South Korea: Regime summons Russian ambassador over pact with North Korea

Source: Reuters

“South Korea’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the Russian ambassador in protest of a pact between Russia and North Korea signed in Pyongyang this week, as a Reuters witness saw him enter the ministry building on Friday afternoon. First vice foreign minister Kim Hong-kyun conveyed Seoul’s stance on the pact and military cooperation between Russia and North Korea to Georgy Zinoviev, the top Russian envoy to Seoul, Seoul’s foreign ministry said. Kim told Zinoviev that Russia’s military support for North Korea harms South Korea’s security and would inevitably have a ‘negative impact’ on relations between Seoul and Moscow. He also urged Russia to ‘act responsibly,’ according to the ministry. Attempts to intimidate Russia are unacceptable, Zinoviev was quoted as saying by the Russian Embassy in Seoul.” (06/21/24)

Appeals court panel refuses to delay Bannon’s prison sentence

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

“A federal appeals court panel on Thursday rejected longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon’s bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol attack. Bannon is supposed to report to prison by July 1 to begin serving his four-month sentence for contempt of Congress. … Bannon’s lawyers asked the appeals court to allow him to remain free while he continues to fight the conviction all the way up to the Supreme Court, if necessary. But in a 2-1 vote, the D.C. Circuit panel said Bannon’s case ‘does not warrant a departure from the general rule’ that defendants begin serving their sentence after conviction. … Bannon is expected to ask the Supreme Court to stave off his prison sentence.” (06/21/24)

Hezbollah leader warns Israel of war with “no red lines,” threatens Cyprus

Source: CNBC

“The leader of Hezbollah has vowed a fight with ‘no rules and with no red lines’ if full-out war erupts between the Lebanese militant group and Israel, warning Cyprus against getting mired in the conflict. Lebanon and Israel have regularly traded cross-border fire since the start of the Jewish state’s war against Palestinian militant group Hamas …. Fire exchanges have intensified since an Israeli airstrike last week killed a senior Hezbollah commander, Taleb Sami Abdullah, along with three other group operatives. In a televised speech at the official’s memorial service on Wednesday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said: ‘Israel knows very well that no place will be safe from our missiles and drones’ in the event of a war …. The Hezbollah leader also threatened war against the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, if the European Union member permits Israel to launch military operations from its territory.” (06/20/24)

SCOTUS upholds disgraced former president’s tax grab on unreceived money

Source: CNN

“The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Trump-era tax on overseas investments, rejecting an argument from a Washington state couple in a case that could have jeopardized existing tax provisions and torpedoed Democratic talk of a wealth tax. A 7-2 majority upheld the tax. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion and Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissent. … At issue in the closely watched tax case was whether the government could levy a tax on investment proceeds that had not yet been received. Charles and Kathleen Moore, a Washington state couple, challenged a $15,000 tax bill they received because of their investment in an India-based company. The profit at issue, the Moores claimed, were reinvested and never distributed to them.” (06/20/24)

Rutte will be NATO’s next secretary-general

Source: Politico

“Mark Rutte will be the next NATO secretary-general after all 32 members of the alliance agreed that the outgoing Dutch prime minister will succeed Jens Stoltenberg. Following endorsements from Hungary and Slovakia on Tuesday, Romania confirmed its support for Rutte on Thursday, with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrawing his candidacy for the NATO top job. During a meeting of the Supreme Council of National Defence, Iohannis said he had notified NATO allies about the withdrawal of his candidacy.” (06/20/24)

MO: Bailey announces frivolous lawsuit v. New York to boost his chances in re-election primary

Source: Axios

“Missouri’s attorney general announced Thursday that he’s suing the state of New York for alleged election interference and wrongful prosecution over former President Trump’s hush money case. … Attorney General Andrew Bailey claims that the case was brought solely to smear presumptive presidential nominee Trump going into November’s election. … Bailey in August will face a primary challenge from Will Scharf, a member of Trump’s legal team.” (06/21/24)

CA: Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home raided by FBI agents

Source: SFGate

“A home owned by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao was raided by the FBI on Thursday morning, according to multiple news outlets. ‘The FBI conducted court-authorized law enforcement activity on Maiden Lane in Oakland this morning,’ the agency said in an email to SFGATE. ‘We are unable to provide additional information at this time.’ Thao’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment. KGO-TV reported that the home is one of four that was raided by agents early Thursday morning, and that several unmarked cars were at Thao’s home as late as 10 a.m. KGO reporter Dan Noyes said on X that the raid on Thao’s home also involves the IRS and U.S. Postal Service.” (06/20/24)

CA: Court Robs Voters of Shot at Stopping State, Local Tax Hikes

Source: US News & World Report

“The California Supreme Court on Thursday removed a measure from the November ballot that would have made it harder to raise taxes, siding with Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Democratic allies in the state Legislature. The measure would have required voter approval for tax increases passed by the state Legislature. It also would have raised the threshold required for voter approval of certain local government tax increases to a two-thirds vote at the polls. Currently those tax increases can take affect if a simple majority of voters approve. … In a unanimous decision, the court ruled the measure could not be enacted by ballot initiative because it ‘would substantially alter our basic plan of government.'” (06/20/24)

FL: “Law enforcement” official sues DeSantis, alleging he was fired for blowing the whistle

Source: ABC News

“A former top law enforcement official in Florida is accusing Gov. Ron DeSantis and his top aides of forcing him to retire after he refused to carry out orders he says were illegal or inappropriate, according to a lawsuit filed overnight. Shane Desguin, a career employee of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, rose to become the agency’s chief of staff. He alleges his retirement in November was actually a ‘wrongful termination’ and was the result of him blowing the whistle on a host of issues, including violations of state public records laws, illegal orders to arrest demonstrators without probable cause and directives to obtain photos and personal information of migrants flown to the Sunshine State without legal justification.” (06/20/24)

Donald Sutherland, 1935-2024

Source: France 24 [French state media]

“Donald Sutherland, the prolific film and television actor whose long career stretched from ‘M.A.S.H.’ to ‘Fellini’s Casanova’ to ‘The Hunger Games,’ has died. He was 88. Kiefer Sutherland, the actor’s son, confirmed his father’s death Thursday. No further details were immediately available. … Born in St. John, New Brunswick, Donald McNichol Sutherland was the son of a salesman and a mathematics teacher. Raised in Nova Scotia, he was a disc jockey with his own radio station at the age of 14. … Sutherland began as an engineering student at the University of Toronto but switched to English and started acting in school theatrical productions.” (06/20/24)