Category Archives: PND News

Spain: Barcelona protest to support refugees draws thousands

Source: BBC [UK state media]

"Some 160,000 people have demonstrated in Barcelona to demand the government allow more refugees into Spain from war-hit areas such as Syria. Marchers carrying placards and banners (many in the Catalan language) accused the Madrid government of dragging its feet over the issue. They say it has not honoured its pledge made in 2015 to allow more than 17,000 refugees into Spain within two years. Over that time, Spain has accepted only about 1,100 refugees. Police gave the estimate of the turnout at Saturday's protest in the capital of Catalonia, organised by the Our Home is Your Home group, with many denouncing the government for not living up to its promises." (02/18/17)

New US travel ban to spare green card holders

Source: Reuters

"A new version of a Trump administration travel ban will not stop green card residency holders or travelers already on planes from entering the United States, U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly said on Saturday. U.S. President Donald Trump's initial attempt to clamp down for security reasons on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and on refugees snarled to a halt amid a judicial backlash and chaos at airports. 'The president is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version of the first (order). And I will have opportunity to work (on) a rollout plan, in particular to make sure that there's no one in a sense caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports,' Kelly said at the Munich Security Conference." (02/18/17)

Cannabis found inside firewood seized at US-Mexico border

Source: Fox News

"More than 100 pounds of Marijuana have been seized at the U.S./Mexico Border on Wednesday, according to officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In a statement released Friday, the incident happened at the Port of Sasabe, about 74 miles southwest of Tucson. Officers found the drugs hidden inside a shipment of mesquite firewood, after a narcotics-detection canine was alerted to a truck, the statement said. The Marijuana was discovered, after officers loaded the firewood off the truck, and split them in half. The drug, according to the statement, is worth an estimated $53,000." [editor's note: Now there is a clever method of smuggling, and if you have to ditch the evidence at least you get warm pretty fast – SAT] (02/18/17)

US student debt tops $1.31 trillion

Source: Christian Science Monitor

"Student loans were the leading cause for a substantial increase in household debt last year, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Thursday. While the high balance of US student debt is not news anymore, the new record-high $1.31 trillion balance, up 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter, is another reminder of the severity of a problem that has cast a shadow over the nation in recent years. During her confirmation hearing, now-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos suggested a vision for higher education that might not require as much student debt. 'We need to embrace new pathways of learning,' said Ms. DeVos, who has championed trade schools and for-profit online universities. 'For too long, a college degree has been pushed as the only avenue for a better life. The old and expensive brick-mortar-and-ivy model is not the only one that will lead to a prosperous future.'" (02/18/17)

AZ: Sheriff who replaced Arpaio won't hold immigrants past release date

Source: Raw Story

"The law officer who replaced ousted Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he will no longer hold immigrants who have served their time past their release dates for immigration officials. Arpaio, who lost re-election in November while under federal investigation has long been a foe of undocumented immigrants and held them over for federal officials. In an interview Friday night, new Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said he is discontinuing the practice, questioning its legality, reports The Hill. According to Penzone, immigration officials will still be welcome in his jail, but should not expect those who have served their time to be held past their date of release. Penzone’s decision comes at a time when newly-elected President Trump is ramping up immigration enforcement leading to protests across the country." (02/18/17)

SpaceX launch halted just before liftoff

Source: USA Today

"SpaceX will have to wait at least another day to launch from NASA's historic moon pad. Last-minute rocket trouble forced SpaceX to halt Saturday's countdown at Florida's Kennedy Space Center." (02/18/17)

US Senate confirms Mulvaney as budget czar

Source: The State

"The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 to confirm U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina as President Trump’s new budget chief Thursday, less than two weeks before the president is expected to present a pared-down 'skinny' budget to Congress. Mulvaney, known as a fiscal hard-liner, was confirmed despite the opposition of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who cited the S.C. Republican's inability to remember voting for a defense spending cut when questioned at his confirmation hearing. 'Mulvaney has spent his last six years in the House of Representatives pitting the national debt against our military,' said McCain, the Armed Services Committee chairman." [editor's note: McCain says that like it's something other than a sterling recommendation … – TLK] (02/16/17)

Trump names Alex Acosta as new Labor secretary nominee

Source: USA Today

"The day after his first choice withdrew, President Trump on Thursday nominated Alexander Acosta, the dean of the Florida International University law school, to become his new Labor secretary. 'I think he'll make a tremendous secretary of Labor,' Trump said at a White House news conference. Acosta, a Miami native who is Cuban-American, did not attend the East Room event. If confirmed, he would be the first Latino in Trump's cabinet." (02/16/17)

Tax-funded Harvard/MIT outfit wins versus tax-funded Berkeley outfit in CRISPR fake property rights case

Source: Nature

"The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has upheld a series of patents granted for the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The hotly anticipated decision could conclude a contentious battle between the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the University of California over intellectual-property rights to the potentially lucrative technology. Although the Broad was awarded its patents first, the University of California was the first of the two to apply for a patent on the technology. The California contingent also argues that its team in Berkeley invented the technique before investigators at the Broad." [editor's note: Even if "intellectual property" was actual property, the Broad Institute gets more than half its funding from the federal government, and the University of California is government funded as well — which makes any patents rightfully "public property" – TLK] (02/15/17)

CO: Mother of four fears abduction, deportation, takes sanctuary at Denver church

Source: Denver Post

"A mother of four facing impending deportation from the United States has taken sanctuary in a Denver church in hope of gaining a 'stay of deportation.' Jeanette Vizguerra, who is in the country illegally [sic], avoided a scheduled meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) officials and instead declared sanctuary at the First Unitarian Society of Denver. Vizguerra's declaration of sanctuary came after her 'stay of removal expired' and she feared a scheduled meeting with ICE on Wednesday would have resulted in immediate [abduction] and quick deportation." (02/15/17)