Giving loved ones an out of this world final send-off could make good financial sense if a proposed bill in Virginia passes the state legislature. The proposed legislation would give an up to $2,500 per year income tax deductions to anyone who opts to have their cremated remains shot into space.
Space burials first launched in 1997 with famous folks like Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry choosing the orbital departure. Virginia gained interest in the procedure after NASA announced plans to shutter the Shuttle program, leaving Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, VA without much to do.
If the tax incentive sounds enticing, keep in mind that a space burial doesn’t come cheap, ranging in cost from $1000 to $45,000.
Official report in Mark Kennedy case rejected a police view that a prosecutor was friendly to environmentalists
Senior prosecutor Ian Cunningham bore the brunt of the blame in last week's report by Sir Christopher Rose into the Ratcliffe-on-Soar miscarriage of justice. As Rose says, Cunningham "as the prosecutor and reviewing lawyer must bear the primary responsibility for non-disclosure to the defence".
However there's an intriguing paragraph in his report. At the outset of the prosecution, police seemed to have a particular view of the CPS lawyer. Notes of a meeting between the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in April 2009 indicate that the police viewed Cunningham as "danger - environmentally friendly". This seems to indicate that the police saw Cunningham as being in some way friendly to environmentalists and therefore they should be careful in their dealings with him.
Rose clearly concluded that he could not find any evidence for the police's view. He took a very dim view of all this and gave the police a mild ticking-off. "I do not know for how long or in the minds of which police officers that perception of Mr Cunningham persisted. But it was an unfortunate starting point to a relationship which required, if the interests of justice were to be served, complete mutual trust between the police and the CPS..."
Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has taken a fair amount of flak for refusing to set up a wide-ranging inquiry to establish if there are more cases in which vital evidence has been withheld from trials of protesters. See this for instance for a trenchant view from one activist.
Cunningham is now facing a disciplinary inquiry. Starmer has decided that this disciplinary inquiry should only be limited to the Ratcliffe case.
Back in the summer we reported that Cunningham was also accused of failing to disclose evidence in two other cases, one concerning fraud, the other drugs. The background to those two cases can be found here. Starmer does not believe that extending the disciplinary inquiry to scrutinise Cunningham's conduct in those other two cases would be justified or necessary.
� Is it a hiccup or a long-term bear market for marriage? A new report shows that the share of American adults who are married dropped to a record low in 2009-2010 ? to just a smidge over half of population 18 and older.
More than 30,000 women have had breast implants filled with industrial silicone instead of medical-grade fillers
In a crowd of angry women shouting "We want justice!" outside the French health ministry, an ashen-faced factory worker hugged her anorak around her and fought back tears. Too shy to give her name, she didn't fit the stereotype too often slapped on the victims of France's biggest plastic-surgery scandal in decades. Tens of thousands of women complain that their lives are a living hell after being given faulty cheap implants made not from medical silicone but industrial silicone normally used for computer parts or the electronics industry.
"I've always suffered from depression and mental-health problems linked to body image," said the 48-year-old from Normandy. "I earn ?1,000 [�840] a month in a factory. I couldn't afford breast surgery until my late 40s. But after the implants I felt better, I came off the antidepressants, I was able to face work. Then I find out the implants are poison. The tests say they're still in place but I'm having them removed anyway. I'm terrified they'll rupture or explode at any moment.
"I try to sleep on my back, if I sleep at all. Some people try to avoid extreme physical exercise for fear of damaging the implants, but I do hard labour on a factory line.
"I go to bed feeling bad, I wake up feeling bad. It's like living with a ticking bomb inside you."
Over the past 10 years more than 30,000 women in France, and thousands of others in countries including Spain and the UK, had breast augmentation with what have turned out to be potentially defective implants in what is now described as a cosmetic surgery horror story. The scandal has sent panic through France's vast plastic surgery industry.
The company Poly Implant Prosthesis (PIP), based in the south of France, was one of the world's leaders in silicone implant production until last year when it was found to have been cutting corners and saving an estimated ?1bn (�840m) a year by using industrial silicone instead of medical-grade fillers in their breast implants. The casing around the filling was also faulty and prone to rupture or leakage. The company has closed and more than 2,000 women have filed legal complaints. A judicial investigation has begun for involuntary homicide over a woman who died from cancer.
The French government recently identified four known cases of cancer in women who have had the implants, two of whom have died, although they have not established a link between the implants and cancer.
But on Wednesday French women who had PIP implants staged their first street demonstration outside the French health ministry, saying the state had not done enough. They believe the government should pay for all implant removals. "We're sick of being dismissed as bimbos," said one woman in the crowd who had PIP implants after breast removal from cancer. Many said they felt dismissed as vain or had themselves to blame. Most were on low incomes, had taken out loans for the initial surgery and were struggling to pay for removals.
"There has been a wave of panic," said Alexandra Blachere, an ex-waitress from eastern France, who had breast augmentation following three pregnancies. She now heads an association for women with faulty implants.
Sylvie, 57, who once ran a children's clothing business outside Paris, said: "The implant had leaked to such an extent I had four swellings hanging from my armpits which were full of silicone gel, and had to be drained." She had PIP implants for seven years after reconstruction surgery following breast cancer. "Last year I found out the implants were defective but I was having chemotherapy at the time so I couldn't have them removed immediately. It's as if a foreign element is poisoning your body as well as the cancer. If you think about it too much, you'd suffocate. You have to have a mentality of steel to survive."
"I breastfed for eight months with these implants in place ? at what risk to my child?" asked Audrey, 32, a childminder from the C�te d'Azur. She said: "Flat-chested, I never felt like a woman. After the implants, I felt transformed. When I saw the TV reports of faulty implants, I went to have them removed. Tests had shown mine had not ruptured or leaked, but during surgery the doctor found they were in fact leaking."
France's cosmetics and plastic surgery industry is among the biggest in Europe. Between 400,000 and 500,000 women in France have breast implants.
An estimated 21,000 breast augmentations are carried out each year ? the most popular operation after liposuction and anti-wrinkle procedures. A study in 2009 found that although French women are the slimmest in western Europe, they also have the biggest complexes about their bodies and the toughest standards on weight.
Surgeons say the number of breast operations has fallen since the scandal. The French authorities, like the British, say that women with the PIP implants should be tested regularly for ruptures or leakages.
This year the UK healthcare regulator said there was no evidence of potential for cancer or chemical toxicity from the filling in the PIP implants. But some French doctors now say that even non-ruptured implants should be removed as a precaution.
Dominique Poitou, who worked for a car-hire firm outside Paris, was about to have her one implant removed from a breast reconstructed after cancer surgery. "It's very hard to rebuild my life. We feel judged, we feel that we're not taken seriously because it's linked to cosmetic surgery. That's unfair. This scandal is criminal. You wouldn't implant this type of material into animals, let alone women."
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will virtually ban phosphates in dishwasher and laundry soap to curb the pollution of rivers, lakes and seas by algae from 2013, EU lawmakers decided on Wednesday.
While SOPA supporters are running around pretending that the minor fixes that Lamar Smith has proposed have made the bill perfectly acceptable, lots of people who understand this stuff are still pointing out that the bill is a horrific abomination that will have serious negative consequences. We'd already mentioned that Wikipedia was considering a blackout to protest SOPA. Now, Wikimedia's General Counsel, Geoff Brigham, has written a thorough, detailed, and thoughtful explanation for why SOPA is still terrible. There's a lot more at the link, but a few points:
I’ve been asked for a legal opinion. And I will tell you, in my view, the new version of SOPA remains a serious threat to freedom of expression on the Internet.
The new version continues to undermine the DMCA and federal jurisprudence that have promoted the Internet as well as cooperation between copyright holders and service providers. In doing so, SOPA creates a regime where the first step is federal litigation to block an entire site wholesale: it is a far cry from a less costly legal notice under the DMCA protocol to selectively take down specified infringing material. The crime is the link, not the copyright violation. The cost is litigation, not a simple notice.
The expenses of such litigation could well force non-profit or low-budget sites, such as those in our free knowledge movement, to simply give up on contesting orders to remove their links. (Secs. 102(c)(3); 103(c)(2)) The international sites under attack may not have the resources to challenge extra-territorial judicial proceedings in the United States, even if the charges are false.
Although rendering it discretionary (Secs.102(c)(2)(A-E); 103(c)(2)(A-B)), the new bill would still allow for serious security risks to our communications and national infrastructure. The bill no longer mandates DNS blocking but still allows it as an option. As Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge, explained: “The amendment continues to encourage DNS blocking and filtering, which should be concerning for Internet security exp