Americans reflect on pros, cons of legal pot ahead of 420(Source Associated Press) America’s marijuana supporters have a lot to celebrate on this 420 holiday : Thirty states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to a national advocacy group. Nine of those states and Washington, D.C., also have broad legalization where adults 21 and older can use pot for any reason. Michigan could become the 10th state with its ballot initiative this year. Yet cannabis remains illegal under federal law, and it still has many opponents. KELLY PEREZ, DENVER CEO and founder of kindColorado, which provides community engagement opportunities for the cannabis industry to be assets in communities. WHAT DOES 420 MEAN TO YOU? “It’s a celebration, and we still have work to do. The war on drugs has not ended; the negative impact on communities of color has not ended. So we still have work to do even though we’re legal in Colorado. There are states surrounding us that aren’t. And as long as one black or brown youth is arrested for possession, we still have our work to do.” “It’s an incredibly exciting time. There’s so much opportunity, but we really do want to keep our roots in change and the people’s liberation and reforming criminal justice and moving the legalization conversation forward but not forgetting those social justice issues.” “I want legalization to continue to be self-reflective and continue moving forward so that no one is arrested for cannabis possession. But also that we are having opportunities for people to enter this legal industry, especially folks who have been impacted by the war on drugs. … We haven’t done what we need to do for an industry built on the backs of black and brown and sick people.”
Starbucks to close stores for an afternoon for bias training (Source Associated Press) Starbucks, moving swiftly to confront a racially charged uproar over the arrest of two black men at one of its stores in Philadelphia, plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours next month to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 workers. The announcement Tuesday comes after the arrests sparked protests and calls for a boycott on social media. A video shows police talking with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren’t doing anything wrong. Philadelphia-area media said the two were waiting for a friend. Philadelphia police released a recording of the call
from the Starbucks employee that led to the arrests. In the recording, a woman is heard saying, “Hi, I have two gentlemen in my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave.” She gives the address of the Starbucks store, and the entire call lasts less than 30 seconds. In the communications between police and dispatch that were also released, someone refers to “a group of males inside causing a disturbance,” and additional officers are sent.
The company reacted from a high level: Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the arrests “reprehensible” and said he wanted to apologize to the two men face-to-face. The company and a lawyer for the two men said they did meet, and Johnson delivered the apology. Starbucks also said the employee who called police no longer works at the store, but declined to give details. Johnson also promised to revamp store management training to include “unconscious-bias” education.
Stores Pulling Romaine Lettuce Off Shelves Amid E. Coli Outbreak (Source Consumer Reports)
Costco, Walmart, Kroger, and other retailers are pulling romaine lettuce products off their shelves in response to warnings from federal investigators about the nationwide E. coli outbreak blamed on contaminated romaine.
The E. coli outbreak stems from chopped romaine lettuce originating in Yuma, Ariz., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of romaine grown between November and March is from there. The CDC advised consumers to avoid packaged romaine that comes from the Yuma area. “We pulled every salad product that came from Yuma, or even had the potential to come from Yuma,” says Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at Costco. “I think everyone is focused on following the advice we were given.”
Meanwhile, Panera Bread, which is being sued by a New Jersey woman who allegedly contracted E. coli there in March, announced that it switched its romaine provider.
The moves follow an earlier decision by Fresh Foods Manufacturing of Pennsylvania, which packages grab-and-go salads for supermarkets and convenience stores, to issue a voluntary recall of roughly four and a half tons of prepackaged salads and lettuce mixes.
But Consumer Reports says it’s unrealistic to expect consumers to figure out whether their romaine was produced in Arizona. As a result, CR is advising people to avoid all romaine lettuce sold in stores and restaurants, along with bagged romaine lettuce mixes and prepared salads. This advice includes whole-leaf romaine, in an abundance of caution.
IRAN SWITCHES FROM DOLLAR TO EURO (Source Middle East Monitor) Iran’s feud with the US is set to get worse after Tehran announced yesterday that it will start reporting foreign currency amounts in euros rather than US dollars, as part of the country’s effort to reduce its reliance on the American currency due to political tension with Washington.
Central bank governor Valiollah Seif said last week that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the “dollar has no place in our transactions today”.
Iran does hardly any trade with the US due to decades of economic sanctions. It’s most important trading partner is the UAE, which accounts for around 24 per cent of all Iranian imports and exports. China is not far behind with 22 per cent, followed by Turkey, India and the EU, all of which account for around six per cent of Iran’s trade.
Iran’s leaders have been threatening for some time to ditch the dollar for a different currency. The shift towards euro took on added urgency after the appointment of Donald Trump and his decision to include Iran on a list of mainly Muslim majority countries banned from entering the US.
Trump has also threatened to exit a 2015 nuclear deal Iran made with world powers. The next major test for the deal is 12 May when Trump will be required to re-endorse the deal, which he has derided as “the worst deal ever”.
The move is seen by Iranian officials as a logical and necessary step. The threat of further US sanctions has destabilised Iran’s foreign exchange market in recent months. Bank transactions involving the dollar are already difficult for Iran; sanctions have made US banks unwilling to do business with Tehran; foreign firms can be exposed to sanctions if they do Iranian deals in dollars, even if the operations involve non-US branches. According to Reuters, Ali Khamenei, who has welcomed the decision to replace the dollar, blamed foreign enemies for the “recent issues in the currency market” and asked Iran’s intelligence services to defuse the plots against the Islamic Republic.
Putin Warns Of Global “Chaos” If West Hits Syria Again(Source Zero Hedge)
In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement. –Reuters
The US-led strike was denounced by Putin as an “act of aggression,” and a “war crime” by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. “Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the Kremlin statement said. The United States, France and Britain launched over 103 missiles on Saturday night at three Syrian facilities in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in the city of Douma seven days prior. While the West has conclusively blamed the Assad government for the attack, serious questions have arisen over everything from Assad’s motive, the type of nerve agent used, to the credibility of the first responders – an NGO known as the White Helmets who have a reputation for staging evidence. France cited social media posts and YouTube evidence as justification for their participation in the strikes.
Journalists Found Boy Filmed in White Helmets’ Douma Alleged “Chemical Attack” Video. He Did It for Food. (Source globalresearch.ca) A group of Russian correspondents led by Evgeny Poddubny has found a boy filmed by the White Helmets in their video showing people “affected” by the alleged chemical attack in Douma on April 7. According to Poddubny: 11-year-old Hassan Diab is fine; He suffered no injuries from the “chemical attack” because there was no attack (at least then and there); The boy participated in the video for food (rice, dates and cookies). Poddubny also contacted Hassan’s father – he also said that there was no chemical attack in the town. Hassan’s story is quite similar to the case observed during the battle for Aleppo city in 2016. A photo of Omran Daqneesh became popular in the mainstream media and was widely used for propaganda purposes against Syrian forces fighting militants in the city. “We were very harmed because of the gunmen and how they used things to their benefit with my child,” Omran’s father told Ruptly after the city was liberated. “Thank god, he was only slightly wounded. Thank god after the army advanced and retook these areas; we are now back in our homes. The situation now is very good, thank god.” Daqneesh’s father also accused militants of using his son for propaganda purposes. Not only Russians say that there was the Douma chemical attack was staged. Earlier Pearson Sharp, a reporter of One America News Network also visited Douma and found that all the locals say that the so-called April 7 Douma chemical attack had been fabricated by militants.
Chinese Spies Steal U.S. Tech Secrets (Source thetrumpet.com) Chinese technology spies are stealing classified information from United States universities, security experts testified before Congress on Wednesday. They warned that Chinese researchers and students are passing on artificial intelligence, robotics and other cutting-edge technologies to their homeland. “China has a government-directed, multifaceted secret program whose primary task is technology acquisition, as well as a highly refined strategy to develop and exploit access to advantageous information through the global telecommunications infrastructure,” said former national counterintelligence executive Michelle Van Cleave. The Chinese government is stealing technology for both military and commercial use. The goal is to speed up China’s military modernization and give China insight into the weaknesses of U.S. weapons systems.
“In the case of robotics and AI, two fields of study with the potential to fundamentally change the international economy as well as the future of war-fighting, China has released the Robotics Industry Development Plan and Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan with the goals of China assuming global leadership in the coming decades,” said Michael Wessel, chairman of the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission.
Coming financial crisis will be much worse than Great Depression – investor Peter Schiff (Source rt.com)
The Great Depression will pale in comparison to the next financial crisis which could soon be coming, according to investor Peter Schiff, famous for his doomsday predictions.
“The bad news is, we are going to live through another Great Depression and it’s going to be very different. This will be in many ways, much much worse than what people had to endure during the Great Depression,” Schiff said, as quoted by ZeroHedge. “This is going to be a dollar crisis.”
According to Schiff, the US Federal Reserve is propping up the markets to urge people to spend more, but in fact, the wealth created is a bubble. “It’s actually doing damage. If you create a bunch of phony wealth, and people end up spending money that they otherwise would have saved, you are undermining economic growth,” he said.
In January, Schiff predicted that “the economy is going to blow up like a bomb” because of the Federal Reserve policy, but President Donald Trump will be to blame.
“Unfortunately, that’s what Trump has inherited from Obama. But it’s not even really just Obama, it’s the Federal Reserve. It’s the monetary policy that has been passed like a baton from Clinton to Bush to Obama and now to Trump. And we’re near the end of the game and unfortunately, Trump’s gonna be the fall guy. This thing is all gonna collapse while he’s president,” Schiff said. The tax cuts will give the Democratic Party a reason to blame the collapse all on Trump and the Republicans, the investor added.
Three Vast ‘Holes’ Just Appeared on the Sun—and They’re Bombarding Earth with Geomagnetic Storms(Source Newsweek) Three vast “holes” have opened up on the Sun over the past week, according to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), allowing high-speed solar winds to escape into space and bombard the Earth. These so-called coronal holes are gaps in the star’s outermost atmosphere, which are less dense and cooler than their surroundings. Magnetic field images released by the SDO show huge dark patches on the Sun’s surface, indicating their location. The holes spew out charged particles which can affect animals and electronic systems on Earth, and cause auroras to appear at lower latitudes than normal if they interact with the magnetosphere—the region around our planet dominated by its magnetic field. “A stream of high-speed solar wind is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field, and this is causing G1-class geomagnetic storms around the poles, Spaceweather.com reported on April 11. “Auroras have been sighted in the USA as far south as the Dakotas. The gaseous material is flowing from a wide hole in the sun’s atmosphere—so wide that the stream could influence Earth for another two to three days.” For April 12, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center have issued an alert saying there is a 50 percent chance of a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm.
Russian TV Instructs Citizens How To Prepare Bomb Shelters For Nuclear War (Source Zero Hedge)
Russia-24, a state-owned Russian-language news channel from Moscow, spent five minutes on Tuesday advising its viewers how to prepare for a nuclear war amid the increasing tensions with the United States over Syria. The television anchor urged the country’s citizens to purchase essential items and emergency supplies to stock their bomb shelters.
The title of the television broadcast “Inviolable stock: what should I take with me to the bomb shelter?,” explains how a nuclear war with the United States would be “catastrophic,” as a TV anchor from Russia-24 informed citizens how to get ready for World War III. “If some people did give in to the panic, and decided to spend all their savings on a survival kit, we’ll tell you how to not waste money on something you won’t need.” He recommended that people purchase salt, oatmeal, and other products that have a long shelf life. He even said powdered milk, grains, and sugar could last for years in storage, as one video during the broadcast demonstrated how to cook pasta while hiding in a bunker. The special broadcast then transitions to the next TV presenter Alexey Kazako, who explains the number one rule of surviving a nuclear blast is “fewer sweets, more water.”
He said: “All chocolates, candies and condensed milk will have to be left behind. “Glucose is an unrivaled energy source but sweets will make you thirsty, and water will be the most valuable resource for bomb shelter residents.”
Eduard Khalilov, a specialist in survival, explained to viewers about the importance of stocking fresh water.
He said, “people can only survive up to three days without water, but can go up to three weeks without food.”