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  • Bosnian War Criminal Drinks Poison On Camera During Appeals Hearing And Dies

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    In 2013, six former Bosnian Croat officials were given prison sentences after being convicted for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims, including rape and murder, that took place during the Croat-Bosniak War in the early 1990s.

    Slobodan Praljak, former assistant defense minister of Croatia and commander of the Croatian Defense Council, had helped secure weapons and ammunition for the Croatian Defense Council army. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    In an appeal hearing for the six convicted war criminals on November 29, Praljak stood before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands. When the judge upheld his sentence, the 72-year-old pulled out a small vial he’d sneaked in and drank from it, stating the liquid inside was poison.

    After yelling he wasn’t a war criminal and that he rejected the verdict, Praljak swallowed the unidentified liquid. Watch the courtroom footage below.

    video-player-present

    (via Huffington Post and CNN)

    The judge immediately suspended the hearings, with authorities declaring the courtroom a crime scene. Praljak was taken by ambulance to a hospital in The Hague, but he died shortly after.

  • You’re Going To Be Mad That An Animal This Cute Exists And You’ve Never Heard Of It

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    Just when I think I know all there is to know about cute animals, the world continues to amaze me.

    I’ve been writing on the internet for a long time — I know all about the potto, the pangolin, and the dik-dik. Add to that your run of the mill kittens and puppers, and I’m drowning in almost too much adorable to handle. Almost.

    Enter the aardwolf, the cutest animal I never knew existed.

    Aardwolves are like a cross between a hyena, an aardvark, and a cat, and they’re honestly so cool. Look at that mohawk!

    Native to east and southern Africa, they chow down on termites, not meat like their hyena cousins. They can eat about 300,000 termites in one night!

    Aardwolves are monogamous, only mating with one partner for life. They’re also very family oriented, and who wouldn’t be with these cute babies running around?

    They live in underground burrows, but they don’t like to get all dirty digging the holes. They usually find an abandoned burrow and take up residence there.

    Aardwolves are shy, and they usually only come out at night, unless they’re trying to conserve energy in the winter months.

    And did I mention they’re adorable AF? LOOK AT THEM!

    (via BoredPanda)

    Aardwolves go to the top of the list of weird-but-cute animals to look at when I’m feeling blue. It really is a wild world out there.

  • One Program Could Save Red Wolves, But Republicans Are Secretly Working To Defund It

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    One of the rarest and most endangered species of wolf in the world is the red wolf, or Canis rufus.

    In fact, the species is so critically endangered that it was declared extinct in the wild in 1980 after predator control programs and habitat destruction nearly wiped them out completely. Thanks to recovery efforts and a captive breeding program that released red wolves back into the wild between 1987 and 1994, their numbers went back up to 100-120 individuals. But because of illegal shootings and killings, there are now around 45 to 60 of them living in five counties in North Carolina.

    One of the threats to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency’s Red Wolf Recovery Program is the possibility of interbreeding with coyotes, but the agency states that “currently, adaptive management efforts are making good progress in reducing the threat of coyotes while building the wild red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina.” A more pressing and recent threat, however, is that a U.S. Senate committee is quietly working to end the program altogether.

    On page 17 of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s $32 billion spending bill for the Department of Interior and environmental agencies, which was released last week, is a request to end the decades-long effort to save red wolves. Republican Senator Thom Tillis, who wrote the provision, had been the one to recommend the program be cut.

    “The Committee acknowledges the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s request that the Service end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct. The program has failed to meet population goals for the Red Wolf and has impacted North Carolina landowners and the populations of several other native species,” the statement reads.

    “The Committee encourages the Service to consider ending the program in fiscal year 2018 and expects the Service to work closely with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission during fiscal year 2018 as it determines further actions on this matter. “

    Many private landowners in North Carolina support ending the program, which would effectively push red wolves in extinction. While the bill states the recovery program has failed to meet the population goal of 220 in the wild, scientists say there’s still hope for the red wolf with time and an updated plan.

    “Senate Republicans are trying to hammer a final nail in the coffin of the struggling red wolf recovery program,” said Perrin de Jong, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of giving up on the red wolf, Congress should fund recovery efforts, something lawmakers have cynically blocked time and time again.”

    (via IFL Science and The Charlotte Observer)

    According to the Center for Biological Diversity, almost all public comments submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about red wolves are supportive of recovery efforts, including 98.6 percent of those from North Carolina residents. They haven’t turned their backs on this beautiful species, and Senate Republicans shouldn’t either.

  • Chilling New Information Shows Who’s Really The Shark-Killing Boss Of The Sea

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    Most people think of Great White sharks as the rulers of the sea.

    They’re the apex predators, and they’re feared by beachgoers everywhere. Generally speaking, those fears are pretty unfounded, but no one will deny that Great Whites are powerful, intelligent hunters whose size would intimidate almost anything out there in the ocean.

    That’s why scientists found it curious that they were finding more and more Great White carcasses washed up on shore in South Africa, all with the same injury. What could be causing these deaths? It turns out the real king of the sea is the orca.

    Killer whales off the coast of South Africa have been hunting Great Whites, choosing only to bite out their livers, which are oil-rich and full of energy.

    The orcas appear to be capitalizing on tonic immobility, a quirk among sharks and rays. When they are turned upside down, they go into a trance-like state, essentially paralyzed and helpless.

    That’s when the orcas bite out the liver and leave the carcass to float to shore. Researchers are still looking into why this pair of killer whales has left so many bodies in their wake this year.

    Orcas, like the one in the video below, have been known to hunt Great Whites in particular, but the increased activity suggests something else is going on.

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    (via IFL Science)

    This is so gruesome, but it’s kind of amazing. We never stop learning things about the natural world. Thank goodness for the scientists studying these fascinating creatures.

  • Body Cam Footage Captures Cop Planting Cocaine On Suspect

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    In response to recent instances of police brutality, more and more people have been calling for police officers to wear body cameras.

    Proponents argue that the cameras protect both the police and the people they serve, showing exactly what happened in any given interaction. They’re not perfect devices, and they aren’t useful in every situation, but it could be argued that it’s the best solution we have right now.

    One case in Los Angeles is proving that body cam footage can be used to help those who are wrongly accused. When a man was stopped by police, the camera footage revealed the officer planting a bag of cocaine on the suspect, lying to his fellow officers at the scene about where it was found.

    Ultimately, this is a betrayal of this man, the other officers, and the community. Learn more in the video below.


    Twitter / @nowthisnews

    Fortunately, the LAPD has opened an investigation into this awful incident. Public outcry means that hopefully more body cameras will be put in place to protect innocent people.

  • Baby Saying ‘Oh No’ After Sneezing Will Give You The Ten Cutest Seconds Of Your Life

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    You’re probably not going to be shocked when I say that babies do some pretty cute things.

    After all, that’s kind of the point of babies. They’re super cute and we have the natural instincts to protect and cherish them until they can take care of themselves. The little tykes can also be kind of hilarious, especially when they do things that make them seem like little adults.

    One baby boy had a pretty awesome reaction to sneezing so his mom grabbed a camera to film it all.

    What he says will have you smiling instantly. Doesn’t it make you just want to squeeze him?

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    Youtube / Gabriel Jones

    Aww, this is too cute to handle. What’s the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen a baby do? Let us know in the comments.

  • Parents Say Their Children Were Taken Away Because They Themselves Have Low IQs

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    There’s a lot of stigma around people with intellectual disabilities, especially when it comes to parenting.

    Up to 80 percent of people with intellectual disabilities who choose to become parents wind up having their children taken out of the home, either for a short period of time or permanently. Despite the fact that those with intellectual disabilities are protected under the same laws surrounding marriage and family planning as the rest of us, many are not given the support they need or are judged harshly despite being able to care for their children.

    Amy and Eric say their children, Christopher and Hunter, were taken from their home due to their low IQ scores. They say they were not neglectful, have regular high school diplomas, and have stable income.

    An anonymous tip to Child and Family Services reported them for allegedly being unable to care for their son Christopher. He was placed in foster care, as was their second son, Hunter, almost as soon as he was born. As part of the review process, the parents were given IQ tests.

    Eric has an IQ of 66, while Amy’s is 72. A “normal” range is 90-110. Legally and ethically, low IQ cannot be used against parents as the sole reason a child is taken out of the home.

    Amy and Eric are fighting in court to regain custody of their children and to fight the stigma around intellectual disability. Learn more about this heartbreaking case below.

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    Youtube / Inside Edition

    Without the specific facts of this case, it’s hard to know if these children should have been placed in foster care or not. Still, this fight is an important one with legal ramifications for thousands of parents across the country who face this stigma due to low IQ.

  • Uplifting Choir Of Strangers Brings A Little Bit Of Church To Their Local Sam’s Club

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    I grew up going to church several times every single week.

    One of the parts of church services that made me feel connected to others was the singing. Whether or not you’re religious, you can’t deny that a good old gospel choir can send shivers down your spine. Some customers who were shopping at a Sam’s Club recently got an unexpected surprise when down one of the aisles everyone broke out into song.

    These singers took everyone to church! It’s nice to see people coming together, especially during this time of year.

    Facebook / Love What Matters

    Can we also appreciate the woman belting it out at the end? I think I’d love for this to happen somewhere I was shopping. Let’s do carols and holiday music next!

  • This Hilarious Little Girl Is Pretty Skeptical Of The Whole ‘Santa Claus’ Thing

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    It’s that time of year again: the one where parents pull out the myth of Santa Claus.

    Santa can be used to create Christmas magic or to encourage kids to be on their best behavior as we enter the holiday season. Still, if you think about it, the whole idea of Santa Claus doesn’t really make sense. I guess that’s why we grow out of it so quickly.

    One little girl is already so over the lies, though. You may have seen Mila before — she’s a bonafide viral sensation known for her sassy attitude and speeches on a bunch of different topics. And boy does she have a lot to say about Jolly Old Saint Nick.

    “What is even the deal with Santa Claus?” Preach, girl!

    Facebook / Love What Matters

    I love it. When did you stop believing in Santa Claus? Let us know in the comments!

  • Here’s Exactly Why You Should Be Afraid Of The FCC’s Proposed Net Neutrality Repeal

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    Since its invention, the internet has changed the world, connecting users across the globe and providing an endless source of information, communication and entertainment. But if certain people have their way, the internet as we know it may cease to exist in the near future.

    What makes the internet so great is that it’s free and open. This means internet service providers (ISP) like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon provide us with open networks that give us equal access to whichever sites we choose without restriction (given that the content is lawful) or preferential treatment for specific content and ideas. All of this is preserved by net neutrality, the internet’s guiding principle that enables and protects free speech and the free and equitable flow of information.

    It took a decade’s worth of fighting for the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) to adopt strong net neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act in 2015 — but the FCC plans to dismantle these regulations.

    On November 21, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who is also a former lawyer for Verizon, announced his plans to repeal net neutrality regulations that prevent ISPs from blocking or slowing web traffic and creating paid internet “fast lanes.”

    “President Clinton got it right in 1996 when he established a free market-based approach to this new thing called the Internet, and the Internet economy we have is a result of his light-touch regulatory vision,” Pai said. “We saw companies like Facebook and Amazon and Google become global powerhouses precisely because we had light-touch rules that apply to this Internet. And the Internet wasn’t broken in 2015 when these heavy-handed regulations were adopted.”

    However, this “light-touch” approach would give more control to the ISPs that have lobbied hard against net neutrality and challenged these rules in court. Pai’s plan is to scrap these strong rules, opting instead to basically assume ISPs won’t discriminate. Internet users would lose their protection, but they’re expected to trust the very companies that have already violated net neutrality before Title II was adopted. Not very comforting, is it?

    So what will the future look like on the internet if this plan goes through? ISPs will be able to block websites, content or applications they don’t like or see as competition. They’ll also be able to charge users for access to certain sites.

    If the FCC kills net neutrality, this is a fair representation of what the internet will look like and cost us as consumers. Business may have to pay a toll just to be able to reach their customers, putting smaller mom-and-pop companies and online retailers at a major disadvantage.

    On Cyber Monday, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and hundreds of other businesses and organizations called for the FCC to stop plans for a net neutrality rollback in a letter to Pai. The agency will vote on whether or not to end net neutrality on December 14.

    (via Free Press and Politico)

    You can join the fight for a free and open internet by writing and calling the FCC and your members of Congress to demand that Title II oversight and net neutrality be preserved. This helpful site provides all the phone numbers you need as well as a script to read from. You can also sign this petition and text RESIST to 504-09.

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