Marijuana Legalization Gets Big Boost As Congress Bill Aims To Legalize Medical Strains (Source inquisitr.com) Marijuana legalization efforts got a big boost this week when a new bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress to legalize strains used to treat illness. The bill took its inspiration from a strain of marijuana called Chartlotte’s Web for 7-year-old Charlotte Figi, a Colorado girl with a rare form of epilepsy. Her parents treated her with a strain of marijuana that was high in CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, but low in THC, which is what causes the high in smokers. After traditional medicine failed to help, Charlotte’s Web greatly reduced the daily seizures the girl suffered. Now a bipartisan group of lawmakers are trying to make theurapeutic marijuana such as Chartlotte’s web exempt from the Controlled Substances Act, which make them illegal under federal law. The legislation, called “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014,” has generated support even from those who oppose marijuana. “This bill in no way changes my stance on marijuana — I still disagree with the recreational use of marijuana,” said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “However, these children and individuals like them deserve a chance to lead a healthy and productive life and our government shouldn’t stand in the way.” Perry said he expects the bill to have overwhelming support, and experts agree.
UNCONTROLLABLE EBOLA OUTBREAK SPREADS TO FOURTH AFRICAN COUNTRY(Source thewire.com) The relentless Ebola outbreak in West Africa has intensified over the weekend, permeating borders and placing several nations on red alert. The disease reached Nigeria on Saturday, when a Liberian official died shortly after landing in Lagos airport. Though his ability to board the plane while sick is worrisome for officials, the first goal for health workers is to contain the disease. If Ebola were to spread in the cramped, heavily populated city of Lagos, it would mean one more major disaster the region can’t afford, said Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu. In response, Chukwu told the Associated Press, all other passengers on the official’s flight have been traced and tracked, and that the country has placed added surveillance at “all ports of entry in Nigeria, including airports, seaports, and land borders.” The city has also shut down the hospital where the official had been taken after landing. More than 1,500 miles away, a Sierra Leone woman who had fled the hospital after testing positive for the virus died after turning herself in Saturday, becoming the first registered Ebola case in the country’s capital city of Freetown. The city is particularly vulnerable, as it houses no laboratories or treatment centers for the disease.
Stock Market Tremors and the Financial Bubble Economy. The Failures of Monetary Policy (Source globalesearch.ca) All three major US stock indexes fell Friday, capping the largest weekly decline in US stock markets in nearly two months. The catalyst for Friday’s sell-off was a very weak series of sales figures and projections from three corporations tied to consumer spending: Amazon, the largest online retailer; Wal-Mart, the largest brick-and-mortar retailer; and Visa, the credit and debit card transaction company. More broadly, the stock market tremors reflect growing concern within the ruling class that share values, which have doubled, and in some cases tripled, since their 2009 lows, are on the verge of another historic collapse. The enormous social retrogression of American society is summed up in one statistic: one in four children in the United States live below the official poverty line, while one in five are at risk of going hungry. The 2008 collapse nearly brought down the entire world financial system and sparked a global recession, with no recovery. The Fed has lowered interest rates to essentially zero, where they have stayed for nearly six years, allowing banks access to cash for free. Through a variety of asset purchasing programs, the Fed has tripled the size of its balance sheet since 2008. This policy has been mimicked internationally, coupled with ever more brutal austerity measures directed at the working class. This game cannot go on forever. Ultimately, the valuations of financial assets must come crashing down. The consequences of the coming crash will be even more dramatic than those of the 2008 financial meltdown.
Pope Francis in emotional peace plea (Source theguardian.com) Pope Francis made an emotional plea for peace on Sunday in an impromptu addition to his weekly Angelus address in St Peter’s Square. Wrapping up his regular address to the faithful, the Argentinian-born pontiff spoke of the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war and said his thoughts were on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine in particular. His voice appearing to crack with emotion as he broke off from his scripted remarks to make a direct appeal for fighting to end, he said: “Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.” The pope made no direct reference to the situation in Gaza, but his comments came after a humanitarian truce broke down on Sunday and fighting resumed. lMore than 1,000 people, mostly civilians and including dozens of children, have been killed since the outbreak of the current conflict. “Brothers and sisters, never war, never war! I am thinking above all of children, who are deprived of the hope of a worthwhile life, of a future,” he said. “Dead children, injured children, mutilated children, orphaned children, children whose toys are things left over from war, children who can’t smile any more.”
White House accuses Russia of violating Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (Source RT)
United States President Barack Obama has formally accused his Russian counterpart of violating a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty, the White House said on Tuesday. Pres. Obama wrote Russia’s Vladimir Putin, White House press secretary John Earnest said during a routine briefing Tuesday afternoon, informing him that the US has determined that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a pact signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev nearly 30 years ago.“The United States has determined that the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF treaty not to possess, produce or flight test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles,” the Times said the report would read.
BRICS PLAN TO BECOME “POLITICAL ALLIANCE” TO REFORM THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM (Source Zero Hedge) As the world slowly turns against US Dollar hegemony, it appears the BRICS are pressing to fill any gaps. Having created the BRICS Bank “alternate to The West-controlled IMF or World Bank,” Xinhua reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes the BRICS mechanism has been fully developed and can now transform into a political alliance to “reform the international financial system.” The BRICS mechanism has been fully developed and can transform into a political alliance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday. “BRICS grows and matures in all directions,” the diplomat told state-run Rossiya 24 TV channel. Lavrov said the “qualitative” growth of the mechanism to a degree made it possible to transform into a political alliance, which is especially noticeable in its work within the Group of 20 (G-20) on global economic and financial affairs. BRICS that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has many allies in the G-20, the minister noted, naming Argentina, Mexico and Indonesia in particular. “They speak in the common voice with BRICS in the G-20 on the reform of international financial system,” the diplomat said.
U.S. Says China Tested Anti-Satellite Missile (Source chinadigitaltimes.net) The Associated Press reports that China’s military has successfully conducted a missile test on Wednesday. Washington believes that the Chinese missile has the capacity to destroy satellites. From the Sun Herald: The U.S. says China has tested a missile designed to destroy satellites and is urging Beijing to refrain from destabilizing actions. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the “non-destructive” test occurred Wednesday. She said a previous destructive test of the system in 2007 created thousands of pieces of dangerous debris in space. Harf said Friday that the continued development and testing of destructive anti-satellite systems threaten the long-term security and sustainability of the outer-space environment that all nations depend upon. According to state-run media, the latest Chinese missile test was the third such tests in the past four years. Ting Shi at Bloomberg reports that the recent success indicates advances in China’s missile-defense capabilities. China said its third anti-missile test in four years was a success, indicating progress in developing missile-defense technology.
REASONS WHY YOU CAN LAUGH WHEN ANYONE TELLS YOU THAT THE ECONOMY IS IN GOOD SHAPE (Source blacklistednews.com) Every day, the establishment media points to the fact that global stock markets have soared to unprecedented heights as evidence that the economy is improving. But just because a bunch of wealthy people have gotten temporarily even richer on paper does not mean that the real economy is in good shape. In fact things just continue to get even tougher for the poor and the middle class. Retail stores are closing at the fastest pace since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the rate of homeownership in this country is the lowest that it has been in 19 years, one out of every five families do not have a single member that is employed, and one out of every five children is living in poverty. Right now, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job. More than 20 percent of all children in the U.S. are living in poverty, and 49 million Americans are dealing with food insecurity.We are working harder, earning less and going into more debt. With each passing day, the middle class gets a little bit smaller and the ranks of the poor get a little bit larger.
Nobody but the US voted against the UN’s anti-Israel resolution (Source timesofisrael.com)
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted on a heavily one-sided resolution condemning “in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations” in Gaza. Only the United States voted against the resolution. Twenty-nine nations voted in favor, among them not only the usual suspects such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria and South Africa, but also some ostensible friends of Israel, including Russia, Kenya, India and Mexico. Equally hurtful for Israel, if not more so, were the abstentions of the eight European Union member states who had the right to vote: Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom. Yes, even the Czech Republic, which in November 2012 was the only EU country to oppose granting the Palestinians nonmember state status at the UN, did not vote against a resolution that denounces Israel for “disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks, including aerial bombardment of civilian areas, the targeting of civilians and civilian properties in collective punishment contrary to international law, and other actions, including the targeting of medical and humanitarian personnel, that may amount to international crimes.” The resolution does not mention Hamas once.
GAZPROM READY TO DROP DOLLAR, SETTLE CHINA CONTRACTS IN YUAN OR RUBLES (Source Zero Hedge) A little over a month ago, when Russia announced the much anticipated “Holy Grail” energy deal with China, some were disappointed that despite this symbolic agreement meant to break the petrodollar’s stranglehold on the rest of the world, neither Russia nor China announced payment terms to be in anything but dollars. In doing so they admitted that while both nations are eager to move away from a US Dollar reserve currency, neither is yet able to provide an alternative. This changed rather dramatically overnight when in a little noticed statement, Gazprom’s CFO Andrey Kruglov uttered the magic words (via Bloomberg):
GAZPROM ready to settle China contracts in YUAN OR RUBLES. In other words just as the US may or may not be preparing to export crude – a step which would weaken the dollar’s reserve status as traditional US oil trading partners will need to find other import customers who pay in non-USD currencies – the world’s two other superpowers are preparing to respond. And once the bilateral trade in Rubles or Renminbi is established, the rest of the energy world will follow. Because only now does Gazprom appear to be unveiling all those “tangents” that were expected to hit the tape in May. Among Kruglov’s other revelations were that Gazprom is in talks on a Hong Kong listing and is weighing the issuance of Yuan bonds. Gazprom is also considering selling bonds in Singapore dollars, the CFO said at briefing in Moscow. Wait, you mean that by alienating and embargoing Russia from western (USD, EUR-denominated) funding markets, it has pushed the country to turn to its pivoting partner, China and thus further cementing the framework for the next Eurasian strategic alliance? It is not just Gazprom. As the PBOC announced overnight, PBOC Assistant Governor Jin Qi and Russian central bank Deputy Chairman Dmitry Skobelkin led a meeting held in Shanghai. The meeting discussed cooperating on project and trade financing using local currencies. The meeting discussed cooperation in bank card, insurance and financial supervision sectors.In other words, central bankers of China and Russia discussed how to replace the dollar with Rubles and Yuan.