Monday, July 16th, 2018 | Author:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, opened the Canadian seal hunt amid protests by animal rights groups, at a time when bans on seal product imports are becoming more prevalent internationally.

Seal hunters along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are allowed to catch a maximum of 270,000 Harp Seal pups from a total estimated population of 5.5 million. 8,200 is the allowable catch of Hooded seals from an estimated population of 600,000, and seal hunters may catch 50,000 grey seals from an approximate population of 300,000.

The Harp seal pups may be killed as soon as they have molted their white pelts, which occurs 10 to 21 days after birth.

It is reported that Russia has shut down the seal hunt on its shores. The United States, Netherlands, and Belgium ban the import of seal products. The European Parliament committee has endorsed a ban on seal product imports by the 27 European Union (EU) member states, in the form of a proposed bill that would still allow the Canadian Inuit to trade in seal products for first nation cultural purposes. All members of the EU must approve the bill for it to become law.

“While we are extremely disappointed that the European Parliament has called for a ban of the trade of seal products, our position remains that any ban on a humanely conducted hunt, such as Canada’s, is completely without merit. We will continue to explore all legal and diplomatic options and we will exercise our rights to their fullest extent under international trade laws if and when it becomes necessary and appropriate.”

“Sealing is a significant source of income in many small, isolated coastal communities throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North, and creates critical employment opportunities for processing plants, as well as fuel, food and equipment suppliers in coastal communities,” said Minister Shea.

“Our government will continue to defend the rights of Canadian sealers to provide a livelihood for their families through our humane, responsible and sustainable hunt,” she said. “It represents as much as 35 per cent of a sealer’s annual income and is important for thousands of families at a time of year when other fishing options are limited at best.”

The first area to open up to the seal hunt was the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where 30 percent of the catch is allowed.

Sixteen observer permits have been issued. “The majority of the observers are people who protest against the seal hunt, but there are journalists and other observers as well. We try to make sure there’s an even proportion of sealing activity and observer activity,” Mr. Jenkins, Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman said. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is going to observe and record the commercial seal hunt.

“It’s devastating to be here, to know the commercial seal hunt has started again. It’s clear that a change is on the horizon with the European Parliament voting on a proposal to ban seal-product trade in the EU and many people in the Canadian sealing industry believe that could spell the beginning of the end of the commercial seal hunt,” commented Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Canadian chapter of Humane Society International.

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Monday, July 16th, 2018 | Author:

Monday, August 4, 2008

American Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is in reported to be in serious condition but good spirits in a Tennessee hospital following a single car accident in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi in the Mississippi Delta. The 71-year-old actor was flown to the hospital by air ambulance with injuries to one arm.

Freeman, the Associated Press reports, “has a broken arm, broken elbow and minor shoulder damage, but is in good spirits,” according to a statement from Donna Lee, Freeman’s publicist.

Reports say that Freeman was driving Demaris Meyer — the owner of the 1997 Nissan Maxima — when the car flipped over two or three times around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night. Meyer’s condition has not been released. Meyers is reported to be a 48 year old family friend visiting from Memphis.

According to reports, Freeman over-corrected the vehicle when he may have dozed and began to go off the highway, causing the car to flip two or three times before landing in a ditch. The accident occurred on Highway 32 just north of Ruleville, Mississippi not far from where Freeman currently resides.

Clay McFerrin, editor of the Sun Sentinel in Charleston, told the Associated Press he arrived at the accident scene soon after the accident. “They had to use the jaws of life to extract him from the vehicle,” McFerrin told the Associated Press. “He was lucid, conscious. He was talking, joking with some of the rescue workers at one point.”

Freeman was one of the stars of the recent film The Dark Knight and is currently being treated at Memphis Regional Medical Center along with Meyer. Spokeswoman Kathy Stringer says that “Freeman is in a serious condition,” but did not comment further. The hospital, known locally as “The Med” is an acute care facility for up to 150 patients.

According to Sgt. Ben Williams of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, “there’s no indication that either alcohol or drugs were involved” in causing the accident. He also said that both Freeman and Meyer were wearing their safety belts.

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Monday, July 16th, 2018 | Author:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 takes place Saturday, March 28, 2009 between 8:30 to 9:30 pm local time when communities will participate by turning out their lights starting in New Zealand and progressing along time zones around the world.

Earth Hour began as a symbolic initiative against global warming by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). “[It is] The largest demonstration of public concern about climate change ever attempted.” Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General said.

Earth Hour began in 2007 with around 2 million participating, and increased to about 50 million in 2008. The Empire State Building, Las Vegas Strip, the Eiffel Tower, Petronas Twin Towers, the Peace Tower, the Parliament Buildings, the Christ the Redeemer statue, Acropolis of Athens, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Colosseum are some notable landmarks which will honour Earth Hour Saturday evening.

WWF organisers wished 1,000 cities would enlist in Earth Hour, however this was surpassed as this year over 2,400 have signed up to take part.

“The Government of Canada’s continued participation in Earth Hour is an indication of our commitment to being mindful consumers. As the custodian of one of the largest office building portfolios in the country, Public Works and Government Services Canada is committed to incorporating environmental practices into waste management, water conservation and the efficient use of energy in our buildings.” Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Service said.

“Supporting Earth Hour is part of our commitment to help create a healthier environment for Canadians. Simple actions such as turning off the lights can help improve our environment and tackle climate change as well as empower Canadians to make important lifestyle changes that benefit their families and their environment. We encourage Canadians to take part in Earth Hour.” Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment.

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Sunday, July 15th, 2018 | Author:

Monday, November 28, 2005

U.S. Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (RCA) pled guilty today to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to help a defense contractor get business. In total he pled guilty to one count of income tax evasion and four counts of conspiracy, namely mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery of public official and accepting bribes. U.S. District judge Larry A. Burns scheduled Cunnigham to be sentenced on February 27. He is facing up to 10 years in prison and nearly $500,000 in fines, as well as forfeiture of unspecified amounts of cash and property.

In the court hearing, Cunningham admitted to accepting “bribes in exchange for performance of official duties” between “the year 2000 and June of 2005”, taking “both cash payments and payments in kind” and following up by “trying to influence the Defense Department”.

The federal investigation against Cunningham was triggered by his sale of his California residence to defense contractor Mitchell Wade in late 2003. However, Wade never moved in and sold the house at a $700,000 loss three quarters of a year later. At the same time Wade’s company MZM won tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts. Subsequent investigations discovered more questionable business transactions, including interactions with the defense contractor ADCS. In his plea agreement he testified that, among other charges, he “demanded, sought and received at least $2.4 million in illicit payments and benefits from his co-conspirators in various forms, including cash, checks, meals, travel, lodging, furnishings, antiques, rugs, yacht club fees, boat repairs and improvements, moving expenses, cars and boats.”

Cunningham announced his resignation after the hearing. In a written statement released by his law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP he declared “The truth is — I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”

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Sunday, July 15th, 2018 | Author:

Monday, May 26, 2008

The 27th Young Designers’ Exhibition 2008, recognized by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) as the largest show of student creations, recently ended Sunday May 18. It was held at the Taipei World Trade Center. Improvements and expansions were seen with 107 academical and industrial units. Different design competitions participated and showcased their products and also received awards.

It’s no doubt that companies related to design and cultural industries want to discover creative talents from academical units in this exhibition. However, most companies still try to showcase different conceptional and applicative products in order to promote Taiwan’s designs into the world market. A typical example is Fora Series, a photo-voltaic product series by the Tsann Kuen Trans-nation Group.

Before entering into their careers, students participated in this show and showcased varied styles that differ from the usual industrial businesspeople. To get more opportunities and in order to interact with the design and cultural industries, students also participated in vast competitions and tried to get the top places. Some students also tried to design conceptional products in conjunction with industrial designs, especially in some design competitions.

In summary, not only did the 2008 YODEX, have companies which can discover talents and showcase achievements of industrial design in the exhibition, but students can make their stages to showcase excellences from their creations in several competitions related to YODEX.

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Friday, July 13th, 2018 | Author:
Saturday, August 28, 2010

A group of researchers led by Terry Hazen, a senior ecologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have discovered a new species of microorganism. Hazen’s team started research in May this year. Their findings were based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deep-water sites in the Gulf of Mexico between May 25 and June 2. The new species is distinctive for its oil-consuming activity in a wide range of conditions, and is playing a role in depletion of oil spills in the area.

Scientists had been puzzled by the disappearance of oil in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Detailed maps were made on how the spilled oil went underwater and how far it was spread; however, some of it seemed to have disappeared.

A grant from the Energy Biosciences Institute, and a partnership led by the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a USD 500 million, 10-year grant from BP, was the basis for support of the research. The U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Oklahoma Research Foundation also supported it.

The field study was conducted during the first week. As Hazen said, “We deployed on two ships to determine the physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the deepwater oil plume. The oil escaping from the damaged wellhead represented an enormous carbon input to the water column ecosystem and while we suspected that hydrocarbon components in the oil could potentially serve as a carbon substrate for deep-sea microbes, scientific data was needed for informed decisions.”

Sample analysis was eased because the researchers used the pocket-sized Berkeley Lab DNA sampler PhyloChip. It allowed researchers to detect the presence of thousands of species of bacteria in samples from a wide range of environmental sources, without the culturing procedures usually performed in a furnished lab workplace. With the device, Hazen and his co-researchers discovered that a dominant microbe, making up 90 percent of all the bacteria in the oil plume, is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales family, more specifically Oleispirea antarctica and Oceaniserpentilla haliotis.

The previous works were measuring low levels of oxygen in certain areas to detect microbes activity. Researchers thought that increased activity would lead to more aerobic activities, such as breathing, which depletes the oxygen content in water. However, the newly discovered species doesn’t seem to be consuming much oxygen from the water column. The study found that oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67-percent, while within the plume, it was 59-percent. By Terry Hazen’s words, “The low concentrations of iron in seawater may have prevented oxygen concentrations dropping more precipitously from biodegradation demand on the petroleum, since many hydrocarbon-degrading enzymes have iron as a component… There’s not enough iron to form more of these enzymes, which would degrade the carbon faster but also consume more oxygen.”

Analysis of changes in the oil composition as the plume extended from the wellhead pointed to faster than expected biodegradation rates with the half-life of alkanes ranging from 1.2 to 6.1 days. This microbe thrives in cold water, with temperatures in the deep recorded at 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit).

The summer observations showed the bacteria managed to consume the oil spill relatively quickly in June. Some commenters noted that the previously released oil dispersant COREXIT can have significantly eased the process of interaction of the microbes with the oil by making oil particles smaller and easier to access. As Hazen explained, “We’ve been out there continuously… Once the oil flow stopped on July 15, within two weeks we saw most of the plume disappear.”

By Wikinews,

the free news source

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Friday, July 13th, 2018 | Author:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The United States state of Utah has legalized homebrewing of beer and wine.

H.B. 51, “Exemption for Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing License”, was signed into law by Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. on March 24 after being passed by large majorities in both houses of the State Legislature. The bill was introduced by Salt Lake City representative Christine A. Johnson (D-25th district) and will take effect on May 12.

The act modifies existing Utah law to give an exemption to the state’s requirement of a brewing license for amateur brewers, as long as the beer or wine they produce is not for sale and the amount produced is less than 100 US gallons (379 liters) per year for an individual or 200 US gallons (757 liters) for a couple. The unlicensed distillation of spirits remains illegal in the United States under federal law.

Although prohibition of alcohol in the United States ended in 1933 and the homebrewing of beer has been legal at a federal level since 1978, many US states, counties and cities restrict the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages more tightly than is done at the federal level. With the passage of Utah’s legislation, four US states still forbid homebrewing: Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

The legislation was introduced largely through the work of University of Utah law student Douglas Wawrzynski. AHA director Gary Glass was also closely involved with Rep Johnson in drafting the bill’s language. Wawrzynski told Wikinews about what led him to initiate a campaign to change the law:

I moved to Utah from Connecticut in 2005 and started into the hobby [of homebrewing] shortly thereafter. There are multiple homebrew shops that have been operating legally in Utah for several years, so it wasn’t until after I started law school in the fall of 2007 that someone suggested to me that the hobby might not be legal in Utah. After having done some research and contacting the American Homebrewers Association, I began to understand the current ambiguity of the law and how it could certainly be interpreted to adversely affect homebrewers. In fact in 2005 the city of South Salt Lake had taken steps to affirmatively enact penalties for engaging in homebrewing. While that effort was ultimately abandoned it illustrated just how the current state of the law could have a negative impact on homebrewers.

Home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah

Despite the restrictions, according to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), some seven thousand people in Utah were illegally taking part in the hobby, which has 750,000 adherents nationwide. Rep Johnson said “home-brewing is a healthy and vibrant hobby in Utah” and thanked the AHA for “thorough education, great committee testimony and association members who flooded elected officials with emails of support.”

The bill passes on Rep Johnson’s second attempt to introduce it. As H.B. 425, the act was introduced late in the Utah legislature’s 2008 session, where it did not reach a Utah Senate vote. Ms Johnson’s legislative work has primarily concerned equality and human rights in Utah, including a successful attempt to add a voluntary amount to the marriage license fee in order to fund shelters for victims of domestic violence and a failed attempt to introduce language banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity into Utah state law.

I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me

Opposition to the bill, meanwhile, was sporadic and reflected, in Wawrzynski’s view, bad understanding of homebrewing rather than hostility toward the hobby:

In each of the several committee meetings this bill went through, the bill was met with challenging and sometimes bizarre questions regarding its impact and what this would enable people to do. One Senator, Senator Lilenquist [State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-23rd district] even inquired if this bill would make it legal for someone to put beer in a baby bottle and give it to a one year old.

Ronda Rudd Menlove, a Republican representing the 1st district, says her primary concern in voting against the bill was the potential for alcohol to affect children:

When the vote was taken on HB 51, I had a constituent sitting by me, a young high school student. I briefly explained the bill to him during the debate and then asked him how he would vote on the bill and why. This is what he told me. He said that he was concerned that young people would have greater access to alcohol because alcohol would be brewed in homes resulting in great accessibility for youth living in those homes. This concerned him greatly as a member of a local youth city council as well. He is concerned about the amount of under-age drinking in his community and believed that greater access to alcohol could cause an increase in under-age drinking in Utah….

My secondary reason for voting against the bill is that I am adamantly opposed to the excess use and abuse of alcohol. I am opposed to any use of alcohol by pregnant mothers. As a secondary level teacher and high school administrator, I worked with troubled youth and special education populations. I have struggled with young people who live with the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If you want to be very depressed, read about the lifelong effects of FAS. This syndrome affects learning and behavior that is often erratic and unpredictable. Most of the students with FAS fail miserably in school and find little success in school, jobs, or life. This is a very serious problem related to alcohol use and one that affects the innocent fetus and not the perpetrator of this action.

Utah has quirky alcohol laws. The overarching goal of preventing under-age drinking and the abuse of alcohol has created these laws. The intention is admirable and one that I support. How to achieve these goals is challenging and has resulted in laws that may seem strange to others living outside of Utah. Utah’s Governor and Legislature has struggled with this and recently passed legislation revamping these laws. I voted against those changes due to the fact that little information was provided about the impact of the changes.

Kraig Powell (54th district), a Duchesne County Republican, the other representative to vote against the bill in its final form, said he did so because a constituent was “concerned about increased access to alcohol and drunk driving dangers”. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Assistant Whip Gregory Bell (R-22nd district), said to the Deseret News: “I’m not comfortable with home brewing. It seems fraught with mischief to me.”

Relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew

Wawrzynski believes that education and understanding from the community were critical in the passage of the bill.

[T]hrough the efforts, emails and testimony of people like Representative Johnson and Gary Glass, and most importantly, from Utah homebrewers themselves, we changed minds through education. In fact, the Chairman of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, Senator Valentine (R-14th district) openly admitted on the record that he had been compelled to change his vote to a favorable one after hearing compelling testimony from member of the Utah community.

I think that as the state of Utah continues to grow in diversity, the community will become enriched with a wide array of backgrounds and opinions. As this happens we will have an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of our own neighbors and how differences in lifestyle can ultimately be respected and embraced.

Paralleling a common motto of the homebrewing community, Wawrzynski proclaimed on passage of the bill: “Utah homebrewers are finally free to relax, stop worrying, and have a legal homebrew”.

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Friday, July 13th, 2018 | Author:

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Until a patch is issued, Microsoft recommends that users close or block TCP port 3389, the port opened when the Remote Assistance service of its Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) is enabled. The Remote Assistance feature is a service of the OS that allows Internet Technology administrators of corporate workgroups remote access to other desktops to perform maintenance and other configuration tasks from their own computer. It can also be used by on-line tech support sites. A support assistant can go into a user’s machine, if the service is enabled, and themself make changes directly to another person’s computer to resolve an issue.

To initialize the remote assistance feature, the user of the helper computer must first make a request of the user of the target computer. Compliance must be granted by the user of the target machine, which then fully opens the communication port of the target machine to the helper computer. The operator of the helper computer then has control of target computer to make changes at will. The user of the target machine can watch in a separate window the actions of the helper, and either party to the session can end it at any time.

In a telephone conversation with a Microsoft representative Tuesday, it was learned that work to develop a security patch is underway, but when it will be available is unclear. It was cited that a patch must work consistently across multiple platform versions of the OS.

The vulnerability, thought at first to affect only Windows XP SP2, is now believed to affect all current Windows editions, including Windows 2000, Windows XP SP1, Windows XP Professional x64, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 SP1, and Windows Server x64.

The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is not enabled by default, however if the service is enabled, a Denial of Service attack could cause the OS to restart unexpectedly according to Microsoft, or experience buffer overflows according to Symantec. The RDP is enabled by default on Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Microsoft suggests users block TCP port 3389 (the port used by RDP) on their firewall, or disable Terminal Services or Remote Desktop if not required by the user. The remote desktop connections could also be secured using either Internet Protocol Security or a virtual private network connection until a patch is ready.

To disable Remote Assistance on a Windows XP Edition, the steps are:

  1. click ‘Start’, right-click ‘My Computer’, select ‘Properties’
  2. select ‘Remote’ tab on top of the ‘Systems Properties’ window, clear checkbox that says “Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer.”
  3. click ‘Apply’ button

The group, Internet Storm Center, detected spikes in scanning for port 3389 beginning July 6. Larger numbers of systems scanned were reported on July 13. Crackers may be scanning for vulnerable machines, the group said.

“It’s a kernel vulnerability,” said VP of engineering for Symantec Alfred Huger, “so it will be difficult to exploit reliably. But he [the original discoverer] found the vulnerability with a commonly-used tool, so if he can find it, so can others. I don’t think it will turn it into a large-scale worm, but then, some kernel vulnerabilities have ended up as just that, like the Witty worm.”

[edit]

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Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 | Author:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Four people have been shot and killed and at least 15 wounded when a gunman opened fire inside a LA Fitness center in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. The gunman was among the dead.

Reports say the man walked into a dance room where an all-female Latin dance class was in session, turned off the lights and began to shoot people. CNN reports that the gunman was a “middle-aged white male.” One witness said he was carrying a duffel bag, which he put down before shooting into the crowd. After opening fire, he turned the gun on himself. At least 30 people are reported to have been in the room at the time of the shooting.

Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said, “I’ve never seen nothing quite like this. It was very chaotic. […] There’s a good belief that the shooter is deceased.”

Collier Township Police Chief Tom Devin stated that the police, “believe the shooter committed suicide at the scene but we’re not positive.” Police report that the shooter’s motive may have been a domestic dispute with one of the exercisers.

Mike Hentosz, a witness who was inside the gym, said, “I feel like it’s a dream. I don’t know what to think of it.” A woman participating in the class, Nicole, said that 10 minutes into the class, “a middle-aged white male walked into the class. He had a big gym bag. […] He looked out of place in a class full of women.” When he began firing, she reported, she ran out of the gym and escaped in passerby’s car.

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Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 | Author:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A New Jersey state senator has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a federal law banning sports betting in 46 states.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat representing portions of Union County, filed the suit Monday, arguing the 17-year-old law is unconstitutional because it treats four states differently than the other states.

Under the law, sports betting is prohibited in all states except Delaware, Oregon, Montana and Nevada, although only the latter two currently allow wagering.

“This federal law deprives the State of New Jersey of over $100 million of yearly revenues, as well as depriving our casinos, racetracks and Internet operators of over $500 million in gross income,” Lesniak said in a statement to the press.

The 39-page lawsuit is believed to be the first challenge to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. New Jersey missed a 1994 deadline that would have allowed it to join the other states when the law was implemented.

Atlantic City officials and their political allies have argued allowing sports betting would give all the states a new source of revenue needed in the face of a staggering recession.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine was not involved with the lawsuit, but he said legalizing sports betting would help Atlantic City and said it was “worth pursuing”.

Legalizing sports betting in New Jersey could bring the state more than $50 million in annual tax revenue, according to officials from the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based consultant for the electronic gaming industry, which joined Lesniak as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“This is about more than revenue,” said Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of Interactive Media Entertainment. “It’s about jobs and economic activity.”According to 1999 study, $380 billion in illegal sports betting occurs in the state each year.

New Jersey, in particular, is facing a difficult budget season, and the Atlantic City casinos are in what the Associated Press called a “financial meltdown”. Eleven of the city’s casinos suffered their biggest revenue decline in 30 years last month.

Delaware is reported to be considering regulating sports betting, which New Jersey backers of the lawsuit said adds a sense of urgency to the issue.

“We cannot afford to be naive about illegal sports betting,” New Jersey State Sen. Jeff Van Drew said in a statement to the press. “It’s happening right now, and is funding other criminal enterprises which are far more dangerous.”

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey were also listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

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