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Threat Assessment: January 9th-13th

threat assessment lesbian parent

Courtesy of Yale

WITH US

'Extinct' Galapagos tortoise lives!


A giant Galapagos tortoise last seen by Charles Darwin in 1853, and thought extinct for the past 150 years, has shown up. A team of Yale biologists have found members of the species on an island 200 miles from their original home. The scientists surmise that whalers, hunting for food, accidentally scooped the tortoises up and threw them overboard near the second island, where the animals now make their home. [ABC News]

threat assessment kent state

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AGAINST US

Alum pulls big gift after student paper gets nosy


Kent State University was all set to name its basketball court in honor of alumnus Jason Cope, who'd given $1 million to the school. But that was before the school paper started asking around and found that Cope was one of four defendants required by the SEC to pay more than $19 million in penalties for his part in defrauding investors in 1999 and 2000, when he was a manager at a financial firm. A miffed Cope promptly took back his money, and the court-renaming was cancelled. [Romenesko]

threat assessment food poverty

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WITH US

U.S food stamps program is effective and efficient


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or the food stamp program, is effective and efficient from a budget standpoint, according to research from the Center on Budget and Policy Prorities. An analysis of Census data shows that SNAP kept over five million people out of poverty in 2010 and lessened the severity of poverty for millions of others. What's more, every dollar increase in SNAP benefits creates $1.72 in economic activity, making it one of the most effective forms of stimulus. [CBPP]

threat assessment gender gap

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AGAINST US

Women who ask for raises get less than men


Post-MBA women who seek raises and promotions at their jobs don't see the same payoff as men who make the same ask, according to a Washington Post report. Even worse, as men and women's careers progress, the gender pay gap widens. [Washington Post]

threat assessment less obesity

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WITH US

American obesity down slightly in 2011


For the first time in three years, the number of obese Americans decreased in 2011, by half a percentage point to 26.1 percent, according to Gallup research. The percentage who are overweight, but not obese, showed less change. The research also found that Americans are as likely to be at a normal weight as they are to be overweight, with 36 percent of respondents falling into each category. Obesity and related health problems are estimated to cost businesses over $150 billion per year. [Gallup]

threat assessment nuclear plant

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AGAINST US

Nuclear plant operators caught surfing web on the job


The River Bend nuclear plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana must pay the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a hefty fine – $140,000 – after nine of its plant operators were caught using the Internet while manning the control room. Though they were supposed to be monitoring the plant, the employees spent time checking up on sports, the news and their bank accounts. [Grist]

threat assessment venezuela

EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images

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AGAINST US

Venezuelan diplomat booted over hacking plot


Livia Acosta Noguera, Venezuela's consul general in Miami, has been labeled a "persona non grata" by the U.S. State Department and ordered out of the country, after it emerged that she was involved in a plot hatched by a group of Venezuelan and Iranian diplomats to contract Mexican hackers to break into U.S. government websites. Acosta is heard in a documentary film saying she would send information gathered by the hackers directly to President Hugo Chavez. [CNN]

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WITH US

Cord snaps but Bungee jumper survives


Australian thrill-seeker Erin Langworthy got more excitement than she had planned for when she signed up for a bungee jump in Zambia. Langworthy jumped from a bridge over 350 feet above the Zambezi river, and her bungee cord snapped mid-fall. Though her feet were still tied together, she was able to swim to safety on the river bank. Zambian officials have begun investigating the incident but insist that the jump – which over 50,000 people do annually – remains safe. [Guardian]

threat assessment iran cia

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AGAINST US

Iran sentences "CIA spy" to death


A 28-year-old American man of Iranian descent, Amir Mirzai Hekmati, has been sentenced to death in Iran for allegedly "co-operating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism," the country's news agency reports. A former Marine, Hekmati was in Iran to visit grandparents there, according to his U.S.-based family; however, Hekmati said during a trial in December that he did have links to the CIA, but "had no intention of undermining the country." The U.S. has demanded his release, but Swiss diplomats acting on behalf of Washington were not allowed to see Hekmati before his trial. [BBC]

threat assessment grand canyon

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WITH US

Obama bans uranium mining near Grand Canyon


Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on Monday announced a 20-year ban on uranium mining on one million square acres of land around the Grand Canyon. The ban is an extension of a temporary halt on new mining claims in the area, ordered by Salazar in 2009. Environmental groups praised the president's courage in going ahead with the ban in the face of Republican opposition. "Despite significant pressure, the president did not settle for a halfway measure," Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment Group told reporters. [Guardian]

threat assessment iran uranium

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AGAINST US

Iran is enriching uranium at bunker


U.S. diplomats confirmed Monday that Iran has begun enriching uranium at an underground bunker, protected by air defense and Revolutionary Guard troops. The uranium at the site is enriched to 20 percent – significantly higher than the 3.5 percent enriched material being made at Iran's main plant – which makes it more quickly usable in a nuclear weapon. [NPR]

threat assessment lesbian parent

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WITH US

Zero child abuse found in households with lesbian mothers


Adolescent children of lesbian mothers report a zero percent rate of abuse, according to a long-running study from public policy research center the Williams Institute. By contrast, children of heterosexual parents or caregivers report a 26 percent rate of physical abuse and an 8.3 percent rate of sexual abuse. "The absence of child abuse in lesbian mother families is particularly noteworthy," the study's authors told reporters, "because victimization of children is pervasive and its consequences can be devastating." [Huffington Post]

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