AFTER THREATENING TO STEAL MONEY FROM CUSTOMERS WHO SHARE “MISINFORMATION,” PAYPAL CLAIMS IT WAS ALL A MISUNDERSTANDING– PayPal made a bold assertion that it had a right to fine its customers for spreading misinformation when it changed its policy to reflect that assertion. After losing stock value and customers, the seditionist corporation is now feigning ignorance, claiming it never intended to do what it claimed it would actually do.
(Bloomberg) — PayPal Holdings Inc. said it has no intention of fining customers for spreading misinformation, after attracting criticism for publishing a new user agreement outlining such a plan.
The issue gained traction over the weekend after the company published policy updates prohibiting users from using the PayPal service for activities identified by the company as “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” promoting misinformation, in an Acceptable Use Policy due to kick in on Nov. 3. A penalty of $2,500 could be imposed for each violation, according to the update.
The notice included “incorrect information,” a spokesperson for PayPal said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “PayPal is not fining people for misinformation and this language was never intended to be inserted in our policy.”
Shares of the company tumbled as much as 5.3% to $85.43, the biggest intraday decline since July 26. They dropped 4.7% to $85.90 at 9:48 a.m. in…
It has long been acknowledged that John Browning is one of – if not the – greatest American firearms designer of all time. Indeed, his Winchester 1894 – the venerable “.30-30” – with over six million units produced, is the most numerous sporting rifle ever made. Browning’s designs have lasted well over one hundred years; in fact, variations of his M1911A1 pistol and M2HB heavy machine gun are still in service in the United States Armed Forces, at least in some capacity, despite both being over a century old.
At the end of World War One, however, Browning did not rest on his laurels after a sixty-year career of designing weapons for both civilians and military forces. As he was no longer offering his designs exclusively to Winchester, after the war was over, Browning began working with the Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale (FN). One of the final designs Browning was working on, a French military requirement for a new service pistol, the “Grand Rendement” (French for “high efficiency“), would never be completed, as Browning would die suddenly of heart failure, on the floor of his son and co-designer’s shop November 26, 1926, at the age of 71.
The service pistol design, while not complete, had advanced far enough that it could be completed by Browning’s assistant, designer Dieudonné Saive, a tremendously talented designer in his own right, who would go on to design many legendary firearms, including the FAL (Fusil Automatique Leger or Light Automatic Rifle), which would become known as the “Right Arm of the Free World.”
The pistol for the French contract was a “game-changer” design. Browning had been one of the first designers of practical and reliable semi-automatic pistols, as far back as 1899, and the French pistol built on from everything he had learned to that point. The task, however, was not simple, as Browning had to compete with himself — he had previously sold his patent on the M1911 to Colt Manufacturing; as a result, Browning was unable to directly copy that design. The new pistol used a 13-round, detachable box magazine (designed by Saive), the first true ‘staggered-stack’ design that allowed a near-doubling of ammunition capacity, without overly-enlarging the grip.
Due to the French commission’s wandering requirements (something all to common in the weapons design world, being one of the chief reasons for mindless cost overruns in defense products), the design was unable to mature until 1931, when the Belgian Army ordered 1,000 units of the early design, and was finally completed in 1934…Which was, of course, when the French chose another pistol, that went on to become barely a footnote in history.
The Belgian Army, however, had been following the pistol’s development, and were highly impressed with the small sample that they had purchased three years earlier. The French competition was barely over, when the Belgians formally adopted the pistol, as the “HP-35“, as their national sidearm, which would become known as the “High Power“.
World War 2 saw Nazi Germany swallow Belgium whole, and with it, the FN factories. When it became clear that Belgium would fall, Saive and other FN engineers fled to England, and carried the designs of many weapons, including the High Power, with them. The High Power’s plans were handed over to John Inglis and Company, of Toronto, Canada, who rapidly tooled up lines to produce two versions of the design: the standard model with fixed sights, and a version with an adjustable rear sight and a detachable shoulder stock (primarily for a Nationalist Chinese contract). From there, the High Power took off to became the primary sidearm of the armies of 93 nations, as well as many special operations forces, most famously, Great Britain’s SAS, and remains in service with many of those militaries to this day.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end – or seem to. After 82 years of continuous production, FN Herstal announced that the production of the Hi-Power would end, and it was discontinued in early 2018 by Browning Arms. From 2019 to 2022, with no new Belgian Hi-Powers being built, clones were designed by various firearm companies around the world, including Springfield Armory, as the “SA-35.” These new Hi-Power clones began competing with each other by offering new finishes, enhanced sights, redesigned hammers, beveled magazine wells, improved trigger, and increased magazine capacity.
However, in 2022, presumably to compete with the sudden surge in Hi-Power popularity, FN announced they would resume production of the Browning Hi-Power. The 2022 “FN High Power” incorporated a number of entirely new features such as a fully ambidextrous slide lock, simplified takedown method, enlarged ejection port, reversible magazine release, wider slide serrations, different colored finish offerings, and 17-round magazines.
As of the end of 2022, the eighty-seven year old design has suddenly found new life, and will likely continue in service well past its 100-year design mark…
One of the oft overlooked aspects of the military in general are the small items that form part of a soldier’s kit. While the vast majority of these items are very mundane, indeed, occasionally an item appears which offers a sea-change in its sphere.
While mass produced, purpose-designed combat first aid dressings date back to the early 1920’s with the advent of the “Carlisle Dressing“, developed at the US Army’s Carlisle Barracks, in the aftermath of World War One, surprisingly little further development occurred until PerSys Medical’s design came along. The Carlisle Bandage was a simple affair, simply a sterile dressing on one side, backed by a gauze, later cotton, cloth backing used to secure it in place. (Indeed, Bar-Natan attributes his drive to invent the bandage with being issued Carlisle bandages manufactured in 1938, during his time as an IDF medic.)
While the Carlisle and its successors were useful, and certainly saved lives on the battlefield, they were far from perfect solutions. The dressings frequently came loose, and the design allowed for a great deal of contamination to enter the wound area, even if tightly secured in place. The only way to effectively protect the wound from post-trauma infection was to apply an ace-type elastic wrap after applying the battle wound dressing. Obviously, this was rarely done, as medics tended to use the space and weight of the ace wrap to carry extra bandages, instead.
Variants of the Carlisle were used all the way into the 1990’s, two being included in the first-aid kit of the day, until the deployment of the modern IFAK, which includes the “Emergency Dressing”, as it is termed by the US Military.
Bar-Natan’s design abandoned the simplicity of the Carlisle, in favor of a significantly improved version which, although somewhat more complex to use, provides far better care for an injury victim. The Emergency Bandage comes already attached to an ace-type wrap, which is integral to the dressing’s function. After removal, the sterile side of the dressing is applied as direct pressure to the wound area, and the elastic wrap is wound one turn around the extremity (or the torso or head), until it meets the second essential part of the design.
The Emergency Bandage’s patented “pressure bar” is a stirrup-shaped device mounted directly with the elastic wrap. Slipping the wrap through the stirrup of the pressure bar, then reversing the direction of the wrap, causes the pressure bar to exert a mild tourniquet-type force against the wound. This results in the creation of an additional barrier to external media contaminating the injury. The wrap is then secured in place by the bandage’s closure bar, which hooks into the bandage in much the same way as a ballpoint pen clipping to a shirt pocket.
Additionally, the Emergency Bandage can in many instances be self-applied one-handed, something extremely difficult, if not impossible, with the Carlisle-model dressing family.
Mated to QuikClot-impregnated gauze, this provides a very powerful field dressing that is practical, easy to use and easy to train on. Indeed, the Emergency Bandage has been credited with saving many of the victims of the notorious 2011 shooting in Tucson, AZ, in which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded.
The Emergency Bandage – the “Israeli Bandage” to many US troops – has saved, and continues to save, lives in combat theaters and disaster emergencies, around the world.
It is bewildering – to say the least – as to how these ideas could work verses a major-war opponent may be an open question. Primarily, the controversy revolves around the significantly reduced capacity in fire support.
However, times change, and technology changes apace.
Case in point: As technology and high-tech industry has expanded throughout the world, more and more nations are developing energetic and dynamic design firms. Recently unveiled by Indonesian shipbuilder PT Ludin, the Atasena-class X-18 ATC (Armored Troop Carrier) – originally called, for obvious reasons, the “Tank Boat” – may look like something out of a “GI Joe” movie, but it is definitely an innovative development of preexisting concepts.
Comprised of over 18,000 separate islands, and being on the front lines of both insurgency, piracy and general world unrest, Indonesia has a definite need for an inshore fire support vessel with a heavy punch. In this, the X-18 “Tank Boat” certainly delivers.
Designed by PT Ludin, the X-18 ATC is to be built by the veteran small craft yards of North Sea Boats. The current production unit that has undergoing testing by the Indonesian Army is armed with the Cockerill C1030 MK44S 30mm cannon unmanned turret. A mock-up vessel, shown at international arms shows when the details of the X-18 were released mounted a mock-up of a planned Cockerill 105mm cannon with an automatic loading system in a small, 2-person turret, with a 360° traverse and a pair of .50cal/12.7x99mm heavy machine guns as secondary weapons, with other secondary weapons possible. In either configuration, the X-18 can also carry up to 60 troops, up to 5 tons of cargo, or a variety of small, rigid-hulled inflatables. This would allow the deployment of conventional boarding or landing parties, as well as special operations teams — who could potentially have 105mm artillery support within a 10km arc from the craft. Another planned version would mount some form of dedicated anti-ship, and possibly anti-submarine, missiles.
With a reported draft of only 0.8 meters and a reported 600nm range (the distance from Washington, D.C. to Miami, FL) at 9 knots (but able to cruise at 40 knots, with a 50 knot maximum speed), the twin-hulled catamaran design would certainly have long legs. The design is impressive enough – in theory – to have reportedly garnered an early order from the United Arab Emirates, with India, Greece and the Philippines expressing serious interest.
While its armor (NATO Stanag 4569) may be rather unimpressive, proof only against small arms and shell fragments at a distance, in the inshore environment, the ability to swiftly bring large numbers of troops, backed up by significant firepower, to bear on an enemy’s rear areas is a major advancement in firepower.
This is something that the USMC, struggling with shrinking procurement budgets and a general drop-off in enlistments, should seriously consider adding to its arsenal, not least because of a projected purchase price of under US$20million each.
Not every bright idea comes out of the US defense establishment.
Reuters has received a document from the EU Commission that explains their intentions to force Social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to stop deepfakes videos from being shared or face major fines that will be felt. The companies are violating an EU code of conduct recently updated.
The goal of this column is to present news from around the world that is not often – if ever – covered by more mainstream entities, using local sources wherever possible, but occasionally using news aggregators not used, again, by the mainstream media. Also, please note that we do use links to Wikipedia; while Wikipedia is well-known as a largely-useless site for any kind of serious research, it does serve as a launch-pad for further inquiry, in addition to being generally free of malicious ads. As with anything from Wikipedia, always verify their sources before making any conclusions based on their pages.
This column will cover the preceding week of news.
To make it easier for readers to follow story source links: anytime you see a bracketed number marked in green –  – those are the source links relating to that story.
The United States remained largely quiet during the week, despite a sudden spate of shootings that are possible “copy cat” crimes, seeking to emulate the school shooting in Uvalde, TX on May 24th, even as emerging details of the police response to that incident have left the governor of the state, Greg Abbott, “livid” at being given untrue information. -
Elsewhere, only two handwritten-note bomb threats were received at schools in the country this week, although several threats to both schools and businesses resulted in swift arrests. -
The last incident of note for North America this week comes from Kiel, Wisconsin. The city police received a threat from an as yet unnamed person or persons, threatening multiple targets in the city if a Title IX investigation by the school district against several students is not dropped “immediately.” Additional threats have been received, including one that came after the school district closed its investigation. The incident in question – as reported by the NYPost, on May 14 – involved three 8th grade students being investigated for sexual harassment on the grounds of refusing to refer to another student by their chosen pronouns. A “Title IX investigation” is a legal requirement for schools that requires school districts to immediately investigate any formal claim that sexual harassment of any kind has occurred. -
Turning to Europe, the email bomb threat wave struck again, with police and various other government agencies in the Bosnian cities of Banja Luka and Sarajevo received “hundreds” of emailed threats against targets ranging from police stations and hospitals to elementary schools. The emails targeted both Serb and non-Serb entities within the country. No “live” incidents were reported, and no arrests have been made.
In central Mali, two Egyptiansoldiers, part of the UN’s now 13,000 strong MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in the war-torn country, were killed by an IED that was detonated as their vehicle was near the town of Douentza, on the road to Timbuktu. This comes after an attack on a UN convoy on Wednesday, that resulted in the death of a Jordanianpeacekeeper, near the town of Kidal, in northern Mali, which wounded three other soldiers. This brings the number of UN peacekeepers killed in action since MINUSMA’s initial deployment in July of 2013, to 174. 
As we go to press, reports are coming in from southwestern Nigeria that as many as 50 worshipers have been killed in an attack on the St Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo, in Onda State. No word on the number of wounded, but if the numbers of dead being reported are accurate, the number of wounded is likely very high. As information is still sketchy, the identity and motives of the attackers remain -
Elsewhere in the country, violence – some terror attacks, some simple banditry and kidnapping – continued through the week, with multiple kidnapping and arson attacks. -
In better news, the group responsible for the kidnapping of dozens of victims from a train in March, rescinded their threat to begin killing their hostages if the local government did not free their under-10 year old children, who they claim were being held illegally. State authorities stated that they had located the children, and that negotiations with the kidnappers were continuing. 
As well, civilian militias in the northern state of Borno, reportedly killed a Boko Haram local commander and his deputy in a running gun battle on May 31st. Three days later, on June 2nd, the Nigerian Army, working directly with local militias, launched a surprise raid on Boko Haram and ISWAP camps that killed at least 14 terrorists, resulted in the arrest of 15 more, and freed “scores” of prisoners. Additionally, a solid haul of weapons, vehicles and equipment were also recovered. 
In neighboring Cameroon, meanwhile, Boko Haram terrorists killed three soldiers and four civilians in an attack on the remote village of Hitaoua, in the far north of the country, on May 31st. 
Sporadic and desultory fighting continued this week throughout Syria and Iraq, as Turkey continues its interventions in both countries, as it continues its war against the Kurdish peoples of the region, in fighting that now threatens US positions in the area.
In Pakistan this week, scattered terror attacks continued, with roadside IEDs and hand grenade attacks killing or wounding approximately a dozen troops and civilians. Also this week, in an apparent case of “No kidding,” that the “Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)” group, based in Afghanistan, poses a significant danger to Pakistan…which, considering the frequency of terror attacks by the group in the country, should surprise no one. -
Finally, turning to India, scattered violence continued in the northern Jammu & Kashmir region this week, that killed four (including two terrorists), as police issued an alert over terrorists using drones (reportedly supplied by North Korea) to drop explosives during attacks, something that has been happening with increasing frequency in the ongoing war between drug cartels. -
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has placed a stay on a Texas Social Media law that would prevent social media companies from limiting access to Texans on their platforms for their ‘viewpoint.’ The ruling does not strike down the law, but suspends it until the constitutionality is determined in a lawsuit.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch — and don’t count your congressional districts before all the redistricting lawsuits are finished.
On Wednesday, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the congressional map New York Democrats enacted back in February was a partisan gerrymander that violated the state constitution and tossed it to the curb. The decision was a huge blow to Democrats, who until recently looked like they had gained enough seats nationally in redistricting to almost eliminate the Republican bias in the House of Representatives. But with the invalidation of New York’s map, as well as Florida’s recent passage of a congressional map that heavily favors the GOP, the takeaways from the 2021-22 redistricting cycle are no longer so straightforward.
That’s because much of Democrats’ national redistricting advantage rested on their gerrymander in New York. The now-invalidated map included 20 seats with a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean2 of D+5 or bluer and only four seats with a partisan lean of R+5 or redder. It also included two swing seats, but even those had slight Democratic leans (D+3 and D+4)……
Back in March, Democrats didn’t have as large of an advantage by this metric, but they were still doing better than Republicans: I estimated at the time that redistricting would net Democrats around two seats in the midterms, while it would lead to a net loss of around three or four seats for Republicans (this was without considering the Republican-leaning national political environment). Now, however, Republicans clearly have the advantage on this score. I estimate that redistricting currently positions Republicans for a net gain of around four or five House seats and Democrats for a net loss of about four, based on the maps as they stand now…….
In its decision, the New York Court of Appeals endorsed the idea that a neutral special master — essentially, an expert in drawing political maps — should draw New York’s next congressional map. That would presumably lead to a relatively fair map, but the details and exact partisan breakdown are, of course, still a mystery; Democrats could still gain seats from New York’s map when all is said and done (just not as many as from their gerrymander).