Thought for the day

"We're so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody's going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the fuckin' planet? . . . And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin' great. It's been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. Pack your shit, we're goin' away. And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake." -- George Carlin

At the beginning of this week the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had exchanged letters with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

The report stated both countries had agreed to “expand the(ir) comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts”.

A United Nations expert on slavery has found it “reasonable to conclude” that forced labour is taking place in the China’s far-western region of Xinjiang.

In a report released on Tuesday, the UN’s special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, said that evidence pointed to forced labour “among Uygur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing”.

Tags

On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed on on major security issues ranging from the ongoing war in Ukraine to China-US tensions over Taiwan in a televised speech. Speaking before defense officials and regional think tank analysts at the Tenth Moscow Conference on International Security, among the most notable assertion of his is that NATO is moving "further east".

Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in war games along with India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other largely anti-Western countries, China's defense ministry said on Wednesday, adding redundantly that China's participation in the joint exercises was "unrelated to the current international and regional situation." (Narrator: it is related.)

China’s central government issued new “fertility-friendly” guidelines on Tuesday designed to increase the Chinese population, which is currently projected to contract sometime before 2025 following decades of the Chinese Communist Party’s one-child policy, the Global Times reported.

Relaying the edict on August 16, the Chinese state-run newspaper wrote:

Tags

When the UK and the U.S. banned Russian oil imports, and the European Union approved sanctions that made it a lot harder to trade in Russian oil, media reports highlighted the argument that Russian could not possibly replace Europe with Asia as its biggest oil client.

What wasn’t so widely reported on was China and India’s dependence on imported oil, any imported oil compatible with their refinery setups, and how important prices were for both, given their size and import dependence. And both countries certainly took advantage of Western sanctions.