Click here to show or hide the menubar.

Eradicate Misery

A picture named NA-582-Art-SM.jpg

Direct [link] to the mp3 file

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 582.nashownotes.com

Sign Up for the newsletter

New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

RSS Podcast Feed

Get the No Agenda News App for your iPhone and iPad

Torrents of each episode via BitLove

New! BitTorrent Sync the No Agenda Show

NA-582-Art-BIG

Art By: Comic Strip Blogger

See All The Art in the Generator

Eradicate Misery

Executive Producers: David Daniels, Arch Duke Sir David Foley, Sir Wire of the Hidden Jewel, Baron James Spitzer, Robert Randall

Associate Executive Producers: Kickass Pixels, Jamie Lucca, John Dunn, Peter McConnell, Jeffrey Yerkey, Sir Joseph Frost, Berry Kroeger

582 Club Members: David Daniels

Become a member of the 583 Club, support the show here

Knighthoods: Christopher Di Biase

Art By: Comic Strip Blogger

ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 582.nashownotes.com

Sign Up for the newsletter

New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com

The No Agenda News Network- noagendanewsnetwork.com

RSS Podcast Feed

Get the No Agenda News App for your iPhone and iPad

Torrents of each episode via BitLove

New! BitTorrent Sync the No Agenda Show

Search

Turkey

------------------------------------------------

Thousands protest corruption in Turkey

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT Newsfeed

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 04:11

At least 20,000 demonstrators have taken to the streets of Turkey's capital Ankara in protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, which has been rocked by a vast corruption probe.

The government also signalled it may back down on a contentious bid to curb the judges' powers as fierce scuffles erupted in a parliament commission ahead of a second round of debate over the draft bill.

As Erdogan arrived home on Saturday after a week-long tour to Asia, the protesters gathered at Ankara's major Sihhiye Square, chanting "revolution will clean this filth" and "they are thieves".

Some protesters were also handing out fake dollars with Erdogan's photo on them.

The corruption scandal implicating close allies of Erdogan has rattled his government to its core, and poses the biggest challenge to his 11-year rule.

It erupted on December 17, when several public figures, including high-profile businessmen and the sons of three ministers, were detained over allegations of bribery for construction projects as well as illicit money transfers to sanctions-hit Iran.

Forced into a major cabinet reshuffle after the three ministers resigned, the prime minister has responded angrily to the probe, calling it a "dirty plot" to discredit his government.

He repositioned hundreds of police chiefs in a major purge and has moved to curb the powers of the judiciary.

Cleric blamed

Erdogan's government, in power since 2002, has accused loyalists of US-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose movement wields influence in the police and judiciary, of instigating the corruption probe.

Lami Ozgen, one of the protest leaders, said the scandal shed light on the true face of both the government and the Gulen movement.

We are no way trusting the obsessive behaviour of the judiciary

Pro-government daily Sabah

"The crisis has made it known to the public how those who abuse religion and faith, are fond of wealth, luxury and splendour, how they worship money and how they see bribery as their direction to Mecca," Ozgen said.

Gulen was a major supporter of Erdogan's ruling AKP party when it first came to power in 2002.

But the two have parted ways after the government moved to shut down a network of private schools run by the movement.

Turkey's justice minister said the government may abandon a reform package which would give it more powers over the appointment of judges and prosecutors.

"If political party groups come together and reach a consensus, the proposal could be halted," local media quoted Bekir Bozdag as saying.

Escalating tensions

The AKP moved to tighten its grip over the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, which was slapped down by the top judicial body itself as unconstitutional and sparked criticism from the United States and the European Union.

Scuffles broke out ahead of a second round of debate on the proposals in parliament's justice commission on Saturday, with local media reporting that politicians threw punches, water bottles and an iPad.

Opposition parties demand that the AKP abandon the bill but Bozdag earlier said the proposed reforms would not be withdrawn.

Erdogan has lashed out at a "judicial coup", accusing prosecutors running the case of plotting to undermine him and his government.

"Why is the judiciary doing this? They have no reason other than treason," pro-government Sabah daily quoted him saying.

"We are no way trusting the obsessive behaviour of the judiciary".

The escalating tensions have also revealed the rivalry between Erdogan and his former ally President Abdullah Gul ahead of presidential elections in August.

Gul, who is expected either to be re-elected or be the next prime minister should Erdogan become president, has so far adopted a conciliatory approach toward the crisis and commentators say he will be in a dilemma if the controversial bill comes his way.

639

What you should know about Turkey's AKP-Gulen conflict - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 13:34

Protesters demonstrate against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and demand that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan resign because of the corruption investigation in Ankara, Dec. 18, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Author: Mustafa Akyol Posted January 3, 2014

The political tension, if not ''war,'' between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Islamic community led by Fethullah Gulen, is currently the hottest topic in Turkey. Most foreigners, however, have a hard time understanding the exact nature of this peculiar battle, which is even too confusing for Turks themselves. Here are some basic guidelines to understanding the conflict.

Summary'Ž Print The recent AKP-Gulen split in Turkey has surprised many in the country and turned old allies into enemies.Are they not all conservative Sunni Muslims?

Yes, they are. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic scholar Gulen and both their followers are pious Muslims who come from Turkey's mainstream Sunni (Hanafi) Islam. No wonder they used to be allies against Turkey's authoritarian secularists. No wonder they both use religious references these days in their arguments.

There are some differences though. The core of the AKP comes from the ''National View'' (Milli Gorus) tradition, which can be best defined as Turkey's version of political Islam with anti-Western and pan-Islamic tones. Although the AKP explicitly abandoned this ideology during its founding more than a decade ago, most observers think Erdogan is gradually reverting back to the ''National View'' in the past few years.

The Gulen movement, however, comes from the tradition of Islamic scholar Said Nursi (1878-1960), who focused on faith and morality rather than politics, and whose followers generally shied away from political Islam. Hence, Gulen's followers never voted for Gorus and opted for center-right parties. Some scholars have thus defined the Gulen movement as ''cultural Islam'' as opposed to political Islam.

Why are they in conflict?

Had the Gulen movement been limited only to cultural Islam, this current tension would be limited. Most observers agree that the movement in fact has its own version of a political effort: aiming for members to obtain jobs within the judiciary and the police. Apparently, this began back in the '70s as an effort to transform a hostile state '-- Turkey's draconian secular regime '-- by gradually joining its ranks. Since it has been a covert task, it has always been a matter of speculation and a source for conspiracy theories.

When the AKP came to power in 2002 and soon found itself targeted by the old secular guard, the Gulen followers within the police and the judiciary emerged as a natural ally. Thus Erdogan, it is often said, empowered these fellow conservatives against their secularist rivals. However, once the old establishment was decisively defeated, sometime around 2010 to 2011, disagreements emerged between the AKP and the Gulen movement. The first breaking point was the so-called ''MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organization) crisis.''

In February 2012, MIT head Hakan Fidan, a confidant of Erdogan, was called by an Istanbul prosecutor to testify as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). This was, as The New York Times then reported, ''the latest round in a power struggle between the country's security forces and its intelligence agency.'' It was also widely interpreted as a power struggle between pro-Gulen police/judiciary and the AKP. Since then, Erdogan's supporters complain of a ''parallel state'' within the state, which allegedly acts according its own internal hierarchy and uses state power for its own purposes.

Why did things escalate in the past two months?

Since the ''MIT crisis'' of February 2012, the AKP-Gulen movement relations have been silently sour. But in mid-November 2013, all hell broke lose when Erdogan planned to close down ''prep schools,'' or weekend courses that prepare high school students for university exams. Since about a quarter of these schools are operated by the Gulen movement, and are a source of both finance and recruitment, the movement perceived this move as an attack. The pro-Gulen media opposed the government's ''attack on private enterprise.'' The government responded with harsh statements, and the war of words was soon declared an ''open war.''

This battle between ''an increasingly authoritarian political leadership and its ever more nervous rival,'' as described by Al-Monitor columnist Yasemin Congar, took a new turn on Dec. 16, when Hakan Sukur, a football star turned parliamentarian, resigned from the AKP. Sukur, who heavily criticized the government upon resignation, is a proud follower of Gulen, and his entry into the parliament in 2011 was seen as a sign of a marriage between the movement and the party. His resignation signaled a divorce.

The next morning, the real bomb went off: Zekeriya Oz, an Istanbul prosecutor who is widely believed to be a member of the Gulen movement, initiated an early morning raid on dozens of individuals, including the sons of three ministers, an AKP mayor, businessmen and bureaucrats. Millions of dollars stacked in shoeboxes were exposed to the press, underlining that this is the greatest corruption scandal in recent Turkish history. Over eight days, the four ministers who were accused resigned. One of them, Erdogan Bayraktar, shocked the country by saying Erdogan should resign too.

Since the beginning of this corruption probe, two opposing narratives are competing. The pro-AKP camp openly blames the Gulen movement, or at least its ''parallel state,'' of trying to bring down the AKP government through the corruption probe. In their eyes, this is a ''coup effort'' by seemingly legal means. The pro-Gulen media and some others, in return, blame the government for trying to hide its widespread corruption by resorting to conspiracy theories and blocking the judiciary's right to investigate the government.

How are Iran and Israel involved?

At the heart of the corruption scandal is Turkey's gold-for-oil trade with Iran. According to the claims, Turkey made this deal in order to bypass US-EU sanctions on Iran, and Turkish state-owned Halkbank acted as the main agent of the money transfer, in a complex web explained well in Al-Monitor. No wonder one of the suspects in custody is Suleyman Aslan, CEO of Halkbank, in whose home millions of dollars were allegedly found in the now-famous shoeboxes. Another prominent suspect is Riza Sarraf, a wealthy Iranian businessman who deals with gold and was originally named Reza Zarrab. He is accused of having given bribes to prominent politicians.

In response, the pro-AKP media imply that the covert trade with Iran was merely for Turkish national interests, and the money in personal homes would be used for charitable purposes such as building schools. Moreover, according to the same media, the real culprit behind this ''coup'' effort is Israel. The reasoning is that the biggest enemy of Iran, and Iranian-Turkish ties, is Israel and its US lobby, so these powers must be behind the corruption probe. The fact that the Gulen movement has carefully avoided joining the anti-Israeli sentiment within Turkey's Islamic circles (including Gulen's much discussed opposition to the Gaza Flotilla of 2010) is taken as evidence for the Israeli conspiracy. Pro-AKP media are full of articles these days that depict the Gulen movement as the fifth column or the Trojan Horse of ''Zionism.''

Who do 'the liberals' support?

Well, it depends. Many liberals had tired with the AKP long before, or at least during, the Gezi Park protests of last summer. So, most of these liberals support the corruption probe, and thus appear to be in a political alliance with the Gulen movement. There are other liberals, however, who still support the AKP based on the importance they attach to the peace process between the government and the PKK. This second group of liberals is also quite suspicious about the ''parallel state'' '-- a euphemism for the Gulen movement in the judiciary and police '-- and warns about its hawkish and ''anti-peace'' stance with regard to the PKK.

Meanwhile, most other Islamic groups (none of them as big and prominent as the Gulen movement) are united behind Erdogan. Secularists are in shock and are weeping for what happened to the secular republic at the hands of two opposing Islamic cliques.

Who will win?

Only God knows. Plus, it is hard to tell what ''winning'' means. The Gulen movement is not a political party, and there is no other political party that it will be totally comfortable with. That is why some speculate that the movement is not anti-AKP but merely anti-Erdogan, and that it hopes for a post-Erdogan and less assertive AKP.

Whoever wins, the victory can only be Pyrrhic. If Erdogan crushes the Gulen movement by any means, as some speculate these days, he will lose many votes and further diminish his democratic credentials. If the Gulen movement wins, it will only be proclaiming that it has a lot of power within the state, which will harm its reputation of being a moderate expression of ''cultural Islam.'' Meanwhile, Turkey's political and economic stability will suffer, not to mention its rule of law and societal peace.

This is a war without any winners, in other words. But aren't those wars precisely the ones that are fought most passionately?

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/akp-gulen-conflict-guide.html

THE PERIMETER PRIMATE: The Gulen Movement in Azerbaijan & a quid pro quo?

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 20:25

It requires an ongoing effort to even minimally understand the Gulen movement, the secretive and controversial religious group which operates the largest charter school network in the United States. Details about this group's structure, recruitment and control of members, were recently presented by Fuad Aliyev in ''The Gulen Movement in Azerbaijan'' (12/27/2012). His article appeared in Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, a publication of the Hudson Institute's Center on Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World. Aliyev is a Fulbright Scholar at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.Azerbaijanis the largest country in the Caucasus, a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia[see maps below]. It has enormous energy reserves, including one of the largest natural gas fields in the world, the Shah Deniz II. Only discovered in 1999, this field will be the origin point for the Nabucco gas pipeline, a project being planned that will bring the first gas ever from the Caspian Sea basin to Europe, via Turkey.Construction has not yet commenced, but if built, the Nabucco pipeline will be one of the largest engineering projects in the world. Some estimates say it will be operational by 2017. The Nabucco will join the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, an oil pipeline from Azerbaijan to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean, a project that was first proposed in 1992 and completed in 2005.The Gulen movementopened its first school inAzerbaijan in 1992. This was firstschool it opened outside of Turkey (see this article about its 20th anniversary from a Gulenist news source).The movement had expanded intoAzerbaijanimmediately after independence was attained in 1991 as a result of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. As Aliyev wrote, ''Since the arrival of the [Gulen movement] in Azerbaijan, it has made a targeted effort to recruit the children of the country's elite into their education institutions.'' It has beenreported that the offspring of many influential Azerbaijani officials are attending these schools.Given the timing and other indicators, something to ponder is if interests in these newish energy sources in which Turkey is an integral player might have some bearing on our government's unique relationship with Fethullah Gulen and his increasingly powerful group of intensely business-oriented followers. Is this somehow tied to thegenerous funding continually being provided to the Gulen movement for itscharter school expansion? Is it tied tothe strange silence fromUS Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other members of our government about the fact that a secretive and controversial religious group from a foreign country is operating so many charter schools (none in 1998, two in 1999, and now 135)? Is our government enabling the Gulen charter school expansion as some sort of quid pro quo? There is an enormous amount of information which should be presented to the American public so that this large subject can be opened up for a much wider level of discussion.Excerpts from ''The Gulen Movement in Azerbaijan'' (12/27/2012).Of all the Sunni movements in Azerbaijan, the most influential is the Turkish Nurcular network that is now led by its dominant offshoot known widely as the ''G¼len'' or ''Hizmet'' movement. Named for its founder, the Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah G¼len, the movement is a faith-based educational network that is enormously well-resourced and highly active internationally, especially in the Turkic world that stretches from Turkey into Central Asia...In Azerbaijan, the G¼len movement has succeeded in reaching out to a diverse population, but especially to urban elites. It is different from other Islamic movements in that it promotes its religious teachings not through outright proselytization, but discreetly through its network of secular educational institutions, social media and business associations...... According to various experts, what makes the G¼len movement different from other Nurcular movements is its clear hierarchical structure, its strict internal discipline, the secrecy of its laws, its openness to capitalism and avowedly pro-business stance, and its focus on working through media associations and businesses to develop the movement...In Turkey, the G¼len movement, as with some other Nurcu movements, is a well-structured, hierarchical organization... Students are recruited and controlled at a local level by Nurcu abis (brothers) and by ablas (sisters). According to former members of this network, the movement possesses its own security service that is tasked with rooting out moles and agents of national intelligence and law enforcement services. The movement keeps a database of all its members, and the training of each new recruit emphasizes the need to exercise discretion in revealing their involvement with the G¼len network. Students are additionally instructed to respect and obey the network's leadership...The secrecy surrounding the movement has aroused considerable suspicion about its activities and ultimate goals. According to Mikhail Davidov, the movement's underground network operates as a sort of intelligence service that collects information on political, economic, confessional and other dynamics in the Turkic-speaking regions and countries where the movement is seeking to spread its influence. Moreover, it has been claimed that the G¼len network works surreptitiously to infiltrate communities and the governments of Turkey and the [Commonwealth of Independent States] and promote its adherents to positions of power and influence. Because of these and connected fears, the movement has been banned in Russia and Uzbekistan by notoriously anti-Islamic authorities who see it as a subversive threat. Other Central Asian regimes have also been extremely wary of the Hizmet presence. Azerbaijan, by contrast, has always been more open to the movement, and it is in this post-Soviet country where the network has arguably had its greatest success and impact to date...It should be noted that the movement's media outlets are not explicitly religious. In fact, it is difficult to tell the difference between them and other secular media with an unaided eye...The network in any given country is usually divided into three tiers or groups. The first group includes people who are closest to G¼len and the immediate circle of his most trusted and loyal followers. The second group includes those who work directly for the movement to achieve its larger objectives. The third group includes mainly sympathizers of the movement and they largely consist of journalists, business people, public officials, alumni of Hizmet schools, and friends. While this third grouping is not always formally a part of the network, the network does often mobilize it to pursue various ends...Since the arrival of the group in Azerbaijan, it has made a targeted effort to recruit the children of the country's elite into their education institutions. It has also sought to involve young individuals who are likely to become the country's future technocratic, business and political elite; they reportedly have enjoyed many successes in doing this...The secularist Azerbaijani media has fiercely criticized the Nurcu network for brainwashing youth. From time to time, the media will feature the ''confessions'' of former G¼len members that expose what life is like within the movement. The programs show how young people are recruited, manipulated and then subjected to the strict control of abis or ablas. According to various reports, the movement has tried to bring youngsters studying in their schools into the ishik evi or yurd houses, which are large communal apartments capable of accommodating more than fifteen students and 3 to 4 abis or ablas. In these houses, the elder brothers and sisters teach lessons on the fundamentals of Islam and the works of Said Nursi and Fethullah G¼len. Distinguished students get promoted to the level of agabeys, or elder brothers, and they are then expected to recruit other young people. In exchange for their obedience and commitment to the movement, media reports indicate that the students have all their financial and career problems solved. The network pays for their education, provides them with housing, and helps to find them a job in G¼len-affiliated companies or in un-affiliated companies where network members are present...... In the public's view, the question of whether the movement seeks integration with Azeri society or to transform from within according to a Turkish-Islamist agenda remains largely unanswered. Given the movement's historical flexibility and its extensive organizational structure in Azerbaijan, it could at least in principle and for the time being seek both ends.

Civilan Coup-Turkey-AK Party interference in judiciary 'tantamount to civilian coup' - Today's Zaman, your gateway to Turkish daily news

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 04:06

A debate about a civilian coup flared last week when Professor Mehmet Altan, an academic and writer, claimed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan had staged a civilian coup to cover up claims of corruption and bribery. According to the professor, the prime minister staged a coup by ignoring the principle of the separation of powers and preventing public prosecutors from carrying out the corruption investigation -- in other words, putting the judiciary under the control of the executive.

The sons of two former ministers are among 24 high-profile names, including some government officials and businesspeople, who were arrested in mid-December on corruption and bribery charges as part of the investigation.

When the corruption investigation erupted, the prime minister sought to discredit the investigation by calling it a ''foreign plot'' and ''an attempt to damage the government made by a parallel state nested within the state.'' He immediately ordered the removal of hundreds of police officers who contributed to the probe. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) initiated an investigation into four prosecutors involved in the corruption probe and two of the prosecutors were removed from the case. In addition, the government issued a proposal to restructure the HSYK. If adopted, the bill will give the government a tighter grip on the judiciary, according to legal experts.

Furthermore, in another incident in late December, a number of police officers who pursued and stopped a truck in the southern province of Hatay in early January on the suspicion that it was an arms shipment were removed from their duties. A prosecutor who wanted to search the truck was prevented from doing so and he subsequently handed the case over to another prosecutor in protest of the intervention in his investigation.

According to Altan, all those developments have precluded the judiciary and the police force from functioning independently. ''Turkey is being governed by a coup government that has openly been defying the Constitution since Dec. 17 [when the corruption investigation became public],'' he noted. He also said that members of the government will be tried some day for ''staging a coup in order to prevent the judiciary from functioning.''

Claims of a civilian coup also emerged in late December after the government made an overnight change in regulations governing ''judicial police'' -- law enforcement officers operating under the supervision of the judiciary. According to the amendment, police officers were required to report their activities to their superior officers within the police department and to other government officials in addition to the prosecutors that supervise them in criminal investigations. The amendment was harshly criticized by opposition parties and legal experts as it would prevent prosecutors and the police from conducting independent investigations. The Council of State overturned the amendment on Dec. 27.

A retired public prosecutor who served on the Supreme Court of Appeals, Ahmet G¼ndel, said that the government's plans to restructure the HSYK are part of a ''very important process'' that will lead to the country being controlled by a single power, namely the government. The prosecutor noted that unauthorized and unchecked control of the government over the country will bring with it ''major danger and risk,'' including the abolition of the principle of the separation of powers. ''If the executive seizes control of the judiciary and the legislative, this means that the greatest disaster has occurred,'' he added. The prosecutor was implying a government shift from a democratic system toward oligarchy.

G¼ndel also said he does not think that the opposition parties and civil society will remain silent in the face of the AK Party's plans to restructure the HSYK and allow the justice minister to dominate the board. ''But the [AK] party seems determined to pass the bill in Parliament despite protests. However, even if the bill is passed, this does not mean that everything is over,'' he said, and added that he expects the opposition parties to take the law to the Constitutional Court for annulment. ''I believe the Constitutional Court will show the necessary sensitivity when discussing whether or not to annul this law aimed at ending judicial independence,'' added the prosecutor.

The legislation forwarded to the parliament speaker's office by the AK Party last week allows the undersecretary of the justice minister to be elected as chairman of the HSYK. The bill also mandates that the board will no longer have the authority to pass decrees and circulars. Instead, the justice minister will be entitled to pass decrees and circulars on behalf of the HSYK. Furthermore, the board will be stripped of its authority to decide to launch investigations of HSYK members. This authority is again passed to the justice minister.

The bill has drawn the ire of legal experts and jurists amid mounting concerns over the gradual disappearance of the separation of judicial and executive powers and the ruling AK Party's firm position seeking to make the judiciary subservient to the government.

Engin Altay, parliamentary deputy chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said the prime minister is acting with a mindset of ''establishing his own dictatorship'' and becoming the ''single most powerful man'' in the country. According to Altay, the separation of powers stands on three separate legs and the planned changes to the HSYK structure are aimed at damaging one of these legs -- the judiciary. ''If one of these legs is damaged, the separation of powers will no longer work. And this will lead to the establishment of a new regime. This regime is called an oligarchy,'' he said, and added that the prime minister wants to govern Turkey on his own like an emperor.

Hasan Cemal, a prominent journalist, believes Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan established a ''civilian tutelage'' since the corruption investigation was revealed and he said that the government acts like a court of law and sought to discredit the investigation as an ''ugly plot'' against the AK Party. In a column he wrote on Dec. 27, Cemal said the prime minister wants people to close their eyes to his ''coup-like activities'' and focus instead on the activities of the Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah G¼len.

ErdoÄŸan may believe that the corruption investigation was orchestrated by a ''parallel state'' and a ''gang within the state,'' a veiled reference to the Hizmet movement. But according to Cemal, ErdoÄŸan's claims that the corruption investigation was orchestrated by the Hizmet movement insult the public's intelligence. ''[Prime minister], do not insult our intelligence any longer,'' he said.

------------------------------------------------

Abdullah Aymaz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:37

Abdullah Aymaz was born in K¼tahya, Turkey in 1949.[1] Once he finished his education in primary school Hacımahmut in his town.

He started living in Izmir and he visited Ä°zmir Ä°mam Hatip highschool. During his highschool time he had published written work in Gurbet magazine. He did his high education at Ä°zmir Y¼ksek Ä°slam Enstit¼s¼ and he worked as a teacher in both Turkish cities: Tire and Izmir.His career as a journalist as well as a writer started in 1988, as he started to work for the Turkish newspaper Zaman.[1]

Bibliography[edit]Sadık YarMeryem GibiSen Yusuf Musun?Yusuflar'aG¼n¼m¼z YusuflarınaEvrensel DilIşığın D¼ÅŸt¼ÄŸ¼ YerlerKardelenlerimizÅžifa ‡i§ekleriDiyalog Adımları‡itlembik 1 /N¼kteler‡itlembik-2 /N¼kteler‡itlembik-3 / Su Gibi Aziz‡itlembik-4 / Åžahit Olmaya Geldik Sahip Olmaya Geldik‡itlembik-5 / Dua Hazinesi‡itlembik-6 / Anadolu'nun En B¼y¼k SadakasıYaratılış ve DarwinizmLemaatM¼nazaratS¼nuhatBarla Lahikası 'zerineAyet¼l K¼bra 'zerineKastamonu Lahikası 'zerineEmirdaÄŸ Lahikası 'zerine-1EmirdaÄŸ Lahikası 'zerine-2Muhakemat 'zerine SadeleÅŸtirme ve A§Ä±klamaHutbe-i Åžamiye 'zerine SadeleÅŸtirme ve A§Ä±klamaCihetsiz Sesler (G¶ze Takılanlar - 1)Bakıp G¶remediklerimiz (G¶ze Takılanlar - 2)S¶z¼n ‡aÄŸrısı (G¶ze Takılanlar -3)S¶z Saati (G¶ze Takılanlar - 4)G¶ze Takılanlar / Makaleler ve Gezi Notları 1-2-3-4His work using his pen name: H¼seyin Bayram

Zeka Tomurcuklarına DamlalarHis work using his pen name: Safvet Senih

Dışa Yansıyan Ä°§ D¼nyamız (1-2)Duyduklarım G¶rd¼klerimHatıralar IşığındaKelimeler Armonisi–ze Ä°ÅŸleyen S¶zH¼cre DevletiHikmetGaybın HaberleriPeygamberlerKıssa-i MusaHızır ve DostlarıHızıri Adımlar / Uzakları Yakın EylemekÅž¼pheler 'zerineÄ°lim A§Ä±sından KaderYaratılış ve Kader–l¼m ve DiriliÅŸRuhlar ve –tesiKur'an ve Ä°limlerKur'an da Edebi VecheMira§ ÅžehsuvarıMercan MaÄŸaralarıHadislerin Işığında HadiselerHazinelerin Anahtarı BesmeleÄ°badetin GetirdikleriZilzal ve Dua / Y¼zyılın Felaketi Depreme Farklı Bir BakışReferences[edit]^ abhttp://arsiv.zaman.com.tr/argit2/ssayfa/yazar/biyografi1.htmPersondataNameAymaz, AbdullahAlternative namesShort descriptionWriterDate of birth1949Place of birthK¼tahya, TurkeyDate of deathPlace of death

A Brother's Vengeance: The Preacher Who Could Topple Erdogan - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 15:28

Turgut Keles loved his premier. He maintained his support of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan through early summer, when demonstrators in Istanbul were protesting the redevelopment of Gezi Park. When Erdogan held a rally for tens of thousands of supporters, Keles was in the first row.

But just half a year later, everything has changed. "Erdogan must go," the former fan now says, adding that the prime minister has "betrayed" millions of Turks. Keles long voted in favor of Erdogan's conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP). But his support of the party is exceeded by his admiration of Muslim preacher Fethullah G¼len, the leader of a powerful civic movement that is now at odds with Erdogan.

Keles attended a school founded by G¼len followers, and later studied at one of the movement's universities. The organization helped him find a job, he says. Today, Keles works for a construction company in Istanbul and remains a devoted follower. "Anyone who insults G¼len, insults me," he says.

For a long time, G¼len and Erdogan were allies. This fall, however, the prime minister announced that tutoring centers run by the G¼len movement would be shut down. Erdogan has accused the preacher's supporters of creating a "state within a state," and since then the two sides have been locked in a bitter power struggle. The conflict appears to confirm what many once dismissed as a conspiracy theory -- that in many cases the G¼len movement controls the police and justice system.

Just before Christmas, police arrested more than 50 suspects, among them high-ranking AKP members, business owners and the sons of three ministers. They are accused of accepting bribes and involvement with illegal oil deals with Iran.

Gareth Jenkens, a Turkey expert from the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, suspects that G¼len supporters are behind the investigations. "The movement wants to intimidate Erdogan. It is desperately trying to prevent the closure of its tutoring centers," he says.

A former justice minister with the AKP even says that one employee of the country's top court sought the preacher's advice before ruling on a case.

'Powerful Islamist Grouping'

Afraid of being watched, Keles looks into a cafe on an Istanbul side street. He's not actually authorized to speak about the G¼len movement, which is also why he doesn't want to use his real name. He wants to set one thing straight: It wasn't the movement, but Erdogan, who started the current conflict, he says. "He's behaving like a despot."

Fethullah G¼len, who is believed to be 72, lives in exile in Pennsylvania. He fled Turkey in 1999 when the government, which was secular at the time, accused him of attempting to Islamize the country. His some 8 million supporters run schools, media companies, hospitals and an insurance company in 140 countries, including Germany. It is the "most powerful Islamist grouping" in Turkey, according to US State Department diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks in 2010. The network "controls major business, trade, and publishing activities, has deeply penetrated the political scene -- including AKP at high levels."

G¼len got his start as an imam in Ederne and Izmir, and soon persuaded pious businessmen to make donations. With this he financed schools, and his supporters founded student housing known as "houses of light," which are a fundamental part of the organization. Keles lived in one of these facilities, which often offer free accommodation in exchange for loyalty. Dropouts say the tone inside is militaristic; residents study G¼len's writings and sermons under a provost's supervision.

The community recruits new supporters in its schools and tutoring centers, training them as "soldiers of light." Their task, whether they become businessmen, politicians or judges, is to spread G¼len's vision of Islam.

But despite the fact that it's a huge organization, the G¼len movement has no address and no headquarters. Fethullah G¼len alone determines its structure and path, while the cleric's trusted "brothers" are in charge of its most important businesses. Among these is Zaman, Turkey's highest-circulation newspaper, along with Bank Aysa, the country's largest.

Infiltrating the Turkish Government

More than two years ago, G¼len urged his followers to infiltrate the Turkish state in a sermon that was captured on video. "You have to penetrate the arteries of the system without being noticed," he said. You have to wait for the right moment, until you have seized the entire power of the state." G¼len says the video has been manipulated.

When AKP assumed power in 2002, the prime minister saw an ally in the G¼len organizations. He promoted the movement by appointing members to important positions in law enforcement and the judiciary. Together, Erdogan and G¼len ousted the military, which until then had acted as guardian of the secular state.

The five-year trial against the "Ergenekon" network, the most spectacular and controversial case in the Turkish judicial system's recent history, has led to the arrest of generals, but also hundreds of politicians, lawyers and journalists, for their involvement in an alleged coup attempt. Crimes could be proven for individual defendants. Often, however, the allegations turned out to be fabricated. Critics say that, with Erdogan's permission, the G¼len movement manipulated the trial to eliminate political rivals in the government and civil society. The prime minister's chief adviser admitted two weeks ago that forces within the judiciary conspired at the time against the military. The general staff now wants to bring the case back to court.

A high-ranking former party member asserts that numerous state officials acted on the orders of the G¼len brothers: "They were our students. We trained them and supported them. When these grateful children take office, they continue to serve G¼len."

Critical journalists were also persecuted. The reporter Nedim Sener, for instance, reported on the machinations of the G¼len community, as did his colleague Ahmet Sik. In March 2011, the two were arrested. They were not released until the following year.

'They Want Influence and Money'

Sener says he doesn't doubt the seriousness of the corruption allegations -- but the motives of the investigators has to be questioned. These are hardly neutral jurists at work, but rather G¼len followers. "The community is not governed by rule of law and democracy," says Sener. "They want influence and money."

Because it's not just about ideology; it's also about wealth. By opening schools abroad, the G¼len movement has developed new markets for Turkish businesses. The Calic Group, for instance, which is run by Erdogan's son-in-law, benefited from the group's connections to the former Turkmen dictator Saparmurat Niyazov.

But the alliance between Erdogan and G¼len began to crumble after the parliamentary elections of 2011. Erdogan said he could no longer rely on the movement. G¼len followers, for their part, were disturbed by the prime minister's increasingly authoritarian governing style. "Erdogan became a burden for us," says Keles.

Among other things, the two camps are at odds over how to deal with the Kurds. Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan led secret peace negotiations on the behalf of the prime minister with the Kurdish separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). G¼len, however, called on the Turkish military in a video message to attack Kurdish separatists: "Locate them, surround them, smash their units, let fire rain down on their houses, cover their wailing with still more cries of pain," he said.

The Conflict Escalates

In February 2012 state prosecutors attempted to apprehend Erdogan's intelligence chief. The prime minister prevented Fidan's arrest -- and transferred police powers to intelligence. The media attacked Erdogan's actions with the same vehemence they once reserved for the opposition. In summer 2013 G¼len criticized Erdogan for his brutal handling of the Gezi protesters.

But only after Erdogan threatened to close the tutoring centers did the conflict escalate. Lawmaker Sukur, a former soccer player and national hero, announced his resignation from the AKP: "As a supporter of the movement, I take the hostilities against G¼len personally," he said. Afterward, the daily newspaper Zaman called him a "hero with a lion's heart" and interpreted his resignation as a "final warning."

The corruption scandal shook the country just a day later. The prime minister is still trying to dismiss the allegations as conspiracy, speaking of a "second war of independence." He announced he would take action against G¼len's supporters. More than 500 police officers have already been transferred. Erdogan is expected to present a list with the names of 2,000 more alleged G¼len followers within the state apparatus.

G¼len supporter Keles says the movement is prepared to fight to the "bitter end." Ilhan Cihaner, the opposition politician and G¼len opponent, expects further revelations in the coming weeks. He says the group possesses enough compromising documents to topple Erdogan: "The conflict is far from over."

What you should know about Turkey's AKP-Gulen conflict

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: bertb news feed

Sun, 05 Jan 2014 15:02

Protesters demonstrate against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and demand that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan resign because of the corruption investigation in Ankara, Dec. 18, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Author: Mustafa Akyol Posted January 3, 2014

The political tension, if not ''war,'' between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Islamic community led by Fethullah Gulen, is currently the hottest topic in Turkey. Most foreigners, however, have a hard time understanding the exact nature of this peculiar battle, which is even too confusing for Turks themselves. Here are some basic guidelines to understanding the conflict.

Summary'Ž Print The recent AKP-Gulen split in Turkey has surprised many in the country and turned old allies into enemies.Are they not all conservative Sunni Muslims?

Yes, they are. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic scholar Gulen and both their followers are pious Muslims who come from Turkey's mainstream Sunni (Hanafi) Islam. No wonder they used to be allies against Turkey's authoritarian secularists. No wonder they both use religious references these days in their arguments.

There are some differences though. The core of the AKP comes from the ''National View'' (Milli Gorus) tradition, which can be best defined as Turkey's version of political Islam with anti-Western and pan-Islamic tones. Although the AKP explicitly abandoned this ideology during its founding more than a decade ago, most observers think Erdogan is gradually reverting back to the ''National View'' in the past few years.

The Gulen movement, however, comes from the tradition of Islamic scholar Said Nursi (1878-1960), who focused on faith and morality rather than politics, and whose followers generally shied away from political Islam. Hence, Gulen's followers never voted for Gorus and opted for center-right parties. Some scholars have thus defined the Gulen movement as ''cultural Islam'' as opposed to political Islam.

Why are they in conflict?

Had the Gulen movement been limited only to cultural Islam, this current tension would be limited. Most observers agree that the movement in fact has its own version of a political effort: aiming for members to obtain jobs within the judiciary and the police. Apparently, this began back in the '70s as an effort to transform a hostile state '-- Turkey's draconian secular regime '-- by gradually joining its ranks. Since it has been a covert task, it has always been a matter of speculation and a source for conspiracy theories.

When the AKP came to power in 2002 and soon found itself targeted by the old secular guard, the Gulen followers within the police and the judiciary emerged as a natural ally. Thus Erdogan, it is often said, empowered these fellow conservatives against their secularist rivals. However, once the old establishment was decisively defeated, sometime around 2010 to 2011, disagreements emerged between the AKP and the Gulen movement. The first breaking point was the so-called ''MIT (Turkish National Intelligence Organization) crisis.''

In February 2012, MIT head Hakan Fidan, a confidante of Erdogan, was called by an Istanbul prosecutor to testify as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). This was, as The New York Times then reported, ''the latest round in a power struggle between the country's security forces and its intelligence agency.'' It was also widely interpreted as a power struggle between pro-Gulen police/judiciary and the AKP. Since then, Erdogan's supporters complain of a ''parallel state'' within the state, which allegedly acts according its own internal hierarchy and uses state power for its own purposes.

Why did things escalate in the past two months?

Since the ''MIT crisis'' of February 2012, the AKP-Gulen movement relations have been silently sour. But in mid-November 2013, all hell broke lose when Erdogan planned to close down ''prep schools,'' or weekend courses that prepare high school students for university exams. Since about a quarter of these schools are operated by the Gulen movement, and are a source of both finance and recruitment, the movement perceived this move as an attack. The pro-Gulen media opposed the government's ''attack on private enterprise.'' The government responded with harsh statements, and the war of words was soon declared an ''open war.''

This battle between ''an increasingly authoritarian political leadership and its ever more nervous rival,'' as described by Al-Monitor columnist Yasemin Congar, took a new turn on December 16, when Hakan Sukur, a football star turned parliamentarian, resigned from the AKP. Sukur, who heavily criticized the government upon resignation, is a proud follower of Gulen, and his entry into the parliament in 2011 was seen as a sign of a marriage between the movement and the party. His resignation signaled a divorce.

The next morning, the real bomb went off: Zekeriya Oz, an Istanbul prosecutor who is widely believed to be a member of the Gulen movement, initiated an early morning raid on dozens of individuals, including the sons of three ministers, an AKP mayor, businessmen and bureaucrats. Millions of dollars stacked in shoe boxes were exposed to the press, underlining that this is the greatest corruption scandal in recent Turkish history. Over eight days, the four ministers who were accused resigned. One of them, Erdogan Bayraktar, shocked the country by saying Erdogan should resign too.

Since the beginning of this corruption probe, two opposing narratives are competing. The pro-AKP camp openly blames the Gulen movement, or at least its ''parallel state,'' of trying to bring down the AKP government through the corruption probe. In their eyes, this is a ''coup effort'' by seemingly legal means. The pro-Gulen media and some others, in return, blame the government for trying to hide its widespread corruption by resorting to conspiracy theories and blocking the judiciary's right to investigate the government.

How are Iran and Israel involved?

At the heart of the corruption scandal is Turkey's gold-for-oil trade with Iran. According to the claims, Turkey made this deal in order to bypass US-EU sanctions on Iran, and Turkish state-owned Halkbank acted as the main agent of the money transfer, in a complex web explained well in Al-Monitor. No wonder one of the suspects in custody is Suleyman Aslan, CEO of Halkbank, in whose home millions of dollars were allegedly found in the now-famous shoeboxes. Another prominent suspect is Riza Sarraf, a wealthy Iranian businessman who deals with gold and was originally named Reza Zarrab. He is accused of having given bribes to prominent politicians.

In response, the pro-AKP media imply that the covert trade with Iran was merely for Turkish national interests, and the money in personal homes would be used for charitable purposes such as building schools. Moreover, according to the same media, the real culprit behind this ''coup'' effort is Israel. The reasoning is that the biggest enemy of Iran, and Iranian-Turkish ties, is Israel and its US lobby, so these powers must be behind the corruption probe. The fact that the Gulen movement has carefully avoided joining the anti-Israeli sentiment within Turkey's Islamic circles (including Gulen's much discussed opposition to the Gaza Flotilla of 2010) is taken as evidence for the Israeli conspiracy. Pro-AKP media are full of articles these days that depict the Gulen movement as the fifth column or the Trojan Horse of ''Zionism.''

Who do 'the liberals' support?

Well, it depends. Many liberals had tired with the AKP long before, or at least during, the Gezi Park protests of last summer. So, most of these liberals support the corruption probe, and thus appear to be in a political alliance with the Gulen movement. There are other liberals, however, who still support the AKP based on the importance they attach to the peace process between the government and the PKK. This second group of liberals is also quite suspicious about the ''parallel state'' '-- a euphemism for the Gulen movement in the judiciary and police '-- and warns about its hawkish and ''anti-peace'' stance with regard to the PKK.

Meanwhile, most other Islamic groups (none of them as big and prominent as the Gulen movement) are united behind Erdogan. Secularists are in shock and are weeping for what happened to the secular republic at the hands of two opposing Islamic cliques.

Who will win?

Only God knows. Plus, it is hard to tell what ''winning'' means. The Gulen movement is not a political party, and there is no other political party that it will be totally comfortable with. That is why some speculate that the movement is not anti-AKP but merely anti-Erdogan, and that it hopes for a post-Erdogan and less assertive AKP.

Whoever wins, the victory can only be Pyrrhic. If Erdogan crushes the Gulen movement by any means, as some speculate these days, he will lose many votes and further diminish his democratic credentials. If the Gulen movement wins, it will only be proclaiming that it has a lot of power within the state, which will harm its reputation of being a moderate expression of ''cultural Islam.'' Meanwhile, Turkey's political and economic stability will suffer, not to mention its rule of law and societal peace.

This is a war without any winners, in other words. But aren't those wars precisely the ones that are fought most passionately?

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/akp-gulen-conflict-guide.html

March Mayoral Race-The Islamist Feud Behind Turkey's Turmoil :: Soner Cagaptay

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 02 Jan 2014 03:45

The news last week about a corruption scandal in Turkey seems on the surface a traditional case of prosecutors ferreting out wrongdoers in high places. But the turmoil that threatens Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has been a long time coming and is the most public manifestation of a struggle between Turkey's two main Islamic-conservative factions hitherto united under the governing party: the prime minister's Justice and Development Party, known as AKP, and the influential, popular Gulen movement.

The past year has already been challenging for Mr. Erdogan. Demonstrations that began in May grew out of anger over plans to develop Istanbul's Gezi Park and were a liberal affair, challenging the prime minister's increasingly autocratic rule. The Gezi Park occupants would seem to have little in common with the Gulen movement, an opaque, Sufi-inspired group known for its Islamic piety and, until recently, its support for Mr. Erdogan. But the Gezi and Gulen movements are now de facto, if not actual, partners with similar aims: resisting Mr. Erdogan's near-total power.

The country's longest-serving prime minister since it became a democracy in 1950, Mr. Erdogan runs Turkey almost single-handedly. He has built a broad political coalition to win three successive elections with ever-increasing majorities. His coalition has included Islamists, nationalists, center-right voters and pro-business liberals. Mr. Erdogan has sway over the executive and legislative branches of government, as well as much of the media and business community. His rule first worried secular liberal opponents but has now alarmed even the Gulenists.

The Gulen movement traces its roots to the 1970s, when founder and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, now 72, began attracting followers. The Gulen message promoting a conservative yet relatively modern form of Islam has made inroads in Turkey. Some estimates of the movement's size run as high as five million supporters, though others peg it considerably lower, as little as under a million people.

The movement has its own media, universities, schools, think tanks and businesses; followers can also be found in the police and judiciary. With its widespread appeal and Islamic credentials, the movement appears to be the last remaining obstacle to Mr. Erdogan's consolidation of power.

The Erdogan administration became alarmed by the movement's growing power last year when prosecutors connected to it attempted to subpoena the head of Turkey's intelligence agency'-- Hakan Fidan, a close confidant of Mr. Erdogan. The prime minister blocked this move by passing new legislation. But he saw it as a warning and responded by trying to close the Gulenists' powerful network of private prep schools.

The Gulenist pushback came quickly, with the movement's newspapers beginning to editorialize against Mr. Erdogan, who then postponed the move against the schools. On Dec. 12, prosecutors known to be close to the Gulen movement pressed corruption charges against prominent members of Mr. Erdogan's cabinet. With this move, the Gulenists, who have several supporters in key judiciary positions, presented an even more direct challenge to Mr. Erdogan's 12-year rule than anyone has before.

The corruption allegations have led so far to the resignation of three cabinet ministers, followed last week by the biggest cabinet reshuffle in the AKP since 2002. Mr. Erdogan has also fired hundreds of pro-Gulenist police chiefs, as well as, on Thursday, removing the key prosecutor, Muammer Akkas, from the graft case.

All of this is merely a prelude to what promises to be an even more high-stakes battle: the Istanbul mayoral election in March. The Istanbul race has always been closely contested between the AKP and the secular, leftist opposition Republican Peoples Party, which has a viable, populist candidate in Mustafa Sarigul. The Gulenists are unlikely to vote en masse for a liberal candidate. But simply by not voting the movement could tilt the election to the Republican Peoples Party, and thus show definitively that it is a powerful check against Mr. Erdogan.

If Mr. Erdogan's party wins in Istanbul, the prime minister would likely be emboldened to seek a popular referendum to blend the powers of the presidency and the prime minister's office ahead of elections in the summer. Mr. Erdogan would then run for the newly omnipotent executive presidency. If he won, he would become the most dominant political figure in modern Turkish history.

What happens in March has the potential to determine Turkey's democratic trajectory. This poses a major challenge for the U.S., raising thorny questions about the future of America's alliance with Turkey.

The threat to bilateral relations has been exacerbated by the remarkably explicit attacks on the U.S. by prominent AKP officials and pro-government media, which have accused America of being behind the corruption probes. Other allegations include an assertion that U.S. Embassy staffers have conspired with Turkish nongovernmental organizations to try to oust the AKP government. Last week, Mr. Erdogan publicly complained that the corruption investigation is a foreign plot. And he made matters even more precarious on Dec. 21 by suggesting that the American ambassador, Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. , a stellar diplomat, leave the country'--the first such incident in living memory.

The stakes'--given Turkey's size, economy, military strength and strategic location'--are huge, and American influence is limited. The U.S. must play a careful game, avoiding the limelight, and focus on maintaining Turkey's basic Western, democratic, free-market orientation. This means not overreacting publicly to what are likely to be new provocations.

But privately, the U.S. should make clear to audiences inside and outside Turkey that, while not taking sides in the country's current domestic disputes, America's ability to assist Turkey diplomatically, economically and within NATO hinges on Turks resolving these matters in a democratic fashion that preserves the rule of law.

Mr. Cagaptay is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of "The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century's First Muslim Power" (Potomac/University of Nebraska, 2014). Mr. Jeffrey, a visiting fellow at the institute, is a former ambassador to Turkey.

receive the latest by email: subscribe to soner cagaptay's free mailing list

------------------------------------------------

Turkey Passes Bill that Criminalizes Emergency Medical Care.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: bertb news feed

Sun, 05 Jan 2014 14:55

For Immediate Release

Media ContactVesna Jaksic Lowe, MSMedia Relations Manager, New York

vjaksiclowe [at] phrusa [dot] org

Tel: 917-679-0110

New York, NY - 01/03/2014

The Turkish parliament passed a bill today that will criminalize emergency medical care and punish doctors with heavy fines and imprisonment for assisting those in need. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is urging the president of the Turkish Republic, Abdullah Gul, not to sign the bill, which would have a chilling effect on access to medical care.

Leading medical groups, including the World Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and the German Medical Association, have cautioned about the dire consequences the bill would have on medical care. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health has warned about the chilling effect such a law would have on accessing care.

''There is a reason the medical community is speaking out so strongly against the bill,'' said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR's senior medical advisor. ''The Turkish government's intolerance of opposition is so great that it is willing to compromise its citizens' access to care in emergencies and incarcerate physicians for simply following their ethical duty of caring for those in need. The international medical community is calling upon President Abdullah Gul to refuse to sign this bill into law because it undermines the health of Turkish citizens and their trust in the medical community.''

Article 46, which would restrict medical professionals' ability to provide care in emergencies, is part of a larger package of bills by the Ministry of Health. Legislators have inserted language in the bill that states emergency services by authorized personnel would only be allowed ''until the arrival of formal health services and health service becomes continuous.'' These vague and unnecessary conditions about who could provide medical care and when will result in the arbitrary arrest and punishment of emergency medical responders.

The provision puts doctors in direct conflict with their ethical and professional responsibilities to care for the sick and wounded. It is part of the Turkish government's continuing effort to punish doctors and other medical professionals for treating everyone in need, including demonstrators during last summer's anti-government protests.

PHR has documented the Turkish government's unlawful use of force and tear gas, as well as deliberate attacks on the medical community. PHR's recent report on the protests in Turkey last summer discussed not only the authorities' detention of medical staff who treated those injured by the police, but also the government's efforts to collect the names of injured demonstrators and those treating them.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

1986 '-- Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there1988 '-- First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing evidence for prosecution of war criminals1996 '-- Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for International Criminal Tribunals1997 '-- Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines2003 '-- Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and during the invasion of Iraq2004 '-- Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international prosecutions2010 '-- Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma's military junta2011 '-- Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring2012 '-- Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual violence cases2013 '-- Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

The End of Erdogan's Cave of Wonders: An I-Told-You-So :: Middle East Forum

Link to Article

Archived Version

Mon, 30 Dec 2013 13:34

by David P. GoldmanPJ MediaDecember 27, 2013

http://www.meforum.org/3705/end-of-erdogan

Turkey is coming apart. The Islamist coalition that crushed the secular military and political establishment'--between Tayip Erdogan's ruling AK Party and the Islamist movement around Fethullah Gulen'--has cracked. The Gulenists, who predominate in the security forces, have arrested the sons of top government ministers for helping Iran to launder money and circumvent sanctions, and ten members of Erdogan's cabinet have resigned. Turkey's currency is in free fall, and that's just the beginning of the country's troubles: about two-fifths of corporate debt is in foreign currencies, so the cost of servicing it jumps whenever the Turkish lira declines. Turkish stocks have crashed (and were down another 5% in dollar terms in early trading Friday). As the charts below illustrate, so much for Turkey's miracle economy.

Two years ago I predicted a Turkish economic crash. Erdogan's much-vaunted economic miracle stemmed mainly from vast credit expansion to fuel an import boom, leaving the country with a current account deficit of 7 % of GDP (about the same as Greece before it went bankrupt) and a mushrooming pile of short-term foreign debt. The Gulf states kept financing Erdogan's import bill, evidently because they wanted to keep a Sunni power in business as a counterweight to Iran; perhaps they have tired of Turkey's double-dealing with the Persians. And credulous investors kept piling into Turkish stocks.

I reiterated my warning that Turkey would unravel at regular intervals, for example here.

No more. Turkey is a mediocre economy at best with a poorly educated workforce, no high-tech capacity, and shrinking markets in depressed Europe and the unstable Arab world. Its future might well be as an economic tributary of China, as the "New Silk Road" extends high-speed rail lines to the Bosporus.

For the past ten years we have heard ad nauseum about the "Turkish model" of "Muslim democracy." The George W. Bush administration courted Erdogan even before he became prime minister, and Obama went out of his way to make Erdogan his principal pal in foreign policy. I have been ridiculing this notion for years, for example in this 2010 essay for Tablet.

The whole notion was flawed from top to bottom. Turkey was not in line to become an economic power of any kind: it lacked the people and skills to do anything better than medium-tech manufacturing. Its Islamists never were democrats. Worst of all, its demographics are as bad as Europe's. Ethnic Turks have a fertility rate close to 1.5 children per family, while the Kurdish minority is having 4 children per family. Within a generation half of Turkey's young men will come from families where Kurdish is the first language.

Our foreign policy establishment, Democratic and Republican, was so enamored of the notion of Muslim democracy that it mistook Erdogan's incipient dictatorship and bubble economy for the object of its desire. In June 2012, for example, David Ignatius of the Washington Post bragged that Obama's embrace of Erdogan had "paid big dividends." Said Ignatius:

As President Barack Obama was feeling his way in foreign policy during his first months in office, he decided to cultivate a friendship with Turkey's headstrong prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Over the past year, this investment in Turkey has begun to pay some big dividends '-- anchoring the policy of the United States in a region that sometimes seems adrift.

Erdogan's clout was on display this week as he hosted a meeting in Istanbul of the World Economic Forum that celebrated the stability of the "Turkish model" of Muslim democracy amid the turmoil of the Arab Spring. One panel had the enraptured title "Turkey as a Source of Inspiration."

Now the hashish smoke has cleared, Erdogan's Cave of Wonders has turned back into a sandpit, and the foreign policy establishment has nothing to show for years of propitiation of this Anatolian wannabe except a headache.

Now that Turkey is coming unstuck, along with Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, we should conclude that the entire project of bringing stability to the Muslim world was a hookah-dream to begin with. Except for the state of Israel and a couple of Sunni monarchies that survive by dint of their oil wealth, we are witnessing the unraveling of the Middle East. The best we can do is to insulate ourselves from the spillover effect.

David P. Goldman is Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Related Topics: Turkey and Turks | David P. Goldmanreceive the latest by email: subscribe to the free mef mailing listThis text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete and accurate information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

------------------------------------------------

Iraqi Kurdistan's oil flows to Turkey - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Crude oil has started flowing from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey but will not be exported worldwide without the Iraqi central government's permission.

Taner Yildiz, Turkish energy minister, said on Thursday that the oil would be kept in storage at the country's Ceyhan export hub and that he hoped that Ankara would reach a deal with Baghdad before the end of January.

"The flow of crude oil from Iraq has begun. It is being stored. It will not be exported without the consent of the Iraqi government," Yildiz said.

Iraq's central government has been angered by energy deals between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan because it claims it alone has the authority to manage Iraqi oil.

It says Kurdish efforts towards oil independence could lead to the break-up of the country.

Thursday's oil flow started weeks after Turkish assurances that oil exports from anywhere in Iraq needed Baghdad's approval.

However, sources close to the deal said that Turkey signed a multi-billion-dollar energy package with Iraqi Kurdistan in November that would help transform the Iraqi region into an oil and gas powerhouse.

Turkey says Iraqi Kurdistan's resources will help diversify its energy supplies and reduce its ballooning $60bn annual energy bill.

------------------------------------------------

ERDOGAN PROTECTS 'AL QAEDA FINANCIER' AL QADI

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: aangirfan

Tue, 07 Jan 2014 15:33

Dick Cheney's friend Yasin al-Qadi, believed to be linked to 9 11, the Mumbai attacks and the CIA.Links have been discovered between al Qaeda and Turkey's prime minister Recep Erdogan.

Yasin al-Qadi, who is an associate of al Qaeda,has entered Turkey multiple times escorted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's protective detail and without a passport or visa.

Yasin al-Qadi escorted by PM's security detail,

Al Qadi is a businessman believed to have funneled millions of dollars to al Qaeda.Chicago, where al Qadi met Osama bin Laden in 1979. Le Monde reported that the CIA recruited Osama in 1979 in Istanbul in Turkey. Al-Qaeda.

Al Qadi has extensive business and financial ties in Chicago.

He is a personal friend of Erdogan.He is a suspect in the 9 11 attack.

Yasin al-Qadi - WikipediaRecep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan and his friend Yasin al-QadiThierry Meyssan writes of al-Qadi:

"We discover that this 'terrorist' has a lavish lifestyle, traveling by private plane and mocking UN sanctions against him.

"At least four times, he visited ErdoÄŸan in 2012, arriving at an Istanbul airport where, after the disconnecting of security cameras, he was welcomed by the head of the Prime Minister's guard without going through customs."The Turkish police and judges who have been looking into this case have been sacked by Erdogan.Al-Qadi and Recep Erdogan 'have been financing al-Qaeda' in Syria.

ErdoÄŸan received Al-Qaeda's banker in secret -6 January 2014.

Crypto-Jew Erdogan

Recently the Turkish police stopped a truck carrying weapons for Al-Qaeda near the Syrian border.

Apparently the weapons were being taken to al Qaeda by the Turkish secret service (MIT) and so the truck was allowed to continue its journey.

www.voltairenet.org/article181676.html

Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, and 'friend of the CIA'.

The Turkish aid for al Qaeda has links to an Iranian company.

The CIA and NATO "had accomplices in Tehran during the 'Iran-Contra' operation in former President Rafsandaji's inner circles, such as Sheikh Rohani, who has become the current president.

ErdoÄŸan received Al-Qaeda's banker in secret

Al Qadi's assets were frozen in Turkey on Sept. 28, 2001, after the U.S. named him as a financier of terrorism, following the 9/11 attacks.

Al Qadi is believed to have had a role in the three-day attacks on Mumbai in November 2008.

------------------------------------------------

EUROLand

SnowJob

India's electoral commission dumps Google over spying fears - Software - Technology - News - iTnews.com.au

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 22:28

Take part in discussions with comments on blogs, news and reviews; receive all the latest industry news directly to your inbox and tailor make your information specifically to your interests. Join now for free. 2) About You Country*

* Country req'd

State*

* State req'd

Job Function*

* Job function required

Company size*

* Company required

Industry*

* Industry required

CYBER

------------------------------------------------

Target: Names, Emails, Phone Numbers on Up To 70 Million Customers Stolen.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Krebs on Security

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:40

Nationwide retail giant Target today disclosed that a data breach discovered last month exposed the names, mailing addresses, phone number and email addresses for up to 70 million individuals.

The disclosure comes roughly three weeks after the company acknowledged that hackers had broken in late last year and stolen approximately 40 million customer debit and credit card records.

''As part of Target's ongoing forensic investigation, it has been determined that certain guest information '-- separate from the payment card data previously disclosed '-- was taken during the data breach,'' the company said in a statement released Friday morning. ''This theft is not a new breach, but was uncovered as part of the ongoing investigation. At this time, the investigation has determined that the stolen information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses for up to 70 million individuals.''

Target said much of the data is partial in nature, but that in cases where Target has an email address, it will attempt to contact affected guests with informational tips to guard against consumer scams. The retail giant was quick to note that its email communications would not ask customers to provide any personal information as part of that communication.

Target Chairman Gregg Steinhafel apologized for any inconvenience that the breach may have caused customers, and said he wanted customers to know that ''understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.''

Nevertheless, the company still has not disclosed any details about how the attackers broke in. This lack of communication appears to have spooked many folks responsible for defending other retailers from such attacks, according to numerous interviews conducted by this reporter over the past few weeks.

This latest disclosure also raises questions about what other types of information may have been jeopardized in this data breach. As part of its statement, Target said it would be offering a year's worth of free credit monitoring services to those affected. Target does collect Social Security numbers from customers who apply for Target Red Cards, which offer applicants 5 percent cash back if they agree to tie their debit accounts to the Red Card. So far, however, Target has not said anything about compromised Social Security numbers.

Reading between the lines, one might wonder why Target is providing credit monitoring services to those hit by what is essentially a credit card breach. Many people conflate credit card fraud with identity theft, but these are two very different problems. The former is quite easy for the consumer to resolve, and he or she has very little (if any) liability for fraud. Identity theft, on the other hand, generally involves the creation of new or synthetic lines of credit in the consumer's name, which can take many years and cost thousands of dollars to resolve.

The reason Target is offering ID theft protection as a result of this breach probably has more to do with the fact that this step has become part of the playbook for companies which suffer a data breach. Since most consumers confuse credit card fraud with ID theft, many will interpret that to mean that the breached entity is somehow addressing the problem, whereas experts tell me that this offer mainly serves as a kind of ''first response'' to help the breached entity weather initial public outrage over an intrusion.

Update, 1:07 p.m. ET: Added additional perspective on this announcement.

Tags: $40 million, 70 million, target, target data breach, Target hack

This entry was posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 9:28 am and is filed under Latest Warnings. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Hackers Steal Card Data from Neiman Marcus

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Krebs on Security

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:42

Responding to inquiries about a possible data breach involving customer credit and debit card information, upscale retailer Neiman Marcus acknowledged today that it is working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate a hacker break-in that has exposed an unknown number of customer cards.

Earlier this week, I began hearing from sources in the financial industry about an increasing number of fraudulent credit and debit card charges that were being traced to cards that had been very recently used at brick-and-mortar stores run by the Dallas, Texas based high-end retail chain. Sources said that while it appears the fraud on those stolen cards was perpetrated at a variety of other stores, the common point of purchase among the compromised cards was Neiman Marcus.

Today, I reached out to Neiman Marcus and received confirmation that the company is in fact investigating a breach that was uncovered in mid-December.

Neiman Marcus spokesperson Ginger Reeder said the company does not yet know the cause, size or duration of the breach, noting that these are details being sought by a third-party forensics firm which has yet to complete its investigation. But she said there is no evidence that shoppers who purchased from the company's online stores were affected by this breach.

The entirety of the company's formal statement is as follows:

''Neiman Marcus was informed by our credit card processor in mid-December of potentially unauthorized payment card activity that occurred following customer purchases at our Neiman Marcus Group stores.

We informed federal law enforcement agencies and are working actively with the U.S. Secret Service, the payment brands, our credit card processor, a leading investigations, intelligence and risk management firm, and a leading forensics firm to investigate the situation. On January 1st, the forensics firm discovered evidence that the company was the victim of a criminal cyber-security intrusion and that some customers' cards were possibly compromised as a result. We have begun to contain the intrusion and have taken significant steps to further enhance information security.

The security of our customers' information is always a priority and we sincerely regret any inconvenience. We are taking steps, where possible, to notify customers whose cards we know were used fraudulently after making a purchase at our store.''

The disclosure comes as many in the retail sector are seeking more information about the causes of the breach at nationwide retail giant Target, which extended from around Thanksgiving 2013 to Dec. 15, and affected some 40 million customer debit and credit cards.

Target released additional details about the breach today, saying hackers also compromised the names, mailing addresses, phone number and email addresses for up to 70 million individuals. But Target has so far not publicly released information that would help other retailers determine whether their systems may have been hit by the same attackers.

Neiman Marcus's Reeder said the company has no indication at this time that the breach at its stores is in any way related to the Target attack. Still, the timing of the discovery of the Neiman Marcus incident '-- mid-December '-- roughly corresponds to the discovery of the Target breach. I will have more on this developing story if additional details become available.

Tags: Ginger Reeder, Neiman Marcus breach, target, U.S. Secret Service

This entry was posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 6:56 pm and is filed under A Little Sunshine, Latest Warnings. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Exclusive: More well-known U.S. retailers victims of cyberattacks - sources | Reuters

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:42

By Jim Finkle and Mark Hosenball

BOSTON/WASHINGTONSat Jan 11, 2014 9:44pm EST

TweetShare thisEmailPrint1 of 2. People shop at a Target store during Black Friday sales in the Brooklyn borough of New York, in this November 29, 2013, file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Thayer/Files

BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Target Corp and Neiman Marcus are not the only U.S. retailers whose networks were breached over the holiday shopping season late last year, according to sources familiar with attacks on other merchants that have yet to be publicly disclosed.

Smaller breaches on at least three other well-known U.S. retailers took place and were conducted using similar techniques as the one on Target, according to the people familiar with the attacks. Those breaches have yet to come to light. Also, similar breaches may have occurred earlier last year.

The sources said that they involved retailers with outlets in malls, but declined to elaborate. They also said that while they suspect the perpetrators may be the same as those who launched the Target attack, they cannot be sure because they are still trying to find the culprits behind all of the attacks.

Law enforcement sources have said they suspect the ring leaders are from Eastern Europe, which is where most big cyber crime cases have been hatched over the past decade.

Only one well-known retailer, Neiman Marcus, has said that they too have been victim of a cyber attack since Target's December 19 disclosure that some 40 million payment card numbers had been stolen in a cyber attack. On Friday, Target said an investigation found that hackers stole the personal information of at least 70 million customers, including names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.

Neiman Marcus said it was not sure if the breach was related to the Target incident.

Most states have laws that require companies to contact customers when certain types of personal information is compromised. In many cases the task of notification falls on the credit card issuer.

Merchants are required to report breaches when certain types of personal information, including social security numbers are compromised. It was not immediately clear if that was the case with the retailers who were attacked around the same time as Target.

The Secret Service and Department of Justice, which are investigating the Target breach, declined comment.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Editing by Grant McCool)

Tweet thisLink thisShare thisDigg thisEmailPrintReprintsComments (1)

Shoppers had been overspending. It was time to cut-back.

Hackers gain 'full control' of critical SCADA systems

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT Newsfeed

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:49

Take part in discussions with comments on blogs, news and reviews; receive all the latest industry news directly to your inbox and tailor make your information specifically to your interests. Join now for free. 2) About You Country*

* Country req'd

State*

* State req'd

Job Function*

* Job function required

Company size*

* Company required

Industry*

* Industry required

------------------------------------------------

Cybercrime Review: CFAA amendments, new criminal statute proposed in Senator Leahy's bill

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:12

On Wednesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014. Senator Leahy's bill, first introduced back in 2005, intends to "better protect[] Americans from the growing threats of data breaches and identity theft,'' according to a press release issued by the Senator.Included within the bill are amendments to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030). Senator Leahy stated that the bill ''includes the Obama administration's proposal [full text] to update the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, so that attempted computer hacking and conspiracy to commit computer hacking offenses are subject to the same criminal penalties, as the underlying offenses.'' The bulk of Senator Leahy's amendments to the CFAA occur in Title I: Enhancing Punishment for Identity Theft and Other Violations of Data Privacy and Security (Sections 101 through 110). These changes would include adding the CFAA under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (Section 101), maximizing penalties under the CFAA (Section 103), and clarifying that both "conspiracy" and "attempt" to commit a computer hacking offense are subject to the same penalties as completed, substantive offenses (Section 105), just to name a few.

Also added within the bill would be a new criminal statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1041 Concealment of security breaches involving sensitive personally identifiable information. According to Senator Leahy, the new statute would provide "tough criminal penalties for anyone who would intentionally and willfully conceal the fact that a data breach has occurred when the breach causes economic damage to consumers.'' According to the section-by-section summary, the new statute would

makes it a crime for a person who knows of a security breach which requires notice to individuals under Title II of this Act, and who is under obligation to provide such notice, to intentionally and willfully conceal the fact of, or information related to, that security breach.So in addition to adding a strict security breach notification law (Section 211 - 221), Senator Leahy's bill would create criminal penalties for intentionally and willfully concealing the security breach or "information realted to" that breach.Overall, the bill contains a number of amendments that would be of interest to anyone in the information privacy or security field. Senator Leahy has made a section-by-section outline of the bill available, as well as the bill's full text.

------------------------------------------------

AFRIKA

CAR

33 thousand foreign nationals evacuate from Central African Republic

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: 33 World News

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:37

Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

Email *

Website

Comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

Current monthye@rday*

Leave this field empty*

Mali - Chiners again!

Mali-missie in matig pak - Binnenland | Het laatste nieuws uit Nederland leest u op Telegraaf.nl [binnenland]

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 04 Jan 2014 22:20

DEN HAAG - Militairen en defensievakbonden noemen de gevechtspakken waarmee Nederlandse troepen vanaf maandag naar Mali worden uitgezonden van inferieure kwaliteit.

Er zijn veel betere en minder brandgevoelige stoffen, zo stellen zij, maar uit financile overwegingen is gekozen voor minderwaardige en veelal in China gefabriceerde uniformen.

NAVO-bondgenoten laten hun gevechtspakken maken van Defender M. Dit product van het Almelose TenCate kwam telkens als beste uit de bus. Zelfs het Amerikaanse Pentagon heeft die Nederlandse textiel uitverkoren.

Jean Debie, voorzitter van de Vakbond voor Burger en Militair defensiepersoneel (VBM): 'žHet zegt genoeg dat Amerikanen, die voor hun defensie bijna uitsluitend werken met de eigen industrie, dit bedrijf uit Almelo kiezen.''

Tijdens een recent bezoek aan de Patrioteenheid in Zuid-Turkije lieten militairen hun ongenoegen blijken. 'žBij een raketinslag en brand is het gevechtspak de allerlaatste beschermingsfactor. Dan telt elke vertragingsseconde. Bitter om te constateren dat Amerikaanse collega's wel goed zijn uitgerust.''

Voorzitter Jan Kleian van militaire vakbond ACOM is op de hoogte van de problematiek. 'žGeld mag nooit doorslaggevend zijn als het om de bescherming van militairen gaat die straks in Mali werken.''

De stof van TenCate is tot tweemaal toe door de Dienst Materieel Organisatie (DMO) onderzocht. Volgens bronnen bij Defensie werd daarbij textiel achtergehouden en doorgespeeld aan China en Indonesi met de vraag of dezelfde kwaliteit kon worden geleverd.

Een woordvoerder van het ministerie van Defensie stelt dat de Mali-gevechtspakken zijn getest door TNO. 'žMisschien is Defender M een beter product, maar ook het huidige uniform voldoet aan de eisen'', aldus Defensie.

De eerste veertien Nederlandse militairen vertrekken maandag naar Mali. De andere 350 komen in maart aan.

allAfrica.com: Mali: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Starts Visit to Mali

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 00:26

Photo: Stephen Jaffe/IMFInternational Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde is greeted at the Nairobi International Airport by Kenya's Central Bank Governor Njuguna Ndungu.

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), arrived in Bamako today for a three-day visit to Mali. She will meet with President Keita, Prime Minister Ly and his cabinet, senior government officials as well as women leaders, representatives of the private sector, civil society and donors.

"I'm very pleased to be here in Bamako for my first visit as Managing Director of the IMF. This visit is a testimony to our strong relationship with Mali. I look forward to strengthening our partnership for the benefit of the people of Mali," Ms. Lagarde said after she arrived in Bamako.

Ms. Lagarde visited Kenya from January 4-7. As Managing Director, she has previously visited Cote d'Ivoire, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, and Mauritius in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to her meetings with officials, private sector and civil society, Ms. Lagarde will address the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of Mali.

Somalia

AFRICOM has deployed military advisers to Somalia

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: BlackListedNews.com

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 23:00

The U.S. military has deployed a small number of uniformed trainers and advisers to the failed state of Somalia for the first time since 1993, when two helicopters were shot down and 18 Americans were killed in the failed ''Black Hawk Down'' operation.

A cell of U.S. military personnel has been stationed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu since last fall to advise and coordinate operations with African troops fighting to wrest control of the country from the al-Shabab militia, an Islamist group whose leaders have professed loyalty to al-Qaeda, according to three U.S. military officials.

The previously undisclosed deployment '-- of fewer than two-dozen troops '-- reverses two decades of U.S. policy that effectively prohibited military ''boots on the ground'' in Somalia. Even as Somali pirates and terrorists emerged as the top security threat in the region, successive presidential administrations and the Pentagon shied away from sending troops there for fear of a repeat of the Black Hawk Down debacle.

In recent years, the Obama administration has slowly and cautiously become more directly involved in Somalia.

Drones from a U.S. base in Djibouti '-- a neighboring Horn of Africa country '-- conduct surveillance missions and occasional airstrikes from Somalia's skies. Elite Special Operations forces have also set foot on Somali territory on rare occasions to carry out counter-terrorism raids andhostage rescues, but only in the shadows and for no more than a few hours at a time.

>>Read More...

TTP TTIP

Legislation would grant Obama 'fast-track authority' on global trade pacts like TPP

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: RT - USA

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 14:08

Published time: January 10, 2014 01:00Edited time: January 10, 2014 01:49Demonstrators protesting against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are seen on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House, on September 24, 2013 in Washington, DC.(AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Congressional leaders on the US trade policy have introduced legislation that would grant President Barack Obama ''fast-track authority'' to enact three looming global trade accords, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R) and top Senate Finance Committee members Max Baucus (D) and Orrin Hatch (R) on Thursday unveiled the Trade Priorities Act of 2014 that would require a simple up-or-down vote on major trade deals without the opportunity to offer amendments to pertinent bills.

''The [Trade Priorities Act] legislation we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right,'' Sen. Baucus said in a statement. ''This is our opportunity to tell the administration - and our trading partners - what Congress's negotiating priorities are.''

The Obama administration is seeking the heightened authority in trade deals, allowing the Executive Branch to smooth congressional negotiations on accords. The two major deals, both long in the works, that are likely to be subject to such legislation are the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the 28-nation pact with the European Union, the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). The deals would establish the world's largest so-called free-trade zones.

The US is also working on a services-trade accord with a group of nations that would encompass half of the global economy.

The TPP has come under much scrutiny for being negotiated among the US and 11 other nations along the Pacific Rim: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Critics cite serious concerns over how provisions of the project could, for example, drive up the price of medications and other goods across the world. The White House's reluctance to provide details to leading lawmakers responsible for America's trade plans has caused a rift within the President's own political party, as his administration remains adamant about protecting the items being heard.

According to leaked excerpts of the Pacific deal, the Obama administration has been considering TPP provisions that would allow foreign corporations operating within the United States to appeal regulations on the environment, labor and banking that would be enforced on American-owned businesses with no chance of reprieve.

Under the provisions, while the US could be sanctioned for failing to impose regulations on American-run businesses, multinational corporations are given a direct path by the TPP to file such appeals. If one of the Pacific nations chooses to go down that route, their plea would be heard by an international tribunal that could overrule US law.

One group opposing the TPP deal - Fight For The Future - says there is more to be concerned with besides secretive international court mandates. According to group the TPP will: ''restrict, police and censor the Internet, stifling free speech and innovation; radically decrease access to affordable medicine; circumvent protections for workers and the environment; expand economic inequality; prevent corporations from properly labeling genetically modified food.''

Outside of elevating ''individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations,'' government transparency advocate Public Citizen says TPP seems to be less about trade but rather mechanisms to enact corporate policy at the expense of the average American.

''Of TPP's 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues,'' Public Citizen reports on its website. ''One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.''

In late July, Obama called for the new fast-track authority. US Trade Representative Michael Froman and US Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker have both urged Congress to ultimately pass the measure.

Supporters of the fast-track legislation include major players like the Business Roundtable, the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers. Boeing, Pfizer, Walmart and numerous other major corporations have aggressively lobbied for the authority granted in the Trade Priorities Act.

''TPA is the Chamber's top trade priority before the Congress,'' Thomas Donohue, the organization's president and chief executive officer, said Thursday in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that while he had not seen details on the new proposed legislation, ''when there's progress on that front it's a good thing,'' according to BusinessWeek.

Meanwhile, a competing bill to the Trade Priorities Act is in the pipeline, said Rep. Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

''You have to have a very substantial increase in Congress's involvement at all stages,'' Levin told reporters. The Trade Priorities Act ''falls far short'' of what would meet that standard, he said.

Congressional Deal Reached on Obama Trade-Talks Authority - Bloomberg

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 23:00

Congressional leaders who oversee trade policy introduced legislation today that would give President Barack Obama the fast-track authority he is seeking to enact three of the world's largest accords.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan joined leaders of the Senate Finance Committee to offer legislation on so-called trade-promotion authority, which subjects trade deals to an up-or-down vote by Congress.

''The TPA legislation we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right,'' Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, said in a statement. ''This is our opportunity to tell the administration -- and our trading partners -- what Congress's negotiating priorities are.''

The Obama administration is seeking trade-promotion authority to smooth congressional passage of trade deals, including one being negotiated with a group of 11 Pacific region nations and another with the 28-nation European Union. Those pacts, to create the world's largest free-trade zones, would link regions with about $44 trillion in annual economic output. The U.S. is also negotiating a services-trade agreement with a group of nations that would cover about half of the world's economy.

Obama 'Priority'The fast-track authority is a priority for Obama and is critical as negotiations move forward on the EU and Pacific-rim pacts, White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

While Carney said today he hasn't seen the specifics of the legislation, ''when there's progress on that front it's a good thing.''

Related:

Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Republican-led House panel, said he's working on a rival measure and will lead opposition to the Baucus-Camp bill.

''You have to have a very substantial increase in Congress's involvement at all stages,'' Levin told reporters today in his office in Washington. The measure introduced by his colleagues ''falls far short'' of what needs to be included, he said.

Baucus's bill, co-sponsored by Republicans Camp and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, updates labor and environmental protections, adds provisions to guard intellectual property from cyber theft and for the first time seeks to prevent currency manipulation by trading partners, according to a fact sheet.

Business SupportIt also ensures that members of Congress have access to the negotiating texts and lets them participate in the talks.

Industry groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business community's largest lobby, and the National Association of Manufacturers immediately backed the legislation.

''TPA is the Chamber's top trade priority before the Congress,'' Thomas Donohue, the Washington-based organization's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Levin said his bill will include provisions to prevent currency-manipulation and to create a bipartisan congressional panel that will weigh in on trade deals on an ongoing basis. He said the bill will include goals on labor, the environment and access to medicines.

U.S. automakers led by Ford Motor Co. (F) today separately proposed that negotiators working on the Pacific trade deal take steps to prevent currency manipulation by trading partners.

'Currency Discipline'''We will not support a Trans-Pacific Partnership that does not include a strong and enforceable currency discipline,'' Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council and a former Republican governor of Missouri, said today on a call with reporters. The Washington-based group lobbies on behalf of Ford, General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC.

Speaking at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today, Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois, a Republican on the House panel, said Obama needs to do more to lobby for trade-promotion authority.

''We need the president to come out and say he wants this. We need leadership from him,'' Schock said, noting that the White House hasn't endorsed the lawmakers' plan.

Obama in a July 30 speech called for the authority, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, two of his top deputies, have each urged Congress to pass the measure.

Bipartisan SupportHouse Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said Obama provided ''scant attention'' on fast-track authority in seeking support from Democrats in Congress.

''I made clear to the president that this can't pass unless there's bipartisan support for it,'' Boehner told reporters today at the Capitol.

The trade authority, which expired in 2007, lets Congress set parameters for considering trade deals, and allows lawmakers to pass the accords without making amendments. Opponents, including labor unions and environmental groups, say they want more say in the pacts, particularly with the Pacific agreement in its final stages of negotiation, before giving Obama fast-track authority.

''This legislation strips Congress of its defining democratic characteristic -- its check-and-balance structure,'' Michael Brune, executive director of the San Francisco-based Sierra Club, said today in a statement. He said lawmakers should be able to fully debate and amend trade deals.

Supporters of fast-track authority including a coalition of about 160 groups, led by organizations including the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers. The coalition -- whose members include Boeing Co. (BA), MetLife Inc. (MET), Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) -- has ramped up lobbying efforts in recent months.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Wingfield in Washington at bwingfield3@bloomberg.net; Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net; Michael C. Bender in Washington at mbender10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

After 20 Years of NAFTA Poverty, Lawmakers Move to Fast-Track TPP

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: BlackListedNews.com

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 14:17

'The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be an unmitigated disaster for everything from the environment to internet freedom and working families'

On the heals of NAFTA's ''20 years of regret'' anniversary, U.S. lawmakers are aggressively pushing legislation to fast-track what has been called NAFTA on steroids: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Three powerful lawmakers '--House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) '-- announced legislation (pdf) Thursday that would allow the Obama administration to fast-track approval of this behemoth trade deal.

Known as ''trade promotion authority,'' the legislation would allow the Obama administration to dodge deliberation and amendments from Congress.

Public Citizen summarizes:

Whether or not the president obtains the listed negotiating objectives, the bill would empower the president to sign a trade pact before Congress votes on it with a guarantee that the executive branch can write legislation to implement the pact and alter wide swaths of existing U.S. law and obtain both House and Senate votes within 90 days. That legislation is not subject to markup and amendment in committee, all amendments are forbidden during floor votes and a maximum of 20 hours of debate is permitted in the House and Senate.

The legislation is being advanced despite broad opposition from within Capitol Hill as well as social justice, labor, and environmental organizations.

''For nearly four years, the U.S. Trade Representative and TPP negotiators have purposely restricted participation and information, keeping members of Congress and citizen groups, unions, environmental and consumer organizations in the dark,'' said Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen. ''There has been no opportunity for public interest groups to meaningfully participate in the negotiations, and under fast track authority, there will be no opportunity for our elected representatives to amend the deal and make it better for Americans.''

Said Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America, ''The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be an unmitigated disaster for everything from the environment to internet freedom and working families.''

He added, ''Let's be clear: A vote for fast track authority on the TPP is a vote for a deal that will hurt hardworking Americans and haunt every single member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, who votes for it.''

The United States Senate Committee on Finance: Newsroom - Chairman's News

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 22:23

Finance, Ways & Means Leaders Team Up to Craft Bill to Deliver Trade Deals that Boost U.S. Exports, Create Jobs

WASHINGTON - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) joined together today to introduce legislation that will establish strong rules for trade negotiations and Congressional approval of trade pacts, to deliver trade agreements that boost U.S. exports and create American jobs.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 establishes 21st century Congressional negotiating objectives and rules for the Administration to follow when engaged in trade talks, including strict requirements for Congressional consultations and access to information. Provided the Administration follows the rules, special procedures apply when moving a negotiated deal that satisfies the objectives through the Senate and House of Representatives.

''The TPA legislation that we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right. This is our opportunity to tell the Administration '' and our trading partners '' what Congress' negotiating priorities are,'' Baucus said. ''TPA legislation is critical to a successful trade agenda. It is critical to boosting U.S. exports and creating jobs. And it's critical to fueling America's growing economy.''

''Every President since FDR has sought trade promotion authority from Congress because of the job-creating benefits of trade. Renewing TPA will help advance a robust trade agenda that will help American businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers by giving them greater access to overseas markets,'' said Hatch. ''This bipartisan legislation helps meet the challenges of today's competitive global economy and will play a key role in getting our nation out of years of economic stagnation by spurring economic growth and greater opportunity. From increasing protections for digital trade and data flows to enforcing strong U.S. intellectual property rights, this legislation will be instrumental to ensuring that our country's current trade negotiations in Asia and Europe are a success and that these agreements meet the high-standards necessary for congressional approval.''

''The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act will give us the tools we need to move more job-creating trade agreements,'' Camp said. ''This legislation will ensure that the Administration is following the rules and negotiating objectives that Congress has set out. In order to achieve the economic growth and job benefits that trade agreements can bring to the U.S., we must first pass strong, bipartisan TPA legislation. I look forward to working with the Administration and with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enact this bill.''

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 confronts many of the trade challenges facing the U.S. in the global marketplace, including: competition from state-owned enterprises; localization barriers to trade; and restrictions on cross-border data flows. TPA-2014 updates labor and environment provisions to reflect recent trade agreements, as well as market access priorities for goods and services. It strengthens oversight by Congress and the public by adding consultation and reporting requirements. TPA-2014 also provides for tougher, enforceable rules against barriers to U.S. agriculture. And for the first time, TPA-2014 sets out a clear directive on currency manipulation.

TPA-2014 also provides greater transparency and gives Congress greater oversight of the Administration's trade negotiations.

Senators Baucus and Hatch and Congressman Camp called TPA a ''vital tool'' as the U.S. continues Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations as well as free trade agreement talks with the European Union (EU). The two trade deals offer the U.S. landmark opportunities to boost exports. The TPP countries '' which represent many of the fastest-growing economies in the world '' accounted for 40 percent of total U.S. goods exports in 2012. And the EU purchased close to $460 billion in U.S. goods and services that same year, supporting 2.4 million American jobs.

In addition, the U.S. is negotiating the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) with 50 countries, covering about 50 percent of global GDP and over 70 percent of global services trade. This agreement would create many opportunities for U.S. jobs in this critical sector.

Renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, is necessary to successfully conclude these negotiations.

The one page summary can be found here. The bill text can be found here.

Trash the TPP: Why It's Time to Revolt Against the Worst "Trade Agreement" in History | Occupy.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 02:05

Odds are that you have not have heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While the TPP has been under negotiation since 2008, talks have largely been done in secret and not covered by the mass media.

The media black-out is quite impressive since this is the largest corporate trade agreement to be negotiated since the World Trade Organization got underway in 1995. Commonly called a global corporate coup, the TPP makes transnational corporations more powerful than governments. Others call it ''NAFTA on steroids'' because it will multiply the failures of NAFTA.

If People Knew Its Contents, It Could Not Pass

When it comes to trade, Obama has been the most secretive president. Past trade agreements were made public and discussed in the media. The Office of the US Trade Representative would publish the text on its website, even as the treaty was being negotiated.

Not this time. The TPP is being kept secret from everyone except for the 600 corporate advisers who can read the text on their computers as it is being created, and help the US Trade Representative draft the language. These include the biggest transnational corporations like WalMart, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Pfizer and Monsanto or their trade associations. The TPP is being drafted of, by and for the transnational corporations.

Members of Congress, however, have restricted access to the text and when they do see a summary of it, they must keep the contents secret even from their constituents. The media and public have only seen sections that have been leaked.

Why are the corporations operating in secret? Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that if the people knew what was in the agreement, it would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign. Kirk led the negotiations on the TPP but left recently to join a lobbying firm that represents transnational corporations. If Kirk is right -- that if people knew what was in it, it would not pass -- then, should it pass?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Should Not Become Law

The answer is no, the TPP should not become law. As people become aware of the TPP, more are working actively to stop it. The TPP is much more than a trade agreement. It will give transnational corporations greater control over our food, Internet access, medicines and health care, and degrade the environment, regulation of banks and wages.

Indeed corporations will have absolute power over virtually every aspect of our lives. The agreement is being negotiated among a dozen Pacific Ocean countries but is open for other countries to join through a new "docking provision."

One major advantage we have over past trade legislation battles is that we now have vast experience with trade agreements and the evidence is stark '' corporate trade agreements are bad for the economy, the environment and workers.

Recently released government trade data for 2012 show these agreements kill jobs and increase trade deficits. In countries where the US has a trade agreement, the trade deficit has grown by more than 440 percent, while in countries where there is no agreement, the deficit has declined by 7 percent.

The increased deficits from trade agreements resulted in the loss of nearly 1 million US jobs based on the administration's net exports-to-jobs ratio. This was evident with NAFTA, which cost the US 692,000 jobs. Wages in poor countries are much lower than for US workers. So it will not be surprising to see massive US job losses as well as falling wages as Americans compete with slave-wage jobs around the world.

Some of the most heinous parts of the TPP are provisions to set up rigged trade tribunals. In these tribunals, corporations can sue governments for the loss of ''expected future profits.'' This means that if a country passes an environmental or a health law that will cost the corporation money, the corporation can sue for the expected profits it stands to lose. The suit will come before a trade tribunal where a three-judge panel, made up mostly of corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their corporate jobs, will decide the case.

The takeaway from the tribunals is this: they will dissuade countries from putting in place public interest laws because those governments will be sued and forced to pay millions to corporations. We've already experienced something like this, though on a less sweeping scale. Global Trade Watch reports that under previous trade agreements, ''over $3 billion has been paid to foreign investors under US trade and investment pacts, while over $14 billion in claims are pending under such deals, primarily targeting environmental, energy, and public health policies.''

By the end of 2011, corporations like Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill had launched 450 investor-state cases against 89 governments, including the US, to fight regulations that protect the environment. Among these cases were bans of toxic chemicals, hydrofracking, timber and mining regulations, and programs that incentivized green jobs and renewable energy programs.

These are just a few examples among many. The TPP provides a backdoor for restrictions on Internet freedom, further deregulation of banks and elimination of ''Buy American'' provisions or other programs to encourage localism and environmental sustainability. On issue after issue, corporate profits come before what is best for the people and the planet.

Strategic Action Plan to Stop the TPP

Flush The TPP is a campaign bringing people together to stop the TPP. Since the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, not only has the WTO been stalled but at least 14 trade agreements have also been stopped. The key to stopping these agreements were: (1) people knowing what was in the agreement; and (2) people taking action to oppose it. Together, we can make the TPP so unpopular that no legislator will want to go near it.

The Obama administration knows this and is trying to take Congress out of the process. They are seeking ''Trade Promotion Authority,'' which is a euphemism for the now unpopular ''Fast Track'' legislation. Fast Track would allow the president to negotiate and sign the law before Congress takes any action, undermining the US Constitution in which the Commerce Clause gives Congress responsibility for setting the terms of trade.

The President knows that if the TPP undergoes a democratic review process in Congress, it will surely fail.

Therefore, the first two goals of the campaign to stop the TPP are (1) make the contents of the agreement public; and (2) stop ''Fast Track.'' Congress should fulfill its constitutional responsibility and serve as a check and balance to the president.

The TPP offers an opportunity for solidarity between groups that are working on a broad variety of issues: food safety, health care, Internet freedom, worker rights, the environment and more. Coalitions of groups that support fair trade rather than free trade exist in the US and are expanding. We have a three-stage plan:

Phase I: Throughout the summer, the goal is to educate and mobilize people. The TPP has been negotiated in secret for three years, and very few people know much about it. We start with #TPPTuesdays which are weekly actions to draw attention to the trade agreement. It will be up to people around the country to decide what works best for their local area or organization. And while there is power in acting on the same day every week, actions and educational events are certainly not limited to Tuesdays. The goal is to be visible and to educate. See the Actions and Tools pages for more information. You can begin by sharing the videos with this article and urging people to sign up at Flush the TPP.

Phase II: In August during the Congressional recess, we switch focus to influencing members of Congress. We want elected officials to know that their constituents are watching, that we oppose the TPP, and that we demand Congress holds hearings and suggests amendments before the president is able to sign the agreement.

Phase III: Defeat the TPP with major actions at the last round of negotiations and in Washington, DC as well as in home congressional districts. When a major action occurs, people will be encouraged to hold solidarity actions.

In fact, this is not just something the people of the United States oppose, but is something people all over the world oppose. There have already been protests in other countries. Thousands of protesters have been taking to the streets in Japan. A cross-border coalition of advocacy groups from Canada, the US and Mexico co-wrote a tri-national statement of unity calling for public access to the text and a democratic process in Washington, DC. The cross-border group also works with advocates in other Pacific Rim countries in order to build solidarity.

The TPP is a battleground for defining democracy in the 21st century and determining whether corporations will be our masters, or whether the people will rule. It is an epic conflict between people and transnational corporations, one the people can win, if we join together to stop the TPP.

Kevin Zeese, JD, and Margaret Flowers, MD, are participants in PopularResistance.org; they co-direct It's Our Economy.

2TTH

Plane crashes, woman dies, survivor films and takes selfie

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: CNET News

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 21:58

A month after a small plane crash in Hawaii, a surviving passenger shows GoPro footage and even a selfie taken during the ordeal.

Ferdinand Puentes' image of himself in the water.

(Credit: KHON-TV Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)Would you have done the same?

Ferdinand Puentes was one of nine passengers in a 2002 Cessna Grand Caravan which suddenly suffered engine failure off Kalaupapa, Molokai in Hawaii last month.

As he heard the engine fail and saw the plane heading for the water, one of his first instincts was to turn on his GoPro camera and film what might have been his own demise.

As KHON-TV reports, Puentes knew the danger he was in, yet the decision to film as much as possible might perplex a few.

He managed to get out of the plane alive and survived the crash. However, while he was floating on a seat cushion and wearing his life raft, he took a selfie.

More Technically IncorrectWas the impulse to record just a natural reaction? After all, any bystander or news organization would have likely done the same thing. And these days everyone is using their phones to film just about everything they see.

But wouldn't one's first instinct be to try to contact family and friends to say goodbye? Perhaps that did happen.

The footage reflects a quite stunning lack of panic. The passengers behave in an orderly manner. There is no screaming or pushing. No one seems frantic at all.

Loretta Fuddy, Hawaii's 65-year-old state director of health, died in the crash, despite managing to leave the plane.

In watching Puentes talk to KHON-TV, though, it's evident that the footage brings back painful memories.

Would everyone want to have such ready access to a reminder? Or would some prefer to forget?

"You could have died," Puentes told KHON-TV. "There's so much variations that could have happened for the worse."

Agenda 21

9,135 out of 9,136 scientists believe climate change is happening - Salon.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 01:02

Contrary to what conservatives might suggest, there really isn't a debate in the scientific community over whether climate change is real. The commonly cited statistic is that 97 percent of scientists agree that global warming is happening, and that it's caused by human activity. Another way of looking at that consensus comes courtesy of James Lawrence Powell, who examined a year's worth of climate-related scientific studies and found that virtually all accept man-made global warming.

Powell's analysis covers 2,258 articles published in peer-reviewed journals between November 2012 and December 2013, written by a total of 9,136 authors. He found but one holdout: S. V. Avakyan who, writing for the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, concluded that ''contribution of the greenhouse effect of carbon-containing gases to global warming turns out to be insignificant.'' Powell discusses Avakyan's dissenting opinion at his personal blog:

A clue to the author's motivation comes on the first page of the article, where he writes,''The switch of world powers first to decreasing the use of fossil fuel and then to carbon-free energy within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol may lead to economic collapse for Russia as a consequence of the reduction and, probably, even loss of the possibility to sell oil and natural gas on the world market.''

Dr. Avakyan addresses the two main facts that any theory of global warming must explain: over the last 100 years or so, both CO2 levels and global temperatures have risen and by about the same relative amount. Mainstream science attributes this to cause and effect: namely, the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric CO2 absorbs rising heat radiation and redirects some of it back down to raise the temperature at the Earth's surface. Dr. Avakyan's paper attributes the known temperature rise to the effect of solar geomagnetic activity on clouds, and the known rise of CO2 to the carbon not absorbed due to expanding deforestation, desertification, and urbanization, and the resulting lessening of photosynthesis. The paper is complicated and we will have to wait until the article has been out longer for the experts to weigh in. For now, one swallow does not a summer make.

Infographic: Scientists Who Doubt Human-Caused Climate Change | Popular Science

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 08:01

The next time you hear someone dispute that human activity is destabilizing our climate, remember this pie chart.

It represents geochemist James Lawrence Powell's review of 2,258 peer-reviewed scientific articles about climate change, written by 9,136 authors, published between Nov. 12, 2012 and December 31, 2013. Of all those hundreds of papers and thousands of researchers, Powellfound one article, authored by a single scientist, that attributed climate change to something other than human actions: "The Role of Solar Activity in Global Warming," by S.V. Avakyan, appearingin theHerald of the Russian Academy of Science,Vol. 83, No. 3.

Powell, a past president of Oberlin, Franklin and Marshall, and Reed colleges, invites anyone to reproduce his survey of the science:

Anyone can repeat as much of the new study as they wish--all of it if they like. Download an Excel database of the 2,258 articles here. It includes the title, document number, and Web of Science accession number. Scan the titles to identify articles that might reject man-made global warming. Then use the DOI or WoS accession number to find and read the abstracts of those articles, and where necessary, the entire article. If you find any candidates that I missed, please email me here.

Powell's earlier surveyof peer-reviewed studies published between 1991 and Nov. 12, 2013, resulted in this pie chart:

* See: Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh

$hadow Puppet Theatre

Matthew Aid '-- Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell Named to Goodyear Board of Directors

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 12:51

AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ '-- Michael J. Morell, retired deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been elected to the board of directors of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT).

"We are pleased to have Michael Morell join the Goodyear Board of Directors,'' said Goodyear Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Kramer. ''He brings to our board outstanding leadership skills and a global perspective gained during the course of three decades of distinguished service to the United States. We look forward to adding his skills and expertise to our board.''

Morell served as deputy director of the CIA from May 2010 to August 2013. A career officer, he held a variety of senior leadership positions with the agency, including serving as acting director twice, director of intelligence and executive director. He also served as a deputy director at the National Counterterrorism Center.

He joined the CIA in 1980 as an analyst covering international energy issues. Morell later worked on East Asia for 14 years, holding a number of jobs in analysis and in management before his selection in 1999 as director of Asian Pacific and Latin American analysis.

A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Morell earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Akron and a master's degree in economics from Georgetown University.

Morell, 55, served on President Barack Obama's Review Group on Intelligence and Telecommunications. He is a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a counselor at Beacon Global Strategies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Throughout his career, Morell received a number of awards, including the Presidential Rank Award for exceptional performance, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal for his role in the 2011 operation against Osama Bin Laden, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Department of Defense Service Medal, and four CIA Director's Awards.

The election of Morell brings the size of Goodyear's board to 13 members.

Internet Freedom

AT&T: Sponsored Data Plan Doesn't Violate FCC Rules | TechnoBuffalo

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:46

By Jacob Kleinman | January 10, 2014

AT&T's plan to let individual companies sponsor your mobile data when accessing their services ran into trouble this week when the FCC said it might look into claims the that ''sponsored data'' could prove a threat to net neutrality. Today, the carrier issued an official statement defending its new plan.

''AT&T's sponsored data service is aimed solely at benefiting our customers,'' said Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior executive vice president of External and Legislative Affairs, adding that the carrier's goal is to help its subscribers save money. ''We see no reason why this is not a good thing. Also, we are completely confident this offering complies with the FCC's net neutrality rules, which our company supports.''

The carrier's plan essentially lets a company like Facebook, Spotify or Netflix pay for the data you use to access their service from a mobile device, potentially lowering your monthly bill. But some have expressed concern the plan could threaten net neutrality. Not every company can afford to sponsor your data, meaning startups would have a hard time signing up new mobile customers if an established competitor already offered a similar service with sponsored data.

Whether AT&T's sponsored data will become a reality is unclear. There's still no guarantee that the FCC will investigate the plan, though clearly the carrier is ready to defend itself if necessary.

More Related Stories

Slave Training

------------------------------------------------

Coalition defeated over 'annoyance' clampdown

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 01:01

Peers have handed the government a big defeat in the Lords over plans to make injunctions against being 'annoying' legal.

The upper chamber voted 306-178 against the proposed injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance (Ipnas), which would be easier to implement and be defined more broadly than antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos).

It followed a debate of over two hours in which peers from all sides of the House condemned the chilling effect the reform would be likely to have on all kinds of 'annoying' behaviour, from carol-singing and street preaching to bell-ringing and political protests.

Whereas an Asbo can only be granted if a person or group is causing or threatening to cause "harassment, alarm or distress" to someone else, an Ipna could be approved merely if a judge believes the behaviour in question is "capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person".

Crossbencher Lord Dear, the former head of West Midlands police, turned down a last-minute government offer for more talks on the issue and pressed it to a vote rather than relying on "pious hopes" of a breakthrough.

Opinion could have been swayed by a mistake from Lord Faulks, the Tory peer widely expected to shortly become a minister who was asked to give an example of the sort of behaviour which might be captured by the bill.

He described a group of youths who repeatedly gathered at a specific location, smoking cannabis and playing loud music in a way representing "a day-by-day harassment of individuals".

That triggered consternation in the chamber as peers challenged him over the word 'harassment' - a higher bar than the 'nuisance or annoyance' threshold he was arguing in favour of.

"I find it difficult to accept a Conservative-led government is prepared to introduce this lower threshold in the bill," Tory backbencher Patrick Cormack said.

"We are sinking to a lower threshold and in the process many people may have their civil liberties taken away from them."

Lord Morris of Aberavon said the 'nuisance or annoyance' definition was so elastic that "if applied widely... would catch all sorts of people who really should not be before the courts".

Peers repeatedly quoted Lord Justice Sedley's ruling in a 1997 high court case, when he declared: "Freedom to only speak inoffensively is not worth having."

The government had made a minor concession over defining what could be defined as being annoying before today's vote.

Instead of applying to any behaviour which is "capable of causing" nuisance or annoyance, injunctions would only be eligible to behaviour "that could reasonably be expected to cause" annoyance.

The shift was dismissed as "a little bit of window-dressing" by civil liberties group Liberty, which concluded "nothing substantial has changed".

Ministers made a second attempt to win over wavering peers by introducing a second concession this afternoon.

Whereas a judge must be satisfied an Asbo is "necessary", the government had originally proposed an Ipna need only be granted if it is "just and convenient" to do so.

Today ministers offered an amendment proposing that an Ipna only be granted if it targets conduct which could be "reasonably expected to cause nuisance or annoyance".

Lord Dear had earlier told peers this concession was "vague and imprecise" and that "practitioners will leave it to the courts to decide, and this will introduce a chilling effect".

His claim was backed up by Lord Blair, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, who insisted what mattered was "of how this is going to be interpreted on the streets". He added: "This is a piece of absolutely awful legislation."

"The danger in this bill is that it potentially empowers state interference against annoying activities in the face of shockingly low safeguards," former director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald, a Liberal Democrat peer, had said earlier.

Campaign groups Liberty, Justice and a coalition of ethical groups '' from the Christian Institute to the National Secular Society '' had also spoken out against the injunctions.

Parliament's joint committee on human rights has condemned the proposed changes, on the grounds that the 'just and convenient' test is lower than the 'necessity' test required under human rights law.

The government responded to its report by arguing the meaning of 'nuisance and annoyance' is "well-known in the county court and is supported by 15 years of case law in our civil legal system".

Officials rejected the claim that there is an issue of legal certainty over the definition '' and plan to publish guidance setting out examples of the prohibitions and positive requirements which could be included in an injunction.

Following today's defeat the issue will return to the Commons - leaving ministers with the difficult dilemma of choosing whether to fight the battle over freedom of speech once again.

------------------------------------------------

TSA expands reach with new anti-terror regs | TheHill

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:52

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday unveiled long awaited regulations designed to protect against terrorist strikes involving aircraft repair stations near airports.

Part of the government's response to the 9/11 attacks of 2001, the regulations extend TSA's security enforcement authority over the Federal Aviation Administration-certified stations, where commercial planes undergo maintenance.

ADVERTISEMENT

The regulations, which take effect next month, reflect the government's view that the stations ''continue to be a prime target of terrorist threats,'' according to a notice to be published in Monday's Federal Register.In particular, the rule aims to keep terrorists from commandeering unattended aircraft that are capable of flight and crashing them into populated areas.

''Enhancement of security at repair stations that have access to runways will mitigate the potential threat that a large aircraft could be used as a weapon,'' the agency contends.

The regulations allow unannounced inspections at the facilities. Based on inspections, the TSA will have authority to order the repair stations to take corrective action.

The new rule comes on top of regulations already put in place by the FAA, which has sought to fill safety gaps in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Still, a coalition of transportation unions panned the regulations as too weak, noting they would only apply to those repair stations on or adjacent to airports '' a carve-out not mentioned in the 2003 statute that guided the rule-making.

''The security challenges raised by the heavy use of contract maintenance are not limited to stations at airports and Congress clearly did not identify this distinction when it mandated security enhancements,'' Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO said in a statement issued Friday.

Further, the group, comprised of 32 member unions, argues the rule fails to address concerns related to background checks of contract station employees.

''We understand that foreign governments and industry trade groups were pushing TSA to water down this security rule,'' the unions said. ''But we expected more from an agency that is supposed to be focused on transportation security.''

The regulations are expected to cost roughly $23.22 million over 10 years, though the agency argues that a single terrorist attack could inflict enough damage to rival that total.

------------------------------------------------

Ford VP: 'We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing'

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: RT - USA

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 20:20

Published time: January 09, 2014 18:24Ford Group Vice President Marketing and Communications Jim Farley.(Reuters / John Gress)

Modern automobiles are logging tremendous amounts of information every single second they're being put to use, and a senior executive at the Ford Motor Company says car manufacturers have access to every last piece of it.

At the CES electronic trade show in Las Vegas this week, the global vice president for Ford's marketing and sales division opened up about just exactly how much data is being collected by his company's latest line of smart cars.

''We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing,'' Ford's Jim Farley told a Vegas crowd on Wednesday, according to Business Insider reporter Jim Edwards.

''By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone," Farley assured attendees.

But just as how National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden revealed how the United States government compels telecommunication companies for metadata pertaining to the phone habits of millions of Americans on a regular basis, the sheer face alone that this automotive data is being collected and stored means it could someday be used by others.

Edwards described Farley's remark as being ''both sinister and obvious.''

''Because of the GPS units installed in Ford vehicles, Ford knows when its drivers are speeding, and where they are while they're doing it,'' Edwards wrote. Should the company choose to share that information with law enforcement, though, then it could create an environment where surveillance extends off the computer and onto the road.

As many as 96 percent of the cars mass-produced in 2013 included event data recorders, RT reported last year, similar to the black boxes that log information inside airplanes.

''These cars are equipped with computers that collect massive amounts of data,'' Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told the New York Times then. ''Without protections, it can lead to all kinds of abuse,'' she said.

According to Business Insider, Farley said this information is being recorded in cars by Ford so that data aggregators and analysts may someday later be able to use it in real time to help solve problems, such as traffic congestion.

As RT reported earlier this week, however, automobile owners don't have a choice for now as to whether or not they want their activities being etched into the computers of car makers. The Government Accountability Office released a report days before Farley's remarks detailing the results of an investigation into data storage protocol among auto makers Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan and said that, across the board, if companies retained data then ''they did not allow consumers to request that their data is deleted.''

The GAO says it would be a ''recommended practice'' for auto makers to adopt a policy that lets drivers be sure their personal driving data is destroyed upon request.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) initially asked for the report to be conducted, and upon its completion this week he issued a statement saying more needs to be done to safeguard privacy in the information age.

''Modern technology now allows drivers to get turn-by-turn directions in a matter of seconds, but our privacy laws haven't kept pace with these enormous advances,'' Franken said. ''Companies providing in-car location services are taking their customers' privacy seriously '' but this report shows that Minnesotans and people across the country need much more information about how data are being collected, what they're being used for, and how they're being shared with third parties.''

------------------------------------------------

Judge: Homeschooling A 'Concrete Endangerment' To Kids - Trunews: Trunews:

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 08 Jan 2014 20:53

A judge has issued a stunning verdict in a homeschooling case in Germany, ordering that the parents cannot have custody of their children because the family might move to another country and homeschool, posing a ''concrete endangerment'' to the children.

Dirk and Petra Wunderlich's case made international headlines in August when 20 armed police arrived with a battering ram and forcibly took their four children from their home in Darmstadt, Germany, and enrolled them in public school.

As WND reported at the time, the children, ages 7 to 14, were taken into police custody. They were allowed to return home three weeks later when their father and mother, given no choice by the federal bureaucracy in Germany, agreed to allow their kids to attend public schools despite their objection to the social and religious instruction there.

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, an international organization advocating for homeschool rights, the ruling from Family Court Judge Marcus Malkmus rejected emphatically the parents' request to regain custody.

Lawyers for the family had asked the judge to allow the parents to have custody because they had met all court demands for their children to go to public schools, and they wished to move to France, where homeschooling is legal.

The judge, in his ruling, said that even though the Wunderlich children were academically proficient, well-adjusted socially and without educational deficiencies, he was horrified by homeschooling.

Malkmus compared homeschooling to having the children wear a straitjacket and said he had to make sure the children remained in Germany so they would be integrated into society.

He feared ''the children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance.''

Such treatment, he warned would be ''concrete endangerment to the wellbeing of the child.''

The father, Dirk, told HSLDA the recent decision was shocking.

''I had really hoped the judge would just let us leave Germany peacefully. We don't isolate our children. They are well adjusted and doing well academically. We are happy for them to be connected to society. We just prefer to homeschool them because we believe it is better for them. It is so sad that my countrymen are not able to see that homeschooling should be allowed. It is legal in many other countries, and I believe it's a human right.''

He compared Malkmus' decision to building ''another Berlin Wall apparently designed to prevent all parents who might leave to homeschool from leaving Germany.''

Wunderlich said it's no different ''than what happened in the former East Germany under communism and before that under the Third Reich.''

''We need help from others around the world to help our country see this terrible violation of human rights,'' he said.

Read Full Article

------------------------------------------------

LA Times - New state fault maps show higher earthquake risks in Hollywood

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:16

LA Times Loading...

The page cannot be loaded because you are currently offline. Please check your internet connection and try again, or go back to the previous page.

The page you requested was not found.

LA Times - Jerry Brown: Earthquakes 'just around the corner,' fault maps needed

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 14:15

LA Times Loading...

The page cannot be loaded because you are currently offline. Please check your internet connection and try again, or go back to the previous page.

The page you requested was not found.

------------------------------------------------

Benghazi

State Dept. Offers $10 Million Reward to Find Benghazi Terrorists | The Weekly Standard

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:54

11:03 AM, Jan 10, 2014 ' By DANIEL HALPERThe State Department today publicly announced a $10 million reward "for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual responsible for the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks." The announcement for the reward is posted on rewardsforjustice.net.

Seeking Information Against International TerrorismWanted Information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual responsible for terrorist attack against the U.S. Special Mission Compound and Annex in Benghazi, Libya Up to $10 Million Reward

"On September 11-12, 2012, four Americans '-- U.S. Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and Protective Security Specialists Glen Anthony Doherty and Tyrone Snowden Woods'-- were killed in a terrorist attack against the U.S. Special Mission Compound and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A series of attacks involving arson, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and mortars was waged on two U.S. facilities in Benghazi, as well as U.S. personnel en route between the two facilities. In addition, the attacks severely wounded two U.S. personnel, injured three Libyan contract guards, and resulted in the destruction and abandonment of both facilities," reads the announcement.

The summary of rewardsforjustice.net lists the four Americans killed in that terrorist attack:

Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, 52, was born in northern California and began his career in the Foreign Service in 1991. Ambassador Stevens served many overseas assignments and was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya from 2007 to 2009. From March 2011 to November 2011, Ambassador Stevens served as Special Representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council, and arrived in Tripoli in May 2012 as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Stevens was an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC, and previously taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1983 to 1985. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recognized Ambassador Stevens as a ''brave and good man, consummate diplomat, and an American hero.''

Sean Smith, 34, was born in San Diego, California, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1995, serving as a ground radio maintenance specialist and Staff Sergeant. Smith joined the Foreign Service in 2002 as an Information Management Officer, serving in various overseas assignments, including Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal, and The Hague. Smith traveled to Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 to provide communications and management support to the U.S. Special Mission.

Glen Anthony Doherty, 42, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, and enlisted as a Navy SEAL in 1995, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan during his career. Prior to joining the Navy, Doherty also worked as a professional ski instructor, attended flight school, and was an experienced paramedic and flight trainer. In 2005, Doherty began working for a private firm providing security for American officials overseas. Doherty traveled to Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 to provide security to the U.S. Special Mission.

Tyrone Snowden Woods, 41, was born in Portland, Oregon, and served twenty years as a Navy SEAL, serving multiple tours in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Woods was also a registered nurse and a certified paramedic. In 2010, Woods began providing security for American officials overseas through a private security contractor. Woods traveled to Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 to provide security to the U.S. Special Mission.

Because of "security issues" the offer of the $10 million reward had not been officially announced until today.

Obama: 'We Join With the Israeli People in Honoring' Ariel Sharon

Va. Gov: Bush Family Should Be Thrown in Jail

Bernie Madoff Is Jamie Dimon's Latest Headache

De Blasio Spends $35,250 on Teleprompter for Inauguration

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Rewards for Justice-benghazi - english

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:55

On September 11-12, 2012, four Americans '-- U.S. Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and Protective Security Specialists Glen Anthony Doherty and Tyrone Snowden Woods'-- were killed in a terrorist attack against the U.S. Special Mission Compound and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A series of attacks involving arson, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and mortars was waged on two U.S. facilities in Benghazi, as well as U.S. personnel en route between the two facilities. In addition, the attacks severely wounded two U.S. personnel, injured three Libyan contract guards, and resulted in the destruction and abandonment of both facilities.

Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, 52, was born in northern California and began his career in the Foreign Service in 1991. Ambassador Stevens served many overseas assignments and was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya from 2007 to 2009. From March 2011 to November 2011, Ambassador Stevens served as Special Representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council, and arrived in Tripoli in May 2012 as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Stevens was an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC, and previously taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1983 to 1985. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recognized Ambassador Stevens as a ''brave and good man, consummate diplomat, and an American hero.''

Sean Smith, 34, was born in San Diego, California, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1995, serving as a ground radio maintenance specialist and Staff Sergeant. Smith joined the Foreign Service in 2002 as an Information Management Officer, serving in various overseas assignments, including Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal, and The Hague. Smith traveled to Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 to provide communications and management support to the U.S. Special Mission.

Glen Anthony Doherty, 42, was born in Winchester, Massachusetts, and enlisted as a Navy SEAL in 1995, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan during his career. Prior to joining the Navy, Doherty also worked as a professional ski instructor, attended flight school, and was an experienced paramedic and flight trainer. In 2005, Doherty began working for a private firm providing security for American officials overseas. Doherty traveled to Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 to provide security to the U.S. Special Mission.

Tyrone Snowden Woods, 41, was born in Portland, Oregon, and served twenty years as a Navy SEAL, serving multiple tours in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Woods was also a registered nurse and a certified paramedic. In 2010, Woods began providing security for American officials overseas through a private security contractor. Woods traveled to Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 to provide security to the U.S. Special Mission.

NWO

Above the President: The Declaration of Interdependence

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 09:08

The July Fourth Weekend is upon us again. For most Americans, that means time off from work, outdoor barbeques with friends and family, and fireworks celebrations. Yet for all Americans, this would also be a good time for thinking a little bit about our country, and about the course that we're headed down.

On January 30, 1976, as the United States was approaching the bicentential of its Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, 124 Congressmen (32 Senators and 92 Representatives) gathered in Washington D.C. on behalf of the World Affairs Council to sign a so-called "Declaration of Interdependence." Some memorable quotes from the document include:

"Two centuries ago our forefathers brought forth a new nation; now we must join with others to bring forth a New World Order.""We affirm that a world without law is a world without order, and we call upon all nations to strengthen and to sustain the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and other institutions of world order, and to broaden the jurisdiction of the World Court, that these may preside over a reign of law that will not only end wars but end as well that mindless violence which terrorizes our society even in times of peace."There's plenty more socialist drivel where that came from, but this should be enough to give you a taste of what the criminals who signed the document are aiming at. The document can be read in its entirety here (just scroll down almost till the bottom, it's the document authored by the "World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, 1975"):To accompany and promote this declaration, the Aspen Institute published The Third Try at World Order: U.S. Policy for an Interdependent World, written by Harlan Cleveland (Council on Foreign Relations). In that book, Cleveland whined about how the first try at a New World Order collapsed when the U.S. Senate refused to join the League of Nations after WWI, and about how the second try resulted in a world body (the United Nations) that was not vested with sufficient authority or power to enact and enforce world law.According to Cleveland, the "third try" at world government -- now underway -- is an attempt to arrive at world governance using a piecemeal approach, by strengthening the United Nations to deal with various global crises, which might involve (for instance) the planet's environment, food reserves (and famines), energy supplies, population and overcrowding, military stalements and conflict in a world of proliferating weapons.

Nelson Rockefeller, Establishment MadmanIn fact, the publication of the "Declaration of Interdependence" was not an isolated incident. Like most Establishment-sponsored treason, it was part of a calculated, premediated assault upon American civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution that helps protects them. On March 14, 1976, the Philadelphia Inquirer announced plans for a "national critical appraisal of the American Constitution," to be held April 5-8 of that year. The conference would be attended by "leading" Congressmen, judges, laywers, historians, sociologists and professors, and was organized by none other than Nelson Rockefeller himself.Delegates to the conference had hoped for grandiose Fourth of July Constitutional Convention to be held in Philadelphia that year (1976), in which the existing Constitution of the United States would have been scrapped, and a new, pre-fabricated "Constitution for the New States of America" would have been introduced. Public backlash over obvious collusion between conference attendees, specific U.S. government officials and various world government organizations derailed their plans, and the proposed Con-Con was never held.

In 1976, this nation came within a hair's breath of losing its most cherished treasure at the hands of Rockefeller mobsters. This Fourth of July, bethink yourselves, to ensure we never come so close to utter annihilation as a nation again.

Declaration of Interdependence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 09:08

There have been a number of documents designated as the Declaration of Interdependence since at least the 1930s. US Secretary of AgricultureHenry A. Wallace used the term in relation to the Farm Act of 1933 in a radio address broadcast on May 13 of that year,[1] and apparently used the phrase again in 1936 in relation to "interdependence among nations and cultures." Later that year the phrase was quoted in Walter P. Taylor's essay "What is Ecology and What Good is it?" in the journal Ecology Vol. 17 (July 1936). This was the first use of the phrase in an ecological context.[2]

On April 8, 1944 American philosopher and historian Will Durant was approached by two leaders of the Jewish and Christian faiths, Meyer David and Dr. Christian Richard about starting "a movement, to raise moral standards." He suggested instead that they start a movement against racial intolerance and outlined his ideas for a "Declaration of Interdependence". The movement for the declaration, Declaration of INTERdependence, Inc., was launched at a gala dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on March 22, 1945 attended by over 400 people including Thomas Mann and Bette Davis.[3] The Declaration was read into the Congressional Record on October 1, 1945 by Ellis E. Patterson.[4]

In 1969 Cliff Humphrey, founder of Ecology Action, drafted an "Unanimous Declaration of Interdependence" and published it in Whole Earth Catalogue Supplement September 1969.[2]

In 1976 two "Declarations of Interdependence" were presented to the public. One was the "Greenpeace Declaration of Interdependence" published by Greenpeace in the Greenpeace Chroncles (Winter 1976-77). This declaration was a condensation of a number of ecological manifestos Bob Hunter had written over the years. The ''Three basic Laws of Ecology,'' mentioned in the text were developed by Patrick Moore, with inspiration from the writings of Barry Commoner[5]

Another Declaration of Interdependence was drafted by Henry Steele Commager and presented to the World Affairs Councils of Philadelphia on October 24, 1975. It was signed in a ceremonial signing on January 30, 1976 at Congress Hall, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia by several members of Congress.[6] It was also "endorsed" by a number of non-governmental organizations and United Nations specialized agencies.[7]

A document entitled "Declaration of interdependence: a new global ethics" was adopted by the Board of Directors of the International Humanist and Ethical Union on 31 December 1988.[8]

David Suzuki wrote a Declaration of Interdependence in 1992 for that years Earth Summit. It is currently being promoted by his foundation.[9]

The PM Declaration of Interdependence, a statement of management principles for software, was published in 2005.[10]

Vaccine$

Frequently Asked Questions - Flu Near You

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 21:06

Flu Near You is a site administered by Healthmap of Boston Children's Hospital in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

Flu Near You is open to anyone for browsing. Any individual living in the United States or Canada, 13 years of age or older, can register to complete brief, weekly surveys that help all of us learn more about the flu.

This effort is supported with private funds to demonstrate its utility for multiple sectors who must work together for pandemic preparedness if data is openly shared. The information on the site will be available to public health officials, researchers, disaster planning organizations and anyone else who may find this information useful.

Benefits See flu activity in your areaFind nearby locations offering flu vaccinesComplete quick surveys to advance our collective understanding of the fluVisualize flu trendsConnect with local public health organizationsCostFree!Privacy PolicyWe recognize the sensitive nature of Flu Near You questions, and take the security and confidentiality of your information seriously.As we describe below, your participation in this project will remain confidential. Submissions will be anonymized and posted in aggregate with other submissions. IP addresses are routinely recorded but will also remain confidential.

Your contact information will not be shared with any third party except as required by law.

We collect personal information such as, but not limited to, your email address, age, gender and Internet Protocol address. We reserve the right to use this information internally, including but not limited to research purposes, quality assurance purposes, and correspondence with you, but we will not sell, share, rent, or otherwise reveal this information to any third party except as required by law, or to address issues of noncompliance. We may share aggregate data with third parties in a manner that will not identify you.

All data exchanged with this site is protected by SSL encryption, the same standard used to protect the transmission of credit card information and other sensitive data over the internet.

Flu Near You uses cookies to improve the quality of our service, including (if you choose) remembering your login information so that it does not need to be re-entered.

Terms of ParticipationBy sending a written contribution to Flu Near You, you grant a perpetual, royalty-free, unconditional license to Boston Children's Hospital, HeathMap and Flu Near You, and any successor organizations, to publish your contribution in aggregate with other submissions on the Flu Near You Web site and all affiliated sites, as well as disseminate it to other parties via RSS or other media, and to discuss or reference it in any publications related to or arising out of Flu Near You. You also agree that Flu Near You has the right, but not the obligation, to edit or remove any contribution in Flu Near You's sole discretion. You also agree to the HealthMap Terms of Use.

Board of Directors | Skoll Global Threats Fund

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 21:06

Team Members:Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman

Larry Brilliant, President, Skoll Global Threats Fund

Sally Osberg, President and CEO, Skoll Foundation

James DeMartini, Managing Partner, Seiler LLP

As the first full-time employee and first President of eBay, Jeff developed the company's inaugural business plan and led its successful initial public offering. eBay has since become the world's largest on-line marketplace, connecting hundreds of millions of buyers and sellers. eBay's transformational trading platform democratized economic opportunity throughout the world, empowering individuals to become successful online entrepreneurs.

Jeff founded the Skoll Foundation in 1999. It quickly became the world's largest foundation for social entrepreneurship, driving large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and other innovators dedicated to solving the world's most pressing problems. Its flagship program, the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, has supported 91 leading social entrepreneurs from 74 organizations whose extraordinary work serves the neediest populations all over the globe.

The Skoll Foundation also co-produces the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Sa¯d Business School at the University of Oxford. The Skoll World Forum unites acclaimed social entrepreneurs with essential partners from the social, finance, private and public sectors. Each year, the Skoll World Forum attracts 800 distinguished delegates, including such renowned world figures as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Honorable Mary Robinson, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Nobel Laureates Al Gore, Muhammad Yunus, Jody Williams, and Dr. R.K. Pachauri.

In 2009, Skoll founded the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Its initial focus is on five global issues that, if unchecked, could bring the world to its knees: climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict.

Jeff founded Participant Media in 2004 with the belief that a story well told has the power to inspire and compel social change. Participant's films are accompanied by social action and advocacy campaigns to engage people on the issues addressed in the films. Jeff has served as Executive Producer on over 33 films to date, which have collectively received a total of 5 Academy Awards® and 22 nominations. Participant's films include, among others, Good Night, and Good Luck,North Country,Syriana,An Inconvenient Truth,The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War,The Visitor,The Cove, Countdown to Zero,Waiting for' Superman',Food, Inc., The Help, and Contagion.

In 2009, Participant launched its digital hub TakePart.com, an on-line Social Action Network' that engages people in the major issues which shape their lives. TakePart launched a digital magazine on MSN and a YouTube network in 2012.

Jeff received a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto and an honorary Doctor of Public Service from Santa Clara University. In 2012, Skoll was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Jeff's other recent honors include the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award (2011), Barron's 25 Best Givers (2010, 2009), Huffington Post's ''Ultimate Game Changer in Entertainment'' (2010), Environmental Media Awards Corporate Responsibility Award (2010), the Producers Guild of America's Visionary Award (2009), Global Green USA's Entertainment Industry Environmental Leadership Award (2009), Business Week's 50 Most Generous Philanthropists (2003-2007), Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People (2006), and Wired Magazine's Rave Award (2006).

Larry Brilliant is the President and CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund. He previously was Vice President of Google and Executive Director of Google.org.

Larry is an MD and MPH, board-certified in preventive medicine. He lived and worked in India for ten years and was on the UN team that led the successful World Health Organization smallpox eradication program. He did his undergraduate in Philosophy at the U of M, his MD at Wayne Medical School and came back to do his MPH at the U of M. Later he joined the faculty from 1977 to 1986, first as assistant professor of health planning and international health and later, as associate professor of epidemiology at the U of M School of Public Health. He has authored two books and dozens of scientific articles on infectious diseases, blindness and international health policy.

In 1985, while in Ann Arbor, Larry founded the Seva Foundation, an international NGO, whose projects have given back sight to nearly 3 million people worldwide through their work to eliminate preventable and curable blindness. Also in Ann Arbor, he co-founded The Well, a pioneering digital community that holds a special place in the history of online communities and he holds a telecom patent related to online transactions.

He also worked for WHO and UNICEF in polio eradication and blindness and volunteered as a physician during several disasters, including the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and the Bihar Floods. After the anthrax attacks in the U.S. in 2001, he volunteered as a first responder for CDC's bio-terrorism effort.

Larry was founding chair of the National Bio-Surveillance Advisory Subcommittee, created by Presidential directive, and is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Catastrophic Risks. He was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2008. He is on the boards of the Skoll Foundation, Salesforce.com Foundation and is a frequent speaker and consultant on topics ranging from social action to large scale social change.

Recent awards include the TED Prize in 2006, Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People and Top 20 Scientists and Thinkers (2008), UN Global Leadership Award (2008), Peacemaker Award (2005) and International Public Health Hero (2004) and two Honorary Doctorates. In 2009, the documentary about polio eradication, which Larry conceived and was funded by Google.org, The Final Inch, won an Oscar nomination and was bought and shown by HBO.

Sally Osberg has led entrepreneurial organizations and been an agent for social change throughout her career. As President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, she partners with Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll and heads the organization's team in identifying and supporting innovators pioneering scalable solutions to global challenges. She is a well-known proponent of thought leadership, research, and alliances that advance the work of social entrepreneurs solving the world's most pressing problems.

Currently, Sally serves on the boards of the Skoll Foundation, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Oracle Education Foundation and the Palestine-based Partners for Sustainable Development. She was founding Executive Director of Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, guiding that institution to international recognition for its cutting edge work in the museum field, and formerly active as a director on the boards of the American Association of Museums, the American Leadership Forum, and Women and Philanthropy, among others. Sally has received the John Gardner Leadership Award from the American Leadership Forum, been inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, and been named by the San Jose Mercury News as one of the ''Millennium 100'" for her role in shaping and leading Silicon Valley.

Jim DeMartini is the Managing Partner of Seiler LLP, a large accounting firm with offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The firm specializes in providing services to high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as closely held businesses. In his role as a trusted advisor, Mr. DeMartini counsels clients in matters including income, estate and gift tax planning, wealth management, all facets of real estate, and charitable gift planning.

Currently, Mr.DeMartini is a member of the Board of Directors of the Stupski Foundation. Mr.DeMartini was Founder and Member of the Board of Directors of Sports Association for Youth, a non-competitive baseball league that currently benefits more than 1,000 Bay Area youths annually. Recently, Mr. DeMartini was Chair of the Santa Clara University Men's Golf Committee. Additional past community activities include Notre Dame de Namur University Trustee, Executive Committee Member, and Chairman of the Audit Committee; Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of California Advisory Board; Santa Clara University English Advisory Board; Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford Capital Campaign Committee; and, Stanford University Medical Center Friends of Orthopedics.

From 1999-2004 Mr.DeMartini served on the Board of Directors of Mid-Peninsula Bank, a member of the Greater Bay Bancorp group. He attended the University of California at Los Angeles and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Golden Gate University. Mr. DeMartini pursued graduate studies in taxation and speaks on a variety of related topics. Mr. DeMartini is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and California State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Elite$

Millionaires' Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: OpenSecrets Blog

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 21:41

For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 -- an increase from last year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.)Last year only 257 members, or about 48 percent of lawmakers, had a median net worth of at least $1 million.

Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, but the fact that now a majority of members -- albeit just a hair over 50 percent -- are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code."Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluentpoliticians to represent our concerns in Washington, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center. "Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, andthe most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."

Breaking the numbers down further, congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million. In both cases, the figures are up from last year, when the numbers were $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.

The median net worth for all House members was $896,000 -- that's up from $856,000 in 2011 -- with House Democrats (median net worth: $929,000) holding an edge over House Republicans (median net worth: $884,000). The median net worth for both House Republicans and Democrats was higher than in 2011.

Similarly, the median net worth for all senators increased to $2.7 million from $2.5 million, but in that body it was the Republicans who were better-off. Senate Democrats reported a median net worth of $1.7 million (a decline from 2011's $2.4 million), compared to Senate Republicans, at $2.9 million (an increase from $2.5 million).

Senate Democrats were the only group reporting a drop in their median net worth from the prior year -- a decline that is at least partly because of the loss of two extremely well-off Senate Democrats from the list: now-Secretary of State John Kerry, who had been the wealthiest senator with a 2011 average net worth of $248 million, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who had an average net worth of $87.5 million before his death last year.The richest member of Congress was, once again, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) chairman of the House Oversight Committee. Issa, who made his fortune in the car alarm business, had an average net worth of $464 million in 2012. Issa had ruled the roost as the wealthiest lawmaker for several years but was bumped from that perch last year by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).In our analysis last year, we estimated that McCaul's 2011 average net worth was $500.6 million -- a dramatic increase for him from the year before. McCaul's affluence is primarily due to the holdings of his wife, Linda, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications Chairman Lowry Mays. McCaul took a dramatic tumble from the list's pinnacle, reporting an average net worth of $143.1 million in 2012.Shed no tears for McCaul, though: His drop wasn't due to any great financial misfortune, but reflects changes in reporting rules. Beginning with reports covering calendar year 2012, high-value assets, income and liabilities belonging to the spouses of House members may be reported as being worth simply "$1 million or more." Previously, the forms required somewhat more specific valuations. So, for example, on his 2011 disclosure McCaul reported that his wife owned a 10.1 percent interest in LLM Family Investments that was worth "more than $50 million." Now, he reports that his wife's share of the fund has increased to 12.2 percent, but he can list it as a "spousal asset over $1,000,000," though it's likely worth much more.

This methodological change (to a system the Senate already uses) also appeared to affect Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). On her disclosure form covering 2010, she reported having an average net worth of $750,000. Then in 2011 she married hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, which increased her average net worth for that year to $85.8 million. Her report for 2012 shows a dramatic decline, to $42.4 million, because of the new reporting rules.The least wealthy member of Congress in 2012, at least on paper, was Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.) -- a slot he occupied the previous year as well. Valdao reported an average net worth of negative $12.1 million in 2012. That's actually a big improvement from 2011, when his average net worth was negative $19 million. According to Valdao's disclosure forms and our interviews with his staff last year, his debt is the result of loans for his family dairy farm. The second-poorest member of Congress continued to be Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who for decades has owed millions of dollars for legal bills incurred in the 1980s, when he was charged with accepting a bribe while sitting as a federal judge. As we noted last year, Hastings was acquitted, but later impeached and removed by the Senate before running for Congress in 1992. His level of debt has not changed since 2005.

Although more members of Congress are millionaires than ever before, and the median net worth for all lawmakers is higher than ever, their total net worth -- the value of all their assets minus liabilities -- fell from $4.2 billion in 2011 to $3.9 billion in 2012. Again, that could be at least partly due to the change in the House reporting requirements for spousal assets and liabilities.Congressional holdings

For several years recently, the stock market seemed to be out of fashion with members of Congress. That seems to have changed in 2012.

Last year we noted that an analysis of the top 50 investments held by members of Congress showed most companies had fewer congressional investors in 2011 than in 2010, a trend that had been ongoing for several years. We noted last year that only 11 stocks in the top 50 had more investors in 2011 than in 2010.But of 41 stocks listed in the top 50 in both 2011 and 2012, 33 of them had more investors in 2012 than the year before.

General Electric continued to be the most popular investment for current members of Congress. In 2011, there were 71 lawmakers who reported owning shares in the company; in 2012, there were 74. The second most popular holding was the bank Wells Fargo, in which 58 members owned shares (up from 40 in 2011). Financial firms were well-represented in the 10 most popular investments: Bank of America came in sixth (51 members) and JPMorgan Chase was seventh (49 members). Both companies had more congressional investors than in 2011 (11 more for Bank of America and 10 more for JPMorgan Chase.)Investing in instruments like mutual funds, managed portfolios and even hedge funds continues to be a popular strategy. Besides providing good returns, they also cushion lawmakers from accusations of having a conflict of interest when they take actions on the job that might impact specific stocks.Overall, though, real estate was the most popular investment for members of Congress. Their investments in real estate in 2012 were valued at between $442.2 million and $1.4 billion. The next most popular industry to invest in was securities and investment, with congressional investments being worth between $64.5 million and $229.6 million.Commercial banks, computers and oil and gas rounded out the top five most popular investments for lawmakers in 2012.Download the full list of all current members of Congress and the most popular congressional investments here: http://bit.ly/1gl3JyXImages: Rep. Darrell Issa, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite;

De Blasio Transition Donors Include Many With Interests Before City | Politicker

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 12:57

Bill de Blasio at his inauguration, which was funded by transition donors. (Photo: Stan Honda/Getty)

Donors hoping to gain favor with newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio had one last chance to fill his coffers before his administration kicked into high gear. They took advantage of the opportunity.

New and loyal backers pumped more than $2 million dollars into Mr. de Blasio's transition effort, new campaign finance filings show. And with Mr. de Blasio already elected, it perhaps isn't surprising that many of those offering last-minute backing have a financial stake in his administration.

Among the notable names who maxed out on their giving''in addition to real estate titans like SL Green's Stephen Green, Alexander Durst from the The Durst organization, and the usual smattering of attorneys and finance types''were Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, as well as Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, Marilyn. Both of the couples contributed the max $9,000 to Mr. de Blasio's transition efforts. Neither had contributed to his campaign.

Then there's the taxi industry, which according to Capital New York's tabulations gave more than $350,000 to Mr. de Blasio over the course of his campaign. They didn't stop giving. The industry''which battled former Mayor Michael Bloomberg over outer-borough green apple cabs, and efforts to standardize the industry''contributed another $45,000 to the mayor's inauguration and transition efforts, the records show. The sum includes maximum contributions from Jose Altamilano, the president of El Barrios Car Service, Neil Greenbaum and Eldar Guseynov, the manager and COO of All Taxi Management, as well as many smaller contributions from drivers and medallion owners.

Transit advocates have long been puzzled by Mr. de Blasio's vague opposition to the outer-borough cabs''which appear to have proven popular in the communities they serve''prompting critics to speculate that the contributions could be the motivation. Mr. de Blasio has repeatedly denied this, however.

Mr. de Blasio's press office did not immediately respond to questions about the implications of the contributions''or others in the filings.

Among the transition's biggest bundlers were Charles Hocking ($30,350), election lawyer and lobbyist Stanley Schlein ($25,340) and Mercury Public Affairs' Jonathan Greenspun ($23,000). Also on the list: Harold Ickes, who raised $10,000 on Mr. de Blasio's behalf.

Mr. Hocking, who also contributed $1,100 to Mr. de Blasio himself, is the president Hazen and Sawyer, an engineering firm that specializes in providing safe drinking water and controlling water pollution, according to its website. The firm has tens of millions of dollars of worth of contracts with the city's Department of Environmental Protection, according to city records. Employees at the firm''who live as far away as Georgia, Florida and North Carolina''also made a total of 43 contributions to the transition, totaling $16,200, the campaign records show. Mr. Hocking did not respond to an email seeking comment.

According to city's campaign finance board, individuals doing business with the city are barred from contributing to transition efforts. But that doesn't stop them from bundling money from other donors.

Mr. Schlein, a top election lawyer and registered lobbyist with the city, is identified in Mr. de Blasio's filings as working on behalf of Dominion Voting Systems Inc., which produces electronic voting systems for many districts across the state. The firm holds nearly $50 million in contracts with the city, records show, and provides absentee and affidavit ballots and other services to the city's Board of Elections, according to a spokeswoman for the board.

Mr. Schlein also does business with the city as an employee of Crossroads Developer LLC, which is doing work with the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, city records show.

Others with clear interests in the city also opened up their wallets. Mr. de Blasio received the maximum $4,500 from Chaim Reichman, a manager at Twin America, which runs the controversial double-decker sightseeing buses that have recently faced crackdowns by the City Council. He also got cash from John Curcio, the president of Empire State Bus Corp., which has nearly $100 millions in contracts with the Department of Education, records show.

And perhaps hoping to receive the same top billing they enjoyed in the Bloomberg administration, a number of others involved in the film and television industry, including Douglas Steiner of Steiner Studios were also generous. Employees at Broadway Stages, who contributed more than $45,000 to Mr. de Blasio's campaign, added another $28,000 to his transition and inauguration efforts.

The mayor also received $1,000 from another celeb, actress Susan Sarandon, who appeared at Mr. de Blasio's side often during the campaign.

Arianna Huffington announces launch of World Post news website | Media | theguardian.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:44

The 1% are about to get their own publication. The digital media titan Arianna Huffington and the billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen on Wednesday announced the launch of World Post, a comment and news website that looks set to become a platform for some of the most powerful people on the planet.

Inevitably, the World Post will be launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this month. Many of its contributors including former British prime minister Tony Blair, Microsoft's Bill Gates and Google's Eric Schmidt are regulars at the annual jamboree for the world's most connected people. Many are also advisers to the Berggruen Institute, the billionaire investor's nonpartisan policy think tank.

Berggruen, known as the ''homeless billionaire'' because he prefers living in hotels to owning houses, said the 50/50 venture with Huffington Post owner AOL would not just be a platform for the world's elite. ''You have to start somewhere,'' he said. ''A lot of these people are knowledgable. On the other hand you will see a lot of unknown voices, young voices and from places that are not that obvious.''

Huffington said: ''You can have all those heads of state and major business people, etcetera etcetera, writing right next to an unemployed man from Spain, a student from Brazil. The great heart of HuffPo is no hierarchy.''

The site will have its own stand-alone presence but will also replace the Huffington Post's current world section. The Huffington Post will run the advertising side of the business and will also organise conferences and sponsored sections. Neither side will comment on how much funding has been put into the business.

Berggruen said World Post would be run for profit. ''I think that's healthy,'' he said. ''But if we were going to make an investment in the most exciting areas to make an investment, it probably wouldn't be this. If it doesn't make money, we will still support it,'' he said. ''We're not in it just to make money.

"It has to be profitable to be sustainable,'' Huffington said.

The Huffington Post is now in 10 countries and will use its locally based journalists as well as three new dedicated foreign correspondents in Beijing, Beirut and Cairo to supply content for World Post alongside its other contributors. More hires are expected. But Huffington said its main strength would be in its ability to collaborate with local new organisations as well as its top level contributors.

''Collaboration is the key, especially in the linked economy,'' said Huffington. ''Recognising that you are not going to do the only good coverage. If you can bring your reader what other good work is being done, you improve their experience. That's really what the heart of World Post is about.''

The publication's initial editorial board has deep ties to media companies around the world. Alongside Huffington and Berggruen it includes Juan Luis Cebrian, founding editor of El Pais, Dileep Padgaonkar, consulting editor of the Times of India, Yoichi Funabashi, former editor-in-chief of Asahi Shimbun, and Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of eBay and backer of a new investigative reporting organisation, First Look Media, set up with former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Huffington said 42% of the Huffington Post's 94m unique visitors each month come from outside the US. ''Just over two years ago we didn't have an international edition anywhere,'' she said.

''We have an incredible opportunity to use the pieces we already have on the board to speak to our existing audience and grow that audience simply by embracing the fact that we are an international entity,'' said Peter Goodman, executive business and global news editor for the Huffington Post.

The launch comes amid a wave of new money going into media ventures. Berggruen said it was clear that traditional news organisations were still struggling and that many more would fail. ''I think there will be a few media voices that really have weight and will survive but fewer and fewer,'' he said.

Berggruen, an avid art collector, said World Post would also move beyond public policy and would address issues that interest people around the world including the environment, health and the arts. ''Culture is much bigger than politics. It will be about science, art. Anything that captures our imagination and our lives,'' he said.

Another board member Nathan Gardels, a syndication expert, media fellow at the World Economic Forum and editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, said the news industry was regaining an international perspective unseen since the end of the cold war.

''Most of the world's media has fragmented then rationalized and then re-localized,'' he said. Thirty years ago the news was much more international, he said, ''despite the fact that we are more interdependent than ever.''

''There is definitely an audience now for an international perspective. There may not be enough people in Los Angeles who want that but globally I think there is.''

Statement by the President on the Passing of Ariel Sharon

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:43

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

January 11, 2014

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel. We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel's security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country.

Bank$ters

JPMorgan Chase plans to exit prepaid card business | Reuters

Link to Article

Archived Version

Thu, 09 Jan 2014 22:40

By David Henry

NEW YORKThu Jan 9, 2014 12:32pm EST

People walk inside JP Morgan headquarters in New York, October 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) plans to sell or exit over time its business of issuing prepaid cards for corporate payrolls and government tax refunds and benefits, the company said on Thursday.

The cards, which had been offered with cash and treasury services to companies and governments, had become a headache of risks in operations and regulations, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Last month JPMorgan warned some 465,000 holders of the cards that their personal data may have been accessed by computer hackers who attacked its network in July.

The company mailed incorrect replacement cards to some 4,000 people receiving payments from the state of Connecticut. The state treasurer blasted the bank for its "obvious lack of attention to detail.

Government regulators are focusing on whether corporate payroll programs that use the cards have sufficient safeguards against burdening employees with fees.

In July, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters to more than 20 companies asking for details on how they use payroll cards. [ID:nL2N0F916H] The probe was started after complaints from workers and advocacy groups about fees bank charge for using the cards.

Employers have said that they offer the cards to employees as an option along with paper paychecks and direct deposits to bank accounts. Even with the fees, they can be cheaper than check-cashing services.

But there have been complaints that direct deposit choices are hard to exercise and a lawsuit was filed against a McDonald's franchisee by an employee who claimed she was required to use a JPMorgan Chase payroll card.

The bank was not sued in that case, but the complaint was bad for the Chase brand name.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in September issued a bulletin to reiterate that laws and rules on electronic funds transfers apply to payroll cards. The bulletin specifically noted that the CFPB has authority over banks providing payroll cards, which raised the possibility that banks might be expected to make sure corporate clients were following rules when paying employees with cards.

JPMorgan became a target for law enforcers and regulators after the biggest bank in the United States by assets lost $6.2 billion in a derivatives bet in 2012 out of its London offices.

On Tuesday, the company agreed to pay $2.6 billion to settle government and private claims against it for not reporting suspicions of fraud by convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff, its long-time client. And, it agreed last year to pay $13 billion to settle government claims over mortgage-related instruments sold before the financial crisis.

Since then, JPMorgan has been moving to simplify its operations after its risk controls and guards against money laundering were found deficient by regulators. Critics have also said the bank is too big to manage.

JPMorgan decided last summer to exit its physical commodities business after concluding potential returns were not worth the regulatory hassle. It is also getting out of lending to students, as well as scaling back on international transactions that carry heightened risks of money laundering.

According to JPMorgan's statement, the bank "will explore a full range of options for its prepaid card business, including a sale." In the meantime, it will continue to support current clients and cardholders, but will not take on new business. The decision does not affect Chase customers holding credit, debit or prepaid "Liquid" cards, the company said.

The business contributes too little toward JPMorgan's nearly $100 billion in annual revenue to have to be disclosed in its income statement.

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz and David Gregorio)

Link thisShare thisDigg thisEmailPrintReprints

Schneiderman targets 'Insider Trading 2.0' | Capital New York

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 13:04

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced a settlement with BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm, under which the company will halt its practice of receiving market-moving analysis before the public had access to it.

Schneiderman, who once called the practice "Insider Trading 2.0," began his investigation into BlackRock in July 2012, following a report in the New York Times that outlined the firm's ''advance survey'' practice, which the attorney general said gave the company unfair access to market information unavailable to the public.

BlackRock maintained that its survey program solicited information from financial analysts that was based on previously published reports. But the attorney general's office said it uncovered evidence that the survey program's design allowed it to capture analysts' views on companies that had not yet been made public.

MORE ON CAPITALADVERTISEMENTBlackRock had been receiving research reports from financial analysts through the survey program for five years, although federal and state laws prohibit brokerage firms and analysts from selectively disclosing such information before the reports are disseminated to all customers entitled to them.

As part of the settlement, BlackRock agreed to discontinue the practice, a move Schneiderman's office said could have far-reaching effects both because of BlackRock's size (it managed more than $4 trillion in assets) and the company's reach. BlackRock's analyst survey program was the world's largest, and the company has agreed to end the practice not only in the United States, but also worldwide.

In an address Schneiderman gave to the Bloomberg Markets 50 Summit in September 2013, the attorney general said the practice, which he dubbed ''Insider Trading 2.0,'' was responsible for ''distort[ing] our markets far more than Albert Wiggin or Ivan Bosky or even Gordon Gekko could ever have imagined.''

In addition to agreeing to discontinue the practice, BlackRock will pay $400,000 to offset the costs of the attorney general's investigation. BlackRock neither admitted nor denied the Attorney General's allegations.

''BlackRock deserves credit for recognizing the need for reform when it comes to the dissemination of information that can move markets,'' Schneiderman said in an emailed statement.

''BlackRock's agreement with my office to end its global analyst survey program and cooperate with my office's investigation into the early release of Wall Street analyst sentiment is a major step forward in restoring fairness in our financial markets and ensuring a level playing field for all investors. The concept that there should be one set of rules for everyone is critical to protecting the integrity of our markets, which is why my office will continue to take action against those who provide unfair advantages to elite traders at the expense of the rest of us.''

Read the full settlement agreement here.

MORE:Author: Laura Nahmiasfollow this reporter

previousMORE IN ALBANYnextAROUND THE WEBMORE FROM CAPITALPlease enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

comments powered by

Obama Appoints Bank of Israel Governor to The Federal Reserve

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: BlackListedNews.com

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 01:55

This week, President Obama named Stanley Fischer, former governor of the Bank of Israel, to serve as vice chairman Friday of the U.S. Federal Reserve board. The president named Lael Brainard, one of his top economic advisers, to serve as a governor of the fed and nominated Jerome Powell to a second term, According to UPI.

"Stanley Fischer brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, including serving at the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Israel," Obama said. "He is widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading and most experienced economic policy minds and I'm grateful he has agreed to take on this new role and I am confident that he and Janet Yellen will make a great team."

Brainard served as treasury undersecretary for international affairs from 2010 to 2013. Powell, who was first named to the Fed board in 2012, was a treasury official in President George H.W. Bush's administration.

Many people believe that the Federal Reserve is an organization that operates as a public service. There are not many out there who realize that this is a for profit business. Last year the federal reserve reportedly made 90 billion dollars.

Marketplace.org reported that:

''While leaders in Washington stare down the fiscal cliff, let's not forget the fiscal fact that brought us to the edge: The annual U.S. government deficit of more than a trillion dollars. But through it all, one government-related entity has been hauling in record surpluses. New data capture the scope of profits at the U.S. Federal Reserve, estimated to be $90 billion this year.''

''The last five or six years their profits have roughly tripled,'' says Allan Sloan, senior editor-at-large at Fortune Magazine.

@Bob_Tuskin

F-Russia

U.S. cautions on travel to Sochi Olympics

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 21:31

Michael Winter, USA TODAY5:54 p.m. EST January 10, 2014

Security personnel walk in the Olympic Park in the Coastal Cluster on Jan. 9 in Adler, Russia.(Photo: Michael Heiman, Getty Images)

SHARE301CONNECTEMAILMOREThe State Department issued a travelers' alert Friday for the Sochi Olympics, offering standard security tips while traveling and cautioning about medical facilities and Russia-related terrorism concerns in Georgia.

Americans attending the Games "should remain alert regarding their personal security at all times" and "remain vigilant and exercise good judgment and discretion when using any form of public transportation," the advisory urged.

Noting that the Olympics are the "first large-scale event to be held in Sochi," the U.S. government said, "Medical capacity and infrastructure in the region are untested for handling the volume of visitors expected for the Olympics," and medical care in many Russian localities "differs substantially from Western standards due to differing practices and approaches to primary care."

Travelers were advised to consider "purchasing private medical evacuation and/or repatriation insurance."

Noting recent terror attacks in the Russian Federation, the advisory pointed out that the Games "present an attractive target for terrorists."

The Caucasus Emirate has indicated it may target the Olympics. The militant Sufi nationalist group, formed in 2007, has already attacked a ski resort, trains, an airport and a theater.

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation has said 100,000 security personnel would be on duty at the Games and around Sochi.

"Russian authorities have indicated that they are taking appropriate security measures in Sochi in light of this," the State Department said. "Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hostage takings, continue to occur in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region. There is no indication of a specific threat to U.S. institutions or citizens, but U.S. citizens should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices."

Friday's advisory also reminded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers that Russia has banned "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors and that the law applies to foreigners, even though the authorities have not clearly defined what constitutes "propaganda."

But elsewhere the State Department writes that LGBT individuals "are protected by anti-discrimination laws in Georgia, and there are no legal impediments to the organization of LGBT events. However, traditional cultural attitudes result in LGBT individuals often facing de-facto discrimination and harassment by state and private actors."

More information is available on the State Department's LGBT Travel Information site.

Beyond Olympic- and Georgia-specific concerns, the State Department also reiterated basic tourist-awareness tips regarding theft, muggings, taxis, lodging, credit cards and documents. As is standard for much travel abroad, the State Department recommended signing up for its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, in addition to sharing itineraries with family, friends and co-workers.

The State Department offers more detailed information and recommendations on its Georgia site.

All travelers to Georgia should "regularly monitor emergency messages on the U.S. Embassy's website for the latest information on the security situation throughout Georgia. In the case of a crisis and/or natural disaster, U.S. citizens in Tbilisi may tune in to FM radio stations for any updated U.S. Embassy emergency message for U.S. citizens."

SHARE301CONNECTEMAILMORE

FSB-Federal Security Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 00:24

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) (Russian: ФедеÑаÐ>>ьная сÐ>>ужба безоÐасности Российской ФедеÑации (ФÐБ); Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii) is the principal security agency of the Russian Federation and the main successor agency to the USSR's Committee of State Security (KGB). Its main responsibilities are within the country and include counter-intelligence, internal and border security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of grave crimes. It is headquartered in Lubyanka Square, Moscow's centre, in the main building of the former KGB. The Director of the FSB since 2008 is army generalAleksandr Bortnikov.

The immediate predecessor of the FSB was the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) of Russia: on 12 April 1995, Russian president Boris Yeltsinsigned a law mandating a reorganization of the FSK, which resulted in the creation of the FSB. In 2003, the FSB's responsibilities were widened by incorporating the previously independent Border Guard Service and a major part of the abolished Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information (FAPSI). The two major structural components of the former KGB that remain administratively independent of the FSB are the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the State Guards (FSO).

Under the federal law, the FSB is a military service just like the Armed Forces, the MVD, the FSO, the SVR, the FSKN and EMERCOM's civil defence, but its commissioned officers do not normally wear military uniform.

Overview[edit]The FSB is mainly responsible for internal security of the Russian state, counterespionage, and the fight against organized crime, terrorism, and drug smuggling. Since 2003, when the Federal Border Guards Service was incorporated to the FSB, it has also been responsible for overseeing border security.[1] The FSB is engaged mostly in domestic affairs, while espionage duties are responsibility of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. However, the FSB also includes the FAPSI agency, which conducts electronic surveillance abroad. All law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Russia work under the guidance of FSB, if needed.[1]

The FSB combines functions and powers similar to those exercised by the United States FBI National Security Branch, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Protective Service, the National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, United States Coast Guard, and partly the Drug Enforcement Administration. The FSB employs about 66,200 uniformed staff, including about 4,000 special forces troops. It also employs about 160,000''200,000 border guards.[1]

Under Article 32 of the Federal Constitutional Law On the Government of the Russian Federation,[2] the FSB head answers directly to the RF president and the FSB director is the RF president's appointment, though he is a member of the RF government which is headed by the Chairman of Government; he also, ex officio, is a permanent member of the Security Council of Russia presided over by the president and chairman of the National Anti-terrorism Committee of Russia.

History[edit]Initial reorganization of the KGB[edit]The Federal Security Service is one of the successor organisations of the Soviet Committee of State Security (KGB). Following the attempted coup of 1991 '-- in which some KGB units as well as the KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov played a major part '-- the KGB was dismantled and ceased to exist from November 1991.[3][4] In December 1991, two government agencies answerable to the Russian president were created by president Yeltsin's decrees on the basis of the relevant main directorates of the defunct KGB: Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR, the former First Main Directorate) and the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI, merging the functions of the former 8th Main Directorate and 16th Main Directorate of the KGB). In January 1992, another new institution, the Ministry of Security took over domestic and border security responsibilities.[5] Following the 1993 coup attempt against President Boris Yeltsin, the Ministry of Security was reorganized on 21 December 1993 into the Federal Counter-Intelligence Service (FSK). The FSK was headed by Sergei Stepashin. Before the start of the main military activities of the First Chechen War the FSK was responsible for the covert operations against the separatists led by Dzhokhar Dudayev.[1]

Creation of the FSB[edit]In 1995, the FSK was renamed and reorganized into the Federal Security Service (FSB) by the Federal Law of 3 April 1995, "On the Organs of the Federal Security Service in the Russian Federation".[6] The FSB reforms were rounded out by decree No. 633, signed by Boris Yeltsin on 23 June 1995. The decree made the tasks of the FSB more specific, giving the FSB substantial rights to conduct cryptographic work, and described the powers of the FSB director. The number of deputy directors was increased to 8: 2 first deputies, 5 deputies responsible for departments and directorates and 1 deputy director heading the Moscow City and Moscow regional directorate. Yeltsin appointed Colonel-General Mikhail Ivanovich Barsukov as the new director of the FSB. In 1998 Yeltsin appointed as director of the FSB Vladimir Putin, a KGB veteran who would later succeed Yeltsin as federal president.[7] Putin was reluctant to take over the directorship, but once appointed conducted a thorough reorganization, which included the dismissal of most of the FSB's top personnel.[1] Putin appointed Nikolai Patrushev as the head of FSB in 1999.[5]

Role in the Second Chechen War[edit]After the main military offensive of the Second Chechen War ended and the separatists changed tactics to guerilla warfare, overall command of the federal forces in Chechnya was transferred from the military to the FSB in January 2001. While the army lacked technical means of tracking the guerrilla groups, the FSB suffered from insufficient human intelligence due its inability to build networks of agents and informants. In the autumn of 2002, the separatists launched a massive campaign of terrorism against the Russian civilians, including the Dubrovka theatre attack. The inability of the federal forces to conduct efficient counter-terrorist operations led to the government to transfer the responsibility of "maintaining order" in Chechnya from the FSB to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) in July 2003.[8]

The Putin reforms[edit]After becoming President, Vladimir Putin launched a major reorganization of the FSB. First, the FSB was placed under direct control of the President by a decree issued on 17 May 2000.[5] Internal structure of the agency was reformed by a decree signed on 17 June 2000. In the resulting structure, the FSB was to have a director, a first deputy director and nine other deputy directors, including one state secretary and the chiefs of six departments: Economic Security Department, Counterintelligence Department, Organizational and Personnel Service, Department of activity provision, Department for Analysis, Forecasting and Strategic Planning, Department for Protection of the Constitutional System and the Fight against Terrorism. In 2003, the agency's responsibilities were considerably widened. The Border Guard Service of Russia, with its staff of 210,000, was integrated to the FSB via a decree was signed on 11 March 2003. The merger was completed by 1 July 2003. In addition, The Federal Agency of Government Communication and Information (FAPSI) was abolished and the FSB was granted a major part of its functions, while other parts went to the Ministry of Defense.[5] Among the reasons for this strengthening of the FSB were enhanced need for security of after increased terror attacks against Russian civilians starting from the Moscow theater hostage crisis; the need to end the permanent infighting between the FSB, FAPSI and the Border Guards due to their overlapping functions and the need for more efficient response to migration, drug trafficking and illegal arms trading. It has also been pointed out, that the FSB was the only power base of the new president, and the restructuring therefore strengthened Putin's position (see Political groups under Vladimir Putin's presidency).[5] On 28 June 2004 in a speech to high-ranking FSB officers, Putin emphasized three major tasks of the agency: neutralizing foreign espionage, safeguarding economic and financial security of the country and combating organized crime.[5] In September 2006, the FSB was shaken by a major reshuffle, which, combined with some earlier reassignments (most remarkably, those of FSB Deputy Directors Yury Zaostrovtsev and Vladimir Anisimov in 2004 and 2005, respectively), were widely believed to be linked to the Three Whales Corruption Scandal that had slowly unfolded since 2000. Some analysts considered it to be an attempt to undermine FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev's influence, as it was Patrushev's team from the Karelian KGB Directorate of the late 1980s '' early 1990s that had suffered most and he had been on vacations during the event.[9][10][11]

By 2008, the agency had one Director, two First Deputy Directors and 5 Deputy Directors. It had the following 9 divisions:[5]

Counter-EspionageService for Defense of Constitutional Order and Fight against TerrorismBorder ServiceEconomic Security ServiceCurrent Information and International LinksOrganizational and Personnel ServiceMonitoring DepartmentScientific and Technical ServiceOrganizational Security ServiceThe fight against terrorism[edit]Starting from the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002, Russia was faced with increased levels of Islamist terrorism. The FSB, being the main agency responsible for counter-terrorist operations, was in the front line in the fight against terror. During the Moscow theater siege and the Beslan school siege, FSB's Spetsnaz units Alpha Group and Vympel played a key role in the hostage release operations. However, their performance was criticised due to the high number of hostage casualties. In 2006, the FSB scored a major success in its counter-terrorist efforts when it successfully killed Shamil Basayev, the mastermind behind the Beslan tragedy and several other high-profile terrorist acts. According to the FSB, the operation was planned over six months and made possible due to the FSB's increased activities in foreign countries that were supplying arms to the terrorists. Basayev was tracked via the surveillance of this arms trafficking. Basayev and other militants were preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Ingushetia when FSB agents destroyed their convoy; 12 militants were killed.[12][13] During the last years of the Vladimir Putin's second presidency (2006''2008), terrorist attacks in Russia dwindled, falling from 257 in 2005 to 48 in 2007. Military analyst Vitaly Shlykov praised the effectiveness of Russia's security agencies, saying that the experience learned in Chechnya and Dagestan had been key to the success. In 2008, the American Carnegie Endowment's Foreign Policy magazine named Russia as "the worst place to be a terrorist" and highlighted especially Russia's willingness to prioritize national security over civil rights.[14] By 2010, Russian forces, led by the FSB, had managed to eliminate out the top leadership of the Chechen insurgency, except for Dokka Umarov.[15]

Increased terrorism and expansion of the FSB's powers[edit]Starting from 2009, the level of terrorism in Russia increased again. Particularly worrisome was the increase of suicide attacks. While between February 2005 and August 2008, no civilians were killed in such attacks, in 2008 at least 17 were killed and in 2009 the number rose to 45.[16] In March 2010, Islamist militants organised the 2010 Moscow Metro bombings, which killed 40 people. One of the two blasts took place at Lubyanka station, near the FSB headquarters. Militant leader Doku Umarov '-- dubbed "Russia's Osama Bin Laden" '-- took responsibility for the attacks. In July 2010, President Dmitry Medvedev expanded the FSB's powers in its fight against terrorism. FSB officers received the power to issue warnings to citizens on actions that could lead to committing crimes and arrest people for 15 days if they fail to comply with legitimate orders given by the officers. The bill was harshly criticized by human rights organizations.[17]

Counterintelligence[edit]In 2011, the FSB exposed 199 foreign spies, including 41 professional spies and 158 agents employed by foreign intelligence services.[18] The number has risen in recent years: in 2006 the FSB reportedly caught about 27 foreign intelligence officers and 89 foreign agents.[19] Comparing the number of exposed spies historically, the then-FSB Director Nikolay Kovalyov said in 1996: "There has never been such a number of spies arrested by us since the time when German agents were sent in during the years of World War II." The 2011 figure is similar to what was reported in 1995-1996, when around 400 foreign intelligence agents were uncovered during the two-year period.[20] In a high-profile case of foreign espionage, the FSB said in February 2012 that an engineer working at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia's main space center for military launches, had been convicted to 13 years in prison on charges of state treason. A court judged that the engineer had sold information about testing of new Russian strategic missile systems to the American CIA.[21] An increasing number of scientists have been accused of espionage and illegal technology exports by the FSB during the last decade: researcher Igor Sutyagin,[22] physicist Valentin Danilov,[23] physical chemist Oleg Korobeinichev,[24] academician Oskar Kaibyshev,[25] and physicist Yury Ryzhov.[26] Ecologist and journalist Alexander Nikitin, who worked with the Bellona Foundation, was accused of espionage. He published material exposing hazards posed by the Russian Navy's nuclear fleet. He was acquitted in 1999 after spending several years in prison (his case was sent for re-investigation 13 times while he remained in prison). Other cases of prosecution are the cases of investigative journalist and ecologist Grigory Pasko,[27][28]Vladimir Petrenko who described danger posed by military chemical warfare stockpiles, and Nikolay Shchur, chairman of the Snezhinskiy Ecological Fund.[20] Other arrested people include Viktor Orekhov, a former KGB officer who assisted Soviet dissidents, Vladimir Kazantsev who disclosed illegal purchases of eavesdropping devices from foreign firms, and Vil Mirzayanov who had written that Russia was working on a nerve gas weapon.[20]

Counter-terrorism[edit]In 2011, the FSB prevented 94 "crimes of a terrorist nature," including eight terrorist attacks. In particular, the agency foiled a planned suicide bombing in Moscow on New Year's Eve. However, the agency failed to prevent terrorists perpetrating the Domodedovo International Airport bombing.[18] Over the years, FSB and affiliated state security organizations have killed all presidents of the separatist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria including Dzhokhar Dudaev, Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Aslan Maskhadov, and Abdul-Khalim Saidullaev. Just before his death, Saidullaev claimed that the Russian government "treacherously" killed Maskhadov, after inviting him to "talks" and promising his security "at the highest level."[29] During the Moscow theater hostage crisis and Beslan school hostage crisis, all hostage takers were killed on the spot by FSB spetsnaz forces. Only one of the suspects, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, survived and was convicted later by the court. It is reported that more than 100 leaders of terrorist groups have been killed during 119 operations on North Caucasus during 2006.[19] On 28 July 2006 the FSB presented a list of 17 terrorist organizations recognized by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, to Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, which published the list that day. The list had been available previously, but only through individual request.[30][31] Commenting on the list, Yuri Sapunov, head of anti-terrorism at the FSB, named three main criteria necessary for organizations to be listed.[32] Federal Security Service

Foreign intelligence[edit]According to some unofficial sources,[33][34][35] since 1999, the FSB has also been tasked with the intelligence-gathering on the territory of the CIS countries, wherein the SVR is legally forbidden from conducting espionage under the inter-government agreements. Such activity is in line with Article 8 of the Federal Law on the FSB.[36]

Targeted killing[edit]In the summer of 2006, the FSB was given the legal power to engage in targeted killing, and hunt down and kill terrorism suspects overseas if ordered to do so by Russia's president.[37]

Border protection[edit]The Federal Border Guard Service (FPS) has been part of the FSB since 2003. Russia has 61,000 kilometers (38,000 mi) of sea and land borders, 7,500 kilometers (4,700 mi) of which is with Kazakhstan, and 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) with China. One kilometer (1,100 yd) of border protection costs around 1 million rubles per year.[38]

Export control[edit]The FSB is engaged in the development of Russia's export control strategy and examines drafts of international agreements related to the transfer of dual-use and military commodities and technologies. Its primary role in the nonproliferation sphere is to collect information to prevent the illegal export of controlled nuclear technology and materials.[39]

Intimidation of foreign diplomats and journalists[edit]The FSB has been accused by The Guardian of using psychological techniques to intimidate western diplomatic staff and journalists, with the intention of making them curtail their work in Russia early.[40] The techniques allegedly involve entering targets' houses, moving household items around, replacing items with similar (but slightly different) items, and even sending sex toys to a male target's wife, all with the intention of confusing and scaring the target.[40] Guardian journalist, Luke Harding, claims to have been the subject of such techniques.[40]

Organization[edit]Below the nationwide level, the FSB has regional offices in the federal subjects of Russia. It also has administrations in the armed forces and other military institutions. Sub-departments exist for areas such as aviation, special training centers, forensic expertise, military medicine, etc.[5]

Structure of the Federal Office (incomplete):

Counterintelligence Service (Department) '' chiefs: Oleg Syromolotov (since Aug 2000), Valery Pechyonkin (September 1997 '' August 2000)Directorate for the Counterintelligence Support of Strategic FacilitiesMilitary Counterintelligence Directorate '-- chiefs: Alexander Bezverkhny (at least since 2002), Vladimir Petrishchev (since January 1996)Service (Department) for Protection of the Constitutional System and the Fight against Terrorism '' chiefs: Alexey Sedov (since March 2006), Alexander Bragin (2004 '' March 2006), Alexander Zhdankov (2001''2004), German Ugryumov (2000''2001)Directorate for Terrorism and Political Extremism Control '' chiefs: Mikhail Belousov, before him Grafov, before the latter Boris Mylnikov (since 2000)Federal Protection Service of the Russian Federation '' Director: General of Army Yevgeniy Alekseevich Murov (from 8 May 2000)[41]President's regiment in the Service of the Commandant of the Moscow Kremlin of the Federal Security Service of Russia[42] (Russian: ПÑезидентский ÐоÐ>>к ÐÐ>>ужбы коменданта Ð'осковскоÐ"о КÑемÐ>>я ФÐО России) stationed in Kremlin. Was created on 8 April 1936 as a special regiment (Spetsnaz) for the security of the Kremlin Garrison.Economic Security Service (Department) '' chiefs: Alexander Bortnikov (since 2 March 2004), Yury Zaostrovtsev (January 2000 '' March 2004), Viktor Ivanov (April 1999 '' January 2000), Nikolay Patrushev (1998 '' April 1999), Alexander Grigoryev (28 August '' 1 October 1998).Operational Information and International Relations Service (Analysis, Forecasting, and Strategic Planning Department) '' chiefs: Viktor Komogorov (since 1999), Sergei Ivanov (1998''1999)Organizational and Personnel Service (Department) '' chiefs: Yevgeny Lovyrev (since 2001), Yevgeny Solovyov (before Lovyrev)Department for Activity Provision '' chiefs: Mikhail Shekin (since September 2006), Sergey Shishin (before Shekin), Pyotr Pereverzev (as of 2004), Alexander Strelkov (before Pereverzev)Border Guard Service '' chiefs: Vladimir Pronichev (since 2003)Control Service '' chiefs: Alexander Zhdankov (since 2004)Science and Engineering Service (Department) '' chiefs: Nikolai KlimashinInvestigation Directorate '' chiefs: Nikolay Oleshko (since December 2004), Yury Anisimov (as of 2004), Viktor Milchenko (since 2002), Sergey Balashov (until 2002 since at least 2001), Vladimir Galkin (as of 1997 and 1998)Besides the services (departments) and directorates of the federal office, the territorial directorates of FSB in the federal subects are also subordinate to it. Of these, St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Directorate of FSB and its predecessors (historically covering both Leningrad/Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast) have played especially important roles in the history of this organization, as many of the officers of the Directorate, including Vladimir Putin and Nikolay Patrushev, later assumed important positions within the federal FSB office or other government bodies. After the last Chief of the Soviet time, Anatoly Kurkov, the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast Directorate were led by Sergei Stepashin (29 November 1991 '' 1992), Viktor Cherkesov (1992 ''1998), Alexander Grigoryev (1 October 1998 '' 5 January 2001), Sergei Smirnov (5 January 2001 '' June 2003), Alexander Bortnikov (June 2003 '' March 2004) and Yury Ignashchenkov (since March 2004).

Directors of the FSB[edit]On 20 June 1996, Boris Yeltsin fired FSB Director Mikhail Barsukov and appointed Nikolay Kovalyov as acting Director and later Director of the FSB. Aleksandr Bortnikov took over on 12 May 2008.

Criticism[edit]Political role in Putin's Russia[edit]The FSB has been criticised for corruption and human rights violations. Some Kremlin critics such as Yulia Latynina and Alexander Litvinenko have claimed that the FSB is engaged in suppression of internal dissent; Litvinenko died in 2006 as a result of polonium poisoning.[43] A number of opposition lawmakers and investigative journalists were murdered in the 2000s while investigating corruption and other alleged crimes perpetrated by FSB officers: Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Galina Starovoitova, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, Paul Klebnikov (US), Nadezhda Chaikova, Nina Yefimova, and others.[44][45]

The FSB has been further criticised by some for failure to bring Islamist terrorism in Russia under control.[46] In the mid-2000s, the pro-Kremlin Russian sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya claimed that FSB played a dominant role in the country's political, economic and even cultural life.[47][48][49]

Former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, along with a series of other authors such as Yury Felshtinsky, David Satter, Boris Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, claimed in the early 2000s that the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities were a false flag attack coordinated by the FSB in order to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya and boost former FSB Director Vladimir Putin's, then the prime minister, popularity in the lead-up to parliamentary elections and presidential transfer of power in Russia later that year.[50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]

In his book Mafia State, Luke Harding, the Moscow correspondent for The Guardian from to 2007 to 2011 and a fierce critic of Russia, alleges that the FSB subjected him to continual psychological harassment, with the aim of either coercing him into practicing self-censorship in his reporting, or to leave the country entirely. He says that FSB used techniques known as Zersetzung (literally "corrosion" or "undermining") which were perfected by the East GermanStasi.[62]

See also[edit]References[edit]^ abcdefSakwa, Richard. Russian Politics and Society (4th ed.). p. 98. ^ФедеÑаÐ>>ьный конституционный закон О ПÑавитеÐ>>ьстве Российской ФедеÑации>> 17 Dec 1997.^THE MILITARY AND THE AUGUST 1991 COUP McNair Paper 34, The Russian Military's Role in Politics, January 1995.^Gevorkian, Natalia (January 1993). 'The KGB: "They still need us"'. "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". pp. 36''39. ^ abcdefghSchneider, Eberhard. "The Russian Federal Security Service under President Putin". In Stephen White. Politics and the Ruling Group in Putin's Russia. ^On Organs of the Federal Security Service in the Russian Federation Russian Federation Federal Law No. 40-FZ. Adopted by the State Duma 22 February 1995. Signed by Russian Federation President B. Yeltsin and dated 3 April 1995.^Mark Tran. Who is Vladimir Putin? Profile: Russia's new prime minister. Guardian Unlimited 9 August 1999.^Baev, Pavel (2005). "Chechnya and the Russian Military". In Richard Sakwa. Chechnya: From Past to Future. Anthem Press. ^Фсб ЗакÑытоÐ"о ÐиÐа^"Mass Dismissals at the FSB '' Kommersant Moscow". Kommersant.com. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^ЕÐ>>ена Ъ-КисеÐ>>ева, Ð'икоÐ>>ай Ъ-ÐеÑÐ"еев, Ð'ихаиÐ>> Ъ-ФиÑман. "Ъ '' Кит и меч". Kommersant.ru. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^"Russians claim killing of rebel Basayev, the Beslan butcher". The Independent. 11 July 2006. ^"Chechen rebel chief Basayev dies". BBC News. 10 June 2006. ^Biberman, Yelena (6 December 2008). "No Place to Be a Terrorist". Russia Profile. ^Saradzhyan, Simon (31 March 2010). "Eliminating Terrorists, Not Terror". International Relations and Security Network. ^Saradzhyan, Simon (23 December 2010). "Russia's North Caucasus, the Terrorism Revival". International Relations and Security Network. ^"Medvedev expands FSB powers". Russia Today. 27 August 2010. ^ ab"Russia Busted 200 Spies Last Year '' Medvedev". RIA Novosti. 7 February 2012. ^ abStory to the Day of Checkist^ abcCounterintelligence Cases- by GlobalSecurity.org^"Russia Convicts Military Officer of Spying For CIA". RIA Novosti. 10 February 2012. ^"Case study: Igor Sutiagin". Hrw.org. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^"AAAS Human Rights Action Network". Shr.aaas.org. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^Russian Scientist Charged With Disclosing State Secret^Oskar Kaibyshev convicted^Researchers Throw Up Their Arms^"Grigory Pasko site". Index.org.ru. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^The Pasko case^Russia Used 'Deception' To Kill Maskhadov, 8 March 2006 (RFE/RL)^"17 particularly dangerous" (in Russian). Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2006. ^"'Terror' list out; Russia tags two Kuwaiti groups". Arab Times. 13 August 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2006. ^"Russia names 'terrorist' groups". BBC News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2006. ^Ð--еÐаÑтамент оÐеÑативной инÑоÑмации (Ð--ОÐ) ФÐБ^Ð'аÑи сÐецсÐ>>ужбы - на теÑÑитоÑии бывÑеÐ"о Ðоюза^Ð'АШРÐПЕÐ...ÐЛУЖБР'-- Ð'А ÐЕРРÐÐОРÐРБÐÐ'ШЕÐ'О ÐОЮЗА^ФЕÐ--ЕРАЛЬÐ'ÐРЗАКОÐ' О ФЕÐ--ЕРАЛЬÐ'ОРÐЛУЖБЕ БЕЗОПАÐÐ'ОÐÐÐ^Finn, Peter (15 January 2007). "In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 May 2010. ^Putin Calls On FSB To Modernize Border Guards by Victor Yasmann for Radio Free Europe, December 2005.^"Status of the State Licensing System of Control over Exports of Nuclear Materials, Dual-use Commodities and Technologies in Russia: Manual for foreign associates in Russia," International Business Relations Corporation, Department of Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Fuel Cycle (Moscow, 2002).^ abcRussian spy agency targeting western diplomats, Guardian^"Murov biography (in Russian)". Fso.gov.ru. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^"ПÑезидентский ÐоÐ>>к". Ppolk.ru. Retrieved 4 November 2010. ^"The sadistic poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko" - by Don Murray;- CBC News, 2006^Amnesty International condemns the political murder of Russian human rights advocate Galina Starovoitova^Yushenkov: A Russian idealist^Russia After The Presidential Election by Mark A. Smith Conflict Studies Research Centre^In Russia, A Secretive Force Widens '' by P. Finn '-- Washington Post, 2006^"The making of a neo-KGB state". The Economist. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2013. ^ПОÐ'ОÐ'ОÐ'ОЖАÐÐЕ^Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within^Who was Alexander LitvinenkoBBC, 13 December 2012.^Boris Kagarlitsky, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Comparative Politics, writing in the weekly Novaya Gazeta, says that the bombings in Moscow and elsewhere were arranged by the GRU^"David Satter '' House committee on Foreign Affairs" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-29. ^Felshtinsky & Pribylovsky 2008, pp. 105''111^Video on YouTubeIn Memoriam Aleksander Litvinenko, Jos de Putter, Tegenlicht documentary VPRO 2007, Moscow, 2004 Interview with Anna Politkovskaya^Russian Federation: Amnesty International's concerns and recommendations in the case of Mikhail Trepashkin '' Amnesty International[dead link]^Bomb Blamed in Fatal Moscow Apartment Blast, Richard C. Paddock, Los Angeles Times, 10 September 1999^At least 90 dead in Moscow apartment blast, from staff and wire reports, CNN, 10 September 1999^Evangelista, Matthew (2002), The Chechen Wars: Will Russia Go the Way of the Soviet Union?, Brookings Institution Press, ISBN 978-0-8157-2499-5 , p. 81.^Did Putin's Agents Plant the Bombs?, Jamie Dettmer, Insight on the News, 17 April 2000.^''The consolidation of Dictatorship in Russia'' by Joel M. Ostrow, Georgil Satarov, Irina Khakamada p.96^Harding, Luke (2011). Mafia State. London: Guardian Books. ISBN (HB) 978-0852-65247-3 . External links[edit]Profiles[edit] Links to related articles

COC 'diep, diep teleurgesteld' door koning

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: VK: Home

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 14:33

10/01/14, 15:00 '' bron: ANP

(C) anp. Het COC organiseerde in april een demonstratie tegen de Russische president Vladimir Poetin in Amsterdam.

Het COC reageert geschokt op het nieuws dat premier Mark Rutte en koning Willem-Alexander afreizen naar de Olympische Winterspelen in Sotsji. De belangenorganisatie voor homo's had gehoopt dat er een statement tegen Rusland gemaakt zou worden.

Tanja Ineke, voorzitter COC Nederland: 'Ik ben verbijsterd en diep, diep teleurgesteld. Ten eerste omdat het kabinet de Russische lhtb's (lesbiennes, homo's, transgenders en biseksuelen) in de kou laat staan. Die hadden opgeroepen om een duidelijk signaal te geven en niet de hoogste vertegenwoordigers te sturen.'

'Ten tweede omdat Nederland normaal altijd voorop loopt als het aankomt op homorechten en nu sluiten we niet eens achteraan achter Frankrijk, de VS en andere landen. We hopen dat de Tweede Kamer hier alsnog een stokje voor steekt.'

Vsevolod Chaplin - OrthodoxWiki

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:28

The Very Reverend Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin is the chairman of the Synodal Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society of the Moscow Patriarchate, in addition to being a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and rector of St. Nicholas on the Three Hills Church, Moscow.

BiographyVsevolod Anatolyevich Chaplin was born on March 31, 1968, into the family of an agnostic professor. He went to school in Golyanovo, Moscow.

After he graduated in 1985, he joined the staff of the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarchate. On recommendation of Metropolitan Pitirim, he entered the Moscow Theological Seminary, graduating in 1990.

From October 1990 to March 2009, he was in the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, beginning as an ordinary fellow (1990-1991) before moving into public affairs (1991-1997), then being secretary (1997-2001) and vice-president (2001-2009). At the same time as being in the DECR, he continued studies at the Moscow Theological Academy, defending his thesis and graduating in 1994.

Vsevolod was ordained to the diaconate on April 21, 1991, and to the priesthood on January 7, 1992. He was elevated to archpriest in 1999.

Fr Vsevolod has no children.

CommitteesIn addition to his other work, Fr. Vsevolod was or is a member of:

The Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the Russian President on March 4, 1996, May 14, 1997 and May 28, 2009The Central Committee of the World Council of ChurchesThe Conference of European ChurchesThe WCC Commission on International AffairsThe Expert Council under the Committee of the State Duma on affairs of public associations and religious organizationsthe expert group the OSCE on Freedom of Religion or Belief.March 31, 2009: Chairman of the Synodal Department for the newly formed relationship between the Church and society.January 3, 2010: Member of the Russian Organizing Committee "Victory".July 26, 2010: Member of the Patriarch's Council of Culture.Public StatementsFr Vsevolod's role as Chairman of the Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society means that he makes public statements on religion and ethics, including:

Opposing the confusion of the terms 'religion' and 'denomination', claiming that confessions can be just Christian.Commenting on the positive side of Stalin and Ksenia Sobchak, but negatively on MadonnaAdvocating the establishment of 'Orthodox National Teams'Opposing euthanasiaOpposing the anonymity of the InternetCriticised Darwin's doctrine on the origin of manCriticised idea that faith is a private matterRefuses to pray with Christians of other denominationsConsiders that, to avoid rape, Russian girls need to be 'more serious in appearance'. Proposed that a 'nationwide dress code' could help.Supports the beautification of church buildings, iconostases, ornaments and vestments, as befits a religion at the centre of national life, giving the Church the opportunity to speak to rich and poor alike.AwardsState awardsThe Order of Friendship (January 21, 2009) - for outstanding contribution to the development of spiritual culture and strengthening friendship between peoples.Diploma of the Russian Federation President (July 20, 2011) - for services to the development of spiritual culture and strengthening friendship between peoplesChurch awardsThe Order of St. Prince Daniel of Moscow, second class (2010)The Order of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow (2005)The Order of St. Prince Daniel of Moscow, third class (1996)Other awardsThe medal "For peace and harmony between peoples" (International Federation for Peace and Harmony, 2007) - for their active participation in the peace, charity, peace and mutual understanding, cooperation among peoples and for strengthening relations and fruitful cooperation between the regional diocesan and secular non-governmental organizationsThe Order of the Russian Imperial House St. Anne's II degreeCommemorative Medal "The highest visit to Kiev - the mother of Russian cities. 1911-2011" (The Russian Imperial House, 2011)Commemorative Medal "The highest visit to the Crimea. 2011" (the Russian Imperial House, 2011)ReferencesExternal links

Ukraine Secures $6Bln Loan Option to Develop Atomic Energy.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: bertb news feed

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 22:11

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) '' Ukraine said Friday that it has secured an option to borrow $6 billion from Russian banks to help develop its atomic energy industry.

The agreement between the two countries was reached last December during an inter-governmental commission, according to a Ukrainian Economy Ministry statement.

Russia agreed a large financial aid package for Ukraine last month after Kiev backed off from an association agreement with the European Union, a move that sparked large street demonstrations across the former Soviet country.

''Ukraine will use Russian technology because of its good technical features,'' said Valery Muntiyana, the Ukrainian official responsible for cooperation with Russia, according to the statement. ''It is fourth-generation technology, with a very high security threshold.''

The statement did not specify which Russian commercial banks would provide the loans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in November that Ukrainian companies already owe Russian lenders about $28 billion.

Mass demonstrations in Ukraine erupted in November after the government declined to pursue long-planned trade agreements with the EU. Protesters seeking closer ties with the EU and a weakening of Ukraine's political and economic dependence on the Kremlin remain camped out in the center of the capital, Kiev.

In December, Yanukovych and Putin inked deals that slashed the price of gas Russia sells to Ukraine and committed the Kremlin to buying $15 billion of Ukrainian bonds.

War on Salt, errr, Sugar

Sugar is 'the new tobacco': Health chiefs tell food giants to slash levels by a third | Mail Online

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 13:57

Doctors and academics say levels must be reduced by up to 30 per centThey found that even zero-fat yoghurts can contain five teaspoons of sugarHeinz tomato soup has four while a Mars bar has eight teaspoons of sugarObesity and diabetes already cost the UK over £5billion a yearBy Sean Poulter

PUBLISHED: 19:00 EST, 8 January 2014 | UPDATED: 04:42 EST, 9 January 2014

9,259shares

606

Viewcomments

Food giants are being told to cut the amount of sugar they use because it has become the 'new tobacco'.

Doctors and academics say levels must be reduced by up to 30 per cent to halt a wave of disease and death.

They found that even zero-fat yoghurts can contain five teaspoons of sugar, while a can of Heinz tomato soup has four.

Doctors and academics say levels must be reduced by up to 30 per cent to halt a wave of disease and death

The equivalent of 11 teaspoons are found in a small Starbucks caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream. A Mars bar has eight.

'Sugar is the new tobacco,' said Simon Capewell, professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Liverpool.

'Everywhere, sugary drinks and junk foods are now pressed on unsuspecting parents and children by a cynical industry focused on profit not health.

The obesity epidemic is generating a huge burden of disease and death.

Obesity and diabetes already cost the UK over £5billion a year. Without regulation, these costs will exceed £50billion by 2050.'

Doctors found that even zero-fat yoghurts can contain five teaspoons of sugar, while a can of Heinz tomato soup has four

Professor Capewell is part of a new US-UK campaign group '' Action on Sugar '' that says asking firms to make voluntary changes has failed.

The typical Briton consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar a day and some adults consume as many as 46.The maximum intake recommended by the World Health Organisation is ten, although this guideline is likely to be halved.

The UN agency says there is 'overwhelming evidence coming out about sugar-sweetened beverages and other sugar consumption' being linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A study by Action on Sugar found surprisingly high levels of sugar in many foods, including savoury products and healthy options.

The Pret a Manger Very Berry Latte with milk has 26.9g of sugar '' the equivalent of seven teaspoons. Yeo Valley Family Farm 0% Fat Vanilla Yogurt has five.

Sweet: A Mars bar has eight teaspoons of sugar while a tin of Heinz tomato soup has four

Even Glaceau Vitamin Water, which is owned by Coca-Cola, has the equivalent of four teaspoons of sugar in a 500ml bottle.

Action of Sugar said food firms should be able to reduce the amount of sugar they add to products by 20 to 30 per cent within three to five years, taking 100 calories a day out of the typical diet.

This would be enough to halt or even reverse rising levels of obesity and associated ill-health, it claimed.

Graham MacGregor, a professor at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London and chairman of Action on Sugar, said: 'We must now tackle the obesity epidemic both in the UK and worldwide.

'We must start a coherent and structured plan to slowly reduce the amount of calories people consume by slowly taking out added sugar from foods and soft drinks.

'This is a simple plan which gives a level playing field to the food industry, and must be adopted by the Department of Health to reduce the completely unnecessary and very large amounts of sugar the food and soft drink industry is adding to our foods.'

Dr Aseem , the group's science director, said: 'Added sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever, and causes no feeling of satiety.

'Aside from being a major cause of obesity, there is increasing evidence that added sugar increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.

'We must particularly protect children from this public health hazard and the food industry needs to immediately reduce the amount of sugar that they are adding, particularly to children's foods, and stop targeting children with massive advertising for high calorie snacks and soft drinks.'

But sugar manufacturers rejected the claims of the health experts saying they were not supported by the consensus of scientific evidence.

Sugar Nutrition UK said the World Health Organisation published a review last year that found that any link between diabetes and body weight was due to overconsumption of calories and was not specific to sugar.

It said: 'There have also been numerous studies, which have investigated potential links between sugar and diabetes, with experts from the British Dietetic Association, European Food Safety Authority, and Institute of Medicine being very clear that diabetes is not caused by eating sugar.

Respected expert committees have reviewed the evidence over many years and all have concluded that the balance of available evidence does not implicate sugar in any of the so-called lifestyle diseases.'

And Barbara Gallani, of the Food and Drink Federation, an industry group, also denied sugar was responsible for obesity.

She said the industry already provided clear information on sugar levels to consumers, using figures and colour-coded labels.

'Sugars, or any other nutrient for that matter, consumed as part of a varied and balanced diet are not a cause of obesity, to which there is no simple or single solution,' she added.

Professor Shrinath Reddy, a cardiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and member of the WHO panel of experts, disputed this conclusion.

He said there was 'overwhelming evidence coming out about sugar-sweetened beverages and other sugar consumption links to obesity, diabetes and even cardiovascular disease'.

Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa, said sugar needed again to become an occasional treat rather than a regular 'crutch'.

He said that added sugar had found its way into virtually everything we eat.

Share or comment on this article

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Action on Sugar

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 13:54

This week saw Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) morph into Action on Sugar. Perhaps this was a recognition that the panic over salt "has little basis in science" and the real money now lies in the anti-sugar crusade. In a few years they will be called Action on Cheese.CASH's abrupt change of direction has meant that we have been able to watch campaigners switch between bandwagons in real time. The screenshot below shows the CASH website at that awkward halfway house between the salt shaker and the sugar bowl

Fortunately for Action on Sugar, their new enemy is also a white crystal so they can keep most of their images. All they need is a web designer to delete the word 'salt' and replace it with 'sugar'.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, Action on Sugar got proceedings underway with a frenzied media blitz that revolved around their claim that "sugar is the new tobacco". Within 24 hours, scientists were lining up to criticise this absurd hyperbole'--calling it "nuts", "inaccurate" and "quite crazy"'--but the damage had been done and Aseem Malhotra (for it is he) had got his smug little face on television countless times.

Malhotra is Action on Sugar's Science Director. Says it all, really. As Slipp Digby notes in a must-read post that fisks the group's erroneous claims, "appointing him as Science Director when he has no experience in the field and has published no research is a really bad idea."

It has been less than three years since Malhotra burst onto the scene. I had him down as a know-nothing wannabe celebrity on the make from his very first Observer articles. He made incredible schoolboy errors on very basic facts from the outset, although it is interesting to note that his early articles about Big Food did not mention sugar and his ideas appeared to have evolved by reading sensationalist anti-sugar books and becoming a disciple of Robert Lustig.

Lustig's theories focus on High Fructose Corn Syrup, which he thinks is the primary cause of obesity in the USA. This has no relevance to the UK because there is hardly any High Fructose Corn Syrup in the EU (as usual, Malhotra seems to be unaware of this fact). Lustig might have a point or he might not, but at least he is a scientist who has put forward a testable hypothesis. Malhotra is not a scientist, he is a medic, and whilst that is enough for him to play the 'trust me, I'm a doctor' card, he is a prime example of why trusting medics on issues that are outside their immediate field of competence ends in tears.

If you don't believe me, take a look at this interview with him on Sky News this week.

Let's leave aside his usual claim that sugar has "no nutritional value whatsoever". People don't drink Coca-Cola because they think it's nutritious, they drink it because they like it. Let's also leave aside his claim that "poor diet is responsible for more disease than smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity combined" because I've written about that little fib before.

Instead, let's look at this nugget:

"Even if you are of normal weight and you have excess sugar in your diet, and you exercise, you are still increasing your risk potentially of getting Type 2 diabetes".

What Malhotra has done here is mangle the results from a controversial and tentative study by Robert Lustig (there's a good discussion about it here) that found that sugar availability correlates with diabetes. That is not terribly surprising, perhaps, and it is even less surprising that obesity correlates with diabetes.The obvious explanation for both these findings is that excessive sugar consumption can lead to obesity and obesity can lead to diabetes. However, Lustig suggests that sugar consumption may have an effect on diabetes that is independent of its effect on obesity. In other words, he hypothesises that sugar consumption adds to diabetes risk of being obese. Whilst that is not impossible, the evidence he has presented so far is far from compelling. That's only my opinion, but it also happens to be the opinion of Diabetes UK, who put out a statement in response to Action on Sugar's media blitz.

''... it is important to be clear that we want to reduce sugar consumption because having too much can easily lead to weight gain, as is true with foods high in fat. So reducing the amount of sugar in our diets is not all that we need to do to reduce our risk of Type 2 diabetes.

"The evidence that sugar has a specific further role in causing Type 2 diabetes, other than by increasing our weight, is not clear. We look forward to the conclusions of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which is due to report this year.''

Malhotra presents Lustig's theory as if it were proven fact and then further embellishes it by asserting that slim, physically active people are at greater risk of developing diabetes if they consume sugar. This goes beyond even Lustig's theory and enters the realm of outright quackery.

And then there is this gob-smacking comment...

"Intrinsic sugars within food like fruit and vegetables: not a problem, that's glucose. But what added sugar has is fructose and that is completely unnecessary in your diet."

Malhotra has fallen for the naturalistic fallacy, implying that "intrinsic sugars" are healthy because they are "natural" whereas added sugars are not. In fact, there is no reason to think that 200 calories from a smoothie are any less fattening than 200 calories from a Coke.More incredibly, Malhotra thinks that glucose is the main sugar in fruit. Of course it isn't. Fructose is the main "intrinsic" sugar in most fruit (and some vegetables), hence the word fructose.

This howler of Malhotra's is equivalent to a temperance campaigner thinking that beer is stronger than whisky. It is like an anti-smoking campaigner not knowing the difference between a pipe and a cigarette. It does not bode well for Action on Sugar that their Science Director doesn't have even a GCSE-level understanding of the subject about which he claims to be an expert.I foresee entertaining times ahead.

BBC News - Campaigners vow to cut sugar in food

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 13:56

9 January 2014Last updated at 05:30 ET Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

A campaign group has been formed to reduce the amount of sugar added to food and soft drinks in an effort to tackle obesity and diabetes in the UK.

Action on Sugar has been set up by the team behind Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), which has pushed for cuts to salt intake since the 1990s.

The new group aims to help people avoid "hidden sugars" and get manufacturers to reduce the ingredient over time.

It believes a 20% to 30% reduction in three to five years is within reach.

Like Cash, Action on Sugar will set targets for the food industry to add less sugar bit by bit so that consumers do not notice the difference in taste.

Sugar in foodWell-known food and drink products and their sugar content:

Starbucks caramel frappuccino with whipped cream with skimmed milk (tall): 273kcal; 11 teaspoons of sugar Coca Cola Original (330ml): 139kcal; 9 teaspoons of sugar Muller Crunch Corner Strawberry Shortcake Yogurt (135g): 212kcal; 6 teaspoons of sugar Yeo Valley Family Farm 0% Fat Vanilla Yogurt (150g): 120kcal; 5 teaspoons of sugar Kellogg's Frosties with semi-skimmed milk (30g): 4 teaspoons of sugar Glaceau Vitamin Water, Defence (500ml): 4 teaspoons of sugar Heinz Classic Tomato Soup (300g): 171kcals; 4 teaspoons of sugar Ragu Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce (200g): 80kcals; 3 teaspoons of sugar Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Crunchy Oat Granola Cinnamon Bars (40g): 186kcal; 2 teaspoons of sugar Heinz Tomato Ketchup (15ml): 18kcal; 1 teaspoon of sugar Source: Action on Sugar

Continue reading the main storyJames GallagherHealth and science reporter, BBC News

Sugar is a widespread presence in our food and it's often found in unexpected places,

It's probably no surprise that a can of cola contains nine teaspoons of sugar.

But some tins of tomato soup and bottles of flavoured water have four teaspoons of sugar crammed inside. And seemingly healthy fat-free yoghurt often has a high sugar content.

The NHS says most children and adults in the UK are consuming too much sugar.

The primary concern is obesity - being high in sugar means being high in calories.

Nearly two thirds of people in the UK are overweight or obese - leading to other health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Some argue that the problems with sugar are even deeper than the calorie content, and that high doses of the sweet stuff can increase the risk of diseases such as a fatty liver.

It says the reduction could reverse or halt the obesity epidemic and would have a significant impact in reducing chronic disease in a way that "is practical, will work and will cost very little".

'Completely unnecessary'The group listed flavoured water, sports drinks, yoghurts, ketchup, ready meals and even bread as just a few everyday foods that contain large amounts of sugar.

A favourite tactic of Cash has been to name and shame products with large quantities of salt.

Action on Sugar chairman Graham MacGregor, who is professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and set up Cash in 1996, said: "We must now tackle the obesity epidemic both in the UK and worldwide.

"This is a simple plan which gives a level playing field to the food industry, and must be adopted by the Department of Health to reduce the completely unnecessary and very large amounts of sugar the food and soft drink industry is currently adding to our foods."

Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and science director of Action on Sugar, said: "Added sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever and causes no feeling of satiety.

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

The size of some of the cups Coca-cola is sold in "need to come down" says president of Coca-cola Europe James Quincey

"Aside from being a major cause of obesity, there is increasing evidence that added sugar increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver."

War on Weed

Colorado Changes 420 Mile Markers to 419.99 to Thwart Stoner Sign Thieves

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Peace . Gold . LOVE

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:39

DENVER - Thieves have been stealing the 420 mile marker sign so often, the state's transportation department has changed it to "419.99" in an effort to try and stop the problem.

A photo of the 419.99 mile marker sign, which is about 148 miles on Interstate 70 east of Denver, began circulating on twitter through the @JournalistsLike twitter account on Friday.

"So this is our way to test it out. So far it's working," said Amy Ford, a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Transportation. "It's a traffic safety thing. It's a helpful thing to have these sings on the road. But people kept ripping them off."

The number 420 is often used as a reference to smoking marijuana.

The 419.99 sign has been put up within the last year Ford said.

Ford also says they've had problems with thieves stealing the 69 mile marker sign in the past.

Source: http://www.9news.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=372755

___

The Reputation economy

The Regulatory Crackdown on Airbnb and Uber Is Going Global

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Valleywag

Wed, 01 Jan 2014 13:22

S

The kumbaya sound of the "sharing economy" hums right by the fact that the irresistible middlemen who make it easy to find a place to stay or a cab at your fingertips do so for a hefty profit. And when profit and public infrastructure like housing and transportation collide, regulators are bound to follow.

Just yesterday, France passed a rule that drivers for Uber and other e-hailing services will have to wait to 15 minutes before picking up passengers because their "hurt traditional cab drivers," who have to pay exorbitant fees for their taxi license.

But Airbnb may have it worse. Earlier this month, the Telegraph reported that France, Spain, and Germany are all considering housing legislation that could restrict holiday rentals.

Germany has already gotten started. On January 1st, a new law will go into effect that makes it illegal for owners of Berlin's 12,000 to 15,000 "private holiday apartments to rent them to tourists for short breaks." The law was enacted as a response to the capital city's lack of affordable housing. Those who disobey risk being fined '‚¬50,000 ($68,940).

Earlier coverage about the law described Airbnb as vehicle for landlords that want to kick out unwanted renters so that can make more money off of Berlin's thriving tourist sector. Last month, Spiegel Online reported:

According to official estimates, 12,000 apartments have been taken off the long-term rental market for this more lucrative purpose '-- they are seen by landlords as a good way to get rid of unwanted tenants and increase the yield on their investments as increasing numbers of tourists flock to Berlin. Websites such as Airbnb make the process of renting out apartments for short stays easy and economical.

There is a two-year transition period and a number of exemptions to the upcoming ban. But tourists do not appear to be given a free pass:

The law provides for the possibility of restricting the ban to the worst-affected neighborhoods, and also allows for exceptions where the public interest is served, such as housing for asylum seekers, medical surgeries, nurseries or child-care providers. The ban does not apply to fixed-term leases for workers posted to the city, au pairs, interns or embassy staff, stressed Iris Spranger, a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the senior partner in State of Berlin's ruling coalition. It is unclear how the new rules would affect people who rent out their own apartments for short periods when, for example, they are out of town.

"Sharing economy" enthusiast Matthias Brauner, a representative with Germany's Christian Democratic Union party, offered more clarity on renting out one's home for a short period of time:

"The government coalition has made sure that aside of this very tough regulation of this bill, the Sharing Economy remains an important part of the housing market. Berlin as a metropolis and Startup City benefits greatly from the Sharing Economy and the Internet industry. This means that an occasional provision of housing space to third parties who use the premises mainly for residential purposes, but also in a commercial manner, is not seen as commercial rental and therefore not subject to the statutory prohibition of misuse."

When the bill was still in proposal phase, Airbnb's head of global public policy David Hantman, who previously worked for Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, said there may also be a licensing requirement for hosts:

The proposed legislation appears to include confusing rules about home-sharing and it's unclear whether or how these rules would apply to Airbnb hosts. For example, the law might give current hosts two years to continue hosting, but only if they register with the government and obtain a license. And the proposal gives few details on how and when that license should be granted.

Hantman also pointed out that there are 1.7 million apartments in Berlin, and only 7,000 listings on Airbnb, so "we know that Airbnb isn't having an effect on the number of homes available for rent." I've reached out to Airbnb about the licensing requirement and will update the post when I hear back.

Ubertarians will chalk this up to stodgy authorities holding back innovation to favor incumbents like the hotel or taxi industry. But even outside regulatory chambers, economic tensions are running high on the streets of Berlin:

Concerns among activists on Berlin's left-wing alternative scene that the city is being sold out to property speculators has fuelled opposition to holiday rents and led to a marked increase in hostility towards tourists. Ares Kalandides, a Greek-born city guide, recalled the shock he experienced while escorting Israeli journalists earlier this year.

"Suddenly a group of drunken twentysomething men and women started screaming at us," Mr Kalandides said. "I was shocked, embarrassed and angry, but I'm afraid that's almost normal in Berlin these days."

Airbnb and Uber are going to have to find a way to comply, unless they want investors to go cross-eyed reading the "Risk Factors" section of their S-1 filings.

To contact the author of this post, please email nitasha@gawker.com.

[Image via Airbnb]

How accepting a friend request could alter your credit score - The Next Web

Link to Article

Archived Version

Wed, 01 Jan 2014 22:50

Joe Polverari is the General Manager of Yodlee Interactive, a provider of financial applications that aims to make online banking more profitable.

Are you only as good as the company you keep? Before you accept that next friend request, consider what that person says about you, what that association might eventually cost, or be worth '' even in the financial sense.

Where you live, who you friend on Facebook, the frequency you shop at Trader Joe's, how much you spend '' all of this information will be picked up, shared, and analyzed amongst the various connected devices and services you use. We are rapidly reaching a point when technology services (a.k.a. machines and software), will have access to all of this data based on your everyday routine and will, among other things, act as your most trusted financial advisor.

Intuitively, most of the above examples would seem completely unrelated to your finances '-- but what's a better indicator of your financial status: 1) paying 20 percent of your credit card off every month, 2) how much you spend on rent, 3) the financial status of your closest friends and family, or 4) the average cost of your meal out? All of these examples can signal the type of spending and financial patterns you are to likely follow.

Here are a few emerging trends that will lead to very personalized, machine-based financial advice:

1. Your devices know more about you than you thinkYou've probably heard about the Internet of Things, in which your everyday items like cars and light switches will be communicating with the web. Soon, your devices will also be communicating, device to device, using their own stores of data to work in concert and create better, more useful sets of data.

Think of it like the Cloud of Things. Everything from phones, cars, thermostats, refrigerators and watches, will act like mini-servers communicating with each other about your behavior and usage patterns. Soon your car might notify your oven to start preheating because you're only twenty minutes from home and it knows based on your emails with your spouse that you're planning to cook lasagna that night.

2. How the digital ''you'' is growingAs these devices interact, a pool of very useful, very personal data will accumulate, and can be used to help you make more informed, even very complex, decisions. This technological shift towards the Cloud of Things will see an exponential increase in amount of data produced and analyzed.

This wealth of data will also be applicable to your financial decisions. ''Who you are'' as a consumer will no longer be based solely on your purchases, investments or credit file, but will also consider your daily routines, such as browsing the Internet, where you shop, and more.

Consider Coin, which is a single, swipe-able card that holds all your credit, debit, and rewards cards, so that you can manage them all with one device. You can easily imagine that using something like Coin would quickly build up enough data intelligence to pick your cards for you, depending on the type of purchase, maximizing your rewards and minimizing your fees. Together, data and devices have the power to revolutionize the financial industry.

Information around your broader social life and risk tolerance will also provide better insights for financial advisors to help with loans, savings and improving your credit. It will offer you greater financial security and value creation over the long term. It's happening already.

Companies like FeeX use the power of crowd sourced information and trends, combined with vast amounts of relevant personal data to personalize and maximize your retirement investment decisions, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars you would ordinarily pay in fees to banks and mutual fund providers.

3. A Pandora for human financesInformation you can leverage won't just revolve around you, but also around those you associate with '-- even indirectly. The general lifestyle choices of people similar to you, driven by everyday information, like where you live, the restaurants you frequent, and the items you purchase, will also help derive more enlightened financial recommendations.

Consider how Pandora mapped music: music was labeled, then connected, trends developed, improving the algorithm, and eventually defining ''if you like that, you'll probably like this.'' Soon something similar will happen for you with your finances: advisors will make better recommendations based upon other people who are similar to your digital self and based on how their financial decisions have panned out.

Armed with a wealth of your own data, and aggregate data from other people like you, you will be able to better define and personalize things like the best health care option, savings or investment strategy, for you with an efficiency and effectiveness never before possible.

Equally useful, but so far under discovered, silos of data about you are available to insurance companies, the government and credit bureaus and should be made more readily available to the most important person '-- you.

Consider your credit score, in particular, which is calculated based on antiquated and often inaccurate information. Most consumers in fact know very little about their credit score, how it's aggregated and what it really says about them. Worse, consumers have little to no input in the actual data that fills out their credit profile; rather, that data is reported by other entities, often incorrectly.

Technology and new services are now making it possible to incorporate entirely new, more relevant data into a credit profile '-- data that is mostly consumer controlled or contributed and generated by simply gathering and delivering your lifestyle data. Data that should provide better indicators of your financial success as a borrower.

Over the long term, aggregating personal data is a macro-trend that will save people time, money and help them make smarter, more personalized decisions. Ultimately, it will make the markets for the products '' especially financial products and the way they are scored, priced and sold '' more efficient and responsive to your needs.

The opportunity to access, incorporate, and innovate with data is exciting. Imagine being able to foresee the financial benefits of being an active participant on LinkedIn, or how purchasing groceries via delivery will decrease your likelihood for stress disorders. They say how you handle your money says a lot about you '-- soon you'll know what that really means.

Image credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

NA Tech

Cory Doctorow: We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 20:56

We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.Try as I might, I can't shake the feeling that 2014 is the year we lose the Web. The W3C push for DRM in all browsers is going to ensure that all interfaces built in HTML5 (which will be pretty much everything) will be opaque to users, and it will be illegal to report on security flaws in them (because reporting a security flaw in DRM exposes you to risk of prosecution for making a circumvention device), so they will be riddled with holes that creeps, RATters, spooks, authoritarians and crooks will be able to use to take over your computer and fuck you in every possible way.

As near as I can work out, there's no one poised to do anything about this. Google, Apple and Microsoft have all built proprietary DRM silos that backed the WC3 into accepting standardization work on DRM (and now the W3C have admitted the MPAA as a member - an organization that expressly believes that all technology should be designed for remote, covert control by someone other than its owner, and that it should be illegal to subvert this control).

Once this is standardized at the W3C, all the alternative browsers (eg Firefox) will also have to ship closed, opaque, illegal-to-report-vulnerabilities-in software to support it.

And it's basically all being driven by Netflix. Everyone in the browser world is convinced that not supporting Netflix will lead to total marginalization, and Netflix demands that computers be designed to keep secrets from, and disobey, their owners (so that you can't save streams to disk in the clear).

We are Huxleying ourselves into the full Orwell.

I'm not kidding about any of this. I can't sleep anymore. I think it may be game over.

U.S. to end CGI contract for Obamacare website: report

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Reuters: Technology News

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 22:08

By Caroline Humer

Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:08pm EST

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - The U.S. government will part ways next month with contractor CGI Federal over the troubled Obamacare enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, which struggled with technical problems when it launched in October, the company said on Friday.

U.S.-listed shares of CGI Group, the parent of CGI Federal, were down 2.9 percent at $31.57 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange, after the Washington Post reported the news earlier in the day.

"CGI and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have mutually agreed to complete work on CGI's contract for the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace, in line with the previously scheduled February 2014 contract end date," CGI spokeswoman Linda Odorisio said in an e-mailed statement.

CGI's contract is scheduled to end Feb 28, according to documents dating from when the website contract was awarded in 2011.

The Post reported that the U.S. government will instead sign a new contract with Accenture. In an e-mailed statement, an Accenture spokesman said, "We are in discussions with clients and prospective clients all the time - but it is not appropriate to discuss new business opportunities we may or may not be pursuing."

HealthCare.gov's technology failures in the weeks after its October 1 launch created a political crisis for President Barack Obama, threatening the roll-out of his signature healthcare law to consumers and emboldening its foes among Republican lawmakers to call for its delay.

CGI has been immersed in the effort to repair the site, which began working more smoothly for hundreds of thousands of consumers only in December, allowing them to enroll in new health insurance plans offered under Obama's Affordable Care Act.

But the government's dissatisfaction over the website's early crashes, as well as aspects of the site that still do not work, are behind plans to sign a one-year contract with Accenture instead, the Post report said, quoting a person familiar with the matter.

The new agreement with Accenture is valued at about $90 million, the Post said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the government agency overseeing the Obamacare roll-out, would not confirm or deny that it planned to end its contract with CGI.

"We are working with our contract partners to make a mutually agreed upon transition to ensure that HealthCare.gov continues to operate smoothly for consumers," a CMS spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement.

This is at least the second contract for work on HealthCare.gov that the Obama administration chose not to renew.

In November, CMS said it would not renew its contract with Verizon's Terremark unit for computer servers hosting the troubled website and instead award a contract for that work to Hewlett-Packard Co.

Terremark's contract ends on March 30, the day before the deadline for Americans to sign up for health insurance for 2014 under the healthcare law. The Terremark servers suffered at least one hours-long outage last fall, making the website inaccessible.

The end of the HealthCare.Gov contract was "negligible" for CGI's financials, according to one analyst, who declined to be quoted by name.

"We're not talking about a contract being taken away; we're talking about the renewal opportunity going to someone else," the analyst said. "You could say what they're losing in effect is this $90 million, 12-month contract, which in the context of a $10 billion revenue company is nothing."

More than 1 million people in 36 states have enrolled in health plans through HealthCare.gov, most of them in December. Another 1 million people enrolled through websites run by individual exchanges in the other 14 U.S. states.

(Reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington, Caroline Humer, Lewis Krauskopf and Sharon Begley in New York, and Leah Schnurr in Toronto; Editing by Karey Van Hall, Michele Gershberg, Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)

Link thisShare thisDigg thisEmailPrintReprints

Accenture chosen as lead contractor on Obamacare website: government

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: Reuters: Technology News

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 01:45

WASHINGTONSat Jan 11, 2014 6:22pm EST

Visitors look at devices at Accenture stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 26, 2013 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Accenture has been chosen to replace CGI Federal as the lead contractor for the Obamacare enrollment website, which failed to work when it launched in October for millions of Americans shopping for health insurance, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said on Saturday.

CGI Federal, a subsidiary of CGI Group, built the website, HealthCare.gov, which was plagued by error messages and slow speeds for weeks after the launch. The glitches created a political crisis for President Barack Obama, threatening the roll-out of his signature healthcare law and emboldening Republican foes to call for its repeal.

"As CMS moves forward in our efforts to help consumers access quality, affordable health coverage, we have selected Accenture to become the lead contractor for the HealthCare.gov portal and to prepare for next year's open enrollment period," the agency said in a statement.

CGI Federal said on Friday that its contract, which was originally awarded in 2011 and is scheduled to end February 28, would not be renewed.

Accenture said the contract was worth $45 million for the initial phase of the project, and the Washington Post reported that the final value of the one-year contract would be about $90 million.

"Accenture will bring deep healthcare industry insight as well as proven experience building large-scale, public-facing websites to continue improving HealthCare.gov," David Moskovitz, chief executive of Accenture Federal Services, said in a statement.

Obama has said the fiasco with the website has made him want to overhaul the way the federal government buys technology services. Critics say the system favors large, established contractors such as CGI.

Although the site is vastly improved, technical glitches continue to bedevil enrollment. The improvements allowed more than 1.1 million people to shop for and enroll in insurance on HealthCare.gov by the end of 2013, far short of original hopes.

The deadline for signing up for 2014 health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is March 31, meaning Accenture will take over at a time when the government needs the site to handle what it hopes will be a surge of last-minute sign-ups.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Dan Grebler and Steve Orlofsky)

Link thisShare thisDigg thisEmailPrintReprints

Out There

37 Regrets That You Should Always Avoid

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 08:15

Everyone goes through life experiencing enough mistakes and resulting damage that, by the time they are old enough, they have regrets. They say hindsight is 20/20 and when you look back at your life you will know what moments you should have changed. However, we want to help you out. Forget hindsight. We've compiled a list of the 37 things you must not do or else you will definitely regret them at the end of your life. Just read through these and trust us. It'll be worth it.

1.) Not traveling when you had the chance. Traveling gets harder as you get older, as more people depend on your presence, day-to-day and it ends up becoming more expensive to bring more people with you.2.) Not learning another language. You probably took years of another language in high school. You should put it to good use.3.) Staying in a bad relationship. It may feel hard to get out of a bad relationship, but it's not worse than staying in it and wasting everyone's time.4.) Forgoing sunscreen. It may not seem like much, but sun damage adds up over the years, causing wrinkles and discoloration.5.) Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians. You never truly know when your favorite band might break up, so seize the day.6.) Being afraid to do things. Fear can paralyze us, but we can't let it.7.) Failing to make physical fitness a priority. As you get older you'll realize how important it is to take care of your body.8.) Letting yourself be defined by gender roles. Define yourself, don't let society do it.9.) Not quitting a terrible job. You may need to pay rent or provide for a family, but you can't force yourself to be miserable every day.10.) Not trying harder in school. Grades are important, but what's more important is learning how to apply yourself and be dedicated.11.) Not realizing how beautiful you are. There are many definitions of beauty and you shouldn't think you're unworthy of someone's attention.12.) Being afraid to say ''I love you.'' Loving another person is a precious gift, even if that same love wasn't returned.13.) Not listening to your parents' advice. They have a lot more experience than you'll want to give them credit for.14.) Spending your youth being self-absorbed. There is more to the world than just you and eventually you'll realize that.15.) Caring too much about what other people think. When you're older, you'll realize that the opinions of others don't factor into your true happiness.16.) Supporting the dreams of others over your own. Being nice is one thing, but sacrificing your happiness isn't worth it.17.) Not moving fast enough. Don't hesitate to make decisions, you'll end up regretting wasting time.18.) Holding grudges, especially against those you love. Choose to let go of your pain, instead of dwelling on it.19.) Not standing up for yourself. Just because others may disagree with you, it doesn't mean you have to abandon your principals.20.) Not volunteering enough. There are countless reasons to help other people, especially when they are needy.21.) Neglecting your teeth. Flossing and brushing may seem annoying, but it's much better to take care of your teeth while you're young instead of losing them later.22.) Missing the chance to talk to your grandparents before they die. They hold a lot of knowledge and they will only be around for a little while.23.) Working too much. You're going to miss the good parts of life, or be too stressed to enjoy them, if you do.24.) Not learning how to cook one good meal. It'll add to your family and friend get togethers more than you can ever imagine.25.) Not stopping to appreciate the moment. Quit texting or taking pictures and realize what you are doing when you are doing it.26.) Failing to finish what you start. Every day is an opportunity that shouldn't be squandered.27.) Never mastering one awesome party trick. This seems silly, but just think of how many amazing memories you can create.28.) Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations. If your family or country thinks you should do something for a career, you're not forced to. Never.29.) Refusing to let friendships run their course. Sometimes people drift apart. Forcing that connection could do more damage than good.30.) Not playing with your children enough. Kids are joyful and innocent. You should be choosing to fill your life with this joy, not avoiding it.31.) Never taking a big risk (especially in love). Taking a bigger risk can pay off more than taking a smaller one.32.) Not taking the time to develop contacts and network. It may seem like schmoozing, but it'll help your career in the long run.33.) Worrying too much. Worrying, especially about things that haven't happened yet, is useless.34.) Getting caught up in needless drama. Drama can be addictive, but there is no point. Don't get off on how bad your day is.35.) Not spending enough time with loved ones. We are all on this earth for a limited amount of time, don't take that for granted.36.) Never performing in front of others. This may not be your true calling, but trying it at least once is an important life experience.37.) Not being grateful sooner. Learn to say thanks and learn to mean it. So many parts of your life will improve if you do.It's never too late to change your life, so start by avoiding these things.

You won't regret it. (See what I did there?) Share this article with your friends so they can have the same advice.

18384

VIDEOS

VIDEO-Federal Bureau of Investigation Mission - C-SPAN Video Library

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 16:34

Follow Similar Programs0

C-SPAN | Washington JournalFollow Sponsors

Reynaldo Tariche, president of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agents Association, talked about how the FBI adapts to national needs, and why fact sheets describing the FBI's mission showed the primary function .. Read MoreReynaldo Tariche, president of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agents Association, talked about how the FBI adapts to national needs, and why fact sheets describing the FBI's mission showed the primary function to be law enforcement in 2012 and national security in 2013. He also spoke about the FBI's budget needs.

45 minutes | 8 Views

View Full Event (6 Programs)

Weekly Address: Ensuring 2014 is a Year of Action to Grow the Economy

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:36

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

January 11, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC'-- In this week's address, President Obama called 2014 a year of action, which should start with Congress quickly passing emergency unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million Americans who lost this vital lifeline as they fight to find jobs and make ends meet.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, January 11, 2014.

Remarks of President Barack ObamaAs Prepared for DeliveryThe White HouseJanuary 11, 2014

Hi, everybody. Yesterday, we learned that in 2013, our businesses created 2.2 million new jobs '' including 87,000 last month. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since October 2008. And across our broader economy, there are signs of progress. Our manufacturing and housing sectors are rebounding. Our energy, technology, and auto sectors are booming. Thanks in part to the reforms in the Affordable Care Act, health care costs now eat up less of our economy '' over the past four years, costs have grown at the slowest rate on record. And since I took office, we've cut our deficits by more than half.

Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, our economy is growing stronger. But we know we've got more work to do together. Our success as a country depends on more than the success of our broader economy '' it depends on the success of the American people. It depends on your ability to make ends meet, provide for your families, and, with a little hard work, feel like you can get ahead.

So we've got to keep our economy growing, and make sure more Americans have the opportunity to share in that growth. We've got to keep creating jobs that offer new opportunity, and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let you rebuild some security. We've got more kids to educate, and families to get covered with health insurance, and an immigration system to fix. And we've got to make sure this recovery leaves no one behind.

This will be a year of action. I'll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families '' with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part. And that action should begin by extending unemployment insurance for Americans who were laid off in the recession through no fault of their own. This vital economic lifeline helps people support their families while they look for a new job. And it demands responsibility in return by requiring that they prove they're actively looking for work. But Republicans in Congress just let that lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans. And if this doesn't get fixed, it will actually hurt about 14 million Americans over the course of this year. Earlier this week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate took the first steps toward making this right. But Congress needs to finish the job right away. More than one million Americans across the country will feel a little hope right away.

Working folks are looking for the kind of stable, secure jobs that went overseas in the past couple decades. So next week, I'll join companies and colleges and take action to boost the high-tech manufacturing that attracts the kind of good new jobs a growing middle class requires.

Business owners are ready to play their part and hire more workers. So next week, I'll be joined by college presidents as we lay out specific steps we can take to help more workers earn the skills they need for today's new jobs. Later this month I'll host CEOs at the White House to announce commitments we're making to put more of the long-term unemployed back to work.

And at the end of the month, in my State of the Union Address, I will mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success. As Americans, that's what we should expect. And after everything you've done to recover and rebuild from crisis these past five years '' after all your hard work and sacrifice '' that's what you deserve.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

VIDEO-Krokodil Crock: How Rumors Of A 'Flesh-Eating Zombie Drug' Swept The Nation - Forbes

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 19:38

Log in with your social account:Or, you can log in or sign up using Forbes.New Posts+1 posts this hourMost PopularSnapchat's FutureListsThe 2014 30 Under 30Video30 Under 3012 Stocks to BUY for 2014Help|Connect

|Sign up|Log in

VIDEO- Watch Dramatic Footage From Inside Plane Plunging Into the Ocean in Hawaii - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:49

VIDEO-Al Roker Freaks Out Over People Claiming Polar Vortex is 'Some Left-Wing Media Conspiracy' | MRCTV

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:31

More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.

On Wednesday's NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker became defensive over people criticizing media hype about the cold snap: "Well, a lot of folks have been saying there's no such thing as a polar vortex and that it's some left-wing media conspiracy. Let me tell you something. First of all, we've never used the phrase 'global warming' or 'climate change' in conjunction with this."

Later on the show, Roker returned to the topic and ranted: "Some are saying that, A, we've created this phrase to hype it and to create hysteria and that we have made it a political issue by linking it to either climate change or global warming. I will give anybody who can prove that I have ever linked this with global warming or climate change, I will donate a thousand dollars to your charity. Alright?"

VIDEO- Turkish politicians fighting in the parliament of turkey 2014 - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 04:02

VIDEO-CNN on Lousy Employment Numbers: 'People Simply Gave Up' | MRCTV

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:28

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: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.

Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO- HEROIN USE SKYROCKETS IN U.S. SUBURBS! - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:20

VIDEO- Hundreds Lineup For Hours Waiting To Get Flu Shot In Canada - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:16

VIDEO- "A Message For Everybody Listening Right Now GET A FLU IMMUNISATION IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY!" - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 03:05

VIDEO- "The Threat Of Terrorism And The Very VERY Hostile Actions Russians Have Taken Towards Gay People" - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 02:29

VIDEO- "In My State Of The Union Address I Will Mobilize The Country" Obama Weekly Address - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 02:18

VIDEO- Cops Publicly Execute Another Person! BECAUSE THEY CAN! - YouTube

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 02:14

VIDEO-: John Miller: 'Almost no difference' between journalist, intelligence officer - POLITICO.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 00:29

Congratulations, you've made it to the end of the week. Here's our look back. Produced by Michael Schwab and Bridget Mulcahy. 01/10/2014 4:30 PM EDT

RSSEmailPlease see the Comments FAQ if you have any additional questions or email your thoughts to commentsfeedback@politico.com

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

comments powered by Disqus

VIDEO-AMERICANS WILL DIE-Obama expected to support new restrictions on NSA | Watch the video - Yahoo News

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 17:27

HomeMailNewsSportsFinanceWeatherGamesGroupsAnswersScreenFlickrMobileMoreCelebrityShineMoviesMusicTVHealthShoppingTravelAutosHomesYahoo NewsSearch NewsSearch WebSign InMailHelpAccount InfoHelpSuggestionsYahoo

VIDEO-Nightly News: State Dept. Issues Russia Travel Alert

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 12 Jan 2014 00:23

>>>higher. tonight, the u.s. state department issued a warning any american planning to travel to the olympics in russia , this is about the potential danger following the terrorist threats and the opening ceremony is exactly four weeks from tonight. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has more, what brought this about today, richard?

>> reporter:good evening, brian, we understand there is no specific threat, but security is the overwhelming concern that russia has in the lead-up to these games. and russia is imposing some very severe security restrictions, already banning all liquids on flights, not just large amounts of liquids but any liquids of any kind. also about 40,000 police and soldiers are imposing a so-called ring of steel around the venues at sochi. the fsb, which is the new kgb is responsible for security overall. the main concern, obviously, is terrorists, specifically somebody coming from the north caucasuses. and earlier there were bombings that put the officials on alert. the u.s. is not concerned about the olympic venues themselves but concerned something could happen at a train station or a transport hub, a softer target that could be attacked during the game.

>>richard engel in moscow, as we said the opening ceremony four weeks from tonight, thank

SEE IT: Footage reveals Hawaiian plane crash that killed health director who released President Obama's birth certificate (VIDEO) - NY Daily News

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 11 Jan 2014 20:50

This is the horrifying moment a plane crashed into waters off Hawaii and killed its state director of health Loretta Fuddy - who was responsible for releasing Barack Obama's longform birth certificate.

Terrifying footage taken by another passenger on board shows the aircraft losing power shortly after take-off and then later slamming hard into the water.

The 2002 Cessna Grand Caravan's cabin starts to flood after impact - but everyone remains calm and eerily quiet as they leave the sinking craft.

RELATED: SEE IT: DRIVER CRASHES THROUGH RITE AID ENTRANCE

Fuddy, 65, managed to escape into the open water.

Wearing a life-jacket, she reportedly held hands with her deputy director Keith Yamamoto as he tried to help her relax.

But Yamamoto soon realized there was no response from her, and that she had died.

RELATED: 2 DEAD, 1 MISSING AFTER U.S. NAVY HELICOPTER CRASH OFF VIRGINIA COAST

The eight other people on board, including the pilot, were either rescued by helicopters and a search plane or swam for 90 minutes to shore, reports ABC News.

Fuddy, on the Makani Kai Air flight from Molokai to Oahu last month after visiting a state-run leper colony, became famous in 2011 after she made Obama's birth certificate public.

It was a bid to kill rumors that he wasn't born in the U.S.

RELATED: AIR FORCE ID'S 4 KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH

Tributes have been paid to Fuddy, with Gov. Neil Abercrombie saying she was "loved and respected."

"Her knowledge was vast, her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience," he added.

ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

VIDEO-H5N1 bird flu death confirmed in Alberta, 1st in North America - Politics - CBC News

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 19:23

Alberta health officials have confirmed an isolated, fatal case of H5N1 or avian influenza, federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose said Wednesday.

But officials repeatedly emphasized that there is no risk of transmission between humans.

The infected woman, an Alberta resident who recently travelled to Beijing, China, died Jan. 3.

The case was confirmed in a lab test last night. It's the first such case in North America.

The woman first showed symptoms of the flu on a Dec. 27 flight from Beijing to Vancouver aboard Air Canada flight 030. She continued on to Edmonton on Air Canada flight 244, after spending a few hours in the Vancouver airport, and was admitted to hospital Jan. 1. The symptoms of fever, malaise and headache worsened and the she died two days later. The Public Health Agency of Canada was notified Jan. 5.

There were no respiratory symptoms, said Dr. James Talbot, Alberta's chief medical officer of health.

Dr. James Talbot, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, noted the patient did not leave Beijing, or visit any farms or markets. (CBC)

The diagnosis at the time of death was an inflammation of the brain and the linings that cover the brain. "That is one of the ways that H5N1 patients die," Talbot said.

It is not known how the woman contracted the disease. She did not leave Beijing, did not travel to farms and did not visit any markets.

"Virtually every case has a pretty strong link to a close contact with birds," Talbot said, though he noted there are other settings in which a person might catch H5N1, such as a restaurant that kept live birds for slaughter.

Rare in humansDr. Gregory Taylor, deputy chief public health officer, said the avian form of influenza has been found in birds, mainly poultry, in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Colourized transmission electron micrograph of Avian influenza A H5N1 viruses (seen in gold) grown in MDCK cells (seen in green). (Ho/Cynthia Goldsmith, Jackie Katz, Sharif Zaki/CDC/Canadian Press)

There have been fewer than than 650 human cases of bird flu in 15 countries over the last decade, primarily among people who have spent time around infected birds, he said.

"The illness [H5N1] causes in humans is severe and kills about 60 per cent of those who are infected," Taylor said.

"No other illnesses of this type have been identified in Canada since the traveller returned from China. This is an isolated case."

The officials added that the woman was otherwise healthy and it's not yet clear how the person contracted H5N1.

Speaking to Evan Solomon, host of CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Taylor said the patient was relatively young.

"This was a relatively young '-- well, a young person compared to me, with no underlying health conditions," he said. Taylor is 58.

Risk of getting H5N1 lowOfficials emphasized that this is not a disease transmitted between humans.

There were two people travelling with the infected person, whom officials are following for 10 days to ensure they don't have any symptoms. They are also going to notify the other passengers from the flights between Beijing and Edmonton, and are following a group of the patient's "close contacts."

Talbot said family members of the victim are being monitored and treated with medication, but noted that there's no sign they are sick.

Officials created confusion by referring to the patient as "him" and "her" in order to avoid identifying anyone. Officials said that they would not identify the sex, age or occupation of the patient. They also refused to say whether the infected passenger was an Edmonton resident or whether the patient went to hospital in Edmonton, although the final leg of the flight ended there.

Talbot said reports that the patient was from Edmonton are erroneous.

Ambrose, who phoned into a news conference in Ottawa, said Canadian officials are working with Chinese authorities on the case, as well as the World Health Organization.

"The risk of getting H5N1 is very low. This is not the regular seasonal flu. This is an isolated case," she said.

An Air Canada spokeswoman said in a statement the airline is co-operating with officials, but referred any questions on the matter to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Source: World Health Organization

Figures for all countries except Canada are current as of Dec. 10, 2013. Canada's one case was reported on Jan. 8, 2014.

VIDEO-VAGINAS-Tampons & Pads - Generation Know - U by Kotex

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 10 Jan 2014 19:36

Q: For past two to three months, I am having my periods eight or days days before my regular date of '...

0|

Q: My periods are so irregular The last few have been extreme - like 8 months apart for 2 days, 2 '...

0|

Q: I have been having cramps before my period for a while now I have them right now and still no '...

0|

57% of girls say most women their age are misinformed about vaginal health.

Get the facts myths have been busted.

Bust a myth conversations have been started

Break the silence notes have been written

Change the message girls are telling what they know.

Spread the word

XML