Category Archives: News

Congress sets sights on pretending it can regulate cryptocurrency

Source: Reuters

“Jolted by the global investment craze over bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, U.S. lawmakers are moving to consider new rules that could impose stricter federal oversight on the emerging asset class, several top lawmakers told Reuters. Bipartisan momentum is growing in the Senate and House of Representatives for action to address the risks posed by virtual currencies to investors and the financial system, they said. Even free-market Republican conservatives, normally wary of government red tape, said regulation could be needed if cryptocurrencies threaten the U.S. economy.” [editor’s note: Republican conservatives are seldom either “free-market” or “wary of government red tape.” At best they occasionally feign reluctance to seize the power they want to seize instead of publicly reveling in it like their Democratic counterparts – TLK] (02/19/18)

Peru: Fujimori ordered to stand trial again

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Peru’s ex-President Alberto Fujimori has been ordered to stand trial for the 1992 killings of six farmers. It comes just over a month after he was released from prison, where he was serving 25 years for human rights abuses and corruption. The former leader was given a pardon on health grounds but the court in Lima says this does not apply to the new case. The court also wants to try 22 others for the death-squad killings. When current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted the pardon, there were street protests, Fujimori is a deeply divisive figure in Peru, respected by some and reviled by others for his government’s crackdown on two violent insurgencies during his tenure from 1990-2000.” (02/19/18)

Minnesota regime’s $5 billion case over 3M chemicals heads to trial

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Minnesota officials will soon try to convince a jury that manufacturer 3M Co. should pay the state $5 billion to help clean up environmental damage that the state alleges was caused by pollutants the company dumped for decades. The long-awaited trial begins Tuesday in Minneapolis. Experts say it could have wide-reaching implications if the state succeeds, in part because 3M and other companies legally dumped the chemicals for years in and outside Minnesota. The case focuses on the company’s disposal of chemicals once used to make Scotchgard fabric protector and other products. The company denies it did anything wrong or illegal. The state alleges the chemicals damaged Minnesota’s natural resources, including more than 100 miles of the Mississippi River, and contaminated drinking water, harmed wildlife and posed a threat to human health.” (02/19/18)

Trump asks why Obama didn’t “do something about Russian meddling”

Source: Fox News

“President Trump on Monday followed other Republican leaders in questioning why the Obama administration ‘failed to act’ on the intelligence that Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics began in 2014. ‘Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election,’ Trump tweeted. ‘So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?’ A federal grand jury on Friday indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election. The indictments are part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump throughout the weekend often took to Twitter to address the indictment, claiming in three separate tweets that there was ‘no collusion’ between Russians and his election campaign.” (02/19/18)

Trump reportedly “supportive” of more intrusive unconstitutional gun background checks

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“US President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve background checks on gun ownership, the White House says. He spoke with Republican Senator John Cornyn about a bipartisan bill that seeks to improve the checks in place before someone can buy a gun. The suspect in last week’s Florida school shooting, in which 17 people died, bought his gun legally. Nikolas Cruz appeared in court on Monday. Students from the school have demanded action on gun control. It has emerged that Mr Cruz was able to buy seven rifles in the past year, despite being examined by Florida mental health workers in 2016, US media report. One of those was the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used to carry out last Wednesday’s attack.” (02/19/18)

Oxfam says staff intimidated witnesses in Haiti sex scandal

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Oxfam workers suspected of sexual misconduct in Haiti intimidated and threatened a witness as the charity investigated the original claims, according to the organization’s report on the internal inquiry. The findings were part of a previously confidential report released by Oxfam on Monday as the charity responds to newspaper stories suggesting it covered up allegations that seven employees used prostitutes on the charity’s property while working in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. ‘We are making this exceptional publication because we want to be as transparent as possible about the decisions we made during this particular investigation and in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused,’ the charity said in a statement. ‘We are also meeting with the government of Haiti to apologize for our mistakes and discuss what more we can do, including for the women affected by these events.'” (02/19/18)

NBA players ready to lift ban on medical cannabis use

Source: Smell the Truth

“The NBA is ready to allow marijuana use for medical purposes, according to an official representing the players. In an interview with SB Nation, National Basketball Players Association (NPBA) Executive Director Michele Roberts voiced her support for lifting the league’s ban on marijuana in the near future ‘My own view is that there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management,’ Roberts told SB Nation. ‘We’re in talks with the league to see where we can go with it.’ Roberts also revealed in another interview with the Undefeated that the Players Association is currently examining research and studies on cannabis for medical use.” (02/19/18)

CA: Trolls on Twitter make false claims of being assaulted at screenings of “Black Panther”

Source: Raw Story

“As Marvel’s latest superhero movie, ‘Black Panther,’ draws praise and rakes in millions of dollars at the box office, Twitter trolls have emerged across the country attempting to stoke racial division by spreading false reports about the film’s largely African American fans. Over the last few days, users have posted false claims that they were attacked by blacks while going to see ‘Black Panther,’ the first movie from Marvel Studios led by a predominantly black cast. ‘It’s very unfortunate that a film that is poised to become a cultural icon is being marred by this fake news,’ said Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences at UCLA. ‘In the long run, it will not detract from the cultural significance of ‘Black Panther,’ but it does blunt some of the positive force it has as it opens. It is both surprising and not surprising.'” (02/19/18)

DC: Musk receives permit for Hyperloop dig

Source: Washington Post

“It’s not much now, just a parking lot with a discarded gin bottle and an old exterminator receipt. But the slice of pavement near the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the District could be the gritty precursor to a tunnel network that could propel pods filled with people and speeding platforms topped with Teslas and Toyotas between the nation’s capital and New York in 29 minutes. Or it could be just be a parking lot littered with dashed transportation dreams. … The Boring Company team has received an early, and vague, building permit from the D.C. government that will allow some preparatory and excavation work at the fenced-off parking lot at 53 New York Avenue NE beside a McDonald’s and amid the construction cranes of Washington’s booming NoMa neighborhood.” (02/19/18)

Study: Drinking two beers a day “slashes your risk of drying young by a fifth”

Source: The Sun [UK]

“Two beers a day and a few excess pounds are the secret to living longer, scientists say. The glasses of beer, or wine, cut the risk of dying young by a fifth. And carrying a few excess pounds in later life makes an early death 3 per cent less likely. … The boffins analysed data on 14,000 people aged 55 to 100 to find the secrets to a long life. They have tracked the volunteers for up to 37 years, with some still being monitored. … The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.” [editor’s note: No, I didn’t write that headline. But I did get a good laugh out of the pun – TLK] (02/19/18)