Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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The offshore interests of billionaire oligarchs are being promoted by nativist con artists like Trump and Johnson

George Monbiot writes: Seven years ago the impressionist Rory Bremner complained that politicians had become so boring that few of them were worth mimicking: “They’re quite homogenous and dull these days … It’s as if character is seen as a liability.” Today his profession has the opposite problem: however extreme satire becomes, it struggles to keep pace with reality. The political sphere, so dull and grey a few years ago,

Team Trump keeps pushing deal to send nuclear tech to Saudis

The Daily Beast reports: The Trump administration is still actively working to make a deal to send U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to two U.S. officials and two professional staffers at federal agencies with direct knowledge of those conversations. American energy businesses are still hoping to cash in on Riyadh’s push for energy diversification. “This could be a very big contract. This administration is all about contracts,” said

Climate negotiators reach an overtime deal to keep Paris climate accord alive

The New York Times reports: Diplomats from nearly 200 countries reached a deal on Saturday to keep the Paris climate agreement alive by adopting a detailed set of rules to implement the pact. The deal, struck after an all-night bargaining session, will ultimately require every country in the world to follow a uniform set of standards for measuring their planet-warming emissions and tracking their climate policies. And it calls on

Prominent Syrian opposition activist Raed Fares shot dead in Idlib

Middle East Eye reports: A prominent Syrian opposition activist, whose campaigns were well-known around the world, has been shot dead in Idlib province, according to local activists. Raed Fares, a civil society activist and broadcaster, was shot dead by unknown assailants in the southern Idlib town of Kafranbel on Friday, along with friend and fellow opposition activist Hamoud Jneed. Fares had been a prominent opponent of both President Bashar al-Assad’s

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

An attitude of gratitude may relieve stress, which in turn may lead to better health. michaelhelm/Shutterstock.com By Richard Gunderman, Indiana University Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Another study assessed the health benefits of writing thank

Music: Avishai Cohen — ‘Variations In G Minor’

 

The Kremlin vs Telegram

Enrique Dans writes: After a hearing lasting just 18 minutes, on April 4, Russia’s Federal Service for the Supervision of Telecommunications, known as Roskomnadzor, ordered the immediate blocking of instant messaging application Telegram, created by the controversial Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov, along with its removal from Apple and Googles app stores. Aware that growing numbers of people were evading the blockade through proxies or VPNs, the government agency has begun

How white American terrorists are radicalized

David M Perry writes: When Mark Conditt was a teenager, he participated in a club called Righteous Invasion of Truth. RIOT kids were homeschooled and religious, and spent their club time playing war games, practicing weapons skills, and reading the Bible. As a community college student in 2012, he wrote blogs against homosexuality and abortion. In 2018, he planted bombs in Austin, Texas, appearing to target African-American communities, then blew