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Wednesday, Jan 28th

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At Least Six Millionaires to Take Senate Oaths Tuesday

Millionaire senatorsThere's no shortage of statistics to show that Congress no longer reflects the demographics of the nation it represents. That's especially true when it comes to personal finances. Of the 13 newly elected members of the Senate to be sworn in Tuesday, at least six are millionaires. That's a conservative estimate and the proportion is almost certainly higher.

Their arrival in the Senate comes as the wealth gap between the nation's top 20 percent of earners—including many members of Congress—and every other income group in America has reached its widest point in at least three decades, according to a Pew Research Center study released in December. Pew also found in a report released in October that the issue of income inequality is of growing importance to the American public. Forty-six percent of respondents said it's a “very big problem,” while 32 percent said its a “moderately” big problem.

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2 More Women Join Defamation Lawsuit Against Bill Cosby

two more sue cosbyTwo Florida women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual offenses decades ago have joined a defamation lawsuit, contending he publicly branded them as liars through statements by his representatives.

The amended federal complaint was filed Monday in western Massachusetts, near where Cosby has a home.

The lawsuit was filed last month by Tamara Green, who said Cosby drugged and assaulted her in the 1970s. The new plaintiffs are Therese Serignese, who said Cosby raped her in 1976, and Linda Traitz, who alleges Cosby groped her in 1970.

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1st-of-its kind: Fund-raiser to test Detroit rape kits

Detroit SAIDFor more than 10,000 rape victims in Detroit, justice may depend on the generosity of strangers.

At least that's the goal of an unconventional crime-solving initiative that's under way in Detroit, where authorities are counting on private individuals and businesses to donate to what they believe is a first-of-its kind charity in the country: rape-kit testing.

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Slaves freed from SKorean salt farms face misery in shelters

S Korean slaves freed from salt minesLife as a salt-farm slave was so bad Kim Jong-seok sometimes fantasized about killing the owner who beat him daily. Freedom, he says, has been worse.

In the year since police emancipated the severely mentally disabled man from the remote island farm where he had worked for eight years, Kim has lived in a grim homeless shelter, where he has been preyed upon and robbed by other residents. He has no friends, no job training prospects or counseling, and feels confined and deeply bored.

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German anti-Muslim protesters rally despite Merkel plea

German anti Muslism marchProtesters marched in several German cities on Monday against higher levels of immigration and what they see as the growing influence of Islam, in defiance of an appeal from Chancellor Angela Merkel to spurn rallies she views as racist.

The rallies, organized by a new grassroots movement known as PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have become an almost weekly event in the east German city of Dresden in recent months.

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Methane plume over western US illustrates climate cost of gas leaks

methane gas cloudThe methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near the desert trading post of Cuba, New Mexico, may be colourless and odourless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space.


Satellites that sweep over the north of the energy-rich state can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and a pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said Nasa researcher Christian Frankenberg.

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A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil Into Lake Michigan For Two Months Straight

nuclear plant leaked oilA cooling system attached to a nuclear power plant in southwest Michigan was steadily spilling oil into Lake Michigan for about two months, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

Approximately 2,000 gallons of oil from a cooling system at the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant leaked into the lake last year, according to an event notification posted on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website. The leak started on October 25, and was isolated on December 20, the report said. Plant officials reportedly notified the State of Michigan of the leak on December 13.

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Cleveland mayor does not trust state to handle Tamir Rice investigation

Cleveland mayorCleveland’s mayor says he doesn’t trust the state of Ohio to investigate why police shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy because he doesn’t think they handled a previous investigation properly.

“I don’t think the state attorney general handled the east Cleveland shooting properly,” mayor Frank Jackson told reporters for Northeast Ohio Media Group on Sunday, referencing a November 2012 police shooting. “It wasn’t done in a way that I think gave me confidence that this would have been done properly. So that’s why we turned to the county.”

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Teens with mental health problems often have access to guns, study finds

Teens access to gunsA new study finds teens with mental health problems in the United States report having easy access to guns.

Just under 41 percent of teens noted in the study reported having easy access to a firearm at home, and the researchers found no change in that percentage for teens who have a history of mental health problems and suicidal tendencies. The researchers used data from the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement, a national survey of 10,123 U.S. teens.

TVNL Comment: Read this disturbing report in JAMA here.

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