Monday, November 19, 2012

Judge Denies Hobby Lobby's Right to Freedom of Religion

US District Judge Joe Heaton has rejected Hobby Lobby's request for a waiver from Obamacare.

The owner's of Hobby Lobby had argued that Obamacare's contraception mandate is unConstitutional as it attacks a business' right to freedom of religion.

Heaton ruled that, "the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion."

Hobby Lobby's owners plan to appeal the decision.

The Christian company strongly believes against the use of morning after or week after pills, but accepts the right to use condoms and birth control.

Under Obamacare, they will be forced to provide their employees with all of those.

Hobby Lobby, which is self insured, says that it will face fines of $1.3 million a day, beginning January 1, if they do not obey the law.

The owners say their other choice is to drop coverage all together, as they will not go against their conscience and provide products that they see as immoral.

Girls Arrested Over Facebook Status

When Shahien Dhada, twenty-one, posted a complaint about her city shutting down for a day, she didn't expect it to land her in jail.

Dhada posted a Facebook status saying that the city of Mumbai should not have been completely shut down, after a controversial Indian political and religious leader died.

Her friend, Ruhi Shrinivasan, twenty-one, was also arrested, because she liked her friend's status.

They were only released after international outcry over the reason for the arrest.

 The charges against the girls were dropped.

This isn't the first time that simple freedom of speech has landed people in jail, in India.

It's actually almost common for Indians to find themselves harassed by police if they publicly say something against the government, officials, or leaders.

Political activists are especially targeted by the government and police.

Many of them hope that the case of the two girls will not just bring international notice of the struggle Indians face, but also begin a change in how the Indian government handles things.

McAfee Continues Hiding in Belize

John McAfee continues his hiding from police in Belize.

Police in Belize are looking for him as a suspect in the murder of his neighbor.

McAfee professes his innocence, claiming that he is in hiding in fear of his life.

His blog details some of the ways in which he is hiding.

In it he claims to be watching his home and the investigation of police.

He says that the police aren't even bothering to investigate the murder, but are solely seeking him.

According to McAfee his close friends and associates have been arrested, on trumped up charges, for over a week now.

Sixty-seven year old McAfee is most well known for his creation of McAfee antivirus software.

Reversing Paralysis Using Nose Cells

Jasper, who regained full use of his legs
Researchers at the University of Cambridge were able to reverse paralysis in a dog, by using cells from it's nose.

In their study they took thirty-four dogs that had suffered spinal injuries, which had caused paralysis in their hind legs.

Twenty-three of the dogs were given an injection containing cells from their noses, while the other eleven were given a neutral fluid, as a control group.

Most of the dogs given the special injection recovered their ability to walk, on a treadmill, with a harness.

One dog, Jasper, regained full control of his legs and no longer even requires the harness.

Nose cells were taken as olfactory nerves are the only ones which continue to grow, at any age.

Olfactory ensheathing cells are found in the back of the nasal cavity and are what allow for the sense of smell.

The OECs constantly replace the cells, allowing for the sense of smell to always continue.

Scientists chose them due to their regenerative nature.

In the case of the dogs, the OECs were able to regrow the nerve endings along the dog's spines, allowing for paralysis reversal.

The researchers are hopeful that this is a step towards allowing for the reversal of human paralysis.

Maryland Leaving ACC For Big 10

Well it seems the Big 10, will be expanding from twelve to thirteen.

The University of Maryland will be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big 10 in the 2014-15 season.

Maryland is hoping that the move will bring in more revenue for the school, which had to cut seven varsity sports programs in 2012.

Reaction from students, alumni, and fans has been extremely negative.

They feel at home in the ACC and not just for historical reasons.

The rest of the ACC has a similar mindset as Maryland and shares geography with them.

Moving to the Big 10 will take Maryland from their region and put them up against teams from the Midwest.

Either way, the deal has gone through, and only time will tell how it turns out.

Rocky Das Musical Opens in Hamburg

Monday night saw the opening of Rocky Das Musical: Fight From The Heart, in Hamburg, Germany.

The musical is based on the 1976 film and includes most of the original soundtrack, with some additions in German.

While the story line has been kept intact, translation into German was required.

Sylvester Stallone is one of the producers and was in attendance for the musical's debut.

He's hopeful it will do well enough in Germany, to allow for an American version in 2013.

2014 Ford Focus Given 3 Cylinder Engine

Ford announced, on Monday, that the 2014 Ford Fiesta won't just be it's smallest vehicle.

Fiesta's will also be the only car in the US to have only a three cylinder engine.

Last year, Ford introduced the 2013 Focus models, with a three cylinder option, only available in Europe.

About thirty percent of their European 2013 Focus sales went that direction.

The one liter engine is rated at one hundred and twenty-three horsepower with one hundred and forty-eight feet of torque.

It is currently undergoing EPA testing, but is expected to have at least thirty mpg city and forty highway.

Islamists Reject Syrian Coalition

A group purporting to represent thirteen Syrian rebel groups, based in Aleppo, has rejected the coalition government that was supposed to represent all Syrian rebel forces.

In an internet video they state that they will not support the Western backed coalition, but instead will ensure that an Islamist state takes over Syria.

It is unclear if the video is real or is a fake created by the Assad regime, in order to discredit the coalition.

Eight countries have so far recognized the coalition as the only representative of the Syrian people.

On Monday, the EU recognized them as a "legitimate representative", but stopped short of giving them the sole title.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is supposed to make a statement to Parliament, on Tuesday, during which he is expected to recognize the coalition.

Kenyan Soldiers go Berserk After 3 of Their Number Killed

Smoke from Garissa's market
Reports out of Garissa, Kenya say that government troops went on beating spree after three of their number were gunned down, on Monday.

The three Kenyan soldiers were fixing a truck when gunmen shot them.

Before they could be caught, the gunmen fled into the crowd, which then tried to block pursuing soldiers from chasing them.

It was then that the soldiers went berserk, tearing through the crowds, hitting anyone who was present and not wearing a uniform.

The main market of Garissa was set on fire before the troops could be calmed down.

Kenya is blaming the attack on Al Shabaab terrorists, in continued violence from the group against Kenyans.

Judge Stops Hostess From Closing

Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Wonder bread, and the rest may yet be saved.

US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain has ordered that Hostess and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union meet for mediation, in order to resolve things in way that would avoid the closure of the company.

At the hearing Drain said that there are "serious questions as to the logic behind the decision to strike".

He further pointed out that his main goal is to keep more than eighteen thousand people from losing their jobs.

Hostess announced the closures after they could not keep the union from striking, even after the company warned that they were not financially stable enough to withstand a strike.

Mediation talks will be kept private, with Drain acting as mediator.

If the two sides can not come to an agreement, Drain warned that he will ensure mediation takes place in a very public setting, and at great cost to both sides.

NYPD After Possible Serial Killer

New York Police are looking for a man who has killed three different Brooklyn shopkeepers, over the last four months.

All three of the victims were shot and killed by the same .22 handgun.

The incidents happened July 6, August 6, and then Friday, November 16.

Each of the victims was originally from the Middle East, two from Egypt and one from Iran.

None of the shop had security cameras, and each shopkeeper was working alone.

There are several other similarities between the three murders, leaving the police thinking they may have a serial killer on their hands.

Police describe the man as balding, middle aged, wearing an overcoat and carrying a duffel bag.

They've also released a sketch of him.

China Moves to Increase Hydro Power

Three Gorges Dam
With the departure of Wen Jiabao, as the head of China's government, many things look to change.

One of them is the amount of Hydroelectric power and the dams necessary to increase it.

During his tenure, Wen blocked many projects that would have increased China's power supply.

Dams are increasingly unpopular in China, but the other options of coal or nuclear power are even more so.

Demand for power is only increasing as the Chinese economy and populace require more.

But, China aims to launch sixty big hydro plants according to its renewable energy "five year plan" for 2011-2015.

Goals are to increase output by nearly fifty percent, of what has been accomplished in the past.

Investigation of Deadly Indianapolis Explosion Goes Criminal

Authorities have made a big announcement about the November 10 explosion, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Two people were killed in the explosion, which obliterated two houses, destroyed three others, and damaged twenty more.

On Monday, Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons announced that the investigation was now a criminal homicide one.

Search warrants have been issued for a white van, which was seen leaving the neighborhood, before the explosion.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said that they are working on "determining if there are individuals who may be responsible for this explosion and fire".

A reward of ten thousand dollars has been announced, for information leading to an arrest in the case.

FARC Promises Cease Fire

Ivan Marquez, spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, said that they will cease all military actions starting at midnight on Monday.

The ceasefire will last through January 20.

Marquez is representing FARC at peace talks with the Colombian government, in Havana, Cuba.

However, Colombian President Enrique Santos has refused to agree to a cease fire for his forces.

The war between the two sides has gone on for over forty years.

While both sides agree that a peace must come to fruition within months, no time limit has been set on the talks.

One of the sticking points could very well be Colombia's requirement that FARC help end the drug trade, as part of the peace treaty.

FARC has survived the decades of struggle by an income which is mostly based off the drug trade.

Rwanda Says Congo Fired Across The Border

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo claims that her country was fired upon from Congo, on Monday.

According to the Foreign Minister, artillery from Congo fired repeatedly across the border, into the Rwandan town of Gisenyi.

She further said that as long as there were no further incidents, Rwanda would not respond to the attack.

This happened as M23, a Congolese rebel group, continues it's fight against the Congolese government.

M23 has halted their advance on the regional capital of Goma, only after the United Nations ordered them to do so, and brought in their own troops, to enforce that.

Both the UN and Congo accuse Rwanda of supporting M23, with money, weapons, and troops.

Palestinian Violence Against Israel Spreads to West Bank and Los Angeles

Palestinian violence against Israel and her supporters spreads to West Bank and Los Angeles.

Riots began, on Sunday, in the West Bank, as residents there came out to protest Israel's defending itself against Gazan terrorist attacks.

Israeli soldiers and police, who were attacked by mobs throwing rocks and other objects, responded with tear gas.

The riots have continued on through Monday as the people have begun turning on their own government for trying to keep them from protesting.

Unlike Hamas in Gaza, the group that runs the West Bank, Fatah, does their best to maintain peace with Israel.

Because they aren't busy throwing rockets at Israel, they have a much better economy and quality of life than the Gaza Strip does.

Violence hasn't been contained to Israel's borders.

Also, on Sunday, a pro Israel rally of more than one thousand people, in Los Angeles, California, was attacked by about two hundred and fifty Palestinian supporters.

LA Police, Sheriff Deputies, and California Highway Patrol quickly moved in to stop the violence, but were not fast enough to keep injuries from occurring.

The police presence was maintained until both groups had withdrawn.

Israel Eliminates Islamic Jihad Leader in Gaza

An Israeli air strike, on Monday, killed one of the top leaders of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad.

The strike struck a building which Hamas is using, partly to house media personnel in.

It's the second time that same building has been hit by an Israeli airstrike.

Israel said the first strike took out antennas, which Hamas was using to send military communications.

According to Gaza media, the death toll on their side of the border, is now over one hundred.

No foreign organizations have been able to confirm that report.

On Sunday, evidence came out that Hamas has been recycling pictures from the Syrian civil war, claiming that they are Gazan civilians, killed by Israel.

Allegations were placed on Hamas, that in some instances, they have killed people, including children, and then claimed them as victims of the airstrikes.

During all this, rockets continue to be fired out of Gaza, at Israel, as sixty-seven more fell on Monday, with the total number reaching near one thousand, fired over the last six days.

Nearly half of the Israeli population is in danger from the rocket attacks, most have fifteen seconds or less from time of warning, to seek shelter.

The Israeli Defense Forces are still massing near the border, in case a ground war becomes necessary.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, peace talks have gone nowhere, as the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, put forth extremely unreasonable demands, which include that the US turn it's back on Israel.

Meshaal says that unless that happens, and Israel gives into a list of demands, peace is "never" possible.

Nor has the Palestinian violence, against Israel, been contained to the Gaza Strip.