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Washingtonian fired after buying legal marijuana gets his job back

RT -

Mike Boyer made headlines on Tuesday after he camped out in front of the Spokane Green Leaf dispensary for around 19 hours in order to become the first person in the city to legally buy weed under new laws that saw similar shops opening up across the state this week.

Boyer did not shy away from the media when the shop finally opened its doors that afternoon, and outlets far and wide photographed the 30 year old celebrating his $50 purchase of four grams of Sour Kush. Soon after, though, he reportedly suffered from an unexpected backlash: as RT reported previously, Boyer claimed that within hours of becoming the first person to legal buy marijuana in Spokane he had been fired from work.

“I lost my job due to the news coverage,” Boyer wrote on Craigslist on Wednesday. “I regret nothing. But now I’m jobless and have decided to post my resume here.”

The press soon pounced on the posting, and soon stories about Washington’s first days of legal pot were littered with profiles of Boyer and his claims of becoming unemployed only hours after making Spokane’s first purchase.

Thankfully for him, Boyer is now telling reporters that there was a misunderstanding and he is back on the job. Writer Jake Ellison at Seattle PI spoke with the man over the phone on Thursday, and learned that Boyer’s employment status was only momentarily made hazy but has since been restored.

According to Boyer, he’s most recently been working for an area temp agency known as TrueBlue Labor Ready, where he’s been handed around 40 hours a week working in the auto auction industry as of late. Less than an hour after he walked out of Green Leaf on Tuesday, he told Ellison, TrueBlue texted him to say he had one day to take a drug test or be fired.

Having just legally purchased weed — which he wholeheartedly intended on smoking immediately — Boyer claims he told TrueBlue that taking the test would return not so favorable results. He didn’t hear back from the temp agency until Thursday morning, Boyer added to the paper, when he was told to come in and presumably be officially fired. Instead, Ellison wrote, “they offered him his job back because he was not high on the job and had used on his legitimate day off.”

“Stacey Burke, a spokeswoman [for’ Tacoma-based TrueBlue, says company policy prohibits being under the influence on the job,” the Associated Press then reported. “She said there’s no reason he would have been fired for having bought the pot, nor would the purchase have given the company reason to order him to take a drug test. She says the company is looking into Boyer’s claims, and that if he was fired outside of protocol, he would be reinstated.”

Mike Boyer is camping out to be the 1st person to buy pot in #Spokane when it goes on sale tomorrow. @KHQLocalNews pic.twitter.com/SFv1aUHHoG

— Patrick Erickson KHQ (@patrickerickson) July 8, 2014

Indeed, the Seattle Times reported on Thursday afternoon that all was well with Boyer’s case.

“We wouldn’t terminate an employee for purchasing pot,” Burke told the Times. “The purchase of pot is legal.”

Speaking to NBC, Burke explained further the process that unfolded after their temp worker was seen on the national news purchasing pot from Spokane Green Leaf.

"We were not aware that he had taken the day off. He was scheduled to work, we saw him on TV that he was under the influence, and that caused us to start a process of screening," she said. "When we realized that he was not on assignment, we reinstated him. ... Pot is legal, and we know that."

Boyer added to Ellison’s report that a second employer, Kodiak, asked him to submit to a drug test on Tuesday as well, which he took the following day.

“Kym Ramey, human resources manager for Kodiak, said that Boyer, who has worked there for several weeks, is still employed by the firm,” The Spokesman Review has sine reported.

The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Slashdot -

mrspoonsi sends this news from The Verge: Elon Musk can no longer say that no one's ever died in a Tesla automobile crash. But few people will be pointing fingers at the electric car maker for this senseless tragedy. Earlier this month, 26-year-old Joshua Slot managed to successfully ride off with a Model S he'd stolen from a Tesla service center in Los Angeles, but police quickly spotted the luxury vehicle and gave chase. According to Park Labrea News, the high-speed pursuit was eventually called off after officers were involved in a fender bender of their own, leaving the police department strained for resources and without any feasible way of catching up to Slot. Reports claim he was traveling at speeds of "nearly 100 mph," but losing the police tail apparently didn't convince Slot to hit the brakes. Instead he sped on, eventually colliding with three other vehicles and a pair of street poles. The final impact was severe enough to "split the Tesla in half" and eject Slot from the car's remains. The Tesla's front section wound up in the middle of the road and caught fire. Its rear portion flew through the air with such force that it slammed into the side of a local Jewish community center and became wedged there.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Kurds seize two Iraqi oilfields and pull out of country’s unity government

RT -

Follow RT's LIVE UPDATES on the ISIS advances in Iraq

Baghdad’s national oil ministry has slammed the Kurdish takeover, as Arab workers were replaced with Kurdish employees at sites in Bai Hassan and Kirkuk, saying there would be serious repercussions if they didn’t immediately withdraw, reported Reuters.

“We appeal to rational Kurds about the need to understand the danger of such [an] attitude and to ask the people responsible for this disorderly behavior to withdraw immediately from these sites in order to avoid dire consequences,” a ministry spokesman said, as reported by France 24.

The production capacity of the facilities is approximately 450,000 barrels a day. However, this has been significantly reduced since March when Baghdad's Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline was sabotaged.

Hellfire in Iraq opportunity for Kurdish oil players

The oil field seizure has exacerbated existing problems between the Kurds and the Shiite led central government. Kurdish politicians pulled out of their roles in Maliki’s government after the PM accused them of harboring terrorists in the Kurdish capital of Arbil.

Maliki said that Kurds were letting their capital be used as an Islamic State base and members of Saddam Hussein's now-banned Baath Party.

“Those who host them will lose,” Maliki said on Wednesday in his weekly televised address. “We will not stop until we have retaken all the areas that were taken from us.”

Kurdish Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told Reuters on Friday that the unity of the country is now at stake. “The country is now divided literally into three states: "Kurdish, a black state (ISIL) and Baghdad,” he said.

If Iraqi leaders didn’t rise to the challenge of successfully and quickly building a federal Iraq, “the consequences are very dire: complete fragmentation and failure.”

The oil field seizure and the withdrawal of Kurdish politicians from government falls a month after armed Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga took control of Kirkuk, when Iraqi armed forces withdrew following the predominantly Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) assault on the city.

Kurds have since resolved to hold a referendum on independence, with Regional Kurdish President Massoud Barzani telling his parliament in Arbil to prepare one, a development that displeases Maliki.

Israeli PM Netanyahu endorses Kurdish independence citing chaos in Iraq

On Friday, the country's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, also urged unity: “We have repeatedly called for the closing of ranks and for unity and to refrain from radical discourse,” Sistani said in a sermon which was delivered by one of his advisers.

Bidding on Bitcoin

Bitcoin feeds -

Bitcoin is hardly in a position to replace national currencies. Even with recent price gains, the value of all bitcoins in existence is only about $8.2 billion ...

Possibly coming to Android L: Quick Torch, customizable Quick Settings

Liliputing -

Google may have released a developer preview of Android L this summer, but the operating system won’t officially launch until this fall. So while developers dig into the preview to make sure their apps are ready to take advantage of the new design and other features, developers at Google are busy killing bugs… and adding […]

Possibly coming to Android L: Quick Torch, customizable Quick Settings is a post from: Liliputing

Beijing gets behind fracking

Deutsche Welle World News -

Most of the oil and gas needed to meet China's growing energy demand comes from crisis regions. Fracking to extract gas at home is at least as important for China as it is for the USA, writes DW columnist Frank Sieren.

Despite accusations of excessive force, Albuquerque police purchase 350 AR-15 rifles

RT -

Albuquerque police have called on a local vendor to supply 350 AR-15 rifles, according to KOB-TV, which cost approximately $1,000 each. The contract calls for the rifles to arrive over the next two years. Subsequent quantities of 50 rifles are part of the deal, if the department deems them necessary.

An AR-15 was used to kill James Boyd, a homeless man who was gunned down by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) in March. APD approached Boyd because he was camping in a mountain area outside the city.

Video footage of the shooting quickly went viral, inciting mass demonstrations in the city and pleas with police to institute training programs that would better prepare officers for confronting the mentally ill.

The US Department of Justice recently released the findings of a 16-month review into the APD, stating that the department’s use of excessive force had caused a number of unjustified fatal shootings by officers in recent years. The DOJ recommended a “systematic change.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels addressed Albuquerque Mayor Richard Barry in a 46-page letter, which discussed the circumstances around 20 fatal shootings by the APD between 2009 and 2013. Federal officials determined that in the majority of those cases where police killed citizens, the amount of force was unnecessary because the individual killed did present an immediate threat to anyone around them.

“We have determined that structural and systemic deficiencies – including insufficient oversight, inadequate training and ineffective policies – contributed to the use of unreasonable force,” the letter said, as quoted by the Albuquerque Journal.

APD Chief Gorden Eden said in May that officers would no longer be allowed to carry their personally-owned weapons, including AR-15s, while on duty. The DOJ review found that APD officers would acquire expensive weapons, considering them “status symbols.”

"I think it sends a contradictory message to the public, and I think it should raise concerns about how seriously they're actually taking the DOJ reforms," said Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico, of the APD’s new AR-15 order.

The national ACLU recently released a report that found local police departments across the US are are increasingly more militarized, assuming a war-like stance in dealings with citizens and in using high-powered equipment previously reserved for the battlefield.

APD Union President Stephanie Lopez said around 320 officers have paid for training to shoot rifles, and that there is a need

“to have these weapons on the street and within the department," she said.

"I don't think it's militarizing the department," she added.

Lopez said an October chase for a shooting suspect, who targeted Albuquerque officers using an assault rifle, showed that more than standard handguns are needed by police.

"They were ineffective," she said, in countering the suspect’s more-powerful weapon.

Chief Eden only responded to KOB’s request for comment with a statement given by a spokesperson.

"The rifles were ordered as replacements for officers' authorized personally-owned rifles. They are being issued only to officers who are qualified to carry rifles and do not represent an increase in the number of rifles carried by APD officers. Chief Gorden E. Eden, Jr. ordered replacement side arms for all officers in a move towards standardization of weaponry. This is an extension of that program to ensure that officers who are authorized to use certain equipment are using the standardized equipment issued by the Department. The replacement rifles are the standard type of rifle used commonly by police departments throughout the United States and may be purchased by any person at a commercial retailer. The rifles cost approximately $1000 each and the bid was awarded to a local vendor."

TPP Experts Briefing: Informing TPP Negotiators of the Threats of Expanded Copyright Restrictions

EFF's Deeplinks -

Due to the unprecedented secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place this week in Ottawa, there was no formal opportunity to engage with negotiators about the concerns that EFF and many others have expressed—over issues such as the extension of copyright protection by 20 years, and the delegation of ISPs as copyright police with the power to remove content and terminate accounts.

With the alternative of allowing this round of negotiations to proceed without any public input on these important issues (and bearing in mind the maxim “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…”), EFF and its partners in the Our Fair Deal coalition decided to hold a side event of our own next to the venue of the negotiations. TPP negotiators were invited to watch keynote talks by two of Canada’s top copyright experts.

In a gratifying indication that the negotiators do remain willing to receive public input into their closed process if given the opportunity to do so, our small room was packed to capacity with 22 negotiators from 9 of the 12 TPP negotiating countries (and those from the other countries that we invited apologised due to another engagement).

The first speaker to present to the assemblage was Howard Knopf, Counsel from Ottawa law firm Macera & Jarzyna, who maintains a widely-read blog titled Excess Copyright. His presentation, for which you can download the slides below, was aptly titled Just Say No to Term Extension—Why More is Less, and explained how term extension takes a toll on the public domain and the many stakeholders who depend upon it, without providing a countervailing benefit to authors or to the economy.

Second to present was well-known Canadian law professor Michael Geist, who focused on the question of ISP or intermediary liability for alleged copyright infringements committed by users. Under U.S. law, ISPs and websites are incentivized to remove material that users upload if a claim of copyright infringement is made. But because many of those claims are false (indeed, many are made by automated systems), such a “notice-and-takedown” regime can stifle freedom of expression, as well as an infringing users’ privacy. This is what U.S. negotiators are putting forward as a template for the TPP.

Michael presented Canada’s “notice-and-notice” regime, which does not result in automatic takedowns or threaten the cancellation of user accounts, as an alternative. Perhaps surprisingly, his presentation (which is also available for download below) also suggested that a notice-and-notice regime could also be extremely effective at deterring ongoing infringement in a large majority of cases.

The third speaker was Reilly Yeo from OpenMedia.ca, an Internet advocacy organisation with a track record of success in mobilizing ordinary users to speak out about threats to the Internet in Canada, which is now reaching out to a broader constituency around the world. Reilly presented results from their Your Digital Future survey, indicating that for most of the more than 60,000 respondents, freedom of expression should be the priority value when designing copyright law.

Finally, Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton from EFF formally released and presented the negotiators with two open letters, endorsed by dozens of businesses and organizations from around the world, including the Wikimedia Foundation, Reddit, Creative Commons, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and many others. These letters addressed the same two themes as our side event; namely, the dangers associated with the extension of the copyright term, and of appointing ISPs as copyright police.

Even as the TPP negotiations continue to be conducted under ever more secrecy, events like these can help inform negotiators about the risks they take if they concede to restrictive copyright provisions. It is an opportunity to try to improve the language in the agreement, if it comes to the event that this trade agreement passes containing new copyright standards. In the meantime, we are continuing to fight against efforts to include digital policy measures in trade agreements at all—measures that harm and undermine user rights through backdoor, corporate-captured processes.

~ Presentations

Howard Knopf Presentation: "Just Say No to Term Extension—Why More is Less"

Michael Geist Presentation: "Notice the Difference: Canada’s Notice-and-Notice Rules"

OpenMedia’s Reilly Yeo Presentation: "Citizen Perspectives on the TPP"

Related Issues: Fair Use and Intellectual Property: Defending the BalanceInternationalTrans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
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William Binney: NSA Records and Stores 80% of All US Audio Calls

Slashdot -

stephendavion sends a report at The Guardian about remarks from whistleblower William Binney, who left the NSA after its move toward overreaching surveillance following the September 11th attacks. Binney says, "At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the U.S. The NSA lies about what it stores." He added, "The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control, but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone." One of Binney's biggest concerns about government-led surveillance is its lack of oversight: "The FISA court has only the government’s point of view. There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least 15-20 trillion constitutional violations for U.S. domestic audiences and you can double that globally."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'At least 30' Ukrainian military killed as militia shell convoy with Grad rockets

RT -

Self-defense troops attacked a Ukrainian military unit at around 5:00am near Zelenopolye village in the Lugansk region, not far from the Russian border, Kiev’s officials reported.

A military official described the consequences of what he called “a bloody terrorist act” as “destruction” saying that about 30 were feared killed.

"About 30 servicemen are thought to have been killed in a shelling by militants using Grad multiple rocket launchers at units of the Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation (ATO) forces near the village of Zelenopolye,” Zoryan Shkyryak, an adviser to Interior Minister Arseny Avakov, said at a briefing. “There might be more victims.”

Фото разгромленных сегодня утром подразделений 24 ОМБр и 79 ОАЭМБр. Жуть полная... pic.twitter.com/oxYWGLpTGr

— Военные Фото (@RuPhotoMilitary) July 11, 2014

However, the Ministry of Defense press-office later confirmed the deaths of only 19 servicemen, lowering the initial death toll. It also said that 93 soldiers had sustained wounds, while Shkyryak put the number of injured at 100 people.

Self-defense forces have confirmed that they targeted the Ukrainian army convoy with Grad rocket launchers.

“According to our information, the Ukrainian military convoy from Lvov came under fire. The exact number of killed is unknown; there might be two or three dozen killed. The convoy was destroyed,” a member of the opposition told RIA Novosti.

Speaking in front of journalists, the Interior Ministry adviser vowed revenge for the attack, saying that those behind it “will be punished, either eliminated or captured, and they will answer according to the laws of Ukraine."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko later echoed the retaliation threats, stating that for each of the killed men “militants will pay with dozens and hundreds of theirs [people].”

One of the soldiers’ wives has told the UNIAN news agency that her husband contacted her by phone and said that fighting had started again near Zelenopolye as opposition self-defense troops fired at a military convoy that was transporting servicemen wounded in the morning attack.

The woman, who was not named, told the journalists that pro-government troops have no equipment and ammunition to fire back.

“They really need help and reinforcements,” she told journalists, urging them to pass on the information to Kiev.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Kiev’s military operation in the east, Vladislav Seleznev, has said that 23 Ukrainian soldiers have died in battle between opposition and government forces in eastern Ukraine in the last 24 hours.

“Twenty-three members of the armed forces of Ukraine and the state border service of Ukraine have been killed, with 93 sustaining injuries. All the wounded are receiving medical treatment," Seleznev posted on his Facebook page.

Seleznev stressed that the death toll figures he shared in his post included the number of soldiers killed on Friday morning.

Confrontations between the two sides in the area close to Russian-Ukrainian border have recently intensified.

“The epicenter of severe confrontation came closer to the state border line,” the Ukrainian State Border control said in a statement on Friday.

In the wake of heavy fighting, Russia has closed three major border crossings: ‘Donetsk’, ‘Gukovo’ and ‘Novoshakhtinsk’ on the Russian-Ukrainian border, according to Vasily Malayev, a spokesman for the Federal Security Service in the Rostov region.

On Thursday, two Ukrainian border control guards were killed and another two were injured near the Dolzhansky border checkpoint.

“This is confirmed information, according to all law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Defense, and The National Guard, and the border service," the Ukrainian National Guard's information security chief Yury Stets said.

Meanwhile, shelling continues all over the region with Kiev’s troops targeting residential areas.

In the recent attack on Friday, the Ukrainian air force fired rockets at the city of Dzerzhinsk in the Donetsk region and destroyed a cemetery, transformer vault and a gas pipeline.

Watch video footage from the bombed cemetery in Dzerzhinsk

Video: /files/news/2a/08/00/00/1820516_ruptlyukraine_480p.mp4

At the same time, opposition in Dzerzhinsk claims it has downed a Ukrainian army jet, according to Itar-Tass.

Another Kiev aircraft was knocked out in the neighboring Lugansk region, the news agency reported.

In the meantime, more civilians are becoming innocent victims of Ukrainian army shelling. In one of the latest tragedies in Lugansk, a woman was killed as a shell landed on her apartment’s balcony.

E. Ukraine's Lugansk: From busy city to ghost town

There are those who have miraculously survived.

RT’s Maria Finoshina met Andrey Girin, who brought his wife to a hospital after their car was fired at.

“I was in the shop and I heard someone scream 'lie down on the ground.' But I yelled that my wife was in the car, so I looked out of the window, saw that she wasn't there and heard her knocking on the shop door,” he said.

The country’s deputy health minister, Vasily Lazoryshynets, said on Thursday that 478 civilians, including seven children, had been killed in Kiev’s military crackdown on the eastern regions of Ukraine – which “is unfortunately greater than the military losses.”

However, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health later reduced the civilian death toll figure, saying that the deputy minister “only provided the latest statistics on the overall mortality level.”


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