AFP – Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday warned US President Donald Trump he was mistaken to think a war between their countries would be short, as Washington sought NATO’s help to build an anti-Tehran coalition.
The latest developments in the Iran-US standoff came as a diplomatic source in Vienna said Tehran would not exceed a uranium stockpile limit agreed with world powers, contrary to what it had said earlier this month.
Iran had said it expected to surpass on Thursday the agreed 300-kilogram (660-pound) maximum reserve of enriched uranium because it no longer felt bound by certain limits contained in the 2015 deal, which the United States unilaterally pulled out of in May 2018.
“They won’t exceed it today,” the diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP in Vienna on the eve of a meeting by a commission that oversees the nuclear deal.
Al Jaezera – Senior US official says Trump administration is considering expanding actions against family members of Maduro officials
Judicial Watch – Four ISIS terrorists planning to enter the United States through Mexico have been captured by the Nicaraguan military in a remote area where the men entered the Central American nation illegally from Costa Rica. Nicaraguan authorities identify the men as two Egyptian nationals—33-year old Mohamed Ibrahim and 26-year-old Mahmoud Samy Eissa—and two Iraqis, 41-year-old Ahmed Ghanim Mohamed Al Jubury and 29-year-old Mustafa Ali Mohamed Yaoob. The men arrived in Panama on May 12 and in Costa Rica on June 9, according to an article published in Nicaragua’s largest newspaper.
It appears they had legal permission to enter Costa Rica, which is why Nicaragua deported them back there. Costa Rica’s national security chief, Michael Soto, confirmed the men entered the country legally and were approved by his country’s immigration control officials “with no problem.” Soto also revealed that “confidential information from an unknown source” later alerted Costa Rican officials of the men’s “criminal” ties. Various Mexican media outlets also reported that authorities there were warned that three—instead of four—ISIS operatives were making their way to the United States through Mexico via Central America. Mexico’s largest newspaper covered a press conference in which President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed receiving an alert from the United States about the ISIS terrorists’ plan to enter Mexican territory to reach the American border.
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has essentially ignored this disturbing story which is simply the latest of many involving Islamic terrorists and the southwest border. Judicial Watch has for years uncovered evidence of Islamic terrorists infiltrating the U.S. through Mexico as part of an ongoing investigation into the national security crisis created by the dangerously porous southern border. Judicial Watch has interviewed local, state and federal law enforcement officials as well as U.S. and Mexican military sources and has traveled to remote Mexican border towns to interview American ranchers. When the Central American caravan got started last fall, Judicial Watch deployed an investigative team to the Guatemala-Honduras border after Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales confirmed that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists had been apprehended in the impoverished Central American nation.
Daily Mail – Theresa May greeted Vladimir Putin with the frostiest of handshakes as they met in Japan in a meeting which had been soured before it began by the Russian President’s attack on Western views.
Sputnik – In April President Donald Trump announced there would not be an extension of waivers from sanctions targeting Iranian oil for China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, after which they could face US sanctions themselves.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Fox – A coalition of moderate Democrats and Republicans approved crucial border funding legislation late Thursday in the House, sending the $4.6 billion bill to President Trump’s desk for his expected signature — after Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed down from a push to include restrictions on immigration enforcement that could have scuttled the measure.
In doing so, Pelosi risked a severe backlash from the progressive base calling for those measures, convinced that so-called “guardrails” must be imposed to prevent alleged abuses by border officials.
But the speaker agreed to bring the bipartisan Senate-passed bill to a vote, without such restrictions, following intense pressure from Republicans and moderates in her own party. The Senate had demonstrated that bipartisan support by approving the bill 84-8 a day earlier, after rejecting an earlier House version.
CNBC – The Supreme Court said Friday it will hear arguments over the legality of the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Obama-era immigration program known as DACA, which shields certain young migrants brought to the United States illegally from deportation and allows them to receive work permits.
The justices announced in an order that they will take up three cases on the matter in their next term, beginning in October. A decision is expected by next June, in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign.
The issue has already become an election flash point, particularly as immigration remains in the national focus.
Economy & Business
Bloomberg – The White House is developing a plan to cut taxes by indexing capital gains to inflation, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would largely benefit the wealthy and may be done in a way that bypasses Congress.
Consensus is growing among White House officials to advance the proposal soon, the people said, to ensure the benefit takes effect before President Donald Trump faces re-election in 2020.
Revamping capital gains taxes through a rule or executive order likely would face legal challenges, a concern that reportedly prompted former President George H.W. Bush’s administration to drop a similar plan.
A White House spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
NBC – Patrick Anderson has spent 25 years working for General Motors, most recently at the company’s transmission factory here. In a little over a month, he will see a plant he worked for close for the third time.
Anderson’s father and grandfather worked for automakers as well, enjoying good paying jobs and stability, he said. Now Anderson tells his kids to steer clear of that kind of work.
“It’s not the dream job it used to be,” Anderson, 47, said before his 12-hour shift that begins each day at 2:30 p.m. “It’s actually quite a nightmare to try and survive and reach your pension. It feels impossible.”
The 261 hourly workers who help operate this plant build car transmissions, but just after Thanksgiving they found out from news reports that GM planned to close their 2.1 million square-foot factory that the company has run since 1958.
GM plans to keep its transmission plant in Mexico open instead.
RT – Moscow and Beijing have inked an intergovernmental agreement to switch to national currencies in bilateral trade and boost cross-currency settlements up to 50 percent as they ramp up efforts to move away from the US dollar.
Energy & Environment
Express – The Yellowstone volcano has been showing huge amounts of signs of activity in the past few weeks, with a staggering 81 earthquakes shaking the national park. Most of the tremors have been relatively small, with the largest registering as a two on the Richter scale. But some experts warn that sometimes the size of earthquakes is irrelevant, but the quantity of them could be more of a forewarning.
Portland State University Geology Professor Emeritus Scott Burns has said a spate of small tremors around a volcano usually signifies that magma and gasses beneath the surface are beginning to navigate their exit.
The Guardian – France recorded temperatures nearly two degrees higher than its previous record and firefighters continued to battle historic wildfires in Spain as much of western Europe remained in the grip of an extreme early-summer heatwave on Friday.
The French state weather forecaster, Météo-France, said the temperature in Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard département hit 45.9C at 4.20pm on Friday.
The previous 2003 record of 44.1C was beaten twice before on Friday: first when the southeastern town of Carpentras reached 44.3C, then hours later when Villevieille, in Provence, hit 45.1C.
“This is historic,” a Météo-France meteorologist, Etienne Kapikian, said. “It’s the first time a temperature in excess of 45C has ever been recorded in France.”
Science & Technology
Daily Mail – U.S. special forces are taking a more ‘intimate’ approach to remotely identifying targets, using lasers to sense their heartbeat.
According to MIT Technology Review, the Pentagon has developed a prototype of the technology, code-named ‘Jetson,’ that uses infrared lasers to read a person’s cardiac signature.
Though far less obvious than fingerprints or faces, people’s heartbeats have a distinct profile, making them among the most useful biometrics for uniquely identifying a person.
What separates the signature from others like it, however, is the fact that unlike a face, which may bear many similar features to another, heartbeats are entirely distinct.
As noted by MIT, companies like Nymi are already using cardiac signatures — taken via a wrist-mounted pulse sensor — to identify people for security purposes.
Activist Post – Communities and lawmakers across the country are waking up to the fact that using face recognition for government surveillance is a troubling trend, particularly when used with cameras that police officers wear. On Thursday, Axon—a major police body-worn camera maker—added its voice to calls to press the pause button on this type of face surveillance, saying it will no longer be “commercializing face matching products on our body cameras at this time.”
Axon’s decision follows strong opposition to government use of face surveillance. San Francisco in May banned city use of face surveillance. This month, Oakland, California and Somerville, Massachusetts have both taken crucial steps toward adopting similar bans, with both measures now headed for full city council votes.
California Assemblymember Phil Ting has also introduced A.B. 1215, the Body Camera Accountability Act, which would prohibit the application of all biometric technology on cameras worn or carried by police officers.
Infowars – Twitter has declared that it will limit the reach of President Trump’s tweets ahead of the 2020 election as campaigning amps up.
The social media platform, which has come under fire recently for silencing prominent conservative voices online, notes that it will begin using algorithms to “down-rank” tweets by politicians which ‘violate’ their rules.
The Washington Post reported that such tweets by all verified political candidates and government officials with over 100,000 followers will be tagged with a label:
Before users can view the language in newly flagged tweets, they will need to click on a screen that says, “The Twitter Rules about abusive behavior apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain available.”
The company also said it will set up a special team tasked with enforcing the policy, and the notification label would appear only on rare occasions.
The report explains that Twitter will deprioritize the labeled tweets so that they would be seen by fewer people.
“In the past, we’ve allowed certain Tweets that violated our rules to remain on Twitter because they were in the public’s interest, but it wasn’t clear when and how we made those determinations,” the company said in a statement Thursday.
“To fix that, we’re introducing a new notice that will provide additional clarity in these situations, and sharing more on when and why we’ll use it.” the statement added.
NBC – The Food and Drug Administration has once again expanded its recall of widely prescribed blood pressure drugs because of contamination with a chemical linked to cancer.
The latest recall, announced Wednesday, targets 32 lots of the drug losartan sold by Macleods Pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical company said that it would voluntarily recall the affected batches.
Losartan is a generic angiotensin II receptor blocker, or ARB, and is used to treat high blood pressure as well as heart failure. Over the last year, scores of batches of generic ARBs have been withdrawn from the market due to the presence of chemical contaminants called nitrosamines, which have been linked to an increased risk of certain kinds of cancer.
MindaBodyGreen – The duration of one’s life can be influenced by many factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It is true that our genes do play a role; however, an abundance of research shows that diet and lifestyle are largely associated with one’s life expectancy. The combination of a healthy weight, increased physical activity, reduced stress, and good sleep hygiene is commonly prescribed to improve one’s longevity. Additional factors such as the inclusion of herbs and spices may also naturally boost one’s chance of living longer.
Now, aging is a natural, inevitable process that everyone will experience. At this time, there isn’t a magic ingredient or additive that will completely prevent it, but the following five herbs and spices are associated with longevity and can be easily sprinkled throughout one’s diet!
- Holy Basil
Healthline – Ashwagandha is an incredibly healthy medicinal herb.
It’s classified as an “adaptogen,” meaning that it can help your body manage stress.
Ashwagandha also provides all sorts of other benefits for your body and brain.
For example, it can lower blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol, boost brain function and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Here are 12 benefits of ashwagandha that are supported by science.
- It’s an Ancient Medicinal Herb
Ashwagandha is a prominent herb in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and has become a popular supplement due to its health benefits.
- It Can Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Ashwagandha may reduce blood sugar levels through its effects on insulin secretion and sensitivity.
- It Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Animal and test-tube studies have shown that ashwagandha promotes the death of tumor cells and may be effective against several types of cancer.
- It Can Reduce Cortisol Levels
Ashwagandha supplements may help lower cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals.
- It May Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in both animal and human studies.
- It May Reduce Symptoms of Depression
The limited research available suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce depression.
- It Can Boost Testosterone and Increase Fertility in Men
Ashwagandha helps increase testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men.
- It May Increase Muscle Mass and Strength
Ashwagandha has been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat and increase strength in men.
- It May Reduce Inflammation
Ashwagandha has been shown to increase natural killer cell activity and decrease markers of inflammation.
- It May Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Ashwagandha may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- It May Improve Brain Function, Including Memory
Ashwagandha supplements may improve brain function, memory, reaction times and the ability to perform tasks.
- Ashwagandha Is Safe for Most People and Widely Available
Although ashwagandha is safe for most people, certain individuals shouldn’t use it unless authorized by their doctor. Standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450–500 mg capsules once or twice per day.