Can A Soldier Come Home From War?

Can A Soldier Come Home From War? Authored by John Waters via RealClear Wire, It has been said that a lifestyle arose after 20 years of the war on terror. People lived in the war long enough that it became an alternative to everything else. Better than a video game. Better than boredom. Going to war “was the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done something else,” as Hemingway wrote. But the portal to war’s mystery closed once the fighting stopped. You feel the need to talk but there's no one who can listen. People have heard “too many atrocity stories" to be entertained by the simple truth that you liked it, that war magnified who you were. Once you lose the quality that made you vital, you discover the hardest part of going to war is coming home to face yourself. For combat veterans, the process of resuming normal life has meant a series of abstract labels and diagnoses. It began with post-traumatic stress disorder. Then came anxiety disorders. "Moral injury," discussed among mental health professionals if not operationalized for diagnosis, appeared somewhere along the way, but there have been many others. Daniel Swift, a Navy SEAL who died fighting in Ukraine earlier this year, had been diagnosed with something called "adjustment disorder." Evidently, it's a term encompassing feelings of hopelessness and anxiety experienced after a complex, stressful life event. For Swift, that event was coming home from war and attempting re-entry into civilian life.  Though war is among the hardest things a person can survive, it's not the only hard thing. Countless events unrelated to combat trauma can trigger dark feelings. Love, loss, and death form parts of everyone's experience, and the totality of their effect on our psychology and behavior can change who we are. When combat infantryman Bill Bee wrote about holding a Marine's hand as he died of a gunshot wound to the head during a tour in Helmand, most of us could imagine how it might feel (or remember how it felt) to be similarly helpless, holding a parent's hand as life fades away.   In her new book Night Vision: Seeing Ourselves Through Dark Moods (Princeton, 2023), philosophy professor Mariana Alessandri argues persuasively that so-called "dark moods" should not be shamed and covered in stigma. She frames these moods as natural responses to the skin-of-your-teeth, emotionally rich experience of living. "[In life], I don't think suffering is optional," she told me by telephone. Life, especially one that includes combat, will inevitably agitate and stir our "arsenal of feelings," and wanting constant positivity and success creates unhealthy expectations. Though her book does not contemplate how and why veterans deal with "dark moods" as they reassimilate to life after war, Alessandri was quick to acknowledge how cold the world can feel when a person is open about sadness, grief, and suffering. Perhaps medical health professionals and "superstar bloggers" have claimed too much responsibility for "narrating our psychic lives," she writes. It is okay to feel sad; the world has always been full of tragedy. We spoke about her book and inspiration, and how this brand of philosophy might apply to combat veterans. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation. Why did you write Night Vision? My book is getting categorized as self-help but that’s not my cause. I want to reserve a space to let people be themselves. I want to help people create spaces to allow one another to be truthful in their moods. I’m not telling people that you need to share your pain, but I am saying that if you want to share the pain, it gives other people an opportunity to love you. We’re not yet in a world of “night vision,” and so people might squander that opportunity and make it worse. Personally, my father passed away three months ago. Instead of hiding it, I just emailed all of my colleagues and told them my father passed away. It was a low-stakes touch. I saw the most beautiful outpouring of love from colleagues. People were volunteering themselves to me in ways that were beautiful and also surprising. When we choose to share (with eyes open, of course), we might find that people are waiting for an opportunity to care and respond well. It’s totally the individual’s choice. Do you believe we've developed a formula for living badly? We’ve developed a formula for living emotionally impoverished lives. In terms of how we treat ourselves and how we treat our emotions, and how we treat others, too. There is an emotional anemia. Emotional nyctophobia. I don’t think we’re good at handling people’s darker moods. We have been trained to celebrate being well, and we treat people better when everyone is doing well. As a philosopher, I’m very influenced by Plato’s Cave. I think the world is full of walls, that society is just walls with writing on them. The posters, pillows, coffee mugs—they all tell us messages. I’m getting my ideas from reading the world. I think philosophers ought to look closely at the world and read what it’s telling us. For example, my son’s soccer coach has a t-shirt that says #NoBadDays. Or, consider the poster in my local airport that shows a man in a dark tunnel with a small light at the end. The poster reads “It will get better.” You see book titles like “Eliminate Anxiety.” For all these signs, I read them and think: “Well, people must believe that these things are actually possible.” And so, though it’s well-intentioned, there is a focus on the bright side and not knowing what to do when we’re dark. The word “toxic positivity” is being used and it’s quite helpful. You write that “sooner or later, we pay the price of living […] No medicine is so powerful it can turn off pain.” How does the price manifest? The price manifests in suffering. Loving is the number one thing that invites suffering. Because everything you love will die or end, and that attachment when it breaks is what causes disappointment and pain. I don’t think suffering is optional. There is no getting rid of suffering, and my point in the book about pharmaceuticals is saying that there’s no way to get rid of something that is a part of the human condition. My idea is that we have to live with suffering in a way that honors the pain and honors the person or the love behind the pain. But you say the pain manifests in particular moods, no? Grief. Depression. Anxiety. Tell me about them. Yes, and some of the moods run into each other. For my purposes, grief is when a loved one has died and depression is taken to be a state without a cause, like an uncaused grief. I’m dubious of that explanation because we might be looking for causes when depression might be caused by a big success, such as when the author William Styron won a literary award and then fell into a state of depression. The point in the chapter on depression is that we don’t have to only medicalize these moods. I’m not trying to redeem the mood of depression or grief, but I’m trying to redeem the person. I don’t think you’re broken because you suffer depression. Anxiety, meanwhile, is a different beast. It’s the voice that will not stop. It’s so loud that you cannot stop hearing it. I’ll note that I use other languages in the book because using English only elicits reactions. Pain doesn’t just mean skinning your knee. There is pain of the heart, too. English-speaking readers might get hung up on the word itself and what they think it means when I want the thing to mean more. I find readers are more passive and open to listening when I use dolor or another word from a foreign language—it frees them up to understand. Are your views on dealing with grief, depression, and anxiety at odds with those of the medical community? I think before writing this book, I was leaning more on the side of being super suspicious of the medical-industrial complex that makes so much money off the suffering of others. But it’s a difficult question to answer. Therapies, diagnoses, medical treatments—they do a lot of good. Depression is the one that makes it very, very challenging to say “go on without medication,” though. The book Noonday Demon was a very good book on this. It’s dangerous to be completely anti-medical—depression can be a real force. But even medicated people are still living with depression, and so we need to understand the underlying emotion without casting ourselves or others as broken. There was a book in the 80’s called “Plato, not Prozac.” I would be happy if my book were called “Plato and Prozac.” My book is about seeing these moods and understanding them, rather than how to resolve them or treat them. Military experience teaches us that life is going to be hard. Troops train so rigorously to prepare themselves for inevitable hardships. Then, once service ends, we send them back home as civilians to lead lives that society says should be fun, happy, effortless, and free of inconvenience. When life isn’t immediately any of those things, there is confusion and suffering. What is this suffering trying to teach us? I’m struck that veterans have a potential understanding with each other that goes beyond the rest of society. If you can assume that people in your position have experienced something similar to you, then you don’t have to pretend. The world you come back to might be too light to understand you, and people want you to leave that behind and not have that hardship or combat continue to be a part of your life. I can imagine that the sort of connection among veterans can be profound. The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno writes that suffering can unite us in a way that is joyous. Bodies are joined by pleasure but souls are joined by pain. Instead of trying to cheer each other up, people who share pain together have an ability to connect with one another that others cannot really touch. We don’t get to choose whether we do or don’t have suffering, but the suffering allows us to see other people in a new, profound way.    Your passages on anxiety made me think about how veterans struggle to find a new mission. Sometimes this struggle plays out in dramatic changes to their personal lives or professions. Divorce. Job-hopping. Is it possible that we have too many choices to make? Maybe. Classic existentialists think that we spend a lot of our time denying death. Kierkegaard calls anxiety a feeling of dizziness. When you tell a young person that they can do anything, you may think that you’re giving them hope and possibility but you’re also messing up their life. Freedom is a double-edged sword because it means you have the freedom to mess up your life. We take measures to tie ourselves down to reduce the options. For example, think about the midlife crisis. The midlife crisis is the time at which our bodies stop letting us fool ourselves and say, “Could it actually be different?” I see my students with their heads down and gently try to suggest that they’re not always going to be able to stay inside there, that something will eventually give. Psychologists call it drift, going with the non-controversial or least difficult option rather than sitting with it and figuring out what you want, probably trying different things. Why would we want to go through life sleeping? It’s easier, yes, but we don’t really stay asleep. I believe that philosophy is a discipline of awakening, not letting people sleep through life.  Intense experiences have a way of stretching our emotions. Many combat veterans relate experiencing extreme emotions after returning home from war, and how the expression of these emotions shocked their family, friends, or co-workers. Has it become unacceptable to express chaotic emotions? I don’t know. Some of my students tell me there’s funny social media outlets where they try to cry or look like they’re crying, like a feigned emotion. That seems strange to me, but professional society is different because the goal is not to look chaotic. I would love for the world to go down a few notches and not panic. It’s not cause for alarm. I think the more pressure we have to keep it under, the more harm that’s done to ourselves and the more opportunities are missed. Do you think a soldier ever comes home from war? The metaphor of coming home is very beautiful, but it’s not like home doesn’t have suffering, too, and so a lot depends on people’s attitudes. You cannot just advise people coming home from war to leave themselves behind. You will have grief with you and you need to be allowed to keep that. You have to have a family or community that’s willing to take you as you are, people who are not demanding that you just be happy already. I find that the phrase “adjustment disorder” is really funny. It shows that the adjustment is about how you need to adjust to the world, that the world doesn’t adjust to you, that society is fixed and unbending and that you’re going to have to change yourself to live here. But who should adjust to whom? Ultimately, I think the answer to your question depends on who is around him. I can picture it going very well or very badly. John Waters is a writer in Nebraska. His novel River City One publishes this fall.  Tyler Durden Sun, 05/28/2023 - 12:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 28th, 2023

15 Countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is Not Sold

In this article, we look at 15 countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is not sold. You can skip our detailed analysis on countries where these two companies have the least penetration or are not sold at all by heading over to 5 Countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is Not Sold. The global soft drinks market […] In this article, we look at 15 countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is not sold. You can skip our detailed analysis on countries where these two companies have the least penetration or are not sold at all by heading over to 5 Countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is Not Sold. The global soft drinks market had an estimated value of $413 billion in 2021, according to Straits Research, and is projected to cross $620 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 5.23%. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are the two major powerhouses in the industry. So much so that ‘coke’ and ‘pepsi’ are often used interchangeably when referring to sodas or soft drinks. These drinks are sold across the world and can be found in the drinks menu of almost any restaurant you go to. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) sells its products in more than 200 countries and territories. The company, which ranks 93 in the Fortune 500 list, has an impressive record of innovation, which has propelled Coca-Cola to become one of the most successful brands in corporate history. According to the company’s website, Coca-Cola is the world’s second most understood word after ‘okay’. Founded in 1892, the company’s first international export was to Cuba in 1899. However, it was not until World War II that Coca-Cola’s global expansion started to take off with the company wanting to ensure that every US soldier, stationed in any base from Europe to the Pacific, could find coke and feel the comfort of home. The secret of The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)’s global dominance can also be attributed to its franchise distribution system, through which the company produces syrup concentrate and sells it to bottlers around the world. Under this distribution system, more than two billion servings of Coca-Cola are produced every day across 900 bottling plants globally. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) holds a 43.7% share of the carbonated soft drinks market in the United States, and had a global market value of over $250 billion by September this year. Sales continue to rise each year. Revenues have grown 6% in the second quarter this year compared to the same time in the previous year, to a total of $12 billion. James Quincy, the Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola made the following remarks in the company’s Q2 2023 Earnings Call: “We’ve successfully navigated the first half of the year, which supports our decision to raise guidance for the full year. And instead of trying to predict the many directions things could take, we remain focused on delivering our key objectives that we outlined in February. In other words, number one, pursuing excellence globally and winning locally through relentless consumer centricity to drive top-line momentum. Two, investing for the long-term health of our business and raising the bar across all elements of our strategic flywheel. And three, generating US dollar EPS growth. Our system has never been stronger and our global network model is allowing us to quickly adapt to changing environments. We believe we are well positioned to deliver our updated guidance and objectives, thanks to our incredible system employees around the world.” On the other hand, PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) is the second most valued soft drink brand after Coca-Cola, with the brand valued at $18.4 billion as of 2021 according to Brand Finance. Like Coke, Pepsi is also sold in more than 200 countries and territories across the world. While Coca-Cola largely outsells PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) at the global level, there are some countries where Pepsi outsells Coke and holds a larger share in those markets. These include India, Pakistan, Guatemala, Oman, and several provinces of Canada. One of the key reasons why PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) has been able to penetrate the global markets and catch up with The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) is its competitive pricing strategy, through which it ensures that its products are priced in line with or below those of its competitors. The company’s CEO, Ramon Laguarta, shed light on this in PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) Q2 2023 Earnings Call. “We’re seeing in the majority of the markets where we operate, we’re seeing better elasticities and that has continued to be during the first half of the year, even though we’re seeing lower income consumers strategizing around obviously optimizing their budgets, but we’re seeing the majority of consumers staying within our categories, staying within our brands. And it’s remarkable what our marketing teams are, commercial teams have been doing to minimize elasticities. In some respect, it is what we have been investing for the last few years. Our brands are stronger. The perceived value of our products is better than it was. And obviously, we’ve been able to raise prices and consumers stay within our brands. Now we’re seeing consumers making some adjustments, right? We’re seeing consumers shopping in more stores than before. They’re looking for better deals. They’re starting to look for optimization. They’re going to channels that have better perceived value. They’re buying more in Dollar stores or they buy more in mass or in clubs. So every segment of the consumer is making adjustments. Overall, we’re seeing very positive.” The global market penetration of The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) remains huge. However, there are countries where these soft drinks have been perceived to be advancing American values and ideals, and have faced local resistance. There are also nations where people prefer their own local sodas or soft drinks compared to Coke or Pepsi. Lastly, there are countries where these drinks are not sold due to economic sanctions or political instability and conflict. Let’s check out countries where Coca Cola and Pepsi are either banned, sell comparitively less or are outsold by local brands. Methodology We have ranked the 15 countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is not sold by identifying countries where these drinks are not sold at all, have limited availability, whether they are outsold or have conceded a sizable chunk of the market share to another brand. Various news stories and publications from media groups have been used to prepare this list. First, we look at countries where Coca-Cola and Pepsi are facing competition from local brands or are outsold by another drink. Then we identify countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola have limited availability; these countries are listed in the order of the adverse impact faced by these brands in their host countries, since no data is available on their market penetration levels due to ongoing conflicts and political instability. Lastly, countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is not sold are ranked going by the number of years since these brands ceased operations in these countries. nik-albert-pGQpBcylvOA-unsplash Let’s now head over to the list of countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is not sold as much as it is elsewhere in the world in terms of market penetration. 15 Countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is Not Sold 15. Iran Status: Facing Local Competition Rival Beverage: Zamzam Cola Rival Beverage’s Market Share: 16% Zamzam Cola is a soft drink brand manufactured in Iran by Zamzam Group. It is among the first carbonated soft drinks produced in the country and is popular across Western Asia. The drink is named after the Well of Zamzam in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the stops during the Hajj Pilgrimage for muslims. The soft drink had an estimated share of 50% in the Iranian soft drink industry in 2007. That has now dropped to 16%. Coca Cola holds a 28% share, while Pepsi has penetration levels of only 20%. 14. Peru Status: Outsold by a Local Brand Rival Beverage: Inca Cola Rival Beverage’s Market Share: 26% Peru is one of the few countries where a local soft drink outsells both Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Inca Cola is marketed as ‘the taste of Peru’ and includes Incan designs on the packaging labels, which invokes a passionate following for the drink among Peruvians. The drink held 26% in the soft drink market in 2012, followed by The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) at 25.5%. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2023 stated that Inca Cola still outsells Coke in Peru. 13. Myanmar Status: Limited Availability The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) opened its first plant in over 60 years in Myanmar in 2013, after the military junta’s rule over the country ended in 2011, having led the country since 1962. PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP), which operated in the country between 1991 and 1997 has also ramped up its operations through local partnerships to catch up with Coca-Cola. Local alternatives mimicking these brands, such as Star Cola and Max Cola, held sway over the carbonated drinks market in Myanmar until Coca-Cola relaunched itself in the market. However, despite that, Myanmar is one of the countries with lowest sales of Coca Cola and Pepsi. 12. Namibia Status: Limited Availability Namibia has been facing a drought for the last seven years, which has resulted in limited availability of soft drinks in the country. Coca-Cola in 2016 decided to stop production of canned drinks in the country and import it instead from South Africa due to the water crisis in the country. This led to the drink facing shortage in the market and being sold at higher rates wherever these were available. 11. Zimbabwe Status: Limited Availability Zimbabwe’s economic crisis and political instability have hampered operations of several large corporations operating in the country. Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi face regular shortages of supplies due to Zimbabwe’s depleting foreign exchange reserves. Coke and Pepsi are luxury products in a country facing hyperinflation which often experiences an acute shortage of a basic necessity like bread. In recent years, the production and supplies of Coca-Cola came to a complete halt twice, first in 2006 and then in 2018. 10. Democratic Republic of the Congo Status: Limited Availability It is hard to find Coca-Cola or Pepsi in Congo if you are not living in the capital Kinshasa or some of the other bigger towns in the country that sit on the river. Everything becomes hard to find as you move away from the city center due to a lack of transport infrastructure in Congo. Most of the roads in the country are not more than dirty narrow paths. Where Coke or Pepsi are available, they are unaffordable for many. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is among the five poorest countries in the world, according to the World Bank. 9. Somalia Status: Limited Availability The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) entered the Somali market in 2004 by setting up a factory in Mogadishu. Civil unrest in the country forced the company to move its operations to Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared breakaway Republic of Somaliland in 2012, creating a shortage of the cola soft drink in much of Somalia. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has been a direct victim of the conflict in Somalia. Gunmen attacked the plant in Mogadishu in 2007, looted cash, computers, and sugar, and fled away. The company has also received threats of violence from militant group Al-Shabaab. 8. Haiti Status: Limited Availability Haiti has been engulfed in total chaos since 2018, starting with protests against rising fuel and energy prices and later the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The spread of cholera and famine have made matters worse for the country. Instability in the country has empowered gangs, who have created a blockade around the largest fuel depot in the country. This has led to shortage of food, acute hunger, and disruption of supply chains across Haiti. The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP) are among companies that have been affected by the ongoing crisis, with these soft drinks barely available in the markets. 7. Sudan Status: Limited Availability Armed conflict and economic sanctions have halted international trade operations of multiple large companies with the country. In fact, the turmoil has threatened global supplies of soft drink companies including The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEP). Sudan is the largest producer of gum arabic, a key ingredient used in fizzy drinks, candies, and cosmetics. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been stockpiling the ingredient for months to avoid shortage. 6. Turkmenistan Status: Limited Availability Strict government regulations have limited the operations of international corporations. Coca-Cola bottlers ceased operations in the country in late 2017 due to import restrictions and a weakening currency. For much of that year, Coca-Cola was either unavailable or unaffordable for the average citizen in the country. The head of the local Coca-Cola bottling company died from suicide due to distress. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is Not Sold. Suggested Articles: 20 Countries With The Highest Soda Consumption Top 15 Beer Drinking Countries in the World 15 States That Produce the Most Wine Disclosure: None. 15 Countries where Pepsi or Coca-Cola is Not Sold is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeySep 18th, 2023

Tupac, cocaine, and murder: the incredible saga of the Henchmen brothers, hip-hop’s forgotten moguls

They helped put rap on the map. Then the law caught up with them. Mario Rosemond (center top) and his brother Jimmy (second from left) clawed their way from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the music industry. Then it all came crashing down.Gary Reyes/Oakland Tribune Staff Archives; Janette Beckman/Getty; Johnny Nunez/WireImage; KMazur/WireImage for Interscope Records; Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG/Getty; Dakarai Akil for InsiderThe incredible saga of the Henchmen brothers, hip-hop's forgotten mogulsThe first time in eight years that Mario Rosemond heard his name, it filled him with terror. Almost as much as the men surrounding him with machine guns. It was March 2019, and Rosemond was living in Mexico under an assumed identity. Born in Haiti and tossed out on the streets of Brooklyn as a teenager, he was on the run from the FBI, for his role in a cocaine-trafficking empire run by his younger brother, Jimmy. But the Rosemond brothers were no ordinary hustlers. As founders of Henchmen Entertainment, rap's most notorious management firm, Jimmy and Mario had made millions the legit way: by deftly cultivating artists such as The Game, Salt-N-Pepa, Akon, Sean Kingston, and Gucci Mane. During their meteoric rise in the 1990s, Mario had kept a low profile, the Wall Street-trained numbers guy who quietly managed the company's fortunes. Jimmy, five years younger, served as Henchmen's flashy and intimidating front man, the self-described "gangster manager" of hip-hop. "They figured out how to go from the streets to the boardrooms," says Skee, one of rap's most influential producers and DJs. "They have that respect." But according to the Feds, Jimmy never left the streets at all. "Rosemond styled himself a hip hop mogul, bringing the music of the streets to a wider audience and expanding opportunities of artists," as the Justice Department put it. "In reality, his image as a music impresario was a cover for the real Jimmy Rosemond — a thug in a suit who flooded those same streets with cocaine, and shuttled drugs and money from coast to coast."Arrested in 2011, Jimmy was convicted of running a massive drug empire and of ordering the murder of Lowell "Lodi Mack" Fletcher, an associate of 50 Cent who was gunned down in the Bronx. Some in the rap world also suspected him of masterminding the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur at Quad Studios, igniting the bicoastal rap feud that led to the murders of both Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Now serving two life sentences in federal prison, Jimmy continues to maintain his innocence, claiming he served as the "fall guy" for the drugs and violence that plagued the music industry. "That dark force that we grew up on, that Joker character, that nemesis of good," he tells me on a recent call from prison. "Unfortunately, I became that in the music business, and to reporters, and eventually to prosecutors who felt they needed to rid the business of me."Jimmy Rosemond was arrested in 2011 and received two life sentences on charges of drug running and murder for hire.AP NewsroomIt was Jimmy's arrest that drove Mario to flee to Mexico. Faced with having to testify against his brother, Rosemond pulled a Saul Goodman. He paid $50,000 to be smuggled down to Cuernavaca, where he adopted a new identity: Tommy Davis. Leaving behind his family and friends, he spent eight years living with "my head on a swivel," as Mario puts it, always on the lookout for anyone who might recognize him. He kept a low profile. He learned Spanish, steered clear of serious relationships, and went to church on Sundays. "You're not trusting nobody," he says.It didn't help that Cuernavaca had become a battleground, with one of Mexico's fiercest cartels erupting in an internal war. Driving to the gym, Rosemond would pass the corpse of a freshly butchered gangster on the side of the road. A friend he knew got shot dead by the cartel, and his roommate, a steroid-jacked Colombian, had been kidnapped for three days before managing to escape. It was a dangerous place to be living on the lam.The moment Rosemond's past caught up with him felt nightmarishly surreal. He was doing his laundry in the courtyard of his apartment building when he spotted five armed men climbing the fence. "We're looking for Mario Rosemond," one of them told him in English. "Yo no sé," Mario stammered in Spanish. "Mi nombre es Tommy Davis."Then they threw a bag over his head, and everything went dark.Today, four years later, Rosemond's life still hangs in the balance. "It's kind of hard even speaking on it right now," he tells me. "Because I don't know what the endgame is." We're talking over breakfast at a Friendly's near Rahway, New Jersey, a universe away from Rosemond's takedown in Cuernavaca. At age 64, dressed in blue jeans and a blue polo, he comes across as less urban gangster than suburban grandad. It's a status he has earned by spending his days babysitting his 2-year-old grandson. The only sign of his hip-hop past are the tattoos on his right arm memorializing his late mother and sister. Whatever choices he has made in life, he says, it was always his family that drove him. "I don't have too many people in my circle," he says. "It's family." Now, as he awaits sentencing for participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, he's sharing his incredible saga for the first time, from his meteoric rise in Brooklyn to his inglorious fall in Mexico.Jimmy (far left) and his son Jimmy Jr. with Mario (far right) and their mother, Andrea. "I don't have too many people in my circle," Mario says. "It's family."Courtesy of Leeann HellijasMario's working-class parents migrated from Port-au-Prince to New York City when he was 7. Constantin was a carpenter; Andrea got work as a nurse. "Like every immigrant family," Mario says, "they wanted a better life." The family settled in Vanderveer Estates, a housing project of 59 rundown buildings that sprawled across 30 acres of East Flatbush. Quiet and intellectual, Mario tried to provide an example for his four younger siblings, especially Jimmy. But their home life was troubled. Constantin, an abusive womanizer, "would beat us with anything and everything," Mario recalls. At age 16, after Mario stepped in to stop his father from assaulting his mother, Constantin told him there wasn't room for two grown men in the house and threw him out. "My parents worked hard to keep us out of the street," Mario says. "And, you know, the street always come and get you."Mario tried street life himself, joining a gang of petty thieves called the Jolly Stompers. But after a high-school guidance counselor helped him secure a Wall Street internship, Mario learned how to build a fortune the old-fashioned way. "Legal money, not having to worry," he says. "I learned how people really got rich." The Masters of the Universe, he realized, did it by keeping a low profile. "When you're in the background, nobody knows about you," he says. "They don't know that you're actually running things. They don't know that you're watching everything."But while Mario worked to ascend the ranks of Wall Street and started a family of his own, Jimmy remained behind in Brooklyn, where he hung out in the projects. With his father out of the picture and his mother working two jobs, Jimmy "had to fend for myself," he tells me. "I had no guardianship, so the streets is what adopted me." At 10, he fell in with a local Jamaican gang called the Untouchables. At 13, he owned his first gun. At 18, he landed in Rikers Island on a firearm charge. Jimmy considered Rikers "gladiator school." He studied the Black Panthers, converted to Islam, and learned his trade from the city's most experienced drug dealers. Despite "everything that I know better," he says, "this is the only family I had." Jimmy worked his way up to become, as he later boasted, "the biggest drug dealer in Brooklyn."In 1992, after the cops busted down his door looking for drugs, Jimmy approached his brother Mario with a proposition: Let's start a music-management company. For Jimmy, as he later put it, music was a way to create a "hideout" for his drug money. "I didn't know anything about the music business," he said. "I don't care about the music business. But one of the fascinations of being a gangster or a drug dealer is you want to rub shoulders with guys who have money, or guys of your stature, and you look at entertainers as those guys."Jimmy (left) with his client, The Game. He got into the music business, he says, to create a "hideout" for his drug money.Johnny Nunez / Getty ImagesJimmy was hitting up his brother at a vulnerable moment. Mario was just out of Rikers himself, where he was sentenced to spend every weekend for 18 months for — unwittingly, he claims — cashing stolen checks for a friend. Out of a job and unemployable on Wall Street, with a young daughter to support, Mario was a sharp-enough businessman to spot an opportunity. Plus he loved music, and had been DJing at clubs under the name Mr. Slick. With the popularity of rap on the rise, emerging artists and producers needed someone to represent them — someone who could navigate the treacherous waters of the music industry.To gather all the top talent in one place, Jimmy and Mario organized a conference called "How Can I Be Down?" Held in Miami Beach in 1992, the event attracted a Who's Who of hip-hop's early moguls: Russell Simmons, Benny Medina, Lyor Cohen, Chris Lighty, Mona Scott. While Jimmy worked the crowd, Mario practiced the skill he had learned on Wall Street. "I was just a fly on the wall, so no one really pays attention to me," he recalls. "As opposed to my brother, he wanted to be a front man. That's why in the music business we worked so well."That fall, the brothers proved their prowess by engineering one of the biggest rap songs of the year. Salt-N-Pepa, the pioneering female rap trio from New York, were on their fourth record and in need of a hit when Jimmy hooked them up with Mark Sparks, a producer friend. Jimmy had zero experience in music, but it didn't matter. "I was young enough to where I trusted my ears," he tells me. Released in September 1993, the resulting single, "Shoop," became a runaway hit, topping the rap charts and going gold in only two months.The brothers engineered their first hit: Salt-N-Pepa's 1993 single "Shoop."Paul Bergen / Getty ImagesThe brothers quickly followed up with another hit, "Tell Me," by the R&B duo Groove Theory. The band's cofounder Bryce Wilson remembers Jimmy as a small, geeky guy in glasses. "He didn't present himself as a gangster. Jimmy was a nerd," Wilson tells me. "But he was extremely loyal and extremely unselfish and would do whatever it takes to make things happen." He was also a canny businessman. Jimmy hit on a groundbreaking idea: He and Mario would sign rap producers instead of artists and make them stars in their own right. "What I understood was the real estate of the music," Jimmy says. "Everything else you're selling in music is intangible but the publishing." All they needed for their management company was a name. Jimmy wanted something that evoked his personal history, his move from Rikers to rap. "He was bringing the street into the music business," Mario says. The kid who fought his way out of the projects rebranded himself as Jimmy Henchman, and he dubbed their new enterprise Henchmen Entertainment.Jimmy and Mario have a lot in common: intelligence, loyalty to those who deserve it, no time for those who don't. They also share a way of speaking, punctuating their comments with the occasional mmm-hmm, as if preaching to themselves, a looping call and response. When I ask Jimmy what he learned from the street that he took into the music business, the convicted drug dealer delivers a gospel on integrity. "If you're known to be a thief, that's how they're gonna deal with you," he tells me. "If you're known to be trustworthy, they get to trust in you more. So it applied the same way in the music business. People buy into the person."With Jimmy as the public-facing godfather and Mario the calculating consigliere, the brothers styled themselves as hip-hop Corleones. Adopting the name Henchman not only bolstered Jimmy's reputation but also helped him dodge the cops, who were after him on gun charges. "They don't know where he is," Mario recalls, "because he's Jimmy Henchman now."The company's 15 or so employees also used the Henchman name, even printing it on their business cards. Mohammed "Tef" Stewart, a friend from Brooklyn who joined the team, became Tef Henchman, a title he wore with the same pride he took in Jimmy. "Henchman was his name," he later testified, "and it felt like we were under him." The new moniker helped them get into clubs, score meetings, and ward off trouble. "It was like a free pass," Mario says, "because everybody knew we had muscle." Only one member of the crew refused to use the new handle: Mario. "I didn't want no part of that name," he tells me. He had a motivation for playing it safe. He wanted to protect his 12-year-old daughter, who was living with his ex-wife in New Jersey.But on November 30, 1994, the Henchmen name became etched into the history of hip-hop. Jimmy had agreed to pay $15,000 to have the industry's hottest rapper, Tupac Shakur, stop by Quad Studios in New York and record a track with the Henchmen artist Little Shawn. Mario had known Tupac since the '80s and felt a kinship with the introspective young artist. "He was down to earth, a quiet, quiet, quiet dude," Mario says. "He didn't even have any bodyguards. He would be by himself. He was a regular kid."That night, Mario recalls, he was back at Henchmen's headquarters, opting for the quietude of the office over the scene at the studio. Then his phone rang. It was Jimmy, sounding agitated. Tupac was late, and with the rap stars Puff Daddy and Biggie Smalls milling around the studio, Jimmy was losing not only time and money but something even more dangerous: face. Jimmy wanted Mario to track down his old friend and get him to the studio.Mario called Tupac. "Yo, dude, where you at?" he asked. Pac said he was uptown making drops with a DJ, but promised to show up for the studio gig. "I'm gonna be there, man," he promised Mario.A few hours later, Mario got another, more alarming call from his brother. "Yo," Jimmy said, "Pac just got shot!" Suspicion immediately fell on the Henchmen brothers. Tupac's manager, Freddie Moore, called Mario and accused him and Jimmy of setting Tupac up. "Yo, somebody shot my man five times and y'all guys didn't know about it?!" Moore shouted.On the night Tupac was shot in 1994, he was supposed to record a track with the Henchmen artist Little Shawn.Al Pereira / Getty Images"Dude, do me a favor and think about this," Mario replied. "'Cause me, I start trying to think logic: If we wanted him dead or if we wanted him hurt, wouldn't we have done the record first? If he's dead, that would've been the last song. You know, my artist would be blowing the fuck up!"The police found no evidence linking Jimmy to Tupac's shooting, which ignited a deadly war between the East Coast and West Coast branches of rap. And Jimmy continues to claim, against all evidence, that Tupac accidentally shot himself with his own gun. "I look guilty as fuck to anybody who's standing around, right?" Jimmy tells me. "But this guy never was shot up — he shot himself." Still, with the police looking for him on gun charges, Jimmy wasn't taking any chances. As Tupac lay bleeding in the lobby of the studio, Jimmy slipped away.Mario is cagier about Jimmy's involvement in the shooting. "If he did do that," he tells me, "that would have been stupid." When I ask Mario if he thinks Jimmy is innocent, he laughs. "I didn't say he's innocent," he says. "I'm saying I believe he's innocent."Not long after the Tupac shooting, Mario was at his home in Plainfield, New Jersey, when the police came crashing through the door, guns drawn. They were looking for Jimmy.Avoiding drama is what had driven Mario from Brooklyn in the first place. But the streets had followed him to the suburbs. Luckily, his daughter wasn't there to see the cops raid his home, looking for her uncle. The experience left Mario more resolved than ever to stay out of his brother's affairs. "From that experience, I stay squeaky clean," he insists. "'Cause that would put my daughter and family in danger."In the rap community, Tupac's shooting only served to burnish Jimmy's reputation — especially after Pac recorded the diss track "Against All Odds," vowing "to pay back Jimmy Henchman in due time." Jimmy was thrilled. "He puts me in that record," he says, "that's what give me notoriety." But Mario was far from pleased. "It made Jimmy more famous, and for him, he loves that, right? For me, I hate it, because now it brings more light to you."With his gun charges still looming, Jimmy began working out of his car to evade the police. "Mario was in the office, so I was able to move around," he says. With more clients, more hits, and more money pouring in, the brothers made themselves indispensable to those around them. "Flush with cash, we was able to do things for folks," Mario says. With their reputation growing, they began attracting more and more top stars, from Brandy to Junior Mafia. They'd make deals, settle beefs, lend money with interest. When I ask Mario what happened when someone didn't make a payment, he dismisses the idea as unthinkable. "Everybody always did," he says.But Jimmy could run for only so long. In 1996 he was arrested in Los Angeles and sent to prison. Mario kept Henchmen running while Jimmy was behind bars, but by the time his brother got released three years later, he felt increasingly concerned. "It was hot up here," he says. "My brother, some of the moves he was making at that time, I didn't necessarily agree. Now, more so than ever, the street is definitely in the office." To protect his family, he decided to put some distance between himself and his brother. "I'm gonna go to the West Coast," he told Jimmy. "And I'm gonna start my own thing." In 2001, at the age of 43, Mario moved to Los Angeles and built a new life far from the troubles back home. He started an adult-film company called Joy Ride ("it was just as a business thing"), bought a palatial house in the Hollywood Hills, and started a new family. For a guy who always wanted to live the quiet life, it felt as if he had finally found some peace.But back in New York, Jimmy didn't stray far from the streets. Through his management company ­— now called Czar Entertainment — he continued to manage top artists. He brokered a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis that became the highest-grossing bout in history, with over $100 million in revenue. He even branched out into politics, holding a free concert in Haiti with Wyclef Jean and Akon to raise awareness about the country's plight. But the generosity came with a price. "Jimmy was always there for the people," says Garland "Ghetto" Cyrus, who ran Czar's record distribution in the South. "He was just a guy that you couldn't cross."Jimmy organized a free concert for Haiti with Wyclef Jean. "He was always there for the people," one employee recalled.THONY BELIZAIRE / Getty ImagesJimmy's tough-guy approach to the music industry erupted into open violence when he signed one of his biggest artists: The Game. A member of G-Unit, the pioneering hip-hop group that included a young 50 Cent, The Game had ties to Violator Management, a rival music company whose offices happened to be directly across from Czar's on West 25th Street. Violator had a powerhouse roster, including Mariah Carey, LL Cool J, and Missy Elliott, and it didn't take The Game's defection lightly. In February 2005, when 50 Cent went on Hot 97 radio to throw The Game out of his group and dismiss him as "gone," an outraged Jimmy dispatched The Game and the Henchmen soldier Tef Stewart to the station with a small crew, according to Stewart. When they arrived, they were greeted with gunshots. The two sides clashed again the following year at the annual Mixtape Awards at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. As Jimmy fled the scene, one of his soldiers shot up a white Bentley belonging to a member of G-Unit.Then, in March 2007, a G-Unit associate named Lowell "Lodi Mack" Fletcher took the feud too far. As he was leaving Violator's office, Fletcher spotted a 14-year-old boy wearing a Czar sweatshirt outside Jimmy's office. Racing across the street, he pushed the kid against a wall, slapped him, and threatened him with a gun. The boy turned out to be Jimmy Rosemond Jr.When he got the news, Jimmy Sr. was enraged. "I just couldn't believe somebody would do that," he tells me. "The kid was only 14, he looked like he was 12. Then I found out it was these clowns. They crossed the line with my son." After Mario learned what had happened, he urged Jimmy to stay cool. "I passed word that he need to chill on that," he recalls. "I told him revenge is best served when it's cold."Fletcher was sent to prison for assault and endangering a child, but that didn't satisfy Jimmy. War broke out on the streets of New York. Tef Stewart's barbershop was burned down. The Henchmen suspected a G-Unit associate. Stewart later testified that he and others in Jimmy's crew bombed the associate's bulletproof truck with Molotov cocktails. Then, in 2009, Fletcher was released from prison for the assault on Jimmy's son. Two weeks later, as he stepped off a train in the Bronx, someone burst out of the shadows and gunned him down, shooting him five times in the back with a .22-caliber handgun. The feud over Jimmy's music business had turned fatal."I need you to help me out," Jimmy told Mario. It was the spring of 2011, and Jimmy had called his big brother in distress. By then, Jimmy was allegedly the biggest drug trafficker in the music business. With a dozen underlings at his command, he ran what the Feds later called "a large bicoastal narcotics-trafficking organization," moving thousands of pounds of coke. Now, the lieutenant who ran the operation, Khalil Abdullah, had been arrested, and Jimmy wanted Mario to make sure a coming payment got handled. "He could only trust me," Mario says, "because money, lots of money, is coming down."Czar Entertainment had become both a nexus and a cover for the trafficking enterprise. Cocaine would be wrapped in plastic, slathered in mustard, packed in musical equipment boxes, and sent from Los Angeles to a rehearsal studio in New York. Once the drugs were retrieved, the equipment boxes would be sent back to LA, loaded with millions in cash. Jimmy and his henchmen used burner phones, encrypting their messages and emails. With so many artists coming and going on various projects, no one was the wiser as contraband-filled road cases shipped through Interscope Records, the label co-founded by music legend Jimmy Iovine. (Interscope denied any involvement in the drug enterprise.)Until now, Mario had determinedly stayed out of Jimmy's underworld. He was remaking his life in LA, and he wanted nothing to do with the streets he had left behind. But there was one problem for Mario. "He'll do whatever for his family and for his people," says his friend DJ Skee. "He's extremely loyal to a fault." So when Jimmy asked him for help, Mario couldn't say no. "That's how I got back in," he tells me. He made sure the drug money "got to where it's supposed to get," he says.But the brotherly favor put Mario in the crosshairs. A few months later, he got a late-night call from a neighbor, the only other Black guy who lived in his ritzy Hollywood Hills development. The Feds had busted down the guy's door by mistake, looking for Mario. It was only a matter of time before Mario found himself in custody. And that meant, as he saw it, there was only one choice. He called up a loyal contact in the Henchmen network. "They busted down my man's door looking for me," Mario told him. "What do you have in your trick bag?""We gonna need 50 grand," the guy replied. "I'll go to Mexico and set it up for you."He called his daughter to say goodbye. "I'm in trouble," he told her. "I gotta get outta here." The guy said he would spread the money through a decentralized network of people who could smuggle Mario across the border. In the meantime, Mario couldn't go home. "This place don't exist anymore," the guy told him. Another handler picked him up and took him to a hotel, the first of three he'd be staying at over the next few days until they could get him to Mexico. From this moment forward, Mario was on the run — just as Jimmy had been for years.To get his phony identity, Mario slipped an envelope containing $5,000 in cash to a contact at the Department of Motor Vehicles. When his new ID was ready, the contact called him from a burner phone and told him what day to come by the DMV. When Mario arrived, he snaked around in line until the contact lit his red light, signaling him to come over. That's when Mario was handed an authentic California driver's license with his new identity: Tommy Davis. When I ask how he felt about the random name he was given, Mario chuckles. "Didn't make no difference to me," he says.Once he was over the border, however, Mario would lose what mattered most to him: his family. It would be too risky to speak with them again. He called his eldest daughter back in New Jersey to say goodbye. She was in her 30s, with a family of her own. "I'm in trouble," he told her. "I gotta get outta here." All he could do was listen to her cry as he explained that he didn't know when he'd be back. Then he told his two little kids in Los Angeles. "Daddy's sorry, but he has to go take care of something," he said. "It's just like when I go out and travel for business. So you're not gonna see me for a little while." He ate his last meal at Crustacean in Beverly Hills, ordering his favorites: crabs, garlic noodles, and the mango lobster appetizer.The next morning, he got instructions to go to a nearby supermarket, where a black Suburban would be waiting to pick him up. He took one duffel bag of clothes and another filled with $50,000 in cash — enough, he hoped, to last him wherever he was going in Mexico. During the drive south, Mario called Jimmy on his burner phone. They had to be vague, since the Feds could be listening. "Yo, dude," Mario said. "Man, you should really make this move with me, Jimmy.""I can't go with you," Jimmy replied. "Because the two of us together is gonna bring too much heat." But he too had an escape plan. "I'm working on something," he said. "Based what I'm working on, maybe someday I'll be able to come and see you."Mario's driver zipped them through the border patrol at San Ysidro without Mario needing to show his new ID, and then handed him off in Tijuana to his next liaison, who checked him in to a hotel. "Be at the airport at 8 a.m.," the man told him. Once there, Mario went to the specified counter where the attendant, who was on the take, issued him a ticket under his Tommy Davis alias. His destination: Mexico City. Mario's mouth went dry. He didn't speak Spanish, didn't know a soul in Mexico, and had no clue where he would be sent. "I was thirsty cuz I was nervous," he says. "I'm like, 'What am I walking into?' 'Cause I don't know nothing. But I trusted my man, you know, I trust him with my life. I don't have a choice."Living on the run in Cuernavaca, Mario changed apartments every six months. "I was never attached to anything," he says.GummyBone / Getty ImagesAfter arriving in Mexico City, Mario called a number he'd been given. An athletic Colombian guy pulled up outside with his Mexican fiancée in the passenger seat. "Welcome to Mexico City, man," he told Mario with a smile. The Colombian had been on the run from trouble in San Diego for 15 years. Mario didn't ask why, and the guy didn't inquire about Mario's predicament. They drove 50 miles south until they came to the hillside town of Cuernavaca and the apartment Mario would share with the couple. From there, he was on his own.As he adjusted to his strange new life in Mexico, Mario went to an internet café each day, checking the news from back home. On June 21, 2011, scanning the New York Post, he saw a headline: "Fugitive hip hop talent agent Rosemond charged with running drug ring." The story was accompanied by a photo of Jimmy in handcuffs, escorted by two agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. They had busted him on his way out of the W Hotel in Manhattan. The complaint, which mapped Jimmy's vast trafficking network, revealed that he'd been brought down, in part, by two DEA informants in his organization. One was his longtime friend Tef Stewart. The other was his top lieutenant, Khalil Abdullah.The news got worse. The next day, Jimmy was indicted on an even more serious charge: murder for hire. The Feds accused him of recruiting a crew of hitmen to kill Fletcher in return for $30,000 of cocaine. When I ask Mario whether he considers Jimmy capable of murder, he dodges the question. But he isn't shy about disparaging how the killing was handled. "It sounded like some Keystone Cop-type of stupid," he goes on. "It wasn't planned out properly. Like I said, justice is best served when cold." He doesn't seem bothered by the murder, which he takes as a given: "Everybody knew somebody was gonna get dead." It's the sloppiness that irritates him. "I'm always calculated about things," he says.With Jimmy behind bars, Mario felt even more in danger of getting busted — or killed. Living on the run in Cuernavaca, he calculated his every step. Rule No. 1: Stay off the phones. If he had to make a call, he made it from a phone booth at a local convenience store. Rule No. 2: Change apartments every six months. "I was never attached to anything," he says. This included girlfriends. As one of the few Black men in Cuernavaca, he says, he attracted more than his share of attention from the Mexican women. "I was exotic to them," he tells me with a laugh. But he could never risk being himself. "You can't have a meaningful relationship with anybody," he says.But as the years passed, the dream of returning home slipped away. He would make a quick call now and then to let his family know he was alive, but he couldn't let them know anything about his location or situation. His $50,000 was dwindling, and he didn't have a way to drum up more money. So he worked out twice a day, and went to church to pray, and hoped for something to change.Then one day, after eight years on the run, something did. Mario, normally so careful and meticulous, acknowledges he had gotten sloppy. Tired of his life as Tommy Davis, alone in Cuernavaca, he had started calling home more often, and took fewer precautions to cover his tracks. "I got lazy," he says. At first, as he was in the courtyard doing his laundry, he thought the men he spotted scaling the fence were Mexican Federales. He tried to play it cool when they confronted him, but they ordered him to lie face down on the ground and pointed their weapons at him, freckling him with red laser dots. Oh, my God, he thought. I'm gonna die today. They're gonna kill me. It was only after a long, silent ride in the back of a pickup truck when his hood was removed — and he found himself staring into the eyes of a US Marshal at the Mexico City airport. He still doesn't know who ratted him out.Mario was headed back to New York to face the drug-trafficking charges he'd evaded for nearly a decade. But he felt as though his arrest had actually released him from the prison of his assumed identity. Tommy Davis was no more. All that remained was Mario Rosemond."It was a relief," he says. "Cuz no matter what anyone say, a double life is the most difficult thing to keep."After his arrest, Mario spent a year in federal prison in New York before he was released to live with his daughter's family in New Jersey, where he's now awaiting sentencing. He will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which could send him away for five years to life. But Mario, who spends his days taking care of his grandson, isn't running anymore. "I'm at peace now," he tells me outside his daughter's home. "I'm ready to pay for my bad deeds and then go on with my life." One of the reasons he's sharing his story with me, he says, is to discourage others from following his path. "Dealing with any kind of illegalities, it ain't worth it," he says. "I've had all the money that I could possibly have, right? No matter how smart you think you are, the government has enough people on their payroll to outsmart you. It can go for a month or it can go for years, like for me. But sooner or later it catches up to you. So I would like to tell the younger generation coming up to try to do it a different way."NFL star Jim Brown and the actor Michael K. Williams lobbied to secure a presidential pardon for Jimmy. "Let's get this guy home for Christmas," Donald Trump told his staff.Arturo Holmes / Scott Olson / Al Pereira / Getty Images While Mario awaits his sentencing, Jimmy is trying to get free with the help of an unlikely ally: Donald Trump. In 2020, a month before Trump left office, Jimmy enlisted celebrity friends, including the actor Michael K. Williams and the NFL legend Jim Brown, to try to secure a presidential pardon. During a call with Brown on December 18, 2020, according to affidavits filed by Jimmy's attorneys, Trump told his staff, "Let's get this guy home for Christmas."Last August, a federal judge ruled that Trump's "vague" comments did not constitute clemency. Jimmy is now hoping Trump will win reelection in 2024 so he can make good on his remark. "My hope would be that a guy like Trump would be in charge," Jimmy says. "People have this misconception about Trump, especially in the Black community."While Jimmy serves out his prison sentence, the brothers remain close. "I'd ride or die for him," Mario says.Courtesy of Leeann HellijasIn the meantime, Jimmy's legacy as a music mogul lives on. Fourteen years after the murder that landed his father in prison, James Rosemond Jr. is now a manager himself — representing one of the top artists in hip-hop, Ice Spice. "It feels like some sort of redemption," Jimmy says. "I'm able to rest a little better at night because he's doing so well."Both Jimmy and Mario tell me their bond is tight as ever. "I'd ride or die for him," Mario says. When he was extradited from Mexico, he and his brother spoke by phone for the first time in years. Jimmy, who isn't known for accepting responsibility for his actions, offered his older brother an apology."Sorry I got you into this, man," Jimmy told him.Mario was having none of it. They'd been through too much — two immigrant kids from a broken home who grew up in the projects, clawed their way to the top of the music industry, and helped transform hip-hop into one of the most influential and lucrative art forms in the world. Above all, they were brothers. And brothers stick together to the end. "It's all good, man," Mario told Jimmy."What am I going to tell him?" he says now. "Yep, it's all good."David Kushner is a long-time contributor to Rolling Stone. His new book is "Easy to Learn, Difficult to Master: Pong, Atari, and the Dawn of the Video Game."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 17th, 2023

Russian pilot who defected with stolen fighter jet spare parts gets $500,000 reward from Ukraine

The 28-year-old Russian helicopter pilot called the war "genocide" and is now encouraging other Russian soldiers to also abandon it. The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine published a video interview with Maxim Kuzminov, the Russian pilot who defected to Ukraine with a Mi-8 helicopter last month.Defense Intelligence of Ukraine Russian pilot who surrendered to Ukraine will receive $500,000 reward from the war-torn country.  Ukraine passed a law last year offering up to $1 million to Russian soldiers for stolen equipment. The pilot is now encouraging other soldiers to follow his lead.   The Russian pilot who defected from his home country will be getting a hefty reward from their sworn enemy.Maksym Kuzminov, a 28-year-old Russian helicopter pilot, surrendered to Ukraine last month, bringing with him an Mi-8 helicopter and stolen fighter jet spare parts. His arrival in Ukraine marked the end of a 6-month secret defection plot he had worked out with Ukraine, which involved moving his family out of Russia. Now, Ukraine is rewarding him with the equivalent of $500,000, Ukraine's Military Intelligence spokesperson Andrii Yusova said, according to The Kyiv Independent. Ukraine's Parliament started the "I want to live" initiative in April 2022 encouraging Russian soldiers to surrender and offering them up to $1 million for stolen equipment, EuroMaidan Press reported. Kuzminov is the first known soldier to receive such a reward, the outlet reported. "What is happening now is simply genocide of the Ukrainian people," Kuzminov said in a video released by Ukraine's Defense Intelligence, according to a CNN translation. "The motivation for my action was to not contribute to these crimes. Ukraine will unequivocally win this war simply because the people are very united.""The whole world is helping them," he added, according to CNN. "Because first and foremost, human life should be valued."Kuzminov is now encouraging other Russian soldiers to follow his example and abandon Russia's war. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 5th, 2023

Airport chaos continues in Russia as Ukrainian drones target Moscow for the second time this week

All four Russian airports temporarily halted operations on Monday after two Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russia's missile defense system. A soldier monitors the runway as a Tu-95 bomber aircraft takes off for a night patrol out of Engels-2 airbase on August 7, 2008 in Engels, RussiaWojtek Laski/Getty Images All four Russian airports halted operations Monday after Ukrainian drones were shot down overhead. Ukrainian drones have been causing disruption in the airport district in recent weeks. On Friday, airports in the region were also closed due to another drone found in Russian airspace. Ukrainian drones on Monday caused havoc at Moscow airports for the second time in a week, grounding flights and delaying operations for hours while Russia's missile defense system took effect.On Monday, the Russian state media agency, Tass reported midmorning flights were delayed at the Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo, and Zhukovsky airports in addition to more than 50 flights that had been diverted earlier in the day.Tass reported the Russian Defense Ministry said two drone attacks were repelled in the region — one fell in the Ruza District after being suppressed by electronic warfare equipment; the other was shot down over the Istra District.The Monday strike was shot down near the home of one of Russia's most prolific propagandists — Margarita Simonyan, the head of Russian state television network RT, The Telegraph reported. Simonyan said debris landed a few hundred meters from her home, the outlet reported. Insider reported that a similar incident occurred Friday when one Ukrainian drone was intercepted in the region, causing a shutdown of the four major domestic and international airports. The Friday incident was the third time a drone strike or debris had targeted the Moscow district, where the civilian airports are based, CNN reported. As part of its summer counteroffensive primarily supported by Western allies, including the US, the Ukrainian military has been turning more and more to drone strikes within Russia's borders, including critical Russian targets around the Black Sea.Earlier this month, Ukrainian drone boats badly damaged the Russian warship Olenegorsky Gornyak. A day later, sea drones hit a critical link in the supply chain used to transport fuel and military equipment between Russia and Syria. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 21st, 2023

Russia is charging families of dead soldiers $1,500 to get their bodies back, human-rights group claims

Crimea SOS says Russian military officials told families the soldiers' bodies are in "inconvenient" locations, when they're actually in a morgue. Russian marines during the International Army Games at the Khmelevka firing ground in the Kaliningrad region on August 17, 2022.REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar A Ukrainian human-rights group says Russian commanders are charging families to retrieve remains. Crimea SOS accused the Russians of charging some $1,500 to bring the bodies of dead soldiers home. The commanders said the bodies were in "inconvenient" locations, per Crimea SOS. A Ukrainian human-rights organization says some Russian commanders are charging the families of dead soldiers to bring their remains home. Crimea SOS, a Ukraine-based NGO, posted a report on its website on Thursday saying it has evidence of three to four such cases. It didn't share the evidence itself.The bodies were being kept at a morgue in Simferopol, the second-largest city in Russian-occupied Crimea, the group said, alleging that Russian military officials were demanding payment to send them back. It said the relatives had to pay between 100,000 and 150,0000 rubles — between $1,000 and $1,500 — to get their loved ones back. "The commissars justify such a scheme by saying the body is in an inconvenient location for transportation," the report read. Insider was unable to independently verify the claim. However, there have been reported instances of Russian army officers being accused of mishandling the bodies of their dead troops. An ex-convict Russian soldier identified only as Aleksandr told The New York Times that he had been ordered not to collect the bodies of his comrades. He said this was because officers wanted to register the dead men as "missing in action" so they wouldn't have to pay compensation to their families. "There were bodies everywhere," Aleksandr said to the Times. "No one was interested in collecting them."Russia has hardly given any statistics for its number of war dead. Russia's defense minister Sergei Shoigu claimed in September 2022 — almost a year ago — that 6,000 Russian soldiers died in the first six months of the war.Researchers working with the BBC said in August that more than 30,000 dead Russian soldiers had been identified by name, suggesting an overall death toll far larger.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 18th, 2023

Wagner, infamous for brutality in Ukraine and a failed mutiny in Russia, is registered as an "educational organization" in its new home

The mercenaries have been training Belarus' military for several weeks after relocating to the country in the wake of their rebellion against Moscow. Belarusian soldiers attend a training by mercenary fighters from Wagner private military company.Belarusian Defense Ministry via VoenTV via AP, File The Wagner Group has reportedly registered as an "educational organization" in Belarus. It's a stark contrast for the mercenaries, who have a history of violence and human rights abuses. The embattled organization has been training soldiers in the Belarusian military for several weeks.  The Wagner Group has a rough reputation for violence and brutality, which was seen regularly in Ukraine with deadly human wave attacks, the reported torturing of prisoners of war, and executions of deserters. Now, the mercenary group is registered as an "educational organization" in Belarus — its new home — as it trains the country's military.Information published by Belarus' Unified State Register of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs shows that Wagner registered as a company earlier this month, with the sole purpose of educational activities, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.The entity appears to be registered in the country's central Asipovichy district, which is the location of a military base where the mercenaries have been staying for several weeks. After inciting a deadly and short-lived armed rebellion against Russia's military leadership in late June, Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was seemingly cast into exile in Belarus. Facing an uncertain future, Prigozhin's mercenaries were given the opportunity to join him in neighboring Belarus, which offered to host the fighters at an abandoned military camp in the Asipovichy region so they could train the country's armed forces. Belarus announced in mid-July that Wagner had started training territorial defense units, and that partnership has since expanded. The mercenaries eventually began to carry out more advanced training, covering combined arms assault with tanks and artillery support, drone evasion, dismounted infantry maneuvering, and more. Experts have noted that some of these exercises typically take place in partnership with Russian soldiers. A fighter from Russian Wagner mercenary group and a Belarusian service member take part in a joint training at the Brest military range outside Brest, Belarus, in this still image released July 20, 2023.Belarusian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS"I need to train my own military personnel because an army that doesn't fight is half an army," Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said earlier this month, according to an English translation of his remarks by state-run media outlet Belta. "I don't want to fight. I don't want our guys to die. This is why they need to be trained."It's unclear if the "educational organization" registry will impact Wagner's operations in Belarus or how it trains the military there, but the new designation certainly marks a stark contrast to past Wagner activity in different countries around the world, including on the battlefield in Ukraine.For example, the mercenaries have been accused of widespread human rights violations and various atrocities across Africa, where the organization is present in several countries with unstable governments.Prigozhin said last month that Wagner fighters in Belarus will stay there for a while before eventually heading south to Africa, although the timeline is ambiguous. But the longer that the mercenaries remain in Belarus, the more unease it appears to cause for NATO's eastern European members that share a border with the country. Officials Poland and Lithuania have voiced distress in recent weeks after Warsaw asserted that dozens of Wagner fighters moved into positions near the border and two Belarusian military helicopters violated its airspace. Minsk denied the claims, and the US has downplayed the concerns. FILE - In this photo taken from video released by Belarus' Defense Ministry on Thursday, July 20, 2023, Belarusian soldier of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) and a mercenary fighter from Wagner private military company attend the weeklong maneuvers that will be conducted at a firing range near the border city of Brest, Belarus.Belarus' Defense Ministry via AP, File"I'm not aware of any imminent risk right now, as it relates to cross-border operations," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters at a briefing earlier this month, adding that "when it comes to Wagner Group, I think we all keep a close eye all of the time."Still, the two NATO countries remain on edge and have taken actions to address concerns about Wagner. Poland this week said it arrested two Russians that it accused of distributing Wagner Group propaganda and has deployed troops to the border with Belarus, while Lithuania announced on Wednesday its plan to close two border checkpoints with Belarus — citing the Wagner Group's relocation there.  "This decision is one of the preventive measures aimed at managing emerging threats to national security and possible provocations at the border," said Agnė Bilotaitė, Lithuania's interior minister, in a statement. "It will enable border officers to redistribute their capacities at the border with Belarus and pay even larger attention to the protection of the state border."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 16th, 2023

North Korea Claims US Army Soldier Defected Because US Is "Racist"

North Korea Claims US Army Soldier Defected Because US Is 'Racist' Nearly a full month after the bizarre defection incident involving US Army soldier Travis King, North Korea has for the first time belatedly acknowledged it has King in custody. King, a private in the US Army, was attending a guided tour of the Joint Security Area inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Koreas, before he broke from the group and sprinted across the border. North Korea, not willing to waste a good propaganda moment, said the US soldier felt "disillusioned" with an "unequal American society." King, while being questioned, has reportedly claimed 'racism' in the army and American society. State media KCNA said he told North Korean officials during questioning that he "harbored ill feeling against inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the US Army," per a translation. He said he was "disillusioned at the unequal American society," and decided to seek refuge in North Korea or another country outside the reach of Washington authorities, KCNA claimed. But despite the supposed "racism" rationale, King was actually facing disciplinary and legal action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). He has already spent tow months in a South Korean jail for assault, as Reuters reviews: U.S. officials said he had finished serving time in detention in South Korea for an unspecified infraction and was transported by the U.S. military to the airport to return to his home unit in the United States, when he apparently decided to join a tour to the North Korean border. King pleaded guilty to assault and destruction of public goods stemming from an October incident, and on Feb. 8 the Seoul Western District Court fined him 5 million won ($4,000), according to a copy of the ruling reviewed by Reuters. An eyewitness had said King was actually laughing as he bolted from the group and cross the border. By all appearances, he simply wanted to escape further legal action awaiting him in the US and will now disguise his actions as "noble"... because "racism".  #FPVideo: #NorthKorea said that #USSoldier #TravisKing who crossed over to North Korea from #SouthKorea last month, confessed to seeking refuge from "inhuman maltreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army". — Firstpost (@firstpost) August 16, 2023 US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement after King's entering North Korea said the army private did it "willfully and without authorization." US officials have made repeat attempts to contact Pyongyang over his fate but to no avail.  Likely the Kim Jong-Un government will continue to use King as a propaganda tool, and might soon even parade him in front of cameras, especially if he is a willing participant.  Tyler Durden Wed, 08/16/2023 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 16th, 2023

Futures Flat Ahead Of Fed Minutes As China Turmoil Grows

Futures Flat Ahead Of Fed Minutes As China Turmoil Grows US equity futures and European stocks are little changed, having swung between gains and losses, following a broadly negative session in Asia where concerns surrounding the Chinese economy (home prices fell for the first time this year, fueling recession concerns despite increasing expectations for more stimulus) and the implosion of shadow banking giant Zhongrong (China's Blackstone) continued to weigh on sentiment with focus remaining on earnings. As of 7:30am, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were unchanged, with JPM's trading desk wondering if "there is enough momentum to stage a relief rally today" (full note available to pro subs). Commodities are rebounding across all three complexes with USD weaker. Government bonds in the US and Europe were broadly stronger, with US 10-year yields falling 3bps to 4.18%, halting a run of losses that was fueled by concern interest rates will be kept at high levels for longer than expected. The dollar rebounded from an early selloff while the pound strengthened as UK inflation topped expectations. Today’s macro focus is the Fed Minutes, housing data, Industrial Production, and Consumer-sector earnings. In premarket trading, shares of Target jumped on a strong profit rebound at the retailer even as the company slashed its guidance, while electric-vehicle makers are lower again after Tesla cut its prices in China for the second time in three days, further fueling concerns of renewing a price war that had showed some signs of abating (Tesla -1.5%, Rivian -1.7% and Nikola -2.1%). Keep an eye on banks, which got hit on news of a potential sector-wide ratings downgrade; XLF and KRE are indicated flat pre-mkt. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Cava rises 12% after the fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain said it expects higher profits this year. Coherent falls 20% after the semiconductor device company forecast revenue for the first quarter that came in below analysts’ estimates. Dlocal shares soared 30% after the Uruguayan financial technology firm reported second-quarter net income that beat estimates and named e-commerce veteran Pedro Arnt as co-CEO. Analysts said the results were strong and applauded Arnt’s appointment. Occidental edges up 0.4% after the oil producer said it agreed to acquire Canadian startup Carbon Engineering Ltd. for $1.1 billion in cash. Target (TGT) climbs 7.7% after reporting fiscal second-quarter adjusted earnings per share and gross margin that topped the average analyst estimates. Adjusted EPS $1.80 vs. 39c y/y, estimate $1.40. Still, the retailer lowered its full-year sales and profit expectations. VinFast Auto falls 12% after the Vietnamese automaker’s shares surged 255% on Tuesday when it debuted on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, becoming the latest beneficiary of frenzy around SPAC deals. AngioDynamics (ANGO) gains 8.4% after the company said the FDA has granted breakthrough device designation for AngioVac System “for use to include the non-surgical removal of vegetation from the right heart.”. Coherent falls 24% after the semiconductor device company gave a forecast that was weaker than expected. Nubank (NU) shares advance 3.4% after the digital bank reported second-quarter net income that beat estimates. Morgan Stanley said the results were solid, while Numis noted that the company had achieved the objectives that were core to its business model. Market sentiment was dented by a renewed concerns about China’s economic woes  despite a slew of stimulus steps by authorities, with the onshore yuan sinking toward its weakest in 16 years against the dollar and the MSCI China Index of stocks set to erase gains seen since a key policy meeting in late July. China's central bank moved again on Wednesday to boost fragile sentiment with a stronger-than-expected reference rate for the yuan and the largest injection of short term cash to the financial system since February. So far the steps have failed to restore optimism and market moves suggest traders are looking for more aggressive supportive measures. “Market participants are watching the developments on the real estate markets in China and the US with growing concern,” said Andreas Lipkow, a strategist at Comdirect Bank. Realizing the futility of China's piecemeal interventions which do nothing, a PBOC central banker has now called for at least 3 trillion yuan in helicopter money to stimulate flagging consumer demand. Meanwhile, money-market wagers for the Bank of England’s peak interest rate held steady at 6% after the UK inflation print came in hotter than expected as the cost of travel and holidays climbed. The numbers added to hot wage figures and US retail statistics that rattled markets on Tuesday, spurring bets tight central bank policy will be in place for longer.  inneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari warned that inflation was “still too high.” European equities moved between modest gains and losses as growing pessimism around China’s economic outlook prompted caution among investors. Higher-than-expected UK inflation data also weighed on sentiment. The Stoxx Europe 600 was little changed after falling to the lowest level in a month on Tuesday. Retailers led gains while energy and travel and leisure stocks were the biggest laggards. Among individual stocks, Admiral Group Plc rallied after reporting results that Jefferies said showed that its UK car business had recovered well. Elsewhere, nutrition firm Glanbia Plc advanced after boosting its full-year adjusted earnings guidance. Here are the biggest European movers: Aviva rises as much as 3% after the UK insurer and asset manager said 2023 earnings should exceed medium-term targets. Morgan Stanley notes improving property and casual insurance Sectra gains as much as 9.9%, the most since June, after the medical imaging firm announced it has won an enterprise imaging contract with “one of the larger multi-region healthcare systems in the US” Demant gains as much as 5.3% after the Danish hearing-aid maker raised its sales and earnings outlook for the year. Still, the guidance upgrade was “widely anticipated,” according to Citi analysts B&M European Value Retail rises as much as 3.2% in a third day of gains amid speculation that the company could bid for collapsed British discounter Wilko Glanbia shares climb as much as 5.7% to the highest since September 2021 after the Irish food and nutrition company increased its outlook for the year and named Hugh McGuire as its new CEO Balfour Beatty falls as much as 4.8%, the most intraday since February, after the UK construction and infrastructure group’s 1H EPS came below expectations and its net cash position fell, Liberum writes Prosus shares drop as much as 3.9% in Amsterdam trading after Tencent’s second-quarter revenue missed expectations, held back by lower-than-expected sales from games both at home and abroad Antofagasta falls as much as 2.4% after RBC Capital downgrades to underperform, citing growing capital expenditure and a risk to the premium valuation the miner has built year-to-date Storskogen falls as much as 26% after the Swedish acquisition group’s second-quarter Ebit dropped 11% y/y and fell 19% short of consensus expectations, also guiding for continued challenges Asian equities retreat for fourth day as risk appetite remained low in the wake of growing economic concerns in China and prospects of the Federal Reserve keeping rates higher for longer. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.4%, set for its lowest close since May 31. Chinese equities weighed on the regional benchmark as disappointing economic data worsened the recent selloff, while South Korean gauges were the worst performers regionally as foreign investors sold shares amid a stronger dollar. Hang Seng falls 1.2% and mainland indexes lose ground. Japanese, South Korean and Australian stock indexes all decline. “A recent set of disappointing economic data out of China has not been encouraging for the region,” Jun Rong Yeap, Market Analyst at IG Asia Pte. said in a note. The aggressive 15 bps cut by Chinese central bank to its one-year policy interest reflects the severity of the economic weakness that authorities foresee to drag on for longer, Yeap said. The Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp remained pressured amid China growth concerns as recent poor data releases have prompted several banks to cut their growth forecasts for the world’s second-largest economy including JPMorgan which now anticipates 4.8% GDP growth for China this year, while the latest House Price data also showed a contraction Y/Y to add to the ongoing developer woes. The MSCI China Index is on course to erase all its gains made since last month’s Politburo meeting, reflecting growing anxiety among investors that Asia’s largest economy needs major economic stimulus to boost its consumption and property sector. Japanese stocks fell on Wednesday amid concerns that interest rates will stay higher for longer in the US and as the outlook for the Chinese economy remained downbeat. The Topix Index fell 1.3% to 2,260.84 while the Nikkei declined 1.5% to 31,766.82. Materials-related stocks such as steel and non-ferrous metals declined, as did trading company stocks. In Australia, the ASX 200 was led lower by the large industries, while participants also digested earnings and a softer leading index. Stocks in India erased initial losses to end higher as utilities and automakers gained. Local shares were among major gainers in Asia as most regional peers fell amid concerns over slowing growth in China. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.2% to 65,539.42 in Mumbai. The NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced by a similar measure before recovering from a drop of as much as 0.6%. Trading in India was closed on Tuesday for a local holiday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index edged lower, falling as much as 0.2% after four-straight days of increases. The dollar was lower against all G10 peers. The pound rose as much as 0.5% to $1.2766, set for a second day of gains versus the dollar after inflation data came in slightly stronger than expected. It’s the best performer among the G-10’s with the kiwi, which rose after the RBNZ left the door open to further rate hikes. EUR/USD snapped three days of declines against the US dollar, rising about 0.3% to 1.0934 The New Zealand dollar reversed an intraday decline after the Reserve Bank left its key rate unchanged at 5.5% but signaled a small chance of another rate hike. Yields on 2-year swaps also reversed its 2.5-basis point slidethanks  earlier in the day A selloff in Chinese assets deepened on Wednesday, with a key equity gauge set to erase all gains seen since last month’s Politburo meeting and the yuan falling toward a 16-year low. In rates, treasuries are in the green with US 10-year yields falling 3bps to 4.18% on speculation the jump in yields is overdone; treasuries were richer across the curve by up to 4.5bps in a bull steepening move with front-end leading gains; 2s10s, 5s30s spreads are steeper by 1.7bp and 4.5bp on the day ahead of key US data and FOMC meeting minutes release later in the US session. 10-year yields around 4.18% after breaching 4.20% Tuesday, richer by 3bp on the day and outperforming bunds and gilts by 0.5bp and 6bp. The current TSY yield provides a good entry point for investors, according to Steven Major, global head of fixed-income research at HSBC Holdings. “Going up the US curve to 10 year-plus is now looking more and more interesting,” he said on Bloomberg Television. Bunds also rise but gilts are nursing small declines after UK inflation rose slightly faster than expected in July.  The dollar IG issuance slate empty so far; three deals priced Tuesday for a combined $1.85b — at least three issuers elected against announcing transactions. In commodities, crude futures are little changed with WTI trading near $81. Benchmark European natural gas futures rose as much as 10% — after gaining 13% on Tuesday — as traders weighed the prospect of disruptions against weak demand and high storage levels in the region. Gold prices edged 0.2% higher. Looking to the day ahead now, and one of the main highlights will be the FOMC minutes from their July meeting. US data releases include July’s industrial production, capacity utilisation, housing starts and building permits. Elsewhere, there’s UK CPI for July and Euro Area industrial production for June. Lastly, earnings releases include Target and Cisco. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,465.25 MXAP down 1.2% to 159.53 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 502.94 Nikkei down 1.5% to 31,766.82 Topix down 1.3% to 2,260.84 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 18,329.30 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,150.13 Sensex little changed at 65,403.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.5% to 7,195.17 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,525.64 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 456.34 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.67% Euro up 0.3% to $1.0934 Brent Futures up 0.1% to $85.01/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,905.41 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 102.95 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A record of the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting due Wednesday is set to show only a minority of officials favored holding interest rates steady over the remainder of the year, according to Bloomberg Economics. UK inflation remained higher than expected last month as the cost of travel and holidays climbed, adding to the case for the Bank of England to raise interest rates again. The yen may have slumped to within a whisker of levels that saw Japan intervene in the currency market last year, but options traders see little need to prepare for a jolt from authorities in Tokyo. New Zealand’s central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a second straight meeting but signaled a risk that it may need to hike them further to tame inflation. China home prices dropped for a second month in July, a further sign of the deepening property downturn that’s weighing on the world’s second-largest economy. Fitch Ratings Ltd. said it may reconsider China’s A+ sovereign credit score, adding to the growing pessimism toward the nation’s financial markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were pressured following the declines on Wall St amid the broad risk-off mood, which was triggered by global macro headwinds, in particular, the recent slew of weak data from China. ASX 200 was led lower by the large industries, while participants also digested earnings and a softer leading index. Nikkei 225 dipped beneath the 32,000 level as all major bourses suffered from the falling tide across stocks. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp remained pressured amid China growth concerns as recent poor data releases have prompted several banks to cut their growth forecasts for the world’s second-largest economy including JPMorgan which now anticipates 4.8% GDP growth for China this year, while the latest House Price data also showed a contraction Y/Y to add to the ongoing developer woes. Top Asian News China reportedly asked some funds to avoid net equity sales as the market sinks, according to Bloomberg sources. RBNZ kept the OCR unchanged at 5.50% as expected, while it noted that the Committee agreed that the OCR will need to remain at a restrictive level for the foreseeable future and the current level of interest rates is constraining spending and hence inflation pressure, as anticipated and required. RBNZ also stated that headline inflation and inflation expectations have declined but measures of core inflation remain too high, as well as noted there is a risk in the near-term that activity and inflation measures do not slow as much as expected. Furthermore, it slightly raised OCR projections which is seen at 5.57% in September 2024 (prev. 5.43%) and at 5.50% in December 2024 (prev. 5.30%). RBNZ Governor Orr said during the press conference that the rise in the OCR track is not forward guidance and is not a strong signal of their next move, while they are wary about doing too much on rates. Orr noted that risks in the next few months are that activity could be stronger than projected, while he responded that there will always be the risk of another rate hike as there is always the risk of a rate cut when asked if there are risks of another hike, and stated that they are very comfortable where the OCR is. European bourses trade mixed after opening after shrugging off mild broad-based opening losses with no obvious catalyst behind the move at the time. Sectors are mixed with Retail, Utilities, Consumer Produce & Services at the top of the bunch while Travel & Leisure, Media, Energy and Telecoms reside as the laggards. Stateside, equity futures are trading slightly firmer as some positive sentiment attempts to return following yesterday’s closes, with traders looking ahead to FOMC minutes. Top European News Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund CEO expects that inflation will be difficult to lower; cites climate change, driving up food prices and lowering worker productivity. FX DXY faded again on a combination of factors; the index narrowly failed to match the prior session high before retreating from 103.270 to 102.940 and back down through the 200 DMA in the process. GBP received a boost from slightly above consensus core UK inflation hot on the heels of the even stronger average earnings relative to expectations. NZD is the top G10 performer after the RBNZ held rates but tweaked its OCR path upwards to omit a rate cut by Dec 2024. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1986 vs exp. 7.2878 (prev. 7.1768) Chinese state banks were seen selling dollars vs yuan at the 7.2800 level. Russian Authorities may bring back the compulsory sale of FX revenues "at any moment" even though part of export revenues are now in Roubles and Rupees, according to Reuters citing a high-level source who said the move could be imminent. South Korean Finance Minister said tax breaks on oil products are to be extended until the end of October, adding they are closely watching the FX market, according to Reuters. Fixed Income Debt futures remain broadly firmer after recouping more losses from fresh cycle lows, with the exception of Gilts that have been hampered by core UK CPI bucking the disinflationary dynamic. Bunds are hovering just over 131.00 within a 131.14-130.65 range, while Gilts sits sub-parity between 93.05-92.53 parameters and the T-note holds nearer 110.04+ overnight peak than 109-24 trough Germany sold EUR 0.787bln vs. Exp. EUR 1bln 0.00% 2050 Bund and EUR 1.266bln vs. Exp. EUR 1.5bln 0.00% 2052 Bund Commodities WTI and Brent futures are flat in tight ranges with little in the way of fresh newsflow for the complex, with the downside from the overnight risk aversion somewhat cushioned by the constructive Private Inventory report yesterday Spot gold moves in tandem with the Buck after finding overnight support at the USD 1,900/oz mark and gradually inching higher back towards its 200 DMA (1,905/oz). Base metals have tilted firmer since the lacklustre European opened with sentiment in the complex potentially supported (alongside the soft dollar) by Chinese battery maker CATL unveiling its new "superfast charging" long-range battery. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -6.2mln (exp. -2.3mln), Gasoline +0.7mln (exp. -1.3mln), Distillate -0.8mln (exp. -0.5mln), Cushing -1.0mln. Woodside Energy (WDS AT) workers at the North West Shelf LNG plant will likely hold more talks next week after failing to reach an agreement yesterday. The talks are reportedly slated for next Wednesday, according to Bloomberg sources. Chevron (CVX) will reportedly delay plans to sell some spot market cargoes from its Gorgon operation amid the risk of strikes, according to Bloomberg sources. Warehouses and grain silos were damaged in Russia's overnight attack at one of the Danube river ports in Ukraine, according to the Odesa governor cited by Reuters. Geopolitics Ukraine said Russian drones were over the Danube and headed towards river port Izmail. It was also reported that Russia's Defence Ministry said it destroyed three Ukrainian drones over Russia's Kaluga region, according to Reuters. North Korea said US soldier Travis King confessed he decided to come over to North Korea as he harboured ill feelings against the US Army and expressed a willingness to seek refuge in North Korea or a third country, according to KCNA. US Event Calendar 07:00: Aug. MBA Mortgage Applications -0.8%, prior -3.1% 08:30: July Housing Starts, est. 1.45m, prior 1.43m July Housing Starts MoM, est. 1.1%, prior -8.0% July Building Permits, est. 1.46m, prior 1.44m, revised 1.44m July Building Permits MoM, est. 1.5%, prior -3.7% 09:15: July Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.3%, prior -0.5% July Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0%, prior -0.3% July Capacity Utilization, est. 79.1%, prior 78.9% 14:00: July FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap Markets have continued to struggle over the last 24 hours, with both the S&P 500 (-1.16%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (-0.93%) hitting a one-month low. Several factors were behind the declines, including ongoing concern about China’s economy. But yesterday also brought a fresh round of concerns about inflation, not least after UK wage growth and Canadian CPI both surprised on the upside, whilst European natural gas prices (+12.89%) saw a fresh spike amidst a potential strike at Australian LNG facilities. All that put a dent in risk assets, but the inflation fears contributed to a decent bond sell-off as well, with yields reaching their highest level in months across several countries. Markets had already started the day on the back foot after the weak China data we discussed yesterday and the mood didn’t improve much from there, starting with the latest UK labour market data. That showed regular annual pay growth (excluding bonuses) was running at +7.8% over the three months to June, which was the highest since comparable records begin in 2001, and some way above the +7.4% consensus. That added to fears about entrenched inflation, whilst there was also bad news on the unemployment side, which rose to 4.2% over the same period (vs. 4.0% expected). See our economists’ reaction note here for more details. The UK print led investors to ratchet up the chance of further rate hikes from the Bank of England over the months ahead. Indeed, the size of the hike priced in for the next meeting in September went up by +8.3bps yesterday from 23.7bps to 32.0bps, and this morning markets are now fully pricing in a terminal rate of 6% by the time of the March 2024 meeting. So all eyes will be on today’s UK CPI print to see how that changes things, and our UK economist is looking for a +6.8% reading. That wage data served as the catalyst for a substantial sovereign bond sell-off that only came off slightly towards the day’s end. In fact, yields on 10yr bunds (+3.6bps) hit a post-SVB high of 2.67%, as did those on 10yr OATs (+4.0bps) which closed at 3.21%. 10yr gilts saw a more moderate rise (+2.3bps to 4.59%) but with a larger sell-off in the 2yr after the stronger pay data (+5.6bps). There were also sizeable moves at the long end of the curve, with the nominal and real 30yr gilt yield both rising to their highest level since the mini-budget turmoil last year, at 4.77% and 1.34%, respectively. Inflation news elsewhere added further fuel to the sell-off. For instance, Canada’s CPI in July moved back up to +3.3% (vs. +3.0% expected), which similarly led investors to price in a growing chance of another Bank of Canada rate hike by year-end. And back in Europe, natural gas futures (+12.89%) closed at their highest level in over two months. That came as the potential strike among Australian LNG workers remained unresolved. If there is a strike, that could interrupt as much as 10% of global LNG exports, so it has significant importance to the global market. The backdrop of weaker China activity data and higher inflation risks meant that risk assets put in a weak performance across the board, with the S&P 500 down -1.16%. Banks (-2.75%) saw their weakest day since early May, whilst energy stocks (-2.44%) also underperformed as oil prices retreated (WTI crude -1.84% to $80.99/bl). That said, the decline was broad-based, with all 24 industry groups of the S&P 500 down on the day. This came in spite of upbeat retail sales numbers out of the US, with headline sales up +0.7% in July (vs. +0.4% expected) and retail control up +1.0% (vs +0.5% exp.). Other indices saw a similar pattern, with the NASDAQ (-1.14%) and the Dow Jones (-1.02%) both losing ground. And back in Europe it was much the same story, with losses for the STOXX 600 (-0.93%), the DAX (-0.86%) and the CAC 40 (-1.10%). Another asset that saw significant moves yesterday were US Treasuries, and the 10yr real yield (+5.0bps) closed at a post-2009 high of 1.88%. Nominal yields had an eventful day too, with the 10yr yield (+2.0bps) up for a 4th consecutive day to 4.211%, which was actually a slight pullback from the intraday peak of 4.268%. That went alongside a steepening in the yield curve, with the 2yr yield down -1.5bps to 4.952% as investors priced in a slightly more dovish path for the fed funds rate. For instance, futures for the December 2023 and 2024 meetings were down -1.2bps and -2.7bps, respectively. That also followed comments from Minneapolis fed President Kashkari, who commented that he wasn’t “ready to say that we’re done”, and that the Fed is “a long way from cutting rates”. Overnight in Asia, that pattern of losses has continued, with sharp losses across the major indices. That includes the KOSPI (-1.52%) as it returns after a public holiday, as well as the Hang Seng (-1.39%), the Nikkei (-1.09%), the Shanghai Comp (-0.25%) and the CSI 300 (-0.18%). The moves come amidst further signs of property market weakness in China, with new home prices down by a monthly -0.23% in July. In the meantime, the People’s Bank of China injected a net 297bn yuan of cash through its 7-day reverse repurchase contracts overnight, which is the most since February. Looking forward, equity futures are pointing to further losses, with those on the STOXX 50 (-0.33%) and the DAX (-0.37%) falling back, whilst S&P 500 futures (-0.01%) have seen a modest decline. Elsewhere overnight, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its benchmark policy rate at 5.5% as expected, whilst indicating that interest rates would need to stay high for some time yet to tame inflation. Their latest forecasts show the average official cash rate with a higher path than before, with a peak of 5.59% in mid-2024. However, Governor Orr played down the higher rate track, saying that they were in “watch, worry and wait” mode. This morning the New Zealand dollar is the best-performing G10 currency, and is up +0.17% against the US Dollar. When it came to yesterday’s other data, the US Empire State manufacturing survey fell back to -19.0 (vs. -1.0 expected). Separately, the NAHB’s housing market index fell back to 50 in August (vs. 56 expected), which marked an end to a run of 7 consecutive monthly gains. Over in Europe, the German ZEW survey saw the current situation fall to its weakest since October at -71.3 (vs. -63.0 expected). However, the expectations component moved up slightly to -12.3 (vs. -14.9 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the main highlights will be the FOMC minutes from their July meeting. US data releases include July’s industrial production, capacity utilisation, housing starts and building permits. Elsewhere, there’s UK CPI for July and Euro Area industrial production for June. Lastly, earnings releases include Target and Cisco. Tyler Durden Wed, 08/16/2023 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 16th, 2023

Ukrainian troops left "underprepared" by NATO training as instructors don"t understand the type of warfare or the enemy, report says

Ukrainian soldiers say that Western instructors focus is fighting insurgencies in the Middle East and lack experience in facing an enemy like Russia. An instructor briefs Ukrainian soldiers during grenade training at a training center near Yavoriv, Ukraine, on April 29, 2017.Oklahoma Army National Guard/Sgt. Anthony Jones Ukrainian troops trained by NATO say they are left underprepared for the war with Russia. They said their Western instructors don't have experience in fighting this kind of war. Western armies have been focused on fighting insurgencies in the Middle East in recent years. Ukrainian troops trained by NATO are being left underprepared for the realities of the war with Russia, a report says.Western training is often limited because instructors have never fought a war like the Russia's invasion of Ukraine, media platform openDemocracy reported. "I don't want to say anything against our partners, but they don't quite understand our situation and how we are fighting," a senior intelligence sergeant in the 41st Mechanised Brigade, who goes by the name "Dutchman," told openDemocracy.About 63,000 Ukrainian troops have been trained in the West — mostly in the UK and Germany, per the report.All of them go through a 35-day "crash course" of basic soldier training, a UK source told the outlet.Nick Reynolds, a land warfare expert at the UK-based defense think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said that the training provided by the West was safer but less comparable to actual warfare."We do have a lot of health and safety regulation. Yet this means they are going on to the battlefield less prepared," Reynolds told openDemocracy.He noted that this strategy may increase the risk of things going wrong during live operations."Dutchman" said that while NATO training can be useful for things like shooting and learning to use equipment, most major combat training occurred in Ukraine.One limitation is that Western armies have been focused on fighting insurgencies in the Middle East in recent years.Members of Ukraine's 41st Brigade said that NATO instructors often used examples from the conflict in the Middle East, which largely involved clearing houses and identifying insurgents among the locals, which they said was "not really relevant to us."Scott Peterson/Getty Images"Dutchman" said that Western instructors have experience in urban warfare, fighting in cities and towns — but in Ukraine, much of the fighting is on flat ground."We need people to understand how to effectively clear trenches, enter them, how to throw grenades effectively, how not to trip on booby traps, to understand what grenades the [Russians] throw — essentially to understand the enemy," he said.Western instructors also typically planned "with a weaker enemy in mind," Dutchman said, as NATO forces sought to overwhelm their enemies with the type of firepower that Ukraine does not possess.Another limitation is that NATO health and safety regulations require troops to undergo basic training before moving on to more advanced levels.But due to time constraints, Ukrainian troops often don't reach those levels, Reynolds said."From a legal, regulatory, safety, and permissions perspective, we can't do [the type of training Ukrainians want] unless we make some fairly serious policy changes," he said.One significant upside of the Western training is that Ukrainian troops take home expensive equipment, including body armor and medical supplies, a source involved in the UK training process told openDemocracy. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 12th, 2023

The Kremlin won"t admit how many soldiers have died in Ukraine, but researchers have now identified 30,000 dead Russians by name

Russia last year admitted that nearly 6,000 of its soldiers had died in the invasion, but the real toll is far higher, according to open source data. The Russian Foreign Ministry building is seen in central Moscow behind a billboard featuring "Z letters" — a tactical insignia for Russian troops in Ukraine. The billboard reads: "Victory is being Forged in Fire."ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images Researchers have identified more than 30,000 Russians killed fighting in Ukraine. More than 1,300 dead soldiers were identified in the last two weeks alone, they said. Russia has publicly admitted to losing fewer than 6,000 men since the February 2022 invasion. Publicly, Russian officials have admitted to losing no more than 6,000 men since last year's all-out invasion of Ukraine. But researchers working with the BBC say they have now identified — by name — more than 30,000 dead Russian soldiers, including more than 1,300 in the last two weeks alone.That Russia has suffered huge losses in Ukraine is undeniable, evidenced by Moscow's push to expand the draft and recruit from the incarcerated.In May, the White House said Russia had likely suffered more than 100,000 casualties, a figure that includes the injured. The British government, earlier in the year, said as many as 60,000 Russians had been killed in action.But Mediazona, an independent Russian news outlet that has partnered with the BBC's Russian service, says its figure of 30,000 dead, while certainly an undercount, is not a mere estimate. Each number represents a soldier with a name.Their death is considered "confirmed" if researchers can link it to a rare official statement or, more often, open source data, such as social media posts by relatives that include corroborating information, like burial dates and photos of cemetery plots.In recent weeks, corresponding with Ukraine's counteroffensive, these researchers have noticed an uptick in casualties among Russian troops operating rocket launchers and artillery, Mediazona said, including sizable losses in the Zaporizhzhia region, home to Europe's largest nuclear power plant.Prisoners, who have been recruited by the Wagner paramilitary group as well as the Russian military itself, appear to have suffered the greatest losses since the war began. More than 5,600 inmates have been identified as killed in Ukraine. The next highest is draftees, with more than 3,100 confirmed dead.At least 2,400 Russian officers have also been identified as killed, according to the group, including 284 who were considered "high ranking."For comparison, a leaked US military assessment earlier year said that as many as 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the war began.The enormous human cost of Russia's invasion has been impossible for some of its military leaders to deny. In a recent video address, Col. Gen. Mikhail Teplinsky, commander of Russia's elite VDV Airborne Forces, admitted that 8,500 of his troops had been wounded in Ukraine, all of whom had either returned to the front or refused to leave in the first place. He did not say how many had been killed.Although Teplinsky's remarks were an apparent attempt to boost morale, they were soon scrubbed from Russian state media.Russian officials prefer to deflect questions about the human cost of their "special military operation."After a separate analysis last month found that, as of May 2023, at least 47,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in Ukraine — a finding based on analyzing excess mortality rates in Russia — Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters he was unfamiliar with the widely publicized report, claiming that the only accurate source for such information was the defense ministry.In September 2022, that ministry acknowledged losing 5,937 soldiers.At least 9,000 civilians have also been killed in Ukraine, according to the United Nations, most in areas targeted by Russian forces.Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 11th, 2023

A US soldier may have falsely reported a US raid in Afghanistan while attempting to secure the adoption of a baby he found in the rubble

The child was found after a raid by US soldiers. Afghan villagers say the father was an innocent farmer killed in the raid and that the child belongs with the family. Joshua Mast and his wife walking to court in Charlottesville, Virginia.Cliff Owen/Associated Press Maj. Joshua Mast, after a raid on an Afghan village, tried for years to adopt a baby he found in the rubble. He claims her parents were foreign fighters and that she was stateless. Villagers say her parents were farmers. The child has been reunited with her family, for now. The Afghan villager was afraid the American soldiers might come. And one cool night in fall, as his children lay asleep, helicopters roared overhead.At the first sound of gunshots, he yelled for his wife and 10 children to take cover. His young daughter grabbed her sleeping infant sister off the bed. Their mud compound exploded, and a blast sent a huge shock through the home."My small sister fell away from my arms," the girl, now a teenager, whispered, so quietly she could barely be heard above the breeze. "The wind blew her out of my hands."Today, what exactly happened that night is at the center of a bitter international custody dispute over an orphaned baby found amid the rubble. The high-profile legal battle pits an Afghan family against an American one, and has drawn responses from the White House and the Taliban.The Afghan government and the International Committee of the Red Cross determined that the baby belonged to this Afghan villager. Friends and family say he was a farmer, not a militant. The Red Cross found surviving relatives and united her with them.However, a US Marine attorney, Maj. Joshua Mast, believed he should get the girl instead. He insists that the child is the stateless orphan of foreign fighters who were living in an Al Qaeda compound, and convinced a rural Virginia judge to grant him an adoption from 7,000 miles away.Were it not for this little girl, now 4 years old, the events that began on the night of September 5, 2019, in this remote, impoverished region might have remained locked away among clandestine stories of the thousands of raids the American and Afghan militaries carried out during the long war.But once-secret documents, now filed in court records, reveal details that thrust this raid into an ongoing controversy over who the military killed when they blew down walls in the middle of the night in Afghanistan, if those people were fighters or civilians, and whether the military ever tried to find out.The Mast family has submitted a summary of the raid in a federal court case, an account Mast helped create after he said he "personally read every page of the 150+ classified documents" on the operation. The summary describes how as many as six enemy fighters were killed and possibly one civilian. The only child the document mentions is the injured baby.But survivors and villagers who pulled bodies from the rubble told The Associated Press that more than 20 people were killed that night. Among them were this local farmer, his wife, and five of their children, ages 4 to 15. The villagers said that after the raid, they also found four more of the farmer's children — three girls and a boy — covered in dirt, crying amid flames and ruins.Attorneys for the federal government said the summary the Mast family submitted in court was written on "purported" military letterhead and "does not appear to have been created or endorsed by the Department of Defense." Nonetheless, they asked the court to seal it because they claim it contains government information the public should not see."The 'mission summary' document was created by Major Mast in 2019 for use in his efforts to adopt the Afghan child, using his access to United States government information that he obtained through his Department of Defense employment, but does not necessarily reflect accurate or complete information," a Defense Department official told the AP.The military refuses to talk about its own account of the raid, and asked the AP to instead use a redacted version that blacks out certain details, including any reference to civilian deaths. Several soldiers involved in the raid, who have testified in locked-door state court hearings about what happened there, declined to comment, and what they said on the witness stand remains sealed.The total cost of the war in civilian lives is impossible to pin down. The Defense Department estimates 48,000 Afghan civilians were killed and at least 75,000 injured between 2001 and 2021, though the agency acknowledges the true toll is likely significantly higher.Night raids have long been a particularly controversial tactic, said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Military investigations into who was killed in night raids were rare, and even more rarely made public. Gossman said a representative of the US military told her American soldiers hardly ever returned to the scene of a raid to see if civilians were killed."They said to us, 'We can't, we can't go back there because we'd be a target,'" Gossman recalled. "But then how do you ever know?"The AP spoke with 12 villagers who described what happened on the night of Sept. 5, 2019, including four who said they were the orphan's siblings and uncles. The AP has agreed not to name the village or the family out of fear of tribal conflict and retaliation from the Taliban, who now rule the country. But neighbors said they never saw anyone return to account for the dead and injured, including the children, or to verify if they were militants.The farmer's brother-in-law wept as he walked around the site of the raid, pointing out where he had found his surviving nephews and nieces and the mutilated corpses of his loved ones. He showed the AP where they lived, where they made fires, where they sat, where they ate. The farmer was around 55 or 60, grew mung beans, corn and wheat, and was poor but generous enough to share any money he had, the brother-in-law said."Now that I come here and look at these places, they do not leave my eyes," he said. "My heart is very sad."The foreigners next doorHere in this rugged desert, families live among the ruins of a 20-year war — rusted tanks, bombed-out houses, bullet-riddled buildings.Dust kicks up from the wheels of motorcycles on dirt paths, where squat mud homes blend into mountains that stretch for miles in every direction. It is a hard life: There are no paved roads, no running water or electricity, no bathrooms or cell service.While locals said their tiny village was not targeted by the American military before September 2019, they feared the air strikes, night raids and fierce fighting decimating communities around them. Many raids happened in places like this — hard-to-reach outposts, far from city-based media outlets and human rights organizations that might look into civilian deaths.About 200 people scratch out a living raising animals and farming on the green fertile patch of land alongside the river. The farmer and his family tended to their goats and sheep in the courtyard of their home, villagers said.The home was a windowless one-story compound of mud and straw. Like many in this conservative region, women stayed within the walls for most of their lives.Years and ages can be difficult to calculate in Afghanistan, which uses different calendars than much of the world, but neighbors said the farmer and his family had lived there for a long time.Neighbor Abdul Khaliq said he had known the farmer for more than 20 years, and described him as kind and amiable. "He was a very good person," Khaliq said.The farmer's wife was younger, around 40, and they'd been married for about 25 years. She was the daughter of an imam at a local mosque, and remained close to her family. She had a sense of humor — her brother said she would laugh as she teased him for not visiting often enough.There is no way the AP could independently verify who the baby's parents were. Identification documents such as birth certificates aren't issued in this remote region — especially for women and girls — and few have cell phones or cameras. The AP has located no records of the birth of the farmer's baby or photographs of her with the family before the raid.The Afghan government claimed the child, and the U.S. government agreed that the girl, who is referred to in court records as "Baby Doe," belonged to an Afghan family: "Baby Doe is a citizen of Afghanistan with biological family in Afghanistan," attorneys for the federal government wrote in court filings.But the Masts strongly disagree. Several foreign families arrived in the village around 2017 and settled into a home next to the Afghan farmer and his family, neighbors said. These men, women and children shared a wall, but kept to themselves and spoke an unfamiliar language, villagers told the AP.The light-skinned, bearded foreigners were a source of gossip. Some neighbors speculated they were from another, faraway Afghan province, or Turkey, or "the West."Local mechanic Abdul Rahim, 25, said the foreigners often brought their cars, trucks and motorcycles to be fixed at his shop. No matter where they came from, one thing was clear to Rahim: They liked their weapons. They'd clean their guns while he fixed their cars."I tried very hard to talk to them, but I couldn't understand the language," Rahim said. "There was never a fight or quarrel with them."In Afghanistan, hospitality is of foremost importance, and nobody confronted the visiting foreigners. The locals said they were friendly, but cautious.The farmer told his brother-in-law he was considering moving his family to another relative's house nearby. He was frightened that the military might come for the foreigners so close to his home."There were red fires"The day of the raid unfolded like any other; the family fed corn and grass to the animals in the morning and cooked potatoes for lunch. They had no idea that U.S. and Afghan forces were loading up in helicopters to head toward their village.The soldiers were targeting three men in two compounds believed to be al-Qaida-affiliated fighters from neighboring Turkmenistan, according to the summary the Masts submitted in court. As soldiers approached, they called out, offering the people inside a chance to surrender, according to the summary. One man was detained.Rahim, the local mechanic, said he had just fallen asleep under a tree outside a friend's home when he heard someone shouting in Pashto, "stop, don't run." Awakening beside him, Mohammad Zaman remembers door-to-door knocks with orders "not to move" and "not to run." The friends lay still, even as wind from a helicopter shook the branches and leaves above them, Zaman said.Then gunfire erupted. A barricaded shooter opened fire on the attacking troops, according to the summary. He was killed, but there were multiple shooters firing: a barrage of gunshots and grenades continued to pour out of the building. Attorneys representing Mast family members say the Americans suffered numerous injuries.Joshua Mast was not at the raid. In emails filed in federal court, he said the baby was in the room with the fighters shooting at soldiers. He wrote that her biological father blew himself up with a suicide vest, just a few feet away from her.U.S. troops blasted a hole in a wall and tossed in grenades, according to the summary. Next door to the foreigners' home, the farmer's family was woken up by the noise, the surviving children said. The son said his father shouted at the children to get to another room, but he didn't know where he should run. His sister grabbed the baby.The blast that blew apart the walls of their home was so powerful that to this day, villagers believe the military dropped a bomb."Get out of this place," the sister heard her father shout. Then came gunshots, she said. His shouting stopped. She dropped the baby.The mangled bodies of her father and siblings lay on the floor, the girl said. Their father's motorcycle exploded into flames that spread and engulfed them."There were soldiers, there were bombs….there were red fires," said the sister, her eyes darting, her voice shaking.She burned her shoulder, hand and head. She ran and hid among the animals until the shooting stopped.Neighbors said the assault lasted until early the next morning. Green smoke lingered in the air, along with the smell of gunpowder and burned bodies.Soldiers found an injured woman and tried to save her life, but couldn't, Mast's summary says. They spotted a wounded baby nearby and assumed the dead woman was her mother.The American soldiers took the baby.A missing baby girlAfter the helicopters flew away and it grew quiet, neighbors say they ventured out of their homes and walked toward the flames. They called out, doubting anyone had survived.That's when they said they heard the cries.Four of the farmer's children had survived, so covered with dust and dirt they were almost unrecognizable, said neighbor Rahim. They staggered out of what once was their home, reduced to flames and ashes littered with charred corpses and limbs. It was difficult to tell who was alive and who was dead, Rahim said.A little boy had been hit in his belly by a metal fragment, and wailed that his family was killed, his uncle remembers.The stench from the bodies was overwhelming, so villagers scooped up the children and drove the injured to a government hospital. The boy would remain there for a month."It was a very bad scene. There was nothing left," Rahim said. "The houses were blown away, and every dead body was under the soil."As neighbors wept and pulled bodies from the rubble, people poured in from neighboring towns to help, villagers recalled. Soon everyone from the home was accounted for, either living or dead — except for one. They could not find the baby girl.They dug through the dirt floor of the home with shovels and their hands. They moved furniture and soil. They were worried that surely the baby — only 40 days old — was stuck under the earth or the debris and just too small to find.But she was gone.A CHILD'S FATE IN LIMBOThe farmer, his wife and their five children were buried in a row in the family graveyard, where generations of kin had been laid to rest. Villagers said more than 100 people came to help dig their graves in the hard ground.They buried the foreigners — more than a dozen men, women and children — in two other cemeteries.The farmer's family says they were not fighters. If true, the American military might never have known that — during raids, they believed they were going in on hostile operations, and often assumed everyone there was a threat, said Erica Gaston, a human rights researcher who worked for years in Afghanistan with several advocacy groups."Often that creates a bias where there's just a presumption that the people that were hit were, you know, quote unquote, all bad guys," said Gaston. "And civilians very often tell a different story….that they hit the wrong house."In the village, survivors continued to search for the farmer's missing baby, visiting a U.S. military base, going to government offices and talking to the International Committee of the Red Cross. They heard a baby had been taken by the Americans to a military hospital.For months, as the girl was treated for a skull fracture, burns and a broken leg, the Afghan government and the Red Cross worked to confirm who she belonged to. In the end, they decided she was the farmer's daughter.The U.S. State Department wrote in an email to AP earlier this month that it trusted the finding of the Red Cross— "through a family trace and verification process, that the child was Afghan, not 'stateless.'" So when the government of Afghanistan requested the child be transferred to its custody to be returned to her family, the U.S. complied."We understood at the time that all appropriate procedures had been followed under Afghan law, and that remains our understanding," the State Department wrote.The Masts argue the Afghan government wrongly linked the child to the family without DNA testing, pictures of her with this family or any documentation connecting her to them.Joshua Mast's brother, lawyer Richard Mast, is now named in a federal lawsuit filed by the Afghan family that alleges the Masts fraudulently claimed the child was "stateless" in their quest to adopt her. Richard Mast's lawyer, David Yerushalmi, questioned why an innocent farmer would be "living in the same compound as heavily armed foreign fighters." He said there is no proof the orphan belonged to the farmer in the first place.But the Masts' efforts to stop the U.S. government from turning her over failed, and the child was taken to the farmer's brother. Since he couldn't afford to take care of her, he gave her to his son and daughter-in-law, who were better off, educated newlyweds living in the city. They gladly agreed to raise her as their own."They are her parents," the uncle told AP.Over the next 18 months, as she grew to be a toddler in Afghanistan, Joshua Mast did not give up. He convinced a Virginia state court to grant him an adoption. All he needed was to get her on U.S. soil.Less than two years after the raid, Mast helped the Afghan couple and the toddler flee as the country collapsed and the Taliban took over. Days after they arrived in the U.S., the Masts worked with federal employees at a refugee resettlement camp to take custody of the child. The Afghan couple are suing to get her back, but she remains in limbo.Joshua Mast, his lawyer and attorneys representing the Afghan couple did not respond to requests for comment.Meanwhile, in remote Afghanistan, the farmer's surviving family is haunted by all they saw, and all they lost. When his brother-in-law sees his nephew smile, he thinks of how his sister, now dead, would laugh when he teased her"God will make him grow," he said, "he will bring life to this house."The boy continues to struggle and finds it hard to be around other families. When asked if he remembered his parents, he began to cry. He bit his lip and looked away.The girl who dropped her baby sister is tormented by ghosts. When she speaks to strangers covered in a shawl, she is so small and frail that it seems to swallow her. She fidgets nervously with the hem.She could speak perfectly before the soldiers came that night, but now she stutters."My life is sad, my heart is sad, and I miss my parents," she said. "I see this attack every night….it comes to me in my dreams."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 6th, 2023

"No Way Out" - This Week Saw The End Of The Pretense That Joe Biden Is A Re-Election Candidate

'No Way Out' - This Week Saw The End Of The Pretense That Joe Biden Is A Re-Election Candidate Authored by James Howard Kunstler via, No Way Out “…you put me right smack in the middle of the Diversion Agreement that I should have no role in… and you say Your Honor, don’t pay any attention to that provision not to prosecute?” - Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika Of course, Hunter Biden’s fur-lined, gold-plated plea deal on firearm and tax charges got torn up this week by Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika, who discovered a sneakily hidden bit of legerdemain in it that would have left the First Son off-the-hook for any possible future charges such as a FARA rap for peddling his father’s influence to Ukraine, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, and who knows how many other foreign governments for zillions of dollars. One thing the legal fireworks on Wednesday seemed to indicate is that the weaponization of the DOJ does not extend to every last court in America, not even the one in the Biden family fiefdom known as Delaware. The hearing left the lead US attorney in the case, David Weiss, looking like a chump hung out to dry - trying to pretend that there were “ongoing investigations” in the case when he was actually working overtime to shut them down. It’s rumored that the rascally, discarded plea deal was cooked up by alpha blobette, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco herself, the Blob’s consiglieri. Nice try, Sugar, but no cigar. Lisa Monaco is in place, you see, as AG Merrick Garland’s puppeteer. For more than a decade Ms. Monaco has chiefly served as Barack Obama’s “fixer,” the clean-up gal who makes problems magically go away. The problem here is that sooner or later news will enter some legal channel that Mr. Obama was not unaware of all the grifting going on around his vice-president’s family, and might himself be inculpated as an accessory to acts of treason. The former president suddenly has another new problem: the family’s onetime personal chef, Tafari Campbell, 43, was found dead around 10:00 o’clock Monday morning in the Edgartown Great Pond off the Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate after a paddle-board accident. Mr. Tafari allegedly fell off the board and… thrashed a bit… then just disappeared… a hundred feet off-shore in eight feet of water, according to another paddle-boarder as yet unidentified who was either with Mr. Tafari or who happened to witness the accident around 7:45 Sunday evening July 23. Somebody, also unnamed, then made a 911 from the Obama house. Who was that? Early reports said that the Obamas were not home at the time. A later report said that Mr. Obama might have been present at the estate that evening without Michelle. Was he Mr. Tafari’s paddle-board companion? Did he make the 911 call? Mr. Tafari was reportedly no longer in the Obama’s employ and was writing a book about his experiences as the first family’s cook. One reported morsel attributed to the book is that Barack and Michele Obama almost never had meals together. What else was in it?  Possibly Mr. Tafari had a book deal. Has anyone located the editor and asked to see the manuscript or interviewed him/her/they about what’s in it? Mr. Tafari, who had videotaped his lap-swimming abilities previously, and was considered an able swimmer, was supposedly just visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend. How did he get through the Obama’s Secret Service security to go paddle-boarding if the Obamas were out for the evening? Did he lug his own paddle-board to the scene, or borrow one from the Obama’s equipment shed? Who let him in there? My goodness, what a busy gal Lisa Monaco must be these days. So much that needs a good fixing! Anyway, after the Delaware courtroom fracas Wednesday, Hunter had to fall back on pleading not guilty as a place-holder while his lawyers and the Feds go back to square one negotiating something Judge Noreika might accept, which, conceivably, might be no plea deal at all, considering the insults already proffered to her by both sides in the case. In the meantime, would it amuse you to learn that part of Hunter Biden’s pretrial release agreement stipulates that the First Son must make an earnest effort to search for employment? Do you know of some position in the real world (assuming there is a real world) where a person can show up for work with six secret service agents in tow? I didn’t think so. He’ll also be subject to periodic drug tests and is forbidden to indulge in alcohol. Good luck with that! The chance that Hunter would actually go to trial, even on these rinky-dink tax and firearm charges, is about equal to the chance that Xi Jinping will serve a dim sum breakfast to the Biden family at Rehobeth Beach on Labor Day morning. But its looking like Judge Noreika will not let Hunter off-the-hook on the gargantuan hairball of potential influence peddling matters, which are the actual meat of the Biden family’s legal problems — and that means “Joe Biden” is not off-the-hook either. Which means he might have to resort to pardoning Hunter and possibly himself for as-yet-unfiled charges of bribery, money-laundering and other extremely serious violations. If that happens, it is the end of the pretense that “Joe Biden” is a reelection candidate. But, while all this melodrama unspools, there is also the creeping hazard of impeachment ahead. The Speaker of the House himself suggested it days ago. Rep. James Comer’s House Oversight Committee has already assembled an impressive stack of bank records tracing the journeys of various multi-million-dollar payments - for no particular services rendered — through an unholy host of shell companies and is now rumored to be compiling records of previously hidden Biden family offshore bank accounts in places such as the Cayman Islands and Panama. Biden Family foot-soldier Devon Archer is scheduled for a deposition this coming Monday, and since he was thrown under the bus by Hunter on a federal bond fraud rap a few years back, there is every expectation that he will unload a dumpster of ripe trouble on his former intimates. However, Monday is also the last day before the legislature’s summer recess, which means not much of anything may happen to advance any of these matters until early September - and then it is possible that all hell busts loose for the republic as we enter the traditional season of hurricanes and financial fiascos, not to mention what looks like a mounting acknowledgement that our Ukraine proxy war project has utterly failed… and this overhanging threat of impeachment hearings. Podcaster Scott Adams spun out an elegantly macabre possible scenario about how this works out which is worth repeating here: The House moves to impeach... Joe Biden retaliates by threatening the entire Deep State Blob with revealing a whole lot of dark info on their dastardly secrets, their sexual proclivities and adventures (think: the Epstein client list), and other incriminating deets-and-receipts that would, theoretically, bring ruin to scores of political celebrities. In which case, the Blob just up and offs dumb-ass “Joe Biden,” using their cunning ways of arranging for him to die in his sleep... ...because, he was old… and it was his time... Salutes to you, Scott, for that one! (And then, of course, there is all that follows that). *  *  * Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page Tyler Durden Sat, 07/29/2023 - 13:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 29th, 2023

I left my teaching job and went to Costco. I thought I"d only work there temporarily, but now I"ve climbed its corporate ladder and make more money — I feel safe here.

Quitting teaching to work full-time at Costco was one of the best decisions I made. I'm not going back and leaving the career has made me much happier. Maggie Perkins started working at her local Costco after she felt burnt out as a teacher. Now she's a corporate trainer in Costco's marketing department.Courtesy of Maggie PerkinsMaggie Perkins got burnt out as a teacher and quit her job after eight years.She started working at her local Costco and says she's found her lifelong career there.Costco feels safe and comfortable, Perkins says, and she loves her job.This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Maggie Perkins, a 30-year-old former teacher from Atlanta, Georgia who works at the Costco corporate office in Washington state. It has been edited for length and clarity.I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. What I didn't know was that I'd get burnt out after eight years of my dream job and instead find my lifelong career at Costco.I loved being a teacher. It was so rewarding to spend time with children and provide them with the pieces they needed to put a puzzle together. I loved that moment when everything just clicked for them and they grasped a new concept.I was the kind of teacher who didn't have many rulesAs long as they were learning, I didn't mind what form it took. Once I had a student make an instagram account from the perspective of a soldier in the Vietnam War using historical photos. Another time, a student did an interpretive trapeze routine about color theory.My ethos as a teacher was rooted in allowing students to be creative. I was there to facilitate that creativity versus strictly embodying the role of an authoritative teacher.If I could've kept going to work, teaching my kids, planning for the next day, and going home, I think I would've been a teacher forever. But that's not how it was.It felt like any time I caught my breath, something else was added to my plateI'd be added to a committee or I'd be sent a student with behavioral problems or I'd have to plan a field trip. I've talked to so many teachers in the last few years and it's the same story everywhere: we do so much unpaid work outside of working hours.By the time I left teaching, it felt like the extra stuff was taking up more time than the classroom. And I was making $47,000 a year with eight years of experience and a master's degree.I didn't plan on working at CostcoWhen I left teaching in 2022, a new Costco was being opened in my town. I figured I'd work there for the summer and give myself time to figure things out. I thought I might still want to work in education-adjacent work. But by the end of that summer, I stopped looking for other jobs. I saw that there was a career ladder to climb at Costco and I know that ladders don't even exist in many other workplaces.I started as a seasonal worker at Costco and now I'm a corporate trainerI create content and materials for the marketing department and make sure the warehouses have the trainings they need. I even get to travel to new and existing warehouses to conduct training events — which combines my love of teaching with my penchant for content creation. I also do some educational consulting and writing. Now, I make 50% more than I made as a teacher.I love working at Costco. It's such a different environment than I had in teaching.My first job was membership and that was labor intensive because the store was new to my town and some people had never been to a Costco. Then I transitioned into the front end cashier position.When I'd tell my supervisor about interactions with customers, I was believed right away. The job has a ton of variety which is something I really enjoyed in teaching. It's interesting because no matter what school I worked at, I never thought it'd be the one I would stay at forever but with Costco, I can really see myself working there for my entire professional life. This is the first time in my professional life that I've stopped looking for other jobs. I just feel safe and comfortable here.I also share my journey of leaving teaching on TikTok to over 120,000 followers. It's been so fascinating and validating to find a community of other former and current teachers who are approaching the edge of burnout. We understand each other in a way other people don't.There is a certain amount of grief in leaving teachingI always dreamt of being a teacher and especially in American society, our identities are so tied up with what we do for work. It's been difficult to untangle that. In this culture, our worth is about our productivity and our careers and for so long, my worth was about being a teacher. But I'm finding new ways to value myself — including taking a job that values me.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 29th, 2023

Foreigners, some trained by the US, are fighting on both sides in Ukraine, seeking cash and adventure

While Russia is recruiting mercenaries, Ukraine has become a magnet for volunteers who want to fight Russian aggression or find adventure. Ukrainian civilians receive weapons training from volunteer foreign fighters and Ukrainian soldiers in Lviv in April 2022.Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images The war in Ukraine has drawn foreign fighters to the armies on both sides. Those fighters are motivated by politics, pay, and the desire for adventure, among other reasons. The war between Russian and Ukraine has become a magnet for foreign fighters from numerous countries who can be found in the ranks of both armies.Some of those fighters come from unlikely places. For example, videos have appeared showing citizens from Nepal — home of the legendary Gurkha soldiers — who have joined the Russian military. In a recent interview with the Nepal Express, two young Nepalis described their service. One was a student at a Russian university, while the other was a former Nepalese Army soldier who worked as a security guard in Dubai before visiting Russia as a tourist and then enlisting.In September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree speeding up the citizenship process for foreigners who signed a contract to join the military. Yet the two Nepali soldiers made clear that serving in Russia's notoriously brutal military was not their first career choice. The Nepali student said emigrating to the US or Britain would be difficult, which left the prospect of unemployment in Nepal, a poor, mountainous nation where about one-quarter of the population lives below the poverty line."We were thinking of joining the French army," said the ex-Nepali soldier. "There was a long process and it was difficult to enter Europe. Russia became easy."Afghan commandos at their graduation ceremony in Kabul in January, 2020.Rahmatullah Alizadah/Xinhua via GettyIronically, Russia is also recruiting former Afghan commandos who were trained by the US military to fight the Taliban (and whose families probably fought the Soviet soldiers who occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s).Like the Nepalis, the Afghans aren't joining out of love of Russia or hatred of Ukraine. They are being hunted by the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan and need sanctuary and money to support their families, so the prospect fighting for Moscow — for $1,500 a month — is likely the least bad alternative.While Russia is recruiting mercenaries, Ukraine has become a magnet for volunteers who want to fight Russian aggression or find adventure.By mid-2022, after Ukraine formed its International Legion of Defense, 20,000 volunteers from 52 nations had joined, according to the Ukrainian government. That number has dwindled to an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 — too few to make a major difference in the war — but they still evoke the image of the Spanish Civil War's International Brigades, when 35,000 volunteers from 52 countries fought Spanish fascists who were supported by Nazi and Italian troops.A new study by Italian researcher Matteo Pugliese found a bewildering array of backgrounds and motivations among the members of Ukraine's International Legion, a battalion-sized force. Some were former officers from NATO nations such as Britain and Canada. Others came from far-right circles or were hard-leftists and anarchists who had fought with the Kurds against ISIS in Syria.Ukraine's International Legion of Defense has drawn volunteers from all over the world.International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine via FacebookOne member had fled to Ukraine and joined the Legion after being accused of committing fraud in Australia, while another had been a career criminal in Poland and Ukraine. The legion's members also included former soldiers from Latin American militaries, which have produced mercenaries who operate around the world."The majority of legionnaires come from North America, Europe and Latin America, but are led by a diverse set of motivations, have a variety of personal backgrounds and the majority has no previous political affiliation," Pugliese concluded.Politically, these volunteers are a sensitive issue. Governments tend to get nervous about citizens who serve in foreign armies, especially when they come home. After World War II, the FBI persecuted American volunteers who had fought in the Abraham Lincoln brigade during the Spanish Civil War. In recent years, several governments have denied the return of citizens who fought in the Syrian Civil War, viewing them as security threats and political liabilities.Significantly, Pugliese found that most of the volunteers fighting for Kyiv had not been radicalized by their experiences. They are "either grateful for the fraternal bond of camaraderie among legionnaires, or disillusioned and traumatized."Michael Peck is a defense writer whose work has appeared in Forbes, Defense News, Foreign Policy magazine, and other publications. He holds a master's in political science. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 21st, 2023

A Russian soldier said his unit was sent into battle with no ammo and one grenade each — to kill themselves

A Russian soldier said his unit didn't have enough ammunition and got "one grenade per person" to blow themselves up, according to intercepted audio. In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on March 21, 2023, Russian snipers face Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location.Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP A Russian soldier was caught complaining on an intercepted phone call. He said his unit had no ammo and was being given "one grenade per person, only to blow up ourselves." He also complained about not getting paid and said his family was going hungry back home. An intercepted phone call revealed a Russian soldier complaining that troops in his unit were being given just one grenade each, and that they were being given it so they could kill themselves.The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine published the audio on Tuesday, saying it showed a Russian military serviceman complaining about ammunition shortages and not getting paid.The soldier said his comrades were being told to take ammunition with them when moving out to fight, but that they didn't have any.According to the audio, he then said: "We have one grenade per person, only to blow up ourselves. This is it: 'Russian Federation Army.'"It's not clear when the audio dates from, or what part of the military the soldier was in. It's also not clear who the soldier was talking to, or where he was when he was speaking.The Russian defense ministry did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. In the audio clip, the soldier also complained that his family back home was hungry and that he had no money, and said he would go to his commander the next morning if money didn't arrive.Multiple reports, as well as captured Russian soldiers, have said that Russian troops aren't being given enough ammunition or supplies.The UK defense ministry said in March that Russians in Bakhmut were likely forced into close-quarters fighting with Ukrainians because they didn't have enough artillery ammunition.And in June, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that Russia didn't have enough equipment, including "high-precision ammunition, communications equipment, aircraft, drones, and so on."Russian troops have also reported not getting the money they were promised for fighting in Ukraine.In November, more than 100 soldiers went on strike saying they wouldn't fight until they got the 195,000 rubles ($3,170) they were due.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 20th, 2023

The US soldier who darted into North Korea was accused of punching a man and hurling insults at Koreans and the Korean army while damaging a police car while in custody months earlier

Travis King is now believed to be in North Korean custody after crossing into the communist country, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said. South Korean soldiers stand guard as they face North Korea's Panmon Hall (back) at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea.Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images The US soldier who crossed into North Korea has been accused of assault and damaging a police car. Travis King is believed to be in North Korean custody after he crossed a border into the country. He had been held in a South Korean prison over assault charges before the incident. The US Army soldier who crossed the border into North Korea on Tuesday had previously been accused of punching a man, hurling insults at Koreans and the Korean army, and damaging a police car as he was in the back of the vehicle, according to reports. Soldier Travis King is now believed to be in North Korean custody after he "willfully and without authorization" crossed from South Korea over the heavily fortified border into the communist country, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said.King was previously held in a South Korean prison for nearly two months over assault charges and was in the process of being brought back to the US before he joined in on a civilian border tour and ran into North Korea, US officials told The Associated Press.He was accused of repeatedly punching a man in the face at a club on September 25 of last year, Reuters reported, citing court records in Seoul, South Korea. That case was ultimately settled, according to the report. However, two weeks later, on October 8, police responded to another report of a squabble involving King, Reuters reported, citing a court document. Authorities allege that when they tried to question King, he continued with "aggressive behavior," Reuters reported, citing the court paper. When police put King in the backseat of their patrol vehicle, he spouted off profanities about Koreans, the Korean army, and the Korean police, Reuters reported, citing the court ruling. King, who had no previous criminal record, was accused of kicking the door of the police car multiple times during the ordeal, causing about $460 in damages, the report said. Reuters reported that King pleaded guilty to assault and destruction of public goods. He paid $780 to repair the car and was fined nearly $4,000 on February 8 by the Seoul Western District Court, Reuters reported.Two US officials told Reuters that the King was due to undergo disciplinary action by the US military before he crossed into North Korea. It was not clear whether the disciplinary action was connected to his conviction in the October incident. Meanwhile, King's mother, Claudine Gates, told ABC News that she was shocked to learn that her son had crossed into North Korea. "I can't see Travis doing anything like that," Gates said.She told the news outlet that she last spoke to her son a few days earlier, and he told her he would soon return to a base in Fort Bliss, Texas.Gates said she just wants her son "to come home."King's uncle told The Daily Beast that King had been "breaking down" over the death of his seven-year-old cousin.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 19th, 2023

The making of a fake war hero: An American who reinvented himself as a social-media soldier in Ukraine is accused of "stolen valor"

James Vasquez became the face of foreign fighters and heroism in Ukraine. But all was not as it seemed. James Vasquez, a social-media war hero, has been accused of "stolen valor."Getty Images, Ricki-Lee Abrams/Insider A US veteran named James Vasquez went to fight in Ukraine and gained a large social-media following. But it turned out Vasquez was lying about his military background and his experiences in Ukraine. Four sources told Insider how Vasquez was able to trick the world. When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a 48-year-old American veteran and building contractor from Connecticut named James Vasquez was one of thousands of volunteers who went to join the fight.He quickly became one of the most recognizable faces of the foreign fighters in Ukraine, often going viral with his battlefield updates and dramatic social-media posts purportedly from the front lines.In his videos and posts, he bragged about capturing Russians and taking out tanks, was regularly interviewed by the news media, and made catchy claims including that he imagined the "punchable" Tucker Carlson when preparing for battle.He gained more than 400,000 followers on Twitter and even got a shout-out from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who called for his account to be verified.But on the ground in Ukraine, it was an open secret that Vasquez was not the war hero his social-media profiles projected him to be.Four foreign fighters and volunteers in Ukraine who knew Vasquez told Insider it was widely known he wasn't actually taking part in front-line fighting.Instead, they allege that Vasquez would enter areas where battles had taken place, take videos with destroyed equipment, and claim battlefield achievements as his own.April Huggett, a Canadian volunteer who knew Vasquez, told Insider in a text message that he would exaggerate how close to the action he was, often going to areas near where there was heavy fighting and pretending he was in the thick of it.In one instance in January, Vasquez claimed on Twitter that he was heading to Soledar, where intense fighting was reported to be raging.But it was later revealed that the Ukrainian army had quietly withdrawn days before Vasquez said he was heading there — suggesting that there would have been no fight for him to join when he arrived.Along with appearing to exaggerate his activities on the ground, there were also occasions where he appeared to behave outright irresponsibly. He, at one point, posted a battlefield update that gave away the exact location of the unit he was with, possibly jeopardizing its safety.'I had to tell a million lies to get ahead'Vasquez often spoke about his military background, claiming that he was a sergeant and that he had been in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq after 9/11. A Pentagon representative, however, told Insider that Vasquez was never deployed to either of those places — or anywhere else.Vasquez was a fuel and electrical systems repairer in the New York National Guard from July 1992 to July 1993 and in the Army Reserve from July 1993 to August 2003, the Pentagon said. He left the Army Reserve as a private first class, which is one of the Army's lowest ranks.When confronted by The New York Times in March, Vasquez acknowledged misrepresenting his military record and said he'd been kicked out of the Army, but he would not reveal the circumstances of his discharge."I had to tell a million lies to get ahead," Vasquez told the Times. "I didn't realize it was going to come to this."Insider was unable to reach Vasquez for comment, as his social-media profiles have been deactivated and calls to two phone numbers for him provided by sources went unanswered.In the days before the Times article came out, Vasquez posted a series of cryptic tweets about "negative people" winning and called himself "a ghost." He then deleted his Twitter page and went quiet for several months before resurfacing online briefly in June.Vasquez posted a series of cryptic tweets in March before disappearing for several months.TwitterNot only did he apparently lie about his military background to join the fight in Ukraine, but it turned out he had lied about his service for much of his life to even those closest to him.Tina Vasquez, his ex-wife, who had supported his decision to go to Ukraine while they were still married, told The New York Post in April that he had also lied to her about his past.She told the paper that she "was just as shocked as anybody else'' to learn that her former partner had exaggerated his military experience."I believed him," she said. "The war stories that had supposedly happened brought tears to his eyes. I felt terrible for what he had to go through and endure — and then come to find out it was all just a lie."Here I am, I'm with him for 11 years and I don't even know the man I married."The undoing of a war heroUkrainian soldiers ride atop an APC on the frontline in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 26, 2023.AP Photo/LibkosVasquez spent about a year posting updates — purportedly from the front lines in Ukraine — about fighting with various units.Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, American who is a junior sergeant with the Ukrainian army and works with the media department of the Territorial Defense Forces, was one of the first people with a social-media following to publicly accuse Vasquez of being a fraud in a tweet in March.She wrote that Vasquez "is not and has not been" in Ukraine's armed forces and that he could not legally go on missions since he did not have a contract."I met James Vasquez three times for a total of about four hours," she told Insider. "During our last meeting, in the presence of another person, he gave himself up and confirmed what I had known since last summer, that he was never a member of the AFU," referring to the Armed Forces of Ukraine."That night he stated clearly he never had a contract nor had he ever been paid. This was in January. It was the last time I saw him."April Huggett, 35, a Canadian volunteer who came to Ukraine in December, told Insider that she soon met Vasquez and the two formed a relationship. Huggett said that she came to Ukraine alone, having broken up with her boyfriend over her decision to go, and found comfort in having Vasquez as someone to talk to."I did realize very quickly he was sitting comfy right in Maidan and he was not leaving Kyiv very often," she told Insider over text, referring to the capital city's central district."He also drank so much," she said.Huggett said she began to have suspicions about his claims about his military background, and after doing some digging, discovered that he had wildly exaggerated his experience."One time he was really drunk and he was crying really hard about this friend of his that had his head blown off by a sniper in front of him in Iraq and how that really messed him up," she said. "I realized that story never could have happened."She and other sources told Insider that Vasquez openly bragged about his plans to cash in on his newfound fame."James just kept talking about becoming a millionaire after this," Huggett said.Tim, an American man working with the Ukrainian army and speaking to Insider on the condition of withholding his last name, said that Vasquez had made similar comments to him."James said, and I quote, 'I'm never gonna go back to work as a handyman. I'm probably never gonna have to work again after this war. I'm gonna be famous,'" he told Insider.Among all the falsehoods, Huggett said that what was most upsetting to her was how Vasquez leveraged the combat death of the Ukrainian-born British fighter Viktor Yatsunyk for personal gain, speaking extensively online and to the media about how the loss of his "friend" had affected him."He used Viktor's death as another stepping stone to legitimize his own actions in Ukraine. That bothers me more than anything else," she said. "His stolen valor knows no end." Eventually, Huggett decided to distance herself from Vasquez — as she explained to Insider, she doesn't like "liars."When Ashton-Cirillo took to Twitter to expose Vasquez, Huggett said she felt compelled to make a video to back her up.Huggett said she was worried about angering Vasquez and began to fear for her safety."I got a phone call from a friend of James' that was concerned. He told me to watch my back and that James was drinking a lot and talking crazy. That he was [going] to kill me and another friend of mine," she said."James messaged me saying I didn't have to leave my kids, I abandoned him, and he was going to do the same thing to me that I did to him and to 'get ready,'" she said, adding that she has since been laying low in Ukraine and trying to keep him from knowing her whereabouts.After his social-media accounts were deactivated, Vasquez briefly resurfaced on Twitter in June to attack Huggett and preemptively discredit anything she might say about him."I've received a lot of messages @DefactoHumanity, or as I know her, April has gone on a campaign accusing me of going to kill her and other nonsense," he wrote.Vasquez briefly resurfaced on Twitter in June to attack April Huggett.TwitterHe went on to claim that Huggett was simply "scorned" because she had learned he was with another woman in Ukraine and denied ever threatening her life.Huggett told Insider: "I'm tired, but I'm not sorry I exposed the lying scammer. I'm also not sorry that I made the video. Now at least if I am murdered or have a suspicious death, someone will know where to look.""We took away his fame and fortune, we made people see him for the disgrace he is. Ukrainians will be better off because of it, and to me, that is the only thing that matters," she said.On an "awesome very dangerous vacation"Ukrainian soldiers walk to the frontline in Bakhmut, Ukraine on December 16, 2022.Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesAt the beginning of the war, the vetting process for foreign fighters coming to Ukraine was extremely lax. Vasquez, as part of the first wave of arrivals, was able to take advantage of the system and slip through the cracks.Although many foreign volunteers in Ukraine have made a significant contribution to its war effort, many outlets have reported on underqualified and overzealous foreigners who have wreaked havoc, including an American who defected to Russia.Some of them have been called war tourists, a term to describe thrill seekers in a war zone.In one tweet from March of last year, Vasquez compared his time in Ukraine to being an "awesome very dangerous vacation."He also repeatedly suggested that he did not understand the rules of warfare, or at least that he thought they did not apply to him.On one occasion, he claimed to have taken part in capturing a soldier from the mercenary Wagner Group and shared a photo of him."This is a non UN country," he wrote in a tweet in response. "I don't think I have to worry about the Geneva convention here." Vasquez claimed to have taken part in capturing a soldier from the mercenary Wagner Group.TwitterBut Vasquez's claims were not accurate – Ukraine is part of the United Nations, and the Geneva Conventions, which protect prisoners of war, apply to all conflicts.He 'had a plan, a scheme, and a design'Tim, an American known online as Captain Peg Leg, told Insider that he came across Vasquez while working in Ukraine as a general advisor to the armed forces. He said that the pair communicated via text for several weeks in April and May of last year until Vasquez blocked him.Tim said that he was working with Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces at the time and had been tasked with recruiting capable foreign fighters to help train them. He reached out to Vasquez, who had developed quite a large online following.As they corresponded, Tim said he started to notice several red flags.He claims that Vasquez boasted about his online fame and having Ukrainian soldiers follow him and said that he was building his own "private army."Tim also claims Vasquez admitted that he had exaggerated his army credentials and said he planned to cash in on his wartime fame.He was unable to provide screenshots of the conversations with Vasquez as he said the chat history on his phone had been deleted. However, another source showed Insider screenshots of a conversation with Tim in June 2022 in which the two discussed Vasquez being a fraud.Tim said he was also alarmed by the videos Vasquez was posting, which he said were "dubious" and reckless.He said that he tried to sound the alarm about Vasquez on Twitter but was met with death threats from Vasquez's followers, who told Tim he was just "jealous." He said that a lot of the aggression was led by Vasquez himself."James routinely went scorched earth on anyone that questioned anything he was doing, blocked them, encouraged his followers to block them. And nobody wanted to believe that James would take advantage of the war and take advantage of people," Tim said."You will hear people say that James is a good man, James had good intentions, and things got a bit out of control. And that's categorically false. James, from the start of that conflict, had a plan, a scheme, and a design. It was premeditated," he said. Despite a growing mountain of falsehoods, Vasquez was able to become a celebrated social-media hero and was covered breathlessly by various media outlets — including Insider — that touted him as a hero.  He was framed as a fearless fighter who had selflessly left his life behind and sold his Connecticut home to focus on the war.Ashton-Cirillo told Insider: "As someone who notified a large media outlet about James Vasquez in June of 2022 and stated to them clearly that Vasquez had no combat experience and was filming fake fight scenes, it is disgraceful that they and so many other journalists advanced his lies for so long.""These acts of media malpractice not only gaslit me and many others, they helped feed the Russian propaganda machine," she continued. "Luckily, fundraising for charities focused on the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been able to emerge unscathed from this debacle as have the reputations of every real foreign soldier."Guns, money, and battalions Vasquez frequently posted images of weapons, including American guns, that he said he had been given, but it is unclear where he obtained them.He did not have a contract with the Ukrainian army or the International Legion so he wouldn't have been provided with weapons from any official authorities. When asked by The New York Times in March where he got the guns, he responded: "I'm not exactly sure," and added that they were "brand-new, out of the box, and we have plenty." Two sources told Insider that Vasquez had boasted about getting weapons on the black market. Insider was unable to verify those claims.(He once told a local Connecticut newspaper, The Hour: "If you want anything in Ukraine, and you got money and you know a couple of people, you can get it.")It's unclear where Vasquez obtained weapons.TwitterAnother source of contention is how Vasquez used his platform to solicit donations from his followers to buy equipment for soldiers. Some of this money was raised for Ripley's Heroes, a US-based charity organization for which he was a prominent representative.Ripley's Heroes said it had raised over $1 million over the past year, but the organization has faced questions about its spending, as The New York Times previously reported. As of March, some of the money appeared to have been spent on equipment that hadn't reached its intended destination.Vasquez often talked about fighting with various units — at one point, he said he was with a "special forces unit" and later said he was fighting with the Da Vinci Wolves battalion.John, not his real name, an American man who's part of a group fighting in Ukraine called the 13th group Wolverines, told Insider under the condition of anonymity that Vasquez likely overstated his relationship with the battalion.Vasquez claimed he was part of the Da Vinci Wolves battalion.TwitterJohn, who has been in Ukraine since the wider conflict with Russia began in 2014, said that he had been friendly with Da Vinci for some time. He told Insider that he saw Vasquez at the young battalion commander's funeral, which was attended by many, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.John said that Vasquez, who was wearing a Da Vinci Wolves patch on his uniform, stuck out like a sore thumb: He didn't mingle with the other attendees but instead filmed himself for a video that was later posted on social media."Everybody's kneeling, their hands over their hearts, you know, to show respect and solidarity with each other in grief ... and James is up there just filming," John said. "All these guys from Da Vinci's team are around and they're wearing the same patch right, but nobody recognizes him. Nobody comes up and says hi."The Wolves did not respond to Insider's request for comment. A source linked to the Ukrainian army, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Insider that Vasquez had returned to Ukraine as of early June."The National Police in conjunction with the SBU" — the Security Service of Ukraine — "has launched an investigation into both his possession of illegal weapons and his illicit fundraising," the source said.'James' visibility was great, until it wasn't anymore'For many foreign fighters, joining the war can be a chance to reinvent, redeem, or prove themselves."You see, over and over again, these broken people that showed up at the war. And they saw it from day one as an opportunity to have a new life to become a social-media hero, whatever you want to call it," Tim said."I had my own things to gain by going to Ukraine," he added. "I'm not blameless. I have one leg; it's a recent amputation. And one of the reasons that I went was to feel like a whole human being again by helping other people."Malcolm Nance, a former MSNBC analyst who is now part of Ukraine's International Legion, was the only prominent foreign fighter to defend Vasquez after his falsehoods were revealed."James was NOT fake, he was troubled. He did a lot for Ukraine but has challenges to face. Respect what he did do," he wrote on Twitter.He described Vasquez as "a soldier in need of care on several levels" and criticized those who spoke out against him. Nance declined to speak with Insider on the record.Part of the debate is whether Vasquez did any good in Ukraine despite his lies.While sources told Insider that Vasquez did not help in terms of front-line fighting, his social-media presence did have a positive effect — at least for a time."James certainly helped with morale," Tim said. "James certainly helped with public relations. He did, inadvertently, a lot of good. James' visibility was great, until it wasn't anymore."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 16th, 2023

A newly surfaced image of Prigozhin hints at where the Wagner boss may have finally ended up after his failed mutiny

It looks like Yevgeny Prigozhin may be living in a field tent at a military camp in Belarus, where he was apparently photographed in his underwear. A Belarusian soldier walks through a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in Asipovichy District, Belarus.Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images) The whereabouts of Yevgeny Prigozhin have been anyone's guess since Wagner's armed mutiny. But a new photo of the mercenary boss offers a hint that he may be at a military camp in Belarus. Minsk said on Friday that Wagner forces had started training Belarusian soldiers at the camp.  The whereabouts of Yevgeny Prigozhin have been largely shrouded in mystery since he mobilized the Wagner Group to carry out a short-lived mutiny against Russia's military leadership last month.  But a newly surfaced image of the mercenary organization's leader, which was widely circulated across social media on Friday, hints that he may now be living in a makeshift tent at a Belarus military camp alongside Wagner fighters who have started training Belarusian soldiers. The tent where he was photographed matches those photographed a week before during an official tour of the disused installation led by Belarussian officials. As part of the negotiations to end the Wagner Group's armed rebellion on June 24 before it could reach Moscow, the mercenary fighters were given the option to seek exile in Belarus alongside Prigozhin, sign contracts with Russia's military, or just go home to avoid prosecution.Belarus has since offered to host Wagner Group fighters at an abandoned military camp near Tsel in the country's central Asipovichy district. Satellite imagery captured on June 29 and obtained by Insider shows and aerial view of the camp, where dozens of new tents were reportedly constructed in the two weeks prior. A Skyfi satellite image of the training base at Tsel outside Asipovichy in Belarus where Wagner forces are training Belarusian troops.Image courtesy of SkyfiPhotographs taken at the camp by international media last week showed rows of empty tents that are capable of accommodating a few thousand troops. Still, it remained unclear how many Wagner fighters actually planned to head to the camp. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday that the military alliance had not seen "any deployment or movement of any Wagner forces into Belarus."On Friday, however, Belarus' defense ministry said Wagner fighters at begun training Belarusian territorial defense units near Asipovichy, according to state-run media site Belta. Tents are seen at a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in Asipovichy District, Belarus.Photo by Adam Berry/Getty ImagesA view of a tent camp site that, according to Belarusian Defence Ministry officials, could be offered as one of the spots to house Wagner fighters, in the military settlement of Tsel in the Asipovichy District of the Mogilev Region in Belarus on July 7, 2023.Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images"According to the ministry, the units are drilling the skills of tactical shooting and movement on a battlefield. In addition, reservists are acquiring engineering and tactical medicine skills," Belta reported. "Instructors in some military disciplines are PMC Wagner fighters."Wagner's reported training of Belarusian soldiers comes after the country's president, Alexander Lukashenko, boasted that Minsk has troops who are "roughly as good as Wagner personnel, or they may be even better," in comments earlier this month. That said, he also said he would welcome their training.Where is Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin?Over the past three weeks since his failed mutiny, Prigozhin's whereabouts have been a mystery.He was supposedly cast into exile in Belarus as part of negotiations to call off the mutiny, but the Kremlin claimed earlier this week that on June 29 — five days after the day-long mutiny ended — Prigozhin actually met with, and pledged loyalty to, Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. In early July, Prigozin — and a private jet linked to him — were reportedly in St. Petersburg. Where Prigozhin has been since then has been anyone's guess. But the new image of Prigozhin suggests that he may be at the same military camp where his Wagner mercenaries are training Belarusian soldiers. The photo, shared to Twitter by even senior Ukrainian officials, shows Prigozhin sitting upright on a small cot in a tent. Beside him are blankets, a duffle bag, and several electronics chargers. Behind him are two darkened windows.  —Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) July 14, 2023The windows in the photo appear to match those on tents at the military camp being used by Wagner and Belarusian soldiers. The floorboards also appear to be the same as ones used in the tents. The window of a tent is seen at a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in Asipovichy District, Belarus.Photo by Adam Berry/Getty ImagesSleeping cots are seen in a tent at a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in Asipovichy District, Belarus.Photo by Adam Berry/Getty ImagesIt's not immediately clear how many Wagner fighters are in Belarus, nor is it known if Prigozhin has any role in the training, assuming the camp in Belarus is where he is now.In the months leading up to Prigozhin's mutiny, the Wagner Group played a key role on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine while fighting alongside Russia's regular military. Although the rebellion left questions about where Wagner fighters would end up, US officials have since said that they aren't fighting in Ukraine anymore. "At this stage, we do not see Wagner forces participating in any significant capacity in support of combat operations in Ukraine," a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters at a Thursday briefing. Wagner forces pulled off the line after the battle for Bakhmut.Even as Wagner's future continues to remain uncertain, Russia's defense ministry has been making a public showing of disarming the mercenaries. Moscow published a video this week showing a massive collection of weaponry and military hardware — including advanced tanks and other high-profile systems — confiscated from the organization. "All equipment and armaments are transported to rear areas, where repair and recovery units of the Russian Armed Forces carry out maintenance and prepare them for use for their intended purpose," the defense ministry said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 14th, 2023

Many American Revolutionaries were younger than you"d think when they declared independence from Britain

This 4th of July, learn how James Monroe was still a teen when the colonies declared independence from Britain in 1776. Alexander Hamilton was 21. Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on the night of December 25–26, 1776.ZU_09 / Getty Images Todd Andrlik, author of "Reporting the Revolutionary War," researched the ages of Revolutionaries. In 2013, he listed some famous figures who were surprisingly young when the American Revolution began. For example, Alexander Hamilton was only 21 years old and James Monroe was just 18.  How old were the American Revolutionaries when the colonies declared independence from Britain in 1776? Some were older, like 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson, 39-year-old John Hancock, or Benjamin Franklin, who was 70. Others were surprisingly young — even teenagers. James Monroe, for example, was 18 and Alexander Hamilton was 21.In 2013, Todd Andrlik, an authority on 18th-century newspapers, compiled a list of the ages of famous people at the start of the American Revolution for the Journal of the American Revolution.Here's everyone from that list who was younger than 25 on July 4, 1776, the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted.Andrew Jackson, 9Andrew Jackson, later in life.traveler1116 / Getty ImagesWhile Andrew Jackson may have been too young to enlist when the Revolutionary War first began, when he was 13 years old, the future president of the United States served as a patriot courier in the Revolutionary War. When he was captured by British soldiers, young Jackson was hit across the face for refusing to shine his captors' shoes. He was left with physical and mental scars for many years after the war ended, but went on to become a hero in the War of 1812, a successful lawyer, and the seventh American President.(Major) Thomas Young, 12Major Thomas Young, the son of Thomas Young, John Adams' family physician and Boston Tea Party organizer, didn't waste any time getting involved in the Revolution.Four years after the colonies declared independence, Young joined the militia and was quickly promoted to Major.  Deborah Sampson, 15Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man so she could join the Massachusetts military. During her tenure in the Patriot forces she led dangerous expeditions, dug trenches, and helped capture 15 Loyalists. She kept her true identity hidden for two years until doctors caring for her discovered she was a woman. Soon thereafter Sampson was honorably discharged. James Armistead, 15James Armistead was born a slave but worked as a spy under Marquis de Lafayette during the war. His important intel from General Cornwallis and Benedict Arnold led to an American victory at the Battle of Yorktown. Armistead successfully petitioned for his freedom in 1787, after the conclusion of the American Revolution.  Sybil Ludington, 15Sybil Ludington, the daughter of one of General George Washington's aids, successfully rode her horse for 40 miles to warn American soldiers of an impending British attack. The most popular account of her valor was written by Ludington's great-nephew in 1907. He says her father "bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak." A commemorative statue of Ludington's ride was erected in Carmel, New York in 1961. Joseph Plumb Martin, 15Much to the disdain of his family, Joseph Plumb Martin joined the American militia in 1776 when he was only 15-years-old. The soldier fought in many notable battles, served in George Washington's Continental Army, and fought for the duration of the war. Peter Salem, 16Peter Salem shooting Major Pitcairn at Bunker Hill by J.E. Taylor.CORBIS/Corbis via Getty ImagesPeter Salem was a Massachusetts slave who was freed in order to serve in the local militia.Soon thereafter, Salem enlisted in the Continental Army under George Washington and was named a hero in the Battle of Bunker Hill.   Marquis de Lafayette, 18ivan-96 / Getty ImagesWhen Lafayette learned what was going on in the newly declared United States in 1777, he traveled from France to America to join the Revolution. Not only did the French general become an invaluable ally to the US, but he also fought alongside George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson to ensure a successful and fruitful American victory. Upon his return to France, Lafayette was nicknamed the "Hero of Two Worlds" for his valiant efforts abroad and at home.  James Monroe, 18ilbusca / Getty ImagesThe fifth President of the United States may have only been 18-years-old the colonies declared independence, but that didn't stop him from enlisting in the Revolutionary War.He dropped out of college in 1776 to join the Continental Army and fought alongside George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for American independence. After the war, he studied law under Thomas Jefferson and became the last Founding Father to be elected President. Charles Pinckney, 18While fighting in the American Revolution, Pinckney was captured and held prisoner by the British. He repeatedly refused British demands to defect to the Loyalist cause and remained incarcerated until a prisoner exchange was arranged. After regaining his freedom, Pinkney practiced law, served in the Continental Congress, signed the US Constitution, and became governor of South Carolina. Henry Lee III, 20traveler1116 / Getty ImagesHenry Lee III, father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, joined George Washington's army at the onset of the war. Nicknamed 'Light Horse Harry Lee' for his exceptional horsemanship, Lee triumphed over British soldiers and was awarded several promotions and awards for his valor. After George Washington's death, Congress asked Lee to deliver a now-famous tribute to the former President in which he said, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen... second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of his private life."  Gilbert Stuart, 20Gilbert Stuart, later in life circa 1825, by artist Sarah Goodridge.Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty ImagesGilbert Stuart is known as one of America's foremost portraitists. Not only did he create a uniquely American portrait style, but he also painted some of the most intricate representations of America's Founding Fathers. His most famous work is an unfinished portrait of George Washington that's still featured on the US dollar bill today.John Trumbull, 20Kropewnicki / Getty ImagesJohn Trumbull served as a colonel to George Washington during the American Revolution. After the war, Congress commissioned four large paintings by the former soldier.His most famous painting, "Declaration of Independence," shows the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration. The scene, however, is actually inaccurate as it actually depicts the presentation of a draft of the document to Congress, not the signing of it. Aaron Burr, 20Keith Lance / Getty ImagesAaron Burr put his law school education on hold when war broke out between the US and Britain. A well-known soldier, Burr quickly rose the militia ranks to serve under Benedict Arnold, George Washington, and General Israel Putnam. Despite Burr's success as an attorney, senator, and Vice President, he is widely remembered today as the man who shot his political rival, Alexander Hamilton, in a famous duel.John Marshall, 20David Zanzinger / Getty ImagesMarshall, who had admired George Washington for many years, was inspired to join the general and fight against the British. After a big victory at the Battle of Brandywine, Marshall was appointed Washington's chief legal officer.After the war, Marshall served on the Supreme Court. He is most known for his accomplishments on the case of Marbury vs. Madison, in which he initiated the process of judicial review. Nathan Hale, 21traveler1116 / Getty ImagesNathan Hale, a schoolteacher who left his classroom to serve under George Washington in the Revolutionary War, volunteered for a dangerous spy mission after the British captured Boston. Unfortunately, Hale proved not to be a very good spy and was captured and hanged by the British on September 22, 1776 — just months after the colonies declared independence. Alexander Hamilton, 21John Parrot/Stocktrek Images / Getty ImagesIn 1775, when the Revolutionary War began, Hamilton joined the New York Provincial Artillery Company. By 1777, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Continental Army and served as George Washington's right-hand man for most of the war. After the war, Hamilton worked tirelessly to strengthen the federal government. As the first Secretary of the Treasury, he is credited with forming the American financial system, along with many other achievements including the formation of the Coast Guard the New York Post newspaper. He was killed by Aaron Burr in a duel when he was 47-years-old. John Laurens, 21Interim Archives / Contributor / Getty ImagesJohns Laurens served as Washington's aides-de-camp during the war, alongside his friend Alexander Hamilton. He proved his loyalty to Washington when he dueled with General Charles Lee for questioning Washington's character. Despite his southern roots, Laurens advocated for the abolition of slavery. In 1779, he convinced Congress to emancipate 3,000 men for their service. Benjamin Tallmadge, 22benoitb / Getty ImagesBenjamin Tallmadge famously oversaw the Culper Ring, a spy organization dedicated to aiding and protecting the Continental Congress, while the British controlled New York City. One of the organization's greatest contributions was intel that saved 8,000 incoming French troops.After the war, Tallmadge owned a dry goods store and worked as a Federalist congressman for 16 years. Robert Townsend, 22Robert Townsend, also known by his spy alias Culper Jr., worked alongside Tallmadge as a Culper Ring spy. His efforts, along with the rest of the Culper Ring, are believed to have helped identify turncoats Benedict Arnold and Major Andre's plot to secretly surrender West Point to the British. Always the master spy, Townsend wanted his identity to remain secret after the war. Washington and the rest of the Culper spies kept his secret for their entire lives — Townsend's Revolutionary War efforts remained unknown until 1930.George Rogers Clark, 23pictore / Getty ImagesGeorge Rogers Clark was nicknamed the "Conqueror of the Old Northwest" for his valiant efforts in regaining American territory. Extremely devoted to the cause, Clark purchased materials for the war with his own money. This poor decision haunted him and his family for years after the war ended. In fact, his family continued to suffer under the weight of the debts long after Clark's death.   David Humphreys, 23Bridgeman Art Library/Image Partner / Contributor / Getty ImagesDavid Humphreys, an aide de camp and personal friend to George Washington, was personally selected to deliver British colors and reports from the Battle of Yorktown to Congress. When Washington resigned his commission and stepped down as president, Humphreys was one of two aids who stood by the retiring president. Humphreys eventually shifted his focus to farming and imports. After successfully importing Merino sheep to the US, he helped found the Agricultural Society of Connecticut in 1816 and served as its first President. Gouverneur Morris, 24Bettmann / Contributor / Getty ImagesGouverneur Morris, sometimes referred to as the "Penman of the Constitution," may not have fought in the Revolutionary War, but he left a long-lasting impact. In 1776, Morris served on the Constitution's Committee of Style and wrote the document's legendary preamble: "We the People of the United States."  Betsy Ross, 24GraphicaArtis / Contributor / Getty ImagesBetsy Ross became a widower at 24 when her husband was killed in the early days of the American Revolution.She was working in her deceased husband's upholstery shop when General George Washington reportedly came in and asked her to design America's first flag — and the rest is history. William Washington, 24nicoolay / Getty ImagesWilliam Washington, a distant cousin of George Washington, served as a lieutenant colonel in the Revolutionary War. Well known for his valor, Washington was captured by the British at the Battle Eutaw Springs in 1781, and was held as a prisoner for the rest of the war. Later in life, Washington held several government positions including state senator and command of brigade of the state militia. James Madison, 25ZU_09 / Getty ImagesJames Madison earned the nickname "Father of the Constitution" after composing the first drafts of the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Alongside his friend, Thomas Jefferson, Madison founded the Democratic-Republican Party and later became the fourth US president.Henry Knox, 25wynnter / Getty ImagesWhen war broke out in 1775, General Henry Knox immediately plunged himself into the Revolution. His valiant efforts directing rebel cannon fire at the Battle of Bunker Hill and his work helping to develop the Continental Army made him a war hero. After the war, Knox became the first Secretary of War under President Washington. Edward Rutledge, 26Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesAt 26-years-old, Edward Rutledge became the youngest signatory of the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. After the document had been signed, he left Congress to join the armed forces. He worked his way up to Captain before once again returning to Congress in 1779 to fill a vacancy.Alyson Shontell contributed to a previous version of this story. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 4th, 2023

How Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s embattled one-time bestie, rose to the top of Russia’s military and survived the Wagner rebellion that called for his head

Sergei Shoigu was the target of a rebellion by fighters from the Wagner Group mercenary outfit as they marched on Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shows mushrooms to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during his vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, in August 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images Russia's Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, is a close ally and friend of Vladimir Putin. But as Russia's invasion of Ukraine faltered and stalled, he became a lightning rod for criticism. An armed rebellion led by Wagner's chief Yevgeny Prigozhin sought to oust him from power. This is Sergei Shoigu, Russian President Vladimir Putin's right-hand man.Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu.Contributor/Getty ImagesAs Russia's Minister of Defense, he is responsible for its invasion of Ukraine.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu hold a meeting at the Kremlin, in Moscow on February 14, 2022.Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesBut the stark failures of the Russian army there have undermined his decades-long ascent to the top rungs of power.Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) seen during the Navy Day Parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July, 31 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesShoigu was born in 1955 in the remote town of Chadan in Siberia. The Soviet Union was a world power and the Cold War just beginning.A man outside the former central temple for Buddhists of Tuva, near the settlement of Chadan, in Russia's Tuva region.Ilya Naymushin/ReutersThe town is close to the Mongolian border.Shoigu's mother was Russian but born in Ukraine, while his father was Tuvan — an ethnic group that is indigenous to Siberia.Source: The Moscow Times   Unlike other people in Putin's inner circle, Shoigu was not educated in St. Petersburg or Moscow.Russian President Vladimir Putin accompanied by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (second from left), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (third from left), and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (third from right), waits for a meeting in Sochi, Russia on February 14, 2019.Sergei Chirikov/AFP via Getty ImagesIn 1977, Shoigu graduated from the Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute in Siberia with a degree in civil engineering. He went on to work on a variety of major construction projects in the region."Shoigu is the only figure within Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle who isn't either an old KGB buddy or an old friend from St. Petersburg," Mark Galeotti, who heads the Russia-focused consultancy Mayak Intelligence, told Insider. Putin was born and studied in St. Petersburg and spent much of his early career there.Source: The Kyiv PostDespite being Russia's Defense Minister, Shoigu never served in the military.Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during military exercises in the Pacific Ocean on July 16, 2013.Alexei Nikolsky/AFP via Getty ImagesHe wears awards on his uniform that look like combat medals, despite his lack of battlefield experience.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes soldiers and participants during a military parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 2015.Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImagesShoigu's official profile lists a string of presidential and state awards for his time in government, while his Russian-language Wikipedia page lists more than 70 separate honors.They include medals from his own defense ministry for implementing policies there, and also mass awards marking events like the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.Radio Free Europe, the US-funded outlet, reported last year that Shoigu has a fascination with medals, and implemented hundreds of new ones for the Russian military, many of which are not to do with combat. After working in various roles for construction companies in Siberia, Shoigu moved to Moscow in 1990 to lead the state's committee for construction and architecture.Sergei Shoigu explains the nature of the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station in Cheryomushky, Russia on August 19, 2009.Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: The Moscow TimesIn 1991, while he was there, the Soviet Union collapsed, plunging Russia into a period of instability and unrest.The front page of The New York Times on December 26, 1991.National Security ArchiveOut of the chaos, Russia gained its first president — Boris Yeltsin, a personal friend of Shoigu. He was soon promoted to lead the newly-established Russian Rescue Corps.Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin shakes hands with Sergei Shoigu during an awards ceremony on October 27, 1999.ReutersIn the Russian Rescue Corps, Shoigu was responsible for the rescue and disaster response system, The Moscow Times reported.His career there soon took off.In his role, Shoigu would be the first to appear at any major or minor disaster sites, presenting himself as a hero.Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and then-Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu visit the site of a Polish aircraft crash near Smolensk airport, on April 10, 2010.Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images"He had a big PR team, let's be perfectly honest," Galeotti told Insider.He stayed on the job for 21 years, even after Russian President Vladimir Putin took over from Yeltsin.Source: The Moscow TimesWhen Putin rose to power in 1999, the two became very close.Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on September 21, 2009.Alexey Druzhinin/AFP via Getty ImagesShoigu's successful record and large public profile seemed to appeal to Putin.In 1999, he picked Shoigu to be one of the leaders of his party, United Russia, giving him the opportunity to build a political base.Thirteen years later, in 2012, Putin promoted Shoigu briefly to be the governor of the Moscow region, and from there to run the defense ministry.This gave Shoigu a role on the world stage and a central place in Russia's clashes with the West.Sources: Database of Free Russia Forum, Foreign AffairsShoigu and Putin would often be photographed together. They took regular vacations in the Siberian woods, where they would go fishing or hiking.Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) accompanied by Sergei Shoigu gestures as he fishes in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 3, 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/SPutnik/AFP via Getty ImagesTheir most recent vacation together appears to have been in March 2021.Source: The KremlinAs the president of the Russian Geographical Society, Shoigu would also indulge Putin's interest in the outdoors.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a vacation in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 26, 2018.Alexey Nikolsky/AFP via Getty Images"Putin and Shoigu are both throwbacks to Soviet times. They regard themselves as 'muzhiks' (real Russian men) who love sports and hunting," British magazine The Spectator observed in 2015.This interest may have taken a surreal, even macabre turn.Russian investigative news outlet Proekt reported in April that Putin has taken up bathing in blood extract from severed deer antlers as a form of alternative medicine. The bath is believed to improve the cardiovascular system and rejuvenate the skinThe unusual remedy was a suggestion made by Shoigu, the report said. Source: The New York Times Shoigu likes to play hockey. He also enjoys carpentry and has shown some of his work to Putin.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a hockey game in Moscow, Russia, on April 20, 2018.Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesSources: MK.RU, ReutersAt one point in his career, Shoigu was touted to be the next prime minister.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu rest during a holiday in Siberia on March 21, 2021.Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesIn the early days of his role as minister of defense, Shoigu was considered the second most popular public figure in the country and was even touted as Putin's potential successor.Source: The Daily BeastShoigu is said to have a lavish lifestyle and owns a large mansion outside of Moscow estimated to be worth around $18 million.Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 28, 2017.Kirill Kudryavtsev/Poo/AFP via Getty ImagesThe investigative team of jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny photographed Shoigu's home using high-tech drones in 2015.Shoigu presides over a culture of corruption and embezzlement in the Russian military, according to some reports. An investigation by the independent Russian news outlet The Insider in 2019 claimed that he earned 6.5 billion rubles ($101.9 million) from deals with the ministries of defense and emergency situations.(The Insider is a separate publication from Insider.)Shoigu was behind the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and was also one of the architects of Russia's intervention in Syria one year later.Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on July 25, 2021.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesSource: CNBC, Los Angeles TimesOne day after Russia's invasion, Shoigu was personally sanctioned by the West.Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu (C) speaks as he virtually attends the Summit of Collective Security Treaty Organisation on May 24, 2022.Russian Foreign Ministry Press / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesOther members of Putin's inner circle who were sanctioned alongside Shoigu included Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.Source: Department of State, PoliticoSeveral days before Putin's full-scale invasion in February, Shoigu met with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and denied Russia was planning to attack Ukraine.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov in Moscow, Russia, on February 27, 2022.ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty ImagesThis was despite Western intelligence services publishing extensive evidence of Russian troops amassing near Ukraine's borders, and claims from figures including President Joe Biden that an invasion was inevitable.Source: ReutersBut when Russia did invade on February 24, it did not pan out the way the Kremlin had planned.An abandoned Russian vehicle in a retaken area near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on September 30, 2022.Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP via Getty ImagesRussia seemed to expect it could take Ukraine's capital Kyiv in a matter of days, but failed to do so.For months, their forces have struggled in the face of a staunch Ukrainian resistance that continues to receive more heavy weaponry from Western allies.Russia's partial mobilization in October was also a sign that Shoigu's military was suffering from a severe lack of manpower.The failures in Ukraine have led to claims of a rift between Shoigu and Putin.Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at his Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on October 28, 2022.Mikhail Metzel/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesOne month after Russia's invasion, there was "persistent tension" between the two friends after it emerged that Shoigu and his subordinates were sugar-coating reports of the war for Putin, The New York Times reported at the time.In March, Shoigu wasn't seen in public for 12 days, prompting concerns over his whereabouts, The Guardian reported.In August, Putin started to bypass Shoigu, further embedding himself into the war's strategic planning efforts, The Telegraph reported.Source: Insider Other prominent figures in the Kremlin have openly attacked Shoigu, including Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin.Yevgeniy Prigozhin at a meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2016.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesYevgeniy Prigozhin, who founded the Wagner private army, confronted Putin about the mismanagement of the war in Ukraine last month, two US officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.Prigozhin later denied that he had spoken to Russia's president and said he has no right to criticize Russia's army.Kirill Stremousov, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician who was installed as Putin's puppet leader in the occupied Ukrainian region of Kherson, recently suggested Shoigu should consider killing himself over Russia's recent military losses.Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson administration, is pictured in his office on July 20, 2022.STRINGER/AFP via Getty ImagesStremousov was killed in a car crash in Kherson on November 9, local officials said, according to the BBC.He died hours before Shoigu ordered the withdrawal of his troops from the city.Source: Insider"Shoigu is willing to basically be Putin's bulletproof vest," said Galeotti, the Russia analyst.Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a military parade in Pskov, Russia, on March 1, 2020.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images"He is soaking up all the criticism that, otherwise, people might start leveling towards Putin as commander in chief," Galeotti said.  Shoigu has remained quiet despite the growing criticism...Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Sochi, Russia, on December 4, 2019.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images"He's been much less evident now," Galeotti told Insider."He knows that, when he goes into public, he either has to reassure people that everything's going fine, which is an increasingly untenable position to hold, or he'd have to acknowledge things are going badly, which would potentially sound like criticism of the commander in chief," he added.... and Putin has shown no signs that he may fire him.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu walks in the Taiga in Siberia, on September 26, 2021.Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesGaleotti told Insider that it is difficult for Putin to fire Shoigu because it is "a card he can only play once." "If Putin absolutely felt that the situation demanded it, I imagine he would be willing to sacrifice Shoigu," he said."However, given that it's obviously not going to have any substantive impact on the progress of the war ... it will be harder to avoid the suspicion that it's not because of Shoigu, but because of Putin."On November 9, Shoigu ordered his troops to retreat from Kherson, the only major city in Ukraine that Russian forces were able to capture during the invasion.A soldier of the Ukrainian army in Kherson Oblast on November 05, 2022.Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesThe retreat was a huge blow to Shoigu, who only a month before had told Putin that his goal to send 300,000 of Russia's reservists to fight in Ukraine had been completed, Reuters reported.After all the retreats, Shoigu stepped up his rhetoric in November, saying that Russia should use new advanced weapons systems in Ukraine.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu talks with a cadet in Moscow, Russia, on August 20, 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesShoigu did not specify which advanced weapons should be used, though he said he is looking at new ways of improving artillery and missile attacks.Source: Reuters Earlier this month, Shoigu's alleged ex-lover — and mother of two of his children — was exiled from Lithuania after being deemed a security threat, Lithuanian media reported.Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu seen during the SCTO Summit in Yerevan, Armenia, on November 23, 2022.Contributor/Getty ImagesLithuania's State Security Department said this month that Yelena Shebunova's presence "may impose a threat to the country's national security over her links with Russian structures," Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) reported.It did not elaborate on why she was seen as a threat.According to a 2019 investigation by Russian independent media outlet The Insider, Shebunova and Shoigu have two children together, both born out of wedlock: Daria and Danila.It is unclear how old the children are, but The Insider reported that Shebunova obtained a Lithuanian residence permit in 2017.Shoigu also has two children with his wife, Irina Shoigu, The Kyiv Post reported.In February, Shoigu told military officials the Russian army is "successfully" advancing near the eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Vuhledar.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at a military meeting at an undisclosed location, on January 17, 2023.Russian Defence Ministry/Vadim Savitsky/Handout via Reuters"Military operations are at the moment progressing with success in the areas around Vuhledar and Artemovsk," Shoigu told a defense meeting using the previous name for Bakhmut.Source: Russian Ministry of Defence, Moscow TimesOn June 24, 2023, Prigozhin dramatically launched an armed rebellion to oust Shoigu and chief of army staff, Valery Gerasimov.Members of Wagner group sit atop of a tank in a street in the city of Rostov-on-Don, on June 24, 2023.STRINGER/AFP via Getty ImagesIn a video message, Prigozhin said that Russian forces had bombed his mercenary group. He led his fighters as they seized control of Rostov-on-Don then advanced towards Moscow. The mercenary chief said he wanted Russia's military leaders fired over failings in Ukraine, but after brokering a deal with the Kremlin backed away from the rebellion. He said he wanted to avoid bloodshed, and went into exile in Belarus. The rebellion was the most serious challenge to Putin's authority in his two decades in power. In the wake of the mutiny, the Kremlin released video showing Shoigu visiting troops in Ukraine.Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Colonel General Yevgeny Nikiforov, commander of troops of the Western Military District, talk on board the aircraft as they visit the advanced control post of Russian troops involved in Russia-Ukraine conflict, at an unknown location, in this still image taken from video released June 26, 2023.Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERSThe video shows Shoigu traveling in a plane, and visiting Russian senior officers. The Kremlin did not say when or where the footage was filmed, and NBC News reported that Russian military bloggers, who've been influential critics of the Kremlin's war effort, said it was filmed ahead of the mutiny. —Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) June 26, 2023 The video appeared to be an attempt by the Kremlin to signal that Russia's chain of command remained intact after the rebellion, amid rumors that Putin may be preparing to fire Shoigu. Putin had remained silent as Prigozhin launched increasingly aggressive tirades against Shoigu and other military chiefs in the weeks leading to the mutiny, prompting speculation that he was playing them off against each other. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 26th, 2023