High education: Michigan university to offer ‘weed-growing’ course (Source rt.com) The Northern Michigan University (NMU) will be the first college in the US to prepare students for work in the country’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Medicinal marijuana is big business in the US, with nearly half of the states having legalized the production and sale of the plant for medicinal purposes. In eight states marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational uses.“This area is just exploding. I mean, you see Washington, Colorado, Oregon, California with full legal recreational marijuana,” Associate Chemistry Professor Brandon Canfield told local media WWJ. “You’ve got over half the states with medicinal legal, and with all of that has come a huge need for these trained analytical chemists.” This fledging industry is booming, generating billions of dollars in revenue for states that have embraced the plant and its many benefits. Despite the clear interest in marijuana production, however, there’s a distinct lack of skilled workers in the industry – and that’s where NMU comes in. “There is great demand for qualified technical personnel and great opportunities for skilled entrepreneurs,”said Mark Paulsen, head of the NMU chemistry department. “Our focus will be on analyzing variations in plant compounds and the impacts of different growing and processing methods.” “The knowledge and skills acquired are applicable to the cannabis industry, but also translate to the broader field of natural products chemistry and a wide range of professional opportunities.”That’s not to say that students enrolled in the inaugural Medicinal Plant Chemistry undergrad course, starting this fall, will be elbows deep in weed plants – at least not yet.
Top U.S. NAFTA negotiator sees no problem with pace of talks (Source Reuters) The top U.S. negotiator at talks to modernize the NAFTA trade pact on Monday dismissed questions about why his team had so far failed to produce specific proposals on key issues, saying “I don’t see a problem.” Officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada are in Ottawa for the third of seven planned rounds of talks. The U.S. delegation has yet to unveil its precise position on several points, prompting concerns the process to update the 1994 pact could drag on beyond the scheduled end-December finish. “We’ve been working very hard so I don’t see a problem,” John Melle told reporters when pressed on the matter. “We’re moving across the board, so it’s very ambitious.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier predicted some tough days ahead for negotiators and declined to say whether he thought the talks could meet the deadline.
Puerto Ricans’ Plea for Aid From Uncle Sam: We’re Americans, Too (Source Bloomberg) Island’s governor fears ‘mass exodus’ if crisis isn’t tackled. After Hurricane Irma, Floridians never felt compelled to remind the federal government that they were U.S. citizens. Nor did Texans after Harvey. But that’s just what Governor Ricardo Rossello and the commonwealth’s government have done, over and over, in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “There needs to be unprecedented relief for Puerto Rico so that we can start the immediate effort right now,” Rossello said Tuesday on MSNBC. Puerto Rico, an island of 3.4 million American citizens without a vote in Congress, is lobbying Washington for what could be billions in funding to rebuild its infrastructure, including its decimated energy grid. And it’s doing so amid an already costly hurricane season. The island was crawling with 10,000 federal relief workers who were conducting search-and-rescue missions, helping bring electricity to hospitals, and providing aid packages, baby food and more. But with the Washington visitors on hand, Rossello’s team missed no opportunity to remind them of why Puerto Rico — mired in bankruptcy and ill-equipped financially to go it alone — shouldn’t become an afterthought.
MORE THAN 40 FAMILIES PULL CHILDREN FROM SCHOOL THAT FORCED TRANSGENDER LESSON ON 5-YEAR-OLDS(Source Life Site News) Forty-one families have pulled 73 children from the elite Sacramento-area Rocklin Academy charter schools as the board continues to defend a kindergarten transgender lesson several parents say traumatized their 5-year-olds and that parents weren’t told about beforehand. The controversy erupted after a lesson in which the boy appeared in girl’s clothes and was reintroduced to his kindergarten classmates as a girl. Teacher Kaelin Swaney also read the pro-transgender “I am Jazz” during the lesson, which took place just before summer vacation. A number of parents are upset because they weren’t told about the lesson that has left their children disturbed and afraid they, too, will “change” into the opposite sex. Moreover, it’s still not clear what happened in the classroom because Swaney and the board refused to tell parents, and the board’s account differs from what a number of parents say their five-year-olds told them, the parent told LifeSiteNews. What appear to be “inaccuracies” in the board’s accounts “make us feel betrayed as parents,” she said. The board and administration “didn’t talk to the parents of the children in the class to get the story.” The Rocklin Academy school board countered that it didn’t have to tell parents about lessons on gender identity because it wasn’t sex education. California law requires parental notification and allows opt out for sex education. Moreover, the board claims not affirming the five-year-old boy’s transition to a “girl” will leave it open to lawsuits because California bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression. On Monday, the five-member board unanimously rejected a “model parent proposal” to allow opt-out for lessons on gender identity and parental review of sensitive material before it hits the classroom. The board did approve a policy directing teachers to try to let parents know beforehand that sensitive material would be taught, but the measure is “really weak” according to Greg Burt of the California Family Council. Moreover, at “every board meeting, the administration seemed very adversarial to the parents,” according to the parent who spoke to LifeSiteNews. But the August 21 meeting was the deal-breaker for her. That’s when a number of teachers defended Swaney, she said. “They were saying, ‘your kids will surprise you, they’re so accepting and loving, this is a great topic for kindergarteners to learn.’ … They were there to tell us parents to get out of the way,” she said. “I did not feel safe sending my kids to school after that meeting,” the parent added. “It’s a very tense atmosphere over there right now. It’s very like, which side are you on,” she said. “You don’t know who to trust, you don’t know who’s looking at you the wrong way.” And with the board voting to continue enforcing transgender ideology, more parents will be leaving, Burt predicted. That’s echoed by Karen England, executive director of parents’ rights group Capitol Resource Institute, which authored the parent proposal the board rejected. “Several families are waiting until the end of the week” to pull their children out, she told LifeSiteNews in an email. Elizabeth Ashford, a spokesperson for Rocklin Academy Family of Schools, agreed that more families will leave, “which is really a shame,” she told NBC-affiliate KCRA3 TV. Ashford said 14 families and 23 kids have left over the controversy. The parent wanted to make it clear that those who left or are leaving Rocklin Academy Gateway are “not saying anything hateful or bigoted” regarding the transgender student. “In fact, [many] of us have cried over this poor child because we feel for him. I don’t think he’s in a great situation.” But the “board didn’t show any concern for the families or any respect for parents and our rights for our children,” she added. “Many, many families are trying to figure out what to do with their kids,” she added. “Parents are saying they’ll homeschool if they have to.”
North Korea says U.S. ‘declared war’ warns it could shoot down U.S. bombers (Source Reuters)
North Korea’s foreign minister said on Monday that President Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea and that Pyongyang reserves the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. bombers even if they are not in its air space. “The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country,” Ri said. “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then,” Ri said in a direct reference to a Twitter post by Trump on Saturday. The increasingly heated rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is raising fears of a risk of a miscalculation by one side or the other that could have massive repercussions. China called on Monday for all sides in the North Korea missile crisis to show restraint and not “add oil to the flames.” Ri told the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr Evil President” Trump called Kim a “rocket man” on a suicide mission. “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be
around much longer!” Trump said on Twitter.
U.S. asks China not to enforce cyber security law (Source Reuters)
The United States has asked China not to implement its new cyber security law over concerns it could damage global trade in services, a U.S. document published by the World Trade Organization showed
China ushered in a tough new cyber security law in June, following years of fierce debate around the move that many foreign business groups fear will hit their ability to operate in the country.
The law requires local and overseas firms to submit to security checks and store user data within the country. The United States, in a document submitted for debate at the WTO Services Council, said if China’s new rules enter into full force in their current form, as expected by the end of 2018, they could impact cross-border services supplied through a commercial presence abroad.
“China’s measures would disrupt, deter, and in many cases, prohibit cross-border transfers of information that are routine in the ordinary course of business,” it said. “The United States has been communicating these concerns directly to high level officials and relevant authorities in China,” the U.S. document said, adding it wanted to raise awareness among WTO members about the potential impact on trade. “We request that China refrain from issuing or implementing final measures until such concerns are addressed.”
7.1 magnitude quake kills 139 as buildings crumble in Mexico(Source Associated Press) A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 139 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped. Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City and nearby states. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly. The quake is the deadliest in Mexico since a 1985 quake on the same date killed thousands. It came less than two weeks after another powerful quake caused 90 deaths in the country’s south. Luis Felipe Puente, head of the national Civil Defense agency, tweeted Tuesday night that the confirmed death toll had risen to 139. Mancera, the Mexico City mayor, said 50 to 60 people were rescued alive by citizens and emergency workers in the capital. Authorities said at least 70 people in the capital had been hospitalized for injuries.
Vatican recalls priest from US embassy amid child porn probe (Source nypost.com) A high-ranking priest working in the Vatican’s embassy in Washington has been recalled after U.S. prosecutors asked for him to be charged there and face trial in a child pornography investigation, Vatican and U.S. officials said Friday. The diplomat was suspected of possessing, but not producing or disseminating, child pornography including images of pre-pubescent children, a U.S. source familiar with the case said. The source was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The Vatican declined to identify the priest, but said he was currently in Vatican City and that Vatican prosecutors had launched their own probe.
Puerto Rico entirely without power as Hurricane Maria hammers island with devastating force (Source The Washington Post)
Hurricane Maria delivered a destructive full-body blow to this U.S. territory on Wednesday, ripping off metal roofs, generating terrifying and potentially lethal flash floods, knocking out 100 percent of the island’s electrical grid and decimating some communities.
With sustained winds of 155 mph at landfall — a strong Category 4 storm and nearly a Category 5 — Maria was so powerful that it disabled radar, weather stations and cell towers across Puerto Rico, leaving an information vacuum in which officials could only speculate about property damage, injuries or deaths. “Definitely Puerto Rico — when we can get outside — we will find our island destroyed,” Abner Gómez, director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, said in a midday news conference here. “The information we have received is not encouraging. It’s a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its path.” The entire island experienced hurricane conditions, with 20 inches or more of rain falling, often at torrential rates of up to seven inches per hour, leading to reports of raging floodwaters and people seeking help to escape them. The storm, having passed through the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier, made landfall on the Puerto Rican coast near Yabucoa at 6:15 a.m. It was the first Category 4 storm to strike the island directly since 1932. By midmorning, Maria had fully engulfed the 100-mile-long island.
CHINA LOOKS TO UNDERMINE U.S. POWER, WITH ‘ASSASSIN’S MACE’ (Source wired.com)
Could China wipe out an American military advantage with a simple black box? Joshua Cooper Ramo’s thought-provoking book *The Age of the Unthinkable *challenges all kinds of conventional thinking about everything from venture capital to military strategy. One section caught my eye in particular, about how the Chinese might neutralize American air superiority, using a type of weapon known an “Assassin’s Mace.” The specific device in question is an unassuming little case; how worried should we be? U.S. airpower depends on the ability to overcome surface-to-air missile (SAM) defenses, and one of the key weapons for this role is the AGM-88 High Speed Anti-radiation Missile (HARM), which homes in on radar emissions. The defenders can either turn off their radar, thus blinding themselves, or have it destroyed. This is where the black box that Ramo found at a military trade show in Zhuhai in 2002 comes in: “…packed inside were several thousand microtransmitters and when you plugged the device in and turned it on, it broadcast signals – 10,000 of them – on the frequency of a SAM site. From the perspective of an American pilot – or , more precisely, the perspective of his HARM missile looking for a ‘lock’ on a SAM radar signal – this meant an air-to-ground picture that looked like 10,001 SAM signals, only one of which was real…”
Ramo suggests that if defenders have these black boxes then the U.S. aircraft would be helpless against enemy SAMs, and air superiority would be lost at stroke. This is just one example of Beijing’s “Assassin’s Mace” family of weaponry that’s been much discussed in both Chinese and American military circles. The Pentagon defines the Maces as technologies that might afford an inferior military an advantage in a conflict with a superior power.
Trump, Kushner honor High Holy Days in call with Jewish leaders (Source politico.com) President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, on Friday marked the upcoming High Holy Days during a call with rabbis and other Jewish leaders, hailing the administration’s strong support for Israel. During the call the president expressed “deep admiration for the Jewish people” for enduring “unthinkable persecution” over the centuries, and praised the Jewish new year, which begins Wednesday, for its tradition of helping individuals to “rededicate your lives to the sacred values you hold dear.” The holiday, Rosh Hashana, begins 10 days of repentance ending with Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Trump, who has frequently vowed to remain a staunch ally of Israel, also reiterated his commitment to maintaining strong U.S. ties to the country going forward.“I am proud to stand with the Jewish people and with our cherished friend and ally, the State of Israel,” he said, according to a White House readout of the call. Trump also expressed a desire to achieve “significant progress” in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians before the close of the year.
IT HAS STARTED: CREEPING GLOBAL DE-DOLLARIZATION (Source blacklistednews.com) The mechanism underlying today’s “dollar standard” is widely known and the term “petrodollar” describes it well. This system is based on an informal agreement the US and Saudi Arabia arrived at in the mid-1970s. The result of this deal: Oil, and consequently all other important commodities, is traded in US dollars — and only in US dollars. Oil producers then “recycle” these “petrodollars” into US treasuries. This circular flow of dollars has enabled the US to pile up a towering mountain of debt of nearly $20 trillion — without having to worry about its own financial stability. At least, until now. The world is looking for alternatives to the dollar — and finds them more and more often. There have been many attempts by various nations to undermine the dollar’s preeminence in recent decades. Some were nipped in the bud by US interventions — such as the plan of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein to sell oil for euros. Or the rumored plan of Libya’s eccentric ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi to issue a pan-African gold currency. The Russians and Chinese are quite open about their views regarding the role of gold in the current phase of the transition. In March, Russia’s central bank opened its first office in Beijing. Russia is preparing to place its first renminbi-denominated government bond. Both sides have intensified efforts in recent years to settle bilateral trade not in US dollars, but in rubles and yuan. Gold is considered important by both countries. The gradual move away from the USD to a multi-polar monetary order has several important effects, which only make sense when viewed through this lens. Contrary to what is asserted in most mainstream reports, oil-producing countries are not so much interested in a much higher oil price in USD terms, but rather in competition for market share. They are increasingly able to choose in which currencies they want to trade. The most important effect has become evident since 2014: two of the largest holders of US treasuries (China and Saudi Arabia) have abandoned their support of Washington. On the other hand, oil producers have no interest in recycling their revenues as “petrodollars.” The process of moving away from the dollar — prepared by Europe and triggered by China and Russia — can no longer be stopped.
Hawaii prepares for nuclear attack, trying not to scare the daylights out of residents and tourists (Source The Washington Post)
As North Korean missiles soar over the Pacific and seismographs keep vigil for tremors in the vicinity of Pyongyang, officials in Hawaii are doing what they must: preparing for the possibility of a nuclear attack. But it’s a delicate task, especially when word gets out, as it did this week, about a “secret meeting” in which officials and legislators looked at slides on the probable impact of a nuclear blast at “at various altitudes above” Pearl Harbor, as Honolulu Civil Beat reported.
After all, it’s one thing to be sitting in New York or Washington and looking at those maps showing the range of North Korea’s ICBMs, and another entirely to be sitting in Honolulu and seeing “Hawaii” in small type just a smidge beyond the outer circle of destruction.
The only reason the meeting on Tuesday was closed, said one of the attendees, State Rep. Gene Ward (R), was to avoid worrying the public. On the other hand, he told The Washington Post, talk of nuclear preparedness is “probably more surreal to younger generations” who don’t remember a time when people had fallout shelters in their back yards. “Now it’s time to take it seriously,” he said, “not to be an alarmist but to be informing people.”