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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Cap Slows Loss of Oil, but Engineers Move Cautiously - NYTimes.com

Cap Slows Loss of Oil, but Engineers Move Cautiously - NYTimes.com




HOUSTON — Oil continued to gush from a runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday as engineers worked to close two of four vents on a capping device lowered onto the gushing riser pipe.
“The vents remain open,” Adm. Thad Allen of the Coast Guard, who is in charge of the federal response to the oil spill, said at a briefing on Saturday morning.
Admiral Allen said that while engineers were able to bring 6,000 barrels of oil to the surface in a 24-hour period, they were hesitant to close the vents out of fear that if they did so too quickly, water would rush in and form the kind of icy hydrates that doomed a previous attempt to cap the leak. More...

Gulf Gusher Capped, But Still Pouring Oil

Gulf Gusher Capped, But Still Pouring Oil: "
Oil poured out of a cap that robots adjusted over the gusher in the Gulf, though some was being collected, as the slow-motion catastrophe spread deeper into the marshes and beaches of four states along the coast.
(Via NPR Topics: News.)

Friday, June 04, 2010

BBC News - Israel vows to stop aid ship reaching Gaza

BBC News - Israel vows to stop aid ship reaching Gaza

Israel has reiterated that a ship carrying aid and international activists will not be allowed to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The MV Rachel Corrie is on schedule to reach the territory early on Saturday.

U.S. Adds Jobs in May, but Private Hiring Disappoints - NYTimes.com


U.S. Adds Jobs in May, but Private Hiring Disappoints - NYTimes.com: ""


By CHRISTINE HAUSER
Employers added 431,000 nonfarm jobs nationwide in May, the biggest increase in a single month in a decade, the Labor Department said Friday. But the bulk of the growth was in government jobs, driven by hiring for the Census, and private-sector job growth was weak.

The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent nationwide, from 9.9 percent in April, the department said.

The figures for May represented the fifth consecutive month that payrolls have risen, but fell below analysts’ expectations that 540,000 jobs would be added to the economy. Most of the private-sector gains were in manufacturing, but over all, the figures suggest that nongovernment hiring was weak.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Admiral Says Oil Pipe Is Cut, a Key Step in Halting Leak - NYTimes.com

Admiral Says Oil Pipe Is Cut, a Key Step in Halting Leak - NYTimes.com


BP successfully sliced off the riser pipe, but the cut is irregular and placing a cap over the gushing oil well will be more challenging, said Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, the federal incident commander.
Admiral Allen said during a briefing in Metairie, La., that the cap was over the gusher and expected to be lowered in the next couple of hours. More...

S. Korea’s Governing Party Surprised by Election - NYTimes.com

S. Korea’s Governing Party Surprised by Election - NYTimes.com

SEOUL, South Korea — President Lee Myung-bak’s party has suffered a surprising setback in local elections that were widely seen as a referendum on his handling of North Korea’s alleged torpedoing of a South Korean warship.

Results from the elections were released on Thursday, and the voter turnout of 54.5 percent was the highest for local elections in 15 years.

Candidates of Mr. Lee’s governing Grand National Party had hoped that outrage in South Korea over the sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors, would help them ride a conservative wave to victory. Mr. Lee’s government has formally accused North Korea of attacking the ship on March 26 with a torpedo from a submarine, a charge that the North has denied.

“The election results were far less than we had expected and hoped for,” Cho Hae-jin, a spokesman for the governing party, said. The party’s chairman, Chung Mong-joon, an important ally of Mr. Lee, said he was stepping down over the poor results. Mr. Lee’s chief of staff, Chung Chung-kil, also offered to resign. More...


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Obama Expands Benefits For Gay Federal Workers : NPR

Obama Expands Benefits For Gay Federal Workers : NPR

President Obama has ordered federal agencies to grant additional benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian federal employees. More...


High court: Suspects must directly invoke right to remain silent - CNN.com

High court: Suspects must directly invoke right to remain silent - CNN.com

Washington (CNN) -- If criminal suspects fail to invoke their right to remain silent, they have waived that right, a divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.The high court upheld the murder conviction of a man who did not verbally assert his right to remain silent during his police interrogation. In a 5-4 ruling, the court said a suspect must explicitly tell officers he or she is asserting that right, known as Miranda rights. More...

Oil Closes In On Florida As BP Readies New Attempt : NPR

Oil Closes In On Florida As BP Readies New Attempt : NPR

As submersible robots made another risky attempt to control the underwater Gulf oil gusher, the crude on the surface spread, closing in on Florida. BP's stock plummeted and took much of the market down with it, and the federal government announced criminal and civil investigations into the spill.

The stakes couldn't be higher.

After six weeks of failures to block the well or divert the oil, the latest mission involved using a set of tools akin to an oversized deli slicer and garden shears to break away the broken riser pipe so engineers can then position a cap over the well's opening. More...


Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries - NYTimes.com

Study Finds Blacks Blocked From Southern Juries - NYTimes.com


In late April in a courthouse in Madison County, Ala., a prosecutor was asked to explain why he had struck 11 of 14 black potential jurors in a capital murder case.
The district attorney, Robert Broussard, said one had seemed “arrogant” and “pretty vocal.” In another woman, he said he “detected hostility.”
Mr. Broussard also questioned the “sophistication” of a former Army sergeant, a forklift operator with three years of college, a cafeteria manager, an assembly-line worker and a retired Department of Defense program analyst.
The analyst, he said, “did not appear to be sophisticated to us in her questionnaire, in that she spelled Wal-Mart, as one of her previous employers, as Wal-marts.”
Arguments like these were used for years to keep blacks off juries in the segregationist South, systematically denying justice to black defendants and victims. But today, the practice of excluding blacks and other minorities from Southern juries remains widespread and, according to defense lawyers and a new study by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit human rights and legal services organization in Montgomery, Ala., largely unchecked. More...
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Some things never change. Institutional racism is live and well in America.
John H. Armwood

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hatoyama to Quit as Japan’s Prime Minister, NHK Says (Update1) - BusinessWeek

Hatoyama to Quit as Japan’s Prime Minister, NHK Says (Update1) - BusinessWeek

Hatoyama to Quit as Japan’s Prime Minister, NHK Says (Update1)

June 01, 2010, 8:48 PM EDTJune 2 (Bloomberg) -- Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told leaders of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan that he will resign, NHK Television said, without saying where it got the information.

By Takashi Hirokawa and Steven McPherson


Two Koreas Show Signs of Easing Tensions - NYTimes.com

Two Koreas Show Signs of Easing Tensions - NYTimes.com

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea expressed a desire to keep a joint industrial complex in operation, South Korean officials said Monday, while the South indicated that it might reconsider its decision to revive psychological warfare against the North.

The developments showed that the two Koreas were carefully weighing the option of easing their confrontation, analysts said.

Tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula have deteriorated to their worst point in years after a South Korean warship sank on March 26. South Korea blamed a North Korean torpedo attack for the blast.

“Neither side can afford to keep building up tensions,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea specialist at Dongguk University in Seoul. “Both sides have been raising tensions the way you blow into your balloon, and now they need an excuse for each other to stop blowing so that the balloon won’t burst.” More...


Monday, May 31, 2010

At Least 10 Are Killed as Israel Halts Flotilla With Gaza Aid - NYTimes.com

At Least 10 Are Killed as Israel Halts Flotilla With Gaza Aid - NYTimes.com

JERUSALEM — Israeli naval commandos raided a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza in international waters on Monday morning, killing at least 10 people, according to the Israeli military and activists traveling with the flotilla. Some Israeli news reports put the death toll higher.

Acupuncture may ease pain by triggering release of natural painkiller | Science | guardian.co.uk

Acupuncture may ease pain by triggering release of natural painkiller | Science | guardian.co.uk

Study in mice suggests that acupuncture relieves pain not just through the placebo effect but also by stimulating cells to pump out the body's own painkiller
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I had an experience with acupuncture in 2007 in South Korea. I was suffering with a severe case of diarrhea derived from eating tainted shell fish. The episode lasted eight days. The medicines given me by western physicians did not work. A very kind Korean student took me to see a traditional Korean doctor who practiced acupuncture. He treated me for two days. The diarrhea stopped the evening after my first treatment. I cannot prove a causal link between my recovery and the doctors treatment, the diarrhea episode may have run its course, but I to this day believe that his treatment, which included placing needles in my hand and foot, placing a burning ash on my foot and hot rocks inside a cloth casing behind my backed, helped.

John H. Armwood


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hackers Place Racist Message On Miami Road Sign: “No Latinos, No Tacos” | CyberInsecure.com

Hackers Place Racist Message On Miami Road Sign: “No Latinos, No Tacos” | CyberInsecure.com
Hackers in Miami targeted an electric billboard placing the slogan “No Latinos No Tacos” on a flashing construction sign on a major roadway in south Florida.

The sign was supposed to be displaying a message warning drivers that the coming exit was closed to traffic.
Officials attempted to change the text on the sign back to its intended message, but were unable to do so and were forced to simply turn off the sign. Miami police are investigating the incident.
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It is sad to see an increasing wave of racist, ant-immigrant fever in America fed by conservatives, Republicans and the "Tea Party Movement". Unfortunately, especially during hard economic times, these types who philosophically reject the basic inclusiveness found in America's founding documents raise their ugly heads. They forget that their ancestors were immigrants who changed American culture by adding their own distinctiveness. That is all the new Hispanic immigrants are doing. They are simply fulfilling the promise of America. We should embrace them, enjoy their Taco's and relish in the spirit of their joining the ever expanding American mosaic.


John H. Armwood

BBC News - Socialists leave Japan coalition over Okinawa issue

BBC News - Socialists leave Japan coalition over Okinawa issue

Japan's socialist party has voted to leave the ruling coalition because of a row over a US base in Okinawa.


Attack Bares South Korea’s Complex Links to North - NYTimes.com

Attack Bares South Korea’s Complex Links to North - NYTimes.com




MUNSAN, South Korea — Like many South Koreans, Choi Byung-wook said he felt outrage over the North Korean attack that sank the warship Cheonan and killed 46 sailors. But he also said that he did not expect the hostilities to get any worse and that his nation must continue to engage the North.
“Inside, we are furious,” said Mr. Choi, 46, a government employee who shopped on a recent afternoon at a mall in this city just a few miles from the South’s heavily fortified border with North Korea. “But even with 46 dead, cutting off North Korea is not an option for us.”
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My more than two years in South Korea taught me that many South Koreans are very protective of North Korea. They often see the north as a wayward sibling who must be protected from outsiders, no matter how outrageous her behavior. When North Korea misbehaves South Koreans are more likely to blame the United States, or if they are on the Korean political left, the South Korean government, than they are to blame North Korea. This is of course quite puzzling to outsiders but very typical of the South Korean mindset which is attached to the north on a very emotional level.
John H. Armwood