Potential flu pandemic lurks 10 May 2013 A new study from MIT reveals that there are many strains of H3N2 circulating in birds and pigs that are genetically similar to the 1968 strain and have the potential to generate a pandemic if they leap to humans. The researchers, led by Ram Sasisekharan, the Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, also found that current flu vaccines might not offer protection against these strains. The study, which appears in the May 10 issue of the journal Scientific Reports, also offers the World Health Organization and public-health agencies' insight into viral strains that should raise red flags if detected.
19 injured by gunfire at New Orleans Mother's Day parade 12 May 2013 Nineteen people were injured on Sunday when gunfire erupted at a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, police said. Two young children were among the victims. Shots rang out at 1:45 p.m. local time as the second line of the parade passed the 1400 block of Frenchmen Street in the city, New Orleans Police Department spokesman Garry Flot said. Ten men and seven woman were shot along with a 10-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy.
NSA buddy Google relegating CLG Newsletter to spam bin 13 May 2013 Folks, if you use Gmail and don't receive too many CLG Newsletters, check your spam folder. I am hearing from numerous CLG readers that Gmail will not allow the CLG Newsletter to reach their inboxes. Instead, NSA buddy Google relegates them to the spam folder. So, if you receive your newsletter via Google and wonder where it is, please check your spam or junk folder. Thank you.
IRS targeted groups critical of government, documents from agency probe show 12 May 2013 At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with "tea party" or "patriot" in their name but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general. The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that "criticize how the country is being run" and those that were involved in educating Americans "on the Constitution and Bill of Rights."
North Korea slams US aircraft carrier's arrival --North Korea calls arrival of the fleet 'a grave military provocation' 12 May 2013 North Korea has criticised the arrival of the US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the South for a joint drill as an "extremely reckless" provocation and a rehearsal for war against the communist state. A US naval strike group led by the nuclear-powered Nimitz arrived off the South's southern port of Busan on Saturday for the drill to be staged this week, following joint exercises that infuriated North Korea in recent months. The 97,000-ton Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships, will participate in joint search-and-rescue operations as well as "sea manoeuvring" around the Korean Peninsula, the South's defence ministry said.
Break-in thwarted at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station - Police 10 May 2013 Security officers at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station chased two would-be burglars who were breaking into a storage trailer there early Thursday morning. At the Lay Road plant in Peach Bottom Township, at approximately 4 a.m., security spotted two people at a storage trailer, state police said. They'd broken the window screen and were pushing up the unlocked window when security officers on patrol spotted them, police said. The two would-be burglars ran off, headed toward Booker Road, police said.
Utility investigating vibrations that caused shutdown of nuclear reactor 11 May 2013 Dominion Virginia Power had a crew of about 20 working Friday to determine what caused the shutdown of its North Anna power facility's Unit 2 nuclear reactor earlier in the day. The utility was in the process of restarting it, and the unit was at 60 percent power shortly after 6 a.m. Friday, when operators detected greater-than-normal vibrations in part of the mechanism used to start the reactor. They manually shut it down. The excessive vibrations were detected in the exciter, which is used during start-up to initiate the flow of electricity from the generator to the grid.
Sharif declares victory for Pakistan Muslim League-N in election 11 May 2013 Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) has won Saturday's parliamentary election. "Results are still coming in, but this much is confirmed: we're the single largest party so far," Sharif said during a speech to jubilant supporters in Lahore on Saturday night. "We should thank Allah that he has given PML-N another chance to serve you and Pakistan," the PML-N leader stated.
I.R.S. Apologizes to Conservative Groups Over Application Audits 11 May 2013 The Internal Revenue Service apologized to Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations on Friday for what it now says were overzealous audits of their applications for tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner, the director of the I.R.S. division that oversees tax-exempt groups, acknowledged that the agency had singled out nonprofit applicants with the terms "Tea Party" or "patriots" in their titles in an effort to respond to a surge in applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. She insisted that the move was not driven by politics, but she added, "We made some mistakes; some people didn't use good judgment."
Mystery Aircraft Frightens Quincy, Mass. Residents 09 May 2013 A mystery in Quincy, Massachsetts, continues to deepen: Who is flying around the city from dusk to dawn, for the past ten days or so? "It's frightening, not just weird, but frightening," said one resident of the Wollaston section. Every night for nearly the last two weeks, residents have spotted a low-flying aircraft doing loops over the city. WBZ has learned the FAA knows what's going on, but the agency isn't telling. "I mean it is strange. I don’t know if they're looking for somebody, I have no idea," one resident told WBZ.
Britain, U.S. hold secret talks on how to arm terrorists in Syria 11 May 2013 Britain and the U.S. have been secretly discussing plans to arm foreign-backed terrorists fighting the popular government of president Bashar al-Assad in Syria, it has been disclosed. The revelation comes amid an escalation of hostilities in the region with Israel already launching invasion against Syria, when the country is fighting to ward off the threat of an all-out civil war with al-Qaeda affiliated terror groups. According to reports, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond held talks with counterpart Chuck Hagel during his visit to the States over how to push for arming rebels, mercenaries and terrorists who have teamed up to topple the Syrian government in a conflict now in its third year.
Terrorist drill held for Fukushima nuclear plant 12 May 2013 Police and the Japan Coast Guard conducted a joint drill Saturday to prepare for a possible terrorist attack on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. About 150 officers and other people, including members of a special assault team of the police, participated in the drill at the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, about 10 km from Fukushima No. 1. Both plants are operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. The National Police Agency fears the stricken Fukushima No. 1 could make for a tempting target for terrorists because the cooling systems there are still highly fragile.
Judge: nun, 2 other convicted nuclear protesters to stay in jail until sentencing in the fall --Protesters face up to 10 years in prison 11 May 2013 A judge has ruled that a nun and two other nuclear protesters must remain in jail until they are sentenced in September for breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee. Sister Megan Rice and protesters Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were convicted Wednesday of interfering with national security and damaging federal property during last year's incursion. An attorney for the defendants asked the judge Thursday to allow their release until their Sept. 23 sentencing.
Smoke forces evacuation of White House press room 11 May 2013 Reporters and photographers were evacuated briefly from the West Wing of the White House early Saturday because of smoke from an overheated transformer in a mechanical room. U.S. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said that at about 7 a.m., smoke was seen coming from a mechanical room closet on the first floor. "Early this morning, an electrical transformer near the West Wing malfunctioned and set off a smoke alarm in the West Wing," a White House official said in a statement.
Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in 'Immigration Reform' 10 May 2013 The immigration reform [aka allowing the creation of a permanent corporate-owned underclass which will drive down wages across the board and destroy unions] measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system. Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named "photo tool," a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver's license or other state-issued photo ID. Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.
Pakistan's historic election could bring change to military ties with US 11 May 2013 Pakistan’s historic election today could have immense consequences for the region and the so-called war on terror. Opposition leader and leading candidate to be the next prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has warned he will stop Pakistan's involvement in the war on terror. Asked whether he would stop military cooperation with the United States in the war, in an interview with the BBC he said, "Yes, we have to." Another leading candidate in the Pakistan election, Imran Khan, a former international cricketer and now Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which draws its support from large sections of the poor, has warned if he wins the election he would go even further by shooting down U.S. drones if they enter Pakistan territory. [So, it's win-win!]
Blast kills 9, injures more near polling station in Pakistan 11 May 2013 An explosion has killed at least 9 people and injured many others near a polling station in the southern city of Karachi as voting is underway for general elections in the country.
Chris Christie vetoes early voting in New Jersey 10 May 2013 Most news coverage of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this week has focused on the Republican's new efforts to shrink his expanded waistline, but it turns out that's not the only thing he's against expanding. Christie vetoed a bill Thursday that would have created a two-week window for early in-person voting in New Jersey. Christie said he was primarily opposed to the cost of implementing the early voting program. [And now, the actual reason:] In-person early voting is often used by minority voters, especially African-Americans, in states where it is available. The bill's sponsor, Democratic State Senator Nia Gill, slammed Christie for his veto on Thursday.
Two tech executives quit Mark Zuckerberg's political group over ads pushing XL pipeline 10 May 2010 Two prominent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have quit Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's political advocacy group Fwd.us after protests from environmentalists and liberal groups, a person familiar with the situation said late Friday. Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of electric car maker Tesla Motors, chief executive of SpaceX and chairman of solar-energy company Solar City; and David Sacks, CEO and founder of Yammer, both have withdrawn from Fwd.us. Their ads [which support the Keystone XL pipeline] quickly drew the ire of environmentalists and liberal groups, some of which pledged to pull ads from Facebook for two weeks. [Mark F*ckerberg: Once a creepy, self-serving sociopath *always* a creepy, self-serving sociopath.]
Newtown panel: Tear down Sandy Hook, rebuild 10 May 2013 A task force of elected officials in Newtown on Friday recommended tearing down Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in December, and rebuilding on the same site. The group of 28 town elected officials voted unanimously in favor of a plan that would construct a new building in the same location as the existing school. The proposal goes to the local school board and then before voters as a referendum... Police have not disclosed possible motives for the Newtown killings.