New allegations of sexual harassment against Barnaby Joyce were "the straw" that forced him to quit after weeks of intense scrutiny over an extramarital affair with a former staff member.
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As the climate warms, a new report finds that low-snow years like this one can cost the U.S. winter sports industry up to $1 billion. That can bring economic pain well beyond ski resorts.
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The group's annual report claims that increasingly world leaders are "undermining the rights of millions." It sees a "feeble response" to crimes against humanity from Syria to South Sudan.
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New Website Draws on International Perspectives to Highlight Issues related to Inclusion and Artificial Intelligence
“The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is pleased to share a newly-published interactive webpage, www.aiandinclusion.org, which highlights salient topics and offers a broad range of resources related to issues of AI and inclusion. The materials contribute to the Diversity and Inclusion track of the broader Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative. Launched in Spring 2017, the initiative is anchored by the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab, who have been working in conjunction over the past year to conduct evidence-based research, bolster AI for the social good, and construct a collective knowledge base on the ethics and governance of AI. The site reflects lessons learned from a wide-ranging international effort, and includes a number of resources produced from the Global Symposium on AI and Inclusion, which convened 170 participants from over 40 countries in Rio de Janeiro last November on behalf of the Global Network of Centers to discuss the impact of AI and related technologies on marginalized populations and the risks of amplifying digital inequalities across the world. Some of the primary resources available on the webpage include foundational materials that address overarching themes, key research questions, the initial framing of a research roadmap, and an overview of some of the most relevant opportunities and challenges identified pertaining to AI, inclusion, and governance. The research, findings, and ideas presented throughout the page both illuminate lessons learned from the past year, and lay the groundwork for the initiative’s continued work on issues of inclusion, acknowledging that the resources found here are only a starting point for this important conversation…”
Resolving Legislative Differences in Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses
Resolving Legislative Differences in Congress: Conference Committees and Amendments Between the Houses. Elizabeth Rybicki, Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process, February 15, 2018.
“The Constitution requires that the House and Senate approve the same bill or joint resolution in precisely the same form before it is presented to the President for his signature or veto. To this end, both houses must pass the same measure and then attempt to reach agreement about its provisions.The House and Senate may be able to reach agreement by an exchange of amendments between the houses. Each house has one opportunity to amend the amendments from the other house, so there can be Senate amendments to House amendments to Senate amendments to a House bill. House amendments to Senate bills or amendments are privileged for consideration on the Senate floor; Senate amendments to House bills or amendments generally are not privileged for consideration on the House floor. In practice, the House often disposes of amendments between the houses under the terms of a special rule reported by the Rules Committee. The Senate sometimes disposes of House amendments by unanimous consent, but the procedures associated with the exchange of amendments can become complicated. Alternatively, the House and Senate can each disagree to the position of the other on a bill and then agree to create a conference committee to propose a package settlement of all their disagreements. Most conferees are drawn from the standing committees that had considered the bill initially. The House or Senate may vote to instruct its conferees before they are appointed, but such instructions are not binding. Conferees generally are free to negotiate in whatever ways they choose, but eventually their agreement must be approved by a majority of the House conferees and a majority of the Senate conferees. The conferees are expected to address only the matters on which the House and Senate have disagreed. They also are expected to resolve each disagreement within the scope of the differences between the House and Senate positions. If the conferees cannot reach agreement on an amendment, or if their agreement exceeds their authority, they may report that amendment as an amendment in true or technical disagreement. On the House and Senate floors, conference reports are privileged and debatable, but they are not amendable. The Senate has a procedure to strike out portions of the conference agreement that are considered, under Senate rules, to be “out of scope material” or “new directed spending provisions.” The House also has a special procedure for voting to reject conference report provisions that would not have been germane to the bill in the House. After agreeing to a conference report, the House or Senate can dispose of any remaining amendments in disagreement. Only when the House and Senate have reached agreement on all provisions of the bill can it be enrolled for presentation to the President..”
Military Industrial Powerpoint Complex – United States Military: “This collection was a special project originally done as part of the Internet Archive’s 20th Anniversary celebration on October 26, 2016 highlighting IA’s web archive. The collection consists of all the Powerpoint files (57,489) from the .mil web domain.”
“The Honolulu Advertiser doesn’t exist anymore, but it used to publish a regular “Health Bureau Statistics” column in its back pages supplied with information from the Hawaii Department of Health detailing births, deaths, and other events. The paper, which began in 1856 as the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, since the end of World War II was merged, bought, sold, and then merged again with its local rival, The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, to become in 2010 The Honolulu Star Advertiser. But the Advertiser archive is still preserved on microfilm in the Honolulu State Library. Who could have guessed, when those reels were made, that the record of a tiny birth announcement would one day become a matter of national consequence? But there, on page B-6 of the August 13, 1961, edition of The Sunday Advertiser, set next to classified listings for carpenters and floor waxers, are two lines of agate type announcing that on August 4, a son had been born to Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama of 6085 Kalanianaole Highway. In the absence of this impossible-to-fudge bit of plastic film, it would have been far easier for the so called birther movement to persuade more Americans that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States. But that little roll of microfilm was and is still there, ready to be threaded on a reel and examined in the basement of the Honolulu State Library: An unfalsifiable record of “Births, Marriages, Deaths,” which immeasurably fortified the Hawaii government’s assertions regarding Obama’s original birth certificate. “We don’t destroy vital records,” Hawaii Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo says. “That’s our whole job, to maintain and retain vital records.” Absent that microfilmed archive, maybe Donald Trump could have kept insinuating that Barack Obama had in fact been born in Kenya, and granting sufficient political corruption, that lie might at some later date have become official history. Because history is a fight we’re having every day. We’re battling to make the truth first by living it, and then by recording and sharing it, and finally, crucially, by preserving it. Without an archive, there is no history…”
USA Today: “Parents berate themselves for staying glued to their smartphones. But they’re even more worried their kids can’t detach from the small screen. A survey from Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkey found 47% of parents worry their child is addicted to their mobile device. By comparison, only 32% of parents say they’re addicted themselves. Half of parents also say they are at least somewhat concerned about how mobile devices will affect their kids’ mental health. Nearly one in five say they’re “extremely” or “very” concerned. “For as much attention as technology addiction receives among adults, parents — particularly those with teenagers — are far more concerned about their children’s device usage than their own,” Jon Cohen, chief research officer with SurveyMonkey, said in a statement Thursday…”
The three Americans in the field — Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen, and Bradie Tennell — will have to turn in eye-popping performances today to reach the podium.
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Quartz: “New data analysis confirms what scientists have suspected for a while now: West Antarctic ice melt is speeding up. In a cutting-edge survey of satellite data published Feb. 13 in the journal Cryosphere, researchers from NASA and other institutions shows that ice loss from the critical region of Antarctica is happening at an increasingly fast pace. In total, researchers found that Antarctica lost roughly 1,929 gigatons of ice in 2015, which amounts to an increase of roughly 36 gigatons per year every year since 2008. (A gigaton is one billion tons.) Nearly 90% of that increase in loss occurred in West Antarctica, “probably in response to ocean warming,” according to NASA. The new data analysis mostly confirms other recent research, but does so with a higher degree of precision by using a new technique that can process a larger amount of satellite data than was possible before…”
Ozy.com: “If the past couple of years are any indication, the media in the United States, and far beyond, is facing a crisis. Now a household term, “fake news” has empowered populists and other dubious forces, while public trust in traditional news outlets has steadily eroded. Half-truths and hostility seem to have overtaken the political conversation. Part of the problem, newsroom leaders believe, is that journalists haven’t explained themselves well enough. Social media bombards consumers with all matter of content, leaving them ill-equipped to identify quality sources. “For far too long, we have sat there and said, ‘Let the story speak for itself,’” David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading newspaper, tells OZY. “Then we leave this vacuum, and it’s whoever speaks loudest gets heard.” Stepping into that vacuum is veteran journalist and media expert Sally Lehrman. As the director of the Trust Project, a pro-transparency initiative launched late last year, she could be one of the industry’s emerging saviors. With institutional backing from Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and with help from leaders at more than 75 news organizations including The Economist and The Washington Post, the 58-year-old science writer has led the charge in crafting a set of transparency standards for outlets to implement. Based on input from dozens of American and European news consumers with various backgrounds and reading habits, Lehrman’s team developed eight categories of content verification, or “Trust Indicators,” organizations should meet for published work. They include: clearly distinguishing the type of work (for instance, analysis versus opinion), providing the author’s biography and specifying their area of expertise and identifying the methods of reporting (how reporters obtained their information, and why). Dozens of outlets have committed to upholding these standards so far, part of a multi-phase rollout, and have featured the “Trust Mark” on their sites. Meanwhile, tech giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and Bing are mulling ways to present Trust Indicators to consumers…”
The Hill: “She doesn’t “do politics,” but Dolly Parton will be just steps from the halls of the Capitol when she visits Washington, D.C., next week to mark a charitable milestone. The legendary “Jolene” singer and songwriter is poised to present the 100 millionth book donation from her Imagination Library to the Library of Congress’s collection on Feb. 27. Parton’s Imagination Library mails free books to children from birth until they start school. The 72-year-old performer has said her father’s illiteracy inspired her to start the program in 1995. The Tuesday morning presentation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden is set to include a book reading with local students. The event is invite-only, but a limited number of visitors and members of the public will be permitted to view the proceedings on a first-come, first-serve basis, a Library of Congress spokeswoman tells ITK. But don’t expect Parton to head across the street to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers. Parton has said before that she doesn’t count herself among Hollywood’s politically active entertainers. “Everybody knows I don’t do politics,” she said last year during an interview on Fox News. “My mother was a Democrat and my daddy was a Republican, so I’m a hypocrat,” the Tennessee-born Grammy Award winner quipped. “I’ve got as many Republican fans as Democrats and I don’t want to make any of them mad at me, so I don’t play politics.”
The first-term Republican governor is alleged to have photographed a semi-nude woman with whom he had an affair and threatened to publish it if she exposed their relationship.
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The speedskaters face public outrage for their unsportsmanlike behavior in a race, that left one member sobbing on the sidelines. A petition demands that they be expelled.
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The president held another meeting on the subject of school safety after last week's after 17 people were killed last week in a shooting at a Florida high school.
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The move, announced by a government official in a tweet on Wednesday, raised fears of rogue states using virtual currencies to evade sanctions.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel says he is "devastated" by video footage of his armed deputy standing outside the school doing "nothing" during the shootings of students and faculty members.
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It is a rare distinction bestowed on only a handful of civilians. For two days Americans will be welcome to pay their respects to the beloved Evangelical pastor. He will be buried in North Carolina.
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Teachers formed picket lines and descended on the state Capitol to demand higher salaries and better insurance. The state has some of the lowest teacher pay in the country.
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