Turkey has reportedly begun testing their new Russian made S-400 anti-aircraft systems to much consternation from the USG (archived). USG relations with their NATO ally Turkey have been eroding for some time. Turkey was ejected from the USG and Israel lead F-35 program for finding relatively inexpensive Russian made missiles to be a better value than gravely expensive jets with dubious stealth performance.
Following Luis Lacalle Pou's narrow ballot victory tonight in counted votes, the Uruguayan electoral court is refusing to declare a winner in the election until the ballot envelopes set aside as "observed" are opened on Tuesday and the parties are given an opportunity to dispute the intention behind votes counted as anulled. With Luis's margin of victory just under the number of votes set aside as "observed", the Frente Amplio candidate theoretically has a chance to win if he seizes nearly all of the "observed" votes.
In the October election the Frente Amplio only won 30% of the "observed" ballots, a figure notably below the 39% in normal balloting when they lost the legislature. Observed votes are typically cast by disabled older, conservative voters requiring assistance to place their voting sheet in their balloting envelope.
The observed votes are further dwarfed by votes determined to be blank or anulled during the initial count leaving the possibility Uruguay gets to experience the extended uncertainty that gripped the US during the 2000 "hanging chad" controvery. In several circuits there were complaints of voting sheets for Luis Lacalle Pou's National Party in several circuits having been discretely marked in ways that would lead them to being anulled under Uruguay's strict anti-vote buying rules (archived).
By all measures Luis Lacalle Pou appears to have won the Presidential election today and counting observed and disputably anulled ballots should serve only to increase his margin of victory, but the space exists for Uruguay's left to steal the Presidency. Frente Amplio candidate Daniel Martínez just now got on stage and refused to concede the Presidential race to Luis Lacalle Pou's superior number of votes.
Last night a bus belonging to Uruguay's Armada Nacional transporting sailors assigned to secure ballot boxes during today's Presidential balloting was attacked by stone throwing militants of the Electronic Dance Movement outside the Parador Kibón Avanza in Pocitos (archived). Five sailors were wounded.
A similar gathering of Electronic Dance Militants preceded the first round of balloting in October. During both gatherings, little actual dancing was observed as attendees were more inclined to sway back and forth while occasionally bobbing their heads. The crowd stretched from the Pocitos bus terminal to the intersection of the Rambla Pte. Charles De Gaulle and Rambla Republica de Peru, a stretch where local youth normally gather most nights to blast cumbia music and pray some girls show up. Occasionally these prayers appear to receive ansers.
Nationalist candidate Luis Lacalle Pou is expected to win today's ballot by a margin of 5 to 11 percent over Frente Amplio candidate Daniel Martínez of the Socialist Party.
The USG's FCC has decided to disallow new purchases of network gear made by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE by recipients of "Universal Service Fund" subsidies though they have not yet made any firm decisions on whether recipients of these subsidies will be compelled to rip out any existing network gear (archived). The Universal Service fund was nominally established to encourage building telecom infrastructure in rural areas, but in practice it more frequently places ObamaPhones into the hands of the urban poor.
Efforts by the USG to engage in an actual trade war with China have been substantially hampered by US dependence on Chinese industry, particularly in propping up the illusion of the US having its own technology sector. So far the only major casualty on the Chinese side has been kidnapped Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
The United Queendom has let a UN deadline to surrender control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius pass after the UN International Court of Justice ruled Lizzy's continued occupation of the islands illegal. The UN General Assembly approved the dealine to vacate with a 116 to 6 vote (archived). Mauritius was compelled to trade the islands for their independence back in 1965, the 13th year Liz wore the crown.
Lizzie began renting out the largest island in the group, Diego Garcia, for USG use as an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean a mere 3 years later. Construction on the island to carrier conversion was delayed 4 years in order for depopulation efforts to rid the island of its previous inhabitants.
A legacy publication this week ran a letter to their editor allegedly composed by Captain Elle Ekman, a US Marine Corps logistics officer (archived). The letter's author relates some illustrative anecdotes showing the USG's preference for complicating logistics and letting expensively bought tooling rot in order to maximize their payments to contractors. The letter opens with:
A few years ago, I was standing in a South Korean field, knee deep in mud, incredulously asking one of my maintenance Marines to tell me again why he couldn’t fix a broken generator. We needed the generator to support training with the United States Army and South Korean military, and I was generally unaccustomed to hearing anyone in the Marine Corps give excuses for not effectively getting a job done. I was stunned when his frustrated reply was, "Because of the warranty, ma’am."
After a brief, forgetable foray into her local Pantsuit politics to pass the legacy editorial gatekeepers, she returns to reporting on the USG's entirely chosen sadness:
Besides the broken generator in South Korea, I remembered working at a maintenance unit in Okinawa, Japan, watching as engines were packed up and shipped back to contractors in the United States for repairs because "that’s what the contract says." The process took months.
With every engine sent back, Marines lost the opportunity to practice the skills they might need one day on the battlefield, where contractor support is inordinately expensive, unreliable or nonexistent.
I also recalled how Marines have the ability to manufacture parts using water-jets, lathes and milling machines (as well as newer 3-D printers), but that these tools often sit idle in maintenance bays alongside broken-down military equipment. Although parts from the manufacturer aren’t available to repair the equipment, we aren’t allowed to make the parts ourselves "due to specifications."
How pervasive is this issue for the most powerful[sic] military in the world? And what does it mean for a military that is expected to operate in the most austere and hostile environments to not possess the experience, training or tools to fix its own very technical equipment?
All signs point to these issues being incredibly pervasive, and it means that they can't be expected to operate per their own allies' observations in the field.
Old Lizzie has decided to suspend Price Andrew's public duties following the Duke of York's poor optics in reponding to questions about his friendship with the late Jeffery Epstein (archived). The Duke's public fumblings occurred after he agreed to an interview by British state Broadcaster BBC without first getting permission from Liz.
Meanwhile two guards at the prison where Jeffery Epstein's life ended have been charged with conspiracy and forging records for carrying out their jobs with all the intensity that can be expected out of government charges sitting in undemanding sinecures. Albeit these particular sinecures happen to exist in an environment labeled "high security" per USG in universe conventions (archived).
With the US higher education bubble bursting, a group of small colleges have managed to bully a firm to abandon the release of a report damning their dismal situations (archived). The report was going to project how many years of operation are left across 946 private US colleges in order to assist parents and prospective students weight the risk of school closure in their higher education decisions.
The firm which calls itself "Edmit" offers an "online advising" tool, and they folded on their planned release of the data after allegedly receiving a note from a lawyer swearing anything suggesting the school he represents faces the prospect of near term closure is false. Never mind the increasingly poor alumni networks alienated by the insanity their alma maters sell combine to make any particular school's chance of pulling of a heroic fundraising effort very unlikely.
Denial will continue until closures actually happen.
Intel has decided to burn its former "we support our products forever" marketing point by announcing they will pull firmware update downloads for "end of life" products from their website (archived). Their "being fast" selling point started to collapse back in January 2018. The reason why they lost their being fast selling point keeps them from presenting themselves as a "safe" choice. All they have left is their large existing install base of defective products.
Sergiy Usatyuk of Orland Park, Illinois was hit with 13 months in prison by a North Carolina based US Circuit Court for operating the "Exostresser" DDoS for hire service in partnership with a unknown "Canadian" (archived). The 21 year old plead guilty to running the service between August 2015 and November 2017. In addition to the 13 months of incarceration, Usatyuk will enjoy 3 years of supervised release and an order to forfeit 542,925 USD.