Sunday, Feb 07th

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Lumber Liquidators sentenced in wood import scheme

Lumber LIquidator finedA federal judge on Monday sentenced Lumber Liquidators to $13.15 million in penalties and five years of probation after the company acknowledged it was guilty of illegally importing wood from forests that are home to endangered species.

As part of the settlement reached in October, Lumber Liquidators will also accept additional oversight in the form of independent audits and an environmental compliance plan.


WHO declares Zika virus an global public health emergency

WHO declared emergency over Zika virusThe World Health Organization on Monday declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus to be an international public health emergency as the disease linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil spreads rapidly.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan told reporters an international coordinated response was needed, although restrictions on travel or trade were not necessary.


Alex Baer: Mulling Day

mulling dayWelcome to your Day of Rest, aka A Brief Opportunity to Catch Your Breath Before You Have to Jump Back On the Hampster Wheel.  Me, I prefer to call this Mulling Day -- the only 24-hour period in which the long list of Haftas takes a breaks, and something from the Wanna pile gets to slip into the mix.

The trick in life, of course, is to minimize your Haftas and maximize your Wannas -- a truth known by the ancients, which is to say, known by Trump, by Clinton, and by your boss, for example, and by any hyper-hormonal teenage spawn in your roaring, throbbing, pulsating vicinity.


Gallup poll: Donald Trump is most unliked candidate in 25 years

Donald Trump least liked candidateA new Gallup poll finds billionaire Donald Trump the most un-liked candidate in 25 years. Or in the parlance of poll takers, he has the highest unfavorable ratings since Gallup began taking the poll.

Three out of five Americans -- or 60 percent -- have an unfavorable view of Trump in the latest two-week average of all of the candidates running in the 2016 presidential race. The percentage is easily the highest of all the candidates and the highest since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.


Pacific storm leaves 150,000 without power, kills one

Pacific storm leaves man without powerA strong Pacific storm battered Southern California with high winds Sunday, killing one man and leaving 150,000 without power.

An 80-foot tall tree fell and smashed a car, killing the driver in San Diego, while high winds sometimes more than 100 mph whipped the region, from the mountains north of Los Angeles to San Diego, knocking down power lines. Heavy rain flooded some streets and brought up to six inches of snow in the mountains.


At Least 65 Dead In Suspected Boko Haram Attack In Nigeria

Nigeria massacreAt least 65 people were killed during an attack by Islamist militant group Boko Haram near Nigeria's northeastern city of Maiduguri, a Reuters reporter said after counting bodies at a hospital morgue.

The remains of a dozen victims were burnt beyond recognition in Saturday's attack when militants opened fire on residents, set fire to houses and targeted a crowd with suicide bombers, security and medical officials said.


Obama to pay first visit to mosque as president

Islamic Society of BaltimoreThe White House announced plans for President Barack Obama to visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday.

The visit will be Obama's first visit to a mosque as president.

"The President will hold a roundtable with community members and deliver remarks, where he will reiterate the importance of staying true to our core values," a White House official said in a statement. "Welcoming our fellow Americans, speaking out against bigotry, rejecting indifference, and protecting our nation's tradition of religious freedom."


Israeli Cabinet approves liberal Jewish prayer at the Western Wall

Women pray at Western Wall in JerusalemIsrael's Cabinet voted Sunday to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a move advocates said marked a historic show of government support for liberal streams of Judaism.

The issue is of particular importance to the Jewish community in the United States, where the more liberal Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism are dominant. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed the plan in an attempt to please American Jews, a key source of support for Israel, despite stiff opposition by ultra-Orthodox and religious nationalist elements in Israel who are key members of his own government.


Amid shaky start to Syria talks, IS-claimed blast kills 45

Syria peace talksA triple bombing claimed by the extremist Islamic State group killed at least 45 people near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday, overshadowing an already shaky start to what are meant to be indirect Syria peace talks.

Syria's state news agency SANA said that the blasts went off in Sayyda Zeinab, a predominantly Shiite Muslim suburb of the Syrian capital. SANA said attackers detonated a car bomb at a bus stop and that two suicide bombers set off more explosives as rescuers rushed to the area.


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