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Gulf oil spill: firms ignored warning signs before blast, inquiry hears

Gulf oil spill: firms ignored warning signs before blast, inquiry hears --Documents suggest BP, Transocean and Halliburton ignored tests indicating faulty safety equipment, says committee 12 May 2010 Oil executives ignored warning signs in the hours before the disastrous Deepwater rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico last month, a congressional hearing heard today. In a second day of hearings, the House of Representatives' energy and commerce committee said documents and briefings suggested that BP, which owned the well; Transocean, which owned the rig; and Halliburton, which made the cement casing for the well, ignored tests in the hours before the 20 April explosion that indicated faulty safety equipment.

Greek workers call one-day strike May 20

Greek workers call one-day strike May 20 --Unions threaten to step up protests 12 May 2010 Greek workers on Wednesday called a 24-hour general strike for May 20, the latest in a series of protests against planned pension cuts linked to an international 110-billion-euro ($139.7 billion) bailout for Greece. Unionists have vowed to stop the pension reform, a key condition in a financial rescue plan for Greece agreed last week with the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Pakistan denies Taliban link to Times Square bomb suspect

Pakistan denies Taliban link to Times Square bomb suspect --Investigators dismiss US claims that Faisal Shahzad was working under direction of Pakistani Taliban 11 May 2010 Pakistani investigators have found no evidence to support American claims that the failed Times Square bomber was working under the direction of the Pakistani Taliban, the Guardian has learned. Senior officials in Washington – including the attorney general, Eric Holder, and John Brennan, the White House's special adviser on counterterrorism – have said that the suspected bomber, Faisal Shahzad, conspired with militants in Pakistan, but a Pakistani security official with knowledge of the investigation said: "No Taliban link has come to the fore." [Right, it was a false flag, six ways to Sunday.]

NORAD to fly exercise missions over Minnesota

NORAD to fly exercise missions over Minnesota 11 May 2010 If you see military jets flying alongside passenger planes in the skies today, don't panic, it's just a drill. [Well, until they*go live.*] The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will be conducting exercise flights over Minnesota today. The missions will run along two flightpaths: The first from Bismarck, N.D., to the Twin Cities, and the second from Nebraska to Sioux Falls, S.D. to south-central Minnesota.

Shin Bet blackmails al-Quds students

Shin Bet blackmails al-Quds students 12 May 2010 The Shin Bet is reportedly trying to entice Palestinian medical students to join the Israeli intelligence service by promising entry permits to al-Quds (Jerusalem). The spying agency allegedly tried to blackmail two fifth-year medical students at al-Quds University who are pursuing internships in Palestinian university hospitals in the city, Israel's English-language Haaretz newspaper said on its website on Wednesday.

CAIR: Incendiary Device Explodes Outside Florida Mosque

CAIR: Incendiary Device Explodes Outside Florida Mosque --The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime. 11 May 2010  The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported today that an incendiary device exploded Monday evening outside a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque. According to a fire department investigator and officials of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, worshipers heard a loud noise outside the mosque as preparations were being made for the evening (isha) prayer at about 9:35 p.m. Local fire investigators have been joined on the scene by representatives of the state fire marshal, ATF and FBI.

U.S. Coast Guard Led Large Oil Spill Exercise Prior to Rig Explosion

U.S. Coast Guard Led Big Oil Spill Exercise Prior to Rig Explosion 11 May 2010 Three weeks before the massive Gulf oil rig explosion, U.S. Coast Guard officials led an elaborate exercise in which they practiced their response to a major oil spill -- one of four dry runs over the past decade that foreshadowed many of the weaknesses in coordination, communication, expertise and technology that are now hampering the federal response to the oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Third of plants and animals 'at risk of extinction'

Third of plants and animals 'at risk of extinction' --One third of plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, a UN report is expected to conclude this week. 09 May 2010 The world's biodiversity is threatened by the economic growth of countries like China, India and Brazil, the study will say. While Western countries are increasingly aware of the need to protect endangered species, the developing world's appetite for raw materials is destroying vulnerable ecosystems, the report's authors will warn.

David Cameron becomes Prime Minister after coalition deal with Liberal Democrats

David Cameron becomes Prime Minister after coalition deal with Liberal Democrats 12 May  2010 David Cameron has become Prime Minister after agreeing a deal with the LiberaMr Cameron, 43, becomes the youngest premier since Lord Liverpool almost 200 years ago, and the first Conservative in No 10 since John Major departed 13 years ago. His appointment followed Gordon Brown’s resignation and brought to an end five days of tortuous negotiations in the wake of last week’s election, which resulted in a hung parliament.

Senate OK's one-time audit-the-Fed measure

Senate OK's one-time audit-the-Fed measure 11 May 2010 A controversial measure requiring the government to conduct an unprecedented one-time audit of the Federal Reserve's economic crisis response programs was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support Tuesday by the Senate as part of sweeping bank reform legislation. The amendment also calls for releasing the names of institutions that received in total more than $2 trillion in loans from the central bank during the peak of the financial crisis. The provision received a vote of 96-0, with many lawmakers agreeing to back it following a compromise reached sell-out late Thursday.

Oil executives shift blame at Senate hearing

Oil executives shift blame at Senate hearing 11 May 2010 Three big oil and oil service companies all pointed fingers at one another for blame in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in testimony Tuesday at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. While saying that it was too early to make a final determination of the cause of the April 20 blowout that started the spill, the companies stressed one another's failures... "The one thing we know with certainty is that on the evening of April 20 there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing, or both," Transocean chief executive Steven Newman said. The cementing job was done by Halliburton.

Senate votes 96-0 to audit Fed

Senate votes 96-0 to audit Fed 11 May 2010 The Senate voted 96 to 0 Tuesday to open the secretive Federal Reserve Board's emergency lending practices to a congressional audit, as well as require a detailed disclosure of who's getting the funds. "We are on the verge of lifting the veil of secrecy on perhaps the most important government agency in the United States of America,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Bernard Sanders, Ind.-Vt., "an agency which has control and spends trillions of dollars. They do it behind closed doors."

Beau Biden, Son of VP Joe Biden, Suffers Stroke

Beau Biden, Son of VP Joe Biden, Suffers Stroke 11 May 2010 Beau Biden, the 41-year-old son of Joe Biden, and Delaware's attorney general has suffered a mild stroke, according to a statement issued from the vice president's office. Biden is being treated by Dr. Timothy Gardner, medical director of the Center for Heart and Vascular Surgery at Christiana Care Health System. Biden has what the doctors "believe to be a mild stroke," according to Gardner. "[He is] "fully alert, in stable condition and has full motor and speech skills."

No Dismissal in Terror Case on Claim of Torture in Jail

No Dismissal in Terror Case on Claim of Torture in Jail 10 May 2010 A federal judge in Manhattan declined on Monday to dismiss charges against a man accused in a terrorism case whose lawyers claimed his rights were violated when he was tortured in secret jails run by the Central Intelligence Agency. The defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, has been charged with conspiring in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa... Mr. Ghailani later worked as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, the authorities have said.

Obama Said to Be Open to New Miranda Look

Obama Said to Be Open to New Miranda Look 10 May 2010 David Axelrod, the top White House political adviser, said Monday that President Obama was amenable to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s call for a new law allowing interrogators to question terrorism suspects for lengthy periods without informing them of their rights. In an interview on CNN, Mr. Axelrod said Mr. Obama was "open to looking at" changing the Miranda rule, which generally bans prosecutors from using as evidence statements made by suspects in custody before they have been warned that they have a right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer. "There may be some things that have to be done," Mr. Axelrod said.

Impatient Lib Dems begin talks with Labour

Impatient Lib Dems begin talks with Labour 11 May 2010 Nick Clegg's Lib Dems began formal discussions with Labour last night on a possible power-sharing deal that could allow Gordon Brown's party to stay in office for up to five more years. In a dramatic gesture yesterday afternoon, the Lib Dem leader displayed his impatience over the slow pace of talks with the Tories, to declare he wanted to open parallel discussions with Mr Brown's party. The move, which immediately prompted Mr Brown's decision to announce he would step down at the next Labour conference, threw wide open the make-up of the next UK government.

Nato has only seven months to take Kandahar from the Taleban

Nato has only seven months to take Kandahar from the Taleban 11 May 2010 The campaign to drive the Taleban out of Kandahar province has until the end of the year to succeed if it is to capitalise on maximum troop numbers and political unity, Nato commanders and Western diplomats told The Times. "Our mission is to show irreversible momentum by the end of 2010 -- that's the clock I'm using," Brigadier-General Frederick Hodges, the US Director of Operations in southern Afghanistan, said. "We'll never have more capacity than we have by late summer 2010. We'll never have it any better."

Oil spill swells to 4M gallons with fixes days off

Oil spill swells to 4M gallons with fixes days off --Oil is rushing up from seabed at a pace of about 210,000 gallons per day 10 May 2010 Black Hawk helicopters peppered Louisiana's barrier islands with 1-ton sacks of sand Monday to bolster the state's crucial wetlands against the epic Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- 4 million gallons and growing. At the site of the ruptured well a mile underwater, a remote-controlled submarine shot chemicals into the maw of the massive leak to dilute the flow, further evidence that BP expects the gusher to keep erupting into the Gulf for weeks or more. 

Man who called for murder of PM pleads guilty to terror charge

Man who called for murder of PM pleads guilty to terror charge --Ishaq Kanmi styled himself al-Qa'ida's 'emir' in the UK 11 May 2010 A man who pretended to be al-Qa'ida's "emir" in Britain by publicly calling for the murder of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair pleaded guilty to a string of terrorism offences yesterday. Ishaq Kanmi, 23, from Blackburn, posed as an al-Qa'ida leader on an online forum used by militants. He was arrested while boarding a plane to Finland with three storage devices and a mobile phone containing terror-related information [?] that he intended to distribute overseas.

General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie'

General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie' --Israeli war hero accused of suppressing testimony that could reveal what really happened to Gaza activist  07 May 2010 Seven years after the American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, evidence has emerged which appears to implicate Israel's Gaza commander at the time, in an attempt to obstruct the official investigation into her death. The alleged intervention of Major-General Doron Almog, then head of Israel's southern command, is documented in testimony taken by Israeli military police a day after Ms Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003. The hand written affidavit, seen by The Independent, was submitted as evidence during a civil law suit being pursued by the Corrie family against the state of Israel.

'Toronto 18' ringleader pleads guilty

'Toronto 18' ringleader pleads guilty 10 May 2010 A kingpin of the so-called Toronto 18 terror cell which plotted to attack Parliament and downtown landmarks has pleaded guilty to his role in the group, in a surprising move. Fahim Ahmad, 25, led a cell that plotted to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper and explode truck bombs near the CN Tower, Toronto Stock Exchange and Pickering nuclear plant. The decision was announced on Monday at Brampton court, where Ahmad was midway through a trial with co-accuseds Steven Chand and Asad Ansari on terrorism charges.

Citi to Pay Board Member Joss $350,000 for Possible Three Weeks of Consulting

Citi to Pay Board Member Joss $350,000 for Possible Three Weeks of Consulting 10 May 2010 Citigroup Inc. will pay director Robert Joss $350,000 for as little as three weeks of work amid criticism by shareholder-advisory firm Glass, Lewis & Co. that he lacks the independence needed to serve on the board. Joss, a former Wells Fargo & Co. executive and Stanford University business-school dean who joined the board in July, will advise on projects "from time to time," Vice Chairman Lewis Kaden wrote in an agreement dated April 5, according to a filing on May 7. The annual consulting fee is for "a minimum of approximately three weeks," the filing said.

Kagan in '97 urged Clinton to ban late abortions

Kagan in '97 urged Clinton to ban late abortions 10 May 2010 As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups. Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk.

Explosion in RCMP detachment injures mountie

Explosion in RCMP detachment injures mountie 10 May 2010 Police are investigating how an explosive device went off inside an RCMP detachment in eastern Alberta. It happened just before two this afternoon in Kitscoty, which is just west of Lloydminster. RCMP spokesperson Patrick Webb says an officer was handling the device at the time, and had to be taken to hospital in Lloydminster.

Pakistani tries to smuggle bomb detonating equipment onto plane

Pakistani tries to smuggle bomb detonating equipment onto plane 09 May 2010 Pakistani police officers arrested a man at Karachi airport on Sunday after he was found to be carrying batteries and a circuit board in his shoe. The man, who had planned to travel to Muscat on a Thai Airways flight, told police he was from the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Taliban and Islamist militants are known to have a large presence. Faiz Mohammad, a civil engineer, was arrested when an airport scanner sounded an alarm due to the foreign objects in his shoes.

Pakistani air passenger caught with electronic circuits concealed in his shoes

Pakistani air passenger caught with electronic circuits concealed in his shoes  --What not to wear boarding a flight... a pair of electronic massage shoes (complete with batteries and an on/off switch) 10 May 2010 A passenger was detained by airport authorities in Pakistan after electrical circuits and batteries were found in the soles of his tennis shoes, an airport security official said today. Officials were investigating what the components could be used for and why they were concealed. Similar materials can be used in the construction of bombs. Faiz Mohammad was arrested at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport last night, said Munir Ahmed, a spokesman for the airport security force.

Homeland Security Tests 360-Degree Video Cam

Homeland Security Tests 360-Degree Video Cam --The surveillance system, which uses multiple cameras to provide high-resolution images in real time, is being pilot tested at Logan International Airport. 10 May 2010 The Department of Homeland Security has developed new surveillance-camera technology that provides a 360-degree, high-resolution view by stitching together multiple images. The technology, developed by Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, is called the Imaging System for Immersive Surveillance (ISIS) and works by creating images from multiple cameras and turning them into a single view, according to Homeland Security.

Families of US detainees to visit Iran

Families of US detainees to visit Iran 10 May 2010 The families of the three US citizens detained in western Iran last year will be allowed to visit them, Press TV has learned. The three, Joshua Fattal, 27, Shane Bauer, 27, and Sarah Shourd, 31, were arrested in late July 2009 in the western Iranian city of Marivan for illegal entry into the country. The three US citizens were traveling on Syrian and Iraqi visas and crossed the border illegally, Iranian officials say.

Obama administration blocked efforts to stop BP oil drilling before explosion

Obama administration blocked efforts to stop BP oil drilling before explosion By Joe Kishore 10 May 2010 In 2009, the Obama administration intervened to support the reversal of a court order that would have halted offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who has long had close ties to the industry, specifically cited BP’s Deepwater Horizon operation as one that should be allowed to go forward, according to a group involved in the court case. A Washington DC Appeals Court ruled in April 2009 that the Bush administration’s five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling (covering 2007 to 2012) was not based on a proper review of the environmental impact of the drilling. Only days before the ruling, the Obama administration had granted BP a "categorical exclusion," exempting it from an environmental impact study for the Deepwater Horizon project.

Save Sea Turtles and Polar Bears from Big Oil’s Double-Barreled Threat

Quick action! Save Sea Turtles and Polar Bears from Big Oil's Double-Barreled Threat (Defenders of Wildlife) 10 May 2010 Even in the wake of the ongoing offshore oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, Big Oil's high-paid lobbyists are pushing for more dirty, dangerous offshore drilling and less action to address climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. If they win, it means big trouble for imperiled polar bears and sea turtles, which are threatened by climate change and dirty offshore drilling. Send a message to senators now and urge them to say "Yes!" to comprehensive legislation to address climate change and "No!" to more dangerous offshore drilling.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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