California Court Ends State Pesticide Spraying

attachmentBy MCNS Staff

A judge ordered the California Department of Food and Agriculture to cease using chemical pesticides in its statewide program until the agency complies with state environmental laws.

The injunction was issued just over a week ago and is a sweeping victory for 11 public-health, conservation, citizen and food-safety groups as well as the city of Berkeley. The coalition sued the state after unsuccessfully attempting for years to persuade the agency to shift to a sustainable approach to pest control that protects human health and the environment. For more on this environmentalist victory, click here.

Judge Sets Trial Date for Greitens Scandal

Governor Eric Greitens

Governor Eric Greitens

By MCNS Staff

According to local reports, Circuit Judge Rex Burlison set Wednesday, May 14 as the trial date for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ invasion of privacy hearing.  The date ignores St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s plea for a November trial.

Greitens was recently indicted for invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a picture of a woman with whom he was having an affair and saving the photo electronically in a way that it could be shared. The governor has been accused of taking the picture and using it to coerce the woman into silence about their affair.

“This case affects the course of business of the state of Missouri,” Burlison said, according to “And I don’t think there’s a case that affects the people of the state of Missouri more than this one.”

A lawyer for Greitens defended the governor by saying that the alleged photo “did not exist.” First Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele responded by saying, “We do not have it in our possession at this time,” but that authorities intend to retrieve it.

According to local reports, defense attorneys for Greitens said they had wanted a trial as early as April because the governor has a right to a speedy trial.

A letter requesting discovery and including a list of evidence in the invasion of privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

A letter requesting discovery and including a list of evidence in the invasion of privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. reports prosecutors said that city police, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office all declined to investigate the matter for various reasons. Federal agencies declined to comment. A police spokesperson said they would not investigate because no one had reported the crime to police. She added that “the department was not asked then or now to investigate Eric Greitens.”

Local news outlets report Tuesday that the state’s list of evidence includes transcripts of recordings of Greitens’ former lover and her ex-husband, emailed questions and answers from a KMOV-TV interview with the ex-husband, public statements of Greitens, emails between the woman and her ex-husband, recorded statements made by the woman and a photo of her. Lawyers for Greitens stated that the photo named in the evidence list is not the subject of the investigation but rather a headshot of the governor’s ex-lover.

The investigation began in January when allegations surfaced that Greitens had taken pictures of the woman, with whom he was having an affair, when she was either nude or partially undressed. She was allegedly threatened that the photo would be released if she mentioned his name. Greitens has denied threatening the woman and his lawyers deny that the photo was taken.

South Sudan Close to Drought

Drought in South Sudan.

Drought in South Sudan.

By Chuma Kisu

South Sudan is close to another famine, aid officials said on Monday, February 26, 2018. This is after more than four years of civil war and a number of failed ceasefires in the country.

Almost two-thirds of the population will need food aid this year to stave off starvation and malnutrition as aid groups prepare for the “toughest year on record,” members of a working group including South Sudanese and United Nations (UN) officials said.

“The situation is extremely fragile, and we are close to seeing another famine,” Serge Tissot of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in South Sudan said.

“The projections are stark,” he added.  “If we ignore them, we’ll be faced with a growing tragedy.”

A total of 5.3 million people – 48 percent of the population – are already in a “crisis” or “emergency” situation, according to a survey published by the working group.

According to reports, the oil-rich east African nation, which gained independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011, has been torn apart by war since late 2013, when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar clashed.

Since then, more than four million people have been forced to flee their homes, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Machar and Kiir signed a peace deal in August 2015 and formed a unity government that following April. It broke down three months later, and fighting has continued.

According to the UN, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and left more than half of the country’s 12 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

The UN declared a famine in two districts in February of last year, but said that crisis the had started to ease in June 2017.

WV Teachers Strike Victorious

By Free Radicalimages

On Tuesday, West Virginia governor Jim Justice announced he would approve a 5 percent pay increase for all of the state’s school employees and a 3 percent hike for all other state workers. His concession effectively ended a four day teacher strike that closed all West Virginia public schools since Thursday February 22.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee responded to the tentative deal saying “We are taking this deal in good faith.” However it still needs to be approved by the state legislature causing Lee to warn “We reserve the right — we may have to call our people back out again.”

After a “cool down” period on Wednesday, teachers will return to class on Thursday.

The immediate spark that caused the strike occurred on February 21 when Justice approved a more moderate raise of 2 percent followed by 1 percent increases for the following two years. Justice’s legislation also did not address the rising costs of health care for employees which teachers are still very concerned about. The governor announced he would convene a task force to determine health care resolutions but has not made any promises.