FDA approves opioid painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine

FDA approves opioid painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine (Source usatoday.com) A new opioid tablet that is 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Friday as a fast-acting alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals. The painkiller Dsuvia will be restricted to limited use only in health care settings, such as hospitals, surgery centers and emergency rooms, but critics worry the opioid will fuel an already grim opioid epidemic. Also on Friday, the Drug Enforcement Administration released a report showing that prescription drugs were responsible for the most overdose deaths of any illicit drugs since 2001. Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts urged the FDA not to approve Dsuvia last month, saying “an opioid that is a thousand times more powerful than morphine is a thousand times more likely to be abused, and a thousand times more likely to kill.”

To that, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement that “very tight restrictions” will be placed on Dsuvia. Dsuvia will not be available at retail pharmacies or for any home use, Gottlieb said. The medication, which comes in a single-use package, also should not be used for more than 72 hours. The medicine comes in a tablet that can dissolve under the tongue. Side effects of the potent drug include extreme tiredness, breathing problems, coma and death.

‘God help us!’ A pair of California wildfires are raging out of control

‘God help us!’ A pair of California wildfires are raging out of control (Source usatoday.com) A fast-growing wildfire forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes in northern California on Thursday. The Camp Fire has scorched over 28 square miles in Butte County, which is about 90 miles north of Sacramento, according to Cal Fire. By Thursday afternoon, fire officials said people have been injured and structures have been destroyed in the fire, though further details were not available. Acting California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Butte County, where the fire is burning about 80 acres per minute, according to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. That’s equal to about 60 football fields per minute. “This fire is very dangerous, please evacuate if asked to do so!”, Cal Fire officials said on Twitter. Dozens of resources were being called in from throughout the state. An evacuation order was issued for areas of Paradise, a town of about 27,000 people, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office said. Fire officials said firefighters were working to access the area as the blaze continued to spread. A second significant wildfire, spurred by strong Santa Ana winds across Ventura County, flared up amid red-flag warnings later Thursday in Southern California.

 

Louis Farrakhan Chants ‘Death to America’ During Visit to Iran

Louis Farrakhan Chants ‘Death to America’ During Visit to Iran (Source nationalreview.com) Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan led chants of “death to America” on Sunday and derided American conceptions of democracy and freedom during a visit to Iran, planned as a show of support for the regime ahead of the re-implementation of U.S. sanctions. Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite who has been embraced by prominent liberal activists and lawmakers, railed against American policymakers for harassing the Iranian people and siding with Saudi Arabia in its proxy war with Iran in Yemen. “I understand how the enemies have plotted against the Iranian people and I would like to stay alongside you to stop their plots,” he said during a meeting with the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, according to state-owned news agency Mehr. “Satan seeks to divide Muslims and wants them to kill each other, while God tells us in the Quran to be united.” During a subsequent speaking appearance at the University of Tehran law school, Farrakhan mocked America’s founding ideals while praising the Islamic conception of women’s rights and Iran’s strict enforcement of female modesty. “America has never been a democracy and has always leaned towards the wealthy and powerful class,” he said before leading the law students in chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

311 days, 307 mass shootings in the U.S.

311 days, 307 mass shootings in the U.S. (Source usatoday.com) When the thunder of gunfire broke through a country music dance hall packed with young people kicking back on “college night,” Thousand Oaks, California, added its name to a dark roster: the site of the 307th mass shooting. It took place on the 311th day of the year. A mass shooting is defined as four or more people shot. At Borderline Bar and Grill, 12 people were killed late Wednesday by a tall, hooded man dressed in black and covering his face with a bandana. Among those killed was Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, 54, who “died a hero” after he entered the bar and exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

Russia to replace US soybean exports to China amid escalating trade war

Russia to replace US soybean exports to China amid escalating trade war (Source rt.com)

The ongoing trade conflict with Washington is forcing China to look for new suppliers of day-to-day produce to the domestic market. Russia is expected to be the answer when it comes to soybeans and other goods.

According to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the country may partially replace US as the leading exporter of soybeans to China. The nations are also planning to work more closely on deliveries of other agricultural goods, including pork, rice, poultry, fish, as well as developing joint logistics projects.

“Soybeans are in very big demand in China,” Medvedev told reporters Wednesday during his three-day visit to China.

“The Chinese market is huge as they import about 95 million tons of soybeans annually, including 30 million tons from the US.” China, the world’s biggest soybean importer, is currently involved in a long-standing trade dispute with the US. Beijing is seeking to diversify its food supplies after the volume of year-on-year soybean shipments from its overseas partner shrank by more than 80 percent in September.

“A certain part of the soy market has been made available. We agreed with the Chinese partners to hold a more active presence in this particular segment,” Medvedev said, stressing that the step provides Russia with a good opportunity to boost soybean production.

Over the past 10 years, Russia’s soybean production has been growing, with farmers expected to harvest a record 3.9 million tons in the current season that ends in 2019, Bloomberg reports citing projections by the US Department of Agriculture. Russia will reportedly ship up to 700,000 tons of the product abroad, which is still significantly less than Brazil, the world’s leading soybean exporter, which may sell more than 76 million tons this season.

France supporting Iran against US ‘trade policeman

France supporting Iran against US ‘trade policeman’ (Source middleeastmonitor.com)

France has vowed to fulfil plans to defy the US’ sanctions on Iran while increasing the international role of the euro in order to prevent Washington from acting as the world’s “trade policeman”.

France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, told the British newspaper Financial Times that Europe is planning the formation of a special financial channel to Iran in order to keep trade flowing with the country and assure its own “economic sovereignty”, with the aim of making the euro as powerful as the dollar.

“Europe refuses to allow the US to be the trade policeman of the world,” Le Maire stated in an interview in Brussels, emphasizing that Europe must “affirm our sovereignty” in regards to the US sanctions on Iran and its wider economic hegemony.

Trump imposes ‘unprecedented sanctions’ as Europe scrambles to save Iran deal

After President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear in May, the European Union – along with Russia and China – remained committed to the agreement, and has insisted on defying the sanctions and facilitating trade with Tehran.

 

 

On the Edge of Nuclear Armageddon: Donald Trump Welcomes in the Age of “Usable” Nuclear Weapons (Source globalresearch.ca)

Trump has launched a second nuclear age by rejecting the treaty that was meant to initiate the closing of the first one. The arms race was then slowed, but, alas, the competitors stumbled on through the end of the Cold War. Shutting that arms-contest down completely remained an unfinished task, in part because the dynamic of weapons reduction proved so reversible even before Donald Trump made it into the Oval Office. George W. Bush, for instance, struck a blow against arms control with his 2002 abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which rekindled Reagan’s Star Wars fantasy. The way Washington subsequently promoted missile defense systems in Europe, especially in Poland, where a nearly $5 billion missile contract was agreed to this year, empowered the most hawkish wing of the Kremlin, guaranteeing just the sort of Russian build-up that has indeed occurred.  President Trump’s cavalier and supremely ignorant readiness to walk away from America’s most solemn international commitments should offer us all a grim reminder of just how precious that nuclear weapons treaty regime has been. The most decisive covenant of all was the 1987 INF Treaty, which demonstrated that nuclear reductions are possible, and that the movement toward nuclear abolition is, too. The INF Treaty was the pin that has held the mechanism of hope together all these years. Now, our nihilistic president has pulled the pin, apparently mistaking that structure of human survival for a grenade, sure to blow.

 

China plans to ‘launch its own artificial moon’ by 2020

China plans to ‘launch its own artificial moon’ by 2020 (Source independent.co.uk)

China is planning to launch its own “artificial moon” by the year 2020, it has been reported. The city of Chengdu has unveiled plans to replace the city’s streetlights with a satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon. The artificial moon will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres. Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu aerospace science and technology microelectronics system research institute, announced the news and said that the artificial moon would be eight times brighter than the real moon, according to the People’s Daily. He added that the testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready. The manmade moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings. The angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location, Asia Times reported.

The exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed. Officials from the city of Chengdu said they were hoping to save money on street lighting and also increase tourism.

Cuban president arrives in Russia for economic talks

Cuban president arrives in Russia for economic talks (Source Associated Press)

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived in Russia on Thursday for talks expected to focus on expanding economic ties between the two nations. As part of his three-day state visit, Diaz-Canel is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union poured billions of dollars in supplies and subsidies to Cuba, its staunchest Latin American ally. But ties withered after the 1991 Soviet collapse as Russia, hit by an economic meltdown, withdrew its economic aid to Cuba. Putin, who visited Cuba in 2000 and 2014, has sought to revive ties with the old Caribbean ally. Earlier this month, Russian officials have signed contracts worth $260 million to modernize Cuban energy facilities and a metal factory. The two countries have also talked about expanding military ties.

Soviet warships and military aircraft regularly used Cuban bases during the Cold War, and Cuba hosted a Soviet electronic spying facility in Lourdes, near Havana.

Putin closed the Lourdes intelligence facility in 2001 as he sought to establish warmer ties with the United States during his first presidential term. But U.S.-Russian relations have steadily worsened, plunging to post-Cold War lows after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and the Kremlin has sought to rebuild ties with Cuba.

The business daily Kommersant reported earlier this month that Russia plans to provide a $50 million loan to Cuba to help it maintain and modernize its Soviet-built weapons.

 

America Is on the Brink of a Nervous Breakdown

America Is on the Brink of a Nervous Breakdown (Source Rutherford.org) “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” ― Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Yet another shooting. Yet another smear of ugliness, hatred and violence. Yet another ratcheting up of the calls for the government to clamp down on the citizenry by imposing more costly security measures without any real benefit, more militarized police, more surveillance, more widespread mental health screening of the general population, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more gun control measures, more surveillance cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at so-called soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do more stop-and-frisk searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more government monitoring of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time.

All of these measures play into the government’s hands.

All of these measures add up to more government power, less real security and far less freedom.

As we have learned the hard way, the phantom promise of safety in exchange for restricted or regulated liberty is a false, misguided doctrine that has no basis in the truth.

Things are falling apart.

When things start to fall apart or implode, ask yourself: who stands to benefit? In most cases, it’s the government that stands to benefit by amassing greater powers at the citizenry’s expense.

Unfortunately, the government’s answer to civil unrest and societal violence, as always, will lead us further down the road we’ve travelled since 9/11 towards totalitarianism and away from freedom. With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that not only terrorizes the public but also destabilizes the country’s fragile ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry. Clearly, America is being pushed to the brink of a national nervous breakdown.

The New Global Tinderbox. A Far More Complex Global Conflict Map than the Cold War

The New Global Tinderbox. A Far More Complex Global Conflict Map than the Cold War (Source globalrsearch.ca)

When it comes to relations between Donald Trump’s America, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and Xi Jinping’s China, observers everywhere are starting to talk about a return to an all-too-familiar past. “Now we have a new Cold War,” commented Russia expert Peter Felgenhauer in Moscow after President Trump recently announced plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The Trump administration is “launching a new Cold War,” said historian Walter Russell Mead in the Wall Street Journal, following a series of anti-Chinese measures approved by the president in October. And many others are already chiming in. Recent steps by leaders in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing may seem to lend credence to such a “new Cold War” narrative, but in this case history is no guide. Almost two decades into the twenty-first century, what we face is not some mildly updated replica of last century’s Cold War, but a new and potentially even more dangerous global predicament. The original Cold War, which lasted from the late 1940s until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, posed a colossal risk of thermonuclear annihilation. At least after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, however, it also proved a remarkably stable situation in which, despite local conflicts of many sorts, the United States and the Soviet Union both sought to avoid the kinds of direct confrontations that might have triggered a mutual catastrophe. In fact, after confronting the abyss in 1962, the leaders of both superpowers engaged in a complex series of negotiations leading to substantial reductions in their nuclear arsenals and agreements intended to reduce the risk of a future Armageddon. What others are now calling the New Cold War — but I prefer to think of as a new global tinderbox — bears only the most minimal resemblance to that earlier period. As before, the United States and its rivals are engaged in an accelerating arms race, focused on nuclear and “conventional” weaponry of ever-increasing range, precision, and lethality. All three countries, in characteristic Cold War fashion, are also lining up allies in what increasingly looks like a global power struggle.

But the similarities end there. Among the differences, the first couldn’t be more obvious: the U.S. now faces two determined adversaries, not one, and .  (with a corresponding increase in potential nuclear flashpoints). At the same time, the old boundaries between “peace” and “war” are rapidly disappearing as all three rivals engage in what could be thought of as combat by other means, including trade wars and cyberattacks that might set the stage for far greater violence to follow. To compound the danger, all three big powers are now engaging in provocative acts aimed at “demonstrating resolve” or intimidating rivals, including menacing U.S. and Chinese naval maneuvers off Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, rather than pursue the sort of arms-control agreements that tempered Cold War hostilities, the U.S. and Russia appear intent on tearing up existing accords and launching a new nuclear arms race. These factors could already be steering the world ever closer to a new Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world came within a hairsbreadth of nuclear incineration. This one, however, could start in the South China Sea or even in the Baltic region, where U.S. and Russian planes and ships are similarly engaged in regular near-collisions.