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Purveyor

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 20,602

Journal Archives

Consumer Spending in U.S. Climbs by Most in Five Months

Source: Bloomberg

By Shobhana Chandra - Mar 29, 2013

Consumer spending in the U.S. climbed in February by the most in five months as incomes rose, signaling an improving job market is spurring demand.

Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, gained 0.7 percent after a 0.4 percent advance the prior month that was bigger than previously estimated, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 78 economists called for a 0.6 percent rise. Incomes increased 1.1 percent, more than projected, sending the saving rate up from a five-year low.

Labor market progress and an increase in household wealth linked to rising home values and stocks are helping Americans cushion the fallout of higher payroll taxes and costlier fuel. Strength in purchases is one reason economists project the economy picked up this quarter after slowing to a 0.4 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2012.

“The economy is in a very good place right now ahead of the fiscal restraint,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “This recovery is sustainable. Consumers are in the driver’s seat.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-29/consumer-spending-in-u-s-increases-by-most-in-five-months.html

US Ex-Soldier 'Fought In Syria With Terror Group

A former US soldier has been charged with using a weapon outside the US as he fought against Syrian government forces, prosecutors say.

Eric Harroun, 30, served in the US Army from 2000-2003, and allegedly fought in Syria with the al-Nusra Front.

Al-Nusra is deemed a terror group by the US as an alias of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

--CLIP
According to a criminal complaint, Mr Harroun is accused of crossing into Syria in January 2013 and fighting alongside members of Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) against Mr Assad's forces.

He is specifically charged with "conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States", a law that applies to US nationals anywhere in the world.

He allegedly fought as part of a group using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and is not charged with providing material support to a terror group.

MORE...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21971790

RPG'S are now considered WMD's? Who knew...

Hagel: NK More Dangerous Today, U.S. Should Be Ready For "Any Eventuality"

Source: Yonhap News

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, March 28 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Thursday that North Korea has become more dangerous today and the U.S. has to be prepared for "any eventuality" on the peninsula.

"I think their very provocative actions and belligerent tone has ratcheted up the danger. And we have to understand that reality," he said during a news conference at the Pentagon. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined the session, aimed mainly at describing the U.S. military's efforts to deal with North Korea and other problems amid massive defense budget cuts.

The secretary stressed that the U.S. and its allies should take seriously "every provocative, bellicose word and action that this new young leader (Kim Jong-un) has taken so far." The communist nation has a 1.1-million-strong military and nuclear bombs.

Hagel admitted "there are a lot of unknowns" when it comes to the secretive and unpredictable North.

Read more: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2013/03/29/39/0301000000AEN20130329000300315F.HTML



We knew the old man but I'm not sure we a grasp on what is happening in this kids head...

N.Korea Leader Orders Rocket Units On Standby To Hit U.S. Bases - KCNA

SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un orders the country's rocket units to be on standby to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific in an emergency meeting on Friday after the United States flew Stealth bombers in a show of force to Pyongyang.

The North's official KCNA news agency said Kim signed off on the orders at a midnight meeting of top generals and "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation."

"He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA, ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea." — Reuters

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/301533/news/world/n-korea-leader-orders-rocket-units-on-standby-to-hit-u-s-bases-kcna

BRICS Summit Raises Concern Over US, Israel's Threats Of Military Action Against Iran

Durban, Mar 28: Amidst US and Israeli warnings that they will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran, BRICS leaders today voiced their concern at the threat of military action against the Islamic Republic.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa leaders also expressed their "deep concern" at the the deteriorating situation in Syria besides stressing that Afghanistan needs a "clear end-state strategy to attain lasting peace and stability".

"We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We recognise Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue, including between the IAEA and Iran and in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and consistent with Iran's obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons(NPT)," the leaders said in the the 'eThekwini' (Durban) Declaration at the end of their Summit here.

"We are concerned about threats of military action as well as unilateral sanctions. We note the recent talks held in Almaty and hope that all outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme will be resolves through discussions and diplomatic means," they said.

MORE...

http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/world/brics-summit-raises-concern-over-us-israel-s-threats-of-militar-11099.html

Yeah, We Broke the Internet: The Inside Story of the Biggest Attack Ever

It’s still unclear who is behind one of the biggest attacks in Internet history, one that’s disrupting service for millions of users and has created an information superhighway traffic jam across the globe.

What is becoming clear is that the attack is an outgrowth of a little-known, but highly explosive war between two factions: on one side are the Internet service providers (ISPs) and Web hosts that don’t ask their clients too many questions about whether they are hosting spam and other kinds of malicious code; on the other are groups that try to name and shame the spammers, and stop them from infiltrating your inbox—or worse, your bank’s servers. This side is engaged in a massive game of virtual whack-a-mole, only one with no end in sight.

In this latest retaliatory attack, the spammers got the better of their opponents, shutting down servers and slowing down the entire Internet. One man so far has come forward, claiming to be the spokesman for the attackers—a man named Sven Olaf Kamphuis. A so-called Internet activist, Kamphuis disdains government regulation of the Internet and, at least according to his Facebook page, gays and Jews. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Kamphuis said he owns an ISP that was put on a blacklist by the Geneva-based anti-spam company Spamhaus. Companies on the blacklist are blocked by email providers and other Internet service companies, which means they’re essentially kicked off the Internet.

So Kamphuis and others on the blacklist formed an opposition group, Stophaus, and earlier this month, they launched the most powerful “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack in the history of the Internet. DDoS attacks flood a server with data—in this case, 300 billion bits of data per second—at a rate it can’t possibly handle, thereby shutting it down. Stophaus’s onslaught overwhelmed not just Spamhaus’s servers, but the rest of the Internet, too. Thus, Netflix users around the world were suddenly wondering why they couldn’t stream You’ve Got Mail.

“There are a lot of people who are really pissed off about this,” Kamphuis said of Spamhaus. “And we are the first to show some balls and do something about it.”

MORE...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/28/yeah-we-broke-the-internet-the-inside-story-of-the-biggest-attack-ever.html?utm_source=Newsletter+subscribers&utm_campaign=49c7813a68-JTA_Daily_Briefing_3_28_2013&utm_medium=email

Train Derailment Spills 30,000 Gallons Of Oil In Minnesota

Source: Agence France-Presse

AFP - Crews were working Thursday to clean up as much as 30,000 gallons of oil that spilled onto a Minnesota field after a mile-long train derailed.

It was not yet clear whether the Canadian Pacific train was transporting regular crude or oil from the Alberta tar sands, but the spill will certainly add fuel to the fight against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Luckily, frigid temperatures helped contain the environmental damage after 14 train cars fell off the tracks and three began leaking oil on Wednesday morning.

--CLIP
The bulk of the oil spilled from a single tank, which lost a "substantial amount" of its 26,000 gallon capacity, Olson told AFP. Two other tanks were leaking more slowly and the spill was estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 gallons.


Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20130328-train-derailment-spills-30000-gallons-oil-minnesota

Making The Case For Israel Apartheid Week

For two student activists in Washington D.C., Israel Apartheid Week – and using the term ‘apartheid’ – is an opportunity to alter perceptions and the discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whereas ‘occupation’ defines Israel/Palestine as a military struggle with ambiguous moral implications, ‘apartheid’ describes a civil rights struggle with a clear moral imperative.

By Joshua B. Michaels and Benjamin L. Mandel

This month, cities and campuses across the U.S. participated in the 9th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week. As the apartheid paradigm becomes more and more pervasive throughout American political discourse when discussing Israel, it is fair to ask: what is meant by “apartheid?”

Here, clarifications are in order: We are not talking about a system of oppression identical to apartheid South Africa. What we are talking about is a system that is similar to the oppression of South Africa, but also unique. The occupation in Israel/Palestine is more extreme than the older apartheid, while the segregation inside Israel proper is somewhat milder. We believe that in law and in spirit, the term “Israeli Apartheid” is fair when describing the sum of that regime. Instead of presenting a technical argument about whether the term is appropriate (more qualified figures have already done so), we want to argue why applying this term, and supporting Israeli Apartheid Week, are so important.

One of the biggest challenges to changing the status quo in the region is that the Israeli narrative dominates American media. Framing the discussion has been one of Israel’s strongest and most successful weapons against the Palestinians for the last 66 years. In the American media, Israel is almost always the protagonist. Even unflattering reports tend to elicit sympathy for the Israeli position. This is only just beginning to change, and slowly.

MORE...

http://972mag.com/making-the-case-for-israel-apartheid-week/68297/

UN Council Approves 'Offensive' Peacekeepers For DR Congo

Source: Agence France-Presse

AFP - The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved the first-ever "offensive" UN peacekeeping brigade to battle rebels groups in Democratic Republic of Congo.

A council resolution gave the force of more than 2,500 troops orders to "neutralize" and "disarm" armed groups in the resource-rich east of the huge country, which has been gripped by conflict for more than two decades.

The intervention brigade and surveillance drones to monitor the DR Congo's borders with neighbors accused of backing the rebels will be operating by July, according to UN officials.

The force will launch UN peacekeeping operations into a new era, said diplomats who negotiated its preparation.

Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20130328-un-council-approves-offensive-peacekeepers-dr-congo

Train Derailment Spills 30,000 Gallons Of Oil In Minnesota

Source: Agence France-Presse

AFP - Crews were working Thursday to clean up as much as 30,000 gallons of oil that spilled onto a Minnesota field after a mile-long train derailed.

It was not yet clear whether the Canadian Pacific train was transporting regular crude or oil from the Alberta tar sands, but the spill will certainly add fuel to the fight against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Luckily, frigid temperatures helped contain the environmental damage after 14 train cars fell off the tracks and three began leaking oil on Wednesday morning.

--CLIP
The bulk of the oil spilled from a single tank, which lost a "substantial amount" of its 26,000 gallon capacity, Olson told AFP. Two other tanks were leaking more slowly and the spill was estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 gallons.


Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20130328-train-derailment-spills-30000-gallons-oil-minnesota
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