NSA statement does not deny 'spying' on members of Congress --Statement cites 'same privacy protections as all US persons' [LOL, in other words, they spy as easily as breathe.] 04 Jan 2014 The National Security Agency on Saturday released a statement in answer to questions from a senator about whether it "has spied, or is...currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials", in which it did not deny collecting communications from legislators of the US Congress to whom it says it is accountable. In a letter dated 3 January, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont defined "spying" as "gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business".
Senator presses NSA to reveal whether it spies on members of Congress 03 Jan 2014 A US senator has bluntly asked the National Security Agency if it spies on Congress, raising the stakes for the surveillance agency's legislative fight to preserve its broad surveillance powers. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and socialist, asked army general Keith Alexander, the NSA's outgoing director, if the NSA "has spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials". Sanders, in a letter dated 3 January, defined "spying" as "gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business".
US terror drone attack kills two in eastern Afghanistan 06 Jan 2014 A US-led terror drone strike has claimed the lives of at least two people and injured some others in the troubled eastern Afghanistan, security sources say. Local Afghan security officials said the strike took place in the eastern Nangarhar Province on Monday. Also on Sunday, an unmanned plane targeted a vehicle in the volatile Momand Dara district of the same province, killing at least nine people.
Inside the Saudi 9/11 cover-up 15 Dec 2013 After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors. But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress' investigative report on 9/11 dealing with "specific sources of foreign support" for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals. It was kept secret and remains so today. President [sic] Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report...The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words). A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are "absolutely shocked" at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Officials reject concerns over 500 percent radiation increase on California beach 06 Jan 2014 Health officials in California are now telling residents not to worry after a video uploaded to the internet last month seemed to show high levels of radiation at a Pacific Coast beach. The video, "Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco," has been viewed nearly half-a-million times since being uploaded to YouTube on Christmas Eve, and its contents have caused concern among residents who fear that nuclear waste from the March 2011 disaster in Japan may be arriving on their side of the Pacific Ocean.
Pharma-terrorist GlaxoSmithKline strikes again: Girl falls asleep 30 times a day since taking the flu vaccine 06 Jan 2014 It was supposed to be a simple vaccine against swine flu, but since she had it, Chloe Glasson's life has been like a bad dream. Just four months after being given the [GlaxoSmithKline] Pandemrix injection, the 15-year-old schoolgirl developed the sleeping disorder narcolepsy. Now, without warning, she falls asleep up to 30 times a day wherever she is. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency dropped the vaccine from its flu campaign in 2011.
2 dead, 81 hospitalized in Oregon H1N1 flu cases 05 Jan 2014 Local emergency rooms are quickly filling up with flu victims and doctors said they are seeing a rise in H1N1, also known as swine flu, which caused a pandemic back in 2009. A 5-year-old boy from Eugene died from the flu at Oregon Health & Science University after falling ill on Christmas day, according to officials from the hospital...So far, at least two people have died of the flu in Oregon and 81 people have been hospitalized.
Study Shows Fracking Is Bad for Babies 04 Jan 2014 The energy industry has long insisted that hydraulic fracking -- the practice of fracturing rock to extract gas and oil deep beneath the earth's surface -- is safe for people who live nearby. New research suggests this is not true for some of the most vulnerable humans: newborn infants. The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed or posted online, comes at a time when state and federal officials are grappling with how to regulate fracking and, in the case of New York State, whether to allow the practice at all.
Documents show GWB lane closures originated outside Port Authority, lawmaker says 06 Jan 2014 The Democratic lawmaker leading an investigation into September's George Washington Bridge lane closures said subpoenaed documents demonstrate that the idea for the closings came from outside the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. But the lawmaker, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), said redactions and a lack of related correspondence among the 900 pages of documents he received last month from current and former Port Authority officials obscure their meaning and context. "The documents create the implication that this originated outside the Port Authority," Wisniewski said today, though he declined to say just who it was outside the agency that the documents implicated.
Janet Yellen confirmed as Federal Reserve chairman 06 Jan 2014 The Senate confirmed Janet L. Yellen on Monday as the next leader of the Federal Reserve, placing her in charge of ensuring that the nation’s economy makes a full recovery. Her nomination passed the chamber 56 to 26 on its first day back in session after winter recess despite opposition from some Republicans who have advocated for greater oversight of the central bank. Yellen, currently second in command, will be the first woman to be in the top job at the Fed when she takes office Feb. 1.
U.S. Senate has delayed vote to open debate on unemployment benefits 06 Jan 2014 The U.S. Senate has delayed until Tuesday morning a procedural vote that was set for Monday evening and could have opened debate on extending federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans, according to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed's office. Reed (D-RI) is leading the effort to reauthorize the benefits for three months nationwide, with hopes that Congress will later extend the benefits for the full year. Nearly 5,000 Rhode Islanders lost their extended, federal unemployment benefits when they expired on Dec. 28.
Rep. Chris Reykdal calls Boeing deal 'extortion' 05 Jan 2014 Washington State Representative Chris Reykdal (D) admits his opinion is the minority, but it has been ever since he voted against a nearly *9 billion tax break for Boeing last fall. Rather than demanding that all that m*ney stay in the economy, they got less obligation to pensions, less obligation to healthcare, less obligation to pay increases. So, they put less and less of that resource back into our economy," he said. Rep. Reykdal was not surprised that machinists voted Friday night to accept Boeing's latest contract offer by a slim margin of 51%. He calls the methodology used by Boeing: extortion. [It is.]
Liz Cheney to Quit Wyoming Senate Race 06 Jan 2014 Liz Cheney intends to withdraw from the Wyoming Republican Senate primary, according to two sources familiar with her plans, bringing an abrupt end to her unsteady challenge to the incumbent, Michael B. Enzi. Ms. Cheney, 47, the former vice president's [sic] elder daughter, is expected to drop out of the race this week, citing family reasons. Since declaring her candidacy in July against Mr. Enzi, a well-liked, three-term Senate veteran, Ms. Cheney not only never found traction but also wound up causing deep rifts among longtime friends and even within her own family.
Australia swelters after record hot 2013; farmers slaughter cattle, bushfire warning 03 Jan 2014 A searing heatwave is baking central and northern Australia, piling more misery on drought-hit cattle farmers who have been slaughtering livestock as Australia sweltered through the hottest year on record in 2013. Temperatures have topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit)in large parts of Australia's key agricultural regions for most of the past week, with the mercury topping 48 degrees Celsius in the central west Queensland town of Birdsville. The heatwave is moving east across Australia, prompting health warnings on Friday in some of the country's biggest cities and firefighters were already battling bushfires.
'Polar vortex' could send wind chill to 65 below zero in Midwest 04 Jan 2014 Parts of the U.S. may see days of record-low temperatures beginning Sunday as forecasters expect a deep freeze to bring wind chill as low as 65 below zero in parts of the Midwest. Temperatures will hover around zero throughout the East Coast region early next week. "It's going to be very cold and the wind chills are going to be very low," said Bob Oravec, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. "It hasn't been this cold in several decades for the big East Coast cities."
It's Officially Too Cold For Chicago's Polar Bear 06 Jan 2014 Pack it up folks and stay inside, it is officially too cold even for the neighborhood polar bear. DNAinfo Chicago spoke to the folks at the Lincoln Park Zoo and their polar bear, Anana, will be staying warm inside a "climate-controlled" area thanks to the below-zero extreme temperatures in Chicago today.