Top Stories World 

Battle over legal marijuana: a monumental moment for states’ rights

West Hollywood is painted with rainbow flags. Known as “The Creative City,” this counterculture hub is set in rolling hills, thrumming with thrift stores, vegetarian restaurants, and, since Jan. 1, four dispensaries selling recreational cannabis. The most populous state in the union, with 39 million people, started allowing legal recreational pot sales three days before the Justice Department threatened to step up enforcement of federal prohibition.  As people waiting in a line outside West Hollywood’s MedMen brush off a rainstorm, Iain McDonald, an actor and Lyft driver from Australia, says he’s puzzled…

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Top Stories World 

Trump to play defense in Pennsylvania ahead of special election

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is making his first foray into 2018 elections Thursday with a visit to a Western Pennsylvania congressional district on behalf of the Republican vying to replace former GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned in scandal last October. Though Trump’s event is not officially a political one, it’s an early sign of the stepped-up political involvement the White House has promised GOP officials ahead of November’s midterm elections, where Democrats hope an anti-Trump wave will put them in power on Capitol Hill. Republicans, meanwhile, are taking…

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Science 

RISE OF THE ROBOTS Earth to be plunged into ‘meaningless dystopia’, scientist warns

Dr Subhash Kak, computing expert at Oklahoma University, said people will lose their self-worth as robots gradually steal their jobs. He believes that the US opioid epidemic and the rise of terror groups mark the beginnings of a dystopian reality. Dr Kak said: “There will be massive unemployment. “People want to be useful and work provides meaning, so the world will sink into despair.” Between 400 and 800 million workers across the world could be replaced by machines by 2030, according to a report published by management consultancy firm McKinsey…

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Science 

Science helped cause the opioid crisis – now it must make amends

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock “IF A terrorist organization was killing 175 Americans a day on American soil, what would we do to stop them? We would do anything and everything.” There is no such terror organisation, but the terrifying number is very real; it is the estimated toll from the opioid crisis that has been killing people in the US for the past two decades, and which is now spreading to other countries (see “The doctor who took on big pharma to stem the US opioid epidemic“). Advertisement The…

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Top Stories World 

Left vs. Right: State pols set to battle over voter rights, guns and unions

New year, new fights. As state legislatures across the country prepare to go into session, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are primed to tackle — and clash over — specific solutions to new problems and old troubles that haven’t been dealt with. Progressive legislators are focused on legalizing marijuana and passing gun control, while conservative lawmakers are prioritizing measures dealing with reining in unions and immigration. Here’s a look at the coming wars in U.S. Statehouses. On the left… Workers’ rights: With many states raising their minimum wage…

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NJ doctor allegedly hired hit man to kill wife to protect his drug ring

The determined daughter of murdered New Jersey radio talk show host April Kauffman never had any doubt about who killed her mother. For nearly six years, Kimberly Pack pushed and prodded authorities to investigate her stepfather, Dr. James Kauffman, for the fatal shooting of her mom, who was found dead on May 10, 2012, in her home on the Jersey Shore. Pack’s persistence paid off Tuesday when Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced that James Kauffman had been charged with hiring a hit man and with running an illegal…

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Science 

Doctor Had Wife Killed to Keep Her Quiet About Opioid Drug Ring, Police Say

A New Jersey doctor running an illegal prescription opioid drug ring with a motorcycle gang had a member hire someone to kill his wife after she threatened to expose the scheme while trying to force him to agree to a divorce, authorities said Tuesday. James Kauffman and a member of the Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Gang were charged in the May 2012 shooting death of radio host April Kauffman. Another six people connected to the gang were charged with racketeering in the drug ring, which prosecutors said continued until last summer,…

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Clinic treats chronic pain without opioids

More than 250 million opioid pain killer prescriptions are written per year, on average — enough to give every American their own bottle of pills. Marti Krow-Lucal, 67, was one of the estimated 2 million Americans addicted to or abusing opioids. She desperately wanted to get off methadone. She had been prescribed the medications to manage pain after developing neuropathy — a condition where damaged nerves cause weakness, numbness and pain in the hands and feet — as a side effect of chemotherapy. A year later she started experiencing debilitating…

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Science 

The Government Could Shut Down in Two Weeks. Here's Why It Would Be Disastrous for Trump

During a fight over a spending bill last year, President Donald Trump tweeted that the federal government needed “a good shutdown” to force Democrats to cooperate. But as Congress steams toward a Jan. 19 deadline to prevent a government shutdown in 2018, there’s strong evidence from history that there is no such thing as a “good shutdown” for the White House. In fact, anyone sitting in the Oval Office during a government shutdown tends to fare poorly when their party faces voters next during national elections, especially when they are…

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Science 

'Right Now It's Chaotic.' Jeff Sessions' Marijuana Move Is Jeopardizing the Pot Industry

Dispensary owners and cannabis growers may suddenly be sleeping more restlessly. Though setting up a pot shop has always been an uncertain business, memos issued by the Department of Justice under President Obama gave people in the industry some assurance that if they were abiding by state laws, they were at small risk of federal prosecution. But on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded those memos, allowing federal prosecutors to enforce federal marijuana laws more aggressively and sending ripples of unease throughout the burgeoning industry. “A lot of folks in…

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