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Monday, September 01, 2014

The parents who pulled their cancer-stricken son from a British hospital and spurred an international search for the boy have been ordered to appear Monday in a court in Spain, where they were arrested, police said. Brett and Naghmeh King took their 5-year-old son, Ashya, who has brain cancer, to France and then Spain late last week, authorities said. Hotel staff members in Malaga, Spain, recognized Ashya and his family from media coverage and contacted police. Authorities did not confirm what charges the couple will face, but say that "cruelty" could be one of them as suggested by British law. British police have arrived in Spain to question the parents, Malaga police told CNN. The British Crown Prosecution Service will be working on extradition efforts. read more


The government of Israel has announced plans to steal four square kilometers of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The decision to "expropriate" the land south of Bethlehem is believed to be the largest seizure by Israel of land owned by Palestinians in 30 years. The takeover of the land, which includes many olive groves, clears the way for expansion of an Israeli settlement named Gevaot. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told www.timesofisrael.com">Times of Israel, "The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for its crimes and raids against our people in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."


Iraqi security and volunteer forces have broken the siege of Amerli and have entered the town, news that prompted a wave of celebrations across the town which had been besieged by fighters from the terror group ISIS. The breakthrough came after the United States said it carried out airstrikes and dropped humanitarian aid in Amerli to protect an ethnic minority that one official said faced the threat of an "imminent massacre." Amerli is home to many of Iraq's Shiite Turkmen. Australia, France and the UK also participated in the aid drop.


Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, have begun wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white officer, officials said on Sunday. "They are really enjoying them," Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said of the cameras to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A St. Louis County grand jury has begun hearing evidence about Michael Brown's killing by officer Darren Wilson and the U.S. Justice Department has opened its own investigation. Witnesses claim Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot, while police said the teen had struggled with the officer.


A prominent supporter of Bitcoin, Charles Shrem, said he will plead guilty to resolve federal charges that he helped smooth the way for drug transactions on Silk Road. He is to plead to one count of aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. Shrem, a founding board member of the Bitcoin Foundation, was accused in January of using his company to convert dollars into Bitcoin for users of Silk Road, the now-defunct bazaar known for its wide selection of narcotics and drug paraphernalia. Shrem, 24, is hoping to avoid jail time and continue evangelizing the virtual currency. "I want to do the good work I was doing before I got arrested," he said.


Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan, Foreign Affairs: Rather than trying to spur private-sector spending through asset purchases or interest-rate changes, central banks, such as the Fed, should hand consumers cash directly. In practice, this policy could take the form of giving central banks the ability to hand their countries' tax-paying households a certain amount of money. The government could distribute cash equally to all households or, even better, aim for the bottom 80 percent of households in terms of income. Targeting those who earn the least would have two primary benefits. For one thing, lower-income households are more prone to consume, so they would provide a greater boost to spending. For another, the policy would offset rising income inequality. read more


Molly Ball, The Atlantic: House GOP leaders fear a conservative revolt when government funding comes up for a vote next month. The last government shutdown, almost a year ago, was no fun for anyone. Republicans in the House and Senate demanded that legislation to fund the government simultaneously defund Obamacare; Democrats refused to go along. In the ensuing 16-day stalemate, many functions of the federal government were forced to shutter. Federal workers were furloughed or worked without pay, children were disenrolled from Head Start, and the U.S. economy lost about $24 billion. read more


Sunday, August 31, 2014

A nine-year-old girl died at a beach in Lincoln City, Oregon, Friday evening when the sand cave she was digging with her siblings collapsed. Isabel Grace Franks sat down in the hole to see how deep it was and the walls fell in. Rescuers tried frantically to dig her out, and when she was finally pulled free she was unconscious and not breathing. "The people were digging and digging and digging, and it looked like the sand kept collapsing," said witness Tracey Dudley.


Federal investigators are focused on one Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, but at least five other police officers and one former officer in the town's 53-member department have been named in civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force. In four federal lawsuits, including one that is on appeal, and more than a half-dozen investigations over the past decade, colleagues of Darren Wilson's have separately contested a variety of allegations, including killing a mentally ill man with a Taser, pistol-whipping a child, choking and hog-tying a child and beating a man who was later charged with destroying city property because his blood spilled on officers' clothes. read more


The prime minister of the southern African kingdom of Lesotho has fled to South Africa, alleging a coup by the army and saying his life is in danger. Thomas Thabane said he would return from South Africa "as soon as I know I am not going to get killed." He told the BBC Newshour program, "I have been removed from control not by the people but by the armed forces, and that is illegal." The publisher of the Lesotho Times newspaper, Basildon Peta, agreed that a coup is underway. "To all intents and purposes it is a military coup with the aim of ousting the prime minister. There can be no other reason of soldiers behaving the way they have been behaving other than to seize power," he said. "So far we have no reports of killings. It would be correct to call it a bloodless coup attempt. But I am not going to stick around."


George Galloway, a British Parliament member known for his pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel speeches, has been badly injured after being assaulted by a man on a London street. "George was posing for pictures with people and this guy just attacked him, leapt on him and started punching him," his spokesman said. "It appears to be connected with his comments about Israel because the guy was shouting about the Holocaust." London resident Neil Masterson, 39, has been charged with the assault. read more


President Barack Obama on Friday said the Republican Party in Congress is captive to an ideologically rigid, unproductive and cynical faction. "It doesn't have to be that way," Obama told Democratic donors during a fundraiser barbecue in Purchase, New York. "There has been a certain cynical genius to what some of these folks have done in Washington." Later, at another fundraiser in Newport, Rhode Island, he said, "The answer to our challenges is actually pretty simple. We need a better Congress."


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned Friday after being mentioned in court documents in relation to the Ron Paul campaign in 2012 illegally paying a former Iowa GOP state lawmaker to switch his endorsement from Michelle Bachmann to Paul. Benton was the chairman of the Paul campaign during that race. Though he has not been accused of wrongdoing in the case and denies any role in it, he said that press reports and rumors "risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign."


A Russian politician and newspaper publisher said on Saturday he had been badly beaten after publicizing the mysterious funerals of two soldiers who may have died while fighting in Ukraine. "They attacked me from behind, I did not see any of them," said Lev Shlosberg. "Apparently, they knocked me unconscious with their first punch, threw me to the ground, beat me up and then ran away. Those people were very good professionals in their nasty business." His paper's report on the funerals of two paratroopers last week added to a trail of evidence suggesting that Russian soldiers have been killed in eastern Ukraine. When a Reuters reporter went on Wednesday to the cemetery where the soldiers were alleged to have been buried, he was stopped from entering and threatened by two young men with shaven heads.


A new study provides strong evidence that the experimental drug given to two American aid workers stricken with Ebola in Africa really works and could make a difference in the current outbreak -- if more of it could be produced. In the study, all 18 monkeys exposed to a lethal dose of Ebola virus survived when given the drug, known as ZMapp, even when the treatment was started five days after infection, when the animals were already sick. "To actually be able to reverse all those symptoms and signs and bring them back to baseline, I think that is pretty astounding," said Dr. Kartik Chandran, an Ebola expert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine who was not involved in the study.


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