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Over Easy

2:49 am in Drug Policy, Economy, Environment, Government, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

We can’t take a personal look at the Antarctic ice cap without taking a ship to the area so most of us are not aware of another dark side of climate change and its effects: the actual darkening of the ice.

The ice pack in Greenland this year is black. Reports Slate’s Eric Holthaus:

‘There are several potential explanations for what’s going on here. The most likely is that some combination of increasingly infrequent summer snowstorms, wind-blown dust, microbial activity, and forest fire soot led to this year’s exceptionally dark ice. A more ominous possibility is that what we’re seeing is the start of a cascading feedback loop tied to global warming. [Climate scientist Jason] Box mentions this summer’s mysterious Siberian holes and offshore methane bubbles as evidence that the Arctic can quickly change in unpredictable ways.

This year, Greenland’s ice sheet was the darkest Box (or anyone else) has ever measured. Box gives the stunning stats: ‘In 2014 the ice sheet is precisely 5.6 percent darker, producing an additional absorption of energy equivalent with roughly twice the US annual electricity consumption.’

Voters in Scotland have been casting their ballots on the independence of that country, with prediction of disaster and of new and heady powers balancing each other to nearly even predictions as to the results. The state of the U.K. has alienated many in the country it rules; ‘Some see the U.K. as stuck in a postimperial, postindustrial crisis in which marketization threatens the very fabric of the society, imperiling its finest institutions, such as the National Health Service and British universities. ‘

A Panelbase poll released earlier on Wednesday, which was not carried out for any media outlet, suggested support for independence was on 48%, with 52% support for Scotland staying in the UK, once undecided voters were excluded.

The Pope will meet with Argentine president de Kirchner Saturday, with vulture funds’ court decisions part of the agenda, as well as the governance of the embattled country, a Vatican spokesman confirmed.

‘He is Argentine and has lived what we all have. He supports the democratic process, that means watching for Cristina (Fernández),’ Karcher said in statements to media this morning ahead of a meeting between the pontiff and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to be held in the papal residency of Santa Marta this weekend.

Regarding the meeting’s agenda, the monsignor considered the scope of issues the heads of state are expected to discuss ‘very wide’ with ‘no matter being excluded,’ leaving a door open for both leaders to address Argentina’s legal dispute against vulture funds. Pope Francis, Karcher said, ‘is critical of any position that does not favour the people.’

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:44 am in Culture, Government, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

Another anniversary of September 11th, originally Patriot Day after the date of the Battle of Lexington and Concord,  occurs today, with the hope that further atrocities can be avoided.

In the Pretorius trial, the Judge has delivered this opinion; ‘In the charge of premeditated murder, the evidence is purely circumstantial, the judge says.’  The finding is error, not intentional homicide.   Final verdict has not yet been announced as of this time.

“How could the accused have reasonably foreseen the shot he fired would have killed the deceased? Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this, that he would have killed the person behind the door, let alone the deceased,” says Judge Masipa…The only two remaining charges are either culpable homicide or acquittal.

Reports of al Jazeera insistence that the beheading of U.S. journalists was staged and provided the basis for U.S. intervention appeared in other media from the area, criticizing the report’s accuracy and sensitivity.

“Perhaps the first thing that draws the attention of the viewer” in the first beheading video is that “Foley was playing the role of champion not the victim only, for he recites a lengthy statement in peerless theatrical performance, and it seems from tracking the movement of his eyes that he was reading a text from an autocue,” the Al Jazeera report said.

The report even expressed doubts over the identity of the masked killer, saying: “he does not have the features of common jihadist figures, but he was rather similar to a Hollywood actor.”

Muslim groups called for a meeting to organize against the ISIS killings and their self-proclaimed. association with Islam.  Maha Akeel of the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference pointed out that the killings have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.

“We can’t call them an Islamic group, but a criminal one,” she explained, emphasizing Al-Azhar’s online campaign, which urges people and news outlets to stop calling ISIS Islamic.

A go-slow demonstration by leading internet firms was started Wednesday to show the effects of an end that is threatened to net neutrality.

Tech firms including Netflix, Etsy, FourSquare, KickStarter, Mozilla, Reddit, PornHub and Vimeo installed a widget on their sites to show how they believe the internet would look if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overturns “net neutrality” rules.

The FCC has been forced to rewrite its rules on governing the internet after a series of court defeats at the hands of cable and telecom companies. Wednesday’s protests are against one proposal that would allow cable firms to create “fast lanes” for paying customers who use a lot of bandwidth. Critics charge that move would end net neutrality – the concept that the internet is a level playing field and internet service providers can not discriminate against any individual, organisation or company.

Rights groups urged Gambian President Jammeh to reject proposed law to further criminalize homosexuality by making continuing gay behavior subject to imprisonment and establishing a new charge of “aggravated homosexuality” targeting repeat offenders.

“Gambia’s national assembly and the president should not endorse state-sponsored homophobia,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for west and central Africa.

He described the proposal as a “profoundly damaging act that violates international human rights law.”

But Jammeh, a former military officer who seized power in a 1994 coup, has shown few signs of bowing to pressure on Gambia’s anti-gay laws in the past. He has repeatedly denounced homosexuality and once vowed to behead gays, although he later retracted the threat.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:52 am in Culture, Government, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

The OECD has issued a report that shows continuing economic distress in advanced countries that will not diminish until job creation becomes a priority.

In its employment outlook for 2014, the Paris-based think tank predicted the rate of joblessness in member nations — a grouping of developed economies including much of Europe and the U.S. — would likely tick down over the next 18 months from 7.4 percent to 7.1 percent by the end of 2015. But even so, the lasting effects of the global financial meltdown of nearly six years ago are still being felt. “Almost 45 million people are out of work in OECD countries, 12.1 million more than just before the crisis,” the report noted.

But Stefano Scarpetta, the OECD Director for Employment, Labor and Social Affairs, pointed out that there remained “sharp differences” across member countries in their unemployment rates. For example, he pointed to the 6.2 percent unemployment rate in the U.S. recorded in July this year — the lowest level since September 2008 — and a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in Japan.

The report said that among OECD members, 16.3 million people — more than one in three of all unemployed — have been out of work for 12 months or more in the first quarter of 2014. That number, the report said, was almost twice what it was in 2007.

“Long-term unemployment has probably peaked in most countries, but it remains a major source of concern,” Scarpetta wrote in an editorial accompanying the report. “For countries that saw the biggest increases, there is growing evidence that part of what was originally a cyclical increase in unemployment has become structural and will thus be more difficult to reverse during the economic recovery.”

As peace talks began involving the Ukraine, as NATO convened in Wales,  the announced ceasefire failed to take hold and fighting continued. France’s decision to delay delivery of a contracted Mistral military ship to Russia threatens to cost that country a high price.

Vladimir Putin on Wednesday issued a seven-point peace plan for eastern Ukraine, hours after his Ukrainian counterpart said there was an agreement for a “permanent ceasefire” for the region.

But in a day of confusing mixed messages, Arseny Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s prime minister, dismissed the peace plan, which Putin had apparently jotted down on a flight to Mongolia, calling it a trap.

On the ground there was no sign of a ceasefire. Clashes continued as both rebels and Ukrainian volunteers said they would continue fighting.

Interpol and Europol’s combined efforts have shown international food crimes are reaching an unprecedented level of occurrence.

The review of Britain’s food supply chains was announced in response to the horsemeat fraud in 2013.

Michael Ellis, assistant director of Interpol, told BBC News: “This has changed the scope of investigations. Criminals have realised that they can make the same amount of money by dealing with counterfeit food. Invariably the sentences are much lighter.

“In my experience, the patterns used by criminals involved in counterfeiting are very similar to those used in the dealing of drugs. They operate front companies, they employ front bank accounts, they will have false declarations for the movement of their goods, they will mis-declare their shipments.”

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:51 am in Culture, Economy, Foreign Policy, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

An uneasy truce allowed Gaza residents to venture out onto battered streets to acquired supplies needed for their existence, as an Egyptian-brokered peace continued for an undefined period.

‘After 50 days of warfare in which a terror organization killed dozens of soldiers and civilians, destroyed the daily routine (and) placed the country in a state of economic distress … we could have expected much more than an announcement of a ceasefire,’ analyst Shimon Shiffer wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper.

‘We could have expected the prime minister to go to the President’s Residence and inform him of his decision to resign his post.’

Netanyahu, who has faced constant sniping in his cabinet from right-wing ministers demanding military action to topple Hamas, made no immediate comment on the Egyptian-mediated truce deal that took effect yesterday’s evening.

Forty years ago a Canadian town decided to give monetary support without strings to residents under a survivable level of income. That service is still paying dividends to this day.

The Dauphin experiment, like four others in the United States around the same time, was an attempt to measure if providing extra money directly to residents below a certain household income would be effective social policy.

Dauphin was unique among those studies in that all residents of the municipality and surrounding area, with a population of about 10,000, were eligible to participate if they met the criteria.

(snip)

Decades after the program ended, sociology professor Evelyn Forget dug up records from the period and found there were far-reaching benefits in the education and health sectors.

In a 2011 study she reported an 8.5 percent drop in hospital visits, a decrease in emergency room visits from car accidents and fewer recorded instances of domestic abuse. There was also a reduction in the number of people who sought treatment for mental health issues. And a greater proportion of high school students continued to the 12th grade.

As with U.S. experiments during the same period, there was no evidence that it led people to withdraw from the labor market, according to her research.

Promotion of a leading proponent of gender equality to the new cabinet as Education Minister evoked threats of demonstrations against the new minister from the right in France as the new government formed.

Vallaud-Belkacem, who was minister for women’s rights, youth and sport before becoming the first woman to take charge of the education portfolio, became a hate figure for the right when she backed an experimental reform introduced into 275 primary schools last year aimed at overcoming gender stereotyping. The minister was dubbed ‘Khmer Rose’ by the rightwing Le Figaro, and was accused of importing the controversial gender theory from the US.

Vallaud-Belkacem, 36, told FranceInfo radio that ‘pointless polemics’ would have no place in her ministry and that she was ‘committed to the equality of boys and girls more than anything else.’

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:54 am in Foreign Policy, Government, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch joined in a call for Israel to allow investigators into Gaza as deaths soared and charges multiplied of abuses there.

‘The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll mounts,’ Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s director of Research and Crisis Response, said in the release.

At least 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 7. Over 10,000 Gazans have been injured and half a million internally displaced. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers have died in combat and three civilians have been killed by rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Both sides have been accused of violating the laws of war during the most deadly conflict between Israel and the occupied Gaza Strip since Hamas took power in 2007.

The rights groups said they want to send researchers into the territory to assess competing claims, and that Israel should not interfere with such independent investigations.

Journalist James Foley was beheaded in video released Wednesday, at the hands of a member of the militant group who spoke in the filmed event and is described by UK Foreign Secretary Hammond, who says he ‘appears to be British.’ Bombing of ISIS locations at Mosul dam continued yesterday.

Unconfirmed video and pictures of the photojournalist’s heartbreaking final moments emerged this morning via Twitter accounts claiming to be associated with the Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In what looked like a prepared statement, Foley called on his family to rise up against the US, who he calls his ‘real killers.’

‘I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,’ he said.

A failure of a U.S. mission to free the hostages was announced yesterday; ‘The U.S. military launched a secret mission this summer to rescue a number of Americans held captive in Syria by the Islamic State but failed to find them, senior Obama administration officials said Wednesday night.’

Comprehensive studies have been completed on Neanderthal remains that have given a picture of the primitive man coexisting with modern men for almost 5,000 years. Kit seems to have used this in his overnight post, as well, but you may have missed that, so I wanted to throw it in here so we can contemplate the ancient legends that might have been caused by coexisting with species different from the now dominant one.

Now an international team of researchers collected more than 400 samples from the most important sites in Europe. The samples were purified and analysed using state-of-the-art dating methods at Oxford University.

The results provide the clearest insight yet into the interaction between our ancestors and Neanderthals, when they first encountered each other and why the Neanderthals went extinct, according to the lead researcher, Prof Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford.

‘I think we can set aside the idea of a rapid extinction of Neanderthals caused solely by the arrival of modern humans. Instead we can see a more complex process in which there is a much longer overlap between the two populations where there could have been exchanges of ideas and culture.’

Four McDonalds restaurants have been shut down in Moscow in the name of consumer protection. Several are under ongoing investigation as well, in a burgeoning competition in sanctions.

‘Multiple violations of sanitary norms were detected in the sourcing of food and waste disposal in McDonald’s restaurants during inspections carried out between the 18th and 20th of August,’ said an official statement from the watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor.

The company has said that it will study the allegations against its franchises, and ‘will do everything to ensure that the restaurants open as soon as possible.’

‘McDonald’s main priority is offering its customers quality and safe produce,’ said a statement on the McDonald’s website.

Those golden arches will make an interesting addition to Putin’s trophy case, along with admirer Sarah Palin and the bears.

Never.Give.Up.

Things that go Stomp in the night

(Picture courtesy of Peachland Joe at flickr.com.)

Over Easy

3:53 am in Culture, Foreign Policy, Government, Media by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

Despite rocket fire that broke a 72 hour ceasefire, all sides agreed to an extension proposed to last for five more days of truce and peace talks in embattled Gaza.

Hamas, the Islamist organisation in power in Gaza, denied they had launched rockets, however, and shortly before midnight Palestinian delegates in Cairo announced the extension.

‘There will be a five-day ceasefire to give more opportunity for negotiation,’ Gamal Shobky, the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo, told the Guardian. ‘We are very close but there are still some things to resolve.’

The news will be welcomed in Gaza, battered by a month-long conflict which inflicted massive damage on infrastructure and housing, as well as killing nearly 2,000 people, mostly civilians. Sixty four Israeli soldiers died, and three civilians in Israel were killed by rocket fire.

As Mt. Sinjar emptied of persecuted minorities chased there by ISIS, the international community sought to change premiers as one step toward less volatile conditions.

The White House on Wednesday urged Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki to step aside and allow the man nominated to become his successor as prime minister to form a government.

‘He needs to respect that process,’ Rhodes told reporters. ‘This is what the Iraqis themselves have decided to do.’

President Barack Obama on Monday threw his weight behind the choice of Haidar al-Abadi to form a new government, appealing to Maliki, without directly naming him, to peacefully turn over power.

‘The White House will be very glad to see a new government in place with prime minister Abadi at the lead of that government,’ Rhodes said.

Mexico awarded 83% of its oil resources to national oil firm Pemex as a move toward reorganization and revitalization of its energy industry, enabled by an amendment to the constitution which required state ownership of resources.

Mexico enacted new rules this week to open up the country’s energy sector.

Private oil companies are now allowed to operate in the country for the first time in 76 years.

The next round of bidding will see private oil firms vie for the remaining 79% of possible reserves.

(snip)

The hope is that the changes in the energy sector will boost production back to 2004 levels by 2025.

Crumbling infrastructure, bureaucracy and corruption have pared Mexican production from 3.6 million barrels a day in 2004 to just 2.5 million.

The first woman to be awarded the Fields Medal, mathematics’ equivalent of the Nobel, is an Iranian professor at Stanford, Maryam Mirzakhani, awarded the medal for her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces.

‘This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians,’ Mirzakhani was quoted as saying on Stanford’s website.

‘I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years,’ she said.

Mirzakhani, 37, was born in Tehran and lived there until she began her doctorate work at Harvard University. She said she dreamed of becoming a writer when she was young, but she pursued her love of solving mathematical problems.

‘It is fun. It’s like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case. I felt that this was something I could do, and I wanted to pursue this path.’ she said.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:30 am in Culture, Government, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

European efforts to land a craft on a comet will come to fruition soon, as Rosetta descends to the duck-shaped comet as its target after a journey of ten years’ length.

More than 249 million miles from where it was launched in March 2004, the spacecraft Rosetta will finally meet up with its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

To get there, Rosetta has had to make four flybys of Mars and Earth, using their gravitational force as a slingshot to build up speed, and then entering a 31-month hibernation as light from the distant Sun became too weak for its solar panels.

It was awakened in January.

After braking maneuvers, the three-ton craft should on Wednesday be about 62 miles from the comet — a navigational feat that, if all goes well, will be followed by glittering scientific rewards.

The departure of one of Great Britain’s highest placed female political leaders put another light on Cameron’s handling of conflict in Gaza.

Lady Warsi said the prime minister had lost moral authority, undermined the national interest and deprived Britain of its historic role as an honest broker in the Middle East by refusing to condemn the aggressive Israeli response to the Hamas rocket attacks as disproportionate.

In her strongly worded resignation letter, whose morning publication came as a surprise to No 10, Warsi warned that ‘our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible [and] is not in Britain’s national interest.’

She also complained that Cameron’s response may become ‘a basis for radicalisation [which] could have consequences for us for years to come.’

Her departure came after internal argument inside the National Security Council over Cameron’s refusal to condemn the aggressive Israeli response to the Hamas rocket attacks.

Leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Carlotto in Argentina received news that her long missing grandson has been located and they are to be reunited. The child was taken from his family during the regime of the last military dictatorship, his parents murdered.

‘I will not force the situation,’ Carlotto said when asked about the long-expected meeting with Guido. ‘The meeting will take place whenever he decides so, at Grandmother’s headquarters where all these reunions take place.’

Carlotto explained she never met Guido’s father but that her husband had met him. She said she is open to meet her that part of his grandson’s biological family.

Grandmothers’ president also referred to the family that raised her grandson. ‘We do not know much. We know that they lived in the countryside. They must have raised him well. They were farmworkers,’ she said.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:19 am in Foreign Policy, Government, Media by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

Two Palestinian journalists were killed in attacks on Gaza during the recent bombardment, bringing to eight the number of journalists who have lost their lives in these events.

According to an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), the two journalists were killed in the artillery shelling of Shojayah market. A third journalist was seriously injured.

The two who died were Sameh Al-Aryan, 26, of Al-Aqsa TV, and photojournalist Rami Rayan, 25, who worked for the Palestinian Media Network. Photojournalist Hamed Shobaky, of Manara Media, was severely wounded in the same incident.

Ahed Zaqout, 49, a presenter on Palestine TV sport programmes, was killed in his apartment during an attack on the Italian tower in Gaza City.

Jim Boumelha, the IFJ president, said: ‘We express our anger and condemnation at the killing of these journalists, the latest victims in this ongoing cycle of intimidation, violence and murder against media workers in Palestine.’

Dire results are predicted from Argentina’s debt default brought on by vulture creditors’ victories in court over their purchase of debt from that beleaguered country.

Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year.

After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina’s debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America’s third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds.

Even a short default will raise companies’ borrowing costs, pile more pressure on the peso, drain dwindling foreign reserves and fuel one of the world’s highest inflation rates.

Health emergency measures including quarantine are being put into effect in Sierra Leone as a result of the outbreak of the ebola virus there.

Ernest Bai Koroma said the epicentres of the outbreak in the east would be quarantined and asked the security forces to enforce the measures.

The UN says more than 670 people in West Africa have died of Ebola since February – 224 of them in Sierra Leone.

This includes Dr Sheik Umar Khan who led Sierra Leone’s fight against the virus. His funeral is on Thursday.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:55 am in Culture, Environment, Foreign Policy, Media by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

In the course of its declared five hour truce, Israel has announced that attackers were discovered tunneling into Israel from Gazas and have been met with armed force.

The attempted attack came amid continued Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in the run up to a temporary truce between Israel and Palestinian fighters to allow humanitarian aid to enter the area.

The army said early on Thursday that Israel had conducted 37 raids overnight on Gaza, while seven rockets were fired from Gaza, four of which landed in fields and the rest were intercepted by Israel’s missile defences, the AFP news agency reported.

The truce came into effect at 10am (7am GMT).

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker said the truce would allow some repairs to infrastructure, such as electricity lines.

The truce comes a day after four children were killed when the Israeli army shelled a beach near Gaza’s port.

The Israeli army said it was targeting ‘Hamas terrorists’ and would investigate the incident.

Tensions associated with children crossing the southern borders of the U.S. to find security of a sort here pales in comparison to the worldwide refugee crisis, particularly in Lebanon. There, 600,000 children are estimated to be living in that country to escape violence and danger in Syria.

Lebanon and the Lebanese people shoulder a great and growing burden due to the strain of accepting more than 1 million people into this small country. This openness and generosity to people in need have been recognized and applauded internationally, most recently on July 14, when the United Nations’ Security Council passed a resolution that highlighted the significant and admirable efforts of Lebanon and other neighboring nations in helping the refugees. The Security Council also noted that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate without a political solution to the crisis in Syria, and urged donors to assist Lebanon and other countries as they deal with this crisis.

While children flee from Central American countries to find better living conditions in the U.S., the U.N. seeks alleviating the conditions (apology for the link, but WND is another nonstandard news source) by ‘defining them as “refugees” who are seeking asylum from political and domestic violence in their home nations.’ Others can help in many ways, and I personally am here enjoying the idyllic country of Honduras at the moment bringing tourist trade and dollars. Okay, not a sacrifice but after digging artifacts in Belize it’s a refuge, itself.

The discovery of a new bloodsucking mite at unheard of depths in Puerto Rican waters has been celebrated by scientists who gave the new life form a name honoring Jennifer Lopez.

Rather than striking a canny resemblance to Lopez, biologists say that the Litarachna lopezae was given its new title as a ‘small token of gratitude’ for the singer’s music, which they listened to as they wrote about their findings.

‘The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species is … simple: J.Lo’s songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching World Cup soccer 2014,’ said biologist Vladimir Pesic, who works at the University of Montenegro, according to Associated Press.

The mite was found at a depth of nearly 70m on a coral reef in Mona Passage, a dangerous body of water that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. According to their study, this is the greatest depth that pontarachnid mite has ever been discovered.

Never.Give.Up.

Over Easy

3:51 am in Culture, Government, Media, Politics by Ruth Calvo

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

International protests opposing sentences given to al Jazeera correspondents in Egypt for their reports that displeased the government came to the U.N. headquarters in New York yesterday.

Three empty chairs sat at the front of the ‘FreeAJStaff’ meeting as a symbolic gesture. The names of each of the jailed journalists were placed on the seats.

The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) hosted the event in an effort to underscore the journalists’ plight and discuss ways to secure their release.

‘Everyone has the right of freedom of opinion and expression,’ Pamela Falk, president of UNCA, said at the meeting. ‘Freedom of the press is not an option — it is an inherent right.’

UNCA has asked Egypt to live up to its international commitments and free all detained journalists. The right to report news is enshrined in international human rights law, and Falk said the U.N. is working to insert language in all conflict and peacekeeping resolutions to protect journalists.

Great Britain is running out of land, with a potential shortage of 2 million hectares anticipated by 2030. Agriculture has been a staple use of the countryside.

The report, from the University of Cambridge, says the growing population plus the use of land for energy crops are contributing to the gap.

(snip)\

With a population expected to exceed 70 million by 2030, the extra demand for living space and food will have a major impact on the way land is used, the report says.

On top of these pressures, the government is committed to using bioenergy crops such as miscanthus as renewable sources of energy, further limiting the stock of land for food.

‘That is putting some very significant future pressures on how we use our land,’ said Andrew Montague-Fuller, the report’s lead author.

Chilean president Bachelet announced a plan to buy and return land to indigenous communities in an effort to integrate them into the country.

Chile’s indigenous peoples, which include the Mapuche, Aymara and Diaguita, have an underweight representation in Congress and often face a harsh economic reality in what is otherwise one of Latin America’s wealthiest countries.

Years of conflict over land claims have increasingly flared into violence between the Mapuche, the largest indigenous group, and local farmers, forestry companies and police, putting pressure on the government to act.

‘It has been nearly 25 years since we got back our democracy,’ Bachelet said at the presidential palace in Santiago, flanked by representatives of indigenous communities.

‘It is time to have the courage to take new steps with a view not to the short-term, but rather the (long-term) development that has been so difficult to obtain for our indigenous sisters and brothers.’

Never.Give.Up.