Pakistan’s first large-scale solar power project, the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project, was recently inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, representing one of the country’s first clear steps towards renewable energy. The project…
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January 17, 2021
Fox News settled a lawsuit with Seth Rich's family in the fall that was large enough that they weren't required to apologize publicly for lying about the family's son for years. But one provision that New York Times reporter Ben Smith discovered, was that they asked that the settlement news not be announced until after the November election.
"Why did Fox care about keeping the Rich settlement secret for the final month of the Trump re-election campaign?" Smith asked. "Why was it important to the company, which calls itself a news organization, that one of the biggest lies of the Trump era remains unresolved for that period? Was Fox afraid that admitting it was wrong would incite the president's wrath? Did network executives fear backlash from their increasingly radicalized audience, which has been gravitating to other conservative outlets?"
<p>It proved just how integrated Fox News became with the Trump campaign, he explained. </p><p>"The network parroted lies from Trump and his more sinister allies for years, ultimately amplifying the president's enormous deceptions about the election's outcome, further radicalizing many of Mr. Trump's supporters," Smith explained. </p><p>It is a problem that Fox had before President Donald Trump's war on the media. The difference is that Fox isn't some random message board with people claiming to be insiders. </p><p>"There's only one multibillion-dollar media corporation that deliberately and aggressively propagated these untruths. That's the Fox Corporation, and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch; his feckless son Lachlan, who is nominally C.E.O.; and the chief legal officer Viet Dinh, a kind of regent who mostly runs the company day-to-day," Smith explained. </p><p>Now, however, Fox appears to have met its match: Trump himself. The progressive group Media Matters has been the watch-dog of Fox News for nearly two decades. They've managed to get advertisers to flee the network and they've gotten on-air talent suspended. But it was one of Fox's own creations that led to their downfall. </p><p>After being the first network to call Arizona on Election Night, the outgoing president set his sights on destroying the network that helped build him. In the weeks that followed, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2021/01/16/fox-news-viewership-plummets-first-time-behind-cnn-and-msnbc-in-two-decades/" target="_blank">Fox has seen ratings drop so substantial that it now trails CNN and MSNBC</a>. </p><p>While Fox News personalities were the ones behind the Seth Rich lies, it was Rupert Murdoch who profited. Aaron Rich, Seth's brother, told Smith that he didn't even know who Murdoch was. He also said that he never understood why Fox didn't simply apologize for the lie. </p><p>"It reminds me of a well-known political figure now leaving the stage, one who has been strikingly allergic to apologizing, expressing any empathy or engaging in any soul searching about his role in mobilizing the ugliest of American impulses," Smith wrote."</p><p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/17/business/media/fox-news-seth-rich-settlement.html" target="_blank">Read the full report at the New York Times. </a></p>
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Defense official fears 'inside attack' from service members assigned to protect the inauguration: report
January 17, 2021
The FBI is vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops after a Defense Department insider confessed that they are fearful of an attack coming from inside the military members assigned to protect the inauguration.
The Associated Press reported Sunday that it has been a massive undertaking in wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection that sent law enforcement to looking for hundreds of President Donald Trump's supporters who broke into the Capitol searching for Democrats.
<p>"Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches," the report said. "So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn't flagged any issues."</p><p><span></span>"We're continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation," McCarthy said in an interview after he and other military leaders went through an exhaustive, three-hour security drill in preparation for Wednesday's inauguration. He said Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats.<br/></p><p>Thus far, only <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/15/jacob-fracker-thomas-robertson-charged-capitol-riot.html" target="_blank">a few active-duty National Guard</a> members <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/14/pentagon-review-extremism-after-veterans-arrested-capitol-riots/4159099001/" target="_blank">and veterans</a> have been arrested for the assault on the Capitol. </p><p>"The major security concern is an attack by armed groups of individuals, as well as planted explosives and other devices. McCarthy said intelligence reports suggest that groups are organizing armed rallies leading up to Inauguration Day, and possibly after that," the report said. "The bulk of the Guard members will be armed. And McCarthy said units are going through repeated drills to practice when and how to use force and how to work quickly with law enforcement partners. Law enforcement officers would make any arrests."</p><p>While background checks on American soldiers is unsettling, not having them would likely be more disconcerting. </p><p>Jan. 10, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a veteran Army Ranger, called for a briefing with McCarthy after the insurrection and <a href="https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/01/10/lawmaker-army-secretary-investigate-troops-deploying-inauguration-domestic-terror-sympathies.html" target="_blank">asked specifically about military members involved</a>. </p><p>"Crow asked McCarthy that military members involved in the riot -- some military veterans have already been identified as participants -- receive fast-tracked investigation and courts-martial. He also made an unusual request: that the Army's Criminal Investigation Command review National Guard troops who are deployed for the inauguration "to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists," said Military.com.</p><p><a href="https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/fbi-vetting-guard-troops-in-dc-amid-fears-of-insider-attack/2544704/" target="_blank">Read the full story at NBC Washington. </a></p>
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January 17, 2021
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has spent the weeks after the first of the year trying to rewrite history on Twitter about what he accomplished in the office. If it was up to Pompeo, he would be to thank for establishing peace in the Middle East, saving Israel, bringing the troops home and proclaim he stopped Russian aggression.
Guardian opinion writer Simon Tisdall explained that as Pompeo is walking out the door, "he has laid political booby traps for Biden in a democratic onslaught -- with the aim of winning the White House."
<p>Pompeo has spent his time as Secretary of State hosting a series of tax-payer-funded dinners with large GOP funders and political influencers that he'll need if he intends to run for president in 2024. </p><p>Pompeo isn't exactly the presidential type but Tisdall explained that Trump lowered the bar enough that Pompeo almost looks like he could be the next Trump. Unlike Vice President Mike Pence, Pompeo <a href="https://www.rawstory.com/2020/11/secretary-of-state-mike-pompeo-there-will-be-a-smooth-transition-to-a-second-trump-administration/" target="_blank">gleefully told reporters that Trump was the winner</a> of the 2020 election. Pence, by contrast, was forced to count the votes and certify the election against Trump's explicit instructions. Among the chants during the Jan. 6 insurrection was "Hang Mike Pence," and rioters built gallows outside the building.</p><p>"Pompeo has upended established policies, adopted ultra-hardline positions, and claimed imaginary successes to advance his personal standing with the Trump rump," wrote Tisdall. "In fact, he's trying to out-Trump Trump. Like him, he's unscrupulous and aggressive, but here's the difference: he's not stupid. That potentially makes the former Kansas Tea party congressman and CIA chief more dangerous to the Biden presidency, and the progressive cause, than a disgraced Trump, may ever be. He showed his political savvy by steering clear of the impeachment fracas. Instead, Pompeo <a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/01/11/team-trump-last-minute-moves-to-box-in-biden-on-foreign-policy-transition-pompeo-cuba-yemen-taiwan-china-sanctions-iran/" target="_blank" title="">is busy setting future agendas</a>."</p><p>Pompeo is also trying to gin up a war with Iran in his final hours in office. Tweeting this week that al-Qaida has a new home in Iran, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-iran-pompeo-iran-int/iran-denies-pompeos-assertion-it-has-ties-with-al-qaeda-idUSKBN29H2JX" target="_blank">which Iran has denied</a>, and Pompeo couldn't provide any proof of. It was remarkably similar to those attempting to go after Iraq after 9/11, claiming that they were developing weapons of mass destruction. Americans have been there before, but has it been long enough that voters forgot the rush to attack? </p><p>"We ignore this Iran-al-Qaida nexus at our peril," Pompeo announced. "We must confront it. Indeed, we must defeat it." </p><p><span></span>If Biden attempts to build a wave of peace with Iran, Pompeo intends to campaign on the war under the guise of stopping terrorism. </p><p>"In truth, the Pompeo-Trump legacy is best defined in negatives: not achieving North Korean disarmament, wrecking the Iran nuclear deal, quitting the Paris climate accord, alienating allies, undermining the UN," wrote Tisdall. "In this sense, Biden just needs to act positive."</p><p>He closed by predicting Pompeo was about to become the future Trump, even if that means Trump is still alive and kicking. </p><p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/17/unscrupulous-and-aggressive-pompeo-plans-to-be-the-next-trump-but-smarter" target="_blank">Read the full column.</a></p>
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