Monday, April 20, 2015

U.S. Carrier Moving Off Coast of Yemen; Could Block Iran Weapons

WASHINGTON — The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is moving toward the waters off the coast of Yemen to prepare to intercept any potential Iranian shipments of weapons to the rebels fighting the U.S.-backed government of Yemen, a Pentagon official said Monday.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the carrier and ships supporting her had been in the Persian Gulf. They moved to the waters near Yemen because of increased instability there, he said.

The Roosevelt is also tracking a convoy of Iranian ships headed to the Gulf of Aden, said a Defense official speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the Iranian vessels. The Iranians have been supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Read Full Article - USA Today

More On Carrier Mission

FBI Admits to Decades of Flawed Forensic Testimony

(Reuters) - The FBI and U.S. Justice Department have acknowledged that almost all of the experts in a forensic unit dedicated to microscopic hair comparison gave flawed testimony against defendants before 2000, the Washington Post said.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project found that 26 of the 28 examiners in the FBI's microscopic hair comparison unit overstated evidence in more than 95 percent of 268 trials that the groups have examined so far, the Post said.

Defendants and prosecutors in 46 states, along with the District of Columbia, are being advised of the findings, which could result in appealing of convictions, the newspaper said. The cases with overstated evidence included 32 that resulted in death sentences, and 14 of those defendants have been executed or died in prison.

Read Full Article - Huffington Post

Islamic State Kills Ethiopian Christians In Libya

CAIRO (AP) — Islamic State militants in Libya shot and beheaded groups of captive Ethiopian Christians, a video purportedly from the extremists showed Sunday. The attack widens the circle of nations affected by the group's atrocities while showing its growth beyond a self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

The release of the 29-minute video comes a day after Afghanistan's president blamed the extremists for a suicide attack in his country that killed at least 35 people — and underscores the chaos gripping Libya after its 2011 civil war and the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

It also mirrored a film released in February showing militants beheading 21 captured Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach, which immediately drew Egyptian airstrikes on the group's suspected positions in Libya. Whether Ethiopia would — or could — respond with similar military force remains unclear.

Read Full Article - The Associated Press

Tim Tebow to Sign With Philadelphia Eagles

He’s back.

After a two-season exile, the man who took the Broncos to the divisional round in 2011 before being summarily dumped for Peyton Manning will have a new job in the NFL.

Per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, Tim Tebow will sign with the Eagles on Monday.  (Yes, Glazer has the scoop, even though Tebow works for ESPN.)

Traded to the Jets in March 2012, Tebow had a single, disastrous season in New York.  Cut by the Jets, the Patriots gave him a look in the 2013 offseason, training camp, and preseason.  Tebow didn’t make the 53-man roster, and he hasn’t been heard from again.

Read Full Article - NBC Sports

Tebow Has Uphill Battle To Make Roster

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hundreds Drown After Migrant Boat Sinks Off Coast Of Libya

(Reuters) - As many as 700 migrants were feared dead on Sunday after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean, raising pressure on Europe to face down anti-immigrant bias and find money for support as turmoil in Libya and the Middle East worsens the crisis.

If the death toll is confirmed, it will bring to 1,500 the total number of people who died this year seeking to reach Europe - a swelling exodus that prompted Europe to downsize its seek and rescue border protection program in a bid to deter them. International aid groups strongly criticized the decision.

After news of Sunday's disaster several government leaders called for emergency talks and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said foreign ministers would discuss the immigration crisis at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday. European Council President Donald Tusk said he was considering calling a special meeting of EU leaders, a summit that Renzi had called for earlier.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Video: Dec 10, 2014

MLB: Pete Rose Getting Job With Fox Sports

NEW YORK (AP) — Pete Rose is getting back in baseball while he awaits a ruling on his reinstatement request — as a television analyst.

The career hits leader, who agreed to a lifetime ban from the sport 26 years ago, has been hired by Fox as a guest studio analyst.

"We informed baseball of Pete's audition. Baseball was informed every step of the way," Fox spokesman Dan Bell said Saturday.

Bell said Rose will not be in stadium broadcast booths. Since the ban began, Rose has not been allowed in areas of ballparks not open to fans, except with special approval from the commissioner's office. Approval has been granted for ceremonies, such as the All-Century team announcement at Atlanta's Turner Field during the 1999 World Series and a Reds' ceremony in 2013 honoring their 1975 and '76 championship teams.

Read Full Article - USA Today

Joan Jett Gets Emotional on Induction Into Rock and Roll HOF

CLEVELAND (AP) — Joan Jett couldn’t keep her rough rocker edge for long.

Once she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jett was overcome by the moment and moved to tears.

“I tried not to cry and be tough,” she said, her black mascara starting to run.

Jett and other music legends were welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night, an evening made special with two of the Beatles set to come together and play.

Ringo Starr, previously enshrined with the Beatles in 1988, is being inducted along Jett and The Blackhearts, pop punks Green Day, soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers, underground-rock icon Lou Reed, bluesy guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and The “5” Royales.

Read Full Article - Yahoo Music

Jett, Green Day, Ringo Rock HOF Ceremony 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

'Star Wars: Battlefront' Unveiled at Convention (Game)

The Force isn't merely awakening on the big screen. It's also returning to the video game realm.

"Star Wars: Battlefront" publisher Electronic Arts and Swedish developer DICE showcased their next-generation rendition of the "Star Wars" multiplayer shooter Friday at Star Wars Celebration, the annual fan extravaganza celebrating the sci-fi franchise.

The new iteration of "Battlefront" takes place amid the conflicts of the original film trilogy and is scheduled for release Nov. 17 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs.

"Battlefront" will focus on frenzied shoot-outs between up to 40 players portraying Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire forces. In a demonstration of the game's multiplayer mode, a team of jetpack-equipped rebels were shown carving their way through the woodsy Endor while Stormtroopers charged at them on foot, on speeders and within walkers, including a hulking AT-AT war machine.

Read Full Article - CBS News

Details Of Future 'Star Wars: Rogue One' Revealed

Gas-Line Explosion Closes Highway, Injures Dozens

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A large gas pipeline exploded into a tower of fire Friday in Central California, closing both directions of a major highway in the region and injuring at least 11 people, three of them critically, authorities said.

It was not clear what caused the explosion at the Fresno County Sheriff's gun range that brought traffic in the area to a halt. But authorities say it occurred while a county equipment operator was building up a dirt berm on the range alongside heavily traveled Highway 99.

The flames shot well over 100 feet into the air, witnesses said.

Traffic heading north and south on Highway 99 in Fresno was halted by the explosion about 2:30 p.m. as flames towered over the roadway, the California Highway Patrol reported. The highway was reopened three hours later, the CHP said.

Read Full Article - Huffington Post

Friday, April 17, 2015

Iraq: EX-Saddam Hussein Deputy Killed; U.S. Consulate Bombed

BAGHDAD (AP) — He was the last member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle still on the run, depicted with his distinctive red moustache as the "king of clubs" on the U.S. military's deck of cards of most-wanted Iraqi regime fugitives.

Now, officials say they believe government forces killed Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri near Tikrit, where the former deputy to Saddam was working alongside Islamic State militants.

Reports of al-Douri's death came Friday as Iraqi forces tried to push back Islamic State group fighters in Salahuddin province, where Tikrit is located. Government troops took back several towns near Iraq's largest oil refinery at Beiji, officials said.

Farther north, a car bomb exploded next to the U.S. Consulate in the city of Irbil, a rare attack in the capital of the Kurdish autonomous zone that killed three people and wounded five, police said. U.S. officials said no Americans were hurt and no casualties among consulate personnel or guards.

Read Full Article - The Associated Press

China Jails Journalist For 'Leaking State Secrets'

(Reuters) - A Chinese court jailed a journalist accused of leaking an internal Communist Party document to a foreign website for seven years on Friday, her lawyer said, a ruling that reflects the sensitivity surrounding the party's inner workings.

Gao Yu, 71, who was tried behind closed doors in Beijing last November, was convicted on a charge of providing state secrets to foreign contacts, her lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said.

Rights activists have condemned Gao's detention and trial, saying it indicates a widening crackdown on dissent. The United States called on China to release Gao at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva last month.

Mo said Gao had indicated as she was leaving court that she would appeal.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Dog Flu Outbreak Spreading in Midwestern States

A rare outbreak of dog flu has almost reached epidemic levels in Chicago, and the illness could easily spread to others areas of the country. More than 1,000 dogs have become ill with canine influenza virus (CIV) and at least five have died since the middle of March, according to the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control.

Symptoms of the respiratory disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, "honking" cough, and fever, and CIV is more severe in dogs less than a year old and those older than seven.

"I have been practicing for 20 years and I have never seen anything this bad, this contagious, this widespread," veterinarian Jane Lohmar told the Chicago Sun Times. 

"There's no built-in immune protection for most dogs," Dr. Brooke Bartell, who works in the ER at Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, told the Chicago Tribune.

Read Full Article - Newsmax

Five Bodies Found in Phoenix Home After Standoff

Five adults were found dead inside a north Phoenix home after a shooting Thursday in a suspected dispute about the family's business, police said.

The names and ages of the three men and two women weren't immediately released. But police said the three men were brothers and the dead women apparently were the men's mother and a spouse of one of the brothers.

Two other women and two children managed to escape the home unharmed, according to police.

One of those women told officers that the shooting stemmed from a family dispute gone wrong, police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said.

"Our dispatcher could hear shots fired in the background while that call was coming in," Crump said. "A caller had been able to escape the home at that point, get out and start to give us information."

Read Full Article - ABC News

NFL: Adrian Peterson Reinstated; Will He Return to the Vikings?

He's baack. Finally.

To mark the long-awaited, official reinstatement Friday of one Adrian Lewis Peterson to the NFL ranks, it's time for an All-Day Prediction.

2,000 yards.

After all of this drama – the exempt list, no-showing for a disciplinary hearing, a secretly-taped phone call, a suspension overturned on appeal, an NFL appeal of the appeal, and enough trade speculation to create a reality TV series with – Peterson cannot come back and have some ho-hum season.

Although some people may never forgive Peterson for the manner in which he whipped his then-4-year-old son with a switch, fueling the child abuse charges that resulted in probation from a Texas court and the hotly-contested NFL suspension, he has indeed paid a stiff price for that.

Read Full Article - USA Today

Democrats’ Civil War Over Fast-Track, Free Trade

The most important trade bill in a decade has pitted Harry Reid against President Barack Obama. Liberal Democrat Rosa DeLauro against moderate Democrat Ron Kind. Labor unions against pro-business Democrats. And Elizabeth Warren against virtually everyone who supports a landmark piece of legislation that would allow the president to close what could be the biggest free-trade deal in history.

The open warring among Democrats over fast-track trade legislation, and the party’s broader existential crisis on free trade, grew more pronounced Thursday as senior lawmakers announced a breakthrough on the trade bill. Many Democrats still feel the burn, 20 years later, of lost manufacturing jobs from the North American Free Trade Agreement — pushed through by former President Bill Clinton — and they fear another Democratic president is on the verge of turning his back on working-class Americans by negotiating a trade deal that would send jobs overseas.

What’s at stake substantively is giving the president streamlined authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country free-trade deal that would dwarf NAFTA. But there’s also much more at stake politically for a Democratic Party...

Read Full Article - Politico

More On Fast-Track Free Trade Deal

Democrats Vow To Scuttle Obama's Fast-Trck Trade Authority

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Iraq: Thousands Flee as ISIS Militants Advance on Ramadi

BAGHDAD (AP) — More than 2,000 families have fled the Iraqi city of Ramadi with little more than the clothes on their backs, officials said Thursday, as the Islamic State group closed in on the capital of western Anbar province, clashing with Iraqi troops and turning it into a ghost town.

The extremist group, which has controlled the nearby city of Fallujah for more than a year, captured three villages on Ramadi's eastern outskirts on Wednesday. The advance is widely seen as a counteroffensive after the Islamic State group lost the city of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, earlier this month.

Hundreds of U.S. troops are training Iraqi forces at a military base west of Ramadi, but a U.S. military official said the fighting had no impact on the U.S. soldiers there, and that there were no plans to withdraw them.

Read Full Article - Yahoo News

Putin Defends Sale Of Missile System To Iran

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin sternly urged the West to respect Russia's interests in global affairs and defended his move to sanction the delivery of a long-range air defense missile system to Iran during a marathon TV call-in show with the nation Thursday.

Putin scathingly criticized Washington for refusing to see Moscow as an equal partner and warned that Russia-West ties, in shambles over the Ukrainian crisis, could only be normalized when the U.S. and its allies show readiness for compromise.

He also described the killing of top Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov as "tragic and shameful" and said he wasn't certain if Russian law-enforcement agencies would be able to track down those who organized it.

Read Full Article - Huffington Post