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Showing posts from 2017

Massive Pro and Anti Government Protests in Venezuela

Miami lawmaker resigns over racial slur scandal

Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.
In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Artiles said he was stepping down immediately for the sake of his family and the institution of the Senate, whose work ground to a near halt this week as Republican leaders grappled with Artiles’ political future.  Read more.

Ex-NFL star Hernandez's family wants death scene evidence preserved

The family of former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez will ask a judge on Friday to order prison officials to preserve evidence collected after he was found dead in his cell on Wednesday from an apparent suicide.  
The evidence is needed to ensure a full investigation into his death, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday by Hernandez's fiancee on behalf of their daughter.  Read more.

Donald Trump has 'dangerous mental illness', say psychiatry experts at Yale conference

Donald Trump has a “dangerous mental illness” and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists has warned during a conference at Yale University.
Mental health experts claimed the President was “paranoid and delusional”, and said it was their “ethical responsibility” to warn the American public about the “dangers” Mr Trump’s psychological state poses to the country.  Read more.

Dakota Access Pipeline Mogul Cut $250,000 Check for Trump's Inauguration

Financial disclosures filed on Tuesday reveal that corporate chiefs, including those with pending business before then-incoming President Trump, provided much of the financing for the festivities around his inauguration.
Complying with federal law, the Trump Inaugural Committee disclosed its donors to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Tuesday, showing total contributions of more than $106 million -- a new record.  Read more.

‘Bill O’Reilly is not going to be recorded favorably in history,’ Rep. Maxine Waters says

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has a heated history with Bill O’Reilly.
The combative TV host and commentator compared the African American lawmaker’s hair last month to a “James Brown wig” — then extended a cursory apology for his “jest,” calling his comments “dumb.”
Waters, from Los Angeles, forcefully dismissed O’Reilly and his remarks.
So perhaps it comes as no surprise that she is happy with how O’Reilly’s departure from Fox News went down.  Read more.

Asian Innocence, Black Guilt: What David Dao Tells Us About Violence and the White Imaginary

If you've been online in the past week, you've seen the video. A shaky camera follows David Dao, an older Asian man, as he is dragged by aviation police down the narrow aisle of a crowded United flight. His stomach is exposed, and his glasses hang precariously below his nose. Moments after his removal, he somehow reboards, blood dripping from his mouth and ear, moaning: "I have to go home," and, "Just kill me." 
One week and dozens of think pieces later, there is much to glean from the messy national conversation about race, policing and violence that ensued in the aftermath of Dao's bloody removal from United 3411. At its core, the spectacle of Dao's removal is a reminder of the tenuous relationship between Asian racialization and a US carceral state founded on the conflation of Blackness and criminality.  Read more.

Victim of Alt-Right Attacks at Berkeley Trump Rally Speaks Out

The streets of Berkeley, California, became the scene of violent clashes Saturday during a planned “Patriots Day” rally between pro-Trump white supremacists and anti-fascist counter-protesters.
“The alt-right, militiamen, nazis, fascists, Trump supporters ... held a rally in Berkeley and took downtown,” Mother Jones senior editor Shane Bauer said...read more.

Police probe possible terror, racial motives in Fresno triple-slaying

The suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, was already being sought for a killing at a motel last week, police said. Investigators are not sure if terrorism was involved in Tuesday’s apparently random shootings, despite Muhammad’s invoking of the Arabic phrase meaning, “God is great,” said Fresno police Sgt. Mark Hudson.  Read more.

War and Peace and War

At the end of last year, the world celebrated what seemed to be the end one of history's longest standing internal wars. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who had brokered a peace deal with the guerrillas of the FARC-Ep received the Nobel Peace Prize. Even after the narrow, but defeating plebiscite in October, Colombia’s Congress was still able to ratify an adapted version of the peace deal with the guerrilla troop in December.  Read more.

Hopes for survivors fade after rubbish dump collapse

The death toll in a disastrous collapse of a rubbish dump in Sri Lanka rose to at least 29 on Monday, as traumatised residents accused authorities of ignoring their previous warnings over the site's safety.
Rescuers continued digging through heaps of mud and rubbish that collapsed on to a clutch of homes near a rubbish dump just outside...read more.

Nuns Take On Wells Fargo

In an insightful song about outlaws, Woody Guthrie wrote this verse: “As through this world I travel / I see lots of funny men / Some’ll rob you with a 6-gun / Some with a fountain pen.”
The fountain pens are doing the serious stealing these days.
For example, while you’d get hard time in prison for robbing a bank at gunpoint, bankers who rob customers with a flick of their fountain pens (or a click of their computer mouse) get multimillion-dollar payouts.  Read more.

Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas' Execution Spree

A federal judge on Saturday issued an injunction blocking Arkansas from its rush to carry out 6 executions in less than two weeks, siding with the plaintiffs who argued that the "assembly line" killings could subject inmates to a torturous and botched execution.
Eight inmates were initially slated for the mass execution, set to begin on Monday, but on Friday the Arkansas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay in the...read more.

The Legacy of Monsanto's PCBs: Oozing Pus, Birth Defects and Immune Problems

The people of New Bedford, Massachusetts, have always been tough. When New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world, seven men would hop into a 25-foot rowboat to chase -- and harpoon up close -- furious 50-foot whales weighing 85 tons. After petroleum replaced whale oil around 1900, New Bedford workers then kept 70 textile mills humming day and night. After textiles moved away, from the 1940s onward New Bedford supplied the world with electric gear. But when those factories began to close in the 1960s, they left behind some awful secrets -- 572 chemically poisoned plots of land within the city's 24 square miles, including land where unsuspecting townspeople built two public schools. In the early 1980s, local people learned that their prized harbor -- all 18,000 acres of it, including its bounty of fish and lobsters -- had been rendered dangerously toxic by factory wastes.  Read more.

World's oldest person, last one of 19th century, dies in Italy at 117

Emma Morano, who at 117 was believed to be the world's oldest person and the last surviving child of the 19th century, died on Saturday, swearing to the end on her diet of two raw eggs a day.
"She reached an incredible finish line," said Silvia Marchionini, mayor of the town of Verbania in northern Italy where Morano lived on the shores of Lake Maggiore.  Read more.

Le Pen Boosting Appeal to French Jews

Marine Le Pen has been courting French Jewish voters, who feel they’ve become left out in their left-run country, particularly in light of the sharp increase of open anti-Semitism, The Conversation reported Wednesday.
In recent decades, the Jewish community has turned to the right, and in 2007 Jews enthusiastically supported right-of-center presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy.  Read more.

Marine Le Pen’s loathsome rewriting of Holocaust history

WHEN A front-runner in France’s impending presidential election obliterates history by denying the country’s well- documented complicity in deporting tens of thousands of French and foreign Jews to Nazi death camps, it is clear something sinister is afoot in the birthplace of the Enlightenment.
Characterizing France as a victim rather than a willing and even enthusiastic participant in World War II’s mass liquidation of ...read more.

List of visitors at White House to be kept secret

WASHINGTON — Breaking with the practice of President Donald Trump’s predecessor, the White House is keeping secret the lists of visitors to the building.
The Trump administration cited privacy and national security concerns on Friday, but the decision angered government watchdog groups who accused Trump of reneging on his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington.  Read more.

BP trying to get leaking oil well under control on Alaska’s North Slope

A BP oil and gas production well in Alaska’s North Slope blew out Friday morning, and on Saturday afternoon, the well was still not under control as responders fought freezing temperatures and winds gusting up to 38 mph.
Efforts to get the well under control were also being hampered by damage to a well pressure gauge and by indications that the...read more.

Prison and Profits

It turns out that the immigration crackdown that DJT’s ICE is pursuing, though hard on illegals and their families by producing terrible uncertainty for them, is not without its bright side. The light that provides a bright side is shining on the shares of stock in the Geo Group and CoreCivic, and on jails in a number of Texas counties.  Read more.

Assad Suggests Chemical Attack Was “a Play” Staged by Al Qaeda and the U.S.

BASHAR AL-ASSAD, the Syrian president, suggested in an interview broadcast on Thursday that social media evidence of a deadly chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in northern Syria last week was fake. The images that shocked the world, he said, were most likely of “a play,” staged by Islamist rebels affiliated with both Al Qaeda and the United States.
Speaking to the French news agency AFP in English, Assad first noted that the town of Khan Sheikhoun, where the mass poisoning took place, “is under the control of Al Nusra Front, which is a branch of Al Qaeda — so the only information the world has had till this moment is published by Al Qaeda.”  Read more.

Ask Yourself: Will Donald Trump EVER Become President?

It’s been a week now since Donald Trump once again became our president.
Here’s how it happened.
After he unleashed missiles on a Syrian airfield, members of Washington’s national security establishment and elite pundits swooned. Top Democrats and Republicans led the way. Good soldiers all in the military-industrial-political complex, they stood smartly at attention and saluted the commander-in-chief for sending a message to the world, although exactly what the message meant remains far from clear.  Read more.

What's Causing the Winter Haze in China?

Pentagon Admits to Killing 18 US-Backed Syrian Forces in Friendly Fire Incident

The Pentagon on Thursday admitted to accidentally killing 18 U.S.-backed Syrian fighters on Tuesday during a coalition operation against the Islamic State (ISIS).
"A coalition air strike in support of partnered forces fighting ISIS south of Tabqah, Syria, resulted in 18 Syrian Democratic Forces personnel killed April 11," reads the statement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).  Read more.

U.S. dropps 'mother of all bombs' for first time in Afghanistan

The United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants, the military said.
It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the...read more.

Excessive Use of Antibiotics Turns Food Into Catastrophic Threat

The greatly excessive use of antibiotics in food production in recent decades has made many bacteria more resistant to antibiotics. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has estimated that antibiotic use in animal husbandry, poultry farming and aquaculture in the US is over four times USDA recommended levels. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has estimated that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the USA are used on animals.  Read more.

NY Becomes 1st State to OK Free Tuition at Public Colleges for Eligible Students

You get a degree! Everybody gets a degree! New York just cleared the way to become the first state in the United States to make tuition free for middle- and low-income students at two- and four-year public colleges.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo first introduced the plan in January, with lawmakers agreeing to include it in the state budget.  Read more.

Anti-Civil Rights Judge Neil Gorsuch Sworn In As Supreme Court Justice

Tesla Just Passed GM to Become America’s Most Valuable Carmaker

Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. surpassed General Motors Co. to become America’s most valuable carmaker, eclipsing a company whose well-being was once viewed as interdependent with the nation’s.
A week after topping Ford Motor Co., Tesla climbed 3.3 percent Monday, lifting its market capitalization to $50.9 billion. The electric-car maker ended the day valued at about $64 million more than GM. Musk’s company is now within $1 billion of Honda Motor Co. and cracking the top-five automakers worldwide.  Read more.

Trump Attack on Syria a Deadly Political Game and Reflection of Deep Systemic Crisis

Alabama governor resigns as scandal leads to criminal charges

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley resigned on Monday after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors related to campaign finance violations and linked to his relationship with a former adviser, ending a year-long scandal that has enveloped the state's government.
The guilty pleas were part of an agreement with prosecutors that called for him to step down, said Ellen Brooks, special prosecutor appointed by the state Attorney General Steve Marshall to investigate Bentley. Read more.

Groups Sue for White House, Mar-a-Lago Visitor Logs

Watchdog groups are suing the Trump administration (again), this time for failure to disclose records of visitors to the White House and to President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower residences.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in New York federal court by Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), the non-profit National Security Archive, and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, charges that the ...read more.

Shell Oil Execs Oversaw 'Vast Bribery Scheme' in Nigeria

Damning new evidence shows oil giant Shell took part in a vast bribery scheme that robbed the Nigerian people of over a billion dollars. 
Internal Shell emails seen by Finance Uncovered and Global Witness show how the world’s fifth biggest company took part in a scheme which deprived Nigeria and its people of $1.1 billion in a murky deal for access to one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks, known as OPL 245.  Read more.

Trump Became President by Bombing Syria

“I think Donald Trump became president of the United States” last night, CNN host Fareed Zakaria said when asked about the significance of Trump’s airstrikes on Syria (New Day, 4/7/17). “I think this was actually a big moment.”
His explanation is worth quoting at length for its distillation of the classic pundit attitude toward presidential violence:  Read more.

Alabama Supreme Court allows impeachment of governor to proceed

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled on Saturday that impeachment proceedings against Governor Robert Bentley can start next week, halting a court order that had blocked hearings stemming from his relationship with a former aide.
Bentley, a 74-year-old Republican, has battled impeachment efforts over the last year and has defied calls from political leaders that he stand down.  Read more.

Democrats, Neoconservatives Unite In Support Of Strikes In Syria As Trump Launches Attack

Amidst growing calls for greater military action in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack, the United States military launched more than fifty Tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat airfield near Homs. Democrats along with neoconservatives, who long pushed for U.S. military forces to topple President Bashar al Assad’s regime, advocated for military force in response to alleged chemical attack.  Read more.

Twitter pulls lawsuit over anti-Trump account, says summons withdrawn

Twitter Inc on Friday dropped a lawsuit it filed the previous day against the U.S. Homeland Security Department, saying the government had withdrawn a summons for records about who was behind an account critical of President Donald Trump.
A lawyer for the social media company, Mark Flanagan, wrote in court papers that a U.S. Justice Department lawyer told Twitter about the withdrawal of the summons...read more.

Disgust as Corporate Media and DC Politicians Gush Over Trump's New War

Corporate media and D.C. politicians on both sides of the aisle are falling over themselves to shower praise on President Donald Trump for unilaterally bombing a Syrian air base on Thursday, demonstrating that Washington's hunger for war continues no matter who is at the controls.
Some talking heads' praise for the new war effort has been so over-the-top that it alarmed viewers...read more.

Assembly Overrides Governor’s Veto, Protecting Public Schools from DeVos Agenda

Yesterday the Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill meant to protect public schools against the privatization agenda of Betsy DeVos.
Maryland has a rightwing Republican Governor, Larry Hogan, who has appointed a pro-privatization state board of education.
But Maryland also has a legislature controlled by Democrats. They hold a veto-proof majority.  Read more.

Donald Trump's biggest fans desert him over Syria air strikes

Many of Donald Trump’s most prominent fans have abandoned him after his decision to launch air strikes on Syria.
In what was a quick and extreme U-turn from previous positions, Mr Trump ordered US missile launches at an air base in the country, in response to a chemical weapons attack. It represented a break from many of Mr Trump’s campaign positions, primarily a promise that he would focus on “America first” and oppose intervention elsewhere in the world.  Read more.

South Africa's ANC stands by President Jacob Zuma

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has won the backing of the ruling ANC party, which rejected calls for him to resign over a controversial cabinet reshuffle.

The African National Congress on Wednesday acknowledged growing calls for Zuma to step down, admitting to "serious and difficult disagreement" over the president's sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week.  Read more.

One Arrested After Deadly Truck Attack In Stockholm

Authorities in Sweden say they have made one arrest after a truck drove into pedestrians on a major shopping and tourist street in Stockholm Friday, causing multiple injuries and fatalities.
The vehicle, a stolen beer delivery truck, plowed through the pedestrian street and crashed into an upscale department store. Four people died and 15 were injured, according to police.  Read more.

Bolivian UN Ambassador Blasts US for Another Illegal Attack

Wielding an image of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell during his infamous "weapons of mass destruction" speech that helped make the case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in2003, Sacha Llorenti, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations, blasted the United States for its unilateral military action against Syria saying it is "vital to remember what history teaches us."  Read more.

Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms

When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.
But Mr. Kushner did not mention dozens of contacts with foreign leaders or officials in recent months. They include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of...read more.

C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed

The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.
The briefings indicate that intelligence officials had evidence of Russia’s intentions to help Mr. Trump much earlier in the presidential campaign than previously thought.  Read more.

Dutch Men Hold Hands in Solidarity With Attacked Gay Couple

From Amsterdam to New York, London to Havana, Dutch men across the world held hands this week to show solidarity with a gay couple who say they were brutally beaten in Arnhem, the Netherlands.
The outpouring of support came after the married couple, Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, said they were attacked by a gang of youths while holding hands on their way home from a party early Sunday.  Read more.

Donald Trump's senseless Syria strikes accomplish nothing

Donald Trump, the man who just over a month ago wanted to bar entry of all Syrian refugees into the United States, now wants us to think that he cares deeply about Syrian children. I don’t believe it.
What I do believe is that our president is a bad actor. He was a bad actor on his old television show, and he’s still a bad actor today. And he’s a bad actor in both senses of the term, which is to say his actions are poorly executed and morally questionable.  Read more.

Joan Baez Goes Viral With 'Nasty Man,' a Protest Song for the Trump Era

Joan Baez, protest singer of the peace and civil rights movements of the 1960s, has gone viral with a protest song for today's Trump era, called "Nasty Man."

The song features roses in the Rose Garden telling President Donald Trump that he "owes the Earth a pardon;" pokes fun at the president for his border wall plans and Melania Trump's notable absence from the White House...read more.

Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities

In addition to slashing funding for the arts, education programs, climate change research, and worker protections (among many other things), another lesser known casualty of President Donald Trump's "morally obscene" budget proposal: Amtrak.
The president's so-called "skinny budget" will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak's national train network, meaning 220 cities will lose all passenger service...read more.

Surveillance drones to be used for first time at Boston Marathon

Stepping up security measures, authorities will use surveillance drones, equipped with zoom lenses and infrared at this year's Boston Marathon. More than 30,000 runners are expected to attend, and around a million spectators.
The two drones will fly 400 feet above the starting line, tethered by thin wire, where long-distance lenses, electro-optical and infrared cameras will send video feed to police command centers.  Read more.

What Happened to Trump's Lie About Millions of 2016 Illegal Voters?

An April 4 email from the Courage Campaign -- a California-based grassroots organization -- warns that voter suppression by Republican state legislators is still going strong: Republicans have ramped up voter suppression tactics around the country. In Wisconsin, local officials gave false information to voters. In Arizona and Mississippi, cuts in voting hours and locations resulted in voters waiting for hours in lines before casting their votes on election day. And stringent voter ID laws in six states around the country may have deterred hundreds of thousands of voters from turning out in 2016.  Read more.

After Deadly Navy SEAL Raid, Yemeni Villagers Suffer More U.S. Attacks

Medicare for All: Give Me Healthcare or Give Me Death

Where are the screams about those death panels now?  As Trump-Bannon-Ryan and friends craft their healthcare path forward with the leaders of the swamp team, no one is crying “foul” about the bold, proud creation of those famed death panels.  I found it almost fitting that some of the latest negotiations happened on the golf course with the tweeter-in-chief and his close pal and darling of libertarians everywhere, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky).  And the American taxpayers paid for all of this fun on the links.  Read more.

House Dems Launch New Efforts to Force Trump to Disclose Tax Returns

As the deadline approaches for Americans to file their taxes, House Democrats are launching new efforts to force President Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns.
The latest, filed Wednesday, is a "discharge petition" put forth by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) to require the president, future presidents, and presidential nominees to release their tax returns.  Read more.

Stephen Bannon removed from National Security Council

President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated key military and intelligence officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon far less involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy.  Read more.

Australia's dirtiest coal plant closes, energy crisis deepens

The doors to Australia's dirtiest power station will close permanently on Friday after 50 years, amping up pressure on a government desperate to avoid the kind of embarrassing blackouts that hit chunks of the country during a recent savage heatwave.
France's Engie SA is pulling the plug on the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant near Melbourne, cutting around a fifth of the state of Victoria's energy supply, blaming the "huge" costs of running the aged facility amid rising competition from subsidized wind and solar energy.  Read more.

Democrats amass support to force showdown over Trump Supreme Court pick

Democrats on Monday corralled enough support to hold up a Senate confirmation vote on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee but Republicans threatened to change the Senate rules to ensure conservative judge Neil Gorsuch gets the lifetime job.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to send Gorsuch's nomination to the full Senate, setting up a political showdown this week...read more.

Explosion in St. Petersburg Metro Kills 11, Wounds Over 50

Eleven people were killed and at least 50 injured in an explosion on the Russian city of St. Petersburg’s metro Monday. The explosion tore through a metro car in a tunnel between the city’s Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologicheskiy Institut metro stations Monday afternoon at about 2:30 p.m. Interfax is reporting the attack was caused by a 23-year-old suicide bomber from Central Asia. Shortly thereafter, Fontanka reported the attacker was Maksim Arishev, a 22-year-old from Kazakhstan. Read more.

Arkansas' Howard Zinn Witch-Hunt Fizzles

Last week nearly 700 Arkansas teachers and school librarians received copies of books by Howard Zinn—thanks to a right-wing state representative.
Well, not exactly. But here’s the story.
Recently, Republican Kim Hendren, introduced legislation that would prohibit teachers in all public schools or state-supported charter schools from including any books in their curriculum...read more.

Federal Judge Blocks Pence's "Extreme" Anti-Abortion Indiana Law

A federal judge on Friday blocked a core provision of Indiana abortion legislation that Vice President Mike Pence lauded when he signed it into law "with a prayer" last year, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The omnibus bill was described by reproductive rights advocates as "one of the worst anti-abortion laws in the country."  Read more.

Capitalism Produced Trump: Another Reason to Move Beyond It

The fact that Trump, Bannon and the rest of their coterie do not think through the implications of their acts is not unusual. One marked peculiarity of politics in capitalist systems is how those systems train politicians. Corporations and the rich provide the funds that enable election victories. They expect specific favors in return: a government order, a tariff, crisis bailouts, or a foreign intervention, for example. Politicians in office must deliver those, or risk removal. Politicians must also veneer those deliveries with verbiage about the national interest, the people's safety, job creation and other vague yet vital-sounding priorities.  Read more.

Britain's Brexit Bill Gives Government Unprecedented Powers

Connecticut may become first U.S. state to allow deadly police drones

Connecticut would become the first U.S. state to allow law enforcement agencies to use drones equipped with deadly weapons if a bill opposed by civil libertarians becomes law.
The legislation, approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature's judiciary committee on Wednesday, would ban so-called weaponized drones in the state but exempts agencies involved in law enforcement. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.  Read more.

Japanese fleet returns from Antarctic hunt with 333 whales

Japan's whaling fleet returned home Friday after killing 333 whales in the Antarctic, achieving its goal for the second year under a revised research whaling program.
The Fisheries Agency said the five-ship fleet finished its four-month expedition without major interference from anti-whaling activists who have attempted to stop it in the past.  Read more.

I-85 Bridge Collapse In Atlanta Brings Headache To 250,000 Drivers A Day

Transportation officials in Georgia are scrambling to cope with a crisis, after a huge fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta on Thursday night.
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency, and with the heavily used road closed in both directions, drivers are being told to find other options — from detours to mass transit.
The shutdown affects a roughly 3-mile portion of I-85, blocking a major artery that runs through the heart of Atlanta.  Read more.

Maryland Bans Fracking

Maryland is on track to become the third state to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and natural gas, after the Senate voted 35-10 on Monday for a measure already approved by the House.
The bill is now headed to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is in favor of a statewide fracking ban.  Read more.

Article 50 triggers Brexit as England prepares to exit the European Union

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has triggered the formal two-year process of negotiations that will lead to Britain leaving the European Union  after 44 years in a process popularly known as Brexit.
A letter invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and officially notifying the EU of Britain's decision to withdraw from the bloc was hand-delivered to...read more.

Arab League: 'Reject apartheid system' in Palestine

Arab leaders have demanded a two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid increased unease over the stance of the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump.
The heads of Arab League states - attending a one-day summit beside the Dead Sea in Jordan - did not publicly refer to Trump or his statements on Wednesday, but they stressed their own continued backing for an independent Palestinian state.  Read more.

Audi's unions demand electric model for main German plant

Labor leaders at Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) luxury Audi brand have asked top management to assign production of an all-electric model to the carmaker's main plant in Germany, concerned they might lose out as electric cars gain in importance.
Audi will next year start building its first mass-produced electric model, the e-tron quattro sport-utility vehicle, at a plant in Brussels, together with batteries that will...read more.

Ahmed Kathrada, icon of South Africa’s freedom struggle, dies

Ahmed Kathrada, a lifelong comrade of Nelson Mandela and one of the iconic figures of South Africa’s freedom struggle, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87.
Kathrada began his resistance to oppression more than 70 years ago and did not stop fighting for the rights of people all over the world until the short illness that took his life.  Read more.

Cyclone Debbie smashes into Australia's Queensland coast

Tropical Cyclone Debbie is making landfall across the coast of northeast Australia, packing sustained winds of 185 kph (114 mph) with gusts reaching more than 262 kph (163 mph).
The storm is lashing the Queensland coast with torrential rain which, when combined with a dangerous storm tide, could cause major flooding, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.  Read more.

Tesla deal boosts Chinese presence in U.S. auto tech

China's Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) has bought a 5 percent stake in U.S. electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) for $1.78 billion, the latest investment by a Chinese internet company in the potentially lucrative market for self-driving vehicles and related services.
Tencent's investment, revealed in a U.S. regulatory filing, provides Tesla with an additional cash cushion as it prepares to launch its mass-market Model 3. Tesla's shares were up 2.9 percent at $277.03 in midday trading on Tuesday...read more.

'Religious left' emerging as U.S. political force in Trump era

Since President Donald Trump's election, monthly lectures on social justice at the 600-seat Gothic chapel of New York's Union Theological Seminary have been filled to capacity with crowds three times what they usually draw.
In January, the 181-year-old Upper Manhattan graduate school, whose architecture evokes London's Westminster Abbey, turned away about 1,000 people from a lecture on mass incarceration. In the nine years that Reverend Serene Jones has served as its president, she has never seen such crowds.  Read more.

Fox News said Trump spent the weekend ‘working at the White House.’ He was at his golf club.

The alert from Fox News went out at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
“PRESIDENT TRUMP SPENDING WEEKEND WORKING AT THE WHITE HOUSE,” the chyron announced, under an image of the White House presumably captured just minutes before.
The timing of the tweet alert was curious: After all, the weekend was nearly over.
“[T]his is like when you start to do your homework when you hear the garage door opening,” one Twitter user noted.
And, as it turned out, the announcement wasn't entirely true.  Read more.

U.S., Britain, France, others skip nuclear weapons ban treaty talks

The United States, Britain and France are among almost 40 countries that will not join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty starting at the United Nations on Monday, said U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Haley told reporters the countries skipping the negotiations are instead committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which entered into force in 1970 and is aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.  Read more.

Democrats call for independent Russian probe apart from Congress

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee repeated his call Sunday for an independent probe of possible Russian ties with the Donald Trump campaign.
“There are enough questions that have now been called, that have been raised where I think the establishment of a commission would give the country a lot of confidence that at least one body was doing this in a way that was completely removed from any political considerations,’’ California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ Face the Nation.  Read more.

Gates Foundation's Rose-Colored World View Not Supported by Evidence

The annual public letter from Bill and Melinda Gates has become a much-celebrated event in the global development calendar. But lost in the excitement around this year’s letter is the fact that it uses 6,000 words to paint a picture that is so selective in its use of facts that it amounts to little more than propaganda for a failing aid and development industry, and indeed a failing ideology.
And the 2017 letter is especially striking for just how out-of-sync it feels ... Read more.

New Bill Aims to Unmask Visitors at Trump's Alternative White Houses

Amid reports Saturday that President Donald Trump would spend his afternoon "holding meetings" at a golf course he owns in Virginia, grassroots support is growing for a new bill introduced late this week that would force the president to provide visitor logs for Trump-owned properties where he conducts official government business.  Read more.

Illinois hairstylists trained in art of helping abuse victims

Londa Brown and Darlene Copeland, a pair of hairstylists from Chicago's South Side, have spent so many hours listening to their customers talk about the ups and downs of their lives that the two jokingly refer to themselves as therapists.
But along with amusing tales, their customers also share troubling stories of relationships that have turned violent. This has included signs of abuse ... read more.

Largest Bank in Norway Sells Its Assets in Dakota Access Pipeline

The largest bank in Norway, DNB, has announced that it has sold its assets in the Dakota Access pipeline. The news follows the delivery of 120,000 signatures gathered by SumOfUs.org to DNB by Greenpeace Norway and others urging the bank and other financial institutions to pull finances for the project. DNB recently indicated that it is reconsidering the loan it provided, which amounts to 10 percent of the total funding.  Read more.

Republicans turn fire on each other

White House officials insisted Sunday that the relationship between President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan is strong, even as Republican infighting over the failure to repeal Obamacare exploded into the open over the weekend.
After Trump urged his Twitter followers Saturday to watch Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro — who opened her show last night with six-minute plea for Speaker Paul Ryan to step down — Washington was abuzz with speculation about a Trump-Ryan rift.  Read more.

Trump rally ends with a man getting beaten with a ‘Make America Great Again’ sign

The demonstration was large but peaceful — 2,000 flag-waving supporters of President Trump walking and chanting along Bolsa Chica State Beach in California.
Then, they caught sight of the counterprotesters.
The melee that followed Saturday was captured in a profanity-filled video that quickly spread across the nation...read more.

Hundreds Arrested at Anti-Corruption Protests in Russia

Hundreds of people, including a key opposition leader, were arrested in Russia on Sunday as thousands participated in unsanctioned protests against corruption and the anti-democratic tendencies of the ruling government.
A reported 500 people were detained in Moscow alone, where opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has accused both President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of corruption, was also taken into custody.   Read more.