PND News

Report: Males still necessary, even in asexually reproducing species

April 20, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"Despite evolutionary adaptations that have allowed female members of some fish, reptile, and amphibian species to reproduce by cloning themselves, a new study published online recently in The Science of Nature shows that males still play an important role in reproduction. Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) discovered that even in species capable of perpetuate offspring through cloning, fertilization is still very much required to ensure the survival of the maximum number of healthy offspring, thus indicating that males have not become obsolete just yet." (04/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kvwxxcf  

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Khamenei: Iran nuclear weapons are US “myth”

April 20, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told military commanders on Sunday the United States had created the 'myth' of nuclear weapons to portray Iran as a threat, hardening his rhetoric before nuclear negotiations resume this week. Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, has supported the nuclear talks but continues to express deep mistrust of the United States. 'They created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of threat is America itself, with its unrestrained, destabilizing interventions,' Khamenei said in a televised address to a hall of several hundred military commanders." (04/19/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ppftes6  

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Nigeria: Pesticides suspected in mystery deaths, says WHO

April 20, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The World Health Organisation (WHO) says pesticide poisoning is the probable cause of 18 mysterious deaths in south-western Nigeria. Those who died in Ondo state suffered from blurred vision and headaches, and then lost consciousness before dying within 24 hours. A spokesman for the WHO said tests done so far had been negative for viral and bacterial infections. He said the current theory was that the deaths were caused by weedkiller. The outbreak started in the town of Ode-Irele. All of those affected started showing symptoms between 13 and 15 April." (04/19/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32372502  

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“Scientific wonderland” expected as spacecraft approaches Pluto

April 19, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"A planet redder than Mars? Rivers of liquid neon flowing across the surface? A subsurface ocean? A binary planet in a solar system filled with soloists? 'It sounds like science fiction,' notes planetary scientist Alan Stern. But it's not. It's Pluto, or at least inferences or speculations about Pluto astronomers have drawn from their ever-shifting vantage point, currently some 3 billion miles away." (04/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p3qja5m  

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NYC: More than 120 ER visits in one week linked to fake marijuana

April 19, 2015
posted by

Forbes    

"According to the Health Department in New York City, over 120 persons made trips to the emergency department over the past week as a result of adverse effects or reactions after using synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana -- an herbal product sprayed with powerful and sometimes unknown chemicals -- was officially banned and labeled a Schedule 1 drug in late 2010 by the DEA, and is illegally sold at head shops, bodegas, and small grocery stores." [editor's note: Of course, not a single mention in the story of the obvious solution ... abolishing the ban on the real thing! - TLK] (04/18/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l6xcu45  

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FBI overstated forensic hair matches for decades

April 19, 2015
posted by

Salt Lake Tribune    

"The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country's largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence." [h/t David Klaus] (04/18/15)

http://www.sltrib.com/home/2416382-155/story.html  

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Ukraine: Ally of ex-president Yanukovych found dead

April 17, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"A Ukrainian opposition politician, Oleg Kalashnikov, has been found dead with gunshot wounds in Kiev -- the latest ally of the former government to have died in suspicious circumstances. Mr Kalashnikov had been involved in the 'anti-Maidan' protests in support of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych. It is not clear if he was murdered or committed suicide. Police say an investigation has been launched. At least eight Yanukovych allies have died suddenly in the last three months. Most of the deaths are said to have been suicides. However, officials say it was possible some were killed or forced to take their lives." (04/16/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32329512  

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Sony hack: Wikileaks publishes more than 30,000 documents

April 17, 2015
posted by

Wikileaks The Hollywood Reporter    

"On Thursday, WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures, obtained from a hack that has been sourced to North Korea in anticipation of the studio's release of The Interview. The Julian Assange website noted in a press release that 'whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface.' In a move that could trigger another round of embarrassing prying into Sony affairs, WikiLeaks has now published those documents in a searchable format." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pyh7ea4  

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DC pols strike deal to “fast-track” Trans-Pacific Partnership

April 17, 2015
posted by

Seattle Times    

"Top lawmakers struck a bipartisan agreement Thursday to allow President Barack Obama to negotiate trade deals subject to a yes-or-no vote from Congress without the possibility of changes. The 'fast track' legislation comes as Obama seeks a sweeping trade deal with 11 Pacific nations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership proposes a trade agreement involving the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and seven other Pacific rim nations." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ksgt2pm  

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Appeals court to take up Obama’s immigration action

April 17, 2015
posted by

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Seattle Post-Intelligencer    

"Appellate judges on Friday were to consider whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama's executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a closely watched case that is holding up Obama's immigration action." (04/17/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q2tttde  

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NH: Candidates battle for the libertarian vote

April 17, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The battle for the 2016 Republican nomination is on in New Hampshire, where presidential contenders Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have targeted the libertarian vote in hopes of winning the country’s first primary. Marco Rubio, the third GOP candidate to announce thus far, has yet to visit the state as an official presidential contender. In New Hampshire, libertarian voters represent 10 to 15 percent of the vote in a Republican primary, a percentage that could make or break a candidate’s shot at the nomination." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l3edz9w  

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NASA probe set to crash-land on Mercury & “just not emerge again”

April 17, 2015
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"A NASA spacecraft that made surprising discoveries of ice and other materials on Mercury will make a crash landing into the planet around April 30, scientists said on Thursday. The Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or Messenger, probe has been circling the innermost planet of the solar system for more than four years, the first close-up studies of Mercury since NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft made three flybys in the mid-1970s. Out of fuel and losing altitude, Messenger is expected to make a high-speed crash near the planet’s north pole at around 3:25 EDT on April 30, flight controllers told reporters during a webcast news conference." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/msu4u8k  

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CDC: E-cig use soared, cigarette use fell among US youth

April 17, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Electronic cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students tripled in 2014 while cigarette use fell to record lows, according to provocative new data that is likely to intensify debate over whether e-cigarettes are a boon or bane to public health. Among high school students, e-cigarette use jumped to 13.4 percent in 2014 from 4.5 percent in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette use over the same period fell to 9.2 percent from 12.7 percent, the largest year-over-year decline in more than a decade. Overall, tobacco use among high school students grew to 24.6 percent from 22.9 percent. The data sparked alarm among tobacco control advocates who fear e-cigarettes will create a new generation of nicotine addicts who may eventually switch to conventional cigarettes." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/jvtcxjw  

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Sudan: Polls close after boycott produces low turnout

April 17, 2015
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Voting in the Sudanese elections has ended, with only a third of the electorate casting their ballots, according to African Union observers. The head of the AU team overseeing the poll, Olusegun Obasanjo, said turnout stood at between 30-35%. He said some voters may have felt the result was a forgone conclusion and so abstained from casting a ballot. President Omar al-Bashir is expected to extend his 25 years in power, after opposition parties boycotted the poll." [editor's note: More proof that the power of "boycott" must be wielded with some discretion - SAT] (04/16/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32346244  

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NH: With candidate “cattle call,” GOP summit kicks off primary season

April 17, 2015
posted by

New Hampshire Public Radio [US state media]    

"The state Republican Party kicks off its First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua Friday. Virtually every Republican thought to be considering a presidential run is scheduled to speak at the two-day event." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/op84yuz  

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FL: Scott says he’ll sue Obama over hospital money

April 17, 2015
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he is suing the Obama administration for withholding federal money for hospitals that serve the poor, saying they are doing so because the state won't expand Medicaid. The announcement is another twist in what has been a gritty yearlong battle with the feds over roughly $1 billion in funds for Florida hospitals. The fight has come to a head as the state Legislature works to finalize a state budget before May 1." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oyz4rqa  

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Gay rights and religious liberty: Can Americans have both?

April 17, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"The recent backlash against 'religious accommodation' laws in Indiana and Arkansas is evidence of an increasingly bitter confrontation that is dividing the country and threatens to diminish the scope of religious liberty in America. That is the conclusion of a number of scholars and experts who are urging the United States Supreme Court to consider this confrontation when it hears oral argument on April 28 in a potential landmark case involving same-sex marriage. On one side are gay couples seeking the full benefits of equal treatment and dignity in a society that has long forced them into second-class status, or substantially worse. On the other, religious conservatives, who say they are being coerced to support and/or participate in activities that offend their religious beliefs." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nxwn5vs  

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Report: Unpaid Tulsa deputy’s records were falsified

April 16, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"A reserve Tulsa deputy sheriff who says he fatally shot a suspect by accident had been certified for his post with falsified training records, the Tulsa World reported Thursday. The newspaper, citing multiple sources it did not name, said supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office had been ordered to give unpaid Deputy Robert Bates credit for field training he never had and firearms certifications he never earned. Bates, 73, faces a manslaughter charge in the fatal shooting of Eric Harris during a physical struggle with other deputies April 2." (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pqx4bvd  

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Vatican unexpectedly ends takeover of US nun group

April 16, 2015
posted by

Houston Chronicle    

"The Vatican on Thursday unexpectedly ended its controversial takeover of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, signaling a major shift in tone and treatment of U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis. The Vatican said it had accepted a final report on its overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and declared that the 'implementation of the mandate has been accomplished.' When the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took over the LCWR in 2012, it accused the group of taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting 'certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.'" (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/odya6qu  

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Election 2016: Chafee escalates exploration to declaration (or maybe not)

April 16, 2015
posted by

CNN CNN    

"Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Thursday on CNN that he's running for the Democratic nomination for president, just a week after announcing he formed an exploratory committee, his most definitive statement he's made toward formalizing a 2016 campaign. 'Yes, that's why I'm running. Because I feel strong about where we're going as a country,' Chafee told CNN's 'New Day' on Thursday, when asked why he's been so critical of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. Chafee was asked by CNN's John Berman in the context of having not formally declared his presidential campaign. Chafee spokeswoman Debbie Rich said Chafee did not declare himself as a candidate for president Thursday, despite saying 'that's why I'm running.'" [editor's note: Does anyone else think he looks like Neil Patrick Harris crawled into a time machine in about 2050 and came back to run for president? - TLK] (04/16/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m64dyxx  

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Colombia: Eleven regime troops killed in apparent rebel attack

April 16, 2015
posted by

ABC News ABC News    

"Eleven soldiers were killed and 19 injured in an attack by leftist guerrillas in Colombia, likely a major violation of the rebels' pledge of a unilateral cease-fire that throws into doubt the future of peace talks. The attack occurred around midnight Tuesday in the volatile southwest department of Cauca when an army unit on a routine patrol was surprised by guerrillas firing homemade explosives and grenades. A corporal and 10 others were killed during the ambush by a unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the army's third division said in a statement. ... The latest attack underscores one of the biggest obstacles in the way of a deal: the FARC leadership's lack of control over the estimated 7,000 troops still on the battlefield." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n9faymu  

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GM shielded from some ignition switch suits

April 16, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"General Motors Co will not have to face dozens of lawsuits accusing it of concealing an ignition-switch defect that led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled on Wednesday. GM had argued it was protected from claims on vehicles pre-dating its 2009 exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while plaintiffs in the lawsuits said the company violated their constitutional rights by failing to disclose the defect. The decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber means GM may avoid potentially billions of dollars in liability, as well as the cost of defending those lawsuits, although claims arising from GM's conduct after its bankruptcy will not be affected." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qxld3d2  

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Federal court rules against El Caudillo de Maricopa in profiling case

April 16, 2015
posted by

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Seattle Post-Intelligencer    

"The sheriff for metro Phoenix on Wednesday lost a bid to overturn a 2013 racial profiling ruling that blunted his signature immigration enforcement efforts and represents the thorniest legal troubles the defiant lawman has faced in his 22-year career. The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals marks the latest in a long string of defeats for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the case in which his officers were found to have racially profiled Latinos. Arpaio and four aides face hearings beginning Tuesday on whether they should be held in contempt of court for violating a 2011 order by a judge who barred Arpaio's immigration patrols." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lvd6pnn  

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South Africa: Once bastion of white minority, party embraces diversity

April 16, 2015
posted by

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor    

"When a fresh-faced political outsider burst into the race for premier of South Africa’s most populous province in late 2013, the comparisons came fast and furious. Slinging slogans like 'Believe' and 'We Can Win,' Mmusi Maimane was the 'Obama of Soweto,' trumpeted one local paper. The young opposition leader promised a new political era in Gauteng, a region dominated by a single party (the African National Congress) for nearly two decades. Although Mr. Maimane ultimately lost that race, his energetic candidacy has helped propel him to the precipice of another Obama-esque milestone -- becoming the first black leader of South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, after its current head, Helen Zille, steps down next month." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pr82h4r  

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Norquist steps down from NRA board amid probe of Islamist ties

April 16, 2015
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist is reportedly stepping away from NRA board of directors activities amid allegations of ties to radical Muslims. Breitbart.com and TheBlaze both reported Tuesday that Norquist, a powerful GOP figure, is distancing himself from the 25-member board a month after radio host Glenn Beck told his audience that Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, had initiated an investigation into Norquist for alleged ties to Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood." (04/15/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o7y2myl  

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