka, Russia’s forgotten peninsula. More than 29 million people viewed Dud’s interview with Alexei Navalny soon after the politician recovered from his poisoning attack.In spite of state pressure on opposition bloggers, emerging YouTube stars are now covering some of Russia's most acute political issues. Irina Shikhman, another popular blogger, focuses on making celebrity-oriented videos in which she asks public figures uncomfortable questions about their personal lives. But some of her most popular clips are political in nature: over two million people viewed Shikhman’s interview with Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol.Russia’s only independent online television channel, TV Rain, has 2.3 million subscribers on YouTube. The channel’s founder and owner, Natalya Sindeyeva, says she isn’t worried about the Kremlin’s boosted promotion of RT.“We have been competing with state television channels without any state budget, without any administrative resources, for 11 years and we managed, which means money is not the main thing,” Sindeyeva said. “If they boost social media, the algorithms would recognize the artificial traffic. We don’t see any threat, since we are experienced in responding to challenges. Our audience trusts us and independent bloggers, our main job is not to lie. Trust cannot be purchased for money,” she said.It is too early to know for sure whether RT’s reports will crowd out independent media in Russia. “It depends on the quality of their content,” TV Rain’s editor-in-chief, Tikhon Dzyadko, told The Daily Beast.Some independent bloggers saw the government’s increase of spending on internet content as a positive sign. “It seems the Kremlin realized they cannot ban YouTube, so they decided to choke it with propaganda,” blogger Karen Shainyan, host of the YouTube show “Straight Talk with Gay People”, told The Daily Beast. “Authorities spend shockingly huge money on RT, more than on any other television channel.”Pavel Kanygin, who manages a YouTube channel for Novaya Gazeta, a legendary independent newspaper in Russia, says the government has begun to view social media platforms as a real threat. “We can see that the Kremlin has become serious about YouTube,” he said, especially after over 100 million people viewed an investigative report about Putin released by Navalny’s organization on the site in January.“One thing is to get clicks and another to get people engaged, to comment on the publication–that is a completely different story that cannot be artificially created,” Kanygin said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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- The Independent
Pelosi says House adjourned early to make time for a Republican conference – not because of QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump would be re-inaugurated on Thursday
- The Independent
Israel lead the world in vaccinations per capita, but isn’t vaccinating Palestinians
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle's wedding-dress embroiderer says she hasn't heard from the royal family since revealing she's on the brink of homelessness
"It just makes me feel like I don't exist," Chloe Savage, who worked on Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's wedding dresses, told Insider.
- Associated Press
Tickets will be sold to fans for Formula One's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix providing they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or prove they recovered from it, organizers said Thursday. The Bahrain International Circuit said tickets will sold at a single discounted price of 100 Bahraini Dinars ($265) for the March 26-28 event. “Comprehensive measures will be put in place at the circuit to ensure spectators can enjoy the excitement of F1 in a safe environment,” organizers said in a statement.
The 37-year-old podcaster and yoga instructor recently welcomed her sixth child with her husband Alec Baldwin, about six months after their fifth.
- Associated Press
Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered her first Supreme Court majority opinion Thursday, ruling against an environmental group that had sought access to government records. President Donald Trump's third nominee wrote for a 7-2 court that certain draft documents do not have to be disclosed under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The case was the first one Barrett heard after joining the court in late October, and it took four months for the 11-page opinion to be released.
- The Independent
NAACP accuses Trump of disenfranchising Black voters and trying to ‘destroy democracy’
The European Commission and Italy have blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine destined for Australia after the drug manufacturer failed to meet its EU contract commitments, two sources said on Thursday. The sources said AstraZeneca had requested permission from the Italian government to export some 250,000 doses from its Anagni plant, near Rome.
- The Telegraph
Prince Philip health update: Duke of Edinburgh undergoes successful procedure for pre-existing heart condition
The Duke of Edinburgh has undergone surgery for a pre-existing heart condition and will remain in hospital for several more days, Buckingham Palace has announced. Prince Philip, 99, was transferred from the private King Edward VII hospital to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, a leading cardiac unit, on Monday. The palace said in a statement: “The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. “His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.” The Duke was admitted to the King Edward VII in central London on February 16 for "rest and observation" after feeling unwell. It was not an emergency admission and he walked in unaided, with aides revealing they expected him to be released within days and that doctors were simply acting with “an abundance of caution.” But the palace later revealed he was being treated for an infection and would remain in hospital for several more days than expected. The Duke, who in 2011 received treatment for a blocked coronary artery, was subsequently transferred to St Bartholomew’s by ambulance, pictured below.
Some people have reported a red, raised rash that shows up days to a week after getting the Moderna shot and goes away quickly.
- Reuters Videos
Oil prices jumped more than $1 a barrel on Friday (March 5), hitting their highest levels in nearly 14 months.It comes after OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed not to increase supply in April.The oil producers' group is waiting for a more substantial recovery in demand amid the health crisis.Brent crude was up around 2 percent in morning trade.Investors were surprised that Saudi Arabia agreed to maintain its voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day, particularly as oil prices have rallied over the past two months.Oil importing countries such as India and Turkey saw their currencies slip after the news.India's oil minister told Reuters on Friday that the move would hurt consumers.Analysts are reviewing their price forecasts to reflect the continued supply restraint by OPEC+, as well as U.S. shale producers.They have been holding back spending in order to boost returns to investors.
China will resolutely deter any separatist activity seeking Taiwan's independence but is committed to promoting the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and China's "reunification", Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday. China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has increased its military activity near the island in recent months, responding to what it calls "collusion" between Taipei and Washington, Taiwan's main international backer and arms supplier.
- Business Insider
Trump advisors are telling him to drop Pence for a Black or female VP in a potential 2024 run, report says
Two advisors specifically singled out South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem as a potential running mate in 2024.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stressed the significance of the role that city and county chief secretaries have in improving the lives of the people and carrying out his five-year economic policies, state news media KCNA said on Thursday. North Korea's drastic measures to contain COVID-19 have exacerbated human rights abuses and economic hardship, including reports of starvation, for its citizens, already battered by international sanctions, a United Nations investigator said. Kim said the city and county chief secretaries had responsibility for taking care of their residents and urged them to embark on a fresh "turning point" to help develop their areas in line with his new five-year strategy unveiled at the January party congress.
- The Week
Trump inadvertently boosts Biden's stimulus messaging with another statement raging against McConnell
Former President Donald Trump has released a new post-presidency statement, and Democrats might just be glad he did. The former president, who remains permanently banned from Twitter, released a statement Thursday once again raging against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), blasting him as the "most unpopular politician in the country" while blaming him for Republicans' Senate losses in Georgia — losses for which Trump himself has been blamed by other Republicans. One of the reasons Republicans lost the two Georgia Senate runoffs in January, Trump argues, was "Mitch McConnell's refusal to go above $600 per person on the stimulus check payments when the two Democrat opponents were touting $2,000 per person in ad after ad." The statement offered "quite the pre-stimulus political gift to Democrats," wrote National Journal's Josh Kraushaar, while The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted that Trump "remarkably" used this opportunity to "validate Biden's messaging on the $1,400 checks instead of whacking him and Democrats for curtailing them." Remarkably, Trump also uses this statement to validate Biden's messaging on the $1400 checks instead of whacking him and Democrats for curtailing them. "The $2000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats." https://t.co/M9dXoX13VS — Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) March 4, 2021 Indeed, Trump writes that "the $2,000 will be approved anyway by the Democrats," while offering no comment on the fact that the new checks are actually for $1,400, nor on Biden's recent compromise that narrows the eligibility. Politico's Gabby Orr observed that Trump "could have put out a statement saying the income phase-outs in the Biden stimulus bill are going to mean he gave checks to more Americans," but "instead he's still targeting his own party with stuff like this." This was just Trump's latest statement in this vein after he released another one last month describing McConnell as an "unsmiling political hack." He also mentioned McConnell in a recent Conservative Political Action Conference speech, in which he took credit for McConnell's recent re-election. McConnell told Fox News he "didn't watch" the speech and that "we're dealing with the present and the future, not looking back to the past." More stories from theweek.comWhy the Dr. Seuss 'cancellation' is chilling7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceThe Republican grievance perpetual motion machine
It is hard to overstate just how unusual Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's media war with Buckingham Palace is
A series of extraordinary confrontations have seen the Queen's household accused of a smear capaign and Markle accused of bullying.
- Business Insider
Scientists spotted a 'space hurricane' swirling above the magnetic north pole. It was raining charged solar particles.
Satellites observed a swirling storm above the magnetic north pole in 2014. It was the first space hurricane ever spotted, according to a new study.
- Business Insider
Boris Johnson has yet to appoint a successor to his adviser on ministerial standards, more than three months after the resignation of Sir Alex Allan.
- Business Insider
McDonald's is one of many major retailers that has stopped publicly fighting against a federal $15 minimum.