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Gillibrand2010 / Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON — In a scathing critique of the Defense Department’s efforts to curb sexual assaults, a U.S. senator warned Monday that the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is “vastly underreported” and that victims continue to struggle for justice.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in a report that the Pentagon refused to provide her with all the information she requested about sexual assaults at several major bases. The material she did receive revealed that the spouses of service members and civilian women who live or work near military facilities are especially vulnerable to being sexually assaulted.

Yet they “remain in the shadows” because neither is counted in Defense Department surveys to determine the prevalence of sexual assaults, the report said. “I don’t think the military is being honest about the problem,” Gillibrand said in an interview.

The senator said her analysis of 107 sexual assault cases found punishments that were too lenient and the word of the alleged assailant was more likely to be believed than the victim. Less than a quarter of the cases went to trial and just 11 resulted in conviction for a sex crime. Female civilians were the victims in more than half the cases, said Gillibrand, an outspoken advocate for an overhaul of the military justice system.

Source: http://www.theambitstory.com/

ALBANY, N.Y.— State officials are investigating a Texas-based energy company after a spike in complaints from customers over higher-than-expected bills.

Ambit Energy is an energy services company that supplies electricity and natural gas. Consumers can choose to get their energy from their own utility or companies like Ambit. The probe of Ambit Energy was prompted by a spike in complaints in recent months to the state’s utility regulation agency.

Texas, Kansas To Join Florida Lawsuit Against Obama

15 hours ago
The White House

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Governors in Kansas and Texas say they will join Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s lawsuit against the Obama Administration, alleging that federal officials are coercing the state to expand Medicaid in order to get $1 billion in federal hospital funds.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Monday he plans to file an amicus brief in a fight to protect states’ right to make their own decisions. Scott said Monday that he’d talked with Gov. Greg Abbott, who also pledged support.

Tropical Islands Resort / CC

BRAND, Germany — It rose on a former Soviet airfield south of Berlin, a towering hangar bigger than a dozen football fields where ambitious entrepreneurs planned to revive Germany’s zeppelin industry.

That dream died in 2002 when funding ran out, but the building was reborn as a massive popular tropical theme park, complete with a rainforest, a beach, waterslides and more than 850 hotel beds.

On Monday, a delegation from Texas toured the facility to see if lessons learned by the Germans can be applied to converting the Houston Astrodome, the world’s first multi-purposed domed stadium, which hasn’t been home to a sports team since 1999 and has been closed to all events since 2009.

State senators are wrangling over a bill that would protect clergy who don’t want to perform same-sex marriages.

The author of the bill is Sen. Craig Estes, a Republican from Wichita Falls. He says some religious leaders in Texas oppose gay marriage. They’re waiting to see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue in June, and they want to make sure they won’t be legally required to marry same-sex couples.

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