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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Thousands Of Returning Soldiers Face A New Enemy : NPR

Thousands Of Returning Soldiers Face A New Enemy : NPR
More than seven years after U.S. troops first invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, President Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday to commemorate the official end of the Iraq War. However, the legacy of one of America’s longest combat missions will continue to affect the thousands of troops who came home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Scientist Watches Glacier Melt Beneath His Feet : NPR

Puncak JayaImage via WikipediaScientist Watches Glacier Melt Beneath His Feet : NPR
Earlier this summer, a group of scientists spent two weeks in Indonesia atop a glacier called Puncak Jaya, one of the few remaining tropical glaciers in the world. They were taking samples of ice cores to study the impacts of climate change on the glacier.
Lonnie Thompson, a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, led the team and what he witnessed shocked him: The glacier was literally melting under their feet.
Thompson tells NPR's Guy Raz he has conducted 57 expeditions around the world, but this trip was unusual. It was the first one where he experienced rain on the glacier every day.
"Rain is probably the most effective way to ... cause the ice to melt," Thompson says. "So this was the first time you could see the surface actually lowering around you."
While Thompson and his team were there drilling cores, he says, they witnessed the glacier drop 12 inches in just two weeks.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fire at Tennessee Mosque Site Ruled As Arson : NPR

Fire at Tennessee Mosque Site Ruled As Arson : NPR
Federal investigators have decided a suspicious fire that damaged construction equipment at the site of a future mosque in Tennessee was arson.
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Steven Gerido said Friday that lab tests confirmed an accelerant was used in the fire early Saturday in Murfreesboro.
The fire engulfed the cab of a dump truck, and authorities found fresh fuel pooled under a second dump truck and some fingerprints near the fuel tank.
The site is the location for a new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, which has drawn increasingly vehement opposition, including protest marches and some vandalism. One opponent said she received death threats after appearing on The Daily Show.
A $20,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information leading to an arrest.

Jobless Rate 9.6 Percent In August; Private Payrolls Up By 67,000 : The Two-Way : NPR

Jobless Rate 9.6 Percent In August; Private Payrolls Up By 67,000 : The Two-Way : NPR

The nation's jobless rate inched up to 9.6% in August from 9.5% in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.
Private employers added 67,000 jobs to their payrolls, BLS also said. But a drop in government employment (much of it due to the laying off of temporary Census workers) led to a net decline in jobs of 54,000.

New Yorkers Divided Over Islamic Center, Poll Finds - NYTimes.com

New Yorkers Divided Over Islamic Center, Poll Finds - NYTimes.com

Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project, according to a New York Times poll.
The poll indicates that support for the 13-story complex, which organizers said would promote moderate Islam and interfaith dialogue, is tepid in its hometown.
Nearly nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks ignited a wave of anxiety about Muslims, many in the country’s biggest and arguably most cosmopolitan city still have an uneasy relationship with Islam. One-fifth of New Yorkers acknowledged animosity toward Muslims. Thirty-three percent said that compared with other American citizens, Muslims were more sympathetic to terrorists. And nearly 60 percent said people they know had negative feelings toward Muslims because of 9/11.
Over all, 50 percent of those surveyed oppose building the project two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, even though a majority believe that the developers have the right to do so. Thirty-five percent favor it.
Opposition is more intense in the boroughs outside Manhattan — for example, 54 percent in the Bronx — but it is even strong in Manhattan, considered a bastion of religious tolerance, where 41 percent are against it.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The john H. Armwood Weekly Podcast For The Week Ending Friday September 3, 2010

This podcast is for the week ending Friday September 3, 2010.  The Archive of my previous News Podcasts is found here


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CBC News - Health - Marijuana gateway risk overblown: study

CBC News - Health - Marijuana gateway risk overblown: study
Long-held fears that the use of marijuana will lead to harder drugs are overblown, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.
A young woman smokes a joint outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. New research suggests use of marijuana as a teen is not a major factor in using hard drugs later in life. (Jonathan Hayward)The research, in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that other factors, such as whether or not a person has a job, or is facing severe stress, are far more predictive of future hard drug use than whether they smoked pot as a teenager.
"Employment in young adulthood can protect people by closing the marijuana gateway, so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities," said co-author Karen Van Gundy.
The strongest factor influencing the use of illicit drugs is an individual's race or ethnicity, according to the study. Non-Hispanic whites are most likely to use harder drugs such as heroin or cocaine, followed by Hispanics and then by African Americans.
'We urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the drug problems'—Karen Van Gundy, Cesar Rebellon, University of New Hampshire
Young adults who didn't complete high school or go to college were most likely to have used marijuana as teens and other illicit drugs in early adulthood. Those who were unemployed after high school were also more likely to use other drugs.
"In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the drug problems," write the study's authors, Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, both associate professors of sociology at UNH.

Oil Rig Explodes in Gulf of Mexico, Coast Guard Says - NYTimes.com

Oil Rig Explodes in Gulf of Mexico, Coast Guard Says - NYTimes.com
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 11:53 a.m. ET
GRAND ISLE, La. (AP) -- An offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, west of the site of the April blast that caused the massive oil spill.
A commercial helicopter company reported the blast around 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Casey Ranel said. Seven helicopters, two airplanes and four boats were en route to the site, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay along the central Louisiana coast.
The Coast Guard said initial reports indicated all 13 crew members from the rig were in the water. One was injured, but there were no deaths.
The platform owned by Mariner Energy (NYSE:ME) is in about 2,500 feet of water, the Coast Guard said, and was not currently producing.
About 206 million gallons of oil from an undersea well spilled into the Gulf after BP's (NYSE:BP) Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

35 Years On, Vietnam Heroes Reunited, Decorated : NPR

35 Years On, Vietnam Heroes Reunited, Decorated : NPR

September 1, 2010

As Saigon was falling to Communist North Vietnamese forces in April 1975, U.S. sailor Kent Chipman and Ba Nguyen, a helicopter pilot in the South Vietnamese army, crossed paths for one brief moment. Chipman was aboard the USS Kirk, a small Navy ship that rescued Nguyen and his family as they flew in a Chinook transport chopper, desperate to get away from Saigon.

Chipman waited 35 years to be reunited with Nguyen and his family.

The two men met again this summer at a reunion of the crew of the Kirk, held in a conference center in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

At the door of the ballroom, Chipman stood, his beard graying, in a white sailor's hat and — even though it's summer — the heavy wool, dark blue winter uniform of the U.S. Navy. He snapped to attention with a crisp salute when he spotted Nguyen, in a wheelchair, being pushed down the hall by his wife and children.



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama declares end of Iraq combat mission - Politics - White House - msnbc.com

Obama declares end of Iraq combat mission - Politics - White House - msnbc.com

BBC News - Iraq 'independent' as US combat operations end

Nouri al-Maliki meets with George W. Bush.Image via WikipediaBBC News - Iraq 'independent' as US combat operations end
Iraq's prime minister has said the country is "independent" as the US formally ends combat operations.
Nouri Maliki said the country's security forces would now deal with all threats, domestic or other.
US Vice-President Joe Biden is in Iraq on an unannounced visit ahead of the official end of the mission, at midnight (2100 GMT) on Tuesday.
In the US, President Barack Obama is due to deliver a televised address about Iraq to the American people.
"Iraq today is sovereign and independent," Mr Maliki told Iraqis in a televised address.
"Our security forces will take the lead in ensuring security and safeguarding the country and removing all threats that the country has to weather, internally or externally."

Student Charged With Hate Crimes in Cab Stabbing - NYTimes.com

Student Charged With Hate Crimes in Cab Stabbing - NYTimes.com
A film student arrested in the slashing of a Muslim taxi driver in Manhattan last week was indicted on Monday on charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault as hate crimes.
The student, Michael Enright, 21, was not in Manhattan Criminal Court during the brief hearing; James Zaleta, an assistant district attorney, informed his lawyer, Lawrence M. Fisher, that Mr. Enright had been indicted. The indictment is expected to be unsealed on Sept. 22.
During the hearing, Mr. Fisher said that notes belonging to the lawyer who represented Mr. Enright at his arraignment last week had been taken from a bench in the courtroom. Mr. Fisher said he had reason to believe that the notes, which contained privileged information from the lawyer’s conversation with Mr. Enright, were taken by a member of the news media.
A detective recovered the notes and turned them over to the district attorney’s office, Mr. Fisher said. He did not specify how or where the detective found them. Mr. Zaleta said that he did not see the notes and that they had been returned to the lawyer.
Outside court, Mr. Fisher would not elaborate on his statements.
Mr. Fisher also complained that members of the news media had tried to visit his client in jail.
Mr. Enright was sent to Bellevue Hospital Center after his initial arraignment last week. He had recently been embedded with a Marine unit in Afghanistan and was working on a documentary about it. He had also volunteered for a nonprofit group whose mission included fostering understanding among religions and cultures, veterans and civilians.
The taxi driver, Ahmed H. Sharif, 44, said Mr. Enright had first made small talk with him. After he told Mr. Enright that he was Muslim, Mr. Sharif said, Mr. Enright responded with an Arabic greeting, silence and then told him, “This is the checkpoint” and “I have to bring you down.”
Mr. Enright then slashed Mr. Sharif in the throat, face and arms, prosecutors said. Mr. Enright, who is being held without bail, would face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the attempted murder charge.
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Politicians who use hate and fear influence people, especially the young to engage in this type of behavior.
John H. Armwood

Monday, August 30, 2010

With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant - NYTimes.com

With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant - NYTimes.com
TEXAS CITY, Tex. — While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery here released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air that went unnoticed by residents until many saw their children come down with respiratory problems.
For 40 days after a piece of equipment critical to the refinery’s operation broke down, a total of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, poured out of the refinery.
Rather than taking the costly step of shutting down the refinery to make repairs, the engineers at the plant diverted gases to a smokestack and tried to burn them off, but hundreds of thousands of pounds still escaped into the air, according to state environmental officials.
Neither the state nor the oil company informed neighbors or local officials about the pollutants until two weeks after the release ended, and angry residents of Texas City have signed up in droves to join a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against BP. The state attorney general, Greg Abbott, has also sued the company, seeking fines of about $600,000.
BP maintains three air monitors along the fence around the plant and two in the surrounding community, and they did not show a rise in pollution during April and May, the company said. “BP does not believe there is any basis to pay claims in connection with this event,” said Michael Marr, a spokesman for the company.
But scores of Texas City residents said they experienced respiratory problems this spring, and environmentalists said the release of toxic gases ranked as one of the largest in the state’s history.
Neil Carman of the Lone Star Sierra Club said the release was probably even larger than BP had acknowledged, because the company estimated that more than 98 percent of the pollution was burned off by a flare, an overly optimistic figure in the eyes of many environmental scientists.

Does Japan's affair with tuna mean loving it to extinction? | The Japan Times Online

Does Japan's affair with tuna mean loving it to extinction? | The Japan Times Online
Japan is known as the biggest consumer of tuna. Be it raw for sushi or sashimi or fried, broiled or canned, tuna is an important element of the food culture.
But concerns are growing because tuna is disappearing, and this is putting Japan in a difficult diplomatic position.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BBC News - Chile mine rescuers work on 'Plan B'

BBC News - Chile mine rescuers work on 'Plan B'
Engineers in Chile are working on a plan that they hope will dramatically speed up the rescue of 33 miners trapped in a collapsed shaft.
Workers are due on Monday to start drilling an escape shaft going about 700m (2,300ft) underground, which is likely to take four months to complete.
But engineers say widening an existing tunnel may reach the men in two months.
Officials are looking at several plans to rescue the men, who have been stuck below ground since 5 August.

DeLaSalle School students build super-efficient electric car that gets 307 mpg — Autoblog Green

DeLaSalle School students build super-efficient electric car that gets 307 mpg — Autoblog Green

A team of students taking part in the Automobile Design Studio at Kansas City's DeLaSalle School have put together an electric car they think could be the most efficient in the world. Testing on the 7.7 mile oval of Bridgestone's Texas Proving Ground have given them a number that the Automotive X-Prize participants would be jealous of – 307 miles per gallon equivalent.  


The students started with a 2000 Lola Indy Car chassis and, with the help of instructor Steve Rees and other mentors, developed an electric drivetrain, covered the racer in a clear shell and outfitted it with a set of low rolling resistance Bridgestone Ecopia EP100 tires. While we can't say whether it is the most efficient electric ever built, the Guinness Book of Records folks have been asked to weigh in on the matter. Hit the jump for a pair of videos discussing the project and showing it being put together and tested.


(307 miles per gallon = 130.53 kilometer per liter)

Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally: What Do You Think Now? : The Two-Way : NPR

Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Honor' Rally: What Do You Think Now? : The Two-Way : NPR
After all the talk about whether his "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial was divisive because he had chosen the location and anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I have a dream" speech, how is conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck's event playing on the morning after?
Well, NPR's headline puts it this way: "On The National Mall, Divisions Kept In Check." Topping her story with both the Beck rally and a another gathering aimed at honoring the anniversary of King's speech, reporter Andrea Seabrook says that "the National Mall in Washington, D.C., became a crossroads of American politics Saturday. Two rallies represented two very different ideas of what this country is and should be. Tens of thousands of conservatives gathered to honor the military and Christian values, while a much smaller group demonstrated in honor of the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington." Among those leading the second event was the Rev. Al Sharpton.

BBC News - Pakistan town submerged amid fight to rebuild levees

Sukkur on the west bank of the River Indus (1860s)Image via WikipediaBBC News - Pakistan town submerged amid fight to rebuild levees
Floodwater has submerged a town in the southern province of Sindh, and threatens another being used as a key staging post for flood relief workers.
Sujawal, a town of some 250,000 people, has been submerged while people battle to save the nearby city of Thatta, reports say.
Authorities are still trying to rebuild levees around Thatta against the raging Indus river.
But water is still advancing on the all-but-abandoned city, reports say.
"We fled so hastily that we could not even pick up our belongings," Amena Bibi, a mother of four, told the BBC.
"We are sitting in this graveyard under the blazing sun, looking for shade here and there. We have nothing to eat. The floodwater swept away our cows and buffalo."

New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign - NYTimes.com

New Dissent in Japan Is Loudly Anti-Foreign - NYTimes.com
KYOTO, Japan — The demonstrators appeared one day in December, just as children at an elementary school for ethnic Koreans were cleaning up for lunch. The group of about a dozen Japanese men gathered in front of the school gate, using bullhorns to call the students cockroaches and Korean spies.
Inside, the panicked students and teachers huddled in their classrooms, singing loudly to drown out the insults, as parents and eventually police officers blocked the protesters’ entry.
The December episode was the first in a series of demonstrations at the Kyoto No. 1 Korean Elementary School that shocked conflict-averse Japan, where even political protesters on the radical fringes are expected to avoid embroiling regular citizens, much less children. Responding to public outrage, the police arrested four of the protesters this month on charges of damaging the school’s reputation.
More significantly, the protests also signaled the emergence here of a new type of ultranationalist group. The groups are openly anti-foreign in their message, and unafraid to win attention by holding unruly street demonstrations.
Since first appearing last year, their protests have been directed at not only Japan’s half million ethnic Koreans, but also Chinese and other Asian workers, Christian churchgoers and even Westerners in Halloween costumes. In the latter case, a few dozen angrily shouting demonstrators followed around revelers waving placards that said, “This is not a white country.”
Local news media have dubbed these groups the Net far right, because they are loosely organized via the Internet, and gather together only for demonstrations. At other times, they are a virtual community that maintains its own Web sites to announce the times and places of protests, swap information and post video recordings of their demonstrations.