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Is the U.S & its allies prepared if Russia invades Ukraine?



Following high-stakes talks between US President Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin says Russian troops at the border of Ukraine threaten “no-one” with Biden and his European allies backing Ukraine’s “territorial integrity”

This of course follows the two leaders speaking via a secure video call for two hours.

The Kremlin has labeled the summit as “frank and professional” and says Putin requested Biden for ‘guarantees’ that NATO will not expand eastwards.

The White House says Biden “voiced the deep concerns of the United States and European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine”.

The administration has made it clear that the US and its allies will respond with both economic and other measures “in the event of military escalation”.

Meanwhile, Bruce Wolpe from the U.S. studies centre reaffirmed that Biden was very clear about the sanctions that America will take if Russia invades Ukraine.

Is it going to be a repeat of the Crimean peninsula takeover in 2014? 

Russia and the US have longstanding differences over Syria, U.S. economic sanctions, and alleged Russian cyber attacks.

“I think this is a different crisis and a different year and a different precedent. Biden is ready to act, what the object of what President Biden is trying to do is to get Russia to de escalate, dial the tensions down,” Biden told tickerNEWS.

Wolpe says United States has been working to build the alliance with European allies this year and Biden is consulting with them closely.

“Their feelings (European allies) on Russia is that Russia should not if Ukraine wants to join NATO, NATO wants to consolidate its position. That’s that is their objective. That’s what they want, they will do it,” Wolpe said.

Wolpe says European allies don’t want Russia to invade “at all” and want to deter it, and there’s two things threatening it.

First, there could be an escalation of military forces in Europe, that would be a really dangerous situation. Wolpe says “Because if there is an invasion of Ukraine, no one wants a wider war. But to deter it, there’s this economic package being developed, which essentially would decouple Russia from the world economy, cut it off.”

“We’re at a moment where Putin has some important decisions to make, do I go forward? Or do I try other ways to increase my influence over Ukraine without going to war?”

Is the object to remove Russia from the world economy and make them pay a very heavy economic price?

Wolpe says you can stop Russia from using the swift system in the banking system, so international transactions can’t be executed. But that also means that where does Russia go?

“Well, Russia can have a stronger alliance with China, and create other problems in other areas of the world, and more problems in Europe, if China also plays its economic cards, with the Belt and Road Initiative and other ties it has in Europe,” Wolpe said.

“So it really is a moment for people to step back and say, Okay, what are the consequences here? And what do we want to achieve? Biden’s object is stability.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says Pres. Biden and Vladimir Putin’s phone conversation on Tuesday was “direct and straightforward”

“I will look you in the eye and tell you as President Biden looked President Putin in the eye and told him today that things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now,”

said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“We still do not believe Pres. Putin has made a decision” on whether to invade Ukraine, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters after Biden-Putin call

“In listening to Jake Sullivan, it was just quite clear that Biden knows exactly what he will do,” Wolpe said on the press breifing.

“If Russia invades Ukraine and the consequences it will have and he’s prepared to do it. Half of deterrence is, is having the other side believe you actually will do it? Well, I believe Biden has been very clear on that.”

What does Russia want?

Wolpe says Putin feels at the end of the Cold War was humiliating for his country, and he wants to rebuild it.

“The control over Belarus, he really is angry that the Baltic States, of course, join NATO. We’ve got Crimea back. There’s a whole thread of nationalism here and pride, which is important, and that is important to any country and its destiny,” Wolpe says.

“So the question really is, can these arrangements be worked out without the resort to war?”

“You know, we talk about a a note normal world post COVID. You have a war over Ukraine and the normal world retreats for a long time to come. So really, all of our welfare is at stake here in this. I wouldn’t call it a crisis yet. In this developing situation, which really poses challenges to how we want this world to be in 2022.”

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Boston Dynamics’ electric marvel or robot contortionist?



Boston Dynamics has recently unveiled its latest creation, the electric Atlas robot, boasting enhanced agility and strength.

However, with its uncanny ability to contort and rise from the ground with an almost eerie grace, one might wonder if we’re witnessing the birth of the world’s first robot contortionist.

As this technological marvel flaunts its capabilities, one can’t help but ponder if we’re on the brink of a future where household chores will be effortlessly handled by robots moving like a fusion of ballet dancers and horror movie monsters.

With its cadaver-like movements and illuminated head, it’s hard not to speculate whether Atlas is destined to revolutionise robotics or simply rehearsing for a techno-horror rendition of The Nutcracker. As Boston Dynamics continues to push the boundaries of robotics, the line between science fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

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The Coffee confusion causing health concerns



As the morning sun peeks through the curtains, many reach for that familiar brew, kickstarting their day with a comforting cup of coffee.

It’s a ritual ingrained in cultures worldwide, offering a jolt of energy to combat the grogginess of dawn.

But when is the optimal time for that caffeine fix? According to registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD, LD, the answer isn’t crystal clear.

Some experts suggest delaying that first sip until mid-morning or later. However, DiMarino reassures coffee lovers that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma.

Meanwhile, the science behind coffee production unveils fascinating insights into its instant variant. Whether produced through freeze-drying or spray-drying methods, instant coffee offers convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Yet, beyond convenience, recent studies delve deeper into coffee’s impact on our bodies. Research exploring the acute effects of decaffeinated versus caffeinated coffee reveals intriguing findings on reaction time, mood, and skeletal muscle strength.

Moreover, investigations into the gut microbiome shed light on coffee’s influence on liver cirrhosis patients. A study analyzing the duodenal microbiome in this population found correlations between coffee consumption and microbial richness and evenness.

So, as you sip your coffee and ponder the day ahead, consider not just the flavour in your cup but also the subtle impacts it may have on your body and mind.

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Laughing in limbo Canadian Just for Laughs cancelled



The renowned Montreal-based Just for Laughs comedy festival, one of the world’s largest international comedy events, will not grace the calendar in 2024.

The Canadian company overseeing the festival announced its cancellation this year, citing efforts to steer clear of bankruptcy. Having marked its 40th anniversary in 2023, Just For Laughs has long been a beloved fixture on the city’s cultural landscape.

With its absence raising questions about which event will inherit the title of the biggest comedy festival, speculation arises whether Melbourne will seize the mantle, given its burgeoning comedy scene and the success of its own Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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