RT – Beijing on Thursday threatened to take countermeasures over a trip to Taiwan by US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. The island is gearing up for its highest-level US official visit in four decades.
The visit, which begins on Sunday, adds to tensions between Beijing and Washington as China calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue in its bilateral ties.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in Beijing that any attempt to deny or challenge the “One China” principle, which states that Taiwan is part of China, would end in failure, Reuters reports. “China will take strong countermeasures in response to the US behavior,” Wang said, referring to Azar’s visit.
Last month, China said it would impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin for its involvement in US arms sales to Taiwan.
Sputnik – The explosion left at least 300,000 of the city’s residents without a home, according to the Beirut governor, while the hospitals are overflowing with the wounded.
At least 137 people have been confirmed dead and 5,000 injured by Tuesday’s explosion in the Lebanese capital, AFP reported, citing the Health Ministry. The authorities earlier estimated the number of those killed by the blast at around eighty people.
Officials previously suggested that the giant blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in the city port. According to Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the explosive chemical material that detonated was stored at a port warehouse without due safety measures.
Following the incident, numerous countries offered to assist Lebanon. The Russian Emergencies Ministry sent planes to the devastated city, bringing an airmobile hospital, medics, rescue troops from the airmobile unit Tsentrospas, and a laboratory to detect COVID-19, as the pandemic is on the rise there.
Sputnik – New Delhi (Sputnik): On Wednesday, China convened a meeting at the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Kashmir issue. However, the attempt was in vain as UNSC members asked India and Pakistan to resolve the issue bilaterally. Four of the five permanent members — the US, UK, France, and Russia — sided firmly with India.
Taking note of repeated attempts by China to initiate a discussion on Kashmir in the UN Security Council, India’s Ministry of External Affairs urged its northern arch-rival to “draw proper conclusions” before moving ahead with the issue.
“This was not the first time that China has sought to raise a subject that is solely an internal matter of India. As on such previous occasions, this attempt too met with little support from the international community”, the ministry said in a strongly worded statement on Thursday
Sputnik – The United States has imposed new sanctions on three individuals and an entity based in Malta for allegedly smuggling fuel from and drugs to Libya, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Thursday.
AP – Residents of Beirut vented their fury at Lebanon’s leaders Thursday during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, blaming them for the deadly explosion that ravaged the capital. Shouting, “Revolution!” they crowded around the visiting leader who promised to press the politicians for reform.
For many Lebanese, Tuesday’s giant blast was the last straw after years of corruption and mismanagement by a political elite that has ruled for decades.
The blast, which killed more than 130 people, wounded thousands and left tens of thousands homeless, is believed to have been caused when a fire touched off a stockpile of 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that authorities left sitting in a warehouse for years — despite a customs official’s repeated warnings.
Macron visited the devastated port and toured a hard-hit neighborhood lined with heavily damaged buildings. A crowd gathered around him and shouted their anger, chanting, “Revolution!” and “The people want to bring down the regime!” — slogans used at mass protests last year.
Macron told them he would speak to Lebanon’s political leaders.
France24 – Australia’s second-largest city entered the country’s toughest lockdown yet on Thursday, sparking a fresh wave of anxiety and confusion over ever-tougher regulations.
Melbourne’s streets were visibly quieter as non-essential businesses were forced to shutter under new coronavirus rules expected to be in place for six weeks.
A second lockdown for the state capital of Victoria began in early July but additional regulations came into force overnight, requiring hundreds of thousands more people to stay at home.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
RT – US President Donald Trump has stepped up the already-improbable timetable on a potential coronavirus vaccine, hinting one might be ready “much sooner” than the end of the year – even before Election Day in November.
Asked by radio host Geraldo Rivera when the much-hyped Covid-19 jab will be available to Americans, Trump promised “Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner” on Thursday’s show.
Daily Mail – Donald Trump doubled down on his support of Ghislaine Maxwell on Monday night and said he does wish her well as she proceeds to trial on charges of child sex trafficking for her ‘boyfriend’ Jeffrey Epstein.
Maxwell is currently in custody in Brooklyn and faces 35 years behind bars if convicted of the charges.
Prosecutors say she procured underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein in the 1990s and that the pair both he sexually abused them. She denies the claims.
Joe Biden unable to answer softball questions and media’s silence is ‘mind-blowing,’ says Sarah Sanders
‘Can you imagine if Donald Trump … gave that answer to a reporter,’ the former WH press secretary says
Fox – It is “shocking” how quiet the mainstream media has been in covering presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden‘s incoherent answers to “softball” questions, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told “Fox & Friends” Thursday.
The Fox News contributor was responding to an interview Biden did as part of the virtual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Wednesday when he rebuked CBS correspondent Errol Barnett for asking the former vice president if he had taken a cognitive test. Biden claimed the question was similar to asking the interviewer if he was using cocaine.
Economy & Business
ZeroHedge – Readers may recall in mid-April, the first signs of the second round of layoffs and furloughs appeared. Then by June, high-frequency data of the U.S. economy suggested the recovery reversed as state governors were forced to pause reopenings due to increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Since July, initial and continuing claims have risen, suggesting the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s continues to unfold.
New evidence published Tuesday in a study by Cornell Law School Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor Daniel Alpert reveals the second round of layoffs is becoming more severe as the fiscal cliff begins.
The study, conducted from July 23 to August 1, by Alpert and RIWI Corp., shows 31% of employees initially laid off or furloughed because of the virus-induced recession were just recently laid off a second time.
NYT – The New York prosecutors who are seeking President Trump’s tax records have also subpoenaed his longtime lender, a sign that their criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s business practices is more wide-ranging than previously known.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office issued the subpoena last year to Deutsche Bank, which has been Mr. Trump’s primary lender since the late 1990s, seeking financial records that he and his company provided to the bank, according to four people familiar with the inquiry.
WSJ – More U.S. farmers are filing for bankruptcy, as federal payments projected to reach record levels this year fall short of compensating for the coronavirus pandemic and a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy.
Energy & Environment
RT – After a grim Q2 season for Big Oil, the world’s third-most valuable energy company is warning that 20% of the world’s oil and gas reserves may no longer be viable.
According to Exxon Mobil, one-fifth of the world’s oil and gas reserves will no longer qualify as “proved reserves” at the end of this year if oil prices fail to recover before then.
A flurry of oil and gas companies have written off billions in oil and gas assets as the value of those assets in the current oil price climate is no longer what it once used to be. Exxon was not among them.
Science & Technology
Reuters – Beware, Singaporeans standing too close, automated drones might be keeping an eye on you from above.
Singapore’s police have been trialling two pilotless drones developed by Israel’s Airobotics to help enforce social distancing measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.
The small machines weigh 10 kg (22 pounds) and are programmed to track anomalies such as gatherings and stream footage to the police.
The three-and-a-half-month trial, over an industrial estate in the west of the city, is the first time automated commercial drones have been approved to fly over a major metropolis, according to Airobotics.
“Specifically for COVID, what we are doing is helping them maintain normal operations,” CEO Ran Krauss told Reuters. “The pandemic created a situation where it might be difficult for police to maintain operations.”
Singapore government’s Home Team Science & Technology Agency (HTX) said it had trialled the drones with police.
They can pinpoint locations and zoom into areas that might not be visible to police officers on foot or in vehicles, Senior Engineer Low Hsien Meng from HTX’s Robotics, Automation & Unmanned Systems Centre, said.
Airobotics, which has raised $120 million in funding, said it had invested some $100 million to develop the drones. It was leasing them to HTX and also for business and industrial use in Israel and the United States, it said.
Bloomberg – Navigating the Roman circus of obstacles known as an international airport is likely the one thing travelers aren’t missing during the Covid-19 crisis. Now that forecasts predict tourism won’t fully recover until 2023, these transit centers are getting a rare, low-traffic chance to make many of the changes flyers have long wanted—along with upgrades they never imagined. Among them: disinfection booths, biometric security scans, automated customs and border patrol screenings, and enhanced self-check-in stations. Together, they represent the most significant overhaul of the airport experience since Sept. 11.
“The traditional way we design airports has long been hamstrung in two directions,” says Matthew Johnson, who helped spearhead the ongoing $14 billion renovation of LAX in Los Angeles as an aviation principal for architecture firm Gensler. The de facto airport floor plan funnels traffic through an “X” shape, with passengers coming from various entries and converging at one congested portal—TSA—before dispersing to find their gate. This design was largely put into place after the 2001 terror attacks, when extensive security scans became emblems of personal safety.
If long lines were once the price of safety, they’re downright dangerous now. “Covid-19 is going to herald a complete reversal,” says Johnson, who proposes eliminating the X all together. Airports could become like casinos, he says, coupling eye-in-the-sky surveillance with state-of-the-art sensors—as in the “smart tunnel” at Dubai International that verifies your identity by scanning your iris as you walk through it. Add advanced X-ray technology, and airports may be able to identify threats without requiring anyone to line up, divest, or even put luggage in a tray.
Gateway Pundit – A new report was released by Sky News on Turkey’s COVID-19 Coronavirus early hydroxychloroquine treatment strategy and the results are clear.
The early treatment program in Turkey relies on hydroxychloroquine as the first step in the therapeutic process.
Sky News’ story about “Turkey’s COVID Detectives” by special correspondent Alex Crawford is remarkable. It not only covers the track and trace teams in action in Turkey, but also the therapeutic approach, which relies on hydroxychloroquine as a first step to treat symptomatic patients.
The Turkish approach is at odds with most countries, such as the UK, where symptomatic patients are asked to stay home, wait, until the symptoms essentially become unbearable, and then serious complications and hospitalization become very likely.
Such reporting about early treatment is typically absent from mainstream media coverage, so this coverage needs to be celebrated. The pictures are also remarkable.
“As soon as a patient has symptoms, they are treated with hydroxychloroquine tablets and/or favipiravir at home. Follow-up calls quickly spot if the symptoms worsen, and then they will be admitted to hospital.”
“Once at the hospital, Dr Yiyit says the treatment is increased and combined with high-flow oxygen treatment, anti-coagulants, steroids, vitamins and more high-dose favipiravir or hydroxychloroquine…”
“Most of patients recover in five days,” Dr Yiyit insists.”
Don’t want additives and chemicals in your snacks? Avoid these 11 BANNED ingredients in foods that Americans are STILL eating
NaturalNews – Colored candies and hormone-packed meats are the norm in the U.S. and are not something most people second-guess before eating. But a lot of the foods that Americans eat on the regular are banned in countries across the globe.
Ocean Robbins, an adjunct professor in Chapman University’s Peace Studies Department and the chief executive officer of the Food Revolution Network (FRN), notes that a number of ingredients linked to chronic conditions, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, are still in use across the U.S. despite being banned in other countries.
This might explain the prevalence of these conditions in the U.S. despite being preventable diseases, Robbins adds.
Banned ingredients are still in use across the U.S.
It’s not uncommon for foods in the U.S. to contain additives, hormones and other substances that pose serious risks and consequences for human health.
Robbins attributes this disturbing convention to relaxed regulations on food manufacturing, cosmetics and other industries. For instance, food companies are not required to seek approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) before marketing chemicals or adding more additives to their foods.
Furthermore, a lot of the chemicals and substances banned in other countries are those that the FDA deems “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). As such, these ingredients are exempt from other tests that the FDA might require.
On that note, here are some of the most infamous food ingredients banned in other countries but not in the U.S.:
- Dough conditioners
- Brominated vegetable oil
- BHA and BHT
Synthetic food dyes
Genetically modified organisms
Herbicides, insecticides and fungicides