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Tuesday, Feb 09th

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Egregious safety failures at Army lab led to anthrax mistakes

Errors at army lab led to anthraz failuresA brigadier general who led an Army biodefense lab in Utah is among a dozen individuals facing potential disciplinary actions — including loss of jobs — for egregious failures that contributed to the facility mistakenly shipping live anthrax to other labs for more than a decade, according to the military’s accountability investigation report that was provided to USA TODAY.

“Over time, you see there is complacency that the leadership should have recognized and taken action to correct,” Maj. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, who led the review team, said in an interview.

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12 feared dead in military helicopter crash in Hawaii

military helicopter crash in HawaiiThe U.S. Coast Guard is searching for two Marine helicopters with 12 aboard that reportedly collided north of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Coast Guard District 14 said two CH-53 helicopters, the Marine Corps' largest helicopter, collided shortly after midnight local time (3 a.m. Eastern). Emergency workers found debris including an empty life raft and fire on the water. Waves reaching 40 feet are hampering rescue efforts.

TVNL Comment: This is a developing story. Watch for updates.

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'Serious accident' at clinical trial in France leaves one 'brain-dead' and five hospitalised

Botched clinical trial in FranceA "serious accident" in a French clinical test has left one person "brain dead" and three with "permanent" brain damage, the country's health minister has confirmed.

The test concerned a "cannabis-based painkiller"

Health Minister Marisol Touraine has said the test subjects were taking an oral medication during a trial in Rennes.

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Wal-Mart to shutter 269 stores, 154 of them in the US

walmart closing 269 storesWal-Mart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.

The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company's 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.

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Turkey detains academics who denounced military operations against Kurds

Turkey jails dissidentsTurkish police on Friday detained 15 academics who were among more than 1,000 scholars who signed a declaration denouncing military operations against Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The move deepens concerns about freedom of expression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule.

Prosecutors on Thursday launched an investigation into the academics on possible charges of insulting the state and engaging in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. The move came after Erdogan severely criticized the signatories, including linguist Noam Chomsky, and called on the judiciary to act against the "treachery."

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Al-Shabab attacks African Union base in Somalia; many feared dead

Somalia attackedFighters from the Al-Shabab group in Somalia attacked a base for African Union (AU) troops in southwestern Somalia on Friday, military officials and insurgents said.

Al-Shabab said dozens of Kenyan soldiers were killed, but the Kenyan military said in a statement that the rebels had attacked Somali government soldiers who were stationed near the base run by the Kenyan contingent. That statement also said that the Kenyans helped the Somalis counterattack.

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Goldman Sachs to pay $5.1 billion in mortgage settlement

Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs has reached a $5 billion settlement as part of a federal and state probe into its role in the sale of mortgages in the years leading up into the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis.

Goldman will pay $2.39 billion in civil monetary penalties, $875 million in cash payments and provide $1.8 billion in consumer relief in the form of mortgage forgiveness and refinancing.

TVNL Comment: Another fine for destroying the lives of millions of people.  No one has gone to jail. Why?

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Three Columbia University students killed in Honduras bus crash

3 Columbia students die in bus crash in HondurasThree Columbia University students were killed in a bus crash just hours before they were to fly home from a volunteer mission in Honduras.

The trio was part of a group finishing up a medical service mission to help the poor when their bus veered off a road and fell at least 260 feet into a ravine east of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. It was unclear what caused the deadly crash, but mechanical failure may have contributed to it, according to firefighter spokesman Capt. Gustavo Barahon.

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U.S. Government To Look Into Coal Ash As A Civil Rights Problem

Coal Ash problemCoal ash — a toxic byproduct of burning coal — is a major environmental problem. But disposal sites for coal ash are more likely to be located in and around low-income and minority communities, a fact that’s prompting a U.S. commission to look into whether coal ash is a civil rights problem, too.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a briefing next Friday, January 22, to “shine a light on the civil rights implications of toxic coal ash, as well as other environmental conditions, on communities most in need of protection,” according to a statement released by Commission Chairman Martin R. Castro.

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