Tag Archives: happened

‘We cannot take back what happened’: Astros apologize for sign-stealing cheating scheme

Avoiding any specifics about their team’s sign-stealing during its 2017 World Series championship season, Houston Astros players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve apologized Thursday for the scheme that was investigated and punished by Major League Baseball.

Astros owner Jim Crane and new manager Dusty Baker — who replaced the fired AJ Hinch — also spoke at a news conference at the team’s spring training facility.

And while the clear purpose was to say, “We’re sorry” and hope to move on, Crane raised eyebrows with this statement: “Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”

Asked moments later about his statement about the effects on the game, Crane tried to backtrack, saying, “It’s hard to determine how it impacted the game, if it impacted the game.”

MLB did not punish any players for the cheating and Crane said he stood by that.

“We’re not going to do anything to the players,” the owner said.

Altuve said there was a full team meeting Wednesday to discuss what happened.

Astros say scheme ended in 2018

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Astros after he found the team broke rules by using electronics to steal signs during its run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season.

The Astros were fined $ 5 million US, the maximum allowed under major league rules, and forfeited their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found the Astros used the video feed from a centre field camera to view and decode opposing catchers’ signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve chances of getting a hit.

Crane said the scheme was used in 2017 and part of 2018, but ended during that season.

He said there was nothing to the notion that Astros hitters used buzzers to get information about pitches.

“I truly believe there was no buzzers, ever,” he said.

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From hope to despair: Remembering Tiananmen everywhere except where it happened

Wang Dan remembers the emotions flowing through Tiananmen Square 30 years ago. It started with conviction, then drifted into confusion. There were bouts of anger and waves of joy … and then ultimately, deep despair.

“I have to admit that we were naive 30 years ago,” he says. “We still had hope for the Chinese Communist Party. That’s why we went to the street.”

Indeed, Wang led the first cluster of students from Peking University to Tiananmen, the broad square in the middle of the city and at the centre of Chinese political power. Theirs was a spontaneous move, a walk in the dark that sparked a revolution.

It was spring 1989, and the students were mourning the death of Hu Yaobang, the former head of the Communist Party. His ideas for Western-style reform had inspired many young Chinese, but alarmed the old guard who had removed him from office two years earlier.

Wang was 20 years old, a freshman at the university. He had been a member of the Communist Youth League, but also an inspiring speaker on democracy. He says the students were looking to find a reason to hope.

“We were hoping for a better China, which means more democratic and more liberal policies,” he says.

WATCH: Wang Dan on remembering Tiananmen Square:

A 1999 documentary looking look at Wang Dan and other protesters who led the charge against the Chinese Communist Party in 1989 12:29

“We wouldn’t do it by ourselves, but we would push the government to do it. We just wanted the government to feel the pressure from the people.”

Over seven weeks of sit-ins and hunger strikes in Tiananmen Square, the movement brought out not only students but factory workers, intellectuals and many ordinary Chinese. More than a million marched in the streets of Beijing, with smaller protests across the country.

How can we say that China did not handle the Tiananmen incident well?– Defence Minister Wei Fenghe

At times, it looked like the movement was on the verge of success, as reformers in the Chinese leadership negotiated with students and even seemed to sympathize.

“The student leaders never thought they would mobilize so many people. Several days [earlier], they were just students,” says Wang Juntao. He was the head of China’s first private think-tank on political reform and an adviser to the students.

“And now they were political leaders — and probably the most powerful leaders in the world at that moment.”

In the end, though, sensing an existential threat to the Communist Party and its grip on China, hardliners won out.


Visitors crowd into the Tiananmen protest museum in Hong Kong to watch videos and remember student movement and crackdown 30 years after it began in Beijing. (Saša Petricic/CBC)

Heavily armed troops moved on the square on the night of June 4, 1989. Under the orders of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping — and under the gaze of Mao Zedong’s portrait — they shot hundreds of protesters, likely more than 2,000 in all. The exact number of victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre has never been known.

One protester famously stopped a row of tanks by blocking the path and refusing to move. Another protester, speaking to a Tiananmen conference in Taipei recently, described how a tank “ran over my body” and paralyzed his legs for life.

Wang Dan, at the top of the regime’s most wanted list, was sentenced to four years in jail. Wang Juntao was accused of being a “black hand” behind the protests and received a sentence of 13 years in prison. Both men now live in the U.S. and are barred from returning to China. They were interviewed by CBC News in Taipei.

The massacre, officially known as “the June fourth incident,” quickly became a taboo subject in China.

Scrubbed from history

Many of today’s students know nothing about it. They are told “never ask” by teachers and parents, according to several young people who spoke to CBC but were too afraid to have their names used.

The entire episode has been scrubbed from history books, barred from any classroom discussion and ignored at the National Museum of China that faces Tiananmen Square. Try discussing it on China’s closed internet and all mention will be censored, text messages are erased before your eyes.

In the leadup to today’s politically sensitive anniversary, China’s security services have been detaining and interrogating former student leaders, human rights activists and anyone else who might speak out.

More than 20 members of Peking University’s Marxist Society, student activists who criticize the government for straying from communist ideology, have either been placed under house arrest or have disappeared into police custody.

Beijing doesn’t normally acknowledge anything about the crackdown in public, but in a rare comment this weekend, China’s minister of defence said it was the “correct” move.

‘Needed to quell’

“How can we say that China did not handle the Tiananmen incident well?” said Wei Fenghe at a security forum in Singapore.

“That was a political turmoil that the central government needed to quell. The government was decisive in stopping the turbulence,” he said. “Due to that, China has enjoyed stability and development.”

In fact, that was the unspoken deal in the years after the protests and the killings, one that changed China.

China would offer its citizens unprecedented income growth and prosperity through economic reforms, but few political freedoms. The party was not to be challenged.

People’s hopes were shattered, and there was a wave of emigration to other places.– Teresa Wong, a child at the time

Per capita income has grown to $ 8,827 US in 2017 from $ 310 in 1989, the latest World Bank figures, creating an enormous middle class. And according to Forbes magazine, China now has 324 billionaires, more than any other country except the United States.

At the same time, room for individual freedom and dissent has shrunk dramatically, especially in the current era of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ideological correctness and education has been imposed on students and professors, many of whom are barred from speaking with foreign media. An entire region of China, Xinjiang, faces an unprecedented religious crackdown that has seen millions of Uighurs locked up and many mosques destroyed.

And Hong Kong is feeling the pressure from Beijing.

It is the only part of China that retains significant freedom of speech, and the only place where the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre will be publicly remembered in a candlelit vigil.

The small Tiananmen museum, showing videos and displaying T-shirts and banners was crowded this week.

Teresa Wong remembers as a young child her parents watching the protests and the crackdown, horrified. Her family left Hong Kong for Germany shortly after.

“That was one of the triggers,” she says. “People’s hopes were shattered, and there was a wave of emigration to other places.”

Those who live in Hong Kong now say that as China continues to flex its muscles and limit freedoms in the former British colony, they may have to bring back mass street protests of the 2014 “umbrella movement,” and even intensify them.

“The situation in Hong Kong is getting worse,” says Eric Ching. “The only way is to take radical action, to prevent HK people from being in same situation as people in the mainland.”

Wang Juntao says the discontent will spill over in China as well.

“I believe the large-scale protests will happen in Tiananmen Square again,” he says. And this time, he predicts, “it will overthrow and end Communist Party rule.”

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What happened to triclosan? A lingering legacy of the hyper-hygiene era


This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.


Whatever happened to triclosan?

A few years ago, we were brushing our teeth with it, rinsing our mouths with it, sanitizing our hands with it and sending a lot of it down the drain and into rivers and lakes.

Hundreds of cosmetic and cleaning products contained triclosan, including, at one point, almost all of the antibacterial liquid soap that was sold to consumers.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was finalizing the latest in a series of rules that would require companies to prove that triclosan was more effective than ordinary soap.

Legacy of the hygiene craze

Government health agencies began questioning the safety of triclosan almost a decade ago, at the height of a hygiene craze after antibacterial soaps and cleansers had already swept the consumer marketplace.

Back in the 1970s, triclosan was a specialized compound primarily used in hospital surgical wards. But by the end of the ’90s, household “antibacterial” soaps and cleansers with triclosan were everywhere.

What’s missing is there was not a lot of studies on neurodevelopment — and there still aren’t to this date.– Joseph Braun, environmental epidemiologist

“The companies were not putting it in for nefarious reasons; they were putting it in for health reasons,” said Julie Gosse, a scientist at the University of Maine who studies triclosan.

“But there hadn’t been a whole lot of actual toxicology studies done on it.”

Over the last two decades, the population has been so widely exposed to triclosan that it has shown up in human urine tests all over the world.

Still, key questions remain. Is triclosan safe?

The FDA wasn’t sure, stating in 2013 that “there are unresolved safety considerations regarding long-term daily use,” mainly because important human health studies had not been done.

Is triclosan effective? Was there any health advantage to exposing everyone to this chemical?

The FDA decided to put that question to the companies relying on the agent, asking them to provide evidence to support the use of triclosan.

Instead, major manufacturers have gradually stopped using it.

The rise and fall of triclosan

By 2015, Johnson & Johnson had removed triclosan from all of its products “in response to feedback from our consumers and customers,” a company spokesperson told CBC News in an email.

Both Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive told CBC News they have also taken triclosan out of their products. Colgate Total toothpaste was reformulated to eliminate triclosan late last year, a company spokesperson said.

And by the end of last year, triclosan was gone from Loblaws’ and Shoppers Drug Mart’s President’s Choice and Life Brand household and cosmetic products.

A Loblaws spokesperson told CBC News in an email that feedback from the company’s scientific advisers and customers “suggested a move away from this ingredient was necessary, so we took the proactive approach to remove triclosan.”

We found that triclosan inhibits mast cell function quite acutely and quite strongly at concentrations that are completely relevant to what people would be exposed to.– Julie Gosse , biomedical scientist

Even though triclosan is vanishing from the marketplace, the chemical is still deemed safe for human use by Health Canada.

Health Canada allows triclosan in some cosmetic products, if the concentration is below a specified level. Products with higher levels must be approved through a formal drug application process, where the products are assigned a Drug Identification Number (DIN).

“Health Canada has approved 64 marketed drug products with a DIN that contain triclosan. These are not all hand sanitizers ― some are soaps, hand washes and toothpastes,” a Health Canada spokesperson said in an email.

New research on triclosan and human health

Meanwhile, scientists are still investigating the human health effects of triclosan — and new evidence is starting to emerge.

Gosse has discovered that triclosan can affect human mast cells, an important part of the immune system.

“We found that triclosan inhibits mast cell function quite acutely and quite strongly at concentrations that are completely relevant to what people would be exposed to when they’re washing their hands with this stuff or using the toothpaste.”

Julie Gosse, a biomedical scientist at the University of Maine, has discovered that triclosan affects human skin and immune cells. (Adam Kuykendall, University of Maine)

She’s also shown that triclosan can affect the mitochondria of human skin cells.

“In real time, with super resolution microscopy, we’ve seen the mitochondria become deformed within a matter of minutes. And these are the energy powerhouses of the cell,” she said.

Mitochondrial testing is now done routinely on new chemicals, but Gosse said that wasn’t the case when triclosan first came on the market. Many other human health tests were also not done.

“What’s missing is there was not a lot of studies on neurodevelopment — and there still aren’t to this date,” said Joseph Braun, an environmental epidemiologist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

“We have filled some of that gap in and found at certain times during pregnancy, particularly around delivery, [triclosan exposures] are associated with decreases in IQ, in one of our studies,” he said. 

“And then we’ve also found that triclosan exposures across pregnancy are associated with behavioural disorders in children, particularly ADHD-related behaviours, and those associations may be stronger in  boys.”

Braun is following a cohort of teenagers to monitor those cognitive and behavioural effects over time.

Other research has suggested triclosan could be associated with lower thyroid levels and lower birth weight.

“The evidence has increased that triclosan is potentially harmful,” said Braun.

‘Highly toxic’ to fish

Although Canada’s federal Health and Environment ministries have concluded that triclosan is safe for humans, the compound has been deemed “highly toxic” to fish and other aquatic organisms, affecting “growth, reproduction and survival,” according to a federal environmental assessment.

Triclosan has been deemed ‘highly toxic’ to fish by Environment and Climate Change Canada. (Shutterstock / Erni)

Last year, Canada added triclosan to its official list of toxic chemicals under the Environmental Protection Act and the federal government is currently working on a triclosan pollution prevention program that would require companies to reduce their triclosan by 30 per cent by May 2020.

Environment and Climate Change Canada already reports that triclosan is “continuously present” in the Canadian environment. Other studies have detected triclosan in rivers and lakes all over the world, after years of the agent being flushed down household drains.


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‘NCIS’: Torres Can’t Remember What Happened the Night Before in Intense Sneak Peek (Exclusive)

‘NCIS’: Torres Can’t Remember What Happened the Night Before in Intense Sneak Peek (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Your earliest memory might never have happened

This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning.

If you haven't subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.


We all suffer from a mysterious phenomenon known as "childhood amnesia" — the inability to remember our earliest experiences. It's a universal forgetting that researchers cannot fully explain.

Still, most adults are able to rummage around in their brain's dusty attic and retrieve a few fragments of very early memories.

But are those memories real?

This week a group of U.K. scientists said probably not, at least not if you think the memory dates back to the years before you could talk.

"We don't believe you can recall a memory from your pre-verbal stages," said study co-author Shazia Akhtar, a senior research associate at the University of Bradford, England.

"Many first memories are memories that are formed from stories that have been told by relatives, or they could be formed from piecing information together from photographs or [be] just completely fictional."

Akhtar and her team conducted the study using an online questionnaire linked to a BBC radio series about memory. Listeners were invited to log on and complete the questionnaire describing the first thing they can remember from their childhood.

Memory of being in the pram

More than 7,000 people answered, with stories like this one from a respondent who claimed a first memory at age one, recalling how the baby carriage looked from the inside.

"I can still see the pattern of the hood trim from the inside, the toy strung across with yellow, pink and blue plastic lambs that rattled when I hit them, and the inside of the sun shade that was clamped to the pram when the sun was shining green lining and a tiny abstract/flower pattern," the respondent wrote.

But at age one it's unlikely anyone can recall anything, according to the paper, published this week in the journal Psychological Science.

"The overwhelming evidence and theory is then that full earliest autobiographical memories do not emerge before about the age of about 24 to 36 months, and, if anything, the onset of full autobiographical memories may not be until later than this," the authors wrote.

The study concluded that nearly 40 per cent of the first memories people described must be fictional, because they happened too early in life.

"Some of the memories were of the first step. Now that could be a respondent believing that was actually a memory. But it could be a story that was told by a parent which then formed it," said Akhtar.

Some people even said they could recall being born.

Aktar said she believes reliable memories start in about the third year of life.

Too early to say at what age memory begins

Canadian psychologist Carole Peterson, a professor at Memorial University who has been studying childhood memories for years, agreed that no one can remember being born. She said it's likely that some early memories are fictional.

Memorial University professor Carole Peterson said memory may be influenced by social variables, such as how parents speak to their children. (Submitted/Michael Bruce-Lockhart.)

"Absolutely. Our memory processes are reconstructive. You're going to have some fictional ones for adults and I'm sure you're going to have some fictional ones for very, very young memories."

But she said it's too early to say with certainty at what age memory begins.

"I don't think we know enough to [say] 'Oh, here is the absolute line. Children cannot remember before this age.' We just don't know enough to be able to say that."

"For some children, particularly bright and verbally capable children, [ability to remember] might go down to 18 months or 20 months."

Both Akhtar and Peterson said it is important to know when children begin to form reliable memories of events, especially in cases where children are victims of abuse or are witnesses to violent crime.

"That has all sorts of consequences for memory and the law," said Akhtar. "We need to be able to age a memory."

"If you wholesalely dismiss any possible memory from a child who's under three of years age, then what you're really saying is no child under three years of age can possibly have anything but fictional memories, so any abuse they report or any other evidence they report forensically has to be nonsense." Peterson said. "That's important."

Researchers are also learning that childhood memory can be influenced by parents and other social interactions.

"If [parents] do a lot of elaborative talking about experiences on a day-to-day basis, children are much more likely to acquire the habit of memory," said Peterson.

"We know that memory is influenceable by social variables. And we also know there is a lot of variation between individuals."


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What the Hell Happened to the Steam Hardware Survey? [Updated]

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Update: Multiple readers have written to suggest this could be a surge related to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds opening in China. If so, it would be an extraordinary event — I can’t recall a single time when one title so overwhelmingly tilted Steam results in a given direction. But as multiple readers have observed, PUBG is now pulling in 2x to as much as 5x more players than the current second-place game, depending on when you check the data.

If this hypothesis is accurate, Steam’s current data set cannot be reconciled with Steam’s previous data set. The figures reported for dramatically decreased market share for AMD, as well as the surge in Windows 7, are not inaccurate relative to the number of systems running Steam. But they cannot be compared with the previous survey results and do not represent a falloff of AMD sales, Windows 10 market share, VR headset sales, or a sea change in quad-core CPU shipments.

Original Story Below:

For years, Valve has consistently published a monthly update on which systems and components its users own. It’s never been a perfect metric. It only captures computers that log into the service over a period of time, it isn’t always updated promptly when AMD or Nvidia launch new GPUs, and it doesn’t always detect GPUs correctly. It’s also not unusual to see Steam reporting a relatively high percentage of “Other” GPUs. Despite these issues, it remains the best publicly available metric for what gamers and enthusiasts are buying–or at least, it was.

Over the last 4-6 weeks, Steam’s reported metrics for virtually every major component classification have radically changed. You can see the current report for October here, but we’ve graphed the changes out to make them easier to parse. The slideshow below steps through four major areas where Steam’s rankings have radically changed and presents historic data to back up that argument.

We’ve split our VR market share out from the other slideshow because we need to talk about this one a bit more. We’ve been following the VR market growth through Steam for over a year. In the past two months, Steam has completely reversed itself on VR usage and in ways that make no sense.

VR-Market-Share

This graph shows data presented by hundredths of percent, meaning the “1” at the top of the y-axis should be considered 1%. For a year, Steam appeared to move more-or-less as one would expect, with VR adoption jumping sharply, holding fairly steady for much of 2017, but with Oculus’ market share rising again over the summer, thanks to an excellent sale. Now, according to Valve, VR usage has plunged on both platforms, despite the fact that both ran massive summer sales to drive product into customer hands.

Why We Think The SHS is Broken

There are three possibilities in play here. One, the SHS is terribly broken. Two, the SHS was terribly broken and has just been corrected. Three, the SHS’s data processing and aggregation are being processed by a mentally deficient giraffe on an old VAX terminal. We’re leaning towards #1 and/or #3.

These new results ask us to throw out everything else we know about the PC market. OEMs have not sold hundreds of millions of systems over and above quarterly projections to transform the market so quickly. The bulk of Intel laptops on the market are still dual-core + Hyper-Threading; the 8th generation family has launched and is definitely in-market, but customers would have to replacing hardware at a ferocious pace to show such dramatic changes so quickly — and nothing we’ve heard from any of the analysts that track this for a living show any such changes.

It’s possible that these changes are the results of a mammoth correction in the previous data set, but this only raises more questions: Why was the previous data set so cataclysmically wrong? What did Valve change that suddenly and properly corrected for huge swings in company market share? How did Valve miss Windows 10 adoption rates by a factor of two? Or ovestimate AMD’s market share in both CPUs and GPUs by the same factor? It’s not like finding out which CPU a person has is some kind of arcane art, and AMD’s share of the enthusiast market has bounced around the 20% mark for years.

GTX-Crazy-Ti

Click to enlarge.

Does anyone believe that the market for GTX 750 Ti and GTX 960 cards literally just doubled last month? No? Then why does Steam think it did?

Valve needs to explain this situation. If it doesn’t, we won’t be referring to the SHS for anything any longer. It was always an imperfect data set, but now it’s downright worthless.

Now read: The Best Free PC Games

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'If it hasn't happened … it's coming': Mothers of addicts urge radical approach to fentanyl crisis

If the latest numbers don’t provide enough motivation to address the fentanyl crisis — 989 dead in British Columbia this year from illicit drug overdoses — Kathy Wagner hopes the story of her son will.

Tristan Kroeker was just 21 years old when he died, alone, on a friend’s couch, in late August. According to the B.C. Coroners Service, the cause of death was an overdose of cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl.

Kroeker and his family had battled his addiction since he was a young teenager. Cocaine was Kroeker’s drug of choice, and increasingly, that drug is being contaminated with fentanyl.

In the first eight months of this year in B.C., fentanyl was detected in 81 per cent of street drug overdoses involving heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Five years ago, it was just four per cent.

​It is the growing presence of fentanyl that is making getting high so deadly, and addicts like Kroeker knew it.

“It terrified him,” Wagner said, “and he was determined not to do it, but he was feeling this pull. And it was just so hard, but it terrified him.”

tristan-kroeker

Tristan Kroeker, 21, died in late August. He had battled addiction since he was a teenager. (CBC)

Kroeker had been clean and in recovery, but it didn’t last and he was pulled back into his addiction.

A few weeks after he died, ​on a warm autumn afternoon on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, Wagner spoke about her son’s addiction, along with three of her friends, all mothers of adult children who continue to ​struggle with addiction.

They say it has been a constant battle, a lifetime commitment, and they want others to know it can happen to anyone.

‘It’s coming’

Lou​ Cameron’s​stepson Ken, ​suffering from depression and ​an addiction to stimulants​, committed suicide. Her son, Ian, is addicted as well, and she says he probably doesn’t fit the stereotype people have of the down-and-out street addict.

“People would say to me, ‘Not Ian,’ you know, the captain of the soccer team, straight-A student, Hollywood handsome — even at the height of his addiction.”

Cameron pauses and then says that addiction can strike any time, without warning, like lightning.

Overdose Emergency 20170413

An advertisement in downtown Vancouver shows a cadaver with a toe tag that lists the cause of death as an overdose of fentanyl, ‘unknowingly taken with other drugs.’ B.C. has been the hardest hit of the provinces in the fentanyl crisis, with more than 900 people dying of fentanyl-linked overdoses so far this year. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

“If it hasn’t happened in your family … either you’re in denial or it’s coming.”

She says her experiences have turned her into a radical — one of four middle-aged moms, kind and candid, who are now ​advocating for something they say will save lives but is contentious: make drugs such as cocaine and heroin legal and having them inspected and sold by the government.

Their argument is pretty simple: the power of addiction combined with the prevalence of fentanyl is killing hundreds of people​ who, despite the risks, won’t stop doing drugs. Taking those drugs out of the hands of criminal dealers and having the government control the supply could save many of those lives, they say.

They’re not the only ones to have proposed a decriminalization approach to the overdose crisis, and they have no illusions about how politically unpalatable it is.

Wagner had spent five long years trying to save her son and says there will be enough public pressure at some point to make street drugs safer.

“People will not stop dying,and the number will continue to increase until the country wakes up,” she said.

Still, she’s resolute.

“There is no argument against this,” she said. “You know, if it’s about people’s opinions or moral values, then it’s going to take a longer time to shift that for them, for the bodies to pile up.”

The National logo

4 mothers want to stem fentanyl with state-supplied street drugs5:19

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'Scandal': A Proper Fitz and Olivia Reunion Finally Happened — But Who's Threatening to Mess It All Up?

This pairing can get a little complicated. Scandal has seemed to be setting this one in motion since the season started, but the potential costs have certainly been raised. “I have feelings for him, President Rashad. He means something to me,” Mellie told Olivia, asking her to give him safe haven in the US while his country is in turmoil. “This time, I want it to be my call. Just one time.” 

Yes, Mellie and Rashad are both presidents, but as Olivia pointed out, she is the leader of the free world, he is not, and things can get sticky real fast. 

Now, for the one we’ve all been waiting for…. 

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Trump phone calls never happened, say Scouts and Mexico

The boy scouts are denying a claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that the head of the youth organization called the president to praise his politically aggressive speech to the Scouts’ national jamboree.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal, “I got a call from the head of the boy scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.”

On Wednesday, the Scouts responded, “We are unaware of any such call.”

It specified that neither of the organization’s two top leaders — president Randall Stephenson and chief scout executive Mike Surbaugh — had placed such a call.

Surbaugh apologized last week to members of the scouting community who were offended by the political rhetoric in Trump’s July 24 speech in West Virginia.

“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Subraugh said in the statement. “That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. president to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies.”

Meanwhile, the Mexican government said on Wednesday that President Enrique Pena Nieto did not call Trump to compliment his immigration policies.

Mexico’s foreign relations department said the president “has not had any recent telephone communication with President Donald Trump.”

Trump said on Monday that “even the president of Mexico called me. They said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”

The department said Pena Nieto did remark to Trump during a July 7 meeting at the G20 summit in Germany that deportations of Mexicans from the United States had fallen 31 per cent between January and June, as compared to 2016.

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