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Terrible Tally: 500 Children Dead From Gunshots Every Year, 7,500 Hurt, Analysis Finds

About 500 American children and teenagers die in hospitals every year after sustaining gunshot wounds — a rate that climbed by nearly 60 percent in a decade, according to the first-ever accounting of such fatalities, released Sunday.

In addition, an estimated 7,500 kids are hospitalized annually after being wounded by gunfire, a figure that spiked by more than 80 percent from 1997 to 2009, according two Boston doctors presenting their findings at a conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held in Orlando, Fla.

Eight of every 10 firearm wounds were inflicted by handguns, according to hospital records reviewed by the doctors. They say the national conversation about guns should shift toward the danger posed by smaller weapons, not the recent fights over limiting the availability of military-style, semi-automatic rifles.

“Handguns account for the majority of childhood gunshot wounds and this number appears to be increasing over the last decade,” said Dr. Arin L. Madenci, a surgical resident at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and one of the study’s two authors. “Furthermore, states with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home.”



NSA Head Slams Media for ‘Convoluting,’ ‘Selling’ Snowden Leaks

WASHINGTON, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – The head of the US National Security Agency (NSA) has slammed media outlets for publishing classified documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, accusing them of “selling” the documents and “convoluting” the data they contain.

“The papers convolute these stories. … We got one today about 70 million phone calls that were intercepted in (France) over a one-month time period,” NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander said in an interview published on a US Department of Defense blog Thursday.

“The reporters see this data and quickly run to the wrong conclusion, and that’s wrong. I’m concerned that what they’re doing will do grave harm to our country and our allies,” he said as documents smuggled out of the United States by Snowden and leaked to the media ratcheted up diplomatic tensions between the United States and its allies.

France and Germany this week asked Washington for an explanation after separate media reports said the NSA had a system in place that allowed it to scoop up 70.3 million French phone records in a 30-day period, and that the agency may have monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

Another document among the thousands thought to have been smuggled out of the United States by Snowden shows that the NSA monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported this week.



Greenpeace Activist Stages Protest Dangling From Eiffel Tower

MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) – A Greenpeace activist staged a protest in support of his colleagues currently jailed in Russia by dangling from the Eiffel Tower in a tent for several hours on Saturday, ending his show of encouragement only when firemen removed him from the site.

After lowering himself from the second floor of the Paris tourist attraction – a height of 378 feet (115 meters) – the activist hung in the tent for about two hours Saturday morning, displaying banners reading “Free the Arctic 30” and “Militants in prison, climate in danger,” in homage to a September 18 Greenpeace stunt at an Arctic oil rig that’s led to Russia’s prosecution of the activists and journalists involved.

“We are here to send a message to the French government to do everything to secure the release of the 28 militants and two journalists,” Cyrille Cormier, a Greenpeace campaigner, told AFP, adding that Greenpeace is asking French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to discuss the case with Russian officials when he visits Moscow next week.

Officials closed the tower to tourists until firefighters removed the activist, French media reported.



Medvedev Says ‘Fast-Growing’ China Poses No Danger to Russia

MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has nothing to fear from the fast-growing China, but could benefit from this cooperation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised interview Saturday.

In an interview with Vesti on Saturday on Russia 1 TV channel, Medvedev said Russia should cooperate with Beijing in high-technology areas, adding that China, the world's second largest economy, was not a dangerous neighbor but Russia’s “strategic partner.”

Earlier this week, Medvedev paid a two-day visit to natural resource-hungry China during which it was announced that state-owned oil giant Rosneft signed an agreement with China’s largest state refiner Sinopec to supply 10 million tons of oil a year for a decade.

A separate deal announced in Beijing said that Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) agreed on the launch schedule principles for the Tianjin oil refinery.

“These technologies are ours, to a great extent. And this is good. It means that they will work and we will work,” Medvedev said.



Hillary Clinton Calls For Discussion On Privacy, Security

Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday called for a robust discussion about the balance between privacy and security, comments that come as American allies express concerns over U.S. surveillance.

“We need to have a full, comprehensive discussion” about that balance, she said, speaking at Colgate University.

“Everyone now says, ‘OK, we need to make sure we’re not going too far,’ that’s the discussion that needs to happen in a calm atmosphere,” the potential 2016 presidential candidate said. She added, “We’re not having that conversation yet.”

Clinton also stressed that U.S. allies rely on American intelligence for their security and sometimes serve as partners.

The German government said this week that the National Security Agency appeared to be monitoring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. The White House has said those concerns are being discussed, but hasn’t offered a detailed response to the allegation.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/hillary-clinton-calls-for-discussion-on-privacy-security-98881.html#ixzz2is3xlVeh

Delay Obamacare? Not As Easy As You Think

More and more Democrats worried about the 2014 election are beginning to join the Republican call to delay the Obamacare enrollment season.

But it’s not as easy as bumping things back a few days on the calendar.

Insurance companies would raise a ruckus because they set their prices based on customers enrolling before April. The Obama administration doesn’t want to push the successful enrollment stories until any later than they have to. And neither want to give procrastinators another reason to wait to sign up.

“Here’s the irony of ironies: The insurance industry is ready for Obamacare on Jan. 1. Obamacare is not ready for Obamacare on Jan. 1,” said Robert Laszewski, an insurance industry consultant with Health Policy and Strategy Associates.

In fact, insurance companies have a lot to lose from a delay. They need to start racking up paying customers as early as possible in 2014 so they can set rates for 2015.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/obamacare-enrollment-delay-democrats-98877.html#ixzz2is3PKEmm

Guest Lineups For The Sunday News Shows

“Meet the Press” on NBC

• Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D)
• Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R)
• Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)
• Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)

“Face the Nation” on CBS

• Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
• Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

“This Week” on ABC

• Former Vice President Dick Cheney
• Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
• Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
• Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D)

“Fox News Sunday” on Fox

• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)
• Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
• Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), chairman, House Democratic Caucus

“State of the Union” on CNN

• Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman, House Intelligence Committee
• Rep. John Fleming (R-La.)
• Ezekiel Emanuel, former Obama administration heath policy adviser

A Superpower At Risk Of Slippage

It has been 10 days since the US government shutdown came to an end. And if the bond market were your guide, there would appear to be no lasting costs – the 10-year US Treasury yield dipped below 2.5 per cent this week for the first time since August.

Yet beneath the surface, Washington’s flirtation with a voluntary default has shaken confidence in American political institutions. There may be no immediate rival to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Markets are more preoccupied by prospects of a delay to the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans. But as John Kerry, US secretary of state, said this week, the world is now monitoring the US to see when it will recover its senses. It cannot afford to make a habit of political recklessness.

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The fact that Washington is undergoing a crisis of will, rather than ability, is not particularly reassuring. There is no question that the Treasury’s has capacity to service US obligations. At about 75 per cent of gross domestic product, publicly held US debt is entirely manageable – and less than a third of that of Japan. And the US fiscal deficit is on course to drop below 4 per cent of GDP next year.

But the possibility that it may generate yet another fiscal showdown as soon as January or February is on everyone’s minds. Last week a senior Chinese official called on the world to “de-Americanise”. Neither the Chinese renminbi nor the euro are in a position to supplant the US dollar, which still accounts for more than 60 per cent of global reserves. But governments and private investors are far more alert to possible alternatives than before. History is littered with solid objects – and riskless assets – that have melted into thin air.



Exclusive: 21 Nations Line Up Behind U.N. Effort to Restrain NSA

The German and Brazilian delegations to the U.N. have opened talks with diplomats from 19 more countries to draft a General Resolution promoting the right of privacy on the Internet. Close American allies like France and Mexico -- as well as rivals like Cuba and Venezuela -- are all part of the effort.

The push marks the first major international effort to curb the National Security Agency's vast surveillance network. Its momentum is building. And it comes as concerns are growing within the U.S. intelligence community that the NSA may be, in effect, freelancing foreign policy by eavesdropping on leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel.

The draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Cable, calls on states "to respect and ensure the respect for the rights" to privacy, as enshrined in the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It also calls on states "to take measures to put an end to violations of these rights" and to "review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the extraterritorial surveillance of private communications and interception of personal data of citizens in foreign jurisdictions with a view towards upholding the right to privacy."

The draft does not refer to a flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world. But it was clear that the revelations provided the political momentum to trigger the move to the U.N.

On Friday, the State Department responded to questions concerning The Cable's initial report about the U.N. effort published Thursday.



Ecuador Threatens To Sue Britain Over Asylum For Julian Assange

Ecuador threatened Friday to sue Britain in international venues over the status of Julian Assange if it rejects a proposal to submit the matter to a bilateral commission.

The WikiLeaks founder took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in August 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning in two sexual assault cases.

Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to American authorities for prosecution for publishing a massive trove of classified US documents. But Britain has refused him safe passage to Ecuador.

In hopes of breaking the deadlock, Ecuador has proposed creating a bilateral commission to resolve the issue.

“We are hoping for a response, including one in writing, from (the British) and if they do not do so in a few days we will have to prepare an international suit so that the United Kingdom respects international law,” Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in an interview with Ecuadoran public radio.


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