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Top Headlines

Court rules gov’t can keep money seized in drug bust, even after suspect acquitted

Delaware State News – A Dover man acquitted of drug charges and convicted of weapons offenses was denied in an attempt to regain $13,584 seized during a search warrant execution at his home in 2015, according to a Superior Court ruling issued last week.

Jeffrey Crippen was not entitled to three bundles of cash seized by Dover Police due to lack of documentation and proof that the money was legitimately earned, President Judge William L. Witham Jr. asserted in a 16-page order, .

While Crippen claimed in a 2017 petition that he received all the funds two years earlier, he testified at trial that some of the money was received as early as 2012 through work and personal loans, according to the Court.

The petitioner could not document a supposed $5,000 personal loan allegedly received, the court said, nor a business it was purportedly intended for, the judge determined. There was no evidence to support an alleged second $5,000 personal loan as well, the order stated.

“The Court finds it incredible that (the money was allegedly loaned in 2013), but then two years later, the money would be part of a collection of funds stored in a home that had been broken into multiple times, instead of a secure location like a bank,” Judge Witham noted.

Crippen did not petition for $54, and the remaining $3,530 could not be proved to be legally acquired, according to the order.

There was no proof of employment from 2012-13, the judge found, no “sufficient evidence (provided) that the cash was related to legitimate non-criminal sources” and “incomplete proof of ownership of the funds.”

The initial confiscation was allowed based on legitimate probable cause, according to the Court.

According to the Delaware Department of Justice, Crippen, 50 at the time, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for weapons charges.

He also received six months in a halfway house following maximum incarceration and then two years of probation.

Deputy Attorney General Greg Babowal argued for the state in the petition case, with Crippen representing himself.

Researchers develop artificial fingerprints, claiming they could hack into a third of smartphones

CNBC – Artificial fingerprints have been developed by researchers who say they could one day be used to hack into everyday devices.

Researchers from New York University and Michigan State University successfully generated what they call “DeepMasterPrints” earlier this year. These are machine-learning methods that act as a kind of “masterkey” which, the researchers claim, have the potential to unlock around one in three fingerprint-protected smartphones.

In the paper released in October, the authors said synthetic fingerprints could be “used by an adversary to launch an attack … that can compromise the security of a fingerprint-based recognition system.”

Philip Bontrager, Aditi Roy, Julian Togelius, Nasir Memon and Arun Ross, the researchers behind the study, said the way fingerprints were recognized on smartphones and other devices was often problematic.

“Phones and many more devices don’t capture your entire fingerprint,” they told CNBC over the phone. “There’s not enough space on the device, so they capture a partial fingerprint — which is not as secure as the full image. (People assume) the device stitches images of their fingerprint together, but that’s not really what happens — it keeps sets of partial fingerprints.”

Defenses increasing

While the researchers told CNBC that their findings could be a potential threat to security systems, there were things software developers could do to make such an attack harder to pull off.

“Research in assessing vulnerabilities in a fingerprint recognition system is a constant arms race between fixing vulnerabilities and discovering new ones,” the paper said. “It is important for researchers to probe for new vulnerabilities so that loopholes can be fixed.”

Many developers were already making fingerprint scanners more secure by moving sensors from devices’ buttons to screens, allowing them to pick up higher resolution images.

Washington State Infringes on Right to Keep and Bear Arms With New Law

The New American – Fifty-nine percent of Washington voters approved an initiative in November to increase the age limit to buy semi-automatic assault-style rifles to 21, strengthening background checks for anyone buying an “assault rifle,” and requiring all guns to be safely stored (stored weapons aren’t generally useful for self-defense, and safes cost money, putting a burden on the poor).

The provision raising the age to buy certain types of rifles to 21 went into effect with the New Year on Tuesday, while the other two requirements will become law on July 1.

Not surprisingly, the gun-control lobby was ecstatic. “We’ve seen that assault rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shootings, and when they’re used, more people are killed and injured,” claimed Kristen Ellingboe of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “We’ve seen time and again that Washington voters want action to prevent gun violence in our state.”

Some other states that have also taken away the rights of adults between the ages of 18 and 21 to purchase certain firearms include Florida, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont, and New York.

A federal lawsuit has already been filed against the proposal, arguing the measure violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution, as well as the rights of gun merchants under the Constitution’s commerce clause. Plaintiffs include some adults under age 21, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. Some firearms dealers in Washington State have also joined the suit.

Hackers threaten to expose 9/11 documents that will ‘provide answers about conspiracies’

The Mirror – Hackers have threatened to expose secret documents from the computer systems of a law firm, which they claim are related to 9/11.

The hackers, known as The Dark Overlord, say that the documents from Hiscox Syndicates will be released unless a hefty, yet undisclosed, ransom is paid.

While the nature of the documents remains unclear, the hackers claim that they could provide answers about 9/11 conspiracies.

They tweeted: “We’ll be providing many answers about 9.11 conspiracies through our 18.000 secret documents leak from @HiscoxComms and others.”

Connecticut — New State Law Requires Mandatory Flu Vaccines for All Kids Ages 2 to 4: Comply or Don’t Go to School

DC Clothesline – Parents who fail to get their 2 to 4-year-old children vaccinated for influenza in Connecticut are in for a rude awakening when children return to school after Christmas break. If they cannot prove their child received the flu vaccine, they will not be allowed to return to school.

The new state law is simple: comply or your child cannot go to school.

It is no question that the subject of vaccines is profoundly controversial. On both sides of the argument exists truth and lies that can hinder the ability of some to make rational decisions.

While we have everyone from attorneys to biologists, to political scientists who write for the Free Thought Project, none of us are doctors, so we do not make recommendations about what you and your family should do in regards to vaccination. That being said, however, government mandating vaccinations is a highly unethical practice as it removes the right to informed consent.

Lawmakers claim that the new law is necessary because every year in the US roughly 20,000 children under 5 are hospitalized because of the flu. But historically, the data shows that these numbers are largely skewed.

The CDC has been telling the public for nearly a decade that there are more than 200,000 estimated hospitalizations and 36,000 estimated deaths from influenza in the U.S. every year.

44 Numbers From 2018 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

The Daily Sheeple – Was 2018 everything that you expected it to be?  Every year contains surprises, but 2018 truly turned out to be a year that we will never forget.  Over the past 12 months we witnessed great political shaking, Wall Street experienced the worst downturn that we have seen since 2008, the crust of our planet was rattled by an increasing number of major seismic events, social decay spread like wildfire, and America continued to become even more divided as a nation.  In comparison, 2017 was rather bland and boring, and I truly believe that one day we will look back on 2018 as a major turning point.

It is amazing that 12 months has flown by already.  It seems like the years just keep getting faster, and perhaps that is because we are all getting older.

In any event, the following are 44 numbers from 2018 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 One study found that the average American spends 86 hours a monthon a cellphone.

#2 A different study discovered that 37 percent of all Americans have eaten fast food within the last 24 hours.

#3 90 percent of the beer that Americans drink is produced by just 2 gigantic corporations.

#4 McDonalds feeds approximately 70 million people a day globally.  Pornhub gets more than 78 million visits a day.

#5 60 percent of all Americans actually believe that they have seen a ghost.

#6 The middle class continues to decline, and at this point half of all American workers make less than $30,533 a year.

#7 During the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats were able to pick up 40 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Those that were forecasting a “red tsunami” were completely and totally wrong.

#8 Kevin Spacey’s incredibly creepy YouTube video entitled “Let Me Be Frank” in which he promises that he will never be held accountable for his actions has already been viewed more than 8 million times.

#9 Since 2007, the total amount of student loan debt in America has nearly tripled.

#10 The suicide rate in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 1999.

Continue reading HERE

A THIRD RUSSIAN MISSILE CRISIS IN LATIN AMERICA COMING?

Charlotte Iserbyt –  However, having lived on the island of Grenada for several years and being somewhat knowledgeable regarding the Stalinist-type takeover of that small island and Reagan’s response to it, citing the safety of American students at the medical college there (disinformation to keep Americans from freaking out), I felt obliged to forward this to you.  I know John Spring and he is a very credible source.

John, a credentialed geographer, knowledgeable regarding geopolitical affairs as well, was in touch with President Kennedy during the Cuban  missile crisis and provided the White House with important intelligence gleaned from his knowledge of geography of island of Cuba.

From  John Spring  12-24-18

Missile Crisis At Punta Huete, Nicaragua And La Orchila Island, Venezuela  Dear Friends, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is planning the Third Russian Missile Crisis that will involve the Punta Huete Airport in Nicaragua and also La Orchila Airport on La Orchila Island in Venezuela with runways over 3,000 meters or nearly 10,000 feet in length, which can not only accommodate the Russian Tu-160 long-range nuclear bomber, but also the giant An-124 Antanov Ruslan heavy military air transport that can carry up to 150 tons of cargo or the U.S. C-5 Galaxy Lockheed Martin military air transport that can carry 120 tons of cargo.To explain why this situation in the Caribbean Sea and Central America would be the Third Russian Missile Crisis is based on the Cuban Missile Crisis being the First Russian Missile Crisis and the U.S invasion into Grenada being as a result of the Second Russian Missile Crisis , which was never released to the public. Putin is using a plan that is very similar to the Second Russian Missile Crisis , except that the Island of Grenada will be replaced by La Orchila Island in the Caribbean Sea as the stop-over refueling base for the Russian An-124 military air transport that is capable of carrying a completely-integrated mobile launcher with an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile with a Thermonuclear Warhead that can reach a distance of 3,300 nautical miles .The An-124 would then reach Nicaragua in Central America and land at Punta Huete where it would then be deployed and promptly targeted at the United States without any warning. Merry Christmas !Sincerely, John W. SpringThe Prelude To The Third Russian Missile Crisis In Latin America

By John W. Spring 12-22-18

Dear Friends, America is now facing the prelude to the Third Russian Missile Crisis in Latin America . While the first was the Cuban Missile Crisis during 1962, the second was the Second Soviet Missile Crisis that occurred in 1983 when U.S. Armed Forces invaded the small island of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean Sea to halt the construction of a mile-long airstrip that could accommodate a gigantic Soviet air transport for refueling on a stop-over to reach another mile-long airfield at Punta Huete in Marxist Nicaragua of Central America where a fully-integrated mobile missile launch site for a Russian Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile with a Thermonuclear Warhead could be deployed to strike within a distance of 3,300 nautical miles that would be able to destroy any strategic target with great accuracy within the continental or coterminous United States . Of course, the aforementioned information was kept from the public and the American people were only told that the mission’s purpose for invading Grenada was to rescue American students who were on the island, which was depicted in the motion picture film ” Heartbreak Ridge .”Because the American people were never informed by the Reagan Administration of the actual reason for the invasion of Grenada where Cubans, North Koreans and Russians were present during the construction of that one-mile long airstrip, it will be a challenge to explain this earlier attempted clandestine operation by Moscow during the Cold War to them now. However, in spite of it being rather abstract for people comprehend, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has already copied the plan for the Second Soviet Missile Crisis , with only one exception. Instead of the island of Grenada , the Russians have already built a very long airstrip on La Orchila Island , which is part of Marxist Venezuela where the An-124 Antanov Ruslan giant military air transport that can carry 150 tons of cargo would be able to land, refuel and takeoff for Punta Huete in Nicaragua of Central America to deploy a fully-integrated mobile launch site for an Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile and also a Thermonuclear Warhead for destroying any major city in the United States .While we should be concerned about the two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack Bombers landing in Maiquetia at Simon Bolivar International Airport near Caracas , Venezuela on December 10, 2018, I am more concerned about the very long airstrip that has already been completely built by the Russians on La Orchila Island , which is in the Caribbean Sea and it can also accommodate their An-124 Antanov Ruslan heavy military air transport that can carry up to 150 tons of cargo.So Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has already begun the prelude for the Third Russian Missile Crisis in Latin America , which will involve the Marxist nations of Nicaragua and Venezuela . So we may be now only a matter of days from his “checkmate” for a thermonuclear holocaust .

World News

Vatican letter undermines US cardinal on abuse

The Vatican blocked U.S. bishops from taking measures to address the clergy sex abuse scandal because U.S. church leaders didn’t discuss the legally problematic proposals with the Holy See enough beforehand, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

The Nov. 11 letter from the Vatican’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet provides the primary reason that Rome balked at the measures that were to be voted on by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at its Nov. 12-14 meeting. The blocked vote stunned abuse survivors and other Catholics who were demanding action from U.S. bishops to address clergy sex abuse and cover-up.

Anti-Macron demonstrators set ablaze Paris and shroud in thick smoke iconic Eiffel Tower

Expess.uk – THICK black smoke engulfed the Eiffel Tower Saturday night after anti-Macron demonstrators set alight dozens of cars in the streets of Paris.

What has been dubbed the “seventh act” of the yellow vest protesters ended in violence, plunging the French capital into chaos once again. Shocking pictures show the iconic tower shrouded in smoke and vehicles engulfed in flames, with firefighter battling the blaze to put it off. Hundreds of yellow vest demonstrators, who have been named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists must have in their car, marched through the streets of France’s major cities for the seventh time yesterday since the anti-Macron movement started in mid-November.

UK Parliament Declared Theresa May’s Government in Contempt for Hiding Legal Advice About Brexit

G. Edward Griffin – Theresa May withdrew her proposed Brexit deal before it could be voted upon because she knew it would fail because of its unpopularity – so much so that she tried to keep the damning legal advice from the attorney general about the deal hidden from parliament. That caused Theresa May’s government to be declared in contempt of parliament. As bad as the proposed deal was,  her ‘divorce’ agreement, as it has been called, is even worse. It will cost the UK $50-billion and keeps the immigration floodgates open until 2022. The UK still is scheduled to break from the EU on March 29, 2019, but Theresa May and other globalists in high places are hard at work pursuing ways to clog the machinery so badly that another referendum will seem acceptable to the public.

US fired tear gas into Mexico early on New Year’s Day

Fox – U.S. authorities fired tear gas into Mexico during the early hours of the new year to repel about 150 migrants who tried to breach the border fence in Tijuana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that about 45 migrants got through the first layer of fencing but turned back when they saw the border patrol’s presence early Tuesday. CBP said migrants began to throw rocks at agents from the Mexican side while others tried to cross the concertina wire, including passing “toddler-sized children” over the wire.

Border patrol officers responded by firing smoke, pepper spray and tear gas at the rock throwers in Mexico, distinguishing them from those who were trying to cross the fence line, CBP said.

Mexico to Recruit 50,000 for National Guard

AP – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador used his first news conference of 2019 to start recruitment for his new National Guard, which will become the country’s primary security force.

Lopez Obrador says the government hopes to recruit about 50,000 civilians to add to the guard’s initial composition of military personnel and federal police.

Those interested in applying will do so through the existing army and navy recruitment centers. The military will provide the National Guard’s command structure.

Trump says he will meet Kim soon, receives letter from him

RT – US President Donald Trump has said that his administration will be setting up another meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the “not too distant future.”

U.S. News, Politics & Government

CONSERVATIVE WOMAN CAN’T GET HOUSING DUE TO POLITICS: ‘Your views are diametrically opposed to ours (and we hate Fox)’

WND – A conservative in Washington is facing discrimination – she’s being denied permission to rent a living unit – because of her politics.

The story is outlined by Townhall columnist Zachary Petrizzo who explains the problem facing Pardes Seleh, who is “a conservative who has worked at Fox News and is now a graduate student.”

She shared an email she got in response to her inquiry about a rental.

“After pursuing your journalistic and social media posts, it’s pretty clear your political views are diametrically opposed to ours (and we hate Fox),” the response said.

She had asked for information about an ad regarding “Furn’d pvt room & bath, all utils incl+pool and gym.”

RNC chair slams her uncle Mitt Romney for Trump criticism

The Hill – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, the niece of Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (R-Utah), blasted the incoming lawmaker on Wednesday, saying that the op-ed he wrote criticizing President Trump was “disappointing and unproductive.”

“POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7,” McDaniel wrote on Twitter. “For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive.”

Hill leaders to meet on border in White House Situation Room

AP – President Donald Trump said his Homeland Security officials will “make a plea” for the border wall with Mexico during a briefing for congressional leaders Wednesday at the White House as the partial government shutdown over his demand for wall funding entered its 12th day.

The president made his case anew ahead of the afternoon session with Democratic and Republican leaders about the migrants arriving at the border in recent days. He said the border is “like a sieve” and noted the tear gas “flying” overnight to deter them. He called the border “very tough” at keeping immigrants out.

Economy & Business

Trump says there was a stock market ‘glitch’ in December, but it will rise when trade deals fixed

CNBC – The S&P 500 dropped more than 9 percent for its worst December performance since 1931. Those losses also pushed the broad stock index to its worst annual performance since 2008 — when it plunged more than 38 percent. For 2018, the S&P 500 pulled back 6.2 percent.

Equities fell sharply in December as investors grappled with fear that the Federal Reserve might be making a monetary policy mistake, worries about a possible economic slowdown, and ongoing trade negotiations between China and the United States.

China and the U.S. agreed to a 90-day truce on Dec. 1 to try and strike a permanent trade agreement. Both countries have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods.

TESLA misses vehicle delivery estimates, cuts prices

CNBC – Tesla delivered 90,700 vehicles during the fourth quarter, falling shy of Wall Street estimates.

Tesla boosted production during the quarter, churning out 86,555 vehicles, up 8 percent from 80,142 during the third quarter.

Investors are disappointed in the news, sending shares south in morning trading.

‘We are not robots’: Amazon warehouse employees push to unionize

The Guardian  – As Amazon’s workforce has more than doubled over the past three years, workers at Amazon fulfillment center warehouses in the United States have started organizing and pushing toward forming a union to fight back against the company’s treatment of its workers.

Amazon’s global workforce reached more than 613,000 employees worldwide according to its latest quarterly earnings report, not including the 100,000 temporary employees the company hired for the holiday season.

Just a few months after Amazon opened its first New York-based fulfillment center in Staten Island, workers announced on 12 December the launch of a union push with help from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

“Amazon is a very big company. They need to have a union put in place,” said an Amazon worker who requested to remain anonymous. The worker has been with the company for two years and was transferred to Staten Island when it opened in October 2018. “They overwork you and you’re like a number to them. During peak season and Prime season, they give you 60 hours a week. In July, I had Prime week and worked 60 hours. The same day I worked overtime, I got into a bad car accident because I was falling asleep behind the wheel.”

Uh Oh – Food Stamp Money Will Run Out By The End Of January If The Government Shutdown Lasts That Long

The Daily Sheeple – According to the Department of Agriculture, if this government shutdown stretches into February there won’t be money for food stamps.  And it certainly looks like this shutdown could last for quite a while, because President Trump is not backing down on his demand for border wall funding, and the Democrats have pledged not to give him a single penny.  So a few weeks from now, approximately 38 million people could be suddenly cut off from the food stamp program. If that scenario were to unfold, there is no telling what could happen. After just a few days, government workers are already freaking out about having their paychecks delayed.  If people are getting this restless already, what will things look like when tens of millions of Americans are suddenly cut off from their primary source of food money?

Even though the government has been shut down, the Department of Agriculture still has some existing financial resources at their disposal, and they are assuring us that those enrolled in the food stamp program will still receive their benefits “for January”.  

Energy & Environment

Geoengineering Watch: Our Most Comprehensive Climate Engineering Presentation

Dane Wigington – Climate engineering and weather warfare are ultimately one in the same. The ongoing atmospheric experiments taking place in our skies have a long history with many objectives and agendas being carried out, the equation is complex. If we are to have any chance of exposing and halting catastrophic global climate engineering operations, we must first have a clear understanding of the issue itself. The video below is by far the most complete and comprehensive presentation ever produced by GeoengineeringWatch.org. The presentation was given live at Northern California public awareness raising event. It is our hope that this video will provide a useful tool for increasing desperately needed public awareness and understanding of the critically important climate engineering issue.

It is imperative to reach a critical mass of public awareness as quickly as possible. The effort to expose and halt geoengineering operations can only be waged with an awakened population, time is not on our side. Sharing credible data from a credible source is the most effective and efficient way to wake others who are not yet aware of the issue. Make your voice heard, make every day count.

Science & Technology

Prepare to be microchipped: Your boss will be hooking you up to the ‘Internet of Bodies’ before you know it

Unherd – The ‘Internet of Things‘ (IoT) is not a term I have much love for. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, even Augmented Eternity, I can put up with, but the Internet of Things? Must we? Surely there has to be a better way of referring to the fact that more and more of our machines – from central heating systems to electronic door locks – are getting hooked up to the internet? Even something blandly technical like ‘pervasive networks’ would be less annoying than Internet of Things.

Except now there’s something even worse: the ‘Internet of Bodies’, in which instead of machines being networked, it’s living organisms – up to and including human beings.

What would make this possible are devices that can be attached to or implanted within a body. Depending on its sophistication, the device would allow the subject individual to be identified, monitored or in some way controlled via the internet or a private network.

A basic example, already in widespread use, is the microchipping of pets. Then there are the growing range of medical devices, from implantable pacemakers to robotic prosthetic limbs and artificial organs, that can also be networked.

In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Andrea M Matwyshyn explores the implications of technology:

“Who controls these “IoB” devices in our bodies? Who can use the body-derived data? Who is responsible for ensuring that the devices work as intended?”

If having a tech company in ultimate charge of your smartphone and the things you use it for, concerns you, imagine if they literally controlled your heart:

“Like most of the tech industry, existing IoB companies rely on end-user license agreements and privacy policies to retain rights in software and to create rights to monitor, aggregate and share users’ body data…  some end-user license agreements have allowed companies to deactivate, or ‘brick,’ a device unless a consumer agrees to changes in privacy or information-sharing provisions.”

Of course, we’re talking about major medical interventions here, that most of us, for most of our lives, won’t need (we might not be able to afford them either, but that’s another issue).

And yet the Internet of Bodies could be coming for us anyway. In a story for the Guardian, Julia Kollewe reports on the microchipping of humans in the workplace:

“UK firm BioTeq, which offers the implants to businesses and individuals, has already fitted 150 implants in the UK.

‘The tiny chips, implanted in the flesh between the thumb and forefinger, are similar to those for pets. They enable people to open their front door, access their office or start their car with a wave of their hand, and can also store medical data.”

Kollewe adds that another such company, Biohax, “is in discussions with several British legal and financial firms about fitting their employees with microchips” .

Chinese spacecraft to become first to land on far side of moon

The Guardian – A Chinese spacecraft could become the first ever to land on the “far side” of the moon tomorrow, in a milestone for human space exploration. The ChinaNational Space Administration (CNSA) is aiming to land the craft in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the largest, oldest, deepest, crater on the moon’s surface.

The robotic probe, Chang’e 4, entered an elliptical path around the moon last weekend, drawing as close as 15km (9 miles) from the surface. China’s mission control has not confirmed a time for the touchdown attempt but reports in state-run media suggested it would be early Thursday morning UK time.

Spacecraft have taken pictures of the moon’s far side before, but no lander has ever touched down there. If successful, Chang’e will mark a step towards China’s ambition to become a leading power in space exploration alongside the US and Russia.

Some Android apps share data with Facebook, regardless of whether you have an account or not

Fox – Some Android apps are sending data to Facebook, regardless of whether users have an account on the social network or not, new research warns.

A study by Privacy International analyzed the data that 34 Android apps, each with between 10 million and 500 million customers, transmit to Facebook.

Health

‘This disease is a monster’: Furious moms blast CDC for failing to act on mystery polio-like virus which has left hundreds of kids paralyzed since 2012, killed at least two and is now expected to hit unprecedented levels in 2020

Daily Mail – This year the number of confirmed cases of the polio-like illness of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) reached its highest yet with 168 cases.  That is a steady climb from the 35 confirmed in 2017, 149 in 2016, 22 in 2015 and 120 in 2014

In past cases it has robbed children of the use of limbs but has also left many fully paralyzed and even in need of ventilators to breathe.

At least two children have died.  Several parents of children who were diagnosed with the illness have shared their anger that more has not been done to educate doctors.

Parents of those children say many could have been saved if only the CDC had acted sooner to raise awareness of the condition.  In November, the CDC finally launched a task-force to look into it. ‘I want to reaffirm to parents, patients, and our Nation CDC’s commitment to this serious medical condition,’ said CDC Director Robert Redfield  

Warning: Chemicals Common in Toothpaste and Personal Care Items are Causing Early Puberty

The Daily Sheeple – Within the past twenty years, studies have been showing that girls and boys are beginning puberty earlier in life than at any other time in history. Not coincidentally, the world has been inundated with a slew of toxic chemicals in products that we use every day and practically everywhere.

A recent study is raising the alarm over this issue, pointing out that some of these common chemicals may be disrupting a child’s development even while they are still in the womb before they are born.

We know that some of the things we put on our bodies are getting into our bodies, either because they pass through the skin or we breathe them in or we inadvertently ingest them. We need to know how these chemicals are affecting our health. ~Kim Harley, lead author of the study and associate adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at Berkeley

Recently published in the journal Human Reproduction, a new report sheds light on this complex issue. Using data collected as part of the Centre for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS), researchers followed 338 children from birth into adolescence. The findings suggest that early environmental exposures may indeed impact childhood physical and mental development.

The study focused primarily on the presence of phthalates, parabens and phenols:

The chemicals in question — phthalates, parabens and phenols — are known as endocrine disrupters, which may mimic hormones and lead children to mature well before their natural time. As the study noted, exposure to these chemicals is widespread, which is why it’s crucial parents be made aware of the findings.

Indeed, the chemicals are widespread:

Phthalates are used as fixing agents in scented products like deodorants and perfumes, and to prevent cracking in nail polish. They are also common in plastic packaging.

Parabens are a family of compounds that are widely used as preservatives. Meanwhile, phenols, notably triclosan and benzophenone, are used to enhance the durability of some products and as antimicrobial agents. [Source]

The conclusions of the study are paraphrased here by PubMed:

In girls, we observed earlier onset of pubic hair development with prenatal urinary MEP concentrations and earlier menarche with prenatal triclosan and 2,4-dichlorophenol concentrations. Regarding peripubertal biomarkers, we observed: earlier breast development, pubic hair development and menarche with methyl paraben; earlier menarche with propyl paraben; and later pubic hair development with 2,5-dichlorophenol. In boys, we observed no associations with prenatal urinary biomarker concentrations and only one association with peripubertal concentrations: earlier genital development with propyl paraben. [Source]

Banish Winter Blues With These 12 Foods

Care2 – When the weather outside is frightful, our moods sometimes take a hit. Fortunately, a few simple tweaks to your diet might be able to lift your spirits. Here are 12 foods that can help you banish the winter blues.

1. BERRIES

Winter can have many of us feeling stressed and exhausted. The cold, the lack of sunlight, the busy holidays — it all adds up. And that’s where berries come into play. “Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries may help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland,” according to Healthline.

2. WALNUTS

Research has suggested foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, have the ability to boost your mood. “Omega-3s can easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain,” according to Harvard Medical School.

3. OATMEAL

What goes great with walnuts and berries? Oatmeal. For a delicious, uplifting meal, cook up a warm bowl of oatmeal. Oats’ low glycemic index helps to keep your blood sugar stable, and their fiber increases your feeling of fullness — both of which can allow you to go about your day more comfortably.

4. LEAFY GREENS

Dark, leafy greens are the ticket to combating numerous health issues. And thanks to greens’ high level of folic acid, they might be able to boost your mood, too. “There’s some evidence that the body uses [folic acid] to create serotonin — a neurotransmitter that affects mood — but there’s no conclusive evidence as to how it works,” according to Healthline.

5. MUSHROOMS

If you’re not getting enough vitamin D from sunshine during the winter months, your mood might experience a corresponding drop. But you can supplement it in your diet with several foods, including mushrooms. Besides being high in vitamin D, mushrooms also can strengthen your immune system, aid digestion, lower your cancer risk and improve heart health.

6. AVOCADO

Everyone’s favorite green toast-topper wants to put a smile on your face, too. Avocadosare a nutrient-dense food. In particular, they contain vitamin B6, which your body uses to produce the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. They also have plenty of healthy fats and fiber, which help to increase fullness and stabilize blood sugar.

7. LENTILS

Lentils are an excellent meat alternative, packed with protein and iron. And like other legumes, their nutrient content also helps your body to produce serotonin. Plus, they’re rich in polyphenols, which “are known to have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects,” according to Healthline. And their high fiber content keeps your stomach happy for longer.

8. QUINOA

Quinoa has become a word everyone finally knows how to pronounce, for good reason. This popular healthy grain (though some call it a seed) is high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals — especially the B vitamins that aid serotonin production. Plus, it has high amounts of certain flavonoids that “have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies,” according to Healthline.

9. FERMENTED FOODS

The probiotics in fermented foods — such as kimchi and kombucha — make for a healthy gut. And they also might contribute to a healthy mood. According to an article published in the journal Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, studies have found “probiotic-rich diets … showed positive effects on stress relief and memory enhancement, potentially via gut microbiota improvement.” They also have shown promise in combating depression and anxiety, but the research in this area is still preliminary.

10. BANANAS

There are several ways a banana might benefit your mood. For one, they contain the amino acid tryptophan, which works to relax the body. The sugars and potassium in bananas help to give you energy. Plus, they’re high in magnesium, which is important for brain function and mood. In fact, some research has linked low levels of magnesium to a higher risk of depression, according to Healthline.

11. PUMPKIN SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds are a small, but mighty food, packed with several key nutrients. They’re full of antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Plus, similar to bananas, pumpkin seeds are very high in magnesium and contain tryptophan. They also have a substantial amount of zinc, which researchers have pointed to for its positive influence on mental health.

12. DARK CHOCOLATE

The winter blues are no match for a piece of high-quality dark chocolate. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, eating dark chocolate can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It also can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and improve brain function. So go ahead and feel good about indulging your chocolate cravings.

Top 5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Mercola – Last year’s 30-day new year’s resolution guide was a big hit. This year, for the month of January, we will revisit this tip-a-day format by looking back at 30 of the most-read Mercola.com articles of all time, reviewing the topics readers have found most valuable over the years.

First on the list, and the topic of this article, is vitamin D deficiency. What are the risks? How can you determine if you’re deficient? And what are the benefits of raising your vitamin D level?

Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common around the world, but many mistakenly believe they aren’t at risk because they consume vitamin D-fortified foods, such as milk. Few foods have therapeutic levels of vitamin D naturally, and even fortified foods do not contain enough vitamin D to support your health needs.

Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone that you obtain primarily through sun exposure, not via your diet. Since most dermatologists and other doctors recommend avoiding the sun and using sunscreen before venturing outdoors, vitamin D deficiency has reached truly epidemic proportions around the world.

Unfortunately, while the justification for sun avoidance is that it may reduce your risk of skin cancer, by avoiding sun exposure you risk vitamin D deficiency, which in turn raises your risk for many cancers — not only internal ones but also skin cancer, as well as a whole host of chronic diseases.

Considering the importance of vitamin D for disease prevention, strict sun avoidance is likely doing far more harm than good. The major problem with sun exposure is burning, not overall exposure. And, the easily treatable forms of skin cancer — squamous and basal cell carcinomas — are the ones most likely to form.

According to research1 published in June, 2018, an estimated 40 percent of Americans are profoundly vitamin D deficient, defined as having a serum (blood) level of vitamin D below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). Sufficiency is defined as having a level of 20 ng/mL or higher.

Calling someone with a vitamin D level of less than 20 ng/ml vitamin D deficient is like calling someone over 400 pounds simply overweight; in both cases a grossly serious understatement.

Top 5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

The only way to definitively identify vitamin D deficiency is via blood testing. However, there are some general signs and symptoms to be aware of as well. If any of the following apply to you, you should get your vitamin D levels tested sooner rather than later, and take proactive steps to boost your level into the 60 to 80 ng/mL range:

1. Ongoing musculoskeletal pain and achy bones — According to vitamin D researcher Dr. Michael Holick, many who see their doctor for aches and pains, especially in combination with fatigue, end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

2. Frequent illness/infections — Vitamin D regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses, so frequent illness and infections of all kinds, including colds and flu, is a tipoff that your immune function is subpar, which likely means you’re low on vitamin D.

3. Neurological symptoms — This includes depression, “feeling blue, cognitive impairment, headaches and migraines. In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.8

The same study also found low vitamin D was linked to poor cognitive performance. Several other studies9 have also linked vitamin D deficiency with poor mental function, confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Headaches and migraines are also associated with low vitamin D.10,11

4. Fatigue and daytime sleepiness — Studies have linked low vitamin D to persistent fatigue.12,13 In one case, a woman struggling with chronic fatigue, daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia), low back pain and daily headaches was found to have a vitamin D level below 6 ng/mL.

Her symptoms resolved once she raised it to 39 ng/mL.14 Another study15 found women with vitamin D levels below 29 ng/mL were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with levels above 30 ng/mL.

5. Head sweating — According to Holick, a classic sign of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. In fact, physicians used to ask new mothers about head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns due to neuromuscular irritability is still described as a common, early symptom of vitamin D deficiency

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