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Investigation finds illegal synthetic marijuana in vape and edibles sold as CBD
« Reply #14085 on: September 17, 2019, 06:02:42 PM »
Jay Jenkins says he hesitated when a buddy suggested they vape CBD.

“It’ll relax you,” the friend assured.

The vapor that Jenkins inhaled didn’t relax him. After two puffs, he ended up in a coma.

That’s because what he was vaping didn’t have any CBD, the suddenly popular compound extracted from the cannabis plant that marketers say can treat a range of ailments without getting users high. Instead, the oil was spiked with a powerful street drug.

Some operators are cashing in on the CBD craze by substituting cheap and illegal synthetic marijuana for natural CBD in vapes and edibles such as gummy bears, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The practice has sent dozens of people like Jenkins to emergency rooms over the last two years. Yet people behind spiked products have operated with impunity, in part because the business has boomed so fast that regulators haven’t caught up while drug enforcement agents have higher priorities.

AP commissioned laboratory testing of the vape oil Jenkins used plus 29 other vape products sold as CBD around the country, with a focus on brands that authorities or users flagged as suspect. Ten of the 30 contained types of synthetic marijuana — drugs commonly known as K2 or spice that have no known medical benefits — while others had no CBD at all.

Among them was Green Machine, a pod compatible with Juul electronic cigarettes that reporters bought in California, Florida and Maryland. Four of those seven pods contained illegal synthetic marijuana, but which chemical varied by flavor and even location of purchase.

“It’s Russian roulette,” said James Neal-Kababick, director of Flora Research Laboratories, which tested the products.

Vaping in general has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks because hundreds of users have developed mysterious lung illnesses, and several have died. The AP’s investigation focused on yet another set of cases, in which psychoactive chemicals are added to products presented as CBD.

The results of AP’s lab testing echo what authorities have found, according to a survey of law enforcement agencies in all 50 states. At least 128 samples out of more than 350 tested by government labs in nine states, nearly all in the South, had synthetic marijuana in products marketed as CBD. Gummy bears and other edibles accounted for 36 of the hits, while nearly all others were vape products. Mississippi authorities also found fentanyl, the powerful opioid involved in about 30,000 overdose deaths last year.

Reporters then bought brands that law enforcement testing or online discussions identified as spiked. Because testing by both authorities and AP focused on suspect products, the results are not representative of the overall market, which includes hundreds of products.

“People have started to see the market grow and there are some fly-by-night companies trying to make a quick buck,” said Marielle Weintraub, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority, an industry group that certifies CBD cosmetics and dietary supplements.

Synthetic marijuana is a concern, according to Weintraub, but she said the industry has many reputable companies. When products turn up spiked, the people or companies behind them often blame counterfeiting or contamination in the supply and distribution chain.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of many chemicals found in cannabis, a plant known more commonly as marijuana. Most CBD is made from hemp, a cannabis variety cultivated for fiber or other uses. Unlike its more famous cousin THC, cannabidiol doesn’t get users high. Sales of CBD have been driven in part by unproven claims that it can reduce pain, calm anxiety, increase focus and even prevent disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved one CBD-based medicine for treating seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, but says it cannot be added to food, drinks or dietary supplements. The agency is now clarifying its regulations, but aside from warning manufacturers against making unproven health claims, it has done little to stop the sale of spiked products. That’s the job of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, but its agents are focused on opioids and other narcotics.

Now there are CBD candies and beverages, lotions and creams, and even treats for pets. Suburban yoga studios, big-name pharmacies and Neiman Marcus department stores carry beauty products. Kim Kardashian West had a CBD-themed baby shower.

But it’s hard for consumers to know how much CBD they are really getting, if any at all. As with many products, federal and state regulators rarely test what’s inside — for the most part, quality control is left to manufacturers.

And there’s a financial incentive to cut corners. One website advertises synthetic marijuana for as little as $25 per pound — the same amount of natural CBD costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
‘YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE’

Jay Jenkins had just wrapped up his freshman year at The Citadel, a South Carolina military college, when boredom led him to try what he thought was CBD.

It was May 2018 and he said his friend bought a cartridge of blueberry flavored CBD vape oil called Yolo! — the acronym for “you only live once” — from the 7 to 11 Market, an austere, white board-and-batten building in Lexington, South Carolina.

Back in the car, Jenkins tried it first. Things “got hazy,” then terrifying.

Jenkins said the nerves in his mouth felt like they were “multiplied by 10.” Vivid images including a circle engulfed by darkness and filled with colorful triangles filled his mind. Before he drifted out of consciousness, he realized he couldn’t move.

“I thought that I actually was already dead,” Jenkins said.

His friend raced to the hospital where Jenkins suffered acute respiratory failure and drifted into a coma, his medical records show.

Jenkins came out of the coma and was released the next day. Hospital staff sealed the Yolo cartridge in a biohazard bag and handed it back.

Lab testing AP commissioned this summer found a type of synthetic marijuana that has been blamed for at least 11 deaths in Europe.

State and federal authorities never identified who made Yolo, which sickened not just Jenkins but also at least 33 people in Utah.

According to documents filed in a California court by a former company bookkeeper, a business called Mathco Health Corporation sold Yolo products to a distributor with the same address as the 7 to 11 Market where Jenkins stopped. Two other former employees told AP that Yolo was a Mathco product.

Mathco CEO Katarina Maloney said in an interview at company headquarters in Carlsbad, California, that Yolo was handled by her former business partner and she did not want to discuss it.

Maloney also said Mathco does not “engage in the manufacture, distribution or sale of any illegal products.” She said the Yolo products in Utah “were not purchased from us” and the company can’t control what happens to products once they are shipped. AP-commissioned testing of two CBD vape cartridges marketed under Maloney’s Hemp Hookahzz brand found no synthetic marijuana.

As part of an employment complaint filed in court records, the former bookkeeper said Maloney’s former business partner, Janell Thompson, was the “exclusive salesperson” of Yolo. Reached by phone and asked about Yolo, Thompson hung up.

“If you want to speak with somebody you can talk to my attorney,” Thompson later texted without providing a name or contact information.

When a reporter visited the 7 to 11 Market in May, Yolo was no longer for sale. Asked for something similar, the clerk suggested a cartridge labeled Funky Monkey and then turned to a cabinet behind the counter and offered two unlabeled vials

“These are better. These are the owner’s. This is our top seller,” she said, referring to them as 7 to 11 CBD. “These here, you can only get here.”

Testing showed that all three contained synthetic marijuana. The store owner did not respond to messages seeking comment.
WHAT’S IN ‘JUNGLE JUICE’?

The people behind spiked vapes leave few clues about who makes them or what’s inside.

Packaging doesn’t identify the companies and their brands have little online presence. Newcomers can simply design a label and outsource production to a wholesaler that deals in bulk.

The opaque system of manufacturing and distribution hampers criminal investigations and leaves victims of spiked products with little recourse.

The AP bought and tested Green Machine pods in flavors including mint, mango, blueberry and jungle juice. Four of the seven pods were spiked and only two had CBD higher than a trace level.

Mint and mango pods bought in downtown Los Angeles contained one type of synthetic marijuana. But while mint and mango pods sold by a vape shop in Maryland were not spiked, a “jungle juice” flavored pod was. It had yet a different synthetic marijuana compound — one health authorities blame for poisoning people in the U.S. and New Zealand. A blueberry flavored pod sold in Florida also was spiked.

Green Machine’s packaging says it’s made with industrial hemp, but there’s no information about who is behind it.

When a reporter returned to CBD Supply MD in a Baltimore suburb to discuss testing results, co-owner Keith Manley said he was aware of online chatter that Green Machine might be spiked. He then had an employee pull all remaining Green Machine pods from store shelves.

Through interviews and documents, AP tracked Green Machine pods that reporters bought to a warehouse in Philadelphia and then a Manhattan smoke shop and the entrepreneur behind the counter, Rajinder Singh, who said he is Green Machine’s first distributor.

Singh, who is currently on probation for a federal synthetic marijuana conviction, said he purchased Green Machine pods with cash or in exchange for merchandise such as hookah pipes from a man he knew as “Bob” who drove a van down from Massachusetts. To substantiate his account, he provided a phone number associated with a man who died in July.

Singh pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal charges he sold a smokable “potpourri” that he knew contained synthetic marijuana. He said that experience taught him a lesson and blamed counterfeit products for the synthetic marijuana detected in Green Machine.

“100 percent, what you tested is a duplicated product,” he said.
‘EMERGING HAZARD’

The American Association of Poison Control Centers considers CBD an “emerging hazard” due to the potential for mislabeling and contamination.

One case last year involved an 8-year-old boy from Washington who was hospitalized after taking CBD oil his parents ordered online in hopes it would help his seizures, according to a case study in the journal Clinical Toxicology published in May. Instead, synthetic marijuana sent him to the hospital with symptoms including delirium and a rapid heart rate.

Other clusters of illnesses happened in Mississippi and around military bases in North Carolina.

Labeling of many CBD products has been documented as inaccurate. A 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found 70% of CBD products were mislabeled. Researchers used an independent lab to test 84 products from 31 companies.

Fake or spiked CBD is enough of a concern that leaders of the U.S. Hemp Authority industry group developed a certification program for CBD skin and health products. Vapes are not covered.

But local and state authorities have limited ability to pursue problem products to their roots.

After several Georgia high school students passed out from vaping last year, authorities began scrutinizing local tobacco shops. One of the CBD vape brands they targeted was called Magic Puff.

The drug enforcement team in Savannah and surrounding Chatham County arrested a shop owner and two employees. But they couldn’t follow the investigation further because it appeared the products were being manufactured elsewhere, possibly overseas. The team’s assistant deputy director, Gene Harley, said they provided a report to federal drug agents who handle such cases.

Magic Puff was still on shelves at a Florida store this summer, and AP testing showed blueberry and strawberry cartridges contained synthetic marijuana. Preliminary results also suggested the presence of a toxin produced by a fungus.

Because CBD is the active ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, the FDA is responsible for regulating its sale in the U.S. But if CBD products are found to contain narcotics, the agency considers the investigation a job for the DEA, an FDA spokesman said.

The DEA says it is focused on drugs responsible for killing thousands of Americans like fentanyl and methamphetamines.

“These are going to be bigger priorities on enforcement,” DEA spokeswoman Mary Brandenberger said.

Experts such as Michelle Peace, a forensic scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University who has found synthetic marijuana in her own testing of CBD vapes, said the federal government should act quickly to protect the public.

“As long as it remains unregulated like it currently is,” Peace said, “you just give a really wide space for nefarious activity to continue.”

People experiencing problems with a product labeled as CBD can reach a local poison control center by calling 1-800-222-1222.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/16/investigation-finds-illegal-synthetic-marijuana-in-vape-and-edible-products-sold-as-cbd.html
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Apple says $14 billion EU tax order 'defies reality and common sense'
« Reply #14086 on: September 17, 2019, 06:08:59 PM »
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union’s order to Apple (AAPL.O) to pay 13 billion euros ($14 billion) in back taxes “defies reality and common sense”, the U.S. firm said as the two sides sparred in a case key to the EU’s crackdown on sweetheart deals to multinationals.

The iPhone maker is appealing to Europe’s second highest court to overturn the European Commission’s 2016 ruling that it pay the record sum to Ireland.

Ireland, whose economy has benefited from investment by multinational companies attracted by low tax rates, is also challenging the Commission’s decision.

Apple also accused the Commission of using its powers to combat state aid “to retrofit changes to national law”, in effect trying to change the international tax system and in the process creating legal uncertainty for businesses.

The EU executive dismissed the arguments, saying it was not seeking to police international tax laws and accused Ireland of not having done its homework when assessing Apple’s taxes.

Apple’s arguments at the General Court, Europe’s second-highest, came after the EU executive in 2016 said the tech giant benefited from illegal state aid due to two Irish tax rulings which artificially reduced its tax burden for over two decades.

The case could make or break European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s campaign which has also led to action against Starbucks (SBUX.O), Fiat (FCHA.MI), Engie (ENGIE.PA), Amazon (AMZN.O) and others.

Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri led a six-strong delegation to the court where a panel of five judges will hear arguments over two days.

“The Commission contends that essentially all of Apple’s profits from all of its sales outside the Americas must be attributed to two branches in Ireland,” Apple’s lawyer Daniel Beard told the court.

He said the fact the iPhone, the iPad, the App Store, other Apple products and services and key intellectual property rights were developed in the United States, and not in Ireland, showed the flaws in the Commission’s case.

“The branches’ activities did not involve creating, developing or managing those rights. Based on the facts of this case, the primary line defies reality and common sense,” Beard said.

“The activities of these two branches in Ireland simply could not be responsible for generating almost all of Apple’s profits outside the Americas.”

Beard dismissed criticism of the 0.005% tax rate paid by Apple’s main Irish unit in 2014, which was cited by the Commission in its decision, saying the regulator was just seeking “headlines by quoting tiny numbers”.
‘PERFECTLY IRRELEVANT’

Paying an average global tax rate of 26%, Apple has said it is the largest taxpayer worldwide and is now paying around 20 billion euros in U.S. taxes on the same profits that the Commission said should have been taxed in Ireland.

In its current financial quarter, Apple expects revenue of $61-64 billion and a gross margin of 37.5-38.5%.

Commission lawyer Richard Lyal said Apple’s argument that all its intellectual property-related activities take place in the United States was inconsequential.

“To a large extent that is perfectly correct and perfectly irrelevant,” he said, adding that Ireland was taxing Apple’s Irish subsidiaries, not the group nor Apple Inc.

He said Ireland had failed to examine the functions performed by Apple’s Irish units, the risks assumed and the assets used by the subsidiaries.

“They simply accepted an arbitrary method proposed by the Apple Ireland subsidiaries. That in itself gives rise to a presumption of a special deal, exceptionally advantageous treatment. It is clear that the tax authorities made no assessment in 1991.”

He said the Commission has no hidden agenda.

“What is the case not about? Not about the Commission as policeman of international taxation, not about making sure tax is paid somewhere, though that would be a nice idea, not about resolving tax mismatches,” Lyal said.

Ireland said it had been the subject of entirely unjustified criticism and that the Apple tax case was due to a mismatch between the Irish and U.S. tax systems.

“The Commission’s decision is fundamentally flawed,” its lawyer Paul Gallagher told the court.

Luxembourg, told by the EU to recover millions of euros in back taxes from Amazon, Engie and Fiat, is backing Ireland. Poland and the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) Surveillance Authority support the Commission.

The court is expected to rule in the coming months, with the losing party likely to appeal to the EU Court of Justice and a final judgment could take several years.

The joint Apple cases are T-778/16 Ireland v Commission and T-892/16 Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe v Commission.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-apple-stateaid/apple-says-14-billion-eu-tax-order-defies-reality-and-common-sense-idUSKBN1W1195?utm_source=reddit.com
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Netanyahu Fails to Secure Majority, Gantz Leads, Arabs Surge, Exit Polls Show
« Reply #14087 on: September 17, 2019, 06:15:03 PM »
Two exit polls show Kahol Lavan overtaking Likud ■ Labor Party, Democratic Union make it in ■ Kahanist party wiped off political map ■ Gantz: We succeeded, Netanyahu failed

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to secure a ruling majority in Israel's second election of 2019, exit polls released by Israeli television channels on Tuesday indicate.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/elections/.premium-israel-election-exit-polls-netanyahu-gantz-1.7854652
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Greta Thunberg to Congress: ‘You’re not trying hard enough. Sorry’
« Reply #14088 on: September 17, 2019, 06:20:28 PM »
The Swedish environmentalist was one of several who spoke at a Senate climate crisis task force


 Greta Thunberg attends a Senate climate change task force meeting in Washington DC.

At a meeting of the Senate climate crisis task force on Tuesday, lawmakers praised a group of young activists for their leadership, their gumption and their display of wisdom far beyond their years. They then asked the teens for advice on how Congress might combat one of the most urgent and politically contentious threats confronting world leaders: climate change.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has galvanized young people across the world to strike for more action to combat the impact of global warming, politely reminded them that she was a student, not a scientist – or a senator.

“Please save your praise. We don’t want it,” she said. “Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything.

“If you want advice for what you should do, invite scientists, ask scientists for their expertise. We don’t want to be heard. We want the science to be heard.”

In remarks meant for Congress as a whole, she said: “I know you are trying but just not hard enough. Sorry.”

The audience laughed. Supporters broke into applause. Senator Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-sponsored the Green New Deal and leads the Senate task force, was perhaps surprised by her bluntness. But he smiled.

Seated at the table with the teens were some of the most sympathetic and vocal supporters of bold action on climate change in Congress. But facing a Republican-controlled Senate and a hostile White House, the prospect of enacting reforms at the scale and scope called for by activists – and many scientists – is bleak.

“We need your leadership,” he told Thunberg. “Young people are the army politically, which has arrived in the United States. You put a spotlight on this issue in a way that it has never been before. And that is creating a new X factor.”

Still, Markey vowed to try: “We hear you. We hear what you’re saying and we will redouble our efforts.”

Thunberg was one of several youth activists invited to address the task force during two days of action and speeches aimed at urging lawmakers to support “transformative climate action”. She was joined by activists from across the US and South America, part of a “multiracial, intergenerational” effort to combat climate change.

The meetings and speeches in Washington are intended to raise awareness ahead of a global climate strike on Friday in which students and workers will walk out of schools and offices to pressure their governments to act as world leaders gather in New York for the annual United Nations summit.

“The generation of the Green New Deal will not only survive but we will thrive,” said Nadia Nazar, co-founder of the advocacy group Zero Hour, at a news conference earlier on Tuesday.

“We will no longer be known as the kids fighting the apocalypse. We will be known as the solution to the climate crisis.”

In the US, support for sweeping action on climate change is polarized. Many Republicans – among them Donald Trump – are still openly skeptical of the science behind global warming. Republican leaders have mocked Democrats for introducing a Green New Deal and have used the proposal as a cudgel against lawmakers and presidential candidates.

The Green New Deal is an ambitious 14-page resolution that calls for a “10-year national mobilization” that would eliminate the nation’s emissions in one decade. Scientists say limiting warming to 1.5C would require cutting manmade carbon levels by 45% by 2030 and reaching net zero around 2050.

Markey said their movement is shifting the political landscape. The senator pointed to the 2020 presidential debates as evidence of what has changed. Candidates are being asked about climate change and pushed to introduce plans to combat global warming. This is in stark contrast to 2016.

“What has happened? You have happened,” he told the activists. “You are giving this extra level of energy to the political process that is absolutely changing the dynamics of politics in the United States.”

The 2020 election, Markey said, will in many ways be a “referendum on climate change”.

Thunberg arrived in the US after crossing the Atlantic on a solar-powered yacht. She rose to international prominence after launching “Fridays for Future”: student-led strikes that have spread to 135 countries. She has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

On Monday, she met Barack Obama. The former president shared a photo from their meeting, in which he praised Thunberg as “one of our planet’s greatest advocates” and someone who is “unafraid to push for real action”.

Later on Tuesday, the group was scheduled to meet Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal in the House.

On Wednesday, Thunberg will deliver what has been billed as a “major address” to members of Congress.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/17/greta-thunberg-to-congress-youre-not-trying-hard-enough-sorry
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Pa. man accused of using drone to drop explosives on ex-girlfriend’s property
« Reply #14089 on: September 18, 2019, 05:23:36 AM »
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WFMZ/CNN) - The attorney for a Pennsylvania man is exploring a plea agreement after federal prosecutors accused him of targeting his ex-girlfriend in a series of explosions.

According to prosecutors, 43-year-old Jason Muzzicato dropped explosive devices from a drone onto his ex-girlfriend’s property, rattling a Washington Township, Pa., neighborhood this spring and summer.

Muzzicato is not directly charged with detonating any of the explosives, but he is charged with knowingly operating an aircraft, the drone, without registration.

Charles Carcione, who lives in the neighborhood, says he believes other materials, such as nails, were dropped alongside the explosive devices.

"One day, I was... in the driveway doing something. All of a sudden, I heard them. It rained nails. They came out of the sky. They dropped down from the sky. Nobody was around. Nobody went by and threw them. They dropped from the sky,” he said.

Carcione says he had his suspicions about Muzzicato before he was arrested and even confronted the man, asking him to stop. He claims the explosions only got worse.

"Everything has been quiet since his arrest,” Carcione said.

Muzzicato’s attorney says they are exploring a plea agreement.

Muzzicato is also charged with illegally having weapons. Investigators say when they raided his home, they found improvised explosives and nine guns, which he was not allowed to have because of a protection from abuse order.

If convicted, Muzzicato faces up to 33 years in jail, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

https://www.wtap.com/content/news/Pa-man-accused-of-using-drone-to-drop-explosives-on-ex-girlfriends-property-560644911.html
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Ohio deputies pull over Amish buggy with stereo system inside
« Reply #14090 on: September 18, 2019, 05:45:20 AM »
Police in Ohio had a curious encounter with two Amish men over the weekend, pulling over their buggy to discover it had been rigged with a massive stereo system.

Deputies stopped the buggy around 1 a.m. Sunday and found a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra on top of the vehicle with several open bottles inside, according to WKBN. The men-- who come from a community which largely shuns alcohol and modern technology-- bailed out of the buggy so fast that the horse continued pulling the empty coach down the road.



"I`ve never operated an Amish buggy with a horse, but I`m told that the horse will know the way home regardless of [whether] the operator is awake or even in the buggy, and that horse went a little further down the road and onto an oil/gas well road and stopped," Trumbull County Chief Deputy Joe Dragovich told Fox 8.

Deputies then towed the buggy and found someone to take care of the horse until the owners come forward.

In a rite of passage known as Rumspringa, young members of the Amish community are allowed to experiment with the influences of the outside world, but DUI laws still apply. "Unfortunately, they`re not licensed as far as the buggy goes, but it is a vehicle, it`s on the roadway and the OVI laws do apply. You`re not allowed to drink and drive or operate a buggy," Dragovich said.

Once authorities identify the two men, they could be charged with failure to comply with the deputy's commands.

“Maybe there`s just that fear of the consequences and that would be a reality check for them, that there are consequences, but I encourage them to come forward and get their buggy and horse," said Dragovich.

The Amish are a Christian community known for simple living and plain dress. As of this year, there are about 336,235 Amish living in the U.S. Around 76,000 of which live in Ohio, according to Amish studies organization The Young Center. Only Pennsylvania has a larger Amish population.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/deputies-pull-over-buggy-as-two-amish-men-drink-beer-at-the-reigns-find-it-rigged-with-stereo-system

First thing I imagined was the had blunt going with 40's of beer and listening to rap music.  :icon_mrgreen:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/lOfZLb33uCg&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/lOfZLb33uCg&fs=1</a>
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Mormon leader reaffirms religion's opposition to gay marriage
« Reply #14091 on: September 18, 2019, 05:48:24 AM »
In a speech at Brigham Young University, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said same-sex marriage is against God’s law.

PROVO, Utah — The leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reaffirming that the religion must stick to its opposition of gay marriage because God's law states that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Church president Russell M. Nelson also said Tuesday in a speech to students at the church-owned Brigham Young University that a 2015 policy banning baptisms for children of parents in same-sex relationship was rescinded earlier this year because leaders took note of the "heartache" it caused.

Nelson said the policy was motived by love and tried to prevent friction between the beliefs of gay parents and their children.

The speech follows an ongoing push by the faith, widely known as the Mormon church, to carve out a compassionate stance toward LGBTQ people while opposing gay marriage.

Nelson ascended to president in January 2018 and has been a transformative president for the church. He has made a number of significant policy changes and traveled around the world on ministry trips.

Church presidents are considered prophets by members of the faith.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/mormon-leader-reaffirms-religion-s-opposition-gay-marriage-n1055586
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Oil prices tumble after Saudi Arabia says production is coming back online
« Reply #14092 on: September 18, 2019, 06:05:31 AM »
Oil prices dropped sharply Tuesday, following Monday's surge that sent shock waves around the world.
US oil futures settled down 5.7% at $59.24 a barrel. It was the worst one-day drop for US oil since August 1, according to Refinitiv. Oil prices initially fell after Reuters reported Saudi Arabian oil production would return to normal within two to three weeks. Tuesday afternoon, Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said the country's oil exports would not fall in September, as the kingdom will rely on reserves to keep exports stable.
Investors took that as a positive sign about the impact of the weekend's attacks on global oil supply.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, settled down 6.5% at $64.55. On Monday, oil prices shot up more than 14%.

US stocks finished slightly higher, eking out gains just before the market closed. The Dow (INDU) finished 0.1% or 32 points higher, while the S&P 500 (SPX) closed up 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) closed up 0.4%.
Elsewhere in the world, stocks closed mostly in the red.
Stock investors' focus is turning from oil to the Federal Reserve, which is beginning a two-day monetary policy meeting that will culminate in its interest rate update on Wednesday.
Expectations for a quarter-percentage-point rate cut have dropped to less than 50%, according to the CME's FedWatch tool. That's down from 92% last week, when the majority still expected rates to be slashed.
A half percentage point cut is no longer priced in at all.
"There have been a variety of explanations for the change in expectations, be it stronger data last week, improved risk appetite, trade war optimism and even higher inflation potential following the oil price spike," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.
"Whatever the reason, it would be an interesting move from the Fed to hold at the meeting and one that would almost certainly draw the ire of President Trump, although they must be used to that by now," Eriam added.
Investors were also concerned about a sudden spike in the overnight lending rate. The repo rate, which is the borrowing rate banks charge each other for short-term loans, jumped overnight, indicating low market liquidity. The New York Fed injected $53 billion to help matters. The market for US Treasuries is one of the most liquid markets in the world, so the repo rate spike was surprising.

Better-than-expected economic data has added to investors' concerns that the Fed may hold off on cutting rates. Industrial production was stronger than expected in August, even though the US manufacturing sector shrank for the first time in August.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders housing index for September climbed more than expected. Mortgage rates have been dropping to multi-year lows this summer in the United States, as longer-dated Treasury yields keep falling. This in turn has sparked some life in the housing sector.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/17/investing/dow-stock-market-oil-today/index.html
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How long are we going to continue to deny that we are all interconnected?

Since the right of return principle of international law was ratified in 1948, millions of people all over the world have returned to their native lands and countries. And despite the right to re-enter your country of origin or citizenship being enshrined in numerous modern treaties—such as 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the 1948 Fourth Geneva Convention—not all natives have been accorded similar dignities.

From Israelis in Palestinian lands to Caucasians displacing native Americans to Argentines whitening policy against black natives, the right to return—and the conflict that follows it—plagues many countries. It’s blatant hypocrisy: Western colonialists are giving themselves a right that they don’t give to the communities they displaced.

What’s happening in Palestine and Israel is of particular concern. Despite small advances, Israel continues to carry with it occupational and imperialistic ambitions that exclude Palestinian people.

The world explicitly gave Israel the right of return under an Israeli law passed in 1950, which gave Jews the right to come and live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship. The law was further extended in 1970 to include those with Jewish grandparents. Meanwhile, Palestinians continue to be locked out of their ancestral occupied lands and denied rights and freedoms. This denial has ensured that Palestinian people remain stuck within never-ending dehumanizing conditions, disease outbreaks, food and housing shortages, violence, and social instability.

But what if they applied the same fervor they use to justify their human-rights abuses to other populations?

If Israelis have the right of return, Africans and Native Americans and every other native community should have a right of return to their land. Since transatlantic slavery started in 1619 to when it was abolished in 1807, nearly 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the Americas. Many now feel stuck between an America that doesn’t respect them and an Africa that they’ve never been to.

Unlike the Jews, African Americans do not have the privilege of retuning to Africa. Besides Haiti seeking a position in the African Union and Ghana extending the right of return for African Americans, there isn’t much black descendants are being offered. What if African Americans were given a right to return to their forefathers’ lands?

It unfortunately wouldn’t look the same as it did centuries ago—because the same thing is happening with internally displaced populations inside Africa. The first genocide in Namibia was of the Herero people, who were killed by the Germans. If you go to Namibia today, the descendants of the Herero survivors are landless, and the Germans still occupy their lands. The same problem is encountered in Zimbabwe, where 4,000 Western farmers own a majority of the land, Kenya where roughly 10 families own nearly 2.5 million acres, and South Africa where white farmers own 70% of the land.

But the Germans can still go back to Germany. If you came to South Africa as a Dutch colonialist, you can go back to the Netherlands. If you came to Zimbabwe when Mugabe took the land, the British can go back to Britain. Australians can go back to England and leave the land to the aboriginal people, the French can leave Reunion, and the Portuguese can leave Brazil.

But the problem is that unlike Europeans and Americans who ostensibly have land to go back to, an African has no place to go. Even here in Kenya, there’s little land for me because settler grabbers still occupy lots of the property they took under colonialism.

And it continues. There has been a new land grab in Africa under the guise of foreign investment. Centuries ago white Westerns forcibly took our land from us: Now Chinese and Arab programs are establishing ranches, signing opaque industrials treaties, and creating commercial farming practices that further distance us from our ancestral origins. When will it stop?

If Israelis have a right to return—and so do the Dutch, Germans, French, and Britons—why not Africans? Why isn’t this right extended to Palestinians, Rohingyas in Myanmar, and Roma people in Europe? Why are native American lands desecrated, their tombs unearthed, and their people still forcibly displaced by white companies in the name of profits?

How long are we going to continue to deny that we are all interconnected? Borders and boundaries are collapsing or becoming more fluid. Communities that were separated by slavery, war, and colonialism are reuniting. Lots of people are rediscovering and connecting with their ancestries and communities.

It is time for policy makers, families, legal scholars, governments, and societies to begin reimagining identity and its connection to history and ancestral lands. Nation states are no longer as powerful, and lots of people want to reimagine their nationalities and identities. If we don’t protect their right to do so, we will lose connection to our cultures—as well as our lives.

https://qz.com/1710730/the-israeli-law-of-return-should-apply-to-all-native-people-too/
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Offline knarf

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The 'New Agenda' campaign marks the publisher's most significant message messaging since 2008

The FT has established itself as a campaigning voice dedicated to reforming capitalism with the launch of a new brand campaign – and the paper has scrapped its paywall for Thursday (18 September) only to mark the occasion.

The 'New Agenda' campaign marks the publisher's most significant brand message since the advent of the 2008 global financial crisis with the intent of positioning the FT on the frontline of debate on where our established corporate and economic model is headed.

Headlined as 'Capitalism: Time for a Reset' the discussion will centre on the pursuit of profit and how to promote a broader sense of corporate purpose.

Editor Lionel Barber explained: “The liberal capitalist model has delivered peace, prosperity and technological progress for the past 50 years, dramatically reducing poverty and raising living standards throughout the world.”

“But, in the decade since the global financial crisis, the model has come under strain, particularly the focus on maximising profits and shareholder value. These principles of good business are necessary but not sufficient. It’s time for a reset.”

The content-driven campaign was created by the Brooklyn Brothers and seeks to provoke readers with a series of articles delving into the ethics of investing, the downsides of big tech and the future of borderless corporations.

Accompanying this work global brand creative will span out of home, on digital, mobile and display with today’s edition of the FT introducing the message via a distinctive cover wrap.

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/09/18/ft-calls-reset-capitalism-biggest-brand-push-2008-financial-crash
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Offline knarf

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Not tonight show
« Reply #14095 on: September 18, 2019, 06:25:30 PM »
I have a resolute will that is telling me NOT to look at World Newz. I feel like I am burnt out about it all. This is like going on a fast. Doing nothing. What is life, without all the melodrama? I have been a hermit for 14 years. Do I just gaze at my navel? Wow... I just had my draft saved. I didn't know the software for the forum did that. See, now I am surprised about nothing to do with the newz. I am having the feeling that the time for talking is coming to an end, and the time for strikes, and mayhem in the streets are coming to a neighborhood near you.

I don't know how long this fast will last, but if Knarf's Knewz fades out, so be it.
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!

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Re: Not tonight show
« Reply #14096 on: September 18, 2019, 08:02:20 PM »
I have a resolute will that is telling me NOT to look at World Newz. I feel like I am burnt out about it all. This is like going on a fast. Doing nothing. What is life, without all the melodrama? I have been a hermit for 14 years. Do I just gaze at my navel? Wow... I just had my draft saved. I didn't know the software for the forum did that. See, now I am surprised about nothing to do with the newz. I am having the feeling that the time for talking is coming to an end, and the time for strikes, and mayhem in the streets are coming to a neighborhood near you.

I don't know how long this fast will last, but if Knarf's Knewz fades out, so be it.


Take a break.  Sounds like you need one.

RE
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Not tonight show
« Reply #14097 on: September 19, 2019, 03:12:23 AM »
I have a resolute will that is telling me NOT to look at World Newz. I feel like I am burnt out about it all. This is like going on a fast. Doing nothing. What is life, without all the melodrama? I have been a hermit for 14 years. Do I just gaze at my navel? Wow... I just had my draft saved. I didn't know the software for the forum did that. See, now I am surprised about nothing to do with the newz. I am having the feeling that the time for talking is coming to an end, and the time for strikes, and mayhem in the streets are coming to a neighborhood near you.

I don't know how long this fast will last, but if Knarf's Knewz fades out, so be it.


I hope that you will continue tom offer your thoughts here as suits you.
As someone who scans headlines every day, I appreciate the scaling sense of impending doom as it ramps up the pace of its approach. I for one appreciate all the you have done.

As for people in the streets, upcoming are the Global Climate Strike and the We the People march.

https://hollywoodlife.com/2019/09/18/what-is-we-the-people-march-2019/
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline knarf

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A Brief History of the Warren Presidency
« Reply #14098 on: September 20, 2019, 06:00:55 AM »

Illustration by The New York Times.

A crisis of legitimacy swept across American politics in the second decade of the 21st century. Many people had the general conviction that the old order was corrupt and incompetent. There was an inchoate desire for some radical transformation. This mood swept the Republican Party in 2016 as Donald Trump eviscerated the G.O.P. establishment and it swept through the Democratic Party in 2020.

In the 2020 primary race Joe Biden stood as the candidate for linear change and Elizabeth Warren stood as the sharp break from the past. Biden was the front-runner, but fragile. Many of the strongest debate performers — Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bennet — couldn’t get any traction because Biden occupied the moderate lane. By the time he faded, it was too late.

Warren triumphed over the other progressive populist, Bernie Sanders, because she had what he lacked — self-awareness. She could run a campaign that mitigated her weaknesses. He could not.

Biden was holding on until Warren took Iowa and New Hampshire. He or some other moderate could have recovered, but the California primary had been moved up to March 3, Super Tuesday. When Warren dominated most of the states that day, it was over. The calendar ensured that the most progressive candidate would win.

Many pundits predicted that Warren was too much the progressive regulator in chief to win a general election. Indeed, her personal favorability remained low. But the election was about Trump — his personal disgraces but also the fact that he told a white ethnic national narrative that appealed only to a shrinking segment of the country.

Warren won convincingly. The Democrats built a bigger majority in the House, and to general surprise, won a slim Senate majority of 52 to 48.

After that election, the Republicans suffered a long, steady decline. Trump was instantly reviled by everyone — he had no loyal defenders. Only 8 percent of young people called themselves conservatives. Republican voters, mostly older, were dying out, and they weren’t making new ones. For the ensuing two decades the party didn’t resonate beyond its white rural base.

The American educated class celebrated the Warren victory with dance-in-the-street euphoria. In staffing her administration, she rejected the experienced Clinton-Obama holdovers and brought in a new cadre from the progressive left.

The euphoria ended when Warren tried to pass her legislative agenda. One by one, her proposals failed in the Senate: Medicare for all, free college, decriminalizing undocumented border crossing, even the wealth tax. Democratic senators from red states, she learned, were still from red states; embracing her agenda would have been suicidal. Warren and her aides didn’t help. Fired by their sense of moral superiority, they were good at condemnation, not coalition-building.

When the recession of 2021 hit, things got ugly. The failure of two consecutive presidencies had a devastating effect on American morale. It became evident that the nation had three political tendencies — conservative populism, progressive populism and moderate liberalism. None of them could put together a governing majority to get things done.

Before Warren, people thought of liberals and progressives as practically synonymous. After Warren, it was clear they were different, with different agendas and different national narratives.

Moderate liberals had a basic faith in American institutions and thought they just needed reform. They had basic faith in capitalism and the Constitution and revered the classical liberal philosophy embedded in America’s founding. They inherited Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s millennial nationalism, a sense that America has a special destiny as the last best hope of earth.

Progressives had much less faith in American institutions — in capitalism, the Constitution, the founding. They called for more structural change to things like the Supreme Court, the Electoral College and the basic structures of the market. Trump’s victory in 2016 had served for them as proof that racism is the dominant note in American history, that the founding was 1619, not 1776. They were willing to step on procedural liberalism in order to get radical change.

With the Republicans powerless and irrelevant, the war within the Democratic Party grew vicious. Progressives detested moderate liberals even more than they did conservatives. The struggle came to a head with another set of Democratic primaries in 2024.

The moderate liberals triumphed easily. It turns out that the immigrant groups, by then a large and organized force in American politics, had not lost faith in the American dream, they had not lost faith in capitalism. They simply wanted more help so they could compete within it.

By 2030, progressive populism burned out as right-wing populism had. The Democrats became the nation’s majority party. This party ran on a one-word platform: unity. After decades of culture, class and demographic warfare, moderate liberals defined America as a universal nation, a pluralistic nation, embracing all and seeking opportunity for all.

In a wildly diverse nation, voters handed power to leaders who were coalition-builders not fighters. The whole tenor of American politics changed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/opinion/elizabeth-warren.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 06:14:49 AM by knarf »
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Young People Take to Streets in Global Climate Protest
« Reply #14099 on: September 20, 2019, 06:11:26 AM »
Anxious about the future and angry about the failure to curb the crisis, thousands joined an urgent call for action against climate change.


The march in Melbourne on Friday was the largest in Australia, with an estimated 100,000 demonstrators.

They are in open revolt.

Anxious about their future on a hotter planet, angry at world leaders for failing to arrest the crisis, thousands of young people began pouring into the streets on Friday for a day of global climate protest.

“I fight for climate justice action because everyone deserves a safe future, which is something our government is not supporting yet,” said Niamh O’Connor Smith, 17, who addressed the crowd in Melbourne, Australia, at one of the first global rallies. “Together, we will change that.”

More than 100,000 protested in Melbourne, in what organizers said was the largest climate action in the country’s history. The rally shut down key public transport corridors for hours.

In Sydney, thousands gathered in the Domain, a sprawling public park just a short walk east of the Central Business District — grandparents escorting their children holding homemade signs, groups of teenagers in school uniforms, parents handing out boxed raisins to their young children.

“Adults are, like, ‘respect your elders.’ And we’re, like, ‘respect our futures,’” said Jemima Grimmer, 13, from Sydney. “You know, it’s a two-way street, respect, and I’m angry that I have to be here.”

“You shall not pollute the land in which you live,” one banner in Sydney read.

The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, called the protests “just a disruption” and said students would learn more at school than at protests.

Rarely, if ever, has the modern world witnessed a youth movement so large and wide, spanning across societies rich and poor, tied together by a common if inchoate sense of rage.

In Quezon City, in the Philippines, protesters, including one dressed as Pikachu, the Pokémon character, held a sign that read: “Dead Planet Soon. Act Now!” Greenpeace posted pictures on Twitter showing its activists blockading the entrance to a Shell oil refinery in the Philippines.

No protests were authorized in China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

As day broke farther west, banners in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, ranged from serious to humorous. One read, “Climate Emergency Now.” Another said, “This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.”

Thousands turned out in Warsaw, in coal-reliant Poland, The Associated Press reported.

Roughly 100,000 demonstrators showed around the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on a bright but unseasonably chilly day in Berlin, according to organizers.

Demonstrators there held signs reading: “Stop the Global Pyromania,” “Short-Haul Flights Only for Insects,” and “Make the World Greta Again.”

“We all know what the problem is,” said Antonia Brüning, 14, marching nearby, next to the Reichstag, with a group of her friends from school. “So why isn’t anything happening?”

There were a total of 575 official protests scheduled in towns and cities across Germany, with large rallies also expected in Hamburg, Munich and Cologne, according to organizers.


Across Britain, there were large protests from Brighton to Edinburgh, with the turnout in London especially large.

There, the carved stone of the Palace of Westminster reflected bright Autumn sunshine onto crowds flooding out of a nearby subway station.

Theo Parkinson-Pride, 12, was passing by the palace with his mother Catherine, 45, who said she had emailed her son’s school to tell them he would be missing classes on Friday. “I said to my mum, I feel this is more of important than school today because soon there may be no school to go to,” Theo said.

In Mumbai, children in oversize raincoats marched in the rain. In the Indian capital, New Delhi, where air pollution is among the worst in the world, dozens of protesters gathered outside a government building. “I want to breathe clean,” they chanted, The A.P. reported.

At a time of fraying trust in authority figures, children — who by definition have no authority over anything — are increasingly driving the debate over how to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change. Using the internet, they are organizing across continents like no generation before them. And though their vague, outsize demands for an end to fossil fuels mirror those of older environmentalists, their movement has captured the public imagination far more effectively.

“What’s unique about this is that young people are able to see their future is at risk today,” said Kumi Naidoo, the head of Amnesty International and a longtime campaigner for environmental issues. “I certainly hope this is a turning point.”

The generational outcry comes as planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, even as their effects — including rising seas, intensifying storms, debilitating heat waves and droughts — can be felt more and more.

Average global temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius since the start of the industrial age, and the world as a whole remains far from meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate accord designed four years ago, to keep temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. President Trump has said the United States, which has contributed more emissions than any country since the start of the industrial age, will pull out of the accord.

An early test of the student protests will come on Monday when world leaders assemble at United Nations headquarters to demonstrate what they are willing to do to avert a crisis. Their speeches are unlikely to assuage the youth strikers, but whether the youth protests will peter out or become more confrontational in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen. More protests are planned for Monday in several cities.

“They’re going to call ‘BS,’” Dana R. Fisher, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who studies contemporary protest movements, said of the protesters. “It’s great for people at the United Nations summit to posture and say they care about this issue, but that’s not enough to stop the climate crisis. These kids are sophisticated enough to recognize that.”

Many websites have said they would go dark, in solidarity with the protests. Groups of scientists, doctors and technology workers are also joining the strikes in various locations.

Certainly, this is not the first time in modern history that young people have been stressed about their future and galvanized around a cause. Young people led social movements against the Vietnam War and for civil rights in the United States. So, too, against apartheid and in the global antinuclear movement.

This is a new generational revolt, though. It’s not against injustice in a particular country, nor against a war. This is about the future on a hotter planet. Young people worry about the cataclysmic impact of climate change on their future, coloring where they will live, how they will grow their food, and how they will cope with recurrent droughts and floods. The internet allows them to mobilize. They often know more about the issue than their parents do.

Whether they will have any direct impact is unlikely to be clear for years.

Megan Mullin, a political scientist at Duke University in Raleigh, N.C., said she saw no evidence that the youth protests would move the political needle on climate change in a state like hers.

“The challenge is translating something that is a global movement into a kind of concentrated political pressure than can influence government decisions,” she said. “It needs to be translated to influencing decision makers who aren’t already convinced.”

In the United States, climate strikers — nearly two-thirds of whom are women and girls — have been unusually engaged. Half had attended other protests, including for gun control laws and women’s rights, according to a survey that Dr. Fisher carried out among 660 climate strikers. By comparison, 40 percent of survey-takers outside the United States had attended protests on other social issues.

“They are mobilized around an issue of consistent concern across countries and across geographic areas,” Dr. Fisher said. “It spans the developing-developed country divide. There aren’t that many issues that would unify in such a manner. And we all know the burden of climate change will fall on these kids’ shoulders when they are adults. They are acutely aware as well.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/20/climate/global-climate-strike.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 06:18:29 AM by knarf »
Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is a BIG FUCKING MESS!!