Today’s News: December 19, 2019

World News

Russia to appeal against four-year sports ban

BBC – Russia is set to appeal against the decision to ban it from all major sporting events for four years.

Its anti-doping agency, Rusada, says it does not agree with the punishment from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

The bans means Russia’s flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Rusada says a letter to Wada will be prepared on behalf of the president “in the next 10-15 days”.

“Then the ball will be in Wada’s court and the situation will be developing in the legal field,” added Alexander Ivlev, head of Rusada’s supervisory board.

Wada’s executive committee made the unanimous decision to impose the ban on Russia in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.

It comes after Rusada was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

US immigration: Migrants camped on US border endure cold snap

BBC – Freezing temperatures hit the city of Ciudad Juárez on Wednesday, putting at risk hundreds of migrants who have set up camp near bridges linking the Mexican city to the United States.

About 550 people waiting to apply for asylum in the US are staying in tents on the streets near the border crossing points, regional government officials say. Nearly half of them are children younger than 12.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Donald Trump is impeached and faces trial in the US Senate

BBC – Donald Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether he remains in office.

The House voted on two charges – that the president had abused his power and that he had obstructed Congress.

Nearly all Democrats voted for the charges and every Republican against.

President Trump’s Republicans control the Senate so it is highly unlikely he will be removed from power.

Democrats are already unhappy at the way the trial could be held. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has now indicated it might delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, in order to bargain on the terms of the proceedings.

This could put off the trial for an indefinite period, denying Mr Trump his expected acquittal.

Impeachment backfires as Trump now leads all Dem challengers in general-election poll

WND – With the House of Representatives set to vote Wednesday on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, it appears that the impeachment effort is actually a losing issue for Democrats.

That argument has been bolstered by a new poll from USA Today/Suffolk University that found that not only was the issue of impeachment losing support among the American people, but it also may have resulted in Trump taking the lead over all of the top Democratic presidential contenders in hypothetical matchups.

Readers may recall that the liberal media seemed to take great glee in reporting polls over the summer and early fall that showed many, if not all, of the 2020 Democratic contenders would defeat Trump in the upcoming election.

But that was before Democrats went all-in on impeachment over the contrived controversy that is the Ukraine issue, in which Trump is alleged to have committed impeachable offenses like abusing his executive power and obstructing a Congressional investigation.

According to the USA Today poll of 1,000 registered voters, which was conducted Tuesday through Saturday last week, Trump now enjoys a 3-point lead over former Vice President Joe Biden — who remains the front-runner among Democrats — of 44-41 percent.

Dem calls impeachment ‘mistake’

Washington Examiner – Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson said he stands “in good conscience” after being one of the only Democratic members to vote against both articles of impeachment.

On Wednesday night, House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The vote was down party lines with the exception of three members.

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew had already announced that he would vote against impeachment and signaled that he plans to switch party affiliations to join the Republican Party. Despite insisting he’s still a “registered Democrat” following the impeachment vote, other members of the party rejected him, saying, “He’s not a Democrat.”

Democratic Maine Rep. Jared Golden voted against one article of impeachment but voted to impeach on the abuse of power article. That left many in the party to view Peterson as the lone Democrat to vote against both articles of impeachment.

In a statement about the vote, Peterson claimed that the lack of bipartisan support is why he split with his party on impeachment.

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, one of two Democratic NO votes on both articles of impeachment, calls the process a “mistake.”

“I may stand alone but I stand in good conscience.” pic.twitter.com/yrVxbtaBPg

Black voter approval of Trump could seal 2020 win

WND – Following polls by Emerson and Rasmussen indicating President Trump has a stunning 34% approval rating among black voters, aZogby Analytics survey found African-American support at the “highest levels of the year.”

The support is fueled by a strong economy, historically low black unemployment, support for minority small businesses and black colleges, and passage of criminal justice reform, the Washington Examiner reported.

Even in blue California, more exhaustion than elation

LA Times – James Fugate had a lot to say for a man who insisted he wasn’t watching the U.S. House of Representatives get ready to vote on impeaching President Trump.

“I just wish this national nightmare would be over,” the co-owner of Eso Won Books said Wednesday morning as he rang up customers in his Leimert Park shop. “Every time you hear a Republican make a speech, you want to scream. But they control the Senate…. It’s a foregone conclusion: He’s not going to be removed.”

Even here in one of the bluest states in the country — a place that has defied the president on everything from immigration to climate change — voters say they are getting tired. Even if they approve of the job California’s elected officials are doing to get rid of a president for whom they did not vote, many say they are wearying of the partisan divide, getting sick of the anger they hear coming out of Washington.

Chief Justice to Enter Spotlight?

WSJ – For Chief Justice John Roberts, required by the Constitution to preside when the Senate tries a president, the impeachment of Donald Trump offers a chance to distinguish the judiciary from the partisanship engulfing the Capitol.

Judge dismisses New York state criminal charges against ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort on double jeopardy grounds – CNBC

NBC – A judge on Wednesday dismissed New York state criminal charges filed against Paul Manafort, the fallen Republican lobbyist who had served as President Donald Trump’s campaign chief in 2016.

The dismissal was a blow to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who had brought the case against Manafort right after he was sentenced to a federal prison term earlier this year.

Manafort was not in court for Wednesday’s hearing in Manhattan. He suffered a medical issue last week at the federal prison in Pennsylvania where he is serving his 7½-year term.

Science & Technology

TOYOTA unveils upgraded humanoid

AP – Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled an upgraded version of its human-shaped T-HR3 robot. The robot, which is controlled remotely by a person wearing a headset and wiring on his or her arms and hands, now has faster and smoother finger movements because the controlling device is lighter and easier to use.

Such a robot could, in the future, be used to perform surgery in a distant place where a doctor cannot travel. It also might allow people to feel like they’re participating in events they can’t actually attend.

In a recent demonstration in Tokyo, a person wearing a headset and wiring made the robot move in exactly the same way he was moving, waving or making dance-like movements.

Health

Female obesity gets worse

NBC – Almost half of U.S. adults will be considered obese by 2030 — with women, African Americans and people in low-income households most vulnerable, according to new projections published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers said those groups in particular are on a rapid course for “severe obesity,” which is typically a body mass index of over 35, or about 100 pounds of excess weight.

“That used to be pretty rare,” said Zachary Ward, lead author of the new research, as well as a doctoral candidate at Harvard University. “But we’re finding that it’s quickly becoming the most common BMI category in those subgroups.”

The health implications of carrying too much weight have been well documented with links to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, as well as at least a dozen types of cancer. In January, the American Cancer Society found that obesity-related cancers are rising, including a third of liver cancer deaths linked to obesity.

Ward’s team started with BMI data collected from 6.27 million adults. Body mass index is considered a valid indicator of weight health because it takes into account both how much a person weighs and how tall the person is.

Drinking DIET COKE means more likely to put weight ON, docs warn

DRINKING artificially-sweetened drinks like Diet Coke could make you more likely to put weight on, doctors have warned.

Researchers from the University of South Australia found that people who consume low calorie sweeteners (LCS) don’t reduce their overall sugar intake.

The study, published in the journal Current Atherosclerosis Reports, also warned that they may be contributing to type 2 diabetes.

Professor Peter Clifton, who led the research, said: “There has been a 200 per cent increase in LCS usage among children and a 54 per cent increase among adults in the past 20 years.”

His team reviewed previous research and came across a US study of 5,158 adults over a seven-year period.

It showed that those who consumed large quantities of artificial sweeteners gained more weight than the non-users.

These 3 Toxins Have the Largest Impact on Your Life Span

Mercola – Environmental exposures have a lot to do with biological or cellular aging and, according to a December 2019 study, lead, mercury and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are the three toxins shown to have the greatest impact on your life span.

Biological aging is modifiable. Avoiding toxic exposures is one important aspect, but your diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors also play a role. One key for longevity is maintaining healthy insulin sensitivity, as insulin resistance is a hallmark of most chronic diseases.

Lead and calcium are chemically very similar, making lead a competitor at the cellular level and disrupting many different bodily systems.

Two of the most prevalent sources of mercury are dental amalgam and seafood. Europe paved the way for global change by banning the use of amalgam fillings in pregnant or nursing women and children under the age of 15 as of July 1, 2018.

PFOS are associated with a wide array of health problems, including cancer, immune and thyroid dysfunction, low birth weight and more.