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World News

Probe underway after Saudi oil tankers came under ‘sabotage attack’ off Fujairah

Gulf News – Four commercial cargo ships were subjected to sabotage operations on Sunday, May 12, near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.

The concerned authorities have taken all necessary measures and are investigating the incident in cooperation with local and international bodies.

No injuries or fatalities on board the vessels reported; no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.

US orders ‘non-emergency government employees’ to leave Iraq

Al Jazeera – All non-essential American government staff were ordered out of Iraq on Wednesday as tensions between the United States and Iran continue to rise.

Germany and the Netherlands also suspended military training in Iraq, Iran’s neighbour to the west, citing escalating security risks in the Gulf.

The US State Department ordered the departure of “non-emergency government employees” from Iraq, it said in a statement. The US Embassy in Baghdad advised those employees to leave Iraq by commercial transportation “as soon as possible.”

Parliament Vows to Vote Down May’s Deal Fourth Time as Govt Threats Hard or No-Brexit

Breitbart – Apparently undeterred by having her so-called withdrawal agreement voted down by Parliament three times in various guises, Prime Minister Theresa May is to attempt pushing it through a fourth time next month.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s officials at her Downing Street office announced Tuesday that a new vote would come on the week of June 3rd, and would give Members of Parliament a fourth chance to vote the way she wants them to, ratifying a withdrawal agreement she was given by the European Union.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Does ‘Not Understand’ U.S. Resistance to Gun Control

Time – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she does “not understand” why the United States has failed to change its gun laws in the aftermath of mass shootings.

Speaking with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Ardern noted that even though her county has a strong hunting culture and had “pretty permissive gun legislation,” most New Zealanders agreed after the Christchurch attack it was necessary to “draw the line.”

On April 10, less than a month after a white supremacist terrorist shot and killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country’s parliament voted 119 to one to pass gun control legislation that banned most of the country’s automatic and semiautomatic weapons.

Ardern said while there is a “practical purpose and use for guns,” at the same time, “that does not mean you need access to military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles. You do not. And New Zealanders by and large absolutely agreed with that position.”

She also compared New Zealand’s legislation to the laws passed in Australia in the aftermath of the 1996 Port Arthur shooting, in which a gunman murdered 35 people at a Tasmania tourist attraction. In both countries, Ardern said, single massacres were enough to galvanize the public to support gun control.

“Australia experienced a massacre and changed their laws. New Zealand had its experience and changed its laws. To be honest with you, I do not understand the United States,” Ardern said.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Alabama Senate bans nearly all abortions, including rape cases

Reuters – Alabama’s state Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to outlaw nearly all abortions, creating exceptions only to protect the mother’s health, as part of a multistate effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The country’s strictest abortion bill was previously approved by the Alabama House of Representatives and will now go to Republican Governor Kay Ivey, who has withheld comment on whether she would sign but is generally a strong opponent of abortion.

The law, which passed 25-6, would take effect six months after being signed by the governor, but is certain to face legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups which have vowed to sue.

More ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Bans Advancing in South, Midwest

Necn – If a new Mississippi law survives a court challenge, it will be nearly impossible for most pregnant women to get an abortion there.

Or, potentially, in neighboring Louisiana. Or Alabama. Or Georgia.

The Louisiana legislature is halfway toward passing a law — like the ones enacted in Mississippi and Georgia — that will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant. Alabama is on the cusp of approving an even more restrictive bill.

State governments are on a course to virtually eliminate abortion access in large chunks of the Deep South and Midwest. Ohio and Kentucky also have passed heartbeat laws; Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature is considering one.

Liberals alarmed for Roe v. Wade as Supreme Court conservatives overturn 40-year-old precedent

ABC – If you think the Supreme Court’s conservative majority won’t touch well-established legal precedent: think again.

In a 5-4 ruling on Monday, the court overturned a 40-year-old precedent in a low-profile sovereign immunity case, a move liberals see as a potential indication that the precedent set by Roe v. Wade could be under threat.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, “stare decisis does not compel continued adherence to this erroneous precedent,” referring to the principle of legal precedent.

He did not suggest that there was an urgent issue or functional problem with existing doctrine — simply that it was wrong.

Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent from the court’s liberal justices, quoted from a high-profile abortion case and asked, “which cases the court will overrule next?”

Maine Senate Passes National Popular Vote Bill To Bypass Electoral College

HuffPost -The Maine Senate on Tuesday backed an interstate effort to circumvent the Electoral College during a presidential election, voting 19-16 to pass a National Popular Vote bill.

The bill, sponsored by Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D), will head to the state’s House, where it is expected to pass. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills (D) hasn’t yet stated whether she would support it.

o date, 14 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted National Popular Vote legislation, which requires all of that state’s electoral votes to be given to whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote nationwide, rather than the candidate who won the vote in just that state.

The legislation would take effect only when similar laws are enacted by states possessing 270 electoral votes ― a majority of the country’s 538 electoral votes. The 15 jurisdictions across the country that have enacted the legislation into law as of Tuesday possess 189 electoral votes.

There have long been calls from both Republicans and Democrats to abolish the Electoral College. Critics of the institution say the body provides an unfair advantage to Republicans and marginalizes the vast majority of minorities.

U.S. Birth Rate Plunges to All Time Low

Infowars – The U.S. birth rate has hit a record low of 1.7, well below the replacement rate of 2.1, as more women choose careers over having families.

According to figures released by the CDC, the number of live births in the U.S. dropped to 3.8 million last year, which is the lowest level in 32 years.

Tumbling fertility rates combined with women choosing careers over babies is being blamed for the decline, with only women aged 35-44 seeing an increase in birth rates.

Birth rates for all other age groups is in decline, most dramatically amongst teens aged 15-19, with the birth rate for that demographic falling to 17.4 births per 1,000 women, down 72% from a peak of 61.8 in 1991.

700 California public school students stay home to protest LGBT curriculum

LifeSiteNews – May 6, 2019 – Hundreds of California parents protested a controversial proposed curriculum for young students that would incorporate the achievements of LGBT-identifying individuals by keeping their children out of class on Friday.

An estimated 700 students stayed home from school in the 12,000-student Rocklin School District, Fox 40 reports.

An impassioned and packed full board meeting last Wednesday ended in a late-night 3-2 vote to approve the K–5 curriculum approved by the state law that includes the LGBT figures in an effort to be more inclusive in school material.

FBI Discovers Homegrown Islamic Terror Compound In Alabama

Daily Caller-The FBI has uncovered a homegrown, jihadist compound in Macon County, Alabama.

The FBI‘s search warrant described the property as a “makeshift military-style obstacle course” in a story first reported by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The land where the group gathered reportedly looked like an “abandoned dump,” and was led by Siraj Wahhaj, who allegedly trained children to commit school shootings in a similar terrorist breeding ground in New Mexico last year.

Wahhaj and four other alleged Islamic extremists were indicted on terrorism, kidnapping, and firearm violation charges earlier this year.

In an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group, former FBI agent Tim Fuhrman warned of the increasing threats of domestic terror that “exists in every region of the United States and affects all walks of life.”

“Just because you’re in a small town or a small state does not mean you might not potentially have individuals engaged in the types of activities that would call into question threats to national security,” Fuhrman said.

The FBI is currently involved in 850 domestic terrorism investigations, Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Michael McGarrity said earlier this week while speaking to the House Homeland Security Committee, according to CNN.

Non-citizens commit 42% of federal crimes, despite being 7% of population

The American Mirror – A new federal report shows non-citizens in the United States commit nearly half of all federal crimes, or more than six times their proportion to the American population.

For 2017, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows non-citizens comprise about 7 percent of the country’s population, but the 2018 Annual Report and Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics shows they committed more than 40 percent of all federal crimes.

The United States Sentencing Commission reviewed 321,000 sentencing documents s in fiscal year 2018 and outlined several statistics in the annual report:

Trumpism 2.0: Sen. Josh Hawley Unveils Populist Platform to Fight Big Tech ‘Aristocrats,’ Restore America

Information Liberation – Newly-elected Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has unveiled an excellent Tucker Carlson-esque populist-nationalist platform to move the GOP beyond boomer conservatism.

This is the best vision I’ve seen since Steve Bannon’s 2016 platform for Trump (which Trump abandoned for boomer conservatism).

From The Washington Post, “Meet the Senate’s new culture warrior. Josh Hawley fashions a right-wing populism for the Trump era.”:

THE BIG IDEA: Josh Hawley, the youngest member of the Senate, was born on Dec. 31, 1979 — the final day of a sclerotic decade. The freshman Republican from Missouri argues that the GOP must now move away from the shibboleths of his childhood to become the party that stands in unflinching opposition to elites.

“It’s not 1980 anymore. We’ve got to wake up to the problems of today,” Hawley said in an interview. “For my own party, there is a tendency to want to live in the past and to live in a time when Republican orthodoxy was fixed by the 1980 Reagan campaign. Listen, the Reagan presidency was extraordinarily successful and extraordinarily significant historically. But that’s a long time ago now. And I think that it is past time for Republicans to stop living in the 1980s and start living in 2019 and facing the problems of this day.”

Ronald Reagan famously declared during his first inaugural address that “government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

“Government has a role to play,” Hawley explained. “We need a shift in policy. This is why I say it is time to move beyond the old and tired policy debates of the last 30 and 40 years, which we just rehash and rehearse over and over again. … In a weird way, our politics has kind of been captured by nostalgia in the last 10 or 15 years. As the glaring problems of the great middle of our society have become worse, in some ways politics has become more and more blinkered. It’s just more trapped in the past. There’s this aversion to facing things as they are. If anything, our politics has become more nostalgic and more backward-looking. We need to stop that.”

Idaho Repeals Its Regulatory Code

Mercatus – Something rather remarkable just happened in Idaho. The state legislature opted to—in essence—repeal the entire state regulatory code. The cause may have been dysfunction across legislative chambers, but the result is serendipitous. A new governor is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to repeal an outdated and burdensome regulatory code and replace it with a more streamlined and sensible set of rules. Other states should be paying close attention.

The situation came about due to the somewhat unconventional nature of Idaho’s regulatory process. Each year, the state’s entire existing body of regulations expires unless reauthorized for an additional year by the legislature. In most years, reauthorization happens smoothly, but not this year.

Instead, the legislature wrapped up an acrimonious session in April without passing a rule-reauthorization bill. As a result, come July 1, some 8,200 pages of regulations containing 736 chapters of state rules will expire. Any rules the governor opts to keep will have to be implemented as emergency regulations, and the legislature will consider them anew when it returns next January.

Governor Brad Little, sworn into office in January, already had a nascent red tape cutting effort underway, but the impending regulatory cliff creates some new dynamics. Previously, each rule the governor wanted cut would have had to be justified as a new rulemaking action; now, every regulation that agencies want to keep has to be justified. The burden of proof has switched.

The new scenario creates multiple touch points when rules could end up on the cutting room floor. First, when regulations expire on July 1, many will not be refiled. Second, the public will have the opportunity to comment on regulations that are resubmitted. In some cases, public hearings are likely to take place, presenting another opportunity to reshape, and cut, some regulations. Finally, when the legislature returns next year, it will need to pass a reauthorization bill for those regulations Governor Little’s administration wants kept. Even more red tape can be trimmed then.

Southwest Passenger Kicked Off Flight for Making Vodka Joke

Travel Pulse – A Southwest Airlines passenger was removed from a flight at Sacramento International Airport last week after jokingly asking a flight attendant if the water being handed out was vodka.

According to KTXL, the May 8 flight from Sacramento, California to Austin, Texas by way of Los Angeles had been delayed for several hours because of a maintenance light and the subsequent need to refuel when flight attendants began to pass out water to passengers.

“He said something [like], ‘They should be passing out vodka because we’ve been waiting so long,'” passenger Peter Uzelac told KTXL, referring to the unidentified man’s witty remark.

Uzelac said the flight attendant, who he described as young, was not amused.

“She came by and was like, ‘I don’t think that and I didn’t like your joke.’ Then my wife tried to butt-in there and say, ‘Look it, we’ve been on this plane for hours.’ And she says, ‘Well, so have I, so get used to it,'” added Uzelac. “Then all of a sudden, I see her on the telephone up in front.”

Uzelac said fellow passengers came to the man’s defense after the plane turned back to the gate and several Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies came on board to escort him off.

“And people started yelling then. In fact, people stood up. I stood up. People were saying this man didn’t do anything,” he told KTXL.

Economy & Business

No Branch, No Problem. CITI Bets Big on Digital Banking

World News Monitor – Executives at Citigroup are convinced that many U.S. consumers are finally ready to leave the branch behind and fully embrace digital banking.

Boeing Calls For Limits to US Tariffs Over EU Subsidies

Sputnik – The US and the EU have been engaged in a nearly 15-year trans-Atlantic aircraft subsidy spat at the World Trade Organisation over subsidies for Boeing and its European rival, Airbus.

Top officials from Boeing and a US aerospace industry trade group have pushed for limits to any tariffs imposed on the European Union over illicit aircraft subsidies.

In an address to the US government made in a prepared testimony at a hearing held by the US Trade Representative’s Office, the officials called for curtailing tariffs in a bid to avoid harming American manufacturers.

Science & Technology

San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Use by Police and the Government

Vice – The technology hub is now the first US city to have issued a moratorium on the invasive spy technology.

San Francisco just became the first city in the nation to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and government agencies.

The decision was approved by the city’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, with supervisor Catherine Stefani as the only nay.

The moratorium is part of the “Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance,” a bill that aims to regulate the use of surveillance technology, such as body cameras and biometric software, in San Francisco. The bill requires agencies to draw up plans for how these technologies will be deployed, and then seek approval from the public and Board of Supervisors.

YOUTUBE faces existential threat from EU’s new copyright directive

CNBC – YouTube creators fear their livelihood and creative outlet could be threatened by a new EU copyright directive that makes platforms liable for infringing content posted on their sites.

EU member states still have two years to write the vague language of the directive into law, and YouTube is not done pushing back on it.

Legal experts say the directive could end up further entrenching powerful players like YouTube that have the means to comply with new laws.


FDA Issues Warnings About Baby Teething Products

Newsmax – Few things are as distressing as baby’s cries when his or her first teeth are coming in, but it is important to know what not to use to soothe that pain.

Over the years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about many teething products, starting with over-the-counter gels and liquids containing benzocaine, which acts as a numbing agent. Benzocaine is linked to a rare but potentially deadly reaction that lowers the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. This side effect happened mostly in children age 2 and under and after just one use. The FDA recommends not using these products in this age group.

USDA Sued Over Failure to Address High Rates of Fecal Bacteria on Chicken

Mercola – According to preliminary data from the CDC, there were 25,606 food-borne infections, 5,893 hospitalizations and 120 deaths from food poisoning in 2018. In 2017, there were 24,484 infections, 5,677 hospitalization and 122 deaths.

Poultry is a major source of Campylobacter, which has been the most commonly identified infection since 2013. It causes diarrhea and 18% of those affected require hospitalization. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but possible outcome of Campylobacter infection.

A 2011 study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found 48% of the 120 chicken products tested were contaminated with E. coli, commonly found in feces. The following year, repeat testing revealed the exact same result: 48% of chicken products again tested positive.

PCRM filed a petition for rulemaking with the USDA in 2013, asking the agency to regulate fecal contamination as an adulterant. PCRM has now filed a lawsuit against USDA over the agency’s failure to respond.

Studies using DNA matching have shown a majority of urinary tract infections are the result of exposure to contaminated chicken, not sexual contact with an infected person or transfer of your own E. coli from your anus to your urethra.

Why You Should Never Buy Precut Fruit

Mercola – Precut fruit raises your risk of foodborne illnesses, including Salmonella poisoning. Salmonella has been found in precut melons twice in two years.

Precut fruit is more expensive, oxidation reduces vitamin retention, respiration increases deterioration and food additives may be used to retain color and texture.

Precut fruit requires constant refrigeration and is usually packaged in plastic containers — much of which ends up in landfills or the ocean, adding to pollution around the globe.

Purchasing food from high-quality, small-scale local sources is one of the best ways to protect yourself from foodborne illness and exposure to pesticides; another is to strengthen your immune system by avoiding sugar, getting quality sleep, reducing stress and optimizing your vitamin D level

Bayer Loses Third Trial – Jury Awards $2 Billion!

Mercola – Bayer is the largest seed and pesticide company in the world, due to its $63 billion Monsanto purchase in 2018.

At Bayer’s annual general meeting in Bonn, Germany, 55.5% of shareholders voted against ratifying the management’s actions.

The vote was symbolic in nature and won’t legally change anything, but stems largely from the company’s plummeting market value as a result of rising legal battles over Roundup.

Already, Bayer’s been tagged with $2.158 billion in damages, due to the verdicts from the first three cases that claimed glyphosate led to the plaintiff’s cancer.

The EPA, in their latest review of glyphosate, released a draft conclusion stating the chemical poses “no risks of concern” for people and “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”

Gardening, Farming, & Homesteading

Scallions Are Easy to Grow in Your Kitchen or Garden

Mercola – Scallions are easily grown in your garden or kitchen from seed or seedlings purchased at the garden store. They appreciate full sun, moist soil and a side dressing of organic fertilizer during the growing season.

The plants should be harvested by pulling out the roots and stored in the refrigerator in a glass of water, covered with a bag, until ready to be used. They retain better flavor when they are carefully sliced and not chopped.

Scallions are young onions, sometimes referred to as green onions; they have a mild flavor and may be used raw or cooked. Although they look similar, they are different from chives, shallots and spring onions.

Scallions are easily regrown when the roots and 2 inches of the plant are left in place, in a glass of water placed in the sun. Change the water every two days and within two weeks you’ll harvest flavorful green tops containing vitamins A, C, K and folate.

Tasty Ways to Use Scallions

Scallions are versatile ingredient you may use when you want to lend a bit of onion flavor without the pungency of regular red or yellow onions. They can be sprinkled over soup, tossed into salads or added to sandwiches.

If you don’t have scallions at home or those in your garden are not yet ready for harvesting, there are several other members of the allium family you may use as a substitute, including:

  • Leeks — These vegetables taste stronger and have a tougher texture than scallions so it’s best to use them in cooked dishes.
  • Shallots — Ideal for cooked dishes, the flavor may be pungent when used raw.
  • Chives — These are often mistaken for scallions and may be used as a substitute. They have a mild flavor as do scallions, but sometimes do better in raw dishes than in cooked.
  • Ramps — Also called wild leeks, ramps have a strong onion and garlic flavor combination best for cooked dishes.

Scallion pancakes are a classic Chinese dish that is chewy, crunchy and savory, all at the same time. It may be eaten alone or with a dipping sauce of your choosing. This recipe was adapted from All Recipes.

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