Fwd: Egypt

'Egypt's top prosecutor referred toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to trial Wednesday for conspiring with the Palestinian group Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah and others to carry out a campaign of violence in the Sinai Peninsula and beyond to destabilize the country following his ouster.


Prosecutors claim that while president, Morsi and his aides revealed state secrets to the militant groups and to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Morsi and 35 others, including the Muslim Brotherhood's top three leaders, are also accused of sponsoring terrorism and carrying out combat training and other acts to undermine Egypt's stability.'




Fwd: Taper

'Fed Pares Bond Buying by $10 Billion per month


After months of intense discussion at the Fed and in financial markets, the Fed's policy-making committee said in a statement Wednesday that, beginning in January, it would trim its purchases of long-term Treasury bonds to $40 billion per month from $45 billion, and cut its purchases of mortgage-backed securities to $35 billion per month from $40 billion. However, the pace of bond purchases is "not on a preset course," the Fed's statement said.'





Groom killed while helping motorist in snow on way back from wedding



Other headlines:























Fwd: Iran

'Not too many years ago, hardly anyone disagreed with John McCain when he first said that "the only thing worse than bombing Iran is letting Iran get the bomb." Today hardly anyone disagrees with those who say that the only thing worse than letting Iran get the bomb is bombing Iran. And in this reversal hangs a tale.


The old consensus was shaped by three considerations, all of which seemed indisputable at the time…'



Fwd: Russia

'Russia's largest government-owned news agency has warned defiantly of "a tightening of state control" over the country's media after Vladimir Putin announced plans to close it down and replace it with a new organisation headed by a controversial anti-Western television talk show host.


In a surprise decree published on the Kremlin's website on Monday, Mr Putin "liquidated" the RIA Novosti news agency and created a new organization called Rossia Segodnya , or Russia Today — in what many commentators see as a decision to eliminate one of the most balanced news outlets in the Kremlin's sprawling portfolio of news agencies, newspapers and television stations…


RIA Novosti began life under Josef Stalin in 1941 and has struggled to shake off a Soviet legacy of managerial inertia since the fall of the USSR, but has acquired a reputation as a relatively trustworthy and balanced source of news under Svetlana Mironyuk, the chief editor since 2004.


In contrast to state-owned Federal television channels, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin and have a reputation for screening hatchet jobs on opposition figures, RIA Novosti appeared to have a licence to operate relatively freely under Ms Mironyuk's leadership, reporting controversial stories including the 2012 anti-Putin protests in Moscow, and more recently the pro-Europe protests in Ukraine, with little if any bias.'




"I'm sure achieving Eurasian integration will only increase interest (in it) from our other neighbours, including from our Ukrainian partners," Mr Putin said. "I hope that all political sides can successfully reach an agreement in the interests of the Ukrainian people."


"Our integration project is based on equal rights and real economic interests," referring to a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan which Mr Putin plans to develop into a political and trading bloc to be known as the Eurasian Union…


Without naming the United States, Mr Putin warned that the development of anti-missile shields and powerful long-range non-nuclear weapons could "reduce to nothing" existing nuclear arms control pacts and upset the post-Cold War strategic balance.


"Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia," he said. "We will never allow this to happen. Russia will respond to all these challenges, political and military."



Fwd: Budget

'Patty Murray and Paul Ryan have reached a budget deal that would add about $63 billion to discretionary spending, partially reversing the deficit-reduction scheme known as the "sequester." While the plan is a small step in the right direction, it does almost nothing to mitigate a decades-long decline in public investment and discretionary spending.'





'For most of this year, the brutal cuts to federal spending known as the sequester have wreaked havoc on important programs, cutting off hundreds of thousands from Head Start and low-income housing assistance, setting back scientific research and environmental protection, and costing more than a million jobs. Getting rid of the sequester for domestic programs was a high priority for Congressional Democrats, and they achieved much of what they wanted in a budget deal reached on Tuesday that in other important respects was disappointing.


The deal will cancel 61 percent of the sequester cuts for nondefense discretionary domestic programs this fiscal year, adding back $31.5 billion over the next two years to be divided among departments like transportation, education, and health and human services. That's a significant achievement, considering that many Republicans want those cuts to continue in perpetuity.


Paul Ryan, the House negotiator, ignored the Tea Party's insistence that the sequester was untouchable, agreeing to raise discretionary spending in 2014 by $77 billion above his own budget proposal. Patty Murray, the Senate negotiator, resisted Republican demands for new cuts to safety-net programs. As a result, money will soon start flowing to programs that have been starved all year.'





'With the clock quickly winding down on the legislative year, Congress has cobbled together a budget deal, something they have failed to do since April 2009. The details have yet to be finalized, but many are praising it as a return to regular order, ending the budget brinksmanship that has dominated Washington for most of Harry Reid's tenure as Senate Majority Leader. Unfortunately, the budget deal breaches the spending caps created under sequestration-the only measure of fiscal discipline that has made it through Congress in recent years-in exchange for promises of budget cuts down the road…


Many in Congress claim the boost in discretionary spending is more effective fiscal policy than the arbitrary and damaging across-the-board reductions in spending mandated by sequestration. In reality, the budget deal abandons the only mechanism that has limited federal spending in the 113th Congress. In fact, sequestration provided an opportunity to address politically charged fiscal decisions on defense spending, giving cover to members of Congress who could point to sequestration as the reason for the cuts. Instead, the budget deal appears to be creating another round of short-term spending increases for some promise of spending cuts at some point in the future.


At the same time, it is difficult to identify economic harms created by sequestration. The latest jobs report was better than expected, with unemployment dropping to a five-year low of 7 percent. Growth in gross domestic product accelerated by 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013, and, according to the Federal Reserve, household net worth increased to $77.3 trillion in the third quarter-$1.9 trillion higher than at the end of the second quarter. While the economy clearly continues to struggle, things are moving in the right direction. Sequestration has little effect on the underlying economic fundamentals one way or the other, but it does have political implications for a Congress seeking to spend more money.'




Fwd: FDA

Fwd: Ebert

'Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker Steve James ('Hoop Dreams') will premiere his upcoming documentary 'Life Itself,' about the life and times of late film critic/icon Roger Ebert, at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. In a Daily Beast exclusive, here is his open letter about the film, which is currently seeking crowdfunding.'


'I am deeply honored to be making Life Itself, a documentary on the life of Roger Ebert, and to have had the full cooperation and enthusiasm of Roger and his wife, Chaz.


    Whoa! My memoir has been optioned for a doc by Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") and Steven Zaillian, with Martin Scorsese as exec producer.

    — Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) September 7, 2012


Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel first championed my film, Hoop Dreams, which was essential to its success. Roger remained a great supporter of my work throughout my career and I'll never forget him tweeting about The Interrupters right before its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011. Martin Scorsese and Steve Zaillian also felt a special bond to Roger Ebert, crediting his help in propelling their careers, which is in part why they wanted to come on board as creative executive producers.


We started filming in December 2012. Roger and his wife, Chaz, courageously opened up their private lives to our filming as they never have before. No one could have known then that Roger would be with us for only four more months, but his undiminished will and enthusiasm were inspiring.


With the same spirit in which Roger shared so much of his life with his fans and followers, we hope to build a community for this film where people can participate in the celebration of Roger's legacy and impact on all of us. Roger's fan community spans the globe and we want to include them now by enabling them to see the film first.


Therefore we have embarked on a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to ensure our ability to deliver the film to fans and engage them around the world. As a reward for their support, a key thing we are offering is a private streaming experience to view the film upon its completion and prior to its official release in theaters next year. Thus, all of Roger Ebert's fans will have the chance to watch the film wherever they live. Other rewards, such as special screenings, perks for educational institutions, and personal hangouts with the filmmakers, are also being offered in an effort to further involve the community and celebrate the film.


Many know Roger's story to be inspiring. But he was also a flesh and blood man whose life was full of humor, hubris and his own share of heartbreak. We are aiming to tell the whole story: from his days at the University of Illinois, to Chicago where he was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, on to television where he became an iconic star with Gene Siskel, and finally to what Roger told us was "his third act": how he overcame disabilities wrought by cancer to become a major voice on the Internet and through social media. His impact on cinema and on our own lives has truly transcended generations.'



Fwd: Iran/Russia

'Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a meeting in Tehran voiced the two countries' readiness to increase consultations and meetings to confer on international and regional issues…


Focusing on the roles played by Iran and Russia in the region and the world and Tehran-Moscow consultations and cooperation in regional and international scenes, he said that they include shared work in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, the Middle East, the Caspian Sea, and the nuclear field, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which are of great significance.'




Fwd: Spain

'Catalan leaders set date for vote on independence'





Scottish independence vote





Fwd: budget

This coming from a man who believes that government spending is the path to prosperity ...

Fwd: Kasparov

'In chess you see everything. Every piece of information you need is available on the board, so what is being tested during a game is your ability to process all that information. In politics things are different: we never have all the information. People often compare politics to chess, but in fact politics is more like a game of cards, poker perhaps, in which winning means relying on guts, instincts and strength.


Which is why, in the terrible international game being played over Syria, Vladimir Putin is currently the master. Although — as I will explain — his winning streak may not last, at least for the time being he has outplayed all his opponents, largely because President Obama and other western leaders have left the game wide open for him. Putin is now so confident that he is busy drawing up plans for a new 'post-Assad' Syria. He is sure he can retain his influence, whoever is in charge.


The West's inadequate and vacillating response to the Syria crisis has made some people draw parallels with Munich in 1938 — and for once the comparison actually rings true. Even while Cameron and Hollande have been desperately trying not to look like Chamberlain and Daladier, they looked exactly like them. Meanwhile President Obama showed he could not keep his own promises. The consequences of his failure to enforce his own 'red line' on the use of chemical weapons will come back to haunt him long after this current impasse is over.'  Garry Kasparov




iPad Chair For Babies Too Much?

Study Finds More Drugs in Drinking Water


Your Engine Could Stop MIDFLIGHT

'Black Death' OUTBREAK

NEW Video of San Francisco Jet Crash































Best wishes,

John Coffey
L-3 Communications / Communication Systems - West
640 North 2200 West
P.O. Box 16850
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Office: (801) 594-3523
Cell: (801) 856-4812




'The New York Times and Bloomberg irritated the Communist Party leadership by publishing, respectively, an in-depth reporting series on the alleged vast, $2.7 billion family wealth of the avuncular, "man of the people" ex-premier Wen Jiabao, and the alleged $376 million family fortune of the current chairman of the Communist Party — and self-declared foe of official corruption, Xi Jinping. 


The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for its "striking exposure of corruption at high levels of the Chinese government, including billions in secret wealth owned by relatives of the prime minister, well documented work published in the face of heavy pressure from the Chinese officials."


Reporters at Bloomberg and the Times have been "mysteriously" stymied in their attempts to get visas to operate since these blockbuster reports were published. At least 24 journalists now face unceremonious expulsion from China, according to the New York Times, due to the recalcitrance and anger of Beijing over these reports.'





'But on Thursday, as the General Assembly convened to adopt no less than nine resolutions condemning Israel, it wasn't the Israeli envoy who voiced outrage – but an interpreter translating from Spanish to English.


At one point during the meeting the woman stopped her simultaneous translation of a representative's remarks to express indignation over the course the meeting had taken.


"I mean, I think when you have five statements, not five, like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there's gotta be something, c'est un peu trop, non? [It's a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There's other really bad shit happening [around the world], but no one says anything, about the other stuff," she said.


The resolutions, which were passed by a large margin, dealt with Israel's occupation of the West Bank, the Palestinian refugees , the Golan Heights and other issues. No resolutions concerning other global issues were adopted during the meeting.


A few seconds into her rant the interpreter realized that her remarks, evidently directed at a colleague, were heard by the diplomats in attendance'





'East Asia is trapped in a vicious cycle of escalating tensions, with China's rising power giving Japanese hawks legitimacy in their bid to bolster the military -- exactly what Beijing says it fears.


The United States -- rival to one power, ally to the other -- finds itself walking a tightrope, with Vice President Joe Biden in China this week urging restraint to "reduce the possibility of crisis or mistake", according to a US administration official.


But that is hard when relations between Asia's two biggest economies are so poisoned by history. Every time Beijing summons the demons of Japan's past aggression, Tokyo plays on fears of Chinese domination to come.


"This is a battle about pride," said Takehiko Yamamoto, international security professor at Japan's Waseda University. "I cannot, for now, see there being any compromises."


Simmering tensions heated up with Japan's September 2012 purchase of some of the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, in the East China Sea, from their private Japanese owners. China, which calls them the Diaoyus, regards them as its territory.


Since then, China has sent ships and aircraft into the area on scores of occasions, prompting counter-deployments by Japan, and last month Beijing declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) covering a large stretch of the East China Sea.


Japan already has an ADIZ, which now overlaps China's. In October, a Chinese drone flight prompted Japanese threats to shoot down unmanned aircraft that enter its airspace, something Beijing said would amount to "an act of war".'




Romain Hatchuel: The Coming Global Wealth Tax - WSJ.com



North Korean labor camps make CNN front page…


'North Korea is showing no signs of scaling back its fearsome labor camp system, with torture, starvation, rape and death a fact of life for tens of thousand of inmates, according to human rights group Amnesty International.


The rights group released satellite images, purportedly showing evidence of expansion, including the construction of new housing blocks and production facilities, at two of the isolated regime's largest camps or "kwanliso" --15 and 16 -- used to hold political prisoners…


Amnesty commissioned the images from DigitalGlobe, a commercial satellite imagery vendor. In their release, Amnesty claims that up to 200,000 prisoners, including children, are being held "in horrific conditions in six sprawling political prison camps."


Pyongyang denies their existence, despite satellite images and testimony from witnesses. Amnesty claims many prisoners are allegedly being held for nothing more than watching foreign soap operas or holding a particular religious belief, while others are incarcerated simply for having a family member deemed politically undesirable.'





Look Who's Buying the iPhone 5c


Health Insurance

'Bob Shlora of Alpharetta, Ga., was supposed to be a belated Obamacare success story. After weeks of trying, the 61-year-old told ABC News he fully enrolled in a new health insurance plan through the federal marketplace over the weekend, and received a Humana policy ID number to prove it.


But two days later, his insurer has no record of the transaction, Shlora said, even though his account on the government website indicates that he has a plan.


"I feel like this: My application was taken … by a bureaucrat, it was put on a conveyor belt and it's still going around, and it's never going to leave the building," he said. "I've lost hope. If it happens, great."


Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.


Technical problems surrounding the transfer of an applicant's personal information from the federal marketplace to the selected insurance company have plagued the system since its launch, making it difficult for insurers to finalize some enrollments. The 834 forms that issuers receive from the system have been riddled with errors, including often duplicate or incomplete information.


While the front-end of the website has been vastly improved, the back-end glitches remain a serious concern, IT experts and industry officials say.


"Until the enrollment process is working from end-to-end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage," said Karen Ignani, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans. "In addition to fixing the technical problems with healthcare.gov, the significant 'backend' issues must also be resolved to ensure that coverage can begin on Jan. 1, 2014."


Meanwhile for consumers, it's all turning out to be a giant headache. Shlora, who currently pays $2,800 a month for health care, told ABC News the "false braggadocio" coming from the White House is making it worse.


"The White House announced that they have met their goal," he said of the much-touted improvements to the website. "They are taking applications but they aren't going anywhere. What kind of goal is that?"'






Fwd: Budget

'U.S. budget negotiators are near a deal to ease automatic spending cuts that congressional aides say could boost user fees rather than end corporate tax breaks.


Negotiators are "down to the last few items," said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of a 29-member committee aiming to reach an agreement by Dec. 13 that sets federal spending levels for this year and next. Both parties are "careful to say they don't have a deal," Cole said.


"It's not the grand bargain but it's a workable deal," Cole said today after a meeting of Republicans who control the House. "In this environment, that's something to be proud of."


Cole said the deal would probably cap spending at about $1 trillion, instead of $967 billion, through mandatory spending cuts known as sequestration and endorsed by House Republicans. Democrats set a $1.058 trillion cap in their plan.


Lawmakers from both parties doubt the possible budget deal would have the votes to pass Congress. Democrats have insisted that Republicans agree to end at least some corporate tax breaks to reach a deal while Republicans probably will balk at a spending levels than exceeds a 2011 budget compromise.'





We need to keep the sequester at its planned levels. If we open it to negotiation, the planned cuts will end.

We need to be asking for more cuts, to increase the debt ceiling.


Fwd: Ukraine/Thailand/Lebanon

'Protests continued into the night Monday in Kiev as opposition leaders urged the swelling crowds to stand together and call for the resignation of President Victor Yanukovich.


Angry about the government's U-turn away from integration with Europe, Ukraine is seeing its biggest demonstrations since the Orange Revolution nine years ago.


On Monday protesters took over some government offices and -- braving cold weather while waving flags and chanting against the government -- converged on Kiev's Independence Square and surrounding streets, setting up tents and blocking traffic, in response to an opposition call for a nationwide strike over Yanukovich's switch toward Russia.'





'A Thai government supporter was shot and killed early on Sunday at protests in Bangkok, raising the death toll to two as protesters invaded a police compound and forced the evacuation of the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to a secret location.


Some reports said anti-government demonstrators had seized control of the broadcaster Thai PBS.


Police backed up by the military were attempting to protect government buildings amid the deadly street clashes between supporters and opponents of Yingluck and her billionaire brother, the ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.


Anti-government protesters on Sunday broke into the compound of a police sports club where the prime minister had been during the morning but she was able to leave the premises and went to an undisclosed location, an aide said.


In another area of the city police fired teargas at protesters near Government House, where Yingluck's office is located, a Reuters witness said.'





'Lebanon decided Monday to put the northern city of Tripoli under the command of the military for a period of six months in a bid to end repeated clashes there linked to the war raging in Syria.


The measure, last employed during Lebanon's 1975-90 Civil War period, came as security forces deployed in the restive city where 12 people have been killed and more than 100 people wounded in three days of clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.


"We decided to commission the Lebanese Army to take all necessary measures to maintain security in Tripoli for six months and place the military forces as well as police under its command," caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told reporters after a high-level security meeting at Baabda Palace, adding that the decision was in line with Article 4 of the Defense Law.








Google Thinks Autonomous Flying Drones Are the Future of Clean Energy

Killer dinosaur found in Utah; preceded T. rex

Fwd: Afghanistan

'Rice arrived in Afghanistan under a cloak of secrecy Saturday, and the White House did not confirm she was here until after she was meeting with Karzai on Monday evening, along with other top officials from both Washington and Kabul, and Karzai's senior aides.


The meeting lasted several hours, and it continued into what Aimal Faizi, Karzai's spokesman, who was there, described as a working dinner. And while the tone was said to be generally diplomatic and polite, the president at one point became angry at U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham.


Cunningham voiced objection to an extra demand by the loya jirga: the release of all Guantánamo inmates. He insisted that U.S. law governs the release of the prisoners and that the issue had no bearing on the bilateral security agreement, or BSA.


"That made the president very angry; his reaction was very strong and intense," Faizi said..



For her part, Rice warned Karzai that his refusal to sign the agreement would jeopardize Western aid to Afghanistan, including an annual $4-billion to support its military, which is entirely dependent on U.S. aid.


"The lack of a signed BSA would jeopardize NATO and other nations' pledges of assistance," she told Karzai.


She added that the United States would "continue to work with Afghanistan to support a smooth security transition and to help ensure free and fair elections."


Karzai's strongest language was again said to be over the issue of U.S. counterterrorism raids on private Afghan homes. Despite having approved in principle a security agreement that allowed for such missions, with limits, in his address to the loya jirga Sunday, he insisted the raids should be banned immediately and completely or he would cancel the security agreement.


Such raids are the main combat activity remaining to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and have been identified by U.S. commanders as a crucial, continuing mission.


"The president insisted on the stance: a total ban on home raids since yesterday," Faizi said. "He assured Madame Rice they will get the BSA signed – you will get a BSA signed, but give the Afghan people time to see that the U.S. has changed its behavior, that home raids are banned in practical terms."


He said Rice deferred that issue to the U.S. military commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who assured that he had given instructions to his forces to "take all necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties and that the commanders will be acting in accordance to the recommendations of the loya jirga and what is said in the BSA,"'




President Signs HOPE Act, Clearing the Way for HIV Positive Organ Donation Read more: President Obama Signs HOPE Act into Law, Lifting HIV Organ Ban

You Won't Believe What Bit Her!

Heartwarming dog reunion