SCMP – Hong Kong has been paralysed by more traffic chaos on Thursday as protesters continue their new strategy of trying to grind the city’s transport links to a standstill on weekdays. It is the fourth day in a row.
The city woke to see police firing tear gas around the Polytechnic University in Hung Hom, where a major cross-harbour tunnel was closed and later had its toll booths again targeted by petrol bombs. Police also shot the chemical canisters in Sheung Shui and Tsuen Wan.
No solutions have been laid out to solve the ongoing crisis despite a late-night meeting on Wednesday held among the city’s leader and top officials.
But the Education Bureau decided to suspend classes at kindergartens, primary and secondary schools until Sunday, while major universities have announced they will shorten the term or replace on-campus classes with online lectures for now.
At Chinese University, protesters spent the day strengthening their barricades as the city’s High Court dismissed an urgent bid launched by student leaders to bar police entry to the Sha Tin campus. Similar scenes have taken place at PolyU.
Breitbart – Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko said Thursday that U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland had “never” linked U.S. aid to Ukrainian investigations of the 2016 elections or the Biden’s role in stopping a probe of Burisma.
Prystaiko spoke the day after the first public hearings in the House Intelligence Committee as part of the “impeachment inquiry,” where two witnesses said they came to believe there had been such a link — though only some time after Politico reported on August 28 that aid had been held up by the Trump administration.
One of the witnesses, Chargé d’affaires Bill Taylor, introduced new evidence that a staffer told him recently that he overheard Sondland speaking to President Donald Trump the day after his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, discussing “investigations.” The staffer also told Taylor that Sondland said that Trump was more interested in investigations than anything else.
Newsmax – North Korea on Thursday said the United States has proposed a resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations in December as they approach an end-of-year deadline set by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the Trump administration to offer an acceptable deal to salvage the talks.
In a statement released by state media, North Korean negotiator Kim Myong Gil didn’t clearly say whether the North would accept the supposed U.S. offer.
Newsmax – Gaza militants fired a barrage of rockets into Israel hours after a cease-fire was declared to bring to an end to two days of intense fighting.
Air raid sirens went off in several communities on Thursday near the Gaza Strip as at least five rockets could be seen blasting out of the territory.
The rockets come after both Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group said they were holding their fire following the heaviest bout of cross-border violence in months.
RT – At least seven people have been shot at a high school in Santa Clarita, California, local media report. Police say the suspect is on the run.
Police responded to a shooting at Saugus High School, around 40 miles north of Los Angeles, early Thursday morning. Local media reports seven casualties, but police have not yet confirmed this number.
Breitbart – Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is making a late run for the Democratic presidential nomination, he announced Thursday in a video on his official website.
Patrick, a close friend and ally of former President Barack Obama, ruled out a presidential bid earlier this year but has since been talking with Democratic operatives and donors about launching a campaign.
His step into a crowded ring makes Patrick the 18th candidate in the 2020 Democratic race. It comes as some Democrats express uncertainty about the party’s current crop of contenders.
USA Today – As an impeachment inquiry that threatens Donald Trump’s presidency gains steam in the U.S. Capitol, jurors in a trial happening just across the street will soon decide if Roger Stone, the president’s ally, lied to Congress to help and protect him.
Jurors will start deliberating Thursday after hearing testimonies over the past week. A guilty verdict could send the longtime GOP operative to prison and will make him the sixth Trump ally to be convicted of a crime as a result of the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. An acquittal could reinforce Trump and his allies’ longstanding claim that the Russia probe was a “witch hunt” meant to hurt him politically.
During closing arguments Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kravis told jurors that Stone obstructed a congressional investigation to help Trump and his campaign. Stone lied to lawmakers repeatedly, depriving them of evidence they needed as they pursued their own investigation into Russia and possible ties to the Trump campaign, Kravis said in a packed federal courtroom.
The Hill – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is anticipating a record number of fliers over the Thanksgiving holiday.
More than 26.8 million people are expected to travel through security checkpoints across the country from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2, according to a Wednesday release. TSA plans to collaborate with airlines and airports to accommodate the high number of passengers.
“We expect record breaking travel volume this 2019 holiday season, following our busiest summer ever,” TSA acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell said in the statement. “To plan for the season, partnerships with industry and stakeholders are critical to keep travelers moving safely and securely to holiday destinations. We want to ensure travelers are as best prepared as they can be.”
They’re judging you, and in some cases, assigning and using secret customer lifetime value scores (CLV scores) to assign different levels of customer service, based on your past interactions with other companies.
A good or bad secret consumer score can mean the difference between things like:
Until recently, it was impossible for consumers to know what data big companies were accumulating on them–never mind, to learn how it’s all used. Finally, however, consumers have some recourse.
Writing in the New York Times, technology reporter Kashmir Hill explained how she got the 400-page report that one of the technology companies, called Sift, had compiled on her.
I talked with Hill separately this week for Understandably about how she got her information. (She also shared the story of how a single tweet she posted last spring led to her getting hired at the Times in the first place.)
Hill said she was surprised to see just how much data there was, including things like “all the messages I’d ever sent to hosts on Airbnb; years of Yelp delivery orders; [and] a log of every time I’d opened the Coinbase app on my iPhone.”
She also included the contact information five of the data companies,Sift, Zeta Global, Retail Equation, Riskified, and Kustomer provide, to allow customers to request their information.
In some cases you’ll have to upload a photo of your driver’s license or otherwise prove your identity.
Seattle Times – After enduring a manufacturing mess that spanned six years and cost millions of dollars as it implemented a large-scale robotic system for automated assembly of the 777 fuselage, Boeing has abandoned the robots and will go back to relying more on its human machinists.
Boeing said Wednesday it is reverting to an older approach that “has proven more reliable, requiring less work by hand and less rework, than what the robots were capable of.”
The robotic system entailed holding the large curved metal panels that make up the 777 fuselage sections right-side up in a cradle as the moving robots stitched the panels together, drilling holes and adding tens of thousands of fasteners.
Because this was different from the traditional build process in which the lower fuselage was built upside down, then flipped before the upper fuselage was added, Boeing awkwardly dubbed it the “Fuselage Automated Upright Build” process or FAUB.
The main system used on the forward and aft fuselage sections involved mechanics tacking the panels together then stepping back to let four robots apply permanent fasteners.
One pair of robots drilled and fastened in unison on the upper half of the fuselage section — one inside, one outside. The outside robot inserted a rivet while the inside one simultaneously flattened it at the other end to create the fastening. A second pair of robots worked the lower half in similar fashion.
The Hill – The federal deficit reached $134 billion in October, the first month of fiscal 2020, according to data the Treasury Department released Wednesday.
That figure is about 34 percent higher than last October, a sign of a steadily increasing gap between federal spending and revenue.
As a candidate, President Trump had promised to wipe out the nation’s deficit during his time in office, but deficits have only grown since his inauguration.
The Treasury estimated that the deficit for the 2020 fiscal year would surpass $1 trillion for the first time since 2012. The figure came in just below that milestone in fiscal 2019, hitting $984 billion.
The deficit has spiked following the GOP tax law and multiple bipartisan agreements to increase spending on defense and domestic programs.The nation’s overall debt level surpassed $23 trillion for the first time this month.
CBS – Nike will stop selling its products through Amazon and instead focus on what it called “more direct, personal relationships” with customers, company officials announced Tuesday.
Anyone looking for Nike can still purchase items on the company website, its app, or at one of the thousands of brick-and-mortar stores where Nike has retail partnerships. The Nike-Amazon partnership was a pilot program that began more than two years ago and is no longer part of Nike’s wider sales strategy, company officials said.
“We will continue to invest in strong, distinctive partnerships for Nike with other retailers and platforms to seamlessly serve our consumers globally,” Nike confirmed.
Amazon officials on Wednesday declined to comment about Nike’s departure. Nike competitors Under Armour and Adidas continue to sell products on Amazon. Nike officials said they will continue using Amazon web hosting to power the Nike website and many of its apps.
Newsmax – Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will unveil new legislation Thursday aimed at residents of public housing.
The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act will upgrade public housing buildings by adding solar panels and other forms of renewable energy in an effort to “retrofit, rehabilitate, and decarbonize the entire nation’s public housing stock,” according to a press release.
The legislation would invest as much as $180 billion during a 10-year period to help nearly 2 million public housing residents.
“Faced with the global crisis of climate change, the United States must lead the world in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy,” said Sanders, a 2020 presidential candidate. “This bill shows that we can address our climate and affordable housing crises by making public housing a model of efficiency, sustainability and resiliency. Importantly, the working people who have been most impacted by decades of disinvestment in public housing will be empowered to lead this effort and share in the economic prosperity that it generates for our country.”
Infowars – Hackers can exploit smart lightbulbs to steal your personal information and spy on you, a new study warns.
The hack is achieved when bad actors instruct infrared-enabled smart bulbs to send the invisible light to access your personal devices on your home network, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
“Your smart bulb could come equipped with infrared capabilities, and most users don’t know that the invisible wave spectrum can be controlled,” said a UTSA professor and director of the Security, Privacy, Trust and Ethics in Computing Research Lab. “You can misuse those lights.”
“Any data can be stolen: texts or images. Anything that is stored in a computer.”
The victim is likely to never be aware of the breach because the hack is communicated within his or her own Wi-Fi network rather than the Internet.
“Think of the bulb as another computer,” said the professor. “These bulbs are now poised to become a much more attractive target for exploitation even though they have very simple chips.”
The lightbulb’s simple design and near-ubiquitous use are what’s causing the researchers to warn manufacturers to do a better job in preventing security gaps in their products.
Correspondingly, consumers spent $8 billion purchasing smart bulbs last year and are expected to spend $28 billion on them in less than a decade.
This story brings to mind a recent development where televisions were reportedly projecting ultrasonic sounds to nearby smartphones to track the owner’s activity and steal their personal data.
That’s right, invisible infrared light via smart lightbulbs and inaudible sounds from TVs can be exploited to spy on unsuspecting consumers.
Mercola – Mounting research suggests your gut microbiome helps regulate not only your mood but also your sleep cycle through what’s known as the gut-brain axis — a bidirectional communication “highway” that links your central and enteric nervous systems.
Your gut microbiota affect brain function through the immunoregulatory pathway, the neuroendocrine pathway and the vagus nerve pathway, all three of which have this bidirectional flow.
Research shows the microbiota in your gut are under circadian control, which means disruptions in sleep can affect the composition and health of your microbiome, which can have significant impact on your overall health.
The microbes in your gut can also affect the actual quality of your sleep. Total microbiome diversity is positively correlated with increased sleep efficiency and total sleep time.
Recent research shows the composition of your gut microbiome, the quality and quantity of your sleep, your immune function and cognition are all connected.
A new report has revealed that drug-resistant “superbugs” are deadlier than originally thought.
The new antibiotic resistance threats report comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and highlights the increased threat of these drug-resistant infections. According to the report, nearly 2.8 million people suffer infections from these “superbugs” every year.
Of those, 35,000 people die from these stronger infections.
The report was formulated by looking at bacteria and fungi, finding 21 different infections and categorizing them as “urgent threats,” “serious threats,” “concerning threats,” and “watch list.” However, it does not include parasites or viruses like influenza or HIV.
The results of the 2019 report are also higher than in the previous AR threat report published in 2013. It was found at the time that around 2 million people suffered from drug-resistant infections, with nearly 23,000 dying from said infections.
“Germs continue to spread and develop new types of resistance, and progress may be undermined by some community-associated infections that are on the rise,” the report says. “While the development of new treatments is one of these key actions, such investments must be coupled with dedicated efforts toward preventing infections in the first place, slowing the development of resistance through better antibiotic use, and stopping the spread of resistance when it does develop to protect American lives now and in the future.”
The fear expressed by the CDC is that these “superbugs” that have evolved from other bacteria and fungi to become drug-resistant could become more common among patients.
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NaturalNews – Salt water gargles have been used for centuries as a home remedy. This simple mixture of warm water and salt can treat sore throats and mouth sores. Despite the emergence of medicated mouthwashes, people still use salt water solutions to address minor oral and throat problems.
A cheap and effective home remedy
The science behind salt water gargles is simple: It works on a process called osmosis. During osmosis, the molecules of a solvent move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration by passing through a semi-permable membrane, thus equalizing the concentrations on each side. When a person with an oral infection gargles salt water, the sodium in the solution passes through the tissue membrane and enters the area where the fluid infection resides (low salt concentration). Sodium then creates an adverse environment for the infection-causing bacteria while osmosis allows the salt water to draw out the fluid from the infected tissues, relieving the painful infection.
The simplicity of this mechanism of action may be the reason for the lack of research on salt water gargles. Despite being an age-old remedy, the effectiveness of this solution is underinvestigated. There is also the pending question of whether or not salt water solutions can be applied to problems that involve other parts of the body. (Related: Sage advice or old wives’ tales? Health experts look at the top 12 home health remedies.)
Saltwater versus mouthwash
Even with the existence of medicated mouthwash, it is interesting to note that people still use salt water solution as their go-to remedy. It begs the question then of which solution is more effective in treating mouth-related problems.
One small study compared the two. Indian researchers gathered 45 children and divided them into three groups: The first group gargled with salt water, the second received a placebo, while the third group used a mouthwash which contained alum. Alum refers to potassium aluminum sulfate, an active compound with antibacterial properties. The participants gargled twice daily.
After 21 days, the researchers observed that, compared with children who used a placebo, those who gargled with salt water had significantly reduced levels of mouth bacteria. However, the children who used mouthwash still displayed the highest level of improvement.
On the other hand, health experts do not recommend using a mouthwash due to its alcohol content. The alcohol in mouthwash may increase a person’s risk of developing oral cancer. For that reason, mouthwash is considered unsafe for everyday use. Instead, gargling with salt water three to four times a week is recommended to maintain good oral health.
Benefits of gargling with saltwater
Salt water is cheap and easy to make. Its accessibility is one of the main reasons why it is commonly used. Some studies have also attested to the benefits of gargling with salt water, which include:
Despite its simplicity, a salt water solution can be used to treat many oral conditions. Its affordability and accessibility make it a great home remedy for both children and adults to use.