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Trump appoints author of ‘Illuminati Secret Laws of Money’ to federal education board

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A Colorado lawyer who’s known for authoring a series of “Illuminati self-help books” has been appointed to a federal education board by President Trump, The Denver Post reports.

George Mentz, who was nominated to the Commission on Presidential Scholars last week, teaches online courses on wealth management and is also a writer for the right-wing news site Newsmax. He’s authored books titled, “The Illuminati Secret Laws of Money,” “The Illuminati Handbook,” “50 Laws of Power of the Illuminati,” and “100 Secrets and Habits of the Illuminati for Life Success.”

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As the Denver Post points out, his books are laced with conspiratorial and pseudoscientific buzzwords.

“When a person stops struggling and initiates ALCHEMY OR MAGIC, SOMETHING HAPPENS,” Mentz wrote in his 2013 book, “Success Magic — The Prosperity Secret to Win with Magical Spiritual Power: How to Grow Rich, Influence People, Protect Your Mindset and Love Yourself Like a Warrior Using Timeless Abundance Secrets.”

But according Mentz, his terminology isn’t as loony as it sounds.

“Just because I use the word Illuminati, don’t let that get you too excited,” Mentz said in an interview, according to the Denver Post. “If you look the word up, it means ‘illumination.’ How to be more aware, conscious, a better person.”

Mentz is also the owner of the Global Academy of Finance and Management, which awards certifications to applicants, for a fee, that allows people to attain titles such as an “accredited life coach” or a “certified political scientist.” Critics have said the certifications are meaningless, but according to a message on the GAFM website, having such a certification “makes you one of the next generation of global leaders.”

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In an interview this Friday, Mentz justified his certification program, saying his standards are “pretty basic.”

“If you took 135 hours of college education to get your degree from a particular university and satisfied a major in journalism, then you’re qualified for certification in that area if you had a GPA or 3.0 or higher,” Mentz said. “So, instead of having someone go to Sylvan Learning and take a quiz to be certified, we would allow somebody like you to apply directly for a certification.”

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Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse

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Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.

The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.

"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.

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Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple

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Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.

The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.

His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.

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Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters

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Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.

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