659: Mirific!

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 16m
October 9th, 2014
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Executive Producers: Sir Stephen of Oswego, Jason Berg, Trevor Mudge, Ferdinand Becker, The HMFIC

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Hank, Anonymous

Cover Artist: MartinJJ


Start of Show
Foreign Policy Initiative. Kristol, Kagan (Nuland), think tank.
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Obama: US is the Indispensible Nation
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Military industrial complex defense budget talking points.
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BBC & Wesley Clark: Putin finds NATO and ISIS in Syria
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Russia kicked off Beneficiary Developing Countries list. Trade Act of 1974.
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HBO Documentary: The War Against Gays in Russia
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The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum OMFIF, USA TODAY, IMF & NED regime change. China, SDR, Reserve currency.
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German Journalist Udo Ulfkotte: CIA, Intel agencies pay Western 'Press' to publish propaganda.
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Regime change news article. Gaddafi Libya building chemical weapon factory.
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Hollywood Health & Society, Norman Lear Center, USCAnnenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
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TMobile awesome super-dooper experience
FPI BOARD-KAGAN-KRISTOLDirectors and Staff | Foreign Policy Initiative
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:33
The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America's global economic competitiveness.Read More
Obama: Congress Must Stop 'Draconian Cuts' to Military Spending
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:48
Speaking today after a meeting at the Pentagon, President Obama pushed the idea that Congress needs to completely do away with even the pretense of sequestration with respect to military spending, saying they have to prevent the ''draconian cuts'' mandated.
Sequestration, agreed to because of a rising deficit, was supposed to slow the rate of growth for military spending. The reality is that Congress has ignored the sequestration rules in military budget deals anyhow, though even this higher rate of growth was too slow for the Pentagon's tastes, and they complained of ''cuts,'' which are only cuts compared to a hypothetical even less affordable budget.
Congress has been champing at the bit since the new war with ISIS was launched to use it as an excuse to do away with the rules even on paper, and to return to the days when the ability to pay for spending increases was even less of a factor than it is now.
Obama insisted in the new speech that the military needs ''equipment and the technology that's necessary for them to be able to succeed'' in the current war, while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned major projects could be stalled if the rate of spending didn't grow faster.
Hagel had initially presented the plan for sequestration as primarily reducing the number of ground troops, which seemingly wouldn't be a problem if the administration was sincere about the current war not involving a US ground invasion of Iraq or Syria. Yet officials instead are now hyping a reduction in the rate of new warplanes acquired, along with ships used to launch missile strikes.
Either way, the funding for the actual war is coming out of an entirely separate budget, the Overseas Contingencies budget, which is itself already immune to sequestration and is seemingly once again on the rise.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
Presidential Proclamation --Fire Prevention Week, 2014
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:06
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 03, 2014
- - - - - - -
Fires can take lives, devastate communities, and destroy our homes and businesses. They pose a threat to Americans across our Nation, and they cost us billions of dollars each year. As we mark Fire Prevention Week, we emphasize the importance of taking steps to prevent fires, and we recognize the selflessness of those who answer the call to fight these blazes, placing themselves in danger to help others. All Americans can protect themselves by taking precautions to guard against fires. This week's theme, "Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month," reminds us of the importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms in the places we live and work. Powerful and unpredictable, fire spreads rapidly and widely. That is why I encourage every American to develop and practice fire evacuation plans that will allow for swift exits from regularly visited places. It is our responsibility to teach our children about fire prevention and do everything we can to protect our loved ones during these emergencies. To learn more about fire safety, visit www.Ready.gov. This year, our Nation has suffered tragic losses as wildfires ravage States across our country. As wildfires increase in frequency and intensity in a changing climate, fire prevention and planning only become more urgent. My Administration continues to take action to increase our Nation's preparedness and resiliency, and every person can do his or her part. Americans who live near woodlands should clear flammable vegetation away from homes and buildings, and everyone can be ready by making an emergency kit and discussing evacuation routes and emergency plans with their families. We owe a great debt to our brave first responders and firefighters who run toward the scene of a disaster to fight fires. They are heroes who demonstrate courage, determination, and professionalism every day as they battle flames and smoke and teach their neighbors how to protect themselves. During Fire Prevention Week, we recognize our duty to be vigilant and take action to avert fires, and we remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives so others might live. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States do hereby proclaim October 5 through October 11, 2014, as Fire Prevention Week. On Sunday, October 12, 2014, in accordance with Public Law 107-51, the flag of the United States will be 2 flown at half-staff at all Federal office buildings in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. I call on all Americans to participate in this observance with appropriate programs and activities and by renewing their efforts to prevent fires and their tragic consequences.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
NEURODIVERSITY-I spy with my little eye'‰.'‰.'‰. someone on the spectrum - Telegraph
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:02
Elsewhere, those with the variety of conditions that are grouped under this banner (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, Asperger's and autism) often struggle to land jobs because of negative stereotypes. Full-time employment rates among members of the National Autism Society, for example, stand at only 15 per cent. Yet when it comes to being recruited as spies, those ''problems'' become pluses.
GCHQ even has its own Neurodiverse Support Group. Its chairman (who naturally wants to be identified only as ''Matt'') explains the thinking: ''What people don't realise is that people with neurodiversity usually have a 'spiky skills' profile, which means that certain skills areas will be below par and others may well be above.''
Matt's reading, spelling and handwriting may be below average, he confesses, ''but my 3D special-perception awareness and creativity are in the top 1 per cent of my peer group''. And that makes him particularly well-suited to the hi-tech world of modern espionage.
GCHQ is not the only employer to spot this opportunity. Three quarters of the workforce of the Danish software company Specialisterne is made up of those on the autism spectrum. It argues that a diagnosis of autism can often point to enhanced perceptual functions and a greater-than-average ability to pay attention to tiny, apparently insignificant details. And that is precisely what is in short supply in the industry.
But does that neat fit between ''neurodiversity'' and spying stretch much beyond a genius with software, the sort of work that is more Q's department than 007's globetrotting high jinks? What about solving mysteries and tracking down criminals? Surely that same attention to detail could pay dividends in a secret agent or high-profile detective.
The many websites aiming to crush the myth that dyslexia is any obstacle at all to being a world-beater are full of the names of those who have thrived with it '' inventors (Alexander Graham Bell), entrepreneurs (Richard Branson), virtuoso musicians (Nigel Kennedy), writers (F Scott Fitzgerald) and Renaissance men (Leonardo da Vinci). But I can find none with a special category for spies and detectives.
A fictional list, though, is easy to compile. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes has always been a notoriously hard character to unlock, but both Robert Downey Jr (on the big screen) and Benedict Cumberbatch (on the small) have had great success in playing him as someone on the autism spectrum.
Val McDermid's police psychologist, Dr Tony Hill, in the Wire in the Blood series of novels and TV films, is another in whom the flipside of poor social skills and empathy is his exceptional insight into the damaged minds of the criminals he confronts.
And the star of Nordic noir's The Bridge, Detective Saga Noren, may be so different as to be utterly blind to social niceties (when encouraged by her boss to engage in office banter with colleagues, she silences everyone during a coffee break by announcing that her period has just begun) yet her analytical powers are second to none.
So does it translate into real life? There's not a lot of evidence when it comes to flesh-and-blood police officers. There certainly aren't any high-flyers in the senior ranks who have a publicly acknowledged a neurodiverse condition. But then, they may quite reasonably regard it as a private matter.
There is one exceptional story, though, that we are going to be hearing a lot more about in the coming weeks, which spectacularly bears out the wisdom of GCHQ's initiative in widening its net in spy recruitment beyond the usual Oxbridge suspects. Alan Turing, the mathematician and wartime code-breaker at Bletchley Park, is to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch in a soon-to-be-released film. The Imitation Game celebrates his achievements '' all of which he managed while coping with dyslexia.
Not in spite of it, as might have been said at the time, but it is now being argued that his success was because of it. That's a lesson that has only taken us 60 years to learn.
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''690, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1708^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
First US Ebola Patient Dies - SUNDAY
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 20:58
Thomas A. Duncan, who became ill with Ebola after arriving from West Africa in Dallas two weeks ago, succumbed to the virus today (Sunday), reports Reuters. Duncan was fighting for his life at a Dallas hospital on today after his condition worsened to critical, according to the director of the US Centers for Disease Control.
The Dallas hospital that admitted him did not recognize the deadly disease at first and sent him home, only for him to return two days later by ambulance.
Article republished
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If there was a vaccine. Would you take it?
Brett Giroir - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:36
Brett P. Giroir, M.D.[1] (born November 4, 1960, Marrero, Louisiana) is an American biomedical researcher. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Texas A&M Health Science Center, a premier assembly of colleges devoted to educating health professionals and researchers. He is best known for his scientific leadership at DARPA, and his novel biomedical initiatives within Texas culminating in the 2012 announcement of a public private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Biomedical Research and Development Authority to create a Center for Innovation in Texas to accelerate research and development of vaccines and therapeutics and to rapidly produce these products in the event of a pandemic or other national emergencies.
Education and career[edit]Education[edit]Giroir received his A.B. degree in biology from Harvard University, magna cum laude, in 1982. He was the first college graduate in his family. Giroir later earned his M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1986, Alpha Omega Alpha, and conducted his residency (1986''1989), chief residency (1989''1990) and fellowship (1990''1991) in pediatrics at the medical center, specifically at Children's Medical Center (Dallas) and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Giroir received his post-doctoral training at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Beutler, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.
UT Southwestern Medical Center[edit]Following his fellowship, Giroir served on the faculty at UT Southwestern (1993''2004), earning the rank of tenured professor. He was the inaugural holder of the Associates First Capital Corporation Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics, and the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Care. His administrative positions included Director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Units at Children's Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital. In 2000, Giroir was named the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at UT Southwestern, while taking on the role as the inaugural Chief Medical Officer at Children's Medical Center (Dallas). Giroir led a medical staff of over 750 physicians, and expanded the services of the hospital to better serve the regions burgeoning pediatric population. His research focused on severe life-threatening infectious diseases, including meningococcal disease (''the college meningitis''). Giroir's research was featured on a PBS NOVA entitled ''Killer Disease on Campus''[2] which originally aired in 2002. Giroir has published over 85 academic articles, chapters and books on a variety of topics including host-pathogen interactions and novel therapies for life-threatening infectious diseases.
Governmental Appointments[edit]Due to his work on life-threatening infectious diseases, and while continuing to serve full-time at UT Southwestern, Giroir accepted membership on the Defense Sciences Research Council (DSRC, 1999''2004), an agile academic and technical assessment council charged with assisting DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in developing novel, world-changing R&D initiatives. Giroir co-chaired or participated in studies related to biological weapons decontamination and universal medial countermeasures to biological threats during his appointment with the DSRC.
In 2004, Giroir accepted a full-time position at DARPA as Deputy Director of the Defense Sciences Offices (DSO), and then as its Director from 2007 to 2008. Among the most noted programs begun during this time were a comprehensive biodefense thrust known as Accelerating Critical Therapeutics and numerous programs in fundamental mathematics, engineering, and human performance. During Giroir's tenure, the Defense Sciences Office developed the following biodefense programs and other programs related to biosecurity with the goal of developing new technologies and approaches to be transitioned for translation by other agencies:
Unconventional Pathogen Countermeasures to develop new approaches to vaccines and treatments for emerging diseases and agents of bioterrorismRapid Vaccine Assessment to develop an artificial immune system to rapidly test vaccines and avoid lengthy, poorly predictive preclinical trialsPredicting Health and Disease to develop pre-symptomatic diagnostics for infectious diseasesRadiation Biodosimetry to immediately determine radiation exposurePeak Soldier Performance to explore natural and nutritional mechanisms to maintain warfighter performance, including improving resistance to infectious diseaseSurviving Blood Loss to the extend the ''golden hour'' of trauma to the ''golden six hours'' through the creation of new therapies that can temporarily reduce oxygen demandRevolutionizing Prosthetics to develop the first neurally controlled fully functional human arm and handGiroir was also selected as a member of the Defense Sciences Study Group,[3] a two-year intensive program to develop emerging leaders in science and technology. He was a member of the External Advisory Board, NASA National Center for Space Biological Technologies (2003''2007),[4] and as the chair on the Chemical and Biological Defense Panel (2009''2010) for the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC).
In October 2013 Giroir appeared before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on Biodefense: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense.[5]
Texas A&M University System[edit]Giroir served as Vice Chancellor for Research (2008''2011), and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives (2011-2013). He maintains professor appointments in the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Dwight Look College of Engineering, and The Bush School of Government and Public Service, and is adjunct professor at the Baylor College of Medicine. Giroir's major focus has been leading the development of the biotechnology initiatives within the Texas A&M University System and One Health Plus Biocorridor in Brazos County. In this regard, Giroir was the lead investigator and Program Director for the design, development, and implementation of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM), a first-in-class biopharmaceutical research and development program at Texas A&M University. This program has been featured in many national programs, including the National Academy of Engineering Forum on 21st Century Manufacturing.[6] Giroir was also the Co-Investigator on a Department of Defense sponsored project within the Blue Angel Program to develop and successfully implement the world's most capable plant-made vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing program.
The culmination of these efforts was the award of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Research and Development Authority Center for Innovation. Along with two other national centers, the Texas A&M Center will be responsible for biosecurity preparedness for the United States, supplying 50 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine in a national emergency, and responding to known and previously unknown biological threats. The Center is responsible for developing and manufacturing medical countermeasures for the Strategic National Stockpile against all chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
In March 2013, GlaxoSmithKline and The Texas A&M University System announced U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approval of the establishment of an influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility as the anchor of the Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in Bryan-College Station, Texas. The announcement was hosted by Governor Rick Perry where he announced that the projected economic impact of this award to the State of Texas was estimated at $41 billion and included nearly 7,000 long term jobs.[7]
Other Work[edit]Giroir currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan. He serves on the Board of Managers for Kalon Biotherapeutics, and the Board of Directors for BioHouston and NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute and is a member of the Texas Medical Center Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
He has appeared extensively in the media including CNBC, CNN, Reuters, New York Times, USA Today and BBC World Service Radio.
2012 Dallas Morning NewsTexan of the Year Finalist[8]
Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service
Texas A&M University System Award for Innovation
Alpha Omega Alpha, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
American Heart Association, Lyndon Baines Johnson Research Award Society for Pediatric Research
Dallas Business Journal, Health Care Hero Award
Society of Critical Care Medicine, ''SCCM Annual Scientific Award''
Society of Critical Care Medicine, ''Presidential Citation''
Child Magazine, ''Ten pediatricians who make a difference''
National High School Debate Champion
National Merit Scholar
Harvard Scholar
Personal life[edit]Giroir and his wife, Jill, have two daughters, Jacqueline and Madeline.[9]
References[edit]External links[edit]PersondataNameGiroir, Brett PAlternative namesShort descriptionBiomedical researcherDate of birthNovember 4, 1960Place of birthMarrero, LouisianaDate of deathPlace of death
Office of the Governor Rick Perry - [Press Release] Gov. Perry Announces Major Biopharmaceutical Partnership
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 02:31
GlaxoSmithKline, Texas A&M Partner to Create World-Class Vaccine Facility
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 ' Austin, Texas ' Press Release
Gov. Rick Perry was joined by Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, Dr. Brett Giroir and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vaccines Senior Vice President Antoon Loomans to announce a major partnership creating a state-of-the-art influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility in College Station. This $91 million facility will anchor the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM), which will play a major role in securing our country from bio-terrorism and global pandemic through the rapid development and manufacturing of vaccines to protect human life.
"Over the past decade, we have invested in innovative programs to prioritize research in our state at both our universities and in the private sector. This combined with Texas' workforce and business climate have made us a leader in high-tech innovation, research, development and commercialization," Gov. Perry said. "Not only will this center keep Americans safer from epidemic, it will bring in more than $41 billion to the state over the next 25 years and contribute to the creation of more than 6,800 jobs in Texas."
This announcement builds on a series of significant investments the state has made over the last decade to elevate Texas to the forefront of biotech research and development, beginning in 2005, with the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine at Texas A&M University. Later, the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing was established to create a skilled bio-pharmaceutical workforce proficient in therapeutics manufacturing.
"We are honored to welcome GSK to Texas A&M as a key partner in the Center for Innovation," Chancellor Sharp said. "GSK's dedication to public service is well-aligned with the Texas A&M tradition of serving the nation and defining its future through research and scholarship. Equally important is the cultural and philosophical match between GSK and the A&M System, as reflected by GSK's desire to collaborate with academia and the U.S. government, and their ongoing commitment to helping address global health scourges such as pandemic influenza and malaria."
The foundation established by these investments helped create the infrastructure necessary for Texas A&M to be designated by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department as one of three centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing aimed at enhancing the nation's emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases. The Texas A&M CIADM represents the largest commitment of a global biopharmaceutical company to partner in Texas, and is the only one of the three centers to be led by an academic institution.
"GSK is privileged to deepen our commitment to U.S. public health, as part of this unprecedented public-private collaboration to protect against pandemics and bio-threats," Loomans said. "In Texas A&M we have found a partner with a rich tradition of service, and with pioneering technologies that will benefit the entire pharmaceutical industry in making vaccines available and accessible to all in need."
Ebola Kid acting http://itm.im/ebolakid
Ebola could cost West Africa's economy $33 billion: World Bank - MarketWatch
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:23
WASHINGTON '-- Ebola spreading throughout West Africa could cause up to $33 billion in losses for the region's economy, the World Bank said Wednesday in a report warning of deeper damage from the crisis.
''A swift policy reaction by the international community is crucial,'' the World Bank said in its latest assessment of the potential economic effect of Ebola.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have ramped up their financing in recent weeks for the three worst-hit countries in the region '-- Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia '-- as the outbreak overwhelms their economies. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said the epidemic could cause an economic catastrophe for those nations unless it's contained by the end of the year.
The development organization now says the economic hit could be much broader and deeper than originally thought.
''It is far from certain that the epidemic will be fully contained by December,'' the bank said in the report released Wednesday. ''Over the medium term'...both epidemiological and economic contagion in the broader subregion of West Africa is likely,'' it said.
If the virus isn't contained in the coming months, Liberia and Sierra Leone would likely be pushed into deep economic contractions. ''The economic impacts are already very serious in the core three countries '-- particularly Liberia and Sierra Leone '-- and could become catastrophic'' under a slow-containment scenario, the bank said.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com
Tekmira shares skyrocket as Ebola outbreak intensifies in Africa - Yahoo News
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:02
By Sayantani Ghosh and Ashutosh Pandey
(Reuters) - Shares of Canada's Tekmira Pharmaceutical Corp , which has ambitions of producing the first treatment for the deadly Ebola virus, have skyrocketed as the worst-ever outbreak of the virus intensified in West Africa.
While human tests of the company's treatment, TKM-Ebola, were put on hold last month due to safety concerns, investors scrambled to buy its stock, sending shares up 1.5 percent to $13 in midday Nasdaq trading, and up more than 50 percent over the past fortnight.
"The recent outbreak in West Africa is as profound as any we have seen in recent decades," said Euro Pacific Canada analyst Douglas Loe.
"We have solid pre-clinical evidence showing that TKM-Ebola is effective at eradicating Ebola symptoms, giving us confidence that its development activities could resume," he said.
The outbreak forced Sierra Leone to declare a state of emergency and call in troops to quarantine victims on Thursday. The country joined neighbor Liberia in imposing tough controls as the death toll in West Africa moved past 700.
Indeed, the outbreak is outpacing efforts to control it, but could be stopped, World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said on Friday.
Ebola belongs to a family of viruses that can cause serious hemorrhagic fevers. There have been dozens of deadly outbreaks of the virus across West Africa, threatening people as well as endangered gorilla populations.
The recent outbreak, which has caused with 729 deaths in four different countries since February, is the worst since the disease was discovered in the mid-1970s.
Tekmira had previously published proof-of-concept data that showed its treatment resulted in 100 percent protection from a lethal dose of Zaire Ebola virus in infected primates.
The company started an early-stage clinical trial for the treatment in January and was granted fast-track status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 5, pushing shares to their highest ever a few days later.
The FDA's fast track is a process designed to facilitate and expedite the development and review of drugs to allow important new therapies to get to patients quickly.
The latest surge in Tekmira shares has come in the past 14 days, with shares soaring 52 percent to $13.65 on the Nasdaq, including Friday's gains.
This is despite the treatment having been put on clinical hold on July 3, which pushed shares down more than 15 percent on that day.
Tekmira was not immediately available for comment.
"What Wall Street does is that it sees an Ebola crisis and it sees Tekmira with an Ebola medical countermeasure that has shown a 100 percent effectiveness in animals," said Maxim Group analyst Jason Kolbert.
"It says: 'Wow! This may be a really valuable product'."
Kolbert said he expected the hold to be lifted by year-end.
Analysts said the FDA would likely face pressure from global health campaigners to consider fast-tracking possible treatments, including Tekmira's.
A North Carolina physician petitioned the regulator on Wednesday on the Change.org website to release the hold on Tekmira's treatment. [http://chn.ge/1AHixDw]
The petition has already gathered 12,500 signatures.
"Given that at least one patient has transferred the disease from Liberia to Nigeria by air travel, the possibility of a global pandemic becomes increasingly likely," said the petitioner, who identified himself as Ahmed Tejan-Sie, MD.
Last month, the director of the influential Wellcome Trust global charity said people at high risk of dying from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa should be offered experimental medicines to see if they work.
Tekmira was incorporated in 2005, the result of a reorganization of its parent, Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp, which crashed when the FDA rejected its highly touted cancer drug.
Burnaby, British Columbia-based Tekmira has since specialized in the field of gene silencing, otherwise known as RNA interference.
All four brokerages covering the company's Nasdaq-listed stock have a "buy" or equivalent rating and an average price target of $26.63, about twice its current price of $13.
(Additional reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
Health Care IndustryHealthWest AfricaEbola virusEbola outbreak
Monsanto Invests $1.5 Million Into Tekmira, The Company Making The Ebola Virus Cure
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:03
Monsanto. The company alone seems to have become the new business ''boogie man'' over the years with what has been reported about them. Here on The Inquisitr, we reported numerous times on this company, and most of them are not good at all. This includes Roundup Ready being linked to kidney disease, as well as what their GMO wheat has done for Kansas farmers. Despite their reported travesties, Hillary Clinton is a staunch supporter of their projects.
There are more reports going against Monsanto, but from what we have showed, would it be wise to have the company handle the production of the cure for the new scare virus, Ebola? For those who said no, unfortunate news is on your way. Monsanto has now invested $1.5 million into Tekmira, the company in charge of making a cure or vaccine for the Ebola virus.
According to an article by Yahoo Finance, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a leading developer of RNA interference therapeutics, announced they received a $1.5 million milestone payment from Monsanto following the completion of specified program developments. The development milestone is part of the research program under the Option Agreement Tekmira signed with the agricultural company, which was announced on January 13, 2014. The agreement relates to Tekmira's proprietary delivery technology and intellectual property for use in agricultural applications. Potential value of the transaction could reach up to $86.2 million.
However, critics of Monsanto, which includes Now The End Begins, are not happy about this. Once again, Tekmira has been working on the serum to treat Ebola. It's trial was placed on hold while executives gathered information about how the drug works in the body per the request of the FDA.
It should also be reported that Tekmira attained a contract with the U.S. military for Ebola treatment drugs worth $140 million. Though this partnership, TKM-Ebola, an anti-Ebola virus RNAi therapeutic, is being developed from the U.S. Department of Defense's Medical Countermeasure Systems BioDefense Therapeutics. However, this was not the product given to the two doctors infected with Ebola. Instead, they got ZMapp, a product made from Kentucky BioProcessing.
From what you may know about Monsanto through our numerous reports, we want to know what you think about their relationship with Tekmira. Do you thinking Monsanto is being honest with their investment in which they desire a cure to a disease that is brought fear to the western world? Do you think Monsanto just wants control to the keys of life and death pertaining to Ebola? Let us know in the comments below.
APRIL!!!!-Tekmira Awarded 140 Million Contract For Ebola Treatment Research
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:02
By Marcus Johnson
The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Tekmira a $140 million contract to research a treatment for the Ebola virus. Last month, Tekmira announced in a press release that the FDA had granted their drug, TKM-Ebola, a Fast Track designation for development as a viral therapeutic. Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO, said: ''This is an important milestone for Tekmira and our TKM-Ebola program. Receiving a Fast Track designation from the FDA supports our work to advance the development of this therapeutic as quickly as possible. Our leadership in developing anti-viral therapies has been supported by our collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense, which is funding the development of TKM-Ebola.''
The global market for Ebola is small, because the disease is rare. According to the International Business Times, Ebola has affected fewer than 10,000. Because it's a relatively limited market, pharmaceutical companies are less willing to fund the difficult and lengthy research process that often goes into developing treatments for more common diseases, like malaria. However, this is not to understate the severity of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the virus is classified as a ''Category A Pathogen,'' which ''requires special action for public health preparedness.''
Ben Neuman, a virologist for the UK's University of Reading told the IB Times that diseases such as Ebola are more likely to receive funding from the U.N.or the U.S. governmentbecause of their focus on the greater public good.
Last month, the company started its first human trials for TKM-Ebola. In light of the treatment's dramatic progress, some members of the medical community are asking if Tekmira should be authorizing the use of the drug in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In times of crisis, sometimes volunteers can use unapproved medicines in what is called ''compassionate use authorization.'' However, it isn't known if TKM-Ebola has been developed to the point where compassionate use is viable. ''My impression is that it's not advanced enough to use on a compassionate basis,'' said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
However, there are some who believe deploying TKM-EBOLA in the current outbreak could be beneficial for both patients and those developing drugs. According to Dirk Haussecker, an independent consultant in the field, ''Deploying TKM-EBOLA in the current outbreak would have benefits for both the drug developer and patients. You could argue that it is ethically more troubling testing a new compound in healthy volunteers when actual patients are available.''
Epidemic - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 02:49
: characterized by very widespread growth or extent : of, relating to, or constituting an epidemic
'-- ep·i·dem·i·cal\-Ëde-mi-kÉl\adjective
'-- ep·i·dem·i·cal·ly\-Ëde-mi-k(É-)lÄ'\adverb
'-- ep·i·de·mic·i·ty\-dÉ-Ëmi-sÉ-tÄ'\noun
About the 'glitch' [email]
I live about 4 miles from the hospital where the now deceased Ebola patient was housed. It's the same hospital my kids were born in. My neighbor is an ER nurse at that facility and had treated the patient a number of times prior to his death today. She had some very interesting insight into the "glitch" the media was reporting on last week about the doctor not seeing the notes from the nurse and letting the patient go after his initial visit She is an ex-programmer turned nurse so she knows software systems well.
She described the system that is used as being "something that was built for the backend with little to no regard for the average user who operates it on a daily basis". She described the program as being very deep in that it takes information about the patient and parses it to the proper databases, but for the user to access that information, you're having to wade through huge spreadsheets of data. It seems to me for a nurse or doctor, you'd want something with an intuitive UI that would almost replicate the old paper charts, where the display would replicate something like the Facebook newsfeed. It should also be noted this program is in use in 40% of all hospitals nationwide.
So what does this lead to? She said the program is so difficult to navigate and takes so many clicks to do simple tasks that doctors and nurses will often get frustrated with it and just bypass it altogether. I manage a software suite at my job that is very similar to this. It holds lots of data in a multitude of databases but the average user has a helluva time using it, to the point of all out frustration.
So the main point? There was no "glitch". Shocker, right?
Another interesting point to this saga: The ebola patient was isolated in his own wing of the hospital. I'm talking an entire floor just for him. Armed guards 24/7. A 4-to-1 intensive care nurse-to-patient ratio for just him. For some perspective, a baby that is born and must go into intensive care gets just a 1-to-1 nurse/patient ratio. They even had to bring in a command center to handle the phones b/c the ICU was being harrassed so much when this first happened that real calls couldn't get through.
The kicker? The ebola patient had racked up over a million dollars in care in his short time in the hospital. Being a Liberian national, he wouldn't have had to pay a dime for that coverage, all of which would have been written off or covered by another entity, perhaps the taxpayers. Anyone one of us slaves with health care and coverage maximums would have hit those max's and been in debt for eternity. My point? If ebola were to spread, you can hedge your bets on the health-care system completely shutting down and failing.
I don't know if any of this will be useful in your analysis, but as always, please keep me anonymous. Thanks.
AP News : Ebola evades European defenses; pet dog must die
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:34
By JORGE SAINZ and ALAN CLENDENNINGPublished: 11 minutes agoMADRID (AP) - Health officials in Spain rushed to contain the Ebola virus Tuesday after it got past Europe's defenses, quarantining four people at a Madrid hospital where a nursing assistant got infected and persuading a court that the woman's dog must die.
The first case of Ebola transmitted outside Africa, where a months-long outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people, is raising questions about how prepared wealthier countries really are. Health workers complained Tuesday that they lack the training and equipment to handle the virus, and the all-important tourism industry was showing its anxiety.
Medical officials in the United States, meanwhile, are retraining hospital staff and fine-tuning infection control procedures after the mishandling of a critically ill Liberian man in Texas, who might have exposed many others to the virus after being sent away by a hospital.
In Africa, the U.S. military was preparing to open a 25-bed mobile hospital catering to health care workers with Ebola, before building a total of 17 promised 100-bed Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia. The virus has taken an especially devastating toll on health care workers, sickening or killing more than 370 in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where doctors and nurses were already in short supply.
And as the disease moved from a seemingly distant continent to the doorsteps of the world's largest economies, government leaders faced growing pressure to ramp up responses. Spanish opposition parties called for the resignation of Health Minister Ana Mato, and the European Union demanded answers to what went wrong.
Obama administration spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that more passenger screening measures would be announced "in the next couple of days," even though the White House remains "confident in the screening measures that are currently in place."
The nursing assistant in Madrid was part of a special team caring for a Spanish priest who died of Ebola last month after being evacuated from Sierra Leone. The nursing assistant wore a hazmat suit both times she entered his room, officials said, and no records point to any accidental exposure to the virus, which spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a sickened person.
The woman, who had been on vacation in the Madrid area after treating the priest, was diagnosed with Ebola on Monday after coming down with a fever, and was said to be stable Tuesday. Her husband also was isolated as a precaution. Another quarantined nurse tested negative, but a man who traveled in Nigeria remained in isolation.
Madrid's regional government even got a court order to euthanize and incinerate the couple's mixed-breed dog, Excalibur, against their objections, without even testing the animal. A government statement said "available scientific information" doesn't guarantee that infected dogs can't transmit the virus to humans.
Some reports in medical journals suggest that dogs can be infected with Ebola without showing symptoms, but whether they can spread the disease to people is unclear.
Ebola's source in nature hasn't been pinpointed. The leading suspect is a certain type of fruit bat, but the World Health Organization lists chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines as possibly playing a role in spread of the disease. Even pigs may amplify infection because of bats on farms in Africa.
Spanish authorities also were tracking down all the woman's contacts, and put more than 50 other people under observation, including her relatives and fellow health care workers. "The priority now is to establish that there is no risk to anybody else," emergency coordinator Fernando Simon said.
Even so, the potential repercussions of Ebola's presence in Europe became clear, as shares of Spanish airline and hotel chain companies slumped in Tuesday's trading. Spain is Europe's biggest vacation destination after France, and investors were apparently spooked that the deadly virus could scare away travelers.
The afflicted woman, reportedly in her 40s and childless, was not identified to protect her privacy, but nursing union officials she had 14 years' experience. Spanish officials said she had changed a diaper for the priest and collected material from his room after he died.
Dead Ebola victims are highly infectious, and in West Africa their bodies are collected by workers in hazmat outfits.
The Madrid infection shows that even in countries with sophisticated medical procedures, frontline health care workers are at risk while caring for Ebola patients. Some two dozen health workers protested outside a Madrid hospital Tuesday, where union representative Esther Quinones complained that they lack resources and training.
In the United States, health care providers are implementing many precautions - reviewing triage procedures, creating isolation units, and even sending actors with mock symptoms into New York City's public hospital emergency rooms to test reactions.
"You never know when (an Ebola) patient's going to walk in," said Dr. Debra Spicehandler, an infectious disease expert at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. "Education is key to controlling this - education of the public and of health care workers."
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Tuesday that infectins of health-care workers tend to happen when a medical team is dealing with Ebola for the first time, or a team is overburdened and losing its ability to focus on containment. For this reason, the CDC advises six-week limits on the tours of medical workers in outbreak areas.
Frieden said the agency is continuing to discuss increased screening of travelers from West Africa, and noted that the agency is already screening people as they leave the region. Of 36,000 people who answered questionnaires and had their temperatures checked, only 77 travelers were halted, and none ended up having Ebola, he said.
Contributors include Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal; Ciaran Giles in Madrid; Raf Casert in Brussels; Medical Writer Michael Stobbe and David B. Caruso in New York, White House Correspondent Julie Pace and Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee.
HealthMap Vaccine Finder
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:06
HealthMap Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where users can search for locations that offer immunizations. We work with partners such as clinics, pharmacies, and health departments to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services. Our goal is to make it simple for users to find a place to be immunized.
Google originally created the Flu Vaccine Finder in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. In early 2012, Google passed the baton to HealthMap and has worked closely with HealthMap in creating the new HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder. By 2013, HealthMap expanded to cover 10 additional adult vaccines and relaunched the site as HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
If you would like to list a pharmacy, clinic, health department or other vaccine provider, you will first need to register for an account. After your account is approved, you will receive further instructions on how to submit information about your vaccination services. There is no fee to participate in HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
Should you need further assistance at any point, please contact us at vaccine [at] healthmap [dot] org
HealthMap Vaccine Finder is maintained by HealthMap, a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital. Learn more about HealthMap.
See HealthMap's terms of use.
Connecticut Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Ebola as a Precaution | NECN
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:56
HARTFORD, CT - OCTOBER 5: Stamford Mayor and Democratic nominee Dannel Malloy addresses the press after his debate with former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, businessman and Republican nominee Tom Foley outside the Belding Theater at the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts October 5, 2010 in Hartford, Connecticut. Malloy and Foley, who are in a close race for Governor, spoke about creating jobs, the death penalty among other issues. (Photo by Bettina Hansen-Pool/Getty Images)
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has declared a public health emergency for the state as a precaution during the Ebola epidemic that is affecting several countries in western Africa.
He signed an order declaring the emergency on Tuesday and it gives the commissioner of the state Department of Public Health the authority to quarantine and isolate people whom the commissioner ''reasonably believes has been exposed to the Ebola virus.''
Malloy said this is not in response to any specific case, but is meant to provide state health officials with the authority necessary to ''prevent any potential transmission of the Ebola virus within the State of Connecticut,'' the letter says.
''We are taking this action today to ensure that we are prepared, in advance, to deal with any identified cases in which someone has been exposed to the virus or, worst case, infected,'' Malloy said in a statement. ''Our state's hospitals have been preparing for it, and public health officials from the state are working around the clock to monitor the situation. Right now, we have no reason to think that anyone in the state is infected or at risk of infection. But it is essential to be prepared and we need to have the authorities in place that will allow us to move quickly to protect public health, if and when that becomes necessary. Signing this order will allow us to do that.''
Without the declaration of emergency, officials have no statewide ability to isolate or quarantine people who might have been exposed or infected. Instead, each individual local public health director would have the authority, according to the governor's office.
''While local health officials are certainly on the front lines of this effort, at the ready to address any situation, having this order in place will allow us to have a more coordinated response in the event that someone in Connecticut either tests positive for Ebola or has been identified as someone who is at risk of developing it,'' DPH Commissioner Jewel Mullen said in a statement. ''We have had numerous conversations with both local public health officials in the state and senior officials at the Center for Disease Control. We have no reason to believe that anyone in Connecticut is infected or at risk of infection, but if it does happen, we want to be ready.''
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's office said the laws in the Bay State are different than Connecticut, so a State of Emergency is not needed to give the state health commissioner the authority to quarantine and isolate people believed to have been exposed to the Ebola virus.
Similarly, New Hampshire does not have to declare a State of Emergency to have the authority to quarantine suspected Ebola cases or carriers, according to Gov. Maggie Hassan's office.
William Hinkle, Hassan's press secretary, said state health and emergency management officials continue to closely monitor the issue and communicate with health care providers, providing informational materials to hospitals, paramedics and other medical professionals about what to look for and how to appropriately respond to suspected cases.
"Governor Hassan also remains in close contact with those officials and we will continue to evaluate the situation, but at this point public health officials in New Hampshire do not believe they need an emergency declaration," he said.
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STATE OF MISSOURI Orders Activation of Emergency Operations in St. Louis County THURSDAY | The Gateway Pundit
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:39
The St. Louis Emergency Operations Center will be activated on Thursday afternoon until Tuesday.
This document was sent out Wednesday warning of Emergency Conditions in the St. Louis area this weekend.
The St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center will be activated at 4:00 PM Thursday and remain activated until midnight Tuesday morning.
The activation is in response to intelligence information and planned demonstrations over the holiday weekend which is being organized as a ''Weekend of Resistance.''
Far left Ferguson protesters are planning mass demonstrations in St. Louis starting Thursday.
Local far left Ferguson activist Tef Poetold supporters this week,
''Don't come t Ferguson if you aren't ready to die.''
The St. Louis Cardinals are playing in the NLCS at Busch Stadium this weekend.
This was sent to The Gateway Pundit from a trusted source.St. Louis County is planning on using buses for transporting groups of law enforcement officers to the area.
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1st LD-Writethru: Deadly Marburg hemorrhagic fever breaks out in Uganda - China.org.cn
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:49
The deadly Marburg hemorrhagic fever has broken out in Uganda after samples taken to the Uganda Virus Institute tested positive, a top government official said Sunday.
Elioda Tumwesigye, minister of state for health told reporters that one person has so far died and 80 others are being monitored in central Uganda and the western district of Kasese.
"The Ministry of Health would like to inform the country of an outbreak Marburg which has so far killed one person. Another person who has developed signs is being monitored," he said.
He said the index case died on Sept. 28 after developing signs of Marburg which was later confirmed by laboratory tests. The minister said the deceased's brother has also developed signs and is currently under isolation.
He added that all the people that had contact with them are being monitored.
The Marburg virus was last reported in Uganda in 2012.
According to the World Health Organization, Marburg is a severe and highly fatal disease caused by a virus from the same family as the one that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
According to the global health body, the illness caused by Marburg virus begins abruptly, with severe headache and malaise.
Case fatality rates have varied greatly, from 25 percent in the initial laboratory-associated outbreak in 1967, to more than 80 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1998-2000, to even higher in the outbreak that began in Angola in late 2004.
Currently some West African states are facing a related disease- - Ebola -- which has left more than 3,000 people dead. Endi
Readout of the President's Meeting on the United States' Ebola Response
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:15
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 06, 2014
The President met this afternoon with his senior health, homeland security, and national security advisors to receive an update on the Ebola case in Texas, broader domestic preparedness plans, and U.S. and international efforts to contain and end the epidemic in West Africa. The President and his team discussed the progress health officials in Texas have made in identifying and monitoring the contacts of the patient in Dallas. The team reviewed the measures that have been in place for weeks in preparation for this contingency, and underscored their confidence that the nation's health infrastructure is prepared and able to prevent an outbreak here at home. Participants also discussed options to enhance airport screening in the United States and the need to tackle Ebola at its source in West Africa, where the United States has launched a civilian-led whole-of-government effort that leverages the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to help bring the epidemic under control. Finally, the President reiterated that the epidemic is a top national security priority, and that we will continue to do everything necessary to address it.
The Vice President (via secure videoconference)John Kerry, Secretary of StateChuck Hagel, Secretary of DefenseGeneral Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffSylvia Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human ServicesJeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland SecurityRajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International DevelopmentSamantha Power, Representative of the United States of America to the United NationsDr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDenis McDonough, White House Chief of StaffJohn Podesta, Counselor to the PresidentSusan Rice, National Security AdvisorValerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the PresidentNeil Eggleston, Counsel to the PresidentShaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and BudgetDr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology PolicyAntony Blinken, Deputy National Security AdvisorLisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and CounterterrorismSuzanne George, Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff of the National Security CouncilRand Beers, Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland SecurityColin Kahl, National Security Advisor to the Vice PresidentKatie Fallon, Director of the Office of Legislative AffairsGayle Smith, Senior Director for Development and Democracy, National Security Council
Remarks by the President After Meeting on Ebola
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:21
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 06, 2014
Roosevelt Room
4:04 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I just had an opportunity to get a full briefing from my entire team across administrations -- across agencies on the aggressive steps that we are taking to fight the Ebola epidemic, to stop the epidemic at its source in West Africa but also to make sure that we are doing everything we need to do to prevent an outbreak here in the United States.
As I've said from the start of this outbreak, I consider this a top national security priority. This is not just a matter of charity -- although obviously the humanitarian toll in countries that are affected in West Africa is extraordinarily significant. This is an issue about our safety. It is also an issue with respect to the political stability and the economic stability in this region.
And so it is very important for us to make sure that we are treating this the same way that we would treat any other significant national security threat. And that's why we've got an all-hands-on-deck approach -- from DOD to public health to our development assistance, our science teams -- everybody is putting in time and effort to make sure that we are addressing this as aggressively as possible.
I know that the American people are concerned about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak, and Ebola is a very serious disease. And the ability of people who are infected who could carry that across borders is something that we have to take extremely seriously. At the same time, it is important for Americans to know the facts, and that is that because of the measures that we've put in place, as well as our world-class health system and the nature of the Ebola virus itself -- which is difficult to transmit -- the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.
Procedures are now in place to rapidly evaluate anybody who might be showing symptoms. We saw that with the response of the airplane in Newark and how several hospitals across the United States have been testing for possible cases. In recent months we've had thousands of travelers arriving here from West Africa, and so far only one case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, and that's the patient in Dallas. Our prayers are obviously with him and his family.
We have learned some lessons, though, in terms of what happened in Dallas. We don't have a lot of margin for error. The procedures and protocols that are put in place must be followed. One of the things that we discussed today was how we could make sure that we're spreading the word across hospitals, clinics, any place where a patient might first come in contact with a medical worker to make sure that they know what to look out for, and they're putting in place the protocols and following those protocols strictly. And so we're going to be reaching out not only to governors and mayors and public health officials in states all across the country, but we want to continue to figure out how we can get the word out everywhere so that everybody understands exactly what is needed to be done.
Meanwhile, at the federal level, we're constantly reviewing and evaluating the measures that we already have in place to see if there are additional improvements. We continue to look at any additional steps that can be taken to make sure that the American people are safe, which is our highest priority.
And finally, we had a discussion about what we're doing on site in West Africa. There's been already extraordinary work done by the Department of Defense in conjunction with the CDC in standing up isolation units and hospital beds. We are making progress. The environment is difficult because the public health system there has very few resources and is already extraordinarily fragile.
And I'll be very honest with you -- although we have seen great interest on the part of the international community, we have not seen other countries step up as aggressively as they need to. And I said at the United Nations, and I will repeat, that this is an area where everybody has to chip in and everybody has to move quickly in order for us to get this under control. Countries that think that they can sit on the sidelines and just let the United States do it, that will result in a less effective response, a less speedy response, and that means that people die, and it also means that the potential spread of the disease beyond these areas in West Africa becomes more imminent.
So I'm going to be putting a lot of pressure on my fellow heads of state and government around the world to make sure that they are doing everything that they can to join us in this effort. We've got some small countries that are punching above their weight on this, but we've got some large countries that aren't doing enough. And we want to make sure that they understand that this is not a disease that's going to discriminate, and this is something that all of us have to be involved in.
So the bottom line is, is that we're doing everything that we can to make sure, number one, that the American people are safe; I'm confident that we're going to be able to do that. But we're also going to need to make sure that we stop this epidemic at its source. And we're profoundly grateful to all our personnel -- our medical personnel, our development personnel, our military personnel who are serving in this effort. It's because of their professionalism, their dedication and their skill that we are going to be able to get this under control, but this is a faraway place, with roads that in many cases are impassable, areas that don't have even one hospital. We're having to stand up, essentially, a public health infrastructure in many of these areas that haven't had it before, and that requires an enormous amount of effort.
I'm very grateful for the people who are on the front lines making this work. It's a reminder once again of American leadership. But even with all the dedicated effort that our American personnel are putting in, there are going to be -- they need to be joined by professionals from other countries who are putting up similar effort and similar resources. And so I hope they're going to be paying attention over the next several weeks so we can get on top of this.
Thank you.
Q What do you say to the American people who remain nervous in spite of your assurances?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I just explained to them that the nature of this disease -- the good news is, is that it's not an airborne disease. We are familiar with the protocols that are needed to isolate and greatly reduce the risks of anybody catching this disease, but it requires us to follow those protocols strictly, and that's exactly what we are in the process of doing. And the CDC is familiar with dealing with infectious diseases and viruses like this. We know what has to be done and we've got the medical infrastructure to do it. But this is an extraordinarily virulent disease when you don't follow the protocols.
And so the key here is just to make sure that each step along the way -- whether it's a hospital admissions desk, whether it is the doctors, the nurses, public health officials -- that everybody has the right information. If they have the right information and they're following those protocols, then this is something that we're going to be able to make sure does not have the kind of impact here in the United States that a lot of people are worried about. But that requires everybody to make sure that they stay informed. Most particularly, we've got to make sure that our health workers are informed.
We're also going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening, both at the source and here in the United States. All of these things make me confident that here in the United States, at least, the chances of an outbreak, of an epidemic here are extraordinarily low.
But let's keep in mind that, as we speak, there are children on the streets dying of this disease -- thousands of them. And so obviously my first job is to make sure that we're taking care of the American people, but we have a larger role than that. We also have an obligation to make sure that those children and their families are safe as well, because ultimately the best thing we can do for our public health is also to extend the kind of empathy, compassion and effort so that folks in those countries as well can be rid of this disease.
Thank you very much, everybody.
Q Are you looking to the private sector --
THE PRESIDENT: A lot of volunteering. Thank you, everybody.
END4:15 P.M. EDT
FACT SHEET: The U.S. Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:19
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 06, 2014
Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in West Africa in March 2014, the United States has mounted a whole-of-government response to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source, while also taking prudent measures at home. The President last month outlined a stepped-up U.S. response, leveraging more thoroughly the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to support the civilian-led response in West Africa. Domestically, we have prepared for the diagnosis of an Ebola case on U.S. soil and have measures in place to stop this and any potential future cases in their tracks.
Specifically, our strategy is predicated on four key goals:
Controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa;Mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls in the region;Engaging and coordinating with a broader global audience; and,Fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond, including within the United States.International Response
In support of national government efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea'--and alongside the international community'--the U.S. response builds upon the measures we have had in place since the first cases of Ebola were reported. The United States already has committed more than $350 million toward fighting the outbreak in West Africa, including more than $111 million in humanitarian aid, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is prepared to devote more than $1 billion to the whole-of-government Ebola response effort. As a further indication of our prioritization of this response, the United States convened a special UN Security Council session on the epidemic, and President Obama called the world to action during a subsequent UN session called by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. These U.S. actions have galvanized millions of dollars in international funding and in-kind support.
Among the specific response efforts, the United States has:
Deployed to West Africa more than 130 civilian medical, healthcare, and disaster response experts from multiple U.S. government departments and agencies as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Disaster Assistance Response Team as well as approximately 350 U.S. military personnel, constituting the largest U.S. response to an international public health challenge;Increased the number of Ebola treatment units (ETU) in the region, including supporting ETUs in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and one of our new ETUs in Liberia discharged its first four Ebola survivors last week;Increased to 50 the number of safe burial teams, which are now working across every county in Liberia to safely and respectfully dispose of bodies;Deployed and commenced operation of five mobile Ebola testing labs in the region, two of which opened this week in Liberia and have doubled lab capacity in the country'--reducing from several days to just a few hours the time needed to determine if a patient has Ebola;Provided more than 10,000 Ebola test kits to the Liberian Institute of Biological Research and Sierra Leone's Kenema Government Hospital;Received and passed to interested humanitarian organizations information from nearly 2,200 volunteers willing to provide healthcare in the affected countries;Delivered approximately 2,200 rolls of USAID heavy-duty plastic sheeting for use in constructing Ebola treatment units across the region;Procured 140,000 sets of personal protective equipment, 10,000 of which have already been delivered, along with hundreds of thousands of medical gloves and thousands of protective coveralls, goggles, face shields, and other personal protective supplies;Delivered an initial 9,000 of 50,000 community care kits to Liberia;Supported aggressive public education campaigns reaching every Liberian county with life-saving information on how to identify, treat and prevent Ebola;Administered nutritional support to patients receiving care at Ebola treatment units and in Ebola-affected communities across the region; andProvided technical support to the Government of Liberia's national-level emergency operation center.In the days and weeks to come, U.S. efforts will include:
Scaling-up the DoD presence in West Africa. Following the completion of AFRICOM's assessment, DoD announced the planned deployment of 3,200 troops, including 700 from the 101st Airborne Division headquarters element to Liberia. These forces will deploy in late October and become the headquarters staff for the Joint Forces Command, led by Major General Gary Volesky. The total U.S. troop commitment will depend on the requirements on the ground;Overseeing the construction of and facilitating staffing for at least 17 100-bed Ebola treatment units across Liberia;Deploying additional U.S. military personnel from various engineering units to help supervise the construction of ETUs and provide engineering expertise for the international response in Liberia;Establishing a training site in Liberia to train up to 500 health care providers per week, enabling them to provide safe and direct supportive medical care to Ebola patients;Setting up and facilitating staffing for a hospital in Liberia that will treat all healthcare workers who are working in West Africa on the Ebola crisis should they fall ill;Operating a training course in the United States for licensed nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers intending to work in an ETU in West Africa;Leveraging a regional staging base in Senegal to help expedite the surge of equipment, supplies, and personnel to West Africa;Continuing outreach by all levels of the U.S. government to push for increased and speedier response contributions from partners around the globe; and,Sustaining engagement with the UN system to coordinate response and improve effectiveness.Domestic Response
We have been prepared for an Ebola case in the United States and have the healthcare system infrastructure in place to respond safely and effectively. Upon confirming the Ebola diagnosis, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our interagency team activated plans that had been developed.
Our public health officials have led the charge to prepare and fortify our national health infrastructure to respond quickly and effectively to Ebola cases domestically. Their efforts include:
Enhancing surveillance and laboratory testing capacity in states to detect cases; in the last three months, 12 Laboratory Response Network labs have been validated to perform Ebola diagnostic testing throughout the United States;Authorizing the use of a diagnostic test developed by DoD to help detect the Ebola virus.Providing guidance and tools for hospitals and health care providers to prepare for and manage potential patients, protect healthcare workers, and respond in a coordinated fashion;Developing guidance and tools for health departments to conduct public health investigations;Providing recommendations for healthcare infection control and other measures to prevent disease spread;Disseminating guidance for flight crews, Emergency Medical Services units at airports, and Customs and Border Protection officers about reporting ill travelers to CDC;Providing up-to-date information to the general public, international travelers, healthcare providers, state and local officials, and public health partners;Advancing the development and clinical trials of Ebola vaccines and antivirals to determine their safety and efficacy in humans;Monitoring by the Food and Drug Administration for fraudulent products and false product claims related to the Ebola virus and implementing enforcement actions, as warranted, to protect the public health; and,Issuing by the U.S. Department of Transportation, in coordination with CDC, an emergency special permit for a company to transport large quantities of Ebola-contaminated waste from Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas as well as from other locations in Texas for disposal.Passenger Screening
On top of these domestic measures, we recognize that passenger screening efforts in West Africa and at domestic airports represent another line of defense. We have developed and supported a stringent screening regimen both at home and abroad, and we are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of these and other potential measures. We will make adjustments as deemed prudent by health professionals and the appropriate U.S. departments and agencies.
Exit screening measures are routinely implemented in the affected West African countries, and U.S. government personnel have worked closely with local authorities to implement these measures. Since the beginning of August, CDC has been working with airlines, airports, ministries of health, and other partners to provide technical assistance for the development of exit screening and travel restrictions in countries with Ebola. This includes:
Assessing the capacity to conduct exit screening at international airports;Assisting countries with procuring supplies needed to conduct exit screening;Supporting with development of exit screening protocols;Developing tools such as posters, screening forms, and job-aids;Training staff on exit screening protocols and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use; and,Preparing in-country staff to provide future trainings.All outbound passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms in the affected countries. Such primary exit screening involves travelers responding to a travel health questionnaire, being visually assessed for potential illness, and having their body temperature measured.
If a person has a fever above 101.5 or is suspected to be ill, the passenger will be taken aside for a more detailed health assessment '' a secondary screening - to determine if he or she should be isolated.Airport employees must wear latex gloves, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and monitor their own body temperature daily, among other measures.Once passengers arrive in the United States they are subject to additional measures.
The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the CDC have closely coordinated to develop policies, procedures, and protocols to identify travelers who may have a communicable disease, responding in a manner that minimizes risk to the public. These procedures have been utilized collaboratively by both agencies on a number of occasions with positive results. Among these measures:
CBP personnel review all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses (visual observation, questioning, and notification of CDC as appropriate) at all U.S. ports of entry, including all federal inspection services areas at U.S. airports that service international flights.When a traveler is identified with a possible communicable disease or identified from information that is received from the CDC, CBP personnel will take the appropriate safety measures by referring the traveler to a secondary, isolating the traveler from other travelers, and referring to CDC or public officials for a medical assessment. CBP personnel may don personal protective equipment (PPE), to include gloves and surgical masks, which are readily available for use in the course of their duties.CBP personnel receive training in illness recognition, but if they identify an individual believed to be infected, CBP will contact CDC along with local public health authorities to help with further medical evaluation.CBP is handing out fact sheets to travelers arriving in the U.S. from Ebola- affected countries, which detail information on Ebola, health signs to look for, and information for their doctor should they need to seek medical attention in the future.Secretary Johnson has also directed Transportation Security Administration to issue an Information Circular to air carriers reinforcing the CDC's message on Ebola and providing guidance on identifying potential passengers with Ebola. DHS is closely monitoring the situation and Secretary Johnson will consider additional actions as appropriate.
Defense.gov News Article: Kelly: Southcom Keeps Watch on Ebola Situation
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:11
Kelly: Southcom Keeps Watch on Ebola SituationBy Jim GaramoneDoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2014 '' The potential spread of Ebola into Central and Southern America is a real possibility, the commander of U.S. Southern Command told an audience at the National Defense University here yesterday.
''By the end of the year, there's supposed to be 1.4 million people infected with Ebola and 62 percent of them dying, according to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],'' Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly said. ''That's horrific. And there is no way we can keep Ebola [contained] in West Africa.''
If it comes to the Western Hemisphere, many countries have little ability to deal with an outbreak of the disease, the general said.
''So, much like West Africa, it will rage for a period of time,'' Kelly said.
This is a particularly possible scenario if the disease gets to Haiti or Central America, he said. If the disease gets to countries like Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador, it will cause a panic and people will flee the region, the general said.
''If it breaks out, it's literally, 'Katie bar the door,' and there will be mass migration into the United States,'' Kelly said. ''They will run away from Ebola, or if they suspect they are infected, they will try to get to the United States for treatment.''
Also, transnational criminal networks smuggle people and those people can be carrying Ebola, the general said. Kelly spoke of visiting the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua with U.S. embassy personnel. At that time, a group of men ''were waiting in line to pass into Nicaragua and then on their way north,'' he recalled.
''The embassy person walked over and asked who they were and they told him they were from Liberia and they had been on the road about a week,'' Kelly continued. ''They met up with the network in Trinidad and now they were on their way to the United States -- illegally, of course.''
Those men, he said, ''could have made it to New York City and still be within the incubation period for Ebola.''
Kelly said his command is in close contact with U.S. Africa Command to see what works and what does not as it prepares for a possible outbreak in the area of operations.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneDoDNews)
feckless - definition of feckless by The Free Dictionary
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 01:27
feckless (Ëfɛklɪs)adj1. feeble; weak; ineffectual; irresponsible
[C16: from obsolete feck value, effect + -less]
ËfecklesslyadvËfecklessnessnfeck'less(Ëfɛk lɪs)adj.
1. ineffective; incompetent; futile.
2. having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.
[1590''1600; orig. Scots, form of effect]feck'²less'ly,adv.
ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Adj.1.feckless - not fit to assume responsibilityirresponsible - showing lack of care for consequences; "behaved like an irresponsible idiot"; "hasty and irresponsible action"2.feckless - generally incompetent and ineffectual; "feckless attempts to repair the plumbing"; "inept handling of the account"incompetent - not qualified or suited for a purpose; "an incompetent secret service"; "the filming was hopeless incompetent"fecklessadjectiveirresponsible, useless, hopeless, incompetent, feeble, worthless, futile, ineffectual, aimless, good-for-nothing, shiftless, weakThe young man was feckless and irresponsible. Translations
feckless[ËfɛklÉs]adj (= incompetent) '†' incapable
Plague Inc, the iOS game
There's an iOS game called "Plague, Inc." It was an unknown game that I stumbled across awhile ago. In this game you try to create a plague. You start with a new, unknown bacteria or virus in a country of your choice. For a higher difficulty, you pick a 1st world country, for a lower difficulty, you pick west Africa (yes, west Africa is a "country" in this game). As your virus or bacteria infects more people, you earn points which are a currency to spend on the ability to mutate. Mutating can be adding a vector, symptom, or resistance. As you play, there is a news ticker on the screen that gives world news. The news starts off mundane, but as your plague grows and the symptoms become severe, it gets more and more attention in the game's "world news". The idea is to keep your disease unheard of, but still infectious until you can afford to make it deadly because if it makes too much news, the collective world will find a cure.
Interestingly enough, this game has recently become the second most popular simulation on the iOS platform (right after Minecraft), I'm assuming from people's curiosity in Ebola. You might want to check it out or at least think about the implications of a public that can perceive how easy a plague can spread in a game (and it is easy to to do in the game) and because of that become more afraid of the real-life plague being poster boarded by the media.
Keep up the great work,
Ministry of Truth
Naomi Wolf suggested videos of ISIS hostages being beheaded aren't real | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:37
Writer, 51, posted a number of Facebook messages questioning footageAsked if there was any record of the hostages being abducted initiallyClaimed it would need at least five people to 'stage an event like this' Also suggested Obama's deployment of troops in Africa to fight Ebola was a ploy for them to return infected by the deadly virus By Wills Robinson for MailOnline
Published: 00:17 EST, 6 October 2014 | Updated: 12:48 EST, 6 October 2014
Controversial: Naomi Wolf, 51, sparked fury on social media after questioning the authenticity of the ISIS beheading videos
Author Naomi Wolf has been accused of being 'disrespectful' after suggesting footage of hostages being beheaded by ISIS militants isn't real.
The 51-year-old American writer made a series of controversial statements questioning the authenticity of the footage in a number of messages on her Facebook page.
The initial post in which the feminist activist questions where the terror group are 'getting all these folks from' was deleted.
In another post, she also said that the Obama administration was sending troops to West Africa to confront the Ebola outbreak so they could return with the deadly infection - justifying a military takeover of Africa.
Social media users quickly rounded on her with some suggesting her theories were 'crazy' while others said her views were 'harmful' and had disrespected the victims' families.
A video released on Friday appeared to show British hostage Alan Henning being beheaded by Jihadi John.
He is the fourth person to have been brutally murdered at the hands of the extremists, and a fifth, former Army ranger Peter Kaggis, has been threatened as the next victim.
After making the controversial statements over the weekend, Wolf defended her actions saying she was criticizing the reporting of the story - suggesting the video had not been properly confirmed by two sources.
The post, that was later taken down, said: 'OK two of the hostages just happened to go from long careers into the military to... sudden humanitarian work (same was true of the latest British hostage). Where are they getting all these folks from?
'If someone is abducted there is a record with Amnesty and with Reporters without Borders. Can someone please confirm that these organizations have any record of this person having been abducted?
'The NYT (New York Times) yesterday ran a depressingly sloppy editorial claiming that all the ISIS beheading videos must be real because 'there are so many of them on youtube'.
'THAT's journalism? They also called ISIS 'evil' many times - which is not langauge of a news analysis, it is a theological category for some faiths and a Global War on Terror talking point... this may all be true but it takes five people to stage an event like this - two to be 'parents' - two to pose for the cameras... one in a ninja outfit... and one to contact the media that does not bother checking who ANY of these four other people are...'
During the social media backlash, Mark Boothroyd said: 'Don't insult these people who have given their lives for humanitarian work.
'The activities of all these people have been well documented over the years. They are known people with families and friends who have supported them. Stop spreading conspiracy theories.'
Scroll down for video
Anger: This post, which has since been deleted, from Naomi Wolf caused controversy, saying the video was staged and questioning where the hostages who have been executed came from
Retort: Following the post and the reaction on social media, Wolf clarified that ISIS are 'super bad'
And Matt Hill added: 'A minimal amount of research would show you you're wrong '' there's plenty of information out there about the hostages.'
After noticing some of the responses, she took to her Facebook page again and wrote: 'I stand by what I wrote today: the videos of beheadings need to be independently confirmed before they are part of the historical record. They may well be completely accurate but there are not yet independent confirmations that they are accurate.'
Another post said: 'A commentator below self-identified as being the New York Times reporter covering the hostage crisis. This reporter asked me to take my post about asking for confirmation of the hostage story down, as this reporter said that keeping it up is "irresponsible" and not respectful to the pain of the families involved.
'Once again to clarify. The reason I ask that media check and confirm a story like the series of videotaped beheadings of aid workers and journalists is that that is what journalists are supposed to do. It is sad and baffling to me that my post below reminding journalists to get two sources confirming information before they run stories repeating government talking points, is being interpreted as "a conspiracy theory".'
She also condemned President Obama's decision to send troops to Western Africa to help combat the Ebola outbreak, suggesting the military will bring it back to the United States.
She said: 'And...TV news in US reporting Department of Defense is sending three thousand troops to Liberia..troops with no medical expertise..to construct and run field hospitals for Ebola....then they will be quarantined for 21 days...and eventually come home.
AUDIO: Words of the British-accented murderer of James Foley
'Disrespectful': One Twitter user reacted angrily to the statement suggesting the comments were 'horrible'
Reaction: Canadian commentator Colby Cosh said Wolf had crossed over into 'baseless conspiracy theories'
History: Another user referred to her past achievements when questioning her controversial views
'A crazy idea as Liberia and Sierra Leone already have a dense infrastructure if medical aid organizations on the ground...many Western ones...that already have doctors nurses and well tested medical education networks that were activated to educate people about AIDs. I was in Freetown and witnessed this.
'What they don't have is enough doctors or supplies. They need the CDC not the Pentagon. So why send soldiers with no medical background?
'A. Militarized Africa has long been on the agenda but B. Three thousand Ebola-exposed American troops creates a direct vector into the US and whatever happens a narrative can exist to justify military condoning of US populations...quarantining Americans...emergency measures to limit travel...crisis best left to military not civil authorities.
'People in Liberia and Sierra Leone know perfectly well how to build more buildings for more beds..these are modern societies...they just need money. There is no practical reason to put our soldiers in the eye if ebola. That is why I dont (sic) like this narrative.'
UN's Ban Ki-moon calls for unity to tackle Ebola crisis (related)
Resolute: In her most recent post, the author has said that she stands by what she wrote
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The insane conspiracy theories of Naomi Wolf - Vox
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:56
Author and former Democratic political consultant Naomi Wolf published a series of Facebook posts on Saturday in which she questioned the veracity of the ISIS videos showing the murders and beheadings of two Americans and two Britons, strongly implying that the videos had been staged by the US government and that the victims and their parents were actors.
Wolf published a separate Facebook post, also on Saturday, suggesting that the US was sending troops to West Africa not to assist with Ebola treatment but to bring Ebola back to the US to justify a military takeover of American society. She also suggested that the Scottish independence referendum, in which Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom, had been faked.
Wild-eyed conspiracy theories are common on Facebook. You may naturally wonder, then, why you are reading about these ones. Partly it's because Wolf's posts on ISIS deeply offended many people who knew one or more of the four murdered Westerners whom Wolf accused of being actors. And as American victims James Foley and Steven Sotloff were journalists, their outraged friends included a number of fellow journalists, so you may have seen them discussing Wolf's posts online and wondered what had happened.
"it takes five people to stage an event like this '-- two to be 'parents'"
Perhaps more importantly, though, despite Wolf's turn into conspiracy theory, she is still more widely known for her earlier and much-respected work on feminism, as well as her political consulting for the 1996 Bill Clinton and 2000 Al Gore presidential campaigns on reaching female voters. I was taught parts of Wolf's 1990 book "The Beauty Myth" in school and admit that, until researching her more recent views more fully for this post, still mostly associated her with this and other well-respected work. In other words, I was carrying the assumption that Wolf is a respected and authoritative figure to be taken seriously. I can only assume that I was not alone in this.
Her initial posts on ISIS repeatedly stated that confirmation of the authenticity of their beheading videos "has not happened yet." Wolf said that the media was ignoring "journalistic red flags" in that the sole source of the videos had been "SITE, which is run by an anti-Muslim activist with half a million dollars in US funding in 2004." (In fact, the videos were widely distributed on open-source jihadist online outlets. Maryland-based nonprofit SITE monitors extremist social media.) She also detailed an alleged incident, which I was not able to confirm, of a website "based in Doha, address registered at a private intelligence firm in the UK" that she said had spread news of a Canadian journalist, who turned out not to exist, taken hostage in Syria.
This culminated in a now-deleted post, reproduced below, suggesting that the ISIS beheading videos had been staged, as had the initial abductions of the two American journalists and two British aid workers killed on camera. She hints that she believes this was done by the US military.
Like many other journalists who cover the Middle East, I had previously met both murdered American journalist James Foley and his parents (in my case, in 2011) and can attest, although I deeply regret that it is necessary to do so, that they are not actors.
Wolf deleted the post at the urging of New York Times foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who commented beneath it on Facebook. Callimachi, who has reported extensively on these cases, later explained on Twitter (I've cleaned up the abbreviations that are common Twitter shorthand), "What she fails to understand is that the kidnappings '-- 23 in total '-- have been under blackout for much of the past two years because ISIS told families of Henning, Foley, Kassig, etc., their sons would be killed if it became public."
After deleting her post at Callimachi's request, Wolf posted again, reiterating her earlier accusations and promising to "repost" with "new reporting." She also posed a series of questions to the New York Times implying that the newspaper was complicit in fabricating the story. She focused her criticism on the idea that all information on the ISIS kidnappings and videos had been sourced only to SITE, which she again noted had once received a US government grant. She implied that the media had been unable or unwilling to find a second source because the entire story had been staged. (In fact, the kidnappings and murders have been reported based on dozens of sources, including Syrians in the ISIS headquarters of Raqqa and a number of fellow hostages who have been released.)
Later, Wolf scolded the New York Times for not answering her questions and accused it of failing to meet "basic j-school two source journalism." Inanother post, Wolf stated, "I stand by what I wrote today" about ISIS. She then described a "Pakistani lawyer who is a fourth-generation scion of a major Pakistani political family" who had told her that ISIS was funded by the United States and Israel, along with Saudi Arabia. She described the lawyer as a "credible source" and uncritically presented his claims as "the news behind the news."
In the course of Saturday, Wolf also commented on Australia, where she said "ISIS hype" was being used to justify "loss of freedoms," and on supposed fraud in the Scottish independence referendum, including a letter she sent to the Scottish Electoral Commission accusing it of a cover-up.
She also posted at great length on Ebola, including a post arguing that the US troops traveling to Liberia were not actually sent to help fight Ebola, but rather to further the aim of a "militarized Africa" and because this "creates a direct vector into the US" for Ebola, meant "to justify military condoning [sic] of US population."
Wolf's record of respectability gives her a platform and helps advance her conspiracy theories further than they would travel otherwise.This is not to argue that all of Wolf's earlier work must be discarded on the basis of these Facebook posts, but rather to urge others to see the broader context of Wolf and her thinking.In other words, it is important for readers who may encounter Wolf's ideas to understand the distinction between her earlier work, which rose on its merits, and her newer conspiracy theories, which are unhinged, damaging, and dangerous.
Namoi Wolf FB posting
Once again to clarify. The reason I ask that media check and confirm a story like the series of videotaped beheadings of aid workers and journalists is that that is what journalists are supposed to do. It is sad and baffling to me that my post below reminding journalists to get two sources confirming information before they run stories repeating government talking points, is being interpreted as "a conspiracy theory." It used to be called journalism till about two years ago (when the NDAA allowed propaganda to be aimed at Americans in the news). It may well be that every one of these videos is confirmed and accurate. But that has not happened yet. There are journalistic red flags in this story from the fact that SITE, which is run by an anti-Muslim activist with half a million dollars in US funding in 2004, is the sole source for some of them, to the fact that when we here reported out a 'journalist taken hostage' story about two weeks ago -- remember the pu rported Montreal-based female foreign correspondent 'taken hostage" in Syria? -- the story completey fell apart and then vanished from the news stream. The Montreal paper Le Devoir confirmed that a journalist by that name did not work there and the image in the story we confirmed was actually of a Swedish sports reporter -- not a Montreal-base foreign correspondent at all. Website was based in Doha, address registered at a private intelligence firm in the UK. So....how is it wrong to keep asking for confirmation? That is what news is.
Norman Lear Center
I've been doing some research into 'message placement' in film and television and came across this great talk by Martin Kaplan, Director of the Norman Lear Center, a division of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, which runs the Hollywood, Health and Society program. The Norman Lear center has received at least 1.37M from Belinda Gates, $500k from the State of CA to promote Obamacare, and on and on.
The Norman Lear Center FAQ page has this to say about how they are funded:
How is the Lear Center funded?
The Lear Center was founded with a $5 million gift from Norman Lear, but most of its active projects have been funded by other entitites, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Ford Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Center for the Public Domain, the Carnegie Corporation and the California Endowment.
Their current advisory board includes the Executive Producer of Grey's Anatomy, the Presidents of the Writers Guild of America West and East, Presidents and VPs of Programming and Scheduling, Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad, writers, actors...
This press release from 2002 detailing their partnership with the CDC specifically mentions influencing the shows Boston Public, ER and Law & Order: SVU on 'issues ranging from bioterrorism to the spread of HIV'.
I know this isn't really anything new, you previously discussed it on Show 555, but I thought the clips of Kaplan speaking, and bragging, about their influence and the numbers is powerful. In my opinion the two best clips are 'The Numbers' (because the numbers speak for themselves), and 'Bragging' (because you get a good mental picture of how they operate internally). The TV clip they play is from Season 5 of Modern Family, Jesse Eisenberg is doing a guest spot as one of the character's neighbors.
Marty Kaplan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:48
Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at the USCAnnenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the founding director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of the impact of entertainment on society. His uncommonly broad career has also spanned government and politics, the entertainment industry and journalism.[2]
Kaplan served in the administration of PresidentJimmy Carter as chief speechwriter to Vice President Walter F. Mondale, and also as executive assistant to the U.S. Commissioner of Education, Ernest L. Boyer. As deputy campaign manager of Mondale's presidential race, he directed the campaign's speechwriting, issues, and research operations. He also worked with Boyer on education policy while a program officer at the Aspen Institute, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and a senior advisor at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Kaplan worked at the Walt Disney Studios for 12 years, both as vice president of production for live-action feature films, and as a writer-producer under exclusive contract. He has credits on The Distinguished Gentleman,[3] starring Eddie Murphy, an award-winning political comedy which he wrote and executive produced; Noises Off,[4] a farce directed by Peter Bogdanovich, which he adapted for the screen from Michael Frayn's play; and the action-adventure MAX Q,[5] produced for TV by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Kaplan created and hosted So What Else Is News?,[6] the nationally syndicated Air America Radio program examining media politics and pop culture. On public radio, he was a featured commentator on NPR's All Things Considered (for which he also was the first guest co-host), and on "Marketplace," where his beat was the business of entertainment. He has been a blogger on the home page of The Huffington Post since its inception,[7] and he is a columnist for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.[8] He was also deputy op-ed editor and a columnist for the Washington Star and a commentator on the CBS Morning News.
Kaplan was associate dean of the USC Annenberg School for 10 years, and is the founding director of the School's Norman Lear Center, a center of research and innovation whose mission is to study and shape the impact of media and entertainment on society. His Lear Center research includes the political coverage on U.S. local TV news broadcasts;[9] the effects on audiences of public health messages in entertainment storylines;[10] the impact of new technology and intellectual property law on the creative industries; best practices in and barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration; and the depiction of law and justice in popular culture.
Marty Kaplan graduated from Harvard Collegesumma cum laude in molecular biology and won the Le Baron Russell Briggs prize for delivering the English Oration at commencement. He was president of the Harvard Lampoon[11] and of the Signet Society;[12] at both, his tenure included a change in by-laws leading to the first admission of women members after 95 years (the Lampoon) and 100 years (the Signet).[13] Kaplan was also elected to the editorial boards of the Harvard Crimson and the Harvard Advocate and was the first Harvard undergraduate to serve on all three of its oldest publications. The recipient of a Marshall Scholarship from the British government, he received a Master's degree in English with First Class Honours from Cambridge University in England. As a Danforth Foundation Fellow, he received a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University.[14]
Personal life[edit]In 1986, Kaplan married Susan Estrich, a lawyer, professor, author, political operative, feminist advocate, and future political commentator for Fox News. Together they have a daughter, Isabel, and a son, James. They have since divorced.[15]
See also[edit]References[edit]^The director of the Lear Center^http://www.learcenter.org/html/about/?&cm=kaplan^The Distinguished Gentleman at the Internet Movie Database^http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105017/^http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0178747/^http://www.facebook.com/pages/So-What-Else-Is-News-with-Marty-Kaplan-on-Air-America-Radio/307302460880^http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marty-kaplan^http://www.jewishjournal.com/about/author/3596/^http://www.learcenter.org/html/projects/?cm=news^http://www.learcenter.org/html/projects/?cm=hhs^http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/774632.Martin_Kaplan^http://www.signetsociety.org/spring-2011-marty-kaplan/^http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/5/26/signet-women-lampoon-men/^http://www.stanford.edu/dept/MTL/cgi-bin/modthought/people/martin-kaplan/^Susan Estrich on nndb.comExternal links[edit]PersondataNameKaplan, MartyAlternative namesShort descriptionAmerican radio personalityDate of birthPlace of birthDate of deathPlace of death
Advisory Board | Hollywood Health & Society
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 00:48
Dr. Zoanne Clack, Co-chair
Executive Producer, Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Christopher Keyser, Co-chair
President, Writers Guild of America, West
Michelle Alban
Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Telemundo
Carol Barbee
Consulting Producer, Falling Skies (TNT)
Max Burnett
Writer, Wendell & Vinnie (Nickelodeon)
Jennifer Cecil
Co-Executive Producer, Hostages (CBS)
Lyn Lear
Director of Special Projects, Act III Communications
Jorge Daboub
Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, Univision
Kelly Delap
Vice President, Standards & Practices, Disney ABC Networks Group
Stephanie Drachkovitch
Executive Vice President, Co-owner, 44 Blue Productions
Donna Ebbs
Executive Producer, The Hub
Bruce Evans
Senior Vice President, Drama Programming, NBC Entertainment
David Foster
Writer/Executive Producer, House (FOX)
Vince Gilligan
Writer/Executive Producer, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Donna Kanter
Owner, The Kanter Company, Inc
Nancy Kanter
Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior
M.J. LaVaccare
Vice President of Scheduling, Fox Broadcasting Co.
Judith Light
Stage and Screen Actress / Producer
Chris Nee
Writer/Executive Producer, Doc McStuffins (Disney Junior)
Thomas Nunan Producer
Producer; founder-partner, Bull's Eye Entertainment
Michael Roberts
Executive Vice President, Current Programming, The CW
Carol Trussell
Head of Production, Gaumont International Television
Michael Winship
President, Writers Guild of America, East
Liz Wise
Vice President, Current Programming, The CW
FBI Seeks Help Identifying the English-Speaking Islamic State Terrorist Seen in This Bone-Chilling Propaganda Video | Video | TheBlaze.com
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:33
The FBI is seeking information that will help officials identify an English-speaking Islamic State terrorist featured in a terrifying propaganda video released in September.
In the video, the unidentified terrorist claims to be at the ''17th division military base'' just outside of the Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah.
''We are here with the soldiers of Bashar [al-Assad],'' he says in the video. ''You can see them now digging their own graves in the very place where they were stationed. The very place where they were stationed, terrorizing the Muslims in Raqqa.''
Screengrab via FBI/YouTube
Screengrab via FBI/YouTube
''This is the end of every kafir (non-believer) that we get ahold of,'' he continues. ''This is the end that they face.''
At the end of the propaganda video, the terrorist '-- now armed with a pistol '-- promises that the ''fighting has just begun'' and it is implied that he is going to execute the prisoners previously seen ''digging their own graves.''
The FBI is asking anyone with information to use the agency's online tip box, located here.
Turkish Inaction on Islamic State Advance Dismays the U.S. - World - The Boston Globe
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:45
MURSITPINAR, Turkey '-- As fighters with the Islamic State bore down Tuesday on the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish border, President Obama's plan to fight the militant group without being drawn deeper into the Syrian civil war was coming under acute strain.
While Turkish troops watched the fighting in Kobani through a chicken-wire fence, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that the town was about to fall and Kurdish fighters warned of an impending bloodbath if they were not reinforced '-- fears the US shares.
Continue reading below
But Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey would not get more deeply involved in the conflict with the Islamic State unless the United States agreed to give greater support to rebels trying to unseat the Syrian president, Bashar Assad. That has deepened tensions with Obama, who would like Turkey to take stronger action against the Islamic State and to leave the fight against Assad out of it.
Erdogan has also resisted pleas to send his troops across the border in the absence of a no-fly zone to ward off the Syrian air force.
RELATED: Editorial: Save border town from ISIS; don't let Turkey veto US help
Even as it stepped up airstrikes against the militants Tuesday, the Obama administration was frustrated by what it regards as Turkey's excuses for not doing more militarily. Officials note, for example, that the US-led coalition, with its heavy rotation of flights and airstrikes, has effectively imposed a no-fly zone over northern Syria already, so Erdogan's demand for such a zone rings hollow.
Related igraphicGraphic: Mapping ISISThe Islamic militant group gained notoriety during the Syrian uprising, attracting foreign fighters and capturing strategic areas.
''There's growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border,'' a senior administration official said. ''After all the fulminating about Syria's humanitarian catastrophe, they're inventing reasons not to act to avoid another catastrophe.
''This isn't how a NATO ally acts while hell is unfolding a stone's throw from their border,'' said the official, who spoke anonymously to avoid publicly criticizing an ally.
Secretary of State John Kerry has had multiple phone calls in the last 72 hours with Turkey's prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, and foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to try to resolve the border crisis, US officials said.
For Obama, a split with Turkey would jeopardize his efforts to hold together a coalition of Sunni Muslim countries to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. While Turkey is not the only country that might put the ouster of Assad ahead of defeating the radical Sunnis of the Islamic State, the White House has strongly argued that the immediate threat is from the militants.
But if Turkey remains a holdout, it could cause other fissures in the coalition. It is not only a NATO ally but the main transit route for foreigners seeking to enlist in the ranks of the Islamic State.
Ultimately, US officials said, the Islamic State cannot be pushed back without ground troops that are drawn from the ranks of the Syrian opposition. But until those troops are trained, equipped, and put in the field, something that will take some time, officials said, Turkey can play a vital role.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Obama's spokesman, Josh Earnest, said he was confident that the president's recently appointed special envoy for Syria, retired General John R. Allen, would be able to resolve some logistical issues regarding the Turkish military's participation in the coalition. But he acknowledged that Turkey's differing view of the need to oust Assad was likely to come up.
While the diplomacy went ahead, the United States took pains to emphasize its support for the embattled Kurds in Kobani.
The military's Central Command confirmed on Tuesday that coalition aircraft had carried out five airstrikes against Islamic State positions in the Kobani area in the past two days, destroying or damaging armed vehicles, artillery, a tank, and troop positions.
The strikes brought the total number of airstrikes in and around Kobani to 18 '-- out of more than 100 in Syria altogether '-- since the air campaign was extended from Iraq to Syria.
But Kurdish fighters in Kobani said they were running out of ammunition and could not prevail without infusions of troops and arms from Turkey. Independent analysts and some influential members of Congress concurred, deriding the airstrikes in Kobani as too little, too late.
Analysts say the Kurds of Kobani are being held hostage as Erdogan seeks to wrest concessions not only from Washington but also from Kurdish leaders, his longtime domestic foes.
Turkey also wants the Kurdish fighters to denounce Assad and openly join the Syrian insurgents fighting him. But the fighters and local political leaders accepted control of Kurdish areas when Assad's forces withdrew earlier in the Syrian war, and have focused more on self-rule and protecting their territory than on fighting the government. In some places they have fought alongside government troops.
KOBANI IS IMPORTANT-Air strikes hit Isis positions as jihadists push into Kobani | World news | theguardian.com
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:49
Warplanes believed to have been sent by the US-led coalition on Tuesday struck positions held by Islamic State (Isis) militants near a Syrian border town that beleaguered Kurdish forces have been struggling to defend.
The air strikes began late on Monday and came as Kurdish forces pushed Isis militants out of the eastern part of Kobani, where the jihadists had raised their black flag over buildings hours earlier.
On Tuesday morning journalists on the Turkish side of the border heard the sound of warplanes before two large plumes of smoke billowed just west of Kobani.
The US-led coalition has launched several air strikes over the past two weeks near Kobani in a bid to help Kurdish forces defend the town, but the sorties appear to have done little to slow Isis, which captured several nearby villages in a rapid advance that began in mid-September.
Hours after two Isis flags were raised on the outskirts of Kobani on Monday, the militants punctured the Kurdish front lines and advanced into the town itself, said the local co-ordination committees activist collective.
''They're fighting inside the city. Hundreds of civilians have left,'' said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director, Rami Abdurrahman. ''Islamic State controls three neighbourhoods on the eastern side of Kobani. They are trying to enter the town from the south-west as well.''
The centre of the town was still in Kurdish hands, Abdurrahman said. The two Isis flags were still flying in the east of the city on Tuesday, with a Kurdish flag flying in the centre.
Since it began its offensive in mid-September, Isis has barrelled through one Kurdish village after another as it closed in on its main target: Kobani. The assault has forced 160,000 Syrians to flee and put a strain on Kurdish forces, who have struggled to hold off the extremists.
Capturing Kobani would give Isis a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa to the east. It would crush a lingering pocket of resistance and give the group full control of a large stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border.
After initially setting up positions to the east, south and west of the town, Isis shelled Kobani for days to try to loosen up its defences. Just across the frontier in Turkey artillery, gunfire and smoke testified to the intensity of the fight all day on Monday.
''Isis is advancing further toward Kobani day by day,'' said Ismet Sheikh Hassan, the defence chief for Kurdish forces in the area. ''Isis is fighting with tanks and heavy weapons and they are firing randomly at Kobani. There are many civilian casualties because of the shelling.''
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said about 20 Islamic State fighters managed to sneak into the eastern part of Kobani but were ambushed and killed by Kurdish militiamen.
Syrian Kurdish forces have long been among the most effective adversaries of Isis, keeping the extremists out of the Kurdish enclave in north-eastern Syria even as the militants routed the armed forces of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
But in recent weeks the Kurds have struggled to counter the increasingly well-armed militants, who have been strengthened by heavy weapons looted from captured Syrian and Iraqi military bases.
As fighting raged on Monday within sight of the Turkish border, the country's defence minister, Ismet Yilmaz, said Nato had drawn up a strategy to defend Turkey, a Nato member, in the event of attack along the frontier with Syria. The Nato move came at Turkey's request, said Yilmaz.
On Monday at least 14 Turkish tanks took up defensive positions on a hilltop on Turkish soil near the beseiged town, while a shell from the fighting struck a house and a grocery store inside Turkey but no one was wounded.
Kurds have come from all over Turkey to witness the fight for Kobani. Huseyin Icin, who works in human rights in the city of Izmir, said he had come to the border to see what he can do to help.
''We have a lot of relatives there: uncles, grandmothers, children, so we have to help each other. Isis is a very wild and strong terrorist organisation,'' he said.
Icin echoed a common belief that Turkish security forces are supporting Isis, if only by preventing Kurdish fighters from crossing the border to fight.
''My relatives are there coming under fire from bombs, from tanks, from war, and here is the Turkish tanks and army and they're not letting us do anything. They only want us to go there to take their corpses,'' he said.
One Kurdish woman from the town of Suru§ said: ''If Isis takes Kobani, all of us will die. If they take that city, they will come here. And if Kobani is taken we will have just two options: we will kill them or they will kill us.''
Monday's heavy clashes followed a particularly bloody Sunday, when more than 45 fighters on both sides were killed, according to the Observatory and a statement from the Kurdish force known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG.
The dead included a Kurdish female fighter who blew herself up, killing 10 jihadists, said Abdurrahman. A YPG statement identified the suicide attacker as Deilar Kanj Khamis, better known by her military name, Arin Mirkan.
Khamis was a member of the Women's Protection Units, a branch of the main Kurdish militia. The force has more than 10,000 female fighters who have played a major role in the battles against Isis, said Nasser Haj Mansour, a defence official in Syria's Kurdish region.
Material from the Associated Press and AFP was used in this report
The Siege Of Kobani: Obama's Syrian Fiasco In Motion | Zero Hedge
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 07:12
Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,
Another humanitarian catastrophe may be just hours away at Kobani. The latter is the Syrian Kurdish town on the border with Turkey that is now surrounded by ISIS tanks and is being pounded day after day by ISIS heavy artillery. Already this lethal phalanx, which fuses 21st century American technology and equipment with 12th century religious fanaticism, has rolled through dozens of Kurdish villages and towns in the region around Kobani, sending 180,000 refugees fleeing for their lives across the border.
Self-evidently the lightly armed Kurdish militias desperately holding out in Kobani are fighting the right enemy'---that is, the Islamic State. So why has Obama's grand coalition not been able to relieve the siege? Why haven't American bombers and cruise missiles, for instance, been able to destroy the American tanks and artillery which a terrifying band of butchers has brought to bear on several hundred thousand innocent Syrian Kurds who have made this enclave their home for more than a century? Why has not NATO ally Turkey, with a 600,000 man military, 3,500 tanks and 1,000 modern aircraft and helicopters, done anything meaningful to help the imperiled Kurds?
Let's see. The US is making perfunctory air strikes. Yet with no boots on the ground in the context of close urban combat in a city of 50,000 - a major air onslaught would result in massive civilian casualties. Although Obama already has much blood on his hands, he is apparently not ready for a Gaza-on-the-Euphrates.
So then why doesn't Turkey put some infantry and spotters on the ground - highly trained ''boots'' that are literally positioned a few kilometers away on its side of the border?
Well, Turkish President Erdogan just explained his government's reluctance quite succinctly, as reported by Bloomberg on Saturday:
For us, ISIL and the (Kurdish) PKK are the same,'' Erdogan said in televised remarks today in Istanbul.
And that's literally true because from Turkey's vantage point the Kobani showdown is a case of terrorist-on-terrorist. The Kurdish fighters in Kobani are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK. The latter has waged a separatist campaign of armed insurrection and terror inside and around Turkey for 30-years and has long been considered Turkey's top security threat. In fact, Turkey has received untold amounts of US aid, equipment and intelligence over the years to help suppress this uprising. That's the reason that PKK is officially classified as a ''terrorist'' group by the U.S. and the government in Ankara.
And, no, the Syrian and Turkish Kurds so classified as terrorists are not some black sheep cousins of the ''good guy'' Kurds in Erbil and northeastern Iraq that CNN parades every night as America's heroic ally on the ground. They are all part of the greater Kurdish nation of some 30 million who inhabit southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria and Iraq and western Iran. Taken together, these Kurdish enclaves comprise the single largest ethnic population in the Middle East that does not have its own state, and which has been a source of irredentist conflict and instability for decades.
As a matter of fact, Erdogan has been pursuing a rapprochement with the Turkish Kurds for the better part of the last decade and had actually made progress in quelling the violence and initiating a political solution. Yet Washington's two latest campaigns of ''regime change'' could not have been more inimical to a peaceful resolution of the region's long-festering Kurdish problem. And, of course, the historic roots of that problem were served up by the West 100 years ago when its strip pants diplomats carved out borders that gave practically every major ethnic group their own nation, except the Kurds.
In that context, the Bush/neocon destruction of Saddam's dictatorship in Iraq paved the way for fragmentation of the Sykes-Picot borders and the de facto partition of Iraq, including a rump Kurdish state in the northeast. Then Washington's foolish delusion that it was spending $25 billion to train and equip an ''Iraqi army'' added fuel to the fire.
The so-called Iraqi army was never a national military arm of the Iraqi state because the latter had already failed owing to the onslaught of the US ''liberation'' and occupation. Instead, it was a glorified Shiite militia whose members had no interest in dying to protect or hold Sunni lands in the west and north. So the ''Iraqi army's'' American arms, abandoned wholesale and then captured by ISIS, literally created the necessity for the Syrian Kurds to mobilize and arm themselves in self defense. Presently, another rump Kurdish state rose along much of Turkey's 560-mile Syrian border.
The original trigger for that development had actually been Anderson Cooper's War to liberate the Syrian people from the brutish but secular regime that ruled them in Damascus. It too set off forces of fragmentation and partition that have now come home to roost in Kobani.
Thus, after the Arab spring uprising in 2011, the US ambassador to Syria pulled the equivalent of what we now call a ''Yats'' or an organized campaign to overthrow the government to which he was accredited; and in short order the R2P ladies aid society in the White House (Susan Rice and Samantha Powers) made the State Department's maneuvering to undermine Syria's constitutionally elected government official policy, proclaiming that Bashar Assad ''has to go''.
In no time, the Kurdish enclaves in Syria essentially declared their independence, and reached a modus vivendi with Damascus. Namely, they would keep Assad's main enemy'--the majority Sunni Arabs'---out of the Kurdish enclaves on the central and eastern Syrian border with Turkey in return for being left alone and exempt from visitations by the Syrian air force.
Needless to say, that looked to the Turks like collaboration with Assad - whose removal from power ranks far higher on Ankara's priority scale than making war on ISIS. On the other hand, Turkey's proposal to staunch the flood of Kurdish and other Syrian refugees across its border by occupying a 20 mile ''buffer zone'' inside Syria is seen by the Kurds as a plot against them. As Bloomberg explains,
Kurds say the plan is aimed at crushing their nascent autonomous administration, carved out during Syria's three-year civil war as Assad's government lost control of their part of the country. Turkey says the Syrian Kurds are collaborating with Assad and should have been fighting him.
Meanwhile, the modern-day George Washington of the Kurdish peoples, Abdullah Ocalan, who has languished in a Turkish prison on an island outside Istanbul since 1999, warns that if Turkey does not come to the aid of Kobani his negotiations with Erdogan might end and the three decade civil war which had resulted in 40,000 Turkish deaths might resume. Yet as one expert in the region further explained to Bloomberg, coming to the aid of the Kurdish militia affiliated with the PKK would go beyond the pale for Ankara:
It's ''unthinkable'' for Turkey to go beyond that and assist PKK-linked groups such as the Syrian Kurds, according to Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation in Ankara.
''No Turkish politician can explain to the public why the government is aiding the PKK and its affiliated groups after fighting against it for 30 years,'' he said by phone.
In short, the region's logical bulwark against ISIS - the huge, modern, lethal Turkish military - is stymied by a tide of Kurdish irredentism that Washington's ''regime change'' policy has elicited all around it and within Turkey's own borders. In fact, it now has two rump Kurdistan's on its borders and its huge internal Kurdish population bestirred and mobilized in a pan-Kurdish drama. Rather than progressing toward internal political settlement, the Kurdish political leadership in Ankara'---which has supported Erdogan in return for lavish economic development funds in Kurdish areas'--is now openly critical:
''The people of Kobani feel deserted and furious,'' Faysal Sariyildiz, another pro-Kurdish legislator, said yesterday.
The current activities of the Turkish military on the border check-by-jowl with the ISIS militants laying siege to Kobani say it all. On the one hand, they are managing the flow of Syrian Kurdish refugees desperately fleeing across the border. At the same time, they are systematically attempting to stop the inflow of native Turkish Kurd fighters streaming toward Kobani to join the defense of their kinsmen. Ankara clearly does not want Turkish Kurds to become battle-trained in urban warfare. So far, however, they have apparently not fired even a single round of artillery at the ISIS-manned American tanks that are within a kilometer of an epic slaughter in Kobani.
Vice-President Biden was right for once. Washington has no real allies in the region because they all have another agenda. Turkey is focused on its near enemy in the Kurdish regions and its far enemy in Damascus, not the ISIS butchers who have laid claim to the Sunni lands of Euphrates valley in parts of what used to be Iraq and Syria. The Qataris want Assad gone and a new government'--even one controlled by ISIS'--which will grant them a pipeline concession through Syria in order to tap the giant European market for their immense natural gas reserves.
Likewise, the Saudi's want to destroy the Assad regime because it is allied with their Shiite enemy across the Persian Gulf in Iran and because they fear their own abused Shiite populations which are concentrated in their oilfield regions. Consequently, they see the fight against ISIS as essentially a pretext for escalating their war against Damascus, and are not even interested in bombing the non-ISIS jihadi like the Nusra Front that they see as allies in the campaign against Assad.
At the end of the day, Obama's air campaign amounts to nothing more than a glorified international air force training exercise. Pilots and air crews from the UK, Denmark, Belgium, France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan etc. will get to run a few live fire sorties at politically correct targets. So the Brits will bomb in Iraq but not Syria; the Saudi's will bomb ISIS targets close to Assad-held territories, but not Nusra Front positions; and the Qataris will go along for the ride pretending to help, even as they preserve deniability that they ever dropped an actual bomb for that day down the road when they seek to make a pipeline deal with the Islamic State.
Never in recorded history has a fading imperial power conducted a more feckless, pointless, and strategically irrational war. The ISIS beheadings are surely barbaric, but they pose no threat to the security and safety of the American people that can't be handled by enhanced domestic vigilance and police protection. After all, isn't it evident after 20 years of the so-called war on terror that somewhere on the planet earth failed states and god-forsaken desert and mountain redoubts will always give rise to radical sects and violent gangs that cannot be exterminated with bombs and drones?
Indeed, the real lesson is that by inserting itself into tribal and sectarian conflicts in these pockets of anarchy Washington only succeeds in generating more of the same. That is exactly what the siege of Kobani is all about.
So maybe Joe Biden could explain this to the big thinkers in the White House. If the Turks are unwilling to stop an easily preventable mass slaughter by ISIS on their own doorstep what kind of fractured and riven coalition has Washington actually assembled? And how will this coalition of the disingenuous, the hypocritical and the politically opportunistic ever succeed in bringing peace and stability to the historic cauldron of tribal and religious conflict in Mesopotamia and the Levant that two decades of Washington's wars and regime change interventions have only drastically intensified?
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Tientallen doden bij strijd om Kobani
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:39
Koerdische strijders hebben een offensief van terreurbeweging Islamitische Staat (IS) op Kobani afgeslagen. Dat hebben de Koerdische strijdgroep YPK en het Syrisch Observatorium voor de Mensenrechten vandaag laten weten.
Bij gevechten vanochtend waren tientallen doden te betreuren. Aan de zijde van de Koerdische volksmilitie vielen 19 doden, aan IS-kant zeker 27, meldt het Syrische Observatorium voor de Mensenrechten, dat zich baseert op bronnen ter plaatse. Gisteren zouden aan beide zijden 45 personen zijn geneuveld.
De aanvallen die vandaag op de stad werden uitgevoerd, kwamen gelijktijdig uit het westen en het oosten. Volgens de Koerdische autoriteiten wordt de stad met circa 5.000 man verdedigd.
Tekort aan munitieZe kampen met een toenemend tekort aan munitie en wapens. De verdedigers van de stad zijn vastberaden. 'We zullen winnen of sterven. We zullen ons tot het eind verzetten', aldus de leider van de verdedigingsautoriteit in de stad.
Een BBC-team is onder vuur komen te liggen in het grensgebied nabij Kobani. De Turkse politie vuurde twee traangasgranaten af op het voertuig waarin het team zich bevond. Dat vulde zich met het gas. Ook ontstond er brand. Correspondent Paul Adams heeft het incident gefilmd (zie filmpje onder dit artikel). Niemand is gewond geraakt.
Zelfmoordaanslag Koerdische vrouwGisteren blies een vrouwelijke Koerdische strijder zichzelf op toen ze zonder munitie kwam te zitten. Daarbij zouden meerdere jihadisten om het leven zijn gekomen, berichtte het Observatorium. Een exact dodental werd niet gegeven.
Kobani wordt sinds 16 september bestookt door IS. De terreurbeweging hoopt met de verovering van de stad haar greep op de Turks-Syrische grens te vergroten. Door de gevechten om de stad, ook wel bekend als Ain al-Arab, zijn zo'n 186.000 Syrirs de grens met Turkije over gevlucht.
MANIFESTO-Islamic State Plots to Use Russian Corruption to Get Nuclear Weapons | News | The Moscow Times
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:17
Umit Bektas / ReutersA Islamic State fighter walks near a black flag belonging to the Islamic State near the Syrian town of Kobani, pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Oct. 6.
A manifesto supposedly penned by a senior Islamic State radical has revealed the group's outlandish plans to bribe Russian President Vladimir Putin in return for secrets about Iran's nuclear program, a news report said Monday.
The document, purportedly obtained during a raid by Iraqi forces on a senior IS commander's house, details how the group had planned to give Russia access to IS-controlled oil fields in Iraq in return for Moscow dropping its support of Iran and handing over knowledge of that country's nuclear program, British newspaper The Sunday Times reported.
Moscow would also have to abandon its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and back the Gulf states against Iran as part of the deal, the report said.
With 70 proposals in total, the manifesto is believed to have been penned by Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani, a member of the group's six-man war cabinet. It is currently being checked by Western security officials, but is thought to be genuine.
Some of the more bizarre suggestions in the text include a plan to destroy Iran's caviar industry "because it is a national treasure," as well as a plot to sabotage Iran's carpet industry by encouraging Afghan carpet makers to flood the Middle Eastern market, the report said.
Apart from such far-fetched scenarios, however, the manifesto also lays bare the serious threat posed by IS, a sophisticated group that has gained a reputation for brutality following the beheadings of several Westerners '-- including British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.
Calls for a campaign of ethnic cleansing, a eugenics program and intelligence-gathering operations to consolidate the Islamic State are all included in the manifesto, according to The Sunday Times.
Meanwhile, the unusual proposal to work with Putin against Iran comes just a month after Islamic State militants had personally threatened the Russian president, saying they would bring war to Russia's restive North Caucasus region.
"We will, with the consent of Allah, free Chechnya and all of the Caucasus! The Islamic State is here and will stay here," a group of Syrian IS members called out to Putin in a YouTube video posted in early September.
IS 'manifesto' reveals plan to capture Iran's nuclear secrets | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:17
By Press Trust Of India
Published: 18:00 EST, 5 October 2014 | Updated: 18:00 EST, 5 October 2014
The Islamic State (IS) terror group aims to get hold of Iran's nuclear secrets and unleash a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing and Nazi-style eugenics to consolidate and expand its self-declared caliphate, according to a seized policy manifesto of the dreaded outfit.
The group urged its members to plan for war with Iran and has ambitions to seize Tehran's nuclear secrets in a manifesto believed to have been written by Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani, a member of the group's highly secretive six-man war cabinet.
The document, typed on perforated sheets, was seized by Iraqi special forces during a raid in March at the residence of one of the commanders of IS, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
The IS manifesto outlines 70 different plans, including the launch of "ethnic cleansing" and setting up of a base on the flanks of Arab lands.
In the document, which has been examined by western security officials - who believe it to be authentic - Meshedani wrote that IS aims to get hold of nuclear weapons with the help of Russia, to whom it would offer access to gas fields it controls in Iraq's Anbar province.
The document also said that the Kremlin will have to give up Iran and its nuclear program and hand over its secrets.
Russia would also have to abandon support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and back the Gulf States against Iran.
Believed to be a policy manifesto prepared for senior members of IS, the document offers a unique insight into the ambitions of the Islamist commanders, who have shocked the world with their fanaticism and brutality, the paper said.
The IS militants have captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has declared himself as Caliph of the Islamic State.
The document contains 70 different plans like launching a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing, Nazi-style eugenics and intelligence gathering operations to consolidate and expand the group's selfdeclared Islamic caliphate, it said.
Meshedani, whose duties include managing suicide bombers, also calls for stripping Shia Iran of all its power and destroying the Shia ascendancy in Iraq. He also incites followers to kill Iraqi military chiefs, Shia officials and Iranian-backed militias fighting for the Iraqi government, the paper said, citing the document.
A security source familiar with the document told the paper that nothing shocks western governments these days in relation to IS' fanatical aspirations.
In an indication of IS' brutal ideology, Meshedani writes that its intelligence operatives will eliminate its own leaders if they deviate from its desired goal apart from suggesting to buy islands in the Indian Ocean from Yemen and the Comoros to establish a military base on the flank of the Arab lands.
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Jihadist plot to grab Iran's nuclear secrets | The Sunday Times
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:19
Isis militants have plans to establish bases across 'Arab lands' (AP)
ISIS is urging its members to plan for war with Iran and has ambitions to seize Tehran's nuclear secrets, according to a manifesto attributed to one of its most senior members.
The document, typed on perforated sheets, is believed to have been written by Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani, a member of Isis's highly secretive six-man war cabinet.
It was picked up by an Iraqi special forces unit during a raid in March on the home of one of the commanders of Isis, also known as Islamic State.
Thought to be a policy manifesto prepared for senior members of Isis, it is being examined by western security officials, who believe it to be authentic.
If so, it offers a unique insight into the ambitions of the Islamist commanders who have shocked the world with their fanaticism and brutality.
Most ambitious , if unrealistic, of the aims set out in the document is a
AWDNews - How ISIS recruit new members from the West
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:49
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, recruitment has soared within ISIS/IS since the US-led coalition began their bombing campaign in the region.
The coalition against the Islamic State includes France, the UK, UAE and several other Arab nations. Their methods, which include drone strikes and manned aircraft that target IS strongholds, have helped scatter the group. Yet it hasn't hampered their ability to attract a constant stream of new recruits.
Although it seems incomprehensible to most as to why someone who was raised in the west would want to join the Islamic State, there is one thing they all seem to have in common.
Mary Ellen O'Toole, a FBI profiler, explained some of the commonalities in an interview with The Daily Beast, noting that most recruits were "in a similar age range of late teens to mid-20s and that is a problematic age group: It is the age group that we see most of the mass murderers in America coming from, it is the age group where we see the start of mental illness, particularly with males. If males are going to become criminal that is when you start seeing the early manifestations."
She went on to say that, "Most people that young don't think about consequences. They may never have been violent, although they may have talked a good game back at home. Once they are in Syria they are being exposed to violence that is off the charts and some of them will not be able to handle it."
This trend has already been documented, with a number of former IS recruits wanting to return home to their western nations.
Yet the Islamic State has become experts at exploiting mental illness and feelings of isolation. They don't begin by talking about the crucifixions of fellow Muslims, or the sexual slavery that awaits minority women who are captured by their militants. Instead they promote a righteous cause against the western imperialists. And for those who are lonely and have always harbored feelings of not fitting in, the Islamic State promises them love, brotherhood, inclusion and a feeling of home. For someone that has spent their entire life feeling like an outsider, being given a chance to feel like they're part of a family can be dangerously alluring.
There are a couple stages to recruitment that have been tried and tested by Al Qaeda for years. They single out young and impressionable men, offer friendship and a feeling of acceptance, and once they are smuggled into the country, are treated harshly and told to commit to jihad. This often results in becoming a suicide bomber for the cause.
The Islamic State has taken these methods, amped them up with flashy music and friendly faces, and marketed themselves better than any other terrorist organization in history. They had a similar MO when they worked on recruitment within Syria and Iraq. They held carnivals full of food and face painting. They flashed money and worked to convince mothers that their sons would be safe in their hands. It wasn't until later that the news of their brutality made its way across the region.
If we are going to stem the wave of recruitment to IS, there are a number of safeguards that could be put in place, with a focus on mental health. The US Deputy Coordinator for Homeland Security notes what stamping out western radicalism means:
"We need to look to the grievances and local factors that terrorist organizations exploit and the propaganda that is their key instrument in pushing vulnerable individuals down the path toward violence. More efforts are needed through words and deeds to undermine the insidious message of terrorist groups and to prevent vulnerable individuals from turning to violence.
To make progress on this front, we must resolve legitimate grievances peacefully and strive to foster good governance, reduce poverty and corruption, and improve education, health and basic services. In particular, we need to focus our efforts on locations where the risk for radicalization is exceptionally high."
Anti-radicalization campaigns have had some success in talking down some of the more vulnerable members of the community. A handbook on how to combat recruitment, developed by Muslims in Canada, has noted that familial involvement and dismantling radical rationalizations are key.
The handbook will be distributed across Canada. However, further efforts, in collaboration with local governments and mosques throughout Europe and North America, will be necessary to combat this issue on an international stage.
Source: News Analysis
FBI Director James Comey on threat of ISIS, cybercrime - CBS News
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:31
In his first major television interview, FBI Director James Comey speaks with Scott Pelley about the threat of Americans joining ISIS and the dangers posed by cybercrime and cyber espionage
The following is a script of "The Director" which aired on Oct. 5, 2014. Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Robert Anderson and Pat Milton, producers.
Do you know the name of the director of the FBI? Probably not. James Comey has been America's top cop for just one year and he hasn't done a major television interview until tonight. We had a lot to cover. We wanted to know whether a terrorist attack is imminent. And how hackers are breaking into our computers. Along the way, we learned surprising things about Comey himself; like the time he was held hostage at gunpoint. We sat down with 53-year-old James Comey in his command center at FBI headquarters in Washington where one of his urgent concerns is the whereabouts of Americans who've joined terrorist groups overseas.
Scott Pelley: How many Americans are fighting in Syria on the side of the terrorists?
James Comey: In the area of a dozen or so.
Scott Pelley: Do you know who they are?
James Comey: Yes.
Scott Pelley: Each and every one of them?
James Comey: I think of that, dozen or so, I do. I hesitate only because I don't know what I don't know.
Scott Pelley: With American passports, how do you keep them from coming home and attacking the homeland?
James Comey: Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport's revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who's fought with ISIL, with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.
"ISIL" is the acronym he uses for the Islamic extremist group occupying much of Syria and Iraq. The U.S. is bombing ISIL and an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria called Khorasan.
Scott Pelley: Was Khorasan about to attack the United States?
James Comey: Khorasan was working and you know, may still be working on an effort to attack the United States or our allies, and looking to do it very, very soon. I can't sit here and tell you whether it's their plan is tomorrow or three weeks or three months from now. Given our visibility we know they're serious people, bent on destruction. And so we have to act as if it's coming tomorrow.
Scott Pelley: How would you describe the terrorist networks in Syria as they exist right now?
James Comey: They're a product of what I describe as the metastasis of al Qaeda. And so you have two in particular in that area, a group called al-Nusra and then ISIL. They are both vicious, sort of the inheritors of a lot of the mantle of al Qaeda and present different threats in a lot of ways.
Scott Pelley: Competent?
James Comey: Highly.
Scott Pelley: What do you mean?
James Comey: Let's stay with the Nusra group first. They are experienced terrorists, experienced bomb makers, experienced killers, experienced planners with an international eye. These are people who have thought about bringing terrorism on a global scale. ISIL is as sophisticated, maybe more than any of the others in its media presence and its recruiting and training efforts online.
"We are better organized, better systems, better equipment, smarter deployment. We are better in every way that you'd want us to be since 9/11."Those terrorist training efforts online appeared to play out, the day before our interview, in Oklahoma. Police say a man who'd tried to convert fellow employees to Islam, beheaded a woman in his workplace. He was allegedly upset about being suspended. But the FBI is investigating whether the murder was an imitation of ISIL's beheadings.
Scott Pelley: Some people call individuals who are radicalized "lone wolves." Is that the biggest threat we face?
James Comey: Yeah, people who use that term, it's not one I like because it conveys a sense of dignity I don't think they deserve. These homegrown violent extremists are troubled souls, who are seeking meaning in some misguided way. And so they come across the propaganda and they become radicalized on their own, independent study, and they're also able to equip themselves with training again on the Internet, and then engage in jihad after emerging from their basement.
Scott Pelley: The name "lone wolf" offends you.
James Comey: It does. I'd prefer lone rat to capture the kind of person we're talking about.
Scott Pelley: Lone rat?
James Comey: Yeah.
Scott Pelley: Is this as dangerous a time as al Qaeda at its peak?
James Comey: No, I don't think so.
Scott Pelley: What's different?
James Comey: We are better organized as an intelligence community. We're better organized and equipped at the border. We have relationships with our foreign partners. All of which make us better able to see dots and connect dots. The transformation since before 9/11 is striking.
One striking transformations is in the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team. Which has more than doubled in size since 9/11.
[One minute! One minute!]
You almost never see the HRT, but we were given rare access to their training center. These are FBI special agents practicing an assault on a building where a hostage might be beheld. Even training, the team uses live ammunition and live explosives.
The Hostage Rescue Team has joined U.S. special operations forces for hundreds of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last June, the team swooped into Libya and grabbed a suspect indicted for a role in 2012's Benghazi attack, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three others. The new emphasis, these days, is to bring terrorists to court.
60 Minutes: Segment ExtrasWhy the FBI embeds with U.S. troops overseasWhy has the FBI embedded in operations with the U.S. military overseas? FBI director James Comey tells Scott Pelley.
James Comey: We're there to make sure that we have a criminal option in our country's toolbox when we take the fight to the terrorists.Scott Pelley: So they would be involved in such things as evidence collection and making sure that arrests were done in such a way that they'd be seen as admissible in court.
James Comey: Yeah, or if we grab somebody and they say something we may want to use later we can use special agents of the FBI to testify about it.
The Hostage Rescue Team is symbolic of the FBI's growth since 9/11. The budget has jumped from under four billion a year to more than eight billion. Comey now leads 34,000 employees.
James Comey: This is called "watch."
In his operations center we got a sense of one of the imposing things about Comey, he is six foot eight. He grew up near New York City, in the suburbs, where his grandfather was a police chief and where he came face-to-face with crime at an early age.
"...I thought about that guy every night for five years. So I think it's made me a better prosecutor and investigator for being able to feel better what victims of crime experience."James Comey: I was a high school senior and home alone one night with my younger brother. And a guy - gunman kicked in our front door at our home in New Jersey and held the two of us captive. We escaped. He caught us again. We escaped again. So a pretty horrific experience.
Scott Pelley: Horrific how?
James Comey: Well, frightening to anybody but especially to a younger person to be threatened with a gun and to believe you're going to be killed by this guy.
Scott Pelley: You believed you were going to be killed?
James Comey: I did.
Scott Pelley: What happened to that guy?
James Comey: He got away. My recollection was he was part of a pattern of rapes and robberies, home invasion rapes and robberies in northern New Jersey.
Scott Pelley: Does that inform your work today in any way.
James Comey: It does, but probably in a way that would surprise people. I think it most affects me in giving me a sense of what victims feel. And that even the notion no one was physically harmed, doesn't mean no one was harmed. Because I thought about that guy every night for five years. So I think it's made me a better prosecutor and investigator for being able to feel better what victims of crime experience.
He's been a federal prosecutor most of his career. In 2003, President Bush appointed him, deputy attorney general, number two at the Justice Department. But after two years he left for private industry, telling his wife that it was her turn to do what she wanted. Then the phone rang last year.
James Comey: The attorney general called and asked me if I was willing to be interviewed for FBI director. And the truth is I told him I didn't think so, that I thought it was too much for my family. But that I would sleep on it and call him back in the morning. And so I went to bed that night convinced I was going to call him back and say no.
Scott Pelley: What happened?
James Comey: I woke up. And my amazing wife was gone. And I found her down in the kitchen on the computer, looking at homes in the D.C. area. Which was a clue. And she said, "I've known you since you were 19. This is who you are. This is what you love. You've got to say yes." And then she paused and said, "But they're not going to pick you anyway, so just go down there and do you best. And then we'll have no regrets."
Scott Pelley: At least you would have tried.
James Comey: Right.
Scott Pelley: So you met with the president.
James Comey: I did.
Scott Pelley: What happened?
James Comey: Had to give my wife some bad news: that her confidence in them not picking me was misplaced.
That pick gives Comey a ten-year term. He intends it to be a decade that transforms the FBI again. To fight crime and espionage online.
"There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese."James Comey: Cybercrime is becoming everything in crime. Again, because people have connected their entire lives to the Internet, that's where those who want to steal money or hurt kids or defraud go. So it's an epidemic for reasons that make sense.
Scott Pelley: How many attacks are there on American computer systems and on people's credit card numbers and the whole mass of it? What does a day look like if you're concerned with crime in cyberspace?
COMEY: It would be too many to count. I mean, I think of it as kind of an evil layer cake. At the top you have nation state actors, who are trying to break into our systems. Terrorists, organized cyber syndicates, very sophisticated, harvesting people's personal computers, down to hacktivists, down to criminals and pedophiles.
Scott Pelley: What countries are attacking the United States as we sit here in cyberspace?
James Comey: Well, I don't want to give you a complete list. But the top of the list is the Chinese. As we have demonstrated with the charges we brought earlier this year against five members of the People's Liberation Army. They are extremely aggressive and widespread in their efforts to break into American systems to steal information that would benefit their industry.
Scott Pelley: What are they trying to get?
James Comey: Information that's useful to them so they don't have to invent. They can copy or steal to learn about how a company might approach negotiations with a Chinese company, all manner of things.
60 Minutes: Segment ExtrasHacking charges for members of China's militaryFBI Director James Comey explains why it was important to bring hacking charges against members of China's military even though arrests won't be ...
Scott Pelley: How many hits from China do we take in a day?James Comey: Many, many, many. I mean, there are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who've been hacked by the Chinese and those who don't know they've been hacked by the Chinese.
Scott Pelley: The Chinese are that good?
James Comey: Actually, not that good. I liken them a bit to a drunk burglar. They're kicking in the front door, knocking over the vase, while they're walking out with your television set. They're just prolific. Their strategy seems to be: We'll just be everywhere all the time. And there's no way they can stop us.
Scott Pelley: How much does that cost the U.S. economy every year?
James Comey: Impossible to count. Billions.
Scott Pelley: Sounds like cybercrime is a long way from Bonnie and Clyde for the FBI.
James Comey: Bonnie and Clyde could not do a thousand robberies in the same day, in all 50 states, from their pajamas, halfway around the world.
Scott Pelley: The FBI's had legendary problems upgrading its computer systems. Are you now to a place where you're satisfied that you're meeting the cyber security threat?
James Comey: We've made great progress coordinating better as a government. When I last left government, my sense of us was kind of like four-year-old soccer. So like a clump of four year olds chasing the ball, we were chasing it in a pack. We're about high school soccer now. We're spread out. We pass well. But the bad guys are moving at World Cup speed. So we have to get better.
60 Minutes: Segment ExtrasTaking down ''Game Over Zeus'' and other malwareFBI Director Comey explains how the US fights malicious software by partnering with other countries: ''To take it down we have to shrink the world...
Scott Pelley: Do people understand, in your estimation, the dangers posed by cybercrime and cyber espionage?James Comey: I don't think so. I think there's something about sitting in front of your own computer working on your own banking, your own health care, your own social life that makes it hard to understand the danger. I mean, the Internet is the most dangerous parking lot imaginable. But if you were crossing a mall parking lot late at night, your entire sense of danger would be heightened. You would stand straight. You'd walk quickly. You'd know where you were going. You would look for light. Folks are wandering around that proverbial parking lot of the Internet all day long, without giving it a thought to whose attachments they're opening, what sites they're visiting. And that makes it easy for the bad guys.
Scott Pelley: So tell folks at home what they need to know.
James Comey: When someone sends you an email, they are knocking on your door. And when you open the attachment, without looking through the peephole to see who it is, you just opened the door and let a stranger into your life, where everything you care about is.
Scott Pelley: And what might that attachment do?
James Comey: Well, take over the computer, lock the computer, and then demand a ransom payment before it would unlock. Steal images from your system of your children or your, you know, or steal your banking information, take your entire life.
Scott Pelley: We have talked about a lot of menacing things in this interview. Do you think Americans should sleep well?
James Comey: I think they should. I mean, the money they have invested in this government since 9/11 has been well spent. We are better organized, better systems, better equipment, smarter deployment. We are better in every way that you'd want us to be since 9/11. We're not perfect. My philosophy as a leader is we are never good enough. But we are in a much better place than we were 13 years ago.
Our conversation with FBI Director James Comey continues here next week when we ask whether the FBI is snooping on average Americans and why he thinks apple's new iPhone software could be a threat to national security.
(C) 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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To Modify the List of Beneficiary Developing Countries Under the Trade Act of 1974
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:41
A Proclamation1. Sections 501(1) and (4) of the Trade Act of 1974 (the ''1974 Act'') (19 U.S.C. 2461(1) and (4)), provide that, in determining whether duty-free treatment would be appropriate under the Generalized System of Preferences, the President shall have due regard for, among other factors, the effect such action would have on furthering the economic development of a beneficiary developing country through the expansion of its exports and the extent that the beneficiary developing country would be competitive with respect to eligible articles. Section 502(c) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462(c)), provides that, in determining whether to designate any country as a beneficiary developing country, the President shall take into account various factors, including the country's level of economic development, the country's per capita gross national product, the living standards of its inhabitants, and any other economic factors he deems appropriate. Section 502(d)(1) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462(d)(1)), authorizes the President to withdraw or suspend the designation of any country as a beneficiary developing country after considering the factors set forth in sections 501 and 502(c) of the 1974 Act. Section 502(f)(2) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462(f)(2)), requires the President to notify the Congress and the affected country, at least 60 days before termination, of the President's intention to terminate the affected country's designation as a beneficiary developing country.
2. Consistent with section 502(d) of the 1974 Act, and having considered the factors set forth in sections 501 and 502(c), I have determined that Russia is sufficiently advanced in economic development and improved in trade competitiveness that it is appropriate to terminate the designation of Russia as a beneficiary developing country effective October 3, 2014. I notified the Congress and Russia on May 7, 2014, of my intent to terminate Russia's designation. In order to reflect the termination of Russia's designation as a beneficiary developing country, I have determined that it is appropriate to modify general notes 4(a) and 4(d) and pertinent subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).
3. Section 604 of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2483), authorizes the President to embody in the HTS the substance of the relevant provisions of that Act, and of other Acts affecting import treatment, and actions thereunder, including removal, modification, continuance, or imposition of any rate of duty or other import restriction.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including but not limited to title V and section 604 of the 1974 Act, do proclaim that:
(1) The designation of Russia as a beneficiary developing country is terminated, effective on October 3, 2014.
(2) In order to reflect the termination of Russia's designation as a beneficiary developing country, general notes 4(a) and 4(d) and pertinent subheadings of the HTS are modified as set forth in the Annex to this proclamation.
(3) Any provisions of previous proclamations and Executive Orders that are inconsistent with the actions taken in this proclamation are superseded to the extent of such inconsistency.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Billing code 3295-F5-P
[FR Doc. 2014-24217Filed 10-7-14; 11:15 am]
Billing code 7020-02-C
Sanctions Against Russia
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:29
US Sanctions Against Russia's Federal Drug Control Service Have No Practical Sense00:56 05/10/2014 The United States' sanctions against the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) have no practical sense, said the head of the FSKN, Viktor Ivanov on Russian TV-Center channel.
Russia's Economy Not to Suffer from US Decision to Cancel Trade Benefits: Lawmaker20:29 04/10/2014 The Russian economy will not suffer significant losses after the decision of the US authorities to revoke trade preferences for our country, the deputy head of the Russia's Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, Sergei Shatirov said.
Removal of Russia's Benefits Under US GSP 'Political Signal': Official20:05 04/10/2014 The removal of the US GSP benefits from Russia is not an economic measure, but a political signal showing that Washington is unwilling to alleviate the conflict, Mikhail Yemelyanov, First Deputy of the Chairperson of the Russian State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, told RIA Novosti.
Decision to Eliminate Russia from US GSP Trade Benefits Comes Into Force: White House09:18 04/10/2014 The United States will terminate Russia's designation as a beneficiary developing country, a status aimed at boosting a country's economy through reduced tariffs under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a presidential proclamation from US President Barack Obama said on the White House official website.
Biden's Speech Might Backfire on Washington: Former Assistant Secretary of Treasury03:21 04/10/2014 Speech of the US Vice President Joe Biden can backfire on Washington, as it embarrasses the European Union members and demonstrates the US has intimidated them, Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, believes.
EU Has Long Way to Go in Following Own Foreign Policy: Journalist23:50 03/10/2014 The European Union still needs to work on following an independent foreign policy course, which would not be influenced by the United States, EU-based journalist and author George Tzogopoulos told RIA Novosti Friday.
Sanctions Ineffective Way to Build Relations With Russia: Riga Mayor22:50 03/10/2014 Sanctions are not an effective way to build relations with Russia, Riga Mayor Nil Ushakov told RIA Novosti in an interview on Friday.
Scottish Government Stands By EU Sanctions Against Russia: Spokesperson21:43 03/10/2014 Scottish ministers support EU anti-Russia sanctions, which they believe represent the member-states' uniform stance on the issue, Esther Hutcheson, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government's External Affairs Department told RIA Novosti Friday.
US Organizations Try to Persuade Lawmakers to Soften Sanctions Against Russia: Reports19:27 03/10/2014 Trade organizations from the United States have started a campaign to weaken sanctions imposed by the country on Russia, the Hill reported Friday.
State Duma Speaker Calls Anti-Russian Sanctions Political, Economic Blackmail19:15 03/10/2014 Western sanctions against Russia over Ukraine are a tool of political and economic blackmail used under pressure from the United States, Speaker of the lower house of Russian parliament, Sergei Naryshkin said Friday.
EU Follows US Policy With Regard to Ukraine: British MP18:15 03/10/2014 The European Union, France and the United Kingdom in particular, follows a US policy with regard to Ukraine, George Galloway, British MP for Bradford West and leader of the Respect Party, told RIA Novosti Friday.
Serbia Will Never Back Anti-Russian Sanctions: Serbian Ambassador to Russia15:50 03/10/2014 Serbia has made it very clear that it will not join the European Union's sanctions against Russia, Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzić said on Friday.
Biden Says US Forced EU Countries to Impose Sanctions Against Russia14:46 03/10/2014 The United States and US President Barack Obama personally forced the European Union members to introduce sanctions against Russian over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis, US Vice President Joe Biden announced.
US State Department Urges EU Not to Oppose Sanctions Against Russia02:51 03/10/2014 The United States recognize that sanctions imposed against Russia cause damage to the European countries, however, urge the EU leaders not to doubt their suitability, US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said.
US to 'Roll Back' Sanctions Against Russia if It Fulfills Minsk Agreement02:02 03/10/2014 US ready to lift some of the sanctions against Russia if the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk is observed, US Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland stated.
Sanctions Against Russia Look Like 'Legal Lawlessness': Russian Communications Minister22:41 02/10/2014 The sanctions, imposed by the Western countries on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis resemble "legal lawlessness", Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov said on Thursday.
Why EU Sanctions Are Illegal and Why That Won't Change Anything21:08 02/10/2014 The EU repeatedly boasts of its commitment to the rule of law. In reality, the legal basis of the sanctions it has imposed on Russia is extremely dubious. However, past experience shows that even when the EU's own courts declare sanctions illegal, the EU, despite its fulsome proclamations, simply carries on with them anyway.
Chevron Plans to Continue Scheduled Cooperation With Russia Amid Sanctions18:20 02/10/2014 Energy giant Chevron, the second-largest oil and gas company in the United States, does not plan to alter its scheduled activities in Russia amid Western sanctions, the company's spokesperson Sally Jones told RIA Novosti Thursday.
US Determination to Hurt Russia Unable to Solve Int'l Conflicts: UK Delegate to PACE14:30 02/10/2014 Washington will always try to hurt Moscow as hard as it can, though it will never help the international community to solve any conflict, including the one in Ukraine, British member of the PACE Mike Hancock said Thursday.
UK 'Should Be Proud' of Imposing Sanctions Against Russia: Foreign Secretary17:47 01/10/2014 Britain should be proud of having imposed economic sanctions against Russia, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Wednesday at a conference held by the British Conservative Party.
Western Sanctions on Russia Will Not Affect Rosneft-ExxonMobil Partnership: Oil Analyst12:12 01/10/2014 US oil company ExxonMobil has suspended its operations with Russia's state-owned oil giant Rosneft on nine out of 10 joint ventures following a new round of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow for its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian civil war in September.
EU Sanctions Still Can Be Lifted Before US Ones: Expert23:48 30/09/2014 There is still a possibility that the EU sanctions against Russia might be lifted earlier than the US ones, because they are more substantive in their nature, the Director General of Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Thanos Dokos told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
EU Failed Again to Break 'Vicious' Sanctions Circle: Russia's EU Envoy21:34 30/09/2014 The European Union has failed again to break the vicious circle of sanction mentality by refusing to lift the current sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, Russia's Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said Tuesday.
Schlumberger Pulls Expat Personnel From Russia Amid Sanctions: Reports18:23 30/09/2014 One of the world's largest oilfield services providers, Schlumberger, is withdrawing American and European staff from Russia amid the Western-imposed sanctions against the country, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the situation.
EU Ambassadors Approve of Keeping Sanctions Against Russia: Reports15:56 30/09/2014 European Union ambassadors on Tuesday said they approve of keeping sanctions against Russia in place because of the situation in Ukraine, Reuters reported citing EU officials.
EU to Review Ukraine Ceasefire Tuesday, Possibly Provide Grounds to Lift Russia Sanctions11:32 30/09/2014 The Permanent Representatives Committee of the European Union (Coreper) is expected to meet Tuesday to review the implementation of the ceasefire regime in Ukraine.
ExxonMobil Spokesman: Sakhalin-1 Project Safe From US Sanctions18:21 29/09/2014 US sanctions imposed against Russia will not have any impact on the joint Sakhalin-1 project between ExxonMobil and Rosneft, the US company's spokesman, Alan Jeffers, told RIA Novosti on Monday.
Lavrov: Russia Still Open to Cooperation With Western Countries11:36 28/09/2014 Russia does not feel isolated in light of sanctions and does plan to refuse to cooperate with the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview to Channel 5.
Lavrov: Moscow Uninterested in Continuing Sanction War With West11:07 28/09/2014 Moscow is not interested in continuing the sanction war with western countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview to Channel 5.
Foreign Affairs Analyst: Russia Should 'Show Some Teeth' in Response to Western Sanctions16:22 27/09/2014 Russia needs to react differently to the challenges it is currently facing brought on by Western sanctions and "show some teeth" or face running the risk of appearing weak causing measures to escalate, foreign affairs analyst, Srdja Trifkovic told RIA Novosti.
Kosachev: Countries With ''Anti-Russian Position'' Hamper Rossotrudnichestvo Activities11:24 27/09/2014 Although the sanctions imposed against Russia by several countries have not yet affected work with its nationals, Rossotrudnichestvo activities have become complicated in some countries holding an "anti-Russian position," head of the organization, Konstantin Kosachev, said during the 12th Annual Session of the Rhodes Forum, "Dialogue of Civilizations," held September 25 to September 29.
Lavrov Says Russia to Not Succumb to US Sanctions Pressure22:14 26/09/2014 Moscow has not initiated the current standoff with the United Nations and will not succumb to its sanctions pressure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
Czech President Urges to Lift Russian Sanctions, Fight Islamic State18:46 26/09/2014 Czech President Milos Zeman urged during the 12th Rhodes Forum Friday to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia and to combine the efforts of developed countries to confront the real enemy - international terrorism and the dangers of the Islamic state (IS) plans.
Chief: Sanctions on Russian Banks' Access to Western Markets Affecting Russian Railways13:08 26/09/2014 The restriction of Russian banks' access to Western financial markets have a direct impact on Russian Railways, the company's president Vladimir Yakunin told RIA Novosti in an interview Friday.
Russian Railways Chief: US Wants to Erect Barriers Between Russia, EU12:54 26/09/2014 By imposing sanctions, the United States is willing to erect invisible but still impassable barriers between Russia and Europe, Vladimir Yakunin, head of state-owned Russian Railways, said in an interview with RIA Novosti on Friday
Russian Railways Chief Says Keeps Savings in Bank Targeted by EU, US Sanctions12:51 26/09/2014 The head of the state-run Russian Railways company, Vladimir Yakunin said in an interview with RIA Novosti on Friday that he keeps his savings in VTB, a Russian bank targeted by Western sanctions.
Yakunin: European Rail Companies Continue Work With Russia Despite Serious Pressure12:43 26/09/2014 European railroad companies have continued to cooperate with Russian Railways amid sanctions and despite serious political pressure, the head of the Russia's railroad monopoly Vladimir Yakunin told RIA Novosti.
Sanctions Against Russia Could be Lifted Only if Minsk Ceasefire Deal Holds: G700:01 26/09/2014 Western sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis could be lifted only if the Minsk ceasefire agreement holds, the foreign ministers of G7 countries said in a joint statement Thursday.
Norwegian Energy Minister: Sanctions Not to Affect Russian-Norwegian Energy Cooperation22:50 25/09/2014 Western sanctions against Russia will not affect collaboration between Russian and Norwegian oil and gas companies on the Norwegian continental shelf, Norway's energy minister Tord Lien told Aftenposten on Thursday.
Adviser to Berlusconi: Western Sanctions Bring Russia 'Dangerously' Close to China, India18:40 25/09/2014 European economic sanctions against Russia are dangerous for Europe's economy as they result in strengthening ties between Russia, China and India, Giovanni Toti, an adviser to Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told International Information Agency Rossiya Segodnya.
Russian Oil Companies Under Western Sanctions May Get Priority to Existing Fields14:31 25/09/2014 Four Russian ministries are working on a set of measures, including preferential access to existing fields, to support Russian oil companies that were sanctioned by the West over the Ukrainian crisis, Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov told journalists Thursday.
Expert: Japan's Decision to Impose More Sanctions Against Russia Poorly Timed08:22 25/09/2014 Japan's decision to impose additional sanctions against Russia is poorly timed and was most likely driven by geopolitical considerations, Richard Wellings, Deputy Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), told RIA Novosti Thursday.
Japan Could Review, Cancel Sanctions Against Russia: Foreign Ministry07:54 25/09/2014 Japan could review or even cancel sanctions against Russia if Moscow takes evident action for the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, according to Japan's foreign ministry.
Obama Says US to Lift Sanctions if Russia Backs Ceasefire in Ukraine18:29 24/09/2014 The united States President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the country would lift the sanctions imposed on Russia in case it chooses a peaceful course in Ukraine.
Sanctions Failed to Seriously Affect Arctic Equipment Construction: Shipbuilding Company17:49 24/09/2014 Western economic sanctions have had no significant impact on the construction of exploration equipment in the Arctic; problems may occur only with the use of American equipment, the head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSK) Alexei Rakhmanov said Wednesday.
Czech Ex-Prime Minister Says West Should Stop Hostility Toward Russia: Reports17:03 24/09/2014 The former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Necas said during a press conference Wednesday that hostility toward Russia must come to an end, as it remains West's strategic partner, local Echo24 media outlet has reported.
Expert: West Unlikely to Lift Anti-Russia Sanctions Until 201614:46 24/09/2014 The sanctions, imposed by Western countries against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine are unlikely to be lifted until 2016, the Director of the Russian-based EurAsEC Institute Vladimir Lepekhin said on Wednesday at a conference at the International Information Agency Rossiya Segodnya.
New Japanese Sanctions to Affect Tokyo's 'Geopolitical Position': Moscow13:25 24/09/2014 Japan's new sanctions against Russia will have a negative impact on the Tokyo's geopolitical position and will send a wrong message to Japanese businesses, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Five Major Russian Banks Including Sberbank Hit by Japanese Sanctions13:01 24/09/2014 Japan has imposed sanctions on five major Russian banks, including the two biggest lenders Sberbank and VTB, a source in the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday.
Japan Imposes Additional Sanctions Against Russia: Media11:43 24/09/2014 The Japanese government has imposed additional sanctions against Russia, the Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.
Economist: EU's Revision of Moscow Sanctions Insufficient for Russian Market Recovery20:42 23/09/2014 The possible revision of EU sanctions against Russia will not be sufficient to change the investors' perception of the country, as long as the United States maintains its restrictions, Craig Botham, economist at British multinational asset management company Schroders, told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
Russia Spared Western Companies From Sanctions Response to Avoid Confrontation: FAS16:41 23/09/2014 Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) could have opened dozens of cases against Western companies, but decided not to in order to avoid confrontation, FAS chief Igor Artemyev said Tuesday.
Imposing Sanctions on Russian Journalists Inadmissible: Moscow11:47 23/09/2014 A proposal to impose sanctions on Russian journalists for their coverage of events in Ukraine and Crimea is ''absurd and inadmissible,'' a senior Russian diplomat said Tuesday.
Brussels May Revise Anti-Russian Sanctions on September 30: Reports10:01 23/09/2014 The European Union may start reconsidering economic sanctions against Moscow on September 30, Kommersant newspaper reported Tuesday citing the EU foreign policy chief's spokeswoman to Maya Kosyanchich.
Western Sanctions Will Not Cause Changes in Russia's Energy Strategy to 203506:55 23/09/2014 Russian Ministry of Energy does not plan introducing any changes to Russia's energy strategy for the period of up to 2035 because of the western economic sanctions, Deputy Minister of Energy Kirill Molodtsov said on Tuesday.
Rosneft Considers Construction of LNG Plant Within Sakhalin-1 Project Best Option05:45 23/09/2014 Russia's Rosneft considers constructing the Far-Eastern Liquefied natural gas (LNG) Plant within the Sakhalin-1 project to be the "best option," the company's vice president Vlada Rusakova said on Tuesday.
Western Sanctions Will Not Impede Russia's Plans to Increase Oil Shipments to China05:27 23/09/2014 Western economic sanctions over Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis will not affect Russia's plans to increase the throughput of the pipeline East Siberia '' Pacific Ocean to 80 million tonnes of oil per year by 2020, in order to increase the shipments of Russian oil to China, Deputy Minister of Energy Kirill Molodtsov said on Tuesday.
Import Substitution in Russian Energy Sector Possible in 3 years: Ministry of Energy04:55 23/09/2014 Russian companies are able to organize the production of the main technologies and equipment for the energy sector in the next three or four years, Deputy Minister of Energy Kirill Molodtsov said on Tuesday.
Japan's Prime Minister Offers Meeting With Putin on Sidelines of November APEC Summit07:45 22/09/2014 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has offered Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet on the sidelines of November APEC summit in Beijing, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga said Monday.
Western Sanctions to Boost Russian Industry Development: Kremlin Administration Head22:20 21/09/2014 Western sanctions could spur the development of Russian industry and the cooperation of Moscow with other nations, the head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Ivanov said in an interview published Sunday.
Latest Western Sanctions Against Russia 'Cynical' in Light of Minsk Agreements: Kremlin20:23 21/09/2014 The latest economic sanctions against Russia, imposed by the West, look cynical due to the fact that the Minsk agreements on Ukraine crisis have led to a ceasefire, the Head of Russia's Presidential Administration told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper in an interview released Sunday.
Japan Undecided on Possible Future Sanctions on Russia: Japanese Foreign Ministry10:00 21/09/2014 Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York to meet with foreign ministers of the Group of 7 (G7) and discuss Japan's position with respect to sanctions against Russia, Japan's foreign ministry stated on Sunday.
Medvedev: Russia Traditionally Looks Toward West, East, Not Planning to Abandon It07:59 21/09/2014 The main task for Russia in the coming years is to establish cooperation with the Asian region, but the country does not intend to abandon the tradition of looking toward both the West and the East, Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his Facebook webpage.
Medvedev: Russia to Survive Unfavorable International Market Conditions17:20 20/09/2014 Though the international market conditions create a difficult situation for Russia, the country will survive, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.
Economic Development Minister: West Unlikely to Impose New Sanctions Against Russia16:26 20/09/2014 The West is unlikely to impose new sanctions against Russia, but it is doubtful that the existing ones will be lifted anytime soon, Russia's Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said on Saturday.
Kalashnikov to Adjust Export Strategy Due to Western Sanctions14:44 19/09/2014 Part of Russia's Rostec state corporation, the Kalashnikov weapon maker, which has been targeted by Western sanctions will be forced to revise its export strategy following the measures, Rostec's press service said Friday.
Sberbank Chief: Russian Economy Seeing Growth Difficulties Amid Sanctions13:11 19/09/2014 It will be hard for Russia to sustain economic growth under intensifying Western sanctions, the head of Russia's biggest bank Sberbank Herman Gref said Friday in a live interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.
Western Sanctions Failed to Influence Global Oil Prices: Russian Energy Ministry12:15 19/09/2014 The Western sanctions imposed against the Russian oil industry have had no impact on the current decline in global oil prices, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told journalists Friday.
Japan Remains Undecided on Sanctions Against Russia: Foreign Ministry11:41 19/09/2014 The timing and scope of possible sanctions against Russia have not been determined yet, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference Friday.
Finance Minister: Sanctions Against Moscow Causing Economic Growth Slowdown in Slovakia23:32 18/09/2014 European economic sanctions against Russia and Moscow's countermeasures have caused Slovakia's economic growth forecast for 2015 to decrease from 3 percent to 2.6 percent of the GDP, Slovakia's Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said Thursday.
Hollande: Western Economic Sanctions Come at a Price for Russia, Europe21:56 18/09/2014 Western economic sanctions are taking their toll on Russia and the European Union and will be canceled once the Ukrainian crisis is settled, French President Francois Hollande said Thursday at a press conference.
Official: Russian Scientists Say West Restricts Publications18:19 18/09/2014 Russian scientists whose articles have been frequently published in western science magazines are concerned that their publications in the West may now be restricted, Alexander Bedritsky, a special presidential representative on climate issues, told RIA Novosti Thursday.
Lawmaker: Kosovo's Decision to Introduce Sanctions Against Russia ''Raises Smile''18:12 18/09/2014 The self-proclaimed Kosovo Republic's decision to introduce sanctions against Russia is not to be taken seriously, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of Russia Mikhail Margelov told journalists on Thursday.
New US Legislation to Target Russia Over Ukraine16:34 18/09/2014 The "Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014" that the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is voting on Thursday is a "witch's brew" of actions against Russia, which includes provisions relating to other countries, including Syria, Daniel Zubov from Rossiya Segodnia's Center for International Journalism and Research said Thursday.
Putin: Western Sanctions on Russia Contradict WTO Norms, Fair Competition Principles14:45 18/09/2014 By imposing economic restrictions on Russia, Western countries have ignored basic World Trade Organization norms and rejected the principle of fair and free competition, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Russian Lawmaker: Kosovo's Imposing of Anti-Russian Sanctions Due to Dependency on West14:10 18/09/2014 Introduction of anti-Russian sanctions by the partially recognized Balkan state of Kosovo is unsurprising, as its authorities are wholly dependent on the West, Leonid Slutsky, the head of the Russian parliamentary committee for Commonwealth of Independent State (CIS) affairs told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
Political Analyst: Canada Pantomimes US Policy on Ukraine11:49 18/09/2014 As Canada hits Russia with a new package of sanctions targeting Russian military officials, defense companies and the largest state-owned bank, political analyst Prof. Michel Chossudovsky believes the country is simply copying the policy of the US towards Moscow and adds that it is mostly a move to curry favor in the polls with the country's Ukrainian diaspora.
Japan To Announce New Sanctions Against Russia: Reports09:29 18/09/2014 Japan's government is going to announce additional sanctions against Russia over Ukraine on September 19, Kyodo news agency reported referring to the diplomatic Japanese sources.
Kosovo Introduces Sanctions Against Russia: Government of Kosovo07:15 18/09/2014 The self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo joins the United States and the European Union and imposes sanctions against Russia over Moscow's alleged role in the Ukrainian internal conflict, as it is stated on the Kosovo Government's official website.
Kremlin Downplays Sanctions Impact on Russia's Defense Sector, Arms Exports16:00 17/09/2014 Western sanctions have not affected Russia's arms exports and will never lead to the collapse of the country's defense industry, a Kremlin aide said Wednesday.
Lavrov: Further Sanctions Against Russia Will Deepen Ukrainian Crisis09:03 17/09/2014 Continuing sanction pressure on Russia will only deteriorate the Ukrainian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Canada Hits Russia with New Sanctions Over Ukraine22:36 16/09/2014 The Canadian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday unveiled new sanctions against Russian military officials, defense companies and largest state-owned lender Sberbank.
Russia to Maintain Current Level of Gas, Oil Production Despite Sanctions: OPEC16:52 16/09/2014 Western sanctions are not affecting the Russian oil industry as a whole and nothing is preventing Russia from maintaining the current level of oil and gas production, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
Diplomat: Russia Sees No Reason to Discuss 'Illegal' US Sanctions11:21 16/09/2014 Moscow sees no reason to initiate negotiations with the United States on the ''illegal'' sanctions imposed on Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday.
US to Recall Latest Russia Sanctions if Minsk Agreements Observed: State Department02:10 16/09/2014 The United States could withdraw the latest sanctions imposed on Russia last week, if the Minsk ceasefire agreement is observed in Ukraine, the US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters Monday.
Western Sanctions Fail to Impede GLONASS Satellite Production18:50 15/09/2014 JSC Russian Space Systems (RSS) is continuing to produce equipment for GLONASS satellites, despite difficulties with shipments of foreign electronics, caused by the Western economic sanctions, RSS Director General Andrei Tyulin told journalists on Monday.
Prime Minister Medvedev: Western Sanctions Test Russia for Durability11:23 15/09/2014 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that Western partners tested Russia for durability by imposing sanctions, and the country's response should not be based on simple solutions that undermine its democratic development.
Russian Oil Industry Secure Despite Sanctions10:35 15/09/2014 Western sanctions against Russia are unlikely to affect Russia's oil and gas industry and may even open up new opportunities for closer cooperation with its Asian partners and new projects for the country's oil companies, according to industry insiders.
First Deputy CEO: Sanctions Unable to Affect Gazprom Neft Plans on Shale Oil Production01:46 15/09/2014 Western sanctions will not affect Russian oil company Gazprom Neft's cooperation with foreign contractors on shale oil projects, said Vadim Yakovlev, deputy chairman of the Management Board and first deputy CEO.
First Deputy CEO: Western Sanctions Fail to Severely Affect Gazprom Neft01:04 15/09/2014 Sectoral sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States fail to inflict a severe damage on Gazprom Neft, according to Vadim Yakovlev, deputy chairman of the Management Board and first deputy CEO.
German Vice-Chancellor: Europe Requires Good Relationship With Russia17:25 14/09/2014 German Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, believes that good relations with Russia are necessary for Europe, he stated in an interview with the German newspaper Bild on Sunday.
Russia Will Not Leave Western Sanctions Without Measured Response: Council of Federation13:48 14/09/2014 Russia will not leave new Western economic sanctions without a response, but the reaction needs to be measured and aimed at protecting national economic interests, the Chairperson of the Russian Council of the Federation Valentina Matviyenko told journalists on Sunday.
US Policy Toward Russia Tougher Today Than During Cold War: Russian Lawmaker00:37 14/09/2014 The United States currently pursue a tougher policy towards Russia than during the Cold War to demonstrate that it is still the world leader, a senior Russian lawmaker said.
Czech Prime Minister Slams Anti-Russian Sanctions: Reports23:57 13/09/2014 Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has criticized the anti-Russian sanctions, imposed by the European Union and the United States this week, speaking at a meeting of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party, which is leading the country's ruling three-party coalition, Novinky magazine reported Saturday.
German Parliamentarian: Western Sanctions Against Russia Step in Wrong Direction14:22 13/09/2014 The EU sanctions against Russia are a step in the wrong direction, Peter Gauweiler, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Foreign cultural and educational policies of the German Bundestag, told Bild Saturday.
The Purpose of Sanctions Is to Break Up Relations Between Europe and Russia12:00 13/09/2014 The new sanctions announced by Washington and Europe don't seem to make much sense. I would be surprised if Russian oil and military industries were dependent on European capital markets in a meaningful way. The Russian companies should be able to secure adequate financing from Russian Banks or from the Russian government. If foreign loans are needed, Russia can borrow from China.
Analyst: New Sanctions Against Russia Complicate Future Talks on Restrictions, Ukraine11:22 13/09/2014 The United States and the European Union expected to bring Russia to negotiating table by imposing new sanctions, but their move will only lead to Moscow introducing countermeasures and create a strained environment for future talks on lifting sanctions and establishing peace in Ukraine, William Pomeranz, the Deputy Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. told RIA Novosti on Saturday.
Expert: New Sanctions to Have Negative Impact on Russia-US Business Environment09:59 13/09/2014 New sanctions targeting Russia could have a negative impact on the country's business environment and ties with the United States, Tom Thomson, the owner and founder of international business and strategic communications consultancy T.Thomson & Associates, told RIA Novosti Saturday.
Analyst: Russian Businesses Can Adjust to New Western Sanctions08:48 13/09/2014 The European and American sanctions regime will have no effect on Russian policies in neighboring Ukraine as Russian businesses are capable of adjusting to them, Bryan Early, director of the Project on International Security, Commerce and Economic Statecraft at New York State University at Albany, told RIA Novosti Saturday.
Three-Way Gas Talks May Take Place Next Week: Ukrainian Energy Minister
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:15
Updated 2:10 p.m. Moscow Time
KIEV, October 6 (RIA Novosti) '' Russia, Ukraine and the European Union may hold another round of gas talks next week, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Monday.
''During the coming week, the commission plans to coordinate and integrate various proposals on the protocol from the Russian and Ukrainian sides and, possibly, the meeting will take place in a week,'' he said.
The minister said the meeting will take place either in Brussels or Berlin.
Both sides have spent the last few days negotiating the date of the next meeting, as Kiev is unhappy with a package proposed by Moscow and the European Commission during a ministerial gas meeting late September in Berlin on natural gas deliveries from Russia to Ukraine during the winter.
According to the plan, Ukraine would have to repay at least $3.1 billion of its gas debt to Russia and pay in advance for the delivery of five billion cubic meters of gas at a price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, with a discount of $100.
Kiev has rejected Moscow's offer of a discount in the form of an export-duty exemption and wants the contract price to be reduced instead.
In June, Russia's gas giant Gazprom was forced to introduce a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine due to Kiev's massive debt which is currently estimated at $5.3 billion.
UPDATE 1-EU's Oettinger expects Russia-Ukraine gas deal this month | Reuters
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:23
Mon Oct 6, 2014 10:53am EDT
* EU expects Russia-Ukraine gas deal this month
* Energy stress tests show EU can handle one-month cut
* EU is "neutral" on South Stream - De Vincenti (Adds minister quotes, background)
By Oleg Vukmanovic and Stephen Jewkes
MILAN, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Europe's top energy official said on Monday he expected an interim gas deal between Russia and Ukraine to be completed this month, enabling Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine this winter and curbing the threat of cuts to Europe.
"We should get the interim solution in October," European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on the sidelines of a meeting of energy and environment ministers.
The European Union is trying to broker a deal to resolve a stand-off after Russia shut off gas deliveries to Ukraine over what it said were more than $5 billion in unpaid bills.
Ukraine faces the possibility of energy shortages this winter if no deal is reached, which risks the replay of knock-on disruptions to Europe's gas supplies seen in 2006 and 2009.
The European Commission has spearheaded efforts to get Russia and Ukraine to sign an interim gas agreement as a step towards resolving their long-standing row over prices.
Last month Oettinger said the agreement should fix an interim price for a specified amount of gas to be shipped to Ukraine, although details have been slow to emerge.
Oettinger's comments came as he presented to EU ministers the results of stress tests, which showed that the continent's energy systems could easily withstand a one-month halt in Russian gas transit flows through Ukraine.
"The results of the stress tests indicate we might have a few more problems if the disruption is longer than a month, but we could still cope," Italy's Undersecretary for Economic Development and Energy Claudio De Vincenti said.
Russia is Europe's biggest supplier of oil, coal and natural gas, and its pipelines through Ukraine are a political focus as Europe imposes sanctions on Russia over its seizure of Crimea.
De Vincenti, who has the energy portfolio at Italy's industry ministry, said Europe would be able to head off shortfalls in supplies from Russia by raiding gas storage, using liquefied natural gas import terminals and diversifying supplies.
He reiterated Italy's view that the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which will carry gas from Azerbaijan into Italy and provide Europe with its best hope of weaning itself of Russian dependence in the long run, was "very important".
"It will go ahead for sure," he said.
De Vincenti said the European Union was neutral on Russia's rival South Stream pipeline, which is designed to detour crisis-hit Ukraine and boost supplies to Europe.
"There's no hostility. We need to find a way to accommodate it with European energy infrastructure regulations," he said, referring to EU demands that the pipeline be open to third-party access.
The $40 billion South Stream undersea gas link is still going ahead, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying on Saturday, following concerns the European Union might be losing enthusiasm for the project.
De Vincenti said the ministers from 28 countries present in Milan had addressed in the morning the two major issues of supply security and creation of a single energy market for Europe. (editing by Jane Baird)
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Stoltenberg's Appointment Gives Hope to 'New Beginning' Between Russia, NATO: Expert
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:33
WASHINGTON, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - The appointment of Norway's former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO secretary general can give a new impetus to the military bloc's stagnating relations with Russia, former NATO consultant John Wallace said Thursday at the Center on Global Interests in Washington.
Wallace compared NATO's former head Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whom he described as "a guy who wanted to win," with a more level-headed Stoltenberg, adding the incumbent NATO chief "is expected to take a softer and a more consensus-based approach."
"He [Stoltenberg] stated that he is open-minded about the possibility of repairing the relationship and putting the NATO-Russia council back into effect," Wallace pointed out.
Jens Stoltenberg took up NATO top job on October 1. Wallace noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had initially welcomed Stoltenberg's appointment as the NATO secretary general, saying they "worked well together in the past," which "gives a new hope for a new beginning, if you will, between Russia and NATO."
Relations between Moscow and NATO soured following Crimea's reunification with Russia in March. A month later, the 28-member state bloc froze its cooperation with Russia, only maintaining contacts at the ambassadorial and higher levels.
Under Rasmussen's leadership, NATO also stepped up its military presence close to Russian borders, specifically in Poland and in the former Soviet Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Protests in Chinese Financial Center: What Is Behind Hong Kong's Turbulence?
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:22
WASHINGTON, October 6 (RIA Novosti) '' The recent unrest in Hong Kong has, quite understandably, captured the world's attention. For a place with a somewhat dour and business-focused image, the city is famously one of the world's largest and most lucrative financial centers, the scenes of dramatic confrontations between police and young protesters seem unexpected, unnatural, and even surreal.
While it might seem as if the unrest sprang out of nowhere, the roots of the current situation go deep, back to the agreement that China concluded with Hong Kong's then colonial master, the United Kingdom, in the mid 1980's. In this treaty, in exchange for resuming sovereignty over all of Hong Kong's territory, the Chinese government promised that it would allow the city's tradition of (mostly) democratic self-rule to continue without direct interference. This agreement quickly became known by the popular slogan ''one country, two systems.'' Much of the tension is due to the perception in Hong Kong that the central government is trying to unilaterally modify the terms of the deal.
But does any of this matter? How important can one city of 8 million people be in a massive continent-spanning country of 1.3 billion?
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that Hong Kong's best days were behind it. As Timothy Lee noted for Vox, China's meteoric economic rise has diminished Hong Kong's relative importance: according to data from the World Bank, Hong Kong's GDP went from being almost 20 percent of China's in 1997 to just 3 percent by 2013. Relative rates of growth (Hong Kong grew by 2.9 percent in 2013 versus a little over 7 percent in China) suggest that this trend will only continue. 10 years from now, in pure dollar terms, Hong Kong could account for as little as 1 percent of China's total GDP.
Measuring Hong Kong's influence on China purely through its GDP, however, is unduly narrow-minded: such an approach fails to capture what is unique and important about the city.
First of all, Hong Kong is beneficial to China because it provides Chinese companies with ready access to a competitive, liquid, and widely respected equity and capital markets. Hong Kong is a tier-one financial center, widely recognized as being the third most significant in the world after New York and London (ranking narrowly ahead of Tokyo and Singapore). Hong Kong, in short, is one of the world's single most powerful centers of money, one of a very small number of places in which a company can receive any variety of financial service imaginable. The benefits of having a domestic world financial center, one that speaks a local language no less, to China are difficult to calculate. They certainly won't show up in the headline GDP figures. But this is something of enormous and lasting value, as the aggressive attempts of other developing markets to create their own financial centers testiy.
People from mainland China also flock to Hong Kong in shockingly large numbers (more than 50 million a year!) to take advantage of the relatively more favorable tax and tariff regime: Western-made goods are available more widely and more cheaply in Hong Kong than in other Chinese cities. It's never a good idea to get between a consumer and a good they want, and Hong Kong functions as a vital "steam valve" to help release some of the pressure from China's still-regulated domestic market.
Hong Kong, with its respected legal system and reputation for safety and security, is also vital as place where successful entrepreneurs from the mainland can invest. Hong Kong real-estate prices have gone through the roof over the past several years, more than doubling just since 2009, showing that demand among Chinese for Hong Kong assets remains as strong as it has ever been. If this capital were not being invested in Hong Kong it would likely end up leaving the country entirely, creating further headaches for China's financial authorities.
Despite what would appear to be a rapidly decreasing share of China's overall GDP, Hong Kong, then, remains extremely vital as a place for affordable consumer goods, secure investment opportunities, and access to debt, capital, and equity markets. As China has become ever more integrated into the broader global economy it has become more dependent on trade, and large-scale global trade is only possible with the sorts of complicated legal, financial, and contractual instruments in which Hong Kong specializes.
FPI Fact Sheet on Hong Kong's ''Umbrella Revolution''
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:19
By Tzvi Kahn, Evan Moore | October 7, 2014
October 7, 2014
Hong Kong protesters lifted their sit-in around the government's headquarters building this week and plan to begin formal talks in the coming days. Though the crowd size has dwindled to a few thousand people from last week's estimated highs of 200,000, Hong Kong's struggle to maintain its unique political and legal culture against mainland encroachment continues.
The Foreign Policy Initiative is closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong, and believes the following fact sheet will be helpful for policymakers, lawmakers, and the general public to understand the rapidly changing events in the city.
I. Key Background on Hong Kong's Enduring Fight for Democracy
Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, is ruled by China under a policy that former Chinese ruler Deng Xiaoping called ''one country, two systems.'' This approach grants Hong Kong basic civil liberties that the mainland lacks. According to its constitutional document, known as the Basic Law, Hong Kong can ''exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.''Currently, a committee loyal to Beijing appoints Hong Kong's chief executive, but the regime promised in 2007 to change this policy in accordance with the Basic Law, which calls universal suffrage the ''ultimate aim.'' As The New York Timesreported, ''The current chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, was elected in 2012 with 689 votes from an election committee of fewer than 1,200 people. In 2007, the People's Congress ruled that in 2017, the chief executive could be chosen by universal suffrage'--one person, one vote.''In January 2013, University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai founded a civil disobedience movement demanding universal suffrage in accordance with Beijing's 2007 pledge. The manifesto of the group, Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), states, ''The electoral system of Hong Kong must satisfy the international standards in relation to universal suffrage. They consist of the political rights to equal number of vote, equal weight for each vote and no unreasonable restrictions on the right to stand for election.''In June 2013, nearly 800,000 Hong Kong residents'--more than a fifth of the territory's 3.5 million registered voters'--participated in an informal referendum calling for universal suffrage. As The New York Timesreported, ''an overwhelming majority of participants wants Hong Kong's Legislative Council to reject any electoral reform proposal from the government that does not meet the international standards demanded by pro-democratic groups.''In August 2014, Beijing announced that the same committee responsible for appointing Hong Kong's current leaders would, in future elections, select two or three candidates for consideration in a popular vote. Beijing's approach would effectively ensure the selection only of regime loyalists. Benny Tai compared the new process to the way Iran selects its president.Pro-democracy officials in Hong Kong have the ability to block the Chinese government's decision. As The New York Timesreported on September 22, ''The 27 pro-democracy members of the 70-member Legislative Council have the power to veto any election changes, if they remain united. Chinese officials, however, have said the election plan is all or nothing, and a veto would also foreclose the possibility of electing the chief executive by popular vote.''II. Key Background on the Demonstrations
In the aftermath of Beijing's repressive decision, the people of Hong Kong responded with massive protests. Protests began on September 22, when Hong Kong college students boycotted class to rally against the Chinese government's decision. Approximately 13,000 of the city's 78,000 undergraduates attended the demonstration. As OCLP said in a statement in early September, ''We Hongkongers won't accept failure in our road to democracy.''Hong Kong protesters represent a broad segment of the territory's society. Maria Stephan, a Senior Policy Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, wrote in Foreign Policy October 6: ''The mass protests in Hong Kong have featured tens of thousands'--maybe even hundreds of thousands'--of participants, spanning young and old, men and women, Christian, Taoist and Buddhist, white and blue collar workers.'' Organizers have ranged from Occupy Central leader Benny Tai, to church leaders, and even a 17-year old high school student.
The size of the pro-democracy demonstrations grew dramatically last week. Organizers estimated that as many as 80,000 demonstrators participated in protests in and around the city's government headquarters on September 29. However, by October 2, as many as 200,000 reportedly took to the streets.Hong Kong residents support the goals of the protesters. An April 2014 survey from the Hong Kong Transition Project found, ''Support for directly electing the Chief Executive is at the highest level ever recorded, with 89% supporting, 6% opposed.'' Also, according to a September 2014 poll from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, ''While 54 percent of Hong Kong's Cantonese-speaking residents said the city's Legislative Council should veto electoral changes if they excluded candidates whose political positions differed from the Chinese government's, that percentage went up to 76 among people ages 15 to 24.''Mainland China has forcefully responded to the protests. Beijing has censored words associated with the Hong Kong protests on Chinese search engines, attempted to hack the phones of protesters to monitor their communications, and imprisoned mainland supporters of the pro-democracy demonstrators.III. U.S. Policy toward Hong Kong
In 1992, Congress passed theU.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act, which makes America legally obligated to support the city's democratization. As the legislation states, ''Support for democratization is a fundamental principle of United States foreign policy. As such, it naturally applies to United States policy toward Hong Kong.''The United States and Hong Kong maintain a robust economic partnership. According to a State Department fact sheet, ''The United States enjoys substantial economic and social ties with Hong Kong. U.S. companies have a generally favorable view of Hong Kong's business environment, including its legal system and the free flow of information, low taxation, and infrastructure. There are some 1,400 U.S. firms, including 822 regional operations (316 regional headquarters and 506 regional offices), and over 60,000 American residents in Hong Kong.''The Obama administration response to the current Hong Kong protests has been called ''gallilngly timid'' by the Washington Post. While the White House did issue a statement expressing support for Hong Kong's protests against Beijing, it has largely disengaged from the issue. The United States should speak out in support of democracy for Hong Kong at every opportunity and rally international partners to pressure Beijing to reverse its repressive policies.
Asio welcomes proposal for 'coercive questioning' powers in security laws | Australia news | theguardian.com
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:53
Asio will gain broader powers to secretly detain Australians without charge and conduct ''coercive questioning'', even when less intrusive measures are available, under proposed national security laws.
In a submission to the parliamentary inquiry examining the federal government's second tranche of national security legislation, Asio welcomed the changes and noted that a previous requirement to exhaust other methods of collecting intelligence first had been softened.
The bill seeks to substantially increase the powers of the security agency and police to detain people without charge.
It would extend the controversial preventive detention order, control order and Asio questioning and detention regimes for 10 years, and lower the thresholds for obtaining the different orders.
Under the current scheme Asio may detain and question a person without charge for up to seven days, during which time refusing to answer questions may lead to imprisonment. People can essentially be held without contact with the outside world, may lose the right to silence and may be subject to coercive questioning.
The former independent national security legislation monitor Bret Walker recommended the regime be abolished as a result of concerns about its use.
Currently the extraordinary powers can be used only as a last resort, if the attorney general believes less intrusive methods of gathering intelligence will not be effective.
The new laws, if passed, would allow the attorney general to grant a warrant for the use of the orders in a much broader range of circumstances, when it is reasonable to do so.
In its submission, Asio wrote: ''The new threshold will require the attorney general, in making this assessment, to have regard to whether there are other methods of collecting the intelligence sought to be collected under the warrant, and whether those other methods are likely to be as effective.
''The existence of other, less intrusive methods of obtaining the intelligence will continue to be a relevant but non-determinative consideration in decisions.''
Asio rejected Walker's assessment that the regime was unnecessary, and wrote that there were ''realistic and credible circumstances in which it may be necessary to conduct coercive questioning of a person for the purposes of gathering intelligence about a terrorism offence''.
Asio has never sought a questioning and detention warrant '' questioning warrants alone have been sought only 16 times. Asio wrote that in the ''current environment'' the powers ''will continue to play an important role in intelligence collection''.
Oversight of the regime would be limited. The inspector general of intelligence and security, Vivienne Thom, noted in her submission to the inquiry that the attorney general's decisions were not subject to review by her office.
University of Sydney law professor Ben Saul and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law both lodged submissions expressing serious concerns about the extension of the regime.
Saul wrote: ''ASIO detention powers should be repealed, not extended. Detaining non-suspects for up to seven days, virtually incommunicado and without effective review at the time, removing the right to silence on penalty of imprisonment, and criminalising any disclosure of detention, is excessive and disproportionate in view of existing powers, the level of terrorist threat, and the absence of any declared public emergency justifying derogation from protected human rights. ''
The Tobin centre also said the powers were problematic due to their ''significant impact on civil liberties''.
''We believe that they should not be renewed, and certainly this should not even be considered without an appropriate opportunity to determine whether their extension is warranted,'' the centre wrote.
Thom wrote: ''It would be my expectation that Asio would notify me at the earliest possible time and it is my intention that I, or a senior member of my staff, would be present during any questioning under warrant.''
On Friday several members of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security also raised concerns about the justification given to continue the preventive detention orders and control regimes without charge.
The inquiry is due to report on 17 October.
National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 '' Parliament of Australia
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:00
TypeGovernmentPortfolioAttorney-General Originating houseSenate StatusPassed Both Houses Parliament no44SummaryResponds to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and SecurityReport of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia's National Security Legislation
by amending: theAustralian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979
to: align the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's (ASIO) employment conditions with the Australian Public Service employment framework; modernise ASIO's warrant-based intelligence collection powers; establish a framework for the conduct of authorised covert intelligence operations; clarify ASIO's ability to cooperate with the private sector; and provide for certain breaches to be referred to law enforcement agencies for investigation; theIntelligence Services Act 2001
to: enable the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) to collect intelligence on Australian persons involved in activities in relation to its operational security; enable ASIS to cooperate with ASIO without ministerial authorisation when undertaking certain intelligence collection activities; enable ASIS to train certain individuals in the use of weapons and self-defence techniques and provide for a limited exception of these in a controlled environment; extend immunity for actions taken in relation to overseas activities; clarify the authority of the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) to provide assistance; and rename DIGO as the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation and the Defence Signals Directorate as the Australian Signals Directorate; theAustralian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979
andIntelligence Services Act 2001
to create two new offences and update existing offences, and increase penalties, in relation to the protection of intelligence-related information; and 19 Acts to make consequential and technical amendments. Track this bill(What's this?)
Text of billFirst reading: Text of the bill as introduced into the ParliamentThird reading: Prepared if the bill is amended by the house in which it was introduced. This version of the bill is then considered by the second house.As passed by both houses: Final text of bill agreed to by both the House of Representatives and the Senate which is presented to the Governor-General for assent.Explanatory memorandaExplanatory memorandum: Accompanies and provides an explanation of the content of the introduced version (first reading) of the bill.Supplementary explanatory memorandum: Accompanies and explains amendments proposed by the government to the bill.Revised explanatory memorandum: Accompanies and explains the amended version (third reading) of the bill. It supersedes the explanatory memorandum.Proposed amendmentsCirculated by members and senators when they propose to make changed to the bill. For details about the outcome of proposed amendments please refer to either the Votes and Proceedings (House of Representatives) or the Journals (Senate).
Schedules of amendmentsSchedules of amendments list amendments agreed to by the second house are communicated to the first house for consideration. Subsequent action by either house may also be included in a schedule.
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New laws could give ASIO a warrant for the entire internet, jail journalists and whistleblowers
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 05:57
Former ASIO chief David Irvine and Attorney-General George Brandis unveiled the laws in July. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Spy agency ASIO will be given the power to monitor the entire Australian internet and journalists' ability to write about national security will be curtailed when new legislation '' expected to pass in the Senate as early as Wednesday '' becomes law, academics, media organisations, lawyers, the Greens party and rights groups fear.
The new laws '' the first of many national security reforms '' began being debated in the Senate on Tuesday and had previously been sent to a committee for public consultation.
But the 13 recommendations made to government last week by the powerful Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security concerning the legislation '' which it examined and held public hearings on '' have not satisfied the Australian Lawyers Alliance, university academics, the Greens, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says he and his party will not support the bill. Photo: Andrew Meares
They say the recommendations do not address grave concerns they hold about the bill giving ASIO the power to monitor the entire internet with just one warrant and restricting what journalists write.
The committee's recommendations to the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014 have been accepted by the government in full.
It is understood the associated government amendments, announced on Friday, were circulated to Labor earlier than to other parties and independent senators, who received them on Tuesday when they were tabled in parliament. One of those amendments, announced on Monday by Attorney-General George Brandis and new ASIO chief Duncan Lewis, explicitly rules out "torture" being conducted by intelligence officers.
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus didn't initially support some of the new laws. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Labor has indicated that if all amendments are adopted it is likely to pass the bill. This means the laws will pass even if there is crossbench opposition.
But Professor George Williams of UNSW said the laws and their amendments did not address serious concerns they could enable agencies to tap, access and disrupt target and third-party computers and networks across Australia after getting just one warrant.
Dr Williams previously warned the PJCIS that the laws were too broad and could allow ASIO to monitor the entire Australian internet as a "computer network", as defined in the new laws.
Tourist attraction: An armed AFP officer maintains guard outside Parliament House in Canberra as debate over new national security legislation began in the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares
"The problem is [this specific new law regardless of amendments] applies to computer networks and the internet is a computer network '' it's a network of networks," he said.
Jon Lawrence, of digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia, agreed.
"I think the drafting of this is so vague that it really could be extended," he said.
Duncan Lewis, the new ASIO chief, was introduced by Senator Brandis on Monday when the minister announced he would explicitly rule out "torture" under new national security legislation. Photo: Andrew Meares
"A network can essentially be anything from three computers on a Wi-Fi modem to potentially an entire corporate network or an entire internet service provider network or at the extreme end the whole internet," he said.
Dr Williams suggested the warrant process should be restricted to only accessing parts of a computer network necessary to gather intelligence.
"I accept that [agencies] should be able to access [a university or another organisation's computer] network but it should be strictly limited to those parts of the network to gain the intelligence on a particular [target]," he said.
Christopher Warren, federal secretary of the journalist union, the MEAA, does not support the new laws. Photo: Ben Rushton
Dr Williams also said section 35P '' which jails people who "recklessly" reveal information related to a "special intelligence operation" (SIO) '' would have a "chilling effect" on journalists and whistleblowers attempting to disclose information.
Professor George Williams of UNSW says the laws are too broad. Photo: Jim Rice
The lawyer for whistleblower and former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Jesselyn Radack, has previously labelled the legislation as "draconian" and "chilling" while NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake said they reminded him of his trial and would result in self-censorship by disclosers.
The legislation makes it an offence if a person "discloses information ... [that] relates to a special intelligence operation" and does not state any public interest exemptions, meaning it could apply to anyone including journalists.
Those who disclosed such information would face up to 10 years' jail.
A PJCIS recommendation adopted by the government does, however, allow the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security and lawyers to be informed of the information for media or whistleblowers seeking legal advice, but not anyone else.
Dr Williams was supported in his opposition to section 35P by a group of media organisations, including AAP, the ABC, APN, Fairfax Media, FreeTV, News Corp and others, who said in a joint submission to the PJCIS in August that 35P should "not be included in the legislation".
"[Its] insertion ... could potentially see journalists jailed for undertaking and discharging their legitimate role in a modern democratic society '' reporting in the public interest," they said.
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus initially appeared to oppose 35P, saying in August that the way it was drafted then meant it was "not necessary".
"It is an unprecedented overreach of government power which poses a real threat to the freedom of the press," Dreyfus said.
On Tuesday his spokeswoman said he was now satisfied with it given government amendments.
"These changes balance the need to protect the safety of ASIO employees engaged in SIOs, while ensuring that journalists are not in danger of being penalised for simply doing their jobs," his spokeswoman said.
Christopher Warren of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, which represents journalists, said the amendments did not give him confidence journalists would not be put at risk.
"The recommendations do seem to take some steps forward in that they improve parliamentary and governmental oversight of ASIO but they do nothing to improve community or media oversight of these important issues," he said.
"[The new laws] will leave ASIO with substantial powers to intervene in the work of media and of journalists, to persecute and to prosecute whistleblowers and indeed journalists who are dealing with whistleblowers," he said.
He added it was the alliance's view that under the new legislation publishing stories like many of the Edward Snowden revelations, including the revelation about the tapping of government phones in Indonesia, "could well become a criminal offence" in the future rather than a public interest matter.
One of the amendments government made to 35P was that the Director of Public Prosecution must take into account the public interest, including the public interest in publication, before initiating a prosecution of a whistleblower or journalist for the disclosure of an SIO.
But Greg Barns of the Australian Lawyers Association said this clause was "bullshit".
"The Director of Public Prosecution in every case it prosecutes uses a public interest test," he said.
Mr Barns added that the DPP would be under "considerable pressure" by government to prosecute anyone who disclosed information.
He said the laws would have "not just a chilling effect but a freezing effect" on national security reporting.
Senator Ludlam of the Greens told Fairfax Media his party would be opposing the bill in the Senate and moving significant amendments.
Senator Lazarus, of the Palmer United Party, has also proposed minor amendments.
Senator Ludlam said the premise of the bill was flawed.
"The special intelligence operations framework ... is effectively unamendable, [as is] the idea that journalists or somebody sharing an item on Facebook could be jailed for ten years for basically disclosing information in the public interest," he said.
"Also [flawed is] the idea that ASIO's definition of a computer network ... could encompass the entire internet."
National Crime Agency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:17
This article is about the United Kingdom law enforcement agency. For the former Australian agency, see National Crime Authority.The National Crime Agency (NCA) is a national law enforcement agency in the United Kingdom which replaced the Serious Organised Crime Agency. It became fully operational on 7 October 2013[3] and is a non-ministerial government department.[4] The NCA includes the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre as an individual command, and parts of the National Policing Improvement Agency. Some of the responsibilities of the UK Border Agency relating to border policing also became part of the NCA.[5]
It is the UK's lead agency against organised crime; human, weapon and drug trafficking; cyber crime; and economic crime that goes across regional and international borders. The NCA has a strategic role in which it looks at the bigger picture across the UK, analysing how criminals are operating and how they can be disrupted. To do this it works closely with regional organised crime units (ROCU's), the Serious Fraud Office, as well as individual police forces. It is the UK point of contact for foreign agencies such as Interpol, Europol and other international law enforcement agencies.
The Home Office estimates that there are some 37,000 people in 5,500 groups that are involved in organised crime in the UK. This causes an overall lose to the UK economy of around £24 Billion a year.
The NCA has also taken on a range of functions from the National police improvement agency that has been scrapped as part of the government's changes to policing. These include a specialist database relating to injuries and unusual weapons, expert research on potential serial killers, and the National Missing Persons Bureau.
Like its predecessor SOCA, the NCA has been dubbed the "British FBI" by the media. The NCA Director-General, Keith Bristow, has the power to direct regional police chiefs to concentrate their resources where necessary,[6] effectively making him the most senior police officer in the country.[7]
The NCA has over 4,500 officers, and an annual budget for 2014/2015 of £464 million.[8]
History[edit]The proposed agency was first publicly announced in a statement to the House of Commons by Home SecretaryTheresa May on 26 July 2010.[9] On 8 June 2011 Theresa May declared that the NCA will comprise a number of distinct operational commands: Organised Crime, Border Policing, Economic Crime and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre - and that it will house the National Cyber Crime Unit. She added that capabilities, expertise, assets and intelligence will be shared across the new agency; that each Command will operate as part of one single organisation; and that the NCA will be a powerful body of operational crime fighters, led by a senior Chief Constable and accountable to the Home Secretary. In her statement to the House of Commons, Theresa May stated that the new agency would have the authority to "undertake tasking and coordination, ensuring appropriate action is taken to put a stop to the activities of organised crime groups".[10]
In June 2011, the coalition government announced that SOCA's operations (serious drug trafficking investigative and intelligence sections) would be merged into a larger National Crime Agency to launch in 2013.
On 23 September 2011 the Home Affairs Select Committee called for the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism role be given to the NCA when it becomes operational saying that the terrorist threat is a "national problem" and that there would be "advantages" in transferring responsibility.[11][12] The Metropolitan police raised concerns around the cost of such a move.[13]
The Home affairs select committee met again on 9 May 2014 to discuss counter terrorism.[14] As a part of the report the committee reconsidered the question of moving counter terrorism responsibilities to the NCA. The committee came to conclusion that ''The Metropolitan Police have a wide remit which has many complexities and the current difficulties faced by the organisation lead us to believe that the responsibility for counter-terrorism ought to be moved to the NCA in order to allow the Met to focus on the basics of policing London. The work to transfer the command ought to begin immediately with a view to a full transfer of responsibility for counter-terrorism operations taking place, for example within five years after the NCA became operational, in 2018. When this takes place, it should finally complete the jigsaw of the new landscape of policing.''[15][16]
However the report acknowledges that the NCA is still a new agency and that at the moment it is not fully operational in Northern Ireland. Questions have been raised as to how effective this model would be[17] and, with a limited budget, whether other responsibilities would suffer and not be resourced as properly as they should be.[18] If the whole of Counter terrorism command were to transfer from the Metropolitan police to the NCA, the NCA's would receive a further 1,500 officers or more if other counter terrorism units transferred in as well.[19] It raises the question of what other National police units could be absorbed into the NCA.
In October 2011, it was announced that Keith Bristow, the then Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police, would head the organisation.[20]
The NCA came into being under provisions granted by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013.[21]
On 22 May 2014 at around 22:50, NCA Officers were involved in a shootout in Tottenham.[22] Several shots were fired, including from NCA Officers. Two men were arrested at the scene by the NCA for attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. The Metropolitan police arrived and arrested a third man for possession of a firearm.[23][24] This is believed to be the first incident in which NCA officers fired shots.
On 25 May 2014 at 00:00 hrs, a second NCA operation was carried out in Tottenham, along with officers from the Metropolitan police, after the NCA received intelligence about the shoot out that had occurred 3 nights earlier. Two more men were arrested, one for attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and the other for assisting an offender, after their car was stopped by armed officers. One shot was fired by a Metropolitan police officer during the operation.[25]
Organisational Structure[edit]The NCA is organised into 8 operational branches, overseen by 7 directors, who are in turn overseen by a Director-General, assisted by a Deputy Director General.[26] The commands are as follows:
Border Policing CommandCEOP CommandEconomic Crime CommandOrganised Crime CommandIntelligenceOperationsSpecialist CapabilitiesProceeds of Crime CentreMissing Persons BureauUK Human Trafficking CentreCentral BureauChemical Suspicious Activity ReportsUK Financial Intelligence UnitSerious Crime Analysis SectionNational Cyber Crime UnitInternational Partnership[27]UK National Central Bureau for INTERPOLUK Europol National UnitUK SIRENE BureauBoard of Directors[edit]RolePost holderDirector-General (Chair)Keith Bristow, QPMDeputy Director GeneralPhil GormleyDirector, Border Policing CommandDavid ArmondDirector CEOP CommandJohnny GwynneDirector of IntelligenceGordon Meldrum QPMDirector of Investigations CommandTrevor Pearce CBE, QPMDirector of NOVO Transformation ProgrammeTim SymingtonDirector of Organised Crime CommandIan CruxtonDirector of Economic Crime CommandDonald ToonDirector of Corporate Services (Interim)Sue SteenNon-executive DirectorJane FurnissNon-executive DirectorJonathan EvansNon-executive DirectorDr Stephen PageNon-executive DirectorJustin DowleyJurisdiction[edit]Within the United Kingdom the NCA has full operational capacity only in England and Wales. The NCA's operations and powers in Scotland are limited to those inherited from its predecessor, the Serious Organised Crime Agency whose powers to operate in Scotland were conditional on authorisation from and/or co-operation with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (a police force which was responsible for similar matters in Scotland and which has since been subsumed into Police Scotland) or the Lord Advocate.
In Northern Ireland, the agency will carry out border and customs functions only, with its other roles left to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. This is due to the fact that under the 1998 Good Friday agreement that led to a political settlement and power-sharing in Northern Ireland, policing was subjected to a far higher degree of community oversight and monitoring than in other parts of the UK. The chief constable and officers are responsible to the Policing Board. However the NCA answers directly to the Home Secretary, meaning there can be no local oversight or control - and nationalist parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly said that it could operate as a parallel but unaccountable police force.[28][29]
Consequently the NCA is subject to scrutiny by the relevant British bodies, as well as their Scottish and Northern Irish counter parts; this includes the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Irish Assembly.
In Northern Ireland currently a political argument is taking place as to whether or not to allow the NCA to be fully operational in Northern Ireland.[30][31]
Powers of Arrest[edit]NCA Officers can be designated the powers of a constable, customs officer, immigration officer, or any combination of these three sets of powers.
Current Reported Operations[edit]In May 2014 the NCA conducted a major operation that resulted in the seizing of more than 100 kg of cocaine from a Greek bulker in Scotland. The ship had been returning from Colombia and has resulted in the arrest of three men yet to be publicly named.[32]
In July 2014 the NCA with partners jointly disrupted the Shylock banking trojan believed to have infected at least 30,000 computers.[33] Also in July 2014 the NCA co-ordinated the arrest of 660 suspected paedophiles. 39 of those arrested were registered sex offenders, however the majority had not previously come to the attention of law enforcement. 400 children are believed to have been protected by this operation, which included taking down several individuals who had unsupervised access to children such as doctors, teachers and care workers.[34][35][36]
References[edit]External links[edit]
Hundreds of Devices Hidden Inside New York City Phone Booths
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:34
Photographs by Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed News
A company that controls thousands of New York City's phone booth advertising displays has planted tiny radio transmitters known as ''beacons'' '-- devices that can be used to track people's movements '-- in hundreds of pay phone booths in Manhattan, BuzzFeed News has learned.
And it's all with the blessing of a city agency '-- but without any public notice, consultation, or approval.
Titan, the outdoor media company that sells ad space in more than 5,000 panels in phone kiosks around the five boroughs, has installed about 500 of the beacons, a spokesman for the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), Nicholas Sbordone, confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
Beacons are Bluetooth devices that emit simple signals that smartphones can pick up. They're best known for their growing use in commercial settings: in stores, for example, to alert customers to sales, or in stadiums, to tell patrons which entrances are least crowded.
But the spread of beacon technology to public spaces could turn any city into a giant matrix of hidden commercialization '-- and vastly deepen the network of surveillance that has already grown out of technologies ranging from security cameras to cell phone towers.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed News
New York City residents had no say in the deployment of Titan's beacons. Titan notified DoITT of its plans to install the beacons in 2013, which the city agreed to without a formal approval process because, according to Sbordone, the company said it was using the devices for maintenance purposes only. Titan installed the beacons from September to November 2013; a source with knowledge of the situation alerted BuzzFeed News to the program anonymously for fear, the source said, of being fired for speaking publicly.
One of New York's leading privacy advocates, New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman, denounced the program after learning of it from a reporter Sunday.
''To the extent that the city is involved in this, the lack of transparency [is] of even greater concern,'' said Lieberman, who called on the city to make public the details of the arrangement.
''Consumers should be aware when they're in a zone that projects beacons,'' said Doug Thompson, the CEO of dot3, a beacon technology company, who also runs BEEKn, an industry blog. ''It shouldn't be kept hidden from them.''
Neither Titan nor DoITT would provide the specific locations of the beaconized phone booths, but they appear to be densely concentrated in central and lower Manhattan. On a 20-block stretch along Broadway and Sixth Avenue (from the bottom of Madison Square Park to just north of Bryant Park), BuzzFeed News identified 13 Titan-Gimbal beacons '-- or more than one, on average, every two blocks. To detect the beacons, BuzzFeed News used an Android app that lists nearby beacons, their identification codes, and signal strength, which gets stronger as a phone approaches the transmitter.
Highlighted area shows the path taken by BuzzFeed News. Beacons found along that path are marked in blue.BuzzFeed
Titan, which is also active in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities, said it has installed Gimbal beacons in other markets, but declined to provide details about those programs to BuzzFeed News.
The beacons are manufactured and sold by Gimbal, a San Diego company that spun off in April from Qualcomm, the telecommunications giant. In its current iteration, a Gimbal beacon requires a third-party app to trigger advertisements, and requires those apps to receive ''opt-in'' permission from users in order to collect data and send notifications. (Users, of course, also need to have Bluetooth enabled.) Major League Baseball and GameStop, among others, already use Gimbal beacons in their stadiums and stores (respectively), and each uses its own proprietary, Gimbal-enabled app. A beacon in a New York City phone booth ad would need to recognize a corresponding app to push beacon-linked content to that phone.
Gimbal has unusual roots for a technology company. Its CEO, Rocco Fabiano, was chairman of Far Western Bank, a subprime auto lender shut down by California regulators in 1990. In 1993, a federal grand jury indicted Fabiano for allegedly taking bribes as part of an auto-financing scheme. He was acquitted in 1995.
DoITT and Titan say the beacons are currently in use on a test basis only, largely to determine the effectiveness of the technology and for ''inventory management,'' helping alert Titan which panels are scheduled to be replaced. DoITT's Sbordone said that any explicit commercialization of the beacons would require a more formal city approval.
The Tribeca Film Festival app used Gimbal beacons this year to send festival-goers notifications about nearby happenings, according to an event press release. Dave Etherington, a spokesman for Titan, confirmed some of the beacons were in city phone booths, but stressed that Titan received no data from the festival-related beacon interactions.
The beacon industry is rooted in the increasingly complex interactions between the beacons, smartphone applications, and cloud-based data collection. Gimbal's own, public documentation repeatedly and plainly indicates that the company receives beacon-phone interaction data. Those interactions, which Gimbal calls ''sightings,'' are illustrated in the following graphic from the documentation's ''Proximity Overview'' section, intended for prospective Gimbal clients:
''Sightings,'' according to the documentation, are sent to both Gimbal servers and, in some cases, ''3rd party'' servers.
Gimbal's privacy policy says Gimbal-powered apps may collect your current location, the time of day you passed the beacon, and details about your device. These apps may also, under certain circumstances, collect data about the websites you visit, the apps on your phone, and the ''frequency and duration of app usage.'' The policy says that app-usage and website-visit data are not sent to Gimbal's servers.
Gimbal COO Kevin Hunter said through a spokeswoman that the company only provides clients with ''aggregated, anonymized data.'' Indeed, Gimbal does not collect names, email addresses, or other personally identifiable information. But the company's software, with users' permission, can collect a remarkably detailed suite of information.
Gimbal has advertised its ''Profile'' service. For consumers who opt in, the service ''passively develops a profile of mobile usage and other behaviors'' that allow the company to make educated guesses about their demographics (''age, gender, income, ethnicity, education, presence of children''), interests (''sports, cooking, politics, technology, news, investing, etc''), and the ''top 20 locations where [the] user spends time (home, work, gym, beach, etc.).''
Throughout its marketing materials, Gimbal emphasizes the importance of consumer privacy.
But, with severe data breaches at Home Depot, Target, and JPMorgan Chase, written commitments to privacy and security are only as strong as the technology backing them up.
Email the writers of this article atjoe.bernstein@buzzfeed.comandjeremy.singer-vine@buzzfeed.com.
Titan (transit advertising company) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:19
Titan is an American sales company specializing in out-of-home advertising, headquartered in New York City, New York. A privately held company, it is the largest transit advertising company in North America.
The company claims to provide national and local clients with "creative outdoor advertising media solutions" in the United States (Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis''Saint Paul, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle) and Canada.
Company history[edit]It was founded 2001 by the executives who ran TDI, which in the 1990s was the largest Transit Advertising Sales company in the world, and ultimately grew to $800 million in annual sales. TDI was sold to CBS Corporation in 1996 and in 2001 Bill Apfelbaum founded Titan with Don Allman joining as Titan's chief executive officer in the fall of 2002.
In 2004, the company won the exclusive right to sell advertising for NJ Transit in New Jersey.
In 2005, it won the exclusive right to sell advertising for King County Metro in Seattle, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) in Orange County, California
In 2006, the company won the exclusive right to sell advertising for the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) in Los Angeles and Pierce Transit in Seattle.
In 2007, it won the exclusive right to sell advertising for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in Chicago and Metro Transit in the Minneapolis''Saint Paul metropolitan area.
In 2008, the company won the exclusive right to sell advertising for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) in Dallas, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, and PACE Transit and PACE Street Furniture in Chicago.
In 2009, it won the exclusive right to sell advertising for Community Transit in Seattle; Long Beach Transit in Long Beach, California; Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit); and San Francisco Municipal Railway in San Francisco. Titan also won the right to sell advertising for the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, California.
In late 2010, the company won the Street Furniture contract with the City of Philadelphia making Titan a powerhouse in the market as it already had the SEPTA Bus and Rail and the Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) Rail contracts.
In April 2011, it was awarded a five-year contract by the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), for the exclusive right to sell advertising on the city's buses, and light-rail vehicles. The advertising agreement covers exterior and interior bus and exterior advertising on the CATS light rail system as well. CATS had not allowed advertising on its vehicles for over 10 years prior to this award.
Products and services[edit]The company provides sales, marketing, creative, research and maintenance of outdoor advertising on bus, rail, bulletins, telephone kiosks and street banners. It also leads the way in the development and successful introduction of market leading digital outdoor platforms.
2009 recession[edit]During the recession of 2008''2009, the company renegotiated each of its transit contracts. All were successfully negotiated apart from the MTA in New York City. In July 2010, it successfully completed a consensual restructuring with its banks and investors.
References[edit]External links[edit]
New York Quickly Nixes Cellphone Tracking Devices in Phone Booths
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:10
New York City quickly announced it would get rid of devices that could turn phone booths into cellphone trackers after the program was revealed this morning.
A Buzzfeed investigation published today found that the city allowed 500 radio transmitters, called ''beacons,'' to be installed in pay phone booths, apparently thickly concentrated in lower and mid-Manhattan. A few hours later, the Mayor's office said they would have them removed.
Though they could be woven into a location-aware advertising network, the beacons are there for maintenance notifications only and are not yet being used for commercial purposes, according to Titan, the firm that runs the advertising displays for thousands of city phone booths. There was no public announcement when the devices were installed.
Titan uses beacons made by a company called Gimbal, which connect with phones and have the ability to send notifications '' for instance, a store might use them to alert customers to discounts '' and to collect data.
In order for a Gimbal beacon to pick it up, a smartphone must have Bluetooth enabled, and must also have a third-party app that uses Bluetooth beacon technology, referred to variously as ''Bluetooth Low Energy,'' ''Bluetooth LE,'' or ''iBeacon.'' The owner would, in theory at least, have also had to ''opt-in'' to the service when installing said app '-- although such permission might just look like the familiar, innocuous-sounding ''[This app] would like to send you notifications,'' which was the prompt presented to Forbes' Kashmir Hill when installing a Gimbal-friendly app from the Tribeca Film Festival.
If you do connect to its Bluetooth beacons, Gimbal is supposed to anonymize your information before sending it to customers '-- no name or email address '-- but it can still see when and where you passed a beacon. In some cases, Buzzfeed reported, Gimbal can ''collect data about the websites you visit, the apps on your phone, and the 'frequency and duration of app usage,''' and develop profiles of users, guessing at your age, gender, ethnicity, income, interests, and where you spend your time.
Titan confirmed to Buzzfeed that it had installed beacons in other cities, but wouldn't say which.
Stores have been experimenting with methods of tracking customer behavior via their cellphones' Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, but bringing the kind of shopper surveillance that is common online to the physical world seems to bother people. One coffee chain in San Francisco stopped doing so after its patrons protested. The New York Times reported last year that Nordstrom abandoned an experiment in following customers' movements around the store in part because people found it troubling.
In June, Apple introduced a ''randomization'' feature that was supposed to keep iPhones untraceable as they searched for Wi-Fi connections in the area, in order to avoid that kind of retail tracking. But researchers found that feature only worked for the newest generation of iPhones, and even then, only if the phone was asleep and ''location'' capabilities were turned off for all apps.
In short, the simplest way to avoid physical tracking of your cellphone by ad networks is to turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when out walking around.
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Leading German Journalist Admits CIA 'Bribed' Him and Other Leaders of the Western 'Press' Washington's Blog
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:55
Eric Zuesse
Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (which is one of Germany's largest newspapers), has decided to go public about the corruption of himself and the rest of the Western 'news' media, because he finds that this corruption is bringing Europe too close to a nuclear war against Russia, which he concludes the U.S. aristocracy that controls the CIA wants to bring about, or else to bring closer to the brink.
He told Russian Television:
I've been a journalist for about 25 years, and I've been educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public. '... The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say '... it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe. '... I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don't like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too. '... We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war. '... I don't want this anymore, I'm fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic, and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom. '...
The German media, especially, my colleagues '..., day by day, write against the Russians, [these journalists] who are in transatlantic organizations, and who are supported by the United States to do so. '...
I became 'honorary citizen of the state of Oklahoma,' '... Why? Because I write pro-American. I was supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA. Why? Because I am pro-American. I am fed up with it; I don't want to do it anymore; and so I have just written a book, not to earn money, no, it will cause a lot of trouble for me. [I wrote it instead] to give the people in this country, Germany, in Europe, and all over the world, just a glimpse of '... what goes on behind the closed doors. '...
[4:40 on the video] Most of the journalists you see in foreign countries '... European or American journalists '..., like me in the past, are so-called non-official cover. '... Non-official cover means what? You do work for an intelligence agency, '... but '... when they [the public] find out that you are not only a journalist but a spy too, they [the CIA] will never say this was one of our guys. '... So, I have helped them in several situations, and I feel ashamed for that. '... I feel ashamed that I '... was bribed by billionaires, I was bribed by the Americans, not to report exactly the truth. '...
I was just imagining in my car while I was driving to this interview, I just try to work out in my brain what would have happened if I had written a pro-Russian article, in the Frankfurter Algemeine. Well, '... we were all educated to write pro-European, pro-American, but please not pro-Russian. '... But this is not what I understand for democracy, for press freedom, I am very sorry for that. '...
[6:30] Germany is still a kind of a colony of the United States, you'll see that in many points; like for example, the majority of Germany do not want to have nukes in our country, but we still have American nukes; so, we are still a kind of an American colony, and, being a colony, it is very easy to approach young journalists through (and what is very important here is) transatlantic organizations. All journalists from respected and big German newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations, they are all members or guests of those big transatlantic organizations, and in these transatlantic organizations you are approached to be pro-American, and '... they invite you for seeing the United States, they pay for that, they pay all your expenses and everything. So, you are bribed, you get more and more corrupt, because they make you good contacts. '... So, you make friends, you think they are your friends and cooperate with them. They ask you, 'will you do me this favor,' 'will you do me that favor,' so your brain is more and more brainwashed, through these guys. '...
Is this only the case with German journalists? No, I think it is especially the case with British journalists, because they have a much closer relationship. It is especially the case with Israeli journalists. Of course with French journalists. '... It is the case for Australians, [with] journalists from New Zealand, from Taiwan, well, there is many countries, '... like Jordan for example. '...
[9:17] Sometimes the intelligence agencies, they come to your office, and want you to write an article. '... I just remember [for example] that the German foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst '' it is just a sister organization of the Central Intelligence Agency, see it was founded by the American intelligence agency '-- '... came to my office, and they wanted me to write an article about Libya and about Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. '... They gave me all these secret informations, and they just wanted me to sign the article with my name. I did that. It was published in the Frankfurter Algemeine, '... it was about how he secretly tried to build a poison gas factory, '... it was a story that was printed worldwide days later, but I had no information on that [the CIA wrote it].
[11:25] A very good example [what happens] if you say no [to the CIA]: '... So [regarding the particular employee who said no], what happened is that he lost his job.
[12:40] Six times my house was searched, '... I have [had] three house attacks, [but] I have no children, so '... it's worse for the truth [for other journalists, whose family can be threatened, not only themselves].
Ulfkotte has become a turncoat. He had originally been a conservative Christian German, who opposed the increasing presence in Germany of Muslims. He then came to feel so guilty as a German having discovered as a journalist the role that a major German company played in helping Saddam Hussein to gas Kurds, but which his newspaper never published, so that Ulfkotte briefly converted to Islam. Perhaps he was dealing with the shame he felt about his not bucking his newspaper's top management by simply ignoring them and going public about what he had found, his letting it remain hidden.
But then, he co-founded a Christian peace-movement against the Islamic extremism emerging in Germany. And now, he has come out with a book which argues that the U.S. is actually the biggest of all threats to peace. The book is available only in German, Gekaufte Journalisten, meaning ''Purchased Journalists.''
Now that he has abandoned not just the anti-Islamic but the anti-Russian elements of traditional German culture, he no longer is welcomed among the conservative Germans who had helped him to build, and then, for decades, to advance, his successful long career as a 'journalist,' but which he now calls ''propagandist.''
He is, perhaps, a German equivalent to America's Kevin Phillips, the former Nixonian (inventor of ''the Southern strategy'') who then became a critic of the very same aristocracy he had previously so well served while in office under Nixon.
Extensive other, independent, evidence, backs up Ulfkotte's claim that the CIA is (and even that its predecessor the OSS actually was) essentially fascist. It was, in fact, set up by U.S. fascists; the CIA recruited especially anti-Russian nazis, throughout eastern Europe, and it directed European governments to work for Russia's destruction. Examples of such evidence are this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this.
Consequently, there is no sound reason to doubt what Ulfkotte says: his narrative instead fits into a much broader documented picture, of U.S. oligarchically-led global fascism from behind the scenes, which systematically deceives publics throughout the industrialized countries, and produces wars that America's aristocrats want: made-to-order and profitable wars (such as see this).
There also is a recent flurry of other news articles on the current consequences of that decades-long history, such as this, and this, and this, and this. The first three of those current examples come from Germany, just as does Ulfkotte's own testimony. Moreover, a German poll in November 2013 showed increasing public distrust there of America's government. Since Germany is central to the Western Alliance '-- and especially to the American aristocracy's control over the European Union, over the IMF, over the World Bank, and over NATO '-- such a turn away from the American Government threatens the dominance of America's aristocrats (who control our Government). A breakup of America's 'Alliance' might be in the offing, if Germans continue to turn away from being just America's richest ''banana republic.''
However, U.S. President Obama is attempting to ward off that possibility, by placing America's international corporations directly in control, above and beyond any laws by democratically elected governments: international fascism that's beyond any nation-state. Harry Reid (and his power via Democratic control of the U.S. Senate) has been the main stumbling-block against Obama's getting that (Obama's mega international-trade deals) passed into law. (Congressional Republicans are overwhelmingly supportive of this Obama-initiative.)
Thus, if Democrats lose the Senate in November's elections, Obama's plan to achieve ironclad control over the public, handing America's aristocracy yet another increase in their power, will be well within his reach; he'll probably call it ''bipartisan,'' even though the vast majority of Democrats don't want it.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Udo Ulfkotte - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:33
Udo Ulfkotte (born 20 January 1960) is a German journalist. He was formerly an editor for one of Germany's main dailies, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Ulfkotte studied jurisprudence and politics at Freiburg and London. He was an advisor to the Kohl government. Between 1986-1998, Ulfkotte lived predominantly in the Islamic states of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.[1][2]
Ulfkotte was on the staff of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation from 1999 to 2003. He won the civic prize of the Annette Barthelt Foundation in 2003.[3]
Ulfkotte publishes a magazine called "Whistleblower" which reports on topics not covered by the German media.
Ulfkotte had planned to run for the Hamburg local elections in 2008 as number 2 on the Centre Party's list,[4] but later withdrew in June/July 2007. On July 2007 Ulfkotte announced he will found a new national party.
Ulkotte is associated with Pax Europa,[5] a German right wing organization. Pax Europa and Ulfkotte were a driving force behind a protest in Brussels, Belgium on September 11, 2007 titled "Stop the Islamization of Europe". He had turned to the Belgian Council of State in order to approve the protest when Brussels mayor Freddy Thielemans refused to permit it. However, he later withdrew his support.[6]
Ulkotte was born into a Christian family, but by the age of 21 years he abandoned Christianity and became atheist. When he went to live in Islamic countries he converted to Islam while living in Herat, Afghanistan. He later abandoned Islam and is now a reborn Christian.[7]
These works are all written in German. English translations of the titles are included here.
Bought Journalism. How Politicians, Intelligence and High Finance Control German's Mass Media. Kopp, Rottenburg am Neckar 2014, ISBN 3-8644-5143-4Holy War in Europe. Eichborn, Frankfurt/Main, 2007, ISBN 3-8218-5577-0The War in the Dark. The True Power of the Secret Services. Eichborn, Frankfurt/Main, 2006, ISBN 3-8218-5578-9The War in our Cities. As Radical Islamics Infiltrate Germany. Eichborn, Frankfurt/Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-16340-4Restaurant economics. Goldmann, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-442-15125-2Classified Material Federal Intelligence Service. Koehler und Amelang, Munich, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-7338-0214-4.Over work and Expenditure for Paperback. Heyne, Munich updated 1998, ISBN 3-453-14143-1Prophets of the Terror. The Secret Network of the Islamics. Goldmann, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-442-15196-1.Journalists Lie in Such a Way. The Fight for Ratios and Editions. Bertelsmann, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-570-00199-7Gene Code J. Novel, Eichborn, Frankfurt/Main, 2001, ISBN 3-8218-0860-8Market Place of the Thieves. , Bertelsmann, Munich, 1999, ISBN 3-570-00198-9Boundless criminally. The risks of the European Union Extension to the East. Bertelsmann, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-570-00200-4References[edit]External links[edit]PersondataNameUlfkotte, UdoAlternative namesShort descriptionGerman journalistDate of birth20 January 1960Place of birthLippstadtDate of deathPlace of death
Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important' ' The Register
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 05:32
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
Adobe confirmed its Digital Editions software insecurely phones home your ebook reading history to Adobe '' to thwart piracy.
And the company insisted the secret snooping is covered in its terms and conditions.
Version 4 of the application makes a note of every page read, and when, in the digital tomes it accesses, and then sends that data over the internet unencrypted to Adobe.
This Orwellian mechanism was spotted by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader blog; the plaintext information transmitted also includes the title, publisher, and other metadata about the ebooks. This data is needed, we're told, for enforcing the usage licenses covering the books.
"All information collected from the user is collected solely for purposes such as license validation and to facilitate the implementation of different licensing models by publishers," Adobe said in a statement.
"Additionally, this information is solely collected for the eBook currently being read by the user and not for any other eBook in the user's library or read/available in any other reader. User privacy is very important to Adobe, and all data collection in Adobe Digital Editions is in line with the end user license agreement and the Adobe Privacy Policy."
This statement raised a number of questions '' chiefly that if privacy is so important, why is the information is being sent in plaintext so that anyone along the network can read it? Adobe responded by saying this was due to be changed and the company will be issuing an update to fix it.
Adobe explained that the data it collects is for digital rights management (DRM) mechanisms that may be demanded by publishers to combat piracy, and gave a detailed list of what and why it needs such specific information:
User ID: The user ID is collected to authenticate the user.Device ID: The device ID is collected for digital right management (DRM) purposes since publishers typically restrict the number of devices an eBook or digital publication can be read on.Certified app ID: The Certified App ID is collected as part of the DRM workflow to ensure that only certified apps can render a book, reducing DRM hacks and compromised DRM implementations.Device IP: The device IP is collected to determine the broad geo-location, since publishers have different pricing models in place depending on the location of the reader purchasing a given eBook or digital publication.Duration for which the book was read: This information is collected to facilitate limited or metered pricing models where publishers or distributors charge readers based on the duration a book is read. For example, a reader may borrow a book for a period of 30 days. While some publishers/distributers charge for 30-days from the date of the download, others follow a metered pricing model and charge for the actual time the book is read.Percentage of the book read: This information is collected to allow publishers to implement subscription models where they can charge based on the percentage of the book read. For example, some publishers charge only a percentage of the full price if only a certain percentage of the book is read.Additionally, the following data is provided by the publisher as part of the actual license and DRM for the ebook:
Date of purchase or downloadDistributor ID and Adobe content server operator URLMetadata of the book provided by publisher (including title, author, publisher list price, ISBN number)Hoffelder claimed Digital Editions 4 slurped and leaked the metadata of all the ebooks on his system '' not just the ones read using the application. Adobe said this shouldn't possible, but has its developers checking again to make sure this isn't a bug.
All of this data collection is something the user signs up to when he or she downloads the software, Adobe says, and is covered in section 14.1 of the end user license agreement (EULA), which states:
The Software may cause Customer's Computer, without notice, to automatically connect to the Internet and to communicate with an Adobe website or Adobe domain for purposes such as license validation and providing Customer with additional information, features, or functionality."
While the EULA does appear to give Adobe the authority to collect this data, it's clear from our comments section that readers aren't happy with the situation. Neither is the EFF, which is calling ADE 4 spyware.
"Sending this information in plaintext undermines decades of efforts by libraries and bookstores to protect the privacy of their patrons and customers," said Corynne McSherry, the EFF's intellectual property director.
"Indeed, in 2011 EFF and a coalition of companies and public interest groups helped pass the Reader Privacy Act, which requires the government and civil litigants to demonstrate a compelling interest in obtaining reader records and show that the information contained in those records cannot be obtained by less intrusive means. But if readers are using Adobe's software, it's all too easy for folks to bypass those restrictions."
But, she says, there may be a silver lining to Adobe's data grab. It's possible that Adobe could be facing the kind of PR fiasco that followed Sony's 2005 decision to build a rootkit into its CDs for DRM purposes.
Sony initially said the installation of the rootkit was an acceptable way of running a DRM system to stop piracy. Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG's global digital business division, at first stoutly defended the practice.
"Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" he memorably said, earning himself a foot-in-mouth prize.
In the end, Sony backed down and ended up paying out millions of dollars in compensation to music buyers after it was shown the rootkit would allow an attacker to subvert the computer of someone who had the software installed.
As a result, the cause of DRM in music was set back significantly and music companies backed away from using it on CDs. Purely digital downloads rarely use the technology these days. It's possible Adobe's decision could have a similar effect for the written word. ®
Security for virtualized datacentres
Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base ' The Register
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 05:29
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
Updated Adobe's Digital Editions 4 ebook reader software collects detailed information about the reading habits of its users '' and sends it back to the company in a format that's easy for others to slurp.
An investigation by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader blog showed that ADE 4 was collecting telemetry on which pages of ebooks were being read, and in which order. This included the title, publisher, and other metadata, which was then sent to the company's mothership '' a server called adelogs, no less '' in plain text over the internet.
Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the researcher who spotted security flaws in Amazon's Kindle software, told The Register he had confirmed the data slurping was going on by setting up a dummy system using the software and monitoring traffic as a book was read.
"I started a fresh Windows system and installed Wireshark to capture any traffic and ADE 4. I then navigated through the Getting Started... ebook that comes with ADE 4. For example, I flipped to page 7, then 8, 7 again, 8, 7, 8. During the next launch, ADE sent this data unencrypted to http://adelogs.adobe.com/datacollector/receiver?id=com.adobe.rmsdk.nocert.dewin," he said.
More worryingly, Hoffelder claimed ADE 4 wasn't just collecting this data for its own ebooks, but was also scanning the host computer for all ebooks and sending back information on those as well.
Here at The Register we've conducted our own tests on the software and had similar results '' information about ebooks opened on the computer were noted and later sent back to Adobe corporate servers in unencrypted form. The data is sent over plaintext HTTP to the IP address, which belongs to Adobe Systems in California.
What was sent over the wire ... Adobe leaking data about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland '' we couldn't get hold of Nineteen Eighty Four quickly enough
Creepy ... exactly when you turned each page is also blabbed over the web
From our quick look at the exchanged packets, Digital Editions 4 sends a HTTP POST request to...
http://adelogs.adobe.com/ping?id=com.adobe.rmsdk.nocert.demac...depending on your operating system '' Windows or OS X. The client then sends over a hash value, and starts pumping information about the user's books and pages read, in real time, to Adobe's server. You can watch a video of the transfers in action, here, recorded by Andromeda Yelton.
Since Adobe doesn't actually sell ebooks, this makes the slurping of the data very strange indeed. It's also a possible breach of the software's terms and conditions, which state:
"We will not access, view, or listen to any of your content, except as reasonably necessary to perform the Services. Actions reasonably necessary to perform the Services may include (but are not limited to) (a) responding to support requests; (b) detecting, preventing, or otherwise addressing fraud, security, unlawful, or technical issues; and (c) enforcing these terms."
We've asked Adobe for an explanation of what exactly is going on and the firm has said that it's looking into the matter. With a lot of staff currently attending the AdobeMAX conference in Los Angeles this may take some time. ®
Updated to addAdobe says it simply has to log every page you turn to tackle piracy.
Security for virtualized datacentres
USA TODAY-China currency push takes aim at dollar
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 04:59
David Marsh, Special for USA TODAY5:25 p.m. EDT October 7, 2014
China is bidding to enter the heart of global finance by establishing its currency, the renminbi, as part of an ubiquitous monetary unit used in official transactions around the world.(Photo: AP)
Protests over democracy in Hong Kong may be preoccupying the Chinese leadership, but a subject of still greater international importance is being played out this week behind closed doors in Washington. China is bidding to enter the heart of global finance by establishing its currency, the renminbi, as part of an ubiquitous monetary unit used in official transactions around the world.
The issue of whether the Chinese should be part of the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Right, the composite reserve currency used in official financing, is highly technocratic, but the political questions at stake go to the core of world money and power '' and will be discussed, in the background, at the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington this week.
The decision on a new SDR structure, to be made in the next 15 months, will influence how China and its currency can play a bigger part in driving world trade, investment and capital flows. The renminbi could eventually challenge the dollar and its pivotal position in world money '-- which is why the U.S. government and Federal Reserve are examining this with intense interest.
China is unlikely to mount an open campaign to enter the SDR, grouping the main reserve currencies, the dollar, the euro (linking countries in European monetary union led by Germany and France), the Japanese yen and British pound, and is valued at around $1.5.
Beijing would prefer the question of recalculating the composition of the SDR, which comes up for review in 2015, to follow market developments, reflecting a big increase in demand for renminbi financing from private banks, central banks, traders, corporations and asset managers.
Many hurdles remain. These include the renminbi's lack of formal convertibility for transactions that shift capital inside and outside the country, where Beijing is reluctant to abolish all controls. In addition, China still has to release more statistics to the Fund about its monetary reserves and other matters. However, Chinese measures over the past three years to liberalize and internationalize its currency, and a big increase in financial market interest in China, are pointing toward a broadening of the SDR's composition from January 2016.
An additional factor is China's own action to galvanize emerging market economies toward reforming word monetary arrangements. This includes the five-nation Brics group's decision to set up the New Development Bank in Shanghai, potentially challenging the IMF and the World Bank.
As the world's No. 2 economy after the U.S., China believes it is close to earning the status of a reserve money, the first time that an emerging market currency would attain this position. Chinese entry into the "magic circle" has been advanced by the British government's September decision to issue renminbi-denominated bonds, the first big government to take such a step, and allow the proceeds to be held as reserves by the Bank of England.
The main conditions for the renminbi to pass the SDR test are that it should be widely used in trade and be "freely usable" in international payments and asset management. Although a long way behind the dollar, the renminbi has made impressive strides recently and is challenging the euro in several key fields.
Next year's planned review will touch, too, on the opportunity for the SDR to play a greater role on financial markets, for example in denominating bond issues. The SDR has lost ground as a financial vehicle in the past two decades, reflecting the surging importance of international private sector capital markets. But with the addition of the renminbi, it may be about to make a comeback.
David Marsh is Managing Director of Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a London think-tank.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1xlBzfN
About : OMFIF
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 04:52
The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) is an independent research and advisory group. A platform for confidential exchanges of views between official institutions and private sector counterparties.
The overriding aim is to enable the private and public sector to learn from each other in different ways, promoting better understanding of the world economy and higher across-the-board standards. OMFIF's main areas of focus are economic and monetary policy, asset management and financial supervision and regulation.
OMFIF cooperates with central banks, sovereign funds, regulators, debt managers and other public and private sector institutions around the world.
Since its inception in January 2010 OMFIF has held 230 meetings in 41 host countries with the participation of 170 different official financial institutions. Although its core is in Europe, OMFIF's remit is to look at the world's important economies '-- the G20 and beyond '-- on a fair and equitable basis.
OMFIF's Advisory Board, made up of economic and political experts from many different backgrounds, actively participate in OMFIF's activities, including speaking engagements, consultancy and research projects. OMFIF produces a significant number of specialised reports and commentaries, including the Monthly Bulletin on a tailor-made basis for OMFIF members. The chairman of the OMFIF Advisory Board is Lord (Meghnad) Desai, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics.
LUBBERS-The OMFIF Advisory Board
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 04:56
The OMFIF Advisory Board is made up of experts from around the world representing a range of sectors, including banking, capital markets, public policy and economics and research.
They can be called upon to provide a variety of services to OMFIF members, including speaking arrangements and bespoke advice on specific subjects. They take part in the OMFIF International Academy of Central Banking.
The Advisory Board is chaired by Prof. Lord (Meghnad) Desai.
Frank Scheidig, Paola Subacchi and Songzuo Xiang are Deputy Chairmen, Gabriel Stein is Chief Economic Adviser and Aslihan Gedik, John Nug(C)e, Julia Leung and Norman Lamont are Senior Advisers to OMFIF.
ChairmanDeputy ChairmanEduction Faculty
U.N. Official Quits in Harassment Case (washingtonpost.com)
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 04:57
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 20 -- The U.N.'s top refugee advocate resigned Sunday amid a festering controversy over allegations that he sexually harassed several female employees at the U.N. refugee agency.
Ruud Lubbers, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees, proclaimed his innocence in a letter of resignation, saying that an internal U.N. investigation failed to "prove that sexual harassment has taken place."
Sunday's resignation marked the end of a long career for Lubbers, who served as the Netherlands' longest governing prime minister from 1982 to 1994. Lubbers, 65, lashed out at Secretary General Kofi Annan, who had cleared the Dutch official of wrongdoing, saying Annan had bowed to media pressure to force him out.
"For more than four years I gave all my energy to UNHCR," said Lubbers, who has led the agency since January 2000. "To be frank, despite all my loyalty, insult has now been added to injury and therefore I resign as high commissioner."
Lubbers's announcement followed a meeting on Friday during which Annan said he would pursue legal action to force the refugee chief from his job if he did not resign. At the time, Lubbers denied he had been asked to resign and vowed to remain until his term ends Dec. 31, 2005.
It remains unclear when Lubbers will step down. In offering his resignation, Lubbers said he would continue to be "available for the cause" until a successor has been appointed and confirmed by the General Assembly. That process could take months.
Annan's office issued a statement Sunday thanking Lubbers for the "devotion and the commitment he has shown to refugees" and said his decision to step down was in the best interest of the refugee agency.
"The Secretary-General is convinced that it is in the best interest of UNHCR, its staff and the refugees it serves that the page be turned and a new chapter be started," the statement said.
The controversy began when a 51-year-old female administrator filed charges against Lubbers in May 2004 for grabbing her by the waist at a December 2003 meeting at the UNHCR's Geneva headquarters. She said he pressed his groin against her.
An inquiry by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services supported the woman's allegation and charged Lubbers with engaging in a "pattern of sexual harassment" against female employees. A 15-page report on the inquiry, which cited four other women who said Lubbers had harassed them, concluded that the refugee chief had abused his authority with "intense, pervasive and intimidating attempts to influence the outcome of this investigation."
Lubbers denied the allegations, saying that he had put his arm around the woman's waist as a friendly gesture. "I call it familiar but certainly not sexual harassment," he said.
Annan had rejected the report's findings, saying the "complaints could not be substantiated by the evidence." But Annan and chief of staff Mark Malloch Brown called Lubbers in for a meeting Friday to ask him to step down.
U.N. diplomats said Lubbers had become a political liability for an organization already striving to demonstrate its willingness to hold senior officials accountable after damaging scandals involving corruption in a U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq and sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo.
Annan is bracing for a report next month by a U.N.-appointed panel probing allegations of influence peddling in the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program in Iraq by his son, Kojo Annan. Those charges have triggered calls for Annan's resignation from some legislators, including Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Annan's office noted in its statement that the secretary general "had accepted legal advice that the original allegations made against Mr. Lubbers could not be substantiated." But it added that "the continuing controversy has made the High Commissioner's position impossible."
"It's an extremely sad day for the high commissioner and for UNHCR," agency spokesman Ron Redmond told the Associated Press. Redmond noted that Lubbers, who was responsible for caring for more than 17 million refugees in 115 countries, received a salary of $1 a year for his work and paid for much of his own travel.
"He's one of the hardest-working people I have ever seen, and what a lot of people don't know is that he has done it all for free," Redmond said. "Each year over the past four years, he has given UNHCR about $300,000."
The SDR Truth Sandwich | philosophyofmetrics
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 04:43
By JC Collins
Well, I didn't want to do another post directly on the heels of my PrimNomics post, but an article on the USA Today website has made me reconsider. The article talked about discussions taking place in Washington this week between the IMF and World Bank. And on the agenda are the items that we have been discussing here.
The article even mentions the term ''magic circle'' which we reviewed last week in the post The SDR Magic Circle. Makes me wonder who else reads this site.
Some quotes from the article:
''The issue of whether the Chinese should be part of the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Right, the composite reserve currency used in official financing, is highly technocratic, but the political questions at stake go to the core of world money and power '' and will be discussed, in the background, at the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington this week.''
Of course they are going to be discussed. The official papers and briefings of the global financial institutions have been talking about this for a few years already. That is where I've been sourcing much of my information.
''Beijing would prefer the question of recalculating the composition of the SDR, which comes up for review in 2015, to follow market developments, reflecting a big increase in demand for renminbi financing from private banks, central banks, traders, corporations and asset managers.''
I've written so much about exactly this that it would be an effort to provide links to every post.
''As the world's No. 2 economy after the U.S., China believes it is close to earning the status of a reserve money, the first time that an emerging market currency would attain this position. Chinese entry into the ''magic circle'' has been advanced by the British government's September decision to issue renminbi-denominated bonds, the first big government to take such a step, and allow the proceeds to be held as reserves by the Bank of England.''
Once again, exactly what I've been stating. Additionally, it was reported today that China has in fact surpassed the US as the worlds largest economy. The Business Insider article can be viewed here.
And finally:
''Next year's planned review will touch, too, on the opportunity for the SDR to play a greater role on financial markets, for example in denominating bond issues. The SDR has lost ground as a financial vehicle in the past two decades, reflecting the surging importance of international private sector capital markets. But with the addition of the renminbi, it may be about to make a comeback.''
Nothing much more need be said in regards to the future plans of the BRICS and IMF, World Bank, G20, and other global institutions.
It's very interesting that so many people want to believe in the fear and manic hysteria produced by certain sources, when the truth of what is happening is right in front of us, hidden if you will, in plan site. Like a true magician I suppose.
The truth is a lonely place.
But time will continue to prove this site correct. The full USA Today article can be read here. '' JC
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The Fed Can`t Raise Rates Because the Sky Is Blue
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:44
By EconMatters
We Cannot Raise Rates Because'...
This is starting to become outright laughable if it wasn`t so incompetent and irresponsible interest rate policy, or lack of policy by the Federal Reserve. Forget unemployment, GDP, Structural Economic Issues, Wages, or Inflation now the reason the Federal Reserve cannot raise interest rates from recession era levels is because the dollar is too strong. Talk about drawing the line, moving the line back or forward; now the Federal Reserve is trying to redefine what constitutes a 'line' in the first place.
Fed Out of Financial Markets
We are not talking about raising the Fed Fund`s Rate to 4% we are just talking about raising rates more in line with basically a normal functioning economy growing at 2 plus percent on an annual basis with an unemployment rate in the fives. If the Federal Reserve cannot raise rates after 7 long years, this either says a lot about their lower rate and QE strategy in the first place, i.e., it hasn`t worked, or they need to quit making excuses and raise the freaking rate already. This has gone on long enough; I want the Federal Reserve out of financial market manipulation with absurdly idiotic interventionist policies. There is something seriously wrong if the Federal Reserve cannot raise the Fed Fund`s Rate a measly 100 basis points after 7 longs years of ZIRP! Seven years is an entire business and economic cycle, shoot the economy has been at ZIRP for so long it literally could cycle back to recession just because it has been so long, and business cycles have normal patterns of growth and contraction, we did study this in business school, this is economics 101!
Newsflash: ''Imperfect World''
If I hear another idiot dove discuss another obscure reason why they need to continue with ZIRP methodology because Apple had a bad quarter, or Spain has high unemployment, or China is trying to rebalance their economy, or Venezuela has a social system that sucks, or Germany needs to diversify from Luxury Automobiles, or 50 people in Developed Economies die from Ebola, or the Middle East is in conflict then the Federal Reserve should just come out and state that due to an 'imperfect world' they can never raise rates, and the Fed Fund`s Rate has now been renamed the ZIRP New Normal Rate for eternity.
ZIRP Will Save the Planet!
I heard some analyst come on TV and say Geo-Political turmoil is at unprecedented levels, gee how did the world ever survive two world wars, AIDS, Communism, the Iraq-Iran War, Israel fighting many wars, starvation in Africa, Presidential Assassinations, the Vietnam War, Argentina, Mexican, Russian Currency Bailouts all without a ZIRP Mandate for Lifetime Emergency Measure to save Mankind! If only we keep ZIRP around and investors are enabled to buy more stocks and bonds at any valuation and low of a yield, throwing all risk exposure scenarios out the window, because ZIRP is the Wonder Drug it solves all global problems, and any valuation and yield is justifiable when the money is free under the New World Normal Economic Models of the Federal Reserve.
Unintended Consequences & History of Fed Interventions
Everything has a cost, that is the first lesson the Fed needs to get straight right now, and absurd dovishness has consequences, as I see it there is a tradeoff, and with an economy creating 250k jobs a month, and an unemployment rate under six, it is only a matter of when and not if before wage inflation smacks the Fed where they though they actually wanted to see Wages Rising Faster than Janet Yellen can say $15 minimum Wage for flipping burgers. Gas prices may be giving consumers a break but this just means prices will be raised in retail now that consumers have a little extra cash in their pockets to spend on discretionary purchases until oil makes its next $25 dollar run in the other direction on stronger demand and the next Middle East Crisis. I agree that the Minimum Wage needs to be raised, corporations will exploit as much as you let them get away with, but why do you think the Minimum Wage is so out of whack with the Cost of Living, it is because there has been runaway inflation since the last raise in the Minimum Wage due to excessively loose monetary policies and selective measuring of overall inflation in the economy!
Read More >>> Central Banks Biggest Concern Should Be Market Stability
Ask Yourselves Why the Minimum Wage Needs to be raised So Much?
Oh poor Fed the ''Official Government Tracked'' measure of inflation is under 2%, this is mighty convenient for a body that benefits from lower inflation measures, so that they can continue printing money and creating more asset bubbles that amazingly enough don`t turn out right, and then the Fed needs to come to the rescue all over again with additional economic stimulus. The financial markets have become so reliant on Fed Stimulus in what are supposed to be price discovery and value setting mechanisms that they literally don`t know how to function without their monthly Crack Infusion from the Federal Reserve. Europe literally is begging for more Crack or they are going to throw a temper tantrum as if 10 basis point borrowing costs isn`t enough already. More Crack Stimulus is not the answer for economic problems at the zero bound, and failure to recognize this 'Enabling Central Bank Role' in setting the groundwork for future financial crises in the form of unsustainable asset prices not reflecting the underlying fundamentals of poor Debt To GDP Ratios in Europe, or US Stocks & Bonds unable to sustain themselves without ZIRP Stimulus from the Federal Reserve is the definition of insanity.
The Tradeoff: Deferred Gratification a Sign of Competence
Enough already the world is never going to be perfect, the economy is never going to be perfect but responsible Fed Policy understands this tradeoff, you can raise interest rates sooner and in a more gradual fashion, or wait to raise rates and have to raise a bunch in a short amount of time. And given where asset prices are after 7 years of stimulus which scenario do you think will cause more market instability? What I am referring to is the next financial crisis if the Fed waits to raise rates, i.e., they take the short-term benefit at the risk of the long-term ruin, then they are not only destined for sending the financial markets into a calamitous event, but given all the warnings and recent history of Fed inspired Bubbles Bursting, it seems a deliberate suicidal plan. It seems the Federal Reserve being an independent body accountable to no oversight has to stop; a strong dollar because the US Economy is outperforming its peers is a good thing, and not an excuse to continue ZIRP Madness. I swear next the Doves at the Fed will say that 'Aging Demographics' is a real concern for them, and therefore they might have to keep interest rates lower for a more prolonged amount of time. How did my parent`s generation ever survive with a 4% Fed Funds Rate? The Fed has become the local Crack Dealer for Financial Markets!
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Catalan Crisis Raises Bond Risk Damage Economy of Spain
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:21
MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - The political crisis in Catalonia has driven Spanish government bond yields to its lowest in more than 5 years as investors are becoming increasingly cautious about Spanish integrity.
The drop comes as Catalan president Artur Mas prepares his region for the independence vote, scheduled to take place on 9 November.
''Investors are pricing the risk of political instability in Catalonia. The independence issue has already been hurting the Spanish economy, and it's not over'', Francesco Marani, trader at Madrid's Auriga Global Investors SA, quoted by Bloomberg. The primary motivations for Catalonian independence arise are economic. The Catalan region is the most productive in Spain, contributing 18.8% of the countries GDP. However, a bloated government and social programs around the country means that for every 100 euros of taxes paid to Madrid by Catalonia, only 92.3 return. The countries systemic problems are undermining the region's global competitiveness, as higher taxes generally damage investment attractiveness as well as negatively affecting manufacturing and finance, the proponents of independence argue. The bloated government of Spain is a product of Madrid bureaucrats, who are using the productive capacity of Catalonia to benefit their own regions and secure elections. Social benefits are a major part the Spanish budget, as unemployment in Spain has averaged more than 25% since 2008. Youth unemployment is almost double the national average.
The Prime-Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy has called for ''dialogue'' Saturday, trying to ease tensions the same way which David Cameron and other UK leaders did with Scotland over the past several months. Madrid may de-evolve more governmental powers to Catalan for assurances they will not proceed with any more independence votes or referendums.
The Catalan independence movement was largely emboldened by the Scottish campaigning to separate from the UK earlier this year. Though Scotland eventually voted not to secede from Britain, many Catalans feel deprived of their right to express the voice on the same matter in their country. This has led to wide-spread support for the referendum of independence, as well as massive street demonstrations in Barcelona in mid-September and October.
Reddingsplan van 1 miljard voor Euro Disney
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:38
Het geplaagde Euro Disney, de beursgenoteerde onderneming van Disneyland Parijs, is een financieel reddingsplan ter waarde van 1 miljard euro overeengekomen met dank aan grootaandeelhouder Walt Disney. Dat maakte het concern vandaag bekend. Het plan bestaat onder meer uit verkoop van aandelen en een herstructurering van de schulden.
Het gaat al tijden niet goed met Euro Disney, dat voor 40 procent in handen is van moederbedrijf Walt Disney. Het concern verloor vorig jaar een aanzienlijk aantal bezoekers en ook in het lopende boekjaar weten weer minder mensen de weg naar het pretpark te vinden. Dit weekend vond crisisberaad plaats over de financile positie van het Parijse themapark.
Om de schulden het hoofd te bieden, gaat het concern voor 420 miljoen euro aan aandelen uitgeven. Daarnaast wordt een schuld aan Walt Disney van 600 miljoen euro omgezet in aandelen. Het plan moet de kaspositie van Euro Disney met circa 250 miljoen euro versterken. Ook worden de voorwaarden voor andere leningen die Walt Disney aan Euro Disney heeft verstrekt, versoepeld.
Het is niet voor het eerst dat moederbedrijf Walt Disney ingrijpt bij Euro Disney. In september 2012 schoot het nog te hulp met een lening van 1,3 miljard euro. Het pretpark kampt al sinds de opening in 1992 met een hoge schuldenlast.
British Politicians To Face Criminal Investigation Over Scottish Referendum | Global Research
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:29
by Mark Hirst
Police in Scotland will formally investigate allegations that anti-Scottish independence campaigners breached electoral law during the referendum held on September 18.
''We can confirm that Crown counsel has instructed Police Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged breaches of Schedule 7, Paragraph 7, of the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013,'' a statement issued on Saturday by the Crown Office, Scotland's prosecution service reads.
The allegations relate to comments made by Ruth Davidson, a Member of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the Scottish Conservatives, in which she appeared to know the general results of postal votes arising from ''sample opening'' of ballot boxes.
Postal vote opening sessions are permitted before the formal poll is conducted to verify signatures and dates of birth against records held by the local Returning Officer. Agents for the two campaigns were allowed to monitor these sessions, but it is a criminal offense, punishable with up to a year's imprisonment if found guilty, to communicate any information witnessed during the sample opening sessions.
In a television interview with the BBC shortly after the formal poll closed Davidson said ''we've been incredibly encouraged by the results [of the postal vote],'' implying the Scottish Conservative leader knew the outcome of the postal votes before the first formal results had been announced.
In another BBC interview just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, ''It's important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards 'no'. There is a whole bank of votes in.''
McTernan told RIA Novosti he had not been contacted by Police adding, ''No reason to believe free speech is a crime.''
According to The Herald newspaper, Davidson has been contacted by Police with the paper quoting a Conservative Party source who said there was, ''no suggestion she was accused of doing anything wrong at this stage.''
The independence referendum, which took place on September 18, saw a turnout of 84.59 percent. Scotland has chosen to stay in the United Kingdom with 44.7 percent of Scots having voted in support of independence and 55.3 percent having voted against.
Scotland Will Get Another Independence Referendum Despite the No Vote - Yahoo News UK
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:27
Scots may have rejected independence on 18 September, after with a resounding 55% of voters opted out of breaking the 307-year old union with England, but it is clear that the storm hasn't subsided.
The Better Together campaign and pro-unionists breathed a sigh of relief following the historic referendum's results but it is clear that the relatively tight margin in voting means millions of Scots (45%) are still hungry for independence.
Westminster can't rest on its laurels that it secured a pro-union vote as Scotland as it is seemingly in a Catch-22 position to keep the country within the UK.
The Yes Vote
The one huge takeaway from the recent referendum is that the unprecedented turnout means the end vote is representative of the majority (and minority).
A whopping 84.59% of eligible Scots turned out to vote and, in the end, the pro-unionists won.
However, dig a little deeper, and the 'win' by the No vote is a lot more complicated.
Scotland's biggest city Glasgow had a massive turnout of 75% and 194,779 (53.5%) voted Yes while 169,347 (46.5%) voted no.
A huge 71% of young people aged 16 to 17 years old also voted for independence while 48% of 18 to 24 year olds also opted for the union break.
The future of the country is in the hands of the youth and, while it may be morbid to point out, 73% of over 65 year olds that voted No in the referendum, won't be around for many decades to come to prevent the union break from happening.
Granted, this is based on the pessimistic view that those who are voted Yes are unlikely to change their mind.
However, one would be forgiven in assuming this considering how the unprecedented amount of independent economic analysis and lack of contingency plans from the pro-independence camp, did little to stop the momentum of dissidence over the union.
Furthermore, shouts of feeling "cheated" from the youth camp is likely to leave sores and wounds in their political psyches for decades to come, as the majority of younger population had strived seek a severing of ties with England.
Political Promises
The Scottish National Party (SNP) may have lost the referendum but it is likely to win the war for independence in the end.
The pro-independence camp were already in a win-win situation as by even just having a referendum meant that it had delivered on the promise to give Scots a say on how the country should be governed.
It lost the vote over breaking the union but it has won the ability to gather unprecedented amounts of power and control over its finances, even though it still benefits from the taxpayers' pockets from across the whole of Britain- not just Scotland.
Westminster is in a tough spot.
It has to grant the enhanced devolutionary powers promised to voters in exchange for the No vote.
This includes greater control and setting of taxation rates as well as spending power. Never mind that this could cause a major upset to the political and economic infrastructure to the rest of the UK the Conservatives will be damned if they do fulfil on promises and damned if they don't.
Either way, it will lead to an inevitable referendum.
Damned if they Do, Damned if They Don't
If the Conservatives do not deliver on enhanced devolutionary powers, Scots will feel cheated, especially for those who didn't necessarily want independence but wanted greater control over who governs them locally.
After all, in the 2010 General Election, 1,035,528 Scots opted for Labour out of the 2,465,722 who actually turned up to vote. In the end, their affairs are ultimately conducted by a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.
(Although it is worth noting that only 491,386 for SNP)
It will undoubtedly lead to enough uproar, especially to the disillusioned youth who opted for independence in the first place.
Furthermore, youth unemployment north of the border is higher than the rest of the country and as the voting statistics showed, the higher the jobless rate is in an area, the higher proportion of pro-independence people are.
However, if further devolution is granted, there is a great political conundrum to tackle, which will leave sourgrapes in many people's mouths.
If Scotland is effectively allowed to be given unprecedented power over its tax rates, spending activities, subsidies and so forth, it does cause confusion over whether Scottish MPs should have the right to stick in their two cents over how England would be run.
Considering it's the overall UK taxpayers' purse that would fund Scotland's subsidies, possibly lower tax rates, and pensions, it could cause a huge schism in parliament.
But one of the biggest points made by Scotland's deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is that it is probably too late to say that there is not going to be another referendum.
"There is no going back - and much as they might have wanted to, Whitehall politicians and mandarins cannot put us back in a devolved box," said Sturgeon in a recent opinion piece.
"The word 'devolution' is no longer adequate, for that describes a process of handing down carefully circumscribed powers from on high to a relatively passive people.
"Scotland is now more politically engaged and assertive than at any stage of the democratic era."
The economic arguments are still the same as they were before the 18 September referendum and there is still not defined contingency plans from the pro-independence camp over key independence infrastructure issues but I don't think people are interested.
The No vote may have won the referendum but it has only delayed an inevitable break in the union; for better or for worse.
Related articles : 'Scottish Independence is a When Not an If' says Nicola SturgeonScotland Will Get Another Independence Referendum Despite the No VoteRelated video
Shut Up Slave!
Connecticut Targets Homeschoolers by Matthew Hennessey, City Journal 5 October 2014
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 16:00
In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, a state panel tries to restrict parental rights.
In Connecticut, Governor Dannel P. Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has returned a curious and controversial draft recommendation: the state should increase its oversight of homeschooled children with emotional or behavioral challenges. The proposal has outraged the state's homeschoolers, who, like homeschoolers everywhere, are keenly aware of their sometimes conditional freedoms. In Connecticut, as elsewhere, the law allows parents to homeschool if they choose. But the practice has always been viewed as threatening by left-wing academics, social architects, and teachers' unions'--all well represented on Malloy's 16-member panel. Sadly, this is only the most recent assault on the rights of Connecticut homeschoolers.
Established to investigate the causes and consequences of the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, the Sandy Hook commission issued an interim report last year that nodded appropriately to gun safety, school security, and emergency planning, but made no mention of homeschooling. Now the panel has determined that among the things that went wrong in the run-up to that tragedy was that the killer, Adam Lanza, was homeschooled briefly as a teenager. They are recommending that the state give local officials approval power over parents who wish to homeschool children with social, behavioral, and emotional challenges. ''Given the individuals involved in the tragedy that formed the basis of this commission, we believe that it is very germane,'' said commissioner Harold I. Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief at Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living. ''The facts leading up to this incident support the notion [that there is a] risk in not addressing the social and emotional learning needs of [homeschooled] children.'' Schwartz admitted that the commission didn't have access to Lanza's school files and medical records. But he maintained that those records would support the commission's proposals.
But while Lanza's abnormal social and emotional development surely contributed to his crime, homeschooling neither exacerbated his mental illness nor obscured it from local education officials. Lanza attended traditional public schools up to the eighth grade. From the beginning, everyone knew he was different. As Andrew Solomon detailed earlier this year in TheNew Yorker, Lanza suffered from sensory issues and received speech and occupational therapy beginning in kindergarten. At every juncture of his early life, he was analyzed and agitated over by psychologists, counselors, behaviorists, and other state-credentialed educators. Yet Lanza's troubles deepened, and his anti-social behavior grew worse. Peter and Nancy Lanza were as desperate to help their son find psychological peace as they were to identify a school environment in which he could thrive. At 13, he was sent to a private psychologist, who diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome. At 14, he underwent a psychiatric assessment at the Yale University Child Study Center, where obsessive-compulsive disorder was added to his growing list of personality disorders. The Lanzas considered moving 50 miles away, to a town with a school district known for excellence in special education. They briefly enrolled him in a Catholic school.
In the end, according to Solomon, it was Lanza's psychologist who recommended homeschooling. His parents accepted the idea as a last resort for a child whom local medical and education professionals couldn't seem to help. So yes, Adam Lanza's mother homeschooled him during his high school years. But Nancy Lanza wasn't trying to prove some political point by homeschooling her son. She was trying to help him, to give him a future, to keep him alive, and to keep his peers safe. The Newtown Public School system was involved every step of the way. ''Even after beginning homeschooling, Adam continued to attend Newtown High's Tech Club meetings,'' Solomon writes. Adam's home curriculum was coordinated with Newtown High so that when he graduated, he received a diploma rather than a G.E.D. Adam Lanza's homeschooling was a reaction to his illness, not the cause of it.
So why the strong focus on homeschooling in the latest Sandy Hook commission report? It's not clear, but the commission knew they were making a controversial recommendation. Commissioner Patricia Keavney-Maruca, a Malloy-appointed member of the state board of education, acknowledged that forcing homeschoolers to bring their children in to local school officials for mental and emotional evaluations represented a significant departure from current practice. Some homeschoolers, she said, may ''get their back up'' about it. Keavney-Maruca is a former member of the executive council of the American Federation of Teachers''Connecticut. Commissioner Ron Chivinski, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Newtown Middle School, is also a former high-ranking official of AFT''Connecticut.
Inherent in the draft recommendations is the commission's belief that government and state institutions have'--and should have'--the ability to shape social outcomes. ''We need a holistic approach that will follow children from birth to adulthood, identifying risk factors, reinforcing protective factors, and promoting positive development throughout,'' said University of Connecticut law professor Susan R. Schmeiser, who helped draft the recommendation. Schools, she said, should serve as ''a locus of this more integrated system of care'' and should adopt ''a comprehensive, integrated approach'' that is not reactive, but proactive. A reformed school mental health system should do more than just scan the horizon for disorder, she said. It should ''prioritize social and emotional learning within the curriculum.''
Couched in Schmeiser's jargon, the committee's recommendations may seem unobjectionable, but they're really an opportunistic bid for in loco parentis'--schools as substitute families and teachers as substitute parents. Such a broad mandate to foster mental and emotional wellness may be necessary inside the complex social ecosystem of a public school, where parents voluntarily send their children. But empowering a local school district to reach inside families and execute programs of social and emotional learning'--perhaps against the will of parents'--is unambiguously a violation of the right to homeschool as expressed by Connecticut's education laws. More than that, though, it's a call for a radical restructuring of the traditional relationship between children, their families, and the state.
The commissioners, like most social engineers, insist they are only motivated by a desire to protect vulnerable kids. ''The purpose of this recommendation is to make sure that kids get what kids need. If they have needs that aren't being addressed, just because the parent has chosen to remove them from the school setting . . . their needs are still going to be met,'' said commissioner Kathleen Flaherty. Homeschooling, from this point of view, is an obstacle to the necessary provision of essential public-health services. It is a screen through which well-intentioned state bureaucrats can't see, making it harder for them to build what Schmeiser'--who in 2004 published an academic paper examining ''the Anglo-American legal treatment of sadomasochistic sexual practices'''--calls ''communities of care.''
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission's draft recommendations are littered with examples of Orwellian newspeak like that. These ''communities of care'' are in fact cradle-to-graduation bureaucratic mechanisms for bypassing parental authority and arrogating to the state trusteeship over a child's moral, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Schools, said Schmeiser, should form ''multidisciplinary risk assessment teams'' to identify and address toxic stress, trauma, and social isolation in homeschooled children. Imagine for a moment the enormity of what they are proposing. What counts as toxic stress? Could a family's decision to adhere to the tenets of a religious faith that others think intolerant and emotionally harmful be deemed trauma? Stranger things have happened. Many parents homeschool out of a strong belief that in certain school environments, and at certain ages, social isolation is actually a good thing. Would that put them crossways with their local multidisciplinary risk-assessment team? It seems likely.
Nuances aside, the issues raised by the commission's draft recommendations are fundamentally about agency: Who's in charge of a child, and who decides how, where, and what that child learns? Is the first and final decision about a child's development made by the family or by the state, as represented by the local school district's trained professionals? Of course, no one wants another Newtown. It's understandable that Connecticut residents would demand answers. But lost in the commission's analysis is a disruptive fact: the Newtown school system did not have to scan the horizon for Lanza. He was well-known to them and his parents all but begged for help. It didn't come, in part because it couldn't. There are limits to what the state can do. There are limits to what even the most well-intentioned public servants can achieve. Lanza's act was monstrous. Only in the liberal imagination could a multidisciplinary risk-assessment team have prevented it.
Governor Malloy's handpicked commissioners have indulged a dangerous impulse, common on the left, to reorder society at the expense of the family. In the process, they have trampled on the rights of homeschoolers to raise their children as they see fit.
Matthew Hennessey (@matthennesssey) is a City Journal associate editor. He lives in Connecticut, where his wife homeschools their children.
'Ov-chipkaart maakt horendol' - BINNENLAND - PAROOL
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:17
09-10-14 07:21 uur - Bron: ANP
(C) Archieffoto ANP
Treinreizigers worden horendol van het vele in- en uitchecken met de ov-chipkaart tijdens een reis, terwijl vroeger (C)(C)n papieren treinkaartje voldeed. Mensen vinden het reizen met de trein veel te ingewikkeld en te duur geworden. Dat blijkt uit een inventarisatie van de Consumentenbond, die binnen 3 maanden 2400 klachten binnenkreeg. De bond vindt dat NS veel eerder de boel op orde had moeten hebben.
Op het meldpunt Einde Treinkaartje, dat de Consumentenbond 3 maanden geleden opende, zijn dus bijna 2400 klachten binnengekomen. Veel te veel, vindt de bond die de lijst geanonimiseerd naar de NS stuurt. Veel reizigers zijn boos over de hoge kosten, zoals de borg van 20 euro die op de anonieme ov-chipkaart moet staan om te kunnen reizen.
Maar ook over het reizen zelf kwamen veel klachten: een retourtje van Emmen naar Venlo vergt nu bijvoorbeeld 12 keer in- en uitchecken, terwijl in het verleden (C)(C)n papieren kaartje genoeg was. Andere veelgehoorde klachten zijn de toeslag van 1 euro op de eenmalige chipkaart, 2,50 euro moeten betalen om geld van de chipkaart terug te storten en de omslachtige procedures rond meereiskorting of keuzedagen. Veel consumenten uitten ook hun zorgen over hoe NS met hun reisgegevens omgaat.
De bond eist dat de NS snel met maatregelen komt. 'NS moet samen met andere vervoerders echt aan de bak om de situatie snel te verbeteren', zegt directeur Bart Comb(C)e. 'De ov-chipkaart zou treinreizen juist makkelijker moeten maken.'
Volgens de bond had het spoorbedrijf er al ver voor de invoering mee aan de slag gemoeten. Een woordvoerder van NS vindt dat niet terecht. Het overgaan naar de ov-kaart is een kwestie van meer partijen, ook van provincies en gemeenten. 'Die partijen zijn allemaal op hun eigen schema overgegaan. Wij als NS konden pas kijken wat de knelpunten waren vanaf het moment dat alle reizigers, in juli, over waren op de ov-chip.'
Verder noemt hij het fijn dat 2400 mensen de bond hebben benaderd 'maar in die 3 maanden hebben zo'n 30.000 mensen ons gebeld met goede suggesties, klachten en opmerkingen. En dat op 1,2 miljoen reizigers per dag'. Bovendien komt de Consumentenbond volgens NS met voorbeelden waar juist wel degelijk betere en voordeligere alternatieven voor zijn.
Obama Nation
ACA Open Enrollment reason email
ITM! Adam and John,
In reference to your question about open enrollment period for health insurance, the way I understand it, the reason they have it is to prevent you from buying insurance in he ambulance.
You can buy car insurance at any time, but you can't make a claim for an accident that predates your first premium payment.
Since health insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage for preexisting conditions, they implement the open enrollment period to prevent you from waiting to buy insurance until you're sick. At least that's how I understand it.
Love the show,
Joe M
Agenda 21
NASA Study Finds Earth's Ocean Abyss Has Not Warmed | NASA
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 19:16
The cold waters of Earth's deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years.
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably. Study coauthor Josh Willis of JPL said these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.
"The sea level is still rising," Willis noted. "We're just trying to understand the nitty-gritty details."
In the 21st century, greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate in the atmosphere, just as they did in the 20th century, but global average surface air temperatures have stopped rising in tandem with the gases. The temperature of the top half of the world's oceans -- above the 1.24-mile mark -- is still climbing, but not fast enough to account for the stalled air temperatures.
Many processes on land, air and sea have been invoked to explain what is happening to the "missing" heat. One of the most prominent ideas is that the bottom half of the ocean is taking up the slack, but supporting evidence is slim. This latest study is the first to test the idea using satellite observations, as well as direct temperature measurements of the upper ocean. Scientists have been taking the temperature of the top half of the ocean directly since 2005, using a network of 3,000 floating temperature probes called the Argo array.
"The deep parts of the ocean are harder to measure," said JPL's William Llovel, lead author of the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. "The combination of satellite and direct temperature data gives us a glimpse of how much sea level rise is due to deep warming. The answer is -- not much."
The study took advantage of the fact that water expands as it gets warmer. The sea level is rising because of this expansion and the water added by glacier and ice sheet melt.
To arrive at their conclusion, the JPL scientists did a straightforward subtraction calculation, using data for 2005-2013 from the Argo buoys, NASA's Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellites, and the agency's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. From the total amount of sea level rise, they subtracted the amount of rise from the expansion in the upper ocean, and the amount of rise that came from added meltwater. The remainder represented the amount of sea level rise caused by warming in the deep ocean.
The remainder was essentially zero. Deep ocean warming contributed virtually nothing to sea level rise during this period.
Coauthor Felix Landerer of JPL noted that during the same period warming in the top half of the ocean continued unabated, an unequivocal sign that our planet is heating up. Some recent studies reporting deep-ocean warming were, in fact, referring to the warming in the upper half of the ocean but below the topmost layer, which ends about 0.4 mile (700 meters) down.
Landerer also is a coauthor of another paper in the same journal issue on 1970-2005 ocean warming in the Southern Hemisphere. Before Argo floats were deployed, temperature measurements in the Southern Ocean were spotty, at best. Using satellite measurements and climate simulations of sea level changes around the world, the new study found the global ocean absorbed far more heat in those 35 years than previously thought -- a whopping 24 to 58 percent more than early estimates.
Both papers result from the work of the newly formed NASA Sea Level Change Team, an interdisciplinary group tasked with using NASA satellite data to improve the accuracy and scale of current and future estimates of sea level change. The Southern Hemisphere paper was led by three scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.
NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.
For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:
For more information on ocean surface topography from space, visit:
More information on NASA's GRACE satellites is available at:
For more information on the Argo array, visit:
While the upper part of the world's oceans continue to absorb heat from global warming, ocean depths have not warmed measurably in the last decade. This image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean as imaged by the NASA's Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument on the Terra satellite. (Blue regions indicate thick cloud cover.)
Image Token:
Deep sea creatures, like these anemones at a hydrothermal vent, are not yet feeling the heat from global climate change. Although the top half of the ocean continues to warm, the bottom half has not increased measurably in temperature in the last decade.
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Gay hunting season in Russia: Shocking documentary everyone should see
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:21
5 February 2014 5:44 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - TV news news >>
With the Winter Olympics starting in Sochi on Friday (February 7), we're all going to be seeing a lot more of Russia on the TV over the next couple of weeks.
However, what won't be shown while we're scratching our heads at the curling is the brutal treatment of the Lgbt community in Russia, where some gay people are currently being hunted down like animals.
Liz Mackean's new Dispatches documentary, Hunted, is a bleak and brutal depiction of what life is really like in Russia for the gay community right now. Airing tonight on Channel 4, it's a documentary that will make British viewers extremely uncomfortable.
"Only 1% of the gay population dares to live openly," says Mackean. "I think it just shows where the problem is. There is a problem with visibility. Most Russians don't know a gay person and all those old problems and connections with pedophilia and homosexuality being a danger to children, >>
Report a problemChannel 4 [gb]Vladimir Putin"Dispatches" (1987)IMDb.com, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.
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Liz MacKean - IMDb
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:23
Filmography 2013-2014Dispatches(TV Series documentary)Herself - Reporter/ Herself - Presenter- Hunted(2014)... Herself - Reporter 2012Panorama(TV Series documentary)Herself - Reporter, BBC Newsnight 2006-2011Newsnight(TV Series)Herself - Reporter EditPersonal DetailsAlternate Names: Liz Mackean
EditDid You Know?Trivia:Ex-pupil of Gordonstoun, the school attended by Prince Charles.
Gay Activist Group Changes Name to Include 'Bisexuals, Transgender and Queer' | CNS News
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:13
Gay rainbow flag. (AP Photo)
(CNSNews.com) '' The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced today that it is changing its name and ''upping its game to deliver full LGBTQ freedom, justice and equality.''
The new name, the National LGBTQ Task Force, ''adds bisexual, transgender and queer to lesbian and gay in the form of LGBTQ.''
According to the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFFLG) website, ''queer'' ''could include the person who highly values queer theory concepts and would rather not identify with any particular label, the gender fluid bisexual, the gender fluid heterosexual, the questioning LGBT person, and the person who just doesn't feel like they quite fit in to societal norms and wants to bond with a community over that.''
''It is a fluid label as opposed to a solid label, one that only requires us to acknowledge that we're different without specifying how or in what context. It is also a concise word that people may use if they do not feel like shifting their language along with their ever-evolving gender, politics and/or sexuality. It may also be an easier and more concise identity for some people to use if and when people ask,'' the PFFLG website states.
The National LGBTQ Task Force said the ''historic change comes in the week that the Supreme Court extended marriage equality to more states,'' referring to the decision by the High Court not to review lower court decisions in five states that ruled laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
Time magazine, June 9, 2014, cover story, The Transgender Tipping Point: America's Next Civil Rights Frontier." (Photo: AP)
In addition, the name change comes ahead of the nation observing ''National Coming Out Day'' on Saturday, Oct. 11.
The group also said the ''tagline'' for the new name is ''Be You,'' with, ''Its vision is a society that values and respects the diversity of human expression and identity and achieves freedom and equity for all.''
''We are seeing a real palpable hunger in LGBTQ people's hearts not just to be out, but to bring their entire selves to every aspect of their lives: to 'Be You' without fear, without persecution, without discrimination,'' Rea Carey, executive director of the homosexual activist group, said in the press release announcing the name change.
According to the July 15, 2014 National Health Statistics Report, based on the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 96.6 percent of adults 18 or older identify as heterosexual, 1.6 percent as gay or lesbian, 0.7 percent as bisexual, with the remaining 1.1 of adults identified as ''something else.''
St. Louis County Says, Oops, There Was No Surge In Ferguson Voter Registration
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 00:25
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police watch over demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police watch over demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A police officer watches over demonstrators protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A Demonstrator protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown holds up a sign on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown yell at police after they were ordered off the street on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Demonstrators, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, hold up signs after they were ordered off the street on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown yell at police after they were ordered off the street on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, walks away after being ordered off the street by police on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A demonstrator, protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, pleads with another to walk away after being ordered off the street by police on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A child, who was being held by her mother who was protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, holds up her hands after police ordered them off the street by on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: A resident wears a button featuring a picture of Michael Brown during a press conference with Police Chief Thomas Jackson who was fielding questions related to the shooting death of Brown on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLAYTON, MO - AUGUST 12: A demonstrator holds up a picture of Michael Brown and a young child during a protest sparked by his death on August 12, 2014 in Clayton, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Two days of unrest including rioting and looting have followed his shooting in Ferguson. Browns parents have publicly asked for order. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Police take up position to control demonstrators who were protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Police take up position to control demonstrators who were protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 12: Police take up position to control demonstrators who were protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight's protest was peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLAYTON, MO - AUGUST 12: Anthony Shahid leads a peaceful protest over the killing of teenager Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Clayton, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in suburban Ferguson, Missouri. Two days of unrest including rioting and looting have followed the shooting in Ferguson. Browns parents have publicly asked for order. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLAYTON, MO - AUGUST 12: Demonstrators raise their hands and chant 'hands up, don't shoot' during a protest over the killing of Michael Brown on August 12, 2014 in Clayton, Missouri. Some reports state that Brown hand his hands in the air when he was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in suburban Ferguson, Missouri. Two days of unrest including rioting and looting have followed the shooting in Ferguson. Browns parents have publicly asked for order. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton speaks about the killing of teenager Michael Brown at a press conference held on the steps of the old courthouse on August 12, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in suburban Ferguson, Missouri. Sharpton and Browns family were calling for order following riots and skirmishes with police over the past two nights in Ferguson by demonstrators angry over the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton speaks about the killing of teenager Michael Brown at a press conference held on the steps of the old courthouse on August 12, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in suburban Ferguson, Missouri. Sharpton and Browns family were calling for order following riots and skirmishes with police over the past two nights in Ferguson by demonstrators angry over the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Lesley McSpadden (C), the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown, arrives for a press conference on the arm of civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (L) on August 12, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in suburban Ferguson, Missouri. Sharpton and Browns family were calling for order following riots and skirmishes with police over the past two nights in Ferguson by demonstrators angry over the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators protest the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot by police on Saturday on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Police guard a Quick Trip gas station that was burned yesterday when protests over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown turned to riots and looting on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Demonstrators protest the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown who was shot by police on Saturday on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: People view a memorial in the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by police on Saturday on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Protesters are forced by police from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 11: Protesters are forced by police from the business district into nearby neighborhoods on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets as residents and their supporters protested the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown who was killed Saturday in this suburban St. Louis community. Yesterday 32 arrests were made after protests turned into rioting and looting in Ferguson. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Police and Obama administration plan for nationwide crackdown on Ferguson protests
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:52
By Eric London9 October 2014Local police, the FBI, and police departments throughout the country are preparing a possible nationwide crackdown if a grand jury convened in Missouri fails to press charges against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the man responsible for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.
According to Reuters sources with personal knowledge of the preparations, police and national security officials have been meeting two to three times each week for the purposes of ''contingency planning'' and ''intelligence sharing.''
The explicit purpose of the meetings is the possibility that widespread social opposition would develop in St. Louis and elsewhere if the grand jury fails to indict the policeman for gunning down the unarmed black youth.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told Reuters that ''the unrest is going to be far beyond the city of Ferguson'' if Wilson is not charged when the grand jury reaches its decision. The decision is expected to come in November.
Speaking in Little Rock, Arkansas, yesterday at a national gathering of mayors, Attorney General Eric Holder told the audience that ''the events in Ferguson reminded us that we cannot and must not allow tensions, which are present in so many neighborhoods across America, to go unresolved.''
For Holder, the Obama administration, and the police and intelligence agencies, ''resolving tensions'' means preparing for a nationwide crackdown that would imitate the violent suppression of protests in Ferguson, only on a far wider scale.
In August, local police in military uniform armed with mine-resistant armored vehicles and assault rifles fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors. When Democratic Governor Jay Nixon called the Missouri National Guard to Ferguson, a shopping center was turned into a military base, with Humvees roaming the parking lot and snipers positioned on rooftops.
Coordinated by the Obama administration at the national level, the preparations for such a crackdown in cities across the country mark a new step toward the imposition of police-military rule in the United States.
The planned crackdown would likely require placing those cities where demonstrations occur under effective martial law. The Obama administration has already tested the feasibility of placing a major American city under police control: the city of Boston was shut down and residents told to stay in their homes following the Marathon bombing in April 2013.
Furthermore, those FBI officials dispatched by the dozens to Ferguson in the aftermath of the demonstrations would likely be sent across the country by the hundreds or thousands to monitor and report on protests, were protests to develop. The National Guard would likewise play a central role in such a crackdown.
The response being planned by the government'--which Reuters claims have not been finalized'--reportedly includes increased surveillance of those participating in demonstrations.
Already, police in St. Louis are justifying increased surveillance of the population of Ferguson on the basis of the age-old bogeyman of ''outside agitators.''
''We know outside groups visited us in August. We are expecting that different people will come in from outside the St. Louis area,'' St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said, despite the fact that of the 227 people arrested in the month following Brown's death, only 36 were from outside Missouri.
Belmar also noted that his department has been in contact with police in Los Angeles, New York, Florida, Cincinnati, Ohio, and numerous other districts in anticipation of wider social upheaval.
It is notable that Belmar is in contact with police in the specific areas he listed. Los Angeles and Cincinnati were the center of upheavals in 1992 and 2001, respectively. In both places, demonstrations broke out in response to instances of brutal police violence. Florida was also the scene of demonstrations in 2013 following the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Belmar's admission underscores the American ruling class' apprehension of growing social tensions. In anticipation of social opposition to its policies of poverty, inequality, and permanent war, the government has established the framework for a police state in the United States.
The plans being drawn up for a national crackdown are an indication that the ruling class is moving closer to measures that directly criminalize protest activity. The ''outside agitator'' pretext is particularly ludicrous when applied to nationwide protests: where are the ''outsiders'' coming from? Canada? Mexico?
The plans for a coordinated violent response to protests also make clear the fraudulent character of the ''community meetings'' between police and what Reuters refers to as ''multi-racial citizen groups'' in Ferguson. These public meetings, which have been supported from the start by clergymen and by advocates of racial politics like Al Sharpton, have coincided with private police meetings to plan further repression.
The plans to replicate the Ferguson crackdown on a wider scale come as a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the initial police response violated the First Amendment.
The order, written by Judge Catherine Perry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, enjoins the police ''from telling citizens that they must keep moving, or from threatening them with arrest if they stand still'' during protests.
The decision is an acknowledgement that the so-called ''five-minute rule'' imposed by police'--arresting anyone who refused to move on after five minutes standing in one place'--was a clear violation of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Any wider crackdown would represent an even more egregious violation of basic democratic rights.
But the order was very limited in its restrictions on police. While acknowledging the right to assemble, Judge Perry also wrote that protesters ''do not have the right to endanger lives of police officers or other citizens. The police must perform their jobs, and nothing in this order restricts their ability to do that.''
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Out There
SpaceX to launch amazing rocket that lands itself on legs | Fox News
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:43
SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets will someday be able to land on hydraulic legs, dramatically cutting the cost of sending cargo -- and even human beings -- into space.
In the early morning hours of March 16, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral to deliver 8,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station. What's most remarkable isn't what's going up, but what's coming back down.
Like a panel from a sci-fi comic strip of the '30s (think ''Buck Rogers in the 25th century A.D.''), the first stage of the newest rocket from SpaceX '' the stage that has always been used once and then discarded soon after launch, becoming a $100 million piece of scrap metal '' will unfold a set of spindly metallic legs as it screams back through the atmosphere and fire a set of retro rockets to halt its descent.
The company will let this rocket plop gently into the ocean. But SpaceX claims the Falcon's first stage will ultimately be able to land on legs.
''We build rockets that cost over $100 million each. We use them once, then we throw them away. It's like buying a Rolls-Royce, driving it until its first tank of gas runs out, ditching it, then buying another Rolls,'' explains the Space Development Steering Committee in a press release.
'It's like buying a Rolls Royce, driving it until its first tank of gas runs out, ditching it, then buying another Rolls.'
- Space Development Steering Committee.
SpaceX aims to change the equation dramatically. It currently costs about $38,000 to send a pound of material to space, but Howard Bloom, founder of the SDSC and a member of the board of governors and directors of the National Space Society, said SpaceX could lower the price to about $10 a pound if an entire rocket could be reused.
Russia charges the U.S. around $75 million to send an astronaut into space -- the total cost is nearly three-quarters of a billion including the required water, oxygen, food, and equipment a human needs. Bloom said that could drop to $40,000 if reusable rockets became the norm.
''All by himself Elon Musk is going to force a drastic change in the space launch business,'' John Strickland, a member of the board of directors for the National Space Society, told FoxNews.com.
Musk, the technology entrepreneur behind PayPal, the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the futuristic Hyperloop concept, is also the owner of SpaceX, which has a 12-mission contract with NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station. Sunday's resupply mission will be the third of the contract.
SpaceX already has reusable Dragon capsules that take supplies and experiments to and from the ISS. But the Dragon capsule is currently the only reusable part of the rocket.
A reusable rocket would revolutionize the space industry, dramatically lowering the price of getting people and things to space, said R.D. Boozer, an astrophysics researcher and SDSC member. SpaceX's hope is that it can bring rockets back and have them ready to launch again less than a day later. (The company did not respond in time for this story.)[SB1]
Boozer said while the success of the launch is almost certain, a successful landing of the first stage is ''iffy.''
''If they don't get it right this time, then they're determined to get it next time or even the next time,'' he said.
The first-stage rocket will have four landing legs that lie flat as it goes up. As it comes back down, the legs will extend out using hydraulics. A retro rocket will slow the descent of the first stage as it comes back through the atmosphere to keep it from burning up or crashing into the ocean.
If the landing is successful, the rocket will be fished out of the ocean and brought back to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (the company's address is ''1 Rocket Road'') to be studied and used to create new first stage rockets that can be reused.
Bloom said that if the landing is successful next week, we may be able to see reusable rockets ''in all probability in the next six to eight months'' '' at least for the first stage. He said figuring out reusable solutions for the other parts of the rocket ''should be a relatively short hop'' from there.
The achievement could catapult SpaceX to the front of the space race and beat out all American and foreign spacecraft and rocket companies on price alone.
Boozer said if SpaceX can create a completely reusable rocket, he believes their prices will drop so significantly that it will put out of business any company that doesn't keep up.
''Right now, nobody -- the Russians, the Chinese, no one -- can match SpaceX's prices. So if they get this reusability thing, it's just going to make the bottom fall out. I hope other American companies follow their lead, or else they're going to go out of business. I don't think it's good for any company to have a monopoly, but it won't be the fault of SpaceX if their competitors won't stop being so risk averse.''
Falcon 9 had a successful prelaunch check on Monday, meaning the company has the go-ahead to launch on Sunday. The launch will be at 4:41 a.m. ET '' and will be streamed live at FoxNews.com.
Lauren Blanchard is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here and follow them on Twitter: @FNCJrReporters
Magic Numbers
Nieuwe premier Jemen houdt het slechts 33 uur vol
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:39
Slechts 33 uur heeft Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak het volgehouden als premier van Jemen. Na felle protesten van sjiitische Houthi-rebellen legde hij vandaag alweer zijn taken neer. Dat is te lezen in een Facebookpost van hem.
De Houthi's vinden dat Mubarak teveel buitenlandse invloeden heeft. Abdulmalik al-Houthi, de leider van de militie, zei in een speech dat de president van Jemen hem had beloofd Mubarak niet aan te stellen als premier. Dat deed hij dus toch. Al-Houthi noemt Mubarak een 'speelpop van het Westen'.
De situatie in Jemen is zeer chaotisch. De zwakke centrale regering is in strijd met de opstandige Houthi-clan, die in september de hoofdstad Sanaa innam.
ISND-3 US Airmen Swept Away in Japan by Typhoon Phanfone, Presumed Dead After Taking Pictures of Large Waves - International Business Times
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:18
A member of the U.S. Air Force has died after being washed away by high waves on Sunday as Typhoon Phanfone thrashed out over Japan. Two others who were swept away but yet to be found have been presumed dead.
A report by the Daily Mail said authorities are currently contacting the families of the unfortunate victims, who got swept while taking pictures of the high and large waves. The U.S. servicemen were stationed at Okinawa, home to roughly 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan.
The Robins Air Force Base, in a press release issued on Monday night, identified the U.S. fatality as Senior Master Sgt. James Swartz, an aerospace propulsion superintendent with the 116th Air Control Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard.
The two still missing were Master Sgt. Daniel Paschal, an aerospace propulsion craftsman with the 116th Air Control Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Schoenhoff, an instrument and flight control systems specialist with the 461st Air Control Wing.
The Japanese Coast Guard immediately conducted a search and rescue operation for the U.S. air force members. It found one in the water, who was later confirmed dead. Kadena Air Base, the U.S. military installation where the airmen were stationed, said it also conducted its own search and rescue, but the rough seas hampered it to push longer.
"Our hearts go out to the 116th and 461st members and their families during this time of loss and unknown outcomes," Col. Kevin Clotfelter, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing, said in the statement.
Typhoon Phanfone, which had moved away from Tokyo, Japan, and is already out on sea on Monday, had injured some 62 others in its wake. It had also forced thousands to leave their homes and evacuate to higher and safe grounds as well as triggered landslides. Air flight in the duration of the typhoon was likewise heavily affected, with over 400 flights cancelled. Also disrupted were bullet train services between Tokyo and Osaka.
Apart from the two missing U.S. airmen, the Japanese Coast Guard reported a 21-year-old surfer and university student has also gone missing. The person was last seen surfing off the coast of Fujisawa, the coast guard said.
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VIDEO-'Worthless, Gutless Cowards You Say I Must Convert or Die': Two Country Singers Just Wrote a Song With a Bold Message for Terrorists | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:57
''Dear worthless, gutless cowards you say I must convert or die.''
That's the opening line to a new country song by country music songwriting stars Larry Gatlin and Billy Dean. It's an unapologetic salvo aimed right at the Islamic State terrorists. And ''aimed'' is an even more appropriate descriptor once you hear the title of the song: ''An American with a Remington.''
''One thing [Johnny] Cash did say to me long ago was, 'Pilgrim, if something makes you mad enough boy, you'll damn sure write a song about it,''' Gatlin wrote in an op-ed explaining the impetus for the song. ''Well, [Johnny], Billy and I are mad as hell about those cowardly, beheading bastards, so we did just that!!''
''I love it!!! Thanks guys for standing up for America and what we stand for!!! Love You Guys!!!''The song is a type of come-and-get-it anthem with a strong message: Those who would try to take American freedoms will be met with a strong resistance.
''The response has been unbelievable '-- more than 15 million hits and thousands of 'hurrahs' from like-minded Americans '-- in only five days,'' Gatlin added.
One commenter on YouTube agreed: ''I love it!!! Thanks guys for standing up for America and what we stand for!!! Love You Guys!!!''
Still, he wants to make sure no one misunderstands him and his partner.
''Please know that neither Billy nor I are trigger happy cowboys lookin' for a fight,'' he said. ''We just know that the fight is looking for us and for all Americans. So we decided as 2 of 'those who write the songs' it was up to is to write the truth, because so many of those who write our laws will not.''
Take a listen for yourself:
VIDEO-CNN: Inside Liberia's Ebola crisis - YouTube
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:32
VIDEO-Vulcan, Inc. TV Commercial, 'Tackle Ebola' Featuring Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson - iSpot.tv
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VIDEO-Western jihadist explains why he fights in Syria - CBS News
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 01:35
SYRIA, NEAR TURKEY BORDER - After months of negotiations, a 26 year old Dutch fighter called Yilmaz agreed to meet with CBS News. Born in Holland, he is one of the thousands of jihadis fighting in Syria.
Dutch-born Yilmaz speaks with CBS News' Clarissa Ward about why he joined the Syrian jihadis.
CBS News
"I would fight anybody," said Yilmaz. "Even if it was my own father that was bombing these people, I would fight him and kill him myself."When asked if Syria felt like his home, Yilmaz replied:
"Yes, of course, of course. We left everything behind, when we migrated, everything, everything, our families our friends, basically our future."
Clarissa Ward answers questions on Facebook Wednesday at 12:00pm EDT.He was a soldier with the Dutch army. But when special forces turned him down, he quit. Around the same time, the uprising in Syria began. Yilmaz said his world was turned upside down by the endless gruesome videos of the Assad regime's brutal crackdown.
"So I felt the need as a person, as a human, and, of course, as a Muslim," says Yilmaz. "Because it was the Muslims that were getting crushed in Syria, that I had to stand up and do stuff."
So two years ago, without telling his family, he left Holland and traveled to northern Syria to fight with the rebels and work as a military trainer.
Asked if he missed anything about home or the West, Yilmaz smiles.
CBS Evening NewsFBI wants help identifying ISIS fighterThe FBI is asking the public for help in identifying Americans going to join or fighting with terrorist groups. David Martin reports.
"The food, electricity, warm water, good food," he said. "These are the things that I miss -- but the West? Ugh, hypocrisy. It's filled with hypocrisy."
Yilmaz has become more extreme during his two years in Syria. He does not fight with ISIS, but he won't condemn them either. He argues that their crimes pale in comparison to those of the Assad regime.
Asked about ISIS's tactics, beheading people and committing war crimes, Yilmaz replies:
"War crimes, and what's a war crime? More than 200,000 dead -- that is not a war crime? Barrel bombs, chemical attacks -- is that not a war crime?"
SaturdayISIS beheads UK aid workerThe beheading of UK aid worker Alan Henning by Islamic terrorist group ISIS is stirring international outrage. And, as Charlie D'Agata reports, t...
Yilmaz's ultimate goal is to overthrow the Assad dictatorship. But his idea of what should replace it is radically different from the U.S.-backed moderate rebels.
"We don't want you," said Yilmaz. "We want our own laws. We want our own rules."
"We want Islamic law," said Yilmaz. "It's the only solution."
Asked about the millions of Syrians who don't want to live under Islamic law, Yilmaz was emphatic.
"No!" said Yilmaz. "Who are these people then? We are fighting for our country."
Assad is not the only enemy these days. Recent U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria have re-ignited the belief that the west is fighting a war on Islam.
"The American government, the American lobby, that's waging this crusade against the Muslims all around the world, they've always been our enemy," said Yilmaz.
Asked is he thinks that there will be more terrorist attacks on America Yilmaz replied:
"If you keep on poking and cornering a wild dog, that wants nothing but his freedom, wallahi, he will bite you and he will bite you hard. And this fight never ends. Never ends. This is our religion. This is our faith. This is what we believe in."
Yilmaz said that he has no intention of returning home to Holland and that he couldn't even if he wanted to since he is too well known. With this burst of anti-American sentiment that we're seeing in Syria now, there are concerns about American jihadis who could potentially return home.
Wednesday, on "The CBS Evening News," Ward talks with an American-born fighter about his journey from a college student in the Midwest to a fighter with a group that's backed by al Qaeda.
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VIDEO- The Ebola Disaster: How Did We Get Here and What's Next? | The Forum at HSPH - YouTube
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:48
VIDEO-Common Core: 3 * 4 = 11 is okay - Longer - YouTube
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 22:17
VIDEO-UK police arrest 4 men suspected of terror plot - CNN.com
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:35
NEW: Police head: The action against the four arrested men is "quite a serious case"NEW: A lot of recent arrests are "linked back to Syria and Iraq," where ISISNEW: Police: Armed police officers helped in their arrests, which is rare in BritainThe arrests of 4 men in London come nearly two weeks after 10 others were arrestedLondon (CNN) -- Four men were arrested Tuesday in London on suspicion of planning an act of terrorism, one that the city's police commissioner described as "quite a serious case."
Armed police officers assisted in the arrests of the men -- two of whom are 20 years old, while the others are 21 -- according to London's Metropolitan Police. It is rare for police in Britain to execute warrants accompanied by armed officers, unless the threat is deemed serious.
A UK security source said Tuesday that authorities may have foiled a terror plot aimed at Britain in its early stages. Islamic terrorism was "the clear reason" for the plot, according to the source.
Scotland Yard has announced that the four are being held on suspicion related to the "commission, preparation or instigation of act of terrorism." Authorities have not detailed exactly where or when such terrorist attacks might have occurred or what or who they might have involved.
The arrests come nearly two weeks after police arrested at least 10 other men in the United Kingdom on suspicion of terror offenses, including supporting a banned organization and encouraging terrorism.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, in an interview with BBC local radio, said a lot of recent arrests are "linked back to Syria and Iraq."
That is where the Islamist extremist group ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, has waged a bloody and largely successful campaign to take over vast swaths of land -- while terrorizing and, in many cases, killing those civilians who don't subscribe to its extreme brand of Islam in the process.
Two British aid workers are believed to have been beheaded by ISIS, in addition to a pair of Americans. Britain is among the nations that have gone after the Islamist extremist group militarily in Iraq, while the United States and some of its allies are targeting the group inside Syria.
"These are arrests that, some way or other, have that link," Hogan-Howe said of the Syrian and Iraq tie.
10arrests in late September
As of Tuesday night, authorities hadn't released the names of the four men arrested. Nor is it known what their future will hold.
"They have all been taken to police stations in central London and remain in custody," Metropolitan Police said.
Even after the arrests, officers searched other homes and vehicles in west and central London as part of the investigation, authorities said.
Police didn't say whether Tuesday's moves were connected to the September 25 and September 26 arrests of 10 other men. Those men, ages 22 to 51, were detained in London and elsewhere in the country on suspicion of being members of a banned organization, supporting a banned organization and encouraging terrorism.
An 11th man was arrested September 26 on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Police did not give the identities of those arrested in September nor name the banned organization concerned. But the UK's Press Association news agency cited sources as saying radical British cleric Anjem Choudary was among those arrested.
Choudary, who was a co-founder of the banned UK Islamist group Al Muhajiroun, told CNN in August that the world had been split into two camps.
There's a "camp which believes that sovereignty and supremacy belongs to God. They are the Islamic State, at the head of which is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Choudary said. "In the other camp you have those people who believe sovereignty and supremacy belongs to man. At the head of that camp is Barack Obama."
"I believe this Islamic State will spread, rapidly, and I believe it will be in Europe and even America within decades," Choudary said.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State, commonly referred to as ISIS or ISIL, is a Sunni Muslim extremist group that has captured parts of Syria and Iraq for what it says is its new Islamic caliphate.
The British military recently joined a U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq. The United States and some Middle Eastern nations also are conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
UK authorities believe at least 500 British citizens have gone to Iraq and Syria, many of them to fight with ISIS and other Islamist groups -- and that most will try to return, bringing their extremist views with them.
The UK Home Office raised its terror threat level in August from "substantial" to "severe." Days later, the government announced new measures to combat the threat from Islamist extremism, including the banning of Britons' coming home once they have joined with jihadists abroad.
CNN's Victoria Eastwood reported from London and Jason Hanna wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Greg Botelho, Laura Smith-Spark, Max Foster, Andrew Carey and Paul Cruickshank contributed to this report from London.
VIDEO- Psaki Can't Find Evidence Of Successes In Iraq - YouTube
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:28
VIDEO-Just Watch Oprah's Reaction After Actress Rejects Labels and Declares Herself Not 'African-American' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 18:23
Actress and singer Raven-Symone left Oprah Winfrey visibly surprised during an interview when she explained that she's ''tired of being labeled'' and considers herself ''American,'' not ''African-American.''
Raven, who is best known for her roles on ''The Cosby Show'' and ''That's So Raven,'' said she doesn't want to be labeled as ''gay'' either, because she is just a ''human who loves humans.''
''I'm tired of being labeled. I'm an American. I'm not an African-American; I'm an American,'' she said.
''Oh, girl, don't set up Twitter on fire,'' Winfrey responded. ''Oh, my lord. What did you just say?''
Raven continued: ''I mean, I don't know where my roots go to. I don't know how far back they go'...I don't know what country in Africa I'm from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I'm an American. And that's a colorless person.''
Winfrey then warned the entertainer that she would ''get a lot of flak for saying you're not African-American.''
''I want you to say what you really mean by that,'' the host pressed.
''What I really mean by that is I'm an American. That's what I really mean,'' Raven replied. ''I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture.''
Watch part of the interview below via OWN:
(H/T: EOnline)
VIDEO-ISIS VIDEO "Flames of War" (Full Film) - YouTube
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:57
VIDEO-New national security laws pave way for 'police state', says Andrew Wilkie
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:17
Video will begin in 5 seconds.
National security legislation reforms a 'distraction'Greens MP Adam Bandt, independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Labor MP Melissa Parke react in parliament to the federal government's proposed changes to national security laws.
PT3M41Shttp://www.theage.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3h0nz620349October 1, 2014Former intelligence whistleblower turned federal MP Andrew Wilkie has accused the federal government of exploiting fears about terrorism to rush through new national security laws that push Australia towards a "police state".
The government's first tranche of national security changes passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday with the support of the Labor opposition, although one Labor backbencher broke ranks to speak out against the laws.
Tasmanian independent Mr Wilkie, Victorian independent Cathy McGowan and Greens MP Adam Bandt all voted against the laws, which passed on the voices.
Former long-serving federal bureaucrat turned MP, Andrew Wilkie, voted against the new laws. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The laws include jail terms of up to 10 years for journalists who disclose details of ASIO "special intelligence operations" and provide immunity from criminal prosecution for intelligence officers who commit a crime in the course of their duties.
Under the laws, ASIO officers will also be able to access, modify, disrupt or alter an unlimited number of computers on a computer network with a single warrant, which many have feared could allow the entire internet to be monitored, as it is a "network of networks".
ASIO can apply for the computer warrants to be issued and they can only be authorised by the Attorney-General, who is currently George Brandis QC.
Labor MP Melissa Parke speaks on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Mr Wilkie said he was especially concerned the laws would encourage ASIO officers to use force without the "inconvenience" of including trained Australian Federal Police officers in their operations.
"At some point in the future we'll have spies kicking in doors and using force with no police alongside them and that is another step towards a police state," he said.
"Why is the government '' with the opposition's support '' wanting to overreach like this?
"I can only assume the government is wanting to capitalise on and exploit the current security environment. I can only assume that the security agencies are delighted they have been invited to fill in a blank cheque.
"It is clearly overreach by the security services who have basically been invited to write an open cheque. And the government, which wants to beat its chest and look tough on national security, said, 'We'll sign that'.
"And the opposition, which is desperate to look just as tough on national security, said, 'We'll countersign that cheque too'."
Mr Wilkie said the new penalties for journalists and whistleblowers who disclose details of "special intelligence operations" (SIOs) amounted to the government "bullying" the media into more compliant reporting.
"This is clamping down on free speech; this is clamping down on oversight of what the security agencies are up to," he said.
"This is absolutely disgraceful," Mr Wilkie said, who was a former whistlerblower who warned Australia not to go to the Iraq war as there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Labor backbencher and member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, also spoke out against the bill, breaking ranks with her colleagues.
"I do not support a number of key elements in this bill, and I am aware there are further even more controversial bills coming before the Parliament in the near future," she said.
"There has not been convincing evidence of inadequacies in the existing legal framework that warrant the broad extensions of powers we see here," she added.
"I am particularly concerned that this bill entrenches and amplifies the lack of protection for whistleblowers regarding intelligence information and penalises with up to 10 years jail the legitimate actions of journalists and others doing their jobs in holding the government to account in the public interest."
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt raised concerns that the media would not be able to report on innocent bystanders killed under bungled SIOs.
"If these laws pass, our security agencies could inadvertently kill an innocent bystander and journalists would not be able to report on it," Mr Bandt said.
He also raised concerns about journalists being put behind bars for up to ten years for revealing the existence of an SIOs.
"People could go to jail under this! People could go to jail under this legislation," Bant yelled.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government made "no apologies" for trying to protect the secrecy of covert intelligence operations.
"This is not, as has been wrongly suggested, about preventing the release of information that might simply embarrass the government of the day or expose it to criticism," he said.
"This is about providing a necessary and proportionate limitation on the communication of information that relates to the core business of intelligence agencies. And I need hardly add that unauthorised disclosures of intelligence-related information, particularly on the scale that is now possible in the online environment, can have devastating consequences for a country's international relationships, a country's intelligence capabilities and very importantly for the lives and safety of intelligence personnel."
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dryfus said the new laws were justified and carefully-targeted, but the government had not explained them well to the community.
"I must say that in the case of the SIO scheme the government has not explained itself well," he said. "It has allowed some misunderstandings of what this legislation enables to gain currency."
Mr Drefus said Labor had demanded amendments so that only journalists who knowingly disclose details about secret counter-terrorism and counter-surveillance operations would face persecution.
"The community should be reassured of the limited scope of the offence provisions," he said.
"Labor would not and will not ever support laws which prevent journalists who report on security and related matters from doing their jobs."
"No-one can inadvertently breach this provision. But where journalists are aware of the possibility of endangering ASIO officers we expect them to act responsibly.
"These laws will not criminalise the good-faith activities of journalists."
Crossbencher Ms McGowan said, "It is not a time to rush through legislation. This is a time for considered approach, this is a time when we should be our best selves as the Prime Minister reminds us."
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VIDEO- Stop watching this video and go get a flu shot - YouTube
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:05
VIDEO-ISIS VIDEO "Flames of War" (Full Film) - YouTube
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:03
VIDEO-FBI wants help identifying ISIS jihadist in video - CNN.com
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:01
FBI seeks public's help in identifying English-speaking militantThe ISIS fighter, possibly an American, appears to help execute Syrians in a videoThe 55-minute video released by ISIS shows the jihadist leading a mass executionIn the video, jihadist speaks first in Arabic, then in English(CNN) -- The FBI on Tuesday asked for the public's help in identifying an English-speaking militant who appeared to help execute Syrian soldiers in an ISIS recruitment video released last month.
In the 55-minute video titled "Flames of War," the jihadist switches from classical Arabic to perfect English with a North American accent, and appears to orchestrate a mass execution of Syrian soldiers.
The FBI reached out to the public on its website Tuesday, posting a portion of the video and asking whether anyone has information about the jihadist's identity.
"We're hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information," Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI's counterterrorism division, said Tuesday.
The request is part of the FBI's broader outreach to the public to help identify people seeking to travel overseas to fight with terror groups, and those who are returning from such fights.
U.S. intelligence officials have been trying to analyze the recruitment featuring the English-speaking jihadist.
Officials see the killer's appearance in the video as significant because he comes across, they say, as articulate and persuasive, a person of influence within the terror group.
In the video, there are a number of men digging a ditch behind him. The jihadist, whose face is covered except for his eyes, claims they are Syrian soldiers assigned to a 17th Division military base near the Syrian city of Raqqa, and who, after an ISIS attack, were "digging their own graves in the very place where they were stationed."
CNN cannot independently verify that the men in the video were soldiers, as the propaganda video claims.
The video then shows the speaker and a group of militants executing the men, who fall into the ditch.
The man who led this atrocity on film could be an Arab who was educated in the West. Or he could be an American or Canadian. If so, CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said, he would be the first North American jihadist to commit a war crime on camera.
"Clearly ISIS had a calculated step to be able to put this guy on camera," said Frank Cilluffo, a security analyst at George Washington University. "Why? Because he seems American. The message is aimed at a Western audience."
On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey told CBS' "60 Minutes" that his agency is tracking a dozen Americans that have joined terrorist groups inside Syria.
"These homegrown violent extremists are troubled souls who are seeking meaning in some misguided way, and so they come across the propaganda, and they become radicalized on their own, sort of independent study, and they're also able to equip themselves with training, again, through the Internet," Comey told CBS. "And then engage in jihad after emerging from their basement."
Last month, federal authorities detailed their case against the owner of a New York food store who they accused of funding ISIS and plotting to gun down U.S. troops who had served in Iraq.
A law enforcement official told CNN that former Boston resident and U.S. citizen Ahmad Abousamra could be a key player in the ISIS social media machine that's become renowned in recent weeks for spewing brutal propaganda online -- messages meant both to terrify and recruit Westerners.
And CNN obtained tapes of American terrorists recruiting friends in the United States to join terror groups like ISIS.
ISIS has successfully recruited large numbers of foreign fighters from across the globe, including from the United States and Western Europe.
A CIA source told CNN last month that more than 15,000 foreign fighters, including 2,000 Westerners, had gone to the civil war in Syria. It was not immediately clear how many had joined ISIS and how many were with other groups opposed to the Syrian government.
The foreign fighters come from more than 80 countries, the CIA source said.
A top State Department official insisted Monday that American efforts to combat ISIS' powerful online message are working, successfully keeping disaffected youth from joining the extremist group.
"We have evidence that there are young people who are not joining because we have somehow interceded," Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel told CNN's Elise Labott on Monday.
"They're reading the messages, they're hearing the messages -- not just from us but from the hundreds of Islamic clerics who have said that this is a perversion of Islam, from the hundreds of Islamic scholars who have said the same thing."
"It's a very small cohort," Stengel said of these so-called "foreign fighter" cases originating from the United States.
VIDEO - KMIR News | Palm Springs, California
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 15:58
Theft in Locker Room During Football GameTheft in Locker Room During Football GameUpdated:Sunday, October 5 2014 1:21 AM EDT2014-10-05 05:21:21 GMT
THERMAL -- The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is investigating thefts from a locker room during a football game at Coachella Valley High School in Thermal.
THERMAL -- The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is investigating thefts from a locker room during a football game at Coachella Valley High School in Thermal.
Sheriff's Department Warns of Phone ScamsSheriff's Department Warns of Phone ScamsUpdated:Sunday, October 5 2014 1:21 AM EDT2014-10-05 05:21:42 GMT
COACHELLA VALLEY-- The Riverside County Sheriff's Department says phone scam calls trying to steal your money.
COACHELLA VALLEY-- The Riverside County Sheriff's Department says phone scam calls trying to steal your money.
UPDATE: Missing 15 Year Old Palm Springs Girl FoundUPDATE: Missing 15 Year Old Palm Springs Girl FoundUpdated:Thursday, October 2 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-10-02 21:00:30 GMT
Palm Springs Police say a 15 year old girl reported missing Wednesday evening was found Thursday morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. in Palm Springs. Detectives spoke with the juvenile and their investigation has determined she was the victim of a sexual assault.
Palm Springs Police say a 15 year old girl reported missing Wednesday evening was found Thursday morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. in Palm Springs. Detectives spoke with the juvenile and their investigation has determined she was the victim of a sexual assault.
VIDEO-Police: 4-year-old brings heroin to daycare - CNN.com
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 15:56
By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 9:47 AM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
A 4-year-old brings 249 packets of heroin to daycare, police sayTeachers at the daycare find children with the packetsThe girl's mom is charged with running a drug property and endangering children(CNN) -- Nice kid. Wrong thing to share at daycare.
A preschooler's mom was arrested this week after her 4-year-old daughter brought 249 packets of heroin to a Delaware daycare and handed them out to other students, thinking it was candy.
Police say the child ended up with the drugs when her mom gave her another backpack after hers was ruined by a family pet.
On Monday, teachers at Hickory Tree Child Care Center found several of the children with the packets and collected them, assistant director Tamicka Goodman told CNN affiliate WBOC.
"They found it right when she passed it out," according to Goodman. "So we do thank God that he had a watchful eye and most of all we thank God that none of the children are injured."
DA: First-grader brings his grandmother's heroin to school
Delaware State Police have charged 30-year-old Ashley Tull of Selbyville with maintaining a drug property and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
In addition to the 4-year-old, the woman also has a 9-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. All of the children are staying with a relative. Tull is under court order not to contact them. She was released on $6,000 bond.
VIDEO-Vice President Biden to Deliver Remarks on Foreign Policy | forum.iop.harvard.edu
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:20
On Thursday, October 2, 2014, the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., delivered a public address on foreign policy to the JFK Jr. Forum. He spoke of the importance of America's international role, discussing conflicts in the Middle East, Russia and Asia. He also emphasized the need for a stronger American economy and greater trade. The Forum was moderated by David Ellwood, the Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy and the Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School.
VIDEO-Biden calls UAE prince to clarify Syria remarks | Al Jazeera America
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 06:18
Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday called the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates to clarify that he did not mean to imply in his remarks last week that the Gulf ally was supporting Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, the White House said.
Biden spoke with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a key Emirati leader, the White House said.
Sunday's phone call came after a day after Biden offered a similar apology to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about comments he made made at Harvard University on Thursday.
Biden, who is known for his occasional verbal gaffes, angered U.S. allies when he suggested that Turkey, Qatar and the UAE had extended "billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons" to extremist groups trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president.
Earlier Sunday, the UAE requested "a formal clarification" from Biden on comments that America's allies in the Middle East sent weapons and cash to extremists fighting in Syria.
The White House said Biden clarified his remarks and recognized the UAE's "strong steps" to counter extremists and participation in U.S.-led airstrikes against fighters from the group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The White House statement said Biden's remarks regarding the early stages of the Syrian civil war "were not meant to imply that the UAE had facilitated or supported" Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State group or other extremists in Syria.
"In the phone call, Biden offered his apology to the UAE for any implications in his recent statements that may have been understood to mean that the UAE had supported the growth of some of the terrorist organizations in the region," WAM, the official UAE news agency, said.
The UAE is one of the Arab allies taking part in U.S.-led air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria. The others are Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
The UAE had expressed surprise after over Biden's comments.
Biden's remarks were "amazing and ignore the role of the Emirates in the fight against extremism and terrorism," Anwar Gargash, UAE junior minister for foreign affairs, said in a statement carried late on Saturday by WAM.
In a similar apology to Turkey, Biden's office said on Saturday, "The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of the ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria."
Wire services
VIDEO-Berkshire's Buffett predicts Hillary Clinton will win 2016 presidency
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 00:26
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Tuesday predicted Democrat Hillary Clinton would run for the U.S. presidency in 2016 and win.
"Hillary is going to run,'' said Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc, speaking at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California.
"Hillary's going to win,'' said Buffett, saying he'd be willing to "bet money on it.''
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Warren Buffett
Buffett is ranked by Forbes as the third-richest person in the world.
Speculation has swirled whether former Secretary of State Clinton will throw her hat into the ring for the next election.
Watch More: Aecio Neves, Brazil's next leader?
While she is considered a potential contender for the job, she herself has yet to announce her decision on running.
"She's going to announce it as late as possible,'' Buffett said.
Buffett also added that he expected a pick-up in U.S. homebuilding as young people marry and create households of their own.
"We will have a catch up period,'' he said. "It (homebuilding) will improve.''
The S&P homebuilding index is down about 5 percent in 2014 but has risen about 157 percent since 2008 and the financial crisis.
Read MoreAll signs point to Jeb Bush prepping for 2016 presidential run
Buffett - whose Berkshire Hathaway owns dozens of businesses ranging from ice cream to insurance - also said that banks are not as profitable as they were previously.
"What was a very profitable business has been turned into a good business if executed well,'' Buffett said of the largest U.S. banks. Among Berkshire Hathaway's stock portfolio is a significant stake in Wells Fargo.
A decade ago or more, Buffett said, the best banks were "ungodly profitable.''
VIDEO-President Obama Provides an Update on the Ebola Outbreak | The White House
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:00
October 06, 2014 | 9:33
On October 6, 2014, President Obama was briefed on the Ebola outbreak in the U.S. and abroad, and provided an update on the U.S. preparedness and response to the epidemic.
Public DomainRead the Transcript
VIDEO-Ebola Vaccine Commercial - YouTube
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:57
VIDEO-NJ School Cancels Football Season Over Bullying - YouTube
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 20:41
VIDEO-Liz MacKean - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:25
Liz MacKean is a British television reporter and presenter. She worked on the BBC's Newsnight programme and was the reporter on an expose of Sir Jimmy Savile as a paedophile which was controversially cancelled by the BBC in December, 2011. The decision to axe the Newsnight investigation became the subject of the Pollard Inquiry. She and colleague Meirion Jones later won a London Press Club Scoop of the Year award for their work on the story.[1] She also won the 2010 Daniel Pearl Award for her investigation of the Trafigura toxic dumping scandal.
After leaving the BBC, MacKean went freelance, and reported on the Cyril Smith case for Channel 4's Dispatches series in September 2013.
Education[edit]MacKean was educated at Gordonstoun School, a boarding independent school near the village of Duffus, north west of the former cathedral city of Elgin in Moray in the north east of Scotland, where she played opposite Prince Edward in a production of Black Comedy,[2] followed by the University of Manchester.[3]
BBC and Newsnight[edit]MacKean was a reporter at BBC Hereford and Worcester before going on to present BBC Breakfast News and becoming a BBC News correspondent.[4][5]
In 2000, MacKean joined the BBC Newsnight programme and became a specialist on Northern Ireland, covering the unfolding peace and political process, interviewing leading politicians and paramilitary figures. In 2009, she went to Cote d'Ivoire for the programme, to report on the toxic dumping scandal involving the independent oil company Trafigura. In 2010 MacKean and five others shared the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting for their story "Trafigura's Toxic Waste Dump", which "exposed how a powerful offshore oil trader tried to cover up the poisoning of 30,000 West Africans".[6]
In a long running series for Newsnight, MacKean highlighted the plight of teenagers leaving the care system leading to a government promise of action in 2010.[7]
Jimmy Savile and Newsnight[edit]Newsnight launched an investigation into Jimmy Savile's paedophile activities immediately after his death on 29 October 2011. MacKean was the reporter and Meirion Jones was the producer; MacKean was very unhappy when the report was not transmitted before Christmas 2011 and tributes to Savile were broadcast on the BBC. She alleged that her editor Peter Rippon tried to "kill" the Savile story "by making impossible editorial demands". She told a Panorama programme in October 2012: "All I can say is that it was an abrupt change in tone from, you know, one day 'excellent, let's prepare to get this thing on air' to 'hold on'."[8] MacKean also claimed in an email to a friend that Peter Rippon said he was under pressure from his bosses: "PR [Peter Rippon] says if the bosses aren't happy '... [he] can't go to the wall on this one."[9]
The decision to cancel the Newsnight investigation became the subject of the Pollard Inquiry, named after its head, the former Sky News executive Nick Pollard. On 19 December 2012, Pollard reported that the ''Newsnight investigators were right. They found clear and compelling evidence that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile. The decision by their editor to drop the original investigation was clearly flawed and the way it was taken was wrong.''[10] He said Newsnight could have broken the story a year before ITV's Exposure. In a public statement afterwards MacKean described the failure to run the story as a "breach in our duty to the women who trusted us to reveal that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile." However, the BBC has asserted that Panorama found no evidence to suggest that Rippon was pressured from above to drop the report ahead of the Christmas tribute to Savile.[11]
Edinburgh Television Festival 2013[edit]In August 2013 MacKean told a session of the Edinburgh Television Festival that the row about excessive severance payments to senior BBC officials went to the heart of problems at the BBC where an "officer class" had been created which was treating the BBC as a "get-rich quick scheme" for themselves and their colleagues.[12] Later at the Festival the Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall picked up MacKean remarks and said "I think someone used the phrase 'officer class' and I think that's right. I understand the resentment and anger that is caused". Hall said he would "heal the appalling divide" between staff and senior managers.[13]
Subsequent reports[edit]It was announced in May 2013 that MacKean had been hired for a "high-level investigation" for the Dispatches programme on Channel 4.[14] MacKean's first broadcast investigation was "The Paedophile MP. How Cyril Smith Got Away With It" concerning the activities of the Liberal Democrat politician Cyril Smith.[15][16] The programme was transmitted on 12 September.
Personal life[edit]Liz MacKean lives with her partner and two children.
References[edit]^http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/spiked-newsnight-savile-story-named-joint-winner-london-press-club-scoop-prize^Kay, Richard (20 April 2014). "Two Jags won't leap into Lords". Daily Mail (London). ^"Liz MacKean". BBC News. 17 November 2005. ^http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0533224/^http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/content/image_galleries/hw_20_anniversary_gallery.shtml^"The Daniel Pearl Foundation Newsletter, June 2010". Danielpearl.org. Retrieved 2012-11-23. ^"The challenge facing young care leavers". BBC. 18 March 2010. ^"Peter Rippon 'tried to kill Jimmy Savile story'". PressGazette. 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2012-11-23. ^Dan Sabbagh (21 October 2012). "Jimmy Savile row: Newsnight emails spark 'crisis' at BBC | Media". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-23. ^Sabbagh & Plunkett (19 December 2012). "Pollard inquiry: BBC 'incapable' of dealing with Jimmy Savile affair". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 January 2013. ^"Jimmy Savile: BBC Newsnight editor steps aside over claims", BBC News, 22 October 2012, accessed: 23 October 2012^http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/bbc-savile-scoop-journalist-liz-mackeans-says-corporation-has-become-get-rich-quick-scheme-officer^Williams, Christopher (22 August 2013). "BBC officer class enrages people, chief admits". The Daily Telegraph (London). ^Plunkett, John (29 May 2013). "Ex-Newsnight reporter Liz Mackean to work on Channel 4 Dispatches film". The Guardian (London). ^"Dispatches reveals How Cyril Smith Abuse Went Unpunished", Channel 4, 12 September 2013^Mark Lawson "Channel 4's Dispatches on Cyril Smith is uncomfortable but powerful viewing", theguardian.com (blog), 12 September 2013PersondataNameLiz, MacKeanAlternative namesShort descriptionBritish journalist and presenterDate of birthPlace of birthDate of deathPlace of death
VIDEO-Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia (HBO Documentary Films) - YouTube
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:19
VIDEO-FBI Director Stuns With His Answer to Question on Americans Who Fight Alongside Islamic State | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:16
FBI Director James Comey was hammered by his critics after he told CBS News over the weekend that Americans who fight alongside the Islamic State in Syria are ''entitled to come back'' to the U.S. due to their citizenship.
Comey revealed that roughly 12 American citizens are currently believed to be fighting for the Islamic State in Syria. He also said he is aware of each of them.
''Each and every one of them?'' CBS News' Scott Pelley asked.
''I think of that, dozen or so, I do. I hesitate only because I don't know what I don't know,'' Comey replied.
CBS News
But when Pelley pressed the FBI director on how America can ''keep them from coming home and attacking the homeland,'' Comey said they are ''entitled'' to come home as American citizens.
''Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport's revoked, is entitled to come back,'' Comey said. ''So, someone who has fought with ISIL with an American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.''
Twitchy tracked some of the backlash that ensued over the comments.
Watch the video via CBS News below:
VIDEO-Did Something 'Miraculous' Happen to Cure Dr. Kent Brantly of Ebola? | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:15
Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan's Purse, and Dr. Lance Plyler, a medical doctor with the same organization, both agree that something ''miraculous'' happened when Dr. Kent Brantly recovered from Ebola.
Brantly, who was serving with Samaritan's Purse in Liberia when he contracted the disease, was brought back to the United States after receiving the near-fatal diagnosis. But Graham told Glenn Beck on Monday that if everything had not happened exactly as it did, Brantly would likely not have survived.
''Glenn, when I hung up the phone [after speaking with Brantly's wife] I just thought to myself, I have no idea what to do,'' Graham said. ''He's in Africa. How am I going to get him out of there? I need to get him back for treatment. How in the world are we going to do this?''
Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan's Purse, speaks on The Glenn Beck Program Oct. 6, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)
Graham said Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization, has an insurance policy that states that anyone taken ill overseas will be airlifted home. But when the insurance company found out Brantly had Ebola, they denied the request.
''God moves people, he moves individuals,'' Graham continued. ''There were people in the State Department '-- I'm not talking about the leadership '-- but [there are] people that are in the State Department, career diplomats, workers who knew where the levers were, and [they] made decisions to help Dr. Brantly. And they just did this on their own.''
Graham thanks God for more than that. He also believes the pressurization issues the plane had prior to taking off '-- which led to a 19-hour delay '-- was divine intervention.
''When that plane took off, it had a pressurization problem and had to come back and land,'' he said. ''If Dr. Brantly had gotten on that plane early, he would have died, because he would not have had ZMapp. I think God stopped the airplane, delayed it, until [his team] could put one dose of ZMapp in him.''
''God gets the credit,'' Dr. Plyler agreed.
Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TVThe full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days for just $1!
VIDEO-"We're Screwed" Major Garrett open mic briefing U.S.response to Ebola Outbreak Oct 3 2014 - YouTube
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:52
VIDEO-National Crime Agency director general: UK snooping powers are too weak | UK news | The Guardian
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 12:46
Britons must accept a greater loss of digital freedoms in return for greater safety from serious criminals and terrorists in the internet age, according to the country's top law enforcement officer.
Keith Bristow, director general of the National Crime Agency, said in an interview with the Guardian that it would be necessary to win public consent for new powers to monitor data about emails and phone calls.
Warning that the biggest threats to public safety are migrating to the internet and that crime fighters are scrambling to keep up, the NCA boss said he accepted he had not done a good enough job explaining to the public why the greater powers were necessary.
''What we have needs to be modernised '... we are losing capability and coverage of serious criminals.''
But the boss of the organisation known informally as Britain's FBI warned that support must be gained from the public for any new powers that would give the state greater access to communications data, dubbed the ''snoopers' charter'' by critics.
He said: ''If we seek to operate outside of what the public consent to, that, for me, by definition, is not policing by consent '... the consent is expressed through legislation.''
He added that it was necessary to win ''the public consent to losing some freedoms in return for greater safety and security''.
Last week the home secretary, Theresa May, backed the introduction of greater mass surveillance powers, and committed the Conservatives to implementing the communications data bill that had been blocked by the Liberal Democrats amid protests over civil liberties.
Bristow warned it would be wrong to grant the greater powers to access email and call data without public agreement. Some may see that as an implicit criticism of how previous secret mass surveillance powers, revealed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden, were enacted.
The NCA boss said Snowden's leaks, principally to the Guardian, were a betrayal. He said he thought the concerns about excessive government invasion of privacy and secret mass surveillance programmes were legitimate. But he thought once the need for greater surveillance was explained, the public would understand. Bristow said loss of privacy concerned him too: ''I recognise there is a tension and a balance.''
Bristow accepted that it would be harder now to win support for greater surveillance powers. ''The Snowden revelations have damaged public confidence in our ability, whether it's law enforcement or the intelligence agencies, to access and use data in an appropriate and proportionate way.''
The National Crime Agency was set up by the coalition to spearhead the national response to serious and organised crime. It has been called Britain's version of America's FBI with ministers considering giving it even greater powers and handing it the lead role in counter terrorism. It replaced the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which was beset by problems from its birth.
Bristow's seniority as head of the NCA is such that he has the power in law to direct the work of other police chiefs, including Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner.
Bristow insisted his agency had got off to a strong start. In the interview he told the Guardian that:
' A series of scandals such as allegations of corruption in the handling of the Stephen Lawrence case had left policing's reputation damaged and lower than it had been in years. ''I think our stock '... the esteem in which we are held '... is in my judgment not where it was a few months or years ago,'' he added.
' He could see ''advantages'' if the government stripped Scotland Yard of its leadership of the fight against terrorism, as the capabilities and tactics in fighting organised criminals and terrorists are often the same.
' The US pullout from Afghanistan was predicted by his experts to lead to an increase in the amount of heroin heading to Britain's streets.
Speaking before the home secretary's conference speech, Bristow argued that cybercrime posed a threat to Britain's national security and way of life, and that powers he had to investigate criminals using modern technology were inadequate and needed boosting.
Bristow said law enforcement organisations investigating suspected paedophiles and drug and human traffickers were now operating in a digital world, and needed the ability to prove a communication took place between identified persons at a particular time and place. ''We are running some very serious risks. This is about public safety '' we need the powers to do our job in a digital age. We need to set out our case,'' he added.
Bristow said cybercrime posed a direct threat to national security, and even to Britain's way of life. The NCA was leading new ways to tackle cybercrime: ''Some of the cybercriminals we are dealing with, it's not as easy as finding a door that we can kick in.''
The NCA launched in October last year, led by Bristow. He was for some a surprise choice of the job, having previously been the chief constable of the small Warwickshire force.The government is considering stripping the Met of its national lead in counter-terrorism and handing it to the NCA. In the interview Bristow for the first time commented on the advantages of such a radical shake up, which Scotland Yard is resisting. He said terrorists and organised criminals often operate in the same way and that ''the tactics of law enforcement to tackle these people are often the same''.
Bristow, formerly chief constable of the small Warwickshire force, said that in a time of austerity it would be sensible to look at shared capabilities with Scotland Yard to tackle the twin threats. ''The judgment that will need to be made is how do we get best effect out of our collective effort against terrorists and organised criminals '... the strategic national threats that can't be tackled in isolation.''
Asked if he sees advantages for terrorism and organised crime fighting being led by the same organisation, Bristow said: ''I can see advantages for shared capability.''
Bristow said NCA experts were also predicting a spike in heroin heading to the UK from Afghanistan after US forces pull out from the war-torn country later this year. Heroin from Afghanistan accounts for 90% of the class A drug on Britain's streets: ''We are predicting '... that the availability and purity of Afghan heroin may well go up.'' The director general is answerable directly to Theresa May '' leading some in the police to suggest that in effect the NCA is a national police force directly under the control of government. But Bristow said he was not under government's control, saying the home secretary had a democratic mandate to set the NCA's priorities and budget, and he directed its operations.
VIDEO- CNN Calls Ebola 'ISIS of biological agents' after accusing FOX of being unscientific. - YouTube
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 01:20
VIDEO-2013- Gov. Perry Announces Major Biopharmaceutical Partnership - YouTube
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:39
VIDEO-The Vast Majority of the Black Community Is Worried That Obama's Race Is at the Root of the Secret Service's Failures, Democrat Says | TheBlaze.com
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:48
Is the Secret Service doing such a bad job these days because of President Barack Obama's race?
Ranking member of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) is one of the people looking into the Secret Service's failings, and on Sunday's ''Face the Nation'' he revealed what a large chunk of America's black community is thinking: The Secret Service would be doing a better job to protect a white president.
Cummings was quick to say he personally didn't believe racism was to blame, saying that the Secret Service has been having serious problems since well before President Obama took office, but he noted that ''85 percent'' of the black people he's talked to about presidential security believe that the president's race has something to do with why he's being guarded so poorly.
Cummings also claimed that the Obama family is not worried, despite the security breaches.
''The president's people have told me that he feels very comfortable,'' Cummings said. ''He feels good about [the Secret Service], and most importantly the First Lady feels good about it.''
(H/T: Mediaite)
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter
VIDEO: UK families flee social services
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:36
Some families who feel they are at risk of forced adoptions are fleeing the UK to escape social services.
Every year around 11,000 children in England are taken from their parents and placed into care.
Campaigners accuse England of having the worst record in Europe for forced adoptions.
There are concerns that it could potentially put children at risk.
Rachel Royce reports.
VIDEO-Salt-Water Powered Car Gets Approval In Europe '' Yes It's Real | Collective-Evolution
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 09:19
It works just like a hydrogen fuel cell except that the liquid used for storing energy is saltwater. This isn't far from the water powered car, an idea labelled as a conspiracy by many despite the massive amount of evidence behind it. You can read more about that here.
In this case (saltwater) the liquid passes through a membrane in between the two tanks, creating an electric charge. This electricity is then stored and distributed by super capacitors. The car carries the water in two 200-litre tanks, which in one sitting will allow drivers to travel up to 373 miles (600km). Overall, the four-seater is 5.25 metres (0.4ft) long, 2.2 metres wide (7.2ft), the 1.35 metre (4.4ft).
''After making its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show (pictured) in March, the saltwater technology has now been certified for use on European roads.'' (source)
Nanoflowcell AG is the company behind the design, and they are currently preparing the technology for mass production.
'We've got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry. The potential of the NanoFlowcell is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology'' - NanoFlowcell AG Chairman of the Board Professor Jens-Peter Ellermann.
This is huge news, and is another example out of so many that clearly show how we have so many ways to do better here. Although money remains an issue, it doesn't have to be.
All cars should be required to be made from this type, or other similar types of clean green energy. A few years ago, if you told somebody it's possible to fuel a car by pouring saltwater into it, they would have called you a conspiracy theorist.
Last Year The U.S Navy Developed a Technology To Create Fuel From SeawaterScientists at the U.S Naval Research Laboratory have developed a technology to recover carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and convert it into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel. This could be a tremendous breakthrough and eliminate the need for old ways of generating fuel.
It's just another example of the many ways of generating energy that are now available that could end our dependence on fossil fuels. These new, clean green ways of generating energy have been around for decades, so why are we always talking about them without ever implementing them?
''Refueling U.S. Navy Vessels, at sea, is a costly endeavor in terms of logistics, time, fiscal constraints and threats to national security sailors at sea. In Fiscal year 2011, the U.S. Navy Military Sea Lift Command, the primary supplier of fuel and oil to the U.S. Navy fleet, delivered nearly 600 million gallons of fuel to Navy vessels underway, operating 15 fleet replenishment oilers around the globe.'' (source)
The Navy successfully used the new fuel-from seawater process to power a radio-controlled scale-model replica of a World War II aircraft with an internal combustion engine. Below is the footage from the test flight.
''In close collaboration with the Office of Navel Research p38 Naval Reserve program, NRL has developed a game changing technology for extracting, simultaneously, CO2 and H2 from seawater. This is the first time technology of this nature has been demonstrated with the potential for transition, from the laboratory, to full-scale commercial implementation.'' '' Dr. Heather Willauer (source)
Researchers say that this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years. They state interest in pursuing land-based options that could provide a solution to our current problems.
Again, another option, and example showing the power of human potential, so what's stopping us from the implementation of cleaner and greener technologies?
Not long ago, Department of Defence adviser Dr. Harold Puthoff made some noteworthy comments while discussing the reality of free energy. This is what he said:
''I've been taken out on aircraft carriers by the Navy and shown what it is we have to replace if we have new energy sources to provide new fuel methods.''
You can watch that full interview HERE.
Whether it be Solar, Free Energy (zero-point), or converting seawater, it's clear we can do better than we are doing now. It's remarkable how Barack Obama has constantly pointed out that we will be using oil, gas and coal for the next twenty years, and that we don't have the technology to lift our dependence off of these resources. Those who are looking into it can clearly see that this simply isn't true. We have the means to live in ways that are more harmonious with the planet and all beings on it.
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Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:36


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