Revelers celebrate winter solstice at Stonehenge

Revelers celebrate winter solstice at Stonehenge (Source Reuters)

More than five thousand pagans, druids and revelers gathered at Britain’s ancient monument Stonehenge on Wednesday to celebrate the winter solstice. The sun rose at the site of the famed standing stones in the southwest English county of Wiltshire at 1:09 p.m. ET, beginning the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

People played musical instruments, while others sang and took photographs of the rising sun which will provide just under eight hours of sunlight on Wednesday, said English Heritage, which protects the historical site.

Thursday marks the start of longer days before the summer solstice in June.

“I am from South Africa, I came for the solstice, especially for the solstice. I am a Pagan, a witch and this is about the best place to be,” one woman said.

Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall on America’s West Coast

Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall on America’s West Coast (Source EnviroNews Oregon)

Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said this month.

WHOI is a crowd-funded science seawater sampling project, that has been monitoring the radioactive plume making its way across the Pacific to America’s west coast, from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan. The seawater samples were taken from the shores of Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach, and were actually obtained in January and February of 2016 and tested later in the year. In other strikingly similar news reported last month, researchers at the Fukushima  In FORM project in Canada, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, said they sampled a sockeye salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia that tested positive for cesium 134 as well.

Multiple other reports have circulated online, mostly in alternative media outlets, and mostly not corroborated by any tangible measurement data, that point to cases of possible radioactive contamination of Canadian salmon, but EnviroNews Oregon has not independently confirmed any of these claims. Cesium 134 is called the “footprint of Fukushima” because of its fast rate of decay. With a half life of only 2.06 years, there are few other places the dangerous and carcinogenic isotope could have originated. It is important to note that airborne radioactive fallout from the initial explosion and meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011 reached the US and Canada within days, and circled the globe falling out wherever the currents and precipitation carried it — mostly to places unknown to this day. Even still, radioactive iodine 131 was found in municipal water supplies in places like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts shortly after the initial Fukushima accident — a triple meltdown ranked by EnviroNews USA as the most destructive environmental catastrophe in human history.

The samples from the Oregon coast measured around 0.3 becquerels per cubic meter for cesium 134. Researchers in both the US and Canada said the recently detected radiation levels were extremely low and pose “no risk to humans or the environment.” Sadly, NBC, the New York Post, USA Today, and even The Inquisitr amongst others, took the bait and reported the same thing.

Medical science and epidemiological studies have demonstrated time and again that there is no safe amount of radiation for a living organism to be subjected to — period. With each subsequent exposure, no matter how small, the subject experiences an increase in cancer risk. In the wake of Fukushima, several governments, and certainly the Japanese government, have raised the “safe” annual limit for radiation exposure for humans — this critics say, to lower legal liability and to placate concerns from the public, in an increasingly radioactive world. Now, many concerned citizens look on in concern, waiting for more testing and data on ocean waters and the seafood they so greatly enjoy.

 

Russian hack almost brought the U.S. military to its knees

Russian hack almost brought the U.S. military to its knees (Source cbsnews.com)
Russian hackers struck at the heart of the U.S. military in August 2015 by seizing the e-mail system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CBS News has learned. Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey was alerted to the attack by an early-morning phone call from the Director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers. Now retired, Dempsey told CBS News in an exclusive interview that the attack was proceeding at an alarming speed. Within an hour, hackers had seized control of the unclassified e-mail system used by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, the organization of some 3,500 military officers and civilians who work for the Chairman. In that time, the hackers seized the computer credentials of Dempsey and hundreds of other senior officers — the passwords and electronic signatures they used to sign on to the network. The only way to stop the attack was to take the network down. The attack, which officials now blame on Russia, began with 30,000 e-mails sent to a West Coast university. Of those 30,000, four were forwarded to members of the Joint Staff and one was opened — allowing the hackers in. Since it was an unclassified network, the attack had no real intelligence value. It was not spying, but a full-on assault whose only apparent purpose was to cause damage and force the Pentagon to replace both hardware and software, which took about two weeks to accomplish. The motive for the attack was believed to be Russian anger at economic sanctions orchestrated by the Obama administration in response to Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and interference in Ukraine.  Cyber attacks have come to be known as weapons of mass disruption, and it is now clear that Russia has used them not just to meddle in U.S. elections — but to do harm to the American military.

 

Turkey claims followers of US-exiled cleric killed Russian ambassador

Turkey claims followers of US-exiled cleric killed Russian ambassador(Source telegraph.co.uk)

Turkey blamed the murder of Russia’s ambassador to the country on a US-based a cleric on Tuesday, as both Ankara and Moscow vowed the killing would not undermine a fragile alliance between them.  

Turkey’s foreign minister on Tuesday told John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, that Ankara and Moscow believe followers of Fethullah Gulen were behind the killing of Andrei Karlov on Monday.  

“Turkey and Russia know that behind the attack… there is FETO,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told Mr Kerry, referring to Turkey’s acronym for Mr Gulen’s organisation, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The Turkish government has previously accused Mr Gulen, a critic of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of orchestrating the failed military coup that rocked the country in July. Mr Gulen denies the accusation. 

Earlier officials in Moscow and Ankara blamed the attack on “terrorists” seeking to sabotage bilateral relations and damage efforts to make peace in Syria.  “It benefits those who want to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey” and undermine joint efforts to find a settlement in Syria, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said.  

 

Vladimir Putin says Russia’s military is stronger than any potiential

Vladimir Putin says Russia’s military is stronger than any potential foe (Source cbsnews.com)

Russia’s military today can overpower any potential foe, President Vladimir Putin told an annual end-of-year meeting Thursday with defense chiefs. “We can say with certainty: We are stronger now than any potential aggressor,” he told the meeting. “Anyone!”

His comments come at the end of a year when tensions between Russia and the West have remained on edge over the civil war in Syria.

Tensions between Russia and the West have been souring ever since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and surreptitious support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Relations dipped further after Russia last year launched an air offensive in Syria to support President Bashar Assad. Both Russia and NATO members have conducted a flurry of military drills near Russia’s borders this year. Russia insists it is responding to a growing NATO threat.

Speaking at the defense ministry’s headquarters in Moscow, Putin said Russia should be swift in “adjusting plans to neutralize potential threats to our country.”

Putin spoke after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented an annual report that lauded Russian military achievements in Syria and ongoing efforts to modernize the army.

Things I learned working in the marijuana Industry

Things I Learned Working in the Marijuana Industry (Source cheatsheet.com)

I spent a short time working in the marijuana industry in Washington state. At a small medical marijuana access point in the suburbs of Seattle, I learned how the industry thrived in a gray market, and saw first-hand how full-scale legalization was debated back and forth among the people themselves, and between policymakers in Olympia. As Washington became the first state to vote in a legalization measure, simultaneously with Colorado, all of the old rules were thrown out the window. The bet has seemingly paid off as the federal government has allowed the states to dictate their own rules (so far), and the economic benefits to the states has been enormous. Entrepreneurs are making money, jobs are being created, and law enforcement agencies are conserving resources – which is good news for taxpayers. Still, the industry is up against some serious issues. Though the federal government hasn’t pulled the plug on legalization laws in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, the threat still looms. And business regulations are still keeping them in check, despite the fact that money from big businesses and venture capitalists is starting to find its way in. Now that the industry has more or less taken root, rapid change is bound to take place. Many other states are looking to legalize, and this year will likely bring the hopes of many voters to fruition across the country. All told, my experiences were positive – in fact, I could say that it was one of the more interesting and worthwhile jobs I’ve held. 

You probably imagine teenagers, old hippies, and tie-dye clad Gen-Xers frequenting marijuana stores and access points. The truth is, yes, those folks do make up a percentage of the customer base. But by and large, the people coming and going are not who you’d suspect.

Men in business suits, blue-collar guys, and even a good deal of stay-at-home moms and dads made up the majority of the faces that would come in. Most simply wanted something to help them deal with a specific issue – be it chronic pain, problems regulating appetite, etc. – and to get on with their day. They were normal, everyday people. I even had a former manager stop in one time.

One of the biggest reasons people oppose legalization is because they think marijuana poses a health risk. This is not really true, as cannabis has been shown to be much safer than many other perfectly legal substances, like tobacco and alcohol. Ironically, many people came to my shop seeking treatments for addictions to these legal substances, and others. People were trying to escape addiction from other substances with the medical properties of cannabis. Cannabis has been shown to treat addiction, and work as an alternative for people looking to get away from booze or other drugs. Even people trying to escape opioid addiction are trying cannabis as a treatment option.

 

 

 

 

New Study: Now 1 in 6 American Adults take Anti-Depressants or other Psych Drugs

NEW STUDY: NOW 1 IN 6 AMERICAN ADULTS TAKES ANTI-DEPRESSANTS OR OTHER PSYCH DRUGS (Source thedailysheeple.com)

The number used to be one in ten, but according to new data, one out of every six adult Americans is taking anti-depressants or some other type of psychiatric drugs now.

What that breaks down to is “Overall, 16.7 percent of 242 million U.S. adults reported filling one or more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs in 2013,” according to research published today in Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine.

The majority of psych drugs taken were anti-depressants, with 12%; another 8.3% take anti-anxiety medications, sleeping pills or sedatives, while 1.6% straight up takes antipsychotics.

What’s more? The majority who take these drugs, or eight out of ten, take them long-term — 84.3% having refilled at least three prescriptions in 2013.

Wow. That means nearly 17% of American adults are on mind-altering prescription medications and most of them will be forever.

In 2011, it was also reported that Americans consume 80% of the world’s pain medication.

Yuan’s INTERNATIONALIZATION – What will it bring?”

YUAN’S INTERNATIONALIZATION – WHAT WILL IT BRING?(Source blacklistednews.com) All of us who have even the smallest relation to the field of finance and economics have probably heard that China’s yuan has recently been included into the International Monetary Fund’s basket of reserve currencies. For those who are out of the picture: the yuan has joined the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen and British pound in the IMF’s special drawing rights (SDR) basket, which makes it one more currency that countries can receive as a part of IMF loans. An interesting fact – the IMF added the yuan on the day of the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which probably makes the 1st of October even more significant to the people and history of this country than it was before. This event, naturally, prompts a burning question – can it be the beginning of changes in the world power configuration? After all, this may mark the new era for the yuan, which now has the potential to reduce the global dominance of the U.S. dollar. All of this, supposedly, may one day turn China into a key player in the global financial system. No one can give an accurate prediction, of course. At the same time, predictions really matter, particularly if to talk about private investments, Forex, high frequency trading and even prices for gold. Of course, a good prediction must always be based on firm facts. The facts, in turn, are the following. First of all, the yuan’s new status is highly likely to increase its trading volume. After all, being granted with this status means that the currency is legitimized and recognized as safe and stable. Secondly, this currency is likely to play an especially important role as far as payments and settlements are concerned. As recently reported, the yuan has overtaken six currencies over the past three years, which actually says a lot. Thirdly, the yuan will be more often used to price international contracts. At the moment, as it is known, the commodities China exports are generally priced in the U.S. dollars. Were they priced in the yuan, the dollar’s value would become of less importance to the Chinese.

Russian trade with Iran up 80 percent

Russian trade with Iran up 80 percent (Source RT)

Year on year trade between Russia and Iran has risen significantly, up by 80 percent according to Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

Novak is the co-chair of the Intergovernmental Russian-Iranian Commission on trade and economic cooperation and is in Tehran with a delegation of over 200 Russian officials. He met Iranian Minister of Communication Mahmoud Vaezi to talk about the possibility of Tehran signing a free trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union next year. The sides signed agreements to construct a heat and power plant, and railway electrification worth €2.2 billion.

Last year, the two countries agreed to develop economic ties, with Moscow promising to provide a $5 billion state loan to Tehran to promote industrial cooperation. The money is expected to spur trade from the current $2 billion to a target of $10 billion.

According to Novak, the money flowing between Russia and Iran tripled in 2016. “The return to normal bank payments is going to become a powerful trigger. This year the amount of financial payments has tripled,” he said. Vaezi said he expects energy agreements will be signed worth $10 billion which will also improve Russia-Iran trade.

“Judging by the agreements we have signed with Russian companies over the past several months, we offered the biggest number of fields for development to Russian companies compared with other countries,” said Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs and Trading Amir-Hossein Zamaninia.

Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Company to develop two oil fields in Iran, Novak said.

 

China Flexing Might Over Taiwan, Japan

China Flexing Might Over Taiwan, Japan (Source International Business Times)

China reportedly staged a flyover near Taiwan and Japan and sent ships in around the hotly contested South China Sea over the weekend, the Associated Press reported Sunday. The show of force came amid increased tensions regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s recent slights against China’s economy and foreign policies.

Though the Chinese government issued statements saying the acts were a routine exercise, the timing of such military displays against Taiwan, which it doesn’t recognize as independent, and oldest rival Japan comes following Trump’s call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-win earlier this month. The report said China flew 10 planes Saturday over the Miyako Strat, which sits between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island in the Pacific Ocean and directly over Japanese airspace, and four other planes went over the Bashi Channel that rests beside Taiwan, a statement from Taiwan’s defense ministry read. That was followed Sunday by three ships patrolling the Senkaku islands, located in the East China Sea but controlled by Japan, a claim disputed by China. Through his Twitter account, Trump called out China for what he considers unfair trade policies and currency manipulation after stating Tsai had reached out to him and not the other way around. Trump continued to poke China during an interview with Fox News. “I fully understand the one-China policy,” Trump said, “but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade.” In kind, China said it has “serious concern” regarding his latest comments and said relations with the U.S. could be strained. “We urge the new U.S. leader and government to fully understand the seriousness of the Taiwan issue, and to continue to stick to the one-China policy,” a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, Geng Shuang, said according to the AP.