Pakistan is to release senior Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in a bid to help the Afghan peace process, reports say. The timing of his release is not yet clear, but "should be within a month", a senior advisor to the Pakistani prime minister told Reuters. Mullah Baradar was captured in the Pakistani city of Karachi in 2007. It was seen as a significant coup for the American CIA and the Pakistani intelligence service. "In principle, we have agreed to release him. The timing is being discussed. It should be very soon... I think within this month," Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister
Every illegal immigrant in Britain costs the taxpayer up to Every illegal immigrant in Britain costs the taxpayer up to £4,250 a year in costs for public services such as the NHS and education, according to a new official report. It means the total cost to the public purse could be up to £3.7 billion a year, based on previous estimates which said there were as many as 860,000 illegal immigrants in the country. The figure emerged in an official Home Office document which showed the Government’s controversial “Go Home” advertising campaign--which included ad vans touring the streets of multicultural
Russian investigators claim to have found household appliances imported from China which contain hidden microchips that pump spam data and malware into wi-fi networks. Authorities in St Petersburg allegedly discovered 20 to 30 kettles and irons with ´spy microchips that send some data to the foreign server´, according to Russian media. The revelation comes just as the EU launches an investigation into claims that Russia itself bugged gifts to delegates at last month´s G20 summit in an attempt to retrieve data from computers and telephones. This has led to speculation that the chips allegedly found in the home appliances may also have
Facebook is losing young teenagers. That’s the revelation made by the company’s finance chief which wiped £11.2 bn off its share price yesterday. In a recent survey, the social network was preferred by just 23 per cent of youngsters, down from 44 per cent. The gap is being filled by more lightweight, temporary, photo-focused networks like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram (which Facebook owns). If ever there was fuel needed for the “Facebook is a fad” theory, this is it. Among big investors obsessed with youth, alarm bells are ringing. For most adults who didn’t grow up with technology, it’s hard
Facebook wants to get inside users heads with new capabilities to track and analyse their behaviour across the social network. [Snip] New technology would allow them to start collecting data on details like how long users hover their cursors over elements on the page and whether their newsfeed is visible as they browse the site. Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said the recorded data could be used for various ends - ranging from product development to targeting advertising more precisely. But with the company among a string of Silicon Valley firms exploited for personal data by the U.S. National Security
Google´s top lawyer has said the internet giant is ´concerned and outraged´ at claims that the NSA has tapped into its private network. David Drummond´s comments came as newly leaked documents from Edward Snowden allegedly showed a sketch detailing how the NSA accessed Google using a new program known as MUSCULAR. The sketch, published by the Washington Post, reportedly caused two Google engineers to ´explode into profanity´ as it showed how to bypass security measures. A few months ago Mr Drummond had said ´the government does not have access to Google servers--not directly, or via a back door,´ according to
The Global Hawk is one of the US military´s most sophisticated spy planes and the BBC was able to get a rare view of one at Grand Forks Airbase in North Dakota. It can travel half-way round the world on a single tank of fuel and can can track a man on the ground, even when the earth is covered by cloud, from a height of about 18,000m--that´s close to 60,000ft. That means it could in theory peer into Syria to track chemical weapons while still flying in international airspace. Or keep track of North Korea´s nuclear programme flying from
The world is facing a wine shortage, with global consumer demand already significantly outstripping supply, a report has warned. The research by America´s Morgan Stanley financial services firm says demand for wine "exceeded supply by 300m cases in 2012". It describes this as "the deepest shortfall in over 40 years of records". Last year, production also dropped to its lowest levels in more than four decades. Global production has been steadily declining since its peak in 2004, when supply outweighed demand by about 600m cases. ´Main drivers´ The report by Morgan Stanley´s analysts Tom Kierath and Crystal Wang says global wine consumption
The US has criticised Germany´s economic policies, saying that its export-led growth model is hurting the eurozone and the wider global economy. In its bi-annual report, the US Treasury said that domestic demand growth in Germany had been "anaemic". It also reiterated its view that the Chinese yuan continued to remain "significantly undervalued". The report has criticised Chinese policy before, but criticism of German economic policy is rarer. "Germany´s anaemic pace of domestic demand growth and dependence on exports have hampered rebalancing at a time when many other euro-area countries have been under severe pressure to curb demand and compress
Syria´s declared equipment for producing, mixing and filling chemical weapons has been entirely destroyed, the international watchdog has said. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had given Syria until 1 November to destroy this equipment. Weapons inspectors were sent to Syria following allegations that government forces had used chemical weapons in civilian areas. The government denies the accusations. The US says more than 1,400 people were killed during a nerve agent attack in Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus on 21 August. Syria and Russia believe rebel groups were responsible for the attack.
Property experts said the controversial structures, which campaigners say are a blight on the British landscape, can reduce the value of homes by up to eight per cent. In August The Daily Telegraph reported that, according to coalition sources, a secret report into the impact of wind farms on rural house prices is being blocked by officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) amid fears it will conclude that turbines harm property prices. Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, had denied that anyone in his department is trying to suppress the report.
Kathleen Sebelius knew that Wednesday´s U.S. House hearing about the problems with the Obamacare website was going to be tough--but perhaps she wasn´t prepared for just how tough. The Health and Human Services Secretary, who is in charge of implementing the president´s signature domestic policy, could be heard on a hot microphone as she turned to an aide and said ´Don´t do this to me,´ during a pause in the questioning. It´s not entirely clear what ´this´ she was referring to, however, she was in the midst of fielding questions about whether she would sign up for an Obamacare insurance exchange for
Malls have been a staple of American culture for decades, representing suburban consumerism in its most basic form. In a new book called Malls Across America, photos taken during the 1980s reveal how little has changed in the esthetic of these shopping meccas--although the fashion and hairstyles of shoppers tell a different story. Photographer Michael Galinsky was just 20 when he began driving across the country in 1989, capturing these pictures from shopping malls in different states for a college art project. In an extract from his book, Mr Galinsky writes that his college photography teacher at New York University encouraged him
From Florida to California, consumers are getting notices their health plans are cancelled. They were promised they could keep their plan if they liked it. That was a lie. They’ve been duped and dropped. The liar is none other than the President of the United States. On June 15, 2009, President Obama told a town hall meeting that “No matter how we reform healthcare, we will keep this promise…. if you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
President Barack Obama’s job approval has dropped to an all-time low, according to a new poll released Wednesday. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that a mere 42 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, down five points from a poll conducted in early October. The president’s disapproval rating stands at 51 percent, tying an all-time high for Obama. In all, 41 percent of respondents say they have a less favorable opinion of the president since the 16 day government shutdown, compared to 21 percent who say they have a more favorable view since the shutdown. The Affordable Care Act
President Barack Obama is facing fresh attacks for his pledge that Americans who like their current healthcare plans can keep them under Obamacare, as reports pile up of thousands of Americans facing cancellation notices. Accusations that the pledge was misleading are potentially a deeper threat to Obama than the website glitches that have plagued Healthcare.gov since its October 1 launch and allowed only a trickle of people to sign up on new federal insurance exchanges. Obama has downplayed the problems with the website, saying it´s like a cash register not working, and has stressed that the underlying product of the
White House officials have pressured insurance industry executives to keep quiet amid mounting criticism over Obamacare's rollout, insurance industry sources told CNN. Sebelius: 'I apologize, I'm accountable' for Obamacare website flaws - After insurance officials publicly criticized the implementation, White House staffers contacted insurers to express their displeasure, industry insiders said. Multiple sources declined to speak publicly about the push back because they fear retribution. But Bob Laszewski, who heads a consulting firm for big insurance companies, did talk on the record.
Exactly half the nation sees the year-old killings of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya as a serious scandal — one many believe will hurt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chance to be the next president, according to a newly-released national poll. Rasmussen Reports revealed that 43 percent of likely voters believe the scandal will damage Clinton. That rises to 47 percent among voters not affiliated with any political party, like independents. Some 41 percent said it wouldn´t ding her chances. The impact is clear, and not just on Clinton. Most — 58 percent — rated the
It was a spasm of violence that stunned residents: some 200 black youths raising hell - what police called a full-blown riot - in Austin, Texas. Angry black youths inexplicably converged by the Highland Mall, near an iconic haunted house attraction, and walked atop parked cars, fought among themselves, and hurled rocks at some 30 arriving police officers.(snip)In their reporting on the riot, Austin´s media outlets followed a widely accepted rule of mainstream journalism today: they failed to mention that the rioters were black. Yet many Austin residents surmised as much -- and their suspicions were confirmed when mug shots were
President Barack Obama will not attend next month´s event marking the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln´s Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania. Officials at Gettysburg National Military Park said Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will represent the administration the Nov. 19 sesquicentennial. Jewell and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson will share the role of keynote speaker. Other events include a reading of the Gettysburg address by a Lincoln portrayer. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also plans to attend the ceremony. Lincoln delivered the immortal words of the address at a dedication of the Soldiers´ National Cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863, more than
Ronan Farrow is already in MSNBC mid-season form. Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, is set to debut his own MSNBC talk show early next year. His latest political comments, though, find him boosting the image of the Clintons in a way that even the far-left network might not embrace. They´re nimble politicians. Also I think that they represent a style of honesty that the public craves right now. And that´s reflected in the numbers. I think people are tired of the old school politicking, and when a politician comes out and says, “Actually, I changed my
Politico describes this kindly gesture as “an olive branch.” I agree. Cruz, whose fiery brand of conservative politics continually draws the enmity and wrath of the GOP establishment, has publicly pledged he will not help conservative candidates oust his more squishy, Republican colleagues. The “surrender caucus” can finally breathe a sigh of relief. For now: Extending an olive branch to GOP senators, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is privately making it clear he won’t engage in the Senate Conservatives Fund’s hardball tactics to defeat his colleagues in their primary races. At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday, the freshman
Conservatives are expressing shock and outrage that the Obama administration knew that many people in the individual insurance market would not be able to keep their plans once the Affordable Care Act took effect. Such shock is not surprising; overblown outrage is the stock and trade of conservative politics these days. But here´s what conservatives won´t tell you, lest it undermine their theatrics: Many insurance plans are shutting down because they don´t meet the higher bar of quality benefits required under Obamacare, and of those people who lose access to their plans, many will pay less and all will have better
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his frustration Tuesday with the fact that even in the United States, “a very educated country,” there are those who do not recognize the urgency of combating global warming. Addressing the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum, which encourages the “greening” of foreign mission in Washington, Kerry took aim at those who challenge the notion that the science is settled when it comes to climate change. “I am amazed after all these years that we’re still struggling here in a very educated country to get a lot of people to embrace and understand why this is not a
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) again praised Hillary Clinton on Monday, saying her work as Secretary of State was "outstanding" with the exception of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. "Her work as secretary of state, with the exception of this issue of Benghazi — which isn’t going away — I think has been outstanding," McCain said. "I think she would be viewed by anyone, Republican or Democrat, as a very formidable candidate for 2016.” McCain has previously said that it would be a "tough choice" if the 2016 election were between Clinton and Sen.