RT – French protesters flooded city streets and showed no sign of backing down as transport strikes, sparked by President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plans, entered their 36th day.
Some schools were closed as teachers, nurses, firefighters, post-office staff, and other civil servants joined transport workers calling on Macron to scrap the unpopular reforms. It was the fourth day of massive cross-sector protests in the new year.
BBC – The US says it is “ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations” with Iran following the countries’ exchange of hostilities.
In a letter to the UN, the US justified the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani as an act of self-defence.
Iran retaliated by firing missiles at airbases housing US forces in Iraq, causing no casualties. It also told the UN it was an act of self-defence.
Gen Soleimani was widely regarded as Iran’s second most powerful man.
As head of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, he was an architect of Iranian policy in the Middle East.
The Guardian – Research finds more than half UK’s estimated 674,000 undocumented adults and children live in the capital
New research estimates that more than 100,000 children are living in London without secure immigration status, despite more than half of them having been born in the UK.
Children who are undocumented may face problems accessing higher education, health care, opening bank accounts, and applying for driving licences, housing and jobs. The findings were condemned by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as a “national disgrace”.
Sputnik – Iraqi media outlets reported in September 2019 that the country’s authorities had expressed interest in acquiring Russian air defence systems, citing anonymous sources within the government.
Terence Corcoran: The Trudeau Liberals will have to live with being in breach of a UN declaration they should never have adopted
National Post – In other words, says the UN, Canada should stop all work on its three largest energy projects worth billions in new investment.
According to an ancient political proverb, governments that pander to the globalist sword fighters at the United Nations run a grave risk of getting their policy necks lopped off. And so, as prophesied, that object now rolling across the Canadian West toward Ottawa is the Trudeau government’s self-righteous 2016 decision to wrap its arms around UNDRIP — the 2007 United Nations United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
With Canada now signed on to the United Nations’ feel-good indigenous agenda, UN operatives are back and claiming, as is their practice, that Canada is failing to live up to the full meaning of the declaration, which among other things requires Ottawa and the provinces receive full agreement from Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development.
Star Tribune – Britain’s royal family scrambled Thursday to contain the fallout from the surprise announcement by Prince Harry and Meghan that they plan “to step back” from royal duties, a shift that ignited media outrage and public unease in the U.K.
The couple’s declaration that they planned to forge a “progressive” new path for royals in the modern world clearly upset senior royals — who apparently weren’t told of the decision in advance.
Britain’s media didn’t like it either, lambasting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in articles, columns and editorials Thursday that expressed everything from disappointment to fury.
The Daily Mirror said in an editorial that the couple’s failure to tell Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, about their plans “shows shocking disregard for a woman whose entire life has been ruled by a sense of public duty and honor.” The Times of London accused Harry of “petulance and hot-headedness,” while the Daily Mail said the couple wanted “the status of being ‘senior’ royals but the privacy and freedom of being private citizens.”
The uproar began Wednesday with a statement from Buckingham Palace, described as “a personal message from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” It said Harry and Meghan intend to become financially independent and to “balance” their time between the U.K. and North America.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the statement said. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support her majesty the queen.”
U.S. News, Politics & Government
USA Today – The House of Representatives is set to vote Thursday on legislation that would curb President Donald Trump’s ability to wage war with Iran without congressional approval.
In a Thursday morning tweet, President Donald Trump slammed the resolution as “another Democrat fraud” and “Presidential harassment,” adding that he hoped all congressional Republicans would vote against it.
But it’s not certain all Republicans will vote against the resolution. While some congressional Republicans have argued the Trump administration does not need further congressional approval for military actions against Iran, others have vocally criticized the administration’s handling of the process.
Breitbart – A federal appeals court released $3.6 billion in border wall funding Wednesday that had been blocked by a lawsuit.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifted the curbs while the Department of Justice prepares to appeal a lower judge’s decision to block the spending because of the lawsuit.
Activist Post – In one of the most revolutionary moves we’ve reported on to date, the Atlanta Police Department announced this week that they are disbanding their narcotics unit so they can fight actual violent crime. This move is both revolutionary and heartening and is another nail in the war on drugs’ coffin.
According to a report from WSB-TV Atlanta, the massive change was confirmed on Tuesday. The department confirmed with WSB-TV reporter, Mark Winne, noting that all the officers in the drug unit will be assigned to other areas.
In a statement, the department told Winne (emphasis added):
We know that the illegal narcotics trade is often at the center of criminal activity fueled by guns and gangs. The Department is de-centralizing its Narcotics Unit in recognition that the violence that surrounds this trade should be the focus of the entire Department, not just one team. We have had tremendous success at targeting the sale of illegal narcotics by tracking violent criminals and getting illegally-possessed guns off the streets.
Violent crime and gang activity must be the Department’s primary focus and where we will have a greater impact on the crimes affecting those most often victimized in our communities.
Imagine that! Instead of focusing their efforts on kicking in doors in the middle of the night over people possessing a plant, Atlanta cops will focus on stopping actual violence against the citizens. This is huge.
BBC – Arthur Aidala says Judge James Burke’s threat to jail Mr Weinstein for phone use is “prejudicial”.
Economy & Business
RT – Central banks have destroyed value in the property markets, the bond markets, and the stock markets, British-American investor Mitch Feierstein says.
The author of ‘Planet Ponzi’ and blogs at PlanetPonzi.com talks to Max Keiser about the euphoria in the markets. He says that he is very bullish about commodities, which are the ‘real assets.’
“The commodities’ space is not up nearly as much in a bubble as everything else,” says Feierstein.
According to the banker, who worked on Wall Street in the 1980s, commodities are “a real value” while “you can actually exchange them for something that somebody needs.”
Feierstein says that in the next decade paper money, fiat currency is going to lose its luster.
“US dollar hegemony will end in the next decade,” he says, as part of his “big prediction.” The analyst explains how right now fiat currency, particularly the US dollar, is overvalued.
Energy & Environment
BBC – Thousands of people have been sleeping outdoors after a series of quakes earlier in the week.
CNN – Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico in response to the earthquakes.
Over 1000 Earthquakes Have Hit Puerto Rico, And Authorities Say It Is Being “Squeezed” Between Two Tectonic Plates
Investment Watch Blog – The nightmarish earthquake swarm that has been rattling Puerto Rico since last month continues to make headlines all over the world. Homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and historic structures all over the main island of Puerto Rico have crumbled, and many residents are deeply afraid of using many of the buildings that remain standing because they are afraid that they could literally collapse at any moment. We haven’t seen this sort of shaking in the region in more than a century, and as you will see below, experts are telling us that more quakes are coming.
Traditionally, Puerto Rico has not been known for heavy seismic activity. But now that could be changing. According to CNN, there have been more than 500 quakes “of magnitude 2 or greater” since December 28th…
Since December 28, more than 500 earthquakes of magnitude 2 or greater have rattled the area, according to the US Geological Survey. Many of them were relatively shallow, which means they were likely felt on land.
Of the hundreds of earthquakes, 32 were magnitude 4 and above, including the ones Monday and Tuesday.
And overall, there have been “more than a thousand quakes” of all sizes since this earthquake swarm first started in December…
Since the tremors began last month, Puerto Rico has experienced more than a thousand quakes, most of them too small to feel.
The mainstream media really began to take notice when the main island of Puerto Rico was hit by a magnitude 4.7 earthquake on December 28th, and that was quickly followed by a magnitude 5.0 quake.
Then just a few days ago we witnessed a magnitude 5.8 quake, a magnitude 6.4 quake and a magnitude 6.0 quake in rapid succession…
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rumbled across Puerto Rico on Tuesday, killing at least one person and knocking out power to virtually the entire island of more than 3 million.
An aftershock three hours later registered at magnitude 6.0. The temblors came one day after the island was shaken by a 5.8 magnitude quake that crumbled homes and triggered states of emergency across the island.
Needless to say, none of this is normal.
In fact, the magnitude 6.4 quake was the largest that Puerto Rico has experienced in more than 100 years.
The destruction that has been caused by these earthquakes is immense, and at one point approximately two-thirds of the main island was without power.
Eventually, the power will be restored and structures will be rebuilt.
But in some cases, the damage that has been done can never be repaired
So why is this happening?
Well, the USGS is telling us that Puerto Rico is literally “being squeezed” between two tectonic plates…
“Tectonics in Puerto Rico are dominated by the convergence between the North America and Caribbean plates, with the island being squeezed between the two,” the USGS said. “To the north of Puerto Rico, North America subducts beneath the Caribbean plate along the Puerto Rico trench. To the south of the island, … Caribbean plate upper crust subducts beneath Puerto Rico at the Muertos Trough.”
That certainly doesn’t sound good at all, and it could have very serious long-term implications for those that currently call Puerto Rico home.
For now, authorities are warning us that “aftershocks will continue for some time”.
NYT – The White House, hoping to speed infrastructure projects like pipelines, will formally introduce changes to a half century-old landmark environmental law.
Science & Technology
Washington Post – Facebook will give users a choice to see fewer ads about political candidates and social issues. Users can also choose to stop seeing ads from campaigns and other entities that target them using custom lists of data.
Green Med Info – Investigations assessing the prevalence of scientific fraud and/or its impact show the problem is widespread and serious, to the point of making most of “science-based” medicine a genuine joke. Conflict of interest is another pervasive problem that threatens the integrity and believability of most studies.
We’ve been repeatedly faced with study findings that are clearly tainted with industry bias. For example, a 2014 study1,2,3 funded by the American Beverage Association purported to have found that diet soda makes you lose more weight than drinking no soda at all.
Its findings blatantly contradicted a massive body of research demonstrating that artificial sweeteners disrupt your body’s metabolism and lead to greater weight gain than regular sugar.
Scientific Fraud Has Lethal Consequences
Another example is Dr. Don Poldermans’ fraudulent beta blocker study, which is suspected of having led to the deaths of as many as 800,000 Europeans. I wrote about this scandal in “Beta Blockers Killed 800,000 in 5 Years — Good Medicine or Mass Murder?”
The discredited paper had a profound influence as it served as the basis for establishing the use of beta blockers in noncardiac surgery patients as “standard of care.”4 Poldermans — who was fired for scientific misconduct in 2011 — was also the chairman of the committee that drafted that guideline.5
This case is a sobering example demonstrating the need for maintaining strict scientific integrity, and why the issue of conflicts of interest really needs to be more widely understood and addressed. Sadly, there are enough cases like this to fill several books.
Scientific misconduct can have a very real impact on your health, or someone you love, as doctors routinely use published research to implement or alter treatment protocols. As noted in a 2012 paper in the American Journal of Medicine:
Newsmax – Cancer can be prevented. In fact, research has suggested that at least four out of 10 cases can be avoided by lifestyle changes.
Obvious habits worth breaking include smoking and eating processed food, but what else can you do to reduce your risk of cancer? Here are seven surprising things that can increase your chances of developing the disease, as listed by Live Science:
- Drinking hot tea. We often hear about the many benefits of drinking tea, so researchers were surprised to find that drinking extremely hot tea can increase the risk of cancer in the esophagus, especially among people who smoke and drink. Experts believe this is because the scalding tea can wear away the lining of the throat and increase the risk of damage caused by alcohol and tobacco.
- Not being active. People who exercise are less likely to develop cancer than those who lead sedentary lifestyles and who sit down at a desk for most of the day.
- Your height. studies have found that taller people are more likely to develop cancer. The risk increases by 10% for every four inches of height. This may be because larger people have more cells in their bodies, which means there are more cells that could become cancerous.
- Sitting close to the grill. You may want to rethink sitting up close to the grill, as your skin may be absorbing carcinogens released through the burning charcoal or wood. Eating grilled meat further increases your risk of cancer.
- Getting breast implants. Certain breast implants that are textured put women at a higher risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare type of breast cancer. It is not clear what the link is, but researchers believe it may have to do with inflammation in the breast tissue that is triggered by the implants.
- Drinking alcohol. Studies are showing that alcohol may be linked to an increased risk of cancer. Even light to moderate amounts of alcohol may contribute toward the development of the disease.
- Being overweight. Obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and now you can add cancer to that list. Carrying extra weight can increase your levels of inflammation, which in turn can increase your risk of cancer.
Newsmax – People who love their green tea may also enjoy longer, healthier lives, a large new study suggests.
Researchers found that of more than 100,000 Chinese adults they tracked, those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke over the next seven years.
Tea lovers also had a slightly longer life expectancy. At age 50, they could expect to live just over a year longer than their counterparts who were not regular consumers of green tea.
The study is the latest to look at green tea’s potential health effects.
Over the years, many studies have linked the beverage to benefits like healthier cholesterol levels and body weight, and lower risks of heart disease and certain cancers.
Those studies, like the current one, were “observational” — where researchers ask people about their lifestyle habits and other factors, then follow their health outcomes. The limitation is they do not prove that green tea, itself, provides any benefits.
Green-tea drinkers may differ from non-consumers in other ways. Research in the United States has found that tea drinkers (all types of tea) generally have healthier diets than non-drinkers, said Whitney Linsenmeyer, an assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University.
Researchers do try to account for such differences. In the current study, the investigators were able to weigh overall diet, exercise habits, smoking and education level, among other factors.
Still, it’s impossible to control for everything, said Linsenmeyer, who is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
That said, a number of studies across different countries have now found health benefits among green-tea drinkers, according to Linsenmeyer.
Plus, there’s some evidence from clinical trials. Linsenmeyer pointed to a recent trial of Iranian women finding that those who drank three cups of green tea a day saw improvements in weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol over eight weeks.