RT – A Qatari man convicted of being a “sleeper terrorist” linked to those behind 9/11 has claimed he was tortured and abused by authorities while being held at a US naval base.
RT – The United States will expand its role in Syria, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said. The expansion comes in response to increased Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) offensives in the region
U.S. News, Politics & Government
CBS – The U.S. Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo as secretary of state in a 57-42 vote Thursday afternoon, making Mr. Trump’s selection of the top U.S. diplomat official. Pompeo was previously serving as the CIA director.
Yahoo – President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen said on Wednesday he would assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in connection with a lawsuit filed by adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump. In a filing in Los Angeles federal court, Cohen said he decided to invoke his constitutional right after the FBI raided his home, office and hotel room two weeks ago.
Christian Science Monitor – A federal appeals court blocked a lower court ruling that mandated Florida create a new process for restoring voting rights to former prisoners. The lower court ruled in February that the state’s current system is unconstitutional and arbitrary.
Washington Free Beacon – President Donald Trump said Thursday during an interview with “Fox & Friends” that preparations are going “very well” for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Daily Mail – In the nearly 55 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, countless conspiracy theories have arisen in attempt to explain how the events really went down – the most famous being the ‘grassy knoll’ theory.
Despite the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and subsequent analyses that showed JFK’s wounds lined up with the type of rifle Oswald owned, skeptics have proposed there was a second gunman standing on a hill to the front of the motorcade.
Now, a new study could finally help put the debate to rest.
New calculations based on the video recordings of the assassination indicate that the mysterious movement of the president’s head after being shot – a crucial detail in the grassy knoll theory – was the result of a recoil effect.
AP – Back in October, President Donald Trump blocked the release of hundreds of records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, agreeing to appeals from the CIA and FBI.
Now, Trump has accepted a recommendation from the National Archives to keep the lid closed, more than five decades after the 35th president was killed.
Trump writes in memo issued Thursday that some of the classified documents are “of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure.” The FBI and CIA had said the release could jeopardize national security.
True Pundit – A fundraiser for the man being hailed as a hero in the Nashville Waffle House shooting has raised more than $100,000 in less than 24 hours. Reporter Yashar Ali started the GoFundMe for James Shaw Jr., who wrestled the gun away from the shooter during Sunday’s incident.
New York Times – It was a rash of sadistic rapes and murders that spread terror throughout California, long before the term was commonly used. The scores of attacks in the 1970s and 1980s went unsolved for more than three decades. But on Wednesday, law enforcement officials said they had finally arrested the notorious Golden State Killer in a tidy suburb of Sacramento.
Opinion Hall – With his status at the Environmental Protection Agency increasingly on the line, Administrator Scott Pruitt faced a tough grilling Thursday morning on Capitol Hill but was unapologetic about his leadership and activities.
“I have to take the responsibility to make changes to the agency” based on the “learning curve” he and others have had, he told lawmakers at the first of two hearings. But he attributed the vast majority of allegations about his ethics and management decisions to policy critics.
“Those who have attacked the EPA and attacked me are doing so because they want to derail the president’s agenda. I’m not going to let that happen.” Pruitt said. “A lie doesn’t become true just because it appears on the front page of the newspaper.”
True Pundit – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would shield special counsel Robert Mueller from any attempted firing by President Donald Trump.
Economy & Business
Daily Mail – The firm announced yesterday the Mustang and the Focus Active will soon be the only regular cars available at US and Canadian dealerships.
Energy & Environment
RT – Around 20 workers at a chemical plant in the Czech town of Decine suffered harm after a phenol leak from a truck tanker. “There are around 20 victims, two of them are in a severe and even critical condition,” an emergency services spokesman told AFP. The incident happened early in the morning at the Hemitex plant, which employs around 90 people. Work at the plant was immediately suspended after the leak.
Reuters – The French government on Thursday launched a plan to renovate some 500,000 homes every year to make them energy efficient, and cut heat loss, power consumption and carbon emissions – a key pledge among President Emmanuel Macron’s electoral promises.
Daily Caller – Three local governments in Colorado are taking heat for suing oil and gas companies to hold them legally responsible for damage from severe weather brought on by climate change, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Science & Technology
Christian Science Monitor – Researchers in Ethiopia are working with a Belgian conceptual artist to crossbreed indigenous chickens for African farmers. The chickens, which tend to be stronger and more resilient to disease, may help fight against malnutrition across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Daily Mail – Eating a Mediterranean diet boosts ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, new research suggests.
Eating lots of vegetables, fish and olive oil improves good bacteria in the stomach by up to seven per cent compared with a western diet, a study found.
Lead author Dr Hariom Yadav, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, said: ‘We have about two billion good and bad bacteria living in our gut.
‘If the bacteria are of a certain type and not properly balanced, our health can suffer.
‘Our study showed that the good bacteria, primarily Lactobacillus, most of which are probiotic, were significantly increased in the Mediterranean-diet group.’
Poor gut bacteria has previously been linked to conditions such as depression and pneumonia.
The Guardian – A 200-strong team of researchers from across the globe have mapped the genetic variants that increase the risk of depression
Scientists have raised hopes for more effective treatments for depression, a condition that affects over 300 million people globally, after mapping out the genetic foundations of the mental disorder in unprecedented detail.
In the world’s largest investigation into the impact of DNA on the mental disorder, more than 200 researchers identified 44 gene variants that raise the risk of depression. Of those, 30 have never been connected to the condition before.