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Trump to discontinue Obama policy of voluntarily releasing White House visitor logs

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TThe Trump administration announced Friday that it would not follow President Barack Obama's policy of voluntarily disclosing the names of most visitors to the White House complex, citing "grave national security risks and privacy concerns."

The announcement, from an administration that has faced pointed questions about its commitment to transparency, marks a significant shift from the Obama White House, which released the names of nearly 6 million visitors, including scores of lobbyists.

Instead, President Donald Trump administration said it would release information under far more limited circumstances: When Freedom of Information Act requests are filed for those visiting offices of the White House classified under the law as separate agencies, such as the Office of Management and Budget.

Under the new policy, it will be up to the White House to decide whether to release the names of visitors coming to meet with the president, vice president and their senior staff, at least in the short term. Under a separate statute, much of that information can become public years after Trump leaves office.

Friday's announcement was harshly criticized by an array of government watchdog groups.

"The only excuse for this policy is that the Trump administration has something to hide," said David Donnelly, president and chief executive of Every Voice. "This kind of secrecy will allow big donors, lobbyists and special interests to have unknown levels of influence in the White House."

"It's the exact opposite of 'draining the swamp,' " Donnelly added, referring to Trump's pledge to usher in a more ethical and less corrupt era in Washington.
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(12 replies)

Mum fears freezer-raiding burglar ate her placenta

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A mother fears a burglar has eaten her son's placenta after it was stolen from her freezer, alongside frozen meat.

Auckland mother Loralie Burns said she received the disturbing news from her former landlord on Saturday.

The 35-year-old recently moved houses within the suburb of Sunnyvale, but her washing machine and fridge-freezer were still at the old property.

A thief ransacked the vacant house, rifling through kitchen cupboards and making off with the contents of the freezer: Some meat that was due to be thrown out, and a Tupperware container holding something far more precious.

"My mind's still blown," Burns said. "In the freezer was some meat that was supposed to go in the rubbish, and a plastic container that has my placenta in it."

Burns kept the placenta after giving birth to her now-5-month-old son, Dante. She said it had huge sentimental value, and her family had planned to bury it somewhere significant.

"We were going to bury it with my partner's mum's ashes, somewhere really special. We're very much disturbed.

"I hope to God I get it back, and I hope no one eats it - that would torment me for a long time."

She couldn't recall whether her midwife had labelled the container.

Her message for the burglar was simple: "Please just drop it back, I don't need to know who you are or why you did it, I just really want it back, no questions asked."

But she believed the outlook wasn't good.

"I presume the only reason they stole it would be to eat it."
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(11 replies)

Burger King ‘O.K. Google’ Ad Doesn’t Seem O.K. With Google

No.131563 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread

>Google appeared to stymie a marketing stunt on Wednesday by Burger King, which had introduced a television ad intended to prompt voice-activated Google devices to describe its burgers.

>A video from a Burger King marketing agency showed the plan in action: “You’re watching a 15-second Burger King ad, which is unfortunately not enough time to explain all the fresh ingredients in the Whopper sandwich,” the actor in the commercial said. “But I got an idea. O.K. Google, what is the Whopper burger?”

>Prompted by the phrase “O.K. Google,” the Google Home device beside the TV in the video lit up, searched the phrase on Wikipedia and stated the ingredients.

>But within hours of the ad’s release — and humorous edits to the Whopper Wikipedia page by mischievous users — tests from The Verge and BuzzFeed showed that the commercial had stopped activating the device.

>Burger King, which did not work with Google on the ad, said Google appeared to make changes by Wednesday afternoon that stopped the commercial from waking the devices, in what amounted to an unusual form of corporate warfare in the living room. Google, which previously said it had not been consulted on the campaign, did not respond to requests for comment.

>It was unclear if Burger King can alter some of the ads, which were to air on Wednesday during “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and other shows, to work around any changes.
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(8 replies)

Massachusetts GOP senators file an Internet privacy bill

No.130416 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
Massachusetts may be the latest state to consider protections for broadband privacy.

State Senate Republicans have filed legislation that would prevent internet service providers from using or selling customer information without their permission.

The bill is in response to a move by Republicans in Washington to repeal Obama-era federal regulations that would have prohibited collection of customer information without consent.

Senate Republican Leader Bruce Tarr says Congress "has created a situation that threatens consumer privacy."

Sen. Donald Humason, a Westfield Republican, says the bill would protect Massachusetts residents against the sale of their personal information.

The measure would also prohibit internet service providers from imposing a charge on consumers who do not give consent.

Several other states including Illinois, Minnesota and Montana are considering similar legislation.
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(17 replies)

Is Bannon in peril? Trump comments worry his populist base

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>President Donald Trump has declared: "I am my own strategist." That would seem to bode poorly for his actual strategist, Steve Bannon.

>And Trump now appears to be publicly distancing himself.

>In an interview with The New York Post, the president said "I like Steve" and called his adviser "a good guy" — but one who wasn't really all that involved with his winning election campaign. He said his warring senior officials, including Bannon, must "straighten it out or I will." In a second interview with The Wall Street Journal, he dismissively called Bannon "a guy who works for me."

>The unusual public, lukewarm support from the boss has Bannon's friends and advisers worried he will soon be out of a job. But shedding Bannon would be no simple staff shake-up. More than any other member of Trump's orbit, the former media executive and radio host, known as a bare-knuckle political fighter, has a following all his own. He is viewed by many in the conservative core as the ideological backbone in a White House run by a president who boasts of his flexibility.

>"I think it's important to recognize the value of the base. It's important to recognize the base sees their advocate in Steve Bannon," said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign adviser who has known the president for decades.

>Bannon is not the only Trump official to find himself in the hot seat in a White House divided. Press Secretary Sean Spicer has also come under fire for comments he made about the Holocaust on Tuesday. Spicer has apologized repeatedly, including on Wednesday, and the White House hopes that controversy will pass.

>And Bannon's creation of an in-house think tank known as the Strategic Initiatives group has been marginalized. Some staff members initially hired for that project are now part of the Kushner-led Office of American Innovation.
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(5 replies)

Naked Guy Gets Locked Out of Hotel Room (feat. Security Guards)

No.132652 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
White guy was throwing bacon at Muslim hotel security guards. Then he got locked out naked of his hotel room. Guess what happened next.

Here's the answer:
(8 replies)

Q&A 'The world shifts'

No.132611 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
>Gov. Jerry Brown talks California, climate change and President Trump

>The Times talked to Jerry Brown about climate change and California’s role in fighting it. Here’s what he had to say.

>Why haven’t more states followed California’s path on climate change?

>“California has done a very good job. But you can’t force Republicans to deal with climate change in a serious way . . . . I’m not giving up hope. But it has been difficult.”

>Why can it be easier to find partnerships with governments outside the country than with other states?

>“The Republicans are committed to global warming as a hoax, or irrelevant, or as not a problem. That is their belief. I’m not going to put them in jail. All I can do is talk and encourage good climate actions and demonstrate our economy has benefited here.”
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No.132609 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread
(5 replies)

Car bomb kills scores of Syrians evacuating town after two years of siege

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>A car bomb in northern Syria killed more than 100 people Saturday when it ripped through buses evacuating residents from a town besieged by rebels for more than two years.
>A bomb blast hit a bus convoy waiting to cross into government-held Aleppo in Syria on Saturday, killing dozens of people evacuated from two Shi'ite villages the day before in a deal between warring sides.
>A suicide bomber driving a van supposedly carrying aid supplies blew it up near the coaches, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.
>"A van was distributing crisps," one civilian evacuee told @ZamanEnglish News. "Children started running after it. It then exploded."
Photos from the scene:
(25 replies)

Great Barrier Reef in crisis as scientists despair at bleaching data

No.130877 ViewReplyOriginalReportDownload thread

Back-to-back severe bleaching events have affected two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, new aerial surveys have found.

>The findings have caused alarm among scientists, who say the proximity of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events is unprecedented for the reef, and will give damaged coral little chance to recover.

>Scientists with the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies last week completed aerial surveys of the world’s largest living structure, scoring bleaching at 800 individual coral reefs across 8,000km.

>The results show the two consecutive mass bleaching events have affected a 1,500km stretch, leaving only the reef’s southern third unscathed.

>Where last year’s bleaching was concentrated in the reef’s northern third, the 2017 event spread further south, and was most intense in the middle section of the Great Barrier Reef. This year’s mass bleaching, second in severity only to 2016, has occurred even in the absence of an El Niño event.

>Mass bleaching – a phenomenon caused by global warming-induced rises to sea surface temperatures – has occurred on the reef four times in recorded history.

>Prof Terry Hughes, who led the surveys, said the length of time coral needed to recover – about 10 years for fast-growing types – raised serious concerns about the increasing frequency of mass bleaching events.

>“The significance of bleaching this year is that it’s back to back, so there’s been zero time for recovery,” Prof Hughes told the Guardian. “It’s too early yet to tell what the full death toll will be from this year’s bleaching, but clearly it will extend 500km south of last year’s bleaching.”

>Last year, in the worst-affected areas to the reef’s north, roughly two-thirds of shallow-water corals were lost.
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