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Illegal but coming soon: Drones meet journalism at Berkeley TechRaking

As drone technology accelerates, so too does the public's exposure to the machines. They draw praise and pointed criticism for their use in military operations. They've been employed to deliver coffee and drop contraband over prison walls. In the coming years, they just might replace your postman. They are, and will continue to be, a steady presence in the news industry. Continue Reading

Inmate attempts suicide at Southern State Correctional Facility, officials say

The Defender General's Office and the Vermont State Police are investigating an attempted suicide by an inmate at Southern State Correctional Facility last week, officials said Monday. Patrick Fennessey, 32, an inmate at the Vermont state prison in Springfield, attempted to hang himself Friday, Department of Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito confirmed by email. Fennessey is receiving treatment at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Pallito confirmed. Pallito said he could not comment on Fennessey's condition, but did confirm as of Monday that Fennessey was alive. There will be an investigation by the Vermont State Police, which Pallito noted is standard. Continue Reading

Here’s What the Nepalese Earthquake Devastation Looks Like From a Drone

Over the weekend, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks wiped out buildings, infrastructure, and historic sites in Nepal, killing more than 4,000 people, injuring thousands more, and leaving tens of thousands homeless. As fatalities continue to rise after the worst earthquake to hit the country in more than 80 years, the Wall Street Journal reports that the disaster could cost the country $5 billion to rebuild over the next five years. So far, rescue teams have struggled to reach remote villages, and news orgs are having a hard time getting reporters into the country. This amateur aerial drone footage, zooming in and out above the devastation in Kathmandu, shows why:

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Method factory opens in Pullman

The new Method soap plant marks its official grand opening Tuesday in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood. The community has been on an economic climb in the past few years. This is the latest boost for the once-thriving manufacturing hub on the city's far South Side.Earlier this year, President Barack Obama paid a visit to Pullman to designate the neighborhood's factory district a national monument.“This site is at the heart of what would become America's labor movement. And as a consequence what would become America's middle class,” the President said before an audience in February at Pullman.Pullman's history started in the late 1800s when George Pullman founded a community centered around the manufacturing of luxury sleeping railcars. People worked at the factory and lived in nearby row houses constructed by Pullman. Continue Reading

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Students Take The Reins

Metropolitan Business Academy ninth-graders gave teachers tips on how to be more inclusive of students of all genders—such as including students who don't identify as male or female, and avoiding seating or grouping students based on gender. Continue Reading

U.S. Education Secretary Duncan to visit Minneapolis and North St. Paul

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit classrooms in Minneapolis and North St. Paul Tuesday to support early education funding.He'll be with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges at an 8:50 a.m. roundtable discussion with leaders of the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis. Organizers say he'll hear about projects underway to improve education, housing, health care and workforce development.Joining Duncan later at Richardson Elementary School in North St. Paul will be Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and others, who will talk about their belief in the benefits of early learning.Dayton is pushing state legislators for more money for early learning, including free, voluntary pre-kindergarten programs for all four-year-olds, continued funding and expansion eligibility for early learning scholarships and elimination of the waiting list for Head Start programs.The governor's plans, as outlined by his office:Universal Pre-Kindergarten – Dayton has proposed investing $343 million in universal pre-kindergarten in Minnesota. If passed, the proposal would allow an estimated 47,300 students to attend preschool in the program's first year of operation. Continue Reading

Direct Quote: Words on a Stage

Ebony Stewart is a 32-year-old poet, performer and three-time Austin Neo Soul Poetry Slam Champion. Recently she's begun performing fewer slam poetry events in order to concentrate on advancing her career touring universities and organizations across the United States, where she discusses sexual health, gender and body-image issues through performance and workshops. “When my parents were going through their divorce, it was a very difficult time and I wanted to write to get away from everything. So I was journaling and writing and jotting down thoughts, just to get it out. I was 8. Continue Reading

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America Officially Lost the Vietnam War 40 Years Ago This Week

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. If our wars in the Greater Middle East ever end, it's a pretty safe bet that they will end badly—and it won't be the first time. The "fall of Saigon" in 1975 was the quintessential bitter end to a war. Oddly enough, however, we've since found ways to reimagine that denouement which miraculously transformed a failed and brutal war of American aggression into a tragic humanitarian rescue mission. Our most popular Vietnam end-stories bury the long, ghastly history that preceded the "fall," while managing to absolve us of our primary responsibility for creating the disaster. Continue Reading

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Unhappy ‘Birthday Party’ for Education Reform

M. Scott Carter
M. Scott Carter reports on politics, legislation and other issues from the State Capitol. House Democrats held a birthday party and a press conference on Monday. There were lots of people and even a cake. But it was a pretty somber affair. House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City. Continue Reading

$12. An Angry Ex

The police reported two separate stabbings—one involving money, the other an ex-boyfriend. Continue Reading

This Week: Saving Children from the Gold Mine

Jon Sawyer

Small-scale gold mines in the Philippines and elsewhere in the developing world often rely on the labor of children. These illegal operations use child labor to dig the ore from shafts and pits, to pan in streams or rivers and to haul sacks of ore that can weigh up to 60 pounds. Children are also routinely exposed to mercury and cyanide used to extract the gold from the ore. Pulitzer Center grantee Larry C. Price has been documenting the working conditions of these children in a series of reports for the PBS NewsHour and other outlets, including this remarkable photo essay on the NewsHour website and a podcast produced by the Pulitzer Center's Quinn Libson. At no small risk to himself, Larry has focused on a particularly dangerous form of underwater extraction known as compressor mining. Continue Reading