Afghanistan Gets Very Own Fleet of Drones 16 Jan 2013
US to Give Afghanistan Its Very Own Fleet of Drones 15 Jan 2013 In his first media appearance since visiting President Obama in Washington, Hamid Karzai announced that the United States had agreed to give his country a fleet of drones. American troops will even stick around and show Afghan forces how to use them. "They will train Afghans to fly them, use them and maintain them," said Karzai at a news conference. "Besides drones, Afghanistan will be provided with other intelligence gathering equipment which will be used to defend and protect our air and ground sovereignty." That includes 20 helicopters and at least four C-130 transport planes. [Yes, by all means -- let's cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid so we can provide the the remaining Blackwater terrorists with a fleet of drones to protect the CIA's opium and gas routes.]
Senator Asks CIA Nominee When Drones Can Kill Americans --'Does the President have to provide individual Americans with the opportunity to surrender before killing them?' 14 Jan 2013 The man in charge of America's drone wars will face Senate questioning about perhaps their most controversial aspect: when the president can target American citizens for death. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter on Monday to John Brennan, the White House's counterterrorism adviser and nominee to be head of the CIA, asking for an outline of the legal and practical rules that underpin the U.S. government's targeted killing of American citizens suspected of working with 'al-Qaida.' The Obama administration has repeatedly resisted disclosing any such information about its so-called "disposition matrix" targeting terrorists, especially where it concerns possible American targets. Brennan reportedly oversees that matrix from his White House perch, and would be responsible for its execution at CIA director.
U.S. military assists France in African missions --The Pentagon would not offer details on the nature of support to French troops in Mali or Somalia. 14 Jan 2013 U.S. military warplanes assisted French forces battling 'Islamic extremists' in two African countries over the weekend, according to the Pentagon, highlighting the growing threat of 'al Qaeda'-linked terrorists in the region. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered few details on the nature of support to French troops in Mali or Somalia. But the U.S. military has the ability unparalleled in the world to provide aerial refueling and spy planes.
U.S. troops might be sent to Mali and surrounding countries - Defense officials --U.S. moves to bolster French military campaign in Mali 14 Jan 2013 The Obama administration is preparing to ferry hundreds of additional French troops to the North African country of Mali, bolstering a rapidly evolving military campaign in the latest conflict with Al Qaeda affiliates. U.S. officials said they also were making plans to send drones or other surveillance aircraft and provide help with aerial refueling of French fighter jets, which bombed columns of Al Qaeda[al-CIAduh]-allied militants in northern Mali for a fourth straight day Monday. Defense officials said small numbers of U.S. troops might be sent to Mali and surrounding countries but that they would be limited to a support role.
Somali Militants Post Photo of Dead French Soldier --One posting taunted France's president, saying: 'Francois Hollande, was it worth it?' 13 Jan 2013 In a gruesome display that included a taunt of France's president, Somali militants on Monday posted photos of what appeared to be a dead French soldier surrounded by weapons and gear. Three photos posted by an al-Shabab-run Twitter account show a white man wearing military pants and a blood-soaked shirt surrounded by three guns, ammunition clips and protective gear. A helmet lies between his legs. In each of the photos a silver cross pendant hanging from the soldier's neck is visible. Al-Shabab said in its posting: "A return of the crusades, but the cross could not save him from the sword."
Top brass warn No 10: Avoid Mali escalation --Military chiefs fear action against Islamist rebels could enmesh UK in drawn-out conflict 15 Jan 2013 Defence chiefs have warned against Britain becoming enmeshed in the mission against Islamists in Mali, pointing out that any action could be drawn-out and require significantly greater resources than have so far been deployed. The most senior commanders are due to make their apprehension clear at a meeting of the National Security Council with the Prime Minister today. They have the backing of the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond. Following three days of French air strikes in Mali, the Islamists launched a counter-offensive yesterday showing they are not a spent force. They attacked government positions in the central town of Diabaly after crossing a river in small groups under cover of darkness. One of the Boeing C-17 Globemasters, hailed by David Cameron yesterday as "our most advanced and capable transport plane", broke down a few minutes later in Paris, en route to Africa. [Gee, what a shame!]
Former Army psychologist critical of military dies by 'suicide' 14 Jan 2013 Peter Linnerooth was an affable, punctual and conscientious graduate student at Minnesota State Mankato. He later earned a doctorate degree, became an Army psychologist and was deployed to Iraq during the height of the war... On Jan. 2, Linnerooth, 42, [allegedly] killed himself in Mankato. Linnerooth was awarded a Bronze Star after an honorable discharge in 2008 and became critical of the military's limited work on providing mental health care to soldiers, particularly to those with PTSD, in the pages of Time magazine and the New York Times. Capt. Linnerooth will be buried with full military honors at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14, at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
2012 military suicides hit a record high of 349 14 Jan 2013 Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will grow worse this year. The Pentagon has struggled to deal with the suicides, which Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and others have called an epidemic. The problem reflects severe strains on military personnel burdened with more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over the prospect of being forced out of a shrinking force.
FBI: Terrorism suspect 'radicalized and dangerous' 14 Jan 2013 Justice Department attorneys used emails between an Oregon man and suspected terrorists overseas to try to show he was already on the path to radicalization by the time the FBI made him the subject of a yearlong terrorism sting operation. The assertion goes to the heart of a trial in which Mohamed Mohamud faces terrorism charges for allegedly trying to detonate a bomb in Portland in November 2010. The bomb was a fake supplied by the FBI. Mohamud was 19 when he was arrested and his defense team has said the FBI entrapped him. Key to the defense is proving Mohamud had no predisposition to terrorism before the FBI got involved.
Aaron Swartz was 'killed by the government,' father tells mourners 15 Jan 2013 Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old Internet genius, was eulogized on Tuesday as a person who wanted to make the world better but was hounded into [allegedly] killing himself by harsh government policies. Swartz was "killed by the government," his father, Robert Swartz, said at the service at Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park, Ill., according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles," he said. Facing the possibility of a long prison sentence if convicted of charges that he illegally downloaded millions of academic journal articles, Swartz hanged himself in his New York apartment Friday.
Troubled Calif. nuke plant inches toward restart 15 Jan 2013 After a year of gathering dust and negative headlines, the troubled [dangerous] San Onofre nuclear power plant shows stirrings toward a possible restart, though big barriers remain, officials said. Nuclear Regulatory Commission senior inspector Greg Warnick said the agency is beginning to prepare a detailed plan of what would need to be done to bring San Onofre safely back to service. The seaside plant between San Diego and Los Angeles hasn't produced electricity since a tiny radiation leak led to the discovery of excessive wear on hundreds of steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water in January 2012.
Duck hunters trigger brief scare at Plymouth nuclear plant 14 Jan 2013 A pair of duck hunters caused a minor scare at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth early Saturday when security personnel at the plant heard gunfire coming from Cape Cod Bay, officials said today. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Plymouth police, the two were licensed to carry firearms and to hunt, and were not inside the marked-off security zone surrounding the plant on the bay side of the facility operated by the Entergy company. But the operators at the Plymouth plant did not know they were hunters right away and after hearing gunshots coming from the waters nearby, plant security officials reported an "unusual event" to the NRC, the Coast Guard, and Plymouth police.
Inspection team headed to Pa. nuclear plant 14 Jan 2013 Federal regulators are examining a nuclear plant in northeastern Pennsylvania following three unexpected shutdowns. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent an inspection team to the Susquehanna power plant on Monday. The most recent shutdown occurred Dec. 19 after a valve failed to open during plant startup. Officials say that temporarily interrupted the water supply to one of the plant's two reactors.
EarthLink blocking CLG Newsletter 15 January 2013 posted by Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 15 Jan 2013 CLGers, if you are subscribed to the CLG Newsletter roster with an EarthLink.net domain, you likely have not received a recent CLG Newsletter, once again... See also: EarthLink blocking CLG Newsletter since 24 December 2012. Meanwhile, please feel free to contact lori at legitgov.org, if you want the blocked/missed editions forwarded.
NYPD plans to ask pharmacies to stock GPS pill bottles to 'track thieves' 15 Jan 2013 The New York Police Department wants pharmacies in and around the city to fight prescription drug thefts by stocking pill bottles fitted with GPS tracking chips. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is expected to unveil the project Tuesday at a California conference on health issues hosted by former President Bill Clinton's foundation. In prepared remarks, Kelly says the NYPD is concerned about a growing potential for crimes related to the black market for painkillers and other highly addictive prescription drugs. He says the NYPD is proposing to distribute so-called GPS bottles for pharmacists to hide on their shelves with legitimate supplies.
Obama to Detail Gun-Control Plans at White House Event 16 Jan 2013 The public debate on new gun control measures gets down to specifics today as President Barack Obama unveils a package of proposals that includes a ban on sales of assault weapons that faces congressional opposition even as a majority of the public supports it. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be joined at the White House by children who wrote the president expressing their concerns following last month's mass shooting at a Connecticut school, Jay Carney, the president's spokesman, said yesterday. The announcement is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. New York time.
Obama to unveil broad gun plans Wednesday 15 Jan 2013 President Obama will unveil a sweeping set of gun-control proposals at midday Wednesday, including an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and limits on the number of bullets that ammunition clips can hold, according to sources familiar with the plans. The announcement, which press secretary Jay Carney said is scheduled for about 11:45 a.m. at the White House, is also expected to include a slate of up to 19 executive actions that the Obama administration can take on its own to attempt to limit gun violence. [President Obama will invoke executive action to 'limit gun violence.' Why didn't he do the same during the Wall Street-engendered financial crisis, when banksters were forcing people into foreclosure due to illegal lending practices? Why didn't Obama invoke 'Executive Order' to grant judges the power to allow people to stay in their homes? --LRP]
N.Y. enacts nation's toughest gun laws 15 Jan 2013 Jumping out ahead of Washington, New York enacted the nation's toughest gun restrictions Tuesday and the first since the Connecticut school shooting, including an expanded assault-weapon ban and mandatory background checks for buying ammunition. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law less than an hour after it won final passage in the Legislature. Owners of an estimated 1 million previously legal semiautomatic rifles will be allowed to keep their weapons, but will have a year to register them with police.
N.Y. state about to get first post-Newtown gun law 15 Jan 2013 Days after calling for an overhaul of gun control in New York following the Connecticut school shooting, Gov. Andrew Cuomo worked out a tough proposal on gun control with legislative leaders who promised to pass the most restrictive gun law in the nation. The measure was approved by the Senate Monday night, 43-18, on the strength of support from Democrats, many of whom previously sponsored the bills that were once blocked by Republicans. Expected to pass easily, the measure would be the "first state-level gun control legislation in the nation since the Newtown massacre," reports CBS New York station WCBS-TV.
South Florida man wins houseboat case in Supreme Court 15 Jan 2013 A Florida resident actually had his "boat floated" Tuesday by the Supreme Court, as justices ruled that the city of Riviera Beach could not regulate his home as a maritime vessel. In a peculiar case that captured national attention from gambling companies and others, the court in a 7-2 ruling concluded the city went too far when it used maritime law to seize and ultimately destroy the floating home of former commodities trader Fane Lozman. Besides giving Lozman a personal victory, the ruling clarifies and narrows how government agencies can deploy maritime law.
House approves $50.7B Sandy aid bill 15 Jan 2013 More than 10 weeks after Superstorm Sandy brutalized parts of the heavily populated Northeast, the House approved *50.5 billion in emergency relief for the victims Tuesday night as Republican leaders struggled to close out an episode that exposed painful party divisions inside Congress and out. The vote was 241-180, and officials said the Senate was likely to accept the measure early next week and send it to President Barack Obama for his signature. Democrats supported the aid in large numbers, while majority Republicans opposed it by a lopsided margin.
New Jersey Democrat wants pork-free Sandy storm aid bill 11 Jan 2013 New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews is demanding his colleagues strip pork payouts from a massive aid bill intended to help victims of Superstorm Sandy. The Senate's Sandy bill, first introduced last month, includes millions of d*llars that would never touch the affected Northeast. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based watchdog group, released an analysis of the bill on Thursday, stating the *51 billion measure includes millions for roof repairs at Smithsonian buildings, FBI salaries and expenses, and for the Drug Enforcement Administration to repair 15 vehicles. Under the terms of the bill, every state except Arizona, Michigan and South Carolina would be competing for the m*ney, Taxpayers for Common Sense found.
Climate: Monthly heat records have increased fivefold 14 Jan 2013 Global warming has caused monthly records for heat to increase fivefold in frequency, according to a study by scientists in Germany and Spain, published on Monday. In parts of Europe, Africa and southern Asia, the frequency of months with record-breaking heat has surged tenfold, it said. The evidence comes from an analysis of 131 years of monthly temperature data, monitored at 12,000 points around the world, which are stored in a NASA database.
Maryland Zoo polar bear 'Alaska' dies 15 Jan 2013 "Alaska," a Maryland Zoo polar bear that had been rescued from a Mexican circus a decade ago, was euthanized Tuesday after suffering from kidney failure, zoo officials said. The female bear had been confiscated in Puerto Rico by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents in March 2002 after the circus abandoned her there. When she arrived at the zoo soon after, animal keepers found that she was deaf, overweight and had poor muscle tone, but they nursed her to health and developed a training program using hand signals and other visual cues.
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