In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; terrorism] In Iraq: "Iraqi government forces have retaken a large part of north-western Tikrit as they battle IS militants to recapture the city, security officials say. ...On Wednesday, a security official at the Samarra Operations Command in Salahuddin province told the BBC that government forces had entered north-eastern Tikrit after 10 days of heavy fighting in towns and villages along the Tigris river to the north and south. He said soldiers and Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation (Hashid Shaabi) militiamen now controlled two-thirds of Qadisya, Tikrit's largest district, and had raised the Iraqi flag at the nearby military hospital."

[CN: Death] It is still being considered a search and rescue mission, but: "Seven Marines and four soldiers were presumed dead after an Army helicopter crashed during a nighttime training mission off the Florida coast, where some remains have washed ashore and search efforts were hampered by heavy fog, U.S. military officials said on Wednesday." My sympathies to their families, friends, and colleagues, who are still waiting for definitive answers at this point.

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton made a statement and answered questions about her email usage while at the State Department. The complete transcript is available here. Relatedly: "The Associated Press sued the U.S. State Department for Hillary Clinton's e-mails and other records, a day after the potential presidential candidate said she wouldn't consent to an outside review of her private server where the e-mails were stored."

[CN: Police brutality; racism] Meanwhile, in Ferguson: "Ferguson's chief executive resigned Tuesday night, becoming the latest in a string of law enforcement officers and officials to leave their posts following the release of a scathing Department of Justice report. John Shaw, 39, had served as Ferguson's city manager since 2007, according to the New York Times. The newspaper reported that Shaw's resignation was announced at a city council meeting where members of the Council unanimously approved a 'mutual separation agreement.' ...Shaw denied in his resignation letter that his office had anything to do with implementing policies that discriminated against some Ferguson residents. 'While I certainly respect the work that the D.O.J. recently performed in their investigation and report on the City of Ferguson, I must state clearly that my office has never instructed the Police Department to target African-Americans, nor falsify charges to administer fines, nor heap abuses on the backs of the poor,' he wrote, as quoted by the newspaper." Well, he seems terrific. Really seems to "get it." (That was sarcasm, in case I wasn't laying it on thick enough.)

[CN: Domestic violence; animal abuse] This is so important: "As many as 25% of domestic violence survivors have reported returning to an abusive partner out of concern for their pet. And that fear is often justified. Recent studies demonstrate that abusers intentionally target pets to exert control over their intimate partners—71% of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threatened, harmed, or killed a family pet. This point bears repeating: victims ready to escape from abuse are instead risking their lives to protect beloved family pets. No one should have to make the impossible choice between leaving an abusive situation and ensuring a pet's safety. ...That's where the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act comes in. Reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today, this bipartisan bill criminalizes the intentional targeting of a domestic partner's pet with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate. It also establishes a federal grant program to help victims safely house their pets, and adds veterinary care to the list of costs that victims can recover. Additionally, the PAWS Act strongly asserts the need for states to expand their legal protections for the pets of domestic violence victims."

Cool: "Dark Energy Survey Reveals Signs of Nine Dwarf Galaxies: "Two groups of astronomers looking around the edges of our Milky Way galaxy were surprised to find a gaggle of previously undetected dwarf satellite galaxies—incredibly dim conglomerations of stars that may account for some of the mysterious dark matter in our cosmic neighborhood. Nine galaxy candidates were discovered in a region of the southern celestial hemisphere near the best-known dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way: the Large and the Small Magellanic Cloud. The closest is about 95,000 light-years away. The farthest is more than a million light-years distant."

Scientists have discovered what makes a chameleon able to change color: "A team of scientists from the University of Geneva has observed that chameleons have a layer of skin cells which contain nanocrystals floating within them. Relatively evenly distributed in the cellular matrix, these crystals reflect light at wavelengths—and hence color—related to their spacing. But the researchers have also found that chameleons can change the spacing between crystals. It's this that enables them to change color before our eyes." Whoa!

And finally! Bow-Z the dog and Jasper the cat were apart for ten days, and Jasper is REALLY HAPPY to see Bow-Z again! Aww lol.

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