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September 26, 2006
Iraqi president asks for long-term US military presence in Iraq
"Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in an interview, asked for a long-term US military presence in Iraq, saying his country will need two permanent US air bases to deter 'foreign interference.'"
Hungary protests pass peacefully, seen growing
"Hungary's fifth night of anti-government protests ended peacefully on Friday, but opponents of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany vowed to put thousands more people on the streets on Saturday.
Speakers at a rally outside parliament said the number of protesters in Budapest could rise to 200,000 on Saturday as efforts to oust the prime minister, who admitted he had lied to win April's election, continued."
U.S. war prisons legal vacuum for 14,000
"In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law."
U.N. Inspectors Dispute Iran Report By House Panel
'Alternative' CIA tactics complicate Padilla case
Census Bureau Loses Hundreds of Laptops
Feds lower boom on alternative money
"The Justice Department has determined that use of Liberty Dollars, which come in varying denominations, 'is a crime,' according to the Mint, which issued a rare public warning Thursday."
More about Liberty Dollars here
House Approves Strip Search Bill
"The Student Teacher Safety Act of 2006 (HR 5295) would require any school receiving federal funding - essentially every public school - to adopt policies allowing teachers and school officials to conduct random, warrantless searches of every student, at any time, on the flimsiest of pretexts. Saying they suspect that one student might have drugs could give officials the authority to search every student in the building."
Big Brother is shouting at you
Impostor Speaker Dupes La. Officials
"Following speeches by Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin, a man who said he was the 'deputy assistant secretary' of the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a total reversal in the government's policy on public housing in New Orleans, claiming HUD would halt plans to demolish thousands of public housing units.
The man left a phone number on a flier handed out at the conference. A man who answered at the number and identified himself as Andy Bichlbauer said he and his loosely affiliated band of 'Yes Men' have pulled off similar pranks, including several involving the World Trade Organization.
HUD spokeswoman Donna White said the government's plans remain unchanged. Demolition and redevelopment of several major projects will go ahead as planned, she said. She called the speech 'cruel.'"
SGA resolution aims to censor DT
"The Texas Tech Student Government Association will discuss passing a resolution to make The Daily Toreador change how they display the death toll of the people who died in Iraq."
Chaos and strife behind Pluto's demise
"A distant icy rock, whose discovery led to Pluto losing its status as a planet, has been named Eris - after the Greek goddess of chaos and strife.
Eris was officially named by the International Astronomical Union on Wednesday. It had previously been known as 2003 UB313."
Hail Eris, heavenly goddess!
September 13, 2006
71-Year-Old Gitmo Detainee Released
"The oldest detainee at Guantanamo Bay - an Afghan man who is at least 71 and hobbled around the U.S. prison in Cuba using a walker - has been sent home, his lawyer said Monday.
'We couldn't figure out why he was there,' Ryan said. 'He could barely walk and he could barely hear.'"
The Deepening Crisis in Gaza
"Israel closed the entry and exit points into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, on June 25 and has conducted frequent raids and bombings that have killed 262 people and wounded 1,200. The crisis in Gaza has been largely ignored by the rest of the world, which has been absorbed by the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
The total closure imposed by Israel dates from the seizure of Cpl Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants on June 25. Between then and the end of August, Israeli security forces killed 226 Palestinians, 54 of them minors, in the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem. Of these it says that 114 were taking no part in any hostilities."
Problem children targeted at birth
"Tough new plans to target babies and young children in problem families were unveiled by Tony Blair yesterday. He said social workers should intervene much earlier to prevent children in 'dysfunctional' families turning into problem teenagers.
His initiative could mean that families who refuse to co-operate would lose state benefits or have their children taken into local authority care more swiftly.
The Prime Minister said it was possible to predict problem children 'prebirth' in some cases. He suggested that single mothers might be forced to accept state help before their children were born under the plans to tackle a hard core of more than one million 'socially excluded' people."
Outrage at Zimbabwe bugging plan
"Zimbabwe's opposition and civil society groups have expressed anger at a proposed law to monitor communications.
The bill proposes a monitoring centre, apparently with Chinese technology, that would eavesdrop on telephone, internet and other communications."
Google Seeks Middle Ground On Privacy
"The Brazilian government wanted the names of suspected criminals using Google's 'Orkut,' the most popular social networking site (think MySpace or Facebook) in Brazil.
The nasty fight pitting two powerful and implacable sides against each other climaxed last Thursday with a judge's order: Hand over the data or face a daily fine of $900,000. Google has complied. In doing so, the company moved a step closer to establishing a global legal precedent on how Internet firms cooperate - or not - with government requests for information about Web users."
Positive Press on Iraq Is Aim of U.S. Contract
"U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq.
The contract calls for assembling a database of selected news stories and assessing their tone as part of a program to provide "public relations products" that would improve coverage of the military command's performance, according to a statement of work attached to the proposal."
FISA Surveillance Can Target Non-Spies
"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) can be used to monitor U.S. persons who engage in unlawful collection of classified or controlled information even if they are not acting on behalf of a foreign power.
That is the upshot of an August 14 ruling disclosed last week in the case of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)."
Test nonlethal weapons on U.S. citizens, official says
"Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.
Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions in the international community over any possible safety concerns, said Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne."
Cheney sent to break up surveillance, tribunals deadlock
"Vice President Dick Cheney and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten appealed to Senate Republicans during their weekly policy lunch to pass legislation that would let Bush begin prosecuting terror suspects. The legislation also would limit the circumstances under which a government interrogator could be prosecuted for mistreating a detainee."
Pro-Gun Groups Disagree on Bill Improving Background Checks
"The bill notes that approximately 24 million criminal records are not automated or not accessible to NICS; and another 16 million criminal records are not up to date. Some lack information on whether an arrested person was convicted or acquitted, for example.
Many states have failed to computerize the necessary information and make it available to NICS in a 'usable format,' and that's what the McCarthy bill would address.
But Gun Owners of America warns that the bill would give the states hundreds of millions of dollars to 'further prop up the unconstitutional Brady Law.' GOA argues that the federal government lacks the authority to conduct background checks on gun buyers under the Second and Tenth Amendments."
Harman: Intelligence Committee at impasse on Cunningham subpoena
"The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee are at an impasse over whether to subpoena jailed former Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham as part of an investigation into Cunningham's actions on the committee, the panel's top Democrat said Tuesday.
Harman declined to reveal contents of the report, but congressional officials have told AP that the document concludes that Cunningham took advantage of secrecy and badgered congressional aides to help slip items into classified bills that would benefit him and his associates."
AT&T says hackers accessed customers' cards
"Hackers broke into one of AT&T Inc.'s computer networks and stole credit card data and other personal information from several thousand customers who shopped at the telecommunication giant's online store."
TSA sends personal info to wrong addresses
"The Transportation Security Administration says the personal data of 1,195 former employees may have been e-mailed to the wrong addresses by a contractor.
The TSA, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, has told former employees their Social Security numbers and birth dates may have been mailed in error by Accenture, raising the possibility of identity fraud, USA Today reported Wednesday. Accenture handles TSA personnel."
BYU places '9/11 truth' professor on paid leave
"Brigham Young University placed physics professor Steven Jones on paid leave Thursday while it reviews his involvement in the so-called '9/11 truth movement' that accuses unnamed government agencies of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center."
Journalists Fired for Taking Gov't Money
"Ten South Florida journalists, including three with The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, received thousands of dollars from the federal government for their work on radio and TV programming aimed at undermining Fidel Castro's communist regime, the Herald reported Friday."
Sportingbet shares plummet after arrest
"More than £400m was wiped off the value of Sportingbet yesterday as some investors called quits on the online gaming company following the arrest of its chairman in the United States.
The firm's shares plunged 40% to 142p as trading restarted on the London Stock Exchange for the first time since they were suspended last week when Peter Dicks was seized at JFK airport in New York."
Seizure law riles Cooper City residents (FL)
"Under the city law, once the city declares a state of emergency, officials would be able to regulate fuel and alcohol sales, close any place of public assemblage and prohibit public possession or display of firearms. In addition, they would be able 'to confiscate merchandise, equipment, vehicles or property needed to alleviate any emergency condition.'"
Raid yields guns, Nazi paraphernalia
"The police raided a Chicago firefighter's North Side apartment overnight and recovered more than 60 guns and a host of Nazi paraphernalia, authorities said today.
Ted Kozak, 55, was charged with two counts of felony unlawful use of a weapon by Cook County prosecutors, said police Lt. John Franklin of the Calumet Area gun team.
Police were acting on a tip that Kozak's apartment in the 4100 block of West Barry contained more than 100 unregistered guns, Franklin said.
Investigators from the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives participated in the search of Kozak's home, which lasted from 7:30 p.m. Thursday to 12:30 a.m. today, Franklin said."
T-shirt a risk to air security (UK)
"A tourist was told to turn his T-shirt inside-out at an airport - as a picture of two guns on it was deemed a SECURITY RISK.
Dave Osborne, 21, was bound for Newark, New Jersey, when guards hauled him out of the queue for his Guns N Rollers T-shirt.
They told him the two pistols on the front could constitute a security risk and upset passengers."
House Votes to Ban Horse Slaughter
"The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503), if signed into law, would 'prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.' A similar bill (S. 1915) awaits a hearing in the Senate, where if passed it would then go to the President for his signature before becoming a law."
Google News adds newspaper archives
"Google Inc. has added the ability to search through more than 200 years of historical newspaper archives alongside the latest contemporary information now available on Google News, the market-leading Web search firm said on Tuesday.
Archive Search instantly generates a timeline of stories on a particular subject over the years, allowing Web surfers to target particular dates, or to observe how coverage of an issue has evolved over time."
Google News archive search