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The Schnooz: 6.18.14

by Dave & Jes posted Jun 18 2014 7:49AM

Extremists Said to Take Control of Iraq’s Biggest Oil Refinery
BAGHDAD — Iraq’s biggest oil refinery fell to Islamic extremists Wednesday morning, after army helicopter gunships failed to beat back an attack on the facility 130 miles north of Baghdad, according to refinery workers, eyewitnesses and an Iraqi army officer who fled the scene.
The facility at Baiji is the first operating refinery to fall to the fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, who have swept through much of northern Iraq and had surrounded the refinery in Baiji for the past week, battling with a battalion of the Iraqi Army that had been backed up by air support. The capture of the refinery would provide a potentially rich source of income for ISIS, which already profits from its control of oil resources in eastern Syria.

/Source: NY Times

Georgia carries out first US execution since botched attempt

The US state of Georgia has carried out the first execution in the US since a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma in April.

Marcus Wellons, who raped and killed a 15-year-old in 1989, died by injection of a single drug late on Tuesday.

Shortly afterwards John Winfield was executed in Missouri for two killings.

The men were among three set to die within 24 hours, after nine executions were stayed since one in Oklahoma went wrong seven weeks ago.
/Source: BBC

Gov. Sandoval Says He'll Direct $3.5 Million to Mental Health

Nevada state mental health services would get a $3.5 million boost from tobacco settlement money under a proposal that Gov. Brian Sandoval says he's taking to the administration's Interim Finance Committee on Thursday.
Sandoval said Tuesday he wants the state Department of Health and Human Services to act on five recommendations from his Governor's Behavioral Health and Wellness Council. 

Just under $2 million will go to provide resources to address needs of children in crisis. 
/Source: KTVN

Consumer Prices Rising

Prices on the things you buy have increased 2.1% in the past 12 months. The increases are affecting anything from energy to food. Mark Pingle is a professor of economics at the University of Nevada. He says the economic outlook could be better because of the higher prices, even though they might seem like bad news, right now.

"If your pay is not going up, then inflation is like a tax," Pingle said. "It's hurting you. It's taking away your buying power."

Food costs went up 0.5%, in May. That is the largest jump in nearly three years. Eggs, meat, poultry and fish have increased 1.4%, with fruits and vegetables going up 1.1%. Low beef supply is a result of smaller cattle herds and the drought is having an impact on fruit and vegetable production.

Hearing on Scheduled Reno Firefighter Layoffs Held Tuesday

A hearing between the City of Reno and the firefighters' union was held Tuesday over ongoing scheduled layoffs that start July 1st. The firefighters union is suing the city in an attempt to stop those layoffs from happening.

In Washoe District Court, the judge decided to hold off on a decision until she can review the documents in the case. 

Lawyers for the city argued that the layoffs were necessary after it lost a major federal grant. They say the city council has final jurisdiction over budget allocations and staffing levels. But the firefighters say the money for those positions is there - it would just have to be diverted from other areas. 

The city argues that the budget is tight and the union doesn't have a right to dictate how the city's money is spent. 

The judge says she will have a decision on the case no later than one week from today.
/Source: KTVN

Socialized medicine: British National Health Service is world’s best healthcare system

The NHS has been declared the world’s best healthcare system by an international panel of experts who rated its care superior to countries which spend far more on health.

The same study also castigated healthcare provision in the US as the worst globally. Despite putting the most money into health, America denies care to many patients in need because they do not have health insurance and is also the poorest at saving the lives of people who fall ill, it found.

The report has been produced by the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems. It examined an array of evidence about performance in 11 countries, including detailed data from patients, doctors and the World Health Organisation.

/Source: Raw Story

America prepares to reelect the Congress it loathes

An important reminder from Gallup: Very, very few people think that Congress is doing a good job. An important reminder from us: Nearly everyone in Congress will be reelected anyway.

Gallup looked at several indicators that serve as a guide to how the midterm selection will shake out. Among them, of course, is approval -- the percentage of Americans that think Congress is doing a good job. "The election environment for congressional incumbents in 2014 will be challenging," Gallup's Jeffrey Jones writes, thanks in part to an approval rating for Congress that is at 16 percent, "on pace to be the lowest in a midterm election year since Gallup first measured it in 1974."
/Source: Washington Post


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The Schnooz: 6.18.14
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