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Lawsuit seeks personhood for apes

Updated: Thursday, September 01, 2016 @ 9:33 AM
Published: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 10:50 AM
By: Nathan Byrne

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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.

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Infants should sleep in parents' room for at least 6 months, report says

Updated: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 2:03 PM
Published: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 1:53 PM
By: Brianna Chambers - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Infants should sleep in parents' room for at least 6 months, report says
A child sleeps in a crib (Flickr/Donnie Ray Jones)

Infants should sleep in the same room but not the same bed as their parents for at least the first six months of their lives, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

>> Read more trending stories  

 The report recommends that babies sleep on a separate surface in parents' rooms, such as a crib or bassinet, but never on a couch, armchair or soft surface for up to their first birthday.

Such soft surfaces can lead to nasal obstruction and asphyxia in infants.

"Parents should never place the baby on a sofa, couch, or cushioned chair, either alone or sleeping with another person," Rachel Moon, lead author of the report, said in a statement. "We know that these surfaces are extremely hazardous."

And for tired parents feeding infants, if "there's even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair," said Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter co-author of the report.

The guidelines serve as tips to decrease the risk of sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Researchers say minimizing risk factors is the best way to keep babies safe and decrease the number of sleep-related deaths in infants, which currently amounts to nearly 3,500 deaths per year in the United States.   

"The whole phenomenon of SIDS implies that we don't know 100 percent what is responsible for the death, but we have theories," Feldman-Winter said.

The report cites evidence that shows parents who share their room with their infant can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

"Babies should share that sleep environment for up to one year, because there is a slight risk of SIDS that persists," Feldman-Winter said. "A baby that is within reach of their mother may have more comfort or physical stimulation from being in an environment with another person."

Other recommendations in the report include placing a sleeping infant on his or her back on a firm sleep surface with a tight-fitting sheet and avoiding the use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys.

Feldman-Winter said a bare crib or space is best.

"There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant's breathing or cause overheating," she said.

Feldman-Winter and Moon said that even with products advertising safer sleeping environments for children, small changes can make a big impact.

"We know that we can keep a baby safer without spending a lot of money on home-monitoring gadgets but through simple precautionary measures," Moon said.

Police: 2 Oklahoma officers shot with AK-47; suspect's aunt, uncle found dead

Updated: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 2:02 PM
Published: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 5:54 AM
By: Greg Brown - KOKI-TV – Tulsa, Okla.

            Police: 2 Oklahoma officers shot with AK-47; suspect's aunt, uncle found dead
The suspect was last seen in Lincoln County.

A manhunt is underway after a man reportedly shot two officers near Wellston, Oklahoma, on Sunday evening.

The aunt and uncle of suspect Michael Vance were found dead in their home, police said. 

Vance was last seen near Sayre, Oklahoma, believed to be headed toward Amarillo, Texas. 

Officials said the incident took place about 6:30 p.m. Sunday at a trailer park near Highway 102 and Highway 66.

Sheriff's officials in Lincoln County say two officers were shot responding to a shots-fired call.

Officials said three officers were interviewing witnesses when a man walked out of a home and shot one officer in the leg and another in the foot with an AK-47. 

>> Read more trending stories

Their injuries are non-life-threatening.

Officials said Vance then took an officer's vehicle, drove to a nearby trailer and stole another car, firing shots at a woman there, as well.

One suspect is in custody, but police are still looking for Vance. He reportedly took off in a white Lincoln Towncar with a blue top. 

Vance, who was last seen driving westbound down Highway 66, is considered armed and dangerous, police said. Officials said residents should lock their doors and be on the lookout.

The Lincoln County sheriff said Vance was recently arrested, and the shooting may be retaliation for that arrest.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents are investigating.

– Visit KOKI-TV for the latest on this developing story.

At approximately 6:30 this evening, two Wellston police officers were shot while responding to a shots fired call in the...
Posted by Lincoln County Sheriff's Office Chandler, Ok on Sunday, October 23, 2016


Michael Vance Oct 24, 2016 - 5:59 AM

Are selfies at the ballot allowed?

Updated: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 1:07 PM
Published: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 12:23 PM
By: Brianna Chambers - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Are selfies at the ballot allowed?
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: Voting booths are ready for voters at an early voting site in the Supervisor of Elections office on October 24, 2016 in Bradenton, Florida. Today early general election voting started in the state of Florida and ends on either Nov 5 or Nov 6th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As one of the most distinct elections in recent history comes to a close, voters are more motivated than ever to get to polls.

And people want to share their voting experiences with others. 

>> Read more trending stories  

But some of the same people who used to take photos of themselves posing with an "I voted!" sticker are switching things up and getting more personal: They're posting selfies on social media with their completed ballots.   

And while Facebook recently enabled a feature that allows users to publicly endorse the political candidates of their choice, posting a selfie with a ballot can be problematic. In many states, the practice is illegal. 

Here are the states in which ballot selfies are allowed: 

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia 
  • Washington 
  • Wyoming

But in Colorado, sharing a ballot selfie is considered a misdemeanor. In Illinois, it's a felony. 

Other states have don't allow selfies with a completed ballot because "they can be considered influencing a vote or forcing someone to show proof of voting," the Associated Press reported.

Here are the states in which ballot selfies are illegal: 

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Thirteen other states, including Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas have unclear guidelines on whether ballot selfies are allowed. Most of these states don't allow cameras or photos inside polling places but have no clear penalties and allow photos of mailed ballots. 

New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji called selfie ballots "a product of the times we live in."

"I was doing this for years before I learned it was ... illegal (in some states)," said Nebraska resident Nikola Jordan, who told the AP she's been taking photos with ballots for nearly 10 years. "It's all about encouraging other people to get involved in the process, to show it can be fun and exciting to make your voice heard (at the polls)."

Girl Scout cookies for breakfast! Girl Scout cereal on the way

Updated: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 1:07 PM
Published: Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 8:05 AM
By: Natalie Dreier - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            Girl Scout cookies for breakfast! Girl Scout cereal on the way
Girl Scout Cookie Cereal is Really Happening!

Make room in the pantry now, you'll be needing shelf space for the multiple boxes of Girl Scout cookie cereal that you'll be buying at the beginning of the year. 

Yes, you read that correctly. The Girl Scouts are apparently teaming with General Mills to bring Thin Mints and Caramel Crunch, a.k.a. Samoas, to your breakfast table. 

>> Read more trending stories  

While many cookie aficionados will partake in cookies for breakfast once the coveted snacks are delivered, now you can eat them in the open thanks to the new cereal, the Daily Mail reported

While the Girl Scouts have not officially announced the new products, CandyHunting, a product fan site on Instagram, broke the news.

But a spokesman for General Mills did confirm the release to BuzzFeed News.

Monday morning, General Mills took to Twitter to make the official announcement.

More details will be released closer to the expected January launch. 

The Girl Scouts announced two new flavors for next year's cookie sale: S'mores, a sandwich cookie and a chocolate covered version.


Girl Scout cookies Oct 24, 2016 - 8:54 AM