Extra Extra : November 2012

Ban on uranium mining may be lifted in Virginia

The Alexandria Gazette Packet reports that "in the last year, Chatham-based Virginia Uranium, Inc., has contributed $147,000 to sponsor research favorable to overturning a ban on uranium mining and invested more than $52,000 in campaign contributions across the commonwealth."

"The company has hired 19 lobbyists from five firms in an effort to persuade legislators that the practice of uranium mining is safe in Pittsylvania County, which is upriver from one of Virginia's most populated areas."

California police ignored, mishandled sex assaults reported by disabled

In three dozen cases of developmentally disabled patients accusing caretakers of rape and molestation during the past four years, police failed to complete even the simplest tasks associated with investigating the alleged crimes, according to a California Watch investigation.

Tobacco companies fighting anti-smoking laws with trade agreements, legal challenges

Fair Warning reports that as governments around the world adopt stringent rules to fight the public health burdens of smoking, tobacco companies are fighting back, trumping those laws by invoking long-standing trade agreements. Anti-smoking advocates told Fair Warning those efforts, and the cost and liability governments face in fighting them, will intimidate "all but the most wealthy, sophisticated countries" into inaction.

Colorado police departments failing to test rape kits

"A six-month investigation by KMGH-Denver found police departments across Colorado were failing to test hundreds of rape kits, critical evidence taken from a victim’s body after a sexual assault."

"While most departments said kits are rarely tested when the victim knows the suspect, one police department said these rape kits were prohibited from being tested due to state and federal law."

The shadowy side of offshore industry

"In a unique collaboration, the Guardian and BBC Panorama have sifted through many gigabytes of data, obtained by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, to find information that helped identify more than 20 offshore incorporation firms operating out of the UK, several of which help supply sham directors."

Extra Extra Monday: Unhealthy springs, deadly bed rails, drug industry influence

The Tampa Bay Times
Florida's Vanishing Springs
"A century ago Florida’s gin-clear springs drew presidents and millionaires and tourists galore who sought to cure their ailments by bathing in the healing cascades. Now the springs tell the story of a hidden sickness, one that lies deep within the earth."

WNYC
NYC Lags in Granting Relief to Some Illegal Immigrants
“But so far in New York City, the drive to apply prosecutorial discretion to the docket of deportation cases has yielded strikingly few results. Out of a backlog of 42,875 cases, only 583 have been closed due to ...

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Federal judge's financial conflict of interest went unnoticed for years

"A federal judge has issued three key rulings over a four-year period that favored companies in which he owned stock, a California Watch analysis has found."

"Measures are in place to prevent judges from violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. But Judge Manuel Real, a 46-year veteran of the bench appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, appears to have skirted those safeguards, records and interviews show."

Manatee's The Prep Academy's financial woes surface again

“For the second time in only two years, teachers at a Manatee school run by Lamprecht say they are not getting paid. The Prep Academy has employed about a dozen teachers with an enrollment of about 50 students, the Bradenton Herald reports.”