Daily News, via SOTT.net aggregation.

Drone submarine & hypersonic gliders? China's parade rehearsal prompts speculation

Drone submarine & hypersonic gliders? China's parade rehearsal prompts speculation

A whole lot of new weaponry was spotted during rehearsals for the upcoming parade marking the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. Some of the weapons were identified, while others caused wild speculation. The overnight rehearsal yielded a large amount of photos and videos, captured by military enthusiasts and tourists. The imagery promptly surfaced on social media, where netizens embarked on speculating what exactly they were looking at. Certain machines were easy to guess, like a new Chinese Type 15 light tank. Designed for mountainous warfare, it will make its first appearance at the parade.

NATO plans to maintain dominance, new document reveals

NATO plans to maintain dominance, new document reveals

As part of its new military strategy, NATO intends to conduct experimental methods of countering threats from various spheres at the same time. On Saturday, Military Committee chairman Stuart Peach said that this new strategy should make it possible to maintain superiority against potential opponents. NATO's renewed strategy this spring has been approved by the Military Committee, the Alliance's top military body, and is aimed at adapting to changing security challenges and also determining the pathways to effective containment. Military strategy is a confidential document

Support for Flemish populist party soars, aiming to be biggest party by 2024

Support for Flemish populist party soars, aiming to be biggest party by 2024

Vlaams Belang launched its "missie 2024" program during a meeting in Ghent on Friday evening. The Flemish extreme-right party wants to become the biggest political party in Flanders at the next election in 2024. A poll published by several media outlets early Friday evening indicates they may have already achieved that. Vlaams Belang is set to get 24.9% of the votes, while the N-VA is expected to get 22.7%

Ancient cold case: The Sima hominins, proto-Neanderthals

Ancient cold case: The Sima hominins, proto-Neanderthals

From the scene, authorities recovered DNA, a stone handaxe and more than 7,000 scattered bones, including a bashed human skull. It was a case for the ages. But there was one complication: the events unfolded 430,000 years ago. The evidence was unearthed by anthropologists beginning in the 1980s at Sima de los Huesos — the "pit of bones" — in Spain's Atapuerca mountains. The spectacular cave chamber, nearly 100 feet below the surface, has yielded remains from at least 28 hominin individuals. Ancient DNA analysis of the fossils — the oldest human genetic code ever sequenced — indicates that these people were ancestors to Neanderthals. After more than three decades of research, the remains have revealed much about Neanderthal evolution. But the circumstances surrounding the group's death and burial remains contentious. Found in a jumble at the base of a 45-foot chute, some say the bodies were deliberately dropped there after meeting violent ends — a Stone Age cold case....

Turkey says delivery complete of second S-400 unit from Russia

Turkey says delivery complete of second S-400 unit from Russia

Turkey has announced that it has accepted delivery of all the components of the second battery of the advanced S-400 air-defense system that Ankara has purchased from Moscow. Turkey's Defense Ministry posted photographs of the delivery on Twitter on September 15. Turkey has purchased four S-400 batteries from Russia over the objections of the United States. After Turkey took delivery of the first S-400 unit in July, Washington struck the country from the program of the advanced F-35 fighter jet.

More than 2,200 medically preserved fetal remains found after death of well known abortion doctor

More than 2,200 medically preserved fetal remains found after death of well known abortion doctor

More than 2,200 medically preserved fetal remains were found by a family after the death of a well known abortion doctor last week, the Will County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday night. The Will County Coroner's Office was called to the property by a family attorney after Dr. Ulrich Klopfer died on Sept. 3. The attorney said the family found what appeared to be fetal remains while going through the doctor's personal property and requested proper removal. Investigators found and took possession of 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains at the location in unincorporated Will County. At one time Klopfer had three abortion clinics in Indiana. His license was ultimately suspended three years ago. All throughout, he said he had done nothing wrong. The family is cooperating with the investigation, officials said. There is no evidence medical procedures were conducted at the property.

Google Earth leads to remains of missing Florida man in lake for 22 yrs

Google Earth leads to remains of missing Florida man in lake for 22 yrs

It took 22 years, but a missing man's remains were finally found thanks to someone who zoomed in on his former Florida neighborhood with Google satellite images and noticed a car submerged in a lake, authorities said. The skeletal remains were of William Moldt, who went missing in 1997 at the age of 40, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said on Thursday that a previous resident of the Grand Isles neighborhood in Wellington, Florida, was checking the neighborhood on Google Earth when he zoomed into the lake and saw what looked like a car. The former resident contacted a current homeowner, who used a drone to confirm it was a white car on the edge of the pond behind his house. The man called the sheriff's office on Aug. 28, and deputies later arrived to find the white sedan's exterior "heavily calcified." After they got the car out, they found the skeletal remains inside. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System...

US destroyer parks in Lebanon as 'security reminder' amid Israeli-Hezbollah tensions

US destroyer parks in Lebanon as 'security reminder' amid Israeli-Hezbollah tensions

The US guided missile destroyer USS Ramage has docked at the Lebanese capital, becoming the first US warship to do so since 1984. According to the Twitter account of the US Embassy in Beirut, the ship's arrival serves as "a symbol of the enduring partnership between the US and Lebanon to ensure security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean."

Weapons of mass migration: Italy's new leftist pro-EU coalition government reopens ports to African-smuggling ships

Weapons of mass migration: Italy's new leftist pro-EU coalition government reopens ports to African-smuggling ships

Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday swore in Italy's new coalition government backed by the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the center-left Democratic Party (PD). The swearing-in ceremony took place in a large ballroom in the 16th century Quirinale presidential palace in Rome. "I swear to be loyal to the republic and to respect its constitution and laws and to carry out my duties in the sole interest of the nation," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. The same words were spoken by the government's 21 ministers. The ruling coalition, known as "yellow-red" due to the colors normally associated with the M5S and PD, also comprises the smaller leftist Free and Equals (LeU) party. The government will face parliamentary votes of confidence next week.

World's worst scientist?

World's worst scientist?

Michael Mann has done some spectacularly awful science during his time, and he put it on full display on Twitter today.

BEST OF THE WEB: Report: Russia recently prevented Israeli airstrikes targeting Syria, and Putin warned Netanyahu against attacking Lebanon

BEST OF THE WEB: Report: Russia recently prevented Israeli airstrikes targeting Syria, and Putin warned Netanyahu against attacking Lebanon

Israeli sources called Netanyahu's quick Russian visit - to try and convince Putin to ignore Israel's attacks in Syria - "a failure." The controversy between Israel and Russia regarding airstrikes of Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq continues, despite the meeting Between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was reported on Friday by Independent Arabia. According to the report, Moscow has prevented three Israeli air strikes on three Syrian outposts recently, and even threatened that any jets attempting such a thing would be shot down, either by Russian jets or by the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles. The source cited in the report claims a similar situation has happened twice - and that during August, Moscow stopped an air strike on a Syrian outpost in Qasioun, where a S-300 missile battery is placed. Moreover, it was claimed that another air strike was planned for a week later on a Syrian outpost in the Qunaitra area and a third one on a...

US' claim Iran attacked Saudi oil facilities rejected as 'maximum lies'; Iran ready for war

US' claim Iran attacked Saudi oil facilities rejected as 'maximum lies'; Iran ready for war

Iran has rebuffed US accusations of launching a drone attacks that cut Saudi Arabia's oil output in half. A senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, meanwhile, has warned Washington that Tehran is ready for war. Allegations that Iran was behind the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities are "unsubstantiated" and false, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Seyyed Abbas Mousavi stated on Sunday. He also said officials in Washington are accusing Iran in order to tarnish its image on the world stage in preparation for "future actions" against Tehran. "The Americans adopted the 'maximum pressure' policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning towards 'maximum lies'." The Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for sending 10 armed drones to hit two Saudi oil refineries on Saturday. The attacks caused massive fires and other damage to the sites, which halved the kingdom's oil output.

Natl. Sec. Adv. Charles Kupperman, in the 80's, claimed nuclear war with Russia 'winnable'

Natl. Sec. Adv. Charles Kupperman, in the 80's, claimed nuclear war with Russia 'winnable'

Questioning "mutual assured destruction," Charles Kupperman called nuclear conflict "in large part a physics problem." Incoming National Security Advisor, Charles Kupperman, made the claim Nuclear War With USSR Was Winnable. He made those statements in the 1980s. I do not know his views today, but let's review what he said then from Huffington Post (see below). The article posts excerpts so let's look at a couple of precise statements. Kupperman Statements If the objective in a war is to try to destroy as many Soviet civilians and as many American civilians as is feasible, and the casualty levels approached 150 million on each side, then it's going to be tough to say you have a surviving nation after that. But depending on how the nuclear war is fought, it could mean the difference between 150 casualties and 20 million casualties. I think that is a significant difference, and if the country loses 20 million people, you may have a chance of surviving after that. I think it is...

Orthodox schism: Western European priests reject Constantinople for Moscow

Orthodox schism: Western European priests reject Constantinople for Moscow

Some 100 parishes of the Russian Orthodox tradition in France and other Western European nations are to become part of the Moscow Patriarchate after rejecting an order to dissolve given by Moscow's rival Constantinople. The world of Orthodoxy is currently experiencing a tectonic change after a schism between its two leading branches, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The focal point of the conflict is Ukraine, which Constantinople claimed as its domain last year, in violation of centuries of tradition that kept it under Moscow. But the clash for loyalty of Orthodox priests is happening throughout the world, and Moscow seems to have scored a major win. The Archdiocese of Russian Orthodox churches in Western Europe (AROCWE) was granted its request to come under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchy, the Russia-based church reported on Saturday. AROCWE leader, Archbishop John (Renneteau) of Chariopoulis and any...

Taliban's delegation welcomed in Moscow after US abandoned peace talks

Taliban's delegation welcomed in Moscow after US abandoned peace talks

The head of the Asian department of the Russian Foreign Ministry and representative of the Russian President in Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, received a delegation from the Taliban in Moscow. Russia's foreign ministry stressed in a statement the need to resume talks between the US and Taliban. "The special representative of the Russian Presidency in Afghanistan, director of the Second Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Zamir Kabulov, welcomed the Taliban delegation in Moscow. The Russian side emphasized the need to resume negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. The Taliban, in turn, reaffirmed its willingness to continue dialogue with Washington." In recent months, the Taliban movement and the United States have negotiated a peace agreement, which should guarantee the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for the guarantee that the movement would sever ties with terrorist organizations. Negotiations, however, excluded the Afghan government.

Cameron claims it was he who talked 'peacenik' EU and 'dithering' Obama into bombing Libya

Cameron claims it was he who talked 'peacenik' EU and 'dithering' Obama into bombing Libya

Bombing Libya preceded a massive immigration crisis in Europe and failed to establish peace in the country, but the former Tory leader says he felt "relief" as he gave the order. David Cameron has heaped self-praise on his decision to bomb Libya in March 2011, saying major allies expressed a lack of enthusiasm in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi. In the weeks leading up to the NATO-led intervention, Libya was engulfed in a chain of violent protests against Gaddafi's government, with armed militias seizing the country's second-largest city, Benghazi, and swathes of eastern Libya. However, in early March government forces pushed the rebels back and were advancing toward Benghazi; Cameron - then-Britain's prime minister - says he tried to rally allies to take action to avert a potential crackdown on the rebel-held city. "The decision to ratchet up our response on Libya was, in many ways, the easy part, because I knew it was the right thing to do. What was tough was getting it done — and...

Spy pigeons? Killer cigars? Acoustic kitties? Some of the weird ways CIA tried to win the cold war!

Spy pigeons? Killer cigars? Acoustic kitties? Some of the weird ways CIA tried to win the cold war!

The CIA has declassified documents revealing its Cold War spy pigeons program, the latest revelation of the truly bizarre lengths the US went to to win the war which included killer cigars, trained dolphins and acoustic kitties. Pigeon spies The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has declassified details of its secret spy-pigeon mission during the Cold War, named 'Tacana'. It used the birds to secretly photograph sites inside the Soviet Union. The avian species was chosen because of their ability to navigate their way back home, and they apparently flew their missions while expensive cameras were strapped to them. From the sky ... and the sea The new documents also reveal how the CIA used ravens to drop bugging devices on window sills, and trained dolphins for underwater "harbour penetration" missions. The mammals were also tested to see if they could carry sensors to detect Soviet nuclear submarines and traces of radioactive weapons. In Key West, Florida, the US tried to use...

Study findings: Our universe may be 2B years younger

Study findings: Our universe may be 2B years younger

The universe is looking younger every day, it seems. New calculations suggest the universe could be a couple billion years younger than scientists now estimate, and even younger than suggested by two other calculations published this year that trimmed hundreds of millions of years from the age of the cosmos. The huge swings in scientists' estimates — even this new calculation could be off by billions of years — reflect different approaches to the tricky problem of figuring the universe's real age. "We have large uncertainty for how the stars are moving in the galaxy," said Inh Jee, of the Max Plank Institute in Germany, lead author of the study in Thursday's journal Science . Scientists estimate the age of the universe by using the movement of stars to measure how fast it is expanding. If the universe is expanding faster, that means it got to its current size more quickly, and therefore must be relatively younger. The expansion rate, called the Hubble constant, is one of the most...

Taliban revokes its ban on Red Cross, will provide security guarantees

Taliban revokes its ban on Red Cross, will provide security guarantees

The Taliban on Sunday revoked their ban on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan and gave a guarantee of security for its staff doing humanitarian work in areas under their control. Taliban leaders imposed a ban on the ICRC and the World Health Organization (WHO) in April saying the organizations were carrying out "suspicious" activities during vaccinations campaigns and not sticking to their declared missions. "The Islamic Emirate restores the former security guarantees to ICRC in Afghanistan and instructs all mujahideen to pave the way for ICRC activities and be mindful of security to this committee's workers and equipment," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement.

Study prompts call for routine memory testing of teenagers

Study prompts call for routine memory testing of teenagers

A study of young drivers in the US has found those who did worse on tests for short term "working" memory were more likely to crash in the first few years after getting their licence. The finding has prompted the authors, led by neuroscientist Elizabeth Walshe from the University of Pennsylvania, to call for routine memory testing of teens to weed out those not ready to take the wheel. They could instead be offered extra training. The study comes on the back of a stark set of numbers. Statistics from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention show vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in US teens. Six teen drivers die on the roads each day with the cost of adolescents injured in crashes topping $US13 billion in 2016. Having a callow youth at the helm is also bad news for other youngsters in the car. More than half of children aged eight to 17 who die in crashes are in cars driven by someone under 20. The authors' suspicion was that some teenage brains are just not up...

Chaos erupts in Nantes amid 44th week of protests against Macron's economic policies

Chaos erupts in Nantes amid 44th week of protests against Macron's economic policies

Yellow Vests protests against President Emmanuel Macron's economic polices hit France for the 44th weekend in a row. It got especially heated in Nantes where clashes between police and protesters left several people injured. Some 1,800 people took to the streets of the city on Saturday, according to police figures. This week, the Yellow Vests tried a different approach to the protests, avoiding the city's center and hitting different routes instead.

Who benefits from the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities?

Who benefits from the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities?

Huge blazes were reported at two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia owned by Aramco. While Saudi authorities refused to assign blame, media outlets like the BBC immediately began insinuating either Yemen's Houthis or Iran were responsible. The BBC in its article, "Saudi Arabia oil facilities ablaze after drone strikes," would inject toward the top of its article: Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen have been blamed for previous attacks. Following an ambiguous and evidence-free description of the supposed attacks, the BBC even included an entire section titled, "Who could be behind the attacks?" dedicated to politically expedient speculation aimed ultimately at Tehran.

Rule, Britannia! Hong Kong protesters sing ex-colonial sovereign's anthem

Rule, Britannia! Hong Kong protesters sing ex-colonial sovereign's anthem

Activists flocked to the UK Consulate in Hong Kong on Sunday, waving Union Jacks and singing 'God Save the Queen' in a bid to convince London to step in and protect them from Beijing like it would have in the colonial era. The hundreds of protesters who gathered in front of the British Consulate-General claim the Chinese government is encroaching on their freedoms established under the 'one country, two systems' formula at the end of British colonial rule in 1984. Calling on the former sovereign to do something about it, they waved British flags as well as those of colonial Hong Kong, and sang patriotic British songs, including 'God Save the Queen' and 'Land of Hope and Glory'. Britain had control over Hong Kong for decades after taking it from imperial China - a result of the Opium Wars, which reduced what was an economic powerhouse to destitution. Since it's highly unlikely that modern Britain would launch a colonial war the way it did so often in the 19th century, the protesters...

Cannabis compounds hold promise as a PTSD treatment

Cannabis compounds hold promise as a PTSD treatment

A new study by UCL in the UK has found that cannabis compounds hold promise as treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder but has highlighted the difficulties with obtaining sufficient evidence. Cannabis is already an approved treatment for PTSD in US states which permit medicinal cannabis use. In the UK, however, although medicinal cannabis was legalized in September 2008, there have been major practical problems with its implementation, and it's thought that fewer than 100 patients have actually benefited [2]. UCL researchers found that significant numbers of PTSD patients - it's a condition thought to affect 1% of the UK population - already self-medicate, some with prescriptions obtained from the US. However, few previous studies have been undertaken, due to legal restrictions, and researchers found that the quality of the evidence in those previous studies was poor. With insufficient clinical evidence, the UCL team concluded that they were unable to make any recommendations...

Site of mall fire in Russia that killed 37 children turned into memorial 'Park of Angels'

Site of mall fire in Russia that killed 37 children turned into memorial 'Park of Angels'

A park commemorating victims of one of the deadliest fires in Russian history was opened in the city of Kemerovo. Sixty people, most of them children, perished in the conflagration at a now-demolished shopping mall. The memorial park that was opened on Sunday is located right where the mall stood, with a pine tree planted for each person killed in March 2018. There is also a chapel with the names of the victims engraved on the walls inside and a wall evoking images of a ruined building as a reminder of the tragedy.

Over 70 arrested in immigration protest at NYC Microsoft store

Over 70 arrested in immigration protest at NYC Microsoft store

Dozens of immigration policy protesters have been arrested at a demonstration outside a Microsoft store in New York City. Police say they took 76 people into custody Saturday who blocked traffic near the Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan. The protesters criticized Microsoft for doing business with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They decried what they called the agency's racist campaign against immigrants and asylum seekers.

Russia's floating nuclear power plant reaches Arctic coast, will be operational before year-end

Russia's floating nuclear power plant reaches Arctic coast, will be operational before year-end

After a 5,000-km sea ride, Russia's pioneering floating nuclear power plant has reached its final destination on the Arctic coast and will soon deliver megawatts and gigajoules of energy to consumers on land. The Akademik Lomonosov was towed from Murmansk, a major port city in northwestern Russia, all the way to the far eastern region of Chukotka, reaching a small town called Pevek on Saturday. The trip lasted 22 days and required a couple of tow boats to move the barge, which lacks its own propulsion, and an icebreaker to deliver the convoy safely through the chilly Arctic waters.

Horseshoe fire: 200-acre brush fire forces mandatory evacuations near San Jacinto, California

Horseshoe fire: 200-acre brush fire forces mandatory evacuations near San Jacinto, California

A 200-acre brush fire that erupted Saturday in the Juniper Flats area between Perris and San Jacinto forced mandatory evacuations of more than 200 people and is 10% contained as of Sunday morning, authorities said. It was reported at 5:52 p.m. in the 21000 block of Horseshoe Trail, Riverside County Fire Department spokesman Rob Roseen said. The blaze was first reported at 10 acres but jumped to 75 acres by 6:40 p.m., Roseen said. Officials said the fire had grown to 100 acres by 8:40 p.m. There was no containment. "The first arriving engine reported the fire burning in heavy fuels with a moderate rate of spread," he said.

Confirmation bias: People will accept anything as true if it confirms their beliefs

Confirmation bias: People will accept anything as true if it confirms their beliefs

Lots of people — including Congress — are worried about fake videos and imagery distorting the truth, purporting to show people saying and doing things they never said or did. I'm part of a larger U.S. government project that is working on developing ways to detect images and videos that have been manipulated. My team's work, though, is to play the role of the bad guy. We develop increasingly devious, and convincing, ways to generate fakes — in hopes of giving other researchers a good challenge when they're testing their detection methods. For the past three years, we've been having a bit of fun dreaming up new ways to try to change the meaning of images and video. We've created some scenarios ourselves, but we've also had plenty of inspiration from current events and circumstances of actual bad guys trying to twist public opinion. I'm proud of the work we've done, and hope it will help people keep track of the truth in a media-flooded world. But we've found that a key element of...

Mandatory vaccination is tyrannical: The true purpose of California Vaccine Bill SB276

Mandatory vaccination is tyrannical: The true purpose of California Vaccine Bill SB276

California has very strict compulsory vaccination laws for children in school, and as a result more parents are deciding to homeschool their children. The latest information regarding vaccines in California that's making noise is Senate Bill 276 by Senator Richard Pan. The bill eliminated nearly all vaccine medical exemptions. Under this bill, politicians, not physicians, are in charge of deciding whether or not children may receive medical exemptions, which in turn would determine whether or not they can attend school. This is, in many ways, insanity. And mainstream media isn't helping. Take actress Jessica Biel, for example, who made an appearance with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Instantaneously headlines popped up everywhere claiming that she was 'anti-vax' when that wasn't the case, she is simply a supporter of medical freedom and freedom of choice. Mainstream media constantly uses terms like 'anti-vax' to label those who oppose bills like these, without ever addressing the real...

US predictably blames Iran for Yemen drone attacks that halted half of Saudi oil production

US predictably blames Iran for Yemen drone attacks that halted half of Saudi oil production

Ten drone attacks for which the United States blames Iran disabled nearly half of Saudi Arabia's oil-production capacity on September 14. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tehran had "launched an unprecedented attack" on global energy supplies. A leading Republican lawmaker, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said it was "time" to consider an attack on "Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment," he said on social media.

Hypersexual zombie cicadas infected with psychoactive fungus discovered

Hypersexual zombie cicadas infected with psychoactive fungus discovered

If cicadas made horror movies, they'd probably study the actions of their counterparts plagued by a certain psychedelic fungus. West Virginia University researchers have discovered that a cicada fungus called Massopora contains chemicals similar to those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The fungus causes cicadas to lose their limbs and eccentric behavior sets in: Males try to mate with everything they encounter, although the fungus has consumed their genitals and butts. Despite the horrid physical state of infected cicadas, they continue to roam around freely as if nothing's wrong, dousing other cicadas with a dose of their disease.

Iraqi security forces detain terrorist group plotting attack against Shiite pilgrims

Iraqi security forces detain terrorist group plotting attack against Shiite pilgrims

Iraq's security forces detained six terrorists, who planned to carry out an attack against Shiite Muslims during the annual pilgrimage of Arbaeen, the organization's press service said on Saturday. "The security services of the city of Samarra [north of Baghdad] were able to detain a network of terrorists consisting of six criminals planning an attack during the pilgrimage of Arbaeen," the statement read. Earlier, the Baghdad Operational Command reported that 78 people have been detained in Iraq since August on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks during the Shiite Ashur holiday, celebrated earlier in September. The Shiite Arbaeen pilgrimage will take place from October 19-20.

210,000 lightning strikes recorded in Sweden this year, a six-fold increase on 2017

210,000 lightning strikes recorded in Sweden this year, a six-fold increase on 2017

If you thought this summer in Sweden was stormy, you weren't wrong. More than 210,000 lightning strikes have been registered in the country so far this year, a six-fold increase on two years ago. Erik Engström, a meteorologist at state weather forecaster SMHI told broadcaster TV4 that the high frequency of thunder and lightning came down to warm weather. "This summer we had a lot of warm, wet air coming in over the country and that's one of the main pre-conditions for storms," he said.

A new understanding of disease - the 'pathobiome'

A new understanding of disease - the 'pathobiome'

Cefas and University of Exeter scientists have presented a novel concept describing the complex microbial interactions that lead to disease in plants, animals and humans. Microbial organisms and viruses cause many diseases of plants and animals. They can also help protect from disease, for example the complex communities of microbes in the human gut, which are very important for our health. However, very little is known about these microbes and how they cause and prevent disease. The pathobiome concept opens a door on this unexplored world of microbial diversity and how it controls all other organisms on the planet. It will change the way we approach health and disease control in animals, plants and humans. Traditional approaches to describe infectious disease in plants, animals and in humans are based on the concept that single pathogens are responsible for the signs or symptoms of disease observed in those hosts. The pathobiome concept explains that in reality, disease occurrence...

AR-15's are flying off the shelf after AZ gun store introduces the 'Beto Special'

AR-15's are flying off the shelf after AZ gun store introduces the 'Beto Special'

A gun store in Arizona is cashing in on gun-grabber Beto O'Rourke, by offering "Beto Specials" on select AR-15's. During the Democrat primary debate in Houston, struggling 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke vowed to seize every Americans' AR-15 guns. Beto O'Rourke vowed to confiscate legally owned rifles during the third Democratic primary debate on Thursday evening. the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the former Democratic congressman said the federal government must seize certain semi-automatic rifles to prevent further tragedy. "The high-impact, high velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything insider your body because it was designed to do that, so that you would bleed to death on the battlefield," O'Rourke said to raucous applause. "When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many...

Iran signs $440 million deal to develop Belal gas field it shares with Qatar

Iran signs $440 million deal to develop Belal gas field it shares with Qatar

Tehran has signed a $440 million contract with a local company to develop the Belal gas field Iran shares with Qatar. The country's oil minister has celebrated the deal as a sign that no US sanctions can stop Iran's oil industry. The contract was signed between Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC), a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and local development company Petropars. According to Iran's Shana news agency, POGC will serve as the employer of the contract, making reservoir studies and performing sideline licensing for the purposes of the project. Petropars, in turn, is to drill eight wells in the offshore oil field, build and install a gas production topside and construct a 20 kilometers (12 miles) seabed pipeline. Under the contract, in 34 months the oil field is to produce 500 million cubic feet (the equivalent of 14 million cubic meters) of rich gas a day. The produced gas is to be processed at the onshore refinery of South Pars Phase 12.

Watch anti-govt protesters fight with Beijing supporters in Hong Kong mall - Overall tourism down 40%

Watch anti-govt protesters fight with Beijing supporters in Hong Kong mall - Overall tourism down 40%

Intense fistfights broke out at the high-end Amoy Plaza mall in the busy Kowloon district of Hong Kong, China's self-governing territory, on Saturday afternoon. Videos from the scene show the activists pulling and punching each other. Some clobbered their opponents with umbrellas and hurled objects at them. A group of protesters were filmed chasing a man, before pinning him on the ground. The confrontation started after hundreds of pro-Beijing activists gathered at the mall, waving China's national flags and singing the country's national anthem. A crowd of anti-government protesters later flocked to the mall to confront them, and the scuffles immediately broke out. Some reports say the fights started after a few people were accused of taking pictures of the protesters' faces and filming them.

Ryanair 'systems failure' grounds planes across Europe

Ryanair 'systems failure' grounds planes across Europe

Ryanair has reportedly suffered a major systems failure overnight with dozens of complaints of passengers being unable to check in and some planes delayed taking off. One plane was kept on the tarmac for 90 minutes this morning with passengers being told there had been a 'country-wide systems failure'. The budget airline confirmed the outage resulted in disruption to airport check-ins and boarding. It caused disruption at airport check-in desks across Europe.

God help us! Trump says US, Israel discussing mutual defense treaty

God help us! Trump says US, Israel discussing mutual defense treaty

The US and Israel are discussing a mutual defense treaty that would further cement the already "tremendous" alliance between the two countries, President Donald Trump has revealed. "I had a call today with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and Israel, that would further anchor the tremendous alliance between our two countries," Trump tweeted. Trump voiced not-that-veiled support for Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Israel. "I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli Elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!" Trump wrote.

Volunteer battalions hand in weapons in E. Ukraine

Volunteer battalions hand in weapons in E. Ukraine

Three volunteer battalions that for years fought for Kyiv against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have handed over their weapons to law enforcement. The Sheikh Mansur battalion, the battalion of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and the 8th battalion of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army voluntarily surrendered their arms to the National Police in the Donetsk region on September 11, according to a police statement. Photographs published by the National Police showed artillery shells, rocket-propelled grenades, boxes of bullets, and crates of explosives that were turned in. National Police First Deputy Chairman Vyacheslav Abroskin oversaw the transfer along with members of the military and the country's security services. The battalions were among the last units comprised purely of volunteer soldiers fighting in the 5-year war that has killed more than 13,000 people. Most of Ukraine's volunteer battalions were incorporated into military and police structures...

'Tradition is important to us': Swedish town rebels against LGBT rainbow flag on city hall

'Tradition is important to us': Swedish town rebels against LGBT rainbow flag on city hall

A municipality in Sweden decided to quit flying LGBT pride flags on public buildings, after conservative parties took over the city council. The town of Solvesborg in southeastern Sweden has voted to stop hoisting the rainbow-colored flag on the city hall every August during Stockholm Pride, the annual LGBT-themed festival held in the nation's capital. From now on, only local and national flags are allowed on public buildings. The idea of flying the Pride colors was introduced in 2013, when the city council was led by the center-left Social Democrats. But now the city is controlled by conservative Swedish Democrats (SD) and three other right-leaning parties, who decided to revise the local flag code.

Yemeni Houthis claim drone strikes on Saudi oil sites

Yemeni Houthis claim drone strikes on Saudi oil sites

Yemen's Huthi rebels have claimed responsibility for two drone attacks on oil facilities operated by Saudi Aramco earlier on September 14. Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said an oil field in Khurais Province and an oil-processing facility, the world's biggest, in Abqaiq Province, were targeted in the drone strikes. The attacks sparked fires, which Saudi authorities later said were brought under control. Several hours after the predawn attacks, Aramco has issued no statement and the authorities have not reported on casualties. State television said exports were continuing.

Bolton revives his political action committees; endorses Congress' top 5 Republican warmongers

Bolton revives his political action committees; endorses Congress' top 5 Republican warmongers

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has wasted no time relaunching his political action committees and endorsing five Republican congressmen, all of whom appear to love war almost as much as he does. The John Bolton PAC has endorsed Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), along with Reps Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) and Lee Zeldin (R-New York), according to its first post-resurrection press release on Friday, which referred to the now-unemployed hawk as "Ambassador John Bolton" despite the fact that he has not held a diplomatic position in years. "The John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC seek a strong, clear, and dependable US national security policy, resting on constancy and resolve," reads the statement from the ex-advisor who advocated bombing Iran, taking "the Libya option" on North Korea, military intervention in Venezuela, and continuing to bomb Afghanistan and Syria for the foreseeable future. Bolton's...

Britain's Tory party may well be heading for extinction

Britain's Tory party may well be heading for extinction

The ultimate Brexit casualty could very well be Britain's ruling Conservative Party. Cabinet resignations and the purging of rebel parliamentarians by Boris Johnson point to his party heading for a historic schism. The walking out of cabinet by Johnson's own brother in protest over Brexit policy epitomizes the fundamental, bitter shift going on in British politics. Another illustration of just how intense the fracturing strains within the Tory party have reached was this: among the 21 MPs that Johnson expelled this week for defying his no-deal Brexit plans, were two former chancellors, Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond, and Sir Nicholas Soames. They will not be allowed to stand in any future election as party candidates. Soames is the grandson of Conservative icon and wartime leader Winston Churchill, who is also said to be a political hero of the current prime minister. However, in a scathing putdown, Soames said there was no comparison between Churchill and Johnson, saying the...

MIT Media Lab concealed its relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, new documents and updates

MIT Media Lab concealed its relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, new documents and updates

Update: On Saturday, less than a day after the publication of this story, Joi Ito, the director of the M.I.T. Media Lab, resigned from his position. "After giving the matter a great deal of thought over the past several days and weeks, I think that it is best that I resign as director of the media lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute, effective immediately," Ito wrote in an internal e-mail. In a message to the M.I.T. community, L. Rafael Reif, the president of M.I.T., wrote, "Because the accusations in the story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation," and announced that M.I.T.'s general counsel would engage an outside law firm to oversee that investigation. The M.I.T. Media Lab, which has been embroiled in a scandal over accepting donations from the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, had a deeper fund-raising relationship with Epstein than it has previously acknowledged, and it attempted to conceal...

Busted or just stupid? Photos of Juan Guaido with members of notorious Colombian drug cartel

Busted or just stupid? Photos of Juan Guaido with members of notorious Colombian drug cartel

Juan Guaido may have some explaining to do. Photos have emerged depicting the Venezuelan opposition leader with gang members, confirmed by Colombian police to be leaders in the violent drug trafficking outfit, Los Rastrojos. The photos first appeared in a tweet on Friday, shared by Wilfredo Canizares of the Fundacion Progresar (Progress Foundation), a Colombian NGO. They depict the US-sponsored "interim president" of Venezuela Juan Guaido posing chummily with two known drug lords, known under the aliases "The Brother," and "The Minor."

Hong Kong Wong calls on Trump to add 'human rights clause' to China trade talks agenda

Hong Kong Wong calls on Trump to add 'human rights clause' to China trade talks agenda

A Hong Kong protest figurehead has called on Washington to make the Hong Kong unrest a part of trade negotiations with Beijing, suggesting the US use 'human rights' as a bargaining chip in the stalled talks. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a prominent figure in the ongoing anti-Beijing protests, has been busy touring the West in a bid to persuade foreign nations to meddle in the month-long standoff. On Friday, Wong touched down in New York and wasted no time in making his case, suggesting the Trump administration use the Hong Kong turmoil as leverage in the ongoing trade dispute with China. Wong argued that Washington should "add a human rights clause in the trade negotiations and put Hong Kong protests under the agenda" of the talks. Wong has rallied behind a 2015 US bill, reintroduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio in June, that envisages sanctions for Chinese officials responsible for "suppressing" basic freedoms. If the bill, known as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, is...

Trump confirms Hamza, son of Osama Bin Laden, has been killed

Trump confirms Hamza, son of Osama Bin Laden, has been killed

President Donald Trump says he can now confirm that Hamza bin Laden, the son of the deceased Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, has been killed by a military operation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Trump said in a statement issued by the White House on September 14: "The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group." Media reports had quoted U.S. intelligence officials on July 31 as saying that Hamza bin Laden had died. But they gave no details of the date or place of his death. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed his death in August, saying it was "his understanding" that Bin Laden was dead. But Trump and other senior U.S. officials had not publicly confirmed the news.

Dem ex-candidate Gravel: Democrats celebrating Bolton to spite Trump 'worse than embarrassment'

Dem ex-candidate Gravel: Democrats celebrating Bolton to spite Trump 'worse than embarrassment'

The lionization of John Bolton as an unsung hero who got fired by Trump for not allowing the president to cozy up to dictators is an embarrassment for Democrats, former Senator Mike Gravel told RT. Bolton, who lost his job as national security advisor in the Trump administration, was instantly embraced by a number of people in the Democratic Party camp. This happened for no apparent reason other than his being rabidly hostile to countries that his former boss says he wants to be friendly with, like Russia or North Korea. Mike Gravel, a former Democrat senator for Alaska and veteran anti-war champion, said this position is "worse than embarrassment" for the Democrats, because "Bolton was probably the most significant warmonger in recent history. Now that he is fired, it's going to limit the possibility of Donald Trump setting off a war by accident," Gravel told RT's Going Underground.