climate change, 2020, biggest stories
The author writes, “2020 was a monumental year for just about every kind of news, and climate news was no exception. As the world reeled from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic, racial tension, and economic collapse, it also dealt with deadly heat, hellacious wildfires, and the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history. We may also remember 2020, however, as the year the world started to reverse centuries of damage to the climate.” Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

CA Supreme Court Allows Murder Charge in Stillborn Fetus Case ; Feds Seized $8.4 Million in PPP Loans Obtained by Fake Ministry ; and More Picks 12/30

CA Supreme Court Allows Murder Charge in Stillborn Fetus Case (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The California Supreme Court declined to stop the prosecution of a woman who was charged with murder after authorities said she used methamphetamine before her fetus was stillborn. The court … rejected a challenge of the charge by state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, whose office normally represents county prosecutors when their cases are appealed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. However, Becerra, nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a supporter of reproductive rights and in a letter to justices said fear of prosecution might prevent pregnant women from seeking addiction services. The case could also prompt extra scrutiny by law enforcement on miscarriages and stillbirths, he said.”

Feds Seized $8.4 Million in PPP Loans Obtained by Fake Orlando Ministry (Dana)

From the Orlando Sentinel: “The federal government has seized $8.4 million in pandemic-related loans obtained by a family running a fake ministry in Orlando who then tried to spend some of the money on a $3.71 million house in Disney World’s Golden Oak neighborhood, according to court records. The investigation ended as authorities caught the family of four on the run with shredded documents and a paper shredder in their vehicle, documents show.”

Chinese Journalist Who Documented Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak Jailed for Four Years (Sue)

The authors write, “An independent Chinese journalist who reported from Wuhan at the height of the initial coronavirus outbreak has been jailed for four years by a Shanghai court, her lawyer said Monday. Zhang Zhan, 37, was found guilty of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble,’ according to one of her defense lawyers Zhang Keke, who attended her hearing. The offense is commonly used by the Chinese government to target dissidents and human rights activists.”

Devices Used in COVID-19 Treatment Can Give Errors for Patients With Dark Skin (Dan)

The author writes, “The common fingertip devices that measure oxygen in the blood can sometimes give misleading readings in people with dark skin, according to a report. … These devices, called pulse oximeters, are increasingly finding their way into people’s homes, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, this is not just a concern for medical personnel using professional-grade devices.”

UK ‘Super Recognizer’ Officer Spots More Than 2,000 Suspects (Russ)

From Euronews: “A Britsh police officer with a talent for recognising faces has now identified more than 2,100 suspects, even some who were wearing masks. Andy Pope, a Police Community Support Officer in the West Midlands, is known as a ‘Super Recogniser,’ a talent he said ‘is impossible to explain.’ Since joining the police force in 2012, Pope, 43, has spotted more than 2,100 wanted suspects and is now hoping to reach the 2,500 milestone by the time he celebrates his 10th anniversary as an officer.”

Fancy Chicken-Sized Dinosaur Sported a Furry Mane and Shoulder Ribbons (Dana)

The author writes, “Some dinosaurs are known for their magnificent bulk. Hello, brontosaurus. Some have a fierce reputation for meat eating. Here’s looking at you, T. rex. Now meet Ubirajara jubatus. It wasn’t big, but it was glorious. Ubirajara jubatus was a dinosaur the size of a chicken, and it was quite a looker. In a statement [last week], the University of Portsmouth in the UK characterized it as ‘the most elaborately dressed-to-impress dinosaur ever described.’”


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