Takeaways from special counsel’s report into Biden’s handling of classified documents

President Joe Biden and Special Counsel Robert Hur.

President Joe Biden and Special Counsel Robert Hur. Getty ImagesWashingtonCNN — 

Special counsel Robert Hur’s report released Thursday did not charge President Joe Biden with a crime, but it painted a picture of a forgetful commander in chief who failed to properly protect highly sensitive classified information – a depiction that could hurt Biden politically.

The special counsel report found that Biden willfully retained classified information, including top secret documents, and knew he was in possession of some documents as far back as 2017. He also shared some of that information with the ghostwriter of his 2017 memoir.

The special counsel decided not to charge the president in the case – primarily because he found that nothing proved a willful intent by Biden to illegally hold onto classified information and his cooperation with the investgation.

Yet, in a politically damaging line of reasoning, Hur wrote that one reason Biden wasn’t going to be prosecuted was because he would present to a jury as an elderly man “with a poor memory.” Biden’s lawyers objected to the description – calling it “investigative excess” and accusing Hur of flouting Justice Department rules and norms.

The report is sure to become an issue in the 2024 campaign – where Biden’s likely opponent, Donald Trump, is facing criminal charges for his handling of classified material, even though Hur made clear how different the two cases were.

Here are the takeaways from Thursday’s report:

A painful report for Biden

Hur laid out in detail how Biden mishandled classified materials, writing that FBI agents discovered materials from “the garage, offices, and basement den in Mr. Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home.”

The materials included classified documents, including some marked at the highest top secret/sensitive compartmented information level, related to military and foreign policy in Afghanistan, as well as and notebooks “containing Mr. Biden’s handwritten entries about issues of national security and foreign policy implicating sensitive intelligence source and methods.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: The White House is seen on June 24, 2023 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to depart Washington, DC for Camp David later today.

RELATED ARTICLEREAD: Special counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified documents

The special counsel raised Biden’s age and memory in explaining why he didn’t bring charges.

“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote.

“Mr. Biden’s memory also appeared to have significant limitations,” Hur wrote in another passage, adding that his conversations with his ghost writer “from 2017 are often painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries.”

While Hur also listed other reasons for not prosecuting Biden, the memory and age-related passages are sure to become campaign fodder for Trump and Republicans, who have already made the president’s age a key part of the campaign.

House GOP Whip Tom Emmer, the No. 3 Republican, called Hur’s findings “alarming.”

“It’s clear @joebiden does not have the cognitive ability to be president,” Emmer said on X.

Hur says evidence didn’t support charging the president

While the investigation revealed that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials” after leaving office, Hur’s report says his team concluded that the evidence didn’t support prosecuting the president.

According to the report, in 2017 – after leaving office – Biden worked with a ghostwriter for his memoir and told the writer in a recorded conversation that he had “just found all the classified stuff downstairs,” which investigators believe referred to his home he was renting in Virginia.

Investigators believe the evidence suggests Biden was referring to classified documents about the Afghanistan troop surge in 2009 – which FBI agents later found in his garage in Delaware.

Hur’s report says the “best case for charges” would rely on Biden possessing classified documents in 2017, since it was after he had left the vice presidency and before he became president in 2021.

But, the report says, “several defenses are likely to create reasonable doubt as to such charges.”

“For example, Mr. Biden could have found the classified Afghanistan documents at his Virginia home in 2017 and then forgotten about them soon after. This could convince some reasonable jurors that he did not retain them willfully,” the report says.

The report also says that the fact that Biden never talked about the documents again in the “dozens of hours” of recorded conversations with his ghostwriter, paired with how the documents were found in Biden’s garage – in a damaged box surrounded by “household detritus” – could suggest Biden had forgotten about them.

“In addition, Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023,” the report says, “And his cooperation with our investigation, including by reporting to the government that the Afghanistan documents were in his Delaware garage, will likely convince some jurors that he made an innocent mistake, rather than acting willfully – that is, with intent to break the law – as the statute requires.”

Republicans get political gifts from Hur’s report

Congressional Republicans wasted no time seizing on Hur’s report, claiming that the decision not to bring criminal charges is evidence of political bias against their party’s likely presidential nominee in 2024, as well as that details about Biden’s memory issues prove he is not fit for office.

Republican lawmakers did not expect Hur to prosecute Biden but the finding that his “memory was significantly limited” during interviews with investigators has fueled a cascade of political attacks from Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill.

Shortly after the report was released, GOP members of the House Judiciary committee called Hur’s decision not to prosecute Biden a “double standard,” an apparent reference to the fact that Trump was charged with crimes related to his own handling of classified information by special counsel Jack Smith.

“Despite the fact that Hur acknowledges Biden willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen. DOUBLE STANDARD,” the House Judiciary GOP said on X.

House Oversight Committee Republicans, who have separately investigated Biden’s handling of classified documents, criticized Hur’s report before it was even released or delivered to Congress.

“This is not a transparent Administration, and our investigation will not stop,” Oversight committee Republicans posted on X.

The GOP-led panel also criticized the Department of Justice for not bringing criminal charges.

Differences with Trump’s case

Republicans have long drawn parallels between Hur’s investigation and that of Smith, who last year brought charges against Trump related to his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House, despite critical differences in the two cases.

Hur was careful to note the distinction between the two cases in the report – namely that Biden cooperated with the investigation and returned the documents, while Trump did not give back his documents when asked and then tried to cover it up.

“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite.” Hur wrote. “According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.

“In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview, and in other ways cooperated with the investigation,” Hur noted.

Photos show documents stored among household clutter

Hur’s report included a number of photos depicting various parts of Biden’s homes, materials at issue in the investigation and other relevant scenes over the years.

One such photo shows notebooks “seized from (a) file cabinet under (a) television in (Biden’s) Delaware home office.” The report said that Biden “routinely took notes in his notebooks about classified subjects and during meetings where classified information was discussed.”

“For example, he regularly took notes related to the President’s Daily Brief, which typically contains classified information. He also regularly took notes during meetings in the White House Situation Room, and numerous photographs document this practice,” according to the report.

Investigators noted that although “none of the notebooks have classification markings, some of the notebooks contain information that remains classified up to the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information level.”

Another set of photos showed Biden’s Delaware garage, which “contained a significant volume of boxes, storage, and clutter,” including one that contained classified documents related to Afghanistan policy.

“Among the places Mr. Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in the garage was a damaged, opened box containing numerous hanging folders, file folders, and binders,” the report said. “The box, which was labeled ‘Cabinet’ and ‘Desk file,’ was in a mangled state with ripped corners and two top flaps torn off.”

It continued: “Inside the box, the FBI located two folders containing marked classified documents related to the fall 2009 policy review on Afghanistan.”

The photos harken back to those included by special counsel Smith in his indictment last year of Trump over the former president’s own mishandling of classified documents.

The photos included in Trump’s charging documents showed how he allegedly stored classified documents in various places at his Mar-a-Lago estate, including a ballroom, bathroom shower and his bedroom.

White House criticizes Hur over passages regarding Biden’s memory

The White House counsel and Biden’s personal attorney criticized several of the assertions made in Hur’s report, including comments about the president’s memory.

White House counsel Richard Sauber and Bob Bauer wrote in a five-page letter to Hur on Monday saying that the mention of Biden’s memory was “entirely superfluous.”

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate,” Sauber and Bauer wrote. “The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events.”

In a follow-up statement, Bauer accused Hur of “investigative excess” and said he flouted Justice Department regulations and norms.

The attorney said that the special counsel “could not refrain from investigative excess, perhaps unsurprising given the intense pressures of the current political environment.”

“Whatever the impact of those pressures on the final Report, it flouts Department regulations and norms,” Bauer said. “Very little in this opus adds to a clear, succinctly stated understanding of a straightforward conclusion: no misconduct occurred, no charges are warranted. https://bersiaplah.com The Report delves into a discussion of the ‘evidence’ of ‘willful’ retention of classified documents, only to acknowledge that there is, in fact, no case of ‘willful’ retention at all.”

A spokesperson for the Special Counsel’s office declined to comment on the alleged “inaccurate and inappropriate” comments in the Special Counsel’s report.

Samsung boss acquitted of financial crimes in surprise ruling

Samsung Electronics boss Lee Jae-yong arrives at the Seoul Central District Court on February 5, 2024.

Samsung Electronics boss Lee Jae-yong arrives at the Seoul Central District Court on February 5, 2024. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty ImagesSeoulCNN — 

The billionaire boss of Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s biggest technology firms, will not serve more jail time.

Lee Jae-yong was found not guilty by a Seoul court on Monday on charges of stock manipulation and accounting fraud connected to a controversial merger in 2015 of two Samsung affiliates.

The acquittal comes as a big relief to Lee, who has been embroiled in legal problems for years.

Last year, South Korean prosecutors had asked for a five-year jail term for Lee, alleging that he and other executives inflated the stock price of a textile company, Cheil Industries, and devalued a construction and engineering company, Samsung C&T, ahead of the merger.

They alleged that the merger of the two firms allowed Lee to gain a tighter grip on Samsung Electronics, the group’s flagship company, of which he serves as executive chairman.

Lee’s attorneys had denied any wrongdoing, saying the merger had helped the management of the conglomerate became more stable.

Seoul Central District Court chief judge Park Jung-jae said there was not enough evidence that Samsung had intended to cause losses to Samsung C&T and its shareholders through the merger.

“Even if Lee’s control has been strengthened, the merger in this case cannot be considered unfair, as long as there is a reasonable purpose for the merger,” Park said.

It’s unclear if prosecutors will appeal this ruling, which has come as a surprise to experts.

It is a totally shocking verdict,” Park Sangin, economics professor at Seoul National University, told CNN. He added the decision will “lead to lowering the confidence of foreign investors in the Korean legal system and the soundness of the Korean capital market.”

Lee, who is also known as Jay Y. Lee, was previously found guilty of bribery and other corruption charges in 2017 in a separate case. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but walked free after less than a year when an appeals court threw out some of the charges and suspended his sentence.

However, the billionaire was sent back to prison in January 2021 after being sentenced to two and a half years without a suspension after the Seoul High Court found him guilty of embezzlement and bribery. He was released on parole in August 2021 and pardoned a year later.

The relief for Samsung comes at a time when it is battling a sales slump. The South Korean tech giant recently lost its crown as the world’s top smartphone maker to Apple (AAPL), and has also posted its fourth straight quarter of profit decline, in a sign of how demand for consumer devices and the chips that power them continue to remain sluggish.

During his trial last year, Lee had apologized for the troubles suffered by Samsung and its shareholders as a result of his legal struggles.

“The world is experiencing geopolitical risks, and our country is in the middle of them. Technological innovation is occurring in this world at a faster rate than we can imagine,” Lee had said to the judges.

“I believe that it is necessary to respond pre-emptively to an unpredictable future, https://bersiaplah.com and the merger of the two companies was promoted in that regard.”

“In the future, I would like to ask for the opportunity to help Samsung become a truly top-notch company and to focus all my capabilities on moving forward,” he had said.

More than 800 Western officials sign scathing criticism of Gaza policy

Palestinians wait to receive food at a donation center in Rafah, southern Gaza, January 27, 2024.

Palestinians wait to receive food at a donation center in Rafah, southern Gaza, January 27, 2024. Saher Alghorra/Middle East Images/AFP/Getty ImagesCNN — 

More than 800 officials from the United States and Europe have signed a scathing criticism of Western policy towards Israel and Gaza, accusing their governments of possible complicity in war crimes.

In a statement obtained by CNN, the officials say there is a “plausible risk that our governments’ policies are contributing to grave violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide.”

They accuse their governments of failing to hold Israel to the same standards they apply to other countries and weakening their own “moral standing” in the world.

Among them are around 80 United States officials and diplomats, a source told CNN.

In an unprecedented display of coordinated dissent since Israel’s war against Hamas began nearly four months ago, the signatories call on their governments to “use all leverage” to secure a ceasefire and to stop saying that there is a “a strategic and defensible rationale behind the Israeli operation.”

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

RELATED ARTICLEBiden issues executive order targeting violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank

The public letter, released Friday, comes a week after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found South Africa’s claim that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza to be “plausible,” and ordered Israel to “take all measures” to limit the death and destruction caused by its military campaign, prevent and punish incitement to genocide, and ensure access to humanitarian aid.

The statement “shows the depths of concerns and outrage and just horror that all of us are witnessing,” a US official with more than 25 years’ experience, who signed the letter, told CNN on Friday.

“The talking points that keep being delivered day after day are not cutting it.”

The US official told CNN that the signatories were motivated by their shared experience of having their concerns be ignored by their governments and by “the appropriateness” of public dissent by civil servants when ignored internally.

The official added that the ICJ’s decision to hear a genocide case lodged against Israel was validation for the authors’ concerns. Israel has strenuously denied accusations of genocide in Gaza.

“What was really important for those of us on the US side was to link arms with the people in Europe who believe their governments are following the US lead, and feel constrained by that,” the official said. “So we thought it was important that US officials continue to make clear their concerns with government policy on this.”

People bury Palestinians, including those killed in Israeli strikes and fire, at a mass grave in Rafah, January 30, 2024.

People bury Palestinians, including those killed in Israeli strikes and fire, at a mass grave in Rafah, January 30, 2024. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The statement, which does not list its signatories, says that it was “coordinated” by civil servants in European Union institutions, The Netherlands, and the United States, and endorsed by civil servants in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Despite the letter not listing its authors, the US official told CNN many colleagues feared losing their jobs, and that the lower number of US signatories reflected stronger protections for official dissents in Europe.

CNN has asked the U.S. State Department, the European Union, and the Dutch Foreign Ministry for a response to the statement. CNN has also reached out to the Israeli government for a response.

A senior British civil servant told CNN of the letter: “We feel that politicians have responded to the evolving situation, evinced by the Foreign Secretary’s words this week.”

The Dutch Foreign Ministry, in a statement to CNN, said that while civil servants are entitled to freedom of expression, they are subject to some limitations under Dutch law.

“It is only natural that the debate in society about the conflict between Israel and Hamas also exists within our ministry. We feel that there should be scope for this debate and we encourage staff to enter into dialogues internally. And these dialogues are taking place.”

‘We are obliged to do everything in our power’

In the letter, the officials say that they raised concerns internally within their governments and institutions, but their professional concerns have often been overruled “by political and ideological considerations.”

“We are obliged to do everything in our power on behalf of our countries and ourselves to not be complicit in one of the worst human catastrophes of this century,” they write.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 29: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks while meeting with President Rodrigo Chaves Robles of Costa Rica in the Oval Office of the White House August 29, 2023 in Washington, DC. Biden and Robles were expected to discuss a range of bilateral issues during the meeting.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

RELATED ARTICLEBiden has to deal with a second war he didn’t want. His task is to contain it

Israel’s policies, they argue, are counterproductive to its own national security goals.

“Israel’s military operations have disregarded all important counterterrorism expertise gained since 9/11; and that the operation has not https://bersiaplah.com contributed to Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas and instead has strengthened the appeal of Hamas, Hezbollah and other negative actors.”

They say that Western support for Israel has come “without real conditions or accountability.”

“Our governments’ current policies weaken their moral standing and undermine their ability to stand up for freedom, justice, and human rights globally and weaken our efforts to rally international support for Ukraine and to counter malign actions by Russia, China and Iran,” they say.

Finally, they call on their governments to “develop a strategy for lasting peace that includes a secure Palestinian state and guarantees for Israel’s security, so that an attack like 7 October and an offensive on Gaza never happen again.”

Demi Moore gives update on Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore attend the after party for the "Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis" in 2018.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore attend the after party for the “Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis” in 2018. Phil Faraone/Getty ImagesCNN — 

Though Bruce Willis and Demi Moore divorced more than 20 years ago, they remain close.

While promoting her new show “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans,” Moore shared an update on Willis’ health.

“I think, given the givens, he’s doing very well,” Moore said during an appearance on “Good Morning America.”

It was announced in 2022 that Willis would be stepping away from his career due to cognitive issues. He has since been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which is a progressive brain condition.

Moore and Willis divorced in 2000, but share three adult daughters, Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.

“What I’ll say is what I say to my children, which is it’s important to just meet them where they’re at and not hold onto what isn’t,” Moore said on “GMA.” “Because there’s great beauty and sweetness and loving and joy out of that.”

The former couple have continued to amicably share family experiences https://bersiaplah.com over the years. Willis has been married for more than 16 years to Emma Heming Willis, with whom he shares two young daughters, Mabel and Evelyn.

Biden issues executive order targeting violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, February 1, 2024. Andrew Harnik/APWashingtonCNN — 

President Joe Biden issued an executive order targeting violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank whom he has said have undermined stability in the area, a US official and source familiar with the matter told CNN.

The new directive, first reported by Politico and expected to be announced Thursday, will impose sanctions on several individuals accused of having participated in the violent acts.

The order targets four individuals accused of directly perpetrating violence or intimidation in the West Bank, a senior administration official said, including people accused of initiating and leading a riot; setting buildings, fields and vehicles on fire; assaulting civilians and damaging property.

The State Department announced the names of the Israelis targeted by the executive order, which blocks their financial assets and bars them from coming to the US. They are David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman and Yinon Levi.

The White House notified the Israeli government of their plans ahead of the order, an official said.

Officials said they had compiled evidence they said offered proof of the individuals’ role in the West Bank violence that would withstand judicial review, including information from public reporting.

Chasdai, according to the State Department, “initiated and led a riot, which involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, and causing damage to property in Huwara, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian.”

Tanjil “was involved in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, resulting in injuries that required medical treatment,” according to a State Department fact sheet.

Zicherman, “according to video evidence, assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, blocking them on the street, and attempted to break the windows of passing vehicles with activists inside.” He cornered two activists, injuring both of them, according to the State Department.

Levi “led a group of settlers who engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank,” according to the fact sheet.

“He regularly led groups of settlers from the Meitarim Farm outpost that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, burned their fields, and destroyed their property,” it said. Levi “and other settlers at Meitarim Farm have repeatedly attacked multiple communities within the West Bank.”

It’s not clear when each of these acts occurred. The US has no plans to target Israeli government officials for sanctions, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday.

Biden has condemned these acts of violence in the past, and the issue is one that the president has personally discussed in recent months with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Thursday that the sanctions were unnecessary.

“Israel acts against all lawbreakers everywhere, so there is no room for exceptional measures in this regard,” the prime minister’s office said, adding that “the absolute majority” of Israeli settlers in the West Bank “are law-abiding citizens.”

The order comes as the president faces backlash from key parts of his political coalition for his backing of Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza. While the order is not expected to address the situation in Gaza, it will mark one of the more significant actions Biden has taken to critique Israel since the war began in the wake of the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas and could be a signal from Biden toward Muslim and Arab-American voters who are upset with his refusal to call for a ceasefire.

In December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new policy to prevent extremist Israeli settlers responsible for violence in the West Bank from coming to the United States.

The State Department can apply the policy to both Israelis and Palestinians who were responsible for attacks in the West Bank, Blinken said at the time.

Ultimately, the new policy is expected “to impact dozens of individuals and potentially their family members,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said at the time.

Settler violence against West Bank residents has been a primary flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since long before the October 7 Hamas attack. When hundreds of Israeli settlers rampaged through the West Bank town of Huwara last February, the ensuing violence was so brutal that the Israeli military commander over the West Bank referred to it as a “pogrom.”

The violence has sharpened since October 7, along with the fears of Palestinians that they would be subjected to revenge attacks. Dozens of Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in the weeks immediately following the Hamas attack as settler violence intensified.

An estimated 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank. It’s unclear which specific acts those targeted by Biden’s executive order participated in.

Biden has raised the issue of settler violence in “almost every diplomatic conversation he has with Israeli leaders,” a senior administration official said.

“These actions pose a grave threat to peace, security and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and the Middle East region, and they also obstruct the realization, ultimately, of an independent Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel, and by extension the enduring peace and stability for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” the official said.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill Thursday morning, ahead of issuing the executive order, Biden acknowledged the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians. He said he understands the “pain and passion felt by so many here in America and around the world” in response to the “trauma, the destruction in Israel and Gaza.”

“We value and pray for the lives taken and for the families left behind,” Biden said. “For all those who are living in dire circumstances, innocent men, women and children, held hostage or under bombardment, or displaced not knowing where the next meal will come from, or if it will come at all.”

As of early this week, the overall death toll in Gaza since October 7 had risen to 26,422 with 65,087 injured, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza. More than 1,200 people were killed in the original Hamas attack on Israel and more than 200 were taken hostage.

“Not only do we pray for https://bersiaplah.com peace,” he continued, “we’re actively working for peace, security and dignity for the Israeli people and the Palestinian people.”

Biden said he was engaged in bringing hostages held by Hamas home “day and night,” and was also working to “ease the humanitarian crisis and to bring peace to Gaza and Israel and enduring peace with two states for two peoples.”

Biden’s response to Jordan attack is likely to be powerful, but US is wary of triggering a wider war with Iran, officials say

In this photo posted to social media platform X on Monday, January 29, US President Joe Biden is briefed by members of his national security team in the Situation Room on the latest developments regarding the attack on US service members in northeastern Jordan. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines are also visible in the photo, while nameplates indicate the presence of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, among others.

In this photo posted to social media platform X on Monday, January 29, US President Joe Biden is briefed by members of his national security team in the Situation Room on the latest developments regarding the attack on US service members in northeastern Jordan.From President Joe Biden via XCNN — 

The US’ response to the drone attack in Jordan that killed and wounded US service members on Sunday is likely to be more powerful than previous American retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria, officials told CNN, though the Pentagon and White House are being careful not to telegraph the administration’s plans.

President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to respond in a way that stops these attacks for good. Iran-backed militants have targeted US military facilities in Iraq and Syria over 160 times since October, and several Republican lawmakers have called for the US to hit inside Iran directly to send a clear message.

But the biggest challenge now for the Biden administration is how to respond to the drone strike – the deadliest attack on US forces in the region since the bombing at Abbey Gate killed 13 US service members in the closing days of the Afghanistan withdrawal – without sparking a regional war.

The US has in recent months carried out several strikes targeting Iranian proxies’ weapons depots in Iraq and Syria. To date, none of those strikes have deterred the militants, whose 165 attacks have injured over 120 US service members across the region since October.

Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said the deaths of US service members “certainly crossed the president’s red line,” and both officials and analysts are expecting a more robust response that is not necessarily confined to one country or one day. But officials have suggested it is unlikely the US will strike within Iran.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the environment in the Middle East is as dangerous as it’s been in the region “since at least 1973, and arguably even before that.”

Blinken added that the US response “could be multileveled, come in stages and be sustained over time.”

The Biden administration could decide to again strike the militant groups in Iraq, Syria or both countries, and could also target the leadership of the regional militias. In at least one case in early January, the US targeted a senior member of Harakat al-Nujaba, an Iranian proxy that has attacked US forces. An offensive cyberattack is another option, officials noted.

A US official said the US is being careful not to be too specific about the origin of the drone or which militants launched it, in order to preserve some element of surprise when the US responds. US officials have said only that the Iranian proxy group Kataib Hezbollah appears to have supported the strike.

“We’re not taking anything off the table,” a US defense official told CNN.

‘We don’t seek a war with Iran’

Still, striking Iran is one of the least likely options at this point, officials said. Biden officials said repeatedly on Monday that the US does not want to go to war with Iran, which would be the likely outcome of a US strike within Iran’s borders.

“We don’t seek a war with Iran. We’re not looking for a wider conflict in the Middle East,” John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council, told CNN on Monday. “In fact, every action the president has taken has been designed to de-escalate, to try to bring the tensions down.”

While the US holds Iran ultimately responsible for the attacks given Tehran’s financial and military support for its proxy groups, there are no indications yet that Iran explicitly directed the deadly attack on Sunday or intended it as a deliberate escalation against the US, multiple sources told CNN.

The Iranian government has also denied being involved.

“I don’t think this was intended as an escalation,” said a US official. “It is the same type of attack they’ve done 163 times before and on 164 they get lucky.”

The attack bore many of the hallmarks of the previous 160-plus strikes by the Iran-backed militants, officials said — the only difference being that this one successfully hit a housing container at the US base, called Tower 22, early on Sunday when service members were still in their beds and had little time to evacuate.

The drone also flew low, potentially allowing it to evade the base’s air defenses, and approached the base around the same time as an American drone was returning from a mission. That likely caused confusion and may have delayed a response, officials said.

“We know these groups are supported by Iran, and therefore they do have their fingerprints on this, but I can’t tell you more in terms of who directed it,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, said at a briefing Monday.

Still, if the US attempts to de-escalate through proportionate and limited retaliatory strikes, that could be perceived as weak to Iran and its proxies, said Jon Alterman, the Middle East Program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“If everything is deliberate and proportionate, it creates an incentive for people to go right up to the red line and to make sure they know exactly where that red line is,” Alterman told CNN.

Iran has spent years investing in its regional proxies, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen to the militant groups in Iraq and Syria. Tehran has supplied these proxies, informally known as the “axis of resistance,” with money, weapons, training and supplies as it seeks to broaden its influence in the Middle East and pressure the United States to disengage from the region.

“In the last three months, Iran has benefited profoundly from its years of investment in the axis of resistance,” Alterman said. Tehran has watched as anti-US and anti-Israel protests swept across the Middle East after the Israel-Hamas war started. Iran has grown increasingly closer to Russia and China, and Iraqi officials have recently begun to more loudly call for an end to the US military presence in the country.

These are measures of victory for Iran.

“Every message you see talks about the https://bersiaplah.com fear of escalation from the administration,” said a former senior military official who has closely followed developments in the region. “We have managed to deter ourselves here.”

What you should know about the moon area where Japan’s lander touched down


An image taken by the Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2 shows Japan’s SLIM spacecraft on the moon. The “Moon Sniper” robotic explorer landed 180 feet (55 meters) shy of its target.JAXA

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news on fascinating discoveries, scientific advancements and more.CNN — 

The journey of “Moon Sniper,” the robotic explorer that has made Japan only the fifth country to put a spacecraft safely on the lunar surface, hasn’t gone quite as expected.

Though the mission — officially known as the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM — reached its destination last week, an “anomaly” experienced during descent resulted in the vehicle landing with its solar panels facing the wrong direction, forcing it to operate on limited battery power, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the moon near a leg of the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. The astronauts' bootprints are clearly visible in the foreground. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit.

The moon has entered a new epoch, scientists say

Now, with Moon Sniper’s battery turned off to maintain spacecraft functionality, JAXA officials are in wait-and-see mode, hoping the changing angle of the sun will restore power to the vehicle and allow the mission to resume. If the lander turns on again, it could make good on its objectives to collect unprecedented information about a region called the Sea of Nectar.

The spacecraft touched down near a crater called Shioli — a Japanese female first name pronounced “she-oh-lee” — which sits about 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the Sea of Tranquility, the region near the lunar equator where Apollo 11 first landed humans on the moon.

The 1969 US moon mission Apollo 11 captured this oblique view of the large crater Theophilus at the northwest edge of the Sea of Nectar.

The 1969 US moon mission Apollo 11 captured this oblique view of the large crater Theophilus at the northwest edge of the Sea of Nectar.NASA

At around 880 feet (268 meters) in diameter, it’s a small crater, but it’s close to a much bigger one called Theophilus that’s more than 60 miles (97 kilometers) across. This detail makes it particularly interesting for exploration.

“When I was reading up about this a month or so ago, I was super excited to see they had chosen this site,” said Dr. Gordon Osinski, a professor of planetary geology at Western University in Ontario, who’s also part of the upcoming Artemis III moon mission’s geology team.

The Orion pressure vessel for NASA’s Artemis III mission is lifted by crane for its move onto a work stand in the high bay of the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 20, 2021. The pressure vessel will be secured onto the work stand where Lockheed Matin technicians will begin the work to prepare the spacecraft for its launch atop a Space Launch System rocket. Artemis III will send astronauts, including the first woman and first person of color, on a mission to the surface of the Moon by 2024.<br />Date Created:2021-10-21

NASA delays astronaut moon landing to at least 2026

“One of the great things about craters is that they excavate rocks from the depth and essentially give us a window into what’s under the surface of a planetary body,” Osinski added. He noted that Shioli stands on ground ejected by the larger nearby crater, which probably comes from a depth of over 1 mile (1.6 kilometers), giving researchers a chance to study lunar rock without any drilling.

“I think they chose this particular crater because the mineral olivine has been found — and anytime you mention olivine, people’s eyes light up because we think it probably originates from the mantle of the moon, which we’ve never really sampled on site before,” Osinski said.

Space weathering

In November, NASA published photographs of Shioli taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft currently orbiting the moon and mapping it to aid future missions. In the black-and-white photo, the crater looks like a splotch of light.

“The moon doesn’t have an atmosphere like the Earth, so it isn’t protected and it’s constantly bombarded with micrometeorites and radiation that damage the surface layers,” said Sara Russell, a professor of planetary sciences and senior research lead at the Planetary Materials Group of London’s Natural History Museum.

The first picture sent back by the moon lander
Japan's Moon Sniper robotic explorer landed on the lunar surface, but the mission may end prematurely since the spacecraft's solar cell is not generating electricity, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. The agency said it is currently receiving a signal from the lander, which is communicating as expected.
The uncrewed Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, mission landed just after 10:20 a.m. ET Friday (12:20 a.m. Saturday Japan Standard Time), according to telemetry data shared on JAXA's live broadcast.
Currently, the lander is operating on limited battery power, only expected to last several hours, and the JAXA team is analyzing the data to determine the cause of the solar cell issue and the next steps for the lander. It's possible that the solar cell issue is due to the fact that the spacecraft is not pointing in the intended direction, JAXA officials said.

Studying rare rock samples makes the moon a brilliant geology laboratory. Here’s the first picture sent back by the Moon Sniper after it landed on the lunar surface.JAXA

The crater is lighter in color because radiation and micrometeorites haven’t had enough time to darken it yet: “When a crater happens, it throws up material that was buried and that might be more pristine, because it hasn’t experienced this damage, which we call space weathering. It gives us fresh rock to look at that, and potentially learn more about the moon,” she said.

Opportunities to study these rare rock samples make the moon a brilliant geology laboratory, Russell added.

“Whatever the moon has experienced, the Earth has also experienced. Looking at craters can also tell us something about the Earth’s own history, because rocks form there without any of the complicating factors that we have on Earth, like water and life and the wind,” she said. “It’s a beautiful experiment in the sky.”

After landing in the crater, the spacecraft captured 257 low-resolution images of its surroundings, and the mission team later gave nicknames to some of the rocks in the pictures. More images will be taken if the lander manages to regain power.

A camera mounted on the SLIM lander reveals an enlarged view of the lunar surface and its rocks in a mosaic of first images.

A camera mounted on the SLIM lander reveals an enlarged view of the lunar surface and its rocks in a mosaic of first images.JAXA/Ritsumeikan University, The University Of Aizu

Pinpoint accuracy

Another reason for choosing the vicinity of Shioli as the landing site for Japan’s SLIM mission is that its small size was an ideal training ground for the lander’s pinpoint accuracy, which allowed it to target an area spanning just 328 feet (100 meters) across for touchdown. Living up to its nickname, the Moon Sniper actually landed just 180 feet (55 meters) shy of its target, which JAXA deemed a “significant achievement.”

“They’re really using the technology to show that they can land in very small landing circles, which would be quite a step forward for capabilities to land on different planets,” said Dr. John Pernet-Fisher, a research fellow in geochemistry and cosmochemistry at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, in an interview before the landing.

Traditionally, moon missions target areas a few kilometers wide for touchdown: “But that really limits where you can land, because you have to make sure that within the whole landing area every point it is safe to land on,” he added. “That makes things a lot more difficult if you want to land in more challenging or rugged terrain, so this can really open the doors to being able to land in areas that are topographically a bit more varied and therefore might tell us something different about the moon and its formation.”

DUNHUANG, CHINA - JUNE 07: Tourists visit the Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Spring scenic spot with the Moon in the background on June 7, 2023 in Dunhuang, Jiuquan City, Gansu Province of China. (Photo by Zhang Xiaoliang/VCG via Getty Images)

Apollo 17 astronauts collected rocks that reveal the moon’s true age

The Moon Sniper’s landing site is not far from the point where Apollo 16 touched down in 1972. That older mission’s crew collected 731 individual rock and soil samples for a total mass of 95.7 kilograms (210 pounds), according to the Lunar and Planetary Institute. That’s a sizable chunk of the 382 kilograms (842 pounds) that NASA brought back from the moon during the entire program.

“If you think about it, we’re trying to interpret the geological history of this whole body based on a collection of rocks from quite a geographically small area,” Pernet-Fisher said. “ https://bersiaplah.com And so it’s really important for us to gather as much data as possible from a huge diversity of different geographic locations. Even though this is still relatively near some of the Apollo missions, it’s really important data that we’ll be gathering.”

A sea of lava

The largest lunar feature in the vicinity of Shioli is the Sea of Nectar, a basin 210 miles (339 kilometers) in diameter that is one of the oldest on the near side of the moon, the hemisphere that always faces Earth. The lunar plain is visible with binoculars or a small telescope, and was formed when the moon’s surface was created about 3.9 billion years ago.

The Sea of Nectar is much smaller than its neighbor the Sea of Tranquility, which is over 540 miles (875 kilometers) across and is similarly smooth and flat.

“Tranquillity was chosen for the Apollo 11 landing not for any scientific reasons, but because it was one of the flattest, smoothest parts for the moon and therefore considered safest to land on,” Western University’s Osinski said.

“That is also applicable for most robotic missions,” he added. “I’m the principal investigator for Canada’s first ever moon rover and we’re looking at landing sites now. We’re being driven towards smooth areas, away from craters or boulders, which actually may sound less scientifically interesting.”

<strong>1)</strong> The Sea of Tranquility <strong>2)</strong> the Apollo 11 landing site <strong>3)</strong> the Shioli crater the SLIM mission was targeting and <strong>4)</strong> the Chandrayaan-3 lunar landing site

1) The Sea of Tranquility 2) the Apollo 11 landing site 3) the Shioli crater the SLIM mission was targeting and 4) the Chandrayaan-3 lunar landing siteCNN/Getty Images/ISRO/lROC

The reason scientists call these basins “seas,” or “maria” in the original Latin, is that ancient astronomers who first looked up at the moon believed they were filled with water, due to the darker hue.

“After the Apollo missions, we brought back samples and learned they were essentially massive lava planes,” Osinski said. “It’s not like there was a massive volcano with lava pouring out, but rather fissure eruptions, so the lava was just literally coming up through fractures. We can think of them as lava seas.”

Anaglyph is a simple visualization of the object or terrain in three dimensions from stereo or multi-view images. 
The Anaglyph presented here is created using NavCam Stereo Images, which consist of both a left and right image captured onboard the Pragyan Rover. 
In this 3-channel image, the left image is positioned in the red channel, while the right image is placed in the blue and green channels (creating cyan). The difference in perspective between these two images results in the stereo effect, which gives the visual impression of three dimensions.
Red & Cyan glasses are recommended for viewing in 3D
NavCam was developed by LEOS / ISRO. Data Processing is carried out by SAC / ISRO

Here’s what India’s historic lunar lander found on the moon — and what’s next

Water does come into play when looking at another area of the moon that will be targeted by upcoming landings, including NASA’s first crewed Artemis mission, expected as soon as 2026: “The south polar region,” Osinski said, “an area that is geologically interesting, and also rich with what we call volatiles — think water ice but also frozen carbon dioxide or ammonia.”

If humans can find a good, sizable source of water ice in the moon’s south pole region and it’s possible to extract it, the result could be a game changer for lunar exploration, according to Osinski.

“We’d have water for the astronauts to drink, we can extract the oxygen, and it can be broken down to get the hydrogen for rocket fuel. It also reduces costs, because water is one of the most expensive things to launch from Earth because it’s so heavy,” he said.

“If we want to build lunar bases, which we all hope we do, we are going to have to find a source of water to use on the moon.”

RELATED

Visitor finds huge 7.46-carat diamond in Crater of Diamonds State Park

Julien Navas shows his find from Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

Julien Navas shows his find from Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.Courtesy Arkansas State ParksCNN — 

A spur-of-the-minute detour led to a “real great adventure” for a Parisian visitor to the United States.

Julien Navas, who was visiting the US from France to see the launch of the first US moon landing mission in decades from Cape Canaveral, Florida, also ventured to New Orleans. Along the way, learned about the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, according to a news release from Arkansas State Parks.

Having panned for gold and searched for ammonite fossils before, and the park caught his interest.

Visitors scour the earth at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.Courtesy Arkansas State Parks

On January 11, Navas arrived at the park, bought his ticket, and rented a basic diamond hunting kit, according to the news release.

“I got to the park around nine o’clock and started to dig,” Navas said in the release. “That is back-breaking work, so by the afternoon I was mainly looking on top of the ground for anything that stood out.”

Lucky for Navas, the park had received more than an inch of rain a few days before he arrived, so it was wet and muddy, the release said.

“As rain falls on the field, it washes away the dirt and uncovers heavy rocks, minerals and diamonds near the surface,” Assistant Park Superintendent Waymon Cox explained.

Many of the park’s biggest diamonds are found on the surface, Cox said, and the park periodically plows the 37.5 acre search area to loosen the soil and to promote natural erosion.

Eventually, Navas emerged at the park’s Diamond Discovery Center with his findings. There, he was told he had found a 7.46-carat brown diamond.

The 7.46 carat diamond discovered by Julien Navas, of Paris, France, upon his visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas on January 11, 2024.

The 7.46 carat diamond discovered by Julien Navas, of Paris, France, upon his visit to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas on January 11, 2024.Courtesy Arkansas State Parks

Navas said he was stunned, according to the release, and said all he could think about was telling his fiancé what he had found. The stone is deep chocolate brown and rounded like a marble, according to the release, and is about the size of a candy gumdrop.

Navas named his diamond the Carine Diamond, after his fiancé, and plans to have the stone divided into two diamonds, one to gift to his bride-to-be and the other for his daughter.

The Carine Diamond is the eighth-largest diamond found in the Crater of Diamonds since it became a state park in 1972, according to the news release. On average, park visitors find one or two diamonds there every day. The diamonds formed hundreds of millions of years ago, some 60 to 100 miles underground.

Geologists explained about 100 million years ago, there was a volcanic eruption, which carried the diamonds to the surface, according to the park’s website.

Navas called the park a https://bersiaplah.com “magical place, where the dream of finding a diamond can come true! It was a real great adventure.” Navas said he hopes to come back to the park with his daughter when she is older.

Microsoft is worth more than $3 trillion. It’s the second company to ever break that threshold

Shares of Microsoft are up more than 7% this year after jumping about 40% last year, largely due to investor enthusiasm in AI.

Shares of Microsoft are up more than 7% this year after jumping about 40% last year, largely due to investor enthusiasm in AI.Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg/Getty ImagesNew YorkCNN — 

Microsoft became the second-ever company worth $3 trillion on Wednesday as the artificial intelligence boom sent shares of the company’s stock soaring higher.

For comparison, Microsoft’s market value is now larger than the entire GDP of France and just behind that of the United Kingdom.

The stock rose by nearly 1.5% to about $405 per share on Wednesday afternoon, exceeding a $3 trillion market capitalization and joining Apple as the only other company to have reached the historic milestone.

Shares of Microsoft are up more than 7% year to date after jumping about 40% last year, largely due to investor enthusiasm in AI and its potential to create growth for the company.

In 2023, the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, made a multibillion-dollar investment in AI, including commercializing and adding AI tools like ChatGPT into its suite of products before rivals.

Samuel Altman, CEO of OpenAI, appears for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law May 16, 2023 in Washington, DC. The committee held an oversight hearing to examine A.I., focusing on rules for artificial intelligence.

RELATED ARTICLEOpenAI officially announces Sam Altman has returned as CEO and Microsoft gains a non-voting board seat

He even strengthened Microsoft’s ties to ChatGPT maker OpenAI, a major pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, during a board and leadership upheaval at the smaller company late last year.

After trailing behind Apple for the majority of the past decade, Microsoft surpassed the company to briefly become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company earlier in January.

Microsoft is part of the so-called “Magnificent 7,” a group of stocks including Apple, Nvidia, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Tesla that have almost single-handedly boosted markets to new highs in recent weeks.

Microsoft alone makes up 7.3% of the S&P 500. Together, these seven stocks have a market cap larger than any country’s entire stock market except for the United States.

As of last week, Nvidia and Microsoft alone accounted for about 75% of the S&P 500’s gain this year, according to analysts at Bespoke Investment Group.

In a note on Tuesday, Morgan Stanley analysts said they see Microsoft’s play for AI “getting even stronger,” https://bersiaplah.com and moved their price target for the stock to $450 from $415. Bank of America analysts also moved their target to $450 per share, predicting more growth for the Washington-based company this quarter.

Microsoft reports its fourth-quarter earnings on January 30.

Kyiv rejects calls to cede land to Russia by Slovakia’s populist leader ahead of high-level meeting

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JANUARY 16: Robert Fico, Slovakia's prime minister, speaks during a news conference with Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister, not pictured on January 16, 2024 in Budapest, Hungary. Slovakia's recently elected populist prime minister visits his Hungarian counterpart in Budapest, his second official trip since taking office last September. (Photo by Janos Kummer/Getty Images)

Robert Fico, Slovakia’s prime minister, on January 16, 2024 in Budapest, Hungary.Janos Kummer/Getty ImagesCNN — 

Ukraine has rejected suggestions by Slovakia’s new Prime Minister Robert Fico that it will need to cede territory to Russia to end the war.

“There can be no compromise on territorial integrity, neither for Ukraine, nor for Slovakia, nor for any other country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko wrote on Facebook.

“Let’s be honest: if Ukraine is not secure, there will be no security, neither in Slovakia nor in Europe in general.”

In an interview with Slovak radio over the weekend, Fico offered a direct challenge to that idea, and the core position of most of his partners in the European Union.

Speaking just days ahead of a scheduled visit to Ukraine, Fico told the public broadcaster both Kyiv and Moscow would need to make painful compromises to bring the war to an end. For Ukraine, that meant accepting at least some of Russia’s gains.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and former US President Donald Trump.

RELATED ARTICLE‘Very dangerous’: Zelensky on Trump’s claim he could end Russia-Ukraine war within 24 hours

“What are they expecting? That Russia will leave Donbas and Luhansk? Or that they will leave Crimea? No, that’s completely unrealistic. Everybody knows that,” Fico continued.

The Donbas and Luhansk are territories in eastern Ukraine, over parts of which Russia gained control in 2014, and from where it has expanded its territorial gains since launching its full-scale invasion in 2022. Crimea was also captured, and annexed, in 2014.

Widely seen as a pro-Kremlin figure, Fico won election in October, having run on a promise that he would block further military support for Ukraine – which he told the radio interviewer had been under the “total control of the United States” since 2014, when Ukrainians overthrew their pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovich.

In the European Union, he is closely aligned with Hungary’s Victor Orban and has been very open about his intentions to block Ukraine’s bid to join the EU and NATO. That blunt message would be repeated when he meets his Ukrainian counterpart, Denys Shmyhal, on Wednesday in the border town of Uzhhorod, he said.

“I will tell him that I am completely against Ukraine’s NATO membership and that I will veto it, because the only thing that would lead to is a Third World War.”

In a reversal of the policy of his predecessor, which saw Ukraine receive an air defense system and fighter jets from Slovakia, as well as other military aid, Fico also promised to tell his Ukrainian host that “he will not be getting any weapons from the Slovak Army” or from “Slovakia’s state stockpiles.”

Instead, he says he would bring an “offer of humanitarian help.”

Shmyhal’s office has not responded to a CNN enquiry about whether the visit will still go ahead.

DONETSK REGION, UKRAINE - DECEMBER 16: A military health worker is seen holding a mouse with scissors in front of the trench as Ukrainian soldiers injured in the clashes continue to be evacuated from the frontline amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war in Donetsk Region, Ukraine on December 16, 2023. Intense military activity continues in the region. (Photo by Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu via Getty Images)

RELATED ARTICLERats and mice swarm trenches in Ukraine in grisly echo of World War I

Bringing a very different sort of message Monday to Ukraine was Poland’s new Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

The two leaders discussed possible joint arms production, as well as what Zelensky referred to in a statement from his office as “a new form of our cooperation – aimed at a larger scale of arms purchases for Ukrainian needs,” though no further details were given.

Tusk told his host Poland would try to help Ukraine’s accession to the EU, “so that Ukraine’s full membership in the European Union becomes a fact as soon as possible.”

The two men also expressed confidence that they could achieve lasting solutions to disputes over Ukrainian grain exports and permit-free access to the European Union for Ukrainian truck drivers, which led to https://bersiaplah.com blockades for many weeks at border crossings between the two countries.