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World News

Lib Dems pledge to cancel Brexit if they win general election

BBC – The Liberal Democrats have pledged to cancel Brexit if they come to power at the next general election.

Members voted for the new policy at their party conference in Bournemouth by an overwhelming majority.

Previously, the party has backed another referendum or “People’s Vote”, saying they would campaign to Remain.

After the vote, their leader Jo Swinson, said: “We will do all we can to fight for our place in Europe, and to stop Brexit altogether.”

The commitment only comes into force if the party wins the election as a majority government.

Ms Swinson also confirmed that before an election is called, the Lib Dems would continue to work with other opposition parties to campaign for a further referendum, and to prevent a “dangerous” no-deal Brexit.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We still want to have a People’s Vote. We’ve been arguing for that for the last three-and-a-half years – [to put] the Brexit deal to the public in a referendum.

“[But] when we have an election, if we haven’t had a People’s Vote, people will be looking to resolve the issue of Brexit, and there are so many people in this country who are so sick of hearing about it.

‘It is ours’: India ready to ‘move forward’ & reclaim Pakistan’s share of Kashmir, minister warns

RT – Risking further inflaming tensions over Kashmir, a chief minister in the Indian state of Gujarat warned Pakistan to brace for losing its part of the contested state to New Delhi as it is ready to ‘re-unite’ pre-1947 India.

Islamabad “should be ready to lose Pakistani-occupied Kashmir,” Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was quoted as saying by local media, using the Indian term for the disputed territory. The bellicose remark came weeks after India stripped Jammu and Kashmir region of its autonomous status, which the minister said provides an opening for Indian territorial claims.

Now, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) too is ours … For fulfilling the dream of united India, we are ready to move forward for PoK.

Both countries were part of British India until the 1947 partition which triggered bitter sectarian divides and led to the Kashmir dispute. India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full, but control only parts of it.

They fought a number of conventional wars, along with several border skirmishes, most recently this February. At the time, Indian jets bombed what New Delhi said were camps of Islamist insurgent group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which had carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Indian soil. Islamabad responded with force, and the hostilities ultimately evolved into intense shelling from both sides and open aerial combat.

Relations hit another low last month when India revoked the self-governing status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India claims the move is necessary to curb terrorism and boost Kashmir’s economy, but Pakistan insists it is unlawful and risks stirring up violence in the region. Eventually, both sides engaged in a lingering war of words, threatening each other with coercive measures.

Trump questions Iran’s denial of blame over Saudi attacks

Al Jazeera – US President Donald Trump on Monday questioned Iran’s claim that it had nothing to do with weekend attacks on a giant oil plant in Saudi Arabia that have cut off five percent of global crude oil output.

“Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their ‘airspace’ when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?” Trump tweeted.

Trump was apparently referring to Iran’s downing of a US unmanned surveillance drone in June. Tehran maintains that the drone was brought down while it was in Iranian airspace. US officials say the aircraft was in the international territory at the time. At the last minute, Trump said he aborted strikes on Iran over the incident.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Taking aim at Trump administration and lobbyists, Warren announces ‘sweeping set of anti-corruption reforms’

Fox – Saying that it’s “time to close and padlock the revolving door between government and industry,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday unveiled a wide-ranging and detailed plan to crack down on corruption in government.

The need for stricter ethics laws has long been a central theme of the Massachusetts Democrat’s White House bid, and Warren has repeatedly said it would be her first legislative priority if she wins the presidential election.

In announcing her plan, Warren called it “the most sweeping set of anti-corruption reforms since Watergate.”

The senator has emphasized on the campaign trail that she blames the entrenched culture of lobbying in the nation’s capital and the flood of big money into politics for grinding to a halt any potential progress to pass legislation on such top issues as gun violence, climate change and out-of-control health care costs.

Among other things, her set of proposals would ban federal lawmakers and the top congressional staffers from serving on corporate boards and would mandate that every new member of Congress make public any potential financial conflicts before taking office.

The plan also calls for corporate lobbyists to wait six years before being able to take federal government jobs. And it would permanently prevent the president, vice president, cabinet officials, and federal judges from working as lobbyists after leaving office or the bench.

To “end lobbying as we know it,” Warren would broaden the definition of lobbying and would ban them from working on behalf of foreign governments. And domestically she would prevent them from making political contributions, acting as “bundlers” – where they pool donations from multiple people – and hosting fundraisers for candidates.

In introducing her plan, Warren highlighted the deterioration of public confidence in government.

While pondering response to Iran, Donald Trump says US doesn’t need Middle East oil

USA Today – A day after appearing to threaten military action against Iran over the attack on Saudi Arabia oil facilities, President Donald Trump struck a more neutral tone early Monday by saying the United States does not need Middle East oil production.

“Because we have done so well with Energy over the last few years (thank you, Mr. President!), we are a net Energy Exporter, & now the Number One Energy Producer in the World,” Trump said. “We don’t need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!”

While Iran denied the attack, and said it would defend itself against any kind of military attack, Trump also referred to an incident over the summer in which Iran shot down a US drone it said had invaded its airspace.

“They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie,” Trump said. “Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

In June, Trump ordered a military strike on Iran, but changed his mind at the last minute and said the loss of Iranian lives would not have been proportionate to the destruction of an American drone.

Iran insisted the drone invaded its air space, and has accused the U.S. is trying to provoke hostilities.

After meeting with aides Sunday, Trump indicated that “help” to Saudi Arabia could include some kind of military action, claiming the U.S. is “locked and loaded” after the attack on Saudi oil supplies.

While he did not name Iran specifically, Trump tweeted late Sunday that “there is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

Too soon to say if U.S. emergency oil release needed, Perry tells CNBC

Reuters – U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Monday it was too soon say whether the United States would have to tap its emergency petroleum reserves following weekend attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that shook global oil markets.

“We are yet a little premature in making any … actions about whether or not the (U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve) is actually going to be needed, until we get a handle on the length of time that this facility is going to be down,” Perry told CNBC in an interview from Vienna.

After Saturday’s attacks on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil processing that shut 5% of global oil supply the kingdom has said it could bring back about a third of the shut supply on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said the U.S. administration stood ready to tap the reserve if needed. The reserve holds about 645 million barrels of oil in underground caverns on the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, or about what the United States uses in a month.

OxyContin maker goes for – bankruptcy!

Reuters – Purdue’s board met Sunday evening to approve the long-expected bankruptcy filing, which the company is pursuing to restructure under terms of a proposal to settle the widespread litigation.

Purdue, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in a federal bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York, reached a tentative deal to resolve lawsuits with 24 states and five U.S. territories, as well as lead lawyers for more than 2,000 cities, counties and other plaintiffs, the company said.

Beto O’Rourke Admits ‘Hell Yes, We’re Going to Take Your AR-15, Your AK-47!

Off Grid Survival – 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who once wrote murder fantasies as a young man, proudly reached over and touched the third rail at the Democrat debates and declared that if he becomes President, he will take people’s guns away.

Beto, whose real name is Robert Francis — apparently cultural appropriation and pretending to be Mexican is acceptable if you’re a Democrat — was asked if he supported confiscating guns, which he said he did, qualifying “if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield.”

“If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that so you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers,” he said.

“I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” he said.

Keep in mind, this is a guy who wrote murder fantasies, and has been arrested multiple times for DWI and burglary!

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47!” O’Rourke said. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.”

Economy & Business

UAW national strike against GM begins as union backers flood into Flint

Detroit Free Press – An estimated 1,200 Flint Assembly workers streamed out of the plant along Van Slyke Avenue in their cars at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, marking the beginning of the UAW’s first national strike since 2007.

The autoworkers, cheered by a large crowd of labor supporters, turned toward the UAW Local 598 union hall down the street to pick up picket signs. They lined street that snakes around the plant that builds the popular Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

Horns honked as union members from throughout the region arrived in Flint, the birthplace of GM and a key spot in UAW history. In fact, cars blocked Van Slyke completely as the now-striking workers left the plant.

Oil prices spike after attack on Saudi disrupts global supply

CNN – Over the next few days Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and his father, King Salman, face the biggest decision of their lives at they respond to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Get it wrong and the region could burn. Get it right and the desert Kingdom could prosper and reform as the ambitious Crown Prince plans.

The dilemma is to strike a balance between punishment and persuasion: To go for Iran’s jugular and unleash withering rounds of strikes on Iranian targets inside Iran or hold back, take the moral high ground, prove your case and win international backing for what ever course of action you take.

But here’s trouble for MBS and his father: In this region, if you play cautious and swallow your pride today, you could deal with it for the rest of your life.

It is a test that the Crown Prince cannot choke: If he does, his dreams of reform will turn to dust

Energy & Environment

Humberto strengthens into hurricane, may bring heavy rain to Bermuda

Fox – The third hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season was strengthening at sea Monday ahead of the potentially dangerous rip currents it’s likely to bring to the Southeast coast — which may be the only direct threat to the U.S. posed by the storm before it’s set to turn away from the mainland for good.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Hurricane Humberto is located about 650 miles west of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, and is moving northeast at 5 mph.

“This is expected to strengthen but the good news, my friends, is it’s going to remain offshore.” Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said on “Fox & Friends.” “We’re going to see some indirect impacts like rip currents and certainly large waves and beach erosion.”

Humberto is forecast to make a turn to the east-northeast by late Monday, with a gradual increase in forecast speed through Thursday. Forecasts say Humberto’s center is forecast to approach Bermuda by late Wednesday or Wednesday night.

GM Mosquitoes Spreading Out of Control in Brazil

Sustainable Pulse – According to a new scientific publication, genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by the biotech company Oxitec (Intrexon) have escaped human control after trials in Brazil. They are now spreading in the environment, GM Watch reported Wednesday.

Source: GM Watch

The yellow fever mosquitos (Aedes aegypti) are genetically engineered to make it impossible for their offspring to survive. After release they were supposed to mate with female mosquitos of the species which transmit infectious diseases, such as Dengue fever, to diminish the natural populations.

However, the now published research shows that many offspring of the genetically engineered mosquitos actually survived and are spreading and propagating further. According to the scientists, between 10-60 percent of the mosquitoes in the region concerned are inheriting parts of the genome of the mosquitoes released in the trials. These findings are also confirmed in neighbouring regions where no such trials were conducted.

The long-term consequences for the transmission of diseases, the number of insects and the interactions with the environment cannot be predicted. The mosquitoes used for the genetic manipulation are originally from Cuba and Mexico. These insects used in the laboratory have now mixed with the Brazilian insects to become a robust population which can persist in the environment over a longer period of time. They might replace the original insects in the long term and even enhance the problems associated with the mosquitoes.

Science & Technology

Amazon Reportedly Changed Search Algorithm To Favor More Profitable Products

Activist Post – After publishing a steady stream of scoops about Amazon’s anti-competitive tendencies, the Wall Street Journal on Monday dropped one of the biggest media bombshells to rock the e-commerce giant in recent memory: That Amazon has deliberately tweaked its product-search algorithm to more prominently feature products that are more profitable for Amazon, including its own in-house brands.

Multiple sources from inside the company told WSJ last year that the company’s engineers were ordered to change the algorithm so that instead of just showing customers the most relevant listings to their search, or the best sellers on the platform, they would also see companies that would have the highest return for Amazon if sold.

Pakistan to send its 1st astronaut to space by 2022, says country’s tech minister

RT – Pakistan’s technology minister has confirmed that the country will be sending its first astronaut to space within the next three years, with the assistance of China.

In an interview Sunday, Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the selection process will begin in 2020 as Pakistan and its partner China commence preparations to launch Pakistan’s first manned mission to space by 2022.

An initial shortlist of 50 candidates will be prepared and whittled down to the lucky one. While the Pakistani Air Force has been tipped to play a key role in the selection process, the minister did not state the extent of its involvement nor did he mention a target launch date.


Empty stomachs lead to poor decisions, research says

Irish Examiner – Making important decisions on an empty stomach can lead to poor choices, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Dundee in Scotland found that hunger significantly altered people’s decision-making, making them impatient and more likely to settle for a small reward that arrives sooner than a larger one promised at a later date.

The research suggests being hungry actually changes preferences for rewards entirely unrelated to food and may carry over into other kinds of decisions, such as financial or interpersonal ones.

Say you were going to speak with a pension or mortgage adviser – doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future

Benjamin Vincent, who carried out the study, believes it is important that people know an empty stomach might affect their preferences and there is also a danger those in poverty may make decisions that entrench their situation.

Dr Vincent added: “This is an aspect of human behaviour which could potentially be exploited by marketers, so people need to know their preferences may change when hungry.

“People generally know that when they are hungry they shouldn’t really go food shopping because they are more likely to make choices that are either unhealthy or indulgent.

“Our research suggests this could have an impact on other kinds of decisions as well.

“Say you were going to speak with a pensions or mortgage adviser – doing so while hungry might make you care a bit more about immediate gratification at the expense of a potentially more rosy future.

“This work fits into a larger effort in psychology and behavioural economics to map the factors that influence our decision-making.

“This potentially empowers people as they may foresee and mitigate the effects of hunger, for example, that might bias their decision-making away from their long-term goals.”

A group of 50 participants were tested twice for the study – once when they had eaten normally and once having not eaten anything that day.

When hungry, people expressed a stronger preference for smaller hypothetical rewards to be given immediately rather than larger ones that would arrive later.

Researchers noted that if you offer people a reward now or double that reward in the future, they were normally willing to wait for 35 days to double the reward, but when hungry this plummeted to three days.

The study is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychonomic Bulletin and Review.

Grandma Called it Medicine Leaf – Plantain Weed Remedies

Common Sense Home – Plantain weed is good medicine, from seed to root. In this article, I’ll share how I came to know plantain, and how to use the fresh leaves and dried leaves for natural remedies such as salve and tea.

It turns out grandma’s “weed” was actually broadleaf plantain (Plantago major), and it’s close to miraculous for treating bug bites, stings and many other ailments.

Using plantain weed opened the door to my curiosity about the use of many common weeds. It truly changed my life, and that’s why I chose it for the logo of the website.

The 2018 study “Plantago major in Traditional Persian Medicine and modern phytotherapy” looks at a wide range of medicinal uses of plantain, including treatment of:

  • epilepsy
  • eye disease
  • toothaches and other oral health problems
  • earaches
  • pulmonary disorders
  • gastrointestinal trouble
  • liver disease
  • urinary tract issues
  • skin diseases

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