Defence News – Two Iranian fast boats approached the U.S. Wasp-class amphibious assault ship Essex on Friday while it was operating in the Persian Gulf, according to U.S. defense officials.
The commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, was on board the Essex at the time of the incident, officials have confirmed.
“Today’s interaction with U.S. 5th Fleet forces and the IRGCN [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy] was characterized as safe and professional,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement. “The U.S. Navy continues to operate wherever international law allows.”
The IRGCN has a history of harassing U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf — an activity some analysts have noted recently has decreased.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that since Jan. 2016 there had been an average of more than two “unprofessional” encounters a month between Iranian fast boats and U.S. warships, for a total of nearly 50 incidents over a two-year period.
But the last “unprofessional” encounter occurred on Aug. 14, 2017, NAVCENT told Marine Corps Times.
AP – Several schools in Poland have canceled activities promoting tolerance for gays and lesbians following government pressure and threats in some places.
More than 200 schools had planned to take part in “Rainbow Friday,” an anti-discrimination event that a civic rights group, the Campaign Against Homophobia, had promoted in hopes of building greater acceptance for LGBT students.
Private broadcaster TVN reported that some schools pulled out of the event following an outcry.
Reuters – As probe into journalist’s killing progresses, Erdogan ramps up pressure on Riyadh and says Turkey has more evidence.
Al Jazeera – China and Japan on Friday pledged to forge closer ties as both countries stood together at an “historic turning point”, signing a broad range of agreements including a $30bn currency swap pact, amid rising trade tensions with Washington.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also agreed the two countries would work together to achieve denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.
CNN – A woman wielding a kitchen knife has attacked at least 14 children at a kindergarten in Chongqing in central China, local police said Friday.
Chongqing City Banan District police said the children were slashed as they walked back to class after their morning exercises at Yudong New Century Kindergarten about 9.30 a.m. local time.
Videos circulating on Chinese social media showed small children bleeding from severe cuts to their faces at the entrance of the kindergarten as stunned adults looked on.
RT – A Tory MP claims Britain must adopt a ‘foreign powers act’ to curb Russian influence that is threatening UK democracy, and warned that politicians must not be “paid influencers for others” – but why focus only on Russia?
Writing in The Times, Tory MP Bob Seely called on the UK government to consider the introduction of a ‘foreign powers act,’ in light of recent controversy surrounding House of Lords peers, such as Lord Greg Barker, who has come under scrutiny for his role as chairman of Russian energy firm EN+.
Seely, MP for the Isle of Wight, claims that British politicians acting as lobbyists for an “adversarial power” such as Russia, who he says is attempting to undermine UK democracy, looks dreadful.
“It’s not just the accusations of lobbying but also the lack of transparency. Peers lobbying in private in support of a self-proclaimed adversarial power looks dreadful. Russia is trying to damage the credibility of democracy. If it can create division, it will do so,” he wrote.
What’s noticeable about Seely’s piece is its sole focus on Russia. You’d think there was no case to answer for other countries and their British-based lobbyists.
Journalist and political commentator John Wight told RT that the likes of Saudi Arabia, the United States, Israel and Qatar are just some examples of states guilty of interfering in UK politics and culture.
“Various nations have massive influence on British politics to the point at which British democracy has been disfigured as a consequence,” Wight told RT.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
RT – Federal agents have arrested a suspect, widely identified as a 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, following a spate of suspicious packages sent to top Democratic officials in recent days. Here’s what we know about the suspect so far.
He’s a Florida resident
Media reports say Sayoc is a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was arrested in nearby Plantation. Both locations are just a few minutes north of Opa-locka, home to a mail facility raided by federal agents on Thursday evening, and believed to be the source of the suspicious packages.
Sayoc has lived in Florida since 2006, and before then lived in New Jersey, Alabama, and Michigan, but was born in Brooklyn, New York, according to public records.
He has a criminal record
Sayoc’s alleged mailbomb blitz is not the first time the Floridian has appeared on law enforcement’s radar. The 56-year-old was sentenced to a year’s probation in 2014 for theft and battery.
Breitbart – A North Texas woman recently indicted as part of a “voter fraud ring” paid the others involved in the scheme with funds provided by a Democratic Party leader, say court documents filed by the Office of Attorney General Ken Paxton this week.
Leticia Sanchez was charged with 17 felony counts of voter fraud following an investigation by Paxton’s office. Sanchez, 57, allegedly paid her co-defendants to target elderly voters in select northern Fort Worth precincts in the 2016 March Democrat Party primary election to affect the outcome of certain down-ballot candidate races.
Daily Mail –
Sources confirm to DailyMail.com that Kelly will not return to NBC airwaves.
Her show aired a repeat on Thursday and will also be a repeat on Friday after she defended blackface on Tuesday’s show and apologized Wednesday on air
In the past 24 hours she has parted ways with CAA agents, been rejected by agents at UTA and hired a lawyer who specializes in gender-bias contract cases
Sources tell DailyMail.com there are tentative conversations about her returning to Fox News, where she was not popular with her colleagues when she left
A Fox News spokesperson responded to this by stating: ‘We are extremely happy with our entire line-up’
Kelly is set to be paid out her entire $69 million contract unless the network can prove she violated a clause in some way
Page Six is reporting that Kelly has asked that Ronan Farrow be present when she and her attorney meet with NBC execs
Reuters – A former contestant on the television show “The Apprentice” who accused U.S. President Donald Trump in a lawsuit of defaming her by denying her claim that he kissed and groped her against her will, lost a motion to compel Trump to answer requests for evidence related to accusations against him by other women.
Justice Jennifer Schecter of the New York state court in Manhattan on Friday ruled at a hearing that Trump must turn over evidence and answer questions related directly to the former contestant, Summer Zervos, but not about claims involving other women that are “factually completely unrelated to her and her claim.”
Activist Post – Phillipsburg, KS — The parents of children at a middle school in Kansas are likely regretting their decision to allow the school to drug test their students this week after their children came home with large patches of missing hair. The hair was used in the random drug testing process of 11- to 14-year-old children.
The school district is now on the defensive after multiple students complained to their parents about the hack jobs they received as the state searched their bodies for illegal substances.
Hopefully, this situation allows the parents realize the error of their ways and take note of what happens when you ask the state to parent your children.
Newsmax – The Trump administration is considering an order to block the entry of migrants at the southern border using the same authority as its earlier travel ban, a person familiar with the matter said, as thousands of Central Americans make their way toward the U.S.
The action, if implemented, would effectively bar those seeking asylum from entering the country. President Donald Trump is weighing a range of possible options designed to prevent undocumented migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexican frontier, according to a White House official familiar with the discussions. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity as no final decision has been made.
The travel ban, announced shortly after Trump took office, affected people from seven countries, five of them with Muslim majorities. The executive order being looked at now would deny asylum claims based on national security concerns and would give broad authority to officials at the border, the person said.
Economy & Business
CNBC – Gross domestic product expanded by a 3.5 percent annual rate. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the economy to expand by a 3.4 percent annual rate.
The department said the PCE price index, a key measure of inflation, increased by 1.6 percent last quarter, much less than the 2.2 percent increase expected by economists polled by StreetAccount.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew by 4 percent in the third quarter, the strongest since the fourth quarter of 2014.
Energy & Environment
The Christian Science Monitor – After super typhoon Yutu hit the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, residents expect to be without electricity or running water for months. The territory said it will need significant help to recover.
New York Times -The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a ban on single-use plastics such as straws, plates, cutlery and cotton-swab sticks in Europe by 2021, joining a global shift as environmentalists emphasize the urgency of halting the use of materials that are detrimental to the planet.
Under the proposal, approved on a vote of 571 to 53 on Wednesday, 10 single-use plastics that most often end up in the ocean will be prohibited in the European Union, as well as oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or fast-food container packaging.
Science & Technology
Infowars – Today the US Transportation Security Administration released a detailed TSA Biometric Roadmap for Aviation Security & the Passenger Experience, making explicit the goal of requiring mug shots (to be used for automated facial recognition and image-based surveillance and control) as a condition of all domestic or international air travel.
It’s a terrifyingly totalitarian vision of pervasive surveillance of air travelers at, quite literally and deliberately, every step of their journey, enabled by automated facial recognition and by the seamless collaboration of airlines and airport operators that will help the government surveil their customers in exchange for free use of facial images for their own business purposes and profits.
The closest contemporary counterpart to what the TSA envisions for the USA is the pervasive surveillance and control of travelers in China through automated facial recognition by the Public Security Bureau.
Food Babe – This story about McDonald’s was all over the news… Did you see it? Here are some headlines:
“McDonald’s removing artificial additives from its burgers” – CNN Money
“McDonald’s burgers: New recipes remove artificial ingredients” – CBS News
“McDonald’s Nixes Artificial Ingredients from Its Burgers” – Food & Wine
Sounds pretty good, right? At first, I was very intrigued.
But after doing a little digging, I got ticked off by these news stories.
These types of headlines can lead people into believing that McDonald’s has made sweeping changes and that their food is no longer made with artificial ingredients but that is FAR from the case, as I’ll demonstrate below.
Here’s the truth about McDonald’s food.
High fructose corn syrup is still in ALL of the classic McDonald’s burgers.
McDonald’s didn’t remove high fructose corn syrup from the ketchup or Big Mac Sauce that they put on their classic burgers.
And that’s not all these news stories left out…
The “new” ingredient list at McDonald’s is a who’s who list of ingredients to avoid. Artificial dyes, artificial flavors, artificial emulsifiers, and artificial preservatives are still very DOMINANT on their menu.
NaturalNews – Drinking concentrated blueberry juice prevents cognitive decline among the elderly, according to a study. Older adults showed a significant improvement in cognitive function and blood flow to the brain after drinking the blueberry beverage for a period of 12 weeks. Evidence shows that the juice can even improve working memory. These findings were published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
Dr. Group – They are delicious and super nutritious — even if you do not stick to a plant-based diet.
HERE are two recipes that you can try. I use a dehydrator for totally raw kale chips, which take a few hours to finish. You can use the oven to speed things up (though they won’t be raw).