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World News

Round five: Yellow Vests prepare for massive ‘Macron resign’ protest on Saturday

RT – Paris is bracing for yet another round of Yellow Vest protests, with demonstrators planning to take to the streets on Saturday. More than 10,000 people have already RSVP’d on Facebook to the ‘Acte 5: Macron Démission’ march.

The demonstration is scheduled to take place in the French capital at Champs-Élysées.

The organizers, consisting of some 15 groups, have outlined their list of demands on Facebook, saying they will continue their action against Macron until all their demands are met.

“Our organizations support the demands of tax and social justice brought by the movement of yellow vests. They call for demonstrations Saturday, December 15, for social justice and tax, for a real democracy, for equal rights, for a true ecological transition…” the planners said in a statement, as quoted by Le Parisien.

Similar demonstrations are also expected to take place in other cities across the country.

‘Yellow Vest’ Demonstrations Hit London in Protest Against Brexit Betrayal

Infowars – A group of yellow vest demonstrators blocked traffic on Westminster Bridge in London today to protest against Theresa May’s Brexit betrayal.

Around 60 people chanted “What do we want? Brexit! When do we want it? NOW!” during the demonstration while Rule Britannia played on a loudspeaker.

One video shows the group allowing a black cab to pass but denying the same courtesy to an Uber driver.

Despite receiving a lot of traction on social media, the protest garnered very little mainstream press attention, with establishment journalists possibly wary of the protests growing.

According to Politicalite, the demonstrators plan on taking their cause to other cities across the UK.

Trump’s ‘New Africa Strategy’: No More ‘Aid Without Effect’

Breitbart – National Security Adviser John Bolton said Thursday that the Trump administration would no longer provide foreign aid to countries hostile to U.S. interests, outlining a “new Africa strategy” at a Heritage Foundation-hosted event in Washington, DC.

Donald Trump: Paris ‘Burning Down’ Because of Climate Deal

Breitbart – President Donald Trump blamed the Paris climate accord on Thursday for the continued protests in France against President Emmanuel Macron.

“Let me tell you, the Paris accord’s not working out too well for Paris,” Trump said in a Fox News interview with host Harris Faulkner. “Because of the Paris accord, that whole country is burning down.”

The “yellow vest” protests were first sparked in protest of Macron’s fuel taxes in order to shift the country away from fossil fuels.

European Parliament Votes to Give €13 Billion Subsidy to Arms Companies Via European Defence Fund

Global Research – Campaigners have condemned the decision of the European Parliament to support a €13 billion budget for the ‘European Defence Fund’ for 2021-2027.

The proposal was included in a report called ‘Establishing the European Defence Fund’ which was compiled by the …

The post European Parliament Votes to Give €13 Billion Subsidy to Arms Companies Via European Defence Fund appeared first on Global Research.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Trump inauguration spending under criminal investigation

WSJ – Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said.

The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions, some of the people said.

Giving money in exchange for political favors could run afoul of federal corruption laws. Diverting funds from the organization, which was registered as a nonprofit, could also violate federal law.

Bomb threats sent out across Bay Area, U.S.

SFGate – It was clumsy and apparently unbacked by real explosives, but a bomb threat emailed to hundreds of businesses, schools and government agencies around the Bay Area and the rest of the country Thursday sent police and first responders scrambling for several hours.

Reports of the threats first came in to the San Francisco Police Department around 10 a.m., officials said, sending officers to “numerous locations” around the city. Soon similar worried calls were rolling in to other police departments in multiple Bay Area cities, including Oakland and Santa Rosa.

San Francisco police received more than 20 calls about bomb threats and continued to investigate Thursday afternoon, said Michael Andraychak, a police spokesman.

“No suspicious devices have been found at any locations,” he said. “Part of our investigation will be to determine if our threats are related to those around the country.”

The FBI’s office in Washington, D.C., posted an update on Twitter, advising people “to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.” Experts said the cyber attack, dangerous or not, was probably more about getting lucky with someone sending money than blowing up anything or anyone.

Nielsen: Girl’s Death ‘Sad Example’ of Dangers of Crossing Illegally

Newsmax – The death of a seven-year-old migrant girl after being taken into custody of the Border Patrol is a “sad example” of the dangers faced by the immigrants traveling through Mexico and into the United States, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Friday.

Walker signs bills to weaken Dem successor in Wisconsin

The Hill – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Friday signed a package of legislation that will take powers away from his Democratic successor and the state’s incoming Democratic attorney general.

Walker signed legislation that would limit the next governor’s authority to withdraw the state from a lawsuit challenging ObamaCare. Another bill gives the legislature control of the state’s economic development authority, and a third would give the legislature the authority to hire its own attorneys to defend state laws.

NYT: States Passed Dozens of Gun Control Laws After Parkland Shooting

Newsmax – State legislatures passed almost 70 legal measures tightening restrictions on firearms after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year, The New York Times reports.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence found in its year-end report that more than half of states passed some form of gun control measure in the last year, which coincided with fewer measures that increase access to firearms being passed. Another gun control advocacy group, Everytown for Gun Safety, claims that roughly 90 percent of the state legislation supported by the National Rifle Association failed to pas

“Michael Bloomberg-funded gun control groups have invested unprecedented resources in their state lobbying and public relations efforts shifting the gun control battleground to the state level,” the NRA said in a statement.

The Times notes that although Bloomberg does account for about one third of Everytown for Gun Safety’s budget, he does not fund the Giffords Law Center.

Chris Christie pulls out of Trump’s White House chief of staff race

Reuters – Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, considered one of President Donald Trump’s top candidates for White House chief of staff, abruptly withdrew from consideration on Friday, saying now is not the right time for him to take the job.

Teacher Fired for Using Correct Gender Pronouns

The New American – A Christian school teacher in Virginia was literally fired for referring to a girl as a “she.” Seriously.

Economy & Business

Treasurys rally after soft China data sends global stocks lower

Market Watch – Treasury prices rose Friday, pulling down yields, after softer economic data in China perked up concerns around the global economy’s health, drawing investors into haven assets like U.S. government debt.

Wall Street drops on global growth fears; J&J tumbles on Reuters report

Reuters – U.S. stocks fell on Friday as weak economic data from China and Europe rekindled fears of slowing global growth, with Johnson & Johnson leading the losses after Reuters reported the company knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder.

Exclusive: T-Mobile, Sprint consider dropping Huawei, see U.S. security clearance for deal – sources

Reuters – T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp expect their merger to be approved by a U.S. national security panel as early as next week, after their respective parent companies said they would consider curbing their use of equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Comprehensive US-China Trade Deal Could Happen ‘Rather Soon’ – Trump

Sputnik – China is eager to conclude a major trade agreement with the United States to end the economic dispute between the world’s two biggest economies and the deal could be reached in the near future, US President Donald Trump said.

“China just announced that their economy is growing much slower than anticipated because of our Trade War with them,” Trump said in a Twitter message.

The statement comes after spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry Gao Feng said that Beijing and Washington had managed to agree to eliminate some differences regarding the automotive, agricultural, and energy trade sectors.

Earlier in the day, the Chinese Finance Ministry said in a statement that Beijing will suspend 25 percent tariffs on 144 US vehicle and auto part items and 5 percent tariffs on 67 auto items between January 1, 2019 and March 31, 2019.

Mattis: US-Canadian Ministerial Talks Included Foreign Military Sales, Sanctions

Sputnik – Top US and Canadian officials during 2+2 ministerial talks on 14 December discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation on foreign military sales and sanctions coordination, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said at a press conference.

“Today we focused on enhancing our already strong cooperation in a number of areas, from foreign military sales to sanctions coordination,” Mattis said.

Mattis expressed his gratitude for Ottawa’s role in enforcing unanimous UN Security Council Resolution sanctions supporting the denuclearization of North Korea.

The Pentagon chief also said they discussed bilateral cooperation within North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and countering the Daesh* terrorist group.

Science & Technology

WSJ: Chinese Hackers Target US Navy Contractors

Newsmax – Chinese hackers have breached U.S. Navy contractors to steal a raft of information, including missile plans, through what some officials describe as some of the most debilitating cyber campaigns linked to Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Victims have included contractors of all sizes, with some of the smaller ones struggling to invest in securing their networks, as hackers over the last 18 months have conducted numerous breaches to gather intelligence, sabotage American systems, and steal intellectual property, the Journal reported.

Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Banned for Use in War, But OK for Our Crops

Health Impact News – Apparently the Geneva Convention doesn’t protect against use in domestic agriculture. Action Alert!

Researchers who recently examined studies sponsored by Dow Chemical and used by the EPA to approve chlorpyrifos, a type of insecticide, found inaccuracies in what the company reported to the agency.

Worse, there is also evidence that EPA scientists pointed out these failings to agency officials, but were ignored. It is another example of industry using the power of the federal government to put profits before public health.

The researchers found that the lab used a two percent cut off to determine what was “statistically significant” through most of the study, instead of the customary 5 percent—meaning it would be more likely that exposure to chlorpyrifos would appear safe. The rat studies submitted to the EPA also did not model human exposure and potential brain impacts, among other failures.

To make matters worse, it appears that agency officials were warned by EPA toxicologists of the study’s problems. A memo sent to EPA management said that “The study was graded unacceptable due to an inadequate presentation of the statistical data analysis.”

Keep in mind, too, that the EPA is aware of evidence that found exposure to chlorpyrifos caused measurable differences in children’s brain function, on average dropping their IQs a few points.

Some research has linked the pesticides to autism and other brain disorders. There’s also evidence to suggest that some children are more vulnerable to the chemicals than others due to their genetic makeup.

These health effects should come as no surprise when we consider that chlorpyrifos were developed as a nerve gas during World War II by the Nazis, though they weren’t used in battle.

Chemical weapons were prohibited by the Geneva Convention after WWI—so the chemical is too inhumane to use in war, but A-OK for our food, according to the government’s thinking.

The EPA is currently in the midst of a legal battle—to keep chlorpyrifos on the market.

In August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA to ban the chemical; the EPA has appealed the decision. It looks like the EPA will fight tooth and nail for you—if you’re one of the largest chemical companies in the world.

This is part of a much larger problem. To evaluate pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, the EPA relies on industry-sponsored studies that are supposed to follow agency guidelines.

This clearly invites industry to design studies or manipulate the data to get the results they want. Additionally, industry studies are rarely available for peer-review because companies claim they contain confidential business information.

Chemical companies are also known to sit on panels that advise regulators: a representative of DowDuPont served on the Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee to the EPA, for example. It seems clear that the deck is stacked in favor of industry and against public health.

Stories like this show who the EPA really works for in our crony capitalist system.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and the EPA, telling them to ban chlorpyrifos. Please send your message immediately.

Health

Special Report: J&J knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder

Reuters – Darlene Coker knew she was dying. She just wanted to know why.

She knew that her cancer, mesothelioma, arose in the delicate membrane surrounding her lungs and other organs. She knew it was as rare as it was deadly, a signature of exposure to asbestos. And she knew it afflicted mostly men who inhaled asbestos dust in mines and industries such as shipbuilding that used the carcinogen before its risks were understood.

Coker, 52 years old, had raised two daughters and was running a massage school in Lumberton, a small town in eastern Texas. How had she been exposed to asbestos? “She wanted answers,” her daughter Cady Evans said.

Fighting for every breath and in crippling pain, Coker hired Herschel Hobson, a personal-injury lawyer. He homed in on a suspect: the Johnson’s Baby Powder that Coker had used on her infant children and sprinkled on herself all her life. Hobson knew that talc and asbestos often occurred together in the earth, and that mined talc could be contaminated with the carcinogen. Coker sued Johnson & Johnson, alleging that “poisonous talc” in the company’s beloved product was her killer.

J&J denied the claim. Baby Powder was asbestos-free, it said. As the case proceeded, J&J was able to avoid handing over talc test results and other internal company records Hobson had requested to make the case against Baby Powder.

Coker had no choice but to drop her lawsuit, Hobson said. “When you are the plaintiff, you have the burden of proof,” he said. “We didn’t have it.”

That was in 1999. Two decades later, the material Coker and her lawyer sought is emerging as J&J has been compelled to share thousands of pages of company memos, internal reports and other confidential documents with lawyers for some of the 11,700 plaintiffs now claiming that the company’s talc caused their cancers — including thousands of women with ovarian cancer.

A Reuters examination of many of those documents, as well as deposition and trial testimony, shows that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos, and that company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers fretted over the problem and how to address it while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public.

The documents also depict successful efforts to influence U.S. regulators’ plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic talc products and scientific research on the health effects of talc.

A small portion of the documents have been produced at trial and cited in media reports. Many were shielded from public view by court orders that allowed J&J to turn over thousands of documents it designated as confidential. Much of their contents is reported here for the first time.

Star Anise: Add This Special Spice to Your Meals

Mercola – Star anise is typically used in Asian cuisine. It’s sweet and spicy, and has a licorice taste chefs love to add to their dishes.

This spice, which shouldn’t be confused with Spanish anise, has antifungal and antibacterial properties that may help address flu, digestive problems and sleep disorders, and may even help decrease cancer risk.

Star anise essential oil may be useful in alleviating certain conditions, but you must use it under the supervision of a medical professional to avoid side effects.

Opioid Addiction and Suicides Have Caused Decline in US Life Expectancy

Mercola – wo years ago, U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data revealed a sudden drop in life expectancy in the U.S. for 2015.1,2 It was the first decline in 20 years. The trend continued in 2016,3 and the latest data for 20174 show the downward trend continuing for the third year in a row, which makes it the longest downward trend since World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic.5

Overall, the average life expectancy for the total U.S. population in 2017 was 78.6 years, down one-tenth of a percentage point from 2016. Life expectancy for men also declined, from 76.2 years in 2016 to 76.1 years in 2017, while life expectancy for women remained stable at 81.1 years.

In all, life expectancy for Americans has fallen by about four months over the past three years. Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the CDC, commented on the latest report:

“The idea that a developed wealthy nation like ours has declining life expectancy just doesn’t seem right. If you look at the other wealthy countries of the world, they’re not seeing the same thing.”6

Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, also commented, saying the data “confirms that there’s a profound change in the trajectory of mortality. This should really be getting everyone’s attention in a major way.”7

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