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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 78390 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #7605 on: Nov 12th, 2012, 09:03am »

Defense News

Mideast Buying Lifts Stagnant Global Market

Regional Tensions Drive Procurement Among Smaller Nations

Nov. 12, 2012 - 08:49AM
By AARON MEHTA and ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS

The defense market may be slowing in some parts of the globe, with powerhouse players in Europe and the U.S. facing increasing budgetary pressures, but countries in the Mideast are still buying, and at record levels.

What have been noteworthy in the past year are efforts by smaller countries in the region to radically improve their arsenals, with deals rivaling those historically tied to the larger players, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

For instance, U.S. aerospace companies have earned almost $1 billion from the Sultanate of Oman in the past 18 months, with the money going primarily to purchase a dozen new F-16 Fighter jets and to modernize an older F-16 squadron.

Oman sits across a narrow body of water from Iran and is one of a handful of countries with immediate proximity to that diplomatically troubled nation that is trying to ratchet up its military capability, said Guy Ben-Ari, deputy director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Especially for the smaller [Arabian] Gulf states, they’re really trying to step up their military capabilities to act as both a deterrent toward Iran, but also to show their neighbors and the U.S. that they’re a good partner in the region that can bring relevant capabilities to the table,” Ben-Ari said.

For Oman, the large purchases from U.S. firms are unusual given the country’s strong military ties to the U.K., especially when it comes to the Royal Air Force.

“The sultan has got a fair amount of money to spend, and he makes sure to spend it,” said James Worrall of the University of Leeds, an expert on Omani spending.

Oman plans out its spending in five-year cycles, with the latest cycle running from 2011-2015. Originally, the plan called for slightly reduced spending on defense. However, higher-than-expected gas prices this year have left the country with excess money, which Worrall said could easily be used on defense.

It’s part of a general theme in the region: As oil goes, so goes defense spending.

“It’s traditionally always been a good market, and by good, I mean there’s this perfect storm in that these governments have money, oil money, they have money to spend, and they’re in a very challenging security environment,” Ben-Ari said.

Since the 1980s, Oman’s average defense spending relative to gross domestic product has been in the double digits, the highest in the region. But in actual dollars, its spending pales in comparison with some of its neighbors.

Saudi Arabia, for instance, spent more than $46 billion on defense in 2011, according to statistics from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That’s more than the combined defense budgets of neighbors Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and Syria.

An upcoming order with Oman for 12 Typhoons is expected in the next few months with BAE Systems.

Like Oman, Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in fighter jets. In early November, the Defense Department announced an agreement between Boeing and Saudi Arabia worth almost $4 billion to upgrade 68 F-15s to the F-15SA configuration. The work is part of a $30 billion deal arranged between Boeing and the Middle Eastern nation last December, the most expensive foreign arms deal in U.S. history.

The Saudi government will purchase 84 new F-15SA fighters, to be delivered in 2015.

The emphasis on aircraft upgrades, especially for the F-16 market, where both Oman and Iraq have made purchases in the last year, has led to fierce international competition. While American companies have done well in the Middle East, the U.K. defense industry has maintained a strong regional presence. British defense exports are generally dominated by air systems.

Missile Defense

One of the primary targets for future spending in a region marked by instability and technology advances is missile defense.

French defense companies have seen in the past particular success with sales of frigates and short-range air defense missiles to the Saudis.

France has been negotiating a modernization of the Thales Crotale air defense missile system, which includes a replacement with the Crotale new-generation weapon. That upgrade was estimated at 3 billion to 4 billion euros ($3.8 billion to $5.1 billion) a few months ago, a source briefed on the subject said. That compares to a 2.5 billion euro budget reported in latribune.com, the online publication.

All the countries in the gulf region take the ballistic missile threat seriously, an industry executive said.

“It’s a reasonable proposition that the Aster and VL [vertical launch] Mica are proposed to all these countries,” the executive said.

The Aster and VL Mica package has been offered to Qatar, the executive said. Part of the sales pitch is the compatible command-and-control architecture for the Aster and VL Mica, which makes it easier to integrate the high- and low-level weapons into a multi-tier missile shield.

European missile company MBDA makes the Mica and is part of the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium, which makes the Aster missile used in the SAMP/T anti-ballistic missile system.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have bought U.S. missile systems, leaving France to seek sales in Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

Qatar is spending at least some of its missile defense budget on American designs. On Nov. 5, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the American entity that oversees foreign military sales, announced a $6.5 billion contract between Qatar and Lockheed Martin for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile systems and support.

That same day, DSCA announced a $1.1 billion deal with UAE for THAAD missiles and launchers.


Andrew Chuter in London and Pierre Tran in Paris contributed to this report.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20121112/DEFREG04/311120001/Mideast-Buying-Lifts-Stagnant-Global-Market?odyssey=tab

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« Reply #7606 on: Nov 12th, 2012, 09:07am »

Reuters

Timeline of events surrounding CIA Director Petraeus' resignation

Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:00pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The following is a timeline of events related to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, according to U.S. officials, public statements and other sources:

Spring 2006: Paula Broadwell meets David Petraeus at a Harvard University function.

2008: Broadwell decides to pursue a doctorate in public policy and conduct a case study on Petraeus' leadership. Petraeus invites her to go on a run in Washington, D.C.

2010: Petraeus is put in charge of the war in Afghanistan and Broadwell would visit and observe him in Afghanistan.

August 2011: Petraeus retires after nearly four decades in the U.S. Army.

September 6, 2011: Petraeus sworn in as CIA director.

January 2012: Biography of Petraeus co-authored by Broadwell, "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus," is published.

2011-2012: Broadwell and Petraeus extramarital affair started after he left military service and ended about four months ago.

Sometime within the past four or five months - one official said "early summer" - a woman complained to the FBI about harassing emails that were later determined to have been written by Broadwell. In the course of investigating that complaint, the FBI discovered an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus.

Week of October 21: Federal investigators interview Broadwell.

Week of October 28: Federal investigators interview Petraeus. Prosecutors conclude afterward they likely will not bring criminal charges.

Tuesday, November 6, Election Day, at about 5 p.m.: the FBI notifies Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who oversees the CIA and other intelligence agencies, about Petraeus. Clapper speaks to Petraeus that evening and again Wednesday and advises him to step down.

Wednesday, November 7: Clapper informs White House National Security Council official that Petraeus may resign and President Barack Obama should be informed. The president is told about it later that day.

Thursday, November 8: At 11 a.m. a Petraeus meeting with foreign dignitaries scheduled for 2:30 p.m. is canceled and his visitors are informed he has to go to the White House to meet with Obama. Petraeus meets with Obama at the White House and offers his resignation, explaining the circumstances behind it. Obama did not immediately accept the resignation.

Friday, November 9 - Obama calls Petraeus and accepts his resignation.

- Clapper issues public statement: "Dave's decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation's most respected public servants." No mention of the reason for his resignation.

- Petraeus message to CIA workforce is made public: "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair."

- Obama statement: "By any measure, through his lifetime of service David Petraeus has made our country safer and stronger."

Sunday, November 11 - News media report that the woman who made original complaint to FBI was Jill Kelley, described by sources as a long-time family friend who had no romantic involvement with Petraeus.


(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria, Rick Rothacker, David Ingram, Matt Spetalnick and Mark Hosenball. Editing by Warren Strobel and Eric Walsh)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/12/us-cia-petraeus-timeline-idUSBRE8AB01G20121112

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7607 on: Nov 12th, 2012, 1:25pm »

Crystal,
With all the news at it is, I thought maybe this would be appropriate!
Lone

Top 10: "Only In America" Observations

1) Only in America, could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.

2) Only in America, could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is black, while only 12% of the population is black.

3) Only in America, could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

4) Only in America, can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

5) Only in America, would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens.

6) Only in America, could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."

7) Only in America, could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

8 ) Only in America, could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

9) Only in America, could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year- for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

10) Only in America, could the rich people - who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

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« Reply #7608 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 10:01am »

Good morning Lone cheesy

Crystal



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« Reply #7609 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 10:02am »

Reuters

Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan under investigation, scandal widens

By Phil Stewart
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT
Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:16am EST

(Reuters) - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with a woman at the center of the scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

The revelation threatens to fell another of the U.S. military's biggest names and suggests that the scandal involving Petraeus - a retired four-star general who had Allen's job in Afghanistan before moving to the CIA last year - could expand.

The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications - mostly emails spanning from 2010 to 2012 - between Allen and Jill Kelley, who has been identified as a longtime friend of the Petraeus family and a Tampa, Florida, volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base.

It was Kelley's complaints about harassing emails from the woman with whom Petraeus had had an affair, Paula Broadwell, that prompted an FBI investigation that ultimately disclosed Petraeus' involvement with Broadwell. Petraeus resigned from the CIA post on Friday.

Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official said, on condition of anonymity: "We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters flying with him to Australia that he had asked that Allen's nomination to be Commander of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe be delayed "and the president has agreed."

President Barack Obama has put the nomination on hold, the White House said on Tuesday.

Allen, who is now in Washington, was due to face a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday, as was his successor in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford.

The FBI referred the case to the Pentagon on Sunday and Panetta directed the Defense Department's Inspector General to handle the investigation. Panetta informed the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee during the flight to Australia. The House Armed Services Committee was also notified.

The U.S. defense official said that Allen denied wrongdoing and that Panetta had opted to keep him in his job while the matter was under review - and until Dunford can be confirmed to replace him, a process that gains urgency given the cloud the scandal could cast over the mission in Afghanistan.

"While the matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain commander of ISAF," Panetta said, referring to the NATO—led force in Afghanistan.

Only hours earlier, Panetta had said he was reviewing Allen's recommendations on the future U.S. presence in Afghanistan after most troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

Commending Allen's leadership in Afghanistan, Panetta said: "He is entitled to due process in this matter."

At the same time, he noted that he wanted the Senate to act promptly on Dunford's nomination.

The U.S. official said Panetta was informed of the matter involving Allen on Sunday as he flew to Hawaii, after the Pentagon's top lawyer called Panetta's chief of staff. The White House was informed next.

FBI RAID, SHIRTLESS PHOTOS

Evidence that the case involving Petraeus was not fully closed came late Monday when FBI agents searched the Charlotte, North Carolina, house of Broadwell.

Agents entered the house carrying boxes at around 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Tuesday) and about four hours later took away what appeared to be two computers and about 10 boxes.

During the search, agents inside could be seen moving through multiple rooms, gathering materials and taking photos.

Broadwell's family was not at home at the time. The FBI and a Justice Department official would not comment on the raid.

U.S. officials had said in recent days that their investigation was largely complete and that prosecutors had determined it was unlikely they would bring charges in that case, which started when Kelley contacted an FBI agent in Tampa about harassing emails from an anonymous source.

That FBI agent, who has not been identified, has also come under scrutiny after it was discovered he had sent shirtless photographs of himself to Kelley, but "long before" this investigation, a law enforcement official told Reuters. The photographs were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The agent had never been on the Broadwell case, but had taken the information about the emails to the FBI cyber squad in Tampa, the law enforcement official said.

The FBI agent, who works in the Tampa office, apparently became frustrated at the pace of the investigation and complained to a member of Congress about it, the official said.

The FBI investigation of the emails received by Kelley traced them to Broadwell and subsequently uncovered emails that revealed an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus.

The emails between the two women were of a "childish", jealous nature and showed some one-upmanship of trying to come across as being more important to Petraeus, the official said.

When Petraeus resigned as CIA director on Friday he publicly admitted to having engaged in an extramarital affair.

Lawmakers and others have questioned whether Broadwell, who co-wrote a biography of the decorated former general, obtained classified information from him or another source.

Panetta had earlier said Petraeus did the right thing by stepping down, given the security concerns, but he was saddened by the end of the retired general's distinguished career.


(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria, David Ingram and Matt Spetalnick in Washington and Rick Rothacker in North Carolina; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Doina Chiacu)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/13/us-usa-petraeus-investigation-idUSBRE8AC05Z20121113

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« Reply #7610 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 10:07am »

Washington Post

Here’s the e-mail trick Petraeus and Broadwell used to communicate

Posted by Max Fisher
November 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm

CIA Director David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, a former military intelligence officer and his biographer, adopted a well-worn online trick, in an apparent attempt to keep their communications secret.

They wrote their “intimate messages” as draft e-mails in a shared Gmail account, according to the AP, allowing them to see one anothers’ messages while leaving a much fainter data trail. When messages are sent and received, both accounts record the transmission as well as such metadata as the IP addresses on either end, something the two seemed to be seeking to avoid.

Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Rather than transmitting emails to the other’s inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic “dropbox,” the official said. Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier to trace.

The trick has achieved notoriety as a tactic of terrorists who are rightly wary of espionage.

It’s the sort of measure you take if you fear there’s a risk that someone will look in on you. And it’s been around for quite some time, which may be why the FBI investigators were not fooled by it.

A January 2005 PBS special on al-Qaeda identified the tactic as one of several “terrorist tricks,” alongside logging in from public Internet cafes. The trick is also used in a 2008 spy film “Traitor.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/11/12/heres-the-e-mail-trick-petraeus-and-broadwell-used-to-communicate/

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« Reply #7611 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 10:17am »

Wired

Chimps, Cats and Honey Badgers: Best of ‘Impenetrable Forest’ Camera Trap

By Brandon Keim
November 13, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: Animals, Tech


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Though elephants in other parts of Africa are being killed in record numbers, their numbers in Bwindi are slowly growing.


Thanks to camera traps, researchers have taken an unprecedented look at animals in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a fantastically dense, tangled and vibrant jungle in the heart of equatorial Africa.

The forest is home to half of all remaining mountain gorillas, along with chimpanzees, African elephants, honey badgers, golden cats and a menagerie of creatures. It's one of the most biodiverse ecologies on Earth, and also one of the oldest: When sub-Saharan Africa's climate cooled during the last Ice Age, Bwindi became a refuge. It's remained one ever since.

"It's not a joke that the word 'impenetrable' appears in the official national park name," said Badru Mugerwa, a researcher with the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation.

Not only is the terrain jagged and mountainous, but Bwindi's dominant feature, "superseding even the impressively rich flora of noxious nettles, barbed briars and spiny Acanthus, is its remarkable density," said Mugerwa. "Walking these hills every day, recording what animals we come across, would be very tedious, close to impossible."

For scientists studying Bwindi's animals, motion-activated cameras are a wonderful tool, allowing them to count species, learn about behaviors and identify patterns that would otherwise be hidden by terrain. In August, the African Journal of Ecology published the results of a Mugerwa's camera trap survey, the largest ever undertaken in the forest.

"It's amazing how much information these little gadgets can generate," said Mugerwa. On the following pages, he shares his favorite pictures with Wired.

gallery after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/impenetrable-forest-photos/

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« Reply #7612 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 10:23am »

STV News

Dundee & Tayside UFO investigation after chef spots mystery object hovering in sky

13 November 2012 12:39 GMT


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UFO: Adrian Musat spotted the white light.


A UFO investigation has been launched after a chef filmed a mystery oval-shaped object hovering over a wood.

Adrian Musat, 40, of Pitlochry, Perthshire, saw the white light floating over Clunie Wood in Perthshire.

He recorded the mysterious light, before sending the tape off to supernatural investigators, the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA).

The father, who lives with his wife Nicoleta and two-year-old son Alex, said: "I have never seen anything like it.

"I watch out the window every day and we have a beautiful view, but I have never seen such a strange thing. It didn't make any noise."

Adrian first saw the unexplained sight from his home at 7.30am on the morning of Bonfire Night before it reappeared ten hours later.

He said the flashing UFO, which was flying above the woodland near Loch Fiskally, was about five metres wide and its colours were constantly changing.

Since then, Adrian has peered out of his window every day hoping for another sighting, but to no avail.

It is not the first mysterious object that has been seen in Pitlochry.

On August 4, 1990, two men saw a large UFO hovering for ten minutes in the nearby village of Calvine.

Matt Lyons, of BUFORA, said they have launched an investigation into Adrian's footage and will be speaking to Adrian in the near future to gather a wider understanding of the incident.

He said: "Investigation has commenced and I will be contacting the witness shortly."

A fortnight before Mr Musat's sighting an Aberdeenshire family were left terrified after a UFO invaded the skies above their home for nearly five hours.

Grandmother Morag Ritchie, 50, awoke suddenly at 2am on Saturday to see strange lights circling in the distance a few hundred yards from her rural property near Fraserburgh — about 100 miles north of Pitlochry.

In the video, taken by her daughter's fiancee, Scott Bower, a row of flickering lights can be seen hovering in the sky, before one of the lights moves off to the right and disappears.

http://news.stv.tv/tayside/200317-ufo-investigation-after-chef-spots-object-hovering-in-the-sky/

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« Reply #7613 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 12:00pm »

Hi wings of crystal, I received two individual reports about this UFO. It was seen over south Edinburgh early hours nov the fifth before moving north towards fife, the area is renowned for UFO normally in the area of st Andrews home to the RAF fighter command leuchars http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafleuchars/ you normally can tell it is a UFO when two fighters are sent to intercept, they fly about twenty miles apart for some odd reason. I never saw this one due to weather conditions. It will be interesting to see the video so it’s another one added to my list to watch.
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« Reply #7614 on: Nov 13th, 2012, 7:56pm »

on Nov 13th, 2012, 12:00pm, hyundisonata wrote:
Hi wings of crystal, I received two individual reports about this UFO. It was seen over south Edinburgh early hours nov the fifth before moving north towards fife, the area is renowned for UFO normally in the area of st Andrews home to the RAF fighter command leuchars http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafleuchars/ you normally can tell it is a UFO when two fighters are sent to intercept, they fly about twenty miles apart for some odd reason. I never saw this one due to weather conditions. It will be interesting to see the video so it’s another one added to my list to watch.



Hi Hyundisonata,

Thank you for that additional information. Very interesting event. Please keep us updated.

Crystal

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« Reply #7615 on: Nov 14th, 2012, 08:47am »

New York Times

November 13, 2012
Tampa Is Seen as Social Link for Unfolding Scandal
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

TAMPA, Fla. — Jill and Scott Kelley moved here about a decade ago, taking up residence in a huge redbrick home with a spectacular view of the water on Bayshore Boulevard, the city’s most fashionable street. They quickly established themselves as social hosts to the powerful four-star officers who run two of the nation’s most important military commands.

The Kelleys were known for their lavish parties, with extravagant buffets, flowing Champagne, valet parking and cigars for guests from nearby MacDill Air Force Base, including David H. Petraeus and Gen. John R. Allen, who now commands troops in Afghanistan. “Tampa is the kind of community where, if you’re new to the community, you can carve out your own niche,” said Pam Iorio, the city’s former mayor, who recalls mingling with Mr. Petraeus and his wife, Holly, at the Kelleys’ home. “They decided to carve out a niche with the military.”

Now the social link between Tampa’s military and civilian elite is at the center of an unfolding Washington scandal that has already cost Mr. Petraeus his job as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and has ensnared General Allen, who was Mr. Petraeus’s deputy when he was here from 2008 to 2010.

At the heart of the investigation is the Tampa woman who prompted it: Ms. Kelley, 37, who received threatening anonymous e-mails that set off an F.B.I. investigation revealing that Mr. Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. On Tuesday, General Allen was caught up in the scandal, when the Pentagon said that it was investigating whether he had engaged in “inappropriate communication” with Ms. Kelley; associates of the general say the messages were innocent, and President Obama voiced support for him.

Records show that Ms. Kelley and her husband, a doctor, have been subject to a string of lawsuits over debts, according to a report in The Tampa Bay Times, which said the Kelleys owed a bank nearly $2.2 million, including attorney fees, on a building they own. They also ran a cancer charity, which appears to be defunct. A 2007 tax filing, the latest available, shows the charity raised $157,284 that year, but spent just $58,417 on program services, described as conducting research to improve the lives of terminally ill adult cancer patients.

Their parties, though, were the talk of the town. In February 2010, a gossip column in The Tampa Bay Times reported that Mr. Petraeus and his wife arrived escorted by 28 police officers on motorcycles to a pirate-themed party at the Kelleys’ home, to mark Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Fest, an annual event. Guests dined on lamb chops and crab cakes, beside hot dog and funnel cake carts, the paper said.

The couple appeared to be well regarded at MacDill, home to Central Command, which runs the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hosts officers from more than 50 foreign countries, and Special Operations Command, which trains commandos for missions like the one that killed Osama bin Laden. The two sit side by side on the base, where generals, admirals and other high-ranking officers live in elegant homes on a spit of land that juts into Tampa Bay. Often, they invite community leaders to social receptions of their own.

Indeed, Mr. Petraeus and his wife grew so close to the Kelleys that they hosted the couple and Ms. Kelley’s twin sister, Natalie Khawam, for Christmas dinner last year. Both General Allen and Mr. Petraeus also wrote letters to a District of Columbia court vouching for Ms. Khawam in a child custody dispute.

That kind of closeness — and the Kelleys’ fancy parties — strike some military people as odd.

“I have never known there to be groupies around generals,” said Jacey Eckhart, the military spouse editor of the Web site military.com. “But just like in every other field of endeavor, there is a certain excitement around people that have great power. And generals, like captains of industry and certain kinds of celebrities, wield a certain kind of power.”

MacDill Air Force Base is a driving force behind the Tampa economy. The local Chamber of Commerce estimates $6.7 billion a year flows into the Tampa Bay area from the base. Military contractors and other defense-related companies dot the city. Business deals are often made in the plentiful strip clubs and steakhouses.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the base only grew in importance, as Central Command and Special Operations Command took on leading roles in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is unusual to have two high-level commands on the same base; that puts MacDill at the center of American military activity. The CentCom commander is typically a local star.

“He was looked at like the C.E.O. of Chrysler is in Detroit,” said Roger Maddox, a retired military officer who lives here. “Bigger than the mayor. His existence is what brings so much money to the community.”

The community, meanwhile, welcomes commanders who are outsiders when they arrive.

“Generally when they get down here they have no connection to Tampa but immediately they become part of the fabric of the community,” said John Lauro, a former federal prosecutor in New York who has lived in Tampa for the past 20 years. “People reach out to them, want to get close to them.”

Ms. Kelley worked hard to develop that closeness, and functioned as a kind of social liaison between the military commanders and the community. But some here were a bit suspicious of her.

Tampa is, at heart, a conservative Southern city whose most prominent citizens have lived here for decades. Ms. Kelley, a daughter of Lebanese immigrants who grew up in Philadelphia, and her husband, Scott, a cancer surgeon, are still regarded as newcomers.

They were often seen at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club; the late George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees, was a member. And Ms. Kelley and her sister, Ms. Khawam, raised eyebrows for their 2003 appearance on a Food Network reality show, “Food Fight.”

While other prominent Tampa residents were supporting the military in other ways — raising money for wounded veterans, waving flags as a way of showing respect, helping military children with medical needs — the Kelleys stuck mostly to social events, said Ms. Iorio, the former mayor.

When foreign dignitaries visited Central Command, the command’s generals could count on the Kelleys to host a dinner in the dignitaries’ honor. Even as news of Ms. Kelley’s connection to the emerging Petraeus scandal began spreading Sunday evening, the deputy commander of the Central Command, Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, was attending a party at her bayside home.


Michael S. Schmidt reported from Tampa, Fla., and Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Washington. Michael Wines contributed reporting from New York, and Matthew Rosenberg and Ron Nixon from Washington.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/us/tampa-social-scene-at-center-of-petraeus-scandal.html?hp

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« Reply #7616 on: Nov 14th, 2012, 08:52am »

Science Daily

Not What You Consciously Thought: How We Can Do Math Problems and Read Phrases Nonconsciously
ScienceDaily (Nov. 14, 2012)

— Can we actually read words and phrases and solve multi-step mathematical problems without our having consciously been aware of them? A team in the Psychology Department at the Hebrew University has conducted a series of experiments that give a positive answer: people can read and do math nonconsciously.

The results constitute a challenge to existing theories of unconscious processes, that maintain that reading and solving math problems -- two prime examples of complex, rule-based operations -- require consciousness.

The conclusions of the Hebrew University team were published this week inthe Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research team, headed by Dr. Ran Hassin, included graduate students Asael Sklar, Ariel Goldstein, Nir Levy and Roi Mandel, as well as Dr. Anat Maril.

To present sentences and equations unconsciously, the researchers used a cutting-edge technique called Continuous Flash Suppression (CFS). In CFS, one eye is exposed to a series of rapidly changing images, while the other is simultaneously exposed to a constant image. The rapid changes in the one eye dominate consciousness, so that the image presented to the other eye is not experienced consciously. Using this technique, more than 270 students at the Hebrew University were exposed to sentences and arithmetic problems.

In one set of experiments using this technique, participants were asked to pronounce numbers that appeared on a computer's screen. These numbers were preceded with unconscious arithmetic equations. The results of the experiments showed that participants could more quickly pronounce the conscious number if it had been the result of the unconscious equation. For example, when 9-5-1 was shown nonconsciously, the participants were faster in pronouncing 3 than 4, even though they did not consciously see the equation.

In another set of experiments reported in the PNAS paper, participants were nonconsciously exposed to a number of short verbal expressions that remained on screen until participants could say that they saw them. (In the meantime, the other eye was exposed to the rapidly flashing images). The results showed that negative verbal expressions (e.g., human trafficking) or unusual phrases (e.g., the bench ate a zebra) became conscious to the viewers before more positive expressions (e.g., ironed shirt and more usual phrases (e.g., the lion ate a zebra), indicating a definite "pickup" by the unconscious of something negative and out of the ordinary.

"These results show that the humans can perform complex, rule-based operations unconsciously, contrary to existing models of consciousness and the unconscious," say the researchers.

"Therefore," said Dr. Hassin, "current theories of the unconscious processes and human consciousness need to be revised. These revisions would bring us closer to solving one of the biggest scientific mysteries of the 21st century: What are the functions of human consciousness."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114083930.htm

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« Reply #7617 on: Nov 14th, 2012, 08:59am »

Hollywood Reporter

Assoc. Of Talent Agents Forms a PAC (Exclusive)
6:15 PM PST 11/13/2012
by Jonathan Handel

The ATA takes its cue from Plato – “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” – and is funding a California state PAC.

The elections are over but the Association of Talent Agents is jumping into the money race, forming a California state political action committee to be funded by a portion of member agencies’ dues.

The revelation of the new organization – called ATA PAC – came Tuesday in an email to member agencies from ATA executive director Karen Stuart.

“Extending and advancing ATA’s goals without demonstrable financial resources and well-established relationships with legislators is an uphill battle,” said the email. “Our lobbyists have been excellent, but as Plato said, ‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.’”

“Taking our cue from Plato,” the email continues, the ATA has engaged the Kaufman Legal Group to provide PAC-related legal services.

The mission and goals of the PAC are described as “support ATA members and their economic well-being . . . provide campaign support for ATA’s legislative champion(s) . . . (and) raise funds to support candidates for state and local elective office who advance, promote and protect the interests of ATA’s members.”

The ATA board of directors authorized the opening of the California PAC and the allocation of a portion of each members’ dues, not to exceed 20%, for 2013. The email says that dues will not increase, and that members agencies can opt out.

The email describes the PAC as part of an evolution, from hiring a Sacramento lobbyist in 1996, a New York City lobbyist in 2006, and a lobbyist in the New York State capital, Albany, in 2010.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/association-talent-agents-ata-forms-390291

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« Reply #7618 on: Nov 14th, 2012, 09:05am »

BBC

14 November 2012
Last updated at 05:27 ET

Pitlochry UFO was 'Forestry Commission vehicle light'

Investigators studying footage of a possible UFO seen above a Perthshire forest have come up with a more terrestrial explanation.

The strange light was recorded above Clunie Forest near Pitlochry by Adrian Musat on 5 November.

He sent the footage to the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) for analysis.

The experts said the object was not alien in origin, but actually a spotlight on a forestry vehicle.

BUFORA said they were confident the light was actually within the trees and not above them.

The light is believed to have been on the top of the cabin of a wood harvester.

The Forestry Commission has confirmed it had tree-felling operations under way in the woodland at the time.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-20323654

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« Reply #7619 on: Nov 14th, 2012, 1:37pm »

Lol don’t you just love it when the plot thickens, not only has the video been kept from public viewing they come up with this lame story. I live in an active forestry area in fact its all around me and I know it inside out, they use two types of harvesters one is a complete harvester that fells the tree , strips the branches then cuts it to a length then self loads onto a trailer and is no bigger than a standard JCB with a trailer, then there is the track version that is about the size of a medium digger in fact it is but with a grip and saw instead of a bucket on the arm .they both just have standard lighting in the form of two small spotlights same as you have on your car and mounted on the front top of the cab. The trees average about 35 meters in height and are about six foot apart and extremely dense. now even when these guys who by the way do not work late at night are using such machinery you do not see lights as described and in fact you will get more light from a standard car at night. This is where the plot thickens, between Pitlochry and Forfar we have a HAARP facility manned by the USAF that is well hidden, this is fact as my wife used to serve them drinks in a private club not far from this facility .add one and one people, and as for Bufora lol they are nothing more than your usual money making schemers’ such as Mufon or Greer.
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