Headlines from around the world: 3/24/14

Towns across the United States are opposing the increasing militarization of local police forces. Grants from the Department of Homeland Security have been funding the purchase of heavily fortified vehicles for use by police forces. Peter Kraska, a professor in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, links the antipathy towards police militarization to revelations about the extent of government spying programs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law formalizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. This is not being recognized by Ukraine, the EU, or other members of the G8 nations. In response to this move by Putin, the EU and the US have expanded sanctions against Russian officials, stock prices in Moscow have fallen, two credit agencies have downgraded Russia’s outlook to negative, and Visa and Mastercard have ceased providing services to SMP Bank and Bank Rossiya.

A federal judge has ordered the FBI to justify shielding information relating to an alleged FBI plot to assassinate leaders of the ‘Occupy’ movement. Information about the plot surfaced from a civil-rights legal organization making a Freedom of Information Act request earlier in the year. The FBI is claiming it has this right on the basis that the law gives them the ability to shield information compiled for law enforcement purposes if disclosure could cause harm or jeopardize the investigation.

Online learning platform Khan Academy is partnering with College Board, the developer and administrator of standardized tests such as the SAT and AP tests, to help lessen the income barriers to higher education. Khan Academy will receive exclusive access to actual questions to develop a free test preparation service.

The Netherlands has become the first country to legalize no-carrier SIM cards. Mobile phone users in the Netherlands no longer have to be tied to a particular carrier for their cell service or swap out SIM cards to change service or travel overseas. This comes after an announcement of the European Union considering a ban on roaming charges between the member countries of the European Union.

Minnesota-based brewing company Lakemaid has developed a drone based beer delivery system. The owners of Lakemaid decided to create an aerial unmanned delivery service after watching the “60 Minutes” special on Amazon’s plans to have a same-day delivery service through the same method. The first delivery was a successfully delivered 12-pack of their winter lager to a nearby ice fishing shack. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued the brewery a cease and desist order as this is in violation of regulation relating to unmanned drones.

MtGox, the former largest BitCoin exchange in the world, has announced it has found 200,000 lost BitCoins in an older format wallet file, worth approximately $116M. This comes after the theft of what was thought to be 850000 BitCoins by hackers earlier in February. The discovery accounts for 7% of all of the world’s BitCoins.

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