Archive for September 1, 2013


Two kittens that shut down a New York City subway line for more than an hour have been found and rescued from the tracks.

Kittens that brought New York subway lines to a standstill rescued

A kitten stands between the rails on subway tracks in the Brooklyn borough of New York Photo: AP

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Julie Glave says the kittens were discovered Thursday evening under the third rail of an express track in Brooklyn.

Glave says MTA workers and police officers removed the kittens from the subway tunnel in crates.

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Photo Gallery: Wayward Seal Settles at Zoo Pond 
DPA

Visitors to the Karlsruhe Zoo are lining up to see Zola, a young seal who escaped her enclosure and took up residence in a pond close by.

Some three weeks ago, Zola managed to wiggle out of her enclosure and flop a...
DPA

Some three weeks ago, Zola managed to wiggle out of her enclosure and flop a short distance across to the Karlsruhe Zoo’s “swan pond.” Since then, she has evaded capture, happy to splash around the pond, which is also inhabited by turtles, fish, ducks and swans, of course.

A seal at a German zoo has quickly become the main attraction after escaping her enclosure and making herself at home in a nearby pond.

ANZEIGE

Some three weeks ago, Zola managed to wiggle out of her enclosure and flop a short distance across to the Karlsruhe Zoo’s “swan pond.” Since then, she has evaded capture, happy to splash around the pond, which is also inhabited by turtles, fish, ducks and swans, of course.

Word of the spirited seal’s adventure in the southern German city has spread, and now there are reportedly long lines of people waiting to catch a glimpse of her. But many have left disappointed. Zola prefers to wait until visitors leave for the day to come out and frolic, zookeeper Irene Schicker-Ney told news agency DPA on Thursday.

She reportedly enjoys swimming around in solitude, and gardeners say they have even seen her spend the night in one of the boats that visitors can use to ride across the pond.

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Nikki Bailey, a Logan, West Virginia resident, returned home recently after visiting her friend in the hospital. When she walked inside she found the house empty.

A repossession company had taken all of her possessions under a double error. The bank that had told them to remove everything from a house gave them a wrong address, then the company went to a different address from that one that was also wrong.

“Everything was gone,” Bailey said. “Living room furniture, my Marshall diploma, my high school diploma, my pictures — my history. I was teacher of the year. All of that stuff is gone — certificates from that. It’s all gone.”

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Participants in a study who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice each day saw their risk of type 2 diabetes increase by as much as 21 per cent.

EATING more whole fresh fruit, especially blueberries, grapes, apples and pears, is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, but drinking more fruit juice has the opposite effect, says a study.

British, US and Singaporean researchers pored over data from three big health investigations that took place in the United States, spanning a quarter of a century in all.

More than 187,000 nurses and other professional caregivers were enrolled.

Their health was monitored over the following years, and they regularly answered questionnaires on their eating habits, weight, smoking, physical activity and other pointers to lifestyle.

Around 6.5 per cent of the volunteers developed diabetes during the studies.

People who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes and apples, reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 per cent compared to those who ate less than one serving per month.

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On Aug. 29, 2013, a new 2014 Ford Fusion is displayed on the line in Flatrock, Mich.

On Aug. 29, 2013, a new 2014 Ford Fusion is displayed on the line in Flatrock, Mich.

AP
LAT ROCK, Mich. (AP) — For the first time, Ford is making its Fusion sedan in the U.S.The company’s Flat Rock, Mich., plant began making the Fusion on Thursday. The plant, which is about 25 miles south of Detroit, made the Ford Mustang sports car before getting a second shift of 1,400 workers to make the Fusion. The 66-acre plant now has 3,100 workers.Ford Motor Co. had been making around 250,000 Fusions each year at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. But that wasn’t keeping up with demand for the hot-selling midsize sedan, which was revamped last year. Sales this year are up 13 percent to 181,668 through July, making the Fusion one of the best-selling cars in the country.”We could have sold more if we had more,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, told a cheering crowd of workers at the plant.

With the production at Flat Rock, Ford will be able to make 350,000 Fusions each year. Hinrichs said the cars being made Thursday would likely be sold within two weeks, a much faster rate than the 60-day average for the industry.

The Flat Rock plant was built by Mazda Motor Co. in 1987 and became a joint venture with Ford in 1992. When Ford and Mazda severed ties in 2010, the fate of the Flat Rock plant was uncertain.

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File:President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.jpg

Image Source :  Wikimedia.org

Official White House photostream on Flickr, P012209PS-0151

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WASHINGTON August 29, 2013 (AP)
By JOSH LEDERMAN Associated Press

Months after gun control efforts crumbled in Congress, Vice President Joe Biden stood shoulder to shoulder Thursday with the attorney general and the top U.S. firearms official and declared the Obama administration would take two new steps to curb American gun violence.

But the narrow, modest scope of those steps served as pointed reminders that without congressional backing, President Barack Obama’s capacity to make a difference is severely inhibited.

Still, Biden renewed a pledge from him and the president to seek legislative fixes to keep guns from those who shouldn’t have them — a pledge with grim prospects for fulfillment amid the current climate on Capitol Hill.

“If Congress won’t act, we’ll fight for a new Congress,” Biden said in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “It’s that simple. But we’re going to get this done.”

One new policy will bar military-grade weapons that the U.S. sells or donates to allies from being imported back into the U.S. by private entities. In the last eight years, the U.S. has approved 250,000 of those guns to come back to the U.S., the White House said, arguing that some end up on the streets. From now on, only museums and a few other entities like the government will be eligible to reimport military-grade firearms.

The ban will largely affect antiquated, World War II-era weapons that, while still deadly, rarely turn up at crime scenes, leaving some to question whether the new policy is much ado about nothing.

“Banning these rifles because of their use in quote-unquote crimes is like banning Model Ts because so many of them are being used as getaway cars in bank robberies,” said Ed Woods, a 47-year-old from the Chico area of northern California.

Woods said he collects such guns because of their unique place in American history. He now wonders whether he’ll be prohibited from purchasing the type of M1 Garand rifle his father used during World War II. The U.S. later sold thousands of the vintage rifles to South Korea.

“Someday my kids will have something that possibly their grandfather, who they never had a chance to meet, is connected to,” Woods said in an interview.

The Obama administration is also proposing to close a loophole that it says allows felons and other ineligible gun purchasers to skirt the law by registering certain guns to a corporation or trust. The new rule would require people associated with those entities, like beneficiaries and trustees, to undergo the same type of fingerprint-based background checks before the corporation can register those guns.

Using the rule-making powers at his disposal, Obama can only place that restriction on guns regulated under the National Firearm Act, a 1934 law that only deals with the deadliest weapons, like machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. For the majority of weapons, there is no federal gun registration.

“It’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s common sense,” Biden said of the measures he unveiled Thursday as he swore in Obama’s new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Todd Jones.

The quick reproach from gun control opponents, however, underscored that the same forces that thwarted gun control efforts in Congress have far from mellowed on the notion of stricter gun laws in the future.

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U.S. fast-food workers protest, demand a ‘living wage’

Strikers march outside a Wendy's restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts August 29, 2013, as a part of a nationwide fast food workers' strike asking for $15 per hour wages and the right to form unions. REUTERS-Brian Snyder

NEW YORK | Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:52pm EDT

(Reuters) – Fast-food workers went on strike and protested outside McDonald’s, Burger King and other restaurants in 60 U.S. cities on Thursday, in the largest protest of an almost year-long campaign to raise service sector wages.

Rallies were held in cities from New York to Oakland and stretched into the South, historically difficult territory for organized labor.

The striking workers say they want to unionize without retaliation in order to collectively bargain for a “living wage.”

They are demanding $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum of $7.25. The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), an advocacy group for lower-wage workers.

“It’s almost impossible to get by (alone),” said McDonald’s worker Rita Jennings, 37, who was among about 100 protesters who marched in downtown Detroit Thursday. “You have to live with somebody to make it.”

Jennings said that in her 11 years at McDonald’s, she has never received a raise above her wage of $7.40 an hour.

In Atlanta, about 20 fast-food workers at two different chains presented their managers with “strike letters” before walking out, Roger Sikes, a coordinator with the nonprofit group Atlanta Jobs With Justice, told Reuters.

And in Oakland, about 80 fast-food workers from various restaurants and their supporters rallied outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet.

“I’m doing it for the respect for myself and for my other coworkers,” said Ryan Schuetz, 20, who works at McDonald’s. He said his work hours have been reduced recently and that he was struggling to keep a roof over his head.

Several politicians came out in support of the protesters on Thursday.

In New York City, mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined several hundred demonstrators outside a McDonald’s in midtown Manhattan, holding a sign that read “On Strike: Wages Too Damn Low.”

“Better pay will put more money into local businesses and spur economic growth,” Democratic Representative George Miller of California said in a statement.

Robert Hiltonsmith, a policy analyst at Demos, a liberal think tank, said that if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity and inflation, it would be closer to $17 per hour.

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UK says Snowden leaks hurt its national security, could expose spies

Copies of the Guardian newspaper are displayed at a news agent in London August 21 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON | Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:46am EDT

(Reuters) – Leaks by a fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor have damaged Britain’s national security, and the data he gave journalists includes information that might expose the identities of British spies, a government official told the High Court in London.

The official said Brazilian David Miranda, the partner of a Guardian newspaper journalist, was carrying a computer hard-drive containing 58,000 highly classified intelligence documents when he was detained at Heathrow airport earlier this month.

Miranda’s partner Glenn Greenwald has led the Guardian’s coverage of leaks from Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), about U.S. and British surveillance of phone and Internet users.

In a written statement to the court at Friday’s hearing, Oliver Robbins, Britain’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Intelligence, Security and Resilience, said media stories about the documents seized from Miranda had already caused harm.

“It is worth reiterating the point that real damage has in fact already been done to UK national security by media revelations,” he said.

“A particular concern for HMG (the British government) is the possibility that the identity of a UK intelligence officer might be revealed. It is known that contained in the seized material is personal information that would allow staff to be identified, including those deployed overseas.”

He also said that Miranda and others had shown “very poor judgment in their security arrangements” by making passwords to the material easily accessible.

Miranda’s lawyer, Gwendolen Morgan, accused UK authorities of making “sweeping and vague assertions about national security.”

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David Miranda was carrying password for secret files on piece of paper

A journalist’s partner who was detained carrying thousands of British intelligence documents through Heathrow airport was also holding the password to an encrypted file written on a piece of paper, the government has disclosed.

A senior Cabinet Office security adviser said Glenn Greenwald, left, and David Miranda had 'demonstrated very poor judgement in their security arrangements'

A senior Cabinet Office security adviser said Glenn Greenwald, left, and David Miranda had ‘demonstrated very poor judgement in their security arrangements’ Photo: RICARDO MORAES/REUTERS

In a written statement handed to the High Court in London, a senior Cabinet Office security adviser said it showed “very poor judgment” by David Miranda and other people associated with him.

Senior judges agreed to issue a court order which allows Scotland Yard to continue to examine data from nine electronic devices seized from Mr Miranda on August 18.

But the terms of the order were widened so police have specific permission to analyse whether Mr Miranda, and others, have breached the Official Secrets Acts or a section of the Terrorism Act 2000 which make it an offence to possess information which may be useful to terrorists.

Mr Miranda is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, a journalist with the Guardian newspaper who has made a series of controversial disclosures on US and British spying capabilities based on information from the former US intelligence employee Edward Snowden.

Scotland Yard announced last week they had launched a criminal investigation.

The government’s statement claims possession of the documents by Mr Miranda, Mr Greenwald and the Guardian posed a threat to national security, particularly because Mr Miranda was carrying a password alongside a range of electronic devices on which classified documents were stored.

Keeping passwords separate from the computer files or accounts to which they relate is a basic security step.

Oliver Robbins, the deputy national security adviser for intelligence, security and resilience in the Cabinet Office, said in his 13-page submission: “The information that has been accessed consists entirely of misappropriated material in the form of approximately 58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents.

“I can confirm that the disclosure of this information would cause harm to UK national security.

“Much of the material is encrypted. However, among the unencrypted documents … was a piece of paper that included the password for decrypting one of the encypted files on the external hard drive recovered from the claimant.

“The fact that … the claimant was carrying on his person a handwritten piece of paper containing the password for one of the encrypted files … is a sign of very poor information security practice.”

He added: “Even if the claimant were to undertake not to publish or disclose the information that has been detained, the claimant and his associates have demonstrated very poor judgement in their security arrangements with respect to the material rendering the appropriation of the material, or at least access to it by other, non-State actors, a real possibility.”

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Iraqis inspect the aftermath of a car bomb attack, in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July. 29, 2013. A wave of over a dozen car bombings hit central and southern Iraq during morning rush hour on Monday, officials said, killing scores in the latest coordinated attack by insurgents determined to undermine the government. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Friday for bombings earlier this week that killed at least 82 people, mostly in Shiite areas of the capital, calling them retaliation for the execution of Sunni prisoners by the Shiite-led government.

Wednesday’s attacks involved car bombs and other explosives that mainly targeted parking lots, outdoor markets and restaurants in Shiite districts in Baghdad during the morning rush hour. Some Sunni areas were also hit later in the day.

A statement posted on a militant website by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, took responsibility for the deadly attacks. The group claimed the attacks were a response to the Aug. 19 execution of 17 Sunni prisoners, all but one of them convicted on terrorism-related charges.

The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on a website commonly used by jihadists and its style was consistent with earlier al-Qaeda statements.

It said tight security measures imposed by Iraqi forces failed to stop the attacks, and the group vowed to carry out more attacks against government targets.

“We will avenge the blood of our brothers,” the group said.

The bombings were the latest in a wave of bloodshed that has swept Iraq since April, killing more than 4,000 people and worsening already strained ties between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government. More than 570 people have been killed so far in August.

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Iraq Bombings, House Raid Kill at Least 80 People

Car bomb blasts and other explosions tore through mainly Shiite districts around Baghdad during morning rush hour Wednesday in a day of violence that killed at least 80, intensifying worries about Iraq’s ability to tame the spiraling mayhem gripping the country.

It was the latest set of large-scale sectarian attacks to hit Iraq, even as the government went on “high alert” in case a possible Western strike in neighboring Syria increases Iraq’s turmoil.

A relentless wave of killing has left thousands dead since April in the country’s worst spate of bloodshed since 2008. The surge in violence raises fears that Iraq is hurtling back toward the widespread sectarian killing that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when the country was teetering on the edge of civil war.

Most of Wednesday’s attacks happened in within minutes of each other as people headed to work or were out shopping early in the day. Insurgents unleashed explosives-laden cars, suicide bombers and other bombs that targeted parking lots, outdoor markets and restaurants in predominantly Shiite areas in and around Baghdad, officials said. A military convoy was hit south of the capital.

Security forces sealed off the blast scenes as ambulances raced to pick up the wounded. The twisted wreckage of cars littered the pavement while cleaners and shop owners brushed away debris. At one restaurant, the floor was stained with blood and dishes were scattered on plastic tables.

“What sin have those innocent people committed?” asked Ahmed Jassim, who witnessed one of the explosions in Baghdad’s Hurriyah neighborhood. “We hold the government responsible.”

The northern neighborhood of Kazimiyah, home to a prominent Shiite shrine, was among the worst hit. Two bombs went off in a parking lot, followed by a suicide car bomber who struck onlookers who had gathered at the scene. Police said the attack killed 10 people and wounded 27.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida, which operates in Iraq under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The group frequently targets Shiites, which it considers heretics, and carries out coordinated bombings in an attempt to incite sectarian strife.

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