RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/February 2015

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February 2015[edit]

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28Because "sex is priceless" and therefore has no monetary value, North Carolina's Ethics Commission has declared that sex between politicians and other people (as long as they aren't registered as a lobbyist, but can be paid for by a third party) is "not reportable as gifts or ‘reportable expenditures made for lobbying’ for purposes of the lobbying law’s expenditure reporting provisions."
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41So the Siberian permafrost is melting at an accelerating rate, releasing methane, which causes more warming. But don't worry, Jim Inhofe—who is the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee—has scientifically proven that global warming doesn't exist because it snowed somewhere.
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21How hypothetical life without liquid water might work
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83Bridge? Spock here. Beam me up. UPDATE: There's Klingons off the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow...
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-15Songs like "Do You Wanna Touch Me" and "I Love You Love Me Love" take on a whole new, creepy meaning as Gary Glitter gets 16 years for sexually assaulting young girls.
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30"If I can take on 100,000 protestors, I can do the same across the globe." The Web mocks Scott Walker's insanely dumb comment.
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18Another day, another shooting spree in US-America. Sometimes it hardly feels newsworthy anymore, especially in a state where gun deaths outnumber deaths from auto accidents.
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26"But there's no connection, and you'd be a fool and a communist to make one. There's no connection between having a gun and shooting someone with it, and NOT having a gun and NOT shooting someone."
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33Rest in peace, Ahmed Rajib Haider. An American atheist blogger has been murdered in Bangladesh, after a long series of threatening messages.
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19In Indiana (and many other US states), you don't need to kill to be a murderer. A then-16 year old could be imprisoned for 55 years, because his friend got killed by the owner of a house they broke into, presuming no-one was there.
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51Score a win for net neutrality Update: That didn't take long Update: Now verizon starts trolling.
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22The leader of UKIP's LGBT group has quit "due to disillusionment of policy direction and dissatisfaction at the failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone".
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26South Korea decriminalises adultery. Condoms rise.
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20The Israel Experience With Mike Huckabee: come for the country-western star with the "Texas: We Don’t Call 911" cap, stay for the proclamation that "If you’re an enemy [of Israel], you’re in real trouble. God doesn’t change his mind about this stuff. It’s an eternal book."
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29Andrew Wakefield continues to make a career out of martyrdom and quackery, this time as an "expert witness" to the Oregon legislature.
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49Bill O'Reilly faces another ethics question after he states in Killing Kennedy he was outside the home of George de Mohrenschildt as he committed suicide in Florida (he related hearing the shotgun blast)...even though he was caught recorded on tape as being in Dallas at the time where he worked as a reporter. Also(blog) Another fabrication: O'Reilly never witnessed the murder of nuns in El Salvador
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42More Republican medical "knowledge:" Cancer is a fungus and can be flushed from the body using salt water. This from a proposed bill, offering cancer sufferers "more options." The bill's proposer is CEO of a dubious healthcare company. (The bill is a "right to try" bill being pushed in several states by the Koch-Libertarian Goldwater Institute.)
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39David Tredinnick, MP: If you don't think the NHS should use astrology for diagnosis, you're a RACIST!!
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37Ron Paul: "Black Caucus only against war because they want that money for food stamps."
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28Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says that civil liberties must be sacrificed in order to protect Australians from attacks.
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27Bill O'Reilly says he doesn't want to play anymore tries to put his scandal to rest by showing footage of other reports confirming what he said, but not that he was actually there, missing the point entirely. If that is not enough"I am coming after you with everything I have," O'Reilly told the Times. "You can take it as a threat."
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23Well, he had a fancy flip chart, so there must have been truth in it when back in 2012 Netanyahu told the UN there was an imminent nuclear threat by Iran despite his own intelligence agency having told him something different.
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38(German) As measles break out in Berlin, too, the German consumer's magazine 'Stiftung Warentest' warns of measles and calls for immunization. What follows is a bullshit storm by anti-vaxxers. The magazine reacts by refuting every factual claim with science and by debunking any imputation in a most enjoyable way.
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26It simply has no end. We now have drug-resistant malaria as well. (Lancet paper, Lancet editorial.)
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38Kirk Cameron cleans up at the Razzies.
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18As well as energy companies, guess who's been funding climate-change denier Willie Soon? That's right. And, he's been carelessly forgetting to mention the conflict of interest in his papers. $oon, however, says that he's been smeared.
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33Ethics in journalism strikes again, where you'd least expect it. Mass resignations at the Tea Party News Network over its descent from ideology into clickbait.
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26American and British intelligence agencies broke into the networks of the primary manufacturer of cell phone SIM cards to obtain the cards' encryption keys. They also appear to have gained access to some phone companies' systems.
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38Definitely the worst thing you will read today: Parents try to reverse kids’ autism by ‘flushing out’ vaccines with Miracle Mineral Supplement bleach enemas.
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27After a report at Mother Jones questions Bill O'Reilly's statements about his "war correspondent" credentials, Bill states the writer will be "in the Kill Zone" once the truth comes out.
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25Trans? Genderqueer? Pope Francis has an opinion about you.
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16Judges and court officials in Oklahoma could be fired for performing same-sex marriages, thanks to a bill that's passed committee and moved to the full State House.
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36Schadenfreude department: Fresh after tearing Brian Williams a new one, including invoking the Founding Fathers and insisting "the press must be honest," Bill O'Reilly's been caught lying about his own "war correspondent" credentials.
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21Faced with the highest poverty rate, 2nd highest school drop-out and teen pregnancy rates, Mississippi lawmakers spring into action... and declare churches exempt from commercial driving licence requirements.
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15In all fairness, Rudy, I sincerely doubt your own mother loves you, you really can't expect Obama to. Update: The New York Daily News (by no means a liberal bastion) rips him a new one.
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13Scientists use human DNA to enlarge mouse brains. What could possibly go wrong?
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15Hope you aren't too attached to eating bread
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18Deadly antibiotics-resistant CRE invades Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, kills 2 and leaves more than 160 others exposed.
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6Oops, that was definitely not what we meant with the acronym "KKK".
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19"We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it"
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17GOP district delegate fatally shoots herself in the eye adjusting her bra holster. (Only good lingerie with a gun can stop bad lingerie with a gun.)
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18 Chicago cop Richard Zuley, renowned for his psychopathy professionalism and effectiveness, exported his techniques to Guantanamo Bay.
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22Unless you're getting your vaccines prenatally, they're not causing autism.
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28Firm gender binaries are pretty much pseudoscience now. It's really quite a lot more complicated than that.
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15Rand Paul's attempt to troll his way into the White House hits a snag.
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25All-white Faux News team freak out over professor's "whiteness" course. Now Stormfront et al are issuing death threats to said professor.
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51Oklahoma GOP lawmakers protecting your precious kids from that there book larnin': they have literally passed emergency legislation to ban AP US History classes, partially on the grounds that it's not nothing but pro-US propaganda. Some want to ban all AP classes. UPDATE: Instead, students would have to study the 10 Commandments and speeches by Saint Ronnie.
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26A critical mass of nutters? Nigel Farage to join Sarah Palin at CPAC conference for US conservatives. Well, apparently the CPAC'ers didn't give much of a fuck about Farage.
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13Big fat gay Indian wedding. Couple marries with small group of supportive friends and family in traditional ceremony and then attends pride parade.
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21GOP-Dominated Utah House Gives A Green Light To Bring Back Firing Squads
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54Started a week ago, but in case you missed it: In what is called the biggest banking leak in history, over 50 media outlets around the world publish documents, showing that the Swiss arm of the HSBC bank actively helped their customers evade taxes in their home countries. Among them are high-value criminals and, on the same other side, prominent persons and wealthy donors of Clinton's charity or the British Tory party. Side note: The revelations came at a time when Ed Miliband was under fire for being “anti-business” because of his agenda against tax evasion by businesses. Now Cameron has to explain why he made the former HSBC boss Stephen Green his trade minister back in 2011, four months after the first evidence for misbehavior by HSBC was available to him; and why the British tax authority achieved four-times worse in enforcing tax repayals compared to France or Spain. Timeline of events leading up to this, Full story.
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28Saturday afternoon, in Copenhagen, Denmark a terrorist shot one man dead and wounded three police officers during a debate on blasphemy and free speech involving a cartoonist who has caricatured Muhammad. During the night, the gunman went to Copenhagen's synagogue and, attempting to attack a bar mitzvah ceremony, killed a young Jewish guard and wounded two police officers. This was in apparent imitation of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the police spotted the suspected gunman. As the police called out to him, the gunman opened fire on the police; they returned fire, killing him.
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18NY GOP State Senator Thomas Croci thinks a "terrorist registry", modelled on sex offender registries, will stop terrorism. "This legislation will send a clear message to all terrorists — Stay out of New York," he actually said.
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258chan discovers that doxing a federal judge attracts attention.
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39The Arkansas state house and senate votes to enact a sharia-style law that would prohibit cities and counties from enacting local LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. All in the name of pro-business uniformity, of course.
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14 Halifax dodges a bullet. Thank Goat.
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36Irony alert: World's top celibate tells childfree couples that remaining childless makes them "selfish" and "greedy".
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11Bob Nygaard, scourge of psychic fraud.
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32Canada's long media nightmare ends with the quiet death of Fox News North
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42Je suis en train d'intenter un procès. The City of Paris votes to sue Fox News over false reporting after the Charlie Hebdo killings.
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38Prospective presidential candidate Ted Cruz introduces a bill to strip federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, in Florida, a lawmaker says people are not forced to use the bathroom and that trans people "choose to go to the restroom." What a time to be alive.
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-10Turkish children are increasingly destroying buildings with pickaxes and using the materials to make giant stone dicks. Apparently.
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28Kansas governor Sam Brownback yanks protection for LGBT state workers.
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38New Jersey Judge: Gay Conversion Therapy Claims Are Fraud
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15Childhood exposure to smog can have 10 point effect on IQ.
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33Islamophobic bus ads defaced with pictures of Muslim superhero.
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25You know, just saying it was a poor choice of words would've gotten your point across just as well.
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42Anti-theist is charged with a triple homicide against Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, allegedly over an ongoing parking dispute.
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3The National Academy of Sciences floats a proposal to seed the atmosphere with sulfur pollution to mimic volcanic eruptions to slow global warming.
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27A sad, sad day for satire and for journalism: after over fifteen years, Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show.
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23Welp. Jeb Bush basically inadvertently doxxed a whole bunch of people. Whoops. (No actual personal information in article)
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31My parents acting out as a stranger danger
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53Anti-vax book "Melanie’s Marvelous Measles" gets 800 one-star reviews on Amazon.
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18Anonymous reports its first successes in taking out Daesh Twitter accounts.
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33If you're a microbiologist looking to identify some unknown DNA, you need look no further than the NYC subway system. "Almost half of the DNA found on the system’s surfaces did not match any known organism and just 0.2 percent matched the human genome."
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19There's an excellent reason why Charles Manson called off his impending wedding: she only wanted him for his body.
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24SCOTUS refuses to extend stay of judicial ruling on same-sex marriages in Alabama, with only Tony and Tommy dissenting. Local politicians and judges all defer to the court's wisdom, and promise to read the Constitution and to abide by it in future (I made that last bit up).
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3No big surprises here: e-cigarettes pose a substantial risk to human health. (If you vape at voltages actual users hardly ever do.) Well, maybe one surprise no exception for nicotine free vapes.
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10For a mere US$ 10,500, you can have an Ethernet cable that will make your MP3s sound better.
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21Oregon, where upskirt pictures of a minor aren't a privacy issue, as long as she's wearing underwear, and the pictures aren't taken in a locker-room.
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20After shooting a classmate, what should you not do? a) Take a selfie; b) Send your selfie to others c) All of the above
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19Aging dictator president Robert Mugabe took a tumble at Harare Int'l Airport on the 4th of February. For some reason, the Zimbabwean government issued a denial that he ever fell in the first place and reportedly tried to force journalists to delete evidence. Instead, it goes viral.
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20"Perhaps a good paddling in school may keep me from having to put a bullet in him later.” Look, NRA, even this big-time firearms collector of a WIGOer thinks your guys are insane.
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15Britain invents the protest tax.
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12A British journalist's personal analysis of current Republican Party attitudes in the U.S. Congress. (Gary Younge: in general, thoughtful and sound.)
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25Florida Man wants to convert artificial intelligences to Christianity. (Roko's basilisk should go for this one big time.)
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-26Woman becomes overweight after fecal transplant, despite carefully designed/monitored diets. Append obligatory fecal jokes here.
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-31OMG Newcastle's favourite mud puddle coloured brew causes cancer. Spoiler: It probably doesn't. (Sorry the only site I could be bothered to find was the Daily Fail. [Replaced link with DoNotLink --])
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5An attempt to replicate the "cold fusion" Energy Catalyzer goes bang.
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7The ioye of sexe, 1684 style: Aristotle's Masterpiece.
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51In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down laws against assisted suicide
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19Only in Florida, I guess...
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2Talks in Moscow over the Ukraine... Looks promising, maybe...?
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-6Dear Richard Dawkins: Just stop talking!
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31Kickstarter -- Now the home of the Laundry ball. Crystal Wash 2.0, Clean Laundry with No Detergents. The page claims that the balls increase the pH of the water to 8.5, and release Hydrogen Peroxide into the wash (Fun fact: Those should not work together. Hydrogen Peroxide lowers PH.) Hits all the marks for the Laundry-Ball scam, including focusing on gimmicks like an embedded, Bluetoothed PH scanner and a phone app. Guess what? It's over half-way funded, asking for $100,000, and it's Staff-Picked.
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31One does not simply get suspended from school for stupid reasons. Or maybe one does. 9-year-old suspended from Texas school after making "terroristic threats" with the One Ring To Rule Them All.
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18First they came for the drug-pushing, money-laundering, hitman-hiring Bitcoin advocates, and I was pretty okay with that actually.
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3Faux News sinks to new low, contemptible even by their standards.
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32Scientists may be on to the first stages of a general anti-viral medication.(original paper)
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40Revenge porn site founder guilty, faces 20 years in jail.
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13Bobby Jindal's official portrait is all white right. (Update: not the official portrait. The official one is merely lightened.)
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36Being LGBTQ apparently gives an unfair advantage in video games.
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22Not content with earning the wrath of the planet by beheading their hostages, ISIS executes their latest victim by burning him alive. UPDATE: Well played, Jordan, well played.
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42Hillary Clinton: "The earth is round and vaccines work".
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21British MPs approve mitochondrial transfer law, despite objections from the Anglican and Catholic churches.
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33Think the GOP's anti-vax stance is bad? Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) says he’s okay with the idea of service industry workers returning to work without washing their hands after touching their unmentionables, as long as customers are made aware of the situation.
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26Chris Christie decides there's votes in dead children too. He slightly walks back his original embrace of "parental choice", but not so much you'd notice.
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41Rand Paul states that he knows children who wound up with profound mental disorders from vaccination, so he wants to give parents a choice. One wonders if his source was the same as Michele Bachmann's that made her look like a goofball. Either way since Obama has come out in favor of vaccines then the GOP must come out against it. UPDATE: A new world record in backpedaling has been set.
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35Croatia cancels debts for its poorest citizens.
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22Slicing into a woman's pelvis with a hacksaw and cauterising the wound with a soldering iron is love for the child
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57President Obama to parents doubting ‘indisputable’ science: ‘Get your kids vaccinated’
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8South Africa grants parole to apartheid hitman known as "Prime Evil". Which gives us an important question: Who appointed Minister Masutha?