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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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Snowden’s Flight Sets Back Obama’s China, Russia Outreach

By Terry Atlas and Nicole Gaouette - Jun 24, 2013
President Barack Obama found that his personal efforts to shore up relations with the leaders of China and Russia failed to pay off as fugitive Edward Snowden traveled to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Hong Kong en route to a permanent refuge, perhaps in Ecuador.

Obama met just this month with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of Eight Summit. The flight by Snowden, a self-described whistle-blower evading U.S. Espionage Act charges, marks a reversal for that diplomacy. U.S. lawmakers yesterday criticized China and particularly Russia, warning of consequences for failing to hold Snowden for extradition.

“The efforts by the Obama administration in Palm Springs, California, with the Chinese, and then in Northern Ireland with the Russians to find areas of common agreement have been dealt a pretty big setback,” said Bruce Riedel, a 30-year veteran of the CIA and director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy-research group.

Secretary of State John Kerry today called on Russia to turn Snowden over to U.S. authorities, saying that the U.S. has transferred to Russia seven prisoners “that they wanted” in the past few years. He also criticized China, saying “it would be very disappointing” if Snowden had been “willfully allowed to board an airplane” in Hong Kong.



Katrina Victims Rejected by High Court in Army Corps Suit

Source: Bloomberg

By Greg Stohr - Jun 24, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Hurricane Katrina victims seeking billions of dollars on claims that the Army Corps of Engineers added to the storm’s impact by improperly maintaining a shipping channel.

The justices today left intact a federal appeals court decision that said the Federal Tort Claims Act shields the U.S. government from lawsuits. The lower-court ruling came in test cases designed to resolve many of the hundreds of Katrina-related suits against the federal government.

Units of Entergy Corp. (ETR), a New Orleans-based energy company, were among those urging a high-court review. Entergy says it sustained $1.3 billion in damage from the 2005 hurricane.

A federal trial judge found “monumental negligence” by the Army Corps in allowing erosion to widen the channel to three times its design width over the course of decades. The judge said the widened channel exacerbated the effect of the Katrina storm surge, helping cause the breach of a levee and the flooding of New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-24/katrina-victims-rejected-by-high-court-in-army-corps-suit.html

Obama’s EPA Gets Supreme Court Hearing on Coal Pollution

Source: Bloomberg

By Greg Stohr - Jun 24, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider reviving an Environmental Protection Agency rule that would curb emissions from coal-fired power plants, in a clash over the Obama administration’s biggest air-quality effort.

A federal appeals court threw out the cross-state air pollution rule last year, saying the EPA had gone beyond its powers under federal law. That decision was a victory for coal companies and utilities, which called the measure one of the costliest ever issued under the Clean Air Act.

The administration is seeking to reinstate a rule it says would prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths and produce as much as $280 billion a year in economic benefits. The rule, which has never taken effect, caps emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in 28 states whose pollution blows into neighboring jurisdictions. All are in the eastern two-thirds of the country.

“The court of appeals’ decision will seriously disrupt the EPA’s implementation” of the Clean Air Act, “and it threatens serious harm to the public health,” U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in seeking high-court review.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-24/obama-s-epa-gets-supreme-court-hearing-on-coal-pollution.html

Wikileaks Founder Says Snowden Possibly Applied For Asylum In Multiple Countries

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (ah-SAHNJ') says former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has possibly applied for asylum in other countries besides Ecuador.

Assange says he cannot go into detail about Snowden's whereabouts except to say that he is safe.



Supreme Court Says No To Generic Drug Design Lawsuits

Source: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says generic drug manufacturers can't be sued in state court for a drug's design defects if federal officials approved the brand-name version the generic drug copied.

The justices voted 5-4 to agree with generic manufacturer Mutual Pharmaceutical Co, Inc., which wanted a $21 million judgment against it dismissed.

A New Hampshire jury gave that to Karen L. Bartlett after she took sulindac, the generic form of the drug Clinoril, in 2004. It caused her outer skin layer to deteriorate and burn off, leaving at least 60 percent of her body as an open wound. She is also now legally blind.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_GENERIC_DRUGS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-06-24-10-16-23

Sen. Feinstein On Edward Snowden: "The Chase Is On"

(CBS News) "The chase is on," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday on "Face the Nation," after the former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for leaking top-secret government surveillance programs reportedly arrived in Moscow early Sunday morning from Hong Kong, where he had been hiding.

"I think it's a very big surprise," Feinstein said. "I had actually thought that China would see this as an opportunity to improve relations and extradite him to the United States. China clearly had a role in this, in my view. I don't think this was just Hong Kong without Chinese acquiescence."

The United States "doesn't know what happened," CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett explained, having crafted under the extradition treaty charges that would be applicable in Hong Kong. "It put together what it said and thought were really good charges that represented everything we could legally prosecute Edward Snowden under," Garrett said, "thought there was an agreement with the Hong Kong authorities.

"...It looks like there was a technicality," he continued. "There was a lack of an Interpol warrant in addition to the charges rendered by the United States government, and that might have created a seam, a very small seam in which the Hong Kong authorities allowed themselves to let Edward Snowden out of there. It is also the belief within the administration that Hong Kong was getting weary of the saga and would prefer Edward Snowden to get out. He's gotten out, and he's now somebody else's problem - mainly the United States'."



Offering Snowden Aid, WikiLeaks Gets Back in the Game

WikiLeaks once again seized the global spotlight on Sunday by assisting Edward J. Snowden in his daring flight from Hong Kong, mounting a bold defense of the culture of national security disclosures that it has championed and that has bedeviled the United States and other governments.

Accompanying Mr. Snowden on the Aeroflot airliner that carried him on Sunday from Hong Kong to Moscow — continuing a global cat-and-mouse chase that might have been borrowed from a Hollywood screenplay — was a British WikiLeaks activist, Sarah Harrison. The group’s founder, Julian Assange, who has been given refuge for the last year in Ecuador’s embassy in London, met last week with Ecuador’s foreign minister to support Mr. Snowden’s asylum request. And Baltasar Gárzon, the legal director of WikiLeaks and a former Spanish judge, is leading a volunteer legal team advising him on how to stay out of an American prison.

“Mr. Snowden requested our expertise and assistance,” Mr. Assange said in a telephone interview from London on Sunday night. “We’ve been involved in very similar legal and diplomatic and geopolitical struggles to preserve the organization and its ability to publish.”

By Mr. Assange’s account, the group helped obtain and deliver a special refugee travel document to Mr. Snowden in Hong Kong that, with his American passport revoked, may now be crucial in his bid to travel onward from Moscow.



Does Edward Snowden Flight Change The Narrative Of NSA Story?

I had a great chance today to be part of two panels on CNN's "Reliable Sources" that looked at how the media were framing the NSA surveillance story even as Edward Snowden was en route to Moscow and points beyond looking for asylum in Ecuador.

Host Howie Kurtz and the producers threw out the show's game plan and went with the Snowden story during all segments but one Sunday.

Check out these two videos not just to see CNN's worldwide coverage, but also how Kurtz and his guests were able to critique the media aspect of the story as the story itself was unfolding. They explained how Snowden's actions could dramatically shift the media -- as it was actually shifting.

After I got home and listened to replays of some of the other Sunday morning shows, I was shocked at how many guests and hosts had all but instantly dropped their privacy, First Amendment and excessive surveillance concerns to focus on Snowden in negative ways.

Forget what you think sbout Snowden. Focus on the issue of our government secretly moving into every aspect of our lives under a president who promised transparency.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/tv/z-on-tv-blog/bal-does-edward-snowden-flight-nsa-narrative-20130623,0,4736053.story#ixzz2X5a8txtr

Russian Law Enforcers Have No Grounds To Detain Snowden

MOSCOW, June 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russian law enforcers have no grounds to detain CIA's ex-agent Edward Snowden, a source in law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass. "Snowden is not on a wanted list internationallylist, which might be a ground to detain him.

Neither did he commit any unlawful acts in the territory of the Russian Federation," the source explained.

At present, Snowden is still in the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport where he is awaiting a flight to Havana, an aiport official said. "He did not go through the border control, i.e. formally he did not cross the border," the source said.


Snowden's Travels Raise Concerns Of Foreign Involvement

WASHINGTON - National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's flight from extradition is raising new concerns about possible assistance from foreign governments.

As Snowden hopscotched from Hong Kong to Moscow Sunday, apparently en route to Cuba and then Ecuador, U.S. officials pointed angry fingers at China and Russia.

The finger-pointing followed news that Snowden, 30, the man who leaked information earlier this month about NSA telephone and Internet surveillance programs, had left Hong Kong before U.S. officials could have him extradited on espionage charges.

Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said China "clearly had a role in this." Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Russia's Vladimir Putin of "aiding and abetting Snowden's escape."

And Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Cuban President Raul Castro or Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro could use Snowden "as a bargaining chip to get more concessions from the Obama administration."



Oh if only there is a way to blame this on Iran/Syria...
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