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2 Dead, 5 Critical After Vehicle Plows Into Crowd Near South by Southwest

2 Dead, 5 Critical After Vehicle Plows Into Crowd Near South by Southwest 13 Mar 2014 Two people have died and five others are in critical condition after a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people near a venue for the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, early this morning, police said. Austin Police confirmed the accident, stating that 21 people were transported to area hospitals. Austin Police Lt. Brian Moon said the driver -- who has since been taken into custody -- crashed through temporary barricades.

Missing Flight MH370: Plane 'may have flown for four hours after last-known contact'

Missing Flight MH370: Plane 'may have flown for four hours after last-known contact' 13 Mar 2014 US investigators are examining whether missing Flight MH370 was "intentionally diverted" from its planned route after new data revealed the plane may have flown for a further four hours from the point of its last confirmed location. A report in the Wall Street Journal said US counter-terrorism officials are examining the possibility the plane's course was changed "with the intention of using it later for another purpose" and that its transponders were intentionally turned off to avoid radar detection. The report said data downloaded automatically from the plane's engines, suggests the plane flew for a total of five hours.

Hijacked and hidden? US counter-terror officials fear plane could have been captured

Hijacked and hidden? US counter-terror officials fear plane could have been captured after new data reveals it was airborne FOUR hours after vanishing --US investigators now examining the startling possibility that Flight 370 was captured and transported to another location 13 Mar 2014 US investigators officials think that Malaysian Airlines flight 370 remained airborne for four more hours after vanishing from its last recorded position - raising the startling prospect the plane was hijacked. Officials suspect that the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent back to Rolls Royce - the manufacturers of the Boeing 777's engines. US counter-terrorism teams are now pursuing the astonishing possibility that the plane and its 239 passengers was diverted to an undisclosed location 'with the intention of using it later for another purpose'. Government terrorism experts are now examining the possibility that the pilot or somebody else turned the plane's transponders off to avoid detection and flew it to another country.

Israel launches airstrike on Gaza Strip - witnesses

Israel launches airstrike on Gaza Strip - witnesses 12 Mar 2014 The Israeli government has launched an airstrike against the besieged Gaza Strip following a retaliatory attack by the Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad, eyewitnesses say. According to witnesses, Israeli warplanes hit several locations in the coastal enclave on Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. On Tuesday, three Palestinians lost their lives after an Israeli drone carried out an airstrike on the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Two Dead, at Least 64 Injured, Several Missing in NYC Building Explosion

Two Dead, at Least 64 Injured, Several Missing in NYC Building Explosion 12 Mar 2014 Two people were killed and at least 64 were injured today when a suspected gas explosion tore through a building in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood, collapsing at least part of the structure, authorities said. "This is a tragedy of the worse kind because there was no indication in time to save people," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Among the casualties, two FBI agents in the area on unrelated business sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the blast and are expected to make a full recovery, authorities said.

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer says will not seek another term

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer says will not seek another term 12 Mar 2014 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican who has clashed with the Obama administration over immigration, said on Wednesday she would not run for re-election for a third term, ending speculation about her plans. Arizona governors are limited to serving two terms at the state's helm. But because Brewer took over mid-term from Janet Napolitano when she left to head the Department of Homeland Security there had been speculation Brewer could seek another four years in office on the grounds she had not served two complete terms.

US to give Israel $429 million for its Iron Dome missile system

US to give Israel $429 million for its Iron Dome missile system 11 Mar 2014 The United States and Israel have signed an agreement under which $429 million of American taxpayers' money "will be transferred immediately to Israel" to fund its Iron Dome missile system. The Pentagon says the agreement was signed last week in a bid to "continue support of the production of the Iron Dome weapon system" and provide opportunities for US industry to "receive meaningful co-production opportunities for Iron Dome components." On March 4, the US House of Representatives also passed a bill which named Israel a "major strategic partner" of the US and called for the expansion of Washington's military ties with Tel Aviv. [OMG. See also: Con Ed Hunting for Possible Gas Leak in 127-Year-Old Pipe. Too bad the Koch brothers' trolls in Congress just voted to allocate $429 million of US taxpayer dollars for *Israel's Iron Dome* instead of spending that money on US infrastructure.]

UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks

UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks 10 Mar 2014 A report by the United Nations Human Rights Council has called for independent investigations to be carried out into drone attacks after a series of strikes that result in unexpected civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Most of the attacks involved US drones. The UN special rapporteur on human rights, Ben Emmerson, records a dramatic reduction in drone strikes in 2013 in Pakistan but increases in Afghanistan and, towards the end of the year, in Yemen. But Emmerson noted a threefold increase in recorded civilian casualties from drone strikes in Afghanistan in 2013.

Police sound all-clear after Facebook evacuation Tuesday night

Police sound all-clear after Facebook evacuation Tuesday night 11 Mar 2014 (NJ) The headquarters of social media giant Facebook was temporarily flooded with officers and cordoned off Tuesday evening after a threat against the company was called in to authorities, Menlo Park police said, but the threat was quickly cleared. The threat was originally called into the San Francisco Police Department around 7 p.m., said Menlo Park police Cmdr. Dave Bertini. The department transferred the call to Menlo Park officers, who went to the campus and closed off the entrance with tape.

CIA hacked into Senate computers to conceal 'brutal details of torture'

CIA hacked into Senate computers to conceal 'brutal details of torture' 12 Mar 2014 The CIA illegally searched US Senate computers as part of a shadowy campaign to conceal details of its "brutal and un-American" torture programme, a senior senator has claimed. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate's intelligence committee, made the accusations in a dramatic speech that shed light on the behind-the-scenes power struggle between the US Congress and the spy agency. Mrs Feinstein said she had "grave concerns" CIA agents had violated the US constitution and were trying to "intimidate" the Senate committee meant to ensure their operations remained within the law.

DOE plan to wait two years to pump radioactive waste 'unacceptable' - state of Washington

DOE plan to wait two years to pump radioactive waste 'unacceptable' - state of Washington 10 Mar 2014 The Department of Energy's plan to wait at least two years to pump radioactive waste from a damaged double-shell tank at Hanford is unacceptable, the state of Washington says. DOE's plan "demonstrates the federal government's lack of commitment to set a firm, near-term schedule for the removal of [radioactive] waste from leaking double-shell Tank AY-102," the state Department of Ecology said in a statement Monday. DOE confirmed in October 2012 that Tank AY-102, the oldest of Hanford's 28 double-shell tanks, had leaked [radioactive] waste from its inner shell. The [radioactive] waste then was in two places in the space between the inner and outer shells, and DOE says no waste has breached the outer shell to reach the soil beneath the underground tank.

Bridge scandal hearing draws gaggle of Christie protesters

Bridge scandal hearing draws gaggle of Christie protesters 11 Mar 2014 Today's court hearing on the George Washington Bridge scandal drew more than 50 protesters outside the Mercer County courthouse -- including those who are unhappy with Gov. Chris Christie on other issues. As Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, arrived this morning for her first public appearance since Bridgegate erupted, she had to push past a noisy line of picketers and a crush of cameras. Kelly, a key figure in the controversial lane closures at the bridge last September, was there for a court showdown over whether a state legislative committee investigating the scandal can compel Kelly and Bill Stepien, Christie's former campaign manager, to hand over subpoenaed documents.

Christie bridge scandal hearing begins on fight over subpoenas

Christie bridge scandal hearing begins on fight over subpoenas 11 Mar 2014 Lawyers for a legislative committee and two former advisers to Gov. Chris Christie implicated in the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge tangled today over whether the pair had to turn over records subpoenaed by the panel. "This is not, has not been, and the subpoenas are not fishing expeditions of any sort," Reid Schar, a lawyer for the legislative committee, told Judge Mary Jacobson. But a lawyer for one of the former advisers argued that the committee's assertion that its subpoena was specific enough to identify documents it knew existed was "astonishing."

Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Passengers' Mobile Phones Ring But Not Answered

Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Passengers' Mobile Phones Ring But Not Answered --A man from Beijing also called his missing brother on the plane, and reported to the airlines that the phone connected three times and rang before appearing to hang up, according to Shanghai Daily. 10 Mar 2014 The mystery surrounding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has deepened with the Chinese media reporting that several of the passengers' mobile phones were connecting when called by relatives, but the calls were not picked up. The sister of one of the Chinese passengers on board the vanished flight rang his phone live on TV, the Mirror reports...The Straits Times reported that many of the family members told MAS commercial director Hugh Dunleavy that the commuters' mobile phones were ringing but they were not picked up. Dunleavy replied that MAS was calling the mobile phones of the crew members as well, which were ringing, and that he had given the numbers to Chinese investigators. Relatives of the passengers are urging the authorities to search for the location of phones that rang using the Global Positioning System.

Federal Prosecutors Seek Records on Port Authority Chairman

Federal Prosecutors Seek Records on Port Authority Chairman 10 Mar 2014 Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey related to the business interests of its chairman, David Samson, people familiar with the matter said Monday. The demand for records came last week as scrutiny of Mr. Samson--a close ally of Republican Gov. Chris Christie--has increased since allegations emerged that the Port Authority closed George Washington Bridge access lanes for political purposes. The inquiry was launched by prosecutors from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office.

Expanded security measures in place for Boston Marathon

Expanded security measures in place for Boston Marathon 10 Mar 2014 It is a security plan aimed at preventing another chaotic scene like last year's Boston Marathon. Dozens in law enforcement are filing into the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The plan includes 35 hundred law enforcement officers, and 400 National Guard troops. [If your goal is 'preventing another chaotic scene like last year's Boston Marathon,' be sure that Craft International's mercenaries don't show. --LRP]

Crimea creates own military by swearing in self-defense units

Crimea creates own military by swearing in self-defense units 10 Mar 2014 Volunteers from self-defense units are taking an oath of allegiance to the people of Crimea as the autonomous republic puts together its own military in order to respond to possible provocations from the coup-imposed government in Kiev. Around 180 Crimean citizens have already joined the local army, as oaths were taken in the republic’s capital of Sevastopol on Monday and Saturday. All of the recruits were “carefully checked because they will be handed weapons,” Aleksandr Bochkarev, head of the Crimean self-defense forces, told RIA-Novosti.

Missing Malaysia Airlines plane passenger: 'Stop hiding the truth from us!'

Missing Malaysia Airlines plane passenger: 'Stop hiding the truth from us!' 10 Mar 2014 ANGER, anxiety and false hope filled a meeting room in a Beijing hotel yesterday where more than a hundred family members and loved ones of Flight MH370 passengers were gathered, wanting only one thing: answers. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) had few, and when commercial director Hugh Dunleavy addressed the families in the afternoon with no new information, several people started shouting for him to "stop hiding the truth from us!" A disturbing twist arose when the authorities confirmed that two passengers had boarded the plane with stolen passports. In the holding room of about 1,500 sq ft at Metropark Lido Hotel, rumours spread that as many as five passengers were using stolen passports. "They are not updating us that it is a possible hijacking," said a white-haired man who gave his name as Mr Li. His daughter was on board. "This means a greater chance that they are alive."

Russian Paratroopers Hold Massive Drills as Crimea Vote Nears

Russian Paratroopers Hold Massive Drills as Crimea Vote Nears 11 Mar 2014 An airborne division based in central Russia began large-scale exercises Tuesday against the backdrop of an ongoing political and security crisis in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry said units of the 98th Guards Airborne Division, based in Ivanovo, a city east of Moscow, were put on high alert and moved to unspecified locations to "check readiness" in simulated combat conditions. Four thousand troops, 36 military transport aircraft and an unspecified number of combat vehicles are taking part in the exercises, which will run until March 14.

TEPCO wants to dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive water into Pacific Ocean

TEPCO wants to dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive water into Pacific Ocean 10 Mar 2014 A senior adviser to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has told the firm that it may have no choice but to eventually dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated [radioactive] water into the Pacific Ocean. Speaking to reporters who were on a rare visit to the plant on the eve of the third anniversary of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, Dale Klein said Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] had yet to reassure the public over the handling of water leaks that continue to frustrate efforts to clean up the site.

Feinstein accuses CIA of torture report smears

Feinstein accuses CIA of torture report smears --US senator and intelligence committee chair accuses CIA of intimidation in effort to block publication of controversial torture report 11 Mar 2014 The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of a catalogue of cover-ups, intimidation and smears aimed at investigators probing its role in an "un-American and brutal" programme of post-9/11 detention and interrogation. In a bombshell statement on the floor of the US Senate, Feinstein, normally an administration loyalist, accused the CIA of potentially violating the US constitution and of criminal activity in its attempts to obstruct her committee’s investigations into the agency’s use of torture. She described the crisis as a "defining moment" for political oversight of the US intelligence service. Her unprecedented public assault on the CIA represented an intensification of the row between the committee and the agency over a still-secret report on the torture of terrorist suspects after 9/11.

CIA Accused of Illegally Searching Computers Used by Senate Committee

CIA Accused of Illegally Searching Computers Used by Senate Committee 11 Mar 2014 The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee said Tuesday that the Central Intelligence Agency had improperly [aka illegally] searched computers her committee had been using to investigate C.I.A. interrogation procedures at its secret Bush-era prison system. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, said on the Senate floor that the agency had violated federal law and undermined Congress's constitutional right to oversee the actions of the executive branch. The dispute stems from an effort by her committee to investigate allegations of torture and to determine whether what the Bush administration labeled "enhanced interrogation methods" ever produced useful intelligence.

Shots fired in air during raid at Crimea naval base

Shots fired in air during raid at Crimea naval base 10 Mar 2014 Unidentified armed men [aka Blackwater aka Academi] fired in the air as they moved into a Ukrainian naval post in Crimea on Monday in the latest confrontation since Russian military groups seized control of the Black Sea peninsula. President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is acting to protect the rights of ethnic Russians, who make up a majority of Crimea's population, after Ukraine's president Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in what Russia says was an unconstitutional coup. In other armed action, Russian forces took over a military hospital and a missile unit.

NORAD training exercise over eastern Colorado Springs draws attention

NORAD training exercise over eastern Colorado Springs draws attention --The exercise comes after a busy weekend for NORAD. 10 Mar 2014 Residents of eastern Colorado Springs watched an impromptu airshow Monday morning as a pair of fighter jets escorted an airliner into Peterson Air Force Base during a training exercise. The sight had some worrying that the transport had been hijacked or suffered some other in-flight emergency. "From what I have read, this is the procedure if there is some type of in-flight emergency," said Steve Learning who spotted the planes over his neighborhood near Barnes and Marksheffel roads just after 10:40 a.m.

Edward Snowden Urges SXSW Crowd to Thwart NSA With Technology

Edward Snowden Urges SXSW Crowd to Thwart NSA With Technology 10 Mar 2014 With lawmakers slow to pass legislation curbing NSA surveillance, it's up to the technology community to step in and devise solutions that will better protect online communications from snoops, said Edward Snowden, speaking today from Moscow at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. The massive surveillance being done by the NSA and other governments has created "an adversarial internet," he said, "a sort of a global free-fire zone for governments, that's nothing that we ever asked [for]; it's not what we wanted. It's something we need to protect against...[T]hey're setting fire to the future of the internet. And the people who are in this room now, you guys are all the firefighters. And we need you to help us fix this."

Magnitude-6.9 earthquake hits off Calif. coast

Magnitude-6.9 earthquake hits off Calif. coast 10 Mar 2014 A powerful magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast Sunday night, the United States Geological Survey reported. The quake hit about 50 miles west of Eureka and occurred at 10:18 p.m. PDT, 4.3 miles beneath the seabed, according to the USGS. It was followed by about a half-dozen aftershocks, including one of magnitude-4.6.

Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine? Notorious U.S. mercenaries 'seen on the streets of flashpoint city'

Has Blackwater been deployed to Ukraine? Notorious U.S. mercenaries 'seen on the streets of flashpoint city' --Russia claims 300 hired guns have arrived in country 09 Mar 2014 Speculation was growing last night that American mercenaries [terrorists] had been deployed to Donetsk after videos emerged of unidentified armed men in the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city. At least two videos published on YouTube earlier this week show burly, heavily armed soldiers with no insignia in the city, which has been gripped by pro-Moscow protests. In one of the videos onlookers can be heard shouting 'Blackwater! Blackwater!' as the armed men, who wear no insignia, jog through the streets. Donetsk was this week the scene of civil unrest as pro-Russian elements among its citizens seized control of the regional administration headquarters and another government building.

Stolen passports booked onto second flight

Stolen passports booked onto second flight 10 Mar 2014 Thai police said Sunday they were investigating a "passport ring" as details emerged of bookings made in Thailand with stolen European passports for the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight. Two European names -- Christian Kozel, an Austrian, and Luigi Maraldi of Italy [who had their passports stolen] -- were listed on the passenger manifest of the flight MH370, but neither man boarded the plane, officials said. Flight information seen by AFP shows that tickets were booked in Maraldi and Kozel's names on March 6, 2014, and issued in the Thai city of Pattaya, a popular beach resort south of the capital Bangkok. The e-ticket numbers for their flights are consecutive and both were paid for in Thai baht.

US deploys fighter jets, 300 soldiers to Poland

US deploys fighter jets, 300 soldiers to Poland --Four F-15 planes also sent to Lithuania 09 Mar 2014 The United States is sending a dozen F-16 fighter jets to Poland as a part of a training exercise, amid continuing [US-generated] tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the Polish defence ministry said on Sunday. Three hundred US service personnel will also be sent to Poland as part of the exercise. The deployment in Poland comes after Washington announced it was also sending four F-15 planes to Lithuania to strengthen surveillance in the airspace around the Baltic.

'Blackwater' footage: Who are the mercenaries in Ukraine?

'Blackwater' footage: Who are the mercenaries in Ukraine? 09 Mar 2014 Videos have emerged on YouTube alleging that the US private security service formerly known as Blackwater [currently called Academi] is operating in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Western press is hitting back, accusing Russia of fabricating reports to justify "aggression." The authenticity of videos allegedly made in downtown Donetsk on March 5 is hard to verify. In the footage, unidentified armed men in military outfits equipped with Russian AK assault rifles and American М4А1 carbines are securing the protection of some pro-Kiev activists amidst anti-government popular protests.

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'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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