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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 15733 times)
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« Reply #5565 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 1:22pm »

Huffington Post

by Lee Speigel
Posted: 11/22/11 08:00 AM ET

Yeti Evidence Falls Flat: Scientist Says Local Officials Staged Siberian Snowman Hunt For Publicity

A group of international scientists made headlines last month after suggesting they were "95 percent" certain they'd found evidence that the elusive Yeti -- or fabled Siberian Snowman -- really exists.

But one scientist who was part of the big snowman hunt tells The Huffington Post that local Siberian officials staged the entire snowman scenario -- all for publicity.

"It was a very awkward feeling because here I was a guest and this was clearly orchestrated," said Idaho State University anthropologist and anatomist Jeffrey Meldrum.

And now, as researchers claim that twisted tree branches are possible proof of the Yeti's existence, Meldrum is offering a word of caution.

"Since nobody has demonstrated to me any corroborating evidence, like footprints in direct association or hair intertwined in any of these [tree] structures, I'm much more inclined to think the majority of them are just natural occurrences," he said.

Meldrum was among a handful of scientists and investigators invited to Russia's Kemerovo region -- about 2,000 miles east of Moscow -- in October to look at possible evidence of a large, hairy primate, known as the Yeti or Siberian Snowman.

"I was happy when I learned there was interest by Russian government authorities to promote and sponsor the organization of a [Yeti] institute," Meldrum said.

"I thought that, at the very least, the official recognition of an institute -- of the need and the desirability to investigate these claims -- was a positive step," he said.

Meldrum, author of "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," was the only American scientist in the group that traveled to a huge cave in Kemerovo, home to an alleged Yeti.

His suspicions began when trip organizer Igor Burtsev, head of the Yeti Institute at Kemerovo State University, told the group that it might find some remains of Yeti footprints in the cave.

"Somebody found a right footprint," Meldrum said. "But I thought it was a little vague and not real distinct. It was a pretty expansive cave and there could've been footprints all over the place, if there was something tromping around in there in the sand."

When Meldrum decided to go farther into the cave on his own, followed by a cameraman, "one of the regional government people saw us and rather harshly called us back, stopping us from going any farther back."

"I thought that was kind of odd, and then someone picked up a little tuft of hair that was apparently pressed into the footprint. At that point, I wasn't comfortable with the situation and had an inkling of what might be happening," Meldrum said.

Adding to his growing feeling that the entire situation was a setup, the respected American scientist (pictured at right, holding a replica of a Bigfoot cast from Washington state) said that the trail leading to the cave had been well maintained and showed signs of being frequently visited, including graffiti on the cave walls, remnants of some campfires and discarded trash.

Another piece to this problematic scenario was that as soon as Meldrum suggested he couldn't place any credibility in just one footprint, suddenly another one was found -- another right footprint. When he looked a little further, he found a third print, "but it was also a right and I said it would be nice to find a left one, and I said facetiously, 'Is the Yeti playing hopscotch here?'" (See Meldrum inside the cave in the video at the top of this story.)

"But my point was simply that if this was a spontaneous line of tracks, we'd expect to see both rights and lefts," he said. "And why is it that the tracks are only leading out and none are leading in?

"If an animal is occupying this cave, it's not going to sleep on this cold, wet ground. It's going to have some kind of a bed or a nest of sorts. And just as if on cue, I'd barely got the words out when one of the [officials] raised his torch beam and there, under a little alcove on the side, was this neat little fern bed or mattress or nest."

It was at this point that Meldrum said he realized that everything that happened in the alleged Yeti lair was likely completely staged for his and the media's benefit. The publicity certainly wouldn't hurt Kemerovo's skiing tourism activities.

"These prints were too odd-looking and I said to everyone that if something was sleeping in here, this nest would be compacted and pressed down," Meldrum said. "We should be able to quickly find hair among the things here, and I can't see anything."

Meldrum added that Burtsev then dove onto the ferns in front of the cameras. "And I thought, 'Well, that's very scientific, Igor, you've just contaminated the whole scene.'"

Most of the participants and press were excited about what was found in the cave, which led to the headlines declaring they were "95 percent" certain of Yeti's existence.

But Meldrum was disappointed with the entire incident, including talk of how fallen and twisted trees across the trail were assumed to be an intentional action on the part of a Yeti or a wild snowman, obstructing the trail. He thought the close proximity of the twisted branches was suspiciously convenient.

Despite his skepticism of what happened in Siberia, Meldrum nonetheless believes there's been enough real and anecdotal evidence over many decades that suggests there might really be tall, hairy, unknown hominids in the Siberian region with similar characteristics to reported Bigfoot and Sasquatch sightings found elsewhere in the world.

With so much hype over alleged footprints, broken tree branches and a nest of ferns, let's not forget what would constitute the ultimate proof in the decades-old hunt for the Yeti or its North American hairy cousins: a body, dead or alive. That would open up a whole new branch of hominid science and would certainly quiet the skeptics.

And now that he's voiced his dubious opinion on the events of the Siberian Yeti hunt, Meldrum said he doubts he'll be included in any future Russian field trips.

"They were talking about having this conference become an annual event," he said, "and I'm quite confident I will not be invited back."

photos and video after the jump
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/yeti-siberian-snowman-evidence_n_1100497.html?ref=weird-news#s388533

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« Reply #5566 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 1:24pm »

Wired Danger Room

Pentagon’s War on Drugs Goes Mercenary
By Spencer Ackerman
November 22, 2011 | 6:30 am
Categories: Mercs

An obscure Pentagon office designed to curb the flow of illegal drugs has quietly evolved into a one-stop shop for private security contractors around the world, soliciting deals worth over $3 billion.

The sprawling contract, ostensibly designed to stop drug-funded terrorism, seeks security firms for missions like “train[ing] Azerbaijan Naval Commandos.” Other tasks include providing Black Hawk and Kiowa helicopter training “for crew members of the Mexican Secretariat of Public Security.” Still others involve building “anti-terrorism/force protection enhancements” for the Pakistani border force in the tribal areas abutting Afghanistan.

The Defense Department’s Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office has packed all these tasks and more inside a mega-contract for security firms. The office, known as CNTPO, is all but unknown, even to professional Pentagon watchers. It interprets its counternarcotics mandate very, very broadly, leaning heavily on its implied counterterrorism portfolio. And it’s responsible for one of the largest chunks of money provided to mercenaries in the entire federal government.

CNTPO quietly solicited an umbrella contract for all the security services listed above — and many, many more — on Nov. 9. It will begin handing out the contract’s cash by August. And there is a lot of cash to disburse.

The ceiling for the “operations, logistics and minor construction” tasks within CNTPO’s contract is $950 million. Training foreign forces tops out at $975 million. “Information” tasks yield $875 million. The vague “program and program support” brings another $240 million.

That puts CNTPO in a rare category. By disbursing at least $3 billion — likely more, since the contract awards come with up to three yearlong re-ups — the office is among the most lucrative sources of cash for private security contractors. The largest, from the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, doles out a $10 billion, five-year deal known as the Worldwide Protective Services contract.

CNTPO is “essentially planning on outsourcing a global counternarcotics and counterterrorism program over the next several years,” says Nick Schwellenbach, director of investigations for the Project on Government Oversight, “and it’s willing to spend billions to do so.”

For the vast majority of people who’ve never heard of CNTPO, the organization answers to the Pentagon’s Special Operations Low-Intensity Conflict Directorate, within the Counternarcotics and Global Threats portfolio. It’s tucked away so deep, bureaucratically speaking, that it doesn’t actually have an office at the Pentagon.

The organization, run by a civilian named Mike Strand, has been around since 1995. In 2007, it made a big push into contracting, hiring the Blackwater subsidiary U.S. Training Center as well as defense giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and ARINC for “a wide range of Defense counternarcotics activities,” according to a statement provided to Danger Room by the agency. That award, which has doled out $4.3 billion so far, is the precursor to the current bid.

Maybe that’s why an “Industry Day” last week at a Fredericksburg, Virginia hotel to introduce CNTPO to would-be contractors attracted “approximately 180 companies,” CNTPO boasts.

CNTPO might not be well-known. But in some circles, it’s infamous.

In 2009, a bureaucratic shift plucked the responsibility for training Afghanistan’s police out of the State Department’s hands. Suddenly, the contract — worth about $1 billion — landed with CNTPO. CNTPO quietly chose Blackwater for the contract, even though Blackwater guards in Afghanistan on a different contract stole hundreds of guns intended for those very Afghan cops.

The incumbent holder of the contract, Blackwater competitor DynCorp, protested. It didn’t help that a powerful Senate committee discovered Blackwater’s gun-stealing antics. In December, DynCorp finally received the contract — administered by an Army office, not CNTPO.

But that hasn’t stopped CNTPO’s expansion. In its new contract, the office explicitly stakes out a broad definition of its mandate: “to disrupt, deter, and defeat the threat to national security posed by illicit trafficking in all its manifestations: drugs, small arms and explosives, precursor chemicals, people, and illicitly-gained and laundered money.” It declares its practices “beyond traditional DoD acquisition and contracting scopes.”

How broad is that in practice? Tasks contained in the CNTPO contract range from “airlift services in the trans-Sahara region of Africa” to “media analysis and web-site development consultation to officials of the Government of Pakistan.”

The small agency is “worldwide,” the contract says, as “the primary regional areas of interest include Central and Western Asia, Sub-Sahara Africa, and Central and South America.” But its contracting oversight efforts are comparatively local.

According to CNTPO, oversight for its contracts are themselves outsourced to an Army Contracting Command outfit in Hunstville, Alabama. CNTPO “provides all contracting support for this effort, with 10 contracting officers/contracting specialists and legal/policy review of all contracts and task orders,” CNTPO’s statement reads, with “program management and customer support requirements” provided by CNTPO itself. That’s 10 bureaucrats to review billions of dollars in private security contracts, spent all over the world.

A member of the Wartime Contracting Commission, created by Congress to stop war profiteering, came away from an interaction with CNTPO concerned about that level of oversight.

“The overriding consideration tends to be helping the military with their mission,” says commissioner Charles Tiefer, a law professor at the University of Baltimore who interviewed CNTPO officials about the Afghanistan police contract. “Economies for tight supervision of private security activities take a back seat.”

CNTPO’s rise underscores an emerging trend in private security contracting: a move into some of the most sensitive missions the military performs. Mercs protect the bases in Afghanistan where U.S. Special Operations Forces live and work. When soldiers are taken prisoner, hired guns are entrusted to rescue them. Their tracking technology finds terrorists for U.S. commandos to kill. Now they’re training foreign commando forces.

“These are special-forces operations, and they’re best left in hands of our SF folks,” Schwellenbach says. “This stuff isn’t delivering paper clips or even fuel or bullets. It’s complex, sophisticated services, and there’s a reason we have Special Forces do this kind of training, not the regular Army. This is something you really want to keep a tight lid on.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/11/drug-war-mercenary/

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« Reply #5567 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 1:34pm »

The Wrap

Review: Witty, Moving ‘Arthur Christmas’ Should Be an Annual Tradition
Published: November 22, 2011 @ 9:57 am
By Alonso Duralde

One thing I learned while writing my holiday film guide “Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas” is that there are two kinds of plots in this sub-genre with a tendency to stink on ice: movies about Santa, and anything where somebody has to save Christmas. (“Miracle on 34th Street,” "Elf" and “Ernest Saves Christmas” among the exceptions, obviously.)


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The fact that “Arthur Christmas” delights, despite being both a Santa story and a somebody-saves-Christmas adventure, would be reason enough for celebration, but that’s putting too fine a point on it.

The funny, exciting, moving, intelligent “Arthur Christmas” will, if there’s any justice, become one of those annual classics that people return to each December and that becomes a part of the family holiday tradition.

And if the competition from “The Muppets” and “Hugo,” coupled with a horrendous marketing campaign (and a pun title that doesn’t really work outside of the United Kingdom), clobbers “Arthur Christmas” at the box office — well, hey, “It’s a Wonderful Life” didn’t do so hot in theaters, either.

The film takes place over the course of one tumultuous Christmas Eve, with the reigning Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent) overseeing the global distribution of toys, although at this point he’s pretty just along for the ride, delivering one or two presents himself to stay in the game.

The real mastermind behind the operation is Santa’s son Steve (Hugh Laurie), who has brought the operation into the 21st century with hi-tech gadgetry (the sleigh is now a huge spaceship) and an organizational style that would leave Six Sigma types panting in his wake.

But if Santa is the (figure)head at the North Pole, and Steve the brains, the heart would have to be Santa’s other son, Arthur (James McAvoy). He reads all the letters from children, answers their questions about how Santa can do everything he does in one night, and thinks of each individual kid by name and not by the code number Steve has assigned them all.

That’s why it’s Arthur who gets upset when one gift — a bike for a young girl named Gwen (Ramona Marquez), who continues to believe in Santa when all her friends have stopped — fails to be delivered.

Steve sees one failure among billions of successes as acceptable within the margin of error, and besides, he’s bitter that Santa has decided to stay on rather than pass the reins along to his eldest as promised. Santa, meanwhile, just wants to go to bed.

So it’s up to Arthur and his crotchety “Grandsanta” (Bill Nighy) to deliver Gwen’s bike, with the help of exceedingly resourceful gift-wrapping elf Bryony (Ashley Jensen), who can do wonders with colored paper and a few pieces of tape.

Over the course of the trio’s globe-trotting adventures in Grandsanta’s old sleigh, we come to find that while the somewhat clumsy and dotty Arthur has generally been ignored by his father and older brother, he’s the one with the deepest Christmas spirit.

http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/%E2%80%98arthur-christmas%E2%80%99-deserves-become-annual-tradition-32981

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« Reply #5568 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 1:49pm »

.






Uploaded by 3rdID8487 on Nov 21, 2011

Maj. Gen. John Toolan, Commanding General of Regional Command Southwest, explains what a Marine Air Ground Task Force is and what it does.
Produced by Marine Cpl. Daniel A. Wulz. Also available in high definition.

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« Reply #5569 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 3:58pm »

on Nov 22nd, 2011, 11:37am, dove wrote:
LOL! Hi everyone! Thanks so much for the warm welcome. Really sorry it took me so long to come back and say that. It's been busy on my end and I guess I'm not feeling so well, though I don't want to concede to that. Anyways, thanks again for the welcome. Not sure how much I'll come by, but it's good to have a place to wander to and hang out or just say hi. I hope you're all doing well. smiley

Hello, dove. Better late then never. wink smiley


I could imagine that purr might like that. wink

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« Reply #5570 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:23pm »



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grin

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« Reply #5571 on: Nov 22nd, 2011, 8:54pm »

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Launch-Ness Monster throw montage at Punkin Chunkin 2010.

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« Reply #5572 on: Nov 23rd, 2011, 08:20am »

LA Times

West Hollywood makes fur ban official
November 22, 2011 | 12:00 pm

After multiple readings and loads of public comment, the West Hollywood City Council gave final approval Monday night to its ban on fur sales.

By a vote of 3-1 with one abstention, the council passed the ban, which will prohibit the sale of fur apparel within city boundaries.

The move comes after the council tentatively approved the measure at a council meeting in September.

The ban was later tabled for 30 days as city officials worked to modify the ordinance to protect against potential lawsuits.

The ban, which is one of the first of its kind in the nation, is set to take effect in 2013.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/11/west-hollywood-fur-ban-made-official.html

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« Reply #5573 on: Nov 23rd, 2011, 08:25am »

back in a bit.
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« Reply #5574 on: Nov 23rd, 2011, 1:09pm »

The Hill

UK official: Obama needs to ‘put his money where his mouth is’ on climate

By Ben Geman - 11/23/11 10:54 AM ET

A senior official from the United Kingdom is calling out President Obama on climate change, alleging the president hasn’t put enough political capital into battling global warming.

The comments by Greg Barker, the minister of state for energy and climate change, are an unusually blunt assessment of the White House's climate record from a key ally.

“We need Obama not just to make speeches, but he needs to put his money where his mouth is and invest political capital domestically,” Barker said in London Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

“Unless the U.S. joins with the rest of the world and shows real leadership on this green agenda, we are not going to get a global agreement,” he said.

The comments come ahead of the next round of United Nations climate change talks that begin next week in Durban, South Africa.

The U.S. currently lacks binding greenhouse gas emissions cuts, which have been among the many factors that have sapped hopes for a global climate treaty in recent years.

Obama, speaking in Australia about climate change earlier this month, said cutting emissions can provide economic benefits, while arguing that China and India must also face commitments under any international deal.

“So part of our insistence when we are in multilateral forum — and I will continue to insist on this when we go to Durban — is that if we are taking a series of steps, then it’s important that emerging economies like China and India are also part of the bargain,” Obama said.

Resistance from China, the world’s largest emitter, to binding cuts has been a sticking point in international talks.

“Unless the U.S. joins with the rest of the world and shows real leadership on this green agenda, we are not going to get a global agreement,” Barker said.

“There hasn’t, I believe, been a concerted political effort by the administration at a time when there was an opportunity potentially to push the agenda forward. Not acting then proved to be a huge loss," Barker said, according to Bloomberg.

Obama has had mixed results on green energy and climate change. Administration officials point to major increases in auto efficiency standards that will reduce emissions, and expanded investment in green energy research and projects, among other accomplishments.

But climate change legislation collapsed in the Senate last year, and some environmentalists felt that Obama didn’t put enough political muscle behind the bill.

The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, is moving ahead with greenhouse gas regulations after the Bush administration refused to do so.

EPA is preparing to float first-time emissions standards for power plants and refineries, but the rules have been delayed. The agency currently plans to propose the power plant rules early next year.


http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/195313-uk-official-obama-must-put-his-money-where-his-mouth-is-on-climate

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« Reply #5575 on: Nov 23rd, 2011, 1:11pm »

Reuters

"Disastrous" bond sale shakes confidence in Germany

By Stephen Brown and Noah Barkin
BERLIN | Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:00pm EST

BERLIN (Reuters) - A "disastrous" German bond sale on Wednesday sparked fears that Europe's debt crisis was starting to threaten even Berlin, with the leaders of the euro zone's two biggest economies still at odds over a longer-term structural solution.

With contagion spreading, a majority of twenty prominent economists polled by Reuters predicted that the euro zone was unlikely to survive the crisis in its current form, with some envisaging a "core" group that would exclude Greece.

Investors were also unnerved by reports that Belgium is leaning on France to pay more into emergency support for failed lender Dexia under a 90-billion-euro ($120-billion) rescue deal that had appeared done and dusted.

A special report by Fitch Ratings suggested France had limited room left to absorb shocks to its finances, such as a new downturn in growth or support for banks, without endangering its triple-A credit status.

"The debt crisis is burrowing ever deeper, like a worm, and is now reaching Germany," one of the more eurosceptic backbenchers in Angela Merkel's center-right government, Frank Schaeffler of the junior coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP), told Reuters.

The German debt agency could not find buyers for almost half a bond sale of 6 billion euros. That pushed the cost of borrowing over 10 years for the bloc's paymaster above those for the United States for the first time since October.

"It is a complete and utter disaster," said Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities in London.

The new bond promised to pay out a 2.0 percent interest rate - the lowest ever on an issue of German 10-year Bunds. The auction's average yield was 1.98 percent, down from 2.09 percent for the previous benchmark in October.

After one of the least successful debt sales by Europe's powerhouse economy since the launch of the single currency, the euro fell to 1.336 against the dollar and European shares sank to 7-week lows.

Bunds slumped after the auction. Ten-year yields rose 14.5 basis points to 2.056 percent, yielding more than U.S. Treasury notes for the first time since early last month.

GERMAN EXPOSURE

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's spokesman told a news conference that the auction did not mean the government had refinancing problems and few on financial markets disagreed.

But it was a sign that, as the bloc's paymaster, Germany may slowly be pressured if the crisis continues to deepen. One senior ratings agency official said it could give Berlin cause to re-examine its refusal to embrace a broader solution.

"It's quite telling that there has been upward pressure on yields in Germany - it might begin to change perceptions," David Beers of Standard & Poor's told a conference in Dublin.

The borrowing costs of almost all euro zone states, even those previously seen as safe such as France, Austria and the Netherlands, spiked in the last two weeks as panicky investors dumped paper no longer seen as risk-free.

"Bunds are starting to lose their appeal because markets have to believe the euro bonds story and Germany is very close to starting, essentially, to guarantee the debt of other countries," said Achilleas Georgolopoulos, strategist at Lloyds Bank in London.

The crux of an acceleration of the crisis in the past month is Italian bond yields' jump to levels around 7 percent widely seen as unbearable in the long term, despite intervention by the European Central Bank to buy limited quantities.

Determined not to be pushed around by financial markets, Merkel is resisting calls, most notably from France, to allow the ECB to act more decisively.

In a forceful speech to the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, Merkel issued one of her starkest warnings yet against fiddling with the bank's strict inflation-fighting mandate. She also hit back at proposals from the European Commission on joint euro zone bond issuance, calling them "extraordinarily inappropriate."

Shortly before she began speaking, French Finance Minister Francois Baroin told a conference in Paris that it was the ECB's responsibility to sustain activity in the currency bloc.

"The best response to avoid contagion in countries like Spain and Italy is, from the French viewpoint, an intervention (or) the possibility of intervention or announcement of intervention by a lender of last resort, which would be the European Central Bank," Baroin said.

STABILITY BOND

Merkel has said the EU treaty bars the ECB from acting as a lender of last resort and printing money to buy government debt. She rejected joint "euro bonds," dismissed a proposal to mutualize the euro zone's debt stock, and rebuffed attempts to allow the bloc's rescue fund to borrow from the ECB or the IMF.

Yet at the same time, she has declared that the only answer to the crisis was "more Europe" and won endorsement from her party to press for a fully fledged European political union based around the euro zone.

In a Reuters poll conducted over the last 10 days, 14 out of 20 prominent academics, former policymakers and independent thinkers agreed the euro zone's make-up would change.

A new "core" euro zone with fewer members received qualified backing from 10 economists as a possible solution, with seven of them saying Greece should be excluded from it.

"The euro zone can and should survive, but it will not survive on the current trajectory," said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York.

The very public jousting over what to do next underscores just how divided European leaders are on how to resolve the turmoil which has accelerated to engulf big countries such as Italy and Spain, and pushed out leaders in Rome and Athens.

"We don't know where this is going," said Richard Jeffrey, Chief Investment Officer at Cazenove Capital Management in London. "Do not think the political leaders know where they are taking it."

With time running out for politicians to forge a crisis plan that is seen as credible by the markets, the European Commission presented a study on Wednesday of joint euro zone bonds as a way to stabilize debt markets.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso unveiled proposals for much more intrusive oversight of euro zone countries' budgets and efforts to meet macroeconomic targets, and set out the options for introducing common euro zone bonds.

"I welcome Barroso's proposals, which are a real step forward on many points," Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager said in a statement. "It will, however, still be an uphill battle, for there are those who resist further discipline.

"Eurobonds are not a magic solution to the current crisis and could even worsen it," he said. "We have to do first things first, and that means establishing strict supervision and enforcement of budget discipline."

(Reporting by Stephen Brown, Noah Barkin, Natalia Drozdiak, Veronica Ek, Eva Kuehnen; Writing by Patrick Graham and Peter Millership; Editing by Giles Elgood)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/23/us-eurozone-idUSTRE7AM0VR20111123

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« Reply #5576 on: Nov 23rd, 2011, 1:15pm »

Hollywood Reporter

'G.I. Joe' Sequel Crew Member Dies On Set

10:35 AM PST 11/23/2011
by Daniel Miller

Mike Huber was reportedly working on a high-powered lift when an accident occurred on the New Orleans set.

Mike Huber, a locally hired crew member working on the set of Paramount's G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation, died Nov. 22 while working on the production in New Orleans.

Paramount issued the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the Huber family at this time."

Paramount said the safety of its cast and crew is a top priority and it is "fully cooperating with all investigating agencies as they examine the circumstances surrounding this unusual accident."

TMZ reported Wednesday that Huber died while working on a high-powered scissor lift that tipped over.

Paramount will release G.I. Joe 2 on June 29; it follows G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, a hit in 2009.

Jon M. Chu is directing the Lorenzo di Bonaventura-produced sequel, which will feature Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Stevenson and RZA, among others.

The project began shooting in New Orleans in August.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/gi-joe-crew-member-death-265400

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« Reply #5577 on: Nov 23rd, 2011, 1:20pm »

Fox 5 Las Vegas

Beam me up: Swedish eco-hotel offers UFO experience

Updated: Nov 22, 2011 03:00 PM EST
By Amir Iliaifar


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Located near the Lule River, the UFO hotel room was made from a prefabricated lightweight composite material and placed aloft in the trees with the utmost attention paid to sustainability and environmental awareness. To ensure this, the UFO retains a high level of energy efficiency and conservation, the UFO sources its power from a hydroelectric facility, features insulation, LED lighting, composting toilets, and underfloor heating.

The room itself measures 30 sq meters and is large enough for a double bed, a composting toilet and a cozy dining area. A giant skylight compliments the room, allowing guests to take in the beautiful night sky and surrounding forest. Guests are able to access the UFO room via a retractable staircase and hatch door -- but no word yet on when the tractor-beam will be fully operational.

http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/16103521/beam-me-up-swedish-eco-hotel-offers-ufo-experience

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« Reply #5578 on: Nov 24th, 2011, 07:35am »


Happy Thanksgiving!


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« Reply #5579 on: Nov 24th, 2011, 07:37am »

LA Times

Lawmakers, Twitter locked in dispute over Taliban tweets

Members of Congress want Twitter to stop hosting pro-Taliban tweets that bash U.S. troops, but the company is resisting.

By Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times
10:39 PM PST, November 23, 2011
Reporting from Washington

Some members of Congress are urging the popular website Twitter to stop hosting pro-Taliban tweets that celebrate attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan.

Twitter executives have told lawmakers that the micro-posts do not violate the website's terms of service because the Taliban is not listed by the State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. That designation would make it illegal to provide "material support or resources" to the militant group.

Twitter feeds, apparently from the Taliban, first appeared last year in Arabic and Pashto, one of the official languages of Afghanistan. An English-language feed started in April. Many of the posts refer to U.S. troops in inflammatory terms.

"Mujahideen fighter kill 4 American cowards, hurts several more in encounter: GHAZNI," read one. "US terrorists martyr 12-year-old boy, detains many others: PAKTIKA," read another. And, "American criminals martyr 5 innocent civilians in raid: KANDAHAR."

Twitter officials did not respond to requests for comment. According to rules on the website, Twitter does not allow users to publish "direct, specific threats of violence" or use the website "for any unlawful purposes or in furtherance of illegal activities."

The move against the pro-Taliban Twitter feeds is part of a larger effort by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, to persuade Internet companies to remove videos and blog posts that he says promote terrorism or offer instructions on how to commit violence.

Pressure also is coming from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, the Afghan capital. This year, the ISAF began battling the pro-Taliban messages with tweets that countered insurgent claims. As a result, the two sides sometimes exchange a dozen tweets a day.

"I applaud ISAF for stepping into the breach and not ceding the vacuum to the Taliban," said Frank Cilluffo, who was a domestic security advisor to President George W. Bush.

U.S. intelligence agencies are also known to track suspect bloggers and tweeters on the Internet to help identify Taliban fighters or terrorist operatives.

Some legal experts contend that the pro-Taliban messages are protected under U.S. law.

"The Taliban feeds, although they use incendiary language, are essentially a news feed of attacks" that doesn't violate free speech, said Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University. Rosen said Twitter could "only ban feeds that post specific and immediate threats of violence."

Lieberman has pressured other U.S. websites to keep out content that he says could inspire terrorist acts.

On Tuesday, Lieberman complained in a letter to Google Chief Executive Larry Page that the company is failing to keep extremist videos and blogs off its servers. Google has restrictions on posting pro-militant videos on its YouTube site, but Lieberman said those restrictions do not apply to its Blogger blogging site.

Lieberman said Jose Pimentel, who was arrested in New York on Saturday for allegedly planning attacks with pipe bombs, published a website with links to bomb-making instructions and "hate-filled writings" using Blogger.

"Google's inconsistent standards are adversely affecting our ability to counter violent Islamist extremism online," Lieberman wrote.

A Google representative said the company does not allow content on Blogger that encourages other people to take violent action. Pimentel's Blogger website was disabled after his arrest.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-taliban-twitter-20111124,0,1699485.story

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