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World News

Deepest ever shipwreck discovered: USS Johnston, sunk in WWII, found at 20,400ft in Philippine Sea

Daily Mail – The deepest ever shipwreck has been found, a WWII destroyer that was annihilated 75 years ago in the Pacific during the largest naval battle in history, researchers say.

The USS Johnston was found at 20,406ft in the Philippine Sea after it was sunk by the Japanese on October 25, 1944 in the Battle off Samar, an engagement in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Experts from the Research Vessel Petrel, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, released video of the battered and twisted hull lying eerily on the ocean floor.

Of the 327 US naval personnel aboard the USS Johnston, just 141 survived. Of those who died, around 90 were alive in the water as the ship sank but never seen again.

India Farmers Plan Nationwide Protest Against 16-Nation Trade Deal

Bloomberg – Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here.

India’s farmers’ organizations have planned a nationwide protest on Nov. 4 to demand that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi keep agriculture out of a 16-nation trade agreement currently being negotiated in Thailand.

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, an umbrella organization of about 250 farmers unions from across the country, said that they will burn effigies depicting the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP, to mark their protest and warn the government.

Indian farmers won’t be able to compete should the country agree to cut duties for agricultural and dairy products in the proposed trade pact, said V.M. Singh, a convener of the the farmers’ group. Imports of dairy and agricultural products including wheat, cotton and oil seeds would affect the livelihood of millions of Indian farmers, he said.

The government should defer signing of the agreement and hold consultations with farmers, state governments and other stake holders before taking a final decision, said Singh. “We have to stop RCEP,” he said.

It is not clear yet what terms India will agree to in order to join what could become the world’s largest trade deal. The final stage of negotiations have begun in Bangkok and Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal will travel for the ministerial meeting there on Nov. 1. The nations are seeking to conclude the negotiations by November end.

Ukraine’s leader vows more weapons pullbacks in the works

AP – Ukrainian troops will begin a weapons pullback in a second location in war-torn eastern Ukraine next week if a cease-fire there persists, the country’s leader said Thursday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke in Kyiv, the capital, at the end of talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who reaffirmed NATO’s support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia-backed separatists in the east. Stoltenberg arrived at the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa on Wednesday where he toured four NATO vessels that had stopped by during their Black Sea patrol.

Stoltenberg’s visit comes just days after Ukraine and the separatists began pulling back weaponry from one front line in the east. The disengagement in two locations is seen as the final hurdle before much-anticipated peace talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany that aim to finally end the deadly conflict.

The weaponry pullback finally began Tuesday after Zelenskiy, who won office in April on a pledge to end the war, visited the area around the eastern village of Zolote and confronted armed veterans who came there to try to hamper the weapons pullback.

General: Israeli Air Defense Systems on Alert for Possible Iran Attack

Breitbart – Israel’s military has a multi-tiered network of integrated air defense systems “on alert” for any attack by Iran’s missiles, Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin confirmed on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month Iran intends to attack Israel, and any attack which emanates from Yemen complicates the IDF’s response as its intermediate and long-range air defenses are better positioned to shoot down incoming attacks from Israel’s north, rather than from the south.

“Even as we speak, Arrow, Patriot, David’s Sling and Iron Dome batteries are on alert,” Norkin said Wednesday night at a graduation ceremony for air defense officers.

Iraqi PM to resign as violent protests grip the country

RT – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi is set to resign amid growing nationwide anti-government protests, Al-Sumaria television has reported.

Up to 250 people have already been killed in the ongoing protests, with demonstrators accusing security forces of violence and heavy-handedness.

In a televised address, President Barham Salih said the PM had “agreed” to submit his resignation — but said he would only resign if a replacement was decided upon to avoid creating a “constitutional vacuum.”

Australian police find $210M worth of meth hidden inside sriracha bottles

Fox – Police in Australia have arrested four men in connection with $210 million worth of methylamphetamine found hidden inside hundreds of bottles of sriracha in a cargo container imported from the United States.

A 45-year-old man was arrested Thursday morning just outside a home in Edensor Park, a suburb of Sydney, after task force agents with the NSW Police Force linked him to three other suspects arrested earlier this month in connection with a cargo shipment filled with 768 bottles of sriracha that contained meth, law enforcement said in news release.

North Korea launches two suspected missiles after warnings to Washington

Reuters – North Korea fired two suspected missiles into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Thursday, according to military officials in Japan and South Korea, ending nearly a month-long lull in testing after denuclearization talks stalled.

The launches, which Japanese authorities identified as likely ballistic missiles, were the first since one day of talks between the United States and North Korea ended without an agreement on Oct. 5 in Sweden.

Up to 50 Boeing planes grounded globally after wing-related cracks discovered

RT – Boeing has confirmed that it has grounded over 50 of its planes around the world, after wing-related cracks were discovered, while the company’s CEO has admitted to making safety mistakes.

It’s the US aviation giant’s 737NG (Next Generation) model that is now under scrutiny. The plane is a precursor to the infamous Boeing 737 MAX, which killed 346 people in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, and has been grounded since March.

A Boeing spokesperson told AFP that some 1,000 planes worldwide had “reached the inspection threshold.” The problem these inspections zeroed in on was the so-called ‘pickle fork’ – a part of the plane that connects the fuselage to the wing.

The US aviation authority this month ordered checks of Boeing 737NG planes that had made over 30,000 flights.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

House to vote on resolution to formalize Trump impeachment inquiry

Fox – A sharply divided House voted Thursday to approve a resolution setting “ground rules” for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, putting lawmakers on record over the contentious process while setting the stage for proceedings to move into the public eye after weeks of closed-door depositions.

The measure passed largely along party lines, 232-196.

The first formal floor vote in relation to the impeachment probe announced a month ago by Speaker Nancy Pelosi followed a fierce debate in the chamber, where Republicans accused Democrats of launching a de facto “coup” against the president in a “pre-ordained” bid to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

SWAT Team Blows Up Innocent Man’s Home in Search of Clothing Shoplifter—Deal With It, Says Court

Free Thought Project – A Federal Appeals court has granted police new powers for which they will not be held accountable. They can now completely destroy your home and they will not have to pay for it. That’s what happened to Leo Lech’s home in 2015 after a shoplifter — accused of stealing a shirt — illegally entered his home, forcing Greenwood Village SWAT to go room by room ransacking the place with explosives.

The 19-hour standoff ended with the suspect being taken into custody, but not before the home, as TFTP previously reported, was destroyed. The place looked like it was hit with a bulldozer. None of the windows were in tact, and the doors were blown off their hinges. The Lech family’s possessions were completely destroyed, left in tatters after the SWAT team showed no concern for the home nor its belongings. According to the DailyMail:

Greenwood (police) fired gas munition and 40-millimeter rounds through the windows of his home in the June 2015 standoff with the shoplifter who had barricaded himself inside. Cops even went as far as driving an armored vehicle through the doors, tossed flash-bang grenades inside and detonated explosives in the walls of the property.

Initially, the Lech family was offered $5,000 in housing assistance and insurance deductible compensation, a far cry from what it would take to simply raze the home, let alone rebuild it. Leo Lech sued the city, but the court ruled what happened to the home did not amount to imminent domain and was simply a result of a police matter. Therefore, the city was under no obligation to condemn the home nor rebuild it. In other words, apart from the $5000, Lech was getting nothing else. Lech commented in 2015:

If you look at the photos of Osama Bin Laden’s compound, I would say his house looks better than mine does.

In 2017, after being offered the $5,000, Lech had this to say.

If you take private property for the public good, you have to pay the owner just compensation. $5,000 is not just compensation.

Lech appealed the decision to a higher court but on Wednesday was denied, yet again. He says he’s now going to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States and he has a lot more to say about how police upended his life and the lives of his other family members.

Van Hollen urges Senate to take up House-passed Turkey sanctions bill

The Hill – Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called Thursday for the Senate to take up the House-passed Turkey sanctions bill, legislation that would punish the NATO ally for leading an incursion into northeastern Syria, attacking U.S.-backed Kurdish allies in the area and causing a humanitarian crisis.

Van Hollen, who is co-sponsor with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on their own bill sanctioning Turkey for its offensive, said it’s unclear if there’s forward movement in the Senate on taking up sanctions-related legislation.

“We are pushing very hard to get a vote in the United States Senate on a bill that would impose sanctions on Turkey for its attacks on the Syrian Kurds,” he said.

“At this point in time, my view is, I’d be happy just taking up the House bill and passing it.”

The House bill, which passed Tuesday with overwhelming bipartisan support, imposes sanctions on senior Turkish government and military officials, as well as its banks. It also bans arms sales to Turkey.

Striking Chicago teachers: We’ll return if classes made up

AP – The union representing 25,000 striking Chicago teachers voted to approve a tentative contract agreement with city officials but refused to end a strike that has canceled two weeks of classes unless the city’s mayor adds school days to cover that lost time.

Elected delegates for the Chicago Teachers Union voted Wednesday night to accept a tentative agreement with the nation’s third-largest school district but say they won’t come back without Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s commitment. The union also encouraged members to fill the streets outside City Hall on Thursday, hoping to pressure Lightfoot into accepting its terms.

The impasse cancelled classes for an 11th day on Thursday for more than 300,000 students.

Lightfoot, in sometimes heated remarks, said Wednesday night that she would not meet the union’s demand. Lightfoot accused the union’s top leadership of “moving the goal posts” by raising the issue Wednesday rather than in a face-to-face meeting with her on Tuesday.

“Not once during that three-and-a-half-hour meeting did they raise compensation for strike days,” Lightfoot. “Not once.”

Lightfoot has refused to lengthen the school year to make up days since the strike began Oct. 17. Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said it would require cutting winter or spring break days or adding days to the end of the year.

Union president Jesse Sharkey said the teachers are not asking to be paid for a strike but do credit the walkout for forcing the district to compromise on some contract issues.

Economy & Business

Trump says US working with China to find new location to strike a trade deal, after APEC summit canceled

RT – US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he still expects to sign an initial trade agreement with China in November, despite the cancellation of the APEC summit in Chile, where the two economic giants were supposed to meet.

“China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement, about 60 percent of total deal, after APEC in Chile was canceled due to unrelated circumstances,” he said on Twitter.

Trump added that “the new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!”

Homeless death rate in Los Angeles County jumps by more than a third, ‘sobering’ report says

Fox – It’s becoming deadlier to be homeless on the streets of the second largest city in the country, according to a newly released report by California officials.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a report released Tuesday that between 2013 and 2018 the number of homeless deaths doubled from 536 to 1,047. The overall death rate, which accounts for increases in the total homeless population in the area, was up by over a third in that same period.

“Put simply, being homeless in LA County is becoming increasingly deadly,” the report’s authors noted.

Drug and alcohol overdose was the largest contributor to the overall increase in the homeless death rate, accounting for 27 percent of the deaths between 2016 and 2018. The overdose death rate for homeless individuals was 26 times higher than among the general population.

Energy & Environment

California Legislature Unveils Plan To Raise Taxes On Wildfires Until They Move Out Of State

The Babylon Bee  – As California authorities scramble to deal with the unprecedented destruction wrought by the rash of wildfires across the state, the legislature has announced a foolproof plan to get rid of the devastating fires. The legislature will sharply increase taxes on the fires each and every year until they finally have had enough and agree to move to a more fire-friendly state.

The governor announced the plan at a special press conference, vowing to nickel and dime the wildfires to the point where they just can’t take it anymore. Initial fees will include a 10% tax on flames, a 25% “luxury” tax on smoke and ashes, and a 40 cent per square foot tax on acreage burned.

“Just as we’ve done with various businesses and private individuals, we will levy ever-increasing taxes on the fires,” he said proudly. “Once they realize they’re being taxed to death, they’ll move on to greener pastures like Texas or Arizona.” Governor Newsom said the taxes will be earmarked for public funding and pensions, but quickly added the state will likely “blow through the cash” on crazy pet projects faster than they could bring it in.

More conservative states immediately criticized his plan, complaining that the fires will simply come over to their states and ruin things.

“We don’t want ’em,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “Stay over there, and stay out of our state. We have our own fires to deal with, not to mention all the crazy progressives you keep sending our way.”

California fires: Goats help save Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

BBC – A hungry herd of 500 goats has helped save the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library from the California wildfires.

In May, the library hired the goats to clear flammable scrub surrounding the complex as a preventative measure.

The goats ate the brush, creating a fire break that slowed the flames and gave firefighters extra time to react.

The library near Los Angeles was threatened by the Easy Fire, the latest in a spate of fires causing evacuations and power cuts across the state.

The caprine contractors included Vincent van Goat, Selena Goatmez and Goatzart. They helped save exhibits including an Air Force One jet and a piece of the Berlin Wall.

“We were told by one of the firefighters that they believe that fire break made their job easier,” Melissa Giller, a library spokeswoman, told Reuters.

E.P.A. to Roll Back Rules on Coal Toxins

NY Times – The Trump administration is expected today to roll back rules designed to limit emissions of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury from coal-fired power plants.

Utah record cold; Lowest October temp ever in continental USA

Climate Depot – Meteorologist Paul Dorian:  “Perhaps the most amazing temperature recorded in this unusual cold spell for the western US took place earlier today in the remote observing station of Peter Sinks, Utah…the unofficial overnight low temperature there of -43.6 ºF is pretty amazing for this time of year and perhaps the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Lower 48 during the month of October. Nearby Salt Lake City, Utah provided some supporting evidence of the extreme cold as it set a low temperature record of 14 ºF for the date and records there go all the way back to 1874.

Science & Technology

Insanely humanlike androids enter workplace

CNBC – November 2019 is a landmark month in the history of the future. That’s when humanoid robots that are indistinguishable from people start running amok in Los Angeles. Well, at least they do in the seminal sci-fi film “Blade Runner.” Thirty-seven years after its release, we don’t have murderous androids running around. But we do have androids like Hanson Robotics’ Sophia, and they could soon start working in jobs traditionally performed by people.

Russian start-up Promobot recently unveiled what it calls the world’s first autonomous android. It closely resembles a real person and can serve in a business capacity. Robo-C can be made to look like anyone, so it’s like an android clone. It comes with an artificial intelligence system that has more than 100,000 speech modules, according to the company. It can operate at home, acting as a companion robot and reading out the news or managing smart appliances — basically, an anthropomorphic smart speaker. It can also perform workplace tasks such as answering customer questions in places like offices, airports, banks and museums, while accepting payments and performing other functions.

Health

Number of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040

Newsmax – Nearly 13 million Americans will have dementia by 2040 — nearly twice as many as today, a new report says.

The number of women with dementia is expected to rise from 4.7 million next year to 8.5 million in 2040. The number of men with dementia is projected to increase from 2.6 million to 4.5 million.

Over the next 20 years, the economic impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia will be more than $2 trillion. Women will shoulder more than 80% of those costs, according to a report released Tuesday at the 2019 Milken Institute Future of Health Summit, in Washington, D.C.

“Longer life spans are perhaps one of the greatest success stories of our modern public health system,” said lead author Nora Super, senior director of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging.

“But along with this success comes one of our greatest challenges,” she added in an institute news release. “Our risk of developing dementia doubles every five years after we turn 65; by age 85, nearly one in three of us will have the disease.”

With no cure on the horizon, reducing the risk of dementia and its cost must be the focus, Super noted.

“Emerging evidence shows that despite family history and personal genetics, lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and better sleep can improve health at all ages,” she said.

A good diet can help eliminate bipolar disorder symptoms – review

NaturalNews  – Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unpredictable fluctuations in the mood, energy, and activity levels of affected individuals. Also known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that include emotional highs (manic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes).

Numerous studies suggest that diet plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of various diseases. However, the specific effects of diet on mental health are still unknown. In an article published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers from Murdoch University and Deakin University in Australia wrote a narrative review of previous studies on the influence of diet on bipolar disorder. They reported that, although research is limited, preliminary findings hint of a relationship between diet and bipolar disorder.

How diet influences bipolar disorder

Cross-sectional studies show that people with bipolar disorder follow an unhealthy diet. This has significant implications as bipolar disorder has a high comorbidity with several diseases. According to literature, diet influences several biological processes that are dysregulated in bipolar patients. These processes include:

  • Monoaminergic activity, which involves the monoamine neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, histamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
  • Immune processes like inflammation, which can become chronic and cause serious health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Oxidative stress, which results from an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals and can be damaging to cells.
  • Mitochondrial activity, which refers to the body’s natural process of producing energy for cell metabolism.
  • Neuroprogression, or the changes in clinical manifestations, biochemical markers, and cerebral structures observed in patients with mental health conditions.

A recent study also revealed that weight and diet can affect the effectiveness of bipolar treatments. While a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables helps improve depression, a poor diet full of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates promotes inflammation. This immune response, in turn, aggravates bipolar symptoms.

Because of the implications of these findings, the researchers believe that the role of diet in bipolar disorder needs to be extensively studied to better improve treatment options.

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