ABC – Hong Kong protesters held a sit-in at a suburban train station on Wednesday evening to mark a month since a violent attack there by masked assailants on supporters of the anti-government movement.
The black-clad protesters flooded into Yuen Long station to commemorate the July 21 rampage by a group of men suspected of organized crime links, in what was a shocking escalation of the city’s summer of protest.
Riot police arrived at the station near the end of the commemoration, apparently preparing to confront the protesters, some of whom had set up barricades on the road outside.
Police with riot shields faced off at the station entrance against protesters, who sprayed a firehose and spread oil on the floor to slow their approach.
RT – Ireland will not enter into bilateral talks on no-deal Brexit planning with the UK and won’t be “steam-rolled” by red lines drawn down by Boris Johnson, Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney has said.
Coveney’s comments come after the UK’s Sun newspaper reported that Johnson will float the idea of Ireland temporarily abandoning EU trading rules and partnering with the UK in a separate deal instead to avoid the need for the controversial “backstop” measure in the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Under that plan, Ireland would win a “special dispensation” from Brussels to diverge from EU rules and align with the UK until “alternative arrangements” could be made.
Al Jazeera – Mexico City court allows two people to use cocaine recreationally in the first ruling of its kind in the country.
The Guardian – Scotland ran a deficit seven times higher than the UK as a whole last year, despite again cutting its overspend on public services.
Opposition parties said the data blew a hole in the financial case for leaving the UK. But Derek Mackay, the Scottish finance secretary, said it proved independence was needed to allow Scotland to control its own economic policies.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
BBC – Migrant families who cross the southern border of the US illegally could be detained indefinitely under a new regulation announced by the Trump administration.
It replaces an agreement that set a limit on how long the government could hold migrant children in custody.
The move was announced by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and is due to come into effect in 60 days.
It is expected to face legal challenge.
Washington Post – The student activists who crashed the political arena after the mass shooting last year at their high school in Parkland, Fla., are throwing their weight behind a new and ambitious gun-control program that they hope will set the tone for the debate following the most recent mass shootings and headed into the 2020 elections.
The students are speaking out for the first time since 31 people were killed in one weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. They hope their plan — unveiled Wednesday morning — will be considered by President Trump as well as his Democratic presidential rivals and will serve as a catalyst for a surge of youth voters next year.
“I think similarly to a lot of the country, I’m in a lot of pain right now,” said David Hogg, 19, a co-founder of March for Our Lives and a survivor of the shooting in February 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “You see these shootings on TV every day and very little happening around it. It’s painful to watch. And I think it’s been really hard for me and many of the other students and people that we work with to find hope in this time.
AP – President Donald Trump is insisting that the U.S. already has “very, very strong background checks” for gun purchases. It’s the latest sign that he is backing away from throwing his political support behind changes to the system that are opposed by the powerful gun lobby.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump also noted “a lot of the people that put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment,” and he suggested he worries about blurring the contrast between Republicans and Democrats on the issue.
“We have to be very careful about that,” he said.
Infowars – Ivanka Trump pushed gun control and red flag laws at a GOP fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign reportedly headlined by Dick Cheney in Wyoming on Monday.
Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports that Ivanka “talked about ‘women’s empowerment,’” and said the White House is focusing on “background checks,” “culture shift,” “mental health” and “red flag laws.”
Trump “phoned into the dinner” and told the room full of GOP donors that “when you’ve Jared and Ivanka I can just phone it in.”
“When you’ve Jared and Ivanka I can just phone it in,” unfortunately seems to be the story of Trump’s presidency.
A White House official responded to the report by clarifying that Ivanka allegedly said “dad” and not “daddy.”
Health Impact News – The State of New York recently passed legislation removing the religious exemption to mandatory vaccines for children.
Attorneys Michael H. Sussman and Robert F. Kennedy have filed a lawsuit to repeal the law, as 26,000 families in New York wait to see if their children can attend school. As of now, the only way to get an exemption to mandatory vaccines is to have a medical doctor write a medical exemption.
Last week, the New York Department of Health published “Emergency Regulations” to “Prevent Medical Exemptions.”
The New York State Department of Health and Office of Children and Family Services today issued emergency regulations further strengthening and clarifying the process by which physicians can grant medical exemptions under the new state law which repealed non-medical exemptions for children attending school or child care.
Effective immediately, physicians who issue medical exemptions will be required to complete the applicable medical exemption form approved by the New York State Department of Health or New York City Department of Education, which specifically outlines the medical reason(s) that prevent a child from being vaccinated.
Additionally, the regulations require physicians to outline specific justifications for each required vaccine in order to be able to grant an exemption.
Previously, regulations allowed for a physician to submit a signed statement to schools without having to document on an approved form stating why immunization may be detrimental to the child’s health. The emergency regulations apply to all children statewide, and they continue to require that medical exemptions must be reissued annually. By providing clear, evidence-based guidance to physicians regarding when immunization may be detrimental to a child’s health, this emergency regulation will help prevent medical exemptions from being issued for inappropriate reasons.
So now, unelected bureaucrats will determine if doctors are qualified or not to write medical exemptions.
By having the Department of Health declare an “emergency” and issue an order without passing legislation, the entire democratic process is bypassed, resulting in medical tyranny.
This is not surprising, given how difficult it was to pass the secretive bill through the State legislature in New York to eliminate religious exemptions. The committee considering the bill did not have enough votes to bring it to the floor, so pressure had to be applied to get lawmakers opposed to the bill to change their mind.
Business Insider – Jeffrey Epstein’s jail guards warned his cellmate “there will be a price to pay” if he spoke out about the jail conditions and the financier’s suicide, the cellmate’s lawyer said in a letter.
Nicholas Tartaglione, the cellmate, and his lawyer Bruce Barket were told to “‘shut up,’ ‘stop talking’ and ‘stop complaining’ to name a few of the comments various guards have made,” Barket said in a letter filed on Tuesday to federal judge Kenneth Karas at White Plains, New York.
Infowars – GOP campaign strategist Patrick Griffin argued that the so called “Squad” of Democrats, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has “hijacked” the Democratic Party.
“It’s so interesting that you use the term — the only two Muslim women in Congress, the term you chose to use, sir, is ‘hijacking,’” Rye, the former Congressional Black Caucus executive director, ridiculously responded.
“It has nothing to do with whether they’re Muslim or not,” Griffin hit back, “Nothing to do with that… They’ve hijacked from their own principles.”
“That’s a real interesting word choice, and you understand why,” Rye continued, insisting that Griffin used the term to connect the Democrats to terrorists.
“You can talk over me all you want to but the bottom line is the greatest terrorist threat in this country is white men, white men who think like you. That is the greatest terrorist threat in this country.” Rye blurted.
AP – Planned Parenthood said Monday it’s pulling out of the federal family planning program rather than abide by a new Trump administration rule prohibiting clinics from referring women for abortions.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s acting president and CEO, said the organization’s nationwide network of health centers would remain open and strive to make up for the loss of federal money. But she predicted that many low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood services would “delay or go without” care.
“We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients,” said McGill Johnson. “Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions, not to be forced to have Donald Trump or Mike Pence make those decisions for them.”
Economy & Business
Mortgage Market Reopens to Risky Borrowers – Strict lending requirements that were put in place after financial crisis are starting to erode
WSJ – More than a decade after home loans triggered the worst financial crisis in a generation, the strict lending requirements put in place during its aftermath are starting to erode. Home buyers with low credit scores or high debt levels as well as those lacking traditional employment are finding it easier to get credit.
The loans have been rebranded. Largely gone are the monikers subprime and Alt-A, a type of mortgage that earned the nickname “liar loan” because so many borrowers faked their income and assets. Now they are called non-qualified, or non-QM, because they don’t comply with postcrisis standards set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for preventing borrowers from getting loans they can’t afford.
Borrowers took out $45 billion of these unconventional loans in 2018, the most in a decade, and origination is on track to rise again in 2019, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry research group. Such mortgages aren’t guaranteed by government agencies and typically charge higher interest rates than conventional loans.
Energy & Environment
Mirror – Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has seen a record number of fires this year, with the country’s space agency reporting an 83% increase over the same period last year.
The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said its satellites have detected 72,843 forest fires in the country so far – with 9,507 spotted in the last week.
Most of the fires are in the Amazon basin, which is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.
The rainforest is known as the the “lungs of the planet” because it provides the vital role of absorbing planet-warming carbon dioxide, and produces more than 20% of the Earth’s oxygen.
Global Research – Bee apocalypse has unfolded in four of Brazil’s southern states in 1Q19. More than half a billion bees died earlier this year, in a short period, experts are suggesting that pesticides are likely to be blamed, reported Bloomberg.
Fox – To keep your home cool with central air conditioning while also optimizing energy efficiency (and therefore cost), keep the temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
The suggestion comes from Energy Star, a federal program managed jointly by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency that provides information to consumers about energy efficiency practices that not only save consumers money, but also improve air quality and protect the environment.
According to Energy Star, keeping your central air thermostat set to 78 degrees is optimal for both cooling and energy efficiency, but this recommendation only applies to the times when you are home.
While you are away from the house during the day, you should keep the thermostat set to 85 degrees or higher.
While you sleep, Energy Star recommends keeping the temperature set at 82 degrees or higher.
Fox – Like Los Angeles and San Francisco, this smaller city to the north has been struggling with a growing homeless crisis that ranks among the worst in the country. Conditions on the ground have gotten so bad that it’s hardening even the most liberal of bleeding hearts.
Portland’s metropolitan area has swollen to 2.4 million people, a far cry in both size and culture from the rough-and-tumble, river-port boomtown settled by 19th Century lumberjacks and longshoremen. In recent decades, Portland’s embrace of progressive politics and hipster crunchiness has earned it praise, as well as gentle mockery as the Pacific Northwest’s capital of ‘wokeness’ on the TV series Portlandia. In recent weeks, Portland has seen the dark side of political activism, hosting a pair of violent face-offs between Antifa and far-right groups.
Now, rampant homelessness threatens to define Portland, much as it has other West Coast cities where critics say decades of liberal policies, rising housing costs and a generous safety net have created a social problem that can no longer be ignored.
On any given night, thousands of people can be found sleeping on the city’s streets. The latest count, released in August, shows that in 2019 more people were sleeping outside in Multnomah County than at any time in the last decade. Of the 2,037 unsheltered people, nearly 80 percent reported having one or more disabilities.
As the number of homeless has grown, the calls for solutions have intensified. Some residents Fox News spoke to feel as though officials are letting them down and doing a disservice to those who need the most help. They complain the city’s response to the crisis has been costly, fragmented and ineffective. They say Portland’s policies don’t adequately address mental illness and say officials are kidding themselves if they think they can find an easy fix.
Science & Technology
Mirror – While it’s not exactly the most cheerful thought for a Wednesday morning, one day, all of us will die.
But if you could find out exactly when you’ll die, would you want to know?
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing have developed a new blood test that can predict whether you’ll die within the next 10 years.
The test relies on biomarkers in the blood linked to various factors that appear to affect your risk of death.
To develop the test, the researchers analysed 44,168 participants aged 18 to 109 – 5,512 of who died during follow-up.
An analysis of the participants’ blood revealed 14 biomarkers that were associated with an increased risk of death.
These biomarkers were linked to various factors, including immunity, circulating fat, inflammation and glucose control.
This suggests that in the future, a sample of your blood could be analysed for the presence of these biomarkers, to indicate when you’ll die.
THERE’S A SPY IN YOUR MERCEDES – Mercedes spies on drivers by secretly installing tracking devices in cars and passing information to bailiffs
MERCEDES has sparked a privacy row by admitting it spies on drivers with tracking devices covertly installed in its cars.
The secret sensors, fitted to all new and used motors sold by the firm’s dealers, pinpoint the vehicle’s exact location.
The firm sold more than 170,000 new cars in Britain alone last year.
Mercedes will not say how long it has used the sensors.
And it insists they are only activated in “extreme circumstances” — when finance customers have defaulted on their payments.
But it admits sharing car owner information and vehicle location details with third-party bailiffs and recovery firms who repossess the cars.
Mercola – Per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances (PFAS), widely used chemicals that make products water-, oil-, grease- and stain-resistant, are associated with significant health hazards.
PFAS chemicals take thousands of years to degrade, which is why many refer to them as “forever chemicals.” Disturbingly, these toxic chemicals have become ubiquitous in our environment.
One source of environmental contamination is PFAS-treated food wrappers and containers. Testing reveals all so-called “biodegradable” food containers contain PFAS, making them unsuitable for composting.
Using toxic nondegradable chemicals in a biodegradable product is a tremendous oversight that has led to a PR nightmare.
Research confirms that compost in which food packaging was included had a toxic load ranging from 28.7 micrograms per kilo to 75.9 mcg/kg. Compost samples that did not include food packaging had a PFOA contamination level ranging between 2.38 and 7.6 mcg/kg
Study Finds – The coach’s halftime speech is long known to be a motivational tool in the sports world. Many sports movies, such as Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, or Friday Night Lights include a pivotal scene in which the coach makes an impassioned speech to his team, igniting a furious comeback. But what makes an effective halftime speech in real life? A new study finds that anger is actually more effective during halftime speeches than inspiration.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business analyzed hundreds of halftime speeches and final scores from high school and college basketball games, and found that players seem to perform better after a harsh, more negative halftime speech from their coach. In fact, researchers discovered a significant relationship between the level of negativity a coach projects during a halftime speech and second-half scoring outcomes. The more negativity, the more the team outscored their opponents, that is at least up to a certain threshold point.
Variety – Get ready to re-enter the Matrix.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures will produce and globally distribute the film. Warner Bros. Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich made the announcement on Tuesday.
“We could not be more excited to be re-entering ‘The Matrix’ with Lana,” said Emmerich. “Lana is a true visionary — a singular and original creative filmmaker — and we are thrilled that she is writing, directing and producing this new chapter in ‘The Matrix’ universe.”
In addition to Wachowski, the script was also written by Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell. Wachowski is also producing with Grant Hill. Sources say the film is eyed to begin production at the top of 2020.