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US Lawmakers Push To Take Legal Immunity And Military Weapons Away From Cops

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(TMU) – In response to the massive protests that have developed around the United States in recent weeks, US lawmakers are now pushing for monumental police reforms that seek to limit legal protections for violent cops, and strip police departments of their military equipment. The measures are being introduced or supported by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

US Representative Justin Amash, a long-time conservative who has been a vocal critic of Trump and a friend of the Libertarian party has gained bipartisan support for his “Ending Qualified Immunity Act,” which hopes to hold police accountable for the crimes they commit on duty and would finally allow for civil lawsuits against police.

“The brutal killing of George Floyd is merely the latest in a long line of incidents of egregious police misconduct. This pattern continues because police are legally, politically and culturally insulated … That must change so that these incidents stop happening,” Amash said in a letter to congress, according to the NY Times.

As National Guard and SWAT teams have been deployed to protests throughout the country, Senator and former presidential candidate Cory Booker introduced a list of sweeping reforms to police departments nationwide, which would include stripping them of their military weapons and gear.

Booker’s bill would also push for an end to qualified immunity for police, and the creation of a national police misconduct registry, and a ban on the use of chokeholds for police.

“Cities are literally on fire with the pain and anguish wrought by the violence visited upon black and brown bodies. There’s no one singular policy change that will fix this issue tomorrow. We need an entire set of holistic reforms to improve police training and practices, and ensure greater accountability and transparency,” Booker said.

Despite Donald Trump’s harsh words for the protesters, his usually supportive Republican cohorts have been open to discussing police reform. Even Senator Mitch McConnell called the death of George Floyd unacceptable and recognized the anger that people are feeling was legitimate.

“In no world whatsoever should arresting a man for an alleged minor infraction involve a police officer putting his knee on the man’s neck for nine minutes while he cries out ‘I can’t breathe’ and then goes silent. Our nation cannot deafen itself to the anger, the pain and the frustration of black Americans. Our nation needs to hear this,” McConnell said.

Similar legislation is being proposed by numerous other lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, who said that police having military gear only serves to further escalate tensions between the police and the people.

“It is clear that many police departments are being outfitted as if they are going to war, and it is not working in terms of maintaining the peace,” Schatz said.

Representative Ruben Gallego, a former Marine, agreed that military weapons are not needed to police communities in the United States.

“As a combat veteran and proud Marine, very little of my equipment or training was relevant to policing Phoenix or other American communities. Our neighborhoods aren’t war zones,” Gallego said.

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Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever

Elias Marat

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Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.

Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.

In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.

At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.

“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.

“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”

The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.

Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.

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Formerly Homeless Man Enjoys New Life In First 3D-Printed Home In US

Elias Marat

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A formerly homeless man is now enjoying his advanced years in a comfortable, entirely 3D-printed tiny home – the very first of its kind in the entire U.S.

Tim Shea, 70, has struggled for much of his life with substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness.

However, the previously unhoused man is now the first person to live in a 3D-printed tiny home, which is now being touted as a model of engineering and sustainability, reports Green Matters.

The 400-square-foot 3D-printed tiny home was printed by nonprofit New Story and construction technology company ICON in the Austin, Texas, area in March 2018 before Shea moved into the location in September.

In 2019, New Story and ICON have also printed a similar community of tiny homes in Mexico, hoping to make good on the use of the technology as a tool to provide homes to the extremely poor.

According to Shea, his new domicile has made all the difference in the world.

“When I found out I’d be the first person in America to move into a 3D-printed home, I thought it was pretty awesome,” Shea told NY Post. “The very people I used to run away from, I’m running to. If you’ve been on both sides of the fence, you know some people just need a little encouragement and support.”

From start to finish, the process of printing and assembling these homes takes only 48 hours and relies on only 70 to 80 percent of the raw building material that conventional housing requires.

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Company Will Pay $2,400 to Those Willing to Go On a ‘Digital Detox’ for 24 Hours

Elias Marat

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The ongoing pandemic has left many of us staring at a screen for far too long, be it a television screen, smartphone, or computer monitor.

However, one company is seeking to find out whether we can make it through a full day without looking at a screen – and volunteers could receive a reward of $2,400 if they accept the challenge.

Reviews.org is hosting a new “24-Hour Digital Detox Challenge” that will allow participants to take the ultimate test of their ability to abstain from staring into the black mirror and report back the results.

“Are you burnt out from doom scrolling on your phone, re-watching old sitcoms, and trying to maintain your sanity during the pandemic?” the Salt Lake City, Utah-based company recently announced. “Have you always wanted to win reality competitions like American Ninja Warrior, but you’ve been too busy trying to beat Mario Kart and Mortal Kombat instead?”

The challenge is open to anyone 18 or older who is eligible to work in the United States, and the participants will be announced on March 29 on the company’s YouTube channel.

Upon being chosen, participants will be able to accept or decline the challenge after two weeks before picking a day that fits into their schedule. They can spend their day however they please, but they must agree to abstain for a full 24 hours from mobile devices, gaming devices, smartwatches, TVs, computers and other wearables as well as smart home devices. The digital display of your alarm clock, microwave, or other home appliances won’t count.

“Detox challengers” will also receive a safe to store their devices in, as well as a $200 gift card to purchase a tech-free survival kit that can consist of writing stationery, books, board games and other decidedly analog devices.

“We have a feeling someone out there needs a break,” the company wrote in its announcement, noting that since the start of the pandemic people have been staring at screens at an unprecedented rate. 

Those interested can fill out a short application for the challenge here, but do it quickly! Applications close on March 26. 

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