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A loophole in immigration law is costing thousands of American jobs

February 22, 2015 by legitgov

A loophole in immigration law is costing thousands of American jobs | 20 Feb 2015 | Imagine getting a layoff notice, then being ordered to train your replacement. That's what has happened to hundreds of information technology employees at Southern California Edison. Since last summer, Edison, which serves nearly 14 million customers, has been firing its domestic IT workers and replacing them with outsourced employees from India. In doing so, the utility is exploiting a gaping loophole in immigration law, which Congress has failed to close despite years of warnings that it's costing thousands of American jobs. Edison is using the [H-1B visa] program...to cut its wage costs, possibly by as much as 40%, according to data compiled by Ron Hira, a public policy expert at Howard University.

US wants to slow down Afghanistan troop withdrawal

February 22, 2015 by legitgov

US wants to slow down Afghanistan troop withdrawal | 22 Feb 2015 | Washington is considering shifting the deadline for troop its withdrawal from Afghanistan to make sure the "progress" from over 13 years of US operations in the country "sticks," the new US Defense Secretary said during a surprise visit to Kabul. "Our priority now is to make sure this progress sticks," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a news conference in Kabul with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. "That is why President Obama is considering a number of options to reinforce our support for President [US-installed troll] Ghani's security strategy, including possible changes to the timeline for our drawdown of US troops."

Top-secret military warning on Ebola biological weapon terror threat

February 22, 2015 by legitgov

Top-secret military warning on Ebola biological weapon terror threat --Porton Down memo marked 'UK secret UK eyes only' reveals scientists analysed use of virus by al-Qaida or Isis [Yeah, but more likely by USociopaths, to facilitate the theft of Africa's oil.] | 21 Feb 2015 |Scientists at the top-secret military research unit at Porton Down, Wiltshire, have been assessing the potential use of Ebola as a bioterrorism weapon, according to confidential documents. A three-page memo, marked 'UK secret UK eyes only', reveals that the unit, where chemical, radiological and biological threats are analysed, was tasked with evaluating whether terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and Islamic State (Isis) could use the deadly virus to attack western targets. The heavily redacted document, which has been released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveals that the unit was asked last October to provide "guidance on the feasibility and potential impact of a non-state actor exploiting the Ebola outbreak in west Africa for bioterrorism".

Minneapolis policeman wounded amid concerns of 'targeted' shooting

February 22, 2015 by legitgov

Minneapolis policeman wounded amid concerns of 'targeted' shooting | 21 Feb 2015 | Minneapolis police arrested a man on Saturday afternoon in connection with what they called a targeted attack on an officer who was shot and wounded after responding to an early-morning burglary call. The officer, whose name authorities have not released, was taken to a hospital by his partner with wounds that were not life threatening, police said. After a search lasting for hours, police announced they had arrested Andrew Neal, 43, on burglary and domestic assault charges, adding that they were exploring the connection between the incidents from which those charges stemmed and the shooting.

U.S. and Iraq Planning Massive Mosul Offensive With 20,000 Iraqi Troops

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

U.S. and Iraq Planning Massive Mosul Offensive With 20,000 Iraqi Troops | 19 Feb 2015 | The U.S. and Iraq are planning a spring offensive to retake the city of Mosul that will require 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops to defeat 1,000 to 2,000 Islamic State fighters, according to an official from U.S. Central Command. The main attack force of five Iraqi army brigades will need to be trained first by U.S. advisers, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity at a briefing Thursday to discuss military operations...The U.S. is considering offering a range of backing for the offensive, such as air support, intelligence and logistics, the official said. The military also hasn't ruled out deploying a small number of U.S. troops on the ground to find targets and call in airstrikes.

Snowy owls have come to New York City

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

Snowy owls have come to New York City --These owls are from the Arctic. | 20 Feb 2015 | Snowy owls are invading New York. And the freezing cold temperatures are to thank for their arrival. So far, at least seven of the owls have been spotted in the New York City area, including on Governor's Island which tweeted a picture of a new feathered friend. New York Magazine reports bird experts believe this may be the first time snowy owls have started living on that island.

Work of prominent global warming denier was funded by energy industry

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

Work of prominent global warming denier was funded by energy industry --Documents: Koch brothers foundation among groups that gave total of $1.25m | 21 Feb 2015 | A prominent academic and climate change global warming denier's work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show. Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show. According to the documents, the biggest single funder was Southern Company, one of the country's biggest electricity providers that relies heavily on coal.

Australia's most senior Muslim says it was a mistake to vote for Tony Abbott

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

Australia's most senior Muslim says it was a mistake to vote for Tony Abbott | 20 Feb 2015 | Australia's most senior Muslim leader has said he won't "repeat the mistake" of voting for Tony Abbott, and publicly advised the prime minister to "work in any field other than politics". The strong comments by the Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed come amid other signs of a serious breakdown in relations between the Abbott government and large elements of Australia's Muslim communities, ahead of the expected announcement of new security legislation on Monday. Nearly 100 Islamic clerics, activists and organisations released a petition on Thursday rejecting what they called "the Abbott government's predictable use of Muslim affairs and the 'terror threat' to attempt to stabilise a fragile leadership and advance its own political agendas".

Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in your phone SIM? It's LIKELY

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in your phone SIM? It's LIKELY | 19 Feb 2015 | The NSA and Britain's GCHQ hacked the world's biggest SIM card maker to harvest the encryption keys needed to silently and effortlessly eavesdrop on potentially millions of people. That's according to documents obtained by surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden and leaked to the web on Thursday. The damning slides, published by Snowden's chums at The Intercept, detail the activities of the as-yet unheard-of Mobile Handset Exploitation Team (MHET), run by the US and UK. The group targeted Gemalto, which churns out about two billion SIM cards each year for use around the world, and targeted it in an operation dubbed DAPINO GAMMA.

Jeb Bush's foreign policy team is eerily familiar, in one Venn diagram

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

Jeb Bush's foreign policy team is eerily familiar, in one Venn diagram | 18 Feb 2015 | Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will announce his foreign policy vision in a speech Wednesday in Chicago. Accompanying that speech is a rollout of a slate of experts who will help guide the candidate on foreign policy issues. If Bush's goal is to present himself as his "own man," that list of advisers undermines the point somewhat: 19 of the 21 people on it worked in the administrations of his father or brother.

Race for Chicago Mayor: Bob Fioretti likes being the underdog

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

Race for Chicago Mayor: Bob Fioretti likes being the underdog | 19 Feb 2015 | (WGN) Bob Fioretti is leaving his post as 2nd Ward alderman to take on Mayor Emanuel. He believes Chicago needs new leadership and has lost its way. He wants to be the candidate to put the city back on the right path. Fioretti has been an Alderman for the last 8 years but this political fight is the toughest he has ever been in.  He hopes to separate himself from the incumbent and front-runner Rahm Emanuel, by calling the mayor an elitist and himself a grass-roots guy fighting for the disenfranchised.

The coldest day ever! Temperature records broken across country by 'Siberian Express' cold snap as Manhattan hits 1F

February 21, 2015 by legitgov

The coldest day ever! Temperature records broken across the country by the 'Siberian Express' cold snap as Manhattan hits 1F | 20 Feb 2015 | The weather phenomenon dubbed the Siberian Express caused record-breaking low temperatures in almost every single area in the central and eastern US on Friday, with all major cities reporting record lows for this date and many reporting record lows for the month of February. The temperature dropped to a 60-year-low of 1F in New York City Friday morning, caused fruit crops to freeze in Florida, and in Embarrass, Minnesota, it got all the way down to -41F on Thursday. The air mass known as the Siberian Express traces a line all the way back to the Russian territory, crossing over the North Pole on its way to Canada and into the U.S.

US military officers guilty of 'dishonesty and deception' at all levels, finds damning official report

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

US military officers guilty of 'dishonesty and deception' at all levels, finds damning official report --Shock 52-page report finds dishonesty at all levels in the U.S. Army | 20 Feb 2015 | A damning official report claims dishonesty within the U.S. military is so endemic that everyone assumes they are being lied to at all times. The shock report calls on officials to 'urgently confront the corrupting influence of dishonesty' within the army, warning officers have become 'ethically numb'. The situation has become so bad, the executive summary concludes it has 'allowed leaders to espouse lofty professional values while slogging through the mire of dishonesty and deceit'.

US and Turkey agree to train, equip Syrian 'rebels' against ISIS

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

US and Turkey agree to train, equip Syrian 'rebels' against ISIS | 20 Feb 2015 | After months of negotiations, the United States and Turkey have agreed on a plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels [aka future ISIS fighters] in the battle against Islamic State militants. As part of the plan, the US will send more than 400 troops to Turkey – a number that includes special operations forces – where Ankara will host the 'rebels' while training is underway. American officials told Reuters that the program is expected to last three years and train up to 5,000 rebels annually. In addition to Turkey hosting 'rebels' on its soil, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will also take part.

US Reveals Mosul Assault Timing in Rare Move

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

US Reveals Mosul Assault Timing in Rare Move --A force of 20,000-25,000 Iraqi and Kurdish forces will aim to seize the city back from thousands of Islamic State fighters. | 20 Feb 2015 | An Iraqi military operation to retake the country's second largest city [Mosul] from Islamic State is likely to begin in April or May, according to a US official...The planned spring assault on the city, with a population of over a million, will involve about 12 brigades, five of whom will soon have coalition training, the official at US Central Command added. No decision has been made on whether small numbers of US military advisers might need [sic] to be on the ground close to Mosul to direct close air support.

Rudy Giuliani: President Obama doesn't love America

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

Rudy Giuliani: President Obama doesn't love America | 18 Feb 2015 | Rudy Giuliani went straight for the jugular Wednesday night during a private group dinner here featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by openly questioning whether President Barack Obama "loves America." The former New York mayor, speaking in front of the 2016 Republican presidential contender [unindicted 9/11 co-conspirator/profiteer] and about 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types, directly challenged Obama’s patriotism, discussing what he called weak foreign policy decisions and questionable public remarks when confronting terrorists. "I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America," Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. "He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."

Iran nuclear talks: US accuses Israel of 'leaks'

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

Iran nuclear talks: US accuses Israel of 'leaks' | 19 Feb 2015 | The US has accused Israel of selectively leaking information from the Iran nuclear talks to misrepresent its position in the negotiations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Israel was "cherry-picking" information and using it out of context. Six world powers want Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. Negotiations with Iran are due to begin again on Friday.

Inquisitive polar bear invites himself to dinner after smelling food inside photographer's wooden cabin

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

Knock knock, who's bear? Inquisitive polar bear invites himself to dinner after smelling food inside photographer's wooden cabin --Not long after his arrival, he was joined by a second polar bear, but the two caused little trouble | 19 Feb 2015 | A hungry polar bear surprised staff in a remote wooden cabin when he tried knocking on the lodge's front door in order to scavenge a free meal. The remarkable pictures were captured in Manitoba, Canada, by Terry Allen, a 72-year-old retired professor, after the bear was drawn to the cabin by the smell of food. Mr Allen said: 'It made me aware of how important it is to protect these magnificent animals whose existence is endangered from rapid declines in the levels of Arctic ice, resulting from climate change [global warming].'

Texas Supreme Court Stops Gay Marriage After First Wedding

February 20, 2015 by legitgov

Texas Supreme Court Stops Gay Marriage After First Wedding | 19 Feb 2015 | The Texas Supreme Court late Thursday imposed a stay on county court rulings striking down the state's gay marriage ban hours after a lesbian couple became the first to wed in the Lone Star state. A short statement on the state supreme court website said the justices had issued a special order.

W. Va. oil train explosion has N.J. raising concerns over rail safety

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

W. Va. oil train explosion has N.J. raising concerns over rail safety | 19 Feb 2015 | Each day, long trains trailing hundreds of matte-black tank cars filled with highly flammable crude oil snake along the rails through New Jersey to a refinery in Linden. On one stretch through Edison and Metuchen, the tracks weave through backyards of tree-lined residential neighborhoods. There, the mile-long trains pass within a few hundred yards of a parochial school, a public high school and an elementary school -- carrying the same volatile liquid cargo that so spectacularly exploded in West Virginia earlier this week, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. The rail accident on Monday, along with a deadly 2013 incident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where 47 people were killed by an explosive oil train derailment, are among a string of mishaps in recent months that have raised growing new concerns over the safety of crude oil shipments by rail--both here in New Jersey, and nationally.

Ohio high court rules against local fracking ban, opponents may seek civil rights argument

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Ohio high court rules against local fracking ban, opponents may seek civil rights argument [Opponents should seek armed insurrection. (Just kidding, NSA trolls!)] | 19 Feb 2015 | The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled [Munroe Falls v. Beck Energy] that a local ordinance couldn't block a fracking company from drilling, affirming priority of state law. Yet observers say the decision leaves room for a challenge based on civil rights. The court ruled on Tuesday in a split 4-3 decision that a Munroe Falls ordinance that banned hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the town did not trump state permitting power.

Obama chooses Clancy to be Secret Service director

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Obama chooses Clancy to be Secret Service director | 18 Feb 2015 | President Barack Obama has chosen Joseph Clancy as the new head of the U.S. Secret Service, the White House said on Wednesday, after a series of high profile security lapses led to a shake-up in the troubled agency's leadership. Clancy, who personally helped guard the lives of three U.S. presidents, has been head of the agency on an interim basis for the past four months. Director Julia Pierson stepped down in October after an embarrassing Sept. 19 White House breach in which a man carrying a knife jumped the fence and ran into the executive mansion.

Barack Obama on extremism: 'terrorists are targeting young people through Twitter'

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Barack Obama on extremism: 'terrorists are targeting young people through Twitter' | 19 Feb 2015 | The US president called on Muslims around the world to fight the misconception that groups like the Islamic State speak for them. In his most direct remarks yet about any link between Islam and violent extremist attacks, Barack Obama said on Wednesday that "we will ultimately prevail" against militant threats.

Woman arrested at Heathrow on suspicion of terrorism offences

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Woman arrested at Heathrow on suspicion of terrorism offences | 18 Feb 2015 | A 25-year-old woman has been arrested at Heathrow on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences. The woman, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, was detained at the airport after arriving on a flight from Turkey at around 9pm, West Midlands police said. Her arrest by officers from West Midlands counter-terrorism unit was pre-planned and intelligence-led.

Poland to Pay $262,000 to Inmates Held, Tortured at Secret C.I.A. Prison

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Poland to Pay $262,000 to Inmates Held, Tortured at Secret C.I.A. Prison | 18 Feb 2015 | Poland will abide by a European court ruling that ordered it to pay a total of $262,000 in reparations to two former inmates of a "black site" prison run by the C.I.A., the minister of foreign affairs said on Wednesday. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July that Poland had violated the rights of the two terrorism suspects by handing them over to the C.I.A. in 2002 at a secret facility, which is now closed, in northeast Poland. While there, the court said, the men suffered "torture and inhuman or degrading treatment."

Jeb Bush backs brother's NSA surveillance program 'to keep us safe'

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Mega barf alert! Jeb Bush backs brother's NSA surveillance program 'to keep us safe' | 18 Feb 2015 | Former Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a full-throated defense of government surveillance programs on Wednesday, expressing a resounding faith in techniques pioneered by his brother, George W Bush, and staking out a position in sharp contrast with other prospective 2016 presidential candidates. Dragnet metadata collection by the NSA and similar programs were necessary to keeping US citizens safe from foreign terror threats, Bush said - unprompted - during remarks laying out his foreign policy vision as a prospective 2016 presidential candidate. Long before the Edward Snowden revelations, the administration of Jeb Bush's brother used warrantless wiretapping to sweep up communications by US citizens without legal cover. That program and others, including the NSA's phone metadata collection program, were made legal in retrospect by a series of Bush-era laws and legal opinions.

Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 179 potentially exposed

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 179 potentially exposed | 18 Feb 2015 | Nearly 180 patients at UCLA's Ronald Reagan [*puke*] Medical Center may have been exposed to potentially deadly bacteria from contaminated medical scopes, and two deaths have already been linked to the outbreak. The Times has learned that the two people who died are among seven patients that UCLA found were infected by the drug-resistant superbug known as CRE -- a number that may grow as more patients get tested. The outbreak is the latest in a string of similar incidents across the country that has top health officials scrambling for a solution.

UMass Amherst Reverses Controversial Ban on Iranian Students in Engineering, Sciences

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

UMass Amherst Reverses Controversial Ban on Iranian Students in Engineering, Sciences | 18 Feb 2015 | The University of Massachusetts Amherst has overturned a controversial ban that would have prohibited all incoming Iranian students from participating in certain graduate engineering and natural sciences programs. The reversal comes just days after the school announced the ban to comply with a 2012 federal law -- part of sanctions against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. The 2012 law denies visas for Iranian students in the U.S. if they want to work in the energy sector, nuclear science, nuclear engineering or related field in Iran.

Bear's Harrisville Twp. owners get a 30-day extension

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Bear's Harrisville Twp. owners get a 30-day extension | 13 Feb 2015 | Debbie and Jeff Gillium have been guaranteed 30 more days to keep Archie the bear on their property in Harrisville Township. Their attorney, John Oberholtzer, said he and the Ohio Department of Agriculture have agreed to postpone a hearing over the bear after the state issued a letter to the Gilliums granting them 30 more days to figure out what to do with Archie. The state [of sociopaths] has threatened to remove the bear.

Explosion at Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, injures four

February 19, 2015 by legitgov

Explosion at Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, injures four | 18 Feb 2015 | An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. ET), but there was no evidence of foul play, according to Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel. Deuel said a small ground fire following the explosion was quickly extinguished.

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