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  • Writer's pictureEmily Duke Hargan

News You Might Have Missed

Everyone seems to have gotten a lot busier lately. Is it because we are all making this transition from summer to fall? The days seem to run together and if my social media hadn't been peppered with photos of kids starting their first days of school on Zoom or of Moms and Dads dropping off their freshman at college, I might have stayed in denial a little while longer about summer coming to an end. My own kids have school starting soon too— my oldest son won't be attending class in-person this fall but earlier this week he was able to meet up with the boys from his class on campus for lunch and pre-school activities.

While many of you were busy getting kids back to school, juggling work schedules, searching for normalcy in a not-so-normal world, or just completely zoning out like me, some pretty interesting things have been happening. If you turn on the tv these days, usually it is a 24-hour coronavirus media blitz or a political slugfest, so I don't blame you for possibly missing some of these pretty fantastic news events. Check them out:

Last week, we witnessed what might be the most dramatic and positive news to come out of the Middle East in many years. The United Arab Emirates and Israel agreed to sign a peace treaty and fully normalize relations. In exchange, Israel suspended its plans to annex parts of the West Bank. This is the first time in 25 years that an Arab state has agreed to normalize relations with Israel. For Israel, establishing normal diplomatic ties with Arab countries has long been a strategic goal. It signals greater acceptance in the Middle East and the potential for more commercial ties for a country that has until now conducted very little of its business in its own region. The implications of this could be revolutionary in their effect on the region.

Earlier this week, ex-FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty to falsifying a document in the Trump-Russia Probe. This is the first of what could be many indictments from U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation, and Clinesmith’s case is very serious. As an FBI lawyer, he tampered with a document that was key to an investigation involving the president of the United States. Specifically, after learning from the CIA that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page had been a CIA source against Russia, Clinesmith told an FBI agent that Page had never been a CIA source, and falsified a CIA email to the FISA court for a surveillance warrant to make it look as though the agency had acknowledged as much. This was to be the fourth such warrant, all premised on the FBI’s theory that Page had worked for Russia against the United States, not the other way around. Clinesmith knew the agent and the court would rely on the misinformation he had provided. I don't know about you but I'm beginning to believe the Deep State is real so I'm going to stay tuned to see what Durham has next up his sleeve.

After over 80 days of protests, the Portland Police Bureau released  a timeline this week showing where and when demonstrations, protests and riots were held from May 29 through August 20. The timeline also shows how many arrests were made on each night and what kinds of crimes, if any, had been committed. According to the data, protesters threw projectiles during 58 of the 72 nights of demonstrations. Protestors allegedly started fires on 42 nights—in places like the federal courthouse and at least at of the two local police precincts. The timeline also indicates riots were declared on 17 of the nights. Federal law enforcement has indicated that they are also investigating various criminal offenses that have occurred or are specifically related to violations of federal law, including arson, the use of improvised explosive devices, and interstate transportation of stolen goods. Roughly 500 arrests have been made since late May—and yet the demonstrations seem to continue.

COVID-19 Test Approval: SalivaDirect

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization last week allowing public use of a saliva-based test for the coronavirus developed at Yale University and funded by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. SalivaDirect uses saliva which is easier to sample compared to using those long nasal swabs. This new diagnostic skips the complicated step of having to extract the genetic material of the virus in order to detect it. And, this test is flexible because it does not require a specific swab or collection device and it can also be used with reagents from different vendors. The group that developed the test estimates that the reagent cost per sample ranges from $1.29 to $4.37, which is far cheaper than the reagents used in current PCR tests. The lab is granting licenses only to other laboratories that agree to charge an affordable price for the test. These kind of tests offer lots of promise especially in areas that need to do cheap and fast testing.

Now for some fun so maybe check out some of these this weekend...

~Try these 19 Best Costco Snacks for When you Need a Bite Stat

~See the National Zoo's New Baby Panda

~Plan a Road Trip: Dollywood's Annual Homeschool Days Let Students Learn in the Theme Park

AND...Don't miss our EXCLUSIVE interview and profile with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik from New York coming out next week!

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