Son Gets Ill And Misses School. Mom Lands In Court.

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Son Gets Ill And Misses School. Mom Lands In Court.

A school district tried to prosecute a Pennsylvania mom because her son’s health problems kept him from attending school – and the school didn’t back down until an attorney got involved.

The controversy began when Leslie Sacks’ son entered high school and began having anxiety attacks. The mom kept him home “numerous days” while she “searched for a doctor who could help,” according to the Home School Legal Defense Association’s Darren Jones, who represented Sacks.

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She finally found an “out-of-state specialist who put her son on a long-term medical protocol” and who noted that the boy’s health problems were exacerbated by being in large groups. The high school’s special education department was unwilling to help. So, she decided to homeschool him.

“Unfortunately, by this time, her son had missed several days that the school claimed were ‘unexcused,’ and the school charged him with ‘Violation of Compulsory School Attendance,’” Jones wrote. “For three weeks, the school also began robo-calling every day at 10:02 a.m. to inform Leslie that her son was illegally out of school.”

The case ended up in court, where Sacks fortunately found a sympathetic judge.

“So between the judge, the school, Leslie, and me, we worked out a deal that we thought was best for everyone,” Jones wrote. “Leslie would continue homeschooling her son, who was already making very good academic and physical progress at home. Once she finished out the year, she would let the school district know she was done, and they would pass that information on to the judge, who would dismiss the case. The judge didn’t put any other requirements on Leslie at all.”

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City Forces Gun Stores And Other Businesses To Buy Security Cameras, Record Customers

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City Forces Gun Stores And Other Businesses To Buy Security Cameras, Record Customers

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Gun store and other business owners are now required to install security cameras to help law enforcement in Saginaw, Mich.

The new ordinance in the city requires most businesses to install at least three security cameras by March 1, 2019.

The cameras will take pictures of the face of every person entering and leaving businesses, and every person who walks up to the cash register, Michigan Live reported. Cameras will cover the parking lot, too.

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“The individuals who have the businesses will receive a certificate from the police department when they have been approved for their lighting and for their camera system,” Saginaw Police Chief Bob Ruth told Michigan Live.

Businesses that refuse to follow the new law will face a civil infraction, Ruth said.

“I think the extra work that we’re doing is far outweighed by the quality of work we’re going to get in the end, on the way we’ll be able to solve cases,” Ruth said. “It’s really going to help us.”

Businesses required to install the cameras include: gun dealers, banks, coin dealers, scrap dealers, hotels, motels, gas stations, party stores, phone sellers, pawnbrokers, pool halls, dance halls, and second-hand merchants, Michigan Live reported.

Civil libertarians acknowledged the benefit of security cameras to catch criminals but opposed the idea of cities forcing businesses to install them.

“It’s not unusual for a city or a police department to attempt to force a business to shell out for surveillance equipment and other costly security demands when violent crime or drug dealing frequently takes place on or near the premises,” Scott Shackford of Reason.com wrote. “… It’s less common for a city to make these demands in advance and absent any evidence that a particular business is a crime incubator.”

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How Artificial Intelligence Triggered The Stock Market Plunge

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How Artificial Intelligence Triggered The Stock Market Plunge

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Experts are warning that artificial intelligence (AI) may trigger the next stock market or financial crash – especially in light of Monday’s freefall that was triggered in part by computers.

The financial industry’s rush to replace human traders with AI can intensify market shocks and make crashes worse, a panel of financial experts said.

“Taken as a group, universal banks’ vulnerability to systemic shocks may grow if they increasingly depend on similar algorithms or data streams,” a November 1 report from the Financial Stability Board (FSB) warned. The FSB is a group of experts that advises central banks like the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England on risks.

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The FSB is worried about next-generation trading technologies that use advanced software algorithms based on AI and machine learning to make financial decisions, Bloomberg Markets reported.

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“These risks may become more important in the future if AI and machine learning are used for ‘mission-critical’ applications of financial institutions,” the FSB warned. “Moreover, advanced optimization techniques and predictable patterns in the behavior of automated trading strategies could be used by insiders or by cyber-criminals to manipulate market prices.”

On Monday the Dow Jones plunged 800 points in about 10 minutes. It ended the day down 1,175 points.

“The explosive speed of the fall … that is done by machines,” Tom Stevenson of Investment Director at Fidelity Personal Investing told the BBC.

A major fear is that AI might start making trades so fast that humans will be unable to keep up with the process. Another is that hackers or terrorists would be able to sabotage the markets.

Artificial intelligence is closer to taking over the financial industry than many people believe. The world’s first hedge fund run by artificial intelligence, Numerai, went online last year.

Since then, at least two other efforts to create AI hedge funds, Sharpe Capital and Algo Marketplace, have been proposed.

“If computing power and data generation keep growing at the current rate, then machine learning could be involved in 99 percent of investment management in 25 years,” Luke Ellis of the British investment firm Man Group Plc told Bloomberg.

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California Targets Homeschoolers Following Tragedy; Home Visits Possible

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California Targets Homeschoolers Following Tragedy; Home Visits Possible

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Calls for severely regulating homeschooling in California have begun in the wake of the horrific Turpin child-abuse case that made national headlines.

“There’s no better way to isolate your child if you are an abusive parent than to homeschool,” Rachel Coleman, the executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling, told NBC 4 in Los Angeles.

Two California state assembly members, Susan Talamantes-Eggman (D-Stockton) and Jose Medina (D-Riverside), want to increase restrictions on homeschooling. The two are partnering with the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torkalson, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board is among those pushing for tougher restrictions. David and Louise Turpin are accused of keeping their 13 child starved, chained up and living in filth.

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“The answer is that the couple exploited California’s lax homeschooling laws to keep the authorities from finding out what they were doing to their kids,” a Bee editorial charges. “ … Beyond local zoning and fire codes and an annual registration to show that the children enrolled are not truant, private schools have scant oversight in California. The state Department of Education doesn’t approve, monitor, inspect or oversee them. They don’t have to perform standardized testing. The state can’t monitor their academic performance or review their curricula.”

California, the editorial board said, should “follow the lead of New York and Pennsylvania, which require standardized testing and regular assessments.”

“It might also take the labor-intensive step of requiring site visits, as with private day care centers,” the editorial board said.

Civil Rights Violated?

But some say increased regulation is a bad idea.

“We are concerned … that this horrible incident – words fail to describe the depravity – may lead to an unwarranted backlash and violation of the civil rights of law-abiding, thriving, homeschooling families,” James R. Mason of the Home School Legal Defense Association wrote in a Sacramento Bee op-ed.

“The story out of Riverside has prompted The Sacramento Bee and others to adopt a frightening position,” Mason charged.

He summed up the position: “This parent who claims to be home schooling has committed unspeakable acts. Therefore, we need to treat all parents who claim to be home schooling with suspicion and make them submit to periodic government inspections of their homes and children.”

Mason then quoted a 1979 Supreme Court decision that affirmed homeschooling: “That some parents ‘may at times be acting against the interests of their children’ … creates a basis for caution, but it is hardly a reason to discard wholesale those pages of human experience that teach that parents generally do act in the child’s best interest. … The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.”

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5 Things You Better Know About The Stock Market Freefall

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5 Things You Better Know About The Stock Market FreefallThe Dow Jones plunged Monday by 1,175 points and continued that slide Tuesday morning. Not surprisingly, many investors are confused by the freefall.

Here are five things you should know about the present panic on Wall Street:

1. The Dow Jones industrials suffered its worst one-day point drop ever on Monday. It even was down by 1,600 points at one point. This was actually worse than the memorable decline on Sept. 29, 2008, during the Great Economic Meltdown, CNBC reported. The market lost 777 points back then. Still, as a percentage of the market (4.6 percent), it was not a record.

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2. Interest rates might be to blame. Bond traders believe the sell-off, which began Friday, was triggered by speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates. The fear is that higher interest rates would lead to lower home sales and less new construction, which can trigger a downturn.

3. This might not be a correction. A correction would require the Dow to lose around 10 percent of its value, Vox pointed out. The Dow only lost 6.5 percent of its value on Monday. However, stock market strategist Steve Stovall told Vox that a 20 percent drop in the market is possible.

4. The real estate market might be worse than stocks right now. U.S. home sales fell sharply in December, the National Association of Realtors reported. Home sales fell by around 3.5 in the final month of 2017. The number of previously owned homes fell by 11.4 percent to 1.8 million, the lowest number since January 1999.

5. Advisors are telling people to sell their stocks. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts gave investors a “sell indicator” Friday, CNBC reported. The indicator means that the market is overheated and primed for a big fall.

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Bull & Bear or sell indicator is one of the most accurate predictors of market activity, CNBC reported.

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Famed Doomsday Clock Moves Closer To Midnight; ‘Nuclear Situation Dire’

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Famed Doomsday Clock Moves Closer To Midnight; ‘Nuclear Situation Dire’

The world is only two and a half minutes away from doomsday. The editors of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on Thursday moved the hands of their famed Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to Armageddon.

“It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms,” a Bulletin press release reads.

The Doomsday Clock is intended to reflect how far the members of the Bulletin’s Science & Security Board think the world is from total catastrophe.

“In 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago—and as dangerous as it has been since World War II,” a statement from the Board reads.

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“To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger—and its immediacy,” the Board members wrote.

The board cited North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; tensions between Pakistan and India, disputes between the United States and China, and tensions between the U.S. and Russia as reasons for the increased danger. It also singled out statements made by President Trump, although he wasn’t mentioned by name.

Danger of Technological Change

The Atomic Scientists assert that technological change is as great a threat as nuclear weapons or climate change.

Technological change is disrupting democracies around the world as states seek and exploit opportunities to use information technologies as weapons, among them internet-based deception campaigns aimed at undermining elections and popular confidence in institutions essential to free thought and global security,” the Board warned.

It was moved 30 seconds closer to midnight, to two and a half minutes, last year.

The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 to express the dangers from nuclear war.

The Clock has been maintained and updated every year by The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board. The Board’s membership includes 15 winners of the Nobel Prize. You can see the Doomsday Clock in the upper left-hand corner of The Bulletin’s webpage.

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North Korean Testing Anthrax-Loaded Missiles; Tokyo Holding Drills

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North Korean Testing Anthrax-Loaded Missiles; Tokyo Holding Drills

Nuclear weapons are not the only threat from North Korea. That nation’s government has begun testing the possibility of loading the deadly biological warfare agent anthrax on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of hitting the United States.

The Northern Koreans are testing the anthrax bacteria to see if it can survive temperatures of 7,000 degrees or higher, The Asahi Shimbun reported. An ICBM warhead heats up to temperatures of 7,000 degrees when it re-enters the atmosphere. The Shimbun report was based on sources identified as South Korean intelligence officials.

Anthrax antibodies were reportedly detected in a North Korean soldier who defected last year, an intelligence officer told South Korean TV station Channel A. The antibodies likely came from an anthrax vaccine given to military personnel working with bioweapons, Fox News reported.

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Anthrax is one of the most popular biological weapons because it can survive for a long time under extreme conditions. Anthrax spores dropped on Gruinard Island off the coast of Scotland during a 1942 biological weapons test were so dangerous that the island was kept off limits to the public until 1986.

Anthrax makes a good weapon because it can be released quietly and without anyone knowing,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “The microscopic spores could be put into powders, sprays, food, and water. Because they are so small, you may not be able to see, smell, or taste them.”

Powdered anthrax is so deadly that it can kill by simply touching a person’s skin.

Tokyo Conducts Missile Attack Drill

Meanwhile, Tokyo, Japan on Monday conducted a missile-attack drill to prepare for a possible North Korea attack.

“An advisory about a missile launch was just issued,” the public address system at the Tokyo Dome amusement park warned visitors. “Everyone, please stay calm and seek shelter in the basement.

Around 20 other Japanese cities have held similar drills in recent weeks, NPR reported.

Residents would have only around 10 minutes to seek shelter in the case of an actual attack.

Strangely enough, demonstrators came out to protest the missile-attack drill.

“I think these missile drills only fan missile scare among the Japanese people and their animosity toward North Korea,” protestor Mari Chihara said.

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The 51st State? ‘New California’ Seeks Clean Break From ‘Ungovernable’ Golden State

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The 51st State? ‘New California’ Seeks Clean Break From ‘Ungovernable’ Golden State

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A group of Californians has filed paperwork to break away and form the nation’s 51st state.

It would be called “New California.”

New California is a new state in development exercising its Constitutional Right to form from the State of California,” a press release from the group states. “The process to form New California is authorized and codified in Article IV Sections 3 & 4 of the United States Constitution.”

Supporters on Jan. 15 issued a “Declaration of Independence and Separation from the State of California” and on Jan. 19 filed a list of grievances against the Golden State. The main grievance according to group leader Robert Paul Preston is that California is “ungovernable.”

“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time,” Preston said in a CBS Sacramento interview. “High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California.”

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Preston’s contention is that policies and laws designed for urban areas like Los Angeles will not work in rural regions such as San Benito County. His hope is that the state’s rural counties will join “New California.”

“There’s something wrong when you have a rural county such as this one, and you go down to Orange County which is mostly urban, and it has the same set of problems, and it happens because of how the state is being governed and taxed,” Preston said.

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Preston cited the large number of people leaving California as evidence that his movement is necessary. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the number of people leaving California exceeded those moving in by 142,932 in 2017, The Orange County Register reported. Outbound migration from California has increased by 11 percent since 2015.

New California is very much a work in progress. Even the map and geographic area of the proposed state are unknown.

Preston’s group is recruiting county coordinators who will try to get as many of California’s 58 counties as possible to join. Once that is done, New California will try to succeed using the process outlined by Article IV Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. That section gives any geographic region the right to apply to Congress for statehood.

Preston estimated that it would take 10 to 18 months to form a New California movement and apply for statehood.

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45 Percent Of Puerto Rico Still Without Electricity, 4 Months After Storm

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45 Percent Of Puerto Rico Still Without Electricity, 4 Months After Storm

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More than one-fourth of Puerto Rico still lacks electricity four months after Hurricane Maria struck the island.

Around 45 percent of the neighborhoods on the island still have no electric service, CBS correspondent David Begnaud tweeted on Wednesday. The current electric grid only serves 55 percent of the island even though 81 percent of the power generation has been resorted., he reported.

Electricity has been out so long that students at the Academia Bautista de Puerto Nuevo in San Juan jumped for joy when the lights came back on, ABC News reported. The school was without power for 112 days after Maria struck on Sept. 20, 2017.

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The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the federal government might be making the situation worse by hoarding materials needed to rebuild power lines, The Intercept alleged.

Federal agents raided a PREPA warehouse and seized building materials on Jan. 6, The Intercept said.

“Lying about not having the parts to cover the inefficiency of PREPA is outrageous and those responsible must be taken before state and federal authorities to be criminally processed immediately,” Eduardo Bhatia, the minority leader in Puerto Rico’s Senate, told the media.

More than 329,000 Puerto Ricans have flown to Florida since Oct. 3, Begnaud tweeted. Puerto Rico’s population in 2016 was 3.411 million.

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City Arrests Citizens For Handing Out Free Food

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City Arrests Citizens For Handing Out Free Food

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Helping the homeless is now a crime in part of El Cajon, Calif. Between 12 and 15 people were arrested Sunday and cited for giving food to the poor at a city park in the San Diego suburb.

“This park is part of city property so you aren’t allowed to food share,” a police officer in a Facebook video told activists.  “… If you guys continue to food share, then you guys are subject to arrest, alright?”

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The activists were handing food and toiletries to homeless people in Wells Park. Officers cited and arrested all the activists, but did not handcuff anybody or take them to jail, The San Diego Union Tribune reported. The activists were protesting an ordinance banning the distribution of food on public property.

Threat to Public Health?

The El Cajon city council passed the ordinance in October because city officials believe distributing food to the poor spreads diseases like Hepatitis A, The Union Tribune reported.

The ordinance made feeding the homeless a misdemeanor. Repeat offenders might be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor, which can lead to 364 days in jail.

“It was absolutely necessary to break this law until they were willing to enforce it, and, now that they have, we will continue this fight in court,” protest organizer Shane Parmely told The Union Tribune. Parmely said he and others would keep feeding the homeless and getting arrested until the ban is overturned.

“Our goal is to get the ban overturned and sit down and figure out how to humanely deal with something that’s not going away,” protestor Mark Lane said.

Homelessness is a serious problem in San Diego County, where rents are skyrocketing.

The number of people living on the streets in downtown San Diego increased by 27 percent in 2017, The Union Tribune reported.

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Oregon Lifts Ban On Pumping Your Own Gas (Sort Of)

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Oregon Lifts Ban On Pumping Your Own Gas (Sort Of)

The state of Oregon has finally loosened restrictions that prohibited residents from pumping their own gas – even though it’s still illegal in most of the state.

Self-service gas stations became legal in 15 rural Oregon counties on Monday.

The new law, HB 2482, decriminalized gas pumping at any time in 15 counties with populations under 40,000, The Bulletin reported.

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Pumping your own gas is still banned for 90 percent of the population.

Some Oregon residents, though, didn’t take kindly to the new law.

“I don’t even know HOW to pump gas and I am 62, native Oregonian…..I say NO THANKS!” resident Sandy Franklin posted on Facebook.

The San Francisco Chronicle and Texas TV station KSAT 12 were among the many out-of-state media outlets making fun of some Oregonians’ fear of gas pumps.

“Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly,” Tina Good wrote. “Besides, I don’t want to go to work smelling of gas when I get it on my hands or clothes.”

“I’ve lived in this state all my life and I REFUSE to pump my own gas,” Mike Perone wrote. “I had to do it once in California while visiting my brother and almost died doing it. This a service only qualified people should perform. I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas. I can’t even.”

New Jersey is the only other state where filling your gas tank is still a crime.

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L.A. Is Burning: 200,000 People Flee Record Fire

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L.A. Is Burning: 200,000 People Flee Record Fire

LOS ANGELES — Disaster can strike everywhere — even in some of America’s richest and most exclusive neighborhoods.

Six wildfires have destroyed homes and caused the closure of one of America’s busiest freeways around Los Angeles while forcing nearly 200,000 people from their homes. All total, 141,000 acres have burned in the fires, which stretch from L.A. to San Diego. They are being fed by strong winds and dry conditions.

“It was dark until I saw a gigantic ball of orange,” motorist Tiffany Lynette Anderson wrote on Instagram Wednesday.

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Anderson was driving to work on Interstate 405 between South Central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley when she encountered the Skirball Fire. The fire scorched hundreds of acres and burned several homes in the Bel-Air neighborhood just north of Beverly Hills.

The fire was so intense that it forced authorities to close the 405 — one of America’s busiest freeways during rush hour, The Los Angeles Times reported. A mandatory evacuation area for the fire included the Getty Center, a popular art museum.

One of the wildfires, the Thomas Fire in Ventura, is the largest December wildfire in California’s history.

‘I Was Going To Die In This House’

The fire is burning near some of the city’s most famous neighborhoods including Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, Brentwood and UCLA. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) campus is close to the fire but had not been evacuated.

“I was going to die in this house,” resident Beverly Freeman told The Times. She woke up to find her neighborhood burning. “The flames have never come so close.”

Freeman got out safely but lost all her belongings.

“It’s been years since anything here has burned at all,” Los Angeles Fire Department Captain Cody Weireter told The Times. “You’ve got heavy, heavy brush, you’ve got the dryness, obviously, we haven’t had any rain at all. A lot of the fire is topography-driven, which already becomes dangerous. The wind is going to increase that twofold.”

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North Korea Launches New Missile That Can Reach ‘Everywhere In The World’; 8,100-Mile Range; Rogue Country ‘Confident’

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North Korea Launches New Missile That Can Reach ‘Everywhere In The World’; 8,100-Mile Range; Rogue Country ‘Confident’

North Korea tested a powerful new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Wednesday that experts say can reach any location on Earth.

The Hwasong-15 missile has a range of 8,100 miles — enough to hit any target in the United States.

“Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” said David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Hwasong-15 was reportedly launched from a mobile launcher outside the North Korean capital of Pyongsong, and flew 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) to 4,500 kilometers (2,796 miles) in the air before crashing into the Sea of Japan, CNN reported.

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U.S. Defense Secretary General James Mattis conceded that the Hwasung-15 gives North Korea the ability to hit “everywhere in the world.”

“The bottom line is, it’s a continued effort to build a threat — a ballistic missile threat — that endangers world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States,” Mattis concluded.

“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken,” Mattis added.

The Hwasong-15 is capable of carrying a “super-large heavy warhead, which is capable of striking the whole mainland of the U.S.,” according to a statement from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.

“This range could cover all of the mainland United States, including Florida,” Melissa Hanham, a senior researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, told National Public Radio (NPR).

Other experts agreed.

“I think they’re confident now that they can hold the U.S. Eastern Seaboard at risk, which is a big deal,” said Vipin Narang, an assistant science professor at MIT.

Narang believes that New York is North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s ultimate target.

“Do they need to hit New York with certainty and accuracy? No. A 30 percent chance that they can park one on the Upper East Side is enough to deter us,” Narang said.

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Alaskans Urged To Prep For North Korean Attack; Would Have 20 Minutes To React

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Alaskans Urged To Prep For North Korean Attack; Would Have 20 Minutes To React

The state of Alaska has no plans to evacuate citizens in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack. Instead, residents are being told to stay in place and stockpile food, water, flashlights and radios.

“Really the recommendation for people during a nuclear attack is to shelter in place and find some type of secure location that will protect them from that blast,” state official Jeremy Zidek said, according to Britain’s Daily Mirror. “What we’re recommending people do is the same thing that they would do for any other type of disaster preparedness.

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“That is: Have a family emergency plan so that they can get in touch with their families quickly, and have an emergency supply of food, water and first aid.

“So with a mass evacuation – if people leave their homes, schools and businesses to try to get out of the area, we may be putting more people at risk,” he added.

Anchorage is 1,000 miles closer to North Korea than Honolulu, and both are within range of the ICBMs tested this year by the rogue nation. Zidek estimated that it would take about 20 minutes for a North Korean missile to reach his state.

“Perhaps there would be some type of attack on those military facilities to try to hinder our ability to react to any missile launches,” Zidek said.

Alaska is home to a number of military installations including Fort Greeley, Fort Wainwright, and Nelson Air Force Base.

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Americans ‘Should Assume’ Their Tax Returns Can Be Hacked From The IRS, Expert Says

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Americans ‘Should Assume’ Their Tax Returns Can Be Hacked From The IRS, Expert Says

Image source: Flickr / Creative Commons

Nov. 15, 2017

No one’s financial information is safe from hackers at the Internal Revenue Service — not even President Trump’s.

That’s according to fraud investigator John Powers, who suspects Trump’s tax returns have been stolen from the IRS. Powers also believes that expert hackers could take anybody’s data from the agency if they wanted it.

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“Considering Trump’s risk profile, the determination of his detractors, and the current state of cybersecurity, it’s almost inconceivable his tax returns haven’t been hacked—successfully—by someone with more experience and expertise,” Powers wrote in Wired on Sunday.

“After all, American taxpayers should assume their personally identifying information is already in the hands of criminals and then act accordingly, as former IRS commissioner John Koskinen recently told reporters.”

Koskinen said: “Our estimate is a significant percent of those taxpayers already had their information in the hands of criminals.”

Powers is a certified fraud investigator who has coordinated investigations with the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He has had 20 years of experience and now heads up Hudson Intelligence in New York.

Powers noted that:

  • The IRS awarded a contract to Equifax for fraud protection services. Equifax is the credit bureau that lost data from about 145 million people to hackers earlier this year.
  • Fraudsters were able to steal data from about 100,000 taxpayers and $30 million by hacking an IRS tool for students seeking financial aid.
  • A Louisiana private investigator named Jordan Hamlett may have come close to stealing Trump’s tax returns – and he wasn’t even an expert hacker.

Powers surmises that hackers have seen Trump’s tax returns but haven’t released it because there is nothing there.

“Maybe the tax returns just aren’t that juicy,” he wrote.

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80-Year-Old Man Greets Child In Grocery, Gets Visit From Police

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80-Year-Old Man Greets Child In Grocery, Gets Visit From Police

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Simply talking to a strange child in public can lead to a police visit in Australia. An 80-year-old man was stopped by a plainclothes police officer and then visited at his home by two detectives — simply because he chatted with a boy at the supermarket.

The unidentified man stopped to speak kindly with a young boy and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder in September, the mom wrote in a now-public letter. That simple act – common in grocery stores across America – led to the mom reporting the elderly man. A policeman talked to the man in the parking lot.

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A few days later, two police detectives appeared at the man’s home in Winmalee, New South Wales, to question him. The detectives showed up unannounced, even though they admitted that surveillance camera footage verified the man had done nothing wrong.

The letter was first discovered taped to the wall of a shopping center in Winmalee. It was written by the man’s daughter, who noted that older people “take joy” in talking to young people.

“I cannot express how much your action of alarm has struck at the confidence of an older man,” the letter states. “His expression of goodwill undone by an overly zealous parent, who did not have the courage to speak of their opinion directly to my father, or guide the child away, or to join in and add to the conversation.

“Instead, you covertly and unnecessarily inform authorities,” it continues. “About what, I do not know. We were all strangers once to others we now know — overcome through communication skills, learned and improved by conversing with an array of persons.

“And a closed, dysfunctional society is formed of reading too much into a situation, and acting on exaggerated thought and impulsive negative action, rather than that of a considered positive outlook.”

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They Seized His Truck Because He Had 5 Bullets

They Seized His Truck Because He Had 5 Bullets

Driving with bullets apparently is now a crime in America. That’s what one U.S. citizen discovered.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized Gerardo Serrano’s truck and kept it for two years because he had five rounds in his center console.

The truck was stopped by CBP at a border crossing in Eagle Pass, Texas, because Serrano was taking pictures of the border crossing to share with his family, the Institute for Justice alleges. That caused agents to search his truck.

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When they found five low-caliber bullets, the agents alleged Serrano with transporting “munitions of war” and instituted civil forfeiture proceedings against him. That enabled them to take the Ford F-250 without even charging Serrano with a crime. He had to rent a car to get home to Kentucky.

Detained for Taking Pictures

“Gerardo was never convicted of a crime, let alone charged with one,” the Institute alleges. “Indeed, forgetting a few bullets in your car is not a crime. For taking pictures, Gerardo’s truck was seized under a law designed to punish international arms smugglers, not innocent Americans visiting family in Mexico.”

The Institute added, “No court has ever approved the seizure of Gerardo’s truck, and Gerardo has never had an opportunity to argue that he should get the truck back.”

To get the truck back, the Institute had to sue the CPB on Serrano’s behalf. Finally, it was returned in late October.

“The government cannot illegally seize and keep someone’s property for two years, and then give it back and pretend like no harm was done,” said Institute attorney Robert Everett Johnson. “We will continue to fight to see that Gerardo is made whole, and to make sure this never happens again.”

Under civil forfeiture law, prosecutors sue a piece of property in civil court instead of filing criminal charges. That enables them to take property, or money without filing charges or going to criminal court.

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Trump Requests $4 Billion More For Missile Defense Against North Korea

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Trump Requests $4 Billion More For Missile Defense Against North KoreaThe White House is asking Congress for an additional $4 billion to fund a missile defense against North Korea.

The request was made in a Monday letter from President Trump to Congress, The Hill reported.

The money would pay for 16 Standard Missle-3 Block11A interceptor rockets, 50 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missiles, and upgrades to radar and missile detection capabilities, the letter revealed. It also would add an additional Ground Based Interceptor Field at Fort Greely, Alaska, and 20 new interceptors. The request is apparently in addition in $9.9 billion Trump had already requested for missile defense.

“We’re going to be increasing our budget by many billions of dollars because of North Korea and other reasons having to do with the anti-missile [aspect],” Trump told reporters in August.

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Despite the spending, no one knows if an anti-missile defense system will work. The missile system based at Fort Greely, missed targets in nine out of 18 tests since 1999, the All Things Nuclear blog noted.

The missile-defense money was part of a larger request for a variety of defense and other spending. The same request included $1.6 billion for the Mexico border wall and $1.2 billion for additional troop deployments in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

“Providing for the safety and security of the American people is my top priority,” Trump wrote in the letter.

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Mom Makes Joke About Selling Son For $12, Gets Investigated By CPS

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Mom Makes Joke About Selling Son For $12, Gets Investigated By CPSA proud mother found herself under investigation for human trafficking for joking about her three-year-old son on Twitter.

“This time last week, I was the subject of a human-trafficking investigation,” Magnolia State Live writer Alex McDaniel wrote in October.

“The saga began when a caseworker and supervisor from Child Protection Services (CPS) dropped by my office with a Lafayette County sheriff’s deputy,” she wrote.

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The two told the writer she was under investigation because someone called CPS and reported a Tweet.

McDaniel had written, “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.” The Tweet was a gag based on something McDaniel’s son had said.

“That tweet was what the caller used as evidence that I was a threat to the well-being of my child,” McDaniel wrote. “And it was that tweet that sparked the most hellish week of my life as I prepared for a home visit in which my case worker would inspect my home and the possibility of more interviews with my son.”

“All because enough people believed I was actually trying to sell my son on Twitter for $12,” McDaniel wrote.

Fortunately, McDaniel was able to hire an attorney, who got the case dismissed.

McDaniel thinks the tip was made by someone who does not like her columns. Unfortunately, the informant can never be held accountable because tips to CPS are kept confidential in Mississippi.

“What upsets me more is the idea of anyone using an agency designed to protect Mississippi’s most vulnerable children as a weapon to take someone down for no legitimate reason, McDaniel wrote.

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Walmart & Amazon Ask: Can We Enter Your Home When You’re Gone?

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Walmart & Amazon Ask: Can We Enter Your Home When You’re Gone?Amazon and Walmart want the key to your house, and one of them even wants access to your refrigerator.

Both are testing services that will allow employees to bring packages and food into your home when you are away.

“The idea is you can chose to receive orders from Walmart.com — not just on your door and left on your porch but securely inside your home,” a Walmart video states. “If you’re not home rather than leaving the package on the front porch, the driver enters a one-time use code.”

The video shows a Walmart employee entering a house and restocking the fridge while the owner is away. Walmart claims the service is secure because there’s a one-time use code and users can watch the driver’s activities via video. Access to the home is achieved by typing a code into a keypad.

The service is provided by Walmart in conjunction with two companies: delivery service Deliv and smart lock maker August Home. Deliv CEO Daphne Carmeli claimed the service will be safe because drivers will undergo “regular audits, ratings and checks,” CNN reported.

“We are going to have to build trust with consumers,” August Home CEO Jason Johnson said. “At first you might be a little nervous. But after you do it once or twice, you absolutely will do it again. Everyone who has tried it so far is really satisfied.”

Walmart is testing the service in the San Jose area. Amazon has its own version ready for rollout on Nov. 8, CNN reported.

“Not at home? Not a problem,” an advertisement for a service called Amazon Key states.

Amazon Key uses a cloud cam to observe the driver and a keypad for entry. An Amazon Key smart lock replaces the traditional lock.

“As a Prime member, get your Amazon packages securely delivered just inside your front door. Plus, grant access to the people you trust, like your family, friends, dog walker, or house cleaner – no more leaving a key under the mat.”

Would you take advantage of such a service? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Alabama: 5 Years In Prison For Voting The Wrong Way

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Alabama: 5 Years In Prison For Voting The Wrong Way

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Voting the wrong way might lead to a five-year prison term in Alabama.

Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican, wants the 674 people who crossed parties to vote in a recent runoff election prosecuted.

“If these people knowingly and willfully voted because they didn’t like the law, they thought the law was wrong, they thought the law was stupid, they didn’t think the law should be enforced, our intentions are to identify those people, fully investigate them, if it’s warranted to have them indicted, to have them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Merrill, according to Think Progress. “I want every one of them that meets that criteria to be sentenced to five years in the penitentiary and to pay a $15,000 fine for restitution. That’s what I want.”

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A new law prohibits crossover voting – that is, voting in a Republican primary when someone is registered as a Democrat, and vice versa. Upwards of 674 voted in both the August Democratic primary and then a September GOP runoff. Although that previously was legal, the legislature passed a vote in the previous session banning it. Crossover voting still is allowed in a handful of other states.

Roy Moore defeated U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in the September GOP runoff.

Randall Marshall of the ACLU of Alabama said he was “stunned” by Merrill’s threat.

“This is a brand new law,” he told Think Progress. “People have been allowed in Alabama to crossover vote prior to this special election.”

Further, Marshall said, anyone who tried to vote in both primaries – accident or no accidentally — should have been stopped from doing so by poll officials.

“Crossover voting should not have been permitted to even occur,” Marshall told the website. “Instead of putting it on the backs of voters and effectively chilling the right to vote going forward for fear of doing something that gets you put in prison for five years, this is a strong message from the state that we don’t care about your right to vote.”

The state asserted that there were signs notifying people of the new law.

Said Marshall, “When I got to the polls, I don’t read the stuff that’s on the wall. The notion that, there is signage here and that takes care of the state’s obligation I think is pretty small-minded.”

What do you think? Should voters who violated the law be prosecuted? Share your thoughts in the section below:

41 Days Later, Puerto Rico Is Still Without Electricity

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41 Days Later, Puerto Rico Is Still Without Electricity

DoD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Joshua L. DeMotts

Most Puerto Ricans will be without electricity for the foreseeable future after a controversial contract to rebuild the island’s power grid was cancelled.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) on Sunday cancelled a $300 million contract to rebuild the grid after officials discovered that the contractor, Whitefish Energy, lacked the resources to do the job. It was hoped that Whitefish would quickly get the power grid back up and running. But now PREPA is back to square one.

It has been more than a month – 41 days exactly — since Hurricane Maria hit the island on Sept. 20.

“Some stores, medical centers, restaurants and a fortunate few private residences are running on generators, but most of the island’s 3.4 million people are plunged into darkness after sunset,” The New York Times reported.

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PREPA is running at only 30 percent capacity, but it isn’t known how many of the island’s citizens are without power. Estimates range as high as 80 percent or more. The contract was hurriedly signed as Maria was heading toward the island.

“Nestled down a long gravel driveway in Whitefish is a one-story wooden house that is the home of Whitefish Energy,” CBS News reported from the small town of Whitefish, Mont. on Friday. “This tiny energy company has only two full-time employees. … Whitefish has never worked on a project of this size.”

A major critic of Whitefish is journalist Ken Klippenstein, who obtained a copy of the contract and noted a number of unusual provisions, CNBC reported. One clause actually barred the government from auditing Whitefish.

Also not amused by the contract was President Trump, who was drawn into the mess because Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s home is Whitefish, Mont. CNBC reported that Zinke’s son had a summer job working for Whitefish CEO Andy Techmanski.

“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico. I welcome all investigations into the allegations,” Zinke tweeted on Friday.

Do you think your state is prepared for such a crisis? Share your thoughts in the section below:

No Surgery For The Obese & Smokers, British Nationalized Health Care Proposes

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No Surgery For The Obese & Smokers, British Nationalized Health Care Proposes

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Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is under fire for a proposal that would prohibit non-essential surgeries on people who are overweight or who smoke.

Patients must quit smoking for eight weeks or lose weight to qualify for non-emergency surgery at hospitals, The Telegraph reported.

The policy is designed to force patients “to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, wherever possible, freeing up limited NHS resources for priority treatment,” read a statement from a pair of health care organizations, East and North Hertfordshire CCG (clinical commissioning groups) and Herts Valleys.

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But others blasted the proposal.

“This goes against clinical guidance and leaves patients waiting long periods of time in pain and discomfort,” Ian Eardley, the senior vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said. “It can even lead to worse outcomes following surgery in some cases.”

Patients who claim to have stopped smoking must prove it by using a breathalyzer.

“Singling out patients in this way goes against the principles of the NHS,” Eardley said.

The mission of the NHS is to provide free healthcare to all British citizens.

“There is simply no justification for these policies, and we urge all clinical commissioning groups to urgently reverse these discriminatory measures.”

Eardley charged that many local CCGs in the United Kingdom are adopting such practices to reduce costs.

The CCGs said the policy was for patient health.

“This policy is designed to improve patient safety and outcomes, both during and immediately after non-urgent surgery,” the CCGs said in a statement. “No financial savings are expected as a result of these measures. We do however hope to improve the long-term health of our residents through the targeted stop-smoking and weight-loss support on offer to patients.”

No Weight Loss, No Surgery

Under the plan, patients who are found to have a body mass index of 30 would be told to lose 10 percent of their weight. Those with a body mass index of 40 would have to lose 15 percent of their weight. They also would have to wait nine months for surgery, The Telegraph reported.

“In exceptional circumstances, clinicians will allow surgery to go ahead even if the smoking and weight loss criteria are not met,” A CCG statement noted. “Exceptions would be made when waiting for surgery would be more harmful for the patient.”

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Business Owner Was Never Convicted. But Police Kept 130 Of His Computers Anyway

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Business Owner Was Never Convicted. But Police Kept 130 Of His Computers Anyway

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Frank Ranelli is still waiting for the return of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers police took from his business in 2010, even though charges were dismissed years ago.

“Here I was, a man, owned this business, been coming to work every day like a good old guy for 23 years, and I show up at work that morning – I was in here doing my books from the day before – and the police just f***ed my life,” Ranelli told AL.com.

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Around 20 Homewood, Ala., police officers came into Ranelli’s computer repair business on June 29, 2010, and took 130 computers, alleging that he knew they were stolen. Ranelli recalled that some of the officers were wearing flak jackets and carrying semiautomatic rifles.

Police had received a tip that Ranelli’s store, FAR Computers, was knowingly buying stolen electronics from local crooks, court documents indicate. The tip was apparently bogus, and charges were eventually dismissed, but Ranelli is still waiting to get the stuff back more than seven years later.

Police used a law known as civil asset seizure to take the computers — many of which belonged to his customers. The law allows them to seize property even if a crime isn’t proven.

More asset forfeiture horror stories like this one are likely after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed an order that had barred seizure of cash and property without warrants or charges in July, The Washington Post reported.

Sessions also set up a special unit within the Justice Department to oversee forfeiture and limit abuses. Skeptics were not convinced by that action.

“It’s nice to see at least some acknowledgment that civil forfeiture is in need of increased oversight, but the changes really don’t go far enough and the core problem still remains,” U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) complained. “Americans are still going to have their property taken from them, without due process, at record rates.”

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Insect Populations Plummet 75 Percent; ‘Cascading Effects’ On Food Chain

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Insect Populations Plummet 75 Percent; ‘Cascading Effects’ On Food Chain

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More than 75 percent of the flying insects in German nature reserves have been wiped out in the past 27 years according to a published in the scientific journal PLOS that also asserts the problem – if worldwide – could have a negative effect globally.

“The flying insect community as a whole … has been decimated over the last few decades,” researchers from Radboud University and the Entomological Society Krefeld reported. At the end of the study, flying insect populations were 25 percent of what they were at the beginning.

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“Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services,” the researchers stated.

The falling insect population — which includes honeybees — might affect human supplies because bees and other flying bugs are needed to pollinate crops.

“There’s no reason to think this isn’t happening everywhere,” Tanya Latty, researcher and teaching fellow at Sydney University’s School of Life and Environment Sciences, told CNN. “If you see these sort of dramatic declines in protected areas, it makes me worry that this (trend) could be everywhere.”

“We don’t often think about insects other than ‘eww, an insect,’” Latty said. “But these are the organisms running the world. Insects pollinate the crops we eat, they contribute to pest control, we’d have to use more pesticide. They’re even crucial in waste control — most of the waste in urban areas is taken care of by ants and cockroaches.”

Said researcher Caspar Hallman, “These are not agricultural areas, these are locations meant to preserve biodiversity, but still we see the insects slipping out of our hands.”

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Town Bans The Tossing Of Candy In Parades Because Kids Might Get Hurt

Town Bans The Tossing Of Candy In Parades Because Kids Might Get Hurt

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Overly aggressive trick or treaters have brought an end to a holiday tradition in West Chester, Penn.

Halloween Parade participants will no longer be able to toss candy to kids because – officials fear — they might fight over the candy and get hurt.

“They won’t have to struggle with other children who are trying to get the same thing,” Keith Kurowski, the director of the West Chester Parks and Recreation, told The Daily Local.

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Instead, candy will be handed out at four “distribution stations” to make sure every kid gets his or her fair share.

Kurowski blamed kids who were “overly aggressive getting to the freebies” for the change in procedure. Around 1,000 people usually take part in the parade, which has attracted up to 5,000 spectators in the past. Candy remains a big part of the fun.

“Candy is still going to be distributed on Halloween and for public safety reasons and the safety of our children it will be distributed differently,” Mayor Jordan Norley said. “Nonetheless, our children are going to have more sweets than they can eat.”

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Town Bans The Tossing Of Candy In Parades Because Kids Might Get Hurt

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Town Bans The Tossing Of Candy In Parades Because Kids Might Get Hurt

Image source: Flickr/Creative Commons

Overly aggressive trick or treaters have brought an end to a holiday tradition in West Chester, Penn.

Halloween Parade participants will no longer be able to toss candy to kids because – officials fear — they might fight over the candy and get hurt.

“They won’t have to struggle with other children who are trying to get the same thing,” Keith Kurowski, the director of the West Chester Parks and Recreation, told The Daily Local.

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Instead, candy will be handed out at four “distribution stations” to make sure every kid gets his or her fair share.

Kurowski blamed kids who were “overly aggressive getting to the freebies” for the change in procedure. Around 1,000 people usually take part in the parade, which has attracted up to 5,000 spectators in the past. Candy remains a big part of the fun.

“Candy is still going to be distributed on Halloween and for public safety reasons and the safety of our children it will be distributed differently,” Mayor Jordan Norley said. “Nonetheless, our children are going to have more sweets than they can eat.”

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ISIS May Have Had Ties To Vegas Shooter, NYT Reporter Says

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ISIS May Have Had Ties To Vegas Shooter, NYT Reporter Says

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The possibility that ISIS has ties to Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock may be greater than many think. A New York Times reporter who covers the terrorist group says she isn’t discounting claims by ISIS that it helped orchestrate the tragedy.

Journalist Rukmini Callimachi wrote in a series of Tweets Thursday that ISIS “has rarely claimed attacks that were not by either their members or sympathizers.”

“I don’t take ISIS’ claim at face value. And so far, 0 evidence tying this attack to ISIS has emerged,” she wrote. “But here’s why I disagree with those rejecting it out of hand. I’ve been covering ISIS since 2014 and since then I have kept a timeline. Everytime ISIS claimed an attack in West, I jotted it down. Months later, I’ve gone back over list & annotated what investigation found.

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“My list is not complete but of the more than 50 cases I have annotated, I could only find 3 false claims. Yes, the group frequently exaggerates death tolls & yes, they inflate & distort details, but the crux of the claim is typically correct.”

ISIS, she wrote, “considers an attack to be their handiwork if the attacker is sent by them or if he is inspired by them.”

“The reason I don’t buy argument that they are now opportunistically claiming attacks to deflect from battlefield losses is as follows. Beyond the attacks they’ve claimed, there are many more they could have claimed but didn’t. These are attacks where we know it was them. Remember the Thalys train shouting? They never claimed it. Attacker shared a hotel room with Abdlehamid Abaaoud, leader of Paris attack.

“Remember the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels? Attacker was 1 of ISIS’ jailers who held European hostages. Yet they never claimed. Do you remember the devastating attack on the Istanbul airport last year? Investigation determined it was ISIS. Again they did not claim. And 1 day before Vegas on Saturday, a guy who’d placed ISIS flag on his car’s dashboard used it to ram police. Did ISIS claim it? Nope.

“Does this mean ISIS had a role in Vegas? There is as yet 0 evidence of that. My point: This group has been more right than it’s been wrong.”

What do you think? Let us know in the section below:

‘Repeal The Second Amendment,’ NYT Columnist Argues

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‘Repeal The Second Amendment,’ NYT Columnist Argues

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative writer is calling for repealing the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

New York Times op-ed columnist Brett Stephens wrote Oct. 5 that he wants to abolish the right to bear arms in the name of public safety. The column came under the headline, “Repeal the Second Amendment.”

“There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment,” Stephens wrote. “Repealing the Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it’s worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn’t outlawed in Britain or Australia. But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either.”

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It is difficult to amend the Constitution. Under the present system it would require a vote of two-thirds of Congress and approval of three-fifths of the state legislatures.

Recent Republican successes, and the Vegas shooting, inspired Stephens’ proposal.

“Donald Trump will likely get one more Supreme Court nomination, or two or three, before he leaves office, guaranteeing a pro-gun court for another generation” Stephens wrote. “Expansive interpretations of the right to bear arms will be the law of the land — until the ‘right’ itself ceases to be.”

Stephens has penned several conservative columns this year, including one titled “On North Korea, Trump’s On The Right Track,” and another column that defended Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against liberals (his term).

“I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment,” he wrote Oct. 5. “From a law-and-order standpoint, more guns means more murder. … From a personal-safety standpoint, more guns means less safety.”

“And now we have the relatively new and now ubiquitous ‘active shooter’ phenomenon, something that remains extremely rare in the rest of the world,” he wrote. “Conservatives often say that the right response to these horrors is to do more on the mental-health front. Yet by all accounts Stephen Paddock would not have raised an eyebrow with a mental-health professional before he murdered 58 people in Las Vegas last week.”

Stephens acknowledged his goal is lofty.

“Some conservatives will insist that the Second Amendment is fundamental to the structure of American liberty,” he wrote. “They will cite James Madison, who noted in the Federalist Papers that in Europe ‘the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.’ America was supposed to be different, and better.

“I wonder what Madison would have to say about that today, when more than twice as many Americans perished last year at the hands of their fellows as died in battle during the entire Revolutionary War. My guess: Take the guns—or at least the presumptive right to them—away. The true foundation of American exceptionalism should be our capacity for moral and constitutional renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction.”

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

School Bans Cartwheels Because Kids Could Get Hurt

School Bans Cartwheels Because Kids Could Get Hurt

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Schools throughout North America are banning cartwheels and even balls as threats to children’s safety.

“The activity can cause concussions, and neck and wrist injuries,” Principal Todd Gribbon told The North Bay Nugget, referencing cartwheels.

New playground rules at M.T. Davidson Public School in Callander, Ontario, ban cartwheels, even though no injuries have occurred.

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The rules are in a new school handbook that is scheduled for approval this week.

M.T. Davidson is far from alone in going to great lengths to protect kids from ordinary activities.

Cartwheels have been banned at some schools in the United Kingdom and Australia. Earl Beatty Public School in Toronto banned all hard balls in 2011, the CBC reported. That ban included soccer balls, which are considered hard.

“Kids were coming in complaining of injury, or being scared,” Principal Alicia Fernandez said of the ban.

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School Bans Cartwheels Because Kids Could Get Hurt

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School Bans Cartwheels Because Kids Could Get Hurt

Image source: Wikipedia

Schools throughout North America are banning cartwheels and even balls as threats to children’s safety.

“The activity can cause concussions, and neck and wrist injuries,” Principal Todd Gribbon told The North Bay Nugget, referencing cartwheels.

New playground rules at M.T. Davidson Public School in Callander, Ontario, ban cartwheels, even though no injuries have occurred.

Put God Back Into History And Teach Your Kids What They Won’t Learn Anywhere Else!

The rules are in a new school handbook that is scheduled for approval this week.

M.T. Davidson is far from alone in going to great lengths to protect kids from ordinary activities.

Cartwheels have been banned at some schools in the United Kingdom and Australia. Earl Beatty Public School in Toronto banned all hard balls in 2011, the CBC reported. That ban included soccer balls, which are considered hard.

“Kids were coming in complaining of injury, or being scared,” Principal Alicia Fernandez said of the ban.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

School Bans Cartwheels Because Kids Could Get Hurt

School Bans Cartwheels Because Kids Could Get Hurt

Image source: Wikipedia

Schools throughout North America are banning cartwheels and even balls as threats to children’s safety.

“The activity can cause concussions, and neck and wrist injuries,” Principal Todd Gribbon told The North Bay Nugget, referencing cartwheels.

New playground rules at M.T. Davidson Public School in Callander, Ontario, ban cartwheels, even though no injuries have occurred.

Put God Back Into History And Teach Your Kids What They Won’t Learn Anywhere Else!

The rules are in a new school handbook that is scheduled for approval this week.

M.T. Davidson is far from alone in going to great lengths to protect kids from ordinary activities.

Cartwheels have been banned at some schools in the United Kingdom and Australia. Earl Beatty Public School in Toronto banned all hard balls in 2011, the CBC reported. That ban included soccer balls, which are considered hard.

“Kids were coming in complaining of injury, or being scared,” Principal Alicia Fernandez said of the ban.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

North Korea Claims U.S. Declared War, Threatens To Shoot Down Planes

North Korea Claims U.S. Declared War, Threatens To Shoot Down Planes

The United States has declared war on North Korea, that nation’s foreign minister charged Monday at the United Nations.

“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive counter measures, including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers at any time even when they are not yet inside the aerospace border of our country,” North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday.

Ri was referencing a Tweet by President Trump that read, “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

Said Ri, “Last weekend Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and declared a war on our country.”

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The White House on Monday pushed back against North Korea and said war had not been declared.

“Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress can declare war, even though many wars have been fought without Congress taking action.

The U.S. military sent North Korea a different kind of message over the weekend with a flight of B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam that passed through international waters off the nation, CNN reported. The bombers were escorted by F-15C Eagle fighters from Okinawa.

“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

North Korea Threatens To Test Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean

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North Korea Threatens To Test Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean

North Korea is considering testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean, the Communist nation’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, warned in an interview with reporters Thursday.

Ri made the comments at the United Nations in Manhattan.

“This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean,” Ri said. “Regarding which measures to take, I don’t really know since it is what [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un does.”

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For his part, Kim delivered a rare recorded statement on video, saying that U.S. President Donald Trump will “pay dearly” for his warnings against North Korean, CNN reported. North Korea, Kim said, “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue,” Kim said. “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”

Trump tweeted on Friday, “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”

Trump spoke to the United Nations this week and warned that the U.S. would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to do so.

The term hydrogen bomb or “H-bomb” is an old nickname for thermonuclear or second-generation nuclear weapon.

The most powerful nuclear weapon ever tested, the Russian Tsar Bomba (1961), was a hydrogen bomb.

A typical H-bomb contains the explosive force of around 400 kilotons of TNT. In contrast to a hydrogen bomb, the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima delivered 15 to 16 kilotons of destructive force.

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100 Perfect Of Puerto Rico Without Electricity; Power May Be Out For MONTHS

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100 Perfect Of Puerto Rico Without Electricity; Power May Be Out For MONTHS

The electricity might be off for months in Puerto Rico following the destruction from Hurricane Maria, Governor Ricardo Rossello says.

A full 100 percent of the island – which is home to 3.5 million people — was without electricity on Thursday afternoon, The New York Times reported. The blackout is so widespread because Hurricane Irma already had knocked out 70 percent of the island’s power.

“Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us,” San Juan resident Edwin Serrano told The Times.

Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since 1932, and the devastation on the island is far from over.

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All of Puerto Rico was under a flood warning Thursday because of storm surges in the sea and up to 35 inches of rain.

Power Grid Destroyed

“It’s a good time for dads to buy a ball and a glove and change the way you entertain your children,” Ricardo Ramos of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority told CNN.

President Trump said Thursday that Puerto Rico’s power grid is down.

“It wasn’t in good shape to start off with. But their electrical grid is totally destroyed, and so are many other things,” Trump said.

It will take more than a month to restore electricity to the island, said Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative to the U.S. House. Power lines all over the island are on the ground.

Many families will be without running water for months because the pumps that supply the water system are knocked out, González-Colón added.

“The country is paralyzed — it’s like a war zone,” said real-estate marketer Carmen González. “This has been devastating. The whole of Condado is full of obstacles.”

Telephone service also is out on the island, making the situation worse for millions of Americans who have relatives in Puerto Rico.

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100 Percent Of Puerto Rico Without Electricity; Power May Be Out For MONTHS

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100 Perfect Of Puerto Rico Without Electricity; Power May Be Out For MONTHS

The electricity might be off for months in Puerto Rico following the destruction from Hurricane Maria, Governor Ricardo Rossello says.

A full 100 percent of the island – which is home to 3.5 million people — was without electricity on Thursday afternoon, The New York Times reported. The blackout is so widespread because Hurricane Irma already had knocked out 70 percent of the island’s power.

“Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us,” San Juan resident Edwin Serrano told The Times.

Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since 1932, and the devastation on the island is far from over.

Finally, A Backup Generator That Doesn’t Require Gasoline!

All of Puerto Rico was under a flood warning Thursday because of storm surges in the sea and up to 35 inches of rain.

Power Grid Destroyed

“It’s a good time for dads to buy a ball and a glove and change the way you entertain your children,” Ricardo Ramos of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority told CNN.

President Trump said Thursday that Puerto Rico’s power grid is down.

“It wasn’t in good shape to start off with. But their electrical grid is totally destroyed, and so are many other things,” Trump said.

It will take more than a month to restore electricity to the island, said Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative to the U.S. House. Power lines all over the island are on the ground.

Many families will be without running water for months because the pumps that supply the water system are knocked out, González-Colón added.

“The country is paralyzed — it’s like a war zone,” said real-estate marketer Carmen González. “This has been devastating. The whole of Condado is full of obstacles.”

Telephone service also is out on the island, making the situation worse for millions of Americans who have relatives in Puerto Rico.

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Poll: 53% Of College Students Say ‘Offensive’ Speech Should Be Banned; 19% Support Violence

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Poll: 53% Of College Students Say ‘Offensive’ Speech Should Be Banned; 19% Support Violence

File photo.

A majority of U.S. college students believe it is OK to ban offensive speech and to disrupt speeches with which they disagree.

Those conclusions were among several disturbing findings from a Sept. 18 Brookings Institution survey that shows college students have little or no respect for free speech or the First Amendment.

“A surprisingly large fraction of students believe it is acceptable to act—including resorting to violence—to shut down expression they consider offensive,” study author John Villasenor wrote.

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Brookings surveyed 1,500 current undergraduate students.

“Freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses,” Villasenor observed. “In fact, despite protestations to the contrary (often with statements like ‘we fully support the First Amendment, but…’), freedom of expression is clearly not, in practice, available on many campuses, including many public campuses that have First Amendment obligations.”

Among the findings:

  • 19 percent of undergraduate students believe it is OK to use violence to keep a controversial speaker off campus.
  • 51 percent of students say it is OK to disrupt a speech with which they disagree. Sixty-two percent of campus Democrats believe it is fine to disrupt a speech.
  • 62 percent of students say groups should be legally required to include speakers with opposing views at their events.
  • 53 percent of students believe authorities should prohibit speech on campus that is considered offensive or biased.
  • Only 47 percent of undergraduates say campus administrators should create an open learning environment that allows all points of view.

“Among many current college students there is a significant divergence between the actual and perceived scope of First Amendment freedoms,” Villasenor wrote. “More specifically, with respect to the questions explored above, many students have an overly narrow view of the extent of freedom of expression.”

Brookings polled students in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

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Trump Warns: U.S. Will ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’ If Forced To Do So

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Trump Warns: U.S. Will ‘Totally Destroy North Korea’

President Donald had some harsh words for North Korea and its dictator, Kim Jong Un, during an official address to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

During a roughly 40-minute speech, Trump: explained why North Korea must be contained, warned that the rogue nation would be destroyed if it doesn’t cooperate, and even called Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man.”

“[The North Korean government] is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of countless more,” Trump said. “We were all witness to the regime’s deadly abuse when an innocent American college student, Otto Warmbier, was returned to America only to die a few days later.

“We saw it in the assassination of the dictator’s brother using banned nerve agents in an international airport. We know it kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea’s spies.”

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Trump then turned to North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

“It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.  No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That’s what the United Nations is all about; that’s what the United Nations is for. Let’s see how they do.”

Denuclearization, Trump warned, is North Korea’s “only acceptable future.”

“It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior,” Trump added.

Nor was North Korea the only target of Trump.

“It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said.

“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” Trump said of Iran.

He also went after one of Iran’s key allies — Syria.

“The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens — even innocent children — shock the conscience of every decent person,” Trump said.

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Venezuela’s President Tells Starving Citizens: Eat & Raise Rabbit

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Venezuela’s President Tells Starving Citizens: Eat & Raise Rabbit

Image source: Pixabay.com

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has a unique solution for his nation’s food shortage: rabbit.

In an online video, Maduro told Venezuelans to start raising rabbits for food.

“The first part of Plan Rabbit moves forward,” Maduro said.

“The rabbit isn’t a pet, it’s .. two and a half kilos of meat,” Venezuela’s agriculture minister, Freddy Bernal, added.

Rabbits are a good source of protein and they easily reproduce, Bernal pointed out.

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Rabbit meat is not a normal part of the Venezuelan diet, CNN Money reported. The people of the South American nation mostly view the furry critters as cute pets.

Protein is in short supply in Venezuela because the government has mismanaged the economy and destroyed the food industry. Food is now so expensive and rare that Venezuelans have lost an average of 19 pounds over the past year.

$10 a Month Minimum Wage

Food imports have fallen by 61 percent since 2015, a situation that is driving hyperinflation.

Food prices have risen by more than 1,000 percent over the past year, supermarket manager Juan Jose Sousa told CNN Money. In fact, a bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup now costs more than a month’s salary at Venezuela’s minimum wage. The minimum wage in Venezuela is equal to $10 a month in U.S. dollars.

“Pasta, chicken — I also don’t have milk, nor sugar,” a 15-year old shopper told CNN Money. “I don’t know if I have a future in this country.”

Food is plentiful in private supermarkets in Venezuela, but most of the country’s citizens cannot afford to shop at them. Instead, they go to government-run supermarkets, where shelves are empty and food is rationed.

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Venezuela’s President Tells Starving Citizens: Eat & Raise Rabbit

Venezuela’s President Tells Starving Citizens: Eat & Raise Rabbit

Image source: Pixabay.com

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has a unique solution for his nation’s food shortage: rabbit.

In an online video, Maduro told Venezuelans to start raising rabbits for food.

“The first part of Plan Rabbit moves forward,” Maduro said.

“The rabbit isn’t a pet, it’s .. two and a half kilos of meat,” Venezuela’s agriculture minister, Freddy Bernal, added.

Rabbits are a good source of protein and they easily reproduce, Bernal pointed out.

Discover The Secrets Of The Word’s Top Survivalists!

Rabbit meat is not a normal part of the Venezuelan diet, CNN Money reported. The people of the South American nation mostly view the furry critters as cute pets.

Protein is in short supply in Venezuela because the government has mismanaged the economy and destroyed the food industry. Food is now so expensive and rare that Venezuelans have lost an average of 19 pounds over the past year.

$10 a Month Minimum Wage

Food imports have fallen by 61 percent since 2015, a situation that is driving hyperinflation.

Food prices have risen by more than 1,000 percent over the past year, supermarket manager Juan Jose Sousa told CNN Money. In fact, a bottle of Aunt Jemima syrup now costs more than a month’s salary at Venezuela’s minimum wage. The minimum wage in Venezuela is equal to $10 a month in U.S. dollars.

“Pasta, chicken — I also don’t have milk, nor sugar,” a 15-year old shopper told CNN Money. “I don’t know if I have a future in this country.”

Food is plentiful in private supermarkets in Venezuela, but most of the country’s citizens cannot afford to shop at them. Instead, they go to government-run supermarkets, where shelves are empty and food is rationed.

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Vandals Target ‘Racist’ Star Spangled Banner Statue

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Vandals Target ‘Racist’ Star Spangled Banner Statue

Even America’s national anthem is now being attacked as racist.

A monument to the author of “The Star Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key, was vandalized this week in Baltimore, apparently because Key owned slaves.

The words “Racist Anthem” were written on the monument in black paint and much of the rest of the monument covered in red paint, The Baltimore Sun reported. Key wrote the Banner during the siege of Baltimore in the midst of the War of 1812.

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The unidentified vandals wrote the third stanza – which rarely is sung — on the pavement. It states: “No refuge could save/ Hireling or slave/ From terror of flight/ Or gloom of grave.” Historians differ over whether Key was referencing U.S. or British slaves.

Key was a slave owner but he also represented runaway slaves as a lawyer and faced down a white mob that was trying to lynch an African American, The Sun reported.

The Key monument was donated to the city of Baltimore by tobacco merchant Charles L. Marburg in 1911. It was restored in 1999.

There are no plans to remove the Key monument, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh told reporters. The city of Baltimore removed monuments to Confederate generals and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney last month.

“We can’t ensure it’s not going to happen again,” Pugh spokesman Anthony McCarthy told reporters.

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Gov’t Warns Dad: Your Kids Can’t Be Left Alone ‘In Or Outside The Home’ EVER

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Gov’t Warns Dad: Your Kids Can’t Be Left Alone ‘In Or Outside The Home’ EVER

Image source: Pixabay.com

Riding mass transit has been added to the list of activities that are too dangerous for our children.

In fact, one father — Adrian Cook — was investigated by social workers because his kids rode the public bus to school.

Cooks’ five kids had been riding the public bus in Vancouver, British Columbia, for two years without any problems. The father even received an email from another bus passenger praising his well-behaved children.

“So imagine my surprise when I received a call from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD),” Cook wrote on his 5 Kids 1 Condo blog.

Following an anonymous tip, ministry case workers visited Cook’s home and interviewed his kids.

Put God Back Into History And Teach Your Kids What They Won’t Learn Anywhere Else!

Cook, who lives in downtown Vancouver and does not own a car, relies on public transit to get around. Cook taught his kids to ride the bus to be independent and self-reliant.

Public Bus Too Dangerous for Kids

“Our 45-minute bus ride is straightforward,” Cook wrote. “It begins with a bus stop visible from my living room window and ends at a stop directly in front of the kids’ school. We’ve had no issues riding the bus over the last two years, unless you count losing a cell phone or getting off a stop too early (their GPS-tracked cell phones easily resolved that).”

Despite that, Ministry social workers made Cook sign a safety plan stating his kids wouldn’t take the bus alone because they are under 12. That means Cook now must spend several hours a day escorting the kids to school and back.

Cook’s description of the MCFD’s rationale for its actions is chilling.

“The Ministry had checked with their lawyers ‘across the country’ and the Attorney General, and determined that children under 10 years old could not be unsupervised in or outside the home, for any amount of time,” he wrote. “That included not just the bus, but even trips across the street to our corner store, a route I can survey in its entirety from my living room window.”

It looks as if childhood freedom is dead in the United States and Canada.

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52 Percent Of Florida Without Electricity; It Could Be Weeks Before Fully Restored

52 Percent Of Florida Without Electricity; It Could Be Weeks Before Fully Restored

Image source: FP&L

Hurricane Irma exited Florida Monday, leaving more than 7 million homes and businesses without electricity – including more than 5.5 million customers in Florida who were still without power the next morning.

A full 52 percent of all homes and businesses in Florida were without power Tuesday morning, according to FloridaDisaster.org.

Damage was so widespread that not even the deployment of 19,500 electrical workers was enough to get things working, Florida Power & Light (FP&L) reported. The damage caused by Irma is the most widespread in FPL’s history, with power off in parts of at least 35 counties, including Miami-Dade.

It will take days and possibly weeks to restore electricity to many of the homes and businesses, FP&L CEO Eric Silagy told the Associated Press. Damage was greatest around Naples on Florida’s West Coast.

“We’ve never had that many outages,” Silagy told The Washington Post. “I don’t think any utility in the country has.”

Even homeowners with diesel/gas generators were finding it tough to cope, as gas pumps were dry throughout the state.

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Another 1.3 million homes and businesses in Georgia and 161,000 electrical customers in South Carolina also were without power on Monday, CNN reported.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical depressions Monday, but was still doing damage. Large areas of the South are still at risk for flooding.

“Intense rainfall rates of 2 inches or more per hour is leading to flash flooding and rapid rises on creeks, streams, and rivers,” the National Hurricane Center warned. “Significant river flooding is possible … Monday and Tuesday in much of central Georgia and southern South Carolina; where average rainfall of three to six inches and isolated 10 inch amounts are expected. Portions of these states within the southern Appalachians will be especially vulnerable to flash flooding.”

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52 Percent Of Florida Without Electricity; It Could Be Weeks Before Fully Restored

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52 Percent Of Florida Without Electricity; It Could Be Weeks Before Fully Restored

Image source: FP&L

Hurricane Irma exited Florida Monday, leaving more than 7 million homes and businesses without electricity – including more than 5.5 million customers in Florida who were still without power the next morning.

A full 52 percent of all homes and businesses in Florida were without power Tuesday morning, according to FloridaDisaster.org.

Damage was so widespread that not even the deployment of 19,500 electrical workers was enough to get things working, Florida Power & Light (FP&L) reported. The damage caused by Irma is the most widespread in FPL’s history, with power off in parts of at least 35 counties, including Miami-Dade.

It will take days and possibly weeks to restore electricity to many of the homes and businesses, FP&L CEO Eric Silagy told the Associated Press. Damage was greatest around Naples on Florida’s West Coast.

“We’ve never had that many outages,” Silagy told The Washington Post. “I don’t think any utility in the country has.”

Even homeowners with diesel/gas generators were finding it tough to cope, as gas pumps were dry throughout the state.

Finally, A Backup Generator That Doesn’t Require Gasoline!

Another 1.3 million homes and businesses in Georgia and 161,000 electrical customers in South Carolina also were without power on Monday, CNN reported.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical depressions Monday, but was still doing damage. Large areas of the South are still at risk for flooding.

“Intense rainfall rates of 2 inches or more per hour is leading to flash flooding and rapid rises on creeks, streams, and rivers,” the National Hurricane Center warned. “Significant river flooding is possible … Monday and Tuesday in much of central Georgia and southern South Carolina; where average rainfall of three to six inches and isolated 10 inch amounts are expected. Portions of these states within the southern Appalachians will be especially vulnerable to flash flooding.”

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Hurricane Center Warns: Power Out For ‘Weeks To Possibly Months’ After Irma

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Hurricane Center Warns: Power Out For ‘Weeks To Possibly Months’ After Irma

Damage from Irma in St. Martin.

 

Hurricane Irma is bringing confusion, hysteria and a dire threat of devastation of epic proportions to Florida.

The superstorm is already much larger than 1992’s Hurricane Andrew and meteorologists predict it will not miss Miami, The Washington Post reported. In fact, the storm is bigger than the entire state.

Irma is likely to make landfall in Florida as a dangerous major hurricane, and will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of the exact track of the center,” the National Hurricane Center warned Friday.

If it makes landfall Sunday as a Category 4, the Hurricane Center added, the damage will be significant – especially to the power grid and particularly around the eyewall. Category 4 storms have winds between 130-156 mph.

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“Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls,” the Hurricane Center said. “Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

Irma is already blamed for one injury in Florida; police on Friday shot a man with a knife on the tarmac at Miami International Airport. The panicked individual was trying to reach a flight at the crowded airport. The suspect was arrested and taken to a hospital, the Associated Press reported.

Biggest Mass Evacuation in U.S. History

Highways and airports were jammed Friday morning as panicked residents and travelers rushed to get out of South Florida.

The exodus might turn into one of the biggest mass evacuations in U.S. history, said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen. Around 6 million people live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which are right in Irma’s path.

Freeways were so crowded that the Highway Patrol had to escort tankers to filling stations. American Airlines and United waived change fees to speed up boarding at airports to help travelers get out. Air traffic controllers also increased airspace to enable more flights to leave.

“We cannot save you when the storm starts,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) warned the public. “So, if you are in an evacuation zone and you need help, you need to tell us now.”

Devastation of ‘Epic Proportions’

Floridians had good reason to flee, as Irma already has caused loss of life and damage on a near-apocalyptic scale in the Caribbean, National Public Radio (NPR) reported.

Nearly every building on the island of Barbuda has been destroyed and 1,400 people left homeless, AP reported. Around 95 percent of the houses in the French colony of St. Martin were damaged and 60 percent of the homes made uninhabitable.

Severe damage was also reported in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Irma missed Puerto Rico, but more than one million people on that island were without electricity on Friday and airports were closed.

“It will be difficult to estimate how long the power outage will last,” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló said.

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Irma Eyes The U.S.: ‘Everybody Is Panicked’; Shelves Empty; Gas Pumps Run Dry

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Irma Eyes The U.S.: ‘Everybody Is Panicked’; Shelves Empty; Gas Pumps Run Dry

Image source: NOAA

Hurricane Irma had not reached Florida yet on Thursday, but it already was creating a major crisis in the form of empty supermarket shelves and lines at gas pumps.

Shelves at some Publix supermarkets in South Florida were empty on Tuesday, The Miami Herald reported. Twitter and The Herald’s website were filled with pictures of empty shelves. Bottled water had disappeared from many stores days before Irma’s anticipated Sunday arrival.

Even Walmart was out of bottled water in College Park, Fla, Channel 6 in Orlando reported. Home Depot stores in the Orlando area were running out of flashlights, generators and water, too.

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“[It was] a little bit of a pandemonium,” Costco shopper Diane Williams said. “Getting here was worse than being inside. It’s just that everybody is panicked, so they are preparing, which is wise, but it’s just, like, crazy.”

Water was not the only essential missing from shelves, as some markets in the Orlando area were out of bread, Channel 6 reported. Nor was it just big box stores. CVS drugstores in the Miami area were out of water. A clerk at CVS told The Herald that water disappeared within five minutes of stocking.

‘Everyone’s Out of Gas’

Experienced hurricane survivors in Florida recommend shopping at lesser retailers like office supply stores.

“Tip: People always forget that office supply stores like Staples are a great place to find water when Publix inevitably runs out,” Casey Ayers tweeted.

Fuel also was in short supply, especially in the Florida Keys. Very few stations in the island chain off Florida’s south coast had fuel on Wednesday, The Keys Reporter noted. The fuel shortage was so bad that Gov. Rick Scott told residents to limit gasoline and diesel purchases.

“Everyone’s out of gas, so you might as well get some while you can,” Key Largo resident Bill Burkhart said.

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The Farmers’ Almanac Just Released Its Winter Forecast. And It’s More Reliable Than You Might Think.

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The Farmers’ Almanac Just Released Its Winter Forecast. (It’s More Reliable Than You Might Think.)

The Farmers’ Almanac has some bad news for the West: Dry conditions, particularly in the Northwest, will continue through winter 2018.

The rest of the country will experience a mixture of conditions.

“From the Great Lakes into the Northeast, snowier-than-normal conditions are expected,” the 200-year old Almanac predicted.

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The snowiest dates are expected to be January 20-30, February 4-7, March 1-3, and March 20-30.

Some other highlights of the forecast include:

  • Wintry chill, moisture, and snow are expected to extend as far south as Virginia and the Carolinas this winter.
  • The Rockies are predicted to have a cold winter with a moderate snow storm, so it might be a good idea to book your ski vacation in New England (which is expected to have cold and snowy conditions).
  • West Texas and New Mexico will experience soggy weather and mild temperatures.

“And for parts of the western Great Lakes, eastern Great Plains, and points south, including Arklatexoma (where Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma abut), be prepared for wide swings in the weather pendulum, from very warm to very cold, and periods of tranquil conditions mixed with occasional spells of tempestuous weather,” the forecast says.

The Farmers’ Almanac weather formula “takes things like sunspot activity, tidal action of the Moon, position of the planets, and a variety of other factors into consideration” for its forecasts, according to its website.

“The only person who knows the exact formula is the Farmers’ Almanac weather prognosticator who goes by the pseudonym of Caleb Weatherbee,” the website says. “To protect this proprietary and reliable formula, the editors of the Farmers’ Almanac prefer to keep both Caleb’s true identity and the formula a closely guarded brand secret.”

The website lists specific days in which the Almanac predicted major storms.

“Many longtime Almanac followers claim that our forecasts are 80% to 85% accurate,” it says.

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North Korea ‘Begging For War,’ U.S. Ambassador Says After 6th Nuclear Test

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North Korea ‘Begging For War,’ U.S. Ambassador Says After 6th Nuclear Test

The test of North Korea’s most powerful nuclear weapon ever and claims the nation has a hydrogen bomb mounted on a missile have inched the world closer to war.

War is never something the Unites States wants — we don’t want it now,” Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday. “But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory.”

North Korea, Haley added, was “begging for war.”

North Korea set off a nuclear blast Sunday that was 16 times more powerful than previous tests, The New York Times reported. That explosion — far more powerful than the atomic bombs that destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II – apparently caused a mountain at the test site to collapse.

It was the rogue country’s sixth nuclear test.

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The test came right after North Korea claimed it had a hydrogen bomb that can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), The Guardian reported. An ICBM is theoretically capable of reaching the United States.

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,” U.S. Secretary of Defense and retired General James Mattis told reporters outside the White House. “But as I said, we have many options to do so.”

Mattis added, “We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack. And our commitment among the allies is ironclad: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”

Both Mattis and the United Nations Security Council called upon the North Koreans to denuclearize the peninsula.

Asked if he was making plans to attack North Korea, President Trump said Sunday, “We’ll see.”

The U.S. and its allies might not be able to shoot down North Korea’s missiles.

Nonproliferation expert Joshua Pollack wrote in The Guardian that he doubts the anti-missile systems in South Korea would work against an ICBM.

Additionally, the system designed to protect the U.S homeland from ICBMs — the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) — does not work as designed, according to a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It is possible that defenses would only buy some time for the US military and its allies at the start of an immensely destructive war,” Pollack wrote.

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‘Columbus Day’ Changed To ‘Indigenous People’s Day’

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‘Columbus Day’ Changed To ‘Indigenous People’s Day’

Columbus Day will become Indigenous People’s Day this year in Los Angeles. The city council last week voted to remove the holiday from the official council.

“This gesture of replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day is a very small step in apologizing and in making amends,” Councilman Mike Bonin said.

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A number of Italian Americans turned out at the meeting to demand that Columbus Day remain as-is, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Bonin and another supporter of the move — Councilman Joe Buscaino — are Italian Americans.

“All of our individual cultures matter,” Buscaino said.

Others agreed.

“We are not creating a racial conflict,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “We are ending one.”

O’Farrell is a member of the Wyandotte Nation of Native Americans.

“On behalf of the Italian community, we want to celebrate with you,” Ann Potenza, president of Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California, said. “We just don’t want it to be at the expense of Columbus Day.”

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Gas Shortage: Harvey Shuts Down Nation’s Largest Refinery; Stations Out Of Fuel; ‘Nobody Knows The Extent Of The Damage’

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Gas Shortage: Harvey Shuts Down Nation’s Largest Refinery; Stations Out Of Fuel; ‘Nobody Knows The Extent Of The Damage’

Image source: Pixabay.com

Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf region and soon could have a major impact at the gas pump.

Gas stations throughout Texas are running out of gas. Meanwhile, America’s largest oil refinery, located in Port Arthur, Texas, will be closed for at least two weeks.

The refinery is flooded and its owner, Motiva Enterprises, said it “cannot provide a timeline for restart at this time,” CNBC reported. Assessment of damage at the Port Arthur refinery cannot begin until floodwaters recede. That facility processes around 603,000 barrels of oil a day.

All total, 15 refineries that supply upwards of 18 percent of America’s gasoline and diesel fuel were shut down by Hurricane Harvey, Forbes reported.

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“Nobody knows the extent of the damage to the pipelines and refineries,” QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told The Star-Telegram. “They’re under water.”

QuikTrip, which operates 135 convenience stores in North Texas, plans to stop selling gas at half of its locations this weekend, The Star-Telegram reported. Two-thirds of the pumps at a QuikTrip in Denton, Texas, were closed on Tuesday.

“QuikTrip is going to designate certain stores in all quadrants of the Metroplex and make sure those particular stores will have gasoline,” company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh told The Star-Telegram. “We have been through this in the southeast Atlantic area. If we tried to keep every store full of gasoline, we’d have outages everywhere.”

Said John Benda, the owner of four stations in the Dallas area, “I have never seen it this tight, since 1980, even when we were rationing,”

Bend offered some advice: “I called my family members and told them to fill up their tanks.”

It’s not just QuikTrip.

“We are currently out of unleaded and midgrade fuel and awaiting a fuel delivery,” a sign at a Kroger Fuel Center in Fort Worth said Wednesday.

What is your reaction? Do you think most Americans are prepared for a gas shortage? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Surprise: Most Americans (And Most African-Americans) Oppose Removing Confederate Monuments

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Surprise: Most Americans (And Most African-Americans) Oppose Removing Confederate Monuments

A solid majority of Americans favor leaving monuments to Confederate leaders where they are, according to a series of new polls.

One survey, by The Huffington Post/YouGov, found that only 29 percent of Americans want them removed.

“Americans are generally unsupportive of attempts to remove memorials honoring Confederate leaders,” Ariel Edwards-Levy of The Huffington Post wrote.

A separate survey even found that a plurality of African-Americans opposed their removal.

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Among highlights of recent surveys:

  • 62 percent of adults in a National Public Radio (NPR)/Marist survey favored keeping Confederate monuments. The same survey found that 27 percent of Americans supported removal.
  • 54 percent of those surveyed by Reuters/Ispos opposed statue removal. That survey found 27 percent of Americans wanted the monuments removed.
  • 52 percent of respondents to a Morning Consult/Politico poll opposed removing monuments. Twenty-six percent wanted the monuments removed.
  • 44 percent of African-Americans opposed removal of Confederate statues, an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist Poll Forty percent wanted them removed.

Even some prominent Democrats oppose removal of Confederate statues and symbols, National Review writer John Fund pointed out.

“I think it is too costly to refight the Civil War. We have paid too great a price in trying to bring people together,” former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I personally feel that we made a mistake in fighting over the Confederate flag here in Georgia. Or that that was an answer to the problem of the death of nine people — to take down the Confederate flag in South Carolina. I am always interested in substance over symbols. If the truth be known, we’ve had as much agony — but also glory — under the United States flag. That flew over segregated America. It flew over slavery.”

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan; China Warns Situation ‘Approaching A Crisis’

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North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan; China Warns Situation ‘Approaching A Crisis’

The North Korean government deliberately fired a missile over Japan Monday to wreak havoc and create divisions between America and its allies, experts say.

The ballistic missile flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.

“If North Korea had launched the missile to the south, the U.S. might have viewed it as a considerable provocation and responded accordingly,” Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono told reporters in Tokyo.

Instead, the North Koreans took an action that likely would not provoke a confrontation. The missile was identified as an intermediate-range Hwasong-12, which would be capable of hitting the U.S. territory of Guam.

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China foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the situation was “at a tipping point, approaching a crisis.”

The missile test was “perfectly calibrated to create political mischief,” Stephen Haggard, a Korea Expert at the University of California at San Diego, told The Washington Post.

“The launch shows how Kim Jong Un is weirdly conservative, calibrating tests so that they are difficult to counter, flying just beneath the radar of a required kinetic response,” Haggard said.

Others agreed.

“This is not the action of a country that is interested in showing restraint or in creating a glide-path to dialogue, at least not on our terms,” said James Schoff of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The North Koreans fired missiles over Japan in 1998 and 2009, although those were satellite launches that were announced beforehand.

“In a way, it’s kind of a trial balloon,” Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told The Post. “If we overfly Japan, what happens? If the blowback isn’t too significant, they will feel more comfortable with launching a Hwasong-14 to a good distance to validate its performance on a normal trajectory.”

The Hwasong-14 is a larger missile capable of hitting U.S. soil.

“A missile launch across Japan is an outrageous act that poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat, and significantly undermines the peace and security of the region,” said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Trump Reverses Obama, Allowing Police To Acquire Military Armored Vehicles & Rocket Launchers

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Trump Reverses Obama, Allowing Police To Acquire Military Armored Vehicles & Rocket Launchers

WASHINGTON — The federal government will again give local law enforcement surplus military weapons — including bayonets and rocket launchers — under a plan unveiled by President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump on Monday lifted Obama-era restrictions on such gear. The Obama ban had been applauded by those on the Left and the Right.

“We will not put superficial concerns above public safety,” Sessions told the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), a union. “All you need to do is turn on a TV right now to see that for Houstonians this isn’t about appearances, it’s about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety.”

Under the Trump plan, police once again can obtain things like surplus armored vehicles and large-caliber weapons from the military.

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The FOP was one of a number of organizations campaigning to get the ban rescinded. Obama implemented the ban following national outrage over police militarization during the 2014 Ferguson riots.

FOP officials said rocket launchers would be used for tear gas.

“We’re not talking about tanks and cannons,” James Pasco, the FOP’s executive director, said. “Armored vehicles don’t attack people; they protect people and not everyone can afford this equipment.”

Said Obama when he announced the policy: “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them.”

Trump’s action was quickly criticized by people on both sides of the aisle.

“Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous — or false — security,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, said. “The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm.”

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, agreed. Gupta was an official in the Obama Justice Department.

“Our communities are not the same as armed combatants in a war zone,’ Gupta said.

What do you think? Should the Trump administration have lifted the ban? Share your thoughts in the section below:

78 Percent Of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

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78 Percent Of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

 

Aug. 24, 2017

Around 78 percent of Americans with a fulltime job say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.com.

Disturbingly, the survey found Americans are worse off than they were last year.

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Other frightening highlights from the poll include:

  • 71 percent of Americans say they are in debt – an increase from 68 percent last year.
  • 56 percent of those surveyed say their debt is “unmanageable.”
  • 1 in 10 of those who make more than $100,000 a year say they are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • The number of Americans living payday to payday is growing. In 2016, 75 percent of respondents admitted to living paycheck to paycheck.
  • 56 percent of Americans save less than $100 per month.

CareerBuilder.com, a jobs website, surveyed 3,000 full-time employees and 2,000 hiring and human-resources managers as part of the survey.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

78 Percent Of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

78 Percent Of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

 

Aug. 24, 2017

Around 78 percent of Americans with a fulltime job say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.com.

Disturbingly, the survey found Americans are worse off than they were last year.

Want Out Of The Rat-Race But Need A Steady Stream Of Income?

Other frightening highlights from the poll include:

  • 71 percent of Americans say they are in debt – an increase from 68 percent last year.
  • 56 percent of those surveyed say their debt is “unmanageable.”
  • 1 in 10 of those who make more than $100,000 a year say they are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • The number of Americans living payday to payday is growing. In 2016, 75 percent of respondents admitted to living paycheck to paycheck.
  • 56 percent of Americans save less than $100 per month.

CareerBuilder.com, a jobs website, surveyed 3,000 full-time employees and 2,000 hiring and human-resources managers as part of the survey.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

78 Percent Of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

78 Percent Of Americans Living Paycheck To Paycheck

 

Aug. 24, 2017

Around 78 percent of Americans with a fulltime job say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.com.

Disturbingly, the survey found Americans are worse off than they were last year.

Want Out Of The Rat-Race But Need A Steady Stream Of Income?

Other frightening highlights from the poll include:

  • 71 percent of Americans say they are in debt – an increase from 68 percent last year.
  • 56 percent of those surveyed say their debt is “unmanageable.”
  • 1 in 10 of those who make more than $100,000 a year say they are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • The number of Americans living payday to payday is growing. In 2016, 75 percent of respondents admitted to living paycheck to paycheck.
  • 56 percent of Americans save less than $100 per month.

CareerBuilder.com, a jobs website, surveyed 3,000 full-time employees and 2,000 hiring and human-resources managers as part of the survey.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

Now They’re Destroying Christopher Columbus Monuments

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Now They’re Targeting Christopher Columbus Monuments

Vandals continued the targeting of historical monuments and statues in recent days – including one of Christopher Columbus.

“This is happening everywhere,” Kevin Caira, the president of the Sons of Italy’s Commission for Social Justice, told The Baltimore Sun.

Caira spoke after an unidentified person destroyed the lettering on a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore’s Herring Run Park Monday.

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The person used a sledgehammer to smash letters that read: “Sacred to the memory of Chris. Columbus, Octob. XII, MDCCVIIIC” on the 225-year-old monument, The Sun reported. The destruction was recorded and posted on YouTube, although faces were hidden.

“Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere,” a male narrator said in the video. “Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, rape, slavery, genocide, ecological degradation and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas.”

“Racist monuments to slave owners and murderers have always bothered me,” the narrator added, calling the monuments “hate-filled” and symbols of white supremacy.

He dismissed Columbus and George Washington as genocidal terrorists.

“Part of our evolution as humans requires tearing down monuments to destructive forces and tearing down systems that maintain them,” he said.

The statue is the oldest monument to Christopher Columbus in the United States.

Other Statues Under Attack

Other monuments defaced include:

  • The Lincoln Memorial in Washington. The National Park Service reported that someone sprayed the words “F**K law” on one of its columns on Aug. 16.
  • A 114-year-old Confederate memorial in Baltimore was covered with red paint on Aug. 14, The Sun reported.
  • A monument to Confederate troops at Arizona’s state capitol in Phoenix was vandalized on Aug. 17, CNN reported.
  • Columns were painted red at a private Confederate Memorial Park in Tampa on Aug. 13, CNN reported.
  • A peace monument that depicted a Confederate soldier was defaced in Georgia.
  • A bust of Lincoln was set on fire and defaced in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
  • Houston resident Andrew Cecil Schenk wanted to go even farther. He was caught trying to plant a bomb on a statue of a Confederate officer named Richard Dowling, NBC News

It looks as if no monument is safe in America.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Ron Paul Warns: 50 Percent Fall In Stock Market Is ‘Conceivable’

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Ron Paul Warns: 50 Percent Fall In Stock Market Is ‘Conceivable’Former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul thinks the stock market might lose 50 percent of its value this year.

“A 50 percent pullback is conceivable,” Paul said on CNBC’s “Futures Now” last week. “I don’t believe it’s 10 years off. I don’t even believe it’s a year off. “

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If Paul is correct, the Dow Jones would plummet to 10,851.71 and the S&P 500 would fall to 1,214.185. The S&P Index was at 2,428.37 and the Dow at 21,703.75 on Monday.

It also would be the greatest crash in history – even larger than the Great Crash of 1929 when the Dow lost 12 percent of its value. The stock market did not recover from the crash of 1929 until 1945, after World War II.

“I see the foundation of our system built on sand, and a big wind comes along to blow it down,” Paul said.

Wall Street, he said, is overestimating the strength of the U.S. economy.

“It’s all man-made,” Paul said. “It’s not the fault of Donald Trump … If the market crashes tomorrow and we have a great depression, he didn’t do it in six months. It took more like six or 10 years to cause all these problems that we’re facing.”

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‘Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore’; Anti-Confederate Movement Spreads To Founders

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‘Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore’; Anti-Confederate Movement Spreads To Founders

Image source: Pixabay.com

The attack on statues of Confederate leaders has now spread to the Founding Fathers and even Abraham Lincoln.

Op-Eds and news articles around the web chronicle proposals and actual efforts to erase America’s history from the public square. Some of the most disturbing efforts include:

Blasting Mount Rushmore

“Let’s Get Rid of Mount Rushmore” – the headline on a Vice op-ed by Wilbert L. Cooper reads.

“Fact is, I’m not sure there is any American president worthy of being etched into the side of a 60-foot mountain with explosives and jackhammers,” Cooper wrote. “I mean, every single one has at least been partially complicit in horrific atrocities.

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“… Obviously, Washington and Thomas Jefferson were remarkable individuals who helped usurp British rule in America and, eventually, establish a new empire. But they also enslaved their fellow man, committing special kinds of inhumane acts that should never be confined to footnotes. Unfortunately, that is exactly how those troublesome truths are treated when you face the awesome grandeur of Rushmore, a monument so incredible it obscures the multifaceted nature of these old dudes, transmogrifying them from individuals with a capacity both for greatness and evil into pure American deities.”

Interestingly enough, Cooper says he’d oppose a statue of Obama, too. Obama ordered some morally questionable actions, including drone strikes and unconstitutional surveillance programs, Cooper wrote.

“What I am suspicious of are monuments produced by the state, which tend to flatten out nuances and turn flawed individuals into tools of propaganda that bolster a kind of religious patriotism,” he wrote.

In Chicago, Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, wants a statue of George Washington removed in his community and a street named for Andrew Jackson to be changed.

Lincoln Under Attack

A bust of Abraham Lincoln on Chicago’s Southside was vandalized and burned on Wednesday, NBC 5 TV reported. The statue was erected in 1926.

“What an absolute disgraceful act of vandalism,” Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez wrote on Facebook.

Monument to Supreme Court Justice Removed

A crane lifted a monument to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert B. Taney from a pedestal in front of the Old State House in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday, CBS Baltimore reported. Taney wrote the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 declaring that African-Americans were not US citizens.

Taney remained loyal to the Union during the Civil War and remained on the job until his death in 1865. A group cheered as the statue was removed.

Blasting Stone Mountain?

A gigantic carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson should be blasted off the side of Stone Mountain in Georgia, Hontas Farmer wrote at Science20.com.

“Sign this petition if you don’t want to be defined forever by the face of traitors arguably worse than Benedict Arnold, who fought for a version of slavery which was more dehumanizing than even that practiced by George Washington,” Farmer wrote. She was referring to a MoveOn.org petition.

“Those men were traitors at best,” Farmer complained. “They are in the same league as Benedict Arnold.”

Confederate Reenactors Attacked

A man attacked Civil War reenactors dressed as Confederate soldiers with pepper spray at a parade in Newton, N.C., WSCO TV reported. The reenactors were taking part in the 128th Annual Soldiers’ Reunion Parade.

Things might have been much worse. Karl Smith, the man who pepper-sprayed the reenactors, was carrying a revolver when police arrested him, WSCO reported.

Do you think the Confederate statues should be removed? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Now They’re Removing Confederate Monuments in CEMETERIES

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Now They’re Removing Confederate Monuments in CEMETERIES

NBC Los Angeles

 

The attacks on monuments to the Confederacy and its leaders continued this week – even extending to a Los Angeles cemetery.

Under pressure, the Long Beach Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy removed Wednesday a six-foot granite monument to Confederate veterans from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Times reported. The monument has sat in the Confederate section of the cemetery since 1925.

“It was thought that it would become impossible for us to maintain an atmosphere of tranquility, harmony and inclusion for all of our families and all of our visitors with the monument present here,” cemetery spokesman Theodore Hovey told the newspapers.

The granite marker was emblazoned with three Confederate flags and two crosses. It also featured these words: “In memory of the soldiers of the Confederate States Army who have died or may die on the Pacific Coast,” and “Lord God of hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget — lest we forget.”

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“I don’t think a lot of people were aware of its presence,” Hovey said of the monument. A vandal wrote the word “no” in black on the monument on Tuesday.

‘Small Taste of Justice’

Earlier this week in in Durham, N.C., a mob pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier. Video shows protesters putting a rope around the statue’s neck, pulling it off a pedestal and spitting on the statue’s remains.

“Today we got a small taste of justice,” protester Jose Ramos told CBS North Carolina.

The statue had stood in front of the Old County Courthouse since 1924 and was engraved with the words “The Confederate States of America” and “In Memory of the Boys Who Wore The Gray.”

It Needs to Be Removed

Police are now filing vandalism charges against some of the protesters identified through the video, The Hill reported.

The protest was apparently organized by leftist radicals on social media.

“It needs to be removed,” Loan Tran told the media. “These Confederate statues in Durham, in North Carolina, all across the country.”

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered the removal of all statues dedicated to Confederate heroes Monday night, The New York Times reported. A crane and a work crew escorted by a contingent of polices started pulling down the statues in the dead of night.

“The mayor has the right to protect her city,” Pugh said. “For me, the statues represented pain, and not only did I want to protect my city from any more of that pain, I also wanted to protect my city from any of the violence that was occurring around the nation. We don’t need that in Baltimore.”

One group of Confederate monuments that will not be going anywhere: 10 statues in the U.S. capitol. There are no plans to remove the statues, which include one of Robert E. Lee, Politico reported.

Do you think Confederate monuments should be removed? Share your thought in the section below:

Starving Venezuelans Are Now WALKING To Colombia For Food

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Stock photo.

The only way many Venezuelans are able to eat is to walk to neighboring Colombia for a meal.

Around 25,000 desperate Venezuelans are walking across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge daily in search of something to eat, the Associated Press reported.

“Those of us here on the border are seeing their pain,” Colombian citizen Paulina Toledo said.

Toledo volunteers at a kitchen that feeds up to 900 people at a time in Cucuta — just across the border from Venezuela.

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A Catholic shelter, the Case de Paso, serves up to 2,000 meals a day in Cucuta, AP reported. Some Venezuelans are waiting up to four hours just to eat a bowl of chicken and rice there.

Venezuelan Erick Oropeza gets up at 4 a.m. to walk to Cucuta to sell soft drinks on the street in order to buy food for his family, AP reported. Oropeza has to peddle pop because his old job at the Venezuelan Ministry of Education did not pay enough to buy food for his family.

“I never thought I’d say this,” Oropeza said. “But I’m more grateful for what Colombia has offered me in this short time than what I ever received from Venezuela my entire life.”

Venezuela Military Profits From Peoples’ Hunger

Venezuela’s food shortage was deliberately created by the military, which is profiting from hunger, Al Jazeera reported.

“Lately, food is a better business than drugs,” said retired General Cliver Alcala. “The military is in charge of food management now, and they’re not going to just take that on without getting their cut.”

The military is in charge of the food supply but it refuses to import enough to feed the people, Al Jazeera reported. Instead, soldiers divert the food and sell it on the black market.

“If Venezuela paid market prices, we’d be able to double our imports and easily satisfy the country’s food needs,” retired agronomy professor Werner Gutierrez said. “Instead, people are starving.”

The only way Venezuelan grocers like Jose Campos can stock their shelves is to bribe soldiers, Al Jazeera reported.

“The military would be watching over whole bags of money,” Campos said. “They always had what I needed.”

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Tensions Mount As Trump Warns North Korea: Military ‘Locked And Loaded’

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Tensions Mount As Trump Warns North Korea: Military ‘Locked And Loaded’

Image source: Flickr / Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

President Trump’s latest Tweet might be a sign of an imminent military conflict with North Korea.

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning. “Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Trump did not detail the military solutions, but later re-tweeted pictures of U.S. bombers based on the Pacific island of Guam. Guam is a U.S. territory that North Korea has been threatening to attack.

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The images Tweeted included pictures of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers. The B-1B is capable of carrying the largest payload of guided and unguided weapons of any American bomber, according to the Air Force website.

A wild card is China, which is sending mixed signals about its military intentions.

“China should … make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” an editorial in the Chinese Global Times newspaper stated. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

What do you think the Trump administration should do? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Wrong-House Raid Leaves Innocent Man Dead; He May Have Thought Police Were Burglars

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Wrong-House Raid Leaves Innocent Man Dead; He May Have Thought Police Were Burglars

Image source: Pixabay.com

Ismael Lopez likely did not know that the person who killed him in his own home was a police officer. He was shot when officers were trying to serve a warrant in a tragic wrong-house raid Sunday night.

Officers did not realize they were at the wrong home until after Lopez was dead, The Washington Post reported. Lopez apparently was shot simply because he was holding his gun in his hand when he opened the door.

“The deceased subject had absolutely no warrant for his arrest,” District Attorney John Champion told Jackson, Miss., CBS affiliate WJTV. “He wasn’t wanted for anything at all. I want to make that abundantly clear at this point.”

‘Put the Gun Down!’

Southaven, Miss., police were at the mobile home park where Lopez lived to serve an aggravated assault warrant on someone else but, for unknown reasons, cops went to the wrong house.

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Lopez, who was in bed, apparently heard someone at his door, got up and grabbed his gun.

“The officers began hollering ‘Put the gun down! Put the gun down! Put the gun down! Put the gun down!’ at which point that did not occur,” Champion said. “More than one shot was fired toward the door. There was a subject, a male subject, inside the residence that was killed as a result of this gunfire.”

Friends of Lopez said the shooting never should have occurred.

“If you’re shooting through a door in that manner, you don’t know who’s behind that door,” friend Jordan Castillo told reporters.

Castillo showed reporters three bullet holes in the door.

“They’ve been in that home for 13 years,” family attorney Murray Wells told WMCA TV. “The only time the police had ever been there was when they had been robbed.”

Lopez had no criminal history.

“A long-standing employee of the city of Bartlett, a mechanic. Loved in the neighborhood,” Wells said.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:

School District Threatens To Throw Away Homeschool Family’s Official Notice

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School District Threatens To Throw Away Homeschool Family’s Official Notice

An Ohio school district has found a new way to discourage families from homeschooling. The unidentified district simply refused to accept any notices of intent from homeschool families — even official documents, says the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA).

Even though a mother complied with all the district’s requests, officials refused to accept her homeschooling application until she called an attorney, according to HSDLA.

The controversy began when the parents withdrew their son midway through the spring semester.

“That same day, the parents hand-delivered a notice of intent to homeschool to the school district. From the beginning, the district caused problems,” HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly wrote.

The district told the parents that “until the parents notified the county educational service centers (ESCs) of their intent to withdraw,” their son was truant.

The parents then contacted the ESC and were told that their notice to the local district “was all that was necessary to withdraw their son,” Donnelly wrote.

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The family subsequently sent another notice of intent to the school district – this time by certified mail.

“A few days later, the mother received a call from the assistant principal, who insisted that the family file their intent to homeschool via a specific county form,” Donnelly wrote.

The mother then filled out the form – the third attempt at filing a notice – but was told by email that the district was “unable to process [their] request” and that they should notify the ESC. HSLDA responded for the family, telling the superintendent that Ohio law “requires notification to and excuse from the local superintendent, not the ESC.”

“The next day, the school’s attorney notified HSLDA that she was reviewing the situation,” Donnelly wrote. “However, the school district also sent an email to the family, threatening to discard the notification form if no one picked it up within a week. HSLDA contacted the school’s attorney again, expressing concern that the district would seek to destroy a lawfully submitted document.”

In response, the school’s attorney assured HSLDA that the district would not “take measures to hamper your client’s interest in homeschooling” and that the excuse “process is now underway,” Donnelly wrote.

After “prolonged correspondence” with the school’s attorney, “the parents received written confirmation that their child had been excused for homeschooling effective the date they originally submitted the original notice of intent” – that is, the date they had turned it in two months before.

“Many Ohio districts insist that families seeking to withdraw their students from the public school system use a specific notification form to do so, or send notification to the county educational service center,” Donnelly wrote. “HSLDA continues to advocate for our Ohio member families and educate school districts of their responsibility under Ohio law.”

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5 Easy Steps Toward Sustainable Chicken Farming

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5 Easy Steps Toward Sustainable Chicken Farming

Image source: Pixabay.com

Although the move toward a self-sufficient farm can seem daunting and out of reach, there are plenty of small things you can do to decrease your reliance on outside sources and make the most of what you have.

1. Start with clean feed

There are plenty of great mixes that can be purchased at the local feed store. However, some mixed feeds contain fillers and additives, which not only become part of the chickens’ diet, but also yours when the meat and eggs are part of your food source. The cleaner your chickens eat, the cleaner you will eat. A good option is to purchase the separate grains in bulk and mix them yourself. The price is sometimes comparable or a little more than the regular chicken feed mixes, but it’s a very clean source of nutrition without additional additives.

As you move toward replacing goods from outside vendors with your own homegrown options, start small with growing a few grains at a time and adding them to the feed you currently purchase. Over time you will use less and less store-bought items while finding out how the additional crops can work into your existing infrastructure. You can try oat, wheat, lentil, pea, corn, etc. Do a little research to determine the protein needs of your particular flock so you can create an appropriate mix of grains. The rest of their nutrition can come naturally through free-range grazing. They’ll eat the grass, weeds, bugs and worms. They also greatly appreciate any kitchen scraps you desire to throw their way.

2. Try a fodder system

This has been called a supplement by some, and a mainstay by others. Essentially, fodder is sprouted grains. It contains all of the nutrition of the grain itself, plus everything it develops as the greens grow, especially chlorophyll and beta carotene.

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These are wonderful for your chickens, especially in the winter when they have little access to grass and bugs. The sprouts are grown in a tray system until they’re about four inches in length. These can then be fed directly to your chickens. Some great grains to try are wheat, barley, oat, sunflower and beans. Just keep them fresh and free of mold. Even the little sprouts themselves, harvested on the third or fourth day, are packed with nutrients and good for digestion.

3. Use the manure

5 Easy Steps Toward Sustainable Chicken Farming

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This means rich compost! Every coop should have the bedding and manure stripped out periodically. If you are using the deep litter method, you can add new bedding on top of the old, as needed, to reduce any odors. The chickens will scratch around and keep it mixed. Whether you choose to use sawdust or straw on the floor of your coop, it all can go into the compost pile. After a little decomposing action, this nitrogen-rich mix will be ready for your gardens. This is another reason why feeding your chickens well ultimately feeds your soil well (as well as your body!).

4. Don’t forget deep litter for heat

Depending on where you live, winters can be tough for chickens. Ideally, with a self-sustainable farm you want to have as many natural sources of heat as possible. As long as the chickens’ combs and wattles are not getting frost bitten or frozen, and they can come into the coop to stay dry, then they should be able to handle the weather.

A concern, however, is keeping their water from freezing. Some coops utilize a small heater for the watering container, while some people will simply change out the water periodically. Another option is deep litter, which is a method whereby you allow the sawdust or straw to build up in the floor of the coop. The decomposition of the material and the chicken manure give off a little bit of heat that can be helpful in the harsh winter months. To do this, just leave everything in the base of your coop, periodically adding a bit of new sawdust or straw on top to freshen it. The deeper it gets, the more it insulates the coop and generates a little natural heat through decomposition.

5. Enjoy the food!

Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of having chickens on your farm is the fact that they’re a tremendous source of protein. Even if you are not yet at the point where you slaughter your own meat, consider chickens for their eggs. A typical egg can have between 6-8 grams of protein, which is a great source for your family when times get hard. Most healthy hens lay up to one egg per day. So, if you have 12 healthy hens, you can expect to harvest up to a dozen eggs per day. The amount of eggs produced can drop during the winter when daylight hours are shorter, but can be helped by adding extra light to the coop. As long as you keep the chickens fed, they will help keep your family fed.

The more you use what you have, the closer you’ll be to having a healthy, self-sufficient farm.

What chicken advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:  

Trump Threatens North Korea With ‘Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen’

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Trump Threatens North Korea With ‘Fire And Fury Like The World Has Never Seen’

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President Trump Tuesday threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury” after reports surfaced that the rogue country has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit on a missile.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said, with reporters present. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening — beyond a normal statement — and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

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Earlier, it was reported that analysts with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) say North Korea already has built a nuclear warhead that can fit onto a missile, The Washington Post reported. Just a few weeks ago, North Korea tested an ICBM that analysts said could reach Chicago and cities west of it.

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the document obtained by The Post states.

It is not clear if the North Koreans have tested the miniature warheads, but the Japanese Ministry of Defense concluded there is evidence the communist regime has them.

Nuclear warheads must be miniaturized in order to fit onto ICBMs and other missiles. Some American and Russian ICBMs actually carry several nuclear warheads.

There are currently around 15,000 nuclear warheads on earth, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists estimates. The biggest nuclear powers are Russia with around 7,000 warheads and the USA with 6,800. Other known nuclear powers are France (300 warheads), China (260 warheads), India (130 warheads) Pakistan (140 warheads), the United Kingdom (215 warheads) and Israel (80).

North Korea is believed have between 30 and 60 nuclear warheads, according to the Bulletin.

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Iranian Drone Nearly Collides With U.S. Navy Jet; Comes Within 100 Feet

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Iranian Drone Nearly Collides With U.S. Navy Jet; Comes Within 100 Feet

U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet

An Iranian drone nearly collided with a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter plane over the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz in the Persian Gulf Tuesday.

The QOM-1 drone flew within 100 feet of the Navy jet as the Super Hornet was preparing to land.

“The dangerous maneuver by the QOM-1 in the known vicinity of fixed-wing flight operations and at coincident altitude with operating aircraft created a collision hazard, and is not in keeping with international maritime customs and laws,” a U.S. Navy press release stated.

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The fighter plane had to perform a “roll over” to avoid collision.

A Navy spokesman told The Navy Times that if the F/A-18E “had not done the maneuver,” the two aircraft would have collided, a Navy spokesperson told The Navy Times.

“There were repeated radio calls to stay clear of the active fixed wing operations,” the spokesman said.

The drone had apparently been flying around the carrier for some time before buzzing it.

The QOM-1 or Saqeh is an unmanned drone that looks sort of like a small fighter plane. A picture of the drone released by the Iranian military shows it carrying four rockets similar to U.S. Hellfire missiles.

A nuclear-powered carrier such as the Nimitz carries a crew of about 4,500 sailors and officers and around 75 aircraft. Only two nations — the United States and France — have nuclear-powered carriers.

Military experts believe that the Iranians back-engineered the Saqeh drones from a US RQ-170 drone manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Voice of America reported.

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North Korea Vows ‘Thousands-Fold’ Revenge On U.S. For Sanctions

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North Korea Vows ‘Thousands-Fold’ Revenge On U.S. For Sanctions

The North Korean government is seeking a “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States following new United Nations sanctions.

Additionally, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters that his government would reject any negotiations that involved the rogue country disarming its nuclear weapons or missiles.

“We will not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table … and will never take a single step back from strengthening our nuclear might,” Ri told reporters at an international security conference in Manilla on Monday.

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Instead, North Korea “is ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force,” according to a statement released by its news agency. The sanctions target such key exports as coal, iron, lead and seafood, The Guardian reported, and could cut its export revenue by a third.

The sanctions also prevent additional North Koreans from legally working outside the country. The UN has created a blacklist of North Korean individuals and companies that will be barred from traveling and doing business.

The hope is that sanctions, passed unanimously by the UN Security Council, will bring North Korea back to the bargaining table.

China Warns North Korea

“The purpose is to pull the peninsula nuclear issue back to the negotiating table, and to seek a final solution to realize the peninsula denuclearization and long-term stability through negotiations,” Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said of the sanctions.

China supports the sanctions, which is bad news for North Korea, The Guardian reported.

“Do not violate the UN decision or provoke the international community’s goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests,” Wang warned on Monday.

The Chinese navy is conducting war games involving marines and dozens of ships and submarines in the East China Sea near North Korea, Newsweek reported. The wargames involved drills of air attacks and amphibious attacks.

“[The Chinese] could be sending a message to the North Koreans that they will be effective in any conflict if war is to break out,” Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute told The South China Morning Post.

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Nutty State May Ban Pet Stores From Selling … Pets

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Nutty State May Ban Pet Stores From Selling … Pets

A proposed law would make it illegal for pet stores to sell many dogs and cats in the state of California.

Assembly Bill (AB) 485 would subject any pet store owner who bought puppies, kittens or rabbits from a commercial breeder to a $500 fine for each animal sold, National Review writer Wesley J. Smith reported. AB-485 has passed California’s lower house or Assembly but it has yet to be approved by the Senate or signed by the governor.

“This bill would prohibit, on and after January 1, 2019, a pet store operator from selling a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group, as defined, that is in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter, as specified,” the text of AB-485 states.

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Wrote Smith, “California is on the verge of outlawing pet stores from selling pets unless they come from shelters or rescue organizations.”

Smith fears that the real motive behind AB-485 is an attempt by animal rights activists to outlaw pet ownership. He noted that the proposed law makes no effort to set up a means of distinguishing humane from inhumane pet breeders.

“But it will push us closer to a time where the only place to obtain a pet will be a shelter,” Smith wrote.

The bill, he wrote, seems to be an attempt to write the ideas of animal rights extremists like Peter Singer and Gary Francione into law.

“We oppose domestication and pet ownership because these violate the fundamental rights of animals,” Francione wrote in an essay called The Case against Pets.

Others, though, support the bill.

AB-485 is an attempt to ban “puppy mills” and inhumane animal breeding operations, The Los Angeles Times editorial board claimed.

“It may seem unfair to put the onus for stopping bad breeders on pet store owners who sell puppies they buy legally from commercial breeders,” The Times editors wrote. “Nor does it seem fair to cut off commercial breeders that are humane, assuming there are some, from their prime sales outlet. But the combination of low standards and lax enforcement has helped entrench the business of inhumanely manufacturing animals, particularly puppies.”

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Burglars Tried To Rob Woman In Wheelchair. But She Had A Gun.

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Burglars Tried To Rob Woman In Wheelchair. But She Had A Gun.

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Two burglars were no match for an elderly Cleveland woman in a wheelchair and her gun.

“I put the gun up to the window of the door and I yelled, ‘Get off my property,’” Melinda Vandal said she told the two men.

One man was trying to come into her door and the other was cutting the screen on a window of her garage on July 10, she said.

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One of the men apparently dropped a knife and they ran off when they saw Vandal toting the gun.

“It was last Monday morning around 10:30,” Vandal told Fox 8. “I looked at the door and there was a man, right there, right outside looking like he was going for my door.”

Police are looking into the incident but have made no arrests.

“It’s hard for me to relax or sleep because I keep seeing his face,” Vandal said.

She is now keeping her doors locked and her gun close.

“It never used to be like this around here,” Vandal said, noting she has lived in her home for more than 20 years. “I don’t want to ever hurt anyone, but I feel like I need to protect myself.”

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North Korea Quietly Testing Submarine Nuclear Missile System In ‘Highly Unusual’ Activity

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North Korea Quietly Testing Submarine Nuclear Missile System In ‘Highly Unusual’ Activity

North Korea is testing a submarine missile system in what one defense official called “highly unusual and unprecedented levels” of activity.

Four tests of a cold-ejection launch system for submarine-based ballistic missiles have been carried out at the Sinpo Naval Shipyard this year, with the latest one taking place in recent days, officials told CNN.

A cold-launch system prevents the missile’s engine from burning the submarine. With such a system, the missile is propelled away from the submarine before the engine starts.

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“Achieving a successful cold-launch ejection test, even from land-based tubes, is a critical step forward in making an operational missile,” defense analyst Michael Gatling told The Telegraph. “The whole point of putting missiles into a stealthy platform like a submarine is to achieve tactical surprise, and this moves closer to that.”

Just last week, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if it had been fired in that direction.

Strangely enough, North Korea has the world’s largest submarine fleet with 76 ships, according to Global Firepower. Most of those vessels are small diesel-powered submarines not capable of hauling missiles, but all it would take is one nuclear submarine to cross the Pacific to kill several million Americans.

Meanwhile, a North Korean submarine equipped with 14 torpedoes and up to 20 mines conducted tests for a week in July off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Officials with the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University told The Telegraph that the latest cold-launch test “most likely is preparations for a test in the near future of an updated Pukguksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile or a potentially newer system.”

North Korean launched its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in August 2016.

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BREAKING: North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’

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North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’North Korea on Friday tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if the rogue nation had fired it in that direction

The missile flew for 45 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan. But if its trajectory had been toward the U.S. – and not straight up — it likely would have had enough fuel to reach cities throughout the nation, experts say.

38North, a project of The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, posted an assessment noting that “if flown on a flatter trajectory, this missile could reach as far as 9,000 to 10,000 km.” That’s 5,600 to 6,200 miles. Denver is roughly 6,000 miles from North Korea, Chicago 6,341.

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Friday’s launch was apparently timed to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the end of the Korean War in 1953, The Washington Post reported.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is attempting to develop a missile with multiple nuclear warheads.

The Hwasong-14 missile tested on Friday is theoretically capable of reaching targets in the Rocky Mountain West or the Midwest. That would include not only Denver and Chicago but also Colorado Springs, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Milwaukee – as well as cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“My guess is that they want to show more range,” Jeffrey Lewis of the Center for Nonproliferation (CNS) studies said. “We basically dared them to do this. We said, ‘It’s not really an ICBM until it can hit Alaska, and they’re, like, ‘OK.’”

Analysts at the CNS believe the Hwasong-14 might be capable of reaching targets on the East Coast, including New York and Washington, if and when it is perfected. Lewis believes the North Koreans are trying to show the Pentagon that they can build a workable ICBM.

It was the second time in a month that North Korea has tested a Hwasong-14. There was another test on the Fourth of July.

This week, North Korea’s defense minister warned the U.S.

“If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice,” he said.

What do you think America should do? Should the Trump administration launch a pre-emptive strike? Share your thoughts in the section below:

BREAKING: North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’

North Korea Launches ICBM That Could Reach Denver Or Chicago, Warns Of Strike ‘Without Warning’North Korea on Friday tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that experts say likely could have reached Denver or Chicago if the rogue nation had fired it in that direction

The missile flew for 45 minutes and reached an altitude of 2,300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan. But if its trajectory had been toward the U.S. – and not straight up — it likely would have had enough fuel to reach cities throughout the nation, experts say.

38North, a project of The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, posted an assessment noting that “if flown on a flatter trajectory, this missile could reach as far as 9,000 to 10,000 km.” That’s 5,600 to 6,200 miles. Denver is roughly 6,000 miles from North Korea, Chicago 6,341.

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Friday’s launch was apparently timed to coincide with the 74th anniversary of the end of the Korean War in 1953, The Washington Post reported.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is attempting to develop a missile with multiple nuclear warheads.

The Hwasong-14 missile tested on Friday is theoretically capable of reaching targets in the Rocky Mountain West or the Midwest. That would include not only Denver and Chicago but also Colorado Springs, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Milwaukee – as well as cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“My guess is that they want to show more range,” Jeffrey Lewis of the Center for Nonproliferation (CNS) studies said. “We basically dared them to do this. We said, ‘It’s not really an ICBM until it can hit Alaska, and they’re, like, ‘OK.’”

Analysts at the CNS believe the Hwasong-14 might be capable of reaching targets on the East Coast, including New York and Washington, if and when it is perfected. Lewis believes the North Koreans are trying to show the Pentagon that they can build a workable ICBM.

It was the second time in a month that North Korea has tested a Hwasong-14. There was another test on the Fourth of July.

This week, North Korea’s defense minister warned the U.S.

“If enemies misunderstand our strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against us, we will launch a nuclear attack on America’s heart as the most relentless punishment without warning or prior notice,” he said.

What do you think America should do? Should the Trump administration launch a pre-emptive strike? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Homeschool Mom Charged With Truancy For Not Filling Out OPTIONAL Form.

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Homeschool Mom Charged With Truancy For Not Filling Out OPTIONAL Form.

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A homeschooling mom was charged with truancy because she failed to fill out an optional school form.

The unidentified woman had pulled her daughter out of public school in Michigan because of anxiety problems, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) reported.

“The mom had dutifully notified the school that her daughter was unable to attend, and she sought assistance from the school to accommodate the girl’s needs,” HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly wrote.

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But even after changes were made, the girl still didn’t feel safe at the school, so the mom decided to homeschool her.

“The mom filed a formal withdrawal notice with the school, informing the principal that she would now be homeschooling her daughter,” Donnelly wrote.

The mom’s notice to the school fulfilled all state law requirements, yet the school’s truant officer nevertheless sent her a “declaration of home schooling” form and asked her to submit it within two weeks.

The mom, though, chose not to fill out the optional form. The officer then “ignored the usual legal process for truancy concerns and instead filed a legal complaint for truancy” – despite the fact the mom had followed the law.

After receiving a notice to appear in court on truancy charges, the mom contacted an HSLDA-affiliated attorney, who subsequently contacted the prosecutor to explain the law. The prosecutor dropped the case.

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Uh-Oh: North Korea Nuke-Missile Program AHEAD Of Schedule; Could Strike U.S. Cities Next Year; ‘Alarming Progress’

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Uh-Oh: North Korea Nuke-Missile Program AHEAD Of Schedule; Could Strike U.S. Cities Next Year; ‘Alarming Progress’

North Korea is on track to build a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to mainland American cities next year, a major military report says.

Analysts at the government’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) have concluded in the report that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) will be able to build a “reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM” that could strike American cities as early as next year, The Washington Post reported.

That is two to three years quicker than previously thought.

The confidential DIA assessment obtained by The Post says that North Korea could begin production on such a missile within a few months. The only obstacle is the ability to design a missile that can re-enter the atmosphere without damaging the warhead. But the report assumes the North Koreans will pass that test soon.

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“They’re on track to do that, essentially this week,” an anonymous intelligence official told The Post.

An ICBM from North Korea would need to enter space before targeting an American city.

“Now they are approaching the final stage of being a nuclear power and the owner of an ICBM,” Cha Du-hyeogn, an advisor to South Korea’s former president, told The Post.

North Korea’s rapid military gains have caught many off-guard.

“The speed of North Korea’s ICBM missile development is faster than the South Korean Defense Ministry expected,” South Korea lawmaker Lee Cheol-hee told the press.

Others agreed.

“There has been alarming progress,” said Joseph De Trani, a former manager at the office of the Director of National Intelligence. “In the last year they have gained capabilities that they didn’t have, including ones that we thought they would not have been able to obtain for years.”

U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) says he fears America won’t be ready.

“The apparent success of the July Fourth test is an alarming development as North Korea accelerates its pursuit of being able to hold the United States at risk with nuclear weapons,” Thornberry said after a classified briefing from the DIA and military officials.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, unlike the CIA, is tasked with providing purely military intelligence to the Pentagon. It also advises the president, the joint chiefs and Congress.

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America’s Top General Warns: North Korea War Would Lead To ‘Loss Of Life Unlike Any We Have Experienced’

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America’s Top General Warns: North Korea War Would Lead To ‘Loss Of Life Unlike Any We Have Experienced’

A U.S. military attack on North Korea is possible and America should be prepared for it, says the nation’s highest ranking military officer.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., made the admission during a talk at the Aspen Institute on Saturday.

“Many people have talked about military options with words like ‘unimaginable,’” Dunford said. “I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific, and it would be a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes, and I mean anyone who’s been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there’s a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

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“But as I’ve told my counterparts, both friend and foe, it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colo. That’s unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Dunford made the remarks at the Aspen Security Forum, a gathering of national security experts in the Colorado resort town, Politico reported.

Historians say 405,399 Americans died in World War II and 54,246 were killed in the Korean War (1950-1953).

The general’s remarks were prompted by the recent testing by North Korea of what might be an intercontinental ballistic missile. Dunford hopes that economic sanctions and diplomacy can end the crisis without bloodshed.

Dunford is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the chief military advisor to the president, secretary of defense, national security and congress. Before taking over as the 19th chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Dunford served as the commandment of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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A Broke U.S. City Just Dissolved; Street Lights Turned Off; Garbage Pickup Ceases

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A Broke U.S. City Just Dissolved; Street Lights Turned Off; Garbage Pickup CeasesA city government in Iowa has vanished completely because of unpaid sewer bills. For citizens, that means all government services provided by the city of Mount Union abruptly stopped.

Street lights were turned off permanently, garbage service ended and all city employees laid off in Mount Union, the Associated Press reported. It also means the city council is dissolved and there is no mayor in the town of 98 people.

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“I know we can’t stop this, we tried,” former city clerk Linda Johnson said. “And the only good thing is the (city) council and all the administration will be gone, and we can start to heal our wounds. It wouldn’t be this way if it hadn’t have been for them.”

The cause of Mount Union’s demise was unpaid sewer bills. A decade ago, the city put in a $1.2 million sewer system maintained by an agency called Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS).

The system was supposed to be paid for by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and a loan. The loan was supposed to be paid by sewer bills, but a number of residents in town did not pay their sewer bills.

Initially, that led to rates jumping from $35 a month to $150 a month. Citizens voted last year, by a margin of 32-31, to dissolve the town. In March of this year, a state board approved the proposal to dissolve the town.

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State Snatches Kids Because Parents’ IQs Are Too Low

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State Snatches Kids Because Parents’ IQs Are Too Low

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In a controversial move that is gaining national attention, state social workers in Oregon took a couple’s children away because their IQs are lower than average.

Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler can only see their children in chaperoned visits because the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) thinks they are not smart enough to be parents.

“They are saying they are intellectually incapable without any guidelines to go by,” Sherrene Hagenbach, who formerly worked as a volunteer mediator for DHS and knows the couple, told The Oregonian.

Social workers took their three-year-old son Christopher and a baby named Hunter away earlier this year, The Oregonian reported. DHS cited Ziegler’s IQ of 66 and Fabbrini’s IQ of 72 as a reason for the removal. The average IQ is between 90 and 100.

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No allegations of abuse or neglect have been made. Instead their “limited cognitive abilities that interfere with (their) ability to safely parent the child,” was cited as the reason for the removal.

Fabbrini and Ziegler have done everything social workers have asked. They took classes on parenting, first aid, CPR and nutrition, yet their children are still in a foster home.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s good enough for them,” Ziegler said. “They’re saying, ‘Who would parent Christopher better, the foster parents or the parents?’ is basically what they’re going on.”

Said Haenbach, who supports the parents, “They’re saying that this foster care provider is better for the child because she can provide more financially, provide better education, things like that. If we’re going to get on that train, Bill Gates should take my children. There’s always somebody better than us, so it’s a very dangerous position to be in.”

Not even a state senator, Republican Tim Knopp, could help. He backs the couple.

“My impression of them is that they were just like any other couple, and they were trying to be successful in life, just like anyone else would be, and they wanted to be together as a family,” Knopp said. “I didn’t see any issues when I met with them that would automatically disqualify them from being good parents.”

Said Ziegler’s aunt, Lara Turner: “I honestly don’t understand why they can’t have their children. I go to the grocery store and I see other people with their children and they’re standing up in the grocery cart … and I think, how come they get to keep their children? How do they decide whose child they’re going to take and whose child can stay?”

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Chinese Spy Ship Spotted Just Off Coast Of Alaska

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Chinese Spy Ship Spotted Just Off Coast Of AlaskaA Chinese spy ship was spotted off the coast of Alaska July 14 after the test of a U.S. antimissile defense system, CNBC reported.

The presence of an “intelligence” or “communications” vessel was confirmed by U.S. Navy Captain Scott Miller, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Military officials aren’t sure what the spy ship was doing, although it was spotted four days after a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system in Alaska.

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The ship was 100 miles off the coast but in international waters.

One official told CNN that it was rare for the Chinese to conduct surveillance in the region.

The ship might have been a surveillance ship known as a Tianlangxing, The Diplomat reported. A Tianlangxing passed through the Tsugaru Straight, which links the Sea of Japan and the Pacific, on July 2, The Diplomat reported. Such ships are designed to collect electronic intelligence and track ballistic missiles.

The sighting came just as the U.S., India and Japan were conducting a joint naval exercise in the Indian Ocean. A Chinese spy ship is reportedly monitoring those exercises, too.

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Mom Changed Kid’s Dentist. She Was Reported To Child Services.

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Mom Changed Kid’s Dentist. She Was Reported To Child Services.

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A mother was reported to a social services agency for neglect because she switched dentists.

When Melissa Lopez sought a second opinion about her daughter’s teeth, she found herself reported for “oral neglect.”

“For someone to turn around and try to accuse me of neglecting her, it’s absurd,” the Canadian mom told the CBC. “I couldn’t believe it.”

The trouble began when a dentist told Lopez that her daughter Elianna had nine cavities and required thousands of dollars’ worth of dental work. Not confident in the diagnosis, Lopez decided to seek a second opinion from another dentist. The other dentist found that Elianna required a lot less dental work, so Lopez went there.

Reported by the Dentist

Lopez forgot to notify the first dentist of the change, so that dentist notified the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The Children’s Aid Society is the name for child protective services in Ontario, where Lopez lives.

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The CAS called Lopez in June and told her that she was being investigated for oral neglect. The matter was quickly resolved when Lopez provided the agency with proof of dental work, but there’s now a permanent file on the matter.

“It will always be there, 10, 15, 20 years from now,” Lopez said of the file. “I’m red-flagged, I’ve been marked, and there’s no reason for this to have happened.”

The dentist who reported Lopez was obeying the law. Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act requires all healthcare professionals to report suspicions of abuse and neglect to the CAS, said Kevin Marsh, the director of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.

“Health-care professionals and other people who work closely with children have a special responsibility under the act,” Marsh told CBC.

That means little to Lopez, though. She believes she did nothing wrong.

“I would absolutely love it if they would just remove that file for me, because I don’t feel there was any just reason to report me in the first place,” Lopez said.

She never received a letter from the first dentist with a warning.

“As a mother, you pride yourself on how you raise your kids. I have three kids — they’re healthy, they’re happy, they do great in school, they have lots of friends,” Lopez said.

“For someone to turn around and try to accuse me of neglecting her, it’s absurd.”

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Beef Burgers Sold With 29 Percent Horsemeat

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Beef Burgers Sold With 29 Percent Horsemeat

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European consumers apparently have been eating horsemeat, labeled as beef in supermarkets, without realizing it.

Spanish police arrested 65 people this month who were allegedly part of a racket that sold horsemeat throughout Europe but labeled it as other types of meat, CNN reported. Spain’s national police, or Civil Guardia, joined Europol in alleging the suspects sold meat from horses “in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’”

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The boss of the horsemeat racket was an unidentified Dutch businessman who was arrested in Belgium, the BBC reported. The racket is believed to be linked to an earlier scandal in which horsemeat was labeled as beef and sold through some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets, including Aldi and Tesco.

British businessman Andronicos Sideras is currently on trial for fraud in London’s Inner Crown Court for his role in the earlier horsemeat scandal, The Guardian reported.

During the earlier investigation, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland discovered that 10 out of 27 hamburger products it examined contained horsemeat. One beef burger in Tesco, a major British grocery, was comprised of as much as 29 percent horsemeat.

The suspects paid low prices for old, crippled or abused horses that were scheduled to be euthanized, Europol charged. They then forged documents and doctored microchips to make the horseflesh look like good meat and resold the horses to slaughterhouses.

“The people concerned in this case would sell meat and they would pretend it was all beef,” prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said, according to The Guardian. “It was not. In fact, it was a mixture of beef and horsemeat. The fraudsters made money by selling a mixture of expensive beef and cheap horsemeat as 100 percent expensive beef.”

Many Europeans eat horsemeat; the largest consumers are in Italy and France.

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‘We’re Flowing Toward The Path Of’ A Hoover-Type Crash, Analyst Says

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‘We're Flowing Toward The Path Of’ A Hoover-Type Crash, Analyst SaysAmerica is experiencing a decline in growth and a stock-market bubble similar to those that occurred right before the Great Depression, a major investment analyst believes.

Mark W. Yusko thinks something like the 1929 stock market crash, which triggered the Great Depression, is imminent.

“I have this belief that we’re flowing toward the path of 1928-29 when Hoover was president,” Yusko, CEO of Morgan Creek Capital, said on CNBC’s Power Lunch.

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Part of Yusko’s prediction rests on a president and a Congress that accomplish little. Yusko made his comments even before GOP leaders announced that the effort to repeal Obamacare likely was dead.

The economic downturn, Yusko believes, will occur this fall.

“Both [Hoover and Trump] were presidents with no experience who come in with a Congress that is all Republican, lots of big promises, lots of things that don’t happen and the fall is when people realize, ‘Wait, it hasn’t played out the way we thought,’” he said.

When Herbert Hoover became president in 1929, the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent; when he left it was 23.6 percent. The stock market crashed in October 1929, seven months after Hoover’s inauguration.

Yusko believes the stock market will crash because there simply is not enough economic growth in the U.S. to sustain current stock prices.

“[By the fall], we’ll have a lot more evidence of declining growth. Growth has been slipping,” he said.

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Man In Wheelchair Shot Burglar. DA Considered Prosecuting Him.

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Man In Wheelchair Shoots Burglar. DA Considered Prosecuting Him.

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A district attorney considered prosecuting a disabled man in a wheelchair for shooting a burglar who allegedly tried to steal his prescription medications.

Disturbingly, 69-year-old Harvey Lembo had to wait almost two years to find out if he would face charges for shooting the burglar, Christopher Wildhaber.

“Mr. Lembo is disabled and uses a wheelchair,” District Attorney Johnathan Liberman said in a press release. “His home had been burglarized on several occasions, and he had purchased the firearm in question in response to these burglaries.

“This shooting occurred when Mr. Lembo interrupted a burglary of his home,” Liberman added. “The standard of proof in criminal cases is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and I do not believe that we could meet this burden given these factors.”

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Lembo bought an antique Russian army revolver in 2015 because he was frustrated with break-ins at his Rockland, Maine, home, The Portland Press Herald reported. Less than 24 hours later, Wildhaber broke into Lembo’s apartment and allegedly tried to steal his prescription drugs. That prompted the retired lobster fisherman to put a 7mm slug into Wildhaber’s shoulder.

He claims it was the fifth burglary at his apartment in six years.

“Mr. Lembo never felt he did anything wrong defending himself. He is grateful that District Attorney Liberman came to the same conclusion,” Attorney David Weyrens, who represented Lembo, told the newspaper.

Wildhaber pled guilty to the burglary and received a four-year sentence in 2016, The Press Herald reported. Despite the plea, then-District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau kept the possibility of charges against Lembo open; in May of this year he resigned to accept a district court judge’s seat.

Lembo’s landlord, Stanford Management LLC, tried to evict him for his taxpayer-subsidized apartment because he owned a gun, The Press Herald reported.

Lembo’s case prompted Maine’s state legislature to pass and the governor to sign a law that would prohibit landlords who receive public housing vouchers from kicking out tenants for owning guns.

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North Korean Threat Sparks Rush To Build Bomb Shelters

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North Korea Threat Sparks Rush To Build Bomb Shelters

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The rising tensions generated by North Korea’s missile tests have convinced people around the world that it’s time to restock the bunker. Among the new generation of preppers is Australian businessman Nathan Stewart.

“If North Korea gets the ability to launch a long-range nuclear warhead, we have a place to go, which is why we are rebuilding it,” Stewart told The Australian. “We are going to restore the shelter to its former glory so it is fully operational.”

Stewart is bringing back a bunker on his estate in Australia’s Adelaide Hills. The shelter — the size of a house — features a kitchen, living room, two bathrooms and enough space for 14 people. It was built in the 1970s by the estate’s former owner, deceased businessman Kim Bonython.

North Korea Threatens Australia, Too

Stewart is afraid that Australia’s historic alliance with the United States will lead to a conflict with North Korea. Recent statements are fueling his anxiety.

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“If Australia persists in following the U.S. moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK [North Korea], and remains a shock brigade of the U.S. master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK,” the North Korean government said earlier this year.

Stewart seems to have little faith in the ability of Australia’s government to protect him from North Korean missiles.

“We are redoing the bunker structure with the latest technology to make sure it is sound and all sealed properly,” Stewart said. “We will ensure it is fully supplied and stocked with years of water and non-perishable goods.”

Stewart is far from alone. U.S. bomb shelter makers have reported a 700 percent increase in sales, The Australian reported. Sales of bomb shelters are also skyrocketing in Japan.

A Japanese shelter builder called Earth Shift is reporting a tenfold increase in sales, Reuters reported.

“It takes time and money to build a shelter,” Nobuko Oribe, the managing director of another shelter company, Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, said. “But all we hear these days, in this tense atmosphere, is that they want one now. They ask us to come right away and give them an estimate.”

Another Japanese builder, Shelter Co., is showing off a one-room bunker designed to withstand a blast of a “Hiroshima class nuclear bomb,” Business Insider reported. The shelter features steel doors and many of the comforts of home, including upholstered chairs and carpeting.

It looks like bomb shelters are all the rage again thanks to Kim Jong-un.

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They’re Now Rationing Toothpaste In Venezuela

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They’re Now Rationing Toothpaste In Venezuela; ‘I Do It Only In The Mornings’

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Many Venezuelans can no longer afford to brush their teeth. A tube of toothpaste in the country now costs the equivalent of half a week’s wages for many workers because of 700 percent inflation.

Factory worker Ana Margarita Rangel is only brushing her teeth once a day because she doesn’t have enough toothpaste. Rangel’s pay has been reduced to the equivalent of $33 a month because of hyperinflation.

Prior to the crisis, she brushed her teeth in the morning and evening.

“Now I have to choose,” Rangel said of cleaning her teeth. “So I do it only in the mornings.”

Toothpaste is just one of many things Rangel is rationing or eliminating because of hyperinflation, The Washington Post reported. Meat, juice, coffee and chocolate are no longer in her family budget.

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“I don’t spend my afternoons cooking anymore, because I don’t have meat to season or vegetables to cut,” Rangel said, “and chocolate! We can’t even afford to buy a little cup of coffee on our way to work. We used to be able to have juice with our meals, I miss it so much.”

Some of the horrors of hyperinflation in Venezuela include:

  • Socialist President Nicolas Maduro raised the nation’s minimum wage by 20 percent to 250,000 strong bolivars a month on July 1. That’s the equivalent of $33 a month, meaning the average Venezuelan earns less than people in Haiti – the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, where the average income is $135 a month.
  • With the new minimum wage, a family can buy five cartons of eggs or six pounds of powdered milk.
  • 82 percent of the people in Venezuela are living below the poverty line. In 2014, 52 percent of Venezuelans were above the poverty line.
  • Security guard Romer Sarabia is feeding his family chicken feed he buys on the black market.
  • Factory worker Rainer Figueroa has stopped playing soccer and lost 24 pounds because he only eats two meals day. Figueroa went on a “diet” so kids would have enough to eat. “I can’t afford to burn calories or wear out my sneakers,” Figueroa said. Figueroa works at a diaper factory that no longer produces diapers because it cannot afford to buy raw materials.

There is one luxury Venezuelans can afford: reality television. Rangel admits she no longer gets together with her friends. Instead, she watches her favorite show from America.

“I love watching the Kardashians, because you see how people that have everything live,” Range said. “And for a moment you forget what your life is like.”

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North Korea Nuclear Missile ‘Likely’ Will Be Able To Reach U.S. Mainland Soon, Expert Warns

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North Korea Nuclear Missile ‘Likely’ Will Be Able To Reach U.S. Mainland Soon, Expert Warns

North Korea has an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Alaska or Hawaii and within a few months could have the capacity to strike the West Coast. That’s the opinion of long-time aerospace engineer John Schilling in a column for 38 North, which is a project of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Schilling’s column was posted after North Korea tested its latest missile July 3. The country said it was ICBM.

“The emerging reality is that the North has an unreliable missile that can reach Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, and would be lucky to hit even a city-sized target,” Schilling wrote before warning: “However, with a year or two of additional testing and development, it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the US west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases.”

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In five years, he added, North Korea “may be able to incorporate a modest suite of decoys and penetration aids to challenge US missile defenses.”

“Let’s hope US missile defenses are up to that challenge,” he wrote.

Schilling has more than 20 years of experience — most of that time supporting U.S. civil and military space programs.

The current U.S. anti-missile defense system, Schilling wrote, is unreliable and works only “about half the time.”

“North Korea has to consider that deploying an operational ICBM would motivate the United States to improve its defenses,” he wrote. “They can’t possibly hope to build more ICBMs than the US can build missile defense interceptors. But if they can put a dozen or so effective decoys on each missile—that might be enough to maintain a credible deterrent.”

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