Alternative News Headlines from New Zealand and Around the World

Ahead of Sentencing, Ulbricht Defense Argues Silk Road Made Drug Use Safer

When a jury convicted Ross Ulbricht three months ago of running the Silk Road, it closed the legal question of whether he was guilty of masterminding that billion-dollar online black market for drugs. But as Ulbricht’s sentencing approaches, his defense is opening another ethical question that may be far more societally important: Did the Silk Road’s newly invented method of narcotics e-commerce actually reduce the risks of drug use?
READ MORE: http://www.wired.com/2015/05/ahead-sentencing-ulbricht-defense-argues-si...

We're ruled by a cosy elite who all go to the same dinner parties, says former No10 policy guru chief Steve Hilton

David Cameron’s former chief strategist has launched a stinging attack on the ‘insular ruling class’ threatening Britain’s democracy. Steve Hilton said too many of those at the heart of government go to the same dinner parties and send their children to the same schools. He said the UK’s political system is now in ‘crisis’ because the same type of people stay in charge whatever the outcome of the elections.

In what will be seen as a criticism of the ‘chumocracy’ of his former boss, Mr Hilton warned: "Our democracies are increasingly captured by a ruling class that seeks to perpetuate its privileges".
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3085342/Stop-listening-insular-r...

Bad Apple: 5 Ways the Computer Giant is Plundering America

An emotional response to any criticism of the Apple Corporation might be anticipated from the users of the company's powerful, practical, popular, and entertaining devices. Accolades to the company and a healthy profit are certainly well-deserved. But much-despised should be the theft from taxpayers and the exploitation of workers and customers, all cloaked within the image of an organization that seems to work magic on our behalf.
READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/bad-apple-5-ways-computer-giant-plunder-america

How Photographing Pollution Became Illegal In Wyoming

Taking scenic pictures anywhere outside city limits in the state of Wyoming could now get you thrown in jail. Signed into law in March, the Data Trespass Bill enhances laws against trespassing, but the intent of the bill seems to be clear — protecting polluters from prosecution by criminalizing the collecting of evidence against them.

No, it’s not exactly as simple as just snapping a photo, but if you want to “collect resource data” without express consent to do so and you intend to pass it on to a government agency, the penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a year in prison.
READ MORE: http://www.activistpost.com/2015/05/how-photographing-pollution-became.html

2004 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could leak another 100 years - report

An oil leak that occurred when an offshore platform toppled during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 has continued to spill oil into the Gulf of Mexico – and could keep leaking for another 100 years, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The documents show that a century-long leak could occur if nothing is done to address the problem.

The platform owners, Taylor Energy Company, tried to work with Department of the Interior "to resolve financial obligations for the leak" worth hundreds of millions of dollars, which were set aside to pay for leak-related work.
READ MORE: http://rt.com/usa/259189-gulf-oil-spill-century/

TPP Fast Track is Back on

The Senate’s trade war lasted just about a day.

After Democrats engineered a stunning defeat of President Barack Obama’s push for new trade deals on Tuesday, negotiators hashed out a compromise that offered both parties a way to save face without scuttling the administration’s trade agenda. At the least, the agreement means the Senate is likely to pass new powers for the president to fast-track trade pacts through Congress.
READ MORE: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/trade-bill-standoff-senate-117900....

Wellington NZ Hit by Widespread Flooding

It has been raining cats, dogs and mice here in the last 24 plus hours. The whole city was cut off by slips and flooding. As of 9.50pm tonight reports are coming in of tornadoes hitting in Hawkes Bay north of Wellington. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/68568100/tornado-strikes-mt-maunganui-po...

The Hutt River looking north at Avalon.

Basin Reserve

Brooklyn Rd

Downtown

Hutt River Avalon

Faith No More: How Rock's Most Contrarian Band Made Up and Came Back

Finessing three-part harmony background vocals on the song, guitarist Jon Hudson asks Patton if he's singing, "Daddy, daddy."

"No! But let's say that!" exclaims Patton, excitedly. He loves being detached enough from his own words to rewrite them on the fly.

Such free and good-natured communication among all five band members is a new, beautiful thing for Faith No More. They spent much of their career publicly feuding with each other while bristling at outside input. Their record label, critics, fans and even bandmates were often, and often justifiably, confused and confounded by them.
READ MORE: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/faith-no-more-how-rocks-most-...

The World’s First Solar Road Is Producing More Energy Than Expected

In its first six months of existence, the world’s first solar road is performing even better than developers thought.

The road, which opened in the Netherlands in November of last year, has produced more than 3,000 kilowatt-hours of energy — enough to power a single small household for one year, according to Al-Jazeera America.

“If we translate this to an annual yield, we expect more than the 70kwh per square meter per year,” Sten de Wit, a spokesman for the project — dubbed SolaRoad — told Al Jazeera America. “We predicted [this] as an upper limit in the laboratory stage. We can therefore conclude that it was a successful first half year.”
READ MORE: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/11/3657220/solaroad-producing-e...

10 Cuts The Government Has Made To Make Life Harder For Students In New Zealand

Students aged over 40 restricted to 120 weeks of Student Allowances, including anything used before they were 40 AND students aged over 65 are ineligible to receive allowances. This insidious change undermines lifelong learning. New Zealand’s universities, wānanga, and polytechnics, are publicly owned and should be accessible by New Zealanders. Using age as a factor to retrospectively restrict allowances is probably challengeable under the Human Rights Act 1993. Many mature students return to study to just complete an extra qualification they need to up-skill and retrain, before going back into the workforce. This change means education is restricted to those with the ability to pay, not the ability to learn.
READ MORE: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danielrewih/10-cuts-the-government-has-made-to-m...

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