Havana - The leftist Colombian rebel group FARC on Friday suspended peace talks with the Colombian government to evaluate a proposal calling for a referendum on a peace agreement. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said they needed to evaluate the proposal submitted to Congress Thursday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos calling for a potential peace agreement to be the subject of a referendum in March or May 2014. They stressed, however, that they were not withdrawing from the negotiating table. "The peace delegation has decided to take a break in talks
Philadelphia - Hundreds of teachers in Philadelphia voiced their outrage on Thursday at proposed pay and benefit cuts as public school officials demanded $133 million in concessions from employees because of a financial crisis. With the teachers´ labor contract due to expire on Aug. 31 and school set to start about a week after that, the district and union leaders are still far apart on terms, according to George Jackson, spokesman for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Teachers are being asked to take salary cuts of between 5 and 13 percent next year and to pay more for health coverage.
Sanaa - A vow made in a phone call by the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to carry out an attack that would "change the face of history" lay behind this month´s closures of many Western embassies, Yemen´s president said. In the first public disclosure by a government leader of details of the intercepted call that prompted the U.S. alert, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said AQAP head Nasser al-Wuhayshi made the pledge to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri on July 29. (Snip) Wuhayshi spoke by phone with Zawahri, who is believed to be based in Pakistan,
Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba - Defense lawyers asked the judge in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on Friday to halt pretrial hearings in the 9/11 case until technicians fix a slew of computer and email problems that they said had made it nearly impossible to do their work. "We´re basically put back in the 19th century," said Army Major Jason Wright, who represents the alleged mastermind of the hijack plane attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. "It takes about five to 10 times what it would normally take to do defense functions." Pentagon technical advisers have said it would take up to
President Obama’s decision to create a new expert group to weigh national security surveillance, government secret-keeping, and the public trust has prompted internal headaches, leaks, and plenty of second-guessing from critics. “This investigation, run out of the executive [branch], certainly can’t come to any unbiased conclusions” about government access to Americans’ phone and email communications, Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Analyst Mark Jaycox told RCP. “It’s time for Congress to exert its own powers as a coequal branch of government and leave no stone unturned.”
Spectacular songbird Linda Ronstadt disclosed Friday that she has Parkinson’s disease and the illness has already robbed her of her ability to sing. The 67-year-old “Hurt So Bad” songstress, whose vocal range spanned the octaves from contralto to soprano, discussed her disease with AARP magazine in an interview. The 11-time Grammy Award winner’s memoir, “Simple Dreams,” is slated to be published next month. “No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt said. “No matter how hard you try.” Ronstadt, who churned out hits during the 1970s and ‘80s,
The Guardian has struck a partnership with the New York Times which will give the US paper access to some of the sensitive cache of documents leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The arrangement was made when the Guardian was faced with demands from the UK government to hand over the GCHQ files it had in its possession. (Snip) Journalists in America are protected by the first amendment which guarantees free speech and in practice prevents the state seeking pre-publication injunctions or "prior restraint". It is intended that the collaboration with the
New York - The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency´s activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian. (Snip) The October 2011 judgment, which was declassified on Wednesday by the Obama administration, found that the NSA´s inability to separate purely domestic communications from foreign traffic violated the fourth amendment. While the ruling did not concern the Prism program directly,
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department says an employee who runs a racist website predicting and advocating a race war has been put on paid administrative leave. An acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement who deals with small businesses, Ayo Kimathi, operates the website War on the Horizon. It includes descriptions of an "unavoidable, inevitable clash with the white race." Kimathi is black. Kimathi has been with the department since 2009. He was told Friday that he is being put on paid administrative leave. His website criticizes whites, gays, those of mixed race,
Is an employee at the Homeland Security Department also a racist preparing blacks for a campaign of violence against whites? Ayo Kimathi, a small business specialist at the agency, is also a “gay-bashing, revenge-seeking black nationalist,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit group that tracks groups and individuals it says are bigoted and hateful. Mr. Kimathi in his private time runs the website “War on the Horizon” under the user name “Irritated Genie,” SPLC said. The site advocates “properly educating Black people to prepare for Racial Warfare.”
The National Zoo’s female giant panda gave birth to a cub Friday as hordes of people in this panda-obsessed realm halted work to watch the royal arrival in intimate high-definition on the zoo’s new public panda cams. Across the area, thousands heeded the zoo’s summons to its cameras and sat at their computers, glued to the live black-and-white images as Mei Xiang gave birth to the scrawny cub at 5:32 p.m., the zoo said. The birth sparked cautious jubilation at the zoo, salved the memory of the cub that died in September, and restored dreams of pandamania in a city
The Internal Revenue Service is targeting the veterans’ organization the American Legion, and a U.S. senator believes that Lois Lerner — a key figure in the IRS scandal – is to blame. “The IRS now requires American Legion posts to maintain dates of service and character of service records for all members… The penalty for not having the required proof of eligibility is, apparently, $1,000 per day,” the American Legion stated. The American Legion was referring to a 13-part section of Part 4, Chapter 76 of the Internal Revenue Manual pertaining to “veterans’ organizations.” The section falls under
Marsha Jones Shoushtari went back to work on Tuesday, two weeks after her youngest child, her only son, died after being shot on Crenshaw Boulevard. But she can´t escape the unfinished business that homicides entail. On Tuesday, police visited her office to return her son´s cellphone, the "effects" of an 18-year-old. On Wednesday, she and husband Manochehr visited the cemetery to arrange for their son´s burial; the coroner had just released the body. Through it all, some part of her is trying to believe this might not be real.
WASHINGTON - The estate of pop music legend Michael Jackson owes $702 million in federal taxes and penalties, the Internal Revenue Service charged in U.S. Tax Court, accusing the estate of undervaluing some of the star´s assets by hundreds of millions of dollars. The dollar amounts in dispute had not been previously disclosed in the court challenge that the Jackson estate filed in July to a bill from the IRS, the U.S. tax-collecting agency. At issue is the wide difference between what the estate said Jackson´s legacy was worth versus what the IRS determined was its taxable value. An IRS
The star witness in the case against accused baby killer De’Marquise Elkins admitted lying to police, the court and his family more than a dozen times Thursday, giving Elkins’ defense attorneys a chance to take shots at his credibility. The co-defendant and star witness for the prosecution, 15-year-old Dominique Lang of Brunswick, traded in his jail jumpsuit for slacks and a button-down shirt as he testified for more than five hours Thursday against Elkins in front of the Cobb jury for the first time. Lang is accused of being present when police say Elkins shot 13-month-old Antonio Santiago in the face and
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday played down the prospect of speedy U.S. intervention in Syria, stressing the difficulty of ordering military action against the Assad government without a strong international coalition and a legal mandate from the United Nations. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Obama has asked the Pentagon to provide military options in light of reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians. While Hagel declined to discuss any specific force movements, U.S. defense officials said the Navy moved a fourth warship into the region. Each can launch ballistic missiles.
Slowly at first, then all of a sudden, the Obama administration has devolved into the Obama regime. Obama does whatever he wants. Those pesky impediments on his predecessors — namely, federal law, the separation of powers, and the Constitution — have proved as tough as tissue paper in containing Obama’s ambition to impose statism on America. From Obamacare to unions to telephones, it’s basically another day, another decree. “I have to figure out what I can do outside of Congress through executive actions,” Obama reportedly told the Congressional Black Caucus last month. In Jacksonville on July 25, Obama announced, “Where I
When Mark Levin decided to write his book "The Liberty Amendments" to advocate a convention to propose a series of amendments to the U.S. Constitution, he may not have realized how quickly and deeply his profound idea would resonate. But throughout the nation, people are inclining their ears. The first obstacle Levin faced was the widespread misconception that he is calling for a constitutional convention that could be hijacked by enemies of our founding principles and converted into a forum to hammer the final nails into our constitutional republic by fundamentally and radically changing our founding document. In fact, Levin´s proposal couldn´t
About 40 Catholic pilgrims who traveled to Brazil for Pope Francis´ recent visit never left, hoping to stay permanently with political asylum. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees in Brasilia said Thursday that the asylum seekers who came to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day say they suffer from persecution in home countries including Pakistan, Congo and Sierra Leone. At least a dozen pilgrims say they are persecuted as Christians. The rest say they face political persecution or are fleeing conflicts. If was unclear how long Brazil´s Justice Ministry will take to weigh the asylum applications. The U.N. agency says
Conservative media´s total fixation on black-on-black and black-on-white crime isn´t going to end. Here´s why. There are a few black people up to no good in this country and Fox News is on it! So is Drudge Report. Vigilantly on the lookout, 24 hours a day, for stories about black youths behaving badly. This isn’t a particularly new phenomenon, but it’s intensified noticeably in the past year for at least two reasons. Conservatives, particularly white conservatives, feel a burning urgency to find a racial counterweight to the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s shooting (including President Obama’s public comments about the incident), a
The Obama administration issued a new policy Friday that says immigration agents should try not to arrest and deport illegal immigrant parents of minor children. The move adds to the categories of people the administration is trying not to deport. In a nine-page memo, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said agents should use “prosecutorial discretion” to try to avoid detaining parents and, if parents are detained, agents should make sure they have the ability to visit with their children or participate in family court proceedings. The move won praise from immigrant-rights groups who said it’s a step toward a less harsh detention
Archaeologists have uncovered what could be the grave of Alexander the Great at a site near ancient Amphipolis. The warrior king--who ruled in the 4th century BC--was thought to be buried in Egypt. But experts have now become excited after they uncovered a marble-faced wall dating from the time. The structure measures an impressive wall measuring 500 metres long and three metres high, which archaeologists believe could contain a royal grave. [Snip] A Culture Ministry statement has enthused that the archaeologists have partly excavated a mound that has yielded a ´very remarkable´ marble-faced wall from the late 4th century BC.
From Saturday´s Daily Telegraph: Car bombs blasted through another Arab city yesterday, killing 27 people and injuring more than 350. This time, it was Tripoli’s turn. Not the Libyan capital, but the ancient Phoenician settlement in northern Lebanon – though, with the violence so widespread, it’s hard to keep up. [Snip] No one talks of an Arab Spring any more. Shakespeare, as I never tire of pointing out, has apt words for every human situation: The spring, the summer, The childing autumn, angry winter, change/ Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world, By their increase, now knows not which is which: And this same progeny
I´m writing these words in what was formerly one of the loveliest valleys in all of Wales. To be fair, the Edw valley still is pretty spectacular. But this year, for the first time in the decade or more I´ve been holidaying here, I no longer look at the white houses dotting the valley and wish one day that I could own one. Why don´t I wish to buy my dream home in my dream valley any more? Because the greed and selfishness of a local sheep farmer has killed it, that´s why. I´m sure he doesn´t see it that way.
Michael Hastings allegedly told a neighbor he thought his car had been tampered with. Hastings was killed on June 18 when the Mercedes he was driving slammed into a tree in Los Angeles. There have been many questions about Hastings´ death, and now a new wrinkle appears in an L.A. Weekly interview with Hastings´ neighbor, Jordanna Thigpen. She claims the journalist was worried that his car was being tampered with shortly before his fateful drive. Thigpen said that Hastings was "scared" and that nothing she could do would console him. Other reports claim that Hastings had sent friends a panic-filled
WASHINGTON - CBS News has learned that the Pentagon is making the initial preparations for a cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces. We say "initial preparations" because such an attack won´t happen until the president gives the green light. And it was clear during an interview on CNN Friday that he is not there yet. "If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country, without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented," the president told CNN, "then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it -- ´do we have the coalition to