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Mon, 20 Feb 2017
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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.

Quenelle - Golden

Ukraine's war-torn Donetsk commemorates 2nd 'anniversary' of Minsk agreements

© Alexander Ermochenko / Sputnik
Thousands of people have rallied in Donetsk to remind the world about the second anniversary of the Minsk II Protocols, urging Kiev to deliver on its long-overdue obligations and put an end to the bloodshed in the east of Ukraine.

The rally took place at the central square of Donetsk on Saturday to commemorate the second anniversary of the Minsk agreements and to protest Ukrainian aggression. Despite the wintery weather, thousands of people, including representatives of the self-proclaimed republic's authorities, took part in the anti-war march and demonstration, according to local media.


Bird flu: 'Largest pandemic in 100 years' threatens China

© KYODO / Reuters
China could be facing the worst bout of bird flu to hit the country in a century, with Avian Influenza A(H7N9) accounting for the deaths of 79 people in January from the 192 human cases reported so far.

The outbreak has been described as the "worst season since the virus first appeared in the country in 2013," by members of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Guan Yi, an expert in emerging viral diseases at the University of Hong Kong in China, said the surge in human cases is a cause for grave concern. "We are facing the largest pandemic threat in the last 100 years," he told Science.

Between December 20, 2016 and January 16, 2017, a total of 918 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infections as well as 359 deaths from H7N9 worldwide have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).


Massive protest in Barcelona urges leaders to welcome refugees

© Ruptly
Up to half a million activists have flooded the streets of Barcelona demanding the government in Madrid lives up to the EU-set refugee quota and welcome thousands more of asylum seekers into the country.

"Enough Excuses! Take Them In Now!" and "No More Deaths, Open The Borders!" slogans have been heard since 4 pm in Barcelona when hundreds of thousands gathered in support of the refugees.

Comment: While the protestors who marched are no doubt well intended, it is a sad fact that letting in more refugees - the vast majority of which are probably good, law-abiding, and desperate for some stability in their host country, will probably be accompanied by some truly bad apples.


Plaintiff in landmark US abortion case Roe v Wade dies

Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the case that led to the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973, died Saturday. She was 69.

She died of heart failure in a Texas assisted-living facility, said Joshua Prager, a New York journalist who has written about her in Vanity Fair magazine.