707: Bandwich

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 0m
March 26th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Baron AJ Rystad, Anonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Lynton Harry, Baronetess Dame Francine Hardaway

Cover Artist: lindhartsen

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Again we were on the money and still POOR! [Heinz/Kraft]
33% Stock Spike-Kraft and Heinz merger to create food giant - Mar. 25, 2015
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 04:46
Kraft shares surged more than 33% Wednesday.
Kraft owns popular brands such as Jell-O, Maxwell House coffee and Planters peanuts. Heinz, of course, is famous for its ketchup, and also owns Lea & Perrins and Ore-Ida.
Kraft shareholders will receive stock in the Kraft Heinz Company, plus a special dividend of $16.50 per share funded by a $10 billion cash injection by Heinz owners 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway(BRKA).
This isn't the first time that Buffett has worked with 3G Capital. In 2013, they teamed up to acquire Heinz.
Berkshire Hathaway also helped 3G Capital finance Burger King's purchase of Canadian chain Tim Hortons last year.
Once the deal is done, Heinz shareholders will own 51% of the combined firm while Kraft shareholders will get a 49% stake.
"By bringing together these two iconic companies through this transaction, we are creating a strong platform for both U.S. and international growth," said Heinz chairman and 3G managing partner Alex Behring.
Another big reason for the deal: Cost cutting at Kraft. 3G is known for slashing costs at bloated companies, and Kraft needed help if it was going to start boosting profits.
Just last week, Kraft recalled 240,000 cases of macaroni and cheese, because some boxes may have been contaminated with pieces of metal.
Kraft Heinz will have headquarters in both Pittsburgh and the Chicago area. Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees will be CEO of the combined group.
Berkshire Hathaway will have three seats on the new board.
Heinz and Kraft are aiming to generate $1.5 billion in annual cost savings by the end of 2017.
The merger has been agreed by the boards of both companies, but needs regulatory approval and the support of Kraft shareholders. The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of 2015.
Related: Olive Garden's neverending comeback
CNNMoney (Hong Kong)March 25, 2015: 12:59 PM ET
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Presidential Proclamation -- Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy, 2015
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:45
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 24, 2015
GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY: A NATIONAL DAY OF CELEBRATION OF
GREEK AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, 2015
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Since the dawn of our Nation, the United States and Greece have shared a bond forged through common struggle and deeply rooted in mutual beliefs. Greek principles guided our Founders as they declared America's independence, and nearly half a century later, as Greek revolutionaries fought to throw off the yoke of an empire, they renewed the creed that unites free people everywhere: ordinary citizens can govern themselves. Today, we celebrate the Hellenic spirit that has inspired our two great nations -- separated by an ocean but linked by a shared destiny written not for us, but by us.
It was the democratic example of ancient Greece from which the founding generation of Americans drew strength. In our Nation's earliest days, we sought wisdom from Greek history and philosophy, and we found hope within the pages of timeless Greek texts. Mindful of the lessons of the Hellenic story, courageous patriots undertook a bold experiment, securing the blessings of liberty and laying the foundation for more than two centuries of progress.
But even in the cradle of democracy, the promise of freedom was not preordained. More than 2,000 years after the values of self-determination first found expression in a small group of Hellenic city-states, the Greek people stood up against tyranny and sacrificed to restore democracy to its birthplace. They met brutal hardship with unbreakable character, drew inspiration from America's revolution, and never lost faith in the ideals Greece has always represented.
As Americans and Greeks, we are heirs to a long legacy of hard-won freedom and justice -- values which we must not only preserve, but renew and refresh in our own time. Generations of Greek Americans have enriched the United States and strengthened our communities. Their heritage and vibrant culture are reflected in our story of achievement and constant striving; their voices are among the chorus of citizens who have driven this country inexorably forward. Today, as Greece works to lay a foundation for long-term prosperity, our Nation continues to support our friend and NATO ally and to help the Greek people reach for the future so many have sought -- one where all women and men are free to pursue their dreams, realize their potential, and secure a brighter tomorrow for their children.
Together, we continue the righteous task of perfecting our two nations. On the 194th anniversary of Greek independence, let us celebrate the enduring ties between our peoples and stand with those around the world who long for liberty and the chance to join in the noble work of building a democracy.
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 March 25, 2015, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
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Do kids make rock candy anymore
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Stec on the easter donation amount newsletter
Contrary to Dvorak Sunday newsletter ... The date of Easter and Passover for that matter is not a convoluted formula. It is a simple measure determined by the day of the full moon.
Just blame the Jews who developed the formula before the Pope stole it. And for that matter the Orthodox Greeks for being a week later most years and sometimes not. The Greeks were always a pain in the ass. In fact some of my Greek in laws still are.
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Congressional Dish on The Stream
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
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''707, 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.
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GermanWings
Asessment
The bewilderment of the Lufthansa CEO regarding this incident is telling.
There has been no mention of any faults being revealed via ACARS.
If you cut back to AF447 they were referenced very early in the piece.
The Lufthansa CEO would be apprised very early by his own people if
any hint of mechanical problems was evident. But nothing so far except
extreme bewilderment.
The aircraft was travelling at excessive speed; in excess of VMO.
That is acceptable if you are on fire and heading for Nice or somewhere
like that. This aircraft remained on track.
Travelling in excess of VMO in a A320 disconnects the AP and
triggers the high speed protections which pitch the aircraft up. This
aircraft did not pitch up. Which probably means it was being over-ridden
by whomever was flying it.
That raises the possibility that the aircraft was hand flown all the way down.
That is ok if you are trying to get to an airport quickly but this aircraft stayed on track and headed directly for the Alps.
This aircraft did not capture any altitudes. Either the descent
altitude was set below 6000 feet on the FCU; unlikely but it could have
been done in error for the initial descent, or it was being hand flown.
Pulling open des on an emergency descent, provided a lower altitude
is set in the FCU, in cruise engages the speed mode which would have
captured the cruise mach, which then would have crossed-over to an IAS
somewhere on descent. The autothrust commands IDLE and the selected
speed is controlled by the elevators.
Therefore only way to achieve max
speed is if someone sets it there. There is no reason to do so, and you
certainly don't deliberately fly in excess of VMO. The high speed
protections would be fighting against you.
Barring some sort of irrecoverable autoflight glitch, the foul play aspect will be increasingly looked at.
Prosecutor Body language
Note the body language of this prosecutor, He's pacifying himself by rubbing his head. He's shaking, He's very labored in making these statements. I don't speak german so I don't know exactly what he is saying at those moments. I don't think he's confident. If I was playing poker with him I'd call that bet without hesitation. Pretty early to be making these conclusions, now they are all in on this story and the investigation becomes a confirmation mission.
Lockout
i don't want to give away too much, but the cabin manager can definitely enter the flightdeck post depressurisation.
Not if someone in the cockpit wants to keep them out, in the airline I work for at least.
Most US airlines have FA in cockpit if 1 of crew is out, to always have 2 on the flight deck
List of deliberate pilot caused crashes
Flight Crew member bathroom break on an hour long flight?
There have
been fume issues and sensor issues before. Airbus is under pressure for a
couple f* up German military deals, where they couldn’t deliver on
time, in quantity and up to specs. 380 was even up for discussion. What
do you think is the last thing they need right now? And guess in which
countries they are particularly well connected? Right, France and
Germany.
So what if Cpt
went to the restroom to freshen up because he wasn’t well (fumes)? Door
lock needs explanation, ok, but what if that was an error of an
incapacitated FO and not deliberate.
CVR & FDR
UK TV news - 'expert' suggesting that 1 component of CVR was so badly
UK TV news - 'expert' suggesting that 1 component of CVR was so badly
damaged in the impact, the timeline data was missing, so they can hear
the audio but without knowing when it was recorded. More worrying was
report that FDR casing had been found sans internal recording apparatus.
Back to good old fashioned crash investigation then. I guess Lufthansa
and Airbus Ind CEO's are 'bricking it'.
damaged in the impact, the timeline data was missing, so they can hear
the audio but without knowing when it was recorded. More worrying was
report that FDR casing had been found sans internal recording apparatus.
Back to good old fashioned crash investigation then. I guess Lufthansa
and Airbus Ind CEO's are 'bricking it'.
Current Survivability Standards
TSO C123a (CVR) and C124a (DFDR)
Fire (High Intensity) - 1100°C flame covering 100% of recorder for 30 minutes. (60 minutes if ED56 test protocol is used)
Fire (Low Intensity) - 260°C Oven test for 10 hours
Impact Shock - 3,400 Gs for 6.5 ms
Static Crush - 5,000 pounds for 5 minutes on each axis
Fluid Immersion - Immersion in aircraft fluids (fuel, oil etc.) for 24 hours
Water Immersion - Immersion in sea water for 30 days
Penetration Resistance - 500 lb. Dropped from 10 ft. with a ¼-inch-diameter contact point
Hydrostatic Pressure - Pressure equivalent to depth of 20,000 ft.
G-Force Calculations
1. G's. The term "g" forces or
"g" loads is a convenient descriptive tool for
technical discussions involving accelerations due to impact
forces. One "g" is an acceleration equal to that
generated by a free fall in the earth's gravitational field,
i.e., 32.2 feet per second per second. Thus, a body acted on
by a 0.5 g acceleration experiences a force equal to half its
weight. This force acts in the direction of the
acceleration.
Frequently, during high speed collisions, accelerations
in the range of 25 to 50 g's are generated. If a 150-lb.
person is acted on by a 50-g retarding force during an
accident, then a force of 7,500 lbs. acts on his body. Note
that while a "g" value is really an acceleration,
it is sometimes discussed as though it were a force. This is
technically inaccurate but not harmful if it is clear what
body the force acts on and if the mass of that body does not
change during the application of the "g load."
This shit didn't happen when we still had flight engineers on the Flight Deck
Technology has its drawbacks
Flight Crew
German Pilots, French Aircraft - Anti Airbus hit?
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When Windshields Fail | Business Aviation content from Aviation Week
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:01
Consider for a moment your aircraft's windshield and the stresses it endures as a matter of course. It might bake to 130F on a heat-soaked ramp and 20 min. later be pushing through the stratosphere at 500 kt. in air super cooled to -45F. Moreover, it holds firm despite the pressure differential. We take all of that for granted since it's designed to withstand those extremes. But what if it fails? It happens.
Fortunately, the majority of failures aren't as catastrophic as that encountered by Capt. Tim Lancaster in his BAC 1-11 (see sidebar), but there's nothing benign about any of them as the flight crew of a Cessna Citation X discovered during a flight from Samoa to Sydney on Jan. 15, 2013. Shortly after leveling at FL 450, the pilots observed this EICAS message: WSHLD HEAT INOP L (windshield heat inoperative left). The checklist said to leave icing conditions as soon as practical. Approximately 2 min. later, the left windshield's outer ply shattered with a loud bang. The crew donned their oxygen masks, commenced an immediate descent along with a turn toward Nadi International Airport at Fiji, deployed the passenger oxygen masks, and declared MAYDAY to Nadi Radio. Once this was established, the pilot not flying (PNF) ensured the passengers were on oxygen and briefed them on the situation, which included preparing for a possible ditching and donning life vests.
The pilot flying (PF) reported that the windshield crack remained constant and did not grow any more, and much to their relief the cabin did not depressurize. The crew subsequently downgraded to a PAN and landed at Nadi without further incident. There were no injuries.
Subsequent examination of the electrically heated glass left windshield by the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) found that the outer ply had shattered across the entire surface. There was brown discoloration near the top right of the windshield with staining around one of the soldered contacts. At the time of the failure the windshield had accumulated approximately 3,200 flight hours and 2,050 flight cycles. (See photos on next page.)
Windshields are designed under the ''fail safe'' concept, which basically means that the failure of one component won't lead to a catastrophic failure of the structure. Accordingly, it's common for windshields on jets to be constructed of multiple layers to withstand the immense thermal, aerodynamic and mechanical stresses. For example, the Cessna 750's windshield construction consists of a 0.10-in. outer (non-structural) face ply, a middle 0.19-in. structural ply and a 0.235-in. structural inner ply, separated by 0.15-in. PVB/urethane layers for a total thickness of 0.825 in. Either the middle or inner pane is structurally capable of maintaining cabin pressure. The interlayer between the outer and middle glass panes is heated.
Failure analysts determined that wear of the seal at the top of the windshield allowed moisture ingress to the bus bar and led to degradation of the electrical connection between the bus bar and the heating film. Eventually the heating film began to burn out, in turn leading to arcing and failure of the outer non-structural face ply of glass. The manufacturer addressed this issue by adding a fiberglass ''z-shaped'' strap along the boundary of the face ply to provide an additional layer for moisture and for an indication of seal wear. Investigators also found that the cracking could occur in the solder material, resulting in a short circuit and arcing. This issue was addressed by changing the size and location of the upper bus bar in the window.
The ATSB's report on the Citation windshield incident aptly demonstrates many of the complicated factors facing pilots when a windshield cracks. The report concluded ''precautions taken by the flight crew to descend to a lower altitude and diversion to the alternate airport highlighted the importance of good flight planning.''
How often and how severe are windshield failures? A review of the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority's Mandatory Occurrence Reporting system for incidents involving failure or malfunction of a pilot's windscreen found a total of 195 incident reports involving windshield failures over a five-year period (April 2008 '-- April 2013). The aircraft involved ranged from light planes and helicopters to turboprops and airliners. Of the total, 171 were fixed-wing airplanes, and 24 were helicopters.
Focusing on the airplanes, the data revealed that the structural integrity of multi-layered windshields common to FAR Part 25 aircraft was always maintained, a tribute to proper design, manufacturing and maintenance procedures. Nonetheless, the events often involved obscured vision, arcing and the high workload associated with taking corrective procedures including rapid descent as prescribed by the abnormal section of the checklist, along with the additional flight planning for a divert.
General aviation aircraft certified under Part 23 were involved in four of the windshield failures, all of which were caused by bird strikes. In two cases, remnants of the bird violently struck the pilot, causing significant head injuries, even knocking off a headset, and sending bloody debris all over the cabin. These pilots were able to recover, albeit with difficulty.
The phase of flight at which the failure occurs has a large effect on the immediate action required of the pilot. For jet and multiengine-turboprop aircraft, around three-quarters of the incidents (74%) happened during high-altitude cruise, a period when the windshield is subjected to extremes in aerodynamic force, thermal stress and pressure differential. The balance of jet and multiengine-turboprop aircraft incidents occurred on approach and landing, climb and descent.
Almost all the incidents (98%) involved a significantly shattered or cracked layer of the windscreen. One-quarter (25%) of them exhibited electrical arcing after the windscreen shattered, while nearly one in 10 (9%) involved arcing prior to the shattering. Bird strikes were the initiating event in 12 of the fixed-wing incidents, while hail damage caused three.
Once the cracks occurred, about one-third (36%) of the crews began descending immediately and 14% donned their oxygen masks in anticipation of loss of pressurization. Most of the incidents (86%) involved significant immediate action, and those that did not (14%) occurred while on approach with the pilots continuing the approach to a landing.
Nearly one-fifth (17%) of the incidents were preceded by a precautionary warning of a windshield heat failure, followed shortly thereafter by the abrupt shatter of one of the panes within the windshield. A windshield must withstand extreme temperature differences in a short time frame, which subjects it to formidable thermal stresses as it attempts to expand or contract. There is a conductive layer between the plies that heats the window unit. In some windows you will notice an electrical grid in the corner of the windshield, which is the electrical connection from the power source.
Within the windshield system there are thermostats to keep the transparencies from overheating, but these can fail. Should that happen in flight, there's an airspeed restriction for many aircraft, which is published in their respective AFMs. If the heating is inadvertently left on during ground operations with no cooling air flow over the windshield, it can be prone to overheating, which can result in a peculiar wavy distortion when looking through the windshield.
Changes in temperature also cause large differences in a window's elasticity. This is important because a cold-soaked window is brittle and less able to resist an impact (namely from a bird), whereas a warm window would be more resistant to impact damage.
In the Boeing 777, window heat turns on automatically at the beginning of a flight and off at the end, a feature intended to lower pilot workload, allowing the pilots to concentrate on the flight trajectory and configuration management tasks rather than these tedious ''housekeeping'' tasks. In most other aircraft this is done manually and is sometimes overlooked with potentially negative consequences.
In addition to being turned on, proper operation of the windshield heating system is dependent upon an electrical supply, and electrical system failures such as a total generator failure can shed the windshield heat circuit, as well as other circuits not deemed absolutely vital for the continuation of the flight. For instance, the flight crew of an Airbus 321 on Jan. 12, 2009, experienced a generator failure, which led to numerous electronic centralized aircraft monitor (ECAM) failure messages and loss of the flight control unit (FCU) and pedestal. The pilots faced a cascading series of electrical failures that included the air-conditioning, pressurization, windshield heat, flight management system, landing gear and central warning systems. Ice and mist accumulated on the windshield, which made the landing approach quite challenging, not to mention post-touchdown challenges posed by the lack of autobraking and nosewheel steering. Despite all of that trouble, the cold-soaked pilots were able bring the aircraft safely to a stop.
A loud, high-pitched squeal emanating from the vicinity of a window seal was reported in 12% of the incidents. On Oct. 31, 2009, a Boeing 757's flight crew heard such a sound coming from the area of the captain's window. The pilots were understandably worried about loss of pressurization and diverted the flight for a precautionary landing. A maintenance review found that during the preceding flight, the crew had experienced a similar noise, but that had ceased after approximately 30 min. After that flight, the window seal had been inspected, but no damage was found. The window seal was then cleaned and lubricated, and the aircraft released. Following the incident flight, the seal was found to be excessively greased and the inflation holes were blocked. Following a pressure test, leaks were found in the No. 3 left-hand window due to the lower edge blanking screws being loose.
If you have ever written up an aircraft for a suspected seal failure and afterward the maintenance technicians ''could not duplicate'' the noise, don't be surprised. Window seal failures can be difficult to diagnose on the ground and it requires a lot of effort and proper equipment to conduct a pressure test.
It is worth taking a close look at the guidance in your flight manual for the proper procedures following a windshield failure, and perhaps asking for a bit of extra clarification the next time you attend simulator training. These are procedures you don't want to read for the first time at altitude with the howls emanating from the glass just a few feet in front of your face. The ''Operating Limits'' section of the Citation X's flight manual states, ''If either cockpit windshield cracks in flight, continued flight to destination is permitted in accordance with Section III, Abnormal Procedures, Cockpit Forward or Side Windshield Cracked or Shattered.''
It might surprise you to learn that after landing, if only the Citation X's outer (non-structural) ply of the windshield is cracked, flight to a maintenance base is permitted, observing Cockpit Forward or Side Windshield Cracked or Shattered Procedures. If either structural ply of the windshield is cracked, however, restricted flight is permitted only on a ferry permit (Special Airworthiness Certificate).
Speed, altitude and cabin pressurization reductions are common specified procedures in aircraft flight manuals for a compromised windshield. For example, the King Air 200's flight manual Abnormal Procedures section for a Cracked or Shattered Windshield prescribes maintaining an altitude of 25,000 ft. or less, resetting the pressurization controller to maintain a cabin differential pressure of 2.0 to 4.6 psi, and then depressurizing the cabin prior to touchdown.
Review of the 195 windshield failures revealed that there were often other complicating factors that made it more difficult for the flight crew to get the aircraft safely on the ground. Visibility through a shattered windshield could be sufficiently reduced to dictate flying the airplane from the opposite side of the cockpit. A shattered inner ply can cause particles or flakes that could interfere with a crew's vision. Windshield heat may be inoperative in the area of the crack(s). A cracked outer windshield ply may damage operating windshield wipers.
In addition, flight planning can quickly consume the crew's attention as a result of having to cruise at restricted (lower) flight levels, and perhaps needing to dump fuel to get down to landing weight if an immediate landing is warranted. The situation can be further complicated in international (non-radar) airspace in which a precautionary descent and/or turn to a diversionary airport is initiated, causing a possible procedural loss of airspace separation.
In short, while windshield failure is rare, the potential complexity of dealing with such a dangerous condition merits consideration and planning and is certainly worth discussion during recurrent training.
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ASN Aircraft incident 05-NOV-2014 Airbus A321-231 D-AIDP
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:29
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.Narrative:During climb, 12 NM NW of Pamplona, at approximately Flight Level 310, the aircraft unexpectedly decreased the pitch autonomous and started to descend. The aircraft reached a rate of descent of up to 4,000 ft/min. The crew was able to stop the descent at Flight Level 270. The flight was continued and the aircraft landed safely at its destination Munich Airport.Following this occurrence EASA released Emergency AD 2014-0266-E_1 to introduce a new flight crew procedure. The EAD described this incident as follows: An occurrence was reported where an Airbus A321 aeroplane encountered a blockage of two Angle Of Attack (AOA) probes during climb, leading to activation of the Alpha Protection (Alpha Prot) while the Mach number increased. The flight crew managed to regain full control and the flight landed uneventfully.
Sources:http://www.bea.aero/fr/enquetes/2014/2014.semaine.46.pdfhttp://ad.easa.europa.eu/blob/easa_ad_2014_0266_E.pdf/EAD_2014-0266-E_1Revision history:Date/timeContributorUpdates18-Nov-2014 20:14harroAdded29-Dec-2014 13:11AerossuranceUpdated [Time, Source, Narrative]Number of views: 3484
Incident: British Airways A320 near London on Dec 18th 2014, fumes in cockpit and cabin
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:43
Incident: British Airways A320 near London on Dec 18th 2014, fumes in cockpit and cabin Last Update: Thursday, Mar 26th 2015 14:39Z16495 Articles availableEvents from Jun 19th 1999 to Mar 25th 2015 Incident: British Airways A320 near London on Dec 18th 2014, fumes in cockpit and cabin
By Simon Hradecky, created Tuesday, Dec 30th 2014 14:21Z, last updated Thursday, Mar 12th 2015 16:26ZA British Airways Airbus A320-200, registration G-TTOB performing flight BA-326 from London Heathrow,EN (UK) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), was climbing out of Heathrow's runway 27R when fumes were detected in cockpit and cabin prompting both crew to don their oxygen masks, stop the climb at FL170 and return to Heathrow Airport for a safe landing on runway 27L about 30 minutes after departure.
The flight was cancelled.
The French BEA reported in their weekly bulletin that the occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by the AAIB. No injuries are being reported.
On Mar 12th 2015 the British AAIB released their bulletin reporting that hydraulic fluid leaking from a hydraulic actuator had been ingested by the air conditioning system.
The aircraft was climbing through 5000 feet when the flight crew noticed a "musty" smell in the cockpit, donned their oxygen masks and worked the related checklists. In the meantime cabin crew reported that the odour was noticed in the cabin as well and a couple of passengers reported being light headed and feeling nausea. As the check lists did not permit to identify the origin and the smell did not dissipate the crew decided to return to London, where the aircraft landed without further incident. After vacating the runway the smell had reduced sufficiently for the flight crew to remove their oxygen masks while taxiing to the apron.
Maintenance identified that a yaw damper actuator had been leaking hydraulic fluid which was ingested into the inlet of the auxiliary power unit (APU) from where the hydraulic fluid "found its way into the air conditioning system". The actuator was replaced and the decontamination conducted before the aircraft returned to service without further occurrences.
By Airmen on Monday, Mar 16th 2015 07:49ZBy W on Friday, Mar 13th 2015 12:21ZBy CharlieKilo on Friday, Mar 13th 2015 11:37ZBy Pabs on Friday, Mar 13th 2015 08:37ZBy Airbusman on Thursday, Mar 12th 2015 21:52ZBy Simon Kieser on Thursday, Mar 12th 2015 19:24ZBy WorldWideWelshman on Thursday, Jan 1st 2015 10:13ZBy Toxicair8 on Wednesday, Dec 31st 2014 13:18ZBy (anonymous) on Tuesday, Dec 30th 2014 15:24ZThe Aviation Herald iOS AppiPhone & iPadVersion 1.01
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Airbus could raise A320 output again this year: exec - Yahoo Finance
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:21
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Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France - NYTimes.com
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:42
PARIS '-- For the latest updates: follow our live blog
As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed amid a relatively clear sky, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane's descent and was unable to get back in.
A senior French military official involved in the investigation described a ''very smooth, very cool'' conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to D¼sseldorf, Germany. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.
''The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer,'' the investigator said. ''And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer.''
Interactive Feature | Victims of Germanwings Flight 9525 Passengers from at least 15 countries were aboard the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to D¼sseldorf, Germany, including 72 Germans and 35 Spaniards. Here are profiles of some of the 123 victims whose families have been notified.
He said, ''You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.''
While the audio seemed to give some insight into the circumstances leading to the Germanwings crash on Tuesday morning, it also left many questions unanswered.
''We don't know yet the reason why one of the guys went out,'' said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing. ''But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.''
The data from the voice recorder seems only to deepen the mystery surrounding the crash and provides no indication of the condition or activity of the pilot who remained in the cockpit. The descent from 38,000 feet over about 10 minutes was alarming but still gradual enough to indicate that the twin-engine Airbus A320 had not been damaged catastrophically. At no point during the descent was there any communication from the cockpit to air traffic controllers or any other signal of an emergency.
When the plane plowed into craggy mountains northeast of Nice, it was traveling with enough speed that it was all but pulverized, killing the 144 passengers and crew of six and leaving few clues.
The French aviation authorities have made public very little, officially, about the nature of the information that has been recovered from the audio recording, and it was not clear whether it was complete. France's Bureau of Investigations and Analyses confirmed only that human voices and other cockpit sounds had been detected and would be subjected to detailed analysis.
Asked about the new evidence revealed in the cockpit recordings, Martine del Bono, a bureau spokeswoman, declined to comment. ''Our teams continue to work on analyzing the CVR,'' she said, referring to the cockpit voice recorder. ''As soon as we have accurate information we intend to hold a press conference.''
Meanwhile, prosecutors in Marseille, who have been tasked with a separate criminal inquiry into the crash, could not immediately be reached for comment. Brice Robin, the Marseille prosecutor, was due to meet Thursday morning with the families of the crash victims.
Map | Where the Germanwings Plane Crashed The jet crashed in a remote part of the French Alps.
At the crash site, a senior official working on the investigation said, workers found the casing of the plane's other so-called black box, the flight data recorder, but the memory card containing data on the plane's altitude, speed, location and condition was not inside, apparently having been thrown loose or destroyed by the impact.
The flight's trajectory ahead of the crash also left many unanswered questions.
R(C)mi Jouty, the director of the Bureau of Investigations and Analyses, said at a news conference that the plane took off around 10 a.m. local time from Barcelona and that the last message sent from the pilot to air traffic controllers had been at 10:30 a.m., which indicated that the plane was proceeding on course.
But minutes later, the plane inexplicably began to descend, Mr. Jouty said. At 10:40 and 47 seconds, the plane reported its last radar position, at an altitude of 6,175 feet. ''The radar could follow the plane until the point of impact,'' he said.
Mr. Jouty said the plane slammed into a mountainside and disintegrated, scattering debris over a wide area, and making it difficult to analyze what had happened.
It often takes months or even years to determine the causes of plane crashes, but a little more than a year after the disappearance of a Malaysian airlines jetliner that has never been found, the loss of the Germanwings flight is shaping up to be particularly perplexing to investigators.
One of the main questions is why the pilots did not communicate with air traffic controllers as the plane began its unusual descent, suggesting that the pilots or the plane's automated systems may have been trying to maintain control of the aircraft as it lost altitude.
Among the theories that have been put forward by air safety analysts not involved in the investigation is the possibility that a pilot could have been incapacitated by a sudden event such as a fire or a drop in cabin pressure.
The French aviation authorities have recovered an audio file from the cockpit voice recorder, but did not say whether it was partial or complete.
Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses, via Associated Press
A senior French official involved in the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the lack of communication from the pilots during the plane's descent was disturbing, and that the possibility that their silence was deliberate could not be ruled out.
''I don't like it,'' said the French official, who cautioned that his initial analysis was based on the very limited information currently available. ''To me, it seems very weird: this very long descent at normal speed without any communications, though the weather was absolutely clear.''
''So far, we don't have any evidence that points clearly to a technical explanation,'' the official said. ''So we have to consider the possibility of deliberate human responsibility.''
Mr. Jouty said it was far too early in the investigation to speculate about possible causes.
French emergency services resumed work on Wednesday near the crash site of a Germanwings jet.
Peter Kneffel / European Pressphoto Agency
''At this moment, I have no beginning of a scenario,'' Mr. Jouty said. However, he said there was not yet any evidence available that would support a theory of a depressurization or of a midair explosion.
Speaking on the French radio station RTL, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Wednesday morning that terrorism was not a likely ''hypothesis at the moment,'' but that no theories had been excluded. He said the size of the area over which debris was scattered suggested that the aircraft had not exploded in the air but rather had disintegrated on impact.
Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, has characterized the crash as an accident. The airline has not disclosed the identities of the pilots, except to say that the captain was a 10-year veteran with more than 6,000 hours of flying time in A320s.
The French Bureau of Investigations and Analyses, which is leading the technical inquiry into the crash, sent seven investigators to the crash site Tuesday. They have been joined by their counterparts from Germany, as well as by technical advisers from Airbus and CFM International, the manufacturer of the plane's engines.
Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Jean-Paul Troadec, a former director of the French air accident investigation bureau, said one of the big challenges for investigators would be to protect the debris at the crash site from inadvertent damage.
''We need to ensure that all the evidence is well preserved,'' Mr. Troadec said, referring to the pieces of the plane littered across the steep slopes as well as to the remains of the victims. The identification of the victims will probably require matching DNA from the remains with samples from relatives.
The recovery effort will be a laborious task, given the state of the wreckage, the difficult terrain and the fact that the crash site is so remote that it could be reached only by helicopter.
Cabin depressurization, one of the possibilities speculated about on Wednesday, has occurred before, perhaps most notably in the crash of a Cypriot passenger plane in 2005 that killed all 121 people on board as it approached Athens. In that case, Helios Airways Flight 522, a slow loss of pressure rendered both pilots and all the passengers on the Boeing 737 jet unconscious for more than three-quarters of an hour before the aircraft ran out of fuel and slammed into a wooded gorge near Athens, the Greek capital.
Investigators eventually determined that the primary cause of that crash was a series of human errors, including deficient maintenance checks on the ground and a failure by the pilots to heed emergency warning signals.
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot 'wanted to destroy plane' - BBC News
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:30
Rescue teams resumed their recovery operation in the mountains on Thursday The co-pilot of the Germanwings plane that crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday appeared to want to "destroy the plane", French officials said.
Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin, citing information from the "black box" voice recorder, said the co-pilot was alone in the cockpit.
He intentionally started a descent while the pilot was locked out.
Mr Robin said there was "absolute silence in the cockpit" as the pilot fought to re-enter it.
However, passengers could be heard screaming just before the crash, he added.
The co-pilot, now named as Andreas Lubitz, 28, was alive until the final impact, the prosecutor said.
The Airbus 320 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf hit a mountain, killing all 144 passengers and six crew, after a rapid eight-minute descent.
"We hear the pilot ask the co-pilot to take control of the plane and we hear at the same time the sound of a seat moving backwards and the sound of a door closing," Mr Robin told reporters.
29 November 2013: A flight between Mozambique and Angola crashed in Namibia, killing 33 people. Initial investigation results suggested the accident was deliberately carried out by the captain shortly after the first officer (also known as the co-pilot) had left the flight deck.31 October 1999: An EgyptAir Boeing 767 went into a rapid descent 30 minutes after taking off from New York, killing 217 people. An investigation suggested that the crash was caused deliberately by the relief first officer but the evidence was not conclusive.19 December 1997: More than 100 people were killed when a Boeing 737 travelling from Indonesia to Singapore crashed. The pilot - suffering from "multiple work-related difficulties" - was suspected of switching off the flight recorders and intentionally putting the plane into a dive.Source: Aviation Safety Network
"At that moment, the co-pilot is controlling the plane by himself. While he is alone, the co-pilot presses the buttons of the flight monitoring system to put into action the descent of the aeroplane.
"This action on the altitude controls can only be deliberate."
He added: "The most plausible interpretation is that the co-pilot through a voluntary act had refused to open the cabin door to let the captain in. He pushed the button to trigger the aircraft to lose altitude. He operated this button for a reason we don't know yet, but it appears that the reason was to destroy this plane."
Mr Robin said that air traffic controllers made repeated attempts to contact the aircraft, but to no avail.
He said the co-pilot was "not known by us" to have any links to extremism or terrorism.
But he said German authorities were expected to give further information on his background and private life later.
Meanwhile. relatives and friends of the victims are due to visit the area of the crash.
Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France - Page 52 - PPRuNe Forums
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:23
"Isn't this forum called "Rumor" network?:This defence of blatant trolling trolling is wearing thin, akin to scientology claiming the right to free speech.Notably, the people best qualified to offer an opinion based on actual line experience have steered clear from the 51 pages of mindless speculation posted in the 48 hours post accident.
Political correctness and inclusiveness is one thing, but when a Professional pilots forum becomes so diluted by guesswork that it's primary purpose is compromised perhaps it is time for a rethink.Like it or not, these pages are considered a legitimate source of news by popular media, and the latest whacko theory can be plastered over the front page of any headline hungry rag worldwide at the click of a mouse.
It is rather akin to continually adding water to a filter coffee machine: in the end there is nothing in the output that justifies the investment in achieving an objective, the result is hot water, or in the case of this thread hot air from plenty of experts who have yet to operate in anything but a virtual cockpit.
Every time a major incident occurs, the magnitude of the trolling problem increases exponentially, and when challenged, the same defence is used.
Rumours and speculation are not the same animal.Creating headlines from speculation is not the way that professional aviation operates, sorry if some flight-sim bubbles just got popped.
If there was ever a justification to create a professional forum along the lines of the dedicated airline forums, perhaps this is the time to consider the matter further.
Meanwhile, another thread has appeared on RN, pushing a particular line of speculation. Hopefully it will be removed, but in an increasingly PC justified environment the likelihood is that it will not.
From the information released to date, we know that the aircraft crashed, the location is known, and the number of people who died is also known.As hard facts are released during the course of the investigation, certainly those will be the catalyst for informed discussion.
Whilst this may be a "virtual" discussion, the accident is all too real.This is not the time nor the place for virtual cockpit experts to strut their stuff.
Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France - Page 51 - PPRuNe Forums
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 07:22
26th Mar 2015, 05:15 #1001 (permalink) Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Windy City
Posts: 4
Per info from the Gendarmarie, the flight data recorder was spotted yesterday and an attempt to recover it will be made today. Both NYT and AFP are reporting the cockpit door storyline.
Last edited by Castlehard; 26th Mar 2015 at 05:35.Reason: Additional info
26th Mar 2015, 05:22 #1002 (permalink) Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Outer space
Age: 44
Posts: 3
Quote:
This is getting stupid. 800 people die at a time in a south East Asian ferry accident (Bangladesh about once a year) and there is never as much made of the tragedy as a plane crash. WTF is the fascination? We lose 50,000 people a year in the USA to car crashes. I don't see requirements for a second or third driver or automation. This is just getting more ridiculous by the day.I guess the fascination comes from several sources.Lots of people usually die in plane crashes, which means lots of stories about mourning relatives to tell. Lots of stories about "how could it happen", lots of "spectacular" pictures of total destruction to show.
Imho, the entire news business on this planet needs a cold reboot, seriously. And that includes Twitter, Facebook and whatever else is involved.
The really sad thing is that the news business follows normal market rules which basically means, customers apparently *want* to hear and see all this, otherwise there wouldn't be any reason to spend billions for producing it.
26th Mar 2015, 05:25 #1003 (permalink) Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Planet Earth (sometimes)
Posts: 2,692
Good Morning/Bonjour.It's not that long ago (yesterday PM in fact) that according to some here the NYT was claiming the FDR had been found (some posted links here), although the authorities on the spot were making clear it had not been found. Guess what- it hadn't been found so quite why anyone is giving them any credibility on any other issue surrounding the accident is beyond me.....
Across the Atlantic the (UK's) Guardian reporter's p. poor knowledge of French seems to have led to various incorrect claims about the contents of FDR circulating in the UK media even after the BEA news conference ( to paraphrase - the BEA head's comments that the CVR would allow them to hear/analyse "noises, voices, alarms" was translated as: "we've heard noises, voices, alarms")
Quote:
Til we hear if from an official form France's Bureau of Investigation of the content on the Voice recorder I would recommend treating all other findings as absolute lies. Pretty much agree.Last edited by wiggy; 26th Mar 2015 at 06:05.
26th Mar 2015, 05:27 #1004 (permalink) Join Date: May 2013
Location: South of the Zambezi
Age: 72
Posts: 9
Excuse a mere PPL (albeit since 1966) intervening, but this media report concerns me:"German schoolchildren on board the ill-fated Germanwings flight had texted friends to say they 'couldn't wait to come home' just moments before the aircraft crashed in the French Alps."
Is the use of mobile 'phones dangerous, or is it not? If it is, then why is the "switch off" rule not rigorously enforced? (as I have noted on several flights). If it is not dangerous, then why have the rule?
26th Mar 2015, 05:29 #1005 (permalink) Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Germany
Posts: 34
A320 cockpit locking system
Looks like the flight crew can override the emergency keypad opening mechanism. Nothing wrong with that except when you have a terrorist or piloting nut job behind that bullet-proof door.This cockpit security concept essentially introduced a single point of failure vulnerability in the plane.
26th Mar 2015, 05:29 #1006 (permalink) Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 3
Get out of our Cockpit
I normally sit and watch but this is getting seriously bad. Everyone wants to be the 'Man'.I have 48 years driving aircraft including A340 and B747-400 and 24000+ hours.For me if you post an opinion, mislead or copy comments and put them into the media you must be held accountable. And no, not good enough to say "not me sir I was reporting from a source". You must be prepared to put your credibility, proffessional career and personal assets to the test. That is whats required of most International Pilots. So put up or shut up.
26th Mar 2015, 05:30 #1007 (permalink) Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: UAE
Posts: 49
Agree with firesock: no unqualified person in a pilot's seat (in most outfits).
26th Mar 2015, 05:33 #1008 (permalink) Join Date: May 2010
Location: Usually on top
Posts: 28
That was evident from the beginning of this flawed approach. I always opposed the locked door policy. It in the meantime has cost more lives than 9/11 has.
26th Mar 2015, 05:33 #1009 (permalink) Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: UAE
Posts: 49
Chanting, Towerdog, chanting :-)
26th Mar 2015, 05:34 #1010 (permalink) Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Wilmington
Age: 38
Posts: 119
Quote:
I normally sit and watch but this is getting seriously bad. Everyone wants to be the 'Man'.Thank God the Man has actually arrived. This guy presumably flew an MU-2 and LIVED. Silence and Respect are all that are required, thank you. 26th Mar 2015, 05:35 #1011 (permalink) Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Asia Pacific
Posts: 1,225
Quote:
Being one of the few who followed the thread from start, among the thousand posts so far there is ONE by Capt Kremin which deserves attention and closer scrutiny:Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France
If the analysis presented is correct (and I'm not qualified to judge) it strongly implies that the A/C was under pilot control during the descent.
Yes, a very good analysis by Capt Kremin .. thoroughly concur with that suggestion! 26th Mar 2015, 05:39 #1012 (permalink) Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Nottinghamshire
Posts: 14
Quote:
Is the use of mobile 'phones dangerous, or is it not? If it is, then why is the "switch off" rule not rigorously enforced? (as I have noted on several flights). If it is not dangerous, then why have the rule?I think it was mentioned a few pages back about the lack of phone signal. Signal is only, sometimes, only available at around 2 to 5 thousand feet. In the terrain area. The chart top terrain is around 6000ft I believe was mentioned. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Also, Not sure if there are any cell masts on the alps? I'm sure there is a website somewhere that may prove me wrong. Just thinking theoretically with the remote of the area.
MM
26th Mar 2015, 05:47 #1013 (permalink) Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Dubai - sand land.
Age: 46
Posts: 2,131
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldManRiver
Is the use of mobile 'phones dangerous, or is it not?
No it is not dangerous. Attested to by the fact that many airlines have onboard telephony and wifi connectivity! The 'no phone' thing with some airlines is a hang up from the days when mobile phones were new and the effects on aircraft systems was unknown!Heck - I even remember reaching V1 many years ago in a 340 when my phone started ringing loudly... I got a very pained look from the F/O (possibly becasue of my choice of ringtone) but the 'plane didn't drop out of the sky!!!
26th Mar 2015, 05:49 #1015 (permalink) Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Los Angles
Age: 45
Posts: 2
but...
Quote:
For me if you post an opinion, mislead or copy comments and put them into the media you must be held accountable. And no, not good enough to say "not me sir I was reporting from a source". You must be prepared to put your credibility, proffessional career and personal assets to the test. That is whats required of most International Pilots. So put up or shut up.Isn't this forum called "Rumor" network? 26th Mar 2015, 05:51 #1016 (permalink) Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Age: 44
Posts: 4
Quote:
Isn't this forum called "Rumor" network?That is as yet unconfirmed.
26th Mar 2015, 05:53 #1017 (permalink) Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Dubai - sand land.
Age: 46
Posts: 2,131
Quote:
Maybe its time to leave the door open again.......just sayingAgree fully... 26th Mar 2015, 05:54 #1018 (permalink) Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: fairly close to the colonial capitol
Age: 46
Posts: 1,237
Quote:
In nil wind that would true, but the real world is not like that. As you descend (or climb) the head/tail wind component will change. That will change your IAS and if you have select a 'pitch for speed' mode, the pitch attitude (and thus the V/S) will change to maintain the selected speed.
I've never noticed the oscillations like that in my V/S in VNAV PATH after the descent stabilizes. While I have seen V/S variations in LVL CHG and VNAV SPD, they are generally trending either up OR down and not up AND down. Is this behavior peculiar to the Airbus managed descent? Oh, and I think you mean GS not IAS regarding winds aloft change through the layers. Thanks for the response.Quote:
Yes there is. Not sure which but you're not sure of. In an IAS/Mach Idle descent the VS and thus vertical path will vary with wind, temperature/density changes, vertical currents, IAS/Mach switchover and other factors. An Open Descent is always quite variable in terms of achieved profile.
Thanks BusTRE! So, as I understand this, Open Descent is another way of describing the Airbus Managed Descent - and if so, on a Boeing, the corollary would be VNAV SPD, not PATH.Quote:
Have you ever heard of wind?Yes, NoD, and either my wife or my nephew's dog broke some just now. 26th Mar 2015, 05:55 #1019 (permalink) Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Where it is comfortable...
Age: 51
Posts: 318
Quote:
"German schoolchildren on board the ill-fated Germanwings flight had texted friends to say they 'couldn't wait to come home' just moments before the aircraft crashed in the French Alps."With some knowledge of mobile phone systems, this is quite easy to explain. The messages were entered and sent at a time when there was no signal coverage, probably when already in the air. Yes, phones are SUPPOSED to be switched off, but surprise, surprise, I'm sure on any single flight a search would reveal a dozen left on in pockets and briefcases. Children are more prone to do this than adults, not intentionally but simple forgetfulness. Also phones double as cameras and music players these days, my daughters constantly fiddle with them. Once the aircraft descended to an altitude where it was possible to pick up a signal (4000-6000ft above tower elevation) the phones automatically connected and sent the messages. Nothing sinister about it.
The area is not remote at all by global standards. France has a near 100% mobile coverage, including mountain regions, and there are several towns and villages in the vicinity. Mobile signal is probably only blocked in some small patches shielded by peaks and ridges.
26th Mar 2015, 05:55 #1020 (permalink) Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Surrey
Posts: 35
I thought one of the pilots radioed to ATC to say there was an emergency, but they never put out a Mayday,, and nothing else was heard afterwards?If that's correct, and one of the pilots had gone to the loo, why would a suicidal pilot call out that there was an emergency?
Someone mentioned the seated pilot possibly having a heart attack,,but the chances of that happening at the precise time the other pilot left the cockpit seems unlikely,especially when they have frequent medicals.
If the pilot was a terrorist or suicidal, it's unlikely any doctor would see that as the pilot is not going to admit to feelings of madness, nor terrorism.
The banging frantically on the door could have been panic - the pilot outside would've known he/she couldn't break the door down. But if it's true it seems to suggest that the plane was descending in a controlled fashion. I'd imagine an engine failure would have made the plane totally unstable and everyone and everything would've been rolling around and falling over? Then again, had there been an engine failure the pilot would have opened the door to get help from the other pilot.
It's all weird.
Flight Data Recorder (FDR) - SKYbrary Aviation Safety
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 03:46
DescriptionFlight Data Recorder (FDR) - device used to record specific aircraft performance parameters. The purpose of an FDR is to collect and record data from a variety of aircraft sensors onto a medium designed to survive an accident.
An FDR has historically been one of two types of "flight recorder" carried on aircraft, the other being a cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Where both types of recorder are fitted, they are now sometimes combined into a single unit (ICAO Definition: Combination recorders). Combination recorders need to meet the flight recorder equipage requirements as specifically detailed in ICAO Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft.
ICAO RequirementsAccording to the provisions in ICAO Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft, Vol 1 and Vol. III, a Type I FDR shall shall record the parameters required to determine accurately the aeroplane flight path, speed, attitude, engine power, configuration and operation. Types II and IIA FDRs shall record the parameters required to determine accurately the aeroplane flight path, speed, attitude, engine power and configuration of lift and drag devices.
The detailed list of parameters to be recorded by FDRs is provided in section 6.3 ''Flight recorders'' and at Attachement D to Annex 6, Vol. I. Furthermore, provisions in section 6.3 specify the aircraft equipage requirements depending on the maximum certificated take-off mass and the date of first issue of the individual certificate of airworthiness. For example, provision 6.3.6 of Annex 6, Vol. I states that, all aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of over 5,700 kg for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued after 1 January 2005 shall be equipped with a Type IA FDR.
According to ICAO SARPS, combination recorders (FDR/CVR) can only be used to meet the flight recorder equipage requirements as specifically indicated in ICAO Annex 6 (Vol I and Vol III, Attachment D).
ObjectiveThe recorder is installed in the most crash survivable part of the aircraft, usually the tail section. The data collected in the FDR system can help investigators determine whether an accident was caused by pilot error, by an external event (such as windshear), or by an airplane system problem. Furthermore, these data have contributed to airplane system design improvements and the ability to predict potential difficulties as airplanes age. An example of the latter is using FDR data to monitor the condition of a high-hours engine. Evaluating the data could be useful in making a decision to replace the engine before a failure occurs.
HistoryFlight data recorders were first introduced in the 1950s. Many first-generation FDRs used metal foil as the recording medium. This metal foil was housed in a crash- survivable box installed in the aft end of an airplane. Beginning in 1965, FDRs (commonly known as "black boxes") were required to be painted bright orange or bright yellow, making them easier to locate at a crash site.
Second-generation FDRs were introduced in the 1970s as the requirement to record more data increased, but they were unable to process the larger amounts of incoming sensor data. The solution was development of the flight data acquisition unit (FDAU). A flight-data acquisition unit is a unit that receives various discrete, analog and digital parameters from a number of sensors and avionic systems and then routes them to a flight data recorder (FDR) and, if installed, to a Quick Access Recorder (QAR). Information from the FDAU to the FDR is sent via specific data frames, which depend on the aircraft manufacturer. Integration of FDAU functions into software required by other aircraft system components is now being seen, as in the case of the Enhanced Airborne Flight Recorder (EAFR) installed on the Boeing 787.
The second-generation digital FDR (DFDR) uses tape similar to audio recording tape. The tape is 300 to 500 ft long and can record up to 25 hr of data. It is stored in a cassette device mounted in a crash-protected enclosure.
FAA rule changes in the late 1980s required the first-generation FDRs to be replaced with digital recorders. Many of the older FDRs were replaced with second-generation magnetic tape recorders that can process incoming data without a Flight Data Acquisition Unit (FDAU). Most of these DFDRs can process up to 18 input parameters (signals). This requirement was based upon an airplane with four engines and a requirement to record 11 operational parameters for up to 25 hours.
Most recent recorders utilise solid state technology. Solid state uses stacked arrays of memory chips, so they don't have moving parts. With no moving parts, there are fewer maintenance issues and a decreased chance of something breaking during a crash. Data from both the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and FDR is stored on stacked memory boards inside the crash-survivable memory unit (CSMU).
The most modern FDR systems incorporate an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) and some up-to-date recorders are also equipped with an Underwater Locator Beacon (ULB) to assist in locating in the event of an overwater accident. A device called a "pinger" is automatically activate when the recorder is immersed in water. It transmits an acoustic signal on a frequency of 37.5 KHz that can be detected with a suitable receiver. In the case of the latest recorders, these transmissions are detectable at all but the most extreme oceanic depths but since they are battery-powered, their transmissions only continue for a limited period.
Principles of OperationThe FDR onboard the aircraft records many different operating conditions of the flight. By regulation, newly manufactured aircraft must monitor at least eighty-eight important parameters such as time, altitude, airspeed, heading, and aircraft attitude. In addition, some FDRs can record the status of more than 1,000 other in-flight characteristics that can aid in the investigation. The items monitored can be anything from flap position to auto-pilot mode or even smoke alarms. It is required by regulations that, on an annual basis, an FDR verification check (readout) is performed in order to verify that all mandatory parameters are recorded.
Magnetic Tape - The introduction of the CVR in the late 1960s and DFDRs in the early 1970s made magnetic tape the recording medium of choice until the introduction of solid-state flight recorders in the late 1980s. There were a variety of tapes and tape transports used by the various recorder manufacturers. The most widely used tapes were mylar, kapton, and metallic. The tape transports were even more varied, using designs such as coplaner reel to reel, coaxial reel-to-reel, endless loop reel packs and endless loop random storage. Tape CVRs record four channels of audio for 30 minutes, and the DFDR records 25 hours of data. CVRs and FDRs record over the oldest data with the newest data in an endless loop-recording recording pattern.Digital Recording - Most DFDRs require a flight data acquisition unit (FDAU) to provide an interface between the various sensors and the DFDR. The FDAU converts analog signals from the sensors to digital signals that are then multiplexed into a serial data stream suitable for recording by the DFDR. Industry standards dictated the format of the data stream, which for the vast majority of tape-based DFDRs is 64 12-bit data words per second. The recording capacity of the tape DFDR is limited by the length of tape that can be crash-protected and the data frame format. The capacity of the tape DFDRs was adequate for the first generation of wide-body transports, but was quickly exceeded when aircraft like the Boeing 767 and Airbus A320 with digital avionics were introduced.Solid State Technology - The introduction of solid-state flight recorders in the late 1980s marked the most significant advance in evolution of flight recorder technology. The use of solid-state memory devices in flight recorders has expanded recording capacity, enhanced crash/fire survivability, and improved recorder reliability. It is now possible to have 2-hour audio CVRs and DFDRs that can record up to 256 12-bit data words per second, or 4 times the capacity of magnetic tape DFDRs.Current Survivability StandardsTSO C123a (CVR) and C124a (DFDR)
Fire (High Intensity) - 1100°C1,373.15 K2,012 °F2,471.67 °R flame covering 100% of recorder for 30 minutes. (60 minutes if ED56 test protocol is used)Fire (Low Intensity) - 260°C533.15 K500 °F959.67 °R Oven test for 10 hoursImpact Shock - 3,400 Gs for 6.5 msStatic Crush - 5,000 pounds for 5 minutes on each axisFluid Immersion - Immersion in aircraft fluids (fuel, oil etc.) for 24 hoursWater Immersion - Immersion in sea water for 30 daysPenetration Resistance - 500 lb. Dropped from 10 ft. with a ¼-inch-diameter contact pointHydrostatic Pressure - Pressure equivalent to depth of 20,000 ft.Related ArticlesFurther ReadingICAO
ICAO Annex 6, Operation of Aircraft, Vol I, Attachment D and Vol IIINTSB
Others
Cockpit Door Panel | Cockpit Door Switch
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:48
UNLOCKUnlocks door when raised above the detent and held in this position. Door must be pushed to open. UNLOCK is an override and reset selection of any previous action.
NORMWhen NORM is selected, it allows the door to be locked when closed. It also allows the door to be opened after an emergency access code entry and 30 second delay in case of pilot incapacitation.
LOCKMomentarily placing the cockpit door switch to LOCK illuminates the red cockpit access panel light, rejects keypad entry request, inhibits aural alerts, and prevents further access code entry for 20 minutes. The cockpit door switch returns to NORM when released, but remains in locked mode for 20 minutes or until UNLOCK is selected.
There is no cockpit indication when LOCK is selected; therefore, if the door is closed and the cockpit is unattended during a locked period, the door cannot be opened until the timer expires or power is removed from the airplane.
Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France - NYTimes.com
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:45
PhotoA French rescue worker on Wednesday near the crash site of a Germanwings jet.Credit Guillaume Horcajuelo/European Pressphoto AgencyPARIS '-- As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed in relatively clear skies, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane's descent and was unable to get back in.
A senior military official involved in the investigation described ''very smooth, very cool'' conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to D¼sseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.
''The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,'' the investigator said. ''And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.''
He said, ''You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.''
While the audio seemed to give some insight into the circumstances leading up to the Germanwings crash on Tuesday morning, it also left many questions unanswered.
''We don't know yet the reason why one of the guys went out,'' said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing. ''But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.''
Continue reading the main storyVictims of Germanwings Flight 9525The data from the voice recorder seems only to deepen the mystery surrounding the crash and provides no indication of the condition or activity of the pilot who remained in the cockpit. The descent from 38,000 feet over about 10 minutes was alarming but still gradual enough to indicate that the twin-engine Airbus A320 had not been damaged catastrophically. At no point during the descent was there any communication from the cockpit to air traffic controllers or any other signal of an emergency.
When the plane plowed into craggy mountains northeast of Nice, it was traveling with enough speed that it was all but pulverized, killing the 144 passengers and crew of six and leaving few clues.
The French aviation authorities have made public very little, officially, about the nature of the information that has been recovered from the audio recording, and it was not clear whether it was partial or complete. France's Bureau of Investigations and Analyses confirmed only that human voices and other cockpit sounds had been detected and would be subjected to detailed analysis.
Continue reading the main storyVideoPlay Video|1:01Officials Discuss Victims on Airbus
Officials Discuss Victims on AirbusThe managing director of Germanwings confirmed on Wednesday that two Americans were among the 150 killed when an Airbus crashed in the French Alps.
Video by Reuters on Publish Date March 25, 2015.Photo by Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press.Asked about the new evidence revealed in the cockpit recordings, Martine del Bono, a bureau spokeswoman, declined to comment. ''Our teams continue to work on analyzing the CVR,'' she said, referring to the cockpit voice recorder. ''As soon as we have accurate information we intend to hold a press conference.''
Meanwhile, prosecutors in Marseille, who have been tasked with a separate criminal inquiry into the crash, could not immediately be reached for comment. Brice Robin, the Marseille prosecutor, was due to meet Thursday morning with the families of the crash victims.
At the crash site, a senior official working on the investigation said, workers found the casing of the plane's other black box, the flight data recorder, but the memory card containing data on the plane's altitude, speed, location and condition was not inside, apparently having been thrown loose or destroyed by the impact.
Continue reading the main storyMapThe jet crashed in a remote part of the French Alps.
The flight's trajectory ahead of the crash also left many unanswered questions.
R(C)mi Jouty, the director of the French Bureau of Investigations and Analyses, said at a news conference that the plane took off at around 10 a.m. local time from Barcelona and that the last message sent from the pilot to air traffic controllers had been at 10:30 a.m., which indicated that the plane was proceeding on course.
But minutes later, the plane inexplicably began to descend, Mr. Jouty said. At 10:40 and 47 seconds, the plane reported its last radar position, at an altitude of 6,175 feet. ''The radar could follow the plane until the point of impact,'' he said.
Continue reading the main storyVideoPlay Video|0:49Investigator: Audio Retrieved From Plane
Investigator: Audio Retrieved From PlaneR(C)mi Jouty, director of France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis, confirmed that audio of voices had been recovered from the black box in the crash of the Germanwings plane in the French Alps.
Video by Reuters on Publish Date March 25, 2015.Photo by Francois Mori/Associated Press.Mr. Jouty said the plane slammed into a mountainside and disintegrated, scattering debris over a wide area, and making it difficult to analyze what had happened.
It often takes months or even years to determine the causes of plane crashes, but a little more than a year after the disappearance of a Malaysian airlines jetliner that has never been found, the loss of the Germanwings flight is shaping up to be particularly perplexing to investigators.
One of the main questions outstanding is why the pilots did not communicate with air traffic controllers as the plane began its unusual descent, suggesting that either the pilots or the plane's automated systems may have been trying to maintain control of the aircraft as it lost altitude.
PhotoThe French aviation authorities have recovered an audio file from the cockpit voice recorder, but did not say whether it was partial or complete.Credit Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses, via Associated PressAmong the theories that have been put forward by air safety analysts not involved in the investigation is the possibility that a pilot could have been incapacitated by a sudden event such as a fire or a drop in cabin pressure.
A senior French official involved in the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the lack of communication from the pilots during the plane's descent was disturbing, and that the possibility that their silence was deliberate could not be ruled out.
''I don't like it,'' said the French official, who cautioned that his initial analysis was based on the very limited information currently available. ''To me, it seems very weird: this very long descent at normal speed without any communications, though the weather was absolutely clear.''
PhotoFrench emergency services resumed work on Wednesday.Credit Alberto Estevez/European Pressphoto Agency''So far, we don't have any evidence that points clearly to a technical explanation,'' the official said. ''So we have to consider the possibility of deliberate human responsibility.''
Mr. Jouty said it was far too early in the investigation to speculate about possible causes.
''At this moment I have no beginning of a scenario,'' Mr. Jouty said. However, he said there was not yet any evidence available that would support either a theory of a depressurization or of a midair explosion
PhotoFrench emergency services resumed work on Wednesday near the crash site of a Germanwings jet.Credit Peter Kneffel/European Pressphoto AgencySpeaking on the French radio station RTL, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday morning that terrorism was not a likely ''hypothesis at the moment,'' but that no theories had been definitively excluded. He said the size of the area over which debris was scattered suggested that the aircraft had not exploded in the air but rather had disintegrated on impact.
Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, has characterized the crash as an accident. The airline has not disclosed the identities of the pilots, except to say that the captain was a 10-year veteran with more than 6,000 hours of flying time in A320s.
The French Bureau of Investigations and Analyses, which is leading the technical inquiry into the crash, sent seven investigators to the crash site on Tuesday. They have been joined by their counterparts from Germany, as well as by technical advisers from Airbus and CFM International, the manufacturer of the plane's engines.
Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Jean-Paul Troadec, a former director of the French air accident investigation bureau, said one of the big challenges for investigators would be to protect the debris at the crash site from any inadvertent damage.
''We need to ensure that all the evidence is well preserved,'' Mr. Troadec said, referring both to the pieces of the plane littered across the steep slopes as well as to the remains of the victims. The identification of the victims will most likely require matching DNA from the remains with samples from relatives.
The recovery effort will be a laborious task, given the state of the wreckage, the difficult terrain and the fact that the crash site is so remote that it could be reached only by helicopter.
Cabin depressurization, one of the possibilities speculated about on Wednesday, has occurred before, perhaps most notably in the crash of a Cypriot passenger plane in 2005 that killed all 121 people on board as it approached Athens. In that case, Helios Airways Flight 522, a slow loss of pressure rendered both pilots and all the passengers on the Boeing 737 jet unconscious for more than three-quarters of an hour before the aircraft ran out of fuel and slammed into a wooded gorge near the Greek capital.
Investigators eventually determined that the primary cause of that crash was a series of human errors, including deficient maintenance checks on the ground and a failure by the pilots to heed emergency warning signals.
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Germanwings Airbus A320 crash: Grim reality of crash site | The Courier-Mail
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:32
The data from cockpit voice recorders onboard the Germanwings crash may be available within days.
Wreckage ... part of the Germanwings Airbus A320. Picture: AFP/Denis BoisSource: AFP
Black box recording retrieved reveals pilot left cockpitSpanish relatives on way to crash siteBodies begin to be pulled from wreckageFrance's leader Hollande, Germany's Angela Merkel and Mariano Rajoy from Spain visit crash site AS investigators go through the audio recovered from one of the Germanwings black boxes, reports have emerged that one of the pilots became locked out of the cockpit and was unable to get back in.
The New York Times reports that a senior military official involved in the investigation described ''very smooth, very cool'' conversation between the two pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.
The audio then seems to reveal one of the pilots left the cockpit and was unable to get back in.
''The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,'' the investigator said. ''And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.''
He said, ''You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.''
The cause of the crash, which killed all 150 people on board, is still unclear and it's hoped the answers to many questions will be contained in the black boxes.
''We don't know yet the reason why one of the guys went out,'' said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing. ''But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.''
Almost 600 gendarmes and other police and rescue groups were yesterday involved in inspecting the site of Flight 9525 deep in the French Alps and unravelling what may have happened from the moment it took off from Barcelona to its crash about an hour later on Tuesday en route to Dusseldorf.
The last communication from the doomed jetliner was routine. The mangled black box has yielded sounds and voices, the lead investigator said, but so far not the ''slightest explanation'' why the plane plunged into an Alpine mountainside.
Briefing ... Lufthansa's employees arrive for a meeting to prepare for the arrival of the relatives. Picture: AFP/ BERTRAND LANGLOISSource: AFP
Midway through a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, Germanwings Flight 9525 was chilling in its normalcy. The last communication was a routine request to continue on its route, said Remi Jouty, the head of the accident investigation bureau, or BEA.
Then minutes later, at 10:30am, the Airbus A320 inexplicably began to descend. Within 10 minutes it had plunged some 32,000 feet from its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, slamming into the remote mountainside at an altitude just above 6,000 feet, Jouty said.
With no distress call or other indication of anything out of the ordinary, French investigators struggled to solve the mystery. While alarming, the descent was still gradual enough to suggest the plane was under the control of its navigators.
Scattered over mountainside ... debris of the Germanwings Airbus A320. Picture: AFP /DENIS BOISSource: AFP
''The descent is compatible with a plane controlled by pilots,'' Jouty said. ''It is also compatible with a plane controlled by automatic pilot.''
''At this point, there is no explanation,'' he added. ''One doesn't imagine that the pilot consciously sends his plane into a mountain.''
The BEA chief said ''sounds and voices'' were registered on the digital audio file recovered from the first black box but he did not divulge the contents, insisting time was needed to decipher them.
French officials said terrorism appeared unlikely and Germany's top security official said there was no evidence of foul play.
The development came as the leaders of Germany, France and Spain made first-hand inspections of the investigation operations at the foothills of the crash site and from the air for the first time since the aircraft inexplicably crashed on Tuesday.
Relatives of the Spanish victims have also begun their journey to the crash site.
A bus with 14 relatives has left Barcelona for an overnight journey that will take them to the crash area by Thursday.
Search mission ... Search and rescue personnel making their way to the crash site. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
Those going on the bus apparently did not want to take a Thursday morning flight from Barcelona to Marseille that is expected to shuttle many more relatives toward the site.
Spanish civil protection spokesman Sergio Delgado said all of the Spanish relatives will meet up in Marseille and head to the remote crash zone in Seyne-Les-Alpes together.
Spain's government has said at least 51 Spaniards were among the 150 victims of the crash. Airline Germanwings has said 35 of the 125 passengers identified were Spaniards.
This comes as authorities made the first grim retrievals of bodies from the doomed crash with
helicopters beginning to airlift the remains of the victims.
Meeting point ... Rescue crew get ready to go out and continue the investigation. Picture: Patrick Aventurier/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
''We have not yet been able to study and to establish an exact timing for all the sounds and words heard on this file,'' he said.
Mr Jouty also revealed the airline flew in a straight line directly into the what would have been a weather visible mountain but he stopped short on saying whether this was on purpose or an autopilot error.
Germanwings also yesterday confirmed 72 Germans were killed in the crash, the first major air passenger disaster on French soil since the 2000 Concorde accident just outside Paris, with another 51 passengers coming from Spain. There were also passengers from America, Britain, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Iran, Venezuela and the Netherlands although positive DNA confirmation could take weeks.
Greig Friday. Picture: Supplied.Source: Supplied
Carol Friday. Picture: Supplied.Source: Supplied
The Australian's, the mother and son from Victoria, Carol and Greig Friday, had been enjoying a holiday of a lifetime in Barcelona before they boarded the Airbus A320 aircraft for the 10am flight from the Spanish city to Dusseldorf in Germany.
Parent company Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said the late takeoff from Barcelona of the Germanwings plane was due to airport congestion and not related to the incident.
Spohr added the crash of the plane that killed 150 people remained ''incomprehensible.''
Spohr said Wednesday that ''we still cannot understand'' what happened in the ''terrible accident.'' He said it is ''too early for speculation'' about the cause.
The aircraft ''had a clean maintenance bill'' from an inspection the day before Tuesday's crash and was ''in perfect technical shape,'' he said. No distress signal was received from the plane.
Spohr said he had a ''very, very emotional meeting'' with the relatives of the victims.
No explanation ... Remi Jouty, the head of France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for the Security of Civil Aviation. Picture: AP/Francois MoriSource: AP
Germanwings crash ... Gendarmes Regional commander General David Galtier at Seyne-less-alpes. Picture: Ella PellegriniSource: Supplied
He said Lufthansa has never lost a plane during the cruise stage of flight.
''This represents the darkest hours in the 60-year history of our Lufthansa group. We are still in a state of shock,'' he said. That is despite confirmation a Germanwings flight crashed in 1953 less than 2km from the latest incident.
Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, has offered ''immediate financial help'' for those who need it.
France's leader Hollande, Germany's Angela Merkel and Mariano Rajoy from Spain personally thanked search teams and met residents in the villages of Le Vernet and Seyne-less-Alpes, where the salvaging operations have been set up.
Germanwings meanwhile said it cancelled one flight on Wednesday and was using 11 planes from other carriers for about 40 flights after some of its crew members had refused to fly amid safety fears.
Sombre: ... Thomas Winkelmann, chief executive officer of Germanwings, during a press conference in Cologne. Picture: GettySource: Getty Images
Parent company Lufthansa has also arranged for two flights to leave from Spain and Germany today to take family members of the victims of the crash to southern France.
''This will have the support of the French authorities who will be able to bring the relatives and friends of the victims to a family assistance centre near the crash site which is still locked off and will remain locked off,'' Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said.
He added: ''I just returned from meeting the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives yesterday and this meeting is hard to describe in words, it was very, very emotional for all of us.''
Analysts whoare yet to say what caused the crash have suggested the rate of descent must have been a catastrophic failure. It has also been revealed the pilots were most likely so busy trying to save their aircraft they did not make any distress signal or call. Weather was fine and not deemed a factor to the crash.
The site of the wreckage is a remote corner of the French Alps, in a deep broken moonscape-like ravine with everything on flight 9525 scattered over the whole area.
Black box ... the Cockpit Voice Recorder from the downed Germanwings Airbus A320. Picture: AFPSource: AFP
''It's big, bigger than big,'' Regional Gendarme commander and site operations and investigation co-ordinator General David Galtier told News Corp Australia, describing the scene and task ahead.
Gen Galtier said as well as his 600 personnel now in the area he had a small team of psychologists, doctors and priests to help the victims' families who began their journey into the mountains to find answers.
''The most important thing for us is to preserve the zone and find the bodies, that is the most important thing for us,'' he said.
''The wreckage area is very large, it is difficult to get there and work there and that is why we have specialist (gendarme) personnel here. The area I would say that we are dealing with is the size of two football stadiums.
''It will be a very, very long operation and investigation to find out what happened. We have to go in there (site) little by little, slowly, this is important for our investigation.''
In person ... German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and French President Francois Hollande pay their respect. Picture: AFP/CHRISTOPHE ENASource: AFP
A sea of lit candles and flowers has covered the front steps of a German school in mourning after 16 of its students died in the plane disaster in the French Alps.
Pupils wept and hugged near the makeshift memorial of candles to share the pain of losing their friends in the tragedy.
The 14 girls and two boys were among at least 72 Germans who made up nearly half the disaster's total death toll of 150.
General Galtier said it was a French operation but had international cooperation and coordination with the German and Spanish authorities and others.
He said at the foremost of the minds of his men and women was also the families.
''We want to explain to them what happened but also to assure them that we are finding their loved ones,'' he said.
In mourning ... Students and well wishers gather at a memorial of flowers and candles. Picture: AFP/ROLF VENNENBERNDSource: AFP
Paying respects ... The Germany team observes a minutes silence in remembrance of victims. Picture: Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
French President Francois Hollande has vowed that the remains of those who died when the Germanwings Airbus slammed into the French Alps will be found and returned to grieving relatives.
Reports out of Germany suggest the flight was grounded just 24 hours earlier with technical problems centred around its landing gear. Neither the airline nor air crash investigators would confirm or deny the reports.
The doomed aircraft's last routine check was March 23 in Germany by Lufthansa technicians with a major overhauling check performed in 2013.
The Captain of the doomed flight had more than 10 years flying experience and 6000 flight hours of this particular model.
On Tuesday, many Germanwings aircrew refused to fly, stranding passengers in both Germany and the UK, claiming they had safety fears.
Tragic news ... Fans hold up a banner in remembrance of the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525. Picture: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
Tragedy ... residents of Llinars del Valles react after observing a minute of silence to honour the victims of the crash. Picture: AFPSource: AFP
Spain declared three days mourning for their dead as Spanish King Felipe cut short his first state visit to France.
Among the dead also, opera singers Oleg Bryjak, 54, and Maria Radner, 33, flying to their home city of Dusseldorf. Radner was travelling with her husband and baby, one of two infants on board the plane.
The Barcelona soccer club is also joining three days of official mourning.
The club made the announcement in a statement Wednesday, saying club flags will be flown at half-staff.
Two Iranian journalists who covered the ''El Clasico'' soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid on Sunday were among the crash victims.
Originally published asPilot was 'locked out of cockpit'
memory card containing data-Germanwings Crash Inquiry Focuses on Pilots' Silence and Jet's Fall - NYTimes.com
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:07
PhotoA French rescue worker on Wednesday near the crash site of a Germanwings jet.Credit Guillaume Horcajuelo/European Pressphoto AgencyPARIS '-- For about 10 minutes on Tuesday morning, the Germanwings jetliner with 150 people on board hurtled downward from relatively clear skies above the French Alps.
The rate of descent from its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet was alarming but still gradual enough to indicate that the twin-engine Airbus A320 had not suffered any catastrophic damage and might have remained under the control of the pilots or the autopilot. At no point during the descent was there any communication from the cockpit to air traffic controllers or any other signal of an emergency.
When the plane plowed into craggy mountains northeast of Nice, it was traveling with enough speed that it was all but pulverized, killing the 144 passengers and crew of six and leaving behind almost no apparent clues about what caused the crash.
On Wednesday, French officials struggled to solve that mystery as the leaders of France, Germany and Spain converged on the remote site and families, friends and colleagues of the victims mourned around the world.
Continue reading the main storyWhat We KnowThe pilots did not issue a distress call or initiate any communication with air traffic controllers as the plane began its 10-minute descent.Investigators have so far been unable to retrieve data from one black box, and the other was badly damaged and its memory card was missing.The aircraft, an Airbus A320, was 24 years old but had no history of serious maintenance problems.What We Don't KnowWhether the plane was flying on autopilot or under the manual control of crew members.Why the plane descended after reaching its cruising altitude.Whether the plane suffered any kind of technical failure.Investigators, constrained by the difficult topography of the crash location, the condition of the wreckage and technical difficulties, were unable to provide immediate answers, leaving room for speculative theories.
The French aviation authorities initially struggled to extract useful information from the cockpit voice recorder, which had been recovered from the wreckage on the mountainside six hours after the crash and was badly battered by the impact. They eventually succeeded in recovering an audio file, but did not say whether it was partial or complete or whether it contained any information to address what had happened.
At the crash site, a senior official working on the investigation said, workers found the casing of the plane's other black box, the flight data recorder, but the memory card containing data on the plane's altitude, speed, location and condition was not inside, apparently having been thrown loose or destroyed by the impact.
Continue reading the main storyVideoPlay Video|1:01Officials Discuss Victims on Airbus
Officials Discuss Victims on AirbusThe managing director of Germanwings confirmed on Wednesday that two Americans were among the 150 killed when an Airbus crashed in the French Alps.
Video by Reuters on Publish Date March 25, 2015.Photo by Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press.The flight's trajectory ahead of the crash also left many unanswered questions.
Remi Jouty, the director of the French Bureau of Investigations and Analysis, said at a news conference that the plane took off at around 10 a.m. local time from Barcelona and that the last message sent from the pilot to air traffic controllers had been at 10:30 a.m., which indicated that the plane was proceeding on course.
But minutes later, the plane inexplicably began to descend, Mr. Jouty said. At 10:40 and 47 seconds, the plane reported its last radar position, at an altitude of 6,175 feet. ''The radar could follow the plane until the point of impact,'' he said.
Continue reading the main storyMapThe jet crashed in a remote part of the French Alps.
Mr. Jouty said the plane slammed into a mountainside and disintegrated, scattering debris over a wide area, and making it difficult to analyze what had happened.
It often takes months or even years to determine the causes of plane crashes, but a little more than a year after the disappearance of a Malaysian airlines jetliner that has never been found, the loss of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to D¼sseldorf is shaping up to be particularly perplexing to investigators.
One of the main questions outstanding is why the pilots did not communicate with air traffic controllers as the plane began its unusual descent, suggesting that either the pilots or the plane's automated systems may have been trying to maintain control of the aircraft as it lost altitude.
Continue reading the main storyVideoPlay Video|0:49Investigator: Audio Retrieved From Plane
Investigator: Audio Retrieved From PlaneR(C)mi Jouty, director of France's Bureau of Investigation and Analysis, confirmed that audio of voices had been recovered from the black box in the crash of the Germanwings plane in the French Alps.
Video by Reuters on Publish Date March 25, 2015.Photo by Francois Mori/Associated Press.Among the theories that have been put forward by air safety analysts not involved in the investigation is the possibility that the pilots could have been incapacitated by a sudden event such as a fire or a drop in cabin pressure.
A senior French official involved in the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the lack of communication from the pilots during the plane's descent was disturbing, and that the possibility that their silence was deliberate could not be ruled out.
''I don't like it,'' said the French official, who cautioned that his initial analysis was based on the very limited information currently available. ''To me, it seems very weird: this very long descent at normal speed without any communications, though the weather was absolutely clear.''
PhotoInvestigators said they had so far been unable to retrieve any data from the cockpit voice recorder of the Germanwings jet.Credit Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses, via Associated PressThis official said that the lack of communication suggested that the pilots might have been incapacitated as a result of an onboard failure such as a loss of cabin pressure, which could have deprived the crew members of oxygen.
While all pilots are equipped with emergency oxygen masks, the pilots would first have to be aware that a depressurization had occurred, the official said.
''If for any reason they don't detect the problem in time, they would black out,'' the official said.
PhotoFrench emergency services resumed work on Wednesday.Credit Alberto Estevez/European Pressphoto Agency''So far, we don't have any evidence that points clearly to a technical explanation,'' the official said. ''So we have to consider the possibility of deliberate human responsibility.''
Mr. Jouty said it was far too early in the investigation to speculate about possible causes.
''At this moment I have no beginning of a scenario,'' Mr. Jouty said. However, he said there was not yet any evidence available that would support either a theory of a depressurization or of a midair explosion
PhotoFrench emergency services resumed work on Wednesday near the crash site of a Germanwings jet.Credit Peter Kneffel/European Pressphoto AgencySpeaking on the French radio station RTL, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday morning that terrorism was ''not a privileged hypothesis at the moment,'' but that no theories had been definitively excluded. Mr. Cazeneuve said the size of the area over which debris was scattered suggested that the aircraft had not exploded in the air but rather had disintegrated on impact.
Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, has characterized the crash as an accident. The airline has not disclosed the identities of the pilots, except to say that the captain was a 10-year veteran with more than 6,000 hours of flying time in A320s.
The French Bureau of Investigations and Analysis, which is leading the technical inquiry into the crash, sent seven investigators to the crash site on Tuesday. They have been joined by their counterparts from Germany, as well as by technical advisers from Airbus and CFM International, the manufacturer of the plane's engines.
Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Jean-Paul Troadec, a former director of the French air accident investigation bureau, said one of the big challenges for investigators would be to protect the debris at the crash site from any inadvertent damage.
''We need to ensure that all the evidence is well preserved,'' Mr. Troadec said, referring both to the pieces of the plane littered across the steep slopes as well as to the remains of the victims. The identification of the victims will most likely require matching DNA from the remains with samples from relatives.
The recovery effort will be a laborious task, given the state of the wreckage, the difficult terrain and the fact that the crash site is so remote that it could be reached only by helicopter.
Cabin depressurization, one of the possibilities speculated about on Wednesday, has occurred before, perhaps most notably in the crash of a Cypriot passenger plane in 2005 that killed all 121 people on board as it approached Athens. In that case, Helios Airways Flight 522, a slow loss of pressure rendered both pilots and all the passengers on the Boeing 737 jet unconscious for more than three-quarters of an hour before the aircraft ran out of fuel and slammed into a wooded gorge near the Greek capital.
Investigators eventually determined that the primary cause of that crash was a series of human errors, including deficient maintenance checks on the ground and a failure by the pilots to heed emergency warning signals.
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Germanwings crash investigators review cockpit recordings found on black box | World news | The Guardian
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:53
Remi Jouty, director of the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses, holds a press conference about the Germanwings crash investigation. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA
French air accident investigators say they have extracted a recording that contains ''voices and sounds'' from the cockpit of Germanwings flight 4U9525 that crashed on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board.
The Airbus A320 that ploughed into an Alpine mountain flew ''right to the end'', the investigators said, and did not explode mid-flight. It also appeared not to have suffered a sudden drop in pressure.
The audio file was extracted from the cockpit voice recorder, one of the black boxes discovered in the wreckage of the plane, which was en route from Barcelona to D¼sseldorf.
Related:Germanwings crash leaves an Alpine village shrouded in grief
The French Bureau d'Enquªtes et d'Analyses (BEA) said it was ''optimistic'' the second black box, the flight data recorder, would be found and the mystery of the crash solved.
''We have an audio file we can use,'' R(C)mi Jouty, a BEA spokesperson said.
The task of the investigators in the first instance is ''a job '... of understanding the sounds, the alarms, the voices, to attribute the voices to different people,'' he added.
''The crash zone is two hectares, which is big but not massive. We are combing the site and we will find the flight data recorder, which is built to resist a severe crash. I am confident we will find out what happened.''
The cockpit voice recorder from the Germanwings A320 plane that crashed in the French Alps. Photograph: BEA/EPACarsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, the parent airline of Germanwings, said it was doing what it could to help the families of the victims, including offering flights to the crash site.
''Running an airline during such an accident is terrible,'' he said at a press conference in Barcelona, adding that the Airbus 320 had been given a clean maintenance bill on Monday.
On Wednesday, grieving families of the 150 victims '' mostly Spanish and German '' began to arrive in Alpine villages around the crash zone.
Germanwings chief executive, Thomas Winkelmann, said that 72 Germans had died. In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Spain's government said 51 of the dead were Spanish.
At least three Britons are believed to be among the dead, as well as two Americans. Casualties have been confirmed from at least 16 countries overall.
Aviation experts have been puzzled as to why the plane failed to respond to calls from air traffic control and why the pilots did not send out a distress signal as the plane dropped steadily for more than eight minutes before ploughing into a mountain ravine.
Jouty said it was too early to give details of the cockpit recording. However, he said the information investigators had put together suggested the plane had not exploded and did not suffer a ''classic decompression situation''.
Related:A320 is one of world's safest planes, but Germanwings crash will raise questions
Investigators refused to say more about what the cockpit recording contained.
''We have had this for a few minutes and we cannot say who is speaking. It takes time to understand these things. It's too soon to draw conclusions about what happened,''Jouty said.
Investigators say the last recorded message from the plane came at 10.30am local time, when air traffic control at Aix-en-Provence responded to the crew's request for permission to continue its route.
''A little while afterwards, the aircraft started a descent that it continued right up to impact just under ten minutes later,'' Jouty said.
''We lost a radar signal from the aircraft extremely close to the site of impact. At which point the aircraft was at 6000 ft. The radar followed the plane to just before impact.''
He added investigators needed to explain why the plane continued to descend and did not respond to calls from air traffic control.
''We had some difficult to read it, but to our relief we have succeeded in extracting an information file, an audio file, that we can use. Now we have to work on the audio file to understand the sounds and voices that can be heard.''
Asked about the aircraft's apparently controlled descent before it crashed, he added: ''The path is compatible with the plane being controlled by pilots, except it's hard to imagine that a pilot would send an aircraft into a mountain, and it's compatible with an autopilot.''
He was unwilling to give any more information.
Air traffic controllers reported total radio silence from the plane as it descended before smashing into the mountain.
After postponing the search on Tuesday evening, hundreds of gendarmes, firefighters and mountain rescue teams returned at dawn on Wednesday to comb the rocky ravine in the southern Alps, between the villages of Digne-Les-Bains and Barcelonnette, where debris from flight 4U9525 is scattered.
Some had to walk three hours to reach the crash spot. Others had to be winched down from helicopters hovering over ravine that struggled to maintain their position in the wind. Rescue teams spoke of the impossibility of landing anywhere near the base of the steep escarpment.
An air investigation team from Paris has also arrived at the scene and was joined by three German colleagues.
In Seyne-les-Alpes, the picturesque alpine mountain village of 1,500 people which has been transformed into a makeshift centre of operations, support staff received the first relatives of the victims. Many families had chosen to fly to Marseille overnight and be taken by bus to the Alps to get as near as possible to the crash site and to begin grieving as they waited for relatives' remains.
In the village, there was a mood of grief and sadness. Looking up at the mountain beyond which the plane had crashed, Maurice Borel, a retired volunteer firefighter, said: ''We're in shock, nothing of this scale has ever happened here before.''
The Seyne-les-Alpes youth centre, which would normally be packed with riotous children's sports clubs on a Wednesday afternoon, had been made into a silent makeshift chapel and remembrance centre for the victims' relatives.
''We just feel so powerless,'' said Ren(C) Dufour, a retired textile worker, as he looked out towards the snowy peaks beyond which the plane crashed. ''All we can do is send all our thoughts to the families.''
German chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and French president Francois Hollande visit the scene of the Germanwings crash in the French Alps. Photograph: Pool/ReutersThe French president, Fran§ois Hollande, visited the area on Wednesday afternoon with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy. At a joint press conference they pledged to do everything they could to find the cause of the crash.
The Airbus appears to have smashed into the mountain at a speed of around 700km/h (more than 430mph) violently shattering the plane into small pieces. Among the debris, investigators have the grim task of finding the remains of the 144 passengers, including two babies and 16 schoolchildren, as well as six crew.
On Wednesday, staff at Germanwings' headquarters in Cologne held a silent tribute to the dead.
Teachers and pupils from the Joseph-K¶nig high school in the western German town of Haltern held a special assembly in memory of 16 pupils and two teachers who died in the crash while returning from an exchange trip.
Brice Robin, prosecutor for the city of Marseille, said the investigation would take weeks.
''The priority on the ground is to identify the bodies,'' he told reporters after flying over the crash site.
''We owe that to the families of the victims. But it will not be done in five minutes. It is going to take a number of weeks and I think everyone should be aware that we are talking about a long time.''
Asked about the causes of the crash he said ''at the moment the reasons are completely undecided''.
Earlier he told Reuters what he saw over the crash site: ''We saw an aircraft that had literally been ripped apart, the bodies are in a state of destruction, there is not one intact piece of wing or fuselage.''
F-Russia
house votes for Ukraine resolution
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:15
US military vehicles in military exercises near Russia's border this week.Just weeks after a European-brokered ceasefire greatly reduced the violence in Ukraine, the US House of Representatives today takes a big step toward re-igniting -- and expanding -- the bloody civil war.
A Resolution, "Calling on the President to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity," stealthily made its way to the House Floor today without having been debated in the relevant House Committees and without even being given a bill number before appearing on the Floor!
Now titled H. Res. 162, the bill demands that President Obama send lethal military equipment to the US-backed government in Kiev and makes it clear that the weapons are to be used to take military action to return Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine to Kiev's rule.
Congress wants a war in Ukraine and will not settle for a ceasefire!
The real world effect of this Resolution must be made clear: The US Congress is giving Kiev the green light to begin a war with Russia, with the implicit guarantee of US backing. This is moral hazard on steroids and could well spark World War III.
The Resolution conveniently ignores that the current crisis in Ukraine was ignited by the US-backed coup which overthrew the elected government of Viktor Yanukovych. The secession of Crimea and eastern Ukraine were a reaction to the illegal coup engineered by US officials such as Victoria Nuland and Geoff Pyatt. Congress instead acts as if one morning the Russians woke up and decided to invade Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
There is no mention at all of US backing for the coup -- or even that a coup took place!
Indeed, a read of the Resolution shows it is revisionism par excellence:
Whereas the Russian Federation under President Vladimir Putin has engaged in relentless political, economic, and military aggression to subvert the independence and violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine;...
Whereas Russian aggression against Ukraine is but the most visible and recent manifestation of a revisionist Kremlin strategy to redraw international borders and impose its will on its neighbors, including NATO allies;
Shamefully, the resolution pins the blame for the thousands killed by Kiev's shelling of civilian centers in eastern Ukraine on Russia:Whereas this Russian aggression includes the establishment and control of violent separatist proxies in other areas of Ukraine, including arming them with lethal weapons and other materiel including tanks, artillery, and rockets that have enabled separatist militias to launch and sustain an insurrection that has resulted in over 6,000 dead, 15,000 wounded, and more than a million displaced persons;
The Resolution goes even further, explicitly calling for the US to support regime change in Russia itself:Whereas the United States and its allies need a long-term strategy to expose and challenge Vladimir Putin's corruption and repression at home and his aggression abroad;
"Expose and challenge" the elected Russian president at home. During the Floor debate on the Resolution, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) even compared Russian "action" in Ukraine to Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia, demanding that this time the "Hitler" must be stopped before he goes further!
Not a single Member of Congress took the Floor to oppose this dangerous Resolution.
Passage of this Resolution should make it clear that the political leadership of the US will accept nothing short of war with Russia.
Update: The Resolution passed in the House, 348-48.
Related
Ukraine ex-President Yanukovych's son 'drowns in lake' - BBC News
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:35
Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia in February 2014 after being toppled following mass protests The younger son of Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych has drowned in Lake Baikal in Russia, reports say.
Ukrainian MP Nestor Shufrych confirmed to the BBC the death of the ex-leader's son, who was also called Viktor.
Earlier Russian and Ukrainian media reports said he died after his vehicle fell through ice on Lake Baikal in the south of the Russian region of Siberia.
Reports say he had been taking part in a sporting event when the VW van plunged into the water.
Five other people in the vehicle escaped, Ukrainian news website Levvy Bereg quoted sources from his inner circle as saying.
Russian website RBK quoted local officials as saying the incident happened on Saturday, after the group drove on to the ice to take photographs.
Viktor Yanukovych Jr, 33, was known for his passion for extreme driving.
The death of Viktor Yanukovych Jr is the latest of several involving people with ties to the former president.
Oleksandr Peklushenko, a former regional governor, was found dead in Ukraine earlier this month in what authorities said appeared to be a suicide.
Five other officials also died in mysterious circumstances this year.
Saturday's incident is also the latest in a series of deaths in traffic accidents involving the former president or his team.
In July 2009 the son of Volodymyr Sivkovych, Mr Yanukovych's then-deputy secretary of the National Security and Defence Council who was involved in an attempt to disperse pro-EU protesters, died when his car veered off the road, hit a pole and caught fire in central Kiev.
A few months later, the son of Mr Yanukovych's de-facto spokeswoman, Anna Herman, was killed in a car crash on the Kiev-Odessa highway.
Interpol placed Mr Yanukovych on its wanted list in January. He is accused by Ukrainian officials of embezzling millions of dollars in public funds.
He was deposed in February 2014 after thousands of people took part in street protests.
These followed his government's rejection of a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favour of stronger ties with Russia.
Ukraine's former ruling party hit by spate of apparent suicides | World news | The Guardian
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:25
Gennady Kernes was shot in the back during a run last April, and is now under investigation. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters
Before jumping, Mykhailo Chechetov wrote a note. He said he had ''no moral strength'' to live, and thanked people for their support. Then he stepped out of the window of his 17th-floor apartment, leaving his slippers behind for his wife to find later.
Chechetov was once a senior member of Ukraine's Party of Regions, which had a strong grip on power until the revolution a year ago. His death on 28 February was the second in a string of apparent suicides by top members of the party which until last year had dominated Ukrainian politics. Four such officials died within several weeks. All of them were under criminal investigation by the incumbent authorities.
The leader of the Party of Regions, the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, fled the nation at the height of the Maidan revolution, leaving his allies stunned and struggling to accept a new reality. The party started disintegrating rapidly. Many of its members ended up facing trials for corruption, extortion, abuse of office and even murder.
The rampant corruption and venality of the ruling elite under Yanukovych spurred the revolution in February last year, and those in the new government say the old guard are simply receiving just desserts for previous misdeeds. However, some in the former elite claim the process is a politically-motivated witch-hunt. Either way, the spate of apparent suicides shows the psychological toll the process is having on those who ruled Ukraine before the revolution.
Chechetov was accused of fixing the result of a vote in parliament last January for a set of ''dictatorship laws'' aimed at curbing the civil freedoms of protesters at the height of the revolution. Other cases against him were being lined up, according to Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the interior minister, whose agency handles parts of the investigations.
Chechetov's funeral in Kiev was accompanied by saxophone music and whispers about continuing probes. Serhiy Larin, a member of the Opposition Bloc, a political heir to the Party of Regions in parliament, says that more than 20 cases involving former party members are currently being investigated.
He said: ''Hundreds of people in provinces are called in daily for questioning by investigators. We're also seeing the general prosecutor turning into a punitive organ. This is how democracy is being destroyed.''
Yet Gerashchenko brushes aside all accusations. He says the Party of Regions for years ruled like there was no tomorrow, never expecting to be punished for its crimes. He said: ''These people used to be in power and used to solve all their problems through corruption, but now they understand the inevitability of punishment.'' Now they are ''cracking up'', he adds.
Serhiy Valter, the mayor of Melitopol in the south-east of Ukraine, was found hanged in his home on 25 February. ''Prosecutors asked for 14 years in prison for him. He was extorting from business, and was likely to get a guilty verdict,'' Gerashchenko said.
Stanislav Melnyk, a former MP and the top manager of a brewery, shot himself in his home in a suburb of Kiev on 9 March. Just three days later, Oleksandr Peklushenko, a former governor of Zaporizhya in south-east Ukraine, was also found shot in his home.
Gerashchenko explained: ''He shot himself the moment he realised that he might get a guilty verdict in court for hiring thugs to break up a protest.
''Just imagine what people in England would do if one party hired thugs to kill another party.''
Separately, Yanukovych's younger son, also named Viktor, died at the weekend when the van he was driving fell through the ice on Lake Baikal in Siberia. Yanukovych Jr was a Party of Regions MP before the revolution.
There is no evidence to back theories that there may be foul play involved in the spate of suicides, but opposition MPs say the trend points to a wave of intimidation at the very least.
Members of the party who remain in Ukraine are feeling scared and reluctant to talk about the cases against them in public. ''Everyone's afraid. They don't want to have to jump from windows, shoot themselves '' or be helped,'' said one former Party of Regions member who has moved to the Opposition Bloc.
Another member of the Opposition Bloc said: ''This is pressure with cases that have no bases, and cases are being fabricated like it's 1937. This is why the weaker ones break up.''
Larin, who believes the authorities are acting selectively and illegally, said: ''Endless questioning, pressure from investigators, direct threats '' the aim is not the rule of law, but political expediency. This is justice to order.''
On 12 March, the general prosecutor's office put four Party of Regions members on a national wanted list for the same crime as Chechetov, as well as a Communist party member. The prosecutor said those five failed to show up for questioning in his office.
The party hit back, saying the prosecutor was conducting a ''show trial, trying to divert attention of the society from a catastrophic situation in the economy and the social sphere'' in recession-battered, war-stricken Ukraine.
Moreover, it said that one man on the wanted list, a former parliament member, Volodymyr Demydko, has been in coma for weeks after prosecutors' questioning caused a stroke. The party said the government released ''deliberate lies'' about Demydko when he was accused of failure to testify.
Gennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, was shot in the back during a run last April. He survived, but is now under investigation for kidnapping and torturing political opponents during the revolution. Viktor Shokin, the general prosecutor, said last month that the case is almost ready to go to court. Kernes, however, has insisted it is political.
Ukraine has a history of political prosecutions. Yanukovych jailed his former opponents Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko soon after being elected in 2010. The European court of human rights said both cases were politically motivated.
Gerashchenko said the difference is that the charges against Tymoshenko and Lutsenko were trumped up, and they did not feel any guilt.
He said: ''If these people (from the Party of Regions) did not feel guilty, they would not end their lives, they would go and fight in courts like Tymoshenko and Lutsenko. They would fight with their heads raised up high.''
Ukraine's Oligarchs Turn on Each Other
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:52
Exclusive: Ukraine's post-coup regime is facing what looks like a falling-out among thieves as oligarch-warlord Igor Kolomoisky, who was given his own province to rule, brought his armed men to Kiev to fight for control of the state-owned energy company, further complicating the State Department's propaganda efforts, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry (Updated on March 25, 2015, to include Kolomoisky's firing)
In the never-never land of how the mainstream U.S. press covers the Ukraine crisis, the appointment last year of thuggish oligarch Igor Kolomoisky to govern one of the country's eastern provinces was pitched as a democratic ''reform'' because he was supposedly too rich to bribe, without noting that his wealth had come from plundering the country's economy.
In other words, the new U.S.-backed ''democratic'' regime, after overthrowing democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych because he was ''corrupt,'' was rewarding one of Ukraine's top thieves by letting him lord over his own province, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, with the help of his personal army.
Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky confronting journalists after he led an armed team in a raid at the government-owned energy company in Kiev on March 19, 2015. (Screen shot from YouTube)
Last year, Kolomoisky's brutal militias, which include neo-Nazi brigades, were praised for their fierce fighting against ethnic Russians from the east who were resisting the removal of their president. But now Kolomoisky, whose financial empire is crumbling as Ukraine's economy founders, has turned his hired guns against the Ukrainian government led by another oligarch, President Petro Poroshenko.
Last Thursday night, Kolomoisky and his armed men went to Kiev after the government tried to wrest control of the state-owned energy company UkrTransNafta from one of his associates. Kolomoisky and his men raided the company offices to seize and apparently destroy records. As he left the building, he cursed out journalists who had arrived to ask what was going on. He ranted about ''Russian saboteurs.''
It was a revealing display of how the corrupt Ukrainian political-economic system works and the nature of the ''reformers'' whom the U.S. State Department has pushed into positions of power. According to BusinessInsider, the Kiev government tried to smooth Kolomoisky's ruffled feathers by announcing ''that the new company chairman [at UkrTransNafta] would not be carrying out any investigations of its finances.''
Yet, it remained unclear whether Kolomoisky would be satisfied with what amounts to an offer to let any past thievery go unpunished. But if this promised amnesty wasn't enough, Kolomoisky appeared ready to use his private army to discourage any accountability.
On Monday, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chief of the State Security Service, accused Dnipropetrovsk officials of financing armed gangs and threatening investigators, Bloomberg News reported, while noting that Ukraine has sunk to 142nd place out of 175 countries in Transparency International's Corruptions Perception Index, the worst in Europe.
The see-no-evil approach to how the current Ukrainian authorities do business relates as well to Ukraine's new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who appears to have enriched herself at the expense of a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund for Ukraine.
Jaresko, a former U.S. diplomat who received overnight Ukrainian citizenship in December to become Finance Minister, had been in charge of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which became the center of insider-dealing and conflicts of interest, although the U.S. Agency for International Development showed little desire to examine the ethical problems '' even after Jaresko's ex-husband tried to blow the whistle. [See Consortiumnews.com's ''Ukraine Finance Minister's American 'Values.''']
Passing Out the Billions
Jaresko will be in charge of dispensing the $17.5 billion that the International Monetary Fund is allocating to Ukraine, along with billions of dollars more expected from U.S. and European governments.
Regarding Kolomoisky's claim about ''Russian saboteurs,'' the government said that was not the case, explaining that the clash resulted from the parliament's vote last week to reduce Kolomoisky's authority to run the company from his position as a minority owner. As part of the shakeup, Kolomoisky's prot(C)g(C) Oleksandr Lazorko was fired as chairman, but he refused to leave and barricaded himself in his office, setting the stage for Kolomoisky's arrival with armed men.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported on the dispute but also flashed back to its earlier propagandistic praise of the 52-year-old oligarch, recalling that ''Mr. Kolomoisky was one of several oligarchs, considered too rich to bribe, who were appointed to leadership positions in a bid to stabilize Ukraine.''
Kolomoisky also is believed to have purchased influence inside the U.S. government through his behind-the-scenes manipulation of Ukraine's largest private gas firm, Burisma Holdings. Last year, the shadowy Cyprus-based company appointed Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, to its board of directors. Burisma also lined up well-connected lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State John Kerry, including Kerry's former Senate chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobbying disclosures.
As Time magazine reported, ''Leiter's involvement in the firm rounds out a power-packed team of politically-connected Americans that also includes a second new board member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler and former adviser to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. Both Archer and Hunter Biden have worked as business partners with Kerry's son-in-law, Christopher Heinz, the founding partner of Rosemont Capital, a private-equity company.''
According to investigative journalism in Ukraine, the ownership of Burisma has been traced to Privat Bank, which is controlled by Kolomoisky.
So, it appears that Ukraine's oligarchs who continue to wield enormous power inside the corrupt country are now circling each other over what's left of the economic spoils and positioning themselves for a share of the international bailouts to come.
As for ''democratic reform,'' only in the upside-down world of the State Department's Orwellian ''information war'' against Russia over Ukraine would imposing a corrupt and brutal oligarch like Kolomoisky as the unelected governor of a defenseless population be considered a positive.
(Early Wednesday morning, President Poroshenko dismissed Kolomoisky from his post as Dnipropetrovsk regional governor.)
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (fromAmazonandbarnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer,click here.
War on Cash
France steps up monitoring of cash payments to fight 'low-cost terrorism'
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:29
Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:00am EDTPARIS (Reuters) - France will step up monitoring of cash payments, withdrawals and small bank accounts to better fight against the financing of terrorism, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Wednesday.
Just over two months after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in attacks against a satirical weekly and a Jewish foodstore in Paris, it is necessary to "fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy", Sapin said.
The attacks did not cost the perpetrators much and were partly financed by cash, consumer loans and trafficking counterfeit goods, officials say.
"It's a terrorism that is low cost to carry out but has major impact," Sapin told a news conference. "This low-cost terrorism feeds on fraud, money laundering and petty trafficking."
From September onwards, people who live in France will not be allowed to make payments of more than 1,000 euros ($1,060) in cash, down from 3,000 now. The cap for foreign visitors, left higher for reasons that include facilitating tourism, will be cut to 10,000 euros from 15,000.
Any cash deposit or withdrawal of more than 10,000 euros over a single month will be automatically signaled to the Tracfin anti-fraud and money laundering agency.
The authorities will have to be notified over transfers of more than 10,000 euros - for instance cheques, pre-paid cards or gold - by freight within the European Union.
Someone changing more than 1,000 euros in cash into another currency will have to show an identity card, down from a previous threshold of 8,000 euros.
The government will also increase controls on pre-paid cards and add mini-bank accounts to a national banking database.
($1 = 0.9433 euros)
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Louise Ireland)
Email Article>> Next Article: Germanwings Airbus crashes in French Alps, 150 feared dead
France steps up monitoring of cash payments to fight 'low-cost terrorism' | Reuters
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:35
PARISWed Mar 18, 2015 7:00am EDT
TweetShare thisEmailPrintFrance's Finance Minister Michel Sapin adjusts his earphone during a joint news conference with Austria's Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling (not pictured) in Vienna February 26, 2015.
Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader
PARIS (Reuters) - France will step up monitoring of cash payments, withdrawals and small bank accounts to better fight against the financing of terrorism, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Wednesday.
Just over two months after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in attacks against a satirical weekly and a Jewish foodstore in Paris, it is necessary to "fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy", Sapin said.
The attacks did not cost the perpetrators much and were partly financed by cash, consumer loans and trafficking counterfeit goods, officials say.
"It's a terrorism that is low cost to carry out but has major impact," Sapin told a news conference. "This low-cost terrorism feeds on fraud, money laundering and petty trafficking."
From September onwards, people who live in France will not be allowed to make payments of more than 1,000 euros ($1,060) in cash, down from 3,000 now. The cap for foreign visitors, left higher for reasons that include facilitating tourism, will be cut to 10,000 euros from 15,000.
Any cash deposit or withdrawal of more than 10,000 euros over a single month will be automatically signaled to the Tracfin anti-fraud and money laundering agency.
The authorities will have to be notified over transfers of more than 10,000 euros - for instance cheques, pre-paid cards or gold - by freight within the European Union.
Someone changing more than 1,000 euros in cash into another currency will have to show an identity card, down from a previous threshold of 8,000 euros.
The government will also increase controls on pre-paid cards and add mini-bank accounts to a national banking database.
($1 = 0.9433 euros)
(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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'Islamic State Hacking Division' Likely Used Google to Create U.S. Military 'Hit List': Analysis | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:59
When the ''ISIS hacking division'' published the names and addresses of U.S. military members online Saturday, it claimed to have acquired them by hacking U.S. government databases. But as it turns out the terrorist sympathizers most likely just searched Google.
Image source: Screengrab
According to the Daily Beast, at least 2/3 of the names that appeared on the terrorist group's ''hit list'' had also been featured on the Department of Defense's website, thus accessible through online search engines, such as Google.
The names were published on the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, a website launched by the government not long after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack to promote the work of U.S. soldiers. The site contains photo and video archives available to journalists and other subscribers. It also coordinates holiday greeting commercials seen by deployed troops' friends and family back home.
At least 60 of the 100 names were found on DVIDS but it isn't clear from where the remaining names on the list were gathered. But while most of the names were readily available online to anyone willing to spend enough time searching for them, the addresses of those soldiers were not available on military websites.
However, plenty of third-party websites, such as WhitePages.com for example, make information like this readily available at the click of a mouse. Further, a defense department official told the Daily Beast that some of the addressees on ISIS' ''hit list'' were incorrect, while adding that at least one of the names belonged to someone who isn't even in the military anymore.
Despite not knowing where the group had gotten all of the information it published, however, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said that there is no evidence of any data breach.
''We don't have any evidence of a specific threats associated with this list,'' Warren told the Daily Beast.
In addition, the Pentagon said that as of Monday it had notified nearly all of the 100 servicemen and women whose information had been published.
(H/T: Daily Beast)
''
Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter
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Twitter Data Mining Reveals the Origins of Support for Islamic State | MIT Technology Review
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:14
Studying the pre-Islamic State tweets of people who end up backing the organization paints a revealing picture of how support emerges, say computer scientists.
Back in May 2014, news emerged that an Egyptian man called Ahmed Al-Darawy had died on the battlefields of Iraq while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, otherwise known as Islamic State or ISIS.
On the face of it, his death seemed something of a puzzle. Al-Darawy was a 38-year-old father of three, a former policeman and manager in a multinational company in Egypt. He had also been a key player in the non-violent democracy movement that ousted the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 during the Arab Spring. Al-Darawy had even stood for elected office after the uprisings.
Many observers asked what had turned this nonviolent activist into a hardened supporter of the violent ISIS movement. But Al-Darawy's story is not so unusual.
Studies of people who have joined these kinds of organizations suggest that they tend to be better educated, financially better off, more exposed to Western culture and generally more accomplished than average. Neither do these individuals show evidence of psychological disorders. On the contrary, they appear to be more psychologically robust than average.
These characteristics are hardly unusual. Many people in many societies share similar characteristics. So what distinguishes those that choose to fight for violent groups such as ISIS from those who do not?
Today, we get some insight into this question thanks to the work of Walid Magdy and pals at the Qatar Computing Research Institute in Doha. These guys have studied tweets in Arabic generated by people who support ISIS and those who oppose it to determine what factors people in each group have in common.
They then searched through each individual's history of tweets to see whether their pre-ISIS tweets reveal any common factors that might predetermine their later support or opposition.
Magdy and co begin by collecting some 3.1 million Arabic tweets mentioning ISIS created by more than 250,000 users between October and December 2014. Of these users, 165,000 had active accounts that dated back to pre-ISIS times.
To determine the difference between users supporting or opposing ISIS, they asked a native Arabic speaker to judge the polarization of a random sample of 1,000 tweets.
This revealed a clear trend. Tweets that demonstrate support for ISIS tend to use its full name, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or some variation of this. Tweets that opposed ISIS tended to use the abbreviation.
They then picked out all those users who had authored 10 or more tweets about ISIS, whether in support or opposition. This produced a total of 11,332 pro-ISIS users and 45,628 anti-ISIS users.
Next, Magdy and co; studied the way tweets supporting or opposing; ISIS varied in time. ''Anti-ISIS tweets generally peaked when news of ISIS human rights violations emerged such as the killing of hostage, accounts of torture, or reports of the enslavement of Yazidi women,'' they say. ''On the other hand, pro-ISIS tweets generally peaked in conjunction with the release of propaganda videos and major military achievements.''
They also studied the hashtags associated with these tweets, finding links with various news events that seem to trigger interest in ISIS. Unsurprisingly, most of these tweeters, seemed to originate in the Middle East
Finally, Magdy and co studied the historical timeline of tweets of more than 7,000 pro-ISIS users and an equal number of anti-ISIS users. The goal was to look for features in common that could predict their future support or opposition.
Magdy and co trained a machine learning algorithm to spot users of both types and said it was able to classify other users as likely to become pro- or anti-ISIS with high accuracy. ''We train a classifier that can predict future support or opposition of ISIS with 87 percent accuracy,'' they say.
The hashtags these people use give an interesting insight into the origin of their support or opposition. ''Looking at discriminating hashtags suggested that a major source of support for ISIS stems from frustration with the missteps of the Arab Spring,'' say Magdy and co. ''As for opposition to ISIS, it is linked with support for other rebel groups, mostly in Syria, that have been targeted by ISIS, support for existing Middle Eastern regimes, and Shia sectarianism.''
That is interesting research that reveals the complexity of the forces at work in determining support or opposition to movements like ISIS'--why people like Ahmed Al-Darawy end up dying on the battlefield. A better understanding of these forces is surely a step forward in finding solutions to the tangled web that exists in this part of the world.
However, it is worth ending on a note of caution. The ability to classify people as potential supporters of ISIS raises the dangerous prospect of a kind of thought police, like that depicted in films like Minority Report. Clearly, much thought must be given to the way this kind of information should be used.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1503.02401 #FailedRevolutions: Using Twitter to Study the Antecedents of ISIS Support
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Sean Penn: 'Why I watch Isil beheading videos' - Telegraph
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:10
Sean Penn says he feels morally obliged to watch Isil's beheading videos because ''we are not seeing enough of real violence''.
The actor believes it is important to acquaint himself with the horrors being perpetrated around the world, however difficult it might be to watch.
He disagrees with the notion that violent films '' including his new film, The Gunman '' have anaesthetised audiences to real violence.
Asked if he watched Isil videos out of a sense of moral responsibility, Penn replied: ''Uh-huh. I've watched them.
''And anyone who sees them and claims that they were anaesthetised by violent movies, that they weren't horrified by what they saw, on the most primal level, is intellectually dishonest or existentially unpresent.''
Speaking to The Telegraph, Penn said: ''The problem is we are not seeing enough of real violence. We are being anaesthetised when you don't see the horror of war.
''In the Sixties, we grew up with the horror of Vietnam on our television screens every day. Today we have become anaesthetised by political correctness. The American news channels did this with the Iraq war; they wouldn't show what it was about, they wouldn't show the caskets coming home.''
In The Gunman, Penn, 54, plays a former Special Forces sniper.
He said of those who criticise films for their violent content: ''I think puritanism and sexual repression is the source of the problem.
''Nobody glorified violence like John Wayne, and they don't pick on that stuff.''
Read the full interview with Sean Penn
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AUMF: Little Clarity on 'Enduring' Ground Ops
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:15
By John T. Bennett3:11 p.m. EDT March 11, 2015
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.(Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON '-- Obama administration officials struggled Wednesday to clearly define for lawmakers what are "enduring offensive ground combat operations." But they did shed light on what it's not.
Those five words are part of a draft authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) the White House submitted to Congress last month. And in the weeks since, they have become five of the most confusing and contentious words on the American political landscape.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "enduring" is neither a word nor a concept etched in military doctrine.
At one point, Defense Secretary Ash Carter fielded a question on the definition from Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and began with a long, deep, "Uhh '..."
Audience members in the packed hearing room chuckled.
DEFENSE NEWS
Foreign Relations Agenda Suddenly in Doubt
Kaine asked Carter, Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry whether a seven-month ground operation involving hundred of thousands of American troops would meet the "enduring" threshold.
Carter replied the scale of that kind of operation "is not something we foresee." But he did not speak to whether an operation under that scenario would be legally covered by the White House's AUMF.
Kaine and panel Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., expressed concern that the administration's authorization measure would leave open the possibility of what he called "ground-troop creep," meaning a steady increase of more and more US forces flowing into Iraq.
Kerry responded by saying the AUMF is crafted in a way to "guard against that." But he did not explain why.
The officials did clearly explain what the draft AUMF would not legally cover: a US ground operation with hundreds of thousands of American troops that spans more than a decade.
The authorization was crafted to prevent another post-9/11 operation like those in Iraq and Afghanistan, which experts say yielded questionable strategic returns for the United States.
President Barack Obama's envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, retired Marine Gen. John Allen, told lawmakers earlier this year that the five words could conceivably be used to legally justify an operation spanning two weeks or two years.
Kerry broke with Allen, telling the members he "disagrees."
Administration officials do not expect any US ground operation to last multiple months or multiple years, the officials said.
DEFENSE NEWS
Carter: Military Leery of AUMF's 3-Year Span
Last week, Carter broke a bit from the White House over the three-year span of its proposed authorization measure.
"That is not something that I would have deduced from the Department of Defense's necessities, the campaign's necessities or our obligation to the troops," he told the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee.
But on Wednesday, Carter walked that back, telling the Senate committee he cannot tell lawmakers the US fight against the Islamic State will be over in three years. And he urged Congress to approve the administration's submission.
The wording has split Republicans and Democrats. The former believe it is too restrictive and the latter feel it is too vague.
Panel Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he is unaware of a single Senate Democrat who supports the version crafted by the White House.
At the hearing's start, Kerry used some bravado-laced rhetoric, saying the Islamic State group "cannot defeat us."
Notably, Dempsey told the committee up to 20,000 Shiite militia members trained by Iran are fighting in Iraq.
Email:jbennett@defensenews.com
Twitter:@bennettjohnt
Read or Share this story: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/congress/2015/03/11/aumf-isis-iraq-syria-ground-carter-dempsey-kerry/70146234/
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EuroLand
Irish Water may deduct unpaid bills from wages and welfare
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:12
Attachment orders on wages and welfare payments are seen as likely to be included in new measures to be published by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly. Photograph: Alan Betson
Irish Water will be able to deduct water bills directly from wages and welfare payments under strengthened compliance measures being considered by the Government.
The introduction of attachment orders in order to increase compliance with water charges marks a step change in the Coalition's approach to those who do not pay their water bills.
While sources said the proposals have yet to be finalised, attachment orders on wages and welfare payments are seen as likely to be included in new measures to be published by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly.
A similar system is in place for those who do not pay the property tax, and it is understood Irish Water has some powers which would allow it to do the same. The new proposals would strengthen its ability to deduct at source.
Irish Water would have to have to get a court order to deduct unpaid bills at source and Coalition figures said the move will be targeted at those who are refusing to pay rather than those who cannot afford their bills.
''This is about getting the 'won't pays','' said one figure. ''There are numerous anti-poverty measures to protect those who cannot afford it, such as payment plans.''
Government sources feel that the protest movement has been reduced to a hardcore, giving it political space to introduce stronger compliance measures.
Mr Kelly is drafting compliance legislation on water charges, and his proposals will be brought to Cabinet in the coming weeks.
Those who do not register will be charged a default rate of '‚¬260 per year, with fines of '‚¬30 being added per year for single adult homes, and '‚¬60 per year for multiple adult homes.
It was also previously announced that unpaid bills can be left as a charge on a property, which means a house cannot be sold unless the debt is paid.
The obligations of landlords will also be included in the revised measures, which may include obliging landlords to deduct the unpaid debts from rental deposits provided by tenants.
The Government's recast water charges plan announced last year removed a provision which allowed Irish Water reduce the flow to homes but the company can still pursue people through the courts.
However, it is understood Mr Kelly's new proposals will not be discussed by Ministers at this week's Cabinet meeting.
When asked if attachment orders are under consideration, a spokesman for Mr Kelly said: ''All options are being considered.''
Speaking on RT‰ radio on Monday, Mr Kelly said he respected those who have concerns and who took part in weekend protests. However, he added the Coalition had already reacted with the substantially recast plan announced last year.
''The people are coming with us,'' he said. ''If you have two people sitting side by side in a bus and one person is registered and the other person isn't, they say they are not going to pay, I can assure you from a Government point of view that legislation regulations will be brought in to ensure that everyone will treated the same. And there will be enforcement, whereby anyone who refuses to pay that legislation will be there to deal with that.
''There will be a distinction between those who can't pay or are finding it difficult to pay and those who just refuse to pay.''
Two killed in violence at Gothenburg restaurant - The Local
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:12
Police investigating the shooting early on Thursday. Photo: TT
Two men were killed and at least eight were wounded after gunmen burst into a pub and restaurant firing automatic weapons, in a suspected gang-related attack in the Swedish city of Gothenburg late on Wednesday.
Customers in the bar were watching football on television when at least two gunmen, reportedly wearing skeleton masks, launched their shooting spree.
"We are assuming that this is gang-related and not a terrorist attack," police spokesman Bj¶r Blixter told the AFP news agency.
"We've had similar problems with shootings for several years but never of this magnitude."
A manhunt has been launched for the gunmen who fled by car after the shooting in a heavily immigrant area of Sweden's second city.
Blixter said two people died and between 10 and 15 were wounded, but the death toll could rise.
Sahlgrenska University Hospital said it was treating eight patients from the shooting, including one with life-threatening injuries and two in serious but stable condition.
Gothenburg police said they have launched a murder investigation and are questioning a large number of people but no arrests have been made.
Sweden and neighbouring Denmark have a longstanding problem with criminal gangs, including Hells Angels, Bandidos and several immigrant groups which battle for control of the local drug trade.
The shooting fitted a pattern of regular tit-for-tat retributions between rival gangs in areas with high immigrant populations in Gothenburg, which lies on Sweden's southwestern coast and has a population of 550,000.
One witness told the Aftonbladet tabloid that two people entered the pub in Gothenburg's heavily immigrant suburb of Biskopsgaarden armed with weapons that looked like Kalashnikovs and started shooting.
Another witness said the shootings were over quickly.
"I didn't have time to think what was happening. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the flow of blood as well as I could with my hands," a man who gave his name as "Rocky" told public broadcaster SVT.
The bar is located on a small square next to a grocery shop and severaltobacco kiosks.
There have been dozens of gang-related shootings in Gothenburg in recent years, many of them in the Biskopsgaarden area, a housing estate with a large immigrant population and high unemployment, but fatalities are relatively rare.
According to local tabloid GP, there were a total of 52 shootings in Gothenburg last year, of which four were fatal.
In 2010, Biskopsgaarden became one of the first areas in Sweden to mount video surveillance cameras in public places because of the high level of crime in the neighbourhood of 12,000 people, according to the municipality.
In some areas of Biskopsgaarden, 80 percent of inhabitants are of immigrant origin.
A man was shot dead in an apartment in the area in May last year and two others died in suspected gang-related shootings during an upsurge in violence in late 2013.
In January a man was shot in the leg close to the scene of Wednesday'sshooting.
"It's frightening. Things happen nearly every day here but this looks like something extra," one local resident who did not give her name told Aftonbladet.
However another resident said the area around the pub was usually quiet.
"This is actually a quiet area... there have been occasional shootings but never anything serious. It's all between gangs," she said.
Sweden is as a whole a tranquil country of 9.5 million people, and gun-related deaths are uncommon.
In 2013, a total of 87 violent deaths were reported in the country. Of those 26 were gunshot fatalities, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
Common Core
Email about school bandwidth
*Please keep me anonymous*
Adam,
I'm an IT Director for a public school district and I thought you'd find this interesting. The link is to a screenshot of a survey done for the FCC during the E-Rate application process. E-Rate is a federal program that gives schools money for IT. As you can see, unless a school district provides at least 1 Gbps of bandwidth per 1000 students, the FCC is going to classify it as having inadequate internet access.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3050038/school_broadband_data.png
This is insane. At our district, we provide an iPad or Chromebook to every one of our 3000 students, yet our daily bandwidth usage peaks at 500-600 Mbps. According to the FCC, we need to purchase another 2 Gbps of very expensive bandwidth that won't be used for years to meet their arbitrary benchmarks. Otherwise, we are classified as having inadequate internet access. And don't get me started on what "scalable to 10 Gbps" means. No one has figured that one out yet.
When Obama moans that schools don't have access to broadband, this is the data he's relying on.
PS: I've been heavily involved in PARCC testing and I can answer questions. Short answer: It's a big scam to further enrich Pearson, and everyone from students up to the Superintendent hate it.
Monsantooo
Golden rice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:55
Golden rice is a variety of rice (Oryza sativa) produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesizebeta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice.[1] The research was conducted with the goal of producing a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas with a shortage of dietary vitamin A,[2] a deficiency which is estimated to kill 670,000 children under the age of 5 each year.[3]
Golden rice differs from its parental strain by the addition of three beta-carotene biosynthesis genes. The scientific details of the rice were first published in Science in 2000,[1] the product of an eight-year project by Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg. At the time of publication, golden rice was considered a significant breakthrough in biotechnology, as the researchers had engineered an entire biosynthetic pathway.
In 2005, a new variety called Golden Rice 2, which produces up to 23 times more beta-carotene than the original golden rice, was announced.[4] Although golden rice was developed as a humanitarian tool, it has met with significant opposition from environmental and anti-globalization activists. Studies have found that golden rice poses "no risk to human health", and multiple field tests have taken place with no adverse side-effects to participants.[5]
Creation[edit]Golden rice was designed to produce beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible part of rice, the endosperm. The rice plant can naturally produce beta-carotene in its leaves, where it is involved in photosynthesis. However, the plant does not normally produce the pigment in the endosperm, where photosynthesis does not occur. A key breakthrough was the discovery that a single phytoene desaturase gene (bacterial CrtI) can be used to produce lycopene from phytoene in GM tomato, rather than having to introduce the multiple carotene desaturases that are normally used by higher plants.[6] Lycopene is then cyclized to beta-carotene by the endogenous cyclase in Golden Rice.[7]
Golden rice was created by transforming rice with only two beta-carotene biosynthesis genes:
psy (phytoene synthase) from daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)crtI (carotene desaturase) from the soil bacterium Erwinia uredovora(The insertion of a lcy (lycopene cyclase) gene was thought to be needed, but further research showed it is already being produced in wild-type rice endosperm.)
The psy and crtI genes were transformed into the rice nuclear genome and placed under the control of an endosperm-specific promoter, so they are only expressed in the endosperm. The exogenous lcy gene has a transit peptide sequence attached so it is targeted to the plastid, where geranylgeranyl diphosphate formation occurs. The bacterial crtI gene was an important inclusion to complete the pathway, since it can catalyze multiple steps in the synthesis of carotenoids up to lycopene, while these steps require more than one enzyme in plants.[8] The end product of the engineered pathway is lycopene, but if the plant accumulated lycopene, the rice would be red. Recent analysis has shown the plant's endogenous enzymes process the lycopene to beta-carotene in the endosperm, giving the rice the distinctive yellow color for which it is named.[9] The original golden rice was called SGR1, and under greenhouse conditions it produced 1.6 µg/g of carotenoids.
Subsequent development[edit]Golden rice has been bred with local rice cultivars in the Philippines[10] and Taiwan and with the American rice cultivar 'Cocodrie'.[11] The first field trials of these golden rice cultivars were conducted by Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in 2004.[11] Field testing provides a more accurate measurement of nutritional value and enables feeding tests to be performed. Preliminary results from the field tests have shown field-grown golden rice produces 4 to 5 times more beta-carotene than golden rice grown under greenhouse conditions.[12]
In 2005, a team of researchers at biotechnology company, Syngenta, produced a variety of golden rice called "Golden Rice 2". They combined the phytoene synthase gene from maize with crt1 from the original golden rice. Golden rice 2 produces 23 times more carotenoids than golden rice (up to 37 µg/g), and preferentially accumulates beta-carotene (up to 31 µg/g of the 37 µg/g of carotenoids).[4] To receive the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), it is estimated that 144 g of the most high-yielding strain would have to be eaten. Bioavailability of the carotene from golden rice has been confirmed and found to be an effective source of Vitamin A for humans.[13][14][15]
In June 2005, researcher Peter Beyer received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further improve golden rice by increasing the levels of or the bioavailability of pro-vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, and zinc, and to improve protein quality through genetic modification.[16][17]
Potential use to combat vitamin A deficiency[edit]The research that led to golden rice was conducted with the goal of helping children who suffer from vitamin A deficiency (VAD). In 2005, 190 million children and 19 million pregnant women, in 122 countries, were estimated to be affected by VAD.[18] VAD is responsible for 1''2 million deaths, 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness and millions of cases of xerophthalmia annually.[19] Children and pregnant women are at highest risk. Vitamin A is supplemented orally and by injection in areas where the diet is deficient in vitamin A. As of 1999[update], there were 43 countries that had vitamin A supplementation programs for children under 5; in 10 of these countries, two high dose supplements are available per year, which, according to UNICEF, could effectively eliminate VAD.[20] However, UNICEF and a number of NGOs involved in supplementation note more frequent low-dose supplementation should be a goal where feasible.[21]
Because many children in countries where there is a dietary deficiency in vitamin A rely on rice as a staple food, the genetic modification to make rice produce the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene is seen as a simple and less expensive alternative to vitamin supplements or an increase in the consumption of green vegetables or animal products.
Initial analyses of the potential nutritional benefits of golden rice suggested consumption of golden rice would not eliminate the problems of vitamin A deficiency, but should be seen as a complement to other methods of vitamin A supplementation.[22][23] Since then, improved strains of golden rice have been developed containing sufficient provitamin A to provide the entire dietary requirement of this nutrient to people who eat about 75g of golden rice per day.[4]
In particular, since carotenes are hydrophobic, there needs to be a sufficient amount of fat present in the diet for golden rice (or most other vitamin A supplements) to be able to alleviate vitamin A deficiency. In that respect, it is significant that vitamin A deficiency is rarely an isolated phenomenon, but usually coupled to a general lack of a balanced diet (see also Vandana Shiva's arguments below). The RDA levels accepted in developed countries are far in excess of the amounts needed to prevent blindness.[4] Moreover, this claim referred to an early cultivar of golden rice; one bowl of the latest version provides 60% of RDA for healthy children.[24]
Research[edit]The University of California and Rutgers University have conducted studies showing "...higher crop yields, reduced pesticide use and fewer pesticide-related health problems..." amongst Chinese farmers who used GM rice strains. This was published in the peer reviewed journal Science in 2005.[25]
Dr. Jos(C) L. Domingo of the Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, at Rovira i Virgili University in Spain said, "According to the information reported by the WHO, genetically modified products that are currently on the international market have all passed risk assessments conducted by national authorities." These assessments found no risk to human health. Dr. Domingo advocates continued research in the areas of GM rice and its effects on humans.[26]
Clinical trials / food safety and nutrition research[edit]In 2009, research results of a clinical trial of Golden Rice with adult volunteers from the USA were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It concluded that "beta carotene derived from Golden Rice is effectively converted to vitamin A in humans".[27] In a summary about the research the American Society for Nutrition suggests the implications of the research are that "Golden Rice could probably supply 50% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A from a very modest amount '-- perhaps a cup '-- of rice, if consumed daily. This amount is well within the consumption habits of most young children and their mothers".[28]
In response to the research, a group of 20 scientists suggested in an open letter that there might be deficiencies in clinical trials: "There is now a large body of evidence that shows that GM crop/food production is highly prone to inadvertent and unpredictable pleiotropic effects, which can result in health damaging effects when GM food products are fed to animals. More specifically, our greatest concern is that this rice, which is engineered to overproduce beta carotene, has never been tested in animals, and there is an extensive medical literature showing that retinoids that can be derived from beta carotene are both toxic and cause birth defects." [29] However, it is well known that beta carotene is found and consumed in many nutritious foods eaten around the world, including fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene in food is a safe source of vitamin A.[30]
The Food Allergy Resource and Research Program of the University of Nebraska undertook research in 2006 that showed the proteins from the new genes in Golden Rice did not show any allergenic properties.[31]
In August 2012, Tufts University and others published new research on Golden Rice in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that the beta carotene produced by Golden Rice is as good as beta carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children.[32] The study states that "recruitment processes and protocol were approved",[32] but questions have been raised about the use of Chinese children to test the effects of Golden Rice.[33]
Controversy[edit]Critics of genetically engineered crops have raised various concerns. An early issue was that golden rice originally did not have sufficient vitamin A. This problem was solved by the development of new strains of rice.[4] The speed at which vitamin A degrades once the rice is harvested, and how much remains after cooking are contested.[34] However, a 2009 study concluded that golden rice is effectively converted into vitamin A in humans[13] and a 2012 study that fed 68 children ages 6 to 8 concluded that golden rice was as good as vitamin A supplements and better than the natural beta-carotene in spinach.[15]
Greenpeace opposes the use of any patented genetically modified organisms in agriculture and opposes the cultivation of golden rice, claiming it will open the door to more widespread use of GMOs.[35][36] However this is rejected by IRRI, claiming that "None of the companies listed ... are involved in carrying out the research and development activities of IRRI or its partners in Golden Rice, and none of them will receive any royalty or payment from the marketing or selling of Golden Rice varieties developed by IRRI."[37]
Vandana Shiva, an Indian anti-GMO activist, argued the problem was not the plant per se, but potential problems with poverty and loss of biodiversity. Shiva claimed these problems could be amplified by the corporate control of agriculture. By focusing on a narrow problem (vitamin A deficiency), Shiva argued, golden rice proponents were obscuring the limited availability of diverse and nutritionally adequate food.[38] Other groups argued that a varied diet containing foods rich in beta carotene such as sweet potato, leafy green vegetables and fruit would provide children with sufficient vitamin A.[39] However Keith West of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health countered that foodstuffs containing vitamin A are either unavailable, or only available at certain seasons, or that they are too expensive for poor families in underdeveloped countries.[15]
In 2008 WHO malnutrition expert Francesco Branca cited the lack of real-world studies and uncertainty about how many people will use golden rice, concluding "giving out supplements, fortifying existing foods with vitamin A, and teaching people to grow carrots or certain leafy vegetables are, for now, more promising ways to fight the problem".[40]
In 2013, author Michael Pollan, who had critiqued the product in 2001, unimpressed by the benefits, expressed support for the continuation of the research.[41]
Protests[edit]On August 8, 2013 an experimental plot of golden rice being grown in the Philippines was uprooted by protesters.[24][41][42]Mark Lynas, a famous former anti-GMO activist, reported in Slate that the vandalism was carried out by a group of activists led by the extreme left-inclined Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) (unofficial translation: Farmers' Movement of the Philippines), to the dismay of other protesters.[41][43] No local farmers participated in the uprooting, only the small number of activists damaged the Golden Rice crops, because the farmers believe in their local customs which imply that killing a living rice plant is unlucky.[44]
Distribution[edit]Potrykus has enabled golden rice to be distributed free to subsistencefarmers.[45]Free licenses for developing countries were granted quickly due to the positive publicity that golden rice received, particularly in Time magazine in July 2000. [46]Monsanto Company was one of the first companies to grant free licences.[47]
The cutoff between humanitarian and commercial use was set at US$10,000. Therefore, as long as a farmer or subsequent user of golden rice genetics does not make more than $10,000 per year, no royalties need to be paid. In addition, farmers are permitted to keep and replant seed.[48]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abYe, X; Al-Babili, S; Kl¶ti, A; Zhang, J; Lucca, P; Beyer, P; Potrykus, I (2000). "Engineering the provitamin A (beta-carotene) biosynthetic pathway into (carotenoid-free) rice endosperm". Science287 (5451): 303''5. doi:10.1126/science.287.5451.303. PMID 10634784. ^One existing crop, genetically engineered "golden rice" that produces vitamin A, already holds enormous promise for reducing blindness and dwarfism that result from a vitamin-A deficient diet. - Bill Frist, physician and politician, in a Washington Times commentary - November 21, 2006 [1]^Black RE et al., Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences, The Lancet, 2008, 371(9608), p. 253.^ abcdePaine, Jacqueline A; Shipton, Catherine A; Chaggar, Sunandha; Howells, Rhian M; Kennedy, Mike J; Vernon, Gareth; Wright, Susan Y; Hinchliffe, Edward; Adams, Jessica L (2005). "Improving the nutritional value of Golden Rice through increased pro-vitamin A content". Nature Biotechnology23 (4): 482''7. doi:10.1038/nbt1082. PMID 15793573. ^PhilRice Two seasons of Golden Rice trials in Phl concluded, 09 June 2013.^Romer, S.; Fraser, P.D., Kiano, J.W., Shipton, C.A., Misawa, N, Schuch, W. and Bramley, P.M. (2000). "Elevation of provitamin A content of transgenic tomato plants.". Nature Biotechnology18 (6): 666''669. doi:10.1038/76523. PMID 10835607. ^"The Science of Golden Rice". Retrieved 11 July 2013. ^Hirschberg, J. (2001). "Carotenoid biosynthesis in flowering plants". Current Opinion in Plant Biology4 (3): 210''218. doi:10.1016/S1369-5266(00)00163-1. PMID 11312131. ^Schaub, P.; Al-Babili, S; Drake, R; Beyer, P (2005). "Why Is Golden Rice Golden (Yellow) Instead of Red?". Plant Physiology138 (1): 441''450. doi:10.1104/pp.104.057927. PMC 1104197. PMID 15821145. ^Watson, Todd (10 August 2013). "GM rice field destroyed by activists in the Philippines". Inside Investor. Retrieved 11 August 2013. ^ abLSU AgCenter Communications. 'Golden Rice' Could Help Reduce Malnutrition, 2004^"Testing the performance of Golden Rice". Goldenrice.org. 2012-08-29. Retrieved 2013-08-26. ^ abTang, G; Qin, J; Dolnikowski, GG; Russell, RM; Grusak, MA (2009). "Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A". Am J Clin Nutr89 (6): 1776''83. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.27119. PMC 2682994. PMID 19369372. ^Datta, S.K.; Datta, Karabi; Parkhi, Vilas; Rai, Mayank; Baisakh, Niranjan; Sahoo, Gayatri; Rehana, Sayeda; Bandyopadhyay, Anindya; Alamgir, Md. (2007). "Golden rice: introgression, breeding, and field evaluation". Euphytica154 (3): 271''278. doi:10.1007/s10681-006-9311-4. ^ abcNorton, Amy (15 August 2012) Genetically modified rice a good vitamin A source Reuters, Retrieved 20 August 2012^Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative Selects 43 Groundbreaking Research Projects for More Than $436 Million in Funding, Press release, June 27, 2005 (Retrieved 24 November 2009)^Grand Challenges in Global Health, Engineering Rice for High Beta Carotene, Vitamin E and Enhanced Fe and Zn Bioavailability, Accessed 14 April 2012^Staff (2009) Global Prevalence Of Vitamin A Deficiency in Populations At Risk 1995''2005 WHO Global Database on Vitamin A Deficiency. Geneva, World Health Organization, ISBN 978-92-4-159801-9, Retrieved 10 October 2011^Humphrey, J.H.; West, K.P. Jr; Sommer, A. (1992). "Vitamin A deficiency and attributable mortality in under-5-year-olds". WHO Bulletin70: 225''232. ^UNICEF. Vitamin A deficiency^Vitamin A Global Initiative. 1997. A Strategy for Acceleration of Progress in Combating Vitamin A Deficiency^Dawe, D.; Robertson, R.; Unnevehr, L. (2002). "Golden rice: what role could it play in alleviation of vitamin A deficiency?". Food Policy27 (5''6): 541''560. doi:10.1016/S0306-9192(02)00065-9. ^Zimmerman, R.; Qaim, M. (2004). "Potential health benefits of Golden Rice: a Philippine case study". Food Policy29 (2): 147''168. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2004.03.001. ^ abAmy Harmon (August 24, 2013). "Golden Rice: Lifesaver?" (News Analysis). The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2013. ^Bailey, Pat (2005) Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers' health, study finds University of California Newsroom.^Domingo, Jose' (2007) Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants: A Review of the Published Literature Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 47:721''733 (2007) Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC^Golden Rice is an effective source of vitamin A, by Guangwen Tang, Jian Qin, Gregory G Dolnikowski, Robert M Russell, and Michael A Grusak in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009;89:1776''83.^American Society of Nutrition: Researchers Determine That Golden Rice Is an Effective Source of Vitamin A^"Scientists Protest Unethical Clinical Trials of GM Golden Rice". I-sis.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-08-26. ^β-Carotene Is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans. J. Nutr. December 1, 2010 vol. 140 no. 12 2268S-2285S^Goodman RE, Wise J. Bioinformatic analysis of proteins in Golden Rice 2 to assess potential allergenic cross-reactivity. Preliminary Report. University of Nebraska. Food Allergy Research and Resource Program. May 2, 2006.^ abBeta carotene in Golden Rice is as good as beta carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children^"China continues to probe alleged GM rice testing". Globaltimes.cn. Retrieved 2013-08-26. ^Then, C, 2009, "The campaign for genetically modified rice is at the crossroads: A critical look at Golden Rice after nearly 10 years of development." Foodwatch in Germany https://www.foodwatch.nl/foodwatch-nl/foodwatch/content/e6380/e49257/e49261/e49263/GoldenRice_english_final_ger.pdf.^"Genetic Engineering". Greenpeace. "Golden Rice: All glitter, no gold". Greenpeace. March 16, 2005. ^Greenpeace. 2005. All that Glitters is not Gold: The False Hope of Golden Rice^IRRI. 2014. FAQ: Are private companies involved in the Golden Rice project?^"THE "GOLDEN RICE" HOAX -When Public Relations replaces Science". Online.sfsu.edu. 2000-06-29. Retrieved 2013-08-26. ^Friends of the Earth. Golden Rice and Vitamin A Deficiency^Enserink, M. (2008). "Tough Lessons From Golden Rice". Science320 (5875): 468''471. doi:10.1126/science.320.5875.468. PMID 18436769. ^ abcAndrew Revkin (2013-09-01). "From Lynas to Pollan, Agreement that Golden Rice Trials Should Proceed". The New York Times. ^Michael Slezak (August 9, 2013). "Militant Filipino farmers destroy Golden Rice GM crop". NewScientist. Retrieved Oct 26, 2013. ^The True Story About Who Destroyed a Genetically Modified Rice Crop, Mark Lynas, Slate, Aug 26, 2013^http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/08/26/golden_rice_attack_in_philippines_anti_gmo_activists_lie_about_protest_and.html^Potrykus, I. (2001). "Golden Rice and Beyond". Plant Physiology125 (3): 1157''1161. doi:10.1104/pp.125.3.1157. PMC 1539367. PMID 11244094. ^"This Rice Could Save a Million Kids a Year". 2000-07-31. Retrieved 2014-06-12. ^Dobson, Roger (2000) Royalty-free licenses for genetically modified rice made available to developing countries Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, 78 (10), P 1281, retrieved August 10, 2010^"Frequently asked questions (1)". Goldenrice.org. 2004-10-13. Retrieved 2013-08-26. External links[edit]
Gates and Obama Share a Dark Secret | New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:45
In 2014 there was the western Africa Ebola hoax where US President Barack Obama, the first black man to be President, announced his ''War on Ebola'' in September last year, ordering 3,000 US military troops to the region, though reportedly none had experience in public health and no one had produced rigorous laboratory proof of a single person dying from something called Ebola virus. Liberia was among the poorest and most war-torn regions in the world.
Wars over blood diamonds and colonial genocidal tribal wars have left a devastated, mal-nourished population in its wake. Was Ebola simply a panic-maker? Further investigation uncovered the Pentagon was developing an Ebola vaccine with Monsanto and suspicion was that the 3,000 US troops were sent to force the population to become human guinea pigs for the untested substances.
Before that Obama, or more precisely then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in 2011 ordered Libya to be bombed back to the stone-age as what she called ''responsibility to protect.'' Today, four years after, the country is anarchy pure with roving lawless bands killing and looting.
Now Obama and his Administration, the US Government, have teamed up with ''Mr Vaccinate All Africans'' Bill Gates, a eugenics prot(C)g(C) and intimate of David Rockefeller. Obama and Gates share a dark secret. They are colluding to contaminate the incredibly rich and productive soils of Africa with GMO, GMO from a company where Gates is a major stockholder, Monsanto.
USAID, Gates and Monsanto in Africa
A new report was released on February 23 that documents for the first time the stealth methods of the US State Department and USAID, the ostensible Agency for International Development which is intimately tied to the agenda of the CIA and Pentagon's AFRICOM, together with Monsanto, to push unwanted GMO crops, especially Monsanto GMO maize, on African countries.
Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety who authored the report stated, ''The US, the world's top producer of GM crops, is seeking new markets for American GM crops in Africa. The US administration's strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops.''
According to Swanby, USAID has two projects in Africa which ''help'' various African governments draw up national biosafety laws as such consumer protection is lacking in all but seven African countries. However, USAID in collusion with Monsanto, the world's largest GMO purveyor, drafts laws that permit insufficiently tested GMO seeds such as Monsanto GMO maize, to be considered ''biosafe,'' claiming GMO is the solution to African hunger, a brazen lie as no GMO plant on the market today has been modified to increase harvest yield.
Swanby points to the rare case of South Africa which has allowed GMO for the past 16 years:''South African farmers have more than 16 years' experience cultivating GM maize, soya and cotton, but the promise that GM crops would address food security has not been fulfilled. Indeed, South Africa's food security is reportedly declining with almost half the nation currently categorized as food insecure even though South Africa exports maize.''
Subverting Cartegena Protocol
In 2003, over the bitter opposition of the US Government, 168 nations adopted what is called the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It puts the ''precautionary principle'' as primary'--If you have not sufficiently proven safety of GMO and other bio-engineered crops, protection of human health is primary, not free trade. Once the Protocol came into force, Washington began to lobby African governments and institutions (among others) to accept GMO crops with minimal safety assessment, hoping their lack of institutional depth would allow them to be either fooled or corrupted. The USAID is assisting Regional Economic Communities in Africa to develop policies aimed not at ensuring biosafety, but at limiting regulation, which they consider to be a barrier to regional trade in GMO food and crops.
The Swanby report documents how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works hand-in-glove with USAID by funding organizations such as the African Agriculture Technology Foundation whose aim is to promote introduction of GMO crops into Africa. Gates also works closely with the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations in their Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which pushes GMO crops as the wonder advance in biological science. If harvest failure, declining crop yields and mandatory use of highly toxic Roundup weed killer from Monsanto'--which has been proven to kill cells in human embryos'--can be called a biological wonder, we should perhaps see it through the eyes of eugenics advocates like Bill Gates and David Rockefeller who have dreamed of biochemical population reduction for decades.
In effect, we have the first African-American US President, through the US AID, in an alliance with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Monsanto to spread death and destruction of natural agriculture in Africa.
Their dark secret is that they are wittingly trying to kill off the darker-skinned peoples of the African Continent. It is an old agenda of ''stupid white male'' European colonialists, but one now being imposed with the sophistication of Madison Avenue PR and mumbo-jumbo about the wonder of biotech GMO.
Their only problem for Gates and company is that, fortunately, African people are not so stupid as Bill Gates or Barack Obama or his personal handler, another African-American, Susan E. Rice, who has blood of millions of Africans on her hands going back to her role in the US State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and her responsibility for the Rwandan Genocide of more than one million Tutsis in 1994 under Bill Clinton.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''.
NA-tech News
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F8-news in stream
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Facebook wants to save you a click by hosting other sites' content
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:39
As if Facebook couldn't get any bigger, it's looking like The Social Network wants to start natively hosting content from news organizations. As The New York Times' sources tell it, Zuckerberg and Co. have been in talks with at least six media companies about publishing their content directly on the site -- no link-clicking required. The initial round of publications apparently includes The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic and our sister publication The Huffington Post. The reason? Websites take too long to load, and Facebook says that on mobile, the average eight-second page-load is too much. Of course, the outfit has a vested interest in mobile, hence it stepping in.
Some of that load-time comes from advertisements, of course, which is how publications keep the lights on. From what the NYT says, it doesn't seem like this pitch is going over too well, and probably for good reason. Facebook hasn't exactly established much of a revenue (or traffic-data) sharing precedent, and at this stage, the whole deal looks very one-sided: Users stay on Facebook longer while news organizations sacrifice audience info and advertising income in exchange for eyeballs on its content. The argument here is that it could help a story get more views because, like its native video posts, these news stories would gain favor in the social media juggernaut's curated news feed. Whether that'll balance out for publications in the long run is anyone's guess at this point.
[Image credit: Alamy]
Source:The New York TImes
Tags:advertising, buzzfeed, facebook, huffington post, Internet, mobilepostcross, NationalGeographic, nativehosting, news, newsfeed, NewYorkTimes
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''Petaluma Police respond to bomb threat located at TWiT Podcast located at 140 Keller St. '' from Petaluma Police Department : Nixle
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 20:43
For Immediate Release
Date: March 24, 2015
Issued By:
Sergeant Ron Klein, Petaluma PD, 707.778.4372
email: rklein@ci.petaluma.ca.us
Incident
Crime or Incident Information: Bomb Threat
Additional
Secondary Incident Information:
Report Number
Case of Event Number: 15-1586
Occurred Date
Date of Occurrence: March 23, 2015
Occurred Time
Time of Occurrence: 4:36 PM
Location
Location of Incident: 140 Keller St. Petaluma TWIT
Suspect(s)
Name, Age, and City of Residence: None
Vehicle(s)
Vehicle Information: N/A
Incident Summary
Summary of incident.
On March 23, 2014 at 4:36 PM Petaluma Police Dispatch received a phone call from a male who claimed he had placed 8 pipe bombs at 140 Keller St. When police dispatch asked why they picked that address the male caller said because it was the TWiT Brick House and they're all going to die. The caller was asked why he was upset with TWiT and the caller stated he was not just upset with them but his whole life. The caller claimed he was going to take them all out and the bombs he had placed in the building would go off in 3 hours. The caller then made threats to go to the business and shoot all of the occupants of the building before the bombs went off. The caller hung up after this statement.
Petaluma Police responded to the business and contacted the management of TWiT which is a technology podcast company providing the latest perspectives and trends in digital technology. The management of the company was advised of the call and the need for police to perform a visual inspection of the inside of the building to attempt and locate any explosive devices. The company employees were not ordered to evacuate the building; however they were advised for the safety of their employees it might be best for them to leave. Most employees left until the business could be cleared by police. The surrounding businesses were also advised of the bomb threat at TWiT.
Petaluma Police Officers conducted a visual inspection of the entire business and did not locate anything suspicious. With the assistance of two U.S Coast Guard K-9's who are both trained in explosives material detection a secondary search was completed and again nothing suspicious was located. The business was declared safe at 8 PM.
The phone call could not be traced back to a phone number and at this time the Petaluma Police Department does not have any leads as to who may have made the call or why Twit was targeted. The Petaluma Police Investigations unit is investigating this incident. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Nick McGowan at 707-778-4372.
Sergeant Ron Klein
Petaluma Police Department
969 Petaluma Blvd North
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: 707.778.4372
rklein@ci.petaluma.ca.us
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Dutch Transport Inspectorate says carrying out raids on Uber
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:02
By Toby Sterling
AMSTERDAMThu Mar 26, 2015 10:37am EDT
TweetShare thisEmailPrintAn illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch regulatory agency raided the Amsterdam offices of taxi hailing service Uber on Thursday in connection with its UberPOP unit after a court deemed it illegal in December.
Uber allows users to summon taxi services with smartphones while its UberPOP arm links private drivers to passengers.
In December, a Dutch court became the latest in Europe to ban UberPOP on grounds that it fell foul of licensing laws for commercial drivers. It ordered Uber to stop offering it under threat of a 100,000 euro ($110,000) fine.
Transport Inspectorate spokeswoman Elif Bagci said there were signs the company continued to offer UberPOP, and the agency was taking evidence from company computers "to determine the scope" of Uber's non-compliance with the ruling.
Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool reported the company saying the raid was a "warning to international start-ups, technology companies and multinationals that their investments may not be welcome in the Netherlands and that their customer data isn't safe there."
Uber spokesman Matthijs van Meerveld said the company had since retracted that and planned to respond from its international headquarters in San Francisco shortly.
Uber's taxi-hailing services have mushroomed since being launched in 2010 and are offered in nearly 270 cities worldwide.
But it has also been criticized for its business style of moving first and asking permission later. It has faced complaints around the world over how it pays drivers, charges passengers and ensures their safety.
UberPOP has faced injunctions in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
Amsterdam's city council said in a March 15 report that 12 UberPOP drivers had been detained for illegally transporting passengers this year. Police say they arrested two taxi drivers in March for harassing Uber drivers.
(Editing by Jason Neely; editing by Susan Thomas)
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The Netherlands: Transport ministry inspectors raid Uber offices in Amsterdam
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:57
Transport ministry inspectors on Thursday raided the Amsterdam offices of online taxi service Uber, a move the US company described as a 'warning to international start-ups'.The raid was part of an investigation into Uberpop, a service which allows unlicenced drivers to offer taxi services and which has been branded illegal in the Dutch courts.
A ministry spokesman told website nu.nl inspectors wanted access to the entire Uber administration system and to find out how many private drivers work for the Uberpop service.
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Facebook data transfers "violation" of privacy rights
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:21
Case was brough on foot of claims by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Facebook had breached EU law by passing his data to the US National Security Agency's 'Prism' programme. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
The European Court of Justice has heard that the alleged transfer of European personal data to US intelligence services represents an ''indiscriminate general surveillance'' that is ''manifestly incompatible'' with EU privacy rights.
The EU's highest court heard oral arguments today in the case of Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems against the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), in a referral from the High Court in Dublin.
Last year Mr Schrems challenged the DPC for not pursuing his complaint, on foot of claims by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that Facebook had breached EU law by passing his data to the US National Security Agency's ''Prism'' programme. The High Court asked Luxembourg for clarification of EU rules regarding EU citizen data transfer to the US, known as the ''Safe Harbour'' provision.
The Irish Times takes no responsibility for the content or availability of other websites.
Tuesday's ECJ hearing focused on whether national DPCs such as Ireland's have an obligation to examine such complaints from citizens and to intervene with the European Commission on whether US bodies meet ''adequate'' data standards required by the Safe Harbour provisions.
Mr Noel Travers SC for Mr Schrems argued that this had not happened in the case at hand.
''There is a duty of national authorities and the European Commission to protect citizens against violations of the right to privacy,'' he said. ''National authorities ... (have) a duty to investigate the complaint and, where necessary, suspend data flows to the US.''
Not doing so was the ''very antithesis of independence'' enjoyed by Ireland's DPC.
He contended that Safe Harbour was illegal on its adoption 15 years ago and was ''even more illegal today based on everything we have learned in the meantime'' from Edward Snowden.
Mr Travers built his case on last year's ECJ case by Digital Rights Ireland (DRI), in which the Luxembourg court struck down an EU directive allowing data retention in the EU.
The Safe Harbour provisions permitted a ''far more egregious breach of privacy'', said Mr Travers, because it allowed US intelligence agencies scrutinise the data transmitted across the Atlantic.
''It is difficult to conceive of a more serious violation of fundamental rights to privacy,'' he said.
Asking to invalidate the Safe Harbour provisions would not put a stop to transatlantic data transfer, Mr Travers said, merely end the privileged status enjoyed by US companies who ''self-certify'' that they meet ''adequate'' data protection standards as defined by the European Commission.
Counsel for Digital Rights Ireland argued that Safe Harbour was fundamentally flawed because it allowed US bodies ''self-certify'' that they met EU standards merely by undertaking to do so.
''The commission did not take the more logical approach of making compliance itself a condition,'' said Mr Fergal Crehan SC.
Counsel for the Irish DPC, Mr Paul Anthony McDermott SC, said that there was no evidence that Mr Schrems had come to harm as a result of alleged US use of EU data and there was no case for the DPC in Ireland to investigate.
''There must be a likelihood that principles are being violated but the evidence to date consists of newspaper reports about Mr Snowden's revelations,'' he said. ''Mr Schrems placed no such claims before the DPC.''
Mr McDermott said the DPC was happy to deal with all complaints it received on the basis of the law. However the EU charter of fundamental rights, which includes a right to privacy, did not confer additional powers on the Irish DPC.
''International diplomacy and realpolitik'' - not courtrooms - were the best channels for resolving data transfer issues with the US, he added.
Mr David Fennelly, counsel for Ireland, agreed with the DPC counsel that EU responsibilty in this case rested not with the Irish DPC but with the European Commission.
''It is up to the European Commission ... to make positive or negative findings about the adequcy of protection afforded to personal data in third countries,'' he said.
As well as Ireland, the hearing attracted submissions from seven other EU member states: Belgium, the Czech Republic; Italy; Austria; Poland; Slovenia and the UK.
UK counsel was broadly supportive of the Irish state and Irish DPC positions, backing the lead role of the commission and arguing that the ECJ was not the appropriate forum to ''supplant'' ongoing EU-US negotiations on new data transfer rules.
Most other national representatives were critical of the Irish approach. Belgian counsel argued that national DPCs were obliged to intervene in such cases of ''blatant interference'' such as that indicated by Edward Snowden.
''If that is not considered sufficiently serious interference, one might wonder what is a sufficently serious interference,'' said Mr Jean-Christophe Halleux for Belgium.
Austrian counsel agreed that, on foot of citizens' privacy complaints, national DPCs had a right to intervene and, where necessary, ''take restrictive measures'' on data transfer.
''What we are tying to do is to minimise negative effects on the rights of EU citizens or avoid them entirely,'' said Austrian counsel Gerhard Kunnert. As it stood, he said, Safe Harbour had no legal teeth to guarantee EU privacy rights.
''It could be said that the Safe Harbour is not a safe harbour for data of EU citizens but a safe harbour for data pirates,'' said Mr Kunnert.
Counsel for the European Parliament expressed doubts as to whether the Irish DPC had exhausted its powers by deferring to the European Commission in dealing with the Schrems complaint.
''The European Commission has no power to restrict the power of national supervisory authorities,'' said European Parliament counsel Moore. Given recent examples of US deficiencies in guarding EU citizens' rights, he said the ''commission must suspend or repeal the Safe Harbour provision''.
Counsel for the European Commission acknowledged that the EU executive body had expressed concerns last November over what the Snowden revelations meant for the future of Safe Harbour. But he asked the court for an ''approriate margin of discretion'' while the commission negotiatied with the US.
''The fate of the Safe Harbour decision should not be prejudiced while talks are ongoing,'' said Mr B Schima for the commission.
Mr Schima came under close questioning from court rapporteuer Thomas von Danwitz, who pressed him on how the fundamental EU right to privacy is guaranteed under the Safe Harbour provisions.
Mr Schima conceded that the provisions were ''not a model of clarity'' but said it was ''not the task'' of national DPAs to examine the commission in this matter.
Counsel fo the European Data Protection Supervisor, where EU national DPCs meet, said the court would have to strike a balance between protection of privacy and potential disruption to the internal market of halting data transfer.
If ongoing talks with the US did not lead to significant revisions, EDSP counsel said, the EU should suspend Safe Harbour provisions.
The hearing continues on Tuesday afternoon.
News Industry Shrugs, Prepares to Hand Entire Business Over to Facebook
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:51
Facebook, a dull and endlessly scrolling record of personal propaganda and content headlined in two or more sentences, isn't satisfied with the way its 1.4 billion users (most non-sentient) consume the news. According to theNew York Times,it takes an epiceight secondsfor the average Joe Facebook User to load an outside news link, clicked on in Facebook, in a new browser tab or window. Unacceptable.
So what is the world's most powerful publisher that doesn't publish anything to do? Subsume the places that actually publish things. The Times reports that's what Facebook is aiming for, and the company has been having "quiet talks" with "at least half a dozen" publishers (including the Times) "about hosting their content inside Facebook rather than making users tap a link to go to an external site."
It's one thing to live in a country that has an obesity crisis but it's another to assume the users of your product are so lazy that they can't be made to "tap a link to go to an external site." Welcome to... AOL!
But a richer, smarter, more powerful and more terrifying AOL. Setting aside the fundamental issue of allowing a separate, extremely powerful, and extremely rich company to publish, host, present, and package your theoretically independent journalism'--and we'll set it aside because all these poor desperate publishing companies will too, Gawker included, I'm sure'--the problem with Facebook seemingly swallowing up news organizations like Ursula in the Little Mermaid is, duh, money.
Revenue share is a very... delicate thing, mainly because Facebook has a shit ton of money and news organizations don't (excepting BuzzFeed, but BuzzFeed is basically Facebook with a large and growing YouTube tentacle attached to it), and they both want money. The Times has more on this, and it's very sad, not the least of which because the amount of money that would make a difference to even a successful publisher is very, very different from the amount of money that would make a difference to Facebook:
The company recognizes that the new plan, championed by Chris Cox, the top lieutenant to Facebook's chief, Mark Zuckerberg, on product matters, would remove the usual ads that publishers place around their content. Although the revenue-sharing ideas are still in flux, one would allow publishers to show a single ad in a custom format within each Facebook article, according to one person with knowledge of the discussions.
Facebook has not historically done any kind of revenue-sharing with content publishers. Essentially, its position has been "Put your content on Facebook and we'll send you traffic." But lately Facebook has been experimenting with revenue-sharing options. In December, it began showing N.F.L. clips sponsored by Verizon. Verizon paid for the clips to be sent to people's news feeds and ran an ad at the end of them. The N.F.L. and Facebook split the revenue.
I would say it is not necessarily a good idea to compare news organizations to Verizon and the N.F.L. But the comparison is a good reminder that Facebook does not regard more traditional publishers asrivals'--as those publishers, dripping with the swagger of an industry that seemed on the brink of a renaissance, might have assumed just a few years ago'--but asoptimization problems to be solved.Whatever suddenly-enormous teen-gossip app is threatening its command of cell-phone users' attention'--that's Facebook's rival. Traditional (even semi-traditional) journalistic media outfits, swearing fealty to its traffic hose? Those are bugs to be programmed out. Facebook purchases its rivals. It consumes its subjects.
Screenshot via my pathetic Facebook profile. To contact me, email leah@gawker.com.
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Vaccine$
Danish HPV documentary
TV2 is the commercial channel in Denmark
TV2 Denmark is doing an hour long documentary on the bad effects
of the HPV shot tomorrow night.
Translation of description program:
Several Danish girls have become seriously ill shortly after they have received the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer. Many of them give the vaccine blamed for their illness. The girls feel that doctors do not believe in their suspicions, but doctors may also not find out why the girls have become seriously ill. The girls now feel let down by the Danish health who have recommended them to get the vaccine. The program examines whether the girls' suspicion of the vaccine are justified and even reveal how the authorities hide a strip warnings they received from experts.
Original title: The vaccinated girls
Sick and failed
Several Danish girls have become seriously ill shortly after they received the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer. Many of them give the vaccine blamed for their illness. The girls feel that doctors do not believe in their suspicions, but doctors may also not find out why the girls have become seriously ill. The girls now feel let down by the Danish health who have recommended them to get the vaccine. TV 2 Documentary examine whether the girls' suspicion of the vaccine are justified and even reveal how the authorities hide a strip warnings they received from experts.
http://www.tvguide.dk/programmer/TV2/2015-03-26/20:00/De_vaccinerede_piger
--
Regards,
Joe
Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery - NYTimes.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:10
LOS ANGELES '-- TWO years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy. A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.
I wanted other women at risk to know about the options. I promised to follow up with any information that could be useful, including about my next preventive surgery, the removal of my ovaries and fallopian tubes.
I had been planning this for some time. It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping my hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement. But I felt I still had months to make the date.
Then two weeks ago I got a call from my doctor with blood-test results. ''Your CA-125 is normal,'' he said. I breathed a sigh of relief. That test measures the amount of the protein CA-125 in the blood, and is used to monitor ovarian cancer. I have it every year because of my family history.
Angelina Jolie
Luke Macgregor / Reuters
But that wasn't all. He went on. ''There are a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer.'' I took a pause. ''CA-125 has a 50 to 75 percent chance of missing ovarian cancer at early stages,'' he said. He wanted me to see the surgeon immediately to check my ovaries.
I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.
I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.
That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: ''You look just like her.'' I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so ''let's get on with it.''
Nothing in the examination or ultrasound was concerning. I was relieved that if it was cancer, it was most likely in the early stages. If it was somewhere else in my body, I would know in five days. I passed those five days in a haze, attending my children's soccer game, and working to stay calm and focused.
The day of the results came. The PET/CT scan looked clear, and the tumor test was negative. I was full of happiness, although the radioactive tracer meant I couldn't hug my children. There was still a chance of early stage cancer, but that was minor compared with a full-blown tumor. To my relief, I still had the option of removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes and I chose to do it.
I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery. I have spoken to many doctors, surgeons and naturopaths. There are other options. Some women take birth control pills or rely on alternative medicines combined with frequent checks. There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally.
In my case, the Eastern and Western doctors I met agreed that surgery to remove my tubes and ovaries was the best option, because on top of the BRCA gene, three women in my family have died from cancer. My doctors indicated I should have preventive surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relatives. My mother's ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I'm 39.
Last week, I had the procedure: a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. There was a small benign tumor on one ovary, but no signs of cancer in any of the tissues.
I have a little clear patch that contains bio-identical estrogen. A progesterone IUD was inserted in my uterus. It will help me maintain a hormonal balance, but more important it will help prevent uterine cancer. I chose to keep my uterus because cancer in that location is not part of my family history.
It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer. I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system. I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ''Mom died of ovarian cancer.''
Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause. I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.
I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine. I inquired and found out that there are options for women to remove their fallopian tubes but keep their ovaries, and so retain the ability to bear children and not go into menopause. I hope they can be aware of that.
It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.
Angelina Jolie Underwent Surgery to Have Ovaries Removed | abc7.com
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:32
Angelina Jolie underwent preventative surgery to have her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed because of cancer fears, she wrote in a New York Times op-ed.The procedure, laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, was motivated by a family history of ovarian cancer. A small benign tumor was found on one ovary, but no other signs of cancer were uncovered, she wrote.
Jolie's mother, grandmother and aunt died from cancer.
"Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause," she wrote. "I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared."
Previously, Jolie underwent preventative double mastectomy after a blood test showed a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.
In her op-ed, titled "Diary of a Surgery," Jolie, 39, stated that tests showed elevated risks for cancer, forcing her to move up the surgery.
"I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren," she wrote.
As a result of her surgery, Jolie received a progesterone IUD, which will help maintain hormonal balance - and prevent uterine cancer, she wrote.
Jolie and husband Brad Pitt have three biological children and three adopted children together.
Sandy Hook
Home Of Sandy Hook School Shooter Is Demolished - Hartford Courant
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 20:03
NEWTOWN '-- The Connecticut home of the man who carried out the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school has been demolished, Newtown officials said Tuesday.
The 2-acre lot where the 3,100-square-foot house once stood in a leafy, suburban neighborhood will be left as open space under a plan approved by town officials.
Several neighbors had asked for the building to be taken down, describing it as a constant reminder of the tragedy. Among them, Dave Ackart said in a letter: "Not only is the property a constant reminder of the evil that resided there - those of us who walk, run, drive, ride or otherwise must pass it multiple times a day, are having a hard time moving on."
Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, inside the house on the morning of Dec. 14, 2012, then drove to the school where he gunned down 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.
The yellow house with green shutters on Yogananda Street was torn down Monday. First Selectman Pat Llodra said Tuesday the demolition of the foundation and driveway would be completed within another day and plans call for the land to be leveled this spring and new plantings started.
Everything inside the home, including rugs and lighting fixtures, had previously been removed and incinerated so that no remnants were available to become memorabilia.
The Lanza family moved from southern New Hampshire and bought the new house in 1998.
The property was given to the town in December by a bank that acquired it from the Lanza family. Since the shooting more than two years ago, the house stood vacant.
Copyright (C) 2015, Hartford Courant
Packet Equality
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Will Net Neutrality Vote Make Approval of Comcast-TWC Merger More Likely?
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:48
Will the FCC's vote to reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act make the agency's approval of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger more likely?
Here's why it will:
The number one reason to think the FCC will approve the merger is that it's the only way to ensure that the FCC doesn't wind up empty-handed. If the Commission approves the merger, it can bake in all of its net neutrality rules as merger conditions, which will be enforceable even if the FCC loses in court on some or all of Title II reclassification and new rules. But if the FCC blocks the merger, it puts all its eggs in the basket of the court fight over Title II and the many other legal hurdles the FCC faces.The FCC went further than anyone expected, not only invoking Title II but also creating a sweeping ''general conduct'' or ''catch-all'' standard that could cover far more than traditional net neutrality violations. This can only help Comcast and TWC get their merger through.Politically, this will make it easier for the FCC to approve the merger by insulating FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and President Obama from criticism from their base that they're going easy on Comcast.Legally, the general conduct standard, if it stands up in court, will allow the FCC ample power to address any and all concerns about the effects of the merger.
Here's why it won't:
"Re-classifying'' broadband as 25+ Mbps probably reduces the amount of competition Comcast/TWC face in the FCC's eyes, particularly by excluding all but the fastest mobile wireless carriers, and may be used (inappropriately) to bolster an argument that ''we need more broadband competition, not less."The politics of the net neutrality fight certainly spill over (in spades) into the merger. While it's true that the net neutrality vote gives cover, many of the same forces that pushed the FCC to such an extreme on net neutrality are also pushing for it to kill the merger. That it listened to them on net neutrality could mean it is likely to listen to them again on the merger.
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Presidential Memorandum -- Expanding Broadband Deployment and Adoption by Addressing Regulatory Barriers and Encouraging Investment and Training | The White House
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:56
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Expanding Broadband Deployment and Adoption by Addressing Regulatory Barriers and Encouraging Investment and Training
Access to high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity for American families, businesses, and consumers.
Affordable, reliable access to high-speed broadband is critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. High-speed broadband enables Americans to use the Internet in new ways, expands access to health services and education, increases the productivity of businesses, and drives innovation throughout the digital ecosystem. The private sector and Federal, State, and local governments have made substantial investments to expand broadband access in the United States, but more must be done to improve the availability and quality of high-speed broadband, particularly in areas lacking competitive choices.
Today, more than 50 million Americans cannot purchase a wired broadband connection at speeds the Federal Communications Commission has defined as the minimum for adequate broadband service, and only 29 percent of Americans can choose from more than one service provider at that speed. As a result, the costs, benefits, and availability of high-speed broadband Internet are not evenly distributed -- with considerable variation among States and between urban and rural areas.
The Federal Government has an important role to play in developing coordinated policies to promote broadband deployment and adoption, including promoting best practices, breaking down regulatory barriers, and encouraging further investment. Doing so will help deliver higher quality, lower cost broadband to more families, businesses, and communities and allow communities to benefit fully from those investments.
Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:
Section1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the Federal Government for executive departments and agencies having statutory authorities applicable to broadband deployment (agencies) to use all available and appropriate authorities to: identify and address regulatory barriers that may unduly impede either wired broadband deployment or the infrastructure to augment wireless broadband deployment; encourage further public and private investment in broadband networks and services; promote the adoption and meaningful use of broadband technology; and otherwise encourage or support broadband deployment, competition, and adoption in ways that promote the public interest.
Agencies shall pay particular attention to opportunities to promote broadband adoption and competition through incentives to new entrants in the market for broadband services; modernizing regulations; accurately measuring real-time broadband availability and speeds; and other possible measures, including supporting State, local, and tribal governments interested in encouraging or investing in high-speed broadband networks.
Agencies shall also pay particular attention to increasing broadband access for under-served communities, including in rural areas, and to exploring opportunities to reduce costs for potential low-income users.
In so doing, agencies shall ensure: protection of existing and planned Federal, State, local, and tribal government missions and capabilities for delivering services to the public, including those related to national security, public safety, and emergency response.
Agencies shall coordinate the activities discussed in this section through the Broadband Opportunity Council established in section 2 of this memorandum.
Sec. 2. Establishing the Broadband Opportunity Council.
There is established the Broadband Opportunity Council (Council), to be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, or their designees. In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Council shall include the heads, or their designees, of:
the Department of Defense;
the Department of State;
the Department of the Interior;
the Department of Labor;
the Department of Health and Human Services;
the Department of Homeland Security;
the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
the Department of Justice;
the Department of Transportation;
the Department of the Treasury;
the Department of Energy;
the Department of Education;
the Department of Veterans Affairs;
the Environmental Protection Agency;
the General Services Administration;
the Small Business Administration;
the Institute of Museum and Library Services;
the National Science Foundation;
the Council on Environmental Quality;
the Office of Science and Technology Policy;
the Office of Management and Budget;
the Council of Economic Advisers;
the Domestic Policy Council;
the National Economic Council;
the National Security Council staff; and
such other Federal agencies or entities as determined appropriate pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.
The Council shall consult with other relevant agencies and with the Federal Communications Commission as appropriate. The Council shall also coordinate with existing Federal working groups and committees involved with broadband.
The Director of the National Economic Council and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall review, on a periodic basis, the membership of the Broadband Opportunity Council to ensure that it includes necessary Federal Government entities and that the Council is an effective mechanism for coordinating among agencies on the goals and policies outlined in this memorandum. The Director of the National Economic Council and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy may add or remove members of the Council, as appropriate, based on that review.
Sec. 3. Functions of the Broadband Opportunity Council. (a) As permitted by law, the agencies as members of the Council shall consult with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as telecommunications companies, utilities, trade associations, philanthropic entities, policy experts, and other interested parties to identify and assess regulatory barriers and opportunities as outlined in section 1 of this memorandum to determine possible actions.
Not later than 15 days from the date of this memorandum, each agency shall designate a representative to serve as the main point of contact and will notify the Co-Chairs of the Council of that designee.
Not later than 60 days from the date of this memorandum, agencies shall submit to the Council a comprehensive survey of Federal programs, including the allocated funding amounts, that currently support or could reasonably be modified to support broadband deployment and adoption, as well as a survey of all agency-specific policies and rules with the direct or indirect effect of facilitating or regulating investment in or deployment of wired and wireless broadband networks. Spectrum allocation decisions affecting broadband deployment and other policies related to spectrum allocation are excluded from this survey and from the work of the Council, and shall continue in accordance with the Presidential Memorandum of June 14, 2013 (Expanding America's Leadership in Wireless Innovation).
Not later than 120 days from the date of this memorandum, agencies shall submit to the Council an initial list of actions that each of their agencies could take to identify and address regulatory barriers, incentivize investment, promote best practices, align funding decisions, and otherwise support wired broadband deployment and adoption.
Not later than 150 days from the date of this memorandum, the Council shall report to the President, through the Director of the National Economic Council, a coordinated and agreed prioritized list of recommendations on actions that agencies can take to support broadband deployment and adoption. Such recommendations shall include a list of priority actions and rulemakings, as well as timelines to complete them. Before finalizing and submitting these recommendations, the full Council shall meet at least twice.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
the authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof;
the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals; or
the authority of the Federal Communications Commission concerning spectrum allocation decisions.
Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to require the disclosure of classified information, law enforcement sensitive information, or other information that must be protected in the interests of national security.
This memorandum shall not require duplicate efforts underway in accordance with other Executive Orders and memorandums.
This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
Independent agencies are strongly encouraged to comply with the requirements of this memorandum.
FACT SHEET: Next Steps in Delivering Fast, Affordable Broadband | The White House
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:38
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2015
''Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet'...I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.''
-President Obama, State of the Union, 2015
In January, the President traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to announce his plan to promote ''Broadband that Works,'' a public-private effort to help more Americans, in more communities around the country, get access to fast and affordable broadband. Making good on the vision he outlined in his State of the Union Address means promoting investment and rewarding competition. Today, the Administration announced progress since January and new steps in that effort, including:
Reaching the National Goal of Providing 98 Percent of Americans with Access to High-Speed, Mobile Broadband. In 2011, the President challenged the public and private sector to work together to expand wireless access and set the ambitious goal of providing 4th Generation (4G) mobile broadband to at least 98 percent of Americans. Today, based on newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), we are announcing that through significant private investment we have reached that goal '-- nearly two years ahead of schedule. The Obama Administration put in place policies that have helped drive progress toward this milestone, and will continue to promote robust investment in wireless broadband connectivity, including:
Initiating the Most Successful Mobile Spectrum Auction in American History. Setting in motion the highest-grossing auction of mobile spectrum in American history '-- raising more than $41 billion. Freeing up this spectrum for private investment will lead to better mobile connectivity while funding important priorities like a first-responders network and reducing the deficit. This success will keep the momentum for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s upcoming ''incentive auction'' of television broadcast spectrum slated for early 2016.Continuing to Free Up Wireless Spectrum. Concerted government efforts to successfully free up wireless spectrum previously held by government agencies have, to date, formally recommended or otherwise identified 335 Mhz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum for potential reallocation.Expanding Access to Broadband in Rural and Underserved Areas. Over $7 billion of Recovery Act funding went to increasing broadband connectivity, including to under-served areas, which is the foundation of high-speed wireless service. In all, these efforts have installed or upgraded over 174,000 miles of high-speed broadband infrastructure. The Administration will also continue to support the FCC's Universal Service Fund (USF), which has invested over $25 billion since 2008, to encourage investment in high-cost and rural broadband, both fixed and mobile.Standing up the Broadband Opportunity Council. Today the President signed a new Presidential Memorandum making good on his promise in Cedar Falls to stand up a new Council singularly focused on increasing broadband investment and adoption.
The Council, co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, includes over twenty-five different government agencies and components, all united around clear policy objectives to:Engage with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment;Identify regulatory barriers unduly impeding broadband deployment or competition;Survey and report back on existing programs that currently support or could be modified to support broadband competition, deployment or adoption; andTake all necessary actions to remove these barriers and re-align existing programs to increase broadband competition, deployment, and adoption.The Council will report back to the President, within 150 days, with the steps each agency will take to advance these goals, including specific regulatory actions or budget proposals.These steps will build on and expand several actions agencies have already taken during this Administration, such as developing a common application form for wireless broadband providers to lease space for their rooftop antennas, sharing of best practices for ''dig once'' policies by state and municipal governments nationwide, and offering new online tools for finding and leasing federal assets available for broadband networks.Building on the FCC's Landmark Decision to Promote Local Choice. The FCC last month independently decided to take action against two of the nineteen state laws that restrict communities from deciding what broadband solutions fit their needs. This step forward helped unserved and under-served communities, many of whom have no way to stay economically competitive absent a municipal provider of broadband.
As a result, communities in two states '-- Tennessee and North Carolina '-- will no longer be held back from setting up municipal networks like successful examples in Chattanooga and Wilson, where those networks affordably deliver broadband speeds around 100 times the national average.Continued Support to Communities & Competitors Expanding Broadband Offerings. The Administration continues to build on the momentum we began earlier this year with the standup of Commerce's BroadbandUSA program. Later this year, the Department of Agriculture will reopen a revamped broadband loan program, which offers financing to eligible rural carriers that invest in bringing high-speed broadband to unserved and under-served rural areas.
Today the Department of Agriculture is announcing a total of $35 million in broadband infrastructure loans in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Iowa to deliver enhanced services to help attract and grow businesses, as well as to improve educational and health care services. Time and again, studies show that affordable broadband offers increased economic opportunities in rural areas, which is why Rural Development is committed to delivering high-speed Internet service to these communities.Through the BroadbandUSA program, the Department of Commerce has followed through on its promise to support more communities seeking to learn from the experts on how to increase broadband investment and competition '-- including through municipal broadband. Since January, Commerce has provided ongoing one-on-one advice to communities across the U.S. including in Ohio, Kansas, Florida, California, and West Virginia; organized a regional summit in Jackson, Mississippi; and held a national webinar to introduce BroadbandUSA and present the new Guide to Public-PrivatePartnerships for Broadband Investment.Announcing the Community Broadband Summit. To carry forward the momentum, help communities leaders learn from one another, and report out the progress of our broadband initiatives, the White House will in June host the Community Broadband Summit. Details will follow soon at WhiteHouse.gov.
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Hollywood PR
'Mad Men's' Jon Hamm treated for alcohol addiction, asks for privacy - LA Times
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:58
''Mad Men'' star Jon Hamm recently completed treatment for alcohol addiction, his publicist confirmed Tuesday night.
It is unclear when Hamm entered the program, but he did his treatment with the support of his longtime partner, ''Friends With Kids'' writer-director and star Jennifer Westfeldt, according to a statement from his publicist, Annett Wolf.
Hamm, 44, is best known for playing Don Draper, the lead in the critically acclaimed AMC series ''Mad Men.'' The series will begin airing its final spate of episodes April 5.
The Draper character has also struggled with alcohol.
Hamm and Westfeldt asked for their privacy concerning the matter, according to Wolf, and no additional information was released.
Hamm has been out and about in recent days promoting ''Mad Men.'' On Monday, he joined his fellow cast members in New York City to unveil a bench that features the silhouette of Don Draper.
Although "Mad Men" is ending, Hamm's career is going strong.
He has roles in two high-profile Netflix series: the critically acclaimed ''Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,'' in which he plays the leader of a post-apocalyptic cult, and the upcoming ''Wet Hot American Summer,'' a prequel to the 2001 cult indie comedy about hijinks at an overnight camp.
Hamm has appeared in numerous movies, including "The Town," "Sucker Punch," "Bridesmaids" and "Million Dollar Arm."
Times staff writer Lauren Raab contributed to this report.
Follow Ryan Parker on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Copyright (C) 2015, Los Angeles Times8:41 p.m.: This post has been updated with more information about "Mad Men" promotion.
7:55 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about Hamm's career.
The first version of this post was published at 7:33 p.m.
Hillary 2016
Ted Cruz's Presidential Eligibility
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:25
Q: Is Sen. Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, eligible to be the U.S. president?A: Most likely. The legal consensus is that Cruz qualifies because he was born to a U.S. citizen living abroad, making him a U.S. citizen at birth.
FULL QUESTION
Is Ted Cruz eligible to run for president based on the fact he was born in Canada but his mother was American? Exactly what does the Constitution and our other laws say about this?
FULL ANSWER
Sen. Ted Cruz announced on March 23 that he will seek the Republican nomination to be president of the United States in 2016. But, as some readers were quick to point out, Cruz wasn't born in the U.S. His birth certificate shows he was born in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970.
The U.S. Constitution requires a president to be a ''natural born Citizen.''
Article II, Section 1: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
That should disqualify him from being president, right? Not so fast.
Cruz, who came to the U.S. at age 4, is a citizen by birth because his mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born. For that reason, legal scholars argue that he can likely be president.
In 2013, Sarah Helene Duggin, a Catholic University law professor, wrote: ''There is a strong argument that anyone who acquires United States citizenship at birth, whether by virtue of the 14th Amendment or by operation of federal statute, qualifies as natural born.''
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reached a similar conclusion in 2011.
CRS, Nov. 14, 2011: The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term ''natural born'' citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ''by birth'' or ''at birth,'' either by being born ''in'' the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship ''at birth.'' Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an ''alien'' required to go through the legal process of ''naturalization'' to become a U.S. citizen.
And this month, Neal Katyal and Paul Clement, two former U.S. solicitors general, writing for the Harvard Law Review, said that Cruz qualifies as a ''natural born citizen.''
Katyal and Clement, March 11: All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase ''natural born Citizen'' has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time. And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to whether the birth takes place in Canada, the Canal Zone, or the continental United States.
Case closed? Cruz thinks so, as he told Fox News host Sean Hannity on March 23:
Cruz, March 23: The facts are clear. I was born in Calgary. My parents '-- as a legal matter, my mother is an American citizen by birth. And it's been federal law for over two centuries that the child of an American citizen born abroad is a citizen by birth, a natural born citizen.
Indeed, the Naturalization Act of 1790, passed three years after the U.S. Constitution was written, said that ''the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.''
But as the CRS pointed out in its report, the 1790 law was superseded by the Naturalization Act of 1795, which changed the language from ''natural born citizens'' to just ''citizens.''
So there is still some lingering uncertainty about Cruz's eligibility. That's because the Supreme Court hasn't ruled on the meaning of ''natural born citizen,'' which the Constitution doesn't define.
This is not the first time that a Republican presidential candidate faced such questions. As we have written before, John McCain, who was the Republican nominee in 2008, was born to U.S. citizens in the Panama Canal Zone, and Barry Goldwater, who was the party's nominee in 1964, was born to U.S. citizens in Arizona before it was a state. George Romney, who was born to U.S. citizens in Mexico, ran for president in 1968, but did not win the nomination.
Even Duggin, who wrote in her 2013 article that ''a scholarly consensus is emerging '... that anyone who acquires citizenship at birth is natural born for purposes of Article II,'' acknowledges that the issue may not be settled.
''In the absence of a definitive Supreme Court ruling '-- or a constitutional amendment '-- the parameters of the clause remain uncertain,'' she wrote.
'' D'Angelo Gore
Gillman, Todd. ''Dual citizenship may pose problem if Ted Cruz seeks presidency.'' Dallas Morning News. 18 Aug 2013.
U.S. Department of State. Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by a Child Born Abroad. Accessed 24 Mar 2015.
Duggin, Sarah Helene. ''Is Ted Cruz a natural-born citizen eligible to serve as president?'' Constitution Daily. 28 Oct 2013.
Maskel, Jack. ''Qualifications for President and the 'Natural Born' Citizenship Eligibility Requirement.'' Congressional Research Service. 14 Nov 2011.
Katyal, Neal and Clement, Paul. ''On the Meaning of 'Natural Born Citizen.' '' Harvard Law Review. 11 Mar 2015.
U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section I.
Naturalization Act of 1790. 26 Mar 1790.
Naturalization Act of 1795. 29 Jan 1795.
Bank, Justin. ''John McCain's Presidential Eligibility.'' FactCheck.org. 16 Jun 2008.
Hulse, Carl. ''McCain's Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out.'' New York Times. 28 Feb 2008.
''Hannity.'' Transcript. Fox News Channel. 23 Mar 2015.
Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by a Child Born Abroad
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 06:29
Birth Abroad to Two U.S. Citizen Parents in WedlockA child born abroad to two U.S. citizen parents acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provided that one of the parents had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the child's birth. The child is considered to be born in wedlock for the purposes of citizenship acquisition when the genetic and/or gestational parents are legally married to each other at the time of the child's birth and both parents are the legal parents of the child under local law at the time and place of birth.
Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in WedlockA child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.) The U.S. citizen parent must be the genetic or the gestational parent and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child's birth to transmit U.S. citizenship.
Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father '' ''New'' Section 309(a)A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 301(g) of the INA, as made applicable by the ''new'' Section 309(a) of the INA provided:
A blood relationship between the person and the father is established by clear and convincing evidence;The father had the nationality of the United States at the time of the person's birth;The father was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions prior to the child's birth for five years, at least two of which were after reaching the age of 14.The father (unless deceased) has agreed in writing to provide financial support for the person until the person reaches the age of 18 years, andWhile the person is under the age of 18 years --the person is legitimated under the law of his/her residence or domicile,the father acknowledges paternity of the person in writing under oath, orthe paternity of the person is established by adjudication of a competent court.Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Father '' ''Old'' Section 309(a) of the INA- A child born out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen father may acquire U.S. citizenship under the former Section 301(a)(7) of the INA as made applicable by the ''old'' Section 309(a) of the INA if the U.S. citizen father, prior to the child's birth, had been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for ten years, five of which were after the age of 14, and if the paternity of the child had been established by legitimation prior to the child reaching the age of 21. The ''old'' Section 309(a) of the INA is applicable to individuals who were 18 on November 14, 1986 and to individuals whose paternity had been established by legitimation prior to that date. Individuals who were at least 15 on November 14, 1986, but under the age of 18, could opt to have their claim determined in accordance with the provisions of either the ''old'' or the ''new'' Section 309(a).
Birth Abroad Out-of-Wedlock to a U.S. Citizen Mother:A person born abroad out-of-wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother may acquire U.S. citizenship under Section 309(c) of the INA if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the person's birth and if the mother was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the person's birth. The U.S. citizen mother must be the genetic or the gestational mother and the legal parent of the child under local law at the time and place of the child's birth to transmit U.S. citizenship.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Ukrainian officials arrested during televised government meeting | euronews, world news
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:58
Two high-ranking Ukrainian officials have been arrested during a televised government meeting, on suspicion of corruption.
The head of the state emergency services and his first deputy are said to have been detained over allegations of graft involving off-shore companies.
It comes amid a government reform drive and a campaign against deep-rooted corruption in the country.
''When the country is at war and when we are counting every penny, they steal from people and the state,'' said Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
''I ask the Ministry of Internal Affairs to conduct all proceedings in accordance with the law and the prosecution office to file a charge against them.''
There was no immediate word from the two officials who were arrested or their lawyers.
Yatsenyuk's government is at pains to show it is changing Ukraine, so as to go on receiving Western aid to help the near-bankrupt economyrecover.
Speaking from Kiev, euronews correspondent Dmytro Polonsky said: ''We can see the first spring shoots in the fight against corruption, which has been announced by the president and prime minister.
''Yatsenyuk promises to continue fighting against embezzlement of state property at the highest levels of Ukrainian authorities.''
VIDEO-CBS Promotes Idea to Put Liberals Such as Margaret Sanger on the $20 | MRCTV
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:36
[See NewsBusters for more.] The journalists at CBS This Morning on Wednesday promoted as uncontroversial the idea that Andrew Jackson should be removed from the $20 and substituted with the likes of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger or radical environmentalist Rachel Carson. Co-host Norah O'Donnell described this as "a mission to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 with a female American hero." The website Womenon20s.org is championing the concept of jettisoning Jackson. It features a list of 15 nominees and, certainly, there are heroes there, including icons such as Rosa Parks and abolitionist Harriet Tubman (among others). But eight of the 15 choices were either prominent Democratic or liberal activists. Though an on-screen graphic featured an image of Sanger, one of the "extraordinary women" according to Chip Reid, there was no mention of her ardent support for abortion.
VIDEO-Sen. Richard Shelby: 'Be Careful' of Audit the Fed | MRCTV
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:33
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Sen. Richard Shelby: 'Be Careful' of Auditing the Fed See More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/sen-richard-shelby-be-careful-auditing-fed
VIDEO-Kerry Calls Critics of Iran Talks the '47 Other Secretaries of State on Capitol Hill' | MRCTV
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:15
Hours before heading to Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland, Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday slammed critics of a proposed agreement, and raised a laugh with a swipe at Republican senators who in a recent open letter to Iran warned that any deal not approved by Congress could be scrapped by a future president.
VIDEO- Abby Martin, ZDay 2015 | Berlin, Germany | March 14th | The Zeitgeist Movement - YouTube
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 04:29
VIDEO-Computer System Network For Swedesboro-Woolwich School District Hacked CBS Philly
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 03:37
By Walt Hunter
WOOLWICH, N.J. (CBS) '-- The FBI, New Jersey State Police, county and local investigators are on the trail of hackers who hijacked a Gloucester County school's district's computer network, demanding a ransom payment to make it usable again.
The Superintendent of the Swedesboro-Woolwich School District says the unidentified hackers are demanding a payment of 500 bitcoins, the equivalent of $128,000, to return the computer system to working condition.
Dr. Terry C. Van Zoeren says the hackers have caused major inconvenience for teachers, students and parents. Without working computers, teachers cannot take attendance, access phone numbers or records, and students cannot purchase food in cafeterias.
Also, he explained, parents cannot receive emails with students grades and other information.
The four elementary schools affected serve more than 1,700 students.
Fortunately the Superintendent told CBS 3's Walt Hunter the hackers, using a program called Ransomware, did not access any personal information about students, families or teachers.
The Superintendent says, without Smartboards, students Monday used pens, pencils and papers, going back to, what he described, ''education as it was 20 or 30 years ago.''
For now, there's no comment from law enforcement on the motive behind the hackers' cyber attack.
Superintendent Van Zoeren says the district is gradually restoring the network, but it's expected to be a few more days before it's functioning normally.
VIDEO-Report: Germanwings Flight 9525 pilot was locked out of cockpit before crash - CBS News
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 03:26
SEYNE-LES-ALPES, France -- The cockpit voice recorder recovered from the wreckage of Germanwings Flight 9525 indicates that one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit before the plane crashed, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening.
An unnamed investigator told the newspaper that on the recording, one of the pilots is heard leaving the cockpit then banging on the door with increasing urgency in an unsuccessful attempt to get back in.
"The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer," the source told the Times. "And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer."
The flight voice recorder, one of the so-called "black boxes," from Germanwings Flight 9525, which crashed March 24 in the French Alps.
BUREAU D'ENQUŠTES ET D'ANALYSES (BEA, FRANCE)
Eventually, the newspaper quotes the investigator as saying: "You can hear he is trying to smash the door down."
U.S. officials contacted by CBS News could not confirm the Times report.
PlayVideo
CBS Evening NewsInvestigators look for clues in Germanwings mysteryThe wreckage from the Germanwings crash is strewn over a steep ten-acre site. As Mark Phillips reports, from the break of dawn helicopters ferrie...
The investigator, whom the newspaper said could not be identified because the probe is ongoing, said officials don't know why the pilot left. He also does not speculate on why the other pilot didn't open the door or make contact with ground control before the crash.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, airlines in the U.S. don't leave one pilot alone in the cockpit. The standard operating procedure is that if one of the pilots leaves -- for example, to use the bathroom -- a flight attendant takes their spot in the cockpit. It was not immediately clear if European airlines have adopted the same practice.
Investigators have not released the names of either pilot. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr, himself a pilot, said he found the crash of a plane piloted by two experienced captains "inexplicable."
The first half of Germanwings Flight 9525 was chilling in its normalcy. It took off from Barcelona en route to Duesseldorf, climbing up over the Mediterranean and turning over France. The last communication was a routine request to continue on its route.
Minutes later, at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Airbus A320 inexplicably began to descend. Within 10 minutes it had plunged from its cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to just over 6,000 feet and slammed into a remote mountainside.
Chart showing air speed and altitude changes for Germanwings Flight 9525
Reuters
To find out why, investigators have been analyzing the mangled black box that contains an audio recording from the cockpit.
Remi Jouty, the head of France's accident investigation bureau BEA, said Wednesday that it has yielded "sounds and voices," but so far not the "slightest explanation" of why the plane crashed, killing all 150 on board.
French officials gave no details from the recording on Wednesday, insisting the cause of the crash remained a mystery. They said the descent was gradual enough to suggest the plane was under the control of its navigators.
"At this point, there is no explanation," Jouty said. "One doesn't imagine that the pilot consciously sends his plane into a mountain."
PlayVideo
CBS Evening NewsThree Americans among dead in Germanwings crashThree Americans are among the dead in the mysterious Germanwings crash in the French alps. Yvonne Selke, 58, and her 22-year-old daughter Emily l...
Jouty said "sounds and voices" were registered on the digital audio file recovered from the first black box. But he did not divulge the contents, insisting days or weeks will be needed to decipher them.
"There's work of understanding voices, sounds, alarms, attribution of different voices," the BEA chief said.
Confusion surrounded the fate of the second black box. French President Francois Hollande said the casing of the flight data recorder had been found in the scattered debris, but it was missing the memory card that captures 25 hours' worth of information on the position and condition of almost every major part in a plane. Jouty refused to confirm the discovery.
French officials said terrorism appeared unlikely and Germany's top security official said there was no evidence of foul play.
As authorities struggled to unravel the puzzle, Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy converged on the remote accident site to pay their respects to the dead -- mostly German and Spanish citizens among at least 17 nationalities.
"This is a true tragedy, and the visit here has shown us that," Merkel said after she and Hollande overflew the desolate craggy mountainside.
Helicopters ferried in rescue workers and other personnel throughout the day. More than 600 rescue and security workers and aviation investigators were on site, French officials said.
PlayVideo
CBS Evening NewsGerman town struggles to cope with loss of students in Germanwings crashPeople in Haltern,Germany are still in shock, a day after 16 of the town's high school students died in the Germanwings plane crash. As Holly Wil...
Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann said the airline was in the process of contacting victims' families. He said the 144 passengers and six crew members included 72 Germans, 35 Spaniards, three Americans and two people each from Australia, Argentina, Iran, Venezuela, and one person each from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel.
The three Americans included a mother and daughter, the U.S. State Department said. Some of the victims may have had dual nationalities; Spain's government said 51 citizens had died in the crash.
Two babies, two opera singers and 16 German high school students and their teachers returning from an exchange program in Spain were among those who lost their lives.
The principal of Joseph Koenig High School, Ulrich Wessel, called the loss a "tragedy that renders one speechless."
In Spain, flags flew at half-staff on government buildings and a minute of silence was held in government offices across the country. Parliament canceled its Wednesday session.
Barcelona's Liceu opera house held two minutes of silence at noon to honor the two German opera singers, Oleg Bryjak and Maria Radner, who were returning home after a weekend performance at the theater.
Germanwings canceled several flights Wednesday because some crews declared themselves unfit to fly after losing colleagues.
(C) 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Approved genetically-modified apples, potatoes confuse buyers - YouTube
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 01:50
VIDEO-Wacko Saying Obama Saved Internet | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:54
Created by an anonymous useron March 25, 2015
Wacko Saying Obama Saved the Internet
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VIDEO-Lobbyist Claims Pesticide is Safe to Drink, Refuses to Try Himself - Greenpeace Blogs Greenpeace Blogs
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 21:01
Here's a lesson for lobbyists: eating your words is a lot safer than drinking the poison you help sell.
Today's lesson is brought to you by Dr. Patrick Moore, who has worked for pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto, refusing to drink Monsanto's product just seconds after claiming it's safe to do so:
Once upon a time, Dr. Patrick Moore was an early Greenpeace member. Now he is a public relations consultant for the polluting companies that Greenpeace works to change: Big Oil, pesticides and GMO agribusiness, forestry, nuclear power'... anyone who puts up the money for truth-benders who appear to carry scientific and environmental authority.
This is the best gotcha-moment I've seen on camera since tobacco lobbyist Joe Bast, CEO of The Heartland Institute, was forced to acknowledge and re-affirm his denial that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, courtesy of Lee Fang for Republic Report.
Connor GibsonConnor Gibson does research for Greenpeace's Investigations team. He focuses on polluting industries, their front groups and PR operatives. He specializes in tracking those who professionally deny climate change science and obstruct policy solutions to global warming.
VIDEO-Kolomoisky speak to journalist of "Radio Liberty" - YouTube
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:53
VIDEO-President Obama Hosts the 2015 White House Science Fair | The White House
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:37
March 23, 2015 | 21:58 | Public Domain
On March 23, 2015, President Obama met with American's young scientists and engineers who debuted their innovative projects and experiments at the White House for the fifth annual White House Science Fair.
Download mp4 (811MB) | mp3 (53MB)
VIDEO-President Obama Delivers a Message to the Nigerian People | The White House
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:25
March 23, 2015 | 2:30 | Public Domain
President Obama released a message to the Nigerian people to highlight the opportunity that the upcoming elections present for all Nigerians to stand together in rejecting violence and extremism and instead show their support for a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future.
Download mp4 (93MB) | mp3 (2MB)
VIDEO-Martinez woman crushed by gravel truck was pregnant - SFGate
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 20:29
Hamed Aleaziz|on March 24, 2015
Lindsey Combs, 32, was planning to have the first ultrasound scan of her pregnancy this week before the hairstylist was fatally crushed by a gravel truck in front of her home in Martinez, her grieving fiance said Tuesday.
Combs, who was nearly two months pregnant, had been asked to move her car away from the truck, which was part of a city project, when the trailer full of gravel overturned on top of the car on Monday afternoon, according to police and witness accounts.
Combs' 4-year-old daughter witnessed the incident, said the girl's father and Combs' fiance, 39-year-old Anderson Pamilton, in an interview Tuesday morning.
''I am devastated, upset, mostly upset that this was totally avoidable,'' he said. ''Just a roller coaster of emotions.''
Photo: CBS San Francisco
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A woman was killed when a gravel truck spilled its load in Martinez.
Photo: CBS San FranciscoA woman was killed when a gravel truck spilled its load in Martinez.
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A woman was killed when a gravel truck spilled its load in Martinez.
Photo: CBS San FranciscoA woman was killed when a gravel truck spilled its load in Martinez.
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A woman was killed when a gravel truck spilled its load in Martinez.
Photo: CBS San FranciscoA woman was killed when a gravel truck spilled its load in Martinez.
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Pamilton lived with Combs near the intersection of Shell Avenue and Pine Street, where a new sidewalk was being put in by the city-contracted construction crew.
''She was a great mother. I envy what she had with my daughter '-- the bond they had was inseparable,'' he said.
Cal/OSHA, the state agency that regulates workplace safety, is investigating the cause of Monday's incident, which occurred at about 1 p.m.
Friends, relatives and neighbors brought flowers to Combs' and Hamilton's home on Tuesday. A makeshift memorial grew on the corner.
''She was so excited about having a baby,'' said neighbor Amy Dubinsky, 64. ''They were a young couple trying to make it. It's devastating. It's not right.''
The truck that overturned was operated by JJR Construction, a subcontractor working on the city project, officials said.
Hamed Aleaziz is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: haleaziz@sfchronicle.com Twitter: haleaziz@twitter.com
VIDEO-PRODUCER PAUL-RT‰ Mobile - Murphy: People will not be bullied into charges
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:23
2 hours ago
Paul Murphy said Saturday's protest shows the strength of the anti-charge movementAnti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy has said people will not be "bullied" into paying water charges, after it emerged that the Government is considering introducing legislation to recoup unpaid water charges from the earnings of those who refuse to pay.
Speaking on RT‰'s Morning Ireland, Mr Murphy said recouping the money would entail Irish Water going to court and obtaining an attachment order to deduct the payments from wages or welfare payments.
He said this would involve a huge number of cases and would not be practical, even if a fast-tracked court process is introduced, as some reports suggest.
It would not affect the continuing water protests or break the boycott of charges, he said.
Mr Murphy said Saturday's protest shows the strength of the anti-charge movement, adding that the Government is now attempting to intimidate people into paying, which he called "bullying behaviour".
Paul Murphy says Government is attempting to bully people to pay charge
Mr Murphy questioned the figure of 130,000 people which Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said was the number who had registered with Irish Water in the past month, bringing the total of registrations to 1.23 million.
Mr Murphy said that Irish Water had given him the 1.23 million figure over a month ago.
He said the charges would be beaten by a campaign of non-payment, and that whatever government came into power in 2016 would be under "massive pressure" to abolish the charges.
Mr Murphy said people were justified in deciding not to pay a tax - although it was the law - if they believed it was unjust or regressive.
When it was put to him that the majority of TDs supported water charges and were elected with that mandate, Mr Murphy said: "It's the Government that supposedly has the mandate, and the Labour Party was elected on a false promise of scrapping the water charges."
He said the money needed to upgrade and improve the entire water infrastructure could be paid for with a financial transaction tax, which the deputy claimed could raise '‚¬500m - or an increase in the effective rate of corporation tax at home, even if it meant that some multinational companies threatened to leave.
Govt worried about mass boycott - Coppinger
Socialist and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger has said the Government is clearly worried about a mass boycott of water charges.
At an AAA news conference Ms Coppinger said water charge arrears could not be taken from wages or welfare as it was a utility, and the process would involve a major legislative change.
She said if this measure was brought in other utility companies would demand similar treatment for their arrears.
Ms Coppinger said a mass boycott was essential if people wanted to get rid of charges.
She also called on the trade union movement to come out forcefully against charges.
AAA to put down motion calling for abolition of charge
The Anti-Austerity Alliance is due to put down a motion in the Dil tonight calling for the immediate abolition of the charges.
Mr Murphy said its one last chance for the Government to listen to the people and to scrap the water charges.
He said it is clear the Government has not listened to the protests and included in the motion is a call for support for non-payment, which he says is the key strategy that is going to defeat the charges.
Yesterday, it emerged the Government may be considering taking unpaid water charges from peoples' wages or social welfare payments.
It is believed a distinction would be made between people who cannot pay and those who will not pay.
The money would not be taken if a customer could not pay, or alternatively it would be taken over a longer period.
Speaking on RT‰'s Claire Byrne Live last night, Mr Kelly refused to confirm or deny the reports.
Mr Kelly said he was "not going to pour cold water on it for the simple reason that is this, from an equity and a fairness point of view, you know we've 66-67% of people who have signed up and that needs to be respected".
On his way into this morning's Cabinet meeting, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Kelly would be bringing proposals to Government shortly.
Minister Brendan Howlin on water charges
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said there should be a mechanism to ensure people who are compliant with water charges are not disadvantaged over people who have come to the conclusion there are things they do not have to pay for.
Mr Howlin said the Government was pleased that a clear majority of people had signed up to pay for water.
He also said there had to be fairness and balance in the system, adding that if people who are in a position to pay decide not to pay that cannot be allowed to stand.
When asked about Saturday's protest against water charges, Mr Howlin said there were those protesting against taxes generally, and there were those, including those in leadership, who simply wanted to bring down the Government.
However, he said there were others at the end of their tether and the Government recognised that.
Read next:HIQA review finds children significantly at risk
VIDEO-Angelina Jolie Has Ovaries, Fallopian Tubes Removed After Cancer Scare - NBC News.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:32
Angelina Jolie has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after tests indicated possible signs of cancer, the Hollywood actress announced Tuesday '-- two years after she underwent a double mastectomy.
In a brief but candid op-ed for the New York Times, Jolie described learning that tests had showed early indications of possible ovarian cancer '-- an illness that killed her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, at the age of 49.
"The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters," the 39-year-old wrote.
Jolie said that the preventative laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy she underwent last week means she is now in menopause and can no longer have any more children.
"I expect some physical changes," the Oscar winner and U.N. envoy wrote. "But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared."
She said she feels "grounded" in her decision because while "it is not possible to remove all risk" her children "will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'"
Jolie also stressed that there are alternatives to surgery for other women in the same situation.
"There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally," she wrote. "It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue... Knowledge is power."
'-- Alastair JamiesonFirst published March 24 2015, 1:31 AM
VIDEO-The one word Ted Cruz used more than 25 times in his speech | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:41
Ted Cruz's speech announcing his 2016 presidential run featured one word more than 25 times.
The word was ''imagine.''
Mediaite noticed it and published the entire list.
WMAL's Chris Plante picked up on it too, and created a montage using clips from Cruz's speech with John Lennon's ''Imagine'' playing underneath it.
Check it out:
'--
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter
VIDEO-'A Time to Reclaim the Constitution of the United States': Ted Cruz's Speech Officially Announcing He's in It for 2016 | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:34
Conservative firebrand and Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Monday that he is officially a candidate for president in the 2016 race, and promised to restore the promise of America to millions of Americans.
''I believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America,'' he said at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. ''And that is why today, I am announcing that I'm running for president of the United States.''
''It is a time for truth,'' Cruz said. ''It is a time for liberty. It is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.''
Cruz framed his campaign as part of an effort to restore the promise of America, which allows immigrants like his own parents to come to the United States and becoming whatever they want.
''The answer will not come from Washington,'' he said. ''It will come only from the men and women across this country, from men and women, from people of faith, from lovers of liberty, from people who respect the Constitution.''
''It will only come as it has come at every other time of challenge in this country '-- when the American people stand together and say we will get back to the principles that have made this country great,'' he added. ''We will get back and restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.''
His remarks hit on many of the themes he has hit on for the last few years. Some of his biggest applause lines came from his promise to eliminate Obamacare and end President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.
''Imagine abolishing the IRS,'' he said to cheers. ''Imagine embracing school choice as the civil rights issue of the next generation.''
But one of the loudest applause lines was his call to imagine the U.S. being a better friend to Israel than Obama has been. ''Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel,'' he said.
Cruz's decision to announce at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, gave him a chance to stress the importance of faith. He recounted that his father '-- an immigrant from Cuba '-- left the family, then living in Canada, when Cruz was just 3, returning to Texas after deciding he didn't want to be married anymore. But he said his father discovered religion in Texas.
''And there, my father gave his life to Jesus Christ,'' Cruz said. His father, a pastor, ultimately returned home to the family.
''There are people who wonder if faith is real,'' he said. ''I can tell you, in my family, there's not a second of doubt.'' He stressed to Christians around the country to come to the polls in 2016 and vote their values, and asked the audience to imagine a federal government that works to ''defend the sanctity of human life.''
His speech followed a late Sunday night announcement that said he was running, and the Monday morning release of a new video in which Cruz encouraged people to ''stand up and support our promise.''
''It's going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America great again,'' he said. ''And I'm ready to stand with you to lead the fight.''
With the announcement, Cruz is the first nationally known candidate for 2016. A few other Republicans, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have formed exploratory committees and are expected to declare one way or the other in the coming weeks and months.
Cruz's announcement seems designed to seize the official status as frontrunner while he can, a head start he may need against other Republicans that are expected to enter the race. The most recent polls have him trailing Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, author and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Cruz has also polled at roughly the same levels as fellow Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Still, Cruz is arguably the Republican in Congress most identified with the GOP's opposition to President Barack Obama. He's been at the forefront of efforts in Congress to repeal Obamacare, and fight Obama's executive action on immigration.
On immigration, Cruz will likely find himself fighting those in his own party, including Bush, who have a more moderate stance on the issue. And Cruz's opposition within the Republican Party is already well-funded '-- Bush is easily the biggest money-raiser so far of all the possible GOP candidates.
Cruz has hinted that his strategy will be to pull together fiscal conservatives, those who prioritize defense and national security, and those on the religious right.
While Cruz and Obama have almost nothing in common policy-wise, Cruz is hoping to emulate Obama's path to the White House. Obama became president just four years after he first became a U.S. senator '-- two years short of a full six-year term '-- and rose to power largely on strength of his criticisms of the incumbent president.
A Cruz victory in 2016 would match that feat, and his attempt will likely be filled with reminders of what Cruz has said are Obama numerous foreign and domestic policy failures.
During his first year in the Senate in 2013, he quickly won the hearts of conservatives by launching a filibuster on the Senate floor to protest Obamacare. He said dramatically that he would talk until he is ''no longer able to stand,'' and ended more than 21 hours later.
Late last year, Cruz urged senators to vote against a $1.1 trillion spending bill that funded most of the government for the rest of fiscal year 2015. Cruz and other Republicans warned that the idea of only giving the Department of Homeland Security temporary funding, in the hopes of forcing Democrats to agree to defund President Barack Obama's immigration plan, would backfire, since the GOP would be seen as taking DHS hostage.
By March, Cruz was proven right, as Republican leaders in the House and Senate were forced to drop their fight against Obama's immigration plan and pass a ''clean'' DHS bill. In the end, 75 House Republicans agreed to pass the clean bill.
More recently, he has joined with other Republicans to criticize Obama's ongoing effort to strike a nuclear agreement with Iran.
VIDEO-Representative Press Blog: NBC Ann Curry full interview with Javad Zarif
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:59
Watch NBC Ann Curry Full Interview with Iran Foreign Minister Full Interview With Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif transcript: Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke with NBC News' Ann Curry Wednesday. Below is the complete interview
VIDEO HOOK OR CROOK-Here's The Full Transcript Of Obama's Interview With HuffPost
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:15
President Barack Obama sat down with The Huffington Post's Sam Stein for an interview on Friday, discussing everything from sequestration, the Iran nuclear talks and presidential pardons, to overtime pay, athletic scholarships and sleep.
Below is the full transcript from the March 20 interview. Watch a video of the interview above.
HUFFPOST: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for doing this.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Great to be with you.
HUFFPOST: Let's jump right into it. Loretta Lynch's nomination is lingering in the Senate now for more than 130 days. And increasingly, we hear Democrats saying that race is a factor. Do you share their concerns?
OBAMA: I don't know about that. What I do know is, is that she is eminently qualified. Nobody denies it. Even the Republicans acknowledge she's been a great prosecutor. She has prosecuted terrorists in New York, she has gone after organized crime, she's gone after public corruption. Her integrity is unimpeachable. By all accounts, she's a great manager, and the fact that she has now been lingering in this limbo for longer than the five previous attorney general nominees combined, makes no sense. We need to go ahead and get this done.
HUFFPOST: What do you think is behind it?
OBAMA: Well, Senate dysfunction is part of it. But part of it, I think, is just a stubbornness on the part of Republicans to move nominees, period.
HUFFPOST: Well, they say they've got -- they're holding up her nomination until they get to this human trafficking bill with a controversial abortion provision in it. Would you encourage Democrats to let the bill go through so you can get a confirmation?
OBAMA: You don't hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues. This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she's well-qualified. We need to go ahead and get her done.
HUFFPOST: Is Eric Holder prepared to stay as long as possible?
OBAMA: Yes, he is. And the irony is, of course, that the Republicans really dislike Mr. Holder. If they really want to get rid of him, the best way to do it is to go ahead and get Loretta Lynch confirmed.
HUFFPOST: Looking at the congressional budgets that were released this week, and the one that you released in February, do you see any areas of potential collaboration between the two?
OBAMA: Well, let's first talk about the contrasting visions in these budgets. I put forward a budget of what I called ''middle-class economics'' that continues to be fiscally prudent -- we've already reduced our deficits by two-thirds -- but makes necessary investments for us to continue the economic momentum and job growth that we've seen over the last several years.
So we invest in early childhood education. We invest additional job training dollars. We make sure that we've got a strong research and development strategy so that we continue to innovate. Rebuilding our infrastructure, which we know will attract businesses.
Then you look at the recently released Republican budget, which keeps in place a sequester -- a law that is slashing both defense and non-defense spending -- so that we would end up seeing hundreds of thousands of young people having less money for student loans. We would see early childhood education slots slashed. We would see the elimination of the Affordable Care Act, of course, which would mean not only that millions of people are losing health care coverage, but folks who have health care coverage -- 130 million of them -- would no longer be protected against discrimination because of pre-existing conditions. Four million seniors would suddenly be paying higher prescription drug prices.
So it is the classic trickle-down, top-down approach to economics that we know has failed. And the fact that they are putting this forward once again -- with tax cuts for the wealthiest, so that the average millionaire and billionaire would get a $50,000 tax cut, while middle-class families would end up losing tax credits that help them send their kids to college or help them save for retirement -- makes no sense.
The last point, which I don't think has gotten enough attention -- their main argument for their budget was to balance the budget. This was their No. 1 priority. A couple of days after they released this budget, they introduced a bill that they're now going to go ahead and try to pass through the House of Representatives, to eliminate the estate tax. Now understand that right now, you don't even start paying the estate tax until $11 million worth of assets. So this benefits 0.1 percent of the population, and it would blow a $30 billion-a-year hole in our budget.
So if you're really concerned about deficits, you cannot take seriously a budget that would give $30 billion a year worth of tax cuts to not just the top 1 percent but the top 0.1 percent.
HUFFPOST: Your argument is that they keep trying the same exact trick over and over again. Their argument is, you've changed. That in 2009 and 2010, you were talking about belt-tightening, you actually were explicit in talking about reforming entitlements. They look back at those years and they say, ''Where'd you go?''
OBAMA: Well, actually, the truth is, is that circumstances changed. At that time, we were seeing significantly higher deficits, and the economy was just beginning to grow. We now know that we've got strong growth. As a consequence, as I argued at the time, the deficits have come down -- they are now below 3 percent of our GDP, our gross domestic product, which is a stable place for us to be.
What you have to do is to look at what's going to keep our economic growth going, what's going to make sure jobs are being created. If you implement their budget, in the first three years alone we would see about half a percentage point less of economic growth than we currently see. That's hundreds of thousands of jobs that are eliminated.
So to go back to your earlier question though, I do think there's some areas where we should be able to cooperate. Both parties say they want greater infrastructure spending. Both parties are talking about simplifying our tax code.
If we can find some common ground around that, and if we can recognize that given the economic growth, given the reduction in deficits, now's the time for us to make sure that we are making the investments we need to continue to grow and to keep our country safe, then we can do what Senator Murray did with Congressman Ryan, and plus-up both the defense and non-defense budgets. I don't expect to get 100 percent of what I want, but what we can't do is go back to the kind of top-down economics that doesn't work.
HUFFPOST: Perfect segue into this. Having outlined your budget and strongly advocated for priorities like child care, infrastructure, research and development, how could you possibly sign a bill into law in October of 2015 that allowed sequestration to come back into effect? Could you do it?
OBAMA: I will not, and I've been very clear. We are not going to have a situation where, for example, our education spending goes back to its lowest level since the year 2000 -- since 15 years ago -- despite a larger population and more kids to educate. We would be spending less per pupil than we did back in 2000, at a time when, 15 years later, we know that the single most important thing in terms of how well we can compete around the world is the quality of our workforce. We can't do that to our kids, and I'm not going to sign it.
HUFFPOST: On inequality, one thing you could actually do right now with the stroke of a pen is to require companies to pay overtime to people who make less than a certain salary and work more than 40 hours a week. Senate Dems have said set that threshold at $57,000 a year, House Dems, I believe, want it even higher than that. Considering the underlying objectives of your economic vision here, how big are you going to go?
OBAMA: Well, I'll tell you when we announce it.
HUFFPOST: Why not now?
OBAMA: But you're making an important point generally though. What we've seen is, increasingly, companies skirting basic overtime laws, calling somebody a manager when they're stocking groceries and getting paid $30,000 a year. Those folks are being cheated. And what we want to make sure of -- and we're working with Tom Perez, our secretary of labor, to set a standard that is fair and that acknowledges the history of people getting paid their fair overtime wages.
HUFFPOST: Any time frame for when we could expect that announcement?
OBAMA: It should be relatively soon.
HUFFPOST: Switching to foreign affairs. Given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent comments on a two-state solution in the close of his campaign, can the U.S. continue to oppose Palestinian efforts to gain statehood at the United Nations?
OBAMA: Well, I had a chance to speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday, congratulated his party on his victory. I did indicate to him that we continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic. And I indicated to him that given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are possible.
So we're evaluating what's taking place. I think Prime Minister Netanyahu still has to form a government; we'll be in close consultation with them. We're going to make sure, regardless of disagreements we have on policy, that our military and intelligence cooperation to keep the Israeli people safe continues and that cooperation also helps the American people stay safe.
But we are going to continue to insist that, from our point of view, the status quo is unsustainable. And that while taking into complete account Israel's security, we can't just in perpetuity maintain the status quo, expand settlements. That's not a recipe for stability in the region.
HUFFPOST: Is there any reason at this point to believe that he's serious about a Palestinian state?
OBAMA: Well, we take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime ministership, and so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the region.
HUFFPOST: And what was your reaction to his warning on Election Day about Arab voters heading to the polls "in droves"?
OBAMA: We indicated that that kind of rhetoric was contrary to what is the best of Israel's traditions. That although Israel was founded based on the historic Jewish homeland and the need to have a Jewish homeland, Israeli democracy has been premised on everybody in the country being treated equally and fairly. And I think that that is what's best about Israeli democracy. If that is lost, then I think that not only does it give ammunition to folks who don't believe in a Jewish state, but it also I think starts to erode the meaning of democracy in the country.
HUFFPOST: I mean, can you unring that bell basically?
OBAMA: Well, I think that's probably a question better addressed to the prime minister.
HUFFPOST: That's our next sit-down, obviously.
What impact do you think the Israeli elections are going to have on your ability to sell any Iranian nuclear agreement to both the American public and this Congress?
OBAMA: I don't think it will have a significant impact. Obviously there's significant skepticism in Israel generally about Iran. And understandably. Iran has made vile comments, anti-Semitic comments, comments about the destruction of Israel. It is precisely for that reason that even before I became president, I said Iran could not have a nuclear weapon.
What is going to have an effect on whether we get a deal done is, number one, is Iran prepared to show, to prove to the world that it is not developing a nuclear weapon, and can we verify that in an intrusive, consistent way.
And frankly, they have not yet made the kind of concessions that are I think going to be needed for a final deal to get done. But they have moved, and so there's the possibility.
The other thing is going to be me being able to show not just the American people or the Israeli people but the world that, in fact, we have mechanisms in place that will prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And that the deal that is made not only is verifiable, but it also makes it much less likely that Iran is able to break out than if we have no deal at all. And that's an argument that we are going to have to make, if we have a deal. But we've still got some more to do.
HUFFPOST: Well, that's my next question. Recent reports say that a draft is circulating. But there are other reports that say a sticking point remains over the pace of U.N. sanctions relief. So where do things stand now, and how firm are you on the idea that international sanctions relief must be phased out over time?
OBAMA: There is no deal until everything is worked out. And I think that it's premature to suggest that there is a draft out there. What is true is that there has been movement from the Iranian side. We are consulting with the P5+1.
Negotiations have broken for a week because of the Nowruz holidays inside of Iran, which gives time for us to make sure that everybody within the P5+1 is comfortable with the current positions that are being taken. It allows them to consult. We'll be back in a week. Our goal though is to get this done in a matter of weeks, not months.
HUFFPOST: Quickly on domestic issues because we have limited time. Wanted to get through a few.
We've made a lot of progress on race relations, obviously you noted in your Selma speech. But then you have situations like what took place in Oklahoma -- fraternity brothers caught on video chanting about lynching. What was your reaction to that video?
OBAMA: Look, at any given point on any given day, somebody is doing something stupid out there. In the age of the Internet, it's going to attract attention. I don't think this is the first time that somebody at a fraternity has done something stupid, racist, sexist. It won't be the last.
What was heartening was the quick response from President Boren, somebody who I know well and I know who has great integrity. The quick reaction from the student body.
You know, the way we have to measure progress here is not, "Is there ever going to be an incident of racism in the country?" It's, "How does the majority of our country respond?" And on that front, there's no doubt that the overwhelming number of students at the University of Oklahoma, and around the country, think that kind of behavior is deplorable and don't accept it.
Frankly, 30 years ago or 40 years ago, there might have been a different reaction and more tolerance for that kind of racist chant.
HUFFPOST: Sticking to colleges -- it's bracket time. Your bracket is better than mine, I'm assuming at this point. Mine's pretty bad.
OBAMA: Not by much. (Laughter)
HUFFPOST: Not by much? OK. Shouldn't these players be compensated for all the revenue they're generating for the NCAA and the television stations and the advertisers?
OBAMA: Here's what I've said. That the students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue here. An immediate step that the NCAA could take -- that some conferences have already taken -- is if you offer a scholarship to a kid coming into school, that scholarship sticks, no matter what.
It doesn't matter whether they get cut, it doesn't matter whether they get hurt. You are now entering into a bargain and responsible for them.
Health care. You've got to make sure that if they get injured while they're playing that they're covered.
I do think that recognizing that the majority of these student athletes are not going to end up playing professional ball -- this isn't just a farm system for the NBA or the NFL -- means that the universities have more responsibilities than right now they're showing --
HUFFPOST: But what about compensation?
OBAMA: -- and what does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they're banished. That's not fair.
In terms of compensation, I think the challenge would just then start being, do we really want to just create a situation where there are bidding wars? How much does a Anthony Davis get paid --
HUFFPOST: A lot. (Laughter)
OBAMA: -- as opposed to somebody else? And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports.
HUFFPOST: I wanted to go to a comment that former adviser Dan Pfeiffer made. Recently he said, "There's never been a time when we've taken progressive action and regretted it." Have you become a more progressive president over time?
OBAMA: No. I think that what we are constantly doing is looking for opportunities to advance the agenda that I talked about back in 2007 and 2008. I mean, remember, in the first two years of my administration we advanced more progressive legislation than anybody in 50 years.
The Recovery Act, which everybody has forgotten about, which helped saved the economy and prevented us going into the Great Depression, was the largest investment in green technology, the largest investment in education. We rebuilt roads and bridges. It was larger by a significant margin than the New Deal in real dollars and put us on a pathway for clean energy development, put us on a pathway for electronic medical records. All kinds of stuff that people forgot about.
The Affordable Care Act, which is working better than even I thought it was going to work, and we now have 16 million-plus people who are benefiting directly from having health insurance, and we have another 130 million who don't have to worry about losing their coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Millions of young people who are on their parents' plan. Those are pretty progressive.
What we have done though is consistently looked for additional opportunities to get stuff done. Wherever we see a possibility of increasing wages, creating more jobs, making sure that more people are able to access opportunity, we're gonna seize it. And we're going to, wherever possible, try to reach out to Republicans and see if they can work with us. And where they're not willing to work with us, we will do it administratively or we will convene the private sector.
By hook or by crook, we're going to make sure that when I leave this office, that the country is more prosperous, more people have opportunity, kids have a better education, we're more competitive, climate change is being taken more seriously than it was, and we are actually trying to do something about it. Those are going to be the measures by which I look back and say whether I've been successful as president.
HUFFPOST: Two very quick questions to close. On pardons, you've given out pardons at a slower rate than your predecessors. Why?
OBAMA: Well, I will tell you, the first year the way this system worked was the Department of Justice recommended -- there was an office that would recommend the pardons. And in looking at it, I noticed that what I was getting was mostly small-time crimes from very long ago. It'd be a 65-year-old who wanted a pardon to get his gun rights back. Most of them were legitimate, but they didn't address the broader issues that we face, particularly around nonviolent drug offenses.
So we've revamped now the DOJ office. We're now getting much more representative applicants.
And I think what you'll see is not only me exercising that pardon power and clemency power more aggressively for people who meet the criteria -- nonviolent crimes, have served already a long period of time, have shown that they're rehabilitated -- but also we're working with Democrats and Republicans around criminal justice reform issues.
Can we eliminate some of the mandatory minimum sentencing that's resulting in somebody on a nonviolent drug charge getting more time than a rapist? Are we doing a better job in terms of rehabilitation?
And what's been encouraging is this is a rare area where we're actually seeing significant bipartisan interest. Some of the most conservative members of the Republican Party -- either because of libertarian reasons or because they're concerned about the costs of --
HUFFPOST: Governor Rick Perry --
OBAMA: Rick Perry in Texas -- you know, we're seeing an interest in reform. And if we can get some action done at the federal level, that will make a difference in terms of how I think more and more states recognize it doesn't make sense for us to treat nonviolent drug offenses the way we do.
HUFFPOST: Last question. In your seventh year in office, what have you learned about pacing yourself and managing the stress of the job?
OBAMA: You know, the truth is that I'm lucky to, by inclination and temperament, be fairly steady.
HUFFPOST: Your Hawaiian roots, basically?
OBAMA: Yeah, exactly. I think that's probably what it is. Good weather and beaches.
HUFFPOST: Just like today. (Laughter)
OBAMA: So I don't get too high, don't get too low.
I've been very consistent about exercising in the morning. That helps.
But I think the most important -- I'm very consistent about spending time with family. And when you have dinner with your daughters -- particularly teenage daughters -- they'll keep you in your place and they'll teach you something about perspective.
But I think the most important thing is to take the long view on things. We live in such a 24/7, Twitter-fed, constant news cycle, and everything's a crisis, and everything's --
HUFFPOST: You're not on Twitter. (Laughter)
OBAMA: Well, I'm not. But everything's a crisis, everything is terrible, everything is doomsday, everything is -- if it doesn't get solved tomorrow, you know, your presidency is going off the rails.
There must have been what, 15, 20 things that over the last seven years folks have said, "This is it. It's over."
You know, we had the Gulf oil spill, worst environmental disaster in history. Everybody said, "Ah, he's handling this terribly." A year later, nobody was talking about it, and in retrospect, it turns out that we handled that as well as any environmental crisis has been handled.
Ebola -- remember that?
HUFFPOST: I do.
OBAMA: Obviously it's still a serious problem and we've got to get down to zero. But that was probably one of the most effective international public health responses in history, and that was led by us. If we hadn't acted, it would still be raging and everybody else would be at risk.
And so those experiences, I think, remind you that my job is to keep my eye on the ball and to stay focused on what can we get done every single day to advance the vision and values that brought me here. What can I do to make sure that middle-class families are feeling more secure, that more young people are able to access opportunity, that we are safe, that we are working with our international partners to try to create more order at a time when there's a lot of chaos? How do we deal with terrorism in a way that's consistent with our values?
As long as I stay focused on those north stars, then I tend not to get too rattled.
HUFFPOST: I was wondering how many hours of sleep you're getting a night.
OBAMA: Probably not enough.
HUFFPOST: That's what I figured you'd say.
OBAMA: I will say that when people leave the administration and I see them six months later, they've got the post-administration glow. (Laughter) They really look good. So I'm hoping that the same happens to me.
HUFFPOST: There's hope for you. Thank you, Mr. President.
OBAMA: Great to see you, Sam.
VIDEO-There's a Significant Reason Ted Cruz Chose March 23 to Announce His Presidential Bid | Video | TheBlaze.com
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:07
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) officially announced his candidacy for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination just after midnight on Twitter Monday '-- and the date, March 23, has some significance.
The Cruz campaign revealed that the Texas senator chose the date because it's the ''anniversary of the disaster known as Obamacare.''
President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.
Cruz became the first Republican to declare candidacy for 2016 '-- though the GOP field is expected to be crowded.
Minutes after Cruz made the major announcement, tedcruz.org transformed into the conservative senator's official 2016 campaign website. He also released his first campaign video, titled ''A Time for Truth.'' Watch below:
'--
VIDEO-Science Channel Smashes the Walls of Perception in New Brand Spot - PromaxBDA Brief
Sun, 22 Mar 2015 20:14
by Justin W. Sanders | 02.18.2015Close''Science is for rebels,'' says Grant Reynolds, co-host of Science Channel's new show What Could Possibly Go Wrong, in a 2015 brand spot that merges live-action footage with high-impact visual effects. Drinking a beer handed off to him by a friendly drone, Reynolds proceeds to guide us through a warehouse full of spontaneous invention and mind-blowing technology.
''It's your mind giving the finger to what's known,'' he continues, ''and letting your imagination fist-bump the impossible.''
Come to think of it, '''...giving the finger to what's known'' could actually be a pretty great tagline, but if that's taking things a bit too far, it's still exciting to hear those words in the thick of a big-budget promo. And with the utterance of those words, any lingering doubts about the network's current take on things are resolved. These days, said Science Channel SVP of marketing Dan Bragg, ''we really want a nice swagger to our network, an attitude and a distinct point of view. To feel young and fresh and innovative but still accessible.''
Just one year ago, Science Channel programs such as What Could Possibly Go Wrong (premiered February 7) and All-American Makers (premiered January 21) heralded the current era of frenzied innovation, celebrating a time of inclusion and limitless possibilities. When it came to swagger, those shows and others walked the walk, so Bragg and the marketing team's new brand spot needed to talk the talk '' but they were having trouble channeling those series' collective energy.
''Typically when we've done brand spots, we've built them out of our shows and [used] editorial solutions and simple graphic solutions to tell a story,'' said Bragg. But this time around, working with Science Channel supervising producer Matt Laster, Bragg found that they kept running up against the same problem: ''It didn't feel unique. It felt like we'd done this before.''
What happened next could be ripped from the pages of any number of classic light-bulb moments from throughout science's glorious history. Laster entered a coffee shop on a fall afternoon determined to bang out a script that would take the spot to the next level. In his mind he had an image representing what people often mistook science to be: ''a stodgy old classroom.'' He needed to alter that perception and had an approach to doing it that was profound in its unabashed simplicity: ''I wanted to break that idea.''
So Laster did, in the most literal way imaginable. He proceeded to write a script in which Reynolds actually ''picks up a bat and smashes it and takes us into a brand new world,'' he said. ''A world open to robots and drones that deliver beer to you and all this other great stuff.''
When Bragg saw Laster's script, he was excited. Not only did the concept, a walking tour of what was essentially an innovation factory, allow for any number of cool gizmos, gadgets and set pieces, but it tapped into a new trend in science that viewers could connect with at a human level: the maker movement, in which ''people are inventing things in group spaces and basically just pulling out their pliers and tool belts and building what's inside their brains,'' said Bragg. ''One of the key things we wanted is to convey is this idea of science being relevant to our everyday lives, so having this maker space was a really great anchor for what the network stands for.''
To fill that maker space, Science Channel called on the talents of Wolf and Crow, a visual effects company already bookmarked by Bragg's team for a future project due to its ability to seamlessly integrate CGI and live-action for clients such as ESPN, Ubisoft and AT&T. Wolf and Crow also knew how to plan and execute a complicated shoot while adhering to a limited budget.
In fact, Wolf and Crow was able to shoot the entire spot in one day, through the strategic use of green screens in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse. It mapped out Reynolds' walking tour of the space across 26 shooting stations, allowing for quick set-ups between each shot. With the green screens allowing for the space to be fleshed out in post, even a subtle re-positioning of the camera would make the new angle ''look like an entirely new space,'' said Laster. ''It wasn't a big space but they shot it really effectively and through the magic of green screen made it seem so much bigger.''
Many details, such as the beer-bringing drone and, naturally, the fist-bumping alien, were created in post. But other details were objects brought in or created by a skilled art department, including the atomizer Reynolds sticks his fist into at the end to withdraw the glowing orb of Science Channel's logo. The chalkboard he sits in front of at the beginning of the spot, though enlarged using CGI, was an actual board, and all the formulas meticulously etched on it real math equations. Laster knew this to be true because Reynolds' What Could Possibly Go Wrong co-host Dr. Kevin Moore, who makes a cameo in the spot, is a metallurgist and mineralogist with a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University.
''One [of the formulas] in particular has to do with the surface of a bubble and how that plays out geometrically,'' said Laster. ''Everything on that board is legit.''
Layering the details of the maker warehouse world in post, Wolf and Crow added several fun embellishments to give the spot high replay value, such as the aircraft that glides in to land behind Reynolds at the end. Their work results in a rich onscreen world where it feels as though anything is possible.
''When you look at something like Outrageous Acts of Science and What Could Possibly Go Wrong and All-American Makers, they're still fully embedded in science and fully all about science,'' said Bragg. ''But they're more relevant. They have a different edge to them and they feel slightly younger'...We're trying to continue to bring in a broader audience and let people know that science isn't scary.''

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