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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Confiscated fireworks blow up in cloud of smoke - video

Twenty thousand pounds of illegal fireworks went up in smoke in Midland, Texas, after authorities carried out a court-ordered disposal. The Midland police department posted a video on its Facebook page that showed a giant cloud of smoke billowing in the sky. The police department's bomb squad assisted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in destroying the confiscated fireworks over the course of three and a half days. The operation was carried out during the day, according to a statement on the MPD's Facebook, because 'it was not meant to be a fireworks show'. There was no word on why and from whom the fireworks were confiscated. Continue reading...

















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Ken Loach: Greens have the best policy on UK housing - video

Ken Loach discusses the need to tackle the housing crisis in Britain, saying a mass government building programme is required. Loach points out that the political classes are not doing enough, and have trotted out a familiar rhetoric so far on the issue. He also warns against an over reliance on the private sector Continue reading...

















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New 12-sided pound coin to be unveiled ahead of budget announcement

Featuring a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock, the Royal Mint believes the new coin will be the most secure in the world against counterfeiting


Chancellor George Osborne will unveil a new 12-sided pound coin featuring the four symbols of the UK – a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock – emerging from a royal coronet, ahead of his budget on Wednesday.


Related: The new pound coin: national nostalgia booster and crimebuster


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Friend says he gave handgun to Boston Marathon bomb suspect


  • Stephen Silva says Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made excuses for not returning weapon

  • Prosecution say gun was used to kill MIT police officer


A close friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev testified on Tuesday that Tsarnaev borrowed a gun from him two months before the 2013 attack and “kept coming up with excuses” for not returning it.


Related: Tsarnaev defense focuses on 'the why' as jury faces question of life or death


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Abu Dhabi Successfully Exports Academic Repression to NYU


The New York Times reports that Andrew Ross, a professor at New York University, was barred this weekend from flying to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, where NYU maintains a fancy, newly built campus:


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Professor Arrested for Smoking on Plane Did It For "The Revolution"


The sociology professor arrested over the weekend after she lit a cigarette on a flight from Nicaragua to Miami and loudly ranted for hours about the United States declaring war on Venezuela, told her crazy side of the crazy story to Philadelphia magazine today. It is everything you hoped it could be.


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Secret Service Chief Criticized in Congress Over Agents’ Latest Lapse

The new director, Joseph P. Clancy, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to discuss the agency’s 2016 budget.





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Critic’s Notebook: Kendrick Lamar, Emboldened, but Burdened, by Success

The rapper’s new album emotes on living under constant racialized surveillance and how that can lead to many types of internal monologues, some empowered, some self-loathing.





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Coming of Age as a Guide at Ground Zero

In a new initiative at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, students from local high schools summon the emotional maturity to serve as guides.





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California tightens water regulations as drought enters fourth year


  • Residents banned from watering lawns within 48 hours of rainstorm

  • Restaurants must not serve water unless customers request it


Water regulators in California voted on Tuesday to outlaw watering the lawn within 48 hours of a rainstorm, the latest effort to spur Californians to conserve as the state enters its fourth year of drought.


Facing a dramatic slowdown in voluntary conservation efforts by property owners, the state Water Resources Control Board also tightened conservation rules in other ways, prohibiting water from being served in restaurants unless customers request it, and forbidding lawn-watering more than twice a week.


Related: Drought-stricken California only has one year of water left, Nasa scientist warns


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Wales’ Warren Gatland criticises number of tough opening Six Nations games

• ‘The last 16 years have been very tough on England and Wales’

• ‘A victory in your first game allows you to get a bit of momentum’

• Wales make two changes in front row for Italy game

Wales know a record Six Nations victory over Italy in Rome may not be enough to secure a third Six Nations title in four years, as they trail Ireland and England on points difference, and Warren Gatland has questioned how the fixture schedule is drawn up. The head coach asked why some teams are regularly given less demanding opponents first up than Wales do.


Wales faced England in the first round this year, the seventh time in 16 seasons of the Six Nations the two countries have started against each other. In contrast, Ireland have met Italy seven times on the opening weekend, the same number of occasions France have taken on Scotland.


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Greg Dyke labels increase in player pressure on referees as ‘pretty scary’

• ‘We have written to clubs in top five divisions reminding them of the rules’

• FA chairman says example should be set to grassroots and youth levels

Chelsea’s respect-to-referees record is poor but they are not alone

The Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has called an increase in incidents where players crowd the referee “pretty scary” and warned of the potentially toxic effects at grassroots and youth level.


As revealed by the Observer on Sunday, the number of clubs charged over incidents where three or more players have approached the referee in a confrontational manner has already almost tripled in the top five divisions on last season.


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Home secretary: Cyril Smith cover-up claims 'could lead to prosecutions'

Theresa May asks for police whistleblowers to be offered immunity to testify against the late MP and any public figures allegedly involved in child sex abuse


Theresa May has said the claims a police investigation into the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith was scrapped, and corruption blocked other historic police operations into child abuse, were “shocking and could lead to criminal prosecutions”.


The Conservative home secretary also told a committee of MPs on Tuesday she hoped immunity from prosecution under the Official Secrets Act will be offered to former police officers and intelligence agents who are prepared to testify about allegations of paedophile rings and other child sex abuse to the police, or to the government’s separate public inquiry.


Other people were rather worried that if Cyril Smith went before a court, he would open his mouth


Related: Why the police won’t talk about Cyril Smith, child sex abuse and corruption | Duncan Campbell


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Michael Graves: the architect's best buildings and objects – in pictures

Postmodern American architect Michael Graves, who died last week aged 80, injected more childlike exuberance into his buildings and product designs than any of his contemporaries – and produced some of the most divisive works of the period as a result


Read Michael Graves’s obituary


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Controversial Texas prison faces closure after government cancels contract


  • Willacy County prison was left uninhabitable after days of unrest

  • Facility held 2,800 inmates, mostly undocumented migrants


The Federal Bureau of Prisons has cancelled its contract with the private operator of the Willacy County, Texas, correctional facility after days of unrest left the site uninhabitable and resulted in 2,800 inmates being transferred to other prison facilities. The contract cancellation leaves the future of the notorious facility unclear.


A spokesman for Management and Training Corporation (MTC), the company which ran the facility, which mostly held immigrants convicted of entering the US without documentation, told the Guardian the federal department had cancelled the contract as “inmate population nationwide is down and [the bureau] no longer has a need at this time for additional beds”.


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Patrick Bamford strikes to give Middlesbrough vital win over Derby

Patrick Bamford showed Derby County just what they are missing as he scored the goal that proved how deadly he can be as a central striker as Middlesbrough remained joint-top of the Championship.


The England Under-21 striker, a Nottingham Forest supporter who spent last season on loan from Chelsea to Derby, scored the decisive goal between these promotion rivals midway through the second half. Bamford also scored when Middlesbrough beat these opponents at the Riverside in December and, at a time when Derby are missing their main goalscorer Chris Martin so badly that they have won only twice in 10 games, he offered the touch of class that could prove the difference.


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Aaron Ramsey offers hope but Arsenal fall short and Monaco sneak through

The lesson for Arsenal is they cannot leave themselves needing these kind of feats of escapology and expect to get away with it. Arsène Wenger’s side did their best to file this night among the great occasions of his long reign but ultimately it was just beyond them. It has become a recurring theme and, once again, glorious failure still amounts to failure.


What a bewildering team they are when they can play with this amount of distinction yet lose to the same side 3-1 at home. No team has recovered from that position in the European Cup since Ajax managed it against Benfica in 1969, back in the day of Johan Cruyff and Eusébio, but Arsenal tempted us, briefly, into thinking they might just actually do it.


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Heather Watson runs out of steam against Carla Suárez Navarro

• Spaniard beats Britain’s No1 7-6, 3-6, 6-1 at Indian Wells

• Watson beats Agnieszka Radwanska to reach BNP Paribas fourth round

• Declining British tennis must target youngsters in parks, says LTA chief

Heather Watson exited the BNP Paribas Open at the fourth-round stage after a final-set slump against Carla Suárez Navarro in Indian Wells.


The British number one went into the match on a high after a career-best win over Agnieszka Radwanska, the world No8, two days ago.


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Netanyahu claims ‘major victory’

BENJAMIN Netanyahu is claiming a “major victory” even though exit polls show his Likud party is neck-and-neck with the Zionist Union in Israel’s election.

















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DIY Tusken Raider Mask

We first met Tusken Raiders in Star Wars: A New Hope. They reside on Tatooine and were depicted as a brutal group. They wear masks that disguise their faces and long robes. It’s a somewhat popular choice for a costume, and as Instructables user DIYtime, a.k.a. RSwan, demonstrates in his tutorial, you can assemble the […]



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It’s True: We’re Probably All a Little Irish—Especially in the Caribbean

In the United States, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. This Irish national holiday celebrates Saint Patrick who is—potentially—the most recognizable of Irish saints, known for...



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What’s so Great about Continued Fractions?

The more I learn about continued fractions, the more enamored I am with them. Last week, when I wrote about how much better continued fractions are than the arbitrary decimal digits we usually use to...



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A sense of déjà vu

The 2015 budget has similarities to one passed 80 years ago



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A green surge

This week our correspondents discuss the rise of the dollar, the turn in America's interest rate cycle and the upcoming Fed meeting



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Which NYC Power Couple Attended a Masquerade Sex Party Last Weekend?


Last Saturday night, a gaggle of fuck-hungry rich folks gathered in a 23rd Street loft to celebrate the New York City debut of Killing Kittens, a soiree where the world's "sexually elite" are free to tug rhythmically at each other's appendages without the distracting presence of uglies. According to a mostly sex-free writeup in the New York Post, at least one high-powered Manhattan couple was present. But who?


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