RT – Omani authorities have denied reports that they relayed a message to Iran from President Donald Trump, warning them of an impending US strike. The aborted attack followed Iran shooting down a US surveillance drone.
Responding to the report on Monday, Oman’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that rumors of them conveying a message from Trump were untrue, and urged all sides to show “restraint.”
The initial Reuters report last Friday cited two Iranian sources who said that the US president had personally warned Tehran about an incoming attack, which Trump later claimed to have called off at the last minute. Iranian authorities, however, say they received no such message.
RT – The catholic church has condemned a UK court’s “sad and distressing” decision to force a woman with mental disabilities to have an abortion at 22-weeks.
RT – Nothing the US does will make Turkey abandon its deal with Moscow to purchase S-400 air defense systems, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, as Washington keeps threatening Ankara with sanctions.
Daily Star – Scientist He Jiankui was condemned around the world last year where he brazenly announced in a YouTube video he had produced the first gene-edited humans in history – dubbed “Frankenstein babies” by some critics.
Dr Pete Mills, the Assistant Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, attended the scientific conference in Hong Kong where the world first learnt about the experiment.
Speaking to Daily Star Online, he said the scientific community was aware at the time of the creation of other mutant baby pregnancies in China – and the women would have come to the end of their pregnancies around now.
However, information on the cases ceased to be released following an international outcry – and China’s repressive state and censorious laws could be to blame.
“I don’t know what the fate of this [the pregnancies] is, but at the time, there was another continuing pregnancy. There may yet be be one or more gene-edited children,” Dr Mills explained.
He said there was no evidence Chinese people have a different attitude to experiment on humans, but insisted the experiment by Jiankui and his team was “absolutely not acceptable.”
Dr Mills described the experiments on humans as impossible to justify “where we really do not know what the consequence will be and if there will be terrible consequences”.
Human genetics are extremely complex, and small changes to one gene, understood to influence one body part, can unexpectedly effect other organs or bodily systems.
Reuters – Iran said on Monday U.S. cyber attacks on its military had failed, while also hinting that it could be willing to discuss new concessions with Washington if the United States were to lift sanctions and offer new incentives.
The longtime foes have come the closest in years to a direct military confrontation in the past week with the shooting down of a U.S. drone by Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump aborted a retaliatory strike just minutes before impact.
U.S. media have reported that the United States launched cyber attacks even as Trump called off the air strike. The Washington Post said on Saturday that the cyber strikes, which had been planned previously, had disabled Iranian rocket launch systems. U.S. officials have declined to comment.
“They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack,” Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister for information and communications technology, said on Twitter.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
NBC – President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order putting in place what he called “hard hitting” new sanctions on Iran.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
The new sanctions, Trump said, will deny Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top leaders within the regime access to financial instruments.
Daily Caller – Justice Neil Gorsuch joined with the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc to deal victory for criminal defendants Monday, striking down a federal law that punishes gun crimes as unconstitutionally vague.
The law at issue authorizes heightened penalties for individuals who use firearms to a commit a “crime of violence.”
“Only the people’s elected representatives in Congress have the power to write new federal criminal laws,” Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “And when Congress exercises that power, it has to write statutes that give ordinary people fair warning about what the law demands of them.”
“Vague laws transgress both of those constitutional requirements,” Gorsuch added. “They hand off the legislature’s responsibility for defining criminal behavior to unelected prosecutors and judges, and they leave people with no sure way to know what consequences will attach to their conduct.”
Monday’s case involved defendants Maurice Davis and Andre Glover, who were charged and convicted with robbery and conspiracy arising from a string of gas station robberies in Texas in June 2014. Prosecutors also charged the pair under the heightened penalty law because they brandished a short-barreled shotgun in the course of those robberies.
Project Veritas – Project Veritas has released a new report on Google which includes undercover video of a Senior Google Executive, leaked documents, and testimony from a Google insider. The report appears to show Google’s plans to affect the outcome of the 2020 elections and “prevent” the next “Trump situation.”
The report includes undercover footage of longtime Google employee and Head of Responsible Innovation, Jen Gennai saying:
“Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better it will make it worse, because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation, it’s like a small company cannot do that.”
Said Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe:
“This is the third tech insider who has bravely stepped forward to expose the secrets of Silicon Valley. These new documents, supported by undercover video, raise questions of Google’s neutrality and the role they see themselves fulfilling in the 2020 elections.”
Jen Gennai is the head of “Responsible Innovation” for Google, a sector that monitors and evaluates the responsible implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. In the video, Gennai says Google has been working diligently to “prevent” the results of the 2016 election from repeating in 2020:
“We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again.”
“We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?”
AZ Family – Authorities say another military service member assigned to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border has died in southern Arizona.
Officials at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said in a statement that the military service member with the Southwest Border Support Mission was found dead Sunday near Ajo, Arizona.
They say the incident is under investigation, but foul play isn’t suspected.
Star Tribune – Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.
New investigative documents released by a state agency have given fresh life to lingering questions about the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar and whether she once married a man — possibly her own brother — to skirt immigration laws.
Omar has denied the allegations in the past, dismissing them as “baseless rumors” first raised in an online Somali politics forum and championed by conservative bloggers during her 2016 campaign for the Minnesota House. But she said little then or since about Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, the former husband who swept into her life in 2009 before a 2011 separation.
The questions surfaced again this month in a state probe of campaign finance violations showing that Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, while she was still legally married to but separated from Elmi.
Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened.
The new documents also detail the Omar campaign’s efforts to keep the story of her marriage to Elmi out of the press, arguing that detailed coverage would legitimize the accusations and invade her privacy.
AP – Days before the first Democratic presidential debates, Sen. Bernie Sanders and House progressives came out with legislation to cancel all student debt, going farther than a signature proposal by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the two jockey for support from the party’s liberal base .
By canceling all student loans, Sanders says the proposal would address an economic burden for 45 million Americans. The key difference is that Warren’s plan considers the income of the borrowers, canceling $50,000 in debt for those earning less than $100,000 per year and affecting an estimated 42 million people in the U.S.
Questions face both candidates about how to pay for all of that plus their proposals for free tuition at public colleges and universities. But the battling ideas highlight the rivalry between senators who have made fighting economic inequality the cornerstones of their 2020 presidential campaigns.
Gallup – Americans’ concern with immigration continues to be heightened, as 23% name it the most important problem facing the country. This is by one percentage point the highest Gallup has ever measured for the issue since it first began recording mentions of immigration in 1993.
Economy & Business
US Posts – As U.S. officials prepare an antitrust probe of Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG 0.94% Google and possibly other Silicon Valley giants, a loose-knit crew of its rivals is gearing up to help. In industries from news to travel to online shopping, competitors of Google are readying documents and data in anticipation of meetings with the Justice Department, according to industry representatives. Many of these companies have long argued that Big Tech platforms illegally abuse their market power. In recent years some of them have found a receptive audience in Europe, where authorities have thrice fined Google for alleged monopolistic practices. Google has paid the fines but is challenging them in court. Now rivals are stepping up their advocacy in the U.S., where antitrust enforcers recently divvied up the job of examining antitrust concerns at large tech platforms, with the Justice Department preparing a Google probe. The Wall Street Journal reported on the potential probes by the department and the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month, citing people familiar with the matter. Antitrust lawyers say any probe could take years to complete. Battle lines are already forming. Google is preparing its own data and arguments, the Journal has reported.
NY Times – When Conor Sprouls, a customer service representative in the call center of the insurance giant MetLife talks to a customer over the phone, he keeps one eye on the bottom-right corner of his screen. There, in a little blue box, A.I. tells him how he’s doing.
Talking too fast? The program flashes an icon of a speedometer, indicating that he should slow down.
Sound sleepy? The software displays an “energy cue,” with a picture of a coffee cup.
Not empathetic enough? A heart icon pops up.
For decades, people have fearfully imagined armies of hyper-efficient robots invading offices and factories, gobbling up jobs once done by humans. But in all of the worry about the potential of artificial intelligence to replace rank-and-file workers, we may have overlooked the possibility it will replace the bosses, too.
Mr. Sprouls and the other call center workers at his office in Warwick, R.I., still have plenty of human supervisors. But the software on their screens — made by Cogito, an A.I. company in Boston — has become a kind of adjunct manager, always watching them. At the end of every call, Mr. Sprouls’s Cogito notifications are tallied and added to a statistics dashboard that his supervisor can view. If he hides the Cogito window by minimizing it, the program notifies his supervisor.
AP -Craving a Slurpee from but lacking the motivation to get off a park bench?
7-Eleven launched a delivery service Monday that will send a Slurpee or almost anything else carried by the chain to public places ranging from parks to beaches.
The company told The Associated Press that more than 2,000 7-Eleven “hot spots” including New York’s Central Park and Venice Beach in Los Angeles will be activated Monday. Customers need to download 7-Eleven’s 7NOW app and select “Show 7NOW Pins” to find a hot spot close by.
Energy & Environment
AP – The sunset had an orange glow and so does the new heat alert level for Paris.
More than half of France, including around Paris, was placed on an orange alert for intense heat Monday — the second-highest level on the scale — as very hot temperatures were predicted across continental Europe this week.
The national weather agency Meteo France said the heat wave beginning Monday is expected to last all week with temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) across the country just as the summer tourist season shifts into high gear. The peak is expected Thursday.
In Paris, charity organizations were patrolling the streets to provide water to homeless people and local authorities organized air-conditioned places where the public can seek shelter.
Science & Technology
The Guardian – All-female astronaut crews could reproduce in space without the help of accompanying men, new research suggests.
The study found that frozen samples of sperm exposed to microgravity retained similar characteristics to sperm samples kept on the ground, raising hopes that a sperm bank could one day be set up in space to help populate new worlds.
This could prove interesting for female astronauts, amid reports that future missions to Mars may involve women-only space crews.
Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, said at a conference in 2017 that there had been an unreleased Nasa report exploring sexual desires of space crew members during potential missions to Mars. Sharman said the report had recommended space crews of the same gender – “all men or all women” – because they have better team cohesion.
Findings from the small preliminary study, involving sperm from 10 healthy donors, suggest that “the possibility of creating a human sperm bank outside of Earth” exists, according to the researchers.
The study was presented on Sunday at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology annual meeting in Vienna, Austria.
Mercola – In the U.S., an estimated 17.3 million American adults, or 7.1% of the adult population, experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017. The highest rates are reported among those aged between 18 and 25.
Research suggests major depression may be vastly overdiagnosed and overtreated with antidepressants, and that a majority of those who take these drugs stay on them long-term, which may compromise their health.
Antidepressants double the risk of harm from suicide and violence in healthy adults, increase aggression two- to threefold in children and adolescents, increase risk of suicide and violence by four to five times in middle-aged women with stress urinary incontinence, and double women’s risk of a core psychotic or potential psychotic event.
There’s a solid and ever-growing body of scientific evidence showing physical exercise is a major key in the successful treatment of depression. Several studies investigating this oft-ignored prescription are reviewed.
A recent review, which examined randomized controlled trials published between 1999 and 2016, and meta-analyses/systematic reviews published between 2009 and 2016, concluded that “exercise is an evidenced-based medicine for depression”
Mercola – Despite a massive lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric in 1996, spearheaded by Erin Brockovich, the known carcinogen, hexavalent chromium, pollutes water supplies across the U.S.; research shows vitamin C and epigallocatechin gallate found in green tea, protect cells against the cytotoxic effects.
In 2010 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found hexavalent chromium affected 74 million U.S. citizens; by 2016 the number jumped to 200 million, and researchers from Olivet Nazarene reported 250 million in 2019.
Even in small amounts, hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6, may trigger skin burns, pneumonia and complications during childbirth; the EWG maintains a database and interactive map of water testing for chromium-6 where you may search for your home county.
Vitamin C is also effective against air pollution, reducing the symptoms of asthma, and epigallocatechin gallate may help prevent obesity, improve exercise performance and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Mercola – In a recent study, participants with high blood pressure who consumed an average of just under a cup of tomato juice per day had significant decreases in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In one study, subjects with the highest levels of lycopene in their blood had a 55% less likelihood of having any type of stroke compared to those with the lowest amounts.
Tomatoes contain other beneficial antioxidants, including alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), alpha carotene and beta-carotene, but in lower concentrations than lycopene.
Studies show people with the lowest lycopene levels have a higher increased risk for atherosclerosis, aka acute plaque buildup, including atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries leading to the brain detectable by ultrasound.
Lycopene captures reactive oxygen species (ROS) to prevent fats, proteins and DNA strand damage, which cause aging and higher disease risks