In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War] This is not good news: "[Ukrainian] President Petro Poroshenko has told MPs the military must prepare to defend against a possible 'full-scale invasion' from Russia, amid a surge of violence in eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied that its military is involved in Ukraine, but Mr Poroshenko said 9,000 of its troops were deployed. Clashes involving tanks took place in two areas west of Donetsk on Wednesday. There was a 'colossal threat' that large-scale fighting would resume, the president told parliament in Kiev. The outbreak of violence, in the government-held towns of Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, was among the worst in eastern Ukraine since a ceasefire was signed in Minsk in February."

[CN: Police brutality] An update from Baltimore on the case against the officers who killed Freddie Gray: "Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby plans to seek a protective order that would block the release of Freddie Gray's autopsy report and other 'sensitive' documents as she prosecutes the six police officers involved in his arrest. Mosby told The Baltimore Sun that prosecutors 'have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved' and 'will not be baited into litigating this case through the media.'" Naturally, defense attorneys for the officers are claiming that Mosby's actions prove "there is something in that autopsy report that they are trying to hide." Of course. Funny how there aren't similar complaints when documents are leaked by prosecutors in other jurisdictions who are defending the police via the media.

[CN: Murder] In other news from Baltimore: "Baltimore police are seeking federal assistance to combat a surging crime rate as the city deals with the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, an incident that sparked days of intense protests. Police commissioner Anthony Batts said on Wednesday that the department had requested more federal agents and prosecutors to be dispatched to Baltimore after the city recorded 43 murders in May, the highest murder rate in the city since 1972. 'We understand fully the concern over the recent violence,' Batts said. 'Nothing is more important than the sanctity of human life within this city.'" A+ for connecting crime to protesters who are are trying to make sure that human life actually does matter, and isn't just empty words said unironically by cynical men.

[CN: Fat bias; bullying; self-harm] New research has confirmed (again) what fat people have been saying for years: "Negative stereotypes towards heavier individuals starts to affect long-term life opportunities from a young age. A number of studies in recent years have suggested that bigger children fare less well in school than their slimmer peers. ...[N]umerous other studies have now reported negative weight-related stereotypes and anti-fat attitudes being held by teachers at every stage of the school system, from kindergarten upwards. ...These early disadvantages have serious implications. First, there is the direct psychological cost of this hostile environment, including greater rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among heavier young people. A recent study even suggested that bullying may be more harmful than child abuse in the long-term. But there is also a cost in terms of more limited life opportunities. In general, heavier individuals tend to have fewer years of education overall, are less likely to go on to higher education, and are less likely to get into graduate school. In all cases, the effects seem stronger for women and girls and negatively impact them at every stage in their careers. In fact, the research in this area tells us that heavier individuals, and in women in particular, are less likely to be hired, more likely to be disciplined or fired, receive poorer performance appraisals, and earn less money for the same work."

[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture] A Navy sailor who pleaded guilty to "secretly videotaping female trainees as they undressed for showers aboard a submarine" faces a maximum of six years in prison. Prosecutors have asked the judge for a three-year sentence, and his defense attorney has asked for "no more than six months," because he has a wife and children and because: "You don't have a predator on your hands. You have a young man who made terrible decisions." Fuck. Off.

[CN: Worker exploitation] Democratic US Senators Chris Murphy (Connecticut) and Al Franken (Minnesota) have introduced legislation banning noncompete contracts for low-wage workers. The bill "would ban noncompete clauses for workers making less than $15 an hour or $31,200 annually, or the minimum wage in the employee's municipality. The move follows reports the Jimmy John's sandwich shops requires some of its low-wage workers to sign two-year noncompete agreements prohibiting them from working at retail stores that make at least 10 percent of their sales from sandwiches. The legislation is dubbed the 'Mobility and Opportunity for Vulnerable Employees (MOVE) Act' and is also supported by the National Employment Law Project." GOOD. Let's hope the Republican majority is willing to let it come up for a vote and then supports it. (I bet they won't! For no legitimate reason!)

[CN: Worker exploitation] At Think Progress, Bryce Covert has an excellent piece on the increasingly common employment structure at salons, in which stylists are considered self-employed yet are still subjected to rules and regulations as though they are employees.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Whoa! "An Australian scientist has discovered that giant, invisible, moving plasma tubes fill the skies above Earth. It's a finding that was initially met with a considerable degree of scepticism within the field of astrophysics, but a University of Sydney undergraduate student Cleo Loi, 23, has proven that the phenomenon exists. By using a radio telescope in the West Australian outback to see space in 3D, Ms Loi has proven that the Earth's atmosphere is embedded with these strangely shaped, tubular plasma structures. The complex, multilayered ducts are created by the atmosphere being ionised by sunlight." AMAZING.

YES, PLEASE! Actress Gabourey Sidibe is working on a memoir scheduled for publication in 2017, which she says will contain "stories 'too long, shady, and impolite' for interviews." LOL love her!

OMGOMGOMG! Mad Max: Fury Road My Little Pony. I repeat: Mad Max: Fury Road My Little Pony!!!

Are you even kidding me with this cuteness?! "Seven new species of miniature frogs discovered (and they’re adorable)."

And finally! Connor was a deaf shelter dog who was having trouble finding a forever home, even though he was a quick study at learning sign language. That is, until he was featured on the local news: "[I]t was enough to have someone notice him, and come into the shelter. The man inquiring about Connor was also deaf, and thought he would be able to give Connor a great home. He had seen the news coverage, and came in as soon as he could. By the end of the day, Connor had a new home." ♥ ♥ ♥

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