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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, 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 editors are Doctor RJ and annetteboardman.

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


SA mine rescue halted after miners refuse to leave

The operation to rescue illegal gold miners trapped in an abandoned mine in South Africa has been halted overnight.
So far 11 miners have been rescued from the shaft near Johannesburg.
Other trapped miners refused to leave after discovering they faced arrest at the surface. It is unclear how many remain underground, with reports suggesting they could number 200.
A full rescue operation will not restart unless the miners request it, said an emergency services official.
Werner Vermaak of ER24 told the BBC the mine site would be guarded overnight by a private security company, who can call for help if the miners change their mind. They could also prevent unauthorised rescue attempts.
Mr Vermaak said the miners would not be denied help if they called for it."They will be offered rescue should they decide to come out," he said, adding "but they will be arrested should they come to the surface again," he said.
Gravity wins Bafta for best British film
Gravity has been named best British film at the Baftas.
It was also honoured for visual effects, cinematography, best sound and original music. Alfonso Cuaron also won best director.
12 Years a Slave won best film with its star Chiwetel Ejiofor winning best actor while Cate Blanchett picked up best actress for Blue Jasmine.
In the supporting categories, Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi won as did Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle.
The actress was not at the ceremony with director David O Russell accepting the award instead.
Russell was back on stage minutes later to pick up the award for best original screenplay for the 1970s crime drama, about two con artists who get entangled with the FBI.
NSA Australia allies 'spied on US law firm' in Indonesia row
Australian spies tapped a US law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute with the US, new leaks say.
The 2013 document obtained by the New York Times does not identify the US law firm, but says the Australians offered the intercepts to their allies at the US National Security Agency (NSA).
Previous allegations of Australian spying on Indonesia has led to worsening ties.
The alleged documents have been leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Last month, Mr Snowden alleged that the NSA conducted industrial espionage.
In an interview with Germany's ARD TV channel, the former contractor said the agency would spy on big German companies that competed with US firms.


France: Top chefs crack down on ‘food porn’

Two Michelin-starred French chefs are cracking down on customers who take photographs of their food, it's been reported.
Gilles Goujon, who runs the three-starred L'Auberge du vieux puits restaurant in Fontjoncouse in southern France, says it is poor etiquette to take photos of food, and more importantly, every time his creations appear on social networks it "takes away the surprise, and a little bit of my intellectual property", news website France TV Info reports.
Another chef, Alexandre Gauthier of the Grenouillere restaurant in the northern French town of La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, has gone as far as to add a "no cameras" logo to his menu - although photography isn't strictly banned there.
Gauthier lamented the fact that customers now take pictures of the food rather than the people they are dining with. "Before, they were pictures of family, grandmother, and now we take pictures of food… We tweet, we like, we respond to comments, and the dish is cold."
But not all fine dining establishments take the same view - some have even been known to offer food photography courses.
I understand this is true in the U.S. as well. Here it's called "food pron" of course.

Al Jazeera America
Texas suspends first doctor under new abortion law

Texas has suspended a Houston doctor's license for performing abortions without getting privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital, the first such move under a new state abortion law that went into effect last year.
The Texas Medical Board said on Friday that physician Theodore Herring performed 268 abortions between Nov. 6 and Feb. 7 without the right to admit patients to an authorized hospital within 30 miles of where the procedures took place.
Admitting privileges allow doctors to quickly check women into a local hospital in the event that they are injured during an abortion.
"The suspension was effective immediately," the board said, adding that Herring would pose a threat to public welfare by continuing to practice medicine.
Herring was not immediately available for comment, Reuters said.
Opponents of the law said that given the vast size of Texas, the admitting privileges requirement places an unjust burden on clinics and punishes people in rural parts of the state where medical care can be scarce.
Al Jazeera America
US takes step to further limit Chinese solar imports
The United States took a step on Friday toward potentially extending import duties on Chinese solar energy products to also cover panels made with parts from Taiwan in a case that could have a major impact on the fast-growing U.S. solar market.
The U.S. International Trade Commission found there was reason to think the imports could harm the local solar industry, putting Washington on a path toward widening the reach of the steep duties it slapped on products from China in 2012 and potentially escalating a back and forth trade spat.
The U.S. arm of German solar manufacturer SolarWorld AG had complained that Chinese manufacturers are sidestepping the fees by shifting production of the cells used to make their panels to Taiwan and continuing to flood the U.S. market with cheap products.
"Step by step, U.S. solar producers are returning to a day when they no longer are forced to compete with the government of China," said Mukesh Dulani, president of SolarWorld Industries America, which makes crystalline silicon solar panels at a factory in Hillsboro, Ore.
SolarWorld said it had the support of other solar manufacturers operating in the U.S. in pushing for a broadening of the duties.

But the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), which represents about 50 U.S. solar companies that mainly focus on installation, said installers would suffer if there was another jump in the cost of modules. CASE said those prices had already gone up 10 percent since the complaint was filed on Dec. 31.

Al Jazeera America

Largest solar plant in the world opens in US as industry grows

A solar plant in the Mojave Desert — the largest of its kind in the world — officially opened Thursday, and began providing energy to customers in California.
The opening is seen as a milestone for a growing industry that is testing the balance between wilderness conservation and the pursuit of green energy across the American West.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, formally opened Thursday after years of regulatory and legal tangles ranging from relocating protected tortoises to assessing the impact on Mojave milkweed and other plants.
"The Ivanpah project is a shining example of how America is becoming a world leader in solar energy," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement after attending a dedication ceremony at the site. "This project shows that building a clean-energy economy creates jobs, curbs greenhouse gas emissions and fosters American innovation."
The $2.2 billion complex of three generating units, owned by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce nearly 400 megawatts — enough power for 140,000 homes. It began making electricity last year.
While solar power accounts for less than 1 percent of the nation's power output, thousands of projects from large, utility-scale plants to small production sites are under construction or being planned, particularly across the sun-drenched Southwest.
N Y Times
Iraqi Cleric Says Again He’ll Quit Politics
BAGHDAD — Moktada al-Sadr, the anti-American Shiite cleric who became one of Iraq’s most powerful political leaders, said he was withdrawing from politics and would no longer be represented in the Iraqi government or Parliament.
In a statement released on his website Saturday, Mr. Sadr said: “I announce that I will not intervene in politics. No party represents us from now on in Parliament or in any position inside or outside the government.” He added that no one should claim to speak for his Sadrist Shiite party, the Ahrar bloc.
The offices of his party will be shut down, he said, but the charities and educational groups he runs will remain open.
On Sunday, hundreds of Mr. Sadr’s followers gathered near his office in Najaf, in southern Iraq, to urge him to reconsider, saying that they needed his voice in political affairs.
C/Net     Your police in action!
Woman jailed for not returning VHS of JLo movie 9 years ago
Look around your living room. Go up to your bedroom. Scour your attic.
There might be old movies there that aren't technically yours.
You might once have rented them from your local Blockbuster or equivalent and, as you and your Blockbuster aged, both of your forgot about it.
I mention this only because of the experience of Kayla Michelle Finley. As Fox Carolina reports, she went along to her local police station to report a crime.
Suddenly, JLo and behold, she was locked up for not having returned a VHS of the seminal work "Monster-In-Law," starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda.
You might have missed this great movie, just as Finley says she missed returning it. Well, she did rent it in 2005.
S F Gate

S.F. vendor busted for 2,000 lbs. of shark fins

State authorities Friday announced the seizure of more than 2,000 pounds of shark fins from a San Francisco seafood distributor in what is the first major bust under a new California law barring the sale of the traditional Chinese delicacy.
Michael Kwong, 42, owner of Kwong Yip Inc. in the South of Market neighborhood, was cited Jan. 29 for being in violation of the July 1 ban after investigators found his business full of shark fins ready for sale, officials said.
Investigators collected 2,138 pounds of shark, officials said, which they continue to analyze to confirm the body part and species of fish.
"It's probably thousands of sharks," said Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Hey, look out up.
Crocodiles can climb trees: researchers

(Reuters) - Most people entering crocodile territory keep a wary eye out on water and land, but research suggests they need to look up.
Though the reptiles lack obvious physical features to suggest this is possible, crocodiles in fact climb trees all the way to the crowns, according to University of Tennessee researcher Vladimir Dinets.
Researchers in the climbing study observed crocodiles in Australia, Africa and North America. The study documented crocodiles climbing as high as six feet off the ground. But Dinets said he received anecdotal reports from people who spend time around crocodiles of the reptiles climbing almost 30 feet.
Dinets said crocodiles lack the toe and foot structure that would be expected of a climber. However, smaller and juvenile crocodiles in particular were observed climbing vertically while larger ones tended to climb angled trunks and branches, all of which is a measure of the reptiles' spectacular agility, he said.
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