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Overnight News Digest
Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors jlms qkw, maggiejean, wader, Oke, rfall, and JML9999. Alumni editors are palantir, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7 and BentLiberal. The guest editor is annetteboardman.
Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

Some Kids Bounce Straight to the Emergency Room


Eli in side pocket's bounce house
Eli knows how bouncy the bounce house was and she didn't like it. Smart child.
If your kids absolutely must jump around at their next birthday party, an inflatable moonwalk or bounce house may be a safer bet than a backyard trampoline. But only a little safer.

The wildly popular mosh pits for the school-age set have become a common source of injuries that send kids to the hospital.

Over the 15 years ending in 2010, the yearly injury rate from bouncers increased 15-fold to more than 5 injuries per 100,000 kids, according to an analysis just published in the journal Pediatrics.

The injury rate from trampolines, for comparison, was about 32 per 100,000 kids in 2009.The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case from Idaho testing whether the federal Constitution requires states to provide criminal defendants with a right to claim they are innocent by reason of insanity.

All but four states – Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Kansas – permit criminal defendants to assert the insanity defense. The four states dropped the provision in the early 1980s after John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

The high court has never ruled on whether the 14th Amendment’s due process clause and/or the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment require those four states to provide an insanity defense.

Supreme court revives challenge to Obama health law


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived a challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, allowing a Christian college to pursue litigation raising First Amendment objections to a law that the court mostly upheld in June.

Liberty University, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, had challenged both the individual mandate, which required all people to obtain insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, and a separate mandate requiring large employers to provide coverage for workers.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro to step down


The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, announced on Monday that she would step down from the agency on December 14.

SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter will be designated to succeed Schapiro upon her departure, the White House said in a statement.

"The SEC is stronger, and our financial system is safer and better able to serve the American people - thanks in large part to Mary's hard work," President Barack Obama said.

Speculation had swirled for months that Schapiro would leave soon after the November presidential election. The announcement marks one of the first departures of Obama's financial regulation team in the aftermath of the election.

Thanksgiving retail sales 'up sharply'


US shoppers went to town over the Thanksgiving weekend, with retail spending up sharply on last year, a survey suggests.

A record 247 million people visited stores and websites between Thursday and Sunday and spent a total of $59.1bn (£36.9bn), 13% more than last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said.

The average shopper spent $423 over the weekend, up from $398 last year.

Surveys suggest Americans also plan to spend big on so-called "Cyber Monday".

"Millions of Americans found time this Thanksgiving to make the most of retailers' promotions and enjoy a special family holiday," said NRF chief executive Matthew Shay.

"To keep their customers excited about holiday shopping, retailers will continue to offer attractive promotions through December, and provide strong consumer value with low prices, enhanced mobile and online offerings, and unique product assortment."

With Ban on Drilling Practice, Town Lands in Thick of Dispute

NY Times

LONGMONT, Colo. — This old farming town near the base of the Rocky Mountains has long been considered a conservative next-door neighbor to the ultraliberal college town of Boulder, a place bisected by the railroad and where middle-class families found a living at the vegetable cannery, sugar mill and Butterball turkey plant.

But this month, Longmont became the first town in Colorado to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, the oil-drilling practice commonly known as fracking. The ban has propelled Longmont to the fiercely contested forefront of the nation’s antifracking movement, inspiring other cities to push for similar prohibitions.

But it has also set the city on a collision course with oil companies and the State of Colorado.

First drive: Ford Fiesta three-cylinder engine has power, torque

LA Times

Los Angeles, CA November 19, 2012- The  three-cylinder, 1.0 litre five door hatchback Ford Fiesta debuted at the Los Angeles car show this week.  (Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)
3 cylinder Ford Fiesta
With every automaker competing to get more power from less fuel, Ford this week will unveil a three-cylinder that could portend a larger trend toward smaller engines.

The tiny turbo, appearing in the Fiesta model, will be among the more significant debuts expected at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens Wednesday to the media and Friday to the public. In advance of the show, Ford offered the Los Angeles Times a first drive of the car on Southern California streets.

The Times compared it to the Volkswagen Up! – a three cylinder offered in Europe – and other small-car competitors.

The three-banger is a gasoline-only alternative to fuel-sippers employing hybrid, diesel or electric power, and could become more common. The Up! also has a refined three-cylinder engine, which bodes well for the future of three-cylinders in the U.S.

Three lost trying to save family dog


(11-26) 10:52 PST EUREKA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY -- Emergency crews have called off a search for a 16-year-old Eureka boy who went missing in the ocean after his parents drowned Saturday trying to save their dog in 10-foot waves, officials said.

The boy, Gregory Kuljian, and his parents took their dog to Big Lagoon state beach north of Eureka with the boy's 18-year-old sister Saturday, said Dana Jones, district superintendent for the state parks department.


Catalan elections point to growing polarisation in independence debate

The Guardian

Artur Mas, the Catalan president, was both clear winner and biggest loser in regional elections on Sunday, leaving his march towards statehood up in the air and ushering in years of messy strife with Madrid.
"The next independent country within Europe," as separatist posters across this stateless nation had billed Catalonia, will have to wait, and the region's 7.5 million inhabitants risk being thrown into a bitter, confrontational internal debate.

Mas's Convergence and Union (CiU) nationalist coalition lost a fifth of its deputies in the 135-seat regional parliament, but its 50 deputies are still twice as many as any other party has. No one else can form a government and Mas can, in theory, choose between three partners to prop up the CiU.

The clearly separatist Catalan Republican Left party (ERC) doubled its representation to 21 seats and is his most likely partner minority government. ERC will try to stiffen his separatist spine, but must battle against those in the CiU coalition who would rather put the issue on the back burner.

Egypt's Mursi holds crisis talks over power grab


Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi negotiated with senior judges on Monday to try to defuse a crisis over his seizure of new powers which set off violent protests reminiscent of an uprising last year that led to the rise of his Islamist movement.

The justice minister said he believed Mursi would agree with Egypt's highest judicial authority on its proposal to limit the scope of the new powers. Mursi's spokesman said the president was "very optimistic Egyptians would overcome the crisis".

But the protesters, some camped in Cairo's Tahrir Square, have said only retracting the decree will satisfy them, a sign of the deep rift between Islamists and their opponents that is destabilising Egypt two years after Hosni Mubarak was ousted.

"There is no use amending the decree," said Tarek Ahmed, 26, a protester who stayed the night in Tahrir, where tents covered the central traffic circle. "It must be scrapped."

Israel and Hamas begin indirect Gaza ceasefire talks


Representatives of Israel and Hamas have begun indirect talks about the implementation of the ceasefire deal that ended the recent violence in Gaza.

The negotiations are being led by Egyptian intermediaries in Cairo.

Hamas is expected to press for an end of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, while Israel wants arms smuggling to cease.

At least 158 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed in the eight-day offensive which Israel said it launched to stop rocket-fire from the territory.

Under the terms of the initial ceasefire, agreed on Wednesday, Israel agreed to end all hostilities and targeted killings, while Hamas agreed to stop attacks against Israel and along the Gaza border fence.

The deal also called for the "opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods", with the timing other details to be discussed "after 24 hours" of the ceasefire coming into effect.

Qatar hosts critical climate talks

Middle East
AlJazeera English

The 18th United Nations climate change conference, known as COP18 , has opened in Doha, the Qatari capital.

Over the next two weeks, up to 17,000 people will attend the conference. Delegates will be negotiating a new global deal on climate, but there are ongoing tensions between rich and poor countries.

The meeting elected the former Qatari energy minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, as president of the Conference of the Parties.

In his opening remarks he said the meeting was "critical" and a "golden opportunity" to make progress on a new global climate deal.

"This is an historic conference," said Attiyah, "it is of vital importance considering the items on its agenda. It is a turning point in the negotiations on climate change."

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African foreign minister, officially handed over the COP presidency to Attiyah, Qatar's deputy prime minister, at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha.

After brief speeches by both, Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC executive secretary, pointed out the "unique" location of this year's COP.

Fire hits second Bangladesh garment factory

Central and South Asia
AlJazeera English

A fire that broke out in a 12-storey building housing four different garment factories in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, has been almost brought under control, police say.

There were no reports of deaths in Monday's blaze in the suburb of Uttara, but eight workers were injured due to heavy smoke, Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, fire brigade director-general, told Reuters news agency.

The fire occurred just days after a similar incident killed 121 textile workers in a different facility in the city.

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque, reporting from the scene of Monday's fire, said many workers coming out of the building were angry because the fire happened just two days after the deadly blaze.

"These are workers who make clothes for the world's leading brands, so it's expected that they should have international standards in these factories," he said. "But since 2006, 600 factory workers have died in fires like this one."

He said the new fire happened in a densely populated area and that had helped workers escape.

"They made their way up to the top floor and jumped out onto nearby buildings," he said.

Rolling Stones 'still leading the pack'


The band played 23 songs ending with Jumping Jack Flash
The Rolling Stones returned to the London stage on Sunday night in the first of five concerts to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood were joined by their original bass player Bill Wyman at the 02 Arena.

Music critics hailed the rockers' return a success.

Reviews of the gig described the band as "still leading the pack" and "at the cutting edge of pop".

Denying Reality
Germany's Ongoing Refusal to Forgive Greek Debt

Spiegel Online

The International Monetary Fund believes that the only way to reduce Greek debt to a sustainable level is by way of a debt haircut involving the country's government creditors. But with an election approaching, Germany has refused to consider the proposal. Reality is on the IMF's side. By SPIEGEL Staff

An elegant appearance is important to Christine Lagarde. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wears her short hair carefully coiffed, and diamonds glitter on her manicured fingers. When she talks about global financial issues, she hardly ever raises her voice. Her colleagues at the Washington-based financial authority call her "Ms. Perfect."

But last Tuesday Lagarde, who was once French finance minister, was having trouble keeping her composure. She had hurried back to Europe from Asia to attend the latest in a series of Euro Group crisis meetings on Greece. And even though she had a fever and felt weak from the flu, she began to raise her voice as she spoke. For Greece to recover, she insisted, creditor countries would have to forgive the government in Athens a large share of its debt. "Nothing else will work," Lagarde said.


No Innocent Spice: The Secret Story Of Nutmeg, Life And Death


Ah, nutmeg! Whether it's sprinkled on eggnog, baked into spice cake or blended into a latte, this pungent spice can evoke memories of holidays past. We tend to link it to celebratory times.

But a lot of blood has been shed over this little brown seed. "Nutmeg has been one of the saddest stories of history," explains culinary historian Michael Krondl. If you listen to my story you'll hear the gruesome, grisly tale of how the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the nutmeg-producing Banda Islands in Indonesia in an attempt to monopolize the nutmeg trade.

So, why was nutmeg so valuable? Well, Krondl likens it to the iPhone of the 1600s. It was fashionable among the wealthy. It was exotic and potent enough to induce hallucinations — or at least a nutmeg bender, ...

Eating Right Key to Survival of Whales and Dolphins

Science Daily

In the marine world, high-energy prey make for high-energy predators. And to survive, such marine predators need to sustain the right kind of high-energy diet. Not just any prey will do, suggests a new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia and University of La Rochelle, in France.

Published November 21 in the online journal PLOS ONE, the study is the first to show that the survival of whales and dolphins depends on the quality of their diets and this plays an important role in conservation.

"The conventional wisdom is that marine mammals can eat anything," says co-author Andrew Trites, a marine mammal expert at UBC. "However, we found that some species of whales and dolphins require calorie rich diets to survive while others are built to live off low quality prey -- and it has nothing to do with how big they are."


Give And Take: How The Rule Of Reciprocation Binds Us


In 1974, Phillip Kunz and his family got a record number of Christmas cards. In the weeks before Christmas they came daily, sometimes by the dozen. Kunz still has them in his home, collected in an old photo album.

"Dear Phil, Joyce and family," a typical card reads, "we received your holiday greeting with much joy and enthusiasm ... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's. Love Lou, Bev and the children."

The cards from that year came in all shapes and sizes, but the basic message was the same. The writers wanted Kunz to know that he and his family were cared for, and also they wanted to share their own news. They included pictures of family members and new homes and smiling graduates with freshly minted diplomas.

It all seems pretty normal, except for one thing: Kunz didn't know any of them.

Kunz was a sociologist at Brigham Young University. Earlier that year he'd decided to do an experiment to see what would happen if he sent Christmas cards to total strangers.

Possible New Treatment for Ewing Sarcoma

Science Blog

Discovery of a new drug with high potential to treat Ewing sarcoma, an often deadly cancer of children and young adults, and the previously unknown mechanism behind it, come hand-in-hand in a new study by researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah. The report appears in today’s online issue of the journal Oncogene.

“Ewing sarcoma is almost always caused by a cancer-causing protein called EWS/FLI,” said Stephen Lessnick, M.D., Ph.D., director of HCI’s Center for Children’s Cancer Research, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and an HCI investigator.


Science Blog

An unexpected source of new, clean energy has been found: the Plant-Microbial Fuel Cell that can generate electricity from the natural interaction between living plant roots and soil bacteria.

The technique already works on a small scale and will soon be applied in larger marshland areas throughout the world. On 23 November, researcher Marjolein Helder will defend her PhD research on generating electricity via plants at Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR. She has also founded a spin-off company called Plant-e with her colleague David Strik.

More Facebook Friends Means More Stress, Says Report

Science Blog

A large number of friends on Facebook may appear impressive but, according to a new report, the more social circles a person is linked to online the more likely social media will be a source of stress.

A report from the University of Edinburgh Business School has found that the more groups of people in someone’s Facebook friends, the greater potential to cause offence. In particular, adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.

Stress arises when a user presents a version of themself on Facebook that is unacceptable to some of their online ‘friends’, such as posts displaying behaviour such as swearing, recklessness, drinking and smoking.

Active Lifestyle Boosts Brain Structure, Slows Alzheimer's

Science Blog

An active lifestyle helps preserve gray matter in the brains of older adults and could reduce the burden of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Dementia exacts a staggering toll on society. More than 35 million people worldwide are living with the disease, according to the World Health Organization, and the prevalence is expected to double by 2030. AD is the most common cause of dementia and currently has no cure.

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