PND News

Austria: Absentee ballot count to decide dead-heat election

May 23, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"With all direct ballots counted in Austria's presidential election Sunday, a right-wing politician was in a statistical dead heat with a challenger whose views stand in direct opposition to his rival's anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic message. Both right-winger Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van der Bellen, a Greens politician running as an independent, had 50 percent support with the direct votes tallied and absentee votes to be counted by Monday. Van der Bellen was ahead with less than 3,000 votes. But with 4.48 million direct votes cast, the nearly 900,000 absentee ballots issued will likely make them the likely vote decider." (05/22/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Austria-s-next-president-could-be-a-right-wing-7938360.php  

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Myanmar: Suu Kyi asks for “space” to address Rohingya plight

May 23, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked for 'enough 'space' to address the Rohingya issue. She was speaking after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry, who called on her to promote human rights. Some 125,000 Rohingya Muslims were displaced after fighting with Myanmar's majority Buddhists erupted in 2012 in Rakhine state and spread further. Historic elections swept Ms Suu Kyi and her party into office in November, ending half a century of military rule. Last week, The US lifted a host of financial and trade embargoes on Myanmar, but has kept the backbone of its sanctions." (05/22/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36353439  

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OR: Portland public schools ban textbooks “doubting” climate change

May 23, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The Portland Public Schools board voted last week to ban any materials that cast doubt on climate change, the Portland Tribune reported. According to the resolution passed May 17, the school district must remove any textbooks and other materials that suggest climate change is not occurring or that says human beings are not responsible for it. ... One commenter to the Portland Tribune story responded to the news, saying, 'I have never seen a case for homeschooling more clearly put forward. This is further proof that public schools are not interested in education, only political indoctrination.'" (05/22/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/05/22/portland-public-schools-ban-textbooks-that-cast-doubt-on-climate-change.html  

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CA: Prison guards donate to stop legal cannabis

May 22, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Funding to oppose California marijuana legalization this year has grown from a paltry $13,000 to over $60,000 thanks to a major group: the state’s prison guards. Journalist Lee Fang, writing for The Intercept, reports on new campaign donation disclosures showing the state’s prison guards and police chiefs chipping in to keep pot illegal. The funds were organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. Lovell’s Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, a committee he created to defeat the pot initiative, raised $60,000 during the first three months of the year, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month." (05/22/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/05/19/prison-guards-donate-to-keep-pot-illegal-in-california  

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Thailand: Medical students use “smart” spy technology to cheat on exams

May 22, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Students at a medical college in Thailand have been caught using spy cameras linked to smartwatches to cheat during exams. They used wireless spycams in eyeglasses to capture exam questions, transmit them to associates elsewhere and receive responses through linked smartwatches. But the entrance exam in question was cancelled after the plot was discovered and Arthit Ourairat, the rector of Rangsit University, posted pictures of the hi-tech cheating equipment on his Facebook page." (05/22/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/students-are-using-smart-spy-technology-to-cheat-on-exams  

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Report: Six big changes coming to Android phones

May 22, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"After A, I, V, and R (as in artificial intelligence and virtual reality), the next most important letter at Google's just-concluded I/O conference here had to have been N. That's the letter assigned to the next version of its Android operating system, the subject of a major part of the keynote Wednesday. Google will almost certainly name it after a dessert beginning with 'n,' in keeping with its habit of thinking with its sweet tooth when christening new Android releases. While we wait for a ruling from the Google officials on that, here’s what we do know is coming from Android N when it ships later this summer." (05/22/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2016/05/22/6-big-changes-coming-android-phones/84740912  

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OK: Senate approves bill barring doctors from performing abortions

May 19, 2016
posted by

The Hill The Hill    

"Oklahoma lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill making it a felony for doctors to perform abortions, which opponents say is essentially a ban on the procedure. The Republican bill, which has been called the first of its kind nationally, will now be sent to the desk of GOP Gov. Mary Fallin. She has five days to sign or veto the bill before it automatically becomes law. The bill is all but certain to wind up in court if it wins approval from Fallin, who has typically supported anti-abortion-rights measures." (05/19/16)

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/280544-oklahoma-approves-bill-barring-doctors-from-performing-abortions  

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Morley Safer, 1931-2016

May 19, 2016
posted by

CBS News CBS News    

"Morley Safer, the CBS newsman who changed war reporting forever when he showed GIs burning the huts of Vietnamese villagers and went on to become the iconic 60 Minutes correspondent whose stylish stories on America's most-watched news program made him one of television's most enduring stars, died today in Manhattan. He was 84. He had homes in Manhattan and Chester, Conn. Safer was in declining health when he announced his retirement last week; CBS News broadcast a long-planned special hour to honor the occasion on Sunday May 15 that he watched in his home." (05/19/16)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-morley-safer-dies-at-84/  

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US Senate OKs bill allowing 9/11 victims’ families to sue Saudi regime

May 19, 2016
posted by

NBC News NBC News    

"The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed controversial legislation that would allow the families of September 11th victims to sue Saudi Arabia -- one of America's regional allies [sic] -- if they are found to be responsible for helping support the terror attacks. ... The White House strongly opposes the legislation and reiterated Tuesday that the administration feels that the bill would leave America vulnerable to similar suits. The Senate-passed legislation would clear the way for Americans to sue foreign nations if they are found to be responsible for terror attacks on U.S. soil -- an attempt to support the 9/11 families' efforts." (05/18/16)

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/senate-oks-bill-allow-9-11-victims-families-sue-saudi-n575511  

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Trump unveils potential SCOTUS nominees

May 18, 2016
posted by

CNN CNN    

"Donald Trump on Wednesday unveiled a list of 11 judges he would consider nominating to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, an unusual move for a presidential candidate that underscores his efforts to appeal to conservatives. The list includes: [a bunch of people you never heard of]. ... Five of the 11 names were floated in March by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which Trump said was assisting him in compiling a list of potential nominees." (05/18/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/18/politics/donald-trump-supreme-court-nominees/  

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USDA releases results of new survey on honey been colony health

May 18, 2016
posted by

Rapid City Journal    

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) first ever Honey Bee Colony Loss survey queried more than 20,000 honeybee-keepers about the number of colonies, colonies lost, colonies added, and colonies affected by certain stressors and gleans state-level estimates on key honeybee health topics. ... This report, which is used by USDA, producers, economists, agribusiness and others, found that U.S. honey production in 2015 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 157 million pounds, down 12 percent from 2014. There were 2.66 million colonies from which honey was harvested in 2015, down 3 percent from 2014. Honey prices were 209.0 cents per pound, down 4 percent from a record high of 217.3 cents per pound in 2014." (05/18/16)

http://rapidcityjournal.com/usda-releases-results-of-new-survey-on-honey-bee-colony/article_74517f74-9ac4-5dc7-bec2-06c5824b3cc1.html  

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Democratic primaries: Sanders, Trump win Oregon; Clinton claims she wins Kentucky

May 18, 2016
posted by

Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune    

"Bernie Sanders won Oregon's presidential primary and battled Hillary Clinton to a razor-thin margin in Kentucky, vowing to stay in the race until the end as Clinton aimed to blunt his momentum and prepare for a fall campaign against Republican Donald Trump. Tuesday's primary in Kentucky was too close to call with Clinton leading Sanders by less than one-half of 1 percent. Closing in on the Democratic nomination, Clinton declared victory in Kentucky nonetheless .... Trump won the GOP's Oregon primary, the only Republican contest Tuesday." (05/18/16)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-kentucky-primary-20160518-story.html  

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WI: Former GOP staffer says senators were “giddy” over voter turnout suppression law

May 18, 2016
posted by

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel    

"A trial over Wisconsin's voting laws kicked off Monday with a former aide to a Republican state senator testifying that GOP senators were 'giddy' over the prospect the state's 2011 voter ID law could keep some people from voting. Todd Allbaugh, who worked at the time for then-Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), said some senators expressed a lack of enthusiasm to take up the voter ID legislation early that year during a private meeting of Republicans. Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) then made the case for the bill, he testified." (05/18/16)

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/challenge-to-wisconsin-voter-id-law-begins-in-federal-court-b99726100z1-379657961.html  

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WHO: Zika virus expected in Europe by late spring

May 18, 2016
posted by

CNN CNN    

"The Zika virus is expected to reach Europe by late spring, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), but the risk of an outbreak across the region will be low to moderate. The risk will be greatest in countries where the mosquitoes spreading the disease, Aedes aegypti, are found naturally. In the first risk assessment of Zika transmission in Europe, published Wednesday, WHO investigated the risk of an outbreak in the region's 53 member states and identified the highest likelihood of transmission to be on the island of Madeira and the north-eastern coast of the Black Sea." (05/18/16)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/18/health/zika-virus-low-moderate-risk-in-europe-by-summer/  

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AZ: Inspired by Trump, new state law redefines free speech

May 18, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"In a Phoenix suburb in March, protesters parked about two-dozen cars in the middle of the highway to stop drivers on their way to an outdoor rally for Donald Trump and Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona sheriff. With posters that read 'Dump Trump' and 'Must Stop Trump,' the protesters, in one sense, acted on their right to demonstrate against the Republican frontrunner and the sheriff who was sanctioned for refusing a judge's order to stop racial profiling. But Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) saw it differently: The demonstrators prevented Trump supporters from expressing their political views. Inspired by this event, Governor Ducey signed a measure into law Monday that increases penalties on protesters who block traffic to political events." (05/17/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0517/Inspired-by-Trump-new-Arizona-law-redefines-free-speech  

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Mexican president proposes legalizing gay marriage

May 18, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico on Tuesday, a move that would enshrine on a national level a Supreme Court ruling last year that it was unconstitutional for states to bar such couples from wedding. If it is approved, Mexico would become the fifth country in Latin America to make same-sex marriage legal. The announcement was hailed by LGBT activists and criticized by church officials in Mexico, which is home to the second-largest Roman Catholic population on the planet. Speaking at an event on the International Day Against Homophobia, Pena Nieto said he signed initiatives that would seek to amend the constitution and the national civil code." (05/17/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Mexican-president-proposes-legalizing-gay-marriage-7521928.php  

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American Indian child “welfare” law under fire

May 18, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A child-welfare law passed by Congress nearly four decades ago specifically to protect Native American children and preserve their cultural heritage is under attack from critics who claim the law is putting children in potentially dangerous situations that have led to abuse — and even death. Enacted in 1978 to stop the widespread practice of removing at-risk Native American children from their biological families, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) (labeled the 'gold standard' in child welfare by ardent supporters) in most cases gives tribes legal authority to rule on custody, and sets minimum federal standards for termination of parental rights, foster care and adoption. But a wave of new opposition claims that while ICWA is noble in its intent, it’s been twisted into a legal power grab that comes at the expense of children." (05/17/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/05/17/american-indian-child-welfare-law-under-fire.html  

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Donald Trump open to talks with North Korea

May 18, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he is willing to meet the North Korean leader to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear programme. 'I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,' the businessman said of Kim Jong-un. The proposed meeting would mark a significant change of US policy towards the politically isolated regime. Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton responded by decrying his 'bizarre fascination with foreign strongmen.' The statement, from one of her aides, added that Mr Trump's foreign policy 'made no sense.'" (05/17/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-36318752  

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First openly gay US Army Secretary confirmed by Senate

May 18, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The U.S. Senate unanimously backed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning as secretary of the Army on Tuesday, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service branch. Fanning previously worked as undersecretary of the Air Force and chief of staff to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He was confirmed by unanimous voice vote, eight months following his nomination, after Pentagon leaders assured Senator Pat Roberts that it was now too late for the administration to transfer prisoners from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Roberts’ home state, Kansas. Roberts had held up Fanning’s nomination for months to underscore his opposition to any possible transfer of detainees." (05/17/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/eric-fanning-becomes-first-openly-gay-us-army-secretary-after-senate-confirmation  

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Report: ISIL loses 45% of territory in Iraq, 20% in Syria

May 17, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The Islamic State has lost 45% of the territory it once held in Iraq and 20% of areas it controlled in Syria, according to new estimates by a U.S.-led coalition combating the extremist group. Those slow but steady battlefield losses in Iraq are prompting the Islamic State to strike back against civilians with terrorist bombings, the latest killing dozens in Baghdad on Tuesday. The territory seized by Iraqi forces, aided by coalition airstrikes and advisers, is up from 40% announced earlier this year, according to the latest estimates. The percentages are based on areas the militants controlled at their peak strength after they swept into Iraq in 2014." (05/17/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/05/17/exclusive-isil-loses-45-territory-iraq-20-syria/84499682  

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Expert questions Silver Stars for SEALs in Lynch rescue

May 17, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Two Navy SEALs received Silver Star medals in secret after the April 2003 rescue of Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch in Iraq, records obtained by USA TODAY show, although an expert on military commendations called the citations the possible result of 'a race to submit recommendations before the end of perceived combat operations.' Lynch, whose capture and rescue sparked controversy about the Bush administration's attempt to sell the war, had been captured March 23, 2003, after her convoy got lost and was ambushed. Lynch was wounded and taken to a hospital in Nasiriyah, where she was rescued on April 1. Initial reports that Lynch fought her captors viciously turned out to be false; she had been badly wounded in the ambush, and her weapon had jammed." (05/16/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/16/expert-questions-silver-stars-seals-lynch-rescue/84285238  

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VA: Conservative candidate caught posting porn screen tabs in “exposing” rival

May 17, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"A conservative congressional candidate in Virginia revealed too much about himself in his attempt to criticize his incumbent opponent, Gawker reported. The post on Mike Webb’s campaign Facebook page Monday morning dealt with his encounter with a staffing agency, and contains a shot of the agency’s location. But unfortunately for him, it also reveals two tabs related to porn. ... Webb, who is running as an independent in the state’s 8th congressional district, says in the post that he was contacted by someone claiming to represent a temporary staffing agency in Alexandria, Virginia (where Democratic incumbent Don Beyer lives) last August. When he arrived at the agency for what he thought would be a job interview, he was told that the person with whom he spoke did not work for the company." (05/16/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/oops-virginia-conservative-candidate-caught-posting-porn-screen-tabs-while-exposing-rival  

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CO: City uses cannabis tax money to help the homeless

May 17, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"While Colorado’s legal cannabis program has helped in lifting the state’s economy and education system, taxes from marijuana sales will now be used to aid the homeless. The city of Aurora, Colorado recently announced that they will allocate $1.5 million in recreational marijuana tax revenue for programs to support the city’s homeless population, the Huffington Post reports. The Colfax Community Network, a nonprofit that helps low-income and homeless families temporarily living in motels, will receive $200,000 from the special fund. Pot taxes will also be spent to supply several other nonprofit organizations with vans to be used for homeless outreach." (05/16/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/05/16/colorado-city-uses-marijuana-tax-money-to-help-the-homeless  

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Report: Gluten not toxic for most people, gluten-free diet unhealthy

May 16, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Lots of people have to adopt gluten-free diets because they suffer from celiac disease. That said, gluten-free diets have also become a trendy fad diet in recent years among people who believe that eliminating gluten from your diet will inevitably make you healthier. A recently published article in The Journal of Pediatrics shows that this is not the case, however. In the article, gastroenterologist Norelle Rizkalla Reilly laid down some facts about gluten-free diets that should make you think twice before deciding to forever swear off your favorite local bakery. First, she notes that a lot of gluten-free products actually have more calories and fat than their gluten-filled counterparts." (05/16/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/gluten-isnt-toxic-for-most-people-and-your-gluten-free-fad-diet-is-unhealthy  

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100-year-old borders drawn by two Europeans still define Middle East

May 16, 2016
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"One December morning in 1915, with World War I not yet 18 months old, a young diplomat stalked into the offices of the British prime minister in London, carrying with him a map and a bold plan for the future of the Middle East once the allies had defeated Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Standing before Britain’s top leaders, Sir Mark Sykes slashed his finger across his map of the region and, according to James Barr’s book A Line in the Sand, said, 'I should like to draw a line from the "e" in Acre [in then-Palestine, on the Mediterranean] to the "k" in Kirkuk [in what would become Iraq].' Britain, he said, would retain control of the territory to the south of the line, while the French would have Greater Syria north of the line. That blunt proposal to divide the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence was the seed that would lead a few years later to the birth of the modern Middle East and with it decades of political turmoil, wars, sectarian bloodletting, socioeconomic disparities, and the interminable Arab-Israel conflict." (05/16/16)

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2016/0516/Why-100-year-old-borders-drawn-by-two-Europeans-still-define-the-Middle-East  

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