Boy Scouts host anti-abuse forum
Even as its past policies on sex-abuse prevention fuel controversy, the Boy Scouts of America is hosting an unprecedented closed-door symposium today with other national youth organizations, hoping to share strategies to combat future abuse.
The 10 participating groups, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters, will hear presentations from some of the nation’s top experts on child sex-abuse prevention. They also will discuss the sensitive topic of how uncorroborated information about potentially threatening adult volunteers might be shared among youth organizations.
Planning for the one-day session in Atlanta began late last year.
Justice: OK with review of health law
The Obama administration told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it does not object to reopening a Christian college’s challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
In court papers, the Justice Department said it does not oppose allowing a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to consider the claim by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that Obama’s health care law violates the school’s religious freedoms.
A federal district judge rejected Liberty’s claims, and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lawsuit was premature and never dealt with the substance of the school’s arguments. The Supreme Court upheld the health care law in June in a ruling that also said the appeals court was wrong not to decide the issues.
Cyclone hits India
A tropical storm slammed into southern India, bringing heavy rain and a storm surge that could flood low-lying areas and displacing more than 100,000 people.
Just before the storm made landfall Wednesday, an oil tanker with 37 crew ran aground off Chennai. One of its lifeboats capsized in the choppy waters, and one crew member drowned, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. Coast guard officers were searching for the lifeboat’s six other occupants.
Wealthy, shadowy groups fuel race
Billionaires, anonymous donors and shadowy outside groups funneled enormous amounts of money into this year’s federal elections, as the cost of the presidential campaign surged past $2 billion and is expected to set a record. Despite grumbling among watchdog groups and even candidates themselves, don’t expect serious changes any time soon.
After a series of high-profile federal-court rulings, the U.S. government’s newly relaxed campaign-finance system allowed for unlimited contributions from corporations, labor groups and others; television advertisements from nonprofit groups that concealed who paid for them and the proliferation of at least 773 super political action committees.
Study: Legal pot would hurt cartels
A study released Wednesday by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that proposals to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent.
Opponents questioned some of the study’s assumptions, saying the proposals could also offer new opportunities for cartels to operate inside the U.S. and replace any profit lost to a drop in international smuggling.