Category Archives: PND News

Congo: Bodies of UN investigators, interpreter found

Source: New Delhi Times [India]

"The bodies of an American and a Swedish investigator with the United Nations and their Congolese interpreter were found in Central Kasai province, authorities said Tuesday, more than two weeks after they disappeared while looking into recent violence there. … Michael Sharp of the United States and Zaida Catalan of Sweden, along with interpreter Betu Tshintela, driver Isaac Kabuayi and two motorbike drivers, went missing March 12 while looking into large-scale violence and alleged human rights violations by the Congolese army and local militia groups. Congo's police inspector general, Charles Bisengimana, said the bodies were found Monday between the cities of Tshimbulu and Kananga, the provincial capital." (03/29/17)

Scotland: Parliament backs independence referendum call

Source: Chicago Tribune

"Scottish lawmakers voted Tuesday to seek a new referendum on independence, to be held within the next two years — an unwanted headache for the British government as it prepares to push the European Union exit button. The Edinburgh-based legislature voted 69-59 to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's call to ask the British government for an independence vote. Outside, several dozen independence supporters bearing Scottish and EU flags broke into cheers and tears of joy as the news broke. … Scottish voters rejected independence in a 2014 referendum that Sturgeon's Scottish National Party called a once-in-a-generation vote. But Sturgeon says Brexit has changed the situation dramatically." (03/28/17)

Trump signs order to roll back Obama's climate moves

Source: The Hill

"President Trump on Tuesday signed a wide-ranging executive order to start the process of rolling back former President Obama's aggressive climate change agenda. … The most significant piece of the order instructs the EPA to formally consider repealing the Clean Power Plan. It was the central piece of Obama’s second-term climate agenda, setting a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 2030." (03/28/17)

CA: Middle school losing funding because it has too many white students

Source: Fox News

"Having too many white students will cost a California middle school funding and imperil the jobs of some teachers and others. Last week the Los Angeles Unified School District informed parents of students at the Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood that because the white population had exceeded 30 percent, it had to make cuts. Under provisions of a district policy, the school had qualified for additional funding, which enable the hiring of more teachers and having smaller classes, because it had a student body that was 70 percent or higher of Hispanics, blacks, Asians and non-Anglos. However, in the last two years that percentage has fallen beneath the 70 percent level, meaning Walter Reed no longer qualified for those extra funds. The announcement infuriated parents, who fear that class sizes will increase as the number of teachers and other school personnel decreases." [editor's note: Okay, I would note that this was an added subsidy for being a good doobie, not basic funding, as is implied by the headline – SAT] (03/28/17)

Trump expected to sign controversial hunting bill

Source: Raw Story

"A controversial hunting law awaits the signature of President Trump after the Senate voted mostly along party lines last week and after clearing the House in February. The Senate voted 52-47 on March 21 to overturn Obama-era hunting restrictions that protected grizzly bears, wolves and other animals on national wildlife refuges in Alaska from baiting, trapping and aerial shooting. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who introduced the resolution, said the Obama-era rules were an overreach of government power. He shared support with other Alaska Republicans on Capitol Hill. 'Not only does this action undermine Alaska'’s ability to manage fish and wildlife upon refuge lands, it fundamentally destroys a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the federal government,' Young wrote on his website." (03/28/17)

Dreamer's post on paying taxes goes viral

Source: USA Today

"On Sunday morning, Arizona State University junior Belen Sisa posted a simple Facebook update that she paid her taxes. By Sunday night, dozens of strangers were messaging her that she is a criminal and a liar, and that they reported her to be deported. Sisa, 23, is a 'dreamer' — her parents visited the U.S. from Argentina when she was 6 and overstayed their visas — but she is shielded from deportation by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA allows young undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records who were brought to the U.S. as children to register their personal information with the government, and in exchange receive federal work permits and a two-year reprieve from the threat of deportation, which allows them to get a Social Security number and a driver's license." [editor's note: Xenophobia is a social disease – SAT] (03/27/17)

US hospital shares drop as Republicans weigh healthcare repeal

Source: Reuters

"U.S. hospital stocks dropped on Tuesday as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives said they were considering a renewed push to repeal and replace Obamacare, after the effort failed last week. Shares of Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N) dropped 7.6 percent and Tenet Healthcare Corp (THC.N) shares fell 4.8 percent at mid-afternoon. HCA Holdings Inc (HCA.N), Universal Health Services Inc (UHS.N) and Envision Healthcare Corp EVHC.O were all down around 2 percent. Sector stocks had gained after Republicans on Friday pulled legislation to gut the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often dubbed Obamacare, and said they would move on to other issues on President Donald Trump's agenda, like tax reform." (03/28/17)

Report: Turkey "spied on" pro-Gulen opponents in Germany

Source: BBC [UK state media]

"German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere has said Turkey will not be allowed to spy on Turks living in Germany. Reports say the head of Turkey's intelligence service handed a list of people suspected of opposition sympathies to his German counterpart. The list is said to include surveillance photos and personal data. Germany and other EU states have banned local rallies in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish ministers have been seeking to campaign among ethnic Turks in a referendum on 16 April on increasing his powers. Some 41,000 people have been arrested in Turkey since a coup was defeated in July of last year. Many are suspected of following a movement loyal US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey has accused him of organising the coup. " (03/28/17)

US Senate Republicans may dump border wall funding to reduce "shutdown" theatrics

Source: New York Daily News

"Senate Republicans indicated on Tuesday they have no plans to shut down the government [sic] over a fight for money for a border wall. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, told reporters Tuesday afternoon that a bill to keep the government funded after April 28 was coming together, and suggested the funding for the wall wouldn't be included. … Republicans will need some Democratic support to avoid a government shutdow [sic] at the end of April, and Democrats have indicated they'd block any bill that included funds for a wall." (03/28/17)

Fed watchdog to examine cost, security of Trump's Florida trips

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

"A government watchdog will examine the taxpayer-funded travel costs when President Donald Trump travels to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and the security procedures surrounding those trips, several congressional Democrats announced Tuesday. The lawmakers requested the inquiry by the Government Accountability Office after reports that Trump, accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, openly discussed North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile while at the resort. They also raised concerns about the cost to taxpayers. In a March 24 letter to the lawmakers, GAO said it will examine how the president's communications and classified information are secured when he's traveling, including whether a secure space exists at Mar-a-Lago." (03/28/17)