The Best Exclusive Content on Apple TV+ | Wealth of Geeks

Apple TV+ doesn’t exactly have the same name power as Netflix or HBO Max, but since its inception in 2019, it’s quickly gained a reputation as an outstanding streaming service in its own right.

With dozens of standout movies and TV series lining its digital catalog, Apple TV+ is an excellent option for those looking for a break from the other streaming giants dominating the industry.

From Academy Award-winning films to widely-praised comedy series like Ted Lasso, here are some of the best movies and shows you can find streaming on Apple TV+ right now.

Servant

Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Sean (Toby Kebbell) and Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) are a young Philadelphia couple who hire a mysterious nanny (Nell Tiger Free) for their baby reborn doll, Jericho — the nanny soon bringing with her some unexplained happenings.

Eerie Atmosphere

Servant 1
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Servant has a habit of building great mysteries that often lead to some disappointing conclusions, but its eerie atmosphere and the cast’s performances are more than enough to sustain it.

For All Mankind

For All Mankind 1
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Television

In an alternative version of history, the space race continues throughout the remainder of the 20th century, with the Soviet Union becoming the first nation to land on the moon successfully.

A Unique Approach

For All Mankind
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Television

Alternative history series are nothing new, but For All Mankind still manages to take a unique approach to its parallel historical timeline. Its inclusiveness is also worthy of praise, as is its inventive time jumps from season to season.

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cha Cha Real Smooth 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

After graduating from college, Andrew (Cooper Raiff) gets a job as a party starter. Through this line of work, he meets and forms a special connection with a young woman (Dakota Johnson) and her autistic daughter (Vanessa Burghardt).

Emotional Stories

Cha Cha Real Smooth
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Writer-director-star Cooper Raiff may be a relatively young talent, but his ambition and ability to craft emotional stories is clear in a movie like Cha Cha Real Smooth. Many have positively commented upon Raiff’s talent when it comes to balancing a weighty plot with comedic elements, calling him a director to watch out for in the future.

On the Rocks

On the Rocks
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

When she begins to suspect her husband (Marlon Wayans) of cheating on her, an author (Rashida Jones) reaches out to her estranged playboy father (Bill Murray) for advice on what she should do.

Comedic Plot Line

On the Rocks 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Filmmaker Sofia Coppola has been focusing on progressively darker films in recent years, including The Bling Ring and The Beguiled. In a stylistic departure for the director, Coppola doubles down on a more comedic plot line with On the Rocks, capitalizing on Murray and Jones’ undeniable chemistry.

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry

Billie Eilish The Worlds a Little Blurry
Photo Credit: Apple Original Films

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry offers a nonlinear take on Eilish’s career and the creative process behind her debut album, 2019’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Eilish’s Rise to Worldwide Prominence

Billie Eilish The Worlds a Little Blurry 1
Photo Credit: Apple Original Films

Whether you love Billie Eilish or don’t, you can’t argue she’s become one of the most popular music sensations of the past five years. Broken into a more fragmented documentary, The World’s a Little Blurry adequately explores Eilish’s rise to worldwide prominence.

Dickinson

Dickinson 1
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

In the late 1800s, aspiring poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) longs to break out of the preconceived mold for women pervading society at the time.

Fun, Breezy Coming of Age Drama

Dickinson
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Like the Kirsten Dunst-led Marie Antoinette, Dickinson crosses its historical setting, characters, and subject matter with modern vernacular and themes. It may not have anything to do with the real Emily Dickinson, but its stylistic approach makes it a fun, breezy coming-of-age drama.

Wolfwalkers

Wolfwalkers
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

In the 1650s, Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey) and her huntsman father arrive in Ireland to track a tribe of werewolves. While there, Robyn is drawn into the tribe’s world, better understanding the creatures and their way of life.

Imaginative Animation

Wolfwalkers 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

If director Tom Moore and the folks at Cartoon Saloon keep up their impressive track record so far, they might give Studio Ghibli a run for their money. Utilizing an imaginative animation style, nuanced characters, and interesting storyline, Wolfwalkers almost certainly matches the quality of early Pixar or Hayao Miyazaki’s studio at their absolute best.

Slow Horses

Slow Horses 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Slough House is a branch of MI5 reserved for agents who have fouled up in some way. Hoping to redeem himself in the eyes of his superiors, rookie agent (Jackie Lowden) investigates a case far more dangerous than he initially expected.

Perfect Thriller

Slow Horses
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Gary Oldman can do no wrong, no matter the capacity he’s featured in (although, fortunately, he’s featured a lot in Slow Horses). Focusing on a more realistic depiction of the espionage genre than the dramatized spy stories of James Bond or Mission: Impossible, Slow Horses is the perfect thriller for fans of Oldman and John le Carré.

Mythic Quest

Mythic Quest
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Ian Grimm (Rob McElhenney) is the creator of a popular MMORPG video game called Mythic Quest. As he regularly argues with his staff, the game’s developers try to come up with every conceivable way to ensure Mythic Quest remains the success that it is.

Silicon Valley for the Gaming Industry

Mythic Quest 1
Photo Credit: Apple Inc.

Admittedly, Mythic Quest doesn’t command the same level of attention as McElhenney’s previous It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but it’s a more than worthy follow-up to the hit FX comedy series. With a cast composed of Ashly Burch, Imani Hakim, Danny Pudi, and F. Murray Abraham, it’s essentially Silicon Valley for the gaming industry.

Hala

Hala 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Seventeen-year-old Hala (Geraldine Viswanathan) is a Pakistani-American struggling to conform to her parent’s expectations and her individual wants — something’s that further exacerbated when Hala falls for the non-Muslim Jesse (Jack Kilmer).

Cultural Identity

Hala
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Hala doesn’t touch upon new ground, existing as one of the many movies dealing with the loss of your family’s cultural identity in the face of generational assimilation. But Viswanathan’s tender lead performance propels it ahead of any similarly-veined movies, adequately exploring the main heroine’s uncertainties and inner conflict.

Boys State

Boys State 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

At Texas’s Boy State, a thousand 17-year-old boys from differing backgrounds, social classes, and political beliefs band together to build a representative government.

Ideas of Democracy

Boys State
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

One of the most popular and well-received documentaries of 2020, Boys State is an effective and entrancing study of American democracy on a smaller scale. Watching the young men at the heart of the film interact, you witness how deeply ingrained their ideas of democracy have become, and how the previous generations’ beliefs have sculpted their minds (for better or worse).

The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Macbeth (Denzel Washington) is a brutal Scottish lord whose victories in battle earn him the praise of his king, Duncan (Brendan Gleeson). Pushed by his scheming wife (Frances McDormand) and backed by the prophecy of three witches, Macbeth murders his way into inheriting the throne, leaving a path of destruction behind him.

Tense and Atmospheric

The Tragedy of Macbeth 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

The first movie made by Joel Coen without the assistance of his brother, Ethan, The Tragedy of Macbeth is also completely unlike any Coen brothers movie there is. Adopting a stark German Expressionist-like cinematography, it’s a tense and atmospheric historical drama, updating Shakespeare’s text for the modern era.

Severance

Severance
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

At the biotechnology company Lumon Industries, employees are allowed the opportunity to “sever” their work memories from the memories of their personal life. One of these employees, Mark (Adam Scott), eventually begins to ponder the nature of his work, wondering if Lumon is keeping secrets from him without his knowledge.

Darker Drama

Severance 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

If you ever needed another reason to love Adam Scott as an actor, Severance is it. Though there are elements of comedy embedded in the series, Severance offers a far more serious series for Scott to act in, allowing him to venture into darker dramatic territory than any show he’s been featured in thus far in his career.

CODA

CODA
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

Born to deaf parents (Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin), high school senior Ruby (Emilia Jones) is torn between her desire to attend Berklee College or helping her family’s struggling fishing business.

Critically Praised

CODA 1
Photo Credit: Apple Studios

The winner of the 2021 Academy Award for Best Picture, CODA has been lauded for its coming-of-age themes, but its representation of the deaf community remains the most remarkable aspect of the movie. Watching it, you leave without any doubts as to why the movie was as critically praised as it was.

Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso
Photo Credit: Apple TV+

Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is a mild-mannered, underqualified Kansas football coach who — against all odds — is hired to coach a Premier Football team in England.

A Major Phenomenon

Ted Lasso 1
Photo Credit: Apple TV+

Ted Lasso is more than just a successful TV show. Like The Office or It’s Always Sunny, it’s become a major phenomenon among mainstream audiences, its characters, themes, and storylines frequently mentioned in pop culture since its debut season.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Richard Chachowski is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. He loves reading, his dog Tootsie, and pretty much every movie to ever exist (especially Star Wars).


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Relay On Demand Review 2023 – How Much Can You Make?

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If you’re a trucker looking for a flexible work schedule, being able to choose runs you want to work and control your earnings as well as having a balanced work and home life, Relay on Demand is the app for you. With Relay, you can make an average trucking wage of $32 an hour. Relay on Demand allows you to work with freedom and flexibility without having to own a truck and is completely free.

Pros

  • Flexible gig work schedule
  • Select gigs of your choice
  • Get paid quickly
  • Free to use

Cons

  • May have to work night shifts
  • Possibility of working weekend shifts

Jump to: Full Review

Compare to Other Gig Economy Jobs

GoPuff

GoPuff logo

Experienced delivery drivers can earn up to $21 per hour ($13 on average)

Choose when you want to work based on your schedule in 1000 cities

Delivery snacks, drinks, grocery, quick meals, cleaning supplies and more

DoorDash

DoorDash logo

Earn $25 per hour plus keep 100% of your tips (4000 cities in USA)

You can use any mode of transportation: your car, bicycle or motorcycle

You have the freedom to pick and choose which orders you want to accept

Grubhub

Grubhub logo

Make around $12 per hour + tips and create your own flexible schedule

No resume, interview or delivery experience required, and no dress code

Cash your earnings out up to $500 a day (free for Chase Bank customers)

How Does Relay On Demand Work?


how does relay on demand work

Relay on Demand is a technology company that was founded in 2018 and is based in Corona, California. The company works to deliver exceptional service for its carriers and ensures its driving partners enjoy freedom and flexibility.

Whenever a carrier creates a need for a driver, Relay on Demand instantly matches an available driver based on their schedule, location, remaining HOS, skill level, and other data points that ensure the right driver and the right run are always matched.

As a driver for Relay on Demand, simply accept a run on the app, show up to drive the carrier’s truck, complete the run, and get paid as soon as the next day.

You will see the pay rates for orders before you accept them, and you will also be able to see if that order is paid on an hourly basis or a flat rate basis. With Relay on Demand, you can earn $35 an hour or more for urgent jobs.

Relay On Demand Reviews: is Relay On Demand Legit?


Relay on Demand has a 4.4-star rating on Google Play, a 4.3-star rating on Apple IOS, and a 4.4-star rating on AppGrooves.

Customers praise Relay on Demand for being easy to use, allowing you a flexible work schedule, and getting paid as quickly as the next day.

Relay on Demand has received complaints from truckers for being non-responsive, not getting accepted onto the app, and having difficulty communicating with the support team.

Relay On Demand Benefits: What Does Relay On Demand Offer?


what are relay on demand main benefits

Less Risk With More Flexibility

With Relay on Demand, truck drivers can have the freedom, flexibility, and earnings of an owner-operator without the high costs and risks of owning their own truck. Drivers can drive different carriers’ trucks and do not have to invest in their own trucks while having a flexible work schedule.

Regular, Easily Accessible Work

Relay on Demand has a network of trucking companies that regularly need drivers. Fortunately for truck drivers, this means that there is regular work on the app that they can pick and choose from.

Freedom And Flexibility

Relay on Demand allows drivers to enjoy freedom and flexibility by being able to choose the runs they want to work without any commitment.

Relay On Demand Requirements


Any active Commercial Driver’s License holder can sign up to be a Relay driver. However, before you can work, you must pass the background check, meet driving record requirements and complete a Relay training program.

Sign up for the Relay app and fill in all your relevant details and wait for relay to review your application.

Relay On Demand Costs to Consider


The platform is free to use which means you can use Relay On Demand to find work free of charge.

Relay On Demand Payout Terms and Options?


getting paid on relay on demand

Once a job is complete, you and the carrier confirm the job is complete and rate each other. Relay drivers are paid on a weekly basis.

If you need to get paid quicker, Relay on Demand offers next-day pay through PayActiv, a third-party partner, where you’ll be able to access your pay as soon as the day after you earn it.

With Relay on Demand, you can earn $35 an hour or more for urgent jobs.

What Are the Relay On Demand Pros & Cons?


what are relay on demand pros and cons

Relay On Demand Pros

  • Flexible gig work schedule
  • Select gigs of your choice
  • Get paid quickly
  • Free to use

Relay On Demand Cons

  • May have to work night shifts
  • Possibility of working weekend shifts

How Good is Relay On Demand Support and Knowledge Base?


Relay on Demand has a large, detailed database of frequently asked questions and a direct line to talk to a customer help agent for any further questions. You can also chat with a representative on the website or schedule time with a representative on the website.

Relay On Demand Review Verdict: is Relay On Demand Worth it?


If you’re a trucker looking for a flexible work schedule, being able to choose runs you want to work and control your earnings as well as having a balanced work and home life, Relay on Demand is the app for you.

With Relay, you can make an average trucking wage of $32 an hour. Relay on Demand allows you to work with freedom and flexibility without having to own a truck and is completely free making it worth using to most truckers.

How to Start Earning With Relay On Demand?


Once your profile has been accepted on the Relay app and you are clear to work, you can start applying to jobs as soon as possible. The more jobs that you apply to, the higher the chance that you will receive work.

Sites Like Relay On Demand


ComparisonRelay On DemandDoorDashGrubHubGoPuff
Pay per hour$32/hr$17/hr$12/hr$15/hr
ScheduleSelf-selectedSelf-selectedSchedule blocksSelf-selected
Best forTruck drivesFood deliveryFood deliveryFood delivery

Relay On Demand vs. DoorDash


DoorDash Summary

  • Choose your own flexible working hours
  • Earn up to $25 per hour + tips
  • Get $150 when you refer a friend to join
  • You get to keep 100% of all tips

Relay On Demand is an app for truck drivers, so you will need your Commercial Driver’s license and be over the age of 21 to work on the app. With DoorDash, you need to be 18 and have a smartphone to work on the app. With both of these apps, you get to choose your work schedule.

Relay On Demand vs. GrubHub


GrubHub Summary

  • High average earnings of $12 per hour
  • Instant cash out for your earnings
  • Earn more from tips and peak periods
  • Deliver with car, bike, scooter, motorcycle

On Relay on Demand, you’ll be working as a truck driver while on GrubHub, you will work as a food deliverer. You can choose your own work schedule on Relay on Demand and on GrubHub, you can schedule blocks for your workday.

Relay On Demand vs. GoPuff


GoPuff Summary

  • Potential to earn up to $21 per hour
  • Additional ways to earn extra cash
  • Good side hustle even with a full-time job
  • Work as much or as little as you want

With Relay on Demand, you work as a truck driver with your Commercial Driver’s license, while on GoPuff you work as a food deliverer and simply need access to a car. With both of these apps, you can choose your schedule and select shifts.

Other Sites Like Relay On Demand


Relay On Demand FAQs


What is Relay On Demand?

what is relay on demand

Relay on Demand’s mission is to provide a better way for truck drivers and carriers to achieve their goals in the freight industry.

Relay on Demand was founded to improve the lives of truck drivers, so they can become more flexible and enjoy more family life.

The Relay on Demand app makes it easy for truck drivers to choose the runs they want to work and create their own job schedules. As a driver on Relay, you can work with hundreds of carriers without having to apply or interview.

Relay On Demand has made over $1 million in the past 12 months, is trusted by over 1,000 drivers, and has over 10,000 downloads.

Who can be a Relay driver?

Any active CDL holder can sign up to be a Relay driver. However, before you can become available to work, you must pass a background check, meet driving record requirements, and complete a Relay training program.

How do I earn money on Relay on Demand?

You earn money on an hourly basis with Relay on Demand. The total of how much you can make is in your control and depends on how often you want to work.

Am I required to accept a Relay move request?

No, you are never required to accept a Relay job request. You always have the option to say no.

When do I get paid?

Once the job is completed, you get paid weekly. You can also get next-day pay through Relay’s third-party PayActiv.

How do I get paid?

You can choose a transfer of funds to your bank account, payroll card, reloadable debit card, PayActiv Visa card, or access it as cash at any Walmart.

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How to Fix Twitter login issues (Takes 15 Seconds!)

“How to fix Twitter login issues” is one of the most popular questions I have gotten from readers of this blog.

This is unsurprising because Twitter is among the biggest social networking platforms in the world.

It is a powerful tool for communication and a channel for sharing opinions and molding perceptions of events around us.

It is also an entertaining space as it allows users to crack jokes and share memes, funny videos and GIFs.

It is an outlet for relaxing and easing off stress. Millions of people check their Twitter feed at least once a day.

This proves Twitter’s value as an open, diverse and engaging community.

However, it can be very annoying when you encounter issues while trying to log into Twitter, especially after a tedious day in the office or workplace.

Twitter login issues can affect mobile devices (iOS & Android) and even PC browsers.

I understand how vexing this is, but it is not an isolated case. It affects lots of other users too.

Twitter is also aware of them. Sometimes, the source of the problem emanates from Twitter’s servers. Other times, the issue may originate from the user.

In either case, Twitter login issues are easily rectifiable. Depending on their complexity, they can clear off in less than two days, particularly if the fault is from Twitter.

They will be quick to work on the problem because they don’t want it to hamper the user experience.

However, if the problem is from your end, it is crucial that you explore solutions that will help you fix it.

This is what this article is about. Let me show you ways in which you can fix Twitter login issues.

Ways to Fix Twitter Login Issues

As I mentioned earlier, there are numerous reasons why you may experience login issues while trying to login into Twitter.

I suggest you check the fixes below and see if you can successfully log into your account on Twitter.

Try them one after the other until you find the right solution for the issue you are facing.

Refresh the Twitter Page or App

The first fix is to refresh the Twitter log-in page on your browser, whether on Microsoft Edge, Brave, Opera Mini or Google Chrome.

Click the reload icon (circular arrow) next to the address bar.

If you are logging in with the Twitter mobile app on your iOS device or Android smartphone, quit it and restart it.

Access Twitter on a Different Device

This fix is simple.

Let’s assume you are currently experiencing login issues when trying to sign into Twitter on your account on your mobile device (iOS or Android).

The next course of action is to attempt a Twitter sign-in from your web browser.

Alternatively, if you log in via a specific browser and experience issues, you can try another browser.

If the problem still persists, proceed to the next solution below.

Ensure Your Login Credentials are Accurate

Your login credentials (password and username) can make or break the entire login process.

So ensure you recheck your Twitter password and username, looking over their spelling before logging in.

Once you have made the necessary corrections, input your name and password to sign in.

Confirm that You Have a Stable Internet Connection

Oftentimes, you may experience Twitter login issues when your internet connection is poor or weak.

Do a speed test to confirm the strength of your internet connection.

If it is far from stable, ensure you rectify this by resetting your broadband modem or WiFi router.

Also, place your device in close proximity to your WiFi router for a stronger network signal.

Clear Your Twitter Cache

Another major cause of Twitter login issues is corrupt or misconfigured cache files.

To fix this, you must clear the cache file from the Twitter app or your web browser.

Follow these steps to clear your cache on the Twitter app:

  • On your Android smartphone, access the Settings menu.
  • Navigate to Apps & Notification from the list of options.
  • Tap Twitter.
  • Next, head to Storage.
  • Select Clear Cache.

For iOS device users, you will have to reinstall the Twitter app to clear the cache easily.

Here’s how to clear cookies on the Twitter website.

Launch your web browser. Select the icon that looks like a padlock beside the address bar on the Twitter website.

  • Tap Cookies.
  • Select Twitter.com
  • Select the Remove option.

Update the Twitter App

It is easy to update your Twitter app to the latest version. If you are an Android smartphone user, access the Google Play Store. For iOS device users, visit the App Store.

  • Navigate to the search field and input “Twitter.”
  • Select the Twitter App,
  • Select Update.

Twitter Login Issues FAQs

Why can’t I retrieve my Twitter account?

It is possible that your account has been deactivated for more than thirty days.

Twitter allows users who have deactivated their accounts for a window period of thirty days to retrieve their accounts.

Your account will be wiped out of Twitter’s system if this deadline passes.

The only solution is to set up a new account.

Twitter has locked my account. How long will this last?

It depends on the reason for the action taken on your account in the first place. It can last for twelve hours to a week.

Can Twitter ban your account forever?

Yes, your account can be banned permanently if it is due to offensive tweets or actions.

If your account has breached Twitter rules multiple times, there is a likelihood that it may be banned.

For instance, accounts that are involved in blackmailing other users or spreading fake news can be permanently suspended.

What are some signs that my Twitter account has been hacked?

One of the biggest signs of a hacked account on Twitter is unexpected tweets or DMs sent from your account without your direct approval.

Unfollowing, blocking or following other users is another sign.

At times, Twitter may notify you that someone may have compromised your account.

Why is my account locked?

If you are notified that your Twitter account has been locked for security reasons, it shows that you have discovered some unusual behavior.

This implies that there has been an attempt to hack your account.

What are some challenges in promoting my business on Twitter?

It is expensive: Having a presence on Twitter may demand a lot of time and attention.

Twitter is known for its criticism and negativity: Customers may use this avenue to badmouth your service offerings and products.

Time critical: If you tweet at a time your followers are not online, no one will pay attention to it.

Is there a way to find out if you are in Twitter Jail?

If you get notified about an error when you want to post a tweet, send a message or post a retweet after you have been active, it is a sign that you are in Twitter Jail.

Can I sign in to Twitter via Gmail?

Access the Twitter mobile app. Select the “Continue with Google” option.

An option that lets you select an account will pop up.

Tap the Google account you wish to utilize.

Has my Twitter account been banned temporarily or permanently?

Oftentimes, Twitter bans accounts temporarily, and you can rectify this by making a few changes, such as authenticating your identity or removing a tweet that violates the guidelines.

Why are people quitting Twitter?

When Elon Musk bought Twitter for 44 billion dollars, people raised concerns over bugs and the growth of hateful content. Analysts predict that over 30 million users may quit the app in the next five years.

What should Twitter users stay away from?

Offensive content like pornography and violence: Never post content that is sexually explicit or promotes violence, whether in profile, live video or header photos.

My Twitter account is locked. Why?

If you get notified that your account is locked due to security reasons, it implies that Twitter has discovered an unusual behavior. This means that there may have been an attempt to hack your account. The whole process is to safeguard your business.

What is the duration for Twitter to unlock your account?

Twitter can take around 3 days to unlock your account, and will send you notifications via email and Twitter once the process is finalized.

Conclusion

This completes our guide on “How to fix Twitter login issues.”

We have outlined several solutions to these problems.

Generally, it is hard for average users to rectify these login issues.

This is because there is no further information given whenever the user encounters these issues.

With this article, our goal is to offer you every step you wish to try as a user to solve this confusing issue.

We hope this article has made it simpler for you to sign in to Twitter without any hassles.

Also Read:



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UK: Muslim Migrant Murders His Host

The latest story of a Muslim migrant who murders his host is a metaphor for what is happening in Europe today. The indigenes of Western Europe have welcomed into their midst millions of Muslim migrants who repay their hosts by helping themselves to what they think of as proleptic jizyah, both by taking whatever benefits the generous welfare states of Western Europe have on offer and by adding to those benefits whatever they can obtain through street robberies and house burglaries. They repay kindness with criminality, including rape and murder; they set up No-Go Zones; they look forward to a future in which the indigenous Europeans, their fertility rates sinking, will be demographically overwhelmed by polyphiloprogenitive Muslims. The full and appalling story of this murder can be found here: “UK: Failed asylum seeker murdered pensioner who took him in,” by Thomas Brooke, Remix News, January 31, 2023:

A failed Iranian asylum seeker will be sentenced on Wednesday after brutally murdering a frail 87-year-old woman who took him into her home in the English county of North Yorkshire.

Pensioner Brenda Blainey was found dead in her home in the village of Thornton-le-Dale on Jan. 5 last year.

On Monday, Leeds Crown Court heard how Iranian national Shahin Darvish-Narenjbon, who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, strangled her before smashing her head on the kitchen floor of her home, stabbing her in the chest, and slitting her throat.

Was he diagnosed, as I suspect, as a “paranoid schizophrenic,” after he had murdered his hostess and, figuring he was not going to beat the rap, instead put on quite a show of craziness? Isn’t this the diagnosis of being “mentally unbalanced”(or “paranoid,” or “schizophrenic” or “paranoid schizophrenic”) so often offered by those in authority who don’t want to admit that Islam itself might explain Muslim violence against non-Muslims? Was Osama bin Laden “mentally unbalanced”? Or Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi? Or Al-Zawahiri? Or Mohamed Atta? Weren’t they all just being good Muslims, behaving just as they believed the Qur’an instructed them to behave toward Infidels?

Nicholas Lumley, prosecuting, told the court how the frail victim had taken in her killer 9 years prior, back in 2013 when they first met at a restaurant in Leeds. She offered him a room in her home and described their relationship as one of “grandma-grandson.”

She provided him with food and other home comforts as he was studying in Leeds,” said Lumley, who added the victim had also attended Darvish-Narenjbon’s graduation and had provided him with a car.

The court heard how on Jan. 5, Mrs. Blainey had called the local village shop to place an order when the line went dead. The shopkeeper attempted to return Mrs. Blainey’s call several times to no avail, and when the shopkeeper’s husband went round to check on her, he was met by a police cordon.

Darvish-Narenjbon himself had called the police, telling authorities he had come downstairs to find his surrogate grandmother in a pool of blood.

“I just came downstairs and found my grandmother on the hard floor. She’s got blood everywhere and I don’t know,” the Iranian national told a police call handler.

The court later heard from a forensic psychiatrist who had made a report after spending time with Darvish-Narenjbon. The failed asylum seeker had spoken of delusions, and it was clear his mental health had significantly deteriorated.

The court heard that Darvish-Narenjbon saw a red button on the TV, which he subsequently pressed and received a “license” to harm and kill Brenda Blainey.

Darvish-Narenjbon was initially charged with murder, which he denied; he later admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, which was accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The killer appeared in court via video link from the high-security Ramptom Hospital where he has been held since May last year.

Prosecuting counsel told the court that Tehran-born Darvish-Narenjbon has resided in the U.K. since he was 15. He had also lived briefly in the United States where he spent time inside a psychiatric unit.

The defendant’s permission to remain in the U.K. expired back in 2015. He subsequently applied for asylum, which was turned down, as was his appeal against the Home Office decision.

Do you buy this story of Darvish-Narenjbon being a “paranoid schizophrenic”? Had he been such, it would have been impossible to hide. Wouldn’t Mrs. Blainey, with whom he lived for nine years at close quarters, have noticed something most peculiar about him in all that time? Yet there seems to be no record of her, or of anyone else in the village, complaining about the kind of wild behavior and the crazed nonstop monologues that one expects of a “paranoid schizophrenic.”

He was crazy like a fox, when he called the police and said “I just came downstairs and found my grandmother on the hard floor. She’s got blood everywhere and I don’t know.” This is someone in perfect control of himself, trying to suggest his innocent ignorance, not a “paranoid schizophrenic” who would have no trouble implicating himself. When he saw that the police were not going to be dissuaded from accusing him, he immediately switched gears and put on his crazy act. He spent time with a forensic psychiatrist and told him just what he figured the good doctor wanted to hear: that he had experienced all sorts of delusions in the past. If he was a “paranoid schizophrenic,” how did he know they were “delusions”? And then, to show just how c-r-a-z-y he was, Darvish-Narenjbon claimed that he had seen a red button on the TV – had he never, in nine years, ever noticed it before? — which he subsequently pressed and received a “license” to harm and kill Brenda Blainey. Really? Did the Red Button talk to him, like Alexa? Or did it send brain waves to him? Did the “license to kill” mean he was not only to strangle her, but then to also smash her head on the kitchen floor, then to stab her in the chest before, as the pièce de résistance, slitting her throat? He got what he wanted. Instead of life in a dreary prison, he’ll be in a much more comfortable insane asylum. And should he miraculously recover from his feigned illness, he will be set free. Of course, he’ll miraculously recover.

This appalling story put me in mind of how often Muslim murderers in Europe are treated as if they are mentally impaired, for what else, the police and prosecutors and judges conclude, could explain their crimes? It can’t be, we mustn’t let it be, don’t even suggest it could be, Islam. And Europe today is like Mrs. Blainey, the kind old lady welcoming into her home, and providing every creature comfort for, a Muslim who feels no gratitude, but harbors an inextinguishable hate for her, for she was an Infidel and therefore “the most vile of created beings,” that eventually he could no longer contain.

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Russian missile strike destroys apartment building in Ukraine, killing at least 3 | CBC News

Rescuers combed debris in a city in Eastern Ukraine on Thursday, where an overnight Russian missile strike destroyed an apartment building and damaged nine others, killing at least three people.

The police force said the apartments in the city of Kramatorsk were hit by an Iskander-K tactical missile at 9:45 p.m. local time. Earlier reports had described it as an attack with a rocket.

“Ten apartment buildings were damaged, one partially collapsed. Search and rescue work, which continued all night, is still under way,” police said in a statement.

The dead include a husband and wife and a 61-year-old pensioner, whose daughter was still believed to be missing. Eighteen people were also wounded.

The city is close to the front line in Eastern Ukraine, and many residents have fled or regularly hide in cellars, which may have saved lives compared to similar attacks elsewhere. A missile strike on an apartment block in the central city of Dnipro two weeks ago killed at least 44 people.

A fire is shown at one of the areas in Kramatorsk damaged after the Russian missile strike. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters)

Exasperated residents sorted through scattered personal belongings, as apartment interiors were visible amid the blasted-out walls from the neighbouring building.

“This is the centre of the city. Only civilians live here, which is why any attempts to justify this are futile at the very least,” regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Reuters at the scene.

Moscow has denied intentionally targeting civilians.

Kramatorsk is about 55 kilometres northwest of Bakhmut, currently the main focus of fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

Russia taking advantage of troop numbers: analyst

Russia, determined to make progress before Ukraine gets newly promised Western battle tanks and armoured vehicles, has picked up momentum on the battlefield and announced advances north and south of Bakhmut, which has suffered persistent Russian bombardment for months.

“Definite increase has been noted in the offensive operations of the occupiers on the front in the east of our country. The situation has become tougher,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram.

“The enemy is trying to achieve at least something now to show that Russia has some chances on the anniversary of the invasion,” he added.

WATCH l ‘We are unbreakable’: Ukrainians repair, make time for leisure activities:

Ukrainians’ unbreakable resilience in the face of war

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be trying to break the spirit of Ukrainians with constant attacks, but it doesn’t appear to be working in Kyiv, where daily life continues as a display of resilience.

Bakhmut and 10 towns and villages around it came under Russian fire, the Ukrainian military said late on Wednesday.

Russian forces are pushing from both the north and south to encircle Bakhmut, using their superior troop numbers to try to cut it off from re-supply and force the Ukrainians out, Ukrainian military analyst Yevhen Dikiy said.

“This for us is the most difficult scenario,” Dikiy told Espreso TV.

“The enemy is able to use its sole resource, which it has in excess, its men,” he said, describing a landscape to the northeast of Bakhmut “literally covered with corpses.”

Ukraine and its Western allies say Moscow has taken huge losses around Bakhmut, sending in waves of poorly equipped troops, including thousands of convicts recruited from prisons as mercenaries.

Russian forces are also probing areas of weakness in Ukraine’s defences on the western edges of Luhansk region, its governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian TV on Thursday.

“The amount of shelling has increased, the number of attacks in the direction of Svatove-Kreminna has increased… They are piling up our positions with bodies,” Gaidai said.

Reuters could not confirm the battlefield reports.

Fighter jet pilot training takes years: Britain

In a separate tweet early on Thursday, Zelenskyy wrote: “The only way to stop Russian terrorism is to defeat it. By tanks. Fighter jets. Long-range missiles.”

Ukraine, which last week secured promises of battle tanks, wants allies to supply fighter jets and missiles.

“We’re focused on providing Ukraine the capability that it needs to be effective in its upcoming anticipated counter-offensive in the spring,” U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a visit to the Philippines on Thursday.

LISTEN l What to expect after Ukraine’s gets commitment on tanks:

Front Burner26:48Will tanks end or escalate the war in Ukraine?

Moscow says any such deliveries will escalate the conflict but not change its course.

With respect to fighter jets, Britain has said it’s not currently practical to send them to Ukraine, given the complexity of the jets and the length of time it takes to train pilots.

“We will continue listening to the Ukrainians and consider what is right for the long term, but — if helpful to understand the situation — the fastest training program for a new pilot is approximately 35 months,” the spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told reporters on Thursday

“The current [domestic] fast jet training program takes five years,” the spokesperson added.

EU notes Ukraine progress on tackling corruption

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy promised more anti-corruption measures ahead of meetings with the European Union.

The vow came as the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Kyiv by train on Thursday along with more than a dozen other senior EU officials, noting on Twitter “notable steps” Ukraine has taken “to meet our recommendations.”

Unwilling to admit a country currently at war, the EU is expected to dash Ukraine’s hopes of being swiftly allowed membership, underlining the need for more anti-corruption measures.

The EU says it has already earmarked almost 60 billion euros ($87.5 billion Cdn) in aid to Ukraine, but Kyiv’s membership bid is expected to take years.

Von der Leyen said on Thursday that an international centre for the prosecution of war crimes that have taken place in Ukraine would be set up in The Hague.



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In North Macedonia, EU’s ideals are in the line of fire. Here’s why


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent in any way the editorial position of Euronews.

I remember how, less than a decade ago, many eyebrows in Brussels were raised when US Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the growing Russian influence in Europe and said, “when it comes to Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, [North] Macedonia … they are in the line of fire.”

Those of us living in the Western Balkans were not shocked; we have been aware of Russia’s malign intentions in the region for decades. For most of history, the southeastern part of the continent has rarely had any respite from being a theatre for geopolitical competition among those eager to absorb territories and peoples under their influence.

In North Macedonia, the strongest defence mechanism from malign actors rested in the fervent pro-European belief of its citizens. We have stood out among countries in the region for the sheer volume and intensity of the compromises and reforms we have made to join the European Union family.

Today, amid Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine, when the pro-EU sentiments should be the strongest as the continent faces unprecedented unity – the passion for the EU in North Macedonia has become almost completely eroded.

During the Cold War, Yugoslavia did not suffer from complete isolation behind the Iron Curtain. It was not part of the Western democratic bloc, either. A violent breakup tore apart the once socialist federation, and the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was thrown into the project of nation-building overnight, having to change its political system, ideology — and most importantly, its flag and name — to become part of the international community.

From the moment it broke away from the federation, its neighbours decided it was a prime season to pick apart its identity. In 1991, very few people were ready to bet on the country’s future when even its name sounded temporary to outsiders — the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia — a trade-off meant to reduce it to a former part of a country they did once recognise.

The first decision the president of the newly-born state made would become a blueprint for the level-headedness of a country that would always try to take the high road when trying to survive in a volatile region.

One decade later, the efforts of the post-communist elites to continue building the nation-state were confronted with armed resistance by the local Albanian community. The grand political coalition accepted the mediation by the EU and NATO and reached a compromise, becoming the only post-war country in the Balkans to implement a widespread amnesty to minimise the possibility of continued ethnic strife.

The implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement — an atypical interethnic compromise — set the basis for wide-ranging protections for all of the country’s ethnic communities and contributed by and large to Brussels’ decision to designate the country as a candidate for EU membership.

A series of tough pills to swallow

Our actions early on should have been an indication that the country was taking its responsibilities as a state seriously, including the tough burden of making unpopular or difficult decisions for the long-term well-being of the nation. Instead, new challenges mounted as Western allies kept expecting North Macedonia to be the perpetual adult in the room.

In fact, the derailment of NATO integration, and EU membership with it, by Greece in 2008 due to a dispute over the country’s name ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. No longer were we the best student in the Balkan classroom, as the country’s government decided to spend money and time on lavish statues, among other things, instead of its reform process.

Again, the progressive spirit of the country’s population shone through when the Colourful Revolution — named so for the paint that was thrown on the abovementioned statues — pulled the country out of a glut, and subsequent elections ushered in a government eager to pick up the pace of European integration.

This small country of 2 million people made headlines worldwide when it agreed to what many would consider the very essence of its existence — its name — to put the dispute with Greece to bed.

This was not an easy pill to swallow. While both sides achieved a mutual understanding of their interpretation of certain historical events, nationalists in the diaspora and at home were annoyed, given that the agreement with the qualifier “North” differentiated the state’s identity from the identity of the Macedonian people.

As expected, the cumulative impact of these arrangements was visible during the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 and 2020, when nationalists and populists performed much better than the pro-European block. The latter still managed to stay at the country’s helm, waiting for the promised award to materialise — not only in the shape of NATO membership but the start of negotiations with Brussels as well.

Unfortunately, an adverse scenario started to unfold. First, the German Bundestag delayed its approval of the progress report on North Macedonia due to the European Parliament elections. Next, France’s demand for a new negotiation methodology tacked on additional two years.

And finally, our eastern neighbour Bulgaria raised several formal complaints against our dossier, invoking an archaic Balkan understanding of identity politics over matters such as history and language.

Brussels took the easy way out by insisting on a bilateral format, asking North Macedonia and Bulgaria to sort out our issues on our own. This exhibited a blatant disregard for the disbalance in the relationship between the two: Bulgaria was a member using its veto power not to let us in, whereas we were dependent on the EU’s unanimity.

The Bulgarian position was and remains utterly incomprehensible for Macedonian citizens because its core had nothing to do with the professed European democratic values and principles. After all, imposing one’s national narrative on others is a nonstarter, especially for a continent that created the Union to end the historical revisionism that had caused so much suffering and war in the past.

When war in Ukraine ends, will Brussels return to business as usual?

Two years of political obstruction in the form of veto on North Macedonia’s membership negotiations took a heavy toll on the government and all Europhiles. The whole endeavour was widely perceived as a betrayal of our most significant national dream since independence. In 18 months, support for the EU fell sharply by 25%.

The ethnically heterogeneous structure of Macedonian society was deeply affected by the situation, and for the worse: Macedonians and Albanians started to differ sharply in their support for EU membership.

In all fairness, people were right: if the country which carried out an unprecedented set of compromises was not rewarded in the end, there is no guarantee that the whole voyage would ever end in full-fledged membership in their lifetime.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally altered the European Union’s security, political and economic structures. It has also changed the rationale of the enlargement process, and the EU has now transformed membership as a bulwark to protect from Russia’s malign influence.

To this end, many analysts agree that if the Kremlin planned to distract the Western alliance from the war in Ukraine, the Balkans would be a far more vulnerable arena than the Baltics because the Baltics are firmly inside NATO. But the question remains: the day the war in Ukraine is over, will the EU return to business as usual?

Even as the newest member of NATO, North Macedonia is one of the top five contributors to Ukraine’s defence. Yet despite the generally more positive messaging from Brussels since the grim launch of the renewed invasion of Ukraine, North Macedonia’s EU path continues to be reduced to bureaucratic rhetoric about screening and clusters.

This was not missed by its citizens, whose enthusiasm has been significantly undermined.

Until recently, despite all the difficult compromises, pro-European political forces could still win elections. However, nationalists and populists have continued gaining ground in the past few years, and now their resurgence seems irreversible.

In all honesty, North Macedonia is certainly not a perfect European country regarding the standard of living or the rule of law. However, compared to the point of departure seven years ago, it has made a quantum leap from an internationally isolated state to one integrated with the West.

The driving force for change was the determination of its citizens to act in favour of the transformative powers of European integration. At a time when a war is being fought over interpretations of history, Macedonian citizens should be rewarded for discarding historical narratives of blood and borders. Yet to do so, the external incentives – primarily from the EU – need to continue to flow into the country.

A lesson learnt in recent history still holds in the Balkans: by default, less EU presence means less democracy and more corruption and autocracy.

If the bloc is absent again in the region after the war in Ukraine is over, the next time it returns, it will find the Western Balkans with barely ten million people. And those left will not be the aspirational, committed generations we still have living in the region.

The other eight million will inevitably integrate themselves into the EU by moving to its member states one by one rather than wait in their home countries — where someone else might be happy to step in and offer a much worse “alternative” to a united Europe.

Stevo Pendarovski is the fifth and current president of North Macedonia.

At Euronews, we believe all views matter. Contact us at [email protected] to send pitches or submissions and be part of the conversation.

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Oh No Serial Murderer Maxine Waters Has Serial Murdered Again!

Republicans are a deeply serious political party, committed to good governance and carrying out the people’s business.

JK, LOL forever. They are a bunch of fucking goons who are about to spend two years shouting about Marxist groomers and fapping to stolen photos of Hunter Biden’s monster peen. And there is no better example of this than the House Rules Committee, which this week took up the urgent priority of a nonbinding resolution condemning socialism, which is VERY DANGEROUS! Don’t you kids start thinking it would be cool to, like, see a doctor when you’re sick. Or retire before you’re 85. Or make rich people pay enough taxes that we could ensure quality public and higher education for everyone.

You shut your filthy whore mouth!

The GOP is here to tell you that you are bad and you should feel bad. And also, please look at Pol Pot and not at Republicans’ abortion bans or opposition to raising the minimum wage. But Democrats don’t have to play along with this shit, as third-term Rep. Guy Reschenthaler discovered earlier this week when he tried to corner Rep. Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, by shouting MAO ZEDUNG and VENEZUELA at her. Hat tip to HuffPo’s Jennifer Bendery who flagged the spectacle on Twitter.


The hearing started off basically normal, with Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole, a gray-faced white dude from Oklahoma, somberly mumbling that “This concurrent resolution denounces socialism in all its forms and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States.”

He then tossed to Ranking Member Jim McGovern, who wondered, “What the hell are we doing here?”

And then, after a few grumbles from Financial Services Chair Patrick McHenry that the American far-Left’s actions “more closely resemble the Chinese Communist Party’s actions than the proven free-market solutions that make America the envy of the world,” and some sniping by Ranking Member Maxine Waters about the debt ceiling and the rise of authoritarians, it was ON! That pipsqueak Guy Reschenthaler from Pennsylvania was all warmed up to make Maxine Waters admit that she’s a dirty Marxist socialist. It was his big moment, gonna be so rad!

Woulda worked out great, except MAXINE WATERS DID NOT COME TO BE TRIFLED WITH BY AN AMATEUR LIKE YOU. Skip to 32:50 if you want to see a murder!

Rules Committee Hearing on H. Con. Res. 9www.youtube.com

RESCHENTHALER: In your opening remarks, you were talking about Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi. You know what they all have in common, right?

WATERS: Trump.

RESCHENTHALER: Trump? North Korea, China, and Russia?

WATERS: He loves Kim Jong Un.

RESCHENTHALER: That’s quite the intellectual leap. I would say communism. Would you like to denounce any communist leaders?

WATERS [sweetly]: Well, I don’t know what you’re asking, but, let me just — The leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, has made often glowing — described authoritarians like Kim Jong Un, who is described in the resolution — regarding leaders like Kim Jong Un, Trump said Kim “wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters, and we fell in love.” You sure you want to hear the rest of this?

RESCHENTHALER [uncomfortable]: Yeah, I can go through some atrocities, and you can say do you agree with them or not. You can choose to denounce them, if you’d like to go down that path, we can. What would you like to do?

WATERS: Well, I would like to condemn this resolution and ask that we all give attention to the very short time that we have to do the people’s work. And pull it back, and not even go any further with it. Why don’t you just withdraw it?

It was then Reschenthaler realized he might have gotten a teensy bit out over his skis. Perhaps it occurred to him that his own Dear Leader loved the North Korean dictator so much that he actually stole the oversized mash note from the White House and took it home to fondle in the privacy of his South Florida trash palace.

And yet, he persisted!

RESCHENTHALER: Alright, so Mao Zedong is responsible for between 15 million and 55 million people starving to death, with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Do you denounce that, yes or no?

WATERS: But Trump loves him. That’s your leader.

RESCHENTHALER: But do you denounce it?

WATERS: Trump’s your leader. He speaks for you. He says he loves him, you gotta deal with that.

RESCHENTHALER: So you’re refusing to denounce the starvation of 15 to 55 million people in Communist China? You’re refusing to do that.

WATERS: Sir, I’m a capitalist, okay? I don’t support anything but serving the people of this country.

Now a smarter person might have realized that Rep. Waters was conflating current Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom Trump bragged that he’d charmed with a beautiful piece of chocolate cake on the lanai at Mar-a-Lago, and former President Mao Zedong, who left office in 1976. But a smarter person would have quit while he was behind, instead of letting Maxine Waters ritually pants him in the hearing room.

RESCHENTHALER: Stalin! Tens of millions died in the Bolshevik revolution. Do you want to denounce that?

WATERS: I’m sorry, I don’t deal with yes or no questions.

RESCHENTHALER: Okay, well, why don’t you explain your support of Stalin.

WATERS: No, why don’t you explain it?

RESCHENTHALER: No, I’m not … you want to denounce that, or not?

WATERS: I told you, at the beginning of this resolution when we discussed what we ought to be doing.

RESCHENTHALER: So you’re refusing to denounce Joseph Stalin?

WATERS: But when you tell me like we’re in a kindergarten class “yes or no,” I don’t do that.

Reschenthaler tried weakly to regain control of the hearing, professing that he was giving the congresswoman “the opportunity” to denounce Pol Pot, only to have Waters remind him that “Your Republican leader Donald Trump is friends with, supports, Putin. Kim Jong Un, he loves him,” and then wonder why not a single member of the Republican Party could manage to denounce Trump’s incitement of the January 6 insurrection.

“Are you afraid of Trump? Do you agree with Trump? Ask him the questions, don’t ask me,” she hammered. “Don’t ask me silly questions. I’m a capitalist. I’m not like Donald Trump. I’m not like Republicans who claim to support this democracy, but at the same time refuses to condemn those who attempted to destroy this democracy. You need to talk with your leader Donald Trump about what he’s doing. Why he loves Putin so much. Why he loves Kim Jong Un so much. You ask him the questions!”

Reschenthaler took one last run at Waters, simpering his supposed gotcha about Venezuelans eating dogs. Did the congresswoman want to denounce that?

Spoiler Alert: SHE DID NOT.

WATERS: I want you to denounce Donald Trump. I want you denounce the Proud Boys. I want you to denounce QAnon. I want you to denounce the KKK. When you do all of that, then we can talk.

RESCHENTHALER: Okay, so, for the record, you’ve refused to denounce Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hugo Chavez. That’s amazing.

WATERS: For the record, you’ve refused to denounce Donald Trump. You refuse to denounce the insurrection that tried to destroy our democracy. You refuse to denounce the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, QAnon, the KKK. You refuse all of that.

At which point, Rescenthaler knew he was beat, dejectedly pivoting back to McHenry to “explain how free market capitalism has done more to raise people out of poverty than any other form.” Before limping off to ice his balls, presumably.

And, yeah, it’s the same dingus who slagged FDR for making common cause with Stalin.

Golly, was there anything going on in the mid-1940s that would have made that alliance better than the alternative? Anything at all?

Well, the next two years are going to suck mightily. But if we get to watch Rep. Waters dropkick dipshits like Reschenthaler, there will at least be a few bright spots.

Click the widget to keep your Wonkette ad-free and feisty. And if you’re ordering from Amazon, use this link, because reasons.



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Mpox is almost gone in the US, leaving lessons and mysteries in its wake | CNN



CNN
— 

The US public health emergency declaration for mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, ends Tuesday.

The outbreak, which once seemed to be spiraling out of control, has quietly wound down. The virus isn’t completely gone, but for more than a month, the average number of daily new cases reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has hovered in the single digits, plummeting from an August peak of about 450 cases a day.

Still, the US led the world in cases during the 2022-23 outbreak. More than 30,000 people in the US have been diagnosed with mpox, including 23 who died.

Cases are also down across Europe, the Western Pacific and Asia but still rising in some South American countries, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

It wasn’t always a given that we’d get here. When mpox went global in 2022, doctors had too few doses of a new and unproven vaccine, an untested treatment, a dearth of diagnostic testing and a difficult line to walk in their messaging, which needed to be geared to an at-risk population that has been stigmatized and ignored in public health crises before.

Experts say the outbreak has taught the world a lot about this infection, which had only occasionally been seen outside Africa.

But even with so much learned, there are lingering mysteries too – like where this virus comes from and why it suddenly began to spread from the Central and West African countries where it’s usually found to more than 100 other nations.

Before May 2022, when clusters of people with unusual rashes began appearing in clinics in the UK and Europe, the country reporting the most cases of mpox was the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC.

There, cases have been steadily building since the 1970s, according to a study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the DRC, people in rural villages depend on wild animals for meat. Many mpox infections there are thought to be the result of contact with an animal to which the virus has adapted; this animal host is not known but is assumed to be a rodent.

For years, experts who studied African outbreaks observed a phenomenon known as stuttering chains of transmission: “infections that managed to transmit themselves or be transmitted from person to person to a limited degree, a certain number of links in that chain of transmission, and then suddenly just aren’t able to sustain themselves in humans,” said Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Informally, scientists kept track, and Morse says that for years, the record for links in a mpox chain was about four.

“Traditionally, it always burned itself out,” he said.

Then the chains started getting longer.

In 2017, Nigeria – which hadn’t had a confirmed case of mpox in more than four decades – suddenly saw a resurgence of the virus, with more than 200 cases reported that year.

“People have speculated maybe it was a change in the virus that allowed it to be made better-adapted to humans,” Morse said.

From 2018 through 2021, eight cases of mpox were reported outside Africa. All were in men ages 30 to 50, and all had traveled from Nigeria. Three reported that the rashes had started in their groin area. One went on to infect a health care provider. Another infected two family members.

This Nigerian outbreak helped experts realize that mpox could efficiently spread between people.

It also hinted that the infection could be sexually transmitted, but investigators couldn’t confirm this route of spread, possibly because of the stigma involved in sharing information about sexual contact.

In early May 2022, health officials in the UK began reporting confirmed cases of mpox. One of the people had recently traveled to Nigeria, but others had not, indicating that it was spreading in the community.

Later, other countries would report cases that had started even earlier, in April.

Investigators concluded that mpox had been silently spreading before they caught up to it.

In early summer, as US case numbers began to grow, the public health response bore some uncomfortable similarities to the early days of Covid-19. People with suspicious rashes complained that it was too hard to get tested because a limited supply was being rationed. Because the virus had so rarely appeared outside certain countries in Africa, most doctors weren’t sure how to recognize mpox or how to test for it and didn’t understand all its routes of spread.

A new vaccine was available, and the government had placed orders for it, but most of those doses weren’t in the United States. Beyond that, its efficacy against mpox had been studied only in animals, so no one knew whether it would actually work in humans.

There was an experimental treatment, Tpoxx, but it too was unproven, and doctors could get it only after filling out reams of paperwork required by the government for compassionate use.

Some just gave up.

“Tpoxx was hard to get,” said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a clinical professor of public health at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

“I was scrambling to find places that could prescribe it because my own institution just became a bureaucratic nightmare. So I basically would be referring people for treatment outside my own institution to be able to get monkeypox treatment,” he said.

Finally, in August, the federal government declared a public health emergency. This allowed federal agencies to access pots of money set aside for emergencies. It also allows the government to shift funds from one purpose to another to help cover costs of the response – and it helped raise awareness among doctors that mpox was something to watch for.

The government also set up a task force led by Robert Fenton, a logistics expert from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV and AIDS Research.

Daskalakis is openly gay and sex-positive, right down to his Instagram account, which mixes suit-and-tie shots from White House briefings with photos revealing his many tattoos.

“Dr. Daskalakis … really walks on water in most of the gay community, and then [Fenton is] a logistics expert, and I think that combination of leadership was the right answer,” Klausner said.

Early on, after the CDC identified men who have sex with men as being at highest risk of infection, officials warned of close physical contact, the kind that often happens with sexual activity. They also noted that people could be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces like sheets or towels.

But they stopped short of calling it a sexually transmitted infection, a move that some saw as calculated.

“In this outbreak, in this time and context to Europe, United States and Australia, was definitely sexually transmitted,” said Klausner, who points out that many men got rashes on their genitals and that infectious virus was cultured in semen.

Klausner believes vague descriptions about how the virus spread were intentional, in order to garner resources needed for the response.

“People felt that if they called it an STD from the get-go, it was going to create stigma, and because of the stigma of the type of sex that was occurring – oral sex, anal sex, anal sex between same-sex male partners – there may not have been the same kind of federal response,” Klausner said. “So it was actually a political calculation to garner the resources necessary to have a substantial response to be vague about how it spread.”

This ambiguity created room for misinformation and confusion, said Tony Hoang, executive director of Equality California, a nonprofit advocacy group for LGBTQ civil rights.

“I think there was a balancing dance of not wanting to create stigma, in terms of who is actually the highest rates of transmission without being forthright,” Hoang said.

Hoang’s group launched its own public information campaign, combining information from the CDC on HIV and mpox. The messaging stressed that sex was the risky behavior and made sure to explain that light brushes or touches weren’t likely to pass the infection, he said.

Klausner thinks the CDC could have done better on messaging.

“By giving vague, nonspecific information and making comments like ‘everyone’s potentially at risk’ or ‘there’s possible spread through sharing a bed, clothing or close dancing’ … that kind of dilutes the message, and people who engage in risk behavior that does put them at risk get confused, and they say ‘well, maybe this isn’t really a route of spread,’ ” he said.

In July and August, when the US was reporting hundreds of new mpox cases each day, health officials were worried that the virus might be here to stay.

“There were concerns that there would be ongoing transmission and that ongoing transmission would become endemic in the United States like other STIs: gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis. We have not seen that occur,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

“We are now seeing three to four cases a day in the United States, and it continues to decline. And we see the possibility of getting to zero as real,” he said.

At the peak of the outbreak, officials scrambled to vaccinate the population at highest risk – men who have sex with men – in the hopes of limiting both severity of infections and transmission. But no one was sure whether this strategy would work.

The Jynneos vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2019 to prevent monkeypox and smallpox in people at high risk of those infections.

At that time, the plan was to bank it in the Strategic National Stockpile as a countermeasure in case smallpox was weaponized. The approval for mpox, a virus closely related to smallpox, was tacked on because the US had seen a limited outbreak of these infections in 2003, tied to the importation of exotic rodents as pets.

Jynneos had passed safety tests in humans. In lab studies, it protected primates and mice from mpox infections. But researchers only learn how effective vaccines are during infectious disease outbreaks, and Jynneos has never been put through its paces during an outbreak.

“We were left, when this started, with that great unknown: Does this vaccine work? And is it safe in large numbers?” Mermin said.

Beyond those uncertainties, there wasn’t enough to go around, and infectious disease experts feared that a shortage of the vaccine might thwart any effort to stop the outbreak.

So public health officials announced a change in strategy: Instead of injecting a full dose under the skin, or subcutaneously, they would inject just one-fifth of that dose between the skin’s upper layers, or intradermally.

An early study in the trials of the vaccine had suggested that intradermal dosing could be effective, but it was a risk. Again, no one was sure this dose-sparing strategy would work.

Ultimately, all of these gambles appear to have paid off.

Early studies of vaccine effectiveness show that the Jynneos vaccine protected men from mpox infections. According to CDC data, people who were unvaccinated were almost 10 times as likely to be diagnosed with the infection as those who got the recommended two doses.

Men who had two doses were about 69% less likely, and men with a single dose were about 37% less likely, to have an mpox infection that needed medical attention compared with those who were unvaccinated, according to the CDC.

Mermin says studies have since showed that the vaccine worked well no matter if was given into the skin or under the skin – another win.

Still, the vaccine is almost certainly not the entire reason cases have plunged, simply because not enough people have gotten it. The CDC estimates that 2 million people in the United States are eligible for mpox vaccination. Mermin says that about 700,000 have had a first dose – about 36% of the eligible population.

So it’s unlikely that vaccination was the only reason for the steep decline in cases. CDC modeling suggests that behavior change may have played a substantial role, too.

In an online survey of men who have sex with men conducted in August, half of participants indicated that they had reduced their number of partners and one-time sexual encounters, behaviors that could cut the growth of new infections by 20% to 30%.

If that’s the case, some experts worry that the US could see monkeypox flare up again as the weather warms.

“The party season was during the summer, during the height of the outbreak, and we’re in the dead of winter. So there’s a possibility that behavior change may not able to be sustained,” said Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.

Although we’re clearly in a much better position than we were last summer, he says, public health officials shouldn’t make this a “mission accomplished” moment.

“Now, put your foot on the accelerator. Let’s get the rest of these cases,” Gonsalves said.

Mermin says that’s exactly what the CDC intends to do. It isn’t finished with the response but intends to switch to “a ground game.”

“So much of our work in the next few months will be setting up structures so that getting vaccinated is easy,” he said.

Nearly 40% of mpox cases in the United States were diagnosed in people who also had HIV, Mermin said. So the CDC is going to make sure Jynneos vaccines are available as a routine part of care at HIV clinics and STI clinics that offer pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for HIV.

Mermin said officials are also going to continue to go to LGBTQ festivals and events to offer on-site vaccinations.

Additionally, they’re going to study people who’ve been vaccinated and infected to see whether they remain immune – something else that’s still a big unknown.

Experts say that’s just one of many questions that need a closer look. Another is just how long the virus had been spreading outside Africa before the world noticed.

“We’re starting to see some data that suggests that asymptomatic infection and transmission is possible, and that certainly will change how we how we think about this virus and and risk,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.

When researchers at a sexual health clinic in Belgium rescreened more than 200 nasal and oral swabs they had taken in May 2022 to test for the STIs chlamydia and gonorrhea, they found positive mpox cases that had gone undiagnosed. Three of the people reported no symptoms, while another reported a painful rash, which was misdiagnosed as herpes. Their study was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

“Mild and asymptomatic infections may have indeed delayed the detection of the outbreak,” study author Christophe Van Dijck of the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology at the University of Antwerp in Belgium said in an email to CNN.

While researchers tackle those pursuits, advocacy groups say they aren’t ready to relax.

Hoang says Equality California is pushing the CDC to address continuing racial disparities in mpox vaccination and treatment, particularly in rural areas.

He’s not worried that gay men will drop their guard now that the emergency has expired..

“We’ve learned that we have to take health into our own hands, and I do think that we will remain vigilant as a community for this outbreak and future outbreaks,” Hoang said.



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US gets access to 4 more bases in Philippines amid China doubt

By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

THE PHILIPPINES has given the United States greater access to its military bases, their defense chiefs said on Thursday, amid mounting concern over China’s increasing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea and tension over self-ruled Taiwan.

The US would be given access to four more locations under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Philippines Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez said in a joint news conference at the Philippine military headquarters in Manila.

Mr. Austin, in the Philippines for talks as the US seeks to extend its security options as part of efforts to deter any move by China against self-ruled Taiwan, referred to the Philippine decision as a “big deal” as he and his counterpart reaffirmed their commitment to bolstering their alliance.

“Our alliance makes both of our democracies more secure and helps uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Mr. Austin, whose visit follows one by US Vice President Kamala Harris in November, which included a stop at Palawan island in the South China Sea.

“We discussed concrete actions to address destabilizing activities in the waters surrounding the Philippines, including the West Philippine Sea, and we remain committed to strengthening our mutual capacities to resist armed attack,” Mr. Austin said, referring to areas of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

“That’s just part of our efforts to modernize our alliance. And these efforts are especially important as People’s Republic of China continues to advance its illegitimate claims in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.

China said greater US access to Philippine military bases undermined regional stability and raised tensions. “This is an act that escalates tensions in the region and endangers regional peace and stability,” China’s Foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news briefing.

“Regional countries should remain vigilant about this and avoid being used by the US.”

The additional sites under the EDCA bring to nine the number of military bases the US would have access to. It has announced it was allocating more than $82 million for infrastructure at the existing sites.

The EDCA allows US access to Philippine military bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and the building of facilities such as runways, fuel storage and military housing, but not for a permanent presence.

Projects at five other Philippine military bases that the US can access under an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed in 2014 were almost complete, they said in a joint statement posted on the Philippine Defense department’s Facebook page. These show that the enforcement of the military pact is being fast-tracked, they added.

“Expansion of the EDCA will make our alliance stronger and more resilient, and will accelerate modernization of our combined military capabilities,” they said.

The addition of new EDCA sites would also boost Washington’s humanitarian support for the Philippines during calamities and enable the two countries to “respond to other shared challenges.”

“The Philippine-US alliance has stood the test of time and remains ironclad,” they said. “We look forward to the opportunities these new sites will create to expand our cooperation together.”

Mr. Austin was part of the military under the Obama administration. He was responsible for military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan and led the US and its allies in battling ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He retired from the army in 2016.

Mr. Austin and Mr. Galvez did not specify the sites that would be opened to US access. The former Philippine military chief had said the United States had asked for access to bases on the main northern island of Luzon, the closest part of the Philippines to Taiwan, and on Palawan in the southwest, near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Outside the military headquarters, dozens of protesters opposed to a US military presence chanted anti-US slogans and called for the EDCA to be scrapped.

Before meeting his counterpart, Ms. Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and assured him of US support. “We stand ready to help you in any way we can,” he said.

Ties between the United States and its former colony were soured under the previous president, Rodrigo R. Duterte, who made overtures toward China and was known for anti-US rhetoric and threats to downgrade military ties. 

‘STAGING GROUND’
Mr. Marcos has met US President Joseph R. Biden twice since winning a landslide victory in an election last year and reiterated he could not see a future for his country without its longtime treaty ally.

“I have always said, it seems to me, the future of the Philippines and for that matter the Asia-Pacific will always have to involve the United States,” Mr. Marcos told Mr. Austin.

After assuming his Defense post under the Biden government, Mr. Austin led Pentagon’s efforts to quash the rise of right-wing extremism and white supremacy in the military.

“The one selling point perhaps with Austin is he is nominally trying to combat right wing extremism in the US military,” Hansley A. Juliano, a political economy researcher, said in a Facebook Messenger chat. “It’s therefore not unreasonable for civil society groups to engage him in this vein vis-a-vis the US support for human rights and democratization.”

Political analysts have said it is strategic for the US to have EDCA sites in the country’s north due to tension between China and Taiwan, which is just 390 kilometers away from northern Philippines.

“Filipinos must not allow our country to be used as a staging ground for any US military intervention in the region,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said in a statement.

“The US is engaged in provocations with China using the issue of Taiwan,” it said. “Allowing US use of our facilities will drag us into this conflict which is not aligned with our national interests.”

The US had a naval base in Subic, Olongapo City until 1991, when the Philippine Senate rejected the renewal of the lease. The decision led to the dismantling of an American air base in Clark, Pampanga. The two sites, which are now economic hubs, are located north of the capital Manila.   

Terry L. Ridon, a former lawmaker and public infrastructure expert, said the Philippine government should ensure that weapons of mass destruction are not stockpiled at EDCA sites.

“EDCA remains limited to agreed locations within Philippine military bases and should remain so until the agreement is jointly amended by Manila and Washington,” he said in a Messenger chat.

Mr. Juliano said Philippine authorities should ensure that EDCA would not enable any intervention in local security policy and would not tolerate any abuses by American forces.

Mr. Marcos’ father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, fostered close ties with the US before he was ousted by a popular uprising in February 1986.

Former US president Ronald Reagan granted him asylum, allowing his family’s exile in Honolulu, Hawaii. — with Reuters

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