A group of massive companies including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red Bull, Kroger, Honeywell and DuPont have come to a voluntary agreement with the White House to cut or eliminate the use of the powerful greenhouse gas hydrofluorocarbon. The man-made gas is used in refrigeration and in air conditioners. The agreement, which says that the companies will stop using the gas in favor of cleaner alternatives over the course of 10 years, is a pretty big deal. As The New York Times notes, the 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being eliminated by the new move “is about 1.5 percent of the world’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions, or the same as taking 15 million cars off the road for 10 years” ... Discuss
A story reported on a number of Christian and conservative news outlets this week tells the story of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's brother, Mohammed Bakr al-Baghdadi, who allegedly "repented" and "converted to Christianity" earlier this week. It was first reported in the World News Daily Report and has since gone viral, with money quotes from the ISIS leader like, "[al-Baghdadi] is no more my brother then the miscreant American pigs we slay everyday."
Sadly, the story is a complete hoax. The World News Daily Report is yet another of the terrible, miserable faux-news sites poisoning the Internet which claim to be "satire" and yet serve mostly to troll those who don't check their sources. The ruse isn't even a particularly good one since, as Antiviral reports, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi isn't even the ISIS leader's real name, and the photos in the story are ripped from an old video of 9/11 hijackers. In any case, it's a pretty mean-spirited, inept, silly prank. If you see it floating around out there, shut it down ... Discuss
The Obama Administration is stepping up the fight against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. According to this report, today, the president will announce and outline a new plan to deploy 3,000 military personnel to West Africa, where the virus has already killed more than 2,200 people. As part of the strategy to stem the spread of Ebola and assist victims, the U.S. will help build 17 medical facilities and set out to train hundreds of healthcare workers every week.
The AP is also reporting that the Pentagon has requested that Congress approve a redirect of at least $500 million for “overseas contingency operations” to their plan to combat Ebola throughout West Africa ... Discuss
24-year-old Matthew Miller from Bakersfield, Cal. has been detained in North Korea since April, when he reportedly tore up his tourist visa in the Pyongyang Airport and asked for amnesty. North Korean officials have since accused him of espionage and now, following a 90-minute trial, sentenced him to six years of hard labor. The U.S. State Department are urging North Korea to release Miller, along with Kenneth Bae and Jeffrey Edward Fowle, who are still being held, saying in a statement "Now that Mr. Miller has gone through a legal process, we urge the DPRK to grant him amnesty and immediate release" ... Discuss
Over the weekend, the militant organization known as ISIS—or The Islamic State—murdered a British aid worker, posting a video of his beheading online. According to The Daily Beast, the executioner of David Haines, a 44-year-old British citizen who spent the last 15 years as an international humanitarian worker, was the same man who killed James Foley and Steven Sotloff in other recent execution videos posted online. The video reportedly shows Haines reading a prepared statement holding U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron “entirely responsible for [the] execution,” for entering “voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State.” In a statement, Cameron said, “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes” ... Discuss
Scotland—a country most Americans associate for an abiding love of FREEDOOOOOM—is about to give independence another go, maybe. Next week, Scots will vote on whether or not the country should separate from the (so-called) United Kingdom and be their own, independent country. Though the country has had an independent (though not entirely autonomous) parliament since 1999, next week's vote would be a true separation—the nation's first in 300 years. It would be a very big deal, with economic repercussions throughout the globe. Scotland probably has its eyes on a few oil reserves in the North Sea that it could claim as its own if it was an independent country, and there's no telling what currency the nation would decide to use. Also, if the vote goes towards Scottish independence (early polling is too close to predict) expect calls for British Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation to be loud and frequent. A number of Scots might also lose their jobs but, well, to coin an old phrase: "They may take our jobs, but they'll never take—" ah, you know the rest ... Discuss