Shroud of Turin Mystery Deepens as Medieval Dating Found to Be Fundamentally Flawed

A new French-Italian study on the Shroud of Turin throws doubt on what many thought was the definitive dating of the cloth believed by millions to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. . .

In 1988 radiocarbon tests on the Shroud of Turin dated the cloth to between 1260 and 1390. The implication was clear: The shroud was a medieval forgery. After a 2017 Freedom of Information (FOI) request, a new team of researchers gained access to the original data used for the 1988 test. The findings of this new team are that the 1988 test results were unreliable. . .

Only then, after the British Museum acceded to the FOI — something it was legally obliged to do — did Casabianca and his teams gain access to hundreds of unpublished pages from the earlier study. The subsequent examination of the data by the Franco/Italian team found evidence, now published in Oxford University’s Archaeometry, which suggests that the methods employed by the 1988 scientists were flawed. . .

Casabianca’s team found that the 1988 carbon dating was unreliable, as only pieces from the edges of the cloth were radiocarbon tested. It has been long held by some scholars that those sample areas had been affected by exposure to fire in 1532 while the shroud was stored in the Sainte-Chapelle, in Chambéry, France.

“The tested samples are obviously heterogeneous from many different dates,” Casabianca, a convert to Catholicism, told the Register. “There is no guarantee that all these samples, taken from one end of the shroud, are representative of the whole fabric. It is, therefore, impossible to conclude that the Shroud of Turin dates from the Middle Ages.” (Read more from “Shroud of Turin Mystery Deepens as Medieval Dating Found to Be Fundamentally Flawed” HERE)

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President Trump Hits Venezuelan Dictator Maduro with Total Economic Embargo

President Donald Trump announced an executive order to slap the government of Venezuela with brutal new sanctions that are reserved for only the worst regimes.

The order will freeze all assets of the socialist government in Venezuela and bars all transactions. . .

“I have determined that it is necessary to block the property of the Government of Venezuela in light of the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro regime,” [President Trump] said in the letter.

The letter listed the actions of the Venezuelan government that led to the sanctions, including, “the regime’s human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press, and ongoing attempts to undermine Interim President Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically-elected Venezuelan National Assembly.”

The U.S. and its allies hoped that Maduro would have stepped down after they threw their support behind Guaido, the opposition leader, but the dictator stubbornly held on to power with help from the Cuban government. (Read more from “President Trump Hits Venezuelan Dictator Maduro with Total Economic Embargo” HERE)

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Video: Car Rams Through Hong Kong Protesters

A driver believed to be injured and refusing help from the crowd rammed through an improvised blockade in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, on Monday, hitting protesters standing on the other side.

The incident occurred during one of at least eight official protests organized against the Communist Party of China on Monday and a call for a general strike that left mass transit systems and the Hong Kong airport largely inoperable.

The protesters have presented a list of five demands to the Hong Kong government intended to safeguard the longstanding democratic tradition of the region, among them a call for universal suffrage. Currently, a direct vote only covers half the seats in the Legislative Council (LegCo), leaving the other half to regional special interests. . .

The Asian outlet Coconuts reported that the car in question, apparently a minivan model, boasted spray paint on its side reading “murderer” in Chinese. It is not clear at press time how the man’s car came to have that graffiti on it, though protesters on the scene indicated through Telegram that the man had an “altercation” with the protesters before driving into them. The nature of that alleged altercation also remains uncertain.

The Guardian reported that, according to individuals present, the driver was injured and refused help from the protesters, who offered to call medical services for him. Police confirmed only one person injured from the incident but did verify that video of the incident aligned with the reports they received. (Read more from “Video: Car Rams Through Hong Kong Protesters” HERE)

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Shooting at a Packed Nightclub in Canada, Where Gun Control Is Already Way Stricter Than the U.S.

Shots rang out at a packed Toronto nightclub as an altercation involving a firearm sent five people to the hospital, one with life-threatening injuries, according to local police.

A Toronto police official told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said that it was “fortunate there’s five victims only,” because “the club was completely full.”

The CBC reports that 3 victims from the early Monday morning shooting were found at the scene, while two fled and took themselves to the hospital.

“It’s very concerning,” the official added, “the club was packed with patrons.”

The story also notes two other shootings in Toronto over the weekend.

As I pointed out for a different story earlier this year (which was also about circumventing Canada’s firearm laws), Canada’s gun control situation looks much like what the gun control lobby says it wants right now, as opposed to the more draconian laws in most European countries, which look like what more extreme voices in the gun control movement actually want:

While most long guns are classified as “non-restricted” in Canada, most handguns are deemed “restricted” firearms (some are banned) and are under extensive regulation.

All gun owners have to be licensed, and there are extra licensure requirements for “restricted” firearms.

License applications require third-party references.

Concealed carry is virtually nonexistent unless you need to carry for work.

All “restricted” guns have to be registered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The government regulates private gun storage.

Last year, the country’s liberal government proposed expanding background checks to cover a person’s entire life history and requiring government authorization for the transportation of privately owned guns. Now, Canadian gun control advocates believe that a full handgun ban is “within our reach.”

U.S. politicians have responded to shootings in Ohio and Texas over the weekend by proposing different forms of reactionary gun control. President Trump gave an address from the White House in support of “red flag” gun confiscation laws, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., put out a joint statement calling for expanded background check legislation. (For more from the author of “Shooting at a Packed Nightclub in Canada, Where Gun Control Is Already Way Stricter Than the U.S.” please click HERE)

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Palestinian Rioters Raise Nazi Swastika Flag

Palestinian rioters raised a Nazi swastika along with a Palestinian flag during the weekly Gaza border riots on Friday, where some 6,000 protesters gathered — many of whom threw rocks, firebombs and explosive devices at IDF forces.

On its Twitter page, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit posted a picture of the swastika underneath a Palestinian flag with a text written in poetry form chastising the move as “sheer hatred” and ending with a promise that Israeli troops would “defend Israel today and every single day.”

Fifty-one Palestinians were injured, 24 of them by IDF live fire, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported.

The beginning of the year saw a dramatic spike in violence along the Gaza border with the so-called March of Return protests, with daily airborne incendiary devices being flown over the border, infiltrations and shootings. Hamas and other Gaza-based groups have also increasingly relied on drones and quadcopters to gather intelligence and track IDF movements. (Read more from “Palestinian Rioters Raise Nazi Swastika Flag” HERE)

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Scientists Are Making Human-Monkey Hybrids in China

In a controversial first, a team of researchers have been creating embryos that are part human and part monkey, reports the Spanish daily El País.

Daring biologist: According to the newspaper, the Spanish-born biologist Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, who operates a lab at the Salk Institute in California, has been working working with monkey researchers in China to perform the disturbing research.

Making chimeras: The technique for making chimeras involves injecting human embryonic stem cells into a days-old embryo of another species. The hope is that the human cells will grow along with the embryo, adding to it. . .

Because monkeys are genetically closer to humans, it’s possible that such experiments could now succeed. To give the human cells a better chance of taking hold, scientists also use gene-editing technology to disable the formation of certain types of cells in the animal embryos. . .

So far, no part-human part-monkey has been born. Instead, the mixed embryos are only being allowed to develop for a week or two in the lab, at which time they can be studied. That is according to Estrella Núñez, a biologist and administrator at the Catholic University of Murcia, in Spain, who told El País her university is helping to fund the research. (Read more from “Scientists Are Making Human-Monkey Hybrids in China” HERE)

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Mysterious Radiation Cloud over Europe Traced to Secret Russian Nuclear Accident

A vast cloud of nuclear radiation that spreadover continental Europe in 2017 has been traced to an unacknowledged nuclear accident in southern Russia, according to an international team of scientists.

The experts say the cloud of radiation detected over Europe in late September 2017 could only have been caused by a nuclear fuel-reprocessing accident at the Mayak Production Association, a nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region of the Ural Mountains in Russia, sometime between noon on Sept. 26 and noon on Sept. 27. . .

The lead author of the new research, nuclear chemist Georg Steinhauser of Leibniz University in Hanover, Germany, said that more than 1,300 atmospheric measurements from around the world showed that between 250 and 400 terabecquerels of radioactive ruthenium-106 had been released during that time.

Ruthenium-106 is a radioactive isotope of ruthenium, meaning that it has a different number of neutrons in its nucleus than the naturally occurring element has. The isotope can be produced as a byproduct during nuclear fission of uranium-235 atoms.

Although the resulting cloud of nuclear radiation was diluted enough that it caused no harm to people beneath it, the total radioactivity was between 30 and 100 times the level of radiation released after the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011, Steinhauser told Live Science. (Read more from “Mysterious Radiation Cloud over Europe Traced to Secret Russian Nuclear Accident” HERE)

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Government Approves Bringing Animal-Human Hybrids to Term

. . .After years of planning, the persistent researcher has at last received approval from a government willing to pursue one of the most controversial scientific studies there is: human-animal embryo experiments.

While many countries around the world have restricted, defunded or outright banned these ethically-fraught practices, Japan has now officially lifted the lid on this proverbial Pandora’s box. Earlier this year, the country made it legal to not only transplant hybrid embryos into surrogate animals, but also to bring them to term.

As a lead stem cell researcher at the University of Tokyo and Stanford University, Nakauchi has gone from country to country, chasing his dream of one day growing customised human organs in animals like sheep or pigs. . .

That ultimate goal is still a long way off, but the next step in his research has at last been given the green light by ministry officials in Japan. As the first researcher to receive government approval since the 2014 ban, Nakauchi plans on taking things slowly so that public understanding and trust can catch up. . .

The goal is for the rodent embryo to use the human cells to build itself a pancreas, and for two years, the team plans on watching these rodents develop and grow, carefully monitoring their organs and brains in the process. Only then will the researchers ask for approval to do the same with pigs. (Read more from “Government Approves Bringing Animal-Human Hybrids to Term” HERE)

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Ethiopia Plants a Record 350 Million Trees in 12 Hours

Ethiopia may have set a world record by planting 350 million trees in 12 hours on Monday as part of its plan to fight climate change and deforestation.

The effort is part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s “Green Legacy” campaign to plant four billion trees between May and October this year to restore Ethiopia’s landscape. . .

Reports state that the “campaign wants every Ethiopian to plant 40 seedlings during the rainy season, which runs from May to October. In the end, the country will have 4 billion indigenous trees to help mitigate the effects of the global climate crisis.” . . .

“#GreenLegacy, is an ambitious undertaking to become a green society by planting various types of eco-friendly seedling to combat environmental degradation and, a national platform that will be used for various societal green activities,” the website says.

Critics argue that the prime minister is using the campaign to distract from ongoing ethnic conflicts, which have reportedly forced millions of people from their homes. (Read more from “Ethiopia Plants a Record 350 Million Trees in 12 Hours” HERE)

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Why Hong Kong Protesters Wave the American Flag

. . .Since starting their demonstrations seven weeks ago against a controversial extradition bill that threatened to undermine the city-state’s democracy, the protesters in Hong Kong have raised many different flags to represent their cause. Often times those are variants of the flag of the city-state — a stylized, white five-petal flower from the Hong Kong orchid tree on a red background. One commonly used variant is the same flag but with wilted petals behind a black background, threatening imagery of democracy under attack.

But on rare occasions, the protesters raised the Star-Spangled Banner while marching through the streets of Hong Kong.

The Hongkongers are raising the Stars-and-Stripes to appeal to the United States to take action, according to a few of the flag-carriers.

One person carrying the U.S. flag interviewed by Asia Times noted that he wants to “urge the U.S. Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as soon as possible.” The proposed legislation, if passed, will impose sanctions on individuals from the mainland and the city-state who violated human rights and require the U.S. government to annually review whether Hong Kong is democratic enough to merit lucrative U.S. trade privileges not afforded to the rest of China. . .

The protester allegedly said he wants to wave the U.S. flag — an act sure to infuriate the Chinese government already irritated by the protracted demonstration in Hong Kong — to invite a Chinese military crackdown that will hopefully provoke the United States into taking more concrete action. (Read more from “Why Hong Kong Protesters Wave the American Flag” HERE)

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