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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest (OND) for Tuesday, April 30, 2013.

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Creation and early water-bearing of the OND concept came from our very own Magnifico - proper respect is due.


This diary is named for its "Hump Point" video: Common People by Pulp

News below Aunt Flossie's hairdo . . .

Please feel free to browse and add your own links, content or thoughts in the Comments section.

Any timestamps shown are relative to each publication.


Top News
All Americans aged 15 to 65 should have HIV test, says medical panel

By Jill Langlois
. . .

The US Preventive Services Task Force's new guidelines recommend that all doctors screen their patients between these ages, including pregnant women and those in labor. The panel also suggests children under 15 and adults over 65 be tested if they are considered high-risk.

"HIV is a critical public health problem and, despite recent medical advances, still a devastating diagnosis for the 50,000 people in the United States who contract HIV each year. In order to help reduce the suffering of those with HIV and their loved ones, we must continue finding better ways to prevent and treat this disease," Task Force chair Virginia Moyer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a statement.

The release of the new guidelines follow a number of well-publicized cases that showed early treatment with a combination of powerful antiretroviral drugs greatly improves patient survival rates. One of those cases was the Mississippi infant who was "functionally cured" of HIV immediately after birth in March.

Michelle Obama’s veterans hiring initiative finds jobs for 290,000

By Samantha Stainburn
. . .

The program, called Joining Forces, collects commitments from companies to hire or train a certain number of veterans and military spouses.

. . .

At today's event, attended by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, Mrs. Obama announced that the program had gathered another set of pledges from companies to hire or train 435,000 more veterans in the next five years.

. . .

Nearly one out of five veterans under the age of 25 are unemployed, the Associated Press reported. The overall unemployment rate for veterans serving since the Sept. 11 attacks was 9.9 percent in 2012.

CERN Celebrates WorldwideWeb's (WWW) Twentieth Birthday

By Jason Mick
Even as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is plotting a faster next generation internet, it is celebrating the past with a new post on the WorldWideWeb protocol, whose source code and software it launched royalty free twenty years ago to the public.

. . .

 Development on the WorldWideWeb (www) and its backing hypertext protocol (which created a "web" of links) began in 1989 under the leadership of Professor Berners-Lee.  At the time some hypertext protocols existed, but many were proprietary; thus other protocols like WAIS and Gopher were more commonly used to retrieve information in packets over networked computers.

. . .

In late 1993, there were around 500 web servers using WWW, which accounted for roughly 1 percent of web traffic.  Today there are 630 million sites that use the protocol

Greeks stage 24-hour anti-austerity general strike

By (BBC)
A general strike against tough austerity measures has begun in Greece, with the country's trade unions calling for "mass mobilisation" of protesters.

. . .

The organisers are demanding an end to cuts and tax rises, which have led to six straight years of recession.

. . .

The cabinet of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras says the policies are part of continuing moves to ensure more bailout money from international creditors.

. . .

More than 20 general strikes have failed to halt the cuts, and the government feels emboldened by the cautious optimism of its international creditors, the BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens reports.

Limited abortion rights introduced in historic Irish legislation

By Henry McDonald
The Irish government introduced historic legislation on Tuesday that will allow for some limited legal abortion in the Republic.

. . .

The protection of maternal life bill means that medical staff looking after the Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar last autumn in Galway University hospital would have had clear, legal guidelines when they considered her requests for an emergency termination. The 31-year-old died in the hospital from sepsis/blood poisoning and was refused an abortion.

In the new bill, three consultants reviewing the case of a woman with suicidal thoughts while pregnant must all agree that a termination should proceed.

. . .

The campaign group Doctors For Choice expressed concern that so many doctors and psychiatrists will be needed to assess whether a woman is suicidal and should be allowed to terminate her pregnancy.

. . .

She told the Guardian: "One concern is that a psychiatric emergency is to be considered differently to any other medical emergency, when in the practice of medicine they are the same thing. A 'medical' emergency will require one doctor to certify whereas in the case of a 'suicide risk' emergency, three doctors are to be required. This has no basis in clinical practice.

Clashes erupt over Bangladesh building owner

By (Al Jazeera)
A top Bangladesh court has ordered the government to "immediately" confiscate the property of a collapsed building's owner, as thousands of protesters demanding death penalty for the man clashed with police, leaving 100 people injured.

A two-judge panel of the High Court on Tuesday also asked the central bank to freeze the assets of the owners of the five garment factories in the building, and use the money to pay the salaries and other benefits of their workers.

The order came after police produced Mohammed Sohel Rana and the factory owners in court. The order did not elaborate but it was implied that the salaries of the dead victims would be paid to their relatives. The court has given the police 15 days to interrogate Rana.

. . .

According to one estimate, about 1,000 people are still missing, indicating that the death toll could end up in the neighbourhood of 1,400.The collapse has become the deadliest disaster to hit Bangladesh's garment industry, which is worth $20bn annually and supplies global retailers.

Mali court drops case against editor Boukary Daou

By (BBC)
A court in Mali has thrown out a case against a newspaper editor charged with inciting disobedience for publishing a letter from disgruntled soldiers.

Le Republicain editor Boukary Daou was arrested in March and held in custody for nearly a month before getting bail.

His paper had published a letter that criticised the salary of the leader of a coup that ousted Mali's government, and said soldiers lacked equipment.

. . .

The French-led operation began in January after various Islamist groups - including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - and Tuareg separatists took advantage of the chaos following a coup in March 2012 to take over the vast northern desert region.

USA Politics, Economy, Major Events
More Than Likely, President Obama Isn't an Idiot

By Kevin Drum
. . .

Ed Kilgore isn't impressed:

Good luck with that, Mr. President. I suppose "permission structure" means assembling enough conservative support, and/or framing legislation so that it addresses the concerns of "the base" (e.g., border enforcement on immigration) in a way that makes bipartisanship possible. But as we saw in the supreme example of the Affordable Care Act, even adopting conservative policy prescriptions right out of the Heritage Foundation playbook, as implemented by the man who would become the next GOP presidential nomination, didn't prevent them from being demonized as representing the imposition of an alien "European-style" "government takeover of health care" aimed at totalitarianism and the slaughter of old people.
. . .

The problem is that this almost certainly won't work either. Obama made a full-court speechifying press on gun legislation, for example, and it had no effect at all. It wasn't enough to pass even the watered-down Manchin-Toomey amendment, a bill that threw in so many goodies for gun owners that it might actually have been a net negative for gun control.

All of which gets us to the guts of the problem: most likely, nothing is going to work. But if you're the president, you can't say that. You can't even act like it. You have to go out day after day after day insisting that progress is possible and deals can be made. . . presidents have to keep their chin up in public and keep trying to make things happen, even if they know perfectly well that success is unlikely. Welcome to hell.

Feds seek control of Mongols Motorcycle Club’s symbol as legal weapon

By Michael Doyle
. . .

 Revving up an unusual free-speech case, prosecutors in Southern California filed racketeering charges against the related Mongol Nation in February. No one will go to jail if prosecutors prevail in what appears to be a long-shot case. In theory, though, the federal government could end up owning the trademark that it’s been chasing for years.

“I’m not aware of any other case where the government has sought forfeiture in this way,” David Loy, the legal director of the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said in an interview this week. “I have concerns about the case.”

. . .

Loy and Alan Mansfield, an attorney with the San Diego-based Consumer Law Group of California, successfully challenged the Justice Department’s last effort to seize the Mongols’ trademark through the tool of asset forfeiture. Citing the government’s “unlawful action based on an ungrounded and unsubstantiated legal theory,” a federal judge also ordered the Justice Department to reimburse the attorneys $253,206.

. . .

But while the department lost its earlier asset-forfeiture case, prosecutors are trying to reach a similar goal through a different route.

Welcome to the "Hump Point" of this OND.

News can be sobering and engrossing - at this point in the diary, an offering of brief escapism:

Random notes related to this video:
There are many reasons to love Jarvis Cocker - his dress sense, his epochal stage invasion during the Brits, his dry northern witticisms - but none more persuasive than this brilliant put down of rich slummers.

. . .

Common People was inspired by a true incident from Cocker's student days in which he met a rich, Greek girl looking to expand her horizon. . .

In an era when public schoolboys were having it large round Soho, getting their vicarious thrills from gangsters, football and birds, Common People was a timely riposte from the smart side of working class culture. Cocker’s lyrics were given added weight by a delirious pop tune drawing heavily from the mutant, electronic pulse of prime time Roxy Music and a chorus that is equal parts celebration and condemnation.

Back to what's happening:
Environment and Greening
Hurricane Sandy dumped 11bn gallons of raw sewage in eastern US waterways

By Suzanne Goldenberg
Hurricane Sandy dumped about 11bn gallons of raw and untreated sewage into waterways from Washington DC to Connecticut, the science journalism group Climate Central said on Tuesday. That's or enough human waste to cover New York's Central Park in 41ft of sewage, or fill 17,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, scientists told a conference call with reporters.

. . .

New York City authorities have been working for years to reinforce the city's subway system, which is vulnerable to flooding, and to shore up power stations, which are located along the coast. The scientists said that in the wake of Sandy, when storm surges raised waters more than 9ft above the high tide mark, it was time to look at waste-treatment plants.

. . .

The estimated cost of repairs to New York and New Jersey's sewage treatment plants could reach $4.7bn. "In the long run, sea-level rise is going to force us to rework our infrastructure physically if we are going to keep it intact," she said.

Grist readers are less happy than other Americans, because DUH

By (Grist Staff)
Thanks to all of you who took the Gross National Happiness survey, a project of The Happiness Initiative. (And if you haven’t taken it yet, you still can!) It’s designed to measure your overall satisfaction with life as well as your sense of well-being across a number of specific categories. Do you feel good about your physical health? The educational and cultural opportunities in your community? Your work life? Your time balance? The environment where you live?

. . .

On overall life satisfaction, Grist readers scored an average 69 out of a possible 100 points, compared to 77 for average Americans. And on every specific metric but one, Grist readers lagged by 3 to 14 points.

. . .

The biggest gap, not surprisingly, was on satisfaction with the state of the environment. We can only assume that you’re better informed about environmental problems than most people, thanks to Grist, which is a good thing! But all that knowledge is bringing you down, man, which is a bad thing. Sorry. May we recommend you read some of our inspiring stories about kick-ass activists and cool green gadgets and the fast-growing renewable energy sector?

He Helped Discover Evolution, And Then Became Extinct

By Anthony Kuhn
Ask most folks who came up with the theory of evolution, and they'll tell you it was Charles Darwin.

In fact, Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, was a co-discoverer of the theory — though Darwin has gotten most of the credit. Wallace died 100 years ago this year.

. . .

By 1855, Wallace had come to the conclusion that living things evolve. But he didn't figure out how until one night three years later. He was on the island of Halmahera, ill with a fever, when it came to him: Animals evolve by adapting to their environment.

. . .

Darwin had reached the same conclusion years earlier, and Wallace's letter spurred him to act. The two men published a joint paper in 1858, arguing the theory of evolution and natural selection. It shook mankind's assumptions about its origins, which were heavily influenced by religion.

. . .

The following year, Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species and rose to fame. Wallace, ultimately, faded into obscurity.

Science and Health
Cheating Favors Extinction

By (ScienceDaily)
Cooperative behaviour is widely observed in nature, but there remains the possibility that so-called 'cheaters' can exploit the system, taking without giving, with uncertain consequences for the social unit as a whole. A new study has found that a yeast colony dominated by non-producers ('cheaters') is more likely to face extinction than one consisting entirely of producers ('co-operators'). The findings, published April 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology by Alvaro Sanchez and Jeff Gore from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are the results of the first laboratory demonstration of a full evolutionary-ecological feedback loop in a social microbial population.

. . .

"We were very surprised by the fact that the total population size for the mixed group (consisting of both co-operators and cheaters) was about the same at equilibrium as the total population size in the absence of cheaters (i.e. purely co-operators). We didn't expect that," Dr Sanchez explained. "If it weren't for the fact that the co-operators and cheaters were labelled with different colours, it would have been very hard to tell whether the population contained any cheaters or not."

. . .

The researchers found that an eco-evolutionary feedback loop links changes in population size, and their effects, with changes in the frequency of specific genetic types in the population. During the competition for survival between co-operators and cheaters, they showed that if the population starts off with sufficient co-operators then the social properties of the yeast spiral towards a final equilibrium position that comprises a stable mixture of co-operators and cheaters. However, if the initial population density, or the initial proportion of co-operators, is too low, then not enough simple sugars are produced, and the colony dies out.

Neon Exposes Hidden ALS Cells

By (ScienceDaily)
A small group of elusive neurons in the brain's cortex play a big role in ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a swift and fatal neurodegenerative disease that paralyzes its victims. But the neurons have always been difficult to study because there are so few of them and they look so similar to other neurons in the cortex.

. . .

In a new preclinical study, a Northwestern Medicine® scientist has isolated the motor neurons in the brain that die in ALS and, for the first time, dressed them in a green fluorescent jacket. Now they're impossible to miss and easy to study.

. . .

But the brain's motor neurons are a key piece of the ALS puzzle. Their disintegration explains why the disease advances more swiftly than other neurodegenerative diseases. It had previously been thought that the spinal motor neurons died first and their demise led to the secondary death of the brain's motor neurons. But Ozdinler's recent research showed that the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord die simultaneously.

Archaeologists Uncover Hundreds of Mysterious Orbs in Ancient Temple

By Ashley Feinberg
In news that will likely delight Apollo 11 deniers, Roswell frequenters, and Illuminati enthusiasts alike, archaeologists have discovered hundreds of mysterious, once-metallic spheres buried deep beneath an ancient pyramid in Mexico City. And we have absolutely no idea what they're for.

Described by Jorge Zavala, an archaeologist at Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute, as an "unprecedented discovery," the orbs have called one of the most important temples in an ancient, pre-Hispanic city home for the past 1,800 years.

. . .

They yellow color comes from jarosite, which forms as pyrite—or fool's gold—oxidizes. So back in 300 AD, when the Teotihuacanos used with these variously sized (1.5 to 5 inches) balls in whatever ceremonies or rituals they engaged in, they were looking at what might have seemed like beautiful, glimmering balls of gold.

. . .

It seems entirely possible, though, that they served some sort of religious purpose; Teotihuaca—translation: the place where men become gods—began as a religious center for the region, and the site has been thought to include a burial ground. The Teotihuacan people worshiped eight gods, and were known to practice human sacrifices during the dedication of buildings like, say, giant temples. All of which would have looked quite compelling against a gleaming gold backdrop.

US morning-after pill approved for 15-year-olds

By (BBC)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the "morning-after" pill without a prescription for women aged 15 and over.

Proof-of-age will be required to purchase the drug, Plan B. The decision comes a month after a judge ordered the drug to be made available to girls of all childbearing ages.

. . .

Reproductive rights groups approved the FDA move but called for fuller access.

Netbooks Have One Foot in Grave, Full Burial Expected in 2015

By Tiffany Kaiser  
. . .

 A new IHS iSuppli Compute Electronics market tracker report says that netbook sales will continue decreasing significantly until they hit zero in 2015.

. . .

 Netbooks, which are small, lightweight and inexpensive laptop computers, made their debut in 2007. They proved to be a good option for those who didn't want to pay for a large and expensive laptop. It was cheap and easy portability, and could perform various tasks despite not being a full-powered laptop.

. . .

 Soon, tablets started coming in all sizes, prices and types of operating systems. They catered to the same customers that netbooks did -- cheaper, lightweight and small computers.

EFF challenges bogus 3D printing patents

By Cory Doctorow
Earlier this month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to turn down six broad, bogus patents on 3D printing that could pave the way for even more patent-trolling on the emerging field of 3D printing. They worked with the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Ask Patents, as well as with its own supporters to gather evidence on the prior art that invalidates these applications. It's part of a larger project to systematically challenge patents in emerging fields -- next up is mesh networks -- providing a layer of vigilance and common sense atop the reckless and indifferent patent office.
. . . The good news is that so far, the Patent Office has accepted our submissions (because of that, if you're thinking of making your own preissuance submissions, you might want to use these as a model). Now we wait to see whether our input influences the examiners.

. . .

Deporting America's Gang Culture

By Fen Montaigne
For more than a decade, American street gangs have been spreading to Central America and the Caribbean—a trend that has been greatly accelerated by the politics of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. Since 1992, the INS has rounded up and deported thousands of criminal immigrants—legal and illegal alike—many to homelands they barely know.

. . .

But photographer Donna De Cesare has looked deeper and discovered that sweeping the gang problem across our borders is not a tidy solution. When they arrive in their narrative countries, the deportees—not a few of whom, says one expert, are "educated in the worst aspects of criminal culture in the United States"—bring a new underworld element to countries already plagued with violence and social instability. And the deportations frequently boomerang, as rootless teenagers who have been shipped to Central America or the Caribbean illegally reenter the United States.

. . .

Deported gang members arrive in their native countries as outcasts. Many have not been in their homelands since infancy, have few relatives to turn to, and have become acculturated to American life. With their visible tattoos, mixed English-Spanish patter, homeboy appearance, and American swagger, gang members are routinely stigmatized by police authorities, potential employers, and society in general. Most find it difficult to get a job. Some are killed by right-wing vigilante groups.

. . .

Those who work with gang members maintain that deportation is not a cure. They say that the United States must help devise hemisphere-wide approaches to the issue. And any solution must start with the promise—so vividly depicted in De Cesare's photographs—that gang members are not monster but young people entangled in poverty and violence. "Most find themselves in circumstances not of their mating," says Joan Serra Hoffman, who directs a Latin American program on violence prevent for the Massachusetts-based Education Development Center. "They are human and redeemable. It's never too late."

'Hell on Earth': Inside Quetta's Hazara community

By Mobeen Azhar
For years Quetta in Pakistan has rarely been visited by foreign media organisations, as it is considered too dangerous. Now a World Service investigation has uncovered the reality of life for the city's persecuted Hazara Shia community in what some describe as "hell on earth".

. . .

Quetta is home to more than half a million Hazara Shias, making them an easy target for Sunni extremists who want to punish their "heresy" with violence.

. . .

Many young Hazaras have fled Quetta, in the hope of claiming asylum in Australia and Europe. It is estimated that 90% of those fleeing the violence do so illegally.

. . .

Quetta is now home to a booming human trafficking industry. The journey to Australia via Christmas Island in the South Pacific is fraught with danger.

Jason Collins: Where are the world's gay pro athletes?

By Kate Dailey
. . .

Team sports are viewed as the final frontier, the last blow against a macho culture that insinuates gay men cannot compare in terms of strength and grit with straight men, and would be a disruptive presence on a tight-knit team.

Collins' announcement, says Jim Buzinski, co-founder of OutSports, a website devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) athletics, is the culmination of a slow, steady march towards acceptance.

. . .

That groundwork was put in place due to several factors: the existence of gay and lesbian athletes in individual sports, the presence of straight allies within pro teams, and a cultural change in the US that finds fewer and fewer Americans opposed to homosexuality, and an increase in visible LGBT members throughout US society.

. . .

In 1990 the English footballer Justin Fashanu came out as gay, and was the subject of criticism, scorn and lurid speculation. He later killed himself after being accused of sexual assault. (In his suicide note, he claimed the sex was consensual.)

. . .

But while Western culture as a whole has become more accepting of gay men and women, those who follow the progress of gay athletes say the football culture in Europe and the UK has a long way to go to make the sport more welcoming. .

Meteor Blades is known to offer an enlightening Evening Open Diary - you might consider checking that out tonight if you haven't already.
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