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Monday, May 30th

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US, other powers want to arm Libyan government

US and others plan to arm Libyan governmentThe United States and other world powers say they are ready to supply Libya's internationally recognized government with weapons to counter the Islamic State and other militant groups gaining footholds in its lawless regions.

The world powers aim to push for exemptions to a U.N. arms embargo imposed on Libya to keep lethal arms away from Islamic extremists and rival militias vying for power. In a communique obtained by The Associated Press, the U.S., four other permanent U.N. Security Council members and the more than 15 other nations participating at the talks say they are "ready to respond to the Libyan government's requests for training and equipping" government forces.

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Supreme Court upholds $25 million punitive damages against Philip Morris USA

Philip Morris punitive damages upheldThe Supreme Court has rejected Philip Morris USA's appeal of a $25 million punitive damages award to the family of a dead smoker in Oregon.

The justices on Monday are leaving in place a state appeals court ruling that likened the cigarette maker's role in smoker Michelle Schwarz's death to manslaughter under Oregon law, had the case been pursued in criminal court.

TVNL Comment:  Reminder: this is the only product that - if used as directed - will kill you.  The product has no purpose other than to addict the user.  And yet, it is freely available to all the youngsters who are the primary target to replace the nearly half million Americans who die of smoking-related illnesses every year.

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Supreme Court punts decision in birth control dispute

SCTOUS punts birth control issueThe Supreme Court rid itself Monday of a knotty dispute between faith-based groups and the Obama administration over birth control. The court asked lower courts to take another look at the issue in a search for a compromise.

The justices issued an unsigned, unanimous opinion in a case over the arrangement devised by the administration to spare faith-based groups from having to pay for birth control for women covered under their health plans.

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Donald Trump’s Week of Playing with Financial Fire

TrumpMaybe, if he hasn’t already seen it, Donald Trump should get himself tickets to the Broadway smash “Hamilton.” Because he may want to understand a little bit about Alexander Hamilton's playbook. One message that Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary, was clear about was this: Never do or say anything that might call your country’s credit into question; it will only cost you a lot more the next time you try to borrow. Careless talk by itself can badly damage an economy.

That is why as I have seen up close in sensitive economic times—from the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s to the debt-limit showdown to our own financial crisis—U.S. presidents and top economic officials weigh every word on sensitive issues that could affect financial markets with great care and precision.

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Duterte vows to kill criminals and reintroduce hanging in Philippines

DutertePhilippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment and give security forces the power to “shoot-to-kill” criminals.

In his first press conference since winning the 9 May elections in a landslide, Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of the southern of Davao, warned his campaign threats to kill were not rhetoric.

“What I will do is urge Congress to restore (the) death penalty by hanging,” Duterte, 71, told a press conference in Davao on Sunday.

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Germany to overturn 50,000 convictions of gay men

Germany to overturn convictions of gay menSince 2002 Germany has been overturning convictions the Nazi regime imposed on gay men. But the initiative had excluded any convictions handed down after World War II.

More than 50,000 men who were convicted of homosexuality under a law that criminalized homosexuality in Germany will finally have their convictions overturned.

The government will start the rehabilitation process to correct the injustices which activists say has been long overdue. In other words, apart from overturning the convictions, the government will introduce efforts to erase the legal stigma imposed on the men, as well as compensate them for the injustice incurred.

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How the Government Launched the U.S. Gun Industry

US gun industryThe fight over gun control is often cast politically as a conflict between government and the interests of private citizens and companies. “She hates us, and she’s coming for every bit of our freedom,” National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre told the Conservative Political Action Conference in March about Hillary Clinton’s gun control position.

It wasn’t always like this. In fact, it was the government that first incubated the American gun industry, and the icons of the American gun culture—including Winchester and Colt—thereafter developed a commercial market out of what had started as the public-private business of providing for the common defense. This public-private separation is at the root of our modern gun politics.

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Beyoncé clothing range is made by 'sweat shop laborers on $6.17 a day'

Beyonce clothing rangeBeyoncé’s new range of women’s sportswear is made using sweat shop labourers who earn as little as £4.30 a day, it has been reported.

The American pop star’s Ivy Park gym gear is sold by Top Shop, the high street fashion retailer owned by Sir Philip Green, who is already facing criticism over the collapse of department store BHS.

The Sun on Sunday reported the clothing range – which Beyoncé said she hopes will “support and inspire women” – is made by Sri Lankan seamstresses some of whom earn £4.30 a day.

Workers are paid more than the legal minimum but campaigners described the labour as a “form of sweat shop slavery”.

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We Just Had Our Fourth Record-Breaking Hottest Month In A Row

hottest four months in a row (2015)A record fire-storm in Canada fueled by record warmth. Record ice-melt in Greenland and the Arctic sea, driven by off-the-charts warmth in the far north. And, NASA reported Friday, we’ve just been through the hottest April and the hottest January-April on record — by far.

How big a jump was April 2016 compared to the historical record? In an email, Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, notes that “The margin by which April beats the previous record April is three times larger (0.24 °C) than the margin of any previous record April (biggest was 0.08 °C).”

Also, this has easily been the hottest January-April on record, which isn’t a surprise given that last month’s record was hot on the heels of the hottest March on record by far, which followed the hottest February on record by far, and hottest January on record by far.

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