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Top Headlines


Active shooter drill planned for Thursday night in Squirrel Hill, Darlington Road to close

Trib Live- Pittsburgh and Allegheny County police along with the FBI will hold an active shooter drill Thursday night in Squirrel Hill.

The drill will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Jewish Community Center, 5738 Forbes Ave.

Darlington Road will be closed from St. Edmund’s Way to Murray Avenue.

Residents may notice a large police presence in the area.

The exercise is closed to the public and the media.

The exercise is to ensure the area is prepared and ready to respond in an active shooter situation. The exercise will include apprehending a shooter, evacuations and treating victims at the scene.

At least 50 volunteers from the Squirrel Hill community and the Jewish Community Center staff will serve as role players for the exercise.


Pesticides? Genetics? France launches probe after more birth defects cases revealed

RT – A nationwide investigation has been launched in France amid growing concern at the increased number of instances of babies being born with birth defects, like missing or malformed arms, sparking a public health scare.

Assuring citizens that nothing “is being hidden from you,” head of Public Health France Francois Bourdillon told RTL radio listeners that an investigation was already underway and that results were expected in about three months.

“We will look at all suspect cases,” he assured.

The condition, a type of agenesis, is where the upper limbs of a fetus fail to form correctly during pregnancy. Those affected can be born with missing upper limbs, forearms, hands, or fingers.


Sophia The Robot That Wanted To “Kill All Humans” First Machine Granted Visa

Activist Post – The robot named Sophia that once creepily responded it wanted to “destroy all humans,” will take its place as the first robot to be granted a Visa, Yahoo reported.

Sophia traveled to Azerbaijan as part of a world tour promoting robotics and met the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, who greeted the droid.

ophia’s visit was organized by UN public service award winner ASAN (Azerbaijan Service and Assessment Network) xidmet, a government agency in Azerbaijan, according to Forbes.


Guatemalan Authorities Rescue Group of Minors from Human Smugglers in Caravan

Judicial Watch – Judicial Watch has obtained exclusive information and photos from Guatemalan authorities revealing that they have recovered seven unaccompanied minors from human smugglers working inside the caravan. The children have been taken into custody and they are being provided with food, water and medical attention, according to a high-level Guatemalan government official. The smugglers have been arrested and the broader investigation into criminal activity in the caravan is ongoing.

A Judicial Watch team, headed by Director of Investigations Chris Farrell, spent several days on the Guatemala-Honduras border covering the illegal alien caravan, which originated in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. The team filed a number of exclusive reports and videos and met with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and other top government officials.

“Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of this top news story, reporting exclusive information from inside that no other news organization is reporting,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Chris Farrell and Irene Garcia put themselves in harm’s way to get this material, and Judicial Watch supporters nationwide are highly grateful for their sacrifices.”

Read more about human trafficking in the caravan here. See Judicial Watch’s exclusive interview with a caravan member, a 40-year-old Honduran who previously lived in the United States for decades before getting deported, here.

See Judicial Watch’s exclusive reporting about the large numbers of migrants from various countries–including Brazil and even as far as China & India– traveling through Central America en route to the United States here. Read more about this exclusive story here.

Judicial Watch recently reported that, in a startling revelation, Guatemala’s president announced in the country’s largest newspaper that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists have been apprehended in the impoverished Central American nation.


World News


Eyes in the sky: Russian bombers run drills amid massive NATO wargames

RT – Two Russian Tu-160 ‘White Swan’ bombers are running drills in international waters off the coast of Norway, rattling NATO amid massive ‘Trident Juncture 2018’ wargames on Russia’s doorstep. UK jets were scrambled in response.

Long-range strategic bombers are conducting planned exercises in the Barents Sea and the Sea of Norway, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. The flights will take around ten hours, after which the bombers will return to base.

Russia filed a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) of the exercise on Tuesday, saying that “rocket test firings” will be conducted in the Sea of Norway from 7 am to 2 pm GMT daily, November 1-3.


Turkey: Khashoggi strangled immediately after entering consulate

Al Jazeera – Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and then his body was dismembered, the office of city’s chief prosecutor said on Wednesday, in the first official comment in the case that has caused a global outrage.

“In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was choked to death immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, for marriage formalities,” the statement said.


EU prepares for a no-deal Brexit amid lack of progress on talks

The Guardian – The European Union is pressing ahead with plans for a no-deal Brexit, amid uncertainty about when high-level negotiations will resume.

With 149 days until Brexit day, time is running out to secure a deal that the British government wants to nail down this autumn, to allow time for the agreement to gain assent from parliament and the European parliament.

EU diplomats meeting on Tuesday agreed to hold a series of no-deal planning seminars in November, covering citizens’ rights, aviation, ground transport, customs, border controls and financial services.

Senior British and EU officials are in constant contact and neither side has given up on holding a special Brexit summit in mid-November to strike a deal. With British politics focused on the budget, EU diplomats do not expect talks between the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, to resume this week.

Some European officials see a growing risk of sliding into an accidental no-deal, if the British parliament votes down any agreement the embattled prime minister strikes with the EU.


U.S. News, Politics & Government


‘Trump ain’t playin’: Video Shows Hundreds of Military Vehicles Being Shipped to Border

Infowars – A video posted to Twitter Tuesday showed a shipment of hundreds of military vehicles reportedly being sent to the US border in anticipation of a showdown with the migrant caravan currently headed to the US.

The footage comes as President Trump announced he would be sending 5,200 troops to strengthen border security after reports that a caravan of about 14,000 migrants, made up of mostly Hondurans, has continued making its way towards the US border.


Politico: Mueller May Have Subpoenaed Trump Already

Newsmax – Special counsel Robert Mueller may have already subpoenaed President Donald Trump, according to court docket entries that have already been filed, former federal prosecutor Nelson W. Cunningham writes in a column for Politico.

“Since mid-August, he may have been locked in proceedings with Trump and his lawyers over a grand jury subpoena – in secret litigation that could tell us by December whether the president will testify before Mueller’s grand jury,” said Cunningham.

He noted that on Aug. 16, a sealed grand jury case was initiated in D.C. federal district court before Chief Judge Beryl Howell, and on Sept. 19, Howell issued a ruling.

The docket sheets do not identify the witness, said Cunningham, and although Politico asked attorneys such as Jay Sekulow who the witness is, they all denied knowledge.

However, he noted that the parties and judges all moved quickly; the appeals court responded with “remarkable speed” and even though there was an “unspecified procedural flaw,” the matter was resolved in less than a week, when in other cases such a flaw would have taken weeks or months to resolve.

He added that the evidence points to the witness being the president, including the fact that his sole appointee to the D.C. Circuit court, Gregory Katsas, one of Trump’s former deputy White House counsels, has recused himself.

“If Mueller were going to subpoena the president – and there’s every reason why a careful and thorough prosecutor would want the central figure on the record on critical questions regarding his knowledge and intent – this is just the way we would expect him to do so,” said Cunningham.


Democrat Stacey Abrams: AR-15s Are ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction,’ Must Be Banned

Breitbart –  Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) says AR-15s are “weapons of mass destruction” that must be banned.

Abrams said she is not “anti-gun,” then listed numerous gun controls, including an all-out ban on commonly owned semiautomatic firearms.

She was a guest on The View, and host Meghan McCain noted, “You have been endorsed by Everytown, which is an anti-gun organization–Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group as well. You say you’re proud of your F rating from the NRA. Michael Bloomberg and others like him support taking the AR-15–which is the most popular rifle in America–away from people. Do you, like Everytown, support banning the AR-15?”

Abrams responded by quickly claiming she is not “anti-gun,” then laying out many of the gun controls she wants to put in place: “I believe in a background check. I believe in a three-day waiting period. I believe that those who commit domestic violence and stalking should not have access to weapons.”

She then described AR-15s as “weapons of mass destruction” and made clear her position that they should be banned from civilian ownership


Ben and Jerry’s Introduces ‘Pecan Resist’ Flavor, Slams ‘UnAmerican’ President Trump

Breitbart -The two men who founded Ben and Jerry’s ice cream company – known for its leftist activism – were in Washington, DC, on Tuesday to announce the new “Pecan Resist” flavor mocking President Donald Trump and stating at the event that Trump “must be stopped.”

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were joined at the National Press Club by other leftist activists, including Color of Change, Honor the Earth, NETA and the anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, co-founder of the anti-Trump Women’s March.

“In 40 years Ben and Jerry’s has never spoken out against the president of the United States and we do not do so lightly today,” Cohen said. “But these are not normal times.”


Trump Administration to Revise Birth Control Exemptions in Hopes of Saving Them

NYT – Having lost in two federal courts and fearing more setbacks, the Trump administration is revising rules that allow employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious or moral objections.

Administration officials hope that the changes, the details of which remain unclear, will overcome the judges’ objections without fundamentally altering the purpose or the effects of the rules.

White House officials have cleared the revised rules so they can be issued jointly by the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II; Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta; and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

It is unclear whether the administration intends to issue the final rules before the midterm elections next week. Opinion polls suggest that the birth control benefit, mandated by the Obama administration under the Affordable Care Act, is popular.


Economy & Business


Wages, Salaries Rise by Most in Decade as US Adds 227,000 Jobs

Newsmax – U.S. wages and salaries rose by the most in a decade while private sector payrolls increased by the most in eight months in October, suggesting overall job growth accelerated this month after Hurricane Florence weighed on restaurant and retail employment in September.

The Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index showed wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, jumped 0.9 percent in the third quarter after climbing 0.5 percent in the prior period.

That pushed the annual increase in wages and salaries to 2.9 percent, the biggest gain since September 2008, from 2.8 percent in the year to June. Wage growth was boosted by a jump in transportation and warehousing, likely reflecting a shortage of truck drivers. There were also gains on other industries, including information, healthcare and leisure and hospitality.

The strong jobs market is gradually putting upward pressure on compensation, with other data on Wednesday showing a solid increase in labor costs in the third quarter.

The ADP national employment report showed private sector employment rose by 227,000 jobs last month, beating economists’ expectations for an increase of 189,000. September’s payrolls count was revised down to 218,000 from 230,000.

The ADP report is jointly produced with Moody’s Analytics. It was published ahead of the release of the government’s more comprehensive October employment report on Friday.


Energy & Environment


Republicans in U.S. House Vote for a Ban on Bans of Pesticides –  Back in 2015, Montgomery County, Maryland, became one of a growing number of local governments across the country to restrict the use of pesticides in lawn care. The weed killer RoundUp and other pesticides have been linked to health risks in humans and sharp declines in populations of Monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators around the world.

The county’s prohibition in October of that year came seven months after the World Health Organization, in March of 2015, labelled RoundUp’s active ingredient, glyphosate, a probable human carcinogen.

But the pesticide manufacturing industry sued the county.  And a judge in August of 2017 sided with the industry, striking down a portion of the county ban that applied to private lawns – although not to public property, such as playgrounds and county parks.

The manufacturers of pesticides and their allies did not stop there. Republican opponents of regulation slipped language into the federal Farm Bill passed by the U.S. House in June that would prohibit local county or town governments from restricting the use of pesticides.

In other words, it was a ban on bans – to benefit the pesticide industry.  If the House version of the Farm Bill is passed by the U.S. Senate later this fall, 155 local governments across the country would have their local laws restricting the use of pesticides overridden by the federal government. In Maryland, this would include not only Montgomery County, but also Howard County, Takoma Park, Greenbelt and Hyattsville.

Supporters of the ban on bans – including the House Republican leadership – argue that only the federal EPA and state governments should regulate pesticides.  Chris Novak, president of an industry trade group called Crop Life America, said: “Localities lack the staff resources and scientific expertise to conduct these reviews.”

But Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, argues that local governments should have the right to protect their local residents.

“We’re looking for public health protections,” said Feldman. “That means protections of our watersheds, protection of the water that we drink, protection for children on playing fields and in parks, and protection for pets as we walk around the neighborhood.”


Science & Technology


Under pressure from Musk, SpaceX hustles to launch satellites

Christian Science Monitor – Elon Musk has been lauded for his visionary approach in the field of space exploration but signs of internal strife – from manager firings, to a difficult work environment, to a slew of unfulfilled job postings – suggest the SpaceX CEO is trying to do too much too fast.

SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk flew to the Seattle area in June for meetings with engineers leading a satellite launch project crucial to his space company’s growth.

Known for pushing aggressive deadlines, Musk quickly brought in new managers from SpaceX headquarters in California to replace a number of the managers he fired. Their mandate: Launch SpaceX’s first batch of US-made satellites by the middle of next year, the sources said.




The Long-Term Benefits of Drinking Oolong Tea

Mercola – Oolong, made from the buds and stems of the plant, falls somewhere in between green tea and black tea.

Oolong tea is said to have originated from China and Taiwan. There are many different types of oolong tea, with the most famous type hailing from the Fuijan province in China.

Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which include theaflavins, thearubigins and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).


12 Fall Superfoods to Put on Your Grocery List

Mercola – As summer gives way to fall, I invite you to consider eating some of the superfoods that are at their peak this time of year. Certain fruits and vegetables are more readily available locally during fall, including apples, pumpkins and squash.

When preparing your seasonal menu, be sure to add some of these 12 fall superfoods to your grocery list. To find the freshest seasonal produce, visit your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmers market or food co-op.

12 Superfoods to Try That Are at Their Peak in Fall:

  1. Apples
  2. Beets & beet greens
  3. Brussels sprouts
  4. Cauliflower
  5. Daikon radish
  6. Kale
  7. Kumquats
  8. Pomegranates
  9. Pumpkins
  10. Squash
  11. Swiss chard
  12. Turnips and turnip greens


10 Ways Chronic Stress is Killing Your Quality of Life

Dr. Axe – Stress. It’s an awful word and a worse feeling, isn’t it? The thing is stress isn’t all bad. Without it, we wouldn’t be motivated to protect ourselves or perform. A certain level of stress helps us to adapt to our environment and pushes us to excel. The stress that is worrisome is chronic stress, and it can affect you negatively in multiple ways.

And new research confirms that chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels in midlife can actually cause brain shrinkage and memory problems.

Chronic Stress Is Killing Your Quality of Life

  1. It’s Messing with Your Brain

You may think that it’s necessary to work under the gun all of the time, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), chronic stress affects your ability to concentrate, act efficiently and makes you more accident-prone.

Chronic stress has devastating effects on memory and learning. It actually kills brain cells. UMMC reports that people with post-traumatic stress disorder experience an 8 percent shrinkage of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, and stress affects, most decidedly, children’s ability to learn.

  1. Stress Increases Risk of Heart Attack, Heart Disease and Stroke

A direct link between chronic stress and increased risk for heart attack, heart disease and stroke has not yet been established by researchers. What chronic stress does do, reports UMMC, is worsen risk factors for these conditions.

Stress increases your heart rate and force, constricts your arteries, and affects heart rhythms. It thickens the blood, which may protect against blood loss in case of injury, according to UMMC. Stress increases blood pressure, and chronic stress damages blood vessel linings, especially because chronic stress contributes to inflammation.

Increased blood pressure is also a risk factor for stroke, and the Franklin Institute reports that stress levels can increase atherosclerosis, another risk factor for stroke.

  1. Stress Dials Down Your Immune System

Fighting off infection isn’t a primary concern if your body thinks it’s facing an immediate danger, but the problem is chronic stress definitely dampens your immune system, making fighting infection much more difficult. People seem to be much more susceptible to infections and experience more severe symptoms when they come down with a cold or flu if they’re stressed, reports UMMC.

Stress can also trigger a detrimental overdrive in your immune system. Stress contributes to inflammation in the body. Your immune system may react to other damage going on in your body due to stress and send out immune compounds known as cytokines that contribute to the inflammatory response. These compounds can damage healthy cells in their effort to combat unhealthy factors occurring in your body.

Inflammation has been linked to a multitude of health conditions and diseases, from asthma and diabetes to cancer and heart disease.

  1. Chronic Stress Contributes to Aging

As I’ve explained, the stress response turns off many physiological processes that aren’t deemed urgent. Consider the lack of blood flow to the skin. That’s certainly going to affect how old you look. Worse, though, is how much chronic stress can affect the aging brain. We all lose brain cells as we age. Toxins, automatic routines, improper diet, lack of exercise and loss of social connections contribute to this. So, as stress allows more toxins to cross the blood-brain barrier and cortisol damages the hippocampus, brain function, new learning and memory are greatly affected.

The reduced effectiveness of the blood-brain barrier is a common finding in people with Alzheimer’s disease. The “degenerative cascade” is accelerated in the aging brain. A study of elderly people found that hippocampus size was reduced by 14 percent in those with high cortisol levels and that these participants showed much less ability to create new memories for new learning. Another study found that hippocampus size was linked to the rate of progression in Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Stress Contributes to Weight Gain and Digestive Disorders

Since digestion is also dialed down during the stress response, chronic stress can contribute to a variety of digestive disorders. Bloated stomach, cramping, constipation and diarrhea are common symptoms of chronic stress. So, too, is acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Stress can worsen ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease as well.

Cortisol contributes to the accumulation of dangerous belly fat and worsens cravings for fat, salt and sugar. Eating unhealthy carbs can be soothing as this lessens the behavioral and hormonal imbalances associated with the stress response. Unfortunately, this behavior can become habitual and lead to health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

  1. Chronic Stress Affects Your Mood and Relationships

Constant stress can affect your sleep patterns and make you irritable and fatigued, unable to concentrate and highly reactive. You may become unable to relax and operate in a state of anxiety. Depression is a common reaction to chronic stress. All of these things can downgrade your quality of life and affect your relationships with others.

Chronic stress is associated with feelings of helplessness and lack of control. Perfectionists are  more likely to suffer from disrupted serotonin levels due to stress, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter in the brain, reports UMMC.

  1. Stress Increases Pain

Links between pain severity and chronic stress have been established with headaches, joint pain and muscle pain. Stress seems to intensify arthritis pain and back pain. Work stress is associated with backaches, and stress increases the occurrence and severity of tension headaches.

  1. Stress Affects Sexuality and Reproductive Functions

Chronic stress reduces sexual desire in women and can contribute to erectile dysfunction in men. Chronic stress is linked to premenstrual syndrome severity and can affect fertility in women. Stress during pregnancy is linked to higher rates of premature birth and miscarriage. Stress during pregnancy may also affect how infants themselves react to stress after birth, reports UMMC. Chronic stress can also worsen hormonally based mood changes that accompany menopause.

  1. Chronic Stress Affects Your Skin, Hair and Teeth

Hormonal imbalances due to stress and the fact that blood flow to the skin is reduced during the stress response can negatively affect your skin, hair and teeth. Eczema is a common reaction to stress. Acne, hives, psoriasis and rosacea have also been linked to stress. Hair loss and gum disease have also been linked to stress.

  1. Stress Contributes to Addiction

In an attempt to escape the negative feelings associated with chronic stress, many people turn to self-soothing behaviors or activities that temporarily raise their dopamine and serotonin levels. Alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse are common ways people attempt to treat stress. Food addictions, gambling, checking out with television and video games are also habits that may develop due to chronic stress. All of these behaviors end up worsening the problem in the long run and greatly affect both mental and physical health.

>> Related: Always Stressed? Here Are 8 Natural Stress Relievers to Try Now


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