PND News

IRS reportedly experiencing “computer failure”

February 4, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday it is experiencing computer failure across several systems and temporarily cannot accept many taxpayer returns. 'Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems,' the IRS said in a statement. 'A number of taxpayer and tax practitioner tools are unavailable,' it said. 'IRS.gov remains available, although a number of the services on the site are not, including Where's My Refund.' The agency said it is in the process of making repairs and anticipates some of the systems will remain unavailable until Thursday." (02/03/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-irs-computers-idUSKCN0VC2X2  

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Lawyer to Shkreli: “Zip it!”

February 4, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Beleaguered pharmaceutical executive turned media sensation Martin Shkreli has been instructed by his new high-powered lawyer, Ben Brafman, to stop talking. 'He is not making any more statements. Zero,' Brafman said in an email to USA TODAY about his new client, who has been called the most hated man in America, and who just this week mouthed off to rapper Ghostface Killah and Congress. The crackdown comes as Shkreli heads to Washington for a Congressional committee hearing Thursday about skyrocketing drug prices at Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company the 32-year-old New Yorker ran before he was arrested in December on fraud charges." (02/03/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/03/hated-ceo-martin-shkreli-told-zip/79757802  

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NH: Clinton, Sanders spar over “progressive” label at town hall

February 4, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

"The two Democratic presidential hopefuls sparred Wednesday over whether Hillary Clinton is enough of a 'progressive,' while she and Bernie Sanders both sought to manage expectations in a race that has now shifted to very different terrain. ... The exchange was sparked by a day-old jab from Sanders, who told reporters in Keene that she is a progressive 'some days,' except when she 'announces she is a moderate.' ... Sanders had a huge lead over Clinton -- 61 percent to 32 percent -- among likely New Hampshire voters in a poll released Wednesday by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell." [editor's note: Next town hall topic? How about "who's the biggest authoritarian douchenozzle?" They could invite some Republicans to contend, too - TLK (02/03/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-sanders-spar-over-progressive-label/2016/02/03/1e7fde62-ca8d-11e5-ae11-57b6aeab993f_story.html  

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CA: San Francisco weighs giving condoms to middle schoolers

February 4, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"San Francisco's public schools leaders are considering distributing condoms at middle schools. The San Francisco Examiner reports Monday that the policy change was introduced as part of an overall effort by the San Francisco Unified School District to further prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy among minors. A board committee is scheduled to discuss the proposal Monday. The board first adopted a policy to distribute condoms at high schools in 1991, and in 1996 the board amended the district's condom distribution program to allow parents to opt out or exclude their child from the program, the newspaper reported." (02/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/02/02/san-francisco-weighs-giving-condoms-to-middle-schoolers.html  

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Report: Luxembourg to support asteroid mining

February 4, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The Luxembourg government has signaled its intention to get behind the mining of asteroids in space. It is going to support R&D in technologies that would make it possible and may even invest directly in some companies. The Grand Duchy will also put in place a legal framework to give operators who are based in the country the confidence to go about their business. Former European Space Agency boss Jean-Jacques Dordain is to be an adviser." (02/03/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35482427  

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NZ: Protesters shut down central Auckland as ministers sign Trans-Pacific Partnership

February 4, 2016
posted by

New Zealand Herald [New Zealand]    

"Central Auckland has ground to a halt as trade ministers signed the TPP today. All streets around Sky City Convention Centre and motorway on and off ramps leading to the central business district have been blocked by protesters. ... The agreement is designed to free up trade [sic] and investment between the countries, but has been a beacon for controversy for several years, mainly due to the secrecy of the deal, lack of public consultation and fears New Zealand's sovereignty could be diminished." (02/04/16)

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11584458  

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Report: Americans losing jobs to a visa program

February 3, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"Leo Perrero thought he was getting a promotion, or a raise. Or at least an enthusiastic high-five. He had worked in IT at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in some capacity for more than a decade. ... Perrero was fresh off a glowing performance review, earning an evaluation he describes as 'the highest you can get.' So when he was called into a last-minute staff meeting in 2014, he thought it would be a good one. It wasn't. Instead, he and his colleagues were told they had three months to find new jobs. An outside contracting firm would be taking over the department. And, in order to receive their severance packages, Perrero and his co-workers would have to train their replacements: guest workers from India, making about half their salaries." [editor's note: In other words, they lost their jobs to competitors who were willing to sell for less, not to a "visa program." Do they complain when they find something they want on sale at a store for less than another store? There shouldn't have been a visa requirement in the first place -- labor markets should be free markets - TLK] (02/03/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2016/0203/Americans-are-losing-jobs-to-a-visa-program.-Can-it-be-fixed  

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Ethicists approve “three parent” embryos to stop diseases, but congressional ban remains

February 3, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

"An elite panel of scientists and bioethicists offered guarded approval Wednesday of a novel form of genetic engineering that could prevent congenital diseases but would result in babies with genetic material from three parents. The committee, which was convened last year at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, concluded that it is ethically permissible to 'go forward, but with caution' with mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRT), said chairman Jeffrey Kahn, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University. But the advisory panel's conclusions have slammed into a congressional ban: The omnibus fiscal year 2016 budget bill passed by Congress late last year contained language prohibiting the government from using any funds to handle applications for experiments that genetically alter human embryos." (032/03/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/02/03/to-prevent-disease-ethicists-approve-creation-of-embryos-with-three-genetic-parents/  

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CA: Water regulators vote to extend drought emergency

February 3, 2016
posted by

Miami Herald    

"State water regulators voted to extend emergency conservation measures because of a drought, even though an increase in rain and snow this winter has improved California's snowpack. But with the drought still severe, conservations efforts fell off in December. Officials said Tuesday that residents used 18 percent less water than in December 2013, but that was the worst showing in seven months of tracking and fell well short of Gov. Jerry Brown's goal of 25 percent." (02/03/16)

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article58103418.html  

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Trump hits Cruz for “fraud,” calls for do-over in Iowa

February 3, 2016
posted by

NBC News NBC News    

"Less than 48 hours after an Iowa caucus defeat, Donald Trump is calling for a do-over. The New York business man accused the Ted Cruz campaign of fraudulent activities during the Iowa caucuses .... Trump took to Twitter to air his grievances against what he called Cruz's 'fraud' and in subsequent tweets made the case for why he believed 'a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.'" [editor's note: I bet Trump's campaign is really eating into the ratings of pro wrestling and Days of Our Lives - TLK] (02/03/16)

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-hits-cruz-fraud-calls-do-over-iowa-n510431  

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Study: Ship noises could hurt endangered killer whales

February 3, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

"Baleen and toothed whales alike could be suffering because of noisy ships, according to a study published Tuesday in PeerJ. Because whales use sound to communicate and navigate, an interfering noise at the right frequency can leave them distressed, lost or unable to hunt. Scientists had already pinpointed the low frequency rumble of ships as a harmful, perhaps even deadly nuisance to large baleen whales, like blue whales and humpbacks. But the new study suggests that smaller toothed whales -- like orcas and dolphins -- could be hurt as well." (02/03/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/02/03/ship-noises-could-hurt-endangered-killer-whales-study-finds/  

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US generals: Women should have to register for draft

February 3, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The top Army and Marine Corps generals say they believe all women should have to register for the draft now that combat jobs are open to them. The military service leaders say they will not lower standards to bring women into the more grueling jobs. They told the Senate Armed Services Committee that it will take up to three years before the combat posts are fully integrated. Army Gen. Mark Milley and Marine Gen. Robert Neller said women should be included in the requirement to register for the selective service at age 18. But Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Army Acting Secretary Patrick Murphy would only say that the issue should be discussed. Political leaders have so far been reluctant to endorse the draft requirement." [editor's note: If this doesn't kill the draft and the registration process nothing will - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/02/generals-say-women-should-have-to-register-for-draft.html  

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CA: Prosecutors file criminal charges in methane leak near Los Angeles

February 3, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Los Angeles prosecutors filed criminal charges against the Southern California Gas company on Tuesday over a huge methane leak near the city that has forced thousands of residents from their homes since October. The four misdemeanor charges accuse SoCalGas, a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, of failing to report the release of hazardous materials following the underground pipeline rupture and discharging air contaminants." (02/02/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-methane-lawsuit-idUSKCN0VB25M  

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House fails to override veto of Obamacare repeal

February 3, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The House on Tuesday failed to override President Obama's veto of a bill that would have repealed key provisions of Obamacare and stripped federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The 241-186 vote to override the veto fell short of the two-thirds needed, ensuring that the Affordable Care Act will remain in place at least through the final year of Obama's term. Republican leaders, who have been criticized by Democrats for failing to come up with an alternative to Obamacare, said they plan to craft a replacement plan this year as a kind of preview for what they hope to do in the next Congress." [editor's note: Dog bites man; details at 11 - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/02/house-fails-override-presidents-veto-obamacare-repeal/79697108  

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Russia: Kadyrov accuses Putin of encouraging intimidation

February 3, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Russian politician Mikhail Kasyanov has accused President Vladimir Putin of 'silently encouraging' intimidation as a row over a menacing video continues. The video posted by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a strong Putin ally, portrayed Mr Kasyanov though a sniper's gun sights. Mr Kadyrov has criticised social network Instagram for removing it. Speaking to BBC News, Mr Kasyanov said Mr Putin was responsible for Mr Kadyrov's actions. 'He is one of the 45 governors of the [Russian] regions, appointed personally by Mr Putin, and Mr Putin is responsible for his behaviour personally,' he told the BBC's Sarah Rainsford." (02/02/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35476818  

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Kasich: I’ll reunite Pink Floyd … to teach Americans about “Money”

February 3, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Republican presidential candidate John Kasich on Tuesday promised to make it a priority to reunite the rock band Pink Floyd if he wins his White House bid. The morning after Kasich placed 8th in the Iowa caucus, host Alisyn Camerota ended her interview with the former Ohio governor by asking him to recall the 'best concert ever.' ... 'Pink Floyd’s The Wall,' Kasich replied. 'Roger Waters is a remarkable artist. And I saw [it] in Pittsburgh. It was absolutely incredible. I don’t even have to think twice. It was the best. And if I’m president, I’m am going to once and for all try to reunite Pink Floyd to come together and play a couple of songs,' he continued. 'And since we have so much trouble in America with our finances, I’m going to start with a little song they created called Money. 'That’s better than Comfortably Numb, Camerota agreed." [editor's note: Okay, now we have to get him the vote, just to see Waters and Gilmore again! - SAT] [additional editor's note: All in all, it's just another ... well, you know - TLK] (02/02/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/02/john-kasich-ill-reunite-pink-floyd-once-and-for-all-to-teach-americans-about-money  

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Prediction: Congress will extend cease-fire on medical marijuana

February 3, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Once the Super Bowl clears out, cannabis businesspeople, activists and allies gather Feb. 13 and 14 in San Francisco for the International Cannabis Business Conference. ICBC’s organizers announced last week the inclusion of two political leaders on the issue: Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA. and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, both of whom chatted with Smell the Truth about 2016 cannabis legalization, the presidential race, and the message they’ll carry to San Francisco this February. Rep. Rohrabacher helped make history along with Rep. Sam Farr in 2014 when the two led Congress to a historic, bipartisan ceasefire on state-legal medical marijuana." [editor's note: Those with long memories might recall that Cong. Rohrabacher was among the early leaders in libertarian groups like the Society for Individual Liberty, before he became a "moderate Republican," Reagan speechwriter and then longtime GOP Congressman in a safe seat - SAT] (02/02/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/02/02/congress-will-extend-cease-fire-on-medical-marijuana-lawmakers-predict  

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North Korea to U.N. agencies: Satellite launch planned

February 2, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"North Korea told U.N. agencies on Tuesday it plans to launch a satellite as early as next week, a move that could advance the country's long-range missile technology after its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6. News of the planned launch between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25 drew fresh U.S. calls for tougher U.N. sanctions already under discussion in response to North Korea's nuclear test. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United Nations needed to 'send the North Koreans a swift, firm message.' Pyongyang has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space program by launching rockets, although the United States and other governments worry that such launches are missile tests in disguise." (02/02/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-satellite-idUSKCN0VB1NY  

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IA: Cruz tops Trump, Rubio; Clinton, Sanders in “virtual tie”

February 2, 2016
posted by

Miami Herald    

"Iowa voters wielded their political power in the U.S. presidential elections Monday, handing a Republican caucus victory to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz -- who devoted ample time and extensive resources to the state -- over celebrity businessman Donald Trump, who blew off a local debate and repeatedly chose TV interviews over voter handshakes. ... The victory by Cruz over Trump and fellow Cuban American Marco Rubio sets up a three-way GOP race ahead of the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary. ... The Democratic race between former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was too close to call late Monday. The virtual tie was effectively a win for Sanders, a democratic socialist who vaulted from little known senator to political sensation." (02/02/16)

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/elections-2016/article57850598.html  

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MI: State environmental agency to present Flint water-testing plan

February 2, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will present a comprehensive plan to federal officials on Monday to test lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, the Detroit Free Press reported. The goal would be to come up with a reliable assessment for the water system by April 14, when Michigan's state of emergency is set to expire, the paper said. Officials at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality could not be immediately reached for comment. The financially strapped city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched its source of tap water from Detroit's system to the nearby Flint River in April 2014, in order to save money. The more corrosive water from the Flint River leached more lead from the city pipes than Detroit water did." (02/01/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-michigan-water-idUSKCN0VA2QB  

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Canada: Landmark deal to protect Great Bear Rainforest

February 2, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Indigenous tribes, timber firms and environmental groups in western Canada have welcomed a deal to protect one of the world's largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest. The Great Bear Rainforest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia is home to many animals and ancient trees. Logging will be banned across a huge area of the forest. Environmental campaigners say the deal is a model for resolving similar land-use disputes around the world." (02/01/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35467660  

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Prediction: America might elect a president it doesn’t like

February 2, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"It is possible, perhaps even probable, that this fall’s election will be contested between two of three most disliked presidential candidates of at least the past quarter century. And it is possible, perhaps even probable, that this is not a coincidence. A Gallup survey released Saturday shows that Donald Trump has the highest unfavorability rating (60 percent) of any presidential candidate since the polling firm started tracking the figure in 1992. For her part, Hillary Clinton ranks third (52 percent) with the no-new-taxes-breaking George H.W. Bush of 1992 at No. 2. In other words, the 2016 presidential election could be decided between two people that the majority of Americans, according to Gallup, don’t like politically." [editor's note: This has been true for decades; it's just more obvious with this bunch - SAT] (01/31/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/0131/Why-America-might-elect-a-president-it-doesn-t-like  

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O’Malley suspends presidential bid after dismal showing in Iowa

February 2, 2016
posted by

The Washington Post Washington Post    

"Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley announced the suspension of his presidential campaign Monday night, following a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses that effectively ended his long-simmering White House ambitions. O’Malley, who had started laying the groundwork for a presidential bid following his 2010 reelection as governor, was lagging far behind former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, O’Malley registered support from less than 1 percent of caucus-goers." (02/01/16)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/omalley-to-suspend-his-campaign-according-to-campaign-adviser/2016/02/01/4e1a4572-c77c-11e5-a4aa-f25866ba0dc6_story.html  

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Brawling flight attendants force plane to make unscheduled landing

February 2, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"There are plenty of stories of frustrated passengers coming to blows on cramped flights. But this time it was a passenger who got in the middle of a brawl between two female flight attendants during an altercation that forced the pilot to make an unscheduled landing, according to the Aviation Herald. The flight attendants reportedly had a disagreement over work issues on Delta flight 2598 traveling from Los Angeles to Minneapolis Jan. 22. When a third woman on the plane tried to break up the fight and was also hit by the brawling flight attendants the captain made the decision to land the Boeing 757. The flight was grounded for about 80 minutes and finally landed in Minneapolis with a delay of 75 minutes." [editor's note: So now we have the TSA to stimulate us, and then "wrestling stews" to get us off? Air travel sure has changed since I was a kid! - SAT] (02/01/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2016/02/01/brawling-flight-attendants-force-plane-to-make-emergency-landing  

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WY: Cheney formally launches bid for US House seat

February 1, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Liz Cheney formally kicked off her campaign for Wyoming's lone U.S. House seat Monday with a newspaper interview in a region hard-hit by a downturn in coal mining, saying her top goal is to reverse Obama administration energy policies. 'There is no question Wyoming has been harder hit than any other state over the past eight years,' Cheney told the Gillette News Record. 'It's very clear to me this administration, this EPA, is only interested in falsely seeing the damage coal does.' She visited a senior center later and planned stops in Sheridan on Tuesday, Casper on Wednesday and Cheyenne on Thursday." (02/01/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Cheney-formally-launches-bid-for-Wyoming-US-House-6798572.php  

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