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April 24, 2015

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

U.S. drone strike accidentally killed 2 hostages
U.S. drone strike accidentally killed 2 hostages
April 24, 2015

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that a U.S. counterterrorism operation targeting an al Qaeda compound in January accidentally killed two innocent hostages, including one American.

Multiple U.S. officials told CNN the hostages, Warren Weinstein, an American, and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, were killed by a U.S. military drone that targeted the al Qaeda compound.

"As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni," Obama said Thursday morning in the White House briefing room, where he apologized on behalf of the U.S. government.

The White House also disclosed Thursday that two Americans, both al Qaeda operatives, were also killed in U.S. counterterrorism operations in the same region.

Al Qaeda leader Ahmed Farouq, who was an American citizen and deputy emir of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was also killed in the operation that killed the two innocent hostages.

Adam Gadahn, another American in the senior ranks of al Qaeda, was also killed by U.S. forces in the region, "likely in a separate" counterterrorism operation, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Thursday.

Earnest said at a press briefing Thursday that Obama did not specifically approve the operations that killed the Americans, but that the strikes were within the bounds of policy guidance.

Earnest said Thursday that the families of the hostages will be financially compensated by the U.S. government. He would not disclose the details of that compensation.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Freddie Gray Was Handcuffed And Without Seat Belt During Arrest Transit: Lawyer
Freddie Gray Was Handcuffed And Without Seat Belt During Arrest Transit: Lawyer
April 24, 2015

No video captured what happened to Freddie Gray inside the police van where officers heaved him into a metal compartment after pinning him to a sidewalk. The cause of his fatal spine injury has not been revealed.

But a troubling detail emerged as hundreds of protesters converged on City Hall again Thursday: He was not only handcuffed and put in leg irons, but left without a seat belt during his trip to the station.

Unbelted detainees have been paralyzed and even killed by rough rides in police vans." It even has a name: "nickel rides," referring to cheap amusement park thrills.

Police brutality against prisoners being transported was addressed just six months ago in a plan released by Baltimore officials to reduce this misconduct. Department rules updated nine days before Gray's arrest clearly state that all detainees shall be strapped in by seat belts or "other authorized restraining devices" for their own safety after being arrested.

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Raisin farmer challenging USDA's $700G fine before Supreme Court
Raisin farmer challenging USDA's $700G fine before Supreme Court
April 22, 2015

Raisin farmer Marvin Horne is heading to the Supreme Court on Wednesday in a bid to stop the federal government from demanding he hand over his dried fruit crop -- almost half of it -- without "just compensation." He plans to argue that the government is violating his 5th Amendment rights, under a decades-old policy.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "handlers" of raisins, who package the crop, must hand over a portion of their yield each year. But "producers," who actually grow the raisins, get to keep all the fruits of their labor.

In 2000, Horne was a "handler" and then tried to become a "producer." Several years later, the USDA told Horne he still needed to hand over 47 percent of his sun-kissed grapes to the government. Horne refused - and the agency hit him with $700,000 in fines and penalties.

The law requiring all raisin growers to give the government a certain amount of their crop each year is part of the 1937 Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act, which was created during the Great Depression and designed to keep prices steady.

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Pope Accepts Resignation Of Bishop Robert Finn For Not Reporting Abuse
Pope Accepts Resignation Of Bishop Robert Finn For Not Reporting Abuse
April 22, 2015

Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of a U.S. bishop who pleaded guilty to failing to report a suspected child abuser, answering calls by victims to take action against bishops who cover up for pedophile priests.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some "grave" reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn't provide a reason; Finn is 62, some 13 years shy of the normal retirement age of 75.

Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to re port suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years' probation in 2012. Ever since, though, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been forcibly removed for covering up for guilty clergy. And technically speaking, Finn wasn't removed, he offered to resign, in the same way that Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law offered to resign in 2002 after the clergy sex abuse scandal exploded in his archdiocese.

Law hadn't been convicted of a crime, as Finn was, and the failure of the Vatican to forcibly remove Finn for three years after he pleaded guilty fueled victims' complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the "zero tolerance" pledge of Francis.

In a statement, Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of the online abuse resource BishopAccountability.org, said Finn's resignation was a welcome step but called on Francis to publicly s t ate that he was removed for mismanaging the Ratigan case and failing to protect children.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Super Beets!
Super Beets!
April 21, 2015

Nitric oxide (N-O) is the master regulator of the cardiovascular system that signals arteries to relax and dilate, improving circulation and blood flow. Dietary nitrates, like those found in SuperBeets, can help the body:

Support Heart Health & Blood Pressure
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Promote Extended Exercise Endurance & Stamina
Promote Increased Circulation

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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

6 Baltimore police officers suspended amid investigation of suspect's fatal spine injury
6 Baltimore police officers suspended amid investigation of suspect's fatal spine injury
April 21, 2015

Baltimore's mayor, police officials, and prosecutor sought to calm their city Monday, while six officers were suspended as authorities investigated how a suspect suffered a fatal spine injury in police custody last week.

A week after Freddie Gray, 25, was pulled off the street and into a police van, authorities don't have any videos or other evidence explaining what happened to cause the "medical emergency" an arresting officer said Gray suffered while being taken to the local police station, Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said.

The Gray family's lawyer, Billy Murphy, had said that Gray's "spine was 80 percent severed at his neck."

Autopsy results returned Monday show that Gray "did suffer a significant spinal injury that led to his death," Rodriguez said. "What we don't know is how he suffered that injury."

In a police report obtained by The Baltimore Sun, Officer Garrett Miller wrote that police on bike patrol stopped Gray April 12 after he was seen fleeing "unprovoked upon noticing police presence." Police said a knife was found clipped to Gray's pants pocket and he was arrested on a weapons charge.

The video taken by a bystander of the arrest does not show the injury occurring, but did capture four police officers dragging a screaming Gray to a police van.

On Monday, police released a more detailed timeline that revealed that Gray was placed in leg irons after an officer felt he was becoming "irate," and that the van stopped on its way to the police station, even picking up another prisoner in an unrelated case, while Gray repeatedly asked for medical attention.

"During transport to Western District via wagon transport the defendant suffered a medical emergency and was immediately transported to Shock Trauma via medic," Miller wrote in the report.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that Gray asked first for an inhaler, and then several times during his transport for medical care.

"There were several times he made a medical request," Batts said. "He asked for an inhaler, and at one or two of the stops it was noticed that he was having trouble breathing and we probably should have asked for paramedics."

"When Mr. Gray was put in that van, he could talk, he was upset. And when he was taken out of that van, he could not talk and he could not breathe," Rodriguez said.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

ISIS executes more Christians in Libya
ISIS executes more Christians in Libya
April 20, 2015

ISIS operatives have beheaded two groups of prisoners, believed to be Ethiopian Christians, in Libya, according to a video released Sunday by the terror network's media arm.

The al-Furqan Media video -- which is highly produced and titled "Until There Came to Them Clear Evidence" -- shows two groups of men in orange and black jumpsuits being killed at different locations in Libya, according to the video's narrator.

"All praise be to Allah, the Lord and cherisher of the world and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Mohammed. To the nation of the cross, we are back again on the sands, where the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, have stepped on before, telling you: Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap," the narrator says in Arabic on the 30-minute video.



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Another White House fence-jumper arrested
Another White House fence-jumper arrested
April 20, 2015

An intruder climbed the White House fence late Sunday night but was quickly taken into custody, the Secret Service said.

The incident occurred about 10:25 p.m. on the south side of the White House complex. The south side faces the Washington Monument.

The fence-climber was immediately taken into custody by officers in the uniformed division of the Secret Service, said Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary.

The individual carried a package that was examined and found to be harmless, Leary said early this morning.

The fence on the south side is similar to that on the north side, which faces Pennsylvania Avenue. It was not known why the fence was climbed Sunday night.

Security at the White House has been of particular concern since last year when a man climbed the fence on the north side, ran across the lawn and entered the White House itself.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

Florida mailman lands a gyrocopter on Capitol lawn, hoping to send a message
Florida mailman lands a gyrocopter on Capitol lawn, hoping to send a message
April 16, 2015

On Wednesday, Doug Hughes, a 61-year-old mailman from a small town on Florida's Gulf Coast who dearly wants campaign finance reform, flew his fragile little ultralight gyrocopter through some of the most closely protected airspace on the planet and landed it on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. He called it Project Kitty Hawk.

He announced his plans on the Internet and in his hometown newspaper. He said he felt compelled to do what he could to halt corruption in the nation's capital. He attached a big U.S. Postal Service insignia to the aircraft fuselage, loaded it onto a trailer last Friday, and drove north. He would not go postal, but rather airborne, to deliver 535 letters to members of Congress urging them to tighten the rules on money in political campaigns.

"I have no intention of hurting anyone," Hughes wrote on his Web site, the Democracy Club, which carries the motto, "Because We the People own Congress." "There is no way I can prevent overreaction by the authorities, but I have given them as much information and advance warning as my fuel supply allows."

The warning didn't help. Air defense systems did not detect the copter as it entered restricted airspace above Washington, according to a North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman. No one tried to stop the gyrocopter, which sounds like a lawnmower and looks like a flying bridge chair.

Air Force Maj. Jamie Humphries, a NORAD spokesman, said the authorities are investigating why NORAD was not made aware of the gyrocopter until after it had landed on the Capitol grounds.

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Posted by Ken at 1:43 AM - Link to this entry  |  Share this entry  |  Print

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