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1step

Profile Information

Name: yeah,right
Gender: Male
Hometown: Devilandthedeepbluesea, Beme.
Home country: murcah!
Current location: Vanishintheair, Ynfm.
Member since: Tue Dec 16, 2014, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 380

Journal Archives

India, Pakistan trade fire in Kashmir; 1 dead

Source: AP

Dec. 31, 2014 7:21 AM EST

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire Wednesday near the border that divides the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, leaving one dead on the Indian side and two wounded on the Pakistani side, officials said.

One side blamed the other for initiating the shooting.

A senior officer with India's Border Security Force, D. Parekh, said Pakistani troops fired on an 11-member Indian patrol team and Indian soldiers retaliated. The gunbattle was ongoing late Wednesday, he said, adding that another Indian soldier was wounded.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/510cd47103b1465ab8e5eb533d77efa1/india-says-1-soldier-killed-firing-pakistani-soldiers



Are four paragraphs really necessary to convey how potentially dangerous this "skirmish" is?

Merkel tells Germans not to attend anti-Islam rallies

Source: AP

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
Dec. 31, 2014 7:21 AM EST

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday warned the country's citizens not to participate in weekly anti-Islam rallies that have attracted growing numbers of supporters in the eastern German city of Dresden.

Merkel condemned the organizers of the protests and said they were driven by prejudices and hatred against foreigners.

The chancellor used unusually direct words in her New Year's speech on Wednesday for the rallies organized by a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA which have been attended by thousands.

When the protesters chant "we are the people," they actually mean to say "you don't belong — because of your religion or your skin color," Merkel said.



Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1ef868c03205404c9d836027c7fc8be7/merkel-tells-germans-not-attend-anti-islam-rallies



Angela,

GOP leaders look for Scalise flap to blow over

Source: AP

By CHARLES BABINGTON
Dec. 31, 2014 3:32 AM EST


WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders have been supportive of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise since the revelation that he appeared before a white supremacist organization 12 years ago, suggesting they think the flare-up will fade, while some Democrats have been critical without calling for him to resign.

Scalise, the Republican whip in the House, said Tuesday that he regrets making the speech in 2002 and condemns the views of such groups. He said that as a state legislator he spoke to many groups at that time about a major tax issue.

"One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn," the Louisiana congressman said in a statement. "It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold."

Republican leaders defended Scalise within minutes of his statement. The new Congress, in which the GOP will control both the House and the Senate, convenes next week.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b15150bc562e4d0a81656f4a7aba8375/gop-leaders-look-scalise-flap-blow-over



I'm thinking exactly what you're thinking: BENGHAZI! Time to earn your money, MSNBC! Unleash the Maddow!

Look, I'm Numerically Obsessed, Okay?

I have to get to 170 posts (more, since a few have been hidden or self-deleted) by the time I go to sleep. Otherwise, I'll wake up praising the Great Demon Reagan! AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

First Ebola boy likely infected by playing in bat tree

Source: BBC News

30 December 2014 Last updated at 09:02 ET

By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online

The Ebola victim who is believed to have triggered the current outbreak - a two-year-old boy called Emile Ouamouno from Guinea - may have been infected by playing in a hollow tree housing a colony of bats, say scientists.

They made the connection on an expedition to the boy's village, Meliandou.

They took samples and chatted to locals to find out more about Ebola's source.

The team's findings are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30632453



Bat Tree? Never heard of such!

NASA Spacecraft Approaching Dwarf Planet Ceres

Mike Wall, writing on Space.com:

December 30, 2014 07:00am ET

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(artist's conception)

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has begun approaching Ceres ahead of a historic March arrival at the mysterious dwarf planet.

Dawn has officially entered the Ceres approach phase, after recently emerging from behind the sun relative to Earth and thus coming back into reliable communication range. The probe is now about 400,000 miles (640,000 kilometers) from Ceres and is cruising toward the 590-mile-wide (950 km) object at 450 mph (725 km/h), NASA officials said.

Dawn should enter orbit around Ceres — the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter — on March 6, 2015. When that happens, the spacecraft will become the first ever to orbit two different unexplored solar system bodies. (Dawn circled the protoplanet Vesta, the asteroid belt's second-largest object, from July 2011 through September 2012.)

Mission team members, and space scientists around the world, are eager to see Ceres up close.

"Ceres is almost a complete mystery to us," Dawn principal investigator Christopher Russell, of UCLA, said in a statement. "Ceres, unlike Vesta, has no meteorites linked to it to help reveal its secrets. All we can predict with confidence is that we will be surprised."


Full article http://www.space.com/28122-dawn-spacecraft-dwarf-planet-ceres.html

Hey, I told you I was a space nerd!

Breathe Easily, White America

Laura Hudson, writing in Slate...

Over the weekend, the deep divide between the police and their detractors—and in some ways between white America and minorities—gained a defining image: NYPD officers turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio during the funeral of a slain officer in retribution for the mayor’s “anti-police” comments. Much like the recent protests across the nation, sparked by the high-profile deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of police, the mayor’s comparatively gentle acknowledgment of the well-documented racial disparities in the criminal justice system has been met with a troubling reaction from both the police and much of white America: that acknowledging systemic racism and asking for police accountability is unnecessary at best and treacherous—or even dangerous—at worst.

There’s a television show perfectly scripted to both cater to and reinforce this perspective: Blue Bloods, a CBS crime drama that revolves around the ruling family in New York City law enforcement. Blue Bloods is currently the most popular network television show on Friday nights—though you may be forgiven for having never heard of it, given that the median age of its viewers is older than 60.

Led by paterfamilias and NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), the family at the center of Blue Bloods also includes his father, Henry, a former NYPD commissioner; his detective sons Danny and Jamie; and his daughter, Erin, an assistant district attorney. Despite the fact that they are one of the most powerful families in New York—and certainly the most powerful family in the NYPD—Blue Bloods insists on depicting them as salt-of-the-earth, blue-collar types who don’t get any special privileges. They’re just regular guys, really, and they have lots of their own problems too. It’s not easy being a Reagan!

Like most of us, the Reagans think of themselves as good people, and in many ways they are: They believe deeply in the ideas of justice and equality, they always try to help people and do the right thing, and they stand up for their beliefs. But despite all their nobility and good intentions, like all white people, the Reagans exist within a system that is rigged to favor them, and to erase the problems experienced by people who don’t look like them. Because in this case the system is also a TV show, the cases that the Reagans encounter—especially the ripped-from-the-headlines ones about race and excessive force—offer constant reassurance that there are no true racial issues within the criminal justice system that can’t be solved by a speech about colorblindness or the steely resolve of Tom Selleck’s mustache.

Worse, Blue Bloods has a habit of depicting people who speak up against the police as malicious, manipulative, or deceptive—and a lot of those people happen to be minorities.


Full article http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2014/12/blue_bloods_starring_tom_selleck_the_nypd_white_viewers_and_black_new_yorkers.html

And no, I'm not being paid by Slate to promote their pieces!

Colorado AG: Home hash oil production is illegal

Source: AP

By SADIE GURMAN
Dec. 30, 2014 8:29 PM EST

DENVER (AP) — Marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but extracting the drug's high-potency oil at home is not, the state's attorney general said Tuesday, fueling a debate about how to punish hash-oil producers who have caused a rise in fiery explosions this year. John Suthers said the dangerous process of creating marijuana's intoxicating oil in crude, home-based laboratories is not covered under the measure known as Amendment 64, which was approved by voters in 2012 and allows recreational marijuana for adults over 21.

"Colorado is experiencing a real public safety issue as a result of unsafe and unlicensed manufacturing and production," Suthers said in a statement. Hash oil is typically made by packing the castoff leaves and stems of pot plants into a pipe and pouring highly flammable butane through it. The concoction is heated to make the potent oil for far cheaper than it can be bought in stores.

Devotees say one or two drops of the golden mixture can produce a more euphoric high than an entire joint, and it can be baked into food or vaporized. But without proper ventilation, butane fumes can linger. Just a spark of static electricity can ignite a room.

Suthers said the state's pot law allows for "reasonable and safe use of marijuana, so to decriminalize dangerous and unreasonable behavior in which people are getting hurt and houses are blowing up defies the intent of the voters."

He filed a court brief in response to a western Colorado man's contention that Mesa County prosecutors improperly charged him with crimes for manufacturing hash oil after an explosion injured him and damaged his home. An attorney for Eugene Christenson argued in a court filing that hash oil production is legal under a portion of the new law allowing the processing of marijuana plants. Court records show Christenson was also charged with arson and reckless endangerment.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/09e197b4afbc493cab7ab14f5da289eb/colorado-ag-home-hash-oil-production-illegal



Edit: It appears that I was insufficiently clear in my original comment; the "bummer" is catching your ass on fire, man!

Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny arrested hours after sentencing

Source: CNN

By Laura Smith-Spark, Matthew Chance and Alla Eshchenko, CNN
updated 3:01 PM EST, Tue December 30, 2014

Moscow (CNN) -- Just hours after he was found guilty of fraud in a politically charged trial and given a suspended sentence, blogger and Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was detained after he broke house arrest and went to join a protest against the court's verdict.

He didn't try to hide what he was doing: He tweeted a picture of himself on the Moscow metro as he headed to the demonstration. "Under house arrest, yes, but today I very much want to be with you. That is why I am also going," said the caption on the photo.

News agency Interfax reported that Navalny was detained by police and was returned to his home, instead of being taken to jail. He was on house arrest for a conviction in a 2009 case.

Earlier, Navalny was in court, where he got a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence for the fraud conviction, while his brother, Oleg, also convicted of fraud, was given a prison term of the same length.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/30/world/europe/russia-alexei-navalny-case/



There's a video accompanying the story, but it was clearly recorded before these latest events.

Who's Afraid of Alexei Navalny?

Josdua Keating, writing in Slate...

Vladimir Putin’s government, often praised by both its defenders and its enemies for its toughness and decisiveness, rarely seems more vexed and uncertain than when dealing with opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Earlier today, in a surprising move, a Moscow court suspended Navalny’s three-and-a-half year sentence on fraud charges that were widely seen as a laughably trumped-up pretext to punish him for his outspoken opposition to the Russian government. This isn’t the first time Navalny had gotten off with a warning: In July 2013, he was freed on bail after receiving a five-year sentence for embezzlement that prompted massive street protests by his supporters in Moscow. This time, however, the court didn’t just let Navalny go; it jailed his brother Oleg, a former postal worker, instead. Not only is the Russian criminal justice system blatantly being used to punish the Kremlin’s critics. Courts are now now apparently willing to take family members as hostages to get the point across. (The brothers are alleged to have masterminded a plot to overcharge a subsidiary of the cosmetics brand Yves Rocher for its shipping to Russia, though the French company never issued a complaint.)

f the intent in letting Navalny out but jailing his brother was to keep Navalny under control without turning him into a martyr, it appears to have backfired. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered despite freezing temperatures to protest Oleg’s fate in Moscow’s Manezh Square, including Navalny himself, who showed up in violation of his house arrest from his earlier conviction, apparently still wearing his court-ordered ankle bracelet, and was quickly rearrested along with over 100 others. The demonstrators were also met by a large crowd of counterdemonstrators, who accused Navalny’s supporters of trying to turn Manezh into a “Maidan”—a reference to the “Euromaidan” protests that toppled Ukraine’s Russian backed government in February. Even dissident performance artists Pussy Riot, who seem to have given up their DIY punk rock aesthetic for perfume-commercial glam, released a new video for the occasion in support of Navalny.


Full article http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_world_/2014/12/30/alexey_navalny_re_arrested_in_moscow_can_putin_silence_russia_s_most_prominent.html

Yes, I know it's gauche to post two pieces in the same forum back-to-back, but the Putin-Navalny dynamic fascinates me, as I'm convinced that one of these men will be dead---and not of natural causes!---within a decade.
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