The "Qube," a miniature remote-controlled helicopter that could see more use after the FAA's approval of heavier drones.
Unprecedented police control of the nation’s skies appears imminent after the Federal Aviation Administration and the Obama administration gave hearty approval to the request of undetermined “public safety agencies” to place unmanned drones weighing up to 25 pounds into service. The rules change is part of new legislation from Congress designed to encourage widespread adoption of unmanned aerial technology nearly identical to that used by the CIA and military in Afghanistan and Pakistan for domestic, “public safety” use. The FAA’s approval of heavier drones is likely to make the process of implementing domestic drones “easier” and more worthwhile for law enforcement. Experts contend that police drones will soon be commonplace across the country, despite efforts by civil liberties groups to curb the practice, at least until greater knowledge is uncovered about how law enforcement plans to use unmanned technology.
Outside of Greece, perhaps no nation in Europe has been hit harder by the continent’s prolonged recession and ill-conceived recovery attempts than Spain. This proud nation has become an economic dead zone, with a crippling combination of high debt and negative growth making it impossible for the country to pull itself out of what has become a years-long financial disaster. With the full support of austerity hawks such Germany’s Angela Merkel and Europe’s leading technocrats controlling the continent’s purse strings at the EU and European Central Bank, Spain’s recently elected government is “sticking to their guns” and instituting a massive program of spending cuts, with the cries of the increasingly frustrated Spanish people going unheeded. The “bitter fruit” that austerity has yielded is a deeper recession, spiking unemployment,and an ironically cruel inability to move forward with the debt reduction imposed by European banks due to the economic pain caused by the government’s austerity agenda.
(New York Times)
Scientists and government experts are sounding a warning of the impending loss of much of the world-famous sandy beaches that ring the Hawaiian islands. Research shows that rapidly rising sea levels — tied to man-made climate change — and counterproductive beach re-nourishment programs are having a devastating effect on Hawaii’s remaining beaches. From the most remote strip of sand to the main beach at Waikiki, the island chain’s beaches are facing a “serious problem.” At least 14 miles of beaches along Hawaii’s three largest islands have already vanished over the past century. And scientists predict the pace of beach loss will quicken as sea levels rise and development increases. The disappearing sand poses a grave threat to the economy of a state whose prosperity has ben built mostly through its allure as a tourist getaway known for its world-class beaches.
(Kansas City Star)
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs into law legislation passed by state lawmakers that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill out prescriptions or administer drugs to women if they believe it “might” cause an abortion. The bill was the hallmark of a wave of strict anti-abortion measures jammed through since GOP Gov. Brownback — a staunch “pro-life” conservative — took office. Already gaining reputation as the state with some of the most restrictive laws pertaining to women’s health, Kansas has taken another unprecedented step with the Heath Care Rights of Conscience Act. The blanket provision in the law protecting doctors and pharmacists that refuse to comply with prescriptions for drugs that “might” cause an abortion has drawn criticism for the likelihood that birth control products are among those drugs able to be refused under the “conscience” clause.
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