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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 24953 times)
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« Reply #6420 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 08:25am »

God bless Ping!

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« Reply #6421 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 08:29am »

Washington Post

Man in Afghan army uniform shoots 2 NATO troops in Afghanistan

By Ernesto Londoño, Updated: Monday, March 26, 3:10 AM

KABUL — A man wearing an Afghan army uniform killed two NATO troops in southern Afghanistan on Monday, military officials said, the latest in a string of shootings that have undermined trust between allies.

The gunman was killed by NATO troops shortly after he opened fire on a group of foreign troops, the military said in a statement. A military spokesman said officials were investigating whether the man was an Afghan soldier or an infiltrator wearing the uniform. No other details were released.

So-called "green on blue" shootings have become a rising threat this year, following a series of incidents that have created distrust between Afghan forces and their international coalition partners. The most significant was last month's burning of Korans by U.S. troops. The episode sparked violent riots and prompted the Taliban to call on Afghan security forces to open fire on foreign troops.

Since May 2007, at least 51 NATO troops have been killed by Afghan security forces, according to military press releases and statistics provided by the Department of Defense to Congress last month. Nine of those happened after the Koran burning.

In prepared testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, senior defense officials said "the insider threat is an issue of increasing concern," because "it creates distrust between our forces and their Afghan counterparts during a critical juncture in Afghanistan."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/man-in-afghan-army-uniform-shoots-2-nato-troops-in-afghanistan/2012/03/26/gIQAe8tUbS_story.html

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« Reply #6422 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 08:34am »

Reuters

Exclusive: Shell scrambles to pay huge bill for Iran oil

By Richard Mably and Peg Mackey
LONDON | Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:48pm EDT

Royal Dutch Shell is struggling to pay off $1 billion that it owes Iran for crude oil because European Union and U.S. financial sanctions now make it almost impossible to process payments, industry sources said.

Four sources said the oil major owes a large sum to the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) for deliveries of crude, with one putting the figure at close to $1 billion. A debt of that size would equate to roughly four large tanker loads of Iranian crude or about 8 million barrels.

"Shell is working hard to figure out a way to pay NIOC," said an industry source, who requested anonymity. "It's very sensitive and very difficult. They want to stay on good terms with Iran, while abiding by sanctions."

A Shell spokesman declined to comment.

The European Union toughened financial sanctions and placed a ban on Iranian oil imports on January 23, but gave companies until July 1 to wind down their existing business.

With daily contract volumes of 100,000 barrels, Shell ranked as Iran's second biggest corporate client - along with France's Total - behind Turkey's Tupras.

Shell CEO Peter Voser said on March 7 the company would take its final deliveries of Iranian crude "within a matter of weeks".

Rigorous U.S. and European financial measures, aimed at punishing Iran for its nuclear program have already come into force, making it increasingly difficult to pay for and ship crude from Iran, say oil executives.

"There are big frustrations with the payment route - the U.S. pressure is really working," said a senior oil source. "It's now nearly impossible to use the banking system."

Such financial restrictions were in part behind Total's decision to stop purchasing Iranian crude at the end of last year, industry sources say. Total also bought about 100,000 barrels per day from Tehran.

Industry sources say some of Iran's big customers may have been using the Dubai-based Noor Islamic Bank to channel payments to Iran. It is not known whether Shell was processing payments via Noor Islamic Bank.

Diplomats say the bank bowed to pressure from Washington and cut ties with Iranian banks in the United Arab Emirates at the end of last year.

Given the outstanding amount owed in the face of sanctions, senior oil executives say the only way forward is for Shell to ask the British government to help settle the account with Iran.

An approach was made by Shell, sources say, but the company was rebuffed.

A small portion of the Shell debt could be written off through an outstanding payment NIOC owes the company for development of the offshore Soroush/Nowrooz oilfields, say industry sources.

Shell and European rivals such as Total and Italy's Eni have built longstanding relationships with Iran, OPEC's second largest exporter, through their work at the country's oilfields and years of crude oil purchases.

But while they are loath to burn bridges with Tehran, they also cannot afford to put business in the United States and elsewhere in the West at risk.

(Reporting by Peg Mackey; Editing by Giles Elgood)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/25/us-shell-iran-idUSBRE82O07420120325

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« Reply #6423 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 08:50am »

Japan Times

Monday, 26 March 2012
Threatening, active faults found off Boso

Dual jolt could trigger Tokyo tremblor up to magnitude 9

(Kyodo) - Two previously unknown active faults were found off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, with one researcher warning that a jolt in the two faults at the same time could trigger an earthquake of magnitude 8 to 9.

The two faults, one at least 160 km long and the other more than 300 km, were found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean around 100 to 200 km southeast of the southern tip of the peninsula, according to a group of researchers from Hiroshima University, Nagoya University, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and other parties.

"The faults have been unmarked and uninvestigated. There is a possibility of strong jolts and tsunami reaching the southern Kanto region (including Tokyo) and the Tokai region (central Honshu). It should be promptly investigated in detail," said research group member Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a professor at Toyo University.

The group will report its findings at a Thursday meeting of the Association of Japanese Geographers in Tokyo.

The group used a bathymetric chart made by the Japan Coast Guard to analyze the geography of the seafloor in detail. It then estimated the location of the active faults by taking into consideration cliffs formed by earthquakes and other elevated features.

According to Watanabe, the two faults were found near a "triple junction," a point where the boundaries of two oceanic plates and a continental plate meet.

Both north-south faults run parallel. The longer fault to the east has a cliff with a height of more than 2,000 meters, while the other one has a cliff more than 3,000 meters high formed by earthquakes, indicating the high possibility that both have repeatedly caused big quakes, he said.

North of the two faults is a focal region for the 1677 temblor, which had an estimated magnitude of 8.0, and the magnitude 7.4 quake that hit in 1953. But the faults seem unrelated to the two quakes, which were likely caused by movement of another active fault, Watanabe said, adding the past movements of the two faults remain unknown.

Active faults have previously been seen as having little connection to earthquakes that occur near ocean trenches. But the same group confirmed last year the existence of a 500-km active fault on the ocean floor along the Japan Trench, which is believed to have moved when the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster hit the Tohoku region last March.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120326x1.html

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« Reply #6424 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 09:00am »

.






Uploaded by foxou06 on Mar 25, 2012

The first trailer for 'The Host' adapted from the novel by Stephanie Meyer (The Twilight Saga).
Starring Saoirse Ronan and Diane Kruger. One soul, the Wanderer,
is fused with a captured human named Melanie Stryder,
in an attempt to locate the last pocket of surviving humans on Earth.

The Host arrives in theaters March 29, 2013

Category:
Film & Animation

~

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« Reply #6425 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 09:03am »

Contact Music

23 March 2012

The first trailer for 'The Host' has emerged online, with fans already drawing comparisons with the Twilight Saga and the latest teen movie sensation The Hunger Games. It's perhaps no coincidence that studio bosses have decided to premiere the trailer on the same day that The Hunger Games is released - a movie that is expected to take over $150 million at the box-office this weekend.

Fans of the Twilight movies will already been familiar with the themes in The Host, given it is based on the 2008 science fiction novel by Stephenie Meyer, the author of the hit vampire novels. The movie is set in a future in which mankind is threatened by the arrival of aliens, who take over human bodies. The big budget adaptation will feature Saoirse Ronan, best known for her performances in Atonement and more recently The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson. Director Andrew Niccol has previously worked on the movie 'In Time', with Justin Timberlake.

The trailer itself doesn't give too much away, other than telling us that humans have been taken over by aliens known as "Souls". Their presence in human bodies appears to be signalled by blue rings around the pupils. The Host, also starring Diane Kruger, is not expected until March 2013.


http://www.contactmusic.com/news/the-host-trailer-emerges-is-it-the-new-twilight_1309562

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« Reply #6426 on: Mar 26th, 2012, 2:18pm »

Vulture.com

26 March 2012

The Stars of Married ... With Children and X-Files Are Returning to Fox
By Josef Adalian

Fox's plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a prime-time special and a limited revival of its breakthrough sketch-comedy series In Living Color are starting to take shape. Vulture hears that silver anniversary special producer Don Mischer has booked The X-Files stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, along with creator Chris Carter, for a segment in which they'll finally answer every remaining question about the show's many mysteries. (Okay, we made that last part up.) Mischer has also put together a Married ... With Children reunion featuring all four core cast members: Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, and David Faustino. (Clearly there's no bad blood there to set aside: They've previously gotten back together for a 2003 special, a TV Land awards show, and Entertainment Weekly's 2010 reunions issue.)

We also hear the network is even planning on honoring some of its shows that didn't last that long, with The Tick star Patrick Warburton slated to get some airtime. No word yet on any appearances by the stars of other Fox landmarks such as Party of Five, 21 Jump Street, or Mr. President, but Fox's 25th bash is set to air April 22.

Meanwhile, the In Living Color reboot is also moving forward, though the timetable may be shifting a bit. Originally, there was talk two specials could air as early as April, as part of the Fox 25 festivities. While casting has begun (unknown comics "LilRel" Howery and Jermaine Fowler have already landed gigs), rehearsals and preliminary production won't start until the first week of April. Fox sources now say that while it's possible the two specials could still air this season, most likely in May, there's also now a chance their airdate will be pushed back until later in the year.

http://www.vulture.com/2012/03/fox-married-with-children-x-files-reunion.html?mid=twitter_Nymag

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« Reply #6427 on: Mar 27th, 2012, 07:59am »

Chicago Sun Times

Man is first to paddle canoe across Atlantic

By PABLO GORONDI
Associated Press
Last Modified: Mar 27, 2012 02:13AM

BUDAPEST, Hungary — After 76 days, Gabor Rakonczay — isolated and incommunicado for nearly 50 of those after his canoe capsized — has become the first person to paddle across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the Caribbean.

Rakonczay, who began his adventure in Lagos, Portugal, on Dec. 21, and stopped for several days in the Canary Islands for rest and supplies, reached the island of Antigua on Sunday, he told The Associated Press in a phone interview from the Caribbean nation.

When his 24.61 feet (7.5 metre) canoe capsized at sea, the Hungarian adventurer said he managed to save it but his communications equipment was damaged and he had not been in contact with his family since Feb. 6.

Rakonczay made the journey without a satellite tracking system which would have allowed him to signal that he was all right. So his wife, who stayed behind in Hungary, could only hope for the best.

“The supplier raised the price at the last minute and I decided to leave without one because it was not possible to postpone the trip,” the 30-year-old said from Nelson’s Dockyard in southern Antigua.

“This trip was the first time I didn’t have a tracking system and the first time I really would have needed one.”

During the nearly seven weeks he was out of reach, Viktoria, his wife, gave no indications that she was anything but totally sure that her husband was alive and that only equipment failure was to blame for their lack of communication.

She kept posting entries on their web page nearly every day, speculating about Gabor’s position and how the weather conditions were affecting his voyage on the canoe nicknamed “Vitez,” which means “valiant” in Hungarian.

Rakonczay said that in his solitude he often thought about what his loved ones were likely going through, and was heartened by the faith and confidence of his family in his abilities during the long silence.

“I was positively surprised in those at home ... because everyone was certain that if I run into any difficulties, I’ll be able to solve them,” Rakonczay said. “It was a great relief to reach port because it meant completing the journey and because my family could finally know for sure that I was OK.”

While he lit smoke flares on three separate occasions to signal ships passing nearby, he was not able to communicate with any of them.

“Some slowed and even changed direction as they likely picked me up on their radars,” Rakonczay said. “But I was often surrounded by waves 4 meters (12 feet) high and the canoe is less than one meter high, so it’s most likely that they simply weren’t able to see me.”

The uniqueness of Rakonczay’s crossing was confirmed by the London-based Ocean Rowing Society International, which adjudicates such feats for the Guinness World Records.

Atlantic crossings have been made in rowboats and kayaks, but not a canoe, in which a paddle with a single blade is used.

“We were disappointed he had no satellite tracking on board,” said Tatiana Rezva-Crutchlow, editor-in-chief of the society’s website. “We are very pleased to hear that he has arrived.”

In 2008, Rakonczay and his wife successfully rowed across the Atlantic together, but this solo challenge had been in the works for a long time and he reached his destination some 20 days faster than planned.

“I was very interested in discovering what it’s like to be all alone on a ship in the ocean,” Rakonczay said. “It was my childhood dream.”


http://www.suntimes.com/news/world/11547901-418/man-is-first-to-paddle-canoe-across-atlantic.html

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« Reply #6428 on: Mar 27th, 2012, 08:05am »

Washington Post

Supreme Court considers main constitutional question in health-care law
By N.C. Aizenman and Robert Barnes
Published: March 26
Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 3:00 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday considers the main constitutional question in its review of the nation’s health-care overhaul, whether Congress has the power to require almost all Americans to secure health insurance or pay a penalty.

The justices have scheduled two hours of arguments — twice the normal allotment — to consider the issue. The questions of the limits of government power has animated the nation’s debate over the health-care law, which has been lauded by President Obama, passed by a Democratic Congress in 2010, and roundly denounced by Republican officeholders and the candidates who want to take Obama’s place.

The Obama administration has argued that Congress has the authority to impose what it calls the “minimum coverage provision” under its power to regulate interstate commerce and its call to solve national economic problems. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that most Americans have health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty on 2015 income tax payments.

The measure set off a blitz of legal challenges, and its opponents at the court are 26 states and a private business group, the National Federation of Independent Businesses. They argue that the government has exceeded its authority.

People who do not buy insurance, they say, are by definition, not engaged in economic activity. And they contend that there is no precedent for empowering Congress to essentially force otherwise inactive people to enter one of the markets that Congress can regulate.

The government counters that because virtually everyone will need health care, a person who chooses to forgo insurance is engaged in economic activity: They are effectively making an economic decision about how they will pay for their eventual health care — either by paying for it out of pocket, or by passing the costs on to hospitals, governments and ultimately other patients.

Congress certainly must have the ability to regulate health-care spending, which accounts for nearly 18 percent of the nation’s economy, the government argues.

“As a class, the uninsured shift tens of billions of dollars of costs for the uncompensated care they receive to other market participants annually,” the government’s brief to the court said. “That cost shifting drives up insurance premiums, which, in turn, makes insurance unaffordable to even more people.”

The government also maintains that the mandate is a necessary component of the law’s new regulations on the insurance market — including its prohibition against insurers discriminating against people with pre-existing health conditions.

Unless virtually everyone is required to obtain insurance, healthy people would have an incentive to take advantage of the new insurance rules by waiting until they are sick to buy insurance. This would skew the risk pool, forcing insurers to either pull out of the market or cover the additional cost by raising their rates to unsustainable heights.

The challengers complain that the government’s logic has no limits. If Congress can use such reasoning to justify compelling people to buy a commercial product, what can’t it do?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-considers-main-constitutional-question-in-health-care-law/2012/03/26/gIQAkyKWdS_story.html

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« Reply #6429 on: Mar 27th, 2012, 08:10am »

Wired Threat Level

FTC Tells Net: Agree to Stop Invading Privacy (Or We’ll Say ‘Stop’ Again)
By Ryan Singel
March 26, 2012 | 6:13 pm
Categories: privacy

The FTC put the online advertising and user tracking industry on notice Monday that it’s time to clean up its act and start treating users’ data with respect, laying out broad guidelines for companies to follow. But the agency stopped short of calling for federal regulation of online data collectors, amid protests from online companies that regulation would kill a vibrant industry.

The report adds more weight to the Commerce Department’s own recent report and the White House’s call for an online bill of rights. The FTC’s report (.pdf) outlines broad principles that the FTC wants browser makers, ISPs, online ad companies, search engines and social networks — as well as offline data collecting entities — to pledge to obey.

Companies that do pledge to obey the code, but then fail to uphold them, could then be investigated by the FTC for “unfair business practices,” much as the FTC has fined and penalized companies for violating their own privacy policies (even though there’s no national requirement to publish a privacy policy). That’s how the FTC imposed 20-year privacy audits on both Facebook and Google — using their own privacy policies against them.

“With this Report, the Commission calls on companies to act now to implement best practices to protect consumers’ private information. These best practices include making privacy the “default setting” for commercial data practices and giving consumers greater control over the collection and use of their personal data through simplified choices and increased transparency,” the FTC said, adding that doing so should increase user’s trust in services and increase business for all.

While there’s no stick involved yet for online companies, the report did call for federal legislation that would force transparency on giant data collection companies like Choicepoint and Lexis Nexis. Few Americans know about those companies’ databases but they are used by law enforcement, employers and landlords. The FTC is asking Congress to make it easier for Americans to view and correct their data, as legislation requires with credit bureaus.

The FTC report emphasizes what it calls “privacy by design,” alluding to the idea that privacy and data security should be built into any service, not an afterthought. The four principles called for in the report are data security, reasonable collection limits, sound retention practices, and data accuracy. While the report is new, the principles are based on 40 year princples known as Fair Information Practices.

The FTC did not, however, lay down any hard or fast rules. For instance, data rentention periods are left to companies to decide – so that a mortgage broker can keep payment history information for the life of a mortgage, whereas a mobile app that collects a user’s current location would be encouraged to delete that data much faster.

Instead of prescriptions, the FTC wants a set of self-regulatory groups to build on these principles and issue best practices for various industries, and then have individual companies agree to abide by such rules.

That’s despite the report’s own admission that this model, which has been tried by the FTC since 2000 in regards to online privacy, has been a failure.

Commission agrees that, to date, self-regulation has not gone far enough. In most areas, with the notable exception of efforts surrounding Do Not Track, there has been little self-regulation of the data broker industry. For example, the FTC’s recent survey of mobile apps marketed to children revealed that many of these apps fail to provide any disclosure about the extent to which they collect and share consumers’ personal data. Similarly, efforts to establish self-regulatory rules concerning consumer privacy have fallen short.

These examples illustrate that even in some well-established markets, basic privacy concepts like transparency about the nature of companies’ data practices and meaningful consumer control are absent. This absence erodes consumer trust.

As if to give the rules some more weight, the FTC does say that it is joining the White House and Commerce department’s call for a “baseline” consumer privacy law – though it’s not clear whether there’s any real political will to do so, since setting privacy rules in writing is hard.

Just ask the FTC.


http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/

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« Reply #6430 on: Mar 27th, 2012, 08:15am »

Japan Times

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Noda draws on Fukushima lesson

Steps vowed to boost security, protection from radioactive fallout

SEOUL — Japan will boost measures to fight nuclear terrorism by drawing on the lessons learned from the Fukushima crisis, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Tuesday at the global nuclear summit in Seoul.

Noda's pledge came in a speech during the morning session of the second Nuclear Security Summit, where world leaders and representatives from 53 nations and four international organizations gathered to discuss international cooperation in boosting nuclear security.

"We must make use of the knowledge and lessons gained from the (Fukushima crisis) to prepare for 'human-induced harm' such as terrorist attacks on nuclear power plants," Noda said.

His remarks came amid concerns that there may be similarities in the consequences of a natural disaster at a nuclear plant, as occurred in Fukushima Prefecture last year, and a terrorist attack on such a facility.

Noting how the crisis demonstrated the vulnerability of nuclear plants and how the loss of power supply threatens their safety, Noda stressed the need to establish procedures for responding to an emergency and to fortify backup electrical power systems.

Last March's major earthquake and tsunami led to the meltdowns of three reactor cores at Fukushima No. 1, resulting in massive radioactive fallout.

Noda also underscored the importance of smooth cooperation among various groups when a nuclear crisis occurs — cooperation that was lacking in Japan.

He said he plans to bolster the readiness of Japanese authorities through joint drills involving the police and the Ground Self-Defense Force, as well as between the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Japan will also be ready to handle high radiation levels by providing better equipment such as protective clothing and vehicles that can withstand radiation, Noda pledged.

Among measures to step up security against terrorist attacks, Japan is considering conducting thorough identity checks on nuclear plant workers and will better guard plants and key facilities.

As for Internet-based attacks, Japan has cut off the computer systems of its nuclear facilities from outside networks, Noda said.

He said nuclear security, together with nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, cannot be addressed without global cooperation.

Against this backdrop, he described North Korea's plan to launch a rocket, purportedly carrying a satellite, as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is widely believed the North plans to test an ICBM in April.

"The international community strongly urges North Korea to refrain from its launch," Noda said.

Earlier in the day, Noda held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama to exchange views about North Korea's missile launch.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120327x3.html

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« Reply #6431 on: Mar 27th, 2012, 3:13pm »

JetBlue captain's erratic behavior forces emergency landing

Published March 27, 2012
FoxNews.com

AMARILLO, Texas – A JetBlue plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, Tuesday after the captain had a ‘medical situation’ while on the plane.

JetBlue 191, which was headed from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas, was forced to make the landing after the pilot reportedly ran up and down the aisles screaming “Say your prayers” after he was locked outside the cockpit, The New York Post reported, citing a passenger.

“Someone next to me said he was saying something about bombs,” recounted the passenger, Tiffany Lee, 26, to the paper. Another passenger told Fox 5 News that a man wearing a pilot’s uniform ran down the aisle screaming and banging on the cockpit door to let him in.

One of the flight attendants reportedly got on the intercom and asked passengers to restrain the man. Several followed the instructions and pinned the man until the plane landed, the report said.

One of the four passengers who helped subdue the man was a retired NYPD sergeant, The Post reported.

One of the co-pilots reportedly convinced the captain to leave the cockpit and locked him out, CBSDFW.com reported. Another JetBlue pilot, who was off-duty but on the plane, took over the other’s duties.

“He picked the wrong plane. Huge guys just tackled him. The response was Olympics kind of stuff,” one passenger said, according to CBSDFW.com.

There are reports that the pilot may have been a war veteran.
A spokeswoman from JetBlue told FoxNews.com that the passengers will be reimbursed for the flight and receive a credit for twice the value of their ticket. The airline would not release the pilot’s name or medical history.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/27/jetblue-captains-erratic-behavior-forces-emergency-landing-report-says/#ixzz1qLkb0xnO

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« Reply #6432 on: Mar 28th, 2012, 06:57am »

on Mar 27th, 2012, 3:13pm, Swamprat wrote:
JetBlue captain's erratic behavior forces emergency landing

Published March 27, 2012
FoxNews.com

AMARILLO, Texas – A JetBlue plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, Tuesday after the captain had a ‘medical situation’ while on the plane.

JetBlue 191, which was headed from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas, was forced to make the landing after the pilot reportedly ran up and down the aisles screaming “Say your prayers” after he was locked outside the cockpit, The New York Post reported, citing a passenger.

“Someone next to me said he was saying something about bombs,” recounted the passenger, Tiffany Lee, 26, to the paper. Another passenger told Fox 5 News that a man wearing a pilot’s uniform ran down the aisle screaming and banging on the cockpit door to let him in.

One of the flight attendants reportedly got on the intercom and asked passengers to restrain the man. Several followed the instructions and pinned the man until the plane landed, the report said.

One of the four passengers who helped subdue the man was a retired NYPD sergeant, The Post reported.

One of the co-pilots reportedly convinced the captain to leave the cockpit and locked him out, CBSDFW.com reported. Another JetBlue pilot, who was off-duty but on the plane, took over the other’s duties.

“He picked the wrong plane. Huge guys just tackled him. The response was Olympics kind of stuff,” one passenger said, according to CBSDFW.com.

There are reports that the pilot may have been a war veteran.
A spokeswoman from JetBlue told FoxNews.com that the passengers will be reimbursed for the flight and receive a credit for twice the value of their ticket. The airline would not release the pilot’s name or medical history.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/27/jetblue-captains-erratic-behavior-forces-emergency-landing-report-says/#ixzz1qLkb0xnO




Good morning Swamprat,

That had to be scary as heck!

Crystal

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« Reply #6433 on: Mar 28th, 2012, 07:05am »

Washington Post

In Israel, a battle to save the ancient Canaan dog

By Nicolas Brulliard, Published: March 27
The Washington Post SHA’AR HAGAI, Israel

Pricked, pointy ears and almond-shaped brown eyes. A tan or black-and-white coat and a tail that curls upward. For many in Israel, this is the description of a pesky stray that feeds on garbage. But for a passionate few, it is a cultural treasure that should be preserved.

Meet the biblical dog.


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“When they talk about dogs in the Bible, it was these,” says Myrna Shiboleth, who has done more than anyone to rescue the breed formally known as Canaan dog. “It was the same dog.”

The archaeological evidence bears it out, from 1st-century rock carvings in the Sinai to the skeletons of more than 700 dogs from the 5th century B.C. discovered south of Tel Aviv. When Jesus and Moses turned their heads to the sound of a barking dog, it was the Canaan that they saw.

But after surviving the birth of three religions, the Crusades and countless wars, the Canaan dog — one of the oldest known breeds of pariah dogs — is the focus of a battle that pitches people who believe in the value of preserving the primitive breed for scientific and sentimental reasons against modern bureaucracy. As often is the case in Israel, land use is at the heart of the battle.

In recent decades, scores of Canaan dogs were destroyed in rabies eradication programs, and now only a few hundred subsist in the Negev desert, often living at the edges of Bedouin camps. But as Bedouins increasingly settle in cities, the Canaan dogs either are left to fend for themselves or lose their breed’s traits by mating with urban dogs.

And now the Israeli government is threatening to close the operation that has been helping preserve the breed by collecting rare specimens in the desert, breeding them and shipping their offspring to kennels around the globe, where they are recognized by major organizations, from the American Kennel Club to the Federation Cynologique Internationale, the international canine federation.

In an eviction notice sent late last year, the Israel Land Authority argues that Sha’ar Hagai Kennels is illegally occupying government land. Sha’ar Hagai’s Shiboleth says she moved more than 40 years ago to what was then an abandoned water station and paid rent to the water company only to find out that it didn’t own the land. She says she asked the land authority about regularizing her situation and heard nothing — until she received the eviction notice. Moving, she says, would be prohibitively expensive, and few neighborhoods would welcome noisy kennels.

In an online petition, about 2,000 people from dozens of countries and nearly every U.S. state have taken up Shiboleth’s case, voicing outrage at what they see as Israel’s lack of attention to the fate of the “holy dog.” One even goes so far as to compare its fate to that of the Jewish people and their narrow escape from annihilation.

The matter is to be decided in court. If she is not successful there, Shiboleth and her dogs face an exodus that will most likely put an end to her breeding program.

What surprises many people is that the dog is getting so little support compared with other beasts of the Good Book.

Starting in the 1960s, Israel launched an ambitious program to bring back “the animals of the Bible to the land of the Bible,” says David Saltz, an ecology professor at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Targeted species included the Asiatic wild ass (a big success) and the ostrich (a complete failure). The reintroduction efforts went to extreme lengths: In one spectacular instance, four Persian fallow deer were smuggled out of Iran.

The Canaan dog has been recognized as Israel’s national breed, but today’s conservationists don’t put the hound on a par with the Arabian white oryx, which receives full support from Israeli authorities after four of the antelopes, purchased from the Phoenix Zoo, were reintroduced in 1978.

The Canaan dog is “what they call a mutt,” Saltz says.

A mutt is what the Canaan dog was to most observers until an Austrian biologist came to Palestine in the 1930s and started looking for dogs that could serve the nascent Jewish defense forces. Rudolphina Menzel identified them as a native breed that tolerated the climate well and named them after the biblical Land of Canaan.

The pooches were used in patrols and landmine detection units and performed as messenger dogs. Jewish settlers also prized the Canaan’s alertness and counted on them to bark at Arab intruders.

In 1965, the first Canaan dogs arrived in the United States, and it didn’t take long for Shiboleth — then an animal trainer in New York — to get hooked. She moved to Israel in 1969 with an American-born female Canaan in tow. In 1970, she and a handful of others founded Sha’ar Hagai in the Judean Hills, using Menzel’s breeding stock and dogs collected in the wild.

The Canaan dog was originally popular with the Jewish diaspora, but soon others were attracted by its natural look. Its profile was raised when John F. Kennedy Jr. purchased a Canaan in the 1990s. Today, the dog can be found in households across much of Europe and North America as well as in Russia and South Africa.

There are 2,000 to 3,000 Canaan dogs across the world, but most are closely related. If the gene pool is not continually strengthened with new bloodlines from the wild, experts say, the breed could develop degenerative diseases.

“Unless some true effort is made, they will just fade into history, and that would be a shame,” says Janice Koler-Matznick, an Oregon-based biologist and expert on primitive dog breeds.

The only person who regularly provides fresh blood is Shiboleth, who makes a couple of annual trips to the desert to find wild dogs or to get her females to mate with the Bedouins’ males.

Often, she comes back empty-handed.

“They’re disappearing much faster than I thought they would,” she says.

Cynthia Dodson and David Golden of Falls Church say they were “quite analytical” when they decided to get a dog 14 years ago. They liked the look of the pariah dogs they saw during trips overseas and wanted a dog that would be free of the genetic ailments that affect many breeds. They settled on the Canaan and got a pair.

“You can see in all their behavior how they’re closer to the wild, but they’re still very domesticated,” Golden says. “It’s not like we brought wolves into the house.”

Golden says he likes to imagine the relatives of his two dogs frolicking in the wilderness and jokes that he and Dodson tell stories to their couch-loving dogs about their wilder cousins.

“The story is important to us and to a lot of people,” he says. “To lose this linkage [to] thousands of years would be a real tragedy.”

more photos after the jump
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/in-israel-a-battle-to-save-the-ancient-canaan-dog/2012/03/21/gIQA1IQEfS_story.html?hpid=z2

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« Reply #6434 on: Mar 28th, 2012, 07:14am »

shocked

ITN news





Published on Mar 25, 2012 by itnnews

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