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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
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Bizarro Earth

US: Hudson River, Harlem River, part of East River not fit for recreational activity after sewage spill

Image
© Mariela Lombard for News
Harlem's Riverbank State park closed due to Wednesday's four-alarm fire at the sewage plant.
Don't expect to beat the heat this weekend in a canoe, a kayak or a windsurfing board off Manhattan.

City officials declared the Hudson River, the East River south of the RFK Bridge and the Harlem River unfit for recreational activity due to raw sewage spilled by a treatment plant fire.

"Right now, there's no impact on public beaches," Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway said. "However, you should not be doing contact recreation on the Hudson River."

Attention

UK Researchers Urge Rules Governing Creation and Use of Human-Animal Hybrids

Centaur
© Wikimedia Commons
Human-Animal Hybrid A British research group is calling for new regulations governing the insertion of human genes into animals for research purposes.

A new regulatory group should be formed to oversee experiments that mix animal and human DNA, British researchers said Friday. While the experiments themselves don't necessarily need stricter regulation, there are a few types of experiments that could "approach social and ethically sensitive areas," so they should have an extra layer of scrutiny, the researchers said.

Although it sounds like something from science fiction, human-animal hybrids are actually very common - at least on a genetic, cellular level. In the past few weeks alone, we've seen mice engineered to express a human form of hemophilia, and cows engineered to produce milk with human characteristics. Human DNA is frequently inserted into mice to study cancer, and so on.

But some experiments are a little more ... bizarre, for lack of a better word. Like fertilizing human eggs in animals. Or experiments that would use human brain cells to alter animal brains. Or giving animals human-like speech or facial expressions.

Eye 1

Dennis Kucinich "War Takes Money From The American People & Gives It To War Profiteers

"There is a massive transfer of wealth from the American people to the hands of a few, and it's going on right now as America's eyes are misdirected to the political theater of these histrionic debt negotiations."


Bomb

Norway: At least two dead as bomb blast hits Oslo

A huge explosion wrecked government buildings in central Oslo on Friday, including Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's office, killing at least two people and injuring several others, according to reports.

Oslo police said the explosion was caused by a bomb, the NTB news agency said.

A Reuters correspondent counted at least eight injured people.


The blast blew out most windows on the 17-story building housing Stoltenberg's office, as well as nearby ministries including the oil ministry, which was on fire.

Wolf

Baptist Preacher Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

Michael Alan Crippen
© stopbaptistpredators.org
Michael Alan Crippen

A Baptist preacher from southwest Missouri pleaded guilty yesterday to possession of child porn.

Michael Alan Crippen, was the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Duenweg (just east of Joplin), was arrested last October and charged with having more than 100 pornographic images of children on his home computer, including photos of kids under the age of 10.

According to court documents, Crippen told authorities that he most often viewed pornography early in the mornings before going to work at the church. He would typically download images and then delete them after feeling ashamed at what he'd done. He added that he was praying to God to help him overcome his pornography addiction.

In federal court yesterday Crippen admitted downloading ten images of child pornography from a website in 2009. He also admitted to looking at adult and child pornography for years.

Crippen, 51, could face ten years in prison and fines up to $250,000 when sentenced later this year.

Sherlock

US, Illinois: 'Critical' Clue Unveiled in 1985 Wesselman Murder

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© Bev Horne
A photo of a ring was unveiled during a news conference at the DuPage County sheriff's office in Wheaton on Thursday. Kristy Wesselman was wearing a ring very similar to this when she was murdered 26 years ago near Glen Ellyn.
DuPage County sheriff's officials sought to reinvigorate their investigation into one of the suburbs' most haunting unsolved mysteries Thursday by disclosing a "critical" clue - a pearl ring - in the 1985 murder of Kristy Wesselman.

Authorities said they believe the 15-year-old's killer took the antique gold ring from Kristy's left hand after raping and stabbing her 26 years ago this week in a field near her home near Glen Ellyn.

For decades, the family heirloom remained a closely kept secret - one police hoped would eliminate false confessors and ultimately lead to a suspect. But now they're reaching out to the public, asking anyone who may have seen or been given the ring - size 4½ with a chip in the pearl - to come forward.

"At this point, with 26 years since her murder, the benefits outweigh the risks," detective Sgt. Robert Harris, who is lead investigator on the cold case, said of disclosing the evidence for the first time. "We feel that sharing this important information ... is critical to gaining the suspect's identification."

Kristy was killed the afternoon of July 21, 1985, as she walked a path through a field south of a former Jewel store toward her home, after buying a bottle of soda and a chocolate bar she planned to share with her mother.

Bizarro Earth

US: Hypocrisy: TSA agent makes joking reference to OKC bomber Timothy McVeigh

TSA
© Getty Images
The TSA's peculiar "sense of humor
Among the Transportation Security Administration's ever-lengthening laundry list of problems is a recently highlighted proclivity among its agents not to practice what they preach.

Earlier this week, a TSA agent cracked a "joke" that, had it come from a passenger, would have resulted in a nude-body scan, a forty-minute enhanced pat-down, and probably a firing squad for good measure.

The incident, reported by The Consumerist, occurred at Boston's Logan Airport and involved a passenger who opted not to pass through one of the airport's new advanced imaging technology (AIT) scanners. The passenger was perhaps aware of reports last month of an increase in cancer cases among TSA personnel at Logan.

Laptop

US: Hacking Groups Say They are Back After FBI Arrests

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© Reuters/Jon Nazca
WikiLeaks supporters wear masks of the ''Anonymous'' internet activist group and a mask of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (R) during a demonstration calling for the release of Assange, in Malaga, southern Spain December 11, 2010.
After a brief hiatus and an FBI takedown of several alleged "hacktivists," two groups that have claimed responsibility for a recent wave of cyber vandalism say they are back.

A statement was posted online on Thursday jointly by the groups, Anonymous and Lulz Security, after U.S. authorities arrested 16 people earlier this week for several attacks, most prominently Anonymous' attempt to cripple eBay's PayPal site after it stopped accepting donations to the WikiLeaks organization.

The arrests allowed a peek into the lives of those alleged to be hacker-activists -- cyber-criminals who shut down or break into computer systems to make political points or defy authority, rather than to steal credit card numbers or commit espionage.

Some did not seem to have sophisticated technology-oriented jobs. The group included a former janitor, a landscape foreman and a college student, ranging in age from 20 to 42.

"We are not scared any more. Your threats to arrest us are meaningless to us as you cannot arrest an idea," the hacker groups said in the statement, which could not be independently verified. Lulz Security had previously suggested it was disbanding.

Che Guevara

Australia: 'Up to 100' in Latest Christmas Island Riots

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© Nic Ellis
Protest at the Phosphate Hill detention facility on Christmas Island.

The Immigration Department says up to 100 people armed with makeshift weapons may have been involved in the latest riot at the Christmas Island Detention Centre overnight.

Between 30 and 40 people were directly involved in the protest, which involved lighting fires at the centre.

The incident was brought to a halt by federal police, but the department said the perimeter fence was not breached.
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Detainees set fire to furniture and rubbish bins and destroyed fences and gates, Social Justice Network spokesman Jamal Daoud said.

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said earlier he had been informed by an asylum seeker that detainees barricaded themselves inside the detention centre's Gold compound.

Propaganda

The Odd Couple: Julian Assange, Rupert Murdoch and Freedom of Information

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© The Associated Press / Getty Images
Both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and media mogul Rupert Murdoch have come under fire linked to hacking scandals. Taken together these incidents raise interesting questions about what constitutes public knowledge and whether freedom of information can be taken too far.

WikiLeaks had been releasing confidential documents and has been threatened with lawsuits long before it became known for publicizing secret military information related to the U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. These documents were allegedly obtained by WikiLeaks via the United States Army soldier Bradley Manning, who has still never been formally charged and has been detained for 14 months. Even though Julian Assange did not hack the information and did not even know where it was from, it is still seen as a crime to release these documents because of their nature. Many of them were never used by the U.S. media. But some national security-related documents were picked up by prominent news organizations, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel. The New York Times explained why it ran documents such as the Afghanistan dispatches, saying that "there was no question [...] that the Afghanistan dispatches were genuine".

Here, public knowledge prevailed over ethical questions regarding the methods employed to attain that information.