China says U.S. not doing enough too cut demand for opioids

China says US not doing enough to cut demand for opioids (Source CNN)

China on Thursday turned the table on Washington in addressing the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.

“The biggest challenge China faces in cracking down on the smuggling of opioids is the huge demand from the US,” said Yu Haibin, a senior official with the Narcotics Control Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, the country’s top law enforcement agency. “The United States should strengthen its educational and publicity campaigns to reduce domestic demand, intensify its crackdown on internet-based drug crimes, and share more lab data with China to improve our

detection and verification capabilities.”

US President Donald Trump in October declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. A report from the Congressional US-China Economic and Security Review Commission last February labeled China as the primary source of fentanyl — a cheap synthetic opioid at least 50 times stronger than heroin — in the US, citing law enforcement and drug investigators.

During his state visit to China last month, Trump brought up the topic with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing. The two leaders agreed to bolster mutual cooperation on fighting narcotic crimes — and the Chinese authorities on Thursday emphasized recent progress despite some choice words for Washington.

After announcing the listing of five new chemicals — used to make fentanyl or methamphetamine — as controlled substances, Chinese officials highlighted their latest success in destroying a fentanyl lab in northern China thanks to a tip from the US immigration and customs agency.

The joint China-US effort resulted in the arrests of 19 suspects in recent months across China as well as the seizure of 4.7 kilograms (10 pounds) of fentanyl and more than 150 kilograms of drug ingredients, according to Chinese officials.

South Korea seizes Hong Kong ship for oil transfer to North Korea

South Korea seizes Hong Kong ship for oil transfer to North Korea (Source AFP)

South Korea briefly seized and inspected a Hong Kong-registered ship in November for transferring oil products to a North Korean vessel and breaching UN sanctions, a foreign ministry official said on Friday. The Lighthouse Winmore, which was chartered by a Taiwanese company and carrying around 600 tonnes of oil products from South Korea’s Yeosu port, transferred part of its cargo to a North Korean vessel on October 19, the official said. South Korean customs authorities briefly seized and inspected the ship when it returned to Yeosu Port on November 24, he said.

The ship, chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group Corp., previously visited Yeosu on October 11 to load up on Japanese refined oil before heading towards its purported destination in Taiwan. Instead of going to Taiwan, however, the vessel transferred the oil to the North’s Sam Jong 2 as well as to three other non-North Korean vessels in international waters, the official said. “This marks a typical case of North Korea shrewdly circumventing UN Security Council sanctions by using its illegal networks”, the official told journalists. “The actions taken will be reported to the UN Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea in the future,” he said. South Korea has shared intelligence with the US about the detection of the illegal transaction, he added. The Sam Jong 2 was one of four North Korean ships that was blocked from international ports by the UN Security Council on Thursday over suspicions of carrying or transporting goods banned by sanctions targeting Pyongyang’s weapons ambitions, diplomats told AFP. The Security Council has slapped three sets of sanctions on North Korea this year: one on August 5 targeting the iron, coal and fishing industries; another set on September 11 aimed at textiles and limiting oil supply; and the most recent on December 22 focused on refined petroleum products.

German Public Health Insurers Increasingly Pay for Cannabis Treatment

German Public Health Insurers Increasingly Pay for Cannabis Treatment (Source

Nearly 10,000 applications for medical marijuana therapy have been received by the country’s two largest health insurance companies, with over half of them being approved. German patients can receive cannabis on prescription since March 2017. The costs of cannabis therapies in Germany are being increasingly covered by the country’s public health insurance companies, which means patients who receive the non-conventional treatment don’t have to pay for it out of their own pockets, according to German Die Zeit newspaper.

For instance, one of the largest public health insurance firms in Germany, the AOK, received 6,600 applications for the reimbursement of medical cannabis treatments this year, the company’s spokesperson told the newspaper.

About 65 percent of these applications have been approved, and the figures may increase as some requests were rejected only for formal reasons and could be revised if re-submitted by a doctor and a patient.

According to the spokesperson, the most common reason for the rejection is the lack of medical justification. That means that seriously ill patients must try all standard therapies and apply for cannabis treatment only if those didn’t help. As reported by the Berliner Zeitung, Germany’s second-largest public health insurer, Barmer, has also approved most of the applications for cannabis therapies this year. Since the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been legalized by the government earlier this year, the company received about 2,900 applications for reimbursement, with about 1,700 of them being approved.

Retrenchment, Robotization and Crypto-Currencies:

Retrenchment, Robotization and Crypto-Currencies: The Runaway Train Towards Full Digitization of Money and Labor (Source The other day I was in a shopping mall looking for an ATM to get some cash. There was no ATM. A week ago, there was still a branch office of a local bank – no more, gone. A Starbucks will replace the space left empty by the bank. I asked around – there will be no more cash automats in this mall – and this pattern is repeated over and over throughout Switzerland and throughout western Europe. Cash machines gradually but ever so faster disappear, not only from shopping malls, also from street corners. Will Switzerland become the first country fully running on digital money? This new cashless money model is progressively but brutally introduced to the Swiss and Europeans at large – as they are not told what’s really happening behind the scene. If anything, the populace is being told that paying will become much easier. You just swipe your card – and bingo. No more signatures, no more looking for cash machines – your bank account is directly charged for whatever small or large amount you are spending. And naturally and gradually a ‘small fee’ will be introduced by the banks. And you are powerless, as a cash alternative will have been wiped out.

The upward limit of how much you may charge onto your bank account is mainly set by yourself, as long as it doesn’t exceed the banks tolerance. But the banks’ tolerance is generous. If you exceed your credit, the balance on your account quietly slides into the red and at the end of the month you pay a hefty interest; or interest on unpaid interest – and so on. And that even though interbank interest rates are at a historic low. The Swiss Central Bank’s interest to banks, for example, is even negative; one of the few central banks in the world with negative interest, others include Japan and Denmark. When I talked recently to the manager of a Geneva bank, he said, it’s getting much worse. ‘We are already closing all bank tellers, and so are most of the other banks’. Bank’s will call the shots in the future, on your personal economy and that of the state. They are globalized, following the same principles of deregulation worldwide. They are in collusion with globalized corporations. They will decide whether you eat or become enslaved. They are one of the tree major weapons of the 0.1 % to beat the 99.9% into submission.


Russia will retaliate after U.S. Supplies Lethal Weapons To Ukraine

Russia Will Retaliate After U.S. Supplies Lethal Weapons To Ukraine (Source

The Trump administration agreed to send lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine. The order, packaged by the State Department as an affirmation of Ukraine’s right to defend itself against Russian-backed aggression, was greeted on Capitol Hill as a logical step in confronting what many lawmakers view as Vladimir Putin’s expansionist foreign policy. Proponents of this recommendation argue that the bloodier Russia’s nose becomes and the higher the death toll for Russian soldiers on the battlefield, the more pressure Putin will be under to cut ties with the outgunned and outmanned separatists. The prevailing logic, however, is based on a hopeful theory of how they hope Putin will respond. Moscow’s conduct over the three-and-a-half years of combat in Eastern Ukraine, however, should lead to the exact opposite conclusion — when push comes to shove, the Russians have proven to be willing to withstand the financial, political, and military pain associated with preventing the total military defeat of anti-Kiev forces.

Russian officials have, predictably, denounced President Trump’s authorization of lethal equipment to the Ukrainians — including the likely delivery of Javelin anti-tank weapons, which could pulverize Russian armor— as an aggressive act meant to deliberately sabotage the Minsk peace process. While there is a possibility that Ukrainian forces could use U.S.-supplied heavy weapons in an offensive capacity as the Russians suggest, it is more likely that this assistance will be used by Moscow as an excuse to redouble its own support to Ukrainian proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk.



Trump will fail against Iran as did ‘smarter’ Reagan:

Trump will fail against Iran as did ‘smarter’ Reagan: Khamenei (Source Reuters)

“Reagan was more powerful and smarter than Trump, and he was a better actor in making threats, and he also moved against us and they shot down our plane,” Khamenei said in a speech carried on state television.

In 1988, a U.S. warship shot down an Iranian passenger plane over the Gulf, killing all 290 aboard, in an incident which Washington said was a mistake. Tehran said it was a deliberate attack on Iran, then at war with neighboring Iraq.

“But Reagan is gone and, according to out beliefs, he now faces God’s retribution … while Iran has made great advances in all areas since Reagan’s time,” Khamenei added.

“This trend will continue under the current American president and any hopes on their part that the Islamic Republic would back off or weaken is futile.”

Trump refused in October to certify that Tehran is complying with its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and warned he might ultimately terminate the agreement. He announced the shift in U.S. policy in a speech in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for militant groups in the Middle East. Under the nuclear deal, sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran rolling back technologies with nuclear bomb-making potential.


The great nutrient collapse

The great nutrient collapse (Source

Irakli Loladze is a mathematician by training, but he was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton. Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?

Loladze was technically in the math department, but he loved biology and couldn’t stop thinking about this. The biologists had an idea of what was going on: The increased light was making the algae grow faster, but they ended up containing fewer of the nutrients the zooplankton needed to thrive. By speeding up their growth, the researchers had essentially turned the algae into junk food. The zooplankton had plenty to eat, but their food was less nutritious, and so they were starving.

Loladze used his math training to help measure and explain the algae-zooplankton dynamic. He and his colleagues devised a model that captured the relationship between a food source and a grazer that depends on the food. They published that first paper in 2000. But Loladze was also captivated by a much larger question raised by the experiment: Just how far this problem might extend.

“What struck me is that its application is wider,” Loladze recalled in an interview. Could the same problem affect grass and cows? What about rice and people? “It was kind of a watershed moment for me when I started thinking about human nutrition,” he said.

In the outside world, the problem isn’t that plants are suddenly getting more light: It’s that for years, they’ve been getting more carbon dioxide. Plants rely on both light and carbon dioxide to grow. If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?

What Loladze found is that scientists simply didn’t know. It was already well documented that CO2levels were rising in the atmosphere, but he was astonished at how little research had been done on how it affected the quality of the plants we eat. For the next 17 years, as he pursued his math career, Loladze scoured the scientific literature for any studies and data he could find. The results, as he collected them, all seemed to point in the same direction: The junk-food effect he had learned about in that Arizona lab also appeared to be occurring in fields and forests around the world. “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising,” Loladze said. “We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”


What You Need to Know About Antifa

What You Need to Know About Antifa (Source Antifa is a movement that is making headlines throughout Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and most especially the United States. With Antifa regularly making the news, people are asking, “What is Antifa?” and “What are Antifa’s goals?” Antifa is not a new political force. It is a loosely connected network of groups named in honor of the military wing of the Communist Party of Germany. “Antifa” is an abbreviation for anti-fascist. The movement was founded in the 1920s as part of the Soviet Union’s efforts to transform Germany into a Communist dictatorship. By labeling all rival parties as “fascist,” Antifa hoped to convince Germans that the nation’s mainstream political parties in the 1920s and 1930s were no better than the Nazis. This strategy convinced millions of Germans to join the ranks of the Communist Party.

The Antifa movement experienced a resurgence in the 1980s, when far-left activists in Germany and the United States resurrected the strategy of labeling free-market capitalists and constitutional conservatives as fascists. In the U.S., Antifa leaders specifically link capitalism to white supremacy. Antifa seeks to undermine and destroy:

  1. Capitalism
  2. the police
  3. the government
  4. the U.S. Constitution.

By creating an environment where people lose faith in government institutions, Antifa hopes to swell its ranks—and the ranks of groups like Democratic Socialist of America. There are already over 200 Antifa groups in the United States, and public opinion polls show up to 5 percent of the American public are sympathetic to Antifa’s cause.

By polarizing the political scene into fascist and anti-fascist camps, Antifa is destroying the democratic center—like it did in 1920s Germany. Antifa encourages violence not just against fascists, but also against free-speech advocates and police officers. By inciting violence at peaceful protests, Antifa activists hope to tear down America’s constitutional system of government and create a Communist regime.

This strategy is helping push the United States to the brink of civil war. A dangerous trend toward lawlessness is taking root in American society.


Russia and China Prepare for Surprise Attack with Joint Drills

Russia and China Prepare for Surprise Attack With Joint Drills (Source Russia and China began their second joint antiballistic missile (abm) exercises in Beijing on December 11, according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Defense. The exercises continued through December 16.

The stated goals of Aerospace Security 2017 is to “practice abm defense, command and control, cooperation and to rapidly respond to all accidental and inflammatory strikes of ballistic missile.” These drills are designed to help Russia and China respond to a surprise attack from another nation launching ballistic or cruise missiles at them.

Despite their differences during the Soviet era, Russia and China have recently been developing closer ties. This is just the latest of many combined exercises. The National Interest noted:

The Russians and the Chinese have both resented American dominance of the so-called rules-based international order. Both have ambitions that are stymied by Washington. Thus, even if Moscow and Beijing do not quite see eye-to-eye on all matters, on the broad scheme of things, they can cooperate where their interests meet. They are willing to put aside their differences, as long as it means silencing the Western world power. Our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy details the cooperation and clash of these two powers and how their relationship has evolved over the years. One point this booklet highlights is how these two nations have “common defense concerns,” specifically concerning “the prospect of taking advantage of a weakening U.S.” Both share common philosophies economically, politically and militarily—and both have a common enemy in the West.

The way that China, for decades, counterbalanced Russia’s presence in Asia benefited the United States geopolitically. But that equation is changing as Russia and China march toward a military alliance. It is evident that both Russian and Chinese officials are working to form a new alliance and counter American dominance of world affairs. Russian diplomats want to create a multipolar world, and they know that the most expedient way to do so is to cement relations with their closest neighbor to the south. Keep your eye on the warming relations between Russia and China and the ripple effects it will have on the rest of the world, specifically the West.

Pope Francis Orders Vatican Archives to Reveal God’s Name Ending

Pope Francis Orders Vatican Archives to Reveal God’s Name Ending Centuries of Secrecy (Source

Pope Francis revealed he has instructed the Vatican Secret Archives to unseal a set of ancient scrolls that have been kept hidden from public knowledge for centuries by the Church. The scrolls, which were encased in marble and buried in 463 A.D., are said to contain the true name of God as communicated to Moses in the Book of Exodus. The Pope told an audience during an event celebrating a new version of the Torah that his decision to upend over fifteen hundred years of secrecy was driven in part by a need for “greater transparency” within the Catholic Church. “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another,” declared Pope Francis before adding that the Church is “leading a double life” by continuing to keep God’s name secret. A source inside the Vatican Secret Archives told Sky News that the Church first became aware of the scrolls’ existence in the fifth century. “The scrolls were uncovered by the Romans during siege of Jerusalem and the subsequent destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Nearly four centuries came to pass before Rome would hand over control of the scrolls to the Church in 463 A.D.,” the source explained. “Upon inspection, Pope St. Hilarius issued a decree striking any mention of God’s name from official church literature.” According to Exodus 3:14, when the Lord appeared to Moses as a burning bush, He referred to Himself in the Hebrew tongue as “Yaweh,” meaning, “I am who I am.” However, the Holy See now says that was only part of God’s message to Moses. “God said, ‘I am who I am,” the Vatican source told Sky News. “He then followed up with, ‘And I am this name.’ That final word is what the Holy See plans to make known to the world.” As to why the Catholic Church has gone to such great lengths to keep God’s true name a secret remains unknown. What is clear is that the Papacy has maintained an unbroken chain of communication in regards to the matter dating back to 468 A.D. “In keeping with tradition, each successive Pope since Hilarius has been made aware of the Lord’s name,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed. The Vatican Press Office has received more than two million inquiries regarding God’s name since the Pope’s announcement. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook,” said one Vatican insider who spoke to BBC News on condition of anonymity. “Understandably, everyone wants to know [His] name,” the insider said. That sentiment isn’t limited to the public.

Even the College of Cardinals is getting caught up in the frenzy.