Coptic Christian girls sexually abused to make them convert to Islam
A video was received by a group calling itself "Free Copts". It shows an incident in which a Coptic Christian girl was sexually abused in an attempt to Islamize her. She belonged to a large and wealthy family of Christian Copts living in Minia in upper Egypt. One of her Muslim neighbors induced her to go to his house. Upon arriving there she was surprised to find a group of young Muslim males. They forced her to go with them to a nearby house. They threatened to kill her if she made any noise or cried for help. They forcibly took her clothes from her and videoed her completely naked next to one of the young men. The plan was to blackmail her into marrying him by informing her and her family that the tape would be made public unless she did so. They also threatened her with the same fate as had befallen another girl not far away, a girl who had been raped by 8 Muslim men, murdered, and had her body dumped in a nearby graveyard. The police and the prosecuting authority let those 8 men go free. The ringleader of the men in this video was supposed to receive a reward of 30,000 Egyptian pounds from a mosque in El Manya if they managed to get the girl to convert to Islam. The four men in the video are habitual criminals who constantly rob the shops and businesses of the Christian Copts. The girl eventually escaped back to her family. The men then tried to extort money from them.
This is one of the methods Muslims are using to Islamize Egypt -- they kidnap young Christian girls, rape them, force them to convert to Islam. Sometimes they are forced to marry old Muslim men who keep them as hostages for their sexual gratification and kill them when they are of no further use."
Warning; very graphic video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDacjKKkKSk
Forensic evidence emerges: European e.coli superbug was bioengineered to produce fatalities
Even as the veggie blame game is now under way across the EU, where a super resistant strain of e.coli is sickening patients and filling hospitals in Germany, virtually no one is talking about how e.coli could have magically become resistant to eight different classes of antibiotic drugs and then suddenly appeared in the food supply.
This particular e.coli variation is a member of the O104 strain, and O104 strains are almost never (normally) resistant to antibiotics. In order for them to acquire this resistance, they must be repeatedly exposed to antibiotics in order to provide the "mutation pressure" that nudges them toward complete drug immunity.
So if you're curious about the origins of such a strain, you can essentially reverse engineer the genetic code of the e.coli and determine fairly accurately which antibiotics it was exposed to during its development. This step has now been done (see below), and when you look at the genetic decoding of this O104 strain now threatening food consumers across the EU, a fascinating picture emerges of how it must have come into existence.
Iran has secretly stocked enriched uranium for four nuclear bombs
The Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, American's scientific watchdog on world nuclear weapons production, estimates that by Dec. 2008, Iran had accumulated enough U-235 to fuel one nuclear bomb; by 2009, enough for a second, by August 2010 material for a third bomb and by April 2011, enough enriched uranium for a fourth bomb.
These estimates presuppose an Iranian decision to further process low-enriched material to weapons grade - a process taking no more than a couple of months.
Iran, says the Wisconsin Project, is consolidating its status as a "virtual" nuclear weapon state – meaning it can set about building a bomb whenever its rulers so decide.
In its twice-annual report published Thursday, June 2, Wisconsin revealed three further developments in Iran's nuclear drive:
1. Since November 2010, when Iran stopped enriching uranium in all cascades at the Natanz plant for about a week (the report does not give the reason for the stoppage – possibly a Stuxnet virus invasion of its computer control system), the enrichment rate has increased. The 5,000 centrifuges spinning in February 2011 increased to nearly 6,000 in May 2011.
debkafile's Iranian sources add: Prof. Ferei-doon Abbasi Davani has taken over as director of the enrichment complex at Natanz. He was formerly in charge of combating the Stuxflex worm. Last November, Prof. Abbasi Dayani escaped with light injuries from an attack by a pair of motorcyclists who attached a sticky bomb to his car. It occurred near the Imam Hossein University in Tehran where most of Iran's secret nuclear labs are located.
2. Wisconsin quotes the International Atomic Energy Agency's May 2011 report that one of its seals was broken in the "feed and withdrawal area" of the Natanz enrichment plant.
This means that Iran took action to conceal the real amount of is enriched uranium stockpile from the nuclear watchdog and the fact, as Wisconsin reports, that it has accumulated enough material for building four nuclear bombs. Its steady progress will go undetected until the next IAEA inventory in October or November.
debkafile's intelligence sources point out that Tehran has won a period of six to seven months for keeping its nuclear activities hidden from oversight with no one in the West or in Israel able to find out what is going on at the Natanz enrichment plant.
3. Wisconsin goes on to state: "Uncertainties about the number of centrifuges operated by Iran make it difficult to draw a conclusion about the performance of individual machines." More machines may be switched on when IAEA inspectors are not present while less, more advanced centrifuges, may take over after the inspection is over.
Our sources stress that these revelations are highly pertinent to the controversy taking place in Israel over the surprising comments by ex-Mossad Director Meir Dagan.
Dubbed "Mister Stop the Bomb" for reputedly directing covert operations that held off Iran's nuclear threat for five or six years – though this may an exaggeration - Dagan suddenly began speaking out strongly against any Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program. Wednesday, June 1, he implicitly warned that such an attack would precipitate a regional war in which Israel would fare badly.
Israel's political and defense establishments have always had their doves but Dagan is sounding one like for the first time.
The controversy around his comments reflects a similar argument afoot in US political and defense circles over whether the time has come to smash Iran's nuclear capability or stand by and let the Islamic Republic becomes a "virtual nuclear weapon state."
Syria: President Bashar al-Assad's sadistic regime tortures 13 year old
Syrian boy burned, kneecapped, genitals removed
Devotedly washed and sprinkled with rose petals, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb lies prepared for burial.
But the rituals of death cannot wipe away the horrific injuries that have mutilated his body almost beyond recognition.
Nor do they blot out that Hamza - riddled with bullets, kneecapped and with neck broken and penis hacked off - has the rounded cheeks and gentle face of a child.
At 13, he is one of the youngest known victims of Syria's ruthless crackdown on protesters who have tried to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The teenager's family were told not to speak of his terrible fate. But in a pitiful act of defiance, they posted the footage of his corpse online.
The action led to his father being arrested last week. His whereabouts are unknown.
Posted on YouTube, the video is accompanied by a chilling commentary which details the worst of Hamza's dreadful wounds.
Egyptian official: We DID conduct 'virginity tests' during pro-democracy protests
Muslim girl, 19, 'stoned to death after taking part in beauty contest'
A teenage Muslim girl was stoned to death under 'Sharia law' after taking part in a beauty contest in Ukraine.
Katya Koren, 19, was found dead in a village in the Crimea region near her home.
Friends said she liked wearing fashionable clothes and had come seventh in a beauty contest.
Her battered body was buried in a forest and was found a week after she disappeared.
Police have opened a murder investigation and are looking into claims that three Muslim youths killed her, claiming her death was justified under Islam.
One of the three - named as 16-year-old Bihal Gaziev - is under arrest and told police that Katya had 'violated the laws of Sharia'. Gaziev has said he has no regrets about her death.
Stoning is a divisive subject among Muslims, with some groups interpreting it as Islamic law and others disagreeing.
According to Amnesty International's annual report on death sentences worldwide, issued in April, there were no reports of judicial executions carried out by stoning in 2010.
However, new death sentences by stoning were reportedly imposed in Iran, the Bauchi state of Nigeria and Pakistan.
At least 10 women and four men remained under sentence of death by stoning at the end of the year in Iran, where adultery is the only crime which carries that penalty under Sharia law.
Saudi Facebook campaign calls for men to beat women drivers
A campaign on Facebook is calling for Saudi men to beat women who plan to drive cars in a protest next month, AFP reports.
"The Iqal Campaign: June 17 for preventing women from driving" advocates a cord be used to beat women who plan to drive. Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
Some 6,000 people have "liked" the campaign on Facebook.
It was created in response to female activist Manal al-Sharif, who created a page calling for Saudi women to defy the driving ban on June 17.
The Facebook page, called "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself," was removed after more than 12,000 people indicated their support. The campaign's Twitter account also was deactivated.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women — both Saudi and foreign — from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
Welcome to Obama's Nanny State: USDA fines family four million dollars for selling bunny rabbits
When the Dollarhite family of Nixa, Mo., first started raising and selling bunnies as part of a lesson to teach their teenage son about responsibility and hard work, they had no idea they would eventually meet the heavy hand of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to a recent article covered in Breitbart's Big Government, the USDA recently ordered the Dollarhite family to pay more than $90,000 in fines because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a year -- and if they fail to pay the fine by Monday, May 23, the fine will multiply to nearly $4 million.
It all started back in 2006 when John Dollarhite and his wife Judy rescued two rabbits that ended up breeding. The family cared for and raised the new rabbits, and eventually began to sell them to neighbors, friends, and others for $10 or $15 each. Having started by first selling the animals for meat, and later for show, the Dollarhites carefully and humanely raised the small creatures on their three-acre homestead, all while teaching their son honest values in a business environment similar to running a small lemonade stand.
Eventually, the Dollarhites developed such a highly-respected reputation across Missouri that the popular Branson, Mo., theme park Silver Dollar City, and even a local pet store, Petland, began purchasing bunnies from the family in 2009. And according to John, individuals from both Silver Dollar City and Petland, as well as a rabbit competition judge, told him that the family's bunnies were among the best they had ever seen -- healthy, beautiful, and very well-cared for.
All seemed well until a USDA inspector showed up at the family's home in the fall of 2009, and asked to do a "spot inspection" of the rabbitry. The inspector made no indication that anything was amiss, but only that she wished to see the facility. After meandering the premises, the inspector claimed that a few very insignificant aspects of the raising facility were in violation of USDA standards, even though the Dollarhites were not USDA certified, nor were they required to be. She then asked if the Dollarhites wished to be part of the voluntary USDA certification system, upon which they told her they would look into it.
After the inspector left, the Dollarhites heard nothing more from the USDA until January 2010 when a Kansas City-based USDA inspector called the family and said he needed to have a meeting with them because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a single year. When the Dollarhites asked why this was a problem and what law this violated, the man refused to offer an explanation over the phone.
Upon meeting in person, the inspector said he was only there to investigate the rabbitry and take notes for a report, upon which he instructed the family to contact another USDA office if they failed to hear anything further from the USDA after six weeks. As the eighth week arrived without any communication, John called the office and was redirected to the Washington, DC, office where a lady shockingly and bluntly explained to him that she had his report, and that the USDA planned to prosecute him and his family "to the maximum that we can" in order to "make an example" out of him.
Shortly thereafter, the Dollarhites received a letter from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ordering them to pay a fine of $90,643 for supposedly violating a mystery law that prohibits the selling of more then $500 in rabbits within a year, even though the Dollarhites were in full accordance with Missouri state law, did not sell their rabbits across state lines, and raised their rabbits humanely and in excess of minimum requirements. The letter outlined that the Dollarhites had until May 23 to pay the exorbitant fine, or else face additional fines totaling nearly $4 million -- all for selling about $4,600 worth of rabbits that netted the family a mere $200 in profits.
The whole scenario proves, once again, that the USDA is nothing more than a tag-team terrorist duo with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both agencies' insatiable lust for power and control over private affairs is never satisfied, as they continue to prowl around like bloodthirsty predators seeking whoever and whatever they can devour. When will Americans finally stand up to their tyranny and say enough is enough?
Double Digit Inflation Has Arrived
New inflation figures were released by the government last week, and the news was not good. The headline inflation number was 3.2% in the 12 months that ended in April. That is more than a percent above the Federal Reserve’s “target” rate of 2% and the first time it has been more than 3% in over than 2 ½ years. Of course, the accounting gimmicks used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) understate true inflation, so things look better than reality. Nonetheless, in the latest report from economist John Williams of Shadowstats.com, even the government’s own “official” numbers will likely show double digit inflation in the next three months or so. The reason is continued money printing in the form of another round of Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Fed to prop up the struggling economy. Williams said, “The underlying pace of official inflation is accelerating, and could move into double-digits in third-quarter 2011. Preceding or coincident with that likely will have been some move to QE3 by the Fed and intense—if not panicked—selling of the U.S. dollar and dollar-denominated assets. Such a circumstance could be a base from which a hyperinflation might begin to unfold with some rapidity.”
And get this, inflation is already in double digits, according to Williams, if it was calculated the way BLS did it more than 30 years ago. Williams said, “. . . based on reporting of 1980, the April 2011 annual inflation rate would have been about 10.7%.” But, the double digit inflation story is not the one the mainstream media likes to tell. Instead, it usually focuses on what the government calls “core” inflation that excludes food and energy. The “core” inflation rate is .2%. Who lives in a world where the core of existence is not food and energy? A .2% core inflation rate is both preposterous and insulting to anyone living in the real world.
White House Insider: Eric Holder Is Gonna Fall
First up is Eric Holder. He is gonna fall. Watch for Holder news – it’s coming. They are gonna fight hard to keep him in there. He’s done a hell of a job keeping the lid on so much sh-t. But that’s about to change. I ain’t saying I trust Issa, but it’s been explained to me that he knows that he’s doing and it’s getting done. So ok…I’ll see if that’s the case. Then it’s on to 2012 with the information in hand that will be the result of Holder stepping down from the DOJ. It’s gonna be a race to get it out there before the election, but we sure as hell are gonna try. And even if Obama manages to get his re-election, we will cripple him politically…we will trip him up enough, that his second term will be nowhere near the threat to the country that this one has been. And he may not be able to complete that second term. The information that will be forced into the hands of the media, the people, the party leaders, the donors…the man thinks he’s under political pressure now? Just wait. They made a big mistake, and we got them. We got them…
Bin Laden's sea burial backfires:
Radical Muslims already renaming Arabian Sea location 'Martyr's Sea'
Radical Muslims are already calling the site of Osama bin Laden’s ocean burial the ‘Martyr’s Sea’, according to one of Britain’s leading Islamic scholars.
The US said the decision to drop bin Laden’s body into the North Arabian Sea was taken to avoid creating a shrine for the slain Al Qaeda chief.
But Abdal Hakim Murad, Muslim Chaplain at Cambridge University, claimed yesterday that the move could backfire on the Americans.
Speaking on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program, he said it was ‘disappointing’ that bin Laden wasn’t taken into custody.
‘By tipping him into the sea, the Americans may have created a kind of shrine. Some radicals are already calling the Arabian Sea the Martyr’s Sea,’ he said.
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
They just don't get it: Why do US officials link Bin Laden killing with the Arab Revolt?
Repeated statements by US officials that the Navy Seals' special operation took place without Pakistani knowledge sounds like a hollow attempt to absolve Islamabad of involvement in the killing of the arch terrorist in the eyes of the Muslim world.
US President Obama said he received his first lead to bin Laden's whereabouts last August. Why then did it take nine months for him to order the targeted operation? And why did the US intelligence and military need all that time to prepare it?
They are only two of the puzzling questions surrounding the episode. Might the answers lie in its juxtaposition with the Arab Revolt, or Arab Spring, which flared first in Tunisia in December 2010, then spread to Egypt and played out in February 2011 and flared in Syria in April 2011?
Was al Qaeda's spirit and mastermind eliminated before his networks could move in on the national and Islamic struggles which are still unfolding in Tunis, Cairo, Tripoli and Damascus?
The linkage was drawn by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her first statement on the master-terrorist's death Monday: "…history would record that bin Laden's death had come at a time when peoples in the Middle East and North Africa were rejecting the extremist narrative and were standing up for freedom and democracy."
Obama's adviser on terror John Brennan said later: "I would hope that the people of the Middle East will understand that the time for terror is over."
Guantanamo leak reveals nuclear threat lurking in Europe if OBL captured or assassinated
Secret files have revealed that terrorists claim to be hiding a nuclear bomb in Europe, according to WikiLeaks.
An al-Qaeda commander claims that a such a dirty bomb will apparently be detonated if Osama bin Laden is captured or assassinated.
The files also reveal only one in three detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was classed as a dangerous terrorist.
About half were foot soldiers and one in five was innocent.
The documents, shown to a number of newspapers, detail the interrogations of the 780 people who have passed through the US detention camp in Cuba.
Information that they provided during interrogations is also listed. About 220 of those detained were assessed as dangerous international terrorists, while about 380 are judged to be lower-level troops.
At least 150 people were held and assessed but released because of a lack of evidence, according to the files.
More than 100 al-Qaeda terrorists are said to have been held at the centre, the most senior being Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
He is accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks and faces a military tribunal this year. Sheikh Mohammed’s file is said to state: ‘Detainee had numerous plots and plans for operations targeting the US, its allies, and interests worldwide.
‘Targeting priorities were determined by initially assessing those that would have the greatest economic impact, and secondly which would awaken people politically.’
Al-Qaeda's Plan To Bomb Flights to UK From Pakistan
The Al-Qaeda terrorist organization seeks to destroy airline flights departing from Pakistan to the U.K. by smuggling liquid explosives onboard, The Nation in Pakistan reports. The newspaper says that the plans for the attacks have already been drawn up and have been detected by an unnamed intelligence service.
According to The Nation, Al-Qaeda is trying to assemble an explosive with no metal components in order to evade airport security. The terrorist group remains fixated on targeting airliners and airports. Last year, operatives in Europe were arrested for allegedly planning shooting attacks on airports and in October, a plot to blow up two UPS cargo planes using modified ink cartridges was foiled.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, claimed credit for the bomb plots and said that it was still a success even if they did not detonate because of the cost to the Western economies. The group claimed it only cost them $4,200 and took three months to prepare. Al-Qaeda’s enemies would now have to undertake expensive security measures in response to the new tactic, the group explained.
The group also said in its online English-language magazine that their strategy had changed. Now, they would focus on “attacking the enemy with smaller, but more frequent operations is what some may refer to as the strategy of a thousand cuts. The aim is to bleed the enemy to death.”
On September 22, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, said that “[Plots against the homeland] have surpassed the number and pace of attacks during any year since 9/11.” He also said that capability of terrorists to carry out attacks in the homeland is increasing.
'Wear a headscarf or we will kill you':
'London Taliban' is threatening women and trying to ban gays in bid to impose sharia law
Women who do not wear headscarves are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing sharia law on parts of Britain, it was claimed today.
Other targets of the 'Talibanesque thugs', being investigated by police in the Tower Hamlets area of London, include homosexuals.
Stickers have been plastered on public walls stating: 'Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment'.
It is believed Muslim extremists are behind a spate of attacks being investigated by police, according to the Sunday Times.
An Asian woman who works in a pharmacy in east London was told to dress more modestly and wear a veil or the shop would be boycotted.
When she went to the media to talk about the abuse she suffered, a man later entered the pharmacy and told her: 'If you keep doing these things, we are going to kill you'.
The 31-year-old, who is not a practising Muslim, said she has since been told to take holiday by the pharmacy owners and now fears she may lose her job.
She said: 'Why should I wear a hijab (headscarf) or burqa? I haven't done anything wrong.'
Other incidents reported include the placing of stickers across the white-minority borough which state it is a 'gay-free zone' and the daubing of paint on posters for clothing shop H&M featuring women in bikinis.
Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, told The Sunday Times that the intimidation was the work of 'Talibanesque thugs'.
He added: 'This minority think they have the right to impose their fringe interpretation of Islam on others.'
Three men have been charged with religiously-aggravated criminal damage in connection with some of the incidents, which have mirrored crude attempts at censorship in Birmingham.
Critics: Defamation Rule Designed to Guard Islam
A group of Muslim nations called the Organization of the Islamic Conference are claiming they designed a United Nation's defamation resolution to guard all religions against defamation.
Human rights advocates have long opposed the measure because it targeted speech rather than behavior and because it protected the rights one religion, Islam, rather than individuals.
While the most recent push was recently dropped by U.N. Human Rights Council, rights groups warn the OIC will likely bring back the defamation resolution in the future.
"This effort led by the Pakistanis was designed to give U.N. cover to their blasphemy law and similar laws in other Islamic nations," CBN News International Correspondent Gary Lane said.
In Pakistan, a blasphemy law has been used to persecute Christians and other religious minorities.
"Simple Christian activities like praying, worshipping, and sharing one's belief in Jesus Christ with a neighbor can be interpreted as offensive and therefore restricted," Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, said.
In recent months, Islamic hard-liners murdered Pakistan's Minister of Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer for speaking out against the nation's blasphemy law.
Pakistan's Muslim leaders praised the killings, sparking an international outcry.
Lane suggests that global pressure might have played a role in influencing Pakistani leaders to drop their support for the defamation resolution.
"In light of the recent assassinations of Taseer and Bhatti, few countries would have supported an anti-defamation resolution because those murders really demonstrated the harsh and dark nature of those laws and the regimes that support them," he explained.
This year's resolution is based on terms advocated by Western religious rights groups.
While it emphasizes protecting individuals from discrimination or violence because of their faith, religious rights advocates say it too could be used to stifle religious freedom.
Bombshell--declassified documents show Oklahoma City bombing done by Muslims
For many years investigative reporters have suspected that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols did not act alone in perpetrating the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 168 Americans and injured hundred more. According to newly-released documents, formerly classified, those suspcions were correct. The bombing was the work of Muslim terrorists. In a report released April 5 by the Center for Public Integrity, the FBI sat on explosive information indicating that the bombing was ordered by the Iraqi Special Services unit.
In addition, the report states that the FBI used an unnamed ABC news reporter as an informant who passed along critical information, which again was withheld from the public.
According to the Center for Public Integrity:
The journalist “advised that a source within the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service advised that the Oklahoma City bombing was sponsored by the Iraqi Special Services who contracted seven (7) former Afghani Freedom Fighters out of Pakistan,” an April 17, 1996 FBI memo states, recounting the then-ABC journalist’s interview with FBI agents a year earlier on the evening of the April 19, 1995 bombing. (The Iraqi connection, of course, never materialized.).
But the assumption that the Iraqi connection never materialized appears to be more opinion than fact.
The formerly classified documents suggest a definite connection between the bombing and Middle Eastern terrorists. Utah lawyer Jesse Trentadue has been researching the Oklahoma City case since 1995 and discovered the documents in a box kept by attorneys who are working for alleged co-conspirator Terry Nichols:
The memo was recently discovered by Utah lawyer Jesse Trentadue, who has spent years researching the Oklahoma City case trying to prove a connection between the terrorist bombing and the death of his brother in an Oklahoma prison in the summer of 1995.
The root of the memo lies in Trentadue’s relationship with Terry Nichols, one of the defendants convicted in the 1995 terror attack, who is serving life in prison. Trentadue recently found the document — unredacted and still marked secret — in a box of documents gathered by Nichols’ defense attorneys.
But the evidence only gets stronger. Debbie Schlussel reports the following bombshell:
As I noted recently, there was previously a lot of evidence that the Oklahoma City was the work of Islamic terrorists, including the presence of McVeigh associate and Iraqi agentHussain Al-Hussaini, whom the FBI confirmed was seen with McVeigh throughout the planning of the attack, including when McVeigh rented the vehicle used in the bombing. Most of this evidence was dug up and brought out by Ms. Davis, a then-Oklahoma City television reporter, whose book, “The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing,” is a must-read.
These facts raise more questions than provide answers. Why was this information withheld from the public? Why was information connecting the OKC bombing to Muslim terrorists classified as top secret? Who gave the order for such a thing to be done? Did the Bill Clinton White House know of these facts, and if so, was the order to classify the information given the very top of the government?
ElBaradei: We'll fight back if Israel attacks Gaza
In an interview with the Al-Watan newspaper he said: "In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza - as the next president of Egypt – I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement."
He also stated that "Israel controls Palestinian soil" adding that that "there has been no tangible breakthrough in reconciliation process because of the imbalance of power in the region - a situation that creates a kind of one way peace."
Discussing his agenda for Egypt, ElBaradei said that distribution of income between the different classes in Egypt would be his most important priority if he were to win the upcoming elections.
ELBaradei's main competition is Arab League Secretary General and former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa. Last month he discussed Egypt's relationship with Israel. "During my term in office the foreign ministry was subject to unfavorable policies from Israel with regards to the peace agreement," Said Moussa who served as foreign minister 1991-2001," he said.
"We thought the peace process was like a waterwheel – endlessly turning around and around without reaching a defined point. My opinion was that we needed to be honest with the Israelis, taking determined measures within the framework of the foreign ministry's operations. Maybe this led to a lack of agreement on all Israel related issues."
Koran Protests Spread to Turbulent Afghan East
Demonstrators battled police in southern Afghanistan's main city on Sunday and took to the streets in the turbulent east for the first time as Western pleas failed to halt the third day of rage over a Florida pastor's burning of the Koran.
Officers and protesters skirmished for the second straight day in the city of Kandahar, leaving two officers and 18 civilians hurt, provincial health director Qayum Pokhla told The Associated Press.
In Jalalabad, the largest city in the east, hundreds of people blocked the main highway for three hours, shouting for U.S. troops to leave, burning an effigy of President Barack Obama and stomping on a drawing of a U.S. flag. More than 1,000 people set tires ablaze to block the highway in eastern Parwan province for about an hour, provincial police chief Sher Ahmad Maladani said.
Resentment has been building for years here over the operations of Western military forces, blamed for killing and mistreating civilians, and international contractors, seen by many as enriching themselves and fueling corruption at the expense of ordinary Afghans.
Coverage of the ongoing trial of a group of U.S. soldiers' charged with killings of Afghan civilians and the publication of photos of some posing with dead bodies fueled that anger, which violently erupted Friday in a protest over the little-publicized destruction of the Koran last month.
Thousands of demonstrators in the previously peaceful northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif poured into the streets after Friday prayers and overran a U.N. compound, killing three U.N. staff members and four Nepalese guards.
On Saturday, hundreds of Afghans holding copies of the Korran over their heads marched in Kandahar before starting to attack cars and businesses. Security forces opened fire and nine protesters were killed but the governor of Kandahar said officers had only fired into the air. He said 81 were wounded and 17 people, including seven armed men, had been arrested.
Military commander Gen. David Petraeus and the top NATO civilian representative in Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, said that they "hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the Holy Koran, are not representative of any of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people."
The Taliban said in a statement emailed to media outlets that the U.S. and other Western countries had wrongly excused the burning of the Koran on March 20 as freedom of speech and that Afghans "cannot accept this un-Islamic act."
"Afghan forces under the order of the foreign forces attacked unarmed people during the protests, killing them and arresting some, saying there were armed people among these protesters, which was not true," the Taliban said.
The governor of Kandahar said he and the main leaders of the protests in the southern city had reached an agreement that would end the demonstrations. He did not provide details.
Threats Claim Nuclear Bombs Hidden All Over U.S. By Al-Qaeda
The threats came in the mail and to date, there have been 25 letters that warn of nuclear bombs destroying America.
People who got them called the FBI and CBS 2′s Kristyn Hartman learned, the Bureau’s Chicago office is leading the investigation.
FBI Special Agent Andre Zavala said, “Yes, they alarmed a lot of people.”
Attorney Tracy Rizzo was alarmed. A number of days ago, an envelope, with a Chicago postmark and a hand-written address to her private investigations firm, came in the mail.
The letter inside said, “The Al-Qaeda organization has planted 160 nuclear bombs throughout the U.S. in schools, stadiums, churches, stores, financial institutions and government buildings.” It also said, “This is a suicide mission for us.”
The writer, who claims to be Osama Bin Laden, tells the reader the nukes are remotely controlled. “It was clear the writer wanted to scare me,” said Rizzo, “Yes, it frightened me.” Rizzo was one of eight people in the Chicago area to contact the FBI.
Agencies in Oregon, California, Texas and Florida also got the letter with the Chicago postmark.
“There are items in the letter that lead us to believe it is a hoax,” said Zavala. “There are several demands documented that aren’t fully coherent.”
He said much of what’s in the message doesn’t add up, but in a post 9-11 world, the FBI can’t let it go – even if it does appear to be a hoax.
“The FBI investigates every element. We can’t take that chance,” said Zavala.
So, why the threats?
The writer alluded to how families in Afghanistan have to live. The FBI said it will find that writer, and when it does, he could face 5 to 10 years in prison for each letter mailed. Anyone who’s received a similar letter should call the FBI.
An Economic Recovery? Sorry Obama, No Way!
There are over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps; 13.1% higher than it was just one year ago.
The number of new home sales in January was 18.6% lower than the number of new home sales in January 2010.
According to Gallup, unemployment in the United States rose to 10.3% at the end of February.
The U.S. government is either writing or guaranteeing well over 90 percent of all mortgages.
In 2010, more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure for the first time ever, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.
Due to rampant economic decay and record numbers of foreclosures there are areas in most of our major cities that now look like "war zones".
U.S. drivers spent an average of $347 on gasoline during the month of February, which was 30 percent more than a year earlier.
The U.S. trade deficit continues to grow. The trade deficit was about 33 percent larger in 2010 than it was in 2009, and the 2011 trade deficit is expected to be even bigger.
Due to rampant economic decay and record numbers of foreclosures there are areas in most of our major cities that now look like "war zones". There are approximately 60,000 vacant houses and apartments in the city of Las Vegas alone.
The federal budget deficit for this fiscal year will be a new all-time record 1.65 trillion dollars. It is hard to even imagine how much money that is. If you went out today and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you over 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars. Long ago the U.S. government should have been getting these deficits under control, but instead they are just getting even larger.
The truth is that there is no sign that any of the long-term trends that are destroying the U.S. economy are even slowing down.
Millions of jobs continue to be shipped overseas.
The U.S. dollar continues to be devalued.
The federal government continues to go into more debt.
State and local governments continue to go into more debt.
Our trade deficit continues to grow.
Our cities continue to be transformed into wastelands as they are being systematically deindustrialized.
The number of Americans that are dependent on the government continues to soar.
The U.S. middle class continues to shrink.
I know that I harp on these themes over and over, but it is vitally important that everyone understands that the mainstream media is lying to us.
The U.S. economy is dying a very painful death and there is no hope on the horizon.
Things are not going to be getting better. Well, they may get a bit better for the boys down on Wall Street, but for the rest of us our standards of living are going to continue to decline.
The best days for the U.S. economy are already behind us. What lies ahead is a whole lot of pain.
We are going to pay the price for decades of corruption and incompetence.
An economic collapse is coming and you had better get ready.
Top two Iranian opposition leaders secretly jailed. Obama fails to act
House on Monday, Feb. 28, said the U.S. "strongly condemns the Iranian government's organized intimidation campaign…" After a human-rights group reported that two opposition figures had been moved from where they were detained under house arrest to an unknown location, the White House accused the Iranian government in general terms of, "blatant violation of the universal rights of its citizens…" as well as "blocking Internet sites and jamming satellite transmissions."
The disappearance of Iran's two most prominent opposition figures, Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, was not mentioned in the White House statement.
debkafile's Iranian sources reveal here that both have been secretly jailed at the infamous Parchin prison.
Thursday night, Feb. 24, they were taken from their Tehran homes, beaten, concealed in large sacks and carried in armored police vehicles to one of Iran's hellhole prisons. Inmates of Parchin are rarely seen again. Their wives have also disappeared to "an unknown location."
They were seized so suddenly that their fellow activists thought they were still at home under protracted house arrest. They soon discovered that the Moussavi and Karroubi residences were dark and deserted and their families nowhere to be seen. The guards were also gone.
The dreaded "top security" Parchin prison is reserved for the regime's boldest political and ideological dissidents, as well spies accused of threatening Iranian state security and foreign captives of the regime. According to reliable intelligence sources, the Israeli navigator captured in Lebanon 25 years ago and abducted to Iran was held at Parchin prison and never seen again. So too was the American Robert Levinson, who was arrested four years ago on a trip to Kish Island, although the Iranians deny they know what happened to him..
Situated almost next door to Iran's most secret nuclear laboratories, the prison's vicinity is one of the most heavily guarded sections of Tehran.
5 Dollar Gas? Get Ready (It's almost $10 a gallon in the U.K.)
One of the quickest ways to bring down the U.S. economy would be to dramatically increase the price of oil. Oil is the lifeblood of our economic system. Without it, our entire economy would come to a grinding halt. Almost every type of economic activity in this country depends on oil, and even a small rise in the price of oil can have a dramatic impact on economic growth. That is why so many economists are incredibly alarmed about what is happening in the Middle East right now. The revolution in Libya caused the price of WTI crude to soar more than 7 dollars on Tuesday alone. It closed at $93.57 on Tuesday and Brent crude actually hit $108.57 a barrel before settling back to $105.78 at the end of the day. Some analysts are warning that we could even see 5 dollar gas in the United States by the end of the year if rioting spreads to other oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia. With the Middle East in such a state of chaos right now it is hard to know exactly what is going to happen, but almost everyone agrees that if oil prices continue to rise at a rapid pace over the next several months it is going to have a devastating impact on economic growth all over the globe.
Right now the eyes of the world are on Libya. Libya is the 17th largest oil producer on the globe and it has the biggest proven oil reserves on the continent of Africa.
Libya only produces 2 percent of the oil in the world, but with global supplies so tight at the moment even a minor production disruption can have a dramatic impact on the price of oil.
--- U.K. motorists facing £6 a gallon at the pump due to Libya crisis
The cost of unleaded has broken the barrier in 267 forecourts already and the number is set to increase sharply over the next few days.
Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, the filling stations’ trade body, said motorists will be paying 10 pence a litre more by the end of April because of the looming increase in fuel duty and higher oil prices on the world market.
By the middle of next week £6 a gallon – or £1.32 a litre – will be the norm across Britain, Mr Madderson added.
With the Libya crisis pushing the cost of oil to its highest level on the world markets since August 2008, the cost of motoring, commuting and family holidays are also likely to rise to unprecedented levels.
At one point the price of Brent Crude spiked on the London market, hitting $119.79 a barrel – $8.54 higher than when trading started yesterday morning.
Obama Administration sides with Arabs against Jews
The Obama administration is expected to face a stern challenge of its foreign policy at the United Nations Security Council Friday if a draft resolution is voted on by members of the council. The Palestinian and Lebanese sponsored draft resolution condemns "the continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem..." It furthermore calls for all construction to be stopped.
Over the years the U.S. has almost always vetoed anti-Israel resolutions at the Security Council but ever-since Obama took power there have been reports that his administration could change course.
The administration had offered a last minute compromise to the Palestinians which according to reports would have seen it support a non-binding statement condemning Israeli settlement activity in return for the Palestinians dropping the resolution. The Palestinians refused the offer choosing to go ahead with the vote.
The Islamization of Egypt: Islamist judge to head new constitution committee
Tarek al-Bishry, the chairman of the constitutional panel, is a respected judge who criticised former president Hosni Mubarak and is regarded as moderate in his views. But he has been associated with Al-Wasat, an offshoot of the Brotherhood.
He has selected a committee made up mainly of judges and politicians, including a judge who is a Coptic Christian, but also a former Muslim Brotherhood MP. There are no women.
Wael Abbas, the best-known human rights blogger in Egypt, who was sentenced to prison by the Mubarak regime last year, said it was a "worrying" choice.
"There is no such thing as a moderate Islamist," he said. "We want a secular state that respects all religions and which belongs to all religions."
Mr Mubarak banned the Muslim Brotherhood and often warned that his regime was a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism, a claim repeatedly attacked by protesters on Tahrir Square in the days leading up to his removal from office.
The Brotherhood has said it does not intend to put forward a candidate at presidential elections, and does not want to institute Islamic rule, as in Iran. But it yesterday said it was in the process of forming a political party to represent its views in parliament.
In another sign of increased freedoms for Islamists, the Gama'a Islamiya, the radical group responsible for a wave of terror attacks in the 1990s, held a public meeting in a town in southern Egypt on Monday night, according to a local newspaper, Al-Masry al-Youm.
When the Supreme Military Council was formed to take over Mr Mubarak's duties last week, the role of Lt Gen Sami Enan, the chief of staff, was immediately welcomed by the Muslim Brotherhood – as well as by the United States, which said it regarded him as very "professional".
But the make-up of the new committee, and the fact it has been given just ten days to come up with a new constitution, has dashed hopes that it will remove Article 2, which makes Islam the state religion and says Shariah is the main source of law.
"Al-Bishry is a figure who is accepted by all Egyptians," said Aboul Ella al-Madi, leader of Al-Wasat. "He has criticised the Coptic Church but he has also criticised the Muslim Brotherhood and the former regime.
"The military council consulted widely before appointing him, and he had consensus support."
But Bishop Markos, a member of the Coptic Church's Holy Syndicate, said no one from the Military Council had been in touch since it came to power.
He said: "We do not know the result of this but we hope the committee will be wise enough to take into account the rights of all Egyptians."
Mr Abbas said protesters had wanted to see an end to Article 2 of the Constitution and that it was now clear the constitution would only be amended, not totally reformed.
"Islamists being on the committee is not going to help that," he said. "We want equality for all Egyptians, including Christians, Jews, Bahais, and those who consider themselves atheists.
"The army seems to have made some sort of deal with the Muslim Brotherhood."
Feds Let 9-11 Conspirator Escape
Take a close look at the date on this unused ticket to the World Trade Center observation deck: Sept. 10, 2001.
The macabre memento, purchased by Yemeni tobacco smuggler Taha "Saleh" Mutaher less than 24 hours before the Twin Towers went down, suggests that the ex-con knew about the pending 9/11 strikes, former NYPD terrorism cops say.
But Mutaher, who kept the ticket folded in his wallet and had access to flight manuals owned by a relative with whom he lived in Brooklyn, was never charged with terrorist crimes or even grilled by the feds, the ex-cops say.
They're furious about the lapse and want to know why nothing more was done.
"We think he had information that could have been valuable," one said. "We'd like to believe that the feds scooped up guys like Mutaher and took appropriate action. Unfortunately, they didn't do a thing. They were not proactive. They were not even reactive."
The former terrorism investigators -- who busted Mutaher in 2003 but were forced to hand him off to federal ATF agents -- are asking what happened to the Bay Ridge resident in light of last week's news that the FBI has been hunting for three suspects who might have helped the 9/11 plotters but got away.
Mutaher is not one of the three, but drew intense police scrutiny in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.
The 20-something immigrant was nabbed for running untaxed cigarettes to the city, pleaded guilty to contraband trafficking and did eight months in a federal prison in Virginia. He was ordered to pay $347,731 in restitution.
Mutaher was a key player in the multimillion-dollar cigarette scheme, which got the NYPD's attention after the department hastily formed an intelligence unit following 9/11 to identify suspected local collaborators.
The cops soon realized that Arabs dominated the city's tobacco bootlegging industry and they joined forces with the state's top tax investigator, Tom Stanton, who set up a fake cigarette-supply warehouse in Virginia to nail suspects in sting op erations.
They learned that the smugglers sent illicit cash to Hezbollah, and they suspected Hamas and al Qaeda also got funds. The team brought in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to apply pressure on the defendants by using tough federal contraband laws.
Suspicions about Mutaher were fueled by his attachment to the WTC ticket.
"He didn't give a s- -t about anything else," said a member of the NYPD team.
"That's all he wanted was his ticket back. His lawyer kept asking for it."
Two other Yemeni nationals who lived with him were also busted, including the relative who had two flight manuals.
Virginia prosecutor Dave Schiller put away Mutaher and told investigators he would be deported when released from prison in 2004, but the cops never learned what became of him.
They're convinced the feds fumbled the ball.
"He should have been looked at a lot more carefully," said a detective.
"They should have found out everything before he was turned loose. They had no clue."
Federal officials were no more forthcoming with The Post when asked about Mutaher.
They claimed they could not learn his current location, immigration status or history.
U.K.'s mosques caught teaching children to hate
Shocking footage of children apparently being hit by their teachers during lessons on the Koran will also be aired on Channel 4's Dispatches programme on Monday.
A hidden camera installed by a reporter at a school in Birmingham recorded a preacher telling pupils "the disbelievers are the worst creatures, they are the worst creatures".
The 11-year-olds are then told not to trust more liberal Muslims.
Their teacher said: "The person who's got less than a fistful of beard, then you should stay away from him the same way you should stay away from a serpent or a snake."
Another group of pupils are told in an assembly at the school: "The disbelievers, they are the worst of all people.
"The Hindus do, they drink piss, I've told you this.
"Do they have any intellect? No."
The school is inspected by government-approved teams and is required to teach tolerance and respect for other religions.
Access to the school was gained when the undercover investigator got a job as a volunteer in 2009.
He was allowed to sit in on some lessons, but he was not let into Islamic classes.
In July last year, he went into one of the rooms where he heard Islamic studies was being taught and he left a secret camera.
In more footage filmed by the programme at a mosque in Yorkshire, teenagers and a preacher are seen to be hitting younger children.
Pupils as young as six or seven were caught on camera being hit and kicked by the people supposed to be looking after them.
Dr Taj Hargey, founder of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford, said: "This is totally against Islam.
"This is something that is deeply humiliating and shameful to Muslims to hear other Muslims describe people of other religions in such derogatory, disparaging terms."
A spokesman for the Department of Education said: "The Government does not support the use of physical punishment in schools and other children's settings."
Mubarak: Radical Islam will be result of U.S. push for democracy
Hosni Mubarak had harsh words for the United States and what he described as its misguided quest for democracy in the Middle East in a telephone call with an Israeli lawmaker a day before he quit as Egypt's president.
The legislator, former cabinet minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said on TV Friday that he came away from the 20-minute conversation on Thursday with the feeling the 82-year-old leader realized "it was the end of the Mubarak era".
"He had very tough things to say about the United States," said Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Labor Party who has held talks with Mubarak on numerous occasions while serving in various Israeli coalition governments.
"He gave me a lesson in democracy and said: 'We see the democracy the United States spearheaded in Iran and with Hamas, in Gaza, and that's the fate of the Middle East,'" Ben-Eliezer said.
"'They may be talking about democracy but they don't know what they're talking about and the result will be extremism and radical Islam,'" he quoted Mubarak as saying.
U.S. support for pro-democracy elements in Iran has not led to regime change in the Islamic Republic, and Hamas, a group Washington considers to be a terrorist organization, won a 2006 Palestinian election promoted by the United States.
Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after a coalition government it formed with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas collapsed in a power struggle.
Ben-Eliezer said Mubarak expanded in the telephone call on "what he expects will happen in the Middle East after his fall".
"He contended the snowball (of civil unrest) won't stop in Egypt and it wouldn't skip any Arab country in the Middle East and in the Gulf.
"He said 'I won't be surprised if in the future you see more extremism and radical Islam and more disturbances -- dramatic changes and upheavals," Ben-Eliezer added.
Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel and has backed U.S.-led efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of an Iran-style Islamist revolution in Egypt should Mubarak's Muslim Brotherhood rivals eventually take over.
"He repeated the sentence, 'I have been serving my country, Egypt, for 61 years. Do they want me to run away? I won't run away. Do they want to throw me out? I won't leave. If need be, I will be killed here,'" Ben-Eliezer said.
French President Sarkozy says multiculturalism failed
French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Thursday that multiculturalism had failed, joining a growing number of world leaders or ex-leaders who have condemned it.
"My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure," he said in a television interview when asked about the policy which advocates that host societies welcome and foster distinct cultural and religious immigrant groups.
"Of course we must all respect differences, but we do not want... a society where communities coexist side by side.
"If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France," the right-wing president said.
"The French national community cannot accept a change in its lifestyle, equality between men and women... freedom for little girls to go to school," he said.
"We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him," Sarkozy said in the TFI channel show.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australia's ex-prime minister John Howard and Spanish ex-premier Jose Maria Aznar have also recently said multicultural policies have not successfully integrated immigrants.
Merkel in October said efforts towards multiculturalism in Germany had "failed, totally."
The comment followed weeks of anguished debate sparked by the huge popularity of a book by a central banker saying that immigrants, in particular Muslims, were making Germany "more stupid."
Britain's Cameron last week pronounced his country's long-standing policy of multiculturalism a failure, calling for better integration of young Muslims to combat home-grown extremism.
He urged a "more active, muscular liberalism" where equal rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech and democracy are actively promoted to create a stronger national identity.
The prime minister, who took power in May 2010, argued that "under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream".
He said this had resulted in a lack of national identity in Britain which had made some young Muslims turn to extremist ideology.
Sarkozy said in his television interview Thursday that "our Muslim compatriots must be able to practise their religion, as any citizen can," but he noted "we in France do not want people to pray in an ostentatious way in the street."
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen late last year came under fire for comparing Muslims praying in the streets outside overcrowded mosques in France to the Nazi occupation.
Marine Le Pen said there were "ten to fifteen" places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outside mosques when these were full.
Egypt's economy close to meltdown. Military coup near
The biggest Arab country with a population of 82 million is on the verge of breakdown as large sections of is economic machinery are shut down by spreading strikes and workers' revolts against managements appointed by the Mubarak regime and Vice President Omar's Suleiman's leadership.
debkafile's sources report there are no trains since railway workers declared a general strike; the main state highways are barricaded by protesters. Egypt's 1,000-kilometer long Cairo-Aswan lifeline along the Nile was shut to traffic all day Wednesday, Feb. 9 with no sign that the army or security forces are willing or able to reopen it to traffic.
As protesters continue to pour into Cairo's Tahrir Square, blocked roads are preventing produce reaching shops and markets – or even the soldiers posted in the town centers. Men of the 2nd and 9th divisions on street duty in Cairo have had no food rations for 12 hours. The disruptions threaten Egyptian towns with dire food shortages.
The work forces of the big industrial complexes have downed tools and customs officers have stopped levying toll fees from the approximately 50 ships transiting the Suez Canal every day and netting the Egyptian treasury $3 billion a year, its main source of revenue. Around 1.300,000 foreign tourists have fled the country since the disorders began taking with them another major source of revenue.
The closure of schools was extended Wednesday after teachers refused to go back to classrooms until Mubarak was gone.
Obama sells out Britain; Gives nuke secrets to Russians
Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by Obama next week.
Defense analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website.
Details of the behind-the-scenes talks are contained in more than 1,400 US embassy cables published to date by the Telegraph, including almost 800 sent from the London Embassy, which are published online today. The documents also show that:
• America spied on Foreign Office ministers by gathering gossip on their private lives and professional relationships.
• Intelligence-sharing arrangements with the US became strained after the controversy over Binyam Mohamed, the former Guantánamo Bay detainee who sued the Government over his alleged torture.
• David Miliband disowned the Duchess of York by saying she could not “be controlled” after she made an undercover TV documentary.
• Tens of millions of pounds of overseas aid was stolen and spent on plasma televisions and luxury goods by corrupt regimes.
A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.
Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.
Iran's Khamenei calls for Islamic regime in Egypt
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called for an Islamic regime to be installed in Egypt, saying the wave of Arab revolts is an "earthquake" triggered by the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The all-powerful Khamenei said the Arab uprisings, if successful, would lead to failure of US policies in the region and that the revolts were the most worrying for the Islamic republic's arch-foe Israel as its alliance with Egypt could be broken.
"Do not back down until the implementation of a popular regime based on religion," said Khamenei, Iran's commander-in-chief, who switched from Persian to Arabic during his Friday sermon directed at Egyptians.
"The clergy should play a role. For example, when people come out of mosques and chant slogans, they should support. Inshallah (God willing) part of the Egyptian army will join the people. The main enemy of the Egyptian army is the Zionist regime and not the people," he said.
The sermon marked the first time in seven months that Khamenei has addressed the weekly Friday prayers and came as protesters massed in Egypt for sweeping "departure day" demonstrations to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit.
Tehran, which severed diplomatic ties with Cairo in 1980, has backed the revolt in Egypt and warned Washington against "interfering" in what it says is a movement of the people.
British Airways employee 'conspired to blow up plane'
From his Newcastle home, Rajib Karim shared details of his BA contacts in e-mails to Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
The computer expert worked for the airline in the city and had access to BA offices there and at Heathrow.
Mr Karim, 31, denies plotting to blow up an aircraft and gaining a UK job to exploit terrorist purposes.
The Bangladeshi national has already pleaded guilty to three other terror charges, the jury was told.
On the first day of the trial, the court heard how Mr Karim came to the UK in 2006 and got a job with BA.
The jury was told that Mr Karim established a "deep cover", joining a gym, playing football and never airing extreme views.
It is alleged that he was communicating with a terror cell as well as Anwar al-Awlaki, who has never been caught and is believed to be hiding in the mountains of Yemen.
Muslim Brotherhood: Suez Canal Must be Closed, Egypt Should be Ready for War with Israel
As the world watches the chaos in Egypt continue, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the major political groups fighting for power, has now greatly increased tension in the reason.
Muhammad Ghannem told an Iranian news network that if he and the Muslim Brotherhood had his way, the Suez Canal would be closed immediately. This would not only hurt capital coming in for the Mubarak government, but it would have further repercussions, as one-third of the world’s oil is transported through the canal. This could increase the price of oil and gas substantially.
Continuing, Ghannem stated that gas flowing from Egypt to Israel should stop immediately, “in order to bring about the downfall of the Mubarak regime.” Once again, this would hurt the Mubarak regime and would also hurt the Israeli economy in the process.
However, Ghannem’s most provocative statements came about war with Israel. Talking about what the Muslim Brotherhood is prepared to do, Ghannem stated that “the people should be prepared for war against Israel.” This implies that a war with Israel could be inevitable if the group takes substantial power in Egypt.
Hosni Mubarak, the besieged President of Egypt is still in power despite protests from hundreds of thousands of Egyptians. Mr. Mubarak is famous for ruling Egypt for 30 years, but also because he is one of the only Middle Eastern countries to have a formal peace treaty with Israel.
Should the Muslim Brotherhood take power, that distinction would likely end.
Ghannem continued his interview, confidently saying that the armies of Egypt would not listen to Mubarak. When asked about the soldiers in the street, Ghannem stated that they “would not kill their brothers,” even if the order has already been issued.
He lastly stated that the United States did, in fact, support Mubarak. However, “seeing millions head for the streets,” the United States has “abandoned” plans to help Mubarak retain power.
Tribes Threaten to Attack Suez Canal if Mubarak Does Not Step Down
Bedouin tribesman have reportedly taken control of two towns in the Sinai Peninsula. These two towns are the closest to the Gaza Strip and right next to the border with Israel. There were reports yesterday that Bedouin tribes had besieged a police station in Suez and it appears that these riots have spread. This would effectively end the Mubarak dictatorship’s control of the region. There are no reports of the Egyptian military stepping in here.
The more disturbing news is a threat that has been made by the tribes if Mubarak does not step down. According to one report coming from Time Magazine, they are willing to attack the Suez Canal if Mubarak does not leave. The Suez Canal currently is where a third of the world’s oil and six percent of all products passes through. A seizure of the Canal could spike oil prices beyond the current $90 level, perhaps over $110. This could come to pass despite the fact that Egypt is not a major oil producer.
Egypt 'burns to the ground' - Vigilantes defend homes as police disappear
Egyptians armed with sticks and razors have formed vigilante groups to defend their homes from looters after police disappeared from the streets following days of violent protests.
Banks, junctions and important buildings previously guarded by the police and state security were left abandoned on Saturday and civilians have quickly stepped in to fill the void.
"There is no police to be found anywhere," said Ghadeer, 23, from an upscale neighborhood. "Doormen and young boys from their neighborhoods are standing outside holding sticks, razors and other weapons to prevent people from coming in."
She added: "The community is working together to stop this and protect ourselves."
Police withdrew from the streets when the army was sent in to take over security in Cairo. Witnesses have since seen mobs storming supermarkets, commercial centers, banks, private property and government buildings in Cairo and elsewhere.
Egyptians have called for army intervention to bring back law and order. On Saturday, many protesters changed: "No to plundering and no to destruction."
At Least 5 Dead, Nearly 900 Injured in Egyptian Riots
Egypt holding talks to create "transitional government"; military deployed on streets for first time since protests began; ruling party headquarters goes up in flames; ElBaradei under house arrest in the fourth day of anti-government protests on Friday.
As protests continued into the night, Egyptian authorities were holding talks to establish a "transitional government," following the series of deadly protests against President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The head of the Egyptian opposition Wafd party called for a period of transitional rule in Egypt, new parliamentary elections and amendments to the constitution limiting presidential terms, Reuters reported.
Earlier Friday, Egyptian state television said Mubarak imposed a curfew on Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez after violent demonstrations there.
Egypt's military was also deployed on the streets of Cairo for the first time since the protests began four days ago.
Parts of the ruling party headquarters in Cairo were going up in flames apparently set by enraged protesters demanding Mubarak's ouster.
Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei joined the protests earlier Friday and was then arrested by police and placed under house arrest.
ElBaradei and his supporters were forced to hide inside a mosque while hundreds of riot police laid siege to it, firing tear gas in the streets around so no one could leave.
Day of Rage: Thousands clash on streets of Egypt, Lebanon
Thousands of anti-government protesters inspired by the Tunisian revolution clashed with riot police in the center of Cairo today demanding the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak.
Police responded with water cannon and attacked crowds with batons and tear gas to clear crowds demanding an end to the country's grinding poverty.
The protest, the largest Egypt has seen for years, began peacefully, with police showing unusual restraint in what appeared to be a concerted government effort not to provoke a Tunisia-like mass revolt.
As the crowds in central Cairo's main Tahrir square continued to build, however, security personnel changed tactics and the protest turned violent.
Demonstrators attacked the police water canon truck, opening the driver's door and ordering the man out of the vehicle.
Some hurled rocks and dragged metal barricades. Officers beat back protesters with batons as they tried to break cordons to join the main group of demonstrators downtown.
To the north, in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, thousands of protesters also marched in what was dubbed a 'Day of Rage' against Mr Mubarak and lack of political freedoms under his rule.
In another parallel with the Tunisia protests, the calls for rallies went out on Facebook and Twitter, with 90,000 saying they would attend.
The protests coincided with a national holiday honoring Egypt's much-feared police.
Demonstrators in Cairo sang the national anthem and carried banners denouncing Mr Mubarak and the widespread fraud that plagues the country's elections. The organizers said the protests were a 'day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment.'
U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Decision: Judges May Void The Constitution In Their Courtrooms
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that serves to allow judges to void the Constitution in their courtrooms. The decision was issued on January 18, 2011, and the Court did not even explain the decision (Docket No. 10-632, 10-633, and 10-690). One word decisions: DENIED.
Presented with this information and massive proof that was not contested in any manner by the accused judges, at least six of the justices voted to deny the petitions:
"There is no legal or factual basis whatsoever for the decisions of the lower courts in this matter. These rulings were issued for corrupt reasons. Many of the judges in the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit are corrupt and violate laws and rules, as they have done in this case. The Supreme Court must recognize this Petition as one of the most serious matters ever presented to this Court."
The key questions answered negatively by the U.S. Supreme Court was:
"Whether federal courts must be stopped from operating corruptly and ignoring all laws, rules, and facts."
By denying the petitions, SCOTUS has chosen to sanction corruption by federal judges and to allow federal judges to void sections of the Constitutional at will.
Fatwa justifies jihad without provocation
A message to America and the world: We – Iran, Syria and Hizbullah – are in control of Lebanon now, not you. There is no question that this assertion is true, yet US and Western policy is simply not adjusting to meet this situation.
IN EGYPT, an extraordinarily important fatwa has been issued by Dr. Imad Mustafa, of al-Azhar University, the world’s most important Islamic university.
He began by stating the well-known doctrine of “defensive jihad,” that is Muslims must go to war against infidels who attack them. Of course, the word “attack” is often spread rather thinly to justify aggression.
In the current context, this means that it is permissible to wage jihad against a country if anything “necessary” to Islam according to (hard-line) clerics’ interpretations is blocked (polygamy, child marriage, special privileges at work places, building mosques anywhere, permitting the wearing of head scarves or burkas).
Of course, that doesn’t mean most Muslims will accept this new stance. But it does mean that radical groups now have mainstream support for their most extreme, aggressive behavior. Even if nobody repeats Mustafa’s statement publicly – if for no other reasons than it is bad public relations in the West – this idea will be more and more taken for granted. Presumably, Mustafa won’t be forced to retract this fatwa by his colleagues or Egypt’s government.
Moreover, we probably won’t see senior clerics denouncing and rejecting the doctrine of offensive jihad.
This is a development of stupendous proportions that will probably not be covered in the Western mass media. If this viewpoint continues to spread, along with the growing al-Qaida type doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood, it could be a historical turning point that will greatly intensify revolutionary Islamist terrorism and attacks on the West.
MUSLIM CONQUEST OF BRITAIN NEARS COMPLETION
ISLAM ECLIPSES THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
Paul L. Williams, Ph.D.--
A study by of the Centre for Migration Policy Research at Swansea University shows that thousands of Britons are converting to Islam every year – with more women becoming Muslims than men.
The research suggests that the numbers converting to the religion has doubled by 2010 from the 60,669 converts in 2001.
The average age of the Muslim converts is 27.5, with 520,0o0 Brits becoming Muslims in the past 12 months.
A detailed study by Swansea University for inter-faith think-tank Faith Matters, suggests that despite an often negative portrayal of Islam in the media, more people are adopting the religion each year.
Kevin Brice, the director of the study, says that 56% of converts to Islam were white British, with 62% being female.
Presently, according to the London Times, the Islamic population of Great Britain exceeds 2.4 million.
The Daily Mail contends that more than 25% of the British Muslims visit a mosque at least once a week.
By contrast, Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, maintains that less than 1% of the 18 million Christians who belong to the Church of England attend Sunday services. “At this rate,” the Bishop speculates, “it is hard to see the church surviving for more than 30 years though few of its leaders are prepared to face that possibility.
“If decline continues,” the Bishop adds, “Christian Research has estimated that in ﬁve years’ time church closures will accelerate from their present rate of 30 a year to 200 a year as dwindling congregations ﬁnd the cost of keeping them open too great.”
While 30 Anglican parishes close every year, seventy new mosques sprout up throughout the United Kingdom.
A score of organizations have been set up to serve the needs of Christian Brits who now embrace Islam.
Edward Charles and Matthew McDonald of New Muslim Network Wales, which was established in 2001, say their work consists not only in supporting converts, but also trying to dispel myths about conversion, such as having to change one’s name or lose one’s cultural identity.
“We are able to help the new Muslim to settle into their new faith gently and help them sort out the cultural stuff from the actual faith,” Mr. Charles says. “Most of us have kept our original names and we encourage new Muslims to do the same – but ultimately it’s a personal choice.”
Mother of Girl Murdered in Arizona Rampage Remembers Her 'Beautiful Girl'
The mother of a 9-year-old girl gunned down in Saturday’s shooting rampage outside an Arizona grocery store described her grief as “beyond words,” saying her daughter was a beautiful and intelligent child who was interested in government.
Christina-Taylor Green had just been elected to the student council at her elementary school and went to the "Congress on Your Corner" event outside a Tucson Safeway on Saturday to meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
The meet-and-greet turned tragic when the third-grader -- along with five others -- was killed in a spray of bullets.
Giffords, who was shot in the head, survived the attack, but Christina died in the massacre.
"She was a beautiful girl, inside and out," Roxanna Green, the girl’s mother, said in an interview Sunday with Fox News.
"I just can't even put it into words,” Green said, her voice trembling. “I can't express the devastation and hurt and how we were so robbed of our beautiful princess.”
Green said her daughter was very interested in public service and that Saturday’s event was "going to be a learning experience." Christina had been invited to the event by a neighbor, who was shot four times in the rampage and is expected to survive.
Green said she received a phone call from a friend’s husband, saying Christina had been transported to University Medical Center in Tucson along with the neighbor.
Green said she thought that the child might have been involved in a car accident. But upon arriving at the hospital, doctors and law enforcement said the girl had died from a "bullet hole to the chest."
"They tried to save her but she just couldn’t make it," Green said.
Christina, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, is the granddaughter of Dallas Green, former manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. The girl’s father, John Green, is East Coast Supervisor of amateur scouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Roxanna Green told Fox News that Christina was the only girl on her Little League baseball team, The Pirates. She loved dancing and animals, she said.
"The Phillies organization expresses our heartfelt condolences to Dallas and Sylvia and the entire Green family on the senseless, tragic loss of Christina's life," Philadelphia Phillies team president David Montgomery said in a statement Sunday.
"She was a talented young girl with a bright promising future. Her untimely death weighs heavily on our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families affected by yesterday's horrific shooting," Montgomery said.
Napolitano to battle warming as homeland security issue
At an all-day White House conference on "environmental justice," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department is creating a new task force to battle the effects of climate change on domestic security operations.
Speaking at the first White House Forum on Environmental Justice on Thursday, Napolitano discussed the initial findings of the department’s recently created "Climate Change and Adaptation Task Force."
Napolitano explained that the task force was charged with “identifying and assessing the impact that climate change could have on the missions and operations of the Department of Homeland Security.”
According to the former Arizona governor, the task force would address specific questions, including:
“How will FEMA work with state and local partners to plan for increased flooding or wildfire or hurricane activity that is more serious than we’ve seen before? What assistance can the Coast Guard bring to bear to assist remote villages in, for example, Alaska which already have been negatively affected by changes up in the Arctic?”
The findings from the Homeland Security Department (DHS) also asked: “(H)ow can we focus on how climate change is going to affect our rural citizenry including those who live along our boarders both northern and southern?”
Obama’s New Tax on Rainwater
Would President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency really force Americans to pay a tax on “rainwater runoff” from homes and small businesses?
You bet they would. In fact, the EPA, under radical environmentalist Lisa Jackson, is proposing regulations to do just that.
Take a look at the EPA’s own Federal Register filing, where the EPA generally describes the initiative it’s proposing:
…requirements, including design or performance standards, for stormwater discharges from, at minimum, newly developed and redeveloped sites. EPA intends to propose regulatory options that would revise the NPDES regulations and establish a comprehensive program to address stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites and to take final action no later than November 2012.
Sweden braces for record freeze
Stockholm is forecast to experience its coldest seasonal temperatures for over 100 years this week as winter weather takes hold of the country, according to the Swedish Meteorological Institute (SMHI).
•Bitter winter on the way: expert (25 Nov 10)
•Swedish military called in to battle winter storm (24 Nov 10)
•Transport agency calls for caution after snow (23 Nov 10)
Temperatures across the country are expected to drop to record lows for the first week of December, with the exception of the far north, with averages coming in 7-10 degrees Celsius below normal.
Stockholm registered -11 degrees Celsius at the weekend, the coldest November temperature since 1965 and the mercury is set to plunge further on Wednesday and Thursday, dropping as low as -15.
"It is far below average temperatures, which usually oscillate around zero at this time of the year," said Alexandra Ohlsson, a meteorologist with SMHI.
Dalarna and Jämtland in northern Sweden will also be hit with the harsh weather. The Storsjön lake in the heart of Jämtland's main city Östersund has already frozen over in most parts.
SMHI forecasted that in southern and central areas the cold will ease off somewhat come Friday. Northern Norrland will however drop to minus 14-17 degrees Celsius in the middle of the day.
The sub-zero temperatures are here to stay though, even in the south, Alexandra Ohlsson said.
"It looks like the sub-zero temperatures will persist," she said.
With more snow on the way in from the Baltic Sea, the current high snow depth of eight decimetres, recorded in Tidaholm in western Sweden, is set to be exceeded.
Homeland Security shuts down dozens of Web sites without court order
The Homeland Security Department's customs enforcement division has gone on a Web site shutdown spree, closing down at least 76 domains this week, according to online reports.
While many of the web domains were sites that trafficked in counterfeit brand name goods, and some others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials, at least one site was a Google-like search engine, causing alarm among web freedom advocates who worry the move steps over the line into censorship.
All the shut sites are now displaying a Homeland Security warning that copyright infringers can face up to five years in prison.
According to a report at TorrentFreak, the search engine that was shut down -- Torrent-Finder.com -- neither hosted copyrighted material nor directly linked to places where it could be found. Instead, the site opened new windows to sites that did link to file-sharing materials.
"When a site has no tracker, carries no torrents, lists no copyright works unless someone searches for them and responds just like Google, accusing it of infringement becomes somewhat of a minefield," writes Torrentfreak, "Unless you’re ICE Homeland Security Investigations that is."
As of its last update, Torrentfreak counted 76 domains shut down this week.
Homeland Security's ability to shut down sites without a court order evidently comes from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a Clinton-era law that allows Web sites to be closed on the basis of a copyright complaint. Critics have long assailed the DMCA for being too broad, as complainants don't need to prove copyright infringement before a site can be taken down.
News of the shutdowns has some observers wondering whether the US really needs COICA, the anti-counterfeiting bill that passed through a Senate committee with unanimous approval last week. That bill would allow the federal government to block access to Web sites that attorneys general deem to have infringed on copyright.
"Domain seizures coming under the much debated ‘censorship bill’ COICA? Who needs it?" quips Torrentfreak.
However, COICA would allow the government to block access to Web sites located anywhere in the world, while Homeland Security's take-downs are limited to servers inside the United States. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said he would place a hold on COICA, effectively killing the bill at least until the new congressional session next year.
The owner of Torrent-Finder.net complained that his search engine was shut down without so much as a court order or prior complaint.
“My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!” the owner said, without being identified in the Torrentfreak article.
Earlier this week, Homeland Security shut down a popular hip-hop music site, RapGodfathers.com, which had nearly 150,000 members. The site claims it is compliant with copyright laws, as it doesn't host copyrighted materials. However, its users posted links to file-hosting services such as Rapidshare and Megaupload, where copyrighted material may have been shared.
These domains are now "the property of Homeland Security," writes Gareth Halfacree at Thinq.co.uk, "And there's no indication that their original owners will ever be able to get them back."
Saudi king takes up the entire VIP wing at NYC hospital
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is causing his own diplomatic drama at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where the 86 year-old monarch has commandeered an entire wing as he recovers from back surgery on the VIP floor.
King Abdullah -- who repeatedly exhorted the US to "cut the head off the snake" by launching military strikes to destroy Iran's nuclear program, according to leaked diplomatic cables -- has forced other patients out by block-booking the hospital's top treatment and recovery rooms.
A family member of one patient told us, "The king has taken the entire luxury treatment wing and booked out all the rooms, even though they are empty and he doesn't need them, to protect his privacy.
Will Wikileaks expose Obama's disdain for allies?
With some 2.7 million communications from the US State Department about to be published online, Mr Obama is bracing himself for revelations that would not only be embarrassing but could also seriously damage his foreign policy.
Thousands of these documents are believed to be diplomatic cables from Washington to the US Embassy in London, including brutal assessments of Gordon Brown's personality and cold-eyed judgments of David Cameron's capabilities.
The ramifications for Mr Obama could be enormous. With his popularity flagging at home, one of his remaining political strengths has been his high standing abroad - assiduously cultivated in a series of speeches in which he apologized for past US actions and promised a kinder, gentler America.
Diplomatic cables are necessarily frank, a mirror image of the bland euphemisms offered up to the public after meetings between world leaders. The Obama administration has continued to play this game, uttering little of meaning to the press while swapping private barbs internally.
US State Dept: Israel Similar to Iran, Iraq and Sudan
The U.S. State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton claims that Israel violates religious freedom at the same level as Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and China.
“Religious freedom can be restricted in a variety of ways, from the overt to the subtle,” explains the department's annual International Religious Freedom Report on 198 countries and territories surveyed by its foreign service personnel, released Wednesday for the period July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009. A wide spectrum of efforts are used to undermine such rights, extending to multilateral, regional and global arenas, the report continues.
Part I of the Executive Summary discusses overall conditions during the reporting period in countries where “violations of religious freedom have been noteworthy.” Israel is listed among 30 nations selected for this category -- including Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen -- due to the emphasis of the Jewish State on maintaining the status quo with regard to respect for Jewish legal standards.
Israel's adherence to specific Jewish legal (halakhic) strictures are the basis for some of the American claims, though the State Department report does not note that non-adherence to these would violate Jewish religious freedoms. (For last year's State Department denunciation of Israel and responses, click here.)
The report complained, for instance, that three Messianic Jews were denied the right to immigrate to Israel during the reporting period. Other issues of contention included Israel’s unwillingness to recognize conversions performed in the country which do not meet criteria under Torah law, identification cards (Teudot Zehut) that differentiate between Jews and non-Jews, and the authority over marriages and burials exercised by the Chief Rabbinate, which is Orthodox.
All religions have freedom of worship in Israel -- unlike the other countries mentioned above.
In addition, the report erroneously claimed that Israel extends protection only to Jewish holy sites, rather than to all holy sites as is mandated under the law. “The 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law applies to holy sites of all religious groups within the country and in all of Jerusalem, but the Government implements regulations only for Jewish sites,” complained the report. “Non-Jewish holy sites do not enjoy legal protection under it because the Government does not recognize them as official holy sites."
In fact, this last is an outright lie. Government security forces often prevent Jews from even approaching the Temple Mount, and numerous Jews have been arrested -- including a young bride and her father at one point -- for infractions as spurious as simply "moving their lips" on the site, because the area has been designated an official holy site for Muslims, where the Al-Aqsa mosque is located.
Debt Collectors Stalking, Publicly Shaming People Through Facebook
Debt collectors can be relentless and downright rude on the phone, but now a St. Petersburg woman is filing suit alleging the company that financed her car loan began harassing family members over the social networking website Facebook.
Melanie Beacham says she fell behind on her car payment after getting sick and taking a medical leave from work. She contacted MarkOne Financial to explain the situation but says the harassing phone calls, as many as 20 per day, kept coming. Then one day she got a call from her sister saying the company contacted her in Georgia.
"I was telling her, 'No way, because you're not even a reference,'" said Beacham, who later found out MarkOne contacted her sister and other relatives via Facebook.
Beacham says the company claimed they were doing nothing wrong but, upset over what happened, she contacted Tampa based consumer attorney Billy Howard of Morgan & Morgan.
"Now Facebook does a debt collectors work for them. Now it's not only family members, it's all of your associates. It's a very powerful tool for debt collectors to use," says Howard.
He believes Facebook will soon become a regular method for contact if nothing is done.
"It's getting the desired result, and that is to start a domino effect of panic and embarrassment
$4.00+ A Gallon Gasoline By The End Of 2010
Gas prices are on the rise again. In many areas of the U.S. gas prices are already hovering around $3.00 a gallon. In fact there are some areas where people are paying as much as $3.50 a gallon, and many experts are predicting that gasoline could hit $4.00 a gallon by the end of 2010. If this nonsense keeps up, how in the world is the average American family supposed to make ends meet? Not only is filling up our tanks going to cost a lot more, but the price of gasoline factors into so many other things. The U.S. economy just cannot handle a major increase in transportation costs at this point. These increasing gasoline prices come at a time when U.S. consumers are already stretched to the max.
But it isn't just gasoline prices that are going up. The price of food is really starting to rise as well. Rising demand and reduced supply drove supermarket prices for 16 basic foods up 6.2% in the first quarter of 2010.
Now, for those Americans who are independently wealthy, a large increase in gasoline and food prices might not mean much.
But for the rest of us who are trying to get our incomes to stretch as far as possible each month, it means a whole lot.
In fact, a record number of working Americans are finding that their paychecks are just not making it and are turning to government assistance programs such as food stamps just to make it.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 39.4 million Americans, a new all-time record, received food stamps in January. This was up 22% from a year earlier. In fact, the number of Americans on food stamps has hit all-time records for 14 consecutive months.
New all-time records for 14 months in a row?
How in the world can anyone claim that the U.S. economy is in good shape?
And it is just not people who are out of work or who are lazy who are
Bush: “I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me”
President Bush told British officials in the heat of the 2008 presidential election, “I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me,” according to a November 9 blog entry by Financial Times of London correspondent Alex Barker. The Financial Times is the chief British financial newspaper, a newspaper that corresponds roughly to the New York-based Wall Street Journal.
Barker observed that his two sources for the quote note that Bush had been asked by British officials in a private meeting that included British Prime Minister Harold Brown what Bush thought of McCain and the U.S. presidential election. According to Barker, his two sources said Bush responded:
“I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” Bush told the group, according to two people present. “I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”
Barker exclaimed: “Endorse Obama? Cue dumbfounded look from British officials, followed by some awkward remarks about the Washington weather. Even Gordon Brown’s poker face gave way to a flash of astonishment.” Barker added that his two eyewitnesses to the meeting have continued to wow friends at dinners in London society. “Some of the witnesses still dine out on it,” he wrote.
The quote goes a long way toward demonstrating the lack of difference between the ideology of the leadership of the two major political parties in America. Indeed, Obama has only continued and expanded the bailouts, “stimulus” spending increases, and deficit culture that Bush encouraged during his presidency.
Muslim protesters mar U.K.'s commemoration of war dead
At most colleges, students who want to study the stars must enroll in an astronomy course. But at the University of South Carolina, starstruck undergrads need look no further than "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame" -- a new class offered this spring.
Sociology professor and Lady Gaga fan Mathieu Deflem told campus paper The Daily Gamecock that the course will examine the social construction of fame, which gave rise to "The Fame Monster" herself.
"We're going to look at Lady Gaga as a social event," said Deflem, who maintains the Gaga fan site GagaFrontRow.net. "So it's not the person, and it's not the music. It's more this thing out there in society that has 10 million followers on Facebook and 6 million on Twitter. I mean, that's a social phenomenon. It's a global social phenomenon."
Mid East talks resume January. Netanyahu relents on building freeze
Direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, interrupted in September after less than a week, will resume in January, 2011 straight after the New Year, following a quiet deal between the US, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, debkafile's Washington sources disclose. Obama administration officials while admitting that two months is a long time in the Middle East are upbeat after four developments swept aside the last roadblocks.
U.S. loans Mexico $1 billion to drill in Gulf
The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an independent federal agency, loaned more than $1 billion to the Mexican state oil company PEMEX in 2009 to support the company’s oil drilling in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The bank has another $1 billion in loans in the pipeline for 2010, unless Congress objects.
On May 27, after the British Petroleum oil spill, President Obama imposed a moratorium on U.S. deepwater drilling in the Gulf, effecting 33 deepwater drilling rigs in the region.
ISRAEL: YELLOW ALERT FOR WAR- Grave Situation in Mideast
On the eve of President Obama’s Mideast Peace Conference, unfolding events by Israel’s enemies strongly suggests that an outbreak of war is imminent, perhaps within hours or days. The following information provides our readers with an overall grasp of the extremely heavy gravity of the situation.
On Monday (8/30) the Hezbollah leadership under Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah issued a “State of War Alert” to all Hezbollah militia forces. Syria is also reportedly on its highest state of alert. The alert status is reminiscent of the situation just hours prior to the start of the war in June of 1967 known more often as “The Six Day War.”
Many sources out of the Mideast hypothesize that a surprise attack could come late Thursday evening or perhaps more likely on Friday, September 2, 2010. Why Friday?
Friday is the last day of Ramadan which concludes with a festive, celebratory feast that ends the holy period of Ramadan. It is also known as “International al Qods Day” or “Jerusalem Day.” It is a day of Islamic solidarity with the Palestinian people in their quest to secure Islamic control over all of Jerusalem. This day of consecration to that endeavor was conceived originally by the leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It is part of Iran’s master plan to be the leading nation of the Islamic world.
2nd Optional Attack Date:
The second optional time point for launching a sneak attack against Israel would be on the eve of Rosh Hashanah which begins on the evening of September 8, 2010. This date marks the end of a 62 year period since the UN declared a homeland for the Jews back in November of 1947. Some Bible prophecy watchers suggest that this coincides with the Prophet Daniel’s prediction of a 63 year period that precedes a 7 year period of Tribulation. It should be noted that from this year of Rosh Hashanah forward for three and a half years would see “signs” in the heavens – namely lunar and solar eclipses during Jewish holy days in 2014 and 2015 including Passover. Such astronomical events are perceived by some as coming fulfillments of Biblical prophecies relating to signs in the sun and the moon.
Iran's revenge: Syria and Hizballah join to sink Israeli warships
Tehran and its extremist and terrorist allies, having failed to abort Obama's initiative for direct Israel-Palestinian diplomacy, have hit back with two belligerent steps. debkafile's military sources disclose that Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah have set up a joint military command for sinking Israeli warships, and Hamas has brought all 13 Palestinian rejectionist organizations under one roof for a sustained bid to intensify terror operations against Israel.
At a news conference in Gaza early Friday, Sept. 3 - shortly after the Washington talks were rated positive - a Hamas military arm spokesman announced the creation of a single command encompassing all 13 Palestinian rejectionist groups operating out of the Gaza Strip and Damascus for a concerted campaign of terror against Israel.
Obama's Ground Zero mosque plea will cost him and the Democrats votes
By charging headlong into the ferocious controversy over the plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero, President Barack Obama may have further damaged Democratic Party prospects in the upcoming mid-term elections.
For while his return to the soaring rhetoric that won him the White House in the first place will be popular with hard-core liberal supporters, it is unlikely to capture the hearts of middle-America this year.
For the majority of Americans this is not an issue of freedom of religion. It is a question of whether or not a mosque should be built within two blocks of Ground Zero, where 3,000 people perished when jetliners hijacked by Muslim extremists were flown into the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
"President Obama is wrong," said New York Republican congressman Peter King. He added: "It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero."
99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation
Facing eviction from her Tennessee apartment after several months of unpaid rent, Alexandra Jarrin packed up whatever she could fit into her two-door coupe recently and drove out of town.
Ms. Jarrin, 49, wound up at a motel here, putting down $260 she had managed to scrape together from friends and from selling her living room set, enough for a weeklong stay. It was essentially all the money she had left after her unemployment benefits expired in March. Now she is facing a previously unimaginable situation for a woman who, not that long ago, had a corporate job near New York City and was enrolled in a graduate business school, whose sticker is still emblazoned on her back windshield.
“Barring a miracle, I’m going to be in my car,” she said.
Ms. Jarrin is part of a hard-luck group of jobless Americans whose members have taken to calling themselves “99ers,” because they have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they can claim.
For them, the resolution recently of the lengthy Senate impasse over extending jobless benefits was no balm. The measure renewed two federal programs that extended jobless benefits in this recession beyond the traditional 26 weeks to anywhere from 60 to 99 weeks, depending on the state’s unemployment rate. But many jobless have now exceeded those limits. They are adjusting to a new, harsh reality with no income.
In June, with long-term unemployment at record levels, about 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not all of them received unemployment benefits, but for many of those who did, the modest payments were a lifeline that enabled them to maintain at least a veneer of normalcy, keeping a roof over their heads, putting gas in their cars, paying electric and phone bills.
Arizona Sheriff: ‘Our Own Government Has Become Our Enemy’
Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff Paul Babeu is hopping mad at the federal government.
Babeu told CNSNews.com that rather than help law enforcement in Arizona stop the hundreds of thousands of people who come into the United States illegally, the federal government is targeting the state and its law enforcement personnel.
“What’s very troubling is the fact that at a time when we in law enforcement and our state need help from the federal government, instead of sending help they put up billboard-size signs warning our citizens to stay out of the desert in my county because of dangerous drug and human smuggling and weapons and bandits and all these other things and then, behind that, they drag us into court with the ACLU,” Babeu said.
The sheriff was referring to the law suits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Department of Justice challenging the state’s new immigration law.
“So who has partnered with the ACLU?” Babeu said in a telephone interview with CNSNews.com. “It’s the president and (Attorney General) Eric Holder himself. And that’s simply outrageous.”
Last week, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton placed a temporary injunction on portions of the bill that allowed law enforcement personnel during the course of a criminal investigation who have probable cause to think an individual is in the country illegally to check immigration status. The state of Arizona filed an appeal on Thursday with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Our own government has become our enemy and is taking us to court at a time when we need help,” Babeu said.
Source: Military action against Iran now Obama priority following Saudi King Abdullah ultimatum
Ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday, July 25, that during his tenure (under President George W. Bush), a strike was "way down the list" of options. But now it "seems inexorable" because no matter what the US does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its suspected nuclear program.
Talking to CNN's State of the Union, Gen. Hayden predicted Iran would build its program to the point where it's just below having an actual weapon. In his view, "That would be as destabilizing to the region as the real thing."
debkafile's sources take this as affirmation that neither Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states nor Israel will be willing to live on constant edge with an Iran which can build nuclear bombs or warheads whenever it likes. They note that Hayden has added his voice to a growing number of leading American figures and publications which have indicated in the past fortnight that the military option against Iran has climbed the top of President Barack Obama's list of priorities.
According to our Washington sources, the US president switched course after hearing Saudi King Abdullah assert explicitly: "We cannot live with a nuclear Iran."
More Muslim Riots in France
Muslim youths have taken to the streets of France once again, rioting against perceived abuses at the hands of police in their "special urban zones" that separate them from the rest of society.
You probably didn’t hear about it, but Muslim youths rioted in Grenoble, France, on July 16, sparking some of the worst instability the country has faced since the 2005 riots. Now, like then, most of the media declined to mention the religious or ethnic background of the rioters, instead painting them as unruly youngsters and covering the eyes of the public to the slow dissolution of France as we know it.
The violence began soon after a Muslim robbed a casino and opened fire as he tried to flee the police, who then shot and killed him. This apparently raised the ire of major elements of the mostly Muslim urban communities who live in poor neighborhoods unassimilated into the greater society. The shooting was seen as an attack on Muslims, rather than an act of justice. Shortly following a speech by an Islamic cleric at a ceremony for the robber, the match was struck. As of now, there are no media reports revealing what the cleric said, if anything, to stoke the flame.
Over fifty cars were set ablaze. Stores were also burned and a tramway stoned. Gang members carrying baseball bats took over buses. When the police arrested one rioter, things got worse. Law enforcement officers were fired upon and targeted with stones and Molotov cocktails. It wasn’t for four days that a level of calm returned.
This is France today. Police must fear that any use of force against a criminal with a Muslim background could be interpreted as an act of brutality and racism that must be responded to with violence.
The Retirement Nightmare: Half of Americans Have Less Than $2,000 Banked for Their Golden Years
With declining earnings and a culture of borrow-and-consume, America's workers face a future of uncertainty and little money to pay for their retirement.
The days of quietly retiring with a nest egg built up from years of savings from a long career on the verge of disappearing. For tens of millions of Americans, facing rising costs, shrinking incomes and growing debts they already have disappeared.
"One out of three working Americans does not have retirement savings beyond Social Security, and about 35% of those over 65 rely almost totally on Social Security alone," Dallas Salisbury, president of the Alliance for Investor Education and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) , explained to AlterNet. "Of the remaining two-thirds of working Americans that have some retirement savings, 27 percent report less than $1,000, 16 percent between $1,000 and $9,999, 11 percent between $10,000 and $24,999, 12 percent between $25,000-$49,999, and 36 percent $50,000 or more." Perhaps the most shocking number is that half of Americans have $2,000 or less saved for retirement.
Crunch the numbers and you end up with a retirement myth, rather than a money-maker. We face a colder economic reality: Not only are there no astronomical retirement returns coming down the financial pike, but what nuts and nest-eggs families have set aside for their futures have been mostly sucked dry.
"Individuals need to follow the advice of the ages," said Salisbury. "Spend less than you earn by 25 percent, and save for your future. This keeps your lifestyle from getting ahead of your income."
Finance bill favors interests of unions, activists; GOP cries foul about its focus
The financial reform bill expected to clear Congress this week is chock-full of provisions that have little to do with the financial crisis but cater to the long-standing agendas of labor unions and other Democratic interest groups.
Principal among them is a measure to make it easier for unions, environmental groups and other activist organizations that hold shares to put their representatives on the boards of directors of every corporation in the United States.
The so-called "proxy access" provision, which activist groups say they will use to try to improve oversight of corporate financial practices, has provoked a backlash from the Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other major non-Wall Street business groups.
"This legislation includes provisions totally unrelated to the financial crisis which may disrupt Americas fragile economic recovery" and lead to increasing political battles in the boardrooms, said John J. Castellani, president of the roundtable.
Business groups are also rankled that the legislation would impose costly new burdens on airlines, utilities and other non-financial businesses that were victims rather than villains in the crisis, simply because they use financial derivatives to hedge their businesses against risks such as fluctuations in oil prices, interest rates and currencies.
Such hedging practices played no role in the crisis, though they helped many businesses weather the financial turbulence and recession that followed in the aftermath of the Wall Street storm.
Other provisions of the financial legislation, which goes before the full Senate on Thursday for a vote and likely passage, favor Democratic constituencies directly by requiring banks and federal agencies to hire and do more business with them.
The bill would create more than 20 "offices of minority and women inclusion" at the Treasury, Federal Reserve and other government agencies, to ensure they employ more women and minorities and grant more federal contracts to more women- and minority-owned businesses.
The agencies also would apply "fair employment tests" to the banks and other financial institutions they regulate, though their hiring and contracting practices had little or nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis.
"The interjection of racial and gender preferences into America's financial sector deserves greater media exposure" before Congress debates and passes the massive 2,400-page bill, said Kevin Mooney, a contributing editor for Americans for Limited Government's daily newsletter.
Widespread male infertility sweeping the globe
Nearly 20 years ago, Danish scientists first broke the news to the world that men from Western countries seem to be slowly becoming infertile. Recent research seems to back this up as well, with average sperm counts having dropped to half of what they were 50 years ago.
According to reports, nearly 20 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 25 have sperm counts that are abnormally low. To put this in perspective, consider the fact that in the 1940s, men had an average of about 100 million sperm cells per millimeter of semen (m/ml). Today, the average is around 60m/ml. Those among the 20 percent with abnormal levels have less than 20m/ml.
So what is the cause behind decreasing sperm counts? Realistically, there is probably more than just one cause. Environmental toxins, synthetic food and water additives, and estrogenic substances in food are all likely culprits.
Belgium's dead: Bodies dissolved in caustic solution., flushed into sewer
It could hardly be said to be the most dignified of send-offs.
Undertakers in Belgium plan to eschew traditional burials and cremations and start dissolving corpses instead.
The move is intended to tackle a lack of burial space and environmental concerns as 573lbs of carbon dioxide are released by each cremated corpse.
Under the process, known as resomation, bodies are treated in a steel chamber with potassium hydroxide at high pressure and a temperature of 180c (350f).
The raised pressure and temperature means the body reaches a similar end point as in standard cremation — just bones left to be crushed up — in two to three hours.
Six states in America have passed legislation to allow resomation and the Scottish company behind the technology says it is in talks to allow the process in the UK.
Although the ashes can be recycled in waste systems, the residue from the process can also be put in urns and handed over to relatives of the dead like normal ashes from crematorium farewells.
Resomation Ltd was formed in east Glasgow in 2007 and has been in talks with the UK government about using the technology in Britain.
The company says on its website: 'The process needs to be approved in each country and/or state before resomation can take place.
'In the UK discussions have already been held with the relevant Ministers and departments within Whitehall in order to progress the use of resomation in the UK.
'Elsewhere across the globe this is a work in progress.'
Obama's Unconfirmed 'Recess' Appointee to Run Medicare Advocated Rationing, Redistribution of Wealth
Obama today circumvented the Senate confirmation process by granting a recess appointment to Dr. Donald Berwick to be director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid.
Berwick, a professor at Harvard Medical School and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (a think tank), has expressed his disdain for free-market medicine and his “love” for Great Britain’s government-run health-care system, while advocating health-care rationing and using the health-care system to redistribute wealth.
“In America, the best predictor of cost is supply; the more we make, the more we use—hospital beds, consultancy services, procedures, diagnostic tests,” Dr. Berwick wrote. “… Here, you choose a harder path. You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too little of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.”
“Avoid supply driven care like the plague,” Dr. Berwick advised the Britsh (italics in original). “Unfettered growth and pursuit of institutional self interest have been the engines of low value for the US healthcare system. Oversupply has made care unaffordable and hasn’t helped patients at all.”
Dr. Berwick argued that redistribution of wealth is an absolutely necessary component in any just health-care system and that the British had made the right decision in nationalizing their system.
More than one-quarter don’t know who US gained independence from
Every Fourth of July, Americans gather to celebrate the country's declaration of independence from ... um, what country was that again?
If you answered the above question with the word "England" or "Britain," you would be obviously correct. But a new Marist poll finds that more than a quarter -- 26 percent -- of Americans polled couldn't bring to mind the name of the country from whom the original 13 colonies gained independence.
Results were especially poor among the young: Of respondents aged 18 to 29, only 60 percent correctly identified Great Britain. A full one-third were unsure.
Maybe history class was too long ago. Or maybe, as the New York Daily News would have it, Americans are "pretty dumb."
Overall, 20 percent of the population answered "not sure" to the question, while six percent declared it to be a country other than Great Britain. "Among the countries mentioned are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain," Marist reports.
China? Maybe all this poll tells us is that six percent of people who answer surveys like to screw around with them.
That's a possibility that Jack Stuef at the Wonkette blog is ready to consider.
Consider that a good 10% of Americans probably have Alzheimer’s. Then another 5% are just regular crazy people. And probably 11% of Americans got offended that some annoying academic called them up during dinner to ask them this single, inane question and answered “the United States won its independence from the country of My Ass.”
Let's hope Stuef is right. Or this country is in big trouble.
Al-Qaeda newspaper: Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom
Its tag-line is "Inspire the Believers" and its first front page features a quotation by the radical Yemeni-American cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki: "May our souls be sacrificed for you".
The magazine claims to be published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), whose leaders are the most prominent propagandists of any of the group's branches.
The full magazine is not yet online, but the contents page offers messages from both Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. It also advertises a piece by Awlaki entitled: "Shaykh Anwar's message to the American people and Muslims in the West".
Other articles include a question-and-answer session with the leader of AQAP, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, also known by his nom de guerre, Abu Basir, and a tantalising piece offering a "detailed yet short, easy-to-read manual on how to make a bomb using ingredients found in a kitchen".
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah wants to wipe Israel and Iran off the map
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah probably refrained from expressing at least half this sentiment in his meeting today with President Obama: On June 5, he reportedly told French Defense Minister Hervé Morin that "There are two countries in the world that do not deserve to exist: Iran and Israel."
The scoop comes from Georges Malbrunot, a French journalist with Le Figaro. Malbrunot, a respected Middle East correspondent who spent four months as a hostage of the Islamic Army in Iraq, goes on to report that two sources, from diplomatic and military circles, have confirmed the story. He suggests that the anger directed as Israel was the result of the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, which occurred just days before this outburst. (Hat tip goes to the eagle-eyed correspondents at Friday Lunch Club).
Update: Of course, the White House statement following the Obama-Abdullah meeting reaffirmed both leaders' sincerest hope that the current round of proximity talks will lead to "two states living side-by-side in peace and security."
U.S. Has Paid $1.44 Million To Study the 'Social Milieu' of Male Prostitutes in Vietnam
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has so far awarded $1.44 million in federal funds to a project that, among other things, is estimating the size of the population and examining the “social milieu” of male prostitutes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
“In Study 1, formative ethnography will be used to describe the settings, venues, and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated,” says the NIH abstract for the grant. “In Study 2, we will conduct a Capture-Recapture Survey to estimate the size of the male sex worker population in each city.”
The grant project began in July 2008 and is scheduled to run through March 2012. In fiscal year 2008, the NIH awarded the project $534,201 in federal funds. In fiscal year 2009, the NIH awarded the project $465,974; and in fiscal year 2010, the NIH awarded the project $442,340. So far, a total of $1,442,515 in federal funds have been awarded to the project.
The NIH abstract for the grant says the study of HIV infections in Vietnam has only recently begun to pay attention to “men who have sex with men.”
“This study seeks to address an important public health question: what is the impact of male sex work on the growing HIV epidemics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam?” says the NIH abstract. “HIV rates in Vietnam are rapidly increasing, and yet there are limited data on the role that different populations play in this increase. Existing data are based on the assumption that HIV is found primarily in injection drug users and female sex workers, with only recent attention being paid to men who have sex with men.”
Large Hadron Collider: Scientists Create Sound of ‘God Particle
The LHC Sound project aims to allow physicists at Cern in Geneva to ‘listen’ to the data in order to more easily identify the crucial ‘Higgs boson’ particle.
Finding the Higgs boson – also known as the God particle – is the primary aim of the LHC experiment because it will provide an insight into the nature of all matter.
It is hoped the subatomic particle will emerge from the 27km circular tunnel under the Swiss-French border where beams of proton particles are being smashed together.
LHC Sound, a collaboration of particle physicists, musicians and artists in London, has converted data expected from collisions into sounds in a process called sonification.
The data was provided by the LHC's Atlas experiment which includes a calorimeter measuring the energy from collisions. The note and pitch of the sound varies with the amount of energy recorded.
LHC Sound is planning live performances of the data during the summer but early simulations of the particles can be heard here.
Dr Lily Asquith, one of the team, explained in a recent blog entry:
“Sound seems the perfect tool with which to represent the complexity of the data; our ears are superb at locating the source and location of sounds relative to one another, we can hear a vast range of frequencies and distinguish timbres (different instruments) before they have even played a full cycle.
“We also have an incredible ability to notice slight changes is pitch or tempo over time and to recognise patterns in sound after hearing them just once.
“A simple example of sonification is the car parking sensor that informs you of the space behind you via a beeping sound. The distance between you and the car behind you is mapped to the period of the sound, so that small distances produce a series of beeps that are very close together in time.”
"We don't have any idea how to stop this," expert says.
Gulf Oil Leaks Could Gush for Years
If efforts fail to cap the leaking Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico (map), oil could gush for years—poisoning coastal habitats for decades, experts say.
(See satellite pictures of the Gulf oil spill's evolution.)
Last week the joint federal-industry task force charged with managing the spill tried unsuccessfully to lower a 93-ton containment dome (pictures) over one of three ruptures in the rig's downed pipe.
Crystals of methane hydrates in the freezing depths clogged an opening on the box, preventing it from funneling the spouting oil up to a waiting ship.
Watch video of the failed attempt to cap the leaking pipe.
Yesterday a smaller dome was laid on the seafloor near the faulty well, and officials will attempt to install the structure later this week.
But such recovery operations have never been done before in the extreme deep-sea environment around the wellhead, noted Matthew Simmons, retired chair of the energy-industry investment banking firm Simmons & Company International.
For instance, at the depth of the gushing wellhead—5,000 feet (about 1,500 meters)—containment technologies have to withstand extremely high pressures.
Also, slant drilling—a technique used to relieve pressure near the leak—is difficult at these depths, because the relief well has to tap into the original pipe, a tiny target at about 7 inches (18 centimeters) wide, Simmons noted.
"We don't have any idea how to stop this," Simmons said of the Gulf leak. Some of the proposed strategies—such as temporarily plugging the leaking pipe with a jet of golf balls and other material—are a "joke," he added.
"We really are in unprecedented waters."
Gulf Oil Reservoir Bleeding Dry
If the oil can't be stopped, the underground reservoir may continue bleeding until it's dry, Simmons suggested.
The most recent estimates are that the leaking wellhead has been spewing 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons, or 795,000 liters) of oil a day.
Petroleum Engineer -Gulf Oil Rig Intentionally Sabotaged; THIS WILL NEVER BE FIXED....
I WAS A PETROLEUM ENGINEER AND WORKED FOR HALLIBURTON AND BJ HUGHES ( THE OIL AND GAS SIDE OF HOWARD HUGHES COMPANIES). AS SOON AS THE GULF INCIDENT HAPPENED I TOLD MY WIFE AND FRIENDS THAT THIS WAS A SET-UP. GOLDMAN SACHS SELLING THEIR BP SHARES DAYS BEFORE THE DISASTER, NOT TO MENTION THE HEAD OF BP SELLING OVER A THIRD (3rd)OF HIS STOCK. WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT UNLESS THEY HAD INSIDE INFORMATION. LINDSEY WILLIAMS ILLUMINATI FRIEND CLAIMS THAT IT WAS AN UNFORESEEN ACCIDENT. BALONEY !! EVEN HIS "FRIEND" DOESN'T SHARE THE WHOLE TRUTH. STATE PENSION FUNDS ARE LOADED WITH OIL AND GAS COMPANY STOCKS. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN NOW ? PEOPLE BOYCOTTING BP GAS STATIONS AND BP'S STOCKS ARE GOING DOWN WORLDWIDE.
NOW, ABOUT THE DRILLING DEPTH..... WHAT WAS BEING TOLD TO THE MEDIA AND OTHERS WAS A LIE. THEY STATED THAT THE DEPTH WAS 13,000 FEET PLUS 5,000 FEET OF WATER. WE HAVE SINCE BEEN TOLD THAT IT IS 30,000 FEET BELOW THE SEA BED. THE RIG BLOWING-UP AND CATCHING FIRE, WAS A CLUE THAT ALERTED ME THAT THINGS BEING TOLD WERE NOT ACCURATE. THERE WAS A MAJOR COVER-UP GOING ON.
IT WAS REPORTED THAT AROUND 11:00 am, THE TOOL-PUSHER (THE MAN IN CHARGE OF THE RIG) HAD A HEATED ARGUMENT WITH THE OIL COMPANY REPS. ABOUT USING (SALT WATER) INSTEAD OF DRILLING MUD TO DRILL THE WELL DEEPER. DRILLING MUD IS USED BECAUSE THE WEIGHT OF IT CAN BE ADJUSTED BASED ON THE PRESSURES THAT YOU COME UP AGAINST WHEN DRILLING. THE DEEPER YOU GO, SOMETIMES YOU WILL HIT GAS POCKETS AND THE WEIGHT OF THE MUD PLUS HOW MUCH OF IT IS IN THE PIPE CREATES HYDRO-STATIC WEIGHT AND THIS HELPS PREVENT BLOW-OUTS. THEN ABOUT 11:00pm, OR ELEVEN HOURS LATER THE RIG EXPLODED KILLING (11) ELEVEN RIG HANDS. 11, 11, 11, STRANGE.....
THEN THERE ARE ALSO BLOW-OUT PREVENTERS, CHECK VALVES AND MANY OTHER THINGS THAT TOOL-PUSHERS CAN USE TO MAKE SURE BLOW-OUTS DON'T HAPPEN. IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE BLOW-OUT PREVENTERS FAILED ...THAT THEY COULDN'T GET TO THE BUTTON TO ACTIVATE IT. THAT IS BULL. THERE ARE GAS SNIFFERS AND ALL SORTS OF PRECAUTIONARY DEVICES THAT ARE ON THESE RIGS. THESE ARE CHECKED DAILY BY THE CREWS AND HAVE TO BE SIGNED OFF ON WHEN THEY WERE INSPECTED AND WHO DID IT.
A TOOL-PUSHER DOESN'T GET TO THAT POSITION UNLESS HE HAS WORKED ON RIGS FOR YEARS AND STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM UP, AND KNOWS EVERY JOB ON THE RIG. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY HE LISTENED TO THE COMPANY REP OR ANYONE ELSE WHEN IT CAME TO SAFETY OF HIMSELF, HIS MEN AND THE RIG. I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY THE 11 OTHER MEN ASKED TO LEAVE THE RIG AND THEY BROUGHT IN 11 REPLACEMENTS. BP PUT MONEY AND PROFIT AHEAD OF SAFETY. THERE WERE REPORTS OF PROBLEMS 3 TO 4 DAYS BEFORE THE WELL BLEW-OUT. THEY OR SOMEONE WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN. EVERYTHING WAS PURPOSELY DONE TO CAUSE THIS DISASTER.
YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT AT 5,000 FEET DOWN IN WATER YOU HAVE UNBELIEVABLE PRESSURE THAT CAN CRUSH SUBMARINES, PLUS THE TEMPERATURE LEVELS AT THAT DEPTH CAN BE AS LOW AS BEING ON MT. EVEREST. EXAMPLE : THEIR FIRST TOP KILL FAILED BECAUSE THE CONCRETE FROZE AND THE CAP BROKE APART BECAUSE OF THE FACTS STATED ABOVE. ANYONE WHO HAS DRILLED IN THE GULF SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THE CONCRETE WOULD FREEZE AT THAT DEPTH. WHILE ALL OF THIS PLAYING AROUND IS GOING ON, THE WELL HEAD (OR WHAT IS LEFT IT) IS GETTING BIGGER BECAUSE THE SEDIMENT AND SAND COMING OUT OF THE WELL HEAD IS ACTING AS A SANDBLASTER IF YOU HAVE BEEN WATCHING, THE PRESSURE AT THE WELL HEAD HAS NOT DECREASED BUT IS GETTING STRONGER EVEN THOUGH THE HOLE IS GETTING BIGGER. IT SHOULD BE THE OTHER WAY AROUND. LIKE PUTTING A NOZZLE ON YOUR WATER HOSE. SMALLER HOLE, MORE PRESSURE, LARGER HOLE, LESS PRESSURE. THAT'S NOT HAPPENING....
Kagan Silent On Saudi's Harvard Gift;
University Took $20M From Mideast Country W/ Sanctions Oppression of Gays
A Senate Republican is accusing Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan -- who protested the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy as an influential dean at Harvard -- of remaining silent about the university receiving $20 million from a Middle East country that sanctions the oppression of gays.
The accusation comes as the both sides in Senate gear up for the start of confirmation hearings for Kagan, as Republicans opposed to her confirmation seize on "anti-military" fodder.
On Wednesday, during a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted Harvard University accepted a $20 million gift from Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz in 2005 that was used to establish a center for Islamic Studies in his honor.
Sessions cited an Obama State Department report that noted that homosexual acts are a crime in Saudi Arabia under Sharia law and punishable by death or flogging.
At around the same time the university was accepting the gift, Kagan, as dean of the Harvard Law School, was actively seeking to exclude military recruiters from the campus for banning gays from serving openly in the military.
Iranian threats over Gaza keep USS Truman carrier in Mediterranean
The USS Harry S. Truman carrier, complete with its strike group of 60 warplanes and 6,000 seamen, has been ordered to turn course from the Persian Gulf and deploy with the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean for the time being, debkafile's military and Washington sources report. The administration's decision was prompted by incoming intelligence attesting to heightened marine and military tensions between Israel, Turkey and Iran, in the wake of the Turkish premier Recep Erdogan's determination to give his screws on Israel another turn - or two.
He was solidly backed up from Tehran Wednesday, June 16, by parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, who threatened military retaliation against Persian Gulf and Mediterranean shipping for any interference with the vessels Iran was sending to the Gaza Strip. He did not specify what kind they were.
In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted that Israel would no longer respect these vessels as promoted by aid agencies because they were obviously dispatched by outright enemies with hostile intent thinly disguised as humanitarian efforts.
Erdogan is planning more provocative sea convoys for Gaza and the severance of diplomatic relations.
Ankara has set its face implacably toward a full rupture and is determined to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip by force, regardless of the relaxations on the siege restrictions ceded by Israel in consultation with Washington.
Israeli ministers met Wednesday, June 16, to approve these relaxations. The broke for lunch without a decision. Some ministers maintained Israel's ambassador from Ankara should be recalled forthwith without waiting for the Erdogan government to break off ties.
Taliban execute seven-year-old Afghan boy accused of spying
KABUL: Suspected Taliban militants executed a seven-year-old boy in southern Afghanistan after accusing him of spying for the government, a provincial official said Wednesday.
The child was captured by the militants in Sangin district of southern province of Helmand Tuesday, Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said.
"The militants killed the seven-year-old boy in Heratiyan village of the district, on charges of espionage for Afghan government," Ahmadi said, citing information provided to police by relatives.
Most areas of the district are controlled by Taliban militants, while Afghan and foreign troops are only present in the centre, he said.
The Taliban had not yet comment on the reported incident.
After being driven from power in late 2001, Taliban militants have killed dozens of people accused of spying. But Tuesday's incident was the first time a child was reportedly executed.
The Taliban insurgents are most active in southern Afghanistan, where US and NATO forces are planning a major offensive this year.
U.S. Will be Like Greece in ‘Seven to 10 Years,’ Say Congressmen, Experts
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), along with other members of Congress and leading financial experts, is warning that the United States is in danger of being in the same dire situation as Greece – national bankruptcy -- in seven to 10 years unless the federal government radically curtails spending.
Last month, Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said the United States will “essentially be where Greece is in about seven years.”
“If we continue to spend much more than we take in," he says. "We'll double our debt in five years and triple it in 10 years and essentially be where Greece is in about seven years,” Gregg told the Fox Business Network in May.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee, has also said that the United States has been making decisions similar to that which caused Greece’s debt crisis.
“We’re on this trajectory where we will have more takers than makers in society. We’re going to have more people taking from government than living on their own, paying taxes and contributing into it. That is a dangerous position to be in, that’s the position Greece is in,” Ryan said in a radio interview on News/Talk 1130 WISN in May.
Brian Riedl, lead budget analyst at The Heritage Foundation, agrees that unless the federal government radically curtails spending, a debt crisis as severe as or worse than that now happening in Greece will erupt in the United States in as soon as seven to 10 years.
“We can say that we will be at about the Greek level of debt probably in the next seven to 10 years,” Riedl told CNSNews.com. “There is no reason that with the same economic policies at the same level of debt, that the United States won’t face the same economic and financial crisis as Greece.”
$6 to $8 Gas? Prices Will "Skyrocket" If U.S. Stops Drilling
Oily tar balls hit the sands of the Florida Panhandle Friday even as BP engineers adjusted a sophisticated cap over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The containment cap is the latest attempt to plug the worst oil spill in U.S. history, triggered when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people.
Whenever the spill is eventually contained, and the best estimates are still in the "months" category, the BP disaster has major implications for the environment, America's energy policy, and consumers.
"The implications for the American consumer and our society and the domestic United States are very seriously at the front of what I think about," says our guest John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies.
The BP disaster has raised questions about halting risky, domestic oil extraction procedures altogether, including deep-water programs. But Hofmeister -- a longtime advocate of more domestic drilling -- says Americans simply can't afford to stop drilling. (America's net imports of foreign oil have jumped to 58.2 percent in 2007 from 34.8 percent in 1973, accoding to the latest annual figures from the U.S. govermment.)
Prices Could "Skyrocket"
"While we dream about a new energy system that is decades in the future, the prices that consumers will have to pay for things like gasoline, electricity, and diesel would just skyrocket" if America halts offshore driller, Hofmeister tells Aaron and Henry in the accompanying segment. "Prices could get to the point where fixed-income and low-income people are simply taken out of the personal mobility marketplace, which would be a shock and unnecessary because of our unwillingness to produce domestic resources."
But as Aaron asks: "People also don't want oil washing up on their beaches, whether it's in the Gulf of Mexico or Florida or maybe up the East Coast. Do you that think the American public is going to say, 'We don't want you drilling at all offshore?' "
Only if the American public is willing "to accept $6 to $8 [per gallon] gasoline as the alternative, when they can get it," Hofmeister replies.
Israel, Turkey, Gaza in covert sea war. Hamas frogmen thwarted
The Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ferry heading to break the Gaza blockade, in which 9 activists were killed, is turning out a week later to have kicked off a semi-clandestine sea war between Israel, Turkey and the Gaza-based Hamas, debkafile's military sources report. Monday, June 7, Hamas frogmen were on their way to a large-scale attack on an Israeli target when their boat was intercepted by Israeli commandos and four or five armed Palestinians killed. Turkey is investigating suspicions of Israel's hand behind a deadly Kurdish terrorist attack on its Iskenderun base on May 31.
Our military sources disclose Iskenderun's quietly growing role in the last two months as a military hub in potential confrontations by Syria and Hizballah with Israel. In mid-May, Turkey moved anti-air missile batteries into the port to defend targets in Syria and Lebanon against potential Israeli air strikes from the eastern Mediterranean. This is the first time Ankara has provided Syria and Hizballah with an air defense umbrella and come down on their side in their conflict with Israel.
Some hours after Israeli commandos clashed with armed men aboard the Mavi Marmara, Kurdish PKK rebel fighters attacked the Turkish naval base at Iskenderun on the Syrian border, killing seven Turkish seamen and injuring another six. If Ankara can prove its suspicions, it will be able to claim that Israel is involved by proxy in terrorist attacks on Turkish soil. Diplomatic relations still in force despite the frictions between the two countries will then be severed, one step before a declaration of war.
Israel: Turkish troops deployed in Cyprus, top intelligence ranks Islamized
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is clearly spoiling for more trouble with Israel. This is manifested by the steps which are revealed here by debkafile's military and intelligence sources. The peaceful outcome of the Rachel Corrie incident Saturday, June 5, and Israel's efforts to keep the crisis under control have had no effect on his determination to raise rather than de-escalate Turkish-Israeli friction.
Friday, Erdogan made sure his close aides leaked word to the media that he was preparing a large wave of flotillas to challenge Israel's blockade, to be escorted next time by armed Turkish warships with himself possibly on board.
To this, our sources add:
1. The prime minister's office in Ankara is forking out millions of dollars to the IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi), the Istanbul-based terrorist group linked to al Qaeda and Hamas, with orders to purchase 8-10 large ships for a formidable fleet to challenge the Israeli Navy and its enforcement of the 20-mile blockade of the Gaza Strip.
This is the second time he is recruiting the IHH terrorists who assaulted Israeli commandos boarding the Mavi Marmara on May 31, leaving nine people dead and 45 injured in consequence.
The Washington Post Sunday called for the Erdogan's government's ties to the IHH to be one focus of any international investigation into the Marmara incident, pointing to its support for Hamas, which the United States has named as a terrorist entity. The paper called foreign minister Ahmet Davutogolu's statement that the Israeli attack "is like 9/11 for Turkey" obscene.
2. Last week, ahead of the Marmara incident, Erdogan began deploying at the Turkish end of Cyprus air, naval and marine units, holding them ready to combat Israeli takeovers of Gaza-bound vessels. He was only restrained from sending them into action by the last-minute intervention of President Barack Obama's NSA James Jones and President Nicolas Sarkozy's chef de bureau who, according to debkafile's Washington and Paris sources, threatened him with isolation in NATO and Europe if he went ahead.
Saturday, the Turkish leader had his aides leak to the media that he was seriously thinking of leading the next flotilla in person to dramatize his confrontation with Israel.
3. At home, the Turkish prime minister shored up his intelligence ranks ahead of his planned showdown with Israel, replacing professional directors for the first time in modern Turkish history with civilians, radical Muslims close to him personally.
Reality time at Gitmo: Obama backs away
The crowd pushing President Obama to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay posthaste, as he so prematurely promised, should acquaint themselves with a stunning recommendation by his own task force:
Of the 240 detainees there, 48 should be held indefinitely, without trial, under the laws of war.
Why? Because they are believed to be members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban or another enemy force - but those charges cannot be proven in either civilian or military court.
Why not? Because they were picked up, duh, as part of a war - not during an orderly investigation. They were interrogated for intelligence purposes, not with criminal conviction in mind.
Mexico opens California office to provide ID for illegals
The Mexican government is opening a satellite consular office on Catalina Island -- a small resort off the California coast with a history of drug smuggling and human trafficking -- to provide the island's illegal Mexican immigrants with identification cards, The Washington Examiner has learned.
The Mexican consular office in Los Angeles issued a flier, a copy of which was obtained by The Examiner, listing the Catalina Island Country Club as the location of its satellite office. It invites Mexicans to visit the office to obtain the identification, called matricular cards, by appointment.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican whose district includes Catalina Island, said handing out matricular cards will exacerbate an already dangerous situation.
"Handing out matricular cards to Mexicans who are not in this country legally is wrong no matter where it's done," he said. "But on Catalina it will do more damage. It's a small island but there's evidence it's being used as a portal for illegals to access mainland California."
Rohrabacher added, "If there were a large number of Americans illegally in Mexico and the U.S. consulate was making it easier for them to stay, Mexico would never permit it.
U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level
The U.S. economy will enter “hyperinflation” approaching the levels in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates, investor Marc Faber said.
Prices may increase at rates “close to” Zimbabwe’s gains, Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reached 231 million percent in July, the last annual rate published by the statistics office.
“I am 100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation,” Faber said. “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser said on May 21 inflation may rise to 2.5 percent in 2011. That exceeds the central bank officials’ long-run preferred range of 1.7 percent to 2 percent and contrasts with the concerns of some officials and economists that the economic slump may provoke a broad decline in prices.
“There are some concerns of a risk from inflation from all the liquidity injected into the banking system but it’s not an immediate threat right now given all the excess capacity in the U.S. economy,” said David Cohen, head of Asian economic forecasting at Action Economics in Singapore. “I have a little more confidence that the Fed has an exit strategy for draining all the liquidity at the appropriate time.”
Action Economics is predicting inflation of minus 0.4 percent in the U.S. this year, with prices increasing by 1.8 percent and 2 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively, Cohen said.
Gulf residents resigned: BP, Obama clueless
Gulf oil spill 'will continue to gush until August'
Millions of gallons of oil could be gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at least until August, the White House admitted on Sunday, as BP confirmed the failure of the "top kill" attempt staunch the flow.
The setback, which Obama described as being "as enraging as it is heartbreaking", has the potential to make the Deepwater Horizon disaster the worst environmental catastrophe of modern time.
"More oil is leaking in the Gulf of Mexico than at any other time in our history. It means there is more oil than the Exxon Valdez (in Alaska in 1989)," said Carol Browner, the White House energy adviser.
Taking the highest estimates of four million gallons, or 95,000 barrels, of oil being released each day, the disaster could lead to 378 million gallons polluting the Gulf of Mexico and its beaches if the leak continues for another 90 days. That would make it the worst ever oil spill disaster during peacetime.
Some 520 million gallons of oil were released into the Gulf during the 1991 Gulf war and 140 million gallons spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the Ixtoc oil well in 1979-80. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has already eclipsed the worst oil spill in American history, following the Exxon Valdez wreck off Alaska in 1989, when 11 million gallons were released.
An independent government-sponsored team has estimated that a flow up to 19,000 barrels of oil a day have been spewing into the Gulf. If the upper end of that rate continued until the end of August, that would represent 70 million gallons of oil, making the spill the sixth worst in history.
BP will now try to solve the problem with a containment cap, which could take up to a week to be put in place.
It will use undersea robots to slice through the damaged pipe to make a clean cut that can be connected to another pipe, capturing the leaking oil.
However, BP said the operation had never been carried out at a depth of 5,000ft and "the successful deployment of the containment system cannot be assured".
Work has also started on two relief wells, which will not be completed until August.
How the White House destroyed the Gulf
Rahm Emmanuel said it himself: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
But why continue a crisis or allow a matter to become a crisis through inaction?
One must conclude that the White House wanted the oil spill to continue and wreak havoc on the Gulf coasts of Louisiana and Florida. Nothing substantive was done to stop the spread. A great deal of talking, but nothing more.
No serious effort was made by the U.S. government to stop the flow of oil, whatsoever, despite it being in its power to do so. Few entities have the ability to do anything at 5,000 feet in depth, and the U.S. government is one of the few that can. Despite this, it was more than a week before any NOAA ships sailed.
No submersibles capable of dumping rock or concrete onto the spill and covering it over (like a cairn) were dispatched to stop the flood of oil. If one piles enough rock and/or concrete upon such a well, the weight of the overburden will stop the flow– inelegant, but it would work. No submarines fired wire-guided ADCAP torpedoes into the seabed surrounding the well to break up the concrete and the surrounding rock. Also inelegant, but if the pipe and surrounding rock were broken up badly enough – remember the pressure involved – it would also stop the flow of oil.
Absolutely nothing of substance has been done by the U.S. government to stop the gusher.
All the government has done is to talk about the disaster. To complain. To point fingers. To pontificate. It doesn't accomplish much.
The spill was not even a priority.
17 States Now Filing Versions of Arizona's Immigration Bill
One of America's national organizations fighting against illegal immigration is announcing that 17 states are now filing versions of Arizona's SB 1070 law which is designed to help local police enforce America's existing immigration laws.
Numerous national and local polls indicated that 60-81% of Americans support local police enforcing immigration laws.
"Our national network of activists have been working overtime trying to help the state of Arizona and the brave Arizonans who have passed this bill," said William Gheen, President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC. "Arizona no longer stands alone and we have now documented state lawmakers filing, or announcing they will file, versions of the Arizona bill in seventeen states! We will not stop until all states are protected from invasion as required by the US Constitution."
ALIPAC has documented the following 17 states are following Arizona's lead in response to citizen pressure.
ARKANSAS, IDAHO, INDIANA, MARYLAND, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MISSOURI, NEBRASKA, NEVADA, NEW JERSEY, OHIO, OKLAHOMA, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA, TEXAS, UTAH.
Obama's Nominee to Run Medicare: 'The Decision is Not Whether or Not We Will Ration Care--
--The Decision is Whether We Will Ration Care With Our Eyes Open'
Obama’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, is a strong supporter of the government-run health care system in Britain, who said in a 2009 interview about Comparative Effectiveness Research: “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care--the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”
The $787-billion stimulus law signed by President Obama created a Federal Coordinating Coucil for Comparative Effectivieness research in health care that some critics argue was a step toward rationing of heatlh care in the United States.
Donald Berwick, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the head of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement, was nominated by Obama on April 19, 2010.
Jihadis convert YouTube into terror-recruiting tool
Islamic terrorists plotting attacks in the U.S. are recruiting, taking credit for bombings and calling for even more violence – all with the help of a popular U.S.-based website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL4F7PvipyA
In fact, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan – a group White House counterterrorism czar John Brennan said is "closely allied with al-Qaeda; they train together, they plan together, they plot together" – maintains a YouTube channel for posting news and violence-inciting rants.
"Today, dated 19th April 2010, through media I want to convey an important message to the Muslim ummah," states a video still viewable on the group's YouTube channel, reportedly with the voice of leader Hakeemullah Mehsud to the "ummah," meaning the spread of Muslims throughout the globe.
"America, which is the biggest evil of this world, [has] savagely massacred millions of innocent Muslims," the video continues. "From now on, the main targets of our fidaeen are American cities."
The video, which begins with the words "A message to the Muslim ummah and a warning to USA and NATO allies … step back or get ready to be destroyed," then shows a map of the U.S. with explosions erupting throughout.
"America/NATO, you will pay for your crimes," it concludes.
The Middle East Media Research Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit group that translates and analyzes Middle Eastern communications for Western nations, also discovered a video on the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan page claiming credit for the fizzled bomb scare in New York City's Times Square.
The video, since removed, but still viewable elsewhere on YouTube, declares, "We Tehreek-e-Taliban with all the pride and bravery, take full responsibility for the attack on Times Square. We also congratulate the Muslim ummah with all the pleasure and happiness."
The message appears beneath the words, "Allah (swt) is with the steadfast and patient ones. We will break the jaws of Satan's USA."
MEMRI has also been tracking YouTube posts of U.S.-born Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki.
Fishermen Report Illness From BP Chemicals; Toxicologist Says Chemicals Harmful, Can Lead To Death
LAFITTE, La. --
More and more stories about sick fishermen are beginning to surface after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The fishermen are working out in the Gulf -- many of them all day, every day -- to clean up the spill. They said they blame their ailments on the chemicals that BP is using.
One fisherman said he felt like he was going to die over the weekend.
"I've been coughing up stuff," Gary Burris said. "Your lungs fill up."
Burris, a longtime fisherman who has worked across the Gulf Coast, said he woke up Sunday night feeling drugged and disoriented.
"It was like sniffing gasoline or something, and my ears are still popping," Burris said. "I'm coughing up stuff. I feel real weak, tingling feelings."
Marine toxicologist Riki Ott said the chemicals used by BP can wreak havoc on a person's body and even lead to death.
"The volatile, organic carbons, they act like a narcotic on the brain," Ott said. "At high concentrations, what we learned in Exxon Valdez from carcasses of harbor seals and sea otters, it actually fried the brain, (and there were) brain lesions."
Researchers Ponder a Hurricane Hitting the Oil-Slicked Gulf of Mexico
BP's oil spill could make for one of the highest-stakes U.S. Gulf hurricane seasons on record. Storms could scuttle cleanup efforts, force containment vessels to retreat, or propel spilled crude and tar balls over vast expanses of sea and beach.
Meteorologists say that climate conditions are ripe for an unusually destructive hurricane season, the storm-prone period that runs from June 1 to the end of November in the Gulf. Oceanographers say that could hurt the clean-up.
"If a storm comes into this situation it could vastly complicate everything," said Florida State University oceanography professor Ian MacDonald.
"All efforts on the shoreline and at sea, the booms and structures and rigs involved in cleanup and containment, could stop working."
As thousands of spill responders gird for a cleanup that could last for months or years after the leaking well is capped, weather and ocean currents are emerging as major unknowns, raising anxiety levels, economic and environmental stakes in the Gulf as storm season nears.
Compounding the uncertainty is how little research has been done on how storms affect oil spills. Some believe storm surges may help disperse the oil off shore or break down the slick. Other research suggests the oil slick itself could keep storms from gathering strength.
Factors to Worry About
Recent Atlantic Basin readings showed water temperatures up to 0.8 degrees Celsius above normal, and near a record high for the season. El Nino, which creates wind shear that can prevent Gulf hurricanes from forming, has recently subsided. The factors could spur major storms in the Gulf this year, as they did in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf coast.
Oil Hits Current Bound for East Coast, Scientist Says
Part of the oil slick from BP Plc’s leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico has entered the current that carries water toward the U.S. East Coast and Europe, according to satellite observations and computer models, a Florida scientist said.
Florida will dispatch a survey vessel this week to determine how much oil from the leak is in the “Loop Current,” William Hogarth, dean of the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, said today in an interview. Robert Weisberg, an oceanographer at the St. Petersburg, Florida-based university, said May 4 oil entering the current could travel through the Florida Keys and into the Atlantic Ocean.
“The oil, particularly some filaments of it, has gotten into the Loop Current on the surface,” Hogarth said. “We’ll take a better look with a vessel this week. We’ll try and learn the concentration.”
The well is leaking an estimated 5,000 barrels a day of crude, according to London-based BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. BP installed a tube directing about a fifth of the flow to a ship on the surface.
“The oil has not entered the Loop Current,” Mary Landry, the U.S. Coast Guard rear admiral who serves as on-scene federal coordinator for the spill response, said today at a press conference in Robert, Louisiana. “There might be some leading- edge sheen that’s getting closer.”
At least 94,000 barrels (3.9 million gallons) have leaked into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20 and sank two days later, killing 11 crew members. The total is based on initial leak-rate estimates of 1,000 barrels a day and the 5,000-barrel-a-day estimate since April 28.
Researchers aboard the research ship Bellows may sample water and look for oil at a depth of about 300 meters (984 feet), Hogarth said. Scientists on the Florida-commissioned survey may be able to help forecast how much of a threat it poses to southern Florida’s mangrove swamps and the Atlantic Coast, he said.
Feds to track your child's weight?
A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.
States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18. The grant-receiving states would be required to mandate that all health care providers in the state determine the Body Mass Index of all their patients in the 2-to-18 age bracket and then report that information to the state government. The state government, in turn, would be required to report the information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.
US sends Israel bunker-penetrator bombs to match Syrian Scuds for Hizballah
The United States recently renewed supplies to the Israeli Air Force of GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs, as well as Attack Munitions (LDJAM) for more accurate targeting of bombs, debkafile's military sources report. In Moscow, Israeli president Shimon Peres said to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev Sunday, May 9, that Syria has only one object in arming the Lebanese Hizballah with missiles and that is warmongering.
That same day, US defense sources, normally chary of releasing information about US arms supplies to Israel, reported that Washington had released substantial quantities of smart bombs to different types to Israel, most of them suitable for striking Hizballah fortifications in Lebanon and Hamas tunnels in the Gaza Strip.
BP oil disaster: how a deadly methane bubble triggered explosion
A deadly bubble of methane that forced its way up from beneath the ocean floor caused last month's oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, according to workers who survived.
The gas shot up the drill column, expanding rapidly as it rose, and burst through a series of seals and barriers before exploding, triggering an even larger explosion when the oil that gushed up behind it also ignited.
The fullest account so far of events surrounding the blast on April 20 which killed 11 workers and has led to more than three millions gallons of crude oil pouring into the sea has emerged from an internal invesigation into the accident by BP, the oil company that leased and operated the rig.
Workers described the "screaming and hollering" as people ran for their lives to leap off the sides, according to tapes and internal documents whose contents emerged yesterday. There were also claims that the alarm system designed to warn of an imminent explosion failed to sound.
The chain reaction behind what some fear will be the worst oil spill in the industry's history was revealed by Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor who worked for the British oil company as a risk assessment consultant during the 1990s. He was passed documents and a tape from the BP inquiry by others within the industry.
According to the account he has pieced together, a group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record while, far below, the exploration well was being converted for oil production.
The workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well, he believes, but - as they reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor - a chemical reaction caused by the setting cement created heat.
That heat converted a pocket of methane crystals into a bubble of compressed gas which grew as it rose up the drill column.
"A small bubble becomes a really big bubble," said Prof Bea. "So the expanding bubble becomes like a cannon shooting the gas into your face."
Within moments, workers on the surface saw sea water in the drill column rocketing 240 feet into the air, before gas and then oil surfaced.
"It was chaos," said one survivor, Dwayne Martinez. "Nothing went as planned, like it was supposed to."
The gas flooded into an adjoining room with exposed ignition sources, Prof Bea said, causing the first explosion, and others followed. According to one interview transcript, the gas cloud caused giant engines on the drill floor to run too fast and explode, setting "everything on fire".
Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud threatens US months after 'death'
Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has vowed to attack major US cities in two new videos released months after his reported killing in a US missile strike.
The videos emerged after an attempted car bombing in New York City, for which his faction claimed responsibility in a third video, and provided the most substantial evidence so far that he survived a barrage of US missiles.
Mehsud threatened to retaliate against the United States within a month for the killing of Islamist militant leaders, appearing in a nine-minute video allegedly made on April 4, after his supposed death in January.
"The time is very near when our fedayeen will attack the American states in the major cities," said Mehsud, who was seen flanked by two armed and masked men in the video released by the SITE and IntelCenter monitoring groups.
The video is the first showing Mehsud since January and was issued on the heels of a claim by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan that it was behind the attempted bombing in New York's Time Square on Saturday.
US officials believed Mehsud was likely killed in a US drone strike in northwestern Pakistan on January 14, but the Taliban denied his death and Pakistani intelligence officials said last week that he had survived.
The Islamist leader, who took over leadership of the TTP last August, poured scorn on reports of his death, describing them as an "open lie and propaganda by the kuffar (non-believers)".
International ties to Times Square bombing attempt
Law enforcement sources close to the Northeast Intelligence Network are privately confirming that the investigation into failed car bombing attempt in New York City is expanding to other states, and that the bombing attempt indeed “has ties to foreign elements.” According to information obtained from law enforcement sources, there are at least three individuals who appear to be “directly involved” in the terrorist act, and that the suspects are Islamic terrorists.
“In addition to the forensic evidence found within the vehicle, the vehicle itself has provided us with some critical evidence,” stated a New York detective speaking to this author on the condition of anonymity. “There is a trail being followed, and it not only points out of New York, but out of the U.S. Departing U.S. flights on the East Coast have been monitored since the incident happened, and are still being heavily scrutinized,” added this source.
This information comes at the same time as an article in The Washington Post today that indicates international ties in the failed bombing attempt, and the surfacing of two new videos from the Pakistani Taliban that suggest that Hakimullah Mehsud was not killed in a U.S. missile strike as originally stated by U.S. and Pakistani officials.
Silence from U.S. and allies allowed Iran to get seat on U.N. women's rights panel
The United States and 12 other Western democracies kept silent this week as Iran was nominated for membership of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), thus enabling Iran to get the seat.
In the four-year period beginning in 2011, Iran will help set U.N. policy on gender equality and the advancement of women.
Iran’s unchallenged election, at a meeting in New York Wednesday, came just over a week after Iranian media quoted a senior Islamic cleric in Tehran as saying that immodest dress and behavior by women was to blame for an increase in earthquakes.
More than 200 Iranian women’s rights activists sent an open letter to the U.N. earlier this week, warning that Iranian membership would be “a serious threat” to the CSW’s “goals and mission,” and that the government would use it “to curtail progress and the advancement of women.”
Bank Failures, False Recovery, And The Fight Of Your Life Dead Ahead
The last 18 days have brought about 15 bank failures to our 'economic recovery' that never seems to produce any results. States and cities are strapped for cash, teachers are being laid off, and police and firefighters are losing their jobs. [Just google police layoffs 2010]. But not to worry, the Dow continues to go up on the mocking bird media while the economic conditions disintegrate farther and faster.
The circus side-show Fasci-Marx-Unist destruction of AmeriKa at the hands of scuzz-buzzards in the White House, Congress, and Senate is only infuriating Americans whether they are 'awake' to the truth of the matter or not. They will continue to flaunt their fascism in the face of every American while they continue to shove financial controls, police state controls, and legalize illegal immigrants considering that NOBODY is demanding these measures be brought forth as they must believe that this Hegelian Dialectic attack is best for you and your family yet NOBODY has been advocating these unsolicited attacks on our country, our lives, our bank accounts, our money, our freedom, or our health except these trash eating-vomit-spewing one-world-order scuzz-buzzards. This will continue despite the fact they know the American population is sick of them and their antics. This is why they will unroll the boot-stomping red carpet on the American people with the deployment of CMRF Battalions that may be called upon to help quell unrest before the November elections.
An attack on Iran would be the perfect plan to turn the tide on the American people and trick them into supporting the very event that would bring utter financial and social obliteration to America. Bombs hitting Iran from either the US or Israel would bring a $12 to 20 dollar a gallon gas overnight as Iran would shut the Strait of Hormuz and 40% of the world's oil off instantly.
Wheels already coming off of Obamacare
Not one of its major programs has gotten started, and already the wheels are starting to come off of Obamacare. The administration’s own actuary reported on Thursday that millions of people could lose their health insurance, that health-care costs will rise faster than they would have if the law hadn’t passed, and that the overhaul will mean that people will have a harder and harder time finding physicians to see them.
The White House is trying to spin the new report from Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster as only half bad because it concludes that, while costs will increase, only 23 million people will remain uninsured (instead of 24 million previously estimated).
But looking at the details of Foster’s report shows the many, many danger signs for Obamacare and how many of its promises will be broken:
1. People losing coverage: About 14 million people will lose their employer coverage by 2019, as smaller employers terminate their plans and workers who currently have employer coverage enroll in Medicaid. Half of all seniors on Medicare Advantage could lose their coverage and the extra benefits the plans offer.
2. Huge fines for companies: Businesses will pay $87 billion in penalties in the first five years after the fines trigger in 2014, partly because they can’t afford to offer expensive, government-mandated coverage and partly because some of their employees will apply for taxpayer-subsidized insurance.
3. Higher costs for consumers: Tens of billions of dollars in new fees and excise taxes will be “passed through to health consumers in the form of higher drug and devices prices and higher premiums,” according to Foster. A separate report shows small businesses will be hit hardest.
4. A program created to fail: The new “CLASS Act” long-term-care insurance program will face “a significant risk of failure,” according to Foster. Indeed, he finds, “there is a very serious risk that the problem of adverse selection will make the CLASS program unsustainable.”
5. Spending increases: Under the new law, national health spending will increase by $311 billion over the coming decade. And instead of bending the federal spending curve down, it will move it upward “by a net total of $251 billion” over the next decade.
6. “Free-riders”: An estimated 23 million people will remain uninsured in 2019, roughly 5 million of whom would be undocumented aliens; the remainder would be the 18 million who decline to get coverage and who will pay the penalty.
7. Spending reductions are fiction: Estimated reductions in the growth rate of health spending “may not be fully achievable” because “Medicare productivity adjustments could become unsustainable even within the next ten years, and over time the reductions in the scope of employer-sponsored health insurance could also become an issue.”
8. You can’t keep your doctor: Fifteen percent of all hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers treating Medicare patients could be operating at a loss by 2019, which will “possibly jeopardize access to care for beneficiaries.” Doctors are threatening to drop out of Medicare because cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates mean they can’t even cover their costs.
9. Coverage but no care: A significant portion of those newly eligible for Medicaid will have trouble finding physicians who will see them, and the increased demand for Medicaid services could be difficult to meet.
This is an objective report by administration actuaries that shows this sweeping legislation has serious, serious problems.
Obama's policies prompt Wynn to consider exit from U.S.-
Obama's polices: "They retard investment; job formation; they retard the creation of a better life'
Gaming icon Steve Wynn made his fortune believing in America and Las Vegas. His confidence in this city and its economy transformed the Strip, created tens of thousands of jobs and provided an elevated standard of living for untold numbers of Southern Nevadans.
But that confidence is clearly gone now, a direct result of the Obama administration's redistributionist philosophy and the ever-growing threat it presents to the private sector.
Mr. Wynn, in Macau for the opening of his hotel expansion, told CNBC Wednesday that he might move his company's headquarters from Las Vegas to China.
"The governmental policies in the United States of America are a damper, a wet blanket," Mr. Wynn said in a different interview on Bloomberg Television. "They retard investment, they retard job formation, they retard the creation of a better life for the citizens in spite of the rhetoric of the president.
"I don't think the Las Vegas market at the moment beckons a large investment," Mr. Wynn said. "The economic outlook in the United States, the policies of this administration, which do not favor job formation, do not encourage investment at all."
Mr. Wynn is no partisan hack, and we hope he sticks around. But even the most economically unsophisticated taxpayer should be concerned when one of this country's most successful entrepreneurs -- and the chief executive of a publicly traded corporation -- declares that this country is no longer a good place to do business.
MADRASSAHS FOR THE U.S. MASSES: DRAINS MILLIONS FROM AMERICAN TAXPAYERS
Turkish Muslims, under the leadership of Fethullah Gulen, have established over 85 madrassahs (Islamic schools) throughout the United States to further the cause of radical Islam.
The madrassahs, set up as “charter schools,” receive millions from U.S. taxpayers and serve to promote “education jihad” by radicalizing students to promote a universal caliphate.
How dangerous are the Gulen schools?
Consider Tarek ibn Ziyad (TIZA) Academy in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota – - a charter school with 300 students – - almost all Muslims.
TIZA was established in 2003, and received $4.7 million from Minnesota taxpayers in 2008 – 2009.
It is named after Tarek ibn Ziyas, the Muslim warlord who conquered Spain.
Students at TIZA pray Islamic prayers; the cafeteria serves halal food; and Islamic studies are held within the building every day. The entranceway is inscribed with passages from the Quran and the Hadith.
Recently, a TIZA teacher testified that one of her duties was taking the female students to the restroom in order to supervise their ritual washing before the Friday prayer service.
TIZA is so radically Islamic and subversive in nature that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has initiated a lawsuit to shut it down. In the suit, the ACLU maintains that the school requires female teachers to be covered “from neck to wrist and ankle,” and female students to wear full-length dresses (jihaabs).
Yet the Minnesota Department of Education ruled that TIZA is neither an Islamic nor a religious school.
The decision remains quizzical in light of the fact that TIZA is closely linked to the Muslim American Society (MAS) of Minnesota, which occupies space within the school building.
MAS has been called “the Muslim equivalent of the Neo-Nazi party.”
“It is the de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.,” said Steven Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “The agenda of the MAS is to … impose Islamic law in the U.S., to undermine U.S. counterterrorism policy.”
MAS was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamist movement created in Egypt in 1928. Radical members of the Brotherhood founded the terror group Hamas and were among the first members of Al Qaeda.
The Muslim American Society’s former secretary general has acknowledged that the group was founded by the Brotherhood, and in 2004 he estimated that about half of MAS members were in the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS, but MAS went way beyond that point of conception,” Shaker Elsayed told the Chicago Tribune, explaining that the group had expanded to include a wider viewpoint.
The Department of Justice has never taken action against MAS and declined to comment on whether it was investigating the group’s ties.
Charles Samuelson, Minnesota’s Executive Director of the ACLU, says that the Gulen charter school funnels money – - derived from US taxpayers – - to MAS without a word of censure from the Minnesota Department of Education or the Internal Revenue officials who supervise the activities of non-profit schools and organizations.
The Minnesota chapter of MAS featured writings on its website from Islamic clerics praising Hamas and urging Muslims to “wage Jihad until death.”
Last December, the Minnseota chapter funded Representative Keith Ellison’s trip to Mecca. Ellison, a Democrat, became the first U.S. congressman to make a hajj.
“Their founding ideologues are all members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Emerson said. “I don’t think you can get more radical in the United States without crossing the line to incitement.”
Will Obama and Napolitano will bring about a depression?
With 1 in 5 Americans out of work, Obama issues over a million green cards
The Department of Homeland Security has just reported that during 2009, they issued 1,130,818 new Green Cards to foreign nationals, allowing them to work legally in this country. That number represents the fourth highest number of cards issued in one year.
750,000 of the new Green Cards were given to the families of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
The top four recipient nations are as follows:
In Feb. 2009, the financial institution Merrill Lynch announced that the nation’s actual unemployment rate had reached 13.9 percent. A year later, that number had risen to 17.3 percent. This figure represents Americans who have been laid off from full-time positions and are now working part-time, as well as those who have simply stopped looking for work, and workers whose unemployment benefits have run out.
Honey, We Lost the Mansion; Foreclosures Hit Rich and Famous
The rich and famous now have something in common with hundreds of thousands of middle and lower-class Americans: The bank is about to take their homes.
Houses with loans of $5 million or more will likely see a sharp rise in foreclosures this year, according to a RealtyTrac study for The Wall Street Journal.
Gabe Palacio for The Wall Street Journal Banks had scheduled a foreclosure auction of Richard Fuscone's Westchester County, N.Y., mansion this week. But the former top Wall Street executive declared personal bankruptcy, delaying the auction.
Just this week, a Tudor mansion in Bel-Air belonging to film star Nicolas Cage was in foreclosure auction and reverted to the lender. On Wednesday, Richard Fuscone, a former top Wall Street executive, declared personal bankruptcy, forestalling a foreclosure auction that had been scheduled this week on his 14-acre Westchester mansion. Last month a Manhattan condominium owned by Italian film producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori was sold in a foreclosure auction for $33.2 million.
In February alone, 352 homes nationwide in this category were scheduled for foreclosure auction, the final step before a bank acquisition. That is the largest monthly number of these so-called notices of sale since the financial crisis began. By comparison, in all of 2009, there were 1,312 such notices.
Economists say the super-wealthy are among the last to lose their homes in a mortgage crisis because they usually have high savings, better access to credit and other means for staving off foreclosure. But many of them work in financial services and other industries hit especially hard by the crisis, and have seen their wealth shrink in the market crash.
While the numbers are modest compared with foreclosures at other income levels, they suggest the possibility of a sudden spike in bank takeovers of the wealthiest Americans' property. Typically half the notices of sale result in homes being turned over to creditors, though the figure could be slightly lower for the richest Americans who have more financial options, according to Daren Blomquist at RealtyTrac.
Big borrowers are more likely to default than ordinary people, according to data from First American CoreLogic. Its loan database, reflecting more than 80% of the overall home-loan market, includes 1,700 loans with balances of $4 million or more. About 14.8% of those loans were 90 days or more overdue at the end of January, compared with 8.7% for all home loans tracked by First American. Sam Khater, a senior economist at First American, said the bigger borrowers may be more prone to stop making payments when they have lost all their home equity.
Mr. Fuscone, Merrill Lynch's one-time head of Latin America, put his mansion up for sale in November, asking $13.9 million. But he couldn't find a buyer.
The court had scheduled a foreclosure auction for Thursday for the 18,471-square-foot mansion—with two swimming pools, two elevators, six fireplaces, 11 bathrooms and a seven-car garage. The personal bankruptcy filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Wednesday temporarily freezes the foreclosure process.
Reached by phone, Mr. Fuscone declined to comment. Brokers and real estate tracking companies say that his home is one of the most expensive properties to face foreclosure proceedings yet.
The phenomenon is not limited to the New York area. Banks have taken over homes with loans of $5 million or more in Georgia, North Carolina and Colorado, RealtyTrac says.
Mr. Cage had tried to sell his 11,817-square-foot Bel-Air property for $35 million but failed to get any offers, said James Chalke, a real-estate agent who had the listing. At a foreclosure sale Wednesday, the property attracted no bids from investors and so was acquired by the foreclosing lender. Annett Wolf, a spokeswoman for Mr. Cage, said he had no comment.
A representative of Mr. Cecchi Gori, producer of more than 200 films including "Il Postino" and "Life is Beautiful," said his financial situation is improving.
In Florida's Miami-Dade County, the three largest foreclosure filings initiated against homes in the past six months involved a 4,655-square-foot home in Sunset Islands; a 8,443-square-foot house in Coral Gables; and a condo in Miami Beach, according to Peter Zalewski, a principal of Condo Vultures. All three had mortgages of $3.5 million to $4 million.
Mortgage defaults began to surge in late 2006, mostly among borrowers with subprime mortgages, those for people with weak credit records or high ratios of debt to income.
Over the next few years defaults spread rapidly to better-heeled borrowers, especially those who got loans without documenting their income. At the end of 2009, nearly eight million households, or 15% of those with mortgages, were behind on mortgage payments or in the foreclosure process.
Wealthy people have the means to stretch out the distress process, sometimes for years.
"It's very, very difficult for these people to believe they've had such a severe reversal of fortune," says Maggie Navarro, a real-estate agent in Pasadena, Calif.
Amnesty International Boss Endorses "Jihad in self-defense"
Amnesty International (AI) Secretary-General Claudio Cordone has come under fire for defending jihad when it occurs in "self-defence" – a position many other human rights advocates believe "would gravely undermine the future of the human rights movement."
Cordone's comments came in response to a February 13 "Global Petition" to AI by human-rights and women's -rights advocates protesting the suspension of Gita Sahgal, a senior AI official in London.
Sahgal was suspended after the Sunday Times of London reported she believed Amnesty's collaboration with former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzem Begg "fundamentally damages" the group's reputation.
In a letter sent to senior AI officials, Sahgal charged that Amnesty has mistakenly aligned itself with Begg and his organization Cageprisoners, which calls itself a human-rights organization working to "raise awareness of the plight of prisoners" held in the war on terror.
According to the Sunday Times, the prisoners it championed have included "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and Abu Qatada, a preacher described as Osama Bin Laden's 'European ambassador.' "
Begg and Cageprisoners are also reported to have developed a relationship with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaeda cleric who endorsed the failed Christmas Day plane bombing near Detroit and who became a confidant of Nidal Malik Hasan, charged with carrying out the Nov. 5 Fort Hood massacre. Read more here.
In the "Global Petition" sent to AI, the coalition of liberal human-rights advocates criticized what they called "U.S./NATO imperialism." But the bulk of the letter consisted of criticism of Sahgal's suspension and warnings about the pitfalls of negotiating with the Taliban and trying to advance human rights by working with "anti-democratic" groups.
On February 28, Cordone responded with a letter defending AI's work with Begg and Cageprisoners. Begg "speaks powerfully from personal experience" about the abuses at the U.S.-operated Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, Cordone wrote, and advocates detainees' due process rights within "the same framework of universal human rights standards that we are promoting."
Cordone added that Begg and Cageprisoners' advocacy of "jihad in self defense" is not antithetical to human rights and that Begg is the victim of "many distortions, innuendos and 'guilt by association' " charges.
In response, the initiators of the Global Petition expressed dismay about Amnesty's endorsement of a "defensive" jihad. They noted that such a call "is a thread running through many fundamentalist and specifically 'salafi-jihadi' texts. It is mentioned by Abdullah Azzam, mentor of Osama bin Laden, and founder of Lashkar e Tayyaba. It is the argument of 'defensive jihad' that the Taliban uses to legitimize its anti human rights actions such as the beheading of dissidents, including members of minority communities, and the public lashing of women."
21 black widows still at large; could launch fresh attacks
Twenty one 'black widow' female suicide bombers trained by an Islamist terrorist known as "the Russian Bin Laden" remain at large and may launch fresh attacks on Moscow, Russian investigators have warned.
The warning will heighten fears that Monday's rush-hour suicide attack on the Moscow metro by two women may just be the start of a large-scale terror campaign.
Investigators have said they were trying to confirm whether the two women were part of what was originally a 30-strong female "martyrs' brigade".
The terrorist who trained the brigade, an Islamist convert calling himself Said Buryatsky, was killed in a special forces operation earlier this month in Ingushetia, a strife-torn region bordering Chechnya. He was known as the Islamist rebel movement's ideologue-in-chief in southern Russia and the media had dubbed him "the Russian Bin Laden."
Investigators said the late terrorist, whose real name was Alexander Tikhomirov, had recruited 30 potential female suicide bombers in Chechnya and Ingushetia and dispatched them to Turkey to be taught the precepts of radical Islam in an unnamed Madrasah.
On their return to Russia, he had personally continued their "education." The women are known as "black widows" because they have usually lost husbands or close relatives in clashes with Russian forces and are motivated by a desire for revenge.
Nine of the original thirty brigade members are known to have already blown themselves up in the lawless North Caucasus region along Russia's southern flank where suicide attacks started up again last year after a long pause.
But that, say investigators, leaves twenty one "black widows" at large.
The Moscow metro attack may have been vengeance for his death, they added.
"If people trained by Buryatsky himself were involved in these attacks then the explosions are only the beginning," said a source from Russia's FSB security service.
"Especially since Doku Umarov, the leader of the militants gave Buryatsky his orders and has long promised to spread war across Russia."
No group have claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The worrying disclosure came as Russia marked a day of mourning for the 39 people who lost their lives in Monday's attacks and as unconfirmed reports claimed the security services may have had advance warning of the bombing. Flags fluttered at half mast across the country and mourners lay flowers in the two metro stations targeted. At least five people who were badly wounded in the blasts remain in a critical condition.
There was strong criticism of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, as well as President Dmitry Medvedev, for not doing more to prevent the atrocity. Questions were also being asked of the country's state-controlled television stations who were slow to interrupt normal programming and report news of the bombings.
Obama Excludes Private and Catholic School Children From Easter Egg Roll
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday it has reserved 3,000 free tickets to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll for students in D.C.-area public and charter schools, but not for children who attend private or parochial schools.
Why exclude children in private and parochial schools, asked the father of a parochial school student at Tuesday’s press conference where U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the ticket giveaway.
“These tickets are from the White House to public schools, and we’re appreciative, but there may be other things unrelated to this press conference,” Fenty responded. “That’s a great question.”
Mayor Of Detroit’s Radical Plan To Bulldoze One Quarter Of The City
How do you save a city that is dramatically declining like Detroit? Well, for the mayor of Detroit the answer is simple - you bulldoze one-fourth of the city. Faced with a 300 million dollar budget deficit and a rapidly dwindling tax base, Detroit finds itself having to make some really hard choices. During the glory days of the 1950s, Detroit was a booming metropolis of approximately 2 million people, but now young people have left in droves and the current population is less than a million. The true unemployment rate for those still living in Detroit is estimated to be somewhere around 45 to 50 percent, and poverty and desperation have become entrenched everywhere. In many areas of the city, only one or two houses remain occupied an an entire city block. In fact, some areas of Detroit have so many vacant, burned-out homes that they literally look like war zones. And yes, it is true that there are actually some houses in Detroit that you can actually buy for just one dollar. According to one recent estimate, Detroit has 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots. So what can be done when an entire city experiences economic collapse?
Well, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing believes that the answer is to downsize on a massive scale. Bing believes that Detroit simply cannot continue to pay for police patrols, fire protection and other essential services for areas that resemble ghost towns.
U.K. Muslim leader: Islam not a religion of peace; "Islam means submission "
The Obama administration has released a review of its strategy in the war on terrorism. The report failed to even mention the word "Islam."
CBN News traveled to London to talk with Anjem Choudary, a leading Muslim radical who says Islamic teachings are what shaped his pro-jihad message.
Although both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have declared that Islam is a religion of peace, Choudary begs to differ.
A Religion of Peace?
"You can't say that Islam is a religion of peace," Choudary told CBN News. "Because Islam does not mean peace. Islam means submission. So the Muslim is one who submits. There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam."
California is a greater risk than Greece, warns JP Morgan chief
Jamie Dimon, chairman of JP Morgan Chase, has warned American investors should be more worried about the risk of default of the state of California than of Greece's current debt woes.
Mr Dimon told investors at the Wall Street bank's annual meeting that "there could be contagion" if a state the size of California, the biggest of the United States, had problems making debt repayments. "Greece itself would not be an issue for this company, nor would any other country," said Mr Dimon. "We don't really foresee the European Union coming apart." The senior banker said that JP Morgan Chase and other US rivals are largely immune from the European debt crisis, as the risks have largely been hedged.
California however poses more of a risk, given the state's $20bn (£13.1bn) budget deficit, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is desperately trying to reduce.
Earlier this week, the state's legislature passed bills that will cut the deficit by $2.8bn through budget cuts and other measures. However the former Hollywood film star turned politician is looking for $8.9bn of cuts over the next 16 months, and is also hoping for as much as $7bn of handouts from the federal government.
North Korean yellowcake was bound for Syria when Israel struck plant
At the time of Israel's bombardment of the Syrian-Iranian plutonium plant under construction in northern Syria on September 2007, 45 tons of North Korean yellowcake, enough for several nuclear bombs, was on its way to the plant, Japanese intelligence sources have revealed. It was this information, debkafile's intelligence sources add, that prompted the Israeli attack with president George W. Bush's approval.
The administration in Washington sought not merely to prevent a large consignment of weapons-grade material from reaching Syrian hands, but equally to make it clear to Pyongyang that the US meant to enforce the UN Security Council ban on its nuclear proliferation activities.
Straight after the Israeli bombardment, Syrian president Bashar Assad is said to have urgently advised the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Il to turn the uranium-laden ship around because the Americans and Israelis would likely attack it or seize its cargo if it reached the Mediterranean.
Impending Explosion: U.S. Intensifies Threats To Russia And Iran
Washington and its NATO allies launched two of the three major wars in the world over the past eleven years in March - against Yugoslavia in 1999 and against Iraq in 2003. The war drums are being pounded anew and the world may be headed for a catastrophe far worse than those in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States, separately and through the military bloc it controls, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is accelerating military deployments and provocations throughout Eurasia and the Middle East. Embroiled with fellow NATO members in the largest-scale military offensive of the joint war in Afghanistan launched eight years ago last October and well on the way to both extending and replicating the Afghan aggression in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula , Washington and its allies are also taunting and threatening Russia as well as surrounding Iran with military forces and hardware preparatory to a potential attack on that nation.
The rapid pace of the escalation - almost daily reports of missile shield expansion in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf and Turkey; heightened and progressively more bellicose words and actions directed against Iran - is occurring at a breakneck and almost dizzying speed, drawing in larger and larger tracts of Europe and Asia.
Christians claim hate crimes law an effort to ‘eradicate’ their beliefs
A Christian group in Michigan has filed a lawsuit alleging that a package of hate crimes laws named after murder victim Matthew Shepard is an affront to their religious freedom.
Far from the intended purpose of severely punishing criminals who commit unspeakable acts against a persecuted minority group, the religious activists claim the laws are a guarded effort to "eradicate" their beliefs.
Filed by the Thomas More Law Center -- which bills itself as the religious answer to the American Civil Liberties Union -- the complaint claims that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people "is an effort to eradicate religious beliefs opposing the homosexual agenda from the marketplace of ideas by demonizing, vilifying, and criminalizing such beliefs as a matter of federal law and policy."
The suit was placed on behalf of American Family Association of Michigan president Gary Glenn, along with pastors Rene Ouellette, Levon Yuille and James Combs.
Claiming "there is no need" to extend hate crimes definitions, Thomas More chief counsel Richard Thompson attempted to minimize the impact of violent crimes against homosexuals.
9-11 recovery worker payments for toxic injuries swallowed up by lawyers
Lawyers in the legal battle over Ground Zero worker compensation could bag up to half of the billions available to pay 9/11 recovery workers for toxic injuries.
Defense firms hired by the city to fight some 10,000 claims have already raked in close to $200 million, and about $75 million has been spent on administrative expenses.
Lawyers for the workers -- who have yet to be paid -- stand to reap 30 percent to 40 percent of all settlements or judgments, based on their retainer agreements with World Trade Center responders.
How much money is up for grabs is the big question, now that the first trials for a dozen 9/11 workers are set to start May 16 in Manhattan federal court. The two sides are in secret, "intensive discussions" that Judge Alvin Hellerstein hopes will settle as many cases as possible.
At stake is a $1 billion taxpayer fund and as much as $3 billion in liability-insurance coverage, which includes the Port Authority's $600 million and policies held by WTC contractors.
The WTC Captive Insurance Co., a nonprofit governed by Mayor Bloomberg, has managed a $1 billion fund. The money was awarded by Congress to pay claims stemming from the Ground Zero cleanup.
Gulf Defensive Buildup In Advance of Attack on Iran?
This weekend’s newspapers were filled with stories about how the United States is providing ballistic missile defense (BMD) to four countries on the Arabian Peninsula. The New York Times carried a front-page story on the United States providing anti-missile defenses to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman, as well as stationing BMD-capable, Aegis-equipped warships in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the front page of The Washington Post carried a story saying that “the Obama administration is quietly working with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies to speed up arms sales and rapidly upgrade defenses for oil terminals and other key infrastructure in a bid to thwart future attacks by Iran, according to former and current U.S. and Middle Eastern government officials.”
Iranian Nuclear Question
U.S. President Barack Obama spent little time on foreign policy in his Jan. 27 State of the Union message, though he did make a short, sharp reference to Iran. He promised a strong response to Tehran if it continued its present course; though this could have been pro forma, it seemed quite pointed. Early in his administration, Obama had said he would give the Iranians until the end of 2009 to change their policy on nuclear weapons development. But the end of 2009 came, and the Iranians continued their policy.
All along, Obama has focused on diplomacy on the Iran question. To be more precise, he has focused on bringing together a coalition prepared to impose “crippling sanctions” on the Iranians. The most crippling sanction would be stopping Iran’s gasoline imports, as Tehran imports about 35 percent of its gasoline. Such sanctions are now unlikely, as China has made clear that it is not prepared to participate — and that was before the most recent round of U.S. weapon sales to Taiwan. Similarly, while the Russians have indicated that their participation in sanctions is not completely out of the question, they also have made clear that time for sanctions is not near. We suspect that the Russian time frame for sanctions will keep getting pushed back. Therefore, the diplomatic option appears to have dissolved.
Super-drug could eradicate Alzheimer’s and diabetes and let us live into our 100s
John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, in an hour-long television documentary titled "Global Warming: The Other Side," presents evidence that our National Climatic Data Center has been manipulating weather data just as the now disgraced and under investigation British University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit. The NCDC is a division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its manipulated climate data is used by the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, which is a division of the National Aeronautical and Space Administration.
The Coleman documentary presents research by computer expert E. Michael Smith and Certified Consulting Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo. During the 1960s and into the 1980s, the number of stations used for calculating global surface temperatures was about 6,000. By 1990, the number of stations dropped rapidly to about 1,500. Most of the stations lost were in the colder regions of the Earth. Not adjusting for their lost made temperatures appear to be higher than was in fact the case. According to Science & Environmental Policy Project, Russia reported that CRU was ignoring data from colder regions of Russia, even though these stations were still reporting data. That means data loss was not simply the result of station closings but deliberate decisions by CRU to ignore them in order to hype their global warming claims. D'Aleo and Smith report that our NCDC engaged in similar deceptive activity where they have dropped stations, particularly in colder climates, higher elevations or closer to the polar regions. Temperatures are now simply projected for these colder stations from other stations, usually in warmer climates.
Sign Of The Times; One Word Says It All
Scientists believe the Mona Lisa may be a disguised self-portrait; Leonardo to be exhumed
Scientists hope to exhume the remains of Leonardo da Vinci so they can reconstruct his face to discover whether the Mona Lisa is a disguised self-portrait.
Scientists and historians from Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage have sought permission to open the artist’s tomb at Amboise Castle in the Loire valley.
While the identity of the Mona Lisa has been debated for centuries, some scholars have suggested that da Vinci may have painted himself as a woman in the masterpiece due to his love of riddles.
Experts believe that if they find the Renaissance painter’s skull, they can recreate his face and compare it to the Mona Lisa.
The Italian research team said talks about the exhumation with French cultural officials and the owners of the chateau have resulted in an agreement in principle.
The project could receive formal permission this summer.
Drugs brings more money to Mexico than oil
More money flooded into Mexico from the illegal drugs trade than was earned from the country’s crude oil exports last year, it has been claimed.
The country’s drugs cartels, which control most of the cocaine and methamphetamine smuggled into the United States, are estimated to have brought $25-$40 billion into Mexico from their global operations in 2009.
A survey of analysts by the Reuters news agency estimated that as a result the drugs trade in Mexico is likely to have made more money than was earned by the state oil monopoly, Pemex, from exports of crude - the country’s single biggest legitimate foreign currency earner.
The influx of drugs money, mostly from the US in $100 bills, mostly finds its way on to the books of businesses including restaurants and construction firms as drug lords try to legitimise their cash through money laundering. It has even believed to have propped up the country’s banking system, helping it ride out the financial crisis and aiding the country’s economy.
But banking secrecy in Mexico has stymied attempts to seize criminal earnings. A US Treasury official said Washington had only succeeded in freezing $16 million in suspected Mexican drug assets in almost a decade.
Obama's TSA Nominee: War on Terror ‘Deserves to Perhaps Have Some Parity With Global Warming'
Erroll Southers, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), said the war on terror should be given “some parity” with other national priorities such as global warming, education, and the economy.
In the online interview, Southers was asked, “How high should the 'war on terror' be on our list of national priorities?”
Southers answered: “It should be high on our list of priorities because of, speaking globally, the threat that exists. Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel, France, countries that are seen by groups, by Al Qaeda as being infidels or anti-Islamic, by the true nature of our alliance with them means that we are subject to being attacked as well.
“I do think, however, it deserves to perhaps have some parity with global warming, with education, with the economy,” said Southers.
Plastic Chemicals Make Boys More Feminine,' Study Says
Chemicals in plastics are "feminizing" the brains of baby boys, a study shows.
Those exposed to high doses in the womb are less likely to play with "male" toys, such as cars, and are less willing to join rough-and-tumble games.The research adds to growing evidence hormone-disrupting chemicals in household products are interfering with the development of children.
The study, which looked at phthalates, chemicals that can mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen, is the first to link them to changes in behavior. Phthalates, used to soften plastics, are in household items such as plastic furniture, shoes, PVC flooring and shower curtains. They can also be transferred to food and drink from plastic packaging.
The study, published in the International Journal of Andrology, was led by Dr. Shanna Swan, professor of obstetrics and gynacology at the University of Rochester in New York State.
Swine flu 'pandemic' seems to be biggest pharma-fraud of century
The Council of Europe will launch a probe into pharmaceutical companies after reports that vaccine manufacturers pressured the World Health Organization into declaring swine flu pandemic seeking increase in profits.
It was supposed to be a deadly pandemic, but is so far is nothing more than a serious cold.
And it has left a lasting headache as a debate rages over whether pharmaceutical companies deliberately misled governments about the seriousness of swine flu to make them stockpile vaccines.
Metropolitan Museum of Art quietly pulls images of Mohammed from its Islamic collection
The museum said the controversial images -- objected to by conservative Muslims who say their religion forbids images of their holy founder -- were "under review."
Critics say the Met has a history of dodging criticism and likely wants to escape the kind of outcry that Danish cartoons of Mohammad caused in 2006.
"This is typical of the Met -- trying to avoid any controversy," said a source with inside knowledge of the museum.
The Met currently has about 60 items from its 60,000-piece Islamic collection on temporary display in a corner of its vast second-floor Great Hall while larger galleries are renovated. But its three ancient renderings of Mohammed are not among them.
U.K. children young as seven being groomed for terrorism to follow Christmas bomber
Around 10 primary school pupils, aged between seven and 10, have been referred to a Government scheme to help combat the radicalisation of youngsters.
One child was referred to the Channel Project, a national programme run by the police and Government, after shocking his teachers by writing on a school book: “I want to be a suicide bomber.”
Currently around 230 young people, mostly men aged between 15-24, have been identified, many of them by their parents because they suddenly changed from wearing Western clothes to strict Islamic dress, or began expressing devout Islamic views.
Security for NYC 9/11 trials to cost $200 million per year
Security for the federal trial of self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four accused cohorts will run $200 million a year, sources told the Daily News.
The NYPD's newly revised projection is almost triple the estimate of $75 million in November, after Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would move the prisoners from Guantanamo to Manhattan for trial.
The legal process is expected to play out over more than a year.
Britain braced for heaviest snowfall in 50-years
The heaviest snowfall in almost 50 years is hitting parts of Britain as Arctic weather brought nationwide chaos.
As the country was plunged into one of its worst winters for decades, the Met Office issued an emergency weather warning for all counties of the UK.
The South, including London and the Home Counties, were expected to bear the brunt of the snowfall with emergency services warning they are already struggling to cope with the increasingly bitter conditions.
Forecasters predicted that more than one foot of snow could fall in less than 24 hours in most southern areas leading to widespread chaos and disruption for millions.
Robert Rubin: All Hell Could Break Loose Due to Huge Government Debt
Robert Rubin, who is a former secretary of the Treasury (1995–99) and now serves as co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and is a fellow of the Harvard Corporation, in a Newseek opinion:
The United States faces projected 10-year federal budget deficits that seriously threaten its bond market, exchange rate, economy, and the economic future of every American worker and family. Those risks are exacerbated by the context of those deficits: a low household-savings rate, even after recent increases; large funding requirements for federal debt maturities every year; heavy overweighting of dollar-denominated assets in foreign portfolios; worsened fiscal prospects in the decades after the current 10-year budget period; and competing claims for capital to fund deficits in other countries.
The conventional concern here is that private investment will be crowded out, which would result in a reduction of productivity, competitiveness, and growth. In addition, the very early 1990s showed that unsound fiscal conditions can have a symbolic effect that broadly undermines business and consumer confidence. But finally, and far more dangerously, our bond and currency markets could react with severe distress to fears about imbalances in the supply and demand for capital in the years ahead or about the possibilities of inflation. Those effects have been averted so far by a number of factors: large inflows of capital from abroad into Treasury securities; concerns about other major currencies; the low level of private demand for capital; and the psychological state of the market. But this cannot continue indefinitely, and change can occur with great force—and unpredictable timing.
The UN and Interpol How the UN will gain power
It is interesting that the man who cast aside the US Constitution like a rag, and imposes his own laws without consent, has agreed to allow an international police authority to overrule the US government.
Barack Obama signed an Executive Order giving express permission for Interpol to supersede the laws and police authorities of the USA.
Some have seen this as heralding loss of sovereignty. The truth is, the USA already lost it when it voted for Obama. Before the election he promised to hand over sovereignty to the UN, and this will indeed occur if the people allow him to carry on implementing his own Executive Orders without the consent of Congress or the people.
Interpol has a worldwide anti-terrorism network. Yet, Obama is nestling up to terrorist organisations and countries. This means that the central theme of ‘terrorism’ will change dramatically under Obama. Also, Obama is planning to make the owning of small arms illegal, effectively making US people defenceless, not just before criminals but also before government. Interpol will be used to discover and arrest those who own small arms.
Interpol will work alongside the UN’s stormtroopers, as enforcers of UN laws and whims. It has immunity in the USA – no doubt it will gain immunity in many more countries as they mimic Obama’s duplicity. They will investigate and arrest any who dare to oppose UN policies, whether social, criminal or economic, including anti-greens. Watch for it, because it is bound to come.
Eerie outpost unnerves US Marines with strange lights and whispers in the night
The Marines found the bone as they scraped a shallow trench. Long, dry and unmistakably once part of a human leg, it was followed by others. They reburied most of them but also found bodies. Three of the graves were close together; in another was a skeleton still wearing a pair of glasses. The Marines covered the grave and told their successors to stay away from it.
Observation Point Rock sits a few hundred metres south east of Patrol Base Hassan Abad, where a company from 2/8 Marines has been stationed for the past seven months. It is a lonely and exposed outpost 20 metres (65ft) above the surrounding landscape, which has been in Nato hands since it was captured from the Taleban in 2008.
Groups of Marines are posted to guard it, usually for a couple of months at a time, and “the Rock” has acquired a peculiar reputation. American troops widely refer to it as “the haunted Observation Point”.
Corporal Jacob Lima’s story is the latest addition. One night he was woken by the sound of screaming. It was Corporal Zolik, a Marine who has since been moved to a unit farther south. “He was yelling and begging me to go up to the firing point he was guarding,” Corporal Lima, 22, told the men taking over from him. “When I got there he said that he was sitting there when he heard a voice whisper something in his ear. He said it sounded like Russian. He begged me to stay in there with him till he was relieved from guard duty. After that he really didn’t like standing post up there.”
The Marines’ predecessors, a unit of Welsh Guards, also produced tales of the unexpected. “The Brits claimed to see weird things, hear noises,” Corporal Lima said. “Lots of them said it’s creepy at night, especially from midnight till 4am. You see a lot of unexplained lights through night-vision goggles.”
“This place really sucks,” said Lance Corporal Austin Hoyt, 20, putting his pack on to return to the main base. “The Afghans say it’s haunted. Stick a shovel in anywhere and you’ll find bones and bits of pottery. This place should be in National Geographic — in the front there are weird-looking windows for shooting arrows. You know, they say the Russians up here were executed by the Mujahidin.”
He looked meaningfully at his successors and prepared to leave.
Autism has Reached Crisis Proportions; Today 1 in 110 Children Are Autistic
Autism was first brought forth to the public's attention in the 1950's. Since then, it has been rising steadily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently released that today 1 in 110 children are autistic. More alarming is the fact that on December 18, 2009, it reported that autism increased by 57% in the last four years.
Most experts attribute the cause of autism to be unknown, defining it as a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, there has been much controversy as to what, indeed, is responsible for our children not being able to communicate, form relationships, and/or respond to their surroundings.
The most popular of these controversies is vaccines, pointing directly to the Mumps-Measles-Rubella vaccine and the mercury based preservative, thimerosal. Other theories include:
Atypical Brain Development
Immune Deficiency Disorder
Complications During Delivery
Exposure to Heavy Metals
Homeland chief an airhead; Says security system worked
An al Qaeda bomber stashing explosives in his underwear cakewalked onto a US-bound airliner after averting scans on two continents -- but the federal Homeland Security chief incredibly claimed yesterday that "everything happened that should have."
"This was one individual literally of thousands that fly and thousands of flights every year," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who called flying "very, very safe."
"And he was stopped before any damage could be done . . . Once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have."
Napolitano's all-is-well assessment ran counter to that of her boss, President Obama, who called for a total review of procedures at US airports.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Obama had ordered a full appraisal of anti-terror flight regulations, "to ensure that there is no clog in the bureaucratic plumbing of information."
Napolitano's astonishing claim in the aftermath of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed bombing over Detroit led Rep. Peter King (R-LI) to respond, "The fact is, the system did not work."
The latest system failure came last night at La Guardia. The Post learned that the feds questioned a Florida man after ground crew found what authorities called a "pyrotechnic" aboard a US Airways flight from Baltimore. The 4-inch-long, three-quarter-inch-wide explosive was found wedged between two seats. Authorities collared Thomas Ouelette, 67, of Bonita Springs, Fla., before he boarded his connecting Delta flight to Fort Myers, Fla. The feds said is did not appear terrorism was involved, but Ouelette did have two outstanding Florida warrants for "unlawful flight."
* Abdulmutallab is singing to feds, telling investigators he trained for a month recently in an al Qaeda stronghold just north of the Yemeni capital of San'a, a source told The Post.
* Abdulmutallab also told the FBI he met with "the imam." Feds believe he's talking about the spiritual adviser who counseled the US Army shrink who killed 13 at Fort Hood in November.
* A Nigerian businessman, yesterday on the same Amsterdam-to-Detroit Northwest Airlines flight Abdulmutallab took on Christmas, locked himself in the bathroom for an hour, raising concerns about whether another attack was imminent. It turned out he was just ill.
* Abdulmutallab was moved from a hospital to a federal pen.
* It was learned that Abdulmutallab was subjected to secondary screening at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport beyond the normal magnetometers. It wasn't clear if the powerful explosive substances he carried aboard could even have been detected by current screening procedures, King said.