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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.


Chile fire in Valparaiso kills 11 and forces thousands to evacuate

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from Chile's port city of Valparaiso to escape a moving fire that has killed at least 11 residents.
Some 1,200 firefighters are battling the large blaze, which has destroyed hundreds of homes since Saturday.
President Michelle Bachelet put the army in charge of the evacuation after declaring the city, 110km (70 miles) west of Santiago, a disaster zone.
Security forces are on the streets to maintain order and prevent looting.
Earlier, the authorities said 16 residents had died, but it turned out that one family had been counted twice.
One official said it was the "worst catastrophe" he had ever seen.
"We fear that the fire will spread to the centre of the city, which would increase the severity of the emergency," regional governor Ricardo Bravo, a life-long resident of Valparaiso, said.

Mexico bus crush kills 36 people in Veracruz

The authorities in Mexico say 36 people have been killed in a bus crush in the south-east of the country.
The state government of Veracruz said four people survived after the bus burst into flames.
It slammed into the back of a broken-down lorry that was parked on a main road, just after midnight local time.
A statement from the state civil defence agency said the victims were business people from the region who were en route to Mexico City.
They were travelling from Villahermosa in Tabasco state when their bus hit the lorry, which the authorities said was "badly parked on the highway".
"Apart from being hit, the bus also caught fire, making the j.ob of identifying bodies difficult," Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte told local television
Al Jazeera America
Death sentence in Egypt leads to international outrage
MATAI, Egypt — As far as Hana Gamel was concerned, things had been going as well as they could. In September 2013, her husband, Sheikh Ahmed Qorani, a respected preacher in the city of Minya, was arrested a few miles away in his hometown of Matai. It was two months after President Mohamed Morsi had been toppled by the army, and Qorani was accused of “a tendency to belong” to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. He was eventually released on bail.

Then, at the beginning of 2014, Qorani’s name suddenly popped up on a list of around 500 men accused of attacking a police station and killing an officer in August of the previous year. As the date of the court case approached, rumors spread of potentially harsh prison sentences. Several days before the verdict, Hana convinced her husband to go into hiding. But she remained hopeful that the matter could be resolved on appeal. Sheikh Ahmed Qorani, a graduate of the prestigious Al Azhar University, was not even involved in politics. Surely, she thought, the misunderstanding would be cleared up.

But on the morning of March 24, when Hana Gamel turned on her TV, she was stunned to learn that her husband, along with 528 others accused in the August murder of the police officer, had been sentenced to die.

Al Jazeera America
Beef prices reach highest level since 1987
Beef prices have hit their highest level in almost three decades, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn't likely anytime soon.
A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.

Everything that is produced is being consumed, said Kevin Good, an analyst at CattleFax, a Colorado-based industry information service. And prices will likely stay high for a couple of years, as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds amid big questions about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will receive enough rain to replenish pastures.
Meanwhile, quick trips to the grocery store could drag on a little longer as shoppers search for cuts that won't break the budgets. Patrons at one market in Lubbock seemed resigned to the high prices, but not happy.

Al Jazeera America
Water ban for millions after oil spill hits refinery town

I see China is trying to keep up with us.

A crude oil leak from a pipeline owned by a unit of China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) is to blame for water contamination that has affected more than 2.4 million people in the Chinese city of Lanzhou, in the the landlocked northwest part of the country, according to Chinese media reports Saturday.
The leak poisoned the water source for a water plant, introducing hazardous levels of benzene into the city's water, according to China's official news agency Xinhua.

Residents scrambled to buy bottled water after authorities warned against using taps, in scenes reminiscent of a municipal water ban in the United States, following a coal-processing chemical spill that affected 300,000 West Virginians in January.

Xinhau cited Yan Zijiang, Lanzhou's environmental protection chief, as saying that a leak in a pipeline owned by Lanzhou Petrochemical Co., a unit of CNPC, was to blame for the water contamination.
The spill comes amid a push by Beijing to reign in pollution in China, which has seen environmental degradation come along with fast economic growth. Last week, a government review of 25,000 companies found 2,000 failed to meet pollution standards

N Y Times
Climate Efforts Falling Short, U.N. Panel Says
BERLIN — Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world.

In a report unveiled here, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that decades of foot-dragging by political leaders had propelled humanity into a critical situation, with greenhouse emissions rising faster than ever. Though it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal, the committee found.
“We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”

The good news is that ambitious action is becoming more affordable, the committee found. It is increasingly clear that measures like tougher building codes and efficiency standards for cars and trucks can save energy and reduce emissions without harming people’s quality of life, the panel found. And the costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are falling so fast that its deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said.


Why are geocentrists trying to undo centuries worth of accepted science? (Hint: The Jews)

Most people probably assume the scientific debate over the Earth’s place in the universe has been settled for centuries, but a small group of conspiracy theorists have been quietly pushing the idea that Galileo was wrong.
The Raw Story brought them blinking into the light earlier this week with a report on their plans to release “The Principle,” a film narrated by “Star Trek: Voyager” actress Kate Mulgrew and featuring interviews with several prominent scientists, that questioned the Copernican principle placing the sun at the center of the universe.
Mulgrew and scientist Lawrence Krauss both reacted to the controversy by claiming they’d been duped by the geocentrists — and two of their ideological opponents say the group intends to dupe the public.

The film’s producers deny it promotes geocentrism but instead focuses only on the Copernican principle that lends the movie its name.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad: war turning in regime’s favour
President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that the war that has torn Syria apart for three years and cost more than 150,000 lives is turning in the government’s favour, state news agency SANA reported.
“This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army’s achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country,” he said.
Syria’s army has made a series of advances in recent months, overrunning opposition bastions near the Lebanese border and in the central province of Homs.
“The state is trying to restore security and stability in the main areas that the terrorists have struck,” said Assad, adding “we will go after their positions and sleeper cells later.”
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