RT – Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis slammed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ahead of a two-day visit by Merkel to the austerity-stricken country.
“Mrs Merkel is in Greece to inspect the desert she made and to call it… recovery,” Varoufakis tweeted on Thursday. “Ironically, her Greek triumph unleashed deflationary forces that hit Germany (eg -ve interest rates) and wrecked her career. Never before has a German Chancellor wasted so much political capital.”
Merkel’s visit to Greece is her first since 2014, and the first since left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took office in 2015. Before arriving on Thursday, Merkel said that Greece can “continue to count on its partnership and friendship with Germany.”
RT – Yellow Vest protesters are hoping to trigger a bank run with a nationwide coordinated cash withdrawal. By threatening the French financial system, protesters say, they want to peacefully force the government to pass their reforms.
“If the banks weaken, the state weakens immediately,” said Yellow Vest “sympathizer” Tahz San on Facebook. “It’s elected officials’ worst nightmare.”
Protesters plan to empty their bank accounts on Saturday, withdrawing as much money as possible in a bid to undermine the French banks – if not the euro itself. The plan is to “scare the state legally and without violence,” forcing the government to adopt the movement’s Citizens’ Referendum Initiative, which would allow citizens to propose and vote on new laws.
“We are going to get our bread back…you’re making money with our dough, and we’re fed up,” said protester Maxime Nicolle in a video message shared on YouTube.
RT – Italy’s Euroskeptic deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini has said he wants Italy and Poland to join together to create a “European Spring” which could end the long-standing French and German domination on the continent.
Speaking during a press conference with Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński in Warsaw on Wednesday, Salvini said that Poland and Italy “will be part of the new spring of Europe, the renaissance of European values” which would create a “new equilibrium” where the dominance of France and Germany is diminished.
The leader of the Northern League party said that upcoming European parliamentary elections, set for May, could lead away from a Europe “that is run by bureaucrats.”
RT – US President Donald Trump has canceled his planned trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing the ongoing impasse with congressional Democrats that’s keeping parts of the US government closed for a third week.
Trump, who is visiting the US-Mexico border on Thursday, tweeted from Texas that he will be “respectfully canceling” the Davos trip because of the “Democrats intransigence on border security.”
Sputnik – Earlier this week, a US guided-missile destroyer conducted a “freedom of navigation” mission in the Paracel/Xisha Islands, which Beijing said amounted to trespassing in China’s territorial waters.
The Chinese military has mobilised its new DF-26 nuclear-capable anti-ship intermediate-range missiles to the remote northwest plateau, presumably in response to the US destroyer’s passage, the Global Times has reported, citing national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
It was not clarified exactly when the missiles were mobilised nor and whether their deployment was permanent or part of a training exercise. In any case, as the Global Times emphasised, the missiles are now deployed and “capable of mobile operations across the country.”
Town Hall – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Barack Obama on Thursday of sowing chaos in the Middle East by failing to adequately confront Islamist militants in a blistering critique of the policies of President Donald Trump’s predecessor.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Fox – President Trump landed in Texas on Thursday for his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as he insists he may declare a national emergency to fund his long-promised wall there.
Town Hall – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to use emergency powers to bypass Congress and get billions of dollars to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, as a partial U.S. government shutdown over the issue stretched into its 20th day.
Sputnik – Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell has blamed the Democrats for the current deadlock over the federal budget which led to the government’s partial shutdown. As he explained, “Democratic colleagues refuse to even come to the table”.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday blocked a move by the chamber’s Democrats to initiate a vote on spending bills, aimed, as they claimed, to reopen the government.
Reacting to the two proposed funding bills, the Senate majority leader objected, saying that “political stunts are not going to get us anywhere.” As McConnell explained, he would not take up any bill related to the shutdown in the Senate that US President Donald Trump won’t sign.
“The last thing we need to do right now is trade pointless, absolutely pointless, show votes back and forth across the aisle,” he stated, addressing the issue.
Reuters – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings introduced legislation on Thursday aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs for American consumers, critiquing President Donald Trump administration’s efforts to curb medicine prices.
Geller Report – Terror-tied CAIR Sheriff Scott Israel, whose deputies did nothing during the Parkland school shootout, yet he provided weapons training to a notorious radical mosque, has finally been suspended.
…several deputies stayed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., during the response to the mass shooting instead of immediately going inside. Already, Sheriff Scott Israel has said the first deputy there, the school’s resource officer, did not go inside even though the gunman was actively shooting.
The investigation became public after several media reports, citing unnamed officials in the nearby Coral Springs Police Department, said officers who responded to the Feb. 14 shooting were concerned because Broward deputies did not immediately enter the building to help those who had been injured inside.
Daily Mail –
Pew Research Center – About seven-in-ten U.S. parents younger than 50 (71%) say it’s unlikely they will have more children in the future – and among childless adults in the same age group, about four-in-ten (37%) say they don’t ever expect to become parents, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in July and August.
Economy & Business
Reuters – An index of world stock markets was little changed on Thursday after a four-day winning streak, as investors fretted over the lack of clear signs that a U.S.-China trade spat was resolved and over sluggish global economic growth.
Reuters – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday the U.S. central bank has the ability to be patient on monetary policy given stable price measures, and he downplayed predictions from policymakers suggesting interest rates would be raised twice more this year.
Energy & Environment
Sputnik – he Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and regulators in all 50 US states have reached a deal for Fiat Chrysler to pay $800 million in fines, recall costs and customer payments to settle charges of emissions from diesel vehicles, the company announced.
“The company … expects to pay about $800 million in fines to regulators, compensation to consumers and recall costs to settle the matter,” Fiat Chrysler said in a press release on Thursday.
Science & Technology
Health Impact News – Public attention about 5G has been focused on the plans of telecom companies to install millions of small cell towers on electric utility poles, on public buildings and schools, on bus stop shelters, in public parks, and anywhere they want in national parks and on federally owned land.
In local urban communities there would be a cell tower approximately every 500 feet along every street.
As bad as these small cell towers might seem from the standpoint of constant exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation in close proximity to the source, perhaps an even more alarming prospect will be the beaming of millimeter length microwaves at the earth from thousands of new communication satellites.
The FCC gave approval to SpaceX on March 29, 2018, to launch 4,425 satellites into low orbit around the Earth.
Mercola – Parkinson’s disease, characterized by inflammation, stiff muscles, tremors and progressively more difficulty walking, ranks second among the most common neurodegenerative disease in older people.
Recent studies show that some foods can help reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, while other foods may change the factors that cause neurodegeneration and disease progression.
Eating Solanaceae, aka nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant and especially peppers, has protective potential; one of the phytochemicals such vegetables contain is nicotine, which appears to be the agent imparting the neuroprotective effects.
The amount of dietary nicotine you’d get from eating healthy vegetables is significantly less than what you’d ingest from smoking one cigarette but may be enough to offset your Parkinson’s risk.
Eating Solanaceae vegetables, particularly peppers, two to four times per week is recommended for increased neuroprotection
Sputnik – The Food and Drug Administration has urged consumers who ate chocolate or caramel-dipped marshmallow candies made by US candy maker Bauer’s Candies to consult their healthcare provider after it became known that some of the sweets may have come into contact with a worker who tested positive for Hepatitis A, a contagious liver disease.
Bauer’s, a Kentucky-based company, began a voluntary recall of the sweets, known as Modjeskas, amid fears that they may be contaminated, the FDA said in a safety advisory.
“We are advising consumers not to eat and to throw away any Bauer’s Candies Chocolate or Caramel Modjeskas, purchased after November 14, 2018 because a worker in the facility tested positive for hepatitis A,” the release said.