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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest with a crew consisting of founder Magnifico, current leader Neon Vincent, regular editors side pocket, maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, rfall, and JML9999. Alumni editors include (but not limited to) palantir, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, ek hornbeck, ScottyUrb, Interceptor7, BentLiberal, Oke and jlms qkw. The guest editors are Doctor RJ and annetteboardman.

Please feel free to share your articles and stories in the comments.

N Y Times    (Weekly 370 news)
Malaysia Sending More Ships to Search for Plane

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Malaysian government said Sunday that it would step up efforts to search the southern Indian Ocean for Malaysia Airlines’ missing Flight 370, in the latest indication that a broad international effort to find the plane will continue for many months.
The Malaysian defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, announced at the opening here of a photo exhibition dedicated to the missing plane that Malaysia would send one of its navy vessels with deep-sea survey equipment as well as two commercial vessels with towed, sonar-equipped submersibles.

Malaysia will also keep another naval vessel in the southern Indian Ocean, the Bunga Mas 6, which has been providing logistical support to other ships involved in the search. “The search will not stop until we find it,” Mr. Hishammuddin said.

US enhanced airport security checks target electronics
American officials have ordered some overseas airports with direct flights to the US to intensify screening of electronic devices.
Transport officials said in a statement passengers could be asked to switch on devices, and equipment that does not power up would not be allowed on board.
An official told the BBC that London's Heathrow was among the airports.
The US announced new security measures last week, apparently in response to a terror threat, but gave no details.

Analysts say the changes appear to be in response to intelligence that Islamic militants in Syria and Yemen are developing bombs that could evade airport security.
American officials said earlier that there was a "credible" threat, but did not link the security changes to any specific intelligence.

The US does not directly control security at overseas airports.
But airlines and airports are obliged to meet security standards set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in order to carry on operating non-stop flights.

CBS News
Ordinary Americans caught up in NSA data sweep, report claims
WASHINGTON - When the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to a probe by The Washington Post.
Nearly half of those surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents, the Post reported in a story posted on its website Saturday night. While the federal agency tried to protect their privacy by masking more than 65,000 such references to individuals, the newspaper said it found nearly 900 additional email addresses that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or residents.
At the same time, the intercepted messages contained material of considerable intelligence value, the Post reported, such as information about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

As an example, the newspaper said the files showed that months of tracking communications across dozens of alias accounts led directly to the capture in 2011 of a Pakistan-based bomb builder suspected in a 2002 terrorist bombing in Bali. The Post said it was withholding other examples, at the request of the CIA, that would compromise ongoing investigations.

More on this in bobswern's diary here.

Al Jazeera America
Rebels on the run after Ukraine forces recapture city.

Ukrainian security officials said Sunday they were in full control of the former rebel stronghold of Slovyansk after government troops retook the key eastern city in a victory that President Petro Poroshenko said could mark a turning point in the government’s months-long fight against pro-Russian separatists.
Government forces routed separatists on Saturday and raised the blue and yellow national flag again over the flashpoint city of about 100,000 people.
No casualty figures were immediately available, but Ukrainian security officials said there had been no deaths on the side of government forces.

"Ukrainian forces fully control the towns of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk," said Andriy Lysenko, an official in the country’s "anti-terrorist operation," adding that the government had begun to rebuild the town's shattered infrastructure and to ensure food and drinking water for residents.

Speaking in a televised address Saturday night, Poroshenko hailed the victory as a significant symbolic moment.
"This is not full victory. But the clearing out of people armed to the teeth from Slovyansk has huge symbolic importance. It is the beginning of the turning point in the battle with fighters for the territorial integrity of Ukraine," he said.

Al Jazeera America
Dubai says it's building the world's biggest shopping mall.
Dubai – a shopping-loving city that is already home to one of the world's largest malls – now wants to build one even bigger.
The emirate’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has laid out plans for a sprawling real-estate project known as Mall of the World that will include an 8 million-square foot mall, a climate-controlled street network, a theme park covered during the scorching summer months, and 100 hotels and serviced apartments.
Dubai Holding, the company behind the project, says on its website that the mall will be the world's largest, but that claim could not be independently confirmed. By comparison, Minnesota's Mall of America – the largest in the United States – is 4.87 million square feet.

Plans for the Dubai project also include a cultural and theater district drawing inspiration from New York's Broadway, a shopping thoroughfare based on London's Oxford Street and a "wellness district" meant to attract medical tourists.
The complex will be built near the Mall of the Emirates – which has an indoor ski slope – and a short drive from Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, and the adjacent Dubai Mall. That shopping center is currently the emirate's largest and features a dinosaur skeleton, an indoor ice-skating rink and a multistory aquarium.

"The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai's tourism infrastructure as soon as possible," Sheik Mohammed said Saturday in a statement announcing the plan. "This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the 2 billion people living in the region around us – and we are determined to achieve our vision."

Al Jazeera America
Germany turns up pressure in suspected US spy case
U.S.-German relations are facing a new test over a German intelligence employee who reportedly spied for Washington, with Germany's president saying that if the allegations are true, that kind of spying on allies must stop.
Prosecutors say that a 31-year-old German was arrested last week on suspicion of spying for foreign intelligence services, and that he allegedly handed over 218 documents between 2012 and 2014. German media, without naming sources, have reported he was an employee of Germany's foreign intelligence service who says he sold his services to the United States.

Germany's Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador on Friday to help clarify the case. The country's top security official stepped up the pressure Sunday.

"I expect everyone now to assist quickly in clearing up the accusations — and quick and clear statements, from the USA too," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere was quoted as saying in the Bild newspaper.
The issue threatens to strain relations between the two countries again, after earlier reports that the National Security Agency spied on Germans — and tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone.
If it turns out the U.S. "gave this kind of assignment to one of our intelligence employees, then it really has to be said: That's enough now," President Joachim Gauck said on ZDF television.

Raw Story
World’s earliest erotic graffiti found in unlikely setting on Aegean island
Wild, windswept, rocky and remote, Astypalaia is not an obvious place for the unearthing of some of the world’s earliest erotic graffiti.
Certainly, Dr Andreas Vlachopoulos, a specialist in prehistoric archaeology, didn’t think so when he began fieldwork on the Aegean island four years ago. Until he chanced upon a couple of racy inscriptions and large phalluses carved into Astypalaia’s rocky peninsula at Vathy. The inscriptions, both dating to the fifth and sixth centuries BC, were “so monumental in scale” – and so tantalisingly clear – he was left in no doubt of the motivation behind the artworks.

“They were what I would call triumphant inscriptions,” said the Princeton-trained professor who found them while introducing students to the ancient island world of the Aegean. “They claimed their own space in large letters that not only expressed sexual desire but talked about the act of sex itself,” he told the Guardian. “And that is very, very rare.”

Chiselled into the outcrops of dolomite limestone that dot the cape, the inscriptions have provided invaluable insight into the private lives of those who inhabited archaic and classical Greece. One, believed to have been carved in the mid-sixth century BC, proclaimed: “Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona (Νικασίτιμος οἶφε Τιμίονα).


Hobby Lobby solution!
Remote-controlled chip could be the future of contraceptives

If you could have safe, effective, long-term birth control that you didn't have to think about, would you jump at the chance? That's what's being proposed by a company called MicroCHIPS of Lexington Massachusetts -- in the form of a chip to be implanted under the skin.
The chip, just 20 x 7 millimetres, is designed to last up to 16 years -- about half of a woman's reproductive lifespan -- delivering a daily dose of 30mg of levonorgestrel, used in several hormonal contraceptives and emergency contraceptives. In the event a couple wants to conceive, the woman can use a remote control to turn the chip off, and then back on again when she needs to.

The implications of the technology go beyond contraceptives. Inside the chip is a reservoir array which contains and protects the hormone. In these reservoirs, however, any drug could be placed, to be released on demand, or according to a pre-programmed schedule.

The Guardian

Mining companies face lawsuits as US government rallies to their defence

Coal industry representatives say lawsuits against mines in three western states could have consequences across the US as environmentalists seek changes in how mining is approved on federally owned reserves.
In civil cases unfolding in Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, the group WildEarth Guardians asserts coal companies benefited from lax oversight by federal regulators.
The group says the US Department of Interior approved mining plans without enough public involvement, and gave little heed to the pollution caused by digging, shipping and burning coal. The group asked the courts to stop mining until the plans are re-done.

The cases involve the San Juan coal mine in New Mexico, the Colowyo and Trapper mines in Colorado, and the Spring Creek mine in Montana. Combined, they employed about 1,200 workers and produced 27m tons of coal last year, according to federal records.
Attorneys for the federal government denied the environmentalists' claims and have asked the courts to dismiss the cases. More detailed briefs from the government are due in coming weeks. A fourth case involving several mines in Wyoming was voluntarily dismissed.

I had to include this last story because I spent the last few days
in Cambria and noticed this town with population 18, the very day
it was sold.

S F Gate
Coastal California town sold for undisclosed price

HARMONY, Calif. (AP) — A small town midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway has been sold for an undisclosed price.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports the buyers plan to restore the one-block, 2.5-acre town of Harmony.
"We want to recreate the special feeling of time gone by," Alan Vander Horst said. "I see this is an opportunity to be part of the history, to be part of something fun and quirky."

Set in the rolling coastal hills 6 miles south of Cambria, the ranching village dates back to the mid-1800s when the region thrived on cheese and butter production. The Excelsior Cheese Factory, which built the town's first creamery building, used to produce up to 1,200 pounds of cheese per day. As many as 400 dairymen countywide were members of the Harmony Valley Creamery Association.
The town was once famous for its "Doo Dah" parade. With nowhere to go in the one-block burg, the entries stayed in place while spectators circled the parade.

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