AP – The Trump administration moved Tuesday to officially ban bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, and has made them illegal to possess beginning in late March.
The devices will be banned under a federal law that prohibits machine guns, according to a senior Justice Department official.
Bump stocks became a focal point of the national gun control debate after they were used in October 2017 when a man opened fired from his Las Vegas hotel suite into a crowd at a country music concert below, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
RT – Donald Trump has issued an order for the Department of Defense to create a Space Command to oversee and advance the US military’s operations in space.
There’ll be 11 combatant commands in the US military after the introduction of the Space Command. The new organization will join the ranks of Central Command, overseeing military operations in the Middle East, Special Operations Command, in charge of Special Operations Forces, the Cyber Command, directing cyberspace operations, and others.
The Space Command is separate from Trump goal of putting together a “Space Force,” which the US president announced earlier this year.
The US military already had a Space Command in 1985 to 2002, but it was axed in order to focus resources on fighting terrorism.
Breitbart – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicates the incoming Democrat majority will act “boldly” in pursuit of criminalization of private gun sales.
On December 17, 2018, Breitbart News reported that Rep. Mike Thompson’s (D-CA) pledge to pass universal background checks, a gun control which criminalizes private gun sales. Thompson predicted that the gun control will be passed within the new Congress’s first 100 days.
The Hill reports that Pelosi is in full support of Thompson’s push and promises the incoming majority will act “boldly and decisively” to secure the new gun laws.
Breitbart – Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said a border wall is “the only humanitarian way” to deal with a “crisis” of migration across the U.S.-Mexico border, offering his remarks in an interview on Monday with Breitbart News Senior Editors-at-Large Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight.
Sun Sentinel – A federal judge says Broward schools and the Sheriff’s Office had no legal duty to protect students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the crisis in February. The suit named six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina.
Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.
“The claim arises from the actions of [shooter Nikolas] Cruz, a third party, and not a state actor,” she wrote in a ruling Dec. 12. “Thus, the critical question the Court analyzes is whether defendants had a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs from the actions of Cruz.
“As previously stated, for such a duty to exist on the part of defendants, plaintiffs would have to be considered to be in custody” — for example, as prisoners or patients of a mental hospital, she wrote.
Peterson was the only armed person at the school when Cruz showed up with an assault rifle and murdered 17 people, in addition to wounding 17 more. Peterson has been widely vilified for taking refuge outside the school and not confronting Cruz.
“His arbitrary and conscience-shocking actions and inactions directly and predictably caused children to die, get injured, and get traumatized,” the lawsuit claimed.
Medina knew Cruz and saw him arrive on campus, but did not confront him.
The lawsuit argued that the Sheriff’s Office and School Board “either have a policy that allows killers to walk through a school killing people without being stopped. Alternatively, they have such inadequate training that the individuals tasked with carrying out the polices … lack the basic fundamental understandings of what those policies are such that they are incapable of carrying them out.”
Kristoffer R. Budhram of Jacksonville, who represented the students, could not be reached by email or phone for comment.
Bloom’s ruling contrasts with the action of a Broward County judge last week.
Al Jazeera – Ministers agree to roll out all contingency plans for a no-deal departure as the UK’s March 29 EU exit date approaches.
RT – Over 3,500 troops are currently being “held at readiness” in case of a disastrous no-deal Brexit, the government has announced. The forces are partly fully employed service people and partly reserves.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Commons that while no formal request has been made, ‘contingency plans are in place.’
Al Jazeera – The chairman of Huawei has challenged the United States and other governments to provide evidence for claims the Chinese tech giant is a security risk as the company launched a public relations effort to defuse fears that threaten its role in next-generation communications.
Talking to reporters invited to Huawei Technologies Ltd’s headquarters, Ken Hu complained on Tuesday that accusations against the biggest global maker of network equipment stem from “ideology and geopolitics”. He warned that excluding Huawei from fifth-generation networks in Australia and other markets would hurt consumers by raising prices and slowing innovation.
Breitbart – The United Nations and Palestinian Authority on Monday called on the world to send $350 million in 2019 to cover the hundreds millions of dollars in funding slashed by the United States.
Officials cautioned that the government in Ramallah needed to be more “realistic” about what can be expected, UPI reports.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Townhall – President Trump and congressional Democrats remain sharply at odds over a spending package as Washington barrels toward a Friday at midnight deadline, leaving some on Capitol Hill increasingly worried that a Christmas government shutdown is in the making.
Townhall – The White House has identified funding sources outside congressional appropriations to help reach the $5 billion President Donald Trump has demanded for a wall along the border with Mexico, press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.
CNBC – The White House could back down from its demand for $5 billion in border wall funding in a year-end spending bill, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says.
Parts of the government will shut down on Saturday if lawmakers don’t pass spending bills.
Trump has threatened to let funding lapse if he cannot secure money for the border wall.
RT – US President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn will be sentenced in March 2019, after he confessed to lying to the FBI. Despite many conspiracy theories, his case has nothing to do with ‘Russiagate.’ Hundreds of Police Departments Have Secretly Created Public Safety Watchlists
Activist Post – To everyone who thinks secret watchlists are nothing more than a conspiracy theory, I give you law enforcement’s secret public safety watchlists.
The name of the company responsible for creating public safety watchlists should say it all but I digress.
Suspect Technologies is also working to pilot a real-time service next year by monitoring public surveillance video feeds with its facial recognition software and cross-referencing it all against a public safety watchlist, CEO Jacob Sniff says. He explained the plans but declined to identify the law enforcement client.
“We have an agency early adopter, his conception is he’s going to have 10 facial recognition cameras in town: one in the police station lobby, some at the Greyhound bus locations, city hall, even the public pool area,” Sniff says. “He’s going to be scanning people’s faces against a small public watchlist.”
BBC – US President Donald Trump’s troubled charity foundation has agreed to close down amid allegations that he and others illegally misused its funds.
The move was announced by the Attorney General of New York State, Barbara Underwood, who will supervise the distribution of its remaining monies.
She has accused Mr Trump and his three eldest children of using it for private and political gain.
The foundation’s lawyer accused her of attempting to politicise the matter.
Helena Air – A Helena man target shooting on public land near Helena reported being shot at multiple times by another man who “mistook him for Bigfoot.”
The man, who identified himself to dispatchers as being 27 and from Helena, was reportedly setting up targets on BLM land in the North Hills when, he says, a bullet hit about 3 feet to his left, and then another bullet hit to his right before he ran to cover and heard more shots.
The Helena man told dispatchers he then confronted the shooter, who told him he was “not wearing orange and thought he was Bigfoot,” according to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.
Economy & Business
Fox – President Donald Trump will be attending the World Economic Forum next month in Davos, Switzerland.
Fox – Even as the economy continues to boom, the number of homeless Americans crept higher in 2018 as higher rents push people out onto the streets, and cities consider pouring millions to fix the problem.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development report released Monday said the national rate of homelessness rose by 0.3 percent, with 552,830 people experiencing homelessness during a count on a single night in January 2018.
The uptick of about 2,000 people from 2017 was the second increase in two years and came after seven straight years of declines amid an unemployment level near a 50-year low.
“We still have a long way to go even though there’s been significant progress,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson told reporters during a conference call.
Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia reported decreases in homelessness in the past year, while 19 states reported increases.
Science & Technology
WND – Learning French soon be no more complicated than taking a pill.
That’s from a tech expert who is credited with inventing the touchscreen, and who led the Technology Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for many years.
According to a report from Gulf News, Nicholas Negroponte was speaking to a council of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
“We are looking for ways to interact directly with the neurons, reaching the brain from within and not through the eyes, which have become outdated instruments,” he said.
“More astonishingly, communicating with the brain from the inside will also emerge, not just from implants, but by using the blood stream to deliver information to our neurons,” he continued. “This is why I have publicly invoked the provocative example of learning French by taking a pill,” he said.
He was speaking about biotech and digital applications, and affirmed during his address that over the next decade, there will be more and more direct brain interactions.
Mercola – Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S., has stood firm against the tide of calls to reduce antibiotic use, vowing to continue using the drugs in their chickens, going so far as to use it as a selling point.
Sanderson Farms advertises their chicken as 100 percent natural. However, tests reveal a number of questionable and potentially hazardous drugs in Sanderson’s chicken.
Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against Sanderson June 22, 2017, alleging the company’s “100% Natural” claim is false and misleading, as testing reveals their chickens contain human and veterinary antibiotics, tranquilizers, growth hormones, steroids and pesticides.
Sanderson’s motion to dismiss the case was recently denied and the lawsuit will move forward.
Public pressure is finally starting to pay off. November 30, 2018, Sanderson announced it will discontinue two antibiotics deemed medically important for humans for disease prevention by March 1, 2019
NaturalNews – Want better athletic performance? Researchers from the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili in Iran suggest supplementing with saffron. In their study, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, they found that saffron can boost athletic performance and recovery, after looking at its potential-enhancing effect on physical performance, stamina, and recovery.
For their study, the researchers recruited 28 nonactive and healthy male university students. Then, they divided them into two groups: a treatment group and a control group. The treatment group took 300 mg of dried saffron stigma daily for 10 days, while the control group received a placebo.
Saffron, which resembles thin, red threads, is a spice that originates from a flower called saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). Although widely used in cooking, this spice is also used for medicinal purposes. Its benefits range from moisturizing the skin to treating mild depression. Saffron is reported to contain more than 150 compounds that have medicinal properties, such as carotenoids. Studies have also shown that it acts as an antioxidant, fights inflammation, benefits the brain and nerves, and is good for the heart. (Related: Saffron: Most benefits and expensive spice on earth.)
NaturalNews – Vegetables are known to contain natural compounds that support the protective functions of the immune system. An article in The Francis Crick Institute news page reported that cruciferous vegetables are particularly beneficial when it comes to shielding the intestine from disease-causing microorganisms.
This was the finding of a recent animal model that used mice to replicate human gastrointestinal diseases. The study showed that eating broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and other cruciferous veggies can reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.
These vegetables contain aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a protein whose most important role is mediating toxicity. Found in barrier sites like the gut, lungs, and skin, it helps stop pathogens, pollutants, and toxins from entering the vulnerable parts of the body.
The Francis Crick Institute (FCI) researchers conducted an investigation into the effects of AhR in the gut. The researchers came across another protein that was also involved with the immune system in the gastrointestinal tract.
Cyp1a1 works alongside AhR when it comes to protecting the gut. The former protein can break down AhR ligands, the molecules that trigger AhR. By doing this, Cyp1a1 can shut down the activity of AhR, preventing an excessive immune response.
NaturalNews – An international study in The Journal of Alternative and Contemporary Medicine has found that microcurrent point simulation can relieve chronic neck pain. The team, which included both American and British researchers, looked at how applying microcurrents to acupuncture points in the lower back can affect neck pain.
The researchers concluded that microcurrent point stimulation could provide a positive outcome for those affected by chronic neck pain.
Read the full study at this link.