Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!
NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012
News from the Week of 14th to 20th of April 2013
Fracking drives potentially explosive demand for potentially explosive ammonia factories (20 April 2013)
The U.S. could soon be home to a lot more ammonia factories -- not a comforting thought after a deadly explosion at an ammonia fertilizer plant in Texas on Wednesday evening. You can blame the fracking boom.
Ammonia is used to produce fertilizer, industrial explosives (like those used in mining), plastics, and other products. It's becoming cheaper to produce in the U.S. because one of its main feedstocks is natural gas, and natural gas, in case you haven't heard, is being fracked here at a breakneck pace and sold for bargain-basement prices.
Australian company Incitec Pivot this week announced [PDF] that it will be building a hulking new $850 million ammonia facility in Waggaman, La., just outside New Orleans. Construction could begin within six weeks, with the plant expected to come online in 2016. The announcement is being characterized by Australia's media as a blow for the manufacturing sector Down Under, but Incitec Pivot can't resist the siren song of cheap American natural gas.
From Australia's The Age:
[Incitec Pivot] "Chief executive James Fazzino said the boom in shale had enabled a 'step change' in US gas prices.
"'[The plant] takes our North American business and any future expansions back to US gas economics,' he said. 'This is vital to this project because 80 per cent of the cost of making ammonia is gas.'"
In small Texas towns, people live close to fertilizer plants with limited safety regulation (20 April 2013)
There were no sprinklers. No firewalls. No water deluge systems. Safety inspections were rare at the fertilizer company in West, Texas, that exploded and killed at least 14 people this week.
This is not unusual.
Small fertilizer plants nationwide fall under the purview of several government agencies, each with a specific concern and none required to coordinate with others on what they have found.
The small distributors -- there are as many of 1,150 in Texas alone -- are part of a regulatory system that focuses on large installations and industries, though many of the small plants contain enough agricultural chemicals to fuel a major explosion.
Volunteer firefighting force decimated in Texas fertilizer plant explosion (20 April 2013)
Early reports that at least 11 firefighters, mainly volunteers, are unaccounted for and believed killed in the massive fire and explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Wednesday night are refocusing attention on the role of volunteer fire departments in the US, especially in rural areas.
So far, 12 people are confirmed dead and more than 200 injured, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Many of those killed and found in the vicinity of the explosion are believed to be first responders, according to the Dallas Morning News.
For a small town, such a loss can be devastating. "Basically, the West VFD is without two-thirds of their members at this point," reported the State Firemen's & Fire Marshals' Association of Texas on its website on Friday. Of the 29 firefighters on the town's roster, five have died and 11 others are hospitalized with injuries, it reported.
Very small towns depend on all-volunteer departments and, it turns out, so does the country as a whole. Forty percent of the US population is now protected by volunteer firefighters -- saving taxpayers an estimated $130 billion annually.
More Potential Human Remains Identified In WTC Sifting (20 April 2013)
More potential human remains are identified as the effort to sift through September 11th debris continues.
The medical examiner's office says evidence of a possible victim of the attacks was recovered on Friday.
The evidence came after five possible remains were recovered Wednesday.
Nearly 16,000 cubic feet of material collected from the World Trade Center since 2010 is being sifted at Fresh Kills on Staten Island.
Chemo scandal: Health Canada cracks down on drug suppliers operating without oversight (20 April 2013)
Drug suppliers operating without oversight will face a crackdown on three fronts led by Health Canada, which has introduced measures to make provincial health authorities more accountable for patient safety.
The province said it will have new laws in place by mid-May to ensure hospitals buy medications only from "accredited, licensed or otherwise approved suppliers."
And the Ontario College of Pharmacists told the Star it will hold an emergency meeting to draft legislation to better police the drug supply chain.
Taken together, the changes will plug an oversight gap first revealed when a Star investigation found Marchese Hospital Solutions, the Mississauga company that provided 1,205 Canadian cancer patients with diluted chemotherapy cocktails, was operating without federal or provincial inspections.
PAM COMMENTARY: As I said the last time The Star reported on diluting cancer drugs, they need to also report on the survival rates of those who had the full strength drugs vs. those who were given the diluted drugs. What if those receiving the diluted drugs fared better? So far nobody has proven that any harm was done to those patients receiving lower doses. For all we know, they may have BENEFITED from receiving the diluted drugs.
In Wisconsin, politics continue to hold back wind development (20 April 2013)
In 2012, a year that saw a nationwide surge in wind farm installations as developers rushed to beat expiring tax credits, Wisconsin added only 18 megawatts of capacity.
By comparison, Michigan and Ohio, with much lower wind potential, had already installed 138 MW and 308 MW in just the first three quarters.
Compared to other Midwestern states, Wisconsin ranks at the bottom in both wind projects under construction and in queue, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Challenges to wind energy have come from nearly every level of government.
Shortly after taking office in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker proposed a plan supported by the state's Realtors Association that would upend the new standards. That effort, and other bills to weaken or repeal the new rules, have failed to gain broader support in the state legislature.
New on the state's legislative docket this spring are a bill that would allow local governments to adopt more stringent restrictions on wind farms than current state law allows, and another that would clear the way for legal action against wind facilities.
Oil-by-train may not be substitute for Keystone pipeline (20 April 2013)
(Reuters) - The prospects for bringing large amounts of Canadian heavy crude oil into the United States by train is a contentious issue as the U.S. government weighs whether to allow the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to go ahead.
An assumption that oil would move by rail without Keystone was a key part of a U.S. State Department report in March that found development of Canada's oil sands region will proceed at roughly the same rate, with or without the pipeline.
That finding undercut warnings from environmentalists that the pipeline would lead to a spike in greenhouse gas emissions.
Proponents for the roughly 1,200 mile pipeline, delivering the oil in Canada's Alberta province to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, say moving huge volumes of crude by rail would be dirtier and more prone to mishap than a pipeline and the market would adopt rail if the project were halted. The State Department report endorses that view.
PAM COMMENTARY: As I've said before on this site, the date I display next to each news link isn't necessarily the date posted on the article. Rarely, news sites post an article days before the date they put on the article; other times, I didn't see the article posted on their site until the next day or even days after the article's supposed date.
One thing I noticed during the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt was that reporting on other news stories seemed to be thin. Then, after the second suspect was caught and news wound down on the story, new articles appeared with earlier dates on them. Perhaps the stories had been ready to go, but some were withheld until after the big Boston bombers story stopped taking so much space. And so several articles from today may have dates that don't match the date on the articles. I try to match my dates to when the articles were actually posted, when I have that information.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner cleared to fly by US aviation authorities (20 April 2013)
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is set to fly again, after the US authorities gave the go-ahead Friday to a redesign of the plane's troubled lithium-ion battery system.
The Dreamliner fleet was grounded in January, after incidents of fire and smoke in the batteries of two planes. The global grounding came as just 50 of the planes had been delivered and was the longest of a commercial model in the jet age.
The company has been working on a solution with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). FAA administrator Michael Huerta said: "A team of FAA certification specialists observed rigorous tests we required Boeing to perform and devoted weeks to reviewing detailed analysis of the design changes to reach this decision."
"The FAA set a high bar for our team and our solution," said Boeing's chairman and chief executive, Jim McNerney. "We appreciate the diligence, expertise and professionalism of the FAA's technical team and the leadership of FAA administrator Michael Huerta and secretary of transportation Ray LaHood throughout this process. Our shared commitment with global regulators and our customers to safe, efficient and reliable airplanes has helped make air travel the safest form of transportation in the world today."
Images Of Caputred Boston Suspect Number Two (20 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
The following image of the suspect being apprehended has emerged.
A glimpse of 19-year-old bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is visible through an ambulance window as the Boston Marathon bombing suspect is transported to the hospital.
PAM COMMENTARY: WARNING: One of the videos on this page, with sound, starts to play without the reader taking any action.
Boston suspect captured alive after dramatic finish to day-long manhunt (20 April 2013)
The 22-hour manhunt for the surviving Boston bombing suspect reached a dramatic and surprising conclusion on Friday night when 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured alive after being surrounded by heavily armed police in a suburban backyard.
Tsarnaev was found hiding in a boat in the yard of a home in Watertown, Massachusetts, the small town near Boston where his elder brother Tamerlan was fatally shot by police after a chase that began the prevous evening. The pair had been identified as suspects in Monday's double bomb attack on the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170.
For about two hours on Friday night, Tsarnaev was surrounded by Swat teams and hundreds of other officers, surviving a barrage of gunfire and flash grenades. At 8.41pm ET, it was finally announced over the police radio: "Suspect in custody".
Tsarnaev had been injured in a shootout with police on Thursday and had suffered significant blood loss. Police said he was in a serious condition in hospital on Friday night.
Survey shows significant drop in blue crabs in bay (20 April 2013)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The number of blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay has dropped steeply, according to an annual survey released Friday, and Maryland officials said they will work with the crabbing industry to reduce bushel limits by about 10 percent for female crabs this year.
On a positive note, the number of spawning-age females increased by 52 percent after troubling numbers last year. The 2013 winter dredge survey, which samples about 1,500 sites across the bay, found the total number of blue crabs fell from 765 million to 300 million. The number of juvenile crabs fell from 581 million to 111 million.
"The bottom-line message is that the population overall - the number of crabs that are in Chesapeake Bay upon which the 2013 fisheries will work - is quite a bit lower than it was," said Lynn Fegley, deputy director of fisheries at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The results are particularly disappointing, because last year's survey noted the highest crab reproduction in the 24 years of the survey. Usually with a population increase like that, the harvest would be expected to increase.
"We didn't see that, and what seems to have happened this year is that not only did we get low reproduction, but we seem to have had an elevated mortality event on the record juvenile class of last year," Fegley said.
O.C. chef agrees to stop serving foie gras after PETA threat (19 April 2013)
One of two restaurant owners threatened with legal action by animal rights activists has decided to stop serving foie gras.
Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach will no longer dish up fattened duck liver as a complementary side to a $55 glass of wine.
"We're calling it quits," Ahmed Labbate, Amar Santana's partner and director of operations at Broadway, said Friday. "I wish I had the money to fight PETA, but we don't. We're a small restaurant and we don't have the means."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had sent each chef a letter in early April threatening legal action if the restaurants didn't stop serving foie gras.
Enemy of Habeas Corpus Lindsey Graham says Reading Miranda Rights to bombing suspect 'a bad idea' (19 April 2013)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for denying the living suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings his Miranda Rights via Twitter on Friday.
"If captured, I hope Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes," Graham wrote, before before continuing, "If the #Boston suspect has ties to overseas terror organizations he could be treasure trove of information."
He then wrote, "The last thing we may want to do is read Boston suspect Miranda Rights telling him to 'remain silent.'"
As the Supreme Court ruled in 1966, failure by authorities to inform a criminal suspect of their right to remain silent, to consult an attorney and that their statements are admissible in a court of law are a violation of the suspect's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. The Fifth Amendment protects a suspect's rights against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment guarantees right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.
The living suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was being pursued by authorities as of Friday night. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen as of Sept. 11, 2012.
Bomb suspects' NJ sister 'heartbroken,' skeptical (19 April 2013)
WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (AP) -- The FBI on Friday removed a computer from the New Jersey home of a sister of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. Police said she was cooperating with the investigation and was "heartbroken, surprised and upset," though she told reporters she wasn't sure the accusations against her brothers were true.
The woman, identified by local police as Ailina Tsarnaeva, told federal agents she had not been in contact with her brothers for years, according to Police Director Michael Indri.
"The main concern was to confirm that there was no contact made one way or the other, and I'm confident that the FBI has confirmed that," he said.
The woman's three-story brick building, across the Hudson River from New York City, was cordoned off as federal agents searched the home and left with a computer and other electronics.
Secret weapon? How thermal imaging helped catch bomb suspect (19 April 2013)
Thermal-imaging devices have been used to seek out pot-growing operations, map Martian geology -- and now, to watch the second suspect in this week's Boston Marathon bombings as he was holed up in his last hiding place.
Authorities said a helicopter equipped with a thermal imager spotted the heat signature of a person inside a tarp-covered boat, sitting in a backyard in Watertown, Mass. Police used the sensor after an area resident reported seeing a trail of blood leading to the boat -- and catching a glimpse of a blood-covered body inside. The thermal readings confirmed that there was indeed someone under the tarp, and that the person was still alive.
"Our helicopter had actually detected the subject in the boat," Col. Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State Police told reporters. "We have what's called a FLIR -- a forward-looking infrared device -- on that helicopter. It picked up the heat signature of the individual, even though he was underneath what appeared to be the 'shrink wrap' or cover on the boat itself. There was movement from that point on. The helicopter was able to direct the tactical teams over to that area."
After monitoring the body in the boat for more than an hour, police moved in and took the wounded bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, into custody.
Guatemala judge suspends Rios Montt genocide trial (19 April 2013)
A judge in Guatemala has ordered the suspension of the genocide trial of the former US-backed dictator Efrain Rios Montt, angering prosecutors who vowed that proceedings would continue as planned.
Judge Carol Patricia Flores was recently reinstated to the case after being recused from it in February 2012. She ruled that all actions taken in the case since she was asked to step down were null, in effect sending the trial back to square one.
"I am not doing this because I want to, but because it has been ordered by the constitutional court and the supreme court," said Flores, while relatives of the victims wept and shouted that she was "a sold-out judge".
The comment was a reference to last week's decision by the constitutional court to declare her competent to carry out the pre-trial process.
Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of Boston Marathon bombing suspects, denounces them (19 April 2013)
A reporter asked him how his nephews could have done such a thing. "Being losers," was the only thing Tsarni could come up with. "Hatred for those who were able to settle themselves. These are the only reasons I can imagine of. Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam, it's a fraud, it's a fake.
"Dzhokhar, if you're alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness from the victims, from the injured and from those who left, ask forgiveness from these people," Ruslan Tsarni said. "He put a shame on our family, [the] Tsarni family. He put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity. Because everyone now, they play with the word, Chechen, so they put that shame on the entire ethnicity."
Ruslan Tsarni spoke for nine minutes. He wore a blue polo shirt, jeans and flip-flop sandals -- evidence, it seemed, of how normally his day had begun.
As he spoke, reporters kept trying to edge closer, making sure their equipment was getting it all. This wasn't a quick "No comment" or a closed door. It wasn't reporters going door-to-door to talk about the person they were seeking. This was an uncle, right in front of everyone, not mincing his words.
30 is the new 45: Today's adults getting diseases 15 years faster than their grandparents (18 April 2013)
(NaturalNews) As vaccines pump the population full of mercury and thimerosal, as genetically modified crops alter human DNA, as bisphenol-A in plastics and can linings alter the hormonal structure of the human body, as pesticides pollute the land and water, more people are experiencing disease sooner in the United States. According to new findings, people today are being diagnosed with disease 33 percent faster than their grandparents. Age 30 has become the new 45 in reference to on-setting disease. The abundance of disease being diagnosed at an early age only means the modern era of pharmaceutical drugs and chemicals is not working and is tearing down the quality of life for countless people, perpetuating the root of the problem.
What does this trend suggest?
If this generation continues to pretend that everything's okay, teaching their kin that the current path is working, then the next generation will grow dependent upon symptom-suppressing drugs and welcoming diseases as early as age 20. For a thriving, clear-minded generation to rise up, the root problems need to be addressed and actions need to be taken.
Time for small organic farming practices
Small organic farming practices are the future. Practices like cutting out pesticides and eliminating hormones and steroids in meat production are essential to future vitality. Corporate genetically modified seed must be discarded as well, for it alters the DNA of humans. The human body desires food that is unmodified, real, and raw. At this critical juncture, organic farming must rise up and be the future.
Time for transparency
There is a definite need for transparency in food and drink products. So many products claim to be natural but are still loaded with toxic additives. For example, natural toothpaste brands may not contain fluoride but they usually contain toxic sodium lauryl sulfate.
Pictures of empty Boston are kind of a punch in the gut (19 April 2013)
Boston is on lockdown today, which is terrifying to hear but even more terrifying to see. Business Insider has collected some photos from Twitter, taken by people who ought to go back inside. Seeing a major city as a ghost town is incredibly sobering.
Boston on lockdown as police home in on bombings suspect (19 April 2013)
Almost a million residents of Boston and surrounding towns were ordered to stay in their homes on Friday as the hunt for one of the suspects in the marathon bombing continued.
The suspects were identified as brothers, reportedly of Chechen origin. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remains on the loose. Law enforcement officials said he was the suspect wearing the white hat in images released by the FBI on Thursday of the bombing suspects. His elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in the early hours of Friday after a car chase and shootout with police.
Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick warned people to remain indoors "with their doors locked" until further notice, after a night of high drama during which a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot dead.
"We're asking people to shelter in place: in other words, to stay indoors, with their doors locked, and not to open the door for anyone other than a properly identified law enforcement officer," Patrick said.
Judge permanently blocks North Dakota ban on medication for abortions (19 April 2013)
A North Dakota District Court judge has permanently blocked a state ban on the use of medications for first trimester abortions. According to the RH Reality Check blog, Judge Wickham Corwin announced Thursday that he will be issuing a ruling to block a two-year-old ban on medication abortions on grounds that the ban in unconstitutional.
In 2011, the North Dakota state legislature passed House Bill 1297, which made it illegal for doctors to prescribe medications with the intent of ending a pregnancy, a common practice in so-called medication abortions, a non-surgical alternative for women wishing to end a pregnancy in the first trimester.
The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) challenged the law in July of 2011, on behalf of the state's sole women's clinic that offers abortion services, the Red River Women's Clinic. CRR argued that the law denied women access to a safe and effective medical treatment that is widely accepted in the medical community.
The challenge put a hold on enforcement of the law pending the outcome of the current trial, which ended Thursday.
Pakistani police arrest former president Musharraf (19 April 2013)
(Reuters) - Pakistani police arrested former president Pervez Musharraf on Friday to face allegations he overstepped his powers while in office, marking a dramatic break with a political culture in which military rulers have remained untouchable.
The one-time army chief had hoped to rekindle a degree of influence by standing in a general election in May, but has instead become ensnared in a showdown with judges who fought bruising battles with him while he was still in office.
A magistrate had raised the stakes earlier on Friday when he ordered Musharraf be placed under house arrest for two days before he is due to appear in court on allegations of illegally detaining judges during a crackdown on the judiciary in 2007.
Musharraf is accused of violating the constitution by placing judges under house arrest after he sacked the chief justice and imposed emergency rule.
DNA test reveals surprising origin of Texas man's record-breaking fish (19 April 2013)
A record-breaking 12-and-a-half-pound bass recently caught in a Nacogdoches lake is one of the many offspring of a another record-setter caught several years ago in a Laredo lake, roughly 450 miles apart.
In December 2004, Jerry Campos was fishing for bass on Falcon Lake in Laredo and he caught a 14-pound largemouth bass, later named the ShareLunker 370. Nine years later, Allen Lane Kruse of Nacogdoches set a water-body and catch-and-release record for Lake Naconiche when he caught the 12.54 pound bass.
DNA testing showed that the recent catch is the son of ShareLunker 370, which spawned at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Campos had entered his fish into a "ShareLunker" program, which allows catchers to share their prize fish with others. Fingerlings from the program that spawned have stocked into more than 60 reservoirs across Texas.
If Campos had not submitted his catch, the Nacogdoches fish would not have existed for Kruse to catch.
FBI Orders You Not To Look At This! (19 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Why does the FBI say we should only look at photos they give us? And now the patsy is dead.
PAM COMMENTARY: Even if the current story on the Boston bombers turns out to be correct, and the police didn't have prior knowledge to warn the public, the concern that the bombing will be used to erode Fourth Amendment rights is a valid one.
Photo surfaces of 'The Craft' mobile communications van at Boston marathon (19 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
A detailed, hi-res photo of more "The Craft" operatives and what appears to be their mobile communications van has just surfaced. "The Craft" is a group of private military operatives who have been revealed through a fast-growing number of photos published by Natural News and Info Wars.
The mainstream media is engaged in a total blackout and refuses to run any photos of "The Craft" operatives. This story is quickly becoming the biggest media cover-up in history.
Natural News was the first to identify the brand of the radiation detector being held in the hand of one "Craft" operatives. Now, we appear to be the first to run this photo of what looks to be an extremely high-end mobile communications van with seven more "Craft" operatives.
The van clearly has a foldable satellite dish as well as what is possibly a microwave communications dome. The vehicle is a Chevy Escalade that has been outfitted with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of roof racks and communications equipment.
Note: We can't be 100% certain this vehicle belongs to The Craft team, but it fits their M.O. While all the other emergency vehicles on the scene are clearly marked, this vehicle is unmarked. The proximity of The Craft members to the van is also an indication that this vehicle may be a "rally point."
Police State Lockdown in Boston (19 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Officials in Boston have imposed what is being described as a "total lockdown" as police search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
ABC News reports:
Across the area, as police cars screamed down streets and helicopters hovered ahead, authorities urged the public to stay inside, their doors locked to anyone but a law-enforcement officer.
"There is a massive manhunt under way," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said. "We are asking people to shelter in place."
The lockdown initially affected more than 300,000 people in Cambridge, Watertown, Newton, Brighton, Allston and Belmont, but by 8 a.m., the entire city of Boston was paralyzed, officials said.
Boston Marathon bombings: Watertown residents tweet their terror (19 April 2013)
As police underwent a manhunt for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon explosions, residents were urged to stay inside and not open their doors. Terrified, they tweeted updates about their neighbourhoods.
NPR reports a third man arrested in Boston bombing plot (19 April 2013)
The dramatic series of events began to unfold late Thursday, with a robberty at a convenience store in Cambridge, Mass., and the shooting death of a police officer on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Minutes later, officials say, an SUV was carjacked in Cambridge.
That SUV was driven to Watertown. There, authorities say, the suspects threw explosives at police and exchanged gunfire. One of the two -- known as "black hat" for the cap he was seen wearing at the marathon -- was critically injured and later died. The other, "white hat," fled the area and was being sought.
We're following the story and updating as news comes in.
Update at 7:30 a.m. ET. Arrest Of Third Person:
A third man, who authorities believe was an accomplice of the bombing suspects, has been arrested according to NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. He may be the man, seen in videos earlier Friday, who police ordered to strip naked and was then put in the back of a patrol car.
One Boston Marathon suspect killed; second suspect, his brother, on loose after firefight (19 April 2013)
With a bomb strapped to his chest, one of the Boston Marathon suspects was killed early Friday after he and his accomplice robbed a 7-Eleven, shot a police officer to death, carjacked an SUV and hurled explosives out the window in an extraordinary firefight with law enforcement, authorities told NBC News.
The second suspect -- the one in the white hat in photos released by the FBI -- was on the loose, and police ordered people in the Boston suburbs to stay inside and businesses not to open. Boston shut down its buses and subway system for the hunt.
The suspects are Chechen brothers with the last name Tsarnaev, law enforcement officials told NBC News. The suspect at large, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, is 19 and has a Massachusetts driver's license, they said. Law enforcement officials told NBC News that both men are legal permanent residents of the United States, had been here about a year and had military experience.
The chaotic sequence of events started six hours after the FBI triggered a nationwide manhunt by releasing photos of the suspects, believed responsible for detonating two bombs at the marathon finish line Monday, killing three people and injuring 176.
FBI releases video of two 'dangerous' suspects in Boston bombing (18 April 2013)
The FBI has released video and photos of two "armed and extremely dangerous" suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and appealed for the public's help in identifying them.
"Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members," Boston FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said at a Thursday evening briefing.
"Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us.
"We consider them to be armed and extremely dangerous," DesLauriers added. "No one should approach them...If you see these men, contact law enforcement."
FBI asks for help in identifying Boston bombing suspects (18 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
To Provide Tips in the Investigation
If you have visual images, video, and/or details regarding the explosions along the Boston Marathon route and elsewhere, submit them on https://bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov. No piece of information or detail is too small.
You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3, with information.
PAM COMMENTARY: InfoWars.com linked to this FBI page with photos of who the FBI considers to be the main suspects.
Eight beavers have been found skinned in the Don Valley. Who is the Don's rogue trapper? (18 April 2013)
Tom Saask has been walking the hills of the Don Valley for 50 years, since the retiree was a teen, but recently he's found something new.
Skinned beavers -- peeled from their pelts and left only metres off a walking path.
At first there was just two. But in the month since his initial find, he's found six more, including four on Wednesday.
Now Saask wants to know -- who is Don Valley's rogue trapper? "This (trapper) seems to think he needs the skins more than the beavers do," said Saask, 65.
No OSHA Inspections at Texas Plant in 5 Years: Are We Doing Enough to Protect Workplace Safety? (18 April 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Of course, OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. I wanted to read you a quote of Rick Perry, Texas governor, an interview he did just April 9th with Newsmax. He said, "The men and women in Texas know something now after a decade-plus of our governorship and our policies being implemented by a Republican House, Senate, lieutenant governor and speaker. We've kept our tax burden as light as we could and still delivered the services that the people of Texas desire, and we have a regulatory climate that is fair and predictable. I cannot tell you how important is predictability and stability in the regulatory climate." Your response, Mike Elk?
MIKE ELK: Yeah. The one issue that people that hate regulation go after the most is workplace safety. There was a study released by the GAO last spring in 2012 showing that OSHA takes twice as long as the EPA to issue rules and five times as long as the SEC to issue new rules. In fact, during the Obama administration, the Obama administration has not initiated and completed a single new workplace safety rule in its four-and-a-half years of being in office. I mean, this is incredible. So, OSHA is a top enemy, and workplace safety rules, of deregulatory people. For instance, last year the Obama administration proposed a rule that would have limited--would have put rules in place to protect children working on farms. Children that work on farms die at six times the rate of children working in other industries. The Obama administration, under pressure leading up to the election, withdrew that rule and said that they would never submit that rule again during the term of the Obama administration. That's an unprecedented thing. So, obviously, workplace safety is one of the things the anti-regulatory people go after the most.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what about Texas in terms of workplace safety compared to other states?
MIKE ELK: Yeah. Texas, as statistics shows, has the highest rate of workplace deaths of any state in the country. And a big part of that can be contributed to the fact that it's one of the most non-union states in the country. Quite frankly, no worker is going to speak up and call OSHA. OSHA has such a severe limited budget that they typically don't go and inspect a workplace unless they get a phone call from a worker saying there's a big problem. And when you're scared of losing your job, you're not going to do that. So, places that tend to have less unions tend to have much higher rates of workplace accidents. And as, you know, the West, Texas, accident showed, workplace accidents just don't hurt workers, they hurt the surrounding community, as well.
After Obama Shuns Probe, Bipartisan Panel Finds "Indisputable" Evidence U.S. Tortured Under Bush (17 April 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
LAURA PITTER: Yeah, the report is very significant for the fact that this was a bipartisan commission that included individuals both on the Republican and Democratic side with high levels of extensive national security experience. And they intended to look at the record objectively, without any preconceived notions. And they ultimately came to the conclusion that the U.S. engaged in torture, and they found that the evidence was indisputable. And they found this without reservation. So it's very significant, because, as you know, many of the former Bush administration officials who were in charge of authorizing the abuse and other senior-level intelligence officials who were involved in implementing the abuse have denied that what the U.S. did in its name to hundreds of detainees in U.S. custody was torture. So, really, this commission should put those denials to rest. It clearly was--it was torture, and this commission found so.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Laura Pitter, can you explain a little how the task force was put together? They were apparently 11 members, and they represented quite a wide range from within the Bush administration--is that correct?--and subsequent administrations.
AMY GOODMAN: And who chose them?
LAURA PITTER: Well, The Constitution Project was in charge of putting the panel together, and they tried to get people--you know, very senior-level people who had national security experience, both former congresspeople in the judiciary, medical experts, from both sides of the political spectrum. And the objective was, because it was clear that Congress was unwilling to look into a commission of inquiry, to analyze what had happened historically post-9/11. There was an initiative, a legislation for a commission of inquiry, sort of like a truth commission, that was not accepted in Congress, and then Obama clearly said that it was more important for him to look forward than to look back. They felt like it was important to all Americans that they analyze what the U.S. did post-9/11 to the detainees in custody, given the widespread level of abuse and the authorization at the most senior levels. They felt like it was an important part to preserve U.S., you know, moral credibility in the world. And so, that's how the commission started.
Desperate search for survivors after Texas fertilizer plant blast as powerful as an earthquake 'kills 15' and turns town into a warzone (17 April 2013)
As many as 15 people are feared dead including up to five volunteer firefighters after a giant explosion at a fertilizer plant inflicted massive devastation on the town of West, Texas last night, leaving hundreds with horrific injuries.
The blast, which was felt 50 miles away and registered as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake, destroyed as many as 75 homes and buildings, leveled an apartment complex, forced a nursing home to evacuate its residents and blanketed the area in a cloud of toxic fumes.
The three to five missing volunteer firefighters were attending a blaze at the plant at about 7.50pm local time when it suddenly exploded into a fireball - thought to be caused by dangerous anhydrous ammonia igniting in the heat of the fire.
As many as 179 people have been treated for injuries in hospitals, but Sergeant W. Patrick Swanton from Waco's police department warned that he expects the total number of deaths and injuries to rise when daylight breaks and emergency teams are able to conduct a proper search.
The explosion at West Fertilizer Co. shook the ground in the small community of 2,800 people located about 20 miles north of Waco, and around 1,300 residents have now been evacuated.
Rehtaeh Parsons' family being 'harassed' by supporters of alleged rapists (17 April 2013)
Rehtaeh Parsons' mother on Wednesday slammed those who put up posters in support of four alleged rapists, saying it "felt like someone kicked me in the stomach."
"They're not learning any lessons," Leah Parsons told Global News. "They're doing the exact same thing as when Rehtaeh was alive. They're continuing with the hate."
Rehtaeh, 17, died earlier this month in a Canadian hospital after attempting to hang herself. She was allegedly the victim of a sexual assault and faced harassment from her peers, who labeled her a slut. A picture of the incident was widely shared at her school.
The incident sparked international outrage, leading police to re-open the case. Hundreds of people attended Rehtaeh's funeral on Monday.
But on Wednesday the residents of Halifax awoke to find multi-colored posters supporting the four boy who allegedly raped Rehtaeh stapled to telephone poles. The posters were even put up on the street the Parson's lived on.
PAM COMMENTARY: Support for rapists doesn't last long -- usually only as long as it takes for them to re-offend.
Mississippi mail suspect described body-parts conspiracy (17 April 2013)
"As far as him being anti-government, I'm not going to say that, but he had some issues with some stuff that happened with his cleaning business," the cousin said.
Multiple online posts on various websites under the name Kevin Curtis refer to the conspiracy he claimed to uncover when working at a local hospital from 1998 to 2000.
The author wrote the conspiracy that began when he "discovered a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts & organs wrapped in plastic in the morgue of the largest non-metropolitan healthcare organization in the United States of America."
Curtis wrote that he was trying to "expose various parties within the government, FBI, police departments" for what he believed was "a conspiracy to ruin my reputation in the community as well as an ongoing effort to break down the foundation I worked more than 20 years to build in the country music scene."
PAM COMMENTARY: I'd like an explanation of what he saw -- the body parts in the refrigerator, and which hospital was involved. There may have been a logical explanation, like organs needing lab work from autopsies, or some destined for donation. Then again, occasionally funeral homes and other businesses have been caught trafficking body parts without consent of the decedents' families. Maybe he felt he'd lose his job if he reported it at the time, but there were options available to him, for example an anonymous tip to police.
Arrest made in ricin case; mailings are an eerie echo of 2001 anthrax attacks (17 April 2013)
Fire crews arrive at the unmarked postal building by the Beltway every few days, donning protective rubber suits and carrying away suspicious letters addressed to members of Congress. At a similarly secret building in the District, agents set aside letters once or twice a week to the president containing powder or other cause for concern. For years -- ever since the anthrax attacks of 2001 -- nearly every one has proved harmless.
But alarms sounded in both buildings this week, and the threats appeared real: A grainy substance tested positive for the lethal toxin ricin in letters addressed to President Obama and a quiet senator from Mississippi.
By Wednesday night, authorities had arrested Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, Miss., as a suspect in the ricin mailings, the FBI said in a statement. Curtis also sent a third letter to a Mississippi justice official, the FBI said. He is well known to law enforcement as a frequent letter-writer to lawmakers, two officials said.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), in a statement late Wednesday, thanked law enforcement officials "for their professionalism and decisive action in keeping our family and staff safe from harm."
Palestinian museum showcases prisoner misery (17 April 2013)
Abu Dis, West Bank - Several mammoth slabs of concrete and a metal gate - a miniature replica of the Israeli separation wall - greet visitors to the Abu Jihad Museum for Prisoners Affairs.
Step inside and you're immediately met with metal bars and pictures of Palestinian detainees in tents waving across coils of barbed wire, and a map outlining all Israeli prisons and detention and interrogation centres where Palestinians are held and questioned.
The museum, based in the West Bank city of Abu Dis, just 6kms from Jerusalem, tells the story of Palestinian prisoners from the British Mandate era to modern day Israel. Today, there are some 4,700 Palestinians - including 169 held without charge under the "administrative detention" clause, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.
"Jesus was the first Palestinian prisoner," says Fahd Abu El-Haj, the museum's director, as he starts his tour outside in the museum's garden, pointing to steps made of stone taken from the Old City of Jerusalem, which he says resembles the Via Dolorosa, the path that Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion.
None of the world's top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use (17 April 2013)
The notion of "externalities" has become familiar in environmental circles. It refers to costs imposed by businesses that are not paid for by those businesses. For instance, industrial processes can put pollutants in the air that increase public health costs, but the public, not the polluting businesses, picks up the tab. In this way, businesses privatize profits and publicize costs.
While the notion is incredibly useful, especially in folding ecological concerns into economics, I've always had my reservations about it. Environmentalists these days love speaking in the language of economics -- it makes them sound Serious -- but I worry that wrapping this notion in a bloodless technical term tends to have a narcotizing effect. It brings to mind incrementalism: boost a few taxes here, tighten a regulation there, and the industrial juggernaut can keep right on chugging. However, if we take the idea seriously, not just as an accounting phenomenon but as a deep description of current human practices, its implications are positively revolutionary.
To see what I mean, check out a recent report [PDF] done by environmental consultancy Trucost on behalf of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) program sponsored by United Nations Environmental Program. TEEB asked Trucost to tally up the total "unpriced natural capital" consumed by the world's top industrial sectors. ("Natural capital" refers to ecological materials and services like, say, clean water or a stable atmosphere; "unpriced" means that businesses don't pay to consume them.)
It's a huge task; obviously, doing it required a specific methodology that built in a series of assumptions. (Plenty of details in the report.) But it serves as an important signpost pointing the way to the truth about externalities.
Bighorn herd reintroduced to Sierra Nevada area (17 April 2013)
The newly formed group of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep barreled up rugged Olancha Peak last month, the 10 females and four males becoming the first new herd of the endangered animals reintroduced in California in 25 years.
Once abundant throughout the region's alpine areas, the state's population of Sierra Nevada bighorn had dwindled to two herds by the 1970s. Their numbers have been devastated by disease spread by contact with domestic sheep and goats and unregulated commercial hunting.
The new herd is a success story for the distinct population of Sierra Nevada sheep, which were listed as endangered in 2000. Since 2007, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been working to recover the animals by reestablishing herds in areas identified as containing suitable habitat -- rugged, steep mountain slopes ranging from 5,000 feet to 14,000 feet in elevation.
The reintroduction program is designed to disperse the animals across a wide area to give them the best chance to thrive.
The 'living fossil' coelacanth fish left behind by evolution (17 April 2013)
A deep-sea fish which became known as a "living fossil" has not changed in appearance since before the time of the dinosaurs with the help of an extraordinary genome that is barely evolving, a study has found.
The coelacanth, which lives in deep-sea caves off the coast of Africa, was once known only from its fossils and so was thought to have gone extinct at least 70 million years ago until a recently-dead specimen was discovered by South African fishermen in 1938.
It is one of the few species to have hardly changed in tens of millions of years and now scientists believe this physical stability is mirrored in the coelacanth's genome -- the 3 billion "letters" of its DNA code.
"We found that the genes overall are evolving significantly slower than in every other fish and land vertebrate that we looked at. This is the first time that we've had a big enough gene set to really see that," said Jessica Alföldi, a research scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Massachusetts.
US torture of prisoners is 'indisputable', independent report finds (16 April 2013)
An independent examination of the US rendition programme after 9/11 has concluded that it is "indisputable" that America tortured prisoners, and that the country's highest officials were responsible.
A 580-page report published on Tuesday by the Constitution Project, a non-partisan Washington-based thinktank, concludes that the programme was unjustified and counterproductive, damaging to the country's reputation, and has placed US military personnel at risk of mistreatment if they are themselves taken prisoner.
In findings similar to those of a report published two months ago by the New York NGO Open Society Justice Initiative, the study concludes that the US rendition programme enjoyed widespread international co-operation, with the UK, Canada, Italy, Germany and Sweden identified as prominent supporters alongside Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Jordan.
The authors also conclude that the UK-Libyan rendition operations that resulted in the abduction of two dissidents who were taken to Tripoli along with their families in 2004 were intended not to combat international terrorism, but to "gain favour" with the Gaddafi regime.
Did InfoWars get pictures of Boston Bombing suspects before the mainstream media? (17 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Remains of one of the backpacks are also photographed yards from where one of the bombs exploded. The FBI states that at least one of the pressure cooker devices used in the bombing was housed in a backpack.
Some of these men may have merely been victims, but the image of the two men standing together wearing the same clothes and carrying heavy backpacks and wearing credentials suggests they may have been involved in a drill or in the actual attack. One of individuals, a white man whose backpack was found at the scene of the bombing, looks badly dressed and disheveled.
The Associated Press is now reporting that authorities have identified a suspect wearing a "black jacket on a cell phone, wearing a gray hoodie and a white baseball cap backwards placing a black bag at the second bomb site outside of the Forum restaurant on Boylston Street and then leaving the area before that explosion," a description which closely but not specifically could be applied to more than one different man identified in the photos below.
As eyewitness Ali Stevenson reported, marathon runners were told before the bombing that a "drill" was taking place involving bomb sniffing dogs and spotters of roofs and to remain calm, although police later denied that any exercise had taken place.
GOP abandons Mark Sanford; ex-wife says sons 'upset' over encounter with former mistress (17 April 2013)
Following revelations that his ex-wife accused him of trespassing on her property earlier this year, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) has lost the support of his national party.
The news comes as controversy continues to swirl around Sanford and his personal life -- a process that began with his well-publicized 2009 affair but was inflamed, the Washington Post has learned, when one of the Sanfords' sons met Mark Sanford's former mistress for the first time the night he won the GOP nomination.
The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday took the unusual step of telegraphing that it will not spend money on his special election campaign.
"Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections. At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election," the NRCC said in a statement, which was first reported by Politico.
Cleveland Clinic begins recruitment for new Abu Dhabi hospital (16 April 2013)
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Top Cleveland Clinic executives along with former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen described an adventure Monday evening that held the audience's attention.
The Clinic is looking for about 2,500 employees to work in a sleek, modern hospital unlike any other in the world.
Patients will walk into a glass atrium that is about three football fields in length and find private rooms that are large enough to accommodate families. They could live in glass towers, play on sandy beaches, meet amazing people, and enjoy some of the world's finest culture all while working in a 360-bed hospital built on a island.
This life-changing opportunity, the standing-room only audience of about 600 was told, is waiting in oil-rich Abu Dhabi.
"It's an amazing place," said Cohen, who is now chairman and chief executive of consulting firm The Cohen Group. "They are starting from almost ground zero and creating a new world for themselves."
PAM COMMENTARY: Sometime in 2007 or 2008, I encountered former Secretary Cohen at the train station in DC, and we got into a staring contest. I shot him a dirty look because... Well, because he's former Defense Secretary Cohen. He has lots of atrocities in his past, the worst being his outspoken support for sanctions against Iraq in the 90s that killed around 1.5 million people, about half of them children.
Of course, I didn't TELL him any of this -- but do mass murderers really need an explanation of the public's low opinion of them?
But Cohen wasn't going to accept my disapproval without issuing a silent threat, because hey, he's such a nice guy. He insisted on staring back at me until I finally felt like I had to look away because I didn't want to get into a fist fight with the suits he had with him.
Maybe this time he really does want to "help" an Arabian hospital. But... somehow it's just hard to believe that William Cohen wants to be a nice guy.
Fox removes 'Family Guy' episode from websites (16 April 2013)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Fox has pulled from websites a recent episode of "Family Guy" that depicts mass deaths at the Boston Marathon, and has no immediate plans to air it again.
Fox spokeswoman Gaude Paez said Tuesday the episode has been removed from Fox.com and Hulu.com.
In the episode, which originally aired March 17, protagonist Peter Griffin is asked by sports announcer Bob Costas about his performance at the marathon. A flashback shows Peter mowing down runners with his car.
"I'll tell ya, Bob, I just got in my car and drove it," Griffin says. "And when there was a guy in my way, I killed him."
Later, Peter befriends a terrorist who, unbeknownst to him, is plotting to blow up a bridge. When Peter dials a cellphone the friend has given him, explosions and screams are heard. On some websites, an edited clip has been circulating that fuses the two scenes, making it seem -- incorrectly -- as if the explosion was at the marathon. Some commenters have implied that the show "predicted" the bombings.
YouTube Censors Family Guy Clip Which May Have Inspired Boston Marathon Attack (16 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
UPDATE: YouTube has now censored a commentary video which merely pointed out that a recently broadcast episode of Family Guy contained scenes eerily similar to those that unfolded during the Boston Marathon attack. YouTube deleted the video claiming it contained, "spam," "scams" or "commercially deceptive content," when it contained none of these things. YouTube has also placed a strike against the host channel and threatened to delete it.
In addition, it is now being claimed that the whole issue is an "abhorrent hoax" merely because the two scenes from the same episode were spliced together. The fact that the episode depicted people being killed at the Boston Marathon, in addition to a separate clip which depicted two explosions, is not a hoax.
Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane created a cartoon which made fun of terrorist bombings and depicted mutilated Boston Marathon runners, yet he is labeling people who merely talk about the episode as "abhorrent".
Tivo and others are now removing the episode from their systems, which is strange given that the episode is supposedly a "hoax" and doesn't exist, according to the media.
This underscores the fact that if they will censor a cartoon in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, they will censor anything -- including your right to merely talk about it.
Cops Say Marathon Bombers Amateurs (16 April 2013) [Rense.com]
The date of the April 15 attack corresponds with Israeli Independence Day, Tax Day, and Patriots Day. Most political analysts suspect right wingers or Muslims. The bombers are believed to be amateurs.
No one has taken responsibility for the bombing. The Pakistani Taliban and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have denied any role. A home in Revere, Massachusetts was raided by the FBI but no further information has been made available. Police are searching for an unknown person who was filmed standing on a rooftop watching the pandemonium below without emotional reaction.
What we do know about the explosions that killed three and injured 170, is that they were caused by two small homemade pipe bombs filled with BB pellets or ball bearings and nails, which were hidden inside two trash cans. Surgeons at Massachusetts General Hospital removed 20 to 40 pieces of shrapnel from some of the wounded. Terror experts said devices like the ones used in Boston could be made for $100 with instructions found on YouTube. This style of homemade pipe bomb is typical of teenagers who are experimenting with explosives for laughs.
One of the more disturbing aspects about the bombing is that it could have been inspired by a recent episode of Family Guy, which aired on March 17, 2013. In this prime time TV cartoon, the main character Peter is shown driving his car through the finish line at the Boston Marathon. Peter is shown smiling in his blood-drenched car, raising a clenched fist as he crosses the finish line past many dead bodies. Peter then becomes interested in converting to Islam, as a result of a new friend, Mahmoud, who gives him a cell phone. Wearing Islamic clothing, Peter dials the phone and an explosion is heard outside. He dials the phone a second time and another explosion is heard, and people screaming. The first explosion followed by quiet (most people did not know what happened) and the second explosion a few seconds later followed by screaming, as depicted in the cartoon episode, corresponds eerily with the real event.
State and local officials told CNN's John King that there was no known credible threat prior to the explosions, though there are reports of heightened security and bomb squads present even before the race. University of Mobile's Cross Country Coach, who was near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when a series of explosions went off, told local news he thought it was odd there were bomb sniffing dogs at the start and finish lines. Stevenson said he saw law enforcement spotters on the roofs at the start of the race. He's been in plenty of marathons in Chicago, D.C., Chicago, London and other major metropolitan areas but has never seen that level of security before. "They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry, it's just a training exercise," Coach Ali Stevenson told Local 15.
Eyewitness: Authorities "Must Have Known" About Bombing (16 April 2013) [InfoWars.com]
When Bidondi again attempted to ask police about why people were being told to remain calm before the bombs exploded, there was no response.
"They kept making announcements saying to the participants 'do not worry, this is just a training exercise'" said Stevenson, who is the University of Mobile's Cross Country Coach.
"Evidently, I don't believe they were just having a training exercise, they must have known," Stevenson told Local15 News. "They must have had some sort of threat or suspicion called in," adding that spotters were stationed on roofs of buildings and that bomb sniffing dogs were going up and down the finish line.
Stevenson said the level of security he witnessed was unlike anything he had experienced as a marathon runner before in major cities such as Chicago, Washington D.C., and London.
Photographic evidence confirms Stevenson's claim that there were spotters on the roof before the bombs exploded.
Boston Marathon bombs had simple but harmful design, early clues indicate (16 April 2013)
The bombs that tore through a crowd of spectators at the Boston Marathon could have cost as little as $100 to build and were made of the most ordinary ingredients -- so ordinary, in fact, that investigators could face a gargantuan challenge in attempting to use bomb forensics to find the culprit.
Investigators revealed Tuesday that fragments recovered at the blast scene suggest a simple design: a common pressure cooker of the kind found at most discount stores, packed with an explosive and armed with a simple detonator. A final ingredient -- a few handfuls of BBs, nails and pellets -- helped ensure widespread casualties when the two devices exploded Monday near the race's finish line, law enforcement officials said.
The devices' design was immediately recognized by counterterrorism experts as a type touted by al-Qaeda for use by its operatives around the world. Similar devices have been used by terrorists in mass-casualty bombings in numerous countries, from the Middle East to South Asia to North Africa.
Yet the bomb's simplicity and garden-variety ingredients complicate the task of determining whether the maker was an international terrorist, a homegrown extremist or a local citizen with a grudge, investigators and experts say.
Marathon runners, dazed and angry, return for belongings (16 April 2013)
"We were almost there when a volunteer stopped us, and told us they were closing the race," said Meghan Cole, a 25-year-old from Gloucester who was running her first marathon.
"I didn't believe it. I thought it was a joke.''
Runners described the chaos that followed, the frantic search for families, the happy reunions. The sad news over three deaths. All expressed dismay at the bombings and said prayers for those who suffered.
Francesco Iacovelli, 45, of Rome, said he had finished the race in just over three hours and was getting medical help for severe cramps when he heard the explosions.
"It sounded like thunderstorms," he said.
Justices struggle in weighing American Indian adoption case (16 April 2013)
(Reuters) - Supreme Court justices appeared conflicted on Tuesday as they debated the delicate question of whether an American Indian father could take custody of his child from a couple who legally adopted her.
The nine-member court has to determine whether the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law passed in 1978 to prevent Indian families from being torn apart by government welfare agencies, allows Dusten Brown custody of his child, even though he had at one point said he would give up his parental rights.
Several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, who has two adopted children, appeared sympathetic to the South Carolina couple who adopted the girl, Veronica, who is now three.
But at least two members of the court, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, indicated some support for Brown and others appeared unsure how to proceed. Justice Clarence Thomas, who took custody of a grandnephew in 1997, did not speak during the argument.
Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation, a federally recognized American Indian tribe, and a soldier at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, invoked the federal law when the child's mother, Christina Maldonado, gave Veronica up for adoption.
'Pulling nails out of a little girl's flesh is just awful': Surgeons reveal horror of Boston bombings (16 April 2013)
Doctors said the amputations had been part of a frantic bid to stop patients bleeding to death.
"When these kids came in... they were just so badly hurt, just covered with singed hair and in so much pain, it was just gut-wrenching," said David Mooney, the director of the trauma program at the Boston Children's Hospital.
He added: "Pulling nails out of a little girl's flesh is just awful."
George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, told reporters that he had been forced to complete the "ugly job that the bomb did".
The hospital had amputated four limbs, Dr Velmahos said, while two other patients remain "at risk".
Peace Activist Carlos Arredondo Hailed as Hero for Aid to Boston Marathon Bombing Victims (16 April 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
CARLOS ARREDONDO: I was across the street from where the bombs explode with Mélida. And what I saw in the beginning was a big fire coming out across the street from where we are at the time. And then the loud noise occur, and then the big smoke. And people running. And a second explosion just right after that.
My reaction was to just jump the fence, where the--to the street and cross to jump the second fence and landing in this area where was pretty much the serious injuries. You know, everybody was on the ground. There was broken limbs, people with no limbs, people totally passed out, so many injuries today. I never see in my life like this. You know, it was a very, very horrible moment in that particular moment there. People was running. And a lot of people was really doing a great job in handling the best we could at the time.
AARON MATÉ: And, Carlos, you're being cited in the media as a hero for what you did for the victims. Tell us how you reacted to the bombing.
CARLOS ARREDONDO: Well, it took really few minutes to understand that this was a IED explosion. And my first reaction, being a volunteer for the Red Cross, and my first reaction was to just go, you know, and do my duty. So many people was doing the same thing--police officers, National Guards, people from the stands, veterans. You know, everybody just got together into the side. You know, we didn't know if it was a third bomb waiting for anybody there, you know, but everybody removed the fence by their hands and pushed everything around. And in a matter of time, everybody was wheeled out to the next 150 yards, you know, emergency area, which was piled with emergency medical service and units. That was a lot of help.
Amid shock at Marathon, a rush to help strangers (16 April 2013)
The runners had been bounding in, beaming with relief. On both sides of Boylston Street, hundreds of spectators still had packed the area, many cheering with hoarse voices for the late finishers surging in, scores of them every minute. An elderly volunteer greeting runners kept repeating this mantra: "You're all winners."
When the first boom shattered the bliss and the haze of white smoke washed over the finish line, I could see in the eyes of the woman what had happened. She wasn't breathing. She wasn't moving. Her eyes appeared lifeless as she lay beside the metal barriers on the sidewalk, where dozens of people were sprawled on the concrete, their limbs mangled, blood and broken glass everywhere.
I had been in a crouch shooting video of runners taking their final steps of the race, maybe 10 feet from the blast. I saw runners in front of me fall, at least one of whom appeared wounded. Those beside me at the center of the finish line -- Marathon volunteers, security, fellow journalists -- fell back as the ground trembled.
Someone beside me said he saw a red flash. Others close by told me they felt the spray of what they thought were shards of shrapnel. My ears were ringing from the blast, my eyes stinging from the smoke.
Boston Marathon explosions: Police search apartment in Boston suburb; appeal for spectators' video, images (16 April 2013)
As many as two unexploded bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to be a well-co-ordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.
WBZ-TV reported late Monday that law enforcement officers were searching an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere. Massachusetts State Police confirmed that a search warrant related to the investigation into the explosions was served Monday night in Revere, but provided no further details.
Some investigators were seen leaving the Revere house early Tuesday carrying brown paper bags, plastic trash bags and a duffel bag.
Police said three people were killed. Martin Richard, 8, was among the dead, according to a person who talked to a friend of the family and spoke on condition of anonymity. The person said the boy's mother and sister were also injured as they waited for his father to finish the race.
Hospitals reported at least 144 people injured, at least 17 of them critically. At least eight children were being treated at hospitals.
Tim Davey of Richmond, Va., was with his wife, Lisa, and children near a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners when the injured began arriving. "They just started bringing people in with no limbs," he said.
Boston Marathon explosions latest: FBI raids flat in city's suburbs as bombs are revealed to be packed with ball bearings (16 April 2013)
The overnight death toll after the Boston marathon bombing had risen to three this morning as federal and local investigators swarmed the city to try to hunt down those responsible for a pair of explosions that also caused injuries to at least 140 other people, at least 17 of whom remain in a critical condition.
Various security agencies have raided a flat in a Boston suburb. Officers from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement searched the fifth floor flat in Revere, five miles from the site of the blast. They were then seen leaving the property with a brown paper bag, according to the Associated Press.
Two unexploded devices recovered near the attack will be analysed today, including one reportedly found around the corner from the first blasts. A third device was reportedly destroyed in a controlled explosion.
As news emerged that one of the dead was an eight-year-old child, doctors from area hospitals began to report that many of those admitted had suffered from shrapnel injuries. The devices had been packed with ball bearings, according to reports from Reuters and other agencies, to cause maximum injuries. Hospitals also confirmed that numerous patients suffered lower limb injuries including some who had undergone amputations.
Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown (16 April 2013)
(Reuters) - Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions.
Often focused on century-long trends, most climate models failed to predict that the temperature rise would slow, starting around 2000. Scientists are now intent on figuring out the causes and determining whether the respite will be brief or a more lasting phenomenon.
Getting this right is essential for the short and long-term planning of governments and businesses ranging from energy to construction, from agriculture to insurance. Many scientists say they expect a revival of warming in coming years.
Theories for the pause include that deep oceans have taken up more heat with the result that the surface is cooler than expected, that industrial pollution in Asia or clouds are blocking the sun, or that greenhouse gases trap less heat than previously believed.
Chevron ignored a decade of warnings before Richmond refinery explosion (16 April 2013)
An August fire and explosion at a refinery in Richmond, Calif. -- which sickened 15,000 residents of the San Francisco Bay area -- was the result of Chevron not giving a sh*t about safety.
That's the paraphrased conclusion of an investigation into the accident by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. While releasing an interim report Monday, the board said a regulatory overhaul was needed to protect the public from such accidents.
From the Contra Costa Times:
"At a news conference in Emeryville, officials from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board portrayed a refinery that took a Band-Aid approach to plant maintenance -- pipes were often clamped as they aged rather than being replaced, and the section of pipe that ruptured had deteriorated to less than half the thickness of a dime. ..."
Nonpartisan review concludes Bush knowingly ordered torture (16 April 2013)
A nonpartisan group led by a former top Bush administration official concluded a two-year review on Tuesday that finds the former president and his top advisers knowingly ordered interrogation techniques that U.S. officials have previously referred to as torture.
"After conducting our own two-year investigation, weighing the credibility of all sources and studying the current public record, we have come to the regrettable, but unavoidable, conclusion that the United States did indeed engage in conduct that is clearly torture," former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), who served as undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, said in an advisory.
The 577-page review, put together by the advocacy group The Constitution Project, includes interviews with dozens of people who have first-hand knowledge of the discussions about interrogation techniques and their implementation. Although Bush administration loyalists said at the time that "enhanced interrogation tactics" like stress positions, waterboarding, mock executions, sensory deprivation and prolonged diapering were not torture, this report aims to specifically and finally emphasize that these activities meet the clinical definition of "torture."
"As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture," the report says, according to The New York Times, which received an advance copy.
Dick Cheney to attend Lady Thatcher funeral (16 April 2013)
Dick Cheney, former US vice-president and driving force behind the country's invasion of Iraq, is to attend the Thatcher funeral, No 10 has confirmed.
Other high-profile US guests include Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state and the maverick rightwinger Ross Perot. Barack Obama announced on this week that former US secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker III would lead a US presidential delegation to the ceremony. Louise Susman, the recently departed US ambassador in London, would also attend.
Michelle Bachmann, the ultra-conservative former presidential candidate, will attend with two other Republicans from Congress.
Downing Street indicated on Tuesday that Cheney was attending in a personal capacity, not as an official US representative. Nonetheless, his presence is likely to enrage many. As George W Bush's number two between 2001-2009, Cheney was one of the chief architects of the war in Iraq.
Since leaving office, Cheney has refused to apologise for taking the US to war and has been a relentless critic of Obama's alleged security policy failings. He has defended the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against prisoners.
After Boston explosions, people rush to Twitter for breaking news (15 April 2013)
SAN FRANCISCO -- In an age of near instant communication, Twitter again became the world's town square as traffic to the service spiked minutes after the deadly Boston Marathon explosions.
People rushed to Twitter for real-time information on fatalities and injuries. It was the first to air the news of the explosions at the finish line (10 minutes ahead of cable news) and to break the news of multiple explosions and mass casualties as users posted firsthand accounts and photographs.
Foursquare founder and Chief Executive Dennis Crowley, who was running the marathon to raise money for Camp Interactive, a program to expose underprivileged youth to technology, turned to Twitter to let friends and family know he was OK. (He also used it to ask journalists to "leave us alone right now.")
Twitter, which lets users tap out 140-character status updates, has transformed how breaking news events are recorded and covered whether in on-the-ground reports such as a Pakistani man live tweeting the deadly raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad) or in on-the-plane reports from the Hudson River plane crash.
Tax Day: While Millions Rush to Meet Deadline, Resisters Continue Longstanding Refusal to Fund War (15 April 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
ED HEDEMANN: Well, I stopped after I refused induction in the military. This is in 1969. The government tried to draft me to go to war in Vietnam; I refused to go. A year later, I thought, well, it's not good enough for me not to go and yet pay for others to go into the military, so I stopped paying the following year taxes to the IRS that eventually would help the government's war in Vietnam and subsequent wars.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what happened to you? What does it mean? How did to figure out--what exactly do you do on Tax Day?
ED HEDEMANN: Well, I refuse to pay 100 percent of my federal taxes, my federal income taxes. I pay Social Security, Medicare, state and local taxes, but none of the federal income taxes. But actually, in fact, I do pay them, just not to the IRS. I take the entire amount of money and reroute it to other organizations helping to build a better world rather than helping to kill people.
AMY GOODMAN: And what has the federal government responded?
ED HEDEMANN: Routinely I get letters, threatening letters from the IRS. They look for bank accounts. They look for property that I might own to seize. They look for salaries that I might have. I go out of my way to be uncollectible. I don't have readily accessible bank accounts. I don't have a salary. I'm self-employed. I have had salaries in the past. And I really don't own any significant property. Now, the IRS has gone as far as to take me into federal district court. They did that in 1999 to get me to reveal sources of my assets, because the IRS has been unable to find anything significant to collect. I refused to give this information, and that was the end of it.
Sex Worker Says She's Made 'Close To $1 Million' Servicing Young, Rich Guys From Silicon Valley (15 April 2013)
Tech companies in the Bay area such as Facebook and LinkedIn have gone public and made their early employees wealthy.
Increasingly, the young, rich employees are spending their fortunes on prostitution.
CNNMoney's Laurie Segall interviewed sex workers in the Bay area, as well as local authorities. All of them said prostitution was on the rise and technology is powering it. It has increased the list of clients, and it's making the prostitution business more efficient.
One sex worker says she uses Square, Jack Dorsey's mobile credit card swiper, to charge clients before visits. "As far as Square knows, it's a consulting business," the woman told Segall.
Dead sea lions washing on shore in California appear to have died from radiation poisoning (15 April 2013)
The extremely high readings recorded at different times indicated that cesium 137 was rising, and at that time in 2011, more radioactive material was continuing to leak into the ocean.
That article registered concern over the high amounts of radioactive material, but claimed at that time the ocean was diluting the radiation levels low enough to prevent humans from being harmed directly.
Of course, California sea lions are a long way off from the Japan coast, but different currents and eddies could spread a continuing accumulation of radioactive contamination farther out into the ocean from Japan.
Even tuna caught off the California coast have been found with higher than normal traces of cesium 137 from the Fukushima disaster in May of 2012.
An unpublicized cause of death for seal pups is domoic acid, produced by toxic algae bloom. It causes seizure and death in California sea lions. Domoic acid is a neurotoxin produced by a few specific types of harmful algae blooms among the phytoplankton on the ocean's surface.
Antarctic ice melting at record rate, study shows (15 April 2013)
Lead researcher Dr Nerilie Abram, from the Australian National University and British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said: "We found that the coolest conditions on the Antarctic peninsula and the lowest amount of summer melt occurred around 600 years ago.
"At that time temperatures were around 1.6C lower than those recorded in the late 20th century and the amount of annual snowfall that melted and refroze was about 0.5%.
"Today, we see almost 10 times as much (5%) of the annual snowfall melting each year.
"Summer melting at the ice core site today is now at a level that is higher than at any other time over the last 1,000 years. And while temperatures at this site increased gradually in phases over many hundreds of years, most of the intensification of melting has happened since the mid-20th century."
Preparing to install the world's largest underwater observatory (15 April 2013)
The basement lab near the University of Washington campus is, literally, buzzing. High-voltage machines produce energy that will soon run through cables snaking along the seafloor. A dozen engineers hunch over electronics, making alterations or running checks. In one corner, a nitride-coated titanium shaft has been sitting in a bucket of saltwater for four months to test the coating for corrosion. A glass-walled cleanroom prevents contaminants from interfering with seals on housings designed to keep out seawater pressing in at 4,200 pounds per square inch.
This is crunch time for University of Washington preparations to build the world's largest underwater observatory. The National Science Foundation in 2009 launched the $239 million effort led by John Delaney, UW professor of oceanography, to create a cabled observatory that will bring power and Internet to the ocean floor. This new concept will use remote-controlled instruments and high-bandwidth video to create an enduring, real-time presence in the deep ocean.
Researchers in the UW's Applied Physics Laboratory were tasked by Delaney to build and test the equipment that will make up the observatory. Much of that equipment will be installed this summer. This is the biggest project the 70-year-old marine engineering institute has ever undertaken, said project lead Gary Harkins, a principal engineer with the lab.
"This concept of a real-time observatory will change what we do as ocean engineers, what we will learn how to do, and what ocean scientists can do with these systems now and in the future," Harkins said.
Dead dolphins and shrimp with no eyes found after BP clean-up (14 April 2013)
Hundreds of beached dolphin carcasses, shrimp with no eyes, contaminated fish, ancient corals caked in oil and some seriously unwell people are among the legacies that scientists are still uncovering in the wake of BP's Deepwater Horizon spill.
This week it will be three years since the first of 4.9 billion barrels of crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico, in what is now considered the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. As the scale of the ecological disaster unfolds, BP is appearing daily in a New Orleans federal court to battle over the extent of compensation it owes to the region.
Infant dolphins were found dead at six times average rates in January and February of 2013. More than 650 dolphins have been found beached in the oil spill area since the disaster began, which is more than four times the historical average. Sea turtles were also affected, with more than 1,700 found stranded between May 2010 and November 2012 -- the last date for which information is available. On average, the number stranded annually in the region is 240.
Contact with oil may also have reduced the number of juvenile bluefin tuna produced in 2010 by 20 per cent, with a potential reduction in future populations of about 4 per cent. Contamination of smaller fish also means that toxic chemicals could make their way up the food chain after scientists found the spill had affected the cellular function of killifish, a common bait fish at the base of the food chain.
Guantánamo Bay's last UK detainee: 'people are dying here' in hunger strike (14 April 2013)
A British hunger striker inside Guantánamo Bay has laid bare the deteriorating conditions of inmates, expressing fears that he and others will soon die as a result of what he described as "systematic torture".
Shaker Aamer, the last UK resident still held at the camp, claims he is subjected to harsh treatment from guards and denied water, despite being in a weakened state due to severe weight loss, according to a written declaration filed by his lawyer.
He also alleges that the US base will soon be dealing with its first fatalities as a result of the current action: "I might die this time," he is quoted by his lawyer as saying, adding: "I cannot give you numbers and names, but people are dying here."
The testimony, seen by the Guardian, will form part of evidence presented at a hearing Monday into complaints from the remaining inmates at the notorious detention camp. Over the weekend, clashes broke out as guards attempted to break the hunger strike, which is thought to have begun on 6 February.
Drought: Why the Dust Bowl may be coming back (14 April 2013)
Drought conditions in more than half of the United States have slipped into a pattern that is uncomfortably similar to the most severe droughts in recent history, including the 1930s Dust Bowl, climatologists say.
The 2013 drought season is off to a worse start than in 2012 or 2011. It's a good indicator, based on historical records, that the entire year will be drier than last year, even if spring and summer rainfall and temperatures remain the same, says scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If rainfall decreases and temperatures rise, as climatologists are predicting will happen this year, the drought could be even more severe.
The federal researchers also say there is less than a 20 per cent chance the drought will end in the next six months.
"There were certainly pockets of drought as we went into spring last year, but overall, the situation was much better than it is now," said Tom Karl, a climatologist and director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Florida battles slimy invasion by giant snails (14 April 2013)
(Reuters) - South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world's most destructive invasive species: the giant African land snail, which can grow as big as a rat and gnaw through stucco and plaster.
More than 1,000 of the mollusks are being caught each week in Miami-Dade and 117,000 in total since the first snail was spotted by a homeowner in September 2011, said Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Residents will soon likely begin encountering them more often, crunching them underfoot as the snails emerge from underground hibernation at the start of the state's rainy season in just seven weeks, Feiber said.
The snails attack "over 500 known species of plants ... pretty much anything that's in their path and green," Feiber said.
Alaska House passes oil tax overhaul (14 April 2013)
The House version of the bill includes a 35 percent base tax rate and $5 allowance per taxable barrel of oil produced. That credit would apply to what would be considered new oil and production that also would qualify for a 20 percent tax break known as a gross revenue exclusion. Certain units comprised exclusively of leases with higher royalty rates, and those not getting royalty relief from the state, could qualify for a 30 percent tax break.
Under the bill, administration officials have said they expect the vast majority of Alaska's legacy fields would be subject to a 35 percent base rate and a per-barrel allowance on a sliding scale, higher at lower prices, zero at higher prices, around $160.
A consultant to the administration has said the plan would make Alaska "far more" competitive for investment dollars. According to that consultant, Barry Pulliam, the effective tax rate on the net value for oil that doesn't get a gross revenue exclusion would be about 25 percent at $100 oil and about 30 percent at $120 oil. The effective tax rate for higher royalty oil that gets a 30 percent gross revenue exclusion would be about 11 percent at $100 oil and 14 percent at $120 oil.
"Race to the bottom if you want," Gara told colleagues on the House floor Saturday night. "I hope you won't."
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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com