President Barack Obama indicated two years ago that his administration would no longer employ “signature” drone strikes. A signature strike is one in which subjects are targeted based on patterns of behavior rather than intelligence about who they are.
But the January attack in which two hostages, including one American, were killed shows the CIA has continued to employ the tactic.
Those opposing the editing of human genes say the changes can be passed to later generations and have an unpredictable effect on those populations. There is also concern about dangerous or unethical applications of the technique. Even the Chinese admitted that the gene modification did not go as well as they would have liked. They changed the genetic material of 86 embryos, of which 71 survived. But upon testing those that did survive, the scientists found only 28 were successfully spliced. read more
Their complaints include naming Native American women “Wears No Bra” and making the film’s Apache characters resemble Comanche. “One thing that really offended a lot of people was that there was a female character called Beaver’s Breath," said Loren Anthony, one of the Navajo actors who walked out. "One character says ‘Hey, Beaver’s Breath.’ And the Native woman says, ‘How did you know my name?’” Another complaint was black actors wearing makeup were portraying Native Americans. read more
The World Happiness Report for 2015 ranks nations using a variety of factors, such as income, life expectancy, and personal freedoms. Based on the criteria, Switzerland came out with the highest score (7.587). Right behind it were Iceland (7.561), Denmark (7.527), Norway (7.522) and Canada (7.427). The U.S. came in 15th on the list—right behind Mexico—out of 158 ranked. “The people who design our institutions and govern our lives need to pay attention,” said report co-author John Helliwell. read more
Since taking over in Yemen, Tueller was been the object of a murder attempt by Al-Qaeda, with two bombs planted outside the home of the Yemeni president, whom Tueller was visiting. The bombs failed to go off.
Tueller and other embassy personnel left the country when the embassy was ordered abandoned because of the fighting in Yemen. Tueller supervised the destruction of sensitive property, including weapons used by Marines guarding the diplomatic compound, before leaving the country.
The DEA’s top official, Michele Leonhart, resigned this week, presumably after it came out that many of her agents partied with prostitutes hired by drug cartels. But there is really much more to the story. “She’s been at the agency for 35 years, and her tenure since taking over in 2007 has been marked by a series of abuses, failures and missteps,” wrote David Graham at The Atlantic. "It's not that the outrage in this case is misplaced—it's that it's a day late and a trillion dollars short.” read more
“The Obama administration is attempting to sweep the report – and the crimes committed in the program – under the carpet,” Amnesty International says. It's “engaging in a de facto amnesty,” akin to what the George W. Bush administration, which authorized the abuse, did with respect to torture and enforced disappearance. In fact, in his first year in office, Obama informed the CIA that its employees and contractors were safe from being prosecuted. Attorney General Holder gave similar assurances. read more
Perrot was convicted of breaking into a 78-year-old woman’s home and raping her in 1985. No physical evidence tying him to the crime scene was found by police. The victim even said Perrot didn’t look anything like her attacker. But a single strand of hair was found on the woman’s bed. FBI agent Wayne Oakes testified that he could tell that strand of hair belonged to Perrot. But now, after Perrot spent nearly 30 years in prison, it turns out that Oakes testified wrongly about that hair analysis. read more
Senate workers are urging the president to sign an order to lead businesses to pay their workers $15 an hour. One of the Senate cafeteria staff, Bertrand Olotara, said he makes $12 an hour, which is not enough for him and his daughter to live on. He said he lives “in poverty” and “had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. Even though I work seven days a week...I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table." read more
Groups with the largest opposition to homosexuals marrying are Jehovah’s Witnesses (75%), Mormons (68%), white evangelical Protestants (66%), Hispanic Protestants (58%), black Protestants (54%), and Muslims (51%), the Public Religion Research Institute found in its survey of 40,000 Americans. Among white evangelical Protestants, white Baptists are the most opposed (72%). On the acceptance side of the issue, the two most supportive religions are Buddhists (84%) and Jews (77%). read more
An international agreement to make it easier to enforce child support orders throughout the world is in danger of not being ratified in the U.S. because of nine conservative lawmakers in Idaho. Republican Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll led the opposition to the measure, testifying that it would subject Idaho to Sharia law. Nuxoll previously has boycotted a Hindu prayer in the Idaho senate, saying that Hindus worship false gods, and compared a proposed state health insurance exchange to the Holocaust. read more
Sophisticated 3D modeling was used to make the determination. A new state government website includes evidence linking the rash of quakes to thousands of wastewater-injection wells and records sites of temblors 3.0 or larger. The admission is quite a turnaround in conservative Oklahoma, where Republican Gov. Mary Fallin had consistently refused to blame fracking for seismic activity. “Oklahoma state agencies already are taking action to address this issue and protect homeowners,” she said.
In 2014, the death toll from such incidents was 526 plus 213 suicides. Another 419 were injured as a result of trespassing. “As a culture and as a country, we simply have not yet accepted that trains and railroad operations are dangerous,” said FRA's Sarah Feinberg. The death toll is much higher than those caused by derailments and collisions last year. “They should not be used as a shortcut on the way home from school or the grocery store. They are dangerous places,” said NTSB's Sumwalt.
NhRP hailed the decision by Justice Barbara Jaffe of New York State Supreme Court, who accepted the argument that primates deserve legal standing similar to those of humans. “This is a big step forward to getting what we are ultimately seeking: the right to bodily liberty for chimpanzees and other cognitively complex animals,” said NhRP executive director Natalie Prosin. “We got our foot in the door. And no matter what happens, that door can never be completely shut again.” read more
The 15-year veteran reporter gave up the newspaper business last August because he couldn’t afford the low pay. He left the Daily Breeze, the Southern California newspaper that once employed him and that generally pays its reporters in the mid-$40,000 range. But this week, Kuznia found out he and others at the Daily Breeze had received a Pulitzer for a six-month, 50-story investigation into possible corruption at a local school district. read more
The problem goes back to the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which led to the FDA being given only minor instruction for regulating the millions of cosmetics sold each year. The new Senate bill would change that. The proposal would require companies to report “serious” adverse health effects from consumers, such as reactions to products that result in death, disfigurement or hospitalization, within 15 business days. Non-serious events would have to be detailed in an annual report. read more
A major controversy in the movie is its portrayal of the CIA using torture to extract intelligence that helped lead to the agency locating bin Laden. Some lawmakers took exception to this, criticizing it as untrue. Senators Feinstein, McCain and Levin wrote that “given the CIA’s cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative’s consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by CIA.” read more