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Justices back air marshal who blew whistle on cutbacks

Air marshal whistleblowerA former air marshal who leaked information about agency cutbacks had a good day at the Supreme Court Tuesday, while the federal government he served had trouble convincing justices that he deserved to be fired.

The result could turn out to be a rare court victory for government whistle-blowers who expose potential dangers to health or safety, even if the disclosures violate agency rules.


Verizon, AT&T tracking their users with ‘supercookies’

Cell phone companies tracking userssVerizon and AT&T have been quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million cellular customers with what critics have dubbed “supercookies” — markers so powerful that it’s difficult for even savvy users to escape them.

The technology has allowed the companies to monitor which sites their customers visit, cataloging their tastes and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or evade them by using browser settings, such as the “private” or “incognito” modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance.


Thousands protest Washington Redskins' team name at Minnesota game

Redskin name protestThe largest-ever road-game protest against the Washington Redskins’ controversial team name took place on Sunday in Minneapolis, with a crowd of about 5,000 people calling on owner Dan Snyder to change the moniker Native American groups denounce as exploitative and racist.

Events before the Redskins faced off against the Minnesota Vikings began with a march through the University of Minnesota campus to TCF Bank Stadium, where Native American leaders, local politicians, former sports stars and other speakers voiced their disdain for Snyder’s refusal to change the team name.


Virgin Galactic was warned about potential instability of new fuel, experts say

Virgi Galactic warnedFifteen federal US investigators have begun combing over the fatal crash site of the Virgin Galactic space plane in California’s Mojave desert, as questions surfaced about the unconventional fuel propulsion system used to blast the craft up to space.

SpaceShipTwo (SS2), the plane on which the Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has pinned his hopes of sending commercial passengers to the edge of space at a cost of $250,000 (£156,000) each, broke up during a test flight at about 45,000ft on Friday. The pilot, Peter Siebold 43, managed to parachute to the ground and was described as alert though with serious injuries; the co-pilot, Michael Alsbury, 39, was killed.


Homeland Security credit cards used to spend $30K at Starbucks

StarbucksEmployees with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spent some $30,000 on food and items at Starbucks in 2013 using government-issued credit cards, an investigative report revealed.

The agency spent $12,000 of that money at one Starbucks alone located in Alameda, Calif., the documents, which were acquired through the Freedom of Information Act by NBC Washington, revealed.


Probe of FBI agent leads to release of convicted drug dealers from prison

Drug dealers freed in FBI probeAn investigation into possible misconduct by an FBI agent has forced authorities to quietly release at least a dozen convicts serving prison sentences for distributing drugs in the District and its suburbs, according to law enforcement officials, court documents and defense attorneys.

In addition, several suspects awaiting trial on drug charges and a man convicted but not yet sentenced have also been freed. Officials said more cases­ that could involve the agent are under scrutiny, including one involving 21 defendants.


Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Flight Test

Vrrgin GalacticVirgin Galactic said its SpaceShipTwo rocket plane suffered an "in-flight anomaly" during a powered test flight on Friday — and other sources said the anomaly involved a catastrophic explosion and crash.

Two pilots fly in SpaceShipTwo's cockpit during a test. Those pilots are equipped with parachutes, and after the anomaly, at least one chute was reportedly sighted over the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, the base from which SpaceShipTwo and its WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane took off.


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