Jun 092014
 

In a shooting rampage that left five people dead, two assailants killed two Las Vegas police officers on Sunday at a pizza restaurant and fatally shot a third person at a nearby Walmart before dying in a suicide pact, the authorities said. The attackers, one male and one female, ambushed the two police officers as they were eating lunch at a CiCi’s Pizza around 11:20 a.m., Sheriff Douglas Gillespie of Clark County said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon. The sheriff identified the officers as Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, and said that one of them fired at the attackers before he died, but that it was unclear whether the officer struck either assailant. The attackers took the officers’ weapons and ammunition before they fled across the street to a Walmart store in the same plaza. There, they fatally shot one other person inside the entrance, Sheriff Gillespie said. Officers responding to the shooting confronted the man and the woman and exchanged gunfire with them, then they heard several shots, the sheriff said. The female suspect is believed to have shot the male suspect before killing herself, Sheriff Gillespie said. Larry Hadfield, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said earlier on Sunday that investigators believed the couple had a suicide pact. Some witnesses reported that the couple had shouted “This is a revolution!” while firing on the officers at the pizza restaurant. But Sheriff Gillespie said he could not confirm that. The CiCi’s Pizza is about nine miles from the Las Vegas Strip. The restaurant and the Walmart are in a shopping plaza in the Las Vegas Valley that was bustling with activity on Sunday morning.

via Five Dead in Shooting Rampage in Las Vegas – NYTimes.com.

 Posted by at 09:58
May 232014
 

ROCHESTER, N.Y. AP — Two upstate New York radio hosts have been fired over their on-air comments about Rochester’s decision to cover gender reassignment surgery for city employees.Entercom Rochester on Thursday announced the firings of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck from WBZA, calling their comments “hateful” and saying they don’t represent the station. Ray referred to someone seeking gender reassignment surgery as “a nut job.” Beck equated the issue to having the city pay for breast enhancement or liposuction for a mentally ill woman. The discussion on their “Breakfast Buzz” show Wednesday had generated 4,000 signatures by Thursday on a removal petition.
via News from The Associated Press.

 Posted by at 13:30
May 222014
 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Armed security forces at a nuclear missile base failed a drill last summer that simulated the hostile takeover of a missile launch silo because they were unable to speedily regain control of the captured nuclear weapon, according to an internal Air Force review obtained by The Associated Press.

The previously unreported failure, which the Air Force called a “critical deficiency,” was the reason the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana flunked its broader safety and security inspection.

The security team was required to respond to the simulated capture of a Minuteman 3 nuclear missile silo, termed an “Empty Quiver” scenario in which a nuclear weapon is lost, stolen or seized. Each of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 silos contains one missile armed with a nuclear warhead and ready for launch on orders from the president.

The review obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request sought to examine why the security force showed an “inability to effectively respond to a recapture scenario.” It cited their failure to take “all lawful actions necessary to immediately regain control of nuclear weapons” but did not specify those actions.

via Air Force Nuclear Security Failed Test At Malmstrom Air Force Base In Montana: Report.

 Posted by at 13:20
May 182014
 

Miss Beazley, former President George W. Bush’s beloved Scottish terrier, has died. Bush said in a prepared statement Saturday that Miss Beazley was “put to rest” this weekend after battling cancer. She was nearly 10 years old. The statement said Miss Beazley was “a source of joy” to Bush and his wife, Laura, during their time in Washington and Dallas. “She was a close companion to her blood relative, Barney. And even though he received all the attention, Beazley never held a grudge against him. She was a guardian to our cats, Bob and Bernadette, who — like Laura and I — will miss her.”

via Bushes’ Scottish terrier, Miss Beazley, dies | Dallas Morning News.

 Posted by at 09:02
May 172014
 

The source thought for a bit and continued. “I don’t know if Arthur Sulzberger is a misogynist. Jill really is an abrasive character, and she has this disapproving look all the time. But the thing about Jill is that Arthur knew exactly what he was getting before he hired her. And consider this: He fired Janet Robinson, point blank, first woman CEO of the New York Times Company. He fires the first woman editor of The New York Times, point blank, out the door. He fired Carla Robbins, who was the deputy editor of the editorial page. It’s not like Arthur said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna eliminate your job, and you have a month or two to leave.’ It’s like, ‘Goodbye, go home.’ You don’t treat people who have done nothing wrong like that. Even when Howell was fired, he had his wife there and gave a big goodbye speech to everyone.”

via Source says Jill Abramson’s High Profile Annoyed Arthur Sulzberger | New York Observer.

 Posted by at 12:49
Apr 152014
 

An analysis of a number of hydraulic fracturing sites in southwestern Pennsylvania has found that methane was being released into the atmosphere at 100 to 1,000 times the rate that the Environmental Protection Agency estimated. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that drilling operations at seven well pads emitted 34 grams of methane per second, on average, much higher than the EPA-estimated 0.04 grams to 0.30 grams of methane per second. The researchers, who were attempting to understand whether airborne measurements of methane aligned with estimates taken at ground level — the method commonly used by the EPA and state regulators — flew a plane over the region of the Marcellus Shale for two days in June 2012. “The researchers determined that the wells leaking the most methane were in the drilling phase, a period that has not been known for high emissions,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “Experts had thought that methane was more likely to be released during subsequent phases of production, including hydraulic fracturing, well completion or transport through pipelines.”

via Up To 1,000 Times More Methane Released At Gas Wells Than EPA Estimates, Study Finds | ThinkProgress.

 Posted by at 19:07
Jan 022014
 

Radical Sunni militants aligned with Al Qaeda threatened on Thursday to seize control of Falluja and Ramadi, two of the most important cities in Iraq, setting fire to police stations, freeing prisoners from jail and occupying mosques, as the government rushed troop reinforcements to the areas. Dressed in black and waving the flag of Al Qaeda, the militants put out calls over mosque loudspeakers for men to join their struggle in both cities in western Anbar Province, which were hugely important battlegrounds during the American-led war in Iraq and remain hotbeds of Sunni extremism. The fighting in Ramadi and Falluja had implications that extended beyond Anbar’s borders, as the Sunni militants fought beneath the same banner as the most hard-line jihadists in Syria — the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. That fight, and a deadly bombing in Beirut on Thursday, was the latest evidence that the Syrian civil war was breeding bloodshed and sectarian violence around the region, destabilizing Lebanon and Iraq while fueling a resurgence of radical Islamist fighters. The number of casualties in Anbar was unclear amid the unfolding chaos, but officials in hospitals in the province reported that at least 35 people were killed on Thursday and more than 70 others were wounded. The fighting began several days ago after Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered security forces to dismantle protest encampments in Falluja and Ramadi.

via Parts of 2 Key Iraqi Cities Fall to Qaeda Group Active in Syria – NYTimes.com.

 Posted by at 21:06
Dec 282013
 

A legal battle over the scope of US government surveillance took a turn in favour of the National Security Agency on Friday with a court opinion declaring that bulk collection of telephone data does not violate the constitution. The judgement, in a case brought before a district court in New York by the American Civil Liberties Union, directly contradicts the result of a similar challenge in a Washington court last week which ruled the NSAs bulk collection program was likely to prove unconstitutional and was “almost Orwellian” in scale. Fridays ruling makes it more likely that the issue will be settled by the US supreme court, although it may be overtaken by the decision of Barack Obama on whether to accept the recommendations of a White House review panel to ban the NSA from directly collecting such data. But the ruling from Judge William Pauley, a Clinton appointee to the Southern District of New York, will provide important ammunition for those within the intelligence community urging Obama to maintain the programme. Judge Pauley said privacy protections enshrined in the fourth amendment of the US constitution needed to be balanced against a government need to maintain a database of records to prevent future terrorist attacks. “The right to be free from searches is fundamental but not absolute,” he said. “Whether the fourth amendment protects bulk telephony metadata is ultimately a question of reasonableness.” Pauley argued that al-Qaidas “bold jujitsu” strategy to marry seventh century ideology with 21st century technology made it imperative that government authorities be allowed to push privacy boundaries. “As the September 11 attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a threat can be horrific,” he wrote in the ruling. “Technology allowed al-Qaida to operate decentralised and plot international terrorist attacks remotely. The bulk telephony metadata collection programme represents the governments counter-punch: connecting fragmented and fleeting communications to re-construct and eliminate al-Qaidas terror network.”

via NSA mass collection of phone data is legal, federal judge rules | World news | The Guardian.

 Posted by at 10:05