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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw. The guest editor is annetteboardman.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

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BBC
 

Japan's nuclear watchdog has said the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is facing a new "emergency" caused by a build-up of radioactive groundwater.

A barrier built to contain the water has already been breached, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority warned.

This means the amount of contaminated water seeping into the Pacific Ocean could accelerate rapidly, it said.

There has been spate of water leaks and power failures at the plant, devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), has been criticised heavily for its lack of transparency over the leaks.

Reuters
 

Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an "emergency" that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country's nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.

Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co are only a temporary solution, he said.

Tepco's "sense of crisis is weak," Kinjo said. "This is why you can't just leave it up to Tepco alone" to grapple with the ongoing disaster.

"Right now, we have an emergency," he said.

Intro

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US NEWS

Reuters
 

Two people were killed and four others wounded when gunfire erupted on Monday at a public meeting in a government building in rural Pennsylvania, and the suspected shooter was taken into custody, a county spokesman said.

The shooting took place at a meeting of local supervisors in Ross Township in the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania, said Jeffrey Strunk, a spokesman for Monroe County, where the township is located.

The Pocono Record newspaper, which said one of its reporters had witnessed the shooting, said the shots were fired through a wall and into the meeting.

New York Times
 

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s decision last week to close nearly two dozen diplomatic missions and issue a worldwide travel alert resulted from intercepted electronic communications in which the head of Al Qaeda in Pakistan ordered the leader of its affiliate in Yemen, the terrorist organization’s most lethal branch, to carry out an attack as early as this past Sunday, according to American officials.

The intercepted conversations last week between Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the head of the global terrorist group, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, revealed one of the most serious plots against American and other Western interests since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, American intelligence officials and lawmakers have said.

Reuters
 

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don't know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

NPR
 

The Obama administration's weekend decision to close diplomatic posts from Central Asia through the Middle East and into North Africa has led to applause from "rattled lawmakers in both parties," The Washington Post writes.

They're praising the administration's response to what lawmakers say is some of the most serious intelligence since before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that terrorists are planning strikes — most likely in the regions where diplomatic posts were closed, but possibly elsewhere.

"The administration's call to close these embassies ... was actually a very smart call," House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said on CBS-TV's Face the Nation.

"It's a very credible threat, and it's based on intelligence," Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., said on ABC-TV's This Week. "What we have to do now is the most important issue, is protect Americans throughout the world."

As we reported Sunday, the State Department has extended the closings, through next Saturday, at 19 locations: Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali and Port Louis. Posts in nine locations were to reopen Monday. They are: Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah and Erbil.

The Guardian
 

A US military helicopter crashed Monday at an American base on the southern island of Okinawa, and all four crew members are believed to have survived, Japanese and US officials said.

The HH-60 rescue helicopter, which belongs to Okinawa's Kadena air base, was on an unspecified training mission when it crashed at Camp Hansen, a US air force statement said.

Television footage showed smoke rising from a spot in the forest, with a mangled object that appeared to be the frame of the helicopter ablaze.

The US statement said the cause of the crash was not known, and did not elaborate on the condition of the four crew members on board.

However, defense minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters, citing information he had received, that three crew members ejected from the helicopter and the fourth was apparently injured and taken to hospital.

The Guardian
 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is threatening energy giant BP with a $28m fine over alleged irregular trades in natural gas, just a week after it reached a $410m settlement with JP Morgan.

In a sign that the agency is stepping up its action against powerful trading firms it suspects of manipulation, the FERC required BP on Monday to respond to allegations that it first made back in 2011, about trades made by BP's south-east gas trading desk in 2008.

FERC alleges that BP tried to increase the value of its gas contracts by manipulating the price of physical gas through false trades. FERC is also looking to claim $800,000 in BP's profits from the scheme.

BP heatedly denied the allegations, calling them "without merit".

Geoff Merrell, BP's head of communications, said in a statement: "BP is disappointed that the FERC has brought this action and we will vigorously defend against these allegations. The FERC bases its allegations on a recorded two-minute phone conversation between a BP trainee and BP natural gas trader that the regulator has taken completely out of context."

The Guardian
 

Florida is preparing to execute a schizophrenic man who believes that he is the immortal prince of God vested with superhuman powers that include an ability to control the sun, despite the US constitution's prohibition against putting mentally ill people to death.

John Ferguson, 65, will be killed by lethal injection at 6pm on Monday unless his lawyers can convince the US supreme court to intervene. Ferguson's legal team, backed by a raft of prominent legal and mental health organisations, are appealing on the nation's highest legal panel to step in on grounds that the execution would be a flagrant violation of the Eighth Amendment of the US constitution that bars "cruel and unusual punishment".

Nobody disputes that Ferguson is guilty of a singularly gruesome sequence of murders. He was part of a group that killed six people in the course of an armed robbery in Carol City, in 1977, and then went on the following year to kill two 17-year-old school students, Belinda Worley and Brian Glenfeldt, in the same Florida area.

But opponents of the execution argue that he should be transferred to a life sentence with no chance of parole – in other words, he would spent the rest of his natural life in jail – because he is mentally ill and has been consistently since well before he committed the crimes. A chart put together by his lawyers show that he was first diagnosed as having visual hallucinations by a Florida state prison psychologist in 1965

Reuters
 

Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos has agreed to buy the newspaper assets of the Washington Post Co, including its flagship daily, for $250 million.

The surprise deal follows the New York Times Co's sale of the Boston Globe for $70 million, and is a further indication of the unprecedented challenges newspapers face as advertising revenue and readership declines.

Washington Post Chairman and Chief Executive Donald E. Graham, whose family owns the paper, said it would be better served with another owner.

"I, along with Katharine Weymouth and our board of directors, decided to sell only after years of familiar newspaper-industry challenges made us wonder if there might be another owner who would be better for the Post," Graham said.

"Jeff Bezos' proven technology and business genius, his long-term approach and his personal decency make him a uniquely good new owner for the Post."

WORLD NEWS

Spiegel Online
 

German intelligence sends massive amounts of intercepted data to the NSA, according to documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden, which SPIEGEL has seen. The trans-Atlantic cooperation on technical matters is also much closer than first thought.

Agents with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) sometimes wax lyrical when they look back on their time in Germany -- to the idyllic Chiemsee lake and the picturesque Bavarian town of Bad Aibling. Anyone who has received "a free beer at the club email" and knows "that leberkäse is made of neither liver, nor cheese" can claim to be a real Bavaria veteran, former NSA employees write in a document called the "A Little Bad Aibling Nostalgia."

Reuters
 

Fonterra, the world's leading exporter of dairy products, apologized on Monday for a milk powder contamination scare in China that risks tainting New Zealand's reputation for food safety.

The company said at the weekend it found bacteria that could cause food poisoning in some products. Contaminated whey protein concentrate had been sold to China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Saudi Arabia and used in products including infant milk powder and sports drinks, it said.

Rushing to China, one of Fonterra's biggest markets, CEO Theo Spierings sought to reassure customers, telling local media that processing methods would kill off harmful bacteria.

"We really regret the distress and anxiety which this issue could have caused," he said. "We totally understand there is concern by parents and other consumers around the world. Parents have the right to know that infant nutrition and other dairy products are harmless and safe."

Spierings said Fonterra, a leader in New Zealand's $9 billion dairy export trade, was not facing a ban on its products in China, only restrictions on whey protein concentrate.

Reuters
 

Flash floods caused by unusually heavy rain across Afghanistan and Pakistan killed more than 160 people and stranded villagers in remote areas without shelter, food or power in one of South Asia's worst natural disasters this year, officials said on Monday.

Mountainous Afghanistan was the worst hit, with 61 people killed and about 500 traditional mud-brick homes washed away in more than a dozen villages in Sarobi, a rural district less than an hour from the national capital, Kabul, officials said.

In the remote eastern Afghan province of Nuristan at least 60 homes were destroyed across three districts, said provincial spokesman Mohammad Yusufi. No one was killed.

Authorities were unable to get aid to some badly affected villages by land as roads in the area are controlled by the Taliban, Yusufi added.

"We have asked the national government for help as have an overwhelming number of locals asking for assistance, but this is a Taliban-ridden area," Yusufi said.

Al Jazeera
 

Protesters have clashed with police forces as a Turkish court handed down judgements in a conspiracy case that has exposed deep divisions in the country.

After the verdicts were announced on Monday, fierce clashes erupted between police and about 10,000 protesters near the courthouse in Silivri, a town in the outskirts of Istanbul

Demonstrators threw stones at riot police who responded with water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the protest that was blocking traffic.

Hundreds of people also took to streets in the capital, Ankara, to protest against the court ruling, chanting: "We are soldiers of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk," a reference to the founder of modern Turkey.

Al Jazeera
 

A decree issued by Egypt's interim head of state means people no longer face jail for insulting the president, after a surge in such cases under deposed leader Mohamed Morsi.

The legal change by interim president Adly Mansour was welcomed by activists, who had voiced concern over the high number of investigations during Morsi's one-year rule, which ended when he was toppled by the military on July 3.

But Human Rights Watch said the Monday decree did not go far enough, arguing that insulting the president "should not be an offence in the first place".

Several Egyptians were investigated for insulting Morsi during his brief term in office, fuelling fears that he was trying to crush freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The most high-profile case was that of Bassem Youssef, a popular comedian, who regularly poked fun at Morsi.

The prosecutor general ordered Youssef's arrest in March, drawing criticism from Washington, but he was eventually released on bail.

Al Jazeera
 

At least six people have been killed and 29 wounded in a powerful bomb blast in the centre of the southern Philippines city of Cotabato, police have said.

The explosive device was placed in a vehicle - either a motorcycle or a van - parked near a hospital and a school, city police chief Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin said on Monday.

"The explosion was on a very busy street," Balquin told local Catholic radio station DXMS.

The late-afternoon blast damaged at least four vehicles and triggered a fire that engulfed a nearby mortuary and a tyre repair shop, he added.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and Balquin said the motive was still being investigated.

Mujiv Hataman, governor of a regional autonomous area whose office is 800m away from the blast site, said the explosion rattled his windows and shattered a quiet afternoon just before Muslims were to end their Ramadan fast.

"That area has always been a busy street, full of traffic. There are a lot of establishments there and people come and go at all hours," he told AFP news agency by telephone.

Al Jazeera
 

A Muslim leader seen as a major figure in efforts to end bloody fighting in Thailand's south has been shot dead, raising concern about the future of peace talks.

Imam Yacob Raimanee of the Pattani Central Mosque - the main house of Islamic worship in one of several violence-plagued southern provinces - was gunned down on Monday afternoon in the town of Pattani, police said.

The killing came despite an agreement between Thailand and Muslim rebels from the region to try to avoid bloodshed during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends this week.

"I can say that this incident is worrying," National Security Council chief and lead peace negotiator Paradorn Pattanatabut told the AFP news agency. "The imam was one of those supporting the talks... he was killed, so we are concerned," he said.

NPR
 

A group of Italian researchers who have studied troves of World War II documents have found no evidence that Giovanni Palatucci, a police official long credited as the "Italian Schindler," saved the lives of 5,000 Jews.

The findings are demolishing the Italian national icon and angering supporters of the man who has been honored at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and who has been put on the track to sainthood.

'Unfounded' Claims Of Heroism?

The Italian city of Trieste is home to the Risiera di San Sabba, a rice warehouse used during World War II as the only death camp on Italian soil.

Administered directly by the Third Reich, according to an audio guide, it was "the center and emblem of Nazi repression in the Adriatic coastal area, [and] transit station of political and racial prisoners to other camps of the Reich, generally Dachau, Buchenwald and Mauthausen for political prisoners, Auschwitz and later Bergen-Belsen for the Jews."

SCIENCE, HEALTH AND TECHNOLOGY

NPR
 

When Sally O'Neill's doctor told her she had an early form of cancer in one of her breasts, she didn't agonize about what she wanted to.

The 42-year-old mother of two young girls wanted a double mastectomy.

"I decided at that moment that I wanted them both taken off," says O'Neill, who lives in a suburb of Boston. "There wasn't a real lot of thought process to it. I always thought, 'If this happens to me, this is what I'm going to do.' Because I'm not taking any chances. I want the best possible outcome. I don't want to do a wait-and-see."

Today, 10 years later, O'Neill has no regrets about what most people would consider a radical decision. And as it turns out, she was at the leading edge of a trend.

O'Neill had ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS. The number of women who get double mastectomies because of DCIS is small — around one in 16 women (see accompanying chart). But the rate has doubled in the past 10 years.

NPR
 

The world's soil is in trouble. Ecologists say without dramatic changes to how we manage land, vast swathes of grassland are at risk of turning into hard-packed desert. To make sure that doesn't happen, researchers are testing out innovative ways to keep moisture in the soil.

In eastern Colorado, one way could be in the plodding hooves of cattle.

Conventional wisdom tells you that if ranchland ground has less grass, the problem is too many cows. But that's not always the case. It depends on how you manage them, if you make sure they keep moving.

"Plants actually respond to grazing. It actually stimulates growth in some ways," said William Burnidge, an ecologist with the Nature Conservancy. Burnidge runs the Conservancy's Colorado grassland program, which includes a 14,000-acre nature preserve and working commercial cattle ranch, the Fox Ranch.

ScienceBlog
 

For quantum physicists, entangling quantum systems is one of their every day tools. Entanglement is a key resource for upcoming quantum computers and simulators. Now, physicists in Innsbruck/Austria and Geneva/Switzerland realized a new, reliable method to verify entanglement in the laboratory using a minimal number of assumptions about the system and measuring devices. Hence, this method witnesses the presence of useful entanglement. Their findings on this ‘verification without knowledge’ has been published in Nature Physics.

ScienceBlog
 

Low-cost solar power could supply more than a third of all energy needs in the Western U.S., if the nation can hit its targets for reducing the cost of solar energy, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. The UC Berkeley scientists used a detailed computer model they developed of the West’s electric power grid to predict what will happen if the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) succeeds with its SunShot Initiative, which aims to make solar power more affordable and accessible to Americans. The model also considered the effects of enacting proposed carbon policies, such as a carbon cap.

CNET
 

For the first time in more than 20 years, the White House squashed a verdict handed down by a top U.S. trade court, a result of an ongoing patent dispute between Samsung and Apple.

The move came as a surprise to industry watchers, despite coming only a couple of months after the government set up a task force to "protect innovators from frivilous litigation." The Obama administration has long had professional and political links with Apple, the iPhone and iPad maker at the center of the dispute with Samsung over patents crucial to industry standards.

But the move itself was not a show of support to the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant. It was to send a signal that "enough was enough, already."

CNET
 

The research team that discovered significant security holes in more than a dozen home Wi-Fi routers adds more devices to that list at Defcon 21

More major brand-name Wi-Fi router vulnerabilities continue to be discovered, and continue to go unpatched, a security researcher has revealed at Defcon 21.

Jake Holcomb, a security researcher at the Baltimore, Md.-based firm Independent Security Evaluators and the lead researcher into Wi-Fi router vulnerabilities, said that problem is worse than when ISE released its original findings in April.

The latest study continues to show that the small office and home office Wi-Fi routers are "very vulnerable to attack," Holcomb said.

The Guardian
 

Rising ocean temperatures are rearranging the biological make-up of our oceans, pushing species towards the poles by 7kms every year, as they chase the climates they can survive in, according to new research.

The study, conducted by a working group of scientists from 17 different institutions, gathered data from seven different countries and found the warming oceans are causing marine species to alter their breeding, feeding and migration patterns.

Surprisingly, land species are shifting at a rate of less than 1km a year in comparison, even though land surface temperatures are rising at a much faster rate than those in the ocean.

“In general, the air is warming faster than the ocean because the air has greater capacity to absorb temperature. So we expected to see more rapid response on land than in the ocean. But we sort of found the inverse,” said study researcher Dr Christopher Brown, post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute.

Brown said this may be because marine animals are able to move vast distances, or it could be because it’s easier to escape changing temperatures on land where there are hills and valleys, rather than on a flat ocean surface.

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