May 4, 2017

NYPD allegedly withholding information on use of facial recognition technology. “Despite the fact that numerous agencies disclosed similar information about policies, procedures, training, audits, contracts, and agreements relating to their use of facial recognition technology, the NYPD determined in January 2017 that it was unable to find any records responsive to the Center’s detailed records requests.”   https://theintercept.com/2017/05/02/nypd-refuses-to-disclose-information-about-its-face-recognition-program-so-privacy-researchers-are-suing/

Woman found guilty of disrupting Sessions confirmation hearing after resisting her removal for laughing. “…Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz was arrested in January after she laughed at a claim from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) that Sessions’s history of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented”.”   https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/2/15518574/desiree-fairooz-justice-department

Even after reforms, NSA still collected more than 151 million phone records of Americans in 2016. “Under the old system, it collected potentially “billions of records per day,” according to a 2014 study.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/us/politics/nsa-phone-records.html

Progressive religious leaders tell Trump not to allow discrimination based on sexual preference. “Our faiths compel us to oppose legislation that seeks to stigmatize and marginalize transgender people in particular, legitimize discrimination against all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, or abuse the notion of religious freedom to deny basic rights and protections to others.”   http://religiousinstitute.org/national-faith-statement-anti-lgbtq-bills/

West Virginia city sues pharmaceutical companies over corporate drug dealing in opioids. “The drug wholesalers shipped 423 million pain pills to West Virginia between 2007 and 2012, earning $17 billion in net income, according to a complaint filed Jan. 19 in Cabell Circuit Court.”   http://wvrecord.com/stories/511075675-city-of-huntington-sues-drug-wholesalers-over-opioid-epidemic

Trump meets with president of Palestinian Authority, says peace deal is likely. Abbas: “…it’s about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and of our land after 50 years.”   https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/03/donald-j-trump-mahmoud-abbas-palestinian-authority-israel/101237076/

Russia and Turkey agree to set up “conflict-free” zones in Syria, Trump also reportedly on board. “In a news conference with Erdogan, Putin said he supported the creation of the safe zones — in which he said “aircraft will not operate” — in an effort to support a Syrian cease-fire.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/putin-pushes-syrian-safe-zone-proposals-in-talks-with-turkish-leader/2017/05/03/b75d003a-2ffc-11e7-a335-fa0ae1940305_story.html

FBI director says he revealed reopening of Clinton email investigation before the election because it was… closed, but didn’t reveal Trump/Russia investigation because it was still (and is still) ongoing. “I commented, as I explained earlier, on October 28 in a letter that I sent to the chair and ranking [members] of the oversight committees that we were taking additional steps in the Clinton email investigation because I had testified under oath repeatedly that we were done — that we were finished there.”   http://www.businessinsider.com/comey-explained-clinton-emails-trump-russia-2017-5

China places restrictions on online news sites. “Online news outlets and mainstream broadcasters operating in China will soon need to obtain official government licenses to operate legally, the country’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), has announced.”   http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/chinese-government-bulks-restrictions-against-online-media-news-websites-1619801

They’re back! House to vote on another Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill. “Republican leaders and the White House spent the day Wednesday hunting for votes and are believed to be within striking distance of passing the measure.”   http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-hold-vote-gop-health-care-bill-thursday/story?id=47191544   Nice to know that one of the highest priorities of our elected officials is taking away people’s health insurance coverage….

National Geographic gets 1,771 pages of completely blacked-out documents in response to its Freedom of Information Act request about deletion of USDA animal abuse website. “The records in U.S. Department of Agriculture’s online animal welfare database allowed journalists, investigators, and the public to look up inspection reports and violations of animal welfare laws.”   http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/usda-animal-welfare-records-foia-black-out-first-release/

Minster of the Environment in the Philippines ousted over mines closed due to water pollution, blames political corruption. “I’m disappointed because clearly there are business influences that have maneuvered the decision.”   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39797113

Law would require Congressional approval to launch nuclear first strike. “The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress, and we should not allow President Trump—or any president—to use nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear attack against the U.S. or our allies.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/05/03/nearly-500k-people-urge-congress-take-away-trumps-nuclear-football

Apparently tired of peace, Japan’s ruling conservative party wants to amend constitution. “Under (prime minister) Abe’s watch, parliament in 2015 voted into law a defense policy shift that could let troops fight overseas for the first time since 1945, but any formal constitutional revision would require the backing of two-thirds of members of both houses of parliament and a majority of voters in a referendum.”   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-government-constitution-idUSKBN17Z0BH

 

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May 4, 2017

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