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Sat, 01 Oct 2016
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Russia's S7 plans for Sea Launch revealed to be a new $5mn rocket

© www.sea-launch.com
Russian space producer RSC Energia announced it will create a state of the art rocket for the Sea Launch program taken over by the Russian S7-group, with a launch price tag of $5mn.

At a press conference on Friday, director of RSC Energia Vladimir Solntsev said that his company is already working on a brand new "super-heavy carrier rocket" for the project run by S7. According to the official, the development could last up to five years.

The rocket in question, named Sunkar, is currently being developed by RSC Energia and can be created within five years if there is enough financing, Izvestia reports citing an earlier statement by Solntsev.

On September 27, Russia's largest private aviation holding company S7 Group signed a deal to purchase the Sea Launch space program, operated by RSC Energia. S7 Group CEO Vladislav Filev called the deal a "ticket to space" for his company.

The project includes the ship Sea Launch Commander, the Odyssey Launch Platform, as well as various pieces of support equipment and a port facility in Long Beach, California. With the deal, S7 plans to revive space launches from the platform, which were halted in 2014.

S7 has also signed a separate contract with RSC Energia, saying it wants to use "the knowledge" of the company to boost the joint project.


Health researchers report 600,000 veterans will be uninsured in 2017

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
A projected 604,000 US veterans will not have health insurance in 2017, according to a new report. About 327,000 of those live in states that have not expanded Medicaid in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

Thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, this projected number of uninsured veterans would still be lower than the more than 700,000 who went without insurance in 2014, the report, released by the Urban Institute, found. The law's Medicaid provisions have helped boost the number of insured vets, according to the report. Nineteen states have yet to expand Medicaid.

"If Medicaid expansion decisions do not change between now and 2017, we project that approximately 604,000 veterans will be uninsured in 2017 and that 54 percent will be living in states that have yet to expand Medicaid," the report said.

Between 2013 and 2014, the ACA's Medicaid expansion provisions resulted in an increase in insurance among veterans and their families living in states that chose to broaden Medicaid.


Psychiatrists push for UK government to reveal science behind counter-terrorism strategy

© Paul Hackett / Reuters
Experts have called on the government to publish the science behind its counter-terrorism strategy, after programs such as Prevent proved inefficient and a possible waste of resources and taxpayer money.

According to a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), thousands of Muslim men and women are being referred to counter-terrorism officials for reasons based on questionable studies.

The RCP is now demanding the Home Office publish the evidence upon which Prevent was built to prove it was based on "peer review and scientific scrutiny."

Doctors warned the policy, which has seen almost 4,000 children referred to the 'early stage' extremism prevention scheme Channel, could be traumatizing. Refugees who might have escaped terrorist groups like Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) were particularly vulnerable to this.

"Those fleeing war-torn parts of the world have a high risk of psychological distress, and many are escaping terrorist violence in their country of origin," said the RCP.

"The College is concerned there should not be a system that overly identifies them with the terrorism from which they have fled, as this could add to their trauma."


Bulgaria passes burqa ban; violators will be fined and stripped of social privileges

© Omar Sobhani / Reuters
Bulgaria's parliament has passed legislation that effectively bans burqas - veils which fully cover the face, worn by Muslim women in public - in a bid to step up security in the country following a series of terrorist attacks in Europe.

The law, put forward by Bulgaria's nationalist Patriotic Front coalition and approved on Friday by the unicameral National Assembly, prohibits "wearing in public clothing that partially or completely covers the face," AFP reported.

Any type of such clothing may not be worn in government offices, educational and cultural institutions, and places of public recreation, except for health or professional reasons.

These who fail to comply will face fines of up to 1,500 leva (approx. $860) and be stripped of social privileges.

"The law is not directed against religious communities and is not repressive," senior lawmaker of the ruling center-right GERB party Krasimir Velchev insisted, according to Reuters.

"We made a very good law for the safety of our children," Velchev added.


The run on Deutsche Bank begins as hedge fund clients withdraw excess cash

Deutsche Bank concerns just went to '11' as Bloomberg reports a number of funds that clear derivatives trades with Deutsche Bank AG have withdrawn some excess cash and positions held at the lender, a sign of counterparties' mounting concerns about doing business with Europe's largest investment bank.

While the vast majority of Deutsche Bank's more than 200 derivatives-clearing clients have made no changes, some funds that use the bank's prime brokerage service have moved part of their listed derivatives holdings to other firms this week, according to an internal bank document seen by Bloomberg News.
Millennium Partners, Capula Investment Management and Rokos Capital Management are among about 10 hedge funds that have cut their exposure, said a person familiar with the situation who declined to be identified talking about confidential client matters.

The hedge funds use Deutsche Bank to clear their listed derivatives transactions because they are not members of clearinghouses. Millennium, Capula and Rokos declined to comment when contacted by phone or e-mail.
Which explains why short-dated CDS is soaring.

Comment: Saved? French press 'confirm' Deutsche Bank near reduced settlement with US Justice Department

Birthday Cake

Cop attacks innocent woman, tasers her for no reason, calls it 'horseplay', then gives her a 'Sorry I Tased You' cake

© The Free Thought Project
A Florida deputy is being accused of excessive force, and adding insult to injury by baking his victim a "sorry I tased you" cake. According to victim Stephanie Byron, deputy Michael Wohlers showed up at the building where she worked for no reason. He then began bullying her and other employees that were present.

The lawsuit states that the officer "used his apparent law enforcement authority to intimidate, harass, and threaten plaintiff ... about her personal life. Because Wohlers did not like how Plaintiff failed to respond to his show of authority, Wohlers became increasingly aggressive toward employees at the apartment complex's office, including with Ms. Byron."

Ms. Byron says that the officer then took a Sweet Tea that was sitting on her desk and refused to give it back to her. When she attempted to get her drink back, the officer tased her in the throat and chest and then jumped on top of her when she fell to the ground, placing his knees firmly on her chest and forcefully removing the taser prongs.

The official statement from the police department and from deputy Wohlers report suggests that this was a simple occurrence of "horseplay." However, Byron says that this issue was no joke and that there was no "play" on her part whatsoever. She was randomly bullied and attacked by a corrupt officer, who had no official business at the location where the incident occurred.


Federal investigators found numerous cases of abuse at a center for the disabled, staff blames 'paranormal activity'

At least eight people have been fired due to alleged abuse at a center for the disabled in Pueblo where staff told investigators that "paranormal activity" was to blame.

A federal investigation found numerous cases of abuse at the Pueblo Regional Center for people with severe intellectual disabilities.

A federal report indicates that several residents had words like "die" and "kill" scratched into their skin. Staffers claim the words appeared by "paranormal activity."

Another patient was allegedly burned with a hairdryer to raise her body temperature.

The alleged abuse occurred before November 2015 and as recently as April.

The Arc of Pueblo serves as legal guardians for nine of the people who live at the center.

"It was just unbelievable that in this day and age people would treat other human beings in this way," said Arc of Pueblo Executive Director Stephanie Garcia.


Collusion? French TV program claims police didn't stop Nice attacker for 4 minutes in contradiction to police claims

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters
French police secure the area as the investigation continues at the scene near the heavy truck that ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores who were celebrating the Bastille Day July 14 national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, July 15, 2016
The attacker who killed 86 people in Nice in a truck attack in July was not stopped by police as his vehicle appears to have stalled, according to a French TV program, which also claims the killer actually drove on for four minutes - not 45 seconds, as the authorities had stated.

The previously known official version was undermined by new revelations by the 'Quotidien' program, aired on France's TMC channel on Thursday night. In the program, journalist Azzeddine Ahmed-Chaouch uncovered the minutes of a police probe into the attack that happened on Bastille Day, July 14, and claimed the lives of 86 people, leaving a further 434 injured.

The police didn't stop the truck, the journalist said, claiming that the vehicle had instead braked.

This is at odds with the version of the events presented by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who said at the end of July, "the available security allowed national police to intercept the truck and put an end to its deadly drive."


Kansas police officer dodges charges after killing mentally ill man, all because of an expired license plate

© Justice For Joey / Facebook
A Kansas police officer, who shot and killed a mentally ill man he pulled over for an expired license plate in August, committed no crime, it was ruled.

A prosecutor said the officer acted in self-defense and, hence, should not be charged.

"Sgt. [Brandon] Hauptman reasonably believed that shooting Weber was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself," Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said in a major update on the fatal shooting of 36-year-old Joseph "Joey" Weber of Hays on August 18."Therefore, no crime occurred because Sgt. Hauptman was acting in self-defense of his person."

The man died at the scene as the result of wounds he sustained from Hauptman's actions following pursuit and resisting arrest.

According to the investigation, the encounter between Weber and the officer initially started as a traffic stop, when Hauptman noticed an expired license decal. However, Weber disobeyed the lights and siren and did not stop immediately. That move prompted Hauptman to arrest Weber for failing to obey the order, treating it as a felony.

Hauptman then shouted to Weber to get his hands out of the window while waiting for backup. However, the man refused to do so, instead starting driving again as additional law enforcement approached. Hauptman pulled up behind Weber's vehicle and followed him until they eventually stopped the 2300 block of Timber Drive.

"He was pursued by three law enforcement vehicles. He eluded the officer for several minutes and stopped in the 2300 block of Timber Drive," said Drees.

Weber further ignored Hauptman's command to get on the ground. Despite being at gunpoint, the man started running and was eventually forced to the ground.

Weber attempted to pull a gun away from Hauptman, who then pushed the barrel in the man's chest and fired one shot, killing him.

Heart - Black

Rape culture: Evidence backlog from sexual assault victim's rape kits leads to lawsuits against police departments

© Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters
The backlog of evidence taken from the bodies of sexual assault victims after attacks is a national problem. But a San Francisco woman hopes to send a message to the police department that waited two years to test her kit by taking both the city and those who handled her case to court.

Heather Marlowe's rape kit was one of an estimated 400,000 nationwide that went untested, according to the US Department of Justice. After having a rape kit collected after a 2010 sexual assault, it took two years for it to be tested and another four for her to learn that they had done so.

In fact, she was only informed that her kit lacked sufficient evidence when she sued the city of San Francisco, California along with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) over mishandling the investigation in January. With that action, she became one of many frustrated women who are taking police departments to court over the low priority their claims are given.

Marlowe is suing the city, the president of the SFPD, the chief of police, the deputy chief of police and the officer that handled her case. She claims that the plaintiffs violated her right to due process and equal protection under both the US Constitution and the California Constitution.