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Ukraine ‘playing with fire’ as it clashes with close ally Poland: Live updates on August 3, 2023 at 2:04 am

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Photos and video
showed officials in “war crimes prosecutor” garb picking through devastated buildings, some with wheat tumbling from gashed walls.

     

​ Photos and video
showed officials in “war crimes prosecutor” garb picking through devastated buildings, some with wheat tumbling from gashed walls.
      

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Saudi Arabia Says ‘Thank You, Next’ to the US Dollar

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Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering abandoning the US dollar for oil trade settlements, a move that could shake the foundations of the global financial system. For decades, the petrodollar system has propped up the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, with Saudi Arabia insisting on dollar payments for its vast oil exports.

However, recent comments from Saudi officials hint at exploring alternatives to the dollar amid growing tensions with the US over various geopolitical issues and the rise of economic powerhouses like China.

Implications of a Petrodollar Shift

If Saudi Arabia abandons the petrodollar, the implications could be significant:

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1. Dollar Dominance Eroded: The dollar’s reserve currency status could weaken, potentially leading to a decline in its value.
2. Global Financial Instability: A sudden shift could trigger volatility in global markets as investors adjust portfolios.
3. Geopolitical Realignment: The move could signal Saudi alignment with China and challenge US economic hegemony.

Challenges and Uncertainties

While the prospect is significant, challenges remain:

1. Finding a suitable alternative currency with the dollar’s liquidity and stability.
2. Potential economic disruption for Saudi Arabia and trading partners.
3. Political backlash and strained relations with the US and allies.

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As the world watches, it remains uncertain whether Saudi Arabia’s comments signal a negotiating tactic or a profound shift in the global financial order.

 

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X Opens the Door to Adult Content With New Policy

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X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has made a significant policy shift by officially permitting adult content on its platform with some restrictions and guidelines.

In an update to its rules, X stated that users can now share “consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior” as long as it is properly labeled and not prominently displayed in areas like profile pictures or header images.

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“We recognize that many of our users are adults who want to freely express themselves by sharing legal adult content,” said an X spokesperson. “At the same time, we have a responsibility to protect minors and prevent exposure to explicit material without proper labeling.”

Under the new guidelines, users who “regularly post” adult content must adjust their settings to automatically mark images and videos as sensitive content, which blurs or hides the media by default. By default, users under 18 or who haven’t entered their birth date cannot view this sensitive adult content.

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The policy prohibits content “promoting exploitation, nonconsent, objectification, sexualization or harm to minors, and obscene behaviors.” It applies to all adult content, whether photographic, animated, or AI-generated.

X has stated that it will monitor user-generated content and adjust account settings for those who fail to properly mark pornographic posts. Similar rules and enforcement will apply to violent content as well.

The move aligns X with Apple’s app store guidelines, which allow apps with adult content as long as it is hidden by default and behind proper age gates and content warnings.

While adult content was already present on X, this policy update officially permits and regulates it, aiming to balance freedom of expression for consenting adults with protecting minors from exposure to explicit material.

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However, enforcing these rules consistently may prove challenging for X’s reduced content moderation teams following recent layoffs and cost-cutting measures.

The policy shift has drawn mixed reactions, with some praising X for embracing adult expression while others raise concerns about the potential for the platform to become inundated with pornographic content despite the restrictions.

As X navigates this new territory, the effectiveness of its labeling requirements, age verification measures, and content moderation efforts will be closely watched by users, regulators, and advocacy groups alike.

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Trump’s Conviction Raises Stakes for 2024 Election

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In a stunning fall from grace, Donald Trump has been convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment made to conceal an alleged affair during the 2016 campaign. While Trump has vowed to appeal, the guilty verdict represents an unprecedented legal rebuke of the former president and frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination.

The question now is whether this first-ever criminal conviction of a former U.S. president will derail Trump’s increasingly plausible path back to the White House. The answer likely hinges on a narrow but potentially decisive sliver of persuadable voters in battleground states.

For Trump’s ardent base of supporters, the conviction seems to matter little. They have remained stubbornly loyal through past scandals, impeachments, and investigations. Many have already shrugged off the guilty verdict as an expected outcome from a “witch hunt” prosecution. In their eyes, Trump is the victim of a politicized injustice system rigged against him.

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But for the moderate Republicans, independents, and suburban swing voters who abandoned Trump in 2020, this criminal conviction could prove a bridge too far. The idea of reinstalling a convicted felon in the Oval Office may be unpalatable, even for those underwhelmed by President Biden’s leadership.

Trump’s ability to win back these key voting blocs in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will likely decide if the conviction is a fatal blow or a mere speed bump on his return to power. A small but decisive number of alienated moderates could make the difference in another nail-bitingly close Electoral College finish.

Of course, Trump has repeatedly defied conventional wisdom and political norms throughout his improbable rise. His supporters point to examples like Eugene Debs garnering over 900,000 votes while campaigning from prison in 1920 as proof a conviction does not disqualify a candidate.

And Trump will surely leverage the conviction to his advantage, stoking grievances and portraying himself as a martyr persecuted by the “deep state.” His rallying cry will be that the American people, not corrupt prosecutors, should decide his political fate.

Ultimately, the impact of Trump’s conviction may come down to the sentencing and outcome of appeals. A lengthy prison term would be a near-impossible hurdle. But if he avoids incarceration, the stain of being a convicted felon on the campaign trail is a heavy burden.

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In a nation deeply divided over Trump’s legacy, voters in 2024 will judge whether his norm-shattering presidency warrants a norm-shattering return to power as a convicted criminal defendant. The stakes for American democracy have never been higher.

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