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THE STRUGGLE FOR JERUSALEM

 

 

The Rise Of Islam

 

 

THE DECLINE OF THE USA

 

 

GLOBAL RELIGION

 

 

GLOBAL PESTILENCE

 

 

Global Government

 

 

THE RISE OF THE FAR EAST

 

 

THE RISE OF THE EUROPEAN SUPER STATE

 

 

WEAPONS PROLIFERATION

 

 

THE MAGOG INVASION

 

 

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Monitor The Strategic Trends

 

 

[READ THE FULL INTRODUCTION]

Introduction:

“It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.”
-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

The Best of Times?


By many reckonings, it appears to be the best of times in America: We enjoy a robust economy, reinforced by continually advancing technologies. At least one computer in every home, and a personal telephone on almost everyone’s belt. People are buying their 3rd and 4th cars. Our military is the most feared throughout the world. Indeed, in many ways, it seems like the best of times.

 

**ENEWS ARTICLES**

NEW! When PC Punishments Backfire December 23, 2013

Snowden to Reveal NSA Secrets to EU Parliament December 10, 2013

Beyond the Obamacare Website Fiasco November 05, 2013

America’s Location in the “Cycle of Nations” November 05, 2013

ObamaCare - What's Already Gone Wrong September 24, 2013

**K-HOUSE ARTICLES**

The Economy Jobs 3.0 by Dr. Steve Elwart

Culture Wars Christ in the Ranks by Dr. Steve Elwart

American Liberty Declaring our Independence by John Peterson

Culture Wars Parental Rights in Danger by Dr. Steve Elwart

Preparing For The Coming Battle A Time to Stand by Dr. Steve Elwart

**ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS AND LINKS**

Note: These links are provided for your further research and education. Koinonia House does not necessarily agree with the information on these sites or support the specific organizations.
Documents
The Many Benefits of Traditional Marriage - The benefits of marriage are most observable within the measurable realms of health, wealth, and (self-reported) sexual fulfillment. In each of these categories, married couples experience immense advantages that cohabitating couples, or individuals who remain single, do not.
Is Homosexuality Genetic? - This site contains a variety of resources on the health dangers of the homosexual lifestyle and evidence that homosexuality is not innate and unchangeable.
The Declaration of Independence -
The Federalist Papers - A definitive review of the Constitution written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
NAFTA -
Related Sites
The American Center for Law and Justice -
Same-Sex Marriage & Domestic Partnerships - Yahoo! Full Coverage
Abortion Rights Debate - Yahoo! Full Coverage
Elian: Sign of America's Decline? -
America's Criminal Class: The Congress of the United States - Capitol Hill Blue

News Sources

NEW! Putin: “I Envy” Obama Over His Spying Program - Russian President Vladimir Putin said he’s jealous of President Barack Obama for being able to “get away” with U.S. spying even after damaging leaks by National Security Agency contractor-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden.

NEW! Obama Commutes Sentences of Eight Crack Cocaine Offenders - In a statement, Obama said the commutation “is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness” and noted that he signed legislation in 2010 to narrow the disparity between penalties for crimes related to powder and crack cocaine.

Obama’s Tanking Approval Rate Pulls Down Democrats, Poll Finds - President Obama’s approval rate is taking a plunge and he is pulling Democratic lawmakers down with him, a new Quinnipiac University national poll finds. The president’s job approval score is currently at 38 percent according to the poll released Tuesday, down from 39 percent in a Nov. 12 poll. The president’s approval among young voters ages 18-29 has dropped to 41 percent and he is hovering at 50 percent among Hispanic voters. He is in single digits with Republicans at 6 percent, 30 percent with independents and 70 percent with Democrats.

High Court Ends Liberty University Lawsuit Over ObamaCare - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to ObamaCare brought by a Virginia-based Christian university, ending for now one of the biggest remaining legal fights against the health care law. The justices, in turning away the lawsuit from Liberty University and leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling dismissing it, did not comment on their decision.

American High School Students Slip in Global Education Rankings - The influential Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just released its much-awaited triennial study of global education systems, and once again, the U.S. earns bad grades. According to the study, American 15 year-olds tested were average in reading and science skills, below-average in math.

View the Complete Library of Links

 

 

 
U.S. News Headlines - Yahoo! News
 

U.S. reports three million Medicaid enrollments under Obamacare

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎09:00:43 PMGo to full article
Applications are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act in Jackson, MississippiBy David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three million lower-income Americans have enrolled in the Medicaid program for the poor so far during the rollout of U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, the administration announced on Friday. That brings to more than 10 million the number of people who have signed up for both public and private health coverage since the October 1 launch of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. "The increase in Medicaid enrollments across the country is encouraging," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a government blog posting. The latest data show for the first time actual enrollments in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from October 1 through February 28 for 46 states that have reported statistics to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
 
 

Florida clerk who mistook body for mannequin fired

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:58:17 PMGo to full article
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 61-year-old front desk clerk at a Florida apartment complex was fired this week after mistaking the body of a tenant for a mannequin and throwing it in a trash bin.
 

O'Hare unveils overhaul of international terminal

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:56:05 PMGo to full article
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago unveiled a $26 million overhaul of O'Hare Airport's international terminal on Friday, showing off two dozen new high-end dining and shopping options.
 

Immigrant hunger strikers released from solitary

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:53:24 PMGo to full article
SEATTLE (AP) — Lawyers who sued the federal government on behalf of about 20 immigrant hunger strikers at a Washington state detention facility say their clients have been released from solitary confinement.
 

Blaze that killed 2 firefighters blamed on welding

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:50:30 PMGo to full article
The funeral procession for Boston firefighter Michael R. Kennedy proceeds through saluting firefighters as it arrives at Holy Name Church in Boston, Thursday, April 3, 2014. Kennedy and Boston Fire Lt. Edward J. Walsh were killed Wednesday, March 26, 2014 when they were trapped in the basement of a burning brownstone during a nine-alarm blaze.(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)BOSTON (AP) — Sparks from a welding project for which no one had obtained a permit caused the wind-driven fire that tore through a Boston brownstone last week, killing two firefighters and injuring 13, officials said Friday.
 
 

Calif. senator, others indicted in corruption case

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:47:31 PMGo to full article
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California state senator and more than two dozen others have been formally indicted in a sweeping San Francisco political corruption case.
 

Brittany Murphy's last film gets 4-state test run

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:42:55 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this June 27, 2005 file photo, actress Brittany Murphy arrives to launch the summer sale of the Harrods department store in central London. Murphy's final movie opens Friday, April 4, 2014 in Eugene, Ore. The actress died at age 32 in December 2009. That year she worked on a psychological thriller called "Something Wicked," and much of it was filmed in Eugene. The movie failed to get a distribution deal with the large studios. But producer and local businessman Scott Chambers says that Regal Cinemas is giving the film a four-state test run over the coming month before deciding whether to roll it out beyond the Northwest. AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Brittany Murphy's final movie opens Friday in Eugene before going on a limited run.
 
 

California state senator indicted on corruption, gun trafficking charges

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:40:07 PMGo to full article
Suspended California State Senator Leland Yee departs the U.S. courthouse following a hearing in San Francisco(Reuters) - A grand jury in San Francisco has indicted a prominent Democratic California state senator on charges of corruption and conspiracy to traffic in firearms, according to court documents released on Friday. The indictment adds to the troubles facing state Senator Leland Yee, who was arrested and criminally charged along with two dozen others in the same case last week. It details numerous examples of alleged corruption, and says that the onetime candidate for mayor of San Francisco accepted cash from an undercover FBI agent seeking to purchase illegal weapons. ...
 
 

Federal judge intends to strike down Ohio same-sex marriage ban

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:30:23 PMGo to full article
(Reuters) - A federal judge said on Friday that Ohio's ban on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples wed outside the state was unconstitutional and would be struck down later this month. "I intend to issue a written decision and order by April 14 striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio's bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states," U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said in a statement released by his chambers in Cincinnati. Black issued the statement in a case involving four same-sex couples who were married legally in other states and are challenging Ohio's prohibition on recognition of both same-sex partners for births or adoptions. The judge's statement, which did not address Ohio's ban on same-sex couples marrying within the state, came two weeks after another federal judge ruled neighboring Michigan's ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional.
 

North Korea says US 'hell-bent on regime change'

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:30:08 PMGo to full article
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Ri Tong Il, responds to a question during his news conference at United Nations headquarters, Monday, March 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea on Friday accused the United States of being "hell-bent on regime change" and warned that any maneuvers with that intention will be viewed as a "red line" that will result in countermeasures.
 
 

Judge to end Ohio ban on recognizing gay marriage

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:29:33 PMGo to full article
Attorney Al Gerhardstein, left, stands with several same-sex couples at a news conference, Friday, April 4, 2014, in Cincinnati. Civil rights attorneys are arguing in Federal Court on Friday that a federal judge should prohibit Ohio officials from enforcing the state's ban on gay marriage. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge said Friday that he will strike down Ohio's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, a move that stops short of forcing Ohio to perform same-sex weddings but will make the state recognize gay couples legally wed elsewhere.
 
 

2-legged Washington dog charms millions with video

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:26:28 PMGo to full article
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A dog in Washington state has no rear legs, but he can balance enough to run on only his front legs, as millions of people have seen in a YouTube video.
 

Chicago transit agency fires driver after crash

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:25:09 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this March 24, 2014 file photo a Chicago public-transit train rests on an escalator after it jumped the tracks at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport station. Chicago transit officials say the train operator who acknowledged dozing off before the crash was fired Friday, April 4, 2014. 30 passengers were injured in the crash. (AP Photo/NBC Chicago, Kenneth Webster) MANDATORY CREDITCHICAGO (AP) — Chicago transit officials have fired a train operator who acknowledged dozing off before crashing a commuter train at the O'Hare International Airport station.
 
 

Washington man gets life in prison in son's death

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:24:10 PMGo to full article
ANACONDA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge sentenced a Washington state man to life in prison without parole for killing and dismembering his 3-year-old son last summer.
 

Police: NYC officer detained in India over bullets

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:18:22 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer has been detained in India on a weapons charge after authorities there discovered three bullets he accidentally packed in his luggage, police officials said Friday.
 

Health care bill helps add 3 million to Medicaid

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:08:21 PMGo to full article
FILE - This March 12, 2014 file photo shows Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington. Three million Americans signed up for Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s new health care law as of the end of February, the administration said Friday, offering its first full accounting of how much the safety-net health program has grown since implementation of the law. In a blog, Sebelius said: “The increase in Medicaid enrollments across the country is encouraging, but more work is left to do to ensure that the millions of uninsured Americans eligible for these programs gain coverage”. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Three million Americans signed up for Medicaid under President Barack Obama's new health care law as of the end of February, the administration said Friday, offering its first full accounting of how much the safety-net health program has grown since implementation of the law.
 
 

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:05:37 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:
 

Three victims of Fort Hood rampage named by family, friends

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:54:55 PMGo to full article
A view shows the family home of U.S. Army soldier Ivan Lopez in southwestern Puerto RicoBy Lisa Maria Garza and Eileen O'Grady FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - The three people killed in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas were all male soldiers in their 30s, friends and family said on Friday, as the military searched for a motive behind the second mass shooting in five years at the massive Army base. Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old soldier battling mental illness, is suspected of killing the three and wounding 16 others with a recently purchased pistol before turning the gun on himself at Fort Hood on Wednesday.
 
 

British man: If I testify in US, I'll be arrested

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:54:26 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK (AP) — A British man who quit a 2001 shoe-bomb plot and became a valuable witness at terrorism trials told a judge Friday that he does not want to testify in the United States because he'll be arrested on terrorism charges filed in Boston.
 

Rockies gray wolf numbers steady despite hunting

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:49:13 PMGo to full article
FILE - This April 18, 2008, file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a gray wolf. A new population tally of gray wolves in the U.S. Northern Rockies shows their continued resilience under growing pressure from hunting, trapping and government-sponsored pack removals. State and federal agencies said Friday April 4, 2014, there were a minimum of 1,691 wolves at the end of 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File)BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Gray wolves in the U.S. Northern Rockies are showing resilience as states adopt increasingly aggressive tactics to drive down their numbers through hunting, trapping and government-sponsored pack removals.
 
 

SC woman gets 20 years in breast feeding overdose

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:36:20 PMGo to full article
This undated photo provided by the Spartanburg County Prosecutor's office shows Stephanie Greene. Greene, 39, faces 20 years to life in prison when she is sentenced for killing her 6-week-old daughter with what prosecutors say was an overdose of morphine delivered through her breast milk. (AP Photo/Spartanburg County Prosecutor's office)SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — A judge sentenced a South Carolina woman to 20 years in prison Friday for killing her 6-week-old daughter with what prosecutors say was an overdose of morphine delivered through her breast milk.
 
 

States rebel against powerful new painkiller

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:34:29 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin delivers the State of the State Address at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. On Thursday, April 3, 2014, Shumlin announced an emergency order that would make it harder for physicians to prescribe a new class of drugs that includes Zohydro. Many feel the extended-release pill is prone to abuse, because it's not tamper resistant and contains up to five times more of the narcotic hydrocodone than previously available in other pills. (AP Photo/Andy Duback, File)BARRE, Vt. (AP) — State officials around the country are rebelling over a powerful new painkiller that law enforcement and public health authorities fear could worsen the nation's deadly scourge of heroin and prescription drug abuse.
 
 

2 tunnels found under California-Mexico border

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:33:07 PMGo to full article
This image provided by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency shows an agent examining one of two tunnels discovered April 1, 2014 in San Diego's Otay Mesa industrial park. The first tunnel, stretching about 600 yards, was discovered on Tuesday. Authorities say it was equipped with lighting, a crude rail system and wooden trusses. The other tunnel was discovered Thursday. It’s described as stretching more than 700 yards and more sophisticated, with an electric rail system and ventilation equipment. (AP Photo/ ICE)SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. authorities say a task force working with Mexican counterparts discovered two cross-border smuggling tunnels stretching hundreds of yard between Tijuana and an industrial park in San Diego.
 
 

Mom in drugged breast-milk murder of baby gets 20 years in prison

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:23:33 PMGo to full article
Stephanie Greene, 39, of Campobello, South Carolina is pictured in this handout police booking photoBy Harriet McLeod CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - A South Carolina mother who gave her infant daughter a lethal dose of morphine via her breast milk was sentenced on Friday to 20 years in prison, a prosecutor said. Former nurse Stephanie Greene, 39, was convicted in Spartanburg on Thursday of homicide by child abuse, involuntary manslaughter and unlawful neglect of a child. "This is not an indictment on breast feeding," said Barry Barnette, solicitor for the 7th Judicial Circuit. "She loved her drugs more than she loved her baby." Greene went to several doctors to obtain morphine and other painkillers in 2010, but told none of them she was pregnant, prosecutors said.
 
 

Lawmakers push EPA for more time on water rule

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:46 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this April 2, 2002, file photo, dairy farmer Paul Peter stands by his emergency pond near his house at Castleton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Industry groups and more than a dozen GOP senators are urging the Obama administration to reconsider a proposal by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The new rule seeks to clarify which waters or wetlands would trigger federal requirements, such as permitting and state water quality certification. Seasonal and rain-dependent streams, and wetlands near rivers and streams, would be covered; others would be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine if they play a significant role in the quality of downstream waters. Landowners and developers say the government has gone too far in regulating isolated ponds or marshes with no direct connection to navigable waterways. (AP Photo/Jim McKnight, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Industry groups and more than a dozen GOP senators are urging the Obama administration to reconsider plans to regulate many of the nation's streams and wetlands, saying the proposed rule hurts economic activity and oversteps legal bounds.
 
 

Two drug tunnels, with rail systems, found at U.S.-Mexico border

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:22:03 PMGo to full article
By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. federal agents have uncovered two drug-smuggling tunnels underneath the U.S.-Mexico border, both surfacing in San Diego-area warehouses and equipped with rail systems for moving contraband, officials said on Friday. The discovery led to the arrest of a 73-year-old woman accused of running one of the warehouses connected to a drug smuggling operation, according to a joint news release by four federal agencies. The tunnels were discovered as part of a five-month investigation by the so-called San Diego Tunnel Task Force. Federal law enforcement officials said the first tunnel, which connects a warehouse in Tijuana, Mexico, with one in an industrial park in the border community of Otay Mesa, is about 600 yards long and is furnished with lighting, a crude rail system and wooden trusses.
 

Mormons conference this weekend in Salt Lake City

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:20:49 PMGo to full article
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — More than 100,000 Latter-day Saints are expected in Salt Lake City this weekend for the church's biannual general conference.
 

Midday Glance: Silver companies

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:20:28 PMGo to full article
Shares of some top silver companies are up at 1 p.m.: Hecla Mining Co. rose $.04 or 1.1 percent, to $3.16. Pan American Silver Corp. rose $.10 or .8 percent, to $13.27. Silver Standard Resources Inc. rose ...
 

Desperate hunt is on for Flight 370 'black boxes'

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:17:32 PMGo to full article
In this Sunday, March 30, 2014 photo, a towed pinger locator (TPL), used to detect black box recorders, sits on the wharf at naval base HMAS Stirling in Perth, Australia, ready to be fitted to the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Crews searching for the jet launched a targeted underwater hunt on Friday, April 4 for the plane's black boxes along a stretch of remote ocean, with just days left before the devices' batteries are expected to run out. The Ocean Shield, which is dragging the towed pinger locator from the U.S. Navy, and the British navy's HMS Echo, which has underwater search gear on board, will converge along a 240-kilometer (150-mile) track in a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)PERTH, Australia (AP) — Four weeks after the Malaysia Airlines jet vanished, two ships deployed sound locators Friday in the southern Indian Ocean in a desperate attempt to find the plane's flight recorders before their signal beacons fall silent.
 
 

Prosecutors told to share evidence in girl's death

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:11:40 PMGo to full article
GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — A judge ordered prosecutors Friday to turn over evidence about the death of a 9-year-old girl who police say was run to death by her grandmother, who is charged with capital murder and facing a possible death penalty.
 

States revolt against powerful new painkiller

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:09:14 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 file photo, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin delivers the State of the State Address at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. On Thursday, April 3, 2014, Shumlin announced an emergency order that would make it harder for physicians to prescribe a new class of drugs that includes Zohydro. Many feel the extended-release pill is prone to abuse, because it's not tamper resistant and contains up to five times more of the narcotic hydrocodone than previously available in other pills. (AP Photo/Andy Duback, File)BARRE, Vt. (AP) — State officials fighting a well-publicized battle against heroin and prescription drug abuse are revolting against a powerful new painkiller that law enforcement and public health officials fear could worsen an already acute drug problem.
 
 

Yellowstone fighting online supervolcano rumors

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:08:41 PMGo to full article
File photo of a bison walking in Yellowstone National ParkYELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is fighting online rumors that running bison seen in a YouTube video are fleeing a possible explosion of the park's supervolcano.
 
 

NC judge denies Duke motion to seal coal ash docs

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:08:00 PMGo to full article
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has denied Duke Energy's motion seeking to shield records related to groundwater pollution leeching from 33 coal ash dumps in the state while a separate federal criminal investigation is ongoing.
 

3 children killed in central Pennsylvania fire

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:04:25 PMGo to full article
DANVILLE, Pa. (AP) — An early morning farmhouse fire in north-central Pennsylvania killed three children, ages 2 to 13, authorities said.
 

Remembering Fort Hood's fallen

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:01:02 PMGo to full article
(Reuters) - The three soldiers who died in the shooting rampage at Texas' Fort Hood this week were all men in their 30s, according to new details from friends and family that emerged on Friday, two days after the attack at the massive Army base. Details on the three victims follows: Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, 39, has been described as the hero of Fort Hood, for physically holding a door shut, preventing the gunman from entering a room full of military personnel. "He held that door shut because it wouldn't lock," fiance and fellow soldier Kristen Haley told WTSP, a CBS TV affiliate in Tampa, Florida. Sergeant Timothy Owens, 37, died after apparently being shot in the chest at close range, his mother-in-law, Darlene Owens, told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.
 

Lawsuit over Hebrew National hot dogs is revived

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:59:32 PMGo to full article
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A year after ConAgra Foods Inc won the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that its Hebrew National hot dogs were not kosher, a higher authority has given the case new life. A federal appeals court in St. Paul, Minnesota on Friday said a trial judge erred in dismissing the lawsuit brought by 11 consumers in its entirety on the ground that the First Amendment barred him from addressing the underlying religious questions. Instead, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found simply that the case did not belong in federal court, and returned it to the Dakota County, Minnesota state court where it began. ConAgra has long used the slogan "we answer to a higher authority" to promote Hebrew National products.
 

Judge in porch shooting case won't step down

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:57:07 PMGo to full article
FILE - In a Dec. 18, 2013 file photo, Theodore Wafer, left, listens to his attorneys while appearing at his preliminary examination in district court in in Dearborn Heights, Mich. The 55-year-old awaits trial on second-degree murder charges for fatally shooting a young, unarmed woman through the screen door on his front porch. His lawyers are seeking to have the Wayne County Circuit Court trial judge take herself off the case because of her ties to prosecutors. A hearing is scheduled Friday, April 4, 2014. Defense attorneys say he feared for his life, but prosecutors say the shooting of Renisha McBride, 19, was not justified. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)DETROIT (AP) — A judge has denied a request by defense attorneys to remove herself from the case of a Detroit-area man who fatally shot an unarmed woman on his porch last fall.
 
 

Legal pot in Colorado hasn't stopped black market

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:54:53 PMGo to full article
This photo provided by Courtesy Lafayette Colorado Police Dept, Nathaniel Tallman is shown. Moise Mendez, along with Russell Britton and Daniel Ortiz are charged with felony first-degree murder, robbery and aggravated motor-vehicle theft in the death of 25-year-old Nathaniel Tallman. Tallman was shot dead trying to sell marijuana the old-fashioned, illegal way. While no one expected the state's first-in-the-nation recreational sales would eliminate the need for dangerous underground sales overnight, the violence has raised concerns among police, prosecutors and pot advocates that a black market for marijuana is alive and well in Colorado. (AP Photo/Courtesy Lafayette Colorado Police Dept)DENVER (AP) — A 25-year-old is shot dead trying to sell marijuana the old-fashioned, illegal way. Two men from Texas set up a warehouse to grow more than they would ever need. And three people buying pot in a grocery store parking lot are robbed at gunpoint.
 
 

Federal judge says he will issue ruling that will strike down Ohio's ban on gay marriage

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:31:59 PMGo to full article
CINCINNATI (AP) — Federal judge says he will issue ruling that will strike down Ohio's ban on gay marriage.
 

North Korea says it will counter regime change

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:27:36 PMGo to full article
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korea is warning the United States that any maneuver intended to change the reclusive communist regime will be viewed as a red line that will result in countermeasures.
 

Fla. clerk who mistook body for mannequin fired

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:26:18 PMGo to full article
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 61-year-old front desk clerk at a Florida apartment complex has been fired after mistaking the body of a tenant for a mannequin and throwing it in a trash bin.
 

Fort Hood gunman had 'unstable' mental condition

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:24:49 PMGo to full article
This undated image provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Unstable mental health may be a "fundamental, underlying cause" of a soldier's shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left four people dead, though an argument with another service member likely preceded the attack, according to investigators.
 
 

Man appeals sentence in White House shooting

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:20:37 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting at the White House is appealing his sentence.
 

Federal judge hears arguments in ND abortion case

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:12:14 PMGo to full article
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge is set to hear arguments in a legal challenge to a North Dakota law that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
 

Britons who pleaded guilty to U.S. terror charges seek secret files

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:52:38 PMGo to full article
By Richard Weizel MILFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - Two British men who pleaded guilty to raising money for al Qaeda and the Taliban go to a U.S. court on Friday seeking access to secret documents about a witness whose testimony could influence how long they spend in prison. The pair, 39-year-old Babar Ahmad and 34-year-old Syed Talha Ahsan, have argued in papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, that they have a right to more information on the witness, British citizen Saajid Badat. According to U.S. prosecutors, Badat was recruited into al Qaeda as a result of Ahmad's work and went on to play a role in the attempt by "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, another Briton, to blow up a jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean just three months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. "The witness has perhaps the greatest incentive to lie and the greatest need for effective confrontation," the lawyers said in court papers.
 

Many returning military vets bound for college

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:38:49 PMGo to full article
Andrew Kispert, a 27-year-old Marine veteran who is now attending The Citadel, poses on the campus of the military college in Charleston, S.C., on Friday, April 4, 2014. Over the next few years thousands of veterans are expected to attend college as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and the military downsizes. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — After five years in the Marines, including a tour in Afghanistan in which he saw buddies die in combat, Andrew Kispert found going back to college as a new veteran one of his biggest challenges yet. For starters, there was the strangeness of resuming civilian life.
 
 

Milwaukee group wants to buy Pabst Blue Ribbon

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:31:04 PMGo to full article
This image provided by the Pabst Mansion museum shows a postcard depicting the Pabst Brewery around 1900 in Milwaukee. A small group of Milwaukee residents want to revive the city's beer brewing tradition by buying Pabst Brewing Co. from a California executive in hopes of returning the brand's headquarters to its birthplace. (AP Photo/Pabst Mansion)MILWAUKEE (AP) — Long before it was known for fine cheddar cheese or the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin was famous for beer, especially the national brands brewed in Milwaukee: Schlitz, Blatz and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
 
 

Crane falls at Michigan steel facility; 1 dead

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:12:01 PMGo to full article
ECORSE, Mich. (AP) — Police say a worker has died after a crane fell at a U.S. Steel facility in suburban Detroit.
 

AP PHOTOS: From the eye of Anja Niedringhaus

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:01:20 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010 file photo made by Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, a Canadian soldier with the 1st RCR Battle Group, The Royal Canadian Regiment, chases a chicken seconds before he and his unit were attacked by grenades shot over the wall during a patrol in Salavat, southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Niedringhaus, 48, an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed and an AP reporter was wounded on Friday, April 4, 2014 when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)Anja Niedringhaus, a courageous and immensely talented Associated Press photographer who has covered everything from sports to war, was killed while covering elections in Afghanistan on Friday.
 
 

Denver mayor to learn about Amsterdam pot rules

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎04:58:37 PMGo to full article
DENVER (AP) — Denver's mayor will visit Amsterdam next week partly to learn about marijuana regulation in the country that led the way in pot liberalization.

 

CBN.com - World

Malaysia Jet Hunt Goes Undersea as Time Runs Out

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The search is on for the black boxes that hold the key to what happened aboard the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
 

'Festival of Joy' Spreads Gospel in Costa Rica

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
In Costa Rica's mountainous coffee country, Christians recently joined forces to offer their neighbors free healthcare and entertainment, along with a life-changing message.
 

Lebanon Registers One-Millionth Refugee

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Lebanon is now home to more than one million Syrian refugees, that's equivalent to nearly a fourth of the entire Lebanese population.
 

Downward Spiral: Erdogan's Radical Makeover of Turkey

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The U.S. has long viewed Turkey as an ally and force for moderation in the Muslim world. But recently, the republic has moved in a radically different direction.
 

US Built 'Cuban Twitter' to Undermine Castro Regime

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The U.S. government secretly built a Cuban version of Twitter in hopes of undermining the communist Castro regime, according to an Associated Press report.
 

Major Aftershock Triggers New Evacuations in Chile

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The north coast of Chile was rocked by another earthquake Wednesday night, prompting a new round of evacuations.
 

Syria Envoy Warns UN of 'Staged' Chemical Attack

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Syria's U.N. ambassador is accusing militants of staging a chemical attack with the intent of blaming it on President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
 

CAR Held Hostage to Killings, Sexual Violence

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Escalating violence in the capitol of Central African Republic has pushed to the United Nations to call on the international community to do more to help.
 

UK Launches Global Probe of Muslim Brotherhoood

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
British intelligence agencies are investigating the Muslim Brotherhood inside and outside the United Kingdom.
 

Ousted Ukraine President: 'I Was Wrong to Invite Russia'

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Viktor Yanukovych, who fled Ukraine in February, said he will try to persuade Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine.
 

Deadly 8.2 Earthquake Displaces Thousands in Chile

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
A powerful earthquake struck off northern Chile Tuesday, setting off a small tsunami. Five people died and more than 80,000 have been displaced.
 

Soviet Sweden? Model Nation Sliding to Third World

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Sweden is wealthy, beautiful, and modern. But it has been compared to nations like the Soviet Union. One U.N. report says it will soon be a third-world nation.
 

No US Troops Killed in Afghanistan in March

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
No U.S. service members died in Afghanistan in March, according to a recent NATO report.
 

The Pope, iPhone, and a 'New Era' with Pentecostals

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
A video message from Pope Francis to U.S. charismatic Christians has gone viral, starting what some religious leaders are calling "a new era" with Pentecostals.
 

Hagel: US 'Can't Confirm' Russia's Ukraine Withdrawal

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is downplaying recent reports that Russian troops are pulling away from Ukraine's border.
 

Naghmeh Abedini: Pastor Saeed 'Doing Better'

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Pastor Saeed Abedini's wife says he's doing better now that he's getting some medical treatment.
 

Islamic Nigerian Militants Kill 1,500 this Year

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The Islamic uprising in Nigeria is behind at least 1,500 deaths this year alone.
 

Objects Seen in Jet Search Are Fishing Equipment

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
A cluster of orange objects spotted by a search plane was just fishing equipment and not related to the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, officials said Monday.
 

North, South Korea Trade Fire over Disputed Border

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Tensions between North and South Korea are heating up again after Pyongyang announced it would conduct live-fire drills in the Yellow Sea.
 

Brazil Slum "Pacification" Precedes World Cup

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Brazilian Police and Marines invaded a lawless slum area in Rio de Janiero as part of a clean-up campaign ahead of this summer's soccer World Cup. 
 

US, Russia Talks Fail to End Ukraine Impasse

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Russia may begin pulling back troops from the border of Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin offered the partial withdraw.
 

Christian Man Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
A Muslim man in Pakistan accused Sawan Masih of insulting Islam's prophet, Mohammed. Now he faces death despite concerns about the fairness of his trial.
 

Russia Build-Up Sparks Fears of Full Scale Invasion

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Russia's military build-up along Ukraine's borders have many Western leaders wondering whether Moscow is planning another incursion into Ukraine.
 

What Did Pres. Obama Talk about with the Pope?

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Differing accounts of Thursday's meeting between Pope Francis and President Barack Obama are emerging in Italy.
 

Malaysia Jet Search Shifts in Light of New Data

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The search for Malaysia Flight 370 has shifted closer to Australia. Investigators now believe it was going faster than normal and may have crashed earlier.
 

Jordan Set to Open Third Syrian Refugee Camp

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The country of Jordan is preparing to open its third camp for Syrian war refugees.
 

Russia Aggression Growing Despite World Pressure

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
U.S. Congress is imposing harsher sanctions on Russia over its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula even as Russian aggression appears to be increasing.
 

Obama Preps for First Time Meeting with Pope

 
‎03 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
President Barack Obama arrived at the Vatican Thursday amid the pomp and tradition of the Catholic Church to meet Pope Francis for the first time.
 

Weather Slows Malaysia Search, 300 Objects Found

 
‎03 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
More debris has been spotted near the search area in the case of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
 

Palestinian UN Statehood Push Threatens Mideast Talks

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority appear to be hanging by thread again after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry canceled his visit there. 
 

'America's Rabbi' Shares Business Secrets of the Bible

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Rabbi Daniel Lapin says you'll almost never find Jews tinkering with their cars or mowing their own lawns on the weekends.
 

'Elpis School' Changing Lives of Burmese Migrants

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Parents worldwide want their children to have a good education and a better future. But in some nations, it's hard enough just to stay alive.
 

Political Limbo: Thai Court Chucks Election Results

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
A Thai court threw out the results of the nation's recent general election, a sign the country's political crisis is far from over.
 

Al Qaeda-Linked Islamists Capture Christian Town

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Syrian rebel forces led by al Nusra Front captured the Armenian Christian town of Kassab in Latakia near the Turkish border this week.
 

Russia-Ukraine Crisis a Fulfillment of Prophecy?

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Ukraine's defense minister resigned as thousands of Ukrainian soldiers withdrew from the Crimean Peninsula, leaving Russian forces in total control.
 

Malaysia Search: Objects 'Most Credible Lead' Yet

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Investigators continued to uncover new clues Wednesday in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
 

Brave German Woman: Why Heidi Mund Rebuked Islam

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Heidi Mund has gained notoriety for publicly standing up to Islam's creeping influence in her homeland of German. Now she's revealing why.
 

Hungary Sliding Back to Nazi-Era Anti-Semitism?

 
‎02 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Old scapegoats have come back to life in Hungary as an anti-Semitic party is a strong contender to finish second in upcoming elections. Evangelicals are very concerned.
 

Egypt Court Sentences Brotherhood Members to Death

 
‎01 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
Nearly 700 members of the Muslim Brotherhood are on trial in Egypt Tuesday, many charged with sabotage and murder.
 

Ukraine Withdraws from Crimea, G-8 Drops Russia

 
‎01 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:00:00 AMGo to full article
The G-8 officially became the G-7 after world leaders agreed to suspend Russia's 15-year membership in the group.

 

 

 

CBN.com Video RSS Feed - Christian World News Episodes

 

Christian World News: March 28, 2014

 
‎28 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎09:22:24 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: The woman who spoke out against radical Islam in Germany is now sharing her views on the state of the church, and how it can regain its spiritual power. Plus, they left Islam to follow Christ and had to flee ...
 

Christian World News: March 21, 2014

 
‎21 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:09:51 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: As Russia claims Crimea, eastern Ukraine is on the verge of chaos. See what happens when a group of Christians comes under attack by pro-Russian demonstrators. Plus, crisis in Central Africa. How a ...
 

Christian World News: March 14, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Three years of carnage, atrocity, and heartbreak. Syria's civil war reaches a sad milestone. We'll tell you how Christians are affected and how they're helping. Plus, the Christian called to lead Ukraine for ...
 

Christian World News: March 7, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: A love story from halfway around the world. A family torn apart by war, reunites after a decade apart. Plus, Ukraine has the largest population of Jews in Eastern Europe. How will the Russian takeover in Crimea ...
 

Christian World News: February 28, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Revolution in Ukraine. A new government takes over, with an evangelical Christian at the head. Will threats from the East endanger the new leaders? And, North Korea jails another foreign Christian. What's the ...
 

Christian World News: February 21, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Ukraine teeters on the edge of chaos. Police and protestors in bloody, pitched battles. What is the church's response? Plus, called to account. A United Nations report blasts North Korea for human rights ...
 

Christian World News: February 14, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: The protest video that's gone viral on the Internet. We'll tell you what motivated this brave German woman to speak out. Plus, the FBI targets the machine gun preacher. Why did government agents raid Sam ...
 

Christian World News: February 7, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
Defending the oppressed. President Obama makes the case for promoting religious liberty. What action will he take to protect persecuted believers around the world? Plus, death in the Nubas. Sudan's Omar Bashir renews attacks against Christians ...
 

Christian World News: January 31, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Tensions rising in Ukraine. As the standoff between the government and protestors continues, the church stands for peace. Plus, the Middle Eastern Muslims who oppose Islamic extremism, are friendly with the ... ...
 

Christian World News: January 24, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Chaos in Ukraine. A crackdown on political protests sparks outrage and violence. Christians are on the front lines speaking out for freedom, while praying for peace. Plus, Syria's civil war: As peace talks ... ...
 

Christian World News: January 17, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Hope for Egypt. As citizens line up to support a draft constitution, we’ll tell you why Christians believe it's good news for their community. Plus, Standing up for Saeed. American pastors are risking arrest ...
 

Christian World News: January 10, 2014

 
‎18 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎03:41:42 PMGo to full article
This week Christian World News: The suffering church. In 2013, the number of Christians killed for their faith nearly doubled. We'll tell you which countries are the most dangerous to be a follower of Christ. Plus, the world's newest nation ... ...
 

Christian World News: March 14, 2014

 
‎14 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎10:57:20 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Three years of carnage, atrocity, and heartbreak. Syria's civil war reaches a sad milestone. We'll tell you how Christians are affected and how they're helping. Plus, the Christian called to lead Ukraine for ...
 

Christian World News: March 7, 2014

 
‎07 ‎March ‎2014, ‏‎11:11:39 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: A love story from halfway around the world. A family torn apart by war, reunites after a decade apart. Plus, Ukraine has the largest population of Jews in Eastern Europe. How will the Russian takeover in Crimea ...
 

Christian World News: February 28, 2014

 
‎28 ‎February ‎2014, ‏‎10:23:47 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Revolution in Ukraine. A new government takes over, with an evangelical Christian at the head. Will threats from the East endanger the new leaders? And, North Korea jails another foreign Christian. What's the ...
 

Christian World News: February 21, 2014

 
‎21 ‎February ‎2014, ‏‎10:32:50 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Ukraine teeters on the edge of chaos. Police and protestors in bloody, pitched battles. What is the church's response? Plus, called to account. A United Nations report blasts North Korea for human rights ...
 

Christian World News: February 14, 2014

 
‎14 ‎February ‎2014, ‏‎10:30:40 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: The protest video that's gone viral on the Internet. We'll tell you what motivated this brave German woman to speak out. Plus, the FBI targets the machine gun preacher. Why did government agents raid Sam ...
 

Christian World News: February 7, 2014

 
‎07 ‎February ‎2014, ‏‎10:47:20 PMGo to full article
Defending the oppressed. President Obama makes the case for promoting religious liberty. What action will he take to protect persecuted believers around the world? Plus, death in the Nubas. Sudan's Omar Bashir renews attacks against Christians ...
 

Christian World News: January 31, 2014

 
‎31 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:22:40 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Tensions rising in Ukraine. As the standoff between the government and protestors continues, the church stands for peace. Plus, the Middle Eastern Muslims who oppose Islamic extremism, are friendly with the ... ...
 

Christian World News: January 24, 2014

 
‎24 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:31:33 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Chaos in Ukraine. A crackdown on political protests sparks outrage and violence. Christians are on the front lines speaking out for freedom, while praying for peace. Plus, Syria's civil war: As peace talks ... ...
 

Christian World News: January 17, 2014

 
‎17 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:54 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Hope for Egypt. As citizens line up to support a draft constitution, we’ll tell you why Christians believe it's good news for their community. Plus, Standing up for Saeed. American pastors are risking arrest ...
 

Christian World News: January 10, 2014

 
‎17 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎06:56:20 PMGo to full article
This week Christian World News: The suffering church. In 2013, the number of Christians killed for their faith nearly doubled. We'll tell you which countries are the most dangerous to be a follower of Christ. Plus, the world's newest nation ... ...
 

Christian World News: January 3, 2014

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week Christian World News: Terror attacks rock Russia. While some fear for the safety of the Olympic games in February, we’ll introduce you to a man who has dedicated his life to bringing peace to the region. Plus, Iraq's Christians are ...
 

Christian World News: December 27, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week Christian World News: The Year in Review
 

Christian World News: December 20, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week Christian World News: The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest churches in the world, but was it really built on the actual site of Jesus Christ's birth? Our report looks at the evidence. And, the lost story from Charles Dickens ...
 

Christian World News: December 13, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Pleading for Pastor Saeed. As the U.S. and other world powers negotiate with Iran, his wife tells the U.S. Congress that her husband's fate is being ignored. Plus, violence in the Central African Republic. ...
 

Christian World News: December 6, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: We go to the Holy Land to show you some of the most amazing discoveries of recent years. From King David's palace, to Solomon's temple, and the places where some of the most famous prophets of the Bible worked ...
 

Christian World News: November 29, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Giving thanks in America. We go back in history for a look at the faith that drove men of God to seek freedom. Plus, an American missionary boldly shares the love of Jesus in a Muslim courtroom. Hear how the ...
 

Christian World News: November 22, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Two weeks after a devastating typhoon hit the Philippines, relief groups are literally blazing new trails to get relief to remote areas of the country. Plus, remembering C.S. Lewis on the 50th anniversary of ...
 

Christian World News: November 15, 2013

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎10:10:05 PMGo to full article
This week on Christian World News: Desperation in the Philippines. Tens of thousands are without food, water or shelter, as relief workers struggle to deliver much-needed help. And, the U.S. steps up the fight against an African terrorist group. ...

 

TheBlaze.com - Stories

 

‘It Went Kaboom!’: Semitruck Crashes Over Bridge Wall…but Now for the Good News

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎09:08:57 PM | Dave UrbanskiGo to full article
“It went kaboom!” eyewitness Dan Wagner recounted, with more than a hint of wonder.

He said he then looked toward the origin of the exploding sound and saw “the truck go over,” Wagner told WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio.

Image source:

Image source: WBNS-TV

The resulting scene near downtown Columbus Thursday revealed a semitruck hanging over the edge of a bridge after it crashed over its protective wall. The driver in the dangling cab kept shouting, “I’m OK!” but rescuers told WBNS they were concerned the semi, only feet from power lines, could fall to the ground.

Firefighters secured the vehicle and used a ladder truck to hoist a bucket and rescue the driver…

Image source:

Image source: WBNS-TV

…who walked away from the scene without a scratch:

Image source: WBNS-TV

Image source: WBNS-TV

Police were investigating the cause of the crash. A tire came off the truck, which may have led to an unstable drive. The tire also could have come off at impact.

 

Read more stories from TheBlaze

 

What a 91-Year-Old Man Has Been Keeping in His Basement Got Him a Visit From the FBI

Get a Load of the Striking Shift in Tone After Feminists Learn Identity of News Outlet Interviewing Them

Researchers’ Stunning Claim About Noah’s Ark Might Surprise You

What a Professor Emailed a Conservative Group Is So Vile, We Can’t Put It in the Headline

Popular Web Browser CEO Resigns Amid Gay Marriage Controversy

 

 

Guess Which MSNBC Host’s Conference Obama Will Be Speaking At

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎09:00:08 PM | Fred LucasGo to full article
President Barack Obama will speak at the annual convention next week run by the controversial activist and TV host Al Sharpton.

Rev. Al Sharpton and President Barack Obama wave to the audience at the National Action Network’s Keepers of the Dream Awards Gala in New York, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Frank Franklin II/AP

Obama is scheduled to deliver the keynote address to the organization next Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

The annual convention of the National Action Network is being held April 9-12 in New York at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.

“The 2014 NAN national convention will address issues of civil rights and social justice including, gun control reform, education, health and wellness, economic justice and much more,” the organization’s website says. “The Convention will kick of with NAN’s annual Keepers of the Dream Award Gala in New York City.”

The event coincides with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights Act. On Thursday, Obama will speak at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library about the act.

Sharpton is the host of MSNBC’s Politics Nation and has been known for inflammatory rhetoric.

He is a long time activist in New York, and first became a national figure for falsely accusing a state prosecutor of rape in the Tawana Brawley hoax, for which he lost a defamation suit in the late 1980s. He was also criticized for the Crown Heights riots in 1991 that took on an anti-Jewish tone. In 2004, Sharpton ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Obama previously spoke to the organization in 2011.

Read more stories from TheBlaze

 

What a 91-Year-Old Man Has Been Keeping in His Basement Got Him a Visit From the FBI

Get a Load of the Striking Shift in Tone After Feminists Learn Identity of News Outlet Interviewing Them

Researchers’ Stunning Claim About Noah’s Ark Might Surprise You

What a Professor Emailed a Conservative Group Is So Vile, We Can’t Put It in the Headline

Popular Web Browser CEO Resigns Amid Gay Marriage Controversy

 

 

Watch Today’s BlazeCast at 3pm ET With Your Questions, Comments & Live Chat!

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:54:54 PM | Scott BakerGo to full article
This broadcast with TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker will begin at 3pm ET.

To join the chat — there is a button on the top right of the player window or you can hover your cursor over the player window for options.

 

To ask a question — click the button at the bottom. We’ll be able to display your question or comment in the player window!

And as always you can leave other comments in the regular comment section below!

Read more stories from TheBlaze

 

What a 91-Year-Old Man Has Been Keeping in His Basement Got Him a Visit From the FBI

Get a Load of the Striking Shift in Tone After Feminists Learn Identity of News Outlet Interviewing Them

Researchers’ Stunning Claim About Noah’s Ark Might Surprise You

What a Professor Emailed a Conservative Group Is So Vile, We Can’t Put It in the Headline

Popular Web Browser CEO Resigns Amid Gay Marriage Controversy

 

 

Paula Deen Restaurant at Center of Scandal Closes

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎08:39:21 PM | Madeleine MorgensternGo to full article
The Georgia restaurant co-owned by Paula Deen that was at the center of the lawsuit that resulted in the celebrity chef admitting to having used a racial slur, sending her career into a tailspin, has closed.

In this Dec. 30, 2010 photo, Paula Deen speaks in Pasadena, Calif. (AP/Nick Ut)

“Thank you for 10 great years. Uncle Bubba’s is now closed,” a statement on the Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House website said.

Deen spokesman Jaret Keller told the Associated Press that co-owner Bubba Hiers, Deen’s brother, decided to close it to explore development options.

In 2012, a former worker at the Savannah, Ga., restaurant filed suit claiming she was sexually harassed and that she heard racial remarks in the workplace, including racial slurs used by both Deen and Hiers. Deen admitted during a deposition that she had used the N-word in the past. Despite issuing a public apology, she was dropped by the Food Network in June 2013.

Deen has experienced more backslides as she’s tried recently to revitalize her image. In February, she drew condemnation for comparing her struggle to openly gay NFL prospect Michael Sam, calling him “that black football player.”

“It’s like that black football player who recently came out,” Deen said in an interview. “He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying.”

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Even This Left-Wing State Has Issues With Common Core

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:56:59 PM | Fred LucasGo to full article
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, widely viewed as one of the nation’s most liberal governors in one of the nation’s most liberal states, will consider signing bills by a Democratic legislature curbing the reach of the Common Core education standards.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks during a general session at the California Democrats State Convention on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

The state Senate this week gave final passage on three bills that address concerns over implementaiton of the standards. Two of the bills have already been passed by the state House, and O’Malley is expected to sign both, according to the Maryland Reporter.

In February, when O’Malley was at the White House for a National Governors Association gathering, he said the only dispute about Common Core is the implementation, not the standards themselves.

Common Core standards were developed by the NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officials. The standards have been adopted by 44 states, including the District of Columbia, though several states appear to have some buyer’s remorse: Indiana recently ditched the standards altogether, while numerous other states are engaged in a review. Some critics fear the standards will create a de facto national curriculum because the adoption is tied to federal grants for schools.

One of the Maryland bills delays the use of student test performance data in teacher evaluations and personnel decisions. Another requires legislative oversight of the Maryland Department of Education’s implementation of the standards and meeting the goals of standardized tests in order to get federal grans from the U.S. Department of Education.

These two billls passed the Senate unanimously and are being considered by O’Malley.

Another bill establishes an implementation working group to review Common Core and the standardized tests that are part of the standards. This bill, which passed the Senate with only one dissenting vote, will now be considered by the House.

O’Malley is considered a likely contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

While many of the objections to Common Core are on the right, numerous other blue states are having issues. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo established a task force to review the implementation of the standards. Recently, there was a large protest against the standards by teachers, students and parents in New York City.

(H/T: Maryland Reporter)

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What a Way to Start Your Day: Camera Captures the Moment a FedEx Worker Discovers He Left His Van in Neutral…on a Hill

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎07:08:33 PM | Becket AdamsGo to full article
Fun fact: Gravity is real and it is constantly at work.

That’s what one unfortunate FedEx driver was forced to remember after he got out of a Dodge Sprinter van that he had apparently left in neutral. On an incline.

Image source: Screen grab via YouTube

Image source: YouTube

Unsurprisingly, and despite the driver’s best attempts to stop the van by brute force, the van responded to the laws of gravity and rolled away, nearly plowing into a home at the bottom of the hill.

Footage of the incident was captured on what appears to be a home security camera. The footage is dated April 3, 2014.

 

The video was first posted to Internet forum Reddit on Thursday by user Dsquared77.

“Lucky … only broke a door,” the Reddit user wrote. “It could have hit the tree, it could have hit THE OTHER tree, it could have hit the house. It did bunny hop a little. But really, it could have been A LOT worse. S**t happens. I just hope this guy doesn’t loose [sic] his job over it.”

It’s unclear where the incident took place.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

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Hillary Scolds Media for ‘Double Standard’ on Women

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:28:24 PM | Fred LucasGo to full article
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an audience in New York that the news media has a “double standard” against women in powerful position, and offered advice to younger women on how to overcome it.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a student conference for the Clinton Global Initiative University at Arizona State University, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

“There is a double standard,” Clinton said, according to Politico. “We have all experienced it.”

Clinton was speaking on a panel at the “Women in the World” conference in New York Thursday, along with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and moderated by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

“The double standard is alive and well, and I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of its persistence,” Clinton continued. “And I think the media needs to be, you know, more self-consciously aware of that.”

Hillary Clinton supporters have frequently complained about her tough treatment by the media, particularly when she faced off against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

During the discussion, Friedman suggested that both women could be president, as Lagarde is considered a potential contender for president of the European Union Commission.

As a response, Clinton and Lagarde gave each other high fives.

Asked if she had plans for 2016, Clinton responded, “not right now,” before adding: “Some of what hasn’t been finished may go on to be finished.”

Clinton offerred advice for women to overcome a media double standard, she said criticism should be taken in a constructive way.

“Too many young women, I think, are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant,” she said. “They too often take criticism personally instead of seriously … you can’t let it crush you and you have to be resilient enough to keep moving forward despite the personal setbacks.”

“Believe me, this is hard-won advice I’m now putting forward here. It’s not like you wake up and understand this,” Clinton said. “But it’s a process. And you need other women, you need your friends, to support you.”

(H/T: Politico)

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Glenn Beck Shares What Continues to Make Him Passionate About His Work

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎06:12:25 PM | Erica RitzGo to full article
Multimedia personality Glenn Beck is a man of many ideas. Speaking with Flipboard, a tool that allows you to create your own personal magazine by curating, collecting and sharing the news you care about, Beck said that in many ways, it is his never-ending stream of ideas that continues to make him passionate about his work.

“Some of the guys who work for me have been my friends for thirty years, and we joke about it all the time,” he said. “When I was driving my beat-up 1971 Thunderbird and counting the pennies to put enough gas in the tank to make that beast run, I would say, ‘Imagine what we could do, if… .’ And now we’re here.”

“My imagination doesn’t take a day off, and that’s a good thing, because now we can create it,” he added. “Now we can do those things.”

When asked what he is most proud of from his storied career, Beck smiled and said simply: “I don’t think I’ve created it yet.”

Watch the complete interview, below:

 

To coincide with Beck’s interview this week, Flipboard also released “TheBlaze on Faith,” a weekly resource for faith-themed news.

“TheBlaze on Faith” is curated by TheBlaze’s faith editor Billy Hallowell, and is updated once a week. Another vehicle to get TheBlaze content, the magazine includes significant and inspiring faith stories from TheBlaze, in addition to culture and faith stories from other outlets.

Beck emphasized during his interview with Flipboard that he has no interest in building a media organization identical to the others in existence. Rather, Beck said he is building a platform that has “a different point of view, that doesn’t look at things as left and right but right and wrong, and certainly doesn’t see Republican and Democrat as the box that we have to play in.”

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Car Crashes Through a CVS, but the Real Story Is the Elderly Customer With a Chocolate Craving That Might Have Saved Her Life

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:52:25 PM | Dave UrbanskiGo to full article
Eighty-year-old diabetic Adrienne Watkins was shopping to satisfy a craving: chocolate.

Watkins was standing at a display in the middle of a CVS in Winter Haven, Fla., on Wednesday when she suddenly backed up to check out a piece of candy at a counter that had caught her eye.

As she bent over to reach for her guilty pleasure, WTSP-TV in Tampa Bay reported, another elderly woman barreled a 2008 Chevy Impala through the store, smashing through the display Watkins had just been standing in front of.

Image source: Surveillance video via W

Adrienne Watkins watches as a car smashes through the display she had just been standing in front of. (Image source: Surveillance video via WTVT-TV)

You might say Watkins’ chocolate craving saved her life.

“If I’d walked up to pay for anything, it would have ended differently definitely,” Watkins, who sustained just cuts and bruises, told WTVT-TV.

 

Adding to the serendipity was Watkins’ realization after she looked at the woman in the car, then sitting in the middle of the store, its wheels still spinning and engine running.

“I thought, ‘I know her from somewhere,’” Watkins told WTVT.

The woman behind the wheel was 84-year-old Margaret Underwood, police said, a family friend of Watkins’, who said both women were “very concerned” about each other.

Underwood told WTVT she was “absolutely devastated” by the accident and is “as puzzled as anybody else as to how something like this could happen.”

Not the drive-thru pharmacy anyone had envisioned. (Image source: W screengrab)

Probably not the drive-thru pharmacy anyone had envisioned. (Image source: WTSP-TV)

Police said Underwood dropped off her husband at the CVS and waited for him in the car. When her husband returned, Underwood accidentally backed into a Chevy Suburban. After her husband exited their Impala to check on the condition of the Suburban, Underwood apparently put the car in drive, hit the accelerator and crashed through the store.

CVS associate Stormy Fulcomer ran over after hearing the crash and saw Watkins lying on the floor and heard Underwood’s Impala still revving and the wheels still spinning, WTSP-TV reported. Fulcomer assisted both Watkins and Underwood and made sure the vehicle was turned off.

Damage to the store is estimated at $65,000; Underwood was cited for improper backing and careless driving, WTSP reported.


 

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A Senator Went to the Wrong Hearing and Didn’t Even Realize It Until He Had Already Asked a Question

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:07:52 PM | Becket AdamsGo to full article
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) walked into a Senate committee hearing on Thursday and addressed a witness with some very specific budget-related questions.

But there was a slight problem: Coats was in the wrong hearing.

The senator was originally scheduled to question Principal Deputy Defense Undersecretary Mike McCord about the defense budget. Instead, he ended up pressing Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen for answers.

“I just want to follow up on a parochial question, if you don’t mind, and that is the Indiana delegation sent to the Pentagon, Undersecretary Hale, a letter dated March 24th, asking some questions about the AMFO initiative,” Coats said.

“That’s the Army financial management optimization program. Number one, I want to commend you because, unprecedented in my career, we received a letter back on March 26th, of the same year. So I’m very impressed with that. A word of thanks there in terms of response,” he added.

Coats apparently didn’t realize his mistake until an aide passed him a note informing him of the mix-up, according to Gawker.

“Well, that would explain why I didn’t know anything about this letter,” Cohen joked to the committee.

 

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

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George W. Bush Reveals the Huge ‘Diss’ Vladimir Putin Once Gave Him

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎04:49:17 PM | Madeleine MorgensternGo to full article
Russia’s recent actions in Crimea have shown a lot about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s character and resolve, but perhaps something Putin once said to former President George W. Bush years ago tells you all you need to know.

President George W. Bush and former President George H. W. Bush greet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bush family house in Kennebunkport, Maine, in July 2007. (AFP/Getty Images/Jim Watson)

Bush revealed on NBC’s “Today” that Putin once actually “dissed” his dog — and then followed up a year later by showing off his own “bigger, stronger and faster” hound.

“As you know … our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart, I introduced him to Putin, Putin kind of dissed him — ‘You really call that a dog?’” Bush told his daughter, “Today” correspondent Jenna Bush Hager. The Scottish terrier, who lived with the Bushes during their eight years in the White House, died last year.

Bush was publicly unveiling some of his portraits of world leaders, including one of Putin.

“A year later, your mom and I go to visit, Vladimir … says, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’” Bush said. “Out bounds this huge hound, obviously much bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looks at me and says, ‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.’”

Former President George W. Bush's portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Image via the Bush Center/Flickr)

Former President George W. Bush’s portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Image via the Bush Center/Flickr)

Bush added: “I just took it in. I didn’t react. I just said, ‘Wow. Anybody who thinks ‘my dog is bigger than your dog’ is an interesting character.’ And that painting kind of reflects that.”

Watch Bush’s “Today” interview, with more looks at his paintings:

 

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This Could Be One of the Biggest Common Core Stories Yet — and It Involves a Mom Being Suspended From Her Child’s School

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎04:29:22 PM | Mike OpelkaGo to full article
A school in Sacramento, California, has suspended a mom over her stance against Common Core.

You read that correctly, the Mark Twain School in Sacramento has told the mother of a 12-year-old student that she has been suspended for two weeks. Police in Sacramento served the 14-day suspension to Katherine Duran in her home following a disagreement with the school over the soon-to-be enacted Common Core standards.

Image: screen capture news10.net

Image: screen capture news10.net

Duran’s son, Christopher, was not pleased when he learned of his mom’s suspension, telling the local KXTV, “I was outraged.”

Image: screen capture news10.net

Image: screen capture news10.net

The two week suspension was reportedly triggered after the officials charged that Katherine Duran was “disrupting the school.” When asked to clarify what Duran’s disruption was, Gabe Ross, a spokesperson for the school district, told the media, “It appears (she) went a little too far with regards to how she distributed information at school sites, distributing information to children directly.”

Image: screen capture news10.net

Image: screen capture news10.net

But according to Duran, she never distributed information to students on school grounds or to the children directly. The school district has even acknowledged that Ross’s statement was incorrect. See, Duran did not distribute the opt-out forms, her son did. And for that, she has been suspended.

“This is a method of teaching that’s untried, untested, unproven,” she told a reporter for News 10 in Sacramento.

 

The concerned mom signed an “opt-out” form and asked her son to take a few copies to school and hand them out to his friends to take home to their parents. The school’s principal then confiscates the forms. When Duran heard that the papers were taken away from her son, she visited the school and confronted principal Rosario Guillen. It was that meeting, according to the school, that triggered the police visiting the Duran home with the suspension order.

Image: screen capture news10.net

Image: screen capture news10.net

The principal of the Mark Twain School sent police with a chilling note that contained notice of the two-week “Withdrawal of Consent” as well as a threat of arrest should she violate the order. The letter also states that, “The District will seek reimbursement for attorney costs the courts may impose.”

Threat of arrest

TheBlaze has reached out to the Mark Twain School and the district offices of the Sacramento Unified School District. Calls to both of those outlets have not been returned.

 

We will be discussing this story and all the day’s news on our live BlazeCast with Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker (@bakerlink) beginning at 3pm ET


(H/T: KXTV)

Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @Stuntbrain

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Why Libertarians and People of Faith Are United and Divided Over Obamacare Contraception Mandate

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎04:09:39 PM | Fred LucasGo to full article
We will be discussing this story and all the day’s news on our live BlazeCast with Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker (@bakerlink) beginning at 3pm ET:

 

The First Amendment protects religious freedom, the primary argument against the Obamacare contraception mandate. The same amendment also protects freedom of association, mentioned nowhere in the legal case against it.

Hobby Lobby supporters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., March 25, 2014. The Supreme Court heard arguments over whether corporations can refuse to cover contraceptive services in their employees’ health care for religious beliefs. (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)

So some libertarians — who generally oppose the mandate — are not entirely of one mind on the legal basis of the challenge in the Hobby Lobby case awaiting a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“As a lawyer, I have to argue on what we have, and with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, we have a stronger chance of prevailing than with an argument over freedom of association or even economic freedom,” said Ilya Shapiro, an attorney with the Cato Institute, a prominent libertarian think tank. Shapiro filed a brief in the Hobby Lobby case.

“We value all liberty, including religious liberty,” Shapiro told TheBlaze. “So this was a no-brainer for us.”

To be sure, no libertarians are publicly advocating for the Obamacare mandate that requires employers to provide coverage for contraception methods that some employers say violate their religious beliefs. However, some libertarians have expressed misgivings about carving out an exemption based only on religious freedom.

“One depressing feature of the misguided constitutional debate over Obamacare was that it started from the common assumption that any general ‘freedom of contract’ objection to the statute was dead on arrival. This dubious premise warps the entire constitutional discourse,” wrote Richard Epstein, a New York University law professor and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

“A robust interpretation of freedom of association blocks the contraceptive mandate, not just for religious organizations, however defined, but for every group, regardless of its purposes or members,” Epstein said. “Any group that wants to supply contraceptive services is of course free to do so. But any group that opposes the mandate is free to go its separate way. Civil peace is preserved because no one faction or interest group can out-muscle any other.”

The Economist this week picked up on libertarian activists backing Hobby Lobby, despite the historical divide between libertarians and the religious right on a number of matters.

In Cato’s Supreme Court brief, Shapiro asserted a strong tie with religious freedom and an individual’s prerogative.

“These individuals do not check their religious values at the office door,” the brief said. “Indeed, this court has recognized repeatedly that an individual may ‘exercise’ religion in virtually every phase of life. For many people, religion determines the school they attend, the food they eat, the person they marry, and the place they work. It dictates how they lead their lives, how they raise their children, and how they are mourned when they die.”

But even within Cato, there seems to be concern about what the court ignored. Roger Pilon, director of Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies, contends that the court ignored what he thought should be a basic premise: that employers and employees should be free to enter into contracts without government.

“Thus have we come to a point at which religious liberty is recognized, if it is, as an exception to the general rule that government may require us to act as it dictates—and we have to be careful not to extend that accommodation too far lest it gobble up the rule,” Pilon wrote on Cato’s blog. “That’s a remarkable inversion of First Principles: government first, liberty second, as a limited exception.”

Though allied on many issues, religious conservatives and libertarians have long had suspicions of each other. Libertarians are divided on the abortion, and generally have varying and nuanced views on same-sex marriage, ranging from allowing states to decide to opposing all government recognition of any marriage.

Ayn Rand, a key intellectual leader in the libertarian movement, was openly hostile toward faith. But Shapiro told TheBlaze there is no collective libertarian attitude toward religion.

“Some libertarians are religious, some libertarians are fundamentalist, some libertarians are agnostic,” Shapiro said. “Some are hostile to religion. Some are very religious.”

He said that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a likely 2016 presidential contender, is an interesting example, routinely making the case that libertarian doesn’t mean libertine.

“Rand Paul is the first person of national prominence who can speak libertarian and evangelical,” Shapiro said. “He has definite appeal to both groups.”

A forum at the International Students for Liberty Conference in February stressed a biblical case for libertarianism. The panel referenced several scriptures, including 1 Samuel 8 to explain the biblical description of government, where the prophet Samuel warned the people of Israel that the king they were demanding would rule over them in an oppressive way.

While reluctant to endorse a biblical case, Shapiro said advocates of limited government recognize the limits of people in power.

“Nobody’s perfect is the secular take on man’s fallen nature,” Shapiro said. “Government is no more or no less perfect than the private sector. Government actors respond to the same motives as private sector actors.”

Without government intervention – in this case over the Obamacare contraception mandate – there would be fewer divides among Americans, Shapiro argued.

“Ultimately, the more government intervenes and tries to regulate lives, the more cultural clashes we’ll have,” Shapiro said. “There is no reason to have a battle over religious liberty and women’s liberties.”

Follow Fred Lucas (@FredVLucas3) on Twitter

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AP Photographer Killed, Reporter Wounded After Afghan Policeman Opens Fire on Their Car With AK-47

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎02:47:52 PM | Madeleine MorgensternGo to full article
An Associated Press photographer was killed and an AP reporter wounded when an Afghan policeman shouting “Allahu Akbar!” opened fire on their car with an AK-47 Friday, the AP announced.
In this Thursday, April 2005 file photo, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses for a photograph in Rome. Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and an AP reporter was wounded on Friday, April 4, 2014 when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. Niedringhaus an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed instantly, according to an AP Television freelancer who witnessed the shooting. Kathy Gannon, the reporter, was wounded twice and is receiving medical attention. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed and an AP reporter was wounded on Friday, April 4, 2014 when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. (AP/Peter Dejong, File)

Anja Niedringhaus, 48, a German photographer, was killed instantly, and AP correspondent Kathy Gannon was shot twice in eastern Afghanistan, the AP said.

“Anja and Kathy together have spent years in Afghanistan covering the conflict and the people there. Anja was a vibrant, dynamic journalist well-loved for her insightful photographs, her warm heart and joy for life. We are heartbroken at her loss,” said Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP.

According to the AP, Niedringhaus and Gannon were traveling in the city of Khost in a convoy with election workers ahead of Saturday’s presidential vote. A translator and an AP freelancer were also in the car. As they were waiting to move, a unit commander reportedly walked up to the car and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” spraying the back seat with his AK-47. He surrendered to other police.

“Anja is the 32nd AP staffer to give their life in pursuit of the news since AP was founded in 1846,” AP President Gary Pruitt said in a memo to staff. “This is a profession of the brave and the passionate, those committed to the mission of bringing to the world information that is fair, accurate and important. Anja Niedringhaus met that definition in every way.”

The Taliban has vowed to disrupt Saturday’s elections, which will mark the first transfer of power since Hamid Karzai became president after the Taliban was overthrown.

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The Very Important Detail About That Video of Bison ‘Running for Their Lives’ Out of Yellowstone

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎02:34:23 PM | Jonathon M. SeidlGo to full article
This week, a video has been circulating claiming to show a herd of bison “running for their lives” out of Yellowstone National Park. The suggestion has been that the animals are sensing imminent danger associated with a volcano in the area.

But there’s just one problem: park officials told Reuters that the video actually shows the bison galloping into the park, not out of it.

Below is what appears to be the most popular version, which includes some alarming claims:

 

“It was a spring-like day and they were frisky. Contrary to online reports, it’s a natural occurrence and not the end of the world,” park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett told the outlet.

In fact, one person who claims to be the person behind the original video (many versions have been posted) of the bison running included a detailed description of where the event occurred, and said it’s actually an annual occurrence:

March 14, 2014 — This herd of Yellowstone National Park Bison dashes from Mammoth Hot Springs eastward along the roadway and deeper into the park. If the herd matriarch gets the urge to run, she will … and the entire herd will run to keep up.

I’ve been lucky enough to live and work here year-round in Yellowstone National Park since 2010, and every Spring I am blessed to witness them running … in a celebration of life, in a celebration of the coming richness of the Spring Season … and running for the sheer joy of being able to!

That man is Leo Leckie, and he was interviewed by the LA Times:

The spreading anxiety was caused by baseless rumors and deliberate misrepresentations of what those bison were actually doing in the video, according to Leo Leckie, a sales associate of the nonprofit Yellowstone Assn., an educational partner of Yellowstone National Park.

Leckie ought to know. He shot the video, which lasts 1 minute and 9 seconds and was originally posted March 14 on his Facebook page under the title, “Yellowstone bison on the run for the joy of Spring.”

“Those bison were running for the sake of running,” Leckie said in an interview Thursday. “There was nothing chasing them. There was no mudslide. They were just running.”

Added Leckie: “And they were running into the park, not away from it.”

The park also published a video with a fuller explanation saying that, during the dead of winter, the animals will drop to lower elevations and even wander outside the park in order to find food. When spring returns, they flood back into the park:

 

As for volcanic and seismic activity, the official video explains that the area experiences thousands of earthquakes a year, but many of them are very small. But Al Nash, the chief of public affairs at the park, did say that the park experienced its biggest earthquake (4.8) in 30 years on Sunday.

Still, he says, that’s no cause for worry.

“We have seen no signs to suggest the Yellowstone volcano is about to erupt,” he said.

Peter Cervelli, associate director for science and technology at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Science Center in California and a scientist with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, agrees.

“The chance of that happening in our lifetimes is exceedingly insignificant,” he told Reuters.

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The Feds Just Released the Latest Numbers on Jobs and Unemployment

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎02:32:00 PM | Becket AdamsGo to full article
U.S. employers added 192,000 jobs in March, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Earlier estimates had put March’s jobs numbers at around 200,000.

The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes the adult, non-military and non-jailed population that is currently employed or actively seeking work, increased to 12.7 percent, up from its earlier read of 12.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate increased slightly to 63.2 percent, a 35-year low:

CIVPART

The latest numbers on unemployment come when the United States Federal Reserve continues to question how best to wean itself off of its quantitative easing policies. The Fed announced in December it would drawdown its $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasurys and Treasury mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each starting in January.

Professional and business services, health care and mining and logging were the main beneficiaries of job growth in March, according to Friday’s report.

Further, according to the BLS, the employment-population (58.9 percent) ratio was unchanged in March.

EMRATIO

Here’s unemployment broken up by group:

  • Men: 6.2 Percent (previous: 6.4 percent)
  • Women: 6.2 percent (previous: 5.9 percent)
  • Teenagers: 20.9 percent (previous: 21.4 percent)
  • Whites: 5.8 percent (previous: 5.8 percent)
  • Blacks: 12.4 percent (previous: 12.0 percent)
  • Hispanics: 7.9 percent (previous: 8.1 percent)
  • Asians (not seasonally adjusted): 5.4 percent (previous: 6.0 percent)

At 3.7 million, the number of the long-term unemployed (i.e. people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more) continued its small decline March, according to the report.

The number has come down 837,000 so far in 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of persons “marginally attached” to the labor force in March decreased to 2.2 million, down from its previous posting of 2.3 million.

“These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months,” the BLS reported. “They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

It continues:

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, down  slightly from a year earlier … Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Markets are poised to trade lower following Friday’s jobs report:

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

This post has been updated.

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Video: Sarah Palin vs. Paul Ryan on Budget Plan

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:34:51 AM | Jason HowertonGo to full article
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin slammed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed budget plan Thursday, claiming it would increase spending by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years.

“Bless his heart,” she began. “He probably has more faith in politicians than I do, because I’ve been in this political arena on the local, state and now national level for a long time — and I don’t trust future legislative bodies to adhere to today’s legislative body, wishing 10 years from now they will cut some budget.”

Palin argued Ryan’s plan includes deficit spending, additional debt and “ultimately” increases spending over a decade $1.116 trillion.

“That’s trillion with a T, and that stands for trouble,” she said. “Future congressmen and women don’t have to obey what today’s congressmen and women wish for in terms of budget cuts that may happen in 10 years.”

Host Sean Hannity suggested the federal government cut one penny out of every dollar spent over the next six years and it would balance the budget.


Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

In fairness, Paul Ryan was on Fox News earlier in the day to pitch his budget plan.

He claims his plan will not only balance the budget, but also cut $5 trillion in spending.

If you want to hear him out, watch here:


Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

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Trade Deficit Widens, Analysts Scramble To Revise an Important Measure of the Economy

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:30:17 AM | Becket AdamsGo to full article
New data on the U.S.’ trade deficit prompted analysts at Deutsche Bank to revise their real gross domestic product estimates for the first quarter of 2014 to an annual rate of 2.0 percent, down from their original estimate of 3.1 percent.

The revision is in response to the Bureau of Economic Analysis announcing Thursday that U.S. exported $190.4 billion worth of goods in February and imported $232.7 billion in that same period, resulting in a goods and services deficit of $42.3 billion, up from January’s revised figure of $39.3 billion.

Analysts had hoped that the deficit would narrow to approximately $38.5 billion.

The trade deficit widened by a full 7.7 percent:

Image source: BEA

Image source: BEA

“We are revising down our estimate of Q1 real #GDP growth to +2.0% from +3.1% previously in light of the deterioration in net exports,” Joseph A. LaVorgna, Managing Director and Chief US Economist at Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank, said in a tweet.

A wider trade gap could mean bad news for the U.S. economy as it signals that consumers are spending more abroad than they are in the U.S.

“February exports were $2.0 billion less than January exports of $192.5 billion,” the BEA reported. “February imports were $1.0 billion more than January imports of $231.7 billion”

“In February, the goods deficit increased $2.2 billion from January to $61.7 billion, and the services surplus decreased $0.8 billion from January to $19.4 billion,” the report adds.

Exports of services barely changed, coming in at around $58.7 billion. Meanwhile, imports of services increased by $0.8 billion to $39.3 billion.

“The goods and services deficit decreased $1.0 billion from February 2013 to February 2014. Exports were up $3.6 billion, or 1.9 percent, and imports were up $2.6 billion, or 1.1 percent,” the BEA reported.

Here are highlights from the Thursday report:

 

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Washington Post: ‘Cat’s Out of the Bag’ on IRS Targeting Scandal

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎05:00:10 AM | Fred LucasGo to full article
What’s the difference between “targeting” and using “inappropriate criteria” to select certain organizations for review?

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 26: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in prior to testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee March 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. Koskinen testified on ‘Examining the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) Response to the Targeting Scandal.’ Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Washington Post says it’s just “bureaucratese” in fact checking IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who told Congress the tax collecting agency was never accused of targeting tea party organizations and other conservative groups from 2010 through 2012.

Koskinen testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on March 25, but the Post on Thursday, said it spent several days fact checking his testimony before giving it three Pinocchios. The newspaper’s fact check column has a maximum of four Pinocchios.

“The Inspector General found inappropriate criteria were used to select organizations for further review – he did not refer to it as targeting,” the commissioner told the committee. He also said, “Yes, inappropriate criteria were used. I don’t think I used the word target, but I do acknowledge that applications were delayed unnecessarily and for too long.”

Koskinen referred to the May 2013 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that was titled “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review,” even though Inspector General Russell George used the phrase “targeted” in congressional testimony.

“We understand the public relations concern about acknowledging that the IRS engaged in targeting of conservative groups,” the Post said. “But the cat’s out of the bag, given an official IRS report has used the phrase and both George and Koskinen have used it in public testimony.”

“The IG’s report was carefully written but at this point, it is silly and counterproductive for Koskinen to fall back on bureaucratese – or even deny the phrase ‘targeting’ had been used. While perhaps technically correct in terms of the report, this is a slender reed to hide behind,” the Post continued. “After all, George publicly said that all three allegations of ‘targeting’ were proven, and that ‘inappropriate criteria’ was the equivalent of ‘targeting.’ That demonstrates that ‘inappropriate criteria’ is simply a euphemism. Accept that means ‘targeting,’ and move on.”

 

The IRS exempt organizations unit cited hundreds of conservative groups with words such as tea party or “take back America,” to identify certain applicants for tax exempt status on a “BOLO” or be on the lookout list.

The IG report found, the IRS “1) targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status, 2) delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications, and 3) requested unnecessary information from targeted groups.” Then concluded, “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax‑exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”

A week after the report was released, George told Congress, “The three allegations considered during our review were proven true. The IRS targeted specific groups applying for tax-exempt status.  It delayed the processing of these groups’ applications, and requested unnecessary information, as well as subjected these groups to special scrutiny.”

Follow Fred Lucas (@FredVLucas3) on Twitter

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Get a Load of the Striking Shift in Tone After Feminists Learn Identity of News Outlet Interviewing Them

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎04:30:31 AM | Dave UrbanskiGo to full article
It looked like peaches and cream for the folks behind the camera interviewing those gathered at the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Washington, D..C. late last month.

The reporter with the microphone asked attendees what feminism meant to them and what it could mean to others, and it was all smiles and positivity and declarations that feminism was “for everyone” and “more inclusive.”

That is until they learned the reporter was from Campus Reform, a conservative news outlet that focuses on college students.

One guy kind of said it all as he reacted with quite the non-subtle, “Oh…ohhhhh…”

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

The woman on the left in the below photo spelled it out plainly: “You guys aren’t wanted here.”

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

But you have to hand to conference organizers for their efficiency and attention to detail: As the reporter — who frequently asked why she, as a woman, was being stereotyped just because she represented a conservative news site — several in-charge-types quickly got in interviewees’ faces and warned them about Campus Reform.

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

Good thing the woman who said “you’re not wanted here” was apparently coached by an older, wiser attendee. (Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform)

Some even bodily intervened and ushered people away.

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

Image source: YouTube/Campus Reform

Check out all the inspiring inclusiveness and openness right here:

 

(H/T: Campus Reform)

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Bible Battle Leads to Removal of Air Force Base’s ‘Missing Man Table’ Honoring POWs

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎04:00:19 AM | Billy HallowellGo to full article
A U.S. Air Force base’s decision to remove a symbolic display honoring missing troops because of its inclusion of a Bible has angered some veterans.
Image source: Shutterstock.com

Image source: Shutterstock.com

Missing Man Tables are traditionally setup in the armed forces to honor soldiers who are missing or who have not returned from combat.

In addition to a Bible, they typically include a white table cloth, an inverted glass, a yellow ribbon, a red rose and a plate, among other elements.

Michael Tater, a 64-year-old Vietnam War vet, recently noticed that the POW/MIA Missing Man Table he typically saw at the Riverside Dining Facility at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., was missing, Florida Today reported.

The new-found absence of the table at the base is due to a debate over the inclusion of the Bible in the traditional display.

Tater, among others, isn’t happy about the removal; he wrote a letter asking base commanders to bring it back. And it seems officials have had a change of heart in the midst of reactions like Tater’s.

They issued a written statement noting that the Missing Man Table will be returned, though they did not provide details on when this might happen, according to Florida Today.

“The 45th Space Wing deeply desires to honor America’s Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) personnel,” the release said. “Unfortunately, the Bible’s presence or absence on the table at the Riverside Dining Facility ignited controversy and division, distracting from the table’s primary purpose of honoring POWs/MIAs.”

The statement went on to say that commanders temporarily replaced the table with a flag honoring the missing while looking for a solution to the matter.

“I’m glad to know that its going to be back in,” Tater told Florida Today. “I’ll be looking for it.”

But there’s no confirmation the Bible will be back, as it is unclear what this solution might be, though the release said that it will be “inclusive of all POWs/MIAs as well as Americans everywhere.”

According to the National League of POW/MIA Families’ list of items traditionally present at these tables, the Bible is mentioned as having both a spiritual and patriotic purpose.

“The Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst,” reads a description.

A representative for Patrick Air Force Base told TheBlaze that officials do not yet have a press release with information on how the table will be reintroduced and TheBlaze’s inquiries surrounding the situation have not been answered.

(H/T: BizPac Review)

Featured image via Shutterstock.com

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You Won’t Believe What Was Found 12 Days After Deadly Washington Mudslide

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:22:39 AM | Jason HowertonGo to full article
Nearly two weeks after the horrific landslide in Oso, Wash., that killed dozens, rescuers found signs of life on Thursday.

Somehow, a dog managed to survive for 12 days and make his way through the debris.

KING-TV

Credit: KING-TV

When rescuers found the dog, a Golden Retriever named Boomer, he had some cuts on his legs and was suffering from hip problems. He was taken to a veterinary clinic in Arlington, Wash., and was believed to be doing well.

Sadly, his owners did not survive the deadly slide.

Many readers were asking how they could adopt Boomer on KING-TV’s website. However, no additional details were available on Thursday.

(H/T: KING-TV)

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First-of-Its-Kind Video Claims to Show Meteor Narrowly Missing Skydiver

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎02:41:07 AM | Jason HowertonGo to full article
A Norwegian man claims he was almost struck by a falling meteor while skydiving, resulting in the first ever video footage of a meteor traveling through the air after its flame has been extinguished.

The near-miss occurred during a Oslo Parachute Club jump in Hedmark, Norway, in 2012.

www.petapixel.com

www.petapixel.com

Anders Helstrup, the man who lived to tell the tale, said he didn’t realize what it was at first and thought maybe it was a stone that had been packed in a parachute.

However, a geologist later confirmed that a “meteoroid had exploded about 200 kilometers from Mr. Helstrup and his fellow skydivers when they made the historic jump in 2012,” The Telegraph reports.

Some viewers weren’t entirely impressed with the footage, though.

“Maybe, just maybe, he picked up a small rock while folding his parachute?” one user wrote.

“[M]ust confess that on a visual level, this was kind of bust. I expected a big flaming whoosh,” another commented.

“That was a very very slow meteorite. Are you sure, that wasn’t a stone that fell out of your pocket?” yet another echoed.

Watch and decide for yourself:

 

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Sgt. Wounded in 2009 Fort Hood Attack: Our Lives Would Be a ‘Living Hell’ Without Private Charities

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎02:01:06 AM | Erica RitzGo to full article
Retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford was shot seven times in the 2009 attack at Fort Hood, and told Glenn Beck Thursday that his life — and those of others who were wounded — would be a “living hell” if not for private charities.

The U.S. government has been criticized for not responding to the needs of America’s soldiers and veterans, particularly those wounded at Fort Hood. Lunsford has been among the most vocal critics, sharing his experience with TheBlaze’s investigative program “For the Record” back in February.

“Have you gotten anything for your back pain?” Beck asked Lunsford Thursday. “For your service when you were shot at Fort Hood?”

“No. I’m actually owed money,” Lunsford responded. “If it were not for outside organizations like K9s for Warriors, Homes for Our Troops, or the Military Warriors [Support] Foundation to help injured or wounded service members, our lives would be a living hell.”

Glenn Beck speaks with Ret. Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford on April 3, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Glenn Beck speaks with Ret. Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford on April 3, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Lunsford said the government’s neglect is one of the reasons service members who have post-traumatic stress disorder sometimes feel like their “backs are against the wall, where there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.”

“It just makes me angry,” Lunsford admitted. “It really does.”

Beck begged his listeners to get involved, whether it is through his charity, Mercury One, or another organization. He said 100% of the donations to Mercury One’s Active Military and Veterans Support Fund go to those in need, except for minimal credit card processing fees.

Active military, veterans, and those affected by Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood will all be supported with the donations.

Many times, Mercury One partners with existing charities who are already doing excellent work.

“Mercury One doesn’t believe in reinventing the wheel,” Mercury One’s President Joe Kerry told TheBlaze. “If there are good people or good groups doing good things … we will support them.”

Mercury One has worked with, among other organizations, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor Foundation, Homes for Heroes, and even the Charlotte Motor Speedway in conjunction with the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 Race for their Patriot Partners program.

“The government’s not doing it,” Beck said. “We have an obligation to do it.”

Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

Following his interview with Glenn Beck, Staff Sgt. Lunsford ​spoke with TheBlaze’s senior Washington correspondent‎ Sara Carter about the horror of being under attack without the ability to defend yourself. You can watch a highlight of that interview here.

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‘I’m Scared!’: See the Viral Video That Has Sparked a Heated Debate Over Definition of a ‘Lawful Arrest’

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎01:30:58 AM | Jason HowertonGo to full article
A video uploaded on Facebook Tuesday reportedly shows a Jeffersons Parish Sheriff’s Department officer forcing his way into a man’s home in River Ridge, La., pushing him onto his couch before handcuffing and arresting him. By Thursday, the video had been shared over 30,000 times.

The arrest was apparently the result of an altercation between Donrell Breaux, 26, and a neighbor on Sunday. The man’s friend, Eric Banegas, video recorded the incident.

Breaux also told the Times-Picayune that the deputy is a “personal friend” of the neighbor with whom he had a verbal disagreement. He alleges a clear conflict of interest in the case.

“I thought it was an unlawful arrest. I don’t have to submit to an unlawful arrest,” Breaux said.

Screengrab via the Times Picayune

Screengrab via the Times Picayune

The Times-Picayune explains what happened:

Breaux said he and Banegas were standing on Banegas’ front porch and talking. He admits to using profanity, but said they were cracking jokes amongst themselves. “It wasn’t to the point that we were loud and disturbing people,” Breaux said.

The neighbor walked out of his house and warned the two to watch their language. Breaux said the neighbor was belligerent, prompting a brief verbal confrontation that ended with the neighbor telling them he was calling the police.

“He threatens to call the police all the time about stuff in the backyard and stuff going on inside the house. Things like there’s too many cars in the driveway,” Breaux said. He felt the neighbor was out of line.

About 10 to 12 minutes later, a deputy arrived and spoke for a few minutes with the neighbor, according to Breaux.

That’s when he says the situation took a turn for the worst. The deputy reportedly grabbed his hoodie and got his handcuffs out.

“He said, ‘Let me see some I.D.,’ and grabs my wrist and says, ‘You’re under arrest,’ at the same time, I thought it was unlawful,” Breaux said.

The video shows the deputy on top of Breaux trying to handcuff him for several minutes. While the man certainly does resist arrest, he also repeatedly asks the officer why he is under arrest. “I’m scared!” Breaux says at one point.

“Sir, what are you doing? What is your name?” Breaux is heard asking in the video.

“I’m not answering to you! You’re going to answer to me,” the deputy replies.

 

Breaux was eventually arrested and booked on charges of battery of a police officer, resisting arrest with violence, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

Breaux is questioning the conduct of the officer and his relationship with his neighbor.

“These are personal friends,” he said. “I wish I had friends that I could call and have them handle personal vendettas that I have with my neighbors.”

Breaux is in the process of trying to retain an attorney in the case.

In a news release, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato said the neighbor ”expressed his desire to pursue charges against the black male who cursed at he and his family.”

“He then directed the officer to the area where the male subjects were standing,” Fortunato said. ”As the officer followed him into the doorway with his handcuffs in hand, Breaux attempted to close the door on the officer. The officer continued into the home where a brief struggle ensued. The officer did in fact tell the suspect he was under arrest for resisting an officer, as indicated in the video. Breaux was eventually placed in handcuffs and taken into custody.”

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Argument May Have Preceded Deadly Fort Hood Attack

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎01:11:23 AM | Associated PressGo to full article
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The soldier who killed three people at Fort Hood may have argued with another service member prior to the attack, and investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage, authorities said Thursday.

This undated photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez)

The base’s senior officer, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, said there is a “strong possibility” that Spc. Ivan Lopez had a “verbal altercation” with another soldier or soldiers immediately before Wednesday’s shooting, which unfolded on the same Army post that was the scene of an infamous 2009 mass shooting.

However, there’s no indication that he targeted specific soldiers, Milley said.

Lopez never saw combat during a deployment to Iraq and had shown no apparent risk of violence before the shooting, officials said.

The 34-year-old truck driver from Puerto Rico seemed to have a clean record that showed no ties to extremist groups. But the Army secretary promised that investigators would keep all avenues open in their inquiry of the soldier whose rampage ended only after he fired a final bullet into his own head.

“We’re not making any assumptions by that. We’re going to keep an open mind and an open investigation. We will go where the facts lead us,” Army Secretary John McHugh said, explaining that “possible extremist involvement is still being looked at very, very carefully.”

Investigators were also looking into Lopez’s psychological background. He had sought help for depression, anxiety and other problems, military officials said.

“We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological condition,” Milley said. “We believe that to be a fundamental underlying cause.”

Scott & White Memorial Hospital in nearby Temple, Texas, was still caring for several of the 16 people who were wounded. All of them were in either serious or good condition, and some could be discharged before the end of Thursday.

Hospital officials had no information about patients being treated elsewhere, including at a base hospital. But because Scott & White is the area’s only trauma center, the patients with the most serious injuries were probably taken there.

Investigators searched the soldier’s home Thursday and questioned his wife, Fort Hood spokesman Chris Haug said.

Lopez apparently walked into a building Wednesday and began firing a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol. He then got into a vehicle and continued firing before driving to another building. He was eventually confronted by military police in a parking lot, Milley said.

This undated photo provided by Glidden Lopez shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Glidden Lopez) 

 

As he came within 20 feet of a police officer, the gunman put his hands up but then reached under his jacket and pulled out his gun. The officer drew her own weapon, and the suspect put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger, Milley said.

Lopez grew up in Guayanilla, a town of fewer than 10,000 people on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico, with a mother who was a nurse at a public clinic and a father who did maintenance for an electric utility company.

Glidden Lopez Torres, who said he was a friend speaking for the family, said Lopez’s mother died of a heart attack in November.

The soldier was upset that he was granted only a 24-hour leave to attend her funeral, which was delayed for nearly a week so he could be there, the spokesman said. The leave was then extended to two days.

Lopez joined the island’s National Guard in 1999 and served on a yearlong peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in the mid-2000s. He enlisted with the Army in 2008 and saw no combat during a four-month deployment to Iraq as a truck driver in 2011, McHugh said.

A review of his service record showed no Purple Heart, indicating he was never wounded. He arrived at Fort Hood in February from Fort Bliss, Texas.

He saw a psychiatrist last month and showed no “sign of any likely violence either to himself or others,” McHugh said.

Suzie Miller, a 71-year-old retired property manager who lived in the same Killeen apartment complex as Lopez, said few people knew him and his wife well because they had just moved in.

“I’d see him in his uniform heading out to the car every morning,” Miller said. “He was friendly to me and a lot of us around here.”

The shootings revived memories of the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 were wounded.

Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted last year in that assault, which he has said was to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression. After that shooting, the military tightened base security nationwide.

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Top Senate Republican Says Obama ‘Disarmed America’

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎01:02:55 AM | Sara CarterGo to full article
The ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the Obama administration has left the United States vulnerable to a growing list of enemies.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, speaks during a March 13, 2014 hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AFP/Getty Images/Mandel Ngan)

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced a resolution Thursday to put Moldova on the U.S.’s radar, arguing that it’s another country now vulnerable to Russian aggression. Inhofe told TheBlaze he hopes it will send a message that the former Soviet state, located between Russia, Turkey and European Union, is not up for grabs. He admitted, however, there is little the U.S. can do militarily to stop Moscow’s aggression if President Vladimir Putin chooses to move forward.

“Here’s the problem, our military leaders admit we are weakened to the point that we cannot do one longterm contingency plan,” Inhofe told TheBlaze after Thursday’s hearing on the Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2015. “What do you think is going through the minds of potential adversaries out there? Our enemies don’t fear us, our friends don’t trust us — this is what the Obama administration has done. We have a direct interest in that part of the world. While Obama disarmed America, [our enemies] have been expanding in every area.”

“While Obama disarmed America, [our enemies] have been expanding in every area.”
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The resolution also stresses that a “stable Europe is a key priority for the United States, and this can only be achieved if the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected,” Inhofe said.

Russia currently has 40,000 troops on the Ukrainian eastern border and roughly 1,200 near the Moldova border. U.S. intelligence officials access that there is a strong possibility that Putin is also preparing to move those troops toward Moldova in the near future, much like he did in last month’s annexation of Crimea.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in a military drill, not far from the small city of Goncharovskoye, some 150 km from Kiev, on March 14, 2014. Russia on March 14 declared it reserved the right to protect compatriots in the whole of Ukraine, seen as a threat that Moscow could move its forces beyond the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian soldiers take part in a military drill some 150 kilometers from Kiev, on March 14, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images/Sergei Supinsky)

A U.S. official told TheBlaze that based on Putin’s continued statements that the Kremlin is protecting Russian speakers in the region, “it should be no surprise if he does just that — but it wouldn’t be for protection.”

Inhofe said that while the U.S. continues to cut back on the military and research enemies like Russia, Iran and China are building up their capabilities.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Army Secretary John McHugh told Inhofe during Thursday’s hearing that severe budget and program cuts to the military has left the United States vulnerable to its enemies and barely able to sustain one longterm war.

“Anytime you have the chairman of the Joint Chiefs say that in our degraded [military] position it would be immoral to use force it’s shocking,” Inhofe said. “This is an America I never thought I would see. It’s not just embarrassing, it’s dangerous.”

Inhofe asked Odierno during the hearing, “if we’re in the middle of one longterm contingency operation … what do you think is going through their minds, potential adversaries out there?”

Odierno said troop cuts, particularly in the active military component as compared to reserves, would affect U.S. capabilities abroad.

“As we reduce the size of the active component, the responsiveness and the ability to do this is significantly degraded,” Odierno warned. “And that’s the cause for concern. We still need the guard and reserve levels because they provide us the depth and capability in order to execute longer-term strategies. And they also provide us some very unique capabilities that we don’t have in the active component.”

The Moldova resolution states that Putin “maintains a contingent of Russian troops and a stockpile of Russian military equipment and ammunition within the Moldovan territory of Transnistria.”

The new Inhofe resolution demands that Russia move “its military forces and material” from Moldova’s territory and sends a “strong signal that the U.S. and Congress will support Europe to stop Russia aggression,” a congressional official told TheBlaze.

“The importance of this bill is to make Moldova a national name here in America,” the congressional official added. “A majority of Americans have no idea Moldova exists, but Putin knows and it’s been on his radar for quite some time to rebuild what he lost in the Cold War. By passing this resolution, Inhofe and the Senate are helping to educate Americans on a country whose young democracy – only 20 years old – is vulnerable due to an irredentist Russia.”

Follow Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) on Twitter

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The Time TV Networks Said No to Obama

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎12:41:46 AM | Jason HowertonGo to full article
The White House requested valuable primetime coverage for an impromptu Tuesday night address to brag about Obamacare “enrollments” passing the 7 million mark, according to a new report.

However, President Barack Obama was denied.

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, gestures as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, about the Affordable Care Act. The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act passed at midnight Monday night. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Three sources familiar with the request confirmed the White House asked for the prime time slot in their effort both to emphasize a bright moment following the challenging roll out and, more important, to try to reintroduce the country to a law that remains unpopular,” BuzzFeed’s Evan McMorris-Santoro reports.

The White House does not routinely request primetime air, especially for a political announcement. Obama has only delivered primetime addresses to the nation on a few occasions, including announcing the death of Osama bin Laden and during the Syrian crisis.

But network officials weren’t willing to play ball, so Obama was “left instead cutting into the much smaller audiences of Ellen and other daytime shows” during his Tuesday Obamacare announcement, the report adds.

It wasn’t immediately clear which networks snubbed the primetime address.

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Revealed: U.S. Government’s Secret Social Media Project to Stir Unrest and Undermine Cuba’s Communist Regime

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎12:06:07 AM | Associated PressGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government.
Students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

McSpedon and his team of high-tech contractors had come in from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Washington and Denver. Their mission: to launch a messaging network that could reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans. To hide the network from the Cuban government, they would set up a byzantine system of front companies using a Cayman Islands bank account, and recruit executives who would not be told of the company’s ties to the U.S. government.

McSpedon didn’t work for the CIA. This was a program paid for and run by the U.S. Agency for International Development, best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid.

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press and multiple interviews with people involved in the project, the plan was to develop a bare-bones “Cuban Twitter,” using cellphone text messaging to evade Cuba’s strict control of information and its stranglehold restrictions over the Internet. In a play on Twitter, it was called ZunZuneo – slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet.

Documents show the U.S. government planned to build a subscriber base through “non-controversial content”: news messages on soccer, music and hurricane updates. Later when the network reached a critical mass of subscribers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, operators would introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize “smart mobs” – mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice that might trigger a Cuban Spring, or, as one USAID document put it, “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.”

At its peak, the project drew in more than 40,000 Cubans to share news and exchange opinions. But its subscribers were never aware it was created by the U.S. government, or that American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes.

“There will be absolutely no mention of United States government involvement,” according to a 2010 memo from Mobile Accord, one of the project’s contractors. “This is absolutely crucial for the long-term success of the service and to ensure the success of the Mission.”

The program’s legality is unclear: U.S. law requires that any covert action by a federal agency must have a presidential authorization and that Congress should be notified.

The Obama administration on Thursday said the program was not covert and that it served an important purpose by helping information flow more freely to Cubans. Parts of the program “were done discreetly,” Rajiv Shah, USAID’s top official, said on MSNBC, in order to protect the people involved.

The administration also initially said Thursday that it had disclosed the program to Congress – White House spokesman Jay Carney said it had been “debated in Congress” – but hours later shifted that to say it had offered to discuss funding for the program with several congressional committees. “We also offered to brief our appropriators and our authorizers,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

Two senior Democratic lawmakers said they knew nothing about the effort, and the Republican chairman of a House oversight subcommittee said his panel plans to look into the initiative next week.

“If you’re going to do a covert operation like this for a regime change, assuming it ever makes any sense, it’s not something that should be done through USAID,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees USAID’s budget.

But several other lawmakers voiced their support for ZunZuneo.

Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said USAID should be applauded for giving people in Cuba a platform to talk to each other. “The whole purpose of our democracy programs, whether it be in Cuba or other parts of the world, is in part to create a free flow of information in closed societies,” Menendez said.

The Associated Press obtained more than 1,000 pages of documents about the project’s development. The AP independently verified the project’s scope and details in the documents – such as federal contract numbers and names of job candidates – through publicly available databases, government sources and interviews with those directly involved in ZunZuneo.

Taken together, they tell the story of how agents of the U.S. government, working in deep secrecy, became tech entrepreneurs – in Cuba.

It all began with a half million cellphone numbers obtained from a communist government.

ZunZuneo would seem to be a throwback from the Cold War, and the decades-long struggle between the United States and Cuba. It came at a time when the historically sour relationship between the countries had improved, at least marginally, and Cuba had made tentative steps toward a more market-based economy.

It is unclear whether the plan got its start with USAID or Creative Associates International, a Washington, D.C., for-profit company that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. contracts. But a “key contact” at Cubacel, the state-owned cellphone provider, slipped the phone numbers to a Cuban engineer living in Spain. The engineer provided the numbers to USAID and Creative Associates “free of charge,” documents show.

In mid-2009, Noy Villalobos, a manager with Creative Associates who had worked with USAID in the 1990s on a program to eradicate drug crops, started an IM chat with her little brother in Nicaragua, according to a Creative Associates email that captured the conversation. Mario Bernheim, in his mid-20s, was an up-and-coming techie who had made a name for himself as a computer whiz.

“This is very confidential of course,” Villalobos cautioned her brother. But what could you do if you had all the cellphone numbers of a particular country? Could you send bulk text messages without the government knowing?

“Can you encrypt it or something?” she texted.

She was looking for a direct line to regular Cubans through text messaging. Most had precious little access to news from the outside world. The government viewed the Internet as an Achilles’ heel and controlled it accordingly. A communications minister had even referred to it as a “wild colt” that “should be tamed.”

Yet in the years since Fidel Castro handed over power to his brother Raul, Cuba had sought to jumpstart the long stagnant economy. Raul Castro began encouraging cellphone use, and hundreds of thousands of people were suddenly using mobile phones for the first time, though smartphones with access to the Internet remained restricted.

Cubans could text message, though at a high cost in a country where the average wage was a mere $20 a month.

Bernheim told his sister that he could figure out a way to send instant texts to hundreds of thousands of Cubans- for cheap. It could not be encrypted though, because that would be too complicated. They wouldn’t be able to hide the messages from the Cuban government, which owned Cubacel. But they could disguise who was sending the texts by constantly switching the countries the messages came from.

“We could rotate it from different countries?” Villalobos asked. “Say one message from Nica, another from Spain, another from Mexico”?

Bernheim could do that. “But I would need mirrors set up around the world, mirrors, meaning the same computer, running with the same platform, with the same phone.”

“No hay problema,” he signed off. No problem.

After the chat, Creative hired Bernheim as a subcontractor, reporting to his sister. (Villalobos and Bernheim would later confirm their involvement with the ZunZuneo project to AP, but decline further comment.) Bernheim, in turn, signed up the Cuban engineer who had gotten the phone list. The team figured out how to message the masses without detection, but their ambitions were bigger.

Creative Associates envisioned using the list to create a social networking system that would be called “Proyecto ZZ,” or “Project ZZ.” The service would start cautiously and be marketed chiefly to young Cubans, who USAID saw as the most open to political change.

“We should gradually increase the risk,” USAID proposed in a document. It advocated using “smart mobs” only in “critical/opportunistic situations and not at the detriment of our core platform-based network.”

USAID’s team of contractors and subcontractors built a companion website to its text service so Cubans could subscribe, give feedback and send their own text messages for free. They talked about how to make the website look like a real business. “Mock ad banners will give it the appearance of a commercial enterprise,” a proposal suggested.

In multiple documents, USAID staff pointed out that text messaging had mobilized smart mobs and political uprisings in Moldova and the Philippines, among others. In Iran, the USAID noted social media’s role following the disputed election of then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009 – and saw it as an important foreign policy tool.

USAID documents say their strategic objective in Cuba was to “push it out of a stalemate through tactical and temporary initiatives, and get the transition process going again toward democratic change.” Democratic change in authoritarian Cuba meant breaking the Castros’ grip on power.

USAID divided Cuban society into five segments depending on loyalty to the government. On one side sat the “democratic movement,” called “still (largely) irrelevant,” and at the other end were the “hard-core system supporters,” dubbed “Talibanes” in a derogatory comparison to Afghan and Pakistani extremists.

A key question was how to move more people toward the democratic activist camp without detection. Bernheim assured the team that wouldn’t be a problem.

“The Cuban government, like other regimes committed to information control, currently lacks the capacity to effectively monitor and control such a service,” Bernheim wrote in a proposal for USAID marked “Sensitive Information.”

ZunZuneo would use the list of phone numbers to break Cuba’s Internet embargo and not only deliver information to Cubans but also let them interact with each other in a way the government could not control. Eventually it would build a system that would let Cubans send messages anonymously among themselves.

At a strategy meeting, the company discussed building “user volume as a cover … for organization,” according to meeting notes. It also suggested that the “Landscape needs to be large enough to hide full opposition members who may sign up for service.”

In a play on the telecommunication minister’s quote, the team dubbed their network the “untamed colt.”

At first, the ZunZuneo team operated out of Central America. Bernheim, the techie brother, worked from Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, while McSpedon supervised Creative’s work on ZunZuneo from an office in San Jose, Costa Rica, though separate from the U.S. embassy. It was an unusual arrangement that raised eyebrows in Washington, according to U.S. officials.

McSpedon worked for USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), a division that was created after the fall of the Soviet Union to promote U.S. interests in quickly changing political environments – without the usual red tape.

In 2009, a report by congressional researchers warned that OTI’s work “often lends itself to political entanglements that may have diplomatic implications.” Staffers on oversight committees complained that USAID was running secret programs and would not provide details.

“We were told we couldn’t even be told in broad terms what was happening because `people will die,’” said Fulton Armstrong, who worked for the Senate Foreign Relations committee. Before that, he was the US intelligence community’s most senior analyst on Latin America, advising the Clinton White House.

The money that Creative Associates spent on ZunZuneo was publicly earmarked for an unspecified project in Pakistan, government data show. But there is no indication of where the funds were actually spent.

Tensions with Congress spiked just as the ZunZuneo project was gearing up in December 2009, when another USAID program ended in the arrest of the U.S. contractor, Alan Gross. Gross had traveled repeatedly to Cuba on a secret mission to expand Internet access using sensitive technology typically available only to governments, a mission first revealed in February 2012 by AP.

At some point, Armstrong says, the foreign relations committee became aware of OTI’s secret operations in Costa Rica. U.S. government officials acknowledged them privately to Armstrong, but USAID refused to provide operational details.

At an event in Washington, Armstrong says he confronted McSpedon, asking him if he was aware that by operating secret programs from a third country, it might appear like he worked for an intelligence agency.

McSpedon, through USAID, said the story is not true. He declined to comment otherwise.

On Sept. 20, 2009, thousands of Cubans gathered at Revolution Plaza in Havana for Colombian rocker Juanes’ “Peace without Borders” concert. It was the largest public gathering in Cuba since the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1998. Under the watchful gaze of a giant sculpture of revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Miami-based Juanes promised music aimed at “turning hate into love.”

But for the ZunZuneo team, the concert was a perfect opportunity to test the political power of their budding social network. In the weeks before, Bernheim’s firm, using the phone list, sent out a half a million text messages in what it called “blasts,” to test what the Cuban government would do.

The team hired Alen Lauzan Falcon, a Havana-born satirical artist based in Chile, to write Cuban-style messages. Some were mildly political and comical, others more pointed. One asked respondents whether they thought two popular local music acts out of favor with the government should join the stage with Juanes. Some 100,000 people responded – not realizing the poll was used to gather critical intelligence.

Paula Cambronero, a researcher for Mobile Accord, began building a vast database about the Cuban subscribers, including gender, age, “receptiveness” and “political tendencies.” USAID believed the demographics on dissent could help it target its other Cuba programs and “maximize our possibilities to extend our reach.”

Cambronero concluded that the team had to be careful. “Messages with a humorous connotation should not contain a strong political tendency, so as not to create animosity in the recipients,” she wrote in a report.

Falcon, in an interview, said he was never told that he was composing messages for a U.S. government program, but he had no regrets about his involvement.

“They didn’t tell me anything, and if they had, I would have done it anyway,” he said. “In Cuba they don’t have freedom. While a government forces me to pay in order to visit my country, makes me ask permission, and limits my communications, I will be against it, whether it’s Fidel Castro, (Cuban exile leader) Jorge Mas Canosa or Gloria Estefan,” the Cuban American singer.

USAID saw evidence from server records that Havana had tried to trace the texts, to break into ZunZuneo’s servers, and had occasionally blocked messages. But USAID called the response “timid” and concluded that ZunZuneo would be viable – if its origins stayed secret.

Even though Cuba has one of the most sophisticated counter-intelligence operations in the world, the ZunZuneo team thought that as long as the message service looked benign, Cubacel would leave it alone.

Once the network had critical mass, Creative and USAID documents argued, it would be harder for the Cuban government to shut it down, both because of popular demand and because Cubacel would be addicted to the revenues from the text messages.

In February 2010, the company introduced Cubans to ZunZuneo and began marketing. Within six months, it had almost 25,000 subscribers, growing faster and drawing more attention than the USAID team could control.

Saimi Reyes Carmona was a journalism student at the University of Havana when she stumbled onto ZunZuneo. She was intrigued by the service’s novelty, and the price. The advertisement said “free messages” so she signed up using her nickname, Saimita.

At first, ZunZuneo was a very tiny platform, Reyes said during a recent interview in Havana, but one day she went to its website and saw its services had expanded.

“I began sending one message every day,” she said, the maximum allowed at the start. “I didn’t have practically any followers.” She was thrilled every time she got a new one.

And then ZunZuneo exploded in popularity.

“The whole world wanted in, and in a question of months I had 2,000 followers who I have no idea who they are, nor where they came from.”

She let her followers know the day of her birthday, and was surprised when she got some 15 personal messages. “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” she told her boyfriend, Ernesto Guerra Valdes, also a journalism student.

Before long, Reyes learned she had the second highest number of followers on the island, after a user called UCI, which the students figured was Havana’s University of Computer Sciences. Her boyfriend had 1,000. The two were amazed at the reach it gave them.

“It was such a marvelous thing,” Guerra said. “So noble.” He and Reyes tried to figure out who was behind ZunZuneo, since the technology to run it had to be expensive, but they found nothing. They were grateful though.

“We always found it strange, that generosity and kindness,” he said. ZunZuneo was “the fairy godmother of cellphones.”

By early 2010, Creative decided that ZunZuneo was so popular Bernheim’s company wasn’t sophisticated enough to build, in effect, “a scaled down version of Twitter.”

It turned to another young techie, James Eberhard, CEO of Denver-based Mobile Accord Inc. Eberhard had pioneered the use of text messaging for donations during disasters and had raised tens of millions of dollars after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Eberhard earned millions in his mid-20s when he sold a company that developed cellphone ring tones and games. His company’s website describes him as “a visionary within the global mobile community.”

In July, he flew to Barcelona to join McSpedon, Bernheim, and others to work out what they called a “below the radar strategy.”

“If it is discovered that the platform is, or ever was, backed by the United States government, not only do we risk the channel being shut down by Cubacel, but we risk the credibility of the platform as a source of reliable information, education, and empowerment in the eyes of the Cuban people,” Mobile Accord noted in a memo.

To cover their tracks, they decided to have a company based in the United Kingdom set up a corporation in Spain to run ZunZuneo. A separate company called MovilChat was created in the Cayman Islands, a well-known offshore tax haven, with an account at the island’s Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd. to pay the bills.

A memo of the meeting in Barcelona says that the front companies would distance ZunZuneo from any U.S. ownership so that the “money trail will not trace back to America.”

But it wasn’t just the money they were worried about. They had to hide the origins of the texts, according to documents and interviews with team members.

Brad Blanken, the former chief operating officer of Mobile Accord, left the project early on, but noted that there were two main criteria for success.

“The biggest challenge with creating something like this is getting the phone numbers,” Blanken said. “And then the ability to spoof the network.”

The team of contractors set up servers in Spain and Ireland to process texts, contracting an independent Spanish company called Lleida.net to send the text messages back to Cuba, while stripping off identifying data.

Mobile Accord also sought intelligence from engineers at the Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica, which organizers said would “have knowledge of Cubacel’s network.”

“Understanding the security and monitoring protocols of Cubacel will be an invaluable asset to avoid unnecessary detection by the carrier,” one Mobile Accord memo read.

Officials at USAID realized however, that they could not conceal their involvement forever – unless they left the stage. The predicament was summarized bluntly when Eberhard was in Washington for a strategy session in early February 2011, where his company noted the “inherent contradiction” of giving Cubans a platform for communications uninfluenced by their government that was in fact financed by the U.S. government and influenced by its agenda.

They turned to Jack Dorsey, a co-founder of Twitter, to seek funding for the project. Documents show Dorsey met with Suzanne Hall, a State Department officer who worked on social media projects, and others. Dorsey declined to comment.

The State Department under then-Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton thought social media was an important tool in diplomacy. At a 2011 speech at George Washington University, Clinton said the U.S. helped people in “oppressive Internet environments get around filters.” In Tunisia, she said people used technology to “organize and share grievances, which, as we know, helped fuel a movement that led to revolutionary change.”

Ultimately, the solution was new management that could separate ZunZuneo from its U.S. origins and raise enough revenue for it to go “independent,” even as it kept its long-term strategy to bring about “democratic change.”

Eberhard led the recruitment efforts, a sensitive operation because he intended to keep the management of the Spanish company in the dark.

“The ZZ management team will have no knowledge of the true origin of the operation; as far as they know, the platform was established by Mobile Accord,” the memo said. “There should be zero doubt in management’s mind and no insecurities or concerns about United States Government involvement.”

The memo went on to say that the CEO’s clean conscience would be “particularly critical when dealing with Cubacel.” Sensitive to the high cost of text messages for average Cubans, ZunZuneo negotiated a bulk rate for texts at 4 cents a pop through a Spanish intermediary. Documents show there was hope that an earnest, clueless CEO might be able to persuade Cubacel to back the project.

Mobile Accord considered a dozen candidates from five countries to head the Spanish front company. One of them was Francoise de Valera, a CEO who was vacationing in Dubai when she was approached for an interview. She flew to Barcelona. At the luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel, she met with Nim Patel, who at the time was Mobile Accord’s president. Eberhard had also flown in for the interviews. But she said she couldn’t get a straight answer about what they were looking for.

“They talked to me about instant messaging but nothing about Cuba, or the United States,” she told the AP in an interview from London.

“If I had been offered and accepted the role, I believe that sooner or later it would have become apparent to me that something wasn’t right,” she said.

By early 2011, Creative Associates grew exasperated with Mobile Accord’s failure to make ZunZuneo self-sustaining and independent of the U.S. government. The operation had run into an unsolvable problem. USAID was paying tens of thousands of dollars in text messaging fees to Cuba’s communist telecommunications monopoly routed through a secret bank account and front companies. It was not a situation that it could either afford or justify – and if exposed it would be embarrassing, or worse.

In a searing evaluation, Creative Associates said Mobile Accord had ignored sustainability because “it has felt comfortable receiving USG financing to move the venture forward.”

Mobile Accord declined to comment on the program.

In increasingly impatient tones, Creative Associates pressed Mobile Accord to find new revenue that would pay the bills. Mobile Accord suggested selling targeted advertisements in Cuba, but even with projections of up to a million ZunZuneo subscribers, advertising in a state-run economy would amount to a pittance.

By March 2011, ZunZuneo had about 40,000 subscribers. To keep a lower profile, it abandoned previous hopes of reaching 200,000 and instead capped the number of subscribers at a lower number. It limited ZunZuneo’s text messages to less than one percent of the total in Cuba, so as to avoid the notice of Cuban authorities. Though one former ZunZuneo worker – who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about his work – said the Cubans were catching on and had tried to block the site.

Toward the middle of 2012, Cuban users began to complain that the service worked only sporadically. Then not at all.

ZunZuneo vanished as mysteriously as it appeared.

By June 2012, users who had access to Facebook and Twitter were wondering what had happened.

“Where can you pick up messages from ZunZuneo?” one woman asked on Facebook in November 2012. “Why aren’t I receiving them anymore?”

Users who went to ZunZuneo’s website were sent to a children’s website with a similar name.

Reyner Aguero, a 25-year-old blogger, said he and fellow students at Havana’s University of Computer Sciences tried to track it down. Someone had rerouted the website through DNS blocking, a censorship technique initially developed back in the 1990s. Intelligence officers later told the students that ZunZuneo was blacklisted, he said.

“ZunZuneo, like everything else they did not control, was a threat,” Aguero said. “Period.”

In incorrect Spanish, ZunZuneo posted a note on its Facebook page saying it was aware of problems accessing the website and that it was trying to resolve them.

” ¡Que viva el ZunZuneo!” the message said. Long live ZunZuneo!

In February, when Saimi Reyes, and her boyfriend, Ernesto Guerra, learned the origins of ZunZuneo, they were stunned.

“How was I supposed to realize that?” Guerra asked. “It’s not like there was a sign saying `Welcome to ZunZuneo, brought to you by USAID.”

“Besides, there was nothing wrong. If I had started getting subversive messages or death threats or `Everyone into the streets,’” he laughed, “I would have said, `OK,’ there’s something fishy about this. But nothing like that happened.”

USAID says the program ended when the money ran out. The Cuban government declined to comment.

The former web domain is now a placeholder, for sale for $299. The registration for MovilChat, the Cayman Islands front company, was set to expire on March 31.

In Cuba, nothing has come close to replacing it. Internet service still is restricted.

“The moment when ZunZuneo disappeared was like a vacuum,” Guerra said. “People texted my phone, `What is happening with ZunZuneo?’

“In the end, we never learned what happened,” he said. “We never learned where it came from.”

Contributing to this report were Associated Press researcher Monika Mathur in Washington and AP writers Andrea Rodriguez and Peter Orsi in Havana. Arce reported from Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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Viral Video Shows Cop Pulling People Over — Then Totally Making Their Day

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎12:00:30 AM | Dave UrbanskiGo to full article
The humor website Break posted a video on Wednesday that anyone who’s been pulled over by police will appreciate.

In the clip a host and a cop team up to pull over motorists at random.

The unsuspecting folk appear nervous, surprised, and of course not terribly happy that their bank accounts are about to shrink as a result of the traffic tickets they fully expect are coming.

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Except they aren’t ticketed.

In fact, the cop thanks them for their responsible behavior…and hands each prank “victim” $100.

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Image source: YouTube/Break clip

Break knows that the more views the below video receives, the more money it donates to DoSomething and PrankItFwd.

Check it out via YouTube:

 

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Scottish Whisky Distillers Get Greener As They Turn To Biomass For Energy

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:35:30 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article

By Nina Chestney

SPEYSIDE, Scotland, April 4 (Reuters) - Scotch whisky distillers are burning their unwanted grain byproducts, wood chips and other types of biomass for a source of energy in remote areas of the Highlands, where gas links are scarce and fuel oil is pricey.

The production of Scotch whisky has evolved over more than 500 years and is steeped in tradition. It is also a big business, generating 4 billion pounds ($6 billion) a year in exports - a quarter of all Britain's food and drink sales abroad.

New distilleries are being built to meet demand from over 200 countries around the world including new markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Family-run, centuries-old distilleries are trying to minimise operational costs.

Most distilleries in Scotland have relied on heavy fuel oil to generate heat for distilling processes, but biomass such as wood, plant-based material or organic waste is now an increasingly attractive and reliable option.

"As we expand capacity, biomass will be an integral part of what we are doing going forward," said Gerry O'Hagan, operational excellence director of spirits and wine for Diageo , the world's biggest spirits company.


BIG BIOMASS

In the whisky-making heartland of Speyside in north-east Scotland, Diageo opened a 45 million pound distillery four years ago at Roseisle. Barley fields surround the modern industrial building, with glistening glass walls enclosing huge copper stills.

The distillery, which has no access to a gas line, produces 10.5 million litres a year, which is matured for a minimum of three years before being used in brands such as Johnnie Walker.

Diageo has spent 17 million pounds on a bioenergy plant with a capacity of 8 to 10 megawatts (MW), or enough to power up to 10,000 homes. The distillery gets over half of its energy from the biomass plant, which also saves around 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

The plant generates energy by burning byproducts of the distilling process such as spent grains, which would otherwise have been sent to farmers for use in animal feed.

The rest of the distillery's energy comes from burning heavy fuel oil, which is more harmful to the environment and more expensive. Diageo hopes to increase renewable energy to around 80 percent of the plant's total by mixing its byproducts with wood pellets.

"There is concern about energy (prices) in the long term and about how we can make ourselves as self-sufficient as we possibly can," O'Hagan said.

Diageo also has installed a bigger, 30 MW bioenergy plant at its Cameronbridge distillery near Edinburgh; is building another plant at its Glendullan distillery in Speyside and has plans for a third at a new malt whisky distillery, also in Speyside.

"There are around 20 new distillery projects at the moment. Some of them are tiny, but around half are in the planning stage, and many of them are asking about biomass," said Julie Hesketh-Laird, director of operation and technical affairs at the Scottish Whisky Association.

"It makes good business to keep your energy costs down," she added.

Today's distillers have to contend with volatile energy and commodity prices; often uncertain barley harvest yields due to more extreme weather patterns; and customers such as supermarkets that are scrutinising their green credentials.

North Sea oil production is in decline, and the debate around Scottish independence has raised the question of who might control the $2.5 trillion of reserves, which adds to uncertainty about future oil supply.

"There is a question mark about heavy oil supply and how much there is left. As an industry we don't look at tomorrow or next week, we are looking at 12, 15 or 20 years down the line," said Graham Eunson, general manager of the smaller Tomatin distillery.


SMALLER PLAYERS

Smaller, more traditional distilleries must rely on government subsidies to make the economics of biomass work. Under a scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the government rewards the use of renewable energy technology.

Remote Tomatin, 315 metres above sea level on the eastern edge of the Monadhliath Mountains, produces 2.5 million litres a year. Two thirds of its over 40-strong workforce live in housing on its 140-acre estate.

The plant is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, with whisky thought to have been made at the site as early as the 16th century. But it has experienced troubled times, going into liquidation in the 1980s before being bought by Japanese sake maker Takara Shuzo Co.

Tomatin, which has no gas links, had relied on fuel oil until last year, when it installed a 4 MW biomass boiler that burns wood pellets.

"To make that sort of investment on an unknown fuel source is a gamble. It is still perceived as a risk, because if it doesn't work, it's an expensive mistake," Eunson said.

"When we learnt we could get RHI payments, it was a key driver. As much as would love to be the most environmentally friendly firm, if the price of production (from biomass) is twice as high, it would put us at a huge disadvantage."

Biomass has now replaced 82 percent of the fuel oil it would have used, and Tomatin has cut its annual fuel costs by a third.

Furthermore, "if something happens which impacts the oil price, we are now safeguarded from that to a certain extent," Eunson said.

($1 = 0.6019 British Pounds) (editing by Jane Baird)
 


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Editorial: Springs Sidestep

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:35:06 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
For the second time in as many weeks, a key state Senate committee has approved a comprehensive springs protection bill — both times by unanimous votes. In the Florida House, a companion bill has yet to have its first vetting.
 


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It's About Time Someone On TV News Covered Climate Change Like This

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:34:57 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
Geez, TV news-- it's about time!

In a one-hour documentary on Sunday, Ann Curry will be reporting on an angle of climate change that is scarcely found on TV news: that "there is virtually no debate among climate scientists"--climate change is real and "largely caused by human activity." Curry will travel to areas high and low in the world, from the Arctic to the Florida seas, and speak to eyewitnesses of the devastating consequences of climate change, NBC News announced Thursday.

In a year that has seen a controversially low number of climate change reports from TV news networks, Curry's report is among the few this year to draw a direct connection to human influence. Huge climate change reports and potentially catastrophic findings have been largely ignored by networks like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. NBC News, however, was among one of the only networks this week to give significant attention to a UN report released Monday on how climate change is dramatically impacting the planet.


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Johnny Depp Gushes About Fiancee Amber Heard

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:33:19 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
It's clear that Johnny Depp can't get enough of his fiancee, Amber Heard.
During a pre-taped interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie set to air Friday, the notoriously-private actor couldn't help but to gush about his bride-to-be.


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Your Nest Smoke Detector Could Have A Dangerous Glitch

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:30:37 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
Nest has identified a glitch in its smoke detectors and has temporarily stopped sales of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, CEO Tony Fadell said in a note on the company's website on Thursday.

One of the Nest smoke detector's signature features, Nest Wave, lets you disable an alarm by waving your arm in front of the detector. Here's how that works:

 


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Wall Street Got $26.7 Billion In Bonuses Last Year. That's Enough To Feed Every Hungry American

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:28:02 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
That's a lot of money, and it could solve a lot of problems.
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'Out In The Dark' Author Sean Abley On Chronicling Gay Horror Filmmakers, Actors And Authors In New Book

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:27:27 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
Sean Abley can trace his love of horror movies back to his preteen years. Still, the Los Angeles-based writer, director and producer said that coming out as a horror fan posed an even greater challenge than opening up to friends and family about his sexuality.

“I didn’t feel weird for being gay; I felt weird for being a gay guy who loved horror movies,” Abley recalled. “As a young gay kid, my [idea of] what being gay meant was more delicate. Horror movies are not polite dinner conversations, and the genre just seemed like such a straight enterprise.”

But when horror movie writer-director Clive Barker (“Hellraiser,” “Candyman”) came out as gay in 1990s, Abley felt so moved, he penned an impassioned letter to horror fanzine Fangoria’s Editor-in-Chief Tony Timpone, praising his support of Barker’s then-surprising move. Timpone and Abley quickly struck up a working relationship, eventually leading to the launch of “Gay of the Dead,” Abley’s Fangoria blog emphasizing the work of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) stars and writers who focus on the horror genre.


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'Zebra Stripes' In Earth's Magnetic Field May Have Surprising Source

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:25:53 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
 

Strange stripelike features in Earth's magnetic field are caused by the planet's spin, and not by the constant bombardment of solar particles as previously thought, scientists say.

The so-called "zebra stripes" form when the electric field around Earth generated by the planet's rotation — previously thought to be too weak to impact the fast-moving particles — creates a striped pattern in the inner electron belt.

"Features similar to zebra stripes were previously inferred from low-altitude electron measurements," said lead study author Sasha Ukhorskiy of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Ukhorskiy was the lead author of the new study that examined the patterns of charged particles and modeled their interactions with Earth's rotation. [Earth Quiz: Do You Truly Know Your Home Planet?]

The "zebra stripes" were previously thought to be caused by the changing flow of particles streaming from the sun.

"It is because of the unprecedented high energy and temporal resolution of our energetic particle experiment RBSPICE — part of the Van Allen Probes NASA mission — that we now understand that the inner belt electrons are, in fact, always organized in zebra patterns," Ukhorskiy told Space.com via email.

A striped shield

Earth's magnetic field surrounds the planet like a shield, protecting it from the constant bombardment of charged particles from the sun. A slight tilt in the axis of this field creates a weak electric field that permeates the inner radiation belt. The interaction between the two creates the zebra stripes, which are concentrated distributions of highly energetic electrons trapped in Earth's magnetic field. These features are invisible to the human eye.

"If the inner belt electron populations are viewed as a viscous fluid — which is just an analogy — these global oscillations stretch and fold that field, much like taffy is stretched and folded in a candy-store machine," Ukhorskiy said. "This stretching-and-folding process results in the striped pattern across the entire inner electron belt."

Before this new finding, scientists had thought the field created by the planet's rotation was too weak to form the zebra stripes because it only changed the speed of the particles by 1 to 2 kilometers per second (0.6 to 1.2 miles per second) — which isn't much, considering the particles had been traveling at almost 100,000 km/s. Instead, the scientists attributed the formation of the features to interactions with the ever-changing solar wind and the presence of geomagnetic storms.

Working with a team of scientists, Ukhorskiy studied the data gathered by the Van Allen Probes to determine that the zebra stripes are a constant fixture in Earth's magnetic field, rather than features whose formation are dictated by the ever-changing presence of the solar wind.

"The fact that zebra patterns are observed — and are more clear — during intervals of quiet solar-wind conditions was the main indication that it must be the Earth's rotation that drives them," Ukhorskiy said.

The presence of the stripes only during calm periods was the first clue that the solar wind was not the driving force behind them. Ukhorskiy and his team went on to model the interactions between the magnetic field and the weak electric field generated by the planet's rotation. They concluded that this interaction created the zebra stripes.

Zebra stripes only form in the inner electron belt, which extends from Earth's atmosphere up to approximately 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) above the planet's surface. The outer electron belts take the brunt of the solar wind, making an unstable environment of competing processes.

The new findings were published online March 19 in the journal Nature.

earth magnetic fieldThe Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE) on NASA's Van Allen Probes measured the inner radiation belt and found that the zebra-striped features are more stable than previously thought.

Stripes in the solar system

Launched in 2012, the Van Allen Probes consist of two spacecraft located in the concentrated regions of Earth's electric field known as the Van Allen belts. The satellites study electrons in the radiation belt, and how their behavior changes over time and as a result of interactions with solar particles.

Although the radiation belt deflects most of the harmful material streaming from the sun, massive solar storms on the star occasionally hurl large quantities of material toward the planet that can affect satellites, communication systems and power grids. Understanding how Earth's shield interacts with these particles can help scientists gauge the measures needed to protect these systems.

Zebra stripes may surround other planets in the solar system. Ukhorskiy said the rotational forces of Jupiter and Saturn are far more prominent in affecting their plasma environments, making the concentrated pattern a likely feature in their radiation belts. Launched in 2011, NASA's Juno mission is set to reach Jupiter in July 2016, and should spot any zebra stripes in the gas giant's radiation belt.

When asked about the next step, Ukhorskiy said, "In my opinion, the most intriguing science question is whether similar or more prominent features exist at the outer planets."

Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

 

 

Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 


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Swing State Finds 36,000 Possible Voter Fraud Cases

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:24:33 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
North Carolina election officials are conducting a massive investigation into voter fraud after discovering that thousands of voters may have cast their ballots in two states during the 2012 presidential election.


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17 Incredible Epigraphs That Prove You Should Always Read The First Page

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:23:53 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
It's become common practice to kick off every literary work with a quote, often from another literary work -- an epigraph. These blips of wisdom shed light on a writer's intention or inspiration. At the very least, they're an opportunity to demonstrate cleverness, as in Stephen King's famous, contradictory quotes preceding his On Writing (see below). They're subtle summaries, grooming a reader's expectations and setting the tone for the original work that is to follow.

Epigraphs have existed for a long time. They were popularized during the early 1700s, when the function of reading was in flux. Prior to this time, only the very educated were literate, but reading was slowly becoming more of a hobby than merely a means of educating oneself about the past. Writes The New Republic:


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The 7 Wildest Theories About 'Game Of Thrones'

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:23:32 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
If you're like us here at HuffPost Books, then you likely were spinning with excitement over George R.R. Martin releasing a new chapter from The Winds of Winter, the sixth volume in Martin's magnum opus A Song of Ice and Fire. We read it. It's amazing.

One thing led to another, and we found ourselves speculating on what will happen in the final two books, and discussing some of the wildest theories we've heard about characters both old and new. With that in mind, we've laid down some of our favorites for all our fellow Thrones obsessives. Feel free to drop your own theories and speculations in the comments

WARNING: spoilers abound for those who have not read up through A Dance with Dragons. Proceed at your own risk!


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Emma Stone And Andrew Garfield Get Awkward About Their Relationship On 'Ellen'

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:20:47 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
Well this is certainly uncomfortable.

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have been dating for almost three years, but have been careful about keeping their relationship private. They rarely talk about each other in interviews and, even when they do, they try to keep it about their joint movies, "The Amazing Spider-Man" franchise.

So when they were asked about their relationship during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" airing Friday, April 4, things got awkward fairly quickly.


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Exhibition Features 445 Vintage Photobooth Portraits From A Single Unknown Man

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:18:36 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
In the years between the Great Depression and the '60s, an unknown man captured his visage in a photobooth, over and over and over again. Over time, the anonymous gentleman accrued 445 selfies, though no historian has been able to figure out exactly why. Who was this business casual fellow and why did he feel the need to photograph himself hundreds of times -- before the age of Instagram? This mysterious occurrence is the subject of an intriguing exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.

unknoen
 

Unidentified Artist, 445 Portraits of a Man, ca. 1930s-40s, Photomatic photo booth silver gelatin prints. Photo by Peter Jacobs.

 

 


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Daily Meditation: Keep Searching

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:17:06 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these daily meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features the timeless U2 hit "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." This song can apply to many things in our lives -- love, happiness, spiritual connection. Whatever it is for you, the tune encourages us to keep going, keep searching.

 


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Fort Hood Gunman Had 'Unstable' Mental Condition

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:16:25 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Unstable mental health may be a "fundamental, underlying cause" of a soldier's shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left four people dead, though an argument with another service member likely preceded the attack, according to investigators.

Spc. Ivan Lopez turned his gun on himself after killing three people and wounding 16 others Wednesday at the sprawling Texas military base, where more than a dozen people were fatally shot by a soldier in 2009. An Army truck driver from Puerto Rico, Lopez was undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety while being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder, base officials said.


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U.S. Warns China Not To Attempt Crimea-Style Action In Asia

 
‎04 ‎April ‎2014, ‏‎03:14:55 PM | The Huffington Post News EditorsGo to full article

(Adds comment from Chinese foreign ministry)

By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) - China should not doubt the U.S. commitment to defend its Asian allies and the prospect of economic retaliation should also discourage Beijing from using force to pursue territorial claims in Asia in the way Russia has in Crimea, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Daniel Russel, President Barack Obama's diplomatic point man for East Asia, said it was difficult to determine what China's intentions might be, but Russia's annexation of Crimea had heightened concerns among U.S. allies in the region about the possibility of China using force to pursue its claims.

"The net effect is to put more pressure on China to demonstrate that it remains committed to the peaceful resolution of the problems," Russel, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Russel said the retaliatory sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States, the European Union and others should have a "chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model."

This was especially so given the extent of China's economic interdependence with the United States and its Asia neighbors, Russel said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about Russel's comments, said he was confusing two different issues.

"No matter whether the Ukraine issue or the South China Sea issue, China has many times expressed its position. Why must this U.S. official mention the two issues in the same breath, and obstinately say these things about China?" Hong told a daily news briefing on Friday.

Russel added that while the United States did not take a position on rival territorial claims in East Asia, China should be in no doubt about Washington's resolve to defend its allies if necessary.

"The president of the United States and the Obama administration is firmly committed to honoring our defense commitments to our allies," he said.

While Washington stood by its commitments - which include defense treaties with Japan, the Philippines and South Korea - Russel said there was no reason why the rival territorial claims could not be resolved by peaceful means.

He said he hoped the fact that the Philippines had filed a case against China on Sunday at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague would encourage China to clarify and remove the ambiguity surrounding its own claims.

Russel termed the deployment of large numbers of Chinese vessels in its dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea "problematic" and said that Beijing had taken "what to us appears to be intimidating steps."

"It is incumbent of all of the claimants to foreswear intimidation, coercion and other non-diplomatic or extra-legal means," he said.

In Asia, China also has competing territorial claims with Japan and South Korea, as well as with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in potentially energy-rich waters.

Obama is due to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines from April 22, when he is expected to stress his commitment to a rebalancing of U.S. strategic and economic focus towards the Asia-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China. (Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Bernard Orr)
 


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