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No Agenda 502 - Nuevo Orden Mundial

By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, April 07, 2013 at 1:04 PM.

Nuevo Orden Mundial

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, April 07, 2013 at 1:05 PM.

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By Adam Curry. Posted Sunday, April 07, 2013 at 1:05 PM.

Nuevo Orden Mundial

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EUROLand

EU's Rehn: Big depositors could suffer in future bank bailouts under new law | Reuters

"Cyprus was a special case ... but the upcoming directive assumes that investor and depositor liability will be carried out in case of a bank restructuring or a wind-down," Rehn, the European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, said in a TV interview with Finland's national broadcaster YLE.

"But there is a very clear hierarchy, at first the shareholders, then possibly the unprotected investments and deposits. However, the limit of 100,000 euros is sacred, deposits smaller than that are always safe."

Big depositors could suffer in future bank bailouts under new law

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 07:16

EU's Rehn: Big depositors could suffer in future bank bailouts under new lawTop News

EU's Rehn: Big depositors could suffer in future bank bailouts under new law

Sat, Apr 06 06:03 AM EDT

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Big bank depositors could take a hit under planned European Union law if a bank fails, the EU's economic affairs chief Olli Rehn said on Saturday, but noted that Cyprus's bailout model was exceptional.

"Cyprus was a special case ... but the upcoming directive assumes that investor and depositor liability will be carried out in case of a bank restructuring or a wind-down," Rehn, the European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, said in a TV interview with Finland's national broadcaster YLE.

"But there is a very clear hierarchy, at first the shareholders, then possibly the unprotected investments and deposits. However, the limit of 100,000 euros is sacred, deposits smaller than that are always safe."

The European Commission is currently drafting a directive on bank safety which would incorporate the issue of investor liability in member states' legislation.

To secure a 10 billion euro EU/IMF bailout last month, Cyprus forced heavy losses on wealthier depositors. Initially it had also pledged to introduce a levy on deposits of less than 100,000 euros - even though they are supposedly protected by state guarantees - before reneging in the face of widespread protests.

Rehn also said that the European Central Bank should launch fresh action to help boost the recession-hit euro zone economy.

ECB President Mario Draghi, at a press conference on Thursday, opened the way for the bank to possibly cut interest rates and to take fresh 'non-standard measures' - steps other than classic rate moves, such as government bond purchases or funding operations like the twin three-year loans it offered banks just over a year ago.

Rehn said that high financing costs for companies, especially in southern Europe, were a major problem right now.

"Therefore, the ECB's talk on Thursday about both standard and non-standard measures is very important because the ECB may have a role in making the situation easier," Rehn said.

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Susan Fenton)

EU's Rehn: Big depositors could suffer in future bank bailouts under new lawTop News

EU's Rehn: Big depositors could suffer in future bank bailouts under new law

Sat, Apr 06 06:03 AM EDT

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Big bank depositors could take a hit under planned European Union law if a bank fails, the EU's economic affairs chief Olli Rehn said on Saturday, but noted that Cyprus's bailout model was exceptional.

"Cyprus was a special case ... but the upcoming directive assumes that investor and depositor liability will be carried out in case of a bank restructuring or a wind-down," Rehn, the European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, said in a TV interview with Finland's national broadcaster YLE.

"But there is a very clear hierarchy, at first the shareholders, then possibly the unprotected investments and deposits. However, the limit of 100,000 euros is sacred, deposits smaller than that are always safe."

The European Commission is currently drafting a directive on bank safety which would incorporate the issue of investor liability in member states' legislation.

To secure a 10 billion euro EU/IMF bailout last month, Cyprus forced heavy losses on wealthier depositors. Initially it had also pledged to introduce a levy on deposits of less than 100,000 euros - even though they are supposedly protected by state guarantees - before reneging in the face of widespread protests.

Rehn also said that the European Central Bank should launch fresh action to help boost the recession-hit euro zone economy.

ECB President Mario Draghi, at a press conference on Thursday, opened the way for the bank to possibly cut interest rates and to take fresh 'non-standard measures' - steps other than classic rate moves, such as government bond purchases or funding operations like the twin three-year loans it offered banks just over a year ago.

Rehn said that high financing costs for companies, especially in southern Europe, were a major problem right now.

"Therefore, the ECB's talk on Thursday about both standard and non-standard measures is very important because the ECB may have a role in making the situation easier," Rehn said.

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Susan Fenton)

GLOBAL LOOTING EXCLUSIVE: Revealed '' Just how little the European Human Rights Convention really means | The Slog. 3-D bollocks deconstruction

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Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:45

The letter (left) from Cyprus Bank's George Georgiou to Laika Bank CEO Takis Phedias appears to be genuine. It's dated February 11th 2013, and suggests very strongly that Laiki Bank was mulling a depositor haircut long before the final mid-March announcement by Djisellbloem's eurogroup.

It also shows clearly that the Central Banker Georgiou expressed his opinion that any confiscation of customer 'property' by an EU bank would contravene Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the EHRC.

The idea then seems to have been dropped by Laiki'...who almost certainly evoked the Cyprus Bank letter in order to put off the suggestions of the eurogroup that there should be a depositor haircut. But the MerkeschÛuble disagreed with Georgiou's ruling. Technically, they were right. Here is the Article concerned '' my emphases:

'Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.'

On that basis, the EHRC isn't worth the paper it's printed on. As so often with the Controllers, the public interest, the State's rights, the general interest, taxes, penalties and a million other exceptions allow those in charge to do WTF they want. Despite the perceived strength of the Weimar Republic's citizen protection clauses, from 1933-35 Hitler was able to establish a One Party Dictatorship without breaking a single clause in the constitution.

Note also that the word used by both the EHRC and Georgiou is 'property' '' not 'savings' or 'deposits'. This allows any bank at any time to remove cars, houses, boats etc from the customer in the public interest.

And of course, if the public isn't interested, the public interest can be invoked without the slightest opposition.

Wherever you live, this clean-out theft is coming your way. Remain vigilant, and stay tuned.

Earlier at The Slog: Why the HBOS Three are just another distraction

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European Convention on Human Rights and its Five Protocols

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Archived Version

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:46

COUNCIL OF EUROPEROME 4 November 1950and its Five ProtocolsPARIS 20 March 1952STRASBOURG 6 May 1963STRASBOURG 6 May 1963STRASBOURG 16 September 1963STRASBOURG 20 January 1966

ContentsTHE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND ITS FIVE PROTOCOLS

The Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council of Europe,

Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948;

Considering that this Declaration aims at securing the universal and effective recognition and observance of the Rights therein declared;

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is the achievement of greater unity between its Members and that one of the methods by which the aim is to be pursued is the maintenance and further realization of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Reaffirming their profound belief in those Fundamental Freedoms which are the foundation of justice and peace in the world and are best maintained on the one hand by an effective political democracy and on the other by a common understanding and observance of the Human Rights upon which they depend;

Being resolved, as the Governments of European countries which are like-minded and have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals, freedom and the rule of law to take the first steps for the collective enforcement of certain of the Rights stated in the Universal Declaration;

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention.

ARTICLE 2Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent escape of a person lawfully detained;(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.ARTICLE 3No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

ARTICLE 4No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.For the purpose of this article the term forced or compulsory labour' shall not include:(a) any work required to be done in the ordinary course of detention imposed according to the provisions of Article 5 of this Convention or during conditional release from such detention;(b) any service of a military character or, in case of conscientious objectors in countries where they are recognized, service exacted instead of compulsory military service;(c) any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community;(d) any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.ARTICLE 5Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

(a) the lawful detention of a person after conviction by a competent court;(b) the lawful arrest or detention of a person for non-compliance with the lawful order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law;(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority of reasonable suspicion of having committed and offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;(d) the detention of a minor by lawful order for the purpose of educational supervision or his lawful detention for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority;(e) the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts, or vagrants;(f) the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorized entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition.Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and the charge against him.Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1(c) of this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.ARTICLE 6In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly by the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;(b) to have adequate time and the facilities for the preparation of his defence;(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.ARTICLE 7No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.This article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.ARTICLE 8Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.ARTICLE 9Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.ARTICLE 10Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.ARTICLE 11Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. this article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.ARTICLE 12Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.

ARTICLE 13Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.

ARTICLE 14The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

ARTICLE 15In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.No derogation from Article 2, except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of war, or from Articles 3, 4 (paragraph 1) and 7 shall be made under this provision.Any High Contracting Party availing itself of this right of derogation shall keep the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe fully informed of the measures which it has taken and the reasons therefor. It shall also inform the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe when such measures have ceased to operate and the provisions of the Convention are again being fully executed.ARTICLE 16Nothing in Articles 10, 11, and 14 shall be regarded as preventing the High Contracting Parties from imposing restrictions on the political activity of aliens.

ARTICLE 17Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction on any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.

ARTICLE 18The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed.

ARTICLE 19To ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the High Contracting Parties in the present Convention, there shall be set up:

A European Commission of Human Rights hereinafter referred to as 'the Commission';A European Court of Human Rights, hereinafter referred to as 'the Court'.ARTICLE 20The Commission shall consist of a number of members equal to that of the High Contracting Parties. No two members of the Commission may be nationals of the same state.

ARTICLE 21The members of the Commission shall be elected by the Committee of Ministers by an absolute majority of votes, from a list of names drawn up by the Bureau of the Consultative Assembly; each group of the Representatives of the High Contracting Parties in the Consultative Assembly shall put forward three candidates, of whom two at least shall be its nationals.As far as applicable, the same procedure shall be followed to complete the Commission in the event of other States subsequently becoming Parties to this Convention, and in filing casual vacancies.ARTICLE 22The members of the Commission shall be elected for a period of six years. They may be re-elected. However, of the members elected at the first election, the terms of seven members shall expire at the end of three years.The members whose terms are to expire at the end of the initial period of three years shall be chosen by lot by the Secretary- General of the Council of Europe immediately after the first election has been completed.A member of the Commission elected to replace a member whose term of office has not expired shall hold office for the remainder of his predecessor's term.The members of the Commission shall hold office until replaced. After having been replaced, they shall continue to deal with such cases as they already have under consideration.ARTICLE 23The members of the Commission shall sit on the Commission in their individual capacity.

ARTICLE 24Any High Contracting Party may refer to the Commission, through the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, any alleged breach of the provisions of the Convention by another High Contracting Party.

ARTICLE 25The Commission may receive petitions addressed to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe from any person, non- governmental organization or group of individuals claiming to the victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in this Convention, provided that the High Contracting Party against which the complaint has been lodged has declared that it recognizes the competence of the Commission to receive such petitions. Those of the High Contracting Parties who t)ve made such a declaration undertake not to hinder in any way the effective exercise of this right.Such declarations may be made for a specific period.The declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe who shall transmit copies thereof to the High Contracting Parties and publish them.The Commission shall only exercise the powers provided for in this article when at least six High Contracting Parties are bound by declarations made in accordance with the preceding paragraphs.ARTICLE 26The Commission may only deal with the matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted, according to the generally recognized rules of international law, and within a period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken.

ARTICLE 27the Commission shall not deal with any petition submitted under Article 25 which(a) is anonymous, or(b) is substantially the same as a matter which has already been examined by the Commission or has already been submitted to another procedure or international investigation or settlement and if it contains no relevant new information.The Commission shall consider inadmissible any petition submitted under Article 25 which it considers incompatible with the provisions of the present Convention, manifestly ill-founded, or an abuse of the right of petition.The Commission shall reject any petition referred to it which it considers inadmissible under Article 26.ARTICLE 28In the event of the Commission accepting a petition referred to it:

(a) it shall, with a view to ascertaining the facts undertake together with the representatives of the parties and examination of the petition and, if need be, an investigation, for the effective conduct of which the States concerned shall furnish all necessary facilities, after an exchange of views with the Commission;(b) it shall place itself at the disposal of the parties concerned with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the matter on the basis of respect for Human Rights as defined in this Convention.ARTICLE 29The Commission shall perform the functions set out in Article 28 by means of a Sub-Commission consisting of seven members of the Commission.Each of the parties concerned may appoint as members of this Sub-Commission a person of its choice.The remaining members shall be chosen by lot in accordance with arrangements prescribed in the Rules of Procedure of the Commission.ARTICLE 30If the Sub-Commission succeeds in effecting a friendly settlement in accordance with Article 28, it shall draw up a Report which shall be sent to the States concerned, to the Committee of Ministers and to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe for publication. This Report shall be confined to a brief statement of the facts and of the solution reached.ARTICLE 31If a solution is not reached, the Commission shall draw up a Report on the facts and state its opinion as to whether the facts found disclose a breach by the State concerned of its obligations under the Convention. The opinions of all the members of the Commission on this point may be stated in the Report.The Report shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers. It shall also be transmitted to the States concerned, who shall not be at liberty to publish it.In transmitting the Report to the Committee of Ministers the Commission may make such proposals as it thinks fit.ARTICLE 32If the question is not referred to the Court in accordance with Article 48 of this Convention within a period of three months from the date of the transmission of the Report to the Committee of Ministers, the Committee of Ministers shall decide by a majority of two-thirds of the members entitled to sit on the Committee whether there has been a violation of the Convention.In the affirmative case the Committee of Ministers shall prescribe a period during which the Contracting Party concerned must take the measures required by the decision of the Committee of Ministers.If the High Contracting Party concerned has not taken satisfactory measures within the prescribed period, the Committee of Ministers shall decide by the majority provided for in paragraph 1 above what effect shall be given to its original decision and shall publish the Report.The High Contracting Parties undertake to regard as binding on them any decision which the Committee of Ministers may take in application of the preceding paragraphs.ARTICLE 33The Commission shall meet 'in camera'.

ARTICLE 34The Commission shall take its decision by a majority of the Members present and voting; the Sub-Commission shall take its decisions by a majority of its members.

ARTICLE 35The Commission shall meet as the circumstances require. The meetings shall be convened by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

ARTICLE 36The Commission shall draw up its own rules of procedure.

ARTICLE 37The secretariat of The Commission shall be provided by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

ARTICLE 38The European Court of Human Rights shall consist of a number of judges equal to that of the Members of the Council of Europe. No two judges may be nationals of the State.

ARTICLE 39The members of the Court shall be elected by the Consultative Assembly by a majority of the votes cast from a list of persons nominated by Members of the Council of Europe; each Member shall nominate three candidates, of whom two at least shall be its nationals.As far as applicable, the same procedure shall be followed to complete the Court in the event of the admission of new members of the Council of Europe, and in filling casual vacancies.The candidates shall be of high moral character and must either possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or be jurisconsults of recognized competence.ARTICLE 40The members of the Court shall be elected for a period of nine years. They may be re-elected. However, of the members elected at the first election the terms of four members shall expire at the end of three years, and the terms of four more members shall expire at the end of six years.The members whose terms are to expire at the end of the initial periods of three and six years shall be chosen by lot by the Secretary-General immediately after the first election has been completed.A member of the Court elected to replace a member whose term of office has not expired shall hold office for the remainder of his predecessor's term.The members of the Court shall hold office until replaced. After having been replaced, they shall continue to deal with such cases as they already have under consideration.ARTICLE 41The Court shall elect the President and Vice-President for a period of three years. They may be re-elected.

ARTICLE 42The members of the Court shall receive for each day of duty a compensation to be determined by the Committee of Ministers.

ARTICLE 43For the consideration of each case brought before it the Court shall consist of a Chamber composed of seven judges. There shall sit as an 'ex officio' member of the Chamber the judge who is a national of any State party concerned, or, if there is none, a person of its choice who shall sit in the capacity of judge; the names of the other judges shall be chosen by lot by the President before the opening of the case.

ARTICLE 44Only the High Contracting Parties and the Commission shall have the right to bring a case before the Court.

ARTICLE 45The jurisdiction of the Court shall extend to all cases concerning the interpretation and application of the present Convention which the High Contracting Parties or the Commission shall refer to it in accordance with Article 48.

ARTICLE 46Any of the High Contracting Parties may at any time declare that it recognizes as compulsory 'ipso facto' and without special agreement the jurisdiction of the Court in all matters concerning the interpretation and application of the present Convention.The declarations referred to above may be made unconditionally or on condition of reciprocity on the part of several or certain other High Contracting Parties or for a specified period.These declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary- General of the Council of Europe who shall transmit copies thereof to the High Contracting Parties.ARTICLE 47The Court may only deal with a case after the Commission has acknowledged the failure of efforts for a friendly settlement and within the period of three months provided for in Article 32.

ARTICLE 48The following may bring a case before the Court, provided that the High Contracting Party concerned, if there is only one, or the High Contracting Parties concerned, if there is more than one, are subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court, or failing that, with the consent of the High Contracting Party concerned, if there is only one, or of the High Contracting Parties concerned if there is more than one:

(a) the Commission;(b) a High Contracting Party whose national is alleged to be a victim;(c) a High Contracting Party which referred the case to the Commission;(d) a High Contracting Party against which the complaint has been lodged.ARTICLE 49In the event of dispute as to whither the Court has the jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the Court.

ARTICLE 50If the Court finds that a decision or a measure taken by a legal authority or any other authority of a High Contracting Party, is completely or partially in conflict with the obligations arising from the present convention, and if the internal law of the said Party allows only partial reparation to be made for the consequences of this decision or measure, the decision of the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.

ARTICLE 51Reasons shall be given for the judgement of the Court.If the judgement does not represent in whole or in part the unanimous opinion of the judges, any judges shall be entitled to deliver a separate opinion.ARTICLE 52The judgement of the Court shall be final.

ARTICLE 53The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the decision of the Court in any case to which they are parties.

ARTICLE 54The judgement of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers which shall supervise its execution.

ARTICLE 55The Court shall draw up its own rules and shall determine its own procedure.

ARTICLE 56The first election of the members of the Court shall take place after the declarations by the High Contracting Parties mentioned in Article 46 have reached a total of eight.No case can be brought before the Court before this election.ARTICLE 57On receipt of a request from the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe any High Contracting Party shall furnish an explanation of the manner in which its internal law ensures the effective implementation of any of the provisions of this Convention.

ARTICLE 58The expenses of the Commission and the Court shall be borne by the Council of Europe.

ARTICLE 59The members of the Commission and of the Court shall be entitled, during the discharge of their functions, to the privileges and immunities provided for in Article 40 of the Statute of the Council of Europe and in the agreements made thereunder.

ARTICLE 60Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as limiting or derogating from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms which may be ensured under the laws of any High Contracting Party or under any other agreement to which it is a Party.

ARTICLE 61Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice the powers conferred on the Committee of Ministers by the Statute of the Council of Europe.

ARTICLE 62The High Contracting Parties agree that, except by special agreement, they will not avail themselves of treaties, conventions or declarations in force between them for the purpose of submitting, by way of petition, a dispute arising out of the interpretation or application of this Convention to a means of settlement other than those provided for in this Convention.

ARTICLE 63Any State may at the time of its ratification or at any time thereafter declare by notification addressed to the Secretary- General of the Council of Europe that the present Convention shall extend to all or any of the territories for whose international relations it is responsible.The Convention shall extend to the territory or territories named in the notification as from the thirtieth day after the receipt of this notification by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.The provisions of this Convention shall be applied in such territories with due regard, however, to local requirements.Any State which has made a declaration in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article may at any time thereafter declare on behalf of one or more of the territories to which the declaration relates that it accepts the competence of the Commission to receive petitions from individuals, non-governmental organizations or groups of individuals in accordance with Article 25 of the present Convention.ARTICLE 64Any State may, when signing this Convention or when depositing its instrument of ratification, make a reservation in respect of any particular provision of the Convention to the extent that any law then in force in its territory is not in conformity with the provision. Reservations of a general character shall not be permitted under this article.Any reservation made under this article shall contain a brief statement of the law concerned.ARTICLE 65A High Contracting Party may denounce the present Convention only after the expiry of five years from the date of which it became a Party to it and after six months' notice contained in a notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, who shall inform the other High Contracting Parties.Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the High Contracting Party concerned from its obligations under this Convention in respect of any act which, being capable of constituting a violation of such obligations, may have been performed by it before the date at which the denunciation became effective.Any High Contracting Party which shall cease to be a Member of the Council of Europe shall cease to be a Party to this Convention under the same conditions.The Convention may be denounced in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraphs in respect of any territory to which it has been declared to extend under the terms Article 63.ARTICLE 66This Convention shall be open to the signature of the Members of the Council of Europe. It shall be ratified. Ratifications shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.The present Convention shall come into force after the deposit of ten instruments of ratification.As regards any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Convention shall come into force at the date of the deposit of itsP!nstrument of ratification.The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe shall notify all the Members of the Council of Europe of the entry into force of the Convention, the names of the High Contracting Parties who have ratified it, and the deposit of all instruments of ratification which may be effected subsequently.Done at Rome this 4th day of November, 1950, in English and French, both text being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary-General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatories.

1. Enforcement of certain Rights and Freedoms not included in Section I of the ConventionThe Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council of Europe,

Being resolved to take steps to ensure the collective enforcement of certain rights and freedoms other than those already included in Section I of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome on 4th November, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Convention'),

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

ARTICLE 2No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.

ARTICLE 3The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.

ARTICLE 4Any High Contracting Party may at the time of signature or ratification or at any time thereafter communicate to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe a declaration stating the extent to which it undertakes that the provisions of the present Protocol shall apply to such of the territories for the international relations of which it is responsible as are named therein.

Any High Contracting Party which has communicated a declaration in virtue of the preceding paragraph may from time to time communicate a further declaration modifying the terms of any former declaration or terminating the application of the provisions of this Protocol in respect of any territory.

A declaration made in accordance with this article shall be deemed to have been made in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 63 of the Convention.

ARTICLE 5As between the High Contracting Parties the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this Protocol shall be regarded as additional articles to the convention and all the provisions of the Convention shall apply accordingly.

ARTICLE 6This Protocol shall be open for signature by the Members of the Council of Europe, who are the signatories of the Convention; it shall be ratified at the same time as or after the ratification of the Convention. It shall enter into force after the deposit of ten instruments of ratification. As regards any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Protocol shall enter into force at the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification.

The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, who will notify all the Members of the names of those who have ratified.

Done at Paris on the 20th day of March 1952, In English and French, both text being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary-General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatory Governments

2. Conferring upon the European Court of Human Rights Competence to give Advisory OpinionsThe Member States of the Council of Europe signatory hereto:

Having regard to the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome on 4 November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Convention'), and in particular Article 19 instituting, among other bodies, a European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as 'the Court');

Considering that it is expedient to confer upon the Court competence to give advisory opinions subject to certain conditions;

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1The Court may, at the request of the Committee of Ministers, give advisory opinions on legal questions concerning the interpretation of the Convention and the Protocols thereto.Such opinions shall not deal with any question relating to the content or scope of the rights or freedoms defined in Section I of the convention and in the Protocols thereto, or with any other question which the Commission, the Court, or the committee of Ministers might have to consider in consequence of any such proceedings as could be instituted in accordance with the Convention.Decisions of the Committee of Ministers to request an advisory opinion of the Court shall require a two-thirds majority vote of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.ARTICLE 2The Court shall decide whether a request for an advisory opinion submitted by the Committee of Ministers is within its consultative competence as defined in Article 1 of this Protocol.

ARTICLE 3For the consideration of requests for an advisory opinion, the Court shall sit in plenary session.Reasons shall be given for advisory opinions of the Court.If the advisory opinion does not represent in whole or in part the unanimous opinion of the judges, any judge shall be entitled to deliver a separate opinion.Advisory opinions of the Court shall be communicated to the Committee of Ministers.ARTICLE 4The powers of the Court under Article 55 of the Convention shall extend to the drawing up of such rules and the determination of such procedure as the Court may think necessary for the purposes of this Protocol.

ARTICLE 5This Protocol shall be open to signature by member States of the Council of Europe, signatories to the Convention, who may become Parties to it by:(a) signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(b) signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance, followed by ratification or acceptance. Instruments of ratification or acceptance shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.This Protocol shall enter into force as soon as all the States Parties to the Convention shall have become Parties to the Protocol in accordance with the Provisions of paragraph 1 of this article.From the date of the entry into force of this Protocol, Articles 1 to 4 shall be considered an integral part of the Convention.The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe shall notify the Member States of the Council of:(a) any signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(b) any signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(c) the deposit of any instrument of ratification or acceptance;(d) the date of entry into force of this Protocol in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article.In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Protocol.

Done at Strasbourg, this 6th day of May 1963, in English and French, both text being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary-General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatory States.

3. Amending Articles 29, 30, and 94 of the ConventionThe member States of the Council, signatories to this Protocol,

Considering that it is advisable to amend certain provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at rome on 4 November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Convention') concerning the procedure of the European Commission of Human Rights,

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1Article 29 of the Convention is deleted.The following provision shall be inserted in the Convention:"ARTICLE 29

After it has accepted a petition submitted under Article 25, the Commission may nevertheless decide unanimously to reject the petition if, in the course of its examination, it finds that the existence of one of the grounds for non-acceptance provided for in Article 27 has been established.

In such a case, the decision shall be communicated to the parties."

ARTICLE 2At the beginning of Article 34 of the Convention, the following shall be inserted: "Subject to the provisions of Article 29..."At the end of the same article, the sentence "the Sub- commission shall take its decisions by a majority of its members" shall be deleted.ARTICLE 4The Protocol shall be open to signature by the member States of the Council of Europe, who may become Parties to it either by:(a) signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance, or(b) signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance, followed by ratification or acceptance. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.This Protocol shall enter force as soon as all States Parties to the Convention shall have become Parties to the Protocol, in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article.The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe shall notify the Member States of the Council of:(a) any signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(b) any signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(c) the deposit of any instrument of ratification or acceptance;(d) the date of entry into force of this Protocol in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article.In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Protocol.

Done at Strasbourg, this 6th day of May 1963, in English and French, both text being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary-General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatory States

4. Protecting certain Additional RightsThe Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council of Europe,

Being resolved to take steps to ensure the collective enforcement of certain rights and freedoms other than those already included in Section 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome on 4 November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Convention') and in Articles 1 to 3 of the First Protocol to the Convention, signed at Paris on 20 March 1952,

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1No one shall be deprived of his liberty merely on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation.

ARTICLE 2Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are in accordance with law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety for the maintenance of 'ordre public', for the prevention of crime, for the protection of rights and freedoms of others.The rights set forth in paragraph 1 may also be subject, in particular areas, to restrictions imposes in accordance with law and justified by the public interest in a democratic society.ARTICLE 3No one shall be expelled, by means either of an individual or of a collective measure, from the territory of the State of which he is a national.No one shall be deprived of the right to enter the territory of the State of which he is a national.ARTICLE 4Collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited.

ARTICLE 5Any High Contracting Party may, at the time of signature or ratification of this Protocol, or at any time thereafter, communicate to the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe a declaration stating the extent to which it undertakes that the provisions of this Protocol shall apply to such of the territories for the international relations of which it is responsible as are named therein.Any High Contracting Party which has communicated a declaration in virtue of the preceding paragraph may, from time to time, communicate a further declaration modifying the terms of any former declaration or terminating the application of the provisions of this Protocol in respect of territory.A declaration made in accordance with this article shall be deemed to have been made in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 63 of the Convention.The territory of any State to which this Protocol applies by virtue of the ratification or acceptance by that State, and each territory to which this Protocol is applied by virtue of a declaration by that State under this article, shall be treated as separate territories for the purpose of the references in Articles 2 and 3 to the territory of a State.ARTICLE 6As between the High Contracting Parties the provisions of Articles 1 to 5 of this Protocol shall be regarded as additional articles to the convention, and all the provisions of the Convention shall apply accordingly.Nevertheless, the right of individual recourse recognized by a declaration made under Article 25 of the convention, or the acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the court by a declaration made under Article 46 of the convention, shall not be effective in relation to this Protocol unless the High Contracting Party concerned has made a statement recognizing such a right, or accepting such jurisdiction, in respect of all or any of Articles 1 to 4 of the Protocol.ARTICLE 7This Protocol shall be open for signature by the members of the Council of Europe who are the signatories of the Convention; it shall be ratified at the same time as or after the ratification of the Convention. It shall enter into force after the deposit of five instruments of ratification. As regards any signatory ratifying subsequently, the Protocol shall enter into force at the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification.The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, who will notify all members of the names of those who have ratified.

In witness thereof, the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Protocol.

Done at Strasbourg, this 16th day of September 1963, in English and French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary-General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatory States.

5. Amending Articles 22 and 40 of the ConventionThe Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council of Europe,

Considering that certain inconveniences have arisen in the application of the provisions of Articles 22 and 40 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome of 4th November 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Convention') relating to the length of the terms of office of the members of the European Commission of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as 'the Commission') and of the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as 'the Court');

Considering that it is desirable to ensure as far as possible an election every three years of one half of the members of the Commission and of one third of the members of the Court;

Considering therefore that it is desirable to amend certain provisions of the Convention,

Have agreed as follows:

ARTICLE 1In Article 22 of the Convention, the following two paragraphs shall be inserted after paragraph (2):

"(3) In order to ensure that, as far as possible, one half of the membership of the Commission shall be renewed every three years, the Committee of Ministers may decide, before proceeding to any subsequent election, that the term or terms of office of one or more members to be elected shall be for a period other than six years but not more than nine and not less than three years.

(4) In cases where more than one term of office is involved and the Committee of Ministers applies the preceding paragraph, the allocation of the terms of office shall be effected by the drawing of lots by the Secretary-General, immediately after the election."

ARTICLE 2In Article 22 of the Convention, the former paragraphs (3) and (4) shall become respectively paragraphs (5) and (6).

ARTICLE 3In Article 40 of the Convention, the following two paragraphs shall be inserted after paragraph (2):

"(3) In order to ensure that, as far as possible, one half of the membership of the Court shall be renewed every three years, the Consultative Assembly may decide, before proceeding to any subsequent election, that the term or terms of office of one or more members to be elected shall be for a period other than nine years but not more than twelve and not less than six years.

(4) In cases where more than one term of office is involved and the Consultative Assembly applies the preceding paragraph, the allocation of the terms of office shall be effected by the drawing of lots by the Secretary-General, immediately after the election."

ARTICLE 4In Article 40 of the Convention, the former paragraphs (3) and (4) shall become respectively paragraphs (5) and (6).

ARTICLE 5This Protocol shall be open to signature by Members of the Council of Europe, signatories to the Convention, who may become Parties to it by;(a) signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(b) signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance, followed by ratification or acceptance.Instruments of ratification or acceptance shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

This Protocol shall enter into force as soon as all Contracting Parties to the Convention shall have become Parties to the Protocol, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this article.The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe shall notify the Members of the Council of:(a) any signature without reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(b) any signature with reservation in respect of ratification or acceptance;(c) the deposit of any instrument of ratification or acceptance;(d) the date of entry into force of this Protocol in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article.In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Protocol.

Done at Strasbourg, this 20th day of January 1966, in English and French, both texts being equally authentic, in a single copy which shall remain deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe. The Secretary-General shall transmit certified copies to each of the signatory Governments.

Breakdown of Individual EU Member Gurantee Exposure to Cyprus

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Archived Version

Source: EconomicPolicyJournal.com

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 13:03

Below are the European Stability Mechanism loan guarantees that individual EU members are committed for.Open Europe Blog provided the above chart and has an explainer on what it all means:ESM loans do not require direct cash from countries but are based off loan guarantees which the eurozone countries give to the ESM. The ESM then issues debt on the market to raise the actual cash to provide the bailout loans. So, not extra cash contribution on the back of this bailout. That said, the ESM does require paid-in capital ('­Â80bn), the payouts of which should have been factored into eurozone government budgets and certainly has been included in the bailed out countries. Also due to a eurostat ruling, each eurozone member's share of ESM bailouts will not count towards its national debt.

Up to 600 European Jihadist Fighters among Syrian Rebels

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Archived Version

Source: Global Research

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 12:55

Hundreds of European Muslims have joined the Syrian rebels in their fight against the rule of Bashar Assad, the latest study reveals. Most of them hold UK passports.

An estimate of the International Centre of for the Study of Radicalization (ICRS), based on more than 450 open sources, has found that up to 5,500 foreign fighters have traveled to Syria since the beginning of the uprising against the ruling regime. Of them, up to 11 per cent originate from Europe.

''Between 140 and 600 Europeans have gone to Syria since early 2011,'' researcher Aaron Y. Zelin says.

Britain accounts for the biggest number of arrivals, with up to 134 people joining the cause. The Netherlands comes second with up to 107 people, next are France (up to 92), Belgium (up to 85) and Denmark (up to 78).

''As with previous conflicts, the picture is far from complete and will probably remain so for years to come,'' said Zelin on the numbers presented in the study.

''There is no 'true census' of foreign fighters, and publicly available sources are inevitably incomplete.''

The research suggests most foreigners have not yet returned to their home countries.

''Based on the conflict totals, we estimate that 70 to 441 Europeans are still currently present in Syria,'' ICSR report states. ''This suggests that most of the Europeans who have travelled to Syria are still on the battlefield.''

Some of the data for the research was pulled from the so-called online martyrdom notices of jihadists, ideologically affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Out of 249 such martyrdom notices, about 3 per cent identify countries of origin as European. People travelled ''to die in Syria'' from Albania, Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Kosovo, Spain and Sweden.

British Islamists protest outside the French Embassy in London January 12, 2013. (Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)

The researchers say, neither political motivations, nor jihadist ideology are among the primary reasons for the people to go to Syria, but the atrocities of war.

''The most commonly cited reasons for joining rebel forces are the horrific images of the conflict, stories about atrocities committed by government forces, and the perceived lack of support from Western and Arab countries,'' ICSR reports explains.

''In many cases, these individuals fully adopt the jihadist doctrine and ideology only when they are on the ground and in contact with hardened fighters.''

This 'ideological' borrowing cannot but worry the European governments. For instance, the Netherlands raised the threat of a terror attack to ''substantial'' last month, saying the increased risk stemmed mainly from jihadists returning from fighting in Syria. British security services are also concerned the returnees may use their military know-how to wreak havoc back home.

The researchers, however, do not believe there is an immediate connection between fighting in Syria and terrorism in Europe.

''Not everyone who has joined the Syrian rebels is Al-Qaeda, and only a small number may ever become involved in terrorism after returning to Europe,'' Zelin said.

''That said, it would be wrong to conclude that individuals who have trained and fought in Syria pose no potential threat,'' he remarked. He pointed at the recently-published research by the Norwegian academic Thomas Hegghammer, which reveals that terrorists with foreign experience are far more lethal, dangerous and sophisticated than purely domestic cells.

Bozo Filter

Facebook Reach Data: Do The Numbers Lie?

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Archived Version

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 07:25

I've noticed an issue with my Facebook Fan Page that doesn't seem to compute. If I post something with a picture or a link/picture combo on my Facebook fan page, less than 300 of the 7,150+ people who like the page will see the post. That's barely over four percent. However, if I post simple text, somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people will see it. What gives?

Some Background on ReachLast summer, Facebook added a metric called ''Reach'' to its pages. (Shortly after, Facebook re-branded ''Reach'' to ''people who saw this.'' Potato/potato.) The number lets the people who administrate any given page see just how many of its fans a given post is connecting with. It is focused on two main areas: organic reach and viral reach.

Organic reach is just what it sounds like: people who like a page stumble upon the post organically, like by scrolling through their news feed or visiting a page.Viral reach is an extension of that, and would happen if you commented on a post and one of your friends saw a post about your comment. If your friend clicked on the page, that would be viral reach, as it was a result of your comment.Facebook also added a whole bunch of metrics to the top of pages that let page admins dig a little deeper into who is seeing their posts in an area called ''Insights.'' Here, you can see a full list of your posts, how many people saw those posts, how ''viral'' a post is (Facebook defines this as ''the percentage of people who have created a story from your Page post out of the total number of unique people who have seen it'') and more. This should be awesome for quants and geeks alike, except it's vague and generic and not really all that helpful.

So why are only four percent of my fans seeing my posts?

A Closer LookI dug as deep as Facebook would allow into what types of posts were getting the most traction. As you can see, the most popular post from the week of February 22nd is immediately obvious. It's a simple eleven word update: ''Have a great weekend, everyone, and I'll see you in Barcelona!'' Huh???

It seemed like no matter what link I posted or what photo I shared, no more than a few hundred people would see it. But a status update (with nothing attached to it) was seen by six times as many people. Going back even further, this was the case for months.

Am I Alone?It turns out that other people were starting to notice issues like this, going back as far as October. People who ran Facebook pages found that fewer and fewer people were seeing the posts they shared with their fans.

Back on September 20, Facebook announced a drastic change in the algorithm that determines how many people see a given post. Facebook claims that it was in an effort to de-clutter the amount of posts you would see on your smartphone or tablet from brands, but it also coincided with the company's attempts to maximize paid advertising on the site, to hopefully bump up its struggling stock price after Facebook's IPO.

EdgeRank Checker found that ''[t]he typical Facebook Page in our data set was experiencing 26% Organic Reach the week before the 20th. The week after the 20th, these same Pages were experiencing 19.5%. These Pages lost approximately 6.5% of their Reach after the 20th.'' In the same study, EdgeRank Checker also found that viral reach was nearly halved, from 0.69% to 0.38%. Worst of all, fan engagement dropped 17% from week-to-week. Two months later, EdgeRank Checker followed that study up with one about Facebook photos, and found that they ''lost news feed dominance.''

It turns out that, no, I'm absolutely not alone.

Time for an ExperimentI decided I'd try something '... for two weeks, every link I'd normally post would be formatted in the style of a status update. There would still be a URL in the post, but there wouldn't be an attached expanded link.

The results were immediate, and they were staggering:

The bottom post '' a link to listen to a quick radio spot I was appearing on '' was posted as a status, rather than a link. When compared to the average numbers for links in the past, more than 1,000 extra people saw it. One of the funnier stories I've run into, about a man who got a tattoo that said NETFLIX on his body and was given a free year of the service, got over 2,400 page views. Of those, 1,766 were organic '' keeping pretty much in line with the 1,400-1,600 range that statuses led to '' with another 671 coming from viral clicks as my post generated quite a few comments.

I sent my data to my friends at Facebook and asked them about the remarkable delta between text-only and rich media status updates. Here is Facebook's official response in its entirety:

''We have seen that text posts '' from brands, celebrity pages, and friends '' do tend to garner more organic reach. Over time we've seen that users on average are more likely to respond to text posts and often times write their own posts in response. Because of these positive signals from user behavior, we show more text posts in people's News Feeds. But, as you know, organic reach is only part of the equation. The overall reach of a post is also driven by its viral reach, which you noted on some of your more engaging posts, like the Netflix tattoo example.

It's also important to remember that all brands are different and there are different user expectations and engagement levels depending on the assets those brands can utilize. Many brands, particularly those known for a highly visual product, get a lot of viral reach when they post photos related to their brand. Other brands, particularly those that have developed a strong brand voice or character have garnered a great deal of viral reach on their text posts because they're funny, timely or interesting.

Our goal is to provide the platform and tools to help Page owners understand what is working best for their individual objectives so they can optimize against what is working.''

So Facebook's official response acknowledges that text-only posts on pages can expect higher organic reach. This will come as excellent news to content & community managers who can now concentrate on crafting the best ''free'' text-only messages to achieve their organic reach goals. Why pay Facebook for rich media ads when its data clearly demonstrates that free text-only status updates out-reach rich media by as much as five to one?

A Final TestI wanted to see if it was true that Facebook was trying to emphasize paid advertising and promoted posts on the site. I picked a few different posts and promoted them for different dollar amounts to see if the reach was what the site promised, and to see if it made a difference when it came to getting eyes on my stories.

The bottom line? You get what you pay for '... but the reach number does not translate to engagement.

Promoted stories promise an expanded audience of anywhere from 490 new users (for $5) up to 25,000 new users (for $300). To see what impact promoting a story would have on the number of people who saw the post and the overall engagement, I promoted three stories for a total of $35. All three were pure text updates (rather than links), directing readers to a story on my site.

I promoted a status with a link to my blog for $5, a link to a podcast for $10 and a link to a featured writer piece for $20. Facebook told me how many extra people these budgets would reach (anywhere between 490 and 2,000 people), and they did just that. In fact, the two more expensive stories did better than that, reaching even more people than Facebook said it would.

But it didn't make a positive difference in terms of engagement. Sure, I got a one or two likes on each story a few days after I posted them (rather than having them fade into the ether like most things on Facebook), but the only comments I got were spam that Facebook auto-hid anyway.

So, Facebook Reach Data: Do The Numbers Lie? Organic reach is not the only metric that matters and Facebook correctly points out that every brand will have its own goals. But, if Facebook's numbers are correct, then a picture is not worth anywhere near a thousand words '' however, a text-only post is always worth five pictures. Are your fan pages generating similar data? Either way, I'd love to hear from you. Please email me shelly@shellypalmer.com or post your response on facebook.com/shellypalmerdigitalliving.

Obama Nation

Is Barack Obama Gay? Does Barack Obama sexually harass male staffers in the White House? | Hillbuzz | Conservative Political Analysis, Action & Humor | Kevin DuJan Editor

Obama Apologizes for Praising Female Official's Looks - NYTimes.com

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Archived Version

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:17

WASHINGTON '-- President Obama late Thursday night called Kamala Harris, the California attorney general, and apologized to her for saying that she is the ''best-looking attorney general in the country.''

Mr. Obama made the comment on Thursday morning at a fund-raiser outside San Francisco. He praised Ms. Harris as being ''brilliant,'' adding, ''she is dedicated and she is tough'' before commenting on her looks. ''She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country,'' the president told the wealthy donors, who responded with surprise and applause.

There was a quick reaction on social media sites, with some people accusing Mr. Obama of being sexist and others defending his comment as harmless.

But the president's aides apparently knew the potential for political damage. Soon after Air Force One returned Mr. Obama from his West Coast fund-raising trip, he called Ms. Harris and apologized, according to Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

''You know, they are old friends and good friends,'' Mr. Carney said, ''and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities.''

Mr. Carney repeatedly remarked on Ms. Harris's abilities, calling her ''a remarkably effective leader as attorney general'' and ''an excellent attorney general'' who has ''done great work.'' The president, Mr. Carney said, ''fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance.''

A spokesman for Ms. Harris, Gil Duran, said in a statement Friday: ''The attorney general and the president have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday, and she strongly supports him.''

While Ms. Harris did not seem offended, others were on her behalf. Robin Abcarian wrote on the Web site of The Los Angeles Times that the comment was ''more wolfish than sexist,'' and ''may be a little problem he needs to work on.''

Joan Walsh wrote on Salon that ''my stomach turned over'' when she heard about the comment. ''Those of us who've fought to make sure that women are seen as more than ornamental '-- and that includes the president '-- should know better than to rely on flattering the looks of someone as formidable as Harris,'' she said.

Ms. Harris, 48, was elected to the statewide office in 2010 after serving two terms as district attorney of San Francisco. She is the first woman to hold the post and the first with African-American and South Asian heritage. Her name has come up as a possible candidate for governor or even for the United States Supreme Court if another seat is vacated during Mr. Obama's second term. She has been an ally of the president's, speaking at the Democratic National Convention that renominated him last year.

Fisker Automotive lays off most workers, struggles to find investor - latimes.com

Notice -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Somalia

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Archived Version

Source: White House.gov Press Office Feed

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 12:51

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

April 04, 2013

NOTICE

- - - - - - -

CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO SOMALIA

On April 12, 2010, by Executive Order 13536, I declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the deterioration of the security situation and the persistence of violence in Somalia, acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, which have repeatedly been the subject of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and violations of the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

On July 20, 2012, I issued Executive Order 13620 to take additional steps to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13536 in view of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 of February 22, 2012, and Resolution 2002 of July 29, 2011, and to address: exports of charcoal from Somalia, which generate significant revenue for al-Shabaab; the misappropriation of Somali public assets; and certain acts of violence committed against civilians in Somalia, all of which contribute to the deterioration of the security situation and the persistence of violence in Somalia.

The situation with respect to Somalia continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on April 12, 2010, and the measures adopted on that date and on July 20, 2012, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond April 12, 2013. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13536.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

BARACK OBAMA

NK

LUNCH WITH THE FT - KIM JONG-UN

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Source: aangirfan

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 09:09

Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju at the Haemaji RestaurantI meet the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, in a private room at the Toffy Ukai restaurant in Tokyo.

Kim Jong-un is visiting Japan on a forged Brazilian passport.

Kim Jong-un 'secretly visits Tokyo' - Telegraph

Kim is wearing a Chicago Bulls T-shirt and Nike sneakers.

Kim Jong Un is reported to have had posters of basketball star Michael Jordan on his wall during his schooldays.

I complement Kim on his attire.

"I got the this shirt from Madeleine Albright," explains Kim. "That was back in 2000."

Kim at school in Berne in Switzerland.

We order tosui-tofu, cubes of tofu in a creamy, savoury casserole of soya milk blended with chicken broth, topped with layers of yuba tofu skin.

Kim asks the waiter for a bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky and some Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes.

Reportedly, Kim is a diabetic and suffers from hypertension.

Kim Jong Un. Soviet records show that Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong il was born in the village of Vyatskoye, near Khabarovsk, in 1941, where his father, Kim Il-sung, commanded the 1st Battalion of the Soviet 88th Brigade.

As we begin our meal, I ask Kim about his childhood."When I was a little boy, my father, Kim Jong il, got me to watch Disney cartoons for hours every day." And what about Berne?

"I spent some time in Switzerland," relates Kim."Our family often gets together in Switzerland at Lake Geneva and Interlaken."That's where we see lots of Monarch butterflies."

Kim attended a Swiss boarding school in Berne in the mid 1990's."I was enrolled as the son of the chauffeur of the North Korean Embassy," explains Kim.

Kim Jong Un (right) with his father. Disney is linked to CIA brainwashing. Kim Jong-un's Swiss school was the "Liebefeld Steinh¦lzli" in K¦niz near Bern.Kim Jong-un was described by classmates as shy, awkward with girls, not interested politics, but very interested in sport.

"Sometimes a car from the North Korean Embassy would drive me to Paris to watch an NBA exhibition game," says Kim.

Kim has been photographed with Kobe Bryant and Toni Kuko€Ù.

I ask Kim about his older brother."Kim Chong Chol, is a big fan of Eric Clapton," says Kim."He's been to four Clapton concerts, in Germany, and one in Singapore."

Does Kim Jong Un like music?

"I like to drink and party all night, just like my father.

"I use a sauna beat hangovers."

As the bottle of Johnnie Walker is emptied, Kim Jong Un becomes lucid on the subject of politics."My role, as a good socialist, is to promote the interests of the USA's military industrial complex," says Kim.

"Certain Israelis and certain Americans supply our nuclear materials.

"Our Gulags are run by...."

Kim Jong Un in Berne.

Berne is a major base for the CIA and its friends.

In 1943, future CIA Director Allen Dulles moved to Bern in Switzerland.

While I drink my coffee, Kim gets up and starts to dance.

Agreed Framework - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sat, 06 Apr 2013 16:48

The Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was signed on October 21, 1994 between North Korea (DPRK) and the United States. The objective of the agreement was the freezing and replacement of North Korea's indigenous nuclear power plant program with more nuclear proliferation resistant light water reactor power plants, and the step-by-step normalization of relations between the U.S. and the DPRK. Implementation of the agreement was troubled from the start, but its key elements were being implemented until it effectively broke down in 2003.

[edit]The agreementThe main provisions of the agreement[1] were:

DPRK's graphite-moderated 5MWe nuclear reactor, and the 50 MWe and 200 MWe reactors under construction, which could easily produce weapons grade plutonium, would be replaced with two 1000MW light water reactors (LWR) power plants by a target date of 2003.Oil for heating and electricity production would be provided while DPRK's reactors were shut down and construction halted, until completion of the first LWR power unit. The amount of oil was 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil per year.The two sides would move toward full normalization of political and economic relations.The U.S. would provide formal assurances to the DPRK, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.The DPRK would take steps to implement the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.[2]The DPRK would remain a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.IAEA ad hoc and routine inspections would resume for facilities not subject to the freeze.Existing spent nuclear fuel stocks would be stored and ultimately disposed of without reprocessing in the DPRK.Before delivery of key LWR nuclear components, the DPRK would come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.There were also some confidential minutes supporting the agreement, which have not been made public.[3][4] These are reported to include that full-scope IAEA safeguards would be applied when the major non-nuclear components of the first LWR unit were completed but before the delivery of key nuclear components.[5]

The pact was neither a treaty subject to Senate approval nor a legally binding executive agreement, but a non-binding political commitment between the two countries noted by the United Nations Security Council.[6] It was signed in the wake of North Korea's 90-day advance notification of its intended withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which North Korea "suspended" after 89 days), a U.S. military buildup near the country, and U.S. plans to bomb the active Yongbyon nuclear reactor.[7]

The U.S. regarded the Agreed Framework primarily a non-proliferation agreement, whereas North Korea placed greater value on measures normalizing relations with the U.S.[8]

Terms of the pact and consequent agreements included the shutdown of the pilot Yongbyon nuclear reactor, abandoning the construction of two larger nuclear power plants, and the canning and sealing, under IAEA monitoring, of spent fuel that could have been reprocessed to create plutonium for a nuclear weapon. In exchange two light water reactors would be constructed in North Korea by 2003 at a cost of $4 billion, primarily supplied by South Korea.[9] In the interim, North Korea would be supplied with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil annually, at no cost, to make up for lost energy production. North Korea was required to come into full compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement, allowing the IAEA to verify the correctness and completeness of its initial declaration, before key nuclear components of the reactor would be delivered. When the LWR plants were completed, North Korea would dismantle its other nuclear reactors and associated facilities.

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) is a consortium of the United States, South Korea, Japan, and various other states that is responsible for implementing the energy-related parts of the agreement. North Korea would repay KEDO over a 20-year interest-free period after the completion of each LWR plant.[10]

It was reported that US PresidentBill Clinton's officials agreed to the plan only because they thought that the North Korean government would collapse before the nuclear power project was completed as North Korea's leader Kim Il-sung had recently died.[11] North Korean officials at the time also suspected the U.S. anticipated an early collapse of the DPRK.[12]

[edit]Implementation of the agreementSoon after the agreement was signed, U.S. Congress control changed to the Republican Party, who did not support the agreement.[13][14] Some Republican Senators were strongly against the agreement, regarding it as appeasement.[15][16] Initially U.S. Department of Defense emergency funds not under Congress control were used to fund the transitional oil supplies under the agreement,[17] together with international funding. From 1996 Congress provided funding, though not always sufficient amounts.[8][18] Consequently some of the agreed transitional oil supplies were delivered late.[19] KEDO's first director, Stephen Bosworth, later commented "The Agreed Framework was a political orphan within two weeks after its signature".[20]

Some analysts believe North Korea agreed to the freeze primarily because of the U.S. agreement to phase out economic sanctions that had been in place since the Korean War. But because of congressional opposition, the U.S. failed to deliver on this part of the agreement.[21]

International funding for the LWR replacement power plants had to be sought. Formal invitations to bid were not issued until 1998, by which time the delays were infuriating North Korea.[20] In May 1998 North Korea warned it would restart nuclear research if the U.S. could not install the LWR.[22][23] Formal ground breaking on the site was on August 21, 1997,[24] but significant spending on the LWR project did not commence until 2000.[25]

There was increasing disagreement between North Korea and U.S. on the scope and implementation of the treaty. When by 1999 economic sanctions had not been lifted and full diplomatic relations between U.S. and North Korea had not been established, North Korea warned that they would resume nuclear research unless the U.S. kept up its end of the bargain. The U.S. repeatedly stated that further implementation would be stalled as long as suspicions remained that the North Korean nuclear weapons research program continued covertly.

Construction of the first LWR reactor began in August 2002.[26] Construction of both reactors was well behind schedule. The initial plan was for both reactors to be operational by 2003, but the construction had been halted indefinitely in late 2002.

[edit]Final break down of the agreementIn October 2002, a U.S. delegation led by Assistant Secretary of StateJames A. Kelly visited North Korea to confront the North Koreans with the U.S. assessment that they had a uranium enrichment program.[27] Both parties' reports of the meeting differ. The U.S. delegation believed the North Koreans had admitted the existence of a highly enriched uranium program.[28] The North Koreans stated Kelly made his assertions in an arrogant manner, but failed to produce any evidence such as satellite photos, and they responded denying North Korea planned to produce nuclear weapons using enriched uranium. They went on to state that as an independent sovereign state North Korea was entitled to possess nuclear weapons for defense, although they did not possess such a weapon at that point in time.[3][29][30] Relations between the two countries, which had seemed hopeful two years earlier, quickly deteriorated into open hostility.[8]

The HEU intelligence that James Kelly's accusation is based on is still controversial: According to the CIA fact sheet to Congress on November 19, 2002, there was "clear evidence indicating the North has begun constructing a centrifuge facility" and this plant could produce annually enough HEU for two or more nuclear weapons per year when it is finished. However, some experts assessed that the equipment North Korea imported was insufficient evidence of a production-scale enrichment program.[31]

KEDO members considered in November 2002 whether to halt the fuel oil shipments in response to the previous month's developments. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James A. Kelly warned Japanese officials that the U.S. Congress would not fund such shipments in the face of continued violations. The shipments were halted in December.[32]

On January 10, 2003, North Korea again announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.[33] On February 10, 2005, North Korea finally declared that it had manufactured nuclear weapons as a "nuclear deterrent for self-defence".[34] On October 9, 2006, North Korea conducted a nuclear test. US intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has manufactured a handful of simple nuclear weapons.

In December 2003, KEDO suspended work on the pressurized water reactor project. Subsequently KEDO shifted the focus of its efforts to ensuring that the LWR project assets at the construction site in North Korea and at manufacturers' facilities around the world ($1.5 billion invested to date) are preserved and maintained.[35]

Each side blamed the other for ending the Agreed Framework. The United States pointed out that a North Korean uranium enrichment facility would violate the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,[36] which states "The South and the North shall not possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities." North Korea accused the United States of a "hostile policy" including deliberately delaying fuel supplies and progress on the KEDO project that "effectively nullified" the agreement, listing North Korea as part of the "Axis of evil" and a target of the U.S. preemptive nuclear strikes.[37][38][39]

Although the agreement had largely broken down, North Korea did not restart work on the two production size nuclear power plants that were frozen under the agreement. These plants could potentially have produced enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce several nuclear weapons per year. The Agreed Framework was successful in freezing North Korean plutonium production in Yongbyon plutonium complex for eight years From 1994 to December 2002.[40]

Discussions are taking place through the Six-party talks about a replacement agreement, reaching a preliminary accord on September 19, 2005. The accord makes no mention of the U.S. contention that North Korea has a secret, underground enriched uranium program. However the new accord would require North Korea to dismantle all nuclear facilities, not just specific plants as in the Agreed Framework.[41] This has been followed up by the February 13, 2007 agreement which has largely adopted this September 19 statement. Its implementation has been successful so far, with only a slight delay being recorded due to an issue of funds being unfrozen by the US actually reaching North Korea.

On May 31, 2006, KEDO decided to terminate the LWR construction project.[42]

[edit]See also[edit]References^"Agreed Framework of 21 October 1994 between the United States of Amercia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea". IAEA. 2 November 1994. INFCIRC/457. Retrieved 11 February 2013. ^NPP^ ab"Conclusion of non-aggression treaty between DPRK and U.S. called for". KCNA. October 25, 2002. Retrieved 2009-03-15. ^William J. Clinton (March 4, 1999), Presidential Determination No. 99-16, The White House, archived from the original on 2007-09-27, retrieved 2007-09-27 ^International Institute for Strategic Studies (10 February 2004), North Korea's Weapons Programmes: A Net Assesment, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-4039-3324-9, archived from the original on 11 March 2009, retrieved 2009-03-05 ^Statement by the President of the Security Council, United Nations Security Council, 4 November 1994, S/PRST/1994/64, retrieved 2009-05-27 ^"frontline: kim's nuclear gamble: interviews: ashton carter". PBS. 2003-03-03. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^ abcSiegfried S. Hecker, Sean C. Lee, Chaim Braun (Summer 2010). "North Korea's Choice: Bombs Over Electricity". The Bridge (National Academy of Engineering) 40 (2): 5''12. Retrieved 5 March 2011. ^http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c104:H.J.RES.83.EH:^Agreement on Supply of a Light-Water Reactor Project to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, KEDO, 1995^Kessler, Glenn (2005-07-13). "South Korea Offers To Supply Energy if North Gives Up Arms". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Kim Ji Yong (2003-01-27). "DPRK Will Re-Operate Nuclear Facilities Within A Few Weeks to Produce Electricity". The People's Korea. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Leon V Sigal (February 2007), North Korea: Negotiations Work, MIT Center for International Studies, retrieved 2009-03-05 ^Joint resolution relating to the United States-North Korea Agreed Framework and the obligations of North Korea under that and previous agreements with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and dialog with the Republic of Korea, House of Representatives, 104th Congress, 1st Session, H.J. Res. 83, September 18, 1995^"frontline: kim's nuclear gamble: interviews: robert gallucci". PBS. Archived from the original on 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"frontline: kim's nuclear gamble: interviews: perle". PBS. 2003-03-27. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"frontline: kim's nuclear gamble: interviews: william perry". PBS. 2003-02-26. Archived from the original on 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Larry A. Niksch (March 17, 2003). >>North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program>> (Report). Congressional Research Service. IB91141. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB87/nk24.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-24.^http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/gao/rc00020t.pdf#page=5^ abBehar, Richard (2003-05-12). "Rummy's North Korea Connection What did Donald Rumsfeld know about ABB's deal to build nuclear reactors there? And why won't he talk about it? - May 12, 2003". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Selig S. Harrison (March/April 2001), Time To Leave Korea?, Foreign Affairs, archived from the original on 3 May 2009, retrieved 2009-06-09 ^"LWR Provision is U.S. Obligation: DPRK FM Spokesman". KCNA. 1998-03-06. Retrieved 2010-11-13. ^"Stalemated LWR Project to Prompt Pyongyang to Restart N-Program". The People's Korea. 1998-05-13. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"KEDO Breaks Ground on US Led Nuclear Project That will Undermine Client Status of S Korea". The People's Korea. 21 August 1997. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization Annual Report 2004" (PDF). Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization. December 31, 2004. Retrieved 2010-04-14. ^Tim Carter. "Promoting Peace and Stability on the Korean Peninsula and Beyond". KEDO. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^James A. Kelly (July 15, 2004). "Dealing With North Korea's Nuclear Programs". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2004-08-03. ^"frontline: kim's nuclear gamble: nuclear capability: could north korea have a bomb?". PBS. Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^""J. Kelly Failed to Produce 'Evidence' in Pyongyang"; Framed up "Admission" Story - DPRK FM Director O Song Chol". .korea-np.co.jp. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2004_hr/012104hecker.pdf^http://www.isis-online.org/publications/dprk/DPRKenrichment22Feb.pdf^Tim Carter (14 November 2002). "KEDO Executive Board Meeting Concludes - November 14, 2002". KEDO. Retrieved 2010-05-31. ^"DPRK FM sends letter to UNSC president". KCNA. January 10, 2003. Retrieved 2009-05-27. ^"DPRK FM on Its Stand to Suspend Its Participation in Six-party Talks for Indefinite Period". KCNA. February 10, 2005. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-27. ^Tim Carter (21 November 2003). "KEDO Executive Board Meeting - November 21, 2003". KEDO. Retrieved 2010-05-31. ^"NPP". Carnegieendowment.org. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"Conclusion of non-aggression treaty between DPRK and U.S. called for". KCNA. October 25, 2002. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"President Delivers State of the Union Address". Georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. 2002-01-29. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^John Pike. "Nuclear Posture Review [Excerpts]". Globalsecurity.org. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Selig Harrison (October 25, 2007). "A U.S. Foreign Policy Expert Urged 'Continued Backing' of Nuclear Talks". Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United States of America. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Joseph Kahn and David E. Sanger (September 20, 2005). "U.S.-Korean Deal on Arms Leaves Key Points Open". New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^"KEDO website homepage". Retrieved 2009-06-09. [edit]External links1994 Agreed Framework between the USA and the DPRK - Geneva, October 21, 1994Press Briefing by Ambassador Gallucci on Korea (Agreed Framework), White House, October 18, 1994Programme for Promoting Nuclear Non-Proliferation Newsbrief, 3rd Quarter 1994 - describes negotiations leading to Agreed FrameworkAgreement on Supply of a Light-Water Reactor Project to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - KEDO, 1995Ch 14: North Korea - from Deadly Arsenals, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2002)Nautilus Institute - In-depth coverage of the North Korean situation since 1997North Korea's Nuclear Breach - Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceWashington was on brink of war with North Korea 5 years ago, CNN, October 4, 1999Modernizing the US-DPRK Agreed Framework: The Energy Imperative, Nautilus Institute, February 16, 2001Report on Delay in Construction of Light-Water Reactor Project, KCNA, May 22, 2001North Korea's nuclear facilities by Google EarthBreak-down of Agreed FrameworkJ. Kelly Failed to Produce 'Evidence' in Pyongyang - O Song Chol, DPRK Foreign Ministry, January 18, 2003North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program, Larry A. Niksch, Congressional Research Service - The Library of Congress, March 17, 2003The History of the 1994 Agreed Framework, Daniel B. Poneman, The Forum for International Policy, March 7, 2003Examining the Lessons of the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Deal, PBS, April 10, 2003The United States, North Korea, And The End Of The Agreed Framework, Naval War College Review, Summer 2003Dealing With North Korea's Nuclear Programs - James A. Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, July 15, 2004Did North Korea Cheat?, Foreign Affairs, January/February 2005North Korea Says It Will Abandon Nuclear Efforts, New York Times, September 19, 2005KCNA Urges U.S. to Compensate for Losses Caused by Scrapping AF, KCNA, December 19, 2005The Beijing Deal is not the Agreed Framework, Peter Hayes, Nautilus Institute, February 14, 2007Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

Cyber War$

DEA Accused Of Leaking Misleading Info Falsely Implying That It Can't Read Apple iMessages

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Sun, 07 Apr 2013 08:26

So this is interesting. Yesterday, CNET had a story revealing a "leaked" Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) memo suggesting that messages sent via Apple's own iMessage system were untappable and were "frustrating" law enforcement. Here's a snippet from that article:Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals.

An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, "it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices" even with a court order approved by a federal judge.

CNET posted an image of the letter:In reading over this, however, a number of people quickly called bullshit. While Apple boasts of "end-to-end encryption" it's pretty clear that Apple itself holds the key -- because if you boot up a brand new iOS device, you automatically get access to your old messages. That means that (a) Apple is storing those messages in the cloud and (b) it can decrypt them if it needs to. As Julian Sanchez discusses in trying to get to the bottom of this, the memo really only suggests that law enforcement can't get those messages by going to the mobile operators. It says nothing about the ability to get those same messages by going to Apple directly. And, in fact, in many ways iMessages may be even more prone to surveillance, since SMS messages are only stored on mobile operators' servers for a brief time, whereas iMessages appear to be stored by Apple indefinitely.That leads Sanchez to wonder if there might be some sort of ulterior motive behind the "leaking" of this document, done in a way to falsely imply that iMessages are actually impervious to government snooping. He comes up with two plausible theories: (1) that this is part of the feds' longstanding effort to convince lawmakers to make it mandatory that all communications systems have backdoors for wiretapping and (2) that it's an attempt to convince criminals that iMessages are safe, so they start using them falsely believing their messages are protected.

Which brings us to the question of why, exactly, this sensitive law enforcement document leaked to a news outlet in the first place. It would be very strange, after all, for a cop to deliberately pass along information that could help drug dealers shield their communications from police. One reason might be to create support for the Justice Department's longstanding campaign for legislation to require Internet providers to create backdoors ensuring police can read encrypted communications'--even though in this case, the backdoor would appear to already exist.

The CNET article itself discusses this so-called ''Going Dark'' initiative. But another possible motive is to spread the very false impression that the article creates: That iMessages are somehow more difficult, if not impossible, for law enforcement to intercept. Criminals might then switch to using the iMessage service, which is no more immune to interception in reality, and actually provides police with far more useful data than traditional text messages can. If that's what happened here, you have to admire the leaker's ingenuity'--but I'm inclined to think people are entitled to accurate information about the real level of security their communication enjoy.

While both scenarios are plausible, both seem fairly cynical as well. I'd like to think that law enforcement is above attempting such tricks, but unfortunately that might just be naive these days.

House to amend CISPA in secret

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Source: CNET News - Politics and Law

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 14:27

As is with most cases, "classified information" is cited as the reason why the controversial "privacy killer" CISPA will be amended in secret. But it's OK; it's only people's privacy at risk here.

House members during last year's floor debate on CISPA (clockwise from top left): Jared Polis, who warned it would "waive every single privacy law ever enacted"; Adam Schiff; Sheila Jackson Lee; Hank Johnson; Mike Rogers; Jan Schakowsky

(Credit: C-SPAN)Another day, another House Intelligence Committee session held in secret, under the rather convenient excuse that "classified information" might be revealed.

As was the case last year when members of the committee amended the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) the first time around -- the bill, dubbed a "privacy killer" by online activists and privacy groups, will once again be amended in a veil of secrecy.

According to the committee's spokesperson, Susan Phalen, (via The Hill), these secret hearings are not uncommon and "sometimes they'll need to bounce into classified information and go closed for a period of time to talk."

She said that in order to keep the flow of the mark-up -- where rewrites to proposed legislation are made -- the committee cannot suddenly stop, order every person and member of the media out of the chamber, only to be brought back in later once the discussions are back on unclassified territory.

Actually, they could, and probably should. Especially considering how much controversy has been stirred over this bill, transparency in this instance might appease at least some of the significant opposition to this highly privacy-infringing bill.

It comes as more than two-dozen civil liberties groups said in a joint letter to committee members (PDF) earlier this week that: "The public has a right to know how Congress is conducting the people's business, particularly when such important wide-ranging policies are at stake."

For those who aren't in the loop, the bill is designed to remove legal barriers preventing companies from sharing information -- including personal data from social-networking sites and other Web services -- with the U.S. government, under the principle that it may help prevent cyberattacks.

This means a company like Facebook, Twitter, Google, or any other Web or technology giant, such as your cell service provider, would be legally able to hand over vast amounts of data to the U.S. government and law enforcement -- for whatever purpose they deem necessary -- and face no legal reprisals.

Naturally, many in the industry welcomed and applauded the move. It would, after all, give them both civil and criminal legal protection. Thankfully, many took the polar opposite approach and saw the massive threat to civil liberties and online privacy.

Facebook, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Verizon, and AT&T -- among others -- supported the bill, but Mozilla, Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and just about every civil liberties and privacy group opposed it.

Though the bill passed in in the U.S. House of Representatives the first time around, it fell flat on its face when it stalled in the Senate.

Even the Obama administration threatened to veto the bill if it came across the president's desk, following an official response by the White House to a petition that crossed the 100,000 mark.

The commander in chief's officials said in a note, quite bluntly: "The Obama administration opposes CISPA." While Obama himself called for "comprehensive cybersecurity legislation," his administration said that "part of what has been communicated to congressional committees is that we want legislation to come with necessary protections for individuals."

A few months later at the 2013 State of the Union address, Obama signed (yet another) executive order -- bypassing Congress, which is at such loggerheads that it probably couldn't decide on the color of the hallway carpets -- introducing a similar set of rules, but with privacy protection fully in mind, to help protect critical national infrastructure from domestic and foreign cyberattacks.

Now that the bill has been reincarnated from the dark depths of the legal hellfire, it's likely that Obama will remain staunch in his anti-CISPA views, with the White House no doubt ready to threaten a veto again.

While there has been no word on when the secret session of the House Intelligence Committee will be, it's expected to be later this month.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Surprise, surprise: House committee to amend CISPA in secret, again."

Cyprus LNG Pipes

Cyprus and the emerging Mediterranean gas wars '-- RT Op-Edge

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Sun, 07 Apr 2013 09:26

William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst and strategic risk consultant whose internationally best-selling books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages.

The bizarre drama currently playing out over a Cyprus ''bailout/bail-in'' has another entire dimension. That is a behind-the-scenes battle for control of the expanding EU natural gas market over the coming decades.

For more than a century a major background factor in numerous wars across the globe has been the control of oil. Now, with governments across Europe trying to lower their ''carbon footprints,'' gas and wars over control of gas are emerging.

The bizarre conflict over Cyprus and Greece, as well as Syria, have more than a little to do with the new gas wars geopolitics.

In December 2011, Texas' Noble Energy, found a field offshore Cyprus estimated to hold at least 7 tcf of natural gas. Noble Energy found huge gas reserves offshore Israel in 2010, giving Israel for the first time the prospect of becoming a major gas player too. Now the plot thickens.

Qatar, a major backer of the toppling of the Assad regime in Syria has a vested interest there related to gas. Qatar has bid to become the world's premier LNG gas exporter. Its North Field is contiguous to Iran's South Pars gas field in the middle of the Persian Gulf. Qatar at the moment is backed by Turkey against Assad's Syrian regime.

Now, a major motivation to both want Assad off the map, and chaos in Syria might just be that in July 2011, Syria, Iran and Iraq signed a $10 billion agreement for a gas pipeline from Iran's Port Assalouyeh near South Pars to Damascus, Syria via Iraq. Iran plans to extend the pipeline from Damascus to Lebanon's Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to EU markets.

Adding to Qatar's determination to destroy the Syria-Iran-Iraq gas cooperation is the discovery in August 2011 by Syrian exploration companies of a huge new gas field near the border with Lebanon and at Tartus on the Syrian Mediterranean. Any export of Syrian or Iranian gas to the EU would go through the Russian-tied port of Tartus.

According to informed Algerian sources, the new Syrian gas discoveries, are believed to equal or exceed those of Qatar.

The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline to the EU would be a de facto Shi'ite pipeline from Shi'ite Iran via Shi'ite-majority Iraq onto Shi'ite-friendly Alawite Al-Assad's Syria. No surprise that Qatar backs an anti-Shi'ite Muslim Brotherhood solution for Syria Qatar-friendly. Sunni Salafist Qatar hosts the Brotherhood presently, as well as the US military and the British. Interesting combination.

Now, enter Israel as a new major gas player. Russia, the steadfast backer of Assad in Syria and defender of Russian naval rights at Syria's Tartus port, has weighed in on the side of'...Israel. Nothing personal, just business, geopolitical energy business. Tamar natural gas field off the coast of Israel is expected to begin yielding gas for Israel's use in 2013. And Noble in late 2010 found an enormous natural gas field, Leviathan, offshore of Israel in the Levantine Basin.

On February 26, Russia's Gazprom signed a 20-year deal with Levant LNG Marketing Corp. to exclusively buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Israel's offshore Tamar field also in the Mediterranean off the coast of Haifa. Gazprom has reportedly during the crisis also offered Cyprus to develop its gas reserves. Cyprus, reeling from the results of the bank crisis, badly needs a strong partner to develop its new-found gas wealth. That can't happen unless they have a strong partner to face up to Turkey who claims rights over Turkish Cyprus waters. Gazprom has huge leverage over Turkey as supplier of 40% of Turkish gas for her industry. Moscow and Gazprom may yet emerge the net gainer from these hidden Mediterranean gas wars.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

All Ur BAse BElong To Us

R--OPTION - Investigative System - Federal Business Opportunities: Opportunities

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 08:12

Solicitation Number:

DJA-13-AOSI-PR-0238-1

Notice Type:

Modification/Amendment

Synopsis:

AMENDMENT NOTICE:This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in FAR Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice.The solicitation number is DJA-13-AOSI-PR-0238-1 and is issued as an invitation for bids (IFB), unless otherwise indicated herein.The solicitation document and incorporated provisions and clauses are those in effect through Federal Acquisition Circular FAC 2005-65. The associated North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code for this procurement is 518112 with a small business size standard of $6.50M.This requirement is a [ Small Business ] set-aside and only qualified offerors may submit bids.The solicitation pricing on www.FedBid.com will start on the date this solicitation is posted and will end on 2013-04-09 14:30:00.0 Eastern Time or as otherwise displayed at www.FedBid.com.FOB Destination shall be in the Statement of Work.The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms requires the following items, Meet or Exceed, to the following:Base Period of Performance: 04/10/2013 - 04/09/2014LI 001: Access to an online data repository systemNTE 5000 transaction for super phone report chargeNTE 5200 Transactions for super reverse phone lookup charge, 1, Yr;Option 1 Period of Performance: 04/10/2014 - 04/09/2015LI 001: Access to an online data repository systemNTE 5000 transaction for super phone report chargeNTE 5200 Transactions for super reverse phone lookup charge, 1, Yr;Option 2 Period of Performance: 04/10/2015 - 04/09/2016LI 001: Access to an online data repository systemNTE 5000 transaction for super phone report chargeNTE 5200 Transactions for super reverse phone lookup charge, 1, Yr;Option 3 Period of Performance: 04/10/2016 - 04/09/2017LI 001: Access to an online data repository systemNTE 5000 transaction for super phone report chargeNTE 5200 Transactions for super reverse phone lookup charge, 1, Yr;Option 4 Period of Performance: 04/10/2017 - 04/09/2018LI 001: Access to an online data repository systemNTE 5000 transaction for super phone report chargeNTE 5200 Transactions for super reverse phone lookup charge, 1, Yr;

Solicitation and Buy Attachments

***Question Submission: Interested offerors must submit any questions concerning the solicitation at the earliest time possible to enable the Buyer to respond. Questions must be submitted by using the 'Submit a Question' feature at www.fedbid.com. Questions not received within a reasonable time prior to close of the solicitation may not be considered.***

For this solicitation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms intends to conduct an online competitive reverse auction to be facilitated by the third-party reverse auction provider, FedBid, Inc. FedBid has developed an online, anonymous, browser based application to conduct the reverse auction. An Offeror may submit a series of pricing bids, which descend in price during the specified period of time for the aforementioned reverse auction. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms is taking this action in an effort to improve both vendor access and awareness of requests and the agency's ability to gather multiple, competed, real-time bids.All responsible Offerors that respond to this solicitation MUST submit the pricing portion of their bid using the online exchange located at www.FedBid.com. There is no cost to register, review procurement data or make a bid on www.FedBid.com.Offerors that are not currently registered to use www.FedBid.com should proceed to www.FedBid.com to complete their free registration. Offerors that require special considerations or assistance may contact the FedBid Helpdesk at 877-9FEDBID (877-933-3243) or via email at clientservices@fedbid.com. Offerors may not artificially manipulate the price of a transaction on www.FedBid.com by any means. It is unacceptable to place bad faith bids, to use decoys in the www.FedBid.com process or to collude with the intent or effect of hampering the competitive www.FedBid.com process.Should offerors require additional clarification, notify the point of contact or FedBid at 877-9FEDBID (877-933-3243) or clientservices@fedbid.com.Use of FedBid: Buyers and Sellers agree to conduct this transaction through FedBid in compliance with the FedBid Terms of Use. Failure to comply with the below terms and conditions may result in offer being determined as non-responsive.

In addition to providing pricing at www.FedBid.com for this solicitation, each offeror must provide any required, NON-PRICING responses (e.g. technical proposal, representations and certifications, etc.) directly to the point of contact in the FBO notice, so that they are received at that email address no later than the closing date and time for this solicitation.

The selected Offeror must comply with the following commercial item terms and conditions. FAR 52.212-1, Instructions to Offerors - Commercial, applies to this acquisition. The selected Offeror must submit a completed copy of the provision at 52.212-3, Offeror Representations and Certifications - Commercial Items. FAR 52.212-4, Contract Terms and Conditions - Commercial Items, applies to this acquisition.

The following FAR clauses in paragraph (b) of FAR clause 52.212-5, Contract Terms and Conditions Required To Implement Statutes or Executive Orders-Commercial Items, will apply: 52.222-21, 52.222-26, 52.222-35, 52.222-36, 52.222-37, 52.225-13, 52.232-34. The full text of a FAR clause may be accessed electronically at http://www.acqnet.gov/far.

SAM Requirement - Company must be registered on System for Award Management(SAM) before an award could be made to them. If company is not registered in SAM, they may do so by going to SAM web site at http://www.sam.gov.

GSA schedule orders may include "open market" items, i.e., items not on the awardee's list of GSA schedule items, only in compliance with FAR 8.402(f). Offerors should verify in writing which items are listed on their GSA schedule contracts and which items are "open market" items. For an offer to qualify as an offer based on a GSA schedule contract, the value of "open market" items included in the offer may not exceed the applicable micro-purchase threshold as defined in FAR 2.101. In order to notate which items are open market, in accordance with FAR 8.402(f)(3), Seller must write "open market" in the Line Item Description for any item not currently active on the cited contract, or list in the Seller Bid Description field all open market line numbers (e.g. "Open Market Items: Lines 1, 2, 3.")

A) The offeror shall provide the government, with its offer submission, written verification from the GSA schedule holder that an agreement exists that validates the offeror's right to offer the GSA schedule items on behalf of the GSA schedule holder, if other than the offeror; and, B) By proactively complying with this offer term, sellers accept that the government will make award to the GSA schedule holder only, as the sole awardee. Further, the sole awardee and only the sole awardee shall submit its invoice to the government and receive payment from the government.

Contracting Office Address:

99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226

Place of Performance:

See Statement of Work.--

Point of Contact(s):

Name: Client Services, Title: Client Services, Phone: 1.877.933.3243, Fax: 703.422.7822, Email: Clientservices@fedbid.com;

The ATF Wants 'Massive' Online Database to Find Out Who Your Friends Are.

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 08:09

The ATF is looking to speed up its caseload with an automated database for searching individuals '-- like these cadets during a 2010 civilian training session '-- and discovering the relationships between them. Photo: ATF

The ATF doesn't just want a huge database to reveal everything about you with a few keywords. It wants one that can find out who you know. And it won't even try to friend you on Facebook first.

According to a recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bureau is looking to buy a ''massive online data repository system'' for its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII). The system is intended to operate for at least five years, and be able to process automated searches of individuals, and ''find connection points between two or more individuals'' by linking together ''structured and unstructured data.''

Primarily, the ATF states it wants the database to speed-up criminal investigations. Instead of requiring an analyst to manually search around for your personal information, the database should ''obtain exact matches from partial source data searches'' such as social security numbers (or even just a fragment of one), vehicle serial codes, age range, ''phonetic name spelling,'' or a general area where your address is located. Input that data, and out comes your identity, while the computer automatically establishes connections you have with others.

Many other specific requirements are also to be expected for a federal law enforcement agency: searching names, phone numbers, ''nationwide utility data'' and reverse phone searches. The data will then be collected to help out during investigations and provide ''relevant information and intelligence products.'' There's no hint the database is to be used to track gun sales, which is a big part of the ATF's job, as the bureau is prohibited by law from establishing a centralized electronic database for gun purchases.

It's necessary to note, however, that the ATF already does most of these things. Tracking down your identity, financial data, and finding connections between you and your kinfolk '-- your relatives, friends and business associates '-- is what criminal investigations are all about. And the bureau's intelligence analysts already use a number of databases to help piece this information together.

But hunting through them for information that's relevant and timely is a mind-numbing and time-consuming job. ''Many of these tasks are performed manually,'' the solicitation states, ''resulting in longer turnaround times on important information and intelligence research and analysis requests.''

The bureau wants this new system to do all that gathering and research automatically. Which sounds like a good deal, in theory, allowing federal investigators to more easily bust criminals during a hot case. It could potentially give the investigators a lot more information than your sense of privacy may be comfortable with, or information not strictly relevant to a case. At the same time, the ATF is widely perceived as a weak, stagnant and underfunded agency. Even if it has a database that can track you down and find out who your friends are, it won't necessarily be able to apply that to tracing gun transactions due to Congressional restrictions. If the agency finds a gun linked to a crime, and then traces the gun to someone who bought it from someone else, all of that work figuring out the who's-who will still likely have to be done manually.

A follow-up document from the ATF clarifies a few things. The database will not ''consolidate multiple databases'' the ATF already has access to '-- like LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters. The bureau is seeking to buy an existing database system and not fund the development of a completely new one. And it has to be reliable and work all the time. That includes 24-hour tech support for agents pulling those coffee-fueled all-nighter investigations. It's also not an anti-terrorism tool and isn't intended to ''quickly respond to problems, threats, etc.''

But putting the ATF's problems with tracing guns aside, it could still help agents track you down a lot faster than they could before '-- along with finding out everything else about you.

Drone Nation

In Secret Deal, C.I.A. Killed Pakistani Militant in Exchange for Agency's Access to Airspace for Its Drones

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 08:09

Kamran Wazir/Reuters

Nek Muhammad, center, was a Pashtun militant who was killed in 2004, in the first C.I.A. drone strike in Pakistan.

Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.

On a hot day in June 2004, the Pashtun tribesman was lounging inside a mud compound in South Waziristan, speaking by satellite phone to one of the many reporters who regularly interviewed him on how he had fought and humbled Pakistan's army in the country's western mountains. He asked one of his followers about the strange, metallic bird hovering above him.

Less than 24 hours later, a missile tore through the compound, severing Mr. Muhammad's left leg and killing him and several others, including two boys, ages 10 and 16. A Pakistani military spokesman was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, saying that Pakistani forces had fired at the compound.

That was a lie.

Mr. Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a ''targeted killing.'' The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.

That back-room bargain, described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate. The deal, a month after a blistering internal report about abuses in the C.I.A.'s network of secret prisons, paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization.

The C.I.A. has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike. While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, it became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war.

Neither American nor Pakistani officials have ever publicly acknowledged what really happened to Mr. Muhammad '-- details of the strike that killed him, along with those of other secret strikes, are still hidden in classified government databases. But in recent months, calls for transparency from members of Congress and critics on both the right and left have put pressure on Mr. Obama and his new C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, to offer a fuller explanation of the goals and operation of the drone program, and of the agency's role.

Mr. Brennan, who began his career at the C.I.A. and over the past four years oversaw an escalation of drone strikes from his office at the White House, has signaled that he hopes to return the agency to its traditional role of intelligence collection and analysis. But with a generation of C.I.A. officers now fully engaged in a new mission, it is an effort that could take years.

Today, even some of the people who were present at the creation of the drone program think the agency should have long given up targeted killings.

Ross Newland, who was a senior official at the C.I.A.'s headquarters in Langley, Va., when the agency was given the authority to kill Qaeda operatives, says he thinks that the agency had grown too comfortable with remote-control killing, and that drones have turned the C.I.A. into the villain in countries like Pakistan, where it should be nurturing relationships in order to gather intelligence.

As he puts it, ''This is just not an intelligence mission.''

From Car Thief to Militant

By 2004, Mr. Muhammad had become the undisputed star of the tribal areas, the fierce mountain lands populated by the Wazirs, Mehsuds and other Pashtun tribes who for decades had lived independent of the writ of the central government in Islamabad. A brash member of the Wazir tribe, Mr. Muhammad had raised an army to fight government troops and had forced the government into negotiations. He saw no cause for loyalty to the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani military spy service that had given an earlier generation of Pashtuns support during the war against the Soviets.

Many Pakistanis in the tribal areas viewed with disdain the alliance that President Pervez Musharraf had forged with the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They regarded the Pakistani military that had entered the tribal areas as no different from the Americans '-- who they believed had begun a war of aggression in Afghanistan, just as the Soviets had years earlier.

This article is adapted from ''The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth,'' to be published by Penguin Press on Tuesday.

AFRICOMM

Uganda: Hunt for Rebel Leader Kony Put On Hold

Link to Article

Archived Version

Source: AllAfrica News: Latest

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 07:57

A coup in central Africa has eased the pressure on indicted war criminal Joseph Kony. Until the political situation in the Central African Republic is clarified, an international manhunt for Kony has been suspended.

Felix Kulaigye is a spokesman for the Ugandan army, one of the biggest and best organized in southern Africa. He prefers to announce military successes but this time it was his job to convey the information that the hunt for Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony has been suspended.

Kony tops the list of alleged war criminals wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is believed to be responsible for attacks on civilians, for recruiting child soldiers and holding children as sex slaves.

"The decision was not ours but came from the African Union," spokesman Kulaigye said. "We do what the AU says. If they tell us to pull out our troops, or say we should continue the operation, then we obey."

The reason for the manhunt being suspended is the political situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) which is where Kony's trail had led. The country has been in the hands of rebels since March this year. As a result sanctions were imposed by, among others, the African Union.

Under AU leadership several thousand soldiers had been searching for Joseph Kony. Now regional leaders have announced that they do not recognize the government of the Seleka rebel alliance in CAR and this is the main reason why Ugandan president and commander of the armed forces Yoweri Museveni ordered the withdrawal of his troops in early April.

Kony's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been a problem for Uganda since the 1980s. After Museveni seized power, many northern Ugandans were forced out of the army and politics.

The LRA was formed in response to this. In the fighting between rebels and the army it was primarily the population of northern Uganda that suffered.

Military operations carried out with US backing (Uganda is an important ally in the war against terrorism) resulted in Kony's militia first retreating to territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2006 and later to the Central African Republic.

CAR instability benefits LRA

For Kennedy Tumutegyereize from the London-based NGO "Conciliation Resources", this was a logical move.

Ugandan soldiers on patrol during an operation to track down Joseph Kony in the Central African jungle

"These conflicts survive where there is a governance vacuum," he told DW. "The area where the LRA operates is probably the least governed area on this planet."

For Tumutegyereize the formation of a government and development work are important elements in establishing and maintaining peace in any troubled nation. Military means alone will not resolve the conflict, he says.

But precisely that was the Ugandan strategy in recent years. Some 2,000 soldiers followed Kony's trail to Central Africa and they made up the lion's share of the search party when the AU assumed command of the operation in September 2012.

South Sudan, CAR and DRC jointly mustered just a few hundred soldiers. Under pressure from US lobby organizations, a 100-strong American special unit joined the operation in 2012.

Abductions continue

Now, in a country ruled by rebels, the mission cannot continue. In an interview with DW, Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulaigye said the next step is to see what comes out of talks between the new CAR leadership and the AU.

For analyst Tumutegyereize, the suspension of the mission to find Kony is unfortunate but he points out that the AU force was not able to prevent several recent cases of abduction by LRA rebels. "The figure we have is that around 13 people were killed and about a dozen abducted," he told DW.

In the opinion of John Nsokwa from the University of Makerere in the Ugandan capital Kampala, the army's role has become a farce. "Our leaders are very cunning. They get financial support for the search for Kony. And since they know he is not there, they are even happier about this." he told DW.

This young Ugandan was kidnapped and tortured by the LRA

That begs the question: Has the search for a rebel leader who is no longer a real threat to the country become a pretext for increasing the military budget?

Reward for information

Perhaps the countries involved do not really want the conflict to end. That's the impression of Claude Dalembi, a political scientist at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Cameroon.

He points to the wealth of natural resources in the region.The absence of political order makes it possible for these resources to be exploited without proper supervision, he says. In this way, many states benefit from the insecure situation in Central Africa. "If there are informal ties between the LRA and various neighboring countries, they could alternately offer protection for the rebels."

Dalembi says the countries concerned are just issuing statements of intent as far as Kony's capture is concerned but do not really intend to follow them up.

The United States has also announced it is suspending the search for Kony. But Washington hasn't entirely given up hope that he might still be captured and has announced a reward of US$ 5 million (3.8 million euros) for information leading to his arrest.

For Kennedy Tumutegyereize this is just a desperate attempt to find an alternative to military action. "In terms of changing the equation on the ground, I am very skeptical."

Entertainment Industrial Complex

New US Bill Would Create a Hollywood Ambassador to the World

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:00

A recently announced bill in the US would create a ''Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator'', but critics charge that this is merely a Hollywood ambassador to the world.You can be forgiven if you had to re-check the URL to make sure you weren't reading an article from The Onion when you saw this headline. The US Senate Senate Committee on Finance has published a press release detailing a bill introduced by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The position would be created thanks to the introduced legislation Innovation Through Trade Act, S. 660. From the press release:

Specifically, the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator would:

- Reflect the importance of intellectual property to the U.S. economy, vigorously representing the interests of U.S. workers, manufacturers, service providers, innovators and content creators;- Conduct trade negotiations and enforce trade agreements relating to United States intellectual property and take appropriate actions to address acts, policies, and practices of foreign governments that have a significant adverse impact on the value of United States innovation; and- Provide input into a new statutory report to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on actions undertaken by the United States Trade Representative to advance U.S. innovation and intellectual property rights interest and enforcement actions taken to protect those interests.

You can read the bill itself on GovTrack which has a link to the full text of the bill as well as the bills current progress.

Here's a sample of the bill itself:

'(2) There shall be in the Office three Deputy United States Trade Representatives, one Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and one Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. As an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate, any nomination of a Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, or the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent, and referred to a committee, shall be referred to the Committee on Finance. Each Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall hold office at the pleasure of the President and shall have the rank of Ambassador.'

The principal functions of the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall be to conduct trade negotiations and to enforce trade agreements relating to United States intellectual property and to take appropriate actions to address acts, policies, and practices of foreign governments that have a significant adverse impact on the value of United States innovation. The Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall be a vigorous advocate on behalf of United States innovation and intellectual property interests. The Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall perform such other functions as the United States Trade Representative may direct.'.

Critics have blasted the proposal by saying that it would make bad trade policy worse. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) issued a response to this proposal:

Copyright laws that represent the one-sided concerns of Hollywood at the expense of the broader public interest do not belong in trade agreements. Period.

Yet just days after dozens of public interest groups around the world issued called on the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to keep copyright and patent regulations out of a new international trade agreement, a Senator with longstanding ties to the entertainment industry introduced a misguided bill that would create a new position for a ''Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator'' '-- in other words, an Ambassador from Hollywood, paid for by the general public.

This proposal stands in stark opposition to our public petition for the U.S. Trade Rep to stop backroom negotiations in international trade agreements.

Given the utter lack of transparency and absence of public input in almost all other trade agreements, we have no reason to believe that this new position would improve the broken balance in copyright or patent law. Rather, it is an effort to entrench ''intellectual property'' as a policy matter that should be decided in secret trade meetings that have so far been shrewd in deflecting all democratic oversight.

Already, major rightsholders from the US have a large amount of representation in the US government itself. They already have USTR to parrot the rightsholders demands to the world through the now widely discredited Special 301 report. In addition, they are also represented Chamber of Commerce. On top of it all, there is an additional Copyright Czar to further represent the interests of major rightsholders. It seems as though this isn't enough and rightsholders are wanting more representation in government to further their interests.

Have a tip? Want to contact the author? You can do so by sending a PM via the forums or via e-mail at [email protected].

Drew WilsonDrew Wilson is perhaps one of the more well-known file-sharing and technology news writers around. A journalist in the field since 2005, his work has had semi-regular appearances on social news websites and even occasional appearances on major news outlets as well. Drew founded freezenet.ca and still contributes to ZeroPaid. Twitter | Google PlusA recently announced bill in the US would create a ''Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator'', but critics charge that this is merely a Hollywood ambassador to the world.You can be forgiven if you had to re-check the URL to make sure you weren't reading an article from The Onion when you saw this headline. The US Senate Senate Committee on Finance has published a press release detailing a bill introduced by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The position would be created thanks to the introduced legislation Innovation Through Trade Act, S. 660. From the press release:

Specifically, the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator would:

- Reflect the importance of intellectual property to the U.S. economy, vigorously representing the interests of U.S. workers, manufacturers, service providers, innovators and content creators;- Conduct trade negotiations and enforce trade agreements relating to United States intellectual property and take appropriate actions to address acts, policies, and practices of foreign governments that have a significant adverse impact on the value of United States innovation; and- Provide input into a new statutory report to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee on actions undertaken by the United States Trade Representative to advance U.S. innovation and intellectual property rights interest and enforcement actions taken to protect those interests.

You can read the bill itself on GovTrack which has a link to the full text of the bill as well as the bills current progress.

Here's a sample of the bill itself:

'(2) There shall be in the Office three Deputy United States Trade Representatives, one Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and one Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. As an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate, any nomination of a Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, or the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent, and referred to a committee, shall be referred to the Committee on Finance. Each Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall hold office at the pleasure of the President and shall have the rank of Ambassador.'

The principal functions of the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall be to conduct trade negotiations and to enforce trade agreements relating to United States intellectual property and to take appropriate actions to address acts, policies, and practices of foreign governments that have a significant adverse impact on the value of United States innovation. The Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall be a vigorous advocate on behalf of United States innovation and intellectual property interests. The Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall perform such other functions as the United States Trade Representative may direct.'.

Critics have blasted the proposal by saying that it would make bad trade policy worse. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) issued a response to this proposal:

Copyright laws that represent the one-sided concerns of Hollywood at the expense of the broader public interest do not belong in trade agreements. Period.

Yet just days after dozens of public interest groups around the world issued called on the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to keep copyright and patent regulations out of a new international trade agreement, a Senator with longstanding ties to the entertainment industry introduced a misguided bill that would create a new position for a ''Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator'' '-- in other words, an Ambassador from Hollywood, paid for by the general public.

This proposal stands in stark opposition to our public petition for the U.S. Trade Rep to stop backroom negotiations in international trade agreements.

Given the utter lack of transparency and absence of public input in almost all other trade agreements, we have no reason to believe that this new position would improve the broken balance in copyright or patent law. Rather, it is an effort to entrench ''intellectual property'' as a policy matter that should be decided in secret trade meetings that have so far been shrewd in deflecting all democratic oversight.

Already, major rightsholders from the US have a large amount of representation in the US government itself. They already have USTR to parrot the rightsholders demands to the world through the now widely discredited Special 301 report. In addition, they are also represented Chamber of Commerce. On top of it all, there is an additional Copyright Czar to further represent the interests of major rightsholders. It seems as though this isn't enough and rightsholders are wanting more representation in government to further their interests.

Have a tip? Want to contact the author? You can do so by sending a PM via the forums or via e-mail at [email protected].

Full Text of S. 660: Innovation Through Trade Act of 2013 - GovTrack.us

Link to Article

Archived Version

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:01

S 660 IS

To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to establish the position of Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative to ensure the protection of United States innovation and intellectual property interests, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 22, 2013

Mr. HATCH introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance

To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to establish the position of Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative to ensure the protection of United States innovation and intellectual property interests, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.This Act may be cited as the 'Innovation Through Trade Act of 2013'.

SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF CHIEF INNOVATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATOR.(a) In General- Section 141 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2171) is amended--

(1) in subsection (b), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

'(2) There shall be in the Office three Deputy United States Trade Representatives, one Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and one Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. As an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate, any nomination of a Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, or the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator submitted to the Senate for its advice and consent, and referred to a committee, shall be referred to the Committee on Finance. Each Deputy United States Trade Representative, the Chief Agricultural Negotiator, and the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall hold office at the pleasure of the President and shall have the rank of Ambassador.'; and

(2) in subsection (c)--

(A) by moving paragraph (5) two ems to the left; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

'(6) The principal functions of the Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall be to conduct trade negotiations and to enforce trade agreements relating to United States intellectual property and to take appropriate actions to address acts, policies, and practices of foreign governments that have a significant adverse impact on the value of United States innovation. The Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall be a vigorous advocate on behalf of United States innovation and intellectual property interests. The Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator shall perform such other functions as the United States Trade Representative may direct.'.

(b) Compensation- Section 5314 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by striking 'Chief Agricultural Negotiator.' and inserting the following:

'Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative.

'Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative.'.

(c) Report Required- Not later than 180 days after the appointment of the first Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator pursuant to paragraph (2) of section 141(b) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by subsection (a), and every 180 days thereafter, the United States Trade Representative shall submit to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives a report describing in detail--

(1) enforcement actions taken by the Trade Representative during the 180 days preceding the submission of the report to ensure the protection of United States innovation and intellectual property interests; and

(2) other actions taken by the Trade Representative to advance United States innovation and intellectual property interests.

Giant Voice System redux

Hey Adam,

Thank you so much for playing my clip on the show and naming the episode after it. What a HHonor.

I do have a couple of points of clarification about the clip and about Chapel Hill itself. You made the assumption that I was in the military and that this took place on a military base. If that was the case the clip would be unusual and unsettling, but the truth is far more creepy.

I work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is a small town that consists of the school, a main street, and not much else (other than being the college basketball Mecca of the country). I have no idea when or why the Giant Voice System was installed, but they test it once or twice a year. The first time I heard it was about a year ago. It was at lunchtime and I was on a run around campus. It was very spooky. I half expected them to start playing the Duck and Cover song. So this "Resume Normal Activity" order wasn't being directed to trained soldiers but was telling the Shitizens, "You will obey!"

I really enjoyed today's show. Thank you and thank John for me.

The Shill from Chapel Hill

Sent from my Sony Teleporter

Mac & Cheese Life

Mac & Cheese Life Redux

Adam,

I am quite behind in episodes so maybe you have covered this but‰¥Ï

Every time you two talk about "mac-n-cheese" it makes me hungry for "mac-n-cheese". I think you have something

going like you talked about for the drug commercials where the worse the side-effects, the more people are interested in the

drug. In this case the worse you describe mac-n-cheese, the better.

You should really consider a food line such as "No Agenda's slave-chow". Everything could be labeled as a type of "dinner".

Example:

work-n-slave Mac-n-cheese dinner

work-n-slave frank-n-beans dinner

etc.

In any case, keep up the great work.

--

Leif

Cultural Marxism

Obama Apologizes for Praising Female Official's Looks - NYTimes.com

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:17

WASHINGTON '-- President Obama late Thursday night called Kamala Harris, the California attorney general, and apologized to her for saying that she is the ''best-looking attorney general in the country.''

Mr. Obama made the comment on Thursday morning at a fund-raiser outside San Francisco. He praised Ms. Harris as being ''brilliant,'' adding, ''she is dedicated and she is tough'' before commenting on her looks. ''She also happens to be by far the best-looking attorney general in the country,'' the president told the wealthy donors, who responded with surprise and applause.

There was a quick reaction on social media sites, with some people accusing Mr. Obama of being sexist and others defending his comment as harmless.

But the president's aides apparently knew the potential for political damage. Soon after Air Force One returned Mr. Obama from his West Coast fund-raising trip, he called Ms. Harris and apologized, according to Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

''You know, they are old friends and good friends,'' Mr. Carney said, ''and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general's professional accomplishments and her capabilities.''

Mr. Carney repeatedly remarked on Ms. Harris's abilities, calling her ''a remarkably effective leader as attorney general'' and ''an excellent attorney general'' who has ''done great work.'' The president, Mr. Carney said, ''fully recognizes the challenge women continue to face in the workplace and that they should not be judged based on appearance.''

A spokesman for Ms. Harris, Gil Duran, said in a statement Friday: ''The attorney general and the president have been friends for many years. They had a great conversation yesterday, and she strongly supports him.''

While Ms. Harris did not seem offended, others were on her behalf. Robin Abcarian wrote on the Web site of The Los Angeles Times that the comment was ''more wolfish than sexist,'' and ''may be a little problem he needs to work on.''

Joan Walsh wrote on Salon that ''my stomach turned over'' when she heard about the comment. ''Those of us who've fought to make sure that women are seen as more than ornamental '-- and that includes the president '-- should know better than to rely on flattering the looks of someone as formidable as Harris,'' she said.

Ms. Harris, 48, was elected to the statewide office in 2010 after serving two terms as district attorney of San Francisco. She is the first woman to hold the post and the first with African-American and South Asian heritage. Her name has come up as a possible candidate for governor or even for the United States Supreme Court if another seat is vacated during Mr. Obama's second term. She has been an ally of the president's, speaking at the Democratic National Convention that renominated him last year.

Fisher v. University of Texas

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Archived Version

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 10:02

Plaintiffs Abigail Noel Fisher and Rachel Multer Michalewicz applied to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and were denied admission. The two women, both white, filed suit, alleging that the University had discriminated against them on the basis of their race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[2] The University of Texas at Austin accepts students in the top 10% of each Texas high school's graduating class, regardless of their race; under its Top Ten Percent plan, 81% of 2008's freshman class were admitted under the plan.[3]

Applicants who, like Fisher, fail to graduate in the top 10% of their high schools, have a further opportunity to gain admission to the University by scoring highly in a process which evaluates their talents, leadership qualities, family circumstances and race .[4][5] Fisher had a grade point average of 3.59 (adjusted to 4.0 scale)[6] and was in the top 12% of her class at Stephen F. Austin High School.[6] She scored 1180 on her SAT;[6] the 25th and 75th percentiles of the incoming class at UT-Austin were 1120 and 1370.[6] She was involved in the orchestra and math competitions and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity.[6]

During the case proceedings, Fisher enrolled at Louisiana State University, where she was in her final year as an undergraduate in 2012.[1][7] In 2011, Michalewicz withdrew from the case, leaving Fisher as the sole plaintiff.[4][7]

Lower courtsIn 2009, United States District Court judge Sam Sparks upheld the University's policy, finding that it meets the standards laid out in Grutter v. Bollinger.[1] That decision was affirmed by a Fifth Circuit panel composed of judges Patrick Higginbotham, Carolyn Dineen King and Emilio M. Garza. Higginbotham, in his ruling, wrote that the "ever-increasing number of minorities gaining admission under this Top Ten Percent Law casts a shadow on the horizon to the otherwise-plain legality of the Grutter-like admissions program, the Law's own legal footing aside."[8]

A request for a full-court en banc hearing was denied by a 9-7 vote by circuit judges.[9][10]

Supreme CourtIn September 2011, lawyers representing Fisher filed petition seeking review from the Supreme Court.[1] On February 21, 2012, the court granted certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case and will not participate in the court's discussions.[11] Kagan's recusal is probably due to her involvement with the case while she was Solicitor General.[4]

Amicus briefs have been filed by Teach for America, the Asian American Legal Foundation, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the California Association of Scholars and Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, the Black Student Alliance at The University of Texas, the Mountain States Legal Foundation, the Pacific Legal Foundation, Todd Gaziano, Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow, Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr.[12]

The case is on the Supreme Court calendar for the term beginning in October 2012.[13][14] If the Court overrules Grutter, it would likely end affirmative action at public universities in the United States.[1] Some argue that the result of such a ruling would decrease the number of black and Hispanic students admitted to American universities while increasing the proportion of white and Asian students.[1]

Oral ArgumentsOn October 10, 2012, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case. Bert Rein represented the petitioner, Gregory Garre represented the respondent university, and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in support of the respondent.

During the beginning of the petitioner's argument, Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg asked questions about whether the case was moot. Specifically, they were concerned with the university's arguments that Fisher would not have earned admission regardless of her race, that she had already graduated from college, and that she only named the $100 application fee as real damages. Scalia commented that the harm of racial discrimination alone created an active controversy under the Court's previous Equal Protection jurisprudence.[15]

Justices Scalia, Alito, and Roberts asked many questions about the definition of a ''critical mass,'' which Grutter named as the central measure of diversity. Scalia started calling it a ''critical cloud'' after the university's lawyer failed, upon multiple requests, to define the central measure of diversity.[15] Chief Justice Roberts asked whether an applicant who was one quarter or one eighth Latino would be permitted by the University to check the ''Latino'' box.[15] Mr Garre responded that the applicant is entitled to self-identify any race and the University did not ever question that determination.[15]

Legal analysts predicted that oral argument demonstrated a majority of the justices disliked the university's position.[16]

Common Sense

War on Ammo

PedoBear

SAVILE: POLICE CHIEF QUITS INVESTIGATION; FORMER GOVERNMENT MINISTER; ORPHANAGE ABUSE

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Archived Version

Source: aangirfan

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 07:44

Spindler, who was leading Operation Yewtree, Operation Fernbridge and Operation Fairbank.Peter Spindler, the police chief investigating the Jimmy Savile affair, has quit.He has quit in the middle of the Operation Yewtree investigation, the Sunday People reports.

Spindler has also quit from Operations Fernbridge and Fairbank, which are 'investigating' Ðtop people's links to child abuse rings.

"Spindler has faced criticism over the strategy of arresting people."

Det Chief Supt Hamish Campbell, who led the 'disastrous' Jill Dando murder inquiry, has been put in charge of Operation Yewtree.

Spindler has now begun a two-year secondment to the 'police watchdog' Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the investigative website Exaro has learned.

Police chief Peter Spindler quits Operation Yewtree.

The Sunday People quotes a child abuse victim as saying: "People have talked about a paedophile ring working in the UK."This was not just a ring - it's more like the Olympic rings, interlocking on a Ðlarge scale. "It went everywhere. "I believe it went to the heart of the Establishment."

New victim links notorious paedophile Peter Righton to VIP child abuse ring.

Peter Righton

Peter Righton was once the most respected childcare expert in Britain, and, he was part of a top person's pedophile ring.The child abuse victim, quoted by the Sunday People, says Righton's network stretched to the top of the UK establishment.

Righton boasted of links to Ðtop people in government, according to the victim, the Sunday People reports.

The victim says that Righton and members of his Paedophile Information Exchange sexually abused him in London from the age of 11 to 16.

The victim named a former senior government minister.

Continued here: New victim links notorious paedophile Peter Righton to VIP child abuse network - Mirror Online "Children in one orphanage told investigators how they were forced to crawl while they were beaten with sticks and had to eat rice from the ground as punishment for failing to recite Bible psalms...

"Children are ... taken away from orphanages by donating strangers for outings, sometimes overnight leaving them open to sexual abuse, investigators say.

Read more: orphanages-on-list-of-shame

GOLD!

ABN Amro has no gold left for its clients

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Archived Version

Source: bertb news feed

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 13:10

0This week, a well-known Dutch bank was the first financial institution to inform its clients that their ''gold investments'' are no longer physically deliverable, proving that the physical gold and ''paper gold'' are different commodities with different prices. The world's financial system is short on gold and no gold bars, except those that are kept by the owners, are safe from confiscation.

0ABN AMRO, the biggest Dutch bank, has sent a letter to its clients stating that they will no longer be able to take physical deliveries of the gold they have bought through ABN. Instead they are offered money at the current market rate for gold. Basically, instead of owning a risk free, physical asset (a gold bar or a gold coin), the bank's clients now own a monetary claim on ABN AMRO, being exposed to the bank's credit risk. Such action is unfair and resembles a disguised default, even if it is supposedly legal. The bank is taking away the clients' gold, without their consent, and is replacing the gold with a claim on the bank, forcing the bank's clients to become the bank's creditors. It is obvious that at least some of the investors who used to invest in precious metals using the Dutch bank services will stop doing business with ABN. The only logical reason for the bank to do something so damaging to its own reputation is to avoid a default on their physical deliveries of gold.

0The situation can be explained in simple terms: the gold is gone or there never was any gold. The conclusions are clear to any seasoned investor. Never trust a bank to hold your precious metals. It will only end badly.

Vaccine$

BBC News - Wales measles: 1,700 MMR jabs given at drop-in clinics

China reinforces H7N9 detection, prevention measures

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Archived Version

Source: Global Times

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 07:49

Testing reagents for the H7N9 avian influenza virus have been distributed among 409 flu monitoring sites across the country, China's center for disease control said Sunday.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention also provided major infectious disease hospitals and research agencies with testing materials and methods for the newly discovered type of bird flu, according to the center.

Testing methods have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) and are available to health authorities in Mongolia as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong, the center said.

The center said it has participated in a series of teleconferences organized by the WHO headquarters and reported on the H7N9 infection situation in China in a timely manner.

The center is maintaining communication with health authorities in the United States and other countries on relevant technological cooperation. It is also assessing the pandemic risks of H7N9 and working out coping strategies with relevant international experts, it said.

On Saturday, China approved a new drug believed to be effective in treating the H7N9 avian flu virus, which had left six people dead as of Saturday morning.

The National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (NCFSR) on Sunday urged preventive measures to ensure food safety, warning the public against touching or eating sick or dead poultry.

The NCFSR has also asked people to thoroughly cook eggs and poultry products, as it believes the virus can not withstand high temperatures.

Authorities said there has been no human-to-human transmission of the virus.

By leaving a comment, you agree to abide by all terms and conditions (See the Comment section).

Two more babies stricken with HERPES after ritual oral blood sucking circumcision in New York City | Mail Online

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Archived Version

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 08:56

Since 2000 13 known cases of herpes have been contracted from the religious practiceTwo deaths and two babies suffering brain damage have resultedDepartment of health warns there being no safe way to perform the ritual that dates back more than 5,000 yearsBy Nina Golgowski

PUBLISHED: 17:32 EST, 5 April 2013 | UPDATED: 02:13 EST, 6 April 2013

Two more infants have been infected with a deadly herpes virus in the last three months after undergoing a controversial religious oral circumcision in New York City.

The latest cases bring the count to 13 infants since 2000, two of which suffered brain damage and two died from the virus which can rapidly spread throughout its body.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice of metzitzah b'peh requires a practitioner to orally suck the baby's penis to 'cleanse' the open wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus.

Contraction: The ultra-Orthodox practice of metzitzah b'peh requires a practitioner to orally suck the baby's penis to 'cleanse' the open wound following its circumcision, making them susceptible to the virus (file photo)

The department of health says one of the latest infants to contract the virus developed a fever and a lesion on its scrotum, seven days after the procedure. The boy later tested positive for HSV-1. That virus differs from HSV-2, the genital herpes, which is contracted during sexual intercourse.

'A herpes infection in a newborn baby has the risk of leading to severe illness and death,' Jay Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told ABC News.

'The reason is that the baby doesn't have the same fully developed immune system as an adult. Instead of staying in the genital area, it extends throughout different organs in the body,' he explained.

He said it's too soon to tell whether the boys will suffer permanent effects.

The identify of the rabbi who performed the circumcision is being withheld by the boys' parents, preventing the health department to step in, they said.

Dangers: Since 2000 13 known cases of herpes have resulted from the practice, two of which suffered brain damage and two others died

The religious practice that dates back to more than 5,000 years defies warning by the city's department of health which says there is no safe way to perform the oral suction on an open wound.

More modern Jewish practices use a sterile aspiration device to clean the wound or a pipette opposed to the oral sucking.

But some rabbis stand grounded behind the practice, calling it a religious freedom while noting its long history.

In September the department voted to require parents to sign forms consenting to the risks of the practice after the death of two children who contracted the virus through the practice.

The parents of those newly infected boys are said to have not signed those forms.

According to Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of the Orthodox Jewish organization Agudath Israel of America, two-thirds of boys born in New York City's Hasidic communities are circumcised in the oral suction matter.

The health department claims they've had complaints in past by parents who say they weren't made aware that the oral practice would be performed on their child.

Out There

NASA plans to "Lasso" a 500 Ton Asteroid to Bring it Closer to Earth for Study -.

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Archived Version

Source: WT news feed

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 08:07

(Image: TodayIWillFindOut.com)

By JG VibesIntellihub.comApril 6, 2013

The planning process alone for this project will cost $100 million, and that is likely to be gone before the equipment is actually fully purchased and built. Both the politicians and the scientists are claiming that this is safe, and their excuse for spending so much money is that they are claiming it will help to protect earth from asteroids in the future.

However, in the past the government really couldn't be trusted with figuring out whats safe and what isn't, after all, the governments of the world are doing a pretty good job at destroying the planet as it is.

According to the Associated Press:

NASA is planning for a robotic spaceship to lasso a small asteroid and park it near the moon for astronauts to explore, a top senator revealed Friday. The robotic ship would capture the 500-ton 25-foot asteroid in 2019. Then using an Orion space capsule, now being developed, a crew of about four astronauts would nuzzle up next to the rock in 2021 for spacewalking exploration, according to a government document obtained by The Associated Press.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the plan would speed up by four years the existing mission to land astronauts on an asteroid by bringing the space rock closer to Earth. Nelson, who is chairman of the Senate science and space subcommittee, said Friday that President Barack Obama is putting $100 million in planning money for the accelerated asteroid mission in the 2014 budget that comes out next week. The money would be used to find the right small asteroid.

''It really is a clever concept,'' Nelson said in a press conference in Orlando. ''Go find your ideal candidate for an asteroid. Go get it robotically and bring it back.''

While there are thousands of asteroids that size out there, finding the right one that comes by Earth at just the right time to be captured will not be easy, said Donald Yeomans, who heads NASA's Near Earth Object program that monitors close-by asteroids. He said once a suitable rock is found it would be captured with the space equivalent of ''a baggie with a drawstring. You bag it. You attach the solar propulsion module to de-spin it and bring it back to where you want it.''

Yeomans said a 25-foot asteroid is no threat to Earth because it would burn up should it inadvertently enter Earth's atmosphere. The mission as Nelson described is perfectly safe, he said.

Even if it was a totally safe plan, which i am skeptical of, it still seems frivolous considering what is going on economically right now.

Space travel and exploration is certainly necessary, but NASA is not needed to explore space. The privately funded space X program recently announced that they were creating a spaceship that looks like something you would see in a science fiction film.

Extreme Tech reported that:

''At a press conference following the successful touchdown of a SpaceX's Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station, CEO Elon Musk said that Dragon 2 will look like ''a real alien spaceship'' and be capable of propulsive touchdowns on land. Musk also said at the briefing that SpaceX will attempt a water landing of its Falcon 9 rocket later this year '-- another key step towards reusable, cheaper spaceflight.''

Even Red Bull was able to produce a space program that put NASA to shame, so in all reality there is no need for a multi billion dollar government space program.

******

Read more articles by this author HERE.

J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer, reporter for Intellihub.com and Executive Producer of the Bob Tuskin Radio Show.You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com

Administration confirms NASA plan: Grab an asteroid, then focus on Mars

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Archived Version

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 07:50

18

hours

ago

DigitalSpace

An Orion exploration vehicle approaches a near-Earth asteroid in this artist's conception. Such a mission would be carried out in 2021 under the White House's new plan for NASA exploration beyond Earth orbit.

By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News

NASA's accelerated vision for exploration calls for moving a near-Earth asteroid even nearer to Earth, sending out astronauts to bring back samples within a decade, and then shifting the focus to Mars, a senior Obama administration official told NBC News on Saturday.

The official said the mission would "accomplish the president's challenge of sending humans to visit an asteroid by 2025 in a more cost-effective and potentially quicker time frame than under other scenarios." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no authorization to discuss the plan publicly.

The source said more than $100 million would be sought for the mission and other asteroid-related activities in its budget request for the coming fiscal year, which is due to be sent to Congress on Wednesday. That confirms comments made on Friday by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a one-time spaceflier who is now chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space. It also confirms a report about the mission that appeared last month in Aviation Week.

The asteroid retrieval mission is based on a scenario set out last year by a study group at the Keck Institute for Space Studies. NASA's revised scenario would launch a robotic probe toward a 500-ton, 7- to 10-meter-wide (25- to 33-foot-wide) asteroid in 2017 or so. The probe would capture the space rock in a bag in 2019, and then pull it to a stable orbit in the vicinity of the moon, using a next-generation solar electric propulsion system. That would reduce the travel time for asteroid-bound astronauts from a matter of months to just a few days.

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]]>The Keck study estimated the total mission cost at $2.6 billion '-- but the administration official said the price tag could be reduced to $1 billion, or roughly $100 million a year, if the mission took advantage of an already-planned test flight for NASA's heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew exploration vehicle. That flight would send astronauts around the moon and back in 2021.

"This mission would combine the best of NASA's asteroid identification, technology development, and human exploration efforts to capture and redirect a small asteroid to just beyond the moon to set up a human mission using existing resources and equipment, including the heavy-lift rocket and deep-space capsule that have been under development for several years," the official said in an email.

The 2014 budget would set aside $78 million for planning the asteroid retrieval mission, plus $27 million to accelerate NASA's efforts to detect and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids. The federal government currently spends $20 million annually on asteroid detection.

Meteor sparked actionThe official said the plan had been under discussion for months, but coalesced after February's meteor blast over Russia. The meteor's breakup injured more than 1,000 people and sparked a worldwide sensation. It also sparked a series of congressional hearings about threats from space, during which Republicans as well as Democrats hinted that they would support more funding to counter asteroid threats.

"This plan would help us prove we're smarter than the dinosaurs," said the official, referring to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs and many other species 65 million years ago. An asteroid in the 7- to 10-meter range would be about half as wide as the one that broke up over Russia. That's far too small to pose any threat to Earth, even if the space rock was coming directly at our planet. But the captured asteroid could provide valuable insights for dealing with bigger ones in the future.

Initial preparations for the mission won't have to wait for a deal to end budget sequestration, or approval of the budget for the 2014 fiscal year. NASA would begin immediately to identify the asteroid for retrieval, and take advantage of existing efforts funded by the agency's science, technology and human exploration directorates. The most expensive element of the plan, the multibillion-dollar Orion/SLS launch system, is already being funded under the terms of an agreement with Congress.

Discussions with NASA's international and commercial partners will continue in the months and years ahead, the official said. The retrieved asteroid could conceivably become a target for other scientific missions or asteroid-mining operations. In the process, governments might have to address issues surrounding the ownership and exploitation of space resources.

"We're trying to force the question," the official said. "We're trying to push the envelope on this new frontier."

Questions raisedSome observers have already raised questions about the plan, based on the advance reports. Scott Pace, the director of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute, told The Associated Press that it was a bad idea on scientific as well as diplomatic grounds. It would be better for the United States to join forces with other countries to conduct a comprehensive survey of all potentially dangerous asteroids, Pace said.

Rick Tumlinson, chairman of an asteroid-mining venture called Deep Space Industries, said he was concerned that NASA's asteroid mission might interfere with private-sector efforts '-- and he called on NASA to rely on private enterprise wherever possible. The administration official assured NBC News that cooperation with commercial ventures as well as other groups such as the B612 Foundation was part of the plan.

The official noted that the mission would provide a relatively low-cost route to satisfying President Barack Obama's goal of sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025. The lessons learned during the mission could be applied to future missions aimed at diverting other asteroids '-- perhaps to head off a potential threat, or conduct further scientific study, or exploit the potentially valuable resources that asteroids contain.

After the asteroid mission, NASA would turn its attention to a farther-out destination: Mars. The Obama administration has called for astronauts to travel to the Red Planet and its moons by the mid-2030s, and that would be the next major target for space exploration. The administration official told NBC News that other concepts, such as sending astronauts back to the moon or creating a deep-space platform beyond the far side of the moon, are not on the agenda for the foreseeable future.

More about asteroids:

Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.

VIDEO

VIDEO-AUDIO-Brain Scans Predict Who's Likely To Be A Repeat Offender : NPR

Link to Article

Archived Version

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 14:36

In research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists found brain scans can predict with startling accuracy the likelihood that criminals will run afoul of the law again. The results require serious legal and ethical debate before being introduced into the criminal justice system. David Greene talks to Kent Kiehl, a professor of psychology at the University of New Mexicow, and lead author of this mind research study.

Copyright (C) 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Imagine using mind technology to arrest and convict people before a crime actually happens. Sounds like something out of the movie "Minority Report."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MINORITY REPORT")

TOM CRUISE: (as Chief John Anderton) I'm placing you under arrest for the future murder of Sarah Marks and Donald Dubin that was to take place today, April 22nd, at 0800 hours and four minutes.

GREENE: OK, the movie is obviously fantasy but there is real research that brings us a little closer to predicting if someone will commit a crime. We talked to Kent Kiehl, a professor of psychology and lead author of a new mind research study.

Professor, welcome to the program.

KENT KIEHL: Thank you very much for having me.

GREENE: So, can you explain your research a bit more? As I understand it, you're saying you may have found a way to use brain scans to predict whether criminals will break the law again.

KIEHL: Yes. So we know that, you know, important decisions are made every day in the Criminal Justice System about, for example, whether to release an inmate, under what conditions to release an inmate - parole or probation. And one of the things that parole boards typically do is some form of what's called the risk assessment, to try to identify the factors that are likely to promote desistence to future crime or persistence to future crime.

And one those variables is impulsivity. So if an offender scores high on impulsivity, for example, let's say you might use a pen and paper test to have them fill out and say that they buy things impulsively, they quit jobs frequently.

GREENE: That might mean you would commit a current impulsivity.

KENT KIEHL: Yeah. Exactly. It turns out it does. So it turns out that those scales can predict that individual is likely to come back to prison quickly. But you also might study, you know, the games or neuro site tests and those are also going to give you a picture of what's happening.

KIEHL: What we did, though, that was different was we said well, those are trying to measure brain function by proxy. And so what if we directly measure brain function using an MRI while they're doing those games and tasks? And what we did is we found that the brain activity associated with impulsivity was incrementally predictive above those other measures. And it was really predictive. Inmates who had low activity were up to four a more likely to reoffend, looking out four years, than inmates that had higher levels of activity.

GREENE: Break this down for me in layman terms. If you were sitting me down to do this test right now, what would you tell me?

KIEHL: I'd say that you are going to see a series of letters presented on the screen to you, one at a time, and they're going to come fast and quickly. And every time you see this letter X, I want you to press a button here.

GREENE: Mm-hmm.

KIEHL: But occasionally, there's going to be the letter K, and when you see the letter K you're not supposed to press the button. And it's fast and quick and you're going to make mistakes, but you need to keep going as fast and active as you can, and here we go.

GREENE: Someone who sees the K, they're not supposed to put the button but they can stay in control, means they're less impulsive and probably and less likely to be a criminal, and you're watching this whole thing in the brain and what it looks like.

KIEHL: Exactly. Exactly.

GREENE: Well, aren't there other factors when it comes to criminal behavior? I mean I'm thinking drug, alcohol abuse, mental health. I mean how predictive is impulsivity when it comes to whether or not someone will commit a crime in the future?

KIEHL: So you're absolutely right. There are many actors that go into identifying the factors associated with risk for re-offending. And in this study we did control for the effect of alcohol and substance abuse, age, education and socio-economic background, and what was interesting was that the measures of brain functions were still incrementally predictive above and beyond those other measures.

GREENE: I can imagine a whole slew of ethical concerns and questions coming up as your research goes forward. What sorts of ethical questions do you think you'd have to kind of get through before this might actually be part of the criminal justice system?

KIEHL: I completely agree with you. In fact, we have a whole team that works to study these ethical issues and the potential abuses or uses of the science that we do. You know, the brain is a very plastic thing, so even if we do find areas of the brain that are related to future recidivism, that doesn't mean those things can't be changed. I think that's the number one message here, is that what we've figured out we think is an area of the brain that we believe we can actually train or improve the function. So if I was able to increase activity with some sort of treatment, like a cognitive behavioral treatment, or a mindfulness meditation treatment, or maybe a pill that helps to increase activity there and that reduces recidivism; pretty much all of the inmates that we work will say I'll take that treatment because I don't want to be back you're either. And if I could be a little less impulsive and a little bit more likely not to come back to prison, I'll do that.

GREENE: But Professor, let me ask you if there is a potential slippery slope here. I mean your research might be used in ways that people might not want. You start testing kids, testing people, using these brain scans to see if they might be first-time offenders in the future.

KIEHL: It's absolutely a potential concern. And we don't have any data yet that's really sound that would suggest that we could predict before someone ever did anything wrong. So we're really working with, you know, trying to treat those individuals who are already on a trajectory towards getting themselves in a lot of trouble. The science is not there, accurately enough, to say for certain whether or not any of these offenders are going to re-offend. It's simply an increased risk. But you also, you just need to be very careful making sure that you're not stigmatizing, especially children or adolescents. And, you know, we're very sensitive to these issues and we want to, you know, educate the public about these issues so that we don't have these types of concerns coming up.

GREENE: Interesting stuff. Professor Kiehl, thanks so much for talking to us.

KIEHL: Well, thank you very much for having me .

GREENE: He's a professor at the University of New Mexico. And his research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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VIDEO-Joe Biden calls to 'create a New World Order' | End the Lie '' Independent News

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Sat, 06 Apr 2013 20:08

Vice President Joe Biden stated that the 'affirmative task' before us is to 'create a new world order' at the Export-Import Bank conference in Washington, D.C. on April 5, 2013. He also said the U.S. jobs figures for March are ''disappointing.''

This clip originally aired on C-SPAN.

Top Search Terms Used to Find This Page:Help Spread Alternative News

VIDEO-Obama: Kamala Harris "best looking attorney general" - CBS News Video

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Sat, 06 Apr 2013 16:25

Kim Jong Un: Decoding the N. Korea leader

According to a psychological profile put together by U.S. intelligence, Kim Jong Un probably feels compelled to prove his toughness. A former CIA officer weighs in on Kim and the image he hopes to convey, from his haircut to his charisma. David Martin reports.

VIDEO-North Korean social media apparently hacked - CNN.com

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Sat, 06 Apr 2013 12:52

By CNN Staff

April 5, 2013 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Attack has hallmarks of hackers collective AnonymousApparent hackings come after Anonymous demands North Korean leader's resignationOfficial North Korean Flickr account shows image skewering Kim Jong UnAre you from South or North Korea? Send us your views on the crisis.

(CNN) -- Some official North Korean Internet and social media sites appeared Thursday to have been hacked, possibly by the hacker collective Anonymous.

The hacking -- including an image skewering North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on an official Flickr account -- comes amid rising tensions between North Korea and several other countries including the United States.

The North Korean government website Uriminzokkiri.com was down Thursday morning, and the official @uriminzok Twitter account -- also apparently tampered with -- has messages claiming that Uriminzokkiri, the Flickr site and other North Korean sites have been hacked.

Among the pictures on the Flickr account Thursday: A "wanted" poster with an image showing Kim with a pig's ears and nose.

The poster accuses Kim of "threatening world peace with ICBMs and nuclear weapons."

Another image reads: "We are Anonymous."

On the Twitter account, the usual image atop the page was replaced with one that reads "tango down" -- military slang that has been appropriated by hackers to say they have interrupted service to a website.

The image also shows dancers wearing Guy Fawkes masks. The mask is a favorite symbol of the hacker collective.

If it is the work of Anonymous, it would be appear to be just the latest attack by the group against North Korean sites. Last week, Anonymous, upon leaking account information from Uriminzokkiri.com, announced it would continue to hack North Korean sites if the government didn't "stop making nukes and nuke-threats," according to CNET.

The group also demanded the resignation of Kim, democracy in North Korea, and uncensored Internet access for all North Koreans, CNET reported.

Known for its DDOS, or distributed denial of service, attacks that take websites offline, Anonymous has taken up a number of causes. It had a hand in organizing and agitating in the Occupy movement throughout 2011. It also is known for defending WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and Assange's assertion that all information should be freely available on the Internet.

The hacker collective is an amorphous group that takes pride in not having a single leader or spokesperson, which makes claims by the group difficult to verify.

READ MORE: North Korea's threats: Five things to know

READ MORE: South Korea says hacking not from Chinese address

CNN's Jason Hanna and Ashley Fantz contributed to this story.

VIDEO-Carney On Obama's Upcoming Budget: ''It Is Not What He Would Do If He Were King'''... | Weasel Zippers

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Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:14

What exactly would he do if he were king? Nationalize a few industries? Ban the Republican party?

Via Weekly Standard:

''What I will say is that this is not the president's idealized budget,'' said Carney, previewing next week's rollout. ''It is not what he would do if he were king, or if only people who supported his proposals were in Congress. It was what he believes is a fair and balanced approach to our deficit challenges. One that allows us to invest, that protects seniors, that helps secure the middle class''and give ladders to those who want to get into the middle class.''

VIDEO-MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Issues Surprise NRA Defense '-- and Goes After Obama, Hollywood and the Left | Video | TheBlaze.com

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Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:05

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has been no fan of the National Rifle Association (NRA) of late. As you're likely aware, TheBlaze has covered his many commentaries against the gun rights group since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December. But on Friday morning, the host took a u-turn and seemingly defended the organization, while also slamming Hollywood and calling liberals out for hypocrisy.

Why, you ask? Well, Scarborough believes that Hollywood, too, deserves some blame for continuously touting violence. Those on the left, the host charges, avoid blaming Tinseltown, yet they continuously lambaste the NRA. So, he felt like calling the inconsistency out and discussing it on today's show.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Specifically, the ''Morning Joe'' host named President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as two individuals who he believes should take the lead in addressing the issue.

''I need to hear the president of the United States come out and go after his own base,'' Scarborough said. ''I've gone after the NRA. I've talked about background checks'...the president of the United States needs to do it. Joe Biden needs to do it.''

As for the NRA, rather than taking the harsh tone he's become known for when speaking about the organization, he filtered his angst and directed it toward liberals and those who are one-sided in waging accusations against group.

''I know it's a lot of fun kicking around the NRA and kicking around Second Amendment supporters as a bunch of rednecks and people love doing that,'' he said. ''It makes them feel morally superior. It does! It makes them feel morally superior. Why don't they do that to Hollywood?''

While he said he isn't advocating for banning violent video games and entertainment, Scarborough said that Hollywood and its impact should be at least a part of the discussion.

Watch the segment, below:

VIDEO-Michelle Obama mistakenly calls herself a 'busy single mother' - UPI.com

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Fri, 05 Apr 2013 12:43

FLOTUS described herself as a "busy single mother" in interview slip-up.

First Lady Michelle Obama. (Screenshot via CBS News/WCAX)

In an interview with the Burlington, Vermont CBS affiliate WCAX, First Lady Michelle Obama described the difficulties of maintaining proper nutrition while juggling work and a hectic family schedule -- and accidentally referred to herself as a "busy single mother."

She quickly recovered and added that "sometimes when you've got the husband who's President, it can feel a little single, but he's there."

U.S. Troops Training In Hazmat Suits In South Korea

VIDEO-James Holmes' psychiatrist warned he may pose threat - latimes.com

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Fri, 05 Apr 2013 13:57

CENTENNIAL, Colo. '-- About a month before the Aurora movie theater rampage left 12 dead and at least 70 injured in July, James E. Holmes told a psychiatrist he was having homicidal thoughts and she concluded he could pose a danger to the public, according to documents released Thursday.

University of Colorado-Denver psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton told a campus police officer about her concerns June 12, the day after she met with Holmes for their only session. Her fears were revealed Thursday when the new judge presiding over the case unsealed a host of search warrants and arrest documents.

Fenton also told Lynn Whitten, a campus police officer, that after she stopped seeing Holmes he "threatened and harassed her via email/text messages," the documents said.

Whitten deactivated Holmes' ID so he could not get into university classrooms and laboratories, the documents say. That appeared to contradict what university officials have said: that Holmes was not banned from the university because of a threat but because his ID was deactivated as part of the normal student withdrawal process.

It was unclear whether Aurora police knew of Holmes' threats before they interviewed Whitten on July 21, the day after the mass shooting. Holmes, now 25, is accused of opening fire during a premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

The once-promising neuroscience doctoral student at the university is charged with 166 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons charges. He had flunked an oral exam in early June, began withdrawing from the university June 10 and met with Fenton on June 11.

Details about the case have been tightly sealed from the earliest days of the investigation. Yet on Thursday, District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. reversed previous rulings on public access and made public the arrest affidavit and 12 search warrants.

Samour took over from Chief Judge William Sylvester on Monday after Dist. Atty. George Brauchler of Colorado's 18th Judicial District announced he would seek the death penalty.

Sylvester withdrew because of the time constraints that come with a capital punishment trial, which would leave him little time for administrative duties. Holmes' trial, initially scheduled to begin Aug. 5, has been pushed back to February at the earliest.

Holmes' attorneys are widely expected to use an insanity defense. They had offered a guilty plea in return for a life sentence without possibility of parole.

The newly unsealed documents give glimpses not only into the early hours of the investigation but into Holmes himself. A search warrant for his apartment '-- which had been booby-trapped, presumably to kill anyone who entered '-- revealed a student's life that seemed at once mundane and bent on destruction.

Along with chemicals used for explosives, rounds of ammunition, pistol cases and paper targets, police seized movie posters, video games, apartment lease papers, numerous computers, 48 containers of beer and other liquor and stacks of school textbooks. They found prescription medication for sertraline, a generic version of Zoloft used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and Clonazepam, usually prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks.

And they found a Batman mask, the documents say.

Much of the information in the documents had come out at Holmes' preliminary hearing in January. Moviegoers at the Aurora theater on July 20 told police they saw a man who fit Holmes' description sit in the first row but then leave through the emergency exit before the movie started. At 12:38 a.m., an assailant burst through the emergency door, threw a canister of tear gas and began shooting.

Police have said records show Holmes went on a shopping spree that started in May, amassing semiautomatic weapons, large quantities of ammunition, military-style gear, chemicals that could be used for explosives and tear gas canisters.

The documents also shed some light on a notebook that Holmes mailed to Fenton, which was found in a university mail room after the shooting. The notebook was described in search warrants as brown with a placard on the cover that said "James Holmes." Also written on the outside of the notebook were the words, "My Life."

Police said "it appeared to be a journal," but the writings were "unknown." Tucked into the notebook were twenty $20 bills that had been burned. There was a sticky note on the outside with an infinity symbol on it.

The notebook, which is still sealed, has been a bitterly contested issue. The prosecution says it should be admitted into evidence, but the defense says it is part of doctor-patient privileged communication.

Next week the judge will continue to hear arguments on whether a FoxNews.com reporter will have to divulge her law enforcement sources who told her about the contents of the notebook despite a gag order.

nation@latimes.com

CNN: Alarming New Video Out Of North Korea!

Fukushima MAY Have Leaked Massive Amount Of Radioactive Water

Cooling System Fails At Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Currently In Meltdown

"The Sandy Hook Killer Murdered 20 First Graders And 6 Educators Firing 154 Rounds In 4 Minutes"

OUTBREAK! MSM Trying To Terrify People To Get Vaccine That's Not Even Created Yet! OR IS IT?

Actress Sues IMDB Website

COP KILLINGS UP 29%!

"North Korea Is 1 Of 5 Countries That Have Legalized Marijuana Which May Explain A Lot"

Daily Press Briefing - April 4, 2013

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Archived Version

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:00

12:57 p.m. EDT

MS. NULAND: All right, everybody. Happy Thursday. I have nothing at the top. Let's go to what's on your minds.

QUESTION: Can I '' before we move on to North Korea and its latest round of bombast, I just want to close the loop on one thing about the Jon Stewart '' Egypt thing, and that is: Did you get an answer, were you able to find out '' my question yesterday if the Egyptian Government had actually made some kind of a formal complaint to the Embassy about this tweet, or was it just restricted to their own Twitter feed?

MS. NULAND: Apparently, they did make a complaint.

QUESTION: They did. And do you know what the nature '' was it the same complaint that --

MS. NULAND: That they did publicly?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. NULAND: My understanding is yes.

QUESTION: And was it responded to?

MS. NULAND: I don't know whether '' I think it was a sort of a phone call complaining, and the answer was, ''We're looking into it.''

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Okay?

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: On Egypt still?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. Could you update us on the situation in Egypt? There's been a food crisis, fuel crisis, there's instability and so on. What is the United States doing to sort of alleviate that, in terms of having the IMF come up with the loans that they promised?

MS. NULAND: Said, you're asking me to give a U.S. Government briefing on the situation in Egypt?

QUESTION: No, I mean, I'm not '' but saying '' it's quite volatile. I mean, this whole thing comes together, because you're saying that Egypt needs to democratize, it needs to sort of open up freedom of the press and the liberties and so on, and yet they are facing these dire conditions.

MS. NULAND: Said, I think we've been very clear from the Secretary's trip to Cairo forward what our concerns are, both on the political side and on the economic side in Egypt, and about the necessity of the government leading urgent action on both fronts. We've also been very clear that we support the renewed conversations between the IMF and Egypt, because we think that IMF support is urgently needed, but obviously, Egypt is going to have to take some steps. Beyond that, I don't think I have anything new to say beyond what we've been saying all week about our concerns about justice, our concerns about some of these new restrictions on NGOs and demonstrations, et cetera.

QUESTION: Sorry, just back on the Twitter thing for a minute. As far as you're concerned, as far as the U.S. Government is concerned, this is a done deal, case closed, chapter over, let's move on?

MS. NULAND: You mean would we like to repeat the comedy --

QUESTION: No.

MS. NULAND: -- that we had here yesterday?

QUESTION: No, no, no, no. I mean, I just want to know, I mean, as far '' there isn't any more interaction going on --

MS. NULAND: On this subject?

QUESTION: -- between you and the Egyptians or you and '' or this building and the Embassy about --

MS. NULAND: No.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: We did have an incident, as you may have seen, of '' a separate incident of an effort to impersonate the Embassy site, which we had to deal with, and that's also now been taken down.

QUESTION: To North Korea, right?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: This is about the mechanics of yesterday's latest threat. I don't know if there's a threat today, but North Korea says it has notified and '' ratified and notified you that it intends to attack. Mechanically, do you get any notification? Do they go through the New York channel, for example? Do you get '' or are they just publishing it on their state newswire, KCNA, and that's their notification?

MS. NULAND: I saw that in some of their public statements, Paul. Frankly, to my knowledge, they don't call us up and say, ''Let us just say privately what we've just said publicly,'' generally. These kinds of statements of, as Matt called it, bombast and aggressive rhetoric come through their state news service.

QUESTION: But to your knowledge, the New York channel fax machine or --

MS. NULAND: If I have anything to share on that, I will, but I don't think there's anything to share there.

QUESTION: In other words, I mean, when they launch their satellite, when they've launched their rockets and when they've conducted the test, you '' we have been told that they gave you advance notification that was happening. But as far as you know, in this case, with this latest threat, there was no private communication between the North and --

MS. NULAND: You are right that in the case of some of these tests and launches we've had advance notification. We've talked about that here. In this case, I don't think we did. But if that's not correct, we'll get back to you.

Please.

QUESTION: Your colleague at the White House a few days ago said that there is a gap between North Korea's rhetoric and actions because they have not been moving military forces around in their country. But the South Koreans have said that they've started moving missiles from the east to west coast there, so I'm wondering what your read is in terms of the situation there on the peninsula.

MS. NULAND: Well, I think the Secretary was very clear on Tuesday, and you've seen subsequent moves from us, that we are taking the appropriate steps in terms of defense of the United States, in terms of defense of our allies, both the Republic of Korea and Japan. We are making those clear, and we are watching very closely, obviously, what the DPRK is up to.

QUESTION: Do you believe that this rhetoric by Kim Jong-un is utilized because the only thing that North Korea has is its military threatening, I guess, is used to extort maybe some aid and some help and some action and some attention to its problems?

MS. NULAND: If, in fact, that's what they are thinking, they are wrongheaded in that approach. If you'll recall, about a year and a half ago now, we were very close to being able to support the humanitarian needs of the North Korean people. We had worked out all kinds of arrangements. And then the assurances that we had that the aid would actually get in the right place fell apart, as did the DPRK's general approach to its international obligations and commitments, which led us to question our ability to cut any kind of a deal that would hold.

So the DPRK knows what it needs to do if it wants to make a different choice. If it wants to have support from the international community economically, in terms of supporting its people, it's got to come back into compliance with its international obligations. The President's been clear, the Secretary's been clear, that if they make a different choice, we will respond. But unfortunately, all we've seen in response to those offers has been more aggressive rhetoric.

QUESTION: You were kind of asked something about this yesterday, what the North could do that would result in a positive response from you, and it '' I'm just curious if '' will another Leap Day type agreement do it, given the fact that they completely ignored their '' what they had agreed to, and that '' which was, at the time, hailed as a great breakthrough?

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, I'm not going to negotiate with the DPRK on behalf of the Six Parties from here when they haven't taken any steps and they're moving in the wrong direction. But we have quite a track record in the Six-Party Talks format of discussing what could be necessary to come back into compliance. The Leap Day Agreement was obviously something that we thought could be a positive step, but it wasn't implemented, and in fact, we went backwards. So I don't think that it's particularly a mystery, the kinds of things that we need to see from the DPRK.

QUESTION: Yeah, but because they've reneged on everything --

MS. NULAND: Well --

QUESTION: -- and in fact, I would say that the track record that the Six-Party Talks has is entirely a negative track record. It hasn't accomplished anything of what you guys have set out '' what it is intended to do. They haven't denuclearized. They're being more and more antagonistic. So I'm just wondering, you need '' you would need more than just a piece of paper like this Leap Day Agreement from last year, correct, for --

MS. NULAND: Again, I'm not going to --

QUESTION: -- to be assured of the North's intentions?

MS. NULAND: I don't think it's appropriate to have a negotiation here in the context of the situation we see right now, which is escalating rhetoric and dangerous moves. What I would simply say is that, as we said at the time that the Leap Day Agreement fell apart, there was a complete lack of confidence and trust that they were able to and willing to implement what they had already agreed to. So that's obviously affecting the environment, as does this rhetoric now.

QUESTION: Toria.

MS. NULAND: Guy.

QUESTION: Toria, sorry, just to go back to yesterday's announcement made by North Korea's military that it has now final approval to carry out merciless attacks, including nuclear attacks using small, versatile nuclear weapons on the United States, do you have a specific reaction to this? And how would you characterize the seriousness of this claim within the context of earlier threats that have been made?

MS. NULAND: Guy, I would simply say what we've been saying, that this is just the latest in a long line of aggressive statements. These are only going to serve to further isolate the DPRK and make it harder for the international community to work with them, but they have a different choice. They have a different choice, and they're not choosing to take it.

Cami. Cami. Guy.

QUESTION: Just '' can I follow up just a little bit on that? I mean, so are you then saying that there's some concern in this building and within the Administration perhaps that the movement of military assets to Guam and the statements by Secretary Kerry on Tuesday and then Secretary Hagel yesterday may actually be serving to elevate the tension rather than defuse it at this point?

MS. NULAND: That's not what I'm saying at all. What I said at the outset, as you'll recall, which was very similar to what Secretary Kerry said and what Secretary Hagel said, was that in the context of the kinds of moves that the DPRK has made, rhetorical moves and other moves, it's incumbent upon us to take prudent steps to defend the United States, to defend our allies, to be prepared for necessary deterrence, et cetera. That is reflected in the moves that you've seen announced from the Pentagon, et cetera. That said, we continue to make the case that it doesn't have to go this way. The DPRK could choose a different course, and the President said that himself.

Cami.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: I'm just wondering, do you have '' does the U.S. have independent confirmation about this missile of considerable range being moved to the east coast, or was the U.S. notified by South Korea that they had detected it?

MS. NULAND: I don't have anything I can share in this format, besides what you've seen in the press. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on --

QUESTION: On --

MS. NULAND: Please. Please.

QUESTION: -- Secretary Kerry's impending visit to the region, is there any change to his '' to the plans for his arrival for any of his security arrangements? Because he would be entering missile range, technically.

MS. NULAND: Well, you won't be surprised that I'm obviously not going to talk about security in any context, including personal security with the Secretary. What I said yesterday I'll repeat here today, which is that this is actually a very timely visit, given the fact that he will have an opportunity in Seoul, in Tokyo, and in Beijing to talk about our shared concern about the direction the DPRK is going in.

Jo.

QUESTION: Toria, can I ask if there's a sense that what we're seeing now is in fact more dangerous than similar periods of tensions that we've seen in the past with North Korea? And if so, is it because the '' Kim Jong-un is still an unknown quantity as the leader of North Korea to the United States?

MS. NULAND: Well, I'm not prepared here to give a great analysis or exegesis about what may or may not be going on on their internal system. As you know, it's one of the most closed and difficult systems to understand inside the '' that we have on the planet still today.

But clearly, we have this very negative pattern of aggressive rhetoric. We have to take it seriously. But we also continue, with our colleagues, with our counterparts, with our allies, to leave open the opportunity for a different course for the new leader of the DPRK, and a course that could bring his country out of isolation if he chose to do the right thing.

QUESTION: In your answer to the previous question before Jo, you're meaning to say that, no, there is no change to the Secretary's planned travel?

MS. NULAND: He is planning to travel. The travel is timely. I'm not going to talk about security arrangements for travel.

QUESTION: No, no. I --

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: I'm not asking about security arrangements.

MS. NULAND: No, no, no.

QUESTION: He still plans to go to Seoul and Tokyo?

MS. NULAND: Of course. Of course, yeah.

QUESTION: North Korea?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Madam, China is the closest allies of North Korea, and they had been supplying military (inaudible) to North Korea and also economic aid in the past. And at the same time, China did vote at the United Nations Security Council against the North.

What I'm asking '' all this tension going on, and they are neighbors, and China is still supporting North Korea '' what do you think the future, how China will play or is playing now? Is China with the rest of the world or with the U.S. or UN on this '' what's going on in North Korea?

MS. NULAND: Well, Goyal, we've talked about this a number of times here over the last few months. As you know, China expressed its own concern about the trend by joining with the rest of the Security Council in now two rounds of sanctions over the last four months with respect to the DPRK. This has been the subject of intense conversations between the Secretary and his Chinese counterparts, including in a phone call yesterday with Chinese State Councilor Yang. And as I said, it'll be a central focus of the Secretary's diplomacy when he's in Beijing to see what more we can do to get the attention of the leadership in the DPRK and get them to change course.

QUESTION: Sorry. Are you saying that the Secretary called Yang yesterday?

MS. NULAND: Yes.

QUESTION: Did he make any other North Korea-related --

MS. NULAND: The call was primarily to prepare the visit, to talk about what our teams can do to prepare the visit. The central focus, obviously, was on the DPRK. They did talk a little bit about --

QUESTION: All right.

MS. NULAND: -- climate change and other issues.

QUESTION: And along those lines then, is there any kind of a hope or sense, feeling in the building that a shared strategy, U.S.-Chinese and even U.S.-Russian strategy, on North Korea might translate into broader, better '' better and broader cooperation in other areas?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think we've had good unity in terms of the U.S.-China approach, the approach that we've had with all of our partners and allies vis-a-vis the DPRK over the last few months. We've also regularly held up our cooperation on DPRK issues along with our cooperation on Iran, our cooperation increasingly on Afghanistan as one of the benefits of the '' what was known as the reset with Russia in the first term.

So I think the issue here is to continue to recognize that the threats we share are common, and the approaches are more likely to be more effective if we can work well together.

QUESTION: So the short answer would be yes, you are hopeful that, yeah '' I mean, I don't want to put words in your mouth. I mean, do you think --

MS. NULAND: I don't want to --

QUESTION: Is there an opening for '' that you are on the same page and literally completely on the same page on North Korea, whereas you're not necessarily on the same page with Iran or with innumerable other issues? Is there an opening --

MS. NULAND: With Russia or with China or with both?

QUESTION: With both.

MS. NULAND: Yeah. I mean, I would say, first of all, in the P-5+1 context we're completely on the same page with Russia vis-a-vis Iran going into this round of talks in Almaty that unity has been essential. I would say with regard to the DPRK that we all share concern, as reflected in the two very strong sanctions resolutions that we've had. We need to maintain that unity if we're going to be able to be effective in our approaches.

QUESTION: And then I just had a question about your use of the phrase ''what was known as the reset.'' Does that mean --

MS. NULAND: What is known as the reset.

QUESTION: Does that mean it's over?

MS. NULAND: No, I didn't mean to imply that at all.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: Toria, is it the United States' understanding that China is doing what it can to actually implement sanctions?

MS. NULAND: Our understanding is they're looking internally at what their own regulations require vis-a-vis UN Security Council Resolution 2094. That's the most recent one that requires implementation. It's up to, as you know, each government to look at its own national legislation and ensure that '' and regulations and ensure it's in full compliance.

QUESTION: And in the past, have they fully implemented sanctions that have been brought against North Korea?

MS. NULAND: Again, it's their national responsibility. I don't think I'm in a position here to give them a grade on that particular thing.

QUESTION: Can you take a run at this from the perspective of the South Koreans? The North Koreans first attacked the Cheonan, which some 46 sailors were killed. Then there was the shelling of a South Korean island near the border. And there has been some popular sentiment that South Korea, under the previous president, Mr. Lee, didn't do enough to defend its citizens and its territorial sovereignty. What guarantees has the U.S. received from the new government of Mrs. Park that it's going to be restrained, given that there is this public yearning, as it were, for some sort of payback against the North Korean regime and possibly taking advantage of this situation to perhaps do so?

MS. NULAND: Well, Ros, I think the best place to send you would be to refer you back to the very strong and comprehensive statements that Foreign Minister Yun made with Secretary Kerry on Tuesday, where he spoke about the need to maintain strong deterrence and to do it in alliance with the United States and in a coordinated fashion, but also to keep the door open. As you know, the Secretary will see him again next week, and President Park will be here to see President Obama. So what's important here is that with a new administration in Seoul that we build and strengthen those personal relationships and we work together on a common trajectory here, and I think we're set up well to do that.

QUESTION: But it's also happening within the context of a change to the mutual defense treaty between the two countries --

MS. NULAND: Right.

QUESTION: -- in which South Korea is now taking a more forward-leaning posture when it comes to defending itself rather than the U.S. having once had for decades the ability to defend not just its interests but those of South Korea as well. It's a peculiar time, to say the least, to have this tension happening, so are there assurances being made that just because South Korea is coming into this lead role, as it were, that it's not going to take advantage of it in a way that hasn't been thought through extensively?

MS. NULAND: Ros, I think you're asking whether we have the kind of relationship, communication, and alliance that allows us to be fully comfortable and transparent with each other. The answer to that is emphatically yes. As Foreign Minister Yun made clear and as the Secretary made clear, we've done some recent updating to that. As we've also been talking about from all platforms, we've taken additional deterrent steps. What's most important is that those lines of communication and approach stay open, and we're very well set up for that.

QUESTION: Can I go back to this kind of new '' it seems as if anyway '' more talking about diplomacy, finding a diplomatic way forward? Do you think that '' did you not anticipate that some of your kind of rhetoric in the last few days would be taken seriously by North Korea? I know you say you're making '' you're taking their threats seriously, but you can see where they've taken what you've been saying and have been ramping it up even further. So can you talk a little bit '' I mean, this is definitely a new tone today '' so about how you're dialing it back a little bit?

MS. NULAND: Elise, you were a little bit late. We went through --

QUESTION: No, I mean, I heard what you're saying, but you didn't really answer the question.

MS. NULAND: We went through this at the beginning. I, first of all, reject the notion that there is a new tone one way or the other. I would simply say --

QUESTION: Really?

MS. NULAND: I would simply say, as I said at the beginning, as the Secretary said on Tuesday, when you have a country that is making the kinds of bellicose threats that they are making and taking the steps that they are taking, and when you have allies and treaty commitments, you have to take it seriously; you don't have any other choice. So the moves that we have been making are designed to ensure and to reassure the American people and our allies that we can defend the United States, that we will, and that we can defend our allies.

So from that perspective, it was the ratcheting up of tensions on the DPRK's side that caused us to need to shore up our own defense posture. We have done that. But we have also been saying all the way through that this does not need to get hotter, that it can '' we can change course here if the DPRK will begin to come back into compliance with its international obligations, will begin to cool things down, take a pause, understand that for the future of its people, for the future of its country, the course it's currently on is only going to lead to isolation. But there's a better way. There's a different way. There's a better future.

Please.

QUESTION: Change topic?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Please, let's change topics. I think we've really now done about 25 minutes on North Korea. But one more.

QUESTION: Yeah. Okay. Any kind of talks with North Korea is not working now. The United States assessment about effectiveness of Six-Party Talks, what is your comment?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, we haven't been able to have any rounds, given where we are. So we would obviously like to be able to get back there, but we're not in that situation now.

Said.

QUESTION: Iran?

MS. NULAND: Iran.

QUESTION: Yes. Could you share with us anything new or new developments in the meeting at Almaty?

MS. NULAND: They're on their way to Almaty. They left last night. I think the talks actually start tomorrow. As you know, we offered a background briefing yesterday that sort of set the table for that, but they're en route.

QUESTION: Okay. Now there was an event today in town that discussed what should be done with Iran and it's suggested that there's a number of things that you guys are not creatively approaching such as having people-to-people relations and so on. And one issue that came up was the fact that you don't have an interests section in Iran despite repeated tries over the past 15 years. Why not have an interests section in Iran?

MS. NULAND: Again, Said, there are any number of things that could improve in the U.S.-Iranian relationship if we can work through this toughest problem, and that's what we're trying to do in the Almaty talks.

QUESTION: So the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said yesterday in a speech in Almaty University that they '' what they want the United States to do at the top of this meeting is to accept Iran's right to enrich. Is that totally unacceptable for the United States?

MS. NULAND: Again, I'm not going to go beyond what our background briefer had to say yesterday, which was that we believe that we have a positive proposal on the table that would allow for step-by-step measures in the right direction. And we want to see at this round a serious Iranian response to it.

QUESTION: But other countries enrich. I mean, Brazil, Japan, other countries have a civilian nuclear energy policy.

MS. NULAND: And we've always said that nobody was looking to deny Iran the right to civilian nuclear power, but it has to be under the right circumstances and at the end of the '' a positive resolution of the international community's concerns about their nuclear program more broadly.

QUESTION: I don't think that's quite correct. You haven't always said. I mean, you personally have always said that --

MS. NULAND: Thank you. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: -- the first Bush Administration --

MS. NULAND: Oh my goodness, we're going back a decade now. A decade, two decades.

QUESTION: No, no, no. The first of George W. Bush Administration --

MS. NULAND: Okay.

QUESTION: -- there were '' the policy was that Iran should have '' Iran didn't need civilian nuclear power because it had enough oil. I remember Mr. Bolton saying this over and over and over again. So always --

MS. NULAND: Suffice to say that in recent years we've been clear about this.

Said.

QUESTION: Yeah, but in fact you are ruling out their right to enrichment while everybody '' all scientists and experts say that up to 5 percent of the enrichment can actually be controlled and verified and all these things that will be utilized --

MS. NULAND: Said, I'm not going to have this negotiation here today.

Goyal.

QUESTION: India?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Madam, again this issue has been asked several times about the visa. Recently, of course, the British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, sent his special business delegation to Gujarat to '' the Indian state of Gujarat to meet with Chief Minister Modi. Now this week, while the special delegation from the U.S. '' congressional delegation, also including big industrialists, they went to Gujarat and met with Chief Minister Modi and they praised the state and his achievements and developments in the state. And they are saying that he may be the future of India-U.S. relations.

My question is that have you changed '' I mean, the U.S. has changed its mind as far as providing or giving visa to Chief Minister Modi after all these developments, I mean? Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Well, let me first say with regard to our congressional delegation that was in Gujarat, visits like this do help support a deepening of business-to-business ties, of people-to-people ties, across India, in Gujarat. So from our perspective, the more congressional delegations that visit India and understand its dynamism and diversity, the more likely we are to continue to deepen those important ties.

With regard to Mr. Modi, our lines have not changed here. He is welcome to apply.

QUESTION: And just a quick follow, as far as the U.S. Embassy in Delhi and our good new Ambassador, is she has taken part in this delegation or is she taking part when --

MS. NULAND: I don't know if our Ambassador accompanied them to Gujarat. She obviously sees all Congressional delegations who come through Delhi. I don't know if she went --

QUESTION: Has she met with Chief Minister Modi?

MS. NULAND: I don't believe so.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up.

MS. NULAND: Yeah, Lalit.

QUESTION: He's welcome to apply, previously you hadn't said that? You're saying that there's no change in U.S. policy on his visa, so --

MS. NULAND: Well, there is no change, that he is welcome to apply. All visa decisions are made on a case by case basis, and I'm not going to prejudge it here.

QUESTION: -- the policy U.S. earlier was, which was in 2005, established that he was not being given a U.S. visa because of the concern that the U.S. has on the Gujarat rights.

MS. NULAND: We've said at all points that like any other visa applicant he's welcome to apply and we'll review the case on the merits.

Please.

QUESTION: Ivory Coast.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: In reference to the Human Rights Watch report about what appears to be an imbalance in the Ouattara government's prosecution of those suspected of post-electoral violence, is it the opinion of the United States Government that the Ouattara government has been balanced in prosecuting those or charging those responsible?

MS. NULAND: Thank you for that, Scott. We are concerned about reports that question the impartial application of justice in the Government of Cote d'Ivoire's prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses on both sides of the post-election crisis in 2010 and in 2011. We continue in our conversations with the Government of Cote d'Ivoire to stress the need for accountability for all those responsible for serious crimes during the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire regardless of what side they are on. And we reiterate our call for credible, transparent legal processes at both the national level and the international level to ensure that the alleged atrocities are investigated and that all perpetrators, regardless of which side they supported, are brought to justice.

QUESTION: Sorry, can I just clarify something you said?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: You were concerned about reports that '' you were concerned about the findings of the reports, right? You're not concerned about the report --

MS. NULAND: No, no. The reports '' we're concerned about the findings of reports that question --

QUESTION: Right. Okay.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: So in other words, you share the concern that --

MS. NULAND: We share the concerns that there are questions about whether the approach has been impartial.

QUESTION: You'll see in the Human Rights Watch report that they allege that of the 150 people who have been charged, all 150 are Gbagbo supporters, and none of them were Ouattara supporters. Has the U.S. Government had any assessment of that scope of those charges, to either confirm or dispute that rough breakdown?

MS. NULAND: I'm not in a position here to advise whether we have our own accounting. I did note that the Human Rights Watch report speaks about a sequential application of justice both by the Ivorian Government and by the ICC, and questions whether that's the right way to go in this case. But that would lead to the kind of results that we see so far, and as I said, we have concerns about whether that's the right approach.

QUESTION: Speaking of transparent and legal '' perhaps this was touched on earlier in the week '' what are the concerns out of this building about what is happening in the presidential campaign in Zimbabwe? There are reports that short-wave radios are being confiscated in small villages, people who are counting on information from VOA, from Radio Free Europe, from other organizations, to find out alternate perspectives on the political policies of Mr. Mugabe and the opposition candidates who are running. There are also suggestions that perhaps if the leading opposition candidate were to win, that there could be the specter of a Libya or a Syria-type situation, according to one high-ranking military official. Is the U.S. concerned about what is happening as Mr. Mugabe is trying to get yet another term in office?

MS. NULAND: Ros, let me see what we've got on Zimbabwe. You know how strongly we feel about the people of Zimbabwe having the right to free, fair, transparent elections finally. But let me look into what we '' how we assess the ground situation in preparation for that.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Syria?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Today or '' Bashar al-Assad, yesterday or today, gave an interview to two Turkish outlet '' Ulusal, a TV station, and Aydinlik, a newspaper '' in which he accuses Turkey and your other allies of Syrian blood on their hands. He's calling the Arab League quislings and doing your bidding and so on. And he's certain that he will prevail.

One, have you been able to see the interview? It will air tomorrow, by the way, if you're interested. But there are some excerpts that came out. And do you have any comment on what he said?

MS. NULAND: I haven't seen the interview. I don't think I need to see it. It doesn't sound like there's anything new here from Assad but blaming everybody but himself for the blood flowing in his country. You know how we feel about this. Any time he chose to stop it, he could.

QUESTION: Yeah, but he also points out a crumbling opposition, and in fact, one can observe that, that within the different groups and so on, they are not being cohesive together, they're not coalescing, they're not showing the kind of '' sort of resolve, politically at least, that one sees. So do you dispute that?

MS. NULAND: We continue to see gains made on the ground by the opposition. With regard to the political opposition and the essential element of unity, you know that we continue to work very hard on that and to support unity among them. They are now beginning in liberated areas to deliver assistance themselves, to support, as we've talked about here, elected governments outside '' in the towns outside of Aleppo and in the north there. And that is a very important trend. So he's living in a parallel reality; let's put it that way.

Please.

QUESTION: Same topic, Toria.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you. Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News. A few questions on the UN team investigating the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria: We heard that the team members were hoping to hit the ground in Syria this week. Can you update us on whether in fact any members of the team have arrived in Syria?

MS. NULAND: I looked into that yesterday. My understanding is that the team is still preparing to go, but I'm going to send you up to the UN for further clarification on that.

QUESTION: Thank you. And also, a few follow-ups: Who is the State Department's primary point of contact with the investigating team?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, this is a UN team, so our mission to the United Nations is very much involved in supporting that effort.

QUESTION: Right. And you previously mentioned from this podium that the U.S. is supplying technical assistance to the team, this UN team. But you're not being specific about it. Can you tell us whether we have, in fact, provided any assistance to the team, to this UN team?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, to say '' I think I said it a couple of '' some time ago that there was a decision made that no P-5 countries would actually participate on the team, but that we are open to supporting the UN's efforts with appropriate information sharing, et cetera. My understanding is that we have been open and transparent and that we will continue to try to be responsive to any requests that come our way.

QUESTION: Fantastic. And lastly, has anyone in the building, at the Office of the Legal Adviser, for example, or any other bureau, been put to work since these allegations first surfaced back on March 19th, researching what happened with these chemical weapons, supposed chemical weapons, or otherwise been tasked with funneling information to the White House or NSC?

MS. NULAND: I'm not sure what you're asking, but we have a whole-of-government effort as necessary, both in terms of ensuring that we have a '' as much information as we can about the situation in Syria across the board, and as I said, we are prepared as necessary from all agencies to support the UN effort however we can.

Please.

QUESTION: On Afghanistan.

MS. NULAND: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The Afghan President Karzai was in Qatar over the weekend for talks with the government on opening up Taliban office in Doha. How do you sense '' after his visit, do you think the Taliban will be '' finally be able to operate from Qatar and hold talks with you or the Afghan Government?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, we were supportive of President Karzai's visit to Doha to strengthen the cooperation between the Afghan Government and the Government of Qatar to prepare for the prospect of Afghan-Afghan talks there, on the Afghan side under the auspices of the High Peace Council. That is a separate issue than whether the Taliban chooses to avail itself of this opportunity. It knows very clearly what it has to do, and the ball is in its court if it wants to see this office opened.

QUESTION: And has the U.S. tried to independently get in touch with the Taliban over the last few weeks or few months?

MS. NULAND: I'm not going to get into the details. I think that there is no question in our mind that the Taliban understand very clearly what's required if they want this office to open.

Please.

QUESTION: A follow-up on the Travel Warning to Lebanon.

MS. NULAND: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Some embassy security people were seen scouting that part of beach that was used in 2006 to evacuate the U.S. nationals from Lebanon. Does it say anything about the seriousness of your concerns about violence spreading to Lebanon, maybe needing to evacuate?

MS. NULAND: I'm certainly not going to talk about security posture of U.S. personnel in Lebanon. Sorry.

Please.

QUESTION: Change topics?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: The Palestinian territories?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: The Israeli occupation army continues to use live ammunition to quell demonstrations. Yesterday, they killed a 17-year-old boy; they injured many others; they continue to do this today, using both live ammunition and rubber bullets. I wonder if you have a position on the violence that is '' seems to be getting out of hand.

MS. NULAND: We talked about this quite a bit yesterday.

QUESTION: But this has happened '' or transpired since then.

MS. NULAND: Our understanding '' yeah. Our understanding is that this tragic incident is being investigated now by Israeli authorities. We look forward to the results of that investigation. And again, we make the call that we've been making for some time, that both sides, all sides, have to refrain from provocative action, have to refrain from violence and set an environment that is conducive to peace.

QUESTION: Are you aware that the Israeli soldier kept his lifeless '' kept his family from reaching his lifeless body, to retrieve the body and so on, for hours on end until the --

MS. NULAND: I don't have that level of detail on this issue, but my understanding is that the Israeli Government has pledged to investigate, and we look forward to seeing the results of that.

QUESTION: And finally, do you trust the Israeli Government to do its own investigation on these issues? Have you had sort of the kind of experience from the past where they can come clean on these investigations?

MS. NULAND: This is the standard and appropriate procedure in an incident where there is a question about whether conduct was appropriate. We do the same thing on the U.S. side with regard to our own soldiers.

QUESTION: Okay. In the event that the Israelis do not do their own investigation, would you support the Palestinians to go to the ICC to pursue such an --

MS. NULAND: You're getting me six steps ahead of where we are.

Please, Lalit.

QUESTION: Can we go to the issue one more time? When a congressmen or group of congressmen invites a foreign national, is the State Department obligated to grant him the visa? Or you can take an independent decision based on merits?

MS. NULAND: Every visa is adjudicated on the merits and in the context of U.S. law individually.

Goyal.

QUESTION: Just quickly, I wanted to go back to my question. My question is different, madam. As far as this delegation is concerned, before leaving had they spoken with Secretary Kerry or are they going to brief him after they return?

MS. NULAND: Well, I would expect that they had a good discussion with our Ambassador there, and she would convey the results of their '' of the CODEL back to Washington.

QUESTION: Thank you, madam.

QUESTION: Can I --

QUESTION: On Afghanistan. There are some reports an American contractor is being held in Kabul, in a Kabul prison. His name is David Gordon, apparently being held for $2.4 million. Is the State Department aware of this report? Are you '' and if so, are you doing anything to secure his release?

MS. NULAND: We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was arrested in Kabul. We are providing appropriate consular assistance, but because of privacy considerations, I can't give you any further details.

QUESTION: Can I --

QUESTION: Tunisia.

MS. NULAND: Sorry. Tunisia?

QUESTION: Tunisia.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Are you following the case of Tunisian jihadist, (inaudible) who was arrested in Egypt on March 21st and handed today to the Tunisian authorities? He reportedly was running a network that facilitated the movement of jihadists by providing them with false passports. Are you following his case? Is he a person of interest to you?

MS. NULAND: I don't have anything today on that case. Let me see if we have anything we want to share.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. NULAND: All right?

QUESTION: No, no. I've got two very brief ones.

MS. NULAND: Sorry.

QUESTION: One, related to the Secretary's trip, particularly his stop in Turkey, are you in a position now to say who he will be meeting with? Will he see Prime Minister Erdogan?

MS. NULAND: We expect that he will see Prime Minister Erdogan.

QUESTION: Okay. And in that conversation, do you expect him to raise the Prime Minister's plans to travel again to Gaza in the context of the rapprochement?

MS. NULAND: As I said, Matt, I do expect that the whole complex of issues surrounding Middle East peace will come up. I can't '' they have in the past talked about appropriate reconciliation, if you will, among Palestinians and our insistence that Quartet principles need to be abided by if this is going to serve the cause of peace.

QUESTION: Right. Well, could I just ask, does the Administration see a visit to Gaza by Prime Minister Erdogan, as he plans to do, in keeping with the rapprochement that the President '' President Obama brokered between him and Prime Minister Netanyahu?

MS. NULAND: I don't think I'm going to get into characterizing a visit that hasn't yet taken place. We have in the past in our conversations with senior Turkish officials urged that any contact with Hamas be in service to the greater issue of stability and peace and that the fundamental underlying tenets of the Quartet principles be reiterated as the necessary precondition.

QUESTION: Okay. But does that mean it's not necessarily counter to the rapprochement that was --

MS. NULAND: Again, I'm not prepared to comment at this moment on a visit that hasn't taken place.

QUESTION: But just in a general way, I mean, isn't Turkish '' isn't this one of the whole reasons for the rapprochement in the first place, that Turkey could play a helpful role in terms of working on Palestinian reconciliation and helping peace and stability in the region. I mean, isn't that '' wasn't that one of the whole tenets of it?

MS. NULAND: Certainly, Turkey has significant influence with the Palestinians. It has the ability to encourage Palestinians of all stripes to accept Quartet principles and move forward on that basis. That's a different matter than the question that Matt asked.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Toria, very quickly on this issue?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the reelection of Khaled Meshaal as the head of the politburo of Hamas, someone who's been described in this town as a person that you can do business with, that he is reasonable?

MS. NULAND: I don't, Said.

QUESTION: Can I just ask about the Secretary's visit to Istanbul? Are there any plans for him to meet any of the Syrian opposition leaders who are based there?

MS. NULAND: Not on the stop in Istanbul, no.

Okay?

QUESTION: All right. I've got --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: I've got my --

QUESTION: Wait. On another stop?

MS. NULAND: I think it depends on the '' on what's happening with some of those leaders. We're still looking at that.

QUESTION: I believe this questions was posed to you all by us but not in the '' but offline yesterday. I'm wondering if Secretary Kerry plans to follow the lead of President Obama and Secretary Hagel in forgoing a percentage of his salary.

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, let me say, as you probably know and as was clear from his public disclosures, the Secretary contributes every year to a large number of charitable causes that he is quite private about it. This year though --

QUESTION: But --

MS. NULAND: This year though, this year though, in recognition of the special circumstances of sequester, the Secretary does intend to give the equivalent of 5 percent of his government salary to an appropriate charity that will benefit employees of the State Department. So that is his plan for this year.

QUESTION: And that charity, that would be the U.S. Treasury?

MS. NULAND: No, he's going to '' rather than contribute to the Treasury, he's going to contribute to a charity that benefits State Department employees.

QUESTION: Okay. Can you be more specific about what that charity is?

MS. NULAND: We're still working through what the --

QUESTION: Does it exist?

MS. NULAND: We have a number of employee charities that serve as '' that benefit folks who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. We have a number of charities that benefit children of our employees. We're still looking at the best choice and whether all of the money will go to one or whether it'll be spread. I'll let you know when we have more to share.

QUESTION: Okay. And then '' and this is on top of what he already '' he gives to other non-State Department related charities?

MS. NULAND: Correct. He ''

QUESTION: Can you --

MS. NULAND: In line with the decisions that have been made by other senior Administration officials, he will make a contribution on the order of 5 percent of his salary.

QUESTION: Do you know why he decided to go that route instead of just returning it to the Treasury, which seems to need the money a whole lot?

MS. NULAND: I think he wanted to ensure that his contribution made a direct impact on our larger State Department family.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. NULAND: Thank you.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. NULAND: Just to be clear, his annual salary is $183,500, so 5 percent is about 9,175.

Okay? Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:44 p.m.)

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