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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 30th of June to 6th of July 2013

Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia offer asylum to Edward Snowden (6 July 2013)
Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered asylum to Edward Snowden, the US whistleblower who is believed to have spent the past two weeks at a Moscow airport evading US attempts to extradite him.

The Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, and his Nicaraguan counterpart, Daniel Ortega, made the asylum offers on Friday, shortly after they and other Latin American leaders met to denounce the diversion of a plane carrying the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, due to suspicions that Snowden might have been on board.

Shortly after, Morales also said Bolivia would grant asylum to Snowden, if asked. On Saturday, Venezuela's offer was given a warm reception by an influential member of the Russian parliament.

In a tweet, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Duma foreign affairs committee, said: "Asylum for Snowden in Venezuela would be the best solution."
[Read more...]

Agreements with private companies protect U.S. access to cables' data for surveillance (6 July 2013)
The U.S. government had a problem: Spying in the digital age required access to the fiber-optic cables traversing the world's oceans, carrying torrents of data at the speed of light. And one of the biggest operators of those cables was being sold to an Asian firm, potentially complicating American surveillance efforts.

Enter "Team Telecom."

In months of private talks, the team of lawyers from the FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security demanded that the company maintain what amounted to an internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances. Among their jobs, documents show, was ensuring that surveillance requests got fulfilled quickly and confidentially.

This "Network Security Agreement," signed in September 2003 by Global Crossing, became a model for other deals over the past decade as foreign investors increasingly acquired pieces of the world's telecommunications infrastructure.

The publicly available agreements offer a window into efforts by U.S. officials to safeguard their ability to conduct surveillance through the fiber-optic networks that carry a huge majority of the world's voice and Internet traffic.

The agreements, whose main purpose is to secure the U.S. telecommunications networks against foreign spying and other actions that could harm national security, do not authorize surveillance. But they ensure that when U.S. government agencies seek access to the massive amounts of data flowing through their networks, the companies have systems in place to provide it securely, say people familiar with the deals.
[Read more...]

Sentences for cyber crime and snooping to be tougher across EU (6 July 2013)
(Reuters) - EU lawmakers agreed on Thursday to toughen criminal penalties across the European Union for cyber attacks, especially those that include harming critical national infrastructure and hijacking computers to steal sensitive data.

The 28 EU member states currently have a patchwork of varying tariffs for cyber crime.

The decision mandates national maximum sentences of at least two years in prison for attempting to illegally access information systems.

The maximum penalty for attacks against infrastructure such as power plants, transport, or government networks will be set at five years or more, higher than the current tariff in most member states.

The decision also increases the penalties for illegally intercepting communications, or producing and selling tools to do this.

Cyber criminals often infect computers to form armies of zombie PCs known as "botnets" by sending spam emails containing malicious links and attachments, and by infecting legitimate websites with computer viruses.
[Read more...]

Surviving as a garment worker (6 July 2013)
Cambodia's garment industry is huge and getting bigger. More than 300,000 workers produce the clothing, mostly for exports. There is a high chance you have worn clothing from Gap or H&M that has been stitched together here. Demand and investments are surging. So, too, is labor unrest. That's no surprise. Although salaries and conditions for workers in Cambodia are not as bad as in Bangladesh (the monthly minimum wage of $80 compared to only $38 in Bangladesh; in China it is $150) protests and strikes quadrupled over the last year. There have already been 48 strikes this year, more than in the whole of 2010 and 2011 combined.

In the village of Trapeng Weng, just outside Phnom Penh, more than 400 people work in a factory that makes products for Nike. "Police come every day to look for me, sometimes in uniform, sometimes as civilians," says a man who claims to be on the black list for his role in recent and violent protests. The pay is not enough, he said, explaining the reason for the unrest. The government raised the minimum wage to $80 a month in March this year but workers complain that it is not enough and wage rises have not kept up with the cost of living.

To survive with some money left at the end of the month to send home, workers must live a very basic life. For those who come from the provinces, the accommodation is shocking: overcrowded buildings, four or even more people usually sharing "an apartment" as big as a changing room in clothing store. They each pay rent of about $10 a month, plus more for water and for a single neon light installed on bare walls. Another $10 or more goes toward transportation expenses. Food is getting more expensive.

To make ends meet a worker has to be very lucky not to get sick or overspend on anything outside the bare basics.

The problems start when something goes wrong, such as a family member dying, or a debt collector turning up. Then they borrow, creating a vicious cycle of debt and poverty that has ruined so many families, communities and countries worldwide.
[Read more...]

Can bringing wetlands back to our coasts protect us from future megastorms? (6 July 2013)
Kevin Shanley says too many cities have an outdated approach to storm protection that makes them vulnerable to the coming mega-storms. The CEO of SWA Group, an international landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm, Shanley is an advocate of using "green infrastructure" -- human-made systems that mimic natural ones -- as bulwarks.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, people are taking note. Some experts believe New York City would not have sustained such severe damage had the original wetlands that lined the coasts not been uprooted by development. In fact, some parts of Staten Island remained relatively unscathed because they were protected by the massive Fresh Kills Park and its wetlands.

What's needed, Shanley says, are policy shifts "rooted in a natural system-approach that work with nature's tremendous forces." Beyond policy changes though, Shanley has also worked on projects, in Texas and elsewhere, that show how these human-made systems could work. But he cautions that more research is needed if communities' lives and livelihoods are to rely on human-made nature.

Shanley was recently in Washington, D.C., speaking at the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation on improving the resiliency of our coasts in an effort to protect them from increasingly damaging storms and sea-level rise brought on by climate change. I caught up with him there.
[Read more...]

Russians signal openness to Venezuela's offer to shelter Snowden (6 July 2013)
MOSCOW -- Venezuela's offer of asylum for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden got a thumbs up from key members of the Russian parliament Saturday, even as the Kremlin and Foreign Ministry kept a studious silence.

"Sanctuary for Snowden in Venezuela would be the best decision," Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament, wrote in a tweet Saturday.

Puskhkov, who reliably reflects the government's position on international issues, voiced what appears to be a growing official desire to see Snowden leave after 13 days holed up in transit limbo at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. He wrote of Snowden, "He can't live at Sheremetyevo."

Another parliamentary deputy and member of Pushkov's committee, Alexander Babakov, told the Russian News Service on Saturday that he thinks the offer of asylum Friday from Venezuelan President Nicoláss Maduro was Snowden's best recourse.

"Given that Snowden's U.S. passport was revoked and that he has no particular alternative, the proposal, especially coming from the mouth of the head of state, is sure to be accepted," he said.
[Read more...]

Egypt in crisis: ElBaradei named prime minister (6 July 2013)
CAIRO -- Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei was tapped Saturday to become Egypt's new prime minister following a military coup that overthrew the nation's president, his office announced.

The decision by interim President Adly Mahmoud Mansour, who was installed Thursday by the military, was certain to infuriate Muslim Brotherhood supporters, who are demanding that ousted President Mohamed Morsi be restored to office.

But anti-Morsi protesters, including members of the Rebel movement that organized mass protests against Morsi last week, pushed for ElBaradei to receive the job.

ElBaradei was expected to be sworn in Saturday evening.

ElBaradei, 70, was seen as a favorite due to his long-standing position as an opposition leader, first against President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in February 2011 and then against Morsi. His reputation as former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and as winner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize should send a positive message to a global community increasingly alarmed by Egypt's chaos.
[Read more...]

Students burnt alive in Nigeria school attack (6 July 2013)
At least 28 students and one teacher have been killed in an attack by gunmen on a boarding school in Nigeria's northeast.

Survivors being treated for burn and gunshots wounds said some students were burned alive in the attack on the Government Secondary School in Mamudo town in Yobe state early on Saturday.

As he wept over the bodies of his two boys, farmer Malam Abdullahi swore he would withdraw three remaining sons from a nearby school.

He complained there was no protection for students despite the deployment of thousands of troops since the government declared a state of emergency mid-May in three northeastern states.
[Read more...]

People missing after rail tanker cars explode in Canadian town (6 July 2013)
(Reuters) - Several people were missing after four tank cars of petroleum products exploded in the middle of a small town in the Canadian province of Quebec early on Saturday in a fiery blast that destroyed dozens of buildings.

The disaster occurred shortly after 1 a.m. when a freight train derailed in Lac-Megantic, a picturesque lakeside town of about 6,000 people near the border with Maine. Although police said they could not yet get close enough to determine whether there were any casualties from the still-burning fires, an aerial photograph showed widespread devastation in the town center.

French-language broadcaster Radio-Canada said one building at the center of town was a bar popular with young people. An eyewitness told the broadcaster the town center had been crowded at the time of the derailment.

"Many parents are worried because they haven't been able to communicate with a member of their family or an acquaintance," Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche told the channel.
[Read more...]

Global food supply under threat as water wells dry up, analyst warns (6 July 2013)
Wells are drying up and underwater tables falling so fast in the Middle East and parts of India, China and the US that food supplies are seriously threatened, one of the world's leading resource analysts has warned.

In a major new essay Lester Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, claims that 18 countries, together containing half the world's people, are now overpumping their underground water tables to the point -- known as "peak water" -- where they are not replenishing and where harvests are getting smaller each year.

The situation is most serious in the Middle East. According to Brown: "Among the countries whose water supply has peaked and begun to decline are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. By 2016 Saudi Arabia projects it will be importing some 15m tonnes of wheat, rice, corn and barley to feed its population of 30 million people. It is the first country to publicly project how aquifer depletion will shrink its grain harvest.

"The world is seeing the collision between population growth and water supply at the regional level. For the first time in history, grain production is dropping in a geographic region with nothing in sight to arrest the decline. Because of the failure of governments in the region to mesh population and water policies, each day now brings 10,000 more people to feed and less irrigation water with which to feed them."
[Read more...]

The Spam Factory's Dirty Secret (6 July 2013)
Six workers were referred to Richard Schindler, a doctor at the Austin Medical Center who'd first seen Matthew Garcia. Garcia had returned a second time to the brain machine, worked four-hour days, then six hours--but his symptoms soon returned. He began falling on the plant floor, his legs numb and motionless under him. Schindler found that Garcia and another brain-machine operator were the most advanced cases. Besides Garcia and the six workers referred by Bower, Schindler had seen another five men and women with similar symptoms--all workers at QPP. Schindler believed they were suffering from something like the rare disorder Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)--death of the peripheral nerves caused by damage to the fatty neural covering known as the myelin sheath. He emailed a group of neurologists at the Mayo Clinic for advice.

One, Daniel Lachance, was struck by the case histories. He had seen a woman in 2005 who worked at QPP and had sought treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. After seeing her EMG and other tests, Lachance suspected a more ominous nerve condition--but the woman returned to Mexico before her spinal fluid could be tested. Lachance remembered Garcia, too, from his hospitalization the year before. Steroids had helped reduce the swelling of his nerves, but doctors could never identify the cause of his spinal inflammation. When Lachance checked his employment history, he discovered that Garcia worked at QPP.

But Schindler was describing a dozen concurrent cases. "Those types of illness seem to, statistically, come up in the population at a rate of two per 100,000," Lachance told me later. "So here, over the course of a couple of months, I was aware of up to a dozen individuals from one town of 22,000 who all happened to work in one place." Lachance brought the affected workers in, one by one, and crossed off items from a laundry list of diseases and disorders. It wasn't mad cow or trichinosis. It wasn't a simple muscular disorder like carpal tunnel syndrome. It wasn't cancer or a virus. It wasn't bacteria or a parasite. Lachance concluded that the slaughterhouse illness was likely some kind of autoimmune disorder. It was time to contact the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

In early November 2007, Aaron DeVries, an epidemiologist at MDH in St. Paul, drove to Austin to review the medical records of the patients involved. He was working from a checklist of his own, eliminating possible sources of the illness. The symptoms were inconsistent with any known infections, and workers' families were unaffected, so the disorder didn't seem to be transmissible by human-to-human contact. Like Lachance, DeVries concluded that the illness had to be an autoimmune response, most likely triggered by something inside the plant.

DeVries arranged a site visit for November 28. Accompanied by QPP officials, the MDH team, led by state epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield, progressed down the head table and eventually reached the brain machine. They stood silently for a moment, watching the bursts of air rising into a red cloud, a small amount each time but enough, as it drifted and accumulated, to gradually coat workers at the head table. Lynfield pointed out that nearly all the affected workers were stationed near the brain machine and asked CEO Kelly Wadding, "What do you think is going on?" Wadding reportedly replied, "Let's stop harvesting brains."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: This article is 6 pages long, but an interesting read.

American CEOs make 273 times more than the average worker (6 July 2013)
If you're the CEO of a major company today, you make, on average, about 273 times more than the average worker. That's according to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) of the CEO-to-worker pay ratio at top 350 firms. The average pay, EPI found, was $14.1 million in 2012, up 12.7 percent from 2011.

That's a big change from a half-century ago. In 1965, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was about 20-to-1, but it grew over the next three decades, and that growth picked up speed in the '90s. It peaked in 2000 before the early 2000s recession, with a CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 383.4-to-1. It hit a lesser peak again in 2007, before the Great Recession, with a ratio of 351.3-to-1. During the recovery, CEO pay has been climbing upward once more. At the same time, for most Americans, wages have remained stagnant at best.

A separate analysis of a smaller group of CEOs -- the top 200 chief executives at public companies with at least $1 billion in revenue -- found a median pay package of $15.1 million, up 16 percent from 2011. That study, conducted by Equilar Inc., an executive compensation analysis firm, for The New York Times, found that the 200 CEOs in question also received "boatloads" of stock and options awards equal to an additional 60 percent of their pay. Gretchen Morgenson writes, "[s]o much for the idea that shareholders were finally getting through to corporate boards on the topic of reining in pay."

"At least the stock market returns generated by these companies last year exceeded the pay increases awarded to their chiefs. Still, at 19 percent in 2012, that median return was only three percentage points higher than the pay raise.

"In other words, it's still good to be king."
[Read more...]

Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples (6 July 2013)
EVERY FALL AT MAINE'S COMMON GROUND Country Fair, the Lollapalooza of sustainable agriculture, John Bunker sets out a display of eccentric apples. Last September, once again, they covered every possible size, shape, and color in the wide world of appleness. There was a gnarled little yellow thing called a Westfield Seek-No-Further; a purplish plum impostor called a Black Oxford; a massive, red-streaked Wolf River; and one of Thomas Jefferson's go-to fruits, the Esopus Spitzenburg. Bunker is known in Maine as "The Apple Whisperer," or simply "The Apple Guy," and, after laboring for years in semi-obscurity, he has never been in more demand. Through the catalog of Fedco Trees, a mail-order company he founded in Maine 30 years ago, Bunker has sown the seeds of a grassroots apple revolution.

All weekend long, I watched people gravitate to what Bunker ("Bunk" to his friends, a category that seems to include half the population of Maine) calls "the vibrational pull" of a table laden with bright apples. "Baldwin!" said a tiny old man with white hair and intermittent teeth, pointing to a brick-red apple that was one of America's most important until the frigid winter of 1933-34 knocked it into obscurity. "That's the best!"

A leathery blonde from the coast held up a Blue Pearmain in wonder. "Blue Peahmain," she marveled. "My ma had one in her yahd."

Another woman got choked up by the sight of the Pound Sweet. "My grandmother had a Pound Sweet! She used to let me have one every time I hung out the laundry."
[Read more...]

U.K. throws party for world's biggest offshore wind farm (6 July 2013)
While Americans were celebrating their independence from Britain on Thursday, the British were celebrating a major project that is reducing their dependence on fossil fuels.

The beginning of operations at the world's biggest offshore wind energy plant was belatedly celebrated along an estuary near the mouth of the Thames River. There, 175 turbines have been producing enough power for nearly 500,000 homes since April.

British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the Thames Estuary site Thursday with his climate minister to ceremonially cut the ribbon at the London Array. From The Guardian:

"The London Array has taken the crown of the world's largest offshore windfarm from the 500MW Greater Gabbard project off the East Anglian coast. The UK currently has more than 3.6GW of offshore wind power capacity, but is expected to have around 18GW by the end of the decade."
[Read more...]

Venezuela, Nicaragua offer asylum to Edward Snowden (5 July 2013)
MANAGUA, NICARAGUA--Presidents Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said Friday they were willing to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Snowden, who is believed to be holed up in the transit area of an airport in Moscow, has petitioned several countries to avoid capture by Washington.

"I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American, Edward Snowden, so that in the fatherland of (Simon) Bolivar and (Hugo) Chavez, he can come and live away from the imperial North American persecution," Maduro told a televised parade marking Venezuela's independence day.

In Nicaragua, Ortega said he was willing to make the same offer "if circumstances allow it."
[Read more...]

Blowback from the White House's vindictive war on whistleblowers (5 July 2013)
In 2009, I was working as a contract linguist for the FBI when I discovered that the FBI was committing what I believed to be illegal acts. After I revealed these to a blogger, the Department of Justice came after me with a vengeance.

When the FBI confronted me, I admitted what I had done. I tried to negotiate for a reasonable resolution of my case. The documents I disclosed were never explicitly published anywhere, but that didn't matter: the DOJ was adamant that I be charged under the Espionage Act and spend time in jail. Even though I leaked the material because I thought the FBI was doing something illegal, and the American people had a right to know, I faced the threat of dozens of years in prison. I did what was best for my family, and signed a plea agreeing to a 20-month sentence.

Considering Edward Snowden's revelations, what I witnessed pales in comparison. But reading about the secretive NSA programs collecting the private data of millions of Americans did not surprise me. As Snowden explained, he watched for years as the military-industrial-intelligence complex turned our country into a massive surveillance state, and observed a "continuing litany of lies" from senior officials to Congress. Eventually, he decided to speak out, because he could not in good conscience remain silent.

Although he chose a very different path than I did -- he fled first to Hon[g] Kong and then to Moscow while apparently seeking asylum in another country -- the US authorities are faced with a similar dilemma in how to react to his revelations. Can the DOJ and national security establishment act in a reasonable manner? Or will they allow their fuming anger to consume them into making further irrational decisions?

This ongoing manhunt, accompanied by a smear campaign and threats to throw the book at Snowden, is a grave mistake. If the government really wanted to keep more secrets from coming out, they would do well to let this man of conscience go live his life in some other country. Meanwhile, it would only help them if they were to apologize to the American public for lying to us, and turning the country into what Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg calls the United Stasi of America.
[Read more...]

[Nightmare] 900,000,000 Bq/m3 of all β detected from groundwater on the east side of reactor2 (5 July 2013) [Rense.com]
Having measured the significantly high level of Tritium from groundwater on the east side of reactor2, Tepco made additonal borings and is investigating furthermore.

On 7/3/2013, Fukushima Diary reported they detected 4,300,000 Bq/m3 of all β at 6m from the sea.

(cf, All β nuclide level increased to be 4,300,000 Bq/m3 at 6m from the sea, "1.4 times much as 3 days ago" [URL])

On 7/5/2013, they measured 900,000,000 Bq/m3 of all β from the groundwater. The sample was collected from another boring next to the one where they detected 4,300,000 Bq/m3.

All β nuclides contain Strontium-90 but the specific readins is not announced. This is the worst reading of groundwater contamination that Tepco has ever published.
[Read more...]

Wisconsin Gov. Walker signs mandatory ultrasound bill into law (5 July 2013)
MILWAUKEE (Reuters) -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Friday signed into law new abortion restrictions that opponents said could lead to the closing of two of the state's four abortion clinics.

Walker's office said in an emailed statement that he signed the law requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before they get an abortion. It also requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

According to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, which are the state's two abortion providers, the law will force the closing of abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee because doctors there do not have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The two providers said on Friday they will file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the law.
[Read more...]

A New Strategy for Voting Rights (5 July 2013)
Hank Sanders grew up in segregated, rural southern Alabama and in 1971 moved to Selma--the birthplace of the Voting Rights Act. Before the VRA, only 393 of the 15,000 black voting-age residents in Dallas County, where Selma is located, were registered to vote. Less than a year later, after federal registrars arrived in August 1965, more than 10,000 black voters had been added to the rolls. Sanders experienced firsthand how the VRA transformed Selma and the rest of the country. In 1983, he became the first African-American state senator from the Alabama Black Belt since Reconstruction, representing a new majority-black district created by the VRA.

Thirty years later, Sanders watched in disbelief this June as the Supreme Court overturned the centerpiece of the VRA in Shelby County v. Holder. "It's the most destructive Supreme Court decision in my lifetime," Sanders said. "It reverses the very foundation of all the progress that we have made." Reactions in Selma, he said, "ranged from shock to resignation."

The Court's conservative majority struck down Section 4 of the law, which determines how states are covered under Section 5--the vital provision that requires states with the worst history of racial discrimination in voting, dating back to the 1960s and '70s, to clear electoral changes with the federal government. Without Section 4, there's no Section 5. The most effective provision of the country's most important civil rights law is now a ghost unless Congress resurrects it.

"We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent on the Defense of Marriage Act. Yet that reasoning didn't stop Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts from gutting the VRA, which has been overwhelmingly reauthorized four times by Congress (1970, 1975, 1982, 2006) and signed by four Republican presidents (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush). "The Voting Rights Act became one of the most consequential, efficacious, and amply justified exercises of federal legislative power in our Nation's history," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her fiery dissent.
[Read more...]

Chicago Rising! A resurgent protest culture fights back against Rahm Emanuel's austerity agenda. (5 July 2013)
On a sunny saturday this past May, far down on the city's black South Side where corner stores house their cashiers behind bulletproof plexiglass, about 150 activists assembled at Jesse Owens Community Academy. In just a few days, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's appointed Board of Education would vote on the largest simultaneous school closing in recent history. Owens, along with fifty-three other public schools, was on the chopping block. A recent Chicago Tribune/WGN poll found that more than 60 percent of Chicago citizens opposed the closings, and a healthy cross section of them had turned out for the first of three straight days of marches in protest.

Women in red Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) T-shirts registered participants; a vanload of purple-shirted SEIU marchers lingered in excited anticipation; an activist from the city's Anti-Eviction Campaign, which breaks into and takes over foreclosed houses, donned a parade marshal's orange vest; two street medics from the Occupy-associated Chicago Action Medical checked on some elderly marchers who arrived in a church bus. The music teacher at Owens, a former minister, asked rhetorically, "Will I have a job on Monday?" She answers her own question: "That's OK." A white, middle-class mother with two kids in the system, who traveled almost 100 blocks to be here, told me that she is a Republican but that "people on the right don't like being pushed around by overbearing government."

There were signs representing Jobs With Justice and the community-labor umbrella group Grassroots Collaborative. Another sign snarked: if rahm and his unelected school board ever set foot in a CPS school perhaps their math wouldn't be so bad. The president of Michigan's American Federation of Teachers spoke. Then a parent mocked public schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett's recent invocation of Martin Luther King at a City Club of Chicago speech: "How can you call this a civil rights movement when you resegregate our schools, decimate our teacher corps and destabilize our neighborhoods?"

The march stepped off, passing boarded-up houses and auction signs; a CTU staffer called cadence ("I don't know but it's been said/ Billionaires on the Board of Ed"). Supporters shouted out in solidarity from front porches. When we passed the first of five closing schools along our seven-mile route, a clutch of 10-year-olds bearing handmade signs joined in and got turns at the bullhorn. I noticed something striking: again and again, when the CTU yell-leader barked out the first half of a new chant ("We need teachers, we need books"), everybody already knew the second line: "We need the money that Rahhhhhhm took!"
[Read more...]

Picky eaters, why mosquitoes bite some of us more than others (5 July 2013)
Mosquito season is upon us and for some people, that means intense discomfort.

In All in a Day this week, CBC Radio's science columnist Torah Kachur explains that the reason why mosquitoes love to bite is because they need a blood meal to get the necessary nutrients for their larvae to mature.

But they're selective when choosing their victims. Recent studies indicate that mosquitoes prefer pregnant women and larger size people. They also tend to feed on adults more than they do on children.

Torah Kachur delves into who else is at risk of being bitten -- and why.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I can't say that my personal experience verifies this study. I was a mosquito magnet when I was younger and thinner, even as a child. The best repellent I've found is swallowing a lot of garlic before going outside. Chemical and natural sprays just don't seem to keep them away from people they like so much.

Montana gas line spills 25K gallons on Crow Reservation (5 July 2013)
Officials say just over 25,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from an 8-inch underground Phillips 66 pipeline on the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana.

A U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman says the cause is under investigation, but there's no immediate public safety threat from the leak. It occurred about 15 miles from the city of Lodge Grass.

The agency spokesman says Houston-based Phillips 66 Co. workers discovered the leak Wednesday after pressure dropped on the line.

The environmental impact remains uncertain. The DOT spokesman says no waterways were immediately impacted.
[Read more...]

'Not Your Colony': Bolivia Threatens Shutdown of US Embassy (5 July 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Bolivian President Evo Morales threatened Thursday to shut down the U.S. embassy in his country after a forced re-routing and downing of his plane earlier this week on suspicion that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board.

Morales was flanked by the heads of state of Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, and Uruguay as he announced the possible embassy closure at a special meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He declared:

"Being united will defeat American imperialism. We met with the leaders of my party and they asked us for several measures and if necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States. We do not need the embassy of the United States."

The South American government leaders blasted the 'kidnapping' of the Bolivian president as an act of brute power, revealing that the U.S. and European governments still view themselves as the colonial rulers of Latin America. Uruguay's president Jose Mujica declared:

"We are not colonies any more. We deserve respect, and when one of our governments is insulted we feel the insult throughout Latin America."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I also was surprised that foreign countries would take the role of international police against an American whistleblower. They don't even look for serial killers that hard.

Simi Valley fireworks explosion caused by early detonation (5 July 2013)
Authorities on Friday said they believe at least one pyrotechnic device prematurely detonated in its mortar during a Fourth of July celebration in Simi Valley on Thursday night, causing a chain reaction that tipped over other pyrotechnics and launched them into the crowd of spectators.

The major fireworks malfunction at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park at 9:20 p.m. injured at least 28 people, who suffered minor to severe injuries. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people were gathered to watch the professional fireworks display.

Simi Valley police Cmdr. Blair Summey said that after the early detonation, a group of live canisters fell over like "dominoes." One or more of them fired into the crowd of spectators, the closest of whom were about 800 feet away.

"These things were coming through low. They were skipping along the ground," Summey said. "Some of these projectiles, they were exploding as they were coming out of the canisters."
[Read more...]

Republicans are happy to help corporate ag, but feed the hungry? Not so much (5 July 2013)
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are currently trying to divide two elements of national policy that have long been viewed as two sides to the same coin: supporting farmers and feeding the hungry. Because, you know, farming has nothing to do with food.

The move comes after the House failed to pass a farm bill in June. This mammoth piece of legislation, which comes before Congress every five years, is a big deal: It controls national farm and nutrition policy. But many Republicans opposed the House bill because they thought its massive $20 billion cut to the food stamps program (aka SNAP) was too small.

Apparently, we underestimated the depth of the House GOP's hatred of poor people food stamps. It used to be "hold your nose and vote for it" hatred. But now it's Bible-misquoting, poison-pill-amendment-sponsoring, throw-out-the-baby-with-the-bathwater hatred. (Message for the House GOP: I do not think the "War on Poverty" means what you think it means.)

The House GOP's second-in-command, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), is leading the charge to split the bill, but getting nutrition funding out of the farm bill is a longstanding priority of conservatives -- one conservative House Republican referred to the "unholy alliance" between the farm lobby and the anti-hunger lobby. The last thing in the world farmers should be worrying about is feeding people, right?

No, mostly what we see is an odd disconnect: In a time of record farm profits and sky-high commodity prices, Republicans are, for the most part, willing to support farm subsidies and crop insurance benefits that mostly go to the largest, wealthiest farms. Corporate welfare is apparently fine. But actual welfare for actual poor people? Not so much.
[Read more...]

Pro-Morsi demonstrator killed in clash with Egyptian troops (5 July 2013)
CAIRO -- Troops opened fire and fired tear gas at supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi on Friday afternoon, killing at least one person at a demonstration outside the building where Morsi is reportedly being held.

The clashes erupted outside Republican Guard headquarters, where hundreds of Morsi's supporters from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood had marched after an emotional midday prayer service and rally. They were protesting the military ouster on Wednesday of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader.

While Reuters quoted an Egyptian military spokesman saying no live ammunition was used in the clashes outside the headquarters building, journalists on the scene described a man on the ground, apparently lifeless, with a gaping bullet wound in his head.

Protesters said they saw men in plainclothes alongside the army troops at the gate of the complex, firing shotguns loaded with bird shot at demonstrators at close range. They said several victims were bloodied. BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen tweeted that he had been hit with a couple of shotgun pellets but was not injured.
[Read more...]

Something's fishy: Hundreds of animals, fish and birds from Florida natural lagoon are mysteriously dead (5 July 2013)
The Indian River Lagoon stretches out for 156 miles along the eastern Florida coast and has been a leading North American haven of bio-diversity with 600 species of fish and sea mammals and 300 species of birds. They are in jeopardy now.

At one point, dolphin deaths occurred daily while manatees (sea cows) were dying at a rate of one a week. Over 300 pelicans, 46 dolphins, and 111 manatees have died as of June 20 2013. Even worse is the destruction of their natural feeding habitat, 47,000 acres of sea grass beds on the lagoon's shallow water floors. [2]

Algal blooms are a large part of this problem. Some are innately toxic, such as red tides. While others, like brown algae blooms or brown tides, are not toxic, but they destroy the sea grass beds that water creatures need to thrive. [3] One scientist compared losing 47,000 acres of sea grass bed to losing a rain forest.

The non-point pollution's major suspects are mostly connected to fertilizer phosphorous and nitrogen runoff into the lagoon or waterways that connect to the lagoon.

Central Florida is host to a large phosphate mining and fertilizer production industry. It's there that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), back when they actually investigated, discovered that the source of crop failures, dead farm animals, and sick humans in areas near fertilizer plants were from fluorine gas emissions of phosphate fertilizer plants.

So the EPA, back when they had teeth, mandated those plants install scrubbers to trap toxic fluorine gases. But where to dump those scrubbed toxins cheaply? Hey, why not just sell the stuff to municipal water works so they can fluoridate their drinking water?
[Read more...]

80 sexual assaults in one day -- the other story of Tahrir Square (5 July 2013)
On Wednesday night, when Egypt's army chief announced the forced departure of Mohamed Morsi, the streets around Tahrir Square turned into an all-night carnival. But not everyone there was allowed to celebrate. Among the masses dancing, singing and honking horns, more than 80 women were subjected to mob sexual assaults, harassment or rape. In Tahrir Square since Sunday, when protests against Morsi first began, there have been at least 169 counts of sexual mob crime.

"Egypt is full of sexual harassment and people have become desensitised to it -- but this is a step up," said Soraya Bahgat, a women's rights advocate and co-founder of Tahrir Bodyguard, a group that rescues women from assault. "We're talking about mob sexual assaults, from stripping women naked and dragging them on the floor -- to rape."

Since Sunday, campaigners say at least one woman has been raped with a sharp object.

Such crimes have been endemic at Tahrir protests since at least the 2011 revolution, but they have never been documented in such high numbers.
[Read more...]

WHO sets up emergency committee on MERS virus (5 July 2013)
(Reuters) - The World Health Organization is forming an emergency committee of international experts to prepare for a possible worsening of the Middle East coronavirus (MERS), which has killed 40 people, WHO flu expert Keiji Fukuda said on Friday.

Fukuda said there was currently no emergency or pandemic but the experts would advise on how to tackle the disease if the number of cases suddenly grows. Most of the cases of MERS so far have been in Saudi Arabia, which hosts millions of Muslim visitors every year for the annual haj pilgrimage.

"We want to make sure we can move as quickly as possible if we need to," Fukuda told a news conference.

"If in the future we do see some kind of explosion or if there is some big outbreak or we think the situation has really changed, we will already have a group of emergency committee experts who are already up to speed so we don't have to go through a steep learning curve."
[Read more...]

In Portsmouth, trapped on a coal ship by legal issues (5 July 2013)
Moutidis and Markakis are among 16 crew members now aboard the Pappadakis. Eleven of them were aboard the ship when it sailed into port. The other five were flown in as replacements for crewmen who were moved ashore as part of the criminal case. Four of the original crew were allowed to go home late last month.

The Pappadakis has been detained since a crew member allegedly tipped off Coast Guard inspectors that a mechanism was hidden onboard to let the ship bypass laws governing waste discharges.

The resulting investigation led to the federal criminal indictment of the owner, operator and chief engineer of the ship, as well as a civil lawsuit.

The legal cases could keep the Pappadakis and its remaining crew tethered in the port for months to come.
[Read more...]

Unapproved genetically-modified rice trials in U.S. have contaminated the world's rice supply (4 July 2013)
(NaturalNews) New evidence has emerged suggesting that the entire global supply of rice may have already been contaminated by unapproved, genetically-modified (GM) rice varieties manufactured by the American multinational corporation Bayer CropScience. A recent entry in the GM Contamination Register explains that between the years of 2006 and 2007, three different varieties of illegal GM rice, none of which have ever been approved for cultivation or consumption anywhere in the world, were identified in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Once again, field trials conducted by Bayer back in the mid-1990s appear to have been the cause of this widespread and irreversible genetic pollution. Though all official field trials of "Frankenrice" supposedly ended in 2002, the three GM rice varieties detected somehow made their way into the general rice supply, which has had a major negative impact on U.S. rice exports. Similar contamination involving both GM wheat and GM flax was also recently discovered in the food supply, and both a result of biotechnology company field trials.

"No GM rice has ever been grown commercially in the U.S. and the source of the contamination is believed to be field trials of herbicide tolerant rice conducted between the mid-1990s and early-2000s by Bayer CropScience (or its precursor companies Aventis CropScience and AgrEvo)," explains the GM Contamination Register entry. "At the time of discovery only one of the contaminating varieties (LLRICE62) had approval for cultivation in the U.S., the other two varieties (LLRICE601 and LLRICE604) had not."

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigation into the matter was unable to verify whether or not contamination was the result of cross-pollination, also known as gene flow, or mechanical mixing. But in either case, vagrant GM rice planted in open fields for "testing" purposes definitely escaped, and now American rice farmers are suffering the consequences as the European Union (EU), Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and others have placed strict limitations on GM rice imports. Both Russia and Bulgaria, on the other hand, have completely banned all rice imports from the U.S.
[Read more...]

Privacy group to file Supreme Court petition against NSA surveillance program (4 July 2013)
The Domestic Surveillance Project division of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) announced Thursday that it plans to file a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court (FISC) ruling which authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect metadata on domestic phone calls. According to Think Progress, the privacy rights group intends to file the petition on Monday.

Domestic Surveillance Project Director Amie Stepanovich made the announcement at a Restore the Fourth rally in Washington on Thursday, one of several rallies across the country dedicated to protesting the NSA's sweeping spying programs and invoke the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Stepanovich told Think Progress after the rally, "EPIC truly believes that this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court exceeded its authority, is not acting in accordance with the law and needs to be overturned -- and cannot be allowed to continue conducting this surveillance."

EPIC submitted a previous petition to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and NSA Director General Keith Alexander demanding the suspension of the domestic metadata collection program.
[Read more...]

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden In His Own Words: "You're Being Watched" (4 July 2013)
GLENN GREENWALD: What are some of the positions that you held previously within the intelligence community?

EDWARD SNOWDEN: I have been a systems engineer, systems administrator, a senior adviser for the Central Intelligence Agency, a solutions consultant and a telecommunications information systems officer.

GLENN GREENWALD: One of the things people are going to be most interested in, in trying to understand what--who you are and what you're thinking, is there came some point in time when you crossed this line of thinking about being a whistleblower to making the choice to actually become a whistleblower. Walk people through that decision-making process.

EDWARD SNOWDEN: When your in positions of privileged access, like a systems administrator for these sort of the intelligence community agencies, you're exposed to a lot more information on a broader scale than the average employee, and because of that, you see things that may be disturbing. But over the course of a normal person's career, you'd only see one or two of these instances. When you see everything, you see them on a more frequent basis, and you recognize that some of these things are actually abuses. And when you talk to people about them in a place like this, where this is the normal state of business, people tend not to take them very seriously and, you know, move on from them. But over time that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up, and you feel compelled to talk about it. And the more you talk about it, the more you're ignored, the more you're told it's not a problem, until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public, not by somebody who was simply hired by the government.
[Read more...]

How the Pentagon Papers Came to be Published By the Beacon Press Told by Daniel Ellsberg & Others (4 July 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
We turn now to Senator Mike Gravel from Alaska, yes, the Democratic presidential candidate today. In 1971, he received the Pentagon Papers from Washington Post journalist Ben Bagdikian, who in turn had gotten them from Daniel Ellsberg.

MIKE GRAVEL: Let me just pick up where he left off, because it really--there's a lot of little vignettes, and I'll talk fast, but I want to get all the details out, because I know what you want to know is the inside skinny. You can read the broad lines, but it's what happened to both our lives at the time that--

Dan calls my office. He talks to Joe Rothstein, who was my administrative assistant. My administrative assistant--I was down in the Senate gym getting a massage. I was on the table. And, of course, you can't have staff come into the Senate. This is hallowed ground, so--into the Senate gym. So he's knocking at the door. He says, "I've got to see the senator! It's an emergency!" And he works his way in to get into the massage stall, and the masseur pulls back a little bit, and he whispers down in my ear. He says, "Somebody wants to give you the Pentagon Papers." I said, "Man! Where is he?" He says, "He's going to call us back." So, man, I get dressed up real quick. We bolt back to the office. And I'm sitting in my office waiting for this call.

Along comes this voice. He says, "Senator, would you read the Pentagon Papers as part of your filibuster?" I says, "Yes. Now please hang up." The reason for that is I have a background in intelligence. When I was 23 years old, I was a top-secret control officer. I could classify and I could declassify, and I was 23 years old.
[Read more...]

We can handle the truth on NSA spying (4 July 2013)
As we've learned from Edward Snowden, a former analyst for an NSA contractor, Clapper's answer was patently false. The agency collects metadata -- essentially, a detailed log -- of many and perhaps all of our domestic phone calls.

Lying to Congress is a serious offense; baseball legend Roger Clemens was tried -- and acquitted -- on criminal charges for allegedly lying about steroid use at a congressional hearing. The chance that Clapper will face similar peril, however, is approximately zero.

Following Snowden's revelations, Clapper said that an honest answer to Wyden's question would have required him to divulge highly classified secrets, so he gave the "least untruthful" answer he could come up with. Clapper apparently believes that "least" is a synonym for "most."

In a recent letter to the Senate intelligence committee, Clapper said he thought Wyden was asking about the content of domestic communications -- which the NSA says it does not collect "wittingly," for what that's worth -- rather than about the metadata. "Thus, my response was clearly erroneous," Clapper wrote, "for which I apologize."
[Read more...]

July 4th card to readers, fireworks over Pewaukee, WI

Canadian military still investigating Afghanistan sex assault claim (4 July 2013)
After five years, the Canadian military is still investigating claims that Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan were told by their superiors to ignore incidents where Afghan soldiers and interpreters sexually assaulted young boys.

The probe continues, with no specified end date, a Canadian Forces spokesperson said, long after most Canadian soldiers have left Afghanistan and nearly five years after a board of inquiry was convened on Nov. 21, 2008, by Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie.

A preliminary investigation into the claims concluded in 2010 and since then the case has been under review by the office of the Canadian army's deputy commander, currently Maj. Gen. P.F. Wynnyk.

Eight board investigators, as well as board president Brig.-Gen. Glenn Nordick, have interviewed 87 witnesses and collected more than 30,000 pages of documents, said a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence.
[Read more...]

San Francisco pet owners warned of poisoned meatballs (4 July 2013)
San Francisco police are warning pet owners in the Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights neighborhoods to keep an eye out for poisoned meatballs after a dog was seriously sickened by one this week.

The dog became ill Wednesday shortly after its morning walk, during which it found and ate a cooked meatball. The owner took the dog to a veterinarian and the animal is recovering.

The owner, along with several neighbors, later scoured the area around Crestline Drive and Burnett Avenue and found other cooked meatballs, police said. The meatballs are believed to contain some kind of poison and are being tested.
[Read more...]

Egyptian military ousts Morsi, suspends constitution (3 July 2013)
The announcement came as huge crowds of pro- and anti-government protesters massed in the streets of Cairo and the army deployed armored vehicles. In the afternoon, a top adviser to the embattled Morsi had declared that a military coup was underway and warned that "considerable bloodshed" could ensue.

"Measures announced by the armed forces' leadership represents a full coup, categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation," Morsi tweeted from his official Twitter account Wednesday night following Sissi's statement.

Liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei and the heads of Egypt's Coptic church and highest Islamic institution, al-Azhar, also spoke Wednesday night, following Sissi.

"This will be the beginning of a new start for the 25th of January, that the Egyptian people have initiated to regain their freedom and dignity," ElBaradei, who had been selected in recent days by other opposition activists to represent them, said in a short address. He referred to the date in 2011 that marked the beginning of the Egyptian revolution against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: That's an amazing precedent to set -- not only for Egypt, but the world.

Is your president incapable of solving any problems? Just fill the main city with protesters, put on a big laser light show, and ask the military to escort him out of the building. Then celebrate with fireworks that people brought for the occasion.

Imagine if Americans had that option with Bush/Cheney. No wars, no economic depression after 8 years of war -- just a better president. Maybe even the one actually elected in 2000.

Egypt's Morsi defiant as showdown with military looms (3 July 2013)
CAIRO -- The clock is ticking toward the showdown Wednesday that will determine whether the army will seize control of Egypt and end the embattled one-year rule of President Mohamed Morsi, the nation's first Islamist leader.

The army has given Morsi until 5 p.m. Cairo time (8 a.m. PST) to either form a coalition government to quell months of unrest or face the prospect of a coup. Morsi has rebuffed the ultimatum, saying he will defend the constitution with his life.

"We sacrifice for our country, and I am the first to sacrifice. If the cost of legitimacy is my life, I will pay it gladly," he told the nation early Wednesday.

The generals have been just as defiant. Helicopters buzzed over Cairo, and the military command was reportedly in an emergency meeting Wednesday. The army's Facebook page carried an ominous post titled: "The Final Hours":

"The general commander of the armed forces has mentioned that it is more honorable for us to die than for the Egyptian people to be intimidated or threatened ... and we swear to god that we will sacrifice for Egypt and its people with our blood against any terrorist, fundamentalist, or ignorant [person]."
[Read more...]

South American leaders to meet on Bolivian plane diversion (3 July 2013)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Latin American presidents plan an emergency meeting on Wednesday over the diversion to Austria of a plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations said.

The Bolivian plane, which was taking Morales home from Moscow, was stranded and searched in Vienna on suspicion that it might be carrying fugitive U.S. intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. A search determined that Snowden was not onboard and the plane eventually left Vienna about noon on Wednesday.

"We have been told that an emergency meeting of Unasur (Union of South American Nations) is going to be held today," Sacha Llorenti Soliz told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday. No time for the meeting was mentioned.

"What's at stake here is ... the dignity of Bolivia and the dignity of Latin America," he said, adding that the presidents of Peru, Ecuador and Argentina had all spoken with Morales about the incident.
[Read more...]

Ecuador finds microphone hidden in London embassy where Assange is living (3 July 2013)
LONDON (Reuters) -- Ecuador has found a hidden microphone inside its London embassy, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living, and will disclose on Wednesday who controls the device, its foreign minister said.

Ricardo Patino said the microphone was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban, at the time of a visit to the embassy by Patino to meet with Assange on June 16. Assange lives and works in a different room within the embassy.

The Foreign Office in London declined to comment immediately on the allegation and Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said he did not comment on security issues.

Assange has been living inside the embassy for more than a year to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations by two women of sexual assault and rape, which he denies.
[Read more...]

Norfolk environmental group sues feds over eagles (3 July 2013)
A local environmental advocacy group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to halt the removal of bald eagle nests near Norfolk International Airport.

Federal law says bald eagles can only be moved as a last resort to protect people or the birds. The city claimed in a permit application that the proximity of the eagles to airport endangered travelers.

But the group, Eagle On Alliance, contends in Wednesday's filing that the federal agency did not require the city pursue alternatives to removing the nests and that biologists have said destroying them wouldn't likely keep the eagles away.

Since October, seven nests have been removed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division. Officials have used fireworks, lights and paintball guns to shoo the two eagles away when they've returned.

In the suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, the group says it hopes to stop the destruction of the nests before the eagles' nesting season starts in the fall. The city's permit expires Oct. 31.
[Read more...]

Mice have taste receptors in their testicles. Do you? (3 July 2013)
Have you ever rubbed nuts ON your nuts? Because maybe you should. According to Business Insider, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center were studying the ability of mice to taste stuff, and they accidentally found mice testes have taste receptors. And as unlikely (and kinda unappetizing) as it sounds, they're there for a reason:

"New research, published today (July 1) in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences, found that these taste proteins for sweet and umami (the amino acid taste of soy sauce) not only exist in the testes, but they play an important role in mouse fertility.

"They were originally trying to develop mice that didn't have these receptors for use in taste-related studies, but soon realized that these mice were unable to reproduce if they were missing the taste receptors.

"The researchers saw that if you either removed these receptors from the mouse testes or blocked their function, the mice became infertile."
[Read more...]

St. Paul trying to undo huge logjam on Mississippi River (3 July 2013)
St. Paul wants to remove the snarl of tree debris from recent storms from the Mississippi. It's looking for help from two nearby boat clubs.

An unusual logjam on the Mississippi River near downtown St. Paul of storm-swept trees and branches, some as big as telephone poles, is awaiting resolution of a different sort of logjam on who exactly should pay to break it up.

"We're trying to reach an agreement with the St. Paul Yacht Club to get a contractor in there to move material out," Rick Larkin, St. Paul's emergency management director, said Tuesday. "It needs to be a shared solution for a shared problem."

The Yacht Club begs to differ.

"I'm just very surprised because we know it needs to be done, and we've never been responsible for it before," said Roger Anderson, the Yacht Club's manager.
[Read more...]

Greenwald: New NSA Bombshell On The Way (2 July 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Ed Snowden NSA revelations has urged Americans to brace for yet another bombshell story in the near future.

Appearing on Fox and Friends Tuesday, Greenwald told Eric Bolling that more revelations are forthcoming regarding "vast programs of both domestic and international spying that the world will be shocked to learn about that the NSA is engaged in without democratic accountability."

"You're going to have to wait along with everybody else until our stories are published," Greenwald said. Although he did not provide an exact timeframe, Greenwald added "just wait a little bit and you'll have it."

The reporter also accused the President of making an example out of Snowden in order to deter potential future whistleblowers.
[Read more...]

FBI Planned to Kill Occupy Leaders (2 July 2013) [InfoWars.com]
According to journalist David Lindorff, the FBI planned to assassinate the leaders of the now moribund Occupy movement "via suppressed sniper rifles."

Lindorff cites a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington, DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.

The redacted document obtained from the FBI in Houston states:

"An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles."
[Read more...]

Edward Snowden: a whistleblower, not a spy (2 July 2013)
It is now 10 days since the former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, source of the Guardian's NSA bugging revelations, flew out of Hong Kong, apparently en route to Ecuador. For 10 days he has been stalled at Moscow airport, while his passport has been annulled and repeated attempts to continue his journey to sympathetic jurisdictions have failed or been foiled. Over the weekend, Ecuador aborted the idea that he might find sanctuary in Quito. Mr Snowden submitted a request for political asylum in Russia, later withdrawn. Several other asylum bids also faltered at the start of this week. On Tuesday, Mr Snowden remained in Moscow, still dependent on the Russians while waiting on the apparently diminishing chance of being welcomed elsewhere around the world.

All this poses the complex and unavoidable question: what should now happen to Mr Snowden? The answer matters to Mr Snowden above all, as well as to the United States, whose data was published by the Guardian and the Washington Post. But it also matters to the world, because the internet is in every respect a global phenomenon, not an American one, and the data that the NSA is now routinely capturing does not belong to the agency or to the US. That is why the European Union and several member states, including France and Germany, have been so concerned about the allegations. It is also why so many people of all nations who regard themselves as admirers and allies of America are rightly concerned that the US should act appropriately towards the man who has triggered a debate which Barack Obama himself has acknowledged needs to take place.

Mr Snowden is clear that he leaked his information in order to alert the world to the unprecedented and industrial scale of NSA and GCHQ secret data trawling. He did not, he insists, leak in order to damage the US, its interests or its citizens, including those citizens in harm's way. Nothing of this sort has been published. Nor should it be. As long as he remains in Vladimir Putin's Russia, however, the real issue remains clouded. This damages Mr Snowden's cause, which this newspaper supports. He should therefore leave Russia as soon as he practically can.

The United States is deliberately not making this as easy as it could. Mr Snowden has always accepted that he will have to face the music for what he has done. This is likely to happen sooner or later. But it needs to happen in a way which respects Mr Snowden's rights, and civilian status, and which, above all, also recognises the high public seriousness of what he has decided to do. His welfare matters. It is wrong to acknowledge that there should be a proper debate about data trawling and secret internet surveillance -- a debate that could not have started without Mr Snowden -- and simultaneously to treat him as a spy in the old cold war sense. Too many US politicians and government officials are doing so.
[Read more...]

White House delays health-care rule that businesses provide insurance to workers (2 July 2013)
The White House on Tuesday delayed for one year a requirement under the Affordable Care Act that businesses provide health insurance to employees, a fresh setback for President Obama's landmark health-care overhaul as it enters a critical phase.

The provision, commonly known as the employer mandate, calls for businesses with 50 or more workers to provide affordable quality insurance to workers or pay a $2,000 fine per employee. Business groups had objected to the provision, which now will take effect in January 2015.

The decision comes as Obama is working to secure his domestic legacy, urging Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration laws and using his executive powers to combat climate change. With the prospects for immigration reform uncertain in the House -- and new environmental regulations still more than a year way -- implementation of the 2010 health-care law has singular importance.

The White House portrayed the delay as a common-sense step that would reduce financial and regulatory burdens on small businesses. Republicans, who are planning to target "Obamacare" in the 2014 midterm campaigns, said the delay is an acknowledgment that the health-care overhaul is flawed.
[Read more...]

Obamacare to punish healthy eaters as insurance rates double or triple for those who choose to take care of their health (2 July 2013)
(NaturalNews) According to an analysis just published by the Wall Street Journal, healthy people will pay double or triple their current health insurance rates under Obamacare. Rates for those with chronic disease, however, will be reduced as all the healthy people subsidize their disease lifestyles.

The net effect is that people who choose to follow a healthy lifestyle -- eating well, taking nutritional supplements, exercising and avoiding junk foods -- will be financially punished by the federal government while those who choose to follow a disease and sickness lifestyle -- eating junk foods, taking meds, refusing to exercise, etc. -- will be rewarded by government.

This is the essence of socialized medicine: punish responsible citizens while rewarding those who refuse to take care of their health.

Disease is a matter of cause and effect, not luck
Obamacare, like all socialized medicine systems, is based on the false premise that health outcomes are a matter of pure luck. Disease just "randomly strikes people," the thinking goes, and individuals have nothing to do with their own health. This false belief fits nicely with the financial interests of Big Pharma and doctors, of course, because it puts the power of health in the hands of corporations and medical personnel.
[Read more...]

Over 30 Million Bees Found Dead In Elmwood Canada (2 July 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Shortly after 50,000 bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot (read more here), a staggering 37 million bees have been found dead in Elmwood, Ontario, Canada. Dave Schuit, who runs a honey operation in Elmwood has lost 600 hives. He is pointing the finger at the insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which are manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc. This also comes after a recent report released by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) that recorded its largest loss of honeybees ever. You can read more about that here. The European Union has stepped forward, having ban multiple pesticides that have been linked to killing millions of bees. You can view the studies and read more about that here.

The loss comes after the planting of corn. Neonicotinoid pesticides are used to coat corn seed with air seeders, which result in blowing the pesticide dust into the air when planted. The death of millions of pollinators was studied by Purdue University. They discovered that Bees exhibited neurotoxic symptoms. They analyzed dead bees and found that traces of thiamethoxam/clothiandin were present in each case. The only major source of these compounds are seed treatments of field crops. You can view that study here (1).

Bee deaths are increasing exponentially. An international team of scientists led by Holland's Utrecht University has concluded that, "large scale prophylaxic use in agriculture, their high persistence in soil and water, and their uptake by plants and translocation to flowers, neonicotinoids put pollinators at risk. This is some of the research that led to the European Unions ban of the pesticides, as mentioned and referenced earlier.
[Read more...]

Bush Blasts Snowden, Says Approval Only Matters on Election Day (2 July 2013) [InfoWars.com]
Bush continued on the subject of digging through people's digital belongings under the false pretense of keeping them safe.

"I think there needs to be a balance, and I think as the President explained there's a proper balance," he said.

Ironically the NSA does not share a proper balance with foreign governments which supply them with wiretapped data from around the globe.

In a telephone interview with NSA insider and whistleblower Wayne Madsen, Madsen revealed that many countries operate listening stations for the NSA, essentially allowing the sinister spy agency to soak up intelligence from these countries.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The Justice Department needs to come clean about the serial killer they have on the loose, a government employee who uses this type of data to locate and stalk his victims ("may or may not be" a Secret Service agent). An arrest would be nice, too. I think his victims' families deserve some justice.

America's New Cold War: Why the Allies Are Siding With Snowden (2 July 2013)
A surveillance power run amok? The latest disclosures from Snowden's leaks published in the German magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday turn out to have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with a compulsive and unseemly snooping not only into the lives of ordinary citizens throughout the world but also into the diplomatic correspondence, including trade and other negotiating strategies, of some of our closest allies.

How inconvenient to the outraged innocence of the National Security Agency and its private for-profit counterpart Booz Allen Hamilton to find the names of France, Italy, Japan and Mexico among the thirty-eight embassies and missions bugged at will by our electronic spooks, along with the Washington and Brussels office of the European Union. The code-named Dropmire bugging of the encrypted fax machine at the EU and other invasions of the organization's private data were, as The Guardian summarized Sunday the content of the leaked documents, "to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states."

Germany is one of those member states, prompting that nation's justice minister to declare Sunday: "If the media reports are correct, this brings to memory actions among enemies during the Cold War.... If it is true that EU representations in Brussels and Washington were indeed tapped by the American secret service, it can hardly be explained with the argument of fighting terrorism."

This was a sentiment echoed by French President Francois Hollande on Monday: "We demand that this stop immediately.... There's enough evidence for us to ask for an explanation." And French technology minister Fleur Pellerin was so impressed with the significance of the information leaked by Snowden that she entertained the idea of an international whistleblower protection for individuals who leak information exposing what they believe is illegal activity. "There is no international statute that allows for the protection of these people if necessary," Pellerin said Monday. "I think it is a good occasion to get into the subject, which is a gray area of international law."
[Read more...]

Snowden threatens new U.S. leaks, asks numerous countries for asylum (2 July 2013)
(Reuters) - Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden broke his silence on Monday for the first time since fleeing to Moscow over a week ago, blasting the Obama administration and saying he remained free to make new disclosures about U.S. spying activity.

Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States and is believed to be staying in a transit area at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, surfaced with a letter to the Ecuadorean government and in a statement released through anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which has taken up his cause.

WikiLeaks also released another statement saying Snowden was asking for asylum in several countries, including Russia, China, Brazil, India and Ireland. Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa was quoted in Britain's Guardian newspaper as saying his country could not consider an asylum request unless Snowden was on Ecuadorean territory.

In his WikiLeaks statement, Snowden accused the Obama administration of deception in a campaign to prevent him from finding political asylum and of "leaving me a stateless person" by revoking his U.S. passport.
[Read more...]

Edward Snowden withdraws Russian asylum request (2 July 2013)
Edward Snowden has withdrawn his request for political asylum from Russia, the Kremlin said on Tuesday, further adding to the uncertainty over the US whistleblower's future.

A spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said Snowden withdrew the request after Putin's statement making clear that he would be welcome only if he stopped "his work aimed at bringing harm" to the United States.

"Snowden really asked to remain in Russia," Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman, said. "Learning yesterday of Russia's position ... he abandoned his intentions and his request to get the possibility to stay in Russia."

Russia has refused to hand over Snowden, charged under espionage laws in the US after leaking top-secret documents on US surveillance programmes. He has been kept hidden away since 23 June, when he landed in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport from Hong Kong.
[Read more...]

Merkel under fire as Germany seethes over NSA spying (2 July 2013)
The NSA surveillance program PRISM was meant to provide intelligence related to terrorism and crime. But in Germany it has had an unintended side effect: It has become a factor in the campaign for September's general elections.

Berlin's political class is united in dismay over the revelations of large-scale US spying on Germany and other European countries and institutions. Officials across the political spectrum have wielded strong words to condemn the use of surveillance programs like PRISM and Tempora against Western allies of the United States, and the alleged bugging of EU diplomatic offices.

The only voice that stayed conspicuously silent for days was that of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The reaction of the chancellor suggests she might have known about the spying," wrote Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of the main opposition party, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), in a commentary in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The chancellery issued an angry denial. But when members of her cabinet voiced unease about the spying allegations ,too, Mrs. Merkel realized she had to speak up.
[Read more...]

Egypt army plan would sideline Mursi if no deal in 24 hours (2 July 2013)
(Reuters) - Egypt's army has plans to push President Mohamed Mursi aside and suspend the constitution if he fails to strike a power-sharing deal with his opponents within 24 hours, military sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Egypt's first freely elected leader was still clinging to power with tens of thousands of people on the streets from rival factions. There were some clashes between Mursi's Islamist supporters and those who want him forced out after only a year in office.

Military sources told Reuters that once a two-day deadline set by the head of the armed forces expires at 5 p.m. (11:00 a.m. EDT) on Wednesday, the military intended to install an interim council, composed mainly of civilians from different political groups and experienced technocrats, to run the country until an amended constitution was drafted within months.

That would be followed by a new presidential election, but parliamentary polls would be delayed until strict conditions for selecting candidates were in force, they said.
[Read more...]

Sexual abuse of poor children in developing countries increasingly streamed online (2 July 2013)
The sexual abuse of children in developing countries is increasingly being live-streamed on Internet services such as Skype, Britain's online child protection agency warned on Tuesday.

Paedophiles are increasingly targeting poor families abroad, exchanging access to live video images of children in exchange for payment, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) said.

The agency said live-streaming emerged in 2012 as a means of producing and distributing indecent images.

"Offenders have been seen to target vulnerable families overseas to facilitate live access to children over webcam," the government agency said in a report.

"The children are made to engage in sexual activity in exchange for payment to the family or to an organised crime group."
[Read more...]

Police station stormed after officers implicated in brutal gang-rape in Ukraine (2 July 2013)
KIEV, UKRAINE--Protesters hurling firebombs stormed a local police station unit in southern Ukraine after authorities refused to detain one of two police officers implicated in the brutal gang-rape of a young woman.

Residents of Vradiyevka, some 330 kilometres south of Kiev, continued to rally outside the station Tuesday, booing the local governor and vowing to continue their vigil until the officer is arrested. During the storming late Monday, protesters smashed windows, broke doors and set fire to the building, while police fought back with tear gas.

The case has caused widespread anger among Ukrainians, who say that corruption, lawlessness and the impunity of government officials and their wealthy friends has increased markedly since President Viktor Yanukovych came to power three years ago.

The victim, a 29-year-old local woman, was returning home from a bar last Wednesday when she says she was shoved into a car, driven to the woods, raped and savagely beaten by two policemen, aided by a driver. The woman remains in the hospital in a serious condition, having sustained multiple fractures to her skull and bruises all over her body.
[Read more...]

Doctor guilty of murder in massive hepatitis C outbreak traced to clinic (2 July 2013)
LAS VEGAS--A prominent former Las Vegas doctor and endoscopy clinic owner was convicted Monday of all 27 criminal charges against him -- including second-degree murder -- in a 2007 hepatitis C outbreak that officials called one of the largest ever in the U.S.

A former employee at Dipak Desai's Endoscopy Clinic of Southern Nevada, nurse-anesthetist Ronald Lakeman, was found guilty of 16 of 27 charges against him but was spared a murder conviction stemming from the death of 77-year-old Rodolfo Meana in April 2012.

Defence attorneys for both men said they'll appeal.

Desai, a former Nevada state medical board member, surrendered his medical licence, declared bankruptcy and turned over his business affairs to family members and lawyers in recent years. He stared straight ahead as the jury's verdicts were read.
[Read more...]

Portable shelters couldn't save 19 firefighters (2 July 2013)
"All he said was, 'We might have bad news. The entire Hotshot crew deployed their shelters,'" Fraijo said. "When we talk about deploying the shelters, that's an automatic fear, absolutely. That's a last-ditch effort to save yourself when you deploy your shelter."

Arizona Forestry Division spokesman Mike Reichling said all 19 victims had deployed their emergency shelters as they were trained to do.

As a last resort, firefighters are supposed to step into the shelters, lie face down on the ground and pull the fire-resistant fabric completely over themselves. The shelter is designed to reflect heat and trap cool, breathable air inside for a few minutes while a wildfire burns over a person.

But its success depends on firefighters being in a cleared area away from fuels and not in the direct path of a raging inferno of heat and hot gases.
[Read more...]

UnitedHealth to exit individual insurance market in California (2 July 2013)
UnitedHealth said it had notified state regulators that it would leave the state's individual market at year-end and force about 8,000 customers to find new coverage. Last month, Aetna Inc., the nation's third-largest health insurer, made a similar move affecting about 50,000 existing policyholders.

Both companies will keep a major presence in California, focusing instead on large and small employers.

The moves illustrate how different companies are responding to a major overhaul of the health insurance market for millions of consumers. Starting Jan. 1, the federal healthcare law forces insurers to accept all individual applicants regardless of their medical history and provide a comprehensive set of benefits with limits on patients' out-of-pocket spending.

Healthcare experts said some national insurers aren't interested in playing by those new rules in states where their presence in the individual market is relatively small and more profits can be made by tending to the employer market.

"The business model of health insurance is fundamentally changing and some companies are willing and able to adapt," said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms. "Given the limited market share those carriers had, UnitedHealth and Aetna have made the calculation that it required too much of an investment to change their strategy in California."
[Read more...]

Scientists discover white fat cells respond to cold temperatures (2 July 2013)
A study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that white fat cells are actively aware of the ambient temperature and burn off calories when cold to generate heat.

"We were a little surprised that no one had tried this before," Harvard cell biologist Bruce Spiegelman told Science Now.

Brown fat cells have long been known to exhibit similar behavior in the cold -- one of many protective traits science has assigned brown fat over other types of adipose tissue. Researching the process brown fat takes to initiate calorie burning, Spiegelman and his team accidentally discovered that white cells do the same thing.

Three mixtures of human fat cells were placed into cold storage for various intervals ranging from four hours up to 10 days. Brown fat cells, white fat cells, and both of them blended together were then exposed to temperatures between 27 and 39 degrees Celsius.

When they were removed, researchers observed the white cells and the mixture expressed a protein called UCP1 at a much higher rate than before, doubling after just eight hours. Importantly, they also performed the same test on fat cells taken from mice that were bred to be missing a key nervous system trait linked to brown fat's cold response, and the results were much the same.
[Read more...]

Adults with CF face yet more health risks (2 July 2013)
IRISH people with cystic fibrosis are now living longer -- but, as adults, they are susceptible to other serious health problems, a new study has found.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick sticky mucus.

It affects 1,200 children and adults in Ireland. In the 1950s, few youngsters with cystic fibrosis survived to be able to go to primary school.

However, advances in research and medical treatments mean many can look forward to living into their 40s and beyond.

But as people with the disease age they are becoming more at risk for conditions such as diabetes and liver disease, the report by the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science shows.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The famous vet and vitamin doctor, Joel Wallach, said that CF is actually not genetic, but rather caused by a prenatal selenium deficiency in the mother.

US drone strikes more deadly to Afghan civilians than manned aircraft -- adviser (2 July 2013)
A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.

The new study, referred to in an official US military journal, contradicts claims by US officials that the robotic planes are more precise than their manned counterparts.

It appears to undermine the claim made by President Obama in a May speech that "conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage".

Drone strikes in Afghanistan, the study found, according to its unclassified executive summary, were "an order of magnitude more likely to result in civilian casualties per engagement."
[Read more...]

Workers to protest low pay and alleged wage theft at federal buildings (2 July 2013)
A group representing service employees has organized a morning of demonstrations and civil disobedience at various locations throughout the capital on Tuesday to protest low pay and alleged wage theft by vendors at federal buildings.

Good Jobs Nation, which represents low-wage employees of government contractors, plans to start the day with a mock trial in an intersection near the Ronald Reagan Building, according to organizers.

The group also plans to hold a press conference at D.C.'s municipal headquarters and "protests, civil disobedience" near the General Services Administration building.

Last week, Good Jobs Nation filed a complaint with the Labor Department alleging wage theft by food vendors contracting with GSA. The group claims that eight franchises operating at the Reagan Building have paid employees less than the minimum wage and ignored rules on overtime pay.
[Read more...]

New Chinese law requires adults to visit their elderly parents (2 July 2013)
Mothers and fathers aren't the only ones urging adult children to visit their parents. China's law books are now issuing the same imperative.

New wording in the law requiring people to visit or keep in touch with their elderly parents or risk being sued came into force Monday, as China faces increasing difficulty in caring for its aging population.

The amended law does little to change the status quo, however, because elderly parents in China already have been suing their adult children for emotional support and the new wording does not specify how often people must visit or clarify penalties for those who do not.

It is primarily aimed at raising awareness of the issue, said one of the drafters, Xiao Jinming, a law professor at Shandong University. "It is mainly to stress the right of elderly people to ask for emotional support ... we want to emphasize there is such a need," he said.
[Read more...]

U.S., Russia remove potential atom bomb material from Vietnam (2 July 2013)
(Reuters) - The United States and Russia have helped ship out nearly 16 kilograms (35 pounds) of highly enriched uranium from Vietnam as part of a global campaign to reduce the use of nuclear fuel that could also provide material for bombs.

The move - making Vietnam the 11th country from which all highly enriched uranium has been removed in the last four years - was announced during a meeting in Vienna on how to prevent potential bomb ingredients from falling into the wrong hands.

There are about 1,440 tonnes (1 tonne = 1.102 tons) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 500 tonnes of plutonium stockpiled and in nuclear arms globally, says the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group (NSGEG) lobby group. Most of it is under military guard but some for civilian uses is less stringently secured.

Analysts say that radical groups could theoretically build a crude but deadly nuclear weapon if they had the money, technical knowledge and materials needed.

"With this accomplishment (in Vietnam), we will have removed nearly all highly enriched uranium from Southeast Asia," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. The material, he said, will be downblended into low-enriched uranium to fuel power reactors.
[Read more...]

Why the Story on Snowden and the NSA Doesn't Add Up (1 July 2013)
What was Edward Snowden's job when he worked for Booz Hamilton as a contractor to the NSA? Most of us have been under the impression that he was a systems administrator or network administrator. The initial Guardian story described him as a "former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton." The same story mentioned him talking about things that were comprehensible only to his "fellow communication specialists." The Washington Post described him as a "tech specialist" and quoted several sources who were baffled that someone with his background had access to all the documents he had released.

But in the video interview that introduced him to the world, he actually said that he was an "infrastructure analyst" who had previously worked for the CIA as a systems administrator and telecommunications systems officer. Today, the New York Times tells us that this job title is more revealing than it seems:

"It is a title that officials have carefully avoided mentioning, perhaps for fear of inviting questions about the agency's aggressive tactics: an infrastructure analyst at the N.S.A., like a burglar casing an apartment building, looks for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world.

"....A secret presidential directive on cyberactivities unveiled by Mr. Snowden--discussing the primary new task of the N.S.A. and its military counterpart, Cyber Command--makes clear that when the agency's technicians probe for vulnerabilities to collect intelligence, they also study foreign communications and computer systems to identify potential targets for a future cyberwar.

"Infrastructure analysts like Mr. Snowden, in other words, are not just looking for electronic back doors into Chinese computers or Iranian mobile networks to steal secrets. They have a new double purpose: building a target list in case American leaders in a future conflict want to wipe out the computers' hard drives or shut down the phone system."
[Read more...]

Sharif Abdel Kouddous: Millions Protesting Morsi Show Egyptian Revolution Still Going Strong (1 July 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Sharif, could you explain what the Tamarod movement is, the rebel movement, where it started and how it's grown so large?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Right. The Tamarod campaign, which the word means "rebel" in Arabic, began on May 1st, on Labor Day, here in Tahrir Square, by a group of grassroots activists, many of them tied to the Kefaya movement, which was formed in 2005 against Hosni Mubarak. And they drafted a very simply worded petition, on paper, against Mohamed Morsi that used colloquial Arabic, not classical Arabic, and it called on people to sign their name, put their ID number in, and say they are--they want Mohamed Morsi to step down and call for early elections. They began handing out this petition, and it very quickly gained traction. People would photocopy it and hand it out in schools, in universities, even in government offices. And within the first month, the campaign said, they gained seven million signatures. And the latest number they gave just a couple of days ago was that they gained 22 million signatures calling for Morsi's ouster. This is an unverifiable number, but certainly the number of people that have signed is indeed very, very large. And this was manifested, like we saw yesterday, in this incredibly massive turnout. So, the Tamarod campaign is leading calls for an escalation tomorrow.

However, it must be said that elements of the former regime have somewhat taken over the narrative in many respects, especially on the media and in the newspapers, and have called for the army to step in, for the army to take over and force Mohamed Morsi out of office. Of course, we remember that the army came to helm of power after Mubarak's ouster and led the beginning of the transition. They also caused a number of massacres in the streets, 12,000 people put on military trial. Yet, despite that, there are large portions of the Egyptian populous that are calling for the army to step in. We saw yesterday military helicopters flying low over the crowds. Whenever they did, the crowd would cheer. When crowds, the protesters passed military buildings, they would cheer and salute the officers standing inside. So, this is another development, and we're waiting to see what the response from the military will be.
[Read more...]

Was Benghazi Killing of Ambassador Stevens, 3 Others "Blowback" for Secret U.S. Assassinations? (1 July 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: By who? Killed by?

JACK MURPHY: By the United States military, by special operations personnel.

AMY GOODMAN: A CIA asset killed by U.S. personnel.

JACK MURPHY: Allegedly. And this phenomena has happened previously in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't know if I'll ever be able to prove for certain that this individual was an asset, but you can only imagine what's going through the heads of the militia members as they feel that they're working hand in hand with the Americans and then all of a sudden the Americans kill one of their people. And this was--this was definitely one of the events that led to the special operations forces actually kicking up the hornets' nest in Libya, and it was a contributing factor that led to the attack in Benghazi.
[Read more...]

Oregon bans some insecticides following bee deaths (1 July 2013)
Bees and other insects can breathe a little easier in Oregon -- for now. The state has responded to the recent bumbleocalypse in a Target parking lot by temporarily banning use of the type of pesticide responsible for the high-profile pollinator die-off.

For the next six months, it will be illegal to spray Safari or other pesticides [PDF] containing dinotefuran neonicotinoids in the state.

Oregon's ban comes after more than 50,000 bumblebees and other pollinators were killed when Safari was sprayed over blooming linden trees to control aphids in a Wilsonville, Ore., parking lot. A similar incident in Hillsboro, Ore., was also cited by the state's agriculture department as a reason for the ban.

Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba said in a statement [PDF] that she has directed her agency to impose the ban to help prevent further such "bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed. Conclusions from the investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps need to be considered."
[Read more...]

Oil trains and terminals could be coming to the Northwest (1 July 2013)
Pacific Northwesterners worried by three planned new coal export hubs along their shorelines have something new to fear.

Oil refiner Tesoro and terminal operator Savage are trying to secure permits to build the region's biggest crude oil shipping terminal at the Port of Vancouver, along the Washington state side of the Columbia River.

KPLU reports that the proposed terminal would receive crude by rail from oil fields in North Dakota and transfer it onto oceangoing tankers for delivery to refineries along the West Coast. And that's just one of many plans to boost shipments of oil through the region to coastal ports. Environmentalists are not pleased, fearing oil spills among other problems.
[Read more...]

HIV vaccine infects 41 volunteers, vaccine trials canceled (1 July 2013)
(NaturalNews) Yet another "experimental" vaccine for HIV has proven to be even more dangerous than the virus itself. At least 40 men participating in a taxpayer-funded government study entitled "HVTN 505 clinical trial," which began in 2009, were recently found to have contracted HIV from the vaccine itself, prompting an immediate end to the deadly trial.

Crafted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study initially included more than 2,500 men from 19 cities. All the men admitted to either having sex with other men, or to having sex with transgender individuals. Half of the men were assigned to receive the experimental vaccine HVTN 505, while the other half was reportedly given a placebo vaccine with unknown contents.

However, a recent safety review conducted on April 22 revealed that 41 men in the HVTN 505 group contracted HIV despite having received the jab. Only 30 men in the placebo group, on the other hand, contracted HIV, which translates into a 37 percent increased risk of HIV among those who were vaccinated, a dismal statistic that was later revealed to be the result of complete vaccine failure.

According to the review, the HVTN 505 vaccine utterly failed to reduce the amount of HIV virus in the blood, also known as the "viral load." This is critical to its success, as the stated purpose of the vaccine was this very action. As a result, NIH announced that it would immediately stop administering the useless vaccine, which apparently tricked many study participants into believing they were protected.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: It's possible that other HIV vaccine trials went like that, too, but this one was more honest because it was run by an entity other than a drug company with a financial interest in the outcome.

Find out which foods we eat in America are banned in other countries - the facts will scare you (1 July 2013)
Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is so bad it's banned in 100 countries. It's used to keep synthetic dies from separating from sports drinks and some popular sodas. Without it, that lovely homogenized color would vanish as the dyes separate and collect at the bottom.

Bromine is a fire retardant, considered an environmental toxin even when it's used in clothing, furniture, or carpeting (http://www.naturalnews.com/038869_Gatorade_BVO_flame_retardants.html).

Potassium bromate is derived from the same source as BVO. It's banned in Canada, Europe, and China. Brominated or bromated flour is used to expedite commercial baking and make more stuff faster of course. Brominated flour has been linked to neurological disorders, kidney problems, and cancer.

Dairy hormones rBGH and rBST are GMO-derived synthetic growth hormones, first introduced by the biotech corporate monster Monsanto as recombinant bovine growth hormone and now as recombinant bovine somatrophin.
[Read more...]

How America Makes Having a Baby a Nearly Impossible Expense (1 July 2013)
The costs of pregnancy have spiraled out of control in the United States. Charges for delivery have nearly tripled since 1996. Out-of-pocket costs have risen fourfold. The total price tag for a pregnancy and newborn care with a vaginal delivery is about $30,000, while it comes to $50,000 for a C-section. Women with insurance pay an average of $3,400 out of pocket, a large sum as it is. Yet over 60 percent of women with private plans that aren't through their employers lack maternity coverage. Not to mention that nearly one in five women between the ages of 18 and 64 are uninsured. As one woman paying for private insurance told the Times, "I know that a C-section could ruin us financially."

Two decades ago, the article points out, women didn't usually pay anything except a small fee if they wanted extras like a private room or television. That's more in line with what women in developed countries across the pond pay. Ireland guarantees free maternity care at public hospitals with the option to pay a fee for private deliveries. The average price for a vaginal delivery comes to about $4,000 in Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, but mothers are on the hook for little of that. Yet American women and European women have access to about the same care. One of the bigger contrasts? That more babies die in the United States in their first day of life than in sixty-eight other countries. The US ranks at number fifty in the world for maternal mortality.

The real difference driving costs is our healthcare system. Here at home, we pay for each individual test, procedure and medication, including a $20 splash of disinfectant on the umbilical cord, a bottle of which goes for $2.59 at Walgreens. In most other developed countries, by contrast, hospitals and doctors receive a flat fee for caring for a pregnant woman.

Unfortunately, the sky-high costs of giving birth to a new child don't end when a woman leaves the hospital and pays the bill. As I reported last year, the lack of paid maternity leave in this country means dire financial straits for many new mothers. Workers are guaranteed only twelve weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act to take time off for a new child or to care for a sick family member, and while some get paid leave through their employers, more than 40 percent of new mothers only have access to unpaid leave. Even worse, less than half of private sector workers are even covered by the FMLA because of restrictions in the law.
[Read more...]

Hospitals, cancer centers now getting women drunk at 'mammogram parties' to lure them into having their breasts irradiated (1 July 2013)
(NaturalNews) The cancer industry has apparently become so desperate to recruit new customers that it is now resorting to what can only be described as a type of medical date rape. A number of hospitals and cancer centers across the country are reportedly now holding community-driven "mammogram parties," a deceptive cancer marketing scheme that basically entails deliberately getting women tipsy or drunk on alcohol with their friends and neighbors in order to entice them into getting medically molested via mammograms.

The horrendous bait and switch tactic is taking place under the guise of "saving lives," as it is specifically designed for women who feel uncomfortable with getting mammograms, and who would otherwise avoid getting them if it were not for the added pressure of being wined and dined in a comfortable and relaxing environment. Women are being encouraged to "grab their girlfriends" for a night out at the local cancer center, during which time they take turns getting blasted with ionizing radiation in between munching down fancy cheeses and chocolate fondue, and sipping down delectable wine.

"It may be a good way to improve compliance and make having a mammogram more enjoyable," claimed Dr. Julie Silver, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, to ABC News about the disturbing mammogram party phenomenon.

Are mammogram parties an organized form of medical date rape?
It is interesting that Dr. Silver would use the word "compliance" in conjunction with mammograms, as the word is generally used in reference to someone giving an order or command to do something. This, combined with the fact that cancer centers which hold "mamm" parties are basically having to induce inebriation in order to convince many women to get mammograms, shows how slyly coercive the cancer industry is becoming in its quest to recruit new cancer patients.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Once again, I don't necessarily agree 100% with the links I post here. Mammograms are useful in some cases, but I do agree that they're oversold to the American public. There is no safe dose of radiation, and studies have shown that mammograms increase the risk of cancer. Risk vs. benefit should always be considered before recommending such a test.

House budget cuts mean fewer July 4th fireworks shows at military bases (1 July 2013)
The Fourth of July won't have a patriotic boom in the sky over some military bases because budget cuts and furloughed workers also mean furloughed fireworks.

Independence Day celebrations have been canceled at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base and at the Army's Fort Bragg, both in North Carolina. The annual July Fourth celebration also has been scrapped at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga.

The reason is money -- namely the lack of it.

The failure in Washington to follow up a 2011 budget pact with additional spending cuts meant $85 billion across-the-board cuts that began in March. Budgets tightened, the military took a major hit and many federal workers absorbed pay cuts through forced furloughs.
[Read more...]

15-year-old creates flashlight that runs on body heat (1 July 2013)
A very impressive 15-year-old from Victoria, Canada, has invented a flashlight that could free us all from the tyranny of AA batteries. It runs on the power of your body heat.

The concept is pretty simple. The flashlight gets its power from plates that create electricity using a heat differential -- one side needs to be hot and the other cool. In this case, the heat comes from the palm of a person's hand. The flashlight is hollow, so that air can cool the other side of the plate.

It works! Watch..

Part of the reason this works is that she's using LED bulbs, which require less energy to run. So even a little power goes a long way. It's not the most powerful flashlight out there: It creates 5 milliwatts of power, about as much as a laser pointer. Still, that's 5 milliwatts of power you'll be thankful for when the power goes out and you realize that all your flashlights need new batteries and you can't find the spare ones in the dark.
[Read more...]

Secret flower planter threatened with arrest if he doesn't stop planting flowers (1 July 2013)
(NaturalNews) The real estate department from Washington's Metro Transit system has recently become aware of unauthorized flowers springing up in planter boxes on public property. Along the north side of their Dupont Circle station, hundreds of mysterious morning glories and other flowers have been coming up in planter boxes along the Metro's north escalators.

Metro found out who the secret flower planter was when they received a polite letter on June 3 written by the flower planter himself, Henry Docter. Henry sent a letter asking permission to continue caring for hundreds of flowers he had planted a week earlier at the Metro transit system.

"Arrests, fines, and imprisonment" for planting flowers
Immediately, the Metro responded to Docter on June 11 with a "cease and desist" letter threatening "arrest, fines and imprisonment" if Docter tried to weed, water, or tend to the flowers. Concerned about public safety, Metro said that they didn't want Docter or anyone else to be injured caring for flowers that were set in steep, cobblestone inclines.

The 52-year-old garden artist, Henry Docter, who has planted flowers in public places on four continents since 1979, said, "I've never gotten in trouble for planting flowers. Never has anyone overreacted with such an absence of common sense."
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19 firefighters die in Arizona fire (1 July 2013)
Nineteen firefighters, including 18 from the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, died Sunday fighting an out-of-control wildfire in Yarnell, a tiny Yavapai County town roughly 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

About half of the town's 500 homes were feared destroyed by the blaze, which began early Friday evening, and by Sunday the fire had spread to 8,000 acres. All of Yarnell and the neighboring Peeples Valley were evacuated.

"We are devastated. We just lost 19 of the finest people you will ever meet," Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said Sunday night. "We're going through a terrible crisis right now."

It is the worst firefighting tragedy ever in Arizona, eclipsing the 1990 Dude Fire near Payson, which claimed six firefighters. It was the worst wildland firefighting tragedy in U.S. history since 25 were killed in the Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles in 1933.

Fraijo said one member of the local hotshot crew had survived because the firefighter was not with the other members when they were caught in the blaze, which was caused by lightning.
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Cirque performer dies in Vegas (1 July 2013)
MONTREAL -- A Cirque du Soleil performer has died after a 50-foot fall, when a safety wire failed during a performance in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Sarah Guillot-Guyard, a native of Paris and a performer with over 20 years of experience, was a cast member of the circus group's Ka show at the MGM Grand hotel.

Montrealer Adam Aguzzi was in the audience during the performance. The accident occurred during a scene meant to portray a battle, during which performers scaled a wall. Aguzzi described a scene that had some of Guillot-Guyard's castmates in tears.

"About three minutes into the scene, a performer fell from the very top of the wall into the pit," Aguzzi wrote in an email to The Gazette. "At first, we thought this was part of the show as similar fall and stunts were done throughout the show. However, after 30 or so seconds the performers stopped in their positions, while still at various spots on the wall. After another two minutes, the music was cut off. Immediately you could hear yelling from the pit and what we believed to be the screams of pain of the performer.
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Africa: Obama Promises Africa a 'Partnership of Equals' (1 July 2013)
Cape Town -- President Barack Obama has promised Africa "a new model of partnership" which moves beyond the provision of aid and is focussed on increased trade and investment, including a multi-billion dollar investment to double electricity generation across sub-Saharan Africa.

Delivering what the White House billed as the most important speech of his six-day trip to Africa, Obama described his initiative as "a partnership of equals that focuses on your capacity to solve problems, and your capacity to grow."

He highlighted three areas: power generation, food security and health and peace and security.

Of the three, the initiative which received most attention was a promise of U.S.7 billion in American government resources to expand power grids. Obama said the U.S. would work in partnership with the private sector, which he said had committed another $9 billion.
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Acquisition to make Tribune Co. largest U.S. TV station operator (1 July 2013)
Tribune Co. has agreed to acquire Cincinnati-based Local TV LLC for $2.725 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday.

The deal will add 19 television stations in 16 markets to Tribune Co.'s television portfolio, making it the largest commercial television station owner in the U.S., with 42 properties across the country.

"This is a transformational acquisition for Tribune. It makes us the No. 1 local TV affiliate group in America, expands the distribution platform for our high-quality video content, and extends the reach of our digital products to new audiences across the country," Tribune Co. CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement. "We couldn't be more excited about Tribune's future as America's leader in creating and distributing original content and local news programming."

Tribune Co. owns 23 television stations including WGN-Ch. 9 in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles and WPIX in New York. The Chicago-based media company also owns national cable channel WGN America, WGN Radio and eight daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, among other holdings.

The acquisition of Local TV will add station in Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee. Once the deal is completed, Tribune Co. will own 14 stations in the top 20 markets, and become the largest Fox affiliate group in the U.S.
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Your Employer Wants To Know When You're Sleeping (1 July 2013)
Employees at Appirio in San Francisco may not see their Chicago-based CEO on a daily basis, but they know how he slept last night.

Appirio, a cloud services provider, bought 200 Jawbone Up wristbands for employees as part of a wellness program launched this year. The bands, which retail for $129.99, use motion sensors to track sleep patterns and activity. Employers see only anonymous data, and employees can choose to share (or not share) their personal information with co-workers via a Web interface.

Appirio is among a growing number of companies buying fitness monitors for employees in an effort to reduce health insurance costs. The company's health insurer gave Appirio $20,000 to start a wellness program, says VP of human resources Shannon Daly.

"I want to get enough data to go back to our benefits carrier this summer and say, 'Look how we've been making change and traction on health,'" she says. "If we can get our benefits to stay static or go lower, that's money for [employees] in their pockets."
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Portsmouth's Paradise Creek Park is found again (1 July 2013)
To Jackson, executive director of the Elizabeth River Project, it shows that human development and nature can coincide. To her, the wide vista of industry - smokestacks, silos and, now, songbirds - is beautiful.

"There's a power in opposites," Jackson said, "so you could really tell the story that it's possible for nature and businesses and homes to all co-exist in harmony."

The park reflects years of progress on Paradise Creek, a once heavily polluted waterway in a heavily developed part of town, where the Elizabeth River Project's River Star program has pushed companies to clean up.

There's the Southeastern Public Service Authority's garbage incinerator, where pollution is down; the Jordan Bridge, which has a coating that cleans the air; and an adjacent wetland, which was once a naval shipyard dumping ground.
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Protesters attack Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Egypt (30 June 2013)
A small crowd attacked the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo this evening as elsewhere in the capital large crowds called peacefully for President Mohamed Morsi, a former Brotherhood leader, to step down.

A crowd made up largely of young men threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at the headquarters, a new villa that had been a major upgrade from the Brotherhood's pre-revolution digs in a dingy Cairo apartment. The petrol bombs burned parts of the building, though did not catch the entire structure on fire. As of two hours from publication, members of the crowd were trying to break into the building but had not yet managed to breach it. Gunshots rang out in the darkness for several hours as police were nowhere to be seen.

The attack took place as large crowds throughout Egypt went to the streets to demand Mr. Morsi's resignation. A year after he took office as Egypt's first freely elected president, anger and discontent is widespread. And as anger has grown, so has violence against the Brotherhood, a group suppressed by the former Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Dozens of its local offices have been attacked or burned down, including several in recent days. Brotherhood supporters are among those killed in clashes between the president's supporters and opponents in recent days in the Nile Delta. Four people were killed today in Assiut and Beni Suef in clashes outside the local offices of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, according to local media. It was unclear whether they were supporters or opponents of Morsi.
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America's migratory birds show signals of disruption (30 June 2013)
The National Wildlife Federation study offers examples all around North America of the dangerous consequences of a warming climate:

• Spring is arriving earlier and winter later, creating a mismatch in timing for some birds. When some birds stop partway during migration or arrive on their breeding grounds, their traditional food sources may not be available.

• Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense. Last year's superstorm Sandy has already cost the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service $68 million to restore habitats on 25 refuges.

• Birds' ranges are shifting and, in some cases, contracting. 177 of 305 species tracked have shifted their centers of abundance during the winter northward by 35 miles on average in the past four decades.
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Officials add to inaccuracy about NSA programs (30 June 2013)
The remark by Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was aimed at news organizations. But details that have emerged from the exposure of hundreds of pages of previously classified NSA documents indicate that public assertions about these programs by senior U.S. officials have also often been misleading, erroneous or simply false.

The same day Litt spoke, the NSA quietly removed from its Web site a fact sheet about its collection activities because it contained inaccuracies discovered by lawmakers.

A week earlier, President Obama, in a television interview, asserted that oversight of the surveillance programs was "transparent" because of the involvement of a special court, even though that court's sessions and decisions are sealed from the public. "It is transparent," Obama said of the oversight process. "That's why we set up the FISA court."

A remark by Litt's boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., has perhaps drawn the most attention. Asked during a congressional hearing in March whether the NSA collected data on millions of Americans, Clapper replied, "No, sir."
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Washington Post releases four new slides from NSA's Prism presentation (30 June 2013)
The Washington Post has released four previously unpublished slides from the NSA's PowerPoint presentation on Prism, the top-secret programme that collects data on foreign surveillance targets from the systems of nine participating internet companies.

The newly published top-secret documents, which the newspaper has released with some redactions, give further details of how Prism interfaces with the nine companies, which include such giants as Google, Microsoft and Apple. According to annotations to the slides by the Washington Post, the new material shows how the FBI "deploys government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA".

The new slides underline the scale of the Prism operation, recording that on 5 April there were 117,675 active surveillance targets in the programme's database. They also explain Prism's ability to gather real-time information on live voice, text, email or internet chat services, as well as to analyse stored data.

The 41-slide PowerPoint was leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Guardian and Washington Post, with both news organizations publishing a selection of the slides on 6 June. The revelation of a top-secret programme to data-mine digital information obtained with the co-operation of the nine companies added to a storm of controversy surrounding the NSA's surveillance operations.
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The four new PRISM slides from Washington Post (30 June 2013)
Acquiring data from a new target
This slide describes what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target. The request to add a new target is passed automatically to a supervisor who reviews the "selectors," or search terms. The supervisor must endorse the analyst's "reasonable belief," defined as 51 percent confidence, that the specified target is a foreign national who is overseas at the time of collection.
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The NSA is watching. So are Google and Facebook (30 June 2013)
WASHINGTON -- Not long before headlines exposed National Security Agency programs that secretly collect records of Americans' phone calls, another surveillance system got far less attention: Nordstrom, the department store chain, acknowledged it was tracking customers without their knowledge in 17 stores.

Nordstrom had hired a company to log a unique number emitted by shoppers' smartphones, which automatically connected to Wi-Fi systems as they moved through the stores. A day after a Dallas TV station broke the story last month, Nordstrom announced it was discontinuing the program.

The Palo Alto company that sold the tracking service, Euclid Analytics, has tracked 50 million devices in 4,000 locations for 100 corporate and other customers, its founder has said. Shoppers are free to opt out, but the process is complex -- they must enter their phone's media access control address, known as a MAC address, on Euclid's website.

Self-confessed leaker Edward Snowden's disclosures about domestic spying by the NSA have sparked a broad debate about whether the government is using sophisticated surveillance and data-mining techniques on its own citizens without sufficient oversight.
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UK - Cows infected with TB sold for human consumption, says Defra (30 June 2013)
The newspaper reported that the meat has been sold to processors supplying schools, hospitals and the military, or being processed into pies and pasties. The meat is sold with no warning that it comes from infected cattle.

A Defra spokeswoman said: "All meat from cattle slaughtered due to bovine TB must undergo rigorous food safety checks before it can be passed fit for consumption.

"The Food Standards Agency has confirmed there are no known cases where TB has been transmitted through eating meat and the risk of infection from eating meat, even if raw or undercooked, remains extremely low."

Asked whether the public should know whether or not the meat they are buying originated from an infected cow, a spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency said: "All meat must be marked with an identification mark which will indicate the approval number of the plant of origin.
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Sierra pot-growing sites may be lethal for rare forest animal (30 June 2013)
Their research was a follow-up to an earlier study that found that tissue of 85% of 46 dead fishers contained traces of anticoagulants. Most of those animals had been killed by predators.

The fisher is a cat-size animal that is a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. For the latest study, the scientists trapped fishers, outfitted them with radio collars and released them. The team then compared the animals' movements with the location of marijuana-growing sites found by national forest law enforcement officers.

The final analysis excluded male fishers because their extensive movements made it harder to gauge exposure to the marijuana plots.

Noting that some of the pesticide compounds used at the sites were first developed as nerve agents during World War II, the researchers likened the pot operations to leaking chemical weapons stockpiles.

The association between growing operations and fisher mortality is "strong yet speculative," wrote the authors, who noted it was difficult to determine a specific cause-and-effect relationship.
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Unique institute unites capitalists who want to save the world (30 June 2013)
The consultant holds a russet ankle boot in his right hand, gesturing as if it were a conductor's baton.

Robert Reich, a University of Colorado business professor, is providing some blunt-spoken mentoring at the Unreasonable Institute, a summer camp for capitalists who want to change the world.

Facing Reich, a self-confessed serial entrepreneur, is Patrick Woodyard, whose Tennessee-based company markets shoes made by Peruvian craftspeople under the slogan "Join us, and wear change."

Woodyard has told Reich that with each pair of shoes he ships, he includes information about the makers he hopes to help out of poverty.
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With climate changing, what world will we leave to our children?: President Barack Obama (30 June 2013)
I unveiled a new national plan to confront climate change on Tuesday (June 25). It's a plan that will reduce carbon pollution to prevent the worst effects of climate change, prepare our country for the effects we can't stop, and lead the world in combating the growing threat of a changing climate.

Many Americans who already feel the effects of climate change don't have time to deny it - they're busy dealing with it. Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons. Farmers are seeing crops wilt one year, and wash away the next. Western families are worried about water that's drying up. And while we know no single weather event is caused solely by climate change, we also know that in an increasingly warmer world, all weather events are affected by it.

The costs of inaction can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses, higher food costs and insurance premiums, and hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. So the question is not whether we need to act, but whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world we leave to our children, and to future generations.

This plan will cut the dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. For years, groups like the American Lung Association have warned us that carbon pollution threatens our health and the air our children breathe. We limit the mercury, sulfur, and arsenic in our air and water, but today, there are no federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can pump into the air. That's not safe. So we'll work with states and businesses to set new standards that put an end to this limitless dumping of carbon.
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Obama aims to spread electricity to more Africans (30 June 2013)
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- President Obama on Sunday will unveil a new initiative to expand access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, in a speech that will point to Nelson Mandela's work as evidence of the potential for rapid transformation on the continent.

Obama's initiative, dubbed Power Africa, will attempt to double the number of people with access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, White House officials said. The president will announce an initial commitment of $7 billion over five years, federal money that will add to private investment and partnerships in six African countries. The first phase will aim to expand access to 20 million households and businesses, officials said.

More than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa has no access to electrical power, a figure that is far higher in rural areas, according to the White House.

Obama will make the announcement in a speech at the University of Cape Town, after visiting the Robben Island prison cell where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years as a political prisoner. As the iconic civil rights leader lies gravely ill in a Pretoria hospital, Obama has paid tribute to Mandela and his legacy at each stop of a weeklong tour of Africa. His power initiative too will be cast as guided by the Mandela model, said Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
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Canadian-developed app gives you a heads-up on mosquitoes (30 June 2013)
WINNIPEG--Bugged by mosquitoes? Now there's an app for that.

It doesn't ward off the annoying, blood-thirsty critters with a wave of a smartphone, but it does allow users to warn others and provide information to figure out which infested neighbourhoods to avoid.

The app developed by a team at the University of Manitoba lets users rate mosquito activity in an area -- information that is then uploaded to a map which all users can see.

Engineering student Rory Jacob says he and his colleagues came up with the idea after using similar technology to track traffic congestion and the spread of influenza. Being from Manitoba, where mosquitoes are considered the province's "unofficial bird," Jacob says it didn't take long for them to figure out how to apply the technology to the blood-suckers.
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Virginia Beach museum hopes to avoid closing by selling planes (30 June 2013)
Last Monday, Gerald Yagen, owner of the museum and one of the world's largest collections of World War I- and World War II-era planes, announced that he no longer can afford to keep the collection and the museum. The four vocational schools he owns, including the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Centura College and Tidewater Tech, are being sold. No details were disclosed.

"A lot of people see it as the glass half-empty as opposed to being half-full," Hunt said. "But we are still open for business and business is normal."

The museum, which opened in 2008, was a way for Yagen to share his passion for the old planes, Hunt said.

"The money that was provided to buy and refurbish the planes came from the success of his colleges," Hunt said. "But the way we see things are at the moment, we see frustration with government cutbacks.

"Some of the out-of-state colleges might have to close. It is our hope that we can stop some of that bleeding by selling some of the planes.
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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


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All original content including photographs © 2013 by Pam Rotella. (News excerpts copyright by their corresponding authors, news organizations, or other copyright holders, and quoted here typically as "fair use" or "teaser" paragraphs to generate interest in the full articles.)