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15,000 American forces stationed in Kuwait: Senate account

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

15,000 American forces stationed in Kuwait: Senate account 20 Jun 2012 A US Senate report indicates that the United States has now nearly 15,000 troops in three bases across Kuwait - triple the average number of American forces in the Middle East country before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee released the report on Tuesday, considering how to promote the US interests in the Persian Gulf region after the American forces left Iraq last year. According to the report, having the military bases throughout the region is a "lily pad" model to allow for a rapid escalation of military forces.

US Senate blocks bid to restore $4.5 billion for food aid

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

US Senate blocks bid to restore $4.5 billion for food aid 20 Jun 2012 The US Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a bid to preserve some $4.5 billion in food stamps funding, as part of the massive farm bill. The request to keep that spending in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, had been offered by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y). But her plea went down 33 to 66. Sixty votes were needed to pass. Gillibrand had warned that reduction in the SNAP would result in half-a-million US households losing an average $90 in monthly food benefits.

Greek conservatives hope to seal coalition deal

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Greek conservatives hope to seal coalition deal 20 Jun 2012 Greek conservatives hope to form a coalition government on Wednesday which must persuade mistrustful foreign lenders to allow more leeway in pushing through a deeply unpopular austerity program. Exasperated with Greece's repeated failure to honor its promises on budget cuts and reform, euro zone officials have nevertheless begun to accept the program may be impossible to implement without changes, as the country is already off track and its economy is sliding deeper into recession. One senior euro zone official said trying to enforce the original terms of the 130 billion euro bailout package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund would mean "signing off on an illusion".

Fed members gave their own banks $4 trillion during bailout

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Fed members gave their own banks $4 trillion during bailout 15 Jun 2012 A report released by the US Government Accountability Office explains how the Federal Reserve divvied up more than $4 trillion in low-interest loans after the fiscal crisis of 2008. When the Federal Reserve looked toward bailing out some of the biggest banks in the country, more than one dozen of the financial institutions that benefited from the Fed's 'Hail Mary' were members of the central bank's own board, reports the GAO. At least 18 current and former directors of the Fed's regional branches saw to it that their own banks were awarded loans with often next-to-no interest by the country's central bank during the height of the financial crisis.

Men in Afghan police uniform shoot dead Nato soldier

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Men in Afghan police uniform shoot dead Nato soldier 18 Jun 2012 A Nato soldier in eastern Afghanistan has been shot dead by three men in Afghan police uniform, officials say. The men fled the area after Sunday's attack, Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says. It says the incident is under investigation. There have been a growing number of cases where Afghan soldiers have killed Nato colleagues.

Russia denies war games report

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Russia denies war games report 19 Jun 2012 The Russian Defense Ministry Tuesday denied Iranian reports of planned war games with Iran, China and Syria off the Syrian coast. The semi-official Iranian Fars news agency, citing what it called "informed sources," said some 90,000 troops from the four countries were expected to participate in land, air and sea maneuvers off the Syrian coast, including air defense and missile units. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman call the report a "further attempt to escalate the situation in Syria," RIA Novosti reported. Syria also denied any upcoming military exercises were planned.

Syria: Russia to send marines to naval base

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Syria: Russia to send marines to naval base 18 Jun 2012 Russia confirmed that it was preparing to send an elite unit of marines to its naval base in Syria on Monday, sharply raising the stakes in its confrontation with the West over the future of the Assad government. The planned deployment was designed to send a powerful signal that Russia would not tolerate foreign military intervention in Syria, according to a Western defence source. It was apparently ordered after the Kremlin came to conclusion that Western powers were preparing to circumvent the United Nations Security Council - where Russia holds a veto - by unilaterally authorising Nato military action in Syria.

Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria 19 Jun 2012 A Russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of Scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the British government. The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed. "We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria," the company said in a statement. [Why aren't US ships ever stopped in *their* tracks?]

Outrage Over Perceived Light Sentence for Colonel

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Outrage Over Perceived Light Sentence for Colonel 18 Jun 2012 Servicemembers and legal experts around the world reacted with outrage and scorn to what many regarded as an exceptionally light sentence for an Army colonel convicted of fraud, adultery, bigamy and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Col. James H. Johnson III, the former commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, was sentenced to a reprimand and a $300,000 fine by a jury of fellow colonels in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to 13 charges and was convicted of two others, all relating to an illicit affair he had with an Iraqi woman and his efforts to steer government funds to the woman's father during a 2005 deployment.

Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns anxiety

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns anxiety 19 Jun 2012 The prospect of thousands of drones patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is spawning anxiety across the political spectrum that Americans' privacy may be at risk. The concern has spilled over into Congress, where there are bipartisan efforts by lawmakers to address the civil liberties issues raised by drones. The drone market is expected to almost double over the next 10 years, from current worldwide expenditures of nearly $6 billion annually.

NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You

June 20, 2012 by legitgov

NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You 18 Jun 2012 The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won't tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so. That claim comes in a short letter sent Monday to civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. The two members of the Senate's intelligence oversight committee asked the NSA a simple question last month: under the broad powers granted in 2008's expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, how many persons inside the United States have been spied upon by the NSA? In a letter acquired by Danger Room, I. Charles McCullough [the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nominal head of the 16 U.S. spy agencies] told the senators that the NSA inspector general "and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons," McCullough wrote.

Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Julian Assange seeking asylum in Ecuadorian embassy in London --WikiLeaks founder walked into embassy and asked for asylum under United Nations human rights declaration 19 Jun 2012 The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, sparking a new crisis in the tortured history of his extradition to Sweden. Assange walked into the embassy in Knightsbridge and asked for asylum under the UN human rights declaration. He said: "I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito."

Six nabbed for cyber attacks on Quebec websites

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Six nabbed for cyber attacks on Quebec websites 19 Jun 2012 Six people have been arrested in connection with attacks that paralyzed Quebec websites. The arrests were made in an operation that involved five police forces - the RCMP, the Sûreté du Québec, and three municipal forces. Members of the group are expected to face a variety of charges, including mischief, conspiracy, and unlawful use of a computer. Three of them are minors. The arrests took place in Rimouski, Sherbrooke, Forestville, Montreal and Longueuil, Que.

Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuclear crisis

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Japan sat on U.S. radiation maps showing immediate fallout from nuclear crisis 19 Jun 2012 The government failed to make use of detailed U.S. maps showing how radiation spread shortly after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began [March 2011], sources familiar with the matter revealed Monday. The sources said the maps were neither publicized nor used to evacuate residents living near the poorly protected Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. From March 17 to 19, U.S. military aircraft collected radiation data in an area with a 45-km radius from the plant for the U.S. Department of Energy. The data showed that more than 125 microsieverts of radiation per hour was leaking as far as about 25 km northwest of the plant, meaning residents in the area were being exposed to their annual permissible dose within just eight hours.

Google reports 'alarming' rise in censorship by governments

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Google reports 'alarming' rise in censorship by governments [LOL, they should know! Try getting the CLG Newsletter w. a Gmail account, and see what I mean.] 17 Jun 2012 There has been an alarming rise in the number of times governments attempted to censor the internet in last six months, according to a report from Google. Since the search engine last published its bi-annual transparency report, it said it had seen a troubling increase in requests to remove political content. Many of these requests came from western democracies not typically associated with censorship. UK police asked the company to remove five YouTube accounts for allegedly promoting terrorism. Google agreed.

Mont. GOP displays bullet-riddled 'Obama outhouse'

June 19, 2012 by legitgov

Mont. GOP displays bullet-riddled 'Obama outhouse' 17 Jun 2012 A bullet-riddled outhouse labeled "Obama Presidential Library" containing a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama and graffiti that read "For a Good Time," and a reference to first lady Michelle Obama was on display at the Montana Republican Convention in Missoula. The Missoulian reports the display on Saturday also contained "For a Good Time" references to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, her name circled in red. The display, painted to look as if it had numerous bullet holes, was parked outside Missoula's Hilton Garden Inn that drew some 500 convention goers. The convention also included a raffle for a 12-gauge shotgun, shovel and duct tape, a reference to "Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up," involving the illegal killing of wolves or federally protected species such as grizzly bears. [I want a raffle for same - to be used on the killers of wolves and grizzly bears. --LRP]

Key Blair aide: Rupert Murdoch pressed UK leader on Iraq war, warned over delaying conflict

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Key Blair aide: Rupert Murdoch pressed UK leader on Iraq war, warned over delaying conflict 15 Jun 2012 Tony Blair's ex-communications director claimed Friday that media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's warned the British leader over the dangers of delaying the 2003 U.S.-led invasion as he made efforts to press the U.K. to support the conflict. In the latest volume of his diaries, excerpts of which were published by The Guardian newspaper, Alastair Campbell said Blair found Murdoch's protests clumsy and that they both suspected he had been urged to intervene by the White House. In an entry on March 11, 2003 - eight days before the invasion of Iraq began - Campbell wrote that Murdoch had telephoned Blair and urged him to speed up Britain's decision on joining a conflict being promoted by President [sic] George W. Bush and his Republican administration.

Falcon Virgo Is a Go: NORAD Conducting Exercises Over D.C. Tonight and Tomorrow

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Heads up! Falcon Virgo Is a Go: NORAD Conducting Exercises Over D.C. Tonight and Tomorrow 18 Jun 2012 The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has announced that it will be conducting some aerial exercises--code-name Falcon Virgo--over Washington, D.C., tonight and tomorrow night between 11:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. According to a press release, Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s, and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercises, which are meant to "hone NORAD's intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System."

IDF tanks move closer to Egypt border

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

IDF tanks move closer to Egypt border --Military issues unusual order, deploys Armored force closer to border 18 Jun 2012 The IDF has deployed Armored forces near the Israel-Egypt border, moving tanks closer to the fence, Ynet has learned. The unusual move followed Monday's 'terror attack' on defense contractor crews building the new security fence. Ynet was able to document the presence of Israeli tanks in close proximity to the border - maneuvers which are barred by Jerusalem's peace treaty with Cairo.

Greece Races as Cash Dwindles With Europe Seeking Austerity

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Greece Races as Cash Dwindles With Europe Seeking Austerity 18 Jun 2012 Greece's two traditional political rivals are in a race to forge an unprecedented coalition as the state's cash dwindles, bank deposits flee and Europe demands renewed austerity pledges before releasing more emergency aid. Greece will run out of money in mid-July, the Syriza party, which placed second in yesterday's election, said on June 13 after being briefed by Acting Finance Minister Giorgios Zanias. Caretaker Labor and Social Security Minister Antonis Roupakiotis refused to offer assurances pensions will be paid in August, Athens News Agency reported the same day.

Hollande Bolstered as Socialists Win French Parliament Control

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Hollande Bolstered as Socialists Win French Parliament Control 17 Jun 2012 French President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party and its allies won an absolute majority in the National Assembly, exit polls showed, paving the way for them to pass legislation without the aid of other members of parliament. The Socialist bloc won 314 out of the 577 seats, pollster CSA said, with 289 needed for a majority. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement party and its allies have 228 seats, CSA said, and the anti-euro National Front won two seats.

'Military Council in Egypt to Continue Dominance Despite Elections'

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

'Military Council in Egypt to Continue Dominance Despite Elections' 18 Jun 2012 An Egyptian political activist Vail Guneym on Sunday said that the High Military Council would continue dominance over Egypt despite the elections. Evaluating the presidential runoff between the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Mohammad Mursi, and former prime minister under former Mubarak regime, Ahmed Shafiq, activist Guneym argued that "looking at the picture, the Military Council would protect its powers and will not return to its ordinary duties after the elections". The Egyptian military has been given the authority to arrest civilians.

Brotherhood's Mursi Claims Victory in Egypt Presidential Elections

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Brotherhood's Mursi Claims Victory in Egypt Presidential Elections 18 Jun 2012 Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Mursi declared his victory in the second round of Egypt's first-ever democratic presidential elections as 97 percent of the ballot boxes have opened. Unofficial results showed that he outpaced his rival Ahmad Shafiq to become the first democratically elected president of the country. Mursi got 52.3 percent of the votes counted thus far against 47.6 percent for Shafiq, last premier of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.

Strong typhoon 04 on course to hit Fukushima June 20

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Strong typhoon 04 on course to hit Fukushima June 20 17 Jun 2012 A very strong typhoon 04 is on course to hit Fukushima on 6/20/2012. The central pressure will be 955 hPa, Maximum wind gust speed will be 60m/s(115kt). The state of reactor 4 is of concern.

Attack on U.S. outpost in Afghanistan worse than originally reported

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Attack on U.S. outpost in Afghanistan worse than originally reported 16 Jun 2012 A June 1 attack on a U.S. outpost near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was much worse than originally disclosed by the military as insurgents pounded the base with a truck bomb, killing two Americans and seriously wounding about three dozen troops, officials acknowledged Saturday. The blast flattened the dining hall and post exchange at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province, a frequent target of insurgents in the past. Five Afghan civilians were killed and more than 100 other U.S. troops were treated for minor injuries. U.S. officials estimated that the truck was carrying 1,500 pounds of explosives.

Christian missionary group with pig's head taunt Arab-Americans at Dearborn festival

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Christian missionary group with pig's head taunt Arab-Americans at Dearborn festival 16 Jun 2012 Tensions flared Friday evening at the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn as members of some Christian missionary groups - including one called the Bible Believers - taunted Arab Americans with a pig's head and signs that promoted hatred of Islam. "You’re gonna burn in hell," one missionary shouted at a group of young Arab-American boys listening to him speak on Warren Avenue, where the festival takes place. The festival continues today in Dearborn, but the members of the Bible Believers won't be there because they'll be protesting a gay festival in Ohio, said Arab Festival organizers.

Russia Bans 11 U.S. Officials Over Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Russia Bans 11 U.S. Officials Over Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib 17 Jun 2012 Russia barred 11 serving and former U.S. administration officials for human rights abuses at facilities including Guantanamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The ban on entry to Russia was enacted last year in retaliation for a U.S. visa ban for 11 Russian officials accused of playing a role in the death of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, President Vladimir Putin's top foreign policy adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said in an e-mailed statement. "These people are linked to high-profile human rights abuses, including torture and abuse of detainees in special prisons set up by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency in Guantanamo, Bagram in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq," Ushakov said.

Deformed Fish Found Downstream of Tar Sands Mines

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Deformed Fish Found Downstream of Tar Sands Mines 14 Jun 2012 Chief Allan Adam, the head of the Fort Chipewyan community in the far north of Alberta, has been fishing in Lake Athabasca for all of his life. His father, now 76 years old, has been fishing there even longer. And neither of them has seen anything like what they pulled from the lake on May 30: two grotesquely deformed, lesion-covered fish. When they caught the sickly fish, each taken from a different part of the lake, the two Indigenous men immediately figured that it had something to do with the massive tar sands oil mines that lie about 300 kilometers upstream along the Athabasca River.

Rodney King, Whose Beating Led to Riots in Los Angeles, Dies at 47

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

Rodney King, Whose Beating Led to Riots in Los Angeles, Dies at 47 18 Jun 2012 Rodney G. King, whose 1991 videotaped beating by the Los Angeles police became a symbol of the nation's continuing racial tensions and subsequently led to a week of deadly race riots after the officers were acquitted, was found dead Sunday in a swimming pool at the home he shared with his fiancée in Rialto, Calif. He was 47. There was no evidence of foul play, the Rialto police said.

UK to order reactor for nuclear-armed submarine

June 18, 2012 by legitgov

UK to order reactor for nuclear-armed submarine 17 Jun 2012 Britain will order the first reactor for a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines next week as part of a 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) contract with Rolls-Royce, a defense ministry source said on Sunday, in a move that could strain the coalition government. The deal will include an 11-year refit of Britain's sole submarine propulsion reactor factory at Derby in central England, said Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who will formally announce the plans to parliament on Monday.

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