Global Research – Both countries pursue regime change, wanting pro-Western puppet governance replacing Assad. Endless war rages despite all-out Russian efforts for diplomatic conflict resolution. It’s nowhere in sight, war likely to continue as long as Assad remains Syrian president – even if he’s reelected in an internationally monitored open, free and fair election like in June 2014, Washington, Israel and their rogue allies not likely to accept results as valid.
For the second time since last November, the third time since 2013, Israel reportedly terror-bombed Syria’s Jamraya Research and Information Center north of Damascus – its warplanes operating from Lebanese airspace.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
The New York Times – Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, took the House floor at 10:04 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, intent on speaking about the young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. Eight hours and seven minutes later, she quit talking. Her marathon monologue — highly unusual for the House, which has no equivalent to the Senate filibuster — appears to have set the record for the longest continuous speech in the chamber, dating to at least 1909, according to the House historian. It tied up the House into the evening, delaying debate on a bill intended to spur competition in the mortgage market.
Activist Post – January 4, 2018 U.S. Senate Report signed by Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Committee on the Judiciary, and Chairman Lindsey O. Graham, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Committee of the Judiciary, sent to Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, and Christopher A. Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, regarding …certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple U.S. news outlets regarding the so-called “Trump dossier” that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the FBI. Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.”
AP – The number of complaints filed against senior military and defense officials has increased over the past several years, but more cases are being rejected as not credible and fewer officers are being found guilty of misconduct, according to data from Defense Department investigators.
Overall, there were 803 complaints filed in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30, compared to 787 the previous year. But just 144 were deemed credible and investigated by the IG, and 49 senior officials were eventually found guilty of misconduct. Allegations against the officials often involve ethical misconduct — such as having an inappropriate relationship — but they also include violating travel rules, wrongly accepting gifts, sending subordinates on personal errands or treating workers badly.
The data was released Wednesday during a House Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing. Glenn Fine, who is serving as the Pentagon’s inspector general, said the decline in the number of cases being investigated is due to a more thorough screening process of the complaints that come in. As a result, he said, about one-third of the cases that are investigated are ultimately substantiated. That rate is a bit lower than last year, but much higher than previous years. The rate in 2008 was just 14 percent.
Breitbart – Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” Jeanine Pirro, host of network weekend program “Justice,” told Sean Hannity she believed former FBI Director James Comey should be the target of an active criminal investigation. She said Comey lied to the American people and should have been fired long before President Donald Trump fired him. “Comey needs to be the target of an active criminal investigation, I’ve said that a million times,” she said. “Comey lied to the American people. Comey should’ve been fired the day after he decided that he was ‘the Attorney General.’” As for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Pirro suggestion an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. “If the statute of limitations hasn’t passed, go for it — or how about you start looking into the Clinton Foundation?” she added.
Economy & Business
Seattle Times – A study by the Economic Policy Institute finds that counties home to an Amazon warehouse do not show broad-based employment gains in the two years after their opening. Amazon said the report undervalues its economic impact.
Energy & Environment
BBC – Plastic waste is increasing in the supposedly pristine wilderness of the Arctic.
Scientists say almost everywhere they have looked in the Arctic Ocean, they’ve found plastic pollution.
In the northern fjords of Norway, one man is on a mission to pick up as much plastic as he can.
The Christian Science Monitor – First, it was low emission zones – laws restricting where polluting vehicles can go within a town or city. In Europe more than 200 such zones have been established. Now, national governments are poised to take the next step in the fight against air pollution: limits on the sales of gas and diesel vehicles.
In the Netherlands, the government is pushing forward a plan to end the sales of gas and diesel vehicles by 2030. France and Britain have announced similar plans for 2040. In Norway, which has strong targets for getting gas and diesel cars off the road, 2017 was the first year in which electric and hybrid vehicle sales exceeded 50 percent of total sales. India says it will electrify all new vehicles as soon as 2030. With an expanding electric car market, falling battery prices, and an increasing number of regulations, electric vehicles could replace petrol-powered ones faster than anticipated, some experts say.
China, the world’s largest automobile-producing country, has yet to enforce a ban, but Chinese officials are expected to follow their international counterparts and have hinted at the creation of a timetable for phasing out the production of gas and diesel vehicles. Even now, China has asked automakers to ensure that 10 percent of car sales are electric vehicles by 2019.
The push to get gas and diesel vehicles off the road is the result of continuing concerns about carbon emissions and air pollution, experts say. The World Health Organization identifies air pollution as the largest environmental health risk, attributing 3 million deaths to outdoor air pollution each year.
Science & Technology
The Christian Science Monitor – The world’s first space sports car is cruising toward the asteroid belt, well beyond Mars. SpaceX chief Elon Musk confirmed the new, more distant route for his rocketing Tesla Roadster. The red electric convertible was the unorthodox cargo aboard his company’s brand new Falcon Heavy rocket during a test flight on Tuesday. With the successful launch, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket flying today. And Mr. Musk’s Roadster became the fastest car ever, hurtling off the planet and zooming away on a route that will now take it all the way to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
MindBodyGreen – One study, though, points to the fact that sparkling water can increase hunger and cause weight gain. A study undertaken by researchers from Birzeit University in Palestine, published in the peer-reviewed Obesity Research and Clinical Practice Journal, put carbonation under the microscope for a period of six months.
The researchers wanted to know whether carbonation alone contributed to weight gain linked to obesity, so they fed a group of male rats the same standard diet PLUS one of four different drinks each: tap water, plain still water, plain carbonated water, and diet carbonated water.
The verdict? The rats that drank diet or plain carbonated drinks ate more and gained significantly more weight compared to the rats that drank flat soda or plain water. The researchers discovered the rats’ weight gain was associated with increased production of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for telling you when you’re hungry.
Global Research – “More than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia.” but “Alzheimer’s (can only be) distinguished from other dementias at autopsy.” — from a Harvard University Health Publication entitled “What’s Causing Your Memory Loss? It Isn’t Necessarily Alzheimer’s”
Over the past several decades there have been a number of well-financed campaigns, sometimes promoted by well-meaning laypersons, to raise public awareness to the plight of patients with physiological, age-related, short-term memory loss – which is not dementia. Suspiciously, most of these campaigns come from “patient advocacy organizations (PAOs) such as the Alzheimer’s Association that has been misleading the public into believing that every memory-loss patient or dementia patient has Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Not so curiously, it turns out that many – perhaps all – of these campaigns have been funded – usually secretly – by the very pharmaceutical companies that can be predicted to benefit financially by promoting the sale of so-called Alzheimer’s drugs (or even vaccinations!). Such corporate-generated public relations “educational campaigns” are increasingly standard procedure for Big Pharma’s drugs, even prior to FDA approval. In other words, many PAOs are primarily front groups for Big Pharma, although many volunteers is such groups are well-meaning and unaware participants. A lot of good can get done in pro-Big Pharma PAOs, if workers watch out for signs of ulterior pro-drug motives.
The Free Thought Project – The 2017-2018 flu season is turning out to be one of the worst outbreaks in recent history. Already this year, the flu has claimed the lives of dozens of children and hospitalized countless others. In the midst of the turmoil and sickness, however, the medication to treat the flu—Tamiflu—is also reportedly claiming lives.
As this is one of the worst outbreaks, the makers of Tamiflu are seeing record sales. However, this is not good for the children whose parents are coming forward to expose the horrendous side effects caused by the medicine which—in some instances—have proven to be far worse than getting the flu.
Oseltamivir, the antiviral medication marketed as Tamiflu, is used to treat flu symptoms caused by influenza virus in patients who have had symptoms for less than 2 days. While there are plenty of common side-effects ranging from hives to difficulty breathing, some of the less common side effects have parents crying foul.
Care 2 – If you’re concerned about the damage, stress and eye fatigue you experience from working on a computer all day, try these 5 tips to help keep your eyesight healthy…