RT – An ancient copy of the early Bible, believed to be some 1,200 years old, has been seized during an anti-smuggling raid in Turkey. The dramatic bust was caught on video.
RT – Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are reportedly trying to deepen partnership with Russia-led oil producers, seeking to seal a new formal pact with Moscow.
Al Jazeera – Russia accuses the West of ‘destabilising’ the Balkans by pushing Macedonia and Montenegro to join NATO.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Real Clear Politics – President Trump said the United States will never become a socialist country in his 2019 State of the Union address.
“We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom — and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair,” Trump said Tuesday night.
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” the president said. “America was founded on liberty and independence – not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”
“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump declared.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a democratic socialist, reacted with this facial expression when Trump announced the U.S. will never be a socialist nation.
Standard.uk – Donald Trump called on Washington to reject “the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution” as he faced a divided Congress for his State of the Union speech.
The US leader declared it was time “to bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future”.
Mr Trump spoke at a critical moment in his presidency, staring down a two-year stretch that will determine whether he is re-elected or leaves office in defeat.
But what did we learn from the speech on Tuesday night? Here we outline five key talking points from Mr Trump’s major address delivered to the nation.
- North Korea summit – Mr Trump used his State of the Union address to announce he will hold a two-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam this month.
- Border wall and the government shutdown – Democrats have refused to accept Mr Trump’s demands for a border wall. Wary of publicly highlighting those intra-party divisions, Mr Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration in his remarks, but he did offer a lengthy defence of his call for a border wall.
- Promise to tackle spread of HIV – The president used his speech to launch a campaign to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030, targeting areas where new infections happen and getting highly effective drugs to people at risk. ‘’Together, we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond,” Mr Trump said in his speech. He pledged funding in his upcoming budget, but did not say how much.
- Trade with China – Mr Trump said a trade deal with China must address the “chronic” US trade deficit and also a change in Chinese policies to protect American businesses and workers.
In his speech, the president said: “I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China,” he said, “but it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.”
The US leader has set a deadline of March 1 for the countries to reach a solution before tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods are set to more than double.
- Democrats’ response – Stacey Abrams criticised the Trump administration and Republican leadership on in her response to the president’s State of the Union address.
Speaking after Mr Trump finished the speech, Abrams took aim at the president for the government shutdown and made the case for fundamental election reform.
She also took aim at Mr Trump’s promised border wall, saying the Democrats do not simply support “open borders”.
“Compassionate treatment at the border is not the same as open borders,” she said. “Democrats stand ready to effectively secure our ports and borders. But we must all embrace that from agriculture to healthcare to entrepreneurship, America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants. Not walls.”
Abrams called the shutdown “a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values.”
WND – President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address on Feb. 5, 2019 Emphasizing unity amid fierce opposition to his presidency, President Trump urged a join session of Congress gathered for his State of the Union address Tuesday night to “choose greatness,” putting citizens and the country first above their political ambitions.
Trump said many are “hoping we will govern not as two parties, but as one nation.”
The agenda he laid out during his address, he said, is not a Republican agenda or a Democratic agenda but an “agenda of the American people.”
“Together, we can break decades of political stalemate. We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solution and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future,” he said. “The decision is ours to make.”
He noted the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe and honored three veterans of World War II in attendance. Recalling the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, he honored astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
“In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, and redefined the middle class standard of living for the entire world to see,” he said.
“Now, we must step boldly and bravely into the next chapter of this great American adventure, and we must create a new standard of living for the 21st century.”
RT – One of the largest at-home DNA-testing companies has acknowledged that it has voluntarily partnered with the FBI, allowing law enforcement to search the company’s massive genealogy database – purportedly to help solve crimes.
Family Tree DNA’s decision to team up with the FBI was first reported by BuzzFeed, sparking concerns about consumer privacy. Investigative journalist Ben Swann spoke with RT America about how the company tried to downplay its partnership with the feds – and why consumers should still be wary.
WND – U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg has promised to retire when she can no long work at “full steam.”
For the past six weeks or so, following surgery, she’s been working from home, according to the court.
On Monday, however, she reportedly attended a concert put on by her daughter-in-law at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
But the American Mirror blog points out that in the age of digital cameras, no one apparently has documented her public appearance.
“Attendees at the Notorious RBG in Song described Ginsburg as ‘glam,’ and ‘resplendent,’ and ‘magnificent,’ but you’ll have to take their word for it,” the blog said. “In an era when every person is carrying a camera and isn’t afraid to use it, there wasn’t a single snap of the 85-year-old to be found. Every media story that covered her alleged appearance used file photos.”
One confirmation of her appearance was a tweet by Washington Post contributor David Hagedorn that later was deleted.
“What a delight to see RBG tonight at ‘Notorious RBG in Song,’ written & beautifully performed by her daughter-in-law, Patrice Michaels,” Hagedorn wrote.
The event sponsored by the National Constitution Center was intended to pay tribute to Ginsburg’s legal work.
Several reporters “claimed to have spotted Ginsburg,” the blog said.
NPR reporter Nina Totenberg wrote on Twitter, “Spotted at a concert by her daughter-in-law, the notorious RBG out for the first time after her surgery in December!”
But the American Mirror said: “Folks online aren’t buying it, with more than a few pointing out the obvious: Why no pictures?”
Activist Post – Yesterday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law that limits the warrantless use of stingray devices to track people’s location and sweep up electronic communications, and more broadly protects the privacy of electronic data. The new law will also hinder the federal surveillance state.
Sen. Peter Wirth (D) filed Senate Bill 199 (SB199) on Jan. 8. Titled the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” the new law will help block the use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.
The bill requires police to obtain a warrant or wiretap order before deploying a stingray device, unless they have the explicit permission of the owner or authorized possessor of the device, or if the device is lost or stolen. SB199 includes an exception to the warrant requirement for emergency situations. Even then, police must apply for a warrant within 3 days and destroy any information obtained if the court denies the application.
Economy & Business
Juan Guaido will open up Venezuelan oil to foreign companies, his US envoy says
RT – An envoy to the US for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó has said the country’s oil reserves would be opened to foreign investors, bolstering suspicions that Washington’s support of Guaidó is oil-dependent.
Guaidó’s representative in Washington, Carlos Vecchio, told Bloomberg that the opposition leader wanted to increase oil production and scrap current requirements that state-owned oil giant PDVSA must keep a controlling stake in joint ventures. Currently, PDVSA must maintain a 51 percent stake in joint projects.
US President Donald Trump threw his support behind Guaidó in January and called on “illegitimate” Maduro to step down after the opposition leader declared himself interim president.
Science & Technology
RT – A leading activist on the issue of electromagnetic radiation and its negative impacts on public health has described the rollout of 5G as a “massive health experiment” which could “become a global catastrophe.”
Arthur Robert Firstenberg is a well-known advocate for curtailing the development of 5G networks both in the US and internationally, claiming that super fast broadband could cause cancer in humans and wildlife, as well as exacerbating the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
In a bid to stall the rollout of the networks Firstenberg is petitioning the World Health Organization, the UN and the EU to “urgently halt the development of 5G.” The petition had garnered over 40,000 signatures at time of writing.
RT – One of the World’s foremost watchdogs for monitoring the threat giant space rocks pose to our planet has upped the risk level for a recently discovered asteroid.
It’s the plot of numerous sci-fi novels and more than a few Hollywood blockbusters. Humans seemingly have a deeply ingrained fear of a big rock from space crashing into Earth and wiping out civilization, so much so that we continuously monitor thousands of objects that float around the solar system.
In its latest update the European Space Agency’s Near Earth Object Coordination Centre moved the asteroid 2018XB4, which was only discovered last year, into its top 10 potentially dangerous Near Earth Objects (NEOs).
According to the agency, recent observations of the asteroid have prompted a recalculation of its likelihood of impacting the planet and it is now considered the fifth most dangerous Near Earth Object in the sky.
However don’t panic just yet. While the asteroid’s chances of sending humans the way of the dinosaurs has undoubtedly increased it still isn’t something you need to worry about for a while.
Care2 – We have all experienced those nights where falling asleep seems impossible. Perhaps your mind is just too wired, or your body is exacting revenge for that 5pm espresso. In these cases, a mug of Sleepy Time tea just won’t cut it. Luckily, there are some natural foods that can help make your journey to dreamland a little easier.
Here are a few powerful, stress-busting foods for when you just can’t fall asleep:
Cacao is incredibly rich in magnesium, a mineral that is profoundly associated with relaxation. At least 50 percent of the US population is magnesium deficient, so enjoying a little raw cacao powder isn’t a bad idea.
CBDs are the latest and greatest thing to hit the wellness marketplace, and while a lot of the proposed benefits of CBDs are (as of yet) unsupported, science does back CBD’s sleep boosting benefits. Since it is such a powerful pain and anxiety reducer, CBD can be incredibly helpful at bedtime if anxiety and overthinking are what keep you tossing and turning.
There’s a reason milk and honey is a traditional sleep remedy. Raw honey comes with the benefit of improving the brain’s uptake of tryptophan, that sleepy amino acid that is famously found in Thanksgiving turkey and cows’ milk.
Mercola – The artificial sweetener industry has defended the safety of sucralose (Splenda), stating that it rapidly passes through your body without being broken down and therefore has no biological effects
Research reveals your body does indeed metabolize sucralose and that it accumulates in your fat cells. Two new metabolites have also been identified. As these findings were not part of the original regulatory decision process for sucralose, researchers are calling for a review of its safety and regulatory status
Sucralose causes definite changes in the liver of treated rats, suggesting toxic effects. According to the researchers, sucralose should be used with caution to avoid liver damage
Previous research found sucralose reduces gut bacteria by 50 percent, increases the intestinal pH level and causes biochemical distortions. This was again confirmed in 2018, when all currently approved artificial sweeteners were found to cause DNA damage in, and interfere with, the normal and healthy activity of gut bacteria
Consuming artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, neotame, advantame and/or acesulfame potassium-k can impair your appetite regulation and cause weight gain