Category Archives: History

Trump Cancels Major Meeting

By: Mike Calia of CNBC

President Donald Trump canceled his historic nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un on Thursday, accusing North Korea of “tremendous anger and open hostility.”

The meeting, which would have marked the first face-to-face encounter between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, was set for June 12 in Singapore.

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to Kim, which was released Thursday morning.

Stocks fell and gold rose after news of the cancellation broke.

Much of the letter was written in seemingly friendly terms, including praise for North Korea’s recent release of three American prisoners. In contrast, Trump also appeared to issue a threat that conjured memories of his war of words with Kim last year.

“You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump wrote.

The cancellation appeared to take South Korea’s government by surprise. The nation’s president, Moon Jae-in, had played a pivotal role in setting up recent diplomatic developments.

A representative of Moon’s office said the South Korean administration was “trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it,” according to the country’s Yonhap News Agency. Moon and his aides convened emergency meetings to address the shock announcement, which broke shortly before midnight in Seoul.

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Lava Eruptions in Hawaii

Compliments of CBS

Lava flowing from the Kilauea volcano has consumed telephone poles, trees and homes and destroyed at least 35 buildings since it started erupting late last week. A cameraman captured video of the destruction over the weekend, showing how it even swallowed a car.

In the video, lava creeps slowly across a roadway toward a white Ford Mustang. The flow eventually reaches — and ignites — the vehicle.

In another portion of the video, lava easily pushes through a gate as vegetation burns on either side of what appears to be a road or driveway.

Two new cracks spewing lava and gas opened up Monday on Hawaii’s Big Island. Authorities warned people to remain cautious in the face of the volcano, which has spewed lava and toxic gas through at least 12 fissures in Leilani Estates in Pahoa, where more than 1,700 residents have been evacuated, CBS News’ Carter Evans reported.

The once lush landscape now looks more like a blackened moonscape after nothing in the lava’s path was spared.

“Everyone knows that it’s not over,” said Hawaii Governor David Ige.

Monday, however, also brought a much-needed break. The eruptions slowed down, and authorities allowed evacuees to return to their homes to pack their most essential items.

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North and South Korea Adjusting To Post War Climate

By: CNBC

North Korea will shift its time zone 30 minutes earlier to align with South Korea starting May 5 “as a first practical step for national reconciliation and unity,” the North’s state media said Monday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said it was “a painful wrench” to see two clocks showing different Pyongyang and Seoul times on a wall at the summit venue during the historic meeting Friday with President Moon Jae-in, KCNA said.

Meanwhile, China will send the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to visit North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday this week, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

The time change report confirmed news from South Korean officials on Sunday that Kim pledged to scrap the northern time zone, which was created in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule after World War Two.

South Korea and Japan are in the same time zone, nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

“It is not an abstract meaning that the north and the south become one but it is just a process in which the north and the south turn their different and separated things into the same and single ones,” Kim said, according to the dispatch.

At their summit Friday, Kim and Moon declared they would take steps to formally end the 1950 53 Korean War, which ended only with a truce, and work towards the “denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. The declaration didn’t offer any specifics on what that meant or how it would progress.

Much now hinges on Kim’s upcoming summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, who said the meeting could happen over the next three to four weeks. No location has been announced.

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Net Neutrality Officially Dies

By: Marguerite Reardon of CNet

The Obama-era net neutrality rules, passed in 2015, are dead.

As of Monday, much of the proposal regarding the Republican-led FCC’s oversight of the internet goes into effect. Because this is Washington DC, and nothing can be simple, some of the changes don’t quite go into effect until a vote by the Office of Management and Budget in the next few days. But rest assured, the net neutrality rules as we knew them are no more.

Though many people agree with the basic principles of net neutrality, those specific rules had been a lightning rod for controversy. That’s because to get the rules to hold up in court, an earlier, Democrat-led FCC had reclassified broadband networks so that they fell under the same strict regulations that govern telephone networks.

Chairman Ajit Pai has called the Obama-era rules “heavy-handed” and “a mistake,” and he argues that they deterred innovation and depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks. To set things right, he says, he’s taking the FCC back to a “light touch” approach to regulation.

But supporters of net neutrality, such as big tech companies like Google and Facebook, as well as consumer groups and pioneers of the internet like the creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, say the internet as we know it may not exist without these protections.

“We need a referee on the field who can throw a flag,” former FCC chairman and Obama appointee Tom Wheeler said last week at MIT during a panel discussion in support of rules like those he championed. Wheeler was chairman when the rules passed three years ago.

If you still don’t feel like you understand what all the hubbub is about, have no fear.  We’ve assembled this FAQ to put everything in plain English.

What’s net neutrality again?

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, regardless of whether you’re checking Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram or streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon. It also means companies like AT&T, which is trying to buy Time Warner, or Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, can’t favor their own content over a competitor’s.

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New Documents Show Shell Predicted The Dangers Of Fossil Fuel Decades Ago

By: Josh Gabbatiss of The Independent

Oil giant Shell was aware of the consequences of climate change, and the role fossil fuels were playing in it, as far back as 1988, documents unearthed by a Dutch news organisation have revealed.

They include a calculation that the oil company’s products alone were responsible for 4 per cent of total global carbon emissions in 1984.

They also predict that changes to sea levels and weather would be “larger than any that have occurred over the past 12,000 years”.

As a result, the documents foresee impacts on living standards, food supplies and other major social, political and economic consequences.

In The Greenhouse Effect, a 1988 internal report by Shell scientists, the authors warned that “by the time the global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilise the situation”.

They also acknowledged that many experts predicted an increase in global temperature would be detectable by the end of the century.

They went on to state that a “forward-looking approach by the energy industry is clearly desirable”, adding: “With the very long time scales involved, it would be tempting for society to wait until then before doing anything.

“The potential implications for the world are, however, so large that policy options need to be considered much earlier. And the energy industry needs to consider how it should play its part.”

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Chemo Therapy Free Cancer Fighting Vaccine Moves To Human Trials

By: Ted Andersen of SFGate

A recent Stanford cancer study that cured 97 percent of mice from tumors has now moved on to soliciting human volunteers for a new cutting-edge medical trial.

The trial is part of a gathering wave of research into immunotherapy, a type of treatment that fights cancer by using the body’s immune system to attack tumors.

“Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer,” Dr. Ronald Levy, a Stanford oncology professor who is leading the study, told SFGATE. “People need to know that this is in its early days and we are still looking for safety and looking to make this as good as it can be.”

The treatment is not a true vaccine that creates lasting immunity, but it does feature a vaccine-like injection carrying two immune stimulators that activate the immune system’s T cells to eliminate tumors throughout the body.

Each test subject receives a low dose of radiation plus two rounds of the injected agents, Levy said. No chemotherapy is involved.

The treatment does not work on all types of cancer, Levy said, because each type of cancer has a different set of rules regarding how it can be affected by the immune system.

For the current trials, he is only looking for people with low-grade lymphoma regardless if they have been previously treated. He said Stanford is planning on running two trials by the end of the year with a total of about 35 test subjects.

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China Claims North Korea Agrees To Denuclearize

By: CNBC

China said on Wednesday it won a pledge from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean peninsula during a meeting with President Xi Jinping, who pledged in return that China would uphold its friendship with its isolated neighbor.

After two days of speculation, China announced on Wednesday that Kim had visited Beijing and met Xi during what the official Xinhua news agency called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

The trip was Kim’s first known journey abroad since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

Beijing has traditionally been the closest ally of secretive North Korea, but ties have been frayed by North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and China’s backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.

Xinhua cited Kim as telling Xi that the situation on the Korean peninsula is starting to improve because North Korea has taken the initiative to ease tensions and put forward proposals for peace talks.

“It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim Jong Un said, according to Xinhua.

North Korea is willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

“The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim said.

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Whistleblowers Expose Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Practices

By: Paul Lewis of The Guardian

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower.

Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach.

“My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data,” he said.

Parakilas said Facebook had terms of service and settings that “people didn’t read or understand” and the company did not use its enforcement mechanisms, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused.

Parakilas, whose job was to investigate data breaches by developers similar to the one later suspected of Global Science Research, which harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and provided the data to Cambridge Analytica, said the slew of recent disclosures had left him disappointed with his superiors for not heeding his warnings.

“It has been painful watching,” he said, “because I know that they could have prevented it.”

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After A Year In Space Scientist Discover Astronaut’s DNA No Longer Matches That Of His Twin Brothers

By: KTLA

Spending a year in space not only changes your outlook, it transforms your genes.

Preliminary results from NASA’s Twins Study reveal that 7% of astronaut Scott Kelly’s genes did not return to normal after his return to Earth two years ago.

The study looks at what happened to Kelly before, during and after he spent one year aboard the International Space Station through an extensive comparison with his identical twin, Mark, who remained on Earth.

NASA has learned that the formerly identical twins are no longer genetically the same.

‘Space genes’

The transformation of 7% of Scott’s DNA suggests longer-term changes in genes related to at least five biological pathways and functions.

The newest preliminary results from this unique study of Scott, now retired from NASA, were released at the 2018 Investigator’s Workshop for NASA’s Human Research Program in January. Last year, NASA published its first round of preliminary results at the 2017 Investigator’s Workshop. Overall, the 2018 findings corroborated those from 2017, with some additions.

To track physical changes caused by time in space, scientists measured Scott’s metabolites (necessary for maintaining life), cytokines (secreted by immune system cells) and proteins (workhorses within each cell) before, during and after his mission. The researchers learned that spaceflight is associated with oxygen-deprivation stress, increased inflammation and dramatic nutrient shifts that affect gene expression.

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Adidas Sold Over 1 Million Shoes Made From Ocean Plastic

By: Arjun Kharpal of USA Today

Adidas sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic last year, CEO Kasper Rorsted told CNBC on Wednesday.

The German sportswear giant launched last year three new versions of its UltraBoost shoe made out of plastic found in the ocean. It teamed up with environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans to create the shoe.

At the time, Adidas said it wanted to create a million pairs of the UltraBoost shoes.

“We last year sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic,” Rorsted told CNBC in a TV interview.

Each pair of shoes reuses 11 plastic bottles.

Adidas reported quarterly earnings on Wednesday in which it said it expected another year of sales and profit growth, but at a slower pace than in 2017

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