In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today!

The Obama administration has granted a temporary exemption from the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. Ezra Klein details "how they're doing it—and what it means for the law."

[Content Note: War; death] At least 30,000 civilians in South Sudan are seeking refuge in United Nations outposts after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting a military coup, which Machar denies. "There have been unconfirmed reports that more than 500 people have been killed and that sectarian animosities between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups have been inflamed." The civilian population is increasingly at risk as the political situation deteriorates.

In a terrible reminder that this sort of governmental breakdown has vast devastating effects, even beyond immediate violence [CN: Death via disease]: A bubonic plague outbreak has killed 32 people in the last month in Madagascar. "Last year, Madagascar reported 60 deaths from bubonic plague. Poor hygiene and declining living standards as a result of a protracted political crisis since a coup in 2009 are cited as the primary causes of the spread of the disease."

[CN: Sexual assault in the US military] President Obama has ordered a review of the military's response to sexual assault in the armed forces, saying his administration has "an urgent obligation" to respond. But not that urgent: "The president is giving military leaders a year to report on their progress in responding to the crime."

Democratic Representative Barbara Lee, who is pretty much made of awesome, has introduced a bill called the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013 (HR 3774), which would end federal funding of abstinence-only programs and support comprehensive sexuality education. "We need to get serious about educating our young people about sex," said Lee. "Abstinence-only programs fail to address the challenge of unplanned pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections among our youth, which have reached a critical level. We must ensure that we provide comprehensive sex education programs that have been proven to work, instead of throwing money away on programs that don't."

[CN: Threat of war] Whut: "A South Korean news agency reported Friday that the North has threatened a 'merciless' attack without notice in response to anti-North rallies this week—and that it sent the warning by fax."

[CN: Injury] An investigation has begun into what caused a London theater to collapse, wounding more than 70 people, seven of them seriously.

Verizon says it will disclose "information on the number of requests for customer records it received from law enforcement agencies this year. ...The report will provide the total number of law-enforcement agency requests Verizon received in criminal cases, the company said. In addition, it will break that data into categories including subpoenas, court orders and warrants. Verizon said it also will provide other details about the requests for customer data."

[CN: War on agency; misogyny; Christian Supremacy] ACLU: "Before You Go to a Catholic Hospital, Read This." Of course, if you're insured and not independently wealthy and the only in-network hospitals to which you have access are Catholic hospitals, there's not much choice about whether to go to a Catholic hospital.

Dogs probably recognize their guardians' faces, even in photos.

Kathleen Turner: "I don't look like I did 30 years ago. Get over it!" Awesome. Totally awesome.

Recommended Reading on Twitter: #FreeMarissa

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