Italy Declares Trade Independence From China

By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

October 29, 2022

ROME – Italy’s industry minister declared that Italy will not be dependent on Chinese trade or technology and will safeguard vital strategic industries from foreign influence..

At a recent press conference, Adolfo Urso, Minister of Economic Development, commented on China based Cosco’s recent purchase of shares in a German port terminal in Hamburg operated by logistics firm HHLA.  HHLA also operates in the Italian port of Trieste.

“We will not put ourselves into the hands of the Chinese,” Urso said in a response to journalists. “If others intend to move from energy dependency, and therefore from Russian power, to technological or to some extent commercial dependence on China, we will not follow them.”

Urso, a member of the Brothers of Italy, was sworn in last week after his appointment by newly elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Prime Minister Meloni has indicated that she will not support Italy’s 2019 agreement to join the controversial Belt and Road initiative controlled by China.

Urso, under direction from Meloni, plans to utilize anti-takeover laws to prevent foreign powers from bidding on strategic Italian industry vital to the nation’s survival.  Anti-takeover laws, also known as the “Golden Powers” have been invoked by former Italian prime ministers.

Martial Law Declared By Putin In Annexed Areas Of Ukraine

By S. Kinskey, The Chicago Times

October 19, 2022

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law on Wednesday in the four annexed regions of Ukraine.

Putin’s declaration takes effect Thursday and gives regional law enforcement agencies three days to submit specific proposals and the creation of territorial defense forces in the annexed regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.

The upper house of Russia’s parliament is expected to rubber stamp Putin’s declaration of martial law which will most likely impose travel restrictions, censorship, public gatherings, and unchecked authority for law enforcement.  There has been talk that martial law could also be coming to the Russian homeland as dissent grows over Putin’s recent military conscription decree and overall failure in conducting the “special operations” against Ukraine.

A weakened and humiliated Putin recently ordered the conscription of 300,000 military reservists to bolster his defeated military in Ukraine.  Russian forces have been put through the meat grinder in Ukraine and some estimates place Russian losses at 50,000 to 70,000 soldiers.

Putin Airstrikes Aim To Impose Brutal Winter On Ukraine

By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

October 19, 2022

KIEV – Russian forces have expanded air operations against Ukraine on Tuesday with punitive strikes on key energy and water supplies, which may put hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians at risk for a brutal and deadly winter.

The Ukrainian government announced that nearly one-third of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed in the past week by Russian air strikes.

Russia has adopted the strategy of crushing the morale of the Ukrainian poplace with repeated air strikes on key power stations and vital infrastructure just as winter begins to blanket the region.  Although pilotless, so-called “Kamikaze” drone aircraft have struck Kiev and other targets in Ukraine along with repeated missile strikes.

However, Ukrainian forces are gnawing at the heels of Russian ground forces in eastern Ukraine.  Even Russian General Sergei Surovikin, recently appointed the Area of Operations commander, has admitted that things remain “very difficult” in the southeast region and he expects a new offensive by Ukrainian forces in the coming weeks.

It was revealed that Iran is supplying Shahed drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.  The use of these drones places Russia, who has denied their use, in possible violation of the 2015 controversial UN endorsed nuclear deal with Iran.

The Ukrainian government has urged western and NATO countries to supply them with sophisticated air defense systems to counter the new Russian air offensive.

King Charles III To Be Crowned Next May

By H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

October 12, 2022

LONDON – Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday that King Charles III will be crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 6.

According to a statement from Buckingham Palace, “The coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in long standing traditions and pageantry.”

Royal officials added that the coronation of both Charles and the Queen Consort will be a solemn religious ceremony conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

During the ceremony, Charles will be anointed with holy oil before accepting the crown, orb, scepter, and coronation ring.  The ceremony is expected to last one hour and contain less of the traditional pomp and circumstance seen at the coronation of Elizabeth II.  It is hoped that a watered down coronation will be more acceptable in times of high inflation and the growing threat of world war.

UN Rejects Russia’s Demand For Secret Vote On Ukraine

By Roger K. Mason, The Chicago Times

October 11, 2022

NEW YORK – On Monday, the United Nations General Assembly rejected Russia’s demand that the 193 member body hold a secret ballot expected later this week on whether to condemn Moscow’s move to annex four occupied regions in Ukraine.

The General Assembly voted in favor of not holding a secret ballot on a draft resolution that condemns Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation.”  Russia believes member nations publicly expressing their position will make “it very difficult” and surprisingly questioned the need to condemn Moscow’s actions.

“What does this have to do with peace and security or trying to settle conflicts?” said Vasily Alekseevich Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations.

Over the past two weeks, Moscow declared its annexation of four occupied regions in Ukraine: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.  Moscow is also accused of rigging a referendum in those regions in favor of annexation.

The draft resolution calls on member states to not recognize Russia’s annexation and to reaffirm the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Putin Appoints General Sergei “The Ruthless” Surovikin To Command Ukraine War

By S. Kinskey, The Chicago Times

October 10, 2022

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced the appointment of General Sergei Surovikin as the top commander of Russia’s Army Group South, which operates in Ukraine.

Putin’s appointment of Surovikin comes on the heels of recent humiliating Russian defeats at the hands of Ukrainian forces.  During October, Ukrainian forces have pushed the Russian army out of key sectors recently annexed by Putin and may also have had a hand in the partial destruction of the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia to Crimea.

Surovikin was born in 1966 in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and is a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan War.  After graduating from various military academies Surovikin rose through the ranks of the Russian military, but has also been involved in various scandals including illegal arms dealing, voter intimidation, and implicated in the death of a fellow officer that committed suicide.

Known for being a ruthless and brutal commander, Surovikin was given the title of “Hero of Russia” and awarded a medal for his service in Syria in 2017 as the commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

In 1991, Surovikin allegedly ordered troops to fire on demonstrators during the August coup just before the fall of the Soviet Union.  During his time in Syria, Surovikin allegedly ordered the bombardment of Aleppo, which lasted for 55 days killing some 530 people.