WEEKLY NEWS DIgEST
Circulated Weekly In Florida
Volume 002 Issue 41
FACEBO OK EmPLOY EE WALKS PAST A SIgN AT FACEBOOK hEADqUARTERS Facebook employee walks past a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook Inc. said Thursday Oct. 10, 2013, that it is removing a setting that controls whether users could be found when people type their name into the website's search bar.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook is getting rid of a privacy feature that let users limit who can find them on the social network. Facebook Inc. said Thursday that it is removing a setting that controls whether users could be found when people type their name into the website's search bar. Facebook says only a single-digit percentage of the nearly 1.2 billion people on its network were using the setting. The change comes as Facebook is building out its search feature, which people often use to find people they know - or want to know - on the site. Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, Calif., says users can protect their privacy by limiting the audience for each thing they post about themselves.
SCOTT CARPENTER, 2ND US ASTRONAUT IN ORBIT, DIES DENVER (AP) -- Scott Carpenter conquered the heights of space, the depths of the ocean, and the darkness of fear. And in doing so he became the second American to orbit the Earth, powered by not just a rocket but an insatiable curiosity. "Conquering of fear is one of life's greatest pleasures and it can be done a lot of different places," he said. His wife, Patty Barrett, said Carpenter died Thursday in a Denver hospice of complications from a September stroke. Carpenter, who lived in Vail, Colo., was 88. Carpenter followed John Glenn into orbit, and it was Carpenter who gave him the historic sendoff, "Godspeed John Glenn." The two were the last survivors of the famed original Mercury 7 astronauts from the "Right Stuff" days of the early 1960s. Glenn is the only one left alive. In his only flight, Carpenter missed his landing by 288 miles, leaving a nation on edge for an hour as it watched live and putting Carpenter on the outs with his NASA bosses. So Carpenter found a new place to explore: the ocean floor. He was the only person who was both an astronaut and an aquanaut, exploring the old ocean and what President John F. Kennedy called "the new ocean" - space. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Thursday that Carpenter "was in the vanguard of our space program - the pioneers who set the tone for our nation's pioneering efforts beyond Earth and accomplished so much for our nation. ... We will miss his passion, his talent and his lifelong commitment to exploration." Life was an adventure for Carpenter and he said it should be for others: "Every child has got to seek his own destiny. All I can say is that I have had a great time seeking my own." The launch into space was nerve-racking for the Navy pilot on the morning of May 24, 1962. "You're looking out at a totally black sky, seeing an altimeter reading of 90,000 feet and realize you are going straight up. And the thought crossed my mind: What am I doing?" Carpenter said 49 years later in a joint lecture with Glenn at the Smithsonian Institution. For Carpenter, the momentary fear was worth it, he said in 2011: "The view of Mother Earth and the weightlessness is an addictive combination of senses." For the veteran Navy officer, flying in space or diving to the ocean floor was more than a calling. In 1959, soon after being chosen one of NASA's pioneering seven astronauts, Carpenter wrote about his hopes, concluding: "This is something I would willingly give my life for." "Curiosity is a thread that goes through all of my activity," he told a NASA historian in 1999. "Satisfying curiosity ranks No. 2 in my book behind conquering a fear."
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Octoberr 14, 2013
BOEhNER OFFERINg OBAmA S h O R T- T E R m D E B T E X T E N S I O N said Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. Rep. Robert Pittinger, R-N.C., said the six-week extension would provide "an opportunity to bring the parties together."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Facing a fresh deadline, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans would vote to extend the government's ability to borrow money for six weeks - but only if President Barack Obama first agrees to fresh negotiations on spending cuts. Under the Republican plan, the partial government shutdown would continue.
Some conservatives still expressed reservations. "I'm not very enthusiastic about that," Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said of Boehner's plan. Under Boehner's offer, the House would also appoint negotiators to bargain with the Democratic-led Senate over a budget compromise. Those talks have been on hold for months, and the two chambers have deep differences over taxes and cuts in benefit programs.
Obama has insisted the debt ceiling must be raised - heading off the possibility of an unprecedented national default - and the shutdown ended, with no conditions.
"I would hope the president would House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters Earlier Thursday, Treasury Secretary look at this as an opportunity and a following a meeting with President Barack Obama at the good faith effort on our part to move White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. Jacob Lew warned the Senate Finance Committee that failure to renew the govhalfway, halfway to what he's demandernment's ability to borrow money "could be deeply damaging" to ed, in order to have these conversations begin," Boehner, R-Ohio, financial markets and threaten Americans' jobs and savings. It would told reporters after presenting the plan to rank-and-file GOP lawmakalso leave the government unsure of when it could make payments ers. ranging from food aid to Medicare reimbursements to doctors, he said. Boehner produced the proposal as the shutdown entered its 10th day. More ominously, the administration has warned that unless the "The United States should not be put in a position of making such federal debt ceiling is raised, the government will deplete its ability to perilous choices for our economy and our citizens," the secretary borrow money by next Thursday, an event officials have warned could said. "There is no way of knowing the irrevocable damage such an trigger a financial default that could wound the world economy as well approach would have on our economy and financial markets." as America's . After weeks of decline, financial market indexes shot higher in anticipation of a possible deal that could avert a default. Both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index were up more than 1 percent in midday trading. Boehner planned to present the offer to Obama later Thursday when he and other House GOP leaders were to meet with the president at the White House. A White House official said Obama would be willing to negotiate over the budget "once Republicans in Congress act to remove the threat of default and end this harmful government shutdown." Obama has steadfastly insisted that Congress reopen the government and extend the debt limit without conditions. His acceptance of the GOP proposal could mean a brief resolution to the fight over the debt limit and a continuation of the shutdown while negotiations proceed. Republicans have been demanding cuts in government programs, including Obama's 2010 health care law, and a bigger effort to cut long-term federal deficits as their price for reopening government and extending the debt limit. Obama has repeatedly noted recent improvement in the deficit figures. After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the 2013 shortfall is expected to register below $700 billion. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said the plan was for the House to approve the legislation Boehner described on Friday. "It gets us down the road a little bit so they can continue to talk,"
The game of Washington chicken over increasing the debt limit required so Treasury can borrow more money to pay the government's bills in full and on time - already has sent the stock market south, spiked the interest rate for one-month Treasury bills and prompted Fidelity Investments, the nation's largest manager of money market mutual funds, to sell federal debt that comes due around the time the nation could hit its borrowing limit. At the Finance committee hearing, Lew met a buzz saw of incredulity from Republicans, who said the bigger problem was the soaring costs of benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare and the long-term budget deficits the country faces. Many expressed doubt about Lew's description of the consequences of default. The senior Republican on the panel, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, accused the Obama administration of "an apparent effort to whip up uncertainty in the markets." And veteran Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, said, "I think this is 11th time I've been through this discussion about the sky is falling and the earth will erupt. Wyoming families aren't buying these arguments." Replied Lew, "After they run up their credit card, they don't get to ignore it." Lew also rejected GOP suggestions that in the event federal borrowing authority expires, the government could use the dwindling cash it has to make payments to debt holders and other high priority needs. He said federal payment systems are not designed to prioritize and said he didn't believe such an approach was technically possible.
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A P N E W S B R E A K : F E D S TO L E T S TAT E S PAY T O O P E N PA R K S WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration said Thursday it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed because of the government shutdown.
Bryce and Arches, which attract visitors from around the world. "The current federally mandated closure is decimating the bottom line of bed-and-breakfast business owners and operators in Torrey (Utah), outfitters at Bryce Canyon City and restaurant owners in Moab," Herbert wrote.
Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the government will consider offers to pay for park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks to the states.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Obama administration says it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed because of the government shutdown. Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said his state has resources that could be used to operate the parks if federal funding is not available. Governors of South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have made similar requests. October is a peak month for tourism in many parts of the West.
Herbert said in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama that the shutdown of national parks has been "devastating" to individuals and businesses that rely on park operations for their livelihood. Utah is home to five national parks, including Zion,
He estimated the economic impact of the federal government shutdown on Utah at about $100 million.
Blake Androff, a spokesman for Jewell, said the Interior Department will consider agreements with governors who "indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states."Decisions about which parks to reopen and for how long have not been made, Androff said. Figures compiled by a coalition of retired park service workers indicate that some 700,000 people a day would have been visiting the parks and that the surrounding areas are losing $76 million in visitor spending per day. The park service said it is losing $450,000 per day in revenue from entrance fees and other in-park expenditures, such as campground fees and boat rentals.
The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013
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FREEZE OF AID WhIPS UP ANTI-US SENTImENT CAIRO (AP) -- Washington's decision to withhold millions of dollars in mostly military aid to Egypt is fueling anti-U.S. sentiment and the perception that Washington supports Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist president the military ousted in a July coup.
good relations with maintain Washington, but will independently decide its domestic policies. It also said Egypt will work to secure its "vital needs" on national security, a thinly veiled threat that it would shop elsewhere for arms and military hardware.
That could boost the popularity of the military chief, Gen. AbdelFattah el-Sissi, whom the U.S. is trying to pressure to ensure a transition to democracy and ease the fierce crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
One official said the military was considering stripping U.S. warships of preferential treatment in transiting the Suez Canal or curbing use of Egypt's air space by U.S. military aircraft. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with the media.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, second left, stands with an Egyptian army official before laying a wreath at the tomb of late
The aid freeze could also President Anwar al-Sadat in Cairo. Washington’s decision to withembolden Morsi's supporters to hold millions of dollars in mostly military aid to Egypt fuels antiCairo has built close ties with intensify their campaign of street U.S. sentiment in the most populous Arab nation along with the protests in the belief that the mili- perception that Washington supports Morsi, the Islamist president Washington in the 34 years since tary-backed government is losing the military ousted in a July coup. Heightening those sentiments Egypt became the first Arab nation to the goodwill of its top foreign could boost the popularity of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, whom the sign a peace treaty with Israel. The backer. The protests, met by a U.S. is trying to pressure to ensure a transition to democracy. aid has long been seen as Washington's reward for Egypt's fierce response by security forces commitment to peace after it fought four wars against Israel between that has left hundreds dead, have kept the new government from 1948 and 1973. tackling Egypt's pressing problems after 2 1/2 years of turmoil. Still, Egypt's military-backed government is unlikely to abandon the road map it announced when Morsi was removed in a July 3 coup - to amend the nation's Islamist-tilted constitution and put the changes to a nationwide vote before the end of the year, and hold parliamentary and presidential ballots in early 2014. "Egypt is not so desperate that it needs to compromise on its political agenda," the U.S.-based global intelligence firm, Stratfor, wrote this week. "The United States will be the one to eventually readjust to the old reality of backing unpopular regimes that can preserve U.S. influence in the Nile River Valley."
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Warnings that Washington might cut off aid were met with a defiant response in the Egyptian media.
Miami, Florida 33130 "Let American aid go to hell," screamed the banner headline of Thursday's edition of Al-Tahrir, an independent daily that is a sworn critic of the Brotherhood and the United States.
SCOTT CARPENTER, Continued from page 1 Even before Carpenter ventured into space, he made history on Feb. 20, 1962, when he gave his Glenn sendoff. It was a spur of the moment phrase, Carpenter later said. "In those days, speed was magic because that's all that was required ... and nobody had gone that fast," Carpenter explained. "If you can get that speed, you're home-free, and it just occurred to me at the time that I hope you get your speed. Because once that happens, the flight's a success." Three months later, Carpenter was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and completed three orbits around Earth in his space capsule, the Aurora 7, which he named after the celestial event. It was just a coincidence, Carpenter said, that he grew up in Boulder, Colo., on the corner of Aurora Avenue and 7th Street. His four hours, 39 minutes and 32 seconds of weightlessness were "the nicest thing that ever happened to me," Carpenter told a NASA historian. "The zero-g sensation and the visual sensation of spaceflight are transcending experiences and I wish everybody could have them." His trip led to many discoveries about spacecraft navigation and space itself, such as that space offers almost no resistance, which he found out by trailing a balloon. Carpenter said astronauts in the Mercury program found most of their motivation in the space race with the Russians. When he completed his orbit of the Earth, he said he thought: "Hooray, we're tied with the Soviets," who had completed two manned orbits at that time. Things started to go wrong on re-entry. He was low on fuel and a key instrument that tells the pilot which way the capsule is pointing malfunctioned, forcing Carpenter to manually take over control of the landing. NASA's Mission Control then announced that he would overshoot his landing zone by more than 200 miles and, worse, they had lost contact with him. Talking to a suddenly solemn nation, CBS newsman Walter Cronkite said, "We may have ... lost an astronaut." Carpenter survived the landing that day. Always cool under pressure - his heart rate never went above 105 during the flight - he oriented himself by simply peering out the space capsule's window. The Navy found him in the Caribbean, floating in his life raft with his feet propped up. He offered up some of his space rations. Carpenter's perceived nonchalance didn't sit well some with NASA officials, particularly flight director Chris Kraft. The two feuded about it from then on. Kraft accused Carpenter of being distracted and behind schedule, as well as making poor decisions. He blamed Carpenter for the low fuel. On his website, Carpenter acknowledged that he didn't shut off a switch at the right time, doubling fuel loss. Still, in his 2003 memoir, Carpenter said, "I think the data shows that the machine failed." In the 1962 book "We Seven," written by the first seven astronauts, Carpenter wrote about his thoughts while waiting to be picked up after splashing down. "I sat for a long time just thinking about what I'd been through. I couldn't believe it had all happened. It had been a tremendous experience, and though I could not ever really share it with anyone, I looked forward to telling others as
Egyptian newspapers and television have for weeks taken a deeply hostile line toward the United States, portraying Washington as unhappy to see Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood lose power and lambasting it for allegedly meddling in Cairo's affairs. The U.S. announced it was freezing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, most of it meant for the armed forces, as a show of displeasure over Morsi's ouster and the subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist allies. Washington said the aid would be restored if "credible progress" was made toward setting up an inclusive, democratically elected government. In its announcement Wednesday, the U.S. State Department did not provide a dollar amount of what was being withheld, most of it linked to military aid, but officials in Washington said it included 10 Apache helicopters at a cost of more than $500 million, M1A1 tank kits and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The U.S. also is withholding $260 million in cash assistance to the government. The U.S. had already suspended the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets and canceled biennial U.S.-Egyptian military exercises. In Egypt's first official reaction, the Foreign Ministry said the U.S. move raised questions about Washington's commitment to supporting the Arab nation's security goals at a time when it is facing terrorist challenges. That was a reference to a burgeoning insurgency by Islamic militants, some with al-Qaida links, in the strategic Sinai Peninsula, as well as scattered attacks in other parts of the country. In its statement, the Foreign Ministry said Cairo was keen to much about it as I could. I had made mistakes and some things had gone wrong. But I hoped that other men could learn from my experiences. I felt that the flight was a success, and I was proud of that." One of 110 candidates to be the nation's first astronauts, Carpenter became an instant celebrity in 1959 when he was chosen. The Mercury 7 were Carpenter, Glenn, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Walter M. Schirra Jr., Alan B. Shepard Jr., and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton. Like his colleagues, Carpenter basked in lavish attention and public rewards, but it wasn't exactly easy. The astronauts were subjected to grueling medical tests - keeping their feet in cold water, rapid spinning and tumbling and
The Egyptian military may have gained the most from those close relations, using $1.3 billion annually to replace its aging Soviet-era arms and warplanes with high-tech American weapon systems, state of the art jet-fighters, Apache gunships and battlefield tanks. Over the years, thousands of Egyptian officers from all branches of the military traveled to the United States for training or to attend military schools. The biennial war games, codenamed "Bright Star," gave the two militaries large-scale human contact in a simulated battlefield and in 1991, Egyptian troops fought alongside the Americans as part of the U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. El-Sissi, a career infantry officer who attended the U.S. War Academy, has credited the United States for its huge role in modernizing the Egyptian military over the past three decades. In a three-part interview published this week in a Cairo daily, he said he appreciated the dilemma the Obama administration found itself in after Morsi's ouster, having to carefully navigate between respect for U.S. laws on aid to foreign nations where a democratically elected government is toppled and a reliable ally that has for decades safeguarded its interests in a volatile and strategic region. But the suspension is unlikely to push him to back down. The military-backed regime in Egypt enjoys the support of key Arab nations, including ones with deep pockets like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These allies have poured billions of dollars into Egypt's anemic coffers and are likely to continue to do so to win the common fight against Islamists. The 58-year-old el-Sissi, who has not ruled out a presidential run in elections due next year, stands to gain more popularity at home. In a country where anti-U.S. sentiment runs high, mostly over Washington's perceived bias in support of Israel, anyone seen to be standing up to the United States gains in popularity. Already el-Sissi is being widely compared to the late charismatic president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, whose socialist-leaning rule and tense relations with Washington earned him near divine status among Egyptians and fellow Arabs. In contrast, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's toppled autocratic leader, jealously protected and maintained close ties with the U.S. from the time he took office in 1981 and for the next 29 years. One goal of the revolution that toppled him was to end what many Egyptians see as Washington's undue influence over Cairo's policies under Mubarak. "The popular mood does not seem to care" about the aid suspension, said Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a prominent Egyptian scholar who has a dual-Egyptian-U.S. nationality. "As a matter of fact, most Egyptians who can speak out feel, `Just as well, we would like to end this Catholic marriage with the U.S.,'" he told Associated Press Television in an interview. open-ended psychological quizzes. He had to endure forces 16 times gravity in his tests, far more than in space, something he said he managed with "great difficulty." "It was the most exciting period of my life," he said. Carpenter never did go back in space, but his explorations continued. In 1965, he spent 30 days under the ocean off the coast of California as part of the Navy's SeaLab II program. "I wanted, No. 1, to learn about it (the ocean), but No. 2, I wanted to get rid of what was an unreasoned fear of the deep water," Carpenter told the
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The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013
2 8 Y E A R S I N P R I S O N F O R C O R R U P T E X - D E T R O I T m AY O R DETROIT (AP) -- Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced Thursday to 28 years in prison for corruption, after a series of scandals destroyed his political career and helped steer a crisis-laden city even deeper into trouble.
The sentence was a victory for prosecutors, who had recommended Kilpatrick serve at least 28 years in prison, while defense attorneys argued for no more than 15 years.
Kilpatrick, who served as mayor from 2002 until fall 2008, fattened his bank account by tens of thousands of dollars, traveled the country in private planes and even strong-armed his campaign fundraiser for stacks of cash hidden in her bra, according to evidence at trial.
"I want the city to heal. I want it to prosper. I want the city to be great again," Kilpatrick said in his remarks to the judge. "I want the city to have the same feeling it had in 2006 when the Super Bowl was here." Kilpatrick, a Democrat, quit office in 2008 in a different scandal that was extraordinary at the time but seems smaller compared with the sweeping federal probe that has led to the convictions of more than 30 people. Sexually explicit text messages revealed that Kilpatrick had lied during a trial to cover up an affair with his top aide, Christine Beatty, and to hide the reasons for demoting or firing police officers who suspected wrongdoing at city hall.
"I'm ready to go so the city can move on," Kilpatrick told the judge. "The people here are suffering, they're hurting. A great deal of that hurt I accept responsibility for." In March, Kilpatrick, 43, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. The government called it the "Kilpatrick enterprise," a years-long scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies. He was doomed by his own text messages, which revealed efforts to fix deals for a pal, Bobby Ferguson, an excavator who got millions of dollars in city work through the water department. Contractors said they were forced to take on Ferguson as a partner or risk losing lucrative deals. The government alleged that he in turn shared cash with Kilpatrick. Agents who pored over bank accounts and credit cards said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his salary during his time as mayor. Defense attorneys tried to portray the money as generous gifts from political supporters who opened their wallets for birthdays or holidays.
former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sits at his sentencing in Wayne County Circuit Court on an obstruction-of-justice conviction. Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption that turned city hall into a pay-to-play parlor.
The government said Kilpatrick also tapped a nonprofit fund, which was created to help distressed Detroit residents, to pay for yoga, camps for his kids, golf clubs and travel. "A man with the charisma and ability of Mr. Kilpatrick chose to use his talents on personal aggrandizement and enrichment when he had the potential to do so much for the city," Judge Nancy Edmunds said before imposing the sentence.
Detroit voters soon will elect a third mayor since Kilpatrick's departure, although the city is under the control of an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, for at least another year. Orr, with the blessing of Michigan's governor, took Detroit into bankruptcy in July, saying there was no other way to solve $18 billion in long-term debt. The case is pending. "Kilpatrick is not the main culprit of the city's historic bankruptcy, which is the result of larger social and economic forces at work for decades. But his corrupt administration exacerbated the crisis," prosecutors said in a court filing last week.
SOmE AT gUANTANAmO JAIL TOO SICK TO KEEP LOCKED UP
In August, lawyers for El-Sawah filed an emergency motion with a federal court in Washington asking a judge to order the military to provide what it calls "adequate" medical care, including additional tests for possible heart disease and a device to help him breathe because of a condition they say is preventing his brain from receiving enough oxygen.
charges, are emerging in a series of recently filed court motions that provide a rare glimpse into the health of an unusual prisoner, and a preview of arguments that may become more common as the Guantanamo Bay prison ages into a second decade with no prospects for closure in sight.
The government insists he is getting good care at Guantanamo and just needs to exercise more and eat less. "While (ElSawah) is currently in poor health, his life is not in imminent danger," lawyers for the Justice Department wrote in response.
He's not the only one of the 164 prisoners at Guantanamo who is seriously ill. Last week, a judge ordered the release of a schizophrenic Sudanese man who spent much of the past decade medicated in the prison psych ward. His lawyers argued he was so sick, with ailments that also included diabetes, that he couldn't possibly pose a threat and therefore the U.S. no longer had the authority to hold him. The judge's ruling came after the government withdrew its opposition to his release. This photo provided by the military lawyer of Guantanamo Bay detainee Tarek El-Sawah, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Deirdre G. Brou, shows El-Sawah in an undated family photo. El-Sawah is in terrible shape after 11 years as a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, a fact even the U.S. military does not dispute. During his time in captivity, the weight of the 55-year-old Egyptian has nearly doubled, reaching more than 420 pounds at one point, and his health has deteriorated as a result, both his lawyers and government officials concede
MIAMI (AP) -- Tarek El-Sawah is in terrible shape after 11 years as a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, a fact even the U.S. military does not dispute. During his time in captivity, the weight of the 55-year-old Egyptian has nearly doubled, reaching more than 420 pounds at one point, and his health has deteriorated as a result, both his lawyers and government officials concede. Lawyers for El-Sawah, and the doctors they have brought down to the U.S. base in Cuba to examine him, paint a dire picture - a morbidly obese man with diabetes and a range of other serious ailments. He is short of breath, barely able to walk 10 feet, unable to stay awake in meetings and faces the possibility of not making it out of prison alive.
There's also a Pakistani prisoner, Saifullah Paracha, with a heart condition serious enough that the government brought a surgical team and a mobile cardiac lab to the U.S. base in Cuba to treat him, at a cost of $400,000. He ultimately refused the treatment because he didn't trust military medical personnel.
"There are a whole slew of people with a whole slew of serious health problems," said Cori Crider, a lawyer for the British human rights group Reprieve who has been meeting with Guantanamo prisoners for years.
His lawyers hope to either to win a ruling either from the court or from a review board of government officials that the Pentagon announced Wednesday had begun re-evaluating case files to determine if any prisoners can be added to the list of those approved for release as part of the effort to close the prison. El-Sawah has received letters of recommendation from three former Guantanamo commanders, a rare, if unprecedented, string of endorsements.
Details about the condition of El-Sawah, who has admitted being an al-Qaida explosives trainer but is no longer facing
"They are an aging population and they are starting to show some signs of being an older group of people," Daniels said. naut operations for SeaLab III. He retired from the Navy in 1969, founded his company Sea Sciences Inc., worked closely with Cousteau and dove in most of the world's oceans, including under the ice in the Arctic.
NASA historian. Inspired by Jacques Cousteau, Carpenter worked with the Navy to bring some of NASA's training and technology to the sea floor. A broken arm kept him out of the first SeaLab, but he made the second in 1965. The 57-by-12foot habitat was lowered to a depth of 205 feet off San Diego. A bottlenose dolphin named Tuffy ferried supplies from the surface to the aquanauts below. "SeaLab was an apartment but it was very crowded. Ten men lived inside. We worked very hard. We slept very little," Carpenter recalled in a 1969 interview. Years later, he said he actually preferred his experience on the ocean floor to his time in space.
"When he first got to Guantanamo 11 years ago he was not obese," Gleason said. "And during those 11 years he was under the custody, control and medical supervision of the United States government." El-Sawah at one point faced charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. The government withdrew the charges and told his lawyers they had no plans to file new charges. He has reportedly cooperated with interrogators but his lawyers declined to comment when asked about it.
"We are very afraid that he is at a high risk of death, that he could die at any moment," said Marine Lt. Col. Sean Gleason, a military lawyer appointed to represent him.
Continued from page 2
El-Sawah, who is 5 feet, 10 inches, was around 215 pounds when he arrived at Guantanamo in May 2002 after his capture in Afghanistan. Photos from before his capture show a man with a bit of girth but not in apparently ill health. One of his lawyers, Mary Petras, says he was obese by the time she first met him in March 2006.
In addition, two prisoners have died from natural causes - one from a heart attack, the other from cancer. And several detainees have raised medical complaints related to their participation in a long-running hunger strike, which had dropped to 17 prisoners as of Monday from a peak of 106 in July.
U.S. officials say Guantanamo prisoners get excellent medical care, saying proudly that it's equivalent to what troops receive. There are more than 100 doctors, nurses and other professionals treating "a constellation" of illnesses, said Navy Capt. Daryl Daniels, a physician and the chief medical officer for the detention center. He says no one is in critical condition at the moment.
The judge hasn't ruled, but the request is secondary anyway. What El-Sawah and his lawyers want is the U.S. to release him, preferably back home to Egypt, in part because his health is too poor for him to pose any threat. "It boggles the mind that they are putting up a fight on releasing him," Gleason said.
When the 77-year-old Glenn returned to orbit in 1998 aboard space shuttle Discovery, Carpenter radioed: "Good luck, have a safe flight and ... once again, Godspeed, John Glenn." Malcolm Scott Carpenter was born May 1, 1925, in Boulder, Colo. (He hated his first name and didn't use it). He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother became ill with tuberculosis.
"In the overall scheme of things, it's the underdog in terms of funding and public interest," he said. "They're both very important explorations. One is much more glorious than the other. Both have tremendous potential."
He attended the University of Colorado for one semester, joined the Navy during World War II, and returned to school but didn't graduate because he flunked out of a class on heat transfer his senior year. The school eventually awarded him a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering in 1962 after he orbited the Earth. He rejoined the Navy in 1949 and was a fighter and test pilot in the Pacific and served as intelligence officer.
After another stint at NASA in the mid-1960s, helping develop the Apollo lunar lander, Carpenter returned to the SeaLab program as director of aqua-
He married four times and had eight children, including two that died before him. A daughter helped him write his memoir, "For Spacious Skies: The
In one letter, retired Army Maj. Gen. Jay Hood called him a unique prisoner who was "unlike the violent Islamic extremists who formed much of the population at Guantanamo." Another, Rear Adm. David Thomas, noted his "restricted mobility due to obesity and other health issues" in recommending his release. Most striking is a letter from an official whose name and job title are redacted for security reasons. He spent several hours a week with the prisoner over 18 months at Guantanamo and says El-Sawah has been "friendly and cooperative" with U.S. personnel. "Frankly, I felt Tarek was a good man on the other side who, in a different world, different time, different place, could easily be accepted as a friend or neighbor." Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut." He also wrote two novels: "The Steel Albatross" and "Deep Flight." In addition to his children, he is survived by his wife, Patty Barrett. A public funeral and memorial are planned for later this month in Boulder, Barrett said. She didn't have further details. Carpenter earned numerous awards and honorary degrees. Carpenter said that he joined the Mercury program for many reasons: "One of them, quite frankly, is that it is a chance for immortality. Most men never have a chance for immortality."
4 The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013
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
Lighing Conditions at the Time of Crash
Lighting Conditions Daylight
Vehicle and/or Prperty Damage only Crashes
Road Surface Conditions at the Time of Crash
Vehicle and/or Prperty Damage only Crashes
______________________________________ The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013
E X - C O P B Y S T A N D E R S
W A V E D O F F B E F O R E S h O O T I N g "We feel it's a reasonable conclusion he acted alone," Hambrick said.
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- The ex-police officer who opened fire on a federal courthouse in West Virginia was a trained shooter who knew how to kill, yet federal officials said Thursday that he waved people away moments before he started spraying bullets into the glass facade and was later shot dead by law enforcement.
Hambrick declined to answer dozens of questions from reporters and suggested there may not be much more information to share until sometime next week. "We owe it to the investigation to do it in a sterile environment," he said. "We're not going to put evidence out there piecemeal."
Neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would discuss the motive for 55year-old Thomas J. Piccard's assault. But two possible theories emerged as investigators gathered evidence and neighbors revealed that Piccard had recently told them he was dying of cancer.
The courthouse was technically open Thursday, but security was tight and traffic was light. Workers moved extra metal detectors in and one judge held court, but U.S. marshals would let no one beyond the lobby without an appointment.
U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said the building being the target and other evidence he wouldn't specify indicates Piccard "had an anti-government bias."
Ihlenfeld said he hopes the building will be operating as usual by sometime next week.
However, he said, Piccard did not appear to target either individuals or a particular office in the federal building just a few blocks from the Wheeling Police Department where he once worked. Nor was Piccard the target of any active federal investigation. But acquaintance Mahlon Shields said the thin, sickly looking man who lived across the street had recently told several people in the Presidential Estates trailer park in Bridgeport, Ohio, that he was dying of stomach cancer and planned to spend his final days in Florida. "I don't think he wanted to hurt people. I think he was afraid to commit suicide," said Shields, whose community is about 5 miles from the courthouse, just across the Ohio River. "I believe it was suicide by cop." An autopsy will be done as part of the investigation, FBI special supervisory agent John Hambrick said, but he wouldn't confirm whether Piccard was sick. When asked if there was anything about Piccard's behavior to suggest he might have wanted an officer to shoot him, Hambrick said only, "The possibilities, I'm sure, are numerous. I'm not prepared or qualified to answer that question." Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie said police told him that Piccard had left the force in 2000 after serving more than 10 years. McKenzie said he didn't know the circumstances behind Piccard's departure, but that he didn't have enough service to qualify for retirement.
This undated photo provided by the FBI shows Thomas J. Piccard, the expolice officer who opened fire on a federal courthouse in West Virginia on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Piccard, 55, was a trained shooter who knew how to kill, yet federal officials said Thursday that he waved people away moments before he started spraying bullets into the glass facade and was later shot dead by law enforcement.
Ihlenfeld said he knew Piccard from 1997 until the officer left the force. He said he had no reason to believe his office was targeted. About 40 percent of his staff has been furloughed under the partial government shutdown, so many weren't working when the glass began to shatter. "There was nothing about my relation with him or anything that I observed in dealing with him ... to cause me to think anything like this would happen," he said.
with a rifle and a handgun, but authorities refused to identify the weapons by model or caliber. Hambrick said only that the rifle "easily could be characterized as an assault rifle."
In the neighborhood where Piccard lived, people wandered past his white and maroon trailer, one panel of metal siding ripped out and tossed aside as broken glass glittered in the grass.
Nor would they say how much ammunition Piccard carried as he stood in a parking lot across Chapline Street and fired as many as two dozen shots, reloading at least once.
Authorities won't say what prompted them to evacuate the community Wednesday night, but the experience left Lori LeMasters jittery.
Schwertfeger did not say whether Piccard used both weapons during the assault or identify which law enforcement officer returned fatal fire. But he said that officer is being closely looked after, and that all of those involved in the shooting will get counseling.
" I was shaking," she said. "There could have been a bomb in there. It could have gone off while we was here." LeMasters had cut Piccard's grass over the past two summers and got paid $10 each time because he didn't have a lawnmower. He wasn't talkative, she said, but he was friendly.
Hambrick said officials convened the Thursday afternoon news conference mainly to assure the public there is no evidence of a conspiracy and no continuing threat to the community.
"It's kind of scary. You just don't know what to think anymore," she said. "What's going on in this world?"
A N X I E T Y A S S T I m U L U S h I K E IN FOOD STAmPS SET TO END
"Food stamps do not support a diabetic diet; doesn't even come close," she said. "I'm supposed to eat a lot of vegetables, some fruit, some carbs. Six ounces of meat per day isn't a lot. I don't have a big freezer. There are times I'm eating the same thing for a week."
Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said Piccard was armed Wednesday
Morgantown, W.Va., with what little cash she had, the end of September still three days away. Her food stamps had run out because of a previous cut from $500 to $61 a month that came about when the father of her 12year-old son died, giving the boy survivor benefits that changed the family's income level. With two disabled sons, 12 and 16, each with different dietary requirements, she can barely imagine how she'll absorb another cut. So, she'll visit food pantries, clip coupons and shop at the least expensive stores she can find. She also explains her situation to manufacturers, who send coupons. "I'm a mom who does outside-of-the-box things," she said, adding, "I have to feed my boys."
This Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 photo shows Jennifer Donald, whose family receives money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as food stamps, looks at her son's Donovan, 4, drawing as his brother David, 6, left, does his home work and daughter Jayla, 10, helps prepare dinner in Philadelphia. Families already buffeted by difficult economic times will see their food stamps benefits drop Nov. 1 as money allocated by the 2009 federal stimulus plan runs out. The average family of four will see benefits drop by $36 a month, a tough hit at a time when child poverty is climbing and Congress is debating a major cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A temporary increase in food stamps expires Oct. 31, meaning for millions of Americans, the benefits that help put food on the table won't stretch as far as they have for the past four years. Food stamps - actually the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - go to 47 million Americans a month, almost half of them children and teenagers. "Every week is a struggle as it is," said Heidi Leno, 43, who lives in Concord with her husband, 9-year-old daughter and twin 5-year-olds. "We hate living paycheck to paycheck and you have to decide what gets paid." Starting in 2009, the federal stimulus pumped $45.2 billion into SNAP, increasing what would have been a monthly benefit of $588 a month to $668 for an average household of four. In November, that same family will start getting $632 a month, about a 5 percent cut.
The monthly benefits, which go to 1 in 7 Americans, fluctuate based factors including food prices, income and inflation.
Families and providers worry the expiration of the stimulus bump comes at a particularly bad time: - Though census figures from September show poverty remains stuck at around 22 percent, in some states, including New Hampshire, the number of children living in poverty is climbing. - The House voted to cut almost $4 billion a year from the roughly $80 billion-a-year program in an effort to find savings in the budget. A Senate bill would cut around $400 million a year. - In cold weather states, even a slight decrease in the benefit can trigger a decision between heating and eating. Heating fuel prices are expected to increase this year, too, the government warned this week. And the program could face another shortfall if the government is shuttered past Nov. 1. Danielle Walker, 37, was shopping at a discount Aldi store in
But the stimulus was never intended to be a permanent source of money, former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said. He opposed the stimulus, calling it at the time "a great deal of money not well spent." "All stimulus funding was to be temporary," Gregg, now the CEO of a banking industry group, said Wednesday. John Cochrane, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, also opposed the stimulus, saying it advanced the false assumption that "completely wasted federal spending helps the economy." He said worries about people who need help were a legitimate concern but that food stamps create a disincentive to move to find a better job because recipients are worried they'll lose the benefit.
gLOBAL PC ShIPmENTS FALL FOR 6Th qUARTER IN ROW Worldwide shipments of personal computers fell in the third quarter of the year, the sixth straight quarter of decline as cheaper tablet computers and smartphones cut into demand, according to market research firms IDC and Gartner Inc. IDC said the market fell nearly 8 percent, to 81.6 million units, while Gartner put the decline at almost 9 percent, to 80.3 million. The two firms define PCs slightly differently. IDC expects that the PC market will hit bottom sometime next year, with a recovery starting in 2015 as companies and consumers finally replace aging PCs. Gartner says this year will be the worst, with flat shipments next year and single-digit percentage growth in 2015. "There's sort of a rubber band effect where PCs that need to be replaced will be," said IDC senior analyst Jay Chou. Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said that in developed countries, consumers won't abandon PCs, though they are holding onto them longer and spending money on other gadgets before replacing them. "The overall market size will shrink, but at some point those old PCs will be replaced by new ones," she said.
"At some point," he said, "you have to be a little bit heartless." One recipient, Jennifer Donald, a 31-year-old mother of three in Philadelphia, said she counts on the family's $460 monthly benefit to put food on the table. Her husband has a job sanitizing machines at meatpacking plants but it doesn't pay enough. She'll have to reduce the quality of the food she buys to stretch the benefits, then turn to food pantries once the money runs out. "I was mad and devastated and a little bit confused because we need our benefits," Donald said in an interview at her row house, where she was preparing ground-beef tacos, a family favorite, while her 10-yearold daughter and two sons, 6 and 4, played and did homework. "This is the way we eat right now. Live a day in our life before you can cut our benefits." In Concord, the New Hampshire Food Bank has seen demand grow steadily, even as donations have fallen. The bank distributed 8.5 million pounds of food last year, compared with 4.5 million pounds at the start of the recession in 2007. Executive Director Mel Gosselin said the added pressure from expiration of the supplement will hurt. "That's going to mean more reliance on emergency food systems that are already stretched to the max," she said during a tour of the bank's 60,000-square-foot warehouse. Three racks stretched to the ceiling but many shelves were bare as workers scooted around on pallet lifts loaded with food. In Lansing, Mich., 55-year-old Cindy Aldrich is a diabetic with a number of health problems and special diet. Any cut in her $200-a-month food allowance "just scares me," Aldrich said. "When they cut my food stamps, they cut my pride in being a human being," she said. "I go without a lot. Now I'll go without more."
The U.S. market emerged as a bright spot in both reports. IDC said the U.S. market was almost unchanged, while Gartner said it rose 3.5 percent. Gartner credited low supplies and Intel's new low-power Haswell line of chips with helping boost demand. IDC said falling prices of touch-screen laptops also helped. The outlook for a stabilizing PC market was mirrored by Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's No. 2 PC maker behind Lenovo. In a presentation before analysts Wednesday, the company predicted "stabilizing revenue declines" for its upcoming fiscal year, which starts in November.
DEBT EXTENSION Continued from page 1 "I think prioritization is just a default by another name," Lew said. He also fended off attempts by the top Republican on the committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, and other GOP senators to learn how long a debt limit extension the president would like to see. "Our view is this economy would benefit from more certainty and less brinksmanship. So the longer the period of time is, the better for the economy," said Lew, who also repeated Obama's willingness to accept a short-term extension for now. The frustrating standoff in Washington is weighing down each side's poll numbers, but Republicans are taking the worst drubbing. A Gallup poll put the approval rating for the Republican Party at a record-low 28 percent. Polls have consistently said the Republicans deserve the greater share of blame for the shutdown.
6 The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013________________________________________________________
g L O B A L F I N A N C E O F F I C I A L S W A T C h I N g U S D E B T T A L K S WASHINGTON (AP) -- The threat posed by the U.S. debt standoff is sure to be a prime topic of discussion when finance officials from major nations gather for their latest stock-taking of the global economy.
appeared to make little progress on Thursday. Lew repeated a warning that he will have exhausted all the extraordinary measures that have allowed the government to keep borrowing by Oct. 17.
Finance ministers and central bank officials from the Group of 20 nations are in Washington ahead of weekend meetings of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organization, the World Bank.
Lew said that just the prospect of a default had already caused interest rates to rise and he warned of worse consequences to come such as possibly missing payments of Social Security benefits and pay for active duty military troops.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will represent the United States at the discussions. Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen will also participate in some of the meetings over the weekend. The sessions will be something of a farewell appearance for Bernanke, who will be attending his last G-20 session, and a coming-out for Yellen, who was tapped this week by President Barack Obama to succeed Bernanke as head of the Fed. The G-20 session is scheduled to wrap up in early afternoon Friday with a news conference by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Russia is chairing the G-20 this year. The G20 represents around 85 percent of the global economy. It includes established industrial nations such as the United States, Germany and France and rapidly growing emerging market economies such as China, Brazil and India. The finance officials are meeting at a time when growth in emerging market economies has cooled and some of them have struggled to contain the fall-out from worries over rising interest rates if the Federal Reserve begins trimming its bond purchases. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Thursday warned that a failure by the United States to increase its borrowing limit could do deep damage to both the American and global economies. Lagarde told reporters at a news conference that the U.S. needs to put its fiscal house in order, referring to the current budget deadlock in Congress that has forced a partial shut-
People walk in the rain outside International Monetary Fund (IMF) building in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, as the meetings of the IMF and World Bank started. In the run-up to meetings of the IMF, World Bank and the Group of 20 major economies, global financial leaders have been sounding loud warnings about the possibility of a US debt default as well as potential damage from the partial government shutdown if it continues.
down of the government and the impending deadline to raise the country's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. "Obviously, we know, and you know by now, that failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause not only serious damage to the U.S. economy but also to the global economy as a result of the spillover effects," Lagarde said. "It is not helping the U.S. economy to have this uncertainty and this protracted way of dealing with fiscal issues and debt issues." Lew delivered a similar message in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, pointing to a Treasury report that detailed the "potentially catastrophic impacts" if the United States ends up failing to raise the debt limit and the government defaulted on debt. The Treasury report said that such an event, which has never happened, could result in a significant loss in the value of the dollar, markedly higher U.S. interest rates and negative spillover effects on the global economy. As the finance officials met, members of Congress and President Barack Obama searched for a solution but
h E A LT h E X C h A N g E R O L L O U T g E T S P O O R R E V I E W S Glen, Va., said he managed to create an online account and password before he got stuck.
Finance officials from other nations were keeping a close eye on developments in Congress. Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said the failure to reach an agreement was adding to economic uncertainty. "It is a source of uncertainty now while we are not short of sources of uncertainty in the global economy," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "So I think that we should try to close the issue as soon as possible." Other finance officials expressed worries about future moves of the Federal Reserve to begin slowing economic support the U.S. central bank has provided by buying $85 billion per month in bonds to put downward pressure on interest rates. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram of India said that the signals sent by the Fed in June that it could before the end of the year start to reduce the bond purchases had caught other nations by surprise. Many emerging markets had benefited from a surge in foreign capital as investors searched for higher returns in the face of ultra-low U.S. interest rates. But with the Fed's signals, that money began flowing out, destabilizing foreign markets and forcing some nations to defend their own currencies through such measures as raising interest rates. Chidambaram said that the Fed's decision in September to delay for a time any reductions would give international markets time to factor in the eventual tapering of the bond purchases. He said he expected the Fed to begin trimming its bond purchases in December or January, which he said would give India time to prepare through reforms and building its own currency reserves.
Americans checking out HealthCare.gov during the first few days is a good testament to the interest of Americans in new affordable health options."
"It kept telling me there was an error," he said. Reynol Rodriguez, a computer technician from San Antonio, said he was able to do some comparison shopping online but computer glitches kept him from signing up. "I was very much looking forward to it," said Rodriguez, 51. "That's what this country needs - affordable health care."
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The debut of the government's health insurance marketplaces drew a huge audience - and underwhelming reviews. Just 7 percent of Americans say the rollout of the health exchanges has gone extremely well or very well, according to an AP-GfK poll. The reaction was somewhat better among supporters of the new health care law, but still middling: 19 percent said the rollout went extremely well or very well. Among the uninsured - a key audience for the health exchanges - 42 percent said they didn't know enough to judge how well the rollout had gone, suggesting an ongoing lack of awareness about the program in its early days. Despite the bumpy rollout, plenty of Americans are giving the system a try. Seven percent of Americans reported that somebody in their household has tried to sign up for insurance through the health care exchanges, according to the poll. While that's a small percentage, it could represent more than 20 million people. Three-fourths of those who tried to sign up reported problems, though, and that's reflected in the poor reviews. George Spinner, 60, a retired government worker from Ruther
Sponcor A Child
Count Janice Brown, a semiretired travel agent from Prather, Calif., among those who had a positive experience. After some initial trouble on the website, she got through to a help line and downloaded an application to buy a plan for $1,500 a month for herself and her husband. That's $1,000 less than her current private plan. "I'm thrilled," said Brown, 61. "The coverage is better. It's fantastic." Among those who've actually tested out the system, only about 1 in 10 succeeded in buying health insurance, the poll found. A quarter of those who tried to buy coverage weren't sure whether they'd succeeded. Overall, 40 percent of Americans said the launch of the insurance markets hasn't gone well, 20 percent said it's gone somewhat well and 30 percent didn't know what to say. Just 7 percent said the launch had gone "very well" or "somewhat well." Even among those who support the president's health care overhaul law, just 19 percent think the rollout has gone extremely well or very well. Forty percent say it's gone somewhat well, and 18 percent think not too well or not well at all. The survey offers an early snapshot on use of the new health insurance exchanges set up by states and the federal government under Obama's Affordable Care Act. Thirty-six states are using the federal government's site, HealthCare.gov, which the Obama administration says has had millions of unique visitors. The administration has declined to release enrollment statistics, saying that will be done monthly.
They were intended to be a 21st century portal to coverage for people who do not have access to health insurance on the job. And that includes insured people as well as the uninsured. There are three big groups of potential customers for the markets: uninsured middle-class people who now will be able to get government-subsidized private coverage; people who currently purchase their own individual policies and are looking for better deals; and low-income people who will be steered by the marketplace to an expanded version of Medicaid in states that agree to expand that safety net program. The Census Bureau has estimated that about 48 million Americans lacked coverage in 2012, or more than 15 percent of the population. Starting next year, the law requires virtually all Americans to have insurance or face a tax penalty after a coverage gap of three months. Opinions are sharply divided on the overall framework of the law: 28 percent of Americans support it, 38 percent are opposed, and 32 percent don't have an opinion either way, the poll found. When asked specifically whether the government should be able to require all Americans to buy insurance or face a fine, only about 3 in 10 Americans agreed, and 68 percent were opposed. The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7 using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel. It involved online interviews with 1,227 adults. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents. For results among the 76 respondents who attempted to use health insurance markets, the margin of error is plus or minus 13.5 percentage points.
White House senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness said the administration is working around the clock "to improve the consumer experience," and she stressed that the poll was taken just six days into a campaign over the coming months to educate people about their options.
Hopr for Today...Hope for Tommarow
Rodriguez pledged to keep trying - just what President Barack Obama has been recommending to those who've run into trouble.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that about 7 million uninsured people will gain coverage through the online insurance marketplaces next year, but the role of the markets is actually much bigger than that.
She added, "The overwhelming attention from millions of
_____________________________________________________The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013
N E W R E P O R T S AY S S Y R I A N R E B E L S C O m m I T T E D WA R C R I m E S The rebels seized more than 200 civilians from the Alawite villages, most of them women and children, and demanded to trade the hostages for prisoners held by the regime.
BEIRUT (AP) -- Jihadi-led rebel fighters in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and abducted more than 200 during an offensive against pro-regime villages, committing a war crime, an international human rights group said Friday.
The HRW report said the rebel groups that led the offensive included Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, both linked to al-Qaida; Ahrar al-Sham; Jaish alMuhajireen wal-Ansar; and Suqqor al-Izz.
The Aug. 4 attacks on unarmed civilians in more than a dozen villages in the coastal province of Latakia were systematic and could even amount to a crime against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a 105-page report based on a visit to the area a month later. Witnesses said rebels went house to house, in some cases executing entire families and in other cases killing men and taking women and children hostages. The villagers belong to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam which forms the backbone of President Bashar Assad's regime - and which Sunni Muslim extremists consider heretics. One survivor, Hassan Shebli, said he fled as rebels approached his village of Barouda at dawn, but was forced to leave behind his wife, who was unable to walk without crutches, and his 23-year-old son, who is completely paralyzed. When Shebli returned days later, after government forces retook the village, he found his wife and son buried near the house and bullet holes and blood splatters in the bedroom, the New Yorkbased group said. The findings are bound to feed mounting Western unease about the tactics of some of those trying to topple Assad and about the growing role of jihadi rebels, including foreign fighters linked to al-Qaida. U.N. war crimes investigators have accused both sides in Syria's civil war, now in its third year, of wrongdoing, though they said earlier this year that the scale and intensity of rebel abuses hasn't reached that of the regime. The new allegations of rebel abuses come at a time when the regime is regaining some international legitimacy because of its apparent cooperation with an internationally mandated program to destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile by mid-2014. Lama Fakih of Human Rights Watch said the rebel abuses in Latakia "certainly amount to war crimes," and may even rise to the level of crimes against humanity. The group said more than 20 rebel groups participated in the
Smoke from burning tires set by opposition fighters overcasts what it used to be a residential area during their fighting against Syrian government forces in Maaret al-Numan in the Idlib province, Syria, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Rebels Wednesday overran a military post near the southern city of Daraa, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group. Opposition fighters late last month also captured a nearby military base that previously served as the customs office on the outskirts of Daraa
Latakia offensive. Five groups, including two linked to al-Qaida and others with jihadi leanings, led the campaign, which appeared to have been funded in part by private donations raised in the Persian Gulf, the report said. Human Rights Watch appealed to the Gulf states to crack down on such money transfers. It also urged Turkey, a rear base for many rebel groups, to prosecute those linked to war crimes and restrict the flow of weapons and fighters. The Western-backed Syrian opposition must cut ties with the groups that led the Latakia offensive, the report said. Most of the alleged attacks on civilians occurred on Aug. 4, said the group. The campaign began with rebel fighters seizing three regime posts and then the villages. After the regime positions fell, no pro-government troops were left in the Alawite villages. It took government forces two weeks to recapture all the villages. Human Rights Watch said at least 67 of the 190 civilians slain by the rebels were killed at close range or while trying to flee. There are signs that most of the others were also killed intentionally or indiscriminately, but more investigation is needed, the group said.
U S D A : P O U LT RY P L A N T S L I N K E D T O O U T B R E A K S T A Y O P E N improvements and "continue intensified sampling" of Foster Farms meat for the next three months. In a Monday letter to Foster Farms, USDA said the positive samples coupled with the illnesses suggest that the sanitary conditions at the facility "could pose a serious ongoing threat to public health." The company had until Thursday to respond. The outbreak, which has been going on since March, has had a high rate of hospitalizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 42 percent of victims were hospitalized, about double the normal rate, and it is resistant to many antibiotics, making it more dangerous. In a statement Thursday, Foster Farms President Ron Foster said the company has been working for two months to add increased food safety controls. WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Agriculture Department says three California poultry processing facilities linked to a salmonella outbreak in raw chicken can stay open, for now.
"This officially validates our progress, but we are not stopping here," Foster said of the company's agreement with the USDA to keep the plants open.
In a statement Thursday, the USDA said Foster Farms, which owns the facilities in Fresno and Livingston, Calif., has made "immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations."
The CDC says the outbreak is ongoing and some illnesses began as recently as two weeks ago. The majority of illnesses have been in California but people in 17 states have been infected, from Texas to Michigan to North Carolina.
The department threatened earlier this week to shut down the plants if Foster Farms did not prove that it had made enough changes. Sampling by the USDA in September showed that raw chicken processed by those facilities included strains of salmonella that were linked to the outbreak that has sickened 278 people in 17 states.
Salmonella can contaminate meat during slaughter and processing and is especially common in raw chicken. The infections can be avoided by proper handling and cooking of raw poultry.
USDA said government inspectors will monitor the company's
The pathogen causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within a few days of eating a contaminated product and can be life-threatening to those with weakened immune systems.
FUJImORI gETS OUT OF JAIL VIA TWITTER, YOUTUBE LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Incarcerated for authorizing death squads and corruption, former President Alberto Fujimori is not permitted to give interviews or make public statements. Yet he has 10,000 Twitter followers three weeks after opening an account, and he's used YouTube three times to make short audio statements, setting off a media sensation in Peru as he rallies supporters and trades barbs with political foes. The legal loophole that let Fujimori go online has unnerved Peru's justice minister, and government lawyers are hustling to come up with legislation that adapts, for the self-broadcasting Internet age, laws that let prison authorities restrict inmates' speech. Like other prisoners, Fujimori is not allowed to have a computer or a cellphone, but he does have access to a public phone on the police base outside Lima where he is held. So he delivers tweets and recorded messages to supporters over the pay phone - and they post them online.
T V- O V E R - I N T E R N E T SERVICE AEREO TO COmE TO ANDROID
No other condemned former world leader is known to be doing this, and it has become a headache for President Ollanta Humala's government.
In one highly publicized tweet, Fujimori said: "It would have been cheaper for Nadine (Heredia, the first lady) and Ollanta to just pardon me. I would have solved the out-of-control internal insecurity (troubles) without asking anything in return." Humala has refused to pardon the 75-year-old Fujimori, who in 2009 became the world's only ex-president to be convicted by his own country's judiciary for crimes committed in office. Fujimori's supporters say he should be released for ill health, but a medical panel rejected the claims. "El Chino," as Peruvians call him, has found plenty of fault with the center-left Humala, who defeated Fujimori's conservative daughter,
NEW YORK (AP) -- Aereo, a service that delivers broadcast television stations over the Internet, will come to Android devices on Oct. 22. The service started on iPhones and other Apple devices along with the Roku streaming box before expanding to personal computers. The company says that the Android offering took longer because of the many versions of Android available. Device makers are able to customize the version made by Google. Aereo says its Android app will run on phones and tablets with Android 4.2 or higher. It will be in a beta test mode at first. On iPhones and iPads, Aereo is accessible through the device's Web browser. Aereo opted to develop a stand-alone app for Android to give subscribers a consistent experience on a wide range of devices. Aereo converts television signals into computer data and sends them over the Internet to subscribers' computers and mobile devices. Subscribers can watch channels live or record them with an Internet-based digital video recorder. In addition to overthe-air channels in the subscriber's market, Aereo offers the financial cable channel Bloomberg TV. Aereo is currently available in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston and Dallas. It has plans to expand to at least 26 additional markets by next year. Service starts at $8 a month. Aereo has won key court rulings against broadcasters that claim its service infringes copyrights. The victories include a ruling in Boston on Tuesday denying ABC station WCVB's request for a preliminary injunction to stop Aereo's service. However, the judge in Boston also denied Aereo's request to move the case to New York, where Aereo has prevailed at the appellate level in two similar lawsuits. Keiko, in the 2011 presidential runoff. When Humala stated before heading to the APEC Asia-Pacific summit last week that having a former president in prison wasn't good for Peru's image, Fujimori struck back. In an audio posted to YouTube accompanied by photos from his presidency, he said Peru "has an excellent reputation thanks to our having extracted it from the apocalypse in 1990." Fujimori staved off economic collapse after taking office that year, but he fled Peru in disgrace a decade later amid a corruption scandal. The YouTube comments were uploaded Sept. 19, the day Fujimori began his social media offensive in earnest, even though he has had a Facebook account since July. Peru's prisons chief, Jose Perez, said there's nothing he can do about Fujimori's social media use. "The first problem is that Fujimori doesn't directly manage his Facebook and Twitter accounts. So how can one restrict something he doesn't manage?" One infamous inmate who has been tweeting via third parties is Jodi Arias, a 33-year-old woman convicted in the U.S. state of Arizona of killing her boyfriend in a case that attracted intense media attention. She also has no access to a computer in the county jail where she awaits sentencing, but does have phone privileges and gets visitors. Friends post for her and she tweeted regularly during her trial, making fun of the prosecutor and taking jabs at true-crime TV personality Nancy Grace. While awaiting his sixth trial on more corruption charges, Fujimori passes his days writing his memoirs, painting and listening to opera, especially Maria Callas, said his personal physician, Alejandro Aguinaga. Aguinaga said the Web is therapy for Fujimori. "Using social networks, he has told me, he will tell the true history of Peru, those that the effete leftists want to change."
The Weekly News Digest, October 14, 2013
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Starting in about a decade, Kingston, Jamaica, will probably be off-the-charts hot - permanently. Other places will soon follow. Singapore in 2028. Mexico City in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Phoenix and Honolulu in 2043.
The first U.S. cities to feel that would be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego and Orlando, Fla., in 2046. New York and Washington will get new climates around 2047, with Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Austin and Dallas a bit later.
And eventually the whole world in 2047.
Mora calculated that the last of the 265 cities to move into their new climate will be Anchorage, Alaska - in 2071. There's a fiveyear margin of error on the estimates.
A new study on global warming pinpoints the probable dates for when cities and ecosystems around the world will regularly experience hotter environments the likes of which they have never seen before.
Unlike previous research, the study highlights the tropics more than the polar regions. In the tropics, temperatures don't vary much, so a small increase can have large effects on ecosystems, he said. A 3-degree change is not much to polar regions but is dramatic in the tropics, which hold most of the Earth's biodiversity, he said.
And for dozens of cities, mostly in the tropics, those dates are a generation or less away. "This paper is both innovative and sobering," said Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was not involved in the study. To arrive at their projections, the researchers used weather observations, computer models and other data to calculate the point at which every year from then on will be warmer than the hottest year ever recorded over the last 150 years. For example, the world as a whole had its hottest year on record in 2005. The new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, says that by the year 2047, every year that follows will probably be hotter than that record-setting scorcher. Eventually, the coldest year in a particular city or region will be hotter than the hottest year in its past. Study author Camilo Mora and his colleagues said they hope this new way of looking at climate change will spur governments to do something before it is too late.
Soft corals, crinoids and associated reef fishes in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. A new study on the timing of climate change calculates the probable dates for when cities and ecosystems across the world would regularly experience never-before-seen hotter environments based on about 150 years of record-keeping. These are the dates when every year is hotter than old hottest annual record. This means the old blistering heat of people's memories will eventually seem unusually cool in comparison to the warming years to come. Coral reef species are the first to be stuck in a new climate that they haven't experienced before and are most vulnerable to climate change, Mora said. Coral reefs will be in that new regime around 2030.
Mora forecasts that the unprecedented heat starts in 2020 with Manokwa, Indonesia. Then Kingston, Jamaica. Within the next two decades, 59 cities will be living in what is essentially a new climate, including Singapore, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and Mexico City. By 2043, 147 cities - more than half of those studied - will have shifted to a hotter temperature regime that is beyond historical records.
"Now is the time to act," said another study co-author, Ryan Longman. Mora, a biological geographer at the University of Hawaii, and colleagues ran simulations from 39 different computer models and looked at hundreds of thousands of species, maps and data points to ask when places will have "an environment like we had never seen before."
Warshel, speaking by telephone to a news conference in Stockholm, said he was "extremely happy" to be awakened in the middle of the night in Los Angeles to get the good news. The three men were honored for blending two previous approaches for simulating molecules and chemical reactions on computers. One was quantum physics, which applies on the scale of an atom, and the other was classical Newtonian physics, which operates at larger scales.
Stanford University professor Michael Levitt, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, is embraced by his wife Rina at their home on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Stanford, Calif. Three U.S.-based scientists won this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing powerful computer models that researchers use to understand complex chemical interactions and create new drugs. Research in the 1970s by Levitt, Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel led to programs that unveil chemical processes such as how exhaust fumes are purified or how photosynthesis takes place in green
NEW YORK (AP) -- Three U.S.-based scientists won a Nobel Prize on Wednesday for developing a powerful new way to do chemistry on a computer. They pioneered highly sophisticated computer simulations of complex chemical processes, giving researchers tools they are now using for a wide variety of tasks, such as designing new drugs and solar cells. "Today the computer is just as important a tool for chemists as the test tube," the Swedish Academy of Sciences said in announcing this year's $1.2 million chemistry prize. "Simulations are so realistic that they predict the outcome of traditional experiments." As academy secretary Staffan Normark put it: "This year's prize is about taking the chemical experiment to cyberspace."
Work continued Thursday to figure out why the mission hit a snag after Juno emerged from Earth's shadow following Wednesday's rendezvous, which put it on course for an arrival in 2016. Juno is in contact with Earth, but not all of its instruments are powered up. Chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute says Juno does not appear to be damaged and there's no sign it was hit by a cosmic ray. An Earth flyby was executed because the rocket that launched Juno two years ago was not powerful enough to boost it all the way to Jupiter.
Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said the research "may actually be presenting an overly rosy scenario when it comes to how close we are to passing the threshold for dangerous climate impacts."
Karplus told the AP the 5 a.m. call from the Nobel judges had him worried that the caller might be bearing bad news. "Usually you think when you get a call at 5 o'clock in the morning it's going to be bad news, you know, something's happened," he said.
"One can think of this year as a kind of threshold into a hot new world from which one never goes back," said Carnegie Institution climate scientist Chris Field, who was not part of the study. "This is really dramatic."
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NASA says it'll spend the next several days diagnosing a problem with the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft that appeared after it buzzed past Earth to propel itself toward the giant planet.
Judith Curry, a Georgia Institute of Technology climate scientist who often clashes with mainstream scientists, said she found Mora's approach to make more sense than the massive report that came out of the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last month.
3 I N U S W I N C h E m I S T R Y NOBEL FOR COmPUTER mODELS
But for now, Mora said, the world is rushing toward the 2047 date.
This 2010 artist's rendering depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft with Jupiter in the background. NASA's Jupiter-bound spacecraft will swing by Earth for one last visit Wednesday Oct. 9, 2013 before speeding to the outer solar system. Wednesday's flyby allows the Juno spacecraft to gather the momentum it needs to arrive at Jupiter in 2016
Of the species studied, coral reefs will be the first stuck in a new climate - around 2030 - and are most vulnerable to climate change, Mora said.
"By some measures, we are already there," he said.
The 2047 date for the whole world is based on continually increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gases. If the world manages to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases, that would be pushed to as late as 2069, according to Mora.
N A S A TROUBLEShOOTINg JUPITER-BOUND S P A C E C R A F T
The Mora team found that by one measurement - ocean acidity Earth has already crossed the threshold into an entirely new regime. That happened in about 2008, with every year since then more acidic than the old record, according to study co-author Abby Frazier.
The prize honored research done in the 1970s by Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel. All three scientists became U.S. citizens. Karplus came to the U.S. with his family as Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938. The 83-year-old U.S. and Austrian citizen splits his time between the University of Strasbourg in France and Harvard University. Levitt, 66, was born in South Africa and is a British, U.S., and Israeli citizen. He is a professor at Stanford University. Warshel, 72, was born in Israel and is a U.S. and Israeli citizen affiliated with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Levitt is a biology professor, while the two other winners are chemistry professors.
Classical physics could simulate large molecules but not chemical reactions. Quantum physics could give realistic results for reactions but couldn't be used with large molecules because the equations were too complex to solve. The blended approach, which uses quantum mechanics only for key parts of molecules and classical physics for the rest, provides the accuracy of the quantum approach with manageable computations. Working together at Harvard in the early 1970s, Karplus and Warshel developed a computer program that brought together classical and quantum physics. Warshel later joined forces with Levitt at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and at the University of Cambridge in Britain to develop a program that could be used to study enzymes. Jeremy Berg, a professor of computational and systems biology at the University of Pittsburgh, said the winning work gives scientists a way to understand complicated interactions that involve thousands to millions of atoms. "There are thousands of laboratories around the world using these methods, both for basic biochemistry and for things like drug design," said Berg, former director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences in Bethesda, Md. Many drug companies use computer simulations to screen substances for their potential as medicines, an approach that lets them focus their chemistry lab work on those that look promising, he said. James Skinner, director of the Theoretical Chemistry Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the approach pioneered by the winners can be used to analyze such things as how drugs bind to the molecules they target in the body, or how large molecules fold. Beyond that, such simulations can be used to design materials with specific characteristics, such as those used in airplanes, he said.
Levitt told The Associated Press the award recognized him for work he did when he was 20, before he even had his Ph.D.
"This has led to greater understanding (of) problems that couldn't be solved experimentally," said Marinda Li Wu, president of the American Chemical Society.
"It was just me being in the right place at the right time and maybe having a few good ideas," he said by telephone from his home in California. He joked that the biggest immediate impact of the prize would be his need for dance lessons before appearing at the Nobel banquet.
Earlier this week, three Americans won the Nobel in medicine for discoveries about how key substances are moved around within cells, and the physics award went to British and Belgian scientists whose theories help explain how matter formed in the universe after the Big Bang.
"When you go to Stockholm, you have to do ballroom dancing," Levitt said. "This is the big problem I have right now."
The Nobel in literature will be announced on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and the economics prize on Monday.