Connect with us

Top stories

The secret hospitals offering criminals new faces



Underground Clinics: Criminals’ Plastic Surgery Havens in the Philippines

In the Philippines, clandestine hospitals are offering plastic surgeries to fugitives and scam workers to help them evade law enforcement. Authorities are preparing to shut down two such hospitals, much larger than the one raided in Manila’s Pasay City. Seized items include hair transplant tools and skin whitening IV drips. Arrests in the raid included unlicensed doctors and staff. These operations cater to illegal online casino workers involved in scams and human trafficking. President Marcos Jr. is cracking down on these operations to combat their criminal activities.

In December 2022, a suspected Chinese mafia member was arrested post-surgery meant to alter his appearance, hinting at the extent of these illegal hospital networks. Authorities, tipped off about these underground clinics, discovered advanced medical equipment, indicating extensive services beyond plastic surgery. This crackdown reflects a broader effort to tackle the Philippines’ reputation as a hub for scams and criminal enterprises.

In a shocking revelation, secret hospitals in the Philippines are providing criminals with plastic surgeries to help them evade capture. Authorities plan to shut down two large-scale illegal clinics after a raid on a smaller one in Pasay City uncovered hair transplant tools, dental implants, and more. The clients include illegal online casino workers involved in scams and human trafficking. Arrests were made, including unlicensed doctors. President Marcos Jr. is spearheading a crackdown on these clandestine operations, aiming to dismantle their criminal networks and reduce the Philippines’ reputation as a scam hub.

Top stories

Accusations of US siding with UAE in Sudan war are misleading



U.S. Accusations in Sudan Conflict: A Closer Look

Meta Description: Claims that the U.S. is siding with the UAE in Sudan’s civil war are misleading. While tensions persist, the U.S. has actively pursued peace and humanitarian aid, contrary to accusations of favoritism.

The civil war in Sudan, now in its 16th month, has resulted in over 15,000 deaths and displaced 11 million people, according to the United Nations. This brutal conflict began in Khartoum on April 15, 2023, following rising tensions between Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, leader of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and Gen. Mohammed Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

These two generals had previously orchestrated a military coup in 2021, overthrowing a military-civilian coalition meant to transition power back to a civilian government. This coalition itself was a product of the 2019 ousting of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir. Now, talks aimed at ending the conflict continue, with Egypt backing the Sudanese Armed Forces and the UAE supporting the RSF, accused of heinous crimes in Darfur.

A recent accusation by the Association of the Sudanese Abroad suggested that U.S. priorities, shaped by ties with the UAE, are impeding effective action in Sudan. However, this claim is misleading. Since the onset of the conflict, the U.S. has made several attempts to mediate peace, albeit unsuccessfully. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, appealed to the UAE and other countries to stop supporting Sudan’s warring parties, highlighting the precarious situation in North Darfur.

The U.S., alongside Saudi Arabia and the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), initiated peace talks between the conflicting parties in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the U.S. is the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Sudan. In June 2024, USAID pledged over $315 million in humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the U.S. commitment to holding war criminals accountable and announced plans to strengthen sanctions against those fueling the conflict. The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has already taken action against seven UAE-based companies for potentially violating sanctions on Sudan and sanctioned senior RSF commanders and companies contributing to the conflict.

Meanwhile, Russia has shown interest in establishing a naval logistics base on the Red Sea in exchange for arms. Reports indicate that Russian Wagner mercenaries have been supplying the RSF with missiles to support their fight against the Sudanese Armed Forces.

These developments underscore the complexity of the situation in Sudan, where international interests and alliances significantly impact the conflict’s dynamics. The U.S., contrary to allegations, continues to play a multifaceted role in seeking peace and providing aid, challenging the narrative of bias toward the UAE.

Continue Reading

Russia-Ukraine War

NATO Braces for Arms Race Amid Rising Tensions with Russia and Allies



This week’s NATO summit in Washington has been a focal point for discussions on supporting Ukraine. Yet, behind closed doors, officials are grappling with a more ominous challenge: an arms race with Russia and its emerging coalition.

NATO leaders argue it’s no longer enough to arm Ukraine against relentless Russian attacks. They must also outspend, outpace, and outproduce the alliance forming between Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

China’s critical role in sustaining Russia’s military has not gone unnoticed. Western officials accuse Beijing of sending raw materials and dual-use components essential for advanced weapons systems. Meanwhile, sanctions from the U.S. and Britain have targeted Iranian companies producing drones for Russia. Declassified U.S. intelligence also notes Russia’s use of North Korean missiles, with South Korean officials reporting Pyongyang has sent over 3 million artillery shells to Moscow.

The NATO official highlighted that China’s support has drastically changed Russia’s battlefield posture, rendering outdated the assessments that Russia’s military would need years to rebuild. “The assessments didn’t account for China’s substantial involvement,” the official said.

Concerns mount as cooperation among Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran deepens, highlighting the urgency of NATO’s response. President Joe Biden acknowledged this burgeoning alliance, describing it as a significant concern. A strategy to disrupt their efforts is in place, though details remain undisclosed.

Some U.S. officials have labeled this coalition the new “axis of evil.” Admiral John Aquilino, former commander of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, urged lawmakers to act accordingly. Analysts, like Richard Goldberg from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, warn of an intensifying partnership among these nations. “They are aligning on strategic capabilities,” Goldberg said, “and we must view them as an axis, not individual parts.”

Despite these developments, forming a cohesive anti-Western alliance among Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran is not without hurdles. Michelle Grisé from the RAND Corporation points out significant tension points, such as competition for energy markets and differing approaches to Israel. “This axis poses a serious threat, but it’s not an insurmountable rival,” Grisé noted. To form a cohesive alliance, they must translate their opposition to the Western-led order into a unified vision, a task she believes will be challenging.

NATO allies, however, are not complacent. The U.S., Germany, and Spain are ramping up production of interceptors for Patriot air defense batteries, while the U.S. and Turkey collaborate on producing artillery shells in Texas. Biden emphasized the need for the EU and NATO to build their ammunition and weapons capacity, declaring, “The West will become the industrial base for defensive weapons.”

Biden also hinted at imposing economic costs on China for its support of Russia. Yet, some Western officials remain optimistic. “The steps we’re taking are delivering results,” the NATO official said, predicting better production numbers in the coming year.

Continue Reading

Editor's Pick

Kenyan President Dismisses Most of Cabinet Amid Protests



Kenyan President William Ruto Reshapes Cabinet Amid Widespread Protests

Kenyan President William Ruto has dismissed nearly all his cabinet members in response to ongoing protests sparked by proposed tax hikes. The protests have escalated into demands for the removal of allegedly corrupt and underperforming ministers. In a decisive move, Ruto retained only his foreign affairs ministers, emphasizing the need for a broad-based government to address the country’s challenges.

Kenyan president warns of huge consequences over debt plan failure

Ruto’s decision follows violent clashes between protesters and police, resulting in at least 41 deaths. Demonstrations were initially triggered by a controversial finance bill proposing tax increases, which Ruto later declined to sign after protesters stormed parliament.

Political Shifts Beneath Kenya’s Deadly “Gen Z” Protests

Activist Boniface Mwangi welcomed the cabinet dismissal, calling it the beginning of significant change. Mwangi criticized Ruto’s governance style, accusing him of holding parliament hostage and running the country unilaterally. Mwangi expressed optimism that this shake-up could signal the end of incompetent governance.

However, the government warned that without additional tax revenue, essential programs and foreign loan payments would suffer. Critics argue that existing revenue is mismanaged due to rampant corruption.

Kenyan President Bows to Pressure, Makes Major Concessions

Political commentator Martin Andati noted that Ruto’s attempts to control parliament and other institutions would face resistance from an increasingly assertive populace. He stressed the importance of adhering to the constitution and allowing institutional checks and balances to function effectively.

Kenya braces as new protests erupt against tax hikes

In a sign of continuing unrest, protesters have planned more demonstrations to address police brutality and other grievances. The protests, characterized by a tribeless and leaderless movement, reflect deep-seated frustrations with the current administration and a demand for accountability.

Kenya in Chaos: Police Open Fire on Protesters Storming Parliament

Kenyan Tax Hikes Ignite Fierce Protests: Calls for President Ruto’s Resignation Intensify


Continue Reading


Latvian Foreign Minister: Putin is Counting on Western Fatigue



In the shadow of a brutal missile attack on Ukraine, NATO leaders convened in Washington, reaffirming their support for Ukraine amid ongoing Russian aggression. Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braze, in a candid interview, stressed the importance of Western unity and unwavering support for Ukraine.

Reflecting on Latvia’s 20 years in NATO, Braze highlighted the importance of deterrence and defense, noting that while there is no immediate military threat to the Baltics, a victory for Ukraine is crucial in preventing further Russian aggression. She emphasized the need for a robust policy to contain and degrade Russia’s military capabilities, underscoring that NATO’s strength lies in its collective security and proactive measures.

The recent missile strikes, including the devastating attack on Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt children’s hospital, underscore the barbarity of the Kremlin. Braze called for increased air defenses and the lifting of restrictions on Ukraine’s ability to strike legitimate military targets within Russia. She reiterated that such attacks only reinforce the need for comprehensive support to Ukraine, including advanced military capabilities like long-range precision strikes.

As the summit discussed Ukraine’s path to NATO membership, Braze emphasized that winning the war is the crucial first step. Victory for Ukraine, defined by its sovereignty and independence, is the ultimate goal. This commitment to Ukrainian victory is shared by all NATO allies, who are united in providing the necessary military aid and support.

Braze acknowledged the challenges faced by Ukraine, noting the resilience and success of Ukrainian forces in defending their territory against a nuclear-armed neighbor. The ongoing war, now in its third year, has defied Russia’s expectations of a quick victory. The unwavering support from the West has been pivotal, and Braze assured that this support will not waver.

Putin is counting on the West to grow weary, but Braze made it clear that this is not going to happen. The determination to support Ukraine remains steadfast, with a clear understanding that Ukraine’s fight is a fight for the principles and security of the entire transatlantic alliance. The predictability and sustainability of this support are crucial in ensuring that Ukraine can continue its defense and ultimately achieve victory.

In conclusion, the NATO summit highlighted the critical role of Western unity in confronting Russian aggression. Latvia’s Foreign Minister Baiba Braze’s insights underscore the necessity of continued, unwavering support for Ukraine. As NATO reinforces its commitments, the message is clear: the transatlantic alliance stands firm, and Putin’s hopes for Western fatigue are in vain.

Ukraine Strikes Back: Six Russian Regions Attacked

NATO Declares Ukraine’s Path to Membership ‘Irreversible’

Continue Reading


China’s Bold Move: 66 Military Aircraft Encircle Taiwan in Largest Show of Force This Year



Taiwan’s defense ministry reported a staggering 66 Chinese military aircraft encircling the island within a 24-hour window—the highest number recorded this year. This provocative move followed closely on the heels of Beijing’s naval exercises in nearby waters, showcasing a bold display of military prowess that has alarmed observers around the world.

China, which steadfastly claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has never renounced the use of force to achieve reunification. The latest sortie comes amid a backdrop of increasing political friction and military posturing. Just a day earlier, Taipei had detected Chinese aircraft moving toward the western Pacific for drills with the PLA aircraft carrier Shandong, a clear signal of Beijing’s strategic ambitions.

According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, the detected aircraft, along with seven PLAN vessels, were operational until 6 am on Thursday. Of the 66 aircraft, 56 breached the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait, a narrow waterway that serves as a buffer zone between the island and mainland China. This blatant violation underscores the intensifying pressure Beijing is exerting on Taipei.

Military experts suggest that this show of force is a direct response to recent political developments, including a meeting between Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te and Washington’s new de facto ambassador to Taiwan. “Beijing is flexing its military muscles to express displeasure at the support Taiwan receives,” noted Su Tzu-yun from Taiwan’s Institute for National Defense and Security Research.

The current record sortie surpasses a previous peak in May when China dispatched 62 military aircraft and 27 naval vessels around Taiwan during military exercises following Lai Ching-te’s inauguration. Beijing labels Lai a “dangerous separatist,” and his administration’s ties with the United States have further strained cross-strait relations.

In an interesting twist, Taiwan’s defense minister Wellington Koo observed that the Shandong carrier had not traversed the usual Bashi Channel, but had instead navigated further south via the Balingtang Channel toward the Western Pacific, a move likely intended to complicate tracking efforts. This maneuver was corroborated by Japan, which confirmed that the Shandong, accompanied by three other PLA navy vessels, was located southeast of Miyako Island, with fighter aircraft and helicopters observed taking off and landing on the carrier.

The Philippines also noted a China-Russia exercise in the Philippine Sea, heightening regional military tensions further. This comes amidst a series of confrontations over the disputed South China Sea, an area fraught with overlapping territorial claims and strategic significance.

As China continues its aggressive posturing, the stakes in the Taiwan Strait grow ever higher. The international community watches closely, aware that any miscalculation could lead to a broader conflict. Taiwan, undeterred, remains vigilant, prepared to respond to any threat to its sovereignty. The geopolitical chess game in the Asia-Pacific region has entered a perilous new phase, with the next move uncertain but undoubtedly consequential.

Continue Reading

Cyber Espionage

Australia Accuses China of Cyber Espionage



Australia, the US, and Britain accuse China’s state-sponsored agency of cyber espionage, alleging widespread hacking by APT40, linked to China’s Ministry of State Security.

Australia, alongside the United States and Britain, has accused a state-sponsored Chinese spy agency of cyber espionage. Beijing, unsurprisingly, has dismissed these allegations as attempts to “smear and frame China on cybersecurity.”

The Australian Signals Directorate, Australia’s national cyber intelligence agency, has pointed fingers at a group known as APT40 (Advanced Persistent Threat 40). This group is allegedly behind extensive hacking activities on behalf of China’s Ministry of State Security. According to the agency, the hackers are targeting outdated and often neglected computers still connected to sensitive networks, seeking to infiltrate government and business systems. The threat, they assert, is “ongoing.”

This marks the first time Australia has directly attributed such malicious cyber activities to a state-sponsored group in China. The report was co-authored by Canberra’s Five Eyes security alliance partners—Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and Britain—along with Germany, South Korea, and Japan.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been attempting to stabilize the often turbulent relationship with China but has maintained that some areas of disagreement are inevitable. Highlighting the evolving nature of global conflict, Assistant Minister for Defense Matt Thistlethwaite emphasized the increasing importance of cybersecurity, noting that lessons are being learned from the conflict in Ukraine. This focus is driving record investments by the Albanese government to bolster Australia’s cyber capabilities both defensively and non-defensively.

Analysts see Australia’s allegations as part of a broader international effort to curb Beijing’s cyber espionage activities. China, however, remains steadfast in its denial. On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian refuted the accusations, labeling them as repetitive and unfounded attempts to smear China’s cybersecurity reputation.

Experts point out that Australia’s accumulation of sensitive information has made it a prime target for hackers. In recent years, major Australian ports, the largest private health insurer, and one of its main telecom companies have all fallen victim to cyberattacks. Earlier this year, New Zealand also attributed a 2021 cyber-attack on its parliamentary network to APT40.

As the cyber domain becomes an increasingly significant battlefield, the world watches closely to see how nations will navigate this modern arena of conflict and espionage.

Continue Reading

Editor's Pick

Political Shifts Beneath Kenya’s Deadly “Gen Z” Protests



Young Kenyans Lead a Movement Against Corruption and Injustice Amid Violent Clashes

For weeks, Kenya has been engulfed in protest. Demonstrators, angered by President William Ruto’s tax policies, faced a ruthless response from security forces, resulting in 39 deaths, most occurring in Nairobi on June 25th. Protesters briefly overran Parliament, setting part of it ablaze, and looting broke out in various towns. The government blames opportunist criminals, while protesters accuse state-backed provocateurs.

Unlike previous demonstrations, these are led by young, educated Kenyans, untainted by political or tribal loyalties. Their fight against corruption, injustice, and inequality has united rather than divided the populace. The protests echo those of their parents’ generation, who successfully demanded an end to dictatorship in 1990. The impact of these “Gen Z protests” could be equally significant. Ruto’s administration has been weakened, leading to a retreat on tax policies, but whether this leads to lasting political change depends on future actions.

Ruto’s challenge is to stabilize Kenya’s finances. He inherited a substantial debt from his predecessor and faced rising borrowing costs. His attempt to increase taxes to manage public debt, which stands at 68% of GDP, ignited the protests. Critics have nicknamed him “Zakayo,” after the biblical tax collector Zacchaeus, reflecting public disdain for his fiscal policies.

Kenya’s economic troubles are not unique. Similar to Greece’s financial crisis in 2009, Kenya accumulated debt when borrowing was cheap, ignoring fiscal prudence. Now, with a $2.7 billion budget deficit and the need to cut spending and raise borrowing, Ruto’s legislative agenda appears stalled. His supporters in Parliament face backlash from angry constituents, casting doubt on his political future.

Beyond fiscal grievances, the protests are driven by deeper issues like corruption and unemployment. Kenya’s youth, more educated than ever, face a grim job market, with 67% of those under 34 unemployed. Their frustration is exacerbated by the conspicuous wealth of Ruto’s allies, which starkly contrasts with their own struggles.

John Githongo, a former anti-corruption official, notes that the finance bill was merely a trigger; the real issue is the regime’s extravagant spending. MPs who supported the tax hikes are now pariahs, with their offices, businesses, and homes attacked, and congregations walking out during their speeches.

Protesters demand an end to nepotism and political corruption. Ruto has taken steps, such as cutting state funding for his wife and limiting special advisers, but these may be insufficient. The practice of community fundraising drives, or harambees, encourages corruption, with politicians flaunting their wealth to prove their capability to provide financial support. Ruto’s ban on public officials participating in harambees might not endure, as these drives are crucial for many citizens.

To regain public trust, Ruto must address corruption effectively. Kenyans want their leaders to prevent corruption rather than merely mitigate its effects through charity. If Ruto heeds this call, he might still secure his position and lead Kenya through these turbulent times.

Continue Reading


Biden Announces Additional Air Defense Systems for Ukraine Amidst NATO Summit



NATO Marks 75th Anniversary with New Commitments to Ukraine’s Defense

In a significant show of support, President Joe Biden has announced that Ukraine will receive five more air defense systems, including three Patriot batteries from the United States, Germany, and Romania. This announcement was made during NATO’s 75th-anniversary summit in Washington, D.C., where allies gathered to reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s ongoing invasion.

The summit, held at the historic Mellon Auditorium, emphasized the alliance’s unwavering support for Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously indicated the need for at least seven advanced air defense systems to counter Russian air strikes effectively. With contributions from the Netherlands, Italy, and other NATO partners, Ukraine is set to bolster its air defense capabilities significantly.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of continued support for Ukraine, stating, “The reality is there are no cost-free options with an aggressive Russia as a neighbor.” He emphasized that the greatest risk would be allowing Russia to win in Ukraine.

This announcement follows the U.S. Congress’s approval of new aid for Ukraine, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars in equipment and billions in long-term defense funding. The latest package provides interceptors for NASAMS and Patriot air defense systems, as well as long-range ATACMS missiles, nearly doubling Ukraine’s missile striking range to 300 kilometers (about 185 miles).

The NATO allies are working closely with Kyiv to ensure these systems are delivered promptly, with further announcements on strategic air defense expected later this year.

Continue Reading

Most Viewed

You cannot copy content of this page