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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Verrazano Bridge toll to increase as MTA plans fare hikes |

"The authority has some leeway on just how to do this. For instance, the last hike in 2013 jacked up the cash toll of the Verrazano from $13 to $15 and the E-ZPass toll from $5.76 to $6.36 (with the toll rolling back to $6 per trip after the third trip). The base fare for bus and subway rides, as well as the Staten Island Railway, rose a quarter to $2.50, and express bus rides increased 50 cents to an even $6."

NYTimes: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes in New Setback for Commercial Spaceflight

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Report Reveals Wider Tracking of Mail in U.S. -

"WASHINGTON — In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations.

The number of requests, contained in a 2014 audit of the surveillance program by the Postal Service’s inspector general, shows that the surveillance program is more extensive than previously disclosed and that oversight protecting Americans from potential abuses is lax."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blackwater Guards Found Guilty in 2007 Iraq Killings -

WASHINGTON — Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards were convicted and immediately jailed Wednesday for their roles in a deadly 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square that marked a bloody nadir in America’s war in Iraq.

A jury in Federal District Court found that the deaths of 17 Iraqis in the shooting, which began when a convoy of the guards suddenly began firing in a crowded intersection, was not a battlefield tragedy, but the result of a criminal act.

The convictions on murder, manslaughter and weapons charges represented a legal and diplomatic victory for the United States government, which had urged Iraqis to put their faith in the American court system. That faith was tested repeatedly over seven years as the investigation had repeated setbacks, leaving Iraqis deeply suspicious that anyone would be held responsible for the deaths.

Jurors’ Note Hints at Conviction in Blackwater Case OCT. 1, 2014
As Blackwater Trial Closes, Focus Turns to Moments Before Chaos AUG. 28, 2014

Blackwater Guards Found Guilty in 2007 Iraq Killings -

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Liberian Leader: Ebola May Cause 'Lost Generation'

"DAKAR, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The Ebola outbreak in West Africa risks unleashing an economic catastrophe that will leave a "lost generation" of young West Africans, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Sunday, urging stronger international action.

The worst epidemic on record of the deadly virus has now killed more than 4,500 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Eight people have also died in Nigeria and cases have been reported in the United States and Spain.

Johnson Sirleaf said the international reaction to the outbreak, detected in March deep in the forests of southern Guinea, was initially "inconsistent and lacking in clear direction or urgency."

She said the international community had woken up to the global health risk posed by the epidemic but called for help from every nation with the capacity to do so, either in funding or medical staff and supplies."

Saturday, October 04, 2014

BBC News - World wildlife populations halved in 40 years - report

"The global loss of species is even worse than previously thought, the London Zoological Society (ZSL) says in its new Living Planet Index.

The report suggests populations have halved in 40 years, as new methodology gives more alarming results than in a report two years ago.

The report says populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have declined by an average of 52%.

Populations of freshwater species have suffered an even worse fall of 76%."

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Grand jury considering the Ferguson shooting is being investigated for misconduct - The Washington Post

The St. Louis County prosecutor’s office is investigating an accusation of misconduct on the grand jury that is hearing the case against the Ferguson Police Officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Ed Magee, the spokesman for county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, said they received the information from a “Twitter user” Wednesday morning.

“We are looking into the matter,” he said.

An account of possible jury misconduct surfaced Wednesday morning on Twitter, when several users sent messages about one juror who may have discussed evidence in the case with a friend.

In one of those messages, a person tweeted that they are friends with a member of the jury who doesn’t believe there is enough evidence to warrant an arrest of the officer, Darren Wilson.

The same person who tweeted about being friends with a member of the jury has also tweeted messages of support for Wilson.

Magee confirmed that the Twitter user and feed came from an activist, Shaun King.

Within seconds of posting this, her friends told her to delete it and she did. It was screenshotted first.

Grand jury considering the Ferguson shooting is being investigated for misconduct - The Washington Post

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hong Kong’s Leader Calls for Protests to End ‘Immediately’ -

In his first remarks on the protests since the Hong Kong police used tear gas against demonstrators on Sunday, Leung Chun-ying, the autonomous Chinese territory’s chief executive, called on one of the two main groups organizing the protests, Occupy Central With Love and Peace, to end the demonstrations. “Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop,” Mr. Leung said. “I’m now asking them to fulfill the promise they made to society and stop this campaign immediately.” Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE President Xi Jinping of China, photographed in June, is seeking a solution to the problem in Hong Kong that does not give rise to new unrest on the mainland.News Analysis: For China, Limited Tools to Quell Unrest in Hong KongSEPT. 29, 2014 Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators gathered in Hong Kong on Monday to continue calls for free and open elections for the city's chief executive in 2017.Protests in Hong Kong Have Roots in China’s ‘Two Systems’SEPT. 29, 2014 Hong Kong Protesters Defy Officials’ Call to DisperseSEPT. 29, 2014 Demonstrators checked their cellphones on Nathan Road, a major route through Kowloon, on Monday.Sinosphere Blog: To Beat China Censorship, Hong Kong Protesters Flock to Off-Grid Messaging AppSEPT. 29, 2014 A student displayed a sign reading Sinosphere Blog: From Around the World, Support for Hong Kong ProtestersSEPT. 29, 2014 The protests started last Friday when university and high school students took to the streets, and they expanded considerably when Occupy Central announced early Sunday that it was joining the demonstrations, instead of waiting until Wednesday or later as it had signaled it would. Continue reading the main storySlide Show SLIDE SHOW|6 Photos Hong Kong Moves to Defuse Protests Hong Kong Moves to Defuse ProtestsCreditCarlos Barria/Reuters Occupy Central leaders hinted on Monday that they might consider a temporary lull in the protests. But there has been no such hint of conciliation from the student leaders, who have taken a considerably harder line in demanding that Beijing and the Hong Kong government scrap a decision by China limiting the scope of who can run in the 2017 elections to choose the next chief executive. “Occupy Central and its impact isn’t a matter of days,” Mr. Leung said. “It will last for a relatively long time. As a result, its impact on people’s lives and their personal safety in emergencies, as well as Hong Kong’s economic development and the cost to Hong Kong’s international image, will grow bigger and bigger. I hope everyone can consider these issues.” Mr. Leung noted that the protesters had organized roadblocks, distribution points for supplies and even first-aid stations. But while giving organizers credit for thinking about the medical needs of protesters, Mr. Leung complained that the protesters were delaying ambulances, fire engines and other emergency vehicles that needed to reach other residents. Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyX CLOSE Continue reading the main story RELATED IN OPINION A defiant protester waving placards that read Op-Ed Contributor: Hong Kong People!SEPT. 29, 2014 “There are many emergency services that are affected, there are wounded patients who cannot receive timely care,” he said, adding that fire stations had also been blocked. Later Tuesday, a deputy chief with the fire department, Leung Wai-hung, said at a news conference that the city’s ambulances normally reached more than 90 percent of emergency callers within certain time targets, but that this had fallen to between 60 and 70 percent in the downtown area during the first two days of the protests. “A one-minute delay will be the difference between a small fire and a big fire, and for those who need medical attention, a one-minute delay can be the difference between life and death,” he said. There was little sign on Tuesday that the protesters would back down quickly, even if there were protest leaders willing or able to send them home. Although the demonstrators’ numbers, which had surged overnight, appeared somewhat reduced in the morning, by afternoon the crowds at the main protest sites appeared to be swelling again. Continue reading the main story The police, whose use of tear gas Sunday seemed only to motivate more people to join the protests, gave no indication that they were preparing to disperse the demonstrators. At the same news conference where the fire official spoke, Hui Chun-tak, the chief spokesman for the police, acknowledged that “the majority of protesters have expressed their views in a legal way” and praised organizers for being willing to discuss opening some lanes of the blocked roads in the city center for use by emergency vehicles. Asked whether the police had enough personnel to clear the streets if ordered to do so, Mr. Hui responded, “I assure you, the police have enough manpower to deal with every single incident.” Hong Kong officials have consistently said that they do not need to seek Beijing’s help to deal with the protesters — a harrowing possibility for Hong Kong, where China’s brutal suppression of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989 is vividly remembered. China’s plan for the 2017 election would let the public vote for chief executive, but the candidates would be vetted by a committee friendly to Beijing - a requirement that is unacceptable to the protesters. On Tuesday, an essay by an influential Chinese Communist Party ideologue, Li Shenming, underscored the party’s deep aversion to political liberalization of the kind sought by Hong Kong’s democracy advocates. Continue reading the main story What Prompted the Hong Kong Protests? Unrest in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory and global financial hub, could lead to a long confrontation between the government and demonstrators. Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, when China resumed sovereignty, has operated under a policy of “one country, two systems.” The city maintains an independent judiciary, and residents enjoy greater civil liberties than residents of mainland China. Hong Kong has a robust tradition of free speech. Democratic groups say Beijing has chipped away at those freedoms, citing an election law proposed last month that would limit voting reforms. China had promised free elections for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017. But the government rejected a call for open nominations of candidates, instead proposing that candidates would continue to be chosen by a committee dominated by Beijing. The current city leader, Leung Chun-ying, has clashed with the pro-democracy opposition. After the crackdown on protesters Sunday, some called for his resignation. The essay in the party’s main newspaper, People’s Daily, defended China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, which is controlled by the party. Mr. Li wrote that to have a legislative body with multiple parties would invite chaos. “In current-day China, competitive elections with ‘one man, one vote’ would be sure to quickly lead to a state of turmoil, chaos, even civil war,” he wrote. Mr. Leung has refused to discuss democratic changes with student leaders, even as the government has struggled to draft a policy for dealing with student unrest. A 17-year-old student leader, Joshua Wong, was detained by the police for 40 hours without charges over the weekend before a judge ordered his release. Michael DeGolyer, a longtime political analyst at Hong Kong Baptist University, said that the university professors and politicians who proposed Occupy Central a year and a half ago as a civil disobedience campaign appear to have less influence with many of the demonstrators than the student leaders do. Polls conducted by academic institutions over the past year have indicated that the most disaffected and potentially volatile sector of Hong Kong society is not the students, nor the middle-aged or even elderly activists who have sustained the democracy movement here for decades. Instead, the most strident calls for greater democracy — and often for greater economic populism as well — have come from people in their 20s and early 30s who have struggled to find well-paying jobs as the local manufacturing sector has withered away, and as banks and other service industries have increasingly hired mainland Chinese instead of local college graduates. Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story Those young adults appear to be paying more attention to student leaders like Joshua Wong than to Occupy Central’s older generation of leaders, Mr. DeGolyer said. He added that “there’s a very large number of people who are very disaffected and alienated who are not students, who are not affiliated with any political party and who are angry.” Long lines formed at supermarkets Tuesday as shoppers stocked up on rice and other essentials — a sign that many residents are concerned about the possibility of a prolonged confrontation and perhaps violence. Wednesday is a public holiday marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Steve Vickers and Associates, a Hong Kong security company founded by a former top Hong Kong police officer, predicted on Tuesday that the crowds in the streets would swell for the next two days as many people used the holiday to come out and show their support. But some might then start returning to work on Thursday or Friday, the company said in a report. “If no major clashes occur, they are likely to peak over the next 48 hours,” the company said of the protests. The stock market in Hong Kong continued to fall on Tuesday, losing another 1.2 percent in morning trading after falling 1.9 percent on Monday. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said that 37 branches or offices of 21 banks were closed on Tuesday morning but that financial markets and the banking system were nonetheless functioning normally. Compounding the discomfort of protesters and the police alike on Tuesday was the heat. The Hong Kong government issued one of its occasional warnings of very hot weather to the public and to employers, cautioning against the risk of heatstroke for anyone spending a lot of time outdoors in the hot, humid, stagnant air. The forecast was for a high of 32 degrees Celsius, or 90 Fahrenheit, but with 95 percent humidity and practically no hint of a breeze. Chris Buckley contributed reporting.

Hong Kong’s Leader Calls for Protests to End ‘Immediately’ -

Sunday, September 28, 2014


"Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong reached a boiling point on Sunday, with police employing tear gas in attempts to control crowds that have surrounded government buildings for the past three days.

Tension has been escalating in the city all summer, after Beijing released a controversial plan for Hong Kong's 2017 elections that activists say falls short of the full democracy they hope for. The plan would allow for universal suffrage in three year's time, but would restrict candidates to those approved by a committee that opposition politicians say is dominated by pro-Beijing representatives."480

MarketWatch: 31 feared dead in Japanese volcano eruption

Thursday, September 04, 2014

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf -

"NEW ORLEANS — In the four years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has spent more than $28 billion on damage claims and cleanup costs, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and emerged a shrunken giant.

But through it all, the company has maintained that it was not chiefly responsible for the accident, and that its contractors in the operation, Halliburton and Transocean, should shoulder as much, if not more, of the blame.

On Thursday, a federal judge here for the first time bluntly rejected those arguments, finding that BP was indeed the primary culprit and that only it had acted with “conscious disregard of known risks.” He added that BP’s “conduct was reckless.”

Iraqis Identify Prisoner as Chinese Islamist Fighter -

BEIJING — The Iraqi Defense Ministry has posted on its Facebook page photographs that it says show a captured Chinese man who was fighting on behalf of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni jihadist group.
Iraqi officials have not released further details, but the photographs, if confirmed, would be the first visual evidence of a Chinese citizen fighting with ISIS, which has members from around the world, including the United States. Both the leader of ISIS and a Chinese diplomat said this summer that Chinese fighters had joined ISIS.

Iraqis Identify Prisoner as Chinese Islamist Fighter -

Sunday, August 24, 2014

NYTimes: Strong Earthquake Shakes Bay Area in California

New Video Shows Israeli Bombing of Gaza Apartment Tower - ABC News

"New video shows an upscale high-rise apartment building in Gaza City destroyed in a cloud of fire and smoke during anIsraeli airstrike.

Israel bombed the 12-story apartment building, called the Zafer Tower in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, today as Hamascontinued to fire rockets towards the Israeli border.

The Palestine Interior Ministry released footage of the bombing, showing the apartment collapsing after being hit twice by Israeli bombs. The building goes down in seconds as onlookers scream and rush the injured to hospitals.

The entire building held 44 residential apartments."

Friday, August 15, 2014

CNN - Texas Gov. Rick Perry indicted

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, was indicted Friday on charges relating to his efforts to try and force a local district attorney to resign.

A Travis County grand jury handed up the charges.

The two counts against Perry, a Republican, stem from his threat to veto funding for a public integrity unit run by the DA, who had been arrested on a drunk driving charge."

Ferguson police name Darren Wilson as officer who shot Michael Brown | World | The Guardian

"Police chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson stopped the unarmed teenager after reports of a robbery in the area"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

U.S. Attorney Warns Cuomo on Ethics Case -

"In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor’s cancellation of his own anticorruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

The warning, in a sharply worded letter from Mr. Bharara’s office, came after several members of the panel issued public statements defending the governor’s handling of the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, which Mr. Cuomo created last year with promises of cleaning up corruption in state politics but shut down abruptly in March."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Report: 47 Feared Dead In Taiwan Plane Crash

"TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and the transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

Taiwanese Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted by the government's Central News Agency as saying 11 other people were injured when the plane crashed and caught fire while making a second landing attempt.

Yeh was quoted as saying the flight, operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways, carried 58 passengers and crew members.

The news agency had earlier quoted a local fire brigade chief as saying that 51 people had been killed."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

John Kerry: Drunken Soldiers Unceremoniously Piling MH17 Bodies

"Drunken -- I mean literally, drunken -- separatist soldiers are piling bodies into trucks unceremoniously and disturbing the evidence," Kerry said on "Fox News Sunday."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MISSILE DOWNED JET, U.S. SAYS BY MISSILE - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News

Report: Malaysian Passenger Plane Crashes In Ukraine

"(Reuters) - A Malaysian passenger airliner with 295 people on board crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, Interfax cited an aviation industry source as saying on Thursday.

It said the Boeing plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Reuters could not immediately confirm the Interfax report."

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Minor tsunami hits Fukushima area after strong quake | The Japan Times

"A minor tsunami hit large swaths of the Tohoku region early Saturday, including in a city near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, after a strong 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the country’s Pacific coast.

There were no immediate reports of damage following the quake and tsunami, however, with authorities lifting all advisories roughly two hours later.

A Meteorological Agency official told a televised news conference that the quake appeared to be an aftershock of the massive March 11, 2011, earthquake.

Much of the coastline covered by the advisories Saturday is still recovering from the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster that killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

A minor tsunami of 20 cm (7.8 inches) was observed in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, and Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, the Meteorological Agency said Saturday.

Waves of 10 cm were also monitored in the city of Soma, roughly 40 km (25 miles) north of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the agency said. The city suffered severe damage in the 2011 disaster."

Friday, June 27, 2014

Reps. Israel and King, Nassau County Executive Mangano Express Concern with Unaccompanied Children Being Housed in Bethpage Site | Congressman Steve Israel

"Washington, D.C.— Today, Congressmen Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Peter King (R-Seaford) and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano announced their opposition to the news that the Administration is considering a former Grumman site to house the influx of unaccompanied children who are entering U.S. borders illegally. The site is near a New York State Superfund site. They have been in touch with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to express their concern and disapproval.

Rep. Israel said, “Unaccompanied children coming into our borders is a humanitarian crisis, but housing them in an industrial warehouse near a Superfund site is not a humanitarian solution. I will continue working with Rep. King and County Executive Mangano to ensure that HHS and GSA rethink their consideration of this site.”

NYTimes: Ukraine Signs Trade Agreement With European Union

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Edward Snowden's Motive Revealed: He Can 'Sleep at Night' - NBC

In a wide-ranging and revealing interview, Brian Williams talks with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the global impact and debate sparked by his revelations.

Edward Snowden's Motive Revealed: He Can 'Sleep at Night' - NBC

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

China and Russia Reach 30-Year Gas Deal -

BEIJING — China and Russia agreed to a major 30-year natural gas deal on Wednesday that would send gas from Siberia by pipeline to China, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation.
The announcement caps a decade-long negotiation and helps bring Russia and China closer than they have been in many years. The contract was driven to a conclusion by the presence of President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Shanghai for the last two days.

China and Russia Reach 30-Year Gas Deal -

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas Shifts on Holocaust -

"JERUSALEM — President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority issued a formal statement on Sunday calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era” and expressing sympathy with victims’ families.

The statement, which grew out of a meeting a week ago between Mr. Abbas and an American rabbi who promotes understanding between Muslims and Jews, is the first such offering of condolences by the Palestinian leader."

NYTimes: South Korean Leader Accepts Resignation of Premier Over Ferry Disaster

Friday, April 18, 2014

CNN - Arrest warrant issued for 3 in ferry sinking

" The high school vice principal who was rescued from the sunken South Korean ferry was found hanging from a tree, police said Friday.

Kang Min Kyu, 52, was on board the ferry along with more than 300 students from Ansan Danwon High School. He was among the first survivors to be rescued.

Police said he apparently hanged himself with a belt from a tree near a gymnasium in Jindo, where distraught relatives of missing passengers have been camping out.

It's the latest tragic turn after the ferry's sinking, which remains unexplained.

"The death toll from Wednesday's disaster rose to 28 on Friday as divers raced to reach the hundreds of people still believed to be inside ship. "

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks -

SEOUL, South Korea — Nearly 300 people, most of them students, remained unaccounted for Wednesday as coast guard and navy divers continued to search a ferry that had sunk hours earlier off the southwestern tip of South Korea.

By mid-evening, three people were confirmed dead, including a high school student and a member of the ferry’s crew. But fears of a major disaster increased as rescued passengers told South Korean news outlets that they believed many people had been trapped below deck Wednesday morning, as the ship tilted rapidly to one side and began sinking.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Official: 3 dead after shooting at Kansas City-area Jewish center -

" CNN) -- Three people were dead Sunday after a shooting at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas, an official said.

Shootings occurred at two locations, and one person is in custody, said Jason Rhodes, a spokesman for the Overland Park Fire Department.

"A building at the center is on lockdown, and police are at the scene, the center said in a Facebook post.

CNN affiliate KSHB reported that there were two separate shootings at Jewish centers in the area -- one at the community center and one at an assisted living facility.

The FBI is at the scene working with local authorities investigating shootings that occurred at two locations, FBI spokesman Joel Sealer said."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Prosecutor Is Said to Investigate Port Authority -

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed documents from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey concerning a range of the troubled agency’s major construction projects, including several that have come under scrutiny as a result of the politically charged George Washington Bridge lane closings, a person with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

Another Prosecutor Is Said to Investigate Port Authority -

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions -

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a major campaign finance decision, striking down some limits on federal campaign contributions for the first time. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and most likely increase the already large role money plays in American politics.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Aggregate Limits on Federal Campaign Contributions -

Saturday, March 29, 2014

State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K -

"legislative leaders announced on Saturday an agreement on a state budget that would provide $300 million for prekindergarten in New York City, but would also seem to undercut many other educational policies of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has championed prekindergarten while trying to slow the spread of charter schools."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Georgia lags behind in curbing hospital infections |

REPORT: Nearly 50,000 Russian Troops Amassing Near Ukraine

" WASHINGTON—Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, U.S. officials said.

Such an incursion could take place without warning because Russia has already deployed the array of military forces needed for such an operation, say officials briefed on the latest U.S. intelligence."

REPORT: Nearly 50,000 Russian Troops Amassing Near Ukraine

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Malaysia jet disappearance no accident, investigator says

"KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is believed to be solely responsible for the flight being taken hundreds of miles off course and there is no evidence of a mechanical failure or hijacking by a passenger, according to an law enforcement official involved in the investigation.

A high-ranking officer attached to a special investigative branch of the Malaysia police force in Kuala Lumpur told USA TODAY on Wednesday that investigators are pressing relatives of the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, for information on his behavior leading up to the March 8 flight.

The official could not speak on the record because he is not authorized to talk publicly on the investigation.

The Boeing 777 was bound for Beijing when it vanished from civilian radar. Malaysia says satellite data indicate the plane veered west about an hour after takeoff and then flew south deep into the southern Indian Ocean."

Malaysia jet disappearance no accident, investigator says

"KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is believed to be solely responsible for the flight being taken hundreds of miles off course and there is no evidence of a mechanical failure or hijacking by a passenger, according to an law enforcement official involved in the investigation.

A high-ranking officer attached to a special investigative branch of the Malaysia police force in Kuala Lumpur told USA TODAY on Wednesday that investigators are pressing relatives of the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, for information on his behavior leading up to the March 8 flight.

The official could not speak on the record because he is not authorized to talk publicly on the investigation.

The Boeing 777 was bound for Beijing when it vanished from civilian radar. Malaysia says satellite data indicate the plane veered west about an hour after takeoff and then flew south deep into the southern Indian Ocean."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Russian Forces Take Over One of the Last Ukrainian Bases in Crimea -

BELBEK, Crimea — Russian forces pushed Saturday to complete their expulsion of the Ukrainian military from the disputed Crimean Peninsula, smashing through the gates of a base here with armored vehicles, firing weapons into the air and demanding that the cornered Ukrainian soldiers surrender.

Russian Forces Take Over One of the Last Ukrainian Bases in Crimea -

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

BBC News - Ukraine 'preparing withdrawal of troops from Crimea'

Ukraine is drawing up plans to withdraw its soldiers and their families from Crimea, Kiev's security chief says.
Andriy Parubiy said they wanted to move them "quickly and efficiently" to mainland Ukraine.
Earlier, pro-Russian forces seized two naval bases - including Ukraine navy's HQ - in Crimea. Kiev says its navy chief has been detained.
It comes a day after Crimean leaders signed a treaty with Moscow absorbing the peninsula into Russia.
A referendum in Crimea on Sunday, approving its split from Ukraine, came nearly a month after Kiev's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was replaced by Western-leaning interim authorities.

BBC News - Ukraine 'preparing withdrawal of troops from Crimea'

Monday, March 17, 2014

A big-bang theory gets a big boost: Evidence that vast cosmos were created in split second - The Washington Post

"In the beginning, the universe got very big very fast, transforming itself in a fraction of an instant from something almost infinitesimally small to something imponderably vast, a cosmos so huge that no one will ever be able to see it all.

This is the premise of an idea called cosmic inflation — a powerful twist on the big-bang theory — and Monday it received a major boost from an experiment at the South Pole called BICEP2. A team of astronomers led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced that it had detected ripples from gravitational waves created in a violent inflationary event at the dawn of time."

A big-bang theory gets a big boost: Evidence that vast cosmos were created in split second - The Washington Post

L.A. earthquake: Shaking, jolted nerves reported across wide area -

L.A. earthquake: Shaking, jolted nerves reported across wide area -

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ukraine Says Thousands of Russian Troops Have Crossed Border - NBC

Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh told a government meeting on Saturday that Russia had "recently" brought 6,000 additional personnel into Ukraine, according to a Reuters report. Several military transport planes and about 10 military helicopters had entered Ukrainian airspace on Friday without permission, he said.
The situation on the ground became even murkier when Russia claimed that Kiev-backed gunmen had attempted to take over the Crimean Interior Ministry. There was no confirmation of such an action from other sources. Russia’s foreign ministry said people had been wounded, but gave no details.
"With decisive actions by self-defense groups, the attempt to seize the interior ministry building was averted. This confirms the desire of prominent political circles in Kiev to destabilize the peninsula," it said in a statement Saturday.
Reuters contributed to this report.

Ukraine Says Thousands of Russian Troops Have Crossed Border - NBC

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Violent Protests Flare In Kiev After New Maneuvers By Russia And EU

Violent Protests Flare In Kiev After New Maneuvers By Russia And EU

South Korea: At Least 10 Die as Resort’s Roof Collapses -

"The roof of a resort’s auditorium collapsed during an orientation ceremony for university freshmen in southeastern South Korea, killing at least 10 people, officials said Tuesday. About 100 people suffered minor injuries, according to officials at the state-run National Emergency Management Agency. South Korean news media reported that a recent heavy snowfall was believed to have contributed to the collapse, but the cause was still being investigated. About 560 students from Busan University of Foreign Studies were in the auditorium at the Manua Ocean Resort in Gyeongju, formerly spelled Kyongju, when the roof collapsed late Monday, the officials said.

South Korea: At Least 10 Die as Resort’s Roof Collapses -

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Google Tops Exxon Mobil to Become World's 2nd Most Valuable Company

"Google has surpassed Exxon Mobile to become the second most valuable company in the world.

Google's market cap topped $391 billion in early trading Friday, while Exxon Mobil's market cap dipped towards the $390 billion mark, according to data provided to Mashable by FactSet Research."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vietnamese New Year celebration |

Vietnamese New Year celebration |

U.S. Economy Grew 3.2% in Fourth Quarter -

"The economy grew 3.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013, shrugging off the effects of the fall’s government shutdown and debt standoff, and raising hopes that the recovery is finally getting more robust.

The pace of expansion in October, November and December slowed a bit from the third quarter, when the economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 -

The great humanitarian and folk singer Pete Seeger has passed. He came to prominence as a member of the Weavers in the early sixties. Listen to :the WEavers at Carnegie Hall. Hid legacy includes his work to clean up the polluted, Hudson River. I had the good fortune of seeing him perform many times during my teenage years. He was a role model and an American hero.

Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94 -

Pete Seeger - This Land is Your Land (Live at Farm Aid 2013)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Man Allegedly Shot To Death Over Texting In Movie Theater

"According to multiple reports, the shooting occurred after an apparent argument over an audience member texting during a screening of "Lone Survivor." 

The suspect was identified as Curtis Reeves, a retired Tampa police officer, according to News 13. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

The Orlando TV station website identified the victims as Chad and Nicole Oulson, a married couple."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Get the Latest Published Shriver Report, FREE!

Get the Latest Published Shriver Report, FREE!

Iran Nuclear Deal to Take Effect Jan. 20, Officials Say -

PARIS — Iran and six world powers have agreed on how to put in place an accord that would temporarily freeze much of Iran’s nuclear program, American and Iranian officials said on Sunday.
That accord would go into effect on Jan. 20.
International negotiators worked out an agreement in November to constrain much of Iran’s program for six months so that diplomats would have time to pursue a more comprehensive follow-up accord.
But before the temporary agreement could take effect, negotiators had to work out the technical procedures for carrying it out and resolve some of its ambiguities in concert with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Under the interim agreement, Iran would stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent, a level that would be sufficient for energy production but that would require further enrichment for making bombs.
Iran Nuclear Deal to Take Effect Jan. 20, Officials Say -

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Christie Faces Scandal on Traffic Jam Aides Ordered -

The mystery of who closed two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge — turning the borough of Fort Lee, N.J., into a parking lot for four days in September — exploded into a full-bore political scandal for Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday. Emails and texts revealed that a top aide had ordered the closings to punish the town’s mayor after he did not endorse the governor for re-election.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of the governor who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

Later text messages mocked concerns that school buses filled with students were stuck in gridlock: “They are the children of Buono voters,” Mr. Wildstein wrote, referring to Mr. Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono.


David WildsteinClues but No Full Account of Order That Turned a New Jersey Town Into a Parking LotDEC. 9, 2013
The Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge. Gov. Chris Christie said “a mistake got made” when his appointees closed bridge access lanes.Christie Views Lane Closings on George Washington Bridge as OverblownDEC. 13, 2013
The emails are striking in their political maneuvering, showing Christie aides gleeful about the chaos that resulted, including emergency vehicles delayed in responding to three people with heart problems and a missing toddler, as well as commuters fuming. One of the governor’s associates refers to the mayor of Fort Lee as “this little Serbian,” and Ms. Kelly exchanges messages about the plan while she is in line to pay her respects at a wake.

Christie Faces Scandal on Traffic Jam Aides Ordered -