Venezuela takes two of our own as political prisoners. Help us free them.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at a military parade.  June 24, 2016. REUTERS

This past Sunday, two opposition political activists in Venezuela were arrested and detained as political prisoners. They're politically active nerds who write about what they believe, who were helping to register voters when they were 'disappeared' by the military. They're people just like us who deserve to be free.

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Privacy invasion? Facebook is using your phone's location data to suggest friends

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Well, this sounds like potentially a pretty big deal. Facebook is using smartphone location data to recommend new friends to users, which suggests many possible privacy invasions. This is also a technique NSA uses to track surveillance targets.

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SEC sues ‘Frack Master’ CEO for using “whore card” to spend investor cash on sex workers and strippers

Chris Faulkner. What an asshole.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Breitling Energy Corporation of Dallas, Texas, and its CEO, "Frack Master" Chris Faulkner, for fraudulently spending $80 million dollars of investors' money on fancy dining, luxury cars, strippers, sex workers, and all the other fixins of a jet-setting sociopath's lifestyle.

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Volkswagen's US diesel emissions fraud settlement: $15 billion, largest in US history

volkswagen

Volkswagen AG's settlement with half a million U.S. regulators and diesel vehicle owners over polluting vehicles is valued at more than $15 billion cash, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters Monday.

A separate report from AP puts the figure around $14.7 billion.

If that's accurate, the settlement will be the largest ever automotive buyback offer in American history, and the most expensive auto industry scandal ever.

The historic lawsuit followed the German automaker's admission in September 2015 it lied to regulators and installed secret software that let U.S. cars emit up to 40 times legally permitted pollution levels. Read the rest

Can losing weight help breast cancer patients survive? Fitbit joins study to find out.

National Cancer Institute

Scientists are recruiting thousands of women for a large clinical trial to find out if weight loss should be prescribed as a treatment for breast cancer in some patients.

The trial will put obese and overweight women who are 18 and older and recently diagnosed with breast cancer on diets and track exercise to see if losing a little weight could help prevent a cancer recurrence.

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Brexit wins: Britain votes to exit the European Union

Reuters

A kiss goodbye. The votes are in, and Brexit wins. Britain has voted to leave the European Union.

The historic decision will change Britain's place in the world, “rattle the Continent and rock political establishments throughout the West,” reports the New York Times.

With 309 of 382 of the country’s cities and towns reporting early on Friday, the Leave campaign held a 52 percent to 48 percent lead. The BBC called the race for the Leave campaign shortly before 4:45 a.m., with 13.1 million votes having been counted in favor of leaving and 12.2 million in favor of remaining.

The value of the British pound plummeted as financial markets absorbed the news.

“Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage told cheering supporters just after 4 a.m. today London time.

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Masked man opens fire in German movie theater, is shot dead by police

The cinema complex where the shooting took place [echo-online.de]
A mass shooting took place in Viernheim, Germany, near Frankfurt today. A gunman wearing a mask opened fire in a movie theater complex in the small western German town, German media reported.

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Freddie Gray case: Officer Caesar Goodson not guilty on all charges

Officer Caesar Goodson arrives at the courthouse in Baltimore, June 23, 2016.  REUTERS

Caesar Goodson, the Baltimore Police van driver accused of giving a violent "rough ride" that broke Freddie Gray's neck and killed him was acquitted of all charges Thursday by Circuit Judge Barry Williams. Goodson was the driver of the van in which Gray died, and faced the most serious charges of the 6 cops accused in Gray's death while in police custody.

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Newly released police reports describe Michael Jackson’s very disturbing porn collection

Reuters

(UPDATE BELOW)

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department documents obtained by Radar Online describe materials depicting "animal torture" and "nude children" that were found during a 2003 search of Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch. The issue of pornography in the Michael Jackson child abuse investigations first arose about a decade ago. The pop music icon died seven years ago, but the ugly secrets of his alleged abuse keep surfacing.

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Teen stuck inside giant Barney dinosaur head is freed by firefighters

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15-year-old Darby Risner of Trussville, Alabama, got stuck in a giant Barney dinosaur head on Sunday night, when she found the purple prop at her friend's house.

Young miss Risner told ABC News she wanted to scare her friends with it when they came downstairs, but the prank turned into something unexpected when she failed to remove herself from the dinosaur's fuzzy purple cranium.

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In gun violence protest, House Democrats stage sit-in, shut down chamber, and take to Twitter

photo: @RepEsty

Democratic lawmakers today staged a sit-in on the House floor, demanding a vote on gun control legislation. The lawmakers' dramatic action, which shut down the chamber, was a response to the June 12 mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida nightclub that killed 49 people and a response to Monday's vote that failed to advance four gun control amendments.

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Don't let the government hack your computer. Tell Congress to stop changes to #Rule41.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 4.48.28 PM
“The U.S. government wants to use an obscure procedure—amending a federal rule known as Rule 41— to radically expand their authority to hack,” the EFF says. “The changes to Rule 41 would make it easier for them to break into our computers, take data, and engage in remote surveillance.

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Police can use evidence found during illegal stops, Supreme Court rules

U.S. Supreme Court. Larry Downing/Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court today delivered a damaging blow to the Fourth Amendment “by making it even easier for law enforcement to evade its requirement that stops be based on reasonable suspicion,” as a New York Times editorial puts it.

Justices ruled 5 to 3 [PDF] that a police officer’s illegal stop of a man on the street should not prevent using against him any evidence obtained from a search connected to that stop.

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NRA released video praising AR-15s just 3 days after Orlando mass shooting

AR-15 rifles. REUTERS

On June 15, exactly 3 days after Omar Mateen shot 49 people dead and wounded 53 more in Orlando, the National Rifle Association released this video on YouTube urging Americans to buy more AR-15 assault rifles.

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How Joseph McCarthy's trusted hitman Roy Cohn became Donald Trump’s mentor

May 3, 1954: Senator Joseph McCarthy (R.Wis), is helped  by Senate Investigations subcommittee Counsel Roy Cohn, right.
He's been called “one of the most loathsome characters in American history.” Roy Cohn made his bones working as a prosecutor in the Rosenberg espionage case, and served as Senator Joseph McCarthy's right-hand man for years. He helped send the Rosenbergs to the electric chair for spying, and helped Richard Nixon become president.

Roy Cohn was also Donald Trump’s lawyer and mentor for 13 years.

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Gun control defeated in Senate. #Orlando means nothing if you're paid by the NRA.

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Serious question: Isn't one of the primary purposes of our government to protect American lives? Because today, our government chose not to. Again.

One week after 49 Americans were shot to death in an Orlando nightclub, the Senate today voted no on four different measures to limit gun sales. At least they're consistent. Each time there's a mass shooting, and they occur with alarming frequency and regularity, our politicians do nothing. They tweet thoughts, talk on TV about prayers, and take absolutely zero action.

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Astronomers discover youngest fully formed exoplanet ever known

Illustration: K2-33b is one of the youngest exoplanets detected to date. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and its extended K2 mission, as well as the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have discovered the youngest fully formed exoplanet ever detected. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars beyond our sun.

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