In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Rape; war crimes] "The International Criminal Court broke new ground Monday by adding rape to a war crimes conviction, finding the former vice president of Congo guilty of abuses—including sexual crimes—in connection with a militia intervention in the neighboring Central African Republic. It was the first time the Netherlands-based court has convicted anyone of sexual violence since it was launched in 2002, raising the possibility of future prosecutions that include accusations of rape and related abuses as elements of war. 'The judgment sends a clear message that impunity for sexual violence as a tool of war will not be tolerated,' said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa." This is incredibly good and very important news.

[CN: War on agency] A must-read by Imani Gandy and Jessica Mason Pieklo on "The Right's Ongoing Battle Against the Birth Control Benefit: The Supreme Court will hear arguments this week in the second direct challenge to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act. It's a fight that's been years in the making."

[CN: Guns] Good grief: "Supreme Court justices are nominated by the president and appointed with the advice and consent of the National Rifle Association, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell offered this unusual view of the confirmation process during an interview with Fox News Sunday. In response to a question from host Chris Wallace, who asked if Senate Republicans would consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court after the election if Hillary Clinton prevails, McConnell responded that he 'can't imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association [and] the National Federation of Independent Businesses.'"

LOL DAMN: Senator Elizabeth Warren lets loose on Donald Trump: "Let's be honest—Donald Trump is a loser. Count all his failed businesses. See how he kept his father's empire afloat by cheating people with scams like Trump University and by using strategic corporate bankruptcy (excuse me, bankruptcies) to skip out on debt. Listen to the experts who've concluded he's so bad at business that he might have more money today if he'd put his entire inheritance into an index fund and just left it alone. Trump seems to know he's a loser. His embarrassing insecurities are on parade: petty bullying, attacks on women, cheap racism, and flagrant narcissism. But just because Trump is a loser everywhere else doesn't mean he'll lose this election. People have been underestimating his campaign for nearly a year—and it's time to wake up."

[CN: Climate change] Welp: "New polls indicate that concern for environmental issues has risen ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Americans are taking global warming more seriously now than at any period in the last eight years, according to Gallup's annual environment survey. Sixty-four percent of Americans said that they are either worried a 'great deal' or 'fair amount' about global warming. At this time in 2015, only 55 percent of Americans said they felt this way." I can't believe it's still only 64%, but at least we're moving in the right direction.

[CN: Misogyny] In women's tennis: "Before Sunday's finals at the BNP Paribas Open, current tournament director Raymond Moore told reporters that the women 'ride on the coattails of the men.' He later issued a written apology." I'm sure he's real sorry. Naturally, the "controversy" (as rank misogyny in sports is always euphemized) did not end there: "World number one Novak Djokovic says male tennis players should earn more money than their female counterparts because more people watch them play." He seems neat.

Cool: "There's something truly unique happening in the space around our planet this week as a pair of comets, which may be 'twin' space rocks that broke apart at some point, make two of the closest passes by Earth in modern history. To add a little to the cosmic drama, the larger of the twins is coming in much brighter than expected. So bright, in fact, that it may be possible to see it with the naked eye. ...Earth won't quite be hosting a family reunion, but the two comets will be passing by in pretty quick succession, especially on the galactic scale. First up is 252P/LINEAR, approximately 750 feet (230 meters) in size, flying by us on Monday at a distance of about 3.3 million miles (5.2 million kilometers). Then on Tuesday, the newly discovered comet P/2016 BA14 will pass us at a distance of about 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers). This will be the third-closest flyby of a comet in recorded history."

And finally! "A nocturnal 'cat burglar' has been stealing dozens of socks and men's underwear in New Zealand. In two months, six-year-old Tonkinese cat Brigit from Hamilton city brought back 11 pairs of underpants and more than 50 socks. Her owner, Sarah Nathan, has documented her feline's strange obsession on a widely shared Facebook post. ...Ms Nathan told the BBC that the trouble first began when she started discovering 'odd pieces' of underwear among her washing. 'They didn't belong to anyone in the house and one day Brigit walked into our lounge carrying a sock like a kitten,' she said, adding that Brigit's unlucky victims were probably a nearby flat 'full of blokes.' ...'Brigit doesn't hunt birds or wildlife so it seems unnecessary and our neighbours have been very good natured about it. But we are moving to the country soon so hopefully she will run out of opportunity!" LOL. Oh cats.

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