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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 58)

Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid

Not much is known about the mysterious giant squid, a creature that was first captured on film in 2005. Now, researchers have decoded the giant cephalopod’s genome, hoping to unlock more secrets about the legendary squid.

The research, published in Giga Science, notes the giant squid has an enormous genome, with an estimated 2.7 billion DNA base pairs. By comparison, humans have 3 billion DNA base pairs. Caroline Albertin, one of the study’s co-authors, found that the Hox and Wnt developmental genes seen in almost all animals are also present in the giant squid genome, meaning its massive size was not caused by whole-genome duplication.

“In terms of their genes, we found the giant squid looks a lot like other animals,” Albertin said in a statement. “This means we can study these truly bizarre animals to learn more about ourselves.”

Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-1 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article

In a rare event, a live giant squid (Architeuthis dux) is hauled to the surface on a baited hook in Japan. The giant squid can be 40 feet long tip-to-tail and weigh nearly a ton. (Credit: Tsunemi Kubodera)

CREEPY PHOTOS SHOWS GIANT SQUID ‘WATCHING’ DEEP SEA MISSION

The researcher also discovered more than 100 genes in the protocadherin family “typically not found in abundance in invertebrates” that were seen in the giant squid genome.

“Protocadherins are thought to be important in wiring up a complicated brain correctly,” she added. “They were thought to be a vertebrate innovation, so we were really surprised when we found more than 100 of them in the octopus genome (in 2015). That seemed like a smoking gun to how you make a complicated brain. And we have found a similar expansion of protocadherins in the giant squid, as well.”

In 2015, Albertin led a team that sequenced the first genome of a cephalopod.

As such, there’s still more work to be done to understand just how the giant squid became so massive, Albertin added.

“A genome is a first step for answering a lot of questions about the biology of these very weird animals,” Albertin pointed out, including features such as the largest brain among the invertebrates, their behaviors and the ability to instantly camouflage themselves.

Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-2 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article

The giant squid has long been a subject of horror lore. In this original illustration from Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” a giant squid grasps a helpless sailor. (Credit: Alphonse de Neuville)

Albertin also said that cephalopods are believed to have evolved independently of vertebrates, despite having a lot of complex and elaborate features. “By comparing their genomes we can ask, ‘Are cephalopods and vertebrates built the same way or are they built differently?'”

“Having this giant squid genome is an important node in helping us understand what makes a cephalopod a cephalopod,” she concluded. “And it also can help us understand how new and novel genes arise in evolution and development.”

The largest giant squid ever recorded was nearly 43 feet long and likely weighed almost 2,000 pounds, according to the Smithsonian.

In June 2019, NOAA spotted a giant squid in U.S. waters for the first time as part of rare footage that biologists have described as “the most amazing video you’ve ever seen.” The giant cephalopod was spotted around 100 miles southeast of New OrleansLa.

HUMAN-SIZE BLOB DRIFTS BY DIVERS. AND IT’S PACKED WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BABY SQUID.

Fairly elusive, the giant squid has been linked to myth since ancient times. The Charlotte Observer, citing data from The National Museum of Natural History, noted ancient sailors mistakenly believed giant squids were mermaids and other mythical creatures.

“For a long time, people saw mysterious movements in the water or found dead giant squid and didn’t know what they were — and even confused a giant squid carcass with a merman or mermaid,” the museum wrote on its website.

In August 2018, a 14-foot squid washed up on the shores of Wellington, New Zealand, prompting images of the colossal cephalopod to go viral.

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Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-1 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article   Westlake Legal Group giant-squid-1 Scientists unlock secrets about mysterious giant squid fox-news/science/wild-nature/fish fox-news/science/natural-science/genetics fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc fd6c1457-c439-52c1-a1fc-bd8da6bb2214 Chris Ciaccia article

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Lev Parnas Says Many GOPers Are Too ‘Scared’ Of Trump Getting DOJ To Investigate Them To Speak Out

Westlake Legal Group UISBTK3QDvW7VuklsYVZIPWyt-kTDMnMHGdJrJ63ozg Lev Parnas Says Many GOPers Are Too ‘Scared’ Of Trump Getting DOJ To Investigate Them To Speak Out r/politics

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Isolated Iran leader lashes out at Europe as nations join US in ramping up pressure

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124332463001_6124330426001-vs Isolated Iran leader lashes out at Europe as nations join US in ramping up pressure fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc b4eb0c70-be5f-5f76-bb82-22edfdd776b1 article Adam Shaw

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Friday lashed out at Germany, the U.K. and France, calling them the “footmen of the U.S.,” days after the European countries moved to sanction the Islamic Republic for violating the controversial 2015 nuclear deal.

“The threat of the French & German govts & the vicious British govt to send Iran’s case to the Security Council proved once again that they are the footmen of the US,” Khamenei said on Twitter. “These 3 countries are the ones who helped [former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein] as much as they could in his war against us.”

The three countries, which are members of the coalition that penned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) in 2015, on Tuesday had formally accused Iran of breaching the Obama-era nuclear deal, beginning a process that could result in the U.N. restoring sanctions on the rogue regime.

“We do this in good faith with the overarching objective of preserving the JCPoA and in the sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue while preserving the agreement and remaining within its framework,” the three countries’ foreign ministers said in a statement.

IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER PRAISES MISSILE ATTACK IN RARE APPEARANCE

The ministers accused Iran of breaking “key restrictions,” including most recently a limit on the number of centrifuges and enrichment. Iran has been vocal in threatening to break the deal since the U.S. departure in 2018, leading to fears in Europe that the time needed by Iran to produce a nuke is getting shorter. The countries, therefore, referred the matter to the Joint Commission under the Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

“In doing so, our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran. Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPoA,” they said in the statement.

But Khamenei showed no sign of softening his stance. In response, he rehashed claims about how those governments helped Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and accused them of being terrorists in different clothes.

“Even when these govts negotiate, their negotiations are mixed with deception. The same people who appear at the negotiating table – the same so called ‘gentlemen’ behind the table – are the same terrorists of the Baghdad airport. They just change clothes,” he said.

US-IRAN TENSIONS: A TIMELINE OF INCIDENTS BETWEEN TWO LONGTIME RIVALS

The European decision to trigger the dispute mechanism comes amid growing pressure from the U.S. on Iran. The Trump administration killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Forces, in a strike in Baghdad, days after Iranian-backed militia supporters stormed the U.S. embassy. Iran followed up with a strike on bases on Iraq housing U.S. troops, but it resulted in no deaths or injuries.

The U.S. subsequently responded with a fresh wave of economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran’s already faltering economy. Those are on top of the series of sanctions imposed by the U.S. since it pulled out of the JCPoA in 2018.

European countries objected to the U.S. decision to pull out of the compact, and have tried to keep the accord alive. But with Iran’s violations, that support has been wavering. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that the deal should be replaced by a new deal negotiated by President Trump.

The Ayatollah’s rant came hours after he conducted Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time since 2012, and used the platform to rip into the U.S. for its aggressive stance on Iran.

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“These contemptible governments are waiting to bring the Iranian nation to its knees,” Khamenei said. “America, who is your elder, your leader, and your master, was not able to bring the Iranian nation to its knees. You are too small to bring the Iranian nation to its knees.”

He appeared to mock Trump and others who had backed the protesters marching in the streets against Khamenei, dismissing “these American clowns who falsely and despicably say that they are standing with the Iranian people.”

“You are lying,” he said. “If you do stand with the Iranian people it is because you want to stick your poisoned dagger into the back of the Iranian nation. Of course you haven’t been able to do that so far, and you won’t be able to do a damn thing.”

Fox News’ Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124332463001_6124330426001-vs Isolated Iran leader lashes out at Europe as nations join US in ramping up pressure fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc b4eb0c70-be5f-5f76-bb82-22edfdd776b1 article Adam Shaw   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124332463001_6124330426001-vs Isolated Iran leader lashes out at Europe as nations join US in ramping up pressure fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc b4eb0c70-be5f-5f76-bb82-22edfdd776b1 article Adam Shaw

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Lev Parnas Says Many GOPers Are Too ‘Scared’ Of Trump Getting DOJ To Investigate Them To Speak Out

Westlake Legal Group UISBTK3QDvW7VuklsYVZIPWyt-kTDMnMHGdJrJ63ozg Lev Parnas Says Many GOPers Are Too ‘Scared’ Of Trump Getting DOJ To Investigate Them To Speak Out r/politics

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New poll: 83% of African Americans say Trump is a racist

Westlake Legal Group mNdEKyvQkcCptfTVp6-uLR9d4fdBbMRE8946R0RVteU New poll: 83% of African Americans say Trump is a racist r/politics

1973

The US Department of Justice — under the Nixon administration, out of all administrations — sued the Trump Management Corporation for violating the Fair Housing Act. Federal officials found evidence that Trump had refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available, among other accusations. Trump said the federal government was trying to get him to rent to welfare recipients. In the aftermath, he signed an agreement in 1975 agreeing not to discriminate to renters of color without admitting to discriminating before.

1980s

Kip Brown, a former employee at Trump’s Castle, accused another one of Trump’s businesses of discrimination. “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor,” Brown said. “It was the eighties, I was a teenager, but I remember it: They put us all in the back.”

1988

In a commencement speech at Lehigh University, Trump spent much of his speech accusing countries like Japan of “stripping the United States of economic dignity.” This matches much of his current rhetoric on China.

1989

In a controversial case that’s been characterized as a modern-day lynching, four black teenagers and one Latino teenager — the “Central Park Five” — were accused of attacking and raping a jogger in New York City. Trump immediately took charge in the case, running an ad in local papers demanding, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” The teens’ convictions were later vacated after they spent seven to 13 years in prison, and the city paid $41 million in a settlement to the teens. But Trump in October 2016 said he still believes they’re guilty, despite the DNA evidence to the contrary.

1991

A book by John O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump’s criticism of a black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” Trump at first denied the remarks, but later said in a 1997 Playboy interview that “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”

1992

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino had to pay a $200,000 fine because it transferred black and women dealers off tables to accommodate a big-time gambler’s prejudices.

1993

In congressional testimony, Trump said that some Native American reservations operating casinos shouldn’t be allowed because “they don’t look like Indians to me.”

2000

In opposition to a casino proposed by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe, which he saw as a financial threat to his casinos in Atlantic City, Trump secretly ran a series of ads suggesting the tribe had a “record of criminal activity [that] is well documented.”

2004

In season two of The Apprentice, Trump fired Kevin Allen, a black contestant, for being overeducated. “You’re an unbelievably talented guy in terms of education, and you haven’t done anything,” Trump said on the show. “At some point you have to say, ‘That’s enough.’”

2005

Trump publicly pitched what was essentially The Apprentice: White People vs. Black People. He said he “wasn’t particularly happy” with the most recent season of his show, so he was considering “an idea that is fairly controversial — creating a team of successful African Americans versus a team of successful whites. Whether people like that idea or not, it is somewhat reflective of our very vicious world.”

2010

In 2010, there was a huge national controversy over the “Ground Zero Mosque” — a proposal to build a Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan, near the site of the 9/11 attacks. Trump opposed the project, calling it “insensitive,” and offered to buy out one of the investors in the project. On The Late Show With David Letterman, Trump argued, referring to Muslims, “Well, somebody’s blowing us up. Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff.”

2011

Trump played a big role in pushing false rumors that Obama — the country’s first black president — was not born in the US. He even sent investigators to Hawaii to look into Obama’s birth certificate. Obama later released his birth certificate, calling Trump a ”carnival barker.” (The research has found a strong correlation between “birtherism,” as this conspiracy theory is called, and racism.) Trump has reportedly continued pushing this conspiracy theory in private.

2011

While Trump suggested that Obama wasn’t born in the US, he also argued that maybe Obama wasn’t a good enough student to have gotten into Columbia or Harvard Law School, and demanded Obama release his university transcripts. Trump claimed, “I heard he was a terrible student. Terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” For many people, none of these incidents, individually, may be totally damning: One of these alone might suggest that Trump is simply a bad speaker and perhaps racially insensitive (“politically incorrect,” as he would put it), but not overtly racist.

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The week in pictures, Jan. 11 – Jan. 17

Westlake Legal Group 01_AP20015434140792 The week in pictures, Jan. 11 - Jan. 17 fox-news/world fox-news/us fox news fnc/world fnc article 8352e02c-cf13-57fa-aa39-045df54bae8f

https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2020/01/918/516/14_RTS2YF9K.jpg?ve=1&tl=1

Kangaroo and wallaby joeys that have been orphaned due to a mixture of road accidents, dog attacks, bushfires, and drought conditions are seen in a cart as they are treated at Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in Beerwah, Australia, Jan. 15, 2020. 

AAP Image/Darren England/REUTERS

https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2020/01/918/516/14_RTS2YF9K.jpg?ve=1&tl=1

Westlake Legal Group 01_AP20015434140792 The week in pictures, Jan. 11 - Jan. 17 fox-news/world fox-news/us fox news fnc/world fnc article 8352e02c-cf13-57fa-aa39-045df54bae8f   Westlake Legal Group 01_AP20015434140792 The week in pictures, Jan. 11 - Jan. 17 fox-news/world fox-news/us fox news fnc/world fnc article 8352e02c-cf13-57fa-aa39-045df54bae8f

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon

Iran’s supreme leader struck a defiant tone in a rare public sermon on Friday, calling the United States an “arrogant power” and telling tens of thousands of chanting worshipers that God’s backing had allowed his country to “slap the face” of the United States.

In his first such address in eight years, the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sought to rally supporters and undermine critics after weeks of turbulence in the Middle East that brought Iran and the United States to the brink of war and prompted street protests in Iran over the accidental downing of a civilian jetliner by Iranian forces.

Mr. Khamenei offered only scant condolences to the families who lost relatives in the crash, and instead sought to project strength. He dismissed protesters as “stooges of the United States,” lauded Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s foreign operations chief who was killed in an American drone strike, and praised a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on United States forces in Iraq.

“These two weeks were extraordinary and eventful. Bitter and sweet events. Lessons we learned. The Iranian people went through a lot,” he said. “We delivered a slap to U.S.’s image as a superpower.”

He added that President Trump was a “clown” who only pretended to support the Iranian people but would “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs.

The event, choreographed to present an image of power and unity, skirted the accidental downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane on Jan. 8 by Iranian forces that killed all 176 people on board. A lone banner featuring an airplane hung between huge pictures of General Suleimani.

The downing of the jet — followed by three days of denials by Iranian officials — spurred a new wave of protests across the country that Iranian security forces have sought to quell with bullets and tear gas.

On Friday, the Ukrainian foreign minister, Vadym Prystaiko, said that an Iranian representative would travel to Ukraine next week and that Iran had agreed to hand over data and voice recorders from the downed plane after they had been examined by a team of experts from Canada, Iran and Ukraine.

Nearly 45 minutes into his sermon, Mr. Khamenei said his “heart burned” for the victims of the crash, but he quickly accused Iran’s enemies of seeking to capitalize on the tragedy to overshadow the killing of General Suleimani and the missile strikes on two bases that housed American troops in Iraq.

“As much as we were sad about the crash, our enemy was happy about it,” he said. “They thought they found an excuse to undermine the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and our armed forces and question the Islamic Republic.”

Westlake Legal Group iran-tehran-airport-crash-flights-promo-1578698739538-articleLarge Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Prayers and Prayer Books Politics and Government Khamenei, Ali Iran Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Flights In and Out of Tehran Continued After Missile Strikes and Plane Crash

Planes took off after Iran’s missile strikes on bases in Iraq, and even after a Ukrainian plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

Forgoing Tehran University, where Mr. Khamenei usually speaks, he appeared for communal Muslim prayers on Friday at Tehran’s Grand Mosalla, a large complex used as a communal prayer center for Muslim holidays and as an arena for election campaigns.

Crowds streamed in several hours before his sermon began, including schoolchildren, government employees and worshipers from neighboring provinces who had been bused in from their local mosques.

The complex had been outfitted with political messages: American flags were spread on the floor in the entrances so that worshipers could tread on them. Uniformed soldiers handed out posters of General Suleimani and red headbands with “God is Great” written in Arabic.

President Hassan Rouhani, who is seen as a moderate, was in the front row as Mr. Khamenei spoke. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also sat nearby, as did Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ aerospace forces who has said units under his command were responsible for shooting down the plane. Iranian lawmakers, politicians and other citizens have called for his resignation over the downing.

Video

transcript

Ukrainian Flight 752: How a Plane Came Down in 7 Minutes

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.

We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We’ll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane’s takeoff to the moment it crashed. It’s the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani. Iranian defenses are on high alert, on guard for a possible U.S. attack. Four hours later, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, Flight 752, operated by Ukraine International Airlines, is getting ready for departure. At 6:12 a.m., the plane takes off. It flies northwest, and climbs to almost 8,000 feet in around three minutes, according to flight tracker data. It’s following its regular route. Up ahead are several military sites. Until now, the plane’s transponder has been signaling normally. But just before 6:15 a.m., it stops. This is where the first missile hits the plane. Footage from a security camera near one of the military sites shows the missile launch. It hits the plane, and knocks out the transponder. But the airliner keeps flying. A security camera, directly beneath, shows what happens next. A second missile launches 30 seconds after the first, and it explodes, moments later. A third video shows the impact. Let’s watch it again, and slow it down. Here is the missile, and here is the plane. An Iranian military commander said a defense system operator mistook the passenger jet for a cruise missile. The plane is now on fire. We don’t know its precise path after 6:15 a.m., but we do know that it turns back in the direction of the airport. It continues flying for several minutes, engulfed by flames. Around 6:19 a.m., a bystander films the plane slowly going down. There appears to be second explosion before the jetliner plummets outside Tehran about 10 miles from where the last signal was sent. A security camera captures that moment as the plane crashes toward it. Here we see the immediate aftermath of the crash. As day breaks, another witness films the smoldering wreckage. Debris is spread out over 1,500 feet along a small park, orchards and a soccer field, narrowly missing a nearby village. A large section of the plane looks badly charred. More jet parts are found here, and the plane’s tail and wheels land over 500 feet away. It is a gruesome scene. The passengers’ personal items — toys, clothes, photo albums — are scattered around. After days of denials, Iran took responsibility for the crash, blaming human error at a moment of heightened tensions.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166953561_06e1cc97-db54-4a54-a482-c464887a1919-videoSixteenByNine3000 Iran’s Supreme Leader Rebukes U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Prayers and Prayer Books Politics and Government Khamenei, Ali Iran Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.CreditCredit…Akbar Tavakoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Large banners inside the complex featured the face of General Suleimani and other men who were killed alongside him in United States drone strikes, ordered by Mr. Trump, near the Baghdad airport on Jan. 2. Other banners read, “Death to America.”

Mr. Khamenei, 80, Iran’s top political and religious official, delivers Friday sermons only at times of serious crisis that require his intervention. His last such sermon was in 2012, during the Arab Spring uprisings in the region. He also spoke in 2009, during widespread protests in Iran contesting the results of a presidential election that became known as the Green Movement.

In both instances, Mr. Khamenei’s reinforced the government’s hard line by ordering people off the streets.

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It Is Beginning to Look Like the U.S. Has a Corruption Problem, Not Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group OQL8wNK-xK6V3J47Nf1eAqpkQZLyiEkl38GZxi_Ilz8 It Is Beginning to Look Like the U.S. Has a Corruption Problem, Not Ukraine r/politics

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Trump updates school prayer guidance: ‘We will uphold religious liberty’

As his impeachment trial was getting underway in the Senate, President Trump gave a hat tip Thursday to his evangelical base by updating the federal guidance on prayer in public schools — an action that came on National Religious Freedom Day.

The order is similar to a 2003 guidance on school prayer, but it establishes a state-mandated filing process for complaints against local schools and school districts.

States must then send the federal government a list each year of local schools and districts that have “a policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer,” in public schools. States are also required to report local schools that do not certify to the state that they don’t have unconstitutional prayer policies.

JIM DALY: TRUMP UPHOLDS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WITH NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER, BENEFITING ALL AMERICANS

“You have things happening today that 10 or 15 years ago would have been unthinkable,” Trump said in response to a question about his views on the culture wars. “Taking the word God down, taking the word Christmas out. I think we’ve turned that one around very good. I think we’ve turned both of them around very good.”

The new Trump guidance also emphasizes that students may pray or read scriptures when they have free time during school. What is does not do is attempt to encourage schools themselves to sponsor prayer, acknowledging that teachers and administrators are generally barred from engaging in religious speech as part of their official duties or inviting religious speakers on behalf of the school.

“For example, teachers and other public school officials, acting in their official capacities, may not lead their classes in prayer, devotional readings from the Bible, or other religious activities,” the guidance states. But, the order continues, “students and teachers do not ‘shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

The guidance, citing Supreme Court precedent, makes clear students may pray alone or together during school, and that they may attempt to persuade their peers about religious topics just as they are allowed to with political topics.

Westlake Legal Group Trump720 Trump updates school prayer guidance: 'We will uphold religious liberty' Tyler Olson fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/bill-of-rights fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/health/education fox news fnc/politics fnc article 9ad5f14f-7121-50d2-a0d4-dbb462e269e5

Faith leaders pray over President Donald Trump during an “Evangelicals for Trump Coalition Launch” at King Jesus International Ministry, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

‘JESUS CANDY’ ON MILITARY BASE VIOLATES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, GROUP CLAIMS

Before the school prayer event on Thursday, the Trump administration also proposed nine new rules that aim to ensure fair treatment of religious organizations by the federal government.

“The proposed rules would eliminate burdensome Obama-era requirements that unfairly imposed unique regulatory burdens only on religious organizations,” a White House press release said.

Equal treatment of religious organizations has been a hot topic in recent months, especially with the Supreme Court set to hear arguments in a case next week about whether states may ban private religious schools from receiving public funds that are generally available to private, non-religious schools.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASE THAT COULD BRING MAJOR CHANGES IN SCHOOL CHOICE LAWS

These regulatory updates drew criticism from some groups that said the changes risked empowering discriminatory behavior in the name of religious freedom.

“These rules undermine the civil rights and religious freedom of millions of our most vulnerable Americans who rely on social services — with particularly dire consequences for LGBTQ people and religious minorities,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

But Johnnie Moore, an evangelical adviser to the administration, lauded the moves as a fresh sign of Trump’s commitment to religious freedom.

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“The White House isn’t saying whether one should pray or to whom or what they should pray to,” Moore said. He added that “they are simply making it clear that in the United States students have First Amendment rights also, and our `separation of church and state’ wasn’t intended to suppress a vibrant religious life in America but to facilitate it.”

Fox News’ Caleb Parke and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124172181001_6124164559001-vs Trump updates school prayer guidance: 'We will uphold religious liberty' Tyler Olson fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/bill-of-rights fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/health/education fox news fnc/politics fnc article 9ad5f14f-7121-50d2-a0d4-dbb462e269e5   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6124172181001_6124164559001-vs Trump updates school prayer guidance: 'We will uphold religious liberty' Tyler Olson fox-news/us/religion fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/bill-of-rights fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/health/education fox news fnc/politics fnc article 9ad5f14f-7121-50d2-a0d4-dbb462e269e5

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In China, Birth Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 70 Years

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1190106458_wide-c1cca554370a58db987371412dae569a17d91f30-s1100-c15 In China, Birth Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 70 Years

A woman carries a baby born on China’s National Day on Oct. 1, 2019, at a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Visual China Group via Getty Ima hide caption

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Visual China Group via Getty Ima

Westlake Legal Group  In China, Birth Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 70 Years

A woman carries a baby born on China’s National Day on Oct. 1, 2019, at a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China.

Visual China Group via Getty Ima

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

New birth-rate figures show that China has so far failed to reverse the effects of its longtime one-child policy — a change that policymakers say is necessary to forestall the long-term economic consequences of an aging and shrinking population.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China released the new data on Friday, the same day it announced that the country’s GDP growth has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 30 years.

Last year, there were 10.48 births per 1,000 people, the lowest birth rate since 1949, the year the People’s Republic of China was founded. The number was down from 10.94 the year before.

The one-child policy was put in place in 1979 by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who feared that the country’s exploding population would hold back economic development.

However, by 2016, China’s leadership came to realize that the policy had been too successful and officially relaxed it.

Experts say that improved education and higher incomes in China have led to delayed marriage and childbirth, and that once-strict government restrictions on births have made one-child households the norm.

“China should have stopped the policy 28 years ago. Now it’s too late,” Yi Fuxian, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a longtime critic of the country’s family planning policies, told The Guardian last year.

By 2050, a third of China’s people will be 60 years of age or older, according to current projections, placing a significant burden on the government to care for the elderly.

Tariffs pinch economic growth

Meanwhile, the world’s second-largest economy cooled to its slowest pace in nearly three decades, with China posting year-on-year growth of 6.1% last year — a further sign that the protracted trade war with the U.S. has taken a toll.

The pace of growth in gross domestic product for 2019 was down from 6.6% the previous year and marked the smallest annual increase since 1990.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19262545602335_wide-804bca19a9cbde8640071ee3b36f4b4cfefc6856-s1100-c15 In China, Birth Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 70 Years

A crane lifts a CMA CGM Group shipping container from China onto the Hapag-Lloyd Terminal at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga. China’s economy grew by just 6.1% last year, a sign that the trade war with the U.S. has taken a toll. Stephen B. Morton/AP hide caption

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Stephen B. Morton/AP

Westlake Legal Group  In China, Birth Rate Falls To Lowest Level In 70 Years

A crane lifts a CMA CGM Group shipping container from China onto the Hapag-Lloyd Terminal at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga. China’s economy grew by just 6.1% last year, a sign that the trade war with the U.S. has taken a toll.

Stephen B. Morton/AP

Beijing’s policymakers had projected growth of between 6% and 6.5% for the year.

China’s GDP, worth an estimated $14.4 trillion, is second in size only to the U.S. Its economy has been undergoing a painful shift away from heavy industry and commodities. Instead, Beijing has aimed for a more consumer-based economy.

The latest GDP figures, while exceptionally strong by the standards of many other countries, are a long way from the heady days of 10% or more growth barely a decade ago.

In 2007, the Chinese economy grew by a blistering 14%.

In recent years, China’s leaders have struggled to balance competing demands of maintaining high rates of growth while simultaneously minimizing the consequences of years of debt-fueled stimulus spending. Last year, authorities took steps to limit wasteful infrastructure investments in an effort to rein in unsustainable levels of local government and corporate debt.

Friday’s data come days after a “Phase 1” trade deal between the U.S. and China, seen as a step toward ending an 18-month-old trade dispute, which has seen damaging tariffs imposed by both sides.

The new trade deal eases U.S. tariffs on some popular consumer goods manufactured in China, such as cell phones, but leaves in place hundreds of billions of dollars of other tariffs, including on components that U.S. factories use to assemble finished products.

NPR’s Emily Feng in Beijing contributed to this report.

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