Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Foreign Affairs

Philippines Crack Down on Chinese POGOs

They wouldn’t kill this moneymaker for them without good reason.

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines will stop operations of 175 offshore gambling firms and deport about 40,000 Chinese workers, a justice ministry official said on Monday, part of a crackdown on the notoriously opaque online gaming industry.

 

The sector emerged in the Philippines in 2016 and grew exponentially, as operators capitalised on the country’s liberal gaming laws to target customers in China, where gambling is banned.

 

At their peak, Philippine offshore gambling operators, or POGOs, employed more than 300,000 Chinese workers, but the pandemic and higher taxes have forced many to operate elsewhere.

 

“The crackdown was triggered by reports of murder, kidnapping and other crimes committed by Chinese nationals against fellow Chinese nationals,” justice ministry spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano said.

 

The POGOs targeted for closure had licenses that either expired or were revoked, for violations like non-payment of government fees, Clavano said, adding the deportation of the Chinese workers would start next month.

 

The government generated 7.2 billion pesos ($122.21 million) in 2020 and 3.9 billion last year in POGO fees alone, according to the finance ministry. Economists estimate considerably larger amounts are being spent on taxes, workers’ spending and office rental.

Putin’s Conscripts

Tragic. It also indicates how dangerous a time we are in. Putin’s Russia has proven to be a paper tiger, but they still have WMDs – and not just nukes. Desperate people do desperate things.

The first batch of Russian conscripts began shipping out for Ukraine today, as Putin tries to plug holes in his armies after they were mauled at Kyiv’s hands.

 

Men – many of whom appeared middle-aged – were filmed waving goodbye to their families in the far-eastern province of Yakutia as they were loaded on to buses for the long journey west, to the killing fields of Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

 

Military commissars marshaled them away less than 24 hours after Putin declared the start of Russia’s first mobilisation since the Second World War in a desperate attempt to stop his brutal invasion from collapsing.

 

There were even reports that some of the 1,400 activists arrested last night for protesting the move were being handed conscription papers inside police stations, despite Putin’s promise to only send those with combat experience.

 

Analysts and experts have given the new conscripts little chance of survival, saying they are likely to be given little or no training before being thrown on to the frontline as ‘cannon fodder’.

Australian Central Bank Promises to Print More Money After COVID Losses

This is not good.

Australia’s central bank has revealed that it has lost A$44.9bn ($30bn; £26.3bn) on the bonds it bought as part of its efforts to support the country’s economy during the pandemic.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) deputy governor says that wiped out the bank’s profit for the 2021-22 year, leaving a net loss of A$36.7bn.

 

The bonds were accumulated under a A$300bn emergency stimulus programme.

 

However, the bank says the loss will not affect its normal operations.

 

“If any commercial entity had negative equity, assets would be insufficient to meet liabilities and therefore the company would not be a going concern,” RBA deputy governor Michele Bullock said.

“Since it has the ability to create money, the Bank can continue to meet its obligations as they become due,” she added.

Liberty Burns Bright in the Hearts if Iranian Women

What courage.

Female protesters have been at the forefront of escalating protests in Iran and have been burning headscarves, after the death in custody of a woman detained for breaking hijab laws.

Demonstrations have continued for five successive nights, and reached several towns and cities.

 

Mahsa Amini died in hospital on Friday after spending three days in a coma.

 

In Sari, north of Tehran, large crowds cheered as women set their hijabs alight in defiant acts of protest.

 

Ms Amini was arrested in the capital last week by Iran’s morality police, accused of breaking the law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf, and their arms and legs with loose clothing.

She fell into a coma shortly after collapsing at a detention centre.

Biden’s Show Up Late and Seated in Back

SMH

After arriving hand in hand, the Bidens finally sat down in their places in the abbey at 10.05am. The schedule published by Buckingham Palace suggested the 500 invited dignitaries should have been seated between 9.35am and 9.55am.

 

Perhaps as a consequence of opting out of the buses taking other leaders from the assembly point at Royal Hospital Chelsea, the Bidens were also given seats 14 rows back in the south transept of the abbey.

 

The US president took his seat behind Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, and in front of Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic. Sitting to her husband’s left, Jill Biden sat next to Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland.

Florida Exports Illegals to Martha’s Vinyard

I love this strategy for several reasons

EXCLUSIVE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis followed through on his promise to drop off illegal immigrants in progressive states, sending two planes full of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday.

 

A video provided to Fox News Digital shows the migrants deboarding the planes at Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Massachusetts.

 

“Yes, Florida can confirm the two planes with illegal immigrants that arrived in Martha’s Vineyard today were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” the governor’s communications director, Taryn Fenske, told Fox News Digital.

First, it does logistically and financially help the border states who have carried the burden of Biden’s Bloody Border.

Second, it keeps a spotlight on the issue so that there is pressure to fix the issue.

Third, the continual entertainment of racist liberal hypocrisy who brag about being sanctuaries for illegals when there are 3 of them and panic when there are 50 is fun to watch.

Cuba’s Money Woes

You can’t escape economic realities. I’d laugh at them, but we’re dangerously close behind.

It wasn´t supposed to be this way. In early August, the Cuban government reopened trading houses closed for nearly two years to citizens and tourists, at a favorable rate on par with the thriving black market, a move it said would help stabilize the peso.

 

“The state must reestablish control of the exchange rate,” Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said at the time of the announcement. “We will defend our … rate at 120 pesos to the dollar.”

 

The black market, however, has not been swayed.

 

On Thursday, the peso weakened to 155 to the dollar, El Toque reported, its lowest point since the so-called “Special Period” in Cuba, the deep economic depression that followed the 1991 collapse of former benefactor the Soviet Union.

 

“The price of a dollar is the price at which you find it, not the one the government wants to impose,” said Ricardo Torres a U.S.-based Cuban economist. “The reality is, the government hasn´t resolved the underlying problems.”

 

Torres says a record-breaking emigration of Cubans – upwards of 180,000 have arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in the past year – is one extraordinary factor driving the peso´s dramatic plunge.

 

If each of those migrants needed a conservative $8,000 to make that voyage, that´s upwards of $1.4 billion in demand for dollars, at least some of which was likely bought on the black market in Cuba, Torres said.

Also note that that’s probably about $1.4 billion that flowed into the hands of cartels. Biden’s Bloody Border is destabilizing the whole region.

Chinese People Grow Weary of Lockdowns

Same, dude… same.

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) -When COVID-19 case numbers started ticking up in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen last week, Robin Chen got in his car and fled to nearby Huizhou.

 

It wasn’t because he feared the virus – many of his friends overseas had caught it and recovered – but he didn’t want to lose his freedom again as speculation swirled that Shenzhen was headed for its second lockdown in six months.

 

“I do hope and think there is no reason for our government to continue this policy because it is simply unsustainable,” he said after playing golf and surfing in coastal Huizhou.

DC Declares Emergency Over Illegal Aliens

Note that DC is getting a microscopic fraction of the millions of illegal aliens that the Biden Administration is allowing to invade our southern border. Border states have been dealing with much, much worse for much, much longer.

WashingtonCNN — 

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public health emergency on Thursday in response to the thousands of migrants arriving in the nation’s capital by bus from Arizona and Texas.

Bowser announced in a news conference a new government office tasked with the local response to arriving migrants that will also support new arrivals who are seeking asylum.

[…]

As of Thursday, the Texas governor’s office had sent more than 7,900 migrants on over 190 buses to the District, more than 2,200 migrants on over 40 buses to New York City, and more than 300 migrants on over five buses to Chicago.

[…]

Arizona, which is only sending buses to DC, has sent 46 buses carrying 1,677 migrants.

Putin Endorses Expansionist and Interventionist Foreign Policy

His actions already defined his policy, but now he has a published ideological basis for it.

The 31-page “humanitarian policy”, published more than six months into the war in Ukraine, says Russia should “protect, safeguard and advance the traditions and ideals of the Russian World”.

 

While presented as a kind of soft power strategy, it enshrines in official policy ideas around Russian politics and religion that some hardliners have used to justify Moscow’s occupation of parts of Ukraine and support for breakaway pro-Russian entities in the east of the country.

 

“The Russian Federation provides support to its compatriots living abroad in the fulfilment of their rights, to ensure the protection of their interests and the preservation of their Russian cultural identity,” the policy said.

It said that Russia’s ties with its compatriots abroad allowed it to “strengthen on the international stage its image as a democratic country striving for the creating of a multi-polar world.”

 

Putin has for years been highlighting what he sees as the tragic fate of some 25 million ethnic Russians who found themselves living outside Russia in newly independent states when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, an event he has called a geopolitical catastrophe.

 

Russia has continued to regard the former Soviet space, from the Baltics to Central Asia, as its legitimate sphere of influence – a notion fiercely resisted by many of those countries as well as by the West.

Britain Gets a New PM

Good news.

LONDON (Reuters) -Liz Truss will become Britain’s next prime minister after winning a leadership race for the governing Conservative party on Monday, vowing to press ahead with promises of tax cuts and to deal with a growing energy crisis.

 

After weeks of an often bad-tempered and divisive leadership contest, Truss, currently the foreign minister, defeated former finance minister Rishi Sunak in a vote of Conservative Party members, winning by 81,326 votes to 60,399.

 

“I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy,” Truss said after the result was announced. “I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply.”

 

UN is Late Again

The UN is like that scrawny kid who runs in after the fight is over sucker punches the loser. We have known about China committing genocide against the Uyghurs for years. We don’t need the UN to tell us that. The question is whether or not the world community is going to do anything about it. We already know the answer to that too.

The UN has accused China of “serious human rights violations” in a long-awaited report into allegations of abuse in Xinjiang province.

China had urged the UN not to release the report – with Beijing calling it a “farce” arranged by Western powers.

 

The report assesses claims of abuse against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities, which China denies.

 

But investigators said they found “credible evidence” of torture possibly amounting to “crimes against humanity”.

Human rights groups have been sounding the alarm over what is happening in the north-western province for years, alleging that more than one million Uyghurs had been detained against their will in a large network of what the state calls “re-education camps”.

Biden’s Legacy in Afghanistan

He didn’t just torpedo our country.

“The Taliban have closed the high schools,” she remarks, matter-of-fact, about something that has enormous consequences for young ambitious teenagers like her.

Most secondary schools are shut, on orders of the Taliban’s top ultra-conservative clerics, even though many Afghans, including Taliban members, have called for them to re-open

China Cuts Ties

Oh boy… this isn’t good.

An enraged China has halted dialogue with the US on climate change, military issues and anti-drug work in retaliation for Nancy Pelosi’s ‘provocative’ Taiwan visit as diplomatic tensions reached boiling point.

 

Earlier, Beijing decided to sanction House of Representatives Speaker Pelosi and her immediate family in response to her ‘vicious’ actions and after their military fired 11 ballistic missiles into the Taiwan Strait – with five landing in Japan’s exclusion zone – and surrounded the island.

 

‘Despite China’s serious concerns and firm opposition, Pelosi insisted on visiting Taiwan, seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs, undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, trampling on the one-China policy, and threatening the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,’ a foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

 

It comes as it emerged that the White House summoned Chinese ambassador Qin Gang on Thursday to condemn escalating actions against Taiwan and reiterate that the United States does not want a crisis in the region.

 

The Biden administration has thrown their support behind Pelosi’s trip as a way to promote democracy in Taiwan and have criticized Beijing’s ‘sabre rattling’ and ‘unnecessary’ military drills.

 

‘After China’s actions overnight, we summoned Ambassador Qin Gang to the White House to démarche  him about (China’s) provocative actions,’ White House spokesman John Kirby told the Washington Post. A démarche is a protest through diplomatic channels.

 

‘We condemned the PRC’s military actions, which are irresponsible and at odds with our long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.’

Two Americas. One Russia.

Would your government pull out all the stops to rescue you? Should they? Should they be doing it for Griner?

For the past 11 months, Fogel has languished in Russian detention centers following his August 2021 arrest for trying to enter the country with about half an ounce of medical marijuana he’d been prescribed in the United States for chronic pain after numerous injuries and surgeries. First he endlessly awaited trial, often in crowded, smoke-choked cells. More recently, he has been serving the first weeks of an incomprehensible 14-year sentence handed down by a Russian judge in June.

 

Fogel’s plight parallels a similar case that has played big on news websites, led cable newscasts and prompted White House pronouncements: the trial of WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner, who also was arrested for attempting to enter Russia with a small amount of medical marijuana. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the United States has made a “substantial proposal” to Russia to secure the release of Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year Russian sentence on spy charges he has denied.

 

Marc Fogel’s wife, Jane Fogel, said in an interview after the news broke that she’s still hoping her husband can be included in a swap. But those hopes are fading, she said, speaking publicly for the first time about her husband’s case.

Cubans Flee Island

Well… I guess our country still isn’t as bad as Cuba.

More than 140,000 Cubans have fled the island from October to May, a tenfold increase from the fiscal year 2020, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The recent wave is greater than the Mariel exodus of 1980, when 125,000 Cubans fled the island.

 

“The scale of the numbers is really historic,” Michael Bustamante, the Emilio Bacardí Moreau Chair in Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami and an associate professor of history, told ABC News.

 

[…]

 

He said the main factor behind the flight is economics, as Cuba is facing its worse crisis in 30 years. The pandemic and the lack of tourism, which is a source of income for many businesses, have taken their toll, according to Bustamente.

 

“Things are tough. Inflation is high…There are shortages of all kinds,” he said.

Boris is Out

The embattled but consequential British PM is heading out.

 

Boris Johnson is set to resign as Conservative leader and will step down as prime minister when a new leader is found.

 

He quits Downing Street after less than three years in the job, despite having won a huge majority in the 2019 general election.

 

Outgoing prime ministers are usually expected to stay in office until a successor is found. But how does that happen?

Once a Conservative leader has stood down, an election for a new party leader is triggered. Under the current rules, candidates need the support of eight Conservative MPs to stand.

 

Once all the candidates have declared – if there are more than two candidates – Tory MPs will hold a series of votes until only two remain.

  • in the first round, candidates must get 5% of the votes to stay in the running (currently 18 MPs)
  • in the second round, they must get 10% (currently 36 MPs)
  • in the following rounds, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated

 

When two MPs are left, all Conservative Party members around the country – so not just MPs – will vote for the winner.

The timescale for each contest is decided by the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, and the committee could vote to change the rules before the contest takes place.

What’s interesting is that usually they will call an election to reset the Parliament to pick a new PM. But it looks like since he is stepping down without a vote of no confidence, the Conservatives will just choose a new leader. I may be reading that wrong. I’m not an expert in Parliamentary procedure. But if that’s the case, it’s a smart move by the Conservative Party. I bet the Dems in America wish they could replace their leader without going through an election.

Prince Charles Supports Euros

That’s not shady at all.

The Prince of Wales accepted a suitcase containing a million euros in cash from a former Qatari prime minister, the Sunday Times has reported.

 

The paper says this was one of three cash donations from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim totalling three million euros.

 

Clarence House said donations from the sheikh were passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities and all the correct processes were followed.

 

There is no suggestion the payments were illegal.

 

According to the Sunday Times, Prince Charles received the three cash donations in person from the former prime minister between 2011 and 2015.

 

It is claimed that on one occasion the money was handed over in a hold all at a meeting at Clarence House. On another, the paper reported the cash was contained in carrier bags from the department store Fortnum and Mason.

British Theater Chain Cancels Showings of Movie about Muhammad’s Daughter

What a shame for liberal thought.

Cineworld has cancelled all UK screenings of a film about the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, after it prompted protests outside some cinemas.

 

The cinema chain said it made the decision “to ensure the safety of our staff and customers”.

 

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition for The Lady of Heaven film to be pulled from UK cinemas.

 

The Bolton Council of Mosques called the film “blasphemous” and sectarian.

 

But House of Lords peer Baroness Claire Fox called the decision “disastrous for the arts [and] dangerous for free speech”, while Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was “very concerned about the growing cancel culture” in the UK.

 

In an email to Cineworld, reported by the Bolton News, the chairman of the Bolton Council of Mosques, Asif Patel, said the film was “underpinned with a sectarian ideology” and “misrepresents orthodox historical narratives and disrespects the most esteemed individuals of Islamic history”.

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