One Marine Dead, Five Still Missing After Midair Collision near Japan

By Townhall. A midair collision involving a Marine Corps KC-130 Hercules and F/A-18 Hornet 200 miles off of the coast of Japan has resulted in the death of one Marine, one being rescued, and five others still missing. III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) announced the collision occurred around 2:00 A.M.

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force initially rescued one of the Marines, with another being found a short time later and was sent to hospital for medical evaluation. Hours later, III MEF revealed the Marine had died.

“The United States Marine Corps confirms that two Marines have been found. One is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel,” III MEF stated. “The aircraft were conducting routine training and aerial refueling was a part of the training; as to what was taking place when the mishap occurred, that is under investigation.”

(Read more from “One Marine Dead, Five Still Missing After Midair Collision near Japan” HERE)

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Rescue Mission in Japan After Two US Marine Aircraft Collide

By BBC News. A big search and rescue operation is continuing in Japan for five missing US Marines after two aircraft with seven crew collided and crashed into the sea.

One Marine was rescued and was “in fair condition”, while another one “has been declared deceased”, Marines officials said in a statement.

The planes involved were a KC-130 and an F/A-18 based at Iwakuni near Hiroshima, south-western Japan.

US media say they crashed during a mid-air refuelling exercise.

The Marine Corps has not officially confirmed this, describing the incident as a “mishap”. (Read more from “Rescue Mission in Japan After Two Us Marine Aircraft Collide” HERE)

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The Ceasefire in Our Trade War with China Doesn’t Solve Deeper Problems

The highly anticipated meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit concluded last Saturday evening with no major breakthrough. Pundits who had hoped for a good trade deal between the U.S. and China are surely disappointed.

President Trump previously threatened to raise tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on about $250 billion worth of Chinese imports on January 1, 2019. Now he has agreed to hold off on the tariff hike while both the Americans and Chinese delegations engage in trade negotiations for the next 90 days.

At present, President Xi has agreed not to impose any tit-for-tat response to current U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports. While stock markets and businesses worldwide can breathe a sigh of relief for now since the trade war will not get worse for another three months, the temporary truce can’t mask the deep divisions between the United States and China. . .

From the U.S. perspective, the rise of China has transitioned from a hope to a disappointment to a threat. When former president Richard Nixon visited Communist China in 1972 and established a diplomatic relationship, 99 percent of Chinese people made less than $2 a day and China’s per capita gross domestic product was less than $200. The Chinese people were poorer than people in Bangladesh, to put it into perspective.

In 2017, China’s GDP per capita was close to $9,000. Global poverty rates have been cut in half since 1981, mainly because of China’s impressive economic growth. This economic growth has a lot to do with the Chinese people’s ingenuity and certain market-friendly policies from their central government. But China often fails to mention that China wouldn’t have had almost four decades of impressive growth without the West, especially the United States, providing markets for Chinese goods, bringing foreign investment to China to build factories, and training millions of talented Chinese students at Western colleges and universities. (Read more from “The Ceasefire in Our Trade War with China Doesn’t Solve Deeper Problems” HERE)

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Climate Change Alarmism Is the World’s Leading Cause of Hot Gas

By The Federalist. Even as anti-gas tax riots raged in France this week, the naturalist David Attenborough warned a crowd at a United Nations climate change summit in Poland that the “collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” UN General Assembly President Maria Espinosa told the media that “mankind” was “in danger of disappearing” if climate change is allowed to progress at its current rate.

Speakers, who flew in to swap doomsday stories and partake of the meat-heavy menu, advocated for radical changes to avoid this imminent environmental apocalypse. These days, “the point of no return” is almost always in view, yet always just out of reach.

Sorry, but by now, this rhetoric is familiar. You can go back to 1970, when Harvard biologist George Wald, riding a wave of popular environmental panic during the decade, estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

Or you can go back to 1977, when President Barack Obama’s future science “tsar” John Holdren co-authored a book with Paul R. Ehrlich predicting that global warming could lead to the deaths of 1 billion starving people by 2020. (The authors theorized that “population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution.”)

Or you can go back to 2006, when Al Gore warned in his Oscar-winning documentary that sea levels would rise by 20 feet “in the near future.” The producers even offered chilling depictions of cities underwater. Gore was only off by around 20 feet, or so. Anyway, South Beach is still with us. (Read more from “Climate Change Alarmism Is the World’s Leading Cause of Hot Gas” HERE)

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New Zealand Defence Report Says Climate Change Greatest Security Risk

By The Economic Times. New Zealand released a defence policy statement on Thursday calling climate change its greatest security threat and stressed the importance of the issue to the geostrategically contested Pacific region, which is seeing increased influence from China.

The assessment came on the heels of a defence policy earlier this year that warned China’s rising influence in the South Pacific could undermine regional stability, drawing a complaint from the Asian giant.

“It identifies climate change as one of the most significant security threats of our time, and one that is already having adverse impacts both at home and in New Zealand’s neighbourhood,” said Defence Minister Ron Mark in an emailed statement. (Read more from “New Zealand Defence Report Says Climate Change Greatest Security Risk” HERE)

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Dr. Frankenstein of CRISPR Gene-Editing Infamy, Now Missing After Opening Pandora’s Box

A Chinese scientist, He Jiankui, has allegedly created the first gene edited twin babies (born this past month) using the fairly new technology: CRISPR-Cas9. If reports are true, he has brought science a giant leap closer to “designer babies.”

Creepy CRISPR’s History

CRISPR-Cas9, commonly known as “CRISPR,” was largely created in 2012 by Jennifer Doudna, a University of California-Berkeley scientist, and Emmanuelle Charpentier. This technology makes gene editing much easier with greater precision. The changes made are also passed on through many generations of the cells.

CRISPR is currently being used in adult cells as well as embryos. Previously, all human experimentation with this technology used donated embryos not “designated” for pregnancy. Sadly, during these experiments, numerous human embryos were destroyed until Jiankui eventually implanted a few into their mothers.

Jiankui’s initial objective in using CRISPR was to find a way to give HIV-positive fathers a chance to have babies resistant to HIV. He thought this was important, at least partially because of the stigma associated with people with HIV in China. But other scientists have pointed out that using CRISPR for such purposes was wholly unnecessary and reckless, as there are many other ways to protect against HIV, and CRISPR remains experimental.

Unintended Consequences

With respect to potential problems with CRISPR, studies suggest that the gene editing technique creates “off-target DNA damage” much more frequently than once thought. Two studies have also shown that this technology may increase cancer risk. Since CRISPR is also still relatively new, other side effects will likely be discovered with time.

As to ethics of using this new tech on humans, Jiankui has posted a video in which he specifically discusses gene-edited “designer babies.” He says that is an unethical use of CRISPR and is not what he is using it for. In yet another video, he attempts to devise moral boundaries for CRISPR with “five principles.” Curiously, his recent use of CRISPR squarely violates these principles.

For example, Jiankui’s second principle only allows CRISPR gene editing “when the risks of the procedure are outweighed by a serious medical need.” Today, HIV-positive fathers are already at low risk to pass on the virus to their babies. Moreover, other methods such as “sperm washing” can prevent the father from passing HIV onto his child. Finally, Jiankui’s last principle decrees that “[e]veryone deserves freedom from genetic disease.” Of course, HIV is not a genetic disease; it’s viral, not hereditary. For Jiankui to equate HIV with a genetic disease is troubling.

Nevertheless, He Jiankui’s research has had one benefit: it has accelerated the question of whether and/or how this technology should be used in the future. Many scientists (including Jennifer Doudna) have warned that Jiankui’s research was irresponsible, even atrocious. This mirrored the scientific community’s consensus as early as 2015 that genetic tampering with human embryos intended for pregnancy should never occur without far more research.

Not 100% Bad

On the brighter side, there’s hope that CRISPR can be used in humans to treat genetic diseases “such as sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or Alzheimer’s.” It may even be used to eliminate HIV in adult cells. It is also being used in agriculture, and there are potentially thousands of other ways it may be used.

But who should be the arbiter as to how CRISPR ought be employed in the future? Should it be the scientific community? Probably not. As we have already seen in the case of Jiankui, the scientific community is pretty much unable to guide itself on how to use this technology. So do we leave it to lawmakers and the courts to decide CRISPR’s fate? As we can readily see from legalized abortion and assisted suicide, the Supreme Court does not always rule in a way that promotes life. In reality, neither science nor politics may be competent to determine the ethics of this technology.

We are already seeing how CRISPR is being used for ethically questionable projects. In China they are using the technology to enable two female mice (or two male mice) to create offspring. A leader in biohacking, Dr. Josiah Zayner, has created a website exclusively for the purpose of teaching others and selling inexpensive DIY kits on how to use CRISPR at home. He believes that “consumer genetic design” will be a big part of the future of this technology.

CRISPR Scientist “Disappeared”

Frightening stuff, even for the godless communists. In fact, on December 3rd, the official Chinese press reported that Jiankui “disappeared.” This was just a day after he apparently had been placed under house arrest for his troubling work.

But whatever the immediate outcome of Jiankui’s Frankenstein-like experiments, there seems to be little question that Pandora’s box has been opened. Eventually, designer babies will be ubiquitous.

And a new caste system will arise: super, genetically modified humans versus the rest of us. Like the Tower of Babel, the Creator’s intervention is the only wildcard; man, left to his own devices, will never stop playing god.

Why the Brexit Deal Has Become Such a Tangled Mess

On Tuesday, President Trump said the withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union designed to codify Brexit “sounds like a great deal for the EU.” This reflected the majority of political thought across Great Britain over the last fortnight, which has panned the agreement Prime Minister Theresa May obtained:

At some point, negotiations with the EU always seemed destined to hit a reality check. The gap between what many British leaders want and what May could deliver has placed the United Kingdom in the midst of high-stakes political drama with a far-from-certain outcome. . .

From the outset of the treaty process, the EU held most of the negotiating cards, for two big reasons. First, British business fears the prospect of a “no-deal” Brexit. Under this scenario, the U.K. would exit the European Union next March 29—the date currently scheduled for Britain’s withdrawal—with no agreement in place governing future relations between the two entities. Overnight, border and customs checks would go into place, and tariffs would be re-imposed on British goods entering the EU and vice versa.

A no-deal Brexit has terrified the business community, ranging from the banking sector, where London’s reputation as a financial capital relies in large part on its EU ties, to concerns about supply chain interruptions. To give but one example of the uncertainty plaguing industry, the head of Britain’s Food and Drink Federation testified before a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that “warehouses around the U.K. for frozen and chilled food are ‘for all practical purposes booked out at the moment’”—businesses are stockpiling supplies to try and avoid disruptions next spring.

A no-deal Brexit also would create political uncertainties in Northern Ireland. Without an agreement governing customs between Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom exiting the EU) and the Republic of Ireland (a sovereign state that will remain in the EU), a no-deal Brexit could lead to the re-imposition of a “hard border” between the two nations. (Read more from “Why the Brexit Deal Has Become Such a Tangled Mess” HERE)

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Why Putin’s Game of Russian Roulette With Ukraine Is a Big Deal

In a stunning sequence of events, the Russian military opened fire then seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in an unprovoked attack on the Black Sea last Sunday. In the melee, several Ukrainian sailors were wounded and 24 captured. Moscow followed up this flagrant act of war by parading the sailors on Russian television to give clearly coerced confessions of guilt.

This attack is but the latest escalation in the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine that has been churning since 2014. It’s also the first great test for the Trump administration regarding Russia and one that will have lasting consequences on the future of Europe and the world. . .

The war in Ukraine began in 2014 after Russian special forces seized Crimea. The tactic Moscow used is what I dubbed, in U.S. Army publications, “the strategy of ambiguity.” Putin directed that his troops remove all symbols and anything else that would identify them as Russian soldiers.

This had the desired effect, as American journalists breathlessly reported of the ridiculously labeled “little green men” from unknown origins taking control of Crimea. President Obama and the rest of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies wrung their hands on what to do. The tactic worked––as President Obama dithered, Russia seized Crimea within a week without firing a shot in anger.

The takeover of Crimea was quickly followed by local referenda to ascertain if Crimea desired to become part of Russia––a vote, of course, that overwhelmingly supported the idea. The deal was sealed just a month after the little green men seized the country, with Putin announcing that Crimea would be annexed by Russia. (Read more from “Why Putin’s Game of Russian Roulette With Ukraine Is a Big Deal” HERE)

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The GOP Congress Could Respond to Airbnb’s Anti-Israel Move, but Probably Won’t

A recent move by Airbnb to block Jews in the West Bank from using its listing services has sparked policy action from the incoming governor of Florida and the outgoing governor of Illinois, but not so much from the outgoing Republican Congress.

CR foreign policy correspondent Jordan Schachtel reported earlier this week:

Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has also pledged to take legal action, if necessary, to stop Florida government employees from using Airbnb, should the policy continue.

Outgoing Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is also looking into taking potential action against Airbnb.

In the Washington Free Beacon report, reporter Adam Kredo noted that the situation could potentially lead to a renewed push for anti-boycott legislation on Capitol Hill. There’s one anti-BDS bill in the Senate and another in the House, each with bipartisan support. These would be updates to 1977 anti-boycott provisions signed by President Carter.

Will legislation make it to the president’s desk before Christmas?

I asked the offices of several pro-Israel members of both chambers whether or not the Airbnb news would lead to an end-of-year push on anti-boycott legislation. “Not that I know of,” one senior GOP aide told me.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is vocal about his interest in using the power of Congress to address anti-Semitism. “This kind of persecution has no place in any society and must end,” Cruz told the Free Beacon. “Airbnb should reverse its decision, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to combat anti-Semitism here and abroad.”

Other offices did not respond in time for publication. If responses are received, CR will update this article.

Absent any movement next week, it seems unlikely that we’ll see any progress on this front before Democrats take over the House in January. Sure, this would have been an easy last-minute messaging win for the GOP, but if Republicans were good at picking up the easy wins, they might not have lost the House earlier this month. (For more from the author of “The GOP Congress Could Respond to Airbnb’s Anti-Israel Move, but Probably Won’t” please click HERE)

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Tijuana Mayor Unloads on Caravan, Will No Longer Offer Assistance to Migrants

By Townhall. Tijuana’s mayor has had enough. He’s not spending any more city funds to help the migrants and he’s calling for the arrest of the caravan’s leader. The migrant caravan, mostly made up of Hondurans, has finally reached the U.S. southern border, where it clashed with both Mexican police and U.S. Border Patrol. They tried to rush the border crossing last weekend, which was thwarted. Tear gas had to be used to disperse the crowd, which sent liberal America into full froth. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) wondered if the chemical weapons convention was violated. It wasn’t. This is pure idiocy. It was pure pandemonium.

Tijuana’s mayor simply said that his city doesn’t have the resources to shelter the migrants. The migrant caravan has also cannibalized too much economic activity. Tax increases could be on the table for the city’s residents if things don’t get cleared up soon (via Fox News):

After declaring the migrant caravan a “humanitarian crisis” this week, Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum told Fox News that he can no longer continue to fund the municipal effort to shelter them without federal assistance.

“I’m not going to break public services to solve this problem,” the Tijuana mayor said. . .

“In those six hours that the border was closed, we lost approximately 129 million pesos,” he said. “That’s not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel towards those people who are making problems?”

(Read more from “Tijuana Mayor Unloads on Caravan, Will No Longer Offer Assistance to Migrants” HERE)

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Shouting ‘Mexico First,’ Hundreds in Tijuana March Against Migrant Caravan

By NPR. The message for the migrant caravan was clear from marchers on Sunday in Tijuana, Mexico: We don’t want you here.

“We want the caravan to go; they are invading us,” said Patricia Reyes, a 62-year-old protester, hiding from the sun under an umbrella. “They should have come into Mexico correctly, legally, but they came in like animals.”

A few hundred Tijuanenses gathered in the city’s high-end Rio area to protest the groups migrating from Central American countries.

Demonstrators held signs reading “No illegals,” “No to the invasion” and “Mexico First.” Many wore the country’s red, white and green national soccer jersey and vigorously waved Mexican flags. The crowd often slipped into chants of “Ti-jua-na!” and “Me-xi-co!” They sang the national anthem several times. (Read more from “Shouting ‘Mexico First,’ Hundreds in Tijuana March Against Migrant Caravan” HERE)

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Border Patrol Caught a Convicted Murderer From Honduras in the Caravan

Border Patrol agents in San Diego arrested an alien from Honduras earlier this week after he crossed into the United States illegally. The man was part of the caravan from Central America that is currently parked in Tijuana, Mexico.

After further investigation, it was discovered the illegal alien was in Honduran prison for nearly two decades after being convicted of murder.

“On Nov. 24th, around 11 P.M., agents detected three people crossing the border illegally approximately one-mile east of the San Ysidro port of entry. Agents responded, arrested the three men, and transported them to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing,” Customs and Border Protection released Friday afternoon. “At the station, agents discovered documents indicating one of the men, 46 year-old Miguel Angel Ramirez, was recently released from prison in Honduras. Ramirez later admitted he was arrested and convicted for murder in Honduras and was released just four months ago. The San Diego Sector Border Patrol’s Foreign Operations Branch corroborated the man’s admission with the Honduran Consulate in Los Angeles and discovered that Ramirez served 16 years in a Honduran prison for his crime. Ramirez claimed he traveled with the migrant caravan from Honduras to Guatemala and Mexico.”

One of the other men who illegally crossed into the United States after traveling in the caravan has been deported in the past. He is also from Honduras. Earlier this week, an MS-13 member was found in the caravan. (Read more from “Border Patrol Caught a Convicted Murderer From Honduras in the Caravan” HERE)

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One-Third of Migrant Caravan Sick: HIV, Tuberculosis, Chickenpox

Thousands of migrants marched from Central America to the U.S. border over the last six weeks, but many of them are suffering from respiratory infections, tuberculosis, chickenpox and other serious health issues — including HIV.

Of the 6,000 migrants gathered in Tijuana just south of the U.S. border near San Diego, more than a third of them (2,267) are being treated for health-related issues, a spokesman for Tijuana’s Health Department told Fox News. . .

Meanwhile, the mayor of Tijuana said Tuesday that the city cannot afford to help the migrants that are there. “We won’t compromise the resources of the residents of Tijuana,” Juan Manuel Gastelum said during a press conference, noting that the city is spending some $30,000 a day. ““We won’t raise taxes tomorrow to pay for today’s problem.”

Hundreds of migrants stormed the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, and the U.S. Border Patrol’s top San Diego agent said they shoved women and children to the front of the mob to use as human shields.

“What we saw over and over yesterday was that the group – the caravan, as we call them – would push women and children to the front, and then begin, basically, rocking our agents,” Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said in a CNN interview. (Read more from “One-Third of Migrant Caravan Sick: HIV, Tuberculosis, Chickenpox” HERE)

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