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Updated: 11 min 54 sec ago

Cat Returned To Shelter Because It Farts All The Time

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:15

It’s a sad and stinky tale —with an ultimately happy ending.

Lenny the cat was found as a stray by the Scottsville Veterinary Hospital and Pet Adoptions in Rochester, N.Y.. The shelter nursed him back to health and set out to find the adorable cat a permanent home.

Happily, he was adopted in March, but, as occasionally happens, the adoption didn’t take and poor Lenny was returned to the shelter after living with his new family for only two days. The reason? He “farts all the time,” reported the Democrat & Chronicle.

Upon his return to the shelter, the supposedly farting feline didn’t display any indicators that he had earned his new nickname of “smelly cat,” however the cat may be best suited to a life outdoors.

Lenny was made a minor celebrity after the Scottsville Veterinary Adoptions’ posted his story to their Facebook page. That’s when one brave — and perhaps hard of smelling — family stepped up and adopted Lenny. Happy trails, happy tails.

[Via Democrat & Chronicle ]

MORE: Check Out the World’s Best Collection of Cat Art

MORE: Watch Cats React To Magic Tricks…Sort Of

Categories: Magazines

‘Omo Sexy’ Nollywood Star Finds Passion in Activism

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:07

When one of Africa’s biggest celebrities was honored as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2013, she found that it served to amplify her influence as a human-rights and environmental activist.

“I speak, and I shout even louder,” said Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, the actress, singer and reality television star known as “Omo Sexy” in Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry.

Ekeinde continues to speak out about issues affecting Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Niger River Delta in her native Nigeria.

Categories: Magazines

Too Little Weight Gain During Pregnancy Linked to Having a Chubby Child

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:04

There’s a growing mountain of evidence that obesity and other health factors can be determined as early as your time in the womb. While research has shown that too much weight gain during pregnancy can lead to an obese child, new research shows that too little weight gain can be a nearly equally risky factor in childhood obesity.

Researchers studied the electronic medical records of 4,145 women who had a baby between 2007 and 2009, and reviewed the medical information of their children between ages 2 and 5. Their findings, which are published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, showed that women who started at a normal weight before pregnancy, but gained more than the recommended amount, were 80% more likely to have an overweight child. Women with a normal weight before pregnancy who gained less than the recommended amount were 63% more likely to have a child who became overweight or obese.

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy is somewhere between 11 and 20 pounds.

When looking at the group as a whole, researchers found that among the women who gained too much weight, slightly more than 20% of their children were overweight. Among women who gained too little weight, 19.5% of their kids were overweight. And for those who gained the normal amount, only 14.5% had overweight kids.

Researchers are still looking into why weight gain outside the optimal range influences obesity, but one hypothesis is that gaining too much or too little weight interferes with the child’s ability to normalize energy and metabolism.

Categories: Magazines

Maryland Governor Signs Pot Decriminalization Bill

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:03

(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — Gov. Martin O’Malley has signed a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana starting in October.

Maryland is now the 17th state in the U.S. to decriminalize marijuana. The Democratic governor says the law should improve public safety by freeing police officers to focus on more serious threats.

The Maryland State’s Attorneys Association sent O’Malley a letter Friday, urging him to veto the measure. The group’s president says the bill was passed too hastily. Charles Smith wanted amendments that would keep it a crime to smoke pot in public or carry it onto school property.

O’Malley also approved a measure to improve the distribution of medical marijuana.

Categories: Magazines

How Your Diet Can Hurt Your Marriage

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:00

Anyone who’s been on a diet knows that hunger can make you cranky. With less fuel, your brain doesn’t exert as much self control, so you let your impatience and irritation go unchecked. MoreMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostEva Longoria Dishes on Her 'Good Dresser' Boyfriend and Why She Loves Flying PeoplePeter King's Monday Morning Quarterback Sports Illustrated'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Lion and the Rose' Entertainment Weekly

Researchers speculate that such hunger-fueled anger could even affect your marriage. Brad Bushman, at The Ohio State University, and his international group of colleagues set up a study involving 107 married couples, using voodoo dolls to track how angry spouses felt toward each other. Over a period of 21 days, the couples had their blood glucose measured every night before they went to bed, and every morning before they ate breakfast, as a barometer of their hunger. The voodoo dolls were stand-ins for their spouses; each partner had 51 pins and poked the doll each night to represent how irritated he or she was at his or her spouse.

MORE: Study: Effects of Childhood Hunger Last for Decades

Who poked the most? Those who had the lowest glucose levels on average stabbed their voodoo partner more than twice as many times as those with the highest glucose levels. Even after the scientists controlled for how happy the spouses reported their relationship as being, the hunger-aggression connection remained strong.

“We don’t say that glucose levels explain everything, but we took repeated measures over the 21 days and found these pretty robust results,” says Bushman.

It’s possible that the people with higher glucose levels were simply more forgiving or feeling more generous after a fulfilling meal – levels of mood hormones like serotonin tend to go up after a meal, ushering in a feeling of satiety. But Bushman believes that the consistency of the results hint that something more may be involved, and that may have to do with how hunger can contribute to less self-control and more irritable behavior.

In the second part of the study, he and his colleagues asked the spouses to play a competitive computer game, and awarded the winning partner the opportunity to blast the loser with a cacophony of sounds, including dentist drills, sirens, and fingernails dragging across a chalkboard. The scientists told the participants they could make the sounds as loud or as quiet as they desired, and leave them on for as long as they wanted (researchers actually controlled the volume so no eardrums were harmed). Those who recorded the lowest glucose levels over the past 21 days were more likely to blast the sounds at higher volumes and for longer periods of time if they won than those who had higher glucose levels.

That skipping meals or cutting back on calories could escalate aggression among spouses leads Bushman and his colleagues to suspect that hunger could even be behind some cases of domestic violence, although the study did not go as far as to test that theory. But Bushman says the findings make it clear that low glucose levels, and its resulting lack of self-control, should be considered part of the constellation of factors that can contribute to marital strife. That means that people on diets should be aware of how their drop in calories can affect their mood and the way they interact with others, including their spouse. And, says Bushman, “If couples have something to talk to their spouse about, they should do it over dinner, or better yet, after dinner.”

Categories: Magazines

The Most Complained-About Library Book of 2013 Was…

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 15:00
More8 Young Adult Books That Should Be Movies (And Who Should Star in Them)10 Books to Buy with Your Free Money From Amazon

Captain Underpants rides again!

The American Library Association has released their annual State of America’s Libraries report, which includes the list of the most “challenged” books of the previous year. Those are the books that are the subject of formal, written complaints filed with libraries or schools “requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.” The 2013 report notes that the year’s 307 recorded instances of challenges is down from 2012 — to the tune of more than 100 complaints.

But the books receiving those fewer complaints were, in many cases, the same as before. Just as in 2012, the potty humor of the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey brought the books to the top of the list. Other repeat offenders in the top ten included Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and Looking for Alaska by John Green. The newcomers to the top ten were:

  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (second place)
  • The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  • Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
  • Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

As I noted last year, it’s not so surprising that something like Captain Underpants would be seen as more worthy of complaint than something as blatantly out-there as Fifty Shades. Though the presence of the BDSM blockbuster in a public library might bother some patrons, adult books for adults are harder to muster outrage over. Books for kids are clearly much more likely to be the subject of formal, written complaints. One of the most common reasons for complaint is, in fact, “unsuited to age group.” (Why that’s one of the reasons people complained about 50 Shades too is, however, a complete mystery.)

As for trying to keep kids away from Hunger Games due to its “religious viewpoint” (which is what?) and it being “unsuited to age group” — good luck with that, concerned citizens. The ALA’s annual list is a nice barometer of what has people wringing their hands, but The Hunger Games is as good a reminder as any that a book being challenged is not the same thing as it being suppressed.

Categories: Magazines

Kansas City Shooting Suspect to Face Hate Crime Charges

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:48

The suspect accused of killing three people in a shooting rampage outside of a Jewish center and a retirement community Sunday will face hate crime charges, authorities said Monday.

“We have unquestionably determined through the work of law enforcement that this was a hate crime,” Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass told the Associated Press.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement earlier on Monday saying federal prosecutors would work with their local counterparts “to determine whether the federal hate crimes statute is implicated in this case.”

Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, was arrested Sunday in an elementary school parking lot after he shot two people at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan. before driving to a nearby retirement community, where he shot a third. Cross reportedly shouted “Heil Hitler!” while in police custody.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, identified Cross as a well-known white supremacist and a former “grand dragon” of a wing of the Ku Klux Klan. Cross is also known to have contributed writings to the Vanguard News Network, an anti-Semitic organization that he supported financially.

All three people Cross killed were Christians, the AP reports.

[AP]

Categories: Magazines

Watch Bryan Cranston Help This Teen Ask a Girl to Prom

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:43

Bryan Cranston may be the one who knocks, but he is also the one who makes a mean prom invitation.

When teen Stefan Montana ran into Cranston, he didn’t waste his opportunity and merely ask the Breaking Bad star for a measly autograph to impress his friends and/or sell on eBay.

Instead, Montana enlisted the actor to help in what would be the ultimate prom-posal for a Breaking Bad fan. The teen asked the actor to briefly reprise his role as Walter White and make his dream date an offer she couldn’t refuse, by warning her to “tread lightly” if she dare say no to the invitation.

Obviously she said yes.

Watch above and here’s another angle on the action:

[Via Neatorama]

MORE: Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston to Unveil ‘Secrets and Lies’ in Book

MORE: California Teen Reportedly Sold Pot Brownies to Raise Money for Her Prom Dress

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Google Snaps Up Solar Drone Maker

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:27

Google has agreed to buy the startup manufacturer of high-altitude solar-powered drones Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed amount of money, the tech giant announced Monday.

Facebook had earlier expressed interest in purchasing Titan but instead announced it would buy another solar-drone maker, Ascenta, for $20 million.

Drones manufactured by the New Mexico-based company are designed to run for years without touching the ground. Tech firms hope such a drone might serve as a sort of atmospheric satellite, taking images of the earth, for example, or supporting data transfer.

“Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation. It’s why we’re so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family.”

Categories: Magazines

The World Shrugs at Alleged Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:26

It’s not often that the Syrian regime and opposition groups fighting for its downfall can agree on something. But when it comes to the alleged April 11 chemical attack on the rebel-held village of Kfar Zeita, neither side has any doubt it happened. What they can’t agree upon is who is to blame. Video footage taken from a local field hospital and published online by anti-regime activists shows scenes of chaos and terror, as harried medical workers pass oxygen masks around a crowded room and struggle to revive pale, listless patients lying on the floor between hospital gurneys. Toddlers, stacked four to a bed, cough and scream in fear if they aren’t laying unnaturally still. It is impossible to tell for certain what happened, but existing footage indicates some sort of chemical agent may have been involved. “A helicopter came and dropped a container,” says anti-regime activist Abdallah Abu Raed via Skype from Kfar Zeita, describing the scene on Friday. “A sort of yellow dust spread in the sky and coated everything. You can’t really distinguish the smell because as soon as you inhale it you pass out.” The noxious substance affected some 150 people, he says, and by Monday afternoon, several victims had been transferred to neighboring Turkey for treatment. Two children and an old man had died, he says. More3 Journalists For Hezbollah TV Killed In SyriaAssad: Syrian War Is At ‘Turning Point’Men Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostSay Anything Turns 25: 15 Life Lessons from Lloyd Dobler People

Within hours of the alleged attack, opposition leaders were blaming the Syrian government, saying the military had added chlorine gas to its by now habitual deployment of improvised barrel bombs full of explosives and shrapnel dropped from aircraft flying over rebellious civilian areas. The next day state-run television responded with reports that the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front had orchestrated the attacks, and that the rebel group was planning further attacks on other towns. The state-owned news agency did not say from where it had obtained the information, but on April 1 – ten days before the attack – Syria’s representative to the United Nations in New York, Bashar al-Jaafari, claimed that Syrian government authorities had intercepted phone calls between militant groups planning to launch chemical attacks in order to frame the government. Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

Taleb Abu al-Hasan, commander of the local 111 rebel regiment in Kfar Zeita, tells TIME via Skype that such pre-emptive accusations are standard government propaganda. “Whenever the regime is about to do this, they blame someone else ahead of time to deflect blame before the attack takes place.” The rebels, he adds, are bracing for a similar attack in the nearby town of Morek, “because the regime is saying that their intelligence has gathered evidence that al-Nusra is planning to use [chemical weapons] there.” The towns of Kfar Zeita and Morek have been thorns in the side of regime forces since the rebels seized them several months ago. They threaten a key supply line to military units vital for maintaining government control over the northern town of Aleppo, says al-Hasan, and that’s why he believes they are likely to be next of the regime’s hit-list. It’s simply too convenient, he suggests, that Morek, which is already under rebel control, is threatened by another chemical attack by the al-Nusra Front.

If past cases of alleged chemical attacks are anything to go by, there may never be definitive proof of culpability for the Kfar Zeita attack, or any subsequent attacks, for that matter. It may impossible to prove that any chemical agents were used it all. It took months for U.N. investigators to determine that a chemical weapons attack had actually taken place on Aug. 21 in the Damascus suburbs, even after hundreds had died from apparent symptoms of exposure to toxic substances. Even then investigators were not able to assign blame. Figuring out what happened in Kfar Zeita, about 200 km north of Damascus in contested territory, will be even more difficult given ongoing war, the region’s inaccessibility and the unwillingness of either side to let go of the propaganda opportunities presented by continued ambiguity.

The U.S., for the moment, has been cautious in assigning blame. “We are trying to run this down,” Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on the U.S. weekly television news program ‘This Week.’ “So far, it’s unsubstantiated, but we’ve seen, I think, in the past that we will do everything in our power to establish what has happened and then consider possible steps in response.”

Of course, “possible steps” are likely to be limited. Under a deal brokered by ally Russia, President Bashar Assad agreed to give up Syria’s substantial chemical arsenal by June 30 in order to avert a U.S. military response in the wake of the August attack. (The Syrian regime blamed the rebels for that attack as well). And the U.S. and its Western allies may not want to issue fresh threats against the Assad regime now that Syria is on the brink of reaching the goal of relinquishing its chemical weapons — today the organization overseeing Syria’s compliance, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, announced that 65 percent of Syria’s chemical stockpiles had been removed from the country. “All of these countries have a vested interest in seeing Syria disarmed,” says chemical weapons expert Jean Pascal Zanders. “Right now that is the biggest priority, which is why I am thinking no one will want to rock the boat over this issue right now.”

With reporting by Hania Mourtada / Beirut

Categories: Magazines

U.S. Army Rejects Clemency for WikiLeaks Source Manning

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:20

The U.S. Army has declined a request for clemency from the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, who was convicted last year of leaking a massive amount of classified government data to the whistle-blowing group WikiLeaks.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchannan approved the 35-year sentence handed down by Judge Denise Lind in Manning’s court martial in August 2013. Buchannan’s decision was issued Thursday but announced to the public Monday.

Manning was convicted of 20 separate offenses, including violations of the Espionage Act, but acquitted of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carried a sentence of up to life in prison. The 35-year sentence levied against Manning is the longest sentence imposed on someone for leaking information to the media in American history.

Manning and her supporters are also pursuing other avenues to reduce the leaker’s punishment, including a clemency request with President Barack Obama and a military appeals process that could terminate in the U.S. Supreme Court.

At the time of her conviction, Manning was known by the first name Bradley. She has since formally requested a name change to Chelsea and indicated to the public that she identifies as female.

Categories: Magazines

These Cities Have the Most Open-Minded Daters

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:17

There has been a lot of recent data stating that most daters are complete narcissists when it comes to romance and only want to pursue people who remind them of themselves. But according to a new study from dating site Zoosk, many online daters are open minded to pursuing people with different characteristics. And it turns out that Las Vegas, home to contortionists and “no judgement” policies, is the most flexible city when it comes to being “open minded” in romance.

Here are Zoosk’s results for the cities you should consider traveling to for singles who aren’t interested in dopplegangers:

Top 10 Most Open-Minded Cities for Dating:

1. Las Vegas, Nevada
2.Detroit, Michigan
3.Columbus, Ohio
4.Sacramento, California
5.San Antonio, Texas
6.Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
7.Indianapolis, Indiana
8.Jacksonville, Florida
9.Nashville, Tennessee
10.Memphis, Tennessee

Top 10 Least Open-Minded Cities for Dating:

1. Raleigh, North Carolina
2. San Jose, California
3. Birmingham, Alabama
4. Richmond, Virginia
5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
6. Washington DC
7. San Diego, California
8. Atlanta, Georgia
9. Riverside, California
10. Orlando, Florida

Zoosk also specifically broke down what cities are the most open minded in different categories, showing where people of one religion are open to dating someone from a different denomination, or where someone of one height would be more open to dating someone of a different height (although this assumes a 5’4″ is just as open to dating a guy who’s 5’10″ as she is one who is 4’10″): Zoosk

But don’t move just yet. Zoosk gathered data from matches who engaged in “deep conversation,” meaning that they exhibited interest by sending at least two messages to one another each. That means a conversation consisting of: “Hey sexy, I want to take you to the moon,” “Please stop,” “I’m revving up my engine to take you out of this world,” “Oh dear God,” shows sustained romantic interest.

Categories: Magazines

Ukraine Powerless To Act As East Slips Under Russian Control

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:11

On Monday afternoon, a line of defecting officers from the Ukrainian police lined up outside their ransacked headquarters in the town of Gorlovka, in eastern Ukraine, to receive orders from their puckish new commander. Their station had been seized hours earlier by a mob of pro-Russian demonstrators, and instead of resisting many of its officers capitulated or, as they put it, “went over to the side of the people.” Greeting them outside the building with a military salute, the apparent leader of the siege, a man in fatigues who identified himself as Alexander Shulzhenko, stated his rank as lieutenant colonel. “Of what?” one of the Ukrainian policemen asked him. “Of the Russian army,” Shulzhenko said. MoreUkraine Wants UN Troops in Eastern CitiesUkraine Prepares to FightMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostSay Anything Turns 25: 15 Life Lessons from Lloyd Dobler People

That brief exchange, which was captured on video and posted to YouTube within hours, was among the clearest pieces of evidence that Russian troops have already begun their takeover of the region of Donetsk, much as they did last month in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. But instead of sending tanks across the border, Russia seems to have chosen a more subtle form of invasion – coordinating the mobs of local men who have been seizing government buildings in a handful of cities and towns and declaring independence from Kiev. Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

The strategy has left the central government with no good options. It can either stand by as pro-Russian gunmen seize more and more ground in the region of Donetsk and other parts of eastern Ukraine, or it can try to evict them by force, giving Russia an excuse to launch a full-scale invasion on the pretext of protecting the locals. Either way, the loss of Donetsk to de facto Russian control already looks to be imminent.

So far, Kiev seems to be approaching this dilemma with caution. The parliament has stopped short of declaring a state of emergency, as that would force Ukraine to delay the presidential elections scheduled for May 25. And on Monday morning, the government’s deadline for launching a “counter-terrorism operation” against the pro-Russian forces ticked by without any assault. According to local media reports, the presence of Ukrainian forces in and around Donetsk has been minimal, and local police and security officials have been defecting en masse to the pro-Russian side.

All of that signals that Ukraine sees little hope of beating back the separatists by force, at least not without serious help from NATO powers. At the border, Russia has gathered a force of at least 40,000 troops poised to attack Ukraine, according to NATO estimates, and U.S. Air Force General Philipp Breedlove, the alliance’s commander in Europe, has said it would take the Russian forces between three and five days to rout the Ukrainian army if given the order to invade.

Those odds urged Kiev to appeal on Monday for immediate help from the West. Yulia Tymoshenko, the presidential candidate whose close allies hold both the interim presidency and premiership of Ukraine, declared that the “epoch of appeasing the aggressor is over.” In a written plea distributed to the press, she said, “I ask the leaders of the world to provide direct military assistance to the Ukrainian people.”

But so far, Western assistance has been limited to the delivery of 300,000 army rations from the U.S., known as meals ready to eat, while President Obama has said clearly that the U.S. will not go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Nor will any other NATO power, and without foreign help, Ukraine has become desperate enough to consider more radical means of defense. In her appeal on Monday, Tymoshenko said that, “the time has come to organize a nationwide resistance to the Russian aggressor using all available means, including a total mobilization.”

In effect, that would mean arming volunteers with little or no military training and sending them to fight a hastily arranged guerilla campaign in the east. Indeed, the day before Tymoshenko suggested this idea, Ukraine’s acting interior minister Arsen Avakov had already set a similar plan into motion. On his Facebook page, he called for all “patriots” of Ukraine to join paramilitary forces under his command, pledging that his ministry was prepared to provide guns and uniforms to as many as 12,000 of these volunteers around the country. “The creation of these special units will be carried out as quickly as possible, without any foot-dragging or formalities.”

Implicit in this strategy was an acknowledgement of just how little faith Ukraine’s leaders have in their own armed forces, both military and police. In light of this weekend’s runaway defections in the east, that hardly seems surprising. Police forces across the region of Donetsk have tended to either abandon their posts or go over to the pro-Russian forces without a shot being fired. That is what happened on Monday in Gorlovka, one of at least six cities and towns in eastern Ukraine where police buildings have been overrun.

Pacing in front of his newest batch of defectors, Shulzhenko, the Russian officer, gave them their orders. “Your aim will be to defend social order, to prevent any looting – you’re getting this, yeah? – and to prevent any buildings from being seized without approval.” By that point, no one piped up to ask whose approval he was talking about. The Russians were quite obviously in charge, and the government in Kiev had little chance of dislodging them.

Categories: Magazines

Obamacare Will Be Billions Cheaper Than Expected

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:04

The cost of expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be billions less than previously expected, according to a report released Monday.

An analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the coverage provisions of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, will cost the federal government $104 billion fewer over 10 years than the CBO predicted back in February.

The revision is due almost entirely to a drop in the amount the federal government is expected to spend on subsidies to cover some or all of the cost of private health plans purchased through Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. Premiums for exchange plans sold in 2014 ended up being cheaper than the CBO predicted, partially because insurers marketed and sold plans with narrow networks that typically cost less.

Overall, the CBO expects the federal government will spend $1.38 trillion on the ACA’s coverage provisions between 2015 and 2024. That figure includes the cost of subsidies provided through the exchanges and Medicaid. It also factors in revenue from a tax on high-cost plans, as well as penalties collected from individuals without coverage and employers that fail to provide insurance to workers.

In 2014, the CBO predicts the federal government will spend $17 billion on subsidies to consumers who purchase private plans through exchanges, $20 billion on new Medicaid enrollees and $1 billion on tax credits for small business owners who provide employee insurance plans.

The CBO’s report also says 31 million U.S. residents will be uninsured by 2025, 26 million fewer than would go uninsured without the ACA.

Categories: Magazines

Judge: Michael Jackson’s Mom Should Pay Costs

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 14:03

(LOS ANGELES) — A judge has indicated that Michael Jackson’s mother should pay the promoter of her son’s ill-fated comeback concerts more than $800,000 in costs associated with her failed negligent hiring lawsuit.

Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos issued a tentative ruling Monday against Katherine Jackson,

The five-month trial ended with a jury determining that AEG Live LLC did not negligently hire the doctor convicted of causing Michael Jackson’s death in 2009.

AEG Live initially sought more than $1.2 million to cover the cost of court reporters and exhibits. Katherine Jackson’s lawyers claimed only about a quarter of that amount was justified.

Both sides agreed not to argue the tentative ruling, although once finalized it can be appealed.

Categories: Magazines

China’s New Panda Hotel Is as Creepy as It Is Cute

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 13:56

Rarely do you hear someone say, “You know what the world has too much of? Pandas.”

Not only would that statement be categorically false—in 2004, there were only 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild!—but even if there was an overabundance, who would complain? Pandas are adorable! Until now…

The weirdest panda-themed hotel you'll see all week @Thrillist thrl.st/1ivZMqA http://t.co/3HRYkgehJk
Thomas Heid (@twheidmusic) April 11, 2014

Welcome to China’s Panda Inn, a panda-themed hotel set to open next month that not only boasts panda decor but a very involved panda-costumed staff that will do everything from keep you company during tea time to playing the Jack to your Rose in the hotel’s Titanic-themed room.

There’s a Sailor Moon-themed room as well: A panda toy on a bed in a room of a panda-themed hotel AFP/Getty Images

The Inn is located at the foot of Emei Mountain and isn’t far from panda reserves:

A person wearing a panda suit introducing the rooms in a panda-themed hotel at the foot of Emei Mountain in Emeishan, southwest China’s Sichuan province. AFP/Getty Images

How could no one think of this completely non-terrifying idea sooner?

A new trend in the travel industry? #Panda #Tourism! The best panda-themed hotel @Thrillist thrl.st/1ivZMqA http://t.co/27h5TzGZtI
Cristina Bassoli (@CristinaBassoli) April 10, 2014

(h/t: Thrillist)

Categories: Magazines

Robyn Gets Ready to Do It Again With New EP: Listen

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 13:53

It’s time to call your girlfriend and let her know that when May 26th comes around, the only thing you’ll be listening to is the new EP from Scandinavian pop superheroes Robyn and Röyksopp.

The platinum-blond pixie behind “Dancing On My Own” announced the Do It Again tour with Norwegian duo Röyksopp earlier this year, but on Monday the performers revealed plans for a collaborative mini-album of the same name. Even better, the news also came with a minute-and-a-half preview of the eerie mid-tempo “Monument,” which you can hear above.

On her last album, 2010′s Body Talk, Robyn didn’t just wow listeners with her poignant electropop, she also impressed them with her work ethic. Robyn released the album in three parts over the span of one year to minimize fans’ wait for new music while she toured and recorded simultaneously.

Perhaps that experiment didn’t work: Besides the news that she’s been in the studio with Janet Jackson hitmaker Jimmy Jam (of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis fame), it’s practically been radio silence from Team Robyn—until now. Time to dust off your reverse-somersault floor-hump.

Categories: Magazines

French School Carries Out DNA Dragnet in Rape Case

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 13:49

(PARIS) — French investigators began taking DNA samples Monday from 527 male students and staff at a high school — including boys as young as 14 — as they searched for the assailant who raped a teenage girl on the closed campus. MoreU.N. Authorizes Peacekeeping Mission to Central African RepublicFresh Air Sells for $860 a Jar in ChinaMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostPharrell Williams Breaks Down in 'Happy' Tears During Oprah Chat People

Testing began Monday at Fenelon-Notre Dame high school in western France. All those who received summonses last week were warned that any refusal could land them in police custody, and no one rejected the sweeping request to test the high school’s male population. Popular Among Subscribers The Rise of Fake Pot Common Core Sparks Parent RevoltChristians and Tyrants

The testing of students, faculty and staff at the school is expected to last through Wednesday, with 40 DNA swabs recovered inside two large study halls. Prosecutor Isabelle Pagenelle said investigators had exhausted all other leads in the Sept. 30 rape of the girl in a dark bathroom at the school.

“The choice is simple for me,” she said. “Either I file it away and wait for a match in what could be several years, or I go looking for the match myself.”

While there have been other situations in which DNA samples have been taken en masse, the case is complicated for France, where acceptance is widespread for DNA testing and a national database maintains profiles of people detained for even minor crimes. But children’s civil liberties are considered sacred, especially within schools.

France has stringent privacy protections — Google, for example, has come under legal attack for storing user data, as well as for lapses in images from Street View. Questions of criminality are a different matter — the government’s DNA database has expanded radically since it was first created in 1998, and now encompasses 2 million profiles, or about 3 percent of the population.

“It’s clearly a situation where people do not have a choice,” said Catherine Bourgain, a genetic researcher and author of “DNA, Superstar or Supercop.” ”One you have a DNA file it’s very difficult to get that information erased.”

Authorities have promised to discard the DNA collected once a donor is eliminated as a suspect, but Bourgain said she hoped that would also include the profile information, which during the usual course of French investigations is computerized and transmitted to the database.

Police recovered genetic material from the girl’s clothing but found no matches among current profiles.

“This happened during the school day in a confined space,” Chantal Devaux, the private Roman Catholic school’s director, told French media. “The decision to take such a large sample was made because it was the only way to advance the investigation.”

Summonses went out last week to 475 teenage students, 31 teachers and 21 others — either staff or males who were on campus at the time. Pagenelle’s office, which required parental permission for minors, promised to discard any DNA results from people who were eliminated as suspects.

“Even if they have the agreement of their parents they could refuse,” Jean-Francois Fountain, La Rochelle’s mayor, told RTL radio. “I’m trying to put a more positive view of things: If you do this, you clear yourself. There are hundreds of people today who will be cleared.”

Devaux acknowledged that all the results could still come back negative, sending investigators back to the drawing board.

From a legal standpoint, the decision is completely logical, said Christopher Mesnooh, an American lawyer who works in Paris.

“Of the 500 or so men there’s really only one who should have any concern,” Mesnooh said. “What you have to do in this kind of case is you have to balance each person’s right to privacy against what happened to this girl.”

Such testing has occurred in the past. A small town in rural Australia, Wee Waa, tested the entire male population or about 500 men in 2000 after the rape of a 93-year-old woman. It led to the conviction a farm laborer, Stephen James Boney.

English police trying to solve the rape and murder of two teenage girls in the village of Narborough were the first to use mass DNA collection in 1986, sampling 5,000 men in the earliest days of genetic testing. Police found the killer, Colin Pitchfork, after he asked a friend for a substitute blood sample.

France has also used DNA dragnets, including in 1997 when police trying to solve the rape and murder of a 13-year-old British girl ordered testing for about 3,400 men and boys. In 2004, investigators trying to solve the murder of an 11-year-old boy took 2,300 samples. Neither crime was solved.

Last year, a judge in Brittany ordered DNA tests for all 800 men and boys ages 15 to 75 living in a town plagued with arson fires. The man ultimately charged, a local grocer, had been tested but was arrested only after two more fires and more investigation.

When the DNA database was created, French privacy rights advocates said they were comfortable with it because it had clear limitations, said Jean-Pierre Dubois of the French League of Human Rights. Over time, he said, those limits have blurred.

“We are very surprised that the police officers have not been able to be a bit more precise. When you make an inquiry, you have other evidence and other testimony,” Dubois said. “Otherwise, you could say why only the people in the school? Why not all the inhabitants of the town or the region?”

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Manning’s Conviction, 35-Year Sentence Upheld

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 13:45

An Army general is upholding Private Chelsea Manning’s conviction and 35-year prison sentence for giving reams of classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The Military District of Washington said Monday that Maj. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan has taken final action in the court-martial of the former intelligence analyst from Crescent, Okla.

Manning was sentenced in August 2013 for six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offenses for leaking more than 700,000 secret military and State Department documents while serving in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.

As commander of the jurisdiction in which the trial was held, Buchanan could have approved or reduced the court-martial findings.

His action clears the way for an automatic appeal to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

Manning’s appellate lawyer said the sentence was excessive compared to past cases.

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Michael Phelps Will Compete Once Again

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 13:37

American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is coming out of retirement to compete for the first time since 2012′s London Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old Olympian who retired from competitive swimming in 2012 will compete at an event in Mesa, Ariz. on April 24-26.

“I think he’s just going to test the waters a little bit and see how it goes,” Phelp’s trainer, Bob Bowman, told the Associated Press. “I wouldn’t say it’s a full-fledged comeback.”

Bowman said Phelps hasn’t yet decided if he’ll compete in the U.S. national championship if he qualifies. Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, has previously said he wouldn’t compete past age 30.

“He’s really doing this because he wants to — there’s no outside pressure at all,” Bowman said.

[AP]

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