citations
July 21, 2014
Screengrab/Marionstar.com

After serving in Iraq, Army National Guard veteran Darin Welker came home to West Lafayette, Ohio with a back injury and PTSD. He underwent surgery in 2012, but the physical therapy recommended by his surgeon was not approved by the VA. Willing to give anything a try, Welker turned to ducks for both physical and mental therapy, and to his surprise, it worked.

Today, Welker owns 14 ducks, and has been cited with a minor misdemeanor; in 2010, a law was adopted that states no chickens, turkeys, ducks, or live poultry can live in his village. Welker — who has a letter from the Mental Health Department of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs saying he needs to keep the ducks — says it's hard to think about not having them: "[The situation] is aggravating in a lot of ways."

The ducks help him both physically and mentally, he said. He enjoys feeding them, spending time with them, and watching as the ducks interact. Welker is hopeful the law can be changed, like it was last year for a woman with spina bifida who owns a therapy pot-bellied pig.

Welker's hearing is set for Wednesday, and he said he will share with the court just how much the ducks have helped him with his physical and emotionally well-being.

This just in
January 29, 2015
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The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight ran over two men in a parking lot on Thursday afternoon, killing one of them, after a confrontation on the set of the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. They are investigating the hit-and-run as a homicide, and Knight's lawyer, James Blatt, tells NBC News that his client is making arrangement to surrender after what he calls the "tragic accident."

L.A. Sheriff's Capt. John Corina told reporters Thursday night that after fighting with two crew members on the set, Knight followed them to Tam's Burgers 20 minutes later, ran over them in the parking lot, then backed over them again before driving away. Knight co-founded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre in 1991, and has a history of battery and hitting people with cars, the Los Angeles Times reports.

the gift of life
January 29, 2015
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A new analysis has determined that organs donated in the United States have added more than 2 million years to the lives of recipients.

Researchers looked at data collected between Sept. 1, 1987, and Dec. 31, 2012, and found that 533,329 people received a donated organ (including kidneys, hearts, livers, and intestines), while 579,506 on the waiting list did not. After comparing the outcomes for patients in both groups, they determined that 2,270,859 extra years were added — a "stellar accomplishment," the study authors said. That number will continue to increase as transplant recipients remain living.

The team determined that heart transplants were the most successful, giving patients an extra 4.9 years on average, while kidney recipients averaged 4.4 extra years and liver recipients 4.3 extra years. There is some bad news: Only 48 percent of patients who make it to the waiting list get new organs, and "the critical shortage of donors continues to hamper this field," the researchers wrote. They would like more potential donors to realize they have "tremendous potential to do even more good for humankind in the future."

that's some deep meditation
January 29, 2015

After 200 years of peace and solitude, the mummified remains of a meditating Buddhist monk have been found in Mongolia.

The ash-colored man was found in the lotus position with no visible decay, the New York Daily News reports, and early estimates say he could be at least two centuries old. The remains, which were found covered in cattle skin at an undisclosed location in the Songinokhairkhan province, have been taken to the Ulaanbataar National Center of Forensic Expertise for more study.

blame canada
January 29, 2015
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For Joel Ifergan, seven seconds might as well be an eternity.

The Canadian man purchased two tickets for the lottery in 2008, and one printed out seven seconds after the cutoff time. That one had the winning numbers for the $27 million jackpot, and Ifergan said that since he purchased the ticket before the deadline, he was entitled to his portion of the money. He sued Quebec's lottery, and his case was rejected in provincial courts, the BBC reports.

On Thursday, Canada's Supreme Court also said it would not hear his case, leaving Ifergan out of options. He's said to have spent $100,000 in legal fees, and still stands by his assertion that Quebec's slow machines are to blame for his status as a non-millionaire. "I'm really disappointed in the decision, and it's not because it's just about the money," Ifergan told CTV News. "Had those tickets been bought anywhere else in Canada, I would have been a millionaire seven years ago."

Foreign affairs
January 29, 2015
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In Israel, four women have won their suit against the city of Beit Shemesh, which would not take down signs calling for women to wear "modest" clothing on the streets.

The signs are illegal, but this is the first time a court has ruled against one, The Guardian reports. Judge David Gidoni said the signs were "hurtful, degrading, and discriminatory," and "delivered a mortal blow to the rights of women in the city." The municipality must pay each woman 15,000 shekels, or $3,813. The city says that the signs were put up without permission, but they are afraid violence will break out if they remove them.

The population of Beit Shemesh is 45 percent ultra-Orthodox Jewish, and signs call for women to stay out of certain buildings and walk on the other side of the street. One billboard stated it was "forbidden to walk on our streets in immodest dress, including slutty clothing worn in a religious style." Plaintiff Miriam Zussman said she has been spit on and called names while wearing skirts below the knee, long-sleeved shirts, and covered hair. "It is quite shocking," she told The Guardian.

placebo effect
January 29, 2015
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The placebo effect is well known, but researchers from the University of Cincinnati decided to test the theory that patients would respond better to a placebo that they thought had an enormous price tag.

A meta-analysis found that placebos used in clinical trials of Parkinson's treatments improved symptoms by an average of 16 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports, and the University of Cincinnati team decided to study 12 patients with "moderately advanced" Parkinson's in a clinical trial of "a new injectable dopamine agonist." With Parkinson's, patients lose brain cells that make dopamine, something this drug could combat.

The participants were told that they were taking two versions of experimental drugs that worked the same but were made differently, with one costing 15 times more than the other. They were actually given the same exact saline solution. The results showed that both versions of the placebo improved motor function compared with a base line test, but the subjects who took the $1,500 dose had an improvement that was 9 percent greater than the $100-per-dose placebo. "Patients' expectations have an important role in the efficacy of medical therapies," the researchers wrote. The results were published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.

greek life
January 29, 2015
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University of Virginia sorority sisters were ordered by their national chapters to stay away from fraternity parties this weekend, The Washington Post reports. The mandate comes after a now-discredited Rolling Stone article on sexual assault in Greek life prompted a close look the school's safety and culture.

Saturday is fraternity Bid Night. Different sorority chapters told members they'd risk suspension, fines, and other penalties for attending parties that night. Some chapters were told to avoid fraternity gatherings in general, not just Bid Night parties.

An online petition against the mandate started earlier this week read:

Instead of addressing rape and sexual assault at UVa, this mandate perpetuates the idea that women are inferior, sexual objects. It is degrading to Greek women, as it appears that the [National Panhellenic Conference] views us as defenseless and UVa's new fraternal policies as invalid. Allowing the NPC to prevent us from celebrating (what used to be) a tight-knit community, sends the message that we are weak. [Change.org]

Some sororities are planning mandatory in-house retreats Saturday to avoid violating the rule, The Post reports.

This just in
January 29, 2015

In simultaneous attacks on Thursday, militants hit more than a dozen army and police targets in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 25 soldiers and one policeman and wounding more than 60.

At least one car bomb went off outside a military base at the same time mortars were fired, bringing down buildings and burying soldiers underneath the debris, The Associated Press reports. The attacks took place in the Northern Sinai provincial capital el-Arish, the town of Sheik Zuwayid, and the town of Rafah, bordering Gaza. An Army spokesman blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, but the Islamic State affiliate in Egypt took responsibility on Twitter, the SITE Intelligence Group reports.

uber drama
January 29, 2015
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A New Delhi woman who said she was raped by an Uber driver filed a U.S. federal lawsuit against the car service Thursday, Reuters reports.

The woman, who is not named, called Uber "the modern day equivalent of electronic hitchhiking," in the lawsuit. "Buyer beware — we all know how those horror movies end."

In the lawsuit, the woman asks for an overhaul of the company's safety practices and for unspecified damages.

India is Uber's largest international market, going by cities covered, according to Reuters. India banned the San Francisco company from operating last month after allegations and arrest of the driver, but Uber restarted services there last week.

NYPD
January 29, 2015
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The New York Police Department is creating an anti-terror strike force, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Thursday. The 350-cop unit will focus on "disorder control and counterterrorism protection capabilities," he said.

The squad, which is expected to recieve funds from New York City as well as federal Homeland Security grants, will be trained in high-tech weaponry. They'll handle a variety of situations, like protests, Charlie Hebdo-esque terrorist attacks, and lone-wolf attacks, CBS New York reports.

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