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Photo from Reddit via a twitter friend.  No other known attribution at this time.  

Welcome to Wednesday OND, tonight's edition of the daily feature.   The Overnight News Digest crew consists of founder Magnifico, regular editors jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir and ScottyUrb, guest editors maggiejean and annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent.

Tonight I used most of my regular sources with a few tips from twitter, mostly in the Other section.  

Ruling not likely to settle voter ID question

Today's long-awaited ruling was most likely a pit stop - maybe just the first - on the road to settling, or scuttling, the state's controversial voter identification law.

Even before Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. released his 70-page decision, lawyers on both sides of the case said it would almost certainly end up in a higher court.

After the ruling came out, plaintiffs said they would ask the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review it.

"We are disappointed but will seek to appeal," said David Gersch, one of the lawyers. "At trial, we demonstrated that there are about a million registered voters who lack the ID necessary to vote under Pennsylvania's photo ID law."

Brian Williams, on The Daily Show, says it's only 12 counties that matter.  


Suicide bombers in Afghanistan kill at least 28

Afghan officials today said three suicide bombers killed at least 28 people in what is normally a relatively peaceful southwestern provice, reported Reuters.

Today's attack in Nimroz province left some 70 people injured, officials said, with the number of casulties expected to grow, according to Reuters.

The blasts hit the city of Zaranj as people were shopping for food after fasting all day in observance of Islam's holy month of Ramadan, said the Guardian. The city, capital of the province, lies near the country's Iranian border.

Militants attack Pakistani airbase at Kamra
Heavily armed militants stormed the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Minhas airbase at Kamra located in Attock, Punjab during the early hours of Thursday, DawnNews reported.

The militants were said to be armed with automatic weapons, grenades and suicide vests. Intense exchange of fire between militants and security forces ensued after the attackers infiltrated the base.

It could not be independently verified if there are any casualties to security forces from the attack from far, however, sources said some security personnel were seriously injured. PAC Hospital Kamra was said to have been put on high alert.

Up to ten militants were reported to have attacked the base from Pind Salman Makhan village at around 2:30 am, sources said.  According to one source, the attackers were wearing military uniforms when they entered the base. When security officials at the check-post attempted to halt them, the militants opened fire. The report, however, could not be confirmed from official sources.

This base may host nuclear weapons (no source yet)

Rebels Reject Jihad: Are Reports of al-Qaida in Syria Exaggerated?

Some rebel checkpoints in Syria are currently flying the black flag of al-Qaida. One of the flags is attached to a stick stuck into a tire weighed down with rocks in front of a checkpoint manned by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Aleppo, the country's largest city. The Islamic creed, "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God," is written in Arabic on the flag.

Even though it is Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, the clean-shaven men at the checkpoint offer the foreign reporter something to drink. Some do not abide by the fasting requirement.

When asked whether they know they are flying the al-Qaida flag, one of the fighters responds: "Of course we know, but is it al-Qaida's invention? It's also the flag of the Prophet, and we fly it because we are Muslims and we are waging a holy war."

Nothing illustrates the gray area between reality and perceptions of the war in Syria more concisely than this flag, which comes in various colors. Sometimes it has white lettering on a black background, and sometimes black lettering on a white background.



Cigarette ruling to light way for others

The High Court's finding that plain packaging laws - due to come into force in December - are legal has set a precedent that other countries including New Zealand, Britain and India are interested in following.

In April the New Zealand Cabinet agreed in principle to follow Australia, subject to public consultation.

Tobacco companies have accepted the High Court decision and undertaken to comply with the new laws requiring plain green packaging, large and graphic health warnings and brand names confined to a small generic font.

But the law still faces challenges overseas, with the Dominican Republic, Ukraine and Honduras filing requests for consultations under World Trade Organisation rules, claiming that it breaches international agreements on intellectual property rights and barriers to trade.

National Heart Foundation chief executive Lyn Roberts said the High Court decision was a significant milestone in the global fight against the "carnage" caused by smoking.

I still wonder about the link between campaigns to limit smoking and a potential campaign to limit gun violence.  

Asylum seekers 'threatened rescuers'

Asylum seekers rescued by a merchant vessel off the coast of Java on Monday are said to have made threats of violence to the ship's captain when they were told he intended to drop them off in Singapore instead of on Australian soil.

The captain of the MV Parsifal reportedly became worried about the safety of his crew and capitulated to the asylum seekers' demands to be taken to Christmas Island.

The incident was akin to piracy, said opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison.

The asylum seekers appointed one of their group who spoke English to lobby the ship's captain. On arrival at Christmas Island, he was identified to immigration officials as the ringleader of the group.

India boring border tunnels to take on China, Pakistan
India is finally kick-starting the plan to build as many as 18 tunnels along the borders with Pakistan and China for faster troop mobility as well as storage of critical war-fighting assets like missiles, without the threat of detection by enemy satellites and spy drones.

While preliminary work on seven tunnels is underway after requisite approvals, the construction of 11 more tunnels in Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh is now on the drawing board after "a strong endorsement'' by the Army.

With China resorting to "tunnelling in a big way'' to store important military equipment, the Army wants the tunnel construction plans in the mountains in J&K and north-east to be fast-tracked. "The tunnels will provide shelter to troops and ammunition from both enemy shelling and extreme weather. They can also be used for NBC (nuclear, chemical, biological) protection and establishing command and control centres,'' said a top official.

North Korea targets reset in Japan relations
North Korea has found a good fishing spot in the troubled waters of Japan-South Korea relations.

The Japanese government on Tuesday announced it had agreed to hold bilateral talks with North Korea in China on August 29 over the repatriation of Japanese remains from the North. If they go ahead as planned, these would be the first government-level negotiations between the countries in four years.

By approaching Tokyo, the North appears to be relying on its favored tactic of exploiting diplomatic divides among its adversaries. Relations between Japan and South Korea have plummeted in recent days over a territorial dispute.

The announcement of Japan-North Korea talks comes just four days after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made a controversial visit to disputed islets called Dokdo by South Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese in the Sea of Japan (known in Korea as the East Sea).

China is pulling strings in this, IMHO.

Refugees at risk in South Sudan

I was recently able to travel to Agok in the Republic of South Sudan to witness the full-blown humanitarian crisis affecting refugees and internally displaced people following months of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the ­Southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army over the disputed Abyei border region and its rich oilfields.

The remote town lies about 40km south of the border with Sudan. Travelling to most parts of the area is difficult for anyone who does not have access to an aircraft, helicopter or reliable 4x4 vehicle.

However, there is a network of gravel roads around the region and one of those winds upstream along the mighty Kiir River, which flows approximately 800km through southwest Sudan and marks part of its border with South Sudan.

Agok and its surrounds have played host to tens of thousands of people displaced by the war, many of them from Abyei.

Greece to ask for Relaxed Terms
Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras will formally ask for the terms of the county's aid package to be relaxed next week, the Financial Times is reporting this morning.

The FT has got hold of a document outlining Samaras' plans for his meetings next week with Angela Merkel and François Hollande. This shows that Samaras will insist that Greece can only recover if the pace of reform is slowed.

The proposal includes spreading cuts over the next four years (not two as currently planned), and a less pacey approach to cutting the Greek deficit (lowering it by 1.5 percentage points, not 2.5 points as under the plan agreed earlier this year.

The Guardian has a rolling liveblog of Eurozone issues.


Fulton elections director blasted over primary

Facing a state investigation into its handling of last month's primary election, Fulton County will bring in a consultant to find out what went wrong and how to avoid a repeat in the upcoming runoff and November presidential election.

What that will cost is unclear because the Registration and Elections Board hasn't hired anyone yet, and some county officials are already questioning the expense. Elections Director Sam Westmoreland told the County Commission about the plan Wednesday as part of an apology for the array of errors his department made.

Commissioners responded with a severe scolding that lasted more than an hour. His department's missteps gave Fulton yet another black eye, they said, and they fear becoming a laughingstock if a debacle occurs in November.

At least two commissioners, Liz Hausmann and Bill Edwards, questioned why taxpayers should pay for outside expertise on something his staff should be able to do on its own.

Caterpillar reaches tentative deal with Joliet machinists
This would be the second contract the machinists, members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, would vote on since 780 of them walked off the job.

The new proposal offers the workers a $1,000 bonus. Workers hired after May 2005 would get a 3 percent wage increase over the life of the six-year contract. Wages would be frozen for those hired before then.

The proposed contract would also double health care premiums and eliminate pensions. Seniority rights will be diminished.

First lawsuit filed for Chevron fire
Attorneys filed the first lawsuit Wednesday against Chevron in connection to last week's toxic refinery fire and called for an independent monitor to oversee future safety inspections at the Richmond plant.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris and two colleagues filed the suit in Contra Costa Superior Court on behalf of eight residents who live near the plant and suffered health problems they attributed to the Aug. 6 blaze.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and accuses the corporation of gross negligence for ignoring what the attorneys described as a troublesome safety record at the Crude Unit No. 4, where investigators said it appears a 40-year-old pipe failed and was the possible source of the fire.

Swine flu finding will not affect Iowa State Fair practices
Veterinarians will continue to closely monitor the health of animals at the Iowa State Fair following the release today of a study showing that some asymptomatic pigs carry the swine flu virus.

University of Minnesota researchers who conducted nasal swabs on pigs at the Minnesota State Fair in 2009 found that 19 percent of the animals were infected with the illness -- but most displayed no outward symptoms.

In Iowa and elsewhere, exhibitors and fair veterinarians typically isolate pigs only after they develop a runny nose or start to sneeze or cough. There are no plans to change that policy.

The discovery that asymptomatic pigs can test positive for swine flu is not unexpected, explained James Roth, an Iowa State veterinarian.


Despite controversy, Su Chon confirmed as Utah judge

In a vote that split Senate Republicans, Su J. Chon on Wednesday became one of Utah’s two newest judges, and the first minority to earn a spot on the bench under Gov. Gary Herbert.

The Utah Senate voted 17 to 10 to confirm Chon, despite the controversy that followed a Monday hearing that saw Chon become the first judicial nominee in memory to fail to get a favorable appointment from a Senate confirmation committee. In that hearing, senators said they were concerned about Chon’s lack of experience, having never taken a case to trial.

"I want to assure you I will apply the same dedication and hard work that I’ve applied to every job I’ve had," Chon told the Capitol crowd following the vote. "And I will make you proud in several years."

But members of the Utah Minority Bar Association questioned whether other motivations nearly prevented Chon from being confirmed to the 3rd District bench.

Because she was she?  Because she was Asian?  Or because she helped plaintiffs against developers?  

National GOP leaders in Utah for Mia Love campaign

National Republican leaders are in Utah this week for a series of fundraising events for Mia Love, the GOP candidate for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) is in Utah on Wednesday for events at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. Tickets to get into the event started at $500 and went up to $2,500.

Former GOP presidential candidate John McCain (R-Ariz.) will participate in a public town hall meeting in West Valley City on Thursday.

'He's going to kill me'; 4th woman testifies that Greg Peterson assaulted, raped her
The woman said she was afraid for her life as she lay on the bed and watched as flies fell and died in the window sill.

"I remember laying there being completely scared," she said, describing the night she said she was forced to spend with Gregory Peterson at his cabin in Heber City.

"I didn't want him to get mad. I didn't want him to hurt me. I didn't want him to kill me. I was so scared of what he might do. I just wanted to go home."

The woman was the fourth alleged victim to testify against the GOP activist and offered some of the most harrowing testimony against the man accused of kidnapping, raping or abusing women he took on dates. She was the final woman to testify against Peterson, 37, during a two-day preliminary hearing.

The newly-minted defendant was a GOP big wig.  Fundraiser, etc.  

Hysterical Raisins
Venn Diagrams
Sleep, Mood, Dreams
USA Beats Mexico in Soccer  <--- a BFD

Originally posted to Overnight News Digest on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 08:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town.

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