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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Journal Archives

Huge Israeli Heron TP Drone That Can Reach Iran Crashes During Routine Flight

By Associated Press,

JERUSALEM ó The Israeli military says a drone that can fly as far as Iran has crashed in central Israel on a routine experimental flight.

The military says there were no injuries in Sundayís crash, and it was investigating the incident.

The Heron TP drone is also known locally as the Eitan. It has a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making it the size of a Boeing 737 passenger jet. It is the largest unmanned aircraft in Israelís military arsenal.

The drone figures to be featured prominently in any potential Israeli operation against Iran and its expanding nuclear program.



Critics Of Capitalism Call Global Protest In June

Thousands of critics of capitalism meeting in Brazil called Sunday for a worldwide protest in June to press for concrete steps to tackle the global economic crisis.

The World Social Forum wrapped up a five-day meeting in this southern Brazilian city, urging citizens to "take to the streets on June 5" for the global action, which would be in support of social and environmental justice.

The forum also announced a "peoples' summit" of social movements to be held in parallel with the high-level UN conference on sustainable development scheduled next June 20-22 in Rio.

The Rio+20 summit, the fourth major gathering on sustainable development since 1972, will press world leaders to commit themselves to creating a social and "green economy," with priority being given to eradicating hunger.



Palestinian President Abbas Says Israel Spoiled Latest Round Of Talks On Border, Security

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of spoiling the low-level talks, saying it failed to present detailed proposals for borders and security requested by international mediators. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians "refused to even discuss" Israeli security needs.

For the past month, the sides have held Jordanian-mediated exploratory talks at the urging of the Quartet of international Mideast mediators _ the U.S., the U.N., the E.U. and Russia. The goal of the talks has been to find a formula to resume formal peace negotiations, with the aim of forging an agreement this year.

The Palestinians say a three-month period set by the Quartet for the exploratory talks ended last week, counting from the day the mediators issued their marching orders last October.

But Abbas, deeply skeptical about the hardline Netanyahu, is under intense international pressure to stay at the table and would risk being blamed for the failure of the latest Mideast peace efforts.



Washington To Extend $3.8B In Loan Guarantees To Israel

The Obama administration plans to recommend that Congress extend American loan guarantees to Israel for another three years, until September 2015, administration officials informed Israel this week.

The news came as a relief to Jerusalem, which had been worried that Washington would refuse to extend the $3.8 billion worth of guarantees.

Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin announced the administration's decision at a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Monday. According to one senior American official, the request is expected to enjoy broad bipartisan support in Congress and win quick aproval.

"The U.S. is a true friend and ally of Israel's," Ayalon said yesterday. "The partnership between our countries is a natural one. Extending the guarantees will strengthen the international standing of Israel's economy and enable the government to continue raising money [on international markets] at low cost."



Turkey May Provide Hamas With $300 Million In Annual Aid

Turkey may provide Hamas with $300 million in annual aid, Turkish sources report. The aid would take place of Iranian funding, which has been significantly reduced.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reportedly received assurances to this effect during his recent visit to Turkey.

Haniyeh was warmly received earlier this month by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was cheered when he visited the Turkish parliament. Turkey supports reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and Turkish sources report that the Erdogan government has promised to seriously aid the reconciliation process.

According to Turkish sources, Haniyeh laid out in detail for Erdogan the financial difficulties Hamas is currently facing, after payments from Iran, that had totaled $250-$300 annually, did not arrive on time and were cut significantly. This led to Hamas not being able to pay the salaries of employees.



U.S. Bombs Not Strong Enough To Destroy Iran's Nuclear Program, Report Says (Need Bigger Ones!!...)

The United States does not possess conventional armament powerful enough to destroy Iran's deeply hidden nuclear facilities, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal late Friday, with American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saying Washington was "still trying" to develop more powerful bombs.

Late last year, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Air Force received new 15-ton bombs capable of destroying deep underground bunkers, ahead of a possible attack on Iran's nuclear plants.

The bombs, designed to be delivered by B-2 stealth bombers and called Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP), "will meet requirements for the current operational need," U.S. Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller said in a statement in November.

However, speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Friday, U.S. officials estimated that even the 15-ton bombs would not be powerful to put a full stop to Iran's nuclear program, either because of some of the facilities' depth or their newly added fortifications.



Guest Lineups For The Sunday TV News Shows (damn near all wall-to-wall pubbies, again)

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC's "This Week" ó 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

NBC's "Meet the Press" ó 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum; David Axelrod, political adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.

CBS'"Face the Nation" ó Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee; Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the Democratic National Committee; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Donald Trump; Reps. Allen West and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

CNN's "State of the Union" ó Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; former Commerce Secretary Carlos Guttierez.

"Fox News Sunday" ó Gingrich; Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

(NEW) NBC/WSJ Poll: Obama Benefits From Growing Economic Optimism

By NBC's Domenico Montanaro

Americans are growing more optimistic about the state of the economy and direction of the country, according to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll out Wednesday evening, and President Obama is receiving better grades on his handling of the economy and job as a result.

More people said they believe the economy will get better (37 percent) in the next year rather than worse (17 percent). Thatís the highest level in more than a year and a seven-point jump over last month. It also represents a reversal from October, when 32 percent of Americans said they expected the economy to get worse, versus 21 percent who expected improvement.

"The calendar says itís the dead of winter, but for President Obama, these results must feel like the start of spring," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

The number of people who said the country is headed in the right direction, 30 percent, remains far lower than the 61 percent of U.S. adults who think it is off on the wrong track.



How An Embargo Of Iranian Oil Could Affect Markets

(01-24) 15:22 PST NEW YORK, (AP) --

The U.S. and Europe are trying to stop Iran, the world's third-biggest oil exporter, from selling crude. Iran's response is to threaten to disrupt shipments from the entire Middle East.

Yet oil prices have hardly budged. They're at $98.95, up just 12 cent since the start of year.

Just a year ago, uprisings in far less important oil-producing countries such as Egypt and Libya sent oil and gasoline prices to their highest levels in three years and prompted Western nations to release millions of barrels of oil from emergency supplies.

The reason for such calm this year: No oil has been blocked, and there's a good chance none will be.



Mayor Bloomberg Blasts Use Of Anti-Islam Movie During NYPD Training

CHRIS HAWLEY 01/24/12 07:06 PM ET AP

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday that New York police used "terrible judgment" in showing counterterrorism trainees a documentary-style film that says Muslim extremists are masquerading as moderates to destroy America from within.

Bloomberg said police have stopped showing officers "The Third Jihad," a 72-minute movie that has been branded inflammatory by some Muslim organizations and was produced by a conservative group called the Clarion Fund.

"Somebody exercised some terrible judgment," he said in Albany. "As soon as they found out about it, they stopped it."

The criticism was unusual for Bloomberg, who in recent months has vigorously defended the police department's counterterrorism efforts after an Associated Press investigation exposed a secret program to gather intelligence on Muslim neighborhoods.


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