Friday, May 22, 2015

6 Baltimore PD Officers Indicted In Freddie Gray's Death



A grand jury in Baltimore has indicted six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the city's top prosecutor said Thursday.

In a hasty early-evening news conference, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby reeled off the charges handed down by the grand jury against the officers: Caesar Goodson Jr., William Porter, Brian Rice, Edward Nero, Garrett Miller and Alicia White.

The grand jury's charges differed slightly from those filed by Mosby on May 1, when she announced the results of her office's independent investigation of Gray's death. Some original charges, including false imprisonment and assault, were dropped in the cases of some of the officers, and new charges, including reckless endangerment, were added against all of them.

Read Full Article - NBC News

Thursday, May 21, 2015

First Batch Of Clinton Emails Sheds Light On Benghazi



WASHINGTON — The State Department is expected to release the first batch of emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email address in the coming days.

The emails set for release, drawn from some 55,000 pages and focused on Libya, have already been turned over to the special House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the United States outposts in Benghazi. The New York Times has obtained about a third of the 850 pages of emails.

They capture the correspondence and concerns expressed among Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, and her advisers following the attacks, which claimed the lives of the American ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans.

The emails also offer occasional glimpses into the private side of Mrs. Clinton’s life...

Read Full Article - The New York Times

U.S., China Tensions Build In South China Sea



China's land reclamation around reefs in the disputed South China Sea is undermining freedom and stability, and risks provoking tension that could even lead to conflict, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a conference in Jakarta.

China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, its claims overlapping with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory in the Spratly islands and in building an airstrip suitable for military use and that it may be planning another.

"As China seeks to make sovereign land out of sandcastles and redraw maritime boundaries, it is eroding regional trust and undermining investor confidence," Blinken said on Wednesday.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Mass Dolphin Deaths In Gulf Linked To BP Oil Spill



A dramatic increase in dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico is directly linked to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists concluded in a report published Wednesday.

Following the 2010 explosion on the drilling rig owned by British Petroleum (BP) and the subsequent spill of 4.9 million barrels (205.8 million gallons) of oil into the ocean, scientists have documented 1,281 dead and stranded cetaceans, primarily bottlenose dolphins, along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

In 2011, Louisiana saw 163 dolphins stranded, while Mississippi had 111. By comparison, each of those states saw an average of 20 such incidents per year from 2002 through 2009, reported the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

One in three of the dolphins recovered from the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama suffered from otherwise rarely-seen adrenal lesions consistent with petroleum product exposure, according to a report from NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration

Read Full Article - Huffington Post

FL Postal Worker / Gyrocopter Pilot Won't End Protests



WASHINGTON — Doug Hughes, the Florida postal worker who landed a gyrocopter on the U.S. Capitolgrounds last month and set off alarms about airspace security, made a lower-key return to the nation's capital Wednesday.

He arrived by car, wearing a GPS-enabled ankle bracelet that transmits his every move to federal authorities. He's no less passionate, however, about the cause that could cost him his job and freedom — overhauling the nation's campaign-finance system and ending what he sees as the rampant corruption on Capitol Hill.

"Overall, Congress is in it for the money," Hughes declared during an interview as he headed toward Washington where he's scheduled to be in court Thursday. "They are in it for themselves. They are doing what special interests tell them to do, and we've been cut out of the political process.

"But we are the political body that has power over Congress, and we can bring this thing back," he said.

Read Full Article - USA Today

Syria: IS Militants Seize Ancient City of Palmyra



BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants overran the famed archaeological site at Palmyra early on Thursday, just hours after seizing the central Syrian town, activists and officials said, raising concerns the extremists might destroy some of the priceless ruins as they have done in neighboring Iraq.

The Islamic State's capture of the town of Palmyra late Wednesday was a stunning triumph for the militant group, only days after it captured the strategic city of Ramadi in Iraq's largest Sunni province.

As IS took Palmyra, government forces collapsed in the face of the attacks and Syrian soldiers were seen fleeing the area, activists said. In Damascus, state TV acknowledged that pro-government forces had withdrawn from the town.

Read Full Article - The Associated Press

Raw Footage 2010

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Secret Space Plane Launches Aboard Atlas V Rocket



The Air Force's mysterious space plane is back above the Earth -- along with Bill Nye's solar sail.

United Launch Alliance Atlas V lifted off Wednesday morning from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with sundry cargo, including the Air Force's X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.

The X-37B, a reusable spacecraft now on its fourth mission, is expected to reach low-Earth orbit after riding atop the Atlas rocket's second stage, called the Centaur.

The Centaur, after releasing the spacecraft, will change altitude and release its other cargo -- 10 CubeSats, or small satellites.

Read Full Article - CNN News

Bin Laden Papers Released: Love Notes, Terrorist Application



WASHINGTON (AP) — During his years in hiding, Osama bin Laden urged followers to concentrate on attacking Americans and wrote bittersweet letters to one of his wives and his children, according to documents released Wednesday by U.S. intelligence officials.

The documents were seized in the al-Qaida leader's compound during the raid in which bin Laden was killed. More than 100 were declassified and published at http://www.dni.gov/index.php/resources/bin-laden-bookshelf?start=1

The documents include a fill-in-the-blanks job application for terrorist candidates that ranges from typical questions about education and hobbies to "Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?"

Altogether, the 103 papers and videos add new texture to the world's picture of the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, much of it in his own words. 

Read Full Article - The Associated Press

Five Global Banks Fined Billions For Rate Rigging



Five of the world's largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, were fined roughly $5.7 billion, and four of them pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges over manipulation of foreign exchange rates, authorities said on Wednesday.

A fifth bank, UBS AG, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates, the U.S. Justice Department said.

U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup will pay $550 million and $925 million in criminal fines, respectively, as part of their guilty pleas.

British banks Barclays Plc will pay $650 million in criminal penalties and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc $395 million. Each will plead guilty to one felony count of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for U.S. dollars and euros in the foreign exchange spot market.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Broken Pipeline Spills Crude Oil Off California Coast



A broken pipeline spilled 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean before it was shut off Tuesday, creating a slick stretching about 4 miles along the central California coastline, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Authorities responding to reports of a foul smell near Refugio State Beach around noon found a half-mile slick already formed in the ocean, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said. They traced the oil to the onshore pipeline that spilled into a culvert running under the U.S. 101 freeway and into a storm drain that empties into the ocean.

The pipeline was shut off about three hours later but by then the slick stretched four miles and 50 yards into the water.

The 24-inch pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline, which said it shut down the flow of oil and the culvert carrying the oil to the ocean was blocked.

Read Full Article - ABC News


L.A. Approves Plan To Raise Minimum Wage To $15



The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday backed a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining a trend sweeping cities across the country as elected leaders seek to boost stagnating pay for workers on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder.

Lawmakers agreed to draft an ordinance raising the $9-an-hour base wage to $15 by 2020 for as many as 800,000 workers, making L.A. the largest city in the nation to adopt a major minimum-wage hike. Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle already have approved similar increases, and raising the federal minimum wage has moved to the forefront of the Democratic Party’s agenda.

“Make no mistake,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who was instrumental in shaping the city’s plan. “Today the city of Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the nation, is leading the nation.”

Read Full Article - L.A. Times

Air Bag Manufacturer Takata Recalls 34 Million Vehicles



Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata Corp (7312.T) is doubling a recall of potentially deadly air bags to nearly 34 million vehicles, making it the largest automotive recall in American history, U.S. safety regulators said on Tuesday.

The recall involves passenger and driver-side air bag inflators in vehicles made by 11 automakers, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Takata said. It expands on the 16.6 million vehicles called back for repairs for the same issue in previous regional and national recalls, and boosts the number of vehicles affected globally since 2008 to more than 53 million.

Regulators on Tuesday linked six deaths worldwide to defective Takata air bags which exploded too violently and shot shrapnel into the vehicles.

Read Full Article - Reuters

Cancer Charities Scammed Millions From Donors



Let the donor beware: A federal lawsuit alleges four cancer charities have scammed consumers out of more than $187 million.

The Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia announced Tuesday they have filed a lawsuit against the Cancer Fund of America, Children's Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services and the Breast Cancer Society alleging they violated federal and state regulations. All four charities are run by members of the same family or their close business associates, as detailed in the 2013 "America's Worst Charities"joint report from the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

"The defendants' egregious scheme effectively deprived legitimate cancer charities and cancer patients of much-needed funds and support," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 

Read Full Article - NBC News

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Clinton Urges State Dept. To Speed Up Release Of Emails



CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday pressed the State Department to expedite the release of 55,000 pages of emails from her time as secretary of state, telling reporters in Iowa, "I want those emails out."

Clinton reiterated her push to release the emails shortly after a federal judge rejected the State Department's proposal to disseminate portions of the emails by next January and said the agency must instead conduct a "rolling production" of the records.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential election, said she wanted the documents to be released as soon as possible, saying, "Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do." Asked if she would demand their release, Clinton said of the emails, "They're not mine. They belong to the State Department."

Read Full Article - The Associated Press

Judge Orders State Dept. To Speed Up Clinton Email Release


Texas Governor Bans Cities From Banning Fracking



HOUSTON May 18 (Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation.

Lawmakers in Texas, a state that is home to the two of the most productive U.S. shale oil fields, have been under pressure to halt an anti-fracking movement since November, when voters in the town of Denton voted to ban the oil and gas extraction technique.

"This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city," Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.

Read Full Article - Huffington Post

Mountain Lion Caught Outside San Francisco



Authorities in San Mateo cornered and tranquilized an elusive mountain lion in a residential backyard Monday evening after the cat had been sighted three times in 14 hours near the downtown area, authorities said.

Officers tracked the cat to the backyard of a house on the 900 block of Palm Avenue about 6:45 and reported tranquilizing the animal about a half hour later.

By 8 p.m., the sedated 90-pound, 6-foot-long cat, which was estimated to be about 2 years old, had been loaded into a truck and was en route to the area around Crystal Springs Reservoir, where it would likely wake up in a few hours with “a little bit of a hangover,” said Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Read Full Article - San Francisco Chronicle

Video: Oct 9, 2014 - San Jose

D.C. Mansion Murder Suspect Arrested In Washington



5/22/15 - (CNN) - Wanted in the gruesome slayings of a prominent Washington family and their housekeeper, quadruple murder suspect Daron Dylon Wint was tailed by federal authorities from the nation's capital to New York and back before he was arrested late Thursday.

"We tracked him up to New York City and barely missed him last night," said Cmdr. Robert Fernandez with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Members of the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force then followed Wint's trail to a Howard Johnson hotel in College Park, Maryland, just outside the capital.

Read Full Article - CNN News

5/19/15 - D.C. Murder Mystery: Suspicious Fire Kills 4 People

(CNN) - Local police are investigating a deadly fire in one of Washington's poshest neighborhoods on Thursday that killed four people near the vice president's residence and Embassy Row.

The three-story, $4.5 million-dollar house was allegedly set ablaze, killing a couple -- Savvas Savopoulos, 46, and his wife Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip, 10; and one of the family's housekeepers, Veralicia Figueroa, 47, according to police.

Three of the four victims were found to have suffered from blunt force trauma, causing authorities to rule the fire arson and police are investigating what they call a quadruple homicide.

Read Full Article - CNN News

Monday, May 18, 2015

Extreme Athlete Dean Potter Dies In BASE Jumping Accident



Renowned extreme athlete Dean Potter and another man have died in a BASE jumping accident in Yosemite National Park, an official said Sunday.

Yosemite Chief of Staff Mike Gauthier said Potter, 43, and Graham Hunt died Saturday night after attempting a wingsuit flight from Taft Point. The men were attempting to fly through a gap between two notches but smashed into a rocky outcropping, he said.

BASE jumping is illegal in the California national park.

"Dean is forever in the pantheon of climbing legends in Yosemite Valley and he always will be," Gauthier said, adding that Hunt was on course to join Potter as a climbing luminary....

Read Full Article - NBC News

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