Terry Jones, the Quran-burning pastor based in Gainesville, Fla., says his Wednesday arrest by Polk County police was pre-planned to prevent his First Amendment-protected book bonfire. Free speech experts say if that´s true, his arrest was unconstitutional. Jones was arrested after traveling in a truck that police say was towing 2,998 kerosene-soaked Qurans inside a large grill. He said he intended to burn one Quran for each of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Previous Quran-burnings by Jones have been blamed for murderous rampages in Muslim countries, and this year's plan was condemned by
When Scott Mackintosh’s daughter refused to wear something other than her “slutty” shorts, he decided to show her that her shorts might not be as cute as she thinks. So the Utah father of seven took a pair of his own jeans, cut them off waaaayyyy too short and wore them out to dinner with the family. The rest is Tumblr history. “I simply did this in hopes that my daughter would know of my great love for her and that she knows of her great worth,” Mackintosh told the Deseret News.“Now that it has gone viral, I hope that
Agustín Edwards, founder of Santiago’s El Mercurio and owner of the newspaper network bearing the same name, is to be investigated for his involvement in the overthrow President Salvador Allende in 1973. Edwards, a Princeton-educated Chilean journalist and businessman, owns a network of three national newspapers and 21 regional newspapers throughout Chile. El Mercurio’s Valparaíso edition was first founded in 1827 and is the world’s oldest Spanish-language newspaper with continuous printing. Edwards founded the Santiago edition in 1956.
Washington - An elite Syrian unit that runs the government´s chemical arms program has been scattering the weapons to dozens of sites across the country, potentially complicating U.S. plans for air strikes, the Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper, citing unnamed U.S. officials and lawmakers briefed on the intelligence, said on its website on Thursday that a secretive military group known as Unit 450 had been moving the stocks around for months to help avoid detection of the weapons. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies and Middle Eastern officials still believe they know the location
Two years after thousands of Egyptian protesters risked their lives to bring down the dictator Hosni Mubarak, the military-controlled government in Cairo is expanding a repressive system that may ultimately be worse than the one Mr. Mubarak built and managed. On Thursday, with much of the world distracted by Syria, the Egyptian generals and the civilian officials they have appointed extended a countrywide state of emergency for two months. (Snip) Just as troubling, the government has moved from singling out the Brotherhood and other Islamists to going after liberal and left-leaning
Ray Dolby, the sound pioneer who founded Dolby Laboratories, revolutionized the recording industry with the invention of the Dolby noise-reduction system, and transformed cinema and home entertainment with the development of Dolby digital surround sound, died on Thursday at his home in San Francisco. He was 80. He developed Alzheimer’s disease several years ago and last July received a diagnosis of acute leukemia, according to a company statement. Film industry executives credit Dr. Dolby with developing sophisticated technologies that enabled directors like
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane´s decision to prosecute a major Marcellus Shale natural-gas driller for a 2010 wastewater spill has sent shock waves through the industry. But environmentalists Wednesday hailed the prosecution of the Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary as a departure from the soft treatment they say the industry has received from Pennsylvania regulators. "We have been very concerned about enforcement in the Marcellus, and we welcome the attorney general´s taking an active role," said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action. Kane´s office announced charges Tuesday against XTO Energy Inc. for discharging more than 50,000 gallons of toxic
If you think the Obama health law is only for the uninsured and you won´t be affected, you´re in for a surprise next time you go to the doctor. Be prepared for questions unrelated to why you are seeking medical help — questions that you don´t want to answer. Whether you´re at the dermatologist or the cardiologist, you´ll likely be asked: "Are you sexually active? If so, do you have one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?" Doctors are being turned into government agents, where they´re pressured financially to ask questions … and violate their Hippocratic Oath ...
Europe’s phone companies have put the brakes on a flurry of asset sales as they brace for the likely entry by AT&T Inc. (T) into the $313 billion market.(Snip) Vodafone Group Plc (VOD)’s $130 billion agreement this month to exit its U.S. venture with Verizon Communications Inc. has made the U.K. mobile-phone company a potential takeover candidate for AT&T. A new owner of Vodafone, with more than 140 million customers in 14 European countries including Germany, the U.K. and Spain, would instantly become the region’s biggest mobile carrier and may trigger a series of mergers and acquisitions.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Militants staged a suicide car bombing then engaged in a gunfight with security forces near the American consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat early Friday, officials said. An Afghan translator was killed, while several other people, including police, were wounded. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which underscored the perilous security situation in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led troops are reducing their presence ahead of a full withdrawal planned for next year. The insurgent strikes are no longer concentrated in the country´s south and east, but occur with troubling frequency in the north and west, which
SACRAMENTO — A bill to raise the state minimum wage to $10 an hour by January 2016 has been approved by the California Legislature and sent to the governor. The hourly increase would take effect in two steps: from $8 to $9 in July 2014 and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. The heavily lobbied bill, AB10, was approved by both the Senate and the Assembly on Thursday. It now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who pledged to sign the measure by Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville). Labor unions actively supported the increase; business lobbyists opposed it.
Syria President Bashar Assad said Thursday that Israel should be the first to disarm from weapons, since it has nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. He added that all countries in the Mideast should be held to international protocol in order to achieve stability in the region. Syria decided to cede control of its chemical weapons because of a Russian proposal and not the threat of US military intervention, Interfax news agency quoted President Bashar Assad as saying in a Russian television interview. "Syria is placing its chemical weapons under international control because of Russia. The US threats did not influence
The US is ready and willing to negotiate directly with Iran over its nuclear program “quickly” – but no such talks have yet been scheduled, and are unlikely before the United Nations General Assembly in New York at the end of the month. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan told The Jerusalem Post that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration presents an “opportunity” for dialogue on the matter of Iran’s nuclear program, should Iran choose to change its position “quickly.” “Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to
It is the phrase of the moment, dropping from the lips of television reporters and radio commentators, salting the columns of pundits, earnestly being spoken by furrow-browed politicians of serious mien. The families of the fallen are entitled to war-weariness. So are those wounded in body or spirit, and their loved ones. The mother who has sent her son to war has a right to war-weariness, as does the father who prepares to send his daughter to battle again and again. But for the great mass of the American public, for their leaders and the elites who shape public opinion,
The president of the United States takes to the airwaves to urgently persuade the nation to pause before doing something it has no desire to do in the first place. Strange. And it gets stranger still. That “strike Syria, maybe” speech begins with a heart-rending account of children consigned to a terrible death by a monster dropping poison gas. It proceeds to explain why such behavior must be punished. It culminates with the argument that the proper response — the most effective way to uphold fundamental norms, indeed human decency — is a flea bite: something “limited,” “targeted” or, as
GENEVA — U.S.-Russia talks over eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons began here Thursday on a wary and stilted note, as Secretary of State John F. Kerry said U.S. military forces remain poised to attack Syria if a credible agreement is not rapidly reached and implemented. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad added to the tension by saying that he is willing to place his chemical arsenal under international control — but only if the United States stops threatening military action and arming rebel forces trying to unseat him. Assad, in an interview with a Russian television station, said he is prepared to sign
Washington — Signaling a possible thaw in long-frozen relations, the Obama administration and the new leadership in Iran are communicating about Syria and are moving behind the scenes toward direct talks that both governments hope can ease the escalating confrontation over Tehran´s nuclear program. President Obama reportedly reached out to Iran´s relatively moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, through an exchange of letters in recent weeks. The pragmatist cleric is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24, and after years of the United States cold-shouldering his ultraconservative predecessor, U.S. officials say it´s possible they will meet with Rouhani
DETROIT - Detroit´s emergency manager is considering ending its health insurance coverage for city retirees under age 65 and giving them a modest stipend to purchase insurance from the health exchanges being established under Obamacare, according to a lawyer who represents two associations of public workers. Brian O´Keefe, an attorney who represents associations of Detroit police, firefighters and other city employees, said on Thursday that the emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is considering offering a stipend of about $125 a month for retirees under age 65. Those over 65, who now get city-paid health insurance to supplement their Medicare coverage, would
Berlin—At dinner the other night, perusing the debacle that is Syria, a German friend observed: “It’s the post-American world, and that means chaos.” We were joined by John Kornblum, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany, whose verdict was similar: “What you’re seeing is the steady break-up of the postwar system.” The United States, through its secretary of state and president respectively, promises an “unbelievably small” military response to the gassing of hundreds of Syrian children by President Bashar al-Assad, then vows that “the United States military doesn’t do pinpricks,” and then backs away. Britain abandons its closest ally at crunch
LAS VEGAS — The game is high-stakes hangman. Only three can play but millions can watch, and on this August afternoon at the Venetian hotel, “Wheel of Fortune” is the most riveting game in this joint. Sixteen hundred fans, sardined in bleachers, have come to watch as the great wheel giveth cars, cash and trips to Antigua. And they’ve also come to see the mistress of letters, America’s favorite wordsmith, work her magic on the puzzle board. Here we are at the bonus round. The category is PHRASE. The puzzle looks like a sandtrap on an emerald green golf course.
The government mandated blend of ethanol in every gallon of gasoline is a full-fledged disaster and neither Congress, nor the Environmental Protection Agency shows any indication of either repealing or abandoning it. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial said, “A strong candidate for the most expensive policy blunder of recent years would have to be the mandate to blend corn ethanol and other biofuels into the nation’s gasoline supply. Last month even the Environmental Protection Agency essentially acknowledged that the program is increasingly unworkable and costly to consumers. The EPA just won’t do much to fix it.”
Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn forcefully defended her agency´s phone subsidy program for the poor in a speech on Thursday. Conservative critics have claimed the FCC´s Lifeline program is a wasteful government handout and referred to it as the "Obamaphone program." "Here’s the truth. The Lifeline program long predates the current administration," Clyburn said in the speech at the New America Foundation. "It was actually created during the Reagan administration, so let´s give credit where credit is due. The Lifeline program is a legacy President Reagan could be proud of." Congress first enacted the Lifeline program in 1985,
Secretary of State John Kerry opened high-stakes talks with his Russian counterpart Thursday on the Syria crisis and insisted that the government of Bashar Assad must move quickly if it is serious about giving up chemical weapons. In a move Assad had promised as part of an agreement to avoid U.S. strikes, Syria´s U.N. envoy announced that his country became a full member of the global anti-chemical weapons treaty Thursday. "Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the (chemical weapons) convention," Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja´afar said after submitting relevant documents to the United Nations. The
National media tend to ignore the corruption that passes as local D.C. politics. As a consequence, it´s missed a city scandal that is now cascading onto the national political scene, with potential fallout for the 2016 presidential election, federal and state politicians, and even the government. At the epicenter is millionaire D.C. power broker Jeffrey Thompson. Until recently,Mr. Thompson ran the influential accounting and public-relations firm Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Associates. In the summer of 2012, federal prosecutors, as part of a plea deal with a Thompson associate, accused Mr. Thompson of putting more than $650,000 on an illegal "shadow campaign"
WASHINGTON- One of the most precise and dramatic details cited by the Obama administration as proof that Syrian forces used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack was the death toll, which an official U.S. government assessment put at 1,429 people, including 426 children. The number, first released by the White House on August 30, was underscored by Secretary of State John Kerry in a fiery indictment of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, describing videos of what he said were victims of the attack, which Syria denies. "Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin has been many things to President Obama: a partner at times, an irritant more often, the host of the elusive Edward J. Snowden and “the bored kid in the back of the classroom” who offered so little on the administration’s foreign policy goals that Mr. Obama canceled plans to hold a summit meeting in Moscow last week. (Snip) Although circumstances could shift yet again, Mr. Putin appears to have achieved several objectives, largely at Washington’s expense. He has handed a diplomatic lifeline to his longtime ally in Syria, President Bashar al-Assad, who not long