"Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists — on the ground and on social media — the world finally seems to be caring about Nigeria’s kidnapped girls. That this case has belatedly started getting the attention it deserves is likely due in part of the horror of so many young people taken at one time. As many as 276 girls have been abducted — unbelievably, just last night, in the midst of growing international pressure to #bringbackourgirls, eight more were taken.
But though the stark numbers are powerful, it’s important to remember that each of these girls is an individual, with a family, friends, dreams — and a name."
Stanford to Purge $18 Billion Endowment of Coal Stock -- New York Times
"The trustees’ decision carries more symbolic than financial weight, but it is a major victory for a rapidly growing student-led divestment movement that is now active at roughly 300 universities.
At least 11 small universities have elected to remove fossil-fuel stocks from their endowments, but none approaches Stanford’s prestige or national influence. Tuesday’s decision seems likely to increase the pressure on other major universities to follow suit."
House Takes Major Step to End NSA Mass Surveillance -- National Journal
"Among its several reform provisions, the Freedom Act would move the storage of phone metadata—the numbers and call durations but not the contents of a call—out of the government and into the hands of the phone companies. The bill, authored by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, only allows data collection for counterterrorism purposes, and it reduces from three to two the number of 'hops,' or degrees of separation, away from a target the NSA can jump when analyzing communications.
It also would require the NSA to earn approval to search a phone number from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court except in emergency cases. A competing bill from Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence Committee respectively, would allow the NSA to search a number before judicial review."
Israel Won't Stop Spying on the U.S. -- Newsweek
"According to classified briefings on legislation that would lower visa restrictions on Israeli citizens, Jerusalem’s efforts to steal U.S. secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts have 'crossed red lines.'
Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony 'very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.' Another staffer called it 'damaging.'
The Jewish state’s primary target: America’s industrial and technical secrets."
Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin asks judge to slow couples' gay marriage suit until other cases settled -- Miami Herald
"Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel said Tuesday she would decide “in the next week or so” whether to suspend a local gay-marriage lawsuit until after some similar federal case is decided in the future.
In January, six same-sex couples sued Miami-Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin after his office wouldn’t issue them marriage licenses.
Ruvin’s lawyers had originally asked Zabel to suspend the case indefinitely. On Tuesday, they changed their wording."
|source: The American Maverick|
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released 30-second television advertisements on Wednesday for 10 Republican candidates for House seats in a broadcast campaign that will cost more than $3 million to run and will last two weeks. The ads will run in the districts of six incumbents — Andy Barr of Kentucky, Dan Benishek of Michigan, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Chris Gibson of New York, Joe Heck of Nevada and David Valadao of California — and in support of the candidates Bob Dold in Illinois, Stewart Mills in Minnesota, Doug Ose in California and Richard Tisei in Massachusetts. The chamber is changing its strategy to focus on the general election."
"The full report, at more than 800 pages, is the most comprehensive look at the effects of climate change in the U.S. to date, according to its authors. (Even the 'highlights' document provided to reporters the day before the release weighed in at 137 pages). The report includes regional and sectoral breakdowns of current and anticipated impacts, which have implications for infrastructure, agriculture, human health, and access to water."