Lawsuit seeks personhood for apes

Published: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 10:50 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

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Four captive chimpanzees in New York could soon have their day in court — to determine whether they'll be legally recognized as people.

The lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project alleges a 26-year-old chimpanzee named Tommy "is being held captive in a cage in a shed at a used trailer lot."

Tommy's owner, Patrick Lavery, tells USA Today the chimp is one of 11 he's rescued from bad situations and housed temporarily while waiting to find a sanctuary. He also said Tommy's cage "exceeds federal and state standards and is inspected every year."

Tommy is the first of four chimpanzees who'll have a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the Nonhuman Rights Project this week. But why?

The online news editor for the journal Science explains the suit aims to first free the chimpanzees from captivity — then place them in a Florida sanctuary.

The article says the Nonhuman Rights Project researched its legal strategy for five years. The plan? Petition judges with writs of habeas corpus, which allow those in captivity to have a say in court. (Via PBS)

The choice of jurisdiction was also a strategic one — because New York allows automatic appeals of adverse habeas corpus decisions. (Via YouTube / YaleUniversity)

The effort is headed up by animal rights activist Steven Wise, who tells The Huffington Post it would require future litigation to spell out chimpanzees' rights post-captivity. (Via Flickr / foshie)

"They're not really human rights at that point. They're chimpanzee rights. What chimpanzee rights are appropriate for chimpanzees? If you're suing, if you're using case law, then it's one case at a time."

A writer for io9 suggests this is just the start, "Poised to be the first of many — including cases to defend the rights of gorillas, orangutans, elephants, whales, and dolphins."

The New York Times notes the personhood lawsuit would be the third major development involving chimpanzees in 2013.

Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health moved to retire most research chimps. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed declaring chimpanzees an endangered species.

- See more at Newsy.com

DeMarcus Cousins reportedly traded to Pelicans in blockbuster deal

Published: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 12:59 AM
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 12:59 AM


            DeMarcus Cousins reportedly traded to Pelicans in blockbuster deal

The Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield and at least one first-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:




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Cousins is arguably one of the top big men in the NBA today, and pairing him with Anthony Davis and standout guard Jrue Holiday makes a serious trio in New Orleans.

The move to trade Cousins comes on the heels of the Kings making public proclamations to keep the disgruntled center.

Here’s what Yahoo! reported led to eventually trading the center:

“Two incidents in particular – an expletive-laced remark Cousins made about Golden State after Sacramento’s overtime win over the Warriors on Feb. 6 and the astonishing 17th technical foul this season, and resulting one-game suspension, against New Orleans on Feb. 12 – have caused Ranadive to have serious concerns about tethering the franchise to Cousins long term.”


Whether Cousins remains in New Orleans following next season, the last on his current contract, remains to be seen.

'Not My Presidents Day' rallies planned across country

Published: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 8:43 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 8:43 PM


            'Not My Presidents Day' rallies planned across country

Thousands of protesters are expected to spend their day off Monday to take to the streets in protest of President Donald Trump.

The “Not My Presidents Day” rallies are planned in several cities, including Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to NBC News.

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“While we acknowledge that Donald Trump holds the current title, the policies he’s trying to put in place are not the beliefs shared by the majority of the people,” Nova Calise, one of the organizers of New York event, told USA Today.

Sparked by plans for a Presidents Day demonstration in Los Angeles, organizers collaborated for about three weeks to plan their own.

"We want to fight the entirety of the administration," Laura Hartman, Chicago rally coordinator, told NBC News.

Bao Bao prepares to leave U.S. for China

Published: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 11:35 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 11:35 PM


            Bao Bao prepares to leave U.S. for China

Washington D.C. is getting ready to say goodbye to adorable panda Bao Bao. 

Bao Bao was born in August 2013 and is part of the National Zoo's partnership with the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

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“There is a loan agreement,” National Zoo animal keeper Marty Dearie told FOX DC. “Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, her parents, are here on loan, and that loan agreement stipulates that any cub we have is required to go to China. They can stay here up until they are four years old. She is three and a half years old. It is right in the perfect time for her to head back.”

It's a long flight to China for Bao Bao - 16 hours total. Since she loves bamboo, caretakers are arranging to take 50 pounds of it, along with sweet potatoes and apples.

The zoo has planned a week of celebratory events to say goodbye to Bao Bao. 

Germany bans talking doll, citing security concerns

Published: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 10:49 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 10:49 PM


            Germany bans talking doll, citing security concerns

Blue-eyed, blond and unassuming, a talking child’s doll is susceptible to hackers and could be used as a surveillance device, German officials say.

The “My Friend Cayla” doll can talk and answer questions, it can also be used to collect personal information by recording private conversations through an insecure Bluetooth connection, according to the Federal Network Agency, which enforces a surveillance ban in Germany.

"The Cayla doll is banned in Germany," Jochen Homann, agency head, said in a release. "This is also about protecting the weakest members of society."

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The toy uses voice recognition software and can by synced to the Internet through a smartphone or other electronic device.

Because of its history under fascist and communist rule, Germany has strict laws protecting citizens from data collection.

While the toy has been removed from shelves in Germany, the company still has a website for sales of the doll in Germany. The toymaker has not released a statement on the ban.