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World News

Media Blackout: U.S. and Iran Tensions Rise — Iran Claims Arrest of 290 CIA Agents; U.S. Sends 2 Aircraft Carriers To Mediterranean; Bolton & Pompeo Issue Threats

Activist Post – U.S. and Iranian tensions are rising at a rapid rate. National Security Adviser John Bolton has publicly acknowledged deploying the U.S.S Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) region as a “clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

However, this follows reports on April 22nd that the U.S.S. John C. Stennis and Abraham Lincoln carrier strike groups have joined the US Mediterranean 6th Fleet for the first time in more than two years, as DEBKAfile reported. For those unaware, DEBKA is used by Mossad intelligence very frequently to get their news/intelligence within the Middle East.

An earlier report by the Navy’s military site actually announced the deployment in early April.

Tehran Returns Serve in Nuclear Accord Spat With Trump

Bloomberg – President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is not falling for a trap. But at the least he risks walking into a bear pit.

U.S. President Donald Trump has maintained the pressure ever since he withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord. Now Tehran is pushing back, saying it will no longer comply with elements of the deal and giving other signatories 60 days to fulfill their commitments, mostly to help it sell oil and trade with the world. If they don’t, the Islamic Republic will increase uranium enrichment and start work on a mothballed heavy-water reactor.

The U.S. is sailing an aircraft carrier to the region. In provoking Iran, Washington may be seeking an opportunity to further tighten the net around Rouhani. He is already grappling with a sputtering sanctions-hit economy, struggling to maintain oil revenue and under pressure from hardliners at home to take a stronger stance.

USA’s Pompeo warns of ‘imminent’ Iran threat on surprise trip to Iraq

France 24 – Iraq has promised to guarantee the safety of US interests from Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday as he paid a surprise trip to Baghdad where he accused Tehran of planning “imminent” attacks.


The top US diplomat’s unannounced visit marked an effort to stand up Washington’s ties with Baghdad as it pushes ahead with its “maximum pressure” against Tehran — a US arch-rival, but an ally of Iraq.

Pompeo abruptly cancelled talks in Germany and made a lengthy detour from a European tour to spend four hours in Iraq, where he met both President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.

“We talked to them about the importance of Iraq ensuring that it’s able to adequately protect Americans in their country,” Pompeo told reporters after the meetings.

US to Impose New Sanctions on Iran ‘Very Soon’

Sputnik – US National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier that the US was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force near Iran as “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force”.

“Expect more sanctions soon. Very soon”, Tim Morrison, special assistant to the president and senior director for weapons of mass destruction and biodefense, has stated, as Tehran earlier announced it was scaling back some curbs placed on its nuclear programme.

The White House official continued with warning European banks, investors, and businesses against involvement in a non-dollar payment system for trade with Iran.

Theresa May Meeting with 1922 Committee Chairman to Set Timeline for Departure

Sputnik – The Sun editor said that Mrs. May could leave No. 10 “with or without Brexit taking place” and that the UK prime minister was speaking with an influencial committee in London about shaping her timeline.

UK prime minister Theresa May is coming close to outlining a timeframe for her departure from the Cabinet, according to political editor for The Sun newspaper.

“I understand Theresa May is now close to setting out a timetable for her departure from No10, with or without Brexit taking place,” Tom Newton Dunn tweeted on Wednesday.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Bolton Pledges US Will Sever Ties Between Cuba and Venezuela

Sputnik  – Since the political crisis broke out in Venezuela, the US has backed self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido and slammed those who support the legitimate head of the country, Nicolas Maduro, including Cuba. Washington put extra-pressure on Havana in April with new restrictions.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton has vowed to continue severing ties between Cuba and Venezuela, warning that Havana’s hold over Venezuela “will end” in a fresh Twitter tirade.

The United States will continue to sever the ties between Cuba and Venezuela. Cuba’s hold over Venezuela will end as the Venezuelan people stand for freedom.

— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) May 8, 2019

Trump Invokes Privilege Claim Over Mueller Docs

Sputnik – The news came as US congressional Democrats were trying to gain access to the full, unedited Special Counsel Robert Mueller report, with the subsequent intent to bring in the author as a witness. The effort was actively blocked by the US Department of Justice.

The US Department of Justice has announced that President Donald Trump has successfully invoked executive privilege over the full, unedited Mueller report, as well as other documents sought by US congressional Democrats for review. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said that this puts an end to the department’s talks with American lawmakers relating to the contents of the Mueller report.

Army Training Brigade Prepares for New Worldwide Deployments

AP – Just months after the Army’s new training brigade returned from Afghanistan, its teams are preparing for a different type of deployment that will scatter them around the world.

Rather than putting all 800 soldiers in one war-torn nation, the Army is expected to begin dispatching the unit’s small teams separately to countries in Europe, Africa or other regions where they will train and advise local forces.

Army Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, the brigade’s commander, told The Associated Press that while the Afghanistan tour focused heavily on combat operations, future efforts will center on helping partner forces train better and learn to avoid conflicts.

Pennsylvania school drops ‘God bless America’ after pledge

Fox – A Pennsylvania school principal will no longer say “God bless America” after leading students in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Peter Brigg’s practice at Sabold Elementary School in Springfield led at least one parent to complain to the Freedom for Religion Foundation, whose attorney contacted the district. The group claimed it violated the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of government sponsoring religious messages.

The district decided to cease the practice after consulting with its lawyer. In a statement , the district says it is not prohibiting students from reciting “God bless America” after the pledge on their own.

The foundation says “young elementary school children don’t need to be coerced into affirming God’s name every morning.”

Universities nationwide remove historical artwork deemed offensive

The College Fix –  Censorship on university campuses targets historic figures

A major nationwide trend on campuses is the removal of historic artwork depicting prominent figures or scenes that are deemed offensive or racist by today’s standards.

The censorship is getting wider in scope. Controversial historical figures like Christopher Columbus and Woodrow Wilson have consistently drawn student outrage and protest, as have Confederate monuments, but other more beloved figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are also beginning to attract controversy.

There are many examples in recent years of universities removing or censoring artwork that has been accused of being derogatory, disrespectful, hurtful or racist, according to a survey by The College Fix.

Campus activists have aimed their protests at a variety of murals, statues, and other forms of artwork, demanding that they be taken down or covered up because their presences represent some sort of danger to students on campus. Oftentimes, administrators agree.

Perhaps the most prominent example has been the ongoing controversy over the Silent Sam statue at UNC. The statue was torn down at the beginning of this school year by a group of protesters. Subsequent protests also saw violence and an increased police presence on campus. The school’s compromise plan to create a history center was shot down by the Board of Governors, and it now appears that the statue will remain off of the school’s campus.

Additionally, a student at North Carolina Central University toppled a Confederate statue on campus, and the University of Louisville moved a Confederate statue to a Civil War site in Brandenburg, Ky. In 2017, The College Fix reported on more than a dozen universities that took action to censor Confederate-era artwork.

Offended By What Someone Said? Now You Can Report Them To Law Enforcement

Activist Post – Soon free speech will be a thing of the past in paranoid America.

DIGIT Lab’s “Hate Incident Reporting” app promises to turn complete strangers into secret, hate speech/bias spies.

Watch what you say, because the person sitting next to you could be reporting you to law enforcement.

Gone are the days when Americans were unafraid to voice their opinions or make snide comments in public. Because DIGIT Labs will turn smartphones into bias reporting devices.

According to a article, DIGIT LAB’s new app allows strangers to report someone for exercising their First Amendment rights.

The first of its kind, the app accepts reports beyond crimes captured in police records. Users from around the country can document all incident types, from derogatory epithets written in bathrooms to slurs yelled from a car window in addition to violent assaults.

This app will make swearing at a fellow motorist or flipping someone off: hate speech.

Where in our Constitution does it say that it is acceptable to report someone who has not committed a crime?

Schools to serve cold food to students who owe lunch money

Providence Journal – City schools warned parents Monday that they will serve a simple sandwich to children whose lunch money is in arrears, until the balance is paid in full or until a payment plan is established.

The policy takes effect next Monday, according to a post on Facebook. Some parents said they received a telephone alert about the policy.

“This policy actually comes out of a serious debt that we’re incurring by people who are not paying for their lunches, and it’s getting worse,” the School Committee’s chairwoman, Karen Bachus, told The Providence Journal on Monday morning.

The district has incurred more than $40,000 in unpaid lunches during the budget year that ends June 30, Bachus said.

The policy drew criticism from parents in various forums on Monday as Bachus asserted that the district’s compromised finances don’t allow Warwick to absorb the cost of lunches.

She said the district is trying to address debts incurred by parents who can afford to buy lunch but aren’t providing lunch money, as well as debts potentially run up by parents who might have a hardship but haven’t yet filled out the necessary paperwork to line up assistance.

“This is for people who are just not putting money in their children’s accounts or who are not giving their children money to buy lunch,” Bachus said.

Some critics say that such policies unfairly penalize schoolchildren — and also expose them to potential feelings of shame — based on something they don’t control: their parents’ financial practices.

In the General Assembly, a piece of pending legislation would change state law to simply require that “all students” receive “a Type A lunch” without needing to meet certain criteria.    Outside E.T. Wyman Elementary School on Monday, several parents grappled with both sides of the issue, saying they don’t think financial issues should negatively affect nourishment of children at lunchtime, but they also see a financial problem that needs to be resolved.

“That doesn’t seem right,” said Julle Hener, who has two children at the school.

Shots fired at school near Denver… Developing

Denver Post – Two students attending the STEM School Highlands Ranch brought at least one handgun into the school Tuesday afternoon and turned the weapon on their classmates, killing one 18-year-old male and injuring eight other students.

It was the fourth school shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre 20 years ago.

The male suspects, one adult and one juvenile, were taken into custody by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies within two minutes of a 1:53 p.m. report of shots fired, Sheriff Tony Spurlock said.

Beverly Hills Could Become First City in U.S. to Ban Sales of Tobacco Products

KTLA – A fiery debate is breaking out across Beverly Hills as people at tony hair salons, gas stations and stores weigh in on whether the city of the rich and famous should become the first in the U.S. to outlaw the sale of tobacco products everywhere except a few cigar lounges.

The City Council decided Tuesday night to make some changes to the proposal, such as allowing guests in the city’s luxury hotels to acquire cigarettes through their concierge or room service. Members indicated they plan to pass the amended measure May 21.

Abstainers have said yes to the idea, and the sooner the better, while smokers protested, no way.

Economy & Business

US raises tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25%

RT – Washington has carried out the US president’s latest threat, increasing import duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, according to the Federal Register.

The hike will come into effect on May 10, with US trade representatives expected to establish a process for individuals seeking exclusions from additional tariffs for certain products.

Earlier Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said he would be happy to keep tariffs in place on Chinese imports. The president stressed that Beijing is mistaken if it hopes to negotiate trade later with a Democratic presidential administration.

Energy & Environment

Meteorologists Warning 5G Tech Could Interfere with Weather Forecasting Satellites and Lives Could Be Lost

Activist Post- Most people rely on meteorologists and their forecasts.  They help us live safer lives. Now they are also providing another reason to stop 5G from being installed everywhere (including space).  From The Guardian:

The introduction of 5G mobile phone networks could seriously affect weather forecasters’ ability to predict major storms.

That is the stark warning of meteorologists around the world, who say the next-generation wireless system now being rolled out across the globe is likely to disrupt the delicate satellite instruments they use to monitor changes in the atmosphere.


“The way 5G is being introduced could seriously compromise our ability to forecast major storms,” said Tony McNally of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading. “In the end it could make the difference between life and death. We are very concerned about this.”


Instruments on board the satellites peer down into the atmosphere and study variables such as water vapour, rain, snow, cloud cover and ice content – all crucial factors that influence our weather.


“Such data is critical to our ability to make forecasts,” said Niels Bormann, also of the Reading weather centre. “They are a unique natural resource, and if we lose this capability, weather forecasts will get significantly worse.”

The problem is that some 5G phone networks may transmit near a frequency similar to that emitted by water vapour, and so would produce a signal that looks very like its presence in the atmosphere.

“We would not be able to tell the difference and so would have to discard that data,” added Bormann. “That would compromise our ability to make accurate forecasts.”

The urgency of the problem is underlined by the fact that US Federal Communications Commission and similar agencies in other countries have already started to auction off frequencies close to the 23.8 GHz frequency to future 5G network providers. In addition, other bands that are used to probe our weather include the 36-37 GHz band, which is used to study rain and snow; the 50 GHz band, which is used to measure atmospheric temperature; and the 86-92 Ghz band, which helps to analyse cloud and ice.


Forecasters say the US move has already compromised their ability to collect data, and promise to lobby other nations to limit use of crucial frequencies to preserve their ability to provide accurate forecasts. They accuse phone operators of ransacking the radio spectrum for wavelengths to exploit, and regulators of failing to protect the natural frequencies vital for Earth observation from space. “The more we lose, the greater the impact will be,” states meteorologist Jordan Gerth, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the current issue of Nature. “This is a global problem.”

Cyclone-Hit Odisha State on Recovery Path, Says India’s Disaster Relief Chief

Sputnik – Interviews

17:05 08.05.2019(updated 17:31 08.05.2019) Get short URL

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India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) says that it has deployed 44 teams to actively monitor ongoing relief and rehabilitation measures in the country’s eastern state of Odisha following “Fani”, which has left a trail of destruction.

New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been very successful in ensuring almost zero casualties recently in the country’s Odisha state, despite devastation caused by the Cyclonic Storm “Fani” on 3 May, according to Disaster Relief chief Satya Narayan Pradhan.

Although there were 30 casualties, he said, it pales in comparison to 1999, when approximately 12,000 people were killed in the same region when it was hit by a similar natural calamity.

He shared that all efforts are being made to provide relief and rehabilitation to people in the coastal areas of Odisha, including basic necessities like food, electricity, and restoration of communication following the devastation.

Science & Technology

Doctors eye deep brain stimulation to treat opioid addiction

AP – The hope is that technology will extinguish his addiction, quite literally, with the flip of a switch.

The treatment — deep brain stimulation — has long been used for movement disorders like Parkinson’s. Now, the first clinical trial of DBS for methamphetamine addiction is being conducted at Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital, along with parallel trials for opioid addiction. And this troubled man is the very first patient.

The surgery involves implanting a device that acts as a kind of pacemaker for the brain, electrically stimulating targeted areas. While Western attempts to push forward with human trials of DBS for addiction have foundered, China is emerging as a hub for this research.

Scientists in Europe have struggled to recruit patients for their DBS addiction studies, and complex ethical, social and scientific questions have made it hard to push forward with this kind of work in the United States, where the devices can cost $100,000 to implant.

China has a long, if troubled, history of brain surgery for drug addiction. Even today, China’s punitive anti-drug laws can force people into years of compulsory treatment, including “rehabilitation” through labor. It has a large patient population, government funding and ambitious medical device companies ready to pay for DBS research.

There are eight registered DBS clinical trials for drug addiction being conducted in the world, according to a U.S. National Institutes of Health database. Six are in China.

But the suffering wrought by the opioid epidemic may be changing the risk-reward calculus for doctors and regulators in the United States. Now, the experimental surgery Patient Number One is about to undergo is coming to America. In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greenlighted a clinical trial in West Virginia of DBS for opioid addiction.

Pressure builds for FTC to punish Zuckerberg

The Hill – Pressure is growing for federal regulators to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for his company’s string of privacy scandals.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is wrapping up a long-running investigation into Facebook over its data practices and is expected to levy a multibillion-dollar fine. But a report from The New York Times said that a rift has opened at the agency over whether to also hold executives like Zuckerberg liable in any enforcement action.

Last month, Facebook told investors that it’s expecting to pay a fine as high as $5 billion to settle the FTC’s investigation into its privacy practices. That sort of sum would be the largest fine ever leveled against a tech company in the U.S. — more than 200 times the record $22.5 million penalty Google received in 2012 for allegedly deceiving users about its privacy practices.


Still, the fine itself would be minuscule for a behemoth like Facebook, which last year made $55 billion in revenue. Investors largely shrugged off the expected fine, sending Facebook’s stock up 10 percent the day after the announcement.

Facebook’s critics say that the fine would amount to a slap on the wrist and that in order to hold the company accountable after a string of privacy incidents, the FTC needs to impose restrictions on its handling of user data and make executives individually liable.

More than 7,000 Robots Will Work in Construction by 2025, Report Says

Robotics Business Review – Research firm Tractica today projected a $226 million revenue market by 2025 for the construction robotics space, an area that traditionally has been labor-intensive and not focused on robotics as much as industries such as manufacturing, supply chain logistics, and health care.

In a new report, “Construction & Demolition Robotics,” Tractica said growing interest in construction robots will drive revenue from $22.7 million in 2018 to the $226 million figure by 2025. In addition, the firm said more than 7,000 construction robots will be deployed to address several construction and demolition tasks. The largest area in terms of unit shipments will be for robotic assistants used on construction sites, followed by infrastructure robots, structure robots, and finishing robots, Tractica said.


Nearly One in Two Americans Takes Prescription Drugs

Bloomberg – Americans are good at popping pills. About 46 percent of the U.S. population used one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days, according to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics. With almost half the U.S. population taking drugs, it may be surprising that this figure is a slight improvement from 10 years prior. “Changing trends in prescription drug use over time may be influenced by changing disease prevalence and diagnosis, expanded treatment recommendations, and decline in the use of inappropriate or ineffective therapies,” according to the report.

The types of prescription drugs Americans use vary by age group. Medicine used to treat asthma was most common among the youngest cohort. For adolescents, between 12 to 19 years old, stimulants to treat attention deficit disorder were most common with about one in 16 adolescents with a prescription. Both young and middle-aged adults used antidepressants the most frequently in the past 30 days.

One in nine adults, 20 to 59 years old, has an antidepressants prescription. Older adults, aged 60 and above, had the highest share of drug use at 85 percent. Nearly half of the older population used prescription drugs to combat high cholesterol, while more than one in five use anti-diabetic drugs.

Great-grandmother with CBD oil arrested at Disney World

Fox – Disney World may be the most magical place on Earth, but it turned into a legal nightmare for a great-grandmother with arthritis.

A 69-year-old woman was arrested at a Disney World checkpoint when an Orange County Deputy found CBD oil in her purse. She then spent 12 hours behind bars before being released on a $2,000 bond.

Hester Jordan Burkhalter, a great-grandmother from North Carolina, began using CBD oil for her arthritis after her doctor recommended it, Fox 35 in Orlando reported. She even had a note from the medical professional in her purse at the time of arrest, but it didn’t matter.

Burkhalter told Fox 35 that she had been planning on the trip for two years. “I have really bad arthritis in my legs, in my arms and in my shoulder,” she said. “I use (CBD oil) for the pain because it helps.” When she was stopped by security outside of the Magic Kingdom, however, she was arrested. “I’ve never had one speeding ticket in my life.”

There Is Toxic Fungus in E-Cigs

Mercola – After an examination of 75 popular vaping cartridges, researchers found 27% contained traces of an endotoxin found on gram-negative bacteria and 81% contained glucan, a compound found in the cell walls of most fungi.

The meteoric rise in the number of teens vaping has overshadowed traditional tobacco use, which may have resulted from a combination of peer pressure, highly addictive nicotine in the product and an assortment of fruity flavors with a smooth nicotine “hit”.

Data demonstrate teens who start vaping are more likely to move to traditional cigarettes, and results from an animal study show those exposed to nicotine during adolescence have a greater risk of engaging in other addictive behavior.

Toxins from vaping also affect bystanders who have similar levels of cotinine (a measure of nicotine absorbed by the body) as those exposed to secondhand traditional smoke

The secret to quitting smoking is to first get healthy, making it mentally and physically easier to kick the habit

Elderberry Confirmed as Immunity Booster

Mercola – Research found compounds in black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) could directly inhibit viral entry into cells and subsequent replication, in part attributed to the anthocyanidin responsible for the vivid purple coloring of the fruit.

Flu is caused by the influenza virus, triggering fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue lasting five to seven days; you may be infectious up to 24 hours before your first symptom.

Flu vaccines are produced before the first seasonal outbreak, so manufacturers can only estimate which viruses to include in the vaccine; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine has been less than 50% effective more than half the time in the past 14 years.

Elderberries are high in phytonutrients but must be cooked thoroughly before use as they contain a poisonous cyanide-producing chemical. In addition to elderberry, using quercetin during a viral illness may reduce the length of your illness.

Why You Should Embrace Healthful Sun Exposure

Mercola – Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and the near-infrared light spectrum increase NO. Sunlight also boosts cytochrome c oxidase, serotonin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and other photoproducts, all of which are produced even in the wintertime when the sunlight is too weak to trigger vitamin D production.

Your body is designed to benefit from sun exposure, and if you’re diabetic or have heart disease, it may well be one of the missing factors. Sunlight also lowers your risk for many other conditions, including Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and several types of cancer, including melanoma.

For every death caused by diseases related to excessive sun exposure — such as melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer — there are 328 deaths caused by diseases of sunlight deprivation.

For every skin cancer death in northern Europe, between 60 and 100 people die from stroke or heart disease related to hypertension

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