Cover for No Agenda Show 769: Electile Dysfuntion
October 29th, 2015 • 3h 12m

769: Electile Dysfuntion


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

8 years!
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Keith Richards Documentary
Elections 2016
Poll Watch: Ben Carson Edges Ahead Nationally in Times/CBS News Poll - First Draft. Political News, Now. - The New York Times
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:34
7:00 am ET7:00 am ETBy Jonathan Martin and Dalia Sussman7:00 am ET7:00 am ETJonathan Martin and Dalia SussmanPhotoBen Carson campaigning at Iowa State University in Ames last week.Credit Scott Olson/Getty ImagesBen Carson has taken a narrow lead nationally in the Republican presidential campaign, dislodging Donald J. Trump from the top spot for the first time in months, according to a New York Times/CBS News survey released on Tuesday.
Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is the choice of 26 percent of Republican primary voters, the poll found, while Mr. Trump now wins support from 22 percent, although the difference lies within the margin of sampling error.
The survey is the first time that Mr. Trump has not led all candidates since The Times and CBS News began measuring presidential preferences at the end of July.
No other candidate comes close to Mr. Carson and Mr. Trump. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida received 8 percent while former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, are each the choice of 7 percent of Republican primary voters.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio each received support from 4 percent of those surveyed.
The poll represents a single waypoint in a long nominating process that has already seen considerable volatility. The third Republican debate is on Wednesday, which could further scramble the unsettled field. Such early polls have proven unreliable predictors of the eventual winner, and the first nominating contest, the Iowa caucus, is still more than three months away.
Indeed, the new survey shows that the vast majority of Republicans have not firmly made up their minds: Seven in 10 of those who expressed support for a candidate said it was too early to say for sure who they would support. Just 28 percent indicated that their minds were made up.
More than half of the Republican primary voters surveyed said they were now paying ''a lot'' of attention to the campaign, essentially unchanged from a CBS News survey in early October.
Over the same period, Mr. Carson has gained five percentage points, while Mr. Trump has fallen by five percentage points.
The new poll found that Mr. Trump's supporters are firmer in their support than Mr. Carson's. A majority of Trump supporters, 55 percent, said their minds were made up. But 80 percent of Carson backers said it was too early to say for sure that they would eventually support him.
The nationwide telephone poll was conducted Oct. 21-25 on cellphones and landlines with 575 Republican primary voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus six percentage points for each candidate. Additional findings from the full poll will be published Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
This is one of an occasional series of posts taking a deeper look at polling during this campaign cycle.
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War on Meat
All the articles are the same - ted meat can er climate change - Google Search
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 05:59
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WHO tells us about red meat and processed meat cancer risk? days ago - ... for Research on Cancer has listed Red Meat as Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to .... is being used to change the groups for meat and processed meat, but I ... Indeed: The most common reaction to these climate science ...Red Meat Is Just As Likely To Give You Cancer As A days ago - The WHO is set to release a report naming processed red meat as ... The High Doses Of Vaccines Are Causing Autism; Says He Wants To Change ... A recent model has revealed that climate change will soon make the ...Processed meat can cause cancer -- day ago - They classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to ... Winemakers will survive, international body says of climate change.UN Says Put Down The Red Meat To Help Avoid Cancer days ago - Mammal meat, like this pork, is most likely cancer-causing, says the World ... shift toward a plant-based diet is critical to fighting climate change.Healthy Agriculture, Healthy Nutrition, Healthy People
Artemis P. Simopoulos - 2011 - 'ŽMedical
But whatever the level of understanding, global warming is now part of our ... the degree of climate change and the risk of cardiovascular and cancer deaths, if we reduced production and consumption of meat from these animals ('red meat').
Long-time anti-meat vegetarian activist-researcher on WHO meat-cancer panel |
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 04:57
I've been writing about National Cancer Institute's meat-hating vegetarian Rashmi Sinha since 2000.
Here is the WHO media release. Note the WHO panel's analysis is not yet published '-- so science by media release release.
Sinha was on the WHO panel along with, no doubt, many other meat anti-meat researcher-activists. Here's a 2005 column I wrote about her for It references a 2000 column about her as well. She's been attacking meat since at least 1994.
Challenge: Not a single epidemiological study credibly links meat-eating with cancer |
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:32
Don't believe me? Show me one. I'll debunk it before your eyes.
Consider this excerpt from a November 2007 column I wrote for about a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research claiming that processed meat caused cancer.
Consider the data presented for processed meat, which the AICR report claims to be too dangerous to eat.
Of the 17 study results concerning processed meat and colon cancer comparing high consumption to low consumption 15 are way below, and one is at the 100 percent-risk threshold. Thirteen studies aren't statistically significant. Not only is the lone study claiming a risk above 100 percent (a reported 250 percent increase in risk) barely statistically significant, it has a margin of error four times the size of the reported risk.
Of the seven studies reporting a cancer risk per serving of processed meat, all reported risks are substantially below the 100 percent threshold. Four results are clearly not statistically significant and two are borderline insignificant.
On the basis of these dubious statistical results, the AICR report concludes that ''processed meat is a convincing cause of colorectal cancer.'' This is an appalling and unsupported conclusion.
Nothing has changed since this column,except perhaps that more junky studies have been published.
The full column is below.
Junk Science: Food Nannies' Halloween Cancer ScareBy Steven Milloy
November 1, 2007,
The latest food scare was announced, appropriately enough, on Halloween. But the science behind the scare is about as believable as are ghosts and goblins.
''Landmark Report: Excess Body Fat Causes Cancer; Panel Also Implicates Red Meat, Processed Meat and Alcohol'' blared the media release about a new report from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
The massive 537-page tome ''assembled over five years by nine independent teams of scientists, hundreds of peer reviewers and 21 international experts who reviewed over 7,000 large-scale studies'' purports to be the ''most comprehensive ever published on the evidence linking cancer risk to diet, physical activity and weight.''
''The most striking finding in the report is that excess body fat increases risk for numerous cancers'... Even small amounts of excess body fat, especially if carried at the waist, increase risk,'' proclaimed the media release.
The report advises limiting the intake of hamburgers, French fries, milk shakes, pastries and soft drinks. It says that there is ''no safe level of consumption'' of processed meats a hysterical claim that is not even true for the most poisonous substances.
This certainly is a landmark report never before have so many scientists labored so long to embarrass themselves and their academic disciplines.
There's not enough room in this column to debunk each and every claim made in the AICR report, but we'll look at some examples after considering some fundamental facts and principles.
First, scientists don't really understand carcinogenesis very well. It's known that the risk of cancer increases with age possibly because of the deterioration of DNA repair mechanisms and a few well-documented risk factors, such as family history of cancer, heavy smoking, and exposure to certain viruses and some exposures to radiation. Outside of those and perhaps a few other risk factors, the occurrence of cancer is largely inexplicable.
Significantly, not a single case of cancer among the tens of thousands studied in the ''7,000 large-scale studies'' was definitively linked with any specific dietary factor. The AIRC report's claim to link diet with cancer largely amounts to post-facto guesswork abetted by statistical hijinks and imagination run amok.
A cardinal principle of epidemiology is that it is a very useful methodology when looking for linkage between high rates of rare diseases the sort of relationship classically found, for example, in outbreaks of food poisoning.
But epidemiology is wholly incapable of identifying low risks of relatively common diseases or conditions, such as most cancers. The reason for this is simple: the margin of error in study data due to inaccurate and incomplete data collection is typically far greater than the size of any statistical relationship that may exist or be detected.
Accordingly, the rule of thumb in epidemiology, as famously espoused by the National Cancer Institute, is that, ''In epidemiologic research, [increases in risk of less than 100 percent] are considered small and usually difficult to interpret. Such increases may be due to chance, statistical bias or effects of confounding factors that are sometimes not evident.''
Further, just because a reported risk is greater than 100 percent, that does not necessarily indicate a cause-and-effect relationship. Such reported risks may be statistically insignificant (indicating they could have occurred by chance) or have wide margins of error (indicating flaky data). And, of course, for any statistical risk to have meaning, it must be backed up by biological plausibility.
With these concepts in mind, let's consider the AICR report.
The vast majority of the results from individual studies between every type of food and every type of cancer cited in the report are either significantly below 100 percent and/or statistically insignificant. The relatively few cited risks that exceed 100 percent are typically not statistically significant or have wide margins of error.
Consider the data presented for processed meat, which the AICR report claims to be too dangerous to eat.
Of the 17 study results concerning processed meat and colon cancer comparing high consumption to low consumption 15 are way below, and one is at the 100 percent-risk threshold. Thirteen studies aren't statistically significant. Not only is the lone study claiming a risk above 100 percent (a reported 250 percent increase in risk) barely statistically significant, it has a margin of error four times the size of the reported risk.
Of the seven studies reporting a cancer risk per serving of processed meat, all reported risks are substantially below the 100 percent threshold. Four results are clearly not statistically significant and two are borderline insignificant.
On the basis of these dubious statistical results, the AICR report concludes that ''processed meat is a convincing cause of colorectal cancer.'' This is an appalling and unsupported conclusion.
In the end, the AICR report isn't really science at all it's more of bloody crime scene where science got violently mugged by hoods costumed as health and nutrition experts and wielding statistical pepper spray. In some ways, this shoddy science isn't surprising when one considers that the AICR also pitches cranberry recipes and other culinary snake oil as a means of reducing cancer risk.
The AICR advocates against consuming fat, salt, sugar and alcohol'' an agenda worth $37 million in charitable donations in 2006. So we shouldn't be surprised when the food police issue a ''report'' advancing such a lucrative agenda.
Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Smoking increases risk of lung cancer 2,500%. Bacon increases risk of colon cancer 18%. (Followup to yesterday's meat/cancer WHO post.) : Fitness
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:00
5161 points ·
Smoking increases risk of lung cancer 2,500%. Bacon increases risk of colon cancer 18%. (Followup to yesterday's meat/cancer WHO post.)
AMA #2 - YouTuber Maxx Chewning
17 points ·
Rant Wednesday
Worst injury
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My transformation from pro-gamer to drug addict to fit. What going to the gym 5-days a week for one year gets you.
161 points ·
We at looked over the meat/cancer report
6 points ·
Useful tip for deadlifts / RDLs/ SLDLs: philosophy of pull (back) v push (legs).
7 points ·
Why does descending 20 stories make my.legs shake but not tired? Is there some proper "going down stairs" form I am unaware of?
4 points ·
Left knee has started cracking.
21 points ·
World Health Organisation, meat & cancer | Zo Harcombe
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:48
Today, 26th October 2015, the World Health Organisation declared the consumption of red meat as ''probably carcinogenic to humans, based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans'' and declared processed meat as ''carcinogenic to humans, based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer.'' The red meat association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer.
''The experts concluded that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.''
From the headline ''carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat'', we're already down to colorectal (bowel) cancer and ''probably''.
The press release is here. The Lancet article is here or here (it may not be on open view for long).
So do we need to stop eating red meat and/or processed meat? Let's dissect the headline more accurately:
1) Where this data comes from
The gold standard of evidence is a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials '' pooling together studies where an intervention was matched against a control group to see what impact A had on B. As far as I am aware, no intervention studies have ever been done testing the impact of 50 grams of processed meat per day as an isolated intervention, or any amount of processed or red meat as a sole intervention for that matter.
We are thus looking at observational studies. This is where a large group of people (e.g. the Nurses' Health Study or the Health Professionals Follow-up Study) are asked loads of questions and given health tests (blood pressure, weight, height, cholesterol ho ho etc) at the start of the study. This is called the baseline. These people are then followed for years to see what conditions they go on to develop.
Researchers then look at the data to try to see patterns. No pattern = no journal article, so look hard! They may observe a pattern between people who consume processed meat and people who go on to develop bowel cancer. This is then reported in a journal article and it is all such articles that have been reviewed by the World Health Organisation.
The first point to make, therefore, is that all of this is based on notoriously unreliable dietary questionnaires. Many ask what you ate yesterday or over the past 7 days. Here's the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer questionnaire, one of the best possible questionnaires, as it asks for food intake over the past year. How accurate do you think yours would be?
2) One's diet vs. one food
By singling out red meat/processed meat in this way, the whole diet and lifestyle of a person is not taken into account. There is a world of difference between the health of a burger/hot-dog/ketchup/white bun/fizzy drink guzzling couch potato and a grass-fed-steak eating/CrossFit/six-pack Paleo specimen.
As I showed in this blog, the baseline for the processed meat eaters showed that they were far less active, had a higher BMI, were THREE TIMES more likely to smoke and almost TWICE as likely to have diabetes. This makes processed meat a MARKER of an unhealthy person, not a MAKER of an unhealthy person.
Even if all the smoking/exercise/other conditions baseline factors are adjusted for, there is no possibility of adjusting for all the dietary factors that make up the couch potato vs. the Paleo buff. The whole diet is not adjusted for when the one line (meat) is targeted.
3) Real food vs. processed food
I'm a real foodie. I pretty much spend my life writing and talking about real food and the nutrition it contains. I am the first to say ''Do eat real food; don't eat processed food'' and I include processed meat as processed food '' something to avoid. However, this WHO report describes processed meat as ''meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation.''
As Peter Cleave, Surgeon Captain, (1906-1983) said: ''For a modern disease to be related to an old fashioned food is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard in my life.'' To think that real meat, or meat preserved in natural ways, is bad for us is ludicrous. 1) You'd have to explain how we survived the past 3.5 million years, since Australopithecus Lucy first walked upright; especially how we survived the ice age(s). 2) You'd have to explain why all the nutrients we need to live (essential fats, complete protein, vitamins and minerals) are found in meat if it were trying to kill us at the same time.
Meat needed to be naturally preserved with salting, curing, drying, smoking etc or we would have needed to binge on the kill and risk dying of starvation before the next kill. The WHO report should have separated traditional ways of preserving meat from modern manufactured processing (where sugars and chemicals are added '' just read the label). Similarly '' if there is any harm in red meat, it will be because manufacturers have got involved and fed the poor animals grains, which they cannot digest and then pumped them with drugs to medicate the resulting illness. (Chris Kresser presents the view on nitrates here, if you're interested).
This should be a call to action to get back to your butcher, know him/her by name, know where your meat comes from, know how s/he prepares bacon & hand-made sausages and enjoy the health benefits of real food while supporting the grafters who provide it.
4) Association vs. causation
Even allowing for the weakness of observational studies, and the unreliability of dietary questionnaires, and the notion that food consumption can be a marker not a maker of health, and the whole dietary intake that has not been taken into account and the ignorance of the chasm between real and processed food, this is still association, not causation.
I always wish that these huge and expensive studies would ask what colour socks the participant is wearing. I bet I could find an association between red sock wearing and one type of cancer if I looked hard enough. Would the headline be red socks cause cancer?!
5) Relative vs. absolute risk
The press release headlines with ''each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.'' Crikey. 18%! Put that bacon sarnie down now (see '' don't blame the bacon for what the white bread & ketchup did!) This, however, is the game that all of these observational study research press releases play and it's disgraceful scare-mongering.
Shall we look at the absolute risk?
Cancer Research UK has terrific statistics on all types of cancer. I've just looked at the UK. They do have data for other countries if you want to do your own rummage. The incident rate for all people in the UK, age-standardised (you pretty much won't see bowel cancer before the age of 50 '' look at the age data), in 2011 was 47 per 100,000 people.
47 per 100,000 people.
You would need to know 2,128 people, including enough older people, to know 1 person who developed bowel cancer in the UK in 2011.
Now '' let's do that relative vs. absolute risk thing.
Assuming that everything the WHO did had been perfect and that there really was an 18% relative difference between those having 50g of processed meat a day and those not (and assuming that nothing else was impacting this), the absolute risk would be 51 people per 100,000 vs. 43 people per 100,000.
Now where's the bacon and egg before my CrossFit session?!
The likely harm of this report:
The Lancet article does at least have the decency to mention the nutritional value of red meat: ''Red meat contains high biological value proteins and important micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron (both free iron and haem iron), and zinc.'' That's still a bit of an understatement. Try both essential fats; complete protein; and the vitamins and minerals needed for life and health.
What will be the consequences of this report scaring people away from real meat? It takes approximately 250g of sirloin steak to get the daily 10mg of zinc; over a kilo of the same steak to get the recommended daily iron requirement '' and in the right form for the body. How about over 20 eggs to get the same iron intake? Still in a useful form to the body. Or 4.5 kilos of brown rice to get iron in the wrong form for the body?
What do I take from this report? There is a heck of a lot of bad science coming out the World Health Organisation, an organisation that should know better, but then there have previous cases of not knowing better.
Nothing has changed from my fundamental belief that human beings should eat real food (especially grass-fed, naturally reared meat and naturally preserved meat). Avoid processed food, including meat processed by fake food companies. And take every observational study that doesn't know these five points above with a hefty pinch of salt.
Africa: Insect Farming Judged As Safe As Rearing Livestock
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:36
Farming insects on a large scale is no more of a biological or chemical hazard than other livestock farming, says a report by a European food safety body.
The report, which looks at the potential of insects as food or animal feed, says the microbiological, chemical and environmental risks of insect farming are similar to those of other animal husbandry.
But it warns that insect farming has not been tried on an industrial scale, and that there is a lack of systematically collected data on insect farming and consumption worldwide.
There are "knowledge gaps and uncertainty related to possible hazards when insects are used as food or feed", the report says.
Charlotte Payne, a researcher on edible insects at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, says: "The report is very clear about the fact that more research needs to be done on the overall environmental impact and sustainability of insect farming systems."
The report, written by the EU-funded European Food Safety Authority, analyses the prospect of farming insects industrially to combat malnutrition and reduce environmental stresses, such as land degradation and water pollution, caused by large-scale meat and fish farming.
The European Union is becoming more interested in insects as a potential food source for the growing world population. It is cofinancing the PROteINSECT research project that is exploring the use of insect protein in food for people or as animal fodder.
One question is whether it is possible to farm insects in systems that can be scaled up to make a significant contribution to the food supply, says Nanna Roos, the coordinator of GREEiNSECT, a project at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, which investigates how insects can be farmed in Kenya.
Insects are already a staple food in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, with around two billion people on the planet thought to consider insects as acceptable food. Around 2,000 edible insect species have been identified.
While insect farming is rare in developed countries, it is growing in developing nations. Thailand alone has more than 20,000 registered cricket farms, mostly run by smallholders, says Yupa Hanboonsong, an entomologist at Khon Kaen University in Thailand.
"Cricket farming requires fewer inputs compared to livestock, making it affordable for small-scale rural farmers, with overall less impact on the environment," she says.
The report, published on 8 October, points out that, while the risks of farming insects are low, they are seen as unacceptable food in many rich countries, including most states in the European Union.
But in countries where insects are eaten infrequently, there is an opportunity to increase their production and consumption, says Hubert Barennes, a researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia, who has studied insects in human food.
A survey he led in Laos revealed people there found it fairly acceptable to include insects in their diet, he says. "People are ready to eat more insects if available, which will probably rely on the expansion of insect farming."
Risk profile related to production and consumption of insects as food and feed (European Food Safety Authority, 8 October 2015)
2 Huge Benefits of Eating Less Red and Processed Meats
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 05:59
The just-released report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer judging processed meat as clearly carcinogenic and red meat as probably carcinogenic has caused consternation among meat producers and consumers.
Eating less red and processed meats has two benefits: a reduced risk for certain forms of cancer, and a reduced effect on climate change. Photo credit: Sheila / FlickrMeat producers do not like the ''eat less meat'' message. Consumers do not want to give up their bacon and hamburgers'--delicious and also icons of the American way of life.
But these judgments should come as no surprise to anyone. Eating less processed and red meat has been accepted dietary advice since Ancel and Margaret Keys wrote their diet book for heart disease prevention, ''Eat Well and Stay Well,'' in 1959. Their advice: ''restrict saturated fats, the fats in beef, pork, lamb, sausages '...'' They aimed this advice at reducing saturated fat to prevent heart disease. Federal committees and agencies have continued issuing such heart-disease advice to the present day.
Cancer entered the picture in the 1970s, when scientists began to link red meat'--beef, pork, lamb'--to the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. Even after several decades of research, they had a hard time deciding whether the culprit in meat was fat, saturated fat, protein, carcinogens induced when meat is cooked to high temperatures or some other component.
In the mid-1990s, dietary guidelines committees advised eating lean meats and limiting intake of processed meats, still because of their high fat content. By the late 1990s, cancer experts said that red meat ''probably'' increases the risk of colorectal cancers, and ''possibly'' increases the risk of cancers of the pancreas, breast, prostate and kidney. The IARC report, based on more recent evidence, makes even stronger recommendations and favors carcinogens as the causative factors.
To put this in context: For decades, the meat industry's big public relations problem has been that vegetarians are demonstrably healthier than meat eaters. People who do not eat red meat have much less of a chance of developing heart disease and bowel cancers than the average American.
More recently, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) found diets ''higher in red/processed meats '...'' to be associated with a greater risk of colorectal cancer, and it recommended dietary patterns and low in red and/or processed meats, but higher in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean meats/seafood and low-fat dairy'--largely, but not necessarily exclusively, plant-based.
This is good advice for anyone.
Eating less red and processed meats has two benefits: a reduced risk for certain forms of cancer and a reduced effect on climate change.
The DGAC deemed eating less red meat to be exceptionally beneficial to the environment as well as to human health. The IARC report strengthens the health component of the recommendation. The secretaries of USDA and Health and Human Services, however, have refused to allow environmental concerns to be considered in the 2015 dietary guidelines.
I mention the dispute over environmental ''sustainability'' in the dietary guidelines because largely plant-based diets are appropriate for all kinds of health concerns'--obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and now, especially, colorectal cancer'--as well as environmental concerns.
By eating less red and processed meats, you promote both your own health and that of the planet.
At issue then is how much red and processed meat is compatible with good health. The IARC commission ducked that question, although it cites evidence that as little as 100 grams (a quarter pound) of red meat a day, and half that much of processed meats, increases cancer risk by 15 percent to 20 percent.
Will an occasional hamburger or piece of bacon raise your risk that much? I don't think so. But the evidence reviewed by IARC strongly suggests that if you do eat meat, eat less when you do, don't eat meat every day, save processed meats for rare treats and be sure to eat plenty of vegetables.
Fortunately, this advice leaves plenty of room for delicious meals'--just with meat taking up much less room on the plate.
Meet the Farmer Who's Helping Chipotle Go Beyond Non-GMO to Organic
Latest NYT Big Lie: Russia Responsible for Syrian Refugee ''Surge'' | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:22
Times reporting shifts from the absurd to the contemptible.
According to The Times, Russian airstrikes caused ''surg(ing) civilian flight.'' It lied, claiming its ''warplanes attacked the village of Ter Ma'aleh, killing at least a dozen people and sending most of the residents into hurried exile.''
''The assault on the village was part of a wider escalation of violence across the country that has displaced tens of thousands of people in just weeks and led relief workers to warn that Syria is facing one of its most serious humanitarian crises of the civil war.''
''The intensity of the fighting, they say (who is 'they?'), is fueling increased desperation as a growing number of Syrians are fleeing to neighboring countries and, especially, to Europe.''
Russian airstrikes ''l(ed) to the latest wave of displacement. (M)unitions (used) added to the sense of fear.'' Russia ''target(ed) hospitals and other medical facilities.'' The Times cited a willfully misleading Human Rights Watch report accusing Russia of killing civilians, despite no corroborating evidence.
Fact: The Times article is a complete fabrication.
Fact: Washington bears full responsibility for Syria's refugee crisis. Britain, France, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other rogue partners share blame.
Fact: Russian intervention is a liberating, not displacing force. More on this below.
Fact: Long before Russian airstrikes began on September 30 (less than a month ago), half of Syria's 23 million people were internally or externally displaced.
Fact: Many headed for Europe years ago, numbers increasing dramatically in the past year or so.
Fact: Most Syrian refugees are in bordering countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as smaller numbers in Egypt.
The web site said
''under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots (85%) are pledged by Germany.''
Fact: Refugees arriving daily in Europe come from various countries, most either Pentagon war theaters or nations affected by US-inflicted instability, violence and chaos '' including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Eritrea, Mali, Syria and others.
Fact: Syria is Obama's war, planned years before he took office, part of longstanding US strategy to replace all sovereign independent governments with US-controlled illegitimate puppet regimes.
Fact: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are four of history's great crimes, America bearing full responsibility, millions of lost lives and unspeakable human suffering considered a small price to pay '' the appalling dark side of US imperial viciousness.
On October 24, the reliable Sputnik News service headlined ''Syria Refugees Praise Russian Airstrikes, Consider Returning,'' saying:
''Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun previously said that over 800,000 refugees have returned since Russian airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria began on September 30th.''
''The operation has also given refugees from the conflict hope that peace would return, according to interviews AP conducted around the Aleppo province, a hub for refugees leaving Syria.''
'' 'I hope that with Russian pilots' help, our military will advance and defeat terrorists so that we could return to our homes,' one refugee told AP.''
This view is widely held and growing, opposite of deplorable Times propaganda, a Lying Machine for wealth, power and privilege, supporting all US wars of aggression, past and current.
In a few short weeks, Russia's intervention dramatically changed the Syrian and regional landscape.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled ''Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.'' Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
Russian Ships Near Data Cables Are Too Close for U.S. Comfort -
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 06:53
WASHINGTON '-- Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.
The issue goes beyond old worries during the Cold War that the Russians would tap into the cables '-- a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West's governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent.
While there is no evidence yet of any cable cutting, the concern is part of a growing wariness among senior American and allied military and intelligence officials over the accelerated activity by Russian armed forces around the globe. At the same time, the internal debate in Washington illustrates how the United States is increasingly viewing every Russian move through a lens of deep distrust, reminiscent of relations during the Cold War.
Inside the Pentagon and the nation's spy agencies, the assessments of Russia's growing naval activities are highly classified and not publicly discussed in detail. American officials are secretive about what they are doing both to monitor the activity and to find ways to recover quickly if cables are cut. But more than a dozen officials confirmed in broad terms that it had become the source of significant attention in the Pentagon.
''I'm worried every day about what the Russians may be doing,'' said Rear Adm. Frederick J. Roegge, commander of the Navy's submarine fleet in the Pacific, who would not answer questions about possible Russian plans for cutting the undersea cables.
Cmdr. William Marks, a Navy spokesman in Washington, said: ''It would be a concern to hear any country was tampering with communication cables; however, due to the classified nature of submarine operations, we do not discuss specifics.''
In private, however, commanders and intelligence officials are far more direct. They report that from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and even in waters closer to American shores, they are monitoring significantly increased Russian activity along the known routes of the cables, which carry the lifeblood of global electronic communications and commerce.
Just last month, the Russian spy ship Yantar, equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft, cruised slowly off the East Coast of the United States on its way to Cuba '-- where one major cable lands near the American naval station at Guantnamo Bay. It was monitored constantly by American spy satellites, ships and planes. Navy officials said the Yantar and the submersible vehicles it can drop off its decks have the capability to cut cables miles down in the sea.
Map | Frozen Zones: How Russia Maintains Influence in the Post-Cold War Era Modern Russia has inflamed conflict in former Soviet republics to create ''frozen zones,'' allowing it to influence events and confound its opponents.
''The level of activity,'' a senior European diplomat said, ''is comparable to what we saw in the Cold War.''
One NATO ally, Norway, is so concerned that it has asked its neighbors for aid in tracking Russian submarines.
Adm. James Stavridis, formerly NATO's top military commander and now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said in an email last week that ''this is yet another example of a highly assertive and aggressive regime seemingly reaching backwards for the tools of the Cold War, albeit with a high degree of technical improvement.''
The operations are consistent with Russia's expanding military operations into places like Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria, where President Vladimir V. Putin has sought to demonstrate a much longer reach for Russian ground, air and naval forces.
''The risk here is that any country could cause damage to the system and do it in a way that is completely covert, without having a warship with a cable-cutting equipment right in the area,'' said Michael Sechrist, a former project manager for a Harvard-M.I.T. research project funded in part by the Defense Department.
''Cables get cut all the time '-- by anchors that are dragged, by natural disasters,'' said Mr. Sechrist, who published a study in 2012 of the vulnerabilities of the undersea cable network. But most of those cuts take place within a few miles from shore, and can be repaired in a matter of days.
What worries Pentagon planners most is that the Russians appear to be looking for vulnerabilities at much greater depths, where the cables are hard to monitor and breaks are hard to find and repair.
Mr. Sechrist noted that the locations of the cables are hardly secret. ''Undersea cables tend to follow the similar path since they were laid in the 1860s,'' he said, because the operators of the cables want to put them in familiar environments under longstanding agreements.
The exceptions are special cables, with secret locations, that have been commissioned by the United States for military operations; they do not show up on widely available maps, and it is possible the Russians are hunting for those, officials said.
The role of the cables is more important than ever before. They carry global business worth more than $10 trillion a day, including from financial institutions that settle transactions on them every second. Any significant disruption would cut the flow of capital. The cables also carry more than 95 percent of daily communications.
So important are undersea cables that the Department of Homeland Security lists their landing areas '-- mostly around New York, Miami and Los Angeles '-- at the top of its list of ''critical infrastructure.''
Attention to underwater cables is not new. In October 1971, the American submarine Halibut entered the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan, found a telecommunications cable used by Soviet nuclear forces, and succeeded in tapping its secrets. The mission, code-named Ivy Bells, was so secret that a vast majority of the submarine's sailors had no idea what they had accomplished. The success led to a concealed world of cable tapping.
And a decade ago, the United States Navy launched the submarine Jimmy Carter, which intelligence analysts say is able to tap undersea cables and eavesdrop on communications flowing through them.
Submarines are not the only vessels that are snooping on the undersea cables. American officials closely monitor the Yantar, which Russian officials insist is an oceanographic ship with no ties to espionage.
''The Yantar is equipped with a unique onboard scientific research complex which enables it to collect data on the ocean environment, both in motion and on hold. There are no similar complexes anywhere,'' said Alexei Burilichev, the head of the deepwater research department at the Russian Defense Ministry, according to in May 2015.
American concern over cable cutting is just one aspect of Russia's modernizing Navy that has drawn new scrutiny.
Adm. Mark Ferguson, commander of American naval forces in Europe, speaking in Washington this month said that the proficiency and operational tempo of the Russian submarine force was increasing.
Citing public remarks by the Russian Navy chief, Adm. Viktor Chirkov, Admiral Ferguson said the intensity of Russian submarine patrols had risen by almost 50 percent over the last year. Russia has increased its operating tempo to levels not seen in over a decade. Russian Arctic bases and their $2.4 billion investment in the Black Sea Fleet expansion by 2020 demonstrate their commitment to develop their military infrastructure on the flanks, he said.
Russia is also building an undersea unmanned drone capable of carrying a small, tactical nuclear weapon to use against harbors or coastal areas, American military and intelligence analysts said.
Admiral Ferguson said that as part of Russia's emerging doctrine of so-called hybrid warfare, it is increasingly using a mix of conventional force, Special Operations mission and new weapons in the 21st-century battlefield.
''This involves the use of space, cyber, information warfare and hybrid warfare designed to cripple the decision-making cycle of the alliance,'' Admiral Ferguson said, referring to NATO. ''At sea, their focus is disrupting decision cycles.''
Mark Hall Güllen stats [email]
There are over 1200 Gülen schools worldwide;
Outside of Turkey, there are more Gülen schools in America than anywhere else in the world - with 149 charter schools in 26 states in the USA;
Total number of kids in Gülen charter schools in the USA exceeds 60,000;
Texas has 500+ charter schools;
and Texas has the largest number of Gülen charter schools in the USA (I need to go and check the current number but I think it is 43 now).
Turkey takes Gülen Movement's illegal activities to international platform in US - Daily Sabah
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:17
The international law firm of Amsterdam & Partners LLP held a press conference on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington to announce their engagement on behalf of the Republic of Turkey to assist in the global investigation into the activities of the U.S.-based G¼len Movement.
The first in a new series of press conferences, Amsterdam & Partners LLP presented initial areas of inquiry related to the activities of the controversial movement that is accused of a series of alleged illegal activities ranging from attempts to oust an elected government to collect funds for its charter schools in the U.S. through illegal means.
Speaking to members of the press, lawyer Robert Amsterdam said the G¼lenist network is trying to gain political influence around the world with its activities through hiring international journalists and that it has "a tremendous penetration" in global media.
Amsterdam stressed the need for a comprehensive investigation into the activities of the movement that "portrays itself as an educational movement" indulging in interfaith dialogue activities. He said there are serious claims received from third parties, who accuse the G¼lenist network of breaching the laws of the United States.
Members of the controversial movement, who allegedly forge documents while getting U.S. visas or funds for their charter schools, have no transparency, said Amsterdam, adding that the shadowy network also seems to make use of legal gaps in the American judiciary. He added that some of the teachers who worked at the movement's schools in the U.S. have reported many illegal activities that reveal the lack of transparency in the G¼lenist structure. Amsterdam said the movement is also taking strong political stances and it bolsters its power through donations to politicians.
He explained the G¼lenist structure as an organization that aims to take a political stance with its soft power in the media, think tanks and other organizations that lack transparency.
Amsterdam argued that an international investigation launched against the G¼len Movement will be of benefit to everyone and it is necessary for the accountability that global norms require. He also brought up the series of allegations of infiltration into the police department and judiciary via illegal means and to get involved in a series of illegal activities.
He also said since the announcement of the press conference, his office "is already receiving death threats from the G¼len organization."
The G¼len Movement's schools have faced criticism from different circles, and the FBI previously raided the Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Louisiana.
In 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided 19 charter schools affiliated with the G¼len Movement in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois for reasons allegedly related to crimes linked to education tenders.
The movement's first school was established in Ohio in 1999; currently, the G¼len Movement operates 140 charter schools in 26 states in the U.S.
Another charter school was shut down in 2011 for bribery charges.
Their schools have faced closures elsewhere in the world. Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey, shut down schools the movement operates in the country shortly after Erdoğan visited, as did Gabon and Senegal. In January, Tajikistan announced that it will not extend the agreement it made with the G¼len Movement over permission to operate schools in the country. Kosovo, Congo, Kazakhstan, Japan and Somalia have launched processes to close the movement's schools.
Activities and operations of the G¼len Movement in the U.S. and Turkey have been scrutinized by a number of American media outlets that question the movement's motives, opacity and why the U.S. government is providing refuge to Fethullah G¼len, who is currently facing numerous charges including treason and extradition.
The movement, led by Fethullah G¼len who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. is accused of wiretapping thousands of people including government officials and encrypted phones. It has been accused of infiltrating state institutions in Turkey and trying to overthrow the government. Referred to as the G¼lenist Terror Organization (FET–), the movement is seen as a threat against Turkey's national security. Government officials have continuously expressed their determination to continue to lawfully fight the G¼len Movement, whose followers are accused of infiltrating state institutions to gain control of state mechanisms and illegal wiretapping, forgery of official documents and espionage.
Turkish police storm opposition Bugun TV during live broadcast | euronews, world news
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:16
Police in the Turkish city of Istanbul stormed the offices of opposition television station Bugun TV during a live broadcast on Wednesday (October 28), just days before a general election.
The raid is part of a crackdown on companies linked to a preacher who is an arch enemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Footage showed police spraying water cannnon at people in front of Koza Ipek outlet Bugun TV, which is owned by cleric Fethullah Gulen who is accused of plotting to overthrow the president.
Authorities on Tuesday took over 22 companies owned by Koza Ipek in an investigation of alleged financial irregularities, including whether it funded Gulen. The company denies wrongdoing.
Erdogan has clamped down on commercial interests belonging to once-influential followers of Gulen, his former ally, after police and prosecutors considered sympathetic to the cleric opened a corruption investigation of Erdogan's inner circle in 2013.
Legal action against more opposition newspapers, including the nationalist Sozcu newspaper, is planned for after the vote, said Aydin Unal, a lawmaker in the ruling AK Party.
''After November 1, we will hold them accountable. Sozcu newspaper insults us every day,'' Unal, a former Erdogan adviser, told A Haber channel on Tuesday.
''There is a lot of pressure on Turkey. If we say something, the world accuses us of interfering with the press, so we're not in a comfortable position now, but after November 1 we will settle up with all of them,'' said Unal.
The European Union has raised concerns about freedom of expression within Turkey which is negotiating EU membership.
Rights groups questioned the move against opposition media outlets so close to an election.
''The government's seizure of Koza Ipek undermines the fairness of the November 1 parliamentary elections,'' Robert Herman of Freedom House said in an e-mailed statement, calling the takeovers of the media firms ''censorship.''
Senate passes controversial cybersecurity bill Cisa
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:17
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a controversial cybersecurity bill critics say will allow the government to collect sensitive personal data unchecked, over the objections of civil liberties groups and many of the biggest names in the tech sector.
The vote on Tuesday was 74 to 21 in support of the legislation. Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders voted against the bill. None of the Republican presidential candidates (except Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor) were present to cast a vote, including Rand Paul, who has made privacy from surveillance a major plank of his campaign platform.
Ahead of the vote a group of university professors specializing in tech law, many from the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy, sent an open letter to the Senate, urging them not to pass the bill. The bill, they wrote, would fatally undermine the Freedom of Information Act (Foia).
Led by Princeton's David S Levine, the group joined a chorus of critics including many of the largest technology companies, notably Apple, and National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden in calling for Cisa to be scrapped.
Facebook is secretly lobbying for a dirty bill called ''CISA'' that would give them impunity for violating their users' privacy'--as long as they hand over user data to the government. Most tech companies are against it for privacy reasons
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:27
We've gotten information that Facebook is secretly lobbying for a dirty bill called ''CISA'' that would give them impunity for violating their users' privacy'--as long as they hand over user data to the government. Most tech companies are against it for privacy reasons, but apparently Facebook is working behind the scenes to make sure it passes.
Mark Zuckerberg once called Facebook users ''dumb f*cks'' for trusting him with their data. Now he's trying to take advantage of us. If CISA passes, all your photos, posts, relationships, and likes will have a path to government databases.
Facebook, are you backstabbing the Internet? Come clean on CISA now.CISA is an assault on privacy and it will actually make cybersecurity worse, not better. If you care about your customers you should make it clear that you oppose CISA and any other attempt to give corporations immunity for negligent security in exchange for handing over user data to the government.
Thanks for taking action!We're up against some of the most powerful corporate lobbyists in the country, but that hasn't stopped us before. If a critical mass of citizens speak out against CISA, our voices will be impossible to ignore.
Share this page
We knew Facebook didn't respect user privacy, but passing a new surveillance law in their name is some next level isht.It didn't make any sense. This bill is toxic. The public hates it and tons of tech companies are against it, but Congress keeps trying to ram it through. Now that we know that Facebook lobbyists are working behind the scenes to get it passed, it makes more sense why Congress keeps coming back to it.
Facebook's chief Senate lobbyist, Myriah Jordan, worked as General Counsel for CISA's sponsor, Senator Richard Burr, right up until taking the job at Facebook. On her lobbying disclosures she lists ''cybersecurity'' as one of the issues she's been discussing with senators. These ''revolving door'' connections give companies more power and influence than ordinary people could ever have, and it's part of the reason why companies like Facebook think they can get whatever they want out of Washington.
Several offices on the Hill have heard from Facebook that they support CISA. As much as we wish we could reveal our sources, we agreed not to (selective leaking is part of how the lobbying game works, unfortunately). But this information matches with everything we know about Facebook's love for CISA over the years. They backed the bill loudly before it was unpopular and then stayed silent as other big tech companies came out against it. We've asked them to state their position publicly, but they have said nothing. Facebook has backed this from day one, and now they're the lone tech voice still working to make sure it passes.
Facebook wants CISA because they want immunity from privacy lawsuits, but if companies like Apple, Twitter, and Reddit can do the right thing by their users and oppose CISA, Facebook can too.
All privacy policies effectively null and void. Companies can share any private user data with the government, without a warrant, as long as the government says it is being used for a ''cybersecurity'' purpose.In exchange, companies are given blanket immunity from civil and criminal laws, like fraud, money laundering, or illegal wiretapping (if a violation was committed or exposed in the process of sharing data).Data is shared with a wide array of government agencies, from the FBI and NSA, to the IRS and local law enforcement. Many of these agencies have been breached within the last year and have outdated security systems, opening up the doors to even more cyber attacks.Companies that play along can get otherwise classified intelligence data from the government, including private information about their competitors.Learn more about CISADial 985-222-CISA to call Congress now.Internet users demand meaningful cybersecurity legislation, not more mass surveillance. Millions have already spoken out, and there's still time to send Congress a clear message. Please call your representatives, and share this page to spread the word!
Bill Would Give Legal Protection to Firms that Share Data with Government
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:17
The Senate on Tuesday passed a cybersecurity bill that would give companies legal immunity for sharing data with the federal government, over the protests of some lawmakers and consumer advocates who say that the legislation does not adequately protect Americans' privacy.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, must now be reconciled with legislation passed earlier this year by the House.
The Obama administration and lawmakers in both parties have been seeking for years to enact information-sharing legislation, and it now seems likely to become law.But privacy activists argue that the bill lacks robust privacy protections. They expressed concerns with provisions that allow the Department of Homeland Security to share information gathered in the program with other government agencies, such as the FBI or the National Security Agency. Critics say that effectively turns the legislation into a backdoor surveillance bill that benefits the intelligence community.>>>>
S.754 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 | | Library of Congress
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:18
Shown Here:Reported to Senate without amendment (03/17/2015)(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)
Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015
(Sec. 3) Requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop and promulgate procedures to promote: (1) the timely sharing of classified and declassified cyber threat indicators in possession of the federal government with private entities, non-federal government agencies, or state, tribal, or local governments; (2) the sharing of unclassified indicators with the public; and (3) the sharing of cybersecurity threats with entities to prevent or mitigate adverse effects.
Requires notification to be provided to entities when the federal government has shared indicators in error or in contravention of law.
Directs the DNI to submit such procedures to Congress within 60 days after enactment of this Act.
(Sec. 4) Permits private entities to monitor, and operate defensive measures to detect, prevent, or mitigate cybersecurity threats or security vulnerabilities on: (1) their own information systems; and (2) with authorization and written consent, the information systems of other private or government entities. Authorizes such entities to monitor information that is stored on, processed by, or transiting such monitored systems.
Allows entities to share and receive indicators and defensive measures with other entities or the federal government. Requires recipients to comply with lawful restrictions that sharing entities place on the sharing or use of shared indicators or defensive measures.
Requires the federal government and entities monitoring, operating, or sharing indicators or defensive measures: (1) to utilize security controls to protect against unauthorized access or acquisitions, and (2) prior to sharing an indicator, to remove personal information of or identifying a specific person not directly related to a cybersecurity threat.
Permits state, tribal, or local agencies to use shared indicators (with the consent of the entity sharing the indicators) to prevent, investigate, or prosecute offenses relating to: (1) an imminent threat of death, serious bodily harm, or serious economic harm, including a terrorist act or a use of a weapon of mass destruction; or (2) crimes involving serious violent felonies, fraud and identity theft, espionage and censorship, or trade secrets.
Exempts from antitrust laws private entities that, for cybersecurity purposes, exchange or provide: (1) cyber threat indicators; or (2) assistance relating to the prevention, investigation, or mitigation of cybersecurity threats. Makes such exemption inapplicable to price-fixing, allocating a market between competitors, monopolizing or attempting to monopolize a market, boycotting, or exchanges of price or cost information, customer lists, or information regarding future competitive planning.
(Sec. 5) Directs DOJ to promulgate procedures relating to the receipt of indicators and defensive measures by the federal government. Requires such procedures to include automated real-time sharing procedures, an audit capability, and appropriate sanctions for federal officers, employees, or agents who conduct unauthorized activities.
Directs DOJ to develop, and make publicly available, guidelines to assist entities in sharing indicators with the federal government, including guidance for identifying and protecting personal information.
Requires DOJ to promulgate and periodically review privacy and civil liberties guidelines to limit receipt, retention, use, and dissemination of personal or identifying information. Provides for the guidelines to include steps to make dissemination of cyber threat indicators consistent with the protection of classified and other sensitive national security information.
Directs DHS to develop a process within DHS for the federal government to: (1) accept cyber threat indicators and defensive measures from any entity in real time, and (2) ensure that appropriate federal entities receive the shared indicators in an automated manner through that real-time process. Requires DHS to certify to Congress that the DHS sharing capability is fully operational before the process is implemented.
Requires the DHS capability to be the process by which the federal government receives indicators and defensive measures under this Act that are shared by a private entity with the federal government through electronic mail or media, an interactive Internet website form, or a real-time, automated process between information systems, except: (1) communications between a federal entity and a private entity regarding a previously shared cyber threat indicator, and (2) communications by a regulated entity with such entity's federal regulatory authority regarding a cybersecurity threat.
Prohibits DHS's process from limiting lawful disclosures of communications, records, or other information to: (1) report known or suspected criminal activity, (2) participate in a federal investigation voluntarily or upon being legally compelled, or (3) provide indicators or defensive measures as part of a statutory or authorized contractual requirement.
Directs DHS to ensure that there is public notice of, and access to, the DHS sharing procedures.
Requires DHS to report to Congress regarding implementation of the sharing process within DHS.
Requires cyber threat indicators and defensive measures shared with the federal government and threat indicators shared with state, tribal, or local governments to be: (1) deemed voluntarily shared information, and (2) exempt from disclosure and withheld from the public under any laws of such jurisdictions requiring disclosure of information or records.
Authorizes indicators and defensive measures to be disclosed to, retained by, and used by, consistent with otherwise applicable federal law, any federal agency or federal government agent solely for:
protecting an information system or information that is stored on, processed by, or transiting an information system from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability;identifying a cybersecurity threat, including the source, or a security vulnerability;identifying the use of an information system by a foreign adversary or terrorist;responding to, or otherwise preventing or mitigating, a serious threat to a minor or an imminent threat of death, serious bodily harm, or serious economic harm, including a terrorist act or a use of a weapon of mass destruction; orpreventing, investigating, disrupting, or prosecuting an offense arising out of an imminent threat of death, serious bodily harm, or serious economic harm, as well as offenses relating to serious violent felonies, fraud and identity theft, espionage and censorship, or trade secrets.Prohibits indicators and defensive measures provided to the government from being directly used by government agencies to regulate the lawful activities of an entity.
(Sec. 6) Provides liability protections to entities acting in accordance with this Act that: (1) monitor information systems, or (2) share or receive indicators or defensive measures, provided that the manner in which an entity shares any indicators or defensive measures with the federal government is consistent with specified procedures and exceptions set forth under the DHS sharing process.
(Sec. 7) Directs appropriate federal entities and the inspectors general of specified agencies to report to Congress at least every two years concerning the implementation of this Act. Requires such reports to include: (1) an assessment of the impact on privacy and civil liberties; (2) a review of actions taken by the federal government based on shared cyber threat indicators, including the appropriateness of any federal entity's subsequent use or dissemination of such cyber threat indicators; and (3) a description of any significant violations by the federal government.
Requires reports to Congress, at least every two years, by: (1) the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board; and (2) Inspectors General of DHS, the Intelligence Community, DOJ, DOD, and the Department of Energy regarding shared indicators and defensive measures.
(Sec. 8) Prohibits this Act from being construed to permit the federal government to require an entity to provide information to the federal government.
(Sec. 9) Directs the DNI to report to Congress regarding cybersecurity threats, including cyber attacks, theft, and data breaches. Requires such report to include: (1) an assessment of current U.S. intelligence sharing and cooperation relationships with other countries regarding cybersecurity threats to the U.S. national security interests, economy, and intellectual property; (2) a list of countries and non-state actors that are primary threats; (3) a description of the U.S. government's response and prevention capabilities; and (4) an assessment of additional technologies that would enhance U.S. capabilities, including private sector technologies that could be rapidly fielded to assist the intelligence community.
(Sec. 10) Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 to authorize DOD to share with other federal entities information reported by a cleared defense contractor regarding a penetration of network or information systems.
Serious Crime Act 2015-UK
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 11:53
41Unauthorised acts causing, or creating risk of, serious damageE+W+S+N.I.(1)The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is amended as follows.
(2)After section 3 insert'--
''3ZAUnauthorised acts causing, or creating risk of, serious damage(1)A person is guilty of an offence if'--
(a)the person does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer;
(b)at the time of doing the act the person knows that it is unauthorised;
(c)the act causes, or creates a significant risk of, serious damage of a material kind; and
(d)the person intends by doing the act to cause serious damage of a material kind or is reckless as to whether such damage is caused.
(2)Damage is of a ''material kind'' for the purposes of this section if it is'--
(a)damage to human welfare in any place;
(b)damage to the environment of any place;
(c)damage to the economy of any country; or
(d)damage to the national security of any country.
(3)For the purposes of subsection (2)(a) an act causes damage to human welfare only if it causes'--
(a)loss to human life;
(b)human illness or injury;
(c)disruption of a supply of money, food, water, energy or fuel;
(d)disruption of a system of communication;
(e)disruption of facilities for transport; or
(f)disruption of services relating to health.
(4)It is immaterial for the purposes of subsection (2) whether or not an act causing damage'--
(a)does so directly;
(b)is the only or main cause of the damage.
(5)In this section'--
(a)a reference to doing an act includes a reference to causing an act to be done;
(b)''act'' includes a series of acts;
(c)a reference to a country includes a reference to a territory, and to any place in, or part or region of, a country or territory.
(6)A person guilty of an offence under this section is (unless subsection (7) applies) liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, or to a fine, or to both.
(7)Where an offence under this section is committed as a result of an act causing or creating a significant risk of'--
(a)serious damage to human welfare of the kind mentioned in subsection (3)(a) or (3)(b), or
(b)serious damage to national security,
a person guilty of the offence is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life, or to a fine, or to both.''
(3)In section 3A (making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offences under section 1 or 3), in subsections (1), (2) and (3), for ''section 1 or 3'' substitute '' section 1, 3 or 3ZA ''.
42Obtaining articles for purposes relating to computer misuseE+W+S+N.I.In section 3A of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in offence under section 1 or 3), in subsection (3), for ''article with a view to'' substitute ''article'--
(a)intending to use it to commit, or to assist in the commission of, an offence under section 1, 3 or 3ZA, or
(b)with a view to''.
43Territorial scope of computer misuse offenceE+W+S+N.I.(1)The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is amended as follows.
(2)In section 4 (territorial scope of offences), in subsection (1), for ''section 1 or 3'' substitute '' section 1, 3 or 3ZA ''.
(3)After subsection (4) of that section insert'--
''(4A)It is immaterial for the purposes of an offence under section 3A whether the accused was in the home country concerned at the time of any act or other event proof of which is required for conviction of the offence if there is a significant link with domestic jurisdiction in relation to the offence.''
(4)In section 5 (significant links with domestic jurisdiction), after subsection (1) insert'--
''(1A)In relation to an offence under section 1, 3, 3ZA or 3A, where the accused was in a country outside the United Kingdom at the time of the act constituting the offence there is a significant link with domestic jurisdiction if'--
(a)the accused was a United Kingdom national at that time; and
(b)the act constituted an offence under the law of the country in which it occurred.
(1B)In subsection (1A)'--
(5)After subsection (3) of that section insert'--
''(3A)In relation to an offence under section 3ZA, any of the following is also a significant link with domestic jurisdiction'--
(a)that the accused was in the home country concerned at the time when he did the unauthorised act (or caused it to be done);
(b)that the unauthorised act was done in relation to a computer in the home country concerned;
(c)that the unauthorised act caused, or created a significant risk of, serious damage of a material kind (within the meaning of that section) in the home country concerned.''
(6)In section 13 (proceedings in Scotland), after subsection (2) insert'--
''(2A)A sheriff shall have jurisdiction in respect of an offence under section 3ZA above if'--
(a)the accused was in the sheriffdom at the time when he did the unauthorised act (or caused it to be done), or
(b)the computer in relation to which the unauthorised act was done was in the sheriffdom at that time.
(2B)A sheriff shall have jurisdiction in respect of an offence under section 3A above if'--
(a)the accused was in the sheriffdom at the time when'--
(i)he made, adapted, supplied or offered to supply the article intending it to be used as mentioned in subsection (1) of that section,
(ii)he supplied or offered to supply the article believing that it would be used as mentioned in subsection (2) of that section, or
(iii)he obtained the article intending to use it, or with a view to its being supplied for use, as mentioned in subsection (3) of that section; or
(b)the offence related to the commission of an offence under section 1, 3 or 3ZA above (in the way described in subsections (1) to (3) of section 3A above) and any computer as mentioned in subsection (1)(b), (2)(b) or (2A)(b) of this section was in the sheriffdom at the time the accused carried out the act constituting the offence under section 3A above.''
(7)After subsection (10) of that section insert'--
''(10A)Where an offence under section 1, 3, 3ZA or 3A above is committed outside Scotland, the person committing the offence may be prosecuted, tried and punished for the offence'--
(a)in any sheriff court district in Scotland in which the person is apprehended or is in custody, or
(b)in such sheriff court district as the Lord Advocate may direct,
as if the offence had been committed in that district; and the offence is, for all purposes incidental to or consequential on the trial or punishment, deemed to have been committed in that district.''
44SavingsE+W+S+N.I.(1)The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is amended as follows.
(2)In section 10 (saving for certain law enforcement powers)'--
(a)for ''Section 1(1) above has'' substitute '' Sections 1 to 3A have '';
(b)in paragraph (a), after ''seizure'' insert '' or of any other enactment by virtue of which the conduct in question is authorised or required '';
(c)in paragraph (b), after ''seizure'' insert '' or of any other enactment or rule of law by virtue of which the conduct in question is authorised or required '';
(d)for ''the said section 1(1)'' substitute '' any of those sections '';
(e)for ''In this section ''enforcement officer'' means'' substitute'--
''In this section'--
''enactment'' means any enactment, whenever passed or made, contained in'--
an Act of Parliament;
an Act of the Scottish Parliament;
a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales;
an instrument made under any such Act or Measure;
any other subordinate legislation (within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978);
''enforcement officer'' means''.
(3)In section 16 (application to Northern Ireland), after subsection (9) insert'--
''(9A)In section 10 the definition of ''enactment'' shall be read as including a reference to an enactment, whenever passed or made, contained in Northern Ireland legislation or in an instrument made under such legislation.''
Venezuela Sues Miami-based Currency Website Dollar Today over Alleged Cyberterrorism
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:30
Caracas, October 25nd, 2015 ( '' The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) opened a lawsuit in a US federal court in Delaware on Friday against the Miami-based currency website Dollar Today, which it accuses of destabilizing the Venezuelan economy by publishing false exchange rate data.
''Dollar Today is doing harm to the Venezuelan economy by exacerbating inflationary pressures, diminishing Venezuelans' buying power, and undermining the authority of the Central Bank,'' reads a statement by the multinational law firm Squire Patton Boggs on behalf of the BCV.
As the most popular Venezuelan currency website with 1 million visitors daily, Dollar Today publishes an illegal dollar rate for the Venezuelan bol­var that as of Monday is four times the highest official rate of 200 bol­vars and 130 times the lowest government rate of 6.3 bol­vars per dollar which is used for essential imports.
Since 2003, Venezuela has maintained a three-tiered currency system based on tight exchange controls, in which the government promotes the import of key products such as food and medicines by making dollars available to private importers at subsidized rates.
According to the government, Dollar Today undermines this system by speculating on the value of the bol­var and consequently unleashing an inflationary spiral in Venezuela in which consumer prices soar as the black market bol­var continues to plummet.
Dollar Today reports to base its rate on that used by the currency exchange counters in the Colombian border city of Cºcuta, which allegedly sell bolivars at a rate far below that of the Colombian Central Bank, with the full knowledge of Colombian authorities.
Cºcuta is also a key nexus for the illegal cross-border contraband economy that sees thousands of tonnes of subsidized Venezuelan goods, including gasoline and food items, regularly smuggled to Colombia and sold for obscene profits. These are in turn exchanged for bol­vars at the black market rate, further fueling Venezuelan inflation, which the government currently estimates to be around 80%.
For Venezuelan authorities, the objective of Dollar Today, which regularly publishes extreme anti-government political commentary in addition to economic information, is political as much as economic destabilization.
The website has also been criticised by Venezuelan economists, as well by entrepreneur Carlos Delgado, the owner of Venezuela's principle FOREX centre, ItalCambio. They accuse the website of inventing "shameless" and "impossible" exchange rates in a bid to bring the national economy to its knees.
In its official statement regarding the lawsuit last week, the BCV noted that the three Venezuelans behind the website, Gustavo D­az, Ivn Lozada-Salas, and Jos(C) Enrique Altuve Lozada, ''are conspirators who fled to the US after having an important role in the 2002 coup against the Venezuelan government.''
Notwithstanding Dollar Today's alleged destabilizing role, the BCV has stated that its aim in filing the lawsuit is not to shut down the website, but rather to oblige it to refrain from publishing false information regarding Venezuelan exchange rates as well as pay compensation for damages.
While currently blocked by the Venezuelan government, Dollar Today is consulted by hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans via Twitter daily. Many venders in their country also calculate their selling prices based on the website's illegal rate, which is now considered an offense under the new price regulations approved by the Maduro administration last week.
Published on Oct 26th 2015 at 1.48pm
Police arrested a 15-year-old boy over a cyber attack on telephone and internet provider TalkTalk, feared to have breached the data of millions of Britons.
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:03
Police arrested a 15-year-old boy over a cyber attack on telephone and internet provider TalkTalk, feared to have breached the data of millions of Britons.
The teenager was arrested and held for questioning in Northern Ireland, on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences, according to the Metropolitan Police.
"An arrest has been made in connection with the investigation into alleged data theft from the TalkTalk website," a spokesman for Britain's Metropolitan Police said.
The boy was apprehended during a raid in County Antrim by Northern Ireland police officers working with Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit detectives.
"At the address, a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences," the spokesman added.
"He has been taken into custody at a County Antrim police station where he will later be interviewed. A search of the address is ongoing and inquiries continue."
More than a tenth of the value of TalkTalk was wiped off the London Stock Exchange on Monday as traders reacted to the breach, the third cyber attack in eight months on TalkTalk in which customers' data has been stolen.
The company has said it is unsure how many of its four million customers in Britain were affected, but said that information including customer names, addresses and bank details could have been compromised.
The attack was described as "significant and sustained" by the company, which said that not all customers' data was encrypted.
"TalkTalk can confirm that we have been informed by the Metropolitan Police of the arrest of a suspect in connection with the cyber attack on our website on October 21." a TalkTalk spokesman said.
"We know this has been a worrying time for customers and we are grateful for the swift response and hard work of the police. We will continue to assist in the ongoing investigation."
Police are investigating a ransom demand that was sent to TalkTalk purporting to be from the hacker, though the firm is unsure if the demand for money was genuine.
Ted Koppel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:37
Edward James Martin "Ted" Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is an American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008. Koppel is currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and contributing analyst to BBC World News America, and contributes to NBC News.
Early life and education[edit]Koppel, an only child, was born in Nelson, Lancashire, UK, after his German Jewish parents fled Germany due to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism.[2] In 1953, when he was 13, the family immigrated to the United States. His mother, Alice, was a singer and pianist, and his father, Edwin, was a tire factory owner.[3] He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science Degree and from Stanford University with a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communications Research and Political Science.[4] In 1987, he received an honoraryDoctor of Humane Letters degree from Duke University.[5] In 2007, the University of Southern California awarded Koppel an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.[6] Koppel returns to Syracuse University regularly as a guest speaker. He was a member of the student-run WAER and keeps in touch with the student media at Syracuse.[7] He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.[8]
Early career[edit]Koppel had a brief stint as a teacher before being hired as a copyboy at WMCA Radio in New York. In June 1963, he became the youngest correspondent ever hired by ABC Radio News, working on the daily Flair Reports program. In 1966, Koppel worked for ABC Television as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War. Koppel returned in 1968 to cover the campaign of Richard Nixon, before becoming Hong Kong bureau chief, and US State Department correspondent, where Koppel formed a good friendship with Henry Kissinger.
Koppel was among those traveling to China with U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1972. He spoke about this with the USC U.S.-China Institute for their Assignment: China documentary series on American media coverage of China. Koppel likened the trip to a journey to the dark side of the moon.
Accusations of bias[edit]It was suggested that Koppel was a conduit for the government's point of view. In the late 1980s, the progressive media criticism organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a 40-month study of 865 editions of Nightline and concluded: "On shows about international affairs, U.S. government policymakers and ex-officials dominated the Nightline guest list. American critics of foreign policy were almost invisible." In 1987, Newsweek opined: "The anchor who makes viewers feel that he is challenging the powers that be on their behalf is in fact the quintessential establishment journalist". Koppel responded to this by saying: "We are governed by the president and his cabinet and their people. And they are the ones who are responsible for our foreign policy, and they are the ones I want to talk to".[9] Koppel's interviews were not limited only to issues of economics, politics, culture, sports, and war, but also covered sensitive issues such as the discrimination practiced in country golf clubs. He studied the subject matter of his Nightline broadcasts thoroughly and never hesitated to put uncomfortable questions to people occupying high offices. Soon after Nelson Mandela's release from imprisonment, Koppel did an interview with him in the U.S. He asked Mandela about his association with notorious human rights violators such as Muammar Gadaffi, Fidel Castro, and Yasser Arafat. Mandela said that these people supported his cause by action. He refused to choose his enemies according to somebody else's criteria, and went further: "... anybody who changes his principles depending on whom he is dealing with, that is not a man who can lead a nation.". Later, he silenced Koppel completely by commenting that he seems ill-prepared for the interview and wasn't being impartial enough.[10][11]
Koppel was invited to deliver a convocation speech at the University of Pennsylvania, which was published in Forbes magazine during the early 1990s. In it he questioned the casualty figures, given by President George H.W. Bush, incurred by Coalition surgical strikes on Iraq during the Gulf War.
Departure from Nightline[edit]On November 22, 2005, Koppel stepped down from Nightline after 25 years with the program and left ABC after 42 years with the network. His final Nightline broadcast did not feature clips highlighting memorable interviews and famous moments from his tenure as host, as is typical when an anchor retires. Instead, the show replayed the highly acclaimed episode of Nightline with Koppel's 1995 interviews with retired Brandeis University sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, who was dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). For this broadcast, Koppel interviewed sports journalist Mitch Albom, who had been a student of Schwartz. Albom talked about how the Nightline interviews led and inspired him into contacting Schwartz personally, and then visiting him weekly. These visits became the basis for the popular book Tuesdays with Morrie, chronicling lessons about life learned from Schwartz.
After the show's last commercial break, Koppel made his final remarks prior to signing off:
''There's this quiz I give to some of our young interns when they first arrive at Nightline. I didn't do it with the last batch; it's a little too close to home. "How many of you," I'll ask, "can tell me anything about Eric Sevareid?" Blank stares. "How about Howard K. Smith or Frank Reynolds?" Not a twitch of recognition. "Chet Huntley? John Chancellor?" Still nothing. "David Brinkley" sometimes causes a hand or two to be raised, and Walter Cronkite may be glad to learn that a lot of young people still have a vague recollection that he once worked in television news. What none of these young men and women in their late teens and early 20s appreciates, until I point it out to them, is that they have just heard the names of seven anchormen or commentators who were once so famous that everyone in the country knew their names. Everybody. Trust me, the transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal. Cronkite begat Rather, Chancellor begat Brokaw, Reynolds begat Jennings. And each of them did a pretty fair job in his own right. You've always been very nice to me, so give this new anchor team for Nightline a fair break. If you don't, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot. Then you'll be sorry. And that's our report for tonight. I'm Ted Koppel in Washington, and from all of us here at ABC News, good night.''Recent work[edit]Following Nightline Koppel has taken on a number of roles which span various formats of news media:
He signed up as an opposite editorial-contributing columnist, effective January 29, 2006, for The New York Times.[12]Starting in June 2006, he has provided commentary to Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Day to Day on National Public Radio, joining NPR's other two Senior News Analysts, Cokie Roberts and Daniel Schorr.[13] As such, he participated in the annual NPRFourth of July reading of the Declaration of Independence in 2007.Koppel makes occasional guest appearances on The Daily Show appearing in extreme close-up as a disembodied head, acting as Jon Stewart's journalistic conscience, sometimes as the replacement for the so-called "Giant Head of Brian Williams" projected on the screen behind Stewart. Koppel has jokingly insisted that "this is the actual size of [Koppel's] head"Koppel worked for BBC News as a "contributing analyst" covering the 2008 Democratic National Convention.On December 12, 2011, Koppel made his first appearance on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as a reporter. He now is a special correspondent for NBC's Rock Center.On August 6, 2013, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Koppel entitled "America's Chronic Overreaction to Terrorism".[14]Discovery Channel[edit]Following his departure from Nightline Koppel formed a three-year partnership with Discovery Communications as managing editor of the Discovery Channel. While at Discovery, Koppel produced several lengthy documentaries on a variety of subjects including a 2008 four-hour miniseries on China, which Koppel "ranks with some of the work that [he is] most proud of over the years."[15] The four-part documentary, called The People's Republic of Capitalism, is an extensive look at the fast-changing country. It takes a look at the role of Chinese consumers in the growing -but yet communist- economy.[16]
Koppel and Discovery Communications parted ways in November, 2008, terminating their contract six months early, prompting rumors that Koppel would be hired for NBC's Meet the Press. Koppel has stated that he is not interested in the job.[15]
Accolades[edit]Personal life[edit]In 1963, Koppel became a naturalized U.S. citizen, and married Grace Anne Dorney, a Roman Catholic.[18] They have four children: Andrea (a former journalist), Deirdre, Andrew, and Tara. Andrew Koppel was found dead in a New York City apartment on May 31, 2010, reportedly after a day-long drinking binge.[19] Koppel is multilingual and speaks German and French in addition to his native English.
Koppel is an old friend of Henry Kissinger. Both Kissinger and Koppel moved to the United States as children. Along with former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Kissinger was the most frequent guest on Nightline.[9] In an interview, Koppel commented, "Henry Kissinger is, plain and simply, the best secretary of state we have had in 20, maybe 30 years '' certainly one of the two or three great secretaries of state of our century," and added, "I'm proud to be a friend of Henry Kissinger. He is an extraordinary man. This country has lost a lot by not having him in a position of influence and authority".[20]
See also[edit]References[edit]^^"Harvard Gazette: Inside newsman Ted Koppel". 2000-11-02. Retrieved 2010-07-18. ^"Ted Koppel Biography (1940'')". Retrieved 2010-07-18. ^"Ted Koppel". ABC News. November 17, 2005. Retrieved January 2, 2011. ^Duke University 1980s honorary degrees^"Honorary Degrees - Past Recipients". University of Southern California. Retrieved January 2, 2011. ^'''' (2001-10-11). "Ted Koppel entertains CitrusTV". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-18. ^^ abSolomon, Norman. '' "Ted Koppel: 'Natural Fit' at NPR News and Longtime Booster of Henry Kissinger". '' Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). '' January 16, 2006^Nelson Mandela destroys Ted Koppel Part 2, 1990-06-21. Accessed: 2015-06-28.^Nelson Mandela Faces Off Against U.S. Imperialists on the Ted Koppel Report; 1990, 2014-05-14.^"13 Times". '' New York Times. '' January 13, 2006^Koppel. '' NPR. '' January 12, 2006^"America's Chronic Overreaction to Terrorism". Wall Street Journal. WSJ. Retrieved 24 March 2015. ^ abPaul J. Gough, "Ted Koppel, Discovery parting ways" Reuters/Hollywood Reporter^ "On the Trail of Consumerism in a Booming Chinese City." Genzlinger, Neil. July,2008.^"Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^National Review: "Koppel Tackles The Passion - Jesus, Jews, and the year's most controversial film" By Joel C. Rosenberg February 24, 2004^Ted Koppel's son, 40, found dead in NYC apartment^Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1989.External links[edit]
Army spokesman: More than 500 terrorists from ISIS leave Syria and head to Yemen | Syrian Arab News Agency
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 14:48
Damascus, SANA '' A spokesman from the Syrian Arab Army said on Tuesday that on intelligence reports state that on October 16th, four planes arrived in Aden Airport in Yemen, carrying terrorists from ISIS.
The spokesman said that the planes, which consisted of 2 Turkish Airlines planes, 1 Qatar Airways plane, and 1 Emirates airline plane, were carrying more than 500 ISIS members who had fled Syria following the Russian airstrikes.
He went on to say that upon arrival in Aden, the Saudi alliance officers divided them into three groups: one went to Bab-el-Mandeb strait, one to Ma'rib, and one to the Saudi regions of Jizan and Asir in order to join the alliance's forces which had sustained great losses during their battles there.
The spokesman concluded that information indicates that the process of transporting ISIS terrorists from Syria will continue in the coming stage.
Hazem Sabbagh
President Obama Vetoes the NDAA over Slush Fund
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 14:52
President Obama Vetoes the NDAA over Slush FundOctober 26, 2015
Last week, President Obama made good on his promise to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016. While the President listed several issues he opposed, the last straw was Congress increasing the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account in order to circumvent Pentagon spending caps. The OCO account, originally designed to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, has become a slush fund for programs with little connections to current war efforts. The Congressional Research Service found that even according to the Pentagon's own accounting, it spent $71 billion from the OCO on non-war programs from 2001 to 2014.
Congress is playing games with our tax dollars by increasing war spending accounts to circumvent Pentagon spending caps they passed into law. The Pentagon base budget is already extremely high; using an unlimited slush fund to circumvent defense spending caps will not lead to a more effective military. What it has done, though, is increase wasteful spending and decrease oversight. Much-needed changes to defense policy and procurement are unlikely to be implemented if budgetary tricks allow Congress and the Pentagon to defer indefinitely decisions about how defense dollars are spent.
Even in the absence of the NDAA, our troops will still be funded through annual spending bills. The President was right to veto the NDAA because the policies and priorities outlined in this legislation fall short of the responsible military spending policies that we need.
Liz Hempowicz is a public policy associate for the Project On Government Oversight.
Dan Grazier is the Jack Shanahan Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight
Topics:National Security
Related Content:Budget, NDAA, Defense, Wasteful Defense Spending
Authors:Dan Grazier, Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz
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Latest PodcastPodcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for LawmakersThe Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.
$50B telecom contract set to kick off during presidential transition
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:19
$50B telecom contract set to kick off during presidential transitionBy Mark RockwellOct 27, 2015General Services Administration officials in charge of the agency's massive $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions telecommunications contract still anticipate making the contract available to federal agencies in early 2017, but they're keeping an eye on the presidential transition.
The agency released the formal request for proposals for the contract on Oct. 16, and agencies are set to begin receiving services via EIS by early 2017.
That's still the plan, said Amando Gavino, director of GSA's Office of Network Services Programs, in an Oct. 26 interview with FCW at ACT-IAC's Executive Leadership Conference. However, he declined to provide an exact date in 2017.
The inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20 of that year marks a big administrative change for federal agencies, said EIS Program Manager Fred Haines in a presentation on NS2020, GSA's overarching telecom strategy that includes the EIS contract.
Gavino said he was somewhat concerned about the effects a change in administration could have on the contract's services, and Haines said the agency would see how it goes as the contract moves through the awards process.
In any case, Gavino noted that EIS is moving ahead with a transition process of its own to prepare for the time when services become available.
Agencies have until January to submit their inventory validations to GSA, and complete transition plans are due by next October. Those steps will allow a smoother, less complicated switch to EIS than the switch to Networx, which took three years longer than anticipated.
Debbie Hren, GSA's network services transition director for EIS, said the inventory validation will determine what kind of telecom support an agency needs. She said she's working across the spectrum to help agencies take stock of what they're currently using for telecommunications -- ranging from 200 components of the Department of Homeland Security to 100 American Indian tribes that use the contract for telephone services.
So far, Hren said, all the larger agencies have been contacted about the inventory validations, but there might be some stragglers among the smaller agencies.
"If you haven't heard from GSA [about the validations], call us," she said.
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Judicial Watch Obtains Previously Classified CIA Inspector General Report Strongly Condemning Agency Handling of Briefings and Interviews with the Entertainment Industry
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:29
Report specifically criticizes CIA's briefings 'in which foreign nationals may have participated' specifically criticizes CIA interface with 'Zero Dark Thirty' filmmakers
(Washington, DC) '' Judicial Watch announced today that it has received a previously classified December 2012 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) strongly condemning the agency's handling of ''briefings, interviews, visits, and other support'' given to the entertainment industry. The report specifically criticizes the CIA's granting of ''Secret level'' access to the makers of the movie Zero Dark Thirty. The OIG report was declassified in response to a Judicial Watch request for a Mandatory Declassification review.
The OIG ''Report of Audit '' CIA Processes for Engaging With the Entertainment Industry'' is critical of both the agency's procedures and its record-keeping:
We found that the records maintained by the OPA [Office of Public Affairs] are not sufficient to document that entertainment industry requests to CIA for briefings, interviews, visits, and other support are handled in a consistent and fair manner and that engagement with the entertainment industry is effective in furthering CIA's goal for engagement '... OPA and other CIA employees have not always complied with Agency regulations intended to prevent the release of classified information during their interactions with entertainment industry representatives.
While the heavily redacted document carefully avoids the disclosure of the eight projects it reviewed dating back to January 6, 2006, it specifically cites problems involving CIA interactions with the Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers. According to the OIG report, ''There was an instance in which CIA allowed an entertainment industry representative to attend a CIA event in which information classified at the SECRET level was discussed.'' The report then adds in a footnote:
CIA officials told us that the filmmaker involved with Zero Dark Thirty was invited to the event so that he could absorb the emotion of the event and that he was told he could not use anything he heard at the event for his project. During our audit fieldwork, the then Director, CIA called for an internal examination of the decision to allow the entertainment industry representative to attend the event.
The CIA Inspector General cites one project in particular that was given ''significantly more support'' than any of the others reviewed. Though the project is not identified, it is an apparent reference to Zero Dark Thirty:
[W]e noted that the CIA provided significantly more support to one of the eight entertainment industry projects that we reviewed: [REDACTED]. Entertainment industry representatives for this project met with [REDACTED] CIA officers (the majority of whom were under cover) '... on multiple occasions, including meeting with one officer 12 times.
The newly-released OIG report also questioned the CIA's granting of access to foreign nationals who may not have received proper screening before their briefings, warning of possible ''negative consequences for the CIA:
We also noted three entertainment projects [REDACTED] in which foreign nationals may have participated in briefings, interviews, and visits provided by the CIA. However, because of the lack of adequate records, we were unable to determine the extent of CIA's support to the eight projects, the extent to which foreign nationals participated in CIA-sponsored activities, and whether the Director, OPA approved of the activities and participation of foreign nationals.
Failure on the part of CIA officers to adhere to regulatory requirements could result in unauthorized disclosures, inappropriate actions and negative consequences for CIA. [Emphasis added]
The CIA IG also concluded that taxpayers were not compensated for the assistance CIA provided to Hollywood film projects:
CIA Has Not Been Reimbursed for Costs Incurred in Supporting Entertainment Industry Projects '...
The CIA needs to establish a written policy concerning under what conditions reimbursement of costs incurred in providing support to entertainment industry projects should be sought. In the absence of a formal policy, there is increased risk that costs incurred by CIA will not be handled in a consistent manner and that CIA funds may be used for questionable expenditures.
''The Obama administration put Hollywood before national security in order to help Barack Obama win reelection,'' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''Has anyone been held accountable for these illegal leaks? The Obama administration put the heroes who killed Osama bin Laden at risk in order to help make this film.''
On May 1, 2011, President Obama announced that American personnel had killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and buried his body at sea. President Obama ordered the withholding of photos and video of the deceased bin Laden and his burial at sea, claiming it would be unwise to ''spike the football'' over bin Laden's killing, as it might be offensive to al Qaeda and other terrorists.
Judicial Watch also immediately requested these photos from the Defense Department and CIA and then, when denied them, sued for their release in federal court. An appellate court upheld President Obama's decision to withhold the records from American citizens because the records might offend terrorists.
Other Judicial Watch litigation forced the release of records showing a cover-up and the dangerous disclosure of classified information, as the Obama administration sought to promote the raid to aid Obama's reelection while at the same time withholding basic information about the raid from the American people.
In response to the Judicial Watch January 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the unusual access given to Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers, CIA Information Review Officer Martha Lutz conceded:
It is my understanding that when the meetings with the filmmakers took place at the CIA Headquarters, the guidance provided to the officers who were undercover or were otherwise in sensitive positions was that they should provide the filmmakers with their true first names only.
Disclosures by Vice News last month, made possible by the work of Judicial Watch, highlighted even more corruption at the Obama CIA as the agency tried to promote the pro-Obama film for the White House.) Vice News reported that the CIA OIG found several potential violations of criminal law by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, CIA officials, and the filmmakers. The Obama Justice Department refused to prosecute any of the alleged violations.
The Military Industrial Complex 'Unicorn': Former NSA Chief Raises $32.5 Million For "Startup" | Zero Hedge
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:01
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Former head of the NSA, Keith Alexander, has been a busy guy since he left government. Having avoided any accountability whatsoever despite systematically using the U.S. Constitution as toilet paper, Mr. Alexander is doing what every government official does upon leaving office. He's trying to grab as much money as possible.
Liberty Blitzkrieg readers will recall the 2014 post, Ex-NSA Chief Keith Alexander is Now Pimping Advice to Wall Street Banks for $1 Million a Month, in which I introduced his firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc. Fast forward a year, and Silicon Valley is chomping at the bit to embrace a company headed by a man who by all accounts should be in prison.
From the Wall Street Journal:
The former head of the National Security Agency has attracted funding for his cybersecurity startup from a prominent venture-capital firm, highlighting the continuing ties between Silicon Valley and Washington despite recent tensions.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is among the investors providing a $32.5 million infusion to IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., which aims to help companies fight computer hackers with software.
IronNet was founded by Keith Alexander, who was NSA director in 2013 when former agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had snooped with help from technology firms. Since then, government officials and tech executives have clashed over the proper limits of encryption technology.
As IronNet builds its technology, officials such as Mr. Olsen have offered consulting services to bring in extra revenue. Mr. Alexander said he has been boning up on how to run a startup, such as drafting term sheets for investors.
''It's been a good year,'' Mr. Alexander said of IronNet in an interview. ''I'm not going to say it's been an easy year.''
It also hasn't been without controversy. Some critics accused Mr. Alexander of too quickly cashing in or potentially relying on classified intelligence to turn a buck.
Banana Republic justice.
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Agenda 2030
Why 'climate justice' has India and the West at each other's throats
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:51
You wouldn't know it from the happy spin emanating from the Oval Office, but a Third World revolt in Bonn, Germany, this week almost derailed the Paris climate change negotiations in November. Although peace has been restored for now, it only happened by papering over this fundamental conundrum: The world can either avert climate catastrophe or seek "climate justice," not both.
The revolt was triggered when 130 developing nations including India and China noticed that the draft action plan that is supposed to serve as the blueprint for the Paris negotiations had omitted their most important conditions about the "fairness and financing" of the final deal '-- in other words, who is going to take responsibility for the warming and who should pay to reduce it? The South African delegation condemned the omission as "apartheid" that would penalize poor countries for the sins of the rich.
It has a point.
The Paris negotiations are supposed to be the mother of all climate negotiations. It was convened to impose binding emission reductions on all countries '-- not just the West, as was the case with the 1995 Kyoto protocol '-- to hold global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees centigrade over pre-industrial levels. To this end, each country has been asked to submit its own good faith reduction plan that includes both how much it will cut emissions and its plan for getting there. Once finalized after a review in Paris, the plans will be legally binding '-- although how precisely they will be enforced is anyone's guess.
Setting that aside, negotiations will boil down to an essential question: How much should each country cut and therefore whose idea of "climate justice," as Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi has termed it, should prevail?
All issues that require collective action, especially on a global scale, are difficult to resolve because they suffer from the free-rider problem, i.e. some parties seek to benefit from the "common good" without springing for it. But as Oren Cass, a Manhattan Institute analyst, notes, fighting climate change is a particularly vexing problem because the individual cost to each country, especially Third World ones, will be immediate and huge '-- and the benefits distant and uncertain. The notion that emission cuts can pay for themselves through increased energy efficiency is at best fanciful and, at worst, a lie.
There are no low-carbon energy technologies available today that can sustain the economic growth rates these countries need to lift their people out of abject poverty, let alone offer Western living standards at anything resembling an affordable cost. Over 300 million Indians still live below the poverty line, earning less than $1 per day. India's per capita energy consumption is 15 times less than the United States'. India has to keep boosting its energy use '-- and therefore carbon emissions '-- for at least another two decades to eliminate dire poverty, which is why its reduction plan only commits to slashing "emission intensity" '-- its emission rate as a percentage of its GPD '-- not emissions themselves.
Even this much, India claims, will require up to a $2.5 trillion investment over the next 15 years in renewable energy sources and adaptation technologies. Even if that figure is exaggerated, clearly this would be a challenge for a country that has yet to offer basic sanitation, transportation, and clean-water infrastructure to all its citizens.
But Western countries have to date pledged to raise only $1 trillion over 10 years ($100 billion annually) to offset the climate change costs of the entire Third World. Upping that commitment while simultaneously absorbing their own emission reduction costs will require Western government to take very radical '-- and very draconian '-- steps to pare back the living standards of their own citizens.
Whether Paris is able to keep tensions under control and hammer out something is an open question. Either way, however, if the world ever gets serious about enforcing it, the blame game will intensify. Every side will trot out arguments to show why it bears less moral responsibility to combat climate change than the other.
Western countries, especially America, have been arguing that China and India with their billion-plus people and dirty energy sources are a major part of the problem. Therefore, unless they do their "fair share" to cut '-- not just slow the rate of '-- their emissions, no amount of mitigation by the West will make a dent in global temperatures.
However, India and China counter by dragging out the West's historic emissions. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has determined that the planet can handle 2,900 gigatons (Gt) of carbon dioxide before the Earth begins to warm catastrophically. Third World countries insist that justice demands that every country get a quota based on its population. By that arithmetic, America's total quota would add up to 128 Gt (and the entire developed world's 406 Gt). But America used up over twice that amount between 1850-2011. As these countries see it, America (as the rest of the Western world) is in their ecological debt. It needs to put itself on a drastic energy diet '-- and effectively undo the industrial revolution that has generated untold wealth for it. Especially since India has used only 7 percent of its share. "For the sake of the world's future, American lifestyle can no longer remain non-negotiable," froths India's leading environmentalist, Sunita Narain.
When there is abundant wealth to solve a problem, moral accounting matters less. Whoever has the means will often step forward without caring too much about responsibility or returns. That clearly is not the case with global warming. The stakes are high for everyone so each side will vehemently assert the morality of its position. But the one most likely to prevail is not necessarily the one with superior claims, but superior force. Might, after all, makes right.
Indeed, notes Cass, if climate change will unleash an eco-catastrophe as claimed, then the harsh reality is that it might be more cost-effective for America and the West to impose their will by military force. Trade sanctions against non-complying countries that are being considered in Paris won't cut it for the simple reason that developing countries can band together and impose countervailing sanctions of their own. The upshot will be a full-scale trade war that won't reduce emissions (although the economic attrition that'll result will help).
Global warming warriors warn that inaction will produce political instability and civil war in Africa and elsewhere. But it is also conceivable that a really determined West could use the aegis of some UN-like global agency to create a standing military strike force to bomb or drone countries into compliance. Humanity's very existence would be at stake, after all. (President Al Gore, anyone?)
The tragedy of current efforts to combat global warming is that in order to avert a tragedy they'll cause one.
Too hot for humans: Persian Gulf may be uninhabitable within the century. What does this mean for your city? - The Washington Post
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:02
A study predicting deadly heat waves in the Persian Gulf by the century's end has underscored concerns about the effects of rising global temperatures on cities in other parts of the world, including the United States.
Monday's report in the journal Nature Climate Change warned that Persian Gulf cities could experience extreme summer temperatures that are literally too hot for human survival. But scientists say climate change will inevitably lead to hotter, longer heat waves and higher rates of heat-related deaths across large swaths of the planet.
A study by U.S. researchers released in August predicted that the number of ''dangerous'' heat events experienced by Americans each year will rise from a baseline of four '-- the average number during the period from 1981 to 2010 '-- to about 10 in the year 2030, and then to 35 by the year 2090.
[Climate change could trigger ''lethal" heat for Persian Gulf cities]
Such heat waves could potentially cause large numbers of deaths, as occurred in the 1998 Chicago hot spell blamed for the deaths of 700 people, said the report by scientists from Rutgers University, the University of California at Berkeley and the Rhodium Group. But the chance of crossing the ''extraordinarily dangerous'' threshold forecast for Persian Gulf cities is slim '-- for now, said Robert Kopp, a co-author and associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute.
Decades from now, the chances for an ''extraordinarily dangerous'' U.S. event start to creep higher, Kopp said. The lethal threshold is described as a ''wet-bulb'' temperature of 35 degrees C, or 95 degrees F, based on a complicated formula that measures the lowest temperature a parcel of air can reach by the evaporation of water into it. Typically it requires a ''dry'' temperature of at least 115 degrees and humidity above 50 percent.
''If you're in the shade and you're engaging in a 150-watt activity '-- moderate exercise '-- in an hour you'll have a skin temperature and core temperature of 104 degrees,'' Kopp said. ''Those sorts of days have no precedent in the United States.''
But they could for other regions, in the relatively near future, scientists say.
Monday's Nature Climate Change study said Persian Gulf cities from Dubai to Iran's Bandar Abbas could experience summer days that surpass the ''human habitability'' limit, with heat and humidity so high that even the healthiest people could not withstand more than a few hours outdoors. Other Middle Eastern cities could approach the lethal threshold, including the Saudi holy city of Mecca, a destination for millions of Muslim pilgrims every year, according to the report in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change.
[Inaction on climate change will cost us billions, major EPA study finds]
Scientists have long maintained that parts of the planet could experience extreme temperatures if global warming continues at current rates. But the suggestion that major world metropolises could cross the ''habitability'' threshold in the 21st century surprised some climate experts.
''The threats to human health may be much more severe than previously thought, and may occur in the current century,'' Christoph Schaer, a physicist and climate modeler at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland, said in a commentary on the study's conclusions.
''Our results expose a regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,'' the authors write in the study.
The Persian Gulf region is already notorious for oppressive heat, with temperatures regularly surpassing 110 degrees F in the summer and heat-index values that contribute to high rates of heatstroke among outdoor workers.
The study's authors say the worst impacts could be avoided if the world's countries can find the will to curb emissions of greenhouse-gas pollution. In any case, urban planners will soon have to plan for major infrastructure changes as temperatures approach the lethal threshold.
''Although it may be feasible to adapt indoor activities in the rich oil countries of the region, even the most basic outdoor activities are likely to be severely impacted,'' the report stated.
Read more in Energy & Environment:
Scientists say California hasn't been this dry in 500 years
Congressional, global warming skeptic demands records from U.S. climate scientists
Bleaching and disease are devastating the biggest coral reef in the continental United States
Scientists confirm that East Antarctica's biggest glacier is melting from below
Congressional skeptic on global warming demands records from U.S. climate scientists
For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.
Joby Warrick joined the Post's national staff in 1996. He has covered national security, intelligence and the Middle East, and currently writes about the environment.
IBM to buy digital branch of Weather Company, leaves Weather Channel behind - The Washington Post
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:32
In a major shakeup to the weather industry, IBM announced on Wednesday that it will purchase the Weather Company's digital assets, including, WSI and Weather Underground, as well as the overarching Weather Company brand. It did not, however, include the Weather Channel in the agreement, leaving the future uncertain for the network's meteorologists and employees.
IBM is particularly interested in the company's ''big data'' platform, which powers both the in-house Weather Company apps in addition to serving up data for 26 billion third-party requests each day. What makes this acquisition interesting is the potential combined power of the Weather Company's treasure trove of meteorological data and IBM's artificial intelligence computer, Watson.
At least in part, this acquisition makes good on IBM's $3 billion commitment to develop Internet of Things-related services. ''Upon closing of this deal, the Weather Company will continue to be able to help improve the precision of weather forecasts and further deepen IBM's Watson IoT capabilities,'' said David Kenny, chief executive of the Weather Company.
This deal is one of the best possible outcomes for the digital side of the Weather Company, which can now shift focus entirely to the data and technology side of weather with IBM's behemoth resources, without distraction from acting as a media company simultaneously.
But while the news is sunny for the digital arm of the Weather Company, the future of the Weather Channel itself '-- the founding organization and brand since 1982 '-- is extremely uncertain. When this deal closes, the Weather Channel will still be owned by Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and NBC Universal, and it will be forced to license what used to be its own weather data from IBM.
It's been a rough couple of years for the 24/7 weather network. In December 2013, the Weather Channel went to battle with DirecTV, which threatened to cut the network from its lineup. The disagreement revolved around carriage fees and the increasing amount of reality television in the Weather Channel's repertoire, as well as consumers' digital trends.
Then in March, Verizon FiOS dropped the channel completely, adding the competing AccuWeather channel in its place. Verizon cited the changing habits of consumers in their reasoning for allowing the agreement with the Weather Channel to expire.
Recent changes '-- including new weather-focused shows like WxGeeks and Weather Underground, and the canceling of most of their reality TV programming '-- have brought the channel back in favor with its fans and the weather community. But whether these changes will save the channel in an increasingly Web and app-driven weather world is unclear. Consumers are relying less on their TVs and more on their devices for weather information, much of which is provided by the company's former technology division.
The day-to-day operations will continue as scheduled at the network, while another purchaser is likely sought. ''The Weather Channel operates as a distinct and separate business with its own leadership team, which enables this to be a smooth and seamless transition,'' said Shirley Powell, chief communications officer for the Weather Company. ''We believe a bright future lies ahead for the television business as the most trusted source of weather information.''
More on the Weather Channel:
It's time for the weather community to adopt winter storm naming
Would naming winter storms be a better idea if more organizations got on board?
Reeling Weather Channel trims 'Fat' to focus on weather
Sam Champion to host prime-time, science interview show on the Weather Channel
Watch Jim Cantore totally own this 3-D tornado in Weather Channel's new lab
Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
IBM to buy Weather Company's digital assets - Software - iTnews
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:46
IBM will buy the Weather Company's digital assets to boost its Watson cloud and internet of things platforms.
IBM did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, which does not include the Weather Channel, but the Wall Street Journal reported it would be valued at more than US$2 billion (A$2.8 billion).
The Weather Channel will use weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.
The deal highlights IBM's focus on high-growth areas such as cloud computing and analytics as it dumps low-margin businesses such as cash registers, low-end servers and semiconductors.
The US-based Weather Company is currently owned by private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital and Comcast's NBC Universal, which bought the firm in 2008 for about US3.5 billion.
IBM's accounts under investigation - Software - iTnews
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:46
IBM has revealed the US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the software giant's accounts, looking into revenue recognition with certain deals in the United States, Britain and Ireland.
The company said it learned of the investigation in August and was cooperating with the SEC, but did not disclose what deals were being probed.
"IBM has a rigorous and disciplined process for the preparation of its financial statements and the reporting of revenue," an IBM spokesman said..
IBM has been a subject of several SEC probes in the past, including an investigation in 2013 on how it reported revenue from cloud computing business. The regulator later decided not to recommend any action following the investigation.
Shares of the world's largest technology services company fell as much as 4.4 percent to a five-year low of US$137.33.
IBM posted a bigger-than-expected drop in third-quarter revenue and cut its full-year profit forecast last week as a stronger US dollar accentuated weakness in demand from China and emerging markets.
Separately, IBM also authorised a US$4 billion share buyback today, in addition to US$2.4 billion remaining from a previous share repurchase program announced in October last year.
Up to today's close, IBM's stock had dropped about 10.5 percent this year.
Nederland stapt langzaam over van aardgas naar steenkool.. waarom?
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:36
Vorige week werd de gasgestookte Rijnmondcentrale in Rotterdam failliet verklaard. Deze week meldde energiebedrijf GDF Suez dat het overweegt om twee gasgestookte centrales in Nederland stil te leggen. Als redenen geeft men op de groeiende hoeveelheid duurzaam opgewekte energie en de lage steenkoolprijs.GDF Suez en andere energiebedrijven E-On en Nuon hebben de afgelopen jaren ge¯nvesteerd in nieuwe kolencentrales. De energiebedrijven voorzagen kennelijk jaren geleden al dat er in de komende 30 jaar steeds minder aardgas beschikbaar zal zijn en dat steenkool de belangrijkste brandstof voor elektriciteitsopwekking zal worden. De beslissing om over te stappen van aardgas naar steenkool wordt door de stichting Natuur en Milieu een "historische vergissing" genoemd. Maar mijns inziens hebben de energiebedrijven zeer lang nagedacht en weloverwogen gekozen voor steenkool.Aardgas wordt in West-Europa schaarser en duurderIk blogde al eerder over het opraken van het Nederlandse aardgas. Nederland zal in de toekomst meer aardgas gaan importeren. Het is echter de vraag hoeveel aardgas en waar dat aardgas vandaan zal gaan komen.Door de aanleg van de Nordstream- en Southstream-pijpleidingen kan er steeds meer Russisch aardgas naar West-Europa getransporteerd worden. Maar helaas is de Southstream-pijpleiding geschrapt door politiek gesteggel tussen de Europese Unie en Rusland. De Nordstream-pijpleiding alleen heeft onvoldoende capaciteit om het wegvallen van de Nederlandse aardgasproduktie te vervangen.De aanleg van de Nabucco-pijpleiding, die aardgas vanuit Iran, Azerbeidjan en Turkmenistan naar Europa moest brengen, is in 2012 afgeblazen.Deze ontwikkelingen leiden ertoe, dat in West-Europa de komende decennia aardgas schaars en dus ook duur zal gaan worden.Als laatste redmiddel zou men in West-Europa vloeibaar aardgas uit Qatar kunnen gaan importeren. Maar helaas wordt de hoeveelheid LNG die getransporteerd kan worden beperkt door het aantal LNG-tankers en de capaciteit van de LNG-terminals in de vertrekhavens en de aankomsthavens in West-Europa. Het duurt vele jaren om LNG-terminals en tankers te bouwen.Doordat LNG moeilijk en beperkt te transporteren is, zijn er grote regionale prijsverschillen voor vloeibaar aardgas.Op het plaatje hieronder (uit mei 2012) zie je dat de prijs van LNG in Japan, Korea en China wel zes of zeven keer zo hoog kan zijn als de prijs in de VS.
LNG is geen goede alternatieve brandstof voor elektriciteitsopwekking voor als het aardgas uit Nederlandse bodem opraakt.
Steenkool is een makkelijk en betrouwbaar alternatiefZo'n 5 jaar geleden besloten de grote elektriciteitsproducenten E-On, Nuon en GDF Suez om nieuwe kolencentrales te bouwen. Ge¯mporteerde steenkool leek in de ogen van de elektriciteitsproducenten de brandstof van de toekomst.De infrastructuur om steenkool te importeren is in Nederland al aanwezig. In de haven van Rotterdam en in de Eemshaven kunnen bulkcarriers met steenkool worden gelost. De centrales werden gebouwd in de directe omgeving van de havens.Er wordt al eeuwenlang steenkool met schepen getransporteerd: het is niet snel maar wel goedkoop en veilig.Er zijn veel landen, die op grote schaal steenkool exporteren. Die landen (de VS, Zuid-Afrika, Colombia, Canada, Australi) zijn stabieler en politiek betrouwbaarder dan de gasexporterende landen als Rusland, Iran, Qatar, Azerbeidjan en Turkmenistan.Doordat steenkool makkelijk te transporteren is en op veel plaatsen ter wereld gexporteerd wordt, zijn er maar kleine regionale verschillen in de prijs van steenkool.In de ogen van elektriciteitsproducenten is steenkool een goedkope makkelijke alternatieve brandstof om aardgas te vervangen.
De Nederlandse overheid heeft geen duurzaamheidsvisie en geen regieDe elektriciteitsproduktie is in Nederland geprivatiseerd. De elektriciteitsproducenten kunnen zelf kiezen welke brandstof ze willen gebruiken. Bovendien worden ze door concurrentie gedwongen om de goedkoopste brandstof te kiezen.Als de overheid de energiebedrijven dwingt om de CO2-uitstoot te beperken en geen bouwvergunning verleent voor kolencentrales, dan zal de elektriciteitsprijs stijgen. Helaas ontbreekt het de overheid aan politieke moed en visie. Men laat de regie over aan de elektriciteitsbedrijven en de marktwerking.
NOAA refuses to comply with House science committee subpoena (+video) -
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 12:34
A study done by NOAA scientists in July contradicted previous evidence that global warming was declining. The House science committee now demands internal communications related to the study.
By Annika Fredrikson, Staff / October 28, 2015
In a study published in the journal Science in July, scientists indicated that average global temperatures have continued to rise in the 21st century, contradicting previous evidence that suggested a global warming hiatus. The analysis, based on temperature records from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has now come under congressional scrutiny.
In July, the US House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology committee head, Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas, asked NOAA for both data and internal communications related to the study led by Thomas Karl.
While NOAA conceded publicly available data related to the study, it has refused to release internal communications, citing the ''long-standing practice in the scientific community to protect the confidentiality of deliberative scientific discussions,'' as reported by Nature.
In response, Representative Smith filed a subpoena on October 13, a move which the Washington Examiner suggests is consistent with a ''climate change doubter.''
In a statement released to Nature, Smith accused NOAA of falsifying temperature records, stating, ''NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration's extreme climate change agenda.''
"Congress cannot do its job when agencies openly defy Congress and refuse to turn over information," Smith told the Examiner. "When an agency decides to alter the way it has analyzed historical temperature data for the past few decades, it's crucial to understand on what basis those decisions were made. This action has broad national and policy implications."
NOAA denied Smith's accusations, backed by fellow Texan Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the highest ranking Democrat on the science committee, who released a letter last week categorizing Smith's subpoena as ''illegitimate harassment of our Nation's research scientists.''
"The baseless conflict you have created by issuing the Oct. 13 subpoena is representative of a disturbing pattern in your use of congressional power since your chairmanship began," Ms. Johnson said in the letter addressed to Smith.
Former NOAA employee, Andrew Rosenberg, told Nature that Dr. Karl's team was merely updating analysis.
''There's absolutely no implication that there is malfeasance of any kind,'' Dr. Rosenberg told Nature. ''You could ask these questions anytime anybody updates an analysis, but you are only picking the ones where you really don't like the answer."
Rosenberg further suggested that the subpoena could discourage private sector scientists from working with federal scientists.
Smith maintains that ''the Committee intends to use all tools at its disposal to undertake its Constitutionally-mandated oversight responsibilities.''
Elon Musk's solar company used panels made by cheap prison labor for a big taxpayer-subsidized project | Grist
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 13:53
SolarCity is probably the best-known name in the U.S. for residential solar installations '-- it'stopin the market. The company was founded by Elon Musk, along with two of his cousins, and has set the popular standard for cleantech. But SolarCity has one thing it doesn't want to be known for: For a huge solar-panel project launched in 2012 at two university campuses in Oregon, it relied on a vendor that used cheap prison labor to produce the panels, under a ''buy American/buy local'' banner. The story is a good reminder that we need to watch the renewables industry closely to make sure it doesn't throw human rights and labor ethics out the window in its push toward a clean energy economy.
Here's how the SolarCity prison saga came about. Oregon State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology teamed up a few years ago to install solar panels on their campuses, in what would become one of the largest solar installations in the state. Since the vendor, ultimately SolarCity, would own and maintain the panels, the two schools wouldn't need to spend a penny on the project.
For SolarCity, the contract also looked like a win. Under a lucrative state program, the Oregon Department of Energy doled out$11.8 million in tax creditsfor the $27 million project. (SolarCity would not confirm the amount of the tax breaks despite repeated requests.) Those generous tax incentives '-- part of the Business Energy Tax Credit program, which ended in 2014 '--came with an imperativefor ''job creation and retention requirements.''
For its part, SolarCity did install panels that were produced by Oregon workers. But those workers were behind bars at Sheridan Federal Prison '-- and instead of benefiting from a program that was supposed to pump up the regional economy, they were paid less than a dollar an hour for their labor.
The Oregon schools' bid for a big solar array program that would create jobs while reducing emissions didn't actually start with SolarCity. As outlined byThe Oregonian, the first developer backed out over concerns that the tax credits wouldn't come through, and the second developer, the Renewable Energy Development Corp., known as REDCO, went bankrupt. The universities then turned to SolarCity, which would engineer the project and install panels manufactured by another company, SolarWorld. That's how things played out for the first two of the five phases of the project, with SolarWorld building the panels at its factory in Hillsboro, Ore., where it paid workers more than minimum wage.
But then SolarCity maneuvered to bump SolarWorld out of the deal. (The two companies had a contentious relationship: They were on opposite sides of atrade disputeover alleged dumping of Chinese solar panels.) SolarCity says it was afraid that SolarWorld was on the verge of bankruptcy, so it started looking for other regional panel providers. It soon found Suniva '-- a company that's based in Georgia, but produces solar modules in Sheridan prison in Oregon. SolarCity used Suniva's prison-produced panels in the project's last three phases.
SolarCity spokesperson Jonathan Bass says that for the Oregon university project, ''we wanted it to be manufactured in the U.S., and we wanted it to be manufactured in Oregon.'' He maintains that Suniva was the only option. First he told Grist that this was the only time SolarCity has used prison-produced panels; later he added by email that Suniva has produced less than 1 percent of all solar modules installed by SolarCity. But in June, Bass sounded more enthusiastic about Suniva's use of prison labor when hetold Reutersthat ''the mission to provide job training to prepare inmates for successful re-entry to the workforce is admirable.''
SolarWorld did not, in fact, go bankrupt '-- though it had to lay off workers at its Oregon plant after SolarCity ousted it from from the university deal. SolarWorld continues to operate that plant, the biggest such facility in North America.
How did Suniva, SolarCity's Oregon supplier, end up hiring prison workers to make solar panels? The firm operates under a program with a government-owned corporation called Federal Prison Industries, commonly called Unicor. Details of the relationship are murky: Suniva never responded to queries for this story, and Unicor declined to provide copies of any contracts between the two, citing confidentiality provisions. But in an email to Grist, Unicor's Marianne Cantwell did explain that the agreement between Unicor and Suniva for prisoner labor to manufacture solar panels in Oregon ''provides inmates with meaningful training and job skills.''
Although Unicorprides itselfon its work programs, not all of them are created equal. The U.S. Department of Justice has aPrison Industry Enhancement Certification Program, or PIE, that sets high standards for prison workers '-- including paying a prevailing wage. While Unicor has two PIE programs in place for manufacturing other goods, the Sheridan plant, where 220 prisoners produced panels for SolarCity's big project, has not been certified. That's part of the reason why the workers were only paid 93 cents an hour there.
In the best-case scenario, prison labor programs are accompanied by reentry programs that help connect inmates to jobs upon release from prison. But that's not usually how it plays out. ''Very rarely are inmate workers provided job opportunities for the same businesses once they're released,'' says Alex Friedman, managing editor ofPrison Legal News. That's because the companies that employ prisoners do so precisely because it's so cheap '-- it would hurt the bottom line to pay a fair wage once the prisoner is released and becomes a regular worker.
Friedman emphasizes that he doesn't think prison labor is inherently a bad thing: a prevailing wage, the right to unionize, and work safety standards can create jobs in prison that translate to jobs outside. But that isn't the situation at Suniva's facility at the Sheridan prison. And SolarCity's Bass says his company isn't participating in any prison reentry program.Workers at Sheridan prison who manufactured the solar panels that were installed at Oregon State have no expectation that they'll be hired at a new panel manufacturing plant that SolarCity is building in Buffalo, N.Y.
SolarCity's Bass says that, while the company knew Suniva was using prison workers, it didn't know the wage was so low. He says that using panels made with cheap prison labor isn't in line with the company's commitment to sustainability. But SolarCity refused to confirm whether or not it will use cheap prison labor in the future.
In an email, Bass explains that subcontractors who worked on other parts of the Oregon university project were paid between $27 and $70 per hour, which is considerably more than Oregon's minimum wage of $8.80 and $9.15 an hour for 2012 through 2014. But Sheridan's prisoners saw only a tiny fraction of that.
The shift toward clean energy promises to boost the economy while providing us with cleaner sources of electricity. But there's nothing clean or sustainable about SolarCity's recent venture, which exploited prison labor and earned handsome taxpayer subsidies on a project that was supposed to create good, green jobs in Oregon. The workers who are literally producing infrastructure that will help get us to a cleaner future must be able to enjoy a minimum standard of labor protections. This should be especially true when it comes to making products for SolarCity, a posterchild for cleantech.
Correction, 29 Oct 2015: The headline on this story originally said that SolarCity used prison labor. In fact, as explained in the story, SolarCity did not directly employ prison labor; rather, it used panels made by another company, Suniva, that employed prison labor. Also, Suniva was a vendor for the project, not a contractor, as originally stated in the first paragraph of the story.
IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal | US news | The Guardian
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:18
Often not much bigger than a suitcase, Stingray devices are easily portable in gathering information by imitating cellphone towers. Illustration:
The Internal Revenue Service is the latest in a growing list of US federal agencies known to have possessed the sophisticated cellphone dragnet equipment known as Stingray, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.
Invoices obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act show purchases made in 2009 and 2012 by the federal tax agency with Harris Corporation, one of a number of companies that manufacture the devices. Privacy advocates said the revelation ''shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology''.
IRS Foia document An invoice shows purchases made in 2012 by the IRS with Harris Corporation.The 2009 IRS/Harris Corp invoice is mostly redacted under section B(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect trade secrets and privileged information. However, an invoice from 2012, which is also partially redacted, reports that the agency spent $65,652 on upgrading a Stingray II to a HailStorm, a more powerful version of the same device, as well as $6,000 on training from Harris Corporation.
Stingrays are the best-known example of a type of device called an IMSI-catcher, also known as ''cell-site simulators''. About the size of a briefcase, they work by pretending to be cellphone towers in order to strip metadata and in some cases even content from phones which connect to them.
Despite their extensive capabilities, they require only a low-level court order called a PEN register, also known as a ''trap and trace'', to grant permission for their use.
Immense secrecy has so far surrounded these devices, but a picture is slowly emerging which shows widespread use. Various revelations by the American Civil Liberties Union and news outlets including the Guardian had shown that at least 12 federal agencies are already known to have these devices, including the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The IRS makes 13.
In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal uncovered an operation run by the US Marshals Service using a Boeing-made IMSI-catcher known as ''dirtbox''. This is the first time that the IRS has been found to own the device.
The devices are also used by local and in some cases state police departments, across at least 20 states, though a culture of secrecy which surrounds Stingray devices has meant that the full scale of their use remains unknown.
Related:Stingray spying: FBI's secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts
A Guardian report in April revealed a non-disclosure agreement that local police and prosecutors were forced to sign with the FBI before using Stingrays, which mandated them to withdraw or even drop cases rather than risk revealing their use, and in September it emerged that this withholding of ''discovery'' evidence by police in Baltimore could lead to as many as 2,000 cases being overturned.
It remains unclear how the IRS used the Stingray devices. A spokesman for the agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Mark Matthews, a former deputy commissioner for services and enforcement at the agency who now works for the law firm Caplin and Drysdale, said that while he attends many conferences on IRS and tax law enforcement, he had not heard any ''scuttlebutt'' about the agency's use of Stingray.
Matthews said there are currently between 2,000 and 3,000 ''special agents'' in the IRS who form the criminal investigation division (CID). They have the ability to get PEN register orders '' the only authority needed to use Stingray devices.
He said the IRS on its own usually uses gentler investigation tactics. But increasingly, investigating agents from the agency are brought on board for joint operations with the FBI and other agencies when the latter need financial expertise to look at, for example, money laundering from drug organisations.
From these joint operations, he said, ''the IRS had moved to drug work and had learned a lot of aggressive techniques in the money laundering and drug world, and these bad habits were leaking over into the tax world, which was supposed to be their real mission''.
Federal agencies using surveillance technology that far outstripped the limits of what a PEN register was designed to do is not new. ''That used to be a worry at the FBI with their PEN register [devices],'' Matthews said. ''There was always a little slot where you could put in a headphone jack'' '' which could turn the device into a full wiretap, for which they did not have warrant clearance '' ''and they said, 'Trust us.' Not very convincing for civil liberties groups.''
Nate Wessler, a staff attorney with the speech, privacy and technology project at the ACLU, told the Guardian: ''The info showing that they are using Stingrays is generally consistent with the kinds of investigative tactics that they are engaging in, and it shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology.''
''It's used by dozens, perhaps hundreds, of local law enforcement, used by the usual suspects at the federal level, and if the IRS is using it, it shows just how far these devices have spread,'' Wessler said.
Matthews said that he had not heard anything about Stingrays despite speaking to his contacts in the tax industry. ''So this either hasn't ripened yet in a tax case, 95% of which [end in a plea deal] so there would be no such disclosures, or this is saved more for money laundering/drug/terrorist-financing-like investigations.''
''[It] could be as silly as [they] got to the end of the year, had some extra funds, and somebody said, 'We need some more of these devices,''' Matthews said. ''It could literally be that silly. But it could be something different; it could be that they've decided to use them in cases where they're the primary detective agency, and we haven't seen it yet in the private sector.''
Impeaching the IRS Director - WSJ
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:38
The IRS targeting and muzzling of conservative groups during the 2012 presidential campaign is an outrage for which almost no one has been held accountable. Which brings us to the news that House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz introduced articles of impeachment on Tuesday against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Mr. Koskinen was not at the IRS during the targeting, but the former Freddie Mac executive has become the single greatest hurdle to public accountability. He was touted as a reformer in his 2013...
Shut Up Slave!
France Court Upholds 'BDS Is Discrimination' Ruling - Breaking News ''
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:31
France's highest court of appeals confirmed earlier rulings that found promoters of a boycott against Israel guilty of inciting hate or discrimination.
The rulings passed on Tuesday by the Paris-based Court of Cassation confirmed the Nov. 27 convictions of 12 individuals by the Colmar Court of Appeals in connection with their 2009 and 2010 actions in supermarkets near the eastern city of Mulhouse.
The individuals arrived at the supermarket wearing shirts emblazoned with the words: ''Long live Palestine, boycott Israel.'' They also handed out fliers that said that ''buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.''
The court in Colmar imposed fines to the collective tune of $14,500 and court expenses on Laila Assakali, Yahya Assakali, Assya Ben Lakbir, Habiba Assakali, Sylviane Mure, Farida Sarr, Aline Parmentier, Mohammad Akbar, Jean-Michel Baldassi, Maxime Roll, Jacques Ballouey and Henry Eichholtzer.
They appealed the ruling citing their freedom to express their opinion.
In confirming the sentences, the Court of Cassation cited the French republic's law on Freedom of the Press, which prescribes imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000 for parties that ''provoke discrimination, hatred or violence toward a person or group of people on grounds of their origin, their belonging or their not belonging to an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a certain religion.''
In France, several dozen promoters of a boycott against Israel '-- including through the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment Movement, or BDS '' have been convicted of inciting hate or discrimination. In addition to the law on the press, some activists have been convicted based on the Lellouche law, passed in 2003, which extends anti-racism laws to the targeting specific nations for discriminatory treatment.
''BDS is illegal in France,'' wrote Pascal Makowicz, head of the legal department of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, in a statement he published Tuesday on the group's website. The actions of the people convicted, he added, ''are completely illegal. If they say their freedom of expression has been violated, then now France's highest legal instance ruled otherwise.''
UK creates plan to prevent people with "white-sounding names" from getting all the jobs
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:51
What's This?
UK Prime Minister David Cameron .By The Associated Press2015-10-26 16:39:40 UTC
LONDON '-- Britain's civil service and several major companies have agreed to recruit university graduates and apprentices without knowing the applicants' names in an effort to eliminate bias against people from ethnic minorities.
Prime Minister David Cameron said in a major speech last month it was "disgraceful" that people with "white-sounding" names were twice as likely as others to be shortlisted for jobs.
"Britain has come so far, but the long march to an equal society isn't over," Cameron wrote.
He cited the case of a young woman who said she was advised to use her middle name, Elizabeth, in job applications because it sounded more English than her first name.
Applicants with English names have to send out only half as many resumes as those whose names appear ethnic, according to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found.
The goal of the new program is to make it easier for young graduates to get interviewed for their first jobs in an extremely competitive market.
Cameron's office said Monday that firms including international bank HSBC, accountants Deloitte, broadcaster BBC and the state-run National Health Service had signed up to the "name blind" recruitment plan, in which employers do not know applicants' names when they are selecting them for interviews.
Details are still scanty. The prime minister's office would not elaborate Monday ahead of a scheduled meeting with business leaders, and HSBC and BBC officials declined to discuss when and how the plan would be implemented.
It is also supposed to extend to the college application process, which is expected to be changed in the next two years.
Cameron has framed the issue in political terms to emphasize that his Conservative Party wants ethnic minorities to do well. He first raised the issue at his party's annual conference last month and emphasized it Monday in the Guardian newspaper with a column headlined "Conservatives have become the party of equality."
The Conservative leader has also vowed to close the gender pay gap that sees women earn 19 percent less than men on average, according to government statistics. The government says companies and the civil service will have to publish details of salaries and bonuses paid to male and female employees.
Topics: Business, Jobs
China's Island-Building Poses Dilemma for U.S. - WSJ
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:07
SINGAPORE'--China's refusal to curtail island-building in the South China Sea has sparked a debate in Washington between those who believe such muscle-flexing shouldn't go unchecked, and others who fear the wrong response could trigger a military confrontation or a new Cold War.
The delicacy of the Obama administration's position was on display throughout the weekend at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major security conference where...
Obama Has Been Fighting Doctors Without Borders For Years
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:00
WASHINGTON -- It's a little unusual to see the Obama administration singing the praises of Doctors Without Borders, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning nonprofit that is shipping doctors, drugs and supplies to West Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak.
When President Barack Obama lauded the "incredible heroism" of American doctors who travel to countries such as Sierra Leone to do "God's work" and "keep us safe," on Tuesday, he was celebrating a community packed with Doctors Without Borders volunteers. United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power has been more explicit, using the acronym for the international group's French name, Medicines Sans Frontiers, in speeches and on Twitter.
"MSF ... are already leading the charge," Power told the U.N. Security Council in September, before conveying the harrowing story of one MSF staffer's experience fighting Ebola in Monrovia.
But the recent executive branch acclaim for Doctors Without Borders obscures a long-running struggle between the humanitarian group and the White House over global drug prices. Through trade talks, meetings with foreign governments and negotiations with multiple U.N. bodies, the Obama administration has aggressively pursued policies that prevent poor countries from accessing low-cost generic versions of expensive name-brand medications, despite persistent calls from Doctors Without Borders for the White House to reverse course.
The Obama administration declined to comment for this article. Even if it took different positions on global generics, the White House couldn't have prevented the Ebola outbreak. But Doctors Without Borders, which also declined to comment for this article, has consistently argued that the administration's policies create public health barriers for poor countries.
Like many low-income nations, the countries at the heart of the current Ebola outbreak -- Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia -- have infrastructure problems, few doctors and very limited budgets. Money spent on medicine is money not spent on hospitals, nurses or equipment. And cheap generic drugs are a significant part of Doctors Without Borders' own efforts, enabling the group to treat far more patients than it could with pricier name-brand alternatives.
Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. Those prices are elevated in large part by aggressive intellectual property standards that grant pharmaceutical companies long-term monopolies on new drugs, letting firms charge whatever they want without regard to traditional market pressures. Generic drugs can't enter the market whenever those monopolies are in place. Doctors Without Borders, along with many other medical groups and nonprofits, has spent years advocating for looser standards and greater flexibility for developing countries.
Drug companies, of course, argue that they need patents and other government perks to recoup their research and development costs. Large U.S. drug companies don't seem to be having trouble breaking even, however. Pfizer made $22 billion in 2013, while Merck & Co. posted a $4.5 billion profit and Eli Lilly & Co. earned $4.7 billion.
India's generic drug market has been at the center of disputes between the White House and Doctors Without Borders. AIDS and HIV medication was wildly expensive in developing countries in the late 1990s -- about $12,000 a year per patient in South Africa, a country with an average income of just $2,600 a year, for instance. When Indian generics entered the global market, they were priced as low as $1 a day, enabling programs like George W. Bush's global AIDS relief plan to serve millions of people.
U.S. drug companies are particularly concerned about repeating that experience with expensive cancer treatments, and they've been backed up by the Obama administration, which has placed India on it's international trade blacklist. In the spring of 2012, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Deputy Director Teresa Stanek Rea attacked India's government in congressional testimony for approving a generic version of a Bayer AG cancer drug called Nexavar. The generic version cost patients $157 a month. Bayer had been charging over $5,000 a month there, in a country with a per capita income of just $1,410 per year, a price so high that less than 2 percent of potential patients were able to access the drug. But before Congress, Rea falsely called the generic approval an "egregious" violation of World Trade Organization treaties.
Doctors Without Borders called it "unprecedented, really shocking testimony," but it wasn't a one-time gaffe from an obscure agency official. In the summer of 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry went to India to pressure its government over its approval of generic versions of patented U.S. and European drugs. When India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, made his first visit to the United States in September of this year, Doctors Without Borders urged him to resist the Obama administration's demands on generic medicine.
"India's production of affordable medicines is a vital life-line for MSF's medical humanitarian operations and millions of people in developing countries," said Rohit Malpani, director of policy and analysis for MSF's Access Campaign. "India's patent laws and policies have fostered robust generic competition over the past decade, which has brought the price of medicines down substantially -- in the case of HIV, by more than 90 percent. The world can't afford to see India's pharmacy shut down by U.S. commercial interests."
Much of the battle takes place within obscure international trade talks. Doctors Without Borders persistently criticizes U.S. positions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying in 2011 that the Obama negotiation team, "simply does not acknowledge that high priced brand-name drugs imposed by monopolies are a principal barrier to access to medicines," and reiterating opposition to the Obama platform as recently as this month.
U.N. forums have also been a source of conflict. In 2012, the Obama administration blocked a World Health Organization treaty that would have established a new fund to research medicines treating ailments that predominantly affect poor countries. Doctors Without Borders cried foul.
That same month, Obama negotiators opposed efforts at the U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization to ease patent monopolies for developing countries. Doctors Without Borders signed a letter calling the American platform "shameful."
Rethinking the Goodness of Doctors Without Borders Outbreaks Coincided With Their Vaccine Campaigns - EbolaGate
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:02
"The ebola pandemic began in late February in the former French colony of Guinea while UN agencies were conducting nationwide vaccine campaigns for three other diseases in rural districts. The simultaneous eruptions of this filovirus virus in widely separated zones strongly suggests that the virulent Zaire ebola strain (ZEBOV) was deliberately introduced to test an antidote in secret trials on unsuspecting humans. [....]
"A pair of earlier articles by this writer examined the British and American roles in developing ebola into a biological weapon and its antidotes into commercial products. This third esssay examines the strange coincidence of the earliest breakout in Guinea with three major vaccine campaigns conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children's agency UNICEF. At least two of the vaccination programs were implemented by Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders), while some of those vaccines were produced by Sanofi Pasteur, a French pharmaceutical whose major shareholder is the Rothschild Group.
"The reason for suspecting a vaccine campaign rather than an individual carrier is due to the fact that the ebola contagion did not start at a single geographic center and then spread outward along the roads. Instead. simultaneous outbreaks of multiple cases occurred in widely separated parts of rural Guinea, indicating a highly organized effort to infect residents in different locations in the same time-frame.
"The ebola outbreak in early March coincided with three separate vaccination campaigns countrywide: a cholera oral vaccine effort by Medicins Sans Frontieres under the WHO; and UNICEF-funded prevention programs against meningitis and polio:
'' The MSF-WHO project administered the anti-cholera vaccine Shanchol. The drug producer Shanta Biotechnics in Hyderabad, India, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanofi Pasteur based in Lyon, France. Formerly known as Sanofi Aventis, the pharmaceutical controlled by major shareholders L'Oreal and the Rothschild Group.
'' The oral polio vaccine (OPV) drive funded by UNICEF was based on a pathogen seed strain developed by Sanofi Pasteur, which operates the world's largest polio vaccine production facility.
'' The meningitis vaccine MenAfrVac, was produced by the Serum Institute of India, owned by tycoon Cyrus Poonawalla, under development funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2013, a UNICEF drive in Chad with the same drug resulted in 40 child deaths from vaccine-linked symptom. MSF participated in the West African anti-meningitis project.
[In Ghana, people are reporting that the Red Cross is causing ebola with vaccines and Liberia and Nigeria are trying to get them out of the country. The Red Cross is run by the Jesuits, who also run the UN. They are also connected to Tulane University that was involved the US bioweapons lab in Sierra Leone funded by Bill Gates and George Soros that was at the epicenter of the outbreaks in West Africa. Tulane was just banned by the Sierra Leone government from ebola testing and the hospital - built by Doctors without Borders - where the lab was housed was shut down after people accused researchers there of circulating ebola).
From Ghana: Ebola is not real and the only people who have gotten sick are those who have received treatments and injections from the Red Cross [..... ]
Medicins Sanofi Frontieres
"While focused on the French role, it would be unjust not to shed light on the American chief of the UN children's agency. UNICEF executive directory Anthony Lake has an ideal career background for the post of protector of children worldwide. Tony Lake was National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton responsible for US military interventions, including: the Bosnia-Herzegovina war against the Yugoslav federation; the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia better known as ''Blackhawk Down''; and Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. An ardent Zionist convert to Judaism, he is the perfect boss to dispense risky vaccines in Muslim-majority Guinea.
"One of Lake's closest international allies during the Balkans war, who shares his policy of ''expansionist democracy'' and ''humanitarian intervention'' is French-Jewish hero Bernard Kouchner. The co-founder of Medicins Sans Frontier, the leftist politician-doctor was appointed Foreign Minister under neoconservative President Nicholas Sarkozy. Before succumbing to the temptation of shouting ''Physician heal thyself!'', let's turn back to tracking ebola.
"MSF, which translates into English as Doctors Without Borders, promotes itself as a brave band of selfless physicians who spend their time and own savings on helping the poor in global hot spots. Many of the volunteers, to their individual credit and moral goodness, actually exemplify the public-relations image, never realizing that MSF corporate sponsors include the Bill Gates-founded behemoth Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, BlackRock, Bloomberg and the French advertising giant Havas.
"A rogue's gallery of corporate predators, if ever there was, the donor list is notably absent major pharmaceuticals, since it would be a conflict of interest to charitably dispense vaccines from a drug company while being paid for the free advertising. To avoid appearances of ethical impropriety on a global scale, the UN through its agencies WHO and UNICEF foots the bill, the major pharms get the profits, and MSF executives with their horde of bright-eyed volunteers dispense the low-end vaccines on the suffering masses.
"Not to discourage idealist doctors from a worthy cause, there is the undeniable attraction of safari fever and Orientalist exoticism for a surgeon from Pittsburg or Strasbourg to take part in this hybrid of ''Amazing Race'' and Club Med. Now off with the kid gloves: While posturing as principled ethical ''witnesses'' to human misery, the functional role of MSF role is as a conveyor belt dumping vaccines from major pharmaceuticals onto low-income and poorly educated populations of the developing world."
From William Engdahl giving more detail on the Rockefellers and their involvement with vaccines and what has been done to Africans while the West believed Gates was such a great guy to help and Doctors Without Borders was heroic.
"In the aftermath of the most recent unnecessary Pandemic declaration of a global H1N1 swine flu emergency, industrial countries were left sitting on hundreds of millions of doses of untested vaccines. They decided to get rid of the embarrassing leftover drugs by handing them over to the WHO which in turn plans to dump them for free on select poor countries. France has given 91 million of the 94 million doses the Sarkozy government bought from the pharma giants; Britain gave 55 million of its 60 million doses. The story for Germany and Norway is similar.5
"As Dr. Thomas Jefferson, an epidemiologist with the Cochrane Research Center in Rome noted, ''Why do they give the vaccines to the developing countries at all? The pandemic has been called off in most parts of the world. The greatest threat in poor countries right now is heart and circulatory diseases while the virus figures at the bottom of the list. What is the medical reason for donating 180 million doses?''6 As well, flu is a minor problem in countries with abundant sunshine, and it turned out that the feared H1N1 Pandemic ''new great plague'' was the mildest flu on record.
"The pharmaceutical vaccine makers do not speak about the enormous health damage from infant vaccination including autism and numerous neuro-muscular deformities that have been traced back to the toxic adjuvants and preservatives used in most vaccines. Many vaccines, especially multi-dose vaccines that are made more cheaply for sale to the Third World, contain something called Thimerosal (Thiomersol in the EU), a compound (sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate), containing some 50% mercury, used as a preservative.
A new form of eugenics?
"Gates' interest in inducing population reduction among black and other minority populations is not new unfortunately. As I document in my book, Seeds of Destruction8, since the 1920's the Rockefeller Foundation had funded the eugenics research in Germany through the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institutes in Berlin and Munich, including well into the Third Reich. They praised the forced sterilization of people by Hirtler Germany, and the Nazi ideas on race ''purity.'' It was John D. Rockefeller III, a life-long advocate of eugenics, who used his ''tax free'' foundation money to initiate the population reduction neo-Malthusian movement through his private Population Council in New York beginning in the 1950's. ....
Gates, who funded the US bioweapons lab in Kenema, Sierra Leone that is housed in a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders which was at the epicenter of the outbreaks of ebola until the governmen shut is down and ebola stopped) is being sued by India for some his vaccine crimes.
Back to Doctors without Borders "Repeated dosages of potent toxins on populations with poor health, which no public-health agency in the Western world dares attempt inside its own borders, can have harmful side effects, especially on children. The casualties of vaccination have gone unreported by the media and buried under official cover-ups. Even worse, vaccine programs could well have been used to conceal human testing of antibodies that originated in biological warfare labs for the purpose of mass murder of entire nations.
Best Laid Plans
"Doctors Without Frontiers (MSF), once based in Paris and now in Geneva, comes under a dark cloud of suspicion because its distribution of a two-step anti-cholera vaccine. The dosages must be taken a fortnight apart, and this repeated procedure likely provided the pretext for an ebola-testing team to insert the ebola virus into the victims' bodies and later return to dispense the antidote of monoclonal antibodies (Mab).
(This is not to say that MSF was knowingly involved as an organization but that its ''federation'' style of management leaves a lot of maneuvering space for an unethical doctor to infiltrate a country program on behalf a client pharmaceutical.)
"After exposure to the ebola virus, a patient shows symptoms of high fever, vomiting and diarrhea, no less than 8 days later and more likely after two weeks. Re-arriving on schedule, the covert drug-testing team administers the anti-ebola antibodies as ''the second dose of cholera vaccine''. The perfect crime of illegal human testing should have gone off without a hitch.
"A problem arises, however, when many of the test subjects fall sick in less than two weeks and are unable to walk dozens of kilometers to the vaccine centers. With much of the original cohort of human test subjects absent for the antidote, and ebola out of control in the hinterland, the secret clinical trial free-falls toward a pit of liability and legal action. Disappointed operations managers for the sponsoring pharmaceutical order the exfiltration of their medical agents out of Guinea, leaving hundreds of victims to die in excruciating pain as the contagion spreads. Does anyone in Paris or Geneva really care? Don't choke in laughter.
"After rural West Africans realized that vaccination programs coincided with the outbreak of Zaire ebola, foreign-funded medical staffers were assaulted by angry mobs and an ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone was burned to the ground. When medicine is exposed to be the problem and not a solution, the military has to be called in to quell public rebellion. The boundaries of every country in the region are now sealed by troops, and so the truth behind this epidemic will probably be buried with the victims.
"As for MSF, UNICEF, WHO, CDC, NIH, USAMRIID and the rest of the alphabet soup of the hypocritical oafs of pharmaco-witchcraft, the herd instinct for self-preservation prevents any honest disclosure. As each day passes and casualties mount, the onus for the crime weighs heavier .... "
West Africa: The Politics Behind the Ebola Crisis -
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:26
documentAt the Ebola epidemic's height in mid-2014, there were concerns social order in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could collapse. International mobilisation, notably after the UN Security Council declared the epidemic "a threat to peace and security" on 18 September, brought an extensive intervention and considerable progress.
When explaining the dramatic increase in infections starting in March, observers mostly point to weak health systems, limited resources, population mobility, inadequate support and that the virus was largely unknown in the region, but lack of trust in the state, its institutions and leaders was also a major factor. Nor was the international community beyond reproach. It prevaricated, and mostly ignored early and clear warnings until the threat was perceived as global. Unless lessons are learned across all these issues, the next regional health crisis will be as needlessly costly and disruptive as the Ebola epidemic and pose a similar risk to international stability.
The virus initially spread unchecked not only because of the weakness of epidemiological monitoring and inadequate health system capacity and response, but also because people were sceptical of what their governments were saying or asking them to do. Lack of trust in government intentions, whether in the form of political opportunism or corruption, was based on experience. In its initial phase, many West Africans thought Ebola was a ploy to generate more aid funding or reinforce the position of ruling elites. And when Ebola proved real enough, political machinations and manipulation needlessly hindered the early response.
Initially information was not shared, and warnings were not disseminated widely enough. Countries hesitated to declare an emergency for fear of creating panic and scaring away business. Once they did so, their governments relied on the security services - their most capable, internationally supported institutions - but the early curfews and quarantines exacerbated tensions and alienated people whose cooperation was necessary to contain the epidemic. Officials in capitals also initially ignored local authorities, who were sometimes more familiar with traditional customs and accepted by their communities (with the exception of Guin(C)e Foresti¨re, where local authorities were no more familiar with local customs or trusted than the national government).
Despite huge investments in peacekeeping and state building in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the preceding decade and a significant UN and non-governmental organisation (NGO) presence, the region was ill prepared for a health crisis of such magnitude. Broader issues of national reconstruction, particularly in those two countries, combined with the prioritising of specific diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, contributed to produce stove-piped health sectors with abundant resources for those targeted diseases but resource-strapped health ministries overall that were particularly vulnerable to a health emergency. Aid organisations, with far better resources than the local ministries, also inadvertently undercut attempts at self-sufficiency.
It was only after the second wave of Ebola cases threatened the very stability of the affected countries that authorities took concerted action (with the help of NGOs, international agencies on the ground and donors), starting with the engagement of community leaders. Particularly in Liberia, they slowly learned what did not work and how to better communicate appropriate precautions and necessary cultural changes, eg, handling of deceased relatives, that finally helped bring the epidemic under control.
The international reaction was equally problematic and rightly criticised as dysfunctional and inadequate by many observers. Early warnings were largely ignored until cases began cropping up in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO), which had stalled for far too long on declaring an international health emergency, then proved incapable of mounting an effective response. The Security Council was forced to create a new body to scale up and coordinate operations - with variable results - the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER).
Lastly, the intervention may have exacerbated some risks in countries whose dysfunctional political systems not only hindered the response, but also posed serious constraints to a recovery. The arsenal of additional public health measures for use in an emergency, such as bans on public gatherings, that ruling elites acquired has potential to be misused for political gain. Although a return to open conflict in Ebola-affected countries is unlikely, a number of issues could provoke further unrest in them, from restrictions on opposition movements to simple further estrangement of civil society. This bodes poorly not only for democracy, but also for the region's response to the next health emergency.
Divorcing political consideration from the response to public health crises should be a priority. It requires transparency from governments, opposition groups and international organisations. As a first step, West Africa's still fragile states need to learn from and allay fears over actions taken against Ebola, as well as account for the use of Ebola-related resources. The movement toward greater regional cooperation, with regards to both transmissible disease and other transnational threats, is at least one positive development emerging from the crisis. Sustained international support is likewise necessary in the recovery process. Donors and implementers must also learn from their own failings during the Ebola response. The epidemic might not have been preventable; it certainly was controllable in the early stages. Avoiding a repetition requires addressing the errors of the past.
To definitively end the Ebola epidemic and limit the impact of the next health crisis
To the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea:
1. Make accountability an important component of the post-Ebola recovery strategy by increasing transparency in Ebola funding in all three countries and taking action over missing funds.
2. Build on civil society initiatives that bridge socio-political cleavages and help create a more collaborative approach to crisis response.
3. Strengthen health systems (especially for treatment of other diseases), including by investing in early warning, epidemiological capacities and adequate clinics and staff for the population.
4. Make clear distinctions between public health imperatives and actions that can be construed as giving political advantage to a particular region or party.
5. Encourage greater cross-border cooperation and information sharing on health crises and other transnational threats.
To the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS):
6. Strengthen regional health surveillance, communication and coordination mechanisms.
7. Draw lessons from the Nigerian experience and establish or reinforce rapid-reaction teams to investigate and respond to possible epidemics.
To donors and the UN Security Council:
8. Pay close attention to the governance challenges that have undermined citizens' trust in their governments and institutions.
9. Support accountability and transparency regarding Ebola-designated funds, including audits by the governments of the three affected states.
10. Remain consistently engaged in the post-epidemic recovery process, including by delivering on pledges committed at the International Ebola Recovery Conference (9 and 19 July 2015).
11. Rebuild health structures and address diseases neglected during the Ebola epidemic by sustaining support long after media and political attention has shifted.
12. Ensure necessary support for the planned African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Conduct an independent review of the UN response (notably that of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, UNMEER) to determine what lessons can be learned for future regional operations.
To the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board, Health Assembly and UN General Assembly:
13. Ensure that the WHO reform process creates an emergency unit with the capacity and ability to effectively coordinate the response to public health crises, with special attention to developing countries.
14. Insist on an independent review of the ongoing WHO reform process and hold officials at the country, regional and headquarters level accountable for fully implementing reforms.
15. Cooperate with wider humanitarian and health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Dakar/Brussels, 28 October 2015
Latest NYT Big Lie: Russia Responsible for Syrian Refugee ''Surge'' | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:22
Times reporting shifts from the absurd to the contemptible.
According to The Times, Russian airstrikes caused ''surg(ing) civilian flight.'' It lied, claiming its ''warplanes attacked the village of Ter Ma'aleh, killing at least a dozen people and sending most of the residents into hurried exile.''
''The assault on the village was part of a wider escalation of violence across the country that has displaced tens of thousands of people in just weeks and led relief workers to warn that Syria is facing one of its most serious humanitarian crises of the civil war.''
''The intensity of the fighting, they say (who is 'they?'), is fueling increased desperation as a growing number of Syrians are fleeing to neighboring countries and, especially, to Europe.''
Russian airstrikes ''l(ed) to the latest wave of displacement. (M)unitions (used) added to the sense of fear.'' Russia ''target(ed) hospitals and other medical facilities.'' The Times cited a willfully misleading Human Rights Watch report accusing Russia of killing civilians, despite no corroborating evidence.
Fact: The Times article is a complete fabrication.
Fact: Washington bears full responsibility for Syria's refugee crisis. Britain, France, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other rogue partners share blame.
Fact: Russian intervention is a liberating, not displacing force. More on this below.
Fact: Long before Russian airstrikes began on September 30 (less than a month ago), half of Syria's 23 million people were internally or externally displaced.
Fact: Many headed for Europe years ago, numbers increasing dramatically in the past year or so.
Fact: Most Syrian refugees are in bordering countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as smaller numbers in Egypt.
The web site said
''under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots (85%) are pledged by Germany.''
Fact: Refugees arriving daily in Europe come from various countries, most either Pentagon war theaters or nations affected by US-inflicted instability, violence and chaos '' including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Eritrea, Mali, Syria and others.
Fact: Syria is Obama's war, planned years before he took office, part of longstanding US strategy to replace all sovereign independent governments with US-controlled illegitimate puppet regimes.
Fact: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria are four of history's great crimes, America bearing full responsibility, millions of lost lives and unspeakable human suffering considered a small price to pay '' the appalling dark side of US imperial viciousness.
On October 24, the reliable Sputnik News service headlined ''Syria Refugees Praise Russian Airstrikes, Consider Returning,'' saying:
''Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun previously said that over 800,000 refugees have returned since Russian airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria began on September 30th.''
''The operation has also given refugees from the conflict hope that peace would return, according to interviews AP conducted around the Aleppo province, a hub for refugees leaving Syria.''
'' 'I hope that with Russian pilots' help, our military will advance and defeat terrorists so that we could return to our homes,' one refugee told AP.''
This view is widely held and growing, opposite of deplorable Times propaganda, a Lying Machine for wealth, power and privilege, supporting all US wars of aggression, past and current.
In a few short weeks, Russia's intervention dramatically changed the Syrian and regional landscape.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled ''Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.'' Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
Doctor claims refugees have pushed German hospitals to breaking point | World | News | Daily Express
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:33
A female doctor has claimed German hospitals are struggling to deal with the number of refugeesThe female anaesthetist said the German health service has been completely overwhelmed by the influx of Muslim asylum-seekers who are REFUSING to be treated by female medics.
In a furious outburst the experienced doctor said hospitals simply cannot cope because so many of the migrants require treatments for diseases long since eradicated in Europe.
She also shockingly claimed migrant parents are abandoning their children at pharmacies across the country after being told that they have to pay a prescription charge for lifesaving drugs.
Related articlesMany Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff. Relations between the staff and migrants are going from bad to worse
A German doctor
She also claimed huge numbers of the asylum-seekers have Victorian diseases including TB, which they risk passing on to locals.
Meanwhile, German authorities have been forced to post police at hospitals around the country after others got involved in angry clashes with medics over cultural differences.
The doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote to the press back home in the Czech Republic to express her shock at the "unsustainable" situation which she says is now affecting the medical care received by taxpaying Germans.
She said: "Clinics cannot handle emergencies, so they are starting to send everything to the hospitals.
A doctor claimed the German health service has been completely overwhelmed by refugees"Many Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff. Relations between the staff and migrants are going from bad to worse.
"Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.
"Many migrants have AIDS, syphilis, open TB and many exotic diseases that we, in Europe, do not know how to treat them.
"If they receive a prescription in the pharmacy, they learn they have to pay cash.
"This leads to unbelievable outbursts, especially when it is about drugs for the children.
"They abandon the children with pharmacy staff with the words: 'So, cure them here yourselves!' So the police are not just guarding the clinics and hospitals, but also large pharmacies."
Angela Merkel has spearheaded Germany's drive to let in thousands of refugeesHer remarks provide a shocking warning about what could happen to our NHS if huge numbers of migrants were allowed to enter Britain.
She said that the estimated 1.3million migrants who have entered the country are "completely unemployable" because they do not speak the language.
And she added that the burden on the country's failing health service will only get worse because at least one in ten of the women arriving are pregnant.
She said: "Even the professor who heads our department told us how sad it makes him to see the cleaning woman, who for 800 Euros cleans every day for years, and then meets young men in the hallways who just wait with their hand outstretched, want everything for free, and when they don't get it they throw a fit.
"For now, the local hospital staff has not come down with the diseases they brought here, but, with so many hundreds of patients every day '' this is just a question of time."
A refugee waits in a new refugee outpatient clinic in Leipzig, GermanyIn one shocking incident medic also claimed how migrants STABBED the doctors who tried to save a tiny eight-month-old baby which had been "dragged across half of Europe for three months".
She said: "The child died in two days, despite having received top care at one of the best pediatric clinics in Germany.
"The physician had to undergo surgery and two nurses are laid up in the ICU. Nobody has been punished.
"The local press is forbidden to write about it, so we know about it through email.
"What would have happened to a German if he had stabbed a doctor and nurses with a knife?
Related articles"Or if he had flung his own syphilis-infected urine into a nurse's face and so threatened her with infection? At a minimum he'd go straight to jail and later to court. With these people '' so far, nothing has happened."
In a scathing attack she also savaged aid workers who turned out with 'Refugees Welcome' banners to provide food and clothes to migrants crossing the German border, accusing them of profiteering from the crisis.
She said: "If it were up to me I would round up all these greeters and bring them here first to our hospital's emergency ward, as attendants.
"Then, into one building with the migrants so they can look after them there themselves, without armed police, without police dogs who today are in every hospital here in Bavaria, and without medical help."
However, A World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman refuted claims that German hospitals were struggling to cope with the number of refugees.
He said: "No country which is receiving refugees has come to the WHO for assistance or to ask for backup. They have been telling us that their systems are coping with this and all is fine.
"WHO is carefully monitoring the situation and is on hand to provide assistance when required."
The WHO spokesman also said there were some concerns about cholera coming to the West from Iraqi and Syrian refugees, particularly because in 80 per cent of cases it does not show symptoms, but that in a normal, Western city, cholera would not be a big problem because cholera spreads through the water system and Western cities have safe supplies with sewage and drinking water pipes completely separate.
Germany says Austrian handling of refugees 'out of order'
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:21
A group of migrants wait for transport at the Austrian border with Slovenia in Spielfeld, Austria, October 24, 2015.
Reuters/Leonhard Foeger
BERLIN Germany toughened its rhetoric on Wednesday in response to an accelerating influx of asylum seekers, pledging to step up deportations of migrants and accusing its neighbor Austria of trying to push refugees over their common border after dark.
The sharper tone from Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere came as a new poll showed support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives slumping to a three-year low over her handling of the refugee crisis.
She has been pummeled by her conservative allies in Bavaria, the southern state where most migrants are entering Germany from Austria, for refusing to commit to measures to stem the tide.
On Wednesday, Germany's top-selling newspaper Bild reported that Horst Seehofer, the premier of Bavaria and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), was considering pulling his party's three ministers out of Merkel's cabinet in Berlin in protest at her policies.
Although Seehofer has delivered a series of ultimatums in recent weeks that he has not followed through on, the report underscored how serious tensions within the federal government have become as hundreds of thousands of migrants, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, stream into Germany.
Merkel has argued that the crisis can only be solved by tackling its root causes: the war in Syria and poor conditions for refugees in countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
In the face of rising criticism and declining poll numbers, she has stuck doggedly to her mantra "we can do this". But the tougher rhetoric on Wednesday pointed to a shift in tone that may be aimed at containing the political damage.
De Maiziere acknowledged at a news conference in Berlin that the influx had accelerated strongly in recent days due to a backlog of migrants traveling through the Balkans.
"I expect that in the coming weeks, the number of deportations and of voluntary departures will rise significantly," he said.
He described a sharp rise in the number of migrants coming from Afghanistan as "unacceptable" and said talks had been held with the government in Kabul to put a halt to it, saying Afghans should "stay in their country".
However his most pointed rhetoric was reserved for Austria, whose recent handling of refugees he called "out of order".
"We observed that refugees, without warning and after dark, were being driven to the German border without any provisions or forethought. There were intensive contacts. Austria agreed yesterday to return to an orderly process. I expect this to occur immediately," de Maiziere said.
For its part, Austria on Wednesday outlined plans to build barriers including a fence at a busy crossing on its southern border with Slovenia to slow the influx of transiting migrants.
De Maiziere's cabinet colleague, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, speaking at a separate event, said the stream of migrants could not be "limitless". He also defended Merkel's decision in early September to allow migrants camped out in Hungary through to Germany, calling this an emergency measure.
In another positive sign for Merkel, her broad coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), signaled they might be ready to drop their opposition to so-called "transit zones" along the border, which would allow German authorities to register and deport migrants more quickly.
Although Merkel's conservatives have been sinking in the polls, the center-left SPD has failed to benefit much. Still, the SPD sees the crisis as a political opportunity because it has damaged Merkel, who until recently had seemed destined to cruise to a fourth term in 2017.
In a sign of their newfound confidence, SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, who serves as economy minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's government, told Stern magazine on Wednesday that he had set his sights on becoming chancellor himself.
The new poll from Forsa showed Merkel's conservatives dipping two points to 36 percent, their lowest level in three years, compared to 24 percent for the SPD. However, some 46 percent of those surveyed said they preferred Merkel as chancellor, compared to just 16 percent who supported Gabriel.
(Reporting by Noah Barkin, Caroline Copley, Matthias Sobolewski; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Germany May Soon Have 8 Million Muslims, Islamic Political Party
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:23
by Raheem Kassam ' Oct 23, 2015Cross-posted from Breitbart
Originally published under the title, "Professor: Germany May Soon Have 8 Million Muslims and an Islamic Political Party."
Political scientist J¼rgen W. Falter: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statements on immigration sound "like an invitation to the entire world [that] unlimited refugees are welcome."
A German political expert has warned that a successful Islamic political party is not a far off thought given Germany's rapidly changing demographics. In an interview with the Neue Osnabr¼cker Zeitung newspaper, Professor J¼rgen W. Falter, who specialises in political extremism, noted that Chancellor Angela Merkel's position on immigration may soon change, claiming "Pandora's box is opened too far".
Professor Falter said: "I do not think that the position of Mrs. Merkel, with time, will be held. Her words are rowing forward, but below the surface, back already... certainly this has something to do with the fact she sees that she has to get the genie back in the bottle... a Pandora's box is opened too far."
"[Her migration policy] was probably not meant the way it has arrived. But it sounded like an invitation to the entire world, unlimited refugees are welcome."
His views on the rise of the Alternative fur Deutschland are also worthy of note, claiming that it was destined to become a small, regional party before the migrant crisis, but that now it can flourish without really doing much at all.
And he warned about the rise of an Islamic political party in Germany '' small versions of which may already have been witnessed elsewhere in Europe, such as with Tower Hamlets First in East London and the Respect Party in Bradford, both in the United Kingdom.
He posits that despite Mrs. Merkel's kind welcoming of many Muslims, it is unlikely they would vote for a party with the word "Christian" in its name:
There's doubt, first of all against the [Christian Democratic] Union (CDU), because it still bears "Christian" in its title. Even reduced to their basics, the CDU and CSU [Christian Social Union] are relatively strong names. This is naturally, for devout Muslims, not the party of first choice.
Currently a large number of [Muslims] are believed to be active in rather simpler professions. In addition once they are integrated into the working life, they are more likely to vote for left-wing parties or possibly even for an established Islamic party.
Currently, we have about five million Muslims living in Germany. Suppose there comes another million, plus family reunification. Then there will be between seven and eight million. This is not an entirely fanciful number. That would be in far enough for a minority party.
In context: Angela Merkel's party achieved 18 million votes in the 2013 federal elections, with the second party, the SPD, receiving 11 million votes. The third largest party, the Left Party (Linkspartei), got 3.7 million votes, the Greens 3.6 million, and the more libertarian FDP 2 million.
While there may be seven or eight million Muslims in Germany in the next few years, a significant percentage of these will be under the voting age, so any Islamic political party would be unable to acquire that number of votes. It may, however, have the capacity to outperform the FDP, the Greens, and even the Left Party, maybe even making itself large enough to force itself into a governing coalition.
Raheem Kassam is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.
Related Topics: Immigration, Muslims in Europe | Raheem Kassamreceive the latest by email: subscribe to the free mef mailing list
Germany and Refugees | Gwynne Dyer
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 05:52
No good deed goes unpunished.
Two months ago Chancellor Angela Merkel amazed the world by opening Germany's borders to all the genuine refugees (mostly Syrians and Afghans) who could get that far. She must have known her own people well, because ordinary Germans showed extraordinary sympathy and generosity to the new arrivals.
Even when the first estimate of 800,000 refugees coming to Germany this year went up to 1.5 million, the ''welcome culture'' stayed strong. Only one month ago Merkel's action still had the approval of half the population, with only 40 percent thinking her policy was wrong.
Now those numbers are reversed, and the voices of dissent are multiplying. Even Horst Seehofer, the prime minister of the state of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union,(CDU), has lost patience, saying that ''no society can cope with an influx on this scale.'' In fact, he's theatening to challenge her policy before Germany's Constitutional Court.
That's just ''compassion fatigue'', you might say, and you would be right. Bavarians have seen 175,000 refugees arrive in their midst in just the past month. That's almost 1.5 percent of the state's population in just thirty days. Many of them will move on to other states eventually '' but another 175,000 will probably arrive in the coming month.
The scale of the refugee influx into Germany is almost unprecedented in modern European history: one and a half million people in six months (for the refugees only started arriving in large numbers in July). It's as if the United States, with four times Germany's population, were taking in one million Syrian and Afghan refugees every month. Americans would never accept that.
What's surprising is not the fall in support for Merkel's policy. It's the fact that it is still so strong, even though no other member of the European Union is being anything like so generous in its refugee policy. (Britain has offered to take in 20,000 refugees over the next five years.) There must be something special about the German response.
There is certainly something special about modern German history, though most people elsewhere have forgotten it or never knew it. Not the Nazis and the war, but what happened at the end of the Second World War and just afterwards. As the Soviet army rolled west across eastern Europe in early 1945, huge numbers of ethnic Germans fled before it.
Hundreds of thousands of them died of cold, hunger and the constant bombing, but between six and eight million made it into what is now Germany before the fighting ended. Almost as many more were expelled from Eastern European countries in the following five years, mostly from Czechoslovakia and the parts of Germany (about a fifth of its current area) that had been given to Poland by the victors.
Between 1945 and 1950 some twelve million German refugees arrived in Germany '' a Germany that had been bombed flat and was desperately poor. Even food was scarce in the early post-war years. But the Germans took the refugees in, shared what they had with them, and together they gradually pulled their country out of the hole it had dug for itself.
Germans don't like to dwell on this period of their country's history, but it hasn't been forgotten. Indeed, one-fifth of today's Germans are those now elderly refugees and their children and grandchildren. Deep down Germans have an understanding of what it is to be a refugee that no other Western Europeans can share.
Does this explain why Merkel did what she did? Nobody can say except herself, and she isn't saying. She certainly hasn't been a strong advocate of large-scale immigration in the past.
At a meeting with young CDU party workers in Potsdam five years ago, she said that the idea of creating a multicultural society in Germany had failed utterly: ''The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it does not work.'' Indeed, she even said that Germans had Christian values and ''anyone who doesn't accept that is in the wrong place here.''
But she grew up in the town of Templin in northern Brandenburg, in what was then East Germany. When she was a child and a young woman, that area, not very far from the new Polish border, had a population that was 40 percent refugees.
Does their own refugee heritage explain why half of Germany's 80 million people still support a policy that, so long as it lasts, will be adding one and a half million more non-German-speaking Muslims to the country's population each year? Yes, it probably does.___________________________________To shorten to 725 words, omit paragraph 13. (''At a meeting''')
Brezhnev Doctrine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 13:54
The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968, Pravda article, entitled Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries. Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party on November 13, 1968, which stated:
When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.This doctrine was announced to retroactively justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 that ended the Prague Spring, along with earlier Soviet military interventions, such as the invasion of Hungary in 1956. These interventions were meant to put an end to liberalization efforts and uprisings that had the potential to compromise Soviet hegemony inside the Eastern Bloc, which was considered by the Soviets to be an essential defensive and strategic buffer in case hostilities with NATO were to break out.
In practice, the policy meant that only limited independence of the satellite states' communist parties was allowed and that no country would be allowed to compromise the cohesiveness of the Eastern Bloc in any way. That is, no country could leave the Warsaw Pact or disturb a ruling communist party's monopoly on power. Implicit in this doctrine was that the leadership of the Soviet Union reserved, for itself, the right to define "socialism" and "capitalism". Following the announcement of the Brezhnev Doctrine, numerous treaties were signed between the Soviet Union and its satellite states to reassert these points and to further ensure inter-state cooperation. The principles of the doctrine were so broad that the Soviets even used it to justify their military intervention in the non-Warsaw Pact nation of Afghanistan in 1979. The Brezhnev Doctrine stayed in effect until it was finally ended with the Soviet reaction to the Polish crisis of 1980''81,[1] and the later unwillingness of Mikhail Gorbachev to use military force when Poland held free elections in 1989 and Solidarnosc defeated the Polish United Workers' Party.[2] It was superseded by the facetiously named Sinatra Doctrine in 1989, alluding to the Frank Sinatra song "My Way".[3]
See also[edit]References[edit]^Wilfried Loth. Moscow, Prague and Warsaw: Overcoming the Brezhnev Doctrine. Cold War History 1, no. 2 (2001): 103''118.^Hunt 2009, p. 945^LAT, "'Sinatra Doctrine' at Work in Warsaw Pact, Soviet Says", Los Angeles Times, 1989-10-25.Bibliography[edit]Ouimet, Matthew: The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet Foreign Policy. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London. 2003.Hunt, Lynn: "The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures." Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston and London. 2009.Pravda, September 25, 1968; translated by Novosti, Soviet press agency. Reprinted in L. S. Stavrianos, TheEpic of Man (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: PrenticeHall, 1971), pp. 465''466.
drone Nation
Drone crash causes Hollywood electricity blackout - BBC News
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:08
Image copyrightInstagramImage caption The Viper Room nightclub posted photos of the crashed drone on Instagram Police are hunting for a drone operator who caused an electricity blackout in West Hollywood, California.
It has emerged that the aircraft in question was flown into power lines on Monday, knocking one to the ground.
About 650 people lost access to electricity for about three hours, according to a local report.
The incident occurred weeks after Los Angeles City Council introduced tougher laws on the use of personal drones.
One of the eye witnesses to the accident was a producer for ABC News.
"All of the sudden [I saw] a flash - like a boom," said Chris Gordon.
"And then sparks and you could see the drone dropping to the ground.
"It landed right over here in the middle of the intersection and cars were actually driving around the drone and it was smoking in the middle of the street."
No one was injured, but the event highlights the risks posed by the increasing popularity of such remote controlled aircraft.
Other recent problems have included a drone crashing into seats during a tennis match at the US Open in New York and a Californian fire department having to temporarily ground helicopters it wanted to use to fight a wildfire because people were using video camera-equipped drones to film the blaze.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption A teacher was arrested last month for crashing a drone into empty seats at the US Open On 14 October, LA City Council voted to make it a misdemeanour to violate new drone-related laws that forbid the flight of an aircraft within 25ft (7.6m) of another person or closer than five miles (8km) to an airport.
But elsewhere in the US, some people have taken the matter into their own hands.
In one case a Kentucky man shot down a neighbour's drone that he said had flown over his property.
Earlier this week, a judge dismissed charges against William Meredith of first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment.
However, the Ars Technica new site reports that prosecutors still have an opportunity to try to bring the case before a grand jury.
Ministry of Truth
Vice Native Ads
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 13:17
TechCrunch / FlickrVice Media cofounder and chief executive Shane Smith.
Native ads on TV are coming, according to Vice Media's cofounder and chief executive Shane Smith, who said its latest foray into TV will disrupt the way the channel is monetised.
''Everyone wants to be disruptor or a conduit of disruption until you actually disrupt something and then everybody hates you,'' said Smith. And the media house is braced for what could be tepid enthusiasm from broadcasters to its upcoming TV channels,especially once they realise how they will be monetised.
Smith, who was speaking at Vice's IAB Digital Upfront tonight (23 October), sold the proposition in as ''native TV''. Details were thin on the ground as to what exactly it means but he did tease that it would translate its native content successes online to television. ''We were the first people to do native advertising and we're going to move that over to TV,'' he continued. ''We're going to change the way TV is monetised.''
Vice has emerged as one of the poster boys of the content marketing era, with brands like Unilever and Verizon striking deals in order to understand how to make native advertising scale. Interestingly, there isn't a lot of media spend behind the sponsored content on Vice, the publisher has said, because it treats its communities like the media buy.
Advertisers will no doubt be interested to see how this pans out on TV, which is widely viewed as a highly commoditised and expensive channel. They won't have to wait long, with the youth-skewing media brand racing to launch 12 channels across Europe as well as a Vice Network in the US next year. Smith told the Guardian that his company is in ''fast and furious'' talks with everyone from Netflix to ITV, Sky and Discovery about bringing its TV channels to the UK and Europe, sparking ''a bit of a bidding war'' for its prized content.
The media house expects to be able to produce and programme its TV channels across Europe, dipping into its sprawling talent pool of writers, producers, filmmakers and directors. Some of these shows were teased at the Upfronts earlier and will tackle a broad canvas of topics ranging from hard-hitting documentaries about civil rights to cooking shows with a twist.
The media outfit has been licensing its content to linear broadcasters for years and has TV deals with networks in markets including the US, Germany and Serbia.
Vice TV chimes with the company's bid to extend its reach further, a strategy that has already seen it strike deals with advertisers as well work with the likes of Snapchat and Channel 4 over the last two years. These partnerships have helped it gain 'hundreds of millions of new viewers'', according to the business and pushed it to become one of the most in-demand players in the advertising world.
Read the original article on The Drum. Copyright 2015. Follow The Drum on Twitter.
War on Drugs
Saudi prince arrested in largest drug bust in the history of Beirut's airport
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 14:37
A picture released by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (AFP Photo/)
A Saudi prince and four others were detained on Monday in Lebanon in the largest drug bust in the history of the Beirut airport, a security source said.
Saudi prince Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz and four others were detained by airport security while allegedly ''attempting to smuggle about two tons of Captagon pills and some cocaine,'' a security source told AFP.
''The smuggling operation is the largest one that has been foiled through the Beirut International Airport,'' the source said on condition of anonymity.
Captagon is the brand name for the amphetamine phenethylline, a synthetic stimulant. The banned drug is consumed mainly in the Middle East and has reportedly been widely used by fighters in Syria.
The security source said the drugs had been packed into cases that were waiting to be loaded onto a private plane that was headed to Saudi Arabia.
The five Saudi citizens were still in the airport and would be questioned by Lebanon's customs authority, the source added.
In April 2014, security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle 15 million capsules of Captagon hidden in shipping containers full of corn from Beirut's port.
Lebanon's state news agency also reported Monday's drug bust, saying the private plane was to head to Riyadh and was carrying 40 suitcases full of Captagon.
Saudi Arabia's large royal family has had past run-ins with authorities in various countries.
Late last month, a Saudi prince was arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly trying to force a woman to perform oral sex on him at a Beverly Hills mansion.
But authorities decided not to pursue the charge, citing a lack of evidence.
In 2013, a Saudi princess was accused in Los Angeles of enslaving a Kenyan woman as a housemaid, but the charges were also eventually dropped.
20-jarige Loiza uit Driel wint Holland's Next Top Model
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:01
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War on Vaping
DOT Issues New Flight Safety Rule for E-Cigarettes | Department of Transportation
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:07
WASHINGTON '' In its continuing effort to improve transportation safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration today issued an interim final rule (IFR) to prohibit passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft.
''We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,'' said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. ''Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.''
On January 22, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Safety Alert for Operators recommending that air carriers require their passengers to carry e-cigarettes and related devices exclusively in the cabin of the aircraft. Also, on June 9, 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) published an addendum to the 2015-2016 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air prohibiting the carriage of e-cigarettes in checked baggage and restricting the charging of these devices while on board the aircraft.
''The importance of the safety of the flying public provides good cause for our issuing an IFR,'' said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. ''E-cigarettes in checked bags present a safety risk because they are capable of generating extreme heat, which could lead to a fire on board the aircraft.''
Passengers may continue to carry e-cigarettes for personal use in carry-on baggage or on their person but may not use them on flights. The Department's current regulatory ban on smoking of tobacco products on passenger flights includes the use of electronic cigarettes. Nevertheless, to prevent passenger or crewmember confusion, the Department has proposed to amend its existing airline smoking rule to explicitly ban use of electronic cigarettes aboard aircraft.
The IFR does not prohibit a passenger from carrying other devices containing batteries for personal use (such as laptop computers, cell phones, cameras, etc.) in checked or carry-on baggage, nor does it restrict a passenger from transporting batteries for personal use in carry-on baggage.
An e-cigarette is a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, which resembles smoke.
The IFR is effective seven days after publication in the Federal Register. For a copy of the IFR go to:
For more information on FAA's Safety Alert for Operators, go to:
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Please visit more information.
PHMSA 14-15
Mech Mod Explosion Leaves Man in Medically Induced Coma | E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 05:33
Posted by: Vranks on October 27, 2015 Under: E-Cig News |
21-year-old Evan Spalinger is in critical condition at a Miami hospital after the mech mod he was vaping on exploded in his face.
Evan's sister was lying in bed with her 2-year-old son when she heard the explosion and started smelling smoke. She rushed downstairs and found the young man covered in soot. ''I found my brother not breathing, with his whole face burned and his neck burned and trying to throw up a little or maybe he was gasping for air, so I called 911,'' Emma Robinson told WINK News.
Spalinger was taken to the NCH Downtown Naples Hospital, from where he was flown to a Miami hospital for treatment. Doctors put him in an induced coma so he doesn't feel any pain. ''They said he has internal and external burns and damage to his lungs from the explosion itself. And possibly the mouth piece went, when the cigarette exploded, it went down his throat and exploded again,'' his sister told reporters.
She added that Evan will never use electronic cigarettes again. ''He said, 'I'm done, that's it.' That's the only thing he said. We want people to know the risk and dangers. Had Evan of known, maybe he wouldn't have chosen to smoke the electronic cigarette.''
North Collier Fire & Rescue is investigating the incident. They say the explosion was likely caused by the lithium battery.
Yes, I'd say the battery was definitely the culprit, but still, I wouldn't rule out human error. It's too early to tell at this point, and I would hate to accuse this young man of anything, but judging by the looks of his ''e-cigarette'', which is actually a mech mod, a short circuit or battery overheating are the most plausible causes of the accident. These are both preventable if the user knows what they're doing and takes all the necessary precautions.
The fact is that despite the media's efforts to blame electronic cigarettes for this kind of tragic incidents, all the reported cases so far have been proven to be linked to improper use of the device. Either charging an e-cig with an incompatible charger, tampering with the device or using incompatible components carries life-threatening risks and people sometimes get hurt. You just can't put the fault on e-cigs before you know all the facts.
I am not very familiar with mech mods, so I don't know exactly what device Spalinger was using, but it's definitely a mech. This is a critical detail, because while most e-cigarettes and regulated mods come with built in protection features that prevent short circuits and battery overheating, a mech does not. If something goes wrong there is a strong chance it will go boom, either in your hand or in your face, especially when using lithium batteries. It's not the battery's fault, it just does what it's supposed to do under the circumstances.
I don't want to make the same mistake Evan's sister and WINK News made when they decided to pin the incident on e-cigarettes, so I'm not going to accuse the poor man of anything. It's too early to tell what exactly happened. There is an investigation under way and it's only fair that we should wait for its results.
It's a shame though that this kind of news will likely push smokers contemplating the idea of switching to vaping away from e-cigarettes, and probably even casual vapers back to smoking. And all because of biased reporting of a tragic incident.
Cuba's Had A Lung Cancer Vaccine For Years, And Now It's Coming To The U.S.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 18:55
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (2nd-L) walks along Old Havana, on April 20, 2015. A delegation of the US state of New York, led by Democrat Governor Cuomo, arrived in Cuba as talks between the two countries continue on trying to re-establish diplomatic ties which have been frozen for five decades. AFP PHOTO /Yamil LAGE (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images) | YAMIL LAGE via Getty Images
When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) headed to Havana on a historic trade mission in April, he returned with the promise of an important commodity: a Cuban-developed lung cancer vaccine.
The vaccine, called CimaVax, has been researched in Cuba for 25 years and became available for free to the Cuban public in 2011. The country's Center for Molecular Immunology signed an agreement last month with Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York to import CimaVax and begin clinical trials in the United States.
"We're still at the very early stages of assessing the promise of this vaccine, but the evidence so far from clinical trials in Cuba and Europe has been striking," Dr. Kelvin Lee, Jacobs Family Chair in Immunology and co-leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park, told The Huffington Post.
When President Obama loosened the United State's 55-year long trade embargo against the island nation in December, he allowed for such joint research deals to be finalized. Similar programs might have been impossible just a few years ago.
Cuba has long been known for its high-quality cigars, and lung cancer is a major public health problem and the fourth-leading cause of death in the country. A 2007 study of patients with stages IIIB and IV lung cancer, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, confirmed the safety of the CimaVax and showed an increase in tumor-reducing antibody production in more than half of cases. It proved particularly effective for increased survival if the study participant was younger than 60.
So far, 5,000 patients worldwide have been treated with CimaVax, including 1,000 patients in Cuba. Lee said the latest Cuban study of 405 patients, which has not yet been published, confirms earlier findings about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. What's more, the shot is cheap -- it costs the Cuban government just $1, Wired reported. And studies have found there are no significant side effects.
"We think it may be an effective way to prevent cancer from developing or recurring, so that's where a lot of our team's excitement comes in," Lee said. "There's good reason to believe that this vaccine may be effective in both treating and preventing several types of cancer, including not only lung but breast, colorectal, head-and-neck, prostate and ovarian cancers, so the potential positive impact of this approach could be enormous."
Preclinical investigations of CimaVax at Roswell Park and the unpublished findings of the 405-patient Cuban study are promising, according to Lee. CimaVax works by blocking a hormone that causes lung cancer tumors to grow, a method which has also been shown to be effective in treating colon cancer. That fuels researchers' hope that the vaccine will be an effective treatment for other types of cancer as well.
Still, he acknowledged that the vaccine needs rigorous testing in each of these different disease areas to know whether or not the drug will work as well as the scientists at Roswell Park hope. To be clear, the CimaVax doesn't cure cancer. It's a therapeutic vaccine that works by targeting the tumor itself, specifically going after the proteins that allow a tumor to keep growing. (And as PBS points out, a person can't just take a shot of CimaVax and continue to smoke without fear of lung cancer.)
"We hope to determine in the next few years whether giving CimaVax to patients who've had a lung cancer removed, or maybe even to people at high risk of developing lung or head-and-neck cancers because of a history of heavy smoking, may be beneficial and may spare those people from having a cancer diagnosis or recurrence," Lee said.
The United States is currently at work developing two lung cancer vaccines of its own, GVAX and BLP 25, though neither has been studied for as long as CimaVax.
How does a tiny island nation with limited economic resources pioneer a powerhouse cancer vaccine? ''They've had to do more with less,'' Candace Johnson, CEO of Roswell Park, told Wired. "So they've had to be even more innovative with how they approach things. For over 40 years, they have had a preeminent immunology community.''
Despite decades of economic problems and the U.S. trade embargo, Cuba has been a model of public health. According the New York Times, life expectancy for Cubans is 79 years, on par with the United States, despite the fact that its economy per person is eight times smaller. While many drugs and even anesthesia have been hard to come by over the years, Cuba has one of the best doctor to patient ratios in the world. Moreover, the Cuban government's investment in primary care for residents and preventative health measures like public education, housing and nutrition have paid huge dividends in the health of citizens, especially relative to similarly poor countries.
Looking forward, ongoing research collaborations between the two nations are almost certainly on the horizon as relations between Cuba and the U.S. continue to thaw. For now, Lee says the researchers at Roswell Park have their eyes trained on about 20 cancer treatment and prevention technologies in Cuba -- including another lung cancer vaccine called racotumomab that the group hopes to study in clinical trials at Roswell.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that the Center for Molecular Immunology signed a research agreement with Roswell Park Cancer Institute this week. The agreement was actually signed in April.
Blatter: US was agreed host for 2022 World Cup - Al Jazeera English
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 13:53
Blatter accused UEFA chief Platini of being the original cause of the crisis at the top of football [Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters]
Sepp Blatter has claimed there was a backroom deal to give the 2022 World Cup to the United States before voting took place, but that the agreement was broken in favour of Qatar after high-level interference.
A meeting between then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, European football chief Michel Platini and then crown prince of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani had crossed the preconceived plan, outgoing FIFA chief Blatter told Russian media on Wednesday.
"In 2010, we [FIFA's 22-strong executive committee] had taken a double decision, we were agreed to go to Russia [in 2018], then in 2022 we'd return to the United States," said Blatter, who is currently suspended while being investigated for alleged corruption.
Everything changed, Blatter added, "after talks between Sarkozy and Qatar's prince who is now running the emirate" - a meeting followed by lunch between the two men and Platini.
"Four votes of Europe were taken from the US, so the result was 14 to eight. With those four votes it would have been 12 against 10 [to the advantage of the USA]."
It is not clear which committee members' votes Blatter referred to.
If the US had won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, "all we'd be talking about now would be the marvellous 2018 World Cup in Russia and not about any problem at FIFA," Blatter said.
'I want to see his face'
Blatter's comments prompted the head of the English Football Association (FA) Greg Dyke to say he would look into recouping around $32m spent on England's failed 2018 bid.
Dyke said investigating the claims was a "good idea" as it would be "very nice to get taxpayers' money back".
The head of the FA predicted that Qatar would be stripped from hosting the 2022 tournament when Swiss investigators would complete their probe into the bidding process for the event.
Hitting back in an interview with Al Jazeera, Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah responded: "I want to see his face when we host the 2022."
"We deserve to have a 2022 World Cup in Qatar, an Arabic state' Islamic country. The Arabic region needs such a tournament for the youth of the Arab region and I think we deserve to have one," the foreign minister told the host of Al Jazeera's UpFront, Mehdi Hasan.
Attiyah also said that workers' rights "were improving" in Qatar, responding to sustained criticism of the nation's treatment of labourers who are building the infrastructure and stadiums in the Gulf nation (The full interview will be aired at 19:30 GMT on Friday).
Platini defiant
Blatter accused Platini of being the original cause of the crisis at the top of football.
"Platini wanted to be FIFA president, but he didn't have the courage to put himself forward," he said, referring to the May 29 election in which Blatter saw off Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein for his fifth term in office.
"And now look where we are. And the victim of all this at the end of the day is Platini himself," said the 79-year-old Swiss.
FIFA confirms seven presidential candidates
Platini is currently suspended from all football-related activities for 90 days while he is investigated over a clandestine $2m payment he received from Blatter on behalf of FIFA in 2011 for consultancy work carried out years before.
Platini had been seen as a strong favourite to take over when Blatter announced in June he was standing down.
FIFA's Electoral Committee confirmed on Wednesday it had seven candidates running to be the new president in a February 26 election, including the Frenchman.
FIFA said the applications from the six others would be processed, but Platini's case would only be considered once his ban is lifted.
But the Frenchman was defiant, telling Swiss daily Le Matin: "In all modesty, I am the best-placed to lead world football."
Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies
NA-Tech News
Box office: Why did so few people turn out to see 'Steve Jobs'? - LA Times
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:42
The explosion in fact-based movies over the last several years has generated a range of reactions among the moviegoing public.
In one corner of the matrix are those 'Žmovies released with little fanfare or even much of a raison d'ªtre but soon turn into major sensations. "American Sniper'' last year was Exhibit A for this, producing little buzz in the weeks leading up to its release and making many in the movie business wonder if this was one more post-9/11 war story Americans didn't want to relive at the multiplex. Then it became the highest-grossing movie of 2014.
At the diagonal end of the matrix is the opposite: A film that comes in with all the momentum in the world but ends up eliciting little more than a shrug. A film that, despite all the hype, expectations and name-brand elements, produces mostly a whimper of indifference.
That second model is pretty much what's happening with "Steve Jobs.''
Expectations abounded for ''Jobs,'' and for good reason. It's written by arguably the country's best-known screenwriter in Aaron Sorkin, whose previous two films, ''Moneyball'' and ''The Social Network,'' were big dramatic hits (the latter also set in Silicon Valley). It features a constituency-building cast that includes Seth Rogen, Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, which would seem to make up for its a lack of a single Leo DiCaprio-like name above the title. It was directed by Danny Boyle, the man who with "127 Hours" has a track record of turning studies of existential solitude into exciting cinematic events '-- and, to answer doubts about his box-office potential, had an unexpected blockbuster in ''Slumdog Millionaire'' a few years back.
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And maybe topping them all, ''Steve Jobs'' centered on Steve Jobs, one of the most famous men of the modern era.
Yet none of this seemed to matter. After playing in a handful of theaters the previous two weeks in a bid to build word-of-mouth, the Apple-centric film opened this past weekend on nearly 2,500 screens. This was supposed to be the big coming-out party for ''Jobs.'' But the movie took in just $7.3 million. It was seen by fewer than a million people, averaging a paltry $2,900 per screen. (By comparison, "The Last Witch Hunter," in which the not exactly A-list star Vin Diesel plays an immortal warrior named Kaulder who must stop a supernatural plague, notched $3,500.)
There's a lot to assess about what went wrong, not least the matter of whether a movie like this could succeed in the first place. Was it execution '-- of the script, of the marketing campaign '-- that did in ''Jobs,'' or was it the fact that a film like this was never really going to work?
There's no easy answer to that question '-- and there will be those who wonder if the unusual three-moment structure worked against it '-- but a case could certainly be made for the latter thesis. Steve Jobs is a subject we feel we've heard about before. Many times before. In just the four years since he died there's been a bestselling book, numerous short- and long-form news stories, a narrative feature and a well-regarded documentary.
Even if many people partook at most of just one or two of these (and even though this movie undeniably takes a fresh approach to telling Jobs' story) the glut of material feeds a perception there's not much new to learn here. For all the commercial elements the movie brought, when you got down to it, too many people this weekend looked at each other and said "Steve Jobs, do we really want to know more?" Then they bought tickets to something else.
Of course, other aspects of the rollout could be questioned too. By now it's becoming clear that the studio strategy of building word of mouth with an indie-style limited release first '-- the film-world equivalent of starting in safe mode '-- seems to be a bad idea, at least if the proliferation of movies attempting that this season are to be believed. "The Walk" and "Everest" also struck out going smaller for a week or two before going bigger; only "Sicario" has had some success with the approach, if of the very mild kind.
The ''Steve Jobs'' results come with a layer of industry intrigue, since Sony Pictures and then-chief Amy Pascal famously passed on this version of the movie, then seemed to regret it immediately after. (''I feel like I just gave away a seminal movie like Citizen Kane for our time,'' she wrote in an email.) There's no way to know definitively how Sony, with its own production team and marketing strategy, would have fared with this version or any other. But it's plausible to think it also would have struggled.
For years we've heard branding is important in attracting consumer attention in an overloaded cultural marketplace. It's one reason these fact-based movies have proliferated to begin with '-- if the big-budget world has its pre-sold Marvel and DC characters to help it build a blockbuster, then grown-up dramas need a story people inherently recognize too. The ''Steve Jobs'' results, though, show an interesting other side to that equation '-- there is such a thing as having too well-known a subject.
There's an irony in this particular case since Jobs' credo, articulated most prominently in an Apple marketing campaign, was to stand out with unorthodox approaches. It makes sense '-- you create hits, in whatever realm, by doing something that hasn't been done before. And therein may lie the issue for "Steve Jobs:" too many people may have felt it was too familiar. No matter how much its subject preached the value of thinking different, you can only do so much with a movie that appears to contain more of the same.
Using ads & other monetization in podcasts - Podcast Portal Help
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:05
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Note: At this time, Google Play Music doesn't support dynamically-targeted advertising. If you need to change your ads, you can update your podcast periodically to include the latest ads.
Content and Conduct Policies for Podcasts on Google Play - Podcast Portal Help
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:06
Our policies play an important role in maintaining a positive experience for our users. Please follow these policies when using Google Play. Content is defined as podcasts and podcast related content, including artwork, images, descriptions, links, comments, marketing materials and any other data included on Google Play pages. In addition to complying with these policies, podcasts and/or podcast content with certain types of content must be marked ''explicit'' or ''edited'' in accordance with our content rating guidelines.
Please note that when applying our policies, we may make exceptions based on artistic, educational, or documentary considerations, or when there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action (e.g., cultural and social commentary). These exceptions are of course especially important in the context of music and podcast content; they are also especially difficult lines to draw. We reserve the right to apply our policies in our sole discretion, and we are always evolving our views on complex issues. It's your responsibility to keep up with any changes or modifications to our policies, so please check back in.
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VIDEO-Agency won't give GOP internal docs on climate research | TheHill
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 14:40
The federal government's chief climate research agency is refusing to give House Republicans the detailed information they want on a controversial study on climate change.
Citing confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it won't give Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) the research documents he subpoenaed.
At the center of the controversy is a study that concluded there has not been a 15-year ''pause'' in global warming. Some NOAA scientists contributed to the report.Skeptics of climate change, including Smith, have cited the pause to insist that increased greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels, are not heating up the globe.
Smith, the chairman of the House Science Committee, vehemently disagreed with the study's findings. He issued a subpoena for communications among the scientists and some data, leading to charges from Democrats that he was trying to intimidate the researchers.
Late Tuesday, NOAA provided Smith with some more information about its methods and data but refused to give Smith everything he wanted.
NOAA spokeswoman Ciaran Clayton said the internal communications are confidential and not related to what Smith is trying to find out.
''We have provided data, all of which is publicly available online, supporting scientific research, and multiple in-person briefings,'' she said.
''We stand behind our scientists who conduct their work in an objective manner. It is the end product of exchanges between scientists '-- the detailed publication of scientific work and the data that underpins the authors' findings '-- that are key to understanding the conclusions reached.
Clayton also refuted Smith's implication that the study was political.
"There is no truth to the claim that the study was politically motivated or conducted to advance an agenda,'' she said. ''The published findings are the result of scientists simply doing their job, ensuring the best possible representation of historical global temperature trends is available to inform decisionmakers, including the U.S. Congress.''
Smith defended his investigation, saying NOAA's work is clearly political.
''It was inconvenient for this administration that climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades,'' he said in a statement. ''The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made.''
Smith also said NOAA's assertion of confidentiality is incorrect.
''The agency has yet to identify any legal basis for withholding these documents,'' he said, adding that his panel would use ''all tools at its disposal'' to continue investigating.
Smith has been communicating with NOAA about the research since it was published in the summer, and their exchanges have grown increasingly hostile.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), the committee's ranking Democrat, has sharply criticized Smith's requests.
''By issuing this subpoena, you have instigated a constitutional conflict with an inquiry that seems more designed to harass climate scientists than to further any legitimate legislative purpose,'' she wrote last week. ''This is a serious misuse of congressional oversight powers.''
VIDEO-Experts provide safety tips following e-cigarette explosion | WINK NEWS
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 05:42
NAPLES, Fla.- A North Naples man remains in critical condition after an e-cigarette exploded in his face on Monday.
Evan Spahlinger, 21, is still in a coma at a burn unit in a Miami hospital. He suffered burns to his face, neck and lungs.
WINK News took the questions of many concerned viewers over the safety of e-cigarettes to the Vape King store.
''It hits home, we are upset about it and we don't want anyone to be vaping unsafely,'' said Laura Kaman, owner of Vape King.
She says battery safety is very important when using e-cigarettes. Firefighters say the battery is likely what caused Spahlinger's device to explode, causing horrible burns internally and externally.
''All lithium batteries can explode like cell phone, laptop batteries, so the potential is there, people just don't realize how dangerous batteries are,'' said Kaman.
We showed the employees at Vape King Spahlinger's device.
''He was using most likely a mechanical mod. Which is more like, pretty much you're using the battery that pushes voltage straight through the battery right to the tank,'' said Vinny Kaman.
That type of vaping is called dripping.
''You do it yourself, you get more control out of it. at the same time, you can rep it with too low of resistance and that can a circuit, or something along those lines, with the battery,'' said Trevor Sollitto.
Laura Kaman said dripping is different from using an e-cigarette, ''the majority of our business is all protected safe, eco style, e-cig batteries.''
If you prefer dripping, Kaman says make sure you properly know how to do it and have your battery in a protective case. If your battery is damaged, replace it and properly dispose of it.
The North Collier Fire and Rescue Department is still investigating Spahlinger's incident.
VIDEO-Senator Ted Cruz Offers To Buy "Some Famous Colorado Brownies" For Debate Moderator - YouTube
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 04:55
VIDEO-"This Man Was A Managing General Partner At Lehman Brothers When They Went Down The Tubes!" - YouTube
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 04:52
VIDEO-"The Whole Of China Is Enraged! And The Entire Country Is Calling For A Strike Back!" - YouTube
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 04:42
VIDEO-UK To Postpone Withdrawal Of British Troops From Afghanistan - YouTube
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 04:31
VIDEO-Mother of Benghazi Victim Yells at Andrea Mitchell: 'You Can't Understand!' | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 22:46
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
In an emotional exchange with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell on Monday, Patricia Smith, mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith, blasted Hillary Clinton for not answering questions during Thursday's congressional hearing on the 2012 terrorist attack: ''I watched every minute....Hillary didn't answer the questions. I'm still waiting...''
Speaking of her late son, Smith declared: ''So he was a good guy. They sacrificed him as they sacrificed the Ambassador and the two guys that got murdered because nobody sent help. I want to know why. Why wasn't there any help?!'' Mitchell tried to wrap up the segment: ''Patricia Smith, I am so sorry for your loss.'' Smith rejected Mitchell's sympathy: ''You can't understand! You just can't understand! My only child was murdered and nobody will tell me why!''
VIDEO-Melissa Harris-Perry to Guest: 'Hard Worker' Is Offensive Term to Slaves, Women | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 22:38
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Monday afternoon, David Rutz of The Washington Free Beacon found this great gem from the Saturday edition of ultra-liberal Melissa Harris-Perry's eponymous MSNBC show in which she scolded guest Alfonso Aguilar for using the term ''hard worker'' because it's demeaning to slaves and working women.
Prior to the exchange, Harris-Perry described House candidate and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan (Wisc.) as ''a catfish noodler'' because similarly to how ''you go catch the catfish with your hands,'' the same can be said about what Ryan would face as Speaker in ''trying to wrangle the current Republican Party into line.''
VIDEO-Bernie's Wife Twice Corrects Herself: He Throws a 'Holiday' Not a 'Christmas' Party | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 22:34
God forbid it should be said that Bernie Sanders organizes a "Christmas" party! Sanders wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, was interviewed on today's With All Due Respect.
When Mark Halperin asked Mrs. Sanders to share a side of her husband that people might not know about, she twice mentioned that Bernie organizes an annual "Christmas" party. And twice she promptly corrected herself, saying it's a "holiday" party that Bernie throws.
VIDEO-Mika Rips Hillary for Accusing Sanders of Sexism: 'Pathetic' | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 22:25
Joe Scarborough had to prod her into it, but once she got going, Mika Brzezinski unleashed a blistering tirade against Hillary on today's Morning Joe for accusing Bernie Sanders of sexism.
Hillary has ginned up great feminist umbrage at Sanders' statement at the debate that people need to stop "shouting" about gun violence and do something about it. A clip was played of Hillary at two stump events saying that when women talk some people think they're shouting. In an extended riff, Mika repeatedly called Hillary's shtick "pathetic," adding that she was "cringing" at the "stupidity" of it. Mika mentioned "I'm going to get in trouble" for her comments. Who's the Hillary-campaign equivalent of a Valerie Jarrett who will bring the hammer down on Mika?
VIDEO-Gayle King Tries and Fails to Hit Chris Christie From Left on Guns | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 22:16
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. On Tuesday, CBS This Morning aired a friendly interview with co-host Gayle King and Governor Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat yet the CBS host did attempt to hit the Republican from the left on gun control but failed miserably. After King asked Christie about the state of the 2016 race she obnoxiously asked ''[y]ou all have children in college, high school, middle school, so school shootings certainly must hit close to home. But yet you seem to be reluctant to embrace tighter gun control laws, why is that?''
VIDEO-Chris Hayes Slips Up, Lists Abortion Among 'Touchstones of Human Evil' | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 21:38
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
Chris Hayes made an inadvertent admission about the morality of abortion on his All In program on MSNBC on 26 October 2015. Hayes contended that in the case of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, "It's very hard to get through an interview in which he doesn't compare something either to the Third Reich and Hitler or abortion, right? '-- the sort of, like, touchstones of human evil." The liberal host later claimed that he "meant slavery, clearly," after someone pointed out the line to him on Twitter.
VIDEO-Networks Yawn at House Starting Impeachment Process for IRS Commissioner Koskinen | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 21:32
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Tuesday, the ''big three'' networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC censored from their evening newscasts any mention of the House of Representative beginning the procedures to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on the heels of Republican Congressman and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's expected ascension to Speaker of the House.
It should be noted that this blackout comes after the networks failed to note the Friday news dump by the Department of Justice that Lois Lerner and other IRS figures will not be charged in the agency's scandal targeting tea party groups.
VIDEO-PBS NewsHour full episode October 27, 2015
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:37
160746160756160756PBS NewsHour full episode October 27, 2015Tuesday on the NewsHour, John Boehner announces a tentative budget deal to avert a fiscal crisis. Also: A look inside Bashar al-Assad's Syria, how a California native became the Dalai Lama's personal physician, the expense of caring for Alzheimer's patients, an Italian town that's crumbling off a cliff and what could happen after a cyber attack to our power grid.2015-10-27 18:00:00disabled2365593420dpK0ccV13-o160763160745 we completely unprepared for a power grid cyberattack?We're aware of the risk of hacks that result in theft and espionage, but what about a devastating cyberattack on the power grid? In his new book, ''Lights Out,'' Ted Koppel argues that not only is this a distinct possibility, but that America is totally unprepared. The author joins Gwen Ifill to discuss the frightening potential fallout.2015-10-27 18:00:00 Congressional leaders got past the budget crisisTrying the clear the deck for his replacement, outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner announced a tentative two-year budget deal that would boost defense and domestic programs and lift the debt ceiling through the spring of 2017. Political director Lisa Desjardins takes a closer look at the deal with Judy Woodruff.2015-10-27 18:00:00 Lama's doctor wants more compassion in medicineBefore he was a personal physician to the Dalai Lama, Dr. Barry Kerzin never imagined that a professional trip to Tibet would lead him down a decades-long path studying Buddhism and meditation. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro talks to Kerzin in India about his feeling that compassion and empathy are essential to medical training.2015-10-27 18:00:00
Tuesday on the NewsHour, John Boehner announces a tentative budget deal to avert a fiscal crisis. Also: A look inside Bashar al-Assad's Syria, how a California native became the Dalai Lama's personal physician, the expense of caring for Alzheimer's patients, an Italian town that's crumbling off a cliff and what could happen after a cyber attack to our power grid.
VIDEO-ABC Dumps on Trump: He's Got 'Electile Dysfunction' in Iowa | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:17
[See NewsBusters for more.] On the morning of the latest Republican presidential debate, ABC's Good Morning America mocked Donald Trump as having ''electile dysfunction'' and of being in need of ''polling Viagra.'' The comment on Wednesday by political analyst Matthew Dowd prompted laughs from journalists George Stephanopoulos and Jon Karl. Asked a question about Ben Carson, Dowd changed subjects and attacked, ''I wanted to say about Donald Trump, he makes me smile in the course of this. Watching him yesterday was like a guy with Iowa electile dysfunction trying to give his folks polling Viagra to get his poll numbers up.''
VIDEO-NBC: Clinton 'On the Offensive'; Ready to 'Counterpunch' GOP | MRCTV
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:11
Ahead of Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, NBC's Today promoted Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton having ''her own battle plan heading into tonight,'' preparing to respond to the GOP 2016 field with a new ad blitz.
Correspondent Kristen Welker announced: ''With Republicans set to go on the attack tonight, Secretary Hillary Clinton is preparing to counterpunch, releasing four sleek new ads during tonight's GOP debate in Iowa and New Hampshire. The 30-second spots aimed at pre-butting the Republicans by painting Clinton as a champion for working class women voters, touting equal pay and college affordability.''
VIDEO-New Planned Parenthood video shows doctor admitting to partial-term abortion | WINTERY KNIGHT
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:08
The latest undercover Planned Parenthood video from the Center for Medical Progress shows Dr. Amna Dermish, the abortion provider for Planned Parenthood in Austin, TX, describing a partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term fetuses.
['...]Dermish assures the potential organ buyer, ''My aim is usually to get the specimens out pretty intact.'' She uses laminaria sticks to slowly dilate the cervix and prompt labor.
Then, in an uncut sequence, Planned Parenthood's Dr. Dermish walks the organ buyer through the method she uses for infants older than 18 weeks.
She uses ultrasound guidance to convert a second-trimester fetus to a feet-first breech presentation.
''With a further gestation, I will sometimes do that [deliver breech] if it's a cephalic [head-first] presentation, just cause it's easier to get '... convert to breech, grab the spine.''
This is a textbook description of partial-birth abortion, which is illegal. The baby is alive and mostly outside of the mother's body when it is killed.
After this ghoulish walkthrough, Dermish admits to the buyer that she hasn't gotten an intact head. Yet.
''I haven't been able to do that yet '-- to get the calvarium intact [the portion of the skull containing the brain] '... Well, this will give me something to strive for,'' she laughs.
Planned Parenthood's Dermish describes the difficulty of ''getting around the cal'' once the fetus is 20 weeks and presenting head first. ''Especially the 20-weekers are a lot harder versus the 18-weekers, so at that point I'll switch to breech.''
Dr. Dermish told the organ buyer that a worker in her clinic, ''one of our POC [product of conception] persons is really into organ development.''
''She'll pull out, like, kidneys, and like, heart, and heart we frequently see at nine weeks and she always looks for it.''
''Just like, for fun?'' the buyer asks.
The other doctor interjects. ''Well, it's cute.''
Well, it's cute.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is defending Planned Parenthood's organ harvesting for profit operation. And why not? They donate tons of money to Democrats.
Hillary Clinton has some pretty hard words for the new panel investigating Planned Parenthood.
Clinton claims the creation of a special committee to investigate Planned Parenthood is ''just code for a partisan witch hunt.'' She then pivots to the smaller amount of legitimate health care Planned Parenthood provides '-- as if helping women with a pap smear makes up for aborting babies and selling their hearts and livers.
She claims pro-lifers upset with Planned Parenthood forget ''the mom who caught her cancer early thanks to a screening at Planned Parenthood,'' and ''the young woman who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she did have access to birth control.''
It's a partisan witch hunt. Hillary says.
VIDEO-Doctors Without Borders Says Yemen Hospital Is Destroyed -
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:56
BEIRUT, Lebanon '-- A hospital in northern Yemen run by Doctors Without Borders was destroyed by warplanes belonging to a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, even though the coalition had been given the coordinates of the hospital, the relief organization said Tuesday.
The airstrikes, about 10:30 p.m. Monday, forced the evacuation of staff and patients from the site and raised new questions about what precautions Saudi Arabia and its military partners were taking to avoid civilians.
The coalition, of 10 Arab states, receives military and intelligence support from the United States and has been battling Yemen's Houthi rebels since March. Bombings by the coalition have killed more than 1,100 people '-- the majority of civilian casualties during the war, according to human rights advocates. The airstrikes have also hit nonmilitary targets, including markets, houses and wedding parties.
''With the hospital destroyed, at least 200,000 people now have no access to lifesaving medical care,'' Doctors Without Borders said in a statement. Hassan Boucenine, the group's head of mission in Yemen, said in the statement that the attack was ''another illustration of a complete disregard for civilians in Yemen, where bombings have become a daily routine.''
A spokesman for the coalition did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Mr. Boucenine said in an interview that the hospital was hit by several airstrikes while roughly a dozen patients and staff members were inside. The operating theater and maternity ward were struck. The staff evacuated the hospital between strikes, and one staff member was slightly injured in the escape.
The airstrikes then continued for at least two hours, leaving most of the facility in rubble, the group said.
Doctors Without Borders had supplied the hospital's coordinates to the coalition about six months ago and reconfirmed them every month, Mr. Boucenine said. The group's logo was on the roof.
The small hospital, in the Haydan district along the border with Saudi Arabia, was one of the few still operating in the northern province of Saada. The province has been heavily bombed by the coalition for months.
Doctors Without Borders said about 3,400 patients had been treated since the group began supporting the hospital in May.
''The bombing of civilians and hospitals is a violation of international humanitarian law and M.S.F. is demanding that coalition forces explain the circumstances around the attack,'' the statement said, using the abbreviation for the group's French name, M(C)decins Sans Fronti¨res.
American officials said little Tuesday about the hospital airstrikes.
''Senior U.S. officials remain in close and regular contact with the Saudi government on a wide range of issues related to Yemen,'' said Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the United States Central Command. ''We have asked the Saudi government to investigate all credible reports of civilian casualties resulting from coalition-led airstrikes and, if confirmed, to address the factors that led to them.''
Spokesmen for the White House and the C.I.A. declined to comment.
Rick Gladstone contributed reporting from New York, and Mark Mazzetti from Washington.
VIDEO-Sheriff Says There's a Third Video Showing Desk Flip Incident '-- Here's What He Says It Shows | Video |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:56
A South Carolina sheriff said Tuesday that there is a third video depicting one of his officers in a now viral confrontation with a high school student '-- and in it, he says the student can be seen attacking the officer.
''There's a video '... showed her striking and punching at the officer,'' Richard County Sheriff Leon Lott told CNN. ''Again, our hope would have been that he could have de-escalated the situation without getting physical.''
Lott said the video was not in his possession when asked by host Jake Tapper if it would be released to the public.
''It's not one I have, it's another student in the class, was shooting it from a different angle,'' he said. ''It shows the officer as he puts his hands on her, her punching him. But again, that doesn't justify some of the actions.''
Resource officer Ben Fields was put under investigation by his department Monday after video captured him aggressively confront a student who ''refused'' to cooperate when told she was under arrest.
Video captured him inform the student that she would either ''come with me or I'm going to make you.'' Moments later, the officer can be seen lifting the student up, pushing her desk backward, then seemingly tossing her a few feet away.
Lott said Tuesday he does not believe race played a role in the incident, but noted he was disturbed by it. After the video sparked national controversy, the Justice Department announced it would open up an investigation into the incident.
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VIDEO-Not Happy With Answers, GOP Senator Scolds Obama's Defense Secretary for 'Half-Assed' Middle East Strategy During Hearing | Video |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:51
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) blasted Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford for the administration's ''half-assed'' strategy in the Middle East.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (Image source: YouTube)
The two men testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, where they defended President Barack Obama's foreign policy as it relates to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Graham, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, is a frequent critic of the Obama administration's foreign policy. The senator questioned Carter and Dunford before he laid into the entire game plan, asserting that the U.S. strategy in Syria is acting not in the interest of America but rather in the interests of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
''If I'm Assad, this is a good day for me, because the American government has just said without saying it that they're not going to fight to replace me,'' Graham said. ''What you've done, gentlemen, along with the president, is you've turned Syria over to Russia and Iran.''
''All I can say is this is a bad day for America, and the region will pay hell for this, because the Arabs are not going to accept this. The people in Syria are not going to accept this,'' Graham said. ''This is a half-assed strategy at best.''
Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter
VIDEO-tosha salad-Queens run DC's High Heel race |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:03
On your marks, get set... go! Drag queens donned their heels in Washington DC for the annual High Heel Drag Queen race in Dupont Circle. For the past 29 years, on the Tuesday before Halloween, drag queens have paraded along 17th Street, before sprinting one block as supporters cheer them on. In a city where button down shirts are the norm, one participant said the race lets DC unwind a bit. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DRAG QUEEN FROM "THE DC SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE, SISTER ALLIE LEWYA, SAYING: "This is a very political town. This sort of thing does not make sense in D.C. How it's been around this long just baffles me. So we're out here to support anything that helps D.C. live more joyfully, less uptight, a little less concerned about image and just to have fun." The race, once only a niche event for the city's gay community, now draws gay and straight participants- and hundreds of on-lookers. Queen Elizabeth Regina explains. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DRAG QUEEN, ELIZABETH REGINA, SAYING: "A friend of mine won the first one years ago. He lives in Lauderdale now, And it was strictly a bar activity then. And then early on it was just gay people, and it really has broadened to the whole community." Local media say this year's winner, a queen named Tosha Salad, ran a record breaking race of just 41 seconds.
VIDEO-Ashton Carter: U.S. to Begin 'Direct Action on the Ground' in Iraq, Syria - NBC News
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:57
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that the U.S. will begin "direct action on the ground" against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, aiming to intensify pressure on the militants as progress against them remains elusive.
"We won't hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL, or conducting such missions directly whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground," Carter said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee, using an alternative name for the militant group.
Carter pointed to last week's rescue operation with Kurdish forces in northern Iraq to free hostages held by ISIS.
Related: Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, U.S. Commando Killed in ISIS Raid, Ran to Gunfight
Carter and Pentagon officials initially refused to characterize the rescue operation as U.S. boots on the ground. However, Carter said last week that the military expects "more raids of this kind" and that the rescue mission "represents a continuation of our advise and assist mission."
This may mean some American soldiers "will be in harm's way, no question about it," Carter said last week.
After months of denying that U.S. troops would be in any combat role in Iraq, Carter late last week in a response to a question posed by NBC News, also acknowledged that the situation U.S. soldiers found themselves in during the raid in Hawija was combat.
"This is combat and things are complicated," Carter said.
During Tuesday's Senate hearing, Carter said Wheeler "was killed in combat."
White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz on Tuesday said the administration has "no intention of long term ground combat". He added that U.S. forces will continue to robustly train, advise and assist.
A feisty Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said on Tuesday in the Senate Armed Services committee hearing that the U.S. effort in Syria is a "half-assed strategy at best," and said that the U.S. is not doing a "damn thing" to bring down Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Carter on Tuesday pushed back against that notion.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that the "balance of forces" has tilted in Assad's favor.
VIDEO-Top U.S. General: troops could be redeployed in Iraq |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:40
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, says he would consider recommending putting U.S. forces with Iraqi troops to fight Islamic State if that would improve the chances of defeating the militants. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday (October 27) he would consider recommending putting U.S. forces with Iraqi troops to fight Islamic State if that would improve the chances of defeating the militants. "If it had an operational or strategic impact and we could reinforce success, that would be the basic framework within which I'd make a recommendation for additional forces to be co-located with Iraqi units," said Marine Corp Gen. Joseph Dunford. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined four reasons it might be useful to put U.S. troops with Iraqi forces: increasing the coherence of the military campaign, ensuring logistics effectiveness, boosting intelligence awareness and improving combined arms delivery. Washington believes there are fewer than 2,000 Iranian troops in Syria helping the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and more than 1,000 in Iraq supporting the Baghdad government, Dunford added. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the number of Iranian forces in Iraq had fluctuated over time. "I think there's more than 1,000 that are on the ground in Iraq," Dunford said. "In Syria, we think the numbers are probably something less than 2,000." Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers U.S. military troops are intensifying pressure on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, supporting local forces with an expanded air campaign and occasional direct action on the ground. Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee the campaign against the militants was evolving as the U.S. military seeks to reinforce what is working on the ground. He said U.S. forces aimed to intensify pressure on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria and the Iraqi city of Ramadi. Carter said he expected the coalition air campaign to intensify, with more aircraft and a higher tempo of operations. He said the United States also wouldn't hesitate to support local forces with "strikes from the air or direct action on the ground."
VIDEO-Obama: Fewer gun safety laws mean more fallen officers |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:39
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: President Barack Obama told police chiefs Tuesday that stricter gun control would reduce the number of police officers shot down on U.S. streets, in his latest call for reform of laws that govern the use of firearms in America. Obama spoke at a major conference of police chiefs during a turbulent time for the law enforcement community, with a new U.S. Justice Department report expected to be issued at the gathering on ambush attacks on police. "It's time to be honest: fewer gun safety laws don't mean more freedom, they mean more fallen officers. They mean more grieving families, and more Americans terrified that they or their loved ones could be next," Obama said. Obama said, "Please do not believe this notion that somehow I am out to take everybody's guns away, every time a mass shooting happens one of the saddest ironies that suddenly the purchase of firearms and ammunition jumps up, because folks are scared into thinking that Obama is going to use this as an excuse to take away our Second Amendments rights -- nobody is doing that." A spate of high profile deaths of black men at the hands of police in Missouri, New York and elsewhere, coupled with a spiraling number of police deaths, has rocked the law enforcement community and highlighted racial disparities. A dozen police officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter this year resulting from shootings. That is an unusually high number, up from an average of about five a year from 2005 to 2014, according to academic research. The Justice Department released a report at the conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police on ambush attacks against police. It said mental illness and extremist ideologies play key roles in attacks, which have been rising since 2005, though there are fewer than in the 1990s.
VIDEO-Carson pulls ahead of Trump |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:31
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson takes the lead in the Republican presidential race -- edging out real estate tycoon Donald Trump. Carson now claims 26 percent of the vote with Trump coming in at 22 according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DR. BEN CARSON, SAYING: "I would rather be on top rather than at the bottom of the polls." Trump is not giving it the silent treatment. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "By the way, Carson is lower energy than Bush, I don't get it." And Carson is not taking it lying down. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DR. BEN CARSON, SAYING: "I would like to see him stand up for 18 hours and operate on somebody and keep their concentration." The national poll showed Trump trailing Carson for the first time. Republican candidates vying for the White House will meet on the debate stage Wednesday night in Colorado-- for the third time.
VIDEO-Using portable nuclear generators to break petroleum logistical dependence circa 1963 - Atomic Insights
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:24
Note:The initial version of this post was written based on an incorrect interpretation of the Roman numeral date stamp at the end of the video. The film was made in 1963, not 1968. The post was revised after a commenter provided the correct production date.End note.
I have a theory about why the Environmental Movement transitioned from a 1950s and early 1960s position favoring nuclear energy as an alternative to burning hydrocarbons and building hydroelectric dams to an almost universally antinuclear position before the Arab Oil Embargo of October 1973. The below video illustrates some of the hope and visions developed during The Atomic Age.
I believe that some people who saw the video or were exposed to its themes in other venues recognized that their positions of wealth and power were threatened by rapidly improving atomic energy innovations.
Some might have been especially worried about inventions designed to solve military logistical challenges, knowing that machines refined by the military often find useful civilian applications. Hugely profitable markets would shrink dramatically if atomic energy lived up to its technical promise. Hydrocarbon industry leaders knew they would not have much success convincing people to abandon nuclear energy in order to enable wealthy interests to keep making profits by selling fossil fuels, so they undertook a more devious propaganda effort.
I believe they decided to obtain assistance from the increasingly popular Environmental Movement.
For example, in the early 1960s, the Sierra Club sustained a campaign known as ''Atoms, Not Dams.'' Their message was that nuclear power plants did not produce air pollution and did not require filling scenic, wildlife-filled valleys with with water.
As the 60s progressed the Club experienced a lengthy period of infighting about its support of '-- or opposition to '-- various energy sources. The board also struggled with decisions about the role of corporate contributions. By 1973 or 1974, the Sierra Club had settled on a strongly antinuclear energy position.
The discussions didn't move fast enough for David Brower, a prominent Sierra Club leader. In 1969, he left the Club and used an initial investment of $200 K from Robert Anderson, the CEO of ARCO, to create Friends of the Earth (FOE) as a more militant antinuclear group.
My guess is that it was not hard to convince professional activists to turn their efforts to fighting nuclear energy. The persuasion was made easier by the close associations between nuclear energy and the military, even when the specific use of nuclear energy under discussion was reducing the logistical burdens of supplying electrical or motive power, not producing enormously destructive weapons.
The optimistically futuristic video about portable atomic generators included above was produced by the U.S. Army, an agency with a poor reputation among antiwar activists. The leaders of the antiwar movement gained useful experience as professional organizers and movement creators; they were so successful in attracting political support for ending the war that the U.S. left Vietnam in 1973.
ML-1 reactor on flatbed truck
Their animosity towards the military provided a means for far-sighted hydrocarbon strategists like Anderson to subtlety direct them and their organizations to actions aimed at slowing the development of atomic energy as a formidable alternative to their lucrative hydrocarbon economy.
Just imagine how different our world might be if the star of the above show, the Army's ML-1, a truck-mounted 300-500 kwe nuclear heated, direct cycle, nitrogen cooled generator had been deployed, refined and improved during the five decades that have elapsed since it was first built and tested.
Adams EnginesTMMany of you know that I spent a couple of decades working on an improvement to the basic concept of the ML-1 that I immodestly named the Adams Engine.
That effort was inspired by some dusty documents about the ML-1 and related projects that I discovered in the bowels of the Nimitz Library at the US Naval Academy in 1991.
The discovery happened soon after I had completed a tour as the Engineer Officer of a nuclear submarine that used a traditional pressurized water reactor/saturated steam system.
Though a series of influences, I became intrigued by the potential of combining an atomic fission heat source with a Brayton Cycle gas turbine using the same operating conditions as found in combustion gas turbines.
ML-1 Loading on Cargo Plane
Some of the inspiration for that idea was born on frequent runs from Monterey to Pacific Grove with Mike LeFever while we were both students at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School between 1985-1987, just before my Engineer tour. Mike and I engaged in good natured chatter during those runs. He had been the Chief Engineer on a gas turbine powered destroyer; I had just completed a junior officer tour on the USS Stonewall Jackson and was completely enamored with the capabilities nuclear energy provides.
Mike was just as enthusiastic about his experiences with gas turbines and convinced me that they were well suited for lazy, work-averse people like me when compared to a steam plant. The operational simplicity and ease of maintenance were music to my ears. The attraction of those features of gas turbines was especially clear after my 40-month tour as the Engineer on a 25-28 year old sub.
When I was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy for shore duty, I took advantage of the opportunity to audit some higher level engineering classes focused on energy production. It's not a frequently-seized benefit, but staff members are allowed to take classes as long as there are seats available.
Before the fall semester began, I met with Professor Mark Harper and explained that I wanted to take his energy conversion course seriously, completing all of the homework and paper assignments. With that entering commitment, he welcomed me into the class. The final project for the class was a paper on a chosen energy system.
My research began with entering the following Boolean search '-- ''Nuclear AND gas turbine'' into the computerized card catalog that the Nimitz Library had recently installed. The search produced a number of hits and fundamentally altered my life's journey. I audited two 400 level alternative energy engineering courses taught by Dr. Chih Wu and then completed an independent research project [p. 29] that resulted in a published paper.
By early 1993 I had completed the work necessary to submit a patent application for the control system for a closed cycle gas turbine. Without accepting advice from others, I decided that I would resign my active duty commission, move my young family to Florida, start Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. and take the energy industry by storm.
ML-1 '' Crew Setting Up at New Location
It was a very rash and poorly laid out plan. My excuse is that I was young and possibly hypnotized by stories from Fast Company and the booming dot com era.
AAE Inc. didn't work out as planned, though the control system patent was awarded in May 1994, even more promptly than expected. However, there were more than a few rocks in the road; we made some rather large detours as a family; my resulting career path included some unique features but the overall results of the subsequent decisions have turned out reasonably well.
My children and my wife still seem to like me and have forgiven '-- if not forgotten '-- the tough times. I don't think I've lost too many friends; even those who lost the money they invested still take and return my phone calls.
All that history came flashing back a month or so ago when I came across the above video starring the ML-1.
Despite my dedicated research efforts, I had never seen it before. Somehow, the scenes of the ML-1 system in motion and being loaded onto a cargo plane made the lost opportunities seem much more real.
I remain convinced that the fission gas turbine is an attractive way to use an emission free, compact, low priced fuel with a simple power conversion system. The combination should result in zero emissions, long refueling intervals, passive safety, moderate capital costs, extreme simplicity, compact size and reasonable system weight.
Whenever people tell me that atomic fission is too expensive and slow to consider as a solution for big challenges like climate change, potable water scarcity, transportation dependence on liquid fuels, or international interventions aimed at protecting multinational petroleum corporations, I think about the little atomic engine that could address all of those issues if manufactured in series and distributed around the world.
One more thing '' my patent on the control system has lapsed and entered the public domain about a decade ago. There is nothing stopping others from picking up the development. A couple of people have suggested that one explanation for a lack of interest is the fact that there is not much about the system that can be patented and monopolized.
VIDEO-EU, Balkan leaders agree migrant action plan |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:10
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VIDEO-China warns U.S. over sea patrols |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 14:04
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 The U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen, seen here in file footage, is on a mission to challenge Beijing's territorial limits in the disputed South China Sea. U.S. defence officials say the ship sailed within a 12-nautical-mile limit around Subi reef which China's built into an island. They say it also took in Mischief Reef on the first in a series of exercises to test China's territorial claims. Chinese authorities said the ship entered its waters illegally. China's state CCTV television broadcast a statement by the country's foreign minister. It quoted Wang Yi as warning the U.S. "think again and not to act blindly or make trouble from nothing." U.S. defence officials say more patrols are planned for the coming weeks and may also take in similar features built up by Vietnam and the Philippines in the same area. China claims most of the South China Sea despite rival claims by other nations. The U.S. says it's made clear to Beijing the importance of a free flow of traffic.
VIDEO-Nevermind the warnings, tourists enjoy German sausages |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:41
Nevermind the warnings from the World Health Organization -- It's businesses as usual in Berlin at this "currywurst" sausage stand. Locals and visitors alike are digging in -- apparently unfazed by the WHO finding that processed meats like sausages can lead to bowel cancer. Germans consume about 800 million currywursts annually -- 70 million in Berlin alone. For visitors -- the currywurst is often a "must-do" experience. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEXANDER MARCUS FROM MIAMI, SAYING: "Food is food and anything in this world you enjoy, eventually I find out this causes cancer. Oh well, enjoy your life, that's it. Stop worrying about things." The agency found that each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer over a lifetime by about 18 percent. But suppliers argue that meat provides essential protein, vitamins and minerals as part of a balanced diet.
VIDEO-Processed meat can cause cancer, red meat probably can: WHO |
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 13:35
Eating processed meat can lead to bowel cancer in humans and red meat is a likely cause of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Dr. Dana Loomis, a researcher at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, part of the WHO), explains. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
VIDEO-Why Bill Clinton really signed DOMA | MSNBC
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:42
Bernie Sanders says that Hillary Clinton's explanation of her husband's decision as president to sign legislation banning same-sex marriage is bogus. And he has a point.
At issue is the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan majorities at the height of the 1996 presidential campaign, when Bill Clinton was seeking a second term. It's now a relic of history, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, but the fact that Bill Clinton signed it in the first place has long infuriated gay rights supporters.
On ''The Rachel Maddow Show'' last Friday, Hillary Clinton said her husband had been trying to head off a more dire legislative response. ''There was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America,'' she said, ''and that there had to be some way to stop that.'' DOMA, she said, ''was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further.'' This is the same explanation Bill Clinton offered when he formally reversed his position on gay marriage two years ago.
Sanders, who as a House member in '96 was among the few lawmakers who voted against DOMA, is now hammering Hillary Clinton for her statement, arguing that the idea of a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage wasn't on the radar back then. At last weekend's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa, he suggested that she's ''trying to rewrite history,'' and in his own appearance on Maddow's show Monday night he said, ''[Y]ou can't say that DOMA was passed in order to prevent something worse. That is just not the case.''
RELATED: Hillary Clinton on reversing her husband on civil rights
That's basically accurate. It wasn't until 2002, a year into George W. Bush's presidency, that a marriage amendment was first introduced in Congress. Why the delay? Because in '96, the concept of same-sex marriage was new and exotic and public support was minimal, even in left-leaning states. A California poll that summer found that just 30% of voters favored allowing unions between couples of the same gender. The only reason the issue was even on the table was because a state Supreme Court ruling in Hawaii had raised the theoretical possibility that that state would be compelled to allow gay marriages. DOMA was conceived as a preventive measure '' if it did become legal in Hawaii, no other state would be forced to recognize a same-sex union. The assumption was that DOMA would be more than sufficient to stamp out the threat of gay marriage.
It is true that several lawmakers who voted for DOMA in '96 later recanted their support and, like the Clintons, claimed they had been trying to forestall a constitutional amendment. And it is certainly possible that heading off an amendment was at least part of Bill Clinton's calculation when he signed DOMA. But that wouldn't explain why, upon signing it, he began airing ads on Christian radio stations touting his effort to fight gay marriage. Clearly, there was more going on here '' a lot more.
The way Sanders tells it, Bill Clinton is guilty of political expediency. Gay rights weren't a majority issue in '96 and he was due to face the voters that fall, so he opted to swim with the tide '' while Sanders instead opted to make a lonely and principled stand. ''What the American people and Democrats have to know,'' Sanders said Monday night. ''Which candidate historically has had the guts to stand up to powerful people and take difficult decisions?''
RELATED: Sanders draws sharpest contrast with Clinton yet
But Sanders isn't telling the full story on Bill Clinton and gay rights. Because to understand what Bill Clinton did in 1996, you first need to remember what he did in 1993. That was the first year of his presidency, and one of his first moves after being sworn-in was to fulfill what had been a bold campaign promise: to end the military's ban on openly gay service members. But the new president was met with fierce resistance '' from revered military leaders like Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell and from leaders in his own party, most notably Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, the Democrats' point man on defense issues.
Public opinion swiftly turned against Clinton, who was accused of trying to use the military for ''social engineering.'' He was also pilloried for focusing so much political energy on what to many Americans seemed like a niche issue. Further complicating matters was Clinton's own service history. Allegations of Vietnam ''draft-dodging'' had dogged him in the 1992 campaign and hard feelings remained among some military leaders and veterans groups. When on Memorial Day 1993 Clinton appeared at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, he was greeted with boos and turned backs.
Clinton's push to end the ban stalled, his poll numbers plummeted (Time dubbed him ''The Incredible Shrinking President'' that June), and he was forced into a compromise on the issue '' the ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy that wasn't rescinded until 2010.
In short, Bill Clinton went out on a limb for gay rights three years before he signed DOMA '' and his presidency nearly collapsed because of it. ''Gays in the military'' was one of the reasons for the Republican wave of 1994, when the GOP grabbed control of the House for the first time in 40 years. In the wake of that midterm election, Clinton was left for dead politically, urged even by members of his own party not to seek a second term in 1996.
Yes, by the time DOMA landed on his desk in September 1996, Clinton had recovered his standing and was coasting to victory over Bob Dole. More than likely, he could have vetoed the bill and still won the election easily. (Any veto, by the way, would almost certainly have been overridden by Congress.) But that's easy to say now. In that moment, it's not hard to imagine Clinton's rationale going something like this: I came so close to losing my presidency and it's practically a miracle that I'm in the shape I'm now in '' do I really want to risk stirring up a repeat of the ''gays in the military'' debacle right now and give the Republicans their best (and probably only) shot of winning? Is it worth the risk of giving the GOP total control of Washington '' the presidency, the Senate, and the House '' and a chance to push through their entire agenda (which would include plenty of anti-gay measures)? Over a bill that's going to become law no matter what?
A profile in courage moment? Hardly. But a coldly rational judgment from a politician who had gotten too far ahead of the public on gay rights and paid dearly for it? You could make that argument '' unless, of course, your name is Clinton and you're running for president right now.
VIDEO-U.S. boots on ground to fight Isis | MSNBC
Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:25
Donald Trump wants to face Hillary Clinton
Trump says he wants to face Clinton in a 2016 general election, but plenty of his fellow Republicans think that will be, to use one of Trump's favorite words, a disaster. Who's right? MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell speaks to Michael Steele, Josh Barro, and EJ
The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell
Duration: 6:33
VIDEO-The Modern-Day Implementation of the Brezhnev Doctrine - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage - YouTube
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 15:02
VIDEO-Poland's lurch to right irks investors |
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 14:51
Poland's Law and Justice party will have to wait for the final vote tallies before deciding whether to seek a formal political partner after crushing the incumbent pro-EU government in elections on Sunday. But as Ciara Lee reports, markets are already bracing for a promised bank assets tax.
Poland's eurosceptic Law and Justice party, or PiS, claims victory in this weekend's watershed election. But it will have to wait for the final vote tallies to discover whether it can rule alone or will need a formal coalition partner. Either way it signals a policy shift for Central Europe's largest economy. PiS promises new benefits and taxes on banks and supermarkets - putting the country on something of a collision course with some EU allies, particularly Germany's Angela Merkel. IHS Global Insight's Jan Randolph. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN RANDOLPH, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK ANALYSIS, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT "Whether that's to do with refugees or co-operation on environmental energy. I think the difficulty will be in those areas. I think Poland will basically prevent any progress from happening, at the same time it won't scupper these plans, and at the same time it will hold the line on Russia and Ukraine, I think, so that's really the only positive really out of it." Shares in some of Poland's biggest banks fell sharply on Monday Falls in Poland's zloty currency were modest though - reflecting predictions that PiS would win . Analyst Andrzej Bobinski from the think tank Polityka Insight. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ECONOMIC ANALYST AT THINK TANK POLITYKA INSIGHT, ANDRZEJ BOBINSKI, SAYING: "The banking sector is saying that this will slash their profits, looking at predictions for this year, at least by half if this 0.39 tax would be imposed." And that could impact foreign investment too. Poland has seen its economy expand by nearly 50 percent in the last decade. But PiS has no plans to join the euro, it doesn't trust the EU and favours a strong stance over dealings with Moscow. Pockets of poverty also remain, and PiS has benefitted from a growing frustration that Poland's success has not been evenly shared.
VIDEO-Dr Peter G¸tzsche exposes big pharma as organized crime - YouTube
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:07
VIDEO-The blessing of the bikes - Yale Climate Connections
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:05
In 1999, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City held the world's first organized blessing of bicycles. Now this new ritual has spread to different denominations and to cities as far away as Melbourne, Australia.As part of the ritual, riders have their bikes blessed with holy water, remember cyclists who have died, and say a prayer for safe biking.
The Trinity St. Paul's United Church in Toronto just hosted its sixth annual blessing of the bikes in June of this year. For this church, the event is also an important way to encourage alternative modes of transportation.
Lyn Gaetz of the Church's Center for Faith, Justice, and the Arts says the cyclists who participate understand the importance of making daily choices to reduce carbon emissions.
GAETZ: ''Making the decision, even in the dead of winter some of them, to leave their car in the garage and cycle is taking a big step to contributing to climate justice.''
The importance of personal responsibility was reinforced by the Pope's recent Encyclical '' one of the Catholic Church's most authoritative documents '' in which he expressed the moral duty we all share to protect the earth's climate.
GAETZ: ''We feel a responsibility for the generation coming that's going to have to live with the results of our lifestyle.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media/Jason Jackson.Photo: Copyright protected.
More ResourcesBlessing of the Bikes'Blessing of the Bikes' Helps Churches Make Climate Change A Local IssueTrinity-St Paul's United Church & Centre for Faith Justice and the ArtsBlessing of the Bicycles TorontoGood Samaritan Hospital Holds Its Annual Blessing of the Bicycles
Filed under:Blessing of the Bikes, Erika Street Hopman, transportation
VIDEO-Watch the Moment Mother of Slain Benghazi Hero Explodes With Anger, Emotion During Interview With MSNBC Host | Video |
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:58
Appearing on MSNBC Monday afternoon, the mother of one of the four Americans killed during the 2012 Benghazi attacks let her emotions show when the host attempted to offer her condolences for the loss of her son.
''He was a good guy,'' Patricia Smith told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell of her son, Sean Smith. ''They sacrificed him as they sacrificed the ambassador and the two guys that that got murdered because nobody sent help. I want to know why, why wasn't there any help.''
As Smith became emotional and Mitchell attempted to offer condolences and move along with her show, Smith interjected emphatically.
''You can't understand! You just can't understand! My only child was murdered and nobody will tell me why,'' the mother said. ''He was the only thing that was going to help me when I get old. I'm old now. Who am I going to listen to? Who is going to help me now? He's not around and the government won't talk to me.''
Smith said that she watched ''every minute'' of the hearings and criticized Clinton for ''not answering the questions'' being asked of her.
''If this was Hillary's department, she should have known what was going on, yet she claims she didn't and my son died along with the ambassador and two other wonderful people,'' Smith said.
Smith has been outspoken about her criticisms of Clinton's handling of the Benghazi attacks in multiple interviews.
VIDEO-Like a Hollywood plot: Could Pentagon spy on North Korea using NGO? - YouTube
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 12:35
VIDEO-German businesses shrug off VW scandal |
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 02:14
German business morale fell modestly in October, suggesting Europe's largest economy remains resilient in the face of a slowdown in China and emissions scandal at carmaker Volkswagen. Ciara Lee reports
Back in the driving seat, Toyota overtakes VW to regain the top spot in global vehicle sales. It's another blow to VW as the emissions scandal continues to dominate headlines. IHS Global Insights Jan Randolph. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN RANDOLPH, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK ANALYSIS, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT "I think the focus is very much inside VW and repairing the damage that's been caused. I think the idea of regaining number one spots is currently off the cards." Easing concerns for VW though, Germany's most prominent index shrugged off the threat of the scandal. Based on a monthly survey of around 7000 firms, Germany's Ifo dipped in October, but beat forecasts. Ifo economist Klaus Wohkrabe. (SOUNDBITE) (German) IFO ECONOMIST KLAUS WOHKRABE, SAYING: "The figures suggest the VW scandal seems to have had no decisive impact on the automobile industry, the index even rose in the sector. Both the assessment of the current situation and future expectations were revised upwards." A separate index measuring corporate expectations hit a seven month high, suggesting the German economy is proving resilient to an emerging market slowdown. Neither the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees or the loose policies of the ECB seem to be having a substantial effect. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN RANDOLPH, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK ANALYSIS, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT "Increasingly consumption has been important and I think the refugees themselves might add a little bit there, on a positive side. They've got a fiscal surplus, they've got lots of ways in which they can add investment." But the German economy has been sending out mixed signals in recent months, with industrial orders, output and exports all slumping in the August. Two weeks ago, the closely-watched ZEW survey of analysts and investors tumbled to its lowest level in a year.
VIDEO-U.S. island patrols to raise stakes with China |
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 02:12
The U.S. could be just days away from sailing warships into the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing claims total sovereignty. As Greg Torode reports, some experts warn that if Washington goes toe-to-toe with China, it could be the U.S. ships that end up on the back foot.
VIDEO-Video MSNBC Host Says The Phrase Hard Worker Is Now Racist | The Daily Caller
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 01:48
While discussing the efficacy of a hypothetical Speaker Paul Ryan, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry cautioned guest Alfonso Aguilar against using the phrase ''hard worker,'' implying that it is somehow offensive to African Americans.
''I just want to pause on one thing because I don't disagree with you that I actually think Mr. Ryan is a great choice for this role, but I want us to be super careful when we use the language 'hard worker,''' she told Aguilar.
''I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like.''
''In the context of relative privilege,'' Perry added, ''when you talk about work-life balance and being a hard worker, the moms who don't have health care'... we don't call them hard workers. We call them failures. We call them sucking off the system.''
''Really, y'all do,'' Harris said in reference to Republicans and conservatives.
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VIDEO-Comedian poised for Guatemala presidency |
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:53
Heard the one about the ex-television comic who's never held political office but stood for president anyway? Guatemalans have...former TV funnyman Jimmy Morales is about to become the country's new president after a landslide win. His victory in Sunday's run-off vote is an indication of voter distrust of the political establishment. Morales was a household name in Guatemala after 14 years appearing on a popular TV comedy show which he quit last year. It appears the voters were undaunted by his lack of political experience and some policy ideas many consider eccentric. They include promises to give smartphones to children, and electronically tag teachers to make sure they attend classes. What's less clear is how he'll tackle the country's gang violence, or stem the flow of migrants to the U.S. Morales' predecessor Otto Perez resigned last month just ahead of the first round of voting after allegations of involvement in a multi-million dollar customs fraud.
VIDEO-Triumphant eurosceptics declare victory in Polish election |
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:31
The polling stations have closed.. and initial exit polls indicate that Poland's eurosceptic Law and Justice party has claimed its victory. Run by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother a former Polish president, his party secured 39.1 percent of the vote. The tally is enough of a mandate to forego a coalition, coming in well ahead of the incumbent, who secured 23.4 percent of the vote, according to an Ipsos poll. Kaczynski was quick to declare his party's victory. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) LAW AND JUSTICE LEADER, JAROSLAW KACZYNSKI, SAYING: "The law will be respected, we will pursue the truth. But no revenge, no negative emotions, no personal games or personal settling of scores. (There will be) no kicking of those who have fallen, even if they are responsible for their own fall and deserved it." Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz conceded the defeat. If the exit poll is correct, the eurosceptic party's win would be the biggest in terms of seats by a single party since Poland held free elections after abandoning communism in 1989. It would also mark a decisive swing to its brand of social conservativism mixed with left-leaning economics in the country of 38 million people.
VIDEO-EU holds 'mini-summit' over migrant crisis |
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:28
As migrants continue to pour across the border from Serbia into Croatia, and many more waiting in the freezing cold to be registered in Slovenia... the European Union is searching for answers. As European leaders bicker over who is to blame for the crisis, Slovenia's premier warned on Sunday at an emergency 'mini-summit' in Brussels that the EU itself faces collapse --- IF the bloc can't agree on a plan to confront the influx of refugees. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER, MIRO CERAR, SAYING: "Europe is at stake now, and if we don't do all we can together to find a common solution and to deliver it, then this is the beginning of the end of the EU and Europe as such." They're discussing a 16-point plan that could, among other things, send hundreds of border guards to the western Balkan border -- IF the EU's frontier states drop their policy of giving migrants passage to other countries. But a broader common policy is still not in hand and this this latest meeting is trying to heal a rift --- over whether to welcome more migrants or toughen up the EU's external borders.
VIDEO-Slovenia sees end to EU if leaders fail on migrant plan | Reuters
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 13:56
By Robin Emmott and Ivana Sekularac
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union faces collapse if the bloc cannot agree on a plan to confront the sudden influx of refugees through the Balkans, Slovenia's premier warned on Sunday as leaders bickered over who was to blame for the crisis.
Nine days after Hungary's move to seal its southern border drove unprecedented migrant flows into tiny Slovenia, Prime Minister Miro Cerar sent out a dramatic call to fellow central and eastern leaders in Brussels for emergency talks.
"If we don't find a solution today, if we don't do everything we can today, then it is the end of the European Union as such," Cerar said.
"If we don't deliver concrete action, I believe Europe will start falling apart," he told reporters.
Fleeing war and oppression to seek a new life in Germany and northern Europe, refugees have continued to come through the western Balkans and have shifted west into Slovenia after Hungary's border fencing was completed. Since Oct. 17, more than 62,000 migrants have arrived in Slovenia, with some 14,000 still passing through the country on Sunday.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was unrepentant, describing his country as an "observer" in the crisis since the border closures and that he had no advice to give other leaders.
But such apparent detachment was not shared by many at the meeting. Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov quoted U.S. independence hero Benjamin Franklin saying: "If we don't stick together we will hang separately."
With winter approaching, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU's chief executive, called the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia to Brussels to seek a common approach.
More than 680,000 migrants and refugees have crossed to Europe by sea so far this year from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Following years of economic crisis, Europe's governments are struggling to cope with an influx of people from countries including Syria, where Russia's intervention has complicated efforts to end nearly five years of civil war.
Despite an agreed framework to relocate some migrants already in Europe, a broader common policy is still embryonic, with this latest meeting trying to heal a rift over whether to welcome more migrants or toughen up the EU's external borders.
In a 16-point plan seen by Reuters, leaders will try to balance their approach, likely agreeing to send 400 border guards to the western Balkan border if the EU's frontier states drop their policy of giving arrivals passage to other countries.
Cerar said Croatia, which has already seen some 230,000 migrants pass through since mid-September, was still waiving migrants through into Slovenia without alerting Slovenia authorities.
In the draft statement, the leaders seek to speed up repatriations of people from South Asia, namely Afghanistan and Pakistan, whose asylum requests are rejected because they are simply seeking a better life and not fleeing war or oppression.
Germany, which has troops in Afghanistan helping to stabilize the country under a NATO mission, wants the European Commission to negotiate an agreement on returning people to Afghanistan whose asylum applications have been rejected.
"We commit to immediately increase our efforts to manage our borders," the draft said, which, if formalized, would also mean more ships off Greece to deter people traffickers, more land border checks in Macedonia and more money for border control.
Even with agreement on the 16-point plan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that there would be no solution without Turkey, which was not invited to the meeting.
"We will not solve the refugee problem completely, we need, among other things, further talks with Turkey for that," Merkel said. "Only with Turkey we can switch illegality to legality. It is very important that the (European) Commission discusses further the migration agenda with Turkey," she said.
Brussels has presented Ankara with a so-called action plan in which Turkey receives EU funding to absorb more migrants fleeing Syria in return for easier travel rules to Europe and a broadening of long-running talks on eventual Turkish membership of the bloc.
That could mean the European Union sending some 3 billion euros ($3.31 billion) in aid.
($1 = 0.9077 euros)
(Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Tom Korkemeier in Brussels, Madeline Chambers in Berlin, Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade, Isla Binnie in Rome, Marja Novak and Maja Zuvela in Ljubljana; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
VIDEO-Hawaii woman freezes to death after apparently getting locked in - CBS46 News
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 01:43
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -A former Hawaii resident was killed earlier this week in Las Vegas after apparently getting locked inside a cryotherapy chamber, according to KSNV, the NBC news affiliate in Las Vegas.
The victim was identified as Chelsea Ake, 24.
The incident occurred at a cryotherapy clinic called Rejuvenice; employees made the tragic discovery.
Ake was the manager of the business.
The cryo-chambers are used as a therapy tool to cool the body. Patients are exposed to extremely cold, dry air for two to four minutes in the chambers, where temperatures can reach minus 240 degrees.
Ake was found inside a chamber at least 10 hours after she entered it, officials tell KSNV.
Authorities say Ake may have been operating the machine without assistance and may have suffocated.
Friends have been expressing condolences and prayers on Ake's Facebook page since her death.
Copyright 2015 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.
VIDEO-PressTV-Daesh crushes Syria soldier by tank: Video
Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:06
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The Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group has released new footage purportedly showing the execution of a Syrian soldier in the central province of Homs.
The video was released on October 24.
The Syrian soldier, identified as Fadi Amr al-Zaydan, worked for the intelligence department of the Syrian air force when he was detained.
The 19-year-old was from the village of Sian in the Jableh area of the western province of Latakia.
The execution was, according to the terrorist group, filmed in the city of Homs.
The video shows the Syrian soldier being tied down, clad in orange. A tank is afterward seen rolling in his direction and crushing him under its treads.
On Saturday, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that it had received information in September that Daesh would execute Syrian government forces by running them over with tanks.
In a footage that emerged in July, the terrorist group executed 25 Syrian soldiers in the ancient city of Palmyra.
The executioners that seemed to be teenagers shot dead the soldiers dressed in green and brown military uniforms on the stage of the city's amphitheater.
The militants have so far released several similar video clips showing the execution of captives from different countries, including Egypt, the United States, Britain, and Japan. The hostages, including aid workers and journalists, were usually dressed in orange jumpsuits, reminiscent of the ones inmates wear in US prisons set up for holding ''terror'' prisoners.
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Clips & Documents

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