After the introduction of new Western sanctions against Russia last month as punishment for its role in destabilizing Ukraine, Russia has returned fire by announcing a raft of sanctions of its own. Economists, however, are baffled at the Russian decision. While the Western sanctions have hurt the Russian economy, Russia's retaliatory sanctions will hurt its own economy even more.
Western sanctions started with asset freezes of senior officials and companies linked to the Putin regime. However, they were expanded last month to include limitations on Russian banks, as well as to halt exports to Russia of arms and high-tech oil-and gas exploration equipment.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has retaliated with a ban of "all beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Norway for one year," according to The New York Times.
Russia is also considering banning Western airlines from flying over Russian airspace. European and American airlines currently fly over Siberia en route to various Asian destinations. Finally, Moscow is "studying the possibility of introducing restrictions on the import of planes, navy vessels, and cars."
Forbes' Tim Worstall points out the Russian retaliation is nonsensical. It is, in effect, Russia saying, "You are making us poorer by denying us your lovely imports. We shall therefore make ourselves poorer by denying ourselves more of your lovely imports."
If Russia really wanted to retaliate, it would ban exports to the West, like the natural gas exports that are a highly important for the European economy. However, whether Russia would actually do that remains to be seen — while Europe needs the Russian gas, Russia may need Europe's cash even more. John Aziz
Hacked audio of Democrat Hillary Clinton speaking with donors about her then-primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, in February shows the nominee describing Sanders' supporters as uninformed and idealistic "children of the Great Recession" who are "living in their parents' basement."
In this election, Clinton says, there "is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates," while, "on the other side, there's just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we've done hasn't gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don't know what that means, but it's something that they deeply feel."
The clip, leaked earlier this week and publicized by Politico Friday night, also hears Clinton sympathizing with basement dwellers who see little economic opportunity in their future and thus find a Sanders-style "revolution" enticing. Bonnie Kristian
The largest hospital in the rebel-held part of Aleppo, Syria, was heavily damaged Saturday by airstrikes using barrel bombs and perhaps also cluster bombs. The strikes were conducted by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as Russian troops; and a second, smaller hospital was also damaged.
This news comes after France and Britain lobbed accusations of war crimes at Russia over its Syria policy during a United Nations meeting earlier this week. Also this week, a Syrian monitoring group reported Russian strikes in Syria have killed more than 9,000 people, while Russia announced plans to send more warplanes to the war-torn Mideast nation.
The damaged Aleppo hospital is no longer operational, and the second-largest hospital in that part of Aleppo has shut down as well. Only six functional hospitals remain in the region, where about 2 million people are without running water. Bonnie Kristian
The spot cuts clips of Ivanka with stock footage of happy moms and their children as the eldest Trump daughter explains her father's plans regarding "the most important job any woman can have," motherhood. "My father will change outdated labor laws so that they support women and American families," Trump says. "He will provide tax credits for childcare, paid maternity leave, and dependent care savings accounts."
The clip is part of a $7.5 million ad buy for the Trump campaign and will air on channels including TLC, Lifetime, and Bravo. Watch the video below via a Trump campaign tweet. Bonnie Kristian
— Official Team Trump (@TeamTrump) September 30, 2016
After four nights of protest in El Cajon, California, a suburb of San Diego, over Tuesday's fatal police shooting of Ugandan-born Alfred Olango, authorities released two sources of footage of Olango's death on Friday. The graphic video is available for viewing here.
Neither clip was recorded by official police cameras and much of the footage is silent. One video was obtained from a surveillance camera at a nearby taco restaurant, and the other is cell phone footage filmed by a bystander from a nearly identical angle. The grainy clips make it difficult to decipher Olango's behavior before he was killed, though it is clear the police officer responsible — who was summoned to the scene by Olango's sister out of concern for her brother's frame of mind — fired the fatal shots within 40 seconds of encountering the unarmed, mentally unstable man.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave and no charges have been filed to date. Bonnie Kristian
A new Los Angeles nightclub will admit only good-looking people. The club is being opened by BeautifulPeople.com, an elitist dating site, and will station beauty judges at the door to decide whether nonmembers and guests can enter, CBS Los Angeles reports. A site official said members were tired of going to clubs "hoping to meet similarly beautiful people, only to spend the night wishing that the lighting was lower."
The club is set to open in West Hollywood in early 2017, and its panel of judges will include models, celebrity trainers, and "Hollywood insiders and influencers."
But don't worry, you average-looking folks: The site director promises "rare exceptions will be made on the grounds of wealth."
Bon Iver's first album in five years dropped Friday, an offering Pitchfork reviewer Amanda Petrusich described as "an unexpected turn toward the strange and experimental." Titled 22, A Million, the album is the band's third full-length record and features 10 songs with symbol-heavy titles, like "715 - CRΣΣKS" and "21 M♢♢N WATER". The folksy guitar of Bon Iver's 2007 debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, is largely replaced with electronic sound effects on the new album, which makes for what NPR described as "surprising turns and richly contrasting elements."
So far, the reviews are largely positive. Consequence of Sound applauded the music's "vision and beauty" and called the album a "sturdy and unparalleled step of confidence," while The Independent dubbed the project an "astonishing record that grapples with the infinite." Some critics, however, thought Bon Iver's talent tended to get lost amid all the album's effects and experimentation. "All of this is an attempt to make it new; all of this creates intrigue but also distance between the singer and the listener that sometimes is too great to be overcome," The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber wrote.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday that there were "issues" with Donald Trump's microphone at Monday's debate. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," the commission wrote, without offering any additional details.
Following Monday's event, Trump had complained about his microphone, and wondered whether it had perhaps been intentionally compromised. Hillary Clinton, in turn, had knocked Trump for his comments, joking the next day that "anyone who complains about the microphone is not having a good night."
Trump and Clinton will meet again on Oct. 9, for the second presidential debate, which will be a town-hall style event. Kimberly Alters