RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/March 2017

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March 2017[edit]

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1US Advertisers boycott Google because their brands were placed with extremist content
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23South Korea’s recently impeached president Park Geun-hye is the first leader since the nation’s transition to democracy to be sent to jail.
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4A team of researchers plan to do a head transplant.
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25Mike Flynn offers to testify in exchange for immunity.
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23SpaceX successfully reused a rocket to launch a satellite. SpaceX is betting that this kind of recycling will lower its costs and revolutionize space flight.
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20Venezuela's Maduro decried as "dictator" by opposition after the Supreme Court took over the functions of Congress.
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27Trump wants to take down the Tea Party.
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24After over a year of outrage, embarrassment, and economic consequences, North Carolina repeals its transgender bathroom bill. However, the ACLU claims it is a "fake repeal" and vows to keep fighting it.
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15As China prepares to impose a domestic ban on the ivory trade, a new report has found that the price of raw ivory there is plummeting.
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19Brexit: Article 50 has been triggered, negotiations will last at least 2 years. The EU is demanding €60bn from Britain, says it will only discuss trade after agreeing exit deal but Britain wants the opposite, 3 million EU citizens are worried about their future status in Britain and Britain worries about its 1 million citizens living in the EU, and more. (update: full text of Theresa May's letter to European Council president Donald Tusk)
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28The US House votes to end internet privacy regulations. Next up on the official agenda of the current head of the FCC — axing our net neutrality. Fathom his vision.
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12Cyclone Debbie hits Australia's northeast. The Insurance Council of Australia declared Cyclone Debbie a catastrophe, but said in a statement it was too early to estimate the cost of damage.
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14U.S., Britain, France, others skip nuclear weapons ban treaty talks. (despite calls from scientists, the situation sounds familiar)
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-8Controversial jewelry billboard sparks backlash. The jeweler released a public apology.
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42Now that the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has failed, at least for now, Bernie Sanders introduces a single-payer healthcare bill in the US Senate.
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25Most exceptionally preserved fossil bird discovered to date helps show how bird wings evolved. (scientific article with illustrations or PDF if the first link doesn't work)
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22California air regulators voted unanimously to keep the state's tough vehicle emissions standards through 2025.
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32Bannon tells Trump to keep a shitlist.
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84The American Health Care Act (aka Trumpcare or Ryancare) has been pulled.
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47Germany's cabinet has backed a bill to clear men handed sentences for homosexuality after World War Two under a Nazi-era law. Of the 50,000 convicted, only 5,000 are thought to be eligible for compensation as most have since died.
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31In spite of church attendance declines, a network of theocratically inclined Christians is gaining a frightening amount of momentum and power.
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17Onionland is shrinking
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27Terror attack near British parliament, news in progress (expect updates). So far, 4 dead including suspect.
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39A recent study by North Carolina State University researchers finds that explicitly teaching critical thinking skills in a history course reduces belief in pseudoscience.
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26Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of State, said he "didn't want this job" and that he only agreed to take it because his wife told him to.
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28In Siberia, bulging bumps in the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas are believed to be caused by thawing permafrost releasing methane. Scientists believe that underground gas bubbles "can harm transport and infrastructure", and that craters "were created by explosions of methane gas unlocked by warming temperatures in the far north of Russia".
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25US bans electronic devices on flights for airlines from eight majority-Muslim countries, in spite of the fact that screening at the airport is the same for all airlines. UK will follow suit. Possible related reading: CEOs of Delta, United and American hope Trump will block Arab Competition. Free market, anyone?
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30Repeal and replace? It might as well just be repeal. Under the GOP healthcare plan, even fewer Americans will be covered compared to simply repealing Affordable Care Act.
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19David Rockefeller has passed away as of March 20th.
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50Donald Trump's approval ratings drop to 37% less than three months into his presidency.
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23Hungary accepts new immigrant: Nick Griffin, y'know, the former BNPer.
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28Florida man tries to burn store run by Indian-Americans in US, says they are ‘Arabs’.
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22Sheriff Clarke insults Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for getting beaten with a pipe, back in 2009, when he intervened between the pipe wielding man threatening a woman and her 1 year old grandson.
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30For the first time in New Zealand, a river has been given the legal status of a person. According to a government official: "it's no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies".
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31Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings.
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36A Fox News poll reveals that Bernie Sanders, Planned Parenthood, and Obama's Affordable Care Act are the most popular politician or political item among the American public at the moment, outperforming the incumbent President.
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23DNA samples reveal that Aboriginals have been in Australia for about 50,000 years already.
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30US makes formal apology to Britain after White House accuses GCHQ of wiretapping Trump Tower.
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30Trump's budget proposal involves cuts across the board in science and health agencies.
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15Vietnam urges firms to stop YouTube and Facebook ads in an attempt to fight political dissidents.
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22There is no scientific evidence of a link between women's clothing and back pain, despite recent claims by the British Chiropractic Association.
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14Cyclists use GPS to draw a Goat
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23The Guardian: The Obama era so-called "Countering Violent Extremism" program (which name Trump wants to change to "Countering Extremist Islam") has in practice always targeted Muslims.
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16The web recently turned 28. To celebrate the event, its creator Tim Berners-Lee targets fake news. (his letter "Three challenges for the web" with multiple translations; the Web Foundation's strategy for digital equality)
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39 Pro-life, pro-family, conservative, Christian, married, Trump supporting, birther congressman caught with gay teenage hooker.
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22According to the United Nations human rights chief, the conflict in Syria is the “worst man-made disaster the world has seen since World War II”.
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42Climate scientists rebuke Scott Pruitt, incumbent head of the EPA, for his recent statements denying the reality of anthropogenic global warming and climate change.
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31Measles outbreak kills 17 unvaccinated children in Romania
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20In Australia, brewing company Coopers under fire for Bible Society marriage equality video. (everything but kangaroos: religion, politics, alcohol, gay rights, advertising, internet video, social media)
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30Scientists now know exactly how lead got into Flint’s water
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53Widower murders naturopath who told his cancer-stricken wife 'chemotherapy is for losers'.
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17US officially has "couple of hundred" boots on the ground in Syria.
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30According to a new study from Indiana University, increasing minimum wage would reduce teen pregnancies.
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27In a demonstration of how out of touch the elite of society are, board member of Tesco claims White men are an endangered species in board rooms, because 25% of Tesco's board members are female (and 100% of the board is white). He later tried to backtrack with "haha it's a joke"
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30In the town of Cuntis, Spain, a Catholic priest has been told off for riding on a carnival float dressed as Hugh Hefner and performing simulated sex with two men dressed as bunny girls.
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30 Park Geun-hye, daughter of brutal but efficient dictator Park Chung-Hee, has been removed from the South Korean presidency
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23Nike launches hijab for female Muslim athletes, misses chance to name it Nikeab.
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19Trump appoints gay man Ambassador to NATO
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40As Allah wills it, the Caliph has abandoned the battlefield and is on the run
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16Neanderthals were vegan stoners.
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15Medicine with a side of mysticism: Top hospitals promote unproven therapies.
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34Study finds no link between long-term playing of violent video games and changes in empathetic neural responses.
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6Trees' ability to store carbon in doubt after groundbreaking Australian study.
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14Telecoms operator Asiacell to offer free access to Wikipedia in Iraq. (press release from Wikimedia Foundation)
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20South Sudan will now charge $10,000 for an aid worker permit, despite the current famine and the promise of "unimpeded access" to humanitarian aid organizations.
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19Australian State of the Environment report warns climate change impacts could be irreversible. (official portal, downloadable reports)
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36As if Ben Carson being promoted secretary of Housing and Urban Development wasn't bad enough, the newly elected secretary of Housing makes his debut by claiming that slaves were immigrants coming here "in pursuit of prosperity and happiness."
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34Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull attacks Pauline Hanson's views on vaccination which experts and others also qualified as "dangerous and ignorant" and "hocus pocus pixieland critiques".
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37In a world first, a teenager with sickle cell disease (the first genetic disorder ever discovered; thought cronic and permanent) achieved complete remission after an experimental gene therapy.
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17Mass grave of babies and children found at Tuam care home in Ireland.
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20A United Nations independent expert is calling for additional oversight of traditional healers who use body parts in witchcraft rituals and so-called medicines. (maybe linked to this case and its outcome)
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20Milo was taken down by a 16-year-old girl.
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-13Sex wearable is coming, claims to track performance and detect STI.
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29NASA releases third edition of software catalog, granting the public free access to technologies for earthly applications.
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33European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans after the US refuses to permit visa-free travel for citizens of five EU-member countries including Poland and Romania.
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19US has boots on the ground in Yemen, reports say
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242 transgender women were killed in New Orleans in 48 hours
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28Muslim teen found hanged in woods near Seattle; family seeks answers
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16China, where "Internet is fully open", has released a cyber policy paper and aims to reach a "fair and reasonable global cyberspace governance system". (Full Text: International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace)
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23War crimes were committed by all parties in battle for Aleppo.
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18Sweden is to reintroduce military conscription next year due to difficulties filling the ranks on a voluntary basis.
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11Around 200,000 phone users in Ukraine's rebel-controlled eastern city of Donetsk were cut off from the rest of the country after armed men took over the offices and equipment of the main fixed-line telecoms company.
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19Study: Global warming means slower snowmelt. That's bad for places that depend on snowfall for its water because plants would use the slower-melting snow before flowing into rivers and reservoirs and it may have an impact on the annual spring runoff.
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-11State: Drilling health risk to residents low
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6Goat head found in cemetery
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15US approves 3 types of genetically engineered potatoes
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20Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change restricting greenhouse gas emissions.
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26Nicaraguan Evangelicals get old school Catholic, set people on fire to remove demons.
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364.3 billion year old Canadian microfossils are discovered; they're being called "the oldest evidence of life"
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24A new study suggests that online psychological therapy is highly effective against depression.