In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; terrorism] Welp: "U.S.-led airstrikes have failed to slow the number of IS attacks and its defiant militants are now racking up a higher body count than ever before, according to data provided exclusively to NBC News. ...Data [from IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center's (JTIC) database] showed that IS massively stepped up attacks after conquering the Iraqi city of Mosul on June 10—and has stepped them up further since airstrikes were launched in August. Deaths caused by IS also climbed since the key city was overrun and have continued to rise since the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the militants. 'The airstrikes certainly aren't impairing their ability to intensify their attacks or carry out their campaign,' said Matthew Henman, head of the JTIC. 'They're not cowed by them; they're not afraid.'" Super.

[CN: Homophobia] Here we go: "As expected, the ACLU and Lambda Legal have filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the Sixth Circuit's anti-equality ruling that upheld gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky." *bites nails*

President Obama plans to make a move on immigration (and naturally the Republicans are already saying they'll fight it): "The Obama administration is considering a plan that would shield possibly around 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally from deportation as part of a broad set of executive actions that President Barack Obama could announce as early as next week, people familiar with the discussions say. ...The 5 million estimate includes extending deportation protections to parents and spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years. The president is also likely to expand his 2-year-old program that protects young immigrants from deportation. Such a step would represent an expansive use of Obama's executive authority. The step would fall shy of what many immigrant advocates have been demanding, but is sure to enrage Republicans who are already trying to devise ways to thwart his actions."

You know, with Republicans preparing to, in the words of Speaker John Boehner, "fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path," Obama might as well take the opportunity to do something truly radical on immigration.

President Obama is also pledging funds to assist poorer countries with climate change efforts: "America plans to pledge at least $2.5bn and as much as $3bn over the next four years to help poor countries invest in clean energy and cope with rising seas and extreme weather, according to those briefed by administration officials. The financial commitment will be unveiled as world leaders gather for the G20 summit in Brisbane, sending a powerful signal of Obama's determination to act on climate change despite the Republican takeover of Congress in mid-term elections."

[CN: Maternal death; illness] While the number of Ebola patients in the US is now zero, and the midterms are over so there's no use for Ebola alarmism in the States, Ebola patients in West Africa still desperately need our attention—and here is just one of many reasons: "One in seven women could die during childbirth in the West African countries most impacted by the Ebola crisis, according to members of the Disasters Emergency Committee, a coalition of aid organizations in the UK. Though on the decline before the outbreak, maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea were still some of the highest in the world. Now, these rates are expected to soar. The state of many local hospitals and clinics, strained by the influx of patients fighting the disease, has discouraged pregnant women from seeking antenatal care due to fear of interaction with bodily fluids. Korto Williams, the head of ActionAid in Liberia, said online videos have emerged of women giving birth in the streets with no help, because bystanders feared they had the disease." If you can afford to help, you can donate to Doctors Without Borders here.

Oh, Philae! "Scientists have begun activating a drill and hammer on board the robotic comet probe Philae in an attempt to move it into sunlight so that its solar panels can be charged. Time is running out for the European Space Agency's lander. Since its bumpy triple touchdown on Wednesday, the spacecraft has been resting on its side, lodged in the shadows of a cliff or large boulder. Philae has been receiving just 1.5 hours of sunlight instead of the expected 6-7 hours. This is not enough to charge the secondary batteries. With an initial battery life of about 60 hours, Philae's mission could be over in less than 20 hours."

Oooooooooh! "The Rosetta spacecraft and its Philae lander have a lot to teach scientists about what Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko looks like, is composed of, and even what it smells like, but what does the comet sound like? The day before Philae made history by landing on the surface of the comet, ESA released an audio clip of 67P/C-G singing. Unfortunately, its song is creepy as hell and sounds a lot like Predator, the alien that tried to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger." LOL! I don't think that's "unfortunate," unless "unfortunate" means "awesome" now.

Solar cloth! "A British start-up has developed a way for parking lots and structures with roofs that can't take much weight to harness the power of the sun. The Cambridge, England-based Solar Cloth Company is beginning to run trials of its solar cloth, which uses lightweight photovoltaic fabric that can be stretched across parking lots or on buildings that can't hold heavy loads, such as sports stadiums with lightweight, retractable roofs." Neat!

Hey, fellow Izzard-heads! "Penguin Random House imprint Blue Rider Press has acquired a memoir by English standup comedian and actor, Eddie Izzard. The book, not yet titled, is slated for publication in the winter of 2015 or 2016." Will this book arrive covered in bees?

And finally! These videos of Betty the French Bulldog and Gary the Cat playing together are hilariously adorbz!

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