Skip to main content

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.

Patriotic Page Divider

BBC
 

Israel and Palestinian groups have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza, officials say.

The ceasefire will start at 08:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

Israel held its own seven-hour "humanitarian window" in Gaza on Monday but then resumed its military operations.

Health officials in Gaza say more than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in the four-week conflict, which has also claimed 67 Israeli lives.

A Thai national working in Israel was also killed.

'Without preconditions'

The latest ceasefire was discussed on Monday by various Palestinian groups in Cairo, although Israel did not attend.

However, a senior Israeli official later told the BBC: "Israel will accept the draft of the Egyptian proposal for an unconditional ceasefire, without preconditions and for 72 hours, starting tomorrow at 08:00."

Al Jazeera
 

Rafah, Gaza Strip - Umm Mohammed Abu Sada uses her headscarf to block the stench of bodies, some of which have been lying outside for days. Excluded from Israel's humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, this city in southern Gaza has suffered under continued Israeli shelling and air strikes.

"The smell of bodies knocks people down - it is horrible to see human bodies thrown on to the streets like that," Abu Sada told Al Jazeera. "The missiles are hitting everyone…there is nowhere for us to seek shelter."

Corpses of dead Palestinians have overwhelmed morgues at Rafah's hospitals, and relatives have been left with no option but to keep their loved-ones in commercial refrigerators. At the city's Kuwaiti hospital, a stream of ambulances negotiated its way through crowds of medical staff and families, delivering bodies to be laid out on the gravel outside the building.

Many of the dead have no one to bury them except distant relatives, as Israeli air strikes on Rafah have killed several members of the same families.

NPR
 

In the waiting room at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, an Israeli woman was shouting at a Palestinian mother whose son was being treated for a beating he received from a Jewish mob.

"Go away you trash," the Israeli woman yelled at the Palestinian. "I would bury you in Gaza."

A second Israeli woman joined in the verbal barrage, complaining that her taxes shouldn't be paying for Palestinian treatment.

Two other Israeli women came over to comfort the Palestinian mother. But she is in no mood for reconciliation and retorted: "What good will your apologies do?"

My NPR colleague Daniel Estrin witnessed this exchange and it reflects the lack of empathy in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza these days, even in the few communities where Jews and Arabs mix like Jerusalem.

Menachem Klein, a Bar Ilan University professor of political science and one-time adviser to the Israeli negotiating team back in 2000, says the abstract view many Jews and Arabs have of one another has brought the conflict to a new low, one that's about ethnicity rather than statehood or disputed borders.

US NEWS

Bloomberg
 

The debate over Obamacare's Medicaid expansion divides states into two broad categories -- those that expand their program and those that don't. New research suggests we should talk more about a third group: States that agree to expand Medicaid, then impose premiums whose only purpose seems to be keeping people out of the program.

A paper released today in the journal Health Affairs, written by researchers from the federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, seeks to quantify the effect of premium increases on children's enrollment in Medicaid or its sister plan, the Children's Health Insurance Program. They found that even small premiums lead to big drops in sign-ups.

...

What makes these papers relevant is that at least four states -- Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- have expanded or are trying to expand Medicaid access in a way that imposes premiums on those making from 101 percent to 138 percent of poverty. Those premiums aren't high: $25 a month in Indiana, $10 in Iowa, $25 in Pennsylvania ($35 for a household) and 2 percent of income in Michigan. But these new studies show that even those small amounts can significantly reduce the number of people who sign up.

McClatchy
 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will welcome the leaders of nearly all Africa’s nations to Washington Monday as part of a first-of-its-kind summit designed to boost economic ties between the United States and Africa.

The U.S.-African Leaders Summit will bring together heads of states, lawmakers, business leaders, development organizations and government officials for a three-day meeting that White House officials are billing as the largest gathering of African leaders ever in Washington.

But it’s being held against against the backdrop of an outbreak in Africa of the deadly Ebola virus, which has killed hundreds of people and led a handful of leaders to cancel their visits as they deal with it. Obama administration officials say the outbreak will not cause them to alter the summit schedule, though some outside experts predict it will focus greater attention on health care.

Al Jazeera America
 

An Obama administration program secretly dispatched young Latin Americans to Cuba using the cover of health and civic programs to bring about political change — a clandestine operation that put those foreigners in danger even after a U.S. contractor was hauled away to a Cuban jail.

As early as October 2009, a project overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development sent Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of ginning up rebellion. The travelers worked undercover, often posing as tourists, and traveled around the island scouting for people they could turn into political activists.

In one case, the workers developed an HIV-prevention workshop that memos called "the perfect excuse" for the program's political goals — a gambit that could undermine U.S. efforts to improve health globally.

But their efforts were fraught with incompetence and risk, an Associated Press investigation found. Cuban authorities questioned who was bankrolling the travelers. The young workers nearly blew their mission to "identify potential social-change actors." One said he got a paltry, 30-minute seminar on how to evade Cuban intelligence, and there appeared to be no safety net for the inexperienced workers if they were caught.

The Guardian
 

An Alabama law restricting doctors at abortion clinics is unconstitutional because it would unduly hamper women’s ability to obtain the medical procedure, a federal judge ruled Monday.

US District Judge Myron Thompson, in a 172-page opinion and an accompanying order, said state lawmakers exceeded their authority when they passed a law last year requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

Thompson extended an earlier order blocking enforcement of the law and said he would issue a final order after considering more written arguments from lawyers.

“This case is not closed,” Thompson wrote.

The decision came days after a federal appeals court blocked a similar law in Mississippi.

Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the law wasn’t designed to protect women, as supporters maintain.

“Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, oppose them,” she said of the Alabama law and similar ones.

The Guardian
 

The man who recorded video of a fatal police chokehold in New York City has been arrested on gun charges, police said Sunday.

Police said 22-year-old Ramsey Orta was arrested Saturday night on Staten Island, a few blocks from where officers confronted his friend Eric Garner on 17 July.

Orta, whose recording of an officer restraining Garner with a chokehold fueled outcry against the police, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Police said Orta had a previous weapon conviction that prohibited him from possessing a firearm.

He is due in court this month on robbery charges stemming from a May arrest and an assault charge from an arrest three days before Garner’s death, according to court records.

Orta’s latest arrest came a day after the city’s medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by the officer’s chokehold, as well as the compression of his chest and prone positioning “during physical restraint by police”.

The Guardian
 

Sporting a cover image of a blue-eyed family with guns clipped to their belts, a new American children's picture book is setting itself out as the solution for all those parents who "carry a gun and sometimes struggle with how to best explain the reasons" to their children.

My Parents Open Carry, by Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew, co-founders of the pro-gun Michigan Open Carry, has been released by small US publisher White Feather Press. The picture-book fellows a "typical Saturday running errands and having fun together" for 13-year-old Brenna Strong and her parents, say the authors. "What's not so typical is that Brenna's parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defence."

Jeffs and Nephew say they were moved to write the book because they "looked for pro-gun children's books and couldn't find any". My Parents Open Carry is, say the authors, "written in the hope of providing a basic overview of the right to keep and bear arms as well as the growing practice of the open carry of a handgun", because "we fear our children are being raised with a biased view of our constitution and especially in regards to the 2nd Amendment".

NPR
 

James Brady, a former White House press secretary and gun control advocate, has died, his family announced. He was 73.

Brady served as spokesman for President Ronald Reagan. He was struck in the head by a bullet intended for the president during an assassination attempt in 1981.

NPR
 

Obama Onsen is a small resort destination in Nagasaki, Japan. In Japanese, the word Obama means "little beach," or "little island." In the past several years, though, the name has become synonymous with an American president, and the people of Obama have readily embraced their faraway namesake.

Soshi Nakamura, who works in the town's tourism office, says the town felt an affinity for Obama immediately, and that everyone was really excited when he was elected in 2008. Six years later, they're still excited. Outside of the town's tourism office, visitors are greeted by a life-sized statue of the president, wearing a black suit and big grin.

Los Angeles Times
 

Hundreds of residents in Forest Falls in San Bernardino County remained stranded Monday morning as crews worked to clear the last of four mud walls caused by flash floods over the weekend that cut the town off.

“It’s like somebody threw a huge mud ball on the town and it’s just sitting there,” said San Bernardino County firefighter Ryan Beckers. “It’s one road in, one road out.”

On Sunday, a storm that hovered over Mt. Baldy, Forest Falls and a few other communities managed to pour several inches of rain onto the area, triggering mudslides and overflowing creeks and washes that sent campers and locals running for higher ground.

In Forest Falls, mudslides as high as 10-feet cut across Valley of the Falls Drive, which connects the town to Highway 38. Even when rain doesn’t fall directly onto the secluded town, its placement next to a creek and at the foot of three mountain peaks makes it susceptible to floods and slides, Beckers said.

SF Gate
 

A pair of wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California became the focus of state and federal firefighters Sunday as authorities reported that one of the blazes had destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital.

The two fires, among 14 burning in the state, started within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and had expanded into private property and scorched nearly 95 square miles as of Sunday evening, up from 39 square miles a day earlier.

The more destructive of the two was threatening the town of Burney, where officials at Mayer Memorial Hospital decided to evacuate their 49-bed annex for patients with dementia and other conditions requiring skilled nursing.

WORLD NEWS

Reuters
 

India has dealt a potentially fatal blow to the World Trade Organization's hopes of modernizing the rules of global commerce and remaining the central forum for multilateral trade deals.

In the short term, this is a setback for freer commerce. In the longer run, it means trade liberalization may advance -- if at all -- among narrower groups of countries, denying dissenters a chance to block progress.

While the unwieldy 160-member, Geneva-based WTO will survive as a body for enforcing existing multilateral agreements, smaller clubs of like-minded nations are trying to move ahead faster to update the trade rules among themselves.

Reuters
 

The Lebanese army advanced on Monday into a border town attacked by Islamists at the weekend in the most serious spillover of the three-year-old Syrian civil war into Lebanon, and the Beirut government said the deadly assault would not go unpunished.

With army reinforcements arriving in Arsal, Prime Minister Tammam Salam, a Sunni Muslim, said there could be no "political solutions" with the Sunni radicals identified as members of the Nusra Front and the Islamic State, which has seized wide areas of Syria and Iraq.

"The only solution proposed today is the withdrawal of the militants from Arsal and its environs," said Salam, the most senior Sunni in Lebanese government.

Flanked by the rest of the cabinet, Salam accused the militants of seeking to "move their sick practices to Lebanon".

"We confirm that the attack on Lebanese national dignity will not go unpunished," he said.

Reuters
 

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered his air force for the first time to back Kurdish forces against Islamic State fighters after the Sunni militants made another dramatic push through the north, state television reported on Monday.

Kurdish peshmerga fighters, who cut their teeth fighting Saddam Hussein's troops, were regarded as one of the few forces capable of standing up to the Sunni insurgents, who faced almost no opposition from Maliki's U.S.-trained army during their lightning advance through the north in June.

Then on Sunday the Islamic State inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Kurds with a rapid advance through three towns to reach the Mosul Dam, acquiring a fifth oil field to fund its operations along the way.

State television and witnesses said the Islamic State had seized Iraq's biggest dam. Kurdish peshmerga officials said they had pushed militants from the dam area and were in control of it. This could not be immediately confirmed.

DW
 

Russia has announced large-scale air defense exercises along its Ukraine border. The new military drills will involve around 100 aircraft, and will be staged from Monday through to Friday this week, a Russian air force spokesman told the Interfax news agency.

Fighter jets, supersonic interceptor jets and attack helicopters are expected to take part in missile-firing practice and target training maneuvers in the central and western military districts.

Air force spokesman Igor Klimov told AFP the drills were "a routine event." He said they were not related to the ongoing conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

During the drills, the military will conduct missile launches and test aircraft weapons against land and air targets, he added.

DW
 

European leaders gathered in the Belgian city of Liege on Monday to commemorate the outbreak of World War One. On August 4, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, commencing a war that would last four years and claim the lives of millions.
Each of the speakers - including Belgian hosts King Philippe and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and their guests French President Francois Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck and British Prince William - remarked on the miracle of Europe's transformation from a continent of continuous war.

However, their comments soon diverged to current conflicts - such as fighting in eastern Europe and the Middle East- brought to mind by their similarities with the war that left an indelible mark on Europe a century ago.

"Today is the time to be illustrious with actions that we are able to undertake," Hollande.
"Europe should be more [active] because peace is never certain, it demands vigilance," he added, referring in particular to the fighting in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip

German President Gauck echoed these comments, calling on the Europe to demonstrate what it believes "not only through our words, but also through our everyday actions that we have learned our lesson."

Al Jazeera
 

Asylum seekers held on an Australian customs vessel at sea for weeks have been offered lifeboats and told to make their own way back to India, according to a lawyer for the group.

The boatload of 157, who Hugh de Kretser on Monday said were mostly Christian Tamils fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka, set sail from India hoping to get to Australia.

"The clients we spoke to were absolutely terrified at what lay ahead for them," de Kretser, who is executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre, told AFP news agency.

"They were terrified of the prospect of being dumped in the ocean on lifeboats, without experience in navigating or operating a boat and having to take responsibility for the families that were on the boat."

The group, which includes 50 children, were picked up by Australian authorities towards the end of June.

They spent weeks on a customs boat, mostly locked in windowless rooms, before they were taken to Australia around July 25, their lawyers say.

Scott Morrison, immigration minister, who says the Tamils are mostly economic migrants, said they could be returned to India - even if not citizens of that country - under an agreement with New Delhi.

DW
 

Even before the tension in Ukraine, arms exports were a core issue for German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel. The Social Democrat had pledged, on entering into a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's rival Christian Democrats, to tighten Germany's standards when selling weapons of war. The vice chancellor and economy minister, who had long cited concerns about exporting arms to crisis regions outside of the EU or NATO, continued in this vein when announcing that a Rheinmetall deal with Russia would stop.

"It is not about money, it is a question of human lives," Gabriel said in Wildau on Monday.

THE ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, HEALTH AND TECHNOLOGY

Al Jazeera America
 

A water ban that had hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio and Michigan scrambling for drinking water has been lifted, Toledo's mayor announced Monday.

Ohio's fourth-largest city had warned residents not to use city water early Saturday after tests at one treatment plant showed readings for microcystin, a toxic peptide, above the standard for consumption. The contamination was most likely precipitated by fertilizer and manure runoff into Lake Erie that caused harmful algae buildup.

Drinking the microcystin-contaminated water could cause vomiting, cramps and rashes, but no serious illnesses had been reported by late Sunday. Health officials advised children and those with weak immune systems to avoid showering or bathing in the water.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich had declared a state of emergency and called in the state's National Guard to help deliver water to residents.

Mayor D. Michael Collins lifted the ban at a Monday morning news conference, saying the city's drinking water is safe. In announcing the end to the ban, the mayor took a drink of water to show he thought it was safe enough to drink.

Before the ban was lifted Monday, Oliver Arnold, of Toledo, loaded up on bottled water Sunday so that he could give baths to his six children, including 4-month-old twins.

"We're going through a lot. I know by tomorrow, we're going to be looking for water again," Arnold said Sunday.

Spiegel Online
 

While the civil war in Syria has killed tens of thousands of people, it has also destroyed countless of the country's ancient treasures. Now a number of Syrians are trying to save what artifacts they can -- and are risking their lives to do so.

Cheikhmous Ali pushes a box of ballpoint pens across the table towards his friend and countryman Ahmad. The stout Syrian laughs aloud as he tucks one of the pens into his shirt pocket. "You think it'll work?" asks Ahmad.

The Guardian
 

A penguin species that lived millions of years ago would have dwarfed today’s biggest living penguins and stood as tall as most humans, according to analysis of fossils by a team of researchers from the La Plata Museum in Argentina.

Palaeeudyptes klekowskii has already been dubbed the “colossus penguin”, and is the most complete fossil ever uncovered from the Antarctic. The unearthed bones are 37m years old and include the longest recorded fused ankle-foot bone as well as parts of a wing bone.

From those bones, researchers estimated the species would have stood 2m tall from toe to beak tip, and weighed as much as 115kg. Standing normally, beak down, the penguin would have be around 1.6m tall, the team reported in the journal Geobios.

By comparison, the tallest and heaviest living species, the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), stands 1.1m high and weighs just under 50kg.

NPR
 

He didn't need a stretcher — not even an arm around his shoulder.

Kent Brantly, of Fort Worth, Texas, is the first person to be treated for Ebola on American soil. The 33-year-old family doctor surprised everyone Saturday when he walked out of an ambulance and into an Atlanta hospital.

rantly had just flown in a special air ambulance from Liberia to receive treatment for Ebola in an isolation unit at Emory University Hospital. When he exited the ambulance, he was covered head to toe in a protective suit to prevent spreading the virus. But he stepped into the hospital on his own.

"It was a relief to welcome Kent home today," his wife, Amber, said in a statement Saturday. "I spoke with him, and he is glad to be back in the U.S."

NPR
 

Analysts who fear health spending is accelerating got plenty of evidence in Wall Street's second-quarter results to support their thesis. But so did folks who hope spending is still under control.

Now everybody's trying to sort out the mixed message.

The answer matters because deficit debates and affordability concerns revolve around forecasts that health spending will speed up as the economy revives. National health spending rose only 3.7 percent in 2012, the most recent year for complete results.

If costs don't rise, the future looks better for consumers, employers and taxpayers.

NPR
 

Why do we humans like to play so much? Play sports, play tag, play the stock market, play duck, duck, goose? We love it all. And we're not the only ones. Dogs, cats, bears, even birds seem to like to play. What are we all doing? Is there a point to it all?

The scientist who has perhaps done more research on brains at play than any other is a man named Jaak Panksepp. And he has developed a pretty good hypothesis.

In a nutshell, he, and many others, think play is how we social animals learn the rules of being social. Sort of counterintuitive when you think about it: Play is how you learn rules.

You might learn what your fellow humans think is fun. And what they think isn't so fun. You might learn what your limits are. Or which of your friends likes what.

In fact, play seems so deeply wired by evolution into the brains of highly social animals that it might not be a stretch to say that play is crucial to how we and they learn much of what we know that isn't instinct. In one experiment (not Panksepp's), kittens deprived of play still could hunt perfectly well when they grew up, but they couldn't read other cats' social cues — they jumped to aggression much more quickly than normally raised cats.

C/NET
 

The entrepreneur has used technology to reshape payments, electric cars and space travel, but he's still really worried about what could happen if tech gets super-smart.

Elon Musk thinks solar power and electric cars are the future, and that we should get to work building humanity's second home on Mars as soon as possible. But the billionaire techno-optimist continues to speak out about what he sees as the dangers of a future filled with super-intelligent machines.

On Saturday Musk posted this tweet, recommending an upcoming book that examines such a future, adding "We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes."

C/NET
 

HBO reportedly plans to expand its Web-based service to countries where it doesn't grab much in the way of sales through traditional cable subscriptions.

The cable network, which has offered itself via the Web in Nordic nations since 2012, is weighing a similar option for countries such as Japan and Turkey that have healthy broadband access, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The service would not require customers to subscribe to the cable network.

With subscriber growth slowing in the US, the company's attention on overseas markets may be a necessary strategy shift. HBO offers channels in 60 countries and licenses its programming in others, the Journal said. But in many nations, the company has no channels or makes little money from traditional subscribers.

The Guardian
 

A tip-off from Google about the contents of a Gmail account led to the arrest of a 41-year-old Texan for possession of child abuse material, police revealed last week.

Police say the search firm tipped off America’s National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about material that it detected in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, a registered sex offender from Houston.

“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email,” Detective David Nettles told local news channel KHOU 11. “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”

Google would only say that “we don’t comment on individual accounts”, but the Guardian understands that the process is similar to the system that the company rolled out in 2008 to try and clear its search results of child abuse material.

USA Today
 

BEVERLY HILLS — Netflix is still a new player in original programming, but with 31 Emmy nominations for House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and Derek, it's besting the likes of Showtime in the awards derby. Now it's plotting a "pretty massive step up" in new shows over the next two years and is venturing into new genres, says chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

As the service crossed the 50-million-subscriber mark worldwide and readies launches in France and Germany, five new series based on Marvel characters are in the works, led by Daredevils next year; Chelsea Handler is moving her act online, with a stand-up special Oct. 10, a docu-series and a weekly talk show in 2016; and Netflix's first push into "adult" cartoons, BoJack Horseman, arrives Aug. 22, voiced by Will Arnett and Aaron Paul.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site