Holiday news report


Did you miss the stories below over the holidays?

Is this how the revolution begins?
South Dakota voters hit back at lawmakers
with constitutional amendment on gov’t ethics
Supporters of a constitutional amendment targeting government corruption have turned in enough valid signatures to put the ballot question before South Dakota voters in 2018, the state’s chief elections official said Friday.
More than 51 percent of voters supported a similar initiative in November 2016, but Republican lawmakers scrubbed it from state law just months later.

Russian tankers supply N. Korea oil with ship-to-ship transfers Reuters
Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources.

Police kill Kansas man in “swatting” case Krebs on Security
andrew-finchA 28-year-old Kansas man was shot and killed by police Dec. 28 after someone fraudulently reported a hostage situation ongoing at his home. The false report was the latest in a dangerous hoax known as “swatting,” wherein the perpetrator falsely reports a dangerous situation at an address with the goal of prompting authorities to respond to that address with deadly force. This particular swatting reportedly originated over a $1.50 wagered match in the online game Call of Duty. The man killed (Andrew Finch, shown at right) was an innocent party who had no part in the dispute.
>>> Or see the story and body cam sequence on the Wichita Eagle
>>> It’s getting less dangerous to be an American cop Vice News

So he’s not stupid, he’s just corrupt.
Rubio admits the tax bill he voted for is a giveaway to corporations

Huffington Post
rubio-fisheye“By and large, you’re going to see a lot of these multinationals buy back shares to drive up the price. Some of them will be forced, because they’re sitting on historic levels of cash, to pay out dividends to shareholders. That isn’t going to create dramatic economic growth.”

How climate change deniers rise to the top of Google searches NY Times
Groups that reject established climate science can use the search engine’s advertising business to their advantage, gaming the system to find a mass platform for false or misleading claims.

The Privacy Meltdown continues
New dating app to use DNA for matches The Independent
“Pheramor uses both your biology and your social technology; we collect your genetic data through a q-tip-like cheek swab and acquire your like, dislikes, and interests from your social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, etc,” the app’s website explains.

He saw it on TV!
Trump: Even if there was collusion with Russia, it’s no crime The Hill
“I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No. 1, there is no collusion, No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion. And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times.”

Study published in Science
Hotter temps will push more refugees toward Europe
New research predicts that migrants applying for asylum in the European Union will nearly triple over the average of the last 15 years by 2100 if carbon emissions continue on their current path. The study suggests that cutting emissions could partially stem the tide, but even under an optimistic scenario, Europe could see asylum applications rise by at least a quarter.

1987 plot revealed
British “Dirty Tricks Department” tried to assassinate Irish leader The Guardian
> The previously secret message – apparently issued by the Ulster Volunteer Force and released to its national archives – claims British intelligence went as far as supplying the UVF with targeting details.
> A warning note, on UVF-headed notepaper, was received by Prime Minister Charles Haughey’s office in 1987 while he was serving as taoiseach for a third time.

Well, America had a pretty good run
China to overtake US economy in 15 years Bloomberg
> The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in London sees India leapfrogging the U.K. and France next year to become the world’s fifth-biggest economy in dollar terms. It will advance to third place by 2027, moving ahead of Germany.
> In 2032, three of the four largest economies will be Asian — China, India and Japan — and, by that time, China will also have overtaken the U.S. to hold the No. 1 spot. India’s advance won’t stop there, according to the CEBR, which sees it taking the top place in the second half of the century.
> Also by 2032, South Korea and Indonesia will have entered the top 10, supplanting the Group of Seven nations of Italy and Canada.
>>> Russia, China figure as big players in warming Arctic Bloomberg

Russian subs, undersea cables, is it OK to be paranoid?
Financial Times

Cassini probe data suggests:
Saturn’s gravity destroyed moons, which created its rings
Science News

> Saturn’s iconic rings are a recent addition.
> Final data from the Cassini spacecraft, which flew between the planet and the rings this year before plunging into the gas giant’s atmosphere, show the rings are around a few hundred million years old and less massive than previously thought.
> Those findings suggest the rings are probably the remnants of at least one moon, rather than ancient remains of the stuff that formed the planet. The results were presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union on December 12 and 13.

Steelworkers discover, to their surprise, Trump isn’t saving their jobs NY Times
> Trump pledged to build roads and bridges, strengthen “Buy America” provisions, protect factories from unfair imports and revive industry, especially steel.
> But after a year in office, Trump has not enacted these policies. And when it comes to steel, his failure to follow through on a promise has actually done more harm than good.
> Foreign steel makers have rushed to get their product into the United States before tariffs start.

Drug, once cheap, now costs $109,000 a year. LA Times
We need less regulation in this country so that pharmaceutical companies can … oh, never mind.

50 years and 298 deaths later, US trains lack safety device AP
> Nearly 300 people have died in train crashes that could have been prevented if railroads across the U.S. implemented critical speed-control technology that federal safety investigators have been pushing for close to five decades, according to rail crash data obtained by The Associated Press.
> But despite overwhelming evidence it could save lives, Congress extended the deadlines for railroads to implement so-called positive train control for years.

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