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No Agenda Episode 498 - Obey the Giant Voice System!

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM.

Obey the Giant Voice System!

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM.

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Credits

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM.

Obey the Giant Voice System!

Executive Producer: Sir David Killian

Executive Producer: Sir Alfred Long The Good

Special 31313 Executive Producers: Sir Gerlad Gionet, Sir Anonymous, Michael Randall

Associate Executive Producers: Sonny Waldick, Janet Waters, Warren Carroll, Keith Jacobs

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1530 WCKG

No Agenda Capo di tutti capi!

Last Saturday me and Big Tony was gettin a pepper and eggs sangwich at my

sainted madre's home in Cicero (IL of course) and what did I hear playing

on

her kitchen radio but the No Agenda show, the numero uno podcast in da

universe. I asks Mamma whatch you listening too and she tells me WCKG 1530,

and she says those nice boys make mea laugh. She says theyis on every

Saturday morning.

First I thinks dis is nice. Then I says to Big Tony "if Brolf and Wilf

ain't

gettin some action from da ads den dis is an insult to da No Agenda

Family".

But hey if des guys are sendin you da envelope, which day should, great.

If not mention "deliver da cannoli" on da podcast.

I'll send some "friends of ours" to collect the street tax, one goomba to

you goombas.

I had Big Tony's kid stop lookin at porn on da internets and he found da

web stuff, he said yous would know.

http://www.mikebaker45s.com/page5/downloads.html

http://1530wckg.com/

And pass dis on to dat BoHunk Dvorak.

Packaging Machinery Handbook - Home

==================================================

Presidential Proclamation -- Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy, 2013

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 22:10

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 22, 2013

GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY: A NATIONAL DAY OF CELEBRATION OFGREEK AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, 2013

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Each year, America celebrates Greek Independence Day to strengthen the bonds between the birthplace of democracy and the world's oldest republic. We recognize the enduring contributions of Greek Americans, woven into the fabric of our national life. And we reflect on the ancient Hellenic principles that inspired our Founders to vest the powers of government in the hands of the people.

In both America and Greece, we are inheritors to great republics, entrusted to safeguard the ideals that make representative government work. Our peoples have learned that democracy flourishes when we respect our differences, hold fast to the principles that unite us, and move forward with common purpose. It is a legacy lived by generations of Greek Americans, who for centuries have helped write proud chapters in our country's history and continue to enrich the character of our Nation.

Today, we congratulate Greece, a valued NATO ally, as it commemorates the 192nd anniversary of its independence, and we pledge our continued solidarity as the country works to rebuild its economy. In the face of hardship, America stands with the people of Greece, confident they can meet the challenges of the 21st century while upholding their ancient ideals.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2013, as Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

CDC | TB | World TB Day

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Archived Version

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 07:24

Espa±ol

Each year, we recognize World TB Day on March 24, often with a variety of activities leading up to the official day. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).

World TB Day provides the opportunity to raise awareness about TB-related problems and solutions and to support worldwide TB-control efforts. While great strides have been made to control and cure TB, this disease is still a problem and more should be done so that one day TB is eliminated.

For the second year, CDC joins the global Stop TB Partnership in adopting the slogan ''Stop TB in my lifetime.'' This slogan goes with the theme of calling for a world free of TB. This two-year campaign allows us to build upon the messages and resources developed during the last World TB Day.

Both the slogan and theme encourage people all over the world, from the youngest to the oldest, to make an individual call for the elimination of TB, and say what changes they expect to take place in their lifetimes.

In their lifetimes, today's children should expect to see a world where no one gets sick with TB. And, in their lifetimes, women and men should expect to see a world where no one dies from TB. From a faster treatment, to a quick, cheap, low-tech test that is accessible to all, to an effective vaccine, we all have different hopes.

Everyone has a role to play so that one day TB will be eliminated. CDC and our partners are committed to a world free of TB.

Call for a World Free of TBWe can only reach the goal of TB elimination by working together to detect, treat, and prevent this disease.

The fight to stop TB will only be successful if local, state, national, and international partners from all sectors of our society join resources and collaborate to find solutions.

Our united effort is needed to reach those at highest risk for TB and to identify and implement innovative strategies to improve testing and treatment among high-risk populations.

CDC and its domestic and international partners, including the National TB Controllers Association, Stop TB USA, and the global Stop TB Partnership, are taking many steps to stop further spread of TB and to reduce the overall burden of the disease. Efforts range from developing new treatment regimens and increasing the capacity of health professionals to provide adequate treatment, to issuing new recommendations for improved testing and treatment for U.S. immigrants.

How You Can Become a Partner in the Fight Against TBFind out more about TB services in your area.Reach out to your community and educate them about TB.Because many people are not aware of the impact of TB, local coalitions in many states and countries are convening educational and awareness activities related to World TB Day. Look to see how you can learn more and get involved.

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 15:51

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2013

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2013

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Three years ago today, I signed into law the principle that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick. The Affordable Care Act will give hard-working, middle class families the health care security they deserve and protect every American from the worst insurance company abuses. Already, millions of seniors are saving $600 a year on their prescription drugs. Millions of young people have been able to stay on their family's health plan until age 26. Preventive care, like mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors, is covered free of charge. Most importantly, for the sake of our fiscal future, the growth of health care costs is beginning to slow. In fact, last year, Medicaid costs fell for the first time in decades.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men. And soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma. Later this year, millions of Americans will finally have the opportunity to buy the same kind of health care Members of Congress give themselves. Beginning in October, you'll be able to sign up for new private health care plans through a new health insurance marketplace where private plans will compete to save middle class families money. Through these marketplaces, Americans and small business owners will be able to choose from a menu of health plans that fit their budget and provide quality coverage they can count on when they need it most. If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you cannot afford a plan, you or your small business may get financial assistance to make it affordable.

There's more work to do to implement this law, and I look forward to working with leaders of both parties to help Americans save money on health care and extend the security of coverage to every family.

===================================================

Mac & Cheese

War on Crazy (and awakened)

Push To Expand Involuntary Commitment For Violent Mentally Ill

If You See Something, Say Something: NY encouraging snitch culture, 500 USD per gun

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Archived Version

Source: Dr. Jones reports

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 11:52

WRGB in Albany has a breaking news story posted to their Facebook page, claiming that the state of New York is offering up bribes for people to rat out those possessing illegal firearms '' an interesting development considering the adoption of the new anti-Second Amendment SAFE Act legislation. In other words, a firearm that may have been obtained legally could become illegal under the SAFE Act, and anybody who knows you possess said firearm can report you and earn themselves a cool $500.

In addition to the Facebook page, Pat Bailey, a reporter from at CBS 6 in Albany, tweeted that he has a letter from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services explaining the reward program.

According to Bailey, the Governor's Office is claiming that the program is well over a year old. But the head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association says that if that is accurate, ''it was a well kept secret''.

The Troy Record Facebook page also has this announcement:

NY State has established a toll-free tip line '' 1-855-GUNSNYS (1-855- 486-7697) to encourage residents to report illegal firearm possession. The tip line also allows for information to be submitted via text '' individuals can text GUNTIP and their message to CRIMES (274637). The New York State Police staff the tip line 24 hours a day. Upon receiving a call, troopers will solicit as much information as possible regarding a firearm tip then contact the appropriate police agency with the lead to initiate an investigation. If the information leads to an arrest for the illegal possession of a firearm, the ''tipster'' will be awarded $500.

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin also reports on the Snitch Line, calling it ''neighbor vs. neighbor'':

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Melrose) today released a letter that was emailed from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police outlining a new initiative by Governor Cuomo and DCJS that would confiscate illegal firearms, including those that are not registered but were previously legal before the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (Safe Act) was rammed through the legislature in January. According to the letter, sent out on Tuesday, the state would provide a $500 reward, through tax dollars, to an individual who turns in his neighbor for possessing an illegal firearm. DCJS is planning a ''comprehensive campaign'' to announce this initiative which includes a toll-free tip line and details of how to text to submit a tip against their neighbor.

''In December, Governor Cuomo stated that 'confiscation could be an option,' and now it appears he is staying true to his word with this dangerous new initiative,'' said McLaughlin. ''This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward. Confiscating these once-legal firearms from law-abiding citizens and pitting neighbors against one another does nothing to address the root cause of violence with guns in our society: illegal handguns used by real criminals. While Albany confiscates firearms, evil will unfortunately still wander our streets.''

Breitbart's Warner Todd Huston sends along a link which provides the text of a letter sent out in July from the Department of Criminal Justice Services to Police Agencies. The letter reads:

At a time when all of us are finding ourselves doing more with less, a reminder about a resource available from New York State that can assist you in your efforts to solve cases, prevent crime and better serve and protect your communities.

The state has established a toll-free tip line '' 1-855-XXXXX to encourage residents to report illegal firearm possession. The tip line also allows for information to be submitted via text '' individuals can text GUNTIP and their message to XXXXXX. While the state will provide the administrative support and fund the rewards, the investigation and validity of the tip will be up to each local department.

To spread the word about this free resource, New York State is planning a comprehensive campaign, including public service announcements that will air on television and radio stations across Upstate.

The tip line can provide your agencies with another avenue for receiving intelligence about crimes being committed in your jurisdictions. This initiative is designed for communities where no tip lines are in place and is not meant to replace existing gun tip lines.

Here's how the tip line operates:

The New York State Police staff the tip line 24 hours a day. Upon receiving a call, troopers will solicit as much information as possible regarding a firearm tip, while allowing the individual to remain anonymous. The caller will be informed that this program is not the traditional gun buyback program but rather is focused on identifying individuals who are carrying an illegal firearm.

The State Police will in turn contact the appropriate police agency with the lead to initiate an investigation. Staff from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) will follow up with that agency to determine the validity of the lead. Once the investigation is completed, the police agency would convey to DCJS the outcome of the investigation.

If the information leads to an arrest for the illegal possession of a firearm, the ''tipster'' will be awarded $500. DCJS staff will handle all of the financial transactions.

State Police staff will explain the program in its entirety upon notifying an agency that a lead has been generated for their jurisdiction. If you have any questions in the interim, please contact DCJS Deputy Commissioner Tony Perez in the Office of Public Safety at 518''XXXX.

Janine Kava

Director of Public Information

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

We will post video of the CBS report as soon as possible. WRGB's site is under construction, but they have been updating via Facebook.

Update: Video of the news report can be found here'...

Doctors urge mental health screenings with physicals

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Archived Version

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 09:54

Your regular doctor can give you a mental health checkup during your yearly visit if you ask.(Photo: Dan Garrow, The News Journal, Wilmington, Del.)

Story HighlightsEarly heads up would save money, grief in long termThe screening is a series of questions to answerOnly if patient shows symptoms of a mental illness does a specialist need to get involvedWould you be offended if someone told you to get your brain checked out?

Doctors worldwide are asking you to not be.

STORY: Mental health drugs vital for seniors

STORY: Rules to guide mental health equality

A new study from the University of Cambridge suggests everyone should get their mental health checked as often as they have an annual physical.

Essentially, treat your brain just like any other organ.

"Unfortunately, most people don't address mental health issues until they are drastically interfering with their lives," said Dr. Nizar El-Khalili, medical director of Alpine Clinic in Lafayette, Ind. "If they were just more aware of mental health from the start, problems could be avoided long before it complicates their lives and costs them thousands of dollars."

Mental health screenings can be administered during most annual checkups. Some doctors always screen their patient's mental health, but El-Khalili recommends that all patients, no matter their age or family medical history, ask for a screening during their checkup.

Mental health screenings typically include a series of questions about lifestyle, eating and drinking habits and mental wellness designed to check for potential mood or anxiety disorders, including depression substance abuse and post-traumatic stress.

If a doctor finds that a patient shows symptoms of a mental illness, he or she might recommend the patient see a psychiatrist or psychologist. These brain doctors also are more than qualified to administer a mental checkup.

It's estimated that 25% of American adults suffer from some form of mental illness each year. But many attempt to cope with the illnesses for an average of 10 years before seeking treatment, according to Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association.

El-Khalili said that trend needs to change. Common mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse in their early stages often are highly treatable through basic coping methods.

Prompt recognition of an illness can also help patients avoid large medical bills down the road, he said.

STORY: Insanity plea expected in Aurora, Colo., shootings

This is especially important for low-income families. The federal sequester, recent forced government spending cuts that will make mental treatment through federally supported health care programs increasingly difficult to access, is likely to affect that group.

These impending budget cuts will slash $168 million from the the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administation, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. The Obama administration estimates that more than 373,000 mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children will lose mental health services.

Along with improving quality of life and saving money, health professionals say annual mental checkups would help reduce the stigma attached to mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness works to change people's views of what it means to be mentally ill. The organization's executive director in west central Indiana, Pattie Wollenburg, said recognizing that mental illness could happen to anyone is key to cultural acceptance.

"People shouldn't be apprehensive about going to a psychiatrist," Wollenburg said. "Mental health is just as important as physical health. You just need to take care of both."

---

Warning signs

Symptoms that could turn into a mental illness later in life, according to Dr. Nizar El-Khalili, medical director of Alpine Clinic in Lafayette, Ind.

Disturbance in sleepLow tolerance to frustrationsPeriods of sadness for no apparent reasonOvereating, drinking or using recreational drugs as a way to deal with stressFears for no apparent reasonFrequent changes in personality

I'm one of the 26 percent with mental illness | Concord Monitor

"Didn't 26 percent seem high?" a caller asked me last week.

I have been hospitalized twice for "suicidal ideation," most recently for eight days in 2009 with a diagnosis of "major depressive order and anxiety disorder," according to my records. I take four medications a day and have my counselor's name and number in my emergency contacts on my cell phone.

Not to me. But I'm one of the 26 percent.

Follow the Pipeline$

Africa's trade ties with China in spotlight as President Xi visits

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Archived Version

Source: Reuters: World News

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 07:53

Chinese President Xi Jinping adjusts his earphones during his visit to the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow March 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

By George Obulutsa and Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

DAR ES SALAAM | Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:10am EDT

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping faces growing calls from policymakers and economists in Africa for a more balanced trade relationship between the continent and China as he arrives in Tanzania at the beginning of an African tour on Sunday.

China's ties with the continent dates back to the 1950s, when Beijing backed African liberation movements fighting to throw off Western colonial rule. It has built roads, railways, stadiums and pipelines to win access to Africa's oil and minerals like copper and uranium to feed its booming economy.

Many across Africa see China as a valuable counterbalance to the West's influence. But as the relationship matures there is mounting discomfort in Africa that the continent is exporting raw materials while spending heavily to import finished consumer goods from the Asian economic powerhouse.

"He will be looking to tone down the feeling that China is just here to exploit resources. I think that is going to be his main job," James Shikwati, director of the Nairobi-based Inter Regional Economic Network think tank, told Reuters.

China's new leader is due to land in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, on Sunday for a state banquet before delivering his first policy speech on Africa in a Chinese-funded conference hall on Monday.

Xi will go on from Tanzania to South Africa where leaders of the world's major emerging economies, known as the BRICS, will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday and could endorse plans to create a joint foreign exchange reserves pool and an infrastructure bank at a summit.

The proposal underscores frustrations among emerging markets at having to rely on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are seen as reflecting the interests of the United States and other industrialized nations.

Xi's visit to Africa - which ends in the Republic of Congo - on his first trip abroad is seen as a demonstration of Africa's strategic importance to China, driven by Beijing's hunger for resources and African demand for cheap Chinese imports.

ENERGY

The east African seaboard is hot property after huge gas discoveries boosted Tanzania and Mozambique's combined gas reserves to more than 180 trillion cubic feet.

Mozambique accounts for the bulk of this, with enough to supply world number one importer Japan for 35 years. There have also been oil strikes in neighboring Kenya and Uganda.

Xi will criss-cross a region where China's economic growth and injections of aid offer both hope and cause for anxiety.

Nigeria's central bank chief, Lamido Sanusi, said Africans should wake up to the realities of their "romance with China."

"So China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism," Sanusi wrote in the Financial Times this month. "Africa is now willingly opening itself up to a new form of imperialism."

"We must see China for what it is: a competitor."

In Dar es Salaam, where Tanzanian and Chinese flags fluttered in the coastal breeze, businessman Hamisi Mwalimu said China was flooding local markets with counterfeit goods while stripping the continent of its natural resources.

"We need a smart partnership where both Tanzania and China benefit. Right now, they're getting a much better deal than us," Mwalimu said.

EQUAL PARTNERS?

Beijing has kept under wraps details of new investments or aid Xi will announce, a typical feature of overseas trips by Chinese leaders. Last year, Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao offered $20 billion in loans to African countries over the coming three years.

At that summit, China pledged to help Africa export manufactured products, not just raw materials, and to import from the continent.

But rights groups and some Western governments say China supports African governments with dubious human rights records to get access to resources. Often cited is Beijing's relationship with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir who faces international war crimes charges.

The European Union rejects what it labels China's "check book" approach to doing business with Africa and demands reforms and the transparent use of aid.

Such criticism draws rebukes from China that the West treats Africa as though it were a colony.

"Africa wants to be treated as an equal, and this is what many Western countries do not understand, or are at least are not willing to do," Zhong Jianhua, China's special envoy to Africa, told Reuters in an interview this month.

"China at least knows that we have to treat people in Africa as equals."

China is criticized for using Chinese workers on infrastructure and mining projects in Africa. Beijing estimates almost 1 million Chinese are working in Africa.

Zhong acknowledged Chinese companies faced criticism for flooding Africa with Chinese workers.

"We have told Chinese companies that they cannot just use Chinese workers," Zhong said. "I think most Chinese firms now realize this."

Yet not all African governments appear that worried with the use of Chinese workers, especially for infrastructure projects.

"China isn't coming to Congo to create jobs," Republic of Congo Ambassador to China, Daniel Owassa, told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Russia and China in Major Natural Gas Supply Pact

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Archived Version

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 07:18

BY JAMES MARSONMOSCOW'--After more than a decade of talks, Russia has agreed to supply China with natural gas, a deal that could see China surpass Germany as the largest importer of Russian gas.

Officials Friday signed a raft of other energy agreements, including one to double Russian oil supplies and hand China's state oil company a stake in Russian oil fields, tightening the nexus between Russia, the world's largest energy producer, and China, the hungriest consumer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Moscow on his first foreign trip as leader, called the accords a ''breakthrough'' at a signing ceremony in the Kremlin Friday. '...

R Soft Web Hosting

As experts say 'the lights could go out in Britain', what has caused UK's looming gas crisis?

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Archived Version

Sun, 24 Mar 2013 07:38

As energy experts claim that Britain faces a very real chance of 'the lights going out' due to an apparent energy shortage, homeowners have been left wondering how the UK ended up on the verge of a looming gas crisis.

The head of energy giant SSE, Ian Marchant, warned that the government was significantly underestimating the scale of the capacity crunch facing the country.

Ofgem's chief executive Alistair Buchanan, meanwhile, claimed Britain "would be very tight on power station capacity in three to five years' time".

Although the government hit back by insisting it was not being complacent and that they were confident of a 'comfortable amount of spare power'.

Energy minister John Hayes denied the government was being complacent, saying he was confident that its approach, combined with the responsiveness of the market, would provide secure supplies.

He said: "We're alive to the challenge facing us. The Bill before Parliament will set the conditions for the investment needed to keep Britain's lights on in the long term."

Analysts believe, however, that there is still a considerable risk that UK gas supplies could run perilously low.

'The coldest March weekend in 50 years'

During the 'Big Freeze' in 2010, the National Grid issued a warning to energy suppliers for only the second time ever.

They warned that gas demand was outstripping supply as the UK shivered in one of the coldest winters ever.

The sub-zero blasts saw a 30 per cent rise on normal seasonal demand and gas prices jumping significantly.

This year an unseasonably cold March has seen a spike in gas demand - with forecasters predicting this weekend could be the coldest in March for half a century.Temperatures could drop to -3C in parts of the country, and the Met Office has already issued several severe weather warnings.

A study by Reuters claimed that if the current cold snap continues as forecast, Britain could run out of gas by April 8.

Should this happen some of the big industrial customers may be cut, meaning inevitable gas shortages.

The Met Office warned of "cold or very cold" weather into next week, while northern Britain "may possibly experience colder than average conditions during April with a risk of overnight frosts and perhaps further snowfall".

Lack of storage

It is thought that Britain currently has just two days worth of spare gas reserves.

The UK only ever holds 15 days of gas in reserve because of lack of storage space, compared to 100 days worth in France and Germany.

Roderick Bruce, analyst at IHS Global Insight, told Reuters: "The lack of incentives for storage investment appears indicative of the UK's wider gas sector, where investors currently see regulatory risk as an insurmountable hurdle."

The rapid depletion of gas storage sites has prompted operator Centrica, Britain's biggest power and gas provider, to restrict withdrawals owing to falling reservoir pressure, in a sign of the growing strain on the system.

Gas storage sites have been depleted by 90 percent, with the equivalent of less than two days' consumption remaining, data from Gas Infrastructure Europe shows.

Power stations winding down

SSE boss Ian Marchant said his firm plan to cut back on power generation at five sites.

Ofgem has also warned that power station closures could mean a 10% fall in capacity by April alone.SSE say Ofgem didn't take into account its own plans to cut back, meaning the warnings are even more stark.

There has been a shortage in investment in power generation, and ageing British coal plants that have exhausted their operating lives are being closed, further constraining energy supply.

Scottish Power's 1,200 megawatt (MW) Cockenzie power station near Edinburgh stopped operating after 45 years of service this month.

The British subsidiary of Germany's RWE will shut its 2,000-MW Didcot facility for good this month as well.

Unplanned outages

British gas prices rose more than 50 percent earlier this month after unplanned outages at North Sea facilities left the UK gas market severely undersupplied, pushing prices to a five-year high.

Norway's Nyhamna gas plant connected to Shell's giant Ormen Lange field in the North Sea, which primarily exports gas to Britain, had an outage on Saturday after stormy weather.

In addition to the Norwegian outage, flows through Britain's St. Fergus terminal were reduced by around 7 mcm/d on March 4, creating an extremely tight supply situation.

Serge Mozadila, energy market analyst at LG Energy group, said earlier this month: "With storage levels extremely low and supply from Norway falling from 70 mcm to 50 mcm, the system has become even more strained in the face of rising demand and more long positions as we struggle to meet demand with Rough outflows."

"A Brief History Of Money In Cyprus" As Gasoline "Runs" Are About To Be Unleashed

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Archived Version

Source: Zero Hedge

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:02

With money, or the lack thereof, a popular topic of discussion in Cyprus currently, we go straight to the source, the Central Bank of Cyprus, where in prose that can only be described as the definition of unintentionally prophetic irony, we read the following:

The historical development of money in Cyprus has followed the sometimes stormy and turbulent course of the island's political history. The various conquerors that ruled Cyprus throughout its history introduced their own monetary unit to the island. Hence, among other monetary units, the stater, the obol, Roman and Byzantine coins, the gross, the dinar, the cartzi, the para, the piastre and the pound have been used as the island's currency.

And now the Euro, although perhaps for not much longer.

One thing is certain: the Cypriot "conquerors" are not going down without a fight. First: the gasoline is about to be taken away from the people who dared to make Angela Merxes angry. Let's see how everyone likes walking for a change. From CyprusMail:

SOME petrol stations may have to close down as they do not have enough cash to pay for fuel shipments, the head of the stations' owners said yesterday.

''We may have to temporarily close some petrol stations because they have run out of cash. This creates great concerns to those in this profession,'' said the head of the petrol station owners' association, Stefanos Stefanou.

''Petrol stations pay for their fuel shipment only with cash and cash is running out,'' Stefanou added.

''There are some petrol stations that are still accepting credit cards today, but tomorrow no petrol station will do so,'' he said, asking consumers to take cash with them to carry out transactions.

Small shopkeepers' union, POVEK, issued an announcement yesterday saying that because fuel companies only supplied petrol stations on cash payments, customers also needed to pay with cash at their end.

''Unfortunately there is no other solution for petrol station owners,'' POVEK said.

And just to assure there is not only a bank run (when/if the banks reopen) but a gas station run too, we get the following carefully coded line:

''There is no reason for people to rush to petrol stations to fill their tanks,'' POVEK said asking consumers to ''show understanding so we can all get through this hard time together''.

Naturally, there is nothing that will make a near-hysterical, cashless population scramble to the nearest gas station than being told "there is no reason to rush to fill their tanks."

Gasoline, of course, is just the beginning. Because if that fails to be the required incentive, the malevolent Cypriot "conquerors" will "turn off" the heat, electricity, food, and finally water, until the Cypriot slaves come begging the Troika to take their deposits just to put everything back as it was, no matter if it only lasts for a few more weeks or months before everything comes tumbling down.

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Russia, Turkey, EU and Israel scavenging Cypriot carcass: Could Cyprus banking crisis trigger a war?

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Archived Version

Source: newsweeds.com

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 22:20

March 22, 2013 News Eric Margolis writes: Realizing they will never be a world power, the Cypriots have decided to settle for being a world nuisance. ~ George Mikes, Hungarian writer

Cyprus is a big pain in the neck for one and all. Its banks are bust due to reckless lending to Greece. The sunny island is a beehive of tax evasion, money laundering, dodgy trade and espionage.

Now, the threatened bankruptcy of Cyprus has triggered the latest European financial crisis.

Russian businessmen and the Russian Mafia have some 30 billion euros stashed away in Cyprus. Russians make up the second largest biggest cohort of Greek Cyprus' 869,000 people. Some 260,000 ethnic Turks live in the isolated Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which no one but Turkey recognizes.

A 10 billion euro EU bailout is in the works. But the Germans, who will have to fund most of the rescue, are loathe to rescue the Russian mob, and who can blame them?

Read the original article here onSigns of the Times - Puppet Masters

WHY RUSSIA WOULD NOT SAVE CYPRUS

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Fri, 22 Mar 2013 11:34

Putin and Erdogan, firm friends.Russia wants to remain friends with Turkey, so, Russia would not save Turkey's 'enemy', Greek Cyprus.Russia rebuffs Cyprus, EU awaits bailout Plan B | Reuters

The Cyprus Bank Battle: The Long-planned Deposit Confiscation Scheme

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:20

''If these worries become really serious, . . . [s]mall savers will take their money out of banks and resort to household safes and a shotgun.'' '--Martin Hutchinson on the attempted EU raid on private deposits in Cyprus banks

The deposit confiscation scheme has long been in the making. US depositors could be next '...

On Tuesday, March 19, the national legislature of Cyprus overwhelmingly rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits as a condition for a European bailout. Reuters called it ''a stunning setback for the 17-nation currency bloc,'' but it was a stunning victory for democracy. As Reuters quoted one 65-year-old pensioner, ''The voice of the people was heard.''

The EU had warned that it would withhold '­Â10 billion in bailout loans, and the European Central Bank (ECB) had threatened to end emergency lending assistance for distressed Cypriot banks, unless depositors '' including small savers '' shared the cost of the rescue. In the deal rejected by the legislature, a one-time levy on depositors would be required in return for a bailout of the banking system. Deposits below '­Â100,000 would be subject to a 6.75% levy or ''haircut'', while those over '­Â100,000 would have been subject to a 9.99% ''fine.''

The move was bold, but the battle isn't over yet. The EU has now given Cyprus until Monday to raise the billions of euros it needs to clinch an international bailout or face the threatened collapse of its financial system and likely exit from the euro currency zone.

The Long-planned Confiscation Scheme

The deal pushed by the ''troika'' '' the EU, ECB and IMF '' has been characterized as a one-off event devised as an emergency measure in this one extreme case. But the confiscation plan has long been in the making, and it isn't limited to Cyprus.

In a September 2011 article in the Bulletin of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand titled ''A Primer on Open Bank Resolution,'' Kevin Hoskin and Ian Woolford discussed a very similar haircut plan that had been in the works, they said, since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The article referenced recommendations made in 2010 and 2011 by the Basel Committee of the Bank for International Settlements, the ''central bankers' central bank'' in Switzerland.

The purpose of the plan, called the Open Bank Resolution (OBR) , is to deal with bank failures when they have become so expensive that governments are no longer willing to bail out the lenders. The authors wrote that the primary objectives of OBR are to:

ensure that, as far as possible, any losses are ultimately borne by the bank's shareholders and creditors . . . .The spectrum of ''creditors'' is defined to include depositors:

At one end of the spectrum, there are large international financial institutions that invest in debt issued by the bank (commonly referred to as wholesale funding). At the other end of the spectrum, are customers with cheque and savings accounts and term deposits.

Most people would be surprised to learn that they are legally considered ''creditors'' of their banks rather than customers who have trusted the bank with their money for safekeeping, but that seems to be the case. According to Wikipedia:

In most legal systems, . . . the funds deposited are no longer the property of the customer. The funds become the property of the bank, and the customer in turn receives an asset called a deposit account (a checking or savings account). That deposit account is a liability of the bank on the bank's books and on its balance sheet. Because the bank is authorized by law to make loans up to a multiple of its reserves, the bank's reserves on hand to satisfy payment of deposit liabilities amounts to only a fraction of the total which the bank is obligated to pay in satisfaction of its demand deposits.

The bank gets the money. The depositor becomes only a creditor with an IOU. The bank is not required to keep the deposits available for withdrawal but can lend them out, keeping only a ''fraction'' on reserve, following accepted fractional reserve banking principles. When too many creditors come for their money at once, the result can be a run on the banks and bank failure.

The New Zealand OBR said the creditors had all enjoyed a return on their investments and had freely accepted the risk, but most people would be surprised to learn that too. What return do you get from a bank on a deposit account these days? And isn't your deposit protected against risk by FDIC deposit insurance?

Not anymore, apparently. As Martin Hutchinson observed in Money Morning, ''if governments can just seize deposits by means of a 'tax' then deposit insurance is worth absolutely zippo.''

The Real Profiteers Get Off Scot-Free

Felix Salmon wrote in Reuters of the Cyprus confiscation:

Meanwhile, people who deserve to lose money here, won't. If you lent money to Cyprus's banks by buying their debt rather than by depositing money, you will suffer no losses at all. And if you lent money to the insolvent Cypriot government, then you too will be paid off at 100 cents on the euro. . . .

The big winner here is the ECB, which has extended a lot of credit to dubiously-solvent Cypriot banks and which is taking no losses at all.

It is the ECB that can most afford to take the hit, because it has the power to print euros. It could simply create the money to bail out the Cyprus banks and take no loss at all. But imposing austerity on the people is apparently part of the plan. Salmon writes:

From a drily technocratic perspective, this move can be seen as simply being part of a standard Euro-austerity program: the EU wants tax hikes and spending cuts, and this is a kind of tax . . . .

The big losers are working-class Cypriots, whose elected government has proved powerless . . . . The Eurozone has always had a democratic deficit: monetary union was imposed by the elite on unthankful and unwilling citizens. Now the citizens are revolting: just look at Beppe Grillo.

But that was before the Cyprus government stood up for the depositors and refused to go along with the plan, in what will be a stunning victory for democracy if they can hold their ground.

It CAN Happen Here

Cyprus is a small island, of little apparent significance. But one day, the bold move of its legislators may be compared to the Battle of Marathon, the pivotal moment in European history when their Greek forebears fended off the Persians, allowing classical Greek civilization to flourish. The current battle on this tiny island has taken on global significance. If the technocrat bankers can push through their confiscation scheme there, precedent will be established for doing it elsewhere when bank bailouts become prohibitive for governments.

That situation could be looming even now in the United States. As Gretchen Morgenson warned in a recent article on the 307-page Senate report detailing last year's $6.2 billion trading fiasco at JPMorganChase: ''Be afraid.'' The report resoundingly disproves the premise that the Dodd-Frank legislation has made our system safe from the reckless banking activities that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. Writes Morgenson:

JPMorgan . . . Is the largest derivatives dealer in the world. Trillions of dollars in such instruments sit on its and other big banks' balance sheets. The ease with which the bank hid losses and fiddled with valuations should be a major concern to investors.

Pam Martens observed in a March 18th article that JPMorgan was gambling in the stock market with depositor funds. She writes, ''trading stocks with customers' savings deposits '' that truly has the ring of the excesses of 1929 . . . .''

The large institutional banks not only could fail; they are likely to fail. When the derivative scheme collapses and the US government refuses a bailout, JPMorgan could be giving its depositors' accounts sizeable ''haircuts'' along guidelines established by the BIS and Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Time for Some Public Sector Banks?

The bold moves of the Cypriots and such firebrand political activists as Italy's Grillo are not the only bulwarks against bankster confiscation. While the credit crisis is strangling the Western banking system, the BRIC countries '' Brazil, Russia, India and China '' have sailed through largely unscathed. According to a May 2010 article in The Economist, what has allowed them to escape are their strong and stable publicly-owned banks.

Professor Kurt von Mettenheim of the Sao Paulo Business School of Brazil writes, ''The credit policies of BRIC government banks help explain why these countries experienced shorter and milder economic downturns during 2007-2008.'' Government banks countered the effects of the financial crisis by providing counter-cyclical credit and greater client confidence.

Russia is an Eastern European country that weathered the credit crisis although being very close to the Eurozone. According to a March 2010 article in Forbes:

As in other countries, the [2008] crisis prompted the state to take on a greater role in the banking system. State-owned systemic banks . . . have been used to carry out anticrisis measures, such as driving growth in lending (however limited) and supporting private institutions.

In the 1998 Asian crisis, many Russians who had put all their savings in private banks lost everything; and the credit crisis of 2008 has reinforced their distrust of private banks. Russian businesses as well as individuals have turned to their government-owned banks as the more trustworthy alternative. As a result, state-owned banks are expected to continue dominating the Russian banking industry for the foreseeable future.

The entire Eurozone conundrum is unnecessary. It is the result of too little money in a system in which the money supply is fixed, and the Eurozone governments and their central banks cannot issue their own currencies. There are insufficient euros to pay principal plus interest in a pyramid scheme in which only the principal is injected by the banks that create money as ''bank credit'' on their books. A central bank with the power to issue money could remedy that systemic flaw, by injecting the liquidity needed to jumpstart the economy and turn back the tide of austerity choking the people.

The push to confiscate the savings of hard-working Cypriot citizens is a shot across the bow for every working person in the world, a wake-up call to the perils of a system in which tiny cadres of elites call the shots and the rest of us pay the price. When we finally pull back the veils of power to expose the men pulling the levers in an age-old game they devised, we will see that prosperity is indeed possible for all.

For more on the public bank solution and for details of the June 2013 Public Banking Institute conference in San Rafael, California, see here.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and the author of eleven books, includingWeb of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. Her websites are webofdebt.comand ellenbrown.com.

Aaaatlas Shrugged

The Fraudulent Marketplace Fairness Act by Glenn Jacobs

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 07:09

by Glenn Jacobsby Glenn JacobsPreviously by Glenn Jacobs: An Open Letter to Senator Lindsey Graham

The Internet is currently our best example of the free market at work. Since the government has not been able to capture the Internet under its thumb, the Net illustrates how well the market really functions when the government stays out of the way.

But have no fear. Control freak politicians never rest, and a few of the more dedicated ones are working relentlessly to slap chains on the world's most unfettered market. Of course, no exercise in the destruction of free markets would be complete without a rhetorical flourish of socialism's ostensible raison d'etre: fairness. Yes, something must be done to stop the free flow of information and commerce that is the Internet because it's not FAIR.

The Marketplace Fairness Act is being pushed by three US senators, Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, and Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican. What is the injustice that the Marketplace Fairness Act addresses? Under current US law, states are prohibited from forcing Internet retailers who have no physical presence within their borders to collect sales tax on Internet transactions. This policy gives Internet retailers an advantage over traditional brick-and-mortar retailers who must tack, in some cases, up to 10% onto transactions due to sales tax.

While it is obvious that on-line retailers do have a tax advantage in this particular area, politicians sure have a perverted sense of "fairness." After all, taxes are a creation of the government. Not all states impose sales taxes and sales tax rates vary among the states and sometimes even on different items within a particular state. So this has nothing to do with the market, but everything to do with government interventions in the market. If politicians were truly interested in fairness, they would eliminate coercive taxation from the marketplace altogether. Granted, US Senators have no power over state sales taxes (yet), but the Marketplace Fairness Act would make these taxes that much more inescapable. For Durbin, Enzi, and Alexander, the definition of fairness means that the iron fist of the government should crush all of us equally.

By giving state governments the power to tax Internet retailers, the Marketplace Fairness Act further undermines our already moribund system of federalism. One of the key components of federalism is competition between the states. The idea is that the better the state, the more attractive it will be to individuals and businesses. Folks have the ability to "vote with their feet" for the system of government and level of freedom that they prefer. Conceivably, if on-line retailers were capturing sales from brick-and-mortar retailers due to sales taxes, the brick-and-mortar retailers would pressure local officials to lower their tax rates to allow them to be more competitive or, if possible, move to states with lower tax rates. We see this happening all the time when consumers go across state lines to buy products that are cheaper in an adjacent state due to lower taxes there. The Internet represents another competitor for state governments in regard to commerce and taxes. Unfortunately, if there is one thing politicians won't tolerate, it's competition.

At the state level, the effort to tax Internet commerce is being led by Alexander's fellow Volunteer, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Haslam claims that the state of Tennessee is losing between $300 and $500 million a year on untaxed Internet sales. Haslam says, "it's not going to begin eroding the state's tax base; it already is. Something has to happen nationally...It has to be addressed on a national level or we're going to keep playing these kinds of move-around games." What's next, Governor Haslam? Would you support restrictions on individuals and businesses physically moving from higher tax jurisdictions such as California to lower tax jurisdictions such as Tennessee? Isn't that a "move-around game" as well?

In addition, Haslam's estimate of $300 to $500 million in lost tax revenue is problematic. If folks are forced to pay more for their purchases on the Internet, they will have less money to spend on other purchases. This means that they might not buy as much. Thus, tax revenues may drop in other areas. While tax-and-spend politicians like Haslam are always looking for ways to tighten the onerous net of taxation, they ignore the reality that the more burdensome the tax load becomes the less money they actually collect. Meanwhile, higher taxes further stifle and suffocate the economy. As the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises said, "capitalism breathes through those [tax] loopholes".

Likewise, many brick-and-mortar retailers may be surprised to find that taxing their Internet counterparts may not necessarily result in increased sales in their own stores. Again, higher taxes mean that consumers have less money to spend on other items. In some instances, consumers will pay higher prices for certain items, in other cases they will simply do without, wait for bargains, etc. Thus, higher revenues for all brick-and-mortar stores are not a guaranteed outcome of the Marketplace Fairness Act. Brick-and-mortar retailers should also realize that the Internet offers consumers more convenience and more choices than traditional shopping does. Put simply, the game has changed, and this controversy about taxes is just one aspect of this evolution.

Advocating higher taxes, even on your competition, ends up hurting everyone. But the people that are hurt the most are consumers, everyday working families. The Marketplace Fairness Act will end up forcing consumers to pay higher prices for the goods they desire. It will limit consumer choice. As with all tax programs, it will transfer resources from the productive sector of the economy to the parasitic sector, thereby inhibiting capital formation and investment. It will put shackles on one of the economy's fastest growing sectors, Internet commerce.

As the debt crisis caused by the spendthrift Congress intensifies, Congress will look for more ways to extract tax dollars from Americans. The Marketplace Fairness Act is particularly terrifying because Congress is insinuating itself into an area that has traditionally been left to state governments. Will a national retail sales tax be next? What about a value added tax? Or a "wealth" (property) tax? The Marketplace Fairness Act may be the camel pushing its nose under our tent.

Don't be fooled by its title, the Marketplace Fairness Act is anything but fair.

March 20, 2013

Glenn Jacobs [send him mail] is the actor and wrestlerKane. Visit his blog.

Copyright (C) 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

The Best of Glenn Jacobs

Bill Summary & Status - 113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - S.336

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NEW SEARCH | HOME | HELP{link: 'http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.113s336',title: 'THOMAS - Bill Summary and Status - S.336' }

S.336Latest Title: Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013Sponsor:Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] (introduced 2/14/2013) Cosponsors (26)Related Bills:H.R.684Latest Major Action: 2/14/2013 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

Belmont Club >> The History of the Future

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 07:29

Timmy went straight from the breakfast table to class. Class happened in a sphere 15 feet in diameter magnetically levitated above the floor in a room across from the den. As the holographic displays were activated the rest of his class appeared around him. He got up and walked over to Bob, the floor moving like a treadmill beneath him so that he could walk in any direction endlessly while the virtual images kept their relative positions in 4D (time correct) space.

Bob returned a game to Timmy. The game representation flickered momentarily in his virtual hand until the 3 TB of data steadied when the download had completed a tenth of a second later. The moving floor and the 360 holographic displays put Timmy in the center of an unlimited virtual world that he had long regarded as real.

Today's session was titled: Prelude to the Jovian Revolt. Suddenly the class was back in the early 21st century, a hundred years before, in a place that used to be called Manhattan. The people wore crude clothes of the era and carried ridiculously primitive communications devices which they talked into through input devices connected by wires. The voiceover said:

In 2014 people still identified themselves by 'nationalities' or by 'countries'. Nearly of the people shown walking through these scenes would have said ''I am this nationality''. But even then they were in the irreversible process of moving to subnational identities. Nearly everyone in this scene already carried plastic cards with embedded information which entitled them to do different things; drive cars or fly planes, admit them into certain places, allow them to walk out of a store with certain things. People were already operationally defined, not by national identity, but by their individual identity and status.

But not all the relevant information was imprinted on a card. The most important descriptor was not stored locally. It existed instead as poorly defined token that other people assigned to the individual. We now know this token as ''reputation''.

Only after the 30th Amendment, the so-called ''David Gregory'' Amendment did the concept of reputation become formal enshrined. The 30th Amendment, which repeals the Second, reads ''the right of the enlightened people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'' It establishes the primacy of the person over the law; of reputation over fact. It soon became actually impossible for persons of a high reputation to do a legal wrong. The 31st Amendment, sometimes called the ''Ta-Nehisi Coates Rejection amendment'' actually reads ''good people cannot be racist and their actions must be construed in accordance with their high moral standards''.

From then on the principle that ''it is not what a person does but who a person is'' gained legal momentum. Everywhere people began treating each other in a differentiated manner. Gun companies reserved the right to sell their goods only to selected sorts of people, some stores actually refused to sell weapons to persons who had voted for a President Obama.

By the same token individuals who belonged to certain races, sexual orientations, etc were accorded special privileges by the Obamites. To counter the 'clingers' the Obamites declared themselves born special and the anti-Obamites retaliated by classifying them as dirt.

What the law of the land said mattered less and less. What mattered more and more was which group you belonged to. The breaking point came when so-called illegal aliens were given more legal rights by the Obamites than the legal citizens of a given nation. From that time forward the central role of nationality as an identifier was doomed because it was clear it counted for nothing.

The class found itself walking through Mumbai, 2025. It looked much more modern than Manhattan. And then the scene shifted to public housing in Blackburn, Lancashire. The contrast between dark English speaking professionals and white European drunks collapsed in the walkways was illustrative. Those who were walking in Blackburn spoke in a barely recognizable, almost illiterate form of English. Those in Mumbai were clearly better educated and functional.

By the second quarter of the 21st century the distinction between the First and Third Worlds was nearly erased. Most research, production and distribution was performed on a largely individual basis. Companies were virtual. Since all workflows were virtual the actual physical location of persons invovled in a process was irrelevant. Remote manufacturing, design and automated logistical technologies made it possible to perform any role except manufacturing anywhere '-- even from an airliner flying across an ocean.

Parts in large and small sizes were made in a myriad locations and picked up by self-driving vans and combined into vast streams of goods which were aggregated and redistributed endlessly throughout the world. It was possible to be rich anywhere and also to be poor anywhere. Every community resembled every other in the sense that the dividing lines were between individuals rather than by national boundary.

Mumbai and England are shown here in the process of convergence. By 2040 there would be more educated English speakers in an average Indian town than in Britain, though after the welfare state collapsed in the former United Kingdom a period of of Reform took place (Britain became like the rest of the world) and the standard of wealth and individual education rose again.

By 2050 income and activity profiles across the world were remarkably flat. By then there was no net benefit to being British or Indian or Chinese. All that mattered was what you knew; where you ''were'' became an increasingly meaningless concept in a world of universal connectivity.

There only remained one problem. Who would perform the role formerly belonging to the State?

The class was now walking through a virtual Schipol Airport, 2030. A young man in blue jeans was pulling his travel bags towards the entrance. Suddenly dozen objects, no larger than crickets converged on him from all sides and detonated small shaped charges against his skull. He fell to the ground, smoke pouring from his eye sockets. A gold, ceremonial drone hopped on to him and spray painted on the corpse: ''enemy combatant, US citizen, list number 117.c.8

You have just witnessed actual scene of Drone Justice reconstructed from security 'video'. The person was killed in connection with an affair that historians are debating to this day. By 2025 jurisdictions were beginning to dissolve.

The dissolution of borders began is often reckoned from when Barack Obama asserted the right to punish anyone, anywhere for crimes that he alone knew.

What was not known until later was that other nations began asserting the same rights. A link from the old Internet shows how the same President Obama had tacitly granted immunity to the Chinese for committing crimes in what used to be America. ''President Barack Obama two years ago rejected a series of tough actions against China, including counter-cyber attacks and economic sanctions, for Beijing's aggressive campaign of cyber espionage against the U.S. government and private businesses networks, according to administration officials.''

It was reciprocal. Obama could kill people and China would remain silent, but other Presidents could do the same and he too would remain silent. And so it went. Washington would ''drone'' its enemies. The Chinese and the Russians and the Islamic power groups would contract assassins to do similar things. Each turned a blind eye to the other for so long as members of key elite groups were left off the list of targets.

By 2030 it was clear that there was no protection in mere citizenship '-- being 'American' or 'Canadian' meant nothing; it granted no protection. Even in 2015 people would no longer say, as they formerly did ''you can't do this to me! I'm an American! Or I'm British!'' No they would appeal to their individual status. They would say, ''I'm David Gregory or I'm Piers Morgan''.

In 2032 Jason Boyd established Boyd's of London to fill new need for governance services in the newly fragmented world. People stopped paying taxes to maintain militaries which would not defend them. Instead, they took out policies at Boyd's which guaranteed reprisal against any capricious act of violence directed against you. The way it worked is that if some killed you for an insufficient reason, the policy would fund a reprisal.

This curbed the capricious drone killings. By 2040, Boyd's was selling the Alpha policy which protected its holder from a unjustifiable murder hit even when ordered by a head of state. A contemporary ad states: ''even the Russian president respects Boyd's Alpha. Alpha: the only game in town.

All legal processes were now consensual between individuals and their reputation groups. All legal proceedings occurred through what was called the Arbitration. In the Arbitration, evidence was presented against a person and if it was credible and serious, he would be surrendered for punishment or made to perform restitution in exchange for a Reciprocity Coupon, which entitled that Rep Group to points in any Arbitration it brought against any other group.

The new governance in many ways resembled that of the Ottoman Empire. You belonged to a community. 'Country' was just a geographical descriptor.

The class is now walking through the near-modern world of 2085. Automated road trains ply the roads. People on physical errands rode self-driving vehicles. There was a lot of bustle, but not a lot of people on the streets. There are almost no signs of differentiating nationality to the scene. The place shown could have been Mumbai. It could also have been Blackburn, Lancashire.

The next scene pans upward to a time lapse depiction of a lunar city that appears to show it growing like an organism. This was the next revolution.

This is Moon Base Alpha, 2085: the first self-replicating city in the Solar System. Luna was chosen as a pilot site because of fears by GreenNation that the first commercial nano-construction could spin out of control, like a virus on earth. It was deemed safe enough to try on the moon. There, microprogrammed nanobots soon made anything out of anything. Whole streets, factories, homes, complexes '-- towers a mile high '-- rose directly from the the lunar dust or from material moved around through automated vehicles and handling systems.

Moon Base Alpha's demonstrated success brought a revolution in costs. Not only did it become unimaginably cheap to build anything out of anything, it tilted the costs of manufacturing from Earth to any place off-world. Once the costs of living and manufacturing in outer space depended only on the local availability, distance became a minor consideration in human expansion. The barriers to economic activity in the Solar System fell everywhere. And the biggest source of raw material was in planets, where cheap development was possible because it did not have to avoid for cultural sites, deal with human governments or build around pre-existing settlements of people, that was where the building happened.

Then followed the next big project, which as you all know, was the bulk carrier network on the low-energy gravitational pathways of the interplanetary superhighway. Today, more than four billion bulk carriers circulate along this gravitational highway which now plays a role analogous to the sea-routes of the 20th century.

Trade Routes

Which brings us to the subject of the Jovian Revolt. Within a few short years human activity had essentially escaped the power of bureaucratic control. By 2099, via the exponential potentialities of self-replication the output of offworld manufacturing exceeded for the first time the entire cumulative economic output of earth. Sensing a crisis, the United Nations attempted to impose what was known as Terran Sovereignty, the principle that all human outposts where ever they might be were ''indissolubly linked'' to the authority of the Human Race as represented by the United Nations and it's ''enlightened representatives''.

It was, depending on your point of view, either the last gasp of government or the beginning of the present conflict. You know how matters have stood since the colonies on Mars were destroyed. The most burning political question is now whether whether humanity can still move to a reconciliation or whether the off worlders because of the injuries endured have acquired the ''inalienable right to disappear into the heavens''; to hide as it were from those who would reimpose governance.

In 1776 a group of men on North America, earth, assumed the right ''to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them''. The current dilemma goes much deeper. The issue is whether individuals have the right to free themselves of the powers of the earth entirely and deal directly with God and nature.

Perhaps the most vocal proponents of the Right of Disappearance are the Jews, who are now secretively based in the Oort Cloud. After the historical Israel was destroyed in 2070 by the Caliphate it became an article of faith among the survivors that God's promise to them of a place flowing with milk and honey still stood; that while the Old Jerusalem had expired in radioactive rubble, a New Jerusalem, far greater than the first, was reserved for them.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Then the lights in the virtual room dimmed as class was dismissed. Timmy stepped out of the holosphere, and as was his wont, he climbed the stair to the upper cupola. And there above him, through the transparent panels, Saturn cast its soft glow upon his home. Timmy looked up a the vast, beautiful planet. And then he went down to lunch.

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Drone Nation

Concern Mounts Over Bloomberg's Remark That Security Drones Are Likely Coming

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Sun, 24 Mar 2013 00:54

Predator Drone (credit: General Atomics/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) '-- Some New Yorkers have expressed serious concern after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's remark that more security cameras, and even spy drones, will soon be chipping away at our personal space.

As CBS 2's Alice Gainer reported, if it feels like you are constantly being watched, that is because you probably are '' at least if you step outside onto city streets.

As it is, cameras are attached to light poles around city streets, in a constant reminder that someone is always watching.

Speaking on his weekly radio program, Bloomberg responded to a question about the possible domestic use of drones by the NYPD or another entity, calling it ''scary.''

''Everybody wants their privacy, but I don't know how you're going to maintain it,'' Bloomberg said. ''It's just we're going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different. And you can to some extent control, but you can't keep the tides from coming in.''

And what the tide may be bringing in is drones '' unmanned aircraft that can shoot live video.

''What's the difference whether the drones up in the air or in the building?'' Bloomberg said. ''I mean intellectually, I have trouble making a distinction.''

Drones are already in use by law enforcement in other cities. In Poland, a drone was spotted hovering a huge protest recently.

The drones can capture details such as faces and license plate numbers.

Back in Manhattan, the New York Civil Liberties Union has documented nearly 2,400 surveillance cameras, and said the idea of drones is a huge concern.

''It's disappointing that the mayor shows such disdain for the legitimate concern of New Yorkers about their privacy. None of us expects that we'll go unseen when we're out on the street, but we also have the right to expect that the government isn't making a permanent record,'' said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU.

People around New York are conflicted, with some voicing concern while others saying it was inevitable.

''What can you do? When you go online, Facebook, everybody's watching you. So what you gonna do, you have no choice,'' one man told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria.

''It's terrible, there's no privacy,'' said one woman.

''I don't want somebody watching me all the time and that's very big brother. But at the same time, the way the world is now, it's a safety issue,'' said Gary Timmons, of the West Side.

''There's a need for them. The world is changing and you have to change with it and protect your citizens,'' said Maria Costa of New Jersey.

As it is, the NYPD has integrated its cameras with many private businesses in a program known as the ''ring of steel.'' So for now, it looks like the only way to stay out of Big Brother's view is to stay inside.

What do you think about the possibility of security drones over New York City? Please leave your comments below'...

NYC Drones, get used to it

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March 23, 2013 News Get used to it.

On Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the people of his city to get over their rapidly dwindling privacy, the Daily News reports:

He acknowledged privacy concerns, but said ''you can't keep the tides from coming in.''

''You wait, in five years, the technology is getting better,

More'...

Read the original article here onDarkGovernment

Get Ready To Drone-Proof Your House : Discovery News

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 22:29

Tim Faucett, who owns APlus Mobile which makes mobile computer units that manage robots and unmanned aircraft vehicles for the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin, believes we'll need to protect ourselves from drones, and not just the ones being piloted by the military and government.

''There are going to be private drones, there's going to be commercial drones,'' he told Co.Exist's Zak Stone. ''Everybody's going to have access to a drone. And people are going to have good intentions with them, and people are going to have bad intentions with them.''

PHOTOS: Stealth Clothing Averts Government Snoopers

Don't think Faucett is some kind paranoid conspiracy theorist '-- his claims are credible. Drones are being employed domestically for surveillance and law enforcement.

However, Faucett thinks we should be concerned about those with ''bad intentions.'' That's why his startup Domestic Drone Countermeasures recently filed the first of nine patents for, as Stone put it, ''a system that will detect and disable drones before they have the chance to film their targets.''

Faucett was hesitant to reveal too many details about the system, but he did say it would be able to identify UAVs by their electromagnetic signature, alert the system owner and ''neutralize the drone's capability to see you with its camera.''

To debunk chatter circulating on the Internet that his system is some sort of weapon, Faucett was blunt.

BLOG: Eagle-Claw Drone Grabs Objects In Mid-Flight

''We don't interfere with the drones navigation in any way. We don't jam anything. We don't intercept anything'... . This is non-combative. That's really important,'' he said. ''We've taken great pains to design systems that aren't going to get shut down or be outlawed or become illegal.''

In fact, he even has a sense of humor about his system's video interference capabilities. ''The camera just won't be able to look at you. Actually, at some point, we can show the operator at the other end a little movie or something,'' he said, according to Stone, with a laugh.

NEWS: Drone Pilots May Need Distractions

Assuming the system operator would be able to choose the video, the possibilities are endless and beg the questions: What video would you choose to show intrusive drone pilots? Though it doesn't have to be a music video, I might go En Vogue's ''My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It). Or maybe a video of the NBA's All-Time Greatest blocked shots.

Faucett says his team may be able to get the system on the market in a matter months. Until then, keep your eyes peeled.

via Fast Company, Co. Exist

Israeli Army Uses Autonomous Cars to Patrol Borders

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:11

While it may take a few years for autonomous vehicles to change the way we travel, unmanned machines are already successful in some areas. Autonomous vehicles programmed to detect intruders, for example, guard some of Israel's borders. Since the start of the program in 2008, about eight to 10 autonomous cars have been patrolling Israeli borders. The cars are produced by a company called G-NIUS, while the computer system that operates them has been developed by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Funded by Israel's Ministry of Defense, the program actually saves soldiers' lives by removing them from dangerous areas.

According to Hugo Guterman, a researcher for the university, the computer system used by the cars is designed to act like two people '' one drives and the other looks around. The lowest level controls the car, turning the steering wheel, braking or accelerating. The medium level uses GPS to navigate the terrain and gathers information from the car's cameras and sensors. The highest level receives this data and then decides whether to stop and check something suspicious.

We don't know exactly what happens next, as Guterman didn't comment on whether the cars are fitted with weapons. Leaving this aside, it's worth noting that these cars are usually fully autonomous, running on their own after being programmed to patrol in a certain area. They only require help from remote operators when they run into unforeseen obstacles.

Most of the time, the autonomous vehicles patrol areas where nobody lives, and are not licensed to drive on roads with heavy traffic. Basically, these cars work similarly to Google's driverless cars, except they don't require a passenger to sit in at all times. Check out the video below to see them in action.

By Dan Mihalascu

Story References: Technewsdaily

Shut Up Slave!

Judge Tosses Law Requiring Subway Passengers To Give Police Their ID

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Sun, 24 Mar 2013 07:37

The entrance to the D, F, N, and Q trains. (Credit 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten.

Related tagsarrest, ID, identification, Michael Burkhart, New York City Transit, New York Civil Liberties Union, police, Steve Barry, Tickets, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak, Unauthorized PhotosNEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) '-- A federal judge this week threw out a New York City transit system rule that allowed police officers to demand identification documents from anyone riding the subway.

The ruling came following a lawsuit filed by two vintage train aficionados, who were stopped by police while taking photographs at the Broad Channel subway station in Queens.

In the Aug. 21, 2010 incident, Steve Barry, the editor of Railfan & Railroad Magazine, and his friend Michael Burkhart, were told by police that taking photographs in the subway system is forbidden '' which is not true, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Barry asked the officer to cite the city statute the men were violating, but instead, the officer demanded identification from both men, the NYCLU said. Barry gave his name and address, but did not give the officer any ID.

Judge Tosses Law Requiring Subway Passengers To Give Police Their ID1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten ...The officer then arrested both Barry and Burkhart, and held them in the subway station waiting area for about half an hour, the NYCLU said. Both men were handcuffed and searched.

Ultimately, the men received tickets for unauthorized photos, even though photography is actually permitted in the subway system, the NYCLU reported. The tickets were ultimately dismissed.

Barry was also ticketed for failing to comply with a Transit Authority rule to carry ID. That ticket was also later thrown out, but Barry and Burkhart were so upset about the situation that they quit coming to New York City to photograph the subway system, the NYCLU said.

U.S. Magistrate Cheryl Pollak ruled Friday that a rule requiring riders to provide any documents requested by police was ''unconstitutionally vague'' and encouraged ''arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.''

The NYCLU characterized the ruling as a triumph.

''This decision is a victory for the freedom of people to walk around free from showing their papers, a core American right,'' NYCLU Staff Attorney Mariko Hirose said in a news release. ''It's past time for the NYPD to learn about the Constitution and stop harassing and even arresting people for exercising their basic rights.''

A spokesman for New York City Transit said the agency was still reviewing the ruling late Friday.

Do you think the judge made the right decision? Please leave your comments below'...

(TM and (C) Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Twitter sued for $50 million for refusing to reveal anti-semites

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:44

In January, a French court ruled that Twitter must hand over the details of people who had tweeted racist and anti-semitic remarks, and set up a system that would alert the police to any further such posts as they happen. Twitter has ignored that ruling, and now the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF) is suing it for '­Â38.5 million ($49.96 million) for its failure.

The case revolves around a hashtag'--#unbonjuif ("a good Jew")'--which became the third-most popular on the site in October 2012. The UEJF took Twitter to court, demanding that those who had tweeted anti-semitic remarks using the hashtag be named by Twitter so the police could prosecute them for hate speech.

Twitter refused, arguing it was based in the United States and thus protected by the First Amendment's freedom of speech guarantees. A Parisian circuit court ruled against the social network, giving it two weeks to comply or face a fine of up to '­Â1,000 ($1,298) for each day it doesn't. The UEJF want considerably more than that, says its president, Jonathan Hayoun, because the site "is making itself an accomplice and offering a highway for racists and anti-Semites".

"Twitter is playing the indifference card in not respecting the decision of 24 January," he added, when speaking to AFP. If the UEFJ wins its case, it plans to donate the money to the Shoah Memorial Fund. Twitter has said it will appeal the decision. It deleted many of the offensive tweets in January after the earlier court ruling, but has so far held back on using its country withheld content feature to pre-filter potentially offensive content, as it does with neo-Nazi posts in Germany.

This post originally appeared on Wired UK.

Revealed: Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture centres

Exclusive: General David Petraeus and 'dirty wars' veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse

Elite$

EUobserver.com / Institutional Affairs / Ashton to leave EU foreign policy job next year

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Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:03

BRUSSELS - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said she will step down next year, noting that she is tired of all the travel.

Speaking at a debate in Brussels on Saturday (16 March) organised by the German Marshall Fund, a think tank, she said: "There's no possibility of having a second term and it [the post] needs to go to someone else next '... You lay the foundations, but there are people who can do things with this that probably I couldn't do. So, it would be good to hand it over."

She added that the job is physically taxing.

"It's quite hard and there's a lot of travel and a lot of sitting on planes. My dear friend Hilary Clinton [the US ex-secretary of state] and I talked about this a few times. It is exhausting at times," she said.

Ashton's mandate is due to end on 1 December 2014.

It is unclear what she meant by "no possibility" of staying on, as there is nothing in the EU treaty which says she could not be reappointed.

There is speculation that her successor could be Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen. But he says he has no interest in it.

Past candidates for the role, such as Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt, could also come back into the race.

But one EU diplomat warned the new foreign policy chief will be chosen as part of a "package" of EU top jobs designed to please big member states and political groups, not on personal merit.

The contact added that with so much time to go before December 2014, it would be "inadvisable" for any candidate to come out now.

Ashton said her main legacy will be the creation of the European External Action Service as an institution.

She said she did it at a tricky time, referring to the EU financial crisis and to the Arab Spring, and that it was hard to combine institution-building with diplomacy.

"I've often described it as trying to fly a plane when you are building the wings at the same time," she noted.

Bashed in the past on a range of issues - poor management skills, chaotic planning of foreign ministers' meetings, lack of courage and charisma - one EU diplomat told EUobserver that her early announcement on stepping down is itself a mistake.

"I think it weakens her. I think it was unnecessary," the contact noted.

But for her part, Ashton said she has grown a thick skin. "It's not about the criticism. I've had enough of that. I'm not worried about that anymore," she noted.

She acknowledged there are limitations to how much EU countries really want to co-operate on foreign policy, especially in military matters.

"These are national [military] services and the decision to deploy and put people in harm's way are national sovereign decisions," she said.

But she denied the European Commission has tried to undermine her work in order to defend its turf.

"He [commission head Jose Manuel Barroso] has always been hugely supportive," she said.

"Why would he be jealous? Blimey. No. I don't think he's jealous at all. I think he really wants this to succeed," she added.

Van Rompuy to quit politics in 2014 : Voice of Russia

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Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:01

The issue of underage sex abuse in the Catholic Church is one that the new Pope, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is expected to address and deal with. How he plans to do this is something many want to know. Despite being hailed as a man who stands with the poor backing his own nation, Pope Francis, as he is now known, has had a controversial past with regards to pedophilia.

Chiners in Burma

PedoBear

Police probe sexual assault claims of girl at Stanbridge Earls special school, Hants

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Sun, 24 Mar 2013 07:41

23 Mar 2013 21:00Sex abuse probe at £39,000-a-year Stanbridge Earls School in rural Hampshire which specialises in teaching pupils with learning difficulties

An independent special school where Ministry of Defence families send their children is at the Ðcentre of a sex abuse probe, the Sunday People has revealed.

Grade II listed Stanbridge Earls School in rural Hampshire has been a favourite of the Ðmilitary for decades and takes boarders aged ten to 19.

The school specialises in teaching pupils with learning difficulties like dyslexia and dyscalculia and charges between £27,000 and £39,000 a year.

It lies in idyllic countryside, with Tudor buildings, lakes, and acres of land But the tranquil setting has been shattered by allegations that staff covered up sexual assault among pupils.

The school was taken off the MOD's approved list in January, following a devasting tribunal report documenting serious sexual assault.

The Sunday People can reveal that Hampshire Police have now set up an investigation called Operation Flamborough to probe the allegations.

Detectives are understood to be investigating at least two incidents of alleged sexual abuse by pupils on two girls. Schools watchdog OFSTED, the General Medical Council and the Crown Prosecution Service are also conducting inquiries.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal found serious flaws in Ðmanagement and procedures at the school in January.

Staff were aware of this but failed to report it or follow Ðproper procedures. A girl who claimed she was sexually abused was represented at the tribunal by solicitor Melinda Nettleton. Mrs Nettleton said: ''There has been a systematic problem at the school and staff have failed to recognise that. There appears to have been no understanding of the Ðseriousness of what has happened.''

The tribunal awarded costs of £85,000 to the girl's family.

Its damning report found the school had failed to protect one of its most vulnerable pupils and she had been discriminated against after she was excluded following the allegation.

The school claimed she had breached rules prohibiting Ðengagement in sexual activity.

But the tribunal found Ðsystems put in place to make sure pupils were looked after had been ''unsystematic, unprofessional, ad hoc and completely Ðinadequate'' It said senior staff, including the head, deputy head, head of care, nurse and doctor, failed to properly respond to the girl's accusations.

Head Peter Trythall was accused of conduct ''bordering on contempt for statutory duties''. The report said he claimed he was ''unaware'' that non-consensual sex was rape. He later claimed his comments were taken out of context.

The girl, 15 at the time and now 17, suffers from autism and has the social skills of a seven-year-old. She was said to have been groomed with sexually explicit texts before being abused by an older boy.

She complained to staff of ''pain down below''. They Ðdiscovered a genital injury and the girl told them she had had a sexual encounter. No one from the school told her mother and father.

The allegations came to light in July 2011, when the girl returned from school at the end of term and told her mother she had been raped. Solicitors for the parents obtained the girl's medical records from the school. They confirmed she had shown sexual injuries during a medical examination.

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, raised the matter in Parliament and demanded talks on measures to improve the situation at the school.

Labour MP Tom Watson vowed to raise the safety of Ðpupils at the school with Education Secretary Michael Gove. He said: ''I am calling on Michael Gove to Ðurgently Ðexamine the Ðsafeguarding issues that Ðsurround the school.

''The investigation needs to be thorough and should be given all the resources it needs. It is clear from the tribunal Ðreport there have been a number of Ðserious failures by Ðindividuals and agencies - and they must be urgently Ðaddressed. Everything possible needs to be done to make sure what happened to this young girl can never happen again.''

The school expressed ''deep regret'' for failing the pupil. It said staff had been working to improve safety and had put a plan in place, with an external expert overseeing changes.

''It added: ''The case that gave rise to the tribunal was Ðdistressing, complicated and unusual. It was in no way Ðillustrative of the way the school normally meets the needs of its pupils. The school has Ðconsistently been rated outstanding.''

A police spokesman said: ''We are conducting a Ðcomprehensive review into previous allegations involving Stanbridge Earls School in Romsey.

''We are in contact with the families of the two girls who previously made allegations of abuse and are updating them with the progress of the review. The review is ongoing.''

Cyber War$

Federal Register | The Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council

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Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:33

Quarterly Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council Membership Update.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the establishment of the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) in a Federal Register Notice (71 FR 14930-14933) dated March 24, 2006, which identified the purpose of CIPAC, as well as its membership. This notice provides: (i) Quarterly CIPAC membership updates; (ii) instructions on how the public can obtain the CIPAC membership roster and other information on the council; and (iii) information on recently completed CIPAC meetings.

Larry May, Designated Federal Officer, Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council, Sector Outreach and Programs Division, Office of Infrastructure Protection, National Protection and Programs Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane, Mail Stop 0607, Arlington, VA 20598-0607; by telephone: (703) 603-5070; or via email at: CIPAC@dhs.gov. Responsible DHS Official: Larry May, Designated Federal Officer for the CIPAC.

Purpose and Activity: The CIPAC facilitates interaction between government officials and representatives of the community of owners and/or operators for each of the critical infrastructure sectors defined by Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 21 and identified in the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. The scope of activities covered by the CIPAC includes planning; coordinating among government and critical infrastructure owner and operator security partners; implementing security program initiatives; conducting operational activities related to critical infrastructure protection security measures, incident response, recovery, and infrastructure resilience; reconstituting critical infrastructure assets and systems for both manmade as well as naturally occurring events; and sharing threat, vulnerability, risk mitigation, and infrastructure continuity information.

Organizational Structure: CIPAC members are organized into 16 critical infrastructure sectors. Each of these sectors has a government coordinating council (GCC) whose membership includes (i) a lead Federal agency that is defined as the Sector-Specific Agency; (ii) all relevant Federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial government agencies (or their representative bodies) whose mission interests also involve the scope of the CIPAC activates for that particular sector; and (iii) a sector coordinating council (SCC) whose membership includes critical infrastructure owners and/or operators or their representative trade associations.

CIPAC Membership: CIPAC Membership may include:

(i) Critical Infrastructure owner and/or operator members of their respective sector's DHS-recognized Sector Coordinating Council, including their representative trade or equivalent organizations as determined by the sector;

(ii) Federal, state, local, and tribal governmental entities comprising the members of the GCC for each sector, including their representative trade or equivalent organizations.

CIPAC membership is organizational. Multiple individuals may participate in CIPAC activities on behalf of a member as long as member representatives are not Federally registered lobbyists.

CIPAC Membership Roster and Council Information: The current roster of CIPAC members is published on the CIPAC Web site (http://www.dhs.gov/cipac) and is updated as the CIPAC membership changes. Members of the public may visit the CIPAC Web site at any time to view current CIPAC membership as well as the current and historic list of CIPAC meetings and agendas.

Dated: March 8, 2013.

Larry May,

Designated Federal Officer for the CIPAC.

[FR Doc. 2013-06298 Filed 3-18-13; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 9110-9P-P

Council Members, Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council | Homeland Security

======================================

Cyberwar Manual Lays Down Rules for Online Attacks

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Wed, 20 Mar 2013 21:03

LONDON -- Even cyberwar has rules, and one group of experts is putting out a manual to prove it.

Their handbook, due to be published later this week, applies the practice of international law to the world of electronic warfare in an effort to show how hospitals, civilians and neutral nations can be protected in an information-age fight.

"Everyone was seeing the Internet as the `Wild, Wild West,'" U.S. Naval War College Professor Michael Schmitt, the manual's editor, said in an interview before its official release. "What they had forgotten is that international law applies to cyberweapons like it applies to any other weapons."

The Tallinn Manual -- named for the Estonian capital where it was compiled -- was created at the behest of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, a NATO think tank. It takes existing rules on battlefield behavior, such as the 1868 St. Petersburg Declaration and the 1949 Geneva Convention, to the Internet, occasionally in unexpected ways.

Marco Roscini, who teaches international law at London's University of Westminster, described the manual as a first-of-its-kind attempt to show that the laws of war -- some of which date back to the 19th century -- were flexible enough to accommodate the new realities of online conflict.

The 282-page handbook has no official standing, but Roscini predicted that it would be an important reference as military lawyers across the world increasingly grapple with what to do about electronic attacks.

"I'm sure it will be quite influential," he said.

The manual's central premise is that war doesn't stop being war just because it happens online. Hacking a dam's controls to release its reservoir into a river valley can have the same effect as breaching it with explosives, its authors argue.

Legally speaking, a cyberattack that sparks a fire at a military base is indistinguishable from an attack that uses an incendiary shell.

The humanitarian protections don't disappear online either. Medical computers get the same protection that brick-and-mortar hospitals do. The personal data related to prisoners of war has to be kept safe in the same way that the prisoners themselves are -- for example by having the information stored separately from military servers that might be subject to attack.

Cyberwar can lead to cyberwar crimes, the manual warned. Launching an attack from a neutral nation's computer network is forbidden in much the same way that hostile armies aren't allowed to march through a neutral country's territory. Shutting down the Internet in an occupied area in retaliation for a rebel cyberattack could fall afoul of international prohibitions on collective punishment.

The experts behind the manual -- two dozen officers, academics, and researchers drawn mainly from NATO states -- didn't always agree on how traditional rules applied in a cyberwar.

Self-defense was a thorny issue. International law generally allows nations to strike first if they spot enemy soldiers about to pour across the border, but how could that be applied to a world in which attacks can happen at the click of a mouse?

Other aspects of international law seemed obsolete -- or at least in need of an upgrade -- in the electronic context.

Soldiers are generally supposed to wear uniforms and carry their arms openly, for example, but what relevance could such a requirement have when they are hacking into distant targets from air-conditioned office buildings?

The law also forbids attacks on "civilian objects," but the authors were divided as to whether the word "object" could be interpreted to mean "data." So that may leave a legal loophole for a military attack that erases valuable civilian data, such as a nation's voter registration records.

---

Online:

The Tallinn Manual: http://www.ccdcoe.org/249.html

(C) Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Internet scanned for security holes

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Source: BBC News - Technology

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 07:58

21 March 2013Last updated at07:34 ETA surreptitious scan of the entire internet has revealed millions of printers, webcams and set-top boxes protected only by default passwords.

An anonymous researcher used more than 420,000 of these insecure devices to test the security and responsiveness of other gadgets, in a nine-month survey.

Using custom-written code, they sent out more than four trillion messages.

The net's current addressing scheme accommodates about 4.2 billion devices. Only 1.3 billion addresses responded.

The number of addresses responding was a surprise as the pool of addresses for that scheme has run dry. As a result, the net is currently going through a transition to a new scheme that has a vastly larger pool of addresses available.

The scan found half a million printers, more than one million webcams and lots of other devices, including set-top boxes and modems, that still used the password installed in the factory, letting almost anyone take over that piece of hardware. Often the password was an easy to guess word such as "root" or "admin".

"Whenever you think, 'That shouldn't be on the internet, but will probably be found a few times,' it's there a few hundred thousand times," wrote the un-named researcher in a paper documenting their work.

HD Moore, who carried out a similar survey in 2012, told the Ars Technica news website the results looked "pretty accurate".

He added he had seen malicious hackers exploiting the security failings of these devices to run criminal networks known as botnets that are used to send out spam, mount phishing attacks and bombard websites with deluges of data.

Killing hackers is justified in cyber warfare, says NATO-commissioned report.

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Archived Version

Source: TheCandyman's news feed

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 07:48

A landmark document created at the request of NATO has proposed a set of rules for how international cyberwarfare should be conducted. Written by 20 experts in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the US Cyber Command, the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare analyzes the rules of conventional war and applies them to state-sponsored cyberattacks.

Unsurprisingly, the manual advises that attacks must avoid targets such as hospitals, dams, and nuclear power stations in order to minimize civilian casualties, but also makes some bold statements regarding retaliatory conduct. According to the manual's authors, it's acceptable to retaliate against cyberattacks with traditional weapons when a state can prove the attack lead to death or severe property damage. It also says that hackers who perpetrate attacks are legitimate targets for a counterstrike.

"There's plenty of law that applies to cyberspace."

Project leader Professor Michael Schmitt, the Chairman of the International Law Department at the United States Naval War College, tells The Guardian that countries "can only use force when you reach the level of armed conflict," explaining that in most cases the appropriate response to a cyberattack would be digital retaliation. "Everyone talks about cyberspace as though it's the wild west," says Schmitt, "we discovered that there's plenty of law that applies to cyberspace."

CCD COE - The Tallinn Manual

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Archived Version

Thu, 21 Mar 2013 04:16

The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, written at the invitation of the Centre by an independent'International Group of Experts', is the result of a three-year effort to examine how extant international law norms apply to this 'new' form of warfare. The Tallinn Manual pays particular attention to the jus ad bellum, the international law governing the resort to force by States as an instrument of their national policy, and the jus in bello, the international law regulating the conduct of armed conflict (also labelled the law of war, the law of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law). Related bodies of international law, such as the law of State responsibility and the law of the sea, are dealt within the context of these topics.

The Tallinn Manual is not an official document, but instead an expression of opinions of a group of independent experts acting solely in their personal capacity. It does not represent the views of the Centre, our Sponsoring Nations, or NATO. It is also not meant to reflect NATO doctrine. Nor does it reflect the position of any organization or State represented by observers.

The Tallinn Manual is available in both paper and electronic copies from Cambridge University Press ((C) Cambridge University Press 2013). We have also made the book available for reading and research below.

We also recommend reading Professor Michael N. Schmitt's article "International Law in Cyberspace: The Koh Speech and Tallinn Manual Juxtaposed", published in the Harvard International Law Journal.

Open publication - Free publishing - More cyber

BTC

U.S. Applies New Money Laundering Rules to Bitcoin, Defeating Its Purpose

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Sat, 23 Mar 2013 22:40

What's This?

Glen Tickle

for Geekosystem 2013-03-23 10:50:11 -0500Using Bitcoin to launder all the cash from your illegal dealings just got a little harder. The United States Treasury Department just enacted new rules to regulate Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, making it subject to the same level of scrutiny as other forms of currency. That's bad news for anyone looking to launder money using Bitcoin, but it could be good news for proponents of virtual currency for legitimate purposes.

The new rules will see Bitcoin regulated like Western Union.

The new rules will see Bitcoin regulated like Western Union. Little is expected to change for individuals trading in Bitcoins, but businesses will be required to keep more detailed records of the transactions. There will also now be a rule that any transactions over $10,000 must be reported.

The measures are aimed at stopping illegal activity like money laundering done with virtual currency. But as Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik points out, "I think it's inevitable that just like you have U.S. dollars used by thieves and criminals, it's sadly inevitable you will have criminals use a virtual currency. We want to work with authorities."

Just because some criminals use Bitcoin, does not mean it's a criminal empire. Although the new rules should make it harder to use things like Bitcoin for illicit activity, having the Treasury department regulating it should make supporters of virtual currency happy to see that it's getting a level legitimacy it didn't have before.

From all indications, what the real supporters of Bitcoin want more than anything is for the currency to be taken seriously.

[via The Wall Street Journal; image via Flickr, zcopley]

This article originally published at Geekosystem here

Topics: Bitcoin, U.S. government, U.S., US & World, virtual currency, WorldGeekosystem is a Mashable publishing partner that aims to unite all the tribes of geekdom under one common banner. This article is reprinted with the publisher's permission.

Eurozone Turning to Bitcoins

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Source: Dave says...

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 11:57

Fearful Spaniards worried of government confiscation of their savings are converting their money'--not just from one currency to another, but from paper to digital.

Many Spaniards have of late joined a growing number of digital-currency investors buying into a 4-year old online currency known as Bitcoins. Since they are spending euros to buy these Bitcoins, they are effectively converting euros into this digital cyber-currency.

What has prompted so many Spaniards to exchange their Euros for Bitcoins? AnswersBloomberg, ''The interest in Bitcoin coincided with news that the Cyprus government planned to tax savings accounts as part of the country's bailout program.''

Bloomberg Businessweekamplifies, ''Fearing contagion on the other end of the Mediterranean, some Spaniards are apparently looking for cover in an experimental digital currency.''

The reason so many people'--usually the younger, hipper, thumb-your-nose-at-society crowd'--have turned to Bitcoins is for security and protection. They feel that since Bitcoins are not owned by any government, they cannot be confiscated nor suffer the steady erosion of value as paper currencies. So take that, you thieving government officials.

Yes, well, perhaps it is other thieves who will now be taking their money instead. The problem with these new trustees of your money is that no one really knows who they are. It is like protecting your sack of money from your landlord by handing it to a masked and cloaked figure lurking in the shadows of your back-alley.

Here's why. If you search the web for information on Bitcoins, you will be hard-pressed to find a clear explanation of what it is or how it works. One description of this digital monetary system is copied and pasted about, and regularly referred to. So let's go there, and sure enough'... it is an anonymous source. Namely, Wikipedia.

The explanation begins, ''Bitcoin (sign: BTC) is a decentralized digital currency based on an open-source, peer-to-peer internet protocol. It was introduced by a pseudonymous developer named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009.''

Alrighty-then. Right off the bat we find ourselves in a shadowy alley facing some sort of figure whose shape we think we can sort of define, kind of. The key words that unnerve me here are ''decentralized'', ''peer-to-peer'', and ''introduced by a developer''. Never mind that no one knows who he is, if that isn't disquieting enough. What we have here is a currency that was invented by a computer programmer.

So, now, what is all this ''decentralized'' and ''peer-to-peer'' stuff all about? Wikipedia answers:

''Bitcoin does not operate like typical currencies: it has no central bank and it solely relies on an internet-based peer-to-peer network. The money supply is automated, limited, divided and scheduled, and given to servers or 'bitcoin miners' that verify bitcoin transactions and add them to an archived transaction log every 10 minutes.''

Hmmm..'... What?

It seems the only clear information we get out of that is that Bitcoins are not issued by a central bank, hence the previous label ''decentralized''. That it ''solely relies on an internet-based peer-to-peer network'', therefore, implies that all this ''money'' is simply floating around out in cyberspace, moving from one computer user to another.

As Bloombergexplains it, ''Bitcoin removes financial institutions completely from transactions, allowing users to conduct two-party exchanges over the Internet without a middleman.''

And yet, despite its being considered ''decentralized'''--(which means ''to reorganize [disperse] '... into smaller more autonomous units'' - Dictionary.com)'--there does seem to be some sort of mechanism controlling it, which is alluded to by, ''The money supply is automated, limited, divided and scheduled, and given to servers or 'bitcoin miners' that verify bitcoin transactions.''

And just who or what controls this automation, division, scheduling and distribution to 'bitcoin miners'? Well, no one really knows. Except, of course, for that cloaked figure in the dark alley who goes by the pseudonym ''Satoshi Nakamoto''.

And what of these ''bitcoin miners''? Apparently, you can ''mine'' bitcoin, kind of like mining gold out of the ground. Fair enough. Gold is considered a currency of sorts, and many companies, even individuals, are allowed to mine gold out of the ground, effectively mining their own money.

The only difference with mining bitcoins, as explained by Beginner's Guide to Mining Bitcoins is that ''Bitcoins are awarded in blocks, usually 50 at a time, and unless you get extremely lucky, you will not be getting any of those coins. In a pool [of multiple users connecting their computers together], you are given smaller and easier algorithms to solve and all of your combined work will make you more likely to solve the bigger algorithm and earn Bitcoins that are spread out throughout the pool based on your contribution.''

So you can generate your own Bitcoin money by solving algorithms. Yup, that confirms it. The system was designed by a computer programmer. And he's managed to turn it into something of a game, too.

The interesting thing about this currency-generating game is that you have to spend real money, such as dollars, euros, etc., to buy software, computer equipment, subscriptions to clubs or pools, and who knows what else. And for all the ''contribution'' you are putting into it, all you ever really generate is digital coins, while the other parties that sell you all these products and services are generating real money from you.

Stay on top of the hottest investment ideas before they hit Wall Street. Sign up for the Wealth Daily newsletter below. You'll also get our free report, Surviving the Coming Economic Collapse by resident expert Greg McCoach.Overlooking this game-like creation of new money in the system, what if someone simply wants to use Bitcoins as a safer store of value than their national currency, such as has been happening in Spain and other European countries lately?

Bloomberg describes just what level of safety there is in Bitcoins:

''The downside is it's a currency that has experienced price fluctuations, occasional hacking and account thefts, and is a favorite for black-market transactions, including almost 2 million a month in illegal online drug purchases at the Silk Road marketplace.''

''Experienced'' price fluctuations? It's more like ''plagued by'' price fluctuations. Consider the following graph showing the Bitcoin's relative value to the USD as expressed in US dollars (blue line).

Source: Business Insider

Are you kidding me? This is the currency that people are turning to for safety? In just the last 22 months, the value of 1 Bitcoin went from U.S. $1, spiking to almost U.S. $30 in a month, falling to U.S. $3 in 5 months, then up to the low teens within a year, and spiking again from U.S. $13 to $40 (300%) in the last 6 weeks. Not to mention the very recent 12.5% from $40 to $35 in just one day.

If someone asks if gold or other major currencies have not done the same thing, the answer is no, they have not been nearly this volatile. The value of commodities and national currencies is governed by policy, business activity, revenues and expenses, supply and demand, and reserves.

Bitcoin, though, being tied to nothing physical at all, is tied to the only thing remaining'--emotion. It is the purest form of barter there could ever be, where people determine its value simply by their own idea of value. And this is all too often skewed to extremes in times of emotional crisis and panic.

And even though you might think, ''Well, at least the government doesn't have a hand in it,'' consider that it is nothing more than a computer program. Some humans somewhere do have their hands in it. And who is to say what those hands are capable of doing to your holdings?

Indeed, it is not volatility alone that holders of a currency should concern themselves with. It is standardization, regulation, and backing that one needs to look for in a money.

Imagine this'... You purchase a car from a large, well-known leading manufacturer. One day you hear in the news that a certain part in your car's model and year has a design flaw and your vehicle is being recalled.

Are you suddenly going to swear off of automobiles designed by all auto manufacturers and join a club of ''build-it-yourself'' auto enthusiasts to purchase a car built by them? Just some go-cart type machine with no doors or bumpers, no windscreen or roof, no safety-belts or airbags, no insulated wiring, and definitely no warranty?

Sure, the professionally built auto you owned had a flaw in it. But is this new ''automobile'' you have now purchased better? Does it even come close to what you had before? If one automobile make and model is giving you problems, there are other professionally designed and built makes and models to choose from.

The national currencies in use today have been in development for hundreds of years. Throughout this time countless regulations, policies, laws, and acts have been introduced, removed, or adjusted. It has been one very long road of continuous refinement.

Would you really now consider turning to a fresh new currency that is currently at the beginning of its road? How many years does a currency need to wait before a short-coming or major flaw is discovered and rectified through the passing of a new regulation or act?

Even if this 4-year-old Bitcoin currency really does endure for decades and truly does grow into a bonafide system earning a respect equal to the USD or British Pound, how many growing pains and regulatory fixes will it have to go through before getting to that point? Are you willing to bank on something like that?

Maybe these back-yard hobbyists really are onto something with their hip and cool new invention. But are you really going to buy one of their go-carts and drive it on the street? Are you really going to entrust your well-being to it?

As Bloomberg summarized, ''That some Europeans are investing savings in Bitcoin isn't exactly a sign of confidence in European banking.''

I wouldn't shame European governments or banking institutions for the recent surge of interest in Bitcoins. I would simply attribute it to the current fascination with anything cyber and an adventurous-zeal for anything new and innovative that breaks with tradition.

Money is only as secure as the institutions that are backing it. If one is worried that their nation's institutions are not strong enough to protect their money, perhaps they might be better off turning to a currency who's institutions are stronger, instead of turning to the currency of an ambiguous, abstract, cyber-spaced entity with no institution governing it, no reserves backing it, and no commonly understood rules or regulations defining it.

*This opinion is entirely mine and does not reflect the view of my publisher. Nor should you defer your right to formulate your own opinions according to your own judgement and values. '' These comments mine.

Joseph Cafariello

Media / Interview Requests? Click Here.

Bitcoins now accepted at the Natural News Store

(NaturalNews) The Natural News Store is now accepting bitcoin payments for all orders. Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer, "revolutionary" electronic currency that bypasses central banks and government controls. All transactions are (virtually) free, and bitcoin money can be freely sent or received globally, from any country, with no regulations or restrictions.

What is bitcoin? It's fully explained at

"Given the erosion of fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, we wanted to give our customers an option to pay with something more honest than Federal Reserve notes," said Mike Adams, editor of NaturalNews.com and health freedom activist. "Bitcoin allows customers to purchase survival foods, superfoods and everything else at the Natural News Store without their purchases being tracked or surveiled by government entities."

Syria

Ghassan Hitto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Archived Version

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:48

Ghassan Hitto (Arabic: ¯¼¯"¯¤ôº ô½ôɯ»ô'Ú; born 1963) is the Prime Minister of an interim government established by the Syrian oppositionNational Coalition.[1] Born in Damascus into a Kurdish family, he left Syria to the U.S. in 1980, became a naturalized American citizen and worked as an information technology executive and lived in Texas until recently. In late 2012, he relocated in Turkey[2] He was elected prime minister on 18 March 2013 by a narrow margin over former Syrian Arab Republic agricultural minister Assad Mustafa.[3]

[edit]EducationHitto graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in 1989 with degrees in mathematics and computer science.[4][5] He also received an M.B.A. at Indiana Wesleyan University in 1994.[2][4]

[edit]CareerHitto is a former businessman who has lived in the United States for decades, most recently in Murphy, Texas.[1][6] Before joining the opposition, he worked with Inovar, an electronics firm, from 2001 to 2012.[4]

Hitto is married to Suzanne Hitto, a American schoolteacher; they have four children, all born in the United States.[3] He has worked in the technology sector and supported the private school Brighter Horizons Academy[7] founded in 1989 by the Islamic Services Foundation (ISF).[8] He is also a founding member of the Muslim Legal Fund of America[9] created after the 11 September 2001 to give legal aid to Muslims .

Hitto received 39 of 45 votes cast for the premiership. However, the BBC states that he received 35 of 48 votes.[10] Following his election, at least 12 key members of the SNC have suspended their membership partly as a result of Hitto's election on a majority vote instead of a consensus vote.[11]

[edit]ReferencesPersondataNameHitto, GhassanAlternative namesShort descriptionSyrian businessman, politicianDate of birth1963Place of birthDamascus, SyriaDate of deathPlace of death

Only legitimate leader of the Syrian people lived in Texas last 30 years

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Source: The View From Falling Downs

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:47

The so-called Syrian opposition took another step into irrelevance this week by electing as its leader a US citizen who left Syria thirty years ago.Ghassan Hitto has no track record of anti-Assad activism and is a total unknown inside Syria. The Syrian National Coalition elected him for one reason; he has the CIA stamp of approval.

That the SNC is fundamentally a CIA creation should be more than obvious by now. The interesting story that will play out in the months ahead is how this US puppet will manage relations with the Jabhat al Nusra elements who are actually doing the fighting in the country.

Not that the al-Qaeda affiliated radicals are any more a legitimate "Syrian" opposition than the SNC. Most of their fighters hail from outside the country too. And they have the backing of US allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

That fact too raises some interesting questions. How is it possible that the US spends hundreds of billions fighting al-Qaeda around the world, but her supposed allies are busy arming and funding al-Qaeda in Syria?

Obama Nation

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

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Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 15:51

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2013

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2013

Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Three years ago today, I signed into law the principle that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick. The Affordable Care Act will give hard-working, middle class families the health care security they deserve and protect every American from the worst insurance company abuses. Already, millions of seniors are saving $600 a year on their prescription drugs. Millions of young people have been able to stay on their family's health plan until age 26. Preventive care, like mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors, is covered free of charge. Most importantly, for the sake of our fiscal future, the growth of health care costs is beginning to slow. In fact, last year, Medicaid costs fell for the first time in decades.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men. And soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma. Later this year, millions of Americans will finally have the opportunity to buy the same kind of health care Members of Congress give themselves. Beginning in October, you'll be able to sign up for new private health care plans through a new health insurance marketplace where private plans will compete to save middle class families money. Through these marketplaces, Americans and small business owners will be able to choose from a menu of health plans that fit their budget and provide quality coverage they can count on when they need it most. If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you cannot afford a plan, you or your small business may get financial assistance to make it affordable.

There's more work to do to implement this law, and I look forward to working with leaders of both parties to help Americans save money on health care and extend the security of coverage to every family.

Huffing

Vaccine$

BBC News - Drug-resistant pandemic swine flu 'community risk'

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Archived Version

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 09:59

18 March 2013Last updated at12:04 ETBy Michelle RobertsHealth editor, BBC News onlineAustralian experts are concerned about the threat of a new type of drug-resistant pandemic flu that is circulating in the population at large.

The swine flu strain has learned how to dodge the antiviral Tamiflu and, though rare, is emerging outside of hospitals.

The team who have studied it say the virus is "fitter" than other drug-resistant strains and the world should be on alert for outbreaks.

UK experts say they have seen a handful of similar cases.

The UK's Health Protection Agency said it would be closely monitoring the situation.

The Australian investigators presented their findings at a meeting on major infectious diseases.

Continue reading the main storyH1N1 caused a swine flu pandemic (an extensive outbreak in many countries) in 2009 infecting a fifth of the populationMany people now have some immunity to H1N1 as a result of this exposureVaccines are available that can stop H1N1 infectionsSome people - the sick, elderly, young infants and pregnant women - are at particular risk of complications of they catch H1N1Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu can lessen the severity of symptoms in those who catch H1N1Experts at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases heard how the 'H1N1pdm09' swine flu virus is still sensitive to another antiviral drug Relenza (zanamivir).

But Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is now powerless against the strain that has been found in people in the community rather than sick patients with serious underlying conditions and weak immune systems.

Vaccines can prevent infection occurring in the first place.

Lead investigator Dr Aeron Hurt, from the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, said: "The greatest concern is that these resistant viruses could spread globally, similar to that seen in 2008 when the former seasonal H1N1 virus developed oseltamivir resistance and spread worldwide in less than 12 months."

The new strain that they have been examining is emerging among people who have never been treated with Tamiflu, suggesting it is very good at spreading from person to person.

Dr Hurt says animal studies by his team confirm this.

Although the Tamiflu-resistant strain is still relatively rare, affecting about 2% of people with swine flu in the Australian population that they studied, Dr Hurt is concerned that it has the potential to turn global.

Similar resistant strains have been detected in Europe but at this stage only on an ad hoc basis, says Dr Hurt.

"The widespread transmission and circulation of oseltamivir-resistant H1N1pdm09 viruses remains a risk in the future.

"Close monitoring of resistant viruses in both treated and community patients remains important."

Pandemic potentialIn the UK, the HPA has recorded eight cases of oseltamivir-resistant H1N1pdm09 in the community setting.

The HPA's head of flu surveillance Dr Richard Pebody said: "While the frequency of oseltamivir resistance in community settings has increased slightly since the 2009-10 pandemic from 1-2% in the 2012/13 flu season, rates of detection remain low."

Swine flu (H1N1) infected a fifth of people during the first year of the pandemic in 2009, data suggest.

It is thought the virus killed 200,000 people globally.

Although the pandemic has been declared by officials as over, the virus is still circulating.

During the pandemic, the H1N1 virus crowded out other influenza viruses to become the dominant virus. This is no longer the case. Many countries are reporting a mix of influenza viruses.

Despite evidence, parents' fears of HPV vaccine grow | Reuters

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Archived Version

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 09:55

March 19 | Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:09pm EDT

March 19 (Reuters) - More parents of teen girls not yet fully vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which protects against cervical cancer, are intending to forgo the shots altogether - a trend driven by vaccine safety concerns, according to a U.S. report.

Researchers, whose findings appeared in Pediatrics, found that about three-quarters of girls ages 13 to 17 were not up to date on their HPV vaccine series in 2010.

And the proportion of parents of those girls who said they didn't plan to get their daughters the rest - or any - of their HPV shots rose from 30 percent to 44 percent.

"These are wonderful vaccines which are preventing severe diseases," said study leader Paul Darden from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

"HPV is the first vaccine that will prevent cancer, which is a tremendous health benefit."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children, both boys and girls, receive three HPV shots as preteens.

"There were a lot of very sensationalized anecdotal reports of (girls) having bad reactions to the vaccine," said pediatrician and vaccine researcher Amanda Dempsey from the University of Colorado, Denver.

"Safety concerns have always risen to the top of the pile, in terms of being one of the main reasons people don't get vaccinated, which is unfortunate because this is one of the most well-studied vaccines in terms of safety and is extremely safe," added Dempsey, who wasn't involved in the new study.

Darden and his team got their data from a national immunization survey that involved phone calls to almost 100,000 parents.

They found that from 2008 to 2010, the percentage of teens who were up to date on their Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), MCB4 (meningococcal) and HPV had all risen slightly.

But aside from the fact that a majority of girls were not up to date on their HPV shots in 2010, the researchers also found that the proportion of parents of those girls who said they didn't plan to get their daughters the rest - or any - of their HPV shots rose from 30 percent to 44 percent.

At the same time, the proportion who cited safety concerns as their reason for abstaining from getting the HPV vaccine increased from less than five percent to 16 percent.

For all three vaccines covered in the survey, the other reasons parents gave for skipping their teenagers' shots included not thinking they were necessary, not having had a specific vaccine recommended by a doctor and, for the HPV vaccine, believing that ther child was not sexually active.

Dempsey said past research has suggested that although more girls are being vaccinated against HPV, vaccine rates haven't increased as quickly as for other shots.

Parents shouldn't rely on the media or Internet to learn about vaccines, Dempsey said, since it's hard to tell what information is legitimate.

"If they have questions or concerns, they should trust their provider to give them accurate information about the vaccine," he added.

Darden reports having been a consultant for Pfizer, and one of his co-authors is on a safety monitoring board for vaccine studies funded by Merck, which makes Gardasil, one of the HPV vaccines. SOURCE: bit.ly/cxXOG (Reporting from New York by Genevra Pittman at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

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VIDEO

Concern Mounts Over Bloomberg's Remark That Security Drones Are Likely Coming

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Sun, 24 Mar 2013 00:54

Predator Drone (credit: General Atomics/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) '-- Some New Yorkers have expressed serious concern after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's remark that more security cameras, and even spy drones, will soon be chipping away at our personal space.

As CBS 2's Alice Gainer reported, if it feels like you are constantly being watched, that is because you probably are '' at least if you step outside onto city streets.

As it is, cameras are attached to light poles around city streets, in a constant reminder that someone is always watching.

Speaking on his weekly radio program, Bloomberg responded to a question about the possible domestic use of drones by the NYPD or another entity, calling it ''scary.''

''Everybody wants their privacy, but I don't know how you're going to maintain it,'' Bloomberg said. ''It's just we're going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different. And you can to some extent control, but you can't keep the tides from coming in.''

And what the tide may be bringing in is drones '' unmanned aircraft that can shoot live video.

''What's the difference whether the drones up in the air or in the building?'' Bloomberg said. ''I mean intellectually, I have trouble making a distinction.''

Drones are already in use by law enforcement in other cities. In Poland, a drone was spotted hovering a huge protest recently.

The drones can capture details such as faces and license plate numbers.

Back in Manhattan, the New York Civil Liberties Union has documented nearly 2,400 surveillance cameras, and said the idea of drones is a huge concern.

''It's disappointing that the mayor shows such disdain for the legitimate concern of New Yorkers about their privacy. None of us expects that we'll go unseen when we're out on the street, but we also have the right to expect that the government isn't making a permanent record,'' said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU.

People around New York are conflicted, with some voicing concern while others saying it was inevitable.

''What can you do? When you go online, Facebook, everybody's watching you. So what you gonna do, you have no choice,'' one man told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria.

''It's terrible, there's no privacy,'' said one woman.

''I don't want somebody watching me all the time and that's very big brother. But at the same time, the way the world is now, it's a safety issue,'' said Gary Timmons, of the West Side.

''There's a need for them. The world is changing and you have to change with it and protect your citizens,'' said Maria Costa of New Jersey.

As it is, the NYPD has integrated its cameras with many private businesses in a program known as the ''ring of steel.'' So for now, it looks like the only way to stay out of Big Brother's view is to stay inside.

What do you think about the possibility of security drones over New York City? Please leave your comments below'...

Weekly Address: Helping Protect Our Kids by Reducing Gun Violence | The White House

Biden & Bloomberg Team Up To Use Sandy Hook Parents As Props In Their Push For More Gun Control

Maher Calls Americans 'Morons' Moments Before Blaming Senate Weapons Ban Failure on Gerrymandering

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Source: MRCTV - News & Politics

Sat, 23 Mar 2013 15:50

MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them -- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.

MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 325 South Patrick Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2013, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

Prosecutor Suggest Death Penalty For Punxsutawney Phil

14 Year Old Straight A Student Dies From Huffing Compressed Air

State Of Emergency Declared In Burma After 20 Killed In Violent Clashes Between Buddhist & Muslims

Merkel Warns Cyprus "Don't Try Our Patience!"

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