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Thu, 14 Feb 2019

Pence: Europe must withdraw from Iran nuclear dealVice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the White House's anti-Iran message to a Middle East summit in Poland.



Thu, 14 Feb 2019

New York law gives child sex abuse victims more time to sueThe governor of New York state on Thursday signed a law extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sex abuse, a move that could trigger a torrent of new complaints. The law known as the Child Victims Act -- which the Catholic Church fought against for years -- will allow alleged victims until age 55 to file civil cases and 28 for criminal suits, compared to a limit of 23 under the old rule. The new law, which will go into effect in six months, also establishes a one-year litigation window for any victim, regardless of age, to take civil action.



Thu, 14 Feb 2019

Venezuela opens investigation into opposition-appointed PDVSA directors: prosecutorCARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's chief state prosecutor said on Thursday an investigation had been opened into directors of state-run oil firm PDVSA, and its U.S. refiner Citgo, that the opposition-controlled congress appointed on Wednesday. Prosecutor Tarek Saab, in comments broadcast on state television, announced "the opening of an investigation against people designated illegally as directors of PDVSA and Citgo." Saab also said they would investigate foreign ambassadors named by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who on Jan 23 invoked constitutional provisions to assume an interim presidency. ...



Fri, 15 Feb 2019

U.K. Spy Warns Against Triumphalism Over Islamic State Collapse"We are not triumphant because I think from triumphant you get to hubris," MI6 Chief Alex Younger told reporters in Munich on Friday. Younger said Islamic States's so-called caliphate was now in its "end game," with the extremist militants clinging to the last square mile of land they hold in the village of Baghuz in eastern Syria. Meanwhile the U.K. is debating the case of Shamima Begum, a 19-year-old from east London who wants to come home despite expressing no regrets over becoming a so-called jihadi bride with Islamic State in Syria at the age of 15.



Thu, 14 Feb 2019

Why This 'Atmospheric River' Could Cause Mudslides and 'Roofalanches' in CaliforniaCalifornians are experiencing some unusually nasty winter weather this week as an "atmospheric river" passes through most of the state, bringing howling winds and heavy rain.The storm arrived on Tuesday night (Feb. 12) in Northern California and continued into Wednesday (Feb. 13), leading the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue warnings of flash flooding, mudslides and high winds in the region. It is forecast to bring "excessive rainfall" to Southern California on Thursday (Feb. 14), according to the NWS.[Weirdo Weather: 7 Rare Weather Events]Atmospheric rivers are huge "rivers in the sky" that cause moisture from the tropics to flow north, from California to Canada. These huge weather systems can carry many times the freshwater that flows through the mighty Mississippi River, local news outlet KQED reported."They're the biggest freshwater rivers on Earth," F. Martin Ralph, the director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes in La Jolla, California, told KQED.These atmospheric rivers of condensed water vapor can easily be 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) long and 300 miles (482 km) wide, Ralph said. When an atmospheric river brings moisture from Hawaii to the Western U.S. -- as is the case with the current storm -- it's known as the Pineapple Express.Atmospheric rivers can bring much-needed rain -- or wreak havoc by dumping heavy rain or snow when they make landfall, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). California has recently experienced storms, meaning the current downpour is falling on waterlogged soil. Summer wildfires also scorched the earth in several areas of California, and burn scars can be more prone to flash flooding and debris as well, according to the NWS.On Wednesday morning, 24-hour rainfall totals were as high as 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) in some parts of the Northern Bay Area, with San Francisco receiving about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of rain, according to the NWS. Residents along the Bay Area coast and hills may face high winds from 25 to 35 mph (40 to 56 km/h) with gusts up to 60 mph (97 km/h), according to the NWS. Social media was abuzz with reports of downed trees and flash flooding. In the Sierras, the NWS warned that the atmospheric river could cause "roofalanches," or the sudden release of snow from already snow-packed roofs, which can pose a serious hazard.Earlier this month, Ralph and his colleagues developed a new scale to describe the strength of atmospheric rivers. The scale, which was described in the February issue of the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, ranks these weather events using categories "1 to 5," with Category 1 indicating a "weak" storm and Category 5 indicating an "exceptional" one. The ranking is based on the amount of water vapor the storm carries, and how long it dumps moisture on a given area, according to a statement. The scale also indicates the extent to which the storm is likely to be beneficial -- by bringing much-needed rain to replenish reservoirs after a drought, for example -- or hazardous, leading to flooding and mudslides. The current storm is a "Category 3," according to local news outlet CBS San Francisco.Tia Ghose contributed reporting. * 9 Tips for Exercising in Winter Weather * Fishy Rain to Fire Whirlwinds: The World's Weirdest Weather * 10 Surprising Ways Weather Has Changed HistoryOriginally published on Live Science.



Thu, 14 Feb 2019

Gay couples in Japan join together on Valentine's Day to sue government over same-sex marriage banThirteen gay couples filed Japan's first lawsuit challenging the country's rejection of same-sex marriage on Valentine's Day, arguing the denial violates their constitutional right to equality. Six couples holding banners saying "Marriage For All Japan" walked into Tokyo District Court to file their cases against the government, with similar cases filed by three couples in Osaka, one couple in Nagoya and three couples in Sapporo. Plaintiff Kenji Aiba, standing next to his partner Ken Kozumi, told reporters he would "fight this war together with sexual minorities all around Japan." Mr Aiba and Mr Kozumi have held onto a marriage certificate they signed at their wedding party in 2013, anticipating Japan would emulate other advanced nations and legalise same-sex unions. That day has yet to come, and legally they are just friends even though they've lived as a married couple for more than five years. So they decided to act rather than waiting. "Right now we are both in good health and able to work, but what if either of us has an accident or becomes ill? We are not allowed to be each other's guarantors for medical treatment, or to be each other's heir," Mr Kozumi, a 45-year-old office worker, said in a recent interview with his partner Mr Aiba, 40. "Progress in Japan has been too slow." Politician Mizuho Fukushima has spoken out in favour of gay rights in Japan Credit: AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi Ten Japanese municipalities have enacted "partnership" ordinances for same-sex couples to make it easier for them to rent apartments together, among other things, but they are not legally binding. Japanese laws are currently interpreted as allowing marriage only between a man and a woman. In a society where pressure for conformity is strong, many gay people hide their sexuality, fearing prejudice at home, school or work. The obstacles are even higher for transgender people in the highly gender-specific society. The Supreme Court last month upheld a law that effectively requires transgender people to be sterilized before they can have their gender changed on official documents. The LGBT equal rights movement has lagged behind in Japan because people who are silently not conforming to conventional notions of sexuality have been so marginalized that the issue hasn't been considered a human rights problem, experts say. "Many people don't even think of a possibility that their neighbors, colleagues or classmates may be sexual minorities," said Mizuho Fukushima, a lawyer-turned-politician and an expert on gender and human rights issues. "And the pressure to follow a conservative family model, in which heterosexual couples are supposed to marry and have children, is still strong." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ultra-conservative supporters have campaigned to restore a paternalistic society based on heterosexual marriages. The government has restarted moral education class at schools to teach children family values and good deeds. "Whether to allow same-sex marriage is an issue that affects the foundation of how families should be in Japan, which requires an extremely careful examination," Mr Abe said in a statement last year.



Thu, 14 Feb 2019

El Chapo likely headed to 'Alcatraz of the Rockies'Described as a hell on earth, the prison was built in 1994 and is located outside Florence, an old mining town about two hours south of Denver. It houses some of America's most notorious criminals including "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. According to a 2014 Amnesty International report, inmates spend a minimum of 12 months in solitary confinement before their detention conditions are reevaluated.



Thu, 14 Feb 2019

Parkland shooting: How the NRA is more vulnerable than ever after a year of protests and a wave electionOne year after gunfire began in the freshman building of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the movement those bullets sparked has swept through the US and opened a new chapter on guns in America. Guns have come to dominate political debate this past year in way unseen previously in the US, with massive protests from March for Our Lives attracting headlines and major news coverage - and virtually all Democrat presidential candidates supporting stricter gun control. Meanwhile, dozens of states have moved to pass new gun control laws in an historic effort, as communities across America continue to be scarred by gun violence.



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