WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST
Circulated Weekly In Florida
SHUTDOWN IN 3RD D AY W I T H O B A M A , H I L L AT I M PA S S E
Volume 002 Issue 40
Octoberr 7, 2013
WHITE HOUSE MEETING YIELDS NO PROGRESS ON SHUTDOWN
President Barack Obama speaks about the government shutdown and debt ceiling during a visit to M. Luis Construction, which specializes in asphalt manufacturing, concrete paving, and roadway reconstruction, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in Rockville, Md.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama brought congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday for the first time since a partial government shutdown began, but there was no sign of progress toward ending an impasse that has idled 800,000 federal workers and curbed services around the country.
Earlier, an attempt by Democrats to force shutdown-ending legislation to the House floor failed on a 227-197 vote, with all Republicans in opposition. That left intact the tea party-driven strategy of demanding changes to the nation's health care overhaul as the price for essential federal financing, despite grumbling from Republican moderates.
LONDON (AP) -- Interpol on Thursday issued an arrest notice on behalf of Kenyan authorities for Samantha Lewthwaite, the fugitive Briton whom news media have dubbed the "white widow."
The standoff continued after a White House summit with chief executives as financial leaders and Wall street urged a resolution before serious damage is done to the U.S. and world economy.
The stock market ended lower as Wall Street CEOs, Europe's central banker and traders pressed for a solution. Chief executives from the nation's biggest financial firms met Obama for more than an hour Wednesday, some of them plainly frustrated with the tactics at play in Congress and with the potential showdown coming over
Lewthwaite - a 29-year-old Muslim convert whose first husband was one of the suicide bombers in the 2005 attack on the London transit system that killed 52 commuters - is wanted by Kenyan authorities over alleged involvement in a plot to bomb holiday resorts there. Social media reports that a white female was leading last week's terrorist attack on an upscale Nairobi shopping mall - followed by comments from Kenya's foreign minister that a British woman had been involved - led some British broadcasters and newspapers to link Lewthwaite to the recent attack on the Westgate mall, despite the lack of
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TWITTER IPO STOKES HOT MARKET FOR INTERNET STOCKS
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters following a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.
Obama "refuses to negotiate," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., told reporters after private talks that lasted more than an hour. "All we're asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare." But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said moments later, "We're locked in tight on Obamacare" and neither the president nor Democrats will accept changes in the nation's 3-year-old health care law as the price for spending legislation needed to end the twoday partial shutdown. With the nation's ability to borrow money soon to lapse, Republicans and Democrats alike said the shutdown could last for two weeks or more, and soon oblige a divided government to grapple with both economy-threatening issues at the same time. The White House said in a statement after the meeting that Obama had made it clear "he is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit to pay the bills Congress has already incurred." It added, "The president remains hopeful that common sense will prevail." The high-level bickering at microphones set up outside the White House reflected the day's proceedings in the Capitol. The Republican-controlled House approved legislation to reopen the nation's parks and the National Institutes of Health, even though many Democrats criticized them as part of a piecemeal approach that fell far short of what was needed. The bills face dim prospects in the Senate, and the White House threatened to veto both in the unlikely event they make it to Obama's desk. "What we're trying to do is to get the government open as quickly as possible," said the House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia. "And all that it would take is us realizing we have a lot in agreement."
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Internet stocks are heating up again, just as Twitter is preparing to turn up the temperature with its highly anticipated IPO. Consider what's happened in the past month: The once-scorned stocks of Netflix and Facebook have soared to new highs; Yahoo's long-languishing stock has regained its vigor and surpassed $34 for the first time in nearly six years; enamored investors just poured more than $1.7 billion into secondary stock offerings by LinkedIn and Pandora Media Inc.; and Priceline.com's stock recently broke $1,000, catapulting past its peak reached in 1999 during the dotcom boom. "There is great demand right now to invest in companies that could be powering the future, but it's a window of opportunity that won't last forever," says BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis. As hot as some Internet stocks are, the fervor is nothing like it was in the late 1990s when investors minted dozens of unprofitable companies with rich market values. "The difference is that investors today are investing on value rather than on emotion and hype, as was the case in 1998 to 2000," says Jeff Corbin, CEO of investor relations consultant KCSA Strategic Communications. Many of today's investors are judging Internet companies on their individual merits and prospects for growth. "Back then," says Corbin, "just by including the word `Internet' in a company description or name gave rise to a multi-million if not billion dollar valuation." Dan Appelman, 54 is a longtime investor in technology who views the current run-up in Internet stocks as a reflection of the ever-expanding role online services play in people's lives. "The Internet is everywhere now, and that wasn't the case in 2000," Appelman says. "It has become like electricity or plumbing." Twitter couldn't have chosen a better moment to join the party. The timing proved to be ideal for recent IPOs by Rocket Fuel Inc., a company that uses artificial intelligence software to distribute digital ads, and FireEye Inc., a maker of computer security software. The stocks of both Silicon Valley companies nearly doubled in their Sept. 20 trading debuts. Twitter hasn't set a timetable for its IPO since announcing its plans to go public in a Sept. 12 tweet. Most analysts expect the San Francisco company to complete the process in November or December.
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the debt limit. "You can re-litigate these policy issues in a political forum, but we shouldn't use threats of causing the U.S. to fail on its obligations to repay its debt as a cudgel," Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, said after the meeting. Democrats were scathing in their criticism. "The American people would get better government out of Monkey Island at the local zoo than we're giving them today," said Rep. John Dingell of Michigan. The Republican National Committee announced it would pay for personnel needed to reopen the World War II Memorial, a draw for aging veterans from around the country that is among the sites shuttered. In a statement, party chairman Reince Priebus challenged Democrats "to join with us in keeping this memorial open." Democrats labeled that a stunt. "We've already been working on a plan to open the Memorial - and the entire government - after the GOP caused them to close," said party spokesman Mo Elleithee. "It's called a clean" spending bill. As it turned out, more than 125 World War II veterans from Mississippi and Iowa who were initially kept out of the memorial Tuesday were escorted to the site with the help of members of Congress. Officials made further arrangements to allow veterans groups into the memorial during the shutdown. A sampling of federal agencies showed how unevenly the shutdown was felt across the government. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development listed only six percent of their employees as essential, and therefore permitted to work during the impasse. James
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N S A C H I E F A D M I T S T E S T I N G U S C E L L P H O N E T R A C K I N G WASHINGTON (AP) -- National Security Agency chief Gen. Keith Alexander revealed Wednesday that his spy agency once tested whether it could track Americans' cellphone locations, in addition to its practice of sweeping broad information about calls made. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on proposed reforms to the NSA's surveillance of phone and internet usage around the world, exposed in June by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden. But neither spy chief discussed proposed reforms; instead they were questioned about new potential abuses that have come to light since then.
Alexander told the committee that his agency once tested, in 2010 and 2011, whether it could track Americans' cellphone locations, but he says the NSA does not use that capability, leaving that to the FBI to build a criminal or foreign intelligence case against a suspect and track him.
National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. U.S. intelligence officials say the government shutdown is seriously damaging the intelligence communityâ€™s ability to guard against threats.
Alexander denied a New York Times report published Saturday that said NSA searched social networks of Americans searching for foreign terror connections, and detailed 12 previously revealed cases of abuse by NSA employees who used the network for unsanctioned missions like spying on a spouse. He said all employees were caught and most were disciplined. Alexander and Clapper also told lawmakers that the government shutdown that began Tuesday over a budget impasse is seriously damaging the intelligence community's ability to guard against threats. They said they're keeping counterterrorism staff at work as well as those providing intelligence to troops in Afghanistan, but that some 70 percent of the civilian workforce has been furloughed. Any details on the jobs held by the furloughed employees is classified. Congress is mulling changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that some believe allows the NSA too much freedom in gathering U.S. data as part of spying on targets overseas.
"This may be something that is a future requirement for the country but it is not right now because when we identify a number, we give it to the FBI," Alexander said. "When they get their probable cause, they can get the locational data."
He said if the NSA thought it needed to track someone that way, it would go back to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court - the secret court that authorizes its spying missions - for approval. He added that his agency reported the tests to both House and Senate intelligence committees, and that the data was never used for intelligence analysis. Only last week, Alexander refused to answer questions from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., about whether his agency had ever collected or planned to collect such "cell-site" data, as it is called, saying it was classified, but the general said the NSA released the information in letters to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees ahead of the Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday. Wyden was not satisfied with Alexander's answer. "After years of stonewalling on whether the government has ever tracked or planned to track the location of law abiding Americans through their cellphones, once again, the intelligence
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N E W S A N C T I O N S L I K E LY D E S P I T E T H AW I N U S - I R A N T I E S criticism, it has fed into domestic arguments over health care and spending levels. Several Republicans in Congress have lambasted the president for appearing "more willing" to talk to Rouhani than to them.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. lawmakers from both parties have expressed a willingness to give President Barack Obama's outreach to Iran a chance to end to Tehran's nuclear standoff with the West, but at the same time they are crafting tough new U.S. economic sanctions to further isolate the Islamic republic. Obama's phone call last week to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was a groundbreaking conversation. It was the first contact in more than 30 years between the leaders of the two countries and an about-face from when Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, included Iran in his "axis of evil" with North Korea and Iraq.
President Barack Obama makes a statement in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, after he spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Congress generally backs Obama's new outreach to Iran, but with tougher U.S. economic sanctions against Tehran on the way, the president's diplomatic task will only get harder if he doesn't make quick progress. Obama's phone call last week to Rouhani was the first contact in more than 30 years between the leaders of the two countries
Obama wants Rouhani to prove that he's willing to curtail some of his country's uranium enrichment activity, which many believe is being used to give Iran nuclear weapons capability. Rouhani said Wednesday in Tehran that Iran is open to discussing "details" of its nuclear activities to reach a deal with world powers. He emphasized Tehran's longstanding position that Iran has a fundamental right to enrich uranium, a key ingredient of nuclear weapons that Iran says it needs for peaceful purposes. But his statement was a veiled hint that Iran is open to negotiate on the level of uranium enrichment as part of a deal in return for lifting of sanctions. "Iran's enrichment right is not negotiable, but we must enter into talks" to see what the other side proposes, he said in remarks after a meeting with his Cabinet. Rouhani said Iran had drawn up a "precise plan" to present later this month at the next round of talks with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany.
The Weekly News News Digest, LLC. The U.S. engagement with Iran, meanwhile, is straining relations with Israel, a key American ally.
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Continued from page 1 Wall Street's current infatuation with Facebook Inc.'s social network and LinkedIn Corp.'s online professional network bodes well for Twitter. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter runs a bustling service that relies on free content posted by its users. With about 200 million users, Twitter is the smallest of the bunch, based on the company's most recent disclosures about its size. LinkedIn has nearly 240 million users while Facebook boasts nearly 1.2 billion active users. That gap leaves Twitter more room to grow, a prospect that typically appeals to investors. Twitter's initial public offering will go well if it can draft off of the momentum of Facebook and LinkedIn, whose stocks have more than doubled in value during the past year. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen 17 percent during the same period. For LinkedIn, the gains extended a phenomenal run that began the day it went public in May 2011 at $45 per share. The Mountain View, Calif. company's stock has never fallen below its IPO price and it's now hovering around $250. LinkedIn has won over investors by fueling the belief that its service has transformed the way employers find and recruit workers. The company has also topped analysts' financial forecasts every quarter since its IPO. LinkedIn seized on the voracious appetite for its stock by selling as many as 6.2 million shares for $223 apiece in its secondary offering this month. After expenses, LinkedIn will receive up to $1.35 billion, more than five times the amount the company raked in from its IPO. Facebook's stock has rebounded, too. As soon as it began trading in May 2012, the stock took a turbulent descent triggered by the social network's slowing growth as well as doubts about the company's ability to figure out how to sell and show ads on mobile devices. By last September, Facebook's stock had lost more than half its value from its IPO price of $38.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech Tuesday at the United Nations that the new Iranian president was conducting a "charm offensive." Iran and Israel see each other as arch enemies. Tehran does not recognize the Jewish state, and supports anti-Israeli militants like Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas. But while Israel is reaffirming its hard-line stance against Iran, the sentiment in Washington's political circles has softened. Five years ago, Obama the presidential candidate was hit with criticism for suggesting talks with the Iranians without preconditions. Then during his re-election campaign, Obama was called weak on Iran.
Here's another sign that Wall Street is still treading more cautiously than it did during the dot-com boom: Although the bellwether Standard & Poor's 500 and closely watched Dow Jones industrial average both set records last month, the technology-driven Nasdaq composite index remains about 25 percent below its all-time high of 5,132.52 reached in March 2000. Online travel service Priceline.com Inc. was among the biggest beneficiaries of late 1990s giddiness. Shortly after it went public in March 1999, Priceline's stock soared to a split-adjusted $990, even though the Norwalk, Conn. company had a history of uninterrupted of losses. Priceline has now established itself as a consistent moneymaker with profits of more than $4 billion during the past five-and-a-half years. The pattern of rising earnings helped lift Priceline's stock past $1,000 for the first time last month. AOL co-founder Steve Case thinks the wild swings in Internet stocks are driven by rapid changes in technology and cultural tastes that make it difficult to gauge how big and profitable Internet companies will become. He still recalls the extreme fluctuations in AOL's stock from the time the company went public in 1992 with a market value of $70 million to its zenith of more than $160 billion some 13 years ago. "It was a pretty choppy ride," Case says. "There were some years when
In July, the House approved tough new sanctions on Iran's oil sector and other industries. The bill blacklists any business in Iran's mining and construction sectors and commits the United States to the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015. It also builds on U.S. penalties that went into effect last year that have cut Iran's petroleum exports in half and left its economy in tatters. China, India and several other Asian nations continue to buy billions of dollars of Iranian oil each month, providing Tehran with much of the money it spends on its weapons and nuclear programs. No bill would likely be finalized before November. That gives the administration at least several weeks to see whether Iran changes course under Rouhani. Debate on Capitol Hill about Syria also has changed the dynamic on U.S. ties with Iran. Lawmakers were reluctant to keep a U.S. military option on the table in connection with the crisis in Syria after the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, which, according to administration estimates, killed more than 1,400 people. It's difficult to see how Congress would support a U.S. military strike on Iran over its nuclear program, and that might strengthen Obama's case for a diplomatic resolution to the standoff. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., a member of the Senate Banking Committee, is in favor of a tough new round of sanctions. "We should judge Iranian leaders by their actions, not their words," Kirk said Tuesday. "So long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons capability, build longer-range ballistic missiles, sponsor terrorism around the world and abuse human rights, the Senate should impose maximum economic pressure on Iran to give diplomacy a chance to succeed." On Monday, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he welcomed diplomatic engagement with Iran, but said it "cannot be used to buy time, avoid sanctions and continue the march toward nuclear weapons capability."
Now, even leading Senate hawks, including his 2008 opponent, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have backed Obama's careful engagement effort. They say it is worth testing Iran's seriousness even if they're skeptical about Rouhani's new course of moderation and disdainful of Tehran's human rights record and alleged support for terrorism.
In the House, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Obama's engagement with Rouhani "holds the promise, albeit tenuous, distant and difficult, of a resolution of the Iranian nuclear question." Writing off chances for success without trying would be "negligent," he said.
The debate essentially has shifted away from whether it's worth talking to Iran to debating the details of engaging Iran, which claims it is not seeking nuclear weapons. While Obama's gesture to Tehran hasn't prompted major GOP
Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, credited America's "damaging sanctions" for getting Rouhani on the phone and said the U.S. must increase economic pressure "until Iran stops its nuclear drive."
people thought we were going to take over the world and the company's value reflected that belief. Then there were other years when people thought we were going to go out of business. This kind of thing goes with the territory."
estate research firm DataQuick. That's still 19 percent below the region's peak median price of $665,000 reached in July 2007.
Entrepreneur Marcus Nelson has noticed a dramatic change in investor sentiment over the past year as he tries to expand Addvocate, a San Francisco startup that is trying to help workers do a better job promoting their own companies on social networks. Nelson couldn't find anyone interested in investing in his startup when he began pitching his idea to venture capitalists and technology moguls last year. He lost track of how often he had been shooed away after he was rejected 168 times. Finally, in June, Nelson was able to raise about $2.4 million. He believes he'll have little trouble getting more money if he needs it. "It's a hot space again," Nelson says.
The skepticism evaporated two months ago after Facebook's latest quarterly results showed that more than 40 percent of the company's ad sales are now being made on smartphones and tablets, up from virtually nothing at the same time last year. Facebook's stock hit a new high of $51.60 earlier this week.
While the current government shutdown may have muted congressional reaction to Obama's phone call with Rouhani, lawmakers are moving forward on legislation for new sanctions, with plans to tee them up so the president can use enhanced sanctions as part of his negotiating leverage.
The good times are rippling through Silicon Valley and the rest of the San Francisco Bay area, where much of the economy revolves around the technology industry. After dropping to as low as $290,000 in 2009, the median sales price of a Bay Area home rebounded to $540,000 through August, according to real
In the Silicon Valley hub of Santa Clara County, companies added 8,500 jobs in August to mark the biggest one-month gain since 2000. Meanwhile, Netflix Inc.'s stock price has increased nearly six-fold since last September, reaching a new high of $333.60 in Wednesday's trading. The surge has been building as the company's Internet video and DVD-by-mail service recovered from a 2011 customer backlash caused by dramatic price increases. Yahoo Inc., one of the Internet's oldest and best-known companies, also has been on the comeback trail. After it was stuck below $20 for more than four years, Yahoo's stock has more than doubled since last September. While the company's July 2012 hiring of Marissa Mayer as its CEO played a role in the stock's run-up, the biggest factor was a fortuitous investment in rapidly growing Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group. Yahoo reaped a $7.6 billion windfall by selling part of its Alibaba holdings last year to reduce its remaining stake to 24 percent. Now investors are betting Yahoo will hit an even bigger jackpot after Alibaba completes its own IPO, an event expected to occur next year.
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The Weekly News Digest, October 7, 2013
W H O K N E W ? S H U T D O W N C A S U A LT I E S S H A T T E R S T E R E O T Y P E S WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taking out a mortgage. Getting married in a park. Going for a fall foliage drive. Cashing a check.
Washington. Among those are hundreds of workers at Arkansas' Military Department and one at the Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute, a vocational school in Forrest City, Ark.
Who knew that so many random activities of daily life could be imperiled by a shutdown of the federal government?
In Illinois, the furloughs include 20 workers in the state Department of Employment Security and 53 in the Department of Military Affairs.
Americans are finding that "the government" entails a lot more than the stereotype of faceless D.C. bureaucrats cranking out red tape.
"These are the first, and there may be more," said Abdon Pallasch, the state's assistant budget director.
And so it is that two dozen October weddings, including nine this week, are in jeopardy because they're scheduled for monument sites on the National Mall. Ditto for a New Jersey couple planning to marry at the Grand Canyon. Mike Cassesso and MaiLien Le's permit to get married Saturday on the lawn near the Jefferson Memorial looks to be among the casualties, giving rise to a new Twitter hashtag for their (hash)shutdownwedding. They're looking at alternate sites, including the restaurant booked for their reception. Also canceled: a weekend Ku Klux Klan rally at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. Want to take a drive along Virginia's popular Skyline Drive to take in the fall colors in Shenandoah National Park? Not till the government reopens. It's not just romance, tourism and public events that are in jeopardy. Consider the Wisconsin farmer who can't cash a check for a cow he sold. Ben Brancel, the state's agriculture secretary, said that because the farmer has a loan from the Farm Service Agency, he can't cash the check without both his own signature and one from an FSA official, unavailable during the shutdown. "Our advice to him was he was going to have to wait, that
Want to escape the shutdown worries with a bike ride on the C&O Canal, a popular 184-mile trail and national park between Washington and Cumberland, Md.? Cars line up at Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim entrance before the park was closed on Oct. 1 due to the partial government shutdown. Americans are finding that â€œthe governmentâ€? entails a lot more than the stereotype of faceless D.C. bureaucrats cranking out red tape.
Closed. Those thinking of ignoring the closure notice and going anyway should consider this: Restrooms will be locked and handles removed from water pumps along the way.
there wasn't anything he could do about it," Brancel said.
One possible silver lining to shutdown annoyances writ small and large: The whole thing could serve as a teachable moment for all those people who tell pollsters that they want budget cuts - as long as they aren't directly affected.
Ready to buy your first house? Borrowers applying for a mortgage can expect delays, especially if the shutdown is prolonged. That's because many lenders need government confirmation of applicants' income tax returns and Social Security data. Mortgage industry officials say they expect bottlenecks on closing loans if the shutdown stretches on for more than a few days. In addition, low- to moderate-income borrowers and firsttime homebuyers seeking government-insured mortgages for single-family homes from the Federal Housing Administration can expect longer waits because of sharp reductions in FHA staffing. Even workers who get their paychecks from a state government aren't safe from the ripple effects of a federal shutdown. An assortment of state workers around the country are on furlough because the money for their jobs includes dollars from
US, JAPAN TO DEPLOY NEW RADAR, DRONES IN NEXT YEAR The deep neighborhood divisions were underscored, even as the meeting went on, when a new naval exercise between the U.S., Japan and South Korea scheduled for next week was disclosed, provoking a swift response from North Korea. In a statement, the National Peace Committee of Korea condemned the exercise, which will include the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and its strike group, as reckless saber-rattling.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, listens to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prior to the signing ceremony after U.S. and Japan's two-plus-two security talks at Iikura Guesthouse in Tokyo on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. U.S. and Japanese officials said Thursday they will position a second early-warning radar in Japan within the next year and deploy new long-range surveillance drones to help monitor disputed islands in the East China Sea by next spring, moves that may well raise tensions again with China
TOKYO (AP) -- The United States and Japan moved Thursday to modernize and expand their defense alliance to counter new 21st century challenges including the continuing threat from nuclear-armed North Korea and potential aggression from China over disputed territory. Revamping the guidelines of their defense partnership for the first time in 16 years, the allies agreed to position a second early-warning radar in Japan within the next year to help protect against North Korea. And by next spring, they will deploy new long-range surveillance drones to help monitor disputed islands in the East China Sea, a move that may well raise tensions with Beijing. The foreign and defense ministers of the two countries also, for the first time, put a price on what Japan will contribute to the relocation of Marines out of Okinawa to Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan will pay up to $3.1 billion of the move, which includes development of new facilities in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and afterward laid out the details of the session. The talks, ahead of President Barack Obama's visits to Indonesia and Brunei next week, were aimed at modernizing the American-Japanese alliance that both sides maintain is a cornerstone of peace and stability in North Asia. "Japan is changing and so is its neighborhood," Kerry told reporters at a press conference after the meeting. "So we're coming together now to modernize our deep cooperation, through both our military alliances and our diplomatic partnerships, and that is so we can better prevent and respond to the ever-changing threats of the 21st century."
The new X-band radar system, in fact, is designed to protect the region against the North Korean threat, boosting Japan's ability to track and intercept missiles from across the Sea of Japan. Officials have stressed it is not directed at China. Kerry acknowledged the threat from Pyongyang, but also said the U.S. was willing to sign a non-aggression pact with North Korea if it gives up its nuclear weapons and complies with international demands. The drones, meanwhile, are designed in part to help step up surveillance around the Senkaku islands, a source of heated debate between Japan and China. Under the plan, two or three will fly out of a U.S. base. While the U.S. has operated unmanned aircraft over Japan in the past, for example during the 2011 tsunami, this would be the first time that drones would be based in Japan. More broadly, the documents agreed to on Thursday contain no direct mention of the Senkakus, easily one of the most contentious issues affecting security in the Pacific. Despite that, the territorial dispute over the remote, uninhabited islands was a prime topic during the meeting and of the statements by the leaders afterward. Hagel said the U.S. reiterated that while Washington takes no side on the question of the islands' sovereignty, it recognizes Japan's administration of them and has responsibilities to protect Japanese territory under a mutual defense treaty. "We strongly oppose any unilateral or coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan's administrative control," he said. China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday, which is part of a weeklong national holiday. Beijing has criticized the installation of the first military radar system, as announced last month, to monitor Pyongyang's military activities. Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei then said the plans could affect regional stability and upset the strategic balance. The U.S. has watched warily as tensions between Japan and China have heated up over the Senkakus, badly souring their relations and leading to bellicose talk and actions from both sides. China has increased patrols near the Japanese-administered islands that it calls Diaoyu. Successive U.S. administrations have held to the position that the two nations must sort out their differences over the Senkakus peacefully, and that remains the case. U.S. officials said the position was so well known that there was no need to address it in the agreements.
"As time goes by, more and more people see these little things that they took for granted," said Ed Lorenzen, a policy adviser at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan group pushing for spending discipline. He said the shutdown could serve as a reminder that "you're not going to be able to the balance the budget just by cutting spending in Washington that doesn't affect people."
CELLPHONE TRACKING Continued from page 1 leadership has decided to leave most of the real story secret even when the truth would not compromise national security," he said. Alexander acknowledged his agency collects data from social networks and other commercial databases to hunt foreign terror suspects but is not using the information to build private files on Americans. He said the operations are only used in pursuing foreign agents and sweeping up information on Americans if they are connected to those suspects by phone calls or other data. Alexander said that not all social network searches are authorized by the secret FISA court, but he added the agency's searches are proper and audited internally. The authority flows from a presidential executive order on national security dating back to the Reagan administration in 1981, he said, adding: "It allows us to understand what the foreign nexus is." Alexander called a recent New York Times report on the searches "inaccurate and wrong." The Times said the NSA was exploiting huge collections of personal data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans' social connections. The Times said the private data included Facebook posts and banking, flight, GPS location and voting records. Alexander denied the NSA was building "dossiers," or personal files on Americans, even though the Times story never specifically suggested that was being done. He said collecting such private metadata is "the most important way" to track a potential terrorist once they have been identified. He also said Americans are only directly targeted by such searches when they are under investigation for possible terror ties or they are the targets of terror activities. He added that suspected terrorists operating inside the U.S. could also be targeted under those private data searches. As for the incidents when NSA analysts did abuse their spying powers, Alexander told senators none of them involved the programs that collect American telephone records or email data. "Nine of those were abroad," he said. "Three were (in the U.S.) but involved persons abroad on two of those. And one was on a spouse or girlfriend." The NSA's inspector general detailed the violation in a letter to Congress that was released last week. Several cases clearly showed government officials using the surveillance system to probe for information about spouses or partners. In one case, an internal investigation found that the official had made internal surveillance queries on the phones of nine foreign women, including his girlfriend, without authorization and had at times listened in on some phone conversations. The same official also collected data on a U.S. person's phone. Alexander said all had been disciplined, and had retired, resigned or been reprimanded, except for one where there wasn't enough evidence to prove wrongdoing. Both Alexander and Clapper spoke of reduced capability of their workforce during the government shutdown. Clapper said he has tried to keep on enough employees to guard against "imminent threats to life or property," but may have to call more back to work if the shutdown continues. "The danger here... will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious," Clapper said. Clapper even raised the specter of treason, saying financial stress could make his intelligence officers vulnerable to being bought off by foreign spies. The federal government effectively shut down as of midnight Tuesday because of a standoff over the federal budget
4 The Weekly News Digest,
October 7, 2013
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Data From the Official Website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. www.flhsmv.gov
______________________________________ The Weekly News Digest, October 7, 2013
P R E S S U R E M O U N T S T O F I X H E A L T H I N S U R A N C E care," Veloz said.
The pressure is on for the federal government and states running their own health insurance exchanges to get the systems up and running after overloaded websites and jammed phone lines frustrated consumers for a second day as they tried to sign up for coverage using the new marketplaces.
Workers at the Florida Association of Community Health Centers printed out applications ahead of time. "We don't care about the politics. This is about people so we were trying to make it easy for the patients," President and CEO Andy Behrman said.
In some ways, the delays that persisted Wednesday were good news for President Barack Obama and supporters of his signature domestic policy achievement because the holdups showed what appeared to be exceptionally high interest in the overhauled insurance system. But if the glitches aren't fixed quickly, they could dampen enthusiasm for the law at the same time Republicans are using it as a rallying cry to keep most of the federal government closed.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the law, also known as "Obamacare," was working well because his state embraced the health reform law early on instead of fighting it. The state processed 373 applications for coverage by the end of Wednesday.
"It was worse today than it was yesterday," Denise Rathman of Des Moines said after she tried for a second day to log onto the Iowa site.
"Because we took the time and effort to be ready, to handle the calls, to have our ducks in a row if you will, we are in far better shape than those states and governors that have turned their back on this historic program and historic offering," said Malloy, a Democrat.
Rathman has insurance through Dec. 31 but said she is eager to sign up for a policy because of her psoriatic arthritis, which has caused her to be denied insurance in the past. David Berge, a pastor with two young children in Shoreview, Minn., tried unsuccessfully at least 10 times to create an online account on the state-run site MNsure. His high-deductible plan expires at the end of the year. "I'm anxious to see what the insurance is going to look like for my family at the beginning of the year," Berge said. "That's a big unknown right now. I want to figure that out as soon as possible so we can begin planning." In California, home to 15 percent of the nation's uninsured, officials pulled the enrollment portion of the Covered California site down overnight for emergency upgrades. It was restored midmorning Wednesday, and 7,770 people had started applications by then, spokesman Roy Kennedy said. California is one of a handful of mostly Democratic states that opted to set up their own exchanges rather than let the federal government do it for them. In the 36 states being operated by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, consumer patience was still being tested. Agency spokeswoman Joanne Peters said many Americans successfully enrolled on the first day, but she declined to put a number on it. She said the delays were due to "overwhelming interest" and high volume. It's not as if nobody warned them. Just three months ago, the congressional Government Accountability Office said a smooth and timely rollout could not be guaranteed because the online system was still getting finishing touches and had not been fully tested. The
The bumpy debut has the hallmarks of a technology project that may have rushed to meet the Oct. 1 deadline, said Bill Curtis, chief scientist at CAST, a software quality analysis firm, and director of the Consortium for IT Software Quality, which develops standards.
Debora Costa right, tries to sign up for insurance coverage for her two children, including 2-year-old Victoria, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, with help from Champaign Urbana Public Health District employee Alice Cronenberg in Champaign, Ill. Costa, who recently moved to Illinois from Brazil with her graduate-student husband and children, found after about 10 minutes that she didn't have all the information she would need to sign up
"When you are in a rush, you typically make a lot of mistakes and you don't have time to test them all out," he said. High volume can also expose software flaws that were not detected in testing, Curtis said, like the recurring problem consumers encountered trying to set up accounts on the federal site. Drop-down menus that were supposed to provide security questions did not work. The department issued survival tips for aggravated consumers after 4.7 million unique visitors logged in to the healthcare.gov website on Tuesday. As new health insurance markets went live around the country, the federal call center also received 190,000 calls. In suburban Cleveland, Sharon Schorr finally gave up on the federal exchange website after eight hours of failed clicks. "It almost reminded me of going online and trying to buy Springsteen tickets," said Schorr, a self-employed accountant who works for her husband's recruiting firm in Orange, Ohio. Others
Luis Veloz, a college student in Dallas, was so eager to have insurance that he had already mailed in a paper application by Tuesday night. He is hoping to avoid racking up major bills like his parents, who incurred $250,000 in debt when his father had a heart attack. "It's an exciting moment because my family has never had preventative
M E X I C A N S S E E K A S Y L U M A S D R U G V I O L E N C E P E R S I S T S The Knights Templar cartel, a pseudo-religious gang that takes its name from an ancient monastic order, has set fire to lumber yards, packing plants and passenger buses in a medieval-like reign of terror. The cartel extorts protection payments from cattlemen, growers and businesses, prompting the vigilante patrols in February. That drew more attacks from the cartel, which sought to cut off the area's main economic activity, growing limes. A Buenavista politician was hacked to death and a Navy vice admiral killed in an ambush. In April, 10 people were killed in a cartel ambush as they returned from a meeting with state officials to ask for help. The flight from Tierra Caliente comes as asylum requests from throughout Mexico more than quadrupled to 9,206 in 2012 from six years earlier, when the Mexican government launched an offensive against drug cartels. The Department of Homeland Security says an average of 11 Mexicans sought asylum daily at San Diego border crossings from Aug. 9 to late September. Ines Valencia, center, of Coalcoman, Mexico, walks with her three young children after seeking asylum at the border and being released by federal authorities, in San Diego. Her children are, from right, Jose, 5, Erelda, 7, and Joel 3. Valencia is part of a wave of Mexicans who have sought asylum in San Diego to escape the violence in their region of Michoacan and, in an unusual twist, are being released while their cases are considered.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Elizabeth Silva was walking her younger sister to school when two hooded men burst into her house and pumped three bullets into her father. When her 14-year-old brother rushed out of his bedroom to see what was happening, he was also shot dead. The killings in a sun-seared farming region of western Mexico prompted her to board a bus to the U.S. border to seek asylum, a hugely popular escape route in a remote area that has seen some of the country's worst drug-fueled violence. As gunfire rang in the distance, her family hurried out of the cemetery after burying the bodies and fled the same day. Asylum requests from Mexico have surged in recent years and, while the U.S. government doesn't say from where within Mexico, The Associated Press has found that many are now arriving at the border from the "Tierra Caliente," or Hot Country, about 250 miles west of Mexico City. Word has spread there that U.S. authorities are releasing women and children while they await hearings before immigration judges, emboldening others to follow. The AP counted 44 women and children from the Tierra Caliente released in San Diego in just one month, from Aug. 26 to Sept. 27, including the 25-year-old Silva, her 2-year-old daughter, mother, grandmother and sister. Many from the town of Buenavista carry a formal letter from town official Ramon Contreras stating they are victims of persecution. "The residents of this town are under death threat from a drug cartel ... please provide them the protection they request," the letter reads. The Tierra Caliente is so completely ruled by one vicious drug cartel that residents in a half-dozen towns formed self-defense groups earlier this year to try to drive out the gang. Now, they are fleeing in droves, saying their rebellion has made them targets for cartel killings. "There have been many, many families going to the United States to seek asylum," said Hipolito Mora, a leader of the patrols in the La Ruana neighborhood of Buenavista, a municipality of 42,000.
More than 90 percent of asylum requests from Mexico are eventually denied. To be granted asylum, an immigration judge must find that an applicant suffered persecution or has a well-grounded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinion. Immigration lawyers said most asylum seekers are held in detention centers, but Silva and many others have been freed while awaiting a decision. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, criticized DHS for the releases, saying the asylum seekers may never return to court. "I am concerned that credible fear claims are being exploited by illegal immigrants in order to enter and remain in the United States," he wrote Janet Napolitano in August, before she stepped down as DHS secretary. DHS said in a statement that custody decisions are made on factors including ties to the community, flight risk and criminal record. They wouldn't comment on releases.
The Obama administration hopes to sign up 7 million people during the first year. Using an expansion of Medicaid or government-subsidized plans, the White House would eventually like to cover at least half of the nearly 50 million Americans who are uninsured. Many states expect people to sign up closer to the Dec. 15 deadline to enroll for coverage starting Jan. 1. Most customers will need to pay the first month's premium when they do, which could lead them to put off choosing, said Bob Dickes, director of sales and marketing for the nonprofit insurer Oregon's Health CO-OP. "I expect people to shop and see what's out there," Dickes said. Customers have until the end of March to sign up to avoid tax penalties. Under the law, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing medical condition and cannot impose lifetime caps on coverage. They also must cover a list of essential services, ranging from mental health treatment to maternity care.
PROGRESS ON SHUTDOWN Continued from page 1 R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, said about 70 percent of civilian employees in agencies under his control had been sent home. By contrast, about 86 percent of employees of the Department of Homeland Security remained on the job, and 95 percent at the Veterans Affairs Department. One furloughed employee, meteorologist Amy Fritz, said, "I want to get back to work." At a news conference arranged by congressional Democrats, the 38-year-old National Weather Service employee said she has more than $100,000 in student loan debt and is looking at ways to cut her budget. In an interview with CNBC before meeting with lawmakers, Obama said he would not negotiate with Republicans until the government is reopened and Congress votes to raise the debt limit. "If we get in the habit where a few folks, an extremist wing of one party, whether it's Democrat or Republican, are allowed to extort concessions based on a threat (to) undermine the full faith and credit of the United States, then any president who comes after me, not just me, will find themselves unable to govern effectively," he said. "The White House said Obama would have to truncate a longplanned trip to Asia, calling off the final two stops in Malaysia and the Philippines. The shutdown also intruded into the race for governor of Virginia. Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat, said he supported legislation to guarantee retroactive pay for furloughed federal employees. The Republican contender, Ken Cuccinelli, called on members of Congress to decline their pay as long as the shutdown lasts. The House sidetracked legislation Tuesday night to reopen some veterans programs, the national parks and a portion of the Washington, D.C., municipal government. All three bills fell short of the two-thirds majority needed when Democrats voted overwhelmingly against this. Republicans tried again, this time under rules requiring only a simple majority. The parks measure was approved on a vote of 252-173, with 23 Democrats breaking ranks and voting in favor. The vote to reopen NIH was 254-171. The House also voted to allow the Washington, D.C., government to use the taxes it collects to operate programs. Votes were deferred on more bills, one to assure pay for members of the National Guard and Reserves and another to allow some veterans programs to resume.
Some asylum seekers have said they were turned back at the border, including Isamar Gonzalez, 20, of Buenavista, and her mother. "We told them we wanted asylum and they laughed at us," Gonzalez said.
The NIH bill was added to the day's agenda after Democrats had said seriously ill patients would be turned away from the facility's hospital of last resort, and no new enrollment permitted in experimental treatments.
But many others make it across after an initial screening. Candelaria Aguilar feared the cartel would kidnap her 14- and 10-year-old sons and turn them into hit men. She made the trip to San Diego after her sister-in-law called from Los Angeles to say she had been freed pending a court hearing on her asylum request.
Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York said the Republican response was a ploy. "Every time they see a bad headline they're going to bring a bill to the floor and make it go away," she said.
"It got me fired up," said the 30-year-old single mother, who also was released by U.S. immigration officials with her children last week after one night in custody. "This is the only way out."
Some Republicans took obvious pleasure in the rough rollout Tuesday of new health insurance markets created under Obama's health care law. Widespread online glitches prevented many people from signing up for coverage that begins in January.
Ynez Valencia Valladares, 23, said she boarded a bus to Tijuana with her children, ages 7, 5 and 3, unsure what to do after her brothers were killed on the family ranch. A Tijuana taxi driver told her to claim asylum, and she and her children were released after one night in custody. Elizabeth Silva's path toward asylum began when the hooded men kicked open the door to the family's home in Apatzingan around 8 a.m. on Sept. 2, killing her father, Jorge Silva, 47, and brother, Jose Manuel Silva, 14, according to the Michoacan state attorney general's office. Police made no arrests and haven't disclosed a possible motive. Silva suggested it had something to do with extortion payments. "Everyone
Rep. Trey Radel of Florida said a 14-year-old could build a better website "in an afternoon in his basement." At issue is the need to pass a temporary funding bill to keep the government open since the start of the new budget year on Tuesday. Congress has passed more than 100 temporary funding bills since the last shutdown in 1996, almost all of them without controversy. The streak was broken because conservative Republicans have held up the current measure in the longshot hope of derailing or delaying Obamacare, just as the health insurance markets at the heart of the law opened on Tuesday.
6 The Weekly News Digest,
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C A L I F O R I N A M A N C H A R G E D I N B L A C K M A R K E T D R U G S C H E M E SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- FBI agents found him in the science fiction section of a small branch of the San Francisco public library, chatting online.
From there, investigators began to monitor Ulbricht's online behavior closely, according to the court records. Investigators said Ulbricht was living within 500 feet of a San Francisco Internet cafe on June 3, 2013, when someone "logged into a server used to administer the Silk Road website."
The man known as Dread Pirate Roberts 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht - was on his personal laptop Tuesday afternoon, authorities said, talking about the vast black market bazaar that is believed to have brokered more than $1 billion in transactions for illegal drugs and services.
Court documents show investigators slowly connected Ulbricht to Silk Road by monitoring his email and picking up on some slipups, including using his real name to ask a programmers' website a highly technical question about connecting to secret sites like Silk Road.
When a half-dozen FBI agents burst into the library in a quiet, blue-collar neighborhood, they abruptly ended Ulbricht's conversation with a cooperating witness, pinned the Austin, Texas, native to a floorto-ceiling window and then took him off to jail, law enforcement and library spokeswomen said. Ulbricht was later charged in criminal complaints in federal courts in New York and Maryland. He's accused of making millions of dollars operating the secret Silk Road website and of a failed murder-for-hire scheme, all while living anonymously with two roommates whom he paid $1,000 to rent a room in a modest neighborhood. Federal authorities shut down the website. Ulbricht has not entered pleas to any of his charges. His federal public defender in San Francisco declined to comment Wednesday. Ulbricht is due back in San Francisco federal court Friday morning to discuss bail and his transfer to New York, where the bulk of the charges have been filed. He is charged in New York with being the mastermind of Silk Road, where users could browse anonymously through nearly 13,000 listings under categories like "Cannabis," `'Psychedelics" and "Stimulants."
Ulbricht also is charged in Maryland with ordering first the torture, and then the murder, of an employee from an undercover agent. He feared the employee would expose his alias as Dread Pirate Roberts, a fictional character. Court records say he wired the agent $80,000 after he was shown staged photos of the employee's faked torture. His arrest culminated a two-year-investigation that painstakingly followed a small trail of computer crumbs Ulbricht carelessly left for the FBI to find, according to court documents. Ulbricht first came to the attention of federal agents in 2011 when they figured out he was "altoid," someone who they say was marketing Silk Road on other drug-related websites the FBI was watching. In October 2011, "altoid" posted an advertisement for a computer expert with experience in Bitcoin, an electronic currency, and gave an email address.
N O W A T Y O U R L I B R A R Y : S T R E A M I N G M O V I E S , M U S I C others towns and cities nationwide. Hoopla launched in full in May with 20 library systems. As of early September, there are about 220,000 people using the app, said Michael Manon, Hoopla's brand manager. The goal is to reach 100 library systems by year's end. Libraries have always been a source of audiovisual entertainment. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey found that among patrons 16 years old and older, 40 percent visited libraries to borrow movies. Another 16 percent borrowed music. In the Seattle area, DVDs and CDs of popular titles can have queues of hundreds of people waiting to check them out. Ebooks have been offered for years now. Kirk Blankenship, Electronic Resources Librarian for Seattle Public Libraries, poses for a photo in the DVD shelving area of the library as he holds a tablet with the website for streaming-media company Hoopla, which the library is using to offer patrons free access to streaming movies, music, and audiobooks.
"Public libraries do not have the budgets to compete with Amazon, Comcast, and Netflix and will not be able to pay a premium for online content," Blankenship said, adding that DVDs will continue to be the best way to offer popular movies.
SEATTLE (AP) -- There's a new source to stream movies and other digital content, and it's not a tech company with tens of thousands of titles. It's something more familiar, and might even be just down the street: the public library.
Updating and maintaining that physical collection takes time and money. It also means libraries have to pay for the media upfront, while Hoopla allows them to pay per time a title is borrowed.
Often thought of as stodgy brick-and-mortar havens for bibliophiles, libraries are trying out a new service that allows patrons to check out streaming movies, music, TV shows and audiobooks from anywhere they want.
Those costs depend on the type of media and its release date, and range from 99 cents to $2.99. Seattle libraries have allocated $10,000 a month limit so far for Hoopla items and patrons are limited to 20 checkouts a month, Blankenship said.
It works similarly to Netflix: Through an app on a tablet or a browser on a personal computer, users can peruse dozens of movies and click on a film to "borrow" it. The content starts streaming, for free.
That limit may change, depending on demand and how usage grows. Hoopla's launch won't affect the stocking of physical DVDs at library branches for the time being, Blankenship said.
While libraries are already loaning e-books, the move to streaming is part of a larger shift for them to remain relevant in a digital world. Libraries are "meeting patrons where they want to access content," said Kirk Blankenship, Electronic Resources Librarian for Seattle Public Libraries, which is using the service called Hoopla. The service, from Ohio-based Midwest Tape, LLC, is also being used in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Topeka, Kan., and several
Sponcor A Child
On July 26, Homeland Security investigators visited Ulbricht at his San Francisco residence. He "generally refused to answer questions," the agents said. The investigators left that day without arresting Ulbricht, who holds a bachelor's of science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a master's degree from Penn State University. They returned Tuesday and arrested him at the library. He faces the prospect of life in prison if convicted of all the charges. The Silk Road website protected users with an encryption technique called "onion routing," which is designed to make it "practically impossible to physically locate the computers hosting or accessing websites on the network," court papers said. One listing for heroin promised buyers "all rock, no powder, vacuum sealed and stealth shipping," and had a community forum below where one person commented, "Quality is superb." The defendant announced in a website forum in 2012 that to avoid confusion he needed to change his Silk Road username, according to court papers released Wednesday. He wrote, "drum roll please ... my new name is: Dread Pirate Roberts," an apparent reference to a swashbuckling character in "The Princess Bride," the 1987 comedy film based on a novel of the same name. As of July, there were nearly 1 million registered users of the site from the United States, Germany, Russia, Australia and elsewhere around the globe, the court papers said. The site generated an estimated $1.2 billion since it started in 2011 and collected $80 million by charging 8 to 15 percent commission on each sale, they said.
shows, but not much else from TV. There are also educational choices, such as preparation videos for high school advanced placement exams. On the music side, the choices are far greater and newer about 300,000 titles. "The music industry is more attuned to the digital," Hoopla's Manon said. "Unfortunately, for movies and television, the owners are a bit more apprehensive." So far, Hoopla is available on Apple and Android products. They are developing apps for Xbox and Chromecast next.
For Seattle resident and library patron Jamie Koepnick-Herrera, Hoopla has joined her other streaming services such as Netflix, which she uses for movies, and Hulu, which she uses to watch current seasons of television shows. On Hoopla, she found the yoga videos she was looking for. "I think it provides a great free source of entertainment for families who can't afford to get a movie for family night or for teenagers to have access to that album they can't afford," Koepnick-Herrera said.
Hoopla's movie and television collection is impressive in its numbers: About 3,000 titles. It is, however, chockfull of B-movies. Some of the newer movies weren't exactly hits in the theaters, such as Keanu Reeves' "Generation Um" and Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy," which preceded his hit "The Butler." But there are also many older films, including some classics and a healthy choice of foreign flicks. The collection also includes documentaries, such as "Gasland" and "Restrepo," and public television documentaries, like Ken Burn's "Prohibition."
Hopr for Today...Hope for Tommarow
His final mistake, according to the court papers, was ordering fake identification documents from a Silk Road vendor from Canada. One of the nine documents was a California driver's license with Ulbricht's photograph, birthdate but a different name. The package was intercepted at the border during a routine U.S. Customs search.
Hoopla offers plenty of National Geographic and British TV
_____________________________________________________The Weekly News Digest, October 7, 2013
C H I N A R E C Y C L I N G C L E A N U P J O L T S G L O B A L I N D U S T R Y BEIJING (AP) -- China for years has welcomed the world's trash, creating a roaring business in recycling and livelihoods for tens of thousands. Now authorities are clamping down on an industry that has helped the rich West dispose of its waste but also added to the degradation of China's environment.
About half of plastic soft drink and water bottles collected in the United States for recycling are sent to China, according to Kim Holmes, director of recycling for the Society of the Plastics Industry in Washington. She said nearly all plastic from U.S. electronics waste is exported to Asia.
The Chinese campaign is aimed at enforcing standards for waste imports after Beijing decided too many were unusable or even dangerous and would end up in its landfills. Under the crackdown dubbed Green Fence, China has rejected hundreds of containers of waste it said were contaminated or that improperly mixed different types of scrap.
"The export market is a major component of the broader U.S. recycling industry," said Holmes in an email.
It is abruptly changing a multibillion-dollar global industry in which China is a major processing center for the world's discarded soft drink bottles, scrap metal, electronics and other materials. Whole villages in China's southeast are devoted to processing single products, such as electronics. Household workshops break down discarded computers or appliances to recover copper and other metals. Some use crude smelters or burn leftover plastic and other materials, releasing lead and other toxins into the air. Green Fence is in line with the ruling Communist Party's pledges to make the economy cleaner and more efficient after three decades of breakneck growth that fouled rivers and left China's cities choking on smog.
"Some unscrupulous traders, in order to maximize profit, smuggle medical and other waste inside shipments, a direct threat to everyone's health," said a Shanghai Customs Bureau statement in April.
Brian Conners, who works for a Philadelphia company that recycles discarded refrigerators, says buyers used to visit every week looking for scrap plastic to ship to China for reprocessing. Then Beijing launched its crackdown in February aimed at cleaning up the thriving but dirty recycling industry. "Now they're all gone," said Conners, president of ARCA Advanced Processing. American and European recyclers send a significant part of their business to China and say they support higher quality standards. But stricter scrutiny has slowed imports and raised their costs. The decline in the number of traders buying scrap to ship to China has also depressed prices American and European recycling companies can get for their plastic and metals. "While we support Green Fence, it has increased our cost of doing business," said Mike Biddle, founder of MBA Polymers, a plastics recycler with facilities in California, Europe and southern China. "It takes longer and there are more inspections." At the same time, people in the industry say recyclers that invest in cleaner technology might be rewarded with more business as dirtier competitors are forced out of the market. The crackdown also might create new opportunities to process material in the United States and Europe instead of shipping it around the globe. China's recycling industry has boomed over the past 20 years. Its manufacturers needed the metal, paper and plastic and Beijing was willing to tolerate the environmental cost. Millions of tons of discarded plastic, computers, electronics, newspapers and shredded automobiles and appliances are imported every year from the United States, Europe and Japan.
China allows waste shipments to contain no more than 1 percent unrelated material. But Customs officials say some were found to be up to 40 percent unrecyclable trash.
Discarded television sets pile up in a scrap yard awaiting recycling in Zhuzhou city in south China's Hunan province. Chinaâ€™s recycling industry has boomed over the past 20 years. Its manufacturers needed the metal, paper and plastic and Beijing was willing to tolerate the environmental cost. But environmentalists have long complained the industry is poisoning Chinaâ€™s air, water and soil
But environmentalists have long complained the industry is poisoning China's air, water and soil. And Beijing, ever vigilant about possible threats to the legitimacy of one party rule, now wants to be seen as addressing increased public awareness and concern over pollution. "The waste recycling system in China really needs to be updated to reduce pollution," said Lin Xiaozhu, head of the solid waste program for the Chinese group Friends of Nature. In 2011, recycled scrap supplied some 21 percent of the nearly 100 million tons of paper used by Chinese industry, according to the state-run newspaper China Daily. It said that resulted in a savings of 18.7 million tons of wood. In Europe, electronics recyclers recover about 2.2 million tons of plastic and metal annually and send about 15 to 20 percent of that to China, according to Norbert Zonnefeld, executive secretary of the European Electronics Recyclers Association. Its 40 member companies include electronics manufacturers and copper smelters. European recyclers welcome China's tighter enforcement because it will help them comply with European Union rules on tracking waste and ensuring it is properly handled, said Zonnefeld. Still, he said, some traders have run into trouble. "I have heard material has been sent back," said Zonnefeld. "Of course, they should have known. They were just gambling." The United States relies even more heavily on China to recycle its waste. Americans threw away 32 million tons of plastic in the form of packaging, appliances, plates and cups last year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About 1.1 million tons was collected for recycling.
M A R A T H O N S U S P E C T WA N T S PRISON RESTRICTIONS LIFTED BOSTON (AP) -- Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a judge Wednesday to lift restrictions placed on him in prison, arguing that the conditions are overly harsh, have left him nearly totally isolated and are impairing their ability to defend him. Tsarnaev's lawyers said in a motion filed in court that he has been confined to his cell except for visits from them and has "very limited access" to a small outdoor enclosure. Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of building and planting bombs near the finish line of the April 15 marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Authorities say he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, ethnic Chechens from Russia who emigrated to the United States as children, planned and carried out the attack to retaliate against the U.S. for its involvement in Muslim countries. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed four days after the marathon following a gun battle with police. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found wounded and hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown. Authorities said he had scrawled anti-American messages on the inside of the boat, including "The U.S. Government is killing our innocent civilians" and "We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all." In their motion, Tsarnaev's lawyers said "Special Administrative Measures" were imposed on their client beginning in August, at the request of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the approval of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "SAMs," as they are known, are used in terrorism cases and other high-profile cases when authorities allege there is "substantial risk" that a defendant's communications or contacts with people "could result in death or serious bodily injury" to others. The special restrictions were placed on shoe bomb suspect Richard Reid, "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh and other terror suspects. The measures restrict access to the mail, the media, the telephone and visitors.
Tsarnaev's lawyers say prosecutors have presented no evidence that the special restrictions are needed in Tsarnaev's case. "The government has not alleged that Mr. Tsarnaev has done or said anything since his arrest to commit violence, incite violence, or engage in communications that pose a security threat," his lawyers argued in the filing. They also said the special measures limit Tsarnaev's interaction with people who are helping the defense and restrict the communications and other activities of the defense team. A spokeswoman for Ortiz did not immediately return a call seeking comment. In a memo outlining the factual basis for the restrictions, prosecutors said Tsarnaev "reaffirmed his commitment to jihad and expressed hope that his actions would inspire others to engage in violent jihad" while he was being interviewed by the FBI after he was captured. "There is no indication that Tsarnaev's intentions have changed since then," prosecutors said in the memo, which was included in the defense motion. The government also notes that Tsarnaev has gained "widespread notoriety" since his arrest and has received nearly 1,000 pieces of unsolicited mail. His lawyers said Tsarnaev has not responded to any of the mail, which they said is not "jihadist" in nature, but instead consists almost entirely of letters and cards from people "who believe he is innocent and people urging him to repent and convert to Christianity."
Despite a ban on imports of used tires, inspectors intercepted a 115-ton shipment of them in March, the bureau said. They were labeled "recycled rubber bands." ARCA Advanced Processing dismantles about 600,000 refrigerators a year and recovers 80 tons of plastic a week, plus copper, aluminum and other metals, according to Conners. He said those still are sold to traders who ship much of it to China, but the number who can satisfy Beijing's requirements to separate and clean waste has plunged. "There used to be guys who would come to our facility probably once a week to buy our plastic to take back to China," he said. "That has gone down to where I have two vendors who still are able to do business to get it into China." In a reflection of more stringent controls, customs data show Chinese imports of waste plastic fell 11.3 percent in the first half of this year compared with a year earlier to 3.5 million tons after soaring over the past decade. MBA Polymer's facility in the southern city of Guangzhou, in the heart of China's manufacturing industry, can process 40,000 tons of plastic a year, according to Biddle. It transforms waste into pellets to be used as raw material for new products. Buyers include Chinese manufacturers that work for companies such as computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. and consumer electronics giant Philips NV. Biddle said he welcomes Green Fence despite the disruption of imports because higher standards will favor more responsible companies. "We've had to compete for raw materials with people who treat the materials not in ways that protect workers or the environment," Biddle said by phone from California. "I see China moving toward encouraging companies like ours to develop." Conners said that by raising the cost of dealing with China, Green Fence might make it profitable for more Western companies to conduct the whole recycling process themselves. He said his company is looking at possible ventures to do that with partners. "The advantage China had has been reduced considerably. That advantage was low-cost processing," he said. "This is going to spur investment in the United States to process materials here."
SHUTDOWN IN 3RD Continued from page 1 hard evidence that she was involved. The Interpol notice made no mention of Westgate, however, saying that Lewthwaite is wanted on charges of possessing explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony in December 2011. African authorities have linked her to other attacks as well - again, without presenting evidence of her involvement. She is believed to have been questioned by police once but was not taken into custody. She originally criticized her late husband - Jermaine Lindsay - for taking part in the transit attacks, but later apparently embraced the jihadi cause. She told The Sun newspaper in September 2005 that her husband had fallen under the influence of radical mosques. "How these people could have turned him and poisoned his mind is dreadful," the newspaper quoted her as saying. "He was an innocent, naive and simple man. I suppose he must have been an ideal candidate.
The motion was submitted by federal public defenders Miriam Conrad, William Fick and Timothy Watkins, and San Diego attorney Judge Clarke, a death penalty specialist. Conrad declined to comment on the filing.
"He was so angry when he saw Muslim civilians being killed on the streets of Iraq, Bosnia, Palestine and Israel and always said it was the innocent who suffered."
Tsarnaev's lawyers argue that the special measures allow them to share information they obtain from Tsarnaev among themselves by phone or in person for the purpose of preparing his defense, but prohibit them from sharing that information by mail "under any circumstances for any purpose."
"It is ... completely impractical for members of the defense team to keep track of the means by which they have learned individual pieces of information from Mr. Tsarnaev," they argue.
The Weekly News Digest, October 7, 2013
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- An estimated 10,000 walrus unable to find sea ice over shallow Arctic Ocean water have come ashore on Alaska's northwest coast.
of the Chukchi Sea in 2007. They returned in 2009, and in 2011, scientists estimated 30,000 walruses along one kilometer of beach near Point Lay.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday photographed walrus packed onto a beach on a barrier island near Point Lay, an Inupiat Eskimo village 300 miles southwest of Barrow and 700 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Remnant ice kept walrus offshore in 2008 and again last year. The goal of the marine mammals survey is to record the abundance of bowhead, gray, minke, fin and beluga whales plus other marine mammals in areas of potential oil and natural gas development, said NOAA Fisheries marine mammal scientist Megan Ferguson in an announcement.
The walrus have been coming to shore since midSeptember. The large herd was spotted during NOAA's annual arctic marine mammal aerial survey, an effort conducted with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the agency that conducts offshore lease sales. An estimated 2,000 to 4,000 walrus were photographed at the site Sept. 12. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that manages walrus, immediately took steps to prevent a stampede among the animals packed shoulder to shoulder on the rocky coastline. The agency works with villages to keep people and airplanes a safe distance from herds. Young animals are especially vulnerable to stampedes triggered by a polar bear, a human hunter or a low-flying airplane. The carcasses of more than 130 mostly young walruses were counted after a stampede in September 2009 at Alaska's Icy Cape. The gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.
Thousands of walruses hauling out on a remote barrier island in the Chukchi Sea near Point Lay, Alaska. An estimated 10,000 Pacific walrus have gone ashore on Alaska's northwest coast and are bunched along a beach near the village of Point Lay. The National Marine Fisheries Service says 1,500 to 4,000 walrus were counted Sept. 12 and numbers had swollen to 10,000 on Friday.
Pacific walrus spend winters in the Bering Sea. Females give birth on sea ice and use ice as a diving platform to reach snails, clams and worms on the shallow continental shelf. As temperatures warm in summer, the edge of the sea ice recedes north. Females and their young ride the edge of the sea ice into the Chukchi Sea. However, in recent years, sea ice has receded north beyond continental shelf waters and into Arctic Ocean water 10,000 feet deep or more where walrus cannot dive to the bottom.
"In addition to photographing the walrus haulout area, NOAA scientists documented more bowhead whales, including calves and feeding adults in the Beaufort Sea this summer compared to 2012," said Ferguson. "We are also seeing more gray whale calves in the Chukchi Sea than we have in recent years." Environmental groups say the loss of sea ice due to climate warming is harming marine mammals and oil and gas development would add to their stress.
WAV E O F J E L LY F I S H SHUTS DOWN SWEDISH NUKE REACTOR
Walrus in large numbers were first spotted on the U.S. side
N A S A P R E PA R I N G TO L A U N C H 3 - D P R I N T E R I N T O S P A C E tools are on the station already, what if the parts could be 3-D printed when they needed them?" When staffing his start up in 2010, Kemmer and his partners warned engineers there would be ups and downs - nauseating ones. In more than a dozen flights in NASA's "vomit comet" reduced-gravity aircraft, Made In Space scientists tested printer after printer. Last week at their headquarters on NASA's campus, Made In Space engineers in lab coats and hair nets tinkered with a sealed 3-D printer in a dust free cleanroom, preparing the models for further pre-launch tests.
Project manager Matthew Napoli, left, and director of research and development Michael Snyder test a 3D printer which will eventually be used in space on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at Made in Space in Mountain View, Calif. One of the biggest obstacles to space exploration is that you need to bring everything with you: tools, equipment, spare parts, satellites. NASA is working with a Silicon Valley company to make specialized 3D printers that would allow astronauts to produce the things they need on-demand when they're in space, allowing them to travel farther from the Earth.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (AP) -- NASA is preparing to launch a 3D printer into space next year, a toaster-sized game changer that greatly reduces the need for astronauts to load up with every tool, spare part or supply they might ever need. The printers would serve as a flying factory of infinite designs, creating objects by extruding layer upon layer of plastic from long strands coiled around large spools. Doctors use them to make replacement joints and artists use them to build exquisite jewelry. In NASA labs, engineers are 3-D printing small satellites that could shoot out of the Space Station and transmit data to earth, as well as replacement parts and rocket pieces that can survive extreme temperatures. "Any time we realize we can 3-D print something in space, it's like Christmas," said inventor Andrew Filo, who is consulting with NASA on the project. "You can get rid of concepts like rationing, scarce or irreplaceable." The spools of plastic could eventually replace racks of extra instruments and hardware, although the upcoming mission is just a demonstration printing job. "If you want to be adaptable, you have to be able to design and manufacture on the fly, and that's where 3-D printing in space comes in," said Dave Korsmeyer, director of engineering at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, about 35 miles south of San Francisco. For the first 3-D printer in space test slated for fall 2014, NASA had more than a dozen machines to choose from, ranging from $300 desktop models to $500,000 warehouse builders. All of them, however, were built for use on Earth, and space travel presented challenges, from the loads and vibrations of launch to the stresses of working in orbit, including microgravity, differing air pressures, limited power and variable temperatures. As a result, NASA hired Silicon Valley startup Made In Space to build something entirely new. "Imagine an astronaut needing to make a life-or-death repair on the International Space Station," said Aaron Kemmer, CEO of Made in Space. "Rather than hoping that the necessary parts and
As proof of its utility, the team revisited the notorious 1970 moonbound Apollo 13 breakdown, when astronauts were forced to jerryrig a lifesaving carbon dioxide filter holder with a plastic bag, a manual cover and duct tape. A 3-D printer could have solved the problem in minutes. "Safety has been one of our biggest concerns," said strategic officer Michael Chen. Sparks, breakages and electric surges can have grave consequences in the space station. "But when we get it right, we believe these are the only way to manifest living in space," he said. Space-bound printers will also, eventually, need to capture gasses emitted from the extruded plastics, be able to print their own parts for self-repairs and have some abilities to recycle printed products into new ones. Scott Crump, who helped develop 3-D printing technology in 1988 by making a toy frog for his daughter with a glue gun in his kitchen, said he never conceived how pivotal it could be for space travel. But he said that until metal becomes commonly used in 3-D printers, the applications will be limited. "The good news is that you don't have to have this huge amount of inventory in space, but the bad news is now you need materials, in this case filament, and a lot of power," he said. NASA and other international space agencies are pressing forward with 3-D printing. Mastering space manufacturing, along with finding and producing water and food on the moon or other planets, could lead to living on space. Last month, the space agency awarded Bothell, Wash.-based Tethers Unlimited $500,000 toward a project to use 3-D printing and robots to build massive antennas and solar power generators in space by 2020. It replaces the expensive and cumbersome process of building foldable parts on Earth and assembling them in orbit. For Made In Space's debut, when it's shuttled up to the space station aboard a spaceflight cargo resupply mission, the initial prints will be tests - different small shapes to be studied for strength and accuracy. They're also discussing with NASA about what the first real piece that they should print will be. Whatever it is, it will be a historic and symbolic item sure to end up in a museum someday. "It's not something we're discussing publicly right now," said CEO Kemmer. Then, Jason Dunn, the chief technology officer, beckoned, dropping his voice as he grinned. "We're going to build a Death Star," he joked softly, referring to the giant space station in the "Star Wars" movies that could blow up planets. "Then it's all going to be over."
an exterior view of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Oskarshamn, southeastern Sweden. Officials at OKG, which runs the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in southeastern Sweden, say they had to shut down reactor three on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 after tons of jellyfish clogged up pipes bringing cooling water to the plant. It wasn't a tsunami but it had the same effect: A huge cluster of jellyfish forced one of the world's largest nuclear reactors to shut down - a phenomenon that marine biologists say could become more common. Operators of the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden had to scramble reactor number three on Sunday after tons of jellyfish clogged the pipes that bring in cool water to the plant's turbines. By Tuesday, the pipes had been cleaned of the jellyfish and engineers were preparing to restart the reactor, which at 1,400 megawatts of output is the largest boiling-water reactor in the world, said Anders Osterberg, a spokesman for OKG, the plant operator. All three Oskharshamn reactors are boiling-water types, the same technology at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant that suffered a catastrophic failure in 2011 after a tsunami breached the facility's walls and flooded its equipment. Jellyfish are not a new problem for nuclear power plants. Last year the California-based Diablo Canyon facility had to shut its reactor two after gobs of sea salp - a gelatinous, jellyfish-like organism - clogged intake pipes. In 2005, the first unit at Oskarshamn was temporarily turned off due to a sudden jellyfish influx. Nuclear power plants need a constant flow of water to cool their reactor and turbine systems, which is why many such plants are built near large bodies of water. Marine biologists, meanwhile, say they would not be surprised if more jellyfish shutdowns occur in the future. "It's true that there seems to be more and more of these extreme cases of blooming jellyfish," said Lene Moller, a researcher at the Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment. "But it's very difficult to say if there are more jellyfish, because there is no historical data." The species that caused the Oskarshamn shutdown is known as the common moon jellyfish. "It's one of the species that can bloom in extreme areas that . . . are overfished or have bad conditions," said Moller. "The moon jelly likes these types of waters. They don't care if there are algae blooms, they don't care if the oxygen concentration is low. The fish leave . . . and (the moon jelly) can really take over the ecosystem." Moller said the biggest problem was that there's no monitoring of jellyfish in the Baltic Sea to produce the data that scientists need to figure out how to tackle the issue.