Here is some stuff in the news today...
Vladimir Putin ♥s Donald Trump: "'He's a very lively man, talented without doubt,' Putin said according to the Interfax news service after the three-hour news conference. He added that Trump is the 'absolute leader in the presidential race.'" Sounds about right.
[Content Note: Terrorism; guns] "Federal prosecutors have decided to bring criminal charges against the friend and former neighbor of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Several federal law enforcement officials tell NBC News that the first criminal charges to stem from the massacre will be brought against Enrique Marquez, a long-time friend and former neighbor of gunman Syed Rizwan Farook. ...Investigators have said Marquez bought the two assault rifles three years ago that wound up being used in the shooting."
This is potentially big news: "Doctors say there is now 'encouraging' evidence that an annual blood test may cut ovarian cancer deaths by a fifth. Ovarian tumours are often deadly as they are caught too late. A 14-year study on 200,000 women, published in the Lancet, has been welcomed as a potentially landmark moment in cancer screening. But the researchers and independent experts say it is still too soon to call for mass screening because of concerns about the analysis. ...The results are now in, but the interpretation is a bit messy and the researchers admit it is 'controversial.' Their initial statistical analysis of the data showed no benefit to screening. But there was a benefit when they removed the data from any women who may have already started to develop ovarian tumours. ...Trial leader Prof Usha Menon, from UCL, told the BBC News website: 'Is there clear evidence? I would say no. We don't have clear evidence to go ahead with screening, but what we have are really encouraging estimates of around a 20% reduction, which we need to confirm.' ...The researchers are continuing to follow the patients for what is expected to be another three years to confirm whether there is a benefit."
[CN: Toxic water] Yesterday, I wrote about the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan. Today: "Flint's 'toxic soup' polluted water worse for children than thought, doctor says." Fuck.
[CN: Islamophobia; violence] "We Asked GOP Candidates About the Surge in Anti-Muslim Violence in the US. Then Things Got Awkward. ...The reason for the awkwardness is pretty clear: Many on the political left have blamed Republican politicians for inspiring the acts of violence through their rhetoric. After describing a death threat he recently received, Muslim American Rep. André Carson (D-IN) said last week that the 'rise in Islamophobia' can be linked to the 'demagoguery' of Donald Trump."
[CN: Police misoconduct; rape culture; misogyny] "The Department of Justice (DOJ) on December 15 took steps toward preventing gender bias in police responses to sexual assault and domestic violence with a 26-page guidance document. Developed in collaboration with advocates for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse, the guidelines call on law enforcement officers to recognize and address their assumptions or stereotypes about domestic violence, treat victims with respect, and refer them to appropriate services, properly identify the assailant, and thoroughly investigate all reports of sexual abuse." Also, one hopes, officers will be told not to commit acts of violence on women themselves.
Hey, remember Martin Shkreli, the drug company magnate "who rocketed to infamy by jacking up the price of a life-saving pill from $13.50 to $750"? Well, he "was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home early Thursday morning on securities fraud related to a firm he founded." Aww! I hope the judge who oversees his bail hearing will take into account what he views as reasonable pricing!
[CN: Christian Supremacy; violent rhetoric] Good grief: The Republican Texas Commissioner of Agriculture posted on Facebook that "If one more person says Happy Holidays to me I just might slap them. Either tell me Merry Christmas or just don't say anything." Do these dipshits understand that "Happy Holidays" was A Thing long before people even intended it to be sensitive to non-Christians? Its origins were basically "happy time of year in the US that starts with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year."
"Watch Missy Elliott and Pharrell Crush 'WTF' on The Voice Season Finale." Okay! P.S. Missy Elliott 4ever.
A new study shows that dogs demonstrate prosocial behavior, i.e. the "act of helping another animal without necessarily benefiting from it in any way," which was previously observed in, and assumed to be expressed only by, primates.
And finally! Some absolutely stunning photos of Friesian horses by photographer Brian Musson.