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In The News This Week AMERICANS TUNE OUT AFGHAN WAR AS FIGHTING RAGES ON It was once President Barack Obama's "war of necessity." Now, it's America's forgotten war.. Page 1
SYRIAN FORCES KILL AT LEAST 31 IN DAMASCUS RAIDS Syrian regime forces shelled two Damascus districts before troops backed by tanks swept through to carry out house-to-house raids in search of opposition fighters, killing at least 31. Page 2
IN CRISIS, GREECE ROUNDS UP IMMIGRANTS Greece's remote Evros region has turned into Europe's main battleground against illegal immigration. Page 3
FLORIDA ACCIDENT STATISTICS Accident Statistics from Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Page 4
FLORIDA ACCIDENT REPORTS This Weeks Accident Reports from Various countys in Florida. Page 5
VIETNAM BANK DIRECTOR RESIGNS AMID PROBE The head of one of Vietnam's largest banks resigned Thursday amid a police investigation into allegations of illegal trading by its cofounder. Page 6
Volume 731 Issue 34
August 27, 2012
A M E R I C A N S T U N E OUT A F G H A N WA R A S FIGHTING RAGES ON K A B U L , Afghanistan (AP) -- It was once President Barack Obama's "war of necessity." Now, it's America's forgotten war. The Afghan conflict generates barely a whisper on the U.S. presidential campaign trail. It's not a hot topic at the office water cooler or in the halls of Congress - even though more than 80,000 American troops are still fighting here and dying at a rate of one a day. Americans show more interest in the economy and taxes than the latest suicide bombings in a different, distant land. They're more tuned in to the political ad war playing out on television than the deadly fight still raging against the Taliban. Earlier this month, protesters at the Iowa State Fair chanted "Stop the war!" They were referring to one purportedly being waged against the middle class. By the time voters go to the polls Nov. 6 to choose between Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the war will be in its 12th year. For most Americans, that's long enough. Public opinion remains largely negative toward the war, with 66 percent opposed to it and just 27 percent in favor in a May AP-GfK poll. More recently, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 60 percent of registered voters felt the U.S. should no longer be involved in Afghanistan. Just 31 percent said the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting there now.
go away. than 1,950 More Americans have died in Afghanistan and thousands more have been wounded since President George W. Bush launched attacks on Oct. 7, 2001 to rout al-Qaida after it used Afghanistan to train recruits and plot the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. The war drags on even though al-Qaida has been largely driven out of Afghanistan and its charismatic leader Osama bin Laden is dead - slain in a U.S. raid on his Pakistani hideout last year. Strangely, Afghanistan never seemed to grab the same degree of public and media attention as the war in Iraq, which Obama opposed as a "war of choice." Unlike Iraq, victory in Afghanistan seemed to come quickly. Kabul fell within weeks of the U.S. invasion in October 2001. The hardline Taliban regime was toppled with few U.S. casualties. But the Bush administration's shift toward war with Iraq left the Western powers without enough resources on the ground, so by 2006 the Taliban had regrouped into a serious military threat. Candidate Obama promised to refocus America's resources on Afghanistan. But by the time President Obama sent 33,000 more troops to Afghanistan in December 2009, years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan had drained Western resources and sapped resolve to build a viable Afghan state.
Not since the Korean War of the early 1950s - a much shorter but more intense fight - has an armed conflict involving America's sons and daughters captured so little public attention.
And over time, his administration has grown weary of trying to tackle Afghanistan's seemingly intractable problems of poverty and corruption. The American people have grown weary too.
U.S. regulators mandated Wednesday that public companies disclose information about their use of minerals from Congo. Page 7
"We're bored with it," said Matthew Farwell, who served in the U.S. Army for five years including 16 months in eastern Afghanistan, where he sometimes received letters from grade school students addressed to the brave Marines in Iraq - the wrong war.
CHINESE COMPANY KEEPS SYRIA CONNECTED TO INTERNET
"We all laugh about how no one really cares," he said. "All the `support the troops' stuff is bumper sticker deep."
While most Americans are sympathetic to the plight of the Afghan people, they have become deeply skeptical of President Hamid Karzai's willingness to tackle corruption and political patronage and the coalition's chances of "budging a medieval society" into the modern world, says Ann Marlowe, a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, a policy research organization in Washington.
A Chinese company is keeping war-torn Syria connected to the Internet as other telecommunications companies withdraw. Page 7
Farwell, 29, who is now studying at the University of Virginia, said the war is rarely a topic of conversation on campus - and he isn't surprised that it's not discussed much on the campaign trail.
SEC MANDATES COMPANY DISCLOSURES ON MINERAL USE
OBAMA ON ROMNEY'S 'EXTREME' VIEWS Page 8
ROMNEY STRESSES ECONOMY AS CONVENTION NEARS Page 8
"No one understands how to extricate ourselves from the mess we have made there," he said. "So from a purely political point of view, I wouldn't be talking about it if I were Barack Obama or Mitt Romney either." Ignoring the Afghan war, though, doesn't make it
"With millions of veterans home and talking with their families and friends ... some knowledge of just how hard this is has percolated down," said Marlowe, who has traveled to Afghanistan many times. It has also been hard to show progress on the battlefield. World War II had its Normandy, Vietnam its Tet Offensive and Iraq its Battle of Fallujah. Afghanistan is a grinding slough in villages and remote valleys
Continued on page 6
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An activist in Soussa Kafar reached on Skype corroborated the observatory's report. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals.
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BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian regime forces on Wednesday shelled two Damascus districts before troops backed by tanks swept through to carry out house-to-house raids in search of opposition fighters, killing at least 31 suspected rebels, activists said. The violence is part of a dramatic surge in fighting over the past month in Damascus, which is just one of many fronts President Bashar Assad's regime is struggling to contain as the 17-month-old rebellion against his rule gains strength. Government forces are also engaged in a major battle for control of the northern city of Aleppo as well as smaller scale operations in the country's south, east and center.
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Around dawn Wednesday, regime forces in Damascus rained mortars down on the upscale Kafar Soussa neighborhood and the adjacent Nahr Eishah area of the Syrian capital, activists said. Government troops appeared to be shelling the districts from Qasioun mountain overlooking the capital, a Damascus resident said on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. The attacks may have been designed to kill or capture rebel mortar teams who have used the two neighborhoods in recent days to target the city's strategically located Mazzeh military airport, activists said. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 20 people were killed in Kafar Soussa on Wednesday and that fierce battles were raging in an area just outside the neighborhood
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an Earlier, activist who only wanted to be identified by the name Bassam for fear of retribution, said 11 people were killed in Kafar Soussa and that as many as 22 tanks stormed the district with about 20 soldiers on foot behind each one. He spoke via Skype from central Damascus. Bassam and the observatory also reported heavy government shelling of Nahr Eishah early Wednesday. They said regime forces then conducted house-to-house raids in search of rebels. Bassam said as many as 12 people were killed in Nahr Eishah, while the observatory had no word on casualties. It was not clear whether those killed in the two areas died in the shelling or later government raids. Activists, including the one reached by Skype in Kafar Soussa, spoke of execution-style killings in both areas. The activists' reports could not be independently verified. Syria's ongoing civil war has its roots in a mostly peaceful uprising against Assad's regime that began in March last year. The uprising grew increasingly violent as the government launched a brutal crackdown on protesters, prompting many to take up arms to forcefully overthrow Assad's regime.
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_________________________________________________________Legal Street News Monday, August 27, 2012
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NEA VYSSA, Greece (AP) -- Border police jeeps hurtle along hot, dusty tracks past potato fields on their way to the river that marks the Greek-Turkish border. Sirens blaring, the convoys have been repelling wave after wave of migrants.
among EU countries," Tigani said, "but these police operations violate international human rights standards and should stop immediately."
Greece's remote Evros region has turned into Europe's main battleground against illegal immigration; more than two-thirds of people making the clandestine journey into the European Union pass through here from neighboring Turkey.
"Our aim is to deter illegal immigrants and arrest traffickers, but the migrants' well-being and rights are always a main priority," said Orestiada police chief Yiorgos Salamangas.
Greece launched an aggressive campaign this month to try to seal its 200kilometer (130-mile) northeastern border, as it faces a debilitating financial crisis that has caused a swell in joblessness and a surge in racist attacks against immigrants with dark skin. The police operation has brought nearly 2,000 additional border guards to the Turkish frontier previously manned by about 500 officers. They fanned out with dogs, night vision equipment and flat-bottomed boats for 24-hour patrols of the Evros River that forms a natural border. At least 21 people have drowned or died of exposure crossing the river this year, while several have been listed as missing. In Athens, the operation is being bolstered by mass roundups of suspected illegal immigrants. They are seen lined up on the streets of the capital every day, many in handcuffs, waiting to be put in detention until they can be deported. In the first week of the crackdown in early August, police said they apprehended nearly 7,000 people for identification checks; nearly 1,700 were slated for deportation. Anwar, a 22-year-old man from Bangladesh,
R U S S I A : W E S T
' I N -
S T I G A T I N G ' S Y R I A N O P P O S I T I O N MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia says Western powers are "openly instigating" Syrian opposition groups to take up arms in their fight to unseat President Bashar Assad. Moscow has been Syria's key protector throughout the 17-month uprising that evolved into a full-blown civil war, shielding Assad's regime from international sanctions and providing it with weapons despite an international outcry. Russia's Foreign Ministry claimed Wednesday that the West "has done nothing" to urge Assad's opponents to start a dialogue with his government. It claimed that the "pharisaical" Western approach to the Syrian civil war does not help resolve the conflict that has killed an estimated 19,000 people. The Kremlin, backed by fellow veto-wielding U.N. Security Council member China, has blocked any plans that would call on Assad to step down.
Police say migrants' rights are being respected.
walked across the border near Orestiada, a small town wedged between Turkey and Bulgaria. Unaware of the immigration clampdown, he said he is looking for police so he can turn himself in. It's a well-worn ploy: Migrants have actively tried to get themselves taken to detention centers near Athens, assuming they will be released due to overcrowding and allowed to blend into the chaotic capital. "I've come here to work," Anwar, who declined to give his full name because of his illegal status, said moments after crossing the border. "I know what will happen to me: They might keep me in detention for around three months, but then they'll let me out and I'll go to Athens." Now, however, authorities are determined to swiftly deport illegal migrants they round up. In a recent pre-dawn operation, authorities using thermal imaging cameras spotted a group of around 60 illegal immigrants on the Turkish side of the Evros River. Officers used spotlights, sirens and loud speakers to deter them from crossing, although fifteen immigrants still made it over to a river islet in a no man's land and were arrested. Uniformed police officers from 25 countries are already helping Greece guard the Evros River as part of the European Union's border protection agency, Frontex. Greek police figures show more than 21,000 illegal migrants were arrested in the first six months of 2012 after crossing over from Turkey, with nearly all - 20,841 - caught along the northeastern land border rather than on one of the many Aegean islands near the Turkish coast. The figures show a nearly 29 percent increase from the same period last year. Afghans currently make up the highest number of people crossing illegally, followed by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and an increasing number of people from war-ravaged Syria, according to the agency. The police operation has faced strong criticism from human rights groups, local officials, and even police officers' associations - with criticism focusing on alleged racial profiling and police brutality. Allegations include arbitrary detention, beatings and degrading police treatment. Police video showing riot police and other officers rounding up mostly South Asian immigrants as they got off a train that arrived at Athens' main station also received condemnation from local rights groups and leftwing opposition parties. Amnesty International called on Greek authorities to stop the roundups immediately. "While Greece has the right to control migration, it does not have the right to treat people like criminals purely because of the color of their skin," Amnesty's Jezerca Tigani said in a statement. He warned that many immigrants fleeing war zones and potential persecution from dictatorial regimes were being denied a fair asylum assessment. "Greece may be going through financial difficulties while facing one of the highest migration flows
The government insists the operation is working, reporting a drop in illegal border crossings by around 90 percent in the first week. "This is a massive operation that is taking place in the country for the first time and it will continue in the long-term," police spokesman Christos Manouras said. "It is widely accepted that the expulsion of immigrants who are here illegally is a national necessity, an issue of national survival." Greece is a member of Europe's passport-free Schengen agreement but shares no borders with any of the other 25 member states. That has meant hundreds of thousands of irregular immigrants have been unable to cross the border into other European countries, trapping them in limbo in Athens and other Greek cities, typically in slum conditions. As the country struggles through a fifth year of recession, illegal immigration and a rise in violent crime have become central issues in the political debate, with mainstream parties blamed by many for the country's near financial collapse facing opposition from more radical political groups. The extreme right Golden Dawn party, described by political opponents as neo-Nazis, won nearly 7 percent of the vote in June general elections, a 20fold jump since a national vote in 2009. The party denies any involvement in a recent surge in anti-immigrant attacks, and says police should be more concerned by attacks on Greeks by foreign criminals. In one suspected attack by racist gangs this month, an Iraqi man was stabbed in the street and died hours later in the hospital. Anti-racism campaigners last month said immigrants living in Greece have been targeted in at least 300 violent attacks between early April and late July. The rise in hate crimes is believed to be one of the triggers of the government clampdown. Authorities are using a newly built detention center near Athens and two converted police academy buildings in northeastern Greece to house detainees, while dozens of additional facilities are planned using converted Army bases. Police associations argue that the massive deployment of manpower should have been delayed until more of those new facilities are ready. They cite the lack of detention capacity as a key reason for the country's inability to deal with illegal immigration. It's a concern shared by local authorities in the Evros region, and many residents. "As long as people know they can make it here and eventually live freely, they will keep coming," said 63-year-old Christos Kyriakidis. "Nothing will stop them."
4 Legal Street News Monday August 27, 2012
F L O R I D A
A C C I D E N T
S T A T I S T I C S
Data From the Official Website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. www.flhsmv.gov
The information contained in this Traffic Crash Statistics booklet is extracted from law enforcement agency long-form reports of traffic crashes in which a motor vehicle is involved. A law enforcement officer must submit a long form crash report when investigating: • Motor vehicle crashes resulting in death or personal injury, or • Motor vehicle crashes in which one or more of the following conditions occur: • Leaving the scene involving damage to an attended vehicle or property (Section 316.061 (1), F.S.), or • Driving while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances or with an unlawful blood alcohol level (Section 316.193, F.S.). An investigating officer may report other traffic crashes on the long-form
crash report. In particular, applicable statutes specify an officer's discretion to submit a longform report in crashes where a vehicle is rendered inoperable to the degree that a wrecker is required to remove it from traffic. However, only those crashes that meet the critera above are included in this report. January 1, 2011, the Department began using a new and improved long form crash form. The data in this report comes from the previous long form crash report and the new long form crash report. In October of 2010, a few agencies began using the new crash report form. Both forms are attached to the end of this report.
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__________________________________________Legal Street News Monday, August 27, 2012
AUTO ACCIDENTS Owensboro man airlifted to hospital after car overturns in ditch August 23, 2012 An Owensboro man was airlifted to an Evansville hospital after a car accident in which deputies believe alcohol was involved.
IN SOUTH FLORIDA
A Flagler Beach woman died last night after a motorcycle crashed on State Road A1A, according to a Florida Highway Patrol repo August 25, 2012
The Daviess County Sheriff's Office says 23year-old Andrew N. Derington was driving northbound on Wrights Landing Road and failed to stop at the intersection of Highway 2830.
A Flagler Beach woman died last night after a motorcycle crashed on State Road A1A, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.
Deputies say the vehicle slid through the intersection, went off the road, down an embankment, and overturned into a ditch.
Ursula Vassiliou, 57, of Flagler Beach, was pronounced dead at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center, where she was flown after the accident.
Derington had to be cut from the vehicle and was airlifted to St. Mary's in Evansville with non-life threatening injuries. 23-year-old Roger D. Greathouse Jr. and 24year-old Jeffrey T. Love were passengers in Derington's car but were not injured. Deputies believe alcohol is be a factor and are still investigating the incident.
Interstate 95 near Bridge Road reopened after accident August 23, 2012 The Florida Highway Patrol has reopened all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Hobe Sound as of 4:30 p.m. Sunday after a crash involving an overturned car. About 3 p.m. Martin County Fire Rescue responded to mile marker 96, near Bridge Road, for the single-vehicle crash. Officials had closed all lanes and were moving traffic through the shoulder of the road, according to Martin County Fire Rescue.
Stalled vehicle closes one eastbound lane of I-595 August 24, 2012 Crashes and other incidents being reported Thursday morning by the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Transportation include: 8:57 a.m., disabled vehicle eastbound lanes of I595 after Davie Road exit, blocking one center lane. Traffic cameras are showing significant delays through this scene; 8:53 a.m., crash on northbound I-95 near Yamato Road in Boca Raton;
Friday morning crash, truck fire stall westbound I-595
The driver of the motorcycle, David Krantz, 55, of Flagler Beach, had serious injuries and was taken to Flagler Hospital last night, according to the report. The accident happened just after 9 p.m. when a passenger car that was traveling southbound on S.R. A1A in front of the motorcycle tried to make a left turn onto Butler Park East Road. At the same time, Krantz tried to pass the car on the left, and the motorcycle and car collided in the northbound lane, according to the report. The two people who were in the car were not injured.
One person dies after Friday night A1A crash August 26, 2012 A Flagler Beach woman died Friday night after a motorcycle crashed on State Road A1A, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. Ursula Vassiliou, 57, of Flagler Beach, was flown to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center after the accident but was pronounced dead later. The driver of the motorcycle, David Krantz, 55, of Flagler Beach, had serious injuries and was taken to Flagler Hospital on Friday night, according to the report. Krantz was in stable condition as of Saturday evening, a hospital official said. Neither Krantz nor Vassiliou were wearing a helmet. The accident, which involved a motorcycle and vehicle, happened around 9 p.m. in front of St. Johns County Fire Station 6 at 5865 S.R. A1A South, said St. Johns County Fire Rescue spokesman Matthew Sara. A passenger car that was traveling southbound on S.R. A1A in front of the motorcycle tried to make a left turn onto Butler Park East Road, according to the report. At the same time, Krantz tried to pass the car on the left, and the motorcycle and car collided in the northbound lane, according to the report. The two people who were in the car were not injured.
5-year-old Sorrento girl killed in crash on wet roads August 26, 2012 A 5-year-old girl is dead and two others injured after a car crash in Orange County. Florida Highway Patrol troopers said Rose Marie Rosario lost control of the Ford Focus while driving northbound on wet roads on Mt. Plymouth Road, north of Haas Road. The car spun around into the southbound lane and in the path of a Ford van. The van hit the left rear of the car, trapping the three occupants inside. Shaylynn Johnson, of Sorrento, was killed in the crash. Rosario, 31, was critically injured and taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Five-year-old Thomas Johnson was transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children with serious injuries. Itâ€™s not known if anyone in the car was wearing a seatbelt. The driver and passenger in the van were not hurt. The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.
Two lanes shut on NB I-95 after crash August 26, 2012 Montes said Moceri's semi drifted toward the emergency lane "for reasons still under investigation." The front of it slammed into the back of White's vehicle, then "drove over (it) as the vehicles came to final rest in the northbound lanes of I-95," according to the FHP's crash report.
August 24, 2012 Westbound traffic on I-595 just west of I-95 came to a halt shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, 2012 when a dump truck caught fire during a traffic mishap The westbound lanes of Interstate 595 just west of I-95 were closed for two hours Friday morning when a dump truck caught fire after its driver swerved to avoid stopped traffic and sideswiped a Honda Accord being driven by a Dania Beach woman, Ginna Bennett, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The Honda was pushed into a second truck, which wasnâ€™t damaged, according to FHP.
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Bennett was taken to Plantation Hospital with minor injuries. Her car suffered $3,000 worth of damage.
6 Legal Street News
Monday August 27, 2012___________________________________________________________
V I E T N A M B A N K D I R E C T O R R E S I G N S A M I D P R O B E HANOI, Vietnam (AP) â€” The head of one of Vietnam's largest banks resigned Thursday amid a police investigation into allegations of illegal trading by its cofounder, igniting fresh fears about the stability of the country's debt-ridden banking sector. As banking stocks in the country slumped for a third day, Asia Commercial Bank earlier said some jumpy depositors were withdrawing funds from the institution, but stressed that it had enough money to repay the cash. The troubles at the ACB began Monday with the arrest of Nguyen Duc Kien, the co-founder of the bank and one of the country's richest and most well connected tycoons. The news sent stock prices tumbling and the central bank promised emergency funds. It also issued a statement saying that Kien's alleged crimes were not related to the bank, which he longer manages. Earlier Thursday, the bank said its chief, Ly Xuan Hai, was cooperating with a
police investigation, but declined to say what it was concerning. A statement later said Hai had resigned and would be replaced by Do Minh Toan, a former deputy at the bank.
owned, but gave no other details. There has been speculation that his arrest reflected tensions between the country's closely intertwined political and economic elite.
Hai's resignation may strengthen suspicions that the bank, which is 15 percent owned by Standard and Chartered, was involved in alleged illegal trading.
Uncertainty about the bank and others in Vietnam has sent shares in ACB and other banks sharply lower, pulling the country's main stock market down 10 points, or more than 9 percent, since Tuesday. The drop on Tuesday was the largest in the country's history.
"With strong support from the central bank and our partners, ACB affirms that the bank will control any given situations and maintain normal banking activities for the best benefit of our customers," the bank statement said. Vietnam's communist rulers are trying to get the country's economy back on track without relinquishing any of their political control. But many of the country's banks have millions of dollars in bad debt with conglomerates linked to the party, complicating efforts to clean up the system. Authorities said that Kien had been guilty of illegal trading at three companies he
Earlier, deputy director Nguyen Thanh Toai said there had been an increase in withdrawals from ACB branches in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday morning, but that had now ended. There was no sign of panic in the capital, Hanoi, on Thursday. "I'm not so worried because ACB is a big bank," said Nguyen Xuan Hai, who was withdrawing cash to buy a motorbike. "But I am checking on the news regularly to stay updated with the situation."
AMERICANS TUNE OUT AFGHAN WAR A L O O K A T Continued from page 1 M E D I C A L COSTS IN CUBA VS. THE US
where success is measured in increments. The Afghan war transformed into a series of small, often vicious and intense fights scattered across a country almost as large as Texas.
In July, 40 U.S. service members died in Afghanistan in the deadliest month for American troops so far this year. At least 31 have been killed this month - seven when a helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in what was one of the deadliest air disasters of the war. Ten others were gunned down in attacks from members of the Afghan security forces - either disgruntled turncoats or Taliban infiltrators.
Many argue that bin Laden's death justifies a quick U.S. exit from Afghanistan. Others say it's important to stay longer to shore up the Afghan security forces and help build the government so that it can stand on its own. An unstable Afghanistan could again offer sanctuary to militants like al-Qaida who want to harm American and its allies, they say. "Those of us who have been at this for a long time continue to think that it's important, and that we have a chance now of a path forward with a longterm perspective that will produce the results," said James Cunningham, the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
wind down in the next few years, leading up to the end of 2014 when most international troops will have left or moved into support roles.
Military analysts say the U.S. envisions a post2014 force of perhaps 20,000 to hunt terrorists, train the Afghan forces and keep an eye on neighboring Iran and other regional powerhouse nations.
Americans aren't likely to know the number until later this year. But will anyone other than families of service personnel take note? "I have heard others say that the danger that their spouses or children are serving in is just simply not being cared about," said Fred Wellman, a 22year Army veteran who did three tours in Iraq. "I think a lot of veterans feel it is just forgotten." Political satirist Garry Trudeau captured the apathy about the war in a comic strip this year showing a U.S. servicewoman stationed in Afghanistan calling her brother back home. After he complains that his children have the flu and how he's struggling to keep up with their hectic hockey schedule, he asks her where she's calling from. She tells him she's in Afghanistan. "Oh, right, right ..." her brother replies. "Wait, we're still there?"
HAVANA (AP) -- What Cuba says it spends on medical services is a fraction of what it costs hospitals to provide the same services in the United States. A comparison of some medical procedures in the two countries: - Cost per day for inpatient hospital stay: $5.49 in Cuba; $1,994 in the U.S. - Inpatient hernia surgery: $14.59 in Cuba; $12,489 in the U.S. - Hip-fracture repair: $72.15 in Cuba; $14,263 in the U.S. - Kidney transplant: $4,902 in Cuba; $48,758 in the U.S. Cuban authorities did not reveal how they calculated their figures, but said careful study was involved. While some medical goods are imported, Cuba produces many medicines and labor costs are significantly lower than in the United States, with one doctor saying Cuban specialists earn $25 a month.
The U.S.-led coalition's combat mission will
Cuban patients also often bring their own sterile bed sheets, hypodermic needles, food and water. ---
http://www.network.directrelief.org Healthcare Providers: If you are a healthcare provider located in the United States, contact us by calling 1-877-30-DR-USA (1-877-303-7872).
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Note: U.S. costs are from 2009. Sources: Granma; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Cuban figures rely on the official currency exchange rate of 24 Cuban pesos to $1, though officials have never clarified whether that rate can be applied to interpret economic data.
________________________________________________________Legal Street News Monday, August 27, 2012
S E C M A N D A T E S C O M P A N Y D I S C L O S U R E S O N M I N E R A L U S E ence over the manufacturing if it merely puts its brand, logo or label on a generic product made by a third party, or if it services or repairs such a product.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. regulators mandated Wednesday that public companies disclose information about their use of minerals from Congo, where militias linked to atrocities have profited from mining minerals used in electronics, jewelry and other goods. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a rule under the 2010 financial overhaul law. Public companies that use the designated minerals from Congo and neighboring countries in their products will have to disclose annually their efforts to trace the minerals back to their sources. The SEC also voted 2-1 to require producers of oil, natural gas or minerals to disclose any payments involving commercial development that they make to the U.S. or a foreign government. The payments would include taxes, royalties and licensing fees. The regulators say stricter reporting requirements on mineral use might help curb the violence in Congo. They also say the rules will make companies more accountable to their shareholders. Some companies have complained about the difficulty of determining whether, or in what quantity, certain products include the affected minerals. The two Republican SEC commissioners, Troy Paredes and Daniel Gallagher, opposed the adoption of the rule. They said they think SEC rules aren't the proper way to achieve the goal of ending violence in Congo. Paredes said the reporting requirements could have undesired effects in Congo. For example, he said, the minerals could be smuggled into other countries and sold as if they had originated there. The affected minerals are gold, and the ores of tin, tungsten and tantalum. Tantalum is widely used in electronics. Tin and tungsten have many industrial uses. As with the so-called "blood diamonds" mined in Zimbabwe and used to finance wars in
Companies will have to determine whether any of the minerals in question in their products came from Congo or an adjoining country, or are from scrap or recycled sources.
Gold Mining In The Democratic R e p u b l i c o f C o n g o Sierra Leone and Liberia, international rights groups have pushed for more transparency in the use of minerals that have benefited militias in Congo. Civil wars killed an estimated 5 million people in Congo in the 1990s. The fighting deteriorated into a scramble for Congo's minerals that drew in the armies of eight African nations. Though the conflict ended in the rest of Congo in 2002, armed groups still operate in the mineral-rich eastern portion of the country. The SEC initially proposed the disclosure rule in December 2010. The activist group Oxfam America has protested at the SEC's headquarters and sued the agency to protest the delay in issuing final rules. At the same time, business groups have lobbied the SEC to make the rules more lenient. The new minerals disclosure requirements will initially cost affected companies a total of $3 billion to $4 billion and up to $209 million each year afterward, the SEC estimates. The companies will have to file their first reports in May 2014 and annually after that. The rule applies to public companies, both U.S. and foreign, that use any of the four minerals if the minerals are essential to a product the company makes or contracts to be made. A company will be affected only if it has influence over the manufacture of a product. A company wouldn't be considered to have influ-
CHINESE COMPANY KEEPS SYRIA CONNECTED TO INTERNET NEW YORK (AP) -- A firm that tracks the pathways of the Internet says a Chinese company is keeping war-torn Syria connected to the Internet as other telecommunications companies withdraw. The Syrian government ultimately controls Internet connection to the outside world but it's a major route for rebel communications and news from the country as the civil war intensifies. Hong Kong-based PCCW Ltd. is now carrying most of the Internet traffic to and from Syria, according to Renesys Corp., a Manchester, N.H., company that studies the structure of the Internet. PCCW has shouldered the load as Turk Telecom, the main phone company in neighbor-
ing Turkey, dropped away Aug. 12. It's not clear what killed its connections to Syria, but Turkey has protested the Syria regime's actions. China is one of Syria's few international allies. Renesys said Tuesday that Telecom Italia of Italy and Deutsche Telekom of Germany also carry some Syrian Internet traffic, but the Italian company's share is declining for unknown reasons. Turk Telecom and Telecom Italia did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Syria is connected via undersea cables to Cyprus, Lebanon and Egypt, and PCCW is a part-owner of some cables running through the Mediterranean Sea.
If the inquiry finds that the minerals might have come from one of the countries, the company must investigate the source and file a report to the SEC. The report also must be posted on companies' websites For the oil and natural gas payments, companies must file the reports to the SEC no later than 150 days after the end of their fiscal year. The requirement starts for fiscal years ending after Sept. 30, 2013. Paredes and SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro excused themselves from voting on that rule to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
PAY PA L T O O F F E R I N - S TO R E PAY M E N T S THRU DISCOVER SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- PayPal is expanding its brick-and-mortar payment services to more than 7 million stores across the U.S. in a partnership with Discover Financial Services. EBay Inc.'s payments unit said Wednesday that retailers that take Discover cards will be able to process PayPal payments beginning next year. People will be able to pay using PayPal cards and later, mobile devices. The move marks the latest step in PayPal's push into physical retailers as it expands from offering online payments. PayPal, which eBay bought a decade ago, has more than 50 million active users in the U.S. and is the e-commerce company's fastest-growing business. Earlier this year it unveiled a mobile payments service, PayPal Here, that lets businesses process credit card payments with smartphones. It rivals mobile payment services such as Square, which recently signed a deal to process payments at Starbucks locations. PayPal is also accepted as a form of payment at physical Home Depot stores and other retailers as part of its offline push. The deal with Discover lets retailers use the point-of-sale systems that they already have in their stores to accept PayPal payments. San Jose, Calif.-based eBay climbed $1.48, or 3.2 percent, to $47.33 in midday trading. Earlier, the stock hit $48.08, its highest level since 2005.
Legal Street News Monday, August 27, 2012
A P I N T E R V I E W : O B A M A O N R O M N E Y ' S ' E X T R E M E ' V I E W S WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Mitt Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" on economic and social issues and would surely impose them if elected, trying to discredit his Republican rival at the biggest political moment of his life. In an interview with The Associated Press, Obama said Romney lacks serious ideas, refuses to "own up" to the responsibilities of what it takes to be president, and deals in factually dishonest arguments that could soon haunt him in face-to-face debates. Obama also offered a glimpse of how he would govern in a second term of divided government, insisting rosily that the forces of the election would help break Washington's stalemate. He said he would be willing to make a range of compromises with Republicans, confident there are some who would rather make deals than remain part of "one of the least productive Congresses in American history." With the remarks, Obama set up a contrast between Romney, whom he cast as an extremist pushing staunchly conservative policies, and himself, by saying he would work across party lines. It was a seeming play for the independent voters who decide close elections and tell pollsters they want to see the often-gridlocked politicians in Washington solve the nation's problems. Mainly, Obama was intent on countering Romney even before his challenger got to the Republican National Convention, which starts Monday in Tampa, Fla. In doing so, the president depicted his opponent as having accumulated ideas far outside the mainstream with no room to turn back. "I can't speak to Governor Romney's motivations," Obama said. "What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he's talked about." Obama spoke to the AP on Thursday before heading off to a long weekend with his family at Camp David, the secluded presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains. The president was at ease but doggedly on script, steering even personal-themed questions about Romney and running mate Paul Ryan into answers about starkly different visions for helping the middle class. Romney, a successful former executive of a private equity firm and one-time Massachusetts governor, will introduce himself to a TV audience of millions next Thursday as he takes the convention stage to accept his party's presidential nomination. He has offered himself as a business-minded alternative to Obama and has seized on voter concerns about joblessness and the direction of the nation. Nearly ten weeks before Election Day, the race is remarkably stable and reflective of a sharply divided nation, with registered voters about evenly split on their choice and nearly a quarter of them unsure or still willing to change their mind. Across the interview, Obama's messages often seemed directed at moderate and independent voters whose sway could make the difference. Obama's depiction of a Romney presidency grew most pointed when he was asked if his Republican challenger has no core, as one of Obama's top advisers once put it. The president suggested that whatever Romney really stands for in life is secondary to the promises Romney has made in the campaign.
In explaining his accusation of "extreme" positions, the president cited Romney's call for across-the-board tax cuts that Obama said would mostly help the rich at the expense of everyone else and cost the nation $5 trillion. Obama singled out Romney's opposition to tax credits for producers of wind energy, the kind of issue that carries large political resonance in a battleground state such as Iowa. And Obama alluded to the provocative issue of abortion, suddenly thrust to the fore this week when Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said the female body has a way to "shut that whole thing down" when a woman is the victim of "legitimate rape." The Republican platform in Tampa calls for a ban on abortion with no specific exceptions for rape or other circumstances. Obama predicted that a President Romney would not "stand in the way" if Congress gave him a bill that stripped away women's control over their reproductive health. Romney is on record, however, as not opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest or if it will save the mother's life. Polling shows social issues such as abortion represent perhaps Obama's best opportunity to draw support from Romney. Obama already holds a broad lead as the candidate more trusted to handle those social issues among Democrats and independents. The issue is one of Romney's biggest vulnerabilities among moderate and liberal Republicans. Obama also sought to chip away at Romney's trustworthiness, taking fresh shots at Romney's refusal to release years of tax returns for public inspection. He said that position was indicative of a candidate who has a "lack of willingness to take responsibility for what this job entails." Yet it is the economy that has driven this election and has dominated Obama's message of a middle-class revival. "We aren't where we need to be. Everybody agrees with that," said Obama, who inherited an economy in free fall and now bears responsibility for a recovery that remains weak. "But Governor Romney's policies would make things worse for middle-class families and offer no prospect for long-term opportunity for those striving to get into the middle class," the president said.
A Romney spokesman, Ryan Williams, jumped on Obama's account in the interview that the economy clearly needs to get better. "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan agree," Williams said. "The American people know they aren't better off than they were four years ago." Obama holds a decisive advantage over Romney when Americans are asked who better understands their daily woes. Yet nearly two-thirds of people in a new APGfK poll say the economy is in poor shape, and 60 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Obama expressed confidence that even voters whose lives have not improved during his term will stick with him as they assess the two candidates. "If they saw Gov. Romney offering serious proposals that offered some sort of concrete ways in which middleclass families would be helped, then I could understand them thinking about that choice," Obama said. "But that's not what's happening." And therein lies the central case that Obama made in the interview, as he has made for months, and as he will again at his own party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., in early September. Obama said he is the candidate whose policies have historically helped the middle class on issues that people care about and that shape the economy — education, manufacturing, science and research, Medicare, debt reduction, tax rates, health care, consumer protection, college aid, energy. Williams, the Romney spokesman, responded that Obama has piled up national debt and presided over high unemployment. "Too many middle-class families are going to sleep each night worried," he said. "This may be the best President Obama can do, but it's not the best America can do." The moment that could finally shake up a close race could come in the three debates Obama and Romney hold in October. The president said Romney could run into trouble because of arguments that are not backed up by facts, citing a widely debunked television ad campaign in which Romney accuses Obama of gutting the work requirement in the federal welfare law. "It will be a little tougher to defend face-to-face," Obama said. Obama's view of a different second-term dynamic in Washington, even if both and House Republicans retain power, seems a stretch given the stalemated politics of a divided government. He said two changes — the facts that "the American people will have voted," and that Republicans will no longer need to be focused on beating him — could lead to better conditions for deal-making. If Republicans are willing, Obama said, "I'm prepared to make a whole range of compromises" that could even rankle his own party. But he did not get specific. The 25-minute interview, conducted in the library of the White House residence, was part of a multi-faceted campaign by Obama's team to snag some of the spotlight during Romney's big week. Obama denied the notion, widely if quietly held in political circles, that the fiercely competitive president is also driven to beat Romney because he does not hold him in high regard. "I don't really know him well," Obama said. "The big arguments that I have with Governor Romney have to do with where we take this country forward."
R O M N E Y S T R E S S E S E C O N O M Y A S C O N V E N T I O N N E A R S TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mitt Romney pledged Saturday to help women entrepreneurs and innovators eager to create small businesses, in an economy-themed countdown to the Republican National Convention taking shape in a city bristling with security and bracing for a possible hurricane. "Women in this country are more likely to start businesses than men. Women need our help," said the Republican presidential challenger, eager to relegate recent controversy over abortion to the sidelines and make the nation's slow economic recovery the dominant issue of his convention week. The former Massachusetts governor campaigned with vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan in battleground Ohio as delegates arrived in Florida by the planeload and technicians worked on the conversion of a hockey arena along Tampa Bay into a red, white and bluethemed convention hall. Weather permitting, the convention opens Monday with quick ratification of a conservative platform expected, followed by Romney's nomination in a traditional roll call of the states timed for network evening news coverage. It ends Thursday with his acceptance speech, a prime-time appearance aides hope will propel him into a successful fall campaign and eventually, the White House. The polls made the race a close one, narrow advantage to Obama, as two weeks of back-to-back conventions approached. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on television ads, with hundreds of million more to come, almost all of it airing in a small group of battleground states expected to settle the election. The list included Florida as well as North Carolina, where the Democratic National Convention will be held in one week's time. After Romney's uneven run through the primary contests of winter and spring, the GOP convention was made to order for him from start to finish. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and other foes from the longago primaries weren't even a nuisance as the four-day event approached. But the same couldn't be said for Tropical Storm Isaac, lashing Haiti and Cuba as it churned menacingly through the Caribbean. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as the storm approached the Florida Keys, more than 400 miles from Tampa. Forecasters said it was on a track to head west of the convention city, but predicted strong winds and rain at a minimum on Monday as the delegates meet. "We are a hospitality state. We know how to take care of people and we want to ensure their safety," Scott said. Apart from weather concerns, a heavy security presence was already in evidence. Miles of fencing were designed to create a secure zone around a tract of land that included the convention hall, the hotel where Romney will stay and a nearby convention center where journal-
ists and others worked. Obama did his best to intrude on the Republican unity tableau. In an interview with The Associated Press, he accused Romney of holding "extreme positions" on economic and social issues, while pledging a willingness on his own part to agree to "a whole range of compromise" with Republicans if he is re-elected. He did not elaborate, but his pledge seemed designed to appeal to independents and other voters who say they are tired of seemingly perpetual campaign bickering and Washington gridlock. But Romney said Obama's entire campaign rested on his ability to persuade people to ignore his record and listen instead to his rhetoric. "It is not his words people have to listen to. It's his action and his record," he said in his appearance in Powell, Ohio. "And if they look at that, they'll take him out of the office and put people into the office who'll actually get America going again." Romney's speech included an appeal to women made on economic grounds rather than on the basis of social issues like abortion, the sort of approach the Republican hopes will eat into Obama's polling advantage among female voters.
"I want to make sure that we help entrepreneurs and innovators. I want to speak to the women of America who have dreams, who begin businesses in their homes, who begin businesses out in the marketplace, who are working at various enterprises and companies," he said. "... Our campaign is about making it easier for entrepreneurs, women and men, to start businesses, to grow businesses," Romney said. He said most jobs are created by small businesses rather than larger firms or corporations. Romney envisioned an economic resurgence fueled by abundant energy, expanded trade and a skilled workforce. If that happens, "America is going to surprise the world. We're going to stand out as a shining city on a hill in part because of our extraordinary economy," he said to the cheers of an estimated 5,000 supporters. Romney's determination to turn the campaign's attention to the economy follows two weeks of controversy over Medicare, courtesy of Obama's campaign, as well as abortion, the result of a comment by Rep. Todd Akin, the party's candidate in a Senate race in Missouri. Romney joined an unsuccessful effort by party leaders to force Akin to quit his race after he said women who are raped rarely become pregnant, a view unsupported by medical evidence. He also fought back hard in recent days in person and television advertising against Obama's allegations that he and running mate Ryan would remake Medicare in a way that would undermine the health of future seniors. Romney's objective appears to be to erode Obama's advantage among women voters and those who say Democrats are better equipped to handle Medicare, the giant health care program for seniors. In the AP interview, Obama said it was Romney's promises that represented the real threat to the economy and the pocketbooks of millions. "Mitt Romney is proposing a $5 trillion tax cut that disproportionately goes to the wealthiest Americans. And he will pay for that by gutting investments in things like education, infrastructure, basic science and research, voucherizing Medicare...." Inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, thousands of inflated red, white and blue balloons nestled in netting high above the arena floor, ready to be dropped in the traditional convention finale on Thursday night. Technicians tested the microphones installed for each delegation, who will sit at the foot of a vast, made-for-television podium. Teleprompters where Romney will be able to see his acceptance speech scroll by were loaded — with phrases from Abraham Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address, lest the words the Republican presidential contender will use to launch his fall campaign for the White House leak in advance.