Today’s News: October 17, 2019

World News

Obama Boosts Trudeau With ‘Unusual’ Endorsement

CTV – Former U.S. president Barack Obama has waded into the Canadian election, offering an unusual cross-border endorsement of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau with five days left in the campaign.

“I was proud to work with Justin Trudeau as President. He’s a hard-working, effective leader who takes on big issues like climate change. The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term,” said Obama in a tweet sent Wednesday.

UK and EU agree new Brexit deal

BBC – The prime minister hails “excellent deal” with the EU, but a successful vote in Parliament is not yet certain.

N Ireland party rejection hits Brexit deal hopes

BBC – It is a blow for Boris Johnson as the PM heads to EU summit for more talks on his draft agreement.

Syria will respond to Turkish aggression on any part of country – Assad

RT – Syria will respond to a Turkish aggression on any part of its territory with all legitimate means available, state media quoted President Bashar Assad as saying on Thursday.

The comments come after an agreement between Damascus and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to fend off an assault launched by Turkey on northeastern Syria last week.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence met on Thursday to discuss Ankara’s military offensive in northeast Syria, according to Turkey’s presidency.

Pence is expected to urge Turkey to halt its offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, a day after US President Donald Trump threatened heavy sanctions over the operation, Reuters said.

Angry Londoners Drag Climate Change Protesters From Roof of Train

Prison Planet – Angry Londoners furious at having their lives disrupted dragged ‘Extinction Rebellion’ climate change protesters from the roof of a train this morning.

The incident happened at Canning Town Tube station, located in London’s poor east end – a particularly stupid venue for Extinction Rebellion activists to try to pull such a stunt.

One decidedly middle class looking protester climbed on top of the train but was pelted with objects before being dragged back down to the platform.

Norwegians Told to Pee in the Shower to Save Water

Infowars – Norwegians are being told to pee in the shower in order to save water for the good of the environment.

Yes, really.

Frode Hult of the Water and Sewer Agency in Oslo appeared on Norwegian State Television NRK to raise awareness about the fact that Norway uses almost double the amount of water used in Denmark.

“Do not run the water when you brush your teeth, only wash with filled washing machines, only buy washing machines that don’t use so much water, use a pot when you ate watering plants in your garden. And pee in the shower in the morning,” said Hult.

The host of the show challenged this statement, remarking, “Pee in the shower? You do know that many people will choke when they hear you say that?”

“Yes, but it is great idea,” responded Hult. “We can also brush our teeth in the shower. It is very good for the environment.”

Viewers of the show did not react warmly to the proposal, with one asking, “Why not also poop in the shower?”

Trump Claims Prison ‘Escape’ Of ISIS Terrorists Was Manufactured

Infowars – President Trump claimed Wednesday that the purported ‘escape‘ of hundreds of ISIS terrorists from a prison in northern Syria was purposefully manufactured in order to draw US troops back into the conflict there.

While speaking in front of the press at the White House, Trump described the withdrawal of troops from Syria as “strategically brilliant,” adding that as far as ISIS is concerned “you have a lot of countries over there that hate ISIS as much as we do…So they can take care of ISIS.”

“We have them captured. The United States captured them,” Trump urged before making the claim about the purposeful release of jihadi fighters.

“Some were released just for effect to make us look a little bit like ‘oh gee, we have to get right back in there.’” The President said, again adding that “you have a lot of countries over there that have power and that hate ISIS very much, as much as we do.”

Two Americans detained in China

AFP – Two Americans from an English-teaching business in China have been detained and bailed in the east of the country on suspicion of “organising others to illegally cross the border,” the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Alyssa Petersen and Jacob Harlan, a father of five, were taken into custody in Jiangsu province on September 27 and 29 and then released on bail, said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

Their Idaho-based company China Horizons, which arranges for Americans to teach English in Chinese schools, said in a post on its Facebook page on Saturday that the charges were “bogus”.

The detentions come amid diplomatic and trade tensions between China and the United States.

Rioting in Barcelona for third straight night

France 24 – After another night of clashes in Catalonia which left nearly 100 people injured according to emergency services, activists again blocked roads on Thursday in the northeastern region of Spain.

For the third night running, protesters clashed violently with riot police in the Catalan capital on Wednesday night, torching cars and garbage bins, as they expressed their fury over the sentencing of nine Catalan separatist leaders to long jail terms over their role in a failed independence bid.

Emergency services said 58 people were injured in Barcelona, including a 17-year-old who was hit by a police van. Another 38 people were injured in protests in other Catalan cities.

Police arrested 33 people across the region, including 12 in Barcelona which recorded the most violent protests.

Several roads were blocked across Catalonia on Thursday due to marches which departed from five Catalan towns the day before heading for Barcelona, local officials said.

Pope warns against obesity, food ‘personal destruction’

Breitbart – Pope Francis: Obese Are ‘Victims of Improper Dietary Habits’

In a message Wednesday to Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the pope said that food “is ceasing to be a means of subsistence and turning into an avenue of personal destruction.”

This means that “820 million of the world’s people suffer from hunger, while almost 700 million are overweight, victims of improper dietary habits,” the pontiff stated in his message for World Food Day.

Many of these overweight people, he suggested, are found not in affluent nations but in developing countries “where they eat little but increasingly poorly, since they imitate dietary models imported from developed areas.”

Francis said that these improper eating habits call for “a conversion in our way of living and acting,” which must begin with nutrition.

“Nutritional disorders can only be combatted by the cultivation of lifestyles inspired by gratitude for the gifts we have received and the adoption of a spirit of temperance, moderation, abstinence, self-control and solidarity,” he said.

These nutritional virtues “summon us to a more simple and sober life, and unfailing concern for the needs of those around us,” he added.

Whereas individualism and egocentrism “serve only to generate hunger and social inequality,” he said, . a “fraternal solidarity that seeks the common good” will promote a healthy relationship with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, and with the environment.

As is his wont, the pope proposed that the problem of malnutrition and hunger are ultimately the by-products of the free market economy.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Elijah Cummings: Veteran US Democrat dies aged 68

BBC – The US congressman was heavily involved with the Trump impeachment inquiry.

One person missing in inquiry: The whistleblower

Reuters – Democratic lawmakers leading an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump have heard days of testimony from a parade of senior government officials. But they have yet to hear from the whistleblower who sparked the probe – and may never do.

In the end, it may not matter, some Democratic lawmakers said, because the other officials who have testified, Trump’s own statements, a trove of texts between top U.S. diplomats, and other White House documents have largely substantiated the whistleblower’s complaint that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Talks between lawyers for the whistleblower and representatives of the House of Representatives and Senate committees that want to question the intelligence official have all but deadlocked, three sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

Watchdog Sues for Records of Investments by Firms Tied to Hunter Biden

Judicial Watch – A prominent conservative watchdog group filed two lawsuits on Oct. 10, seeking records on the investments by two foreign firms tied to Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Judicial Watch sued the departments of state and Treasury for records tied to the investments by Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings and China’s Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). The watchdog requested records from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) after the government failed to turn over documents pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request filed on June 24, 2019.

Ambassador to E.U. to Testify That Trump Delegated Ukraine Policy to Giuliani

NY Times – Gordon D. Sondland said in his prepared statement to House impeachment investigators that he was disappointed the president involved his personal lawyer in diplomacy with Kiev.

House Oversight asks court to expedite subpoena for finances

The Hill – The House Oversight and Reform Committee asked a federal appeals court to expedite the enforcement of a subpoena for President Trump‘s financial records, citing Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.

“The Committee is engaged in oversight activity to examine whether federal officials—including the President—are making decisions in the country’s best interest and not for their own financial gain,” the committee’s lawyers wrote in a motion filed Wednesday night.

“Further, the House is now engaged in an impeachment investigation against President Trump, which is advancing on an expedited basis, and information received in response to the Mazars subpoena could be highly relevant to that inquiry as well.”

The motion comes just days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Oversight Committee’s subpoena of the financial firm Mazars, in a sweeping victory for the House Democrats. The subpoena was issued earlier this year prior to the launch of the impeachment inquiry.

CHICAGO TEACHERS STRIKE

AP – Chicago parents and community groups are scrambling to prepare for a massive teachers’ strike set to begin Thursday, prompting the city to preemptively cancel classes in the nation’s third-largest school district.

The Chicago Teachers Union confirmed Wednesday night that its 25,000 members would not return to their classrooms Thursday after months of negotiation between the union and Chicago Public Schools failed to resolve disputes over pay and benefits, class size and teacher preparation time.

The strike is Chicago’s first major walkout by teachers since 2012 and city officials announced early Wednesday that all classes had been canceled for Thursday in hopes of giving more planning time to the parents of more than 300,000 students.

“We want this to be a short strike with an agreement that will benefit our schools and our teachers. We have a ways to go,” Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said during a union news conference. “We actually want to see improvement on all the issues we are talking about here.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was disappointed by the union’s decision to strike.

Economy & Business

Workers celebrate deal with GM, show union power in industry

AP – On the picket lines at a General Motors transmission plant in Toledo, Ohio, passing cars honked and striking workers celebrated a tentative contract deal by munching on 10 pizzas dropped off by a supporter.

They had carried signs for 31 days and demonstrated the muscle the United Auto Workers union still has over Detroit’s three manufacturers.

Details of the four-year pact weren’t released, but GM’s latest offer to end the monthlong strike included wage increases and lump-sum payments, top-notch health insurance at little cost to workers, promises of new products for many U.S. factories and a path to full-time work for temporary workers.

Federal Debt Up $1.2 Trillion

CNS News – The federal debt increased by $1,203,343,570,253.55 in fiscal 2019, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department.

That equaled approximately $9,432 for each of the 127,586,000 households the Census Bureau estimated were in the United States in 2018.

In the decade that began on the first day of fiscal 2010 and ended on the last day of fiscal 2019, the federal debt increased by $10,809,572,749,922—for an average of $1,080,957,274,992.20 per year.

Science & Technology

Forced Human Experiments Fueling Advancements In Brain Chips?

Infowars – A doctor from Peru claims that recent advancements in brain chip technology could be due to “secret, forced, and illicit human experimentation” by a consortium of transnational tech companies and governments operating outside of the law.

A 2016 paper published in the Egyptian Journal of Internal Medicine warned that “secret, forced, and illicit human experimentation” could be happening in Latin America, where poverty-stricken masses are routinely recruited for medical trials.

The paper, titled “The secret of neuroscience boom: Are there secret human experiments in Latin América?” was written by Dr. David Salinas Flores, MD, Professor of Medicine at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru.

Health

Research suggests fasting can help men with Type 2 diabetes improve their glucose levels

NaturalNews – Fasting can help men suffering from Type 2 diabetes improve their glucose levels, suggests researchers from the U.S. and Australia. Their study, which appeared in the journal Obesity, revealed fasting to be a novel alternative treatment for managing the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million Americans have diabetes, and up to 95 percent of these cases are Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition marked by the body’s inability to respond to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows blood glucose to enter the cells of the body and be converted into energy. People with Type 2 diabetes have cells that resist insulin, which forces the body to produce more until it is unable to keep up. This leads to a rise in blood sugar levels. It is for that reason that individuals at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are advised to limit their sugar intake.

Bladder Drug Can Cause Eye Damage

Newsmax – The widely used bladder drug Elmiron may cause eye damage, a new study claims.

A report released last year suggested that the drug — known as pentosan polysulfate sodium and used by hundreds of thousands of people for decades — may be toxic to the retina, the light-sensing tissue at the back of the eye.

That led researchers to examine a database of 4.3 million patients at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

The three Kaiser Permanente ophthalmologists who conducted the study identified 140 patients who’d taken an average of 5,000 pills each over 15 years. Of those 140 patients, 91 agreed to an exam, and the researchers took detailed images of the back of their eyes.

Twenty-two of the 91 patients showed clear signs of Elmiron toxicity. The rate of toxicity rose with the amount of Elmiron taken, from 11% of those taking 500 to 1,000 grams to 42% of those taking 1,500 grams or more.

The findings showed that about one-quarter of patients who’d taken large amounts of Elmiron had clear signs of eye damage, and that damage caused by the drug could be mistaken for other retinal conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or pattern dystrophy.