In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today!

[Content Note: War; displacement] Government forces in South Sudan have launched an offensive against rebels, causing thousands of people to flee from Bentiu. "As peace talks in neighbouring Ethiopia continue to falter, at least 201,000 people are now displaced across the country, 60,000 of whom are receiving UN support. An estimated 32,000 have fled to neighbouring Uganda, which has called for financial support."

The massive credit/debit breach at Target reported last month was actually "nearly twice as large as previously revealed, with the retailer saying 70 million customers were hit—making it one of the largest security breaches of its kind. ...The stolen information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million individuals." Fuhhhhhhhhh.

Yesterday, the Obama administration announced "that women at risk for breast cancer will be able to get preventive cancer drugs, like tamoxifen and raloxifene, at no additional cost to them under the Affordable Care Act," clearing up ambiguity about whether "chemoprevention drugs" qualify as a preventative service.

[CN: Transphobia] 16-year-old Jewelyes Gutierrez is a trans student who was bullied by her classmates at school, where the administration did not respond to her request for intervention. So when she fought back as her only recourse, she was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery. Meanwhile, her harassers got a temporary suspension. Her sister has started a petition asking the District Attorney to drop the charges against Jewelyes, which you can sign here.

[CN: Environmental harm] A chemical spill along the Elk river in Charleston, West Virginia, "has resulted in a tap water ban for as many as 300,000 people, shutting down schools, bars and restaurants and forcing residents to queue at stores for bottled water. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for nine counties as a result of Thursday's spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, a chemical used in the coal industry. ...Health officials were advising residents to use the water only for flushing toilets and fighting fires."

[CN: Medical malpractice] ProPublica, in its continuing investigation into patient safety in the US, shares reader stories about failing to find representation for malpractice cases, because they or their lost family members didn't earn enough or weren't young enough to make the cases financially viable. Accountability is for the rich.

Neat: "Astronomers have found a new class of 'hypervelocity stars'—lone stars traveling fast enough to break away from the gravitational pull of the Milky Way galaxy. ...Experts believe that a star must get a million-plus mile-per-hour boost relative to the motion of the galaxy to achieve escape velocity. They also approximate that the Milky Way's central black hole has a mass equivalent to four millions suns, big enough to generate a gravitational force powerful enough to speed up stars to hyper velocities. When a binary pair of stars becomes caught in the black hole's grip, this is what happens: As one of the stars spiral in toward the black hole, its companion is heaved outward at an incredible velocity. So far, 18 giant blue hypervelocity stars have been discovered than could have been generated by such a mechanism."

Blub: 78-year-old Joseph Cox slipped and fell outside his home in the cold and couldn't get up, but his neighbor's dog Angus made sure he was rescued.

And finally: CSIRO builds Sophie a dragon! [Background story. Note: Video begins playing automatically at link.]

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