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Tue, 21 Feb 2017
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Montana officials fight alarming surge in meth use

© AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
In this Sept. 2, 2010, file photo a Franklin County police officer counts pills containing pseudoephedrine during a raid of a suspected meth house in Gerald, Mo. Methamphetamines continue to make an alarming surge in Montana, as law enforcement, health officials and communities struggle to address the problem. Panelists at a drug summit convened Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, by the Montana Legislature said resources are being strained because of a widening prevalence of the drug.
Methamphetamines continue to make an alarming surge in Montana, as law enforcement, health officials and communities struggle to address the problem.

Panelists at a drug summit convened Saturday by the Montana Legislature said resources are being strained because of a widening prevalence of the drug.

While authorities attempt to stanch the flow of meth into the state from Mexican cartels, courts are burdened by a growing caseload of drug cases. Family services are also strained by drug-related cases that are tearing apart families. And drug clinics are struggling to serve an increasing population of meth users seeking to treat their addictions.

As meth use in Montana continues to rise, authorities are also bracing for a possible influx of heroin in an expansive rural state whose borders aren't easy to patrol.

"I've never seen it this bad before," said Bryan Lockerby with the Montana Department of Criminal Investigations. "The problem we're all trying to solve is like boiling the ocean, and we have people drowning in meth."

Comment: See also: The speed of hypocrisy: How America got hooked on legal meth


More Big Pharma price gouging: Opioid overdose treatment prices have skyrocketed

© Hiroko Masuike / The New York Times
Liam Gibson, of NY Harm Reduction Educators, displays a rescue kit in New York City, on May 27, 2014.
Kaléo Pharmaceuticals has dramatically increased the cost of an easy-to-use injection device for the opioid overdose reversal drug known as naloxone, and lawmakers believe the price hike could put lives at risk.

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and 31 other senators issued a stinging rebuke and call for answers on February 8 after the details of the price increase emerged.

The device, known as Evzio, was listed at $690 in 2014. It now reportedly costs $4,500. The drug company has previously said that it is increasing prices on products to meet the rising costs of manufacturing.

While it is true that naloxone has increased in price - now somewhere around $150 per 10cc vial - the senators pointed out that this does not come anywhere close to the near 700 percent increase on Evzio instituted by the company.


Cop convicted for kicking skateboarder in the face after being called a Storm Trooper

Storm Trooper Ryan Luckenbaugh
After only 45 minutes of deliberation, a jury found it quite easy to convict a cop for official oppression and assault after he was captured on dashcam video kicking a man in the face for calling him a "storm trooper."

Senior Deputy District Attorney Stephen Zawisky said he'll probably seek jail time when Judge Scott A. Evans sentences Ryan Luckenbaugh, the 37-year-old Mechanicsburg man in April.

"Dude you just kicked a man in the face!" says Pennsylvania State Trooper Michael Trotta to his partner Trooper Luckenbaugh. The man, who'd been assaulted by Luckenbaugh was Christopher Siennick, a local activist who had just practiced his freedom of speech by giving the pair of troopers the middle finger as he skateboarded past them.

The ensuing encounter, as we previously reported, led to Siennick being forcefully arrested, pepper sprayed, tased, man-handled, and later charged — for skating down the wrong side of the street. But while he was seated on the sidewalk, awaiting his patty-wagon ride to the pokey, he began to give the troopers a little piece of his mind. "I'm an American...f'ing fascist pigs. This is just like f'ing the empire. You're just a f'ing storm trooper. You dumb shit. Why don't you wake up and (inaudible)," and then Siennick can be heard spitting.


Alexandrov ensemble performs with new members after Sochi flight tragedy

Russian military choir sings 'Kalinka' and 'Katyusha' songs

The world famous Russian military Alexandrov Ensemble performed in Moscow's Central Soviet Army Theater on Feb. 17. It was the first performance since 64 members died in the Tu-154 plane crash in December 2016. The newly re-formed choir and dance ensemble performed after fewer than three weeks of rehearsals together.


San Francisco passes law forcing all pet shops to only sell rescue dogs and cats, efforts to eradicate "inhumane" puppy breeding operations

© Getty
The sale of puppies under eight weeks old was also banned as part of the measure.
San Francisco officials have voted to ban the sale of non-rescue dogs and cats at pet shops as part of a concerted effort to eradicate "inhumane" puppy breeding operations in the city.

The amendment will not affect licenced breeders however it will aim to tackle the prevalence of large-scale "puppy mills", while helping to facilitate the adoption of thousands of animals already occupying the city's shelters.

San Francisco will not be the first US city to implement such a measure, which will also ban the sale of animals under eight weeks old. Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Austin all enforce similar legislation.

"Most animal lovers are horrified at the thought of keeping their beloved family pet in a dirty wire cage for a second — let alone a week, month or even years. Yet, that is the fate of many animals at large-scale commercial breeding operations across the nation, including the mothers of many puppies and kittens sold in pet shops," the San Francisco Board of Supervisors wrote in an op-ed piece.

Comment: See also:


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says Trump's Vaccine Commission still a go

Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who believes the vaccine preservative thimerosal has led to an uptick in neurodevelopmental and other disorders in children, says the Trump administration still plans to assemble a vaccine safety commission to explore potential links between vaccinations and a host of disorders, including autism.

Kennedy, chairman of the World Mercury Project, a nonprofit group whose partners include groups that espouse a vaccine-autism link, told reporters attending a Washington, DC, press briefing that he is still in discussion with the administration regarding the assembling of a vaccine commission.

Kennedy said he was first approached by the Trump transition team in early December and met with President-elect Donald Trump in New York City in mid-January. He told the press he was being considered as chair of the potential commission, but that at that time, the administration said it was merely exploring the idea.


Anti-Trump absurdity: Liberal New York mom's nix annual ice-skating party because Trump renovated the rink

A group of liberal moms at an elite New York City school torpedoed an annual ice-skating party because Donald Trump rebuilt the rink in the 1980s. The Dalton School said that the event was shelved due to low participation, though reported anti-Trump sentiment is said to be the real reason. When The New York Post asked the school's parent association president about the allegation, she refused to comment:
Dalton's PA president, LaMae DeJongh, declined to comment — but sources said the low attendance was due to rampant anti-Trump sentiment at the elite prep school, which boasts alumni such as CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"I think it is completely insane," said one Dalton parent who disagrees with the protest. "Like him or not, it feels like a strange place for New Yorkers to protest. And sad that kids now have no skating party."
Before Trump took over the project in the 1980s, the Wollman Rink in Central Park was a symbol of government incompetence. The rink's repairs and renovations went $12 million over budget, contractors botched the amount of concrete needed, and for six years the incomplete rink served as a lightning rod for the press to remind the Ed Koch administration how untamed things were in the city, according to Bloomberg. When Trump finally took it over, he finished two months ahead of scheduled and $775,000 under budget:


Dicamba devastation: Farmers in 10 states sue Monsanto

Healthy soy leaves (left) compared to soy leaves with evidence of Dicamba exposure (right)
Farmers across 10 states are suing Monsanto, alleging that the agrochemical company sold dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean crops knowing that illegal spraying of the highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide would be inevitable.

Steven W. Landers, et al v. Monsanto Company was filed on Jan. 26 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Southeastern Division. Kansas City law firm Randles & Splittgerber filed on behalf of Steven and Deloris "Dee" Landers and similarly harmed farmers in 10 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The farmers seek damages for claims including negligence, strict liability, failure to warn, conspiracy, disgorgement of profits and punitive damages.

Comment: More on Monsanto's Dicamba 'devastation':


Cops of the future: Security robots to patrol China's rail station

There is a new cop at a railway station in China's central Henan province, and don't expect him to show any mercy to perpetrators as he is a robot, China News Agency reported.

The patrol robot, on duty at Zhengzhou East Railway Station since February 17, can scan passengers' faces and respond to questions.

Painted in black and white, the robotic patrolman moves around on wheels. Using a number of sensors it monitors air quality, temperature, guards the station during the night and can even set off the fire emergency alarm.


Car bomb at market kills 20 in Mogadishu, Somalia

© Reuters
As many as 20 people have been killed and up to 50 wounded in a reported suicide car bomb blast that ripped through a busy market on Sunday in Mogadishu, Somalia, AP reported a local official as saying.

According to mayor Ahmed Abdulle Afrax, the car exploded near a busy intersection in the Wadajir district where many people were gathered at about 1.30 pm local time.

"Someone had parked the car here and left before it was detonated," local butcher Mohamed Haji told AP.