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World News

Hong Kong protest escalation: Tear gas, water cannons and a police officer firing a warning shot

Fox – The tension between law enforcement and pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong escalated over the weekend as police used tear gas, deployed water cannons and drew their guns at protesters — including one officer who fired his weapon in what authorities said was a warning shot.

For the first time during the summer’s 11 weeks of protests in the Chinese region, authorities deployed two water cannon trucks to push back demonstrators — who again confronted authorities, taking to the streets on Saturday and Sunday. A cannon was fired at least once, though it didn’t seem to reach demonstrators, who were building barriers across roads that were otherwise peaceful.

Smart lamppost toppled to ground by Hong Kong demonstrators over Chinese surveillance fears

ABC – Hong Kong protesters cut down a smart lamppost and police officers fired tear gas on Saturday as chaotic scenes returned to the protests for the first time in more than a week.

Protesters used an electric saw to slice through the bottom of the lamppost, while others pulled ropes tied around it.

The demonstrators, who were holding up umbrellas to hide their identities, cheered as it toppled over.

They were part of a larger group marching to demand the removal of the lampposts over worries they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Hong Kong’s Government says smart lampposts only collect data on traffic, weather and air quality

Israel hits Iranian force in Syria to stop ‘killer drones’ – military

Reuters – Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck Iranian forces near Damascus that had been planning to launch “killer drones” at targets in Israel, an Israeli military spokesman said.

“The strike targeted Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last number of days,” the military said in a statement.

The elite Quds Force is the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters the forces on Thursday had been preparing to launch “killer drones” armed with explosives at northern Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military had thwarted the planned Iranian attack. “Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces operate in every sector against the Iranian aggression,” he said on Twitter.

Syrian state media said Syrian air defences intercepted “hostile targets” over Damascus, the capital, Saturday night.

Witnesses in Damascus said they heard and saw explosions in the sky.

“The aggression is ongoing and air defences are confronting hostile targets and are downing most of them in the southern region,” state media outlet SANA said, indicating areas south of Damascus.

The Syrian army said in a statement that “the majority of the Israeli missiles were destroyed before reaching their targets.” Conricus, however, said the impact of the Israeli strikes was “significant.”

Drone war takes flight, raising stakes in Iran, US tensions

AP – From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across the wider Middle East, raising the stakes in the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Since the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last year, there has been an increasing tempo of attacks and alleged threats, notably this weekend, from unmanned aircraft flown by Tehran’s and Washington’s allies in the region.

The appeal of the aircraft — they risk no pilots and can be small enough to evade air-defense systems — fueled their rapid use amid the maximum pressure campaigns of Iran and the U.S. As these strikes become more frequent, the risk of unwanted escalation becomes greater.

The U.S. military nearly launched airstrikes against Iran after a U.S. military surveillance drone was shot down in June. Meanwhile, Israeli fighter jets attack targets in Syria on an almost weekly basis, including on Saturday night. Israel’s reason for the latest bombing: To thwart what it called a planned Iranian drone strike.

Israeli aircraft then buzzed over Beirut on Sunday after allegedly losing two drones hours earlier, raising the risk of a wider conflict between it and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. On Sunday evening, another drone strike hit an Iran-backed paramilitary force in Iraq, killing one commander and wounding another, members of the group said. It was not immediately clear who carried out the strike.

Amid the escalation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise trip Sunday to the Group of Seven summit in France, at the invitation of the French president.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Dozens who lived in same neighborhood diagnosed with brain tumors

ABC – Growing up in West Hanover, Nick Squires and his friends thought little of the countless hours they spent playing in the woods and ponds of a 240-acre property where a fireworks manufacturer and other companies are now known to have dumped toxic chemicals for decades.

It wasn’t until years later that Squires says he realized that spending so much time living alongside land once considered a sure-fire candidate for a federal Superfund site may have made him and others sick.

After being diagnosed in 2015 with oligodendroglioma, a rare brain tumor, Squires told The Patriot Ledger he noticed that an alarming number of other young adults who grew up in his neighborhood were fighting, and dying from, brain tumors.

Through social media alone, Squires said he has found at least 35 people who were diagnosed with brain tumors and lived for an extended time within about 2 or 3 miles of the National Fireworks Co. site, where crews are now working to unearth unexploded ordnance buried decades ago. Many of these cases involve people diagnosed as young adults who lived near Factory or Forge ponds or the Drinkwater River.

The number of new cases of brain and other nervous system cancers among the general population is about 6.4 per 100,000 people each year, according to the National Cancer Institute, and a 2005 report estimated about 2,014 people lived within a 1-mile radius of the site based on data from the late 1990s. Squires said based on that data, there should be maybe one person diagnosed with a brain tumor in the area around the fireworks site, not dozens.

The National Fireworks Co. began developing, testing and manufacturing civilian fireworks and military munitions at the site near the Hanson town line in 1907, and disposed of chemicals there until it closed in 1971.

The property was then purchased by American Potash and Co., which operated there for a few years before selling the land to the Atlantic Research Corp., a government contractor that produced explosives for the Army and the Navy, and also allowed other entities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to dump hazardous waste on its property.

In the mid-1980s, the federal Environmental Protection Agency found several dozen barrels of toxic waste around the property and indications that many had been dumped, according to several reports. Some of the toxins found include chloroform, Freon, arsenic, trichloroethene and vinyl chloride.

A variety of heavy metals, including mercury, were found in the soil and water around the former factory, setting off a decadeslong effort to clean up 140 acres between King and Winter streets. While the contamination was measured at twice the threshold for earning Superfund status — a federal program that prioritizes and funds the cleanup of hazardous sites — town officials asked the state to oversee the cleanup to avoid the federal process and stigma that came with it.

“People deserve to know that the site saw more than 60 years of unadulterated contamination with chemicals I can’t even pronounce, and not small quantities,” Squires said, flipping through stacks of research and reports about the site he’s collected.

A 2005 comprehensive site assessment report by Tetra Tech, an environmental firm, said at least 19 contaminants were found at the site.

Americans Have Shifted Dramatically on What Values Matter Most – 

Patriotism, religion and having children rate lower among younger generations than they did two decades ago, WSJ/NBC News survey finds

WSJ – The values that Americans say define the national character are changing, as younger generations rate patriotism, religion and having children as less important to them than did young people two decades ago, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds.

The poll is the latest sign of difficulties the 2020 presidential candidates will likely face in crafting a unifying message for a country divided over personal principles and views of an increasingly diverse society.

When the Journal/NBC News survey asked Americans 21 years ago to say which values were most important to them, strong majorities picked the principles of hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion and the goal of having children.

Today, hard work remains atop the list, but the shares of Americans listing the other three values have fallen substantially, driven by changing priorities of people under age 50.

Some 61% in the new survey cited patriotism as very important to them, down 9 percentage points from 1998, while 50% cited religion, down 12 points. Some 43% placed a high value on having children, down 16 points from 1998.

Views varied sharply by age. Among people 55 and older, for example, nearly 80% said patriotism was very important, compared with 42% of those ages 18-38—the millennial generation and older members of Gen-Z. Two-thirds of the older group cited religion as very important, compared with fewer than one-third of the younger group.

“There’s an emerging America where issues like children, religion and patriotism are far less important. And in America, it’s the emerging generation that calls the shots about where the country is headed,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt.

At the same time, the survey found a few points of unity. A majority of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with the economy, but two-thirds say they aren’t confident the next generation will be better off than the current one. Large majorities also rated tolerance for others as a very important personal value.

Some young Americans warm to socialism, even Miami Cubans

ABC – While more than half of Americans rejected socialism in a recent Gallup poll, 43% surveyed said some version of it would be good for the country. That sentiment was held by 58% of respondents ages 18 to 34, compared with just 36% of those 55 and older.

The popularity of self-described democratic socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has influenced the 2020 Democratic candidates, several of whom say they at least partially support socialist-style policies.

Americans who came of age during the last recession often embrace a larger government role in social policy. They cite stagnant wages, student loan debt and a decrease in employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions, according to University of California-Irvine political sociologist Edwin Amenta.

Younger Americans are less threatened by socialism than older generations, who might associate it with Soviet or Chinese rule, he said.

“Today’s socialism for younger people means the Canadian health system and the Swedish welfare state,” Amenta said.

More than half of Miami-area Cuban Americans are Republican, though an increasing number register as independent, according to a 2018 Florida International University poll.

Their Republican allegiance dates to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign and its emphasis on destabilizing left-wing governments, according to Guillermo Grenier, researcher for the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

“Reagan made it clear that the foreign policy of the Republicans would most benefit Cubans if they wanted to go back to Cuba,” Grenier said.

Although they remained here, being Republican became “kind of like an identity” for generations of Cuban Americans, he said.

The shift away from that identity has put conservative lawmakers on the defensive, especially in Florida, where Republicans have deployed what some observers call “Red Scare” tactics reminiscent of the anti-communist fervor of the 1950s.

Houses Of Worship Find New Life After Congregations Downsize

NPR – The percentage of Americans who belong to a church, mosque or synagogue has declined in the past 20 years, forcing some religious leaders to make a difficult decision: sell their houses of worship and downsize.

In the U.S., many religious buildings were built during periods of religious growth, said Cleveland State University professor of urban planning Robert Simons.

“The buildings we have that were built in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s are not really functional for today’s perspective,” said Simons, author of Retired, Rehabbed, Reborn: The Adaptive Reuse of America’s Derelict Religious Buildings and Schools. “Too many classrooms, a little bit too big.”

These large religious buildings can fall into disrepair, placing a financial burden on shrinking congregations. The process is a “vicious circle,” said Simons, because congregations in deteriorating buildings may have trouble attracting new members, which in turn reduces donations.

“Why not revamp what we have?”

More than 6,800 religious buildings have sold in the past five years and more than 1,400 are currently for sale in the U.S., according to the commercial real estate database CoStar.

Some will be sold to other congregations, while others will become something entirely different — like a nun-themed coffee shop.

Preserving desirable characteristics

Revamping old religious buildings can come with hidden costs, especially if developers have to run plumbing and heating vents through thick stone walls.

A new construction project might have fewer surprises but old houses of worship often have unique features that customers find desirable.

“The exterior of the building, the belovedness it has among the community, that’s all a positive,” he said. “What you really want is the stained glass and the beautiful interior finish.”

Running the bed and breakfast also brings more meaningful encounters. Many of the guests are people who once worshipped here. They come back for weddings, anniversaries or sometimes just to peek inside.

Elizabeth Warren Draws Record Crowd of 15,000 in Seattle

Bloomberg – Elizabeth Warren drew the largest crowd of her presidential campaign Sunday in Seattle, as an estimated 15,000 people turned out to support what she calls a movement for change.

When touting her wealth tax of 2 cents on every dollar of assets above $50 million, Warren drew chants of “2 cents! 2 cents!” The loudest applause came when she called for overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling that lifted campaign finance restrictions.

Warren, who is running on a platform of economic populism with proposals such as the wealth tax and more regulation, comes in second behind Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden in many polls.

She took an implicit jab at her rival when asked by an attendee how she plans to defeat Donald Trump without sinking to his level.

“We’re not gonna win this by just saying ‘not Trump,’” Warren said at the International Fountain Park. “It’s not enough to be not Trump.”

Supporters, Protestors Among Crowds At Straight Pride Event In Modesto

CBS – A straight pride group demonstrated along the streets of Modesto Saturday afternoon and dozens showed up to speak out against them. Straight pride supporters were denied a permit for their event weeks ago due to issues with logistics but vowed to make an appearance anyway.

Modesto police were on high alert, surrounding protestors and keeping the peace.

A large crowd formed on McHenry Street for several hours. People were holding signs, making noise and speaking out against straight pride event organizer Don Grundmann. For weeks he’s advertised having a straight pride event.

“This is an example of free speech in our country. It’s a one-way street. They want free speech but they don’t want to give us free speech,” Grundmann said.

When Grundmann showed up Saturday afternoon, people against his message said they wanted to outnumber him and surrounded his sign promoting the straight pride coalition.

“Apathy and not confronting fascists when they come out into the society and public space in our communities, it makes it unsafe for queer people, people of color,” said Sabine Tischler.

Grundmann said he showed up Saturday to “defend the foundation of life.”

“They want to shut us down with violence they want to threaten us with violence that they’ll hurt us and we aren’t going to be intimidated,” he said.

Modesto police came prepared on foot, on bikes and on horseback, just in case things did turn violent. But protestors on both sides stayed peaceful.

Lancaster deputy confesses to fabricating sniper shooting, authorities say

ABC – A Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputy who was reported shot in Lancaster this week made up the incident, authorities announced during a rare Saturday night news conference.

The deputy claimed that he was shot in the shoulder Wednesday, which triggered a massive manhunt and evacuations of an apartment complex next to the agency’s Lancaster station, authorities said.

Deputy Angel Reinosa, 21, had two holes in his shirt the day he claimed to be shot by a sniper.

He was heard calling in the shooting over emergency radios.

“I have taken shots from the north of the Lancaster helipad,” the deputy is heard saying over the radio. “I think I’m hit in the right shoulder.”

When investigators met with Reinosa on Saturday for follow-up interviews about the incident, they saw no visible injuries on his shoulder. Officials said Reinosa confessed to cutting the holes in his shirt with a knife and that he was never shot.

“There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder. Completely fabricated,” said Capt. Kent Wegener with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Reinosa was expected to be relieved of his duty and will face criminal charges for filling a false report of an emergency, officials said.

A motive had not been determined in the ongoing investigation.

“Most of his statement was self-serving, didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but he didn’t get into detail as to why he cut the holes or why he fabricated this story. No motivation,” Wegener said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office will now determine whether Reinosa will face additional charges.

WOW: CNN Guest Says Trump Murdered ‘Many More Millions’ Of People Than Hitler, Stalin & Mao – Host Brian Stelter doesn’t push back on absurd lie

Infowars – An insane guest on CNN absurdly claimed that President Trump killed more people than the 20th century’s most notorious homicidal dictators.

Psychiatrist Allen Francis told CNN host Brian Stelter that Trump is responsible for more deaths than the millions slaughtered by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.

“Trump is as destructive of person in this century as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were in the last century,” Francis said on – ironically – “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “He may be responsible for many more millions of deaths than they were.”

Stelter didn’t attempt to pushback on the blatantly absurd comment that Trump killed over 100 million people, resulting in fierce backlash online.

In attempt to justify his failure to call out the lunatic psychiatrist’s remarks, Stelter instead took to Twitter to blame “tech difficulties,” and was promptly ratioed.

Economy & Business

Trump: ‘Fake And Disgusting’ Media Trying to ‘Force A Recession’ Before 2020 – Meanwhile, Trump strikes historic trade deal with Japan

Newsmax – President Donald Trump on Sunday fired up his attack on the news media, saying its coverage of the economy and Group 7 summit of trying is trying to hamper his reelection chances.

In early morning tweets, the president lashed out at the “fake and disgusting” press accounts as “trying to ‘will’ America” into bad economic times.

“Before I arrived in France, the Fake and Disgusting News was saying that relations with the 6 others countries in the G-7 are very tense, and that the two days of meetings will be a disaster,” he tweeted.

“Just like they are trying to force a Recession, they are trying to ‘will’ America into bad Economic times. The worse the better, anything to make my Election more difficult to win.”

“Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great – the talk of the world!,” he asserted.

After stocks suffered a big drop earlier this month, Trump also tweeted “the fake news media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.”

Trump Dramatically Increases Seizures of Chinese Contraband at U.S. Border – White House taking gloves off on customs enforcement and securing border

Infowars – President Trump has dramatically hardened the border and beefed up customs enforcement in recent weeks, leading to a huge spike in Chinese contraband seizures of fentanyl and gun parts.

Just today, Mexico, who has been working with the Trump on border security, announced it had seized a 25-ton fentanyl shipment from China at the port city of Lázaro Cárdenasas, as the result of a joint task operation by Mexico’s customs enforcement and navy.

The massive seizure comes just a day after Trump ordered major carriers like FedEx, UPS, Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service to “search for and refuse” fentanyl deliveries from China after the communist regime failed to uphold its commitment to stem the flow of fentanyl into America.

Opinion: Trump’s assault on China and the Fed hits American consumers with a hidden tax – Misguided White House leaves investors on the rocks and in a hard place

MarketWatch – In a shooting war the guns are pointed at the enemy. In a trade-tariff war the guns are pointed inward. No one wins. This is the current state of U.S. trade policy towards China.

Western and American models of war favor brute force overwhelming the enemy. Asian martial arts turn an assailant’s force back on the attacker. The U.S. fired first against China trade with broad and brute force; China is answering with martial arts precision.

The U.S. is in a war and President Donald Trump and his trade adviser Peter Navarro put us there. The U.S. could have used precision tactics to counter IP theft or to improve 5G technology security. We didn’t. We picked on washing machines and flat-rolled steel. Trump was duped by Navarro’s argument that China would yield. Navarro has been proven wrong by subsequent events and outcomes.

China’s responses to the U.S. on trade are precisely targeted and scripted. The Chinese have planned for all contingent development options and for much higher levels of war with the U.S.; Trump and Navarro have forced them into that position. China will not yield, in my view. Time is on their side, the Chinese are patient, and their culture allows for both patience and precision.

Meanwhile, Trump is acting like a playground bully. Navarro owns the advisory role and the argument in favor of the present U.S. trade war policy. Trump owns the decisions. Together they are digging a hole, and that hole is getting deeper. Market agents know it. Farm-state voters know it. Financial agents know it.

Trump recently tweeted he wants the Federal Reserve to cut rates by 100 basis points. The result of such a move would be devastating to the U.S. economy. Sure, Trump’s real estate business ventures would have a 100 basis-point improvement thanks to lower borrowing costs, and the cost of financing Trump’s trillion-dollar federal deficit would be less as Treasury bill rates would fall.

But that would happen at the expense of every household in America. Every saver would suffer an income decline. Americans would witness a transfer from individuals and responsible businesses to profligate borrowers and the federal government. Call it a huge hidden tax on Americans.

Trump has taken the tariffs level to a 30% threshold on some items. Apply 30% on all China trade and the total approaches $200 billion. This large amount functions as a direct consumer sales tax — imposed on Americans and collected by the U.S. Treasury as a revenue. A metaphor for a hit to consumers of this size would be a $2-per-gallon permanent hike in gasoline taxes. That is an appropriate way to view what a 30% tariff on all China trade would look like.

Trump’s rank-and-file political-base supporters haven’t felt this pain — yet. It’s coming and my expectation is weakened economic activity in certain U.S. swing states will get Trump’s attention as his 2020 re-election risk rises.

Then Trump will either pivot and deal on China’s terms — or fail.

Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system – In China, scoring citizens’ behavior is official government policy. U.S. companies are increasingly doing something similar, outside the law.

Fast Company – At present, some parts of the social credit system are in force nationwide and others are local and limited (there are 40 or so pilot projects operated by local governments and at least six run by tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent).

Beijing maintains two nationwide lists, called the blacklist and the red list—the former consisting of people who have transgressed, and the latter people who have stayed out of trouble (a “red list” is the Communist version of a white list.) These lists are publicly searchable on a government website called China Credit.

The Chinese government also shares lists with technology platforms. So, for example, if someone criticizes the government on Weibo, their kids might be ineligible for acceptance to an elite school.

It can happen here

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

Here are some of the elements of America’s growing social credit system.

Insurance companies

The New York State Department of Financial Services announced earlier this year that life insurance companies can base premiums on what they find in your social media posts. That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you. On the other hand, a Facebook post showing you doing yoga might save you money. (Insurance companies have to demonstrate that social media evidence points to risk, and not be based on discrimination of any kind—they can’t use social posts to alter premiums based on race or disability, for example.)

PatronScan

A company called PatronScan sells three products—kiosk, desktop, and handheld systems—designed to help bar and restaurant owners manage customers. PatronScan is a subsidiary of the Canadian software company Servall Biometrics, and its products are now on sale in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

PatronScan helps spot fake IDs—and troublemakers. When customers arrive at a PatronScan-using bar, their ID is scanned. The company maintains a list of objectionable customers designed to protect venues from people previously removed for “fighting, sexual assault, drugs, theft, and other bad behavior,” according to its website. A “public” list is shared among all PatronScan customers. So someone who’s banned by one bar in the U.S. is potentially banned by all the bars in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada that use the PatronScan system for up to a year. (PatronScan Australia keeps a separate system.)

Judgment about what kind of behavior qualifies for inclusion on a PatronScan list is up to the bar owners and managers. Individual bar owners can ignore the ban, if they like. Data on non-offending customers is deleted in 90 days or less. Also: PatronScan enables bars to keep a “private” list that is not shared with other bars, but on which bad customers can be kept for up to five years.

Uber and Airbnb

Airbnb—a major provider of travel accommodation and tourist activities—bragged in March that it now has more than 6 million listings in its system. That’s why a ban from Airbnb can limit travel options.

Airbnb can disable your account for life for any reason it chooses, and it reserves the right to not tell you the reason. The company’s canned message includes the assertion that “This decision is irreversible and will affect any duplicated or future accounts. Please understand that we are not obligated to provide an explanation for the action taken against your account.” The ban can be based on something the host privately tells Airbnb about something they believe you did while staying at their property. Airbnb’s competitors have similar policies.

It’s now easy to get banned by Uber, too. Whenever you get out of the car after an Uber ride, the app invites you to rate the driver. What many passengers don’t know is that the driver now also gets an invitation to rate you. Under a new policy announced in May: If your average rating is “significantly below average,” Uber will ban you from the service

WhatsApp

You can be banned from communications apps, too. For example, you can be banned on WhatsApp if too many other users block you. You can also get banned for sending spam, threatening messages, trying to hack or reverse-engineer the WhatsApp app, or using the service with an unauthorized app.

WhatsApp is small potatoes in the United States. But in much of the world, it’s the main form of electronic communication. Not being allowed to use WhatsApp in some countries is as punishing as not being allowed to use the telephone system in America.

Energy & Environment

Tropical Storm Dorian gathers strength as it moves over the Caribbean

Accuweather –

Tropical Storm Dorian continued gathering strength on Monday as it made its way over the Caribbean Sea toward the Lesser Antilles. The island group has been put on alert for impacts from ranging from strong winds and rough surf to localized flooding early this week.

The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Meanwhile, a tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica, Martinique, Grenada and its dependencies, Saba, and St. Eustatius.

Trump skips out on G-7 climate meeting, citing busy schedule

CBS – President Trump skipped a climate meeting with fellow world leaders at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France on Monday, further fueling concerns over the administration’s lack of interest in combating the effects of climate change. During the scheduled working session on climate, biodiversity and oceans, U.S. pool reporters did not see the president and asked the White House to confirm if he was a no-show.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham replied with a statement saying, “The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead.”

This is not the first time the president has skipped out on attending a climate-related event. Mr. Trump did not attend last year’s G-7 climate session in Quebec City either.

Science & Technology

After a String of Nuclear Incidents, Russia Just Launched a Floating Nuclear Power Plant. Is It Safe?

Time – On Friday, an unusual kind of vessel set sail from the Arctic city of Murmansk, Russia, for a destination in the country’s far east––a floating nuclear power plant equipped with two reactors.

The vessel, dubbed the Akademik Lomonosov, is set to travel about 2,900 miles to the Arctic port town of Pevek, which has a population of about 4,000 people, where it will be loaded with nuclear fuel and put in place to provide power to the region, according to Russia’s state nuclear corporation, ROSATOM.

Russia’s far east may just be the beginning. ROSATOM has said that it’s in talks with potential customers for the floating power unit, and sees “significant market potential” in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. The vessel’s reactors can generate 70 megawatts of electric energy and 50 gigacalories an hour of heat energy, according to ROSATOM––enough to support a city of up to 100,00 people.

Health

Black cumin seeds are great for protecting the pancreas from damage that may lead to diabetes

NaturalNews – Black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) is a traditional medicine that “remedies all but death.” Today, various studies have been conducted on black cumin to prove its health benefits. Studies revealed that black cumin seed oil speeds up wound healing and protects against pancreatic damage that can lead to diabetes.

A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at the effect of black cumin oil on wound healing in diabetic rats. For this study, the researchers studied seven groups of rats: control (nondiabetic untreated), sham (nondiabetic Eucerin-treated) nondiabetic phenytoin-treated, diabetic untreated, and three diabetic groups treated with phenytoin and 20 or 40 percent hydroethanolic black cumin extracts. Eucerin is a cosmetic skin product, while phenytoin is used for seizures and healing wounds.

The researchers found that treating diabetic rats with 40 percent black cumin seed extract healed the inflicted wounds of the animals almost twice as fast at the control group. It was closely followed by the 20 percent extract used on diabetic rats. Although the beneficial mechanism of the wound healing promotion was not specifically studied, it is believed that the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of black cumin played a key role in this enhanced wound healing.

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