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U.S. government recommends publication of bird flu papers

April 21, 2012 by legitgov

U.S. government recommends publication of bird flu papers 20 Apr 2012 The U.S. government will support publication of two controversial research papers, officials said Thursday. The studies report details of experiments in which the deadly H5N1 influenza virus was engineered to pass between mammals, officials said Thursday. The decision, released via a statement by Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, lands three weeks after a U.S. government advisory board that had initially recommended against publication of the two studies changed its position after further consideration.

Three to Quit Secret Service as Inquiries Widen Scope

April 21, 2012 by legitgov

Three to Quit Secret Service as Inquiries Widen Scope 21 Apr 2012 The Secret Service announced Friday that three employees under investigation in connection with misconduct with prostitutes last week in Colombia have decided to resign, bringing to six the number of people forced out of the agency. Another person has been cleared of misconduct but still faces "appropriate administrative action," the agency said, adding that the investigation had expanded to include an employee who was not initially under scrutiny. "At this point, five employees continue to be on administrative leave, and their security clearances remain suspended pending the outcome of this investigation," the agency said in a written statement.

Taliban claim responsibility for SW Afghanistan copter crash

April 21, 2012 by legitgov

Taliban claim responsibility for SW Afghanistan copter crash 21 Apr 2012 The Taliban have claimed responsibility for downing a Black Hawk helicopter in southwestern Afghanistan on Thursday. A Taliban spokesman announced on Thursday evening that "Taliban fighters shot down a helicopter and killed all its passengers in Khanashen Dewalak area near Garmsir in the southern Helmand province," CNN reported on Friday. The US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan officials confirmed on Friday that the helicopter's four crew members, all of them American, are dead. On Thursday, an ISAF official had said that the crash had occurred due to "bad weather."

Trayvon Martin's accused killer gets bail

April 21, 2012 by legitgov

Trayvon Martin's accused killer gets bail 20 Apr 2012 Speaking publicly for the first time, George Zimmerman, the man accused of second-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, briefly took the witness stand at his bail hearing Friday and apologized to Martin's parents. "I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son," Zimmerman, 28, said in a soft voice with shackles at his feet and waist... Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, showed little emotion during Zimmerman's remarks. Their lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said Trayvon Martin's family was "completely devastated" by the judge's decision to allow Zimmerman to be released from jail on $150,000 bail, which was considerably lower than the $1 million requested by prosecutors.

FAA Coughs Up Info On Where Drones Are Being Flown And Who's Flying Them

April 21, 2012 by legitgov

FAA Coughs Up Info On Where Drones Are Being Flown And Who's Flying Them 20 Apr 2012 If you don't like drones, it's time to move to Hawaii. It’s one of the few places in the U.S. where no licenses have been issued for unmanned air flights. If you prefer the mainland, North Carolina, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa are a few of your options. Consult this interactive map via EFF for relocation planning purposes. After suing the Federal Aviation Administration for its failure to respond to a FOIA, civil liberties group EFF finally got a response to its inquiry about who in the U.S. has authorization to fly drones.

Gov. Perdue's plane makes emergency landing

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Gov. Perdue's plane makes emergency landing 20 Apr 2012 A state plane with Gov. Beverly Perdue (D) on board made an emergency landing Friday afternoon at Raleigh Durham International Airport. Perdue's press secretary Chris Mackey said Perdue was on her way to make a jobs announcement in Davie County when the plane experienced unusual vibrations after takeoff. According to radio traffic to the control tower, there was a problem with the aircraft's landing gear. A warning light also came on.

Taliban trophy photographs 'disgusting' says Hamid Karzai

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Taliban trophy photographs 'disgusting' says Hamid Karzai 19 Apr 2012 Trophy photographs of American paratroopers posing with the body parts of insurgent suicide bombers were condemned as "disgusting" by Hamid Karzai. The president immediately used the pictures to press for greater Afghan sovereignty, saying the only way to stop a repeat of such "painful experiences" was for his forces to take control of their own country. American officials have ordered a full investigation after the release of graphic pictures showing men from the 82nd Airborne Division, together with members of the Afghan police, smiling for the camera while posing with corpses. The incident is the latest in a string of embarrassments [war crimes] to befall American forces in the country.

Lawsuit filed over living conditions for Ben the bear at Jambbas Ranch

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Lawsuit filed over living conditions for Ben the bear at Jambbas Ranch 20 Apr 2012 Advocates for a caged bear at a roadside zoo in Cedar Creek have filed another lawsuit over his living conditions. Two Cumberland County residents, along with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, are suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The suit challenges the USDA's decision to renew a federal Animal Welfare Act license for Jambbas Ranch Tours on Tabor Church Road. Jambbas is home to dozens of animals including Ben the bear, who lives in a 12-by-22-foot cage with a concrete floor. Activists locally and nationally have complained about his conditions, offered him a spot at a bear sanctuary in California and challenged the right of Jambbas owner James Bass to keep him there. The latest suit alleges Jambbas should not have had its license to keep animals renewed because of an open USDA investigation into repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act there.

Lawsuit filed over bear's living conditions in NC

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Lawsuit filed over bear's living conditions in NC 20 Apr 2012 Animal rights activists have sued the federal government because of the living conditions for a bear at a Cumberland County roadside zoo. The Fayetteville Observer reported two local residents, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, are suing the U.S. Agriculture Department. The lawsuit challenges the renewal an animal welfare act license for Jambbas Ranch Tours in Cedar Creek. Jambbas houses dozens of animals, including Ben the bear, who lives in a 12-by-22-foot cage with a concrete floor.

Four U.S. soldiers believed dead after Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Afghanistan

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Four U.S. soldiers believed dead after Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Afghanistan 20 Apr 2012 Four U.S. soldiers are believed to be dead following a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Thursday night. Defence officials said that an Army Black Hawk helicopter had crashed in the south-west of the country. It is not known whether or not the crash was the result of enemy action. Officials suggested that unspecified weather difficulties [!?!] were the cause of the accident.

Obama Administration Again Proposes Polar Bear Extinction Plan

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Obama Administration Again Proposes Polar Bear Extinction Plan --New Rule Echoes Bush Plan Ignoring Polar Bears' Plight (Center for Biological Diversity) 17 Apr 2012 The Obama administration announced today that it is reissuing a Bush-era regulation that sharply limits protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. Both the current proposal and the previous Bush rule exclude activities occurring outside the range of polar bears - such as the greenhouse gas emissions of industrial polluters like coal plants - from regulations that could help stop the bear's extinction. Today's announcement comes as a result of a court order that struck down the Bush rule in October 2011.

Assange lawyer questioned at Heathrow

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

Assange lawyer questioned at Heathrow 20 Apr 2012 An Australian lawyer acting on behalf of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is due to arrive in Sydney this morning amid claims she was initially barred from boarding the flight. Jennifer Robinson, who has represented Mr Assange in his British legal challenge against extradition to Sweden, says she was stopped at London's Heathrow airport on Thursday and told she could not board a plane to Australia until she was cleared by the Australian High Commission there. 

FBI Seizes a Server Used by CLG's Webhoster in Bomb Threat Investigation

April 20, 2012 by legitgov

CLG: FBI Seizes a Server Used by CLG's Webhoster in Bomb Threat Investigation --MayFirst: FBI seizes server providing anonymous remailer and many other services from colocation facility --Server seizure 'plainly extra-judicial punishment and an attack on free speech and anonymity on the Internet' Posted by Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 20 Apr 2012 On Wednesday, April 18, at approximately 4:00 pm Eastern time, U.S. Federal authorities removed a server from a colocation facility shared by Riseup Networks and [CLG webhoster] May First/People Link in New York City. The seized server was operated by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe, who, among many other things, provided an anonymous remailer service, Mixmaster, that was the target of an FBI investigation into the bomb threats against the University of Pittsburgh. [See also: FBI Agents Approach CLG's Webhoster in Bomb Threat Investigation --'Even if we could cooperate, we wouldn't.' 12 Apr 2012.]

Julian Assange's lawyer 'prevented from boarding flight at Heathrow'

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

Julian Assange's lawyer 'prevented from boarding flight at Heathrow' 19 Apr 2012 A lawyer for the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has said she was stopped at Heathrow airport and told she was on a watch list requiring official approval before she could return to her native Australia. Jennifer Robinson said a member of airport security told her she "must have done something controversial" and that they would have to contact the Australian high commission in London before letting her on her flight. The Australian human rights lawyer was later allowed on to a plane bound for Sydney, where she is due to speak at the Commonwealth Law Conference on Friday.

CIA seeks new authority to expand Yemen drone campaign

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

CIA seeks new authority to expand Yemen drone campaign --'How discriminating can they be?' asked a senior U.S. official familiar with the proposal. 18 Apr 2012 The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed, U.S. officials said. Securing permission to use these "signature strikes" would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior. The practice has been a core element of the CIA's drone program in Pakistan for several years. CIA Director David H. Petraeus has requested permission to use the tactic against the al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] affiliate in Yemen.

Ted Nugent says Secret Service to quiz him about Obama remarks

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

Ted Nugent says Secret Service to quiz him about Obama remarks 18 Apr 2012 Ted Nugent said on Wednesday that the U.S. Secret Service has arranged to meet with him after the rock musician [sociopath] severely criticized President Barack Obama during the National Rifle Association convention last week. Nugent, who told the gun rights group last week that he would be "dead or in jail" next year if Obama is re-elected in November, appeared on conservative radio host Glenn Beck's show on Wednesday. He was asked if he had heard from the Secret Service. "We actually have heard from the Secret Service, and they have a duty, and I salute them. I support them and I'm looking forward to our meeting tomorrow," Nugent said on Beck's show.

NYPD says 10 protesters arrested in New York

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

NYPD says 10 protesters arrested in New York 17 Apr 2012 At least 10 Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested during a large demonstration near the New York Stock Exchange in the US. New York Police Department said the charges included disorderly conduct, unreasonable noise, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. The detentions came after five protesters were arrested earlier after sleeping on the nearby sidewalk overnight.

US tries to limit damage from grisly Afghan photos

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

US tries to limit damage from grisly Afghan photos 19 Apr 2012 The United States has swiftly condemned photos of soldiers posing with the mangled corpses of insurgents in Afghanistan, seeking to limit the fallout from the latest scandal involving US troops. The photographs, which date back to 2010 but were published by the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, add to a string of damaging incidents that have ignited anti-Western feeling and complicated NATO efforts to withdraw most troops in 2014... White House spokesman Jay Carney said the photos were "reprehensible" but also said President Barack Obama's administration was "very disappointed" that the paper had published them.

Judge quits Trayvon Martin case, cites conflict

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

Judge quits Trayvon Martin case, cites conflict 18 Apr 2012 The Florida judge presiding over the Trayvon Martin shooting case removed herself Wednesday after the attorney for defendant George Zimmerman argued she had a possible conflict of interest relating to her husband. Judge Kenneth M. Lester Jr. will preside over the case, including the Friday bail hearing for the neighborhood watch volunteer, according to a news release from the court. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the Feb. 26 shooting of the unarmed Martin, 17.

Pentagon Sought to Stop Paper From Publishing Photos

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

Pentagon Sought to Stop Paper From Publishing Photos 19 Apr 2012 The grisly photographs of American soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan insurgents during a 2010 deployment in Afghanistan were the source of a dispute between The Los Angeles Times and the Pentagon lasting weeks. Two of the 18 photographs given to the paper were published Wednesday by The Times over fierce objections by military officials who said that the photographs could incite violence. The officials had asked The Times not to publish any of the photographs, a fact that the defense secretary, Leon E. Panetta, reiterated on Wednesday as the images spread across the Internet.

US soldiers posed with militants' body parts in Afghanistan

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

US soldiers posed with militants' body parts in Afghanistan 18 Apr 2012 The emergence of a series of new photos showing American troops in Afghanistan smiling while they pose with the dead bodies of suspected militants have brought the Afghan war in focus. The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that an American soldier gave 18 photos of soldiers posing with corpses to the paper to draw attention to the safety risk of a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of US troops. The photos were taken on different occasions in the southern Zabul Province in 2010 and were submitted to The Times by a soldier from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division on condition of anonymity. The US Army said it has launched a "criminal investigation."

NORAD to conduct exercise flights in various locations across U.S.

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

NORAD to conduct exercise flights in various locations across U.S. 18 Apr 2012 The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will conduct exercise flights today in various locations across the U.S. as they practice intercept and identification procedures. Exercise flights are planned for Florida, northern Minnesota, southwestern New Mexico and off the coast of California. Locations include: Areas between Big Cypress National Park, Port Labelle, Clewiston and Orlando, Florida; areas around Grand Rapids, Virginia and Duluth in northern Minnesota; isolated areas of the southwestern part of New Mexico, near the Arizona State line; and off the coast of Los Angeles, California, around San Nicolas Island.

Report estimates 8 million children hurt by foreclosures

April 19, 2012 by legitgov

Report estimates 8 million children hurt by foreclosures 18 Apr 2012 One in 10 U.S. children has been or will be affected by the nation's surge in foreclosures, a new report says. Five years into the foreclosure crisis, an estimated 2.3 million children have lived in homes lost to foreclosure, according to a report from First Focus, a Washington, D.C-based bipartisan advocacy group focused on families. Another 3 million children live in homes at risk of foreclosure because home loans are in the foreclosure process or are seriously delinquent. And 3 million children lived or live in rental homes lost to foreclosure or at risk, the report says.

Secret Service to Fire 1 Amid Inquiry; 2 Others to Leave

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

Secret Service to Fire 1 Amid Inquiry; 2 Others to Leave 19 Apr 2012 The head of the Secret Service has told other government officials that the agency plans to fire one person in connection with the investigation into alleged misconduct with prostitutes last week in Colombia, according to a person briefed on the matter. The head, Mark Sullivan, has also told others that one other employee plans to retire and another will resign. Among the people leaving the agency are two supervisors. Mr. Sullivan has also told others that the one employee being fired has threatened to sue.

NY law would identify buildings with smokers

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

NY law would identify buildings with smokers --'Smoking kills and people have the right to know if they are going to be exposed to secondhand smoke.' 18 Apr 2012 New York apartment buildings that permit smoking would be identified under a new law proposed Wednesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Landlords of buildings with three or more units would have to inform prospective tenants and purchasers whether smoking was allowed in apartments and on balconies, as well as in common outdoor areas like rooftops. Bloomberg said this would give potential renters the chance to choose a smoke-free environment, free from wafts of cigarette smoke from other apartments.

'Not guilty' plea in Utah cop site hacking case

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

'Not guilty' plea in Utah cop site hacking case --Police twitter feed doesn't wait for court hearing 16 Apr 2012 An Ohio man pleaded not guilty today to charges that he hacked into a pair of police websites in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January. John Anthony Borell III, a 21 year old from Ohio, made the plea at an arraignment hearing in Salt Lake City today, AP reports. He faces up to ten years inside and a $250,000 fine if found guilty on the charges. Today Salt Lake City Police Department took to Twitter to publicize the Borell case, immediately drawing flak from Anonymous non-reps AntiS3curityOPS for apparently declaring Borell guilty ahead of the actual trial.

Arrests Made In Alpaca Killings

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

Arrests Made In Alpaca Killings 18 Apr 2012 (CT) Two Westbrook men have been arrested in connection with the stabbing deaths of four alpacas on an Essex farm in December. The Middletown Press reports that 21-year-old Kyle Rossetti was charged with animal cruelty, burglary and other offenses. He was held on $75,000 bond. Shawn Malcarne, 23, was charged with conspiracy to commit animal cruelty, burglary and other offenses. Malcarne was held on $50,000 bond. [I'm sick of the sociopaths. Too bad the alpacas couldn't 'stab first.']

U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan insurgents

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

Another day, another Pentagon-penned episode of 'Criminal Minds:' U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan insurgents 18 Apr 2012 The paratroopers were assigned to check reports that Afghan police had recovered the mangled remains of an insurgent suicide bomber; try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification. The 82nd Airborne Division soldiers arrived at the police station in Afghanistan's Zabol province in February 2010. They inspected the body parts. Then, the paratroopers posed for photos next to Afghan police, grinning while some held - and others squatted beside - the corpse's severed legs. A few months later, the same platoon was dispatched to investigate the remains of three 'insurgents' who Afghan police said had accidentally blown themselves up. After obtaining a few fingerprints, they posed next to the remains, again grinning and mugging for photographs. Two soldiers posed holding a dead man's hand with the middle finger raised. A soldier leaned over the bearded corpse while clutching the man's hand. Someone placed an unofficial platoon patch reading "Zombie Hunter" next to other remains and took a picture.

U.S. suggests no emissions limits to protect polar bears

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

U.S. suggests no emissions limits to protect polar bears [I Really Hated Bush but Obama is Actually Worse.] 17 Apr 2012 Polar bears are skating on thin ice in Alaska these days: Warming temperatures have resulted in dramatic shrinkage of sea ice, leaving the bears with fewer ice floes on which to rest and hunt seals. But at least for the moment, the Endangered Species Act won't be used to control the greenhouse gas emissions that conservationists say are contributing to climate change and posing one of the biggest threats to the bears' survival. The Obama administration on Tuesday released a proposed rule that -- like an earlier version put forward under President [sic] George W. Bush -- exempts operations outside the bears' normal territory from restrictions on activities.

CISPA draft allows Internet companies to share customer data and communications with NSA

April 18, 2012 by legitgov

CISPA draft allows Internet companies to share customer data and communications with NSA 16 Apr 2012 New revisions to a proposed federal cybersecurity law still would permit Internet companies to hand over confidential customer records and communications to the National Security Agency. A recent torrent of criticism prompted the politicians behind the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act to circulate a revised version of CISPA this evening before an expected floor vote next week. But the authors made only relatively minor tweaks. The legislation remains so broad that the NSA could vacuum up "all sorts of sensitive information like Internet use information and the contents of e-mails," ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson told CNET.

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