Headlines from around the world: 2/10/14

As of Tuesday February 4, the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska received enough valid signatures to place a measure on a ballot before voters. If the initiative passes, Alaska would be the third state to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana behind Colorado and Washington. According to a poll by Public Policy Voting, 55% of registered voters in Alaska support the measure. The measure will also call for a $50 per ounce excise tax on marijuana coming from cultivation facilities and stores.

The Kentucky Senate passed measure Senate Bill 16 which would allow for students in high school to use computer programming courses to satisfy foreign language requirements to pass high school. Supporters of the bill say it will help prepare students for well-paying jobs in the computer industry and point to a figure saying that less than 2.4% of students graduating from college in the nation are graduating with a degree in computer science, despite high national demand.

After one of the longest droughts in decades, the Cantareira water system, which supplies 10 million people in the Campinas region of Brazil, is at less than a quarter of its capacity. If there is no rain, then the water system is projected to run dry in approximately 40 days. A spokesperson from Brazil’s largest water utility, Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, claims that once it falls below 20 percent, there may be difficulties transferring waters between reservoirs.

Following a series of complaints about the conditions in Sochi before the 2014 Winter Olympics, a deputy prime minister in Russia claimed that Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage the event and cited video coming from surveillance cameras that either are able to see into or are in the showers of assigned hotel rooms. A spokesperson for deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak later denied claims that there are any surveillance cameras in either hotel rooms or bathrooms.

The National Energy Authority in Iceland has unveiled the world’s first magma-based geothermal energy system in Krafla, Iceland. According to a document by Iceland Deep Drilling Project, “the available power was sufficient to generate up to 36 megawatts electricity, compared to the installed electrical capacity of 60 megawatts in the Krafla power plant”. This project breaks the world record for geothermal heat and power.

The Guardian, the UK newspaper which reported on the Edward Snowden leaks, reveals that the British government threatened to jail editor Alan Rusbridger and close the paper over reporting the Snowden leaks. On July 20 of 2013, the government sent two agents to oversee the destruction of memory cards and hard drives containing the encrypted files sent by Edward Snowden. Footage detailing the destruction was released by The Guardian on Friday, February 7. Furthermore, David Miranda, a partner of the journalist who published the leaked information, is currently being investigated under espionage charges following an illegal detention at Heathrow Airport and the seizure of personal items to check for encrypted data.

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