Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

The Parthenon temple is seen atop the Acropolis hill, during heavy snowfall in Athens, Greece. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis  

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Top Photos of the Day (Reuters).

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Is The U.S. Food Supply Under Pressure?


Wall Street Journal: U.S. Food Supply Is Under Pressure, From Plants to Store Shelves 

The U.S. food system is under renewed strain as Covid-19’s Omicron variant stretches workforces from processing plants to grocery stores, leaving gaps on supermarket shelves.

In Arizona, one in 10 processing plant and distribution workers at a major produce company were recently out sick. In Massachusetts, employee illnesses have slowed the flow of fish to supermarkets and restaurants. A grocery chain in the U.S. Southeast had to hire temporary workers after roughly one-third of employees at its distribution centers fell ill. 

Food-industry executives and analysts warn that the situation could persist for weeks or months, even as the current wave of Covid-19 infections eases. Recent virus-related absences among workers have added to continuing supply and transportation disruptions, keeping some foods scarce.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The U.S. is not the only country whose food supply is under pressure .... Stability uncertain after global food prices surge 28% in 2021 (Successful Farming).

Russian And Syrian Fighters Conduct A Joint Patrol Along Syria’s Border With Israel

Warzone/The Drive: Russian And Syrian Fighters Fly Unprecedented Joint Patrol Along Syria’s Border With Israel  

The start of a planned new series of joint air operations between Russia and Syria offers a significant boost to the Syrian Air Force. 

Russian and Syrian warplanes conducted joint patrols along Syria’s borders today, launching what the Russian Ministry of Defense says will be a regular series of flights. Syrian fighter jets joined Russian fighters, strike aircraft, and radar planes, on a mission that took them partly on a provocative course that included skirting the Golan Heights, in what seems to have been a very deliberate signal to Israel, which occupies this strategically important region. 

The first joint air patrol mission of this kind to have been announced by the Russian Ministry of Defense involved Syrian Air Force MiG-23 Flogger and MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets, together with Russian Aerospace Forces Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft and Su-35 Flanker multirole fighters and A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The much-depleted Syrian MiG-23 fleet, in particular, is only rarely seen in action, after years of action in the country’s ongoing civil war, while the Syrian MiG-29s, despite their appearance, have been modestly upgraded and have seen more use of late. The Russian types have all been deployed to Syria regularly since September 2015.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The Israelis are surprised by this joint patrol .... Israel said holding talks with Russia over Syria standoff, may limit air campaign (Times of Israel). 

Russian And Syrian Fighters Conduct A Joint Patrol Along Syria’s Border With Israel  

Russian, Syrian pilots conduct joint air patrol mission along Golan Heights -- TASS  

Russian, Syrian jets launch joint patrols over Syria's borders -- Middle East Monitor  

Russia said conducting joint patrols of Syrian border airspace, including over Golan -- Times of Israel  

Syria, Russia start joint air force patrols over Syrian territory -- Reuters

'Joint Russian-Syrian air force patrol was message to Israel' -- Israel Hayom  

Will joint Russian-Syrian air patrols make Israel’s airstrikes harder? - analysis -- Jerusalem Post

What Happens if Russia Cuts Off Europe’s Natural Gas Supplies?


New York Times/New York Ledger: What Happens if Russia Cuts Off Europe’s Natural Gas? 

While Russia masses troops and military equipment near its border with Ukraine, parallel tensions have been building in world energy markets. 

It is not hard to see why. Natural gas flowing through a web of pipelines from Russia heats homes and power factories across much of Europe. 

Russia is also one of the continent’s key sources of oil. Now Western officials are considering what happens if Moscow issues a doomsday response to the tensions — a cutoff of those gas and oil supplies, in the depths of Europe’s winter. 

The standoff over Ukraine comes at an inopportune time. 

World energy prices are already elevated as supplies of oil and natural gas have lagged the recovery of demand from the pandemic. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: A Russian cut-off in natural gas exports to Europe will result in an explosion in natural gas prices. This will impact everything. From heating to food production. 

But while prices will explode, the bigger problem will be having access to supplies. Do not be surprised that if a cut-off does occur, rationing will be immediately implemented in Europe. 

What Happens If Russia Cuts Off Europe’s Natural Gas Supplies?

Goldman: Ukraine Conflict Could Double EU Natural Gas Prices -- 

Europe Gas Surges as Goldman Warns of Conflict’s Risk to Supply -- Bloomberg  

What Would War in Ukraine Mean for Europe’s Energy Crisis? -- Bloomberg  

Natural Gas Prices Rise by 8% in Europe over Fears of Impending Ukraine-Russia Armed Conflict -- Novinite  

Russian invasion of Ukraine 'could spark record-breaking gas and petrol prices in UK' -- Yahoo News 

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is creating an energy predicament -- Simon Henderson, The Hill

Experts Say President Biden's Offer To Replace Europe's Gas Supplies If Sanctions Forces Russia To Turn Off The Taps Is Physically Impossible

European allies are worried that Vladimir Putin would cut off their supply chain in retaliation for any economic sanctions the United States has vowed to impose in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine  

Daily Mail: A load of hot air: Experts say Biden's offer to replace Europe's gas supplies if Putin turns off the taps 'is just not physically possible' - because 'there's not enough gas out there' 

* Experts are concerned that President Joe Biden's plan to shore up Europe's supply of natural gas if Vladimir Putin cuts off supplies won't work 

* It's unclear how other nations and companies can make up the shortfall 

* Qatar, the world's third-largest producer of natural gas, is operating at capacity and has to meet its contracts with Asian customers 

* White House downplayed concerns, saying they are looking at range of options 

* White House also argues Putin won't cut off the revenue stream Russia gets from natural gas at a time the industry is seeing record profits 

* Compounding the problem: European gas reserves are at record lows 

* The Biden administration is preparing contingency plans in case Russia cuts off its energy exports to Europe in the event of an invasion of the Ukraine 

* U.S. is working with energy producers in Middle East, Asia and North Africa to ensure Europe has enough supplies in case Russia cuts off availability 

* European allies are worried that Putin would cut off their supply chain in retaliation for any economic sanctions the U.S. has vowed 

* U.S. promising harsh sanctions if Russian invades Ukraine 

* 'The gradualism of the past is out. And this time, we'll start at the top of the escalation ladder and stay there,' a senior administration official said 

Experts have warned that President Joe Biden's plan to shore up Europe's supply of natural gas if Vladimir Putin cuts off supplies won't work because other nations can't make up the shortfall.

The Biden administration Tuesday said it is preparing to source gas from other countries in case Russia cuts off energy supplies - a scenario European allies fear will come to pass if Moscow invades the Ukraine. 

However, Samantha Gross, the Director of Energy Security and Climate Initiative at the Brookings Institution, told that the imitative was doomed to failure.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The White House says they can assist Europe in the event of natural gas shortage, and that is everything is alright. But everything is not alright, and their promises to assist Europe in the event of a natural gas shut-off by Russia is not even remotely possible. 

Experts Say President Biden's Offer To Replace Europe's Gas Supplies If Sanctions Forces Russia To Turn Off The Taps Is Physically Impossible  

The U.S. Is Preparing European Gas Markets For A Russian Invasion --  

U.S. to Bolster Europe’s Fuel Supply to Blunt Threat of Russian Cutoff -- New York Ledger/New York Times  

US finalizing plans to divert gas to Europe if Russia cuts off supply -- The Guardian  

US working with allies to shore up energy supplies if Russia invades Ukraine -- CNN  

White House seeks energy security plan for Europe amid Russia-Ukraine crisis -- CNBC  

Exclusive-U.S. talks to energy firms over EU gas supply in case of Russia-Ukraine conflict -sources -- Reuters

EXPLAINER-Could more LNG supplies get to Europe in the event of a crisis? -- Reuters

If The West Sanctions Russia, The Kremlin May Suspend Western Airlines’ Overflight Rights

Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport  

Defense One: What If Moscow Cancels Airline Overflight Rights? 

The interconnected world gives Russia tools that the Soviet Union never had. 

The world is watching Russia, worrying that it might invade Ukraine or launch military assaults against NATO member states. But Moscow may, true to form, decide to do something completely different. And to throw the West into turmoil, the Kremlin would only need to take one simple administrative measure: suspend Western airlines’ overflight rights. Airlines are rightly alarmed at the prospect, and the rest of us should accept that the globalized economy makes our countries vulnerable. It’s not your parents’ Cold War anymore. 

Say you’re flying from London to Beijing. Your plane takes you eastwards, across the North Sea, above Denmark, Sweden, the Baltic Sea, a stretch through Finnish airspace—and then follows a very long stretch through Russian airspace followed by a brief one in the skies above Mongolia and one in China. When the plane touches down, you and your fellow passengers have spent more than ten hours in the air.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Canceling airline overflights is a powerful lever. The Kremlin used this lever last year because of Belarus, and the West quickly folded .... Russia blocks flights as West's standoff with Belarus over diverted plane hits international air travel (CBS). 

There are other tools in the Kremlin's toolkit that they can use. 

Cutting natural gas supplies to Europe. Oil production cutbacks. All of these counter measures to Western sanctions will hurt the Russian economy. But it will hurt the West significantly more. 

The U.S. , the U.K., and some eastern European countries may be eager to go down this route of imposing sanctions. But I doubt that the major powers on the European continent (i.e. Germany, France, and Italy) would follow.

Ukraine Defense minister Says A Russian Invasion Is 'Not Imminent'


SKY News: Ukraine's leaders appeal for calm and say attack is not imminent - as Russia makes combat readiness inspections near border 

Western powers fear Moscow is preparing to invade its neighbour after weeks of intense diplomatic activity failed - with NATO countries threatening "co-ordinated and severe economic sanctions" against Russia if it launches an attack. 

Ukraine's leaders have appealed for calm and reassured the nation an attack from Russia is not imminent - despite the neighbouring superpower making combat readiness inspections close to its border. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late on Monday that the situation is "under control" and there is "no reason to panic".  

Read more .... 

WNU Editor: The White House is saying the exact opposite .... Biden says no one knows what Putin will do after White House called Russian invasion of Ukraine 'imminent' (CNN). 

Ukraine Defense minister Says A Russian Invasion Is 'Not Imminent'  

Ukrainian leaders: Stay calm, Russian invasion not imminent -- AP  

Ukraine says Russian invasion is not imminent, situation is 'under control' -- The Hill  

Ukraine insists ‘no reason to panic’ as West’s Russia invasion fears grow -- NYPost  

Ukraine racing to downplay fears of Russia invasion as US sends military aid -- FOX News  

Ukraine dismisses suggestions of imminent Russian invasion -- RT

NATO Member Croatia Will Withdraw Troops From Eastern Europe In The Event Of A Russia -Ukraine War

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic (Photo: HINA/ Ured predsjednika/ Marko Beljan/ ua)  

Politico: Croatia sows confusion with threat to pull NATO troops over Ukraine crisis  

Foreign minister clashes with president — and the soldiers are already home. 

In the midst of the Ukraine crisis comes a surprise military maneuver — a Croatian confusion operation. 

President Zoran Milanović made headlines Tuesday when he declared the country would withdraw its troops from NATO forces in Eastern Europe if there’s an escalation of tensions with Russia over Ukraine. 

But Milanović, a former leader of the country’s social democrats, was then contradicted by Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman of the country’s center-right government.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Croatian President Zoran Milanovic is also blaming the US for escalating the crisis. 

Russian media .... not surprising .... is covering this NATO disagreement extensively (see below).  

NATO member will withdraw troops in event of war with Russia – president -- RT  

Croatia to recall all troops from NATO in case of Russia-Ukraine conflict -- TASS 

Croatia to Withdraw Its Forces From NATO in Event of Russia-Ukraine Conflict -- Sputnik

U.S. In A Race To Beat China To Recover $100m US F-35 Stealth Fighter After It Crash Landed On The Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson And Subsequently 'Fell' Into The South China Sea

Sailors taxi an F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the 'Argonauts' of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 147, on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on January 22  

Daily Mail: Race to beat China to recover $100m US F-35 stealth fighter from bottom of South China Sea after it crash landed on aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson: Fears secret technology from America's most advanced jet could fall into enemy hands 

* The USS Carl Vinson on Monday suffered a 'landing mishap' with F-35C warplane 

* The Navy said the stealth fighter 'subsequently fell to the water' 

* It is packed with the latest technology and advances in radar-deflecting design 

* The ship is currently in the South China Sea, taking part in exercises 

* The pilot of the F-35 ejected safely and was rescued by helicopter 

* Seven were injured: three required evacuation to a medical facility in Manila 

The U.S. faces a race to beat China in recovering an F-35 stealth fighter that plunged into the South China Sea on Monday after what the Navy termed a 'landing mishap' aboard the USS Carl Vinson. 

The pilot was forced to eject and seven military personnel in total were injured.

The $100m warplane, customised for naval operations, plunged overboard, the US 7th Fleet said - making it the second time in three months that an F-35 has been lost overboard.  

Read more ....  

Update: Navy Exploring Options For Recovering F-35C That Fell Into The South China Sea (Warzone/The Drive)  

WNU Editor: This accident happened in China's backyard. 

I am also willing to bet that the Chinese have a very good idea on where this F-35C Lightning II fighter is resting on the ocean floor. They are certainly bragging about the accident .... F-35C’s crash on carrier in S.China Sea exposes US exhaustion in containing China: experts (Global Times). 

Previous Post: Pilot Ejects After F-35 Lightning II ‘Landing Mishap’ On USS Carl Vinson In South China Sea. Seven Sailors Injured