On Thursday, US officials confirmed that a high-altitude balloon, launched days ago by the Chinese government, has been flying over the northern United States. This has since become an international incident and led the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to delay a high-profile visit to China to meet with the nation's president, Xi Jinping. The balloon's flight raises several questions—such as, just what the heck is it doing there? This story will address what is known and not known about the flight. The information below is based on public statements, other news reports, and an interview with a stratospheric balloon expert, Andrew Antonio, whose company, Urban Sky , is developing the world’s first reusable stratospheric balloons for remote sensing. How big is the balloon? This information is not precisely known. Some media reports have suggested it is about the size of "three school buses." It is clearly a very large balloon, however, much bigger than would be used … [Read more...] about Why would the Chinese government be flying a large stratospheric balloon?
World government summit
The New York City-born former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has said that he would not rule out a potential bid for the White House. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who served as British Prime Minister from 2019 to 2022 before being forced to resign over a series scandals including being fined for hosting a series of parties in Downing Street which violated the very same draconian lockdown measures his own government imposed upon the public during the Chinese coronavirus crisis, is apparently looking for a second act in his political career. While Westminster watchers have long speculated that such a second act would come in the form of an attempt to recapture his previous position as prime minister, Mr Johsnon threw a spanner in the works this week by telling the Spectator magazine: “I don’t rule it out,” in reference to a potential presidential run. The former British prime minister was born in New York City in 1964 while his father, Stanley … [Read more...] about President Boris Johnson? NYC-Born Ex-UK PM Hints at White House Bid
According to a new report , four major American tech firms hold $163 billion in United States government debt overseas for tax reasons. That means that American taxpayers are effectively paying interest toward a corporate cash stash held abroad that likely will not return to the US anytime soon. Further Reading Silicon Valley fights to keep its Dutch Sandwich and Double Irish loopholes If Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Cisco were to repatriate this money to the US, and if it were taxed at the current corporate rate of 35 percent, “it would produce a $89 billion windfall for the US Treasury—equivalent to 17 percent of America’s projected $514 billion budget deficit this year,” according to the report, published Wednesday by the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ). “The amount invested by Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Cisco is so large they would collectively be the 14th biggest overseas purchaser of Treasury securities, above Singapore and Norway.” That … [Read more...] about Tech firms would pay $89B in taxes if offshore gov’t debt came home
The Swedish Agency for Psychological Defense has warned that Sweden is in the crosshairs of foreign actors who are spreading messages that the country is a legitimate target for terror attacks. Mikael Tofvesson, head of the operations department at the Swedish Agency for Psychological Defense, stated earlier this week that attitudes toward Sweden abroad were becoming more and more aggressive. According to Tofvesson, part of the rise in aggression comes from a social media campaign by Muslims that claimed Swedish social services were kidnapping the children of Muslim families in Sweden, a phenomenon that has been ongoing since late 2021, broadcaster SVT reports . Sweden: Civil Servants Under Threat of Attack Over Muslim ‘Kidnapping’ Allegations https://t.co/g1RT5Z6Nxa — Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 25, 2022 Another factor listed by Tofvesson was the multi-day violent Easter riots that took place last year in reaction to the burning of copies of … [Read more...] about Swedish Agency Warns of Increased Terrorism Threat
What just happened? Bill Gates and Elon Musk are two of the wealthiest people in the world, but they certainly don't see eye to eye. The pair have had public spats in the past, and now the former Microsoft boss has taken a shot at Musk's ambitions for sending missions to and colonizing Mars, saying he would rather pay for vaccines than travel to the red planet. In an interview with the BBC , Gates was asked by journalist Amol Rajan if going to Mars is not a good use of money. "It's actually quite expensive to go to Mars. You can buy measles vaccines and save lives for $1,000 per life saved," he replied. "And so [that] just kind of grounds you, as in - don't go to Mars." Gates' reply seems aimed chiefly at Elon Musk, whom he's clashed with in the past, though fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson both have space exploration companies in Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, respectively. Gates has poured billions into vaccine research and delivery around the world … [Read more...] about Bill Gates takes aim at Elon Musk: I’d rather fund vaccines than go to Mars
Bloomberg has uncovered new financial filings by a Google subsidiary in the Netherlands, showing that the company avoided $2 billion in worldwide taxes in 2011 by moving $9.8 billion to a Bermuda-based shell company. The news organization has been conducting extensive investigations into the world of shady—albeit legal—financial wheelings and dealings for some years now. It said this new total had doubled over the last three years. As we reported last month, by using a technique known as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich,” Google and many other large companies can (and do) legally move money to where their tax rate is zero. This allows them to avoid double-digit corporate tax rates in most countries. As this technique becomes better understood, particularly in the halls of government, Google and others face new pressure from lawmakers. One British MP recently chided a top Google official for the practice, calling it “immoral.” Ire of the Irish Similarly, an … [Read more...] about Google shifts a record $10B to Bermuda shell firm, avoids billions in taxes