PND News

US House panel approves measure requiring women to register for military slavery

April 28, 2016
posted by

Military.com    

"The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved by a narrow margin an amendment to a defense bill to require women to register for the draft. Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California, proposed the amendment to lift the restriction on women registering for the selective service at a committee-wide mark-up session of the proposed fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. ... Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, thanked Hunter for proposing the amendment. 'I actually support universal conscription; I actually think if we want equality in this, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, we should be willing to support a universal conscription,' she said." [editor's note: Curiously, Speier's record of personal military service is missing from her Wikipedia bio. I guess "universal" means "everyone except Jackie Speier serves" - TLK] (04/28/16)

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/04/28/house-panel-approves-measure-require-women-register-draft.html  

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US Senate releases final sentencing reform bill

April 28, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"A revised criminal justice reform bill moved closer to a full U.S. Senate vote on Thursday when it gained support from more Republicans after being stalled for months in Congress. In a legacy-shaping issue for President Barack Obama, the measure's sponsors announced four new Republican co-sponsor senators and a new version of the bill at a press conference in the Senate. The measure now has 37 co-sponsors, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley. Grassley said he had been waiting for the bill to be finalized before asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring it up for a full Senate vote, but that 'it is time for those discussions to start right now.'" (04/28/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-justice-reform-idUSKCN0XP2PI  

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US House unanimously passes email privacy bill

April 28, 2016
posted by

United Press International United Press International    

"The House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed an overhaul of a 30-year-old electronic privacy law that would prevent the government from reading Americans' old emails without a warrant. In a 419-0 vote, House members showed a rare moment of bipartisanship to pass the Email Privacy Act, which requires government agents to have a warrant before searching a person's email or other electronic communications, even if the information is years old." (04/28/16)

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2016/04/28/House-unanimously-passes-email-privacy-bill/2901461804105/  

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CA: Appeals court upholds teacher tenure

April 28, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"The tenure laws that provide job security for 277,000 California schoolteachers, and a target for opponents who claim they shield incompetent instructors and victimize low-income and minority students, were upheld Thursday by a state appeals court. In a resounding victory for teachers unions, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles overturned a judge’s June 2014 ruling that the state’s tenure and job-security rules violated the right of students to an equal education. The court said the plaintiffs (nine students backed by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur) had failed to show any connection between the laws they challenged and the harm that some students are suffering. Some teachers protected by tenure and seniority may turn out to be ineffective, but school officials (not the laws challenged in the suit) determine where those teachers are assigned and whom they teach, the court said." (04/28/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Appeals-court-reversed-ruling-that-struck-down-7249494.php  

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German nuclear plant hit by computer viruses

April 28, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Computer viruses have infected PCs used at a German nuclear power plant. The viruses were found on office computers and in a system used to model the movement of nuclear fuel rods. Power firm RWE said the infection posed no threat to the plant because its control systems were not linked to the internet, so the viruses could not activate. German federal cyber investigators are now analysing how the Gundremmingen plant became infected. The viruses were found on the fuel rod modelling system and on 18 USB sticks used as removable data stores on office computers. Staff found the viruses as they prepared to upgrade the computerised control systems for the plant's Block B, which is currently not producing power while it undergoes scheduled maintenance." (04/28/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36158606  

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WA: Judge rules Seattle trash inspections are unconstitutional

April 28, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A controversial Seattle ordinance that allowed city workers to inspect people's trash -- as part of an effort to stop residents from throwing food scraps in the wrong pile -- was ruled unconstitutional on Wednesday. King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus said sanitation works and other city collectors poking through everyday garbage violates privacy rights and voided the ordinance. 'I’m thrilled as can be,' Ethan Blevins, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight Seattle residents, told The Seattle Times. He added, 'We have been vindicated.' The rule first went into effect last year, and was meant to compel residents to put food scraps in the same bins as yard waste, so all could be composted." [editor's note: The writers at CSI, NCIS, et al will not be happy to see this - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/28/judge-rules-seattle-trash-inspections-unconstitutional.html  

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Keyes: Obama “anti-black” for honoring Tubman with the twenty

April 28, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Failed presidential candidate Dr. Alan Keyes blasted Pat Buchanan for his racist rant excoriating the 'Obama administration’s' recent decision to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bills. But that doesn’t mean that Keyes, who, while serving in the Reagan State Department, defended South Africa’s policy of apartheid, thinks that Tubman should be honored with the currency. He thinks that Obama is actively denigrating her with the honor. According to Keyes, Pat Buchanan is a “purblind wordling” who fails to understand the definition of “great.” ... But one of the criteria that Buchanan missed, according to Keyes, was that he failed to take into account that Tubman had no access to power; thus her ability to guide slaves to freedom makes her actions many times greater than actions conducted with the power of an army or the state that one might have." [editor's notye: SO how does this "denigrate" her? She just jumped another notch up in my book - SAT] (04/28/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/conservative-obama-is-anti-black-for-honoring-harriet-tubman-with-the-20-bill  

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Greece: Athens finding vibrancy can revive before economy does

April 28, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"By almost every measure, Athens is a city of deprivation. Rates of homelessness, poverty, bankruptcy (even suicide) have steadily increased across the Greek capital since the country needed its first bailout in 2010. But as storefronts shuttered and those Greeks who could left for opportunity abroad, Greek architect Haris Biskos returned home. He describes a scene in 2012 of physical deterioration. 'You walked around the city and saw total emptiness. Nothing was happening in the public space,' says Mr. Biskos. 'As an architect it is nice to have a new challenge, Greece was in that moment.' Today, he says, from his sunny, central office with dirt-cheap rent: 'It’s an exciting time to be in Athens.'" (04/28/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2016/0428/Athens-finds-vibrancy-can-revive-before-economy-does  

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OK: Volunteer deputy convicted in killing of unarmed man

April 28, 2016
posted by

CBS News CBS News    

"A former Oklahoma volunteer sheriff's deputy and wealthy insurance executive faces up to four years in prison for killing an unarmed suspect. Sheriff's deputies wasted no time whisking Robert Bates away in handcuffs. The former Tulsa County reserve deputy was convicted of second degree manslaughter for killing Eric Harris, reports CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca. ... Bates said he meant to use his Taser to subdue Harris, but accidentally pulled the trigger on his pistol. Bates'[s] lawyer failed to convince jurors that Harris died from a bad heart and a mix of drugs found in his system and not from the gunshot wound. The jury deliberated less than three hours and recommended the maximum sentence for Bates, determining that Bates had acted recklessly." (04/28/16)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tulsa-oklahoma-eric-harris-family-declares-victory-robert-bates-convicted/  

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China: Regime cracks down on foreign NGOs

April 28, 2016
posted by

The Guardian The Guardian [UK]    

"A Chinese government offensive against civil society that campaigners describe as the worst in nearly three decades has intensified with Beijing's approval on Thursday of a controversial new law that gives security forces control over foreign NGOs operating in the country. Campaigners attacked the move as the latest phase of President Xi Jinping's bid to rein in opposition to the Communist party. They said it represented a severe blow to non-profit groups involved in issues such as the environment, public health and education, as well as human rights." (04/28/16)

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/28/china-passes-law-imposing-security-controls-on-foreign-ngos  

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SpaceX will launch private Mars missions as soon as 2018

April 28, 2016
posted by

Space.com    

"The commercial spaceflight company SpaceX announced on Twitter today that it plans to send its robotic Dragon capsule to Mars as early as 2018. 'Red Dragons will inform the overall Mars architecture,' SpaceX representatives tweeted today (April 27), referring to the company's eventual plans to set up a colony on Mars -- a key goal of SpaceX and its founder, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. A source familiar with the company's plans said the first test flight of a Dragon capsule to Mars would demonstrate technologies needed to land large payloads on the Red Planet. That could include supplies and habitats for Martian explorers." (04/27/16)

http://www.space.com/32719-spacex-red-dragon-mars-missions-2018.html  

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Judge sentences “serial child molester” Hastert to 15 months

April 28, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Former House speaker Dennis Hastert, who less than a decade ago stood second in line to the presidency, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison Wednesday for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago. Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert a 'serial child molester' and rejected a prosecutor's recommendation of six months in prison. Durkin also rejected claims by Haster[t]'s lawyers that Hastert didn't understand the banking law he violated when making payments to one of his teen accusers. Hastert, 74, was fined $250,000, must spend two years on supervised release after leaving prison and must register as a sex offender." [editor's note: I predict that the sex offender registration requirement will be quickly overturned on appeal -- as it should be since he was neither charged with nor convicted of any sex crime - TLK] (04/27/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/04/27/ex-speaker-dennis-hastert-faces-sentencing-chicago/83584440/  

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AL: City makes bathroom access by gender identity a crime

April 28, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"An Alabama city appears to be the first in the country to specify criminal penalties for violators of an ordinance requiring people to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates, civil rights groups said on Wednesday. The law passed on Tuesday by the city council in Oxford, located about 60 miles east of Birmingham, carries a possible punishment of a $500 fine or six months in jail. The measure raises the stakes in the U.S. bathroom wars that have caused fierce debate among state lawmakers, school officials and Republican presidential candidates. It goes further than a law enacted last month in North Carolina ... North Carolina's law applies to restrooms and locker rooms in government-owned facilities and schools. The Oxford ordinance also includes bathrooms in private businesses and explicitly makes violating the provision a crime, the Human Rights Campaign said." (04/27/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-alabama-lgbt-idUSKCN0XO2H6  

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Austria passes controversial new asylum law

April 27, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Austria has passed a controversial new law that restricts the right of asylum and allows most claimants to be rejected directly at the border. Rights groups say the law undermines the principle of protection from war and persecution. It comes days after Austria's far-right came top in the first round of a presidential election. Austrian officials say they are also considering building a fence at the main border crossing with Italy." (04/27/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36152927  

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Sanders lays off hundreds of staffers as he weighs Plan B

April 27, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The results of Tuesday's five Democratic presidential primaries will almost certainly force Sen. Bernie Sanders to acknowledge a hard reality -- it's time for Plan B. Sanders hasn’t said whether he has a strategy for changing the focus of his campaign, and he insisted at an Indiana rally on Wednesday that he's still in the race against Hillary Clinton to win the nomination. But he laid off more than 200 staffers on Wednesday and began talking about what will happen 'if we do not win.' He said at the rally he intends to win every delegate possible so he'll have enough votes at the Democratic Party's national convention in July to put together 'the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen.'" (04/27/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/04/27/plan-b-sanders-make-democratic-party-platform-more-progressive/83558806  

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Trouble with sense of direction may be linked to early Alzheimer’s

April 27, 2016
posted by

United Press International United Press International    

"Difficulty remembering how to get around in new surroundings may be an extremely early sign of Alzheimer's, a small study suggests. The findings, if borne out in future research, might help doctors diagnose Alzheimer's long before someone shows obvious memory problems, said researchers from Washington University in St. Louis." (04/27/16)

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/04/26/Trouble-with-sense-of-direction-may-be-linked-to-early-Alzheimers/4231461717067/  

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TN: Haslam signs “therapist bill” into law

April 27, 2016
posted by

CNN CNN    

"Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday signed a bill into law that allows [sic] therapists and counselors with 'sincerely held principles' to reject gay, lesbian, transgender and other clients. ... In a written statement to the media, he said two of his concerns had been addressed by this most recent version of the bill, which passed the state Senate on April 6. The first requires therapists and counselors to treat people who are an imminent danger to themselves or others. The second mandates the mental health professional arrange a referral to another counselor or therapist." [editor's note: Why should they need the state's permission to decide who they will or will not accept as clients, for any reason or no reason at all? - TLK] (04/27/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/27/politics/tennessee-therapist-bill/  

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly

April 27, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have held on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said. The fixed-price award is the military’s first competitively sourced launch service contract in more than a decade. It ends the exclusive relationship between the military and United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA did not compete for the GPS launch contract, citing accounting issues, implications of trade sanctions limiting imports of its rockets’ Russian-made engines and, according to a former ULA vice president, SpaceX’s cut-rate pricing." (04/27/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/04/elon-musks-spacex-breaks-boeing-lockheed-monopoly-on-military-space-launches  

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Opioid overdose rate drops in medical marijuana states

April 27, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Medical marijuana may serve as a non-fatal alternative to prescription opioids when it comes to chronic pain management, according to some health experts. In a New York Times opinion piece, medical researcher Colleen Barry posits that while the rise in opioid prescriptions has mirrored the expansion of medical marijuana laws, only states with such laws in place saw a dramatic reduction in overdoses related to prescribed painkillers" (04/27/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/04/27/opioid-overdose-rate-drops-in-medical-marijuana-states  

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Exiled Tibetans re-elect leader who vows to revive autonomy push

April 27, 2016
posted by

Channel News Asia [Singapore]    

"The political leader of Tibetans in exile, Lobsang Sangay, vowed after being re-elected on Wednesday to convince the international community to renew its interest in his people's plight and back his campaign for China to grant Tibet autonomy. Sangay, who has led the 150,000-odd Tibetan worldwide diaspora since religious leader the Dalai Lama gave up political power in 2011, won 57 percent of nearly 60,000 votes cast, Tibetan officials said in the Indian hill town of Dharamsala." (04/27/16)

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/exiled-tibetans-re-elect/2736270.html  

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Hubble telescope spots tiny moon orbiting dwarf planet Makemake

April 27, 2016
posted by

Mashable    

"Scientists have found a previously unseen moon orbiting Makemake, a tiny dwarf planet on the outskirts of the solar system. This marks the first time a moon has been spotted around the little world, which takes about 310 Earth years to make a full circuit of the sun. Scientists think the moon -- nicknamed MK2 -- is about 100 miles in diameter, but the exact details of this mysterious natural satellite are still a mystery. This discovery does, however, mark a big step toward understanding more about the Kuiper belt -- the group of icy bodies past Neptune's orbit in the solar system. " (04/27/16)

http://mashable.com/2016/04/27/hubble-dwarf-planet-moon-makemake/  

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Bizarre fourth state of water discovered

April 27, 2016
posted by

Gizmag    

"You already know that water can have three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. But scientists at the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) have discovered that when it's put under extreme pressure in small spaces, the life-giving liquid can exhibit a strange fourth state known as tunneling. The water under question was found in super-small six-sided channels in the mineral beryl, which forms the basis for the gems aquamarine and emerald. The channels measure only about five atoms across and function basically as cages that can each trap one water molecule. What the researchers found was that in this incredibly tight space, the water molecule exhibited a characteristic usually only seen at the much smaller quantum level, called tunneling." (04/27/16)

http://www.gizmag.com/fourth-state-of-water/42999/  

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Spain set for new election as king declares talks stalemate

April 27, 2016
posted by

Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune    

"Spain is heading for new elections this summer after parliament failed to choose a prime minister for the first time in the country's democratic history. King Felipe called a halt to the efforts to forge a governing majority after a third round of talks with party leaders Tuesday, concluding that none of the candidates had enough support to win an investiture vote. The official deadline for the parties to reach an agreement is May 2. The new ballot is likely to take place on June 26." (04/27/16)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-spain-fe6c8724-0c5e-11e6-bc53-db634ca94a2a-20160427-story.html  

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Germany: Merkel regime plans $1.4 billion in incentives for electric cars

April 27, 2016
posted by

Bloomberg    

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government reached a deal with automakers to jointly spend 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) on incentives to boost sluggish electric-car sales. Buyers will be able to receive as much as 4,000 euros in rebates to help offset the higher price of an electric vehicle, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said at a press conference in Berlin. Purchasers of hybrid cars will get as much as 3,000 euros off the price. The industry will shoulder 50 percent of the cost. The program is set to start in May, pending approval from the German parliament’s budget committee, he said." (04/27/16)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-27/germany-planning-1-4-billion-in-incentives-for-electric-cars  

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US presidential primaries: Trump wins five, Clinton four

April 27, 2016
posted by

CNN CNN    

"Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored huge victories Tuesday that bring them closer to a monumental duel for the White House in the fall. Trump's political strength was on display with a clean sweep of races in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Clinton delivered big wins in Maryland and Pennsylvania -- the biggest prizes of the night -- along with Delaware and Connecticut. Bernie Sanders picked up his sole victory of the night in Rhode Island." (04/26/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/26/politics/primary-results-highlights/  

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