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Halloween special: Largest pumpkins of all time

October 27, 2013 by legitgov

Halloween special: Largest pumpkins of all time 26 Oct 2013 These pumpkins weigh a ton! Well, almost. Every fall, gardeners around the world competitively grow giant pumpkins. (Photos)

Naval bases could become nuclear dumps

October 27, 2013 by legitgov

Naval bases could become nuclear dumps --Fears grow in dockyard cities over removal of radioactive material from decommissioned subs 27 Oct 2013 Fears that two major naval bases sited near large British cities could become nuclear waste storage facilities "by default" have grown after it was revealed the Ministry of Defence proposes to remove low-level radioactive waste from the UK's nuclear submarine fleet. According to minutes of a submarine dismantling meeting, the "early removal of low-level waste" has been proposed at two major dockyards: Rosyth, in the Forth estuary, Fife, and Devonport, in Plymouth. Experts warned that removing radioactive waste would need to be explained "carefully" to ensure dismantling sites on bases near major population centres did not become waste storage areas "by default".

'Israel intercepted millions of French calls'

October 27, 2013 by legitgov

'Israel intercepted millions of French calls' 26 Oct 2013 A leaked US intelligence document has revealed that Israel is behind the hacking of millions of phone calls and messages in France. According to a report by Le Monde on Friday, Israeli agents are behind a cyber attack against the communications networks of the Elysee Palace, intercepting more than 70 million calls and text messages per month. France had initially accused the US of hacking into former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's communications network during the 2012 presidential election.

Despite Glitches, Obamacare Profit Windfall to Insurers Well Underway

October 27, 2013 by legitgov

Despite Glitches, Obamacare Profit Windfall to Insurers Well Underway 26 Oct 2013 While politicians and pundits alike inside the beltway beat up the White House over computer system glitches, health insurance companies still project robust revenue growth and profits from a boom in business from newly insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act. Take this week's third-quarter earnings report and financial projections of Wellpoint, one of the nation's largest health insurers terrorist groups, which earlier this week raised its earnings guidance for the third time this year. Amid a flurry of stories about the troubled launch of the federal health insurance marketplace web site known as healthcare.gov, Wellpoint said its improved outlook is due in part to gains from the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrats' Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular

October 27, 2013 by legitgov

The Democrats' Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular (So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?) 26 Oct 2013 While Republicans plot new ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it's easy to forget that for years they've been arguing that any comprehensive health insurance system be designed exactly like the one that officially began October 1st, glitches and all. For as many years Democrats tried to graft healthcare onto Social Security and Medicare, and pay for it through the payroll tax. But Republicans countered that any system must be based on private insurance and paid for with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers and a requirement that the younger and healthier sign up... Now that the essential Republican plan for healthcare is being implemented nationally, health insurance companies are jubilant.

Protesters march in Washington against NSA spying

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

Protesters march in Washington against NSA spying 26 Oct 2013 Protesters marched on Capitol Hill in Washington on Saturday to protest the U.S. government's online surveillance programs, whose vast scope was revealed this year by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden. People carried signs reading: "Stop Mass Spying," "Thank you, Edward Snowden" and "Unplug Big Brother" as they gathered at the foot of the Capitol to demonstrate against the online surveillance by the National Security Agency. Estimates varied on the size of the march, with organizers saying more than 2,000 attended.

Afghan soldier shoots at US-led troopers, injures 1

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

Afghan soldier shoots at US-led troopers, injures 1 26 Oct 2013 An Afghan soldier has opened fire on a group of US-led forces in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, injuring at least one foreign soldier, Press TV reports. The assault led to an exchange of fire, which resulted in the attacker's death. According to Afghan and NATO officials, the attack was carried out on Saturday in a military base on the outskirts of Kabul.

Fukushima Radiation Traced in Pacific Seafood

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

Fukushima Radiation Traced in Pacific Seafood 25 Oct 2013 Just offshore from the Fukushima plant, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the United States are working alongside their Japanese counterparts, monitoring radiation levels. Among them is senior marine chemist Ken Buesseler. "That radiation is moving across the Pacific, but it gets much, much lower even short distances offshore," he said. Buesseler said a bigger concern is the accumulation of isotopes in marine life. Earlier this year, cesium isotopes from Fukushima were found in tuna caught off California.

NSA: No denial-of-service attack

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

NSA: No denial-of-service attack [LOL!] 25 Oct 2013 The National Security Agency says its website nsa.gov was inaccessible for several hours during a scheduled update. The agency says an internal error in the system [?!?] caused the problem. There had been speculation on the Internet that the online site had been hit with a denial-of-service attack, but the agency said that was not true.

More tsunami advisories issued after strong quake hit off NE Japan

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

More tsunami advisories issued after strong quake hit off NE Japan 26 Oct 2013 More tsunami advisories were issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) early Saturday after a 7. 1 magnitude quake hit off Fukushima prefecture in northeastern Japan at around 2:11 a.m. local time. The advisories cover the coast of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki prefectures and Kujukuri and Sotoba area in Chiba prefecture, said the agency, adding the tsunami will be one meter high. The Tokyo Electric Power Company said that no new abnormalities had been detected at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and workers at the plant were ordered to evacuate from waterfront, according to Kyodo News.

Guantanamo lawyers want Obama to declassify CIA prison program

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

Guantanamo lawyers want Obama to declassify CIA prison program 25 Oct 2013 Attorneys for five Guantanamo prisoners charged with plotting the September 11, 2001, attacks have asked President Barack Obama to declassify the CIA program that subjected the defendants to interrogation techniques that have been described as torture. In a letter made public on Friday, the lawyers asked the president to release potentially mitigating information that could spare the defendants from execution if they are convicted on charges of hijacking, terrorism and murdering nearly 3,000 people. The CIA's Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program, or RDI program, was authorized by President [sic] George W. Bush's administration after the September 11 attacks.

Leaked memos reveal GCHQ efforts to keep mass surveillance secret

October 26, 2013 by legitgov

Leaked memos reveal GCHQ efforts to keep mass surveillance secret --Edward Snowden papers show UK spy agency fears legal challenge if scale of surveillance is made public 25 Oct 2013 The UK intelligence agency GCHQ has repeatedly warned it fears a "damaging public debate" on the scale of its activities because it could lead to legal challenges against its mass-surveillance programmes, classified internal documents reveal. Memos contained in the cache disclosed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the agency's long fight against making intercept evidence admissible as evidence in criminal trials -- a policy supported by all three major political parties, but ultimately defeated by the UK's intelligence community. Foremost among the reasons was a desire to minimise the potential for challenges against the agency's large-scale interception programmes, rather than any intrinsic threat to security, the documents show.

NSA site down due to alleged DDoS attack

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

NSA site down due to alleged DDoS attack [Sweet!] 25 Oct 2013 The website for the United States National Security Agency suddenly went offline Friday. NSA.gov has been unavailable globally as of late Friday afternoon, and Twitter accounts belonging to people loosely affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivism movement have suggested they are responsible. Twitter users @AnonymousOwn3r and @TruthIzSexy both were quick to comment on the matter, and implied that a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, may have been waged as an act of protest against the NSA.

Pentagon agency creating digital map of the world

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Pentagon agency creating digital map of the world 25 Oct 2013 Future military operations may use a constantly updated digital "image skin" for a comprehensive map of the world under development by the Pentagon's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). This week the NGA sought information from potential contractors to help develop the "orthorectified image skin" that would provide the base layer for the world map. Such a map would give the military a clearer picture of any potential 'trouble spot' where they would have to operate.

'Weak' 30cm tsunami reaches Japan's eastern coast after earthquake - TV report

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

'Weak' 30cm tsunami reaches Japan's eastern coast after earthquake - TV report --Japan Fukushima tsunami alert after Pacific earthquake 25 Oct 2013 Japan has issued a tsunami advisory for the Fukushima area - where the crippled nuclear plant is located - after a powerful quake in the Pacific Ocean. The Japan Meteorological Agency said a small tsunami - up to one metre (3.3ft) - could reach the eastern coast, but no damage was expected. Japanese TV later said a weak 30cm tsunami had reached the coast. The JMA issued a "yellow" advisory for Fukushima and also the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki and parts of Chiba, saying tsunami waves could reach 0.2-1m.

Tenn. Guard recruiter held in superiors' shooting

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Tenn. Guard recruiter held in superiors' shooting 25 Oct 2013 A Tennessee National Guard recruiter shot three fellow soldiers at an armory north of Memphis after he was ordered to the facility to be relieved of duty because of alleged misconduct, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court Friday. The complaint written by FBI Special Agent Matthew Ross says Sgt. 1st Class Amos Patton was ordered to go to the armory Thursday to be told that he was being relieved of duty, reduced in rank and recommended for removal from active reserve. The complaint does not detail the nature of the alleged misconduct.

M7.1 shakes Tohoku coast, tsunami advisory issued

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

M7.1 shakes Tohoku coast, tsunami advisory issued --JMA urged people in Fukushima area to stay away from coast 26 Oct 2013 An earthquake registering a preliminary magnitude 7.1 struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture early Saturday morning, and the Japan Meteorological Agency issued an advisory for tsunami of up to 1 meter for the prefecture. The focus of the 2:10 a.m. quake was in the Pacific roughly 10 km underground around 290 km east-southeast of Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture, north of Fukushima. The quake registered a moderate intensity of 4 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.

Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake Strikes off Fukushima Region of Japan, Tsunami Warning Issued

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Breaking: Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake Strikes off Fukushima Region of Japan, Tsunami Warning Issued 25 Oct 2013 Magnitude 7.3 earthquake strikes off Fukushima region of Japan, US Geological Service says. A tsunami warning has been issued. (Wires) M7.1 shakes Tohoku coast, tsunami advisory issued --JMA urged people in Fukushima area to stay away from coast 26 Oct 2013 An earthquake registering a preliminary magnitude 7.1 struck off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture early Saturday morning, and the Japan Meteorological Agency issued an advisory for tsunami of up to 1 meter for the prefecture. The focus of the 2:10 a.m. quake was in the Pacific roughly 10 km underground around 290 km east-southeast of Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture, north of Fukushima. The quake registered a moderate intensity of 4 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.

Jury sought child abuse charges against Ramseys

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Jury sought child abuse charges against Ramseys 25 Oct 2013 A grand jury that reviewed evidence in the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey believed her parents were involved in the crime but that another unknown person killed the young beauty queen, according to documents released Friday, 14 years after the grand jury made its recommendation. At the time, the panel recommended that both her parents be charged with child abuse resulting in death and being an accessory to a crime, including murder. However, the documents allege that both parents intended to delay or prevent the arrest of the person who killed their daughter. [See also: JonBenet Ramsey's presence in father's GOP campaign for state legislature 16 Jun 2004 With the slogan "a strong voice for northern Michigan," he campaigns as an anti-abortion, pro-gun, anti-gay-marriage conservative and a savvy businessman. He founded Access Graphics, a billion-dollar software distribution company later acquired by Lockheed Martin. Ramsey contends he is campaigning on local issues, particularly job creation, and that voters he meets don't mention JonBenet. But he talks about her -- in his announcement speech, in printed handouts, in a television ad to be aired before the Aug. 3 primary, when voters will choose a GOP nominee from among six hopefuls.] [Note: Ramsey tried to run again in 2008. 'Alleged' child abuser, killer, sociopath, predator, contractor and anti-gay marriage conservative candidate. That's about right.]

Torture complaints ignored at Guantanamo Bay, attorney says

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Torture complaints ignored at Guantanamo Bay, attorney says 23 Oct 2013 A man accused of aiding the September 11 attacks suffered a serious head injury while imprisoned by the CIA, his attorney told a war crimes tribunal on Wednesday, raising questions about whether the United States violated international law against torture. The evidence was presented during the second day of a pre-trial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba for five of the U.S. military's most "high value" detainees. Ammar al-Baluchi suffers ongoing health problems from what he and the other defendants say was torture while he was being held in CIA custody between 2003 and 2006, according to his attorney, James Connell.

Boy, 13, was shot seven times by Sonoma County deputy, report finds

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Boy, 13, was shot seven times by Sonoma County deputy, report finds 24 Oct 2013 A 13-year-old boy killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy while carrying a pellet gun that resembled an assault rifle was shot seven times, according to a preliminary coroner's report. Two of the rounds that struck Andy Lopez were fatal. One hit his right hip and the other struck the right side of his chest, the report by the Sonoma County coroner's office found. Other bullets hit Andy's right wrist, left biceps, right forearm, right buttocks and right hip, the report said. Three of the bullets were recovered in his body.

Radiation doubles to new high in Fukushima No. 1 plant water ditch

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Radiation doubles to new high in Fukushima No. 1 plant water ditch 24 Oct 2013 Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that radiation rose to a new record in water collected from a drainage ditch at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Tepco said it detected a maximum of 140,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting substances, including strontium, from a water sample collected Wednesday from the ditch, which extends to the sea beyond the plant's port. The figure is 2.3 times higher than the previous record of 59,000 becquerels detected in water sampled at the same location Tuesday, and was more than 11 times the previous day's reading. The measurement location is about 600 meters from the open ocean and close to the storage tank that leaked some 300 tons of radioactive water in August. [And, not a peep from cable news! Apparently, 300 tons of radioactive water leaking into the sea doesn't rate as high as Obama's website glitches. --LRP]

Japan Cabinet to OK state secrets bill to satisfy U.S.

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Japan Cabinet to OK state secrets bill to satisfy U.S. --New law would stiffen maximum penalty meted out to leakers 24 Oct 2013 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet is set to approve a controversial bill Friday to protect state secrets that stops short of fully guaranteeing the public's right to know and freedom of the press. Critics fear the bill, which would next go to the Diet, gives the government too much power to control access to information. The bill imposes heavier punishments on leakers of classified information in an attempt to tighten security and thereby satisfy the U.S. and its allies concerned about what they see as destabilizing factors in Asia.

Human rights experts rap U.N. report dismissing concerns about Fukushima radiation

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Human rights experts rap U.N. report dismissing concerns about Fukushima radiation 25 Oct 2013 Human rights experts, including a U.N. special rapporteur, are criticizing a U.N. scientific report dismissing concerns about the effects of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the Japanese public. Speaking Thursday at an event organized by U.S. and Japanese nongovernmental groups, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health Anand Grover took issue with the report's conclusion that "there is nothing to worry about" for members of the public exposed to radiation from Fukushima No. 1. The report was prepared by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

Arctic Temperatures Reach Highest Levels in 44,000 Years, Study Finds

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Arctic Temperatures Reach Highest Levels in 44,000 Years, Study Finds 24 Oct 2013 New research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years. "The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is," Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a joint statement from the school and the publisher of the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters, in which the study by Miller and his colleagues was published online this week. The study is the first to show that current Arctic warmth exceeds peak heat there in the early Holocene, the name for the current geological period, which began about 11,700 years ago.

Officials alert foreign services that Snowden has documents on their secret cooperation with U.S.

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Officials alert foreign services that Snowden has documents on their secret cooperation with U.S. [LOL!] 24 Oct 2013 U.S. officials are alerting some foreign intelligence services that documents detailing their secret cooperation with the United States have been obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to government officials. Snowden, U.S. officials said, took tens of thousands of documents, some of which contain sensitive material about collection programs against adversaries such as Iran, Russia and China. Some refer to operations that in some cases involve countries not publicly allied with the United States.

Publishing Edward Snowden security secrets a 'criminal' act, says former terrorism watchdog

October 25, 2013 by legitgov

Publishing Edward Snowden security secrets a 'criminal' act, says former terrorism watchdog 24 Oct 2013 Publication of stolen state secrets by the Guardian newspaper was a "criminal act" and it is wrong to paint the newspaper's journalists as "virtuous whistleblowers", the former terrorism watchdog has said. Lord Carlile of Berriew, who is also a leading QC, said printing information from Edward Snowden, the fugitive former US National Security Agency contractor, had done huge damage to British security. He warned that by disclosing information from Mr Snowden about secret surveillance methods, the Guardian had "given away how we catch terrorists" and "put people in danger". Lord Carlile said police who searched David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald who was found carrying 58,000 highly-classified British documents through at Heathrow airport in August, should have arrested him and launched a full investigation.

Freeze US-EU pact aimed at tracking terrorism funds, advises Strasbourg

October 24, 2013 by legitgov

Freeze US-EU pact aimed at tracking terrorism funds, advises Strasbourg 23 Oct 2013 The European parliament on Tuesday demanded a financial transactions information-sharing pact between the EU and the US aimed at tracking terrorism funding be frozen because of the US National Security Agency's mass surveillance operations. The three-year-old agreement, known as Swift, had to be suspended because of suspicions that the NSA was using the arrangements to pry into Europeans' bank and financial dealings, the parliament said in a resolution. The parliament resolution was carried by 280 votes to 254 against with 30 abstaining, with the centre-left for and the centre-right against.

NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts

October 24, 2013 by legitgov

NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts --Agency given more than 200 numbers by government official 24 Oct 2013 The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately "tasked" for monitoring by the NSA.

2 service members shot near Tenn. naval base

October 24, 2013 by legitgov

2 service members shot near Tenn. naval base 24 Oct 2013 A gunman opened fire at a U.S. Navy facility in Tennessee before being taken into custody Thursday, wounding two service members and prompting a lockdown, the military said. The incident occurred outside the gates of Millington Naval Base at a National Guard Armory, which is on Navy property, CBS News reports. The U.S. Navy wrote on its official Twitter page that the suspect was in custody after the shooting near Memphis.

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