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World News

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims

NY Times – More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

China defends Xinjiang crackdown after massive document leak

AFP – China on Monday vowed it would “never be soft” in its crackdown in Xinjiang, after a massive leak of government documents shed new light on the mass detention of Muslims in the far-west region.

Over 400 pages of internal papers obtained by the New York Times showed that President Xi Jinping ordered officials to act with “absolutely no mercy” against separatism and extremism in Xinjiang.

The documents, leaked by an unnamed official, included unpublished speeches by Xi as well as directives on the surveillance and control of the Uighur minority, the newspaper reported on Saturday.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Monday accused the Times of “turning a blind eye to the facts” while “taking meaning out of context to publicise so-called internal documents, slander and smear counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation efforts in Xinjiang”.

“China will never be soft in its fight against violent terrorists,” Geng said at a regular press briefing.

Human rights groups and outside experts say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been rounded up in a network of internment camps across the fractious region.

China, after initially denying the camps existed, describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of Islamist extremism and violence through education and job training.

Geng said that “thousands of violent terrorist incidents occurred in Xinjiang” between the 1990s and 2016, but current policies had prevented any attacks in the past three years.

“The leaked papers clearly reveal and confirm what has been going on in Xinjiang with regard to the all-out suppression and control of the non-Han peoples there (and elsewhere in China), including the massive detention and forced education camps,” Fei-Ling Wang, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told AFP.

Assad Goes Red Pill In Interview: Epstein, Bin Laden & Baghdadi ‘Liquidated’ As “They Knew Vital Secrets”

Nation and State – Assad Goes Red Pill In Interview: Epstein, Bin Laden & Baghdadi ‘Liquidated’ As “They Knew Vital Secrets”

In a wide-ranging new interview with Russia’s Rossiya-24 television on Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressed the death of White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier, who had been found dead Nov. 11 after an apparent fall from a three story high balcony outside his Istanbul office.

Le Mesurier was a former British military intelligence officer and founder of the controversial White Helmets group which Assad has previously dubbed the ‘rescue force for al-Qaeda’ and his reported suicide under mysterious circumstances is still subject of an ongoing Turkish investigation. In an unusual and rare conversation for a head of state, Assad compared Le Mesurier’s death to the murky circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jeffry Epstein, Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Assad said what connects these men are that they “knew major secrets” and were thus “liquidated” by “intelligence services” — most likely the CIA, in the now viral interview picked up by Newsweek and other mainstream outlets.

Parents protest at cardinal’s office for approving pro-LGBT terms for Catholic schools

Life Site – A dozen Catholics braved sharp November winds outside the Toronto archdiocesan office Tuesday to pray publicly that Cardinal Thomas Collins reverse a school board vote they say brings gender ideology into Catholic schools in violation of Church teaching.

Organized by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s largest pro-life, pro-family national lobbying group, the “pray-in” came four days after the Toronto Catholic District Catholic School Board (TCDSB) voted eight to four last week after months of bitter debate to add the terms “gender identity, gender expression, family and marital status” to its code of conduct.

A TCDSB report appended to the agenda the night of the vote said the archdiocese had approved adding the terms, provided these were interpreted through a “Catholic lens.”

Protesters try to escape Hong Kong university after violent all-night clashes with police

CNN – A small number of protesters remain inside a Hong Kong university campus that has been the site of a prolonged battle with police.

The overnight drama at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), in Hung Hom on the southern tip of the Kowloon peninsula, saw some of the most violent and dramatic scenes in almost six months of anti-government demonstrations.

Multiple arrests were made around the campus Monday, as protesters attempted to leave, only to be met with tear gas and rubber bullets. Those that were caught by police were often aggressively detained.

Hong Kong court rules ban on face masks unconstitutional

Al Jazeera – Hong Kong‘s high court has ruled that an emergency law revived by the government to ban protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional.

It found the law was “incompatible with the Basic Law”, the mini-constitution under which Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

“The restrictions it imposes on fundamental rights … go further than is reasonably necessary … and therefore fail to meet the proportionality test,” the court said on Monday, according to a press summary.

The ban on face-covering came into force in October, when the city’s unelected pro-Beijing leader invoked colonial-era legislation for the first time in more than 50 years.

Fears ‘5G weapons system on UK streets’ after conspiracist takes apart light

Daily Star – Street lights installed with 5G are a “weapons system” being released into UK streets, a conspiracist has claimed.

Over the last few months claims have been made that 5G systems could be harming the environment and the public.

And in a recent video, conspiracist Anthony Steele claimed a whistleblower who works for the police has come forward to confirm it.

Anthony deconstructed a light he claims the whistleblower sent him a light so he could see its inner elements.

While taking it apart, he said: “This is a weapon system, nothing more than a weapon system.

“I know it’s masquerading as a light but it’s a weapon.”

While stripping the lights of its internal components, Anthony held the antenna up.

“This has got the 450-volt capacitor on it and you see the cabling? It’s really important to see that,” he said.

“It’s an extremely dangerous piece of hardware, this is the single element and 31875.

“A lot of people are making complaints to the council now and making complaints that they’re being lied to about this technology.”

Steven went on to explosively claim that “the councils are lying about what this is.”

He added: “It’s an illegal piece of equipment, it’s not a part FCC approved piece of equipment.

“This can target acquire, it’s a radar that’s a scanner its a scanner antenna. They are illegal.

“If anyone thinks that councils have the right to scan your home are mistaken.

“That’s an offence in law.”

Since uploading the clip online, some 28,000 have viewed the clip.

Why Iran shut down the internet this weekend

CS Monitor – Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday cautiously backed the government’s decision to raise gasoline prices by 50% after days of widespread protests, calling those who attacked public property during demonstrations “thugs” and signaling that a potential crackdown loomed.

The government shut down internet access across the nation of 80 million people to staunch demonstrations that took place in a reported 100 cities and towns. That made it increasingly difficult to gauge whether unrest continued. Images published by state and semiofficial media showed the scale of the damage in images of burned gas stations and banks, torched vehicles and roadways littered with debris.

Since the price hike, demonstrators have abandoned cars along major highways and joined mass protests in the capital, Tehran, and elsewhere. Some protests turned violent, with demonstrators setting fires as gunfire rang out.

North Korea slams ‘useless’ US meetings

CNN – North Korea has said it is not “interested” in further meetings with the US, a day after President Donald Trump tweeted a message to the country’s leader Sunday saying “See you soon!”

A statement from North Korean Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan, posted by state news agency, KCNA, said: “I interpreted President Trump’s tweet on the 17th to signify a new DPRK-US summit” but “we are no longer interested in these meetings that are useless to us.”

Kim suggested that the US is trying to portray “advancement in Korean Peninsula issue” but that it was a delay tactic.

“We will no longer give the US president something to boast about for nothing in return, and we must receive from the US what is corresponding to the results that President Trump is already boasting as his achievements,” Kim said.

Hunter in China catches bubonic plague after eating a wild rabbit

CNN – wenty-eight people are in quarantine in China’s northern Inner Mongolia province after a hunter was diagnosed with bubonic plague Saturday, the local health commission said.

According to state-run news agency Xinhua, the unidentified patient was believed to have become infected with the plague after catching and eating a wild rabbit in Inner Mongolia’s Huade county.

Bubonic plague is the more common version of the disease and is rarely transmitted between humans.

The case comes after the Chinese government announced on November 12 that two people were being treated for the pneumonic plague in the capital of Beijing — the same strand that caused the Black Death, one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.

Pneumonic plague is the most virulent and deadly strain of the disease. It originates in the lungs and any person who is infected can spread it to another person by sneezing or coughing near them. It can be cured with antibiotics, but is always fatal if left untreated, according to the WHO.

In comparison, bubonic plague can only be spread by infected fleas or by handling an infected animal’s tissue.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

In Louisiana, a Narrow Win for John Bel Edwards and a Hard Loss for Trump

NY Times – John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, a rare Democratic governor in the South, was re-elected for a second term, beating back a challenger heavily supported by President Trump.

Impeachment: Trump will ‘strongly consider’ testifying

BBC – President Donald Trump has said he likes “the idea” of testifying in the impeachment inquiry against him.

In a tweet on Monday Mr Trump said he would “strongly consider” the move after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested it over the weekend.

The Democrat-led inquiry is establishing whether Mr Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in return for an inquiry into ex-Vice President Joe Biden.

The Republican president has dismissed it as a “witch hunt”.

On Sunday, Ms Pelosi said the president was welcome to “speak all the truth that he wants if he wants” before investigators.

“If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it,” she told the CBS News programme Face the Nation.

In his tweets, Mr Trump attacked Ms Pelosi as “Our Crazy, Do Nothing” speaker, but said he would consider testifying “in order to get Congress focused again”.

White House official sues Politico, targets Schiff’s role in impeachment

Fox – The impeachment inquiry against President Trump has triggered a wave of charges, countercharges, court battles, subpoenas and legal threats.

A White House official on Monday sued Politico and one of its reporters over stories and tweets that he says falsely accuse him of “lying, deceit and unethical conduct.”

Kash Patel, the National Security Council’s senior counterterrorism director, is seeking more than $25 million in damages in the suit filed in Virginia. We have reached out to Politico for comment.

The lawsuit also names Natasha Bertrand, a Politico reporter and MSNBC contributor, as well as Politico owner Robert Allbritton. The allegations, which center on what the president was told about the situation in Ukraine, go to the heart of the case for impeachment.

House investigating whether Trump lied to Mueller

CNN – The House of Representatives is now investigating whether President Donald Trump lied to special counsel Robert Mueller in written answers he provided in the Russia investigation, the House’s general counsel said in federal court Monday.

“Did the President lie? Was the President not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?” House general counsel Douglas Letter told the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit about why the House now needs access to grand jury material Mueller collected in his investigation.

Serial Liar Dan Rather: ‘Truth Is Closing In’ on Trump — And He Runs a CULT!

Fake News anchor joins Fake News Network to spew fake news

Infowars – Disgraced media liar Dan Rather appeared on CNN to bash President Trump and – ironically – discuss why the truth matters.

“So let’s talk more about the truth and why it matters and what’s been happening in the impeachment inquiry coverage,” CNN’s Brian Stelter proclaimed Sunday on his show “Reliable Sources.”

“And I’ve got to start with you Dan because you are our senior correspondent today. You’ve been watching history, along with the rest of us. Do you feel that anything changed after these first two days of televised hearings?”

Rather responded that the Democrat-led impeachment hearings prove that “the truth does matter.”

“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that truth is closing in. Truth does matter,” Rather said.

“I think we’ve seen the last few days, as to say, truth has begun to close in. Facts are beginning to matter. The difference between facts and the truth, people under oath and the false narratives that have been put out in way of defense is beginning to tell,” Rather continued.

“And there’s been this feeling for a long time that well, the White House with this alternative narrative, a false narrative and with its allies in primetime on Fox was at least in a standoff with truth.”

Rather went on to call Trump supporters “cultish,” falsely claiming they care about his personality than his policies.

The scandal in Washington no one is talking about

NY Post – The deadly-but-forgotten government gun-running scandal known as “Fast and Furious” has lain dormant for years, thanks to White House stonewalling and media compliance. But newly uncovered emails have reopened the case, exposing the anatomy of a coverup by an administration that promised to be the most transparent in history.

A federal judge has forced the release of more than 20,000 pages of emails and memos previously locked up under President Obama’s phony executive-privilege claim. A preliminary review shows top Obama officials deliberately obstructing congressional probes into the border gun-running operation.

Fast and Furious was a Justice Department program that allowed assault weapons — including .50-caliber rifles powerful enough to take down a helicopter — to be sold to Mexican drug cartels allegedly as a way to track them. But internal documents later revealed the real goal was to gin up a crisis requiring a crackdown on guns in America. Fast and Furious was merely a pretext for imposing stricter gun laws.

Only the scheme backfired when Justice agents lost track of the nearly 2,000 guns sold through the program and they started turning up at murder scenes on both sides of the border — including one that claimed the life of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

While then-Attorney General Eric Holder was focused on politics, people were dying. At least 20 other deaths or violent crimes have been linked to Fast and Furious-trafficked guns.

The program came to light only after Terry’s 2010 death at the hands of Mexican bandits, who shot him in the back with government-issued semiautomatic weapons. Caught red-handed, “the most transparent administration in history” flat-out lied about the program to Congress, denying it ever even existed.

Then Team Obama conspired to derail investigations into who was responsible by first withholding documents under subpoena — for which Holder earned a contempt-of-Congress citation — and later claiming executive privilege to keep evidence sealed.

But thanks to the court order, Justice has to cough up the “sensitive” documents. So far it’s produced 20,500 lightly redacted pages, though congressional investigators say they hardly cover all the internal department communications under subpoena. They maintain the administration continues to “withhold thousands of documents.”

Even so, the batch in hand reveals the lengths to which senior Obama operatives went to keep information from Congress.

The degree of obstruction was “more than previously understood,” House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a recent memo to other members of his panel.

“The documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials — including Attorney General Holder — intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress,” he asserted.

They also indict Holder deputy Lanny Breuer, an old Clinton hand, who had to step down in 2013 after falsely denying authorizing Fast and Furious.

Cops Strap Woman to a Chair, Torture Her with Taser Over Refusing to Sign a Ticket

Free Thought Project – A Boulder County woman got an unfortunate lesson in police brutality recently and the video of it looks like something out of 1930s Germany.  After attempting to exercise her rights not to incriminate herself, she found out the hard way police will not only taser you when you’re in handcuffs, but they’ll taser you when you’re completely restrained.

Lauren Gotthelf filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against several officers and the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for an incident which took place on Nov. 25, 2017.

Gotthelf got ticketed for smoking in public and not having her dog on a leash. She protested the charges by refusing to sign the police citation, an action which immediately resulted in her being arrested. It was such a minor infraction, it seems, but one which ultimately led to her torture she alleges. Her case shows that even the tiniest of infractions, if refused by citizens, can and will lead to those citizens getting kidnaped, caged, and in Gotthelf’s case, tortured.

US states saw drop in vaccine rates for children as anti-vaxx theories spread

The Guardian – More than half the states in America have seen a decline over the past decade in the take-up rates among kindergarten children of vaccines against diseases such as measles, mumps, hepatitis B and polio, as unfounded anti-vaccination theories have spread.

A new study by Health Testing Centers has found between 2009 and 2018 27 of the 50 US states experienced a drop in the percentage of vaccinated kindergarten-age children. In Georgia and Arkansas, the decline was more than 6%.

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), which is the focus of much activity by the so-called anti-vaxxer movement, is especially vulnerable. Alarmingly, the study finds that more than half of the states – 26 in total – have vaccination rates that have fallen below the target of 95% which experts state is needed to provide maximum protection against the diseases.

Three states – Colorado (88.7%), Kansas (89.1%) and Idaho (89.5%) – have rates that have fallen below the 90% that scientists say renders populations particularly vulnerable to a measles outbreak.

The study is based on data compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors analyzed CDC data covering the vaccination rates for kindergartners for the most common vaccines including MMR, polio, hepatitis B and varicella.

“For diseases with deadly potential, such as measles and polio, vaccination rates have fallen or remained below ideal thresholds,” the study concludes.

Geographic concentration of anti-vaccination sentiment is only one factor to be taken into account in gauging the efficacy of vaccines in fighting disease. The CDC has pointed out that lack of access to healthcare or to health insurance in low-income families is also important causes of children going unvaccinated.

The news comes at a time of renewed attention on the activities of anti-vaxxer campaigners who are vociferously opposed to the mandatory vaccination of children. Opponents of vaccines frequently peddle incorrect information, such as the debunked theory that MMR causes autism.

Earlier this month supporters of the discredited British former physician, Andrew Wakefield, released Vaxxed 2, a sequel to a documentary that has been used to spread anti-vaxxer propaganda across the US. Wakefield, who directed the original Vaxxed and appears in the follow-up, was debarred from practicing in 2010 after the study he published in the Lancet questioning the safety of MMR was found to have been conducted dishonestly.

Vaxxed 2 credits as its executive producer Robert F Kennedy Jr, the son of the assassinated Democratic presidential candidate who shared his name. Kennedy’s group Stop Mandatory Vaccinations was this week disclosed to be one of two organizations funding most of the misleading anti-vaxxer ads bought on Facebook.

The US has also been wrestling with localized outbreaks of measles in California, New York and other states. The importance of local concentrations of opposition to vaccinations is highlighted by the fact that New York state, which has suffered some of the worst measles outbreaks, overall has one of the highest rates of MMR vaccination at 97.2% of kindergartners.

Most of the measles cases in New York were confined to parts of New York city and Rockland county. The outbreaks caused more than 900 cases of the illness largely among children in ultra-orthodox Jewish communities where vaccination is widely opposed.

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The Health Testing Centers study emphasizes that trends vary greatly from state to state. South Carolina and Iowa have both seen vaccination rates across the board increase from 2009 to 2018 by 8.5%.

Mississippi stands at the top of the league table for MMR, with 99.4% of its kindergartners vaccinated.

He dropped f-bombs in a nasty letter to a judge and got jailed for it. What about his free speech rights?

Sun Sentinel – The letter ripped the judge as “incompetent” and “unfit to serve,” with expletives added for emphasis.

And it got Derrick Jenkins thrown in Palm Beach County Jail for 30 days as part of a six-month probation sentence. You can’t publicly curse the judge and get away with it, Jenkins found out the hard way.

But now he’s appealing his contempt of court conviction, in a case that raises the question: Don’t you have a First Amendment right to criticize someone wearing a black robe?

Usually only outside of court, legal experts say. Still, Jenkins’ lawyers argue he was “engaged in political speech” and didn’t deserve any punishment for insulting Circuit Judge Howard K. Coates Jr.

Jenkins, 39, figured he did nothing wrong with his scathing correspondence.

“I believe when I wrote my documents, I was using free speech,” Jenkins testified this year. “But I had no intent to cause anyone any harm.”

Jenkins had slammed Coates in response to the judge’s decision to dismiss his $500 million civil lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The suit claimed his friend’s time was wasted over a seat belt citation.

In his letter, Jenkins complained that the judge issued his ruling without “a fair and impartial review,” among other perceived slights.

“i hope everyone viewing this public document make careful desicions when selecting or electing you,” Jenkins wrote the judge on Jan. 25. “i will hold you personally liable as a man and you’re not immune to jack s—.”

Coates then took action. He charged Jenkins with criminal contempt for “statements and representations calculated to lessen the authority and dignity of the Court.”

This ultimately led to an April trial before Palm Beach County Judge Robert Panse, who was randomly assigned to hear the case.

It featured an unusual scene where Jenkins served as his own attorney and briefly got to question Coates. Jenkins asked the judge if he caused him any “harm, loss or injury” with the letter.

Coates said it did.

“You have impugned my reputation in the community by calling me, and I’m not going to repeat it, but an f’ing hypocrite and unfit to serve as a judge,” Coates told Jenkins, according to a transcript. “You have accused me of being incompetent. That causes personal harm. But the harm goes beyond me. It goes to the judicial system as well.”

Jenkins retorted that the judge “should have thick skin.”

No freedom of speech?

Aaron H. Caplan, a First Amendment expert and professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said Coates appeared to give the nasty letter more consideration than it deserved.

“The smart move would have been to ignore this guy because he’s not saying anything particularly important,” Caplan said. “However, it does sound like it was contempt of court.”

He explained that people can slam a judge all they want online, but not in court, or in a court filing.

“As a general matter, anyone can criticize a judge, anyone can say a judge should not be re-elected, and if Mr. Jenkins had written that in a letter and published it in your newspaper, or put it up on the internet, it’s absolutely First Amendment protected,” Caplan said, adding only a threat of physical harm would be problematic.

Inside a courtroom, however, outbursts aren’t tolerated.

“In order to have an orderly and fair justice system, people have to behave themselves in court … disorderly conduct, ranting and raving, insulting the judge, you can be found in contempt of court,” Caplan said.

“If you are a litigant, the things that you say from your mouth in the courtroom and also the papers that you admit for the court’s consideration, all of those could be subject to contempt.”

That’s what tripped up Jenkins, though it was entirely at Coates’ discretion.

“All Judge Coates needed to do was take this letter and stick it in the file and not worry himself about it,” Caplan said. “I personally do not see what is gained by prosecuting a disappointed litigant for contempt of court, and so I would wonder, what is the point?”

Coates has said that he charged Jenkins because he viewed the letter as a “calculated” attempt to force Coates off the case, had Jenkins tried to appeal his ruling.

Economy & Business

Brace For Impact! The U.S. Economy Is Going Down, And It Is Going Down Hard…

Michael Snyder – I have so many bad economic numbers to share with you that I don’t even know where to start.  I had anticipated that the U.S. economic slowdown would accelerate during the fourth quarter of 2019, and that is precisely what has happened.  The Federal Reserve is trying to do all that it can to keep us from officially slipping into a recession, and the federal government is literally spending money as if tomorrow will never come, but all of that intervention has not been enough to reverse our economic momentum.  We are really starting to see conditions begin to deteriorate very rapidly now, and 2020 is already shaping up to be the most pivotal year for the U.S. economy since 2008.

Let me start my analysis by discussing how U.S. consumers are doing right now.  According to CBS News, a major new study that was just released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially…

Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money.

The findings come from a survey of more than 5,400 Americans from the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit financial services consultancy. The project, which started a year ago, is aimed at assessing people’s financial health by asking about debt, savings, bills and wages, among other issues.

That sure doesn’t sound like a “booming economy”, does it?

And even though things are already really tough for millions upon millions of American families, it appears that things are rapidly getting worse.  In fact, we just witnessed the largest decline for the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index since 2008

Despite stocks soaring to record highs, The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index fell last week to 58.0 from 59.1 a week earlier, and has now plunged 5.4 points in three weeks, the biggest such drop since 2008…

Yes, the employment situation in this country is still relatively stable for the moment, but the truth is that most of the “jobs” that have been “created” in recent years actually pay very little.  If you can believe it, 58 million jobs in the United States currently pay less than $793 a week

There are now roughly 105 million production and nonsupervisory jobs in the U.S. That’s 83 percent of all private sector jobs. And more than half of them — 58 million — pay less than the average weekly U.S. wage of $793. Many of these jobs don’t offer health care or other benefits.

These are the best jobs that many Americans can find and the most hours they can get.

And I discussed in a previous article, 50 percent of all U.S. workers currently make less than $33,000 a year.

In recent years, many families have increasingly turned to debt in order to maintain their “middle class lifestyles”, but now a lot of those debts are starting to go bad.

China is building up its ‘shadow reserves’ to counter its reliance on the US dollar

CNBC – China is heavily exposed to the U.S. dollar, but now, with the risk of “decoupling,” Beijing is silently diversifying its reserves to reduce its dependence on the world’s largest reserve currency, analysts say.

Ongoing trade tensions with the U.S. has “increased the risk of a financial decoupling” between the two largest economies, ANZ Research said in a recent report. The White House reportedly considered some curbs on U.S. investments in China such as delisting Chinese stocks in the U.S.

Beijing will therefore manage its risk by diversifying its foreign exchange reserves into other currencies, ANZ predicted, as well as build up its “shadow reserves.”

“Although China still allocates a high share of its FX exchange reserves to the USD … the pace of diversification into other currencies will likely quicken going forward,” ANZ says in the report, adding that the share of the dollar in the country’s foreign exchange reserves was estimated to be around 59% as of June.

Although the exact allocation of China’s foreign exchange reserves in different currencies isn’t known, ANZ told CNBC it believes those would include the British pound, Japanese yen and euro.

Meanwhile, Beijing is gradually reducing its holdings of U.S. Treasurys, which it is heavily invested in — China was the largest foreign holder until June, when it was surpassed by Japan. Since peaking in 2018, China has reduced its holdings by $88 billion in the last 14 months, DBS said in a note.

According to data from the U.S. Treasury department, China held $1.11 trillion of U.S. debt in June.

At the same time, Beijing has been going on a gold buying spree, with its official gold reserves holding at record levels of 1,957.5 tons in October.

Chinese companies are also highly exposed to moves in the greenback, said Pinebridge Investment’s global economist Paul Hsiao, who pointed out the country reportedly has more than $500 billion in foreign corporate debt.

U.S. stock market at record but farm bankruptcies at highest since 2011

Market Watch – While the U.S. stock market is soaring to new record highs, farmers are having trouble paying their bills in the heart of America’s agricultural sector.

U.S. stocks closed at fresh record highs on Friday on revived hopes for a U.S. – China trade deal despite mixed economic data. The Dow DJIA, +0.01%  hit 28,000 for the first time after posting a fourth straight week of gains, while the S&P500 index SPX, -0.02%  rallied for a sixth week, its longest winning streak since November 2017.

Meanwhile, farms incomes are falling in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and portions of western Missouri and northern New Mexico, according to the Kansas City Federal Reserve.

Farm income fell in each state within the region from a year ago and credit conditions in the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District deteriorated in the third quarter despite an increase in the price of certain commodities and additional government aid to farmers.

Farm household spending and capital spending both declined, with bankers in the Kansas Fed’s region saying they expect the trends to continue.

Vladimir Putin: US Dollar Will Collapse Soon

Information Clearing House – Russian President Vladimir Putin succinctly     summarized the shifting tectonic plates of geopolitics.First he explained the status quo…

“The Dollar enjoyed great trust around the world. But, for some reason, it is now being used as a political weapon to  impose restrictions.”

Then Putin explained the consequences…away from the Dollar as a Reserve Currency.”

And ultimately what happens…

“US Dollar will collapse soon.”

And just like that, it was gone. Remember “nothing lasts forever”…

How FedEx managed to cut its tax bill to $0

FedEx – In the 2017 fiscal year, FedEx owed more than $1.5 billion in taxes. The next year, it owed nothing thanks to the Trump administration’s tax cut — for which the company had lobbied hard.

Energy & Environment

Rabbit-Sized ‘Mouse Deer’ Rediscovered in Vietnam After Being Lost to Science Since 1990

Good News Network – After being lost to science for almost three decades, this tiny deer-like species has finally been rediscovered in the forests of Vietnam.

The “silver-backed chevrotain”—also known as the “Vietnamese mouse deer”—is about the size of a rabbit. Its last recorded sighting was in 1990, but after researchers managed to capture photos and video footage of the critter in the wild, it is now the first mammal to be rediscovered on the Global Wildlife Conservation’s (GWC) top 25 most wanted lost species in the Search for Lost Species.

The GWC and their partners at the Southern Institute of Ecology and Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research made their rediscovery in southern Vietnam. Their findings, which were published this week in the scientific journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, is now spurring on efforts to protect the chevrotain and the other mysterious and extraordinary wildlife that share its home in Vietnam.

“We had no idea what to expect, so I was surprised and overjoyed when we checked the camera traps and saw photographs of a mouse deer with silver flanks,” said An Nguyen, associate conservation scientist for GWC and expedition team leader. “For so long, this species has seemingly only existed as part of our imagination. Discovering that it is, indeed, still out there, is the first step in ensuring we don’t lose it again, and we’re moving quickly now to figure out how best to protect it.”

The silver-backed chevrotain was described in 1910 from four individuals collected from southern Vietnam. A Russian expedition in 1990 in central Vietnam collected a fifth individual. Scientists know almost nothing about general ecology or conservation status of this species, making it one of the highest mammal conservation priorities in the Greater Annamite mountains, one of GWC’s focal wildlands.

Science & Technology

China now launches more rockets than anyone in the world

Ars Technica – In recent weeks, China’s space program has made news by revealing some of its long-term ambitions for spaceflight. These include establishing an Earth-Moon space economic zone by 2050, which, if successful, could allow the country to begin to dictate the rules of behavior for future space exploration.

Some have questioned whether China, which has flown six human spaceflights in the last 16 years, can really build a large low-Earth space station, send taikonauts to the Moon, return samples from Mars, and more in the coming decade or two. But what seems clear is that the country’s authoritarian government has long-term plans and is taking steps toward becoming a global leader in space exploration.

By one important metric—orbital launches—China has already reached this goal.

In 2018, the country set a goal of 35 orbital launches and ended up with 39 launch attempts. That year, the United States (29 flights) and Russia (20) trailed China, according to Space Launch Report. It marked the first time China led the world in the number of successful orbital launches.

Neptune’s moons are in a ‘dance of avoidance,’ NASA says

Fox – Neptune may be one of the more mysterious planets in the Solar System, but a new study notes that two of its moons, Naiad and Thalassa, are locked in a “dance of avoidance.”

The research, which can be read on the arXiv repository, notes that the two celestial satellites are only separated by approximately 1,150 miles, but they never get within 2,200 miles of one another, orbiting at slightly different speeds. Naiad also moves in a “zigzag pattern,” whereas Thalassa does not.

“We refer to this repeating pattern as a resonance,” said the study’s lead author, Marina Brozovic, an expert in solar system dynamics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. “There are many different types of ‘dances’ that planets, moons and asteroids can follow, but this one has never been seen before.”

The pattern never changes, as Naiad takes around seven hours to orbit the icy giant planet and Thalassa takes approximately seven and a half hours.

It’s unclear how this pattern started, but Brozovic believes it may have occurred when their original pattern was disrupted after Neptune captured its largest moon, Triton, eons ago.

Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Swedish Couple Builds Greenhouse Around Home to Stay Warm and Grow Food All Year Long

Return to Now – Greenhouse keeps home in the 60’s, even when it’s freezing outside; allows family to grow Mediterranean fruit in Sweden

Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto literally live in a bubble, insulated from the cold and the harshness of the elements, while taking in the best of what nature has to offer.

Their house is built inside of a greenhouse, providing them free heat and free food in the winter.

In Stockholm, Sweden, where winter lasts 9 months out of the year, that’s a huge asset.

The average temperature in Stockholm in January is below freezing. But step into Marie and Charles’ bubbled-in “backyard,” and you’ll be much warmer.

“For example at the end of January it can be 28°F outside and it can be 68°F upstairs,”

A normal family in Stockholm switches on their heater on sometime around mid-September, and doesn’t turn it off again until mid-May or so, Marie says.

The greenhouse allows them to reduce the number of months they need to heat their home from 9 to 6 months per year, and reduces the amount of energy they use doing so. Any supplemental heat they need, that is not provided by the sun, is provided by a wood-burning stove.

Marie says she is more or less immune to the winter blues many of her friends experience during cold weather. Rain or snow, she can sit out on her balcony or her roof-top terrace and gaze at the stars, or any glimpses of sun she can catch.

Then, during the warmest parts of the summer, her glass roof automatically opens up when it hits a certain temperature, to let the heat out so it doesn’t get too hot.

“It can get warm a few days in the summer,” she says, “but that’s not really a problem because we open the windows and we enjoy the heat. We like the sun!”

The family’s favorite hangout is the rooftop deck. Since they built a glass ceiling, they no longer needed a roof, so they removed it to create a large space for sunbathing, reading, gardening or playing with their son on swings and bikes.

In addition to keeping their bodies warmer, the greenhouse also keeps their plants warmer.

The footprint of the greenhouse is nearly double that of the home, leaving plenty of room for a wrap-around garden. And since they’ve created a Mediterranean climate for themselves, the couple grows produce that typically isn’t grown in Sweden, like figs, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. Outside the glass they have cherry and apple trees.

“Growing things here is not easy,” Marie says in the video. “We need all the extra energy we can get.”

On top of free heat, the couple has also installed a rainwater collection system for free water, and a composting toilet system that provides free fertilizer for their plants. Also, the plants that thrive in their home return the favor by cleaning the air and providing more oxygen.

It starts with a urine-separating toilet and uses centrifuges, cisterns, ponds and garden beds to filter waste water and compost the remains.

For the future, the couple is working on designing a system to capture excess solar energy during the summer and store it for the winter.

“If you want to be self sufficient, and not dependent on bigger systems, you can have this and live anywhere you like,” Marie said.

Health

Low Magnesium Linked to Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

Mercola – Magnesium is involved in more than 600 different biochemical reactions in your body, and deficiency can contribute to significant health problems. Two common pathologies associated with magnesium deficiency are Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Low magnesium levels have been linked to insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes, as it impairs your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, which is important for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes/

Recent research links low magnesium levels with diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Magnesium has been shown to improve Type 2 diabetes. Diabetics who took 250 milligrams of magnesium per day for three months improved their insulin sensitivity by 10% and reduced blood sugar by 37%/

The best way to ascertain your magnesium status is to do an RBC magnesium test, which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells, along with tracking any signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

>> Power Mall Product of Interest: Pro-Mag X (Magnesium Re-Natured) – 60CT & Magnesium Oil – 12 oz

Oolong Tea Raises Metabolism Supporting Health Goals

Mercola – Scientists have identified chemicals in green and oolong tea responsible for boosting metabolic rate and supporting weight loss. In one review of studies, the researchers found evidence oolong tea modulates energy balance, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and inhibits the development of fat.

Teatime is an honored tradition in Great Britain and much of Asia, with a history of health benefits including a reduction in all-cause mortality, lower blood pressure and reduction in chronic inflammation. These benefits are attributed to tea produced from the Camellia sinensis.

Oolong tea may be one of the healthiest teas as it is fermented more than green tea but less than black tea, is rich in antioxidant polyphenols and may reduce your risk of heart disease. Seek out loose leaf tea to avoid plastic particles commonly found in bagged tea, store in a cool, dark, dry area away from aromatic spices or coffee.

Herbal tea is the product of steeping herbs in hot water, which also have health benefits. However, products sold as “weight loss tea” usually contain more than you bargain for, including chemicals triggering loose bowel movements and dehydration.

Good News

After Chicago Becomes One of the Biggest US Cities to Ditch Overdue Library Fees, Book Returns Surge by 240%

Good News Network – Chicago book lovers are no longer being daunted by heaps of library late fees—and librarians are delighted to report that book returns have surged by 240%.

The Windy City became one of the first major cities in the nation, following others such as San Diego and Nashville, to do away with overdue book fees after Mayor Lori Lightfoot approved the policy in a bid to encourage literacy and educational resources amongst low-income communities.

Since it went into full effect across the city’s 81 neighborhood and regional libraries on October 1st, librarians say the policy has been instrumental in welcoming more patrons back to their locations.

According to the Associated Press, Library Commissioner Andrea Telli emphasized the policy’s success to her fellow City Council members during a budgetary meeting last month.

“Just by word of mouth and also on the library’s social media pages like Facebook, we saw a lot of patrons say, ‘Oh my God. This is so great. I’m gonna bring back my books. I’ve been hesitant to come back to the library because I owe these fines,’” Telli said.

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