Tuesday Morning Open Thread

At least 11 EU nations set to press ahead with introduction of financial transaction tax

A group of 11 European Union countries are set to get the green light to push ahead with the introduction of a financial transaction tax, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Tuesday.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has suggested that trades in bonds and shares be taxed at 0.1 percent and trades in derivatives at 0.01 percent. The money raised could run into billions of euros and help shore up the finances of cash-strapped countries in Europe.

It’s still unclear exactly how the funds raised would be used. Some supporters of the tax have suggested they could help fund the EU’s budget and create a security net for banks to ensure that taxpayers won’t have to pay for bailing out banks anymore.

Irish council approves motion to allow rural drink-driving

A county council in south-west Ireland has voted to back a motion allowing for people living in isolated areas to drink and drive.

The motion was passed by Kerry county council on Monday by five votes to three, with the remainder of the councillors either absent or abstaining.

It supports the creation of permit that will allow rural drinkers to drive after having "two or three drinks". It was tabled by independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae, who has claimed it would help prevent depression and suicide in the county.

Philippines takes territorial fight with China to international tribunal

The Philippines raised the stakes in its maritime territorial dispute with China by announcing Tuesday it is taking the case to an international tribunal.

The two Asian nations have been at loggerheads over China's claims of sovereignty over large swathes of the South China Sea, one of several tense disagreements between Beijing and its neighbors over waters in the region.

"The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China," Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario said Tuesday.

40 years after Roe v. Wade, more states restricting abortion

Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down many state restrictions on abortion with Roe v. Wade, women who want to terminate a pregnancy face a growing number of roadblocks in many parts of the country.

Last year, 19 states enacted a total of 43 provisions limiting access to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. That was half the number that went into effect the previous year, but still the second-highest number since 1985.

"The laws that have been passed, in the last couple of years especially, really make women walk through a gauntlet to get abortions, throughout the country," said Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood.

Files show how LA church hierarchy maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests

Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to church personnel files.

The confidential records filed in a lawsuit against the archdiocese disclose how the church handled abuse allegations for decades and also reveal dissent from a top Mahony aide who criticized his superiors for covering up allegations of abuse rather than protecting children.

Notes inked by Mahony demonstrate he was disturbed about abuse and sent problem priests for treatment, but there also were lengthy delays or oversights in some cases. Mahony received psychological reports on some priests that mentioned the possibility of many other victims, for example, but there is no indication that he or other church leaders investigated further.

Army general expected to enter plea on sex charges

An Army general facing court-martial was set to enter his plea Tuesday on a series of sexual misconduct charges.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was scheduled for arraignment before a military judge, at which time he would be formally informed of the charges against him and offered an opportunity to plead either guilty or not guilty.

Though the Army has not yet released the final charges against Sinclair, a preliminary list included forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, violating orders, engaging in inappropriate relationships and adultery.

‘Adventurous’ Woman Needed as Surrogate for Neanderthal Baby

Are you an adventurous human woman? Adventurous enough to be a surrogate mother for the first Neanderthal baby to be born in 30,000 years?

Harvard geneticist George Church recently told Der Spiegel he's close to developing the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal, at which point all he'd need is an "adventurous human woman" — einen abenteuerlustigen weiblichen Menschen — to act as a surrogate mother.

It's not out of the question at all. As MIT Technology Review's Susan Young points out, scientists cloned an extinct subspecies of ibex in 2009. It died immediately, sure. But they still cloned it.

Was McLaughlin Crater on Mars Once Actually LAKE McLaughlin?

A long time ago—a billion years or so, when life on Earth was just getting a multicellular pseudopod-hold in its oceans—Mars may have looked very similar. Although cold and dry and dead now, back then Mars was warmer, had a thicker atmosphere, and there’s copious evidence that it had water on its surface. But the nature of that water is still a mystery. Looking at Mars now, there is tantalizing evidence of what were once large oceans, lakes, and rivers eons ago. Some places on the planet look like they suffered catastrophic temporary floods of water, but others may have had long-lived bodies of water.

There’s evidence of lakes, too, fed by rivers. But now planetary scientists have announced something new and potentially exciting: McLaughlin crater, an impact crater about 100 kilometers (60 miles) across, may have once been a standing lake fed by groundwater. If true, this makes the potential for life having once existed on the planet even better.

Regular Aspirin Linked To Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk

People who take aspirin regularly over the long-term have a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the main cause of blindness among seniors, researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Aspirin is commonly taken by patients to protect from cardiovascular disease, including ischemic stroke and heart attack (myocardial infarction). It is one of the most widely used drugs worldwide.

A recent study pointed towards a link between AMD and regular aspirin usage, especially the more visually damaging neovascular (wet) form. However, other studies have come out with conflicting findings. As background information, the authors added that smoking is also a major preventable risk factor for AMD.

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Good morning.

Glinda's picture

Excelllent round up.

40 years since the Roe v. Wade decision.  Wow.  And what once thought to be settled law is now unraveling.  Very sad. 

....

And I really like the idea of the financial transaction tax. 

Here in the U.S., at last look, only five states do NOT collect tax on clothing.  Clothing... a necessity.

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