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What is the Russian Wagner group of mercenaries?

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Is Russia using mercenaries in Ukraine? A recent report from the British military intelligence has revealed that Russia has used the private military contractor called the Wagner group to reinforce its frontline forces in the Ukraine war

According to reports, Wagner has made advances in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.

And a recent revelation from foreign policy Magazine says:

Wagner may get involved in Burkina Faso next as a military coup in January has left the country vulnerable.

And its fighters are already present in neighbouring Mali which means that it is very possible.

For some, Russia is simply using Wagner to secure access to ports and natural resources.

Other analysts say Russia is trying to capitalise on the rising anti-French sentiment in the Sahel.

In March. There were protests against French Military presence in a number of countries including in Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

France has been withdrawing its military presence in the region and now mainly operates out of Niger and Chad.

The Wagner Group has been called “Putin’s shadow army,” although the Kremlin has denied responsibility for any knowledge of their activities.

And The U.S. government has called Wagner a Proxy Force of Russia’s defense ministry.

Alongside their mercenary work, the group has also been accused of spreading disinformation.

But using mercenaries is not new.

Another controversial group is the American Private Milirtary contractor: Blackwater.

Which was led by the notorious Eric Prince.

Blackwater made billions of dollars during U.S.led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before renaming itself.

The Intercept has also reported that Erik Prince has provided military services to Wagner in at least two African conflicts citing a report from “three people with knowledge of the efforts”.

Recently the European Union imposed sanctions on the Wagner group.

Experts say the war in Ukraine has forced the Kremlin to focus on Donbas, and less on Africa.

Small groups of Wagner fighters remain active in the Sahel, but more importantly; they remain influential.

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Big tech caught in political drama

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Nine Google employees were escorted out of company offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, following a sit-in protest against a cloud contract with Israel’s government.

The protest in Sunnyvale targeted Thomas Kurian’s office, CEO of Google’s cloud division, while in New York, it occupied a common area on the tenth floor.

Videos showed Google security staff and local police involved in the removal. Four workers in New York and five in Sunnyvale were reportedly detained, but details of any charges remain unverified.

 

The protest aimed to pressure Google to drop a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract known as Project Nimbus, citing concerns about its involvement with the Israel Defense Forces.

The protesters included software engineers and activists from groups opposing tech contracts with Israel. This incident reflects ongoing activism within tech companies regarding political issues, such as Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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Antitrust concerns arise for streaming sports venture

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U.S. lawmakers Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro expressed competition concerns regarding the planned sports streaming joint venture involving Walt Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros Discovery.

They addressed these concerns in a letter to the CEOs of the media companies, questioning the impact on access, competition, and choice in the sports streaming market.

Voicing apprehension about potential consumer price hikes and unfair licensing terms for sports leagues and distributors, they requested responses by April 30, urging the companies to also send their replies to the Department of Justice.

Despite the companies’ announcement in February of launching a joint sports streaming service in the autumn to attract younger viewers, the deal faces DOJ scrutiny and an antitrust lawsuit from FuboTV. While Disney and Warner Bros remained silent on the matter, Fox declined to comment.

The joint venture encompasses a broad range of professional and collegiate sports rights, including NFL, NBA, MLB, FIFA World Cup, and college competitions, offering non-exclusive access to sports networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and TNT via a new streaming app.

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Trump trial: will the jury selection impact the trial’s outcome?

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The Trump hush money trial has progressed with the selection of the first seven jurors, marking a significant step in the legal proceedings.

  • Seven jurors were selected

  • Defense and prosecution lawyers questioned potential jurors for impartiality

  • The judge warned lawyers he would not tolerate disruptions after he said Former US President Donald Trump audibly muttered during a prospective juror’s questioning

The selection of jurors is a crucial step in ensuring a fair trial, as they will ultimately decide Formers US President Donald Trump’s fate in this legal battle, as reported by Reuters.

The process of jury selection involves careful vetting of potential jurors to ensure impartiality and fairness.

Each juror’s background, beliefs, and potential biases are scrutinised to ensure they can render an impartial verdict based solely on the evidence presented in court.

With seven jurors already chosen, the selection process is expected to continue as both the prosecution and defence seek individuals who can objectively weigh the evidence.

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