Today’s News: October 23, 2019

World News

Hong Kong formally scraps extradition bill that sparked protests

BBC – Hong Kong’s legislature has formally withdrawn a controversial extradition bill that has sparked months of unrest.

The bill – which would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China – prompted outrage when it was introduced in April.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and the bill was eventually suspended.

But protesters have continued regular demonstrations, which spiralled into a wider pro-democracy movement.

Brazil reforms pensions ‘to boost economy’

Al Jazeera – The move raises the minimum retirement age by nine years and increases workers’ contributions.

Turkey Syria offensive: Russia deploys troops to border

BBC – Russian forces have begun to deploy towards the Turkey-Syria border, as part of deal to remove Kurdish troops.

Units have already entered the two key border towns of Kobane and Manbij.

Under the deal agreed by Russia and Turkey, Kurdish fighters were given 150 hours from noon on Wednesday to pull back 30km (18 miles) along the border.

Australian Newspapers “Censor” Their Front Pages in Protest Against Government Secrecy Laws   

Activist Post – In an unprecedented show of unity, Australian media outlets ran similar stories and redacted front pages featuring the ‘right to know’ campaign in response to government actions that undermine the work of journalists.

Australia’s Right to Know coalition said that rival media groups have joined forces to defend press freedom:

The media plays a vital role in telling the public what’s really going on. But journalists and whistleblowers in Australia live in fear of criminal charges, police raids and damaging court battles that threaten their professional careers and personal freedom.

The coalition also asserted that the campaign is not just intended to benefit the media but also the public’s right to know:

Even though our coalition is made up of competing businesses, we still team up to protect Australians’ right to know. We do this because media freedom is critical for holding powerful people accountable and ensuring you know about issues like aged care abuse, secret spying on Australian citizens and mysterious land deals with foreign owners.

According to the coalition’s research, Australian governments have passed around 75 laws related to secrecy, encryption, and spying which are often used to intimidate, prosecute, and arrest journalists.

In the past year, some media offices were raided for publishing classified information. Information requests on some public matters such as elderly abuse, the number of children in adult detention centers, and public surveillance were also denied.

Pentagon will send more than 50 F-35s to Europe to deter Russia

Fox – The Pentagon is sending more than 50 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Europe over the next few years to deter Russia and help NATO prepare for an entirely new kind of warfare.

“By the time our planes get there, there will be 100-plus F-35s there with our European partners,” Air Force Gen. James Holmes told reporters at a recent Air Force Association Conference at Maryland’s National Harbor. “We will be falling in on our European partners who already have their F-35s.”

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Thousands of witches to cast massive spell on Trump and his supporters

WND – At one minute before the stroke of midnight on Oct. 25, thousands of self-identified witches plan to simultaneously conduct a ritual meant to “bind” President Trump “and all those who abet him.”

The practice has taken place monthly since Trump’s inauguration, notes Michael Snyder on his End of the American Dream blog, but with Halloween approaching and an impeachment inquiry underway, it’s getting renewed media attention.

The practitioners explain that unlike a “curse” or a “hex,” a “binding spell” is not meant to cause harm.

“Rather,” writes Snyder, “the witches hope to prevent President Trump from doing harm to the United States by his actions, and so they actually believe that they are doing something very positive for the country.”

But a closer examination “reveals some very disturbing details,” he writes, as the witches are instructed to call on “demons of the infernal realms” for help in binding Trump and his allies.

With props that include an unflattering photo of Trump, a tarot card, a stub of an orange candle, a pin and a feather, the participants will call on the “heavenly hosts, demons of the infernal realms, and spirits of the ancestors” to bind Trump “so that his malignant works may fail utterly.”

Joe Biden called out for slamming Trump’s lynching tweet when he said the same thing in 1998

Daily Mail – Joe Biden has apologized for using the word ‘lynching’ when describing the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998.

His apology comes after the former Vice President lambasted President Donald Trump for also using the exact same word as he described his current impeachment process.

‘This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that,’ Biden wrote in a tweet late on Tuesday night.

Biden used the word during a 1998 CNN interview as he defended then President Clinton on-air.

But the former VP went on to imply that unlike him, the current President used the word to ‘deliberately’ evoke racist connotations.

‘Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily,’ Biden implored.

Biden is now coming under fire for his double standard after he earlier described Donald Trump as ‘despicable’ for comparing the impeachment inquiry to ‘a lynching’.

Lori Loughlin facing new charges in US college admissions scam

Al Jazeera – Actress Lori Loughlin is facing a new bribery charge after federal prosecutors on Tuesday said they brought additional charges against 18 wealthy parents, university athletic officials and others accused of participating in the largest US college admissions scam ever uncovered.

Dick’s CEO Ed Stack Tests Third-Party Presidential Run

Breitbart – Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack may parlay his corporate gun control push into a third-party run for the presidency in 2020.

Politico reports a “focus group in southern Wisconsin” looked at three-way contests between President Donald Trump, Stack, and Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren. The group centered in on Stack “showing leadership” by barring Dick’s from selling “assault rifles,” in the wake of the February 14, 2018, Parkland school shooting.

Dick’s also prohibited the sale of “high capacity” magazines under Stack’s leadership, and the company raised the minimum age for long gun purchases from 18 to 21 years of age.

Economy & Business

Zions Bancorporation to lay off 5% of workforce by year’s end amid revenue declines

SKL – Utah-based Zions Bancorporation will lay off 5% of its workforce and is planning to close a “modest amount” of bank branches to keep its expenses in check, its top executives announced during a teleconference with investors Monday afternoon.

The company, which oversees Zions Bank in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, as well as banks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington, employs about 10,000 people across those 11 states. That means approximately 500 people across those states would be laid off.

Exact details of layoffs and closures, including how many employees and which branches will be affected, weren’t disclosed during the 50-minute meeting; however, the layoffs are expected to be completed by the end of 2019, Zions Bancorporation CEO Harris Simmons said during the call.

James Abbott, director of investor relations for Zions Bancorporation, told KSL.com on Tuesday that most, but not all, of those receiving pink slips will be kept on through the end of the year and that layoffs will be scattered across the company.

Libra: Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress about embattled cryptocurrency (live)

The Guardian – Facebook CEO faces growing pushback from legislators over plans to develop alternative payment system

Boeing hit with new industrial setbacks as 737 MAX crisis deepens

Reuters – Boeing Co (BA.N) cut production of its flagship Dreamliner and delayed the arrival of a successor to its 777 mini-jumbo, piling new pressures on a rejigged senior management team on Wednesday as the continued safety grounding of its 737 MAX sliced third-quarter profits.

The world’s largest planemaker also said it was delaying plans to step up production on its money-spinning 737 line in the Seattle area, and would not hit a record-level 57 aircraft monthly until late 2020, months later than previously planned.

One of Russia’s top banks suggests expanding non-dollar settlements with African countries

RT – The head of Russia’s VTB Bank Andrey Kostin said the expansion of non-dollar payments between Russia and the countries of Africa will help to reduce the risks for the financial systems of those countries.

Energy & Environment

Thailand to Ban Glyphosate and Other High-Profile Pesticides

Sustainable Pulse – Thailand edged closer Tuesday to banning glyphosate and two other controversial pesticides despite protests from farmers in a multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry aiming to be the “kitchen of the world”.

Let Them Eat GM Cottonseed!

Sustainable Pulse – US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulators have approved a new type of GM cotton, the seed of which is to be used for human and animal consumption. The cotton, developed by researchers at Texas A&M University, is being touted as a protein-rich way to feed the poor and hungry. However, the many risks of this GM food are being ignored, GM Watch reported.

Science & Technology

Google claims its quantum computer can do the impossible in 200 seconds

CNN – Google claims it has designed a machine that needs only 200 seconds to solve a problem that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to figure out.

The speed achieved by the computer represents a breakthrough called “quantum supremacy,” according to a blog post from the company and an accompanying article in the scientific journal Nature.

The results announced Wednesday herald the rise of quantum computers, which can store and process much more information than their classical cousins by tapping into the powerful forces contained in the field of physics known as quantum mechanics.

One big difference: Normal computers use data that exist in only one state at a time — a one, or a zero. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which can simultaneously be any combination of zero and one. The difference means much faster processing speeds.

Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech, hand-held rivals pose threat

Al Jazeera – High-tech ultrasound scanners allow doctors to watch the body in motion and see things like leaky valves, proponents say

Health

Miraculous Magnesium

Mother Earth Living – Essential and elemental, magnesium works nothing short of miracles when it comes to your health. Necessary for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, it plays a chief role in regulating blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and it even ensures the conductivity of electrical impulses for a regular heartbeat. Among its other essential roles, magnesium synthesizes proteins, ensures proper muscle contraction, and aids in increasing bone density. It’s also a major player in healthy brain functioning.

However, about 68 percent of Americans suffer from magnesium deficiency. Because it’s a macro mineral, large doses of magnesium must be consumed frequently to avoid deficiency. Gaining a thorough understanding of the impact of a magnesium-rich diet may help you assess whether you could be lacking sufficient intake. Increasing your consumption of magnesium-rich foods or supplements will only improve your health.

Power Mall Products of Interest: Magnesium & Amino Acid Complex – 60 CT (GBN) & Magnesium Oil – 12 oz

Biogen CEO ‘reasonably confident’ once-doomed Alzheimer’s drug will be granted FDA approval 

CNBC – Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos told CNBC on Wednesday that he is “reasonably confident” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will approve the drugmaker’s experimental Alzheimer’s drug.

“We worked in full transparency with the regulator,” Vounatsos told “Squawk Box,” emphasizing the FDA has all of the company’s data on the drug.

“The evidence came over time. We collected a tremendous and complex set of data, including biomarkers and imaging,” he said. “This was a thorough engagement, and as CEO I’m reasonably confident this will lead to market approval one day.”

Retailers move to reassure consumers over chicken safety after drug seizure

The Guardian – Retailers and the poultry industry have attempted to reassure consumers on the safety of chicken, after a seizure of Chinese antibiotics suspected to be destined for unregulated use on a poultry farm in Northern Ireland.

The County Tyrone farm suspected of trying to source the antibiotics is now at the centre of an investigation by the Northern Ireland Department of Health. It sends chickens to the processing company Moy Park, a major supplier to UK retailers including Tesco, Ocado and Sainsbury’s.

Investigators have not confirmed publicly whether this is an isolated incident or whether poultry containing antibiotic residues could have been entering the retail food chain for an extended period

Aroma of Plum and Cherry With a Hint of Roundup

Mercola – Glyphosate affects the crops being sprayed, and those in the next fields, as vineyards have discovered when bottles of organic wine tested positive; the herbicide may remain in the soil for more than 20 years.

Despite mounting evidence glyphosate is responsible for numerous health conditions, one county in California continues to use it, citing a cost-benefit assessment where they count the benefit of weed control over the cost to health and the environment.

Biodynamic wine often means the vineyard and winery are geographically close as this is part of the overall sustainability of the operation. Look for Demeter or SIP Certification on the back of the label; while a Demeter certified farm may grow different crops, SIP Certification is aimed specifically at vineyards.

A Demeter Biodynamic certification goes beyond organic principles, treating the farm as an interconnected organism capable of maintaining a healthy habitat using what is produced on the farm

Action Item

New Legislation will Help Communities Control how 5G Gets Implemented

Health Impact News – New legislation will help communities control how 5G gets implemented. Action Alert!

New bills in the House and Senate will roll back FCC regulations that prevent local communities from having input over how 5G networks get installed in their towns. We must encourage our elected officials to support this legislation, and more importantly, urge them to halt the expansion of 5G networks until more safety studies are done.

The federal bills roll back FCC rules that put a strict time limit (90 days) on cities to review small-cell site applications and limit the amount of money cities can charge cable companies for using public infrastructure.

As you’ll recall, 5G networks require installing “small cells” all over neighborhoods and cities. These small cells include antennas, power supplies, electric meters, switches, bundles of cables, and boxes—all strapped to streetlights and utility poles. Some have refrigerator-sized containers on the ground. These cells are supposed to be placed every 500 feet along residential streets and through commercial districts.

These federal bills do not allow communities to halt the implementation of 5G. Communities can’t say no entirely since crony-driven federal legislation took away the right of localities to question any of these service on the basis health or environmental effects. The bills do, at least, allow communities to exercise more control over how it is implemented. We must also fight so that more safety testing is done before 5G is launched in more communities.

Action Alert! Tell your elected officials to support these bills, and also demand that more safety testing be done before 5G can be implemented. Please send your message immediately.

Read the full article on ANH-USA.org.