Macron prepares his assault on the French working-class

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing a historic assault on jobs, wages and labor legislation, to be rammed through by presidential decree in the face of overwhelming public opposition. Details of Macron's plans emerged Monday in the run-up to his meetings Tuesday with trade union and business representatives at the Elysée Palace. After next month's legislative elections, Macron will demand an enabling act from parliament authorizing the president to decree changes in French labor law. "The reform of the Labor Code has been well planned," incoming Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told the Journal du Dimanche. "We will now discuss it to enrich it and explain it. This means discussions with the trade unions, which are indispensable, and a parliamentary discussion which will take place during the vote on the enabling act that will allow the government to impose decrees in a context defined by the parliament." Philippe said that he and Labor Minister Muriel Pénicaud would work closely with the trade unions and meet bilaterally with each of the major union confederations. "But once the discussion has taken place," he added, "we will have to act fast. We cannot wait two years to finish the job. Emmanuel Macron has heard the anger of the French people. He also knows how urgent it is to transform the country."

China and Russia take on aviation giants Boeing and Airbus in launch of joint venture to build wide-body commercial jet

China and Russia on Monday completed the formal registration of a joint venture to build a wide-body jet, kick-starting full-scale development of a program aimed at competing with market leaders Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus SE (AIR.PA). State plane makers Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMAC) [CMAFC.UL] and Russia's United Aircraft Corp (UAC) said at a ceremony in Shanghai the venture would aim to build a "competitive long range wide-body commercial aircraft". The announcement comes just weeks after COMAC successfully completed the maiden flight of its C919, China's first home-grown narrow-body passenger jet. COMAC President Jin Zhuanglong said the two firms had decided to hold the establishment ceremony after the C919's flight.

Britain has a real choice on June 8 and the Establishment is terrified

For the first time in a quarter of a century, the British electorate has an opportunity to make a clean break with the banker-friendly neoliberal policies which have dominated politics since the era of Margaret Thatcher and which have led to a major redistribution of wealth away from the majority to the super-rich. Well, we can't say we haven't got a choice. Labour's manifesto, while still being nowhere as left-wing as the ones the pipe-puffing Harold Wilson won two elections on in 1974, nevertheless returns the party emphatically to the territory it occupied before the grinning faux-progressive Tony Blair came along in the mid-90s and turned Labour into a more socially liberal version of the Tories. There's pledges to renationalize Britain's railways — easily the most expensive in Europe — set up a publicly owned energy supplier and take water in England back into public ownership. The rich will pay more tax, zero hours contracts will be outlawed and tuition fees will be scrapped. If it's an exaggeration to call the manifesto socialist, then its certainly social democratic and offers hope of a better future for millions of ordinary Britons who have seen their living standards fall dramatically in recent years. By contrast the Tories have lurched still further to the hard right and their elite-friendly agenda could not be clearer.

Following Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel, Iran's only option is to look to China and Russia

The extraordinary hostility towards Iran from the US and Saudi Arabia, creating the possibility of an attack on Iran and ending all question of the imminent lifting of sanctions, shows that Iran has no alternative other than to forge close links with China and Russia and the Eurasian institutions if its to ensure its security and its economic future. US President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, his agreement to supply Saudi Arabia with $300 billion worth of US arms, his implacably hostile rhetoric towards Iran, and the openly expressed intentions of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to launch a pre-emptive war against Iran, clarify policy options for Iran's leadership and people. It is now clear that the option of a rapprochement between Iran and the West does not exist whilst Iran remains an Islamic Republic.

Putin begins talks with visiting Philippine leader

The Philippine leader had to curtail his visit to Russia over the situation in the southern province of Mindanao, where a state of martial law was imposed earlier on Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun talks with visiting President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte. The talks are being held in Moscow. The Russian delegation includes Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov. Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin. The Philippine delegation includes Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Chramm Cayetano, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go.

White House: US and Saudi Arabia say it's necessary to maintain Syria whole and united

The Syrian conflict must be solved through political means with the country's unity and territorial integrity maintained, the US and Saudi Arabia has said in a joint statement released by the White House on Tuesday. Washington and Riyadh "emphasized the importance of reaching a permanent solution to the conflict in Syria based on the Geneva declaration and Security Council resolution 2254, in order to maintain the unity and integrity of Syrian territory," the statement read. The announcement, which summed up the discussions of US President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last weekend, said that after the end of hostilities, Syria must become "a country that represents the entire spectrum of the Syrian community and free from sectarian discrimination."

Oliver Stone goes face to face with Putin: "You'll see a different point of view" — deadline disruptors

Last year, three-time Oscar winner Oliver Stone made his 20th directorial outing with Snowden—a look at the life of former NSA consultant and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The film took Stone on numerous trips to Russia, where Snowden has lived in exile since 2013, which then led to a series of interviews with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The format is something Stone has used to great effect before in his documentaries about controversial politicians such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.

AG Jeff Sessions redefines 'sanctuary cities' to comply with courts

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has offered a more narrow definition of "sanctuary jurisdiction," in order to circumvent the court rulings declaring one of President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration unconstitutional. In a memo released Monday, Sessions offered a more tapered definition of what constitutes a "sanctuary jurisdiction," saying that the term will only refer to "sanctuary cities" and "sanctuary states" which "willfully refuse to comply" with specific federal immigration laws. "Federal law provides a process for foreign citizens to lawfully enter the country. Circumventing that process and crossing our borders unlawfully is a federal crime," Sessions wrote. "It is the role of federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, to enforce our immigration laws, prosecute violations, and secure our borders."

Libya: Massacre at Brak al-Shatti airbase may trigger larger civil war

Egypt, the UN and Arab governments try to mediate between the two governments in Libya. A massacre at an air base interrupted the process and threatens to intensify the civil war. Nobody has their eye on Libya with all "western" media preoccupied with DC machinations, Russiaphobia and the first overseas trip of President Trump. What about the implosion we are on the brink of seeing in Libya following the murder of all LNA Air Force personnel at the Brak al-Shati AFB? The death toll in the attack of a Libyan National Army airbase, in south Libya, rose to over 140, a spokesman for Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar said on Sunday. Remarkably it was the militia (called 'the third force') of the UN unelected Government of National Accord (GNA) under Faez Serraj that attacked and executed the unarmed men in the Brak al-Shati Air base. There were allegedly foreigners among the attackers possibly aligned with al-Qaeda. Comment: Over 140 killed in Libya after UN-backed govt militia ravages rival military base

Pediatricians recommending parents avoid feeding children under age of 1 fruit juice

Kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, older kids should drink it only sparingly and all children should focus, instead, on eating whole fruit, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The pediatricians' group previously advised against giving fruit juice to infants under 6 months, but expanded that recommendation given evidence linking juice consumption to tooth decay and to gaining too much or too little weight. For older kids who are at a healthy weight, 100 percent juice is fine in moderation, but should make up less than half of the recommended fruit servings per day, the AAP says. "We want to reinforce that the most recent evidence supports that fruit juice should be a limited part of the diet of children," says Steven Abrams, a professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, and an author of the guidelines, which were published Monday in Pediatrics.

14-year-old boy electrocuted in central Laredo, Texas during severe thunderstorm

A 14-year-old boy died Sunday after he came into contact with a downed power line in central Laredo, according to authorities. Laredo police said Aldo Jordani Rojas was electrocuted in the 5300 block of Alabama Avenue, off East Hillside Road. He was an eighth-grade student at Clark Middle School "UISD sends heartfelt condolences to the Rojas Lopez family," Clark Middle School Principal Melissa Ramirez said in a statement. "He was an excellent student who was well liked by his teachers and peers. This is a difficult time for everyone, but I know our students and staff will lean on each other as they fondly remember their classmate."

Ex-CIA chief Brennan tells Congress 'I don't know' if there was Trump-Russia collusion

While arguing that Russia "brazenly interfered" in the 2016 US presidential election, former CIA Director John Brennan admitted there were "unresolved questions" in his mind as to whether any Trump campaign officials actually colluded with Moscow. Brennan was summoned to testify on Tuesday before the House Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the probe into allegations made by Democrats and the Obama administration that Russia somehow influenced the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about, because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals," Brennan told lawmakers. "It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals."

American Society of Plastic Surgeons report 20% rise in gender confirmation surgeries from 2015 to 2016

Gender confirmation surgeries are on the rise in the United States, according to newly released data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. There has been an almost 20% increase in gender confirmation surgeries from 2015 to 2016, with more than 2,300 gender confirmation surgeries being performed in 2016, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which has been tracking national statistics on gender confirmation surgeries. Loren Schechter, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Chicago, said in a statement that over the past few years plastic surgeons have seen an increase in patients seeking surgical treatment for gender dysphoria. Schechter said gender confirmation surgery covers everything from facial surgery to breast or chest surgery and genital surgery. "There is no one-size-fits-all treatment, and no one discipline can meet all the needs of an individual," Schechter said in a statement. "For example, plastic surgeons work with doctors who specialize in hormone therapy, urology and with mental health professionals who help patients through the emotional aspects of their transition."

Martian Sky 'Went Metal' After Meteor Strikes

Metal detected in the sky of Mars may come from meteors streaking through the Red Planet atmosphere, a new study finds. Interplanetary dust motes and chunks of rock often plunge at high speeds into the atmospheres of Earth and other worlds, blazing to form meteors as friction with air particles heats the objects. On Earth, the resulting smoke generates a persistent layer of metallic atoms in the atmosphere. However, until now, such layers were not directly seen elsewhere in the solar system. These metal atoms can go on to influence their atmospheres: "After meteors burn up, their debris floats down through the atmosphere and can seed clouds," said study lead author Matteo Crismani, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder. "This happens on Earth and probably on Mars too," he told [Photos: NASA's MAVEN Mission to Mars]

Kaspersky Lab: Wannacry ransomware attack can be prevented with security patch and update

The installation of the official Microsoft patch and security software updates can protect computers from attacks of the WannaCry ransomware, Russian security software company Kaspersky Lab has said. A massive number of organisations across the globe have been targeted by the malware since May 12. Hackers used the Trojan encrypter WannaCry to lock computers and demand a payment for the decryption. So far, it has hit more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, crippling hospitals, governments and businesses, Xinhua news agency reported. WannaCry takes advantage of the Windows exploit series known as Eternal Blue which exploits a vulnerability that Microsoft patched in security update MS17-010 on March 14, to gain remote access to users' computers and install malicious driver programmes before locking files and demanding a ransom, Kaspersky told Xinhua. According to a statement provided by Kaspersky, its computer system monitoring tool has detected 11 kinds of such malicious programmes that WannaCry uses to encrypt computer files.

Signs and Portents: Ewe gives birth to two-headed lamb in Boorowa, Australia

When Boorowa farmer Robert Riles' ewe was having trouble giving birth to twins last Thursday, he believed an unusually large head on one of the unborn lambs was the problem. "It was Thursday morning when I went down and I noticed she was having a lamb and I thought I'd give her a couple of hours, so I came to town, did my chores," Mr Riles said. "I went back and she still didn't have it so I gave her another hour or two and it's no different. You could see she was uneasy and knew she was in trouble. "I pulled it and it got to the shoulders and I couldn't pull it anymore, it was just too hard.

Researchers discover surgical technique using electricity and stem cells to restore failing organs

Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, or UCSF, have found a technique to transplant cells into organs to treat disease and restore failing organs. The technique involves piercing cells with rapid pulses of electricity, which allows researchers to create a hospitable environment to boost stem cell survival when transplanting cells into organs to restore them during organ failure. "Our research is in its early stage," Dr. Tammy T. Chang, an assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery, said in a press release. "We've shown we can create the hospitable environment for new cells. Full demonstration of the procedure's value will be when we can introduce stem cells to restore function to diseased livers and other organs." The new technique called irreversible electroporation, or IRE, kills a section of liver cells with microsecond electric pulses to create a pocket for transplanting new cells into the organ with minimal collateral damage.

The science is not settled and there's no such thing as a safe vaccine

Vaccines are not "safe and effective." There is no such thing as a safe vaccine. But you wouldn't know it to listen to the narrative being reported in the media. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency appointed to hold the final word on health and safety says, "Vaccines are safe and effective. The science is settled." However, when asked for proof showing that vaccinated children are healthier than unvaccinated children, the so-called science-based CDC offers none, claiming that it would be immoral to do such a study, to withhold 'life-saving" preventatives from the population. "Trust us. Case closed." But curious minds do not close and do not trust opinion without proof as infectious and chronic disease rates skyrocket in children. Concerned individuals who live by the Precautionary Principle want answers. They refuse to be the guinea pigs who offer up their bodies for experimentation.

Eurasian economic transformation moves forward

At this juncture it's clear that the attempt of the Trump Administration and related circles in the US military industrial complex have failed in their prime objective, that of driving a permanent wedge between Russia and China, the two great Eurasian powers capable of peacefully ending the Sole Superpower hegemony of the United States. Some recent examples of seemingly small steps with enormous future economic and geopolitical potential between Russia and China underscore this fact. The Project of the Century, as we can now call the China One Belt One Road infrastructure development - the economic integration on a consensual basis by the nations of Eurasia, outside the domination of NATO countries of the USA and EU - is proceeding at an interesting pace in unexpected areas.

Is this new Ebola outbreak just more hype?

News outlets are reporting a new Ebola outbreak in Africa. Here is a quick summary of the basic mainstream story— The Huffington Post cites a World Health Organization (WHO) statement: four people are believed to have died from Ebola in the Congo. There are 37 more "suspected cases." Discussions are underway about using an "experimental vaccine" in the Congo. WHO has declared the Ebola outbreak an epidemic. There is an effort to find 400 people believed to have come into contact with the "suspected cases." Residents in the affected area of the Congo, the remote Bas-Uele province, are fleeing in fear. That's it so far. I've been around the block on the Ebola story a dozen times. Here are the issues the press isn't reporting—