Americans Could See Grocery Store Prices Skyrocket Even Higher: Report

Food prices in the U.S. may get worse in the coming months as European Union countries predict a dismal wheat harvest on top of the loss in Ukraine’s wheat exports, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The EU may produce 5% less wheat than 2021 because of dry weather, agriculture consulting firm Strategie Grains told the WSJ.

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‘Like a Roller Coaster’: Natural Gas Prices Surge, Inventories Drained Following Biden’s EU Deal

U.S. natural gas prices have skyrocketed nearly 150% this year while inventory levels have shrunk, signaling more consumer pain ahead of the summer season.

The Henry Hub natural gas spot price, an indicator of nationwide prices, stormed past $9.30 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) Thursday, up from its early January price of $3.74 per MMBtu and the highest level since 2008, according to government data. U.S. natural gas inventories have been drained in recent months, declining 17.6% year-over-year and down 15.3% relative to their 2017-2021 average, additional data released Thursday showed.

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Report: The EU Would Rather Buy Putin’s Oil Than See Le Pen Win France’s Presidency

The European Union has delayed its much-anticipated ban on Russian oil imports to give French President Emmanuel Macron a better chance of winning reelection, The New York Times reported.

The EU embargo, which leaders have reportedly debated behind closed doors for over a month and are currently drafting, is expected after April 24, the date of the second and final round of France’s presidential election, European officials told the NYT. European leaders want to ensure right-wing populist candidate Marine Le Pen isn’t given a polling advantage when gasoline prices rise following a ban announcement, the officials said.

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‘Shortfall’: Trump Energy Secretary Casts Doubt on Biden Gas Deal with the European Union

Dan Brouillette

Former Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette suggested that President Joe Biden’s recent gas deal with the European Union (EU) wouldn’t be enough to help the continent wean itself off Russian energy.

Brouillette — who served as deputy energy secretary between 2017-2019 and energy secretary between 2019-2021 — noted that the U.S. wouldn’t be able to fill the gap left by Russian energy during an interview with CNBC on Monday. He added that the EU cannot expect to consume less total energy as part of its plan to ditch Russian gas.

“Frankly, I’m not quite sure that everyone can make up that shortfall,” said Brouillette, according to CNBC. “That’s an enormous amount of gas.”

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‘Reducing Europe’s Dependency’: Biden Strikes Deal to Boost Gas Exports to Europe

President Joe Biden and his European counterparts struck a deal Friday to send more U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union amid the ongoing global supply crunch.

The U.S. and European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, will form a joint task force with representation from both sides under the deal announced by Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Friday. The task force will seek to increase energy security for the EU and Ukraine in the run-up to next winter and the following winter while working to end European dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

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NATO Countries Given ‘Green Light’ to Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine, Blinken Says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that NATO member countries have a “green light” to send fighter jets as military aid to Ukraine.

The United States is reportedly in talks with Poland to send U.S. planes to replace any Soviet-era fighter jets that Warsaw sends to Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Sending planes to Ukraine “gets a green light,” Blinken told CBS News on Sunday.

“In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs, if, in fact, they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians,” he said. “What can we do? How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they’re handing over to the Ukrainians? We’re in very active discussions with them about that.”

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EU Health Regulators, WHO Advise Against Repeated COVID Booster Shots

The World Health Organization and the European Union regulators are advising against repeated COVID-19 vaccine boosters amid overwhelming data that indicate they are ineffective at stopping the COVID variants.

On Tuesday, EU regulators admitted that repeated shots may not be feasible, and the WHO declared that a booster strategy is “unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.”

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‘He Knew How to Fight’: European Parliament President Dies at 65

David Sassoli, president of the European Union’s parliament, died in a hospital on Tuesday at the age of 65 after months of poor health, the Associated Press reported.

Sassoli, a socialist and former Italian journalist, had been hospitalized since late December 2021 due to abnormal immune system functioning, his spokesperson said, the AP reported. He had been struggling with poor health since he became ill with pneumonia due to the legionella bacteria in September.

European Council President Charles Michel said Sassoli was a “sincere and passionate European. We already miss his human warmth, his generosity, his friendliness and his smile,” the AP reported.

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Pfizer’s Comirnaty Available Abroad, Not in U.S.

New York-based Pfizer has sold and shipped hundreds of millions of doses of its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to the European Union (EU) despite saying last week that it is not being shipped in the United States. 

“Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced they will supply an additional 100 million doses of COMIRNATY®, the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine, to the 27 European Union (EU) member states in 2021,” Pfizer said in an April press release. “This announcement is a result of the European Commission’s (EC) decision to exercise its option to purchase an additional 100 million doses under its expanded Advanced Purchase Agreement signed on February 17, 2021. This brings the total number of doses to be delivered to the EU to 600 million.”

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Commentary: The Russia-Ukraine Crisis, the History Our Media Got Wrong

Russia’s looming invasion of Ukraine presents a clear and present danger to the safety of the European Union and a direct challenge to the NATO alliance, but only now are our major media waking up to this dire threat to Western security. We must now confront urgent questions: Did the United States strengthen Russia, did it weaken Ukraine, and did it do so under the nose of these media?

First, a quick run-through of American actions that strengthened Russia. In his 2009 inaugural address, Barack Obama promised to approach adversaries with an open hand, not a closed fist. For this, he won a Nobel Peace Prize, an oxymoronic name, equivalent to the Affordable Care Act.

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European Efforts to Purge ‘Christmas’ from Seasonal Lexicon Meet Resistance

Moves by officials in the EU and U.K. to cleanse the insufficiently inclusive term “Christmas” from holiday season nomenclature are meeting resistance amid signs that authorities may be backtracking from a sweeping top-down campaign to weed out speech rooted in traditional Western usage that could be construed as insensitive to minorities.

In the European Union, an internal document by EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, first reported on by Italian daily Il Giornale, recommends that expressions that are offensive to minorities or “aren’t inclusive enough” — including “Christmas” — shouldn’t be used ahead of the Christmas season.

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European Union LGBT Ambassador Does Photoshoot as Trans Virgin Mary

Riccardo Simonetti, LGBT ambassador to the European Union Parliament, dressed as a transgender Virgin Mary for the cover of a Berlin-based queer magazine.

The photos show a bearded Simonetti in a tunic and veil, holding a baby who is presumably representing Jesus. In another photo he is holding the baby with another man, who appears to represent Joseph, wrapping his arms around Simonetti.

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Thousands of Migrants Stuck in Between Belarus and Poland as Tensions Flare

Thousands of migrants are stranded at the Belarus-Poland border, with Belarus and Russia performing military demonstrations amid rising tensions in the region, CNN reported Friday.

Up to 2,000 people are trapped between Poland and Belarus, enduring hunger and hypothermia in the freezing forests and camps along the border, CNN reported. The number of migrants at the border has the potential to grow to 10,000 people in the near future if the situation doesn’t change, according to Belarusian authorities.

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Google Loses Antitrust Legal Battle, $2.8 Billion Fine Upheld

The European Union (EU) General Court upheld a ruling Wednesday that Google violated EU antitrust law by preferencing its own shopping service in search results.

The European Commission, the EU’s top regulator, ruled in 2017 that Google’s practice of prioritizing its online marketplace in its search results was anti-competitive, slapping the tech giant with a roughly $2.8 billion fine. Google appealed the decision, but the EU General Court, the second-highest court in the continent, upheld the ruling Wednesday.

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Commentary: America Gone Mad

After three weeks in Europe and extensive discussions with dozens of well-informed and highly placed individuals from most of the principal Western European countries, including leading members of the British government, I have the unpleasant duty of reporting complete incomprehension and incredulity at what Joe Biden and his collaborators encapsulate in the peppy but misleading phrase, “We’re back.”

As one eminent elected British government official put it, “They are not back in any conventional sense of that word. We have worked closely with the Americans for many decades and we have never seen such a shambles of incompetent administration, diplomatic incoherence, and complete military ineptitude as we have seen in these nine months. We were startled by Trump, but he clearly knew what he was doing, whatever we or anyone else thought about it. This is just a disintegration of the authority of a great nation for no apparent reason.”

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European Union Health Agencies See ‘No Urgent Need’ for COVID-19 Boosters Among Fully Vaccinated

The two leading European health agencies determined Thursday that COVID-19 booster shots are not necessary for fully vaccinated individuals who do not have compromised immune systems.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Medicines Agency issued a statement saying the current priority should be vaccinating all eligible individuals. Booster shots should be considered only for those with compromised immune systems.

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Facebook’s WhatsApp Hit with $265 Million Fine for Violating Personal Data Laws

European Union regulators imposed a $265 million fine on Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp on Thursday for failing to adequately inform consumers what it did with their data.

The fine, issued by the Data Protection Commission (DPC), related to WhatsApp’s failure to provide consumers with certain information about how it shared their personal data with other Facebook-owned companies, according to the agency’s announcement. This omission by WhatsApp violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s data protection and privacy law governing how tech companies collect and share user information.

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