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World News

Pound falls lower on no-deal Brexit prospect

BBC – The pound has continued to fall on currency markets as the government insists that the UK is prepared to leave the EU without a deal.

Sterling hit a fresh two-year low of $1.2120 against the dollar on Tuesday, before recovering some ground.

The currency also slid against the euro, falling to €1.0881 at one point.

The fall in the value of the pound means UK tourists heading abroad could face a “horrendous summer”, according to one currency expert.

Human-animal hybrids to be developed in Japan after ban controversially lifted

Independent – Human-animal hybrids are to be developed in embryo form in Japan after the government approved controversial stem-cell research.

Human cells will be grown in rat and mouse embryos, then brought to term in a surrogate animal, as part of experiments set to be carried out at the University of Tokyo.

Supporters say the work – led by renowned geneticist Hiromitsu Nakauchi – could be a vital first step towards eventually growing organs that can then be transplanted into people in need.

But opponents have raised concerns that scientists are playing God.

They worry the human cells could stray beyond the targeted organs into other areas of the animal, effectively creating a creature that is part animal, part person.

Weightlifter Hubbard becomes lightning rod for criticism of transgender policy

Reuters – Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard’s gold medal-winning performance at the Pacific Games continues to reverberate long after the event, with a New Zealand women’s group demanding sports authorities put a stop to “unfair” competition.

Hubbard, who competed for New Zealand in men’s weightlifting before her transition in her thirties, won two golds and a silver in three of the women’s heavyweight categories at the Games in Samoa earlier this month.

She topped the podium ahead of Samoan runner up and Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers in both categories, triggering outrage in the Pacific island nation.

With Hubbard free to compete at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, the 41-year-old has become a lightning rod for criticism of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender athletes.

Deadly unrest in Latin America’s prisons

AFP – The deadly riot in a prison at Altamira in northern Brazil, which left more than 50 dead on Monday, is the latest unrest in Latin America’s notoriously overcrowded jails.

Of the deadliest prison riots around the world in recent years, the vast majority have been in Latin America.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

US Formally Asks Germany, France, UK to Take Part in Strait of Hormuz Mission to Counter Iran

Sputnik – Earlier, both German and British officials said they did not support the US’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Tehran, instead welcoming an operation proposed by London for a European-led security effort to “protect” commercial vessels operating in the Persian Gulf and near the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States has officially requested Germany, France and the UK to join its military mission in the Gulf to ‘combat Iranian aggression,’ the US Embassy in Berlin has indicated.

Media Label Book Garlic Festival Shooter Cited A ‘Neo-Nazi Manifesto.’ The Book Was Written In 1890

Information Liberation – Media outlets ran articles on Monday claiming alleged garlic festival shooter Santino William Legan referenced a “neo-Nazi manifesto” before his shooting, even though the book he cited was written in 1890 — 43 years before the Nazis came into power, let alone any “neo-Nazis” who surfaced decades later.

From The Hill, “Alleged garlic festival gunman referenced neo-Nazi manifesto on Instagram before shooting: report”:

The gunman who police say opened fire at a popular garlic festival in Northern California and killed three people reportedly referenced a neo-Nazi manifesto on social media before the shooting.

Santino William Legan, who was shot and killed after engaging with police, had posted on his Instagram page about a 1890 racist manifesto titled Might is Right or The Survival of the Fittest,” according to multiple reports.

“Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard,” the 19-year-old said in an Instagram caption.

The Hill cited this similarly false report from NBC News, which before being corrected was titled, “Gilroy Garlic Festival gunman referred to ‘Might is Right’ neo-Nazi manifesto before shooting.”

While NBC News corrected the article on their main site, multiple of their affiliates are still running an article titled, “Festival Gunman Identified; Had Referred to Neo-Nazi Manifesto Before Shooting.”

USA issuing hacking alert for small planes

AP – The Department of Homeland Security issued a security alert Tuesday for small planes, warning that modern flight systems are vulnerable to hacking if someone manages to gain physical access to the aircraft.

An alert from the DHS critical infrastructure computer emergency response tea m recommends that plane owners ensure they restrict unauthorized physical access to their aircraft until the industry develops safeguards to address the issue, which was discovered by a Boston-based cybersecurity company and reported to the federal government.

Most airports have security in place to restrict unauthorized access and there is no evidence that anyone has exploited the vulnerability. But a DHS official told The Associated Press that the agency independently confirmed the security flaw with outside partners and a national research laboratory, and decided it was necessary to issue the warning.

South Dakota will require “In God We Trust” signs in all public schools

CBS – A new law in South Dakota now requires all public schools across the state to feature the “In God We Trust” motto on display. Students returning to school this fall will be greeted by the message, which supporters say is meant to “inspire patriotism.”

Gov. Kristi Noem signed the law in March, and it went into effect this month. The law requires that the message is prominently displayed in all 149 South Dakota school districts on the first day of classes this year.

“Some have plaques, others have it painted on the wall, maybe in a mural setting,” Associated School Boards of South Dakota executive director Wade Pogany said, describing how schools plan to implement the new law. The display of the quote is required to be at least 12 inches by 12 inches in size. In one school “it was within their freedom wall. They added that to a patriotic theme,” he said.

Supreme Court says OK to use Pentagon funds for border wall

CS Monitor – he Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build sections of a border wall with Mexico.

The court’s five conservative justices gave the administration the green light on Friday to begin work on four contracts it has awarded using Defense Department money. Funding for the projects had been frozen by lower courts while a lawsuit over the money proceeded. The court’s four liberal justices wouldn’t have allowed construction to start.

The justices’ decision to lift the freeze on the money allows President Donald Trump to make progress on a major 2016 campaign promise heading into his race for a second term. Trump tweeted after the announcement: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

Senate holds confirmation hearing for Gen. John Hyten to Joint Chiefs job amid assault allegations

CBS – Senate holds confirmation hearing for Gen. John Hyten to Joint Chiefs job amid assault allegations

The Senate Armed Services Committee is holding a hearing to consider the nomination of Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Strategic Command, to be the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His confirmation, however, has met with some controversy over allegations of sexual assault by a female officer.

The woman, who is a senior military officer, alleges that Hyten made unwanted sexual advances toward her in 2017 when she was one of his aides, and she has accused him of trying to damage her career after she rejected him. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations reviewed the matter and found insufficient evidence to charge Hyten or recommend any administrative punishment.

The accuser, Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, told the Associated Press that she came forward earlier this year after Hyten’s nomination, because she couldn’t live with the idea that he might assault someone else if he was confirmed for the job.

TSA finds missile launcher in passenger’s bag

NY Post – A traveler flying out of a Maryland airport packed a missile launcher from Kuwait in his checked bag in the hopes of keeping it as a souvenir, officials said.

Transportation Security Administration agents at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport spotted the inert missile launcher in a Jacksonville, Texas, man’s checked bag early Monday, wrote TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein in a tweet later in the day.

“@TSA officers at @BWI_Airport detected this missile launcher in a checked bag early this morning. Man said he was bringing it back from Kuwait as a souvenir,” Farbstein wrote, along with a photograph of the gray, yellow and black Griffin missile launcher. “Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead!”

Two Somali Refugees Arrested For Planning ISIS Attack Inside U.S.

Infowars – Two Somali refugees were arrested after the FBI uncovered a plot for them to join ISIS abroad or conduct an attack inside the United States.

“Ahmed Mahad Mohamed and Abdi Yemani Hussein, were arrested for conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization,” reports the DOJ.

Mohamed had obtained lawful permanent residency within the U.S. and Hussein remained a refugee.

Study: Baltimore’s Murder Rate Outpaces Central America’s Most Dangerous Countries

Breitbart – The murder rate of Baltimore, Maryland, is set to continue to be higher than Central America’s most dangerous countries, analysis finds.

Research by Princeton Policy Advisors’ Steven Kopits reveals that Baltimore has long had a higher murder rate than the most crime-ridden nations of Central America, where thousands of migrants flee from every year.

Based on the current rate of murders in Baltimore, Kopits projects that Baltimore’s murder rate for 2019 will come in at about 56 murders per 100,000 people — making it more than twice as dangerous as the country of Guatemala.

To date, there have been nearly 200 murders in Baltimore since the beginning of the year.

NY Fire Commissioners Call for New 9/11 Investigation, Citing “Overwhelming Evidence of Explosives”

Activist Post – History was made this month in regard to 9/11 as New York area fire commissioners called for a new investigation into the tragic events that unfolded that day. The resolution called for a new investigation due to the “overwhelming evidence” that “pre-planted explosives . . . caused the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings.”

On July 24, 2019, the Franklin Square and Munson Fire District, which oversees a volunteer fire department serving a hamlet of 30,000 residents just outside of Queens, New York, became the first legislative body in the country to officially support a new investigation into the events of 9/11, according to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

The resolution calling for a new investigation was drafted by Commissioner Christopher Gioia and it was immediately and unanimously approved by the five commissioners.

“We’re a tight-knit community and we never forget our fallen brothers and sisters. You better believe that when the entire fire service of New York State is on board, we will be an unstoppable force,” said Commissioner Christopher Gioia, adding, “We were the first fire district to pass this resolution. We won’t be the last.”

Judd Apatow: ‘We Are Murdering Our Children’ by Ignoring Climate Change

Breitbart – Left-wing Hollywood director Judd Apatow believes that by ignoring climate change “We are murdering our children.”

“We are murdering our children. It’s as simple as that. The President could care less,” Apatow said on Monday.

We are murdering our children. It’s as simple as that. The President could care less. https://t.co/zKMZU3r8VT

— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) July 29, 2019

Economy & Business

America’s Housing Affordability Crisis Spreads to the Heartland

Bloomberg – Low mortgage rates and thriving employment should be the recipe for a strong housing market. Instead, they’re deepening America’s affordability crisis.

What began on the coasts, in areas like New York and San Francisco, is now radiating into the nation’s heartland, as well as to cities from Las Vegas to Charleston, South Carolina. Entry-level buyers are scrambling to purchase homes that are in short supply, sending values soaring.

Expectations that the Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates this week will do little to change the sober reality: For many, prices have risen much faster than incomes, pushing homeownership out of reach for a new generation of hopeful buyers. That’s cooling the market, with the 2019 spring season shaping up as the slowest for sales in five years, according to CoreLogic Inc.

“All signs point to a housing market that should be doing really well and it’s not,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. “The No. 1 constraint, despite low mortgage rates, is that people can’t find housing that they feel is affordable.”

Political pressure complicates Fed’s expected rate cut

AFP – The Federal Reserve is set to “vaccinate” the US economy against a slowdown with the first interest rate cut in a decade, but the decision has been made more difficult by unrelenting political pressure.

President Donald Trump has constantly berated the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, for failing to provide additional juice to the economy, which he has promised will grow by three percent and more each year.

“The E.U. and China will further lower interest rates and pump money into their systems, making it much easier for their manufacturers to sell product,” Trump tweeted Monday.

“In the meantime, and with very low inflation, our Fed does nothing – and probably will do very little by comparison. Too bad!”

The central bank’s challenge is to tune out politics ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, and base the direction of monetary policy on the economic data.

CAPITAL ONE DATA BREACH, 100 MILLION IMPACTED; FBI ARRESTS SEATTLE WOMAN

Cyber Scoop – Financial giant Capital One announced a large data breach Monday, with the company saying that one person accessed personal information of approximately 100 million people in the United States and 6 million in Canada who had applied for or are currently considered users of the company’s credit cards.

Additionally, the FBI arrested a woman in Washington state who is suspected of hacking into the company to obtain that information. Paige A. Thompson was arrested Monday and appeared in federal court in Seattle.

Energy & Environment

Plastic junk spawns desert island disaster in Pacific

AFP – Floating plastic garbage has swamped a remote Pacific island once regarded as an environmental jewel and scientists say little can be done to save it while a throwaway culture persists.

Henderson Island is an uninhabited coral atoll that lies almost exactly halfway between New Zealand and Peru, with 5,500 kilometres (3,400 miles) of ocean in either direction.

Despite its extreme isolation, a freak confluence of geography and ocean currents means Henderson has one of the highest concentrations of plastic pollution on the planet.

“We found debris from just about everywhere,” said Jennifer Lavers, an Australian-based researcher who led an expedition to the island last month.

“We had bottles and containers, all kinds of fishing stuff and it had come from, well, you name it — Germany, Canada, the United States, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador.

“It was a real message that every country has a responsibility to protect the environment, even in these remote areas.”

Science & Technology

Australia to Start Policing Facebook’s and Google’s Algorithms

Activist Post – Australia’s antitrust watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has announced that it plans to set up an office that is dedicated to nothing else other than policing the algorithms tech giants like Facebook and Google use to generate their income, reports Reuters.

This is part of reforms designed to rein in the U.S. technology giants, potentially setting a precedent for global lawmakers.

The move tightens the regulatory screws on the online platforms, which have governments from the United States to Europe scrambling to address concerns ranging from antitrust issues to the spread of “fake news” and hate speech.

The new algorithm policing office is just one of 23 recommendations from the ACCC proposing how the Australian government can better regulate American tech giants. The idea behind policing the technology companies’ algorithms is so that regulators have a better idea of how companies match advertisements to users.

The news comes just weeks after the FTC hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine for privacy breaches stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Responding to the ACCC reports announcing the proposal, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said, “These companies are among the most powerful and valuable in the world. They need to be held to account and their activities need to be more transparent.”

Connected Cars Could Gridlock Entire Cities

Study Finds – Cybersecurity has quickly become a priority for large corporations, businesses, and individuals alike in recent years. It seems like another major data breach is being reported every other week, and personal online accounts are often compromised by malicious actors. Now, a new study out of the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that hackers may soon be able to cause major traffic problems in the real world by hacking and stranding internet-connected cars.

The study’s authors theorize that hackers would only have to shut down a portion of cars on the road in a busy city like Manhattan during rush hour to completely shut down traffic and gridlock the city. Researchers hope that their findings will spark a more detailed analysis of automotive cybersecurity, especially moving forward as cars become more and more high tech.

“Unlike most of the data breaches we hear about, hacked cars have physical consequences,” says co-author Peter Yunker in a release.

Yunker and his team say that right now the automotive cybersecurity sector is focusing too much on hacks that target one car, and they need to consider the possibility that a higher number of cars being hacked at the same time could lead to mayhem.

Robot can serve up piping hot bowl of noodles in just 45 secs

AFP – A Singaporean engineering company has built a robot that can serve up a piping hot bowl of laksa, one of the city-state’s most well-known dishes, in just 45 seconds.

The electric sous-chef, dubbed Sophie by its creators, can blanch noodles, add pre-cooked prawns and ladle spicy coconut soup — all with minimum spillage, at the rate of around 80 bowls an hour.

“It’s excellent, I would say there’s no difference between the one created by the robot and human,” said Paul Yong, a guest at Friday’s launch event catered by Orange Clove, which developed the machine with a local engineering company.

The robot will let chefs cut down on repetitive tasks and focus on understanding customers’ needs, said Tan Tun Lim, the assistant sales director for Orange Clove.

Scientists Look to Fish For Limb-Regeneration Secrets

Eureka Alert – What can fish teach scientists about limb regeneration? Quite a bit, as it turns out.

In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Michigan State University scientists show that gar, a toothy, freshwater fish, can reveal many evolutionary secrets – even possible genetic blueprints for limb regeneration in people.

Scientists knew that salamanders can regrow full limbs after amputation. Ingo Braasch, MSU assistant professor of integrative biology, and his team, however, was the first to study how gar and other fish regenerate entire fins. More importantly, the researchers focused on how they rebuild the endochondral bones within their fins, which are the equivalents of human arms and legs.

Health

Reishi mushrooms fight inflammation

Mercola – Aging is one factor that makes inflammation symptoms so widespread; one is so often present with the other that scientists call it “inflammaging” described as a chronic, sterile, low-grade inflammation.

People who enjoy mushrooms, particularly the reishi variety (Ganoderma lucidum), will be interested in knowing that they fight inflammation and many age-related conditions.

Ganoderic acid, a terpene in reishi mushrooms, slows the cell cycle and induces the mitochondrial-dependent process of apoptosis and enhances the immune system.

A number of studies have shown that signaling molecule nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) must be suppressed to offset both reduce harmful inflammation and decelerate many aging processes.

Reishi mushrooms have been shown to combat several different types of malignancies, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy and brain cell degradation

Sesame seeds: An ancient food with therapeutic uses

Mercola – Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) are some of the oldest plants cultivated, with a history dating back thousands of years.

Sesame seeds are rich in fiber, an important dietary component that helps bulk up stools and promote regular elimination.

Sesame oil is a liquid derived from sesame seeds through various manufacturing processes, such as pressing

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