Micronationalists watch with concern as Russia launches Ukrainian invasion

KYIV – On Thursday, Russian troops launched their much-anticipated onslaught on Ukraine, ignoring international censure and sanctions while threatening other countries that any attempt to intervene would result in “consequences you have never seen.”

Large explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa before daybreak as international leaders denounced the launch of an invasion that might result in catastrophic casualties, topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government, and jeopardize the continent’s post-Cold War peace.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy imposed martial law, claiming that Russia was attempting to destroy Ukraine’s military infrastructure. Even as the country’s border guard agency reported an artillery barrage by Russian forces from neighboring Belarus, Ukrainians who had long readied for an assault were told to stay home and not panic.

President Joe Biden announced further sanctions against Russia in response to the attack that the international community had been anticipating for weeks but had been unable to avoid via diplomacy.

A woman and child peer out of the window of a bus as they leave Sievierodonetsk, the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

Putin defended the attack in a public address, claiming that it was necessary to protect people in eastern Ukraine, which the US had feared he would make as a pretext for an invasion. He accused the US and its allies of neglecting Russia’s demands for security assurances and to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. He also asserted with skepticism that Russia does not plan to occupy Ukraine, but rather will work to “demilitarize” it and bring criminals to justice.

In a brief statement, Biden criticized the strike as “unprovoked and unjustifiable,” and said that the US and its allies would “hold Russia accountable.” After a summit of the Group of Seven leaders on Thursday, the president indicated he planned to talk to Americans. On Thursday, more penalties on Russia are anticipated to be revealed.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, called the assault a “full-scale invasion” and vowed Ukraine will “defend itself and prevail.” Putin can and must be stopped by the rest of the world. “Now is the moment to act.”

Residents in the capital, Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko, were instructed to stay at home unless they were involved in crucial activity and to prepare go-bags with essentials and documents in case they needed to escape. Hearing blasts and witnessing scores of people with luggage leaving for their cars to leave the city, an Associated Press photographer in Mariupol reported.

People queue for fuel at a gas station in Sievierodonetsk, the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

The Russian military said it only targeted Ukrainian air bases and other military installations, not civilians. According to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, the military is utilizing precision weaponry and there is “no threat to civilian population.”

The Russian military had launched missile strikes against Ukrainian military command centres, air bases, and military depots in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro, according to Anton Gerashchenko, an assistant to Ukraine’s interior minister, who posted on Facebook.

After the initial explosions in Kyiv, people could be heard shouting in the streets. Then a sense of normality returned, with cars circulating and people walking in the streets as a pre-dawn commute appeared to start in relative calm.

The consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions on Russia could reverberate throughout the world, upending geopolitical dynamics in Europe as well as affecting energy supplies in Europe and jolting global financial markets.

Houston murderer on bond murders again, records show

HOUSTON – Treveon Tatum was charged in the 2019 murder of Ondreus Patterson, who made his $50,000 bond has been arrested again, now for the murder of John Kelly, according to recent court records.

The incident occurred around 1:00am on February 8 in the 800 block of Dunson Glen. Two others were injured that day in a crowd shooting at an apartment complex. The mother of Patterson, Crystal Johnson, has been trying to get her son’s accused murderer off the streets since the first charge was given.

“If they would have done right by Dreu (Ondreus) the first time, someone else’s loved one wouldn’t be gone and have to go through what I have to go through,” Johnson said.

After Tatum posted bond in 2019, he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for an incident in 2020. Judge Josh Hill set bond at $150,000 and Tatum remained behind bars until he was able to post bond a year later.

Prosecutors attempted revoking bond on the murder charge, however Tatum made bond again, resulting him in remaining out of jail. This isn’t the first time Tatum violated his bond, as records show a violation of curfew, and his GPS monitoring system were the previous violations made.

“You have had two charges, multiple violations. You don’t come to court, you have an ankle monitor on and that doesn’t work,” Johnson said. “You can do whatever you want and there’s no consequences.”

Tatum is now behind bars, and this time, his bond has been denied. His next court date is scheduled for next week.

President Luke stated in an interview on Sunday evening that allowing criminals to be released on bond for repeat high crimes is exactly what he’s been advocating against since January.

The President has publicly announced his distrust in Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and says her soft actions, along with several other judges on crime is the main cause of Houston’s rising murder rate.

First decline in users causes Facebook stock to drop 24%

Facebook’s stock plunge weighed on world markets yesterday, helping to drag down major stock indexes and reversing recent gains.

Shares in Meta, Facebook’s current owner, dropped 24% in Wednesday’s morning trading, as the company reported its largest loss of users in the history of the company.

This major drop caused the company’s overall value to drop 200 billion, which is larger than the entire Greek economy. This in turn caused Mark Zuckerberg to lose $29 billion from his own net worth.

US tech companies have come under mounting pressure in 2022, as investors expect policy tightening at the US federal reserve. This action is to erode the industry’s rich valuations following years of ultra low interest rates.

“Don’t vote for failure Hildalgo!”, says President Luke, amid upcoming macro-county elections

BRAN DISTRICT – The Harris County Texas elections are quickly approaching with both open seats and incumbents at risk of being replaced. Positions such as Houston ISD board member, county judge, and various others will be on the 2022 ballot. This election is expected by many to be a heated one.

President Luke spoke on Wednesday evening, making it abundantly clear that he wants County Judge Lina Hidalgo out of office, whose been serving in that position since her win over Republican Ed Emmett in 2018. President Luke made no secret as to why he holds so much distrust in Hidalgo.

“She can be any political party she wants to be, but Houstonians will not tolerate her failed actions on crime any longer.” said the President. “You literally have murderers, even repeat offenders walking out of jail on bail/bond, even at times without paying a cent!” he added.

President Luke references the skyrocketing murder rate over the past four years as her largest failure to date. Since 2020, the murder rate has risen from 405 to 474, which Luke and upcoming macro-candidates on both sides of the isle have both agreed are mostly due to her failed reforms. Famous businessmen, such as “Mattress Mack” of Gallery Furniture in Houston have even ran ads, supporting newer candidates over Hidalgo.

“We have utter lawlessness in the County.”, says Alexandra Mealer, a candidate for Harris County Judge. “The homicide gets the headlines, but how many carjackings are there? How many break-ins; like we don’t even talk about just all the property theft. They are close to making Harris County un-investable.” she added.

President Luke says he understands this is an upcoming macro election, but that crime is not solely a macro matter any longer. Elections are expected to take place in March, with at least nine other candidates, mostly on the Republican side aiming for her seat alone.

Judge Hidalgo stated she feels no threat in this election and believes these attacks are nothing more than political theatre, which she further stated were disgraceful towards those who’ve already been murdered.

Opinion: Ukraine conflict and how it could affect nearby micronations

Many are aware of the ongoing tensions between the Russian Federation and Ukraine Republic. Unfortunately, the situation has been further escalated over the past week, with nations such as the United States and United Kingdom, rallying preparedness for their possible deployment.

There are several micronations within the vicinity of the Ukrainian-Russian border, which raises the question, “How could this affect micronations?” After further research, we comprised the following possibilities based on the current and possible situation:

Violence/Destruction

When it comes to macronational countries and militaries, everyone knows they will “steamroll” over micronations, including their militaries and borders. The effects of war, such as the violence, destruction from weapons, and mandatory evacuations are enough to disrupt nearby micronations alone. Those within the region should prepare themselves for relocation, especially for government officials, so operations can continue.

“Don’t take this lightly.” said Dracul President Stephen Luke. “The Russian Army and opposing forces will not hesitate if you’re standing in their way. Devising a plan for evacuation or to shelter in place is your best course of action as of now.”

Lack of utilities and supplies

Even for micronations that aren’t directly in the way of a war, most are aware of the ongoing European energy crisis, which receives most of its supply from Russia itself. In the event of war, Russia could utilize their ability to “shut off the gas”, in an effort to weaken their opponent. If you’re within the European continent, it’s best to prepare for the loss of power, petrol, and possibly food, since companies without power won’t be able to supply local stores.

Communications is another larger issue, as affected micronations may not be able to communicate with the rest of the community. Once cell towers are intercepted or destroyed, communications could take months to finally restore.

Loss of borders and sovereignty

One of the worst events that could unfold is Russia taking over land claims and enforcing Russian law, especially if they are victorious or currently hold the high ground within your area. Micronations in the region should also prepare themselves for those changes that could affect them directly. Armies have been known to push further into continents, away from the original location, so being away from the initial action isn’t always a saving grace.

A Russian military force seeing an unidentified flag flying above a residence could become a potential target for harassment and investigation. Micronational militaries cannot hold off from an attack for long, from a Russian army for instance. If you’re flying a micronational flag, it’s probably best to remove it in the event of war encroaching on your doorstep.

Conclusion

Being prepared for an incident to take place, which ultimately never arrives is better than being unprepared, as anyone would agree to. Negotiations continue in an effort to avoid any conflict. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time conflict as unfolded in Europe, so the stakes are high as of now.

Could rising crime start affecting local Houston micronations?

HOUSTON – Many major cities in America are facing high crime rates, especially when it comes to murder. The homicide rate in Houston for 2022 is already off to a bad start, with already 29 victims. Over the past three years, murders have soared from 405 to 908. 2020 claimed 405 and 2021 took 474 lives.

Many in Houston are used to the bail system broken, with hardened criminals receiving low bonds, even at times free bail. This has dropped confidence in the Harris County District Attorney’s office and local judges. Houston Police is dealing with a crisis of their own with staffing issues.

“People are fed up and tired in this city of being shot and losing loved ones.” said President Stephen Luke, who works as a security officer for a Houston shopping mall. “I’ve literally been held at gunpoint when asking for stolen merchandise back. The DA told me it could take up to a year for a court date to be set for my offender alone.” he ended.

In addition to the rising crime rate comes the issue of crime spreading, into what were once respectable neighborhoods. Dracul has been tracking crime rates for the past three years and has noticed many car burglaries just across the street from the community.

“I don’t wish to be around here once the murders start seeping onto my street.” said Kevin Saldwin, a local Draculian. “We’ve never had murders in my area of Houston, but every year it seems to be getting closer.” he ended.

While there isn’t much that Dracul can do itself to stop crime, there are preventative safety measures that can be taken to limit the chances of crime. Most importantly, this is why Dracul events are typically held during the day and not at night.

  • Walk to your car with self defense or a friend when leaving Dracul.
  • Do not venture out into Houston alone during the early morning hours.
  • Avoid high crime neighborhoods, such as Sunnyside whenever possible.

Many feel this issue won’t stop until the bail system is finally corrected. Houston Police dispatch can be contacted at (713) 884-3131 to report crime. Micronations who begin suffering from this issue should stick together and continue informing each other of any crime experienced.

Association medically discriminates against Dracul official’s son

Daniel Betzwiser, a bright and outgoing 14-year old teenager from Danville, Illinois, enjoyed the game of soccer since he was 9 years old. Everything was going great in life, until his world was turned upside down by a horrendous medical issue.

Sarah Estrada, the mother of Daniel, stated a few weeks ago that he experienced a random episode of blankness. “We were at home and all of a sudden he just went blank.” said Estrada. At first it seemed not to be such a big issue, but then it happened again a few days later. “The school called, stating that Daniel was ill and needed to be picked up.” said Estrada. “We decided it was best to go to the emergency room, where a doctor observed a medical episode, ultimately diagnosing him with absent seizures.” According to Estrada, the ER doctor who diagnosed Daniel, stated he was cleared to continue playing soccer without restriction. A few days later a soccer game was scheduled, which included Daniel on the field.

“During the game, Daniel’s coach stated that Daniel began acting weird on the field, even becoming aggressive at moments. Daniel blanked out again, resulting in another player running into him.” said Estrada. “Daniel ended up kicking in his episode, which resulted in a player becoming injured.”

After the incident, Estrada and Daniel’s coach ran over to him, where they witnessed his eyes vibrating. He was quickly taken off the field, where Estrada made the ultimate decision to pull Daniel from the rest of the games, until his situation was better managed. Later that day, a mass text message was sent out to all the soccer parents on the team, which included Estrada. According to the text, a meeting was scheduled for the parents, to discuss the incident that occurred with Daniel, which was highly embarrassing in the eyes of Estrada and Daniel.

After the parent meeting took place, contact was made between Estrada and DASA, the Danville Area Soccer Association, who informed Estrada that a board meeting was held without her, which determined that Daniel was a ‘malicious, unmanaged disabled child’, according to a representative of the board. Their decision resulted in Daniel being kicked out of the league, due to his disability.

“Daniel doesn’t recall the incident at all. I was further told that Daniel cannot come to the sports complex, participate on the sidelines, or even watch his sister practice because of the incident that occurred.” said Estrada. “Then I was told that he can’t even participate in the homecoming parade and simply stand on the float.” she added.

According to the American Disability Act, Title 3, 28 CFR Part 36, public venues cannot take such actions against those with medical issues. Estrada filed complaints with the ADA and also with the IRS, because of the association’s non-profit status. It was later found out that the board meeting that was held, that determined Daniel was banned from the team, included the father of the son who Daniel injured. A petition on change.org was started by Estrada titled, “Let Daniel sit on the sidelines at winter park“. So far the petition has reached over 100 signatures and continues to grow. Estrada now intends on seeking legal representation in this situation.

“He knows he’s unable to play, he just wants access to the sidelines and the ability to watch his sister play.” said Estrada.