Featured Story

Republican Dissent Killed Controversial House Abortion Bill, but Clones Emerge in State Legislatures

Monday, January 26, 2015
The 20-week limits have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who often don’t seek medical attention for their pregnancies until they’re farther along, and then have more trouble scraping up the money for an abortion if that’s what they decide to do. Other women, particularly younger ones with irregular menstrual cycles, sometimes don’t realize they’re pregnant until farther down the line. In addition, there are few exceptions in the laws for cases of fetal abnormalities.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Measles Outbreak at Disneyland and Elsewhere Blamed on Foreign Visitors and Anti-Vaccine Movement

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    The infection count changes daily, hitting 85 nationwide Saturday night. The majority of the cases have been linked to Disneyland. More than 150 schools in Los Angeles County have exemption rates of 8% or higher for at least one of the five vaccines recommended for children, according to a study by the Times. All of them are in areas with incomes averaging $94,500, 60% higher than the county median.   read more
  • NSA Said to be Preparing for Future of Digital Warfare

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    The future of cyber warfare will mean paralyzing “computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money,” Spiegel reported. The NSA is taking the lead within the U.S. military, putting it on the potential frontlines of future conflicts. NSA director Admiral Michael Roger oversees an “army” of 40,000 specialists versed in digital spying and “destructive network attacks.”   read more
  • Farm Animals Suffer from Government Breeding Experiments Aimed at Bolstering Meat Industry Profits

    Thursday, January 22, 2015
    The research has produced results that sickened veterinarians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the complex. Pigs wind up having offspring that are born frail, and wind up being crushed accidentally by their mother. Surgery and breeding techniques have forced cows to bear twins and triplets, instead of just one calf. The calves “often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed,” said the Times.   read more

Unusual News

  • Justice Dept. Pays $134,000 to Woman Who Sued Over Use of Her Identity in Fake Facebook Page for DEA Operation

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Sondra Arquiett sued the government after learning photos of her were part of a social media sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Federal agents had obtained the images after confiscating her phone in 2010 as part of a drug arrest, which resulted in Arquiett pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. But she never gave the DEA permission to use her photos to snare other people she knew who were using or trafficking in illegal drugs.   read more
  • Skulls of Unidentified Corpses Given Sculpted Faces in Search for Their Identities … and Their Killers

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    The 11 unsolved murders required considerable work on the part of sculptors to recreate what the people might have looked like before their deaths. All of the cases “had all met ugly deaths and were found as skeletons in desolate places across New York City — train tracks, wooded areas, in a basement,” wrote The New York Times. In some cases, the bodies were dismembered and the skulls crushed. This work is a last resort for investigators.   read more
  • Now Some Same-Sex Couples are Told They Have to Marry … to Keep Their Job Benefits

    Thursday, January 22, 2015
    Same-sex marriage has gone from being a hard-won right to a requirement for many gay couples. With many states now authorizing (or at least not banning) gay marriage, some employers are phasing out domestic partnerships and telling couples they have to get married in order to keep their benefits. The way companies see it, there’s no point in keeping domestic partnership rules if marriage is legal. However, this could have implications for heterosexual couples' domestic arrangements.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Largest Area of Federal Waters in U.S. to be auctioned for Offshore Wind Power Projects

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Twelve companies have been asked to bid on the four lease areas within the 1,160-square-mile patch south of Martha’s Vineyard. The auction, to be held Thursday, will be the largest such sale to date by the federal government. If built out, the project would generate enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes.   read more
  • Housing Trust, Penniless for 7 Years, Finally Gets Funding to Fight Homelessness

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    The National Housing Trust Fund, created by Congress in 2008 to support affordable housing projects across the country, has not received any funding since its inception. But the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced late last year that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now strong enough, now that the housing crisis has abated, to contribute to the National Housing Trust Fund. The decision will result in $325 million in block grants being distributed to states starting next year.   read more
  • Richest 1% Could Own Half the World’s Wealth by 2016

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015
    A mere 80 individuals control nearly $2 trillion, reported Oxfam. That amount is nearly the same as what’s owned by 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the scale. Oxfam also reported that the poorest 80% of people have only 5.5% of all wealth on the planet. “Do we really want to live in a world where the 1 percent own more than the rest of us combined?” said Oxfam director Winnie Byanyima. “The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering.”   read more

Controversies

  • Half of California's Big Trees Are Gone

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    The big trees, more than two feet in diameter, were found in decline from Southern California to the Northern Sierras. Some areas of SoCal showed nearly a 75% decline. They were in decline even in the wild, where logging and development were not factors. The study compares the numbers from 80 years ago with a survey taken between 2001 and 2010, so the current four-year drought is not a factor.   read more
  • A Win for Federal Whistleblowers as Supreme Court Sides with Fired Air Marshal

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    Robert MacLean was fired after he exposed what he considered to be a reckless decision by the TSA three years earlier. In 2003, the agency issued an alert of a possible hijacking plot on a commercial flight. Air marshals were on alert, but TSA officials canceled overnight missions for MacLean and others in an effort to save money on hotel lodging. MacLean thought the decision was shortsighted, and revealed the decision to the TSA inspector general.   read more
  • New Republican Senate Intelligence Chairman Wants to Bury CIA Torture Reports

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    In his letter to Obama, Burr requested “that all copies of the full and final report in the possession of the executive branch be returned immediately.” Burr’s move is “apparently aimed at keeping the full version of the report from being released to the public,” said the Post.“I strongly disagree that the administration should relinquish copies of the full committee study,” said Feinstein. “Doing so would limit the ability to learn lessons from this sad chapter in America’s history."   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • Senegal’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Babacar Diagne?

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    In November 2012, Diagne left his position at RTS and was appointed ambassador to the Gambia, a nation almost entirely surrounded by Senegal. Much of his work involved advocating for Senegalese held in prison in that country, many of them facing death sentences. He also obtained a grant from Senegal’s government to support women’s projects in the Senegalese women’s community in the Gambia. He served there until being sent to Washington in 2014.   read more
  • Angola’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Agostinho Tavares?

    Saturday, January 17, 2015
    In 2007, Tavares was made head of the Asia and Oceania Department of Bilateral Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His first ambassadorial posting came in 2011 when he was sent to represent Angola in Ottawa, Canada. On August 24, 2014, Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos appointed Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto to be his ambassador to the United States.   read more
  • Comoros’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Soilihi Mohamed Soilihi?

    Saturday, January 10, 2015
    Soilihi in 2006 was appointed as special delegate to Moroni city hall and the following year he became chief of staff to Comoros’ minister of finance. Soilihi moved to foreign affairs, becoming political counselor to the minister in 2009. In 2010, Soilihi took over as director general of the Office of Radio and Television for Comoros. One of his achievements was to make Comoran television available via satellite.   read more

Featured Story

Republican Dissent Killed Controversial House Abortion Bill, but Clones Emerge in State Legislatures

Monday, January 26, 2015
The 20-week limits have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who often don’t seek medical attention for their pregnancies until they’re farther along, and then have more trouble scraping up the money for an abortion if that’s what they decide to do. Other women, particularly younger ones with irregular menstrual cycles, sometimes don’t realize they’re pregnant until farther down the line. In addition, there are few exceptions in the laws for cases of fetal abnormalities.   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Measles Outbreak at Disneyland and Elsewhere Blamed on Foreign Visitors and Anti-Vaccine Movement

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    The infection count changes daily, hitting 85 nationwide Saturday night. The majority of the cases have been linked to Disneyland. More than 150 schools in Los Angeles County have exemption rates of 8% or higher for at least one of the five vaccines recommended for children, according to a study by the Times. All of them are in areas with incomes averaging $94,500, 60% higher than the county median.   read more
  • NSA Said to be Preparing for Future of Digital Warfare

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    The future of cyber warfare will mean paralyzing “computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money,” Spiegel reported. The NSA is taking the lead within the U.S. military, putting it on the potential frontlines of future conflicts. NSA director Admiral Michael Roger oversees an “army” of 40,000 specialists versed in digital spying and “destructive network attacks.”   read more
  • Farm Animals Suffer from Government Breeding Experiments Aimed at Bolstering Meat Industry Profits

    Thursday, January 22, 2015
    The research has produced results that sickened veterinarians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the complex. Pigs wind up having offspring that are born frail, and wind up being crushed accidentally by their mother. Surgery and breeding techniques have forced cows to bear twins and triplets, instead of just one calf. The calves “often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed,” said the Times.   read more

Unusual News

  • Justice Dept. Pays $134,000 to Woman Who Sued Over Use of Her Identity in Fake Facebook Page for DEA Operation

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Sondra Arquiett sued the government after learning photos of her were part of a social media sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Federal agents had obtained the images after confiscating her phone in 2010 as part of a drug arrest, which resulted in Arquiett pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. But she never gave the DEA permission to use her photos to snare other people she knew who were using or trafficking in illegal drugs.   read more
  • Skulls of Unidentified Corpses Given Sculpted Faces in Search for Their Identities … and Their Killers

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    The 11 unsolved murders required considerable work on the part of sculptors to recreate what the people might have looked like before their deaths. All of the cases “had all met ugly deaths and were found as skeletons in desolate places across New York City — train tracks, wooded areas, in a basement,” wrote The New York Times. In some cases, the bodies were dismembered and the skulls crushed. This work is a last resort for investigators.   read more
  • Now Some Same-Sex Couples are Told They Have to Marry … to Keep Their Job Benefits

    Thursday, January 22, 2015
    Same-sex marriage has gone from being a hard-won right to a requirement for many gay couples. With many states now authorizing (or at least not banning) gay marriage, some employers are phasing out domestic partnerships and telling couples they have to get married in order to keep their benefits. The way companies see it, there’s no point in keeping domestic partnership rules if marriage is legal. However, this could have implications for heterosexual couples' domestic arrangements.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Largest Area of Federal Waters in U.S. to be auctioned for Offshore Wind Power Projects

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Twelve companies have been asked to bid on the four lease areas within the 1,160-square-mile patch south of Martha’s Vineyard. The auction, to be held Thursday, will be the largest such sale to date by the federal government. If built out, the project would generate enough electricity to power 1.5 million homes.   read more
  • Housing Trust, Penniless for 7 Years, Finally Gets Funding to Fight Homelessness

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    The National Housing Trust Fund, created by Congress in 2008 to support affordable housing projects across the country, has not received any funding since its inception. But the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced late last year that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now strong enough, now that the housing crisis has abated, to contribute to the National Housing Trust Fund. The decision will result in $325 million in block grants being distributed to states starting next year.   read more
  • Richest 1% Could Own Half the World’s Wealth by 2016

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015
    A mere 80 individuals control nearly $2 trillion, reported Oxfam. That amount is nearly the same as what’s owned by 3.5 billion people at the bottom of the scale. Oxfam also reported that the poorest 80% of people have only 5.5% of all wealth on the planet. “Do we really want to live in a world where the 1 percent own more than the rest of us combined?” said Oxfam director Winnie Byanyima. “The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering.”   read more

Controversies

  • Half of California's Big Trees Are Gone

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    The big trees, more than two feet in diameter, were found in decline from Southern California to the Northern Sierras. Some areas of SoCal showed nearly a 75% decline. They were in decline even in the wild, where logging and development were not factors. The study compares the numbers from 80 years ago with a survey taken between 2001 and 2010, so the current four-year drought is not a factor.   read more
  • A Win for Federal Whistleblowers as Supreme Court Sides with Fired Air Marshal

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    Robert MacLean was fired after he exposed what he considered to be a reckless decision by the TSA three years earlier. In 2003, the agency issued an alert of a possible hijacking plot on a commercial flight. Air marshals were on alert, but TSA officials canceled overnight missions for MacLean and others in an effort to save money on hotel lodging. MacLean thought the decision was shortsighted, and revealed the decision to the TSA inspector general.   read more
  • New Republican Senate Intelligence Chairman Wants to Bury CIA Torture Reports

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    In his letter to Obama, Burr requested “that all copies of the full and final report in the possession of the executive branch be returned immediately.” Burr’s move is “apparently aimed at keeping the full version of the report from being released to the public,” said the Post.“I strongly disagree that the administration should relinquish copies of the full committee study,” said Feinstein. “Doing so would limit the ability to learn lessons from this sad chapter in America’s history."   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • Senegal’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Babacar Diagne?

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    In November 2012, Diagne left his position at RTS and was appointed ambassador to the Gambia, a nation almost entirely surrounded by Senegal. Much of his work involved advocating for Senegalese held in prison in that country, many of them facing death sentences. He also obtained a grant from Senegal’s government to support women’s projects in the Senegalese women’s community in the Gambia. He served there until being sent to Washington in 2014.   read more
  • Angola’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Agostinho Tavares?

    Saturday, January 17, 2015
    In 2007, Tavares was made head of the Asia and Oceania Department of Bilateral Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His first ambassadorial posting came in 2011 when he was sent to represent Angola in Ottawa, Canada. On August 24, 2014, Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos appointed Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto to be his ambassador to the United States.   read more
  • Comoros’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Soilihi Mohamed Soilihi?

    Saturday, January 10, 2015
    Soilihi in 2006 was appointed as special delegate to Moroni city hall and the following year he became chief of staff to Comoros’ minister of finance. Soilihi moved to foreign affairs, becoming political counselor to the minister in 2009. In 2010, Soilihi took over as director general of the Office of Radio and Television for Comoros. One of his achievements was to make Comoran television available via satellite.   read more