The Chicago Journal

Craft Cannabis Growers in Illinois Receive License Extension

Craft cannabis growers in Illinois have received a much-needed extension to their cultivation license. With the extension, the growers can continue cultivating and providing their products to the market, which is a significant relief for the industry.

Cannabis Legalization in Illinois 

Illinois legalized adult-use cannabis in January 2020, and the state created a licensing system for growers, processors, and dispensaries. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is responsible for regulating the cultivation of cannabis in the state. However, the licensing process has been slow, and some growers have not received their licenses yet.

In addition to the slow licensing process, the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the industry. Many cultivators have been unable to sell their products due to decreased demand and the closure of dispensaries. This has led to financial difficulties for many growers, particularly small businesses.

Extension of License

The original deadline for those with craft grow licenses to start their businesses was March 1. Now, the new deadline for the first round of license holders is February 1, 2024, and for the second round, December 1, 2024. While there are still difficulties related to funding, the extension will allow growers to continue cultivating and selling their products while they wait for their licenses to be approved.

The extension applies to craft growers who have submitted a complete application for a cultivation license and have not received a license or a notice of deficiency from the IDOA. The extension provides growers with a 120-day grace period, during which they can continue to cultivate and sell their products.

The extension is a welcome relief for many growers struggling to stay afloat. It gives them a lifeline to continue operating their businesses while waiting for their licenses to be approved. The extension also helps to ensure that the supply of cannabis products in the state remains stable.

Impact of the Extension

The extension is expected to have a positive impact on the craft cannabis industry in Illinois. It will give growers the financial support they need to continue operating their businesses and keep their employees on the payroll. The extension will also help to maintain the supply of cannabis products in the state, which is essential for patients who rely on medical cannabis.

The extension is also expected to encourage more growers to enter the industry. With the extension in place, growers can be confident that they can continue cultivating and selling their products, even if their licenses are delayed. This may lead to increased competition in the industry, which could result in lower consumer prices.

Challenges for the Cannabis Growers Industry

Although the extension is a positive development for the industry, growers still face challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the slow licensing process. Many growers have been waiting for months to receive their licenses, which has caused financial difficulties for small businesses.

Another challenge is the lack of access to banking services. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, many banks hesitate to provide services to cannabis businesses. This makes it difficult for growers to access loans and other financial services, hindering their ability to grow and expand their businesses.


The extension of the cultivation licenses for craft cannabis growers in Illinois is a significant development for the industry. It provides growers with the financial support they need to continue operating their businesses and helps to maintain the supply of cannabis products in the state. However, there are still challenges that growers face, including the slow licensing process and the lack of access to banking services. Addressing these challenges will be essential for the long-term success of the industry.

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Hyperarch Fascia Training: Disrupting Sports Performance and Recovery with Coach Chong Xie

Coach Chong Xie with Dr. Robert Schleip

As athletes and sports enthusiasts are constantly seeking new ways to enhance their performance and accelerate their recovery, Coach Chong Xie has emerged as a leading expert in accelerating recovery for athletes and non-athletes alike, a groundbreaking approach that is slowly disrupting the world of sports.

Fascia, a tissue that connects muscles, bones, and organs, plays a crucial role in athletic performance and recovery. This facet of the body is often overlooked in the world of mainstream sports and training programs, including recovery arrangements that are often designed to be a one-size-fits-all approach and may not be best suited for every athlete.

Coach Chong Xie has been at the forefront of this emerging field, developing and refining his own unique approach to Hyperarch Fascia Training. Through his work with professional athletes and amateurs, he has helped many achieve remarkable results, including faster recovery times, improved performance, and reduced pain and inflammation.

Understanding the need for a simplified, yet in-depth approach to athletic recovery, Coach Chong Xie has developed a specialized method of training, Hyperarch Fascia Training. Coach Chong Xie is a pioneer and leading expert in fascia-focused training. His training methods prioritize precision in movements, mental focus and visualization.  Trained athletes perform at their best while recovering at an accelerated pace. Zhang Weili, the 2x UFC Champion in the strawweight division, was an early adopter in this type of training. 

The personalized fascia adhesion tracking system is critical in understanding the physical state of an athlete, and through Coach Chong Xie’s one-on-one coaching, assessment is given and data is measured on a weekly basis to understand the progression of the athlete.
Chong Xie
This approach has proven to be especially effective in helping athletes with chronic injuries, as well as improving overall performance and recovery. In fact, many professional athletes have credited Hyperarch Fascia Training and Coach Chong with helping them get over injury cycles and achieve new heights in their respective sports.

At the Fascia Research Congress in Canada, leading experts in the field of fascia research gathered together to share research data and collaborate on their findings[1]. As a sponsor, Hyperarch Fascia Training had the opportunity to showcase its innovative approach and discuss and debate different approaches with other experts in the field.
Chong Xie
Coach Xie’s involvement in the Fascia Research Congress is a testament to his expertise and dedication to the field. He is committed to staying on the cutting edge of fascia research and incorporating the latest findings into his training methods. With Hyperarch Fascia Training and Coach Xie at the helm, we can expect to see continued results from their personalized fascia training programs for athletes of all levels.

It’s clear that Hyperarch Fascia Training is changing the game in sports performance and recovery. Its fascia-focused approach, spearheaded by Coach Chong Xie[2], has not only helped many athletes bounce back from chronic injuries but also provided a holistic approach to athletic development.  With continued research and training, we can expect to see even more breakthroughs in fascia-focused training in the years to come.

1.”Critical Evaluation: Science – Translation – Practice”

  1. Hyperarch Fascia Training –

Chicago mayoral race debate was heated

Chicago The mayoral candidates in Chicago sparred on Thursday night in a televised debate ahead of the April 4 runoff.

This is the latest big-city mayoral election to put people’ perspectives on crime and policing to the test.

Paul Vallas accused opponent Brandon Johnson of supporting the “defund the police” movement.

Nevertheless, Johnson, a lefty, criticized Vallas’ attempts to expand police officer recruitment as slow and ineffective.

The two mayoral contenders have said that they are Democrats competing in a nonpartisan election.

They advanced to the runoff when incumbent Lori Lightfoot lost her reelection campaign after finishing third in the February 28 primary.

The candidates

Chicago is a Democratic stronghold, with 83% of residents backing President Joseph Biden in the 2020 presidential race.

Johnson and Vallas, although professing to be members of the same party, are on opposing sides of the party’s schism on police problems.

The more conservative candidate is Paul Vallas, a former public school administrator who has the backing of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.

His campaign revolves around being pro-police and tough on crime.

Vallas vowed to lower the number of municipal police officers while boosting the number of policemen stationed on CTA buses and trains.

Brandon Johnson is a progressive Cook County commissioner who has the backing of the Chicago Teachers Union.

While Johnson has periodically backed the “defund the cops” movement, he has maintained that he would not cut police spending.

Instead, he plans to boost his investments in underserved areas.

The debate

Johnson and Vallas sparred verbally at the mayoral candidate discussion on ABC 7 on Thursday.

Johnson’s prior remarks, in which he broadly favored diverting taxpayer money away from enforcement and toward community-based projects, were brought up by Vallas.

“I’m not going to defund the police, and you know that. You know that,” Johnson responded.

“I have passed multi-billion dollar budgets, over and over again.”

Brandon Johnson went on to announce that he will recruit 200 extra detectives to assist in the investigation of more serious offenses.

He also indicated that he will strive to prevent gun violence by enforcing stronger “red flag” legislation.

Red flag laws allow judges to temporarily seize firearms from those who are judged dangerous to themselves or others.

“The best way to engender confidence in public safety, you’ve got to catch people,” said Johnson.

Similarly, Paul Vallas vowed to quickly fill thousands of police posts.

He intends to station officers in communities and on public transit once the jobs are filled.

“There is no substitute for returning to community-based policing,” said Vallas.

“You can’t have confidence in the safety of public transportation when there are no police officers at the platforms and police officers at the stations.”

As violence in Chicago rose between 2020 and 2021, the mayoral election in Chicago has become increasingly focused on crime.

Shootings and killings have fallen, but other crimes have grown, according to the Chicago Police Department’s 2022 year-end report.

  • Burglaries
  • Car-jacking
  • Robberies
  • Theft

Read also: Lori Lightfoot fails to advance mayoral reelection

A turn in the race

Paul Vallas stood above the fray in the prior discussion, while Brandon Johnson went on the offensive.

Everything changed on Thursday night when Vallas launched an all-out assault in the opening few minutes of the debate, changing the race into a contender with only three debates and three candidate forums remaining.

Vallas attacked Johnson’s proposal to boost hotel and airline fuel taxes, as well as a $4-per-head corporation tax and a higher sales tax on high-end real estate.

Brandon Johnson stated that Vallas is seeking increased spending on public safety without explaining how he intends to fund it.

“You can’t run a multi-billion dollar budget off of bake sales,” he said.

Vallas then chastised Johnson’s participation in school closures.

Brandon Johnson is a teacher who has openly clashed with Lori Lightfoot on the reintroduction of in-person classes.

According to Vallas, 15 months of closures is not an investment in people.

Johnson said that Paul Vallas was making a Republican argument by condemning school closures due to the epidemic.

“That’s a part of your party,” he said.

Johnson attempted to paint Vallas as being too conservative for the blue metropolis.


President Joseph Biden, Illinois Senators Dick Turbin and Tammy Duckworth, and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker all declined to participate in the runoff.

Nonetheless, other national voices have endorsed Brandon Johnson, including:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Jim Clyburn

Johnson, according to Sanders, has been a champion for Chicago’s working families.

Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Chicago County Board, also supported Johnson.

But, city alderman and former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has endorsed Paul Vallas.

Mike Pence joins Trump and Biden in holding documents

Mike Pence: Over a dozen pieces of classified documents were discovered at the former vice president’s Indiana home last week by a lawyer working on his behalf.

People familiar with the matter claim that the attorney gave the FBI the papers.

Since then, the National Security Division of the Justice Department and the FBI have taken it upon themselves to review the information.

They are also looking into how the files ended up at Mike Pence’s house in Indiana.

The news

The classified papers were found at Pence’s Carmel, Indiana, residence.

It comes after the discovery of confidential documents in President Joe Biden’s residence and office.

Mike Pence argued strenuously that he possessed any classified data before the information was discovered.

The contents of the documents and their level of confidentiality are not yet disclosed.

When Pence’s staff heard about the documents on Tuesday night, they immediately informed the appropriate congressional leaders and committees.

Out of a sense of prudence, the former vice president requested that his lawyer, who was familiar with confidential information, visit his home.

Lawyer Matt Morgan allegedly found a few papers marked “classified” last week while going through four boxes at Pence’s house.

They advised the National Archives of their discoveries, who subsequently informed the Justice Department.

The pickup

When the FBI sought to relocate the records that evening, Mike Pence reportedly consented, according to his attorney.

On Monday, his legal team returned the boxes to Washington, DC, and gave them to the Archives for examination in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.

According to a letter by Greg Jacob, Mike Pence’s representative at the Archives, a small collection of documents were unintentionally packaged and shipped to Pence’s residence.

“Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” wrote Jacobs.

“Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”

The boxes

According to sources, Pence’s temporary house in Virginia is where the packages holding the sensitive documents were held before being shipped to Indiana.

The boxes were taped, even though they weren’t kept in a safe place.

According to Pence’s attorney, there was no sign that the things had been opened.

The documents were kept in a safe inside the residence when they were discovered.

The former Vice President’s advocacy organization’s Washington, DC, headquarters, according to the lawyer, are the subject of an investigation.

However, no additional records could be found.

Read also: Kevin McCarthy still short of votes to become speaker

Biden and Trump

The investigation on Joe Biden and Donald Trump was the same that resulted in the revelation of Mike Pence’s possession of sensitive documents.

Rumors that he is getting ready to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 coincide with the statement.

In August 2022, the FBI filed a search warrant and examined Trump’s Florida home.

Vice President Mike Pence asserted that he didn’t have any classified information at that time.

“No, not to my knowledge,” said Pence.

He was again questioned about whether or not he had carried any documents home in November.

He claimed not to have.

“Well, there’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area,” Pence explained.

“But I will tell you that I believe there had to be many better ways to resolve that issue than executive a search warrant at the personal residence of a former president of the United States.”

VP residence and White House boxes

When Mike Pence declared his departure as vice president, the process was drawn out.

They went through every single Presidential Records Act-covered document, both classified and unclassified, and turned it in.

The procedure was avoided since the vast bulk of the papers and Pence’s personal files were located apart from his home.

He maintains a secure area at his home near the US Naval Observatory in Washington where he processes sensitive information.

As the Trump administration drew to a close, some boxes at the Indiana residence were packed from the vice president’s residence, while others arrived from the White House.

Effect on Biden situation

The documents discovered at Mike Pence’s residence mark the third instance of a president or vice president hoarding classified material inappropriately after leaving office.

The mishandling of classified documents by Biden and Trump is currently under investigation by special counsels.

A source claims that Pence’s most recent discoveries point to a structural issue with the Presidential Records Act and classified materials.

The FBI searched Biden’s Wilmington home on Friday in search of further important documents..

When Biden’s attorneys discovered classified info in his private office in November 2022, they conducted the search.

The defense team for Biden highlighted that they are working with the Justice Department and attempting to distinguish their client’s position from that of Trump.

The news from Tuesday is good for Biden’s allies and government officials.

“It turns down the temperature on this being a Biden-only story,” said one official.

They expressed anticipation that the Mike Pence records would show that Biden’s staffers weren’t the only ones to improperly pack sensitive information.

Russian aircraft collides with US drone over Black Sea Tuesday

Russian aircraftAccording to the US military, a Russian aircraft shot down a US Air Force drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday.

The propeller on the American MQ-9 Reaper drone was damaged before it was taken down by the Russian aircraft.

What happened?

On Tuesday, the US European Command announced that the Reaper drone was joined over international waters by two Russian Su-27 jets.

Later, over the Black Sea, one plane purposefully flew in front of the unmanned Reaper drone, throwing gasoline on it many times.

Once the Russian aircraft impacted with the drone’s propeller, the US military was forced to land the Reaper drone in international waters.

The Russian aircraft flew in the region of the drone for 30 to 40 minutes before striking it just after 7 a.m. CET, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder.

CET stands for Central European Time.

General James B. Hecker, commander of the United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa, released the following statement:

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9.”

“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”


The incident is the first direct physical contact between a US military jet and a Russian aircraft since Moscow invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

The incident is anticipated to aggravate relations between the two countries.

Russia’s actions have been branded as “reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional” by the US.

Russia’s envoy to the US, Anatoly Antonov, claimed that Moscow does not desire a fight with the US.

He was summoned to the State Department after the drone was shot down, where he stated:

“We prefer not to create a situation where we can face unintended clashes or unintended incidents between the Russian Federation and the United States.”

Read also: Kupiansk residents unmovable in the face of the Russian war

Breaking down the incident

According to Assistant Secretary Karen Donfried, Anatoly Antonov was inside the State Department for more than 30 minutes.

He appeared to be communicating US concerns about the issue, exchanging words about it despite their disagreements.

“It seems to me that it was a constructive conversation on this issue,” said Antonov.

“I have heard her remarks, I hope that she has understood what I have mentioned.”

Antonov also said that Russia informed him about the area, which he characterized as a zone for special military operations.

“We have warned not to enter, not to penetrate,” he explained, asking what the US would have done if a Russian drone flew close to New York or San Francisco.

Anatoly Antonov reiterated the Russian Ministry of Defense’s denial of the occurrence.

They denied that the Russian aircraft crashed with the drone in a statement released on Tuesday.

The aircraft was scrambled to identify the flying item after it was seen over the Black Sea, according to the statement.

They went on to say that the drone took off unguided and lost height.

“The drone flew with its transponders off,” explained the ministry.

“Violating the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, communicated to all users of international airspace, and published in accordance with international standards.”


National security advisor Jake Sullivan briefed President Joseph Biden on Tuesday morning, according to National Security Council communications coordinator John Kirby.

According to Patrick Ryder, Defense Department officials have yet to discuss the episode with Russian authorities.

According to Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, the US has spoken at high levels with allies and partners, informing them of what has happened.

He claimed that the US was unable to remark on the Russians’ intentions with the moves.

In the end, what happened matters less than what was planned.

Yet, Kirby noted that Russian aircraft encountering US planes over the Black Sea was not unusual, and that prior contacts had occurred in recent weeks.

He did, however, say that the Tuesday episode was exceptional since Russia’s activities were “unsafe, unprofessional, and dangerous.”

According to Ryder, the US Military Department is attempting to declassify images from the event.

He also stated that the Russians had not been able to recover the downed drone.

In addition, John Kirby indicated that the US took procedures to protect interests in respect to the drone.

“We obviously don’t want to see anybody getting their hands on it beyond us,” he said.

Kirby went on to say that the US disputes Russia’s statement and that people should take what they say about what’s going on in and around Ukraine with a dose of caution.


US and Russian aircraft flew over the Black Sea throughout the Ukraine conflict.

Yet, the Tuesday gathering is a one-of-a-kind meeting that might blossom at a critical moment in the struggle.

Before the clash, the United States utilized Reaper drones to monitor the Black Sea.

According to the Air Force, Reaper drones can fly as high as 50,000 feet.

Drones have sensors as well as the capacity to collect intelligence and conduct long-term surveillance.

Credit Suisse’s dropped shares prompts acceptance of loan offer

Credit SuisseAnother big issue has developed following the failure of Silicon Valley Bank last week.

The Swiss National Bank announced its willingness to lend money to Credit Suisse in a letter.

Hours later, the megabank accepted the offer in order to persuade investors that it had enough money to be sustainable.

The news

Credit Suisse received a 50 billion Swiss franc ($53.7 billion) loan from the Swiss National Bank.

Investors in the collapsed megabank decreased their stakes by 30% on Wednesday.

The loan was made with the purpose of progressively expanding liquidity, according to Credit Suisse.

They released the formal statement below:

“This additional liquidity would support Credit Suisse’s core businesses and clients as Credit Suisse takes the necessary steps to create a simpler and more focused bank built around client needs.”

In addition to the central bank loan, Credit Suisse indicated that it repurchased billions of dollars in debt in order to reduce commitments and interest payments.

The financing package includes $2.5 billion in American bonds and €500 million (or $529 million) in euro bonds.

The bank

Credit Suisse, founded in 1856, is usually regarded as one of the most powerful financial institutions.

It is one of 30 companies certified as a “globally systemically significant bank,” including Bank of America, Bank of China, and JP Morgan Chase.

Asian equities fell significantly early Thursday.

They have rebounded from the lows brought about by Credit Suisse’s actions thus far, encouraged by the bank’s tenacity and commitment to repair public trust.

According to a joint statement published early Wednesday by the Swiss National Bank and Swiss financial market regulator FINMA, Credit Suisse met the strict capital and liquidity standards for banks critical to the broader financial system.

“If necessary, the SNB will provide CS with liquidity,” the statement said.

SVB’s impact

With the demise of Silicon Valley Bank in the United States late last week, investors were on alert.

Investors then dumped Credit Suisse stock, driving the bank to a new low as its largest shareholder appeared to rule out further investment.

According to Swiss officials, the issues of “certain” US banks do not pose an urgent risk to Swiss financial markets.

“There are no indications of a direct risk of contagion for Swiss institutions due to the current turmoil in the US banking market,” the authorities said.

No stake increase

After a capital increase in October, the Saudi National Bank has become Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder.

On Wednesday, Saudi National Bank Chairman Ammar Al Khudairy announced that the bank’s stake will not be raised.

“The answer is absolutely not, for many reasons,” said Al Khudairy. “I’ll cite the simplest reason, which is regulatory and statutory.”

“We now own 9.8% of the bank – if we go above 10% all kinds of new rules kick in, whether it be by our regulator or the European regulator or the Swiss regulator.”

“We’re not inclined to get into a new regulatory regime.”

Read also: Bank stocks become priority after fears of recession

What happened?

Credit Suisse was a big Wall Street participant prior to recent blunders and compliance issues.

As a result of the errors, the bank’s image among clients plummeted, and many key employees were let go.

In the fourth quarter of 2022, customers withdrew 123 billion Swiss francs ($133 billion) from the bank.

Credit Suisse later revealed a net loss of around 7.3 billion Swiss francs ($7.9 billion), signaling that the corporation was experiencing its greatest financial crisis since 2008.

In October, the bank announced a drastic reorganization plan that would result in the loss of 9,000 full-time employment.

Within its investment bank, the proposal also includes a wealth management branch.

Others questioned the restructuring, with the exception of Al Khudairy, who stated that the bank did not need any more cash.

Credit Suisse may not have enough capital to bear losses in 2023, according to Morningstar banking analyst Johann Scholtz, as funding costs rise.

“To stem client outflows and ease the concern of providers of wholesale funding, we believe Credit Suisse needs another rights [share] issue,” said Scholtz.

“We believe the alternative would be a break-up… with the healthy business – the Swiss bank, asset management, and wealth management and possibly some parts of the investment banking business – being sold off or separately listed.”


S&P Global Market Intelligence reported that the bank’s shares plunged 24% in Zurich on Wednesday.

In addition, they stated that the cost of getting credit Suisse default insurance had reached an all-time high.

The downturn expanded to other European financial equities, producing issues for some of the following banks in France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, among others.

  • BNP Paribas
  • Societe Generale
  • Commerzbank
  • Deutsche Bank

The stock is down 8% to 12%.

Regardless of Credit Suisse’s problems, its assets of around 530 billion Swiss francs ($573 billion) pose a higher risk.

Andrew Kenningham, Capital Economics’ chief European economist, wrote:

“[Credit Suisse] is much more globally interconnected, with multiple subsidiaries outside Switzerland, including in the US. Credit Suisse is not just a Swiss problem but a global one.”

More problems

Despite its many problems, the Swiss bank is still being investigated.

On Tuesday, Credit Suisse suspended top executive pay after admitting to “serious errors” in financial reporting.

According to the bank’s annual report, the group’s internal control over financial reporting was deficient owing to a failure to anticipate potential risks to financial statements.

The bank is putting together a regulatory tightening plan.

Kupiansk residents unmovable in the face of the Russian war

Kupiansk Russia’s devastation and invasion of Ukraine began over a year ago and show no signs of abating.

Despite several allies, including the US, rallying behind Ukraine, the Russian military continues to pour into the country.

As a result, residents across the country are being urged to escape in order to avoid the approaching invaders.

Residents of the Kupiansk neighborhood in Kharkiv Oblast in northeastern Ukraine were instructed to flee days earlier after reports of heavy fighting in the area.

The call for evacuation

Oleh Syniehubov, the Chief of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration, issued the evacuation demands on a 24/7 national telecast.

According to Syniehubov, the Russian military regularly bombs cities, towns, and villages in the Kupiansk Hromada.

“Regarding evacuation from the Kupiansk front, which is currently the hottest: it is where the frontline is currently located, and enemy forces are relentlessly trying to attack the positions of our forces.”

“That’s why we announced mandatory evacuation. We are trying to explain this to local residents.”

“The Oblast Military Administration and volunteer organizations are making efforts to evacuate everyone who wants to leave unsafe locations.”

Additionally, according to Syniehubov, the evacuated residents got humanitarian assistance as well as free lodging in safer districts of Kharkiv Oblast and other Ukrainian provinces.

Remaining citizens

Despite evacuation instructions, numerous residents have decided to stay put.

Some 2,500 people have stayed in Kupiansk, where the front line has never moved too far.

Liuba and Serhei stayed even after shelling damaged their neighbor’s house in February.

“This is our home,” Liuba said. “Not the Russians’. Besides, it’s getting warmer, and with the rainwater we collect from buckets, we will survive.”

Read also: Bakhmut a pivotal area in Russian invasion

Russia inches closer

According to Kupiansk police head Konstiantyn Tarasov, the sound of artillery, both entering and exiting, has become dangerously closer since mid-February.

Russian forces are less than 5 kilometers from a city they took at the start of their invasion before losing it to Ukraine’s counteroffensive in September.

This Monday, Ukrainian officials ordered the urgent evacuation of Kupiansk’s most vulnerable residents.

“We have put signs up everywhere about the free evacuation with the phone numbers to call,” said Dmytro Kovalov, a volunteer in the evacuations.

“As shelling has intensified, more people have been registering. But then the internet was cut for two days so they couldn’t get in touch.”

“That’s why we started just blindly visiting addresses, knocking on doors. But some people refuse to go,” Kovalov continued.

“They don’t want to leave their houses behind, and they hope that the Russians will be pushed back.”

Most days, authorities claim they manage eight to forty evacuations, with those who stay choosing to do so.

According to a police spokesperson in Kupiansk, the city still had 350 minors and 363 people with disabilities as of last week.

The city

Apart from the ongoing shelling, Kupiansk is difficult to reach owing to the year-long destruction to the city’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges.

The main market has also been devastated, leaving the few survivors to rely on cardboard boxes to buy and sell what they could.

Its configuration is helpful since it allows them to easily pack their stuff if the sound of shelling may be heard close.

Lida is one among those who choose to stay in Kupiansk.

Last year, she was under Soviet control for six months.

When selling yellowed smoked fish, Lida claims to be an expert in the sound of approaching and departing artillery.

“We are not rats,” she said regarding her decision to stay. “Besides, if we go, who will take over?”

A missile shattered the ruins of a makeshift medical facility not far from Lida.

“This is what the Russians do as they seek to move closer to the city center,” said Tarasov.

“Targeting the few civilians left as they try to survive.”

Despite the Russian threat, Lida seems unfazed.

“What’s the difference? They are shelling Kharkiv as well. Is there any certainty I will stay alive there? No.”

“So, we will stay here and hide where we can, behind the houses, or somewhere.”

Most structures in Kupiansk, on the other hand, have been battle-worn by the frequent bombing, with many completely destroyed.

There aren’t many places for the survivors to run or hide.

Social media faces more regulations in 2023

Social media: The bipartisan spending bill passed by Congress last week essentially forbade the installation of TikTok on devices used by the government.

This year, advocates and legislators revealed proposals for tighter regulation of social media companies as 2023 kicks into gear.


The video-sharing app, which receives more than 1 billion monthly users, is owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance.

Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, and lawmakers have publicly stated their positions on TikTik’s ownership structure.

They claimed that the structure exposes information about US users.

In addition, Chinese-based businesses are compelled by law to provide the government with user information on request.

The concern

The National Intelligence Law of 2017 and the Counter-Espionage Law of 2014 are the two Chinese laws that have alarmed the US government since 2019.

According to the Counter-Espionage law, businesses and individuals “may not refuse” to divulge information when the state security agency conducts an espionage investigation and discovers crucial information.

Organizations or people are expected to support, help, and cooperate with governmental intelligence initiatives, as stated in Article 7 of the Intelligence Law.

The state also protects those who assist them.


Despite TikTok’s repeated assurances that US user data is not kept in China, little has changed from their comments.

TikTok has been compared to “digital fentanyl” by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher.

Additionally, he thinks that the software has to be banned outright nationwide.

“It’s highly addictive and destructive,” said Gallagher.

“We’re seeing troubling data about the corrosive impact of constant social media use, particularly on young men and women here in America.”

Read also: Migrants delivered to Kamala Harris on Christmas

Social media regulation

Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking sites, like TikTok, use the same algorithms, claims Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

She thinks that increasing the transparency of their operations should be the regulators’ first move.

According to Haugen, the majority of people are unaware of the US’s gap in social media regulation compared to other countries.

“This is like we’re back in 1965,” said Haugen. “We don’t have seatbelt laws yet.”

Tech bills in 2022

Congress failed to pass some of the most radical elements of technology-related legislation the year before.

Antitrust law and a bill aimed at protecting children were among the legislations that were vetoed.

Antitrust legislation

Early in 2022, lawmakers created a bill that specifically targeted Apple’s and Google’s app stores for mobile devices.

The legislation also placed limitations on developers.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act was advanced, which has some of the same objectives.

The Act forbids larger companies from unfairly treating or preferring their own products over those of competitors.

The plan states that developers would not be required to use the platform’s payment method for distribution if the app store had more than 50 million US users.

Additionally, app developers cannot be punished for selling their products elsewhere for a lower price.

Kids Online Safety Act

In November, bipartisan legislation was launched by Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal to put regulations on websites that children 16 and younger can view.

The proposed law would compel platforms to restrict content that could cause minor users bodily injury or psychological trauma, including the following:

  • Self-harm/suicide
  • Encouragement of addictive behavior
  • Enabling online bullying
  • Predatory marketing

Additionally, websites have to follow the law’s requirements regarding connection restrictions and default privacy settings.

Even after the legislation underwent changes, several organizations still opposed it.

Read also: Sherrod Brown looking to have cryptocurrency banned in the US


There is still a patchwork of state rules dictating how to maintain customer data, even though Congress made significant progress toward a consensus measure on national privacy standards in 2022.

Many of the bills that have reached the Senate floor enjoy bipartisan support, according to Senator Amy Klobuchar.

However, she cautioned that the tremendous influence of the tech industry might cause huge bipartisan support to collapse over the next 24 hours.

According to Klobuchar, the American people won’t demand social media company reform until they declare that “enough is enough.”

“We are lagging behind,” said Klobuchar.

“It is time for 2023, let it be our resolution, that we finally pass one of these bills.”


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