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

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

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The Guardian

The White House will use next week's G8 summit to seek international support for further intervention in Syria that may go beyond the limited military assistance announced on Thursday night, in an attempt  to force the Assad regime and its Russian allies into meaningful peace talks.

Discussions are under way between the US and key foreign allies over a range of options, including a no-fly zone, and are likely to come to a head during the G8, when Obama is also scheduled to have bilateral discussions with President Putin.

As apparent US plans to provide small arms to rebel forces met with a disappointed reaction among commanders on the ground, attention is shifting in Washington to building consensus for more radical options.

"This is a fluid situation so it is necessary for [Obama] to consult with leaders of the G8 about the types of support that we are providing for the opposition," the deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said in a press conference on Friday.


If economists were cheerleaders, their favorite shout-out might be: "What do we want? Growth! When do we want it? Now!"

They won't actually shout those words, but they may be thinking them as global leaders meet this week for a G-8 summit. Economists are hoping that at the gathering in Northern Ireland, leaders of eight major economies will discuss expanding global trade and investment to spur job creation.

"The world needs growth," said Scott Miller, a trade policy expert for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a research gro

The Guardian

In the elaborate, etiquette-riddled role of world summit host, two things matter: first, that you can put on a good show for your fellow leaders, projecting something unique about your country's culture; and second, that you can demonstrate that you have a coherent and distinctive political agenda. The G8 as an institution, after all, is an anachronism – a body without legitimacy or power, in the words of David Miliband last week.

So David Cameron's choice of the remote Lough Erne golf course in Northern Ireland to host the G8 seemed an unfortunate one. The resort hotel is extravagant, debt-ridden and in administration – arguably an accurate symbol of the British economy.

Such is the pared-down No 10 operation these days that members of Cameron's staff were up all night fixing last-minute hitches, such as transport for the leaders. Panic broke out when it seemed that low cloud would delay the helicopters taking world leaders from Belfast International to the site of the summit.

Yet in the end, David Cameron's first day hosting the summit can be counted a success, even if the final judgment will rest on what is agreed overnight.



Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the U.S. government's secret phone and Internet surveillance programs, said in an online forum on Monday that he could not get a fair trial in the United States.

"The U.S. government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That's not justice," he said on the Guardian newspaper website.

The Guardian

The prominent Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who triggered a diplomatic incident when he escaped house arrest and fled to the US embassy in Beijing last year, says he has been asked to leave New York University following "great, unrelenting pressure" from Chinese authorities.

The university, which has hosted the blind, self-taught lawyer on a fellowship since May last year, has denied the allegations, saying his tenure was intended to last only a year. The New York Post, which reported the allegations on Thursday, linked Chen's impending departure to NYU's efforts to open a campus in Shanghai.

Chen, 41, spent 18 months confined to his home in rural Shandong province by local authorities for his advocacy work against forced sterilisations and abortions. He escaped last spring and sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing, triggering a high-profile diplomatic incident.

The Guardian

The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is preparing to roll out a new composting plan for the city, aimed at diverting some of the 100,000 tons of food scraps that ends up in landfill every year.

Bloomberg, who is due to leave office early next year, has called food waste the "final recycling frontier". Now it appears New York is moving towards that line, testing pilot projects in some neighbourhoods in preparation for a city-wide composting plan.

The city has hired a composting plant to handle up to 100,000 tons of food scraps a year – or about 10% of the city's total food waste, according to the New York Times,, which first reported the story.

Last April, about 100 city restaurants joined a voluntary composting plan, the food waste challenge. By next year, 150,000 households will be on board along with 100 high-rise buildings and 600 schools. The entire city could be recycling food scraps by 2015 or 2016.

The Christian Science Monitor
h/t Pluto

The Chinese government controls many facets of life in Hong Kong, the former British colony that has been a "special administrative region" of the People’s Republic for the past 16 years. But the fate of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, may not be one of them.

And as Mr. Snowden prepares for a legal battle in the courts to fight off an expected US extradition request, pro-democracy activists here have seized on the fugitive as a symbol of their resistance to Beijing’s increasing involvement here.


The Supreme Court is looking to make the final stretch of the 2012 term a dramatic one: While the justices knocked out five opinions today, none of them were the major ones we've been looking forward to. As we've told you before, we're waiting for:
— Fisher v. University of Texas, a key test of affirmative action in higher education.
— Shelby County v. Holder, in which the issue is whether times have changed and the 1965 Voting Rights Act should no longer apply to that Alabama county.
— Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, two potentially landmark cases on gay marriage.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to release more opinions at 10 a.m. ET. Thursday. Normally, they set out for their summer recess at the end of June.

Still, this morning's session brought some interesting cases about voting rights, criminal law and the pharmaceutical industry. Here's a roundup:

New York Times (Subscription may be needed)

WASHINGTON — After Republicans lost the presidential election and seats in both the House and the Senate last year, many in the party offered a stern admonishment: If we want to broaden our appeal, steer clear of divisive social and cultural issues.

Yet after the high-profile murder trial of an abortion doctor in Philadelphia this spring, many Republicans in Washington and in state capitals across the country seem eager to reopen the emotional fight over a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. Their efforts will move to the forefront on Tuesday when House Republicans plan to bring to the floor a measure that would prohibit the procedure after 22 weeks of pregnancy — the most restrictive abortion bill to come to a vote in either chamber in a decade.



Rebels fought to halt an advance by President Bashar al-Assad's forces into northern Syria on Monday while U.S. President Barack Obama faced a showdown with Russia's Vladimir Putin over Obama's decision last week to arm the insurgents.

New evidence emerged of escalating foreign support for the rebels, with a Gulf source telling Reuters that Saudi Arabia had equipped fighters for the first time with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, their most urgent request. Rebels said Riyadh had also sent them anti-tank missiles.

The weapons deal was disclosed as rebel fighters confront government troops and hundreds of militants from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia seeking to retake the northern city of Aleppo, where heavy fighting resumed on Monday.

Turkey's deputy prime minister said on Monday the armed forces could be called up if needed to help quell popular protests that have swept Turkish cities in the last two weeks, the first time the possibility of a military role has been raised.

Bulent Arinc made the remarks in Ankara, where 1,000 striking trade union workers faced off briefly against police backed by several water cannon, before police retreated and the crowd dispersed.

In Istanbul, the cradle of protests that have presented Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan with the greatest public challenge to his 10-year leadership, several hundred union members also marched in sympathy with the anti-government protests.

Spiegel Online

The German government has been largely silent on revelations of US Internet spying. Berlin profits from the program and is pursuing similar plans.

Just a few days ago, the man whom many Germans now see as one of the greatest villains in the world visited Berlin. Keith Alexander, the head of the world's most powerful intelligence operation, the National Security Agency (NSA), had arranged meetings with important representatives of the German government, including top-ranking officials in Germany's intelligence agencies and leading representatives of the Chancellery and the Interior Ministry.

Spiegel Online

The election of moderate cleric Hassan Rohani as Iran's new president has the potential to end the stalemate in the nation's nuclear dispute with the West, say German commentators. The West should seize the opportunity.

Is Iran about to ditch its isolationist course and seek compromise with the West? The surprisingly clear landslide victory won by moderate cleric Hassan Rohani in the country's presidential election on Friday has ignited hopes that it will, after eight years of confrontation under his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Al Jazeera

A car bomb has struck near the Syrian northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 60 members of President Bashar al-Assad's troops, activists have told Al Jazeera.

Monday's blast, carried out by a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaeda, hit near a military complex in the town of al-Douwairinah near Aleppo's international airport, Mohammad al-Hadi, an activist in the city, said.

"The car was filled with six tonnes of explosives," he told Al Jazeera.

The blast was one of the largest attacks targeting regime forces. Activists posted a video on social media that purports to show the moment of the explosion. However, the authenticity of the video could not be verified.  

It came hours after a car bomb attack targeting a checkpoint near a military airport in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were 20 casualties in the blast on Sunday night in the western Damascus district of Mazzeh, but did not state how many were killed or injuried in the attack.


The Guardian

A university professor who has struggled with depth perception since birth says his vision has dramatically improved after watching 3D movies.

Bruce Bridgeman, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, lived with poor depth perception until he watched the Martin Scorsese 3D film Hugo, in February 2012. Suddenly he was able to see with an improved sense of depth, and the phenomenon continued when he left the cinema. "Suddenly, things began to jump out at me," Bridgeman told CNN, adding that he felt "euphoric". He said he previously "saw the world as kind of, in theory, three-dimensional, but the experience is more flat," Adding: "I didn't realise that until I began to see in proper stereo."

The Guardian

YouTube-focused online video firm Fullscreen has raised a Series A funding round led by former News Corporation president Peter Chernin's investment group.

Comcast Ventures and WPP participated in the round. Fullscreen hasn't said how much it raised, but earlier this year All Things Digital suggested the round would be $30m, valuing the company at $110m.

The company is one of a group of multi-channel networks (MCNs) building their businesses on YouTube, with rivals including Maker Studios, Machinima and ZEFR.

Fullscreen runs more than 10,000 channels on Google's video site, with more than 150m total subscribers and 2.5bn monthly views. It works with new talent on YouTube as well as established TV industry companies such as NBCUniversal and Ryan Seacrest Productions.


The 19th century just lost its last living man.

Jiroemon Kimura, of Kyotango, Japan, was born in April 1897, lived right through the 20th century and died last Wednesday. He was 116. According to Guinness World Records (which searches for these things), he was the last surviving male born in the 1800s. All the other boys from that century, as best we know, are dead.

The ladies, however, are still ticking. Misao Okawa of Osaka is now officially the oldest person on the planet. She was born in 1898. There are four others — two in Britain, one in the USA, and another in Japan — all 19th century-born, all female, all still alive.


A new study shows that memory pathology in older mice with Alzheimer’s disease can be reversed with treatment. The study by researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, at McGill University and at Université de Montréal found that blocking the activity of a specific receptor in the brain of mice with advanced Alzheimer’s disease (AD) recovers memory and cerebrovascular function. The results, published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation in May, also suggest an underlying mechanism of AD as a potential target for new therapies.


The cable industry says it is more than ready to compete with Google Fiber, but adds that consumers are nowhere near ready for gigabit speeds. Is it cable's pricing schemes that are holding back adoption?

The cable industry insists that it's ready and able to compete with Google Fiber when it comes to delivering ultra high-speed broadband.
Indeed, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts last week showed off a 3Gbps cable broadband connection at the industry's annual trade show in Washington, D.C. That's three times faster than Google Fiber, which itself is nearly 150 times faster than the current average broadband connection in the U.S. Armed with that capability, he confidently welcomed Google's challenge to deliver ultra high-speed broadband to consumers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Happy Monday. (35+ / 0-)

    Here's a link to the diary published today by Pluto to which I refer in the US section.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 05:37:52 PM PDT

  •  "...Left To The Side In A Class Photo" (15+ / 0-)

    A class photo of a second grader with spinal muscular atrophy went viral over the weekend, sparking accusations of discrimination directed towards school photography company Lifetouch Canada Inc.

    From the Toronto Star: British Columbia mom heartbroken after son in wheelchair left to the side in class photo

    Anne Belanger was heartbroken when she discovered her son had been placed off to the side in his Grade 2 class photo.

    “I couldn’t comprehend how the photographer could look through the lens and think that this was good composition . . . this just boggled the mind,” she said. In the photo, the class is arranged in three rows, with the teacher standing on the left.

    To the far right is 7-year-old son Miles Ambridge. He’s leaning from his wheelchair, an empty space separating him from his classmates.

    “Being picked on and being set aside is horrendous and this was what was happening,” said Belanger, of New Westminster, British Columbia.

    In the enlarged image, you can tell the poor child is stretching his neck so he can be in the picture with his classmates.

    Was there not one adult in that room with a brain between their ears that could say "hey, why don't we see if we can take him out of the chair & sit him on the bench with everyone else?" I have to believe that's possible, and someone at the school is trained to help this kid, and could have helped him sit on the bench for a couple of minutes to take a picture.

  •  As you say Rimjob: (14+ / 0-)
    Was there not one adult in that room with a brain between their ears ...
    Apparently not. This is not rocket science just good judgement.

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.― Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by maggiejean on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:07:01 PM PDT

  •  miss utah is more famous than winner (13+ / 0-)

    Miss Utah USA’s botched answer makes her a star
    SL trib - scott pierce

    Marissa Powell didn’t win the title of Miss USA on Sunday, but she did make quite an impression en route to being named third runner-up.

    Not necessarily a good impression, but certainly one that is unforgettable. When asked what it says about society that women continue to earn less than men, the Salt Laker stumbled and bumbled her way through an answer that went viral on the Internet:

    "I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. I think especially the men are seen as the leaders of this, so we need to figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem."

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:13:38 PM PDT

  •  Ouch-Hey Ben Here's your hat what's your hurry (7+ / 0-)

    Obama says Bernanke has 'stayed a lot longer' than he wanted at Fed

    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama hinted in an interview aired on Monday that he may be looking for a new chief of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, saying current Chairman Ben Bernanke has stayed a lot longer than he had originally planned.

    Obama, speaking to Charlie Rose, host of a PBS interview program, compared Bernanke to longtime FBI Director Robert Mueller, who agreed to stay two years longer than he had planned and is to leave in the coming months.

    "Well, I think Ben Bernanke's done an outstanding job. Ben Bernanke's a little bit like Bob Mueller, the head of the FBI - where he's already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to," Obama said.

    Asked whether he would reappoint Bernanke if he wanted to keep the job, Obama did not answer directly.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:23:39 PM PDT

  •  Sterling OND maggiejean! (13+ / 0-)

    Stirling Engine

    A Stirling engine is a heat engine operating by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas, the working fluid, at different temperature levels such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work.[1][2] Or more specifically, a closed-cycle regenerative heat engine with a permanently gaseous working fluid, where closed-cycle is defined as a thermodynamic system in which the working fluid is permanently contained within the system, and regenerative describes the use of a specific type of internal heat exchanger and thermal store, known as the regenerator. It is the inclusion of a regenerator that differentiates the Stirling engine from other closed cycle hot air engines.

    Originally conceived in 1816 as an industrial prime mover to rival the steam engine, its practical use was largely confined to low-power domestic applications for over a century.[3]

    The Stirling engine is noted for its high efficiency compared to steam engines,[4] quiet operation, and the ease with which it can use almost any heat source. This compatibility with alternative and renewable energy sources has become increasingly significant as the price of conventional fuels rises, and also in light of concerns such as peak oil and climate change. This engine is currently exciting interest as the core component of micro combined heat and power (CHP) units, in which it is more efficient and safer than a comparable steam engine.[5][6]

  •  U.S. says it will buy Russian helicopters (8+ / 0-)

    U.S. says it will buy Russian helicopters for Afghan military

    (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday it will spend $572 million to buy 30 Russian-built military helicopters that will be used by Afghan security forces.

    The Mi-17 helicopters will be used by Afghanistan's National Security Forces Special Mission Wing, which supports counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and special operations missions.

    The contract with Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms company, covers spare parts, test equipment and engineering support. The Pentagon said the work would be performed in Russia. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

    A year ago, the Defense Department purchased a dozen of the Mi-17 aircraft from Rosoboronexport for $217.7 million, as part of a larger contract originating in 2011.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:26:46 PM PDT

  •  Spying claims:Countries demand explanation from UK (7+ / 0-)

    Spying claims: Countries demand explanation from UK

    A diplomatic row has broken out over claims that Britain spied on foreign governments attending G20 meetings in London in 2009.

    Turkey's foreign ministry demanded answers over reports its delegates had computers monitored and phones tracked.

    South Africa condemned the alleged "abuse of privacy" and a senior Russian politician said it was a "scandal".

    PM David Cameron would not comment on the claims, said to be based on leaks by a former IT contractor.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:30:51 PM PDT

  •  Hemingway revealed as failed KGB spy (7+ / 0-)
    Up till now, this has been a notably cheerful year for admirers of Ernest Hemingway – a surprisingly diverse set of people who range from Michael Palin to Elmore Leonard. Almost every month has brought good news: a planned Hemingway biopic; a new, improved version of his memoir, A Moveable Feast; the opening of a digital archive of papers found in his Cuban home; progress on a movie of Islands in the Stream.

    Last week, however, saw the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (Yale University Press), which reveals the Nobel prize-winning novelist was for a while on the KGB's list of its agents in America. Co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, the book is based on notes that Vassiliev, a former KGB officer, made when he was given access in the 90s to Stalin-era intelligence archives in Moscow.

    Its section on the author's secret life as a "dilettante spy" draws on his KGB file in saying he was recruited in 1941 before making a trip to China, given the cover name "Argo", and "repeatedly expressed his desire and willingness to help us" when he met Soviet agents in Havana and London in the 40s. However, he failed to "give us any political information" and was never "verified in practical work", so contacts with Argo had ceased by the end of the decade. Was he only ever a pseudo-spook, possibly seeing his clandestine dealings as potential literary material, or a genuine but hopelessly ineffective one?

  •  State Dept whistleblower says she is bullied (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Knucklehead, tardis10, maggiejean
    The State Department investigator who accused colleagues last week of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and having sex with minors says that Foggy Bottom is now engaged in an "intimidation" campaign to stop her.

    Last week's leaks by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, shined a light on alleged wrongdoing by U.S. officials around the globe. But her attorney Cary Schulman tells The Cable that Fedenisn has paid a steep price: "They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself."

  •  So, feudal, theocratic, autocratic Saudi Arabia (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, Shockwave, JML9999, Pluto

    is supplying missiles to the rebels in Syria to help spread "freedom and democracy" ?

    Gimme a break!

    And let me add that our cunniving with the likes of Saudi A and the anti-democratic Gulf emirates to wreck yet another country in the Middle East for whatever might be the ulterior motives is entirely criminal and shameful.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:22:37 PM PDT

  •  As seeing that we're citing the Guardian (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, JML9999, Pluto

    here's the accompanying article

    and do cast a glance at the readers' comments

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:28:14 PM PDT

  •  Consumers are nowhere near ready for gigabit speed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maggiejean, JML9999, Pluto

    Yea right!

    You fools.

    But check out what else Google is up to;

    Google Project Uses Balloons to Expand Internet Access

    The company today announced the start of Project Loon, a plan to send large floating balloons into the stratosphere to provide Internet access to rural or remote areas, in addition to helping people get online after major disasters.
    According the project’s website, each balloon can provide Internet service to a 40 kilometer diameter area with speed equivalent to a 3G connection. The balloons would float at an altitude higher than air traffic or weather patterns. The balloons would be steered by “sailing” through winds from controllers on the ground.
    Users on the ground have to attach a special Internet antennae to their home to pick up signals.
    These guys are cool.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:00:24 PM PDT

  •  Future Now - Your Dreams Aren't Private Anymore (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, maggiejean


    “This is the first time anyone has found a way to store information over seconds about both temporal sequences and stimulus patterns directly in brain tissue,” says Dr. Strowbridge. “This paves the way for future research to identify the specific brain circuits that allow us to form short-term memories.”

    Scientists Can Pluck Images Out Of Your Dreams

    Frank Church

    Frank Forrester Church III (July 25, 1924 – April 7, 1984) was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as a United States Senator from Idaho from 1957 to 1981.

    Church is widely quoted in regard to the National Security Agency: "I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge... I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

    Church gained national prominence during his service in the Senate through his chairmanship of the Church Committees, which conducted extensive hearings investigating extra-legal FBI and CIA intelligence-gathering and covert operations. Together with Senator Sam Ervin's committee inquiries, the Church Committee hearings laid the groundwork for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The committee also investigated CIA drug smuggling activities in the Golden Triangle and secret U.S.-backed wars in Third World countries.
    The secret surveillance program known as Minaret in the 1970s handed over to the National Security Agency
    ( NSA) all incoming and outgoing US telephone calls and telegrams.

    GOP/LIBERTARIAN/TEA PARTY: don't hold political offices to govern or serve, they hold political offices to dominate and steal; an effective racket!

    by anyname on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:12:56 PM PDT

  •  Changing Times (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, maggiejean

    There's a G8 Summit next week and my mailbox isn't full.  I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but it's a watershed.  The end of summit-hopping resistance as we've known it.

    "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:52:16 PM PDT

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