WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST
Circulated Weekly In Florida
Volume 002 Issue 19
May 16, 2013
TOp IRS OFFICIAL DIDN'T REVEAL TEA pA RT Y TA R G E T I N G
O B A M A W A D E S B A C K I N TO T H E H E A LT H C A R E
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The IRS acting chief acknowledged Tuesday that the agency demonstrated "a lack of sensitivity" in its screenings of political groups seeking tax-exempt status, but he said those mistakes won't President Barack Obama gestures be repeated. during a joint news conference with
WASHINGTON (AP) -President Barack Obama is launching a new effort to rally the public around his hotly disputed health care law, a strategy aimed at shoring up key components of the sweeping federal overhaul and staving off yet another challenge from Republicans.
In his first public comment on the case, Steven Miller said there was "a shortcut taken in our processes" for determining which groups needed special screening.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, Monday, May 13, 2013, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The president Obama said during the news conference that the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups is "outrageous" and anyone involved needs to be "held fully a c c o u n t a b l e . "
Miller has emerged as a key figure in the controversy over the IRS' singling out of conservative groups for extra scrutiny. President Barack Obama said Monday that if the agency intentionally targeted such groups, "that's outrageous and there's no place for it."
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GLOBAL NETWORK OF HACKERS STEAL $ 4 5 M F R O M AT M S
Elvis Rafael Rodriguez, left, and Emir Yasser Yeje, pose with bundles of cash allegedly stolen using bogus magnetic swipe cards at cash machines throughout New York. Prosecutors in New York on Thursday, May 9, 2103 said that they are members of worldwide gang of criminals who stole $45 million in hours by hacking into a database of prepaid debit cards and draining cash machines around the globe
NEW YORK (AP) -- The sophistication of a global network of thieves who drained cash machines around the globe of an astonishing $45 million in mere hours sent ripples through the security world, not merely for the size of the operation and ease with which it was carried out, but also for the threat that more such thefts may be in store.
Seven people were arrested in the U.S., accused of operating the New York cell of what prosecutors said was a network that carried out thefts at ATMs in 27 countries from Canada to Russia. Law enforcement agencies from more than a dozen nations were involved in the investigation, U.S. prosecutors in New York said Thursday.
"Unfortunately these types of cybercrimes involving ATMs, where you've got a flash mob going out across the globe, are becoming more and more common," said Rose Romero, a former federal prosecutor and regional director for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "I expect there will be many more" of these types of crimes, she said. Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, who called the theft "a massive 21st-century bank heist," announced the case Thursday in New York. Here's how it worked: Hackers got into bank databases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and created access codes. Others loaded that data onto any plastic card with a magnetic stripe - an old hotel key card or an expired credit card worked fine as long as it carried the account data and correct access codes. A network of operatives then fanned out to rapidly withdraw money in multiple cities, authorities said. The cells would take a cut of the money, then launder it through expensive purchases or ship it wholesale to the global ringleaders. Lynch didn't say where they were located. It appears no individuals lost money. The thieves plundered funds held by the banks that back up prepaid credit
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Democrats nervous, including retiring Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the architects of the overhaul. He said last month that the health care law is heading for a "train wreck" because of a bumbling implementation. The president conceded last week that there would be "glitches and bumps" as the final phases of the health care law - formally the Affordable Health Care Act - are rolled out. But he said most people will be unaffected by the changes that are still
The president will specifically President Barack Obama tours Applied Materials target women and young people, Inc., with Rick Gesing, left, Mike Splinter, center, and Mary Humiston, right, during a visit to the facilities in groups that backed him over- Austin, Texas, Thursday, May 9, 2013 whelmingly during his presidential campaigns. During a Mother's Day-themed event at the White to come. House on Friday, Obama will promote the benefits of the law "For the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have for women, including free cancer screenings and contraceptives, and ask moms to urge their uninsured adult children to health insurance, this thing has already happened," Obama sign up for the health insurance "exchanges" that open this fall. said. "Their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before. Full stop. That's it. They The exchanges are the centerpiece of the landmark over- don't have to worry about anything else." haul of the nation's health insurance system. Three years after Many Republicans strongly disagree, saying the full it became law, the measure widely known as "Obamacare" impact of the law will ripple throughout the economy. House remains controversial, with GOP lawmakers resolving anew to overturn it and many Americans unsure how they'll be affected. Republicans announced this week that they planned to hold a vote on repealing the overhaul - the 37th time the House has White House advisers acknowledge they struggled in voted to repeal all of part of the law. The Democratic-controlled explaining the complex law to the public when it passed in Senate has ignored those votes each time. 2010. Now, with the final components being implemented, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged Obama allies see a fresh opportunity to sell the American peothat the move was largely political, noting that there were 70 ple on the merits of measures that will be central to the presinew members of the House this year who haven't had an dent's legacy. opportunity to register a vote against the health law. As for why "We're in the phase for the actual meat of the law to come Republicans are intent on repealing the law rather than trying online," said Neera Tanden of the Center for American to amend its pieces, Boehner said, "I don't believe there is a Progress, a liberal group aligned with the White House. "It's way to fix this and make it acceptable to the American people." important for the public to recognize that the law has tangible Administration officials insist it's bad politics for benefits to people so they feel comfortable enrolling." Republicans to keep pressing for repeal. They say the Beginning Oct. 1, consumers can enroll in coverage American people don't want to harp on old issues, and cite the through health insurance marketplaces called "exchanges" law's popularity among young people, blacks, Hispanics and established by the states or the federal government. Coverage women - all demographic groups the GOP has struggled to under the private plans begins Jan. 1, and nearly 30 million attract in recent elections. uninsured Americans are eventually expected to take part. "It just demonstrates again how out of touch with what the But in order to keep insurance premiums down, young, American people want the House Republicans have become," healthy people will have to join up in order to counteract the White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday. costs from seniors and others with health problems. In reality, a massive number of people are actually uninThe uncertainty surrounding the exchanges has many
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BANGLADESH WORKERS FIND S U RV I V O R I N FA C T O RY R U B B L E DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) -A seamstress buried in the wreckage of a collapsed garment factory building for 17 days was rescued Friday, a miraculous moment set against a scene of unimaginable horror, where the death toll shot past 1,000. Reshma survived, in remarkably good shape, by eating dried food that was in her area and drinking spare amounts of water with her. She was discovered on the second floor of the eight-story Rana Plaza building, where crews have been focused on recovering bodies, not rescuing survivors, for much of the past two weeks. "I heard voices of the rescue workers for the past several days. I kept hitting the wreckage with sticks and rods just to attract their attention," she told the private Somoy TV from her hospital bed as doctors and nurses milled about, giving her saline and checking her condition. "No one heard me. It was so bad for me. I never dreamed I'd see the daylight again," she said.
"There was some dried food around me. I ate the dried food for 15 days. The last two days I had nothing but water. I used to drink only a limited quantity of water to save it. I had some bottles of water around me," she said. Once Reshma finally got their attention, the crews ordered the cranes and bulldozers to immediately stop work and used handsaws and welding and drilling equipment to cut through the iron rod and debris still trapping her. They gave her water, oxygen and saline as they worked to free her. When Reshma was freed after 40 minutes, the crowd erupted in wild cheers. She was rushed to a military hospital in an ambulance, but her rescuers said she was in shockingly good condition, despite her ordeal. Abdur Razzak, a warrant officer with the military's engineering department who first spotted her in the wreckage, said she could even walk. "She was fine, no injuries. She was just trapped. The space was wide," said Lt. Col. Moyeen, an army official at the scene. Reshma told her rescuers there were no more survivors in her area. Workers began tearing through the nearby rubble anyway, hoping to find another person alive.
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S p I R E p E R M A N E N T LY I N S TA L L E D O N W T C T O W E R spire at night," he said. "It's supposed to be a very moving experience."
NEW YORK (AP) -- A tall, heavy spire was fully installed atop One World Trade Center on Friday, bringing the New York City structure to its symbolic height of 1,776 feet.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, said the LED-powered light would be activated in the next few months.
Loud applause and cries of joy erupted from construction workers assembled below as the huge, silver spire was gently lowered and secured into place. "It's a pretty awesome feeling," Juan Estevez said from a temporary platform on the roof of the tower where he and other workers watched the milestone.
Workers prepare to raise the silver spire atop the 1 World Trade Center building in New York early Friday May 10, 2013. The 408-foot spire will serve as a worldclass broadcast antenna. An LED-powered light emanating from it will be seen from miles away. When it is fully installed on the building’s roof, it will bring the iconic structure to its full, symbolic height of 1,776 feet.
"It's a culmination of a tremendous amount of team work ... rebuilding the New York City skyline once again," said Estevez, a project manager for Tishman Construction.
He said the workers around him were "utterly overjoyed."
The addition of the spire, and its raising of the building's height to 1,776 feet, makes One World Trade Center the tallest structure in the U.S. and thirdtallest in the world, although building experts dispute whether the spire is actually an antenna - a crucial distinction in measuring the building's height.
Installation of the 408-foot, 758-ton spire was completed after pieces of it had been transported to the roof of the building last week. It will serve as a world-class broadcast antenna and also as a beacon to ward off aircraft.
If it didn't have the spire, One World Trade Center would be shorter than the Willis Tower in Chicago, which stands at 1,451 feet and currently has the title of tallest building in the U.S., not including its own antennas.
The building is at the northwest corner of the site where the twin World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 72-story 4 World Trade Center is under construction at the southeast corner of the site.
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a Chicago-based organization considered an authority on such records, says an antenna is something simply added to the top of a tower that can be removed. By contrast, a spire is something that is part of the building's architectural design.
Lee Ielpi, whose firefighter son died after responding to the attacks, watched workers secure the spire from his office at the nearby 9/11 Tribute Center, which he co-founded.
The tower is slated to open for business in 2014.
"The building looks spectacular. ... I'm looking forward to the day when the cranes come down and they light the
Tenants include the magazine publisher Conde Nast, the government's General Services Administration and Vantone Holdings China Center, which will provide business space for international companies.
UK BUDGET AIRLINE TO TEST A S H C L O U D D E T E C T O R LONDON (AP) -- A U.K. budget airline will create an artificial volcanic ash cloud over Europe this summer to test ash detection technology. The experiment aims to avoid the kind of chaos that paralyzed air traffic during eruptions three years ago. Thursday's announcement was made by easyJet, which acquired a ton of ash collected in Iceland by scientists in the months after the 2010 eruptions for its test. Air travel was virtually suspended for days in Europe and millions of passengers were left stranded because of fears the ash cloud could disrupt plane engines and was too dangerous to fly through.
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"It's going to have a light that you can see from tens of miles away," said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler. "And that light will change colors and in the next few months we are going to be activating that light, and it will be a beacon of hope just like the Statue of Liberty."
To test the technology, an Airbus test plane will disperse a ton of the collected volcanic ash, dried to the consistency of fine talc, into the atmosphere to create an artificial ash cloud in August. A second Airbus fitted with the detection technology will attempt to detect and avoid the cloud at more than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters). Davies said the experiment will take place over a quiet area yet to be determined, likely in France, and the amount of ash to be dispersed will be "like a teaspoon into the ocean in terms of total amount." Relevant authorities and other airlines will be notified in advance.
EasyJet PLC said it is working with Airbus and Nicarnica Aviation, a Norwegian research company, on developing infrared technology fitted to planes that will feed images of an ash cloud to pilots and control operators on the ground. The U.K.-based carrier said the system, which works like a weather radar for ash, will enable pilots to see an ash cloud up to 100 kilometers (60 miles) ahead of the aircraft. The pilot can then make small adjustments to the plane's flight path to avoid it.
If the technology works, it will complement satellite images to give a more accurate image of volcanic ash clouds. That could open up airspace that would otherwise be closed and minimize disruption for travelers, easyJet said.
"There is currently no radar technology that can detect ash, and even in daylight the pilot can't see it," said Ian Davies, easyJet's engineering director. "The onboard technology will allow us to give a 3D picture of where the ash cloud is and where it is moving."
In 2010, European aviation authorities reacted to the April 14 eruption at Iceland's Eyjafjallajokul volcano by closing vast swaths of the continent's airspace for almost a week. More than 100,000 flights were grounded, stranding an estimated 10 million travelers worldwide.
"We know the (volcanic) activity in Iceland is going to be higher in the next 30, 40 years, and we know there are two volcanoes overdue for eruption," Davies said. "We have got to be more prepared."
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The Weekly News Digest, May 13, 2013
Y E M E N ' S L E A D E R W A R N S O F A L - Q A I D A E X p A N S I O N Two Finns and one Austrian kidnapped in Yemen in December were released Thursday, according to Finland's Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- The president of Yemen on Thursday warned that the al-Qaida branch in the country was expanding and using assassinations and abductions of foreigners as a way to challenge the central authority.
Hadi's comments about al-Qaida came on the same day that suspected al-Qaida militants killed an intelligence officer in southern Lahj province and a day after three Yemeni air force pilots were shot and killed near an air base in the south.
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued his warning during a closed session of the National Dialogue, which brings political, religious and other leaders together to decide on the country's political system before writing a constitution. The official SABA news agency said Hadi held an "exceptional" meeting, but offered few details on the president's remarks about security in the county. However, three people at the session agreed to relay his comments to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the meeting. They said Hadi told the participants that Yemen was at a crossroads, and pointed to a "very precarious" security situation in Yemen. One described Hadi's remarks as unusually frank. The National Dialogue is part of a transfer of power deal that led to the ouster of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh after a yearlong mass uprising. During the turmoil, militant groups affiliated with al-Qaida took advantage of the military's preoccupation with the political unrest and took control of large areas of territory in the country's south.
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According to the participants, Hadi said that although his government has been going after al-Qaida militants around the country, dealing them some setbacks, "the group is recuperating" and sleeper cells are waiting for the right time to carry out terrorist operations. One of the participants said Hadi told them that he was speaking "honestly" and that the security grip on the country was not as good as it should be. Hadi also told the gathering that al-Qaida was increasingly using modern technologies to facilitate communications and avoid being tracked.
At the congressional hearing, Rep. Kenny Marchant, RTexas, told Miller that some politically active tax-exempt groups in his district had complained about being harassed. Marchant did not explicitly ask if tea party groups were being targeted. But he did ask how applications were handled.
"CBS This Morning." The fact is this is the kind of investigation that has to be open and transparent to the American people."
"The mistakes we made were due to the absence of a sufficient process for working the increase in cases and a lack of sensitivity to the implications of some of the decisions that were made," Miller wrote.
Earlier, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., had raised concerns with the IRS about complaints that tea party groups were being harassed. Boustany specifically mentioned tea party groups in his inquiry.
Miller said the agency has implemented new procedures that will "ensure the mistakes won't be repeated."
But in a June 15, 2012, letter to Boustany, Miller said that when the IRS saw an increase in applications from groups that were involved in political activity, the agency "took steps to coordinate the handling of the case to ensure consistency."
Miller's op-ed, however, did not address why he did not inform Congress after he was briefed.
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Continued from page 1 formed about the provisions of the law. A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed more than 4 in 10 Americans didn't know the Affordable Health Care Act was still law or was being implemented. About half feel they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them. Under the law, virtually all Americans must carry health insurance starting next year, although most will just keep the coverage they now have through their jobs, Medicare or Medicaid.
He added that agents worked with tax law experts "to develop approaches and materials that could be helpful to the agents working the cases." Miller did not mention that in 2011, those materials included a list of words to watch for, such as "tea party" and "patriot." He also didn't disclose that in January 2012, the criteria for additional screening was updated to include references to the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by GOP Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, is holding a hearing on the issue Friday and Miller is scheduled to testify. The Senate Finance Committee announced Monday that it will join a growing list of congressional committees investigating the matter. The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see whether they were violating their tax-exempt status. In some cases, the IRS acknowledged, agents inappropriately asked for lists of donors. The agency blamed low-level employees in a Cincinnati office, saying no high-level officials were aware. When members of Congress repeatedly raised concerns with the IRS about complaints that tea party groups were being harassed last year, a deputy IRS commissioner took the lead in assuring lawmakers that the additional scrutiny was a legitimate part of the screening process. That deputy commissioner was Miller, who is now the acting head of the agency. Camp and other members of the Ways and Means Committee sent at least four inquiries to the IRS, starting in June 2011. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, sent three inquiries. And Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House oversight committee, sent at least one.
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Hadi and his supporters have accused Saleh, the former president of Yemen, of obstructing the current U.S.backed Yemeni government as it tries to reform and fight an active al-Qaida branch in the impoverished Arab nation. Since he took office, Hadi has tried to remove former regime loyalists over concerns that Saleh was using them to further destabilize the nation. Last month, Hadi removed Saleh's son and nephews from powerful security posts, a move hailed by his supporters as the most dramatic yet to sideline figures from the previous regime
Miller responded, "We did group those organizations together to ensure consistency, to ensure quality. We continue to work those cases," according to a transcript on the committee's website.
At least twice after the briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without disclosing that tea party groups had been targeted. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, but again did not mention the additional scrutiny - despite being asked about it.
In comments published by SABA, Hadi urged social groups to "denounce" the presence of terrorist groups in their areas, and report them to authorities.
Hadi said some political activities had been canceled in the south because of security concerns for those would be attending. He also said the government had told foreign missions to exercise caution while moving around Sanaa. Foreign missions already are required to get prior permission before traveling out of the capital.
In an opinion piece in Tuesday's editions of USA Today, Miller said conceded that the agency demonstrated "a lack of sensitivity to the implications of some of the decisions that were made." He said screening of advocacy groups is "factually complex, and it's challenging to separate out political issues from those involving education or social welfare."
On Monday, the IRS said Miller was first informed on May, 3, 2012, that applications for tax-exempt status by tea party groups were inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny. Congress, though, was not told tea party groups were being inappropriately targeted, even after Miller had been briefed on the matter.
The participants said Hadi blamed some of the powerful tribes and members of the military and security, apparently in reference to loyalists to his predecessor, a common complaint since he came to office in February last year.
"This was a targeting of the president's political enemies, effectively, and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn't discovered until afterwards," Issa said Tuesday on
None of the agency's responses to Congress acknowledged that conservative groups had ever been targeted, including a response to Hatch dated Sept. 11, 2012 - four months after Miller had been briefed. In several letters to members of Congress, Miller went into painstaking detail about how applications for tax-exempt status were screened. But he never mentioned that conservative groups were being targeted, even though people working under him knew as early as June 2011 that tea party groups were being targeted, according to an upcoming report by the agency's inspector general. The IRS issued a statement Monday saying that Miller had been briefed on May 3, 2012 "that some specific applications were improperly identified by name and sent to the (exempt organizations) centralized processing unit for further review." That was the unit in Cincinnati that handled the tea party applications. Miller became acting commissioner in November, after Commissioner Douglas Shulman completed his five-year term. Shulman had been appointed by President George W. Bush. On June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to a draft of the report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. At the meeting, Lerner was told that groups with "Tea Party," `'Patriot" or "9/12 Project" in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says. Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups "immediately." However, when Lerner responded to inquiries from the House oversight committee, she didn't mention the fact that tea party groups had ever been targeted. Her responses included 45-page letters in May 2012 to Issa and to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs a subcommittee. Lerner also met twice with staff from the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee to discuss the issue, in March and in May 2012, according to a timeline constructed by committee staff. She didn't mention at either meeting that conservative groups had been targeted, according to the timeline. On Monday, President Barack Obama said he first learned about the issue from news reports on Friday. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House counsel's office was alerted the week of April 22 that the inspector general was finishing a report concerning the IRS office in Cincinnati. But, he said, the counsel's office did not get the report and the president did not learn the focus until Friday. "If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous and there's no place for it," Obama said Monday at a press conference.
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Data From the Official Website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. www.flhsmv.gov
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M E TA L S I N G E R C H A R G E D W I T H S O L I C I T I N G W I F E ' S M U R D E R VISTA, Calif. (AP) -- Prosecutors say a heavy metal singer slipped an envelope containing $1,000 in cash to an undercover agent with detailed instructions on how to kill his estranged wife.
recently become obsessed with bodybuilding and had started acting dangerously distracted around his children, his wife said in divorce papers.
The disclosure came in a San Diego-area courtroom on Thursday after 32-year-old Tim Lambesis pleaded not guilty to solicitation of murder.
Tim Lambesis was charged late Wednesday with one felony count of solicitation of murder, San Diego County district attorney spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.
A judge set bail at $3 million. If convicted, Lambesis could face up to nine years in prison. A prosecutor said Lambesis met earlier this month with the agent, who posed as a hitman. Prosecutors say Lambesis gave the agent a photograph of his wife, her address, security gate code and dates he would be with his children to give him an alibi. Lambesis, lead singer of the band As I Lay Dying, was accused of meeting the agent after telling someone at his gym that he wanted his wife dead.
Tim Lambesis, the lead singer for the Metal band As I Lay Dying, is escorted by a San Diego sheriff deputy into Superior Court for his arraignment on charges he allegedly attempted to hire a hit man to kill his wife in Vista, Calif., Thursday, May 9, 2013. Lambesis was charged late Wednesday with one felony count of solicitation of murder, San Diego County district attorney spokeswoman Tanya Sierra said.
A defense attorney told reporters that it appears the singer was set up by the man at the gym.
soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back
The lead singer of heavy metal band As I Lay Dying, who is charged with plotting to kill his estranged wife, had
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"We are working carefully," he said. "If we get any ID card or mobile phone with them, we can still identify them. Our sincere effort is to at least hand over the bodies to the families."
"Reshma told me there were three others with her. They died. She did not see anybody else alive there," said Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy, the head of the local military units. "We will continue our search until a survivor or a dead body is there."
Brig. Gen. Azmal Kabir, a top official of the military's engineering section, said more than half of the estimated 7,000 tons of debris have been removed from the site but he did not know when the work would be finished.
The woman survived for more than two weeks in temperatures that touched the mid 90s (mid 30s Celsius). She scrounged for whatever food she could find, Suhrawardy said.
WRIGLEY TAKES NEW CAFFEINATED GUM OFF THE MARKET
Then, when the workers with bulldozers and cranes got close to the area where she was trapped, she took a steel pipe and began banging it to attract attention, Razzak said. The workers ran into the dark rubble, eventually getting flashlights, to free her, he said. Reshma's mother and her sister, Asma, rushed to the hospital to meet her. Hundreds of people who had been engaged in the grim job of removing decomposing bodies from the site raised their hands together in prayer for her survival. "Allah, you are the greatest, you can do anything. Please allow us all to rescue the survivor just found," said a man on a loudspeaker leading the supplicants. "We seek apology for our sins. Please pardon us, pardon the person found alive." Workers at the site had been clearing the rubble since the collapse April 24. More than 2,500 people were rescued in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. However, no survivors had been found in the wreckage since April 28, when Shahin Akter was found amid the wreckage. As workers tried to free her, a fire broke out and she died of smoke inhalation. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, called Reshma in the hospital, and the rescued woman began crying on the phone, Suhrawardy said. She told Hasina: "I am fine, please pray for me," he said. Hasina, whose government has come under criticism for its lax oversight over the powerful garment industry, was racing to the hospital by helicopter to meet her, and congratulated the rescuers, officials said. "This is an unbelievable feat," Hasina was quoted as saying by her assistant, Mahbubul Haque Shakil. The death toll from the disaster soared past 1,000 Friday, with officials confirming that 1,038 bodies had been recovered from the rubble of the fallen building, which had housed five garment factories employing thousands of workers. The disaster has raised alarm about the often deadly working conditions in Bangladesh's $20 billion garment industry, which provides clothing for major retailers around the globe. Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder, an army official overseeing the recovery work said the bodies being recovered were badly decomposed and identification was difficult.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Food and Drug Administration investigation into the safety of caffeine-added foods has prompted Wrigley to take its new caffeinated gum off the market for the time being. Wrigley said Wednesday that it will temporarily halt sales and marketing of Alert caffeinated gum after discussions with the FDA. President Casey Keller said the company made the move "out of respect" for the agency, which said it would investigate the health effects of added caffeine on children and adolescents just as Wrigley rolled out Alert late last month. A stick of the gum has an amount of caffeine equivalent to half a cup of coffee. "After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation's food supply," Keller said in a statement to The Associated Press. "There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products." Keller said the company has paused production and sales of the gum to give the agency time to regulate the caffeine-added products. Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner of foods, said Wrigley's decision to stop production for now "demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health." "We hope others in the food industry will exercise similar restraint," Taylor said. Food manufacturers have added caffeine to candy, nuts and other snack foods in recent years. Jelly Belly "Extreme Sport Beans," for example, have 50 milligrams of caffeine in each 100-calorie pack, while Arma Energy Snx markets trail mix, chips and other products that have caffeine. The companies say they are marketing the products to adults, but critics say that's not enough when the caffeine is added to items like candy that are attractive to children. Many of the energy foods are promoted with social media campaigns, another way they could be targeted to young people.
Lambesis' estranged wife, Meggan Lambesis, said in the court papers obtained by The Associated Press that her husband had fallen asleep while caring for the couple's three children near a pool and had begun spending endless hours at a gym. He had also begun to spend thousands of dollars on tattoos, she said in the papers filed last fall. Meggan Lambesis didn't express any concern in the documents for her own safety, however. Police say her husband tried to hire a hitman to kill her, but the person he approached was actually an undercover detective taking part in a sting operation set up following a tip to law enforcement last week. The 32-year-old frontman of the Grammy-nominated band was taken into custody Tuesday at a store in Oceanside. The musician's wife also said in court papers that Lambesis toured six months a year and had taken two last-minute trips in a month to see his then-girlfriend in Florida. She said he owned two "high-end" Harley Davidson motorcycles, dined out for almost every meal and lived in a spacious suite at his parents' $2 million home. She asked the court to order an expert to examine their music-related businesses and other assets. She submitted a tax return showing the couple grossed $233,000 in 2010 but did not specify an amount she was seeking for spousal support. The couple adopted the children - ages 4, 8 and 10 from Ethiopia, and Tim Lambesis continued to see them for about 10 hours a week when he was not on tour, even though the couple was no longer living together, according to court documents. Meggan Lambesis said in the court papers that he would ignore the children while texting or talking on the phone. The stay-at-home mom said the children need a stable parent to help them adjust to their new life. She said they would try private mediation to work out the children's custody and visitation issues. Tim Lambesis' comments about his Grammy-nominated band's latest album, "Awakened," indicate he may have been struggling. The singer, who has a degree in religious studies, is known for his growled vocals and philosophical lyrics, which he has said are written from his perspective as a Christian. The band's website says the album - released the same month his wife filed for divorce after eight years of marriage - is a "far darker, more pessimistic beast" than previous albums. "On this record, I wasn't purposefully trying to be negative, but I think sometimes we have to be honest with some of the darker and more difficult times of our lives to get back to that positivity," Lambesis is quoted as saying. A man who answered the phone at a number listed in the singer's name in Del Mar said the family was not commenting at this time, and Lambesis' attorney could not be reached for comment. As I Lay Dying formed in San Diego in 2000 and has released six albums, including 2007's "An Ocean Between Us," which reached No. 8 on Billboard's charts. A single from the album, "Nothing Left," was nominated for a Grammy for top metal performance. The band, which plays in an aggressive style that features metal guitar riffs at the furious pace of hardcore punk, was scheduled to tour the country this summer. Its record label, Metal Blade, said in a message posted to the band's fans that there are many unanswered questions. "We'll keep you informed as best we can," the message said. "Our thoughts right now are with Tim, his family, and with everyone else affected by this terrible situation."
_____________________________________________________The Weekly News Digest, May 13, 2013
C A L I F O R N I A E X C H A N G E G R A N T E D S E C R E C Y and other services; $400,000 for Pricewaterhouse Coopers for a four-month deal developing a small business program; and $327 million for a five-year deal with consulting giant Accenture to develop a web portal and enrollment system for those who will seek coverage.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A California law that created an agency to oversee national health care reforms granted it sweeping authority to conceal spending on the contractors that will perform most of its functions, creating a barrier from public disclosure that stands out nationwide. The degree of secrecy afforded Covered California appears unique among states attempting to establish their own health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama's signature health law.
Those contracts also are accessible on the agency's website, along with about two dozen requests for services the agency has published. But it's not clear how many contracts the agency has executed, for how much or with whom. Staff counsel Gabriel Ravel said in an email that the agency "exercised its discretion to waive this exemption" for the contracts it released to AP. However, "all other existing contracts are confidential and privileged," he wrote.
An Associated Press review of the 16 other states that have opted for state-run marketplaces shows the California agency was given powers that are the most restrictive in what information is required to be made public. In Massachusetts, the state that served as the model for Obama's health overhaul, its Health Connector program is specifically covered by open-records laws, rather than providing exemptions from them, as is the case for contracting in California. In Idaho, where its exchange was established as a private, nonprofit corporation, and in New Mexico, agencies specifically must comply with open-records laws. The Maryland Legislature subjected its exchange to the state's public information act, but protected some types of commercial and financial information. In California's case, the exclusions may run afoul of the state constitution, one legal expert said. Exchange spokesman Dana Howard said the agency complies with the law but declined to discuss in detail how it determines what is public and what is not. "I'm not going to go down item by item, about how it is and what kinds of meetings and what was talked about," he said. It's routine in government to keep bids secret until contracts are awarded, so one vendor does not get an unfair advantage over others. After a bid is awarded, contracts generally become fully public. In setting up the California exchange, lawmakers gave it the authority to keep all contracts private for a year and the amounts paid secret indefinitely. "Except for the portion of a contract that contains the rates of payment, contracts entered into pursuant to this title shall be open to inspection one year after their effective dates," reads the code specifying what exchange records are exempt from public disclosure. According to agency documents, Covered California plans to spend nearly $458 million on outside vendors by the end of 2014, covering lawyers, consultants, public relations advis-
HACKERS STEAL Continued from page 1 cards, not individual or business accounts, Lynch said. Ori Eisen, a cybercrime expert and founder of 41st Parameter, a fraud detection and prevention firm, said the $45 million heist was on the "high-end" of what can be done by cybercriminals who exploit banking systems connected to the Internet. "Given the scale of the global credit card networks, it is almost impossible to detect every kind of attack," he said. "This attack is not the last one, and if the modus operandi proves to be successful crooks will exploit it time and again." There were two separate attacks in this case, one in December that reaped $5 million worldwide and one in February that snared about $40 million in 10 hours with about 36,000 transactions. The scheme involved attacks on two banks, Rakbank in the United Arab Emirates and the Bank of Muscat in Oman, prosecutors said. Such ATM fraud schemes are not uncommon, but the $45 million stolen in this one was at least double the amount involved in previously known cases, said Avivah Litan, an analyst who covers security issues for Gartner Inc. Middle Eastern banks and payment processors are "a bit behind" on security and screening technologies that are supposed to prevent this kind of fraud, but it happens around the world, she said.
ers and other functions. Other exchange records that are allowed to be kept secret include those that reveal recommendations, research, strategy of the board or its staff, or those that provide instructions, advice or training to employees. Minutes of the board meetings also are exempt from disclosure. The indefinite ban on releasing rates of pay to companies and individuals receiving contracts also goes beyond exemptions for other state health programs, such as Healthy Families, which withholds rates of pay from disclosure for up to four years, but not permanently. If the Legislature wants to limit access, the state constitution requires that it produce findings that demonstrate the need for shielding information from the public. In the bill that authorized the exchange, the Legislature devoted two sentences to address that issue. It argued the cloaked spending was "necessary" to protect "powers and obligations to negotiate on behalf of the public." Those provisions are vulnerable to being declared unconstitutional, said Terry Francke, head of Californians Aware, a group that promotes government transparency. He said the Legislature simply made a statement in the law, with no details or evidence to support it. He said, in essence, lawmakers are saying they need it because they need it. The Legislature should have answered the questions, "Why couldn't the exchange do its job without this secrecy? What's the worst that could happen?" Francke said. In response to an AP public records request, the agency released information on a dozen competitively bid contracts issued since early 2011. They included $14 million for an 19month contract with Ogilvy Public Relations for marketing
The closeted spending was quietly authorized in a bundle of amendments added to the bill just days before it was passed by the Senate and Assembly during a blitz of activity in August 2010, when California was sprinting to become the first state to embrace the most extensive health care changes since Medicare. Legislative staffers who worked on the technical language in the bill discussed the possibility of limiting the scope of the records exemption but settled on making it comprehensive after concluding it was not practical to try to determine what should be left out. No public hearing was held on the provision because legislative leaders did not consider it substantive enough to send the bill back to committee for an airing, according to the office of Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles. Statements issued to the AP by his office said the bill met the constitutional test and "contains the relevant findings," while striking a practical balance between the need for confidential rate negotiations with medical plans and a board that meets in public and is covered by open-meetings law. "At the time of the drafting of the bill in 2010, this was a noncontroversial, technical provision modeled on the same exemption long provided to successful government health insurance programs, including the state's Healthy Families Program," one statement said. Perez's account that there was agreement on the confidentiality rules in the Senate Health Committee was disputed by former Sen. Sam Aanestad, a Republican on the panel who said he opposed those blanket privacy rules as well as the broader bill creating the exchange. "This is such an untested field, there has to be strict illumination and oversight from day one," said the retired oral surgeon. Empowering bureaucrats to make unilateral decisions on access to contracting records "bodes for disaster."
"It's a really easy way to turn digits into cash," Litan said.
Some of the fault lies with the ubiquitous magnetic strips on the back of the cards. The rest of the world has largely abandoned cards with magnetic strips in favor of ones with built-in chips that are nearly impossible to copy. But because U.S. banks and merchants have stuck to cards with magnetic strips, they are still accepted around the world.
Arrests began in March.
Lynch would not say who masterminded the attacks globally, who the hackers are or where they were located, citing an ongoing investigation. The New York suspects were U.S. citizens originally from the Dominican Republic who lived in the New York City suburb of Yonkers. They were mostly in their 20s. Lynch said they all knew one another and were recruited together, as were cells in other countries. They were charged with conspiracy and money laundering. If convicted, they each face 10 years in prison. The accused ringleader in the U.S. cell, Alberto Yusi LajudPena, was reportedly killed in the Dominican Republic late last month, prosecutors said. More investigations continue and other arrests have been made in other countries, but prosecutors did not have details. An indictment unsealed Thursday accused Lajud-Pena and the other seven New York suspects of withdrawing $2.8 million in cash from hacked accounts in less than a
Lajud-Pena was found dead with a suitcase full of about $100,000 in cash, and the investigation into his death is continuing separately. Dominican officials said they arrested a man in the killing who said it was a botched robbery, and two other suspects were on the lam. The first federal study of ATM fraud was 30 years ago, when the use of computers in the financial community was growing rapidly. At the time, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found nationwide ATM bank loss from fraud ranged from $70 and $100 million a year. By 2008, that had risen to about $1 billion a year, said Ken Pickering, who works in security intelligence at CORE Security, a white-hat hacking firm that offers security to businesses. He said he expects news of the latest ring to inspire other criminals. "Once you see a large attack like this, that they made off with $45 million, that's going to wake up the cybercrime community," he said. "Ripping off cash, you don't get that back," he said. "There are suitcases full of cash floating around now, and that's just gone."
h t t p : / / w w w. n a t u r e . o r g
The Weekly News Digest, May 13, 2013 ___________________________________________________________
W E A R A B L E R O B O T S G E T T I N G A N D LIGHTER, MORE p O R T A B L E lasting batteries, he said.
CHICAGO (AP) -- When Michael Gore stands, it's a triumph of science and engineering. Eleven years ago, Gore was paralyzed from the waist down in a workplace accident, yet he rises from his wheelchair to his full 6-foot-2-inches and walks across the room with help from a lightweight wearable robot.
Still, Jayaraman said, the devices might help prevent pressure sores from sitting too long in a wheelchair, improve heart health, develop muscle strength, lift depression and ultimately bring down medical costs by keeping healthier patients out of the hospital.
The technology has many nicknames. Besides "wearable robot," the inventions also are called "electronic legs" or "powered exoskeletons." This version, called Indego, is among several competing products being used and tested in U.S. rehab hospitals that hold promise not only for people such as Gore with spinal injuries, but also those recovering from strokes or afflicted with multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
Companies in Israel, New Zealand and California make competing devices, and all the products are becoming less bulky as they are refined. The Indego was invented at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and tested at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta. It's now licensed to Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin Corp., which makes precision engineered products like aircraft wheels and brakes.
Still at least a year away from the market, the 27-pound Indego is the lightest of the powered exoskeletons. It snaps together from pieces that fit into a backpack. The goal is for the user to be able to carry it on a wheelchair, put it together, strap it on and walk independently. None of the products, including the Indego, are yet approved by federal regulators for personal use, meaning they must be used under the supervision of a physical therapist. Gore, 42, of Whiteville, N.C., demonstrated the device this week at the American Spinal Injury Association meeting in Chicago, successfully negotiating a noisy, crowded hallway of medical professionals and people with spinal injuries in wheelchairs. When he leans forward, the device takes a first step. When he tilts from side to side, it walks. When Gore wants to stop, he leans back and the robotic leg braces come to a halt. Gore uses forearm crutches for balance. A battery in the hip piece powers the motors in the robotic legs. "Being able to speak with you eye-to-eye is just a big emotional boost," Gore said to a reporter. "Being able to walk up
S T U D Y: DOESN p R E HEART
FISH OIL 'T HELp V E N T AT TA C K S
Michael Gore, center, who is paralyzed from a spinal injury, walks with the use of the Indego wearable robot under the supervision of physical therapist Clare Hartigan during a meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association at a downtown hotel in Chicago. Eleven years ago, Gore was paralyzed from the waist down in a workplace accident, but with the aid of the 27-pound gadget that snaps together from pieces that fit into a backpack he stands and walks with the assistance of science and engineering. The device is among several competing products that hold promise for people with spinal injuries, like Gore, and for people with multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy or for those recovering from strokes
to you and say hello is not a big thing until you cannot do it." The devices won't replace wheelchairs, which are faster. None of the devices are speedy enough, for example, for a paralyzed person to walk across a street before the light changes, said Arun Jayaraman of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, who is testing a number of similar devices. "None of them have fall prevention technology," Jayaraman said. "If the person falls, they can hurt themselves badly. If you fall down, how do you get off a robot that is strapped into you?" They need to be even lighter and have longer-
Like many other research participants in clinical studies, Gore receives a stipend for his participation from Vanderbilt University. It's unclear exactly how much the devices will cost if they become available for personal use. Some technology news media reports have said $50,000 to $75,000. Indego's makers want to bring the cost below that, said co-inventor Ryan Farris of Parker Hannifin. Experts say it will take years of research to prove health benefits before Medicare and private insurance companies would consider covering the expense. Paul Tobin, president of the nonprofit advocacy group United Spinal, said wearable robots present an exciting opportunity but that patients should keep their expectations realistic. "It's going to be critical that people have a thorough medical evaluation before trying something like this, especially if they've been injured for some time," Tobin said. "It won't be appropriate for everyone. For some people, it will be a godsend."
"They're very high-risk people and so the level of other treatments was very high," Arnett said. "When you're being aggressively treated for all of your other risk factors, adding fish oil yielded no additional benefits."
"People who choose to eat more fish are more likely to eat heart healthier diets and engage in more physical activity," and studies testing the benefit of supplements may not be able to completely adjust for differences like these, said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the cardiovascular nutrition lab at Tufts University in Boston.
Results are published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. Makers of fish oil supplements helped pay for the study.
The results do show that people can't rely on a pill to make up for a bad diet, she said.
Eating fish is known to help protect against heart disease, and the Heart Association recommends it at least twice a week.
"It is sort of like breaking a fish oil capsule over a hot fudge sundae and expecting the effect of the calories and saturated fat to go away," she said
E L O N M U S K ' S S pA C E X S I G N S L E A S E A T N M S p A C E p O R T she said. Traditional rockets burn up on re-entry.
Eating fish is good for your heart but taking fish oil capsules does not help people at high risk of heart problems who are already taking medicines to prevent them, a large study in Italy found.
Officials said they were unsure how many jobs would be located in New Mexico. SpaceX employs more than 3,000 in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida, according to a news release.
The work makes clearer who does and does not benefit from taking supplements of omega-3 fatty acids, the good oils found in fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines. Previous studies have suggested that fish oil capsules could lower heart risks in people with heart failure or who have already suffered a heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends them only for people who have high levels of fats called triglycerides in their blood, says the group's president, Dr. Donna Arnett of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Fish oil capsules failed to prevent flare-ups of atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm problem, in a large study in 2010. The new study was led by the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan. It tested 1 gram a day of fish oil versus dummy capsules in 12,513 people throughout Italy. They had not suffered a heart attack but were at high risk of having one because of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity or other conditions. Most already were taking cholesterollowering statins, aspirin and other medicines to lower their chances of heart problems. Researchers at first planned to compare the rate of death, heart attacks and strokes in the two groups, but these were less frequent than anticipated. So they started measuring how long it was before people in either group suffered one of these fates or was hospitalized for heart-related reasons. After five years, the rate was the same - about 12 percent of each group had one of these
Richard Branson's space tourism company, Virgin Galactic LLC, is the anchor tenant at the spaceport.
the new Spaceport America hangar in Upham, N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez Tuesday May 7,2013 announced that Elon Musksâ€™ Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has signed a threeyear lease to do testing of its â€œGrasshopperâ€? reusable rocket in southern New Mexico, adding a second company at Spaceport.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Another space industry heavyweight has signed on to use New Mexico's Spaceport America - Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday. It agreed to a three-year lease to do testing of its "Grasshopper" reusable rocket in southern New Mexico. SpaceX is one of the leading developers of rockets and spacecraft and is one of the companies the $209 million taxpayer-built spaceport project has been trying to recruit. "We've done a lot of work to level the playing field so we can compete in the space industry," Martinez said in a statement. "This is just the first step in broadening the base out at the Spaceport and securing even more tenants. I'm proud to welcome SpaceX to New Mexico." Spaceport America Executive Director Christine Anderson said the Grasshopper project is moving from McGregor, Texas, to New Mexico because the rocket needs to be tested at higher altitudes. The reusable rocket could revolutionize the commercial space industry by greatly reducing costs,
Also on Tuesday, Virgin Galactic announced that it has hired two new pilots as the testing moves into the final stages for its spacecraft for taking tourists into space at $200,000 a head. Anderson called the dual announcements "great milestones" for the spaceport, which has struggled to attract other businesses. Earlier this year, lawmakers approved legislation to limit liability lawsuits for the industry in an effort to be more competitive. Virgin Galactic last year publicly expressed concerns about the state's inability to attract more businesses to the project and had hinted it could leave if lawmakers refused for a third year in a row to expand liability exemptions for the commercial space industry. Anderson said SpaceX will be paying $6,600 a month to lease a mobile mission control facility and will pay the state $25,000 per launch. Virgin Galactic started paying rent of $1 million a year this year. The rest of its fees are based on the number of flights and passengers it launches into space, although there are minimum flight payment requirements.
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