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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.

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Malaysia flight MH370: New data 'shows possible debris'

New data from a French satellite shows potential debris from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, France's foreign ministry says.
Radar echoes had picked up several objects about 2,300km (1,430 miles) from Perth, a statement added.
It is the third possible sighting in the area off western Australia that has become the focus of the search effort.

Flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people on board.
Malaysian officials believe the plane was deliberately taken off course.
Based on information received from a satellite, the search has been in two distinct corridors - one stretching to the north-west of the last known location in the Malacca Straits and one to the south-west.

Turkey downs Syria military jet 'in airspace violation'
Turkish forces have shot down a Syrian military jet they say was violating their airspace despite warnings.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned such action by Syria merited a "heavy response".
But Syria accused Turkey of "blatant aggression", saying the plane had been over Syrian territory at the time.
The incident reportedly occurred in an area where Syrian rebels and government forces have been fighting for control of a border crossing.

Turkey and Syria - once allies - share more than 500 miles (800km) of border.

Al Jazeera America

Oil spill in Galveston Bay

A barge carrying nearly 1 million gallons of thick, sticky oil collided with a ship in Galveston Bay Saturday, leaking an unknown amount of the fuel into the popular bird habitat as the peak of the migratory shorebird season was approaching.
Booms were brought in to try to contain the spill, which the Coast Guard said was reported at around 12:30 p.m. by the captain of the 585-foot ship, Summer Wind. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Kristopher Kidd said the spill hadn't been contained as of 10 p.m., and that the collision was still being investigated.
The incident has led to a shutdown of the channel for ship traffic entering and exiting the Gulf of Mexico, a spokesman for the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management told Reuters.
The ship collided with a barge carrying 924,000 gallons of marine fuel oil, also known as special bunker, that was being towed by the vessel Miss Susan, the Coast Guard said. It didn't give an estimate of how much fuel had spilled into the bay, but there was a visible sheen of oil at the scene.
Officials believe only one of the barge's tanks was breached, but that tank had a capacity of 168,000 gallons.
Al Jazeera America
State environmental regulator pulls cheap penalty in favor of suit amid Duke Energy's Dan River spill scrutiny
North Carolina regulators said Friday that they have asked a judge to withdraw a proposed settlement that would have allowed Duke Energy to resolve multiple cases of environmental abuse by paying a $99,000 fine with no requirement that the $50 billion company clean up its pollution.
The consent order that the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) scuttled had been meant to settle violations for groundwater contamination leeching from coal ash dumps near Charlotte and Asheville, N.C. Critics had called the deal too lenient.
The order had been reached in July 2013, well before a massive February 2014 spill in Eden, N.C., coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge and focused attention on Duke's long history of polluting groundwater with its leaky, unlined, open air coal ash ponds.

The state only took legal action against Duke after a coalition of environmental groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) filed notice that they planned to sue Duke under the Clean Water Act for its pollution. The administration of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory — who himself spent 29 years in the employ of Duke Energy and has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the company, its employees and their spouses — used its authority under the act to file state violations against Duke and then quickly negotiated the consent order, a move environmentalists say was intended to shield the company from far-harsher penalties it might have faced in federal court.

Al Jazeera America
Kentucky coal-ash dumping tracked by hidden camera.
Environmental groups announced their intent to sue a Kentucky coal-ash plant for “unabated” dumping into the Ohio River on Monday, after a hidden camera they set up captured alleged illegal discharges of chemicals by the company.
“We deserve clean water,” Thomas Pearce, regional organizer for the Sierra Club in western Kentucky, told Al Jazeera. “We’re calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to put forward more stringent guidelines for coal ash because states aren’t policing it. Look at North Carolina and the Duke spill.”
The allegations against Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) are the latest in a series of controversies over coal-ash dumping. Last month, Duke Energy, the country’s largest electricity provider, spilled 35 million gallons of toxic coal-ash slurry into the Dan River in Eden, N.C. Coal ash contains high levels of arsenic, lead, selenium and other heavy metals that the EPA says can cause cancer, birth defects and respiratory problems.
The Sierra Club and EarthJustice say their soon-to-be-filed lawsuit against LG&E is based on time-lapse photography from a camera they strapped to a tree. The camera captured a year’s worth of images showing “dangerous” coal ash wastewater being dumped continuously into the Ohio River
Raw Story

Funny stuff, sounds like Nixon's secret plan.

Mitt Romney: My power to ‘see the future’ could have stopped Russia’s invasion

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday suggested that he had a power to “see the future,” and could have stopped Russia from invading Crimea if he had been elected in 2012.
“The president’s naïveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgement about Russia’s intentions and objectives has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face,” Romney opined to CBS host Bob Schieffer on Sunday’s edition of Face the Nation. “And unfortunately not having anticipated Russia’s intentions, the president wasn’t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you’re seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you’re seeing in Syria.”
“I think effective leaders typically are able to see the future to a certain degree, and are able to take actions to shape it in some way,” he added. “And that’s, of course, what this president has failed to do. And as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton as well.”
Raw Story

Mississippi woman facing lethal injection Thursday despite son’s murder confession

The state of Mississippi is slated to execute a 57-year-old woman on Thursday for the murder of her husband despite her son’s written confession which was never presented to the jury.
Michelle Byrom would become the first woman executed in the state since 1944, according to the Clarion Ledger.
In her murder trial, the woman’s son, Edward Jr., testified against her, stating that in 1999 she hired his friend, Joey Gillis to kill his father, Edward Sr. for $15,000 to be paid out of life insurance proceeds.
The son, who was initially sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, is now free on earned supervised release.
However jurors never saw the two letters that Junior wrote his mother in which he detailed how he killed his father.
Jurors also never heard from a psychologist who says Junior spoke of killing his father.

On the day of the killing, June 4, 1999, Byrom was in the hospital with pneumonia after ingesting rat poison — something she had reportedly done for three years because of a mental disorder.

N Y Times

Japan to Let U.S. Assume Control of Nuclear Cache

THE HAGUE — Japan will announce Monday that it will turn over to Washington more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and a large quantity of highly enriched uranium, a decades-old research stockpile that is large enough to build dozens of nuclear weapons, according to American and Japanese officials.
The announcement is the biggest single success in President Obama’s five-year-long push to secure the world’s most dangerous materials, and will come as world leaders gather here on Monday for a nuclear security summit meeting. Since Mr. Obama began the meetings with world leaders — this will be the third — 13 nations have eliminated their caches of nuclear materials and scores more have hardened security at their storage facilities to prevent theft by potential terrorists.
Japan’s agreement to transfer the material — the amount of highly enriched uranium has not been announced but is estimated at 450 pounds — has both practical and political significance. For years these stores of weapons-grade material were not a secret, but were lightly guarded at best; a reporter for The New York Times who visited the main storage site at Tokaimura in the early 1990s found unarmed guards and a site less-well protected than many banks. While security has improved, the stores have long been considered vulnerable.
L A Times

In China, Michelle Obama gently broaches free speech.  

BEIJING — Michelle Obama strayed into taboo territory during a speech Saturday at China's Peking University in which she called the rights of free speech and worship "the birthright of every person on this planet."
The first lady dropped her remarks toward the end of an otherwise uncontroversial speech to Chinese and U.S. students about overseas exchange programs.
"We respect the uniqueness of other cultures and societies,'' Obama said with a caveat nodding to Beijing's frequent protestations that Westerners don't understand their system. "But when it comes to expressing yourself freely and worshiping as you choose and having open access to information, we believe those universal rights — they are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on this planet.''
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