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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
Number of posts: 45,783

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NY City Council Votes to Raise Cigarette Purchase Age to 21

Source: NBC New York

City Council Votes to Raise Cigarette Purchase Age to 21

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 • Updated 6:10 PM EDT

The City Council has passed a bill to bar anyone under the age of 21 from buying cigarettes and e-cigarettes in New York City.

Under federal law, no one under 18 can buy tobacco anywhere in the country, but some states and localities have raised it to 19.

Some communities, including Needham, Mass., have raised the minimum age to 21, but New York will be the biggest city to do so if Mayor Bloomberg signs the bill, which he is expected to do.

Lawmakers voted 35 to 10 to pass the bill.

Read more: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Cigarettes-Vote-New-York-Wednesday-229822281.html

United States Tracked Merkel's Phone Since 2002: Report

Source: Reuters

United States tracked Merkel's phone since 2002: report

Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:04pm EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States may have bugged Angela Merkel's phone for more than 10 years, according to a news report on Saturday that also said President Barack Obama told the German leader he would have stopped it happening had he known about it.

Germany's outrage over reports of bugging of Merkel's phone by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) prompted it to summon the U.S. ambassador this week for the first time in living memory, an unprecedented post-war diplomatic rift.

Der Spiegel said Merkel's mobile telephone had been listed by the NSA's Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002 - marked as "GE Chancellor Merkel" - and was still on the list weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June.

In an SCS document cited by the magazine, the agency said it had a "not legally registered spying branch" in the U.S. embassy in Berlin, the exposure of which would lead to "grave damage for the relations of the United States to another government".

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE99P08G20131026

Snowden Leak: The NSA Has Been Monitoring Phone Calls of 35 World Leaders

Source: Guardian UK

The NSA Has Been Monitoring The Phone Calls Of 35 World Leaders

James Ball, The Guardian 25 minutes ago

The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its "customer" departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their "Rolodexes" so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems.

The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately "tasked" for monitoring by the NSA.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/nsa-phone-calls-world-leaders-2013-10

2 Shot at Millington Navy Base, Shooter in Custody

Source: WMC-TV

@BreakingNews: Reports of shots fired at Navy base in Millington, Tenn.; base is on lockdown - @3onyourside, @myfoxmemphis http://t.co/xha6JMbfUK

2 shot at Millington Navy Base, shooter in custody

By WMCTV.com Staff

Updated: 10/24/2013 10:18 am EDT

(WMC-TV) - It is confirmed that at least two people have been shot near the Millington Navy Base. Both victims are reported to be in non-critical condition.

The base is currently on lock down, but the shooter is in custody.

Photos sent in to Action News 5 show crime scene tape and several medics on the scene.

The U.S. Navy put out the following tweet to its Twitter account:

#BREAKING: #USNavy can confirm incident near Naval Support Activity Midsouth in #Millington. Details to follow.

Read more: http://www.wmctv.com/#!/newsDetail/23780840

Bank of America Loses Fraud Trial Over U.S. Mortgages (Countrywide)

Source: Reuters

Bank of America loses fraud trial over U.S. mortgages

Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:41pm EDT

NEW YORK, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp was found liable for fraud on Wednesday on claims related to defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit, a major win for the U.S. government in one of the few big trials stemming from the financial crisis.

Following a four-week trial, a federal jury in Manhattan found the Charlotte, North Carolina bank liable on one civil fraud charge in connection with shoddy home loans that the former Countrywide Financial Corp sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and originated in a process called "Hustle."

The four men and six women on the jury also found a one-time Countrywide executive, Rebecca Mairone, liable on the one fraud charge facing her.

A decision on how much to penalize the bank would be left to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. The U.S. Department of Justice has said it would ask Rakoff to award up to $848.2 million, the gross loss it said Fannie and Freddie suffered on the loans.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N0ID1X120131023

Nobody ever seems to go to jail!

Regardless of What Anyone Tells You, Climate Change Hasn't Gone Anywhere

@BloombergNews: RT @BW: Regardless of what anyone tells you, climate change hasn't gone anywhere | http://t.co/94g9CjilLP


Mystery of the 'Missing' Global Warming

October 23, 2013 10:33 AM EDT

Have you heard the one about how global warming stopped in 1998? It’s been called a “pause,” a “hiatus,” a “slowdown” and a “siesta.” Above all, it’s a red herring, and it isn’t difficult to find where some of the ‘missing’ heat has gone.

First, in case you haven’t been paying attention: 97 percent of climate scientists agree about global warming and its man-made causes, now with 95 percent certainty, according to a report this month by the IPCC, the world’s most authoritative body of climate scientists. Greenhouse gases trap heat, which melts ice, raises seas and floods cities; this fundamental equation is not in doubt.

What has raised a few eyebrows recently is that temperatures on the surface of Earth have increased at a slower rate since 1998 than in previous decades. Scientists have largely chalked this up to the short-term variability of climate. However, climate skeptics have taken the surface-temp slowdown acknowledged by the IPCC to mean that global warming itself has stopped -- that somehow the physics has changed.

It hasn’t.

- snip -

The warming at the ocean’s surface layer may have slowed a bit, but ocean temperatures in aggregate have continued to rise unchecked during the so-called hiatus, according to the IPCC. That’s important because while the atmosphere accounts for just 1 percent of planetary heat, the oceans carry 93% of the stored energy from climate change (melting ice and warming continents make up the rest).

In fact, there is mounting evidence that deeper regions of the ocean, down to 2000 meters, are absorbing heat faster than ever, Trenberth said in a phone call. His research shows the oceans began taking on significantly more heat at around the same time the surface warming began to slow in 1998. His widely cited work was published just after the cutoff to be included in the IPCC report.

The irony, says Trenberth, is that when the surface of the planet is unusually sweltering, the Earth actually radiates more heat into the atmosphere, in effect slowing the long-term warming of the planet. And in “hiatus” years, when the surface is cooler, the Earth absorbs more of the sun’s heat deep the oceans, slowly cooking the planet. What you see isn't always what you get.
Ocean temperatures are just one of many independent lines of evidence showing that climate change continues to speed ahead on an alarming course. Need more? Look to the seas that are rising faster than previously anticipated, the imbalance of energy measured entering and exiting the upper atmosphere, and the melting glaciers and permafrost. I could go on.


Slowpoke TOON: "Health-Caremudgeons" (Obamacare Hypocritics)

DAILY KOS LINK: http://m.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/22/1249317/-Health-care-mudgeons

Two-Year-Old Dies After Accidentally Shooting Herself Inside Fayetteville Home

Source: WRAL-TV

Posted: 2:21 p.m. today
Updated: 8:54 p.m. today

Two-year-old dies after accidentally shooting herself inside Fayetteville home

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A 2-year-old girl died Saturday afternoon after she found a loaded handgun and accidentally shot herself, Fayetteville police said.

Officers responding to the home in the 2600 block of Graham Road in reference to a shooting found the girl at about 12:30 p.m. She was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, where she later died.

Fayetteville police have not released her name.

Byron Brown lives next door in the duplex where the shooting happened.

"She would always come to to the fence line and play with my dog. Every time they walked by she would stop by and speak to us and everything," he said.

Read more: http://www.wral.com/girl-2-dies-after-being-shot-inside-fayetteville-home/13015281

This is my hometown.

Anonymous Source Tells Reporters That He’s Tired Of Being Speaker Of The House



Justice Department Brings New Charges in Blackwater Shootings

Source: Associated Press

@AP: The Justice Department brings fresh charges against four former Blackwater Worldwide security contractors: http://t.co/s6h511wZql -CJ

Oct 17, 3:14 PM EDT



WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department Thursday brought fresh charges against four former Blackwater Worldwide security contractors, resurrecting an internationally charged case over a deadly 2007 shooting on the streets of Baghdad.

A new grand jury charges the men in a shooting that inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq and heightened diplomatic sensitivities amid an ongoing war. The men were hired to guard U.S. diplomats.

The guards are accused of opening fire in busy Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007. Seventeen Iraqi civilians died, including women and children. Prosecutors say the heavily armed Blackwater convoy used machine guns and grenades in an unprovoked attack. Defense lawyers argue their clients are innocent men who were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

- snip -

The guards were charged with manslaughter and weapons violations in 2008, but a federal judge the following year dismissed the case, ruling the Justice Department withheld evidence from a grand jury and violated the guards' constitutional rights. The dismissal outraged many Iraqis, who said it showed Americans consider themselves above the law. Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Baghdad in 2010, expressed his "personal regret" for the shootings.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BLACKWATER_PROSECUTION
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