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No Agenda Episode 454

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM.

Going Purple

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM.

Going Purple

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Cultural Marxism

Going Purple for Spirit Day | The White House

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 14:08

Posted by Matt Compton on October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM EDTSpirit Day -- the celebration to honor and support young people who have been victims of bullying -- is now three years old.

It has become a day when people the world over rally for LGBT community and speak out against the bullying of LGBT teens.

And this year, the White House is once again going purple online. You can check out our Twitter feed or our Facebook page to see how we're marking the day -- and take part by making your social networking icon purple or adding a statement of support.

To learn more about what you can do to support kids and stop bullying, check out stopbullying.gov/.

Economic Cycle PANIC

World wine shortage of 1.3B bottles looms.

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:51

The world faces a wine shortage equivalent to 1.3 billion bottles next year after production slumped in France, Italy and Spain, the main suppliers, according to the biggest French wine cooperative.

"It's historic," Bertrand Girard, chief executive officer of Groupe Val d'Orbieu, said Thursday at a news conference in Paris. "We're short of wine. We've never seen that in three or four decades."

The global shortfall is expected to be at least 10 million hectoliters (264 million gallons), Girard said in an interview after the meeting. That volume would fill more than 1 billion standard-size bottles. World production fell in the past decade even as consumption rose, according to data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, or OIV.

Adverse weather damaged grapevines in southern Europe this year. Wine inventories in Italy and Spain were depleted in the past two years, leaving no buffer to compensate for the slump in 2012 production, according to Girard.

"Spain has zero stocks," he said. "Italy has zero stocks. We no longer have stocks to bridge the gap. We have no more entry-level wine."

European wine production is forecast to slide 15 million to 20 million hectoliters this year after drought hurt vines in the region's south, the CEO said. Vineyards across Europe suffered damage from winter dryness, a cold start to the season, hailstorms and a summer heat wave.

Smaller Harvests

Farm lobby Copa-Cogeca this week predicted wine output in the 27-nation European Union will drop to 144.4 million hectoliters from 160.5 million hectoliters in 2011. Grape harvests in France and Italy may be their smallest in 40 to 50 years, according to the Brussels-based group.

In the Southern Hemisphere, production in Chile and Argentina was "mediocre" this year, with only South Africa producing "correct" volumes, according to Girard. "Super harvests" in South Africa or Chile next year will fail to compensate for the shortfall in Europe, he said.

There's already a scarcity of budget wines, which account for 80 percent of consumption and typically cost between 2 euros and 4 euros a bottle, according to Girard. The price of generic bulk wine in Spain has jumped to 60 euros ($78) a hectoliter from 30 euros two years ago, he said.

story continues below

Diverted Production

Global wine output fell to 265 million hectoliters in 2011 from 280 million hectoliters in 2000 as consumption rose to 244.3 million hectoliters from 225.7 million hectoliters, OIV data show. Supply was short of demand last year because wine amounting to about 25 million hectoliters is diverted annually to make products including liquor, Girard said.

The world's vineyard area shrunk in the past decade, falling to 7.59 million hectares (18.8 million acres) last year from 7.85 million hectares in 2000, according to the OIV.

The main risk facing the industry is that a lack of wine in stores will prompt consumers to turn to other beverages such as beer, Girard said.

Val d'Orbieu is a cooperative of about 2,500 vintners in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, with annual production of 1 million hectoliters. The group forecasts sales will be about 290 million euros this year.

Wine output in Languedoc-Roussillon, France's biggest growing region, may slump 21 percent to 11.7 million hectoliters this year, the country's Agriculture Ministry has forecast. That would be 29 percent of total national production, which is predicted to slide 20 percent to 40.6 million hectoliters.

Sales will likely stagnate next year, Girard said, without providing further details.

"It will be a year in which we won't grow," he said. "It's not easy to grow your sales if you don't have the wine."

Copyright 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

EUROLand

EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press Release - Quota year 2011/12: Six Member States have exceeded their milk quota

Quota year 2011/12: Six Member States have exceeded their milk quota

Six Member States - Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Cyprus and Luxembourg - exceeded their milk quotas in 2011/2012, triggering "superlevy" penalties of about ’Ǩ 79 million, according to Commission figures published today. Despite the overrun of the quotas in these six Member States, total EU deliveries remained well below the global quota volume (-4.7%).

According to national declarations, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Cyprus and Luxembourg exceeded their national quotas by a total of 283 000 tons, despite the 1% quota increase in the year 2011/2012 decided in the framework of the 2008 CAP Health Check. The Netherlands also exceeded also its direct sales quota, while the other Member States exceeded only their quota for deliveries.

The number of Member States exceeding their quotas remains limited and the concerned surplus production accounts for less than 0.2% of all milk delivered or covered by direct sales. Several Member States produced far below their respective national quota; 10 Member States recorded deliveries at least 10% below their quota.

In the 2010/2011 quota year 2010/2011, penalties worth ’Ǩ55.6m were triggered in 5 Member States and overall EU deliveries were 5.5% below the total EU quota volume.

Background

The dairy quota system was introduced in the 1980s in order to address problems of surplus production. Each Member State has two quotas, one for deliveries to dairies, the other one for direct sales at farm level. These quantities are distributed among producers (individual quotas) in each Member State. The quota regime will be abolished in April 2015. The 2008 CAP health Check agreed that there should be a gradual increase in quotas (+1% every year) until then.

Where there is an overrun of the national quota, a surplus levy -- or "superlevy" - is payable in the Member State concerned by the producers in proportion to their contribution to the overrun during the quota year (1 April - 31 March). The overrun is established after a redistribution of non-used quota of other producers. The levy is ’Ǩ 27.83 per 100kg of overrun. Each year before 1 September, the Member States must report to the Commission the results of the application of the milk quota scheme over the previous period. This notification must be in the form of a complete questionnaire containing all the data needed to calculate the surplus levy.

London: Thousands take part in anti-austerity protest. (Euronews video)

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:06

Nurses, cleaners and ambulance drivers have joined thousands of other demonstrators in London, to vent their anger over public spending cuts and tax hikes.

They claim austerity is not working in Britain and are calling on the government to do more to revive the country's struggling economy.

Anti-austerity protests have also been held in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

''We are seeing 700 thousand public service jobs going: nurses, careworkers, people who look after the most vulnerable in our society,'' said Dave Prentis, General-Secretary of the UNISON union.

''At the other extreme, we are seeing the richest people in our country increasing their wealth. It's got to stop.''

A protester in London added: ''The message is: we do not want our children to grow up in a society that is unequal.''

Another demonstrator commented: ''We are deeply unhappy, we don't want to end up without the safety net which across Europe exists and needs to be maintained and that is what we have to fight for.''

Speaking from Westminster, Euronews correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami said: ''Another major demonstration in London and these protesters are asking for an end of austerity and the focus on economic growth. But with all the debt Britain has, that is going to be a balance hard to find.''

More about:Austerity, Economic crisis, London, ProtestCopyright (C) 2012 euronews

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John's Book Corner

War on Sugar

SENOMYX RECEIVES GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE (GRAS) DETERMINATION FOR NEW S9632 FLAVOR INGREDIENT - DailyFinance

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:44

SENOMYX RECEIVES GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE (GRAS) DETERMINATION FOR NEW S9632 FLAVOR INGREDIENT - DailyFinanceSENOMYX RECEIVES GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE (GRAS) DETERMINATION FOR NEW S9632 FLAVOR INGREDIENTBusinessWirevia The Motley FoolMon, 01 Oct 2012 09:35:00 EST

SENOMYX RECEIVES GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE (GRAS) DETERMINATION FOR NEW S9632 FLAVOR INGREDIENT

*S9632 is a new flavor ingredient with modifying properties that restores the taste profile in products that have reduced sucrose

*GRAS status allows S9632 to be used in a broad range of products in the U.S. and elsewhere

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Oct. 1, 2012--Senomyx, Inc. (NAS: SNMX) , a company using proprietary taste science technologies to discover novel flavor ingredients for the food, beverage, and ingredient supply industries, announced today that its new flavor ingredient, S9632, has been determined to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) under the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,

...(C) Sun Oct 21 08:44:22 EDT 2012 AOL Inc.All Rights Reserved

SENOMYX ANNOUNCES APPROVAL OF ITS SAVORY FLAVORS AND S2383 FLAVOR INGREDIENT IN THE EUROPEAN UNION - DailyFinance

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:43

SENOMYX ANNOUNCES APPROVAL OF ITS SAVORY FLAVORS AND S2383 FLAVOR INGREDIENT IN THE EUROPEAN UNION - DailyFinanceSENOMYX ANNOUNCES APPROVAL OF ITS SAVORY FLAVORS AND S2383 FLAVOR INGREDIENT IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONBusinessWirevia The Motley FoolTue, 09 Oct 2012 09:21:00 EST

SENOMYX ANNOUNCES APPROVAL OF ITS SAVORY FLAVORS AND S2383 FLAVOR INGREDIENT IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

*Senomyx's Savory Flavor ingredients may be used to create new savory flavor blends

*S2383 is a flavor ingredient with modifying properties that restores the taste profile in products that have reduced sucralose

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Oct. 9, 2012 - Senomyx, Inc. (NAS: SNMX) , a company using proprietary taste science technologies to discover novel flavor ingredients for the food, beverage, and ingredient supply industries, announced today that the Company's four initial Savory Flavors and its S2383 flavor ingredient have all received regulatory approval in the European Union (EU). Senomyx's four Savory Flavor

...(C) Sun Oct 21 08:43:42 EDT 2012 AOL Inc.All Rights Reserved

snopes.com: Pepsi Uses Fetal Cells?

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:42

Claim: Pepsi is using cells from aborted fetuses to create flavor enhancers.Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2011]I've heard a lot lately about using fetus stem cells for certain things. But as a flavor enhancer? In Pepsi?? I find that hard to believe. Is there any truth that Pepsi is using aborted fetus to research flavor enhancers?

Origins: In January 2012, Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey introduced a bill to the state legislature which proposed that: "No person or entity shall manufacture or knowingly sell food or any other product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses in the ingredients or which used aborted human fetuses in the research or development of any of the ingredients." To many people, this nature of this bill sounded bizarre and left them questioning why food producers would possibly be using aborted human fetuses as ingredients.In order to answer that question, we first need to provide a couple of definitions:

Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells, commonly known as HEK 293, are a specific cell line which, as the name denotes, were derived from the kidney cells of an aborted human embryo in 1972. This cell line is widely used in efforts such as cell biology research and biotechnology/pharmaceutical development.Senomyx is a U.S.-based biotechnology company focused on "discovering and developing innovative flavor ingredients for the food, beverage, and ingredient supply industries," primarily additives that amplify certain flavors and smells in foods.A controversy over Senomyx originated with the pro-life organization Children of God for Life, which maintains that Senomyx uses HEK 293 in its flavor ingredient development efforts (citing a 2002 paper by company researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as evidence). In March 2011 that organization called for a boycott of major food companies (including Nestle, Campbell's Soup, Kraft Foods, and PepsiCo) partnered with Senomyx:Senomyx website states that "The company's key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products ... Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor."Senomyx notes their collaborators provide them research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.

"What they do not tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 '-- human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors," stated Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director for Children of God for Life, a pro-life watch dog group that has been monitoring the use of aborted fetal material in medical products and cosmetics for years.

"They could have easily chosen COS (monkey) cells, Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, insect cells or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors," Vinnedge added.

It's important to note that, whether or not Senomyx uses HEK 293 cells in its development efforts, neither Pepsi nor any other U.S. company is actually manufacturing or selling any consumable products that contain material from human fetuses, as CBS News reported in an article about the Senomyx/Pepsi controversy in mid-2011:[Senomyx] appears to be engineering HEK cells to function like the taste-receptor cells we have in our mouth. This way, Senomyx can test millions of substances to see if they work as different types of taste enhancers without subjecting human volunteers to endless taste tests.To non-scientists this may sound a bit strange, but the reality is that HEK 293 cells are widely used in pharmaceutical research, helping scientists create vaccines as well as drugs like those for rheumatoid arthritis. The difference here is that Senomyx's work for Pepsi is one of the first times the cells have (potentially) been used to create a food or beverage. (And it's important to note that no part of a human kidney cell are ever a part of Senomyx's taste enhancers or any finished food products.)

For Debi Vinnedge, who runs the anti-abortion group Children of God for Life, that doesn't matter. "It's the eeew factor. It strikes a really strong reaction in people," she said in an interview.

Even though HEK 293 cells trace their origin to a single fetal kidney back in the 1970s '-- everything since has come from cultured cell lines '-- Vinnedge considers their use unethical because it indirectly creates a market for aborted fetuses and encourages scientists to hunt for new embryonic cell lines. She argues that Senomyx could use other, non-fetus-based cell lines, such as those from animals.

Science and medicine writer Matthew Herper offered a similar explanation in Forbes:The fetus-derived cell line we're talking about was created around the time I was born. This is 35-year-old technology. And it is widely used in cell biology. And there is no way you'll consume them or that the cells would cause any health problems.The cells, called HEK 293 cells (that stands for human embryonic kidney) were taken from an aborted fetus in the 1970s in the Netherlands. Bits of chopped up DNA from the adenovirus, a virus that causes a pretty severe cold. The kidney cells were forced to take up bits of DNA using a technique invented in 1973 that used a calcium solution. The resulting cells don't act much like human cells at all, but they are very easy to work with and have become workhorses of cellular biology. That's why they're used in the development of drugs and vaccines. No new fetal tissue has been used to keep the cell culture going; the use of this cell line isn't leading to new abortions.

A tiny company called Senomyx has been working to use this new technology to create food additives. Senomyx has isolated receptors found on cells that detect taste, and added them to the HEK cells. This allows them to test thousands of potential taste additives to see whether they might taste sweet or savory with a speed that would be impossible with human taste testers. Synomyx has announced collaborations with Pepsi, Nestle, and Coca-Cola.

Although Senomyx has been circumspect about publicly addressing the issue of its alleged use of HEK 293, reporters investigating the subject have noted references to that cell line in the company's patents. For example, Laine Doss wrote in the Miami New Times that:Asked about the [Children of God for Life's] action alert, Gwen Rosenberg, vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for Senomyx, said, "We don't discuss details of our research, but you won't find anything on our website about HEK293." I asked Rosenberg if Senomyx had a position on stem cell research. "We've never been asked that," she replied, "We don't have a position on anything. We're dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars and reduce salt. Our focus is to help consumers with diabetes or high blood pressure have a better quality of life."Though Rosenberg states there is nothing on the company website linking Senomyx with HEK293, a little Googling turned up a patent issued in 2008 for "Recombinant Methods for Expressing a Functional Sweet Taste Receptor," in which a line item mentions HEK293.

And Melanie Warner wrote for CBS News that:Is this claim true? Neither Pepsi nor Senomyx returned calls, so we don't know the companies' side of the story. But a perusal of Senomyx's patents suggests that it may well be. All but 7 of the company's 77 patents refer to the use of HEK 293 (human embryonic kidney) cells, which researchers have used for decades as biological workhorses.In 2010 Senomyx entered into a four-year collaborative agreement to develop sweet enhancers and natural high-potency sweeteners for PepsiCo beverages, but as far as we have been able to ascertain, no Pepsi products vended to the general public have yet included any Senomyx-derived ingredients.Pepsi's official response to the Senomyx issue so far has been to point inquirers to its Responsible Research Statement, which states that "PepsiCo's research processes and those of our partners are confidential for competitive reasons. However, PepsiCo does not conduct or fund research that utilizes any human tissue or cell lines derived from human embryos." We contacted the Media Relations department at PepsiCo and posed some specific questions to them about their relationship with Senomyx but received only non-specific answers in response:

PepsiCo has a relationship with Senomyx to help us reduce sugar in future products. Senomyx does not provide ingredients to PepsiCo, nor does it manufacture PepsiCo products.Senomyx is required to abide by our responsible research statement for any work they conduct for PepsiCo. As with each of our research partners, Senomyx is also required to meet all relevant industry and government regulatory standards in the work it performs for PepsiCo.We can't speak on behalf of another company or address speculation about work involving other companies.

Senomyx has not yet responded to our request for information.Last updated: 18 March 2012

Urban Legends Reference Pages (C) 1995-2012 by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson.This material may not be reproduced without permission.snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.

Senomyx - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:40

Senomyx (NASDAQ: SNMX) is an Americanbiotechnology company working toward developing additives to amplify certain flavors and smells in foods. The company claims to have essentially "reverse engineered" the receptors in humans that react for taste and aroma, and that they are capitalizing on these discoveries to produce chemicals that will make food taste better. Senomyx develops patented flavor enhancers by using ''proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems.'' These receptors have been previously expressed in HEK293 cells.[1]

[edit]HistorySenomyx was founded by prominent biochemistLubert Stryer in 1999. In May 2001, Stryer returned to his professorship at Stanford University and resigned from Senomyx, but continues to be the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board.

The company developed Substance 951[clarification needed], a potentiator used to amplify the sweetness of sugar in food products, thereby allowing the manufacturer to reduce the amount of sugar used.

Senomyx develops patented flavor enhancers by using ''proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems.'' These receptors have been previously expressed in HEK293 cells.[2] HEK stands for human embryonic kidney cells. These cells, originally came from a healthy, electively aborted human fetus in the early 1970's.[3] Using information from the human genome sequence, Senomyx has identified hundreds of taste receptors and currently owns 113 patents on their discoveries. Senomyx collaborates with seven of the world's largest food companies to further their research and to fund development of their technology. Ajinomoto Co., Inc., Kraft Foods, Cadbury Adams, PepsiCo, Firmenich SA, Nestl(C) SA, and Solae all collaborate with Senomyx, but do not specify where its additives may be found in their products.

[edit]ProductsSenomyx's products work by amplifying the intensity of flavors. Because very small amounts of the additive are used (reportedly less than one part per million) Senomyx's chemical compounds will not appear on labels, but will fall under the broad category of "artificial flavors." For the same reason, the company's chemicals have not undergone the FDA's usual safety approval process for food additives. Senomyx's MSG-enhancer gained the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, an industry-funded organization, in less than 18 months, which included three months of tests on rats.

According to Senomyx's website, it "received a positive review by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, which determined that there were no safety concerns with the use of the Company's savory flavor ingredients in foods. The positive assessment by JECFA is expected to expedite regulatory approvals in a number of countries, particularly those that do not have independent regulatory approval systems."

Two of Senomyx's newest innovations include a Cool Flavor Program that seeks to enhance cooling, menthol sensations, and a Bitter Blocker Program. According to Senomyx's website, the company is collaborating with Solae, the international soy ingredients supplier, ''to develop new bitter blockers that better modulate and control bitterness in certain soy-based products.'' Senomyx has identified the receptors in the mouth responsible for sensing bitter taste and developed a chemical additive to knock out these receptors when eaten with hydrolyzed soy protein and other soy derivatives.

Senomyx's revenues for the last quarter of 2007 were up 87% from the same period in 2006, and its stock prices are rising. CEO Kent Snyder reports that corporate goals include "continuing to achieve significant progress in all of our discovery and development programs such as regulatory approval for our S2383 sucralose enhancer and selection of a sucrose enhancer for regulatory development. We also expect expanded commercialization of food products containing our savory flavor ingredients and additional new business development accomplishments."[4]

[edit]References^Human receptors for sweet and umami taste^Human receptors for sweet and umami taste^Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting, p.81 , Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, May 16, 2001^Jack Samuels, Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2008.[edit]External links

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EARon

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

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Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:32

WASHINGTON '-- The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.

News of the agreement '-- a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama's term '-- comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world's major powers to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.

The White House denied that a final agreement had been reached. ''It's not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,'' Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, said Saturday evening. He added, however, that the administration was open to such talks, and has ''said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.''

Reports of the agreement have circulated among a small group of diplomats involved with Iran.

There is still a chance the initiative could fall through, even if Mr. Obama is re-elected. Iran has a history of using the promise of diplomacy to ease international pressure on it. In this case, American officials said they were uncertain whether Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had signed off on the effort. The American understandings have been reached with senior Iranian officials who report to him, an administration official said.

Even if the two sides sit down, American officials worry that Iran could prolong the negotiations to try to forestall military action and enable it to complete critical elements of its nuclear program, particularly at underground sites. Some American officials would like to limit the talks to Iran's nuclear program, one official said, while Iran has indicated that it wants to broaden the agenda to include Syria, Bahrain and other issues that have bedeviled relations between Iran and the United States since the American hostage crisis in 1979.

''We've always seen the nuclear issue as independent,'' the administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. ''We're not going to allow them to draw a linkage.''

The question of how best to deal with Iran has political ramifications for Mr. Romney as well. While he has accused Mr. Obama of weakness, he has given few specifics about what he would do differently.

Moreover, the prospect of one-on-one negotiations could put Mr. Romney in an awkward spot, since he has opposed allowing Iran to enrich uranium to any level '-- a concession that experts say will probably figure in any deal on the nuclear program.

Beyond that, how Mr. Romney responds could signal how he would act if he becomes commander in chief. The danger of opposing such a diplomatic initiative is that it could make him look as if he is willing to risk another American war in the Middle East without exhausting alternatives.

''It would be unconscionable to go to war if we haven't had such discussions,'' said R. Nicholas Burns, who led negotiations with Iran as under secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration.

Iran's nuclear program ''is the most difficult national security issue facing the United States,'' Mr. Burns said, adding: ''While we should preserve the use of force as a last resort, negotiating first with Iran makes sense. What are we going to do instead? Drive straight into a brick wall called war in 2013, and not try to talk to them?''

The administration, officials said, has begun an internal review at the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon to determine what the United States' negotiating stance should be, and what it would put in any offer. One option under consideration is ''more for more'' '-- more restrictions on Iran's enrichment activities in return for more easing of sanctions.

Israeli officials initially expressed an awareness of, and openness to, a diplomatic initiative. But when asked for a response on Saturday, Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael B. Oren, said the administration had not informed Israel, and that the Israeli government feared Iran would use new talks to ''advance their nuclear weapons program.''

''We do not think Iran should be rewarded with direct talks,'' Mr. Oren said, ''rather that sanctions and all other possible pressures on Iran must be increased.''

Direct talks would also have implications for an existing series of negotiations involving a coalition of major powers, including the United States. These countries have imposed sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes but which Israel and many in the West believe is aimed at producing a weapon.

Dennis B. Ross, who oversaw Iran policy for the White House until early 2012, says one reason direct talks would make sense after the election is that the current major-power negotiations are bogged down in incremental efforts, which may not achieve a solution in time to prevent a military strike.

Mr. Ross said the United States could make Iran an ''endgame proposal,'' under which Tehran would be allowed to maintain a civil nuclear power industry. Such a deal would resolve, in one stroke, issues like Iran's enrichment of uranium and the monitoring of its nuclear facilities.

Within the administration, there is debate over just how much uranium the United States would allow Iran to enrich inside the country. Among those involved in the deliberations, an official said, are Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, two of her deputies '-- William J. Burns and Wendy Sherman '-- and key White House officials, including the national security adviser, Tom Donilon, and two of his lieutenants, Denis R. McDonough and Gary Samore.

Iran's capacity to enrich uranium bears on another key difference between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney: whether to tolerate Iran's enrichment program short of producing a nuclear weapon, as long as inspectors can keep a close eye on it, versus prohibiting Iran from enriching uranium at all. Obama administration officials say they could imagine some circumstances under which low-level enrichment might be permitted; Mr. Romney has said that would be too risky.

But Mr. Romney's position has shifted back and forth. In September, he told ABC News that his ''red line'' on Iran was the same as Mr. Obama's '-- that Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. But his campaign later edited its Web site to include the line, ''Mitt Romney believes that it is unacceptable for Iran to possess nuclear weapons capability.''

For years, Iran has rejected one-on-one talks with the United States, reflecting what experts say are internal power struggles. A key tug of war is between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani, Iran's former nuclear negotiator and now the chairman of the Parliament.

Iran, which views its nuclear program as a vital national interest, has also shied away from direct negotiations because the ruling mullahs did not want to appear as if they were sitting down with a country they have long demonized as the Great Satan.

But economic pressure may be forcing their hand. In June, when the major powers met in Moscow, American officials say that Iran was desperate to stave off a crippling European oil embargo. After that failed, these officials now say, Iranian officials delivered a message that Tehran would be willing to hold direct talks.

In New York in September, Mr. Ahmadinejad hinted at the reasoning. ''Experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the U.S. leading up to the national elections,'' he said.

A senior American official said that the prospect of direct talks is why there has not been another meeting of the major-powers group on Iran.

In the meantime, pain from the sanctions has deepened. Iran's currency, the rial, plummeted 40 percent in early October.

David E. Sanger contributed reporting.

Elite$

Google Insiders Bail Prior to Stock Plunge

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Source: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 02:43

There is nothing like inside information, provided you are on the inside. But heaven forbid should you be on the outside and act on a tip as did Martha Stewart.

Insider Monkey reports Google Inc. (GOOG): Insiders Sold $280M Prior to Crash

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt was very active in late September, as he executed 226 transactions in just three days from Sept. 24 to 26, selling off more than 211,000 shares at per-share prices between $742 and $764 per share. He came away with about $158 million.

Other noteworthy insiders are Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin, who had conducted several insider sales in the first half of this month, totaling about $120 million in value and the pair spared themselves about $12 million in combined losses. Brin conducted a series of transactions Tuesday, October 2, selling 83,334 shares at between $750-$765 a share, with a combined value of at least $62.5 million.

Page had been selling shares regularly over several days. Starting October 8, he sold 20,833 shares at $754-$762 a share for a value of $15.7 million; 20833 shares at $744-$760 October 9, for a value of $15.5 million; 20,833 shares at prices between $741 and $746 per share October 10, for a value of $15.4 million; and 20,835 shares at prices between $752 and $758 October 11, a value of $15.7 million.

Also in October, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) board member John Doerr sold his 6,000-share holding at between $759 and $762 per share, for a total value of about $4.5 million, and senior vice president David Drummond pared off 568 shares at $759 each for a value of about $430,000.

Notable Sergey Brin TransactionsIt's one thing to sell a few shares routinely, it's another thing to dump a load right before the plunge.

Here is an edited screen shot of some Google transactions of co-founder Sergey Brin.

Congratulations to Board Member Doerr

Congratulations to board member John Doerr who according to Yahoo!Finance Inside Sales acquired 12,285 shares on September 3 for the bargain basement price of $0, and sold every one of them on the same day, netting a cool $8,251,000.

On September 30, Doerr received 10,966 shares, also for the bargain basement price of $0, and sold every one of them on the same day as well, netting another $8,343,000.

$16+ million in free shares dumped in a month, right near the top, is not a bad month, but Sergey Brin did far better.

On October 1, Sergey had a spectacular day, receiving 83,334 shares for the bargain basement price of $0, dumping every one of them for $750.82 to $765.18 per share, for a whopping net total of $63,167,000.

Happenstance? Inside Information? Or do insiders simply get free shares and dump them as soon as they can?

Mike "Mish" Shedlockhttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

"Wine Country" Economic Conference Hosted By MishClick on Image to Learn More

Google shares suspended after accidental email wipes $22bn off value

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Source: The Guardian World News

Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:18

Google chief executive, Larry Page, is usually the senior figure who usually puts the best gloss on financial figures. The accidental email had left a space for his quote. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo

It was the printer's error that wiped $22bn from the value of the world's biggest search engine. Shares in Google were suspended after an accidental email to the US stock market authorities revealed that the company's latest quarterly results were far below Wall Street's demanding expectations.

The inadvertent '' and clearly unfinished '' financial release began with the words "PENDING LARRY QUOTE" '' referring to the company's chief executive, Larry Page, whose job, normally, would be to put the best gloss on the financial figures. But he was likely to be offering different sentiments after the stock tumbled 9% before trading was halted.

Company results circulate internally for several days as they are being prepared for public release to strict timetables, normally under strict secrecy. Leaks of the figures are extremely rare, but on this occasion Google tersely blamed financial printers RR Donnelly for filing its draft third quarter results "without authorisation".

Compounding the situation was the fact that Google's figures missed expected profits and a showed a big slowdown in revenue growth for its main search engine advertising business. The company had little choice but to suspend trading in its nosediving shares.

The surprisingly poor figures also point towards the challenging future that has already hobbled Facebook's stock after its dismal flotation earlier this year: the problem of making money from mobile advertising as users shift from the desktop to the smartphone to do their searching.

The figures showed that Google earned $9.03 per share in the third quarter '' notably below analysts' consensus estimates of $10.63. Its search engine revenues were also below expectations, hitting $11.5bn (£7bn) where analysts had expected it to show $11.9bn (£7.38bn).

Nevertheless, even Google's misfiring revenues showed 19% growth from the same period last year. But, critically, that was a substantial slowing for a business that had consistently shown revenue growth since the end of 2009, when the global financial crisis was at its deepest.

A key reason for the revenue and profit miss seemed to be a fall in "cost per click" '' the amount that advertisers pay when people click on Google's adverts. Google said that such revenues fell by 15% year on year and by 3% compared with the second quarter, even while the number of "paid clicks" grew 33% year on year.

Advertising rates for mobile phone advertising are typically lower than on desktop computers '' rates that are in turn lower than for printed media. At the same time, as noted by Ben Schachter from Macquarie Securities, people used search engines less for the first time since anybody began tracking data showing their use '' because people are discovering new content via apps on iPhones and other smart devices. That also suggests that the widespread shift to mobile use which has affected Facebook's prospects is starting to affect Google too.

Another concern for Google will be the upwards creep in "traffic acquisition costs" (TAC) - the money that it pays to external websites to direct traffic to its search engines. That has risen as a proportion of advertising revenue from a low of 23.7% a year ago to 26% '' back towards the 30% figure that it saw at the end of 2007. The higher the proportion, the higher the drag on profits on a search engine. Those too may come from Google's mobile business, where it pays money to Apple for some positions on the iPhone, and to some mobile carriers.

Charlie Kindel, a former Microsoft engineer who worked on its Windows Phone development, commented on Twitter that Google might have to start focusing on ways to make its free Android mobile operating system pay. He said: "Mark my words: a few more quarters like this, Amazon doing well with Kindle, and Google's approach to Android will quickly change." Amazon uses its own version of Android, stripped so that Google gets no ad revenue, in its Kindle Fire tablet.

But Clark Fredricksen, vice-president of eMarketer, which tracks the online advertising business, said that despite the setback he feels that Google is in a strong position because of its underlying strength. Google remains dominant in search, with a 74.5% share of the US search ad market, according to eMarketer. In Europe, its market share is more than 95% '' and the overall digital advertising market in the US grew by 17.7% in the third quarter of 2012.

Fredricksen added: "The company now holds the largest more revenue than any other company in the US search, display and mobile advertising markets, respectively '' and the company's market share in each category is expected to grow in the coming years.

"Particularly in the mobile arena, Google holds a commanding lead over all other players, taking home more than half of all US mobile ad revenues. The nearest competitor, Pandora, takes home less than 10% of the market."

Meanwhile, a sheepish printer said it was "fully engaged in an investigation to determine how this event took place and are pursuing our first obligation '' which is to serve our valued customer". Its shares fell too in the wake of the Google leak '' but only by 2%.

The titans of Silicon Valley are beginning to lose their air of invincibility. Since Google's initial public offering in 2004, American technology companies had enjoyed an unprecedented run of good fortune, culminating in Apple's overthrow of oil giant Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable business. But one by one, through a combination of greed, hubris and clerical error, the masters of the technology universe have been shooting themselves in the foot.

First came Facebook's catastrophic initial public offering, when early investors cashed in their chips at too high a price. The shares skidded remorselessly downwards, and now trade at half their float value.

In September, it was Apple's turn. The launch of the iPhone 5 lit up the internet, and sales have been spectacular, but within days of its arrival in the shops the company's chief executive Tim Cook had apologised for forcing a substandard mapping service on his customers. By giving Dublin and imaginary airport and turning Helsinki railway station into a park, Apple had proved itself capable of releasing a poorly designed, unfinished product. Now Google has made the same mistake, in the form of its latest financial results.

Juliette Garside

Chiner$

China and the Northern Rivalry - NYTimes.com

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Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:07

Why might China need up to 500 personnel in its embassy in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, a country of 320,000 people?

That number would far outstrip any other diplomatic presence in the country, according to Damien Degeorges, a Greenland expert who spoke Thursday morning at an event in London hosted by the European Council on Foreign Relations. (For a podcast of the talk, go here and click on ''China's interest in Greenland and Iceland.'')

''The largest European embassy in Reykjavik is the French one, with less than 20 people. The U.S. Embassy, I've heard, is about 70 people,'' said Mr. Degeorges, a Greenland University researcher based in Brussels and the author of a study titled ''The Role of Greenland in the Arctic.''

''This one, according to Chinese diplomats, may be able to host at the maximum, very maximum, 500 persons,'' said Mr. Degeorges, appearing to show his audience a photograph of the Chinese Embassy building.

Then Mr. Degeorges answered his own question about China's need '-- or desire '-- for such a large embassy in Reykjavik: ''It gives you the long-term perspective that you can expect in Iceland.''

Indeed.

Everyone is jostling for space in the melting Arctic these days, it seems, as my colleague Elisabeth Rosenthal recently reported. That includes China, which has no Arctic territory.

Yet as the Arctic ice cap melts, it is revealing riches '-- principally minerals, including important rare earths, but also water, oil and gas. Greenland potentially has up to 10 percent of the world's freshwater reserves, Mr. Degeorges said.

The biggest island in the world, with a population of just 57,000 people, Greenland is becoming a center of tremendous interest for many countries.

The United States has long had a military base at Thule, 1,200 kilometers, or 750 miles, north of the Arctic Circle. Russia is an Arctic heavyweight, operating the world's only fleet of nuclear icebreakers.

But the self-ruled territory within the Kingdom of Denmark may be moving toward political independence, leaving an intriguing picture, where an underdeveloped region is suddenly the focus of a great-power rivalry, as was Central Asia when Russia, China and Great Britain sparred there during the 19th and early 20th centuries. As Mr. Degeorges put it in the talk: Greenland is ''a new meeting place for global powers.''

Cue the Snow Dragon, China's biggest icebreaker and the largest nonnuclear one in the world.

In July, it set out on its fifth Arctic exploration and research trip from the eastern Chinese port of Qingdao, sailing straight through the Arctic to Iceland '-- a first for China. It was also the first time a Chinese ship on an Arctic exploration voyage had called into port in Iceland, where it permitted locals to board and visit. The route of the ship can be viewed here on nicely done maps at the Arctic Portal, and also here, on the expedition's Web site.

The Snow Dragon, whose Chinese name is Xuelong, returned to China just last week, docking in Shanghai, where the Polar Research Institute of China is based.

China is lobbying intensely for permanent observer status on the Arctic Council, the loose international body of eight Arctic countries that develops policy for the region; it includes Russia, the United States and Canada.

China says it is a ''near Arctic state'' and that the Arctic is ''the inherited wealth of all humankind,'' in the words of the Chinese State Oceanic Administration, my colleague Elisabeth reported.

''Chinese activity in the Arctic to some extent mirrors that of other non-Arctic countries,'' Elisabeth wrote. ''The European Union, Japan and South Korea have also applied in the last three years for permanent observer status at the Arctic Council, which would allow them to present their perspective, but not vote.''

And for those who may question the geographical justification of China's interest in the Arctic, consider this: Within Chinese territory (as well as Indian territory, of course) is an area known as the Third Pole '' the Himalayas.

Calling it a ''new concept,'' Mr. Degeorges said, the Third Pole notion gave Asian countries like China and India ''more legitimacy when it comes to dealing with polar regions.''

Shut Up Slave!

Urban Shield 2012 - Urban Shield 2012 SWAT FIRE HAZMAT EOD EMS

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:38

Urban Shield has grown into a comprehensive, full-scale regional preparedness exercise assessing the overall Bay Area UASI Region's response capabilities related to multi-discipline planning, policies, procedures, organization, equipment and training. Urban Shield continues to test regional integrated systems for prevention, protection, response and recovery in our high-threat, high-density urban area. The exercise evaluates our existing level of preparedness and capabilities, identifying not only what we do well, but areas in need of improvement. The previous years' After Action Reports are referenced and used to assist in prioritizing upcoming expenditures possible for the region so we may become more prepared for any type of critical event or incident in our area. The overarching goals of Urban Shield include striving for the capability to present a multi-layered training exercise to enhance the skills and abilities of regional first responders, as well as those responsible for coordinating and managing large scale events. Urban Shield is implemented to identify and stretch regional resources to their limits, while expanding regional collaboration and building positive relationships. In addition, this exercise provides increased local business and critical infrastructure collaboration. Urban Shield challenges the skills, knowledge and abilities of all who participate. It not only improves regional disaster response capabilities, but provides a platform for national and international first responders, as well as the private sector, to work efficiently and effectively together when critical incidents occur.

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Zijn we straks allemaal automatisch donor?

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Source: Een andere kijk op nieuws @infomagnl » Nieuws items

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:37

Geplaatst @ 21 oktober 2012Als het aan de specialisten ligt, worden we straks allemaal automatisch donor als we na een tijdje niet afwijzend hebben gereageerd op een oproep donor te worden.

Bijna maandelijks worden we in campagnes erop gewezen door gewone Nederlanders, bekende Nederlanders en zieke Nederlanders die bijvoorbeeld een nier nodig hebben: doneer je organen, want de wachtlijsten zijn te lang. ''Ja, ik ben een orgaandonor,'' roepen perfect gezonde nog levende mensen in televisiespotjes, in opiniestukken, op Twitter, en ja, zelfs op familiefeestjes. Dat is gek, denk ik dan, je bent pas orgaandonor n je dood, niet daarvoor al (behalve als je een nier '...

Germany 'needs more public security cameras'

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:27

Published: 21 Oct 12 10:33 CETOnline: http://www.thelocal.de/national/20121021-45685.html

Germany needs more cameras in public places and more police patrolling the streets, the interior minister said in an interview on Sunday. Attacks were becoming more brutal, despite a decline in general street crime.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the country needed more security cameras in public places.Germany currently does not have extensive security cameras coverage of streets and parks '' they are largely limited to train stations. There is a strong social suspicion of public monitoring in the country which can be seen in strict privacy and data protection laws, as well as photo-based maps being forced to blur out houses when requested.

Anything other than putting more cameras and ''the more police the better'' on the streets, would be surrender, he added.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) politician said it was unacceptable that in certain areas in cities, people could not go about their daily lives safely and suggested that cameras would deter criminals acting as a preventative measure against crime.

Increasing police presence on the street would, he said, also help people in Germany feel safer. The brutal murder of a young man in central Berlin has triggered Friedrich's push for increased public safety.

The seemingly growing brutality of street crime in Germany has concerned the minister. He added that in general, figures had dropped but the attacks that did happen tended to be more violent.

DPA/The Local/jcw

Dutch proposal to search and destroy foreign computers

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Source: Set You Free News

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:10

Bits Of Freedom

On 15 October, the Dutch ministry of Justice and Security proposed powers for the police to break into computers, install spyware, search computers and destroy data.

These powers would extend to computers located outside the Netherlands. Dutch digital rights movement Bits of Freedom warns for the unacceptable risks to cybersecurity and calls on other countries to strongly oppose the proposal.

Three new powers: spy, search and destroy

The proposal (Dutch, PDF) would grant powers to the Dutch police to break into computers, including mobile phones, via the internet in order to:

install spyware, allowing the police to overtake the computer;search data on the computer, including data on computers located in other countries; anddestroy data on the computer, including data on computers located in other countries.If the location of the computer cannot be determined, for example in the case of Tor-hidden services, the police is not required to submit a request for legal assistance to another country before breaking in. Under the current text, it is uncertain whether a legal assistance request would be legally required, or merely preferred, if the location of the computer is known. The exercise of these powers requires a warrant from a Dutch court.

Hacking proposal poses unacceptable cybersecurity risk

This proposal poses unacceptable risks. If the Dutch government gets the power to break into foreign computers, this gives other governments the basis to break into Dutch computers which infringe the laws of their country. The end result could be less security for all computer users, instead of more. This is even more true with regard to the power to destroy data on foreign computers; it is likely that other governments would be very interested in using such a power against Dutch interests.

Furthermore, providing the government the power to break into computers provides a perverse incentive to keep information security weak. Millions of computers could remain badly secured because the government does not have an incentive to publish vulnerabilities quickly because it needs to exploit these vulnerabilities for enforcement purposes.

In addition, spyware is difficult to control. Research from the Chaos Computer Club demonstrates that, even though spyware from the German police was intended to be used to intercept only Skype calls, it could in practice be extended to take over the entire computer. In addition, the spyware itself could be remotely hacked by criminals as well, allowing them to take over the computer of a suspect.

The risks above do not even touch on the privacy-issues yet. Breaking into a computer infringes the privacy not only of the suspect, but of all non-suspects whose data is also on the computer. And, somewhat related to this, the value of evidence gathered via these methods is at the least less obvious and will be harder to assess in court. The digital nature of the investigation makes it harder to prove that evidence was not fabricated or perhaps destroyed by the police.

Read Full Article

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TSA Removes X-Ray Body Scanners From Major Airports

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Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:16

The Transportation Security Administration has been removing its X-ray body scanners from LAX, O'Hare and JFK, and putting them in less-busy airports. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

The Transportation Security Administration has been quietly removing its X-ray body scanners from major airports over the last few weeks and replacing them with machines that radiation experts believe are safer.

The TSA says it made the decision not because of safety concerns but to speed up checkpoints at busier airports. It means, though, that far fewer passengers will be exposed to radiation because the X-ray scanners are being moved to smaller airports.

The backscatters, as the X-ray scanners are known, were swapped out at Boston Logan International Airport in early October. Similar replacements have occurred at Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago O'Hare, Orlando and John F. Kennedy in New York, the TSA confirmed Thursday.

The X-ray scanners have faced a barrage of criticism since the TSA began rolling them out nationwide after the failed underwear bombing on Christmas Day 2009. One reason is that they emit a small dose of ionizing radiation, which at higher levels has been linked to cancer.

In addition, privacy advocates decried that the machines produce images, albeit heavily blurred, of passengers' naked bodies. Each image must be reviewed by a TSA officer, slowing security lines.

The replacement machines, known as millimeter-wave scanners, rely on low-energy radio waves similar to those used in cell phones. The machines detect potential threats automatically and quickly using a computer program. They display a generic cartoon image of a person's body, mitigating privacy concerns.

"They're not all being replaced," TSA spokesman David Castelveter said. "It's being done strategically. We are replacing some of the older equipment and taking them to smaller airports. That will be done over a period of time."

He said the TSA decided to move the X-ray machines to less-busy airports after conducting an analysis of processing time and staffing requirements at the airports where the scanners are installed.

The radiation risk and privacy concerns had no bearing on the decision, Castelveter said.

Asked about the changes, John Terrill, a spokesman for Rapiscan '-- which makes the X-ray scanners '-- wrote in an email, "No comment on this."

The TSA is not phasing out X-ray body scanners altogether. The backscatter machines are still used for screening at a few of America's largest 25 airports, but the TSA has not confirmed which ones. Last week, Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., installed two of the machines.

Moreover, in late September, the TSA awarded three companies potential contracts worth up to $245 million for the next generation of body scanners '-- and one of the systems, made by American Science & Engineering, uses backscatter X-ray technology.

The United States remains one of the only countries in the world to X-ray passengers for airport screening. The European Union prohibited the backscatters last year "in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety," according to a statement at the time. The last scanners were removed from Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom last month.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two types of body scanners the TSA uses.

The X-ray scanner looks like two blue refrigerator-sized boxes. Unseen to the passenger, a thin beam scans left and right and up and down. The rays reflect back to the scanner, creating an image of the passenger's body and any objects hidden under his or her clothes.

The millimeter-wave scanner looks like a round glass booth. Two rotating antennas circle the passenger, emitting radio frequency waves. Instead of creating a picture of the passenger's body, a computer algorithm looks for anomalies and depicts them as yellow boxes on a cartoon image of the body.

According to many studies, including a new one conducted by the European Union, the radiation dose from the X-ray scanner is extremely small. It has been repeatedly measured to be less than the dose received from cosmic radiation during two minutes of the airplane flight.

Using those measurements, radiation experts have studied the cancer risk, with estimates ranging from six to 100 additional cancer cases among the 100 million people who fly every year. Many scientists say that is trivial, considering that those same 100 million people would develop 40 million cancers over the course of their lifetimes. And others, including the researchers who did the EU study, have said that so much is unknown about low levels of radiation that such estimates shouldn't be made.

Still, the potential risks have led some prominent scientists to argue that the TSA is unnecessarily endangering the public because it has an alternative '-- the millimeter-wave machine '-- which it also deems highly effective at finding explosives.

"Why would we want to put ourselves in this uncertain situation where potentially we're going to have some cancer cases?" David Brenner, director of Columbia University's Center for Radiological Research, told ProPublica last year. "It makes me think, really, why don't we use millimeter waves when we don't have so much uncertainty?"

Although there has been some doubt about the long-term safety of the type of radio frequency waves used in the millimeter-wave machines, scientists say that, in contrast to X-rays, such waves have no known mechanism to damage DNA and cause cancer.

The TSA has said that having both technologies encourages competition, leading to better detection capabilities at a lower cost.

But tests in Europe and Australia suggest the millimeter-wave machines have some drawbacks. They were found to have a high false-alarm rate, ranging from 23 percent to 54 percent when figures have been released. Even common things such as folds in clothing and sweat have triggered the alarm.

In contrast, Manchester Airport officials told ProPublica that the false-alarm rate for the backscatter was less than 5 percent.

No study comparing the two machines' effectiveness has been released. The TSA says its own results are classified.

Each week, the agency reports on various knives, powdered drugs and even an explosives detonator used for training that have been found by the body scanners.

But Department of Homeland Security investigators reported last year that they had "identified vulnerabilities" with both types of machines. And House transportation committee chairman John Mica, R-Fla., who has seen the results, has called the scanners "badly flawed."

Smiths Detection Press Release

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Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:21

Implanted Body Bombs can be Detected, says Smiths Detection London, UK, May 29. 2012 - Explosives surgically implanted or inserted in body cavities by terrorists intent on destroying planes in mid-air can be detected by technology already used to combat contraband threats, the President of Smiths Detection said today.

Speaking at an investor event in London, Mal Maginnis said the apparently growing threat from such tactics could be thwarted by a low-dosage x-ray system widely used to identify drug smugglers who have swallowed narcotics-packed condoms.

''Our B-SCAN, also used by prisons to keep out contraband and threat items, is a high-integrity solution to the challenge of detecting objects inside the body rather than merely hidden beneath clothes. It is certified as meeting international guidelines for radiation safety,'' he said.

''The technology is there and it is entirely up to the authorities to decide how it is deployed in the future. We see the B-SCAN as another, highly effective tool that would fit into the layered, risk-based approach to aviation security already widely adopted. There is no one, single solution.''

More than 140 B-SCAN systems are currently deployed around the world, mainly at customs, prisons, court-rooms, mines and refineries.For more information about Smiths Detection, please visit www.smithsdetection.com.

Smiths Detection offers advanced security solutions in civil and military markets worldwide, developing and manufacturing government-regulated technology products that help detect and identify explosives, chemical and biological agents, radiological and nuclear threats, weapons, narcotics and contraband. It is part of Smiths Group, a global leader in applying integrated, advanced technologies to markets in threat and contraband detection, energy, medical devices, communications and engineered components. Smiths Group employs around 23,000 people in more than 50 countries.

Media Contact: Colin McSeveny+44 (0)20 7808 5534colin.mcseveny@smiths.com

Threat detection equipment from Smiths Detection

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Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:17

Smiths Detection develops government regulated advanced technologies used in threat detection equipment to detect and identify constantly evolving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) materials, contraband and dangerous or illegal materials.

Smiths Detection threat detection equipment safeguards those in the front line and the public at large; protecting buildings and transport systems; screening everything from a ticket to a truck. We equip our customers with high integrity solutions to safeguard society, protect life and support the free flow of trade.

World-leading systems for:

Transportation security. X-ray systems used in the search for illegal and dangerous items; body scanning systems using safe technology to check for hidden threats; explosives detection screening in threat detection equipment for checked baggage, hand-baggage or air cargo.

Critical infrastructure security. Sensors and threat detection equipment to safeguard vital installations.

Ports & Borders screening systems. High energy X-ray systems equip customs officers with the technology for contraband detection and cargo manifest verification, as well as for greater security.

Military force protection. Threat detection equipment to identify chemical and biological warfare agents.

Emergency responders. Equipping first responders and law enforcement officers with threat detection equipment, for personal protection or surveys, and rugged, portable products to identify unknown substances.

Smiths Detection is part of Smiths Group, the global technology business.

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Students suspended after seeing nude photo of teacher on iPad

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Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:00

Anderson, Ind.

Four Anderson middle school students were punished this week after seeing a nude picture of their teacher on her school-issued iPad.Josh Troutt, 13, was one of the students suspended from Highland Middle School.

He told Fox59 he and three friends received permission to use their teacher's iPad during class, but when they turned it on, they saw a revealing picture of their teacher."It just showed up of our teacher with a bra on, but most of her breast showing," explained Troutt. "I never thought of seeing my teacher like that."

Troutt's friends told a school leader and they all got in trouble. One student got a warning, Troutt and another student were suspended and a fourth was expelled.Troutt's mother, Nicole Troutt, is furious.

"I didn't understand why he was being punished for it when all he did was see it?" she asked.

Anderson Community Schools Assistant Superintendent Beth Clark told Fox 59 the students violated the school's technology policy, but she would not explain the violation in detail.

Clark explained that the teacher had accidentally synced a personal device with her school-issued iPad. Clark said the school is taking preventative actions against the teacher, but she's keeping her job.

Troutt said it's not fair, when he and his friends thought they did the right thing.

"We could've just left it on there and showed it everybody in the school and made her embarrassed but we didn't,'' said Troutt. ''We went and told them."

Troutt's mother said she will appeal her son's suspension, but if it's not overturned, she will take him out of Highland Middle School.

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Freelancer growth giving rise to 'slasher' careers - Bottom Line

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Thu, 18 Oct 2012 23:42

Dan Nainan is one part standup comedian, one part computer consultant. A former Intel engineer, he took a comedy class to help get over stage fright. Now he travels the world telling jokes. But he still finds time to fix computers.

By Donna Wares, NBCNews contributor

America isn't just the "land of the free" any more. We're rapidly becoming the land of the freelancer.

In an increasingly virtual work world, an estimated one-third of U.S. workers '-- more than 42 million men and women '-- no longer report to traditional 9-to-5 jobs. Instead they belong to a growing freelance segment of the labor force, an often skilled class of career jugglers and independents who create mosaic incomes from contract gigs, projects, part-time jobs, temp work, moonlighting and consulting. This freelance nation fills the gaps that corporate America no longer wishes to cover with full-time salaried employees.

As Daily Beast Editor Tina Brown famously observed, ''No one I know has a job anymore. They've got gigs.''

It is a sea change from the old postwar vision of Middle America, where a previous generation often expected to work for the same company and at the same job for an entire career. Now many workers think in terms of projects, not jobs, as they freelance in between full-time positions or because independence means greater career flexibility, says social entrepreneur Marci Alboher. The author of the forthcoming "The Encore Career Handbook," Alboher sees enormous opportunities in this gig economy for those workers willing to do some "reframing" to develop a necessary package of survival skills.

''Instead of what you want to do forever, think about what you want to work on for a year or two,'' said Alboher, vice president of the Civic Ventures think tank on boomers, work and social purpose. ''Instead of one job, think about a series of engaging commitments with periodic gaps for personal break, retraining or travel in between.''

One increasingly common path for accomplishing this transition to the gig economy is to become what Alboher calls a career "slasher": the lawyer/chef, accountant/artist or bartender/actor who combines multiple careers by choice or financial necessity. Slasher Alexandra Grabbe has found her career satisfaction as an innkeeper/writer on Cape Cod, where she turned an unexpected challenge into the opportunity of a lifetime.

After working as a radio talk show host and other jobs in Paris, Grabbe returned home to Massachusetts to care for elderly parents. Instead of bemoaning her situation, she ended up transforming the family home into an eco-friendly Cape Cod bed and breakfast. Her days are full '-- she's up early cooking breakfast from organic ingredients, making the beds, tending the flower gardens, baking fresh bread for her guests '-- but Grabbe also squeezes every spare minute to pursue her passion: writing. She's a blogger and aspiring novelist, and this year self-published an e-book about Wellfleet, Mass., the seaside community where she lives.

''I do the B&B because it's a good, steady income,'' she said, ''but I can't imagine not being a writer.''

Dan Nainan, who travels the world as a comedian but does computer work to help pay the bills, feels much the same way.

Nainan's on-stage career began after he took a comedy class in order to get over a fear of public speaking. His first act was so successful it ended up leading to him giving presentations for Intel, where he worked at the time.

Ultimately, he was able to expand his audience beyond Intel engineers and headline his own comedy shows. It's a change in career path that has surprised even Nainan.''I never knew I was going to be a comedian,'' said Nainan. ''I was never really the class clown. I was more the guy who got beaten up for liking 'Star Trek.'''

Holding down two jobs can be grueling, especially when one of them requires you to be creative and produce original content. Standup comedian Dan Nainan explains how he does it.

But Nainan said even if he were able to make a living doing standup, he would probably keep helping people with their computers, because he enjoys the work.

According to Alboher, a ''slash'' combo of gigs is a great way to make a transition to a meaningful encore career over time, as well as acting as a hedge in a difficult economy, where one item on your career buffet might tank while the other still thrives. Making multiple gig bets increases the odds of success, said Alboher. ''Your passion work may not pay the bills.''

The ranks of the freelance nation continue to grow in the current economy as national unemployment remains near 8 percent and many frustrated workers seek out career options that better fit their lifestyles. The gig economy also has been a haven for experienced workers in a wide range of occupations, including the service industry, construction and retail trade. ''On average, contingent workers range in age from about 35 years for one category of temporary workers to about 48 years for self-employed workers,'' according a 2005 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

This growth is evident at the nonprofit Freelancers Union, which offers health insurance and resources for independent workers, and has seen its membership increase to nearly 200,000 since New York lawyer Sara Horowitz founded the organization in 1995. ''It's really been a steady growth since we started,'' said Horowitz, a MacArthur ''genius'' fellow and author of ''The Freelance Bible,'' which will be published in November by Workman Press. ''The numbers climb every day. This movement is building organically.''

John Makely / NBC News

Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union.

Horowitz says the 42-million-worker estimate for the gig economy is probably too small. The last time the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled comprehensive data on independent workers was in 2005. That was before the 2007-09 recession, which has likely boosted the ranks of slashers and freelancers. She notes that President Barack Obama has proposed a new count of independent employees '-- defined as anyone who works outside of a full-time salaried job with benefits '-- but Congress has yet to provide the funds.

Part-time jobs have become a fact of life for many Americans. The Bureau of Labor reports that 8.6 million people involuntarily worked part-time jobs in September for economic reasons, including the inability to find full-time positions or slack demand. More than 18 million people, however, indicated they work part-time to fit their lifestyles, citing personal reasons ''such as family obligations, enrollment in school or the desire to scale back work hours at retirement age.

The flow of more workers into the gig economy is driven by a variety of factors, Horowitz says, and is not simply because of the recession-driven desire of employers to hire by project instead of creating more permanent positions.

For one thing, opportunities have increased as technology has made it easier than ever for individuals to connect with gigs and network with other free-lancers. Websites such as Elance, Freelancer and Task Rabbit make it increasingly easy for designers, writers, programmers, translators, marketers and many others to find contract jobs. At Elance, 57 percent of free-lancers reported an increase in earnings by working with businesses online; many also said they expected to increase their earnings in 2013, according to a September 2012 survey of more than 3,000 site users.

Horowitz says her group's members often mention a desire for meaningful independence. "They want to be able to spend more time with their kids. They want to work toward something they believe in. They want to choose what they're working on. Even many of the free-lancers who were forced by the recession to go independent say they wouldn't go back to traditional work."

Related: Q&A about the future of freelancing

More business news:

NBCNews.com contributor Donna Wares is a writer and editor based in Southern California. Follow her on Twitter @donnawares

Movie PR

Trance (2013) - IMDb

Link to Article

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 02:16

Production Notes from IMDbProStatus: Post-production | See complete list of 25,800 in-production titles >>Updated: 19 May 2012More Info: See more production information about this title on IMDbPro.EditStorylineA fine art auctioneer mixed up with a gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. As boundaries between desire, reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur the stakes rise faster than anyone could have anticipated. Written by Fox Searchlight

Plot Summary|Add SynopsisEditDetailsCompany CreditsTechnical SpecsAspect Ratio:2.35 : 1

See full technical specs >>

Trance (2013) Movie Preview | Starseeker: Upcoming Movies, Sneak Previews and Movie Directory

Link to Article

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 02:16

Trance is a thriller about a heist gone wrong.Details are scarce at present, but I suspect there'll be a heist. Methinks a heist will occur. Or at least one will ALMOST occur, and then something will go wrong. I suppose I could write a ton about it until you realize I have nothing more too add to this part of the preview, so I will.

It could be on a dark and stormy night. There's something worth stealing. Something like'... diamonds. Perhaps money. Perhaps my heart. Aww'... Men show up in a black van. They offer candy to a young girl with pigtails. She refuses. They switch to plan B. The men, say'... three of them, go to the place with the stuff worth stealing. They break in. Two of the men get through the security while the third stands watch. They get the valuables. The guy who was supposed to be keeping watch pulls a gun. He takes the diamonds and locks the two guys in.

Fast forward to five years later. One of the two robbers who was locked in during the robbery is getting out of prison. The other didn't survive being in the clink. This has become a mission of revenge. Dun Dun DUH.

Danny Boyle has just recently signed on to direct Trance. He is also directing the opening ceremonies of next summer's Olympics, so he'll apparently film Trance and then shelve it for a while, do the Olympics, and the come back to finish it. I guess that's cool.

No trailer yet.

Movie Release DateMarch 2013.

Nope.

Who's In It?Michael Fassbender

What's Good About It?It's a thriller directed by Danny Boyle starring Micheal Fassbender. It HAS to be good.

What's Bad About It?Not enough is known yet.

Our Clever PredictionI doubt it'll be a monster at the box office, but you never know. There are too many possibilities at present to know for sure.

About the author: Flying Brian Banana Hammock View all posts by Flying Brian Banana HammockBrian brings to the site 4 years of online journalism, and attitude. Brian has probably offended you in his movie previews, and for that he won't apologize. Ladies, Brian has a 1985 Chevy Van with a wizard painted on the side, and he is single.

Squirrel!

New York terror plot: Federal Reserve 'bomber had accomplice in San Diego 'found with child porn'

Link to Article

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:40

The suspected terrorist who tried to blow up the Federal Reserve was working with a man in San Diego who FBI have arrested for child porn, authorities said.

Howard Willie Carter II was charged on Wednesday after officers found hundreds of explicit images of children on a hard drive dumped outside his apartment building. Around 30 home videos were also discovered by investigators.

On the hard drive an email account registed to 'Yaqueen' was found. Yaqueen was listed as a co-conspirator of alleged terrorist Nafis.

Sting: Quazi Nafis, 21, allegedly entered the U.S. on a student visa from Bangladesh with the intent of carrying out a terrorist attack. He comes from a middle class family who are 'shocked' at his arrest

Yaqueen wanted to help in the attack, according to the criminal complaint seen by the New York Post but he is not facing terror-related charges.

Nafis, a 21-year-old student, allegedly planned to blow up the New York Federal Reserve and target President Obama.

He is the son of a prominent Bangladeshi banker who spent all his savings sending the suspect to the U.S.

Quazi Nafis entered America in January on a student visa after he reportedly talked his father, the vice-president of a bank in Bangladesh, into financing his education in Missouri.

But he left after just one term and moved to New York City, claiming he hoped to transfer his studies - when in fact he began plotting how to 'destroy America', authorities said.

Hunted: Howard Willie Carter II, the accomplice of suspected Federal Reserve bomber Quazi Nafis was arrested after child porn was found at his San Diego apartment

Alias: Carter went under the name of 'Yaqueen' online when he conspired with Nafis in New York

His family, from a middle-class neighbourhood of southeastern Dhaka, wept as they called the arrest 'a racist conspiracy' and referred to Nafis as their 'pride and joy'.

He was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly tried to remotely detonate a fake 1,000-pound car bomb outside the building in lower Manhattan, only a few blocks from the World Trade Center.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that a high-ranking official had been in the alleged terrorist's sights. Sources said that the official was President Obama.

A day after the plot was foiled by an FBI and NYPD operation which saw Nafis being supplied with fake explosives by an undercover agent, his family has said they are stunned at his involvement.

Investigation: Law enforcement remove boxes of material from the home of bombing suspect Quazi Nafis in Queens, New York

Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah said his son, who he said was a devout Muslim, had asked him to finance his education in the U.S., telling him it was worth the money.

'I spent all my savings to send him to America,' Ahsanullah told reporters from his home.

He was there from January to May studying for cybersecurity, before he left and asked for his records be transferred to New York.

His father added: 'We're stunned. Nafis is not a radical type. He says prayers five times a day, and reads the holy Koran and Hadith every day.

'He can't do it': Quazi Mohammad Ahsanullah, the father of Quazi Nafis, holds a portrait of his son in Dhaka

'I have never seen him reading any books on jihad. We don't believe that he can have committed this... He is our pride and joy.'

'All I had in my mind was how to destroy America. I came to the conclusion that targeting America's economy is the most efficient way to obliteration'Quazi Nafis, according to a criminal complaint

He called on the Bangladesh government to intervene to get his son back to his home country.

'This is nothing but a conspiracy,' he said. 'There is still a racist conspiracy there. The intelligence of the USA is playing with a mere boy whom we sent for higher study.

'The allegation against my son is not true at all. He could not even drive a car. How was he caught with a van?'

His brother-in-law Arik, who is married to Nafis' doctor sister, said the family had spoken on Wednesday morning and even discussed a possible bride for him.

'We heard the news this morning. Everyone is crying here,' Arik told AFP. 'Nafis never showed any form of radicalisation when he was in Bangladesh.'

After he was forced out of university in Bangledesh, his family said he moved to study at Missouri Southern State University but left after a term due to costs and started working at a New York hotel.

Worry: Other relatives cry as they claim his innocence at their residence at Uttar Jatrabari in Dhaka

Heartbreak: Nafis's family cries as his mother (left) prays in their middle-class residence

VIDEO: Nafis' family in disbelief over bombing allegations

According to the FBI complaint, Nafis arrived in the U.S. on a student visa in January but was in fact acting on behalf of al-Qaeda, and had come to the country with jihadist intentions.

He was reportedly influenced by al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki and the radical publication Inspire.

Authorities tracked Nafis using Facebook and other social media including a Google+ account but the information was taken down on Wednesday.

'New York continues to be very clearly in the mind frame of terrorists,' Commissioner Kelly said.

His home in Jamaica, Queens was surrounded by NYPD and FBI on Wednesday afternoon as they removed boxes of material.

It emerged that Nafis had left a chilling video message in which he pledged to 'destroy America'.

No plea: Quazi Nafis, 21, center, and his attorney Heidi Cesare, left, in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday

Plot: Pedestrians pass the Federal Reserve Building on Wednesday after authorities foiled the scheme

Sting operation: The FBI arrested a man who allegedly plotted to blow up the Federal Bank in New York, which is only blocks away from ground zero

The sting operation represents a major coup for the FBI, and is likely to heighten tension in a city haunted by the 9/11 attacks 11 years ago.

Nafis believed that he was going to detonate a 1,000 in front of the Federal Reserve Building, located on Liberty Street, and had recorded a video message prior to the attack saying that he intended to deal a major blow to the American economy.

'There is a racist conspiracy. The allegation against my son is not true at all. The intelligence of the USA is playing with a mere boy whom we sent for higher study'Suspect's father

After receiving the false bomb, he drove with the FBI agent from a warehouse outside the city to the Federal Reserve building.

The two parked the van in front of the bank and walked to the nearby Millennium Hotel, according to WABC.

At the hotel, he recorded a video where he said: 'We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.'

Nafis appeared in federal court in Brooklyn later on Wednesday to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

If found guilty, he faces life in prison.

Wearing a brown T-shirt and black jeans, he was ordered held without bail and did not enter a plea.

Alleged target: Obama pictured making a speech today at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa

His defense attorney had no comment outside court. The defendant 'reported having connections' to al-Qaeda, prosecutors said.

But there was no allegation that he received training or direction from the terrorist group.

Destruction: Narfis allegedly told the undercover agent that he wanted to 'destroy America'

He told the undercover FBI agent during the drive to the Federal Reserve that his jihadist views had been shaped by al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

According to the criminal complaint, Nafis said: 'All I had in my mind are how to destroy America... I came up to this conclusion that targeting America's economy is most efficient way to draw the path of obliteration of America as well as the path of establishment of Khilapha.'

He continued, according to the complaint: 'I decided to attack the Federal Reserve bank of New York which is by far the largest (by assets), most active (by volume) and most influential of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks.

'New York Federal Reserve Bank implements monetary policy, supervises and regulates financial institutions and helps maintain the nation's payment systems.'

Prosecutors say Nafis traveled to the U.S. in January to carry out an attack. In July, he contacted a confidential informant, telling him he wanted to form a terror cell, the criminal complaint said.

In further conversations, authorities said Nafis proposed several spots for his attack, including the New York Stock Exchange - and that in a written letter taking responsibility for the Federal Reserve job he was about to carry out, he said he wanted to 'destroy America.'

Other communications took place through Facebook, the complaint said. The complaint stated that Nafis learned how to make a bomb from a magazine article published in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula magazine Inspire.

Tactics: New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks to the media about a foiled terrorist plot in the financial district on Wednesday

THE CHICAGO CONNECTIONThe joint FBI and NYPD Federal Reserve sting has similarities to the undercover operation that saw an 18-year-old suspected terrorist arrested lat month.

Adel Daoud allegedly tried to trigger a fake bomb set up by FBI agents outside a Chicago bar on September 20.

He was believed to have wanted to target people drinking in a downtown business district, known as the Loop.

He told an undercover agent posing as a jihadist that he was pursuing the attack because the U.S. was at war 'with Islam and Muslims.'

The U.S. attorney's office has said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk.

Daoud was indicted by a federal grand jury and is currently held without bond.

His attorney, Thomas Durkin, said his client was wooed by federal agents posing as terrorists into participating in the plot.

The magazine contained an article entitled, 'How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen with your Mom,' telling readers how to construct a detonating bomb with everyday household items.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly said: 'Inspire Magazine, which Awlaki was the prime mover behind, was the magazine or this is the article that he read that justified to him the killing of children, the killing of women.'

The foiled Federal Reserve plot came as the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on New York told a court today that the American government was to blame for the 2,976 people killed.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed spoke during a pretrial hearing in Guantanamo Bay attended by many of the victims' families where he refused to accept any guilt.

The Federal Reserve is only blocks away from ground zero and the nearly-complete One World Trade Center construction, an area full of NYPD officers and other law enforcement officials.

In addition, the bank is close to many highly-populated tourist attractions, residents, and offices.

But federal prosecutors said that Nafis was closely monitored by the FBI in New York and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the NYPD, and the public was never in danger.

Rights: A courtroom sketch shows Quazi Nafis, second right, being arraigned in Brooklyn on Wednesday

Arraignment: Nafis was arraigned at the Brooklyn Federal Court building on Wednesday afternoon

Arrest: Police cars are stationed outside a building in Jamaica, Queens, on Wednesday, where Nafis was arrested in connection with a plot to detonate a bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly praised his police force, saying in a statement, 'Al-Qaeda operatives and those they have inspired have tried time and again to make New York City their killing field.

'We are up to 15 plots and counting since 9/11, with the Federal Reserve now added to a list of iconic targets that previously included the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York Stock Exchange, and Citicorp Center.

He said that while it may be easy to get complacent, more than 1,000 NYPD officers are assigned to counterterrorism duties daily.

He concluded: 'I want to commend the NYPD detectives and FBI agents of the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the work they did in the case and U.S. Attorney Lynch and her dedicated team in prosecuting it.'

Location: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is located in the Financial District in lower Manhattan, blocks away from ground zero and One World Trade Center

Proximity: The Federal Reserve is only blocks away from the new World Trade Center constructions

When he met with the undercover FBI agent on Wednesday morning, Nafis mentioned that he had a 'Plan B' should his van bombing plot fail. He allegedly told the agent that he was also considering a suicide attack.

He faces charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in addition to attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.

According to the FBI release, Nafis believed that he was going to detonate a 1,000 pound bomb in front of the Federal Reserve Building, located on Liberty Street.

The bank, located at 33 Liberty St, is one of 12 branches around the country that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, make up the Federal Reserve System that serves as the central bank of the United States. It sets interest rates.

VIDEO: NYC claims NO FEAR over latest bomb scheme:LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF FEAR: NEW YORK'S CLOSE CALLS FOLLOWING SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKSSince the devastating attacks of September 11, which took the lives on nearly 3,000 people and left a smouldering pit in the heart of New York City, residents of the Big Apple have been living in fear of the next major act of terror.

While the New York City Police Department and federal officials so far have been successful at foiling terror plots, it has done little to deter potential Jihadists from seeking new opportunities to wreak havoc on American soil.

Over the past 11 years, New York City has been targeted no fewer than nine times. In 2004, seven members of a terrorist cell led by Muslim extremist Dhiren Barot were arrested for plotting to attack the New York Stock Exchange and other financial institutions in New York, Washington, DC, and Newark, New Jersey.

They were later accused of planning attacks in England. The plots included a 'memorable black day of terror' that would have included detonating a dirty bomb.

Najibullah Zazi, left, purchased explosives planning to blow up the New York subway; Faisal Shahzad, right, plotted to detonate a bomb in an SUV in Times Square

That same year, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj, both reportedly self-radicalized, were arrested for plotting to bomb a subway station near Madison Square Garden in New York City before the Republican National Convention.

An undercover detective from the NYPD's Intelligence Division infiltrated the group, providing information to authorities, and later testified against Elshafay and Siraj.

Just two years later, in July of 2006, FBI agents monitoring online chat rooms discovered a plot to attack underground train tunnels connecting New York City and New Jersey. Eight suspects, including Assem Hammoud, an al-Qaeda supporter living in Lebanon, were arrested in the plot.

In 2007, four men conspired to blow up aviation fuel tanks and pipelines at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in hopes of causing 'greater destruction than in the September 11 attacks.' Authorities stated that the attack 'could have caused significant financial and psychological damage, but not major loss of life.'

Besides transportation hubs and major city landmarks, places of worship also proved popular targets. In 2009, police announced the arrest of James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen for plotting to blow up New York-area synagogues and shoot down planes at a nearby Air National Guard Base.

Jose Pimentel tried to build a pipe bomb with instructions from an al -Qaeda magazine which he planned to use against U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

The four had attempted to gain access to Stinger missiles and were caught in the act of placing bombs in the buildings and in a car.

One of the most publicized terror plots came just a few months later when authorities arrested Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old Afghan, for purchasing large quantities of chemicals used to make a TATP bomb, which he then planned to set off on the New York City subway. It has since been found that the plot was directed by senior al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.

At least three other individuals have since been arrested on allegations of conspiring to carry out the attack with Zazi. One of them, New York religious leader Ahmad Afzali, has pled guilty to charges of lying to federal agents about informing Zazi that he was being investigated by authorities.

But perhaps the closest call came in May of 2010, when Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and Pakistan native, drove a Pathfinder packed with explosives and incendiary devices into Times Square and tried to detonate it. Luckily, the bomb fizzled and passersby quickly alerted the police, who disarmed the device.

Just two days later, Shahzad was arrested at JFK Airport while trying to flee the country aboard an Emirates Airways flight to Dubai.

As recently as last May, Ahmed Ferhani, of Algeria, and Moroccan-born Mohamed Mamdouh, a U.S. citizen, were arrested after attempting to purchase a hand grenade, guns, and ammunition to attack a Manhattan synagogue while being disguised as Orthodox Jews. The pair also allegedly planned to target the Empire State Building.

The most recent terror plot was uncovered last November when Jose Pimentel, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Dominican Republic, was arrested on charges of planning to use pipe bombs to attack targets throughout New York City, including police stations, post offices, and U.S. soldiers.

by SNEJANA FARBEROVSource: Heritage Foundation

Leon Traille: Mysterious Terrorist Who Bombed DC Area Mall is ''Homeless'' Tech Expert

Link to Article

Source: Debbie Schlussel

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:47

By Debbie Schlussel

Leon Alphonse Traille, Jr. tried to bomb the Ballston Commons Mall in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, yesterday. He had four explosive devices. And the more I read about him the more I think the life does, indeed, imitate art. In the first season of Showtime's ''Homeland,'' an Islamic terrorist is living and posing as a homeless man (he's actually a former U.S. Marine believed to be dead). And Traille, who tried to set off four explosive devices today, is ''homeless,'' according to authorities who say he has no address. That's despite the fact that he worked as a software engineer for some of the top media and tech companies, including Bloomberg and Intel. And you can't help but notice that the once shaven Traille now sports a beard, like many Muslims do when they commit violent jihad. Did Traille convert to Islam? Why did he try to bomb a shopping mall? And why''given his tech expertise''were his bombs so crude and ineffective? A lot of questions.

Leon Traille: From Intel Software Engineer to Terrorist Mugshot

Video of Leon Traille being captured by police at the mall . . .

While some may dismiss Traille as a crazy homeless man, it would be a mistake to do that. Jihadists deliberately recruit mentally unstable people, so that if they are caught, they can be dismissed as ''just a crazy guy.'' It's in the Al-Qaeda playbook that authorities found after 9/11 in one of the hijackers' cars parked at the airport. There's something very weird here, and I wouldn't be surprised if life imitates art. The FBI counter-terrorist team is working this case for a reason. You don't bring four explosive devices to a mall just 'cuz your ''a crazy homeless guy.'' Something more is going on. Bet on it. Look at Leon Traille's LinkedIn page, which I've copied and posted below in case it soon ''disappears.'' As you can see, he's no dummy. He's a software engineer with a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology. Does that sound like a ''crazy homeless guy'' to you. Or crazy like a fox? I vote the latter. Maybe it was a test to see what would happen if a mall in suburban Washington was bombed and how authorities would react to it. Had the explosives been good explosives, a lot of people would have been hurt before police arrived with guns and cuffed him.

Authorities released the mug shot of the man accused of throwing a lit Molotov cocktail inside a Washington D.C. area mall.

Police say Leon Traille, Jr. threw the bomb into the food court of a mall in Arlington, Virginia Thursday.

The bottle did not explode and no one was hurt.

The mall was closed and after a three-hour search, Traille was arrested and questioned by the FBI and other federal authorities.

Police later found three more Molotov cocktails inside the mall.

Charges include reckless endangerment and use of a fire bomb. He also faces a federal arson charge.

Traille was expected to make two court appearances Friday.

There's no word yet on the motive.

What do you think is going on here?

Drone Nation

US justice likely coming soon to Benghazi with extrajudicial executions | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Link to Article

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:59

(updated below - Update II)

Ever since the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Obama officials, including the President himself, have been vowing that the perpetrators will be "brought to justice". That, of course, is typical American-speak for: "without any evidence presented or due process afforded, we will execute suspects by bombing them from the air, along with anyone who may have the misfortune of being in close proximity to them."

The Associated Press this week reported on the Obama administration's current plans for Benghazi, plans that were "provided by three current and one former administration official, as well as an analyst who was approached by the White House for help". The report described how the US "is readying strike forces and drones but first has to find a target"; in other words, the gun is metaphorically cocked and simply in search of someone to shoot [my emphasis]:

"U.S. investigators have only loosely linked 'one or two names' to the attack, and they lack proof that it was planned ahead of time or that the local fighters had any help from the larger al-Qaida affiliate, officials say.

"If that proof is found, the White House must decide whether to ask Libyan security forces to arrest the suspects with an eye to extraditing them to the U.S. for trial or to simply target the suspects with U.S. covert action.

"U.S. officials say covert action is more likely. The FBI couldn't gain access to the consulate until weeks after the attack, so it is unlikely it will be able to build a strong criminal case. The U.S. is also leery of trusting the arrest and questioning of the suspects to the fledgling Libyan security forces and legal system still building after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

"The burden of proof for U.S. covert action is far lower, but action by the CIA or special operations forces still requires a body of evidence that shows the suspect either took part in the violence or presents a 'continuing and persistent, imminent threat' to U.S. targets, current and former officials said."

That is a pure expression of the modern incarnation of US justice: it would be difficult to prove anyone's guilt if we had to provide due process, so we likely won't bother with that; instead, we'll just decide ourselves, in secret, who is guilty and then execute them at will.

This is precisely the mentality which the Obama administration used to justify the assassination of US citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, and defenders of that due-process-free execution typically invoke exactly this same formulation. That's because US citizens have now largely and successfully been trained to view this type of "justice" as normal.

"Due process" is viewed as a quaint and obsolete relic of the pre-9/11 era. The US president simply kills whomever he wants - anywhere in the world, far away from a war zone or battlefield - without the slightest obligation to present evident of guilt, to afford the accused any opportunity to contest the accusations, or to have his execution-decrees reviewed by anyone or even known to the public. That is the normalized model of US justice, which is why these unveiled plans are hardly controversial and why Obama officials feel no compunction about announcing them: if anything, they're eager to boast of their hunger to mete out this due-process-free "justice".

Just how dubious is this whole process is highlighted by a New York Times profile this morning of Ahmed Abu Khattala, whom, says the Times, "witnesses and the authorities have called one of the ringleaders of the" consulate attack. The Times conveys that unnamed "witnesses have said they saw him directing other fighters that night" and that "Libyan officials have singled him out."

Abu Khattala, however, maintains that he is not a member of al-Qaida and "insisted that he had not been part of the aggression at the American compound." He acknowledges that he was present at the consulate that night but "had arrived just as the gunfire was beginning to crackle and had sought to break up a traffic jam around the demonstration." He also claims "that guards inside the compound - Libyan or American, he was not sure - had shot first at the demonstrators, provoking them," and that "the attackers had found weapons, including explosives and guns mounted with silencers, inside the American compound." As the Times put it, his "exact role remains unclear".

For nations adhering to the most basic precepts of justice, these are the types of conflicting claims which are routinely resolved in a judicial tribunal, with all the evidence subject to examination and the accused given a fair opportunity to contest the accusations. But that is not how the US government functions. Rather, it convenes in secret, unilaterally decrees guilt and then - to use the AP's euphemism - will "simply target the suspects with U.S. covert action": i.e., execute them without any due process.

The Times, apparently intended as a counter-balance to Abu Khattala's denials, noted that "he expressed a notable absence of remorse over the assault", and then added:

"And he said that the United States had its own foreign policy to blame for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 'Why is the United States always trying to impose its ideology on everyone else?' he asked. 'Why is it always trying to use force to implement its agendas?'"

Time and again, this is what one finds at the crux of these episodes. Professed animosity toward the US - and especially the belief that violence against the US is the result of its own decades-long aggression - is viewed as evidence of guilt, proof of one's status as a "militant", justification for imprisoning or killing (Obama placed Awlaki on his hit list when Awlaki's anti-US sermons began powerfully resonating among English-speaking Muslim youths; the still-unproven claim that the preacher had an "operational role" in terror plots was publicly made only long after Obama's assassination order was publicly revealed). The apparent premise of US policy in the region seems to be that the occupations, invasions, bombings and killings must continue until there is nobody left who harbors hatred of the US: as self-contradictory and self-destructive an approach as can be conceived.

The claimed power of the president to kill whomever he wants, anywhere in the world far from any war zone or battlefield, without a whiff of due process, oversight or transparency should be vehemently opposed first and foremost because it is the supreme expression of tyrannical power. If one is willing to grant that power to the president, then it is hard to see what powers one would find objectionable.

But on pragmatic grounds as well, it is difficult to imagine a more menacing policy: if the US president continues simply to execute anyone he decides should die with drones and bombs, then the only certain outcome is that there will be more and more people who view the US as a justifiable target for retaliation and vengeance. That the White House is eager to have it known that they are rejecting the option of arrest and due process in favor of secret assassination is a potent reflection of how degraded American political culture is regarding such matters, of how normalized the most extremist theories of power have become.

UPDATEAt the farce currently taking place at Guantanamo known as the "military commission" of the accused 9/11 defendants - a process designed exclusively (1) to ensure a guilty verdict and (2) to suppress any public evidence of the detainees' torture - alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had this to say in response to American horror over the attack:

"The alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks told the Guantanamo courtroom on Wednesday that the U.S. government had killed many more people in the name of national security than he is accused of killing. . . .

"'When the government feels sad for the death or the killing of 3,000 people who were killed on September 11, we also should feel sorry that the American government that was represented by (the chief prosecutor) and others have killed thousands of people, millions,' said Mohammed, who wore a military-style camouflage vest to the courtroom.

"He accused the United States of using an elastic definition of national security, comparable to the way dictators bend the law to justify their acts.

"'Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security, and to detain children under the name of national security, underage children,' he said in Arabic through an English interpreter.

"'The president can take someone and throw him into the sea under the name of national security and so he can also legislate the assassinations under the name of national security for the American citizens,' he said in an apparent reference to the U.S. killing and burial at sea of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the U.S. use of drone strikes against U.S. citizens accused of conspiring with al Qaeda.

"He advised the court against 'getting affected by the crocodile tears' and said, 'Your blood is not made out of gold and ours is made out of water. We are all human beings.'"

This is what virtually every Muslim accused of engaging in violence against the US says whenever some US judge or official expresses bewilderment at how they could do such a thing: namely, why do you not express similar shock and outrage at the violence against civilians and other forms of repression continuously committed by your own government, and why are you not similarly affected by your government's killing and other abuse of innocent Muslims, including children? This highlights still another grave harm from conducting oneself in this manner: the inability to insist upon adherence to moral and ethical standards with any degree of credibility or consistency (at least outside of the US).

On a different note, MSNBC prime-time host Lawrence O'Donnell was asked this week in an impromptu interview why he does not cover Obama's war on whistleblowers and related civil liberties abuses; his answer becomes rather thoughtful as it progresses and is worth listening to:

UPDATE IIEarlier this week, the British government announced that it was refusing the US's request to extradite Gary McKinnon, whom the US government accuses of seriously jeopardizing national security by hacking the Pentagon's computer networks. The US justice department insists that this was "the biggest military computer hack of all time". The British cited the fact that he suffers from Asperger syndrome and clinical depression and claims there is a high risk of suicide if he is extradited. The US pronounced itself "disappointed" by the British decision.

Given Britain's decision to harbor this accused felon, one the US insists seriously damaged American national security, would the US be entitled to send an armed drone over London to kill him? Those who defend such extrajudicial assassinations in Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and other predominantly Muslim countries do so by claiming that there is an American entitlement to drone-kill people when those governments are unable or unwilling to turn over those alleged to have harmed US national security. Given that this is the case for McKinnon, what ground is there for arguing that the US would be barred from killing McKinnon by drone (aside from the fact that the type of people at risk from a drone attack in London are different than the type of people typically at risk from US drone attacks)?

CIA Seeks White House Backing for More Drones

Link to Article

Source: News From Antiwar.com

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 04:35

With an eye on launching more strikes in more nations, the CIA is pushing for White House approval to acquire yet more attack drones to add to their inventory, saying that they need to be able to expand quickly into Northern Africa without pulling drones out of Pakistan.

The effort reflects the CIA's growing efforts to revamp itself as an ''assassination agency'' and leave the espionage business to somebody else. The only resistance in the US government seems to be from the Pentagon, who wants to keep the corner on the market of killing people.

Officials seem to be citing the Benghazi Consulate attack as justification now for the drones, but of course the CIA's push for more drones began long before last month's attack.

Having CIA drones looming over major Libyan cities is a grim prospect, particularly with their checkered history of killing civilians in their attacks in Yemen and Pakistan, where thousands have been killed but only a few dozen have ever been conclusively named.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Test Drones | NBC Bay Area

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:38

They began as tools in military combat. Now aerial drones are being considered by Bay Area law enforcement agencies as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters, and use technology to fight crime and save lives.

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They began as tools in military combat. Now aerial drones are being considered by Bay Area law enforcement agencies as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters, and use technology to fight crime and save lives.

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern first tested one of these Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAS about a year ago. Now he's looking into possibly bringing a drone here. His office would be the first in California to do it. Armed with live-video-feeding capabilities and different features, like infrared devices, these drones can cost in the ballpark of 50- to 100-thousand dollars or more.

There are several different models, but the one Ahern is considering weighs four pounds and spans four-feet. He says the drones get a birds-eye view that most tactical officers on the ground would never get, sometimes endangering their lives. A demonstration at the county's Office of Emergency Services building in Dublin a couple months ago featured a man standing in the shadows on a rooftop, with three possible explosives clearly in his reach. The drone saw everything; the officers on the ground could not.

''Very valuable to any tactical officer, as you're setting up your perimeters and knowing what the suspect may have in his hands, how the suspect is dressed, what are the avenues of escape?'' Ahern added that his office would only use drones during emergencies, from a high-speed or high-risk chase to search-and-rescue operations in disasters, as well as proactive policing measures like catching marijuana grows in fields on public lands and in grow houses.

But not everyone is pleased at the growing number of agencies looking to use these UAS. The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU says drones should only be deployed when a warrant for a specific crime is involved. The ACLU is also worried that they may harm both privacy and people. In a statement, the ACLU wrote, ''Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.''

Sheriff Ahern says an armed drone is out of the question. He says local public safety agencies must take advantage of innovation that's out there, calling it a ''no brainer.''

In two weeks, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is hosting its annual ''Urban Shield'' preparedness exercise involving about 30 other law enforcement agencies. That's where they'll get the chance to test out different drones in simulations of disasters and high-risk situations to see if they really work. If so, Sheriff Ahern says he has been looking specifically into a federal grant that promotes community policing.

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GOLD!/Tungsten!

Student That Plotted To Bomb The Federal Reserve Wanted To Destroy America! DUN! DUN! DUN!

Tungsten-Filled Fake Gold Bar Found in Manhattan (Photos)

Link to Article

Source: The Daily Bail

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 04:35

Update 3 - Chinese Firm Promotes & Sells Gold Plated Tungsten Online (Link)

Update 2 - Now It's Fake Tungsten-Filled Gold Coins(Link)

Update - Ten More Fake Gold Bars Found In NYC (NY Post)

In jewelry stores on 47th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the important trust between merchants has been violated. A 10-ounce gold bar costing nearly $18,000 turned out to be a counterfeit. The bar was filled with tungsten, which weighs nearly the same as gold but costs just over a dollar an ounce.

Ibrahim Fadl bought the bar from a merchant who has sold him real gold before. But he heard counterfeit gold bars were going around, so he drilled into several of his gold bars worth $100,000 and saw gray tungsten -- not gold.

What makes it so devious is a real gold bar is purchased with the serial numbers and papers, then it is hollowed out, the gold is sold, the tungsten is put in, then the bar is closed up. That is a sophisticated operation. MTB, the Swiss manufacturer of the gold bars, said customers should only buy from a reputable merchant. The problem, he admits, is Ibrahim Fadl is a very reputable merchant.

The Secret Service, which deals with counterfeits, said it is investigating.

Fox NYC

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Cyber War$

PBS Analysis Of Iranian Cyber Attacks

'You've been hacked': why data-breach reporting should be mandatory

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Source: The Conversation

Fri, 19 Oct 2012 04:35

If someone got access to your personal information, wouldn't you want to know? subcircle/FlickrIn an age of Facebook, eBay and online banking, data privacy is becoming more important than ever before. The majority of Australians have personal information stored online with a range of organisations and companies '' information we'd rather the whole world didn't have access to.

A discussion paper released by federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon on Wednesday could be a step forward in the fight to keep private data, well, private.

Entitled ''Australian Privacy Breach Notification'', the discussion paper asks whether companies and other organisations should be required to report any breaches that occur to personal data they are storing.

You're getting mailOnly a day after Ms Roxon released the discussion paper we saw a great example of why mandatory data-breach notification is required.

On Thursday Australia Post shut down its electronic parcel tracking service after a computer malfunction exposed the personal details of thousands of customers who were sent parcels. Mandatory data-breach reporting would have required Australia Post to tell customers of the breach immediately, rather than having the message delivered through the media the following day.

Of course, Australia Post is not alone '' many large Australian companies and organisations '' including Telstra, Defence and Medvet '' have suffered data breaches in the recent past.

Time to take privacy seriouslyIn a press release on Wednesday explaining the motivations behind the new discussion paper, Ms Roxon said:

Australians who transact online rightfully expect their personal information will be protected.

What Ms Roxon didn't say was the majority of companies don't seem to take customer privacy very seriously.

Currently, if an Australia company suffers a data or security breach, they are encouraged (but not required) to disclose the details to the Privacy Commissioner.

But the reality is very few companies report data-breach notifications, and the number of reports is dropping. These facts are corroborated by a review of data breaches reported online by customers and in the media.

And, as former hacker Kevin Mitnick told Fairfax on August 9, there's little motivation for a company to admit they've been hacked and had data stolen:

Think about it: if you were running a multi-million dollar company and your database of customer information was stolen would you want to tell your clients? No.

Most [US] companies did not until the laws required them to. It's in the best interest of organisations '' when they're attacked and information is stolen '' to tell nobody.

Consumer confidenceNot everyone is a fan of the proposed mandatory data-breach reporting. The Australian Banking Association (ABA) acting chief, Tony Burke said today that mandatory data breach reporting would lead to:

an unwarranted loss of confidence in Australia's payment systems to the detriment of all.

Attempting to notify individuals potentially affected could lead to significant levels of community concern, disproportionate to the actual level of risk, which could well be zero.

What Mr Burke does not appear to acknowledge is the fundamental right of every Australian to know if their personal data has been compromised. Australians should be able to select a bank based upon the bank's record of keeping personal data secure.

Protecting the peopleSo how would mandatory data-breach reporting help the average consumer?

As Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said in a press release on Wednesday:

Where personal information has been compromised, notification can be essential in helping individuals to regain control of that information. For example, an individual can '... change passwords or account numbers if they know a data breach has occurred.

If nothing else, it will force companies to let consumers know directly if their information has been compromised '' surely better than reading about it in the newspaper the next day or finding out when a criminal uses the information to commit fraud.

What companies will have to doThe possibility of mandatory data-breach notification laws raises the question of impact on Australian organisations. For some the new requirements would have a minimal effect, but for many others there would be need for change.

The first question every Australian company will need to be able to answer is: ''If there is a data breach will we recognise that the breach has occurred?''

For many organisations this will not be an easy question to answer. Most Australian companies are connected to the internet using low-cost security devices that are typically set up using default settings.

Professionals are not contracted to monitor the company's connection to the internet and systems that provide products or services to customers over the internet.

What this means is Australian companies will need to audit every system that interfaces with the internet to ensure security breaches can be identified. Security systems will also need to be able to collect information that can be provided to the authorities if a security breach leads to a data breach.

One approach that should be adopted by Australian companies is to utilise Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) which are set up, maintained and monitored by appropriately trained network engineers.

Companies will need to adopt a culture that will raise the focus on security and privacy to a level previously not seen in Australia.

The Attorney-General should consider introducing a mandatory annual network and system security audit for all companies or organisations that may be subject to a data breach.

The overseas angleMost US states now have data-breach notification laws and the US federal government is considering introducing uniform national laws.

Europe is in a similar situation. The existing laws don't cover all organisations subjected to potential data breaches and only electronic communication providers (carriers) are required to notify regulators and customers of data breaches.

The European Union is also considering laws that would cover all organisations that may be subject to data breaches.

The timing of Ms Roxon's announcement, considering the aforementioned moves in the US and Europe, may lead to a belief that Australia is acting in concert with legislative changes overseas.

Australia must be prepared to get out in front of other nations because privacy and security reform is long overdue.

Early daysMs Roxon's announcement and the release of the discussion paper should be applauded because Australians are being subjected to privacy attacks from all angles.

Examples that we should remember include the Sony PlayStation data breach in which 1.5 million Australian accounts were exposed, and the Google Wi-Fi data harvest.

Of course the discussion paper is just the first step down the path of mandatory data-breach reporting in Australia and many questions remain. Including:

who should be notified in the case of a data breach?should penalties apply when an organisation fails to comply?But as we move forward in this era of online transactions and social media '' an era that will feature the NBN and its many opportunities and applications '' there's a need for security and privacy legislation to keep pace.

Most importantly, there's a need for Australians to feel confident that their personal information is being kept safe by those we entrust it to.

The federal government is seeking submissions following the release of their discussion paper. To have your say, visit the Attorney-General's website for details. Submissions close November 23.

Post a CommentTagsAustralian politics, Privacy, Hacking, Cybersecurity

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Internet providers to begin warning customers who pirate content

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Fri, 19 Oct 2012 12:32

By Heather Kelly, CNN

updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu October 18, 2012 | Filed under: WebThe Center for Copyright Information says a new system will warn users when accounts are used to illegally download content.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

New warning system will let people know they are illegally downloading contentFirst the Internet providers will try to educate people about how to get content legallyCustomers could eventually face punishments such as a slowed Internet connectionThe Copyright Alert System has been four years in the making(CNN) -- It is about to get a bit more difficult to illegally download TV shows, movies or music online.

A new alert system, rolling out over the next two months, will repeatedly warn and possibly punish people violating digital copyrights. The Copyright Alert System was announced last July and has been four years in the making.

If you use AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon as your Internet service provider, you could receive the first of one of these notes starting in the next two months.

The Internet provider is delivering the message, but the legwork is being done by the copyright owners, which will monitor peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent.

They use a service called MarkMonitor, which uses a combination of people and automated systems to spot illegal downloading. It will collect the IP addresses of offenders, but no personal information. The IP addresses are turned over to the Internet providers, which will match up the address with the right customer and send the notification.

The warning system is described as a graduated response. First the Internet provider will let the customer know that their Internet connection is being used do download content illegally. The note will include information to steer them away from their life of crime, including tips on how they can download content legally.

There will also be tips on securing Internet connections, just in case you were unaware that your neighbor was downloading season three of "Dexter" using your unprotected wireless network.

"The progressive series of alerts is designed to make consumers aware of activity that has occurred using their Internet accounts, educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again," the CCI said in its announcement today.

After the educational phase, the customers will be asked to acknowledge that they received the warning. If they continue to download content illegally, the alerts will threaten mild punishments, such as forcing the copyright violator to read "educational materials," or throttling their Internet connection so that it is slow, making it harder to download large files.

Today's announcement claims that terminating the Internet service is not one of the options.

If a customer feels they are being wrongly accused, they can ask for a review, which will cost them $35 according to the Verge.

The entire system will be overseen by an organization called the Center for Copyright Information, which includes content owners, such as the Motion Picture Association of America and Recording Industry Association of America, as well as individual members including Disney, Sony Pictures, Fox, EMI and Universal.

Each ISP will have a slightly different version of the system.

Bad Actors

US Security Caught Out Of Control Drunk & On Drugs ON DUTY In Theatre

CIA documents supported Susan Rice's description of Benghazi attacks

Link to Article

Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:22

The Romney campaign may have misfired with its suggestion that statements by President Obama and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice about the Benghazi attack last month weren't supported by intelligence, according to documents provided by a senior U.S. intelligence official.

''Talking points'' prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, the same day that Rice taped three television appearances, support her description of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate as a reaction to Arab anger about an anti-Muslim video prepared in the United States. According to the CIA account, ''The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.''

No evidence found of Al Qaeda role in Libya attack

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Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:43

WASHINGTON '-- The assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi last month appears to have been an opportunistic attack rather than a long-planned operation, and intelligence agencies have found no evidence that it was ordered by Al Qaeda, according to U.S. officials and witnesses interviewed in Libya.

The circumstances of the Sept. 11 attack have become a matter of heated political debate, with President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney clashing in their debate Tuesday about when Obama termed the assault an act of terrorism. But the emerging picture painted by intelligence officials and witnesses differs from the assertions of both sides.

Republicans have zeroed in on possible Al Qaeda ties to the Sept. 11 attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, and have criticized the Obama administration for not saying early on that it was an act of terrorism. But after five weeks of investigation, U.S. intelligence agencies say they have found no evidence of Al Qaeda participation.

PHOTOS: U.S. ambassador killed in attack on consulate in Libya

The attack was "carried out following a minimum amount of planning," said a U.S. intelligence official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a matter still under investigation. "The attackers exhibited a high degree of disorganization. Some joined the attack in progress, some did not have weapons and others just seemed interested in looting."

A second U.S. official added, "There isn't any intelligence that the attackers pre-planned their assault days or weeks in advance." Most of the evidence so far suggests that "the attackers launched their assault opportunistically after they learned about the violence at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo" earlier that day, the official said.

The lack of a firm Al Qaeda link could constrain U.S. military options. The administration believes it has the right under international law to use lethal force against Al Qaeda operatives who kill Americans, but that case would be harder to make against members of a Libyan militia.

The description by witnesses also differs from some of the administration's recent statements. Officials, most notably Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at first said they believed the attack was motivated by a controversial anti-Islamic video produced in the United States. More recently, officials downplayed any connection. But in Benghazi, witnesses said members of the group that raided the U.S. mission specifically mentioned the video, which denigrated the prophet Muhammad.

Tarek, an off-duty police sergeant who asked that his full name be withheld to shield him from reprisals, said he came to the scene about an hour after the attack began and found militants blocking the road leading to the compound.

"They drew their guns on me and they told me that the Americans were abusing our prophet," he said. "That's why they said they had come to fight."

He and others described the attackers as a mob rather than a team of commandos. It included some organized elements, they said, but its intelligence was less than precise. A caretaker at the villa adjacent to the U.S. mission said the attackers initially threatened to raid his compound until he and a guard barred the gate and shouted: "Private property! Women inside!"

Libyan guards who served as the security force at the U.S. compound said the mob was made up of disparate types, some who appeared to be experienced fighters and others who were not. There were long-bearded men whose faces were obscured by scarves in the style of practiced militants and called each other "sheik." But there also were younger men, some who looked like teenagers with wispy beards on their uncovered faces.

"There were civilians there, and many were carrying weapons," said Sheik Mohamed Oraibi, a hard-line Islamic preacher who arrived soon after the attack began. He said the attackers arrived in about 20 pickup trucks, many of which had machine guns mounted on them in the style favored by rebels during the Libyan revolution last year.

Multiple witnesses said the accents and vernacular used by the attackers sounded Libyan, not foreign. They were extremely well armed, but Libya is awash in weapons. In Benghazi, machine guns and shoulder-fired grenade launchers, many pilfered by rebels from Kadafi's stocks during the revolution, are sold on the streets.

"This was a group of thieves that saw a chance and wanted to seize it," said Hamad Bougrain, a spokesman for the Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade, a Libyan pro-government militia whose members were part of the mission's security detail. Members of the militia also responded to the attack.

Libyan officials say one of the key suspects is Ahmed Abu Khattala, leader of an Islamist militia called the Abu Obeida brigade. He has acknowledged being at the scene but denies leading the raid. Libyan officials say there are no orders to arrest him.

U.S. intelligence and special operations planners have been preparing so-called target packages on militants suspected of involvement in the attacks, dossiers that are often the prelude to an operation to kill or capture them.

Rice has been widely criticized for comments she made on a round of talk show appearances Sept. 16, when she said the attack appeared to have stemmed from a protest over the video, similar to the violent demonstration at the embassy in Cairo. Rice was echoing a set of CIA talking points that have since been made public.

American officials now say there was no protest in Benghazi, only the attack, which began at 9:40 p.m. and continued at a second facility into the next morning.

On Sept. 28, a spokesman for the director of national intelligence issued a statement calling what happened "a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists," some with Al Qaeda links or sympathies. The spokesman, Shawn Turner, said the intelligence community first believed the attack "began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo" but that it had revised that initial assessment.

Republicans began portraying the attack as the work of Al Qaeda, and they accused the administration of deliberately seeking to downplay that possibility.

Now, however, said another official with access to the intelligence, "it may turn out that the initial assessment was not that far off."

ken.dilanian@latimes.com

sbengali@latimes.com

Dilanian reported from Washington and Bengali from Benghazi.

Scampaign

Larry King to moderate third-party presidential debate - latimes.com

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Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:11

Larry King will moderate a debate among the third-party presidential candidates on Oct. 23, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation announced on Tuesday.

The debate, which will be held in Chicago, will feature Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson of the newly formed Justice Party. The event will be broadcast live on Ora TV, the digital programming service where King launched his onlinetalk show, ''Larry King Now,'' earlier this year. The Free and Equal Elections Foundation and, for unclear reasons, Russia Today will also stream the debate online.

''We are honored to have Larry King moderate this historic debate,'' Christina Tobin, founder and chair of the foundation, said in a release. ''The previous debates between President Obama and Gov. Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans. From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions, and real electoral options.''

The addition of King, who hosted "Larry King Live" for 25 years before singing off in December 2010, certainly lends some star power to an otherwise neglected corner of the American political system.

The exclusion of third-party candidates from the officially sanctioned presidential debates has been a source of frustration for activists on both ends of the political spectrum since at least 1987, when the Commission on Presidential Debates was formed by the Republican and Democratic parties.

The last time a third-party candidate was invited to participate in a presidential debate was in 1992, when independent Ross Perot famously invoked the ''giant sucking sound'' of jobs leaving the country thanks to NAFTA in his face-off with George Bush and Bill Clinton.

[Update: 1:53 p.m. This post originally misstated the name of the Justice Party candidate and has been corrected. His name is Rocky Anderson, not Rocky Johnson.]

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twitter.com/MeredithBlake

BEHIND THE VEIL: Never-Before-Seen Footage of Secret Mormon Temple Rituals - YouTube

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 14:03

"More Homes Are Being Sold & Home Values Are Back On The Rise" It's An Election Season Miracle!

Sponsorship of Presidential Debate - C-SPAN Video Library

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:18

League of Women Voters

Nancy Neuman announced that the League of Women Voters had withdrawn its sponsorship of presidential debates after disputes with national parties and campaigns over the format of the debates could not be resolved.

Nancy Neuman announced that the League of Women Voters had withdrawn its sponsorship of presidential debates after disputes with national parties and campaigns over the format of the debates could not be resolved.

31 minutes | 217 Views

A New NATO Mission

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Source: DVIDS Unit RSS Feed: Natochannel

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:59

Choose quality '–¼Embed code '–¼<iframe width="500" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border: none; overflow: hidden; width: 500px; height: 300px;" allowtransparency="true" src="http://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/158819"></iframe>

NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen travelled with ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council to meet Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in Kabul. A new training mission was announced to start in 2015, after Afghan forces have taken full security responsibility. Also available in high definition.

President Of The Free World Calls Springsteen ''A Couple Times A Week''

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Source: The Ulsterman Report

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:23

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Syria

Rebels blow up oil and gas pipelines in eastern Syria, state news agency says.

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:32

BEIRUT - Syria's state news agency says rebels have blown up two oil and gas pipelines in the northeast near the Iraqi border.

The agency, SANA, says the attack hit one oil and one gas pipeline Thursday near the city of Deir al-Zour. The pipelines ran between Deir al-Zour and the city of Palmyra in central Syria.

Anti-regime activists posted a video online purporting to show the blast site, with thick smoke billowing into the sky. The video could not be independently verified.

SANA quoted an oil ministry official saying the lines were immediately shut off, the fires were extinguished and repairs would begin soon.

Rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad have repeatedly bombed such pipelines.

Activists say more than 33,000 people have been killed in 19 months of violence.

Rebels Attack Oil, Gas Pipelines in Eastern Syria

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Source: News From Antiwar.com

Thu, 18 Oct 2012 21:16

Syrian rebels attacked a pair of key oil and gas pipelines today in the Deir al-Zour Province, two of the most serious sabotages of the nation's energy infrastructure to date. Syrian state media claimed the attacks came after a clash in which dozens of rebels were slain.

The attack on the gas pipeline occurred in the Kurdish dominated northeast, not far from the Iraqi border. Officials say they expect to begin repairs soon, but how easily they will be able to safely repair in a rebel-heavy region is unclear.

The rebels hold a number of key areas around Syria's oil and gas corridor, and between the attacks and the growing tensions with Turkey there is concern that the civil war could cut off yet more energy supplies from global markets at a time when supplies are already short because of the Iran embargo.

So far no rebel group has claimed credit for today's attacks, which state media said caused millions of dollars in damages and forced the temporary shutoff of one of the nation's largest gas pipelines to extinguish a fire.

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Vaccine$

The Long Battle to Rethink Mental Illness in Children - WSJ.com

Diabetes Study Ends Early With a Surprising Result

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Source: Dave Winer's linkblog feed

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:29

A large federal study of whether diet and weight loss can prevent heart attacks and strokes in overweight and obese people with Type 2 diabetes has ended two years ahead of schedule because the intensive program did not help.

''I was surprised,'' said Rena Wing, the study's chairwoman and a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University's medical school.

Like many, she had assumed diet and exercise would help, in part because short-term studies had found that those strategies lowered blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

But, Dr. Wing added, ''You do a study because you don't know the answer.''

Still, medical experts said there were many benefits to diet and exercise even if they did not reduce cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes.

About 25 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes. Many are overweight or obese. On average, the disease increases heart disease risk by 2 to 2 ½ times, said Dr. Ronald Kahn, chief academic officer at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

It seemed logical that diet and exercise would help reduce that risk. An earlier federal study found that an intense diet and exercise program helped prevent overweight or obese people with elevated blood sugar levels from crossing the line into diabetes. The hope was that a similar program could also protect people from heart disease.

The study randomly assigned 5,145 overweight or obese people with Type 2 diabetes to either a rigorous diet and exercise regimen or to sessions in which they got general health information. The diet involved 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day for those weighing less than 250 pounds and 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day for those weighing more. The exercise program was at least 175 minutes a week of moderate exercise.

But 11 years after the study began, researchers concluded it was futile to continue '-- the two groups had nearly identical rates of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.

The investigators are analyzing their data and will be publishing them in research papers.

But the outcome is clear, said Dr. David Nathan, a principal investigator and director of the Diabetes Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. ''We have to have an adult conversation about this,'' he said. ''This was a negative result.''

The study participants assigned to the intensive exercise and diet program did lose about 5 percent of their weight and managed to keep it off during the study. That was enough to reduce cardiovascular risk factors.

''We showed that meaningful weight loss '-- let's put 'meaningful' in quotes '-- could be established and maintained,'' Dr. Nathan said. ''To me that means we did a good experiment. We had a fair test of this hypothesis.''

Some, like Dr. John Buse, director of the University of North Carolina's diabetes center, said the study confirmed what they would have expected. Dr. Buse, a former president of the American Diabetes Association, said treatments including smoking cessation, statins to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure medications are so powerful that they could swamp the modest effects of weight loss or exercise on cardiovascular risk.

Other medical experts said they were waiting for release of the detailed data collected by the researchers before interpreting the study.

''It is hard to tell anything without the details of the study,'' said Dr. Irl Hirsch, medical director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington.

Dr. Nathan, though, said the results meant that people with diabetes might have a choice. The group assigned to diet and exercise ended up with about the same levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar as those in the control group, but the dieters used fewer medications.

''That may be the choice we are highlighting,'' Dr. Nathan said. ''You can take more medications '-- and more, I should say, expensive medications '-- or you can chose a lifestyle intervention and use fewer drugs and come to the same cardiovascular disease risk.''

He is not going to say which is better, Dr. Nathan added. That is up to the individual. But, he said, ''those are real choices.''

Gardasil Destroys Girl's Ovaries: Research on Ovaries Never Considered.

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 13:40

One girl's ovaries were destroyed, with Gardasil the only potential cause. Worse, though, is that Merck either didn't bother to examine potential effects on ovaries or hid them'--but did examine effects on testes.

by Heidi Stevenson

The BMJ has published the case report of a healthy 16-year-old Australian girl whose womanhood appears to have been stolen by Gardasil vaccinations. She has been thrust into full-fledged menopause, her ovaries irrevocably shut down, before becoming a woman. The authors, Deirdre Therese Little and Harvey Rodrick Grenville Ward1, draw direct attention to the fact that, though the girl has been thoroughly examined and tested, there is no known explanation other than the series of three Gardasil vaccinations she had.

Making matters worse is that there may be many other such cases, but most are likely masked by the routine treatment of irregular or scanty menstruation with oral contraceptives. Indeed, it's only because this girl refused them that the truth of her situation was unmasked. Just how many other girls have lost their chance at motherhood, but don't know because their condition is masked?

The authors noted that, although the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia provides data on the histology of rat testes and epididymides in the Australian Public Assessment Report for Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine*, no information is provided for rat ovaries. They sent a Freedom of Information request for ''documented rat ovarian histology post-quadrivalent* HPV vaccination that may have been performed by the sponsor and forwarded to the TGA''.

*Note: There is only one ''quadrivalent HPV Vaccine''. It's Gardasil.

Here is their report of this highly significant missing data:

It is not known whether this event of premature ovarian failure is linked to the quadrivalent HPV vaccine. More detailed information concerning rat ovarian hist-ology and ongoing fecundity post-HPV vaccination was sought from the Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA). Although the TGA's Australian Public Assessment Report for Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine, February 2011, does report on the histology of vaccinated rat testes and epididymides, no histological report has been available for vaccinated rat ovaries.

The TGA subsequently agreed to a freedom of information application in the public interest (FOI 001-1112) requesting documented rat ovarian histology post-quadrivalent HPV vaccination that may have been performed by the sponsor and forwarded to the TGA. However, a histological report of the ovaries of vaccinated rats remained unavailable beyond a numbering of the corpora lutea present at postweaning euthanasia following the first litter.

Why did the manufacturer provide information regarding male rat testes, but not for female rat ovaries? This is more than a little shocking. It's absolutely damning! We must question the sincerity of both the manufacturer, Merck, and the TGA'--not to mention questioning other regulatory agencies, such as the US's FDA and the UK's MHRA.

Potential Gardasil Risk to OvariesIs it conceivable that Merck didn't consider the possibility of harm to the ovaries? In point of fact, it's unreasonable to suggest that they were unaware of potential harm to ovaries. At least one Gardasil ingredient, polysorbate 80 (also called by brand names Tween 80, Alkest, and Canarcel), is a known cause of ovarian deformities, degenerative follicles, hormonal changes, and womb and vaginal changes in rats2,3. Worse, that ovarian damage is known to be caused by injection of polysorbate 80'--just as it's injected with Gardasil.

Another Gardasil ingredient, L-histidine, a naturally-occurring amino acid, carries signficant risks, too, in the same manner that squalene does. It's a naturally-occurring substance in the human body, so injecting it could have the effect of causing an autoimmune response to that substance wherever it's found in the body. There is more on this issue in Gardasil Destroys Girl's Ovaries: It Should Have Been Predicted.

A large part of one girls' life has been destroyed, and the only plausible explanation is that the cause is the Gardasil vaccination. This vaccine is sold as a cervical cancer preventative, though it has never been shown to prevent any cancer of any kind. Cancer prevention has never been more than a presumption, based on a possible connection between herpes papilloma virus and cervical cancer. No cause-and-effect has ever been documented.

The reports of deaths and debility from Gardasil keep pouring in. As this girl's plight demonstrates, Gardasil cannot be assumed to be safe. There is highly significant'--not to mention suspicious'--missing data.

We don't know, of course, whether Merck calculatedly avoided doing the studies on ovaries or is refusing to release data on such studies because of its damning nature. We do, though, know that the very fact that it's missing'--especially in light of equivalent data on the male reproductive tract being available'--must be treated as suspicious.

Certainly, the combination of one girl's loss of her ovaries, the probability of there being many others, and the utterly callous disregard for its potentially devastating effects, is more than enough reason to remove Gardasil from the market. Surely, it should be removed from governmental lists of mandated vaccines.

Tagged big pharma, gardasil dead ovaries, gardasil deidre therese little, gardasil destroys ovaries, gardasil menopause, gardasil merck studies, gardasil ovaries, gardasil rat ovaries, gardasil rat testes, Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine, science, vaccine, vaccines

Erowid Experience Vaults: Haloperidol (Haldol) - Body Convulsions of Death

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Sat, 20 Oct 2012 11:44

Citation: Haldol. "Body Convulsions of Death: experience with Haloperidol (Haldol) (ID 45168)". Erowid.org. Mar 8, 2007. erowid.org/exp/45168

DOSE:40 mgoralPharms - Haloperidol(pill / tablet)My experience with haldol was the worst drug experience of my life. A friend of mine (Joe) had been sick for a few days, and was give several tabs of haldol by a mutual friend. The mutual friend said that haldol was an opiate pain killer [Erowid Note: Haldol is an anti-pyschotic medication and is not an opiate.] , so my friend being the happy pill popper he was took two the first day. He said he felt relaxed and passed out. The next day when his body aches returned, he took 3, and went back to sleep.

On the third day when I found him, he was complaining of massive body aches, and asked me to hand him some of the haldol from his desk. I was pleasantly intoxicated on alchol and asked if he minded if I popped a few. He said yes, so I took four. My previous experiences with pill popping had lead me to beleive that I needed quite a few to feel any major effects.

Over the next hour and a half I began to feel drowsy and had aquired a decent body high which could be compared to percocet. I even began to itch which led me to believe it really was an opiate. I passed out after about 2 hours, and woke up about 12 hours later.

Feeling a bit hung over and a little shakey, I went down to Joes room to smoke some bud and see how he was doing. He was in horrible pain and was clinched up on his bed in a the fetal position. I smoked some pot with him and then sat down to watch tv. I was feeling better and got hungry so I ate some choclate cake that was in his fridge.

THIS IS WHEN MY WHOLE LIFE CHANGED.

About three bites into the chocalate cake my tounge began pushing against the back of my teeth, almost like I had bad cotton mouth. I would pull it back, and it would slowly edge forward until it was pressing against my teeth. Feeling a bit strange, I went to my room to lay down. This is approximately 24 hours since I had taken the haldol.

Upon arriving in my room, I was unable to sleep because of the involuntary movements of my tounge. I drank some water and tried to relax, but it was getting worse. Now my tounge was pushing past my teeth and protruding from my mouth. I would have to forceably pull it back in and lock my jaw down. Then I began to get a little bit scared. I decide to try to completely relax and maybe I could go to sleep with my tounge stuck out. My tounge continued to push out until it strecthed to the point it was painful.

I began to panic and forced it back in and clenched my jaw shut. After clenching my jaw for about 10 mins., my neck began to slowly bend to the right. Much like my tounge, I was unable to stop its movement or hold my head up straight any longer than a few seconds. Now I'm in my room by myself, my tounge is stuck all the way out, my head is crushed into my shoulder, and I am crying because it feels like I am about to break my own neck from the force of the muscles clenching. This lasted for four hours. I had the most horryfying thoughts going through my head. Thoughts of being stuck like this forever, and paranoia of my roomate coming home with his gf, and having to explain. Finally I fell asleep.

Upon awaking the next morning, I felt fine. I jumped up and probably did a little jig around the room. The happiest moment of my life was to be convulsion free. 8 hours later, 48 hours from the initial dose, it came back. Just as bad as before. I lost it. For the first time in my life, I wanted to die if this was how I was going to be stuck forever.

I sent my buddy to the store for liquor and sleeping pills. I was either going to go to sleep, or I was going to die trying. Upon his return, I consumed the fifth of liqour and 12 sleeping pills. Nothing. Still clenched up on my bed I decided to go off the deep end. I took the remaining 12 sleeping pills and 2 pills of X I had purchased for the weekend (I was willing to try anything now). An hour later, I finally drifted off sleep.

I've spent the last 4 months of my life scared that 'they' will come back. Joe's experience was 10 times worse. He had been on haldol for three days, and his whole body locked up for two days. Looking at the haldol website says 'will cause parkinsons like symptoms'. That was no lie. Haldol is evil, and is not meant to be abused. Please do not try it.

Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid.

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Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Test Drones | NBC Bay Area

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:38

They began as tools in military combat. Now aerial drones are being considered by Bay Area law enforcement agencies as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters, and use technology to fight crime and save lives.

Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies...

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They began as tools in military combat. Now aerial drones are being considered by Bay Area law enforcement agencies as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters, and use technology to fight crime and save lives.

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern first tested one of these Unmanned Aerial Systems or UAS about a year ago. Now he's looking into possibly bringing a drone here. His office would be the first in California to do it. Armed with live-video-feeding capabilities and different features, like infrared devices, these drones can cost in the ballpark of 50- to 100-thousand dollars or more.

There are several different models, but the one Ahern is considering weighs four pounds and spans four-feet. He says the drones get a birds-eye view that most tactical officers on the ground would never get, sometimes endangering their lives. A demonstration at the county's Office of Emergency Services building in Dublin a couple months ago featured a man standing in the shadows on a rooftop, with three possible explosives clearly in his reach. The drone saw everything; the officers on the ground could not.

''Very valuable to any tactical officer, as you're setting up your perimeters and knowing what the suspect may have in his hands, how the suspect is dressed, what are the avenues of escape?'' Ahern added that his office would only use drones during emergencies, from a high-speed or high-risk chase to search-and-rescue operations in disasters, as well as proactive policing measures like catching marijuana grows in fields on public lands and in grow houses.

But not everyone is pleased at the growing number of agencies looking to use these UAS. The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU says drones should only be deployed when a warrant for a specific crime is involved. The ACLU is also worried that they may harm both privacy and people. In a statement, the ACLU wrote, ''Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.''

Sheriff Ahern says an armed drone is out of the question. He says local public safety agencies must take advantage of innovation that's out there, calling it a ''no brainer.''

In two weeks, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is hosting its annual ''Urban Shield'' preparedness exercise involving about 30 other law enforcement agencies. That's where they'll get the chance to test out different drones in simulations of disasters and high-risk situations to see if they really work. If so, Sheriff Ahern says he has been looking specifically into a federal grant that promotes community policing.

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Sponsorship of Presidential Debate - C-SPAN Video Library

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:18

League of Women Voters

Nancy Neuman announced that the League of Women Voters had withdrawn its sponsorship of presidential debates after disputes with national parties and campaigns over the format of the debates could not be resolved.

Nancy Neuman announced that the League of Women Voters had withdrawn its sponsorship of presidential debates after disputes with national parties and campaigns over the format of the debates could not be resolved.

31 minutes | 217 Views

London: Thousands take part in anti-austerity protest. (Euronews video)

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Source: WT news feed

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:06

Nurses, cleaners and ambulance drivers have joined thousands of other demonstrators in London, to vent their anger over public spending cuts and tax hikes.

They claim austerity is not working in Britain and are calling on the government to do more to revive the country's struggling economy.

Anti-austerity protests have also been held in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

''We are seeing 700 thousand public service jobs going: nurses, careworkers, people who look after the most vulnerable in our society,'' said Dave Prentis, General-Secretary of the UNISON union.

''At the other extreme, we are seeing the richest people in our country increasing their wealth. It's got to stop.''

A protester in London added: ''The message is: we do not want our children to grow up in a society that is unequal.''

Another demonstrator commented: ''We are deeply unhappy, we don't want to end up without the safety net which across Europe exists and needs to be maintained and that is what we have to fight for.''

Speaking from Westminster, Euronews correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami said: ''Another major demonstration in London and these protesters are asking for an end of austerity and the focus on economic growth. But with all the debt Britain has, that is going to be a balance hard to find.''

More about:Austerity, Economic crisis, London, ProtestCopyright (C) 2012 euronews

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A New NATO Mission

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Source: DVIDS Unit RSS Feed: Natochannel

Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:59

Choose quality '–¼Embed code '–¼<iframe width="500" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border: none; overflow: hidden; width: 500px; height: 300px;" allowtransparency="true" src="http://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/158819"></iframe>

NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen travelled with ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council to meet Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in Kabul. A new training mission was announced to start in 2015, after Afghan forces have taken full security responsibility. Also available in high definition.

President Of The Free World Calls Springsteen ''A Couple Times A Week''

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Source: The Ulsterman Report

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:23

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EU To Create Single Banking Supervisor For All Banks

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BEHIND THE VEIL: Never-Before-Seen Footage of Secret Mormon Temple Rituals - YouTube

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Sun, 21 Oct 2012 14:03

Student That Plotted To Bomb The Federal Reserve Wanted To Destroy America! DUN! DUN! DUN!

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