Media company hired by Trump created Kenyan president’s “anonymous” attack campaign against rival, investigation finds – IFEX – Traitors abound with help from Facebook and Google…

A new investigation reveals the role of an American data-based digital advertising company in the highly divisive online re-election campaign of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Source: Media company hired by Trump created Kenyan president’s “anonymous” attack campaign against rival, investigation finds – IFEX

Abbas signs 22 international treaties to boost legal status of Palestine


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed 22 agreements and international treaties that strengthen the legal status of the State of Palestine on a global scale.

These important agreements would make the State of Palestine a key partner in discussing and addressing the fundamental issues facing the whole world.

Leaf shedding as an anti-bacterial defense in Arabidopsis cauline leaves


by O. Rahul Patharkar, Walter Gassmann, John C. Walker

Plants utilize an innate immune system to protect themselves from disease. While many molecular components of plant innate immunity resemble the innate immunity of animals, plants also have evolved a number of truly unique defense mechanisms, particularly at the physiological level. Plant’s flexible developmental program allows them the unique ability to simply produce new organs as needed, affording them the ability to replace damaged organs. Here we develop a system to study pathogen-triggered leaf abscission in Arabidopsis. Cauline leaves infected with the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae abscise as part of the defense mechanism. Pseudomonas syringae lacking a functional type III secretion system fail to elicit an abscission response, suggesting that the abscission response is a novel form of immunity triggered by effectors. HAESA/HAESA-like 2, INFLORESCENCE DEFICIENT IN ABSCISSION, and NEVERSHED are all required for pathogen-triggered abscission to occur. Additionally phytoalexin deficient 4, enhanced disease susceptibility 1, salicylic acid induction-deficient 2, and senescence-associated gene 101 plants with mutations in genes necessary for bacterial defense and salicylic acid signaling, and NahG transgenic plants with low levels of salicylic acid fail to abscise cauline leaves normally. Bacteria that physically contact abscission zones trigger a strong abscission response; however, long-distance signals are also sent from distal infected tissue to the abscission zone, alerting the abscission zone of looming danger. We propose a threshold model regulating cauline leaf defense where minor infections are handled by limiting bacterial growth, but when an infection is deemed out of control, cauline leaves are shed. Together with previous results, our findings suggest that salicylic acid may regulate both pathogen- and drought-triggered leaf abscission.

US outnumbered 14 to 1 as it vetoes UN vote on status of Jerusalem

Weak as water.


Nikki Haley furious over resolution, describing it as an ‘insult’ and saying the US won’t be told where it can put its embassy

A UN security council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been backed by every council member except the US, which used its veto.

The unanimity of the rest of the council was a stark rebuke to the Trump administration over its unilateral move earlier this month, which upended decades of international consensus.

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How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine

The Russia-backed campaign to link the volunteer rescuers with al-Qaida exposes how conspiracy theories take root: ‘It’s like a factory’

Source: How Syria’s White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine

In spite of this positive international recognition, there’s a counter-narrative pushed by a vocal network of individuals who write for alternative news sites countering the “MSM agenda”. Their views align with the positions of Syria and Russia and attract an enormous online audience, amplified by high-profile alt-right personalities, appearances on Russian state TV and an army of Twitter bots.

The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

“This is the heart of Russian propaganda. In the old days they would try and portray the Soviet Union as a model society. Now it’s about confusing every issue with so many narratives that people can’t recognise the truth when they see it,” said David Patrikarakos, author of War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century.

End of the smashed phone screen? Self-healing glass discovered by accident


New type of polymer glass that can mend itself when pressed together is in development by University of Tokyo after a student discovered it

Japanese researchers say they have developed a new type of glass that can heal itself from cracks and breaks.

Glass made from a low weight polymer called “polyether-thioureas” can heal breaks when pressed together by hand without the need for high heat to melt the material.

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Panthers’ Jerry Richardson’s exit from ownership ranks is a sign of the times


The Panthers are 10-4 and a team no one wants to face in January, but they’ve lost an owner in an era where the old harassment game is no longer played

When one of the NFL’s most stable and respected owners is forced to sell his team the rest of sports should know there is no room for creepy comments, lurid stares and strange requests to come to the owner’s suite. The harassment game, long accepted with knowing smiles and smarmy smirks, has been shut down. As #metoo hashtags embolden women to talk about the dignity that has been stripped from their lives, there are plenty of players, coaches, executives and owners holding their breath wondering if past crimes will catch up to them.

Related: NFL round-up: Patriots shock Steelers at the death while Eagles keep winning

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Scientists have beaten down the best climate denial argument | Dana Nuccitelli


Clouds don’t act as a climate thermostat, and they’re not going to save us from global warming

Climate deniers have come up with a lot of arguments about why we shouldn’t worry about global warming – about 200 of them – but most are quite poor, contradictory, and easily debunked by consulting the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The cleverest climate contrarians settle on the least implausible argument – that equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS – how much a doubling of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase Earth’s surface temperature) is low, meaning that the planet will warm relatively slowly in response to human carbon pollution.

But they have to explain how that can be the case, because there are a lot of factors that amplify global warming. For example, a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which is itself a greenhouse gas, adding further warming. Warming also melts ice, leaving Earth’s surface less reflective, absorbing more sunlight. There are a number of these amplifying ‘feedbacks,’ but few that would act to significantly slow global warming.

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