Friday, February 3, 2023

Wake-Up Call: Suspected China Spy Balloon Tracked Over U-S Airspace

Daily Mail US Composite (2/3/23)

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down over concerns of hurting people on the ground, officials said Thursday. The discovery of the balloon puts a further strain on U.S.-China relations at a time of heightened tensions.  A senior defense official told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has “very high confidence” it is a Chinese high-altitude balloon and it was flying over sensitive sites to collect information. One of the places the balloon was spotted was Montana, which is home to one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, provided a brief statement on the issue, saying the government continues to track the balloon. He said it is “currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.” The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information," Ryder said.

NY Post Composite (2/3/23)

Russia’s top diplomat issued a chilling warning Thursday that Moscow “will do everything” to “gain the world’s attention” on the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine — as the Kremlin was said to be preparing to launch a new offensive with up to 500,000 conscripts. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Moscow would take great measures to overshadow anti-Russia events allegedly being planned by the West to mark the war’s anniversary on Feb. 24. “Our diplomacy will do everything to ensure that the anti-Russian sabbaths planned for the end of February — as if timed to coincide with the anniversary of the special military operation, both in New York and at other sites that the West is now actively working on together with the Kyiv regime — so that this will not turn out to be the only events that will gain the world’s attention,” the country’s top envoy said in a wide-ranging interview to state TV Russia 24 and RIA Novosti.

  Mind-numbing wind chills set to wallop New England “could be the coldest felt in decades,” the Weather Prediction Center said. More than 15 million people are under wind chill warnings or advisories in the Northeast. The alerts begin to go into effect early Friday morning and last through Saturday afternoon. “This is an epic, generational Arctic outbreak,” said the National Weather Service in Caribou, Maine. “The air mass descending on the area Friday into Friday night is the coldest air currently in the Northern Hemisphere.” Such extreme conditions can cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes. Fortunately, the brutal blast will only last about 36 hours. Temperatures across most of the Northeast are expected to rise by Sunday afternoon. But farther south, cities paralyzed by a deadly ice storm this week got a final encore of nasty weather before a weekend warmup.

➤OMAR OFF FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The Republican-led House Thursday voted along party lines to remove Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Relations Committee, citing controversial comments she made about Israel. Omar has been a fierce critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, and Republican leaders have long threatened to take action against her over statements she's made about the U.S. ally. Omar said on the House floor that her removal is about more than silencing her voice."This debate today is about who gets to be an American," Omar said. "I am an American." 

➤FRESH SCRUTINY FOR GAS STOVES: Gas stoves are coming under fresh scrutiny as a second federal agency has now stepped into the political firestorm with a proposal for new regulations for the appliances. The Energy Department proposal, published Wednesday, sets first-of-their-kind limits on energy consumption for the stoves, drawing fear from the industry that the regulation could effectively end the use of some products from the market. The proposal also sets energy usage standards for electric cook tops and new standards for both gas and electric ovens.  The move comes just weeks after an official with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission floated the idea of a ban, igniting criticism from the gas industry and from lawmakers ranging from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Senator Joe Manchin. Within days, the head of the commission clarified that the agency had no plans for a ban, and the White House issued a statement that said the president didn’t support banning the cooking products either. 

➤DeSANTIS CRITICAL OF GAS STOVE EFFORT: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waded into the debate over gas stoves and government regulation on Thursday, proposing a permanent tax exemption for the appliances. DeSantis used a news conference about rural internet access to criticize a federal regulator’s suggestion that gas stoves might need to be banned because they emit harmful indoor air pollutants. “They want to control every single aspect of your life,” DeSantis said, drawing applause from the crowd in Milton, Florida. “This is all part of a larger scheme, so in the state of Florida we’re saying, ‘Don’t tread on us on this.’” The tax break was included as part of the governor’s “Framework for Freedom” budget presented Wednesday, which also proposes abolishing the sales tax on baby items such as diapers, and over-the-counter pet medications.

➤MEMPHIS SHOOTING WOUNDS OFFICER: A Memphis police officer was in “extremely critical” condition last night after being shot by a man in a city library. The officer and a partner entered the library in response to a report of a man causing a disturbance. The man shot the officer and was then shot dead by the other officer. The incident occurred in an upscale neighborhood of East Memphis.

➤MORE AMERICANS ARE BUYING CHICKENS TO EVADE HIGH EGG PRICES:  A strain of bird flu has impacted 58.2 million birds, according to the CDC, and Americans are feeling the effect on their wallets! As egg prices rise, some Americans are turning to a new solution: backyard farming. Purely Poultry, a chicken supplier in Wisconsin, has seen a 28% increase in sales compared to last year. But will owning chickens offset the cost? First, you must see what the rules are for owning chickens in your neighborhood. Chickens also need coops, which can cost between $300 and $2,800 to buy, and that does not include heat lamps and soft bedding. You should also expect to spend $35 per month on feed for three hens. As for the output? One grown hen will lay about five eggs per week. 

Bryan Kohlberger
Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, yesterday reported a profit of $42.3 billion, more than double the previous year and by far the biggest in its history, which began in 1907. High prices for oil and natural gas, caused in part by the war in Ukraine, boosted its business. Earlier in the week, Exxon Mobil reported $56 billion in profit for the year, also a record.

➤CREEPY SUSPECT SPOTTED IN STUDENT UNION PRIOR TO SHOOTINGS: Three students at the University of Idaho claimed to have seen suspect Bryan Kohberger at their campus just weeks before the grisly quadruple murders. The students said following Kohberger's arrest for the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Maddie Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, they recognized him as a loner from the Student Union building. One student said she saw Kohberger eating alone in the food court and staring at her, as she and others said he made them feel 'uncomfortable.'

➤JUDGES..DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SUSPECTS HAVE 2A RIGHTS: A federal criminal statute preventing gun ownership by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders is unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent, an appeals court ruled Thursday. Under the Supreme Court's new Second Amendment standard established in the landmark New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case last summer, a unanimous three-judge panel found the statute, which applies to people deemed a credible threat to intimate partners, is not consistent with the nation's “historical tradition of firearm regulation,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled. The panel was composed of judges Edith Jones, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, along with James Ho and Cory Wilson, appointees of former President Donald Trump. The case that rendered the Thursday opinion surrounded Zackey Rahimi, who was identified as a suspect in five shootings around the Arlington, Texas, area between December 2020 and January 2021.

Two Delaware prosecutors whom the first son’s lawyer called upon to probe Hunter’s infamous laptop have deep ties to the Biden family — while a top DOJ official who received a similar demand is a veteran of the Obama administration and liberal think tanks, an analysis by The Post has shown. In other developments in the laptop story:
  • Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell tried to walk back his prior admission that the laptop did indeed belong to his client.
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dismissed the first son’s investigation demand as a “delaying tactic” and vowed lawmakers would “get to the bottom” of the computer’s secrets.
  • An attorney for repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac slammed Hunter Biden as “desperate” and trying to “blame everyone else for his own actions.”
Lowell fired off a series of letters late Wednesday calling for a criminal investigation into what happened to the laptop after it was abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019.

🏀LEBRON JAMES CLOSING IN ON POINTS RECORD: Everybody loves to watch a record fall, and sometime in the next few games, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is almost certain to break the record for the most career points in NBA history. The number to watch is 38,387. That was the record set in 1984 by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Prices for the next few Los Angeles Lakers games are soaring, according to Sports Illustrated. Tickets for next Tuesday’s home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder are going for an average of $1,757, according to SI.

🏈TAMPA BAY’S GOING TO LOVE THIS: New York Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants Tom Brady to rejoin the Patriots for one day so that he can officially retire from the team he led for 20 years. “Not only do I want it, our fans our clamoring for it and to us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot,” Kraft told CNN. Maybe so, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers paid Brady about $82 million to call himself a Buc, so we’ll see what they think about this.

🏈ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR BENGALS’ MIXON: An arrest warrant has been issued for Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon for allegedly threatening a woman with a gun in an incident last month in downtown Cincinnati. The arrest warrant was reported by local station News 9. The warrant cites a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing.

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