Category Archives: US NEWS

Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns 


Twitter’s verification program put the company at the center of another political headache this week, with the social media giant stuck between liberals who demand stricter rules about hate speech and misinformation and conservatives who fear the site will target them for their political views.

Twitter’s “blue checkmark” verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it’s also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va. “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler.

The social media site responded to the criticism Wednesday by taking checkmarks away from several users affiliated with the far right or white nationalism, as well as kicking one prominent Charlottesville marcher off the platform permanently.

Further changes are expected next week, when Twitter says it will implement more rules. Twitter declined to comment on the changes. 

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/360806-twitter-crackdown-sparks-free-speech-concerns

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Democrats face sexual assault allegations 


Democrats called Al Franken’s behavior unacceptable, returned his campaign donations, and hinted that — absent a satisfying explanation in response to a sexual harassment allegation — they’d eventually demand he resign.

Anything less would risk catastrophe for a party that stakes its political reputation on fighting for women. Especially one that is just now, 20 years after the fact, grappling with its unyielding support of Bill Clinton.

“Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment.”

Talk show host Leeann Tweeden on Thursday accused Franken of sexually assaulting her during an overseas USO tour in 2006, three years before he became a Democratic senator from Minnesota. She said Franken forcibly kissed her, and later posed for a photo in which he groped her chest while she slept.

The Minnesota Democrat issued a statement apologizing to Tweeden and said he’d welcome a congressional ethics investigation into the incident. But the allegations had by that time already sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party. Democrats, who rely heavily on women for votes, regularly criticize Republicans for being insufficiently supportive of women on issues like abortion rights and gender pay equity.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article185091388.html

Ivanka Trump says child tax credit ‘not a pet project’


BAYVILLE, N.J. (AP) — Yes, it turns out, there is something that chafes at the unflappable Ivanka Trump.

The presidential daughter and adviser, in a “full-blown sprint” as she sells the Republican tax overhaul plan and juggles other initiatives, has had it with all that talk about her “pet project” to increase the child tax credit.

“I get a little bit frustrated when people call it a pet project,” Trump told The Associated Press as she spent a day shuttling between events in multiple states. “This is a major project, this is not a pet project. This is a major initiative to ensure that there is meaningful middle-income tax relief for the American taxpayer.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.apnews.com/b9a66f37fe074f30ad896bfa9be68ece/Ivanka-Trump-says-child-tax-credit-‘not-a-pet-project

Sen. Franken Demands Social Media Censorship Over “Russian Collusion” 


Franken appeared to be an over-reaction to testimony given by legal counsel for Google, Facebook, and Twitter, to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 31, in which each of the Internet social media content giants reported statistics that showed minimal Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Yet, in the face of this concrete evidence, Franken seems determined to continue beating the New McCarthyism narrative advanced by Hillary Clinton and her Democratic Party supporters to explain away her devastating 2016 loss to Donald Trump.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.infowars.com/sen-franken-demands-social-media-censorship-over-russian-collusion/

 US scientists try 1st gene editing in the body


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change a person’s DNA to try to cure a disease.

The experiment was done Monday in California on 44-year-old Brian Madeux. Through an IV, he received billions of copies of a corrective gene and a genetic tool to cut his DNA in a precise spot.

“It’s kind of humbling” to be the first to test this, said Madeux, who has a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome. “I’m willing to take that risk. Hopefully it will help me and other people.”

Signs of whether it’s working may come in a month; tests will show for sure in three months.

If it’s successful, it could give a major boost to the fledgling field of gene therapy. Scientists have edited people’s genes before, altering cells in the lab that are then returned to patients. There also are gene therapies that don’t involve editing DNA.

But these methods can only be used for a few types of diseases. Some give results that may not last. Some others supply a new gene like a spare part, but can’t control where it inserts in the DNA, possibly causing a new problem like cancer.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://apnews.com/4ae98919b52e43d8a8960e0e260feb0a/AP-Exclusive:-US-scientists-try-1st-gene-editing-in-the-body

Biological weapons simulation test planned in Oklahoma 


A notice in an Oklahoma newspaper set many Newkirk residents on edge. 

The Department of Homeland Security announced the small town near the Kansas border will host a biological weapons simulation at the now-abandoned Chilocco Indian School.

In 2018, the department wants to release “non-hazardous, non-toxic” chemicals and biological materials on buildings in the area.

They want to see what might happen if a terrorist were to release similar chemicals as a biological weapon, and if buildings would offer residents any kind of protection.

Residents say the announcement worries them. 

“I just got sick to my stomach,” said Newkirk resident Dennis Jordan. “I think if they want to test that stuff, let them go to Los Alamos, you know? I think it’s stupid.”

For the particle test, the government plans to release titanium dioxide, which it describes as a “white odorless powder that is chemically insoluble in water, nonreactive, nonflammable and nonhazardous.”

For the biological test, the government plans to release genetic, barcoded spores of an insecticide sold under the trade name of Dipel. Dipel is not considered hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency when handled appropriately, according to an assessment.

The assessment said the test will have no adverse impact on human health or the environment.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas said Thursday he is “monitoring the situation closely.”

“I have numerous questions regarding this proposed test,” Estes said. “While it’s important for our federal agencies to test their abilities in response to threats, we need to be 100 percent certain this test is safe for the residents of south-central Kansas.”

The city of Arkansas City has also said it’s reviewing media reports of the testing.

“This is the first time the city has been made aware of any testing to occur at Chilocco,” the city posted on its Facebook page Thursday. “Inert means chemically inactive, which means by definition there should be no risk to the citizens. However, we are looking into the situation to gather more information for our citizens and their safety.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.fox23.com/news/biological-weapons-simulation-test-planned-in-oklahoma/646596934

FBI seeks Senate documents, signaling possible probe into sale of fetal tissue


The FBI has asked the Senate for unredacted documents it obtained from abortion providers, signaling agents may be investigating whether Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers illegally sold fetal tissue and body parts, according to sources familiar with the document request.

The request was made in recent days, the sources said, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), last December referredPlanned Parenthood and several other abortion providers to the FBI for investigation after a lengthy probe into the transfers of fetal tissue.

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Grassley said at the time that his committee had uncovered enough evidence in its final investigative report to show abortion providers had transferred tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses to firms for use in research by charging dollar amounts above their actual costs.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/360154-fbi-seeks-senate-documents-signaling-possible-probe-into-sale-of-fetal-tissue

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley launches investigation of Google 


Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office on Monday issued a subpoena to Google as part of an investigation into whether the tech giant is violating Missouri’s consumer protection and anti-trust laws.

The investigation delves into Google’s collection of data on users and whether Google, the world’s most popular search engine, has manipulated search results at the expense of competitors, according to a release from Hawley’s office.

“When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it’s my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately,” said Hawley, a Republican who is mounting a campaign for U.S. Senate. “I will not let Missouri consumers and businesses be exploited by industry giants.”

Patrick Lenihan, Google’s spokesman, said in an email that the company has not yet received the subpoena. Lenihan said Google has “strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article184113056.html

Earthquake swarm hits Monterey County


A 4.6-magnitude earthquake rattled Monterey County on Monday and was felt more than 90 miles away in San Francisco, officials said.

The quake hit at 11:31 a.m. about 13 miles northeast of Gonzales, near Salinas, and was followed by nine smaller aftershocks, with the largest measuring magnitude 2.8, said Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://m.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Swarm-of-earthquakes-hit-Monterey-County-felt-in-12354131.php#photo-14541359

Donald Trump threatened by ISIS as US Presidents arrives in Philippines 

The threats come as Trump this evening flies into the Philippines in the final stop of his tour of Asia.

Security forces in the Philippines have been battling the threat of jihadis for years, with the city of Marawi being to reduced to rubble by ISIS.

Terrorists have been circulating the image on encrypted messaging app Telegram – urging fighters to “lie in wait” and “ambush” the US President.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/659342/Donald-Trump-ISIS-Philippines-Threat-Terror-Attack-US-President-Assassination-Propaganda