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Today’s News: June 29, 2020

World News

New Zealand gun-crime rate reaches 10-year high despite strict gun control

The Western Journal – It’s been more than a year since New Zealand instituted strict gun confiscation in the wake of a mass shooting in Christchurch in March 2019. So according to liberal logic, gun crime in New Zealand should be at an all-time low now.

But that’s the opposite of what has happened. According to figures obtained by Radio New Zealand, “[L]ast year had the highest rates of gun crime and deaths involving firearms for nearly 10 years.”

The gun-control legislation implemented in New Zealand banned all “military-style” semi-automatic guns and so-called “assault rifles.” In an effort to take those weapons out of circulation, the country established a mandatory “gun buyback.”

In 2014, before the implementation of gun control, New Zealand had a gun-related death rate of less than 1 per 1 million people. According to Radio New Zealand, the nation recorded 2.4 gun-related deaths per million people in each of the past two years.

So if the goal is to reduce gun violence, gun control is an epic failure. At the very least, gun control does very little to reduce gun crime.

Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over Soleimani killing, will ask Interpol to act – local media

RT – Iran has identified 36 people involved in the US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and will seek their arrest through Interpol channels, media reports said. The list of suspects is topped by President Donald Trump.

The names of the suspects in the high-profile murder of Iran’s elite Quds Force commander have been relayed to Interpol by Tehran’s chief prosecutor Ali Alghasi-Mehr, Iranian media said on Monday. The official called the killing a “murder” and a “terrorist act.”

President Donald Trump is at the top of the list, and his prosecution will be pursued even after his term is over.

Soleimani was killed on January 3 during a visit to Iraq, when his car was hit by a US airstrike. The Trump administration justified the attack, which also killed a prominent Iraqi commander and several other people, saying the Iranian general was plotting attacks on US soldiers.

The popular general received a hero’s funeral in Iran, with millions taking to the streets on the days of the ceremony. Soleimani is credited with organizing and supporting Shiite militias, which fought against the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. He was also considered to be a key figure in Tehran’s confrontation with US influence in the Middle East.

>> Related:  Interpol says it can’t act on Iran’s request to arrest Trump for ordering the killing of General Soleimani – Interpol’s own rules would not allow it to act on an Iranian request to arrest US President Donald Trump for the murder of Qassem Soleimani, the international police cooperation body said.

Mass-Tracking COVI-PASS Immunity Passports Slated to Roll Out in 15 Countries

Activist Post – Through the magic of Internet meme culture, most Millennials will be familiar with the famous opening scene of the 1942 film, Casablanca, where two policemen stop a civilian in the “old Moorish section” of Nazi-occupied French Morocco and ask him for his “papers.” The subject is taken away at once after failing to produce the required documents. The cinematic exchange has been used ever since as a popular reference to the ever-encroaching hand of the state, which is now on the verge of attaining a level of control over people’s movements that puts the crude Nazi methods to shame.

A British cybersecurity company, in partnership with several tech firms, is rolling out the COVI-PASS in 15 countries across the world; a “digital health passport” that will contain your COVID-19 test history and other “relevant health information.” According to the company website, the passport’s objective is “to safely return to work” and resume “social interactions” by providing authorities with “up-to-date and authenticated health information.”

These objectives mirror those that Bill Gates has been promoting since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. In an essay written by Gates in April, the software geek-cum-philanthropist lays out his support for the draconian measures taken in response to the virus and, like an old-timey mob boss, suggests the solutions to this deliberately imposed problem. Ironically, Gates begins to make his case for the adoption of mass tracking and surveillance technology in the U.S. by saying that “For now, the United States can follow Germany’s example”; He then touts the advantages of the “voluntary adoption of digital tools” so we can “remember where [we] have been” and can “choose to share it with whoever comes to interview you about your contacts.”

Gates goes on to predict that the ability to attend public events in the near future will depend on the discovery of an effective treatment. But he remains pessimistic that any such cure will be good enough in the short term to make people “feel safe to go out again.” These warnings by the multi-billionaire dovetail perfectly with the stated purposes of the aforementioned COVI-PASS, whose development is also being carried out in partnership with Redstrike Group – a sports marketing consultancy firm that is working with England’s Premier League and their Project Restart to parse ticket sales and only make them available to people who have tested negative for the virus.

VST Enterprises goes viral

VST Enterprises Ltd (VSTE) is led by 31-year-old entrepreneur, Louis-James Davis, who very recently stepped down from a “science & technology ambassadorship” in the African nation of Zimbabwe to focus on the company’s role in the UN’s SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Collaboratory initiative, comprising a series of “cyber technology projects across all 193 member states of the United Nations.”

These will use the same proprietary VCode and VPlatform technologies underpinning the COVI-PASS that will reportedly tackle issues such as illegal mining and counterfeiting. This “third generation” barcode technology overcomes the limitations of older “second generation” versions like QR-codes, according to Davis. “Data and sensitive information scanned or stored in either a QR code and barcode can be hacked and are inherently insecure,” Davis claims, “leaving data and personal details to be compromised.” These, and other flaws of the prevailing “proximity apps” were exploited by VST Enterprises to position itself to land large government and private sector contracts.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Supreme Court strikes down abortion clinic restrictions in Louisiana, a defeat for conservatives

USA Today – A narrowly divided Supreme Court struck down state restrictions on abortion clinics Monday for the second time in four years, signaling that its conservative shift under President Donald Trump has not eliminated a deep split over abortion rights.

The court ruled 5-4 that a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals would unduly burden women. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices in the majority.

The court reached the same conclusion in 2016 regarding a Texas law, but since then Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh had succeeded retired Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, giving abortion opponents hope for even more substantial restrictions. 

More abortion cases are headed the high court’s way as both sides in the passionate debate focus on the ultimate prize: upholding or overruling the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Mississippi House passes bill to take Confederate symbol off state flag

The Hill – Mississippi’s state House of Representative on Sunday passed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the state flag, with the Senate expected to pass the measure later today.

The lower chamber voted 91-23 to remove the symbol from the flag, which has flown since 1894. It was the nation’s last state flag containing the symbol. The legislation, written by House Speaker Philip Gunn (R), calls for the current flag to be immediately removed, after which a nine-person commission would be appointed to design a new one, Mississippi Today reported.

Under the terms of the bill, the commission would recommend a new flag design by mid-September, with Mississippi voters okaying or vetoing the design on Nov. 3, the publication reported.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R) has said he will sign any flag bill that reaches his desk. The bill is subject to change before final Senate passage, but under the terms of the bill, Reeves, Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann would each appoint three people to the commission, according to the publication.

Portland protesters tear down ‘racist’ statue of Thomas Jefferson

Fox – Protesters in Portland, Ore., Sunday evening tore down a statue of Thomas Jefferson outside a high school that was named after him, according to a report.

The tear-down came about during a march organized by Rose City Justice to protest police brutality – one of many demonstrations in weeks following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The group had gathered outside Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland before marching to the park, Fox 12 reported. By the time they returned, a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, had been pulled from its pedestal by a smaller group.

Earlier in the day, the statue’s pedestal had been defaced with graffiti that labeled Jefferson as a slave owner. Jefferson had more than 600 slaves, despite publicly speaking out on the institution and writing the words “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence.

“There’s an interesting piece of history up her. e… Mr. Thomas is all beside himself,” the march’s organizer said before the statue was torn down. “We’re taking this city back. One school at a time. One racist statue at a time.”

Four Men Charged For Trying To Destroy Andrew Jackson Statue

The Federalist – A federal court in Washington, D.C., revealed criminal complaint charges against four men with destruction of federal property on Saturday. Videos of the men attacking the Andrew Jackson statue in D.C.’s Lafayette Square surfaced, leading to the investigation. 

 “The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will not stand idly by and allow our national monuments to be vandalized and destroyed,” said acting U.S. attorney Michael R. Sherwin. “This Office remains steadfast in its commitment to protect the sacred First Amendment right of individuals to peacefully protest, but these charges should serve as a warning to those who choose to desecrate the statues and monuments that adorn our nation’s capital: Your violent behavior and criminal conduct will not be tolerated.”

The videos show the men using various destructive methods such as “attempting to pry the statue off its base with a wooden board and trying to pull the statue down with the aid of a yellow strap.” One of the suspects is depicted “as he breaks off and destroys the wheels of cannons located at the base of the statue” and gives a hammer to another person. 

Sherwin, along with help from the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division and the United States Park Police, brought the charges against Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia; Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of Washington, D.C.; Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland; and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine in a joint investigation. 

“The FBI respects the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights, but we will not allow opportunists to hijack peaceful protests to incite violence and destruction of property,” said James A. Dawson, special agent in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division. “We will continue to work with our partners to enforce federal laws prohibiting damage to government facilities and property.”

The United States Park Police also released a statement saying that “deplorable acts of violence and destruction of property” will not be tolerated. 

California Democrats pass resolution calling for John Wayne Airport to be renamed

Fox – California Democrats in Orange County are demanding that the county’s John Wayne Airport be renamed and all likenesses of Wayne be removed from the airport, over “racist and bigoted statements” made by the American icon decades ago.

“The Democratic Party of Orange County condemns John Wayne’s racist and bigoted statements, and calls for John Waynes’ name and likeness to be removed from the Orange County airport, and calls on the OC Board of Supervisors to restore its original name: Orange County Airport,” the resolution, passed Friday, says.

The resolution, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, calls on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to reverse the 1979 decision to rename it after Duke, and cites remarks he made in a 1971 interview with Playboy.

“I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people,” he said in that interview nearly 50 years ago.

“I don’t feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves,” he said at another point in the interview.

There have been a number of pushes to rename the airport as a result of those comments after they resurfaced. Wayne’s defenders have said it is unfair to judge him based off remarks made nearly 50 years ago, and when he is no longer alive to defend or even retract them.

The latest push comes amid a movement across the country to tear down monuments and rename buildings and institutions that are named after people deemed to have held racist views or committed racist acts.

Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to new federal death penalty procedure

SF Gate – The Supreme Court will not take up a challenge to new federal death penalty protocols proposed by the Justice Department, which wants to resume executions as early as July for the first time since 2003.

The court, without comment, declined Monday to take up the lawsuit filed by four death row inmates. As is customary, it gave no reason. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have accepted the case.

Attorney General William Barr in the past summer said the department planned to resume executions using a new lethal-injection procedure that involves a single drug, pentobarbital. The Justice Department has laid out plans for three executions in July and a fourth in August. All involve inmates convicted of murdering children.

Lawyers for the death row inmates challenged the new procedures. A district judge said the government’s new protocol was inconsistent with the Federal Death Penalty Act. That 1994 law requires federal executions be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed.”

Critics now call for federal income tax signed by Woodrow Wilson to be cancelled after his name was removed from Princeton due to his ‘racist thinking’ – while an alumni member says the school has ‘given in to the woke leftist mob’

Daily Mail – Princeton University’s decision to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school because of his racist views sparked a backlash from conservatives who are now calling for the federal income tax that he signed into law to be repealed.

Meanwhile, an alum of the New Jersey-based Ivy League school slammed the university president, Christopher Eisgruber, for ‘giving in to the woke leftist mob’ while former students who demanded the change five years ago by occupying his office said it was too little, too late.

Bobby Jindal, a Republican former governor of Louisiana, tweeted: ‘Now that Princeton is cancelling Woodrow Wilson, can we cancel his federal income tax as well?’

Maj Toure tweeted: ‘Woodrow Wilson’s name is being removed from institutions because of his racist views. 

‘He also wrote the Federal Reserve & Federal Income Tax into law. I propose removing those as well to FULLY heal from the pain of racism. Lefties, do ya thang.’

Another Twitter user echoed the sentiment, tweeting: ‘How about repealing 1913 – the year of Woodrow Wilson? Repeal the 16th Amendment (income tax), & #EndtheFed (Federal Reserve).’

In December 1913, Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law, creating the nation’s central bank.

Conservatives have long been opposed to the Fed, claiming that it wields too much power in interfering with the economy by determining the interest rate. 

This was expressed by another Twitter user, who wrote: ‘In Wilson’s case, income tax and the Federal Reserve Act, were arguably worse than the man himself. Which is impressive.’

‘I don’t know who needs to know this but Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat,’ according to a Twitter user.

‘But keep going Libs, delete all of your racist leaders.’

JR Hoell, a former state lawmaker in New Hampshire, tweeted: ‘Instead of changing the name of a college, how about eliminating the two most devastating policies Wilson put in place: Federal Reserve, Income tax…During his first term, Wilson presided over the passage of his progressive New Freedom domestic agenda. 

‘His first major priority was the passage of the Revenue Act of 1913, which lowered tariffs and implemented a federal income tax. 

Key witness from the Mueller Report to be sentenced on child sexual abuse charges and is facing 10 years in prison

Daily Mail – Lebanese American businessman George Nader, a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse charges in January.  Nader in his plea admitted he brought a 14-year-old boy from the Czech Republic to the US 20 for sex 20 years ago and possession of child pornography.  His name appeared more than 100 times in the Mueller report, which formed the basis for impeaching President Donald Trump.  Trump later was acquitted of impeachment charges by the Republican-controlled Senate

FOX ANALYST APOLOGISES FOR SAYING IT TAKES ‘COURAGE’ TO STAND FOR NATIONAL ANTHEM

Woke mob hounds ex USA soccer player into grovelling apology

Infowars – A former US soccer player working for Fox as an analyst deleted a tweet he posted saying that standing for the national anthem “takes courage.”

Alexi Lalas later also apologised for making the remark, and issued a statement clarifying that he supports those trying to bring attention to ‘the problems of police brutality and systemic racism’.

Following more than a dozen players in the National Women’s Soccer League taking a knee Saturday, Lalas wrote that “Now it takes courage to actually stand for the national anthem.”

He was immediately targeted for cancellation by the woke mob.

Trump Says He Was Not Briefed On Russian Bounties Because Intelligence ‘Not Credible’

NPR – In a tweet late Sunday night, President Trump said the intelligence community told him he was not briefed about allegations that Russia had offered the Taliban bounty payments to kill Western forces — including U.S. troops — because it did not find the reports credible.

“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!” the president tweeted.

The tweet reaffirmed an earlier denial by the president of a New York Times report that intelligence officials had briefed him on the allegations of malign Russian activity in Afghanistan.

The Washington Post reported Sunday night that the bounties are “believed to have resulted in the deaths of several U.S. service members,” a conclusion based on interviews with captured militants.

Navy bans troops from indoor religious services but permits protests and house parties, law firm says

Chaplains, religious liberty law firm calls on Navy to reverse order

Fox – The Navy is banning service members from attending indoor religious services due to the coronavirus and troops could be court-martialed as punishment, a religious freedom law firm tells Fox News.

Major Daniel Schultz, USAF, currently assigned to a Navy command, is requesting a religious accommodation to attend the church where he leads worship after the Navy issued an order on June 24 stating “service members are prohibited from visiting, patronizing, or engaging in . . . indoor religious services.”

Mike Berry, the First Liberty Institute general counsel who sent a letter on behalf of Shultz on Monday morning, called the order “unlawful and immoral” and is calling on President Trump to immediately demand its removal.

The order in question permits in-residence social gatherings of any size, protests, and other activities, First Liberty said.

Minneapolis council members pushing to abolish police spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on private security

Fox – Private security for Minneapolis City Council members receiving death threats over calls to defund the police is reportedly costing the city $4,500 a day; Republican Rep. Pete Stauber reacts on ‘Fox & Friends.’

Massive Mail-In Voter Fraud Identified in New Jersey — Democrats Caught Harvesting Ballots in Bundles, Refuse to Step Down from Office

Gateway Pundit – Democrats were caught cheating again.  This time it was in New Jersey.  Another day another Democrat fraud committed.

The New Jersey Democrats were caught harvesting ballots and mailing them in bundled packs. Voter harvesting is illegal in New Jersey and most states.

The Democrats who were caught in the illegal scheme refuse to step down.

NBC New York reported:

All four men face multiple voting fraud charges. In addition to Jackson and Mendez, 51-year-old Shelim Khalique — the brother of Paterson councilman Shahin Khalique — and Abu Razyen, 21, were charged with vote-fraud counts.

“Today’s charges send a clear message: if you try to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we will find you and we will hold you accountable,” said Attorney General Grewal on Thursday. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”

The Board of Elections previously said about 800 votes would be set aside and not counted, amid charges they were found improperly bundled in mailboxes in Paterson as well as at a drop box in nearby Haledon.

Jackson is accused of approaching voters in his district and collecting their mail-in ballots to deliver to the city’s Board of Elections himself, a violation of state election laws. The councilman allegedly had more than three ballots on him, none of which were his, and also received a voter’s ballot without it having been filled out or sealed. It was then handed over to the elections board sealed, the attorney general said in the charges.

“Jackson is a public servant and has a distinct record of public service for many years,” Jackson’s attorney, Theodrore Kyles, said.

Economy & Business

GAB CEO WARNS VISA IS HELPING TO BRING CHINA’S “SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE” TO AMERICA

If you’re deemed “politically incorrect”, you will be silenced, fired and harassed by major corporations, journalists and “activists” who claim to be committed to social justice and equality

Infowars – A little over a week after getting blacklisted by Visa simply for being associated with Gab, a social media alternative that’s committed to the principles of free speech, Andrew Torba, Gab’s CEO, has just spoken out for the first time via a blog post detailing his experiences.

His account is almost shocking in that, as Torba argues, it shows that US corporations like Visa have started to create their own version of China’s “social credit score” metric in the US.

If you’re deemed “politically incorrect”, you will be silenced, fired and harassed by major corporations, journalists and “activists” who claim to be committed to social justice and equality. As Torba explains, because he refuses to censor hate speech on his platform in keeping with his commitment to making Gab a censorship-free platform, Visa has targeted him, and accused him of “breaking the law” – even though “hate speech” is protected under the First Amendment.

41% Of Businesses On Yelp Have Permanently Closed As V-Shaped Recovery Implodes 

ZeroHedge – President Trump’s economic COVID-19 response, through massive fiscal and monetary stimuli, was expected to generate a V-shaped recovery ahead of the elections. We noted, all along, there was never a snowball’s chance in hell that economic growth would revert to 2019 levels later this year; nevertheless, the labor market would fully recover. 

If readers recall, President Trump has given several press conferences where he declared that the economy is quickly recovering: “We’ve been talking about the V,” the president said. “This is better than a V. This is a rocket ship.”

A new report via Yelp, tilted “Local Economic Impact Report,” debunks the V-shaped narrative and tells a much different story of slow reopenings and widespread permanent closures, all suggesting the economic devastation continues to crush the economy with no recovery in sight. 

Yelp data shows large swathes of Americans remain in deep recession through mid-June. Since April 19, only 20% of the 175,000 Yelp-registered stores that were closed during lockdowns have reopened. 

“As of June 15, there were nearly 140,000 total business closures on Yelp since March 1. In April, we reported more than 175,000 business closures, indicating that more than 20% of businesses closed in April have reopened.

“Las Vegas, NV, endured the highest number of closures relative to the number of businesses in the city (1,921 total closures), while Los Angeles, CA, had the largest total number of closures (11,774 total closures).” 

Yelp makes a shocking claim: “Of all business closures on Yelp since March 1, 41% are permanent closures.” 

“Our data shows the largest spikes of permanent closures occurred in March, followed by May and June, indicating that the businesses that were already struggling had to permanently close right away and the businesses that were trying to hold on, but unable to weather the COVID-19 storm, were forced to shutter in recent months.” 

Of the businesses that shuttered operations, restaurants and shopping/retail have led with the most permanent closures.  

“Among those with the highest rate of business closures are shopping and retail (27,663 closed businesses), restaurants (23,981 closed businesses), beauty (15,348 closed businesses) and fitness (5,589 closed businesses).

“Retail was by far the hardest hit, experiencing the highest number of total closures, with the average daily rate continuing to increase since March. Of all closures on Yelp since March 1, 20% are for retail businesses and 35% of closed retail businesses are indicated as permanent on Yelp.

“In March, Restaurants had the highest number of business closures, compared to other industries, and have continued to close at high rates. Of the businesses that closed, 17% are restaurants, and 53% of those restaurant closures are indicated as permanent on Yelp. Restaurants run on thin margins and can sometimes take months or even years to break even, resulting in this higher rate of permanent closures.”

What this all means is the recovery is losing steam. Consumer spending is set to plunge again this summer as the Paycheck Protection Program and other stimulus has run its course. With no recovery – more business closures/ likely more permanent closures and increased job losses are ahead.  

Pelosi, Schumer urge McConnell to start coronavirus negotiations amid uptick in cases

The Hill – The two top congressional Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to start negotiations on the next coronavirus relief package, as the country sees an uptick in cases. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to McConnell on Monday, accusing Republicans of being “missing in action.”

“Americans need and deserve bold action now. We have overcome larger problems than the COVID-19 pandemic but not without powerful and effective actions by our government,” they wrote.

“It is unacceptable that the Senate would recess without addressing this urgent issue. On behalf of the millions of American families who desperately need Congressional action, we demand you change your mind and decide to work with us for the good of the country,” they added. 

The letter to McConnell comes as the United States is seeing a new spike in cases, causing some states to reimpose social distancing restrictions and raising new concerns about the ability to control the spread of the virus. The United States reached its highest one-day increase on Friday, documenting 45,498 new cases, according to The New York Times.

Energy & Environment

The Arctic is burning: As temperatures reach 100F, over a million hectares of Siberian forest is on fire

RT – If there’s one place you’d least expect to see a forest fire, it’s perhaps inside the Arctic Circle. However, in the last week, wildfires in Siberia have increased nearly fivefold – and they are occurring further north than usual.

As temperatures in Russia’s far north increase to above 38C (over 100F) – breaking Arctic temperature records – 1.15 million hectares of forest is on fire, with the vast majority in the region of Yakutia.

Aleksey Yaroshenko, the head of the forest program of the Russian branch of Greenpeace, believes that extinguishing these fires is an insurmountable task.

“Even if we throw all our efforts at [putting out the fires], it is already impossible,” he said. “The situation is the same as last year. We are at the foot of the peak of fires, and have already noted a very sharp increase.”

Not only are wildfires increasing in volume, but they affecting areas once considered immune. According to media reports, the European Union’s Earth Observation Programme spotted flames at a latitude of 72.723°N in Yakutia, usually associated with some of the lowest-ever recorded temperatures.

Iceland Earthquake Swarm Hits 9,000 in 10 Days

Newsweek – An ongoing earthquake swarm in Iceland has now reached around 9,000 quakes, officials have said. The swarm, in the north of the country, began on June 19. Experts with the Iceland Meteorological Office (IMO) said activity is ongoing and more earthquakes can be expected.

In an updated statement on the IMO website, officials said there were two events above magnitude 3 on June 28. Both these earthquakes were felt in Siglufjordur and Ólafsfjordur—towns near to where they hit.

The IMO said that of the 9,000 earthquakes, three have been above magnitude 5. This includes a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on June 28. It said there is a chance of more earthquakes of this magnitude in the area.

Mysterious radiation spike reported over parts of Northern Europe

Fox – A mysterious radiation spike has been reported over parts of Northern Europe. Calculations made by Dutch officials indicate that the radiation comes from the direction of western Russia.

“The combination of radionuclides may be explained by an anomaly in the fuel elements of a nuclear power plant,” said the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in a statement.

RIVM performed calculations to find out the source of the radionuclides. “The calculations indicate that the nuclides come from the direction of western Russia. Determining a more specific source location is not possible with the limited data available.”

“No specific country of origin can be pointed out at this moment,” it added.

Science & Technology

Bill Making It Illegal to Forcefully Microchip Employees Passes in Michigan House

Activist Post – Lawmakers in Michigan have passed a bill that would make it illegal for employers to force their workers to be tagged with microchips in a bid to preemptively thwart companies who seek to make it mandatory to wear the productivity-tracking devices.

The Michigan House passed the bill on Wednesday, which would make acceptance of the microchip implants voluntary, reports WJRT.

The move comes as growing numbers of companies have explored the idea of using the sub-dermal, rice-sized Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchips as a substitute for time cards, ID badges, and security clearance devices.

The chips can help make it a bit easier to get into the office, log into a computer, or buy food and drinks in the cafeteria.

But they can also be used to make sure workers are hustling on the job in line with management desires to maximize efficiency.

“With the way technology has increased over the years and as it continues to grow, it’s important Michigan job providers balance the interests of the company with their employees’ expectations of privacy,” said Republican State Rep. Bronna Kahle, who sponsored the bill.

While the RFID devices haven’t come into widespread usage yet, Kahle and others believe they could become the norm in states like Michigan in coming years.

“While these miniature devices are on the rise, so are the calls of workers to have their privacy protected,” Kahle said.

Victory: Indiana Supreme Court Rules that Police Can’t Force Smartphone User to Unlock Her Phone

Activist Post – In courts across the country, EFF has been arguing that the police cannot constitutionally require you to unlock your phone or give them your password, and today the Indiana Supreme Court issued a strong opinion agreeing with us. In the case, Seo v. State, the court found that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination protected a woman against unlocking her phone because complying with the order was a form of “testimony” under the Fifth Amendment. Indiana joins Pennsylvania, which ruled strongly in favor of the Fifth Amendment privilege in a compelled decryption case last year. Meanwhile, state supreme courts in New Jersey and Oregon are also considering this issue.

In Seo, the defendant reported to law enforcement outside of Indianapolis that she had been the victim of a rape and allowed a detective to examine her iPhone for evidence. But the state never filed charges against Seo’s alleged rapist, identified as “D.S.” Instead, the detective suspected that Seo was harassing D.S. with spoofed calls and texts, and she was ultimately arrested and charged with felony stalking. The state not only sought a search warrant to go through Seo’s phone, but a court order to force her to unlock it. Seo refused, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights. The trial court held her in contempt, but an intermediate appeals court reversed.

In an amicus brief on behalf of EFF and ACLU and at oral argument in the Indiana Supreme Court, we explained that the compelled recollection and use of passwords to encrypted devices should be viewed as a modern form of “testimonial” communications, which are protected by the Fifth Amendment privilege. Although some courts have struggled with the concept of testimony in the context of compelled decryption, a 1957 U.S. Supreme Court case defines it as anything that requires a person to disclose “the contents of his own mind.” It’s also clear that nonverbal acts can be testimonial, such as being forced to respond truthfully to police questioning with a “nod or headshake,” or to produce a gun that police believe was used in a crime. And in a 1990 case, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a motorist suspected of drunk driving couldn’t be forced to tell police the date of his sixth birthday, even though officers clearly knew the answer and were simply trying to obtain evidence of his intoxication.

The Indiana Supreme Court agreed, writing that unlocking a phone “communicates a breadth of factual information,” since it allows the government to infer that the suspect knows the password to the device and thus possessed the files on the phone. This gives “the State information it did not previously know—precisely what the privilege against self-incrimination is designed to prevent.”

Trump Expects Twitter Will Ban Him Shortly Before November Election

The Western Journal – As the Trump administration ratchets up the pressure on big technology, President Donald Trump said he expects that Twitter will strike back.

Trump sounded off about Twitter in the course of an interview Friday with Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist.

In recent weeks, Twitter has become aggressive in its handling of Trump’s tweets, posting warnings on one tweet about rioters breaking the law and on another in which Trump mocked CNN.

That led to Domenech asking the president if he expects Twitter will follow up by placing a ban on his personal Twitter account.

“Yes, I do,” the president replied.

Democrat Senators Propose Bill To Ban Facial Recognition From Federal Law Enforcement

Activist Post – Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass. and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced a bill that seeks to ban the use of facial recognition and biometric surveillance technology by federal law enforcement agencies, NBC reported.

The Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act, supported by Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. comes at a time where policing and surveillance tools are being heavily scrutinized amid widespread protests after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as subsequent police brutality events following the protest, as Activist Post reported.

This also comes months after an airport in Atlanta implemented biometric technology, including facial-recognition cameras and other ID systems that plug into a data backbone installed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The CBP aims to screen passengers with little human intervention at airports across the country, Activist Post previously reported.

Health

How Covid-19 causes infected human cells to sprout tentacles loaded with viral venom to help it spread around the body in a process scientists call ‘sinister’

Daily Mail – The coronavirus zombifies human cells and causes them to sprout tentacles in order to spread around the body, scientists have discovered.

A study led by the University of California saw researchers take microscopic images of this process, which they have described as ‘so sinister’.

Images show infected cells growing tentacle-like spikes, known as filopodia, which appear to be littered with viral particles.

The researchers believe the disease uses the tentacles to ‘surf’ to healthy cells, where it injects its viral venom into them and creates more zombie cells.  

Until now, researchers believed Covid infected like most other viruses – by latching onto healthy cells and turning them into copying machines.

But, in people with healthy immune systems, the body can fight off the majority of the virus and prevent it from replicating in high amounts in the body.

The latest discovery appears to show that Covid has, at some point in its evolution, developed a back-up plan to get round the immune system. 

The finding has been described as an ‘amazing leap’ in the fight against coronavirus and may open the door to a host of new treatment options.   

Nevan Krogan, a professor in cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California and lead researcher, told the LA Times: ‘It’s just so sinister that the virus uses other mechanisms to infect other cells before it kills the cell.’ 

Other viruses — including HIV and vaccinia, a member of the virus family that causes smallpox — also use filopodia as way to spread infection through the body.

But Professor Krogan said the way Covid-19 can grow the tentacles so rapidly is highly unusual. 

He also said their shape – protruding out of the cell towards other cells like branches on a tree – was also strange.  

Columbia University microbiologist Professor Stephen Goff admitted the finding was ‘intriguing’ but said it did not necessarily mean the tentacles were behaving as a seond mode of spreading.

He told the LA Times: ‘It’s intriguing and a really cool observation. But we don’t yet know what stage [of infection] is affected. It will be great fun to find out.’

Scientists behind the study –  published in the journal Cell – believe the discovery could open the door to new treatments.

They have now identified seven existing cancer drugs that block the growth of filopodia.

Go nuts for nuts: Long-term nut consumption can reduce your risk of obesity and reduce weight gain

NaturalNews – Nutritionists have been hyping the health benefits of eating nuts for years — and for good reason. Numerous studies have found strong evidence of the ability of nuts (and seeds) to lower the risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Besides disease prevention, nuts also provide plenty of nutrients which the body needs to stay healthy.

In a 2017 study, researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University found that 45 percent of the more than 300,000 deaths linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke in 2012 were due to eating too much or too little of certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in nuts.

An earlier study by Harvard researchers also reported that people who eat nuts regularly tend to live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. This, the researchers discovered, is because nut-eaters are 20 percent less likely to die from serious diseases like cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases. The researchers also found that regular nut-eaters are more slender than their counterparts, meaning nut consumption does not lead to overweight.

In a recent study, researchers at Iran University of Medical Sciences found more evidence supporting the idea that eating plenty of nuts can reduce weight gain. In fact, studies conducted over the past decade suggest that long-term nut consumption lowers the risk of obesity considerably. The researchers discussed their findings in a review published in the journal Nutrition Research.

Gilead: Remdesivir Will Cost $2,340 for 5-Day Treatment

Newsmax – Gilead Sciences Inc. said on Monday it has priced its COVID-19 treatment candidate remdesivir at $390 per vial in the United States and other developed countries.

The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries.

Gilead Sciences said the price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors.

“We’re in uncharted territory with pricing a new medicine, a novel medicine, in a pandemic,” Gilead’s chief executive, Dan O’Day, told The Associated Press.

“We believe that we had to really deviate from the normal circumstances” and price the drug to ensure wide access rather than based solely on value to patients, he said.

The 250,000 treatment courses that the company had donated to the U.S. and other countries will run out in about a week, and the prices will apply to the drug after that.

Milk Thistle: Multiple Benefits but Not a Good Garden Plant

Mercola – The compound with the highest bioactivity in milk thistle is silymarin, which helps reduce inflammation.

Milk thistle protects the liver against poisons such as alcohol, death cap mushrooms and chemotherapy.

It’s used in dairy cows to increase milk production and has been found to help increase milk in lactating human mothers; it also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.

The fast-growing, invasive species is poisonous to grazing animals; however, the flowers can be harvested for the seeds and used in salads, smoothies or brewed tea