‘Law & Order: SVU’ star running for New York Congress

Diane Neal is hoping to run in the November 2018 election as an independent.

Actress Diane Neal played a district attorney for over 100 episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Now she wants to be come a lawmaker in real life.

Neal, who played Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak on Law & Order: SVU, took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce her independent run for New York’s 19th Congressional District seat.

“Ok, so it’s ON!!! But I’m doing with nearly no staff, no donations (yet), with no party,” Neal tweeted. “Website will be up later today (fingers crossed) and all ready to go. But goal is bigger than parties. Goal is no negativity. Goal is HIGH ROAD all the way.”

The 42-year-old is running for the congressional seat currently held by Rep. John Faso (R) who was elected in 2016. Neal’s own political beliefs are a mix, she told The Daily Freeman.

“I’m a little Libertarian, I’m a lot liberal, mostly progressive, but I have this amazing ability to be able to take really complicated policy and break it down into edible sound bites, which is something most progressive liberals cannot do,” she said.

Neal needs 3,500 signatures in order to secure a spot as independent on the November ballot.

Six Democratic candidates have already announced their intention to against Faso run for the congressional seat, according to The Daily Freeman. A Democratic will take place June 26th.

Another Ebola outbreak hits DRC as Trump ask Congress to rescind Ebola funds: reports

Ebola, the dreaded infamous viral disease is causing another outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, making it the ninth in the country’s history.

Ebola, the dreaded infamous viral disease is causing another outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, making it the ninth in the country’s history. The Ebola outbreak first made itself know to the world in 1976, in a small village called Yambuku in same DRC.

The new outbreak has hit the town of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country. The nearby ilkoko Iponge health facility reported 21 suspected cases within a period of 5 weeks. So far, seventeen have died though it remains unclear the number of these people that actually had Ebola. Out of the five samples that were sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa, juts two cases were actually positive for the virus in laboratory tests.

The unprecedentedly last Ebola outbreak in West Africa infected 28,000 people and killed 11,000 between 2014 and 2016, while most Ebola outbreaks have been small and contained affairs. Several have involved handfuls of cases. Presently, experts from the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and local Congolese health institutes have travelled to Bikoro. In addition, the WHO is planning to deploy more personnel and protective equipment, and has released $1 million from a contingency fund to help stop the outbreak.

As the news of the Ebola outbreak broke, President Donald Trump asked Congress to rescind $252 million that had been set aside to deal with Ebola, as part of a broader move to cut down on “excessive spending.” The money is the leftover from a $5.4 billion that Congress appropriated for dealing with the West African Ebola epidemic in 2015.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says U.S. diplomats ‘traeted badly’ in Pakistan

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told a U.S. congressional hearing that diplomats from the United States are being “treated badly”.

States are being “treated badly” in Pakistan, adding that the South Asian country would continue to receive diminishing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told a U.S. congressional hearing that diplomats from the United U.S. aid.

Pompeo who was testifying before the U.S. house foreign affairs committee on Thursday, made the remarks as relations continues to deteriorate between the once allies.

“My officers, our state department officers, are being treated badly as well, folks working in the embassies and councils [and] in other places are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either,” Pompeo said, during a debate on the US State Department’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

Earlier this month, the United States issued new restrictions for Pakistani diplomats posted in the country, requiring them to remain with a 25-mile (40.2km) radius of the city to which they were posted.

Pakistan says the restrictions are due to security reasons.

The spokesperson for the U.S embassy in Pakistan said in a statement to Al Jazeera, alleged that “the harassment faced by American and local U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel in Pakistan restricts their ability to carry out their mission.

“We have also documented numerous cases in which ordinary Pakistani citizens participating in our educational, cultural, and development programs have faced harassment by Pakistani government officials.”

Former NATO chief can’t get U.S. visa because he visited Iran

Javier Solana, a retired head of NATO and former top foreign-policy adviser to the European Union.

The United States denied a Spanish former head of NATO authorization to enter U.S. territory over a work trip to Iran. Javier Solana, who headed NATO from 1995 to 1999 and was the European Union’s foreign-policy chief until 2009, said that he applied for a visa renewal on the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), only to get an application rejection notice.

It was the first time that the United States has ever denied Solana permission to enter, he said. Solana was scheduled to visit Washington to speak at an event at the Brookings Institution, where he is also a fellow.

Solana attributed the rejection to a trip he made to Iran in 2013, where he participated in negotiations for the now-defunct 2015 nuclear accord. He said that he visited Iran “as a representative for all those who negotiated.”

This trip was a problem because Solana was applying online via the ESTA’s system, which all European nationals are expected to use if they intend to stay in the United States for three months or more. In 2016, the Obama administration enacted a Congressionally approved bill that prohibited citizens of 38 countries from getting visas if they had visited Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen.

The measure did not apply to government officials. But Solana has not been a government official since 2013.

“What they (the US) have is a computer with an algorithm, and if it knows you went to Iran recently, it takes you off the system,” Solana said.

Solana can come to the United States if he applies for a “full visa.” This is a lengthier and costlier process.

Climate change lawsuits dismissed from federal court

San Francisco and Oakland filed their climate change lawsuit against the five largest oil companies in the world.

Two climate change lawsuits against the largest oil companies were dismissed by a federal judge on Monday, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle. The lawsuits implied liability for climate changes against five oil companies by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.

The 16-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Willian Alsup looked at scientific evidence including the ice age and early carbon dioxide examinations. Judge Alsup said as a part of his ruling, that the problem of global warming is too big for the courts to solve.

As a part of the lawsuits, both San Francisco and Oakland looked to have the oil companies cover the cost of sea-level rise. Judge Alsup indicated that Congress and the White House are responsible for the issues with fossil fuels and dismissed the case in favor of the oil industry.

The lawsuits are the first that are attempting to implicate the oil industry and force them to pay to combat climate change. While other municipalities are following suit with cases, the decision by Judge Alsup is not expected to affect their outcomes.

According to the lawsuits filed by the growing number of municipalities, allegedly the oil companies have known that greenhouse gas emission from fossil fuels is causing global warming. The lawsuits indicate that despite this knowledge, the oil companies did not prevent the problems and may have allegedly covered up the issue as a result.

Trump orders creation of U.S. military ‘Space Force’

President Donald Trump has ordered the creation of a U.S. military “Space Force”.

U.S. president Donald Trump claimed to be ordering a sixth military branch to focus on space exploration. But critics say that this could be detrimental to the Air Force.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said prior to a meeting of his National Space Council.

“We are going to have the Air Force and we’re going to have the ‘Space Force.’ Separate but equal. It is going to be something,” he said at a later time.

The idea of a Space Force has been raised by previous administrations, with supporters saying that it could increase the efficiency of the Pentagon. But the idea is not supported by all senior military officials.

At a 2017 congressional hearing, Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein said the branch would “move us in the wrong direction.”

“Thankfully the president can’t do it without Congress because now is NOT the time to rip the Air Force apart,”said U.S. Senator and Democrat Bill Nelson. “Too many missions at stake.”

According to an anonymous U.S. defense official, the Pentagon would have to work with Congress to implement the order.

“Space is a war fighting domain, so it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain,” the official said.

Modern U.S. space exploration typically focuses on remote spacecraft without human crew members. However, American presidents have raised the possibility of sending humans to the moon or even further into space.

Border prisons lock migrant children in metal cages

The Border Patrol allowed reporters and immigration advocates a one-time, highly restricted visit Sunday to a holding facility where it keeps migrant families that it has detained at the border.

Reporters entering a U.S. Border Patrol holding facility for migrant children Sunday saw hundreds of children packed inside metal cages with only foil sheets for blankets and overhead lights that stay on 24 hours a day. The site, an old warehouse in south Texas, is one of several makeshift sites where U.S. law enforcement is keeping migrant families after detaining them for attempting to cross the U.S. border unauthorized.

The site is a product of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of forcibly separating migrant children and parents and criminally prosecuting the parents. More than 1,100 people are being held at the site, which places unaccompanied children in one wing, adults on their own in another, and adults who have children in a third.

The Border Patrol briefly allowed reporters and human-rights advocates to visit the site. Advocates spoke with some detainees, but Border Patrol agents forbade reporters from interviewing any detainees or taking any photographs.

Reporters observed 20 children packed inside one cage, and one teenage detainee told an immigration advocate that she was looking after a young child she had never met before because the aunt was being kept in another wing. The teen said that she had to show other cell mates how to change the child’s diaper.

A group of congressional lawmakers visited the same site Sunday before going to visit a longer-term shelter holding around 1,5000 children. Many of this larger facility’s children were taken away from their parents. One of the lawmakers, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), decried the forcible separations as child cruelty.

“Those kids inside who have been separated from their parents are already being traumatized,” said Merkley, of Oregon, who was denied entry to the longer-term shelter earlier this month. “It doesn’t matter whether the floor is swept and the bedsheets tucked in tight.”

Congress members petition Mark Zuckerberg to testify on Huawei data sharing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could be in for another Senate hearing involving data transmitted to Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL.

Chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez and Senator Bob Corker received a letter from Senator Ed Markey, making a request to demand Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about Facebook’s practice of sharing private user data with mobile phone companies.

Within the letter, Markey expressed concerns regarding the data provided to Chinese companies Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another instance of actions by US technology companies potentially impacting American national security,” wrote Markey, “and it is incumbent upon our committee to exercise oversight in this regard.”

Notably, Markey is the ranking member of the East Asia, Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy Subcommittees. The letter sent to Zuckerberg was cosigned by Senator Richard Blumenthal, seeking answers to questions over the recently reported practice.

This weekend, the New York Times reported that Facebook had provided detailed user data to at least 60 mobile device makers, which allowed them to offer Facebook-like features at a time when a Facebook app wasn’t available for all devices.

While these partnerships allowed companies to offer Facebook’s messaging, Like buttons and address books to their customers, it also reportedly gave them information on Facebook users like political leanings, religious affiliations, events they planned to attend and relationship statuses.

The setup also let these companies retrieve information from their customers’ Facebook friends, in addition to their friends’ friends, without those individuals’ consent.

Congress planning to invest millions into search for aliens, UFOs

Congress is considering investing millions of dollars into the search for aliens and UFOs.

For the first time in 25 years, Congress is talking about investing millions of dollars into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (or SETI), according to ValueWalk.

Back in 1992, a big NASA SETI initiative was launched through the creation of two radio telescopes that would aid in the search for signals from alien civilizations. But just a year later, Nevada Sen. Richard Bryan shut it down, and SETI has become somewhat unmentionable since then.

“[Bryan] made it clear to the administration that if they came back with SETI in their budget again, it wouldn’t be good for the NASA budget,” renowned astronomer Jill Tarter said. “So, we instantly became the four-letter S-word that you couldn’t say at headquarters anymore, and that has stuck for quite a while.”

Now, a newly proposed bill includes $10 million in NASA funding over the next two years “to search for technosignatures, such as radio transmissions, in order to meet the NASA objective to search for life’s origin, evolution, distribution, and future in the universe.”

“If it passes, it would definitely be a sea-change in Congressional attitude since Sen. Bryan terminated NASA’s SETI program, the High Resolution Microwave Survey, in 1993,” Tarter said.

Tarter is adamant that while the search for extraterrestrial intelligence hasn’t stopped, government funding would be a big step forward.

“You need to remember that this is an authorization bill, not an appropriations bill,” she said. “Even if it passes, the appropriators may not provide any SETI funding in their bill. But if they do, that would be a very big deal.”

Facebook CEO addressed ideas of paying for privacy with Congress

In testimony to lawmakers, Zuckerberg confronted concerns for targeted ads and Facebook service fees for social network usage.

During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed confirmation to lawmakers a subscription-based model of Facebook will not occur. Uncertainties involving the continuance of free usage for members of the social media network stem from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, who proposed a service fee for users requesting the removal of data-targeted ads.

“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” Zuckerberg told senators. “It is our mission to try to help connect everyone around the world and bring the world closer together. In order to do that, we believe we need to offer a service that everyone can afford.”

The testimony emanates from the most controversial data breach and failure to protect user data, allegedly utilized by consultancy Cambridge Analytica for political messaging. The allegations include concerns over targeted advertising and a #DeleteFacebook movement.

Zuckerberg added that Facebook does not have an option for users who are prepared to pay in order to prevent advertisements. The CEO further explained the ability for users to turn off ad targeting in their settings, highlighting the elements that users fail to adjust targeted ads setting tools.

Referring to Sandberg’s previous comments, Zuckerberg told senators, “People really don’t like ads that aren’t relevant. In order to not run ads at all, we would need some sort of business model.”