Lisa Helt has been worried about her son, Mitchell, for a long time. He is severely autistic. Once, he put his head through a car windscreen. Later, he tried to do the same thing to a dining-room table and was left bloodied with glass shattered all over the floor. Another time, he tried to attack his mother, clawing at her face and pinning her to the ground. This can’t go on. He is either going to die or go to jail, she remembers thinking when he was a teenager.
In 2013, Helt, who attends a Methodist church, made a deal with God. If Mitchell could go one week without a seizure (about a third of people with autism also have epilepsy, like Mitchell) while off his medication and in hospital for observation, then Helt would try medical marijuana in the hope of calming the seizures and his aggressive, self-injurious tendencies. He made it through the week.
So Helt took Mitchell to Colorado for a week to experiment with different ways of using marijuana products to treat his condition. She found that a band-aid-like patch could give him a steady dose over a 12-hour period, and when they returned to Texas, she used the patches illegally. A few years later, Mitchell, now 21, rarely has seizures. His violent outburst are gone. He consumes about 30 milligrams of marijuana a day through the patch. (Continuously breaking the law wasn’t a long-term solution, and the family now lives in Arizona, where Mitchell’s treatment is legal thanks to his epilepsy diagnosis.)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to 15 days in prison after being detained at a major opposition protest that he had organised.
A Moscow court issued the verdict on Monday against Navalny for resisting police orders on Sunday when he walked to the protest in the Russian capital.
Navalny, 40, posted a selfie on Twitter from the courtroom, saying: “A time will come when we’ll put them on trial too – and that time it will be fair.”
A LAWSUIT FILED today by the Knight First Amendment Institute, a public interest legal organization based at Columbia University, seeks to shed light on invasive searches of laptops and cellphones by Customs and Border Protection officers at U.S. border crossings.
Documents filed in the case note that these searches have risen precipitously over the past two years, from a total of 5,000 searches in 2015 to 25,000 in 2016, and rising to 5,000 in the month of February 2017 alone. Among other questions, the lawsuit seeks to compel the federal government to provide more information about these searches, including how many of those searched have been U.S. citizens, the number of searches by port of entry, and the number of searches by the country of origin of the travelers.
Civil rights groups have long claimed that warrantless searches of cellphones and laptops by government agents constitute a serious invasion of privacy, due to the wealth of personal data often held on such devices. It is common for private conversations, photographs, and location information to be held on cellphones and laptops, making a search of these items significantly more intrusive than searching a simple piece of luggage.
A number of recent cases in the media have revealed instances of U.S. citizens and others being compelled by CBP agents to unlock their devices for search. In some instances, people have claimed to have been physically coerced into complying, including one American citizen who said that CBP agents grabbed him by the neck in order to take his cellphone out of his possession.
The legality of warrantless device searches at the border remains a contested issue, with the government asserting, over the objections of civil liberties groups, that Fourth Amendment protections do not apply at ports of entry. Some particularly controversial cases of searches at the border have involved journalists whose electronic data contains sensitive information about the identity of sources. Last year, a Canadian journalist was detained for six hours before being denied entry to the United States after refusing to unlock devices containing sensitive information. It has also been alleged that border agents are disproportionately targeting Muslim Americans and people with ties to Muslim-majority countries for both interrogation and device searches.
Details are emerging about U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that are believed to have killed over 200 people in a single day in Iraq. The U.S.-led coalition has admitted launching airstrikes on March 17 targeting a crowded neighborhood in Mosul. They are among the deadliest U.S. airstrikes in the region since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. According to some reports, one of these strikes destroyed houses where hundreds of people were taking refuge amid the city’s heavy fighting. Up to 80 civilians, including women and children, may have died in one house’s basement alone. This bombing is just one of an onslaught of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that has killed as many as 1,000 civilians in March alone, according to the journalistic project Airwars. For more, we speak with Chris Woods, founder of Airwars, a nonprofit group that monitors civilian deaths from international airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
The fingerprint of human-caused climate change has been found on heatwaves, droughts and floods across the world, according to scientists.
The discovery indicates that the impacts of global warming are already being felt by society and adds further urgency to the need to cut carbon emissions. A key factor is the fast-melting Arctic, which is now strongly linked to extreme weather across Europe, Asia and north America.
Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have long been expected to lead to increasing extreme weather events, as they trap extra energy in the atmosphere. But linking global warming to particular events is difficult because the climate is naturally variable.
The new work analysed a type of extreme weather event known to be caused by changes in “planetary waves” – such as California’s ongoing record drought, and recent heatwaves in the US and Russia, as well as severe floods in Pakistan in 2010.
Planetary waves are a pattern of winds, of which the jet stream is a part, that encircle the northern hemisphere in lines that undulate from the tropics to the poles. Normally, the whole wave moves eastwards but, under certain temperature conditions, the wave can halt its movement. This leaves whole regions under the same weather for extended periods, which can turn hot spells into heatwaves and wet weather into floods.
This type of extreme weather event is known to have increased in recent decades. But the new research used observations and climate models to show that the chances of the conditions needed to halt the planetary waves occurring are significantly more likely as a result of global warming.