Scientists to Resume Research on Deadly Man-made H5N1 Flu
Scientists to resume research on deadly man-made H5N1 avian flu 24 Jan 2013 Scientists who created a mutant bird flu virus will resume the controversial research after taking a year-long break amid fears the bug would escape the lab or fall into terrorist hands. Citing a public health responsibility to continue the work, the teams said research will resume in countries whose governments had given the go-ahead, except in the United States and at US-sponsored research projects in other countries. "We declare an end to the voluntary moratorium on avian-flu transmission studies," US-based journal Science and its British counterpart Nature said in an announcement. Teams in the US and the Netherlands announced last month that they had engineered a hybrid of the H5N1 bird flu virus that was transmissible by air among mammals, in this case ferrets, which are considered a good research model for humans. Publication of the results was delayed and work was halted for a year amid concerns terrorists may lay their hands on the data. [Yes, US bioterrorists are *dying* to get the pandemic party started, so pharma-terrorists can get billions to develop a 'cure' for that which they created. Note subplot, 'V for Vendetta,' to see how it all turns out. --LRP]
North Korea to target U.S. with nuclear, rocket tests 24 Jan 2013 North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy". The announcement by the country's top military body came a day after the U.N. Security Council agreed a U.S.-backed resolution to censure and sanction the country for a rocket launch in December that breached its bans. "We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States," North Korea's National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.
UN to examine UK and US drone strikes 23 Jan 2013 A United Nations investigation into targeted killings will examine drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, according to the British lawyer heading the inquiry. Ben Emmerson QC, a UN special rapporteur, will reveal the full scope of his review which will include checks on military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in UK operations in Afghanistan, US strikes in Pakistan, as well as in the Sahel region of Africa where the conflict in Mali has erupted. It will also take evidence on Israeli drone attacks in Palestinian territories. About 20 or 30 strikes -- selected as representative of different types of attacks –- will be studied to assess the extent of any civilian casualties, the identity of militants targeted and the legality of strikes in countries where the UN has not formally recognised there is a conflict.
Yemen minister urges ground ops, not drones, against militants 22 Jan 2013 A cabinet minister criticized on Tuesday the use of pilotless U.S. drones against suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen, a tactic that has outraged communities in targeted areas, and urged a move to ground operations to avoid hurting civilians. Yemen, an Arabian Peninsula country plagued by lawlessness that has been exploited by al Qaeda the US to launch attacks on Arab and Western targets, has witnessed a rising tempo of U.S. missile strikes in recent weeks. "To have an innocent person fall, this is a major breach," Yemeni Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashhour told Reuters on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, voicing rare public opposition to the tactic by a member of the cabinet.
Nine-hour battle grips Kabul 21 Jan 2013 A nine-hour siege Monday in the heart of Afghanistan's capital left at least seven people dead, including three police officers, and brought a normally bustling section of the city to a standstill amid explosions and gunfire. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, which started around 5:30 a.m., when at least four attackers stormed the lightly-defended headquarters of the Kabul Traffic Police, before taking up positions and firing light and heavy weapons down on an adjacent compound that houses the Afghan Border Police. During the attack a car bomb went off outside the headquarters and at least two of the attackers detonated suicide vests, according to a Ministry of Interior statement.
Navy: Random alcohol tests for sailors in US 23 Jan 2013 The Navy said Wednesday it will conduct random blood-alcohol tests on its sailors in the United States starting next month, a sign of how concerned the service's leaders have become about the effects alcohol abuse is having on the force. The tests are part of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus's 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative... The Marines announced it would carry out its own random alcohol tests last month.
Pentagon to Lift Ban on Women in Combat 23 Jan 2013 The Pentagon on Thursday will announce it is rescinding a rule that excludes women from combat, a move that may allow women to serve for the first time alongside infantry troops as battlefield medics, pilots and in other dangerous roles. The announcement will mark the largest expansion yet of women in combat roles. But defense officials said they don't expect the change to result in women being allowed to serve as infantry troops. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to lay out a plan for studying the expansion of service by women in military specialties from which they are now excluded.
Clinton angrily defends handling of Benghazi attack 23 Jan 2013 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday angrily defended her handling of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi and denied any effort to mislead the American people. By turns emotional and fierce, Clinton choked up at a congressional hearing as she spoke of comforting the victims' families and grew angry when a Republican senator accused the Obama administration of misleading the country over whether the Benghazi incident stemmed from a protest.
Following the outcome of Israel's elections Tuesday, ultra-religious Jews could be trading yeshivas for boot camp 23 Jan 2013 In Israel, everybody serves in the army except ultra-Orthodox Jews and Arabs. That could soon change for the first group. Yair Lapid, a centrist politician who campaigned on a pledge to end all military draft deferments for Jews, stunned pundits by coming in a strong second to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli elections Tuesday. Netanyahu retained his position, but his party lost seats in Parliament, leaving him in a weaker position. Under the Israeli parliamentary system, Netanyahu needs Lapid's Yesh Atid party to form a new government. And that means the haredim, as ultra-Orthodox Jews are called in Hebrew, could find themselves in boot camps instead of yeshivas.
Let elderly people 'hurry up and die', says Japanese minister [Lead the way, dirt-bag!] 22 Jan 2013 Japan's new government is barely a month old, and already one of its most senior members has insulted tens of millions of voters by suggesting that the elderly are an unnecessary drain on the country's finances. Taro Aso, the finance minister, said on Monday that the elderly should be allowed to "hurry up and die" to relieve pressure on the state to pay for their medical care. To compound the insult, Aso, 72, referred to elderly patients who are no longer able to feed themselves as "tube people".
Taxpayers forced to fund expansion of US police state, post-Sandy Hook: State Troopers May Be Put Back In Connecticut Schools 23 Jan 2013 Facing budget cuts in 2009, state police eliminated a program that put troopers in schools across the state. It was the end of a program that at one time, when federal money was flowing, had as many as 40 state troopers in public schools, most of them in towns with no municipal police departments. Now, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, officials at the federal and state level are talking about finding money to put more school resource officers in schools, whether they be state troopers or municipal police officers.
Prisoner: I Threatened to Kill Obama to Get Medical Care 22 Jan 2013 A homeless man who was arrested after threatening the life of President Barack Obama claimed that he only did so in order to get needed medical attention. The prisoner, 57-year-old Stephen Espalin, reportedly told the court his story Friday while addressing Senior U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp. "I would have no intent to hurt the president," Espalin was quoted as saying by the Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I realize it wasn’t the right thing to do. I uttered those words knowing the [federal agents] would come and take care of me."
Were Logan airport security scanners scrapped because of radiation risks? by Deborah Kotz 22 Jan 2013 I was relieved when I heard the news that Logan airport would be replacing its full body backscatter scanners -- which use small amounts of radiation -- with the millimeter wave scanners that don't use any radiation... The reason I'm relieved that backscatter machines are going to be scrapped is because of their potential radiation risks, which radiation health experts expressed concerns about back in 2010 when the full body scanners first came to Logan and 29 other airports. Four radiation scientists from academic institutions sent a letter of concern to the White House questioning "the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated," especially for frequent fliers who are going through them on a daily basis. The American Pilots Association told its members to opt for pat downs rather than risk the cumulative dose of radiation.
TSA says all backscatter machines will be removed by summer 21 Jan 2013 All of the controversial backscatter X-ray body scanners will be removed from TSA checkpoints by June said the airport security agency. TSA said the maker of the backscatter systems, Rapiscan, will remove the systems at Rapiscan's expense and stored until they can be re-deployed to other mission priorities within the government. The TSA and Rapiscan's parent company reached an agreement on the machines because they wouldn't meet a deadline to shift to new software.
Law-enforcer misuse of driver database soars 22 Jan 2013 Florida's driver-and-vehicle database, the system that can help law enforcement identify victims of fatal crashes and decipher the identity of a suspect, can be a useful tool for cops. But the system -- known as D.A.V.I.D., for Driving and Vehicle Information Database -- can also be easily abused. Data obtained by the Orlando Sentinel show the number of Florida law-enforcement officers suspected of misusing D.A.V.I.D. skyrocketed last year.
Redistricting in Virginia Hurts Blacks, Democrats Say 24 Jan 2013 On Monday, one of Virginia's state senators attended the inauguration: Henry L. Marsh III, a longtime civil rights lawyer, who played hooky to witness a milestone for an African-American president. The same day, Republicans back in the state capital, Richmond, took advantage of his absence to win a party-line vote, 20 to 19, to redraw electoral maps in a way that Democrats say dilute African-Americans' voting strength. The move not only has Democrats howling about a power grab, it has also been criticized by Virginia’s Republican governor and lieutenant governor.
Palace coup in the Virginia Senate 23 Jan 2013 Just how out of control are Virginia's Republicans? This week's redistricting coup attempt staged by prominent Republicans John Watkins and his cohort Thomas K. Norment in the otherwise evenly divided state Senate is as cynical as it is destructive. On Monday, the pair took advantage of the absence of a key Democratic senator who was attending Barack Obama’s inauguration to spring a plan to redo a redistricting map approved two years ago. Using their temporary 20-19 advantage and with no prior notice, they rammed through their self-serving changes.
U.S. House approves 3-month debt-limit extension 23 Jan 2013 The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a suspension of the debt ceiling until May 19, allowing the government to continue to pay its bills and temporarily putting off a bigger fight over taxes and spending. The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill by a 285-144 margin, largely along partisan lines. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the upper chamber will pass the House measure as quickly as possible without any changes.
Obama 'will not oppose' House GOP plan to suspend debt limit until May 22 Jan 2013 House Republicans are advancing a novel plan to suspend enforcement of the federal debt limit through May 18, a move that would lift the threat of a government default and relieve the air of crisis that has surrounded their budget battle with President Obama. The measure -- set for a vote Wednesday in the House -- would not resolve the dispute over how to control the national debt. The White House tacitly endorsed the proposal Tuesday, issuing a statement that said Obama "would not oppose" the temporary respite.
4 remain hospitalized after Lone Star College shooting --3 injured, 1 suffers medical emergency 22 Jan 2013 An altercation between a student and another man led to a shooting that injured three people, including a campus maintenance worker, at the Lone Star College North Harris campus on Tuesday, officials said. A fourth person, a female student, also went to the hospital because of a medical event. The shooting erupted outside just after noon at 2700 W.W. Thorne, near Aldine Westfield, in the center courtyard between the academic building and the library, said Chancellor Richard Carpenter, who oversees all Lone Star College System operations.
3 Injured in Shooting at College in Houston 23 Jan 2013 At least three people were injured on Tuesday in a shooting at a college in Houston, the authorities said. At least one suspect was in custody. Officials at the North Harris campus of Lone Star College announced an evacuation at 12:52 p.m. on its Web site, citing an incident involving "a couple of armed suspects." Harris County Sheriff's Department vehicles blocked access to the roads leading to the college on Tuesday afternoon.
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