Author Archive | polymorpheous

CIA Resolved to Avenge Agents’ Deaths

Via ABC News:

The CIA, reeling from the assassination of seven of its operatives in Afghanistan earlier this week, said that its resolve to find and attack Taliban and al Qaeda leaders is “greater than ever.” CIA spokesman George Little would not discuss specifics of the Wednesday attack, the deadliest assault on the CIA since the 1983 bombing of the Beirut embassy. Little did suggest, however, that the loss would be avenged.

“There is much about the attack that isn’t yet known, but this much is clear: The CIA’s resolve to pursue aggressive counterterrorism operations is greater than ever,” Little told The Associated Press. The Association of Former Intelligence Officers said the deaths of the agents “should remind the public that the CIA is truly on the front lines in this war; one that remains officially unrecognized.”

Organization president Gene Poteat said he appreciated President Obama’s letter of condolences to agency staffers, but criticized Obama for “his silence” on the Department of Justice’s effort to prosecute CIA personnel over allegations of torture during the Bush administration.

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Soon After His Brother is Revealed to be a CIA Drug Runner, Look Who is Handed a Second Term

The AP via Yahoo News reports:

President Hamid Karzai was effectively handed a second five-year term Sunday when his only challenger dropped out of the race, and the Obama administration said it was prepared to work with the man it has previously criticized to combat corruption and confront the Taliban insurgency.

President Barack Obama has been waiting for a new government in Kabul to announce whether he will send tens of thousands of new troops to Afghanistan. The war has intensified and October was the deadliest month of the eight-year war for U.S. forces.

Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah announced his decision to quit six days before the runoff election, after last-minute talks led by the U.S. and United Nations failed to produce a power-sharing agreement acceptable to Karzai, according to a Western diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

In an emotional speech, Abdullah told supporters that he could not accept an runoff led by the same Karzai-appointed election commission that managed the fraud-marred vote in August.

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Video Shows Chicks Ground Up Alive at Egg Hatchery

DES MOINES, Iowa – An animal rights group publicized a video Tuesday showing unwanted chicks being tossed alive into a grinder at an Iowa plant and accused egg hatcheries of being “perhaps the cruelest industry” in the world. The undercover video was shot by Chicago-based Mercy for Animals at a hatchery in Spencer, Iowa, over a two-week period in May and June. The video was first obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

“We have to ask ourselves if these were puppies and kittens being dropped into grinders, would we find that acceptable?” asked Nathan Runkle, the group’s executive director, at a news conference in Des Moines. “I don’t think that most people would.” The group said that tossing male chicks, which have little value because they can’t lay eggs or be raised quickly enough to be raised profitably for meat, into grinders is common industry practice. United Egg Producers, a trade group for U.S.… Read the rest

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Official: US may create terror interrogation unit

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is considering creating a special unit of professional interrogators to handle key terror suspects, focusing on intelligence-gathering rather than building criminal cases for prosecution, a government official said Saturday.

The recommendation is expected from a presidential task force on interrogation methods that plans to send some findings to the White House on Tuesday.

The official said the panel, which has not completed its work, has concluded that the unit of intelligence and law enforcement agencies should be created. The task force is unsure which agencies should have a role, though the CIA and FBI are expected to be important players, according to the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the panel’s work and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ben LaBolt, a White House spokesman, said President Barack Obama has not reviewed the task force’s recommendations. The spokesman declined to discuss any findings. The recommendation about the new unit was first reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.… Read the rest

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Russia, China, Others Urge Diverse Monetary System

YEKATERINBURG, Russia – Brazil, Russia, India and China on Tuesday called for a more diversified international monetary system, but wrapped up their first full-fledged summit by avoiding any explicit criticism of the world’s dominant currency, the U.S. dollar.

The statement issued by the leaders from the so-called BRIC nations contained no reference to developing new reserve currencies to complement the dollar, which Russia had called for at a separate event earlier in the day. Instead, the cautious wording appeared to reflect China’s concerns that any anti-dollar statements could erode the value of its currency reserves.

“There is a strong need for a stable, predictable and more diversified international monetary system,” the final statement said.

A reformed financial and economic architecture should be based on “democratic and transparent decision-making and implementation process at the international financial organizations,” it said.

The BRIC nations urged the international community to keep the multilateral trading system stable, curb trade protectionism and they stressed a commitment to “advance the reform of international financial institutions to reflect changes in the world economy.”

The group repeated long-standing calls that emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India and China be given greater representation at major institutions like the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.… Read the rest

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Passer-By Pushes Suicide Jumper in South China

Chen Fuchao, a man heavily in debt, had been contemplating suicide on a bridge in southern China for hours when a passer-by came up, shook his hand — and pushed him off the ledge.

Chen fell 26 feet (8 meters) onto a partially inflated emergency air cushion laid out by authorities and survived, suffering spine and elbow injuries, the official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.

The passer-by, 66-year-old Lai Jiansheng, had been fed up with what he called Chen’s “selfish activity,” Xinhua said. Traffic around the Haizhu bridge in the city of Guangzhou had been backed up for five hours and police had cordoned off the area.

“I pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish. Their action violates a lot of public interest,” Lai was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities’ attention to their appeals.”

Xinhua said Lai was “taken away by police” but did not elaborate.… Read the rest

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Tons of Released Drugs Taint U.S. Water

U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives.

Federal and industry officials say they don’t know the extent to which pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because no one tracks them — as drugs. But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government unintentionally keeps data on a few, allowing a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from factories.

As part of its ongoing PharmaWater investigation about trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, AP identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as active pharmaceutical ingredients.… Read the rest

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UK ‘Kettling’ Tactic Sparks Anger

“Kettling” — a tactic being used by British police to fence-in and tire-out protesters at the London G20 summit — is sparking its own wave of protest. The method is aimed at defusing tension and thereby [in theory] reducing the potential for demonstrations to become violent, police sources argue.

I was among the many journalists kept inside this police ring, established and eventually tightened as the afternoon wore on. Our press cards gave us the freedom to leave, but that would have meant we couldn’t return to continue reporting on the event. For the protesters, the police strategy meant that they were being held against their will.

The vast majority of those demonstrating on Wednesday were peaceful. Indeed, for most of the day the mood was festive, rather than furious. People were playing music and dancing, while others were juggling.

Kettling is a well-known tactic, which has been used in the past.… Read the rest

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Five Held Over Suspected Plot to Disrupt G20 Summit with Explosives Stunt

Suspected plot to disrupt G20 summit follows warnings by police that protesters are planning to bring London to standstill.

Five people have been arrested in connection with a suspected plot to use explosives made from fireworks to disrupt the G20 summit.

The three men, aged 25, 19 and 16, and two women, both 20, all live in Plymouth and the surrounding area. They are political activists unaffiliated to any terrorist organisation, and were arrested at addresses in Plymouth. They are being held under terrorism legislation. The explosive devices were made from simple fireworks, police said.

Paul Netherton, Devon and Cornwall assistant chief constable, said imitation handguns and an imitation Kalashnikov, as well as devices made from fireworks, had been seized. The deactivated weapons were “not major” and “probably not even lethal”.

Officers said they were investigating the possibility the group planned to attend the G20 summit, which they described as an “obvious line of inquiry”.… Read the rest

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Geithner Remarks on IMF Currency Roil Foreign-Exchange Market

Bloomberg: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sent the dollar tumbling with comments about China’s ideas for overhauling the global monetary system, only to drive it back up by affirming that it should remain the world’s reserve currency.

Geithner was asked at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York yesterday about People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan’s call for a new international reserve currency. He said while he had not read Zhou’s proposal, he understood it as a plan “designed to increase the use of the IMF’s special drawing rights. And we’re actually quite open to that.”

The dollar slid as much as 1.3 percent against the euro within 10 minutes of news accounts of Geithner’s remarks. It recouped much of the loss about 15 minutes later, when Geithner then predicted no change in the U.S. currency’s role. The dollar was down 0.22 percent at $1.3553 per euro as of 12:13 p.m.… Read the rest

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