White House Putting Up ‘Fierce’ Fight to Conceal Torture Report

Foreign Policy, By John Hudson, November 19

The White House is fiercely resisting the release of a 6,300-page Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, Senate aides tell Foreign Policy, raising fears that the public will never receive a full accounting of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 torture practices.

At issue is the report’s […]

Dry San Diego to look to sewers as water source

AP, By Elliot Spagat, November 19

San Diego – Acknowledging California’s parched new reality, the city of San Diego has embraced a once-toxic idea: turning sewer water into drinking water.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a $2.5-billion plan to recycle wastewater, the latest example of how California cities are looking for new […]

Senate fails to pass NSA reform bill

IDG News Service, By Grant Gross, November 18

The U.S. Senate has voted against a bill that would rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone records within the country, possibly killing any NSA reforms until next year.

Supporters of the USA Freedom Act, in a Senate vote late Tuesday, failed to get […]

Densovirus named top suspect in devastating sea star wasting disease

EurekAlert, November 17

Ithaca, NY – Since 2013, millions of sea stars native to the Pacific coast of North America from Baja California to southern Alaska have succumbed to a mysterious wasting disease in which their limbs pull away from their bodies and their organs exude through their skin; a disease researchers say could trigger […]

Should Syria be Partitioned?

~ from a newsletter by Chuck Spinney

Attached is a short Syrian sitrep and summary of the central points of a plan being advocated by Joshua Landis, a professor at the Univ. of Oklahoma, and one of our nation’s leading experts on Syria. Landis runs an informative blog, known as Syria Comment and his plan […]

More Federal Agencies Are Using Undercover Operations

New York Times, By Eric Lichtblau & Willian M. Arkin, November 15

Washington — The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

At the […]

G20 commits to higher growth, fight climate change; Russia isolated over Ukraine

Reuters, By Lincoln Feast and Alexei Anishchuk, November 16

Brisbane – Leaders from the G20 group of nations agreed on Sunday to boost flagging global growth, tackle climate change and crack down on tax avoidance but ties between the West and Russia plummeted to a new low over the crisis in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir […]

Yazidi Girls Seized by ISIS Speak Out After Escape

New York Times, By Kirk Semple, November 14

Khanke, Iraq — The 15-year-old girl, crying and terrified, refused to release her grip on her sister’s hand. Days earlier, Islamic State fighters had torn the girls from their family, and now were trying to split them up and distribute them as spoils of war.

The jihadist […]

Juncker axes Europe’s chief scientific adviser

While Europe’s scientists were watching Rosetta, EU/EC President Juncker quietly scrapped the role of his top scientific adviser. What does this mean for the future of evidence-based policy in Europe?

The Guardian, By James Wilsdon, November 13

Yesterday was a moment of celebration for European science. Although the precise fate of the Philae probe remains […]

US cities brace for protests off Ferguson decision

Associated Press, By Philip Marcelo, November 15

Boston – From Boston to Los Angeles, police departments are bracing for large demonstrations when a grand jury decides whether to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The St. Louis County grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, […]

DR Congo declares itself Ebola-free

AFP, November 15

Kinshasa – The Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday declared itself Ebola-free, after a three-month outbreak of the killer disease claimed at least 49 lives.

The DRC outbreak, which began in August, involved a different strain of Ebola from the one that has claimed more than 5,100 lives in west Africa.

“The […]

Study: Male chimps who bully females are more likely to father offspring

Science Recorder, November 15

When it comes to chimpanzees, it doesn’t pay to be a gentleman, a new study has found.

The study, published in Current Biology, finds that chimpanzee males who violently attack females, often leaving serious wounds, are usually more successful in breeding, according to an Arizona State University report.

The researchers noticed […]

Weekend Jukebox: Just Droppin’ a Nickel in the Juke…,

horses are fed…, dogs are in…, cold out…, warm inside…, Blue Rodeo: 5 Days in May

U.S. Catholic Bishops Hope To Calm Anxiety Over Pope Francis

AP, By Rachel Zoll, November 10

Baltimore (- no irony) — America’s Catholic bishops came together Monday to project an image of unity, after a Vatican meeting on the family unleashed an uproar over the direction of the church.

Last month’s gathering in Rome on more compassionately ministering to families featured open debate — alarming […]

Dempsey Weighs Frontline Role for U.S. Troops in Iraq

Bloomberg, By Sangwon Yoon, November 13

President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said more U.S. troops may be needed in Iraq for a “long and difficult” fight against Islamic State, as military planners assess the shortcomings of Iraqi forces.

Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers yesterday that more […]

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