615: Gravity Bomb

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 17m
May 8th, 2014
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Executive Producers: Sir David Foley Arch Duke of Silicon Valley, Dame Kit Bowman (Stinemetze), Sir Dennis Nutting, Stewy6 on Instagram, Sir Sean Connelly

Associate Executive Producers: Amado Martinez, Anonymous, John Grumling, Sir Brett Mahoney, Sir Mark Milliman

Cover Artist: Rob Lyttle

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'Boko Haram' doesn't really mean 'Western education is a sin' - CSMonitor.com
Thu, 08 May 2014 12:35
World/Security Watch/Backchannels
(Read article summary)Boko Haram gets lost in translation. Oh, and the word 'boko' isn't derived from the word 'book.'
By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / May 6, 2014
What's the real meaning of "Boko Haram?" I've been wondering about this recently since news articles are constantly informing me (including ones on this website) that it means "Western education is a sin."
I was surprised that Nigeria's Hausa language, spoken by the mostly Muslim group that is dominant in the northern half of the country, would have a four letter word that meant "western education." Haram has always been obvious - a borrowed word from Arabic that refers to things that are forbidden in Islam (as opposed to things that are halal, or permitted).
I wondered if it was an acronym, or a mash-up of two other words. So I started looking around and struck gold with a paper by Paul Newman, professor emeritus in linguistics at Indiana University and one of the world's leading authorities on the Hausa language.
It turns out the Hausa language doesn't have a four-letter word that means "Western education." It isn't a mash-up or an acronym. What it has is a word that came to be applied to a century-old British colonial education policy that many Hausa-speakers saw as an attempt, more-or-less, to colonize their minds.
First, some information needs to be dispensed with. The word is often described as being borrowed from the English word "book." Not so, as Dr. Newman's work makes clear.
Starting in 2009, Wikipedia's article on the Hausa "Boko alphabet" incorrectly asserted that the word derived from "book." It was corrected two days ago, when someone noticed Newman's article. Wikipedia's entry on Boko Haram likewise carried the falsehood for at least a year and a half until it was partially corrected at the end of last month, though allowing a falsehood to persist on equal footing with the truth: "The term "Boko Haram" comes from the Hausa word boko figuratively meaning "western education" (often said to be literally "alphabet", from English "book", but the Hausa expert Paul Newman says it derives from a Hausa word with meanings such as "fraud" as "inauthenticity".)"
Often said? A dangerous phrase. This is how we end up with lazy reporters who parrot what they read on Wikipedia or what they read in other news stories (who were often, in turn, parroting from Wikipedia or other reporters.)
And it doesn't stop there. Newman found the US National Counterterrorism Center started passing along the "book" claim circa 2011 (it still is), and cites nine other instances in works by academics and polemicists like the anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller. The press is an even bigger megaphone.
Newman writes that "boko" has a variety of meanings focused around denoting "things or actions having to do with fraudulence, sham, or inauthenticity" or deception. He says the false linkage to the English word "book" was first made in a 1934 Hausa dictionary by a Western scholar that listed 11 meanings for the word '' ten of them about fraudulent things and the final one asserting the connection to "book." An incorrect assertion, says Newman.
A big deal? Not a huge one, but a good example of how received "facts" are often far from the truth.
I'm more interested in the current claims that Boko can be translated as "Western education." Does it? Sort of, but not really.
Let's go back to the British colonialists in northern Nigeria. In their aggressive push for modern secular schooling '' and the resistance from Muslims '' lie the spark for Boko Haram's murderous rampages against "Western" education.
Newman writes about the history of the word's use in this context:
The correct answer was implicitly presented by Liman Muhammad, a Hausa scholar from northern Nigeria, some 45 years ago. In his study of neologisms and lexical enrichment in Hausa, Muhammad (pp. 8-10) gives a list of somewhat over 200 loanwords borrowed from English into Hausa in the area of ''Western Education and Culture''. Significantly, boko is not included. Rather one finds boko in his category for western concepts expressed in Hausa by SEMANTIC EXTENSION of pre-existent Hausa words.
According to Muhammad, boko originally meant ''Something (an idea or object) that involves a fraud or any form of deception'' and, by extension, the noun denoted ''Any reading or writing which is not connected with Islam. The word is usually preceded with 'Karatun' [lit. writing/studying of]. 'Karatun Boko' therefore means the Western type of Education."
Newman explains that when Britain's colonial government began introducing its education system into Nigeria, seeking to replace traditional Islamic education (including replacing the Arabic script traditionally used to write Hausa with a Roman-based script that they also quickly called "boko") , this was seen as a "fraudulent deception being imposed upon the Hausa by a conquering European force."
Rather than send their own children to the British government schools, as demanded by the British, Hausa emirs and other elites often shifted the obligation onto their slaves and other subservients. The elite had no desire to send their children to school where the values and traditions of Hausa and Islamic traditional culture would be undermined and their children would be turned into 'yan boko,' i.e., ''(would-be) westerners''.
Newman accepts (as can been in the passage above) that "boko" is reasonably associated with "Western education" in English translation today. But the actual resistance was to something being imposed by triumphant foreigners. I suspect that an imposition of a Japanese or Chinese or Indian educational system would have been just as boko (in the sense of "bogus") to the Hausa elites of a century ago as the British imposition. And it would probably not go down well today.
What a little reading about the group's name reveals is that their desire is not to obliterate non-Islamic education all over the world. Just in their own backyards. While that does not make their behavior in Nigeria any less horrific, recognizing that this group is inwardly focused (like most Islamist militants throughout history) is useful to start trying to understand what the US, the rest of the "West," Nigeria, and anyone else should do about the situation.
Parents of kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria plead for mercy | World | The Guardian
Thu, 08 May 2014 12:31
The Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, centre, visits the scene of the mass abduction in Chibok. Photograph: Haruna Umar/AP
A week after Islamist extremists stormed a remote boarding school in north-east Nigeria, more than 200 girls and young women remain missing despite pursuit by security forces and an independent search by fathers who headed into dense forest to find their daughters.
Parents in Chibok begged for the kidnappers to "have mercy on our daughters" and for the government to rescue them.
"I have not seen my dear daughter, she is a good girl," said Musa Muka, whose 17-year-old daughter, Martha, was taken away. "We plead with the government to help rescue her and her friends. We pray nothing happens to her."
Dozens of students managed to escape their captors by jumping from the back of an open truck after they were kidnapped in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday last week, or by running away and hiding in the forest.
The number of students missing is unclear. Education officials had said 129, which was the number of students sitting an exam. The girls had been recalled for a physics exam after all schools in Borno state were closed four weeks ago because of security concerns.
But as parents rushed from across Borno state to the boarding school, the number of missing grew. On Monday, parents gave the visiting state governor a list of 234 missing girls and young women aged between 16 and 18.
The school's principal, Asabe Kwambura, said 43 students had been accounted for and 230 were missing. The extremists set the school ablaze.
The mass abduction is an embarrassment for Nigeria's military, which announced last week that security forces had rescued all but eight of those kidnapped, and then was forced to retract the statement.
"The operation is going on and we will continue to deploy more troops," said Major General Chris Olukolade, a defence ministry spokesman.
As confidence in the military eroded, parents and other residents in Chibok pooled money to buy fuel for motorcycles and headed into the nearby Sambisa forest, a known hideout of extremists. One father said they pursued the abductors for 30 miles into the forest before turning back. He said they did not encounter any soldiers.
The Nigerian air force has halted what were near-daily bombings of the forest, presumably because of the kidnapped students. The extremists have abducted handfuls of students in recent months but this mass kidnapping is unprecedented.
Nigeria's military already faced mounting criticism over its failure to curb a five-year Islamist uprising despite having draconian powers under an 11-month state of emergency in three north-eastern states covering one-sixth of the country. More than 1,500 people have been killed during the insurgency so far this year, compared with an estimated 3,600 between 2010 and 2013.
Claims by the military and the government that the extremists were cornered in the remote north-east were shattered by a explosion at a bus station in the capital, Abuja, on 14 April, which killed at least 75 people and wounded 141.
In a video received on Saturday, the leader of the homegrown terrorist network Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, claimed responsibility for the Abuja bombing but said nothing about the kidnapped students.
Shekau repeated his opposition to "corrupting" western influences, saying: "Everyone that calls himself a Muslim must stop obeying the constitution, must abandon democracy, must stay away from western education." Boko Haram means "western education is sinful" in the local Hausa language.
The insurgency has forced 750,000 people, many of them farmers, to flee their homes, raising fears of a food shortage. Refugees in neighbouring countries said they were escaping militant attacks as well as the often brutal response of Nigeria's military.
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BBC News - US experts join hunt for abducted Nigerian schoolgirls
Wed, 07 May 2014 06:57
6 May 2014Last updated at 20:24 ET A team of US experts has been sent to Nigeria to help find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted last month by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
US President Barack Obama said the team comprised personnel from military, law enforcement and other agencies.
He said he hoped the kidnapping might galvanise the international community to take action against Boko Haram.
Earlier, it emerged that eight more girls had been abducted in north-eastern Nigeria by suspected militants.
The latest kidnapping happened on Sunday night in the village of Warabe in Borno state. The girls taken were aged between 12 and 15.
Continue reading the main storyPresident Goodluck Jonathan was very happy to receive this offer and ready to move on it immediately''
End QuoteUS Secretary of State John KerryOn Monday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to "sell" more than 230 girls seized from their school, also in Borno, on 14 April.
Growing international outrage led the US to offer the Nigerian government help and, on Tuesday, Mr Obama confirmed that the offer had been accepted.
"We have already sent in a team to Nigeria... a combination of military, law enforcement, and other agencies who are going in, trying to identify where in fact these girls might be," he said.
Mr Obama described the abduction as "heartbreaking" and "outrageous" and denounced Boko Haram as "one of the worst regional... terrorist organisations".
But he added: "This may be the event that helps to mobilise the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organisation that's perpetrated such a terrible crime."
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Mr Obama denounced Boko Haram as "one of the worst regional... terrorist organisations"
'Devasting'Boko Haram - whose name means "Western education is forbidden" - is seeking to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state in the north of Nigeria.
Its insurgency has left thousands dead since 2009.
US officials have said the first group of abducted girls, aged between 16 and 18, may have already been smuggled over Nigeria's porous borders into countries such as Chad and Cameroon.
However, officials in Chad and Cameroon say they do not believe the girls are in their countries.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that Washington will set up a co-ordination cell at its embassy in Abuja with US military personnel, law enforcement officials and experts in hostage situations.
"[Nigerian] President Goodluck Jonathan was very happy to receive this offer and ready to move on it immediately," he told reporters, after talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Baroness Ashton said the girls' kidnapping was "devastating for all of us".
"These are the future of the country," she said.
"They are teachers, dancers, politicians. They are scientists, they are mothers, they are women in the making who have a right to play their full part in their society."
CriticismPresident Jonathan, speaking in Abuja, said his country's security agencies "would appreciate" the deployment of US counter-insurgency expertise.
The Nigerian government has been criticised at home and abroad for what some say is a slow response to the abductions.
President Jonathan has said they are doing everything they can.
In the latest kidnapping, gunmen arrived in two trucks and also seized animals and food from the village of Warabe.
Residents of a nearby town said they feared Boko Haram would target them next.
Warabe is also close to the Sambisa forest, where the first group of schoolgirls is thought to have been taken.
White House to send specialists to help recover abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.
Wed, 07 May 2014 09:18
An international uproar mounted Tuesday over the fate of hundreds of Ni­ger­ian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants in mid-April, with the Obama administration preparing to send a team of specialists to Nigeria to help recover the missing girls and U.N. officials warning that the kidnappers could face arrest, prosecution and prison under international law.
In Nigeria, U.N. officials reported that a new kidnapping had occurred, with between eight and 11 girls abducted Sunday by armed militants in the northern state of Borno to prevent them from attending school. It is unclear whether the same extremist group was involved in both abductions. The state's police commissioner denied that any abductions had taken place.
The White House announced that Secretary of State John F. Kerry had called Ni­ger­ian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday morning and offered to send a team including law enforcement and military experts to help his government find and free the roughly 300 girls seized from a school in remote northeastern Nigeria on either April 14 or April 15. Some escaped, but 276 are believed still missing.
A State Department spokesman said that Jonathan, who has been reluctant to move against the militants, ''welcomed'' the offer. Kerry, in a separate statement, said U.S. officials had delayed action because Jonathan's government ''had its own set of strategies,'' but new developments had ''convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort.''
''It will begin immediately,'' Kerry said. ''You're going to see a very, very rapid response.''
In a video released Monday in which he claimed responsibility for the abductions for the first time , the leader of the Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubaker Shekau, referred to the girls as ''slaves'' and threatened to sell them in a marriage market.
That high-profile, almost swaggering threat intensified a growing outcry as international and domestic rights groups warned that the girls could face severe abuse.
In New York, a spokesman for the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said at a news conference Tuesday, ''We warn the perpetrators that there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law.'' He said that meant that those responsible could be ''arrested, charged, prosecuted, and jailed at any time in the future.''
President Obama, speaking Tuesday about climate change on the ''Today'' show, also spoke briefly about Nigeria. He called the kidnappings a ''terrible situation'' and described Boko Haram as ''one of the worst local or regional terrorist organizations.'' He said Nigeria had accepted his offer of ''help from our military and our law enforcement officials'' and that ''we're going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them.''
On Capitol Hill, all 20 female U.S. senators signed a letter to Obama condemning the abductions and calling on him to press for U.N. sanctions against Boko Haram, which the administration has designated a foreign terrorist group. The move was led by Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine.)
Collins said the comments by Shekau, who said all girls should be married by age 12 and not allowed to attend school, ''call out for a vigorous response from all around the world '-- men and women alike. But I think having the 20 women senators lead the way is the beginning of sending a very powerful signal.''
A social-media campaign called Bring Back Our Girls has gained rapid traction on Facebook and other sites over the past several days. In Washington, about 75 protesters rallied outside the shuttered Ni­ger­ian Embassy on Tuesday morning wearing ''Bring Back Our Girls'' T-shirts and denouncing the Jonathan government for ignoring the girls' plight.
''We are tired of the government putting its head in the sand. Girls in Nigeria have the right to be educated and the right to be safe,'' said Omolola Adele Oso, 35, a Nigerian immigrant from Bowie and a leader of the peaceful protest. ''These girls could be beaten and burned into subservience. The government wants this problem to disappear, but it will not disappear.''
Most of the demonstrators were Ni­ger­ian immigrants, but they were joined by local human rights activists and families. Amy Thomson, 43, of Chevy Chase, said she had come to the rally ''because I'm a mother and I would feel the same if my daughter were in danger.''
Thomson was accompanied by her daughter Emma, 11, who said she had been inspired by the efforts of Malala Yousafzai, a teenage activist from Pakistan who was shot and nearly killed by Islamist militants for promoting girls' education.
''Boko Haram said Allah told them to take the girls,'' Emma said. ''But I read about Malala, and she said that is not her Allah.''
Boko Haram, whose name means ''Western education is evil,'' rejects Western culture and seeks to create a pure Islamic state based on strict sharia law. The group has terrorized much of the Ni­ger­ian rural north for the past five years, killing at least 1,000 people in both Muslim and Christian areas.
The Islamic Society of North America condemned Boko Haram on Tuesday, calling its actions ''disgusting and un-Islamic.'' The Plainfield, Ind.-based organization called on Ni­ger­ian authorities to capture the kidnappers and bring them to justice.
Even though many Westerners and Nigerians are outraged by the militants' latest predations, the political, regional and religious pressures inside Nigeria are more complex. This helps to explain why Jonathan has tried to play down the kidnappings rather than actively pursue the perpetrators, and why other officials have cast doubt on the crime and criticized protest leaders.
Despite his official welcome of the U.S. offer of assistance, it remained unclear whether civilian and military officials on the ground would cooperate with the Obama administration's plan to send a team of experts and set up a ''coordinating cell'' at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
One of the factors in play, several experts said Tuesday, is the permanent tension between northern and southern Nigeria. Jonathan is a southerner and many northerners are said to oppose his bid for reelection next year, which may have dampened his eagerness to intervene in the kidnappings there.
Experts said Jonathan was embarrassed by the kidnappings and failed to anticipate the domestic and international uproar they would cause. His wife cast doubt on whether the abductions really happened and reportedly ordered one protest leader arrested.
Another issue is the internal contradictions within the Ni­ger­ian army, which has waged a scorched-earth campaign against Boko Haram but also reportedly includes sympathizers of the group. Both soldiers and militants have been accused of human rights abuses, but none has been arrested or prosecuted.
''The Nigerian army is large and strong enough to be effective in going after the kidnappers, but so far they haven't,'' said one expert on Africa at an international agency who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly. Jonathan, he said, ''was trying to treat this like business as usual, and suddenly it has turned into a major political debacle.''
Ed O'Keefe and Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.
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Oil found in Lake Chad Basin of Nigeria
Wed, 07 May 2014 06:59
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday announced the discovery of crude oil in an area of about 3,350 square metres in the Lake Chad Basin with Vice President Namadi Sambo directing the commencement of steps towards engaging "willing and ready investors that will facilitate speedy and timely exploration in the second phase of the exercise".Vice President Sambo said during a meeting with NNPC officials and other public-sector experts at the State House, Abuja, that the federal government was happy that surveys had indicated the presence of oil in the Chad Basin.
The Lake Chad Basin, in the far North Eastern Borno State of Nigeria, is the hotbed of terror attacks and other forms of violence by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Sambo expressed the appreciation of the Federal Government to the NNPC following the positive progress they are making in the exploration of hydro carbon at the Lake Chad Basin.
He noted that the budget provision was based on activity assessment and that the efforts so far expended and the achievements recorded so far will lead to the realization of the targeted goal.
Sambo further directed that the recommendation in the aero-magnetic data survey needed to be harnessed, including other works and services required so that a target time can be arrived at.
He noted the need for deployment of enormous funds, and the need to source for and engage other capable hands who are willing and ready investors.
The Vice President reaffirmed the Federal Government's resolve to explore oil on the Lake Chad Basin, contrary to the allusion in some quarters that government was not serious in doing so.
Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andy Yakubu, said "despite the insinuations making the rounds that the corporation is not doing much on the exploration of the hydro carbon on the Lake Chad, NNPC was doing a lot to realize the noble objective of the Federal Government."
He said an integrated team of consortium of consultants set up by the Federal Government to study the possibility of exploring oil has identified the commodity which was recommended for further investigation.
Yakubu added that on the submission of the report of the investigation into the exploration of oil in the area, NNPC commissioned its subsidiary and consultants to start the exploration.
The consultants include Chinese companies that had worked in similar ventures in Niger and Chad where crude oil has been found in commercial quantity.
He noted that due to the high technology employed for the exploration, the area was divided into four phases and that work is currently ongoing on the fifth phase.
Yakubu further added that three major sub-basins in the Lake Chad area, namely Biu, Maiduguri and Barga, had been identified and marked as low risk while work is currently going on in that area.
But he pointed out that lack of security and adequate funding are the major challenges being faced in the speedy execution of the project.
Oil and gas exploration may start in Chad Basin by 2014
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:00
Three blocs have been identified in the Lake Chad Basin which have great potentials for oil and gas exploration.Commercial oil and gas exploration may begin in the Chad Basin near Borno state in Nigeria by 2014 with government-financed oil prospecting in the region yielding positive results
According to Nigerian vice-president Namadi Sambo the government project cost US$75mn in 2012, with a further US$100mn earmarked for this year.
He noted, ''The government is committed to the oil and gas search in the Lake Chad basin.''
Sambo added that three blocs have been identified in the area after series of research which have great potentials for oil and gas exploration.
''Our plan is to make commercial oil and gas exploration start in the basin by the fourth quarter of 2013, or first quarter of 2014,'' he explained.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:11
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is the state oil corporation through which the federal government of Nigeria regulates and participates in the country's petroleum industry.
History[edit]NNPC was established on April 1, 1977 as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel. NNPC by law manages the joint venture between the Nigerian federal government and a number of foreign multinational corporations, which include Royal Dutch Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Texaco (now merged with Chevron). Through collaboration with these companies, the Nigerian government conducts petroleum exploration and production. In 2007, the head of the Nigerian wing of Transparency International said salaries for NNPC workers were too low to prevent graft.[1]
The NNPC Towers in Abuja is the headquarters of NNPC. Consisting of four identical towers, the complex is located on Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District Abuja. NNPC also has zonal offices in Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri. It has an international office located in London, United Kingdom.
NNPC Organisational Structure[edit]The NNPC Group comprises the NNPC Board, the Group Managing Director's office, Eight Directorates as listed below. Each of the Directorates is headed by a Group Executive Director (GED). Its Divisions are headed by Group General Managers (GGM) while its subsidiary companies are headed by Managing Directors. NNPC has several subsidiaries, two partly owned subsidiaries and 16 associated companies.
Directorates:
Exploration and ProductionRefining and PetrochemicalsCommercial and InvestmentFinance and AccountsCorporate ServicesGas and PowerEngineering and TechnologyBusiness DevelopmentDivisions and Subsidiaries:
DivisionsSubsidiariesNational Petroleum Investment and Management Service (NAPIMS)Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG)Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD)Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)Research and Development (R&D)National Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO)Engineering & Technology Division (ETD)Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC)National Frontiers Exploration Services (NFES)Nigerian Gas Company (NGC)Liquefied Natural Gas DivisionIntegrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL)Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD)Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company Ltd (WRPC)Special ProjectsKaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company Ltd (KRPC)Renewable Energy Division (RED)Port-Harcourt Refinery Company Ltd (PHRC)Nigerian Content Division (NCD)NNPC Retail LtdUpstream Business Development DivisionNigeria-Gazprom Ltd (NiGaz)Group Human Resources DivisionNIKORMA Transport Ltd (NIKORMA)Audit DivisionNIDAS Marine LimitedInformation Technology DivisionHydrocarbon Services Company Nigeria Ltd (HYSON)NNPC Medical ServicesNNPC Pension Fund LtdCorporate Planning and Development DivisionDuke Oil Services Ltd (UK)Gas Master PlanCalson Bermuda LtdGreenfield RefineriesNNPC Properties LtdPower DivisionBrass LNG LimitedFinance DivisionCost Engineering Division (CED)Accounts DivisionDownstream Business Development DivisionRegulatory & Policy ComplianceInstallations[edit]NNPC has sole responsibility for upstream and downstream developments, and is also charged with regulating and supervising the oil industry on behalf of the Nigerian Government. In 1988, the corporation was commercialised into 11 strategic business units, covering the entire spectrum of oil industry operations: exploration and production, gas development, refining, distribution, petrochemicals, engineering, and commercial investments. The subsidiary companies include:
Legal premise[edit]According to the Nigerian constitution, all minerals, gas, and oil the country possesses are legally the property of the Nigerian federal government. As such, the oil corporations operating in Nigeria appropriate portions of their revenue to the government, which accrues nearly 60% of the revenue generated by the oil industry in this manner. The revenue gained by the NNPC accounts for 76% of federal government revenue[1] and 40% of the entire country's GDP. As of 2000, oil and gas exports account for 98% of Nigerian export earnings.[citation needed]
Corruption at the NNPC[edit]KPMG Report[edit]In December 2011, the Nigerian government permitted a forensic report conducted by KPMG to be published. The audit, commissioned by the Ministry of Finance following concerns over the NNPC's transparency, detailed the NNPC's sharp business practices, violation of regulations, illegal deductions of funds belonging to the state, and failure to account for several billions of naira that should go to the federation account.[2]
Auditors found that between 2007 and 2009 alone, the NNPC over-deducted funds in subsidy claims to the tune of N28.5 billion. It has not been able to account for the sum ever since.[3]
Willbros Group Inc[edit]In May 2008, Willbros Group Inc, a US company, admitted to making corrupt payments totalling over $6.3 million to officials at the NNPC and its subsidiary NAPIMS, in return for assistance in obtaining and retaining contracts for work on the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS).[4]
ABB Vetco Gray[edit]In July 2004, ABB Vetco Gray, a US company, and its UK subsidiary ABB Vetco Gray UK Ltd, admitted to paying over $1 million in bribes to officials at NNPC subsidiary NAPIMS in exchange for obtaining confidential bid information and favourable recommendations from Nigerian government agencies.[5]
Trafigura and Vitol[edit]In November 2013 after a report was published by Swiss Non-governmental advocacy organization - The Berne Declaration - allegations of heavy fraud surfaced, placing the NNPC under suspicion of siphoning off $6.8 billion in crude oil revenues.[6][7][8]
Unremitted Funds[edit]On the 9th of December 2013, a letter from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor to the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, dated 25 September 2013 showing details that the NNPC had not remitted over $49.8 billion proceeds of crude oil sales to the Government surfaced. Investigations later showed that out of the unremitted $49.8 billion, $20 billion was actually embezzled. No staff of the NNPC or Ministry of Petroleum has so far been punished, though on Thursday, 20 February 2014, the whistle-blowing CBN Governor was suspended from office by the President.
References[edit]External links[edit]
$10.8bn crude oil fund not missing - NNPC - DailyPost Nigeria
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:14
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday gave details of the contentious 10.8 billion dollars crude oil fund, saying the money was not missing.
The amount is part of the 49.8 billion dollars alleged to have been unremitted to the Federation Account by the NNPC.
Mr Bernad Otti, the Group Executive Director, Finance and Accounts Directorate of NNPC, at a press briefing in Abuja declared that ''the 10.8 billion dollars, which is currently the subject of ongoing inter-agency reconciliation exercise is not missing.''
''The sum in question has been expenditures incurred as part of statutory responsibilities, which the NNPC, as the national oil company, executes on behalf of the Federal Government,'' he said.
He explained that issues surrounding the alleged unremitted 49.8 billion dollars were clarified at a joint press conference by NNPC, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroleum Resources in December, 2013.
''There was no where it was admitted by any of the parties in the course of the press conference that the sum of 10.8 billion dollars out of the alleged unremitted 49.8billion dollars is missing,'' he said.
He said that 30 billion dollars out of the alleged unremitted oil revenue had been reconciled by all the parties involved, adding that the yet-to-be-reconciled 10.8 billion dollars could be located in the expenses on some of the corporation's responsibilities.
Otti said that the responsibilities were those NNPC usually carried out on behalf of the Federal Government with respect to domestic crude oil utilisation.
According to him, the expenditure and responsibilities included the sum of 8.49 billion dollars of unpaid subsidies on kerosene and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and 1.22 billion dollars for pipeline management and repair.
''Others are 0.37 billion dollars, the cost of holding strategic stock reserve for petroleum products and 0.07 billion dollars, which accounts for products and crude oil loses,'' he added.
He explained that the associated costs of stolen and spilled products and crude oil, repairs and maintenance, and downtime of the refineries constituted a significant part of the yet-to-be-reconciled figure.
''The corporation is left to bear these responsibilities on behalf of the Federal Government. The cost incurred in this mandate is part of the 10.8 billion dollars yet-to-be-reconciled outstanding figure,'' he stated.
The director said that all the parties involved in the reconciliation process were aware of the ''facts'', adding that the figures were being thoroughly scrutinised.
''It is therefore incorrect for anyone to continue to misinform the public that the sum of 10.8 billion dollars of oil revenue is missing,'' he said.
He claimed that the services being rendered by NNPC were critical to the development of the national economy ''which no corporation will perform without being paid up-front by the government.'' (NAN)
N27.7bn Chad basin oil exploration suffers setback - Vanguard News
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:02
By Sebastine Obasi
The Federal Government's desire to achieve commercial oil production in the Chad Basin this year may not come to fruition, due to insecurity caused mostly by Islamic insurgency under the code name, Boko Haram.Vanguard learnt that the various technical personnel who provided support services for exploration activities have left the region from fear of being killed, while geologists in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), also shunned the volatile Basin in Borno State for fear of losing their lives.
With this insecurity situation, the over N27.7 billion investments may not be realised as scheduled. Vice President Namadi Sambo said last year that oil prospecting in the Chad Basin was yielding promising results, and may lead to commercial exploration of oil and gas this year.
The Vice President, who visited the region, disclosed that the project had gulped about $75 million (about N11.9 billion) in 2012, while another $100 million (or N15.8 billion) was earmarked for it in 2013.''I want to inform you that government is committed to the oil and gas search in the Lake Chad basin,'' he said at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Garbai.Sambo also said three blocks have been identified in the area after series of research.
''These blocks have great potential for oil and gas exploration. Our plan is that by the fourth quarter of 2013, or first quarter of 2014, commercial oil and gas exploration will commence in the basin,'' he added.But the raging Boko Haram insurgency has however punctured government's optimism. The Government had in a bid to douse the insurgency deployed soldiers to the site, while a state of emergency had since been declared in Borno State.
But industry sources argued that these measures are not enough to guarantee security of lives and property.''The Joint Task Force (JTF) is having a clamp down on the Boko Haram terrorists, while those terrorists too have retreated to launch guerrilla warfare on the military. In all of these, do you think as a geologist one will be able to think straight?
''Even those on site are not finding it funny. It is true that some of us do not want to be anywhere near that place. Do not forget that we lost three of our staff to the insurgency in 2012,'' one of the workers deployed to the region said.Oil workers under the auspices of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), had late last year warned of possible abandonment of the northern region on account of the increasing activities of the sect.
In a statement entitled: ''The Road to Yugoslavia,'' PENGASSAN said, ''the Boko Haram insurgency represents a dangerous descent into anomie, reminiscent of the horrific inter-ethnic and religious war that marked the violent break-up of the former Yugoslavia.''The association reiterated that it would not hesitate to call out its members, starting from its Kaduna zone, if government did not arrest the violence against innocent Nigerians in the northern part of the country.
In the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Deji Kolawole, PENGASSAN said: ''Nigeria cannot afford to take this road to self-destruction, for when the rich makes war, it is the poor that suffers. We, therefore, appeal to Nigerians to exercise great restraint in the face of the constant provocation and violence perpetrated on other innocent Nigerians by terrorists under the hood of religionists whose aim is, obviously, to precipitate an ethnic cum religious war in the country. We must note that an eye for an eye would only make us all blind.
''PENGASSAN expresses grave concern on the deteriorating security situation in the country resulting in the loss of innocent lives and which has led, lately, to the declaration of a 24-hour curfew in two states '-- Kaduna and Yobe '-- with the attendant impact on the socio-economic lives of the citizens of those states and other neighbouring states.
''We further call on the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has all the coercive powers of state to wake up to its primary responsibility, i.e. the security and welfare of the people as enunciated in section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.
''We, and indeed all Nigerians, are tired of the President's usual swan song of expressing heartfelt condolences, condemning the dastardly act and promising to bring perpetrators to book whenever attacks like these happen.''
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F-Russia / Ukraine
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NYTimes: Russia Quietly Tightens Reins on Web With ‘Bloggers Law’
NYTimes: Why Germans Love Russia [too gay!]
Then there is Europe’s populist right, which agrees with Russia’s
propaganda that Europe has become too gay, too tolerant, too permissive
in its morals and too un-Christian, and which welcomes an authoritarian
leader challenging Europe’s fuzzy multilateralism.
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Oleh Tyahnybok Leader of Svoboda party
They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state."
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Norway talks LNG with Turkey
Mon, 05 May 2014 02:42
Norway talks LNG with TurkeyPublished on Wednesday, 30th April, 2014 at 21:09 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson .Last Updated on 30th April 2014 at 21:20.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz was in Norway to discuss supplies of Liquefied Natural Gas to his country, Tuesday. Statoil is a major player in the LNG business.
Minister Yildiz was in Oslo this week meeting with Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Tord Lien. Pictured here speaking on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia in Istanbul in 2012.Turkey's Energy Minster Taner YildizPhoto: World Economic Forum/Wikimedia Commons
The Minister met with his Norwegian counterpart Tord Lien at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Oslo, a press spokesperson told The Foreigner.
Website worldbulletin.net reports Minister Yildiz asked the Scandinavian country about purchasing up to six billion cubic metres of LNG.
US Energy Information Administration (EIA) officials describe Turkey's importance in world energy markets as ''growing, both as a regional energy transit hub and as a growing consumer.''
''Turkey is a key part of oil and natural gas supplies movement from Russia, the Caspian region, and the Middle East to Europe.''
Information as of April 2014 lists the country's Izmir (Aliaga) and Marmara LNG Regasification Terminals as being currently On-Stream.
The Foreigner asked Statoil communications manager for international upstream activities Knut Rostad about his company's possible role as LNG supplier regarding Turkey.
''I'm not sure what meeting is referred to in the [website's] article, but Statoil participated in a lunch held by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy yesterday.''
When were talks regarding supplying Turkey with LNG held, if at all, and how far advanced is the process?
''In general terms we continuously evaluate commercial opportunities to develop our LNG business. Besides that we do not have any comment,'' concluded Mr Rostad.
Like this article? Show your appreciation.Published on Wednesday, 30th April, 2014 at 21:09 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson .Last updated on 30th April 2014 at 21:20.
This post has the following tags: lng, statoil, norway.
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Side deals with Moscow thwart drive to wean Europe off Russian gas | Reuters
Mon, 05 May 2014 15:51
By Henning Gloystein
LONDONSun May 4, 2014 6:56am EDT
A worker rides a bicycle past gas pipes at Gas Connect Austria's gas distribution node in Baumgarten some 40 km (25 miles) east of Vienna March 6, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader
LONDON (Reuters) - While officials in Brussels were calling for Europe to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas and negotiate with Moscow as a bloc, Austria was quietly bypassing the European Commission to cut its own bilateral deal on building a pipeline.
The deal on the South Stream pipeline, which will be built under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to central Europe, shows the European Union's difficulty in creating a unified energy policy on Moscow during the Ukraine crisis.
While EU officials are calling for Europe to wean itself off Russian gas, private and state-owned firms, with the support of politicians, are pushing ahead with projects to buy ever more.
Austrian energy firm OMV agreed last week with Russia's state-controlled Gazprom to bring the South Stream pipeline to Austria's Baumgarten gas hub, outmaneuvering Italy which had wanted it to end there.
The deal is also likely to please some in neighboring Germany, as the gas will now be delivered closer to customers.
It shows that when it comes to natural gas diplomacy, European countries still have their own competing interests which are difficult to unite under an EU flag.
The timing of the deal, which coincided with Europe announcing new sanctions on a list of Russians designed to push the Kremlin to reduce its support for separatists in Ukraine, could hardly have been more at odds with official EU policy.
The Commission had put the approval process for South Stream on hold after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March, hoping the delay would push Moscow to stop what the West says is its intervention in Ukraine.
Brussels says South Stream does not comply with its regulations on ownership and pipeline access. But Austria and Russia have circumvented this by announcing that their deal is based on a bilateral agreement between the countries rather than an EU accord.
South Stream's main purpose, like the German-Russian Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea, is to circumvent Ukraine. This would ensure that disputes between Moscow and Kiev do not interfere with the flow of Russian gas to Europe, much of which crosses Ukraine in existing pipelines.
"If we agree to South Stream, Europe will sell the rope with which Russia will hang Ukraine, and it will also agree to increase its energy dependency on Russia," said Frank Umbach, at the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS), a research team at King's College London.
PAST FAILURE MOTIVATES DEAL
Austria was motivated to push for the South Stream deal after it lost out to Italy in a competition last year over a separate pipeline bringing gas to Europe from Azerbaijan.
OMV's Nabucco pipeline project was dropped in favor of the rival Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to Italy. That derailed years of Austrian lobbying, which the EU had initially backed, for Nabucco to bring the Azeri gas to central Europe.
"Current international developments show once again that in the long-term we don't only have to diversify our energy sources, but also our routes," said Austrian economy and energy minister Reinhold Mitterlehner. "Should the South Stream pipeline end in Baumgarten, we will get closer to this target."
Gazprom sources said they had been approached during the last four weeks by Austria, and a deal was put together as fast as possible.
Gazprom and OMV aim to get the remaining permits by the end of next year and start delivering gas by 2017.
"For Russia, this project is a clear signal to Ukraine that it intends to avoid any future disputes or supply disruptions," said Friedbert Pfl¼ger, director of EUCERS. "The reference to a 2010 bilateral agreement for regulatory approval demonstrates Moscow's intention to circumvent the EU's regulations that would make the realization of the project more difficult."
UNDERMINING BRUSSELS
The Gazprom-OMV agreement continues Russia's strategy of making bilateral deals that undermine the Commission, the EU's executive arm, which wants to build up a European front on energy supplies.
Bulgaria, which imports almost all its gas from Russia, also backed South Stream last month in defiance of Commission calls that member states should not enter bilateral deals with Gazprom without its approval.
"South Stream is a project of strategic importance. Now they (the European Parliament) want to stop South Stream. How are we to develop? This crisis at the moment shows that we do not have security of natural gas supplies for Bulgaria," energy minister Dragomir Stoynev said.
Quietly supporting smaller EU member states such as Austria and Bulgaria is Germany, where the government has said it sees Moscow as a reliable gas supplier and industry has made big investments in securing Russian gas.
Germany is by far Gazprom's biggest customer in the EU, paying around $15 billion a year for Russian gas.
After years of lobbying by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the Nord Stream pipeline began operations in 2011.
Schroeder chairs Nord Stream's board and has been an outspoken critic of moves to isolate Russia diplomatically. He drew strong criticism in the German press last week for bear-hugging President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Russia.
South Stream's proposed 2,500 km (1,500 mile) route would stretch from Russia under the Black Sea through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and now Austria.
Germany's BASF, the world's biggest chemicals company, is a partner in South Stream through its gas supply subsidiary Wintershall.
The head of BASF's advisory board is Eggert Voscherau, brother of Henning Voscherau, who is chairman of South Stream Transport's board of directors and a prominent former politician of Schroeder's Social Democratic Party.
A government adviser in Berlin, speaking on condition of anonymity said Berlin was happy that the new pipeline was now going to Austria rather than Italy: "Bringing South Stream's gas to Austria is far better for Germany's industry and gas security than pumping it far to the South to Italy."
(Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in Vienna, Stephen Jewkes in Milan, and Dmitry Zhdannikov in London; editing by Peter Graff)
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Trilateral gas talks with Russia fail | EurActiv
Mon, 05 May 2014 17:27
Following a trilateral meeting with the EU and Ukraine in Warsaw on 2 May, Russia threatened to cut natural gas supplies to Kyiv in June if it receives no prepayment in an escalating row against the background of growing political tensions.
Relations between Russia and the West have fallen to their lowest ebb since the Cold War following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and the outbreak of clashes involving pro-Russia militia in the east of the country.
"If we don't receive pre-payment for June by 31 May, then it is possible Gazprom will reduce gas supplies to Ukraine or provide it with the capacity it has paid for by 31 May," Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said during joint talks in Warsaw between Russia, Ukraine and European Commission.
He also warned that Ukraine might not be able to store enough gas during the summer for transit to European countries in the winter.
A third of the EU's gas demand is met by Russia, with almost half of that passing through Ukraine, which is currently in a pricing dispute with Russian gas exporter Gazprom, its third in the past decade.
Gazprom says Kyiv owes it some $3.5 billion ('‚¬2.5 billion) for gas already delivered.
Friday's gas talks were held after Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the EU to intervene to avert a repeat of gas cuts prompted by the two previous pricing disputes.
Coming out in support of Ukraine, EU Energy Commissioner G¼nther Oettinger told the gas meeting that the EU would support Ukrainian gas firm Naftogaz economically, adding he hoped there would be no gas stoppages.
"Stakeholders promised that there will be no stoppages in gas deliveries and despite ongoing legal issues, gas will be delivered to the EU and Ukraine by end-May," Oettinger told a press briefing. The three sides will meet again in mid-May and at the end of the month.
Ukraine Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said Kyiv was willing to pay a fair market price for gas.
The country enjoyed a brief price discount offered under former pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich earlier this year but Gazprom hiked the price in April following his ouster.
"Ukraine, having received from Russia an unjustified, discriminatory price for gas from 1 April 2014, at nearly $500 per 1000 cubic metres (up from under $300), will not be able to pay for gas deliveries at this price," said Ukraine's energy minister Prodan.
Divide and rule
Gas prices are also an issue between Russia and the EU, and Oettinger said EU member states should reject Moscow's "divide and rule" tactics on pricing.
"The game of 'divide et impera' (divide and rule), or a game of this type proposed by Moscow, cannot be and will not be accepted by EU member states," Oettinger said, referring to the varying prices Russia charges across Europe.
He called for a unified EU gas price from Russia, reflecting tougher talk on energy in Europe in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis.
"We want a uniform gas price in the European common market," Oettinger said at the joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk [read more].
Tusk has also promoted the idea of an EU energy union and joint purchases of Russian gas [read more].
Currently, EU member states buy Russian gas under bilateral contracts with Moscow while joint purchases would improve EU's negotiating power and likely lower prices.
"We have very big differences in terms of gas prices. The higher the share of Russian gas in purchases and the bigger the monopoly Russia has in supplies, the higher the prices are," Oettinger said.
Gazprom said his pricing proposal raised contractual questions. "We would like to know if the proposal is to unify the price for all suppliers of gas to Europe, not only Russia," said spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov.
Gazprom boss Alexei Miller was attended the talks on Friday when asked about idea told Reuters: "What I'm most concerned about is that Ukraine said today it is unable to guarantee stable transit to Europe this winter."
Prodan said Ukraine was ready to guarantee smooth transit and he hoped an ongoing arbitration in Stockholm over what Ukraine sees as artificially high prices may lead to the realisation that in fact Ukraine owes Gazprom no money.
Price disputes between Moscow and Kyiv prompted Gazprom to switch off supplies in 2006 and again in 2009, causing winter heating and cooking gas shortages in Ukraine and several states which receive gas via the country.
The EU has since made some progress in diversifying its energy mix yet its reliance on Russian oil, gas and coal has continued to rise, with Europe paying Moscow $250 billion in annual energy bills.
Oettinger also said Europe should have pan-European grids for natural gas and electricity, including more power links between countries.
"The infrastructure with regard to gas and energy transit should have a pan-European character and should also include Ukraine, Georgia and Western Balkans," Oettinger said. "We want to prove our solidarity with Ukraine."
Major_russian_gas_pipelines_to_europe.png (PNG Image, 771 — 807 pixels) - Scaled (85%)
Mon, 05 May 2014 17:17
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Ukraine crisis speeding Finnish-Estonian LNG project | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Wed, 07 May 2014 20:06
Environment Minister Ville Niinist¶ in Helsinki on Tuesday.Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / LehtikuvaThe plan under consideration is for the construction of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on either side of the Gulf of Finland, along with a pipeline to connect the two terminals.
Companies involved in the venture have agreed to finish an analysis of its economic feasibility by the end of this month.
Speaking in Helsinki at the opening of the EU election campaign for Green League candidates, Niinist¶ said that the growing discussion of energy self-sufficiency has shown the EU Commission the importance of the decision.
"This is a good thing for Finland," said the Environment Minister.
Niinist¶ continued that Finland should also invest more in renewable energy and domestic sources such as waste wood from forestry activities, heat pumps, wind and solar, smart power networks and energy efficiency.
"It is said that by 2030 no less than 50 percent of our energy production could be completely renewable energy. With bio-fuels and cleaner transport, for example the share of oil and gas could be significantly reduced, thus in practice dependence on Russia would end by then," stated Ville Niinist¶.
"Products could be imported from Russia, as one alternative among others, but without dependence," he added.
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Russian MPs ban swearing by popular bloggers '-- RT Russian politics
Thu, 08 May 2014 04:41
Published time: April 22, 2014 15:00RIA Novosti / Ekaterina Shtukina
The Lower House has given its final approval to the controversial draft law tightening the regulations on the Russian blogosphere and bringing popular bloggers close to conventional mass media, including a ban on obscene language.
The new bill introduces a definition of blogger to Russian legislation for the first time. Once it is signed into law popular blogs, defined as those that have 3000 or more visitors per day, will be registered in a special list maintained by the consumer rights agency Rospotrebnadzor. The authors will have to sign the posts with their real name and if it does not happen the state watchdog would require hosting providers and owners of blog platforms to provide the information. Refusal to comply will be punished with fines of between 10,000 and 30,000 rubles ($270- $833) for individuals and between 50,000 and 300,000 rubles ($1400- $8300) for businesses.
Other rules applying to state-registered bloggers are similar to those working in the mainstream mass media '' they are banned from posting extremist and terrorist information, propagating pornography or violence, and disclosing state or commercial secrets. The bloggers will be obliged to verify the information they post, delete false reports and abstain from disclosing people's personal data. They will also be banned from using obscene language. Some other restrictions may apply, such as the ''day of silence'' ahead of elections.
At the same time bloggers receive the right to make official enquiries and for commercial activities '' they can have advertising in their posts and receive money for it.
The bill has drawn a lot of criticism from internet activists and Human Rights advocates who said that it was equating bloggers to conventional media outlets and therefore contradicted the existing federal law on mass media.
However the sponsors of the law rejected these allegations saying that the bill introduced the very definition of blogger and mentioned that websites already registered as mass media do not fall under its regulations.
Proponents also dismissed the fears that bloggers would be obliged to keep 12-hour logs of internet connections and present them to the security services without a court warrant, as provided by recent amendments to the federal law on information, saying that this is the responsibility of those who distribute the information - hosting providers and blog platforms.
ITAR-TASS '-- Expert Opinions
Wed, 07 May 2014 14:23
ITAR-TASS/Artyom Starikov
MOSCOW, April 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's popular bloggers will now have to brace for considerable restrictions of their rights. The State Duma has just adopted a law introducing new rules they will have to abide by. The document incorporates a package of bills for effective struggle against terrorism and extremism. Earlier, the bill drew a mixed response from society, including sharp criticism from human rights activists.
The law introduces a new term: ''Internet user called blogger.'' Bloggers will be obliged to declare their family name and initials and e-mail address. Those authors whose personal website or page in social networks has 3,000 visitors or more a day must have themselves registered on a special list and abide by restrictions applicable to the mass media. In other words, registration requires the blogger should check the authenticity of published information and also mention age restrictions for users. Also, bloggers will have to follow mass media laws concerning electioneering, resistance to extremism and the publication of information about people's private lives. An abuse of these requirements will be punishable with a fine of 10,000 to 30,000 roubles (roughly 300 dollars to 1,000 dollars) for individuals and 300,000 roubles (10,000 roubles) for legal entities. A second violation will be punishable with the website's suspension for one month.
Many observers have arrived at the conclusion that the document in fact treats bloggers as mass media from the standpoint of obligations, but grants them no corresponding rights. The heads of State Duma committees deny this, though. ''The media argue that under this law bloggers have been declared as a variety of mass media. This is not so,'' says the chairman of the State Duma's information policies committee, Aleksei Mitrofanov. ''Under that law special legal regulation for bloggers is to be introduced,'' he said. ''It is the other way round, bloggers who have been registered as an online publication are not subject to the operation of that law.''
Nevertheless, back during the discussion phase the bill came under strong criticism from society. In particular, a majority of members of the presidential council for civil society and human rights came out against its adoption in the present shape. HRC Chairman Mikhail Fedotov said the bill contradicted the existing law on the mass media.
Presidential human rights ombudsman Ella Pamfilova said that the introduction of extra restrictions would merely induce attempts to sidestep them and ''hinder the emergence of law abidance in young people's minds.'' She warns that the bill has very big chances of being taken before a Constitutional Court.
The bill is half-baked and leaves many legal loopholes unplugged. For instance, it is unclear what is to be done to foreign bloggers, says HRC member Ilya Shablinsky. ''The real purpose of the bill is to prevent any criticism of the authorities,'' he speculates.
Any protective barriers are not only counter-productive, but just useless in the global network, which is a trans-border resource providing anonymity, the daily Novyie Izvestia quotes HRC member Aleksandr Verkhovsky as saying.
''The problem is there is a certain reflex at work here. Everything that looks dangerous should be banned. However, if the state begins to black out information, it will be doomed to fail. I twill merely and to annoy one and all.''
Assistant lecturer at the international law chair of the department of law at the Russian Presidential Academy of the Economy and Civil Service, internet technologies specialist Madina Kasenova in an interview to Itar-Tass has described the law on bloggers as ''legally redundant''. She said it would be very wrong to apply the same standards to all Internet users and Internet resources. ''If one legal norm is applied to this diversity, then the law will either not work at all, or work only when somebody will benefit from it,'' the analyst said.
In her opinion the flaws in the existing legislation are largely a result of lawmakers' haste. ''What we observe is not a very good tendency '' there is no correlation between different laws,'' she said.
ITAR-TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors
Putin signs law forcing bloggers to register with Russian media office | The Verge
Wed, 07 May 2014 14:22
President Vladimir Putin has signed a law tightening the Russian government's already strong hold on the internet. Earlier this week, Putin officially passed what's become known as the "bloggers law," which requires popular internet writers to follow rules normally reserved for larger media outlets. Under it, any blogger with more than 3,000 readers is required to register with the Roskomnadzor, Russia's media oversight agency. According to Reporters Without Borders, the law covers not only traditional blogs but microblogs and social networks. In addition to following existing laws, writers will be responsible for fact-checking any information they post and removing any inaccurate comments, and they're forbidden from harming the reputation of a person or group or using their platform to "hide or falsify information of general interest."
Bloggers will have to fact-check stories and manage comments
Aleksey Mitrofanov, head of the State Duma legislative body's information policies committee, has denied that this law regulates bloggers as a kind of mass media. "Special legal regulation for bloggers is to be introduced," he told the ITAR-TASS News Agency when the bill passed in April. "It is the other way round, bloggers who have been registered as an online publication are not subject to the operation of that law." But it apparently strips away one of the most basic elements of blogging: anonymous or pseudonymous publishing. Popular writers will be required to publish their surname, initials, and email address, apparently in addition to registering with the Roskomnadzor. Reporters Without Borders has criticized the law's wording as vague, and Global Voices notes that if a writer falls below 3,000 readers, they apparently bear the burden of proactively trying to get their name removed from the register. According to ITAR-TASS, individual violaters will be fined between 10,000 and 30,000 rubles (roughly $280 to $850 at the current exchange rate), while "legal entities" will face fines of 300,000 rubles or $8,500.
Russia passed a sweeping internet filtering bill in 2012, and the Kremlin has increasingly used its power to pressure critical media outlets. In December of last year, Putin dissolved the venerable RIA Novosti news service, putting its remains under the control of a supporter. A month later, Pavel Durov, founder of "Russian Facebook" VKontakte, sold his stake to an ally of Putin. Popular opposition blogger Alexei Navalny saw his blog blocked by ISPs in March; the news site of chess champion Garry Kasparov, among others, was also caught up in the crackdown. Along with the "blogger law," Putin also signed a bill barring profanity in films, theater, and other media, though its full scope is unclear.
The rules' implications for international bloggers seem nebulous, and while the Roskomnadzor will probably use external traffic measurements, some sites are attempting to make it harder to find a blog's readership. In April, ahead of the bill's passage, search engine Yandex shut down its blog search ranking tool. Later that month, Livejournal head Dmitry Pilipenko announced that all Livejournal subscription counts would stop at 2,500, with only bloggers and moderators able to see the real number. Page view-based rankings will also stop. "The above changes are based on plans to take measures to optimize the service," Pilipenko insisted. "All coincidences are accidental."
Ukraine crisis: Putin awards pro-Kremlin journalists medals for their 'objective coverage' of Crimea - Europe - World - The Independent
Wed, 07 May 2014 08:44
The annexation of the southern region has been widely condemned as illegal by the West, with the Prime Minister David Cameron describing the move as ''in flagrant breach of international law''.
But Mr Putin has since secretly awarded prestigious "Order of Service to the Fatherland" medals to pro-Kremlin journalists in what is being considered as an escalation of Russia's propaganda war over the Ukraine crisis.
Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told The Moscow Times: "I can confirm that such a decree was signed, but we usually do not publish them. Now, since this information has become public, we do not plan to add any details about it."
The awards have been received by some executives of Russia's major state-owned television channels and Margarita Simonyan, editor of the pro-Kremlin English-language channel Russia Today (RT), talk-show host Arkady Mamontov and the head of the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, Aleksander Zharov, whose organisation reportedly blocked access to several popular opposition blogs.
In comparison, no journalists from the independent television channel Dozhd or the radio station Ekho Moskvy, which are more critical of the Kremlin's policies, received the award.
In March, Liz Wahl, the American news anchor for RTresigned live on air in response to the station's ''whitewashed'' coverage of events in Ukraine.
Abby Martin, a journalist also working for the network, also made headlines when she went off script to denounce Russia's military presence in Crimea.
Her remarks led to the station releasing a statement saying they would be sending her to Crimea ''to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story''.
Russia Today anchor Abby Martin voiced her personal views live on air However, Russian media deny they are part of a propaganda campaign and accuse Western journalists of bias, a charge that has found fertile ground in eastern Ukraine where some reporters have already been taken hostage or beaten.
Russia's well-organised and well-financed state media have portrayed events in a style reminiscent of the Soviet era, peppering their reports with the message that Ukrainians, as during World War Two, may be cooperating with fascists.
Several Russian newspapers used the same photo on Monday on their front page, showing a man with flames licking up his sleeve as he throws a Molotov Cocktail into the burning trade union building in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in violent clashes on the streets.
Blaming Friday's trouble on far-right Ukrainian groups, the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda ran a banner headline declaring: "Dirty scumbags!"
A protester walks past a burning pro-Russian tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa Some Russian media also likened the blaze to a World War Two Nazi massacre when all the residents of a Belarussian village were burnt alive.
Other allegations by officials that only drunks and drug addicts follow the pro-Russians have also fallen flat, leaving it to Ukraine's bloggers to vent the widespread frustration with not only the pro-Russians but with their new leaders as well.
"At the time of war, everyone lies," said a post on the 'Odessa on fire' website, in a bid to defuse debate over who was responsible for the more than 40 deaths on Friday.
But while much of the Ukrainian blogosphere undermines their leaders, Russian media coverage is helping to boost support for Mr Putin, whose ratings last week hit 82 percent - the highest since 2010.
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F-RUSSIA-Poetin gaat voor 'valse' winst op Songfestival - AD.nl
Wed, 07 May 2014 23:43
Bewaar Door: Karen Van Eyken7-5-14 - 20:56 bron: Bild(C) ..In Kopenhagen gonst het van de geruchten dat Poetin heuse 'voting camps' in voormalige Sovjetstaten zou hebben opgericht om te kunnen zegevieren op de liedjeswedstrijd. Dat meldt de Duitse krant Bild.
(C) epa.(C) afp.(C) ap.Mark Pittelkau, een reporter van de Duitse krant die verslag uitbrengt vanuit Kopenhagen, weet het zeker. Poetin voert de directe politieke druk op de organisatie van het Songfestival achter de coulissen gestaag op. Net zoals de voorgaande jaren overigens. In 2008 won Rusland het liedjesfestijn.
ApolitiekZoals bekend is, heeft de Russische president niet alleen de touwtjes bij de staatstelevisie stevig in handen, maar dirigeert hij ook de tweelingzusjes die de kleuren van zijn land verdedigen. Zo mogen Anastasia en Maria, alias de Tolmachevy Sisters, geen politieke uitspraken doen en al zeker niet over de gespannen situatie in de Krim. De jongedames laten zich in interviews dan ook niet uit over Poetin of de situatie in Oekra¯ne.
Het brandend verlangen om de overwinning op het Songfestival in de wacht te slepen, zou de Russische president aangezet hebben om het stemvee in vroegere Sovjetstaten te mobiliseren. In zogenaamde 'voting camps' horen de uitverkorenen slechts (C)(C)n ding te doen: stemmen op Rusland.
BoegeroepDe halve finale van de liedjeswedstrijd was alvast geen onverdeeld succes voor de tweelingzusjes. Ook al konden ze zich, al dan niet met hulp van voting camps, verzekeren van een plaats in de finale, het resultaat van de stemming werd op boegeroep onthaald door de toeschouwers in Kopenhagen. De kandidate van Oekra¯ne, Mariya Yaremchuk, wist zich daarentegen verzekerd van publieke steun met haar nochtans bevreemdende 'hamsteract'.
Volgens de journalist van Bild vloeiden achter de coulissen, ver weg van de schijnwerpers, bittere tranen bij de piepjonge Tolmachevy Sisters na de publieke afwijzing. Worden het zaterdag tranen van vreugde?
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVERENRapporteer een fout in het artikel aan onze redactieMeer overgerelateerd nieuwsMeer over(C) 2014 De Persgroep Digital. Alle rechten voorbehouden.Lees de gebruiksvoorwaarden. - Privacy
Volg het nieuws op onze zustersite in Belgi www.hln.be. Showbizz: celebrities, film, muziek, royalty, kunst en literatuur
Eurovision 2014 semi-final one: Russian and Ukraine make the Grand Final
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:19
Set in Copenhagen, Denmark, this year's first ten finalists have been confirmed as: Montenegro, Hungary, Armenia, Azerbaijan, San Marino, Sweden, The Netherlands, Iceland, Russia, and Ukraine -with the latter countries likely to deploy particularly political voting tactics in light of recent unrest in the region.
Countries which didn't make the final cut include: Latvia, Estonia, Belgium, Portugal, Moldova, and Albania.
This means bookies favourites to qualify this evening: Aram MP3 of Armenia, Ukraine's Maria Yaremchuk, Kallay-Saunders representing Hungary, and Azerbaijan's Dilara Kazimova, will all be allowed to compete at the weekend.
France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the UK, and last year's winner Denmark will not perform in either heat, as they are guaranteed spots in the contest.
Read more:Eurovision 2014: Semi-final and final explainedMeet the Eurovision 2014 contestantsWhy is Eurovision so political?Conchita Wurst faces transphobic backlashThe remaining ten contenders will be chosen in the Second Semi-Final on 8 May.
EBU Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, said the 59th Eurovision Song Contest promises two more excellent shows.
''Tonight's semi-final got the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest off to a flying start, with some wonderful performances from the artists and, of course, world-class TV pictures from Danish EBU Member DR. I'm eager to see the story of this year's contest unfold with the second Semi-Final on Thursday and the Grand Final on Saturday," he said.
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Desperation - Ukraine Enacts Forced Military Draft for all Males 18 to 25
Mon, 05 May 2014 17:46
After admitting yesterday that they were unable to control their existing military, the provisional government in Kiev has come up with a solution: create a new one, by force. Anyone see the problem here?
Over and over this past month I've been asking myself one question: how does Washington pick puppets for the governments that it topples? Do they put out an ad on Craigslist? Did they use temp agencies? Was there just a shortage of qualified applicants for the job in Ukraine, or has the American ruling class really degenerated to such a degree that they thought these clowns could pull this off? I'm inclined towards the latter interpretation.
After two failed attempts to use the military to crush the separatist uprising in the east, and after admitting yesterday that they were unable to control their police and military, today the acting president of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov has announced that all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 25 must register for a compulsory military draft. Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.
This forced military conscription comes after several attempts to organize voluntary defense forces. Apparently the response was lack luster. People don't want to fight for Kiev. Heck, even the Ukraine's existing military doesn't want to fight for Kiev.
The provisional government's brilliant solution: force the youth into the military.
Just one problem Turchynov: how are you going to force people to comply with the draft if you don't control the police and military? Duh. Having the ability to apply force is kind of a prerequisite when you make something mandatory, especially when you're talking about something as controversial as a draft.
Russia doesn't need to invade Ukraine. The provisional government is toppling themselves just fine.
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US Envoy Admits: No Evidence of Russian Involvement in Odessa
Tue, 06 May 2014 02:02
The Obama Administration is usually all set to back any hare-brained allegations Ukraine's interim government comes up with, but when interim PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk claimed Russia was secretly behind Friday's massacre of pro-Russian protesters in Odessa, that seems to have been too much.
So while Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt centered his CNN comments on insinuations that ''someone'' has a vested interest in seeing the situation grow more chaotic nationwide, he eventually conceded that there was no evidence of any Russian involvement in Odessa.
Pyatt went on to urge investigation into who was responsible for the incident, suggesting local police may have been complicit in the fire which killed at least 38 protesters in the city.
The admission that Russia wasn't behind the killing of pro-Russia protesters seems self-evident, but is actually a huge step for the US, which has been loathe to admit that any of the protesters in Ukraine who aren't on board with the pro-western interim government have any grievances of their own, and have long suggested they are, to a man, secret Russian spies.
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Russian Ribbons for the Caucasus | EurasiaNet.org
Wed, 07 May 2014 17:24
In coordination with the Kremlin, Russian activists plan an ex-USSR-wide distribution of black-and-orange ribbons meant to commemorate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. The caveat is that the St. George's ribbon has evolved to embody Russian power and nostalgia for the USSR; concepts that many in the Caucasus are not willing to wear on their sleeves. The state-run Russian Information Agency (RIA Novosti), a champion of the annual St.-George's-ribbon campaign, has announced that on May 9, the 69th anniversary of the 1945 Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, millions of ribbons will rain down on ex-Soviet countries, the South Caucasus included.
In an April 29 talk show, headlined ''St. George's Ribbon Struts across the Planet,'' RIA Novosti claimed that a massive ribbon-handout rally would be held in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. The ribbons, talk-show participants said, also would be up for grabs at the Russian embassies in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova. In the case of Georgia, which severed diplomatic ties with Russia after the two countries' 2008 war, the Russian consulate at the Swiss embassy would provide the ribbons.
Many pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are wearing these ribbons, and the show host made sure to take a swipe at Ukrainian ''nationalists'' and their alleged attempts to ''erase the historic memory" of the war.
But it looks like the show and its claims of a post-Soviet team spirit may have been ultimately meant for a domestic, Russian audience. Despite RIA Novosti's imposing descriptions, Azerbaijan quickly denied planning any grandiose Russian-ribbon-wearing day. Whether it was after a call from above or not, the local pro-government activist group Ireli, tagged by RIA Novosti as the rally's main organizer, also denied any such plans, 1news.az reported.
For their part, Armenian news sources confirmed plans to distribute over 20,000 ribbons on May 9; not surprising, given Yerevan's close alliance with Russia and upcoming accession to the Moscow-led Customs Union.
In Georgia, there has been hardly any mention of a planned Russian-ribbon invasion.
It might prove tricky to tie ex-Soviet folks together with a ribbon which largely stands for Russian power; particularly in those countries with separatism problems of their own.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani participants in the RIA Novosti show, for instance, took time out from the bonhomie to exchange barbs about their own war over breakaway Nagorno Karabakh. Come May 9, the actual proportions of the Russian-ribbon-rally campaign may become more visible.
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Russia demands $3.8bn security deposit from Visa and Mastercard.
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:54
The law, signed by Vladimir Putin, was spurred by Visa and Mastercard's decision on 21 March to stop servicing payments for clients of Rossiya Bank. Photograph: Ria Novosti/Reuters
International credit card companies face a "severe impact" on their operations in Russia following a strict new law Moscow has adopted in response to Visa and Mastercard freezing service to banks under US sanctions.
Visa described the regulations as "unprecedented" and Mastercard said it could experience difficulties, the Russian magazine Snob reported, after Vladimir Putin signed a law on Monday to create a rival national payment system.
The law stipulates the creation of a homegrown system to facilitate cashless transactions by 1 July, but also imposes stiff new requirements on international payment systems operating in Russia.
The legislation was spurred on by Visa and Mastercard's decision on 21 March to stop servicing payments for clients of Rossiya Bank, as well as its daughter company Sobinbank. Rossiya Bank was included in the first round of US sanctions over the Ukraine crisis because it is owned by Putin associate Yury Kovalchuk and is the "personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation," the US Treasury said when announcing the sanctions.
Visa and Mastercard also blocked operations for cards issued by SMP Bank, which is owned by the brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, who are old judo buddies of Putin's.
The new law forbids international payment systems from cutting off services to Russian clients and obliges them to base their processing centre in Russia. To ensure their good behaviour, international operators will have to place a security deposit in Russia's central bank equal to the average value of two days' worth of transactions.
Visa and Mastercard together processed $1.9bn (£1.12bn) in transactions per day last year '' 90% of all cashless payments in Russia '' equal to a $3.8bn security deposit, the Moscow Times reported.
The security deposit will be due in eight quarterly payments starting on 1 July. The law states that if a payment system unilaterally freezes operations for a Russian client, it is liable for a fee totalling 10% of its security deposit for each day without service.
Snob reported that Visa's representatives believed the security deposit to be too large. Visa did not comment on the report but said in a later statement that it was prepared to cooperate with Russia to solve issues related to the new law.
"Several provisions in the law are unprecedented and will have a severe impact on the payments market in Russia '' particularly cardholders, financial institutions and merchants," the statement said. "We intend to work closely with the government in order to resolve these issues."
Vladimir Tikhonov, an analyst at Otkritie investment bank, said the creation of an internal payment system has been undertaken in Australia and will make Russia's financial system "more stable from outside threat" '' not only sanctions, but also cyber-attacks. But even if Russia also creates its own replacement payment cards, agreements would need to be signed with foreign payment systems for these cards to work abroad, he added.
"The creation of a national payment system is not a replacement for Visa and Mastercard," Tikhonov said. "If Visa and Mastercard leave Russia, it will of course be a serious blow for both citizens and for businesses."
Goldman Agrees to Advise Ukraine for Free, Government Says - Bloomberg
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:09
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which hasn't arranged a debt or equity sale in Ukraine since at least 1999, will advise the government of the former Soviet republic free of charge.
The bank, led by Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, will advise the administration of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on managing its investments, state debt and ''other issues of financial-policy implementation,'' the government said in a statement dated June 20 and published on its website today.
The selection follows Goldman's third attempt in 17 years to crack the neighboring Russian market where it has been ramping up presence and wooing the Kremlin for roles in asset sales. The bank, once the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, wasn't involved in a single deal since 1999 as the Ukrainian government and companies raised $41.4 billion in stock and debt sales during the period, Bloomberg data show.
Monika Schaller, a Goldman spokeswoman in Frankfurt, didn't immediately respond to two telephone calls and a written request seeking comment.
Second Bailout
Ukraine's government, which in July obtained a $15.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund for its second bailout in two years, expects its debt servicing payments to peak between 2012 and 2016. The nation resumed Eurobond sales in 2010 after a three-year break and has sold $2.75 billion of debt so far this year. The government may issue as much as $4.5 billion in bonds in 2011, according to the budget plan.
Ukraine has also twice extended a $2 billion six-month loan from VTB Group, Russia's second-largest bank, which it received last year.
The IMF has so far released $3.4 billion in two tranches, helping the government cover its deficit and boost foreign- currency reserves. The third disbursement, initially planned for March, has been delayed after the authorities failed to raise the retirement age and increase household utility prices.
Ukraine may receive $3 billion from the IMF in September, Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tigipko said June 22.
The government will have to repay 153.3 billion hryvnia ($19.2 billion) between 2012 and 2016, the Finance Ministry said Dec. 28. Ukraine's state debt, including guarantees, more than tripled since the beginning of 2008, surging to $57.8 billion as of May 31, according to the ministry.
JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley (MS)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Morgan Stanley and VTB organized the government's $1.25 billion sale of five-year bonds this month. UBS AG (UBSN), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and Morgan Stanley were the top three of the 67 underwriters of Ukrainian share and bond sales between Jan. 1 1999 and now, Bloomberg data show.
In Russia, by contrast, Goldman jumped to fourth place in handling equity sales for Russian companies last year, its highest position ever, behind VTB Capital and Renaissance Capital, both based in Moscow, and Morgan Stanley.
Goldman, the fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets, was one of the four banks chosen by Russia's central bank June 14 to manage a sale of part of its stake in OAO Sberbank, a transaction that may be worth as much as $7 billion. It also helped sell 300 million pounds ($480 million) of sterling-denominated bonds issued by OAO Russian Railways June 15 and assisted with Russian search engine owner Yandex NV's $1.3 billion initial public offering in May.
To contact the reporters on this story: Kateryna Choursina in Kiev at kchoursina@bloomberg.net; Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at dkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.net;
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net;
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Statement by the Press Secretary on the President's Notification to Remove Certain Trade Benefits from Russia
Wed, 07 May 2014 22:04
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 07, 2014
The President notified Congress today that he intends to withdraw Russia's eligibility for trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because Russia is sufficiently advanced economically that it no longer warrants preferential treatment reserved for less advanced developing countries, consistent with the requirements of the GSP program. Once Russia's eligibility is withdrawn, which would be effected via a presidential proclamation, U.S. imports of GSP-eligible goods from Russia will be subject to normal, non-preferential rates of duty.
Pussy Riot members meet with senators on Capitol Hill - UPI.com
Wed, 07 May 2014 17:36
WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Two members of the Russian punk-protest band Pussy Riot visited Capitol Hill on Tuesday to lobby U.S. senators to crack down on human rights violations in Vladimir Putin's Russia.Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who spent almost two years in Russian prison for their "Punk Prayer" in a Moscow church, met privately with a group of senators, including Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
''It is my pleasure to welcome to the United States Capitol members of the Pussy Riot,'' Cardin said. ''We had a chance to talk with them about the conditions today in Russia, the experiences that they had, including the fact that they were arrested and sent to prison, how they had tried to help the citizens of Russia deal with the current deterioration of human rights in Russia.''
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina called on members of Congress to add 16 more names to a list of Russian officials facing sanctions for human rights violations.
''These sanctions allow a huge number of people to talk about the human rights violations as a result,'' Tolokonnikova said.
(C) 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
AP ENTERPRISE: US to Use Tax Law on Russian Banks - ABC News
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:56
The United States is planning to use an anti-tax-evasion law to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine, a tactic that could prove to be more costly than sanctions.
The law was passed in 2010, long before the crisis in Ukraine. But it could become a powerful economic weapon.
Beginning in July, federal law requires U.S. banks to start withholding a 30 percent tax on certain payments to financial institutions in other countries unless those foreign banks have agreements in place to share information about U.S. account holders with the Internal Revenue Service. The withholding applies mainly to investment income.
Russia and dozens of other countries have been negotiating information-sharing agreements with the U.S. in an effort to spare their banks from such harsh penalties.
But after Russia annexed Crimea and was seen as stoking separatist movements in eastern Ukraine, the Treasury Department quietly suspended negotiations in March. With the July 1 deadline approaching, Russian banks are now concerned that the price of investing in the United States is about to go up.
"It's a huge deal," said Mark E. Matthews, a former IRS deputy commissioner. "It would throw enormous uncertainty into the Russian banking community."
The new law means Russian banks that buy U.S. securities after July 1 could forfeit 30 percent of the interest and dividend payments. The withholding applies to stocks and bonds, including U.S. Treasurys. Some previously owned securities would be exempt from the withholding, but in general, previously owned stocks would not.
Private investors who use Russian financial institutions to facilitate trades also face the withholding penalty. Those private investors could later apply to the IRS for refunds, but the inconvenience would be enormous.
"It's a big problem for them," said Matthews, who is a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale, a tax firm based in Washington. "It decreases their competitiveness, and they may have capital flight elsewhere."
The U.S. and Russia are significant trading partners, though not all transactions would be subject to withholding. Last year, the U.S. imported $27 billion in goods from Russia, which ranked 18th among importers to the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. The U.S. exported $11 billion in goods to Russia.
The withholding would expand in 2017, if there was still no information-sharing agreement. At that point, if investors sold stocks or bonds, U.S. banks would be required to withhold a 30 percent tax on the gross proceeds from those sales.
The law would also snag big global banks with subsidiaries that don't have agreements with the IRS to share information. At first the withholding could be limited to the subsidiaries. But eventually, if any part of a large global bank refused to comply with the information-sharing requirements, the entire bank would be penalized.
"That keeps an institution from deciding that it's going to register its entity in Germany but not register the entity it has in Switzerland," said Denise Hintzke of Deloitte Tax.
It would also provide a tremendous disincentive for large global banks to do business in countries where they can't share information with U.S. authorities.
More than 50 countries have reached agreements with the U.S. to share tax information about U.S. account holders. The list includes countries famous for bank secrecy, such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
Canada's military to remain in Eastern Europe all year, could go to Ukraine
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:57
Canadian military forces in Eastern Europe are expected to remain in the region until at least the end of the year, and could spend some time in Ukraine, as NATO digs in against Russia.
On Tuesday, Canadian defence chief Gen. Tom Lawson and NATO's top commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, provided some answers about what Canada is doing in Europe as the latter wrapped up a two-day trip to Ottawa.
Breedlove said the NATO forces that assembled in response to Russian actions in Ukraine are to be sustained through Dec. 31, though that could change depending on what alliance leaders decide when they meet in September.
Canada has contributed six CF-18 fighter jets and a naval frigate plus about 600 military personnel in recent weeks as NATO has moved to reassure Eastern European allies worried about Russia's broader intentions.
Questions have surrounded the deployments, including exactly how long the forces will remain overseas, what they will be doing, and even whether the fighter jets are armed.
Lawson revealed the CF-18s are not flying with weapons '-- they are training out of their airbase in Romania '-- and are not patrolling against Russian aircraft or other threats.
''The fighters are not armed,'' he said. ''They're entirely in a training mode.''
''They always arrive, as much of our equipment does, as will the ship, ready to be armed as required should any conditions change,'' Lawson said.
''But these are all training activities right now.''
The Canadian defence chief also said HMCS Regina will not arrive in the eastern Mediterranean to join with other NATO warships until at least mid-May.
At the same time, about 50 Edmonton-based soldiers doing parachute training alongside U.S. and Polish counterparts in Poland have been told they should prepare to stay 30 to 60 days. Even then, Lawson said, they could end up being gone longer.
''This is a platoon-plus that has been jumping into Poland, and they'll continue to carry out jump and infantry exercises for the next several weeks until it becomes exactly clear when that training mission will end,'' Lawson said.
The government had initially said they would finish in Poland on May 9.
Lawson also indicated the Canadian forces could participate in an annual U.S.-led training exercise called Rapid Trident scheduled to take place in Ukraine in July.
''I don't have the numbers,'' Lawson said in response to a question about Canada's contribution to Rapid Trident, ''but I'm not sure if it's been completely determined what the totality of our contributions to that exercise will be.''
During the news conference at National Defence headquarters, Breedlove reiterated his assertion that recent Russian actions had altered the security situation in Europe.
Asked if NATO allies should consider the permanent positioning of forces in the region, as was the case during the Cold War, he replied, ''I think this is something we have to consider.''
The two military commanders appeared together as fierce fighting between nationalist and pro-Russian forces continued to rage in eastern Ukraine, with dozens killed over the past few days.
Western and Russian diplomats, meanwhile, were at loggerheads over Ukraine's plans to hold a presidential election on May 25.
Breedlove said the Ukrainian government ''faces a difficult situation, dealing with well-armed forces that remain in control of various facilities'' and that the presence of 40,000 Russian troops on the country's border is ''not helping matters.''
''As we move forward, NATO will continue to support a diplomatic solution to this crisis,'' he added, ''while ensuring that we are prepared to meet any threat to alliance populations and territory.''
train ukraine border nuclear waste - Google Search
Wed, 07 May 2014 15:30
About 6,530,000 results
There's a train of nuclear waste from the EU waiting at the Ukraine...www.correntewire.com/theres_a_train_of_nuclear_waste_from_the_eu_ waiting_at_the_ukraine_border_do_tell- Cached1 day ago ... That train is still stuck on the Ukrainian border. ... Resonates with me, since theusual suspects want to fill Maine up with toxic waste too, and our ...They are going to dump nuclear waste in the Ukraine - Project Avalonprojectavalon.net/.../showthread.php?...are...nuclear-waste...Ukraine- Cached... in Ukraine of the nuclear waste from the US and EU..... ....as of now there is atrain with nuclear waste stuck on a train station on the border ...Ukraine Scandals! USA Raids Ukrainian Gold and EU Sends ...futuristrendcast.wordpress.com/.../ukraine-scandals-usa-raids-ukrainian-gold- and-eu-sends-nuclear-waste/- CachedApr 19, 2014 ... US and EU are trying to turn Ukraine into their nuclear waste graveyard ... is atrain full of nuclear waste stuck on a train station on the border ...Nuke train held up at German border. - Free Online Librarywww.thefreelibrary.com/Nuke+train+held+up+at+German+border.- a0241424232- CachedA train carrying nuclear waste from France to Germany has been held up at theborder ... The protest at Berg, a town on the German side of the border withFrench ... the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in area of the Soviet Union that is nowUkraine.French Nuclear Waste Train Enters Germanywww.voanews.com/content/...nuclear-waste-train.../148705.html- CachedNov 24, 2011 ... A French train carrying 11 containers of reprocessed nuclear waste entered ...Tension Continues in East Ukraine · Sissi: Muslim Brotherhood is 'Finished' ... thetrain Thursday before it reached the German border, in hopes of ...fursev transcript | Niqnaqniqnaq.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/fursev-transcript/- CachedApr 30, 2014 ... 49:00 The EU intends to bury nuclear waste on the site of Chernobyl, which in afew ... The waste train is waiting at the Polish-Ukrainian border.Battleground Ukraine: A Comprehensive Summary (From A Russian ...www.zerohedge.com/.../battleground-ukraine-comprehensive-summary- russian-perspective- Cached6 days ago ... It details the interests and affiliations of the main Ukrainian domestic players -oligarchical clans ... It's the border area of Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. ..... Asfar as I know, the train with nuclear waste is currently waiting at the ...Chernobyl Exclusion Zone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Exclusion_Zone- Cached - SimilarThe Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation (Ukrainian: Зона ... Itsborders have since been altered to cover a larger area of Ukraine. ..... fordeveloping nuclear technologies, including technology of nuclear wastesdisposal. .... is maintained and developed, such as the railway link to the outsideworld from the ...Images for train ukraine border nuclear wastethis will be hard going, spoken russian with english subtitles, but this ...https://niqnaq.wordpress.com/.../this-will-be-hard-going-spoken-russian-with- english-subtitles-but-this-seems-to-be-the-real-gen-on-who-owns-w...- CachedApr 29, 2014 ... 49:00 The EU intends to bury nuclear waste on the site of Chernobyl, which in afew ... The waste train is waiting at the Polish-Ukrainian border.Nuclear waste train prompts protests | euronews, world newseuronews.com/2011/11/25/nuclear-waste-train-prompts-protests/- CachedNov 25, 2011 ... world news - Clashes bewteen police and anti-nuclear protesters broke out ...Ukraine unlikely to receive money from IMF before April '' Interfax quotes ... atrain carrying processed nuclear waste was expected to cross into ... The trainwas in Remilly on Friday morning some 70km from the German border.
US defends role of Kiev regime and fascists in Odessa massacre
Wed, 07 May 2014 09:13
By Barry Grey7 May 2014At a press briefing Monday, US State Department press spokeswoman Marie Harf defended the role of the US- and German-installed government in Kiev and its fascist allies in the murder of at least 42 pro-Russian demonstrators in Odessa last Friday.
Harf spoke only three days after a mob of soccer hooligans led by members of the neo-Nazi Right Sector militia forced pro-Russian protesters to take refuge in the city's Trade Unions House and then set the building on fire, trapping the Kiev regime opponents in the building. Video footage viewed by millions on the Internet shows the pro-regime fascists cheering as people jump to their death, and brutally beating those who survive the plunge from the burning building.
The fascist attack was aided and abetted by the police, who stood by while the Right Sector lobbed Molotov cocktails and later arrested 67 pro-Russian survivors of the attack.
The Right Sector, which, along with the neo-fascist Svoboda party, glorifies Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust against the Jews during World War II, served as the shock troops in the Western-orchestrated putsch that toppled the elected, pro-Russian government of President Victor Yanukovych last February and installed the current, unelected government.
The new regime, in which Svoboda members occupy prominent cabinet posts, has recruited Right Sector thugs into its National Guard and thrown them against pro-Russian oppositionists who have taken control of cities and towns in Ukraine's east. The fascists are being used to assist in a military crackdown that has already killed scores of insurgents.
Harf praised the Kiev government for its ''great restraint'' and attempted to blame last Friday's massacre in Odessa on the victims and Russia. She implicitly justified the mass killing of civilians by declaring that the Kiev government has ''a responsibility to maintain law and order for their own people.''
Amid stepped-up preparations by the regime for mass repression in Odessa as well as the rebellious regions in eastern Ukraine, including a more extensive use of Right Sector and other fascistic forces, Harf's statement amounts to a green light given in advance for even greater crimes.
In a posting on his Facebook page Monday, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said a special police unit comprising ''citizen activists'''--a euphemism for the far-right forces that spearheaded last February's putsch'--had been sent from Kiev to Odessa. Authorities there banned any celebration of the May 9 Victory Day holiday, which commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union. Further clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Kiev forces are expected that day and over the weekend.
On Tuesday, Kiev appointed a new military commander, reflecting dissatisfaction, particularly in Washington, with the pace and effectiveness of the crackdown against pro-Russian militants. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was recently caught in a leaked conversation advocating the nuclear incineration of ethnic Russians, called for the creation of a ''volunteer army'' to put down the uprising. A battalion commander of the National Guard told reporters in Kiev that paramilitaries who ousted Yanukovych were being urged to sign up for military duty.
Deputy Interior Minister Serhiy Cebotar announced Tuesday that the regime's supposedly ''independent'' investigation into the Odessa massacre had preliminarily established that the fire was started by the pro-Russian protesters themselves. Defying both facts and logic, he claimed that rebels on the roof of the Trade Unions House had dropped Molotov cocktails, igniting the higher floors of the building.
At Monday's press briefing, Harf put forward a similar line. Claiming ''the onus really is on the Russian government,'' she demanded that Russia ''pull their folks out of eastern Ukraine,'' reiterating the endlessly repeated but unsubstantiated assertion that Russian troops and agents are organizing the rebellion in the east. Just two weeks ago, the State Department distributed to the media what it said was proof of Russian infiltration. That ''proof'' was rapidly exposed as consisting of false information and doctored photographs.
Harf was asked: ''But what Kiev is doing now, does it qualify as restraint?''
She replied, ''Well, absolutely. Kiev has shown enormous restraint. And it you're referring to what happened on Friday in Odessa'... any loss of life is horrible'... but again, that started because pro-Russian forces and separatists started basically mob action attacking protesters. So going forward, we think that restraint is important, but so is keeping law and order.''
The reporter responded: ''But it doesn't matter how many people die? Those people brought it upon themselves, it's their fault. Is that what you are saying?
Harf replied, ''No, I'm not saying that at all,'' and then proceeded to imply precisely that, declaring, ''But the fact pattern of who started this and who started the escalation, who started the mob violence matters'...''
A second reporter raised the following: ''Russian Foreign Ministry is reporting a humanitarian disaster in eastern Ukraine towns which have been encircled by Ukrainian troops due to shortages of medicine and food. And they're also listing what they call a massive'--mass scale rights violations by what they say are ultra-nationalists in Ukraine.''
Harf replied, incoherently: ''Well, I think this is just the latest in the Russian version of events not matching up with what we see on the ground'... It's the Russian forces and the pro-Russian forces who crossed a border into another country who've been attempting to undermine that country's sovereignty. They're the ones who are committing these kinds of violations we've seen'...''
Harf's statements are typical of the lies and non sequiturs being churned out by the government and broadcast uncritically by the media to portray a criminal and provocative policy as an exercise in ''democracy,'' ''human rights'' and the defense of Ukrainian ''sovereignty.'' Harf herself embodies the character of the Obama administration as an instrument of the military intelligence complex in the service of the American financial oligarchy.
She got her start as a CIA Middle East analyst and later became a spokeswoman for the agency. She served as foreign policy spokesperson for Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign before getting her job at the State Department.
The actual situation in Ukraine is the direct opposite of the propaganda narrative of the Western imperialist governments and their media mouthpieces. The United States and Germany, in league with Ukrainian fascists, organized a coup, overthrew an elected government, and illegally installed a far-right client regime.
So much for defending national sovereignty and the democratic rights of the Ukrainian people to determine their own fate.
The justification for toppling the Yanukovych regime was the claim that it had forfeited its legitimacy by mobilizing its police to suppress armed, anti-government insurgents who had taken over government buildings in Kiev and attacked state security forces. Yet, amid an uprising in the east of Ukraine'--the political base of the toppled government'--in which armed protesters have occupied government buildings, Washington is not only supporting a far more massive mobilization of state military and security forces, along with fascist militias, to crush the rebellion, it is directing the operation by means of FBI and CIA personnel in Kiev.
The utilization of fascistic forces to overthrow governments and install client regimes is nothing new for US imperialism. This was the modus operandi in the toppling of Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Suharto in Indonesia in 1965, Pinochet in Chile in 1973, and many more, up to and including Gaddafi in 2011.
The current criminal operation is directed at the elimination of Russia as an obstacle to the imperialist ambitions of both the US and Germany. Their predatory actions, driven by an insoluble economic crisis, mounting great power rivalries, and escalating domestic social tensions threaten to ignite a war between nuclear-armed powers.
The bankruptcy of capitalism and the necessity for the development of an international movement of the working class against war based on a revolutionary socialist perspective is underscored by the type of forces being mobilized by the imperialist powers to be thrown against the resistance of workers all over the world.
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CIA, FBI agents 'advising Ukraine government': report
Mon, 05 May 2014 02:39
Berlin (AFP) - Dozens of specialists from the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are advising the Ukrainian government, a German newspaper reported Sunday.
Citing unnamed German security sources, Bild am Sonntag said the CIA and FBI agents were helping Kiev end the rebellion in the east of Ukraine and set up a functioning security structure.
It said the agents were not directly involved in fighting with pro-Russian militants. "Their activity is limited to the capital Kiev," the paper said.
The FBI agents are also helping the Kiev government fight organised crime, it added.
A group specialised in financial matters is to help trace the wealth of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, according to the report.
The interim Kiev government took charge in late February after months of street protests forced the ouster of Kremlin-friendly Yanukovych.
Fierce battles between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Russian separatists in the country's east have left more than 50 people dead in recent days.
Last month the White House confirmed that CIA director John Brennan had visited Kiev as part of a routine trip to Europe, in a move condemned by Moscow.
Politics & GovernmentUkrainian governmentUS Central Intelligence AgencyFBI
Stepan Bandera - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mon, 05 May 2014 17:10
Stepan Andriyovych Bandera (Ukrainian: ÐтеÐан АндÑійович БандеÑа; 1 January 1909 '' 15 October 1959) was a Ukrainian politician and one of the leaders of the Ukrainian nationalist movement in Western Ukraine which fought for Ukrainian independence. Bandera was responsible for the proclamation of an Independent Ukrainian State in Lviv on June 30, 1941, eight days after Germany's attack against the USSR. Members of Bandera's Ukrainian nationalist movement thought that they had found a new powerful ally in Nazi Germany to aid them in their struggle against the Soviet Union. Instead, the German leadership arrested the newly formed government and sent them to concentration camps in Germany. Bandera was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis until September 1944. Bandera was assassinated in 1959 by the KGB.[1][2] Assessments of Bandera's work have ranged from totally apologetic to sharply negative.[3] On 22 January 2010, the outgoing President of UkraineViktor Yushchenko awarded Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously).[4] The award was condemned by European Parliament, Russian, Polish and Jewish organizations,[5][6][7][8] and was declared illegal by the following Ukrainian government and a court decision in April 2010. In January 2011, the award was officially annulled.[9] Stepan Bandera remains a controversial figure today both in Ukraine and internationally.
Biography[edit]Early life[edit]Born in the village of Uhryniv Staryi, in the Kalush District of Galiсia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in present day Ukraine, Stepan's father, Andriy Bandera, was the Greek-Catholic rite parish priest of Uhryniv Staryi. His mother, Myroslava, was also from an established clerical family, the daughter of a Greek-Catholic priest in Uhryniv Staryi.
Stepan spent his childhood in Uhryniv Staryi, in the house of his parents and grandparents.
In the spring of 1922, his mother died from tuberculosis of the throat.
Education[edit]Bandera attended the Fourth Form Grammar School in Stryi,[10] where he also participated in sporting activities with the Sokil sports Society.
In 1923, at the age of 14, Bandera joined the Ukrainian scout organization "Plast" (Ukrainian: ПÐ>>аст). Later in his association with Plast, he became a member of the group Chornomortsi (Black Sea Sailors). Bandera received an unconfirmed 4 reprimands during his time as a yunak ("junior"), and is still considered[by whom?] an ideal Plast member.
After graduation from high school in 1927, he planned to attend the Ukrainian College of Technology and Economics in Podebrady in Czechoslovakia, but the Polish authorities did not grant him travel papers.[11]
In 1928, Bandera enrolled in the agronomy program at the Lwow Polytechnia (today, Lviv Polytechnic).[12]'--one of the few programs open to Ukrainians at the time. [10] This was due to restrictions placed on minority enrollment'--aimed primarily at Jews and Ukrainians'--in both secondary schools (gymnasia) and university level institutions by the Polish government.[13]
During his secondary and tertiary education Bandera actively took part in a number of political groups with a nationalist agenda, including in one of the most active of such groups, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the OUN (Ukrainian: ОÑÐ"анізація УкÑаїнських Ð'аціонаÐ>>істів).
Political activism[edit]Early Activities[edit]Stepan Bandera had met and associated himself with members of a variety of Ukrainian nationalist organizations throughout his schooling'--from Plast, to the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (Ukrainian: УкÑаїнська Ð'извоÐ>>ьна ОÑÐ"анізація) and also the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the OUN (Ukrainian: ОÑÐ"анізація УкÑаїнських Ð'аціонаÐ>>істів). The most active of these organizations was the OUN, and the leader of the OUN was Andriy Melnyk.[10]
Because of his determined personality, Stepan Bandera quickly rose through the ranks of these organizations, becoming the chief propaganda officer of the OUN in 1931, the second in command of OUN in Galicia in 1932''33, and the head of the National Executive or the OUN in 1933.[12]
For Bandera, an inclusive policy of nation building was important and therefore, he focused on growing support amongst all classes of Ukrainians in Western parts of Ukraine. In the early 1930s, Bandera was very active in finding and developing groups of Ukrainian nationalists in both Western and Eastern Ukraine.[10]
OUN[edit]Stepan Bandera became head of the OUN national executive in Galicia in June 1933. He expanded the OUN's network in Western Ukraine, directing it against both Poland and the Soviet Union. To stop expropriations, Bandera turned OUN against the Polish officials who were directly responsible for anti-Ukrainian policies. Activities included mass campaigns against Polish tobacco and alcohol monopolies and against the denationalization of Ukrainian youth. He was arrested in Lviv in 1934, and tried twice: first, concerning involvement in a plot to assassinate the minister of internal affairs, Bronisław Pieracki, and second at a general trial of OUN executives. He was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to death.[12]
The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.[12] He was held in Wronki Prison; in 1938 some of his followers tried unsuccessfully to break him out of the jail.[14]
According to various sources, Bandera was freed in September 1939, either by Ukrainian jailers after Polish jail administration left the jail,[15] by Poles[16] or by the Nazis soon after the German invasion of Poland.[17][18][19]
Soon thereafter Eastern Poland fell under Soviet occupation. Upon release from prison, Bandera moved to Krakow, the capital of the Germany's occupational General Government. There, he came in contact with the leader of the OUN, Andriy Melnyk. In 1940, the differences between the opinions of the two leaders were strained and the OUN split into two factions'--the Melnyk faction led by Andriy Melnyk, which preached a more conservative approach to nation-building, (also known as the OUN-M), and the Bandera faction led by S. Bandera, which supported a revolutionary approach, (also known as the OUN-B).[20]
OUN(B) sought support in Germany's military circles, while the OUN(M) sought connections with its ruling clique. In November 1939 about 800 Ukrainian nationalists began training in Abwehr's military camps. In the first days of December, Bandera, without co-ordination with Melnyk, sent a courier to Lviv with directives for preparation of an armed uprising. The courier was intercepted by the NKVD, which had captured some of the OUN(M)'s leaders. Another such attempt was prevented in Autumn 1940.
Formation of Mobile Groups[edit]Before the independence proclamation of 30 June 1941, Bandera oversaw the formation of so-called "Mobile Groups" (Ukrainian: мобіÐ>>ьні Ð"ÑуÐи) which were small (5-15 members) groups of OUN-B members who would travel from General Government to Western Ukraine and after German advance to Eastern Ukraine to encourage support for the OUN-B and establishing the local authorities ruled by OUN-B activists.[21] This included printing out pamphlets and growing membership in OUN.
In total, approximately 7,000 people participated in these mobile groups, and they found followers among a wide circle of intellectuals, such as Ivan Bahriany, Vasyl Barka, Hryhorii Vashchenko, and many others.[22]
Formation of the UPA[edit]Relationship with Nazi Germany[edit]The intermittently close relationship between Bandera, the OUN and Nazi Germany have been described by historians such as David Marples as "ambivalent", tactical and opportunistic, with both sides trying to exploit the other unsuccessfully.[23]
Prior to Operation Barbarossa, according to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and other sources, Bandera held meetings with the heads of Germany's intelligence, regarding the formation of "Nachtigall" and "Roland" Battalions. In spring the OUN received 2.5 million marks for subversive activities inside the USSR.[21][24][25]
Gestapo and Abwehr officials protected Bandera followers, as both organizations intended to use them for their own purposes.[26]
On June 30, 1941, with the arrival of Nazi troops in Ukraine, Bandera and the OUN-B declared an independent Ukrainian State. Some of the published proclamations of the formation of this state say that it "will work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany, under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Moscovite occupation." - as stated in the text of the "Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood".[21][25]
In 1941 relations between Nazi Germany and the OUN-B soured to the point where a Nazi document dated 25 November 1941 stated that "... the Bandera Movement is preparing a revolt in the Reichskommissariat which has as its ultimate aim the establishment of an independent Ukraine. All functionaries of the Bandera Movement must be arrested at once and, after thorough interrogation, are to be liquidated...".[27] On July 5, Bandera was arrested and transferred to Berlin. On July 12, the president of the newly formed Ukrainian state, Yaroslav Stetsko, was also arrested and taken to Berlin. Although released from custody on July 14, both were required to stay in Berlin.
In January 1942, Bandera was transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp's special barrack for high profile political prisoners Zellenbau.[28]
In April 1944 Bandera and his deputy Yaroslav Stetsko were approached by an RSHA official to discuss plans for diversions and sabotage against the Soviet Army.[29]
In September 1944 [30] Bandera was released by [the German authorities] which hoped that he will incite the native populace to fight the advancing Soviet Army. With German consent Bandera set up headquarters in Berlin.[31] Germans supplied OUN-B and UIA by air with arms and equipment. Assigned German personnel and agents trained to conduct terrorist and intelligence activities behind Soviet lines, as well as some OUN-B leaders, were also transported by air until early 1945.[32][33]
Postwar activity[edit]According to Stephen Dorril, author of MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, OUN-B was re-formed in 1946 under the sponsorship of MI6. The organization had been receiving some support from MI6 since the 1930s.[34] One faction of Bandera's organization, associated with Mykola Lebed, became more closely associated with the CIA.[35]
Views towards other ethnic groups[edit]Poles[edit]In May 1941 at a meeting in Krakow the leadership of Bandera's OUN faction adopted the program "Struggle and action for OUN during the war" (Ukrainian: "БоÑотьба й діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ' Ðід час війни>>) which outlined the plans for activities at the onset of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the western territories of the Ukrainian SSR.[36] Section G of that document ''"Directives for first days of the organization of the living state" (Ukrainian: "Ð'казівки на ÐеÑÑі дні оÑÐ"анізації деÑжавноÐ"о життя>>) outline activity of the Bandera followers during summer 1941 [37] In the subsection of "Minority Policy" the OUN-B ordered the removal of hostile Poles, Jews, and Russians via deportation and the destruction of their respective intelligentsias, stating further that the "so-called Polish peasants must be assimilated" and to "destroy their leaders."
In late 1942, Bandera's organization, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, was involved in a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Volhynia, and in early 1944, these campaigns began to include Eastern Galicia. It is estimated that nearly 70,000 Poles, mostly women and children along with unarmed men, were killed during the spring and summer campaign of 1943 in Volhynia[38] by the OUN-Bandera which bears primary responsibility for the massacres.
Despite the central role played by Bandera's followers in the massacre of Poles in western Ukraine, Bandera himself was interned in a German concentration camp when the concrete decision to massacre the Poles was made and when the Poles were killed. According to Jaroslaw Hrycak, during his internment, from the summer of 1941, he was not completely aware of events in Ukraine and moreover had serious differences of opinion with Mykola Lebed, the OUN-B leader who remained in Ukraine [39] and who was one of the chief architects of the massacres of Poles.[40] Bandera was thus not directly involved in those massacres.[39]
Jews[edit]Unlike competing Polish, Russian, Hungarian or Romanian nationalisms in late imperial Austria, imperial Russia, interwar Poland and Romania, Ukrainian nationalism did not include antisemitism as a core aspect of its program and saw Russians as well as Poles as the chief enemy with Jews playing a secondary role.[41] Nevertheless, Ukrainian nationalism was not immune to the influence of the antisemitic climate in the Eastern and Central Europe,[41] that had already become highly racialized in the late 19th century, and had developed an elaborate anti-Jewish discourse.[42] However, Ukrainian nationalistic Jews were welcome in the Banderivtsy, provided they adopted the identity of the Galician Karaites, who were regarded as loyal compatriots.[43]
The predominance of the Soviet central government, rather than the Jewish minority, as the principal perceived enemy of Ukrainian nationalists was highlighted at the OUN-B's Conference in Krakow in 1941 when it declared that "The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in a time of frustration into pogroms on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously it renders the masses conscious of the fact that the principal foe is Moscow."[44] In May 1941 at a meeting in Krakow the leadership of Bandera's OUN faction adopted the program "Struggle and action of OUN during the war" (Ukrainian: "БоÑотьба й діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ' Ðід час війни>>) which outlined the plans for activities at the onset of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and the western territories of the Ukrainian SSR.[36] Section G of that document ''"Directives for first days of the organization of the living state" (Ukrainian: "Ð'казівки на ÐеÑÑі дні оÑÐ"анізації деÑжавноÐ"о життя>>) outline activity of the Bandera followers during summer 1941 [37] In the subsection of "Minority Policy" the OUN-B ordered: "Moskali, Poles, and Jews that are hostile to us must be exterminated in this struggle, especially those who would resist our regime: deport them to their own lands, importantly: destroy their intelligentsia that may be in the positions of power ... Jews must be isolated, removed from governmental positions in order to prevent sabotage, those who are deemed necessary may only work with an overseer... Jewish assimilation is not possible." [45][46][47] Later in June Yaroslav Stetsko sent to Bandera a report in which he indicated - "We are creating a militia which would help to remove the Jews and protect the population." [48][49] Leaflets spread in the name of Bandera in the same year called for the "destruction" of ""Moscow", Poles, Hungarians and Jewry.[50][51][52] In 1941-1942 while Bandera was cooperating with the Germans, OUN members did take part in anti-Jewish actions.
In 1942 German intelligence concluded that Ukrainian nationalists were indifferent to the plight of the Jews and were willing to either kill them or help them, depending on what better served their cause. Several Jews took part in Bandera's underground movement,[53] including one of Bandera's close associates Richard Yary who was also married to a Jewish woman. Another notable Jewish UPA member was Leyba-Itzik "Valeriy" Dombrovsky. According to a report to the Chief of the Security Police in Berlin dated March 30, 1942, "...it has been clearly established that the Bandera movement provided forged passports not only for its own members, but also for Jews.".[54] The false papers were most likely supplied to Jewish doctors or skilled workers who could be useful for the movement.[55]
When Bandera was in conflict with the Germans, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army under his authority sheltered many Jews.[56] and included Jewish fighters and medical personnel.[57][58] In the official organ of the OUN-B's leadership, instructions to OUN groups urged those groups to "liquidate the manifestations of harmful foreign influence, particularly the German racist concepts and practices." [59]
On 15 October 1959, Stepan Bandera collapsed outside of Kreittmayrstrasse 7 in Munich and died shortly thereafter. A medical examination established that the cause of his death was poison (cyanide gas).[60] On October 20, 1959 Stepan Bandera was buried in the Waldfriedhof Cemetery in Munich.
Two years later, on 17 November 1961, the German judicial bodies announced that Bandera's murderer had been a KGB defector Bohdan Stashynsky who acted on the orders of Soviet KGB head Alexander Shelepin and Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.[61] After a detailed investigation against Stashynsky, a trial took place from 8 October to 15 October 1962. The sentence was handed down on 19 October in which Stashynsky was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. The Federal Court of Justice of Germany confirmed at Karlsruhe that in the Bandera murder, the Soviet secret service was the main guilty party.
Family[edit]His brother Aleksandr (who had a PhD in Political Economy from the University of Rome) and brother Vasyl (a graduate in Philosophy, Lviv University) were arrested and interned in Auschwitz, where they were allegedly killed by Polish inmates in 1942.[62]
Andriy Bandera, Stepan's father was arrested in late May 1941 for harbouring an OUN member and transferred to Kiev. In 8 July he was sentenced to death and executed on the 10th. His sisters Oksana and Marta-Maria were arrested by the NKVD in 1941 and sent to a GULAG in Siberia. Both were released in 1960 without the right to return to Ukraine. Marta-Maria died in Siberia in 1982, and Oksana returned to Ukraine in 1989 where she died in 2004. Another sister, Volodymyra - was sentenced to a term in Soviet labour camps from 1946-1956. She returned to Ukraine in 1956.[63] Stepan's brother Bohdan's fate remains unknown, as accounts vary: some sources[who?] say he was killed by the Gestapo in Mykolayiv in 1943, other sources[who?] say he was killed by the NKVD operatives in 1944, but to date even the family members have no definite information.
The Soviet Union actively campaigned to discredit Bandera and all other Ukrainian nationalist partisans of World War II.[64][65][66][67]
In an interview with Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in 2005 former KGB Chief Vladimir Kryuchkov claimed that "the murder of Stepan Bandera was one of the last cases when the KGB disposed of undesired people by means of violence."[68]
In late 2006 the Lviv city administration announced the future transference of the tombs of Stepan Bandera, Andriy Melnyk, Yevhen Konovalets and other key leaders of OUN/UPA to a new area of Lychakivskiy Cemetery specifically dedicated to victims of the repressions of the Ukrainian national liberation struggle.[69]
In October 2007, the city of Lviv erected a statue dedicated to Bandera.[70] The appearance of the statue has engendered a far-reaching debate about the role of Stepan Bandera and UPA in Ukrainian history. The two previously erected statues were blown up by unknown perpetrators; the current is guarded by a militia detachment 24/7. On October 18, 2007, the Lviv City Council adopted a resolution establishing the "Award of Stepan Bandera."[71][72]
On January 1, 2009 his 100th birthday was celebrated in several Ukrainian centres[73][74][75][76][77] and a postage stamp with his portrait was issued the same day.[78]
On January 1, 2014 Bandera's 105th birthday was celebrated by a torchlight procession of 15,000 people in the centre of Kiev and thousands more rallied near his statue in Lviv.[79][80][81] The march was supported by the Svoboda party and members of Batkivshchyna.[82]
Attitudes in Ukraine towards Bandera[edit]Bandera continues to be a divisive figure in Ukraine. Although Bandera is venerated in certain parts of western Ukraine, and 33% of Lviv's residents consider themselves to be followers of Bandera,[83] in surveys of Ukraine as a whole he, along with Joseph Stalin and Mikhail Gorbachev, is considered among the three historical figures who produce the most negative attitudes.[84] A national survey conducted in Ukraine in 2009 inquired about attitudes by region towards Bandera's faction of the OUN. It produced the following results: In Galicia (provinces of Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk) 37% had a "very positive" opinion of Bandera, 26% a "mostly positive" opinion, 20% were neutral, "mostly negative", 6% very negative, and 6% unsure. In Volhynia, 5% had a very positive opinion, 20% a mostly positive opinion, 57% were neutral, 7% were mostly negative, 5% very negative and 7% were unsure. In Transcarpathia 4% of the respondents had a very positive opinion, 32% a mostly positive opinion, 50% were neutral, none had a mosly negative opinion, 7% had a very negative opinion and 7% were unsure. In contrast, in central Ukraine (comprising the capital Kiev, as well as the provinces of Zhytomyr, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Sumy, Vinnytsia, and Kirovohrad) attitudes towards Bandera's faction of the OUN were 3% very positive, 10% mostly positive, 24% neutral, 17% mostly negative, 21% very negative and 25% unsure. In Eastern Ukraine (the provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia) 1% each had very positive or mostly positive attitudes towards Bandera's OUN, 19% were neutral, 13% mostly negative, 26% very negative and 20% unsure. In Ukraine's south (the Odessa, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions plus Crimea) 1% each were very or mostly positive, 13% were neutral, 31% mostly negative, 48% very negative and 25% were unsure. In Ukraine as a whole, 6% of Ukrainians had a very positive opinion, 8% a mostly positive opinion, 23% were neutral, 15% had a mostly negative opinion, 30% had a very negative opinion, and 18% were unsure.[85]
Hero of Ukraine award (annulled)[edit]On January 22, 2010, on the Day of Unity of Ukraine, the then-President of UkraineViktor Yushchenko awarded to Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (posthumously) for "defending national ideas and battling for an independent Ukrainian state."[86] A grandson of Bandera, also named Stepan, accepted the award that day from the Ukrainian President during the state ceremony to commemorate the Day of Unity of Ukraine at the National Opera House of Ukraine.[86][87][88][89]
Reactions to Bandera's award vary. This award has been condemned by the Simon Wiesenthal Center[90] and the Student Union of French Jews.[91] On the same day, numerous Ukrainian media, such as the Russian language Segodnya, published articles in that regard mentioning the case of Yevhen Berezniak, a widely known Ukrainian Soviet World War II veteran, considering to renounce his own Hero of Ukraine title.[92] The representatives from several antifascist organizations in neighboring Slovakia condemned the award to Bandera, calling Yushchenko's decision a provocation was reported by RosBisnessConsulting referring to Radio Praha.[93] On February 25, 2010, the European Parliament criticized the decision by then president of Ukraine, Yushchenko to award Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine and expressed hope it would be reconsidered.[94] On May 14, 2010 in a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said about the award: "that the event is so odious that it could no doubt cause a negative reaction in the first place in Ukraine. Already it is known a position on this issue of a number of Ukrainian politicians, who believe that solutions this kind do not contribute to the consolidation of Ukrainian public opinion".[95]
On the other hand, the decree was applauded by Ukrainian nationalists, in western Ukraine and by a small portion of Ukrainian-Americans.[96][97] On January 25, 2010, the head of the Czech Confederation political prisoners Nadia Kavalirova expressed support for the decision of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to award the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera, stating "It is good that he (Yushchenko) made this step; many Czech politicians can draw lessons from it..."
On February 9, 2010, the Poland's Senate MarshalBogdan Borusewicz said at a meeting with the head of Russia's Federation CouncilSergei Mironov, that adaptation of the Hero title of Ukraine to Bandera is an internal matter of the Ukrainian government.[98]
On March 3, 2010, the Ivano-Frankivsk regional council called on the European Parliament to review this resolution.[99]
Taras Kuzio, a senior fellow in the chair of Ukrainian studies at the University of Toronto, has suggested Yushchenko awarded Bandera the award in order to frustrate Yulia Tymoshenko's chances to get elected President during the Ukrainian Presidential elections 2010.[100]
President Viktor Yanukovych stated on March 5, 2010 he would make a decision to repeal the decrees to honour the title as Heroes of Ukraine to Bandera and fellow nationalist Roman Shukhevych before the next Victory Day,[101] although the Hero of Ukraine decrees do not stipulate the possibility that a decree on awarding this title can be annulled.[102] On April 2, 2010, an administrative Donetsk region court ruled the Presidential decree awarding the title to be illegal. According to the court's decision, Bandera wasn't a citizen of the Ukrainian SSR (vis- -vis Ukraine).[103][104][105][106]
On April 5, 2010, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine refused to start constitutional proceedings on the constitutionality of the President Yushchenko decree the award was based on. A ruling by the court was submitted by the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on January 20, 2010.[107]
In January 2011, the presidential press service informed that the award was officially annulled.[9][108] This was done after a cassation appeals filed against the ruling by Donetsk District Administrative Court was rejected by the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine on January 12, 2011.[109][110] Former President Yushchenko called the annulment "a gross error".[111]
Honorary citizen titles[edit]In 2010 and 2011, Bandera was named an honorary citizen of a number of western Ukrainian cities, including Nadvirna,[112]Khust,[113]Ternopil,[114]Ivano-Frankivsk,[115]Lviv,[116]Zhovkva,[117]Dubliany,[117] and Rava-Ruska.[117]
Monuments[edit]Monument of Stepan Bandera in Staryi UhrynivMonument of Stepan Bandera in LvivMonument of Stepan Bandera in TernopilMonument of Stepan Bandera in Ivano-FrankivskMonument of Stepan Bandera in KolomyiaMonument of Stepan Bandera in KozivkaMonument of Stepan Bandera in DrohobychMonument of Stepan Bandera in DublianyMonument of Stepan Bandera in TerebovlyaMonument of Stepan Bandera in BerezhanyMonument of Stepan Bandera in BoryslavMonument of Stepan Bandera in BuchachMonument of Stepan Bandera in MykytyntsiMonument of Stepan Bandera in MostyskaMonument of Stepan Bandera in SambirMonument of Stepan Bandera in Staryi SambirMonument of Stepan Bandera in StryiMonument of Stepan Bandera in TruskavetsMonument of Stepan Bandera in ZalishchykyMonument of Stepan Bandera in ChervonohradMonument of Stepan Bandera in VerbivMonument of Stepan Bandera in HorodenkaMonument of Stepan Bandera in HrabivkaMonument of Stepan Bandera in Seredniy BerezivMonument of Stepan Bandera in StrusivMuseums[edit]Museum of Stepan Bandera in DublianyMuseum of Stepan Bandera in Volia-ZaderevatskaMuseum of Stepan Bandera in Staryi UhrynivMuseum of Stepan Bandera in YahilnytsiaStepan Bandera Museum of Liberation Struggle (Ð'узей Ð'извоÐ>>ьної боÑотьби ім.ÐтеÐана БандеÑи в Лондоні) in London, part of the OUN Archive[118]The Bandera's Family Museum (Ð'узей Ñодини БандеÑів ) in Stryi[119][120]Streets[edit]Stepan Bandera street in LvivStepan Bandera street in Lutsk (former Suvorovska street)Stepan Bandera street in Rivne (former Moskovska street)Stepan Bandera street in KolomyiaStepan Bandera prospect in TernopilStepan Bandera street in Ivano-FrankivskStepan Bandera street in ChervonohradStepan Bandera street in Berezhany (former Cherniakhovskoho street)Stepan Bandera street in Drohobych (former Sliusarska street)Stepan Bandera street in StryiStepan Bandera street in KalushStepan Bandera street in KovelStepan Bandera street in Volodymyr-VolynskyiStepan Bandera street in HorodenkaReferences[edit]^Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB.Basic Books, 1999. ISBN 0-465-00312-5 p. 362^How the KGB organized the assassination of Bandera. (Як КÐ--Б оÑÐ"анізовував убивство БандеÑи)^Ð--овкоÐ>>а ціÑ--ї контÑавеÑсійної Ðостаті й донині точаться Ð"остÑі суÐеÑечки, що суÐÑоводжуються Ñозмаїттям оцінок: від Ñізко неÐ"ативних до суціÐ>>ьно аÐоÐ>>оÐ"етичних. D.Vyedeneyev O.Lysenko OUN and foreign intelligence services 1920s-1950s Ukrainian Historical Magazine 3, 2009 p.132'' Institute of History National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://www.history.org.ua/JournALL/journal/2009/3/11.pdf^Ukrainian: УКАЗ ПРЕЗÐÐ--ЕÐ'ÐА УКРАÐÐ'Ð '– 46/2010: О ÐÑисвоении Ð.БандеÑе звания Ð'еÑой УкÑаины. President of Ukraine. Retrieved January 22, 2010.^"Russia condemns Yushchenko for declaring Bandera a Hero of Ukraine". Voice of Russia. January 26, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2012. ^[1], Simon Wiesenthal Center (January 28, 2010)^[2] Student Union of French Jews, (February 1, 2010)^Narvselius, Eleonora (2012). "The 'Bandera Debate': The Contentious Legacy of World War II and Liberalization of Collective Memory in Western Ukraine". Canadian Slavonic Papers54 (3''4): 469''490. ISSN 0008-5006. ^ abРіÑенням суду ÐÑезидентський указ ПÑо ÐÑисвоÑ--ння Ð.БандеÑі звання Ð'еÑой УкÑаїни>> скасовано, President.gov.ua. Retrieved January 16, 2011.^ abcd"Murdered by Moscow. - [4] Stepan Bandera, His Life and Struggle (by Danylo Chaykovsky)". Exlibris.org.ua. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^Ukrainian College of Technology and Economics in Podebrady^ abcd"Bandera, Stepan". Encyclopediaofukraine.com. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^The Lemberg Mosaic (by Jakob Weiss), Alderbrook Press New York | date=2011-02-01^(Polish) Janusz Marciszewski, Uwolnić BanderÄ, NaszeMiasto.pl^"Ð'ої життÑ--Ðисні дані" (автобіоÐ"ÑаÑія ÐтеÐана БандеÑи) | Ð'аÑі Ð'еÑої - аÑхів матеÑіаÐ>>ів і ÑотоÐ"ÑаÑій ОУÐ'-УПА^T. Snyder, Causes of Ukrainian Polish ethnic cleansing, Past&Present, nr 179, p. 205^The Lemberg Mosaic, Jakob Weiss, Alderbrook Press NY (2011)^Anna Reid, Borderland: a journey through the history of Ukraine, Phoenix, 2002, p. 158^S. Karnautska, Portret bez retushi, L'vovs'kaya pravda, 8 May 1991, p. 2^"Ukraine :: World War II and its aftermath - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^ abcОУÐ' в 1941 Ñоці: документи: Ð' 2-х ч Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни К. 2006 ISBN 966-02-2535-0^ By Sviatoslav LYPOVETSKY. "Eight decades of struggle /Ð--ЕÐ'Ь/". Day.kiev.ua. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^David Marples. (2007). Heroes and villains: creating national history in contemporary Ukraine . Central European University Press, pp. 150 and 161^ОÑÐ"анізація укÑаїнських націонаÐ>>істів і УкÑаїнська Ðовстанська аÑмія. Інститут істоÑії Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни.2004Ñ ÐžÑÐ"анізація укÑаїнських націонаÐ>>істів і УкÑаїнська Ðовстанська аÑмія, РаздеÐ>> 1 http://www.history.org.ua/LiberUA/Book/Upa/1.pdf стÑ. 17-30^ abІ.К. ПатÑиÐ>>як. Ð'ійськова діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ'(Б) у 1940'--1942 Ñоках. '-- УнівеÑситет імені Шевченко, Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни Київ, 2004 (No ISBN)^p.15 ОУÐ' в 1941 Ñоці: документи: Ð' 2-х ч Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни К. 2006 ISBN 966-02-2535-0 - У вÐ>>адних стÑуктуÑах Ñейху знайÑÐ>>ися сиÐ>>и яки з ÐÑаÐ"матичних міÑкувань стаÐ>>и на захист бандеÑівців. КеÑівники Ð"естаÐо сÐодіваÐ>>ися викоÑистовувати їх у вÐ>>асних ціÐ>>ях а кеÑівники абвеÑу а Ñадянському тиÐ>>у.^"Ukrainian History - World War II in Ukraine". InfoUkes. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^Berkhoff, K.C. and M. Carynnyk 'The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Its Attitude toward Germans and Jews: Iaroslav Stets'ko's 1941 Zhyttiepys' in: Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol. 23 (1999), nr. 3/4, pp. 149'--184 .^Завдання ÐідÑивної діяÐ>>ьності ÐÑоти ЧеÑвоної аÑмії обÐ"овоÑюваÐ>>ося на наÑаді Ðід БеÑÐ>>іном у квітні тоÐ"о ж Ñоку (1944) між кеÑівником таÑ--мних оÐеÑацій веÑмахту О.ÐкоÑцені й Ð>>ідеÑами укÑаїнських націонаÐ>>істів Ð.бандеÑою та Я.Ðтецьком>> D.Vyedeneyev O.Lysenko OUN and foreign intelligence services 1920s-1950s Ukrainian Historical Magazine 3, 2009 p.137'' Institute of History National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://www.history.org.ua/JournALL/journal/2009/3/11.pdf^БАÐ'Ð--ЕРА ÐтеÐан АндÑійович at Institute of History - National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine^WEST GERMANY: The Partisan Monday, Nov. 02, 1959^Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, p.338[dead link]^D.Vyedeneyev O.Lysenko OUN and foreign intelligence services 1920s-1950s Ukrainian Historical Magazine 3, 2009 p.137'' Institute of History National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://www.history.org.ua/JournALL/journal/2009/3/11.pdf^Dorril, Stephen, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Simon and Schuster, 2002, pp. 224, 233^Dorril, Stephen, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Simon and Schuster, 2002, p. 236^ abІ.К. ПатÑиÐ>>як. Ð'ійськова діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ'(Б) у 1940'--1942 Ñоках. '-- УнівеÑситет імені Шевченко \Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни Київ, 2004 (No ISBN p.111^ abІ.К. ПатÑиÐ>>як. Ð'ійськова діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ'(Б) у 1940'--1942 Ñоках. '-- УнівеÑситет імені Шевченко \Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни Київ, 2004 (No ISBN p.56 .^To Resolve the Ukrainian Question Once and For All: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ukrainians in Poland, 1943-1947, Timothy Snyder, Working Paper, Yale University, 2001^ abBandera - romantyczny terrorysta "Bandera - Romantic Terrorist, interview with Jaroslaw Hrycak. Gazeta Wyborcza, May 10, 2008.^David R. Marples, Heroes and Villains, page 24^ abUkrainian Collaboration in the Extermination of the Jews during the Second World War: Sorting Out the Long-Term and Conjunctural Factors by John-Paul Himka, University of Alberta. Taken from The Fate of the European Jews, 1939-1945: Continuity or Contingency, ed. Jonathan Frankel (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), Studies in Contemporary Jewry 13 (1997): 170-89.^p.16 "War Criminality: A Blank Spot in the Collective Memory of the Ukrainian Diaspora."Spaces of Identity 5, no. 1 (April 2005) by John-Paul Himka, University of Alberta.^The Karaites of Galicia: An Ethnoreligious Minority Among the Ashkenazim, the Turks, and the Slavs, 1772-1945, page 334^Philip Friedman. "Ukrainian-Jewish Relations during the Nazi Occupation," in Philip Friedman and Ada June Friedman (eds.), Roads to Extinction: Essays on the Holocaust (New York: Conference on Jewish Social Studies, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1980). pp.179-180^Ð'енÑинева ÐоÐ>>ітика. 16. Ð'аціонаÐ>>ьні менÑини ÐодіÐ>>яються на: а) ÐÑиязні нам, себто чÐ>>енів досі ÐоневоÐ>>ених наÑодів; б) воÑожі нам, москаÐ>>і, ÐоÐ>>яки, жиди. а) Ð'ають однакові ÐÑава з укÑаїнцями, уможÐ>>ивÐ>>юÑ--мо їм ÐовоÑот в їхню батьківщину. б) Ð'инищування в боÑотьбі, зокÑема тих, що боÑонитимуть Ñежиму: ÐеÑесеÐ>>ювання в їх земÐ>>і, винищувати Ð"оÐ>>овно інтеÐ>>іÐ"енцію, якої не віÐ>>ьно доÐускати до ніяких уÑядів, і взаÐ"аÐ>>і унеможÐ>>ивÐ>>юÑ--мо ÐÑодуку- вання інтеÐ>>іÐ"енції, себто достуРдо ÑкіÐ>> і т.д. Ð'аÐÑикÐ>>ад, так званих ÐоÐ>>ьських сеÐ>>ян тÑеба асиміÐ>>ювати, усвідомÐ>>юючи з місця їм, тим біÐ>>ьÑе в цей Ð"аÑячий, Ðовний Ñанатизму час, що вони укÑаїнці, тіÐ>>ьки Ð>>атинськоÐ"о обÑяду, насиÐ>>ьно асиміÐ>>ьовані. ПÑоводиÑів нищити. Жидів ізоÐ>>ювати, Ðоусувати з уÑядів, щоб уникнути саботажу, тим біÐ>>ьÑе москаÐ>>ів і ÐоÐ>>яків. КоÐ>>и б буÐ>>а неÐобоÑна ÐотÑеба оставити, ÐÑиміÑом, в Ð"осÐодаÑськім аÐаÑаті жида, Ðоставити йому наÑоÐ"о міÐ>>іціянта над Ð"оÐ>>овою і Ð>>іквідувати за найменÑі ÐÑовини. КеÑівники Ðоодиноких Ð"аÐ>>узей життя можуть бути Ð>>иÑе укÑаїнці, а не чужині '' воÑоÐ"и. АсиміÐ>>яція жидів викÐ>>ючаÑ--ться. p.103-104 ОУÐ' в 1941 Ñоці: документи: Ð' 2-х ч Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни К. 2006 ISBN 966-02-2535-0^same text p.485-486 І.К. ПатÑиÐ>>як. Ð'ійськова діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ'(Б) у 1940'--1942 Ñоках. '-- УнівеÑситет імені Шевченко \Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни Київ, 2004^Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, p.63[dead link]^Dr. Franziska Bruder "Radicalization of the Ukrainian Nationalist Policy in the context of the Holocaust" The International Institute for Holocaust Research No. 12 -June 2008 p.37 ISSN 1565-8643^"Ñобимо міÐ>>іцію що Ðоможе жидів усувати www.history.org.ua/LiberUA/Book/Upa/2.pdf Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, p.63 ]^І.К. ПатÑиÐ>>як. Ð'ійськова діяÐ>>ьність ОУÐ'(Б) у 1940'--1942 Ñоках. '-- УнівеÑситет імені Шевченко \Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни Київ, 2004 (No ISBN p 324 "Ð'аÑоде знай Ð'осква ПоÐ>>ьÑа, мадяÑи жидова- це твої воÑоÐ"и. Ð'ищ їх"^same text p.259 July p 576 December - ОУÐ' в 1941 Ñоці: документи: Ð' 2-х ч Ін-т істоÑії УкÑаїни Ð'АÐ' УкÑаїни К. 2006 ISBN 966-02-2535-0^Harvest of despair: life and death in Ukraine under Nazi rule by Karel Cornelis Berkhoff (2004)^Friedman Essays (1980). pg. 204^Herbert Romerstein. "Divide and Conquer: the KGB Disinformation Campaign Against Ukrainians and Jews". Ukrainian Quarterly, Fall 2004. The Institute of World Politics. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^Richard Breitman. U.S Intelligence and the Nazis. Cambridge University Press. 2005. pg. 250^Friedman, P. Ukrainian-Jewish Relations During the Nazi Occupation, YIVO Annual of Jewish Social Science v. 12, pp. 259''96, 1958''59. ^Leo Heiman, "We Fought for Ukraine - The Story of Jews Within the UPA", Ukrainian Quarterly Spring 1964, pp.33-44.^Friedman Essays (1980). pg. 204. Among several Jews saved by UPA Friedman mentions a Jewish physician and his wife whom he knows in Israel who were saved by UPA, another Jewish physician and his brother who lived in Tel Aviv after the war^Friedman Essays (1980). pg. 188^The Partisan, Time (magazine) (November 2, 1959)^The Poison Pistol, TIME Magazine, December 01, 1961^p.190 The Frankfurt Auschwitz trial, 1963-1965: genocide, history, and the limits Devin Owen Pendas Cambridge University Press [3]^БандеÑÑтадт: місто Ð‘Ð°Ð½Ð´ÐµÑ '–4 (231) 28 січня 2010Ñ. http://www.gk-press.if.ua/node/512http://www.gk-press.if.ua/node/512^Stepan Bandera: Hero or Nazi sympathizer?, Kyiv Post (October 2, 2008)^Myths from U.S.S.R. still have strong pull today, Kyiv Post (February 25, 2009)^US intelligence perceptions of Soviet power, 1921-1946 by L(C)onard Leshuk, Routledge, 2002, ISBN 0714653063/ISBN 978-0714653068 (page 229)^Heroes and villains: creating national history in contemporary Ukraine by David R. Marples, Central European University Press, 2007, ISBN 9637326987/ISBN 978-9637326981 (page 234)^Mosnews.com^"Information website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group". Khpg.org. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^Events by themes: Monument to Stepan Bandera in Lvov, UNIAN photo service (October 13, 2007)^Design by Maxim Tkachuk, web-architecture by Volkova Dasha, templated by Alexey Kovtanets, programming by Irina Batvina, Maxim Bielushkin, Sergey Bogatyrchuk, Vitaliy Galkin, Victor Lushkin, Dmitry Medun, Igor Sitnikov, Vladimir Tarasov, Alexander Filippov, Sergei Koshelev, Yaroslav Ostapiuk. "КоÑÑесÐондент >> УкÑаина >> Ðобытия >> Львов основаÐ>> жуÑнаÐ>>истскую ÐÑемию имени БандеÑы". Korrespondent.net. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^"РозÐоÑядження '–495". .city-adm.lviv.ua. Retrieved 2010-03-17. ^Events by themes: Celebration of 100 birth anniversary of Stepan Bandera in Zaporozhye (Zaporozhye), UNIAN photo service (January 1, 2009)^Events by themes: Mass meeting, devoted to 100 birth anniversary of Stepan Bandera, in Stariy Ugriniv village, UNIAN photo service (January 1, 2009)^Events by themes: Monument to Stepan Banderq and memorial complex the heroes of UPA were opened in Ivano-Frankivsk (Ivano-Frankivsk), UNIAN photo service (January 1, 2009)^Events by themes: Kharkiv nationalists were disallowed to arrange a torchlight procession in honor of Bandera's birthday (Kharkiv), UNIAN photo service (January 1, 2009)^Events by themes: Action "Stepan Bandera is a national hero" (Kiev), UNIAN photo service (January 1, 2009)^2009 Philatelic Issues - Stefan Bandera (1909-1959) The Ukrainian Electronic Stamp Album^http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/regional_news/europe/nationalists-march-in-ukraine-s-kiev/article_c2c05de8-c3ab-5fdd-a475-d01beb7f5448.html^Torchlight procession to honor Bandera taking place in Kyiv, Interfax-Ukraine (1 January 2014)^Lviv hosts rally to mark 105th anniversary of Ukrainian nationalist leader Bandera, Interfax-Ukraine (1 January 2014)^MP: Euromaidan exposed to neo-Nazi trends^In Western Ukraine, Even Ethnic Russians Vote for Pro-Ukrainian Parties by Paul Goble, Eurasia Review. September 12, 2010^Yaroslav Hrytsak. (2005). Historical Memory and Regional Identity. In Galicia: A Multicultured Land. Christopher Hann and Paul Robert Magocsi (Eds.) Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 185-209^Ivan Katchanovski. (2009). Terrorists or National Heroes? Politics of the OUN and the UPA in Ukraine Paper prepared for presentation at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association, Montreal, June 1''3, 2010^ abStepan Bandera becomes Ukrainian hero, Kyiv Post (January 22, 2010)^President Viktor Yushchenko awarded title Hero of Ukraine to OUN Head Stepan Bandera, Radio Ukraine (January 22, 2010)^Events by themes: 91th [sic] anniversary of Collegiality of Ukraine, UNIAN (January 22, 2010)^Ukraine. Rehabilitation and new heroes, EuropaRussia (January 29, 2010)^WIESENTHAL CENTER BLASTS UKRAINIAN HONOR FOR NAZI COLLABORATOR, Simon Wiesenthal Center (January 28, 2010)^(French)L'UEJF choqu(C)e par Ioutchenko, pour qui Bandera est un h(C)ros de l'Ukraine, UEJF, February 1, 2010^Majot Vikhr by Vlad Bereznoi for Segodnya. January 22, 2010(Russian)^Czech political prisoners approve the adaptation of the Bandera's Hero award(Ukrainian)^European parliament hopes new Ukraine's leadership will reconsider decision to award Bandera title of hero, Kyiv Post (February 25, 2010)^Kommersant (May 14, 2010)(Russian)^Analysis: Ukraine leader struggles to handle Bandera legacy, Kyiv Post (April 13, 2010)^Ukrainians in New York take to streets to protest Russian fleet, Kyiv Post (May 6, 2010)^Ukrainsky pohliad (Ukrainian view) February 9, 2010 (Ukrainian)^Ivano-Frankivsk regional council calls on European Parliament to review resolution on Bandera, Kyiv Post (March 3, 2010)^Gender bias, anti-Semitism contributed to Yanukovych's victory, Kyiv Post (March 18, 2010)^Yanukovych to strip nationalists of hero status, Kyiv Post (March 5, 2010)^Party of Regions proposes legal move to strip Bandera of Hero of Ukraine title, Kyiv Post (February 17, 2010)^Donetsk court deprives Shukhevych of Ukrainian hero title, Kyiv Post (April 21, 2010)^High Administrative Court dismisses appeals against illegal award of Hero of Ukraine title to Soviet soldiers, Kyiv Post (August 13, 2010)^Ukraine court strips Bandera of Hero of Ukraine title, Top RBC (April 2, 2010)^Ukraine court strips Bandera of Hero of Ukraine title because he wasn't citizen of Ukraine, Gzt.ru (April 3, 2010)^Constitutional Court refuses to consider case on Bandera's title of Hero of Ukraine, Kyiv Post (April 12, 2010)^ПÑесс-сÐ>>ужба Януковича: Указ о ÐÑисвоении БандеÑе звания Ð'еÑоя УкÑаины отменен, Korrespondent.net. Retrieved January 12, 2011.^Court: Ruling on Bandera legal, Kyiv Post (January 12, 2011)^Update:Stepan Bandera is no longer a Hero of Ukraine, Kyiv Post (January 12, 2011)^Yushchenko: No Bandera - no statehood, Kyiv Post (January 12, 2011)^Nadvirna city council awards honorary citizen titles to Bandera, Shukhevych, Lenkavsky, Kyiv Post (March 25, 2010)^http://rus.newsru.ua/ukraine/15mar2010/hust.html (March 10, 2010)^http://novynar.com.ua/politics/113912 (April 30, 2010)^http://www.radiosvoboda.org/content/news/2034277.html (May 6, 2010)^http://www.zaxid.net/newsua/2010/5/7/142456/ (May 7, 2010)^ abcZhovkva awards title of honorary citizen to Bandera, Kyiv Post (January 26, 2011)^Ð'узей Ð'извоÐ>>ьної боÑотьби ім. ÐтеÐана БандеÑи в Лондоні^Banderas' Family Museum '-- Stryj '-- Traveling in the Carpathians and around / Western Ukraine / Lviv region / Stryj district / Stryj / Museums / Banderas' Family Museum:^Ð'ідкÑито музей Ñодини БандеÑів (оновÐ>>ено Ñото)External links[edit]
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Chinese investor announces $3 bln Ukrainian port project - The Medi Telegraph
Mon, 05 May 2014 15:47
Adam Rose and Pavel Polityuk - December 05, 2013
Kiev - Wang Jing, a little known Chinese investor who has a concession to build a waterway in Nicaragua to rival the Panama Canal, announced he was also spearheading a $3 billion project to build a deepwater port in Ukraine. ''The strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Ukraine has moved a step forward,'' Wang said at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday. ''Even though this project is relatively big, you can say we fell in love at first sight.'' A senior Ukrainian official told Reuters, however, that she had not heard about the project. ''I can say that such project did not pass through our ministry,'' she said. The 300 hectare port project is to be located about 60 kilometres north of Sevastopol on the Black Sea. Wang unveiled it at the same time that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was visiting China's capital.
A memorandum of understanding was signed earlier in the day between Wang's Beijing Interoceanic Canal Investment Management Co. and Kievgidroinvest, a little known hydrogeology research firm registered in Sevastopol, which does not have a website. China and Ukraine signed several agreements on airlines, new energy sources, coal and travel during Yanukovich's visit. No details or figures were provided. Yanukovich is under pressure at home to show the success of his economic strategy amid public protests against his worsening relationship with the European Union. ''In this very difficult situation it is very important for Yanukovich to conclude large scale projects,'' said Volodymyr Fesenko of Ukraine's Penta think-tank. ''The implementation of these projects will depend on how the political crisis is resolved,'' he said. The port project, to be built on a dried-out lake on the Crimean coast, would require a $3 billion investment in its first phase, Wang said, providing few further details. Ukraine already operates more than a dozen big ports. Wang, who says his initial wealth came from a gold mine investment in Cambodia, grabbed headlines earlier this year when Nicaragua's Congress granted his Cayman Islands-registered company a 50-year concession to develop a $40 billion canal. He is chairman of Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology Co., a wireless equipment company that holds the patents on Chinese technology for 3G mobile telecommunications. That technology is now being superseded by next-generation networks. Kievgidroinvest Chief Executive Alexsey Mayzuk said at the press conference that his company had preferred Wang's firm over a large-scale, state-owned enterprise. ''We want a partner who is not purely a construction partner,'' he said. ''We need a partner who is also a strategic partner.''
China Says Terrorism, U.S. Says Prove It
Mon, 05 May 2014 02:42
After a deadly explosion in China's restive western region of Xinjiang this week, few observers were surprised when China's government quickly blamed separatists for an act of terrorism.
The U.S. government a day later called on Beijing to provide more proof about such claims.
Released on Thursday, the China section of the U.S. State Department's annual Country Reports on Terrorism didn't deal with the latest railway station explosion in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi.
But it took issue with the limited information provided by China's government following other deadly incidents that authorities likewise blamed on separatists. Those include the careering of a jeep into a crowd near the portrait of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square last October; the three people inside'--ethnic Uighurs from Xinjiang''then set the vehicle on fire, according to official Chinese accounts.
''Chinese authorities labeled several incidents of violence involving members of the Uighur minority as acts of terrorism,'' said the State Department report. ''In general, Chinese authorities did not provide detailed evidence of terrorist involvement, and restricted the ability of journalists and international observers to independently verify official media accounts.''
That view also appeared reflected in the State Department's official response to the train station incident. Spokeswoman Marie Harf didn't use the word terror in commenting on it:
''The United States condemns the horrific and despicable acts of violence against innocent civilians at the train station in Urumqi in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China,'' she said, using the region's full official name. ''We offer our condolences and sympathies to the victims, their families, and all of those affected by this tragedy.''
In addition to faulting China for limiting information flow on acts it labels terrorism, the State Department said Beijing often fails to back up public statements in support of international cooperation to combat terrorism.
The U.S. report also charged that recent Chinese legislation widens authorities' remit to arrest suspects for ''endangering state security or crimes of terrorism'' and that authority has been used to detain dissidents, human rights activists and religious practitioners.
Such assessments are irresponsible, China's Foreign Ministry said in response.
''China falls victim of terrorism, and always firmly opposes terrorism in any form and terrorist acts conducted or backed by any person under any name,'' Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement published on the ministry's website shortly after the U.S. report was released (in Chinese and English).
Despite Beijing's accusation that the U.S. has a double-standard when it comes to terrorism in China'--a criticism repeated by Mr. Qin'--Chinese are also conflicted about how to characterize violence with political overtones. Only days after the fiery car crash in Tiananmen Square was labeled terrorism, authorities declined to use the term when a middle-aged Chinese man was arrested for detonating explosives outside a Communist Party building in the city of Taiyuan.
On a tour of Xinjiang this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping spent much of his time signaling he has all the proof he needs about the threat faced by his country. Following the Urumqi explosion, he was quoted by the Xinhua news agency saying the ''anti-separatism battle in Xinjiang is long-term, complicated and acute.''
'' James T. Areddy. Follow him on Twitter @jamestareddy
Follow @ChinaRealTime on Twitter and sign up for CRT's daily newsletter to get the latest headlines delivered to your inbox.
Russia joins China in building canal to rival Panama's
Thu, 08 May 2014 03:13
Russian President Vladimir Putin with then-Chinese President Hu Jintao
WASHINGTON '' As Russia continues to take strategic initiatives that put the United States on the defensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin is teaming up with China to help construct a trans-oceanic canal in Nicaragua that gives Moscow an even greater foothold in Washington's area of influence.
The prospect comes as Moscow not only intends more massive arms sales in Latin America but, as WND recently reported, moves to establish a base in Nicaragua besides using existing facilities for refueling for aircraft and port calls for Russian warships.
In addition to Nicaragua, Moscow also is looking to establish bases in Cuba and Venezuela.
The establishment of permanent Russian bases and a major Russian presence in the Western Hemisphere will challenge U.S. policies and threaten to diminish Washington's influence in the region.
And like a repeat of events leading up to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, it will give Moscow a basis to stage offensive weapons in the Western Hemisphere, placing another formidable challenge to U.S. homeland defenses from potential missile threats.
Moving into U.S. turf
Moscow's focus has been on areas contiguous to Russia, until now.
''The Russian Federation considers itself to be a global power that is active everywhere and that, whatever Russia's leadership might publicly claim, is challenging the United States anywhere that it can,'' said Stephen Blank of the Washington think-tank Jamestown Foundation.
''One such arena is Latin America,'' Blank said. ''Even as the Ukrainian crisis rages, Moscow is steadily trying to increase its profile throughout the Western Hemisphere.''
Moscow's Latin American focus for establishing a base will be Nicaragua. Last April, Russian legislators agreed to legislation to set up a satellite navigation monitoring system in that country.
It is supposed to set up a network of land-based control stations in Nicaragua to monitor and augment the accuracy of navigation satellites in Earth orbit.
However, analysts also believe the Nicaraguan facility is to become a substitute for the electronic tracking center at Lourdes, Cuba which Moscow gave up a decade ago.
Russia's military initiative and prospect of involvement in building a new canal come as Iran similarly has announced that its own warships will be patrolling waters off the U.S. coast and will use ports in the same countries.
Not a 'neutral' act
In drawing even closer to Nicaragua and Latin America generally, Russia has teamed up with China, which has been tapped to build the trans-oceanic canal through that country as an alternative to the Panama Canal.
As currently planned, China would do the construction while Russia would provide security and take on other yet undefined roles in connection with the canal.
In bringing in the Russians, Chinese businessman Wang Jing, who has a concession to build the canal in Nicaragua, also is said to hold a concession to build a deep water port in Crimea, a strategic area of Ukraine which recently was annexed to the Russian Federation.
According to Blank, Nicaraguan opposition deputy Eliseo Nunez Morales said that the planned Nicaragua Grand Canal project doesn't have a ''declaration of neutrality.''
In the event of a conflict, the maritime route would not remain neutral. In addition, the canal concession also allows for the establishment of a military base.
''Therefore, granting Russia the security concession could be a cover for a military base, which, in turn, would afford excellent cover for the introduction of a host of covert agents and programs and for laundering criminally obtained profits,'' Blank asserted.
In addition, the legal framework surrounding the canal allows for conducting ''business without paying taxes,'' Victor Hugo Tinoco, another Nicaraguan opposition deputy, told the newspaper La Prensa.
Blank commented: ''In other words, it provides a platform for massive corruption within the project as well as the government, potentially with both Russian and Chinese money.''
In addition, potentially large deposits of natural gas in the Caribbean Sea near Nicaragua also have peaked Russian interest.
The underlying concern is that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who is close to the Russians, could turn Nicaragua into a Russian base of operations.
''This combination of arms sales, military installations and large-scale economic, infrastructural and energy projects is a hallmark of Russian policy,'' Blank said. ''They are well-tested instruments by which Moscow seeks to permanently leverage 'friendly states' into partners or, more bluntly, clients.''
The Nicaragua Grand Canal is but one of many projects to which the Russians are linking up with the Chinese to economically penetrate the Western Hemisphere.
''This phenomenon,'' Blank said, ''combined with Russia's unremitting efforts to wage 'asymmetric war' against the United States globally and in its neighborhood, should at least disturb the dogmatic slumbers of those in Washington who have hitherto neglected to ponder Moscow's goals in Nicaragua and across Latin America.''
Trein naar Antwerpen - Met de trein van Antwerpen naar China
Mon, 05 May 2014 08:43
Naar China met de trein? Dat zal zeker tot de mogelijkheden gaan behoren in de toekomst. Sinds kort rijdt er een goederentrein van Antwerpen naar China. Lees hier alle informatie.
Trein naar ChinaDe goederentrein naar China is in het leven geroepen omdat vervoer over zee duurder is dan vervoer per trein. Helaas is het nog niet mogelijk voor reizigers om deze route af te leggen met de trein, het is op dit moment enkel een goederentrein die deze route aflegt. Het vertrekstation van Antwerpen is de haven van Antwerpen, en het eindstation is de Chinese metropool Chongqing.
Route trein naar ChinaDe trein naar China vanaf Antwerpen zal de route van ongeveer tienduizend kilometer als volgt afleggen: Duitsland, Polen, Oekra¯ne, Rusland en vanuit Mongoli naar China.
Antwerpen China met de treinDe Zwitserse spoorwegmaatschappij Hupac zal de rit gaan verzorgen naar China.
Green Train LaneHet doel is om ervoor te zorgen dat de trein met zo min mogelijk oponthoud de grenzen mag passeren. De betrokken autoriteiten gaan voor het vertrek van de trein, informatie uitwisselen over de te vervoeren goederen. Bron: DePers
Treinverbinding tussen Antwerpen en China komt er | vandaag.be
Mon, 05 May 2014 08:42
10 september 2013
Er wordt hard gewerkt aan een regelmatige goederenspoorverbinding tussen Antwerpen en China. Dat die er komt is zeker, vertelt Luc Broos van de Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij (POM) Antwerpen.
Vandaag kunnen al goederentreinen rijden tussen Antwerpen en Chongqing, in het westen van China. Er reden al testtreinen, vertelt de topman van de POM. Nu wordt alles op alles gezet om ook een regelmatige spoorverbinding op poten te zetten.
Concreet rijdt de trein vanuit Chongqing, de grootste stadsagglomeratie ter wereld, via Kazachstan naar Rusland en zo Europa binnen, richting Antwerpen. "Dat kan in veertien dagen, tegen 40 dagen per schip", legt Broos uit. Het grote voordeel van de spoorverbinding is dan ook de snelheid. Een bijkomend voordeel is dat het om een 'green train lane' gaat: alle douaneformaliteiten zijn vooraf geregeld, zodat de trein zo weinig mogelijk tijd verliest onderweg.
ObstakelsToch zijn er nog een aantal obstakels die moeten worden overwonnen. Zo kunnen voorlopig niet alle soorten chemicalin in China worden ingevoerd, terwijl dat juist een interessant product is om vanuit Antwerpen uit te voeren. Door de verschillende spoorbreedtes moet er ook tussentijds worden overgeladen, wat een veiligheidsrisico inhoudt. Ook de grote temperatuurverschillen kunnen een probleem vormen. "We zijn volop bezig die obstakels uit de weg te ruimen. Maar dat de verbinding er komt, is zeker".
In China vindt een economische zending plaats onder leiding van Vlaams minister-president Kris Peeters (foto).
Tags:Chongqinggoederentreinkris peeters
vandaag / 10u16 Op de E40 autosnelweg in Groot-Bijgaarden staan volgens de eerste berichten twee vrachtwagens in brand. Dat meldt Hajo Beeckman van het Vlaams Verkeerscentrum.
vandaag / 09u42 Bijna 200 dossiers bij de Cel Vermiste Personen raken maar niet uitgeklaard. Van 85 personen kon het lichaam nooit ge¯dentificeerd worden. In 109 andere dossiers werden alleen botten teruggevonden en kon zelfs het geslacht niet achterhaald'...
vandaag / 10u14 Met een recordaantal ingezamelde gebruikte batterijen en zaklampen in 2013 hoort Belgi tot de absolute wereldtop voor het inzamelen van batterijen. In stuks steeg de inzameling van gebruikte draagbare batterijen in 2013 met 5 procent'...
vandaag / 06u33 De vader van (C)(C)n van de zeven jongeren die twee maanden geleden op de E314 in Zonhoven verongelukten, zegt dat de dood van de jongeren vermeden kon worden als de politie minder laks had opgetreden. Dat schrijft Roger Seys, de vader van'...
4 mei / 22u31 Helemaal afgepeigerd, maar als een held heeft supporter Marvin Christiaens zondagnamiddag op barkrukken het stadion van zijn geliefde club Racing Mechelen bereikt.
4 mei / 20u06 Het parket van Namen heeft zondagavond de dood van beide kinderen van twee en zes jaar in Jambes bevestigd. Hun lichamen werden aangetroffen in een woning aan de rue des M>>riers. De vermoedelijke dader, de moeder van kinderen, zal'...
4 mei / 18u09 Vandalen hebben zaterdagnacht in de Ridderstraat in Leuven twaalf geparkeerde wagens beschadigd. Van alle auto's werd een of meerdere buitenspiegels afgestampt.
4 mei / 15u29 Een amokmaker heeft zondagochtend op de Oude Markt in Leuven een band van een politiecombi stukgestoken. De politie kon de dader, een 39-jarige man uit Heverlee, oppakken. Tijdens de arrestatie raakte (C)(C)n politievrouw gewond. De agent'...
4 mei / 12u47 Bij een verkeersongeval op de E34 ter hoogte van Vrasene richting kust is zaterdagavond een tweejarige peuter zwaargewond geraakt. Het kind was samen met haar moeder uit de wagen geslingerd. Dat meldt het parket van Dendermonde. Het'...
4 mei / 07u29 Een groep gerenommeerde artsen waarschuwt de Vlaamse regering dat een volledige overkapping van de Antwerpse ring van "levensbelang" is. Dat schrijft Het Nieuwsblad op Zondag . De verkeersader nog langer "open" laten liggen, kost'...
Syria
Notice-- Continuation of the National Emergency with respect to Syria
Wed, 07 May 2014 22:03
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 07, 2014
NOTICE
- - - - - - -
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT
TO THE ACTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF SYRIA
On May 11, 2004, pursuant to his authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701-1706, and the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, Public Law 108-175, the President issued Executive Order 13338, in which he declared a national emergency with respect to the actions of the Government of Syria. To deal with this national emergency, Executive Order 13338 authorized the blocking of property of certain persons and prohibited the exportation or re-exportation of certain goods to Syria. The national emergency was modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, Executive Order 13460 of February 13, 2008, Executive Order 13572 of April 29, 2011, Executive Order 13573 of May 18, 2011, Executive Order 13582 of August 17, 2011, Executive Order 13606 of April 22, 2012, and Executive Order 13608 of May 1, 2012.
The President took these actions to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the actions of the Government of Syria in supporting terrorism, maintaining its then-existing occupation of Lebanon, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining U.S. and international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.
The regime's brutal war on the Syrian people, who have been calling for freedom and a representative government, endangers not only the Syrian people themselves but also is generating instability throughout the region. The Syrian regime's actions and policies, including the use of chemical weapons, supporting terrorist organizations, and impeding the Lebanese government's ability to function effectively, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. As a result, the national emergency declared on May 11, 2004, and the measures to deal with that emergency adopted on that date in Executive Order 13338; on April 25, 2006, in Executive Order 13399; on February 13, 2008, in Executive Order 13460; on April 29, 2011, in Executive Order 13572; on May 18, 2011, in Executive Order 13573; on August 17, 2011, in Executive Order 13582; on April 22, 2012, in Executive Order 13606; and on May 1, 2012, in Executive Order 13608; must continue in effect beyond May 11, 2014. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared with respect to the actions of the Government of Syria.
In addition, the United States condemns the Asad regime's use of brutal violence and human rights abuses and calls on the Asad regime to stop its violent war and allow a political transition in Syria that will forge a credible path to a future of greater freedom, democracy, opportunity, and justice.
The United States will consider changes in the composition, policies, and actions of the Government of Syria in determining whether to continue or terminate this national emergency in the future.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
BARACK OBAMA
Message to the Congress -- Continuation of the National Emergency with respect to Syria
Wed, 07 May 2014 22:03
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 07, 2014
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency, unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to the actions of the Government of Syria declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004 -- as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, Executive Order 13460 of February 13, 2008, Executive Order 13572 of April 29, 2011, Executive Order 13573 of May 18, 2011, Executive Order 13582 of August 17, 2011, Executive Order 13606 of April 22, 2012, and Executive Order 13608 of May 1, 2012 -- is to continue in effect beyond May 11, 2014.
The regime's brutal war on the Syrian people, who have been calling for freedom and a representative government, endangers not only the Syrian people themselves, but could yield greater instability throughout the region. The Syrian regime's actions and policies, including supporting terrorist organizations and impeding the Lebanese government's ability to function effectively, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect the national emergency declared with respect to this threat and to maintain in force the sanctions to address this national emergency.
In addition, the United States condemns the Asad regime's use of brutal violence and human rights abuses and calls on the Asad regime to stop its violent war and allow a political transition in Syria that will forge a credible path to a future of greater freedom, democracy, opportunity, and justice.
The United States will consider changes in the composition, policies, and actions of the Government of Syria in determining whether to continue or terminate this national emergency in the future.
BARACK OBAMA
US Recognizes Syrian Rebel Faction as 'Foreign Mission'
Tue, 06 May 2014 02:02
The Obama Administration has announced today that it will recognize the DC office of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as an official diplomatic mission, dubbing them the ''legitimate representative of the Syrian people.''
Top SNC figure Ahmad Jarba touted the move as a major blow to the Assad government's legitimacy, though since the SNC is itself a relatively trivial rebel faction, a secular bloc in Turkey with no real support among the assorted Islamist fighters dominating the rebellion, the move doesn't seem nearly so significant.
The State Department followed up the move with a promise for another $27 million in aid for the SNC. Such subsidies are effectively the group's only source of revenue, as it continues to lobby for more subsidies on the notion that it will eventually be installed by the US or other powers as the new government of Syria.
The State Department's statement on the matter also angrily condemned the upcoming Syrian election as unacceptable. The remaining territory of the Syrian government will be voting in early June, though President Assad is expected to win by a huge margin.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
US grants Syrian opposition offices diplomatic status - INTERNATIONAL.
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:49
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
A youth holds the flag of the Syrian opposition during a rally against the Syrian government on March 15, 2014 at Lafayette Square, across from the White House, in Washington to mark the third anniversary of the start of the conflict in Syria, March 15. AFP Photo
Seeking to boost the embattled Syrian opposition, Washington May 5 granted its U.S. offices diplomatic status as the rebels' political leader arrives to plead for arms to help end the three-year civil war.A delegation led by Ahmad Jarba, head of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), began arriving May 4 ahead of high-level talks this week with Secretary of State John Kerry and national security chief Susan Rice on his first official visit to the US since the SNC was set up in 2012.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington was announcing new measures "to empower the moderate Syrian opposition and to bolster its efforts to help" those in Syria.
In a largely symbolic move, the U.S. now recognizes the coalition's representative offices in Washington and New York as "foreign missions under the Foreign Missions Act."
Washington, already the largest single donor of some $1.7 billion in humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, is also boosting its non-lethal support and speeding up military deliveries to what it sees as moderate rebels, now fighting both regime forces and the militant groups flooding onto the battlefield.
"This is an important step in the path toward a new Syria, its recognition on the international stage, and its relations with Syrian nationals in the U.S.," Jarba said.
He welcomed the move as "a diplomatic blow against" the legitimacy of President Bashar al-Assad.
Jarba will be accompanied on his eight-day trip by the new chief of staff of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Brigadier General Abdelilah al-Bashir, his office said last week.
"He will meet U.S. officials to discuss the supply of sophisticated weapons to the FSA to enable it to change the balance on the ground," his office said.
U.S. officials refused to be drawn on the type of non-lethal aid or weapons being supplied by Washington.
But a senior administration official acknowledged there was "an asymmetry militarily" between the opposition rebels and the Assad regime.
The move to recognize the opposition coalition offices, which will not give the staff diplomatic immunity, comes after a peace process known as Geneva II collapsed in February.
The U.S., along with many EU allies, recognized the Syrian coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in late 2012.
New status to 'facilitate' opposition'sactivitiesIn March, Washington shuttered the Syrian embassy in the U.S. capital, prompting an angry response from Damascus.
Monday's move will "facilitate" the work of the Syrian opposition in "reaching out to the Syrian diaspora" and is something that the coalition had been calling for, Harf said. She acknowledged that it did not recognize the opposition as "the government of Syria."
But she said the enhanced status would enable them to operate as a diplomatic entity in the U.S. and help banking and security services.
A further $27 million in new non-lethal support is being unveiled taking the total in such aid to $287 million, which in the past has included such things as communications equipment, night-goggles, medical supplies and ready-to-eat meals.
Rebels recently disclosed the existence of a pilot program under which a "Western source" supplied them with 20 U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles, with the promise of more if they were used effectively.
"Whoever thinks there will a sustainable and decisive military solution to this is deluding themselves," the senior administration official said.
He admitted though that "the current asymmetry does not provide the calculus to get that kind of serious, negotiated political process under way."
The U.S. and its allies were trying to find "various ways to strengthen the opposition and to try to bring increased pressure of various types on the Assad regime," he insisted.
"Of course we recognize that they need to have what they need to change the situation on the ground."
He also denounced as "a parody of democracy" presidential elections being held next month in which Assad is running for another term, amid a brutal civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people since March 2011 and made millions homeless.
The move "rings particularly hollow given that the regime is continuing to attack and massacre the very electorate that it is purporting to represent," he said.
May/06/2014
PHOTO GALLERY
Leviathan
Israeli gas field may supply facility in Egypt - Yahoo News UK
Tue, 06 May 2014 19:02
JERUSALEM (AP) '-- The operator of a natural gas field off Israel's coast said it has signed a letter of intent to provide gas to a facility in Egypt.
Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. reached the preliminary deal to sell gas to Union Fenosa Gas SA for its liquefied natural gas facility in Egypt. The deal calls for providing up to 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas over 15 years. It said the sides hoped to reach a final agreement within six months. It would then need regulatory approval in Israel and Egypt.
Keith Elliott, Noble Energy's senior vice president for the region, called the deal a "major milestone" for the Tamar gas field, which began production last year.
Until recently, Egypt provided natural gas to Israel. But following the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, supplies were disrupted and eventually halted.
Noble operates the Tamar field with a group of Israeli partners, including Isramco Negev 2, Delek drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Dor gas Exploration.
Israel began pumping gas from the large Tamar field off its coast earlier this year. It is expected to begin exporting when a second, larger field Leviathan goes online in 2016.
The Israeli Cabinet last year approved exporting 40 percent of Israel's newfound natural gas reserves.
SDR
Thesis
In either case, the elitist plan is to use scapegoats and false enemies
to draw our attention away from the real culprits: the international
banks themselves. Make no mistake: This fight is not about President
Barack Obama, it is not about Putin and it is not even about the Federal
Reserve. These men are tools, errand boys, public mascots. Do not be
fooled by the global stage play being perpetrated. Whatever happens in
Ukraine and whatever happens between Russia, China and the West, there
are only two real sides to this battle: the elitist establishment, and
those who are smart enough to recognize their poison.
France wants new global finance system - RT‰ News
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:20
France, as current head of the Group of 20 countries, will help the transition to a global financial system based on 'several international currencies', French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said today.
Lagarde, speaking ahead of a G20 finance ministers meeting in Paris on Friday and Saturday, said the world had to move on from the 'non-monetary system' it now has to one 'based on several international currencies'.
Accordingly, France wants to see less need for countries, especially the emerging economies, to accumulate huge foreign reserves, she said.
At the same time, international capital flows should be better regulated and the role of the Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund should be reinforced by the inclusion of China's yuan in the system.
China, whose booming economy now ranks second only to the US in size after overtaking Japan, has accumulated massive forex reserves of more than $2.5 trillion on the back of its sustained trade surpluses and foreign fund inflows.
Washington says the build-up reflects an unfair undervaluation of the yuan, a charge Beijing rejects.
France has previously said it wanted to see the global financial system reduce its reliance on the dollar for a more broad-based arrangement.
At G20, Kremlin to Pitch New Currency | Business | The Moscow Times
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:14
The Kremlin published its priorities Monday for an upcoming meeting of the G20, calling for the creation of a supranational reserve currency to be issued by international institutions as part of a reform of the global financial system.The International Monetary Fund should investigate the possible creation of a new reserve currency, widening the list of reserve currencies or using its already existing Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, as a "superreserve currency accepted by the whole of the international community," the Kremlin said in a statement issued on its web site.
The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement the existing official reserves of member countries.
The Kremlin has persistently criticized the dollar's status as the dominant global reserve currency and has lowered its own dollar holdings in the last few years. Both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have repeatedly called for the ruble to be used as a regional reserve currency, although the idea has received little support outside of Russia.
Analysts said the new Kremlin proposal would elicit little excitement among the G20 members.
"This is all in the realm of fantasy," said Sergei Perminov, chief strategist at Rye, Man and Gore. "There was a situation that resembled what they are talking about. It was called the gold standard, and it ended very badly.
"Alternatives to the dollar are still hard to find," he said.
The Kremlin's call for a common currency is not the first in recent days. Speaking at an economic conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, last week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed a global currency called the "acmetal" -- a conflation of the words "acme" and "capital."
He also suggested that the Eurasian Economic Community, a loose group of five former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan and Russia, adopt a single noncash currency -- the yevraz -- to insulate itself from the global economic crisis.
The suggestions received a lukewarm response from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday.
Nazarbayev's proposal did, however, garner support from at least one prominent source -- Columbia University professor Robert Mundell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999 for his role in creating the euro.
Speaking at the same conference with Nazarbayev, he said the idea had "great promise."
The Kremlin document also called for national banks and international financial institutions to diversify their foreign currency reserves. It said the global financial system should be restructured to prevent future crises and proposed holding an international conference after the G20 summit to adopt conventions on a new global financial structure.
The Group of 20 industrialized and developing countries will meet in London on April 2.
U.S. Treasury Renminbi Bonds
Wed, 07 May 2014 04:00
By JC Collins
Carney was a tool but had the largest steel marbles on the block. The ''steely'' was the most sought after and traded of all the marbles, and Carney was a grand collector. Myths were born from his ability to bully smaller kids into trading their one or two heavy spheres for ten or twenty smaller and bland marbles. At one point I was certain that he had all the steelies in a 1 mile radius.
The afternoon laughter was usually broken by his emergence from the alley and into the field where we kids met every Saturday for the traditional game of marbles. With his girth and weight he would trample the smaller of the lot and settle at the highest edge of the ring.
Everyone hated playing with Carney because you would never win, even if you did. It was a lose-lose proposition which many refused to participate in.
Eventually a small grouping of kids joined together and began to avoid Carney altogether. They would randomly change the location each Saturday and start earlier in the afternoon. With each passing weekend Carney became more upset and angry over missing the games, not because he couldn't expand his collection of steelies but because he was left out of the game altogether.
A method of separating Carney from his steely collection was soon devised. For each weekend which he wished to play, he had to trade back one large steely for smaller and less valuable marbles. Though not pleased about this at all, his choices were simple now that a group had taken up defense against him. One, he could continue to bully and unfairly trade with the other kids in order to expand his already large steelie collection. Or two, he could trade fairly and still be allowed to play the game with the others.
With the kids no longer divided, Carney's choice was clear. The feeling of isolation and being left out was more impactful than the feelings of unwarranted reward. For what was the real value of his steely collection if nobody else wanted to play a game that involved them.
Never once in our childhood understanding of events did we question the fact that the real value of the marbles was provided by the parents who would give us the assorted bags and send us on our way. So focused on beating each other and transferring marbles amongst ourselves that we never thought to consider where the marbles were actually coming from.
As we continue on into adulthood there isn't much that changed. Marbles are replaced with money and we have no idea where it came from. We just seeked to acquire more of it and trade with it.
The mechanism of how the U.S. Treasury issues dollar denominated bonds which are purchased by the Federal Reserve and foreign central banks is never fully understood by a very large percentage of the population.
It works the same in every country.
But can the U.S. Treasury issue bonds denominated in another countries currency? Say the Chinese Renminbi?
The short answer is yes.
How do we know this?
Simple, it was done before.
In 1978 the faith in the U.S. dollar was at an all time low and many countries were afraid that the dollar was becoming a bad store of value. Considering the debt process of money creation, once the Federal Reserve starting printing mass amounts of money in 1944 to stuff the central banks around the world in support of the reserve currency status, the Treasury needed to continue issuing bonds so the process wouldn't fall flat and collapse the larger economy.
These bonds were called Carter bonds and were denominated in German marks and Swiss francs. The intent was to continue attracting foreign investments into Treasuries.
At the time many countries, including U.S. ally Japan, felt that the Treasury was attempting to inflate the debt away by devaluing the dollar. With increased money printing, being debt creation or expansion of credit, comes higher inflation. The more money you print, and the faster you print it, the faster inflation increases.
Faster inflation will eventually lead to negative real interest rates which in turn is a method of transferring debt away from investors and back to the government.
This is the QE money printing taking place at the Federal Reserve. With more QE we have seen higher inflation in the countries which hold Treasury debt.
The taper, designed flawlessly, is now transferring that devalued debt back to the government. In turn, as the debt comes home, gold is going the other way. Its a trade back, just like the steelies that Carney unfairly acquired from the other players.
One of the first posts I made here on PoM was titled China to Purchase the Federal Reserve. The essay got a lot of attention and has been well circulated around the internet. As prosperous as it first sounded, many things have happened since to suggest that the thesis may not have been that far from the mark.
To help understand what type of process could facilitate this business transaction, here's an article from 2012 titled Fed Clears Way for Chinese Firms to Buy US Banks.
The purchase of the JP Morgan building by a Chinese firm has been well covered. The important thing to remember about this deal was that no one saw it coming until it was announced.
The same can be expected in the coming months as larger US bank purchases by Chinese firms are announced and the takeover of industry openly commences. See post The New American Industrialization.
China has so heavily invested in Detroit that its now being wondered if that city will be the first Chinese American city in the new financial and industrial age that is upon us.
When the Fed taper reaches zero I would suspect that we will see some dramatic moves in bond denomination. Western gold reserves are depleting at the similar rate as the taper. The balance between gold reserves and dollar debt is where the future tales are foreshadowed.
Many are selling fear oriented scenario's based on economic collapse and dollar calamity. It is reasoned that hyperinflation will strike America and send prices skyrocketing. But inflation has been a constant since 1913. It's commonly acknowledged that the method of measuring inflation has been manipulated along with all the other economic indicators, none more so than gold, silver and oil.
In the post The Greatest Game I suggested that gold and stock markets will collapse when the financial system completes the inevitable transition to the multilateral SDR system. Perhaps I am also guilty of using the word collapse but in the article and subsequent comments I make plan that few will notice much of a difference once the transition is complete.
In regards to gold, the big steely, we have seen the prices go up as QE was increasing. As the taper has unfolded we have seen the price of gold come down.
The other scenario we hear a lot about is that gold will rise to atmospheric levels when the dollar collapses. The dollar has already collapsed. Or is collapsing as we speak. This is why inflation numbers are manipulated. This is why gold prices are manipulated. This is why the Fed is now tapering. This is why the gold has already mostly gone East. This is why China is purchasing US banks and investing in American industry.
And this is why prices for goods are already going up in America, and have been for the last few years. Its just that there is little discussion about it.
The so-called collapse already happened. It's just that no one noticed because it was hidden within QE and taper numbers, along with zero interest rates, high gold prices, and manufactured inflation metrics.
We are much closer to the final act of this financial system reset than many realize. Watch for the end of the taper. It approaches.
Like Carney having to trade his steelies back, the U.S. Treasury will soon be issuing Renminbi denominated bonds to secure investor confidence in America. And China will do its part by bringing American heavy industry back to life.
Remember, the SDR composition of the Renminbi is going to be massive. What we need to remember is who is handing us the marbles in the first place. '' JC
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Net Neutrality / Packet Equality
Stand with Joe on Net Neutrality | Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Thu, 08 May 2014 05:20
Stand with Joe on Net Neutrality | Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)On MTV in 2007, Barack Obama told Joe Niederberger that he'd defend Net Neutrality. Now, a new FCC Chair threatens to let cable and phone companies create an Internet fast lane for big corporations and a slow lane for everyone else.
We're stepping up the pressure on the FCC. And so is Senator Al Franken -- a leader on the fight for Net Neutrality!
Watch Sen. Franken's video. Then sign our petition to public officials:
With America having some of the slowest, most expensive Internet access in the world, the FCC should be making the Internet better -- not worse.
The new FCC Chair should carry out President Obama's promise and support Net Neutrality. If he won't, he should step down so the president can appoint someone who will stand up for Internet freedom and make the Internet better for all of us.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1aa-3HFUMc&rel=0
Click here to see the original video from Joe Niederberger.
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[% if (goal_type == "dollars") { %] [%= parseInt(((parseInt(total.dollars) + parseInt(20042))/parseInt(goal))*100) %]%[% } else { %] [%= parseInt(((parseInt(total.actions) + parseInt(20042))/parseInt(goal))*100) %]%[% } %]
[% if (goal_type == "dollars") { %] We've raised $[%= add_commas(parseInt((parseInt(total.dollars) + parseInt(20042)))) %] '-- [%= parseInt(((parseInt(total.dollars) + parseInt(20042))/parseInt(goal))*100) %]% of our goal of $[%= add_commas(goal) %]! [% } else { %] [%= add_commas(parseInt((parseInt(total.actions) + parseInt(20042)))) %] [%= (parseInt(total.actions) + parseInt(20042)) != 1 ? 'people have' : 'person has' %] taken action '-- [%= parseInt(((parseInt(total.actions) + parseInt(20042))/parseInt(goal))*100) %]% of our goal of [%= add_commas(goal) %]! [% } %]
[% } } %] ]]>
Sign your name below
Sign now!Paid for by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee PAC (BoldProgressives.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. Contributions to the PCCC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.
Technology firms write to U.S. FCC to oppose 'net neutrality' plan
Wed, 07 May 2014 23:01
TweetShare thisEmailPrintThe Google signage is seen at the company's offices in New York January 8, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Over 100 leading technology companies including Google Inc, Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Amazon.com Inc have written to U.S. telecom regulators to oppose a new "net neutrality" plan that would regulate how Internet providers manage web traffic.
The letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler and the agency's four commissioners, warning of a "grave threat to the Internet," came amid calls for a delay in a vote on the plan scheduled for May 15.
"I believe that rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his (Wheeler's) proposal," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said on Wednesday in remarks prepared for delivery to an industry meeting.
Rosenworcel called for a delay of "at least a month" on Wheeler's plan.
With two Republican commissioners broadly opposed to regulation of Internet traffic, the support of two Democrats on the panel is critical.
In their letter, the technology and Internet companies, which ranged from household names to small startups, called on the FCC to "take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce."
Commission rules should not permit "individualized bargaining and discrimination," the companies said.
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Ros Krasny and Sandra Maler)
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Observations of an Internet Middleman | Beyond Bandwidth
Wed, 07 May 2014 08:05
We received a lot of positive feedback, as well as a lot of questions when Mike posted his recent story, Chicken. Many of the questions asked for more specific data about the scale and size of the problem. This post is an attempt to provide some of that data.
Our Internet Services product sits on top of this global infrastructure:
The orange lines are cable systems that Level 3 built and fully owns (the yellow lines are owned by multiple carriers or leased). That means thousands of miles of fiber in trenches across land and thousands of miles of fiber in cables on the seabed. In all, our network contains approximately 180,000 miles of fiber '' enough to circle the equator seven times.
That fiber is then turned into usable bandwidth by installing equipment in data centers in each of those red and yellow dots, and also roughly every one hundred miles along each terrestrial cable. That bandwidth is then turned into an Internet Service by installing routers and switches in key locations. The Level 3 Internet Service consists of more than 10,000 Ethernet connections '' getting bigger every month. The original invested capital in the Level 3 network was approximately $40 billion.
Level 3 uses that network to sell Internet Services to tens of thousands of customers all around the world. But, despite the huge amount of infrastructure that we built and contribute, we are only one part of the global Internet. When we sell Internet Services, we have to make available every single route on the Internet to our customers '' not just the routes we ourselves own. That means we have to provide access to all of the networks owned and operated by others, which right now means about 46,000 other networks '' some of which also make use of Level 3's fiber and bandwidth services.
Level 3 builds a route map of the Internet by connecting its tens of thousands of customers together and allowing them to communicate. So a Level 3 customer in Hong Kong can communicate with a Level 3 customer in Sao Paulo. But to complete the map we also need to fill in interconnection to everyone who isn't a direct Level 3 customer, so that our customers can also communicate with those who are not our customers. We do that through connections to other networks and their customers. This latter sort of connectivity is often called peering. Peering connections allow for exchanges of traffic between the respective customers of each peer.
While Level 3 has tens of thousands of customers, it only has 51 peers[1]. That total set of interconnections enables our customers to ''see'' the whole Internet. And what is important here is the ''distance'' our customers see between themselves and any other part of the Internet. That is often referred to as the number of ''hops''; or number of other networks a packet has to traverse to reach its destination. We strive to make that number as low as possible to offer our customers the best performance; more hops can introduce more delay and more potential for quality degradations when the other networks don't invest enough in performance, redundancy and capacity.
So how does all this compare to other networks? Renesys does a good job describing the interconnectedness of the Internet, but their reports are often misunderstood. They do not show how much traffic each network carries on any sort of relative basis. They merely show the interconnectedness of the networks on a relative basis. As you can see, Level 3's network is the most interconnected. This list of companies along with our combined investment, innovation and competition has enabled the Internet to grow dramatically by carrying enormous flows of traffic around the globe. Removing these middlemen would leave a massive hole in the Internet.
Much has been made of peering agreements. Many peering agreements were made between engineers in the early days of the Internet and consisted of not much more than a single page of text '' if there was anything written down at all. They weren't really contracts in the way you might consider a formal legal agreement. But over the last decade or so, they have become legal contracts that have a defined term and a set of expectations that each party agrees to adhere to. The vast majority of those contracts are settlement free. For example, 48 of the 51 Level 3 peering agreements are settlement free. In one case, a peer pays us for access to a number of routes in a region where their network doesn't go; a choice they made rather than buying Internet Services from another party. As we have explained a number of times, our policy is to refuse to pay arbitrary charges to add interconnection capacity (more detail to come in our forthcoming solutions blog post).
But there are also typically shared costs for networks to interconnect. Each party pays to augment its own network to allow for more traffic exchange (the expense to augment capacity is not significant for either party). And since we often choose to interconnect in a third party data center, the networks usually agree to share the cost of the cross connects by paying for them on an alternating basis.
The table below shows the connection locations Level 3 has with its peers, and the total interconnection capacity exceeds 13,600Gbps.
Level 3 has 51 peers that are interconnected in 45 cities through over 1,360 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (plus a few smaller ports). The distribution of that capacity with individual peers ranges from a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet port to 148 ports. The average number of interconnection cities per peer is five, but ranges from one to 20.
The average utilization across all those interconnected ports is 36 percent. So you might be asking '' what is all the fuss about with peering? And why did we write the Chicken post? Well, our peers fall into two broad categories; global or regional Internet Services providers like Level 3 (those ''middlemen'' listed in the Renesys report), and Broadband consumer networks like AT&T. If I use that distinction as a filter to look at congested ports, the story looks very different.
A port that is on average utilised at 90 percent will be saturated, dropping packets, for several hours a day. We have congested ports saturated to those levels with 12 of our 51 peers. Six of those 12 have a single congested port, and we are both (Level 3 and our peer) in the process of making upgrades '' this is business as usual and happens occasionally as traffic swings around the Internet as customers change providers.
That leaves the remaining six peers with congestion on almost all of the interconnect ports between us. Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity. They are deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers. They are not allowing us to fulfil the requests their customers make for content.
Five of those congested peers are in the United States and one is in Europe. There are none in any other part of the world. All six are large Broadband consumer networks with a dominant or exclusive market share in their local market. In countries or markets where consumers have multiple Broadband choices (like the UK) there are no congested peers.
As an example, this is what one of those congested interconnections looks like. It is a 100Gbps interconnect in Dallas for the week ending April 3. The graph on the left shows flat tops for most of each day '' the port is congested and cannot accept all of the traffic that is trying to get through. Not only are packets being dropped (the number dropped are on the right), but all those not being dropped are also subject to delay. The effect of dropped and delayed packets is discussed in our prior post.
For comparison, below is an uncongested interconnection. This is also 100Gbps but in Washington, D.C. with another peer. This shows no congestion, although there isn't much headroom, so a capacity augment is underway. The graph on the right shows absolutely no dropped packets.
One final point; the companies with the congested peering interconnects also happen to rank dead last in customer satisfaction across all industries in the U.S.[2] Not only dead last, but by a massive statistical margin of almost three standard deviations.
Shouldn't a broadband consumer network with near monopoly control over their customers be expected, if not obligated, to deliver a better experience than this?
[1] Our peers are generally other networks that complement our own and that agree with us to exchange traffic on fair and reasonable terms '' see our peering policy.
[2] According to the 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index ( www.theacsi.org )
The following two tabs change content below.I work as VP of Content and Media here at Level 3. English expat and passionate new tech energy evangelist.
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Major internet firm blames ISPs for purposely slowing down web traffic '-- RT USA
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:17
Published time: May 06, 2014 18:39Reuters / Mike Segar
Are Internet Service Providers responsible for insufferably slow connection speeds? A major web company that lets ISPs use its 180,000 miles of fiber cables to transmit content around the globe says certain entities are to blame for congestion problems.
According to a blog post published this week by the vice president of content and media at Level 3 '-- the world's largest so-called internet backbone provider '-- ISPs aren't exactly innocent when it comes to causing those connectivity issues.
Level 3 exec Mark Taylor wrote in Monday's blog post that six ISPs across the globe, including five in the US, are allowing connection problems to continue on a regular basis because they refuse to pay for infrastructure upgrades that would greatly speed up the delivery of data.
As RT reported previously, Level 3 is one of a handful of companies that, combined, control hundreds of thousands of miles worth of cables over which web content is carried. That company alone, for instance, has enough cable to circle the equator several times over.
''Level 3 uses that network to sell Internet Services to tens of thousands of customers all around the world. But, despite the huge amount of infrastructure that we built and contribute, we are only one part of the global Internet,'' Taylor wrote this week.
Indeed, other backbone internet providers exist and share their services with one another in order to make the web as navigable as possible. Then those main arteries are accessed by last-mile ISPs, like Comcast, Verizon and countless others around the world, who in turn transmit content like web sites and streaming videos to household customers.
Six of those ISPs, Taylor wrote, are causing complications though. He neglected to name them during this week's blog post, but he did say that of Level 3's 51 ''peers,'' half-a-dozen are responsible for facilitating congestion problems.
According to Taylor, Level 3 lets those 51 peers connect to over 1,360 Ethernet ports around the globe, with some ISPs plugging their networks into as many as 20 ports at a single connection point. On average, he wrote, those ports are utilized to around 36 percent of their respective capacity, easily letting ISPs deliver content to customers as quickly as possible without tube-clogging congestion. A standoff between other ISPs and Level 3 has worsened, however, and Taylor said that the six companies in question are deliberately causing deliverability issues.
Six peers, Taylor wrote, are using ports that are on aver average utilized 90 percent of the time, causing heavy saturation within the network and, ergo, slow speeds. And months after discussions, he added, those ISPs show no desire to make upgrades that would speed things up.
''Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity. They are deliberately harming the service they deliver to their paying customers. They are not allowing us to fulfil the requests their customers make for content,'' he wrote.
What's more, Taylor added, is that all six are major broadband consumer networks that either have a dominant or exclusive market share, meaning customers unsatisfied with slow connection speeds have no alternative.
''One final point,'' he concluded; ''the companies with the congested peering interconnects also happen to rank dead last in customer satisfaction across all industries in the US. Not only dead last, but by a massive statistical margin of almost three standard deviations.''
SnowJob
Brand Snowden in Denmark? [email]
Hallo Adam
Eens een brief van een luisteraar uit Denemarken.
Ik wou je op de hoogte brengen over een schandaal dat hier in Denemarken gaande is en dat met de dag complexer wordt. Het heeft namelijk nu een internationale flair gekregen gezien Snowden nu ook gecommentarieerd heeft op deze zaak. Geen idee waarom, gezien het hier over werknemer fraude gaat dus dit lijkt mij meer op navelstaarderij van Snowden dan wat anders. Snowden brief naar de "Berlingske" krant: http://www.b.dk/nationalt/big-things-are-happening-in-denmark.
In telegram stijl:
Eind jaren 60 werd PBS opgericht, een firma waar alle banken aandelen in hadden om elektronische transacties te regelen gezien computers erg duur waren toen en shared resources the way to go waren (bron:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PBS_A/S)
Deze firma werd uiteindelijk ook verantwoordelijk voor kreditkaart-transacties gezien Denemarken zijn eigen debet kaart wou (beetje zoals pin en chip in NL en bancontact in BE) waarbij er later een combinatie gecreëerd werd met een kredietkaart. In Denemarken heet dit de "Dankort" of "Deen kaart". Denen doen alles met hun Dankort, meer dan met klassieke kredietkaarten
PBS tesamen met een paar andere firma's heten sinds 2010 "Nets"
Via een uitgegeven boek van een ex-werknemer van de media firma "Aller Media" is er gehint geweest dat informatie gekocht werd van Nets. Tenminste één van hun roddelbladen "Se og Hør" (uitgesproken: "say ow heur", wat "zien en horen" betekent) zou hierbij getrokken zijn
Na verder uitspitten blijkt dat IBM die IT diensten levert aan Nets, tenminste één werknemer had die 10.000 DKK (=1339 EUR) betaald werd per maand om kredietkaart gegevens door te geven aan journalisten van eender wie, inclusief het koningshuis, regering, etc
Vandaag is gebleken dat vliegtuigmaatschappij SAS ook betrokken is en dat er daar ook corrupte werknemers zijn die vluchtgegevens (passenger manifest, cargo manifest) doorgeven aan media maatschappijen. Op die manier kon de kroonprins gevolgd worden op vakantie, kunnen celebs gevolgd worden en kan eender wie zijn kredietkaart en locatie ontfutseld worden
Dit heeft te maken met werknemer fraude natuurlijk gezien mensen die met klanten informatie werken als deel van een helpdesk etc altijd de informatie kunnen stelen. Ze hebben toegang nodig tot de informatie om hun werk te kunnen doen. We hebben het hier niet over bulk-access gezien je daarvoor filters kan instellen in databases/email filters etc. Dit gaat over heel specifieke individuen dus dat soort misbruik is bijna niet te stoppen. De recessie en vrijwillig loon afstaan zoals bij vele bedrijven gebeurt geeft natuurlijk veel aanleiding om links en rechts iets bij te verdienen. Ik blijf hier de zaak volgen gezien er waarschijnlijk nog meer skeletten uit de kast zullen vallen.
Het ironische hiervan is dat een tijd terug tijdens de beginnende Snowden hetse, het hoofd van de inlichtingendienst hier in Denemarken (het "P.E.T.") iedereen verzekerd had Denemarken veilig was tegen doorspelen van informatie aan bijvoorbeeld de USA of andere partijen. Een paar dagen later deed Snowden zijn revelaties dat Denemarken een van de "9 eyes" is. Artikel hier. Daarbijkomend is er nog eens uitgekomen dat de USA alles aan het afluisteren was tijdens de COP15 klimaat conferentie in Kopenhagen dus de USA heeft al heel wat langer zijn hand onder de bloes van Denemarken.
IT beveiliging en het aan de man brengen daarvan is schrijnend moeilijk in Denemarken. De maturiteit van informatie beveiliging ligt veel lager dan bijvoorbeeld West Europe (Frankrijk, Nederland, België, Duitsland, etc). Zelfs IT managers en corporate security officers gooien vragen naar je als "maar wie zou onze data willen" terwijl het daar helemaal niet over gaat. Het koude oorlog denken heeft daar ook nog mee te maken met de "you should have nothing to hide" mentaliteit.
Er kwam weinig tot geen reactie in Denemarken op de Snowden leaks maar nu dat er opeens kredietkaart data gelekt is van celebs en het koningshuis (het koningshuis is erg populair hier), dan opeens gaan mensen reageren. Oppervlakkig, kortzichtig, naïef en apathisch.
Ik heb de show maar een paar keer kunnen sponsoren met kleine bijdragen maar ik hoop dat dit genoeg is om een random douchebag jingle te krijgen voor de regering van Denemarken.
Veel succes met de show, hallo aan John, veel beterschap en tot in Denemarken wie weet
Waffles
FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now - CNET
Wed, 07 May 2014 22:50
CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.
The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance .
In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned.
The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly.
"If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding," an industry representative who has reviewed the FBI's draft legislation told CNET. The requirements apply only if a threshold of a certain number of users is exceeded, according to a second industry representative briefed on it.
The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks.
June 2008: FBI Director Robert Mueller and his aides brief Sens. Barbara Mikulski, Richard Shelby, and Ted Stevens on "Going Dark."
June 2008: FBI Assistant Director Kerry Haynes holds "Going Dark" briefing for Senate appropriations subcommittee and offers a "classified version of this briefing" at Quantico.
August 2008: Mueller briefed on Going Dark at strategy meeting.
September 2008: FBI completes a "high-level explanation" of CALEA amendment package.
May 2009: FBI Assistant Director Rich Haley briefs Senate Intelligence committee and Mikulsi staffers on how bureau is "dealing with the 'Going Dark' issue.'" Mikulski plans to bring up "Going Dark" at a closed-door hearing the following week.
May 2009: Haley briefs Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, currently the top Democrat on House Intelligence, who would later co-author CISPA.
September 2008: FBI staff briefed by RAND, which was commissioned to "look at" Going Dark.
November 2008: FBI Assistant Director Marcus Thomas, who oversees the Quantico-based Operational Technology Division, prepares briefing for President-Elect Obama's transition team.
December 2008: FBI intelligence analyst in Communications Analysis Unit begins analysis of VoIP surveillance.
February 2009: FBI memo to all field offices asks for anecdotal information about cases where "investigations have been negatively impacted" by lack of data retention or Internet interception.
March 2009: Mueller's advisory board meets for a full-day briefing on Going Dark.
April 2009: FBI distributes presentation for White House meeting on Going Dark.
April 2009: FBI warns that the Going Dark project is "yellow," meaning limited progress, because of "new administration personnel not being in place for briefings."
April 2009: FBI general counsel's office reports that the bureau's Data Interception Technology Unit has "compiled a list of FISA dockets... that the FBI has been unable to fully implement." That's a reference to telecom companies that are already covered by the FCC's expansion of CALEA.
May 2009: FBI's internal Wikipedia-knockoff Bureaupedia entry for "National Lawful Intercept Strategy" includes section on "modernize lawful intercept laws."
May 2009: FBI e-mail boasts that the bureau's plan has "gotten attention" from industry, but "we need to strengthen the business case on this."
June 2009: FBI's Office of Congressional Affairs prepares Going Dark briefing for closed-door session of Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
July 2010: FBI e-mail says the "Going Dark Working Group (GDWG) continues to ask for examples from Cvber investigations where investigators have had problems" because of new technologies.
September 2010: FBI staff operations specialist in its Counterterrorism Division sends e-mail on difficulties in "obtaining information from Internet Service Providers and social-networking sites."
FBI Director Robert Mueller is not asking companies to support the bureau's CALEA expansion, but instead is "asking what can go in it to minimize impacts," one participant in the discussions says. That included a scheduled trip this month to the West Coast -- which was subsequently postponed -- to meet with Internet companies' CEOs and top lawyers.
A further expansion of CALEA is unlikely to be applauded by tech companies, their customers, or privacy groups. Apple (which distributes iChat and FaceTime) is currently lobbying on the topic, according to disclosure documents filed with Congress two weeks ago. Microsoft (which owns Skype and Hotmail) says its lobbyists are following the topic because it's "an area of ongoing interest to us." Google, Yahoo, and Facebook declined to comment.
In February 2011, CNET was the first to report that then-FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni was planning to warn Congress of what the bureau calls its "Going Dark" problem, meaning that its surveillance capabilities may diminish as technology advances. Caproni singled out "Web-based e-mail, social-networking sites, and peer-to-peer communications" as problems that have left the FBI "increasingly unable" to conduct the same kind of wiretapping it could in the past.
In addition to the FBI's legislative proposal, there are indications that the Federal Communications Commission is considering reinterpreting CALEA to demand that products that allow video or voice chat over the Internet -- from Skype to Google Hangouts to Xbox Live -- include surveillance backdoors to help the FBI with its "Going Dark" program. CALEA applies to technologies that are a "substantial replacement" for the telephone system.
"We have noticed a massive uptick in the amount of FCC CALEA inquiries and enforcement proceedings within the last year, most of which are intended to address 'Going Dark' issues," says Christopher Canter, lead compliance counsel at the Marashlian and Donahue law firm, which specializes in CALEA. "This generally means that the FCC is laying the groundwork for regulatory action."
Subsentio, a Colorado-based company that sells CALEA compliance products and worked with the Justice Department when it asked the FCC to extend CALEA seven years ago, says the FBI's draft legislation was prepared with the compliance costs of Internet companies in mind.
In a statement to CNET, Subsentio President Steve Bock said that the measure provides a "safe harbor" for Internet companies as long as the interception techniques are "'good enough' solutions approved by the attorney general."
Another option that would be permitted, Bock said, is if companies "supply the government with proprietary information to decode information" obtained through a wiretap or other type of lawful interception, rather than "provide a complex system for converting the information into an industry standard format."
A representative for the FBI told CNET today that: "(There are) significant challenges posed to the FBI in the accomplishment of our diverse mission. These include those that result from the advent of rapidly changing technology. A growing gap exists between the statutory authority of law enforcement to intercept electronic communications pursuant to court order and our practical ability to intercept those communications. The FBI believes that if this gap continues to grow, there is a very real risk of the government 'going dark,' resulting in an increased risk to national security and public safety."
Next stepsThe FBI's legislation, which has been approved by the Department of Justice, is one component of what the bureau has internally called the "National Electronic Surveillance Strategy." Documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation show that since 2006, Going Dark has been a worry inside the bureau, which employed 107 full-time equivalent people on the project as of 2009, commissioned a RAND study, and sought extensive technical input from the bureau's secretive Operational Technology Division in Quantico, Va. The division boasts of developing the "latest and greatest investigative technologies to catch terrorists and criminals."
But the White House, perhaps less inclined than the bureau to initiate what would likely be a bruising privacy battle, has not sent the FBI's CALEA amendments to Capitol Hill, even though they were expected last year . (A representative for Sen. Patrick Leahy, head of the Judiciary committee and original author of CALEA, said today that "we have not seen any proposals from the administration.")
Mueller said in December that the CALEA amendments will be "coordinated through the interagency process," meaning they would need to receive administration-wide approval.
Stewart Baker, a partner at Steptoe and Johnson who is the former assistant secretary for policy at Homeland Security, said the FBI has "faced difficulty getting its legislative proposals through an administration staffed in large part by people who lived through the CALEA and crypto fights of the Clinton administration, and who are jaundiced about law enforcement regulation of technology -- overly jaundiced, in my view."
On the other hand, as a senator in the 1990s, Vice President Joe Biden introduced a bill at the FBI's behest that echoes the bureau's proposal today. Biden's bill said companies should "ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law." (Biden's legislation spurred the public release of PGP, one of the first easy-to-use encryption utilities.)
The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment. An FCC representative referred questions to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, which declined to comment.
From the FBI's perspective, expanding CALEA to cover VoIP, Web e-mail, and social networks isn't expanding wiretapping law: If a court order is required today, one will be required tomorrow as well. Rather, it's making sure that a wiretap is guaranteed to produce results.
But that nuanced argument could prove radioactive among an Internet community already skeptical of government efforts in the wake of protests over the Stop Online Piracy Act , or SOPA, in January, and the CISPA data-sharing bill last month. And even if startups or hobbyist projects are exempted if they stay below the user threshold, it's hardly clear how open-source or free software projects such as Linphone, KPhone, and Zfone -- or Nicholas Merrill's proposal for a privacy-protective Internet provider -- will comply.
The FBI's CALEA amendments could be particularly troublesome for Zfone. Phil Zimmermann, the creator of PGP who became a privacy icon two decades ago after being threatened with criminal prosecution, announced Zfone in 2005 as a way to protect the privacy of VoIP users. Zfone scrambles the entire conversation from end to end.
"I worry about the government mandating backdoors into these kinds of communications," says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has obtained documents from the FBI relating to its proposed expansion of CALEA.
As CNET was the first to report in 2003, representatives of the FBI's Electronic Surveillance Technology Section in Chantilly, Va., began quietly lobbying the FCC to force broadband providers to provide more-efficient, standardized surveillance facilities. The FCC approved that requirement a year later, sweeping in Internet phone companies that tie into the existing telecommunications system. It was upheld in 2006 by a federal appeals court.
But the FCC never granted the FBI's request to rewrite CALEA to cover instant messaging and VoIP programs that are not "managed"--meaning peer-to-peer programs like Apple's Facetime, iChat/AIM, Gmail's video chat, and Xbox Live's in-game chat that do not use the public telephone network.
If there is going to be a CALEA rewrite, "industry would like to see any new legislation include some protections against disclosure of any trade secrets or other confidential information that might be shared with law enforcement, so that they are not released, for example, during open court proceedings," says Roszel Thomsen, a partner at Thomsen and Burke who represents technology companies and is a member of an FBI study group. He suggests that such language would make it "somewhat easier" for both industry and the police to respond to new technologies.
But industry groups aren't necessarily going to roll over without a fight. TechAmerica, a trade association that includes representatives of HP, eBay, IBM, Qualcomm, and other tech companies on its board of directors, has been lobbying against a CALEA expansion. Such a law would "represent a sea change in government surveillance law, imposing significant compliance costs on both traditional (think local exchange carriers) and nontraditional (think social media) communications companies," TechAmerica said in e-mail today.
Ross Schulman, public policy and regulatory counsel at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, adds: "New methods of communication should not be subject to a government green light before they can be used."
Last updated at 12:30 p.m. PT
Vaccine$
WHO & Polio Spread
Commentary
Pakistan: The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that Pakistan's failure to stem the spread of polio has triggered a global health emergency. The WHO is recommending all residents must show proof of vaccination before they can leave the country and should present a polio vaccination certificate.
The WHO's emergency measures also apply to Syria and Cameroon, which, along with Pakistan, pose the greatest risk of exporting the polio virus.
According to Pakistani press, Pakistan is the only country with endemic polio that saw cases rise last year. The number of Pakistanis with polio rose to 93 from 58 in 2012, accounting for more than a fifth of the 417 cases globally in 2013.
A WHO official said the virus has spread recently to Iraq, Israel and Syria, and has been found in sewage in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and greater Cairo. These outbreaks have been traced back to Pakistan, according to Pakistani press. Polio also appeared in China two years ago.
An official of UNICEF said that Pakistanis will face immense difficulties in visiting other countries, especially those that are polio-free.
Comment: The Organization recommends that the emergency measures to prevent polio's export should remain in place for up to 12 months.
There has been a backlash against vaccination in northwestern Pakistan as the result of the CIA's manipulation of a vaccination program to help in the hunt for bin Laden. Chronic instability in the northwest also has hampered public health programs in general. All the most recent cases of polio have been discovered in the northwest.
It is almost astonishing that polio has not been reported in India, considering their proximity.
Violent instability and public health intersect in the outbreak of diseases that attack all parties to a conflict and their civilian populations. Disease is always a conflict multiplier. Most of the countries that were free from polio and now have it again also have chronic internal violence. Others might be considered victims of a globally integrated travel system
NYTimes: Pakistan: Province Bars Entry to Those Not Vaccinated for Polio
International public health emergency: Polio spreads in at least 10 countries
Tue, 06 May 2014 15:41
Since 1988, when the polio-eradication plan began, the global incidence of the disease had been reduced by 99 per cent with the number of countries affected by endemic polio down from 125 to just three by the end of 2012.
However, a resurgence of the viral disease, which can be completely prevented by oral vaccination, has occurred this year and in 2013 in several countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa where vaccine campaigns have failed to reach high-risk children.
An emergency committee of the WHO said in a statement yesterday that the international spread of polio to date in 2014 constitutes an ''extraordinary event'' and that there is a serious public health threat to other countries where vaccination is incomplete.
''If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the world's most serious vaccine-preventable diseases. It was the unanimous view of the committee that the conditions for a public health emergency of international concern have been met,'' the committee said.
At the end of April, there were 68 confirmed cases of polio this year, compared with 24 at the same point last year. Three countries '' Pakistan, Cameroon and the Syrian Arab Republic '' were identified as places that had exported polio to other countries in 2014.
Wild poliovirus was also found to be present in Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria. Although these countries were not identified as exporting the virus, there was a serious risk that people could carry it with them when travelling, particularly from Nigeria which has a history of spreading polio across borders, the WHO said.
The polio virus typically affects children under five and can cause severe paralysis and death. It is usually spread in water contaminated with human faeces and although there is no specific treatment or cure, it can be prevented by a vaccine taken by mouth.
The WHO's global polio-eradication campaign, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was based on administering the vaccine to as many children as possible in the at-risk countries to eliminate the disease completely in the wild. However, it has met opposition in some Muslim regions, which has been made worse in conflict zones where vaccine administration is even more difficult.
''Until it is eradicated, polio will continue to spread internationally, find and paralyse susceptible kids,'' said Bruce Aylward, the head of the polio-eradication campaign at the WHO.
In 2013, polio reappeared in Syria, sparking fears that the civil unrest there could ignite wider outbreaks across the region. The virus has also been identified in the sewage systems of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, although no cases have been identified.
In February, the WHO found polio had also returned to Iraq. It is already circulating in eight other countries: Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Somalia and Kenya.
An independent monitoring board set up by WHO to assess progress in eradicating polio has described the problems as ''unprecedented'' and said the situation in Pakistan was ''a powder keg''. Dozens of Pakistani polio workers have been killed in the last two years and the vast majority of new cases are in Pakistan.
Keelkanker door orale seks in twintig jaar verzesvoudigd
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:28
Door: Rineke Voogt '' 07/05/14, 07:20
(C) ANP. Tumoren van hpv-keelkankerpatinten reageren beter op straling en behandeling.
Het humaan papillomavirus (hpv) is steeds vaker de veroorzaker van keelkanker. Het aandeel van door hpv veroorzaakte keelkanker in Nederland is de afgelopen twintig jaar verzesvoudigd. Deze vorm van keelkanker lijkt overigens beter te behandelen dan andere vormen.
In de VS is hpv-keelkanker al een grotere bedreiging voor de volksgezondheid dan baarmoederhalskanker.
Dat blijkt uit het onderzoek van Michelle Rietbergen, die vandaag promoveert aan het VUmc. Roken en overmatig alcoholgebruik kunnen ook leiden tot keelkanker, maar nu blijkt dat van alle keelkankergevallen - 550 per jaar - ruim 30 procent door het humaan papillomavirus wordt veroorzaakt. Dat was in 1990 nog maar 5 procent.
Hpv wordt overgedragen door seksueel contact en kan bij vrouwen leiden tot baarmoederhalskanker, maar veroorzaakt dus ook andere kankersoorten, onder meer in de keel. Veel wisselende sekspartners en orale seks zijn risicofactoren voor hpv-keelkanker. Hierin ligt mogelijk een oorzaak van de stijging: 'Buitenlands onderzoek laat zien dat het aantal seksuele partners toeneemt', zegt Rietbergen. Bovendien is het een internationaal probleem: 'In de VS is wel 70 procent van alle keelkankergevallen hpv-positief.'
Mannelijk hormoonHpv-keelkanker komt drie keer vaker voor bij mannen dan bij vrouwen. Daarin speelt een mannelijk hormoon mogelijk een rol, zegt Rietbergen. Maar ook is de zogeheten viral load het hoogst in de baarmoedermond: daar is het meest van het virus aanwezig. Via orale seks zou dat dus snel overgedragen kunnen worden.
Opmerkelijk genoeg blijken de hpv-positieve tumoren beter te behandelen dan keelkanker die door iets anders is veroorzaakt. De prognose voor hpv-keelkankerpatinten is beduidend beter, concludeert Rietbergen op basis van haar onderzoek onder duizend patinten. 'De tumoren reageren beter op straling en behandeling. Mogelijk helpt het immuunsysteem mee om tegen het virus te strijden.' Hpv-keelkankerpatinten kunnen wellicht toe met een minder zware behandeling.
Preventieve vaccinatieVolgens Rietbergen pleiten de resultaten eens te meer voor preventieve hpv-vaccinatie bij meisjes om het virus te kunnen elimineren. 'We weten al dat het vaccin bij vrouwen werkt tegen baarmoederhalskanker, veroorzaakt door precies dezelfde hpv-variant. Helaas is de vaccinatiegraad nog laag.'Promotor Ren(C) Leemans van het VUmc, voegt toe: 'Keelkanker door hpv is een belangrijk probleem aan het worden. In de VS is hpv-keelkanker al een grotere bedreiging voor de volksgezondheid dan baarmoederhalskanker.'
Some students don't see ADHD drug use as cheating
Mon, 05 May 2014 15:16
Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY3 a.m. EDT May 3, 2014
A bottle of Ritalin sits on the counter of a pharmacy.(Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
SHARE870CONNECTEMAILMORESociety has clearly come out against performance-enhancing drugs in sports, but they are becoming increasingly common in academics.
Nearly one in five students at an Ivy League university have misused ADHD drugs to improve their school performance, according to a new poll being presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The lead researcher, Andrew Adesman, declined to name the college he surveyed, saying that he's confident that the rate is virtually the same at every other school.
"I don't think this is a phenomenon that's necessarily any greater a problem in the Ivies than anywhere else," said Adesman, a developmental pediatrician and chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park.
Some school honor codes, such as at Duke University in North Carolina, expressly forbid performance-enhancing drugs, Adesman said.
But many others have not yet acknowledged the growing use of these stimulant medications on their campuses, said Sean Esteban McCabe, a research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center.
Students in the poll reported mainly taking the drugs to write an essay or study for or take a test. One-third did not consider taking stimulants as a form of cheating, while 41% thought it was.
The vast majority of those who misuse ADHD drugs get them from people who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and prescribed the drugs, research indicates. Some students are pressured by their friends to share medication, said Timothy Wilens, director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He suggests that college students with ADHD not tell their friends that they are taking medications.
Whether these drugs actually help improve performance is subject to some debate. There's no doubt, that ADHD medications improve focus and concentration, Wilens said.
For someone with ADHD, the drugs might help them focus for 20 minutes instead of the possibly five or so minutes that come naturally, he said. For someone without attention issues, who can already focus for 30-40 minutes, the drugs might help them tune in for 50 or 60 minutes. "It will improve performance," he said.
But whether that boost is enough to improve grades remains doubtful, McCabe said via e-mail.
The benefit "appears to be more of a myth than a reality." Several studies have shown that students who misuse ADHD drugs are already on the academic fringe, with lower grades and more drug and alcohol problems than their peers.
Plus, the possible health problems caused by medication abuse can erode academic performance, said Katherine Keyes, an epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
They can be addictive, she said, and they can cause problems like insomnia and agitation.
"It's not something you want to mess with without a physician's oversight," Keyes said.
The majority of people who misuse ADHD drugs do so in combination with other drugs, according to research by McCabe, who said emergency room visits for stimulant misuse more than doubled from 2005 to 2010.
"Many college students who simultaneously drink alcohol and use prescription stimulants have no idea how dangerous the interactions between these substances can be," McCabe said.
SHARE870CONNECTEMAILMORE
Common Core
NYTimes: A Conversation About Tests That Educators Want to Have, but Can’t
Indiana Faces Government Consequences for Exiting Common Core
Wed, 07 May 2014 14:31
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
On Friday, the U. S. Department of Education sent a letter to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, threatening to revoke the state's waiver from No Child Left Behind '' because Indiana exited the Common Core national standards last month.
The letter states:
''IDOE (Indiana Department of Education) met ED (Department of Education) requirements in its approved ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act/[No Child Left Behind]) flexibility request through the 2013-14 school year by adopting and implementing standards common to a significant number of States. Because the IDOE will no longer implement those standards, IDOE must amend its ESEA flexibility request and provide evidence that its new standards are certified by a State network of IHEs (Institutions of Higher Education) that students who meet the standards will not need remedial coursework at the postsecondary level.''
The saga of NCLB waivers is further evidence of the administration's clear fingerprints on what is ostensibly a ''state-led'' effort.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education circumvented the normal legislative process (through which a law like No Child Left Behind would be amended and reauthorized) by offering each state ''flexibility'' waivers from some of the more onerous federal mandates in NCLB. Those waivers were offered to states in part in exchange for adopting ''college and career-ready standards'' or standards that were ''common to a significant number of states,'' which most states understood to mean Common Core.
Although the Secretary of Education has authority to offer waivers from parts of the law, the executive branch policymaking represented by the waiver pacts sets concerning precedent and grows the department's power over state and local education decision-making.
Indiana's Senate Enrolled Act 91, which removed Indiana from Common Core, requires the state to develop new college- and career-ready standards by July 1, to be implemented for the 2014-15 school year. The law also requires school districts in Indiana to administer the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) assessments through the 2014-15 school year. The problem is that the administration does not view its new standards or testing regime as ''meeting expectations'' '' despite the fact Indiana's pre-Common Core state standards were ranked among the highest in the nation.
In its letter to Ritz, the U.S. Department of Education gives Indiana 60 days '' until July 1 '' to implement administration-compliant ''next steps.'' These include submitting amendments to its approved ESEA flexibility request to ''develop appropriate monitoring supports for the transition of all students to college-and-career-ready standards'... and submit an amendment to its ESEA flexibility request consisting of a high-quality plan to administer a high-quality assessment aligned with college-and-career-ready standards, in reading/language arts and mathematics by the 2014-15 school year.''
Indiana's work to remove Hoosiers from Common Core has paved the way for other states looking to exit the national standards boondoggle. And if state autonomy is something other states cherish, it's a path they should follow. Because the letters issued to Indiana (and several other states) show just how weak the phrases ''state-led'' and ''voluntary'' became when used to describe Common Core.
Taking notes? There's a memory advantage to using pen and paper.
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:57
Psycho BabblePrintTaking notes? There's a memory advantage to using pen and paper
Photo by Adikos/Flickr
By Jessica Love
As I write this post on my laptop, I am doing a few other things, too: watching videos from my Facebook feed, Gchatting a friend, confirming on Twitter that ''Gchat'' can be a transitive verb, and using a clever infographic to revisit, for no purpose whatsoever, how much rent I should've paid. With great Internet access comes great responsibility. Any student sitting in a classroom, with a computer on her lap, knows about the temptation. But there's another reason, besides distractibility, why using your laptop to take notes during a meeting or lecture may not be optimal. The very act of typing notes, as opposed to writing them out longhand, seems to hurt our memory for the new information.
In a new study in Psychological Science, Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer had students take notes while watching TED Talks. Some students walked into a room equipped with laptops (unconnected to the web), while the rest were provided with pen and paper. About a half hour after watching the talks, students were tested on the content. For strictly factual questions, the note-taking method didn't seem to matter. But for more conceptual questions'--''How do Japan and Sweden differ in their approaches to equality within their societies?'''--the typists remembered fewer correct responses than the scribblers.
This low-tech advantage also held when students were allowed to review their notes before taking a test. In another study, students returned to the lab to be tested a full week after watching the videos. Some were handed their notes to review. Of those, laptop note-takers again performed more poorly than those whose notes were handwritten.
Why is typing so hard on the memory? Most of us can type more quickly than we can write by hand, which allows us to produce more. This is terrific'--more is often better. But all this ease and dexterity also tends to lull us into ''mindless transcription'' mode. For the typists, researchers noted ''greater verbatim overlap with the lecture'' than for longhand note-takers. Why bother to think deeply about what we are learning, and how our notes should be structured, when we can just do our damnedest to type, verbatim, everything as it is being said? When we type quickly, we also spend less time with any given piece of information'--important, because memories take time to encode. (For similar reason, hard-to-decipher fonts'--which slow us down'--also tend to boost our memory for what we've read.)
The study offers an obvious takeaway: don't let your mind go on the lam just because your fingers can keep up with a speaker. Still, there remains a place for digital note-taking'--at least for those who can avoid online rabbit holes. Because while paper is fine for taking notes about a TED Talk or two, notes about an entire series of them could get unwieldy. How did the researchers begin their analysis of the handwritten notes their participants had taken? By typing them up, of course.
Jessica Love recently received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and is currently a science writer and editor at Northwestern University.
California School District Gives Students Absolutely Jaw-Dropping Assignment in Attempt to 'Meet Common Core Standards' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 06 May 2014 16:21
The Rialto school district in California is under fire over a stunning eighth-grade assignment that asked students to write an argumentative essay about the Holocaust and ''whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.''
The thoroughly debunked idea that the Holocaust was nothing more than a ''hoax'' created by the Jews has long been alleged by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
The San Bernardino Sun first reported on the 18-page assignment that gives students three sources to use to write their essays. One of the sources reportedly alleges the gassings in concentration camps were a ''hoax'' and there is no evidence Jews actually died in gas chambers.
(Document and photo credit: San Bernardino Sun/Source: KTLA-TV)
The source, traced to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au, states: ''With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded. In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America's welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.''
The other two sources were from About.com and History.com, KTLA-TV reports.
In a statement issued Monday, the school district said Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam would meet with administrators to make sure references to the Holocaust ''not occurring'' are taken out of current assignments and not included in future assignments.
The Los Angeles-area chapter of the Anti-Defamation League sent an email to the school district blasting the assignment.
''It is ADL's general position that an exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust Denial,'' the email reportedly states.
In a separate blog post, the ADL said there's no evidence that the assignment was given as part of a ''larger, insidious, agenda.'' However, the post continued, ''the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.''
A spokesman for the Rialto school district told KTLA-TV in a statement that the district's ''CORE team'' would meet to revise the assignment.
''The Common Core state standards, which have been adopted by most states and the District of Columbia, emphasize critical thinking in students, which is what the assignment is intended to teach, according to school board member Joe Martinez,'' The San Bernardino Sun adds.
Programming note: Kyle Olson, the co-author of Glenn Beck's new book on Common Core,''Conform,'' will be joining Beck on radio at 10 a.m. ET and on TV at 5 p.m. ET. Tune into the Blaze radio and TheBlaze TV.
Ottomania
CIA's Favorite Channel, New York Times, Lobbies for Mullah Fethullah Gulen
Tue, 06 May 2014 03:59
New York Times Comes out of the Closet '' Doing the CIA's BiddingLast week Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would officially request the extradition of US-based Mullah Fethullah Gulen- a Turkish preacher in Pennsylvania with a $20+ billion network, whose followers have been accused of trying to eliminate PM Erdogan's government.
The New York Times began parading various agenda-driven analysts and experts, showcasing Gulen-connected figures, and attacking Turkey's Erdogan in aone-sided lobbying effort. Before I go any further, allow me to illustrate the New York Times' vehement, bold and one-sided defense of Gulen withverbatim quotes[All Emphasis Mine]:
Mr. Erdogan's Islamist governmentand the supporters of Gulen, who promotes amoderate,pro-Western brandof Sunni Islam that appeals tomany well-educatedand professional Turks.
'...
I know our regular readers and supporters here at Boiling Frogs Post don't need the bold emphases to explain the propaganda with its carefully picked words. For those who are not familiar with our extensive coverage of Mullah Gulen (Seehere,here,here,hereandhere), take notice of how Erdogan's government is being characterized with one word, Erdogan'sIslamistgovernment- a word often used and highlighted by Western propaganda outlets, aka mainstream media, with negative connotations and in close association with global terrorism. Now, please pay attention to all the false positive adjectives and characterization used by NYT to present Mullah Fethullah Gulen:Moderate,Pro-Western,Well-Educated,Professional. Oh, golly- Who isthe Mullahhere?!
You see, this is such a classic with the US government-fed propaganda outlets, aka US mainstream media. They first set the tone based on the objectives handed to them by their bosses. In this case: The CIA and the State Department. The readers, the uninformed readers, are pointed towards the intended false direction: An Islamist Government versus a moderate pro-Western man with well-educated and professional followers.
Let's continue [All Emphasis Mine]:
''This extradition request has no legal basis,'' said Ergun Ozbudun, a professor of law at Istanbul Sehir University, noting the considerable difficulty surrounding extradition requests even when suspects are charged with serious crimes. ''The request for Fethullah Gulen's extradition therefore would be a political one, and I don't think would produce any results.''
'...
Lawyers for Mr. Gulen, who has permanent resident status in the United States, agreed. ''There is neither an investigation nor an arrest warrant issued by court in place to submit to the U.S. authorities,'' said Nurullah Albayrak,an Istanbul lawyer who represents Mr. Gulen. ''This is not something that political will can decide.''
'...
A Gulen-affiliated group in New York, the Alliance for Shared Values, on Tuesday denounced Mr. Erdogan's move, saying, ''The prime minister's talk about demanding the extradition of Mr. Gulen, when there are no charges or legal case against him, is a clear indication of political persecution and harassment.''
'...
NYT picks one pro-Gulen legal expert, one lawyer who represents Mullah Gulen, and Gulen's own organization, and establishes the extradition request aspolitical with no legal basis. Now, let me go over this article for the fifth time, and see whether NYT showcases any so-called legal experts from the other side- one that puts forth the legal basis for this extradition request. I'm looking, looking, looking, and ooops: I have reached the end of the lobby-propaganda piece, and there is not a single legal opinion or analysis from the other side! How amazing is that?!
Finally, after showcasing Mullah Gulen's confident denial of all documented accusations against him, without showcasing a single analyst or legal expert for the other side, the New York Times concludes its propaganda-lobby piece with the following paragraph:
In general, for the United States to approve an extradition request from another country, the person must be accused of a crime recognized in both jurisdictions, and there must be a reasonable belief that the person did commit the crime. It was not clear whether Turkey's request would satisfy either requirement.
'...
Now that we have established this editorial by the New York Times clearly as a one-sided lobby and propaganda piece for Mullah Gulen, ask yourself the following questions: Why did the New York Times jump to defend the G¼len Movement and the controversial Mullah? Whose interests is the New York Times really representing here? Why?
You see, this propaganda-lobby piece follows another equally propaganda-lobby piece that was published by the Washington Post a few months back:
In January this year, The Washington Post dutifully provided a platform for three outspoken Israel Lobbyists who are jointly calling on the Obama Administration to overthrow the current Turkish Administration. You heard it right. Morton Abramowitz, Eric Edelman and Blaise Misztal jointly penned ahysteria-reeked articleto declare Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan a despot, and a great threat to democracy and U.S. interests. Let's provide a few excerpts from this propaganda-riddenarticle:
Whatever his achievements over the past decade, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is destroying his country's parlous democracy. That is a profound problem for Turks and Turkey's Western allies. Staying silent, out of fear that speaking out would harm some short-term interests, risks Turkey's longer-term stability.
'...
Turkey's democratic decline creates a pressing dilemma for the United States. Erdogan's current course would take Turkey from an imperfect democracy to an autocracy. Such a fate for a close ally and NATO member would have profound implications for our partnership, the United States' beleaguered credibility and the prospects for democracy in the region.
'...
U.S. policymakers should lay aside their reluctance to confront the disastrous impact of Erdogan's dictatorial tendencies and remind the Turkish leader of the importance the United States attaches to Turkey's political stability and democratic vitality. Particularly as their influence is greater than it appears'...
'...
Erdogan is doing great harm to Turkey's democracy. The United States should make clear, privately and publicly, that his extreme actions and demagoguery are subverting Turkey's political institutions and values and endangering the U.S.-Turkey relationship.
'...
Mort Abramowitz is aknownneocon, Israel lobbyist, CIA and State Department Operative, andPNAC signatory, and has been one of Fethullah Gulen'smain handlersand backers. In fact, when the FBI and Homeland Security Department tried to kick the Islamic Mullah out of the United States, Abramowitz was one of the first Gulen CIA-State Department handlers tostep in.
As for Eric Edelman? Let's go back nine years and check him out in myState Secrets Gallery: I presented the State Department-CIA's Eric Edelman as one of the top culprits in my State Secrets Privilege Case '' when the government invoked the State Secrets Privilege and several additional gag orders to cover up the FBI's investigations and files pertaining to CIA-NATO terror operations in Central Asia & the Caucasus since the mid-1990s. Just like Abramowitz, Edelman is known as an avid Israel lobbyist and a neocon.
If you haven't already, please refer to myarticleandinterviewwhere I discuss and emphasize the role of Turkish Mullah Fethullah Gulen, who has been residing in the United States since 1998, as a major operative for CIA-NATO operations, not only in Turkey, but also in Central Asia and the Caucasus. During the past few years I have been a lone voice in the United States when it comes to real coverage of Gulen and his operations under the CIA. Here are a few examples of my coverage since 2009:
Boston Terror, CIA's Graham Fuller & NATO-CIA Operation Gladio B-Caucasus & Central Asia
Turkish Intel Chief Exposes CIA Operations via Islamic Group in Central Asia
Turkish Imam Fethullah Gulen Nabs George Bush PR Queen
The Sanitized Gulen Coverage Continues'...
As a persistent lone voice I am asking you to pay close attention to these historical facts, the documented incestuous connections including the CIA, State Department and the Israel Lobby, and then go back and read this same New York Times article again. Then, you will be able to answer very quickly and confidently when you are asked: Whose interests is the New York Times serving? Who rules and controls the propaganda channels called US mainstream media outlets?
This is why I always question, and almost always write off, whistleblower cases that become the darling adopted pet cases for publications like the New York Times and Washington Post. You see, you can't have it both ways. You can't establish the rulers and ownership and agenda ''setters for these publications, aka US media, and then go back and trust them when they begin to sell you a whistleblower or a leak as the real deal. It just doesn't happen. One thing you can count on when it comes to this puppetry isconsistency. If they advocate and report something it has been declared allowable and kosher by their bosses. And as we all know: nothing good or noble exists on the agenda list of the ruling establishment.
Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor ofBoiling Frogs Postand the author of the MemoirClassified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is therecipientof the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her ''commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy'' Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.
AFRIKA
Kerry at Tour of General Electric Facility in Angola | IIP Digital
Wed, 07 May 2014 20:09
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATEOffice of the SpokespersonMay 4, 2014
REMARKS
Secretary of State John KerryOn a Tour at a GE Facility in Luanda, AngolaMay 4, 2014Luanda, Angola
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Jay Ireland, thank you very much for a generous welcome here to General Electric in Luanda in the center of this extraordinary economic activity. I'm very excited to be here. I'm sorry that my wife is not here, because she was born in Mozambique and speaks '' her first language is Portuguese. (Applause.) So I hear it around the house all the time '' muito obrigado and all that stuff. (Laughter.)
But it's a privilege for me to be able to be here, and I want to thank Foreign Minister Chikoti for his welcome and for the opportunity to be able to meet the president tomorrow and have a good conversation about the bilateral relationship between the United States and Angola. I am particularly pleased to be here with other representatives of the oil and gas industry, a representative from Chevron, from ConocoPhilips, as well as from ExxonMobil '' Esso, as you call it here. And I'm very grateful that the representative from the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce is here, too.
As you've heard in the earlier introductions, I'm here with former United States Senator Russ Feingold, who is our '' President Obama's and my special envoy to the Great Lakes region and who is working to produce greater stability and peace in the region. President dos Santos and Angola have provided important leadership, and I want to thank you, Angola, for the leadership and the participation and the help to solve conflicts that have gone on for too long.
But as I mentioned a moment ago, we're standing in a place of enormous economic activity with great promise for future economic growth and development. I am accompanied on this trip by the president and CEO of the EximBank[1], Elizabeth Littlefield, because the EximBank[2] is very much a partner with General Electric and very involved in helping to support economic development here in Angola and in other parts of Africa.
In fact, though EximBank2 we have just provided a $600 million, just about a $600 million loan guarantee that will assist in the purchase of a Boeing 777 for Angola. This will grow the opportunity of, obviously, more ability to have business and more ability to have trade, and also for people to simply come to be able to engage in some of the exciting things that are happening in Angola. In addition, Exim2 is providing another $300 million or so of additional economic investment here in Angola.
So let me just say quickly why being here is important today. Africa is changing. Eight of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are here in Africa. There is enormous opportunity for the people of Africa, the people of Angola, to be able to gain in healthcare, in education, in jobs, in the quality of life. And I know the government is very focused on how to provide for increased standard of living for the people of the country. That comes from fair and reasonable trade agreements where everybody benefits, where there's an ability to create jobs. When a Boeing airliner is bought from Boeing, it creates jobs in America, but it will also create jobs and opportunity here in Angola.
General Electric has recently sold four power turbines to Angola. This is for a project in Soyo. And this will help provide the power that then generates the ability for hospitals, for schools, for homes, for cities, for stores to be able to grow and prosper. So we believe there are great opportunities on which we can build where, most importantly, Angolans will benefit.
I just spoke with the representative for ConocoPhillips, who tells me and the representative for Chevron '' who tell me about the several thousands of employees. ConocoPhilipps is newer here, but Chevron has about 3,500 workers employed. So more and more Angolans are being trained to take on more and more different kinds of important jobs.
The first lady of Angola was in Los Angeles a number of years ago, and she was talking with the executives there about a disease here in Angola. A lot of people thought you couldn't do anything about it. But Chevron, which had been working here for many years, stepped up and they talked with the Texas Children's Hospital and they got care to be able to come her to help cure this disease for children. More than 3,000 children's lives have been saved
So this is not just about business. This is about building a relationship between two people, two countries, and building a future. And when I look out at the economic energy out here in the port in all these containers and these ships and the work that you're doing, I am confident that Angola, working together as you are now, will be able to help contribute to an extraordinary journey in Africa as a whole, and we will provide greater opportunity to everybody.
Thank you for the privilege. Muito obrigado. (Applause.)
[1] Elizabeth Littlefield is the president and CEO of OPIC.
[2] OPIC
# # #
Angola's potential 'enormous,' U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says - UPI.com
Wed, 07 May 2014 20:09
LUANDA, Angola, May 5 (UPI) -- Some of the biggest energy companies in the world are in Angola to the benefit of the nation's economy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.Kerry arrived Sunday in Angola during his tour of African nations, and met there with representatives from Chevron, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips to hear their energy strategies in the country.
Chevron, a new player in the Angolan energy sector, has already created more than 3,000 jobs in the country, the secretary said.
"We're standing in a place of enormous economic activity with great promise for future economic growth and development," he said in a statement.
Last month, French energy company Total said it would invest $16 billion in development the Kaombo oil project off the Angolan coast.
The field, which has an estimated 650 million barrels of reserves, should produce 230,000 barrels of oil per day for Angola once operations begin.
Angola is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It has 9 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves and produces on average 1.7 million bpd.
Bullying
Carson's proposed anti-bullying law passes 1st round | abc7.com
Thu, 08 May 2014 04:34
CARSON, Calif. (KABC) -- Carson is making a stand against bullying. The city's proposed anti-bullying ordinance has passed its first round of voting.
On Tuesday night, the Carson City Council voted in favor of the measure. If the proposal is approved at the second reading on May 20, the ordinance would take effect after 30 calendar days.
There are no federal laws against bullying, the city noted in its report, and the state's laws only address bullying at school, where punishment is limited to suspension, expulsion or some other form of school discipline.
The proposed ordinance is intended to "fill the gap left in the California criminal justice system."
"We are going to protect not only the kid that is bothered in school, but when you leave school and go home, we're going to protect you as a city," said Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson, who co-sponsored the law.
The ordinance protects anyone from kindergarten through age 25 from bullying and cyberbullying. Offenders would face a misdemeanor charge or an infraction, and they would be required to pay a fine and seek counseling.
(Copyright (C)2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
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Shut Up Slave!
Calif. Bill Banning State Sale Of Confederate Flag Passes CBS Los Angeles
Wed, 07 May 2014 20:26
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) '-- California state government departments will be prohibited from selling or displaying items with an image of the Confederate flag under a bill that passed the Assembly on Monday.
AB2444 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, is headed to the Senate after passing on a 72-1 vote. Hall introduced the bill after his mother saw replica Confederate money being sold at the state Capitol gift shop.
He called the image a symbol of racism meant to intimidate.
''Its symbolism in history is directly linked to the enslavement, torture and murder of millions of Americans,'' Hall said of the Confederate flag. ''The state of California should not be in the business of promoting hate toward others.''
The only lawmaker to vote against the bill was Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, the leading Republican candidate for governor.
''We shouldn't be here picking the kind of speech we like,'' he said. ''I am not standing here defending the symbol. I am standing here defending the principle that the First Amendment principles should apply in all state buildings, of all places.''
The bill originally banned all sales of Confederate flag memorabilia on state property. In explaining that provision, Hall noted a sign sold at the state fairgrounds depicting a Confederate flag with the phrase ''It's still my American flag.''
He amended the bill to exclude non-government employees and businesses from the ban to avoid violating constitutional free speech protections.
Courts have upheld the rights of individuals to display the Confederate flag while also upholding the rights of government agencies to limit what they endorse.
''We aren't stifling free speech here,'' said Assemblyman Donald Wagner, R-Irvine, calling on Republicans who oppose flag burning to understand the symbolic implications of the Confederate flag. ''Here is a symbol that's so vile, that carries such connotations, that we in the state do not want to be associated with it.''
The legislation would not prohibit Confederate flag images from appearing in educational or historical contexts, such as in textbooks or museums.
Some states have gone the other direction: Earlier this year, Georgia approved a specialty license plate featuring the Confederate flag.
((C)Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Agenda 21
NYTimes: Using Weathercasters to Deliver a Climate Change Message
They Did It Again '' Now It's ''Climate Disruption''
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:51
The Obama government just unleashed an 840 page report that cries out a warnings of doom and gloom over current ''climate disruption''. That's right, what was once global cooling, and then global warming, and more recently, climate change, has now been transformed into ''climate disruption''. Oh, and wait until you read the paragraph that gets to the heart of this monstrosity of a document. Hint: Those of you who have long said the ''global warming'' movement was nothing more than a Big Government power grab, are proven right once again'...
Soros-funded John Podesta helped oversee the Obama administration's 840 page ''climate disruption'' opus'...
_______________________Report Uses Phrase 'Climate Disruption' As Another Way To Say Global Warming
Climate change's assorted harms ''are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond,'' the National Climate Assessment concluded Tuesday. The report emphasizes how warming and its all-too-wild weather are changing daily lives, even using the phrase ''climate disruption'' as another way of saying global warming.
Still, it's not too late to prevent the worst of climate change, says the 840-page report, which the White House is highlighting as it tries to jump-start often stalled efforts to curb heat-trapping gases.
Anyone who has watched this climate change/global warming/climate disruption snake oil show honestly will recall that similar ''we must act NOW'' warnings have been playing out for decades. When the last ''ACT NOW'' date comes and goes, and the weather is still just the weather, then another study is generated, and another warning of impending doom plays out yet again.
Here's the gist of the entire thing though, summed up in this one single paragraph regarding the 840 page report:
White House counselor John Podesta said Monday that the climate change report gives ''a huge amount of practical, usable knowledge that state and local decision-makers can take advantage of as they plan on or for the impacts of climate change and work to make their communities more resilient.''
Ah, see there? Global cooling/warming/change/disruption is actually a means by which Big Government tells state and local governments what to do, as if that wasn't happening enough already! No, says the global warmers, we must push the jackboot down upon the necks of communities in every corner of this country, to force compliance with mandates constantly being created by hordes of bureaucrats and their thousands of pages of excrement that they then sprinkle upon our collective heads like fertilizer for tyranny.
Talk about disruption'...
_____________________
ONE MAN. ONE SOLDIER. ONE HERO.
ONE TOUGH S.O.B.
MAC WALKER IS BACK!!!
MAC WALKER'S 40,000 FEET
NO WAY OUT.ONLY ONE WAY DOWN.
Former Navy SEAL and government gun for hire Mac Walker is back and better than ever in this action packed thriller involving a missing airliner.Returning to the United States on a transatlantic flight from Paris, Mac finds himself speeding through the skies fighting to keep himself and the other passengers alive as a group of terrorists attempt to carry out a horrific plot that will leave tens of thousands dead.
''Once again D. W. did not disappoint me. Great read! The plot is typical Ulsterman style, ''fiction'' too close to fact. Every book is better than the last.''
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Obama's Science Adviser Calls For Dumping Term ''Climate Change'' And Replacing It With ''Global Climate Disruption'''...
Tue, 06 May 2014 03:59
They can call it whatever they want, it's still the same BS global warming hoax.
Via Science Insider:
First there was ''global warming.'' Then many researchers suggested ''climate change'' was a better term. Now, White House science adviser John Holdren is renewing his call for a new nomenclature to describe the end result of dumping vast quantities of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into Earth's atmosphere: ''global climate disruption.''
''I've always thought that the phrase 'global warming' was something of a misnomer because it suggests that the phenomenon is something that is uniform around the world, that it's all about temperature, and that it's gradual,'' Holdren said yesterday at the annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. (AAAS publishes ScienceInsider.) ''What could be wrong with that?''
Instead, he said, ''we should call it 'global climate disruption.' Although the rising average global surface temperature is an indicator of the degree of disruption that we have imposed on the global climate system, what's actually happening involves changes in circulation patterns, changes in precipitation patterns, and changes in extremes. And those are very different in different places.''
Holdren has made similar calls before, apparently with limited effect on the public's vocabulary. This time, the remarks came in the context of a brief preview Holdren gave of a new climate report that the Obama administration is scheduled to release next week. The document will, in part, spell out the potential disruptions the United States faces as a result of a changing climate, perhaps giving Holdren's idea some currency.
Keep reading'...
East Antarctica melt could cause a global coastal destruction
Tue, 06 May 2014 15:40
East Antarctica is widely considered to be more stable than the West Antarctic ice sheet but a study suggests that a large region of the eastern ice sheet is in danger of becoming irreversibly unstable once a relatively thin section of retaining ice on its coast is lost, the researchers said.
A slab of coastal ice is all that is stopping the giant Wilkes Basin ice sheet from slipping into the sea. Once this process begins it will relentlessly continue to pour vast amounts of water into the oceans for centuries to come, raising global sea levels by between three and four metres, they said.
''East Antarctica's Wilkes Basin is like a bottle on a slant and once uncorked it empties out,'' said Matthias Mengel of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research in Germany, and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The ice sheet of Antarctica holds enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 50m (AP)
''The East Antarctic ice sheet has long been considered to be stable even under a warmer climate, in contrast to its West Antarctic counterpart. We have now shown that this may not be true,'' Mr Mengel said.
''This implies that the future sea-level contribution of the East Antarctic ice sheet may be significantly higher than previously estimated. This is important for the millions of people who live on the coasts. Every centimetre of sea level rise on top of what is already expected is going to be even more difficult to adapt to,'' he said.
''By emitting more and more greenhouse gases we might trigger responses now that we may not be able to stop in the future,'' he added.
East Antarctica holds about 10 times the volume of ice than is smaller West Antarctic cousin. Much of the ice in the east lies at high altitude and is kept well below freezing point, but a large proportion of it '' enough to raise sea levels by 19 metres '' lies on bedrock that is below sea level, such as the Wilkes Basin.
Scientists had considered even this low-lying part of the East Antarctic ice sheet '' the so-called marine ice sheet '' to be more stable and less likely of disintegrating in a warmer climate than the marine ice sheet of the West Antarctic.
However, the analysis the underlying bedrock on which the marine ice sheet of Wilkes Basin stands suggests this is not the case. The scientists found that the rock, which is below sea level and therefore more vulnerable to climate change, becomes a raised ridge at the coast which allows the ice to form a protective plug between the ocean and the ice sheet on the land behind it.
Computer modelling shows that if the local ocean temperatures around the East Antarctic rise as a result of global warming, the ice plug will continue to melt to a point where the ''bottle'' of ice held within the Wilkes Basin becomes ''uncorked''.
''Once started, it becomes unstoppable. At the moment it's still stable but if it melts then the ice plug alone will result in a global sea-level rise of between 5 and 8 centimetres, but the ice that it will release is going to cause 80 times that amount of sea-level rise,'' said Professor Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute.
''The bottle is so much bigger than the cork and these plugs of ice on the coast are so much smaller than the ice that they are keeping in place,'' Professor Levermann said.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that estimating future sea-level rise was one of the most difficult areas to predict, partly because of the unknown effects in the Antarctic. In its last report, published in March, the IPCC said that Antarctica's total sea level contribution would be up to 16cm this century, but if half of this ice loss occurred in the ice-cork region, the irreversible discharge of Wilkes Basin ice into the sea will begin, Professor Levermann said.
''Unfortunately we don't know whether we've initiated this process yet. It's fair to say that if we continue unmitigated climate change and global warming then we'll destabilise parts of Antarctica and trigger a discharge of ice that will not stop for centuries,'' he said.
''It may not be an imminent threat but it will change the planet and will have an impact on global culture because of the huge loss of the cultural heritage of the people living near the coasts,'' he added.
''We have probably overestimated the stability of East Antarctica so far'....Until recently, only West Antarctica was considered unstable, but now we know that its ten-times-bigger counterpart in the East might also be at risk,'' Professor Levermann said.
Legal Mandate | GlobalChange.gov
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:30
The Global Change Research Act is incorporated in the United States Code, Title 15, Chapter 56A - Global Change Research
Note: Section 2937 of the current law omits Section 107 of the original act. It is omitted pursuant to the Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995, Public Law No. 104-66, ⤠3003 (1995).
An Act to require the establishment of a United States Global Change Research Program aimed at understanding and responding to global change, including the cumulative effects of human activities and natural processes on the environment, to promote discussions toward international protocols in global change research, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled:
SEC. 101. FINDINGS AND PURPOSEa) FINDINGS- The Congress makes the following findings:
Industrial, agricultural, and other human activities, coupled with an expanding world population, are contributing to processes of global change that may significantly alter the Earth habitat within a few human generations.Such human-induced changes, in conjunction with natural fluctuations, may lead to significant global warming and thus alter world climate patterns and increase global sea levels. Over the next century, these consequences could adversely affect world agricultural and marine production, coastal habitability, biological diversity, human health, and global economic and social well-being.The release of chlorofluorocarbons and other stratospheric ozone-depleting substances is rapidly reducing the ability of the atmosphere to screen out harmful ultraviolet radiation, which could adversely affect human health and ecological systems.Development of effective policies to abate, mitigate, and cope with global change will rely on greatly improved scientific understanding of global environmental processes and on our ability to distinguish human-induced from natural global change.New developments in interdisciplinary Earth sciences, global observing systems, and computing technology make possible significant advances in the scientific understanding and prediction of these global changes and their effects.Although significant Federal global change research efforts are underway, an effective Federal research program will require efficient interagency coordination, and coordination with the research activities of State, private, and international entities.(b) PURPOSE - The purpose of this title is to provide for development and coordination of a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.
SEC. 102. COMMITTEE ON EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES(a) ESTABLISHMENT - The President, through the Council, shall establish a Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences. The Committee shall carry out Council functions under section 401 of the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 6651) relating to global change research, for the purpose of increasing the overall effectiveness and productivity of Federal global change research efforts.
(b) MEMBERSHIP - The Committee shall consist of at least one representative from -
the National Science Foundation;the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce;the Environmental Protection Agency;the Department of Energy;the Department of State;the Department of Defense;the Department of the Interior;the Department of Agriculture;the Department of Transportation;the Office of Management and Budget;the Office of Science and Technology Policy;the Council on Environmental Quality;the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health; andsuch other agencies and departments of the United States as the President or the Chairman of the Council considers appropriate.Such representatives shall be high ranking officials of their agency or department, wherever possible the head of the portion of that agency or department that is most relevant to the purpose of the title described in section 101(b).
(c) CHAIRPERSON - The Chairman of the Council, in consultation with the Committee, biennially shall select one of the Committee members to serve as Chairperson. The Chairperson shall be knowledgeable and experienced with regard to the administration of scientific research programs, and shall be a representative of an agency that contributes substantially, in terms of scientific research capability and budget, to the Program.
(d) SUPPORT PERSONNEL - An Executive Secretary shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Committee, with the approval of the Committee. The Executive Secretary shall be a permanent employee of one of the agencies or departments represented on the Committee, and shall remain in the employ of such agency or department. The Chairman of the Council shall have the authority to make personnel decisions regarding any employees detailed to the Council for purposes of working on business of the Committee pursuant to section 401 of the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 6651).
(e) FUNCTIONS RELATIVE TO GLOBAL CHANGE - The Council, through the Committee, shall be responsible for planning and coordinating the Program. In carrying out this responsibility, the Committee shall -
serve as the forum for developing the Plan and for overseeing its implementation;improve cooperation among Federal agencies and departments with respect to global change research activities;provide budgetary advice as specified in section 105;work with academic, State, industry, and other groups conducting global change research, to provide for periodic public and peer review of the Program;cooperate with the Secretary of State in (A) providing representation at international meetings and conferences on global change research in which the United States participates; and (B) coordinating the Federal activities of the United States with programs of other nations and with international global change research activities such as the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program;consult with actual and potential users of the results of the Program to ensure that such results are useful in developing national and international policy responses to global change; andreport at least annually to the President and the Congress, through the Chairman of the Council, on Federal global change research priorities, policies, and programs.
SEC. 103. UNITED STATES GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PROGRAMThe President shall establish an interagency United States Global Change Research Program to improve understanding of global change. The Program shall be implemented by the Plan developed under section 104.
SEC. 104. NATIONAL GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH PLAN(a) IN GENERAL - The Chairman of the Council, through the Committee, shall develop a National Global Change Research Plan for implementation of the Program. The Plan shall contain recommendations for national global change research. The Chairman of the Council shall submit the Plan to the Congress within one year after the date of enactment of this title, and a revised Plan shall be submitted at least once every three years thereafter.
(b) CONTENTS OF THE PLAN - The Plan shall:
establish, for the 10-year period beginning in the year the Plan is submitted, the goals and priorities for Federal global change research which most effectively advance scientific understanding of global change and provide usable information on which to base policy decisions relating to global change;describe specific activities, including research activities, data collection and data analysis requirements, predictive modeling, participation in international research efforts, and information management, required to achieve such goals and priorities;identify and address, as appropriate, relevant programs and activities of the Federal agencies and departments represented on the Committee that contribute to the Program;set forth the role of each Federal agency and department in implementing the Plan;consider and utilize, as appropriate, reports and studies conducted by Federal agencies and departments, the National Research Council, or other entities;make recommendations for the coordination of the global change research activities of the United States with such activities of other nations and international organizations, including (A) a description of the extent and nature of necessary international cooperation; (B) the development by the Committee, in consultation when appropriate with the National Space Council, of proposals for cooperation on major capital projects; (C) bilateral and multilateral proposals for improving worldwide access to scientific data and information; and (D) methods for improving participation in international global change research by developing nations; andestimate, to the extent practicable, Federal funding for global change research activities to be conducted under the Plan.
(c) RESEARCH ELEMENTS - The Plan shall provide for, but not be limited to, the following research elements:
Global measurements, establishing worldwide observations necessary to understand the physical, chemical, and biological processes responsible for changes in the Earth system on all relevant spatial and time scales.Documentation of global change, including the development of mechanisms for recording changes that will actually occur in the Earth system over the coming decades.Studies of earlier changes in the Earth system, using evidence from the geological and fossil record.Predictions, using quantitative models of the Earth system to identify and simulate global environmental processes and trends, and the regional implications of such processes and trends.Focused research initiatives to understand the nature of and interaction among physical, chemical, biological, and social processes related to global change.
(d) INFORMATION MANAGEMENT - The Plan shall provide recommendations for collaboration within the Federal Government and among nations to:
establish, develop, and maintain information bases, including necessary management systems which will promote consistent, efficient, and compatible transfer and use of data;create globally accessible formats for data collected by various international sources; andcombine and interpret data from various sources to produce information readily usable by policymakers attempting to formulate effective strategies for preventing, mitigating, and adapting to the effects of global change.
(e) NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL EVALUATION - The Chairman of the Council shall enter into an agreement with the National Research Council under which the National Research Council shall -
evaluate the scientific content of the Plan; andprovide information and advice obtained from United States and international sources, and recommended priorities for future global change research.
(f) PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - In developing the Plan, the Committee shall consult with academic, State, industry, and environmental groups and representatives. Not later than 90 days before the Chairman of the Council submits the Plan, or any revision thereof, to the Congress, a summary of the proposed Plan shall be published in the Federal Register for a public comment period of not less than 60 days.
SEC. 105. BUDGET COORDINATION(a) COMMITTEE GUIDANCE - The Committee shall each year provide general guidance to each Federal agency or department participating in the Program with respect to the preparation of requests for appropriations for activities related to the Program.
(b) SUBMISSION OF REPORTS WITH AGENCY APPROPRIATIONS REQUESTS
Working in conjunction with the Committee, each Federal agency or department involved in global change research shall include with its annual request for appropriations submitted to the President under section 1108 of title 31, United States Code, a report which: (A) identifies each element of the proposed global change research activities of the agency or department; (B) specifies whether each element (i) contributes directly to the Program or (ii) contributes indirectly but in important ways to the Program; and (C) states the portion of its request for appropriations allocated to each element of the Program.Each agency or department that submits a report under paragraph (1) shall submit such report simultaneously to the Committee.
(c) CONSIDERATION IN PRESIDENT'S BUDGET
The President shall, in a timely fashion, provide the Committee with an opportunity to review and comment on the budget estimate of each agency and department involved in global change research in the context of the Plan.The President shall identify in each annual budget submitted to the Congress under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code, those items in each agency's or department's annual budget which are elements of the Program.
SEC. 106. SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENTOn a periodic basis (not less frequently than every 4 years), the Council, through the Committee, shall prepare and submit to the President and the Congress an assessment which:
Integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the Program and discusses the scientific uncertainties associated with such findingsAnalyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversityAnalyzes current trends in global change, both human- induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years.
(a) GENERAL - Each year at the time of submission to the Congress of the President's budget, the Chairman of the Council shall submit to the Congress a report on the activities conducted by the Committee pursuant to this title, including:
A summary of the achievements of the Program during the period covered by the report and of priorities for future global change research;An analysis of the progress made toward achieving the goals of the PlanExpenditures required by each agency or department for carrying out its portion of the Program, including: (A) the amounts spent during the fiscal year most recently ended; (B) the amounts expected to be spent during the current fiscal year; (C) the amounts requested for the fiscal year for which the budget is being submitted.
(b) RECOMMENDATIONS - The report required by subsection (b)[sic] shall include recommendations by the President concerning:
changes in agency or department roles needed to improve implementation of the Plan
additional legislation which may be required to achieve the purposes of this title
SEC. 108. RELATION TO OTHER AUTHORITIES(a) NATIONAL CLIMATE PROGRAM RESEARCH ACTIVITIES - The President, the Chairman of the Council, and the Secretary of Commerce shall ensure that relevant research activities of the National Climate Program, established by the National Climate Program Act (15 U.S.C. 2901 et seq.), are considered in developing national global change research efforts.
(b) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS- The President, the Chairman of the Council, and the heads of the agencies and departments represented on the Committee, shall ensure that the research findings of the Committee, and of Federal agencies and departments, are available to:
the Environmental Protection Agency for use in the formulation of a coordinated national policy on global climate change pursuant to section 1103 of the Global Climate Protection Act of 1987 (15 U.S.C. 2901 note); andall Federal agencies and departments for use in the formulation of coordinated national policies for responding to human-induced and natural processes of global change pursuant to other statutory responsibilities and obligations.
(c) EFFECT ON FEDERAL RESPONSE ACTIONS - Nothing in this title shall be construed, interpreted, or applied to preclude or delay the planning or implementation of any Federal action designed, in whole or in part, to address the threats of stratospheric ozone depletion or global climate change.
TITLE II - INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH
This title may be cited as the "International Cooperation in Global Change Research Act of 1990."
SEC. 202. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES(a) FINDINGS- The Congress makes the following findings:
Pooling of international resources and scientific capabilities will be essential to a successful international global change program.While international scientific planning is already underway, there is currently no comprehensive intergovernmental mechanism for planning, coordinating, or implementing research to understand global change and to mitigate possible adverse effects.An international global change research program will be important in building future consensus on methods for reducing global environmental degradation.The United States, as a world leader in environmental and Earth sciences, should help provide leadership in developing and implementing an international global change research program.
(b) PURPOSES- The purposes of this title are to:
promote international, intergovernmental cooperation on global change research;involve scientists and policymakers from developing nations in such cooperative global change research programs; andpromote international efforts to provide technical and other assistance to developing nations which will facilitate improvements in their domestic standard of living while minimizing damage to the global or regional environment.
SEC. 203. INTERNATIONAL DISCUSSIONS(a) GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH- The President should direct the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the Committee, to initiate discussions with other nations leading toward international protocols and other agreements to coordinate global change research activities. Such discussions should include the following issues:
Allocation of costs in global change research programs, especially with respect to major capital projects.Coordination of global change research plans with those developed by international organizations such as the International Council on Scientific Unions, the World Meteorological Organization, and the United Nations Environment Program.Establishment of global change research centers and training programs for scientists, especially those from developing nations.Development of innovative methods for management of international global change research, including: (A) use of new or existing intergovernmental organizations for the coordination or funding of global change research; and (B) creation of a limited foundation for global change research.The prompt establishment of international projects to: (A) create globally accessible formats for data collected by various international sources; and (B) combine and interpret data from various sources to produce information readily usable by policymakers attempting to formulate effective strategies for preventing, mitigating, and adapting to possible adverse effects of global change.Establishment of international offices to disseminate information useful in identifying, preventing, mitigating, or adapting to the possible effects of global change.
(b) ENERGY RESEARCH- The President should direct the Secretary of State (in cooperation with the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and other appropriate members of the Committee) to initiate discussions with other nations leading toward an international research protocol for cooperation on the development of energy technologies which have minimally adverse effects on the environment. Such discussions should include, but not be limited to, the following issues:
Creation of an international cooperative program to fund research related to energy efficiency, solar and other renewable energy sources, and passively safe and diversion-resistant nuclear reactors.Creation of an international cooperative program to develop low cost energy technologies which are appropriate to the environmental, economic, and social needs of developing nations.Exchange of information concerning environmentally safe energy technologies and practices, including those described in paragraphs (1) and (2).
SEC. 204. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH INFORMATION OFFICENot more than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall, in consultation with the Committee and all relevant Federal agencies, establish an Office of Global Change Research Information. The purpose of the Office shall be to disseminate to foreign governments, businesses, and institutions, as well as the citizens of foreign countries, scientific research information available in the United States which would be useful in preventing, mitigating, or adapting to the effects of global change.
Such information shall include, but need not be limited to, results of scientific research and development on technologies useful for:
Reducing energy consumption through conservation and energy efficiencyPromoting the use of solar and renewable energy sources which reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphereDeveloping replacements for chlorofluorocarbons, halons, and other ozone-depleting substances which exhibit a significantly reduced potential for depleting stratospheric ozonePromoting the conservation of forest resources which help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphereAssisting developing countries in ecological pest management practices and in the proper use of agricultural, and industrial chemicals andPromoting recycling and source reduction of pollutants in order to reduce the volume of waste which must be disposed of, thus decreasing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
TITLE III - GROWTH DECISION AID
SEC. 301. STUDY AND DECISION AID(a) The Secretary of Commerce shall conduct a study of the implications and potential consequences of growth and development on urban, suburban, and rural communities. Based upon the findings of the study, the Secretary shall produce a decision aid to assist State and local authorities in planning and managing urban, suburban, and rural growth and development while preserving community character.
(b) The Secretary of Commerce shall consult with other appropriate Federal departments and agencies as necessary in carrying out this section.
(c) The Secretary of Commerce shall submit to the Congress a report containing the decision aid produced under subsection (a) no later than January 30, 1992. The Secretary shall notify appropriate State and local authorities that such decision aid is available on request.
Approved November 16, 1990.
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speakers - International Conference on Climate Change
Thu, 08 May 2014 04:52
Harold DoironRetired NASA ScientistHal Doiron is the retired vice president for engineering of InDyne, Inc. As a young physicist, he joined NASA-Houston in 1963 and developed the Apollo Lunar Module landing dynamics software used to guide landing gear design for toppling stability and energy absorption performance, to develop landing techniques, and to support landing site selection. He performed docking dynamics studies for the Skylab Program and led the Space Shuttle team that successfully eliminated unstable vibration coupling of the shuttle structural dynamics and rocket engine thrust oscillations. After his 16-year NASA career, Doiron spent nine years at Reed Tool Co. developing advanced energy exploration drilling technology as manager of technical services, manager of systems engineering, and director of the Diamond Products Division. While a senior manager at McDonnell Douglas Space Systems, his team computed the onorbit vibration response of the International Space Station to dynamic events such as spacecraft docking, berthing, re-boost, and rocket plume impingement to define design limit loads and structural strength requirements. In retirement, Doiron is a consultant to NASA and commercial rocket developers.
Click here more information and presentations by Harold Doiron.
John Dale DunnEmergency Physician, Brownwood, TexasJohn Dale Dunn has been a physician 42 years, is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and Legal Medicine, and has been an inactive attorney for 35 years '-- admitted by examination to the bar in Nebraska, Louisiana and Texas. He has conducted research, scholarship and advocacy on environmental science and policy issues for 25 years.
For the last eleven years, Dunn has been on the Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency, at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas. Areas of professional and scholarly interest, human health effects of warming, air and water pollution, toxicology and epidemiology'--legal scientific evidentiary issues, ethics, research methodology. He is Medical Director of multiple Ambulance Services in Central Texas, Medical Officer in Brown County, Texas, under Sheriff Bobby Grubbs, and a consultant to Rural Texas Hospitals on compliance and peer review matters.
Dunn was a previous presenter at Heartland climate conferences, a contributor to Heartland publications and actively blogs at JunkScience.com.
Click here more information and presentations by John Dunn.
Don EasterbrookProfessor emeritus of geology at Western Washington UniversityDon Easterbrook is professor emeritus of geology at Western Washington University. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington and has studied global climate change for five decades. He has written three textbooks and a dozen other books, published more than 185 papers in professional journals, and presented 30 research papers at international meetings in 15 countries. Easterbrook has been president of the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America, chairman of the 1977 national Geological Society of America meeting, U.S. representative to the United Nations International Geological Correlation Program, associate editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin for 15 years, associate editor of the Geomorphology International Journal, and director of field excursions for the 2003 International Quaternary Association Congress. He received a national award for distinguished service to the Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America, was a founding member of the American Quaternary Association, and founder of the Pacific Coast Friends of the Pleistocene. He has conducted geologic research in the North Cascade Range, Puget Lowland, and Columbia Plateau of Washington, in the Rocky Mountains, in the New Zealand Alps, in the Argentine Andes, and various other parts of the world.
Click here more information and presentations by Don Easterbrook.
Home - International Conference on Climate Change
Thu, 08 May 2014 04:52
Come to fabulous Las Vegas to meet leading scientists from around the world who question whether ''man-made global warming'' will be harmful to plants, animals, or human welfare. Learn from top economists and policy experts about the real costs and futility of trying to stop global warming.
Meet the leaders of think tanks and grassroots organizations who are speaking out against global warming alarmism.
Don't just wonder about global warming '... understand it!
ICCC-9 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Rooms start at only $80 per night plus fees and taxes. Fly American or United and get a discount of up to 10%!
A preliminary schedule for the event is here. Speakers already confirmed include Fred Singer, Craig Idso, Willie, Soon, Roy Spencer, Marc Morano, Christopher Monckton, and Anthony Watts. For more speakers and their bios, click here.
Register for the event here, or call 312/377-4000 and ask for Ms. McElrath or reach her via email at zmcelrath@heartland.org.
Exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities are available starting at only $150! Contact Taylor Smith at tsmith@heartland.org for information about promotional opportunities and prices.
Several prizes will be awarded to scholars, elected officials, and activists for outstanding contributions to the debate over global warming. To nominate someone or to suggest a prize, contact Robin Knox at rknox@heartland.org.
To watch videos from the previous eight International Conferences on Climate Change, click here. Read testimonals from previous attendees! For more information about The Heartland Institute, visit our website.
We are hosting the event in Las Vegas that week in partnership with our friends at FreedomFest, who are cosponsors of #ICCC9 and host their excellent annual conference July 9 '' 12 at Planet Hollywood. We hope to see you at both events!
Radiative forcing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 08 May 2014 04:51
In climate science, radiative forcing or climate forcing, is defined as the difference of radiant energy (sunlight) received by the Earth and energy radiated back to space. Typically, radiative forcing is quantified at the tropopause in units of watts per square meter of the Earth's surface. A positive forcing (more incoming energy) warms the system, while negative forcing (more outgoing energy) cools it. Causes of radiative forcing include changes in insolation (incident solar radiation) and the concentrations of radiatively active gases, commonly known as greenhouse gases and aerosols.
Radiation balance[edit]Almost all of the energy which affects Earth's weather is received as radiant energy from the Sun. The planet and its atmosphere absorb and reflect some of the energy, while long-wave energy is radiated back into space. The balance between absorbed and radiated energy determines the average temperature. Because the atmosphere absorbs some of the re-radiated long-wave energy, the planet is warmer than it would be in the absence of the atmosphere: see greenhouse effect.
The radiation balance is altered by such factors as the intensity of solar energy, reflectivity of clouds or gases, absorption by various greenhouse gases or surfaces, emission of heat by various materials. Any such alteration is a radiative forcing, and causes a new balance to be reached. This happens continuously as sunlight hits the surface, clouds and aerosols form, the concentrations of atmospheric gases vary, and seasons alter the ground cover.
IPCC usage[edit]The IPCC AR4 report, defines radiative forcings as:[2]
"Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system and is an index of the importance of the factor as a potential climate change mechanism. In this report radiative forcing values are for changes relative to preindustrial conditions defined at 1750 and are expressed in Watts per square meter (W/m2)."
In simple terms, radiative forcing is "...the rate of energy change per unit area of the globe as measured at the top of the atmosphere."[3] In the context of climate change, the term "forcing" is restricted to changes in the radiation balance of the surface-troposphere system imposed by external factors, with no changes in stratospheric dynamics, no surface and tropospheric feedbacks in operation (i.e., no secondary effects induced because of changes in tropospheric motions or its thermodynamic state), and no dynamically induced changes in the amount and distribution of atmospheric water (vapour, liquid, and solid forms).
Climate sensitivity[edit]Radiative forcing can be used to estimate a subsequent change in equilibrium surface temperature (Î--Ts) arising from that radiative forcing via the equation:
where Î>> is the climate sensitivity, usually with units in K/(W/m2), and Î--F is the radiative forcing.[4] A typical value of Î>> is 0.8 K/(W/m2), which gives a warming of 3K for doubling of CO2.
Example calculations[edit]Solar forcing[edit]Radiative forcing (measured in Watts per square meter) can be estimated in different ways for different components. For the case of a change in solar irradiance (i.e., "solar forcing"), the radiative forcing is simply the change in the average amount of solar energy absorbed per square meter of the Earth's area. Since the cross-sectional area of the Earth exposed to the Sun (Ïr2) is equal to 1/4 of the surface area of the Earth (4Ïr2), the solar input per unit area is one quarter the change in solar intensity. This must be multiplied by the fraction of incident sunlight that is absorbed, F=(1-R), where R is the reflectivity, or albedo, of the Earth. The albedo of the Earth is approximately 0.3, so F is approximately equal to 0.7. Thus, the solar forcing is the change in the solar intensity divided by 4 and multiplied by 0.7.
Likewise, a change in albedo will produce a solar forcing equal to the change in albedo divided by 4 multiplied by the solar constant.
Forcing due to atmospheric gas[edit]For a greenhouse gas, such as carbon dioxide, radiative transfer codes that examine each spectral line for atmospheric conditions can be used to calculate the change Î--F as a function of changing concentration. These calculations can often be simplified into an algebraic formulation that is specific to that gas.
For instance, the simplified first-order approximation expression for carbon dioxide is:
where C is the CO2 concentration in parts per million by volume and C0 is the reference concentration.[5] The relationship between carbon dioxide and radiative forcing is logarithmic, and thus increased concentrations have a progressively smaller warming effect.
A different formula applies for some other greenhouse gases such as methane and N2O (square-root dependence) or CFCs (linear), with coefficients that can be found e.g. in the IPCC reports.[6]
Related measures[edit]Radiative forcing is intended as a useful way to compare different causes of perturbations in a climate system. Other possible tools can be constructed for the same purpose: for example Shine et al.[7] say "...recent experiments indicate that for changes in absorbing aerosols and ozone, the predictive ability of radiative forcing is much worse... we propose an alternative, the 'adjusted troposphere and stratosphere forcing'. We present GCM calculations showing that it is a significantly more reliable predictor of this GCM's surface temperature change than radiative forcing. It is a candidate to supplement radiative forcing as a metric for comparing different mechanisms...". In this quote, GCM stands for "global circulation model", and the word "predictive" does not refer to the ability of GCMs to forecast climate change. Instead, it refers to the ability of the alternative tool proposed by the authors to help explain the system response.
Changes in radiative forcing[edit]The table below shows changes in radiative forcing between 1979 and 2012.[8] The table includes the contribution to radiative forcing from carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O); chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) 12 and 11; and fifteen other minor, long-lived, halogenated gases.[9] The table includes the contribution to radiative forcing of long-lived greenhouse gases. It does not include other forcings, such as aerosols and changes in solar activity.
Global radiative forcing, CO2-equivalent mixing ratio, and the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) between 1979-2012[8]YearCO2CH4N2OCFC-12CFC-1115-minorTotalCO2-eqppmAGGI1990 = 1AGGI% change19791.0270.4190.1040.0920.0390.0311.7123830.78619801.0580.4260.1040.0970.0420.0341.7613860.8082.819811.0770.4330.1070.1020.0440.0361.7993890.8262.219821.0890.4400.1110.1080.0460.0381.8313910.8411.819831.1150.4430.1130.1130.0480.0411.8733950.8602.219841.1400.4460.1160.1180.0500.0441.9133970.8782.219851.1620.4510.1180.1230.0530.0471.9534010.8972.119861.1840.4560.1220.1290.0560.0491.9964040.9162.219871.2110.4600.1200.1350.0590.0532.0394070.9362.219881.2500.4640.1230.1430.0620.0572.0994120.9643.019891.2740.4680.1260.1490.0640.0612.1444150.9842.119901.2930.4720.1290.1540.0650.0652.1784181.0001.619911.3130.4760.1310.1580.0670.0692.2134201.0161.619921.3240.4800.1330.1620.0670.0722.2384221.0271.119931.3340.4810.1340.1640.0680.0742.2544241.0350.719941.3560.4830.1340.1660.0680.0752.2824261.0481.319951.3830.4850.1360.1680.0670.0772.3174291.0641.519961.4100.4860.1390.1690.0670.0782.3504311.0791.419971.4260.4870.1420.1710.0670.0792.3724331.0890.919981.4650.4910.1450.1720.0670.0802.4194371.1112.019991.4950.4940.1480.1730.0660.0822.4584401.1281.620001.5130.4940.1510.1730.0660.0832.4814421.1390.920011.5350.4940.1530.1740.0650.0852.5064441.1501.020021.5640.4940.1560.1740.0650.0872.5394471.1661.320031.6010.4960.1580.1740.0640.0882.5804501.1851.620041.6270.4960.1600.1740.0630.0902.6104531.1981.120051.6550.4950.1620.1730.0630.0922.6404551.2121.220061.6850.4950.1650.1730.0620.0952.6754581.2281.320071.7100.4980.1670.1720.0620.0972.7064611.2421.120081.7390.5000.1700.1710.0610.1002.7424641.2591.320091.7600.5020.1720.1710.0610.1032.7684661.2711.020101.7910.5040.1740.1700.0600.1062.8054701.2881.320111.8180.5050.1780.1690.0600.1092.8384731.3031.220121.8460.5070.1810.1680.0590.1112.8734761.3191.2The table shows that CO2 dominates the total forcing, with methane and the CFCs becoming relatively smaller contributors to the total forcing over time.[8] The five major greenhouse gases account for about 96% of the direct radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gas increases since 1750. The remaining 4% is contributed by the 15 minor halogenated gases.
The table also includes an "Annual Greenhouse Gas Index" (AGGI), which is defined as the ratio of the total direct radiative forcing due to long-lived greenhouse gases for any year for which adequate global measurements exist to that which was present in 1990.[8] 1990 was chosen because it is the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol. This index is a measure of the inter-annual changes in conditions that affect carbon dioxide emission and uptake, methane and nitrous oxide sources and sinks, the decline in the atmospheric abundance of ozone-depleting chemicals related to the Montreal Protocol. and the increase in their substitutes (HCFCs and HFCs). Most of this increase is related to CO2. For 2012, the AGGI was 1.32 (representing an increase in total direct radiative forcing of 32% since 1990). The increase in CO2 forcing alone since 1990 was about 41%. The decline in the CFCs has tempered the increase in net radiative forcing considerably.
See also[edit]References[edit]^"NASA: Climate Forcings and Global Warming". January 14, 2009. ^http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf^Rockstr¶m, Johan; Steffen, Will; Noone, Kevin; Persson, Asa; Chapin, F. Stuart; Lambin, Eric F.; et al., TM; Scheffer, M et al. (2009). "A safe operating space for humanity". Nature461 (7263): 472''475. Bibcode:2009Natur.461..472R. doi:10.1038/461572a. PMID 19779433. ^http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/222.htm^Myhre et al., New estimates of radiative forcing due to well mixed greenhouse gases, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 25, No. 14, pp 2715''2718, 1998^IPCC WG-1 report^Shine et al., An alternative to radiative forcing for estimating the relative importance of climate change mechanisms, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol 30, No. 20, 2047, doi:10.1029/2003GL018141, 2003^ abcd This article incorporates public domain material from the NOAA document: Butler, J.H. and S.A. Montzka (1 August 2013). THE NOAA ANNUAL GREENHOUSE GAS INDEX (AGGI). NOAA/ESRL Global Monitoring Division ^CFC-113, tetrachloromethane (CCl4), trichloromethane (CH3CCl3); hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) 22, 141b and 142b; hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 134a, 152a, 23, 143a, and 125; sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and halons 1211, 1301 and 2402)External links[edit]CO2: The Thermostat that Controls Earth's Temperature by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, October, 2010, Forcing vs. FeedbacksIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report (2007), Chapter 2, "Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and Radiative Forcing," pp. 133''134 (PDF, 8.6 MB, 106 pp.).U.S. EPA (2009), Climate Change '' Science. Explanation of climate change topics including radiative forcing.United States National Research Council (2005), Radiative Forcing of Climate Change: Expanding the Concept and Addressing Uncertainties, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and ClimateSmall volcanoes add up to cooler climate; Airborne particles help explain why temperatures rose less last decade August 13, 2011; Vol.180 #4 (p. 5) Science NewsNASA: The Atmosphere's Energy Budget
'600 page litany of doom': Weather Channel Co-Founder John Coleman slams Federal climate report: A 'total distortion of the data and agenda driven, destructive episode of bad science gone berserk' | Climate Depot
Thu, 08 May 2014 04:49
Coleman: 'When the temperature data could no longer be bent to support global warming, they switched to climate change and now blame every weather and climate event on CO2 despite the hard, cold fact that the ''radiative forcing'' theory they built their claims on has totally failed to verify.'
'The current bad science is all based on a theory that the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the exhaust of the burning of fossil fuels leads to a dramatic increase in ''the greenhouse effect'' causing temperatures to skyrocket uncontrollably. This theory has failed to verify and is obviously dead wrong. But the politically funded and agenda driven scientists who have built their careers on this theory and live well on the 2.6 billion dollars of year of Federal grants for global warming/climate change research cling to this theory and bend the data spread to support the glorified claims in their reports and papers.'
By: Marc Morano - Climate DepotMay 7, 2014 7:35 AM with 865 comments
Update: 'Climate Hustle' or 'American Doomsday'?! Obama climate report panned by scientists '' 'Pseudoscience' 'sales pitch' 'follow the money' 'total distortion' 'false premise' 'outdated & wrong' 'failure'
(For more on global temperature standstill see here: Global Temperature Update: No global warming at all for 17 years 9 months)
John Coleman's Blog for Wednesday, May 7th
The sky is falling. ''Climate Change'' is running wild and disaster is certain unless we immediately stop burning coal and oil and move quickly to ''green energy'' to eliminate use of fossil fuels. Heat waves, huge floods, powerful storms, droughts and rising seas are on the verge of killing millions of us and destroying our civilization. That is my summary of the new Federal Assessment of Climate Change issued by a Obama administration team of more than 300 specialists guided by a 60-member federal advisory committee produced the report. It was reviewed by federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.
This 600 page litany of doom and gloom has received extensive coverage by the panting anchors of the national media who feel important when tell their audience that ''the sky is falling.'' Horrible pictures of storms, floods, drought and heat waves leaped out of the TV sets as the New York and Washington DC headquartered media was particularly excited to tell us how the huge increases in floods and storms was the worst in that part of the nation.
If you accept the picture painted by this report, the weather was just right, steady and nice in the historic past but because our industrialized society has powered its heating and air conditioning, its transportation by train, plane, cars and trucks, generated it's electric power to run our lights, computers, television and smart phones with fossil fuels it has triggered this nightmare of awful storms, droughts and heat waves.
I am deeply disturbed to have to suffer through this total distortion of the data and agenda driven, destructive episode of bad science gone berserk. The only good news is that I least where I am and on the channels and websites I saw I was not further insulted by fawning TV Weathercasters visiting the White House and interviewing the President. I best I can tell, on a national level, that turned out to be a non-event (thank goodness).
Please allow me to hold your attention for a few minutes to explain why I don't buy into this Climate Change alarmism. The climate of Earth has never been ''normal'' or stable. It has continuously changed through this planet's 4.5 billion year history. Powerful storms, floods, droughts, heat waves and ice and snow storms have come and gone as long as Earth has existed.
The current bad science is all based on a theory that the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the exhaust of the burning of fossil fuels leads to a dramatic increase in ''the greenhouse effect'' causing temperatures to skyrocket uncontrollably. This theory has failed to verify and is obviously dead wrong. But the politically funded and agenda driven scientists who have built their careers on this theory and live well on the 2.6 billion dollars of year of Federal grants for global warming/climate change research cling to this theory and bend the data spread to support the glorified claims in their reports and papers.
When the temperature data could no longer be bent to support global warming, they switched to climate change and now blame every weather and climate event on CO2 despite the hard, cold fact that the ''radiative forcing'' theory they built their claims on has totally failed to verify.
They call people such as me who debunk their non-scientific silliness as ''deniers'' and claim we are flat-earthers and shills for ''big oil''. It is insulting and maddening. But I will not be silenced. And neither will the thousand others, many of them with Ph.D.'s and on the faculties of major universities who are working to stop this bad science that labels CO2 as a pollutant and blames it for every shift in the weather.
We will be gathering, we global warming skeptics, at Heartland Institutes 9th International Conference on Climate Change, July 7 '' 9, 2014 in Las Vegas. You can learn about that conference at http://climateconference.heartland.org/. I will be one of the speakers at the breakfast session on Tuesday July 8th. Look at the list of speakers on the website and you will see an impressive group. A group of the powerful Ph.D.'s in the group have recently published a complete scientific document that totaling destroys the climate change alarmism of the US Democrat Party and the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. You can find that publication on line at http://climatechangereconsidered.org/.
In the meantime, through blogs, and radio and television interviews whenever any of us can get on the air we will continue to try to debunk this way of climate alarmism. For instance, I will be on the air on WLS Radio in Chicago with Bruce Wolf & Dan Proft on Wednesday morning (today) at 8:45 AM Chicago time (6:45 AM San Diego time) and do my best to tell the real story of climate and weather. You can listen to that broadcast on line at
http://player.streamtheworld.com/_players/citadel/?sid=1044&nid=2920
All of this not withstanding, my life is sooo good. Every day is fun and relaxed since I have ended the tread mill life of grinding out all those TV weathercasts a day. I now do my dancing for fun only. LOL
#
Blog for Tuesday, May 6th
The President of the United States has decided to make Climate Change a major issue of the last two years of his Administration. This deeply saddens me but I won't give up my effort to debunk the horrid distortion of science that has led to this Climate Change Alarmism campaign. First of all, please, believe me, there is no significant man-made global warming. There is a minor warming trend continuing as Earth continues to go through its normal, natural climate change from Ice Age to Interglacial period which in ten thousand year or so will fade into another ice age. The activities of mankind in powering our civilization with fossil fuels has had no significant impact on this natural process. And this chart shows that the warming has stalled now for 17 plus years:
So today to launch his new campaign the President has invited a group of television Meteorologist to the White House to interview him on the topic. The barrage of publicity will be deafening. I deeply regret that the global warming/climate change thing has become a partisan political issue. Al Gore made global warming a Platform issue for the Democrat Party and it is now accepted without serious study or scientific consideration by a vast majority of liberals in this country. And, as politics goes, the Republican Party denies global warming because it is a key issue of the other party without even studying the science.
There are thousands and thousands of scientists who know without a doubt that the entire matter is based on bad science. We fight with everything we have to inform the public of the truth, but the dominate liberal media shuns us and the global warming team calls us names and insults us. We know we right and we try to explain that this global warming campaign is costing us billions in tax dollars every year and driving up the our cost of living by well over a thousand dollars a year for the average family (and the cost is increasing dramatically in the coming years as the government enacts cap and trade regulations.) One dramatic increase is in the cost of corn. This is leading to hunger and perhaps thousands of deaths per year in the poorest nations of the world. It is not a small, ''who cares'' matter. You can get my explanation of how this all got started and what the bad science is all about by watching my videos on this website or following my links to active climate change debunking websites of scientists I greatly respect. I get you to set politics aside and study the science of the issue. It is important. Meanwhile, somehow I will get through the next 48 hours or so of massive publicity on the issue.
Best regards,
John Coleman
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Uncontrollable ice-melt? Uncorking East Antarctica could yield unstoppable sea-level rise, simulations show -- ScienceDaily
Wed, 07 May 2014 19:59
The melting of a rather small ice volume on East Antarctica's shore could trigger a persistent ice discharge into the ocean, resulting in unstoppable sea-level rise for thousands of years to come. This is shown in a study now published in Nature Climate Change by scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The findings are based on computer simulations of the Antarctic ice flow using improved data of the ground profile underneath the ice sheet.
"East Antarctica's Wilkes Basin is like a bottle on a slant," says lead-author Matthias Mengel, "once uncorked, it empties out." The basin is the largest region of marine ice on rocky ground in East Antarctica. Currently a rim of ice at the coast holds the ice behind in place: like a cork holding back the content of a bottle. While the air over Antarctica remains cold, warming oceans can cause ice loss on the coast. Ice melting could make this relatively small cork disappear -- once lost, this would trigger a long term sea-level rise of 300-400 centimeters. "The full sea-level rise would ultimately be up to 80 times bigger than the initial melting of the ice cork," says co-author Anders Levermann.
"Until recently, only West Antarctica was considered unstable, but now we know that its ten times bigger counterpart in the East might also be at risk," says Levermann, who is head of PIK's research area Global Adaptation Strategies and a lead-author of the sea-level change chapter of the most recent scientific assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. This report, published in late September, projects Antarctica's total sea level contribution to be up to 16 centimeters within this century. "If half of that ice loss occurred in the ice-cork region, then the discharge would begin. We have probably overestimated the stability of East Antarctica so far," says Levermann.
Emitting greenhouse-gases could start uncontrollable ice-melt
Melting would make the grounding line retreat -- this is where the ice on the continent meets the sea and starts to float. The rocky ground beneath the ice forms a huge inland sloping valley below sea-level. When the grounding line retreats from its current position on a ridge into the valley, the rim of the ice facing the ocean becomes higher than before. More ice is then pushed into the sea, eventually breaking off and melting. And the warmer it gets, the faster this happens.
Complete ice discharge from the affected region in East Antarctica takes five thousand to ten thousand years in the simulations. However, once started, the discharge would slowly but relentlessly continue until the whole basin is empty, even if climate warming stopped. "This is the underlying issue here," says Matthias Mengel. "By emitting more and more greenhouse gases we might trigger responses now that we may not be able to stop in the future." Such extensive sea level rise would change the face of planet Earth -- coastal cities such as Mumbai, Tokyo or New York are likely to be at risk.
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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What the National Climate Assessment Doesn't Tell You | Cato @ Liberty
Wed, 07 May 2014 17:35
Global Science Reportis a feature from theCenter for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly ''Current Wisdom.''
The Obama Administration this week is set to release the latest version of the National Climate Assessment'--a report which is supposed to detail the potential impacts that climate change will have on the United States. The report overly focuses on the supposed negative impacts from climate change while largely dismissing or ignoring the positives from climate change.
The bias in the National Climate Assessment (NCA) towards pessimism (which we have previously detailed here) has implications throughout the federal regulatory process because the NCA is cited (either directly or indirectly) as a primary source for the science of climate change for justifying federal regulation aimed towards mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Since the NCA gets it wrong, so does everyone else.
A good example of this can be found in how climate change is effecting the human response during heat waves. The NCA foresees an increasing frequency and magnitude of heat waves leading to growing numbers of heat-related deaths. The leading science suggests just the opposite.
Case and point. Last week, we had an article published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Climate Change that showed how the impacts of extreme heat are often overplayed while the impacts of adaptation to the heat are underplayed. And a new paper has just been published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that finds that the risk of dying from heat waves in the U.S. has been on the decline for the past several decades.
By now, this should be rather unsurprising as it has been demonstrated over and over again. Not only in the U.S. but in Europe (and yes, Stockholm) and other major global cities as well.
The idea that human-caused global warming is going to increase heat-related mortality is simply outdated and wrong. In fact, the opposite is more likely the case'--that is, a warming climate will decrease the population's sensitivity to heat events as it induces adaptation. We described it this way in our Nature Climate Change piece:
Some portion of this response [the decline in the risk of dying from heat waves] probably reflects the temporal increase in the frequency of extreme-heat events, an increase that elevates public consciousness and spurs adaptive response. In this manner, climate change itself leads to adaptation.
'...Our analysis highlights one of the many often overlooked intricacies of the human response to climate change.
But this information often falls on deaf ears'--especially those ears responsible for developing the NCA.
Here is what the Executive Summary of the draft version had to say about heat-related mortality:
Climate change will influence human health in many ways; some existing health threats will intensify, and new health threats will emerge. Some of the key drivers of health impacts include: increasingly frequent and intense extreme heat, which causes heat-related illnesses and deaths and over time, worsens drought and wildfire risks, and intensifies air pollution.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency takes the same outlook (of course since it is based heavily on the National Climate Assessment). The EPA leaned heavily on heat-related mortality as one the ''threats'' to public health and welfare in its justification for pursuing greenhouse gas emissions restrictions. From the EPA's Technical Support Document for its greenhouse gas ''Endangerment Finding'':
Severe heat waves are projected to intensify in magnitude and duration over the portions of the United States where these events already occur, with potential increases in mortality and morbidity, especially among the elderly, young, and frail. [emphasis in original]
Now compare the Administration's take with the latest findings on the trend in heat-related mortality across the United States as published by a research team led by Harvard School of Public Health's Jennifer Bobb. Bobb and colleagues found that the risk of dying from excessive heat events was declining across the U.S. And further, that most of the overall decline was coming from declines in the sensitivity to extreme heat shown by the elderly population (75 and older). In fact, the Bobb team found that the risk in the older population has dropped so far that it is now indistinguishable from the risk to the younger populations. Adaptation is a beautiful thing!
From Bobb et al.:
While heat-related mortality risk for the '‰¥75 age group was greater than for the
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Report: Climate change bringing more severe weather to Minn. | Minnesota Public Radio News
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:45
Listen Local expert reacts to climate change report5min 27secGlobal warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy, sneezy and dangerous, according to a new federal scientific report. And those shining seas? Rising and costly, the report says.
Climate change's assorted harms "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond," the National Climate Assessment concluded Tuesday. The report emphasizes how warming and its all-too-wild weather are changing daily lives, even using the phrase "climate disruption" as another way of saying global warming.
' Updraft weather:Climate Cast with Paul Huttner
Still, it's not too late to prevent the worst of climate change, says the 840-page report, which the White House is highlighting as it tries to jump-start often stalled efforts to curb heat-trapping gases.
' Read the report:President Obama's Climate Change Action Plan
' Climate change on the air: Tune in to a special Wednesday edition of Climate Cast at 10:06 a.m.
However, if the nation and the world don't change the way they use energy, "we're still on the pathway to more damage and danger of the type that are described in great detail in the rest of this report," said study co-author Henry Jacoby, co-director of the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jacoby, other scientists and White House officials said this is the most detailed and U.S.-focused scientific report on global warming.
"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the report says. "Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience."
The report looks at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together.
Local impact: Climate change in Minnesota | Read more
Minnesota's location puts it directly in the midst of a Midwest negotiating the landscape of agricultural stresses and urban vulnerability that come along with climate change.
Increased heat, extreme rainfall, prolonged drought and their collective repercussions could put significant stress on existing infrastructure and regional ecosystems, the report says.
"We are likely to see reduced yields and crop failures," said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy, a clean energy advocacy group in St. Paul. "And, in fact, the science is pointing to corn as being damaged by temperatures that exceed 90 degrees for more than a day or two."
Heat
"Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, increased humidity, degraded air quality and reduced water quality will increase public health risks."
The report says that Midwesterners can expect a longer growing season, should climate change continue along its current path. But the benefit of more crops with higher yields will be tempered by the extreme weather events that have already begun to shake Midwestern weather expectations. "In the long term, the combined stresses associated with climate change are expected to decrease agricultural productivity," the report says.
Agricultural impact
"Future crop yields will be more strongly influenced by anomalous weather events than by changes in average temperature or annual precipitation."
While the growing seasons for many crops have gotten longer over the past 60 years '-- a trend that will likely increase, the report says '-- climate change's impact on agriculture will be different from crop to crop. The yeilds from growing seasons, which come as a result of higher temperatures and elevated carbon dioxide concentrations, could be offset by the risk of springtime freezes. It's those more extreme, out-of-the-ordinary weather events '-- such as cold-air blasts in the springtime '-- that could cut the promise of longer Midwestern growing seasons short.
Rain
"Extreme rainfall events and flooding have increased during the last century, and these trends are expected to continue."
The report says Midwesterners should also brace for a series of detrimental effects from the combination of increased rainfall and infrastructures ill-prepared to deal with it:
' erosion' declining water quality' negative impacts on infrastructure, specifically flood control and navigation
Because Minnesota's existing infrastructure, much like its counterparts across the country, was designed with historical weather patterns in mind, it is likely not prepared, the report says, to deal with the long- and short-term impacts of climate change.
Those historical models, the report says, are "no longer appropriate guides" in preparing for future weather. The amount of heavy rainfall, for instance, has been "significantly above average" in the Midwest since 1991.
The report warns, too, of large-scale flooding "due to extreme precipitation in the absence of snowmelt." It cites the 2007 flood that poured the Root River 19 feet and the 2010 flooding across southern Minnesota as prime examples of the imminent danger '-- which could increase in magnitude.
' Leaders worry Root River flood could dampen tourist industry (June 2008)
"Such events tend to be more regional and less likely to cover as large an area as those that occur in the spring," the report says, "in part because soil water storage capacity is typically much greater during the summer."
A 140-foot section of northbound Highway 169 near St. Peter, Minn., collapsed by the flooding Minnesota River in October 2010. The washed-out highway was closed north of St. Peter as MnDOT worked to restore it. A White House report on climate change, released today, pointed to the flooding as an example of what Minnesotans can expect '-- though with greater frequency '-- if climate change continues along its current trajectory. AP/Mankato Free Press, John CrossThe big picture: Climate change on a national level
A draft of the report was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, the National Academy of Science and 13 government agencies and had public comment. It is written in a bit more simple language so people could realize "that there's a new source of risk in their lives," said study lead author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Even though the nation's average temperature has risen by as much as 1.9 degrees since record keeping began in 1895 '-- more than 1.5 degrees in the Midwest '-- it's in the big, wild weather where the average person feels climate change the most, said co-author Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University climate scientist. Extreme weather like droughts, storms and heat waves hit us in the pocketbooks and can be seen by our own eyes, she said.
And it's happening a lot more often lately.
The report says the intensity, frequency and duration of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s, but it is still uncertain how much of that is from man-made warming. Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity and shifted northward since the 1950s, it says. Also, heavy downpours are increasing -- by 71 percent in the Northeast. Heat waves, such as those in Texas in 2011 and the Midwest in 2012, are projected to intensify nationwide. Droughts in the Southwest are expected to get stronger. Sea level has risen 8 inches since 1880 and is projected to rise between 1 foot and 4 feet by 2100.
' Climate Cast:Every Thursday on The Daily Circuit, a continuing look at climate change
Since January 2010, 43 of the lower 48 states have set at least one monthly record for heat, such as California having its warmest January on record this year. In the past 51 months, states have set 80 monthly records for heat, 33 records for being too wet, 12 for lack of rain and just three for cold, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal weather records.
"We're being hit hard," Hayhoe said, comparing America to a boxer. "We're holding steady, and we're getting hit in the jaw. We're starting to recover from one punch, and another punch comes."
The report also says "climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways." Those include smoke-filled air from more wildfires, smoggy air from pollution, more diseases from tainted food, water, mosquitoes and ticks. And then there's more pollen because of warming weather and the effects of carbon dioxide on plants. Ragweed pollen season has lengthened by 24 days in the Minnesota-North Dakota region between 1995 and 2011, the report says. In other parts of the Midwest, the pollen season has gotten longer by anywhere from 11 days to 20 days.
And all this will come with a hefty cost, the report says.
Flooding alone may cost $325 billion by the year 2100 in one of the worst-case scenarios, with $130 billion of that in Florida, the report says. Already the droughts and heat waves of 2011 and 2012 added about $10 billion to farm costs, the report says. Billion-dollar weather disasters have hit everywhere across the nation, but have hit Texas, Oklahoma and the Southeast most often, the report says.
National Climate Assessment: The Midwest
Preparing for future water shortages | The University of Texas at Austin
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:43
Perhaps the only positive thing about the 2011 drought in Texas, the state's worst single-year drought in history, is that it ended up being the mother of all teaching moments. The lessons learned are not pleasant, but addressing them will give the state a fighting chance when the next major drought comes around.
Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin are at the forefront of research to make the state better prepared for future water shortages. The benefits of this research don't end at the state's border. Once most fiercely concentrated in Texas, this year the drought spread its warm embrace to more than half of the continental United States. By early September, 63 percent of the country was in moderate to exceptional drought.
So what have we learned from the 2011 drought? Here are five key lessons.
#1 Wake Up, Texas
We learned Texas is not ready for an acute one-year drought, much less several years of drought such as the state experienced in the 1950s.
Most Texans are familiar with the effects of the 2011 drought. Watering restrictions in the big cities may have only been minor hassles, but news images of starving cattle and raging wildfires made it hard to ignore the immensity of the tragedy. Some estimates put agricultural losses at more than $7 billion. Irrigation water for rice farms and agriculture downstream from Austin was cut off by the Lower Colorado River Authority for the first time in more than 70 years. Twenty-three public water systems reported having less than six months' water supply. The town of Spicewood Beach near Austin completely ran out of water and began trucking it in at great expense to keep household taps flowing.
Part of the problem was that the state's water storage infrastructure hasn't grown as fast as its population. Since 1980, per capita water storage in the state has fallen 30 percent.
''We are much more vulnerable because we've less water in storage per capita,'' says Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at the university's Bureau of Economic Geology.
So what can we do?
''Just like your financial portfolio, you want to have your water portfolio diversified,'' says Robert Mace, who earned his Ph.D. at the university in 1998 and is now deputy executive administrator at the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
''We need to broaden our water sources and be more flexible,'' Scanlon agrees.
She and other scientists at the university work regularly with the TWDB on drought issues. Experts have proposed a range of new water projects, including more surface reservoirs, desalination, and reuse systems. Two of Scanlon's favorite options are conservation and aquifer storage and recovery.
''Conservation is the cheapest solution,'' she says.
Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) refers to storing surface water in natural underground aquifers during times of excess and pumping it out during times of scarcity. ASR does not incur losses from evaporation as occurs in surface water. San Antonio has the country's third largest ASR facility. At the height of the drought, the Twin Oaks ASR facility supplied about 20 percent of San Antonio's demand. Scanlon plans to study the feasibility of ASR in the Dallas area, which sits above the heavily depleted Trinity aquifer.
#2 It Can Get Worse
To geoscientists, the 2011 drought was not especially remarkable. Heck, even the six-year drought of the 1950s, used by water planners as the worst-case scenario, was minor compared with the megadroughts typical for the state.
Jay Banner, director of the university's Environmental Science Institute, has been collaborating with colleagues at the University of Arkansas and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority on a study using tree rings to reconstruct the history of Texas droughts for the past five centuries. This study, in combination with others in Texas, finds a number of droughts longer and more severe than the 1950s drought. Some lasted 20 or 30 years. Since the 1500s, droughts lasting a decade or more have occurred in Texas at least once a century.
As if that weren't ominous enough, some climate models predict more frequent and severe droughts in Texas during the coming century. Whether you believe those models or not, Banner says it's likely the state will again experience a megadrought unlike anything we've seen in our lifetimes.
''To be truly conservative, I think you have to prepare for the 'worser' case scenario of these 20- or 30-year megadroughts rather than the six-year drought we have in the historical instrumental record,'' says Banner.
Building that kind of infrastructure may be costly up front, but he warns it's much more expensive to wait until we're in a severe drought to try and secure new sources of water. Still, given how low our current capacity is, Scanlon says a more realistic goal would be to prepare for a repeat of the 1950s.
#3 Cool the Power
Our electrical power supply is vulnerable to water shortages.
Most of the 250 or so large power plants in the state rely on a steady stream of water for cooling, mainly from lakes and rivers. Officials with the state's power grid warned that if the 2011 drought continued through 2012, some power plants would have been forced to stop operating.
Thankfully, a wet winter took the edge off the drought in much of the state, and there were no blackouts. Still, peak electric power demand in the state broke records in July 2012. It's not clear how the power supply would have been affected if the drought had persisted at the previous year's levels.
Power plants consume only about 3 percent of the water in the state. That's because most of the water returns to lakes and rivers after passing through the plants, but on any given day, power plants need access to a lot of water to keep things running '-- about 43 percent of all water withdrawals in the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Scanlon is analyzing power plants across the state to identify those most vulnerable to drought. She's also looking at the efficiency of different cooling technologies in a study for the state comptroller's office.
''We don't want drought to impact the economy of the state,'' says Scanlon. ''We don't want the plants to run out of water to maintain energy.''
Scanlon says that for the most vulnerable plants, it would make sense to develop alternatives to surface water for cooling. Her preliminary research suggests drilling groundwater wells or using aquifer storage and recovery might be the most cost-effective ways to buffer power plants from extreme drought.
#4 Improve the Models for Forecasting Rainfall & Temperature
Even the best minds and fastest computers have a hard time forecasting a drought's severity or duration.
In October 2011, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) concluded that Texas was two to three times as likely to have precipitation levels that were below normal through the following May as above normal. But in fact the winter turned out to be extremely wet for many parts of the state.
Rong Fu, a professor in the university's Jackson School of Geosciences, began exploring the reasons for the unexpected rains. Working with researchers in NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, she and postdoctoral researcher Nelun Fernando discovered one reason: an atmospheric circulation pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation was positive and unusually strong, blocking cool arctic air from escaping south. That allowed warm, wet air from the Gulf of Mexico to dump rain across Texas.
Fu and Fernando have also discovered a key ingredient for making a run-of-the-mill drought extreme. It turns out that the four worst droughts of the past century all had one thing in common: Each time, summer drought was preceded by warm, dry air blowing from the west into Texas during the spring. It was like leaving a Texas-shaped cookie in an Easy-Bake oven for too long, which happened in 2011.
Based on these and other insights, Fu is evaluating climate models so policymakers at the state and local levels understand which ones are most reliable for long-term planning.
#5 Improve the Water Level Forecasts
Water planners and businesses need better long-range forecasts of water levels in rivers and lakes.
Brenner Brown, a member of the state's Drought Preparedness Council, says such forecasts would have helped the council in 2011 identify local water entities that were going to be struggling before the situation got really bad.
''Any kind of forecasting component we can develop to help us anticipate the impacts will definitely improve our emergency response,'' says Brown.
Liang Yang, a professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences, and David Maidment, a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering, co-direct the university's Center for Integrated Earth System Science. They are building a set of computer models that will forecast, among other things, surface water availability six to 18 months in advance. With that information, local water systems could decide whether to establish water use restrictions or even cut off some users. Power plant operators could start activating emergency management plans earlier.
This kind of water forecast could also enable something Maidment, Scanlon and others have been talking about lately: a market for trading water rights. Texas uses a system called prior appropriation to allocate surface water. In times of scarcity, the owner of a more senior water right can make a ''call'' requesting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to limit the water usage of more junior rights holders.
''Right now the only policy controls we have are, 'Turn off your pump','' said Maidment. ''That's all we've got. And it's a pretty blunt instrument.''
He and others have suggested that senior water rights holders should be able to easily sell their rights to more junior rights holders from day to day. It's technically possible today, but the process is slow and cumbersome. By putting a monetary value on the right to pump itself, market forces might be able to wring out efficiencies more easily than regulators can. Having a robust forecast of water supplies months in advance would help buyers and sellers set a price for water rights.
Last February, Yang and Maidment organized a day-long Water Forum, which brought together 130 experts from across the state including researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University, local water authorities such as the Lower Colorado River Authority, and scientists and policymakers from an alphabet soup of state agencies including the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
Several new research projects and collaborations have sprung from that meeting. For example, Yang and Maidment are now working with John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist and a professor at Texas A&M University, to prepare seasonal water balance forecasts for state agencies.
''The drought of 2011 makes me appreciate more that climate and hydrological scientists must work intimately with other scientists and policymakers to address the broad impacts of extreme weather and climate disasters,'' says Yang.
Banner image: Terry Hash pauses after searching in the cracked soil for some cotton seeds in his 175-acre cotton field in Garfield in August of 2011. Hash planted 800 acres of cotton, corn, wheat and sorghum, and almost all of it was destroyed by the drought. Photo: Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Learn more about how UT Austin is Finding Solutions
Downloads | National Climate Assessment
Wed, 07 May 2014 15:44
Welcome to the National Climate AssessmentThe National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.
A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.
Explore the effects of climate changeThe PDF is the official version of the 2014 National Climate Assessment.
The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.
A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.
(C) Copyright 2014 National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Suite 250, 1717 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel: +1 202 223 6262 | Fax: +1 202 223 3065 | Contact Us
FACT SHEET: What Climate Change Means for Regions across America and Major Sectors of the Economy
Tue, 06 May 2014 18:03
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 06, 2014
'''...Science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind'...those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don't have time to deny it'--they're busy dealing with it.''
-- President Barack Obama, Remarks at Georgetown University, June 25, 2013.
Today, delivering on a major commitment in the President's Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration is unveiling the third U.S. National Climate Assessment'--the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever generated of climate change and its impacts across every region of America and major sectors of the U.S. economy.
The findings in this National Climate Assessment underscore the need for urgent action to combat the threats from climate change, protect American citizens and communities today, and build a sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.
Developed over four years by hundreds of the Nation's top climate scientists and technical experts'--and informed by thousands of inputs from the public and outside organizations gathered through town hall meetings, public-comment opportunities, and technical workshops across the country, the third National Climate Assessment represents the most authoritative and comprehensive knowledge base about how climate change is affecting America now, and what's likely to come over the next century.
And, for the first time, to ensure that American citizens, communities, businesses, and decision makers have easy access to scientific information about climate change impacts that are most relevant to them, the U.S. National Climate Assessment is being released in an interactive, mobile-device-friendly, digital format on www.globalchange.gov.
Today's announcement is a key deliverable of the Climate Action Plan launched by President Obama last June'--which lays out concrete steps to cut carbon pollution, prepare America's communities for climate-change impacts, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The Plan acknowledges that even as we act to reduce the greenhouse-gas pollution that is driving climate change, we must also empower the Nation's communities, businesses, and individual citizens with the information they need to cope with the changes in climate that are already underway.
Climate-Change Impacts in Regions across America:
' Northeast '' Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and District of Columbia:''Sixty-four million people are concentrated in the Northeast. The high-density urban coastal corridor from Washington, DC, north to Boston is one of the most developed environments in the world, containing a massive, complex, and long-standing network of supporting infrastructure. The Northeast also has a vital rural component.'' Communities in the Northeast ''are affected by heat waves, more extreme precipitation events, and coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge.''(NCA Highlights: Northeast; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Southeast and Caribbean ''Virginia, W. Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, and the Caribbean Islands: The Southeast and Caribbean region ''is home to more than 80 million people and some of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas'... The Gulf and Atlantic coasts are major producers of seafood and home to seven major ports that are also vulnerable. The Southeast is a major energy producer of coal, crude oil, and natural gas.'' ''Decreased water availability, exacerbated by population growth and land-use change, causes increased competition for water in this region. There are also increased risks associated with extreme events such as hurricanes.''(NCA Highlights: Southeast & Caribbean; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Midwest '' Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin: ''The Midwest's agricultural lands, forests, Great Lakes, industrial activities, and cities are all vulnerable to climate variability and climate change.'' ''Longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels increase yields of some crops, although these benefits have already been offset in some instances by occurrence of extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and floods.''(NCA Highlights: Midwest; NCA Highlights: Overview
' Great Plains '' Wyoming, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas: The Great Plains region ''experiences multiple climate and weather hazards, including floods, droughts, severe storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and winter storms. In much of the Great Plains, too little precipitation falls to replace that needed by humans, plants, and animals. These variable conditions already stress communities and cause billions of dollars in damage. Climate change will add to both stress and costs.'' ''Rising temperatures lead to increased demand for water and energy and impacts on agricultural practices.''(NCA Highlights: Great Plains; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Southwest '' California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado: ''The Southwest is the hottest and driest region in the United States. Climate changes pose challenges for an already parched region that is expected to get hotter and, in its southern half, significantly drier. Increased heat and changes to rain and snowpack will send ripple effects throughout the region'... and its critical agriculture sector.'' ''Drought and increased warming foster wildfires and increased competition for scarce water resources for people and ecosystems.''(NCA Highlights: Southwest; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Northwest '' Idaho, Oregon, and Washington: ''The Northwest's economy, infrastructure, natural systems, public health, and agriculture sectors all face important climate change related risks. Impacts on infrastructure, natural systems, human health, and economic sectors, combined with issues of social and ecological vulnerability, will unfold quite differently in largely natural areas, like the Cascade Range, than in urban areas like Seattle and Portland or among the region's many Native American Tribes.'' ''Changes in the timing of streamflow related to earlier snowmelt reduce the supply of water in summer, causing far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic consequences.''(NCA Highlights: Northwest; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Alaska: ''Over the past 60 years, Alaska has warmed more than twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States'...The state's largest industries, energy production, mining, and fishing'--are all affected by climate change.'' ''Rapidly receding summer sea ice, shrinking glaciers, and thawing permafrost cause damage to infrastructure and major changes to ecosystems. Impacts on Alaska Native communities increase.''(NCA Highlights: Alaska; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Hawaii and Pacific Islands: The U.S. Pacific Islands region ''includes more than 2,000 islands spanning millions of square miles of ocean. Rising air and ocean temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, changing frequencies and intensities of storms and drought, decreasing streamflows, rising sea levels, and changing ocean chemistry will threaten the sustainability of globally important and diverse ecosystems'...as well as local communities, livelihoods, and cultures.'' ''Increasingly constrained freshwater supplies, coupled with increased temperatures, stress both people and ecosystems and decrease food and water security.''(NCA Highlights: Hawaii and the Pacific Islands; NCA Highlights: Overview)
' Coasts: ''More than 50% of Americans '' 164 million people '' live in coastal counties, with 1.2 million added each year... Humans have heavily altered the coastal environment through development, changes in land use, and overexploitation of resources. Now, the changing climate is imposing additional stresses...'' ''Coastal lifelines, such as water supply infrastructure and evacuation routes are increasingly vulnerable to higher sea levels and storm surges, inland flooding, and other climate-related changes.''(NCA Highlights: Coasts; NCA Highlights: Overview)
Climate-Change Impacts on Key Sectors of Society and the U.S. Economy
' Health: ''Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including through impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, decreased air quality, threats to mental health, and illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States. Climate change will, absent other changes, amplify some of the existing health threats the Nation now faces. Certain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color. Public health actions, especially preparedness and prevention, can do much to protect people from some of the impacts of climate change. Early action provides the largest health benefits.''(NCA Highlights: Human Health)
' Transportation: ''The impacts from sea level rise and storm surge, extreme weather events, higher temperatures and heat waves, precipitation changes, Arctic warming, and other climatic conditions are affecting the reliability and capacity of the U.S. transportation system in many ways. Sea level rise, coupled with storm surge, will continue to increase the risk of major coastal impacts on transportation infrastructure, including both temporary and permanent flooding of airports, ports and harbors, roads, rail lines, tunnels, and bridges. Extreme weather events currently disrupt transportation networks in all areas of the country; projections indicate that such disruptions will increase. Climate change impacts will increase the total costs to the Nation's transportation systems and their users, but these impacts can be reduced through rerouting, mode change, and a wide range of adaptive actions.''(NCA Highlights: Transportation)
' Energy: ''Extreme weather events are affecting energy production and delivery facilities, causing supply disruptions of varying lengths and magnitudes and affecting other infrastructure that depends on energy supply. The frequency and intensity of certain types of extreme weather events are expected to change. Higher summer temperatures will increase electricity use, causing higher summer peak loads, while warmer winters will decrease energy demands for heating. Net electricity use is projected to increase. Changes in water availability, both episodic and long-lasting, will constrain different forms of energy production. In the longer term, sea level rise, extreme storm surge events, and high tides will affect coastal facilities and infrastructure on which many energy systems, markets, and consumers depend. As new investments in energy technologies occur, future energy systems will differ from today's in uncertain ways. Depending on the character of changes in the energy mix, climate change will introduce new risks as well as new opportunities.''(NCA Highlights: Energy Supply and Use)
' Water: ''Climate change affects water demand and the ways water is used within and across regions and economic sectors. The Southwest, Great Plains, and Southeast are particularly vulnerable to changes in water supply and demand. Changes in precipitation and runoff, combined with changes in consumption and withdrawal, have reduced surface and groundwater supplies in many areas. These trends are expected to continue, increasing the likelihood of water shortages for many uses. Increasing flooding risk affects human safety and health, property, infrastructure, economies, and ecology in many basins across the United States'... Increasing resilience and enhancing adaptive capacity provide opportunities to strengthen water resources management and plan for climate-change impacts.''(NCA Highlights: Water)
' Agriculture: ''Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projected to become more severe over this century. Some areas are already experiencing climate-related disruptions, particularly due to extreme weather events. While some U.S. regions and some types of agricultural production will be relatively resilient to climate change over the next 25 years or so, others will increasingly suffer from stresses due to extreme heat, drought, disease, and heavy downpours. From mid-century on, climate change is projected to have more negative impacts on crops and livestock across the country '' a trend that could diminish the security of our food supply'... Climate change effects on agriculture will have consequences for food security, both in the U.S. and globally, through changes in crop yields and food prices and effects on food processing, storage, transportation, and retailing. Adaptation measures can help delay and reduce some of these impacts.''(NCA Highlights: Agriculture)
' Ecosystems: ''Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being affected by climate change. The capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts of extreme events like fires, floods, and severe storms is being overwhelmed. Climate change impacts on biodiversity are already being observed in alteration of the timing of critical biological events such as spring bud burst, and substantial range shifts of many species. In the longer term, there is an increased risk of species extinction. Events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and pest outbreaks associated with climate change (for example, bark beetles in the West) are already disrupting ecosystems. These changes limit the capacity of ecosystems, such as forests, barrier beaches, and wetlands, to continue to play important roles in reducing the impacts of extreme events on infrastructure, human communities, and other valued resources'... Whole-system management is often more effective than focusing on one species at a time, and can help reduce the harm to wildlife, natural assets, and human well-being that climate disruption might cause.''(NCA Highlights: Ecosystems)
' Oceans: ''Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, broadly affecting ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life. More acidic waters inhibit the formation of shells, skeletons, and coral reefs. Warmer waters harm coral reefs and alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species. The rising temperature and changing chemistry of ocean water combine with other stresses, such as overfishing and coastal and marine pollution, to alter marine-based food production and harm fishing communities'... In response to observed and projected climate impacts, some existing ocean policies, practices, and management efforts are incorporating climate change impacts. These initiatives can serve as models for other efforts and ultimately enable people and communities to adapt to changing ocean conditions.''(NCA Highlights: Oceans)
Climate Trends in America
' Temperature: ''U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since record keeping began in 1895; most of this increase has occurred since about 1970. The most recent decade was the Nation's warmest on record. Temperatures in the United States are expected to continue to rise. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, the temperature rise has not been, and will not be, uniform or smooth across the country or over time.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Extreme Weather:''There have been changes in some types of extreme weather events over the last several decades. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, especially in the West. Cold waves have become less frequent and intense across the Nation. There have been regional trends in floods and droughts. Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves everywhere are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense everywhere.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Hurricanes: ''The intensity, frequency, and duration of North Atlantic hurricanes, as well as the frequency of the strongest (Category 4 and 5) hurricanes, have all increased since the early 1980s. The relative contributions of human and natural causes to these increases are still uncertain. Hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Severe Storms: ''Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity since the 1950s, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States. Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Precipitation: ''Average U.S. precipitation has increased since 1900, but some areas have had increases greater than the national average, and some areas have had decreases. More winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Heavy Downpours: ''Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. Largest increases are in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Frost-free Season: ''The length of the frost-free season (and the corresponding growing season) has been increasing nationally since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States, affecting ecosystems and agriculture. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Ice Melt: ''Rising temperatures are reducing ice volume and surface extent on land, lakes, and sea. This loss of ice is expected to continue. The Arctic Ocean is expected to become essentially ice free in summer before mid-century.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Sea Level: ''Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since reliable record keeping began in 1880. It is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
' Ocean Acidification: ''The oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually and are becoming more acidic as a result, leading to concerns about intensifying impacts on marine ecosystems.'' (NCA Highlights: Climate Trends)
Ban Ki-moon: Climate change affects us all. So what's stopping us joining forces to act on it?
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:49
Leaders, businesses and concerned citizens are learning that affordable solutions exist or are in the pipeline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support resilience. Photograph: Kunl(C) Adeyemi
Three decades from now the world is going to be a very different place. How it looks will depend on actions we take today. We have big decisions to make and little time to make them if we are to provide stability and greater prosperity to the world's growing population. Top of the priority list is climate change.
All around the world it is plain that climate change is happening and that human activities are the principal cause. Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that the effects of climate change are already widespread, costly and consequential '' from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the poorest countries to the wealthiest. The world's top scientists are clear. Climate change is affecting agriculture, water resources, human health, and ecosystems on land and in the oceans. It poses sweeping risks for economic stability and the security of nations.
We can avert these risks if we take bold, decisive action now. An increasing number of government leaders, policymakers, businesses, investors and concerned citizens are beginning to comprehend the costs of climate change. More crucially, they are also learning that affordable solutions exist or are in the pipeline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support resilience. We need to deploy these solutions at a scale commensurate to the challenge. That means investment and it means global co-operation, especially in the areas of finance and technology. That is why it is important that governments complete their work on a new universal climate agreement by 2015.
To build political momentum and help bring about action, I am convening a climate summit in New York on 23 September. I am pressing national leaders, along with mayors and senior representatives from business, finance and civil society, to join a "race to the top" by showcasing solutions and forging partnerships that can steer the world away from cataclysm and towards a sustainable future.
I have been hosting an international meeting designed as a staging post for the September summit. The Abu Dhabi Ascent has given me considerable hope. Governments and private sector leaders have unveiled achievements and plans in a variety of areas where we feel we can make the quickest, greatest impact, including energy, cities and transport, finance, resilience, agriculture and short-lived climate pollutants.
Just as scientists are united on the impacts of climate change, so are economists generally agreed on the costs of combatting it. Working now for a rapid transformation to a low-carbon economy will be significantly less expensive for people and economies than failing to act, especially in developing countries, which are most vulnerable to climate impacts. They are also where emissions are rising fastest. These countries need support to build their own low-carbon futures and the opportunities that will bring. They have a pressing need for development. But their sustainable progress '' and ultimately that of all of us '' demands they do so as cleanly as possible. No one can afford the relentless increase in global temperatures that business as usual will bring.
The benefits of addressing climate change include reduced pollution, improved public health, fewer disasters, cleaner, cheaper, more efficient energy, better managed forests, more liveable cities, increased food security and less poverty. Instead of asking if we can afford to act, we should be asking what is stopping us, who is stopping us, and why? Climate change is an issue for all people, all businesses, all governments. Let us join forces to push back against sceptics and entrenched interests. Let us support the scientists, economists, entrepreneurs and investors who can persuade government leaders and policymakers that now is the time for bold action.
In Abu Dhabi I have seen again that effective affordable solutions are already available. I have seen that an increasing number of governments and other actors are prepared to invest in a low-carbon future. My sights are now set on the September climate summit and the climate negotiations in Lima in December and Paris next year.
Change is in the air '' I can sense it at all levels of society. Solutions exist. The race is on. My challenge to all political and business leaders, all concerned citizens and voters is simple: be at the head of the race. Don't get left behind. Don't be on the losing side of history. Let us work together to make climate change a top priority for all leaders '' at home and in the global arena. Let us take advantage of the opportunities presented by climate action and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and secure future for all.
Warming 'increasingly disruptive' across US - White House report.
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:48
6 May 2014Last updated at 13:53 By Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent, BBC News Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
The BBC's David Willis: "The last decade has seen some of the warmest temperatures on record her in the US"
Climate change is having significant financial, ecological and human health impacts across the US, according to a new report.
The third National Climate Assessment, released by the White House, says the number and strength of extreme weather events have increased over the past 50 years.
Infrastructure is being damaged by sea level rise, downpours and extreme heat.
The report says these impacts are likely to worsen in the coming decades.
Coming hot on the heels of the trio of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the assessment re-iterates the finding that climate change is real, and "driven primarily by human activity".
Continue reading the main story''Start QuoteIf we don't slam the brakes on the carbon pollution driving climate change, we're dooming ourselves and our children''
End QuoteFrances BeineckeNatural Resources Defense CouncilA key element driving this conclusion is the observed evidence on extreme weather events such as heavy downpours of rain.
Between 1958 and 2012, the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events increased by 71% in New England and the north east, while in the drier West it went up by just 5%.
"There is no equivocation," said lead author Prof Gary Yohe from Wesleyan University.
"It is fundamentally the pace of observations of extreme weather that makes it clear it is not natural variability."
The report suggests that it is not just wet events that are becoming more common. The human influence on climate has "roughly doubled the probability of extreme heat events", it says.
The authors point to the record-breaking summer temperatures in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011, where even during the night the mercury continued to soar.
"There have been episodes of temperatures in urban areas that are amplified by the heat island effect, where it just never recovers over the night and that dramatically affects humans," said Prof Yohe.
"It's impossible for the night to cool the earth."
The report also highlights the well-documented threats from wildfires in the West and how warming could, ultimately, cut agricultural productivity.
Continue reading the main storyImpacts from sea to shining sea North East - heat waves, more extreme precipitation, coastal flooding Mid West - Longer growing seasons, increased crop yields, heat waves, droughts South West - drought, wildfires, water stress Alaska - Shrinking glaciers, damage to roads and ecosystems As well as food security, the report warns that millions of people and properties are at risk from rising seas. Five million people live in areas that are 1.2 metres above the local high-tide level.
The increasing acidification of the oceans, blamed on global warming, is having financial impacts right now, said another lead author, Dr Drew Harvell from Cornell University.
She said that shellfish hatcheries were being particularly affected in the Pacific north west.
"They are being very heavily hit," she said.
"Everything they do now requires them to monitor pH, to have sensors in their hatcheries. Some of the hatcheries have moved out of the north west because of the corrosiveness of the waters, this is a very now impact with economic consequences."
The assessment warns that current efforts to implement emissions cuts and to adapt to changes are "insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences".
The report's authors believe that it provides crucial ammunition for President Obama as he looks to regulate US emissions.
Last year, the President unveiled his Climate Action Plan that sets new rules on carbon emissions from power plants. However, the scientists are pessimistic that the assessment will have much of an impact in Congress.
"One of the few places in the US where it looks like climate change is a 50-50 proposition is in the Congressional record," said Prof Yohe.
"That is problematic."
Other scientists involved in the report believed that the deadlock in Washington didn't reflect the breadth of US attitudes towards climate change.
Businesses, traders and people from all walks of life were seeing the impacts and wanted more information.
"It is frustrating - but I am reasonably optimistic," said Dr David Wolfe, another lead author.
"When I move out of the Beltway, I am seeing different things, even among the farmer audience. They are all about making a profit, so they are interested in protecting what they've got."
Campaigners have endorsed the report and are calling for swift action.
"Our leading scientists send a stark message: Climate change is already seriously disrupting our lives, hurting our health and damaging our economy," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"If we don't slam the brakes on the carbon pollution driving climate change, we're dooming ourselves and our children to more intense heat waves, destructive floods and storms, and surging sea levels."
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BBC News - Saudi blogger Raif Badawi gets 10 year jail sentence
Thu, 08 May 2014 05:39
7 May 2014Last updated at 20:13 ET A Saudi court has imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi for 10 years for "insulting Islam" and setting up a liberal web forum, local media report.
He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000; £133,000).
Amnesty International called the verdict "outrageous" and urged the authorities to quash the verdict.
Mr Badawi, the co-founder of a website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested in 2012.
A Saudi newspaper close to the government reported that he had lost his appeal against an earlier, more lenient sentence of seven years and three months in jail and 600 lashes.
Last year he was cleared of apostasy, which could have carried a death sentence.
Mr Badawi had previously called for 7 May to be a "day for Saudi liberals". The website he set up has since been closed.
"Ruthless campaign"Amnesty International describes him as a "prisoner of conscience" and has called for his release.
"Raif Badawi is the latest victim to fall prey to the ruthless campaign to silence peaceful activists in Saudi Arabia," it said in a statement.
Last October a Saudi journalist was freed after spending a year and a half in prison for writing insulting tweets about the Prophet Muhammad.
Hamza Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia for Malaysia in 2012 but was extradited just days later. He was released last year after making a public apology.
Gill Foundation | 2012 Annual Report
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:26
In 2012, grantees of the Gill Foundation worked to create an America in which all people are treated equally and respectfully.
Relationship RecognitionIn 2012, Gill Foundation grantees laid the groundwork for victory in all four states with marriage equality ballot measures.
17 states, plus DC, now recognize the freedom to marry.
Through litigation, public education, and advocacy, Gill Foundation grantees are working across the country to win the freedom to marry for all Americans.
Nondiscrimination
35% of Pennsylvania residents, by the end of 2012, lived in a city or county that protected gay and transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, thanks to the work of our grantees. Currently only 17 states, plus Washington, D.C., have nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender expression.
Most Americans agree that no one should be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Safe Schools In 2012, Georgia launched its GSA Connect network establishing Gay-Straight Alliances in 78 schools. The network also trained 1,334 teachers and school administrators how to best support LGBT students and advocate for LGBT-inclusive policies on school boards, and helped five school districts add or update anti-bullying policies to include LGBT students.
Across the country only 19 states, plus Washington, D.C., have statewide laws that protect LGBT students from bullying.
ColoradoIn 2012, we made our first grants to address STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) literacy and close the achievement gap for all Colorado kids. Only 40% of Colorado's 8th grade students are proficient in math, and the percentage of Hispanic and African-American students at or above proficiency is less than half that of white students.
Colorado will have 232,000 STEM-related jobs to fill by 2018, but only 1 out of 10 high school graduates declare STEM-related majors in college.
Tim Gill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:23
Tim Gill (born October 18, 1953) is an American computer software entrepreneur and LGBT rights activist.
Background[edit]Gill was born in Hobart, Indiana. He attended Wheat Ridge High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, eventually studying computer science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.[2]
After jobs at Hewlett-Packard and a consulting services firm, Gill started the company Quark, Inc. in 1981 with a $2,000 loan from his parents.[3][4] Quark produced successful page layout software for the graphics market. With the introduction of Farhad (Fred) Ebrahimi as CEO in 1986 and the monumental success of QuarkXPress "first introduced in 1987,"[5] Gill became a multi-millionaire. Gill announced in 2000 that he had sold his 50% interest in Quark, Inc., citing his growing involvement in philanthropic and activist endeavors.[6]
After Quark sale[edit]Gill's involvement in LGBT political action began in 1992, in response to the passage of Colorado Amendment 2, which prevented non-discrimination ordinances in the state from protecting people based on sexual orientation. In 1994, he created the Gill Foundation,[6] based in Denver, Colorado. One of its projects is the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.[3] His political endeavors, which are separate from his charitable foundation, are directed through the Gill Action Fund.[7]
In 2003, Gill created Connexion.org as a vehicle for engaging the LGBT community in political activities. Connexion closed in September, 2011.
Gill married his husband Scott Miller in Massachusetts in 2009. They live in Denver, Colorado.[3][8]
^Penny ParkerDenver Post Columnist. "Parker: Tim Gill ties the knot in Massachusetts". Denverpost.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. ^Healy, Rita (April 4, 2007). "The Gay Mogul Changing U.S. Politics". Time. Retrieved 2 June 2012. ^ abcProfile of Gill at the Gill Foundation's website^Press, Reference (December 1996). Hoover's guide to computer companies. Hoover's Business Press. pp. 346''. ISBN 9781878753809. Retrieved 2 June 2012. "In 1981 Gill, then 27, founded Quark ..." ^Anton, Kelly Kordes; Cruise, John (2009-02-13). QuarkXpress 8: Essential Skills for Page Layout and Web Design. Peachpit Press. pp. 209''. ISBN 9780321616913. Retrieved 2 June 2012. ^ abRothenberg, Matthew. "Founder Tim Gill exits Quark", ZDNet News, 25 October 2000.^Roehr, Bob (March 30, 2006). "The Gill Action Fund: Serious LGBT politics". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2 June 2012. ^Parker, Penny (April 14, 2009). "Tying the knot where it's legal". Denver Post. p. B7. Retrieved 2 June 2012. External links[edit]PersondataNameGill, TimAlternative namesShort descriptionDate of birth1953-10-18Place of birthHobart, Indiana (USA)Date of deathPlace of death
Gill Action Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:23
The Gill Action Fund is an American501(c)(4) issue advocacy organization founded in 2005 by philanthropist and entrepreneur Tim Gill to provide resources to individuals and organizations on both sides of the aisle working to advance equality for LGBT people through the legislative, political, and electoral process.
Gill Action's Political OutGiving program works to engage a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, (LGBT) and allied political donors to advance full equality for LGBT people.[1]
Prior to founding Gill Action, Tim Gill's 2004 political contributions helped Democrats take control of the Colorado General Assembly and elect Ken Salazar to the Senate.[2]
During the 2006 midterm elections, the national network of donors Gill Action works with contributed more than $2.8 million to 68 political campaigns in 11 states with the aim of protecting pro-LGBT politicians or unseating elected officials they saw as anti-gay; 56 of Gill Action's targeted campaigns won.[3]
In 2010, Tim Gill provided seed funding for a bipartisan independent expenditure campaign to unseat New York state senators who voted against marriage equality. The campaign, called Fight Back New York, successfully ousted Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens), Sen. William Stachowski (D-Buffalo), and Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Queens) replacing each of them with senators who support marriage equality.[4]
Since its inception, Gill Action has played a role in passing and protecting nondiscrimination legislation in Iowa, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and municipalities in Michigan. Gill Action also played a role in passing and protecting relationship recognition (civil unions, marriage, etc.) legislation in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Gill Action is independent from the Gill Foundation.[5] As a 501(c)(4) organization, Gill Action can support political and other organizations that actively lobby for the passage of legislation that protects LGBT people and their families.
ReferencesEditExternal linksEdit
Hollywood boycotts Beverly Hills Hotel over Sultan's anti-gay stance
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:19
The Sultan of Brunei, the owner of the Dorchester Collection hotel group, which includes the Beverly Hills Hotel and London's Dorchester Hotel, is introducing sharia law including punishments such as stoning for adultery and dismemberment for thieves.
On Monday, the hotel was due to host the Global Women's Rights Awards gala, chaired by comedian Jay Leno and his wife Mavis. Instead, the event was held elsewhere, and the couple joined a midday demonstration outside the hotel by the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), the organisation that organises the gala. Around 150 people turned up to protest the policies of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, whose Brunei Investment Agency owns the hotel group.
The president of the FMF, Eleanor Smeal, said in a statement: ''We cannot hold a human rights and women's rights event at a hotel whose owner would institute a penal code that fundamentally violates women's rights and human rights.'' The official implementation of sharia law in Brunei in south east Asia began on 1 May, when Bolkiah's administration criminalised becoming pregnant out of wedlock and ''indecent behaviour''. The second and third phases of the legislation will outlaw adultery and homosexuality, and introduce punishments including stoning, flogging and limb amputation. In a speech last week, the Sultan described the law as a ''great achievement''.
Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah describes sharia law as a 'great achievement' (Getty)At the demonstration, three men in suits, representatives of the hotel, stood beside a table offering free water and cookies. Most of the protesters refused to partake. Director Molly Schiot, 33, and her fianc(C)e Cass Bugge, 34, held a homemade sign with a message for the hotel's guests: ''Move your stay to a hotel that isn't owned by a leader that allows execution of gay citizens,'' it read. The couple had planned to hold their engagement at the hotel. ''But that was before we found out what [Bolkiah] stood for,'' Schiot said. ''Most people didn't know until celebrities like Jay Leno and Sharon Osbourne were open about it, and then everyone caught on.''
The boycott against the Beverly Hills Hotel began in April when the LGBT group the Gill Action Fund cancelled a conference there. The campaign gathered steam as celebrities lent their support, beginning with Ellen DeGeneres, who on 22 April tweeted: ''I won't be visiting the Hotel Bel-Air or the Beverly Hills Hotel until this is resolved.'' A week later, Sharon Osbourne invited her 2.1 million followers to join the boycott and last Saturday Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson announced that neither he, his family nor any Virgin employee ''will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights''.
The company also owns three UK hotels: the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London and Coworth Park in Ascot. On 26 April Stephen Fry tweeted: ''Cancelled in nick of time: discovered [Coworth Park] that I was booked into is part of the Dorchester Collection.''
On Monday, the Motion Picture & Television Fund announced it would next year move its annual pre-Oscar party, The Night Before the Oscars, to another venue. The Hollywood Reporter magazine has also decided not to host its annual Women in Entertainment breakfast there. Dorchester Collection CEO Christopher Cowdray said that customers should not concern themselves with the behaviour of investors. ''While we recognize people's concerns, we believe this boycott should not be directed to our hotels and dedicated employees. The economic impact of this not only affects our loyal team members but extends to the local community, our valued partners and suppliers.''
Shut Up Slave!
NA-Tech
Reinventing the internet: How wireless networks could become the workhorses of the web '-- Tech News and Analysis
Thu, 08 May 2014 05:39
17 hours ago May. 7, 2014 - 6:00 AM PDT
Let's face it: today the internet is wireless. Comcast may provide the coaxial cable into your home. Level 3 and AT&T may build the fiber optic backbone connecting cities. And Google and Netflix may run the massive server banks where your content originates. But the last hop to your device is more often than not a wireless one, whether it's the last mile, the last 20 feet, or the last inch.
Your phone isn't just connecting to a distant carrier's tower. It and your laptop hop on your home Wi-Fi router whenever you're in range. Your wearable computers talk to your phone via Bluetooth. It's a trend that's only increasing. More devices '-- from TVs, to cars, to traffic lights '-- are coming with embedded radios, joining our phones, laptops and tablets in demanding more capacity over our increasingly crowded airwaves.
To build a better internet, we're going to have build better wireless networks. If we don't we'll be forced to reverse one of the biggest technological gains of the 21st century: disconnecting the world from wires.
Connecting more gadgets isn't the only goal here. We need a wireless internet that isn't just available to more gadgets and doesn't just feed our ever-growing desire for speed. We need wireless broadband networks that are available outside of big cities and can connect the large part of the world population's that have little or no access to the internet. Those networks need to provide consistent, resilient connections as we move from place to place.
Most importantly, we need the mobile data those networks provide to be cheap '-- dirt cheap. The price of mobility can't remain $15-$20 a month for a gigabit of data, otherwise we're not making the internet mobile at all. We're just creating an expensive toy that the majority of people can only access on a limited basis.
We can build that wireless network, but there are two problems we need to solve. The first is a problem of physics, which the wireless industry can work out in the labs. The second is a problem of political will.
Catching up with Claude ShannonWhen the tech world talks about mobile, there's often this rather simplistic assumption that the mobile industry needs to develop that big leap in radio technologies to solve its problems. Lately those hopes have been pinned on the amorphous concept called 5G and a single-minded focus on speed '-- all we need is a 1 Gbps connection to the device. But the problem is hardly that simple, and to understand why, you have to understand how wireless networks work.
The wireless industry has traditionally had three levers it can pull to build faster networks. The first is spectrum: the more spectral bandwidth it can add to a network, the more bandwidth is available for data. The second is spectral efficiency: shoving more bits into the same-sized pipe. The third is density: by shrinking the geographic area a transmission has to cover, we're able to re-use the same spectrum over and over; in other words, we create more ''cells.''
For the last two decades the mobile industry has been yanking on that second lever, moving from analog to digital, from 2G to 3G, from 3G to LTE. But we're reaching the point where that lever won't budge any further. Our current wireless networks are bumping up against the upper limit of how many bits per second can be crammed into hertz of spectrum over any given transmission path.
''We have a whole bunch of radio interfaces that will take you right up to the limits of what you can transmit over an antenna,'' GSM Association Senior Director of Technology Dan Warren said in a recent interview. That barrier is known as Shannon's Limit, and right now we're 99 percent of the way there, Warren said. Radio technologies are constantly improving, but getting within 99.5 percent of Shannon's limit isn't going to spark another revolution in wireless.
Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, at Bell Labs in 1950. Shannon proposed that there was a limit to the amount of information that could be transmitted over a single communication channel. We're hitting that limit today. (Source: Alcatel-Lucent)
But what about these new technologies we've been hearing about lately like LTE-Advanced and gigabit Wi-Fi, which deliver enormous gains in speed? The thing is those big speed boosts are largely accomplished by piling more spectrum onto the network. We're widening our lanes with more airwaves, not increasing the speed at which information can flow over them.
Consequently the wireless industry of late has been batting on that first lever, as anyone who has been paying attention the policy debates in Washington and the wave of consolidation among mobile operators will have noticed. The big carriers are buying up their smaller counterparts to harvest their airwaves. The tech sector is lobbying the FCC for more unlicensed airwaves so they can build more powerful Wi-Fi networks.
There's no magic bullet to get us that next horizon in wireless networking, Warren said. Instead the industry is looking at a host of different technologies that will boost capacity and eke out more efficiency in the way data is delivered.
It's looking squarely at that third lever '-- spectrum re-use '-- by deploying small cells that would basically create the same amount of capacity we'd get from a big tower in a much smaller area. Massive antenna arrays could move wireless networks into higher bands of frequencies like the millimeter waves that were formally unusable for connecting any kind of consumer device. New beamforming technologies would create stronger more resilient signals and thus more consistently fast connections to the phone or tablet. Carriers have even started deploying software-defined networks in their cores to help them adapt to these changing technologies more quickly.
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg holds up his company's newest small cell, the Radio Dot (Photo by Kevin Fitchard)
Breaking down the barrier between internetsIn order for the mobile internet to get better, it needs to look more like the internet itself. The internet is flat, highly distributed with no central point of control. In contrast, mobile networks have basically been built in the model of our phone network, a highly centralized system controlled by an all-mighty core that manages connections and traffic all the way to the cell.
''We've had the same design paradigms since the days of Bell Labs of what a cell looks like,'' said Vish Nandlall, North American CTO and head of strategy and marketing for mobile network vendor Ericsson. ''We have to disrupt our basic notion of what a cellular network looks. '... Let's get away from the cell as basic unit of design.''
Instead of our devices linking to a single cell, they could link to multiple nodes on the network simultaneously. The tower in the distance could provide your download link but our upstream link could be sent to a nearby small cell more capable of handling your phone's weaker transmitted signal. A video could be parsed out among multiple connections and reassembled on our handset screens.
Vish Nandlall, North America CTO, Ericsson at Mobilize 2013 (c) 2013 Pinar Ozger pinar@pinarozger.com
Nandlall is taking a relatively new concept in mobile networking, called the heterogenous network, and taking it to its logical extreme. The idea is that no device needs to be tied down a single network or a single transmission. It could access Wi-Fi just as easily as cellular or any number of other wireless technologies to find the most efficient path to the internet. Different types of content might take different routes, depending on their needs. An email could follow a lower latency, low-bandwidth circuit through the network, while a video conference call would be sent over a highly prioritized connection.
In such a model, anything can be a node that routes and relays traffic on the network. Instead of just communicating with other cells and access points, our phones could link to each other. A phone that has a stronger connection to the network than its neighbor could relay that connection through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Phones and cells together could form vast ad-hoc networks that could bypass the network core entirely, sending local communications and cached internet content through what amounts to a constantly morphing mesh network.
There is a limit to amount of nodes you can stick in a network before you reach a point of diminishing returns, Nandlall said. Every new transmitter introduces more interference, and eventually you get a soup of competing signals that carry no information at all. But the industry is getting better at managing and mitigating the interference created when these ''cells'' overlap.
The point is, though, if every device and every node optimized every possible transmission path over the network, you maximize its potential capacity. You can increase the number of devices simultaneously connecting to wireless networks exponentially and deliver faster, better connections while consuming less power.
Is spectrum really scarce?New America Foundation's Sascha Meinrath (center left) speaking at Gigaom Mobilize 2013 (c) 2013 Pinar Ozger pinar@pinarozger.com
If maximizing the capacity of the network is the goal, then the mobile industry is doing a dismal job, according to Sascha Meinrath. Meinrath is director of New America Foundation's X-Lab and the founder of the Open Technology Institute, which is dedicated to building community broadband networks that make internet access available and affordable to everyone by bypassing the traditional telecom players.
Meinrath believes that the carriers' business models are built on the false premise of spectrum scarcity. Spectrum is a limited asset '-- there are only so many parts of the electromagnetic spectrum over which we can transmit useful wireless signals today '-- and therefore bandwidth must be rationed out on a limited basis at high prices. But Meinrath's point is that spectrum isn't limited; it's just tightly controlled by governments and carriers.
In any given location, Meinrath said, 90 percent of spectrum that could be used for wireless data services is unused: the channels between TV and radio broadcasts, hundreds of megahertz of lightly used government frequencies and all of the vast holes in cellular coverage across the country. We talk about the airwaves being crowded but looked at as a whole the usable electronic spectrum contains a lot of dead air.
A screenshot of Google's White Spaces database tool showing unused TV frequencies throughout the Midwest (Source: Google)
''Spectrum scarcity is a myth,'' Meinrath said. ''Anyone only has to turn on their FM radio to see it.''
If the government would just open those frequencies up to public use, then we could build sweeping networks that could deliver enormous quantities or cheap capacity, Meinrath said. Incumbents could get priority access for their airwaves, but when and where they're not using anyone should be able to tap those frequencies using Wi-Fi, white spaces broadband or any other wide or local-area wireless technology that can access them.
That's an argument that Silicon Valley likes to hear, and it strikes at the heart of a long ongoing debate over unlicensed free-to-use airwaves and restricted licensed airwaves owned by carriers. The mobile industry maintains that licensed airwaves are the crucial foundation of any wireless system, because they're used to build managed networks that can span long distances. By opening up all of the airwaves to unfettered unlicensed use, you would get, in Warren's words, ''carnage,'' with cross-interfering networks essentially canceling each other out.
Even under their existing restrictions, the unlicensed bands are already a mess of competing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals. That said, the unlicensed bands may be chaotic, but it's a beautiful chaos. The Wi-Fi industry has done more than any other spectrum user to squeeze the maximum amount of benefit out of its limited quantity of spectrum. The inclusion of Wi-Fi in the original iPhone did far more to spur the smartphone revolution than the device's measly 2G radio.
I'm not arguing for the demise of mobile carrier by any means, but given the innovation that's occurred on Wi-Fi, more airwaves need to be opened up for unlicensed and shared use '-- and a lot of them.
Ultimately our future mobile internet depends on it. Carriers will be crucial to building the pervasive mobile networks that glue everything together, but accessing those networks is never going to be rock-bottom cheap. Mobile data will get less expensive, but you're never going to pay ten bucks for 100 GBs. Otherwise carriers have no economic incentive to build those networks.
But if we integrate unlicensed technologies like Wi-Fi into our mobile networks '' which is already starting to happen with Hotspot 2.0 '' and give those technologies more spectrum to expand, we can establish a foundation of cheap plentiful broadband to balance out the higher costs of truly mobile broadband.
Photo by Tomasz Wyszoamirski/Thinkstock
What your future wireless internet could (and should) look likeSo what's the end game here?
The ideal situation is a mobile plan that switches between multiple networks operated by multiple carriers and ISPs, selecting the best and cheapest connections as they go. The workings of that ideal plan would remain opaque to users; they would just get a consistent broadband connection on all of their devices and the freedom to consume as much data as they liked for a nominal monthly fee paid to a single entity.
That's not going to happen any time soon. I believe the mobile internet is going become cheap, it's going to become widely available and its going to provide a far more consistent broadband experience. But it's also going to take some work on our part. We're no longer going to rely on a single company providing a single connection over a single network.
There are four nationwide mobile carriers in the U.S., and by next year that number could be reduced to a mere three. If you're expecting one of those operators to satisfy all of your future wireless data needs then I assure you, you're going to be disappointed. We'll need to tap public Wi-Fi like the hotspot grids being built by the cable operators, and we'll need to encourage the growth of community networks being built by our city councils, our neighborhoods or even internet companies like Google.
Startup Open Garden's concept of a crowdsourced mesh network (Source: Open Garden)
We're already starting to become familiar with the concept of ''Wi-Fi First,'' in which we use cellular data only when all of our Wi-Fi options are exhausted. In the future, we could have third, fourth and fifth options, tapping new networks using white spaces, short-range links like WiGig or Bluetooth or new networking standards we haven't even envisioned yet.
I also think we'll have to abandon the idea that we ''own'' our connections. At any given time we're surrounded by wireless networks, but we only have permission to access one or two of them. To make the most efficient use out of wireless spectrum, we'll have to use every possible network at our disposal. We'll need to share our connections, whether that means letting a user hop onto your home Wi-Fi network or borrow your smartphone's radio to get a faster link to the 4G network.
I'm not saying we share our data plans with strangers or open up our private information to anyone with a wireless device. We can put mechanisms in place to ensure our own devices are secure and that we're billed for the data we consume on a borrowed connection. The whole idea might sound like some misguided socialist broadband utopia to some, but it's really not that big a stretch. It's really just an extension of a fundamental principle of the internet.
While companies may own the infrastructure the runs on, no one owns the internet itself. We may own our smartphones and laptops and Wi-Fi routers, but we have to stop thinking of them as terminal points in the network. They have to become part of the network so we can build a better wireless internet for everyone.
Check out the rest of our special report below:
Images from Tomasz Wyszoamirski/Thinkstock and Pinar Ozger. Banner image adapted from Hong Li/Thinkstock. Logos adapted from The Noun Project: Castor and Pollux, Antsey Design, Mister Pixel and Bjorn Andersson.
Adam Carolla Is Bummed About Patent Trolls Taking All His Money | VICE United States
Wed, 07 May 2014 22:11
Adam Carolla is being sued for $3 million by a company called Personal Audio, which claims that the funny man has violated a patent from 1996 that covers podcasting. On a balmy Thursday night at the end of March, Carolla held a live event called "The Show to Benefit The Legal Defense of Podcasting'' to raise funds.
Inside the venue was the usual Carolla swag, including his trademark Mangria drink along with his books and merchandise that fans can purchase to support the cause. I spoke to Carolla before he took the stage. ''I don't see myself as some sort of champion to save podcasting,'' he explained. ''I don't know what my alternatives are. They're suing me and I have to fight back. All I can do is try to raise a bunch of money and fight these guys.''
Calling upon longtime pals like Kevin & Bean, Jimmy Kimmel and Dr. Drew, Carolla was relatively subdued at the event. With two large ''They Hold the Patents/We Hold the Power'' logos adorning the stage, the night felt like any other live podcast that Carolla has hosted. However, the vibe was a bit more tense, with fans in the three-quarter filled venue knowing what's at stake.
Carolla is well aware that many will roll their eyes and question him for trying to crowdfund his defense, but so far he's plunked down well over $50,000 of his own money towards the initial filing as well as attempts to get the venue moved. So far, Carolla has raised nearly $400,000, which is significant, but he acknowledges that it's still only a fraction of the approximately $1.6 million that the litigation will cost.
While the Adam Carolla Show has been recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most downloaded podcast in the world. It isn't the cash-generating machine that the company that's suing him evidently thinks it is, let alone one that can survive a $3 million shakedown.
''I'm flattered they think we make that much money from the podcast,'' Carolla said. ''I have no idea how they came up with that number, but if they think I'm coming back saying 'Not a penny over $2.75 million!' they're mistaken.''
In 1996, Jim Logan created Personal Audio with the intent of offering up magazine articles customers liked on the Internet, converting them into the equivalent of a book-on-tape and sending them to the customer on cassettes. It's safe to say that the idea didn't go very far. However, that didn't stop the company from claiming that this was the precursor to modern day podcasting.
Spoken word audio delivery does bear a superficial resemblance to podcasting. Podcasts, however, are almost never transcripts of written material. Most often they consist of content originally conceived for online streaming. As for delivery, the podcaster and distributor don't send the audio anywhere. Podcatchers'--apps that organize and play podcasts'--actively retrieve the audio, rather than having it delivered by something like email, let alone snail-mail. In 1996, all of this was science fiction.
According to Daniel Nazer, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, putting together the discovery documents to present a case before a judge is financially burdensome and can cost around $1 million, but he said that Personal Audio's control is questionable since they rewrote the patent in 2009. He also notes that they didn't contribute to any of the development of the technology and code associated with podcasting.
''The basic technology that they claim was invented before they filed their patent,'' Nazer explains. ''This one is a bit complicated because the patent system allows you to write claims many, many years after you file the patent. If the claims bear enough relationship with that old application you can claim priority all the way back. They're writing claims for what the technology looks like today and are pretending they invented it back in 1996. That explains why these guys never did any podcasting: because it wasn't really on their minds. It's a pretty strange thing and they didn't invent what they say they invented.''
Other podcasts, like WTF with Marc Maron, the Joe Rogen Experience, the Dennis Prager Show, and Chris Hardwick's Nerdist broadcast were hit with cease-and-desist letters in the middle of last year. After several months of not hearing anything, Carolla and his podcasting friends thought they were out of the woods.
Things changed in late January, when Carolla was served with the lawsuit. While the lawsuit caught him off-guard, he had a feeling something was bound to happen.
''I'm never surprised by any disappointing feature of humanity,'' the comedian said. ''When I hear that somebody slips and falls at Chili's and bangs their head, gets up, rubs it, and doesn't demand a free dessert, that's when I'm surprised.''
Many of the podcasters who I sought out either declined or didn't respond to interview requests due to the complex nature of the case and fear that they could be next on Personal Audio's hit list. But Marc Maron is standing at the front line with Carolla. Though he hasn't been sued, Maron has been outspoken railing against patent trolls. He's invited Carolla onto his podcast to publicize the issue and has been imploring his listeners to get involved by donating to their FundAnything campaign.
Like Carolla and a number of other podcasters, Maron received four cease-and-desist letters from Personal Audio. However, having not received one or heard of someone getting one in a while, he thought he was out of the woods. When Carolla was served with the lawsuit, Maron sprang into action, knowing what his colleague's downfall could mean to the community.
''They're predators and shakedown artists going after people who can't defend themselves,'' Maron said over the phone a few weeks before Carolla's show. ''They use a loophole in the patent system to be a legally-based extortion racket. What they're banking on is reality. In order to litigate anything like this, it costs a significant amount of money, so they work this angle and know exactly what they're doing, which is looking for quick cash.''
The WTF host, along with Doug Benson, joined Carolla for the second half of the live show, riffing on the stuff comics usually give each other shit about. They barely spoke of the September trial date that Carolla faces. But the men have all been targeted by Personal Audio.
Maron believes that the intent of the letters is no more than a cash grab. ''They're coming after the little guy and Adam has to fight this,'' Maron said. ''The EFF has filed a re-exam and we have to hope for the best here, because this can go on for years and cost a ton of money. It's straight up mob tactics.''
''Podcasting began earlier than the date of their 2009 filing,'' Carolla's Associate Producer Mike Altier said. Altier is helping spearhead the campaign. ''Now he's suing us years later after the technology was already successful, and his idea didn't go through.
Even if Carolla emerges victorious, he won't gain anything financially. If he's lucky, he'll be able to recoup the attorney fees for this undertaking. For now, his team is focused on moving the case forward, and settling isn't an option. Still, if he does win big in court, it's possible that Personal Audio won't be able to go after any other podcasters.
Carolla maintained that it's all about business. ''I don't really take it personally, and I assume they're a nameless, faceless conglomerate of jackoff attorneys who go out and make money,'' he said. ''They just do what they do. People go to me, 'Aren't you pissed?' and no, not in the least. I don't take it personally. I'm flattered that I made their list of people they think have money.''
Even though President Obama mentioned the pitfalls of patent trolling in this year's State of the Union, it doesn't appear to be going away. If nothing else, Carolla hopes his case sheds some light on the trend.
''A lot of people had never heard of this,'' he said just before he's about to take the stage at his fundraiser. ''But if this is the point in history where people went, 'What's a patent troll?' or 'What's a podcast?' and now they know, then it maybe it's a turning point.''
Follow Daniel Kohn on Twitter
Googler Storms Out Tech Conference: "I AM Google!"
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:58
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Don't invite veteran software designer Scott Jenson to your next tech conference, unless you're prepared to sell out Madison Square Garden: ReadWrite reports the stuck-up veteran bailed on a speaking gig, scoffing "I do not speak to small groups."
Google's "Don't Be Evil" mantra has been giggle-inducing for some time now, but even expecting them not to be "kinda pissy and arrogant" seems too much to expect:
According to eyewitnesses, Google product strategist Scott Jenson angrily stormed out of a conference in San Francisco Tuesday, 30 minutes before he was scheduled to deliver a keynote address'--a week after inviting himself onto the program via Twitter.
"I am Google," he told a woman working at the registration desk of the Internet of Things Expo. "I do not speak to small groups."
And then he left.
ReadWrite adds that Jenson had invited himself to speak at the conference via Twitter.
Stephen Hawking: 'Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence - but are we taking AI seriously enough?' - Science - News - The Independent
Mon, 05 May 2014 09:15
Artificial-intelligence (AI) research is now progressing rapidly. Recent landmarks such as self-driving cars, a computer winning at Jeopardy! and the digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race fuelled by unprecedented investments and building on an increasingly mature theoretical foundation. Such achievements will probably pale against what the coming decades will bring.
The potential benefits are huge; everything that civilisation has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools that AI may provide, but the eradication of war, disease, and poverty would be high on anyone's list. Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history.
Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. In the near term, world militaries are considering autonomous-weapon systems that can choose and eliminate targets; the UN and Human Rights Watch have advocated a treaty banning such weapons. In the medium term, as emphasised by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in The Second Machine Age, AI may transform our economy to bring both great wealth and great dislocation.
Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved: there is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains. An explosive transition is possible, although it might play out differently from in the movie: as Irving Good realised in 1965, machines with superhuman intelligence could repeatedly improve their design even further, triggering what Vernor Vinge called a "singularity" and Johnny Depp's movie character calls "transcendence".
Johnny Depp plays a scientist who is shot by Luddites in 'Transcendence' (Alcon)One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.
So, facing possible futures of incalculable benefits and risks, the experts are surely doing everything possible to ensure the best outcome, right? Wrong. If a superior alien civilisation sent us a message saying, "We'll arrive in a few decades," would we just reply, "OK, call us when you get here '' we'll leave the lights on"? Probably not '' but this is more or less what is happening with AI. Although we are facing potentially the best or worst thing to happen to humanity in history, little serious research is devoted to these issues outside non-profit institutes such as the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, the Future of Humanity Institute, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, and the Future of Life Institute. All of us should ask ourselves what we can do now to improve the chances of reaping the benefits and avoiding the risks.
Stephen Hawking is the director of research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge and a 2012 Fundamental Physics Prize laureate for his work on quantum gravity. Stuart Russell is a computer-science professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a co-author of 'Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach'. Max Tegmark is a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the author of 'Our Mathematical Universe'. Frank Wilczek is a physics professor at the MIT and a 2004 Nobel laureate for his work on the strong nuclear force.
Ex-Twitter Employees Freaking Out Because They Can't Sell Their Stock
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:52
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Twitter's stock is currently plummeting down almost 17 percent, but it could have been even worse. The lockup period expired yesterday, prompting fears of a crash should employees and investors decide to sell their stock. But former Twitter employees complained earlier today that they were blocked from cashing out.
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Former Twitter engineer Sara Haider, Chad Woodford, Twitter's former product and business counsel, Mischa Nachtigal, who used to work on media and content partnerships, former engineering manager Mark McBride, and others appear to have chimed in on a private Facebook thread about the mismanaged lockup period. I've reached out to Haider and others on the thread to confirm that their statements haven't been doctored.
I also asked Twitter to verify the details and whether the issues have been resolved. An anonymous reader in Kinja, who directed us to the Facebook thread said "basically no employees have been able to sell," except executives. According to the thread, a Schwab representative said Twitter placed a hold on exercising options and Schwab did not expect the hold to be lifted until this afternoon.
Twitter's former head of communications Sean Garrett wrote that Twitter sent out an email after the market opened saying:
"There was a glitch in the exercise functionality with Schwab, but it has been turned on."
Haider, who now works at Secret, did not take the news well:
"a glitch? a fucking glitch. wow, just wow."
Extreme frustration with the process and the company is evident throughout the conversation. Nachtigal posted the following comment:
"Meanwhile, VPs and the GC are selling shares, while we have to wait. Serenity now!"
McBride wrote:
"The company infamous for infrastructure headaches experiences the same with employee lockup."
Twitter's CEO, cofounders, and investors may be holding onto their shares, but it doesn't appear ex-employees have has much faith in the company.
If you are a current or former employee of Twitter, please feel free to contact the author of this post: nitasha@gawker.com.
also, the company has horribly mismanaged the end of the lockup period and basically no employees...Read more
Religion
Orthodox email
Dear Adam Curry,
Just writing to tell you that I really love your show and I am sorry that I cannot donate more often and in gerater amounts. I listen to every show religiously, even though my actual religion is orthodox Judaism, which you mentioned in a recent episode that you are little feaked out by.
I especially liked the ABC TV advertising sales call in episode 611. I clipped that segment for this facbook post.
FYI, The donation amount 18, although admitedly is a pitiable amount, is the numberical value of the Hebrew word for "life" and is therefor a traditional amount for Jews to donate. (of course donations of 180, 1,800, ect... also fit this concept!).
Also, FYI, episode 613 was also a number that "hit me in the mouth" to donate since the number 613 is the number of commandents in the Torah.
If you ever have any question about life in Israel, or about orthodox Judaism don't hesitate to ask. Although I can't give enought to be a producer at this time I'm at your service to help in any way I can.
Make sure to let me know if you ever plan a visit to gitmo nation felafel. I'd love to have you over for a kosher shabbat meal and and introduce you to my freinds in Jerusalem.
I can't imagine that you will read this letter on the air. But if it does cross your mind to do so, please don't meniton my name. Family members who are not at all ready to be "hit in the mouth" would be so embarrassed by this.
Andy
WWIII
Blog: Was an EMP Attack Just Tested on the United States?
Thu, 08 May 2014 13:55
A relic from the Cold War appears to have triggered a software glitch at a major air traffic control center in California Wednesday that led to delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights across the country, sources familiar with the incident told NBC News.On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Calif. The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region's major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.
On May 6, Mac Slavo, writing at SHTFplan (linked at Drudge), followed NBC's reporting with:
The Air Force officially denied that it was a U-2 spy plane, claiming they found the glitch but provided no reason for what caused it:
It's still not clear why the U-2 flew into the L.A. Center's airspace, or why it didn't give advance warning of the flight, as per usual. According to NBC News, the nearby Edwards Air Force Base and NASA's Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center (located at Edwards) ''have been known to host U-2s.''
But an Edwards rep said no such planes are assigned to Edwards, and a NASA rep said that none of their U-2 planes were flying on Wednesday.
The U.S. Air Force, on the other hand, confirmed that it had sent out a U-2 plane that day '-- but denied to that the spy plane caused the airport confusion. The Air Force Times has more:
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren confirmed that there was a U-2 operating in the area. The Air Force ''filed all the proper flight plan paperwork '... in accordance with all FAA regulations'' and was conducting a routine training operation, Warren said. The FAA has issued a statement saying technicians have ''resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem,'' but the agency did not say what the problem was. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to comment about whether the U-2 was connected to the computer problems at the control center.
There is therefore some reason to entertain skepticism with respect to the U-2 explanation.
Perhaps coincidentally, less than 24 hours before the LAX shutdown, passport scanners went haywire at each of the UK's major airports.
Was this coincidental timing, or, returning to Slavo:
With the revelation this week that Russia has deployed strategic bomber fleets for fly-by's along our West Coast to gather intelligence and test their capabilities, is it possible that someone flipped a switch to see what would happen?
The Air Force likely knows what caused the outage but refuses to share details, which suggests that either the United States was engaged in a military exercise and they want to keep it under wraps, or, it was the Russians and going public could further inflame the already heated geo-political climate.
Both the United States and Russia have advanced stealth and jamming systems, either of which may have been responsible for the LAX outage. But one particular technology stands out, especially considering that Airforce technicians had to step in to resolve the issue.
The United States, Russia and China have been testing non-nuclear capable electro-magnetic pulse technology that can be deployed either via a missile or a attached to an airplane while it travels in proximity to a particular target. Unlike the nuclear-trigger Super EMP Weapons capable of taking down the electrical infrastructure of an entire country if detonated about 200 miles above the earth's surface, non-nuclear EMP technology is a line-of-sight weapon that can be directed at a specific city, building or computer system.
In the United States a similar weapon is called CHAMP (High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project) and is manufactured by Boeing.
We hit every target we wanted to. We prosecuted everyone. Today we made science fiction into science fact.
We took out everything.
Clearly, the U-2 explanation wouldn't account for the UK glitches. And, it strains credulity to suppose that US military activity would explain the UK glitches.
What does this leave us with? More US government conflicting stories, Russia, and the distinct possibility that the outages were attributable to EMP love taps.
Of course, it could all just be a massive coincidence, but even if it is, there is still a salient point to make. What sane person believes the ''flexible'' fascist Obama/MSM would tell the truth if it were a hostile EMP test?
Jason Kissner is associate professor of criminology at California State University, Fresno. You can reach him at crimprof2010@hotmail.com.
An unsettling series of events arguably bearing on national security transpired last week that the MSM hastened to paper over. On April 30, the FAA, as a consequence of ''computer glitches'', halted outgoing flights at LAX as well as other airports including PHX, SFO, SJC, SLC, LAS, and SAN.
An NBC report May 2 remarked:
A relic from the Cold War appears to have triggered a software glitch at a major air traffic control center in California Wednesday that led to delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights across the country, sources familiar with the incident told NBC News.
On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Calif. The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region's major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.
On May 6, Mac Slavo, writing at SHTFplan (linked at Drudge), followed NBC's reporting with:
The Air Force officially denied that it was a U-2 spy plane, claiming they found the glitch but provided no reason for what caused it:
It's still not clear why the U-2 flew into the L.A. Center's airspace, or why it didn't give advance warning of the flight, as per usual. According to NBC News, the nearby Edwards Air Force Base and NASA's Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center (located at Edwards) ''have been known to host U-2s.''
But an Edwards rep said no such planes are assigned to Edwards, and a NASA rep said that none of their U-2 planes were flying on Wednesday.
The U.S. Air Force, on the other hand, confirmed that it had sent out a U-2 plane that day '-- but denied to that the spy plane caused the airport confusion. The Air Force Times has more:
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren confirmed that there was a U-2 operating in the area. The Air Force ''filed all the proper flight plan paperwork '... in accordance with all FAA regulations'' and was conducting a routine training operation, Warren said. The FAA has issued a statement saying technicians have ''resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem,'' but the agency did not say what the problem was. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to comment about whether the U-2 was connected to the computer problems at the control center.
There is therefore some reason to entertain skepticism with respect to the U-2 explanation.
Perhaps coincidentally, less than 24 hours before the LAX shutdown, passport scanners went haywire at each of the UK's major airports.
Was this coincidental timing, or, returning to Slavo:
With the revelation this week that Russia has deployed strategic bomber fleets for fly-by's along our West Coast to gather intelligence and test their capabilities, is it possible that someone flipped a switch to see what would happen?
The Air Force likely knows what caused the outage but refuses to share details, which suggests that either the United States was engaged in a military exercise and they want to keep it under wraps, or, it was the Russians and going public could further inflame the already heated geo-political climate.
Both the United States and Russia have advanced stealth and jamming systems, either of which may have been responsible for the LAX outage. But one particular technology stands out, especially considering that Airforce technicians had to step in to resolve the issue.
The United States, Russia and China have been testing non-nuclear capable electro-magnetic pulse technology that can be deployed either via a missile or a attached to an airplane while it travels in proximity to a particular target. Unlike the nuclear-trigger Super EMP Weapons capable of taking down the electrical infrastructure of an entire country if detonated about 200 miles above the earth's surface, non-nuclear EMP technology is a line-of-sight weapon that can be directed at a specific city, building or computer system.
In the United States a similar weapon is called CHAMP (High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project) and is manufactured by Boeing.
We hit every target we wanted to. We prosecuted everyone. Today we made science fiction into science fact.
We took out everything.
Clearly, the U-2 explanation wouldn't account for the UK glitches. And, it strains credulity to suppose that US military activity would explain the UK glitches.
What does this leave us with? More US government conflicting stories, Russia, and the distinct possibility that the outages were attributable to EMP love taps.
Of course, it could all just be a massive coincidence, but even if it is, there is still a salient point to make. What sane person believes the ''flexible'' fascist Obama/MSM would tell the truth if it were a hostile EMP test?
Jason Kissner is associate professor of criminology at California State University, Fresno. You can reach him at crimprof2010@hotmail.com.
US spy plane causes air traffic chaos, says FAA.
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:50
6 May 2014Last updated at 11:48 A spy plane was responsible for a computer glitch that caused air-traffic chaos in western US states last week, the Federal Aviation Administration has revealed.
The meltdown occurred when software incorrectly thought the plane was on a collision course with other aeroplanes.
The system was overloaded as it struggled to plot new courses for affected aircraft.
Hundreds of planes were grounded at Los Angeles International airport.
While the system was rebooted, dozens of flights were delayed at smaller airports across the area.
Training operations"On April 30 2014, an FAA air-traffic system that processes flight-plan information experienced problems while processing a flight plan filed for a U-2 aircraft that operates at very high altitudes under visual flight rules," FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.
She added the computer system had "misinterpreted" the U-2 as a more typical low-altitude flight and become overwhelmed in trying to make sure its flight path did not conflict with other air traffic in the area.
"The FAA resolved the issue within an hour, and then immediately adjusted the system to now require specific altitude information for each flight plan," she added.
The agency said it had now added more flight-processing memory to the computer system.
The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that an Air Force U-2 spy plane had been conducting training operations in the area, adding that "all the proper flight plan paperwork" had been submitted.
The U-2 was used to fly reconnaissance missions during the Cold War, and there are plans to retire the planes within the next few years.
Obama Nation
Presenting The President's New $1.2 Billion Helicopter
Thu, 08 May 2014 05:21
Today was a good day for United Technologies: its subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft Corp was awarded a $1.2 billion contract by the Naval Air Systems Command to build the VXX: also known as the new Presidential Helicopter. Initial fielding is planned for 2020, with production concluding in 2023.
From the press release:
The $1,244,677,064 fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract, with production options, culminates a full and open competition to contract for integration of mature mission systems into an existing in-production aircraft in order to minimize the cost of developing and testing a new design.
''Throughout the entire proposal process, we emphasized cost as well as technical performance,'' said U.S. Navy Capt. Dean Peters, program manager for NAVAIR's Presidential Helicopters Program Office. ''Our contract objectives are directly tied to mission requirements and long-term sustainability. We are committed to a cost-effective acquisition strategy and prudent use of existing technology. Sikorsky's proposal adequately supports this commitment and together we will efficiently deliver the next Presidential helicopter fleet in an affordable and timely manner.''
Hopefully $1.2 billion at least buys the president an ejection seat. Because truly the one thing that is preventing the president from doing his duties is being able to fly from point A to point B in a new, improved and far spiffier helicopter. And by point we of course mean "golf course."
Under the EMD contract, Sikorsky will provide six test aircraft, four of which will become operational assets. Production options will result in production of an additional 17 operational aircraft.
How was Sikorsky picked?
Following extensive market research, a draft VXX Request for Proposal (RFP) was released Nov. 23, 2012 to provide industry an advance opportunity to review program strategy and requirements, as well as provide an opportunity to give feedback on requirements clarity and potential drivers of cost and schedule to help the government further refine the final RFP prior to release. The final RFP was released on May 2, 2013, in support of a full and open competition.
The Navy used this process to select a prime contractor that could best integrate mature, government-defined mission systems into an in-production air vehicle, and accomplish the efforts in an affordable and timely manner.
But wait a minute: surely the US government could have wasted, or as it is better known in the Keynesian religion - grown the economy - far more than a measly $1.2 billion to pimp the ObamaCopter? Well, it did.
A previous effort to replace these aircraft, the VH-71 program, was initiated in 2003. This program was terminated in 2009 due to extensive cost and schedule growth.
In other words, some time over the next decade, when the prevailing technology du jour has drastically changed from what is trendy today, this too contract will be scrapped as the proposed design becomes obsolete, but not before even more billions in cost overruns, when yet another contract will be awarded to someone else as the taxpayer-funded spending spree to benefit the MIC continues. In the meantime, however, UTX shareholders are happy.
Finally, this is what the ObamaCopter would look like if it were to be used today.
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 4.1(9 votes)
Number One Priority? Obama's Actually Had 12 of Those Since Taking Office | Media Research Center
Tue, 06 May 2014 01:48
In December, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declared that ensuring "middle-class Americans don't have their taxes go up on January 1st" was the president's "number one priority." Perhaps it was, but what Carney failed to mention was that it was just one of up to 12 "number one priorities" declared by the president since taking office - many of them often conflicting or overlapping.
That's certainly not the media spin on every one of those "number one priority" items either. Network journalists have either mentioned or quoted Obama having a "number one priority" 26 times since he took office - from the economy, to healthcare, to national security. Not once have they pointed out that he often has multiple such priorities at the same time. In, fact, in his three years as president, ABC, CBS and NBC have only mentioned five of the 12 "number one priorities." And only the economy was mentioned by all three networks.
Obama started off 2010 with a bold statement about the state of the economy. "One in 10 Americans still can't find work. That's why creating jobs has to be our number one priority in 2010." Network journalists dutifully repeated the claim, citing it as the president's top priority 50 percent of the times (13 out of 26) times they discussed them. ABC mentioned it seven times.
In February, 2010, Obama reminded everyone that jobs had been in number one priority in 2009, not 2010. Responding to CBS anchor Katie Couric's question about whether he wished he had waited on healthcare reform, Obama said: "No, because keep in mind jobs were my number one priority last year."
Of course, shortly before that, on Jan. 26, he told ABC's "Good Morning America" something slightly different. "Here's what I said, was that our number one priority was stopping the economic contraction." Obama went on to discuss jobs, but as a secondary item.
Less than two weeks before that, on Jan. 14, NBC's Matt Lauer told viewers that the Haitian earthquake filled that role. Speaking to NBC anchor Brian Williams, he added, "And, Brian, the president reiterated that the number one priority is getting out there and saving lives and getting supplies and medical assistance to people in need."
But jobs were still at the top of Obama's plans in 2011, according to ABC's David Wright. "At the White House, creating jobs is now the number one priority because the president knows keeping his job may depend on it," he told viewers Aug. 31.
But if jobs had been a "number one priority" all along, it wasn't alone. When Osama bin Laden was finally tracked down, that too became a "number one priority" '... for 2009 and every day since. Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., on May 6, 2011 about bin Laden. He told them Obama "decided, when he got into office, because of the fight you all were in from the beginning, that the number one priority was to get Osama bin Laden."
So that "number one priority" lasted from Jan. 20, 2009, to May, 2011. In that time, it conflicted with eight other similar "number one" administration priorities from responding to the BP oil spill to "thinking about you and your families each and every day."
Not only did Obama's "number one priorities" often conflict or overlap, but what journalists claimed were the priorities were different still. On Dec. 6, 2009, when jobs, the economy and jobs, or Osama bin Laden were supposedly the priority, New York magazine's John Heilman told Chris Matthews it was healthcare reform. Matthews asked Heilmann, "What's his number one priority right now?" Heilmann was clear: "Well, I think if health care fails, his presidency in ruins."
He wasn't alone. ABC's George Stephanopoulos made the same claim when speaking about healthcare to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, saying, "both you and President Obama have really said that the number one priority has to be to get costs under control."
Sometimes, those priorities just get entirely confusing. In one Jan. 5, 2012, press conference, Press Secretary Jay Carney mentioned two separate "number one priorities" within a few minutes. Those included the amorphous idea of facing challenges head on and the more typical "doing everything he can within his power to help the American people, to grow the economy and to create jobs."
Obama nears the end of his first term as president having averaged four "number one priorities" each year.
Hillary 2016
Ruth Marcus: Monica Lewinsky does Hillary Clinton a big favor.
Wed, 07 May 2014 09:19
Monica Lewinsky may not have intended it this way, but she just did Hillary Clinton a big favor.
Lewinsky could be forgiven, of course, if she did not mean to join Team Hillary. She is the forgotten, tragic roadkill of the affair.
Bill Clinton paid the price of public humiliation and House impeachment, but he moved on, concluding what is remembered as a successful (if tarnished) presidency and a post-presidency at least as successful.
Hillary Clinton, humiliated in her own way, emerged seemingly stronger. Her marriage endured; she became senator and secretary of state. Having put cracks in the glass ceiling, she is poised to break it, should she choose, in 2016.
And then there is Lewinsky, who alone among the protagonists in the national soap opera saw her life irreparably shattered. Bill and Hillary made millions on the speaking circuit. Lewinsky, she writes for the June issue of Vanity Fair, ''turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10'‰million, because they didn't feel like the right thing to do.''
Despite a master's degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, Lewinsky has never really held a steady job. ''Because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my 'history,''‰'' Lewinsky writes, ''I was never 'quite right' for the position. In some cases, I was right for all the wrong reasons, as in 'Of course, your job would require you to attend our events.' And, of course, these would be events at which press would be in attendance.''
Still, 16 years after the scandal broke, she is recognized nearly every day. Now 40, she has never married.
Lewinsky did not exactly turn into a recluse. She launched a line of designer handbags, appeared on ''Saturday Night Live,'' hawked a diet program, developed and starred in an HBO documentary about you know what. But she has mostly remained backstage as Clinton Inc. thrived.
So the timing of Lewinsky's Vanity Fair piece '-- as the political world awaits Hillary Clinton's presidential determination, as Chelsea Clinton prepares to have the first grandchild '-- would seem not exactly fortuitous for the Clintons. Who wants to remember the stained blue dress and presidential phone sex and West Wing thong-flashing?
Lewinsky writes that, in choosing this moment, she was inspired, in part, by the example of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers freshman who committed suicide in 2010 after his roommate Web-cammed him kissing another man. In the aftermath, Lewinsky writes, ''my own suffering took on a different meaning. Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation.''
Maybe, although a more compelling reason may have come with the release a few months ago of notes by the late Diane Blair, Hillary Clinton's closest friend, in which she quotes the then-first lady describing Lewinsky as a ''narcissistic loony toon.''
Lewinsky's response? ''Yes, I get it. Hillary Clinton wanted it on record that she was lashing out at her husband's mistress,'' she writes. ''She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate, but I find her impulse to blame the Woman '-- not only me, but herself '-- troubling.''
Lewinsky says it's time to stop ''tiptoeing around my past '-- and other people's futures.'' Other people? Hmmm, wonder who that might be. Here, though, is why her going public is good for Clinton 2016:
The Lewinsky affair never really came up in 2008; the subject was too raw and too fraught, and Clinton did not make it to the ugliness of a general election campaign. It's clear, though, that the subject will not be taboo in 2016. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has already raised the question of whether Democrats in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular, should consort with a ''sexual predator'' like Bill Clinton.
Lewinsky's account makes clear that her affair with the president was between two consenting adults. ''Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship,'' she writes. ''Any 'abuse' came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.''
So her piece defuses Paul's line of attack. And it does so before any Clinton presidential announcement.
If and when a Clinton presidential announcement comes, Lewinsky will be old news. ''It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress,'' Lewinsky writes. That would be good news for both women.
Read more from Ruth Marcus's archive, follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her updates on Facebook.
Monica Lewinsky breaks decade of silence to address her affair with Bill Clinton: 'It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress'
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:17
Now 40, Lewinsky claims that she has decided ''it's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress'' and to stop ''tiptoeing'' around her past.
''I am determined to have a different ending to my story,'' she writes. ''I've decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)''
Lewinski stated that the affair with the former US President, which happened when she was a 22-year-old White House intern, occurred between two consenting adults. However, she admitted she ''deeply'' regretted the relationship.
''Sure, my boss took advantage of me,'' she continued, ''but I will always remain firm on this point: It was a consensual relationship. Any 'abuse' came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position.
''The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor's minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power."
''I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton,'' she adds. ''Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.''
Lewinski went on to name Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers student who was bullied to death for being gay, as the inspiration behind her decision to speak out after so many years, citing her own feelings of suicide after news of Clinton's infidelity hit the media.
Her mother, she says, was particularly harrowed by Clementi's death.
''She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn't let me out of her sight.
''She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life '' a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.''
But, in the wake of Clementi's death, her ''own suffering took on a different meaning,'' she says.
''Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?''
Her main ambition for the future, she concludes, is to use her famous name to ''get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums."
Clinton was being investigated by Kenneth Starr, the Independent Counsel, on a number of perjury and obstruction of justice cases '' all of which he was later acquitted of '' when he was given taped conversations between the former President and Lewinsky by her Defense Department co-worker Linda Tripp, who had been secretly recording them.
It led to a 21-day Senate trial, during which Clinton's carefully worded argument hinged on the meaning of the word 'is' when determining the truthfulness of the statement: ''There is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship.''
It was the now infamous blue dress, gifted to Lewinsky by Clinton, that provided the DNA evidence proving the relationship, despite Clinton's initial denials that he ''did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky''.
''I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never,'' he stated at the time. ''These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.''
On 17 August 1998, Clinton admitted that he had in fact engaged in an ''improper physical relationship'' with Lewinsky.
That evening, he gave a nationally broadcast statement admitting to the relationship, which he deemed ''not appropriate''.
He was subsequently impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
His wife, Hillary Clinton, went on to become the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving alongside President Obama from 2009 to 2013.
The full column will appear in the June issue of Vanity Fair, available digitally on 8 May and in print format from 13 May.
Read more: See the most scandalous affairs in historyLiz Hurley denies rumoured Clinton affairWhy Clinton 'wouldn't be surprised' if aliens visited Earth
Drone Nation
US news media challenge ban on journalism drones
Wed, 07 May 2014 09:15
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than a dozen media organizations challenged the government's ban on the use of drones by journalists Tuesday, saying the Federal Aviation Administration's position violates First Amendment protections for news gathering.The organizations, including The Associated Press, filed a brief with the National Transportation Safety Board in support of aerial photographer Raphael Pirker. Pirker was fined $10,000 by the FAA for flying a small drone near the University of Virginia to make a commercial video in October 2011. He appealed the fine to the safety board, which hears challenges to FAA decisions.An administrative law judge ruled in March that the FAA can't enforce its policy against all commercial use of drones when the agency hasn't issued regulations for those uses. The FAA has appealed the judge's decision to the full five-member safety board. Agency officials have said they hope to issue regulations for the use of small drones later this year.The FAA won't currently issue drone permits to news organizations. Officials have sent warning letters to journalists found to have used small unmanned aircraft - most of them no bigger than a backpack - to take photos and videos. The agency suggested to one Ohio newspaper that it refrain from publishing video of a burning building taken independently by a drone hobbyist, even though hobbyists, unlike journalists, are permitted to fly drones, according to the brief."The FAA's position is untenable as it rests on a fundamental misunderstanding about journalism. News gathering is not a `business purpose.' It is a First Amendment right," the brief said.The FAA said in a statement late Tuesday it was concerned that the NTSB judge's decision "could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground."Media organizations are intensely interested in using drones for photography and videos because they are far less expensive to buy and operate than a manned airplane or helicopter, and because their size and versatility provide visual perspectives often not possible with manned aircraft.Integrating unmanned aircraft into the national airspace also has the potential to improve the safety of reporting under less-than-ideal conditions, and unmanned aircraft by their nature pose less risk than helicopters, the news organizations said. Reports on traffic, hurricanes, wildfires, and crop yields could all be told more safely and cost-effectively with the use of unmanned aircraft, it said."This brief, filed by the country's leading news organizations, supports the proposition we have argued that federal agencies must consult with the public before banning the use of new technologies that have many beneficial purposes," said attorney Brendan Schulman, who is representing Pirker. "The argument becomes even stronger when First Amendment considerations are taken into account."Other media groups participating in the brief are Advance Publications Inc., Cox Media Group, Gannett Co., Gray Television Inc., Hearst Corporation, The McClatchy Company, the National Press Photographers Association, The National Press Club, The New York Times Company, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Radio-Television Digital News Association, Scripps Media Inc., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the Tribune Company and The Washington Post.---Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AP-Joan-Lowy
EUROLand
STUPIDITIES OF ECOFIN
Wed, 07 May 2014 07:32
In ECOFIN's meeting, the stupid Greek Presidency welcomed the final adoption of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive. ''Together with two other key texts recently approved by the European Parliament (the Single Resolution Mechanism and the recast Directive on Deposit Guarantee Schemes), the BRRD completes the legislative work underpinning the Banking Union and constitutes a very important achievement in restoring confidence in the EU's banks after the recent financial crisis''. ''Establishing these common rules for a clear and comprehensive bank recovery and resolution regime, the BRRD is crucial for ensuring long term financial and economic stability, and for reducing the potential costs of possible future financial crises for public funding and for taxpayers'', saidJohn Stournaras, Greek Minister of Depression, George Orwell's Miniplenty.BANKING UNION IS A STUPID SOCIALISTIC SCHEME TO FORCE THE CAPITAL TO GO TO THE FOUR PIGSEurokleptocrats create a stupid banking union to socialize the debts of banks of PIGS. The next step will be the introduction of stupid eurobonds. By the time France is hit by the crisis, Merkel will no longer be able to refuse this stupid demand. Basil Venitis,venitis@gmail.com,http://venitism.blogspot.com,@VenitisThis development will ultimately lead to a stupid system that has little in common with a market economy. ECB and ESM will then direct the flow of capital into countries where it no longer wants to go. This will result in growth losses throughout Europe, and money will continue to be thrown out the window of PIGS. Furthermore, it will create considerable discord because it makes closely allied countries into creditors and debtors.During the working breakfast, Finance Ministers welcomed the new French Minister of Finance, Michel SAPIN, and the Vice President Sim KALLAS now covering ECOFIN business. The usual debrief on the Eurogroup and the economic situation followed on the basis of the Commission's spring economic forecast. MERKEL AND BARROSO, BONNIE AND CLYDE OF EUROPE!Merkel and Barroso are the Bonnie and Clyde of Europe, robbing banks! Breaking with previous EU practice that depositors' savings are sacrosanct, EU now robs depositors. That infuriates depositors in eurozone's weaker economies and investors fearing a precedent that could reignite market turmoil. Robbing depositors is definitely a no-no. If you can do this once, you can do it again. Eurozone has deteriorated to a robber of depositors.BAILIN ROBS DEPOSITORS IN COLD BLOOD!NEW EU LAW CYPRUSES YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS!The bailin mechanism will stabilize a failing institution so that it can continue to provide essential services, without the need for bailout by public funds. Recapitalization through the write-down of liabilities and their conversion to equity will allow the institution to continue as a going concern, avoid the disruption to the financial system that would be caused by stopping or interrupting its critical services, and give the authorities time to reorganize it or wind down parts is what is called bail-in.In short, if a bank needs to resort to bailin, authorities will first bailin all shareholders and will then follow a pre-determined order. Shareholders and other creditors who invest in bank capital (such as holders of convertible bonds and junior bonds) will bear losses first.Deposits under '‚¬100,000 will never be touched: they are entirely protected at all times.Deposits of natural persons and SMEs above '‚¬100,000 will1) benefit from a preferential treatment (depositor preference) ensuring that they do not suffer any loss before other unsecured creditors (so they are at the very bottom of the bail-in hierarchy) and2) Member States can choose to use certain flexibilities to exclude them fully.The outcome of the compromise supports a regime which, to the furthest extent possible, places the responsibility of covering bank losses on private investors in banks and the banking sector as a whole.In some cases, in particular in the context of a systemic crisis, it may be necessary to depart from that principle and allow for the use of public funds to finance bank resolution. There is the necessary flexibility in the compromise text to do that.SHIFTING LOSSES OF GERMAN AND FRENCH BANKS TO THE FOUR MISERABLE PIGS!Economic confidence is often the most fragile of things. Whether anything happens torobbing depositors,Fourth Reichhas fired a shot across every Europeandepositor. Given that interest rates already pay a derisory return,thanks to Quantitative Easing, ordinary savers may prefer keeping notes under themattressto risking a bank depositrobbery. AEurokleptocraticmafiahas left contagion risk stalking Eurozone.Large investorswho found Cyprus an attractive climate for business have already set their eyes on otheroffshore centers. The future prosperity of Europe is increasingly being held hostage by amafiaof Eurokletocratsrooted in denial. Their tragically deluded solution is more Europe,despite a democratic deficit, vast swathes of unemployment,and a lost generation of young jobless citizens.The Council discussed the proposal to amend the Parent Subsidiaries Directive (2011/96/EU), which aims at addressing tax avoidance by parent companies and subsidiaries in different Member States, by countering the double non-taxation of corporate groups deriving from hybrid loan arrangements. This rule is included in the first part of the Commission's amending proposal, after its splitting on the basis of a Presidency compromise package aimed at closing the 'hybrid loan mismatch' loopholes, generating important losses of revenues in our countries and thus taking a tangible step forward in the fight against tax fraud and tax avoidance. The remaining part of the amending proposal deals with common anti-abuse provisions for the proper functioning of the Directive. ''After today's constructive discussions, the Council is close to an agreement on this important file and we have asked experts to examine the text as necessary in order to reach this agreement by the ECOFIN in June'', underlined Stournaras.An ECB bazooka cannot restore competitiveness to PIGS, but would only encourage profligacy, kleptocracy, and metastasis of the cancer of socialism. European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is a joke. ESM's finances depend on the very same countries that it is supposed to bail out. This isn't stability, but a Ponzi scheme!The Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) givesthe commission ultimate authority over the eurozone's ten thousand banks, with responsibility to pull the plug on a shaky lender and the authority to overrule its home state.Merkel says: In my view, this proposal gives the commission powers it does not possess according to current EU treaties.Sch¤uble warns EU to respect the limits of the law or risk major turbulence. Barnier hoodwinks Fourth Reich cannot afford to wait for treaty change, which is typically an arduous process that can take years. Barroso wants the resolution regime, commanding three hundred staff, to begin from January 2015.Fourth Reich's economic catastrophe is unfolding so slowly that it has come to seem like business as usual. Socialists managed to convince ECB to bring out the bazooka, in other words, undertake massive purchases of government bonds to resolve the crisis. Furthermore, the Council exchanged views on the proposal for a stupid Directive on Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), - on the basis of a stupid Presidency note on the current state of play and a joint statement by Ministers of Member States participating in enhanced cooperation in the area of FTT. Stournaras stressed that the Greek Presidency is ready to carry forward work on this basis.Never before, the stupidity of the European Commission was as prevalent as with FTT! It's now obvious that EC is the #1 enemy of Europeans and must be abolished. The stupid financial transaction tax (FTT) is a euthanasia pill for financial markets. Since eleven Eurozone countries adopted this stupid tax, all major financial institutions of these countries move to Zurich and New York. Basil Venitis,venitis@gmail.com,http://venitism.blogspot.com,@VenitisBrussels has declared a war against London by imposing FTT on transactions of FTT-zone financial institutions brokered in London, the financial center of Europe! This is a good reason for Britons to vote for brexit. This is it! Britons are mad as hell, and they cannot it take it from EU anymore. Barroso should take FTT and shove it!As requested by the 11 Member States that proceed with thisstupid tax, the proposed Directive mirrors the scope and objectives of the original stupid FTT proposal put forward by the Commission in September 2011. The stupid approach of taxing all transactions with an established link to the FTT-zone is maintained, as are the rates of 0.1% for shares and bonds and 0.01% for derivatives. As always, the rates will be astronomically raised later. Don't forget VAT started at 5% and now is at 23%!Whenever the European Commission (EC) does something very stupid, it calls it smart. Smart has become a European euphemism for very stupid! EC declares FTT is very smart! Jose Barroso hoodwinks that when applied by the 11 Member States, this Financial Transaction Tax is expected to deliver revenues of 30-35 billion euros a year.No way Jose! FTT will deliver losses of one trillion euros! 90% of all major financial institutions of these countries will move to Zurich and New York. The European Commission has issued new proposals on a financial transaction tax, making it crystal clear that financial institutions in member states such as the United Kingdom, outside the FTT zone, can and will be taxed.According to the commission proposal the tax will be due if any party to the transaction is established in a participating member state, regardless of where the transaction takes place. This is the case both if a financial institution engaged in the transaction is, itself, established in the FTT-zone, or if it is acting on behalf of a party established in that jurisdiction.
Eleven nations have already signed up to participate in a tax on financial transactions and will proceed by the enhanced cooperation mechanism. Britain and 15 other members of the European Union will not introduce the tax. We now have it in black and white that the commission wants to tax financial institutions in the UK even though they are not within the FTT zone.
The commission proposal is clearly targeted to tax financial services in the City of London even though the UK government does not want to be one of the participating member states. This is a deliberate assault on the City of London. The UK government will have no say on this tax system but businesses within its borders will have burdened by this FTT. The commission obviously ignores the American cry of no taxation without representation '' they have ignored the lessons of history and will in time face rebellion.
This tax will help push financial services outside the EU altogether, to New York, Switzerland, and other growing financial centers around the globe. This proposal is to introduce a financial transaction tax just in EU. However, we live in a global economy, if we become uncompetitive through taxation or regulation, people simply move their businesses elsewhere. To do this would be an act of Kamikaze economics.
These novel and unilateral theories of tax jurisdiction are both unprecedented and inconsistent with existing norms of international tax law and long standing treaty commitments. There is a high risk that their adoption could lead to double and multiple taxation, a deterioration of international tax co-operation and trade protectionism.Allied to EU financial regulation, this financial transaction tax will do a lot of damage to London. What is happening here is the EU is taking an opportunity to bash the financial sector, and doing it in the most crude and harmful way. Another important issue here is the crucial rate of taxation. This taxation is just the beginning, because the FTT tax rate will be ratcheted up over the coming years to squeeze more money from the financial services industry.As far as the Commission's in-depth reviews of macroeconomic imbalances in the Member States published in March are concerned, the Council adopted conclusions, in which it underscores the need for policy action and commitment to structural reforms in all countries faced with macroeconomic imbalances, especially those affecting the smooth functioning of the Euro-area, and invites the Commission to present well-focused and consistent recommendations to address these.Moreover, the stupid Presidency and the Commission debriefed the Council on the main outcomes of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, and the annual spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank that took place in Washington D.C. from 10 to 13 April.In the margins of the ECOFIN, two important meetings took place: The annual European Investment Bank (EIB) governors' meeting and the Ministerial Dialogue with Candidate Countries, where the Economics and Finance Ministers of the EU met their counterparts from the candidate countries '' Turkey, Vardaska, Montenegro and Serbia '' for their 16th economic policy dialogue.
Joodse organisatie waarschuwt Wilders | Spitsnieuws
Wed, 07 May 2014 06:44
Door in Europa een verbondje te sluiten, of in ieder geval samenwerking te zoeken, met extreemrechtse en openlijk antisemitische partijen verloochent Geert Wilders zijn principes. Dat zijn althans de woorden van de Joodse belangenorganisatie CIDI, vandaag in De Telegraaf.
CIDI-directeur Esther Voet noemt het een "glijdende schaal". "Het is verontrustend dat Wilders als een blad aan een boom is omgedraaid. Altijd heeft hij gezegd niet met extreemrechts in zee te gaan, maar dat gebeurt nu toch."
Een partij als het Oostenrijkse FP–, ooit opgericht door een SS'er, is volgens Voet bijvoorbeeld nooit in het reine gekomen met het verleden. Ook bij Front National is het 'foute gedachtegoed' van de veroordeelde anti-semiet Jean-Marie Le Pen nooit aangepast. Wilders liet weten 'niet bang' te zijn met extreem rechts in een hoek te worden geplaatst.
A. Boothby | 07-05-14 | 07:49 | 4 reacties
NGO-Racism in Europe at its worst since the 1980s '' claim | euronews, world news
Tue, 06 May 2014 15:56
Racism in Europe is the worst it has been for more than a generation, it's been claimed.
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) said there was an 'urgency' to act amid a worsening climate across the continent.
Its executive director, Michael Privot, blamed a 'surge' of racism on the failure of progressive parties to counter the far-right's message.
''We have to step in, we can't let things go on like this,'' he said. ''We have been scared by the attitudes we see of the progressive parties. They say: 'The far right is rising, what can we do?'. It's too late.''
The ENAR said Roma people are being targeted in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, while 143 racist attacks were recorded against refugees and migrants in Greece.
Last year the UK's Institute of Race Relations said Europe's Roma faced a 'growing tide of hostility' and had become the number one scapegoat in the economic crisis.
Meanwhile the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has raised 'grave concern' over allegations of intimidation and discrimination against Ukrainian speakers and Tatars in the Crimean region of Ukraine, now under the de facto control of the Russian Federation.
Privot said racism was the worst it had been in Europe for around 30 years.
He added: ''It's getting worse. If things don't change after the European elections we really believe things will get even worse.
''Without change in economic livelihoods and less inequality, things won't get any better.
''If not we think we will face more violence and increased anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic behaviour.
''But we see from all political groups people are really afraid of the far-right and we hope these fears will produce good results.''
Privot's comments come ahead of European elections this month (May), where the far-right is expected to do well.
The Guardian reports the anti-immigrant Danish People's party is ahead in European polls on 27%; Austria's Freedom party (FPO), against ''Islamisation'', is on track for a fifth of the vote; while Geert Wilders' anti-EU, anti-Islam Freedom party (PVV) was leading in the Netherlands until recently by encouraging opposition to Moroccan immigrants.
The situation has prompted the ENAR to ask MEPs or prospective MEPs to sign up to its anti-racism charter.
So far 31 have signed up to ENAR's seven demands, which include measuring equality, fighting racist violence and including migrants in decision-making.
Privot insists he is not despondent over the number of those who have signed up.
''We're happy because there is people from all political parties. There's people on the left but there is also people from the conservatives who have signed up.
''The more the merrier but I prefer to go for a small number that want to do something about it (racism). I don't want it to be lip service to equality, just to get votes.''
EU tolerance
Tue, 06 May 2014 14:20
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Europese heropvoedingskampen | Martin Vrijland
Tue, 06 May 2014 14:15
Wegens de vakantie van mijn dochter lukt het me niet om een uitgebreid artikel op te stellen, maar toch wil ik u via deze weg wijzen op de tekenen dat Europa bezig is met het idee van heropvoedingskampen. Alle tekenen aan de wand voor het vestigen van de New World Order zijn steeds duidelijker zichtbaar. Je moet zo langzamerhand je hoofd wel bewust wegdraaien wil je het niet meer zien.
Op de officile internetsite van het Europees Parlement is sinds enkele dagen een document te vinden dat niets goeds betekent voor de toekomst van de Europeanen. De ''EU-commissie voor tolerantie'' (European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation) heeft het uitgewerkt.
Achter de nietszeggende titel Tolerantiedocument zit de eis verborgen dat het Europees Parlement ''concrete maatregelen'' neemt om racisme, vooroordelen over huidskleur, etnische discriminatie, religieuze intolerantie, totalitaire ideologien, xenofobie, antisemitisme, homofobie en anti-feminisme te elimineren. Daartoe dienen in landen zoals Duitsland de vrijheid van meningsuiting, de kunstvrijheid, de wetenschappelijke vrijheid en de persvrijheid beperkt te worden. In plaats daarvan dient er een tolerantiedwang te worden ingevoerd en een nieuwe EU-superinstantie, die de invoering van desbetreffende maatregelen bewaakt.
In duidelijke taal: binnen de EU wordt in het vervolg bijvoorbeeld iedere vorm van kritiek op feminisme verboden. Homofobie is ook uit den boze. Ook de kritiek op politieke partijen en hun bewegingen '' bijvoorbeeld de sociaaldemocraten of de milieubeweging '' wordt dan bestraft. Als democraat wrijf je verbaasd je ogen uit. Maar wie dit als een grap beschouwt moet het document (''A European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance'') lezen. Volgens dit document dient er in het vervolg in de EU sprake te zijn van een tolerantiedwang, die bij overtreding onmiddellijk streng wordt bestraft.
In deel negen van het twaalf pagina's tellende werkdocument wordt van alle media een minimumprogramma-aandeel geist, waarin ze in het vervolg de cultuur van de tolerantie moeten verbreiden (Citaat: ''The Government shall ensure that public broadcasting (television and radio) stations will devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of tolerance'').
Kinderen en jongeren moeten in heropvoedingprogramma's tot de cultuur van de tolerantie gedwongen worden. Tolerantie dient op de basisschool een vast bestanddeel van het dagelijks onderwijs en belangrijker dan alle andere vakken worden. Nog absurder: soldaten mogen in het vervolg geen vijandbeeld meer bezitten. De EU wil dat soldaten er in cursussen toe worden opgevoed dat hun te bevechten tegenstanders volledig aan hen gelijkgesteld zouden zijn (Citaat: ''Similar courses will be incorporated in the training ofthose serving in the military'').
Het werkdocument van de EU, volgens welke het al als belastering bestraft moet worden wanneer iemand over een grap maakt over een andere groep, is zeer zeker niet verenigbaar met de grondwet. Des te verbazingwekkender is het dat zich hiertegen tot nu toe niemand verzet.
Hoe is het mogelijk dat 25 jaar na de sluiting van Goli Otok een EU-regering andersdenkenden opnieuw in kampen wil stoppen, waar ze tot tolerantie worden heropgevoed? De gevangenentransporten naar Goli Otok vonden plaats in veewagens, opdat de gevangenen niet op het idee kwamen dat ze mensenrechten zouden kunnen bezitten. Onze HSL lijn ligt er al. Waarom moest die veel te dure verbinding er in Gods naam komen?
Bron: Deutschelobby.com
Bron link: Wikipedia
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Website Raised $125,000 As Bounty To Assassinate Public Figure
Wed, 07 May 2014 15:52
A total of $125,000 was donated to a website offering ''Anonymous, safe, secure, crowdfunded assassinations.''
According to Iacknowledge.net, the website, called the Assassination Market, allows users to crowdfund assassinations through virtual bitcoins, with public figures such as President Barack Obama making it on the list.
A Digital Citizens report did not reveal the name of the person with the $125,000 bounty on their head, but it is thought to be Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The website is run by someone calling themselves Kuwabatake Sanjuro who says he or she is motivated by ''a deep-rooted hate against oppressive regimes.''
The person added: ''Once you're on the list you're on it until you die.''
Sanjuro has decided to accept only accept bitcoins to protect the identity of crowdfunders and assassins through their financial transactions.
Sanjuro told Forbes in an interview that the Assassination Market asks its killers to create a text file with the date of the death ahead of time, then embeds that data in a donation of one bitcoin or more to the victim's bounty.
However, Silk Road is described by the DCA as the ''largest, most sophisticated criminal enterprise the Internet has ever seen,'' as it lets people purchase and sell illegal items such as class A drugs, deadly weapons and hacking services.
Foots!
Human foot in sneaker found on Seattle waterfront | The Today File | Seattle Times
Wed, 07 May 2014 14:32
A human foot in a white New Balance sneaker was found on the shore at Centennial Park, near Pier 68, around 10 this morning by volunteers cleaning the park, according to the Port of Seattle.
''They were cleaning up trash at the park and came across a tennis shoe,'' said Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw. ''Upon further examination, they found there was a foot in it.''
McGraw said Port police investigated and then turned the shoe and foot over to the King County Medical Examiner's Office for further investigation.
Six years ago, five bodiless feet '-- all encased in buoyant sneakers '-- were found washed ashore in British Columbia. Four of the feet were right feet and the fifth was a left.
The mystery, which caused international intrigue, was never precisely solved.
One of the world's foremost experts on floating objects, oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, of Seattle, said at that time disarticulated feet do show up in oceans from time to time.
It's common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joints, he said, including at the ankles. He knows of at least two feet turning up in Puget Sound over the past decade. New, lightweight sneakers help keep the remains buoyant, while also protecting remains from birds, by floating sole up.
Ebbesmeyer said he had tracked the serial numbers of shoes found floating in the water and was able to prove that sneakers have remained afloat and even wearable after three years in the ocean.
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VIDEO-BBC News - Syria conflict: Huge blast 'destroys Aleppo hotel'
Thu, 08 May 2014 13:44
8 May 2014Last updated at 09:40 ET Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
The BBC's Paul Wood says the attack shows how fiercely contested Aleppo remains
A large explosion in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo has destroyed a hotel and several other buildings, state media and activists report.
Rebel fighters are believed to have detonated a bomb placed in a tunnel beneath the Carlton Citadel Hotel, near the city's medieval citadel and souk.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government troops had been based there and at least 14 died.
Both sides have been trying to end a long-standing stalemate in the city.
In recent weeks, rebels have been trying to advance on areas where government forces are entrenched, while rebel-held areas of Aleppo have come under fierce aerial bombardment since mid-December.
'Archaeological sites'The state news agency, Sana, reported that "terrorists" had blown up tunnels they had dug underneath archaeological sites in the Old City.
Preliminary reports said the hotel had suffered "huge damage", it added, without saying if there had been any casualties.
The Carlton Citadel is situated inside a 150-year-old building that faces the entrance of the 13th-Century citadel, which along with the rest of the Old City is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the opposition Shaam News Network (SNN) said it was being used by government forces.
The remote detonation of a large quantity of explosives placed in the tunnel by the Islamic Front had destroyed the hotel and caused the collapse of several nearby buildings, the Observatory said.
A number of security forces personnel and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were believed to have been killed, it added.
Photographs and video published online purported to show the moment of the blast, with a cloud of smoke rising from the scene.
A statement from the Islamic Front said its fighters had "levelled the Carlton Hotel barracks in Old Aleppo and a number of buildings near it, killing 50 soldiers". It did not say how it knew how many soldiers died.
The BBC's Paul Wood in Beirut says the attack shows how fiercely contested the city of Aleppo remains.
The front lines have moved little in more than two years of fighting, though it seems the rebels have made a few incremental gains in recent months.
Our correspondent says that is significant. Government forces are doing well in Damascus and have just assumed control of the central city of Homs, but in the north of the country they seem to be under serious pressure and the military stalemate seems as durable as ever, he adds.
VIDEO-See What Happens When GOP Rep. Asks Group of Insurance Officials to Raise Their Hands If They Anticipate This Obama Promise Holding Up | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 08 May 2014 13:02
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VIDEO-Hillary on Formation of Special Benghazi Committee: No Reason for the Investigation to Continue in This Way | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 08 May 2014 12:59
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she doesn't understand why Republican members of Congress continue to investigate the events surrounding the 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Her remarks were made in response to a question from ABC News' Robin Roberts.
''On Benghazi, the new investigation,'' Roberts said. ''Are you satisfied with the answers and are you content with what you know '-- what happened?''
''Absolutely. I mean, of course there are a lot of reasons why, despite all of the hearings, all of the information that has been provided, some choose not to be satisfied and choose to continue to move forward,'' Clinton said. ''That's their choice. And I do not believe there is any reason for it to continue in this way, but they get to call the shots in the Congress.''
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week the formation of a special committee to investigate the White House's handling of the Benghazi attacks that claimed the lives of four Americans.
Boehner then announced on Monday that former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) would head the special committee.
''Twenty months after the Benghazi attacks, there remain unresolved questions about why the security was inadequate, our response during the siege itself, and our government's interaction with the public after the attack,'' Gowdy said in a statement after he was formally appointed to chair the investigation. ''All of those lines of inquiry are legitimate and should be apolitical. Facts are neither red nor blue.''
''Four of our fellow citizens were murdered, and a facility emblematic and representative of our country was attacked and burned on the anniversary of 9/11,'' the statement added. ''Our fellow citizens are full well capable of processing the truth about the attacks and aftermath, and most assuredly entitled to hear it.''
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in a separate announcement revealed last week that he had subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify before Congress on the attacks.
The State Department's ''response to congressional investigation of Benghazi has shown a disturbing disregard for its legal obligations to Congress,'' Issa said in a statement. ''Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game. The State Dept has failed to meet its legal obligations.''
''I expect [Secretary Kerry] to identify docs the [department] is withholding, has delayed, or has simply avoided searching for,'' the California Republican added.
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)
'--
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VIDEO-Climate change linked to more pollen, allergies, asthma
Thu, 08 May 2014 05:10
Wendy Koch, USA TODAY8:38 a.m. EDT May 31, 2013
Joseph Leija injects various allergens into the arm of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital employee Stasia Thompson while checking her for allergic reactions Thursday at the hospital's allergy clinic in Melrose Park, Ill.(Photo: Brett T. Roseman for USA TODAY)
Story HighlightsMore C02 in the air means more plant growth, more pollen production, more miseryAllergists say they're treating more patients, some who see allergies worseningScientists say there's a lot they need to learn about climate effects on healthSHARE2599CONNECTEMAILMOREMELROSE PARK, Ill. '-- From the roof of the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in the Chicago suburbs, an 83-year-old retired doctor finds troubling evidence of why so many people are sneezing and itching their eyes.
Joseph Leijacounts the pollen and mold spores that collect on slides inside an air-sucking machine atop the six-story building. "There's been an increase, no doubt about it," he says of the 5 a.m. weekday counts that he's been doing as a volunteer for 24 years.
"My allergies are much worse than they used to be," says Amanda Carwyle,a mom of three who lives 95 miles south in Pontiac, Ill. "I used to be able to take a Benadryl or Claritin and be fine." Now, despite three medications and allergy shots that make her feel a bit like a zombie, she says her eyes are watery and her head stuffy. "I'm so miserable."
Climate change might be partly to blame. Scientists see a link to carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas emitted by burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels. Tests show that the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more plants generally grow and the more pollen they produce.
FULL COVERAGE:Weathering the change
Though some plants grow more food or flowers as a result, more pollen can spell trouble. Doctors say it's contributing to a rise in seasonal hay fever and allergic asthma in the USA, where the pollen season has lengthened up to 16 days since 1995. If carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase, they expect allergic conditions probably will worsen, adding to the discomfort of allergy suffers as well as swelling U.S. health care costs.
On May 13 in Melrose Park, Ill., retired allergist Joseph Leija shows the container holding a slide that records the mold and pollen of the past 24 hours. The air-sucking Burkard device sits atop the roof of the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Every weekday, Leija counts and identifies the spores from the slide using a microscope and reports his data to the public by 7 a.m.(Photo: Wendy Koch, USA TODAY)
USA TODAY traveled to Chicago, which recently ranked as the sixth worst U.S. city for ragweed sensitivity, as the fourth stop in a year-long series to explore places where climate change is changing lives.
"We've definitely seen a big increase in patients," says allergist Brian Rotskoff, whose Clarity Allergy Center has offices a half-hour drive from where Leija counts pollen. He says some kids are coming in at younger ages, and some adults are having worse symptoms or problems for the first time.
"The severity is affecting their quality of life," he says, noting they're having trouble sleeping and focusing at work or school. Symptoms such as congestion, shortness of breath, coughing, runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes result when an allergic person inhales an allergen such as pollen, a plant's sperm, and overreacts by releasing histamine.
Sakina Bajowala, an allergist in nearby North Aurora, says she's also seen more patients with respiratory allergies. She has a new adult patient who had been fine with over-the-counter medications but says "he's just miserable now."
Brian Rotskoff, who runs Chicago's Clarity Allergy Center, examines Donovan Gill, 3, for allergy symptoms in his north Chicago office May 13.(Photo: Wendy Koch, USA TODAY)
THE CARBON CONNECTION
"The link between rising carbon dioxide and pollen is pretty clear," says Lewis Ziska, a weed ecologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a top researcher in the field.
His lab tests show that pollen production rises along with carbon dioxide. It doubled from 5 grams to 10 grams per plant when CO2 in the atmosphere rose from 280 parts per million (ppm) in 1900 to 370 ppm in 2000. He expects it could double again, to 20 grams, by 2075 if carbon emissions continue to climb. The world's CO2 concentration is about 400 ppm.
"I noticed something changing." says Leonard Bielory, an allergy and immunology expert at Rutgers University's Center for Environmental Prediction. He's been counting pollen in New Jersey for 27 years and initially wondered whether the spike was because of El Ni±o, a warm ocean current.
"I saw a trend as I did an analysis," he says, noting his counts in the past five years have been double that of any prior five-year period. In fact, this year's levels are the highest since he began. Bielory expects they could increase 20% to 30% by 2020.
He says last year's Superstorm Sandy exacerbated the problem by soaking the soil with so much water that even though April was dry, pollen has reached record local levels.
"There's clear evidence that pollen season is lengthening and total pollen is increasing," says George Luber, associate director for climate change at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's one of the ways climate change is already affecting your community."
A 2011 study by Ziska and Bielory found that the ragweed season, which peaks in the fall (trees peak in spring and grass in summer), got longer the farther north you go where temperatures have risen more in recent decades. So in Oklahoma City, the season increased only one day from 1995 to 2009, but it jumped 16 days in Minneapolis and Fargo, N.D., and 27 days in Saskatoon, Canada.
Perhaps not surprisingly, more Americans are testing positive for allergies. Quest Diagnostics, which administers a blood test to detect allergies, found a 15% increase in ragweed sensitivity from 2005 to 2009. It says Chicago's rate was the sixth highest '-- after Phoenix, Las Vegas, Dallas, Kansas City and Riverside, Calif. '-- and one of every five Americans is allergic to ragweed in all U.S. regions except the Southeast and Pacific Northwest where fewer people are sensitive.
CDC allergy skin tests found increased sensitivity not only to ragweed but also to ryegrass, Bermuda grass and mold nationwide between two surveys that spanned an 18-year period, 1976 to 1994. The tests also showed more sensitivity to oak, except in the South. The study's authors say methodology changes might account for some, but not likely all, of the increase, which is consistent with that found in other countries.
A new CDC report suggests pediatric rates of hay fever, more common than drug or food allergies, remained stable from 1997 to 2011, based on interviews with parents. Co-author Lara Akinbami, a CDC pediatrician, says hay fever may still be increasing but, since its symptoms are similar to those of the common cold, parents may not recognize it as a seasonal allergy. They also might simply be treating it with over-the-counter medicines.
As for asthma, doctors say it's caused by many factors and exacerbated by pollen for the majority of asthmatics with allergic conditions. Federal data report a 17% increase in U.S. asthma prevalence from 2001 through mid-2012.
Asthma has become a "national epidemic" that affects one of every 12 people, or 56 million, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said this month. Most pediatric cases involve allergies, primarily hay fever.
Luber says many Americans don't suffer directly, but they all pay: "There are substantial costs to the health care system (from allergic conditions) that we all carry."
Scientists agree that rising pollen counts aren't all bad. In some cases, they boost the production of corn and other crops.
"It's true that some plants will be able to grow in new places they couldn't before," says Kim Knowlton, a Columbia University professor of public health who focuses on climate impacts. She says global warming could mean fewer people die of cold-related deaths.
"On balance, the negatives outweigh the positives," she says, citing other health problems that could ensue. More illness and deaths are likely from wildfires, flooding, heat-related strokes and infectious diseases such as cholera, according to the U.S. government's third National Climate Assessment, a draft of which was released in January.
Aside from pollen, the report says climate change could increase other factors that contribute to respiratory allergies and asthma. It points to higher summertime ozone concentrations, which make it more difficult to breathe, as well as more heavy downpours and rising air temperatures, which foster the growth of indoor fungi and molds.
SUFFERING THE IMPACT
For Carol Leopold and her 13-year-old twin sons, the pollen count is personal. She says their allergies have worsened in the past couple of years and they hit their peak in May, when spring comes alive.
"Anything that blooms enervates us. It wears us down," says Leopold, 43. She takes an antihistamine every day. When she goes on her 5:30 a.m. runs along Prairie Path in Elmhurst, Ill, a Chicago suburb where she lives, she takes her inhaler along.
Donovan Gill, 3, one of Rotskoff's patients, started showing symptoms two years ago. "We'd go to the playground, and if there was a honey locust tree and little yellow pieces of pollen fell from it, he'd blow up like a balloon," says Donovan's mom, Rachel, who lives in Chicago. "His eyes eyes would start to water and get red and swell."
She says his adenoids '-- glands in the back of the nasal cavity that can become swollen '-- were removed to help clear his airways. She's had to look extra hard for a preschool with clean, well-ventilated classrooms because, like many people with hay fever, Donovan reacts to mold.
Carwyle, 35, says she limits her exposure to pollen by staying mostly indoors during allergy season. "You try not to sleep with the window open," she says. Her 7-year-old son, who had only a few bad days last year, has just started allergy shots because of his sensitivity to '-- in her words '-- "anything that grows."
She says spring hit with a bang this year, as reflected in Leija's high counts of both tree and grass pollen. On a morning in mid-May, she recalls, "my whole car was coated with pollen."
CHALLENGES AHEAD
Researchers looking at how climate change will affect plants, pollen counts and health are the first to say there's a lot they don't know.
Bielory, for example, is doing EPA-funded research to try to figure out '-- based on historical data as well as multiple factors such as wind patterns, precipitation and population growth '-- how much pollen counts will probably rise. In lab chambers, he's growing different weeds and grasses at three different temperatures and CO2 concentrations.
He's also looking at whether food allergies, in addition to hay fever, are affected by rising carbon dioxide emissions. He suspects they are.
"There are so many pieces of the puzzle, and it's not a flat puzzle. It's a 3-D puzzle," says Bielory, who says too few scientists study the connections. He devotes two days each week to research and spends the other three treating patients.
The series looks at different regions of the country.(Photo: USA TODAY)
The puzzle has non-climate pieces, too. Researchers are looking at why more people are becoming allergic and finding links to chemicals and, perhaps counterintuitively, cleanliness.
The "hygiene hypothesis," backed by some but not all studies, suggests people are more prone to allergies and asthma when they're not exposed to germs early in life. Why? Their immune systems haven't learned what's dangerous, such as bacteria, so they overreact to allergens, which are otherwise harmless.
"All of these things are likely affecting us," says the CDC's Akinbami, but it's unclear which factors '-- chemicals, hygiene, pollen '-- have the most impact or what their relationship is to each other. She says the first two sensitize people and the third triggers their sensitivity.
On the pollen front alone, there are large gaps in the data, says the CDC's Luber, noting pollen counts are not done on weekends and don't cover every state. There's not a single pollen-counting station in Alaska, Hawaii or 16 other U.S. states.
In fact, the 76 U.S. stations (plus one in Puerto Rico) are run by volunteers trained and certified by the National Allergy Bureau, part of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), a private organization that promotes research and treatment.
"There's no federal funding," says Linda Ford, an allergist who volunteers to do the count for the Omaha area as a way to help her patients. "There is no automated service for this," she says, adding it can take as long as two or three hours.
"This is very important for patients, " says Leija, who does the only count in Illinois. He says if they know pollen season is coming, they can start medications in advance to help control their symptoms.
That's why, even though he retired last year after working 53 years at the hospital as a general practitioner and allergist, he continues to rise before the sun and climb the stairs from the sixth floor to the roof '-- rain or shine. When it's still dark outside, he wears a miner's head lamp.
"It's a hobby," Leija says as he removes a pollen and mold slide from the Burkard Spore Trap. The $5,000 device, which the AAAAI provides to counting stations, has a fan that draws air in at the same rate that people breathe.
He starts early, so he can decipher the amount and types of pollen, using a microscope on the third floor, in time for the 7 a.m. TV news. He knows that someday he'll have to hand off his sunrise routine. His wife is ailing, so he's been working alongside a nurse who's getting certified to carry on the count.
USA TODAY's Wendy Koch looks at how rising carbon dioxide concentrations, from the burning of fossil fuels, are boosting pollen counts and contributing to allergies. Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
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VIDEO-State Dep't on Putin's Planned Trip to Crimea: 'Hope He Enjoys His Visit to Ukraine' | MRCTV
Thu, 08 May 2014 02:44
patrick.goodenoughPatrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.
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VIDEO-PR-Gitmo Nation Down Under, A No Agenda Story. - YouTube
Thu, 08 May 2014 02:29
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Thu, 08 May 2014 02:25
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-Yellen: Slow GDP Growth Caused by 'Unusually Cold and Snowy Winter Weather' | MRCTV
Thu, 08 May 2014 02:17
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-Andrea Mitchell to EPA Chief: 'What Future Does A Child Face' if Nothing is Done on Climate Change? | MRCTV
Thu, 08 May 2014 02:15
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
During her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell teed up Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy to promote a new White House report on climate change and push President Obama's left-wing environmentalist agenda: "Let's imagine for a moment that there's a baby being born right now....What future does this child face if nothing is done? What is the water level? What is going to happen to our coasts? What will '' temperature changes?"
McCarthy replied: "We know the dangers of climate change. We see rising sea levels, we see rising temperatures as going to result in more ozone and that means more asthma attacks for our kids moving forward."
VIDEO-Janet Yellen: 'Deficits Will Rise to Unsustainable Levels' | MRCTV
Thu, 08 May 2014 02:12
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO- Ukrainian Police In Full Riot Gear Throw Down Shields And Walkaway In Middle Or Protest - YouTube
Thu, 08 May 2014 01:58
VIDEO-White House Briefing | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 08 May 2014 00:54
May 6, 2014Jay Carney briefed reporters and answered questions at the daily White House briefing.'‚Topics included the just-released White House'... read more
Jay Carney briefed reporters and answered questions at the daily White House briefing.'‚Topics included the just-released White House report on global change, Ukraine elections, and the kidnapping of more than 270 Nigerian school girls by a terrorist group. close
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VIDEO-Rialto Assignment Asking Students to Question Holocaust to Be Revised | KTLA 5
Wed, 07 May 2014 20:30
The Rialto school district planned to revise an eighth-grade assignment that raised red flags by asking students to consider arguments about whether the Holocaust '-- the systematic killing by the Nazis of some 6 million Jews and millions of others '-- was not an ''actual event'' but instead a ''propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.''
File photo of a Rialto Unified School District building. (Credit: KTLA)
In a statement released Monday, a spokeswoman for the Rialto Unified School District said an academic team was meeting to revise the assignment.
Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam was set to talk with administrators to ''assure that any references to the holocaust 'not occurring' will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research assignments,'' a statement from district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri read.
''The holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,'' Jafri said.
The English/Language Arts assignment, first reported Sunday by the San Bernardino Sun and provided to KTLA by the newspaper, asked students to write an argumentative essay about the Holocaust describing ''whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.''
An eighth-grade assignment, shown, raised questions from a Jewish civil rights group. (Document and photo credit: San Bernardino Sun)
The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a ''hoax'' and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.
''With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,'' states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au. ''In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America's welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.''
The other sources were from the websites history.com and about.com.
In an interview, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, noted a section in the assignment that stated Anne Frank was a fraud.
''Pedagogically, socially, morally '-- an F,'' Cooper said of the assignment.
The Los Angeles-area chapter of the Anti-Defamation League contacted the school district last week, saying the assignment was dangerous ''given the large volume of misinformation'' on Holocaust-denial websites.
''It is ADL's general position that an exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust Denial,'' read an email to the school district from ADL Associate Regional Director Matthew Friedman.
The ADL posted a statement, including the quotes from Friedman, on its blog on Monday.
''ADL does not have any evidence that the assignment was given as part of a larger, insidious, agenda,'' the blog post read. ''Rather, the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.''
Senator Norma J. Torres, who represents Rialto in the California State Legislature, issued the following statement.
''Giving school children an assignment that asks them to question whether the holocaust occurred is inappropriate. These actions are insensitive to the millions who lost loved ones and to the many people around the world who have no tolerance for discrimination and genocide. I urge the Rialto Unified School District to use better judgment in the future and to take immediate action to put an end to this controversy and the damage it is causing to the district's reputation.''
Rialto Unified, which educates about 26,000 students in a San Bernardino County city about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, did not receive complaints about the assignment from parents, teachers or administrators, Jafri told the Sun.
Since media accounts of the assignment were published, school district officials received death threats during a phone call from a man who said he was nearby, Jafri said.
The school district initially defended the assignment, with Jafri saying it was meant to engage students in ''critical thinking.''
The district's ''CORE team'' planned meet to revise the assignment, Jafri said in her statement provided to KTLA on Monday.
''This was a mistake. It should be corrected. It will be corrected,'' Jafri said in an interview. ''We all know it was real. The Holocaust is not a hoax. '... I believe our classroom teachers are teaching it with sensitivity and compassion.''
The Common Core State Standards, adopted by most U.S. states including California, include writing standards that seek to have students make arguments and defend their answers based on texts they have read, among other goals.
Adopted since 2009, when the initiative was created by National Governors Association, the standards have been in the spotlight in recent months as parents and educators react to their implementation.
KTLA's Sara Welch contributed to this article.
VIDEO-Proposed Carson Ordinance Would Criminalize Bullying CBS Los Angeles
Wed, 07 May 2014 20:13
CARSON (CBSLA.com) '-- Officials in the city of Carson on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that would impose criminal penalties for anyone convicted of bullying school children and young adults.
The ordinance (PDF) would make it a misdemeanor to cause any Carson residents from kindergarten through age 25 to ''feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested'' without necessarily requiring a threat of physical harm.
The California Penal Code only penalizes bullying ''where a bully makes an actual threat to the life or safety of his or her victim.''
The ordinance would also make a parent or legal guardian responsible for the bullying acts of his or her child, provided that they were made aware of any violation withing 90 days.
Under the measure '' which would also cover cyber-bullying '' police and other law enforcement officials would be given discretion to file lesser charges against any alleged bullies, the Los Angeles Times reported.
KNX 1070'²s Ron Kilgore reports Carson Mayor Jim Dear, who is also a school teacher, believes the ordinance would not only protect potential victims, but also send a message to would-be bullies.
Proposed Carson Ordinance Would Criminalize Bullying''If you are caught a second time actually bullying someone, then there's gonna be more counseling, maybe anger management, a third time is gonna be a misdemeanor,'' Dear said. ''And you, your parents or guardians are going to have to go to court.''
While both bullying and under-bullying are often underreported, federal data indicates that some 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 are victims, according to supporters of the ordinance. The measure also cites data from ''one study'' showing that 60 percent of boys who bullied others in middle school were convicted of at least one crime as an adult, compared to 23 percent of boys who did not bully.
RELATED: Girl, 9, Scared To Go To School Because Of Bully
According to the proposal, various forms of cyber-bullying include ''hurtful, rude and mean text messages'', ''spreading rumors or lies about others by email or social networks'', and ''creating websites, videos, or social medial (sic) profiles that embarrass, humiliate or make fun of others''.
It also identifies chronically ill, disabled, gifted, overweight, and ''sexual minority'' children as particularly vulnerable to bullying, which can take place not only in schoolyards and locker rooms, but ''on buses and on streets and sidewalks'' and ''in front of computers in homes and libraries.''
VIDEO-Putin calls for end to Kiev's military op, postponing referendum in E. Ukraine '-- RT News
Wed, 07 May 2014 17:24
Published time: May 07, 2014 13:26Edited time: May 07, 2014 16:17Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with the head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, as they meet in the Kremlin in Moscow, on May 7, 2014. (AFP Photo / Sergei Karpukhin)
Ukrainian right-wing groups are behind the recent events in the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, adding that Kiev has not disarmed them. He also called on anti-Kiev protesters to postpone a May 11 federalization referendum.
"Russia believes that the crisis, which originated in Ukraine and is now actively developing in accordance with the worst-case scenario, is to be blamed on those who organized the coup in Kiev on 22-23 February and still do not care to disarm the right-wing and nationalist elements," the president said.
Direct dialogue between Kiev and anti-government protesters in southeast Ukraine is key to ending the crisis, Putin said.
It is now essential to create ''to create the necessary conditions for this dialogue,'' he added.
This, however, would require rescheduling the referendum, which anti-government activists scheduled on May 11 to determine the fate of southeast Ukraine.
''We are calling for southeast Ukraine representatives, supporters of federalization of the country, to postpone the May 11 referendum to create the necessary conditions for dialogue,'' Putin said at a press conference with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter in Moscow.
In response to Putin's offer, one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, said the possibility would be discussed Thursday.
''We respect Putin's position. He is a balanced politician. So we will submit this proposal tomorrow to the people's council,'' he said.
'Russia withdraws troops from Ukrainian border'President Vladimir Putin also said that Russia has withdrawn its troops from the Ukrainian border.
''We have been told that our troops on the Ukrainian border are a concern '' we have withdrawn them. They are now not on Ukrainian territory, but at locations where they conduct regular drills at ranges,'' he said.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested holding "roundtable discussions," a proposal that Moscow fully supports, Putin added.
Moscow and the OSCE agree substantially on the approach to resolving the situation in Ukraine, Putin said, adding that negotiations had made it clear.
''Moscow is interested in a swift resolution of the crisis in Ukraine, taking into consideration the interests of all people of the country,'' he said.
OSCE drafting Ukraine roadmapIn the coming hours, OSCE will offer a ''roadmap'' on Ukraine, Burkhalter said.
''Our offer now is the following: literally in the next few hours we would like to offer a roadmap for the four signatories of the Geneva agreements," Burkhalter said, adding that the roadmap lays out ''concrete steps'' to resolve the Ukrainian crisis.
There are four major points, he said: "These are the ceasefire, the de-escalation of tensions, the dialogue and elections." Burkhalter added that the roadmap had been discussed earlier in Vienna.
It comes as a ''more pragmatic'' alternative to the so-called Geneva-2 peace talks on Ukraine, which Burkhalter said for now are not being planned to be held.
Burkhalter also believes that dialogue between Kiev and southeast Ukraine is a ''realistic prospect.''
''As for the probability of a national dialogue in Ukraine, I think it's quite a realistic prospect, because only Ukrainian people need to be involved in determining their own destiny,'' he said.
On behalf of OSCE, Burkhalter said that the organization is ready to take responsibility for coordination the ''roadmap'' and negotiations with the US and the EU will be taking place soon.
VIDEO-Krauthammer: Global Warming "Oldest Superstition Around," "The Rain Dance Of Native Americans" | Video | RealClearPolitics
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:50
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CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Ninety-nine percent of physicists were convinced that space and time were fixed until Einstein, working in a patent office, wrote a paper in which he showed they are not. I'm not impressed by numbers; I'm not impressed by consensus. When I was a psychiatrist, I participated in consensus conferences on how to define depression and mania. These are things that people negotiate and the way that you would negotiate a bill, because the science is unstable. Because in the case of climate, the models are changeable and because climate is so complicated.
The idea that we who have trouble forecasting what's going to happen on Saturday in the climate could pretend to be predicting what's going to happen in 30, 40 years, is absurd and you always see that no matter what happens, whether it's a flood or it's a drought, whether it's warming or cooling, it's always a result of what is ultimately what we're talking about here is human sin with pollution of carbon. It's the oldest superstition around. It was in the Old Testament. It's in the rain dance of Native Americans. If you sin, the skies will not cooperate. This is quite superstitious and I am waiting for science which doesn't declare itself definitive but it otherwise convincing.
VIDEO- Kissinger talks more about Obama and the New World Order - YouTube
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:05
VIDEO-The U.S. Dollar Must Fall: False East/West Paradigm Hides The Rise Of Global Currency
Wed, 07 May 2014 15:57
This report has been contributed by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.com
Despite popular belief, very few things in our world are exactly what they seem. That which is painted as righteous is often evil. That which is painted as kind is often malicious. That which is painted as simple is often complex. That which is painted as complex often ends up being disturbingly two dimensional. Regardless, if a person is willing to look only at the immediate surface of a thing, he will never understand the content of thefo thing.
This fact is nowhere more evident than in the growing ''tensions'' between the elites of the West and the elites of the East over the crisis in Ukraine.
I am continually astonished at the refusal of many otherwise intelligent people to consider the evidence or even the possibility that there is, in reality, no fundamental political or philosophical conflict between the power brokers of the East and the West. As I outlined in great detail inRussia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too, the truth is they are both working toward the same goal; and both ultimately benefit from an engineered and theatrical display of international brinksmanship.
Russia, like the United States, is utterly beholden to globalist financiers through organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements. Russia's global economic adviser in matters ranging from investment image to privatization is none other thanGoldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs has also worked closely with the Ukrainian government since 2011, and it started its advisory work with Ukraine for free. (Whenever Goldman Sachs does something for free, one should take special note.) Banking elites have been working both sides of the fence during the Russia versus Ukraine charade.
Russia has continued to borrow billions of dollars from Western banks, including Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, year after year, proving that they are not averse in the slightest to working closely with ''evil Western robber barons''.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Mr. New-World-Order himself, Henry Kissinger, on a regular basis; and according to Putin's press secretary, they are ''old friends.'' Putin's meetings with Kissinger began almost immediately after he first took power in 2000.
Putin's relationship with Kissinger has been so pronounced that the Russian Foreign Ministry gave Kissinger an honorary doctorate in diplomacy, and Putin placed Kissinger at the head of a bilateral ''working group'' '-- along with former KGB head and multilateralist (globalist) Gen. Yevgeny Primakov '-- dealing with foreign policy.
In more recent news, I would also remind pro-Putin cheerleaders that Putin and the Kremlin first pushed for the IMF to take control of the Ukrainian economy, and the IMF is now demandingthat Ukraine fight Russia in exchange for financial support. This might seem like irony to more foolhardy observers; but to those who are aware of the false East/West paradigm, it is all the part of a greater plan for consolidation of power.
Clearly, Putin and Russia are just two more puppet pieces on the globalist chessboard, pitted against other puppets in the West in a grand theater designed to distract and divide the masses through chaos. As Kissinger points out, in crisis there is opportunity.
What is the goal? They've already told us, openly, on numerous occasions.
The first great prizes of the New World Order are a global currency and centralized economic control. The elites are not satisfied with quiet dominance of individual economies. They want complete political homogenization and the end of all sovereignty. Period. With a global currency in place, the steps towards global government become quick and small.
Heads of state from around the world, including Putin, as well as international bankers and IMF representatives have all publicly called for the IMF to take charge of the global economic system through its Special Drawing Rights currency program.
However, for the SDR to become a dominant currency, certain issues must be resolved. Here's a short list.
The U.S. Dollar Must Fall
The dollar must lose its world reserve status, and most likely collapse in relative value, before the SDR can be elevated. This is where mainstream pundits lose track of the facts. For them, the dollar is an invincible monetary element, a currency product as infinite as time. Their normalcy bias prevents them from ever acknowledging the many weaknesses of the Federal Reserve note, including our country's inability to ever service its more than $200 trillion debt. Others believe the dollar is the NWO currency, and that the globalists are somehow U.S.-centric. The evidence posted above suggests otherwise. Globalists have no loyalty to any nation or culture. Their only loyalty is to the progression of their own power. If sacrificing the dollar or the U.S. as a whole furthers that power, then they will have no problem cutting us loose like a rotting appendage.
A Liquidity Replacement Must Be Introduced
As my regular readers know, I have been covering China's progression toward a decoupling from the U.S. economy for years. China, in my view, has always been the key to the elitist shift into a truly global currency mechanism. The primary argument in the mainstream against the idea of a dollar collapse is that there is no other currency with ample liquidity to take the dollar's place. Well, in the past couple of years, this has changed.
China and the banks it controls have issued approximately $25 trillion in debt instruments and monetization. This is often referred to as a ''debt bubble'' created through panic and a weakness in China's economy and a response to slowed quantitative easing in the United States. I would take a slightly different position. China began issuing Yuan denominated debt instruments in 2005, years before the mainstream had any inkling of the impending derivatives collapse. From then up to today, there has been no practical purpose for China to produce these Yuan denominated equities and securities, unless their target has always been to expand the Yuan market in a covert way.
I would say that China's monetization has been carefully and deliberately engineered in order to lay the foundation for a massive liquidity spike in the Yuan. The argument that China's incredible debt generation is a sign of impending collapse may be misguided. U.S. debt, including unfunded liabilities, absolutely dwarfs China's $25 trillion. China's Yuan debt has barely had time to accrue concrete interest. The U.S., on the other hand, is caught in an endless cycle of interest payments that are slowly but surely eating away the skeleton of our fiscal structure. If any economy is on the verge of implosion, it is that of the United States, not of China.
The Chinese need exponential Yuan circulation. They do not want the Yuan to replace the dollar; instead, they are preparing it for induction into the IMF's Special Drawing Rights basket. With China set to become the world largest economy this year according to World Bank, their inclusion is assured.
But, when might this occur?
The IMF holds an international conference and policy meeting on the SDR every five years. During these meetings, the IMF decides if it will absorb a new currency into the basket and if it will expand the creation or circulation of SDRs around the world. Interestingly, the next IMF conference on the SDR just happens to be scheduled for the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2015.
Another strange coincidence: The U.S. Congress was supposed to vote on legislation for further capital allocations to the IMF by April. The vote never came. The new allocations were to fund an expansion of IMF programs and help with the greater inclusion of BRIC nations in governing decisions. If the U.S. government does not pass this legislation, Russia and other nations have demanded that the IMF move forward without the United States on reforms. At the very least, the U.S. would lose its veto power over IMF decisions. I believe that the timing of this is deliberate, that the U.S. is meant to lose its veto power and that the simultaneous SDR conference will announce the inclusion of the Chinese Yuan, setting the stage for the replacement of the dollar as world reserve.
The SDR will not immediately be issued as a commonly traded currency itself. Rather, the IMF will take over management of included currencies and denominate those currencies using SDR valuations. For example, $1 U.S. is worth only .64 SDR today. In the near future, I expect that the dollar will plummet in relation to the SDR's value. We will still have our greenbacks when the IMF begins administrating our currency system, but the international and domestic worth of those greenbacks will fall to pennies. In turn, other currencies with stronger economic positions will rise in worth relative to the SDR.
I believe one of the primary determinations in a currency's value compared to the SDR will be a country's stockpile of gold. This is why Russia and China in particular have been purchasing precious metals at an unheard-of rate (and why U.S. gold reserves have never been audited). The IMF itself is one of the world's largest holders of physical gold, with nearly 3,000 metric tons (officially). With the crash of the dollar system and investors clamoring for a reliable hedge to protect whatever savings they have left, gold could conceivably skyrocket into the $5,000 to $10,000 per-ounce range. Governments holding the metal will be favorably placed during an implementation of the SDR as the new reserve standard.
A Cover Event Must Be Created
The centralization of power is best achieved during moments of bewildering calamity. The conjuring of crises is one of the oldest methods of elitist dominance. Not only can they confuse and frighten the masses into malleability, but they can also ride to the public's rescue as heroes and saviors later on. The Hegelian dialectic is the mainstay of tyrants.
The destruction of the dollar and the institution of a global economic bureaucracy are not actions that can be executed openly by international financiers. These events will coincide with extreme catastrophe, likely worse than the Great Depression era, with millions upon millions of people losing the ability to financially support themselves and their families. Crime, death and public discontent will surely follow. People will be looking for someone to blame. This is where the false East/West paradigm comes in.
It is widely expected that as sanctions snowball between Russia and the U.S. that the dollar will end up on the chopping block. China has asserted its support for Russia in opposition to NATO interference in Ukraine. The stage has been set. I have warned for quite some time that the development of East/West tensions would be used as a cover for a collapse of the dollar system. I have warned that among the American media this collapse would be blamed on an Eastern dump of foreign exchange reserves and treasuries, resulting in a global domino-effect ending U.S. world reserve status. In turn, the international community would be conditioned to see this as the mere bumbling of a spoiled America gone power-mad, rather than the result of a covert program of economic destabilization. This might lead to all-out war or a fiscal firestorm that leaves much of the world crippled and desperate for aid.
In either case, the elitist plan is to use scapegoats and false enemies to draw our attention away from the real culprits: the international banks themselves. Make no mistake: This fight is not about President Barack Obama, it is not about Putin and it is not even about the Federal Reserve. These men are tools, errand boys, public mascots. Do not be fooled by the global stage play being perpetrated. Whatever happens in Ukraine and whatever happens between Russia, China and the West, there are only two real sides to this battle: the elitist establishment, and those who are smart enough to recognize their poison.
You can contact Brandon Smith at: brandon@alt-market.com
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VIDEO-Reid: Kochs 'main cause' of climate change - Burgess Everett - POLITICO.com
Wed, 07 May 2014 15:22
Reid says the Kochs are 'waging a war against anything that protects the environment.' | AP Photo
CloseCharles and David Koch are one of the ''main causes'' of climate change, charged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the Senate floor.
''While the Koch brothers admit to not being experts on the matter, these billionaire oil tycoons are certainly'... experts at contributing to climate change. That's what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this. Not a cause, the main cause,'' Reid said.
Continue Reading
Now in his fifth month of flogging the billionaire conservative benefactors on the Senate floor, Reid dubbed them ''multizillionaires'' on Wednesday and mockingly applauded their spokeswoman for saying the Kochs and the energy conglomerate that they run aren't experts on climate science. Wealthy liberal investor Tom Steyer challenged the Kochs to a debate on climate change last week in a full-page newspaper advertisement, but they declined to take him up on it.
(QUIZ: How well do you know the Koch brothers?)
It wasn't just climate change: Reid also blamed the Kochs for imperiling an energy efficiency bill currently on the Senate floor, an accusation that comes not long after the Democratic leader blamed the Kochs for stalling Ukrainian aid.
''Charles and David Koch are waging a war against anything that protects the environment. I know that sounds absurd, but it's true,'' Reid said. ''In the Senate now we are considering an energy efficiency bill. Who's working against that more than anyone else? The Koch brothers.''
(Also on POLITICO: Dems' 2014 foil: Koch brothers)
For the record, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans simply want votes on amendments to the energy bill'-- and didn't mention the Kochs at all in his morning speech.
VIDEO-BBC News - Russia booed at Eurovision semi-final
Wed, 07 May 2014 09:22
7 May 2014Last updated at 04:20 ET Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
Twins the Tolmachevy Sisters performing their song Shine, which secured Russia a place in the final
Russia's Tolmachevy Sisters were booed in Copenhagen as they qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The 17-year-old twins initially received a warm reception for their song, Shine, at Tuesday's semi-final.
But when they progressed to the final, some sections of the 10,000-strong audience expressed apparent disapproval of the Russian artists.
Experts have said Russia could suffer at Eurovision over the crisis in Ukraine and its stance on gay rights.
Nine other countries qualified for the final on Tuesday, including Ukraine's Mariya Yaremchuk, whose performance was enhanced by a dancer running in a giant hamster wheel.
San Marino made it through for the first time ever, marking a personal victory for singer Valentina Monetta, who has been kicked out at the semi-final stage on two previous occasions.
Continue reading the main story Montenegro Hungary Russia Armenia Azerbaijan San Marino Ukraine Sweden Netherlands Iceland The next 10 qualifiers will be selected on Thursday
Montenegro will also make its debut in the final, thanks to singer-songwriter Sergej Cetkovic, whose ballad Moj Svijet has echoes of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On.
The oddly-named Aram Mp3 eased through for Armenia. His song Not Alone, which begins as a simple piano ballad before spinning off into dubstep, is the bookies' favourite to win on Saturday.
Other hotly-tipped songs by Sweden, Hungary and Azerbaijan also qualified alongside less-favoured tracks from The Netherlands and Iceland.
Latvia's novelty act Aarzemnieki were kicked out after their song Cake To Bake ("mix some dough, add some love, let it bake") failed to impress.
The next 10 qualifiers will be selected at the second semi-final on Thursday night.
Last year's winner, Denmark, is already guaranteed a place, alongside the "big five" nations who financially support the EBU, which organises the annual contest: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK.
The UK's entrant is Molly Smitten-Downes - a newcomer who was selected through the BBC's Introducing scheme for unsigned acts.
It is hoped her song, Children Of The Universe, will fare better than the UK's previous two entries. Bonnie Tyler placed 19th last year, while Englebert Humperdinck came second from last in 2012.
Her single entered the UK chart at number 48 on Sunday, and is expected to break the top 40 after Saturday's final - but bookmakers' have rated her chances for Eurovision victory as average, placing her directly in the middle of the field, with odds of 6/1.
The 27-year-old joked she would "trash the green room" if her song got "nil points" from the jury.
VIDEO-The man behind the Nigerian girls' kidnappings and his death-defying mystique
Wed, 07 May 2014 06:54
No one knows how old he is. Some say 35. Some say 36. Others think he's 44. Twice he was believed dead, and twice he reemerged to conduct an even broader campaign of killing and terror that made him one of the most wanted men in the world.
His name is Abubakar Shekau. He is the leader of Boko Haram. And he has your girls.
''I abducted the girls at a Western education school,'' Shekau proclaimed on Monday in a video, clutching a rifle among several masked men. ''And you are disturbed. I said Western education should end. '... I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell; he commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.''
Shekau, who has a $7 million bounty on his head, grinned a mouth of white teeth. His face was patched by scruff. He raised his arm as though delivering a sermon '-- and to Shekau, who considers himself a devout holy man, he was. For a group as fragmented and diverse as the Boko Haram, which kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian school girls three weeks ago, one of the few unifying factors is extremist ideology. And no one believes in the cause more than Shekau, a complex, intensely private figure.
''It is Allah that instructed us,'' Shekau said in the video released Monday. ''Until we soak the ground of Nigeria with Christian blood and so-called Muslims contradicting Islam. After we have killed, killed, killed, and get fatigue and wondering what to do with their corpses '-- smelling of [Barack] Obama, [George] Bush and [Goodluck] Jonathan '-- will open prison and be imprison the rest. Infidels have no value.''
A grab made on May 5, 2014, from a video obtained by Agence France-Presse shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, center, delivering a speech. (AFP/Getty Images)
Where does such vengeance come from? What does he want? Who is he?
A review of academic and first-hand accounts reveal Shekau to be both an intellectualizing theologian and a ruthless killer. Raised Muslim, he was born sometime in the 1970s in a border town named Shekau between Niger and Nigeria '-- in the heart of the former Sokoto caliphate.
In 1990, he moved to a town that would become the birthplace of Boko Haram to study under a traditional cleric, according to the International Crisis Group. In the early 2000s, he met its future charismatic leader, Muhammad Yusuf. Shekau became one of his earliest acolytes, and was soon one of the top lieutenants in the group.
Intense and quiet, Shekau was more bookish than the group's gregarious leader, Yusuf. ''Shekau was always studying and writing, and was more devoted and modest than anyone else,'' Ahmad Salkida, a man considered the Nigerian authority on Boko Haram, told the Financial Times in 2012. ''He would only wear cheap clothes and did not accept even to drive a car, preferring a motorbike.''
Together, the men built what Salkida described in a separate account as an ''imaginary state within a state.'' Boko Haram was a sophisticated apparatus: a cabinet of leadership, a brigade of guards, a military branch, a large farm, and ''an effective micro finance scheme.'' It lured in the area's impoverished and uneducated youths. ''Boko Haram was founded on ideology, but poor governance was the catalyst for it to spread,'' Salkida said. ''If there had been proper governance and a functioning state, Yusuf would have found it very difficult to succeed.''
But even in those days, there was something disquieting about Shekau. ''Even when Boko Haram was peaceful,'' Salkida explained, ''he was somehow more feared than Yusuf.''
Boko Haram, however, wouldn't stay peaceful for long. Its clashes with Nigerian forces between 2004 and 2006 grew in intensity, and as the years ground past, Shekau became increasingly unmanageable. Yusuf ''had trouble keeping his unruly lieutenants, particularly Shekau, in check,'' reports the International Crisis Group.
In 2009, Yusuf was captured by the Nigerian authorities in a battle that appeared to kill Shekau as well. Yusuf was soon killed in prison, and Boko Haram, deprived of its chief, appeared on the verge of collapse. But then, less than a year later, and appointed the new leader because he was ''radical and aggressive,'' Shekau released a video, vowing to exterminate Western culture and education in Nigeria.
Shekau in another screen grab. (AFP/Getty Images)
What he lacked in oratorical capabilities, he made up for in bellicosity. ''I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill,'' he said after orchestrating an attack that claimed 180 lives. ''The way I enjoy killing chickens and rams.''
Boko Haram has a similar operational structure to al-Qaeda. There are individual cells that affiliate under the same name, but operate autonomously. ''A lot of those calling themselves leaders in the group do not even have contact with him,'' Salkida told the BBC last year.
But even with such division, Shekau has maintained control '-- and created a mystique '-- through his brutality and ability to survive. In 2013, the Nigerian military again announced he had likely been killed. But he later surfaced once more in a fresh video, saying he was ''protected by Allah.''
''Why is he so violent? I think because Shekau was almost killed,'' Martin Ewi, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, told France 24. ''Imagine coming back from the dead. He knows he doesn't have a second chance if he's caught by the security forces. '... He was in the mouth of the crocodile, now he's coming back to kill the crocodile.''
VIDEO-Remarks With EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton After Their Meeting
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:56
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon, everybody. I am very pleased, as always, to welcome my very good friend and colleague in these endeavors, the EU High Representative Cathy Ashton back here to Washington. I'm also personally happy to be back in Washington '' (laughter) '' after a trip through Africa that has left us with a very long to-do list, which we're already working on.
Lady Ashton and I just covered a lot of ground, but since we're in agreement on so much of it, we were able to cover it quite quickly. We discussed, most importantly, our shared strategy of using the tools of diplomacy in order to reduce the conflicts that are threatening Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, but particularly there.
Let me begin with Ukraine. In the weeks since Lady Ashton and I met in Geneva, along with the Ukrainian foreign minister and the Russian foreign minister, we have been, it is fair to say, nothing less than disappointed to see Russia to fail to live up to the very plain and simple, easy-to-interpret commitments that were made in Geneva. And I'll reiterate: The agreement that we made in Geneva, it really isn't vague and it's not open to some loose interpretation. It was simple, it was specific, and it outlined concrete steps that all of the parties had to take. Ukraine's government, literally before the ink was dry, started to implement on that agreement. And they have held up their end of the bargain.
Ukraine has shown remarkable restraint. Almost immediately coming out of that meeting in Geneva, they ordered a cessation of any kind of counterterrorism activity, any effort to remove people from buildings based on the notion that both sides were going to work to bring people out of those buildings. And the fact is that they have been committed in Kyiv to trying to move their country forward through nonviolence, through constitutional reform, through dialogue, and by reaching out to the disaffected parts of Ukraine.
We also are very concerned about efforts of pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, in Luhansk to organize, frankly, a contrived, bogus independence referendum on May 11th. We flatly reject this illegal effort to further divide Ukraine, and its pursuit will create even more problems in the effort to try to de-escalate the situation. This is really the Crimea playbook all over again, and no civilized nation is going to recognize the results of such a bogus effort.
As President Obama has made clear, if Russian elements continue to sabotage the democratic process and prevent Ukraine from holding a free and fair election 19 days from now on the 25th, then we stand ready to implement additional sanctions. And the ''we'' is Europe and the United States together. I know the European Union is strong in its commitment to do this, and I think the high representative will address meetings that are shortly going to be held next week in furtherance of our common goals here.
We are not going to sit idly by while Russian elements fan the flames of instability, instead of fulfilling the commitments that we made. Look, we came together, and we came together in a real spirit of trying to de-escalate. And we weren't playing a game. We laid down some very specific steps that could be taken, and immediately, the Government of Ukraine, in good faith, undertook to implement those steps, including removing barricades from the Maidan in Kyiv, removing people from buildings, as well as reaching out to make clear to the people of Ukraine how decentralization could take place to give more power to those people in places that were disaffected. Regrettably, that was not met with reciprocity, and reciprocity is one of the things that we discussed very clearly in Geneva.
I must add also that it's very hard to reconcile that Russia is now making the argument that Ukraine ought to reduce '' not have an election or postpone an election because of the violence that's taking place, but Russia is full, whole-hog behind having an election in Syria where there is far worse violence. Reconcile that one for us, please.
So the choice is really Russia's. The United States, the EU, and our allies have made our choice very, very clear: We are going to stand together united not just in support of Ukraine, but united in support of de-escalating; united in support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution; united in recognition that, yes, there are historic and cultural and other ties between Russia and Ukraine, but the way to assert them is at the diplomatic negotiating table, not at the end of a gun. And we believe that we will also stand together in the effort to try to de-escalate this situation.
Next week, I will meet in London with our European counterparts in order to discuss what the appropriate next steps will be.
I also want to underscore that Lady Ashton and I applaud the commitment and the courage of the monitors of the OSCE. We're deeply appreciative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who have put themselves in harm's way, not on one side or the other, but on the side of a peaceful resolution, on the side of de-escalation. And they have tried to enforce compliance of the Russian-backed forces to ensure that there is a fair and reasonable approach to defining the future for all of the people of Ukraine.
We believe that the OSCE can now play an enhanced role, and right now there are efforts taking place. I talked yesterday with the OSCE chairman, President Burkhalter of Switzerland, and he is tomorrow going to be traveling to meet with President Putin. Today there were meetings. I talked yesterday also with the foreign minister of Germany, Frank Steinmeier. He today met with Foreign Minister Lavrov in Vienna, and there are further discussions taking place. I will talk with him in an hour or two from now. So there's a lot of energy being expended to try to see if we can find a reasonable way forward here. And we support the efforts very much of this kind of diplomacy to help the Ukrainians restore law and order and improve the environment for free and fair elections on May 25th.
And before I invite our honored guest to offer her thoughts here, I just want to briefly mention a couple of other topics that we discussed very quickly this afternoon: South Sudan, Nigeria, and Iran.
First on South Sudan, the cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed in January by the South Sudanese Government and the opposition has obviously not been upheld. And the recent attacks by the South Sudanese Government and the anti-government forces, both of them, are absolutely unacceptable, and the United States condemns them in the strongest terms.
I talked this morning with Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia, and he has been directly in touch with Riek Machar, who tells him that he will come to a meeting though they're working on the precise date and hope to have something to announce shortly. He has also talked to President Kiir, and President Kiir has, in fact, committed absolutely to be there and to come. And we're very hopeful that that can be the beginning of a dialogue, and we will have participants there to assist in that process.
As President Obama has made clear, however, we will hold accountable those who have stood in the way of a peace plan. And I've said as much directly to President Kiir and to former Vice President Riek Machar when I was there this past weekend. So today, the United States will announce sanctions on two individuals responsible for violating the cessation of hostilities agreement, individuals responsible for perpetrating unthinkable violence against civilians. The first is the commander of the South Sudanese Government's Presidential Guard Forces Marial Chanuong, and he has led violent attacks against civilians in Juba. And that will '' further details will be announced later regarding that. The second, Peter Gadet, who led anti-government forces in the April 17th attack on Bentiu that left more than 200 civilians dead.
And we will do our utmost to prevent South Sudan from plunging back into the violence and despair that tore that country apart for so long. We will continue to stand with the people of South Sudan who call for peace and who recognize that the only way to resolve this conflict is through a political dialogue.
Secondly, on Nigeria: Today I spoke with President Goodluck Jonathan on behalf of President Obama and offered '' on behalf of President Obama offered America's support for Nigeria in their response to this crisis. Our embassy in Abuja is prepared to form a coordination cell that could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations, and hostage negotiations, and to help facilitate information-sharing and victim assistance. And President '' the President was '' President Goodluck Jonathan was very happy to receive this offer and ready to move on it immediately, and we are immediately engaging in order to implement this. We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of these young girls, and we want to provide whatever assistance is possible in order to help for their safe return to their families.
And finally, Lady Ashton and I discussed '' I think you see the breadth of the things that we're talking about. You get a sense of the tremendous cooperation between the EU and the United States, and particularly between Cathy Ashton and myself, for which we are very, very grateful. And we are extremely grateful for her stewardship of the important negotiations that are taking place with Iran on the nuclear program, on a comprehensive '' on the search for a comprehensive solution to the challenge of that program.
We '' Lady Ashton and our political directors will meet again in Vienna next week. And as we try to seize this diplomatic moment and make our allies and ourselves safer, Iran obviously has to make some very tough decisions. We remain firm in our goals. They don't vary. Iran must not obtain a nuclear weapon, and it must ensure it has a peaceful nuclear program. And as I've said many times, we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal.
Let me close by extending to Lady Ashton early greetings for Europe Day, which falls this Friday. It's a holiday that recalls and renews the EU's vision for a united, peaceful, stable, and democratic Europe, and the United States will stand side by side with Europe as it strives to live up to that vision and to those high ideals. Lady Ashton, thanks for being with us.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: Thank you. Thank you very much, Secretary Kerry, or John, as I would prefer. Thank you for your good wishes for Europe Day. I held a reception in New York last night, and it was my great pleasure to be able to see the Empire State Building lit up in the colors of the European Union of blue and yellow. It is a recognition of this incredibly important transatlantic partnership that every nation of the European Union values so highly, and for which I thank you, your predecessors, and all of your colleagues for the work that has gone on to develop it to the point where I think we are very much joined up in our thinking.
As you've said, we've talked about a range of issues. We talk a lot in between these meetings, so we cover a huge number of current concerns. And I will just pick up on the back of some of this news. You've said two or three of them, of which Ukraine is inevitably the highest on our agenda, and the latest news of the great concern that we have from the illegal actions by armed separatist groups is, of course, at the foremost of our attention. We want to see Russia join in in the call to see an immediate end to these actions, and that is very much, as you've said, in line with the discussions we had in Geneva, where we talked practically for seven hours. We talked about what this meant. There was no vagueness. There was absolute clarity in what we were trying to do '' to try and find ways to begin the de-escalation. And we will continue, as the European Union, to engage fully in seeking a political solution and to stay fully behind what we said in Geneva and to find ways that we can see the implementation done by everyone.
We know, too, that Ukraine has the right to defend its territorial integrity. We understand the international obligations that it has, and we work closely with them. And as you have indicated, they have done a lot from the beginning of leaving Geneva at the end of that day to try and implement what was agreed.
I pay tribute, like you, to the OSCE, and I join the chief monitor of the special mission, who's called upon all sides to exercise maximum restraint, to avoid bloodshed, and to solve differences peacefully. You all know that on the 28th of April we took the decision to extend the number of people subject to targeted sanctions for actions that undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence. Any further steps that destabilize the situation in Ukraine would lead to additional and far-reaching consequences for our relations in a broad range of areas.
Like you, too, we are focused on the elections and the importance of free and fair presidential elections. This is a really important step in the stabilization of Ukraine. It's about democracy. It's an opportunity, too, for there to be a legitimate and broad debate on the future of Ukraine and to engage with people who do want to talk about how that future should be '' peacefully working together, and to take this opportunity to be able to do that. We, of course, will continue as well with our assistance package, which, as you know, will bring in overall support of about 11 billion euros over time.
I want, as well, to mention the terrible escalation of violence in South Sudan and to pay tribute to your visit. I already know from our special representatives in the region and from people from the countries concerned that your visit was extremely timely and your efforts were very well recognized. So may I pay tribute to you for that, as well as many, many other things.
I'm worried that this country is on the brink of what could be a civil war, ethnically motivated. And the prospects of famine and the humanitarian disaster '' they're really looming large now, so we need to work together. We need to work to ensure that the leaders in South Sudan really do take the action that you've identified they need to. And when the meeting takes place on Friday, they really have got to now try and put aside personal differences and try and change the atmosphere and to try and prevent any further offenses and to respect the cessation of hostilities.
We're actively considering the targeted sanctions that you've described. As you know, the Foreign Affairs Council, we're meeting on Monday, and that's the forum where I am president to try and look at all of these issues and see how we go forward. So we need to work very closely in good cooperation with you and with others and to make sure that we put as much energy as possible into trying to prevent what, as I said, could be a disaster.
Like you, our thoughts are with the parents of the Nigerian girls and with the girls themselves. These are the future of the country. They are teachers, dancers, politicians. They are scientists; they are mothers. They are women in the making, who have a right to play their full part in their society. And what has happened to them is devastating for all of us, and we must do, like you, everything possible to try and reunite them with their families and to prevent this ever, ever happening again.
But I want to end, if I might, by also reiterating my full support for everything that you have done in the Middle East. Your efforts are not, by any means, over yet. I know that. And I know that this has been a difficult time. But I do think that you have made tremendous progress and the European Union stands absolutely beside you as you continue your efforts and remains committed to supporting you in every way possible.
My final thought is on Iran. We will, of course, next week try and take this process forward. And we're all interested in making sure that if we can get an agreement it's the best agreement.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Cathy.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: We always hug. There's always a hug. (Laughter.)
MS. PSAKI: The first question will be from Andrea Mitchell of NBC News.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, Lady Ashton. On Nigeria first, why has it taken so long to mobilize an American effort? We understand that President Jonathan today said he is welcoming the help, that there was no invitation before this, and if you understand that to mean that you can now act. But it will take a while to organize this cell in the Embassy. Why, given our extraordinary abilities with surveillance, with detection, did not the United States act sooner with other allies? It's understood that some of these girls may have been taken across borders. There is an international issue. They are listed as a terror organization, Boko Haram, on the State Department list. It seems inconceivable to people around the world that we could not act sooner where lives are at stake. And how long now will it take to act?
And if I could ask you about Benghazi, because this is our first opportunity, sir. First of all, your response to Chairman Issa's committee's subpoena for you to appear, we understand that on May 21st, the date that you were ordered to appear, that you are supposed to be traveling, previously scheduled, in Mexico. Will you now organize another day to appear? How do you feel about being subpoenaed rather than being invited, as would have been the normal protocol? And what is your response to the committee's charge that the State Department, under your watch as well, has dragged its feet on being forthcoming with all of the demands for documents?
And if I could ask Lady Ashton, finally, given the conversations between President Obama and Chancellor Merkel last week, can the international community really wait to see whether the sectoral sanctions should be imposed? It does seem as though Vladimir Putin and his supporters, these separatists, are not changing their policy and are not responding even to the damage that has been done, whatever it has been, to their economies.
Thank you all so very much.
SECRETARY KERRY: The last question --
QUESTION: Well, you can --
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: He'll answer it as well.
SECRETARY KERRY: No, no, no. I want her to answer it. I thought it was for her.
QUESTION: Yes, for both, but --
SECRETARY KERRY: So '' well, give me the last question again of the four questions I got on here.
QUESTION: Sorry. The last question is: Why wait to impose tougher sanctions given that Vladimir Putin has shown no sign of desisting despite the sanctions that have already been imposed? But I think first --
SECRETARY KERRY: Well --
QUESTION: -- Nigeria and Benghazi.
SECRETARY KERRY: All right, sure. Well, let me speak to Nigeria. First of all, we have been in touch from day one, and our Embassy has been engaged and we have been engaged. But the government had its own set of strategies, if you will, in the beginning. And you can offer and talk, but you can't do if a government has its own sense of how it's proceeding. I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort, and it will begin immediately. I mean literally immediately. We are in touch, our Embassy is in touch. We've been talking with AFRICOM, we've been talking with the various entities, and I think you're going to see a very, very rapid response.
QUESTION: We have satellites, though, surveillance?
SECRETARY KERRY: I understand. Yeah, we do, but it depends where they are and what they're looking at on any given day. And so there are options, and I can assure you '' I think the White House will have more to say about what we are going to be doing, and I'll let them speak for that. But the simple answer is we're going to do everything in our power to able to be helpful. And I'm going to see the President in a little while this afternoon. I think the President may or may not have something to say about this in the near term.
And let's just '' the important thing is that we have put everything on the table. We're going to send a team, and it'll be a combined team ready to work. But you have to have a host country that's ready to receive and work with you in any situation, and we're prepared to work.
On the issue of Benghazi, I served 29 years in the United States Senate, 28-plus. And I was chairman of a major committee, and I don't think I ever issued a subpoena to somebody that I hadn't first invited to come and speak. I think this sort of speaks for itself, frankly.
We have had more than, I think, 50 briefings. There have been in the double digits of hearings. We've delivered over 25,000 documents. And the fact is that documents require a legal process to go through for examination of executive privilege or other kinds of '' classified or other kinds of things that may or may not be in them. That's just not '' it doesn't happen automatically. But I've guaranteed that we would cooperate in every single way. We have, and I will, and the Department will. That's our obligation. And of course, we will. But I think everybody needs to take a hard look at '' and sort of measure what's been already put out there versus where this effort is going. And you see a very partisan response on the Hill with respect to it.
I also think there's an issue of the requisite body figuring out who has jurisdiction over this, from what I understand. There are still some questions as to who is going to do what. So we'll respond, because we have absolutely nothing to hide whatsoever, and I look forward to complying, whatever responsibilities we have.
QUESTION: Do you intend to --
SECRETARY KERRY: With respect to '' I'll comply with whatever responsibilities we have. And with respect to the question of tougher sanctions and sanctions, what we are doing is having a major impact. Nobody should doubt that. The bonds in Russia are already just above junk bonds in categorization, and they've had to postpone a number of sales of bonds. The economy is already on the downward decline. The IMF has already declared that it's in recession. Their growth was going to be about 1.3 percent; it's now prospected to be perhaps .1 or 2 percent, minimal, and we have only yet begun, if we have to. And I think there's no question. But it is important for the United States and Europe to try to move together in this. We believe that. And so that requires a certain element of preparation, coordination. You have to do the right paperwork, the right examination. You have to pull your teams together. And we are proceeding, I think, in a very effective and authoritative way.
We've made it very clear '' President Obama and Chancellor Merkel had a meeting the other day. And they said clearly that if there are interference or continued interference, if there is continued interference with respect to the election and election process, there will be more sanctions that this time will start to bite into the sectors of the economy. And those become even more compelling than what has been put on the table to this point.
But obviously, when you're trying to keep a door open to be able to find some kind of a diplomatic solution, when the other party says they're willing to come to the table and actually engage in that discussion, it seems to me reasonable to try to do that. And I think most people in most places want a responsible government, not to escalate to the point of creating an inevitable confrontation, but rather to find out if there's a way to be able to find that diplomatic solution. That's what diplomacy is about. There's no question about our ability, when we want to, to be able to put sanctions in place that are even more biting than what we have today. But you have to ask yourself if the price has been (inaudible) ahead of time, whether or not that invites something further that you don't want to have happen.
So there's a delicate mix here, and I think President Obama has calibrated this extremely effectively. It's having a biting effect, and we will continue to proceed in unity with our European allies to do what we think has the greatest impact and the most effect.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: I mean, I have nothing much more to add, except to say that from the perspective of what the European Union is doing, it is this desire to see a way to find a method of de-escalation. And that was what Geneva was about. It's why we put on hold measures that we were considering, because that's, as you said, is what you do. When we saw that we were not getting the results from Geneva, we pressed the start button again and we've continued with those measures. And we're looking at all of the possibilities. It's a mix of things that you want to do to try and create the circumstances that will lead to the most important thing, which is stopping the violence, for people to stop occupying the buildings, and to get the kind of discussion, debate, and democratic approach that will lead Ukraine into its future. And so you have to consider all of the ways in which that can be done.
I will be bringing together the 28 foreign ministers on Monday. They will be discussing all of the elements of that approach, working very closely with our colleagues in the United States, in order to see how we can best do that. And it's why countries like Germany, like others, obviously, engaging and talking as well as looking at what we might do as a coordinated effort, and I really hope that we're successful in that.
MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Gero Schliess from Deutsche Welle, and I'm sure I butchered that, but go ahead.
QUESTION: Gero Schliess, Gero Schliess, thank you. First part also on Ukraine: Some people have the impression that for the U.S. sanctions '' or, let's say, punishment or isolation of Mr. Putin is the most important goal. And I have a perception that Europe seems to be reluctant to pursue this policy. And my question to both of you is: We have (inaudible) that Putin is a problem, but in what respect could he be also part of a solution? And today, did you discuss the option of a neutral Ukraine that would possibly satisfy Putin and might be acceptable for the Western countries?
And the second part of my question goes '' is about Syria. As Syrian delegation of '' Syrian opposition is in D.C. to talk to the Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry, your Administration has granted the U.S. offices of Syrian National Coalition diplomatic status. Does this signal that the U.S. are getting more actively involved in the civil war, including providing the rebels with heavy weaponry?
And to you, Lady Ashton, would the European Union also grant diplomatic status to the Syrian National Coalition?
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: Should I start?
SECRETARY KERRY: Go ahead, please.
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: On Ukraine, it's for the people of Ukraine to decide what Ukraine is and will be, and they will consider very carefully where they sit in the world. I've said whenever I visited Ukraine, when I met with the then-President Yanukovych and in more recent times, that it's not about a competition between Europe and Russia for a nation, that Ukraine will want strong and good economic links with Russia. And we recognize that that's important. This is never and never should be about this idea of a competition.
For us, it's always about trying to find now the way forward, as I've already indicated, to find the formula that's going to help to de-escalate the situation, to talk with everybody and to keep all the doors open while being very clear that the situation cannot continue as it is.
On Syria, I'll answer very briefly, the European Union of itself does not do diplomatic relations with anyone. It's individual member states who do that.
QUESTION: And may I ask, how far could Putin be part of a solution concerning the Ukraine crisis?
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: Well, President Putin is president of Russia, and Russia is playing a role at the moment. So the question for Russia is: If you take what I've just said about the fact that Ukraine as a nation needs to have a good relationship with all of its neighbors, then you need to start looking at how, from Russia's perspective, they're going to define that. And defining that for me is about strong economic links. Yes, there are strong historical links, and yes, there needs to be a way in which they can be peacefully co-existing side by side. And I hope that President Putin might consider that that is the way forward.
SECRETARY KERRY: With respect to your question on President Putin, there's no observer of Russia, there is no one engaged in diplomacy today who doesn't understand that President Putin is calling the shots in Russia, that a very narrow group of people around him are advising him in one way or the other. But President Putin is almost exclusively, if not exclusively calling the shots.
There is no specific effort by the United States of America to somehow single him out other than to respond to the fact that in his name, Russia has deployed its forces, engaged in direct activities involved first in Crimea, now in east and south of Ukraine, in ways that are destabilizing that country, and still has 40,000-plus or so troops lined up on the border in a place that it didn't have them before they began to move into Crimea.
Now, what we are trying to do is not targeted on him because we have some personal thing or something about him. It's because he's making decisions that are adversely affecting the region and the rights of the people of Ukraine to choose their future and to have their sovereignty respected. We have only one interest in this. That is the stability and respect for Ukraine, its integrity and its sovereignty, and the opportunity of the people of Ukraine to choose their future. That's our interest. And we are not seeking alignment; we're not seeking anything except this universal value that is respected around the world for the right of people to not be bludgeoned at the butt of a gun, or with military invasion, to be told what to do.
Now, we believe that it's appropriate for us to respond in response to the legitimate demands of a government that was voted on even by the former supporters of President Yanukovych, who deserted the country of his own free will, and made a decision not to live up to the agreement that he signed back in February. And the parliament, with his own party's support, voted him out and provided for an interim government and called for elections. Now, what could be more sensible than to allow this country under siege to be able to have an election where they give legitimacy to a new government by having all of the people be able to vote? That's all people are looking for here. It seems to me that it shouldn't be so complicated for Russia to be able to engage in that process.
And we respect that Russia has a long historical connection to Ukraine, and that Kyiv is the home '' the birthplace of Russian religion, and that wars of liberation have been fought on that territory. And we understand the connection and the strong feelings about protection of people who '' Russian-speaking and so forth. We're not '' nobody's arguing against that, though. The fact is that the interim government of Ukraine is prepared to respect the Russian language, prepared to respect the greater autonomy for people in that region, to give them '' frankly, the people '' the Government of Ukraine has offered to give the people in south and east Ukraine more power over their own lives on an everyday basis than Russia gives any individual state or province in Russia. That's a fact.
And so the answer is that what we think is important here is that the rights of the people be respected. And Lady Ashton's correct: They have to choose their future. But they have said they are not seeking alignment. They've said they're not looking for NATO membership. And NATO and those of us who are members have said we're prepared to respect the choice of the interim government and whatever future government of Ukraine there is.
Final comment: We have said again and again to the Russians '' and I hope they hear it again today '' we are not seeking for a Ukraine that belongs to some other part of the world, but only '' we want one that just belongs to Ukraine. And we're not seeking one that is a pawn between East and West. We'd like Ukraine to be a bridge between East and West. And we certainly agree with President Putin's vision that we could have an economic arrangement that goes from Vladivostok to Lisbon that involves everybody in a major market where everybody benefits.
So there's more to talk about than unfortunately some of the heated rhetoric has given people a sense of. And our hope is that '' that's why we pursue these discussions, is to see if we can't find a way to make those interests meet the moment and find a way forward that de-escalates this confrontation.
MS. PSAKI: Thanks, everyone.
SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, and Syria. I didn't answer Syria. On Syria, we have not recognized the SOC. We've given them diplomatic status to be able to come here, but because we have previously said that they are the legitimate representative. But we have not moved to create a diplomatic '' to recognize them or create a diplomatic situation. But we're hopeful that, again, there also, we can find a way forward that deals with this extraordinary violence that is literally destroying the country of Syria. And our hope is that we could have a reasonable way forward to do that. Thank you. Thank you all.
VIDEO-TechCrunch Speaker Combines Every Possible Startup Cliche
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:51
Shingy may have met his match: Justin Rosenstein looks like your typical geek gentry, but underneath the milquetoast-chic demeanor, he's bubble buzzword demon. Watch as he channels every obnoxious Silicon Valley delusion, all at once.
Change the world. Power. Influence. Innovation. Hand gestures. Literal self-comparisons to royalty. Slides. Rosenstein's keynote at this week's TechCrunch Disrupt conference has it all. There's a banal, pseudo-do-gooder theme ("Do great things"). There are several venn diagrams. There are repeated tone deaf calls to "have your cake and eat it too," an exhortation for all techies to embrace their Stanford dropout privilege and remake the world as they desire.
It would be entirely at home on Sunday night HBO'--made all the more painful by the fact that Rosenstein actually references the show while diving into self-parody. To TechCrunch's credit, Rosenstein got a quick kick in the ass by Alex Wilhelm in a post-keynote interview'--but why even invite on someone so clownish? Why give another aloof rich man-tween with nothing original to say a spot on a stage? Why let a man who basically builds fancy email software bloviate about changing humankind?
S
Could it have something to do with the fact that Rosenstein is shameless Facebook buddies with TechCrunch's Josh Constine? Do great things... for your friends.
Video above edited from the full keynote,which can be viewed here.
VIDEO-The National Climate Assessment | The White House
Wed, 07 May 2014 03:47
May 06, 2014 | 2:35
Dr. John Holdren, President Obama's Science Advisor, introduces the National Climate Assessment and discusses President Obama's climate action plan which takes an all of the above energy approach towards combatting climate change now. Learn more at http://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change
Public Domain
VIDEO-CNBC survey shows millionaires want higher taxes to fix inequality
Tue, 06 May 2014 16:13
Philanthropy fills a void in our society: Glenn Dubin
Glenn Dubin, a Highbridge Capital Management and co-founder & CEO of Dubin & Co., discusses how The Robin Hood foundation became a natural advocate for the poor. "Philanthropy is the difference between standard of care and excellent care," he says. Dr. Kenneth Davis, Mount Sinai Health System president and CEO, weighs in.
A millionaire's view on inequality and taxes, however, seems to depend more on their politics than their wealth. Eighty-six percent of Democratic millionaires said inequality is a problem, compared with only 20 percent of Republicans. Two-thirds of Republicans vs. a quarter of Democrats say anyone can become wealthy in America if they work hard.
Democratic millionaires are far more supportive of taxing the rich and raising the minimum wage. Among Democratic millionaires, 78 percent support higher taxes on the wealthy, and 77 percent back a higher minimum wage. That compares with 31 percent and 38 percent, respectively, for Republicans.
Read MoreCut tax breaks for high incomes: Obama advisor
Politics even plays a role in how millionaires view wealth creation. Among Republican millionaires, 63 percent say hard work is the No. 1 reason the wealthy are wealthy. Democrats were most likely (45 percent) to cite a person's family or place of birth as the top reason for their wealth.
The bottom line: American millionaires, in general, agree that inequality is a problem. But when it comes to solutions, millionaires are just as split along political lines as the rest of the country.
'--By CNBC's Robert Frank
VIDEO-China's 'ordinary' billionaire behind grand Nicaragua canal plan - Yahoo Finance
Tue, 06 May 2014 16:12
By Matthew Miller
BEIJING (Reuters) - Wang Jing, the enigmatic businessman behind Nicaragua's $50 billion Interoceanic Grand Canal, shrugs off scepticism about how a little-known entrepreneur can be driving a huge transcontinental project, insisting he's not an agent of the Beijing government.
"I know you don't believe me," said Wang, who reckons that he's forked-out about $100 million in canal preparation work, and is burning as much as $10 million a month on the project.
"You believe there are people from the Chinese government in the background providing support. Why, in the end, is only Wang Jing out front?"
High-ranking Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and former leaders Jiang Zemin and Wen Jiabao have all visited the state-connected wireless communication technologies company Wang took control of four years ago.
Wang, whose entrepreneurism went mostly unnoticed in China and elsewhere before last year's Nicaragua announcement and a subsequent $3 billion Black Sea port development plan, has not helped matters by refusing to talk in detail about himself or broad swathes of his career.
During two interviews at the headquarters of Beijing Xinwei Telecom Technology Inc and in several follow-up emails, the 41-year-old Wang discussed Nicaragua, Beijing Xinwei's recent deal to undertake the biggest reverse takeover in Chinese stock market history and his background, providing fresh details to a life that remains mysterious.
"I was born in December 1972 in Beijing," said Wang. "All these years I've lived a very ordinary life."
HIGH-WIRE ACT
Wang grabbed global headlines last June when he sealed a controversial no-bid 50-year renewable concession from Nicaragua's Sandinista government to develop the $50 billion canal to rival Panama's, and related facilities.
Nicaragua preparation is on schedule, Wang said. In January, he and President Daniel Ortega issued a joint statement to address what Wang described as "misleading reports" that the start of construction would be delayed.
The proposed scope is enormous, comprising construction of a waterway that may extend 130 miles, depending on the route selected, along with two ports, a railway, oil pipeline, and an international airport.
The canal would be longer, deeper and wider than the Panama Canal, about 500 miles to the southeast.
View gallery
Wang Jing, Chairman and CEO of Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Groups and Chairman and CEO of HK Nicaragua '...
The scale of the project has led some to suggest it could only be viable with the backing of the Chinese government, which might see it as a geopolitical play to balance U.S. influence in Central America.
"I can't imagine (Wang) would have gone forward without at least coordinating with the Chinese government," said R Evan Ellis, assistant professor for Hemispheric Defense Studies at National Defense University in Washington. "Big Chinese companies just don't parachute down into Latin America."
The project, Ellis estimates, may provide China with commercial leverage over key Latin American governments and local companies, which may prove crucial to guarantee trade routes and access to raw materials.
"How the project ends will likely depend on the government of the People's Republic of China," he said.
For Wang, who can make a small fortune from licensing arrangements alone, the project represents a perilous highwire act. The ocean-connecting waterway has been criticized as the proverbial white elephant, while Wang has been ridiculed in the global press for lacking experience developing or financing big infrastructure.
Wang only established Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co (HKND) in August 2012 and opened offices in Hong Kong's premier International Financial Center weeks ahead of the June 2013 announcement.
Nicaraguan opposition politicians also question Wang's commitment to addressing social and environmental issues, particularly how the proposed project may affect Lake Nicaragua, an important freshwater source in the region.
Wang has brought in international specialists to help quell concerns. McKinsey & Co was hired to conduct an economic feasibility study, while Environmental Resources Management Ltd is conducting an environmental and social impact study for the various routes under consideration.
SBE, the Belgium-based civil engineering firm specializing in canal hydraulics, and MEC Mining, the Australia-based engineering consultancy also have been hired. Washington consultancy McLarty Associates and law firm Kirkland & Ellis also were contracted.
As many as 400 engineers and technicians of different nationalities are currently working on a canal feasibility study, Nicaragua's Canal Authority head Manuel Coronel Kautz told Reuters. There are between 600 and 700 people working on the project, Wang said.
McKinsey & Co infrastructure partner Stefan Matzinger declined to answer questions. ERM regional chief David McArthur, McLarty Associate's managing partner Stephen Donehoo and Kirkland & Ellis partner Chuan Li did not respond to emails or telephone calls.
FINDING $50 BILLION
Financing is a thornier issue.
Wang, who may be prepared to spend as much as $300 million of his own cash, said that he will use a combination of cross-shareholding, bank lending and debt issuance to raise the estimated $50 billion needed to finance the project.
Five international groups had already agreed to invest in the project, he added. "We have not only signed memorandum-of-understanding, we are working on final preparations for executable, irrevocable contracts," he said.
On April 23, Xugong Group Construction Machinery Co., one of China's biggest construction equipment manufacturers, announced it had reached a framework agreement to take a 1.5 to 3 percent stake in Wang's development company.
No dollar amount was attached to the investment, which also would make Xugong the sole supplier of engineering equipment to the canal project. More announcements are expected in the coming weeks, Wang said.
Other companies that may participate in an international consortium include state conglomerate China Railway Construction Corp., China's biggest overseas engineering contractor, which is one of Wang's strategic partners that has been brought in to help with feasibility studies. Wang said that he has spoken with Chinese state-owned banks but would not say whether any would provide financing.
"I want to point out that it isn't going to take $50 billion in cash to do this," Wang said.
Wang's other big infrastructure project, a $3 billion plan to build a deepwater port on the Black Sea about 60 km (35 miles) north of Sevastopol, is facing greater uncertainty.
In December, Wang announced the agreement between HKND and an unknown Ukrainian firm during a visit to Beijing by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted two months later. A photograph captures Wang at the time talking about the port project with Yanukovich and China's Vice Premier Ma Kai. The port site is located in the middle of the Crimean peninsula that has been annexed by Russia.
By February, 20 HKND workers had completed their site inspection work and were forced to return to China.
"We're still confident, but given the current complexity of the Ukraine situation, in terms of our procedures, our schedule and our rhythm, we will need to replan," Wang said.
"I'M VERY ORDINARY"
Wang looks flush with cash - at least on paper. His main asset is a 36.97 percent stake in Beijing Xinwei, the government-backed developer of China's wireless communications standard that now specializes in mobile network development and products. Beijing Xinwei in March estimated its assets at 26.89 billion yuan.
Separately, Wang controls Hong Kong Nicaragua Development Co, a Hong Kong registered firm, through mainland-registered Beijing Interoceanic Canal Investment Management Co, according to filings with the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Hong Kong Companies Registry.
Wang also reports full ownership of several offshore subsidiaries, including seven Netherlands firms related to the Nicaragua project; a British Virgin Islands-registered aircraft investment company, and media and sports entities, all of which were registered within the last year.
He owns Southeast Asia (Cambodia) Agriculture Development Group Inc, which was registered in Cambodia in September 2009, according to Shanghai Stock Exchange filings.
Less is known about Wang's path to success. The youthful chief executive refused to discuss his family background, saying only that his father was an ordinary office worker and died in 2010 following an 11-year illness; his mother, who is about 70 years old, is retired; and that he has a daughter.
"It's that simple," said Wang. "I'm very ordinary."
Wang says he studied at Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine but left before graduation, returning years later to organize Beijing Changping Traditional Health and Culture School.
In the late 1990s, Wang said he traveled to Hong Kong to learn about international finance and investment. He returned to Beijing in 1998 and founded Dingfu Investment Consulting Co. In Hong Kong, Wang also established Hong Kong Divine (Dingfu) Investment Group Ltd in 2001.
He later mined gold and precious stones in Cambodia - a process he described as slow and exacerbated by the legacy of past wars - and opened Yingxi Construction and Engineering Co, a small contractor that participated in projects in Beijing, Tianjin and Guangdong. Available information about these firms is scarce.
Wang declined to elaborate on the source of his wealth. "China has an expression 'the finest fragments of fox fur, sewn together, will make a robe', the meaning of which is a fortune is accumulated over time," he said.
(Additional reporting by Ivan Castro in Managua; Editing by Emily Kaiser and Alex Richardson)
VIDEO-WaPo Reporter: Benghazi Scandal ''Could Actually Be Good'' For Hillary Clinton In 2016'... | Weasel Zippers
Tue, 06 May 2014 03:51
In bizarro world.
Via Newsbusters:
Appearing on Monday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Dan Balz touted Democratic spin that the ongoing Benghazi scandal could actually help Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign: ''I talked to somebody over the weekend, a Democrat, who said, you know, this could actually be good for Clinton because the degree to which the right is really after her helps her with her left'....if she's under attack by the right, the Democrats across the spectrum will be more forgiving of her.''
VIDEO-Daily Press Briefing: May 5, 2014
Tue, 06 May 2014 02:01
1:25 p.m. EDT
MS. HARF: Hello. Welcome to the daily press briefing. Happy Monday. I have a few items at the top, and then I am happy to open it up for all of your questions.
First, the United States is pleased to welcome the delegation of the Syrian National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces which arrived yesterday in Washington D.C. and is visiting here through May 14th. Led by President Ahmad Jarba, this is the coalition's first official visit to the United States since being established in 2012. Secretary Kerry, as well as other U.S. officials of the Departments of State and Treasury and the National Security Council, look forward to meeting with the delegation.
The United States recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in December 2012. The coalition has built an inclusive and moderate institution that has demonstrated its commitment to serving the interests and needs of the Syrian people, rejected extremism, and worked to advance a negotiated political transition in Syria. It has given a voice to Syrians whose opinions have been suppressed by the regime for decades. It established an interim government which focuses on enhancing the capabilities of local governance structures inside Syria, increasing humanitarian assistance, and restoring essential services.
As part of our steadfast commitment to empower the moderate Syrian opposition and to bolster its efforts to assist those in need inside Syria, the United States is announcing additional measures this week to support the coalition, local communities inside Syria, and members of the moderate armed opposition.
First, we are strengthening our ties with the Syrian opposition. We are happy to announce that the coalition's representative offices in the United States are now foreign missions under the Foreign Missions Act.
Second, we are working with the United States Congress to provide more than $27 million in new nonlethal assistance, bringing the total nonlethal support we have committed and are providing for the Syrian opposition to nearly 287 million.
Third, we are stepping up deliveries of nonlethal assistance to commanders in the Free Syrian Army to enhance their logistical capabilities.
As we take these steps and continue our dialogue this week with the SOC, we will look at what more we can do and also what our international partners can do to support the moderate opposition, ease the humanitarian suffering from this conflict, and work towards a political solution to resolve the Syrian crisis.
The final update at the top is a travel wrap-up. Secretary Kerry is en route back to Washington, D.C., after wrapping up a weeklong trip to the African continent. Over the weekend in Kinshasa, Secretary Kerry met with President Joseph Kabila to discuss how the Democratic Republic of the Congo's democratization and stability can best be advanced by ensuring that the country's next elections are credible, timely, and held in line with the current constitution.
Additionally, the Secretary traveled to Luanda, Angola where he met with senior government officials, including the Angolan president and foreign minister, discussed bilateral policy and trade issues.
Matt.
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: Kick us off on this Monday.
QUESTION: Okay, I will. I want to get back to Syria, but I want to ask you about some unfinished business from last week as well as some new stuff today about Benghazi.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: One, on the subpoena that Congressman Issa has sent to Secretary Kerry: On Friday, when we were talking, he had not yet '' wasn't yet aware of it or you weren't sure if he was aware of it or not. Is he now, and if he is, what does he think of it?
MS. HARF: He is aware. He has been made aware. As I noted, he is in a '' just finishing up a trip to the African continent. He is aware. He '' as we've said repeatedly, we were all surprised, quite frankly, that instead of working with us and reaching out to us and offering first an invitation to testify, that Chairman Issa jumped immediately to subpoenaing the Secretary. A couple more points: He does still plan to be in Mexico on the 21st. We've had that travel planned, as I said on Friday.
And I would '' again, we talked a little bit about this on Friday, but I'm just going to read a little bit of quote for you from House Republican leader John Boehner. This is a quote from 2007 about a previous attempt to subpoena a Secretary of State. This was a subpoena to get information about prewar intelligence in Iraq. You'll remember, I think, 4,500 Americans died in Iraq. This is the quote from John Boehner. Let me just read a little bit for you.
Quote, ''This partisan show trial is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. By subpoenaing the Secretary of State, Democrats have revealed how beholden they are to leftwing activist groups while stealing the Secretary's time away from critical diplomatic missions.'' It goes on. But Chairman Issa also opposed that subpoena for Secretary Rice. So what we would say is you don't get to have different rules for different administrations. And as Lindsey Graham this weekend said on a Sunday show, we shouldn't play politics with Benghazi. Clearly, I think what we're seeing now can be called nothing but that.
QUESTION: Well, getting back to that in a second --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: The Secretary still plans to be in Mexico on the 21st, which is the day of the hearing?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Does this mean '' and I believe before you said that even though you clearly don't like this, that you were willing to work with Congress to set a '' I mean, is he '' is the Secretary willing to appear at all --
MS. HARF: Well, we're --
QUESTION: -- whether it's under subpoena or not?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh. We're taking a look at the request, and we'll talk to the committee about what that might look like.
QUESTION: So if they change the date, I mean --
MS. HARF: I don't want to get ahead of what those discussions might look like. We are committed to working with the committee to find a resolution to this that is acceptable to both sides. We were surprised when they didn't reach out to us before issuing a subpoena for exactly that reason. And as I've noted here, there have been a number of Republicans who themselves, under the previous administration, said a Secretary of State should not be subpoenaed.
QUESTION: Okay. But --
MS. HARF: So let's all play by the same rules here.
QUESTION: Okay. But just '' I mean, he is within his right, though, to make '' well, whatever he said about an attempt to subpoena Secretary Rice back in 2007 aside, other than that --
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- I mean, he is not out of bounds in issuing a subpoena, is he?
MS. HARF: Well, traditionally, how the process has worked is that first you issue an invitation to testify.
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: And you work with the official to determine when might work for someone to appear. So that part of the process was just skipped over by Chairman Issa.
QUESTION: All right. Well, okay. In terms of the date, do you have reason to believe that they issued the subpoena for a date that they knew the Secretary was going --
MS. HARF: I don't think they knew he was going to be because they didn't reach out to us first.
QUESTION: All right.
MS. HARF: And what I would say '' and the reason I bring up Speaker Boehner's comments here is that '' why is it not okay for Secretary Rice to testify about Iraq, about going to war, about how we take America to war? Why is it not okay to issue a subpoena for her where 4,500 Americans died; and somehow, now, surprisingly when it's Democrats, it's okay to issue one for the Secretary, who, by the way, wasn't even Secretary of State then?
QUESTION: Well, okay. But I mean, it's still '' I mean, it's within his '' within Chairman Issa's jurisdiction to --
MS. HARF: Many things are within someone's jurisdiction. It doesn't make it right.
QUESTION: You just don't like the way it was done; is that correct?
MS. HARF: Well, there's a number of things I don't like about it.
QUESTION: Clearly.
MS. HARF: One is the process. Yes, a huge one is the process. Yes.
QUESTION: One of the reasons that he issued the subpoena is because he says that the State Department has not been complying with requests or demands, however you want to describe it, to produce documents in a timely fashion. Do you not think that --
MS. HARF: We strongly disagree with that.
QUESTION: You totally disagree with it.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: We talked a little bit on Friday about how you said that process is still evolving and that more documents will be coming. Can you '' do you have any update on how that --
MS. HARF: No.
QUESTION: -- how that is going? Do you know how many documents there are, even a rough general --
MS. HARF: Well, as you know, we've produced tens of thousands of documents.
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: And again --
QUESTION: Are there '' is it fair to say there are tens of thousands more?
MS. HARF: No, not to my knowledge.
QUESTION: No.
MS. HARF: And my '' also my understanding, the reason we do this as a rolling production is because if you waited until they were all done and cleared for release, they wouldn't have seen any yet. So we actually did this so Congress would see documents more quickly.
QUESTION: Okay. So let me just --
MS. HARF: Because there are so many.
QUESTION: One final point of the subpoena --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- and then I just want to ask about the select committee. But one point '' if the hearing goes ahead '' and I realize that that's a hypothetical question '' if it goes ahead on May 21st, we can be certain --
MS. HARF: We're going to be in Mexico.
QUESTION: -- that the Secretary will not be there?
MS. HARF: We're going to be in Mexico.
QUESTION: So he will decline this '' not '' the forced invitation to attend on the 21st?
MS. HARF: We're going to be in Mexico --
QUESTION: All right. Now --
MS. HARF: -- on the 21st doing, as House leader Boehner said, ''critical diplomatic missions.'' So why would we take the Secretary away from that --
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: -- to answer this subpoena?
QUESTION: And now just on the select committee --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- as you will have seen Speaker Boehner, who you just talked about, has appointed Congressman Gowdy to lead the special '' to run the select committee. On Friday again you said, as you did on Thursday I think too, say that you do not believe that this is a '' you think this is essentially a waste of taxpayers' money and a waste of Congress' time because there had been so many investigations into this before.
MS. HARF: I would use --
QUESTION: Is that --
MS. HARF: -- Speaker Boehner's own words, ''a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.'' He's used that in 2007 about looking more into Iraq. I would probably use that to refer to this as well.
QUESTION: Well, didn't that apply '' that applied to Secretary Rice's subpoena, right?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: But I'm going to use it to apply here.
QUESTION: To the select committee --
MS. HARF: I'm going to use his words for --
QUESTION: So in other words, your --
MS. HARF: -- to describe his own effort.
QUESTION: Your position on the select committee has not changed from last week when you were --
MS. HARF: That it's not necessary.
QUESTION: It is not necessary.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: But do you not understand or do you not see '' maybe '' clearly you don't '' not that you don't understand. Do you see how members of '' some members of Congress think that the production of this document last week, this infamous email now, is suggestive that you are not '' that this building and the Administration as a whole has not been forthcoming and is slow-walking or even attempting to hide --
MS. HARF: Not at all.
QUESTION: You don't see how anyone can see that?
MS. HARF: I don't, no.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: I think the facts just don't bear out that conclusion.
QUESTION: All right. I'll '' I'm done with that.
MS. HARF: Benghazi?
QUESTION: One quick one on Mexico. When the Secretary is in Mexico, will he bring up the issue of the former Marine who is now being held hostage '' or excuse me, held in captivity after
making a wrong turn off the exit?
MS. HARF: I don't have any predictions for you in terms of what we'll talk about in Mexico. Unfortunately, in this case, can't talk about any of the details because of privacy.
QUESTION: But is Secretary Kerry aware of the case of Andrew Tahmooressi?
MS. HARF: I can't, unfortunately, get into any details on that. Obviously, if there's something that needs to rise to the attention of the Secretary it will.
QUESTION: Okay. And going back to Benghazi, why were the '' this recent rollout of Benghazi emails '' why were the ones given to the oversight committee different from what was just released by Judicial Watch?
MS. HARF: Well, they '' are you referring to the emails specifically?
QUESTION: Mm-hmm.
MS. HARF: Well, here. I have the email with me as it was produced to HOGR. Right here you can see, say it's produced to HOGR '' exactly the same as it was released to Judicial Watch. Nothing was redacted from it when it was produced to the Hill. I think actually there's been some inaccurate reporting '' unfortunately, some on your network '' about whether it was redacted when it was sent to the Hill. So I just wanted to bring show and tell with me today.
QUESTION: Okay. And are there any plans to release more emails? I know you discussed it earlier. But --
MS. HARF: Yeah. We've been doing a rolling production of documents. And I do underscore the reason we've done it this way is so Congress gets access to things more quickly, right. Because if we waited until they were all done then they wouldn't have any documents yet.
So as we have continued in this process, we will continue to and we'll continue working with Congress on this.
QUESTION: Why '' what's the notion behind this rolling release? Some would call that slow-walking.
MS. HARF: Well, it's in fact the opposite, right. Think about it this way: We have a bunch of documents that we are '' related to Benghazi in some way, which this email really isn't, as we've talked about '' but it mentioned it. So a bunch of documents '' huge amounts of them '' in order to more quickly get them to the Hill '' instead of waiting to send them all until they're all '' because you have to go through them for sensitivities, for security sensitivities, names of people working with us we wouldn't want out there '' you have to go through them to make sure that they're sanitized, right, for security issues. Obviously, we provide as much as we can; as you see, that email was unredacted when it went.
And so in order to get documents as quickly as possible, you do a bunch of them at a time. You finish them and then you send them, so they can start going through them. Otherwise, you wait until the end and they don't have anything in the interim. So I thought Congress would actually appreciate our attempts to get them things more quickly. I don't feel that sense coming back from them.
QUESTION: On the subject of classification, some of these emails recently '' there's been some retroactive classification. Can you comment on that?
MS. HARF: I don't know which one's you're referring to, specifically.
QUESTION: This '' the email in question from the Ben Rhodes email. There's --
MS. HARF: There's nothing classified about it.
QUESTION: Well, there's some --
MS. HARF: This is how it went to the Hill, in a totally unclassified manner. Nothing redacted in it. So I don't know what you're looking at, but that's not my understanding about the Ben Rhodes email.
I mean, there are a bunch of documents; I can't speak to every single one of them. I focused on this one because you all are so focused on it. There are '' we go through them to make sure, again, security equities if people have been '' there's names of people on the ground in Libya, for example, who were working with the United States. Things like that, we don't want those names out there, but we obviously attempt to provide as much information unredacted as possible to the committee.
QUESTION: Okay. Because some of these emails that I'm looking at, the classification has been changed. These were unclassified emails that have since been retroactively classified.
MS. HARF: Okay, I'm happy to take a look at those specifically. I'm not aware of what you have in front of you, but I'm happy to look.
QUESTION: Similar to what happened during the Usama bin Laden emails '' I think that you should remember.
MS. HARF: I think actually we declassified a bunch of them.
QUESTION: But you changed it.
MS. HARF: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: The classifications were changed.
MS. HARF: Well, there's a declassification process that we go through in order to provide as much information as possible to the American people. And with the Usama bin Laden emails, if we're referring to the same ones, those were actually declassified. They went through the declassification process that the DNI runs so we could share more with the American people. They're just different circumstances.
QUESTION: And that was, I think, after meeting with the director of the movie Zero Dark Thirty?
MS. HARF: You're talking about a movie?
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: Okay, which emails about that? Actually, I think the emails '' are you referring to my emails? Yes, Lucas. Those emails were never classified. Those were just released under a FOIA request. That's very different. Those were all unclassified emails that were never declassified. I thought you were referring to some of the documents associated with the actual operation.
QUESTION: Oh, okay.
MS. HARF: Those were declassified. The emails that you referred to with the movie were just produced under FOIA. They were never classified. The classification never changed.
QUESTION: Can I go to Syria?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: No. Hold on. I have just one more on this. On the select committee, you make the case that you have been cooperating with Congress ever since --
MS. HARF: Absolutely.
QUESTION: -- since they got involved, exercising their oversight authority, and that you don't think the select committee is needed. But will the Department '' and if you can speak more broadly to the Administration as a whole, but will this Department specifically '' will you be cooperating with it? Or do you think that since you don't believe that it's necessary, do you think that it's not necessary that you've already given them all that --
MS. HARF: Well --
QUESTION: -- or will have given them all that you '' what's --
MS. HARF: We obviously endeavor to cooperate as much as possible given that this hasn't even, I think, been voted on or stood up yet. We'll look and see what it look like and figure out how we're going to cooperate. But we have endeavored and will continue to be cooperative.
QUESTION: But --
MS. HARF: I just don't know what that will look like.
QUESTION: But you don't intend to be uncooperative, because you think that it's not --
MS. HARF: It's never our intention to be uncooperative.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: Marie, on the announcement of the foreign mission status for the Syrian Opposition Coalition offices, what protection would it give them now that they didn't have before? What does this enhanced status actually mean in practicality for them?
MS. HARF: Yeah, it does a couple of things. So this is not, obviously, tantamount to recognition of the SOC as the Government of Syria. It's a reflection of our partnership with the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and will do a few things. It will allow us to formally facilitate banking and security services for the coalition offices in the United States. That's one. It will also facilitate their outreach to the Syrian diaspora in an increased way in the United States as well. So those are three things off the bat that I think they'll get from it.
QUESTION: But it will not give the personnel working in it diplomatic immunity, I believe?
MS. HARF: Let me check on immunity. I don't believe that's the case, but let me double-check on the immunity question.
QUESTION: And as far as access to the Syrian regime building that was shuttered back in March --
MS. HARF: They will not be '' they will not have that building.
QUESTION: They will not have the building. Thank you.
QUESTION: Is that '' do you know, speaking of that, did they ever make a request for a protecting power to look over that, do you know? Or if you don't know --
MS. HARF: I don't know.
QUESTION: -- can you look into that to see if it's whether --
MS. HARF: Who would they ask?
QUESTION: The Syrian '' I don't know, maybe the Russians.
MS. HARF: Maybe the Russians. I don't know. I'll check. I don't know. I don't think they have, but let me check.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Sorry. They have offices in Washington and in New York.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: So it applies to both of those offices?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm, that is correct.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.
MS. HARF: And if they were to open them anywhere else as well.
QUESTION: Right.
QUESTION: So '' and can I ask about this Foreign Missions Act?
MS. HARF: Always, yes.
QUESTION: Okay. Just try to figure out what, in addition to what they have, they will have more now in United States?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: I mean, legalization of their status or --
MS. HARF: I think I just mentioned a few things. We've already recognized them as the legitimate opposition. This doesn't '' no, this doesn't recognize them as the Government of Syria. There's a diplomatic process in place for that. But it allows us to formally facilitate banking and security services --
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: -- for their coalition offices, which is actually a key part of operating as a diplomatic entity in the United States.
QUESTION: Do they have more presence than Washington, D.C. or other places?
MS. HARF: They have one in New York as well.
QUESTION: So the other thing '' I mean, you said clearly, I assume, that there is no related to their status now with the embassy status, which was --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- closed a few days '' a few weeks ago through --
MS. HARF: In April, uh-huh.
QUESTION: Yeah. There is no relation?
MS. HARF: No.
QUESTION: So what is the significance of '' political significance --
MS. HARF: In March '' excuse me, in March. I was wrong.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: Yeah.
QUESTION: What is the political or, let's say, a diplomatic significance that you will achieve by giving them this status?
MS. HARF: Well, I think it just shows how committed we are to working with the SOC, and it takes another step to formalize their relationship with us and to say that we believe they are the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Obviously, it doesn't confer on them status as the Government of Syria, but it takes just another step to say these are the people who are showing they're committed to a diplomatic solution, they are the moderate opposition, they've been at the table negotiating with the regime. It just is another step to formalize that.
QUESTION: So I mean, can we expect that other things will come out at the end of the week after their meetings or their trips?
MS. HARF: I think there might be some more steps that we announce throughout the week after our meetings. I just don't have anything to preview for you.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. HARF: Syria?
QUESTION: On Syria?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Do you have any update regarding the previous chemical --
MS. HARF: No.
QUESTION: -- weapon attacks?
MS. HARF: I don't have any update on it.
QUESTION: What is the process? What are you trying to do right now on those allegations?
MS. HARF: Well, the OPCW announced '' let me just pull this up. The OPCW announced that they were going to be undertaking a fact-finding mission to establish the facts around this alleged use of chlorine in Syria, obviously think this is a good step. We will consult with them. I don't think we have a schedule laid out for how this fact-finding mission will go about, but we want to get all the facts, and we'll make determinations and then go from there.
QUESTION: Did you also try to reach out to one of the British newspapers? Telegraph, according to their findings, they already established through some samples they received. Did you --
MS. HARF: Has the OPCW team?
QUESTION: No, the '' one of Turkish '' British newspapers.
MS. HARF: Right. Well, the OPCW is the one doing the fact-finding mission, given that they're the ones running the CW destruction effort. So I don't know if they have. I don't know if our folks have. I'm happy to check.
QUESTION: Another question regarding Syria.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: I mean, the Special Representative Brahimi announced his intention, or at least say that he is not trying to be '' again, to doing the same thing.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: And there were some names which were mentioned. Do you have any position regarding the next step, or just like, leave it to --
MS. HARF: Well, obviously, we work very closely with Mr. Brahimi on the Syria issue. I don't have any predictions for you about where the process will go from here. In order to convene a third diplomatic round, we need the Syrian regime to agree to several steps, which they have not agreed to. So we'll keep working with Mr. Brahimi or whoever happens to be in that role to move the process forward.
Jo.
QUESTION: Is there any reason --
MS. HARF: Go ahead. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Any particular reason why you're taking these steps now, the office and also the extra money?
MS. HARF: Well, obviously, President Jarba just arrived in town and will be having a whole host of meetings this week. And this is his first official visit, the first official SOC visit to Washington. So I think we probably timed it with that.
QUESTION: Sorry, what I meant was the whole general '' the meetings and everything.
MS. HARF: Oh, what '' oh, all of them. I don't know why. I don't know if it was just a scheduling issue or if there now is a specific reason. I don't think there was.
QUESTION: Sorry. This is the first official visit of the SOC?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Hasn't '' haven't other leaders --
MS. HARF: The first official visit --
QUESTION: -- been here before since they were recognized in, God, where was that, Istanbul? Where were we when --
MS. HARF: But this is the coalition's first official visit to the United States since 2012. You can visit here and it not be an official visit.
QUESTION: Right, but --
MS. HARF: This is their first official visit.
QUESTION: -- wasn't the previous '' no? The previous leader didn't ever come?
MS. HARF: This is the first official visit.
QUESTION: Okay.
QUESTION: Given that you work, to use your words, in lockstep with your European allies, do you expect a similar recognition to be coming from any of the other European capitals?
MS. HARF: I don't know what their regulations are for foreign missions in their countries. I don't '' the answer is I just don't know.
QUESTION: This isn't something that you've coordinated then, necessarily, with Europe?
MS. HARF: I'm not sure. I'm not '' on this, I don't think so but --
QUESTION: Okay. And I just wondered if you had any announcements about any upcoming talks, Friends of Syria talks, anything like that?
MS. HARF: I know that we're going to be having conversations with our partners, especially with the London 11 coming up. I don't have any specifics to announce for you, but we will be having discussions with them soon.
QUESTION: Just on the --
QUESTION: Same issue?
MS. HARF: Syria?
QUESTION: Yeah. I just want '' sorry. I just wanted to clarify a little bit more on the status of the mission. Was there '' so before this, before this recognition today, what was the '' was there some kind of prior step under the law that --
MS. HARF: Well, not under '' not to my knowledge, under the law. We had taken the political step in December 2012 of recognizing the SOC as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. To my understanding, that was not a legal step. That was a political declaration of our support. This is now a legal step.
QUESTION: So as far as the missions in D.C. and New York were concerned, they had no standing according '' with the U.S. Government whatsoever before this?
MS. HARF: Well, I wouldn't say ''no standing,'' but they didn't fall under the --
QUESTION: No official --
MS. HARF: -- Foreign Missions Act. That's correct.
QUESTION: Okay. And then you said that this would allow them to conduct more outreach to the Syrian diaspora community --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- in the U.S. as well as more broadly. Is that as a result of the increased capacity that you anticipate, increased financial wherewithal, and things of that nature?
MS. HARF: I think partly and also partly the increased status as well. I think both.
QUESTION: Okay. And then your status of the Assad, like, how you consider the Assad regime '' are they still the Government of Syria in your view, or what is their '' what is your view of how they --
MS. HARF: Well, again, this does not confer government status upon the SOC. The regime is still in power, yes.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: But to be clear, we see no place for President Assad in a future Syria, period. What we've said is the two sides need to work together on laying out a transitional governing body. That's a very difficult process, but that's what needs to happen from here.
QUESTION: Yes, please.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Regarding the mission in New York, are they allowed to be in touch with the UN mission or not?
MS. HARF: I would assume so. I assume they are in touch with the '' I can '' I'm happy to check with our UN folks.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Back to Benghazi for a second --
MS. HARF: Let's finish Syria and then we'll go back to Benghazi, Lucas.
Syria?
Going back to Benghazi now. Yes.
QUESTION: I understand we might be looking at some different emails. There's hundreds, thousands of them out there --
MS. HARF: Tens of thousands --
QUESTION: -- tens of thousands out there. The batch that I'm looking at from Wednesday September, 12th from Susan Rice '' the original email is classified as unclassified, yet the classification was changed on April 16, 2014. And I know you're not looking at this specific email right now so far --
MS. HARF: Sorry, or I don't have the details about it.
QUESTION: What '' why would an email go from unclassified to two years later retroactively called classified?
MS. HARF: I'm not familiar with that specific email. I'm happy to check with you.
QUESTION: Is that a practice that occurs regularly?
MS. HARF: Well, there's a process that's put in place across the Executive Branch that when you're doing both FOIA requests but also documents that go to Congress '' as I said, there are a variety of reasons we look at them and either redact or don't redact things. I'm happy to look at those in that context. I am just not familiar with that one.
QUESTION: I want to go back on this just for one second. The quote that you read was from Speaker Boehner, right, about Secretary Rice?
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Do you know, did '' I mean, it's not Speaker Boehner who subpoenaed the Secretary.
MS. HARF: Well, Speaker Boehner was commenting on the chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform, so exactly --
QUESTION: Which would have been Congressman Waxman at the time.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh. And Chairman Issa at the time in 2007 also opposed the subpoena for Secretary Rice. Now, he's the chairman who himself has issued the subpoena.
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: He made a similar statement saying we should not subpoena the Secretary of State.
QUESTION: Right. Well, as you know, often where you stand depends on where you sit, and I just want to make sure you don't deny that Chairman Issa has the --
MS. HARF: The right?
QUESTION: -- the right or the prerogative if he wants to.
MS. HARF: I don't deny that at all. What I am saying is that when people say this isn't political, this isn't partisan, why did Chairman Issa oppose a subpoena in 2007 for a Secretary of State to talk about Iraq, which we would all agree if we care about how Americans are sent into dangerous places like they do today, they should have cared enough back then? Speaker Boehner I would say the same thing about. So I'm just asking for a little bit of consistency here, and where there isn't any, I would like an explanation why.
As I've said, my suspicion is that it's political. I can't seem to find any other explanation for it.
QUESTION: Okay. And do you recall '' I realize you weren't in this position, but back in 2007 when it was Chairman Waxman, a lot of Republicans at the time said that what he was trying to do was political. Would you agree with that as well?
MS. HARF: I'm not going to --
QUESTION: I know you don't want to get into history, but I mean --
MS. HARF: I'm not going to get into '' again, into why he made the decisions he made at the time. What I '' and you're exactly right. The quote I said '' I just read said he was playing politics. My point is that --
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: -- you can't accuse a chairman of playing politics when 4,500 Americans died in a war you want to subpoena someone to talk about, and then say, ''But we're not playing politics when we want to subpoena you now to talk about the death of four Americans.'' That just does not pass any sort of logical test at all, period.
Uh-huh. Wait do you '' Benghazi?
QUESTION: No.
MS. HARF: Okay. Then I'm '' yeah, and then I'll go to --
QUESTION: Just one more on Syria and the foreign missions. I '' just to follow up on the question about the United Nations, do you consider this like a pretext to possibly helping this '' the SOC get recognition at the United Nations?
MS. HARF: I don't '' I'll check with our UN folks. I just don't have any details on that.
Yes. Wait, actually let me '' welcome back.
QUESTION: Hi.
MS. HARF: Hello.
QUESTION: How are you?
MS. HARF: Good to have you back in the room.
QUESTION: Thank you. I have a question about Nigeria --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- and the kidnapped schoolgirls.
MS. HARF: And then Wilner, I'm going to you.
QUESTION: Over the weekend, Secretary Clinton '' I mean Secretary Kerry said that '' it's all the Benghazi talk, I think. (Laughter.) Secretary Kerry said that the United States was doing everything possible to help the Nigerian Government, and that also the United States is pushing the Nigerian Government. Can you detail exactly what the U.S. has done and what conversations Kerry has had?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh. Well obviously, I'm not going to go into specifics of what our assistance looks like. We '' broadly speaking, our counterterrorism assistance to Nigeria focuses on intelligence and information-sharing '' it's a huge part of it '' and also improving their own forensics and investigative capacities. Obviously, these are all things that will be helpful as they try to find these girls, who, as we have many indications, many of them have likely been moved out of the country to neighboring countries at this point.
So we will continue working them. I'm not going to outline specifics for you about what our talks look like. I would note one quick update on travel. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall is on her way to the continent now, I believe, and will travel to Nigeria in the coming days to meet with senior government officials and other key stakeholders to discuss various issues, including this despicable incident. Obviously, our ambassador on the ground has been in touch as well.
QUESTION: Has there been any conversation about the reports today that the Nigerian First Lady had protest leaders arrested?
MS. HARF: We've seen the reports. I think we're still trying to get a little more information. Obviously, would strongly urge the Nigerian Government to expend all efforts to find the girls, to hold the perpetrators accountable also while respecting the rights of people to freely speak and assemble. If I have more details on them, I'm happy to share --
QUESTION: So Goodluck Jonathan's assertion that he's spoken to President Obama a few times about this is --
MS. HARF: I would refer you to the White House for that. I'm not aware of that.
QUESTION: One quick follow-up on Nigeria.
MS. HARF: What?
QUESTION: One quick follow-up on Nigeria.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: The Country Reports on Terrorism released last week mentioned that kidnapping is becoming a much more prevalent tool of terrorist groups to raise funds or for other purposes. Can you speak broadly to the efforts of the State Department to combat kidnappings such as the one that occurred in Nigeria?
MS. HARF: Well, it's a little different depending on where we're talking about, but one of the things we've been doing is working with governments to build their own capacity to fight these groups, right. So where groups like Boko Haram use kidnapping for a variety of reasons, whether it's to perpetrate violence, to get some ransom money, we've been working so '' the ideal situation is where their '' the countries can fight this battle on their own.
Obviously, when we talk about terrorist financing writ large, we've been working very hard with partner countries in the financial sector and others to make sure terrorists can't move funds around once they get a hold of them. That's something we've been very focused on as well.
QUESTION: Nigeria.
MS. HARF: Nigeria. Let's '' uh-huh.
QUESTION: On Nigeria.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Specifically, you mentioned that U.S. counterterrorism assistance has focused on intelligence and info-sharing. Is that broadly, or in this specific case?
MS. HARF: That's broadly. I'm not going to specify what we're doing in this case in and of itself, but that's broadly speaking what it's focused on. Obviously, we've worked with them in a variety of other areas '' criminal justice and things like that.
QUESTION: So when you say the indications are that the girls have likely been moved out of the country, is that based on your own assessment or is that based on what you're being told by the Nigerian authorities?
MS. HARF: I believe that's based on our own assessment. And it's been widely reported publically.
QUESTION: Under Secretary Sewall's '' when is she going to be there?
MS. HARF: I'm going to get the exact dates from you. I don't have that in front of me. I believe she'll actually be in Nigeria early next week, but I'm getting a full travel schedule for you.
QUESTION: Okay. And then '' and just '' I guess recognizing that you don't want to talk specifically about what '' can you '' what does her '' what can her '' well not her bureau. Whatever it is. What would --
MS. HARF: Her fiefdom.
QUESTION: Yes. What kind of things can it provide, just generally? What could it give to the Nigerians to help --
MS. HARF: Well, she obviously focuses on democratization, civil society, human rights, civil security, other issues as well.
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: So obviously, that plays a part in their overall fight against Boko Haram. And as a senior State Department official --
QUESTION: Right.
MS. HARF: -- I think there may be some other folks traveling with her as well --
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: -- possibly from other places, so once we have a full delegation list, we'll let you know.
QUESTION: From other agencies?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh, yeah.
QUESTION: Okay. But in terms of what she can '' I mean, is there anything that her fiefdom, as you call it, can bring to this specific incident?
MS. HARF: To the '' to actually finding the --
QUESTION: To help, yeah.
MS. HARF: I'm not aware, but obviously, it's a senior official and under secretary who is discussing the range of ways we can work with them.
Nigeria, anything else?
QUESTION: Yes.
MS. HARF: Catherine.
QUESTION: I guess my question is: Why can't you give us specific details on what assistance you either are providing or are offering?
MS. HARF: Because we're going to keep working with the Nigerians privately on that. Obviously, they have come out very publicly and said that they're making every effort to find these girls. I just don't think we're going to outline how we're helping them. What we're focused on is making sure they can find them and bring them home to their families.
QUESTION: Do you anticipate any military assets being provided?
MS. HARF: The United States?
QUESTION: Yeah.
MS. HARF: I do not.
QUESTION: And since you can't get into the specifics --
QUESTION: (Inaudible.)
MS. HARF: And then I'll go back to you. Yeah, go ahead, Catherine.
QUESTION: -- can you characterize the conversations? Are they welcoming assistance? Are they saying we have this under control, things like that?
MS. HARF: Well, I think they've been very clear they don't. The situation itself is not under control. I don't have much more of a readout for you. They obviously know this is an issue of grave concern, no more so than to them. So we're standing by to help in ways that we think are appropriate and that we can.
Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Wouldn't it be hard --
MS. HARF: Wait, hold on.
QUESTION: The Boko Haram said that '' today that '' admitted to kidnapping the girls and threatening to sell them.
MS. HARF: The video?
QUESTION: Yes.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Your reaction to that video?
MS. HARF: Well, it does '' our folks are looking at it. Obviously, there are a lot of experts in the U.S. Government who look at these kind of things. Boko Haram frequently does put out these kind of propaganda videos. There's nothing really new about their capacity to do that. The video does appear legitimate. And beyond that, our folks are looking at it, and if there's anything else I have to say '' I mean, look, to be fair, it underscores the horrific nature of what they've done and why we need to find these girls and bring them home. Beyond that, I don't have much more analysis.
Nigeria? Nigeria?
QUESTION: Nigeria.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: You said that the indication is that the girls have been moved outside the country.
MS. HARF: Some of them, yeah.
QUESTION: Are you working with any of the other governments or to broaden this effort to try and locate these girls?
MS. HARF: Well, we'd obviously encourage the Government of Nigeria to work with their neighbors to see if there's ways they can work together.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) locate these girls without the use of the U.S. military?
MS. HARF: I think there are a variety of ways to locate people. One of the things we've been working on with the Nigerian Government is building their own capacity to do some of this, so --
QUESTION: What about in terms of law enforcement and FBI?
MS. HARF: I mean, I don't want to speak for the U.S. military. I just said to my knowledge, there's not.
QUESTION: What about in terms of --
MS. HARF: I don't want to predict about what we might do if we can't find them.
QUESTION: But, I mean, is this an interagency effort? Is the FBI working on this? Is --
MS. HARF: I don't know if the FBI is. I'm happy to check with them. I just don't know.
QUESTION: Sorry, so going back to my original question, then, when Secretary Kerry said that the United States is really pushing the Nigerians, there's no other specifics about that, like in what way?
MS. HARF: No. Well, he said we would continue to provide counterterrorism assistance, we'd continue working with them. I don't have more specifics beyond what he said.
QUESTION: Not even whether other agencies are involved or --
MS. HARF: I don't have more specifics beyond what he said.
Nigeria? Nigeria? Wilner, I promised you're next.
QUESTION: Just on Iran.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: Do you have an update on the technical talks going on --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- in New York?
MS. HARF: They start tomorrow, I believe.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: Tomorrow, the 6th and 7th, at the technical level, as part of our ongoing discussions on the sidelines of the NPT meeting that's taking place in New York. And then next week, we will go for the fourth round of comprehensive talks in Vienna at the political director level with Cathy Ashton, Foreign Minister Zarif, and all of us.
QUESTION: Two follow-ups on that: One, do you find any dissonance in the fact that Iran is participating in the NPT conference? And two, are the technical experts a part of the drafting of the deal, just as a process question?
MS. HARF: So '' dissonance. How I would answer that question is clearly, we have huge concerns with their nuclear program or else we wouldn't be so heavily engaged in this negotiation. So I think I'll probably leave it at that. As we go forward drafting '' which, as we've said, we will start at the next round of political director talks '' obviously, the political directors will be involved in it, but we're going to need a lot of expert opinion or fact. And how we move forward from here will absolutely be involved in the details of drafting.
Much of this is very technical. How we ensure Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon, that their program is for purely peaceful purposes, that involves a lot of '' a high degree of technicality that will have to be informed very specifically by the work of our experts, the EU experts, the P5+1, and of course, Iran.
QUESTION: And when Zarif says that you're at 50 to 60 percent agreement, would you say he's accurate there?
MS. HARF: Well, I think I'll say what other U.S. officials have said, that I'm not going to put a percentage on it. We haven't even started drafting yet. We have had meetings of great substance where we have made progress, but a few points I think I would make: First is it doesn't matter until we get to 100, because as we said in the JPOA, nothing is agreed until everything's agreed, so we could get to 95 percent and still not have an agreement. So really, what we're focused on is getting to 100 percent, and these next three months will be difficult at times. This is a very tough negotiation with very complicated issues. And I don't want anyone to think a deal is imminent. We have made progress, but we have a lot more work to do.
QUESTION: Just last one on this --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: If you have '' you won't put a percentage on it, but just for --
MS. HARF: All I care about is 100.
QUESTION: Right. So let's say you are at this point or in late June at 90 percent. Do you draft 90 percent of said agreement and then save the hard parts for July or --
MS. HARF: I think they're all hard parts. There's not a lot of easy parts.
I think one way to think about it, and other folks have used this as well, is it's sort of like a Rubik's Cube, right? Like you '' if your ultimate goal is to get resolution of the issue, right, to make it look perfect, then all the different parts play into that. So how you ensure Iran can never get a nuclear weapon and they can only use their program for peaceful purposes, when you talk about each of the individual issues, they all play into eventually getting to that place. So what each of those pieces looks like could be a little different, right, and that's part of what the negotiation is about it: Well, does this '' what do centrifuges look like, what does this look like, what does enrichment look like. And there's not one answer; there's a couple, which actually is helpful, right? So that all plays into how we eventually get to this final process. So there's some give and take among the issues, but where there's absolutely no give and take is what our final goal is.
QUESTION: Right. But you definitely '' clearly, you feel comfortable enough to start drafting the deal.
MS. HARF: Absolutely. We've talked about all the issues in the first three rounds; we've seen where '' we can already see some areas of agreement or at least where there's a path forward and been very clear about where there will be tougher negotiations ahead. But we do feel like we can start drafting and do feel like we can get this done by July 20th. We don't know if we will, if we'll all be able to, but we think we can.
QUESTION: Can I change the subject?
MS. HARF: Anything else on Iran?
QUESTION: On Iran.
MS. HARF: On Iran. And then Elise, you can --
QUESTION: Do you have any information about the report that there's going to be a direct flight between Iran and U.S. soon?
MS. HARF: Is there a new report? I haven't seen a report on this in months.
QUESTION: Iranian official said that a few days ago.
MS. HARF: I can check. I haven't seen that.
Elise.
QUESTION: This is on North Korea. So Dennis Rodman gave this interview to this --
MS. HARF: It's been a while since we talked about Dennis Rodman.
QUESTION: Yeah. He gave this interview to this magazine, I think it's called DuJour or something. So he was '' and he was asked if he ever gave '' ever asked the U.S. Government for support in organizing his trip. And he said that six months ago, he reached out to the U.S. Government and said you should please help me. I wish you would take advantage of the situation that I have instead of ridiculing me, and he said that they never got back to him so he let it go.
MS. HARF: To my knowledge, that is not true. I will triple- and quadruple-check. To my knowledge '' we've certainly never had any contact with him. I'll check and see if he reached out, but to my knowledge we've had no contact with him.
QUESTION: But I mean, what was '' just to go back a little bit. Like, what was the problem with him and his trip? Was it that you don't think of him as a credible person to be sending a positive message to North Korea?
MS. HARF: I would stop after the word person probably '' that I don't think he's a credible person. Look, he's not a representative of the United States Government. We have mechanisms in place to talk to the North Koreans.
QUESTION: I understand. But there are other private individuals that go to North Korea, whether it's Jimmy Carter --
MS. HARF: Please do not put Dennis Rodman in the same category as Jimmy Carter.
QUESTION: I'm not '' okay. Well, then you're talking about this person.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: I'm not --
QUESTION: Dennis Rodman wasn't good enough.
QUESTION: He's a former --
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: -- former president, Dennis Rodman. I'm not talking about '' I'm '' you're making it '' you're making a distinction between the type of individual.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: There are plenty of private individuals that go to North Korea and you give them briefings and you talk to them and you say, ''Listen, you're going as a private individual, but if you're going it would be helpful if you would send a positive message to North Korea,'' and there is some kind of communication. And all I'm asking is: Did you kind of write him off because you think he's a bit of a buffoon and not someone that you wanted to be associated with?
MS. HARF: Yes, but I don't know if that means he reached out and we didn't get back to him.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: So let me check on that.
Yes. Hi
QUESTION: I wanted to ask about Brunei real quick.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: Has the Secretary had any conversations with the sultan or Bruneian officials about the new law that took effect that imposes stoning upon folks convicted of homosexuality or with other '' the Asian partners about that?
MS. HARF: Well, let me check on the Secretary's conversations.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: I'm not sure if he has. But let me be clear that we have very serious concerns regarding certain provisions of what you just mentioned, which came into effect, I think, on May 1st. We're watching how the law will be implemented, but the specific concerns are that it may criminalize several freedoms of religion, including apostasy, and also that freedom of expression and freedom of religion, which obviously are fundamental human rights, could be increasingly threatened under this. Also, some concerns over the punishments, as you noted, prescribed in the code, which would include stoning. So let me see what the conversations have been if the Secretary is, himself, engaged.
QUESTION: And as a follow-up to that, there's been calls to boycott Bruneian-owned hotels. Can you '' do you have a sense of whether State Department officials stay at any of those facilities when they travel?
MS. HARF: I can check. I don't know the answer. I'm happy to get some details for you on that.
QUESTION: That would be great. Thank you.
MS. HARF: Yeah.
QUESTION: Move to Israel?
QUESTION: Marie, real quick, on that, can I just ask you '' this is a definitional question.
MS. HARF: Uh-oh.
QUESTION: Is --
MS. HARF: I love your definitional questions.
QUESTION: No, it has nothing to do with fulsome --
MS. HARF: Did you bring your dictionary today?
QUESTION: It has to do with '' I'm just wondering: Is apostasy actually listed and is a religious freedom in --
MS. HARF: That's how it's listed in my guidance.
QUESTION: It is? Okay.
MS. HARF: Yeah. I didn't just make it up.
QUESTION: Okay. No, I wasn't '' I just wanted to make sure.
MS. HARF: Yes, it is. It is.
QUESTION: I want to go to Israel, please.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: I don't know if you'd seen '' you probably have '' the reports in '' on Friday in Yedioth Ahronoth, first off, in which anonymous U.S. officials gave a long interview blaming Israel for the failure of peace talks. That was followed up this weekend by a report in Haaretz that Ambassador Indyk is thinking of resigning and going back to his job with the Brookings Institute and announcing a possible trip by Ambassador Rice '' Susan Rice '' to Israel in the coming days after the Iran talks. Could you talk to any of that? First off, is it the U.S. Administration's belief that it was the fault of Israel that these talks failed?
MS. HARF: Well, as the Secretary said I think as recently as last week, negotiations were suspended as a result of a combination of unhelpful actions on both sides. On the Palestinian side, the appeal to 15 different treaties while we're actively working to secure a prisoner release, as well as the announcement of the Fatah/Hamas reconciliation agreement at the moment we were working for a formula to extend the negotiations, really combined to make it possible to extend the negotiations.
And on the Israeli side, large --
QUESTION: You mean impossible.
MS. HARF: Impossible.
On the Israeli side, large-scale settlement announcements, a failure to release the fourth tranche of prisoners on time, and then the announcement of 700 settlement tenders at a very sensitive moment, really combined to undermine the efforts to extend the negotiations. So I would very much take notion with the fact that this was just one side. Both sides did things here that were very unhelpful.
QUESTION: The official also said that the Israeli side did not budge an inch '' more than an inch on the talks. Is that '' is it a true reflection of what happened behind the scenes?
MS. HARF: Well, look, I'm not going to get into the behind the scenes. I know that won't surprise you. What we've said is at the end of this '' right before we went into this pause, both sides did things that were incredibly unhelpful.
On '' wait, let me '' on Ambassador Indyk quickly. He's returned to the United States for consultations with the Secretary and the White House. As we assess the next steps in the U.S. efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace '' premature, quite frankly, to speculate on what those steps will be or what will happen.
QUESTION: So is it correct to say that you're dismantling the team on the ground?
MS. HARF: That is incorrect. That what you said, correct or incorrect?
QUESTION: No, it's incorrect then.
MS. HARF: It's incorrect. He's returned for consultations but there's no dismantling --
QUESTION: No, this article '' there's an article that said that you were dismantling the team on the ground.
MS. HARF: Well, Ambassador Indyk has always gone back and forth between the United States and Israel, as has Frank Lowenstein, as have others. So we're going to see where this goes from here and figure out what makes sense in terms of staffing.
QUESTION: Marie, the picture that you painted just now in describing what both sides did that were unhelpful, I mean, that's a pretty grim painting.
MS. HARF: Yes, that's why this -- negotiations have been suspended.
QUESTION: Right. So last week, I asked '' I mean, how can you make the case that the nine-month '' the nine months of negotiations made the situation better? Is it not, in fact, the case that the situation between the atmosphere and the situation on the ground between the two sides is not '' isn't it the case that it's worse now than it was nine months ago?
MS. HARF: No, and I would actually disagree with that notion that it's worse. I think '' a few things. I think by and large Israeli and Palestinian people want to see a peace process try to make this work, right? They support peace. They support a process even though it's difficult, right? And so where we were nine months ago when there was no process, when it appeared there was no hope for this to move forward, I don't think is a better place than we are today, where we've seen nine months where, yes, the last few weeks have been very tough. But for nine months we negotiated in good faith. Each side took some steps that, while small and while in the end haven't led us where we need to be yet, matter. So I would take notion '' or take exception with the notion that things are worse now --
QUESTION: Okay, but, well --
MS. HARF: -- for trying.
QUESTION: So before they began there was no hope and there was no process. Now there's no hope and no process, plus you also have the Palestinians going to the UN. You have the unity government with Fatah and Hamas, which all of which you think is bad, you have large-scale '' new large-scale Israeli settlement announcements, you have them not releasing the prisoners, and you have the '' look, I'm just repeating what you said '' and then you have the tenders '' the settlement of the seven hundred --
MS. HARF: So we shouldn't have tried this for the last nine months.
QUESTION: No, no. I'm not '' I'm just --
MS. HARF: Right.
QUESTION: -- no, I'm not suggesting that it was '' that '' I'm just asking you how you can say, given the list of what you've just put out, how the last nine months didn't '' how the situation is better now than it's --
MS. HARF: I'm not saying it's better.
QUESTION: Right. So how can you say --
MS. HARF: I'm saying it's not worse.
QUESTION: Well, but it --
MS. HARF: I'm saying it's different.
QUESTION: -- seems like in addition to no hope --
MS. HARF: I'm saying it's different.
QUESTION: But it '' but there's no hope and no process now.
MS. HARF: Actually, I think there are a lot of people '' Israelis and Palestinians '' who looked at the last nine months and said, ''Wow. We can sit down at a table for nine months.'' Look, this isn't the first challenging time --
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
MS. HARF: This is a challenging time. This is not the first challenging time these two parties have had. This is not the first time we've seen negotiations take a pause.
QUESTION: Yeah. Right.
MS. HARF: So what the point of what you're asking is, look, we will not be happy until they're, as we have said repeatedly, two states living side by side in peace and security. How we get there will be challenging. There will be ups; there will be downs. And it's not linear. That's just not how this works.
QUESTION: Right, but last week I '' last week I specifically asked, and I don't remember --
MS. HARF: It was Jen.
QUESTION: -- sorry if it was Jen '' right '' how you could say what tangible improvements to '' on the ground that the nine months have brought us. And now in response to this --
MS. HARF: I don't think you're looking at it the right way.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: You don't look for improvements on the ground on a diplomatic process that's not over yet.
QUESTION: Well, it's not '' but it is over.
MS. HARF: Well, that hasn't reached our goal is what I'm saying.
QUESTION: Well, but yeah, but then you '' (laughter) '' and then you'd '' I mean, if you can't --
MS. HARF: Wait. So the choice you have is doing nothing?
QUESTION: -- show any incremental progress '' no, no, I'm not making that argument.
MS. HARF: Well, right. But these are our choices though, right? Even if we enter into a '' we enter into a negotiation and we say, on balance, even if we get to the end of the nine months and there's '' there's been some tangible evidence of working together, there have been prisoner releases, there's been other things, we don't have an agreement, it was worth it to do it.
QUESTION: Well, but '' yeah, but --
MS. HARF: Those are your options, right?
QUESTION: So your argument is that it's worth it to have tried and '' even though the situation now is worse than it was than before --
MS. HARF: I am disagreeing with the notion that it's worse.
QUESTION: But I '' but everything that you --
MS. HARF: I said it's different. I think the notion 10 months ago, where we weren't even at the table, where they weren't talking, is worse than seeing that leaders, even though difficult, can come to the table.
QUESTION: Right. But they're not at the table now. There's been --
MS. HARF: Right. They were for nine months, Matt.
QUESTION: And there's no hope and no '' I'll drop it, but I just '' I don't understand how you can make that argument logically that it got better.
QUESTION: I mean, this goes back --
MS. HARF: I didn't say it got better.
QUESTION: Well, that it didn't get worse.
MS. HARF: It got different.
QUESTION: It got '' well, different is worse, right? No?
MS. HARF: Uh. No.
QUESTION: But this goes to Matt's question, really. I mean --
MS. HARF: No, different is different. Get your dictionary out.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: Is the Secretary thinking of releasing a document or maybe some parts of the plan that he said he thought was on the table? He said at one point he thought there was a deal on the table. If he releases some of that to the public, that would then go to Matt's point that we could actually see maybe there was some fruit to the labor and there's something possibly to build on for the future.
MS. HARF: Yeah. I mean, look, I'm not downplaying your question, Matt. I don't have any information on whether or not we'll do that at some point. I know people are asking.
What we've said '' but you speak to a good point here, which addresses Matt's point, that even if these negotiations eventually don't work in the nine months, you have put the issues on the table, you've talked about them, maybe you've seen something where whenever we start this process again it will help us make progress faster or make better progress or go further. That's how these negotiations work, right?
So yes, having done it for nine months, we think getting the parties to the table, putting all the issues on the table, working through very specific language about some things, eventually will be helpful to a process where we can get a final agreement.
QUESTION: Wouldn't it be helpful to the Israeli public, the Palestinian people, who are the most '' who are the biggest losers in this failure --
MS. HARF: Absolutely.
QUESTION: -- and the American public as well, who've been paying the tax dollars for it, to actually release something --
MS. HARF: Again, we'll talk about where this goes from here. I don't have any information on whether we're going to. We'll try and talk about it going forward.
QUESTION: Okay. And can you just answer whether the information that was in the Haaretz report about Susan Rice traveling to Israel is actually correct?
MS. HARF: I think we have some senior officials that will be going soon. I don't have any travel announcements to make for you, but watch this space in the coming days and we'll let you know.
QUESTION: Can I ask a tangential question? It has to do with Israel.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Yes.
QUESTION: But if someone else '' yes? All right. This has to do with these reports about the U.S. sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi book fair. Can you speak to that, given that there's been some concern expressed that some of the books that were featured Arabic translations, like Mein Kampf and The International Jew and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are inappropriate and that the U.S. Government shouldn't be involved in. Can you address that concern?
MS. HARF: Well, we obviously condemn in the strongest terms the anti-Semitic ideas promulgated by certain booksellers at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The United States is listed as one of many, quote, ''cultural partners'' of the Abu Dhabi Book Fair. In this case, like many other countries, the United States simply hosted a booth at the fair staffed by U.S. Embassy personnel. Again, we support freedom of expression broadly speaking. That's why we participate in these kind of events, but absolutely condemn that kind of ''
QUESTION: Do you know if they were aware that these books were being prominently displayed and sold?
MS. HARF: I'm not sure about that. And two more points on this: We welcome reports the organizers of the book fair removed both anti-Semitic and Jihadi texts from display, and that these hateful materials represented only a miniscule percentage of the literature on display, which, again, is not acceptable, but just for some more background.
QUESTION: Right. Well, I mean, I understand the --
MS. HARF: Were we aware before we got there?
QUESTION: Well, yeah. I mean, did --
MS. HARF: I doubt it.
QUESTION: Did anyone make it '' I mean, I'm not necessarily sure that it's '' one should expect you or whoever was there to go to every single booth and look at it. I understand the freedom '' the free speech issue that you're citing. And I don't think '' the concern isn't that you guys were at something that '' or you should only go to book fairs or be present where they're selling --
MS. HARF: Right. Was it a concern?
QUESTION: -- selling, I don't know, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Little Prince. But you do recognize there was a concern? Did you know that when '' did you --
MS. HARF: When we signed on as a cultural partner, did we know?
QUESTION: Right. I mean no, no, no. Let me ask '' did you approach the '' when you became aware of this '' and I understand the fair ended today. But when you became aware '' why was it that they were removed, these anti-Semitic and Jihadi '' was it because of the complaint from the U.S., or do you not know?
MS. HARF: I don't know. I'll check.
QUESTION: Okay. And do you know '' in the future, are people going to be looking into this kind of thing before '' or during?
MS. HARF: I'm sure we always make every effort not to be a part of events where there is gross anti-Semitic literature.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: Yes, I just don't think we were aware. Let me see the details.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
QUESTION: Just back on Team Indyk quickly as a follow-up.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Does he have to '' is he remaining fulltime at the State Department?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Or can he join the '' okay, so --
MS. HARF: Oh, well, as of right now, yeah, he's a fulltime State Department employee.
QUESTION: Okay. So he can't also do the Brookings Institution?
MS. HARF: Again, he remains in his position.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: We'll see what happens going forward with this process.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Turkey?
MS. HARF: Yes, and then I'm going to you, and then I'm going around.
QUESTION: Last Thursday there was a Freedom House report released. Is there any way, first of all, can you tell us how do you view Freedom House reports in general?
MS. HARF: In general? Let me see, I have something on that. Obviously, you saw me last week stand up here and talk a lot about freedom of the press during our Free the Press Week.
QUESTION: Yes.
MS. HARF: The Freedom House 2014 report concluded that media freedom hit a decade-long low last year. We've talked about this a lot in this room, whether it's in Russia, whether it's in Venezuela, whether it's in Turkey with YouTube and Twitter. So we've talked about this a lot in this room. Obviously, we believe it's an important issue.
QUESTION: So do you find it credible and something that you referenced to it --
MS. HARF: The Freedom House report?
QUESTION: Mm-hmm.
MS. HARF: Well, it '' I mean, I don't how I would describe it, other than obviously it's an issue we take very seriously and agree with some of the recommendations in it, or some of the analysis. I just haven't seen the whole thing.
QUESTION: So to Turkey --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: -- the Turkish media is this year for the first time after about 15 or 20 years now unfree, defined as unfree from partly free. As the ally of Turkey, how do you view the situation in media freedom in Turkey?
MS. HARF: Well, I've spoken up here quite a bit about, like I just said, Twitter and YouTube and freedom of expression space in Turkey. We have conveyed our concerns about media freedoms to Turkish authorities and will continue to urge the government to open social media sites and to do better across the board.
QUESTION: So after this report released there has been a big discussion in Turkey going on, but also the Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu came out over the weekend and stated that this report is ''little more than an operation aimed at changing the perception towards Turkey.'' This is quote-unquote. Do you think there's an operation in Turkey '' in the U.S. and Washington?
MS. HARF: Absolutely not at all. Not at all, period. And what I think would change the way people look at Turkey is if they unblocked YouTube, if they didn't block Twitter. I think that's what drives people other places to say, ''Hey, maybe freedom of expression isn't that great in Turkey right now.''
QUESTION: So just to follow up: When the Turkish foreign minister comes out in Turkey and says such a thing, that there is an intentional operation against Turkey's image, and you are saying that this is very much a impartial report --
MS. HARF: Absolutely.
QUESTION: -- how do you think Turkish people '' what to believe, whether --
MS. HARF: I don't think I speak for the Turkish people writ large up here.
QUESTION: And the final question --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: Also, Foreign Minister Davutoglu asked Turkish journalists to reject these report findings. Do you have any comment to that?
MS. HARF: I don't. Michael.
QUESTION: There was a report actually in our paper that the Jewish community in Odesa, in Ukraine '' I know I never ask about Ukraine, but --
MS. HARF: Making news here today.
QUESTION: -- there you go '' is looking to '' are considering an evacuation.
MS. HARF: Oh, okay. Let me check on that.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: I mean, I had seen the report, but I don't have any confirmation or specifics on that.
QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.
QUESTION: On Ukraine (inaudible)?
MS. HARF: Yeah, and then '' yeah. Go ahead.
QUESTION: As the number of casualties in the east of Ukraine is rising, does the U.S. still support Kyiv's action against the east?
MS. HARF: Support what? I'm sorry, you cut out at the end.
QUESTION: Kyiv's action against the east.
MS. HARF: Kyiv's actions of the '' which actions are you referring to?
QUESTION: The anti-terrorist operation against the protestors in the east.
MS. HARF: Well, what we've said is that '' we have clearly said the Ukrainian Government has showed great restraint in the face of overwhelming challenges, but that they also have a responsibility to maintain law and order for their own people '' I think that's probably as much as I want to say on that '' and that the onus really is on the Russian Government to pull back, to pull their folks out of eastern Ukraine, and to take de-escalatory steps as we move towards the elections which need to happen on the 25th.
QUESTION: But what Kyiv is doing now, does it qualify as restraint?
MS. HARF: Well, absolutely, Kyiv has shown enormous restraint. And if you're referring to what happened on Friday in Odesa, obviously, I put out a statement about that on Friday. But any loss of life is horrible, and we understand that there will be an investigation. The prime minister has actually taken punitive action against some of the police folks who led the police forces in Odesa after this horrific incident.
So '' but again, that started because pro-Russian forces and separatists started basically mob action attacking protestors. So going forward we think that restraint is important, but so is keeping law and order.
QUESTION: But it doesn't matter how many people die; those people brought it upon themselves, it's their fault. Is it what you are saying?
MS. HARF: No, I'm not saying that at all. In no way am I saying that. I'm saying that the fact pattern of what happens here matters. What I also said is that I '' we applauded Prime Minister Yatsenyuk's steps that he took (a) to start an independent and thorough, credible investigation; and also to fire, I think, the police chief there that didn't take steps to protect these innocent civilians regardless of who they supported. But the fact pattern of how this started and who started the escalation, who started the mob violence matters if we're talking about how to prevent it in the future.
QUESTION: Marie, can I just ask you on that specifically? The foreign ministry in Russia, in Moscow has come out today and said that there are towns in eastern Ukraine which have been encircled by Ukrainian troops, and they '' which are apparently facing a humanitarian disaster due to shortages of medicine and food. And they're also listing what they call a massive '' mass-scale rights violations by what they say are ultra-nationalists in Ukraine. Could you comment on those reports, please?
MS. HARF: Well, I think this is just the latest in the Russian version of events not matching up with what we see on the ground. The Ukrainian Government has taken enormous steps to protect their people, to provide what they need to their people. We provided a bunch of assistance as well to the Ukrainian Government to provide for their people during this very trying time.
It's the Russian forces and the pro-Russian forces who crossed a border into another country who've been attempting to undermine that country's sovereignty. They're the ones who are committing these kinds of violations we've seen. Look, any report of violations '' even under the former President Yanukovych, we saw many '' we take them all seriously. But what we've seen is the Ukrainians repeatedly standing up for their own people and the Russians really doing the opposite.
QUESTION: So you dispute that there's humanitarian shortages, aid shortages in these towns and --
MS. HARF: I can check and see if there are. I just am not sure that the fact pattern laid out there about the reason is accurate. I'm happy to check, though.
Ukraine?
QUESTION: One more, one more. Yes. When you say ''pro-Russian'' '' yes, these people are pro-Russian, they feel strong ties with Russia. But how do you connect --
MS. HARF: Supported, sent by the Russian Government.
QUESTION: -- them with Moscow? Yes, but how do you connect them? What's --
MS. HARF: Uh-huh. A lot of them have weapons that are only available to Russian security forces. Many of them, when you interview them on camera, say they're there because the Russian security forces have sent them. It's just like what President Putin said when he first --
QUESTION: What interviews are you referring to?
MS. HARF: -- denied that there were forces in Crimea, and then three weeks later he said, ''Just kidding,'' there were.
QUESTION: But there is a base there, that '' the troops had been there for a long time.
MS. HARF: No, beyond the base '' beyond the base, the other folks as well that attempted and then annexed Crimea. So again, there are all of these pro-Russian separatists who the Russian Government has an enormous amount of control over, and should press them to de-escalate. They should press them to come out of the buildings. They should press them to pull back. And they should, by the way, pull their troops back from the border as well. There's not a lot of credence when they say these aren't their folks when everything they've done shows otherwise.
QUESTION: Ukraine?
MS. HARF: Ukraine, yeah.
QUESTION: Yes. Mrs. Nuland called the Cyprus authorities last week and talk about Ukraine and the sanctions. According to some sources, Mrs. Nuland asked the Cyprus authority to freeze the account of some Russian and Ukrainian citizens. Can you give us a readout of this --
MS. HARF: I'm not aware of that. Let me check.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: I'm going to you.
QUESTION: South Sudan.
MS. HARF: I'm sorry, yes.
QUESTION: No worries. Traveling this weekend, the Secretary raised the specter of sanctions for either side if they do not engage. Is that a threat to bring both sides to the table, are actively looking --
MS. HARF: Well, we've been saying for a long time that the reason we put the executive order in place is to have an infrastructure to impose sanctions very quickly, sanctions on both sides if we want to. And that's to really do two things: The first is to hold accountable people on both sides for what we've seen happen since I think December 12th or 15th. The second is to deter future bad behavior, so it's a little of both. You mentioned the Secretary spoke with both '' leaders on both sides, both in person with the President and also over the phone with folks as well. What we need to see here is concrete action to live up to the cessation of hostilities and we haven't seen it yet.
QUESTION: He also mentioned that there might be serious implications and possible consequences if the sides don't come to the table.
MS. HARF: Absolutely.
QUESTION: Is that --
MS. HARF: That's (inaudible) sanctions, absolutely. We have in place an executive order that gives us everything we need to impose sanctions like that, and we will if we don't see progress.
Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you, Marie.
MS. HARF: You're welcome.
QUESTION: The other Arshad is back.
MS. HARF: I know, look at that.
QUESTION: Well, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. Firstly, that '' sadly, to report to you that my editor of the paper is still in jail awaiting trial on treason, and which may end up in death penalty. So this is the current situation, press situation in Bangladesh where the press freedom has been gagged. The independent judiciary is now also under tremendous '' come under tremendous controversy because of the fact of the government of the day's incursion or interference into their judicial '' so that leads to my other area of grim and gloom, is that extrajudicial killings, abduction under the name of a democracy is now being almost taken as a pass, as a 007 pass, which '' order to kill. The RAB has been ordered to kill on sight anybody opposing the government of the day.
So this is Bangladesh, again, in a way '' we have fought a liberation war in 1975, democratic '' people are democratic-loving, having --
MS. HARF: Do you have a question?
QUESTION: So having '' this is the question: And how would '' what is the position of the State Department on this situation leading to the press as well as the extrajudicial killing?
MS. HARF: Yeah, no, and thank you for the question. It's good to see you back in the room. Obviously, as I said a couple times today, we support freedom of expression, freedom of the media everywhere, including in Bangladesh, and it's an issue we talk about all the time with the government, also with the opposition and also with civil society leaders, because everybody has responsibilities here. And where we see freedom of the press in jeopardy, we obviously speak out against it. So we've been very clear about our views on freedom of the press, also about violence anywhere. I know we talked about it a lot around the elections, but very clear about our concerns about violence, and we'll continue raising these issues with the government.
QUESTION: As a follow-up to that, what would be the situation as you surmise in Bangladesh at this point (inaudible)? There was a (inaudible) for a fresh election which may ease the tension between the major opposition and the government of the day.
MS. HARF: Well, we want the tensions to ease. That's the whole point here, right?
QUESTION: So has that been in place as a '' been a dialogue, been '' on your tables between the --
MS. HARF: Let me check with our folks. I'm not sure, quite frankly, what the details are.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: I'll check.
QUESTION: Thank you so much.
MS. HARF: Yes.
QUESTION: Venezuela?
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: This morning, the Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing instances of torture, security forces using armbands.
MS. HARF: Where are you asking about? I'm sorry. I missed the country.
QUESTION: Venezuela.
MS. HARF: Venezuela, thank you. Sorry. I missed the beginning. Yep, go ahead.
QUESTION: In specific instances of torture, the collusion between the executive and the judicial to silence the opposition. Your reaction to that, and are there instances of torture in Venezuela?
MS. HARF: Well, I haven't read the whole report yet. I've been very clear up here, as have all of us, that criminalizing dissent is not an acceptable behavior for a government to do. And we've seen that quite a bit in Venezuela. We've seen the pictures and the reports coming out about what's happening to some protestors. There's no place for any of that violence. I'll take a look at the report and see if we have a more robust response for you.
Yes, in the back. You've been waiting very patiently.
QUESTION: Yes. About the South China Sea territory dispute.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: On May 2nd, the China oil company CNOOC, they announced that they were '' deploy an oil rig machine in the South China Sea. That's located right in the Vietnam EEZ.
MS. HARF: Okay.
QUESTION: So could you comment on that?
MS. HARF: I haven't seen those reports. I'm happy to check with our folks and get you a specific response.
QUESTION: Okay.
MS. HARF: Yes. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you. Jen, I have a quick question about Syria.
MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
QUESTION: The remaining precursor chemicals. I understand there's still an 8 percent?
MS. HARF: I think that's right about where we are, uh-huh.
QUESTION: No update on --
MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge, no update.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. HARF: Yep.
QUESTION: That it? Thank you.
MS. HARF: That's it.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:31 p.m.)
DPB # 80
VIDEO-Odessa Massacre - Evidence The Mainstream Media Won't Show You [WARNING: Disturbing Footage] | SCG News
Tue, 06 May 2014 01:56
On Friday, May 2nd over 40 anti-Kiev protesters were burned alive in the Trade Unions building in Odessa Ukraine. The mainstream media has reported on the event as if how the fire started was a mystery, using cop out phrases like ''the sequence of events is unclear''. Some have gone so far as to insinuate that Russia is responsible for the violence. Now while the sequence of events leading up to the fire may be unclear (and we'll get into that below), the insinuation that the ant-Kiev protesters barricaded themselves in and burned themselves alive is ludicrous. It also flies in the face of all the video and photographic evidence we have available.
Warning: Some of the footage and images that we are going to be showing here are very, very disturbing. We are not showing this for shock value. In fact we will refrain from showing the most horrific images on this page. We will only show what we consider to be the bare minimum to accurately report on the events.
Below is raw footage from Odessa taken from multiple angles. In the beginning you see a crowd approaching. First they destroy the camp of the anti-Kiev protesters, setting the tents on fire. Then they begin to throw Molotov cocktails at the building.
And while the mainstream media is pretending that it's unclear who was throwing the Molotov cocktails, it's actually not unclear at all. The video below shows Maidan girls preparing the Molotov cocktails that were then used to assault the building:
Then the "Maidan" crowd blocked fire trucks to prevent them from helping:
The transcript for the following video is below.
0.43-47 ''Let us burn those motherfuckers right in the building, fucking faggots''1.08 '' Everything around is already burning. Injured people are lying on the ground.1.18-1.20 Maidan activist Mykola is running and shooting at people, who are trying to escape from the window.2.34-2.36 Older man is telling ''Go from the other side around, through the bathroom!'' Ребята, с той стоÑоны, чеÑез туаÐ>>ет!>>2.44 '' He was told to continue his commands and then answered '' Do not film me'' , Ð'еня не снимай>>3.20 '' Fire inside. Operator is telling the building will start to burn now. Second floor is burning.3.50 '' Operator notices that someone is trying to extinguish the fire from the inside.4.08 '' Man is advising to throw more Molotovs. ''Throw them, throw them!'' , ''Кидай кидай,бÐ>>ять!''4.32 '' You may see grenade explosion at the front of the entrance.5.40-5.50 - attackers throw more fire to the window and then are shouting ''GOAL!!!''6.25 '' 7.13 '' The same man, Mykola, who is wearing yellow-blue bandage on his left arm, is shooting at people who are trying to catch air and are seen from the window.8.07 '' Operator is wondering what is going on inside. He says that the crowd has started to move inside the house.8.10 '' Maidan activists are telling each other to go to the backyard, because people are trying to escape from there8.26 '' Crowd is shouting ''They are escaping! Run to the backyard!'' Они выходят сзади!>>8.42 ''This is the front of the building. More cocktails are thrown.9.41-9.47 '' Nationalists are screaming ''Fuck them right there, throw to the windows!'' , ХуяÑьте туда, кидайте в окна!>>10.40 Lady is filming the fire. In front of the building,tents, boxes, almost all found items are set on fire. The smoke from the fireplace is quickly absorbed to the building. If the firefighters would have been there, may be less people would have asphyxated inside.13.00 '' Operator is moving to the backyard.14.15- People, who are still alive are shouting ''Police, you have been bought as scums and all of you will go to prison afterwards!'' антиÑаÑисты еще живые кÑичат в меÐ"аÑон- ""менты ÐÑодажные тваÑи- всех вас Ðотом Ðосадят в тюÑьму- "14.17 '' A bus, where police officers are situated.14.41 '' Man from the window is shouting ''Citizens of Odessa city, rise up!''15.40- менты стоят все это вÑемя ЗА Ð--омом ПÑоÑсоюэов и они сÐокойно общаются Ðока здание уже Ð"оÑит с центÑаÐ>>ьноÐ"о входа и на 1 этаже.15.49 '' Operator shows where police officers are situated. They are simply chatting, while the building is burning from the front and on the first floor.16.40- People start to jump from the window. 2, 3,4 dead bodies.21.00 still alive girls are shouting from the second and third floor.23.00- Burning man has fallen from the window. Crowd is happy. Operator is asking them to help, but the answer is ''They have cut off heads of activists in Kiev''.23.20- Anti-nationalist man is lying on the roof. Maidan nazzis are shouting to him ''Jump! Glory to the Ukraine!'', ПÑыÐ"ай! ÐÐ>>ава УкÑаине!>>
Believe it or not the Neo Nazi movement in Ukraine has not been shy about expressing their approval of the killings.
The following is a screenshot I took of post by Ukrainian Nationalist Iryna Farion (ІÑина ФаÑіон) on facebook (right click and choose "View Image" to view at full size):
Translation: Bravo, Odessa. Pearl of the Ukrainian spirit. Birthplace of the great nationalists Ivan and Yuri Jul. Let the Devils burn in hell. The best of the rebels is the football fans. Bravo.
This facebook post was still accessible at the time of this writing at this link.
Iryna Farion isn't the only one celebrating this tragedy. While researching for this article I found many threads like the one below.
Bravo? Let's take a look at what these people were cheering for. Warning VERY Disturbing footage. Do not click if you have children in the room or are easily traumatized:
This video was uploaded by EuromaidanPR, one of the official accounts managed by the Euromaidan movement. It was uploaded with the title: "Russian Terrorists Burnt Alive In Trade Union Building Fire In Odessa Ukraine, May 2 2014". Believe it or not the actual scene was even more horrific. Click here if you want to see (I don't feel comfortable showing some of these images on this actual page).
Do you find it shocking that these so called Maidan activists would be jubilant about seeing their opponents burned alive? Perhaps you would be less shocked if the mainstream media hadn't worked so hard to cover up the fact who these Maidan fascists really are.
Not surprisingly U.S. and E.U. officials have spun this murder as a crime committed by those who were burned alive.https://twitter.com/carlbildt/statuses/462279817648676864
I say not surprisingly, because this past week while Kiev was using tanks and helicopters to attack protesters in the east Washington officials referred to the violence as "proportionate and reasonable".
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VIDEO-Ukraine Crisis Today: Democracy caught on camera (this will never be shown on mainstream media) - YouTube
Mon, 05 May 2014 17:12
VIDEO- Ukraine Crisis - What You're Not Being Told - YouTube
Mon, 05 May 2014 16:56
VIDEO- "Debate" American Style: Our Top Orators in Action - YouTube
Mon, 05 May 2014 16:45
VIDEO-'They beat us with bats and chains' - anti-Maidan activist in Odessa '-- RT News
Mon, 05 May 2014 15:22
Published time: May 03, 2014 00:47Edited time: May 04, 2014 08:31A protester walks past a burning anti-government tent camp near the trade union building in Odessa May 2, 2014. (Reuters / Yevgeny Volokin)
To fully understand the ongoing situation in Odessa, RT spoke with anti-Kiev protesters who were attacked and trapped inside the Trade Unions House by members of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector group on Friday.
The activists who were trapped on the roof of the besieged Trade Unions House building have been rescued and taken to a police station, the self-proclaimed head of the Republic of Odessa told Rossiya 24.
39 anti-government activists died in a fire at the Trade Unions House, according to the Ukrainian emergencies agency. Some of the victims burned to death, while others suffocated from smoke or jumped out of the building's windows, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. Another 40 people were injured, including 10 police officers.
Graphic video showing the aftermath of the fire:
RT spoke with two activists who were caught up in the horrific attack by the ultra-nationalist Right Sector against anti-government protesters.
Deputy of the regional council and mayoral candidate Aleksey Albu was brutally beaten by Right Sector radicals after he escaped the burning Trade Unions House.
''Militants from the Right Sector arrived from Kharkov to Odessa today. They attacked the center of the city first and then they moved on to the anti-Kiev protesters camp,'' Albu told RT via telephone while in the hospital. ''They attacked the camp with about 200 people there '' 100 of whom were women and men over 50 and 60 years of age '' with Molotov cocktails.''
''The people at the camp then barricaded themselves inside the Trade Unions House,'' Albu said.
The Right Sector radicals then surrounded the building and ''began throwing stun grenades and tear gas into the building...I was there inside the building and took part in the defense. We tried to defend ourselves as much as we could,'' he added.
''When we were finally able to jump out of the window from the second floor, we were met by the Right Sector radicals. They beat us with their feet using bats and chains. My friend got an open head injury. I received a wound six centimeters long and am now in a hospital waiting to get stitches,'' Albu stated.
''We were all covered in blood, our legs were beaten by bats,'' he said.
He added that his injuries were minor, considering the situation.
Earlier, RT spoke with one of the activists who had been trapped on the roof of the Trade Unions House. He said that up to 50 people were there with him, including women and young men.
''We tried to close all doors and windows that lead to the roof, got rid of all ladders,'' he told RT.
Various impersonators tried to come up, according to him, including people pretending to be rescuers and Interior Ministry troops. He said the activists on the roof were determined not to leave unless they received some guarantees they would leave alive.
The activist described radicals from the Right Sector blocking off the entrance onto the nearby street and special police just standing there as it happened.
''We are waiting and hoping that someone will come here and help us get out alive. If police are not defending us against this angry mob, then I don't know how we will find a way to leave,'' he said to RT while trapped on the roof.
Mayoral candidate Albu described the attack as being ''a wake up call for Odessa'' which could lead to very unpredictable consequences. Albu stated that the anti-Kiev demonstrations were peaceful, adding that the attack on protesters ''will not go unanswered.''
A total of 46 people died in Odessa violence on Friday and almost 200 others sustained injuries, Odessa Region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak told journalists on Saturday.
In reference to the disturbing events, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said that such ''actions are reminiscent of the crimes of the Nazis from whom the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists derive their ideological inspiration.''
Video footage from inside the building showed disturbing scenes of dead bodies lying around the rooms with thick smoke in the air and blood stains on the floor.
Most of the bodies filmed had St. George ribbons attached to their clothes, distinguishing them as anti-Kiev activists.
VIDEO-'I Hate Those F***ing Jews More Than the Nazis,' Raps Dutch Muslim Music Artist | TheBlaze.com
Mon, 05 May 2014 08:38
A Dutch rap singer of the Muslim faith has released a music video in which he rants against Jews and gays and recites the lyric, ''I hate those f***ing Jews more than the Nazis.''
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) news service reported that Dutch police are investigating after a gay citizen filed a complaint that the lyrics incite hatred.
Dutch Muslim rapper Ismo has created controversy with his new music video in which he rants against Jews and gays. ''I hate those f***ing Jews more than the Nazis,'' he raps. (Image Source: YouTube)
The rapper known as Ismo, but whose real name is Ismael Houllich, recorded the song ''Eenmans'' (or ''One Man's'') in which he rapped phrases including, ''don't shake hands with faggots'' and ''don't believe in anything but the Quran,'' according to a JTA translation from Dutch.
As of this writing, the video had received more than 200,000 views.
The Netherlands news site Algemeen Dagblad reported on Friday that a 19-year-old resident of the city in which the video clip was filmed named Lars Hobma filed the police complaint which prompted the investigation.
The rapper, Ismo, denies he is inciting anyone.
''They are trying to twist my words against me,'' he told the regional radio station Omroep Brabant according to JTA. ''I don't hate all Jews. I hate only Zionist Jews that made Palestine smaller than my neighborhood.''
''It all depends on how you interpret the song. By 'faggots' I didn't mean homosexuals and by 'Jews' I didn't mean all Jews. My fans realize that,'' he said.
The anti-radical Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders last month filed a police complaint against the Muslim rapper Hozny after the latter produced a video depicting Wilder being killed.
International Business Times reported in March, ''In the video by Hozny, which is interspersed with clips of Wilders and photos of Hitler, a politician in a cheap blond wig is kidnapped by men in black ski masks. The video ends with the politician tied up and on his knees as the men point guns at his head.''
Hobma, the gay citizen who turned to police over the latest video, has now received death threats on Facebook, according to media in the Netherlands.
Here is the new controversial rap video. The f-word and ''Nazis'' can be heard just before the 2:00 minute mark (content warning: vulgar language):
'--
VIDEO-Podcasting in peril? Trial showdown in September
Sun, 04 May 2014 19:48
James Logan, co-founder of PersonalAudio, a Beaumont, Texas, patent holder. He's suing podcasters and networks.(Photo: MHT Photography)
SHARE140CONNECTEMAILMORELOS ANGELES '-- James Logan freely admits that he's never made a podcast.
But he also insists he helped create the medium of podcasting. Logan says that it happened in 1996 '-- and that he has the patents to prove it.
In a controversial legal battle, PersonalAudio, the company founded by Logan, is suing comedian Adam Carolla's ACE Broadcasting, two other podcasters and networks Fox, CBS and NBC, saying they are infringing on his copyright and owe him money.
The trial begins in September. Carolla has taken to the Web to raise money for legal fees against what he called "patent trolls."
Carolla says he needs $1.5 million to face PersonalAudio in an East Texas courtroom that historically has been favored by patent litigants. So far, Carolla has pulled in just over $370,000 on the Fundanything.com crowdfunding website, including a $20,000 donation from e-commerce giant Amazon.
"The first thing they (PersonalAudio) said was 'Give us $3 million,'" says Carolla, whose show is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the most downloaded podcast ever. When faced with the suit, Carolla said he chose to fight.
"Obviously, $3 million is out of the question," he says. "But even if they said tomorrow, 'Give us $100,000, and this will all go away' '-- $100,000 for what?"
Should he lose, Carolla says he might shut down his show, a sentiment seconded online by others.
Podcasting has been around since at least 2004, initially as a vehicle to supply non-music programming for the Apple iPod, which launched in 2001. Apple began offering podcasts, through subscriptions and downloads, via its iTunes app in 2005.
As the popularity of smartphones and tablets has eliminated the need for subscriptions and downloads, sites such as TuneIn Radio, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Swell offer instant listening, both on the Web and via increasingly popular smartphone apps.
Nerdist'sChris Hardwick built a huge online following with his podcast, which he parlayed into a high-profile hosting gig with cable network AMC. Comedian Aisha Tyler, a co-host of TV's The Talk, parlayed her popular podcast Girl on Guy into a best-selling book, Self-Inflicting Wounds. National Public Radio has found huge audiences for shows such as This American Life, Snap Judgement and Fresh Air, which regularly top the iTunes podcast charts.
The trials '-- six separate suits between PersonalAudio and Carolla, Discovery Networks, podcaster Togi Entertainment and the broadcast networks '-- will take place in a small Texan town with 24,000 residents. Marshall, three hours east of Dallas and near the Arkansas border, has become known as the "patent trial capital", a popular place to get a trial in a city whose docket isn't filled with other cases waiting to get a hearing.
Podcaster Adam Carolla in his studio.(Photo: Jefferson Graham)
Many patent cases take place there, and historically, litigants win 60% of the time, according to a recent study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Carolla's team fought the locale, seeking a bigger city and fearing the history.
PersonalAudio, based in Beaumont, Texas, has a handful of employees working on creating new technologies, says Logan, who himself is based in New Hampshire.
PersonalAudio has no products but instead owns patents and investments in several companies, including consumer tech company Bringerr.
Logan's 1996 idea predates podcasting as we know it. His concept was downloadable entertainment via the Internet to a new kind of MP3 player he was trying to market. The product fizzled, so he switched gears to subscription of cassette tapes. He filed for and was granted several patents, which included the notion of having downloaded playlists.
In 2009, PersonalAudio amended the patent to include podcasting.
PersonalAudio sued Apple over the issue of playlists, which it popularized with the iPad, and won an $8 million settlement in 2011.
Then he set his sights on podcasters. Why start with Carolla?
"Somebody that's trying to collect license fees doesn't start with the little guy," says Logan, 61. "The obvious place to start is with the largest infringers. Adam Carolla has the largest podcast empire in the industry, so it was a logical place to start."
Logan knows that in the court of public opinion, he has not fared well. Carolla has a large megaphone and has enlisted pals including Howard Stern, Hardwick, Maria Menounos, Marc Maron, Joe Rogan and others to speak out on his behalf.
Logan's reaction to being called a "podcast troll"?
"It's a catchy term, and it's caught on," he says. "That's too bad. The patent system is an important part of our innovation economy."
But many say the patent system has gone out of control. Sure, big companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google regularly battle one another in court over patents, but many small firms have complained about getting letters from firms like PersonalAudio that don't pertain to their business but cause them to settle, since patent litigation is very expensive.
"So many entrepreneurs are doing good things; it puts a damper on the entrepreneurial work they're doing," says Charlene Li, an analyst with the Altimeter Group. "The patent office is trying to fix this."
Indeed, there are several bills in Congress that are aiming to tighten up the ease of getting patents, but with gridlock in Washington, they aren't expected to pass this year.
But the issue of "patent trolls" is so rampant that Dallas-based Marc Cuban, host of ABC's Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, donated to the San Francisco-based Electronic Freedom Foundation to start the "Marc Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents."
Daniel Nazer, an EFF staff attorney, is working to invalidate PersonalAudio's patent '-- which Logan described: "system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence."
"We think there's a really good case that PersonalAudio didn't invent podcasting like they claim," Nazer says. "There's no question that distributing cassettes isn't podcasting. If they had invented podcasting, they would have done some podcasting."
The EFF petitioned the patent office to hear its case about invalidating PersonalAudio's patent and got a hearing accepted. This is considered a big victory for podcasters, but the patent office has until April 2015 to make a decision.
(Just raising the issue isn't cheap: The patent office charges $25,000 for a filing fee, Nazer says.)
Despite the history with Texas patent trials, Li says the trial is an "uphill battle" for PersonalAudio.
"This case is so contentious," she says. "It would rule invalid so many of the activities that are out there now, and all people will be impacted."
Anyone who has a prerecorded show that's available for subscription or download would be violating Logan's patent. That would include not just Carolla but streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with any of the broadcast TV websites.
John Donham, CEO of audio app TuneInRadio, which offers access to radio stations and podcasts, says 14% of its listening comes from podcasts.
How would his app be affected if Carolla and others lose in court?
He doesn't expect that day to come. "We're not going to start planning for a world where podcasts are suddenly gone."
Readers: What's your favorite podcast? Let's chat about it on Twitter, where I'm @JeffersonGraham.
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VIDEO-Western banks lend billions to Russia - Mar. 20, 2014
Wed, 07 May 2014 16:12
LONDON (CNNMoney)
According to Russia's central bank, total foreign debt stood at $732 billion at the end of 2013, up by nearly $200 billion over two years -- and $160 billion of that was new borrowing by Russian businesses and banks.
Just this week, mining giant Metalloinvest said it had arranged an export financing facility worth $1.15 billion with a group of banks including the three biggest names in France, Deutsche Bank(DB), UniCredit(UNCFF) of Italy, ING(IDG) of the Netherlands, as well as Credit Suisse(CS) and Japan's Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.
Metalloinvest is controlled by Alisher Usmanov, who is reported to be Russia's richest man and close to Putin.
Related: Russia's U.S. debt not a threat
EU leaders will consider Thursday how to increase the pressure on Putin over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's southern region of Crimea. And they'll meet President Obama next week to continue those discussions.
The U.S. and Europe say Russia has violated Ukrainian sovereignty, and they've released a list of 28 officials, including some senior Russian politicians, who are now subject to travel bans and asset freezes.
But EU leaders are likely to tread very carefully before imposing serious economic sanctions, which would cause damage on both sides. Europe and Russia have close trade and investment