Trending In Our News Feeds – AP denounces government spying. President and CEO of the Associated Press Gary Pruitt revealed yesterday the Justice Department seized phone records from AP offices across the country from April and May 2012. PolicyMic editor Mike Luciano writes DOJ was most likely trying to discover an unnamed AP source who set off a chain of events that the Obama administration says forced the government to terminate an operation to infiltrate Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). On May 7, 2012, the AP broke the story of a failed plot from AQAP to blow up a plane headed for the U.S., citing “anonymous sources.” As a result, the CIA was forced to remove its spy from Yemen who was involved with the case.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, Pruitt denounced DOJ’s actions as an overreach of government power that threatened to reveal confidential sources. He demanded DOJ return the records and destroy all copies. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the White House had no knowledge of DOJ’s actions. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said, “I have never heard of a subpoena this broad. It's legal, as far as I can tell. The administration isn't violating the First Amendment. But they are certainly doing more than has ever been done before in pursuing the private information of journalists.”
Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of murder. A jury convicted Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell of three counts of murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter yesterday. The conviction marks the end of a two-month trial that revealed gruesome details into Gosnell’s abortion clinic. One employee testified that Gosnell conducted 40% of his abortions more than 24 weeks into the pregnancy, the Pennsylvania deadline for legal abortions. The jury found Gosnell guilty of killing three babies born in his clinic and involuntarily killing a woman who came to him for an operation. The jury will sentence Gosnell to life in prison, or death.
The Gosnell case riled up advocates on both sides of the abortion debate. Pro-abortion advocates make the case that women should have easier access to abortions so they are not forced to seek out unsafe practices, like Gosnell’s. Those against abortion argue the government should more actively regulate abortion clinics to maintain higher standards of care. Three House Republicans have introduced a “Kermit Gosnell” bill that calls on Congress to investigate the nation’s abortion practices.
Retailers call for safer conditions in Bangladesh. Major retailers signed a safety plan yesterday to improve working conditions in Bangladesh. H&M, the largest buyer of Bangladeshi clothes, signed the agreement, along with Zara owner Inditex and low-cost British brands Primark and Tesco. PVH, the company that owns Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Izod said it will sign the agreement, too. Some leading American brands like Gap and Walmart have yet to sign on to the plan, and 900,000 consumers have signed a petition to encourage Gap to do so. The five-year, legally-binding plan calls on retailers to pay for rigorous factory inspections and repairs, and requires participating companies to stop using factories that do not meet safety standards. Helena Helmersson, head of sustainability at H&M said, “We hope for a broad coalition of signatures in order for the agreement to work effectively on the ground.” The joint efforts of the Bangladeshi government and Western retailers provide hope for meaningful change in the Bangladesh garment industry.
Meanwhile, thousands of Bangladeshi civilians gathered in the capital of Dhaka for an Islamic prayer service to mourn the victims of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building. The army finished its search for survivors yesterday, leaving cleanup to the civilian government. The death toll stands at 1,127.
Celebrity astronaut returns to Earth. Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield and two other astronauts returned from the International Space Station yesterday, landing safely in Kazakhstan. During his five months in space, Commander Hadfield captivated over 900,000 Twitter followers with mesmerizing photos of Earth and hilarious “how-to” videos that show you what everyday tasks are like in space. Slate’s Phil Plait rounds up 15 of Hadfield’s most incredible photos, and New York Magazine collects his seven best videos.
Must Reads From PolicyMic – Senator Warren’s Student Loan Bill Would Ruin the Housing Market (Erin Lahman, @inlahmansterms) – Elizabeth Warren's student loan bill repeats the same failed policies that burst the housing bubble.
[16 Mics, 72 Comments, 200 Shares]
Disney Gets Slammed For Its Sexy Princess Makeover (Elizabeth Plank, @feministabulous) – Is Disney betraying its young fans by making its princesses too sexy?
[10 Mics, 10 Comments, 47 Shares]
The Feds Can Do Whatever They Want, But 3D Printed Guns Aren't Going Anywhere (Jessica Huseman, @JessicaHuseman) – The Feds demanded Defense Distributed remove its blueprint for making a 3D printed gun from the internet. They are kidding themselves if they think they will succeed.
[9 Mics, 5 Comments, 0 Shares]
If Being Gay is a Choice, So What? (Alasdair Denvil) – Supporters and opponents of gay rights spend a lot of time talking about whether being gay is a choice. But, even if it were, would it matter to the debate?
[7 Mics, 4 Comments, 0 Shares]
Psychologists Are About to Change the Course of Our Over-Medicated Society (Sam Bakkila, @sbakkila) – Researchers are letting go of imprecise categories like depression. What does this mean the future of our over-medicated society?
[5 Mics, 5 Comments, 44 Shares]
Deadly Superdiseases Are Spreading, and It’s All Our Fault (Roy Klabin, @RoyKlabin) – A new strain of coronavirus is infecting people across the Middle East and has even spread to the UK. Is careless use of biotechnology to blame for these new superbugs?
[5 Mics, 1 Comments, 4 Shares]
What We’re Sharing – Angelina Jolie: “The decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made.” (NY Times).
After the street parties in Pakistan, will it be politics as usual? (New Statesman)
The 100 most creative people in business for 2013 (Fast Company).
The strange neuroscience of immortality (Chronicle of Higher Education).
How Bing Crosby and the Nazis helped create the tech boom (Elements).
In a time of supercomputers, is there still a place for human judgment? (Aeon)
4 Google Glass designs you’d actually want to wear (Businessweek).
In a stroke of genius, a respected polling group conducted a national survey on hipsters (PPP).
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