Reuters – Hong Kong prepared for more clashes on Wednesday as anti-government protesters paralysed parts of the Asian financial hub for a third day, with some transport links, schools and many businesses closing after an escalation of violence.
Protesters and police battled through the night at university campuses and other locations only hours after a senior police officer said the Chinese-ruled city had been pushed to the “brink of a total breakdown”.
Police fired tear gas at protesters overnight in multiple locations as activists blocked roads, torched several vehicles, hurled petrol bombs at a police station and metro train and smashed up part of a shopping mall.
The flare ups come after police on Monday shot an unarmed protester at close range and a man was doused with petrol and set on fire in some of the worst violence since protests began more than five months ago.
Thousands of commuters were queuing at metro stations across the city early on Wednesday after some railway services were suspended and roads closed.
Riot police were deployed at stations, while protesters set up roadblocks and barricades on major thoroughfares.
Protesters are angry about what they see as police brutality and meddling by Beijing in the freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
China denies interfering and has blamed Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for stirring up trouble.
Protesters were planning demonstrations in areas including the Central business district, home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate and luxury shops, across the Kowloon peninsula and in the outlying New Territories.
AFP – Exchanges of fire triggered by Israel’s targeted killing of a top militant in Gaza raged for a second day Wednesday and showed little sign of easing, with 22 Palestinians killed.
Fresh rocket barrages were fired at Israel, which responded with strikes on what it said were Islamic Jihad militant sites and rocket-launching squads in the Gaza Strip.
Air raid sirens wailed and fireballs exploded as air defence missiles intercepted rockets, sending Israelis rushing to bomb shelters.
In Gaza, residents surveyed damage and mourned the dead outside a mortuary and at funerals.
Financial Review – Angela Merkel has urged Europe to seize control of its data from Silicon Valley tech giants, in an intervention that highlights the EU’s growing willingness to challenge the US dominance of the digital economy.
Bloomberg – Congressional Democrats have a tall order ahead.
Their challenge, at the start of public impeachment hearings today against President Donald Trump, is to shift public opinion in an already-polarized nation.
Democrats led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff are hoping people will turn against Trump after watching veteran U.S. diplomats say he tied aid to Ukraine to it probing Biden and his son Hunter over business dealings there. Republicans argue there was no explicit quid pro quo and, even if it there was, that it’s not an impeachable offense.
Expect the hearings to get testy given the bitterly partisan climate. In the end, while the House is expected to vote for impeachment, chances the Republican-controlled Senate will agree are remote.
The lawsuit could send a message to the gun industry.
Vox – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal on a lawsuit against a major gun manufacturer, effectively allowing the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to sue firearms maker Remington Arms.
Remington appealed the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in March to let the lawsuit proceed, but the US Supreme Court declined to hear the motion. The federal justices didn’t offer any explanation for their decision, Bill Chappell reported for NPR.
The families argue that Remington violated Connecticut law when it “knowingly marketed and promoted the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle for use in assaults against human beings.” They argue that the AR-15–style rifle, which a shooter used to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, was marketed to emphasize its capabilities in war and even to promote its use by a lone gunman. As one ad put it: “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.”
The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) gives gun makers and dealers sweeping legal protections from lawsuits. The law was supported by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights advocates to prevent lawsuits that, they feared, could help cripple the firearms industry.
Prior to this legislation, lawsuits against the gun industry had generally failed — but the industry was worried one would eventually break through, and expose industry secrets that could make manufacturers and sellers look bad, including connections to illegal trafficking. Since the law passed, it has been repeatedly cited by courts to dismiss litigation against the gun industry.
But the families behind the lawsuit pointed to exceptions to legal protections in the PLCAA, including for gun makers and dealers that violate state marketing laws. The families argued their lawsuit fell within the exceptions, so they could sue Remington for what they described as irresponsible marketing.
WND – A star witness in Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump expressed skepticism about information collected by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, according to The Daily Caller.
Dr. Fiona Hill, who served as the White House’s top adviser on Russia until July, centered a portion of her Oct. 14 closed-door testimony on the infamous dossier compiled by Steele.
The Steele dossier contained accusations of a conspiracy between the Russian government and then-candidate Donald Trump.
‘Ruling significantly advances 4th Amendment protections’
WND – Technology is changing so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. Now there’s a race to replace smartphones with smart glasses.
But privacy still is privacy, and a federal judge on Tuesday expanded Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, finding “suspicionless searches” of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry to be unconstitutional.
The decision in the case Alasaad v. McAleenan in Boston “significantly advances Fourth Amendment protections for millions of international travelers who enter the United States every year,” said Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “By putting an end to the government’s ability to conduct suspicionless fishing expeditions, the court reaffirms that the border is not a lawless place and that we don’t lose our privacy rights when we travel.”
The case was brought by the ACLU, the Electronic and others on behalf of 11 travelers who were subjected to smartphone or laptop searches even though there was no suspicion on the part of authorities that there was something wrong.
Daily Sheeple – A bare majority of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared likely Tuesday to let the Trump administration follow through on its plan to shut down DACA, the federal program that has allowed nearly 800,000 young people, known as dreamers, to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S.
With hundreds of DACA supporters rallying outside — so many that police shut down the street in front of the Supreme Court — the justices heard nearly an hour and a half of oral arguments. Based on their questions, it appeared that the court’s five conservatives were inclined to rule that the Department of Homeland Security acted properly when it ordered the program ended in 2017 and that the federal courts cannot second-guess that decision.
While Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh appeared likely to say DACA was properly shut down, Chief Justice John Roberts did not seem to be as strongly convinced. Roberts may be the deciding vote, just as it was last term when the court blocked the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census form. He concluded in that case that the government did not give an adequate explanation for its proposed action.
Lower court rulings have kept DACA going, allowing young people in the program to reapply every two years to remain under its protection. Children of undocumented immigrants can remain here if they were under 16 when their parents brought them to the U.S. and if they arrived by 2007.
Daily Sheeple – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told ABC News Monday night that his new campaign trail-mate, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) would play a significant role in his White House if he is elected president.
ABC News wanted to know whether Sanders was considering Ocasio-Cortez as a potential running mate in the unlikely event he snags the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and goes on to face President Donald Trump in a general election.
Sanders was non-committal on the answer but did say that Ocasio-Cortez would have a significant role in shaping both domestic and foreign policy in a Sanders administration.
Popular Mechanics – The five men share an easy rapport with each other, playfully ribbing one another while also communicating a deep sense of mutual respect. It’s clear they all share the bond of having once served in the armed forces. Yet for Gary Voorhis, Jason Turner, P.J. Hughes, Ryan Weigelt, and Kevin Day—assembled together in a private group chat by Popular Mechanics—something much bigger ties them together beyond simply serving in the U.S. Navy.
These men also share a connection of being witnesses to one of the most compelling UFO cases in modern history: the Nimitz UFO Encounters, an event that the Navy recently confirmed indeed involved “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Largely overshadowed by a grainy black-and-white video, and a former Topgun fighter pilot eyewitness, these veterans offer new and intriguing details on what occurred with the Navy’s Strike Carrier Group-11 as it sailed roughly 100 miles off the Southern California coast in 2004—details that a former career intelligence agent who investigated the Nimitz Encounter while at the Pentagon can neither confirm, deny, or even discuss with Popular Mechanics.
Ultimately, these five men—the “other” Nimitz witnesses—could be key to understanding an event that a leading aviation defense expert says “likely wasn’t ours.”
So whose was it?
The Hill – Senior White House officials including Jared Kushner intend to set up cameras to livestream construction of President Trump‘s border wall, despite pushback from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Washington Post reported.
“There will be a wall cam, and it’ll launch early next year,” an unidentified senior White House official involved with the project told the Post.
Daily Sheeple – The University of Virginia canceled a 21-gun salute scheduled to take place as part of the school’s Veterans Day ceremony, prompting a backlash.
The university’s provost office and Col. Michael Hough, commanding officer of the school’s Air Force ROTC detachment, made the decision to eliminate the salute for two reasons, University of Virginia President Jim Ryan said in a statement.
“First, to minimize disruptions to classes, given that this event is located at the juncture of four primary academic buildings and is held at a time that classes are in session; and second, recognizing concerns related to firing weapons on the Grounds in light of gun violence that has happened across our nation, especially on school and university campuses,” he wrote on Nov. 9 in response to, he said, concerns about the cancellation of the salute.
“They considered the option of relocating the ceremony to another place on Grounds. But given that the 21-gun salute is not a required, or even typical, part of Veteran’s Day ceremonies—as opposed to Memorial Day ceremonies, which are specifically dedicated to those who have lost their lives in service to our country—they chose to keep the ceremony at a central location on Grounds but leave out the 21-gun salute.”
Ryan said that the salute might be re-introduced in future years.
“Community responses have helped us to understand that many see the 21-gun salute as an important element of the Veterans Day ceremony at the University of Virginia. Given that the plans are already in place for this year, we will follow the event organizers’ recommendation to proceed without the 21-gun salute in our Veterans Day Ceremony. Following this year’s ceremony, however, we will work with our ROTC officers and cadets to take a closer look at options for our Veterans Day events, including those that would enable us to re-introduce the 21-gun salute to the program,” he wrote.
Some veterans expressed anger at the decision.
RT – Russia wants to reduce the US dollar share in its National Wealth Fund, as it looks to invest in the Chinese yuan and other foreign currencies, Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Kolychev has announced.
“I can say with certainty that the share of the US dollar will be smaller,” the official told reporters on Wednesday. “Different currencies are being considered, all the reserve ones… including the yuan.”
While the deputy minister did not elaborate on the exact amount of the dollar cut, he said that the National Wealth Fund’s currency structure will be similar to that of the Russian central bank’s reserves. In one year, the country’s regulator halved the US currency share from its international holdings, with the dollar share falling to 23.6 percent as of the end of March.
WSJ – Google will soon offer checking accounts to consumers, becoming the latest Silicon Valley heavyweight to push into finance.
CNN – Arctic conditions are to blame for at least four deaths, and the weather is only expected to get worse for much of the country.
Arctic air has been moving across the eastern two-thirds of the United States, bringing snow from the Midwest to the Northeast. About 70% of the US population is expected to see temperatures at or below freezing Wednesday morning.
The conditions have proven dangerous for motorists.
Science & Technology
RT – Tech giant Google has partnered with hospital system Ascension to collect detailed personal health information from millions of Americans without their knowledge, in an initiative that has been named “Project Nightingale.”
RT’s Boom Bust talks to Dr John Dombrowski of the Washington Pain Center about the privacy concerns surrounding the partnership.
“This data has tremendous value, multi-million-dollars. Who is going to get the benefit of that?” he says, adding that “Information is power and that creates a lot of money.”
Dombrowski suggests that maybe this information will be used for good, but “obviously it’s a double-edged sword, we have to be cautious with that.”
NaturalNews – A study published in the journal Nutrients has shown evidence that ingesting large doses of vitamin C can shorten patient trips to the ICU.
The authors of the study, Dr. Harri Hemila and Dr. Elizabeth Chalker, looked through previous publications that studied the effects of vitamin C on the length of ICU stay or the duration of a patient on mechanical ventilation.
They found 18 relevant studies and pooled together the data presented in them. The collected data suggested that administration of vitamin C shortened ICU visits on average by 7.8 percent. They also found that in six of the studies, oral administration of two grams of vitamin C per day reduced the length of ICU stays by an average of 8.6 percent. Additionally, they saw that vitamin C intake shortened the duration of necessary mechanical ventilation in patients by 18.2 percent.
Hemila and Chalker wanted to study the impact of vitamin C after a recent study stated that 35 percent of older Scottish patients who were admitted to the ICU had very low levels of vitamin C plasma – so low that scurvy becomes a dangerous risk. These low levels of vitamin C plasma can be caused by many factors – usually the underlying illness that brought them to the ICU. But Hemila and Chalker noted that the stress that hospital visits put on the body can also cause a drop in vitamin C levels.
Hemila and Chalker added that high doses of vitamin C are needed for critically ill patients – up to four grams per day – in order to boost their vitamin C levels to the range of healthy people. This will help the body compensate for the increased metabolism of patients.
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Mercola – Abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy can influence fetal brain development, and research published in 2014 warned acetaminophen is in fact a hormone disruptor.
According to that 2014 study, use of acetaminophen during pregnancy was associated with a 37% increased risk of the child being diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, a severe form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
A 2019 study found that, compared to children of mothers with the lowest acetaminophen burden, children of mothers with the greatest exposure had a 286% higher risk for ADHD and a 362% higher risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the time they were about 9 years old.
Findings published in 2016 revealed use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy were associated with a 42% higher risk of conduct problems and a 31% higher risk of hyperactivity symptoms in the child.
Another 2016 investigation found children of both sexes whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 41% more likely to present with ADHD symptoms at age 5. Boys were also more likely to have ASD.
Mercola – Juul’s former senior vice president for global finance, Siddharth Breja, claims in a lawsuit he was fired for criticizing Juul’s sale of at least 1 million contaminated and expired mint-flavored nicotine pods.
Breja says Juul would not recall the defective products, but he was told to charge the supplier $7 million to recover costs from the contaminated batches.
Vaping illness is becoming so common it has been given the name EVALI standing for “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury” There have been 1,888 cases of EVALI and 37 deaths as of the end of October 2019, according to the CDC.
There have been 1,888 cases of EVALI and 37 deaths as of the end of October 2019, according to the CDC.
Use of e-cigarettes may be linked to cardiovascular toxicity and immune system compromise; the carcinogens formaldehyde and acetaldehyde have been detected in the vapor of e-cigarettes.There have been 1,888 cases of EVALI and 37 deaths as of the end of October 2019, according to the CDC.
Juul e-cigarettes are highly addictive because of the use of nicotine salts, which create a less harsh vaping experience and allow higher nicotine content. THye have hooked young people on e-cigarettes using social media that positioned it as cool; sponsorships; and its compact “flash drive” size