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Showing posts from March, 2017

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.

North Dakota Oil Spill Vastly Underestimated

The amount of crude oil that spewed near Belfield, North Dakota from the ruptured Belle Fourche pipeline in December was vastly underestimated.
The original estimate was around 176,000 gallons of oil. After further review, pipeline operator True Companies now reports about 12,615 barrels (529,830 gallons) of oil spilled...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.

18 Million U.S. Citizens Exposed to Lead-Contaminated Water Systems

Health Care For All Back on the Agenda

YouTube’s Ad Problems Finally Blow Up in Google’s Face

Israel-based entrepreneur Matan Uziel saw a notification he’d never seen before pop up on YouTube’s backend—the part of the site where creators upload their videos. “I saw a yellow dollar sign. At first I didn’t understand what it was,” Uziel says. “Then I moved my cursor over it. I saw it meant my video was not advertiser-friendly.”  Read more.

Florida NAACP: 'We stand with Aramis Ayala'

The NAACP Florida State Conference expressed its support for State Attorney Aramis Ayala and its opposition to capital punishment Saturday morning during a news conference in Orange County.

Ayala announced last week that she won’t pursue the death penalty in murder suspect Markeith Loyd’s case or any other during her tenure.  Read more.

The NFL has effectively blackballed Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick managed the 17th-best quarterback rating last season among starters while coming back from injury. His touchdown percentage was 13th best, better than Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who wound up in the Pro Bowl and with a new franchise-tag contract worth $24 million next season. His interception percentage was sixth, just behind Aaron Rodgers and just ahead of MVP Matt Ryan.
And Kaepernick did all of that on a team that was abysmal because of disarray in its ownership and front office, as well as its sidelines.  Read more.

Putin meets French right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen at Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the "great importance" of ties between his country and France as he met French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin on Friday, Russian state-run news agency Tass reported.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that Russia was not seeking to...read more.

Trump approved Keystone XL pipeline would only create 35 permanent jobs

President Trump hailed the State Department's approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as a big win for American workers.
"It's a great day for American jobs," Trump said from the Oval Office on Friday after the State Department issued a permit allowing the pipeline proposed by TransCanada to go forward.  Read more.

The bigotry behind Colin Kaepernick’s unemployment

Last week, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he helped get a Turkish Airlines plane to fly to Somalia to deliver food, water and assistance to the drought-stricken country.
A few days later, President Donald Trump took the time during a rally in Kentucky to address (brag about?) the fact that Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job.  Read more.

Why Big Insurance Adores the American Health Care Act

There’s been a lot of talk about just who was hurt and helped by Obamacare and who will profit or be imperiled by the next phase of health care legislation. Yet health insurance executives have been curiously silent about the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. While the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, among many others, have come out against it, insurers have clearly made a strategic decision not to show their hand.  Read more.

Ex-Russian lawmaker shot dead in Kiev; Ukraine blames Russia

A former Russian lawmaker who became a vociferous critic of Moscow following his recent move to Ukraine was shot and killed Thursday in Kiev, prompting harsh words between the two neighboring countries.
Denis Voronenkov, who had testified to Ukrainian investigators and criticized Russian policies after his move to Kiev last fall, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman near the entrance of an upscale hotel in the Ukrainian capital.  Read more.

Memphis Officials to Help Save Aretha Franklin's Birthplace

The Memphis mayor's office is pitching in to help figure out the future of the dilapidated house where soul singer Aretha Franklin was born, a lawyer said Thursday.
Alan Crone, special counsel to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, told a judge that a working group from the mayor's office plans to assist other stakeholders concerned about the preservation and future use of the historic home.  Read more.

No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California

An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.
The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected...read more.

Coal in 'Freefall' Worldwide, Report Finds

The coal industry is in "freefall" worldwide, the latest annual survey from environmental groups Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and CoalSwarm finds.
"The staggering uptick in clean energy and reduction in the new coal plant pipeline is even more proof that coal isn't just bad for public health and the environment—it's bad for the bottom line," said Nicole Ghio...read more.

Rep. Devin Nunes puts Trump politic career ahead of FBI investigation and public

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the "beyond irregular" behavior of the committee's Republican chairman has "underscored the imperative of an independent investigation" into Russian interference in last year's election—comments that capped off a series of explosive Capitol Hill developments surrounding a controversy that refuses to die.  Read more.

Four dead, at least 20 injured in UK parliament 'terrorist' attack

Four people were killed and at least 20 injured in London on Wednesday after a car plowed into pedestrians and an attacker stabbed a policeman close to the British parliament, in what police called a terrorist incident.
The dead included the assailant and the policeman he stabbed, while the other two victims were among the pedestrians hit by the car as it tore along Westminster Bridge, which is right next to parliament.  Read more.

Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California

Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows.
The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles.  Read more.

Federal Judge Orders Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Pocomoke, State of Maryland to Move Forward

Baltimore City Council Passes Historic $15 Minimum Wage

As Colin Kaepernick brings #LoveArmyForSomalia, NFL executives show what hate looks like

“Amazing news,” a proud Colin Kaepernick announced in a video on Saturday. “Turkish Airlines granted us an airplane to fly to Somalia, a 60 ton cargo plane, so we can fly there with food with water for these people. Now we’ve started a GoFundMe page to allow anyone to help us donate food, donate water.”  Read more.

Trump takes credit for Colin Kaepernick not getting signed by NFL team

On Monday during a rally in Kentucky designed to pull together supporters for the Republican health care plan, President Donald Trump seemed to try to take credit for Colin Kaepernick’s career seemingly coming to an end.
Specifically, Trump pointed out a recent report that no NFL team would sign the free agent because they feared a backlash on Twitter by the president.  Read more.

#NoDAPL Divestment Global Campaign Takes Off

A U.S. appeals court on Saturday shut down a last-ditch effort to put a stop to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), allowing oil to flow as early as Monday.

The appeals court affirmed a lower court's ruling last week that decided against an emergency injunction, sought by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, which would have ... Read more.

Neil Gorsuch Does Not Belong on the Supreme Court

When Justice Antonin Scalia died last year, giant corporations and their right-wing buddies spent millions of dollars to keep the Supreme Court seat open so that Donald Trump could fill the vacancy. It was only the latest step in their campaign to tilt our courts in favor of big corporations and the wealthy. Now, the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is their reward. Anyone who believes in a neutral Supreme Court guided by equal justice for all should oppose this nomination.  Read more.

David Rockefeller, Banker, Philanthropist, Heir, Dies at 101

David Rockefeller, the U.S. banker, philanthropist, presidential adviser and heir to one of history’s most fabled fortunes, has died. At 101, he was the world’s oldest billionaire.
He died Monday at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York, according to an emailed statement from Fraser P. Seitel, a family spokesman. The cause was congestive heart failure.  Read more.

Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode (Live 1958)

Chuck Berry: American Visionary

OVER THE COURSE OF A CAREER SPANNING SIX DECADES, Chuck Berry, arguably the most important figure in the development of rock & roll, has established a few firm rules he lives by. Among them: There will be no performance unless payment has been received in full, in cash. No limousines and no drivers: Mr. Berry prefers to drive himself while on tour. The opening band may not mention the name Chuck Berry during its set. And finally, never trust a journalist. Because of Rule Four, not only does Berry turn down most interview offers, but he has been known to chase journalists off the grounds of Berry Park, his estate near St. Louis.  Read more.

White people see black men as larger, more threatening than same-sized white men

People have a tendency to perceive black men as larger and more threatening than similarly sized white men, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
"Unarmed black men are disproportionately more likely to be shot and killed by police, and often these killings are accompanied by explanations that cite the physical size of the person shot," said lead author John Paul Wilson, PhD, of Montclair State University.  Read more.

Leading Republicans reject Trump's Obama wiretap assertion

The leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee issued a bipartisan statement on Thursday rejecting President Donald Trump's assertion that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, added his voice to a growing chorus of lawmakers saying there was no sign of a wiretap.  Read more.

Trump’s dystopian budget is going nowhere

There are three letters that best describe a presidential budget plan: D.O.A.
Presidents go through the motions of putting together a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. They give it snappy titles like “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” They send it to Congress with great fanfare — and then, generally speaking, it gets discarded and Congress writes its own plan.  Read more.

United Nations issues report saying Israel has established an 'apartheid regime'

A new United Nations report accuses Israel of having established "an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole".
The publication comes amid renewed debate about whether, through its settlement policy and rejection of Palestinian self-determination, the Israeli government is creating...read more.

Dutch prime minister claims victory over anti-Muslim candidate Geert Wilders

The Dutch political establishment appeared Wednesday to fend off a challenge from anti-Muslim firebrand Geert Wilders, according to initial vote counts, a victory in a closely watched national election that heartened centrist leaders across Europe who are fearful of populist upsets in their own nations.  Read more.

US law mistreats mothers and pregnant women in the name of protecting children.

These days Christine Taylor probably thinks twice before confiding in medical personnel. In 2010, when Taylor was 22 and pregnant, she fell down a flight of stairs and sought treatment at an Iowa hospital. During her physical exam she confided to hospital staff that she felt ambivalent about being pregnant. Her husband had recently abandoned her and ... read more.

"Ryancare" Dead on Arrival: Can We Please Now Try Single Payer?

The new American Health Care Act has been unveiled, and critics are calling it more flawed even than the Obamacare it was meant to replace. Dubbed "Ryancare" or "Trumpcare" (over the objection of White House staff), the Republican health care bill is under attack from left and right, with even conservative leaders calling it "Obamacare Lite", "bad policy", a "warmed-over substitute," and "dead on arrival."  Read more.

A new video challenges the official story about what happened to Michael Brown in Ferguson

Over the weekend, documentary filmmaker Jason Pollock debuted his movie Stranger Fruit at SXSW, and with it previously unreleased surveillance footage of black teenager Michael Brown at a grocery store. The video shows Brown just hours before he was shot and killed by then–Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014.  Read more.

Noam Chomsky on the 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine

500 million Yahoo accounts were hacked. The US just blamed it on 2 Russian spies.

The United States rarely blames foreign governments for hacks targeting US corporations. Yet in a Wednesday presser, the Department of Justice did just that — announcing indictments against two agents of the Russian FSB spy agency, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, for a 2014 breach of Yahoo that got access to 500 million users’ data.  Read more.

Over 350,000 Back Call for Lawmakers To Give Up Their Subsidized Healthcare

Highlighting the hypocrisy of members of Congress who benefit from large healthcare subsidies at the same time that they work to kick millions of Americans off of their health coverage, a man who lost his father to cancer because he was uninsured has created a petition demanding an end to those subsidies for lawmakers.  Read more.

France's scandal-hit Fillon put under formal fraud investigation

French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was put under formal investigation by magistrates on Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling state funds - a move that may ruin the right-winger's hopes of winning power in May.
Fillon's campaign has been dogged by allegations he lavishly paid his British wife Penelope and two of his children hundreds of thousands of euros of public money for assistance, but he has refused to pull out of the presidential race.  Read more.

Cambodia Outraged as US Demands Repayment of 'Blood-Stained' War Debt

Cambodians are responding with outrage to the U.S. government's demand that the country repay a nearly 50-year-old loan to Cambodia's brutal Lon Nol government, which came to power through a U.S.-backed coup and spent much of its foreign funds purchasing arms to kill its own citizens, according to Cambodia's current prime minister Hun Sen.  Read more.

Israel slides further into right-wing nationalism

With Israel sliding ever further into right-wing nationalism, nothing encapsulates the ugly divisions and ramifications of that descent like the recently ended trial of Elor Azaria, 20, an Israeli soldier caught on videotape last year shooting an immobilized, already mortally wounded Palestinian in the head as he lay on the ground in Hebron.  Read more.