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Iran to unveil indigenous amphibious aircraft in May 2013

December 23, 2012 by legitgov

Iran to unveil indigenous amphibious aircraft in May 2013 23 Dec 2012A senior Iranian research official says Iran will fly its first indigenous amphibious aircraft in May 2013. He added that over USD2 million has been allocated to the development of the plane. Presidential Office's Deputy Manager for Technology and Innovation Mojtaba Khayyam-Nekouei said on Sunday that the six-seat plane can take off and land on both land and water. Amphibious aircraft are heavier and slower as well as being more expensive to purchase and operate than ordinary planes.

Former President George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized

December 23, 2012 by legitgov

Former President George H.W. Bush remains hospitalized 23 Dec 2012 Former President George H.W. Bush, who has been hospitalized for a month undergoing treatment for bronchitis, may not be released from a Houston hospital in time to celebrate Christmas at home as doctors had hoped. Bush, 88, remained in stable condition and doctors were optimistic he would make a full recovery, George Kovacik, a spokesman at Methodist Hospital, said in an emailed statement on Sunday. But doctors were being "extra cautious" with his care and no discharge date had been set, the statement said. Earlier this month, Kovacik said doctors expected Bush would be able to spend Christmas at home with his family.

NRA's LaPierre Rejects Gun Laws Following School Killings

December 23, 2012 by legitgov

NRA's LaPierre Rejects Gun Laws Following School Killings 23 Dec 2012 The National Rifle Association continues to oppose any new gun regulations in the wake of the mass shooting of elementary school students in Connecticut, the gun lobby's chief executive officer said. Wayne LaPierre said on NBC's "Meet the Press" today that the right way to improve student safety would be to place armed guards in every U.S. school, focus on prosecuting violent criminals and get mentally ill people off the street. "This town wants to argue about gun control," LaPierre said. "We don't think it works and we're not going to support it." [Just what we need - an exploded and all-powerful 'TSA,' with an entire population of US school children for gun-toting agents to threaten. --LRP]

British Court Rejects Drone Lawsuit

December 23, 2012 by legitgov

British Court Rejects Drone Lawsuit 22 Dec 2012 On Friday, a British court rejected a closely watched civil suit by the son of man killed in a 2011 drone strike in Pakistan that requests a judicial declaration that British intelligence officials may be liable for assisting acts of murder, war crimes, and crimes against humanity if they share targetting intelligence with the US government. The plaintiff, Noor Khan, who was represented by the British human rights group Reprieve, had also asked the court to direct the British Foreign Secretary to issue a policy "identifying the circumstances in which intelligence may lawfully be passed on if it relates to the location of individuals who may be targeted in a drone strike." The British judges hearing the case recognized that they were essentially being asked to pass judgment on the legality of the US drone program (and of Obama Administration drone policies), and they declined the invitation to do so.

Muslim businessman sues Homeland Security, says he's harassed while traveling

December 23, 2012 by legitgov

Muslim businessman sues Homeland Security, says he's harassed while traveling 22 Dec 2012 A Central Florida Muslim businessman detained by authorities at airports and border crossings more than 30 times since June has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It's the second such lawsuit Sadique M. Jaffer has filed in Orlando against the federal agency in almost four years, in response to what he says are baseless and harassing detentions. Jaffer, who lives in Windermere and works in real estate and computer sales in multiple states, claims he has been detained more than 50 times since 2007 as he has traveled domestically and internationally.

Hacker nabs 3m Verizon customer records

December 23, 2012 by legitgov

Hacker nabs 3m Verizon customer records 22 Dec 2012 A hacker has acquired more than 3 million Verizon customer records -- but leaks only 10 percent of them, after the phone and broadband giant fails to fix a security flaw. The hacker, going by the name @TibitXimer on Twitter, told ZDNet earlier this evening that the hack was carried out earlier this year on July 12, which allowed him to gain root access to the server holding the customer data. The hacker said in a later tweet the data likely belongs to Verizon FiOS fiber customers, rather than Verizon Wireless cellular customers.

Sandy Hook: Ithaca Police Finish 'Active Shooter' Training on Day of Conn. School Massacre

December 22, 2012 by legitgov

Sandy Hook: Ithaca Police Finish 'Active Shooter' Training on Day of Conn. School Massacre --'It is one of those ironies which seem to abound.' 19 Dec 2012 It is one of those ironies which seem to abound. The Ithaca Police Department finished training for handling situations like a school gunman on the day 20 children and 6 adults were killed by a gunman at  Sandy Hook Elementary school. Saying SWAT teams are no longer adequate to respond to time when police must encounter a gunman in a building, an IPD spokesman said officers were trained during a six-week Law Enforcement Active Shooter Response between Nov. 5 and December 14. [Yes, just like the drills on 9/11, when they *went live.*]

Alleged Minot AFB threat-caller arrested

December 22, 2012 by legitgov

Alleged Minot AFB threat-caller arrested 22 Dec 2012 Schools at Minot AFB were put on lock-down after a woman called into the Head Start preschool there threatening to kill all the children Thursday morning. The lock-downs were lifted by 12:30 p.m. after police had determined the threat was unfounded. Tiffany Shanice Anderson, 23, of Lompoc, Calif., was arrested at her home Thursday evening at 10 p.m. without incident. She was charged with making threats and providing false information on events that would lead to death or injury to people and destruction of property.

Syria: Opposition Groups' Religious Police Patrol Aleppo Countryside

December 22, 2012 by legitgov

US tax dollars at work: Syria: Opposition Groups' Religious Police Patrol Aleppo Countryside --The Syrian opposition groups that have taken control of Aleppo's countryside are deploying a religious police force to enforce new laws, such as barring women from driving and making prayer compulsory. 19 Dec 2012 Residents of the embattled city, whose main concerns revolve around security and survival, were shocked to hear that opposition groups who control the Aleppan countryside are deploying a vice-and-virtue police to enforce a deeply conservative interpretation of Islamic law. The so-called Revolutionary Military Council in Aleppo issued a statement banning women from driving. The group also released several video clips showing men of various Arab nationalities patrolling the streets and forcing people to pray.

Feds raid gun store that sold weapon to shooter's mother after security cameras capture man stealing rifle four days before massacre

December 22, 2012 by legitgov

Feds raid gun store that sold weapon to shooter's mother after security cameras capture man stealing deadly rifle - just four days before massacre --ATF swoop on the store --Footage of Jordan Marsh removing the 50 calibre long gun --The AR15 was recovered in a duffel bag at the Hartford Hilton --Management at the store didn't know 11 guns were missing 21 Dec 2012 The East Winsdor gun store which sourced at least one of the guns used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting was raided by federal firearms agents last night. Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) swooped on Riverside Gun Sales at 5pm yesterday evening, as officers from East Police Department cordoned off the plaza. The raid was a result of security worries at the store after it was revealed the premises had been robbed of a rifle similar to the one used in the Newtown shooting, just four days before the tragedy. A news website showed video footage of 26 year old Jordan Marsh removing the 50 calibre long gun from the store.

Three Men Appear in Court in Mysterious Terror Case

December 22, 2012 by legitgov

Three Men Appear in Court in Mysterious Terror Case 22 Dec 2012 Three men appeared in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Friday on charges that they had trained to be suicide bombers with a Somali terrorist group. The defendants, Ali Yasin Ahmed, 27, Mahdi Hashi, 23, and Mohamed Yusuf, 29, were arrested in August by authorities in Africa while going to Yemen. Much of the case is shrouded in mystery. For four months, the case remained under seal, and the court documents unsealed on Friday contained little elaboration on the crimes or any indication of why the case was brought in New York.

Homeland Security Drill Held in Kernersville, NC

December 22, 2012 by legitgov

Homeland Security Drill Held in Kernersville, NC 21 Dec 2012 Union Cross Road near the I-40 interchange in Forsyth County was closed Friday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm for a homeland security exercise. Event organizers said exercises like these help them stay on top of their game and get better at their jobs as first responders. People in the area of the drill probably heard and saw ambulances, fire trucks, law enforcement and military vehicles for about five hours.

Obama nominates John Kerry as next secretary of state

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Obama nominates John Kerry as next secretary of state 21 Dec 2012 President Barack Obama on Friday nominated John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling the veteran U.S. senator the "perfect choice" for America's top diplomat as he began reshaping his national security team for a second term. Obama settled on Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, after the front-runner, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration last week. Kerry's departure from the Senate forces Democrats to defend his seat (MA), where the party has only a slim majority.

Polar Bears Have Friend in John Kerry

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Polar Bears Have Friend in John Kerry 21 Dec 2012 Today, President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be Secretary of State. Senator Kerry has a long and distinguished record of protecting our environment, no place more consistently or forcefully then when it comes to safeguarding polar bears. Senator Kerry was an early and a vocal supporter of the decision to list polar bears under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Before then, he fought a long battle to close a loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allowed polar bears taken in trophy hunts to be imported into the United States. Senator Kerry's support of polar bear conservation is important because the United States, with the backing of Russia, has proposed an international ban on the commercial sale of polar bear parts.

Anti-Nato protest marches in fear of turning 'Turkey into a battlefield'

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Anti-Nato protest marches in fear of turning 'Turkey into a battlefield' 20 Dec 2012 The deployment of Nato troops and anti-missile systems that began in Turkey this week has heightened concerns from Turkish citizens that the Syrian civil war will spill across their border. Nearly 40 German soldiers arrived in Kahramanmaras, a city about 120km from the Syrian border, to prepare the deployment of about 400 German troops, due to arrive in the coming weeks with two batteries of Patriot missiles. The United States and the Netherlands are expected to send similar numbers of soldiers and Patriot missiles to Turkey. Turkish news reports said this week the number could rise to nearly 2,000 foreign soldiers over the course of the next months.

Millions Face a Hit if Fix for Minimum Tax Fails to Pass

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Millions Face a Hit if Fix for Minimum Tax Fails to Pass --Tax will hit almost 30 million additional households 20 Dec 2012 Buried within the mass of tax and spending provisions known as the fiscal cliff is a problem that could cause grief for taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service. It is the alternative minimum tax, a provision adopted in the 1960s to make sure the very wealthiest didn't avoid taxes by accumulating too many deductions and credits. It wasn't indexed for inflation, and Congress has repeatedly passed an annual exemption to protect middle-class families from the tax. Congress hasn't passed that extension for this year. And with talks over avoiding the fiscal cliff stalled, it may not pass one.

NRA chief calls for 'a TSA in every school'

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

NRA chief calls for 'a TSA in every school' --NRA calls for armed police officer in every school 21 Dec 2012 The nation's largest gun-rights lobby called Friday for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings." The National Rifle Association broke its silence on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the group's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference. LaPierre announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Ark., will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers [aka an explosion of the TSA police state. Thanks, LaPierre!].

Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State, Official Says

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State, Official Says 22 Dec 2012 President Obama plans to nominate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, a senior administration official said. He would succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton and become the first member of Mr. Obama's second-term national security team. The appointment of Mr. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and his party's former presidential nominee in 2004, has been widely expected since last week, when Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, asked Mr. Obama to withdraw her candidacy for the post.

Michigan charges suspected highway shooter with 'terrorism'

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Michigan charges suspected highway shooter with 'terrorism' 20 Dec 2012 A man known as the "I-96 shooter" suspected in two dozen random shootings on and around a Michigan interstate highway was charged on Thursday with terrorism and assault with intent to murder, according to the state attorney general's office. "These were acts of domestic terrorism against Michigan citizens and we are charging them as such," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette of the case against Raulie Casteel, 43, of Wixom, Michigan. Casteel also faces felony firearms charges. The terrorism charge, based on 21 attacks committed in mid-October, is punishable by life in prison.

Report: Feds spent $9M on Mitt 'transition'

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Mega barf alert: Report: Feds spent $9M on Mitt 'transition' 20 Dec 2012 Before Mitt Romney lost his 2012 White House bid, the federal government had already spent at least $8.9 million on his behalf -- doing the behind-the-scenes work of readying an operating transition team as general election raged on. According to Time magazine, which filed an open records request for the data, the General Services Administration broke down its spending on the pre-transition preparations. Romney was the first candidate allowed to use federal funds provided by the Presidential Transition Act of 2010, which doles out money to non-incumbent candidates after their conventions.

House approves bill authorizing $633 billion in defense spending

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

House approves bill authorizing $633 billion in defense spending --Indefinite detention of U.S. citizens provision included 20 Dec 2012 The U.S. House of Representatives approved the final version of the annual defense policy bill on Thursday, authorizing $633.3 billion in 'defense' spending for 2013, easing limits on satellite exports and providing more Marines for embassy security. The Republican-controlled House approved the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 315-107. The measure must still be approved by the Senate before it can go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

Provision Allowing Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens is Back in NDAA, Aides Say

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Provision Allowing Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens is Back in NDAA, Aides Say 19 Dec 2012 Lawmakers charged with merging the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act decided on Tuesday to drop a provision that would have explicitly barred the military from holding American citizens and permanent residents in indefinite detention without trial as terrorism suspects, according to Congressional staff members familiar with the negotiations. The Senate approved that amendment -- sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah -- in a surprise vote last month.

G.O.P. Leaders in House Pull Tax Bill, Citing Lack of Votes

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

G.O.P. Leaders in House Pull Tax Bill, Citing Lack of Votes 21 Dec 2012 House Republican leaders abruptly pulled their fallback tax bill from the floor Thursday night, conceding that they did not have the votes to pass it. The decision was a major setback for the speaker, who was pushing his so-called Plan B to prevent lower tax rates from expiring on most Americans. It came after the House had narrowly approved a plan to suspend planned Pentagon cuts [and replace them with cuts in domestic spending].

Blackwater Wins the Battle of Benghazi

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Blackwater Wins the Battle of Benghazi 20 Dec 2012 U.S. embassy security in the post-Benghazi era is shaping up to be a financial bonanza for security contractors mercenaries... Both the influential independent commission on the September attacks in Benghazi and a Senate hearing on Thursday pointed to flooding the State Department's security corps with money. And one of the key post-Benghazi decisions the next secretary of state will make is whether to continue spending that cash on hired guards or to bolster the ranks of State Department employees that protect diplomats themselves.

Lacking GOP support, Boehner pulls 'Plan B' vote

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Lacking GOP support, Boehner pulls 'Plan B' vote --'Tea Party emboldened' 20 Dec 2012 Lacking enough support to pass a backup proposal to avert the "fiscal cliff," House Republican leaders on Thursday night pulled from the floor a vote on 'Plan B' legislation that would have preserved Bush-era tax rates for all earners making less than $1 million but raised rates on the country's top earners. Boehner and other GOP leaders had firmly indicated earlier Thursday that they had sufficient support to pass the Plan B legislation, along with another package of spending cuts. But a breakdown became evident after the GOP-dominated House only narrowly passed the package of spending reductions, which was intended to replace automatic defense cuts, or "sequestration." That measure, meant to encourage possible conservative dissenters to support the tax proposal, squeaked to victory by a margin of 215-209, with twenty-one Republicans voting against the bill.

Julian Assange: Wikileaks to release 'million more files in 2013'

December 21, 2012 by legitgov

Julian Assange: Wikileaks to release 'million more files in 2013' 20 Dec 2012 Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said his work "will not be cowed," as he promised the whistle-blowing site would release a million more documents. In a speech from a balcony at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he said the files to be published in 2013 would affect "every country in this world". It is six months since he sought asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies. He fears being sent to the US and being punished for leaking diplomatic files.

NIH may fund experiments to create more dangerous forms of H5N1

December 20, 2012 by legitgov

NIH may fund experiments to create more dangerous forms of H5N1 [Yes, let's cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so we can give billions to pharma-terrorists to manufacture deadly vaccines to 'cure' the pandemics that US bioterrorists create. --LRP] Controversial Bird Flu Work to Resume Soon 19 Dec 2012 Flu researchers may be close to ending an unusual moratorium on some controversial scientific work that has lasted almost a year. That's because officials at the National Institutes of Health say they will be moving swiftly to finalize a new process for deciding whether or not to fund proposed experiments that could potentially create more dangerous forms of the H5N1 bird flu virus. Such work has been on hold since January, when dozens of flu researchers around the world voluntarily agreed to a pause that was originally supposed to last 60 days.

US Department of Agriculture pushes for weaker rules on poultry industry

December 20, 2012 by legitgov

US Department of Agriculture pushes for weaker rules on poultry industry 20 Dec 2012 The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is preparing to implement new rules for the poultry industry that will mean up to a fivefold increase in production line speeds. The rules will also turn over quality control monitoring currently done by USDA inspectors to employees of the poultry companies, at a cost of 1,000 jobs of federal inspectors. The USDA announced the plan last January with the intention of finalizing it by the end of the year, after a pilot program involving 20 plants. Currently, line speeds are limited to 35 chickens per minute. The new rules will allow speeds of up to 175 birds per minute--almost 3 per second. [Solution: Boycott agri-terrorists' deadly 'food' products.]

Obama proposes Social Security cuts

December 20, 2012 by legitgov

Obama proposes Social Security cuts 20 Dec 2012  The cuts in Social Security and other critical social programs proposed Tuesday by the Obama White House as part of negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner over the so-called "fiscal cliff" mark a watershed in US social policy. Obama has publicly proposed to cut future benefits for Social Security recipients, underlining the bipartisan agreement that the working class and the elderly, not Wall Street or the super-rich, must pay for the crisis of American capitalism. According to press reports Tuesday, the White House counter-offer to Boehner calls for reducing future cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits by adopting an inflation index that is deliberately distorted to underestimate the amounts that the elderly will have to pay for the essentials of life. [Start reading.]

Western 'plot to sterilize Muslims' via polio vaccine sparks killings in Pakistan

December 20, 2012 by legitgov

Western 'plot to sterilize Muslims' via polio vaccine sparks killings in Pakistan 20 Dec 2012 Sartaj Khan believes that the government-sponsored polio vaccination campaign is much more sinister than it appears. "These vaccines are meant to destroy our nation," said Khan, a 42-year-old lawyer in the city of Peshawar. "Our enemies want to wipe us out." Khan is not alone in the belief, propagated by extremist groups that is gaining currency in the Pashtun belt of northwestern Pakistan: The government’s anti-polio campaign is a ruse by the Americans to sterilize or spy on Muslims. [It is.] Many also believe that much like the Pakistani physician, Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who helped the CIA run a fake vaccination program to establish the presence of 'Osama bin Laden,' the army of health workers employed to vaccinate the country's children are also on the United States payroll.

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