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The Real Truth - A Magazine Restoring Plain Understanding

  • World News Desk
  • ASIA

Hong Kong’s sole remaining pro-democracy newspaper will publish its last edition Thursday, forced to shut down after five editors and executives were arrested and millions of dollars in its assets were frozen as part of China’s increasing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city.

The board of directors of Apple Daily parent company Next Media said in a statement Wednesday that the print and online editions will cease due to “the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong.”

The silencing of a prominent pro-democracy voice is the latest sign of China’s determination to exert greater control over the city long known for its freedoms after huge antigovernment protests there in 2019 shook the government. Since then, Beijing has imposed a strict national security law—used in the arrests of the newspaper employees—and revamped Hong Kong’s election laws to keep opposition voices out of the legislature.

  • World News Desk
  • WEATHER & ENVIRONMENT

A tornado that swept through Chicago’s western suburbs, damaging more than 100 homes and injuring several people, was packing 140 mph winds when it hit the heavily populated area, the National Weather Service said.

A weather service team that surveyed the aftermath of Sunday night’s storm found that, based on Monday’s preliminary findings, the tornado was an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale when it cut a path through parts of Naperville, Woodridge, Darien and Burr Ridge, and that it launched debris to a height of nearly 20,000 feet.

The weather service planned to continue surveying that area to determine the precise path, width and length of the storm’s trail of destruction, said Jake Petr, a meteorologist at the service’s Romeoville office.

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

The “year of wheat” campaign pushed by Syrian President Bashar Assad is in jeopardy after low rainfall risked leaving an import gap of at least 1.65 million tons, according to preliminary estimates by officials and experts.

The agricultural blow and lack of funds to finance the imports will add to pressure on a Syrian economy already reeling from ten years of conflict and buckling under the pressure of U.S. sanctions, neighboring Lebanon’s financial collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russia, one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and Mr. Assad’s staunch ally, has said it would sell 1.1 million tons of grain to Syria throughout the year to help it meet the 4.4 million tons of annual domestic demand.

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  • World News Desk
  • POLITICS

Iran’s president-elect staked out a hard-line position Monday in his first remarks since his landslide election victory, rejecting the possibility of meeting with President Joe Biden or negotiating Tehran’s ballistic missile program and support of regional militias.

The comments by Ebrahim Raisi offered a blunt preview of how Iran might deal with the wider world in the next four years as it enters a new stage in negotiations to resurrect its now-tattered 2015 nuclear deal with global powers.

The news conference in Tehran also marked the first time the judiciary chief found himself confronted on live television about his role in the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners at the end of the Iran-Iraq war. Mr. Raisi offered no specific response to that dark chapter in Iranian history, but appeared confident and defiant as he described himself as a “defender of human rights.”

  • World News Desk
  • AMERICAS

Fear has invaded the Mexican border city of Reynosa after gunmen in vehicles killed 14 people, including taxis drivers, workers and a nursing student, and security forces responded with operations that left four suspects dead.

While this city across the border from McAllen, Texas, is used to cartel violence as a key trafficking point, the 14 victims in Saturday’s attacks appeared to be what Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca called “innocent citizens” rather than members of one gang killed by a rival.

Local businessman Misael Chavarria Garza said many businesses closed early Saturday after the attacks and people were very scared as helicopters flew overhead. On Sunday, he said “the people were quiet as if nothing had happened, but with a feeling of anger because now crime has happened to innocent people.”

  • Articles
  • HEALTH ISSUES

A story illustrates the complexity of healthcare costs in the United States.

A woman experiencing stomach issues went to a doctor, who recommended a diagnostic test called a HIDA scan. The woman’s health insurance policy had a high deductible, so she knew she would likely have to pay for the procedure out of pocket.

As she left the doctor’s office, she asked the receptionist a seemingly simple question: “How much is this going to cost?”

  • Articles
  • MARRIAGE & FAMILY
Imagine the Earth being annihilated. This climactic scene plays out in sci-fi movies or in scenarios of a wayward asteroid crashing into Earth’s surface. But it is also part of an astounding Bible prophecy foretold to occur unless God intervenes in men’s affairs.
  • Articles
  • EDUCATION

Sunset draws closer, signaling the end of another day. Eucalyptus and wild olive trees cast long shadows over the golden savannah. The familiar song of a diederik cuckoo rings through the air as it basks its feathers in the late afternoon sun. Eland, zebra and giraffe tread over the slopes of a well-known trail. Their day will end by quenching their thirst at a drinking hole a few yards away. From my family’s favorite spot on a rocky edge of a koppie or small hill where we used to live, the vista seems endless…

While reading this description of my former home of South Africa, your brain did an incredible amount of work—translating symbols on a page into detailed visual images. Through mere words on paper, you can be transported to majestic landscapes, exotic countries or even different time periods. Truly, reading can be “one of the most marvelous adventures that anyone can have,” as the two-time National Book Award-winning author Lloyd Alexander once stated.

Books connect us with others, allowing us to share ideas, understanding and experiences in a profound way. But the ability to read is a skill built with time and practice. Recently, educators and parents have been putting extra focus on reading development for children because the pandemic caused many young students’ skills to stall.

  • World News Desk
  • POLITICS

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced four bills on Friday aimed at reining in the power of the tech giants, with one potentially leading to their break-up.

Two of the bills address the issue of giant companies, such as Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, creating a platform for other businesses and then competing against those same businesses.

One measure bans platforms from owning subsidiaries that operate on their platform if those subsidiaries compete with other businesses—potentially forcing the Big Tech firms to sell assets.

  • World News Desk
  • ECONOMY & PERSONAL FINANCE

The 2020s have only just begun but there is already a rush to draw parallels with the past, prompted by a belief that COVID-19 will mark a turning point for the world economy and financial markets.

For some, a post-pandemic economic boom accompanied with optimism about the future echoes the 1920s. Others reckon this decade is beginning to feel like the 1970s, as dormant inflation awakens.

Whatever path the decade takes will of course matter for the trajectory of stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities.

  • World News Desk
  • ASIA

Under clear blue skies, rugged peaks and the spectacular Potala Palace, one image is ubiquitous in Tibet’s capital city Lhasa: portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping and fellow leaders.

In a rare and tightly chaperoned government tour of the region last week, a Reuters journalist saw the portraits in classrooms, streets, religious institutions, houses and the bedroom of a Buddhist monk.

More than a dozen other reporters were also on the trip.

  • World News Desk
  • WEATHER & ENVIRONMENT

Reuters – The reservoir created by Hoover Dam, an engineering marvel that symbolized the American ascendance of the 20th century, has sunk to its lowest level ever, underscoring the gravity of the extreme drought across the U.S. West.

Lake Mead, formed in the 1930s from the damming of the Colorado River at the Nevada-Arizona border about 30 miles east of Las Vegas, is the largest reservoir in the United States. It is crucial to the water supply of 25 million people including in the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.

As of Wednesday, the lake surface fell to 1,071.56 feet above sea level, dipping below the previous record low set on July 1, 2016. It has fallen 140 feet since 2000—nearly the height of the Statue of Liberty from torch to base—exposing a bathtub ring of bleached-white embankments.

  • World News Desk
  • MIDDLE EAST

Naftali Bennett was sworn in Sunday as Israel’s new prime minister, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year rule and a political crisis that resulted in four elections in the country in less than two years.

The next government, led by Mr. Bennet’s ultranationalist Yamina party, has vowed to chart a new course aimed at healing the country’s divisions and restoring a sense of normalcy.

The coalition consists of eight parties from across Israel’s political spectrum, including a small Arab party that has made history by joining a government for the first time. If even one party bolts, the government would be at serious risk of collapse, and Mr. Netanyahu, who intends to stay on as opposition leader, is waiting in the wings.

  • World News Desk
  • SOCIETY & LIFESTYLES

Karen Glidden’s loneliness became unbearable during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 72-year-old widow, who suffers from vision loss and diabetes and lives far from any relatives, barely left her house in Champion, Michigan, this past year, for fear of contracting the virus. Finally vaccinated, she was looking forward to venturing out when her beloved service dog died last month.

It does not help that her circle of trusted friends has dwindled to one neighbor she counts on to help her shop, get to the doctor and hang out.

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