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Weekly Topics 3/19-3/25


  1. JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank face lawsuits over ties to Jeff Epstein

  2. Xi (China) & Putin (Russia) pledge to shape NEW WORLD ORDER

  3. US sends $350M more in weapons / equipment to Ukraine

  4. TikTok CEO testifies to US Congress

  5. Whistleblower says myocarditis spiked by 130.5% in US military 2021

JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank face lawsuits over ties to Jeff Epstein

JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank must face lawsuits that accuse them of enabling Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking, a US judge said Monday. The decision by US District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan could expose the banks to additional financial and reputational damage for keeping Epstein as a client, even after the late financier registered as a sex offender. In a six-paragraph order, Rakoff said JPMorgan must face a lawsuit by the US Virgin Islands accusing it of missing red flags about Epstein’s abuse of women on Little St. James, a private island he owned there. The judge also ruled that both banks must face proposed class actions by women who said Epstein sexually abused them. He said he would explain his reasoning in due course. Rakoff’s decision gives the plaintiffs a chance to prove another claim: that JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank (DB) knowingly benefited from involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking. The women can now also try to show that the banks were negligent and obstructed enforcement of a federal anti-trafficking law.

Xi (China) & Putin (Russia) pledge to shape NEW WORLD ORDER

Xi made a strong show of solidarity with Putin against the West, but he barely mentioned the Ukraine conflict and said on Tuesday that China had an “impartial position”. Yet, as Xi departed he told Putin: “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we drive these changes.” - “I agree,” Putin said, to which Xi responded: “Take care of yourself dear friend, please.” Xi and Putin referred to each other as dear friends, promised economic cooperation and described their countries’ relations as the best they have ever been. Xi and Putin referred to each other as dear friends, promised economic cooperation and described their countries’ relations as the best they have ever been. "They [the leaders] shared the view that this relationship has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity," said a statement released by China. Putin said on the Kremlin's website: "We are working in solidarity on the formation of a more just and democratic multipolar world order, which should be based on the central role of the U.N., its Security Council, international law, the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter." In an earlier joint statement the leaders accused the West of undermining global stability and NATO of barging into the Asia-Pacific region, but asserted the close partnership between China and Russia did not constitute a “military-political alliance.” On Ukraine, Putin praised Xi for a peace plan he proposed last month, and blamed Kyiv and the West for rejecting. The West sees China’s peace plan as a ploy to buy Putin time to regroup his forces and solidify his grip on occupied land.

US sends $350M more in weapons / equipment to Ukraine

President Joe Biden has authorized a new $350 million round of military aid for Ukraine that includes fuel tankers, patrol boats and missiles as the country prepares for warmer weather and increased Russian attacks, the Pentagon announced Monday. Since Russia’s war in Ukraine began more than a year ago, the United States has committed almost $33 billion in weapons, equipment and vehicles. The assistance has so far included at least one Patriot missile system, numerous Humvees, armored personnel carriers and drone systems. This security package includes more ammunition for howitzers and rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, as well as shoulder-fired, anti-armor weapons, patrol boats and fuel tankers. The new round of aid comes after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended a meeting last week of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group — a collection of representatives from dozens of allied countries that meet to update Ukraine’s military situation and determine what it needs to fend off Russian forces. Meetings of the contact group often precede a new round of military aid.

TikTok CEO testifies to US Congress

TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified before Congress on Thursday, March 23, 2023, to try and address concerns about the company's data practices and its ties to China as the US government weighs a ban on the TikTok app in the United States. Chinese tech companies have been having a long history of conflict with the US government, which routinely accuses them of being conduits at best for Chinese intelligence services if not outright working as an arm of the Chinese government. Back in 2019, the Trump administration blacklisted imports of Huawei electronics into the US and pushed allied countries in Europe to do the same. It remains to be seen whether TikTok's efforts will be enough to satisfy lawmakers and regulators. However, the company's testimony before Congress is a sign that it is taking the issue of data privacy seriously.

Whistleblower says myocarditis spiked by 130.5% in US military 2021

Diagnoses of myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation, jumped 130.5 percent in 2021 when compared to the average from the years 2016 to 2020, according to data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED). The data was downloaded by a whistleblower and presented to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Myocarditis is a serious condition that can lead to death. All four of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States can cause myocarditis, according to U.S. officials. They added a warning for Johnson & Johnson’s shot this month. COVID-19 can also cause myocarditis, though some experts say the data on that front is weaker. The whistleblower downloaded the data from DMED in 2023, about a year after the Pentagon said it fixed a data corruption issue with the military health system. The data also showed spikes in diagnoses of pulmonary embolism (41.2 percent), ovarian dysfunction (38.2 percent), and “complications and ill-defined descriptions of heart disease” (37.7 percent). The Pentagon and the Defense Health Agency, which manages the DMED, did not respond to requests for comment.


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