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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
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Exclusive: USS Nimitz carrier group rerouted for possible help with Syria

Source: Reuters

Exclusive: USS Nimitz carrier group rerouted for possible help with Syria
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON | Sun Sep 1, 2013 6:49pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and other ships in its strike group are heading west toward the Red Sea to help support a limited U.S. strike on Syria, if needed, defense officials said on Sunday.

The Nimitz carrier strike group, which includes four destroyers and a cruiser, has no specific orders to move to the eastern Mediterranean at this point, but is moving west in the Arabian Sea so it can do so if asked. It was not immediately clear when the ships would enter the Red Sea, but they had not arrived by Sunday evening, said one official.

"It's about leveraging the assets to have them in place should the capabilities of the carrier strike group and the presence be needed," said the official.

President Barack Obama on Saturday delayed imminent cruise missile strikes by five destroyers off the coast of Syria, and sought approval from Congress, a move that effectively put any strike on hold for at least nine days.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9800IT20130901

Saudi Arabia Urges International Action in Syria, Saying Regime "Has Crossed All w/ Its Tyranny

Source: CNN

CNN Breaking News - Saudi Arabia urges international action in Syria, saying regime "has crossed all the lines with its tyranny." Reply STOP 2 unsub

Will update.

Read more: Link to source

Breaking: Egypt's Mursi to Stand Trial Over Violence

Source: Reuters / AFP

@BreakingNews: Deposed Egyptian President Morsi to stand trial on charges of inciting murder of protesters - @Reuters, @AFP

Egypt's Mursi to stand trial over violence

Sun Sep 1, 2013 3:23pm EDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's public prosecutor referred deposed President Mohamed Mursi to trial on Sunday on charges of committing and inciting violence, the state news agency reported.

The prosecutor, Hesham Barakat, referred Mursi and 14 other Muslim Brotherhood members to a Cairo criminal court on charges "of committing acts of violence, and inciting the killing and thuggery", the state news agency reported.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9800EI20130901

Radiation Readings Spike at Water Tank at Japan's Ruined Nuclear Plant

Source: Reuters

Radiation readings spike at water tank at Japan's ruined nuclear plant

Sun Sep 1, 2013 2:05am EDT

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) - Radiation near a tank holding highly contaminated water at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has spiked 18-fold, the plant's operator said on Sunday, highlighting the struggle to bring the crisis under control after more than two years.

Radiation of 1,800 millisieverts per hour - enough to kill an exposed person in four hours - was detected near the bottom of one storage tank on Saturday, Tokyo Electric Power Co, also known as Tepco, said.

An August 22 readings measured radiation of 100 millisieverts per hour at the same tank. Japanese law has set an annual radiation exposure safety threshold of 50 millisieverts for nuclear plant workers during normal hours.

Last month, Tepco revealed that water from the tank was leaking. Japan's nuclear regulator later raised the severity of the leak from a level 1 "anomaly" to a level 3 "serious incident" on an international scale for radiation releases.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE98002520130901

Breaking: President Obama Formally Requests Congress Approve Military Strike Against Syria

Source: Reuters

@BreakingNews: White House: President Obama formally requests Congressional authorization for military strikes on Syria - @Reuters

Obama asks Congress to approve military strike against Syria

Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:10pm EDT

By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama stepped back from the brink on Saturday and delayed an imminent military strike against Syria to seek approval from the U.S. Congress in a gamble that will test his ability to project American strength abroad and deploy his own power at home.

Before Obama put on the brakes, the path had been cleared for a U.S. assault. Navy ships were in place and awaiting orders to launch missiles, and U.N. inspectors had left Syria after gathering evidence of a chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials say killed 1,429 people.

But Obama decided to seek the backing of U.S. lawmakers before attacking, as polls showed strong opposition from Americans already weary of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Approval will take at least 10 days, if it comes at all.

"Today I'm asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move as one nation," Obama said in a dramatic shift he announced in the White House Rose Garden.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE97K0EL20130901

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Activist Dies in NY Wreck

Source: Associated Press


Aug. 30 7:36 PM EDT

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) Darren Manzella, a gay combat medic discharged from the Army after criticizing the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in a 2007 television interview, has died in a traffic accident in western New York. He was 36.

His aunt, Robin Mahoney, on Friday confirmed his death. Manzella lived in the Chautauqua County town of Portland; he and his partner were married in July.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said Manzella was driving on Interstate 490 in suburban Rochester about 8:30 p.m. Thursday when his vehicle sideswiped a car. Deputies said he stopped his vehicle, got out and began pushing the car from behind. He was then hit by an SUV, pinning him between the two vehicles. He died at the scene.

Manzella's December 2007 appearance on "60 Minutes" from the combat zone in Iraq was followed by his discharge in June 2008 for "homosexual admission," a violation of the since-rescinded policy prohibiting service members from openly acknowledging they are gay.

After the television appearance and his return from Iraq, Manzella did media interviews, each a potential violation of the policy.

"This is who I am. This is my life," Manzella said at a Washington news conference before his discharge. "It has never affected my job performance before. I don't think it will make a difference now. And to be honest since then, I don't see a difference because of my homosexuality."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/dont-ask-dont-tell-activist-dies-ny-wreck

UK Asked N.Y. Times to Destroy Snowden Material

Source: Reuters

UK asked N.Y. Times to destroy Snowden material

WASHINGTON | Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:54pm EDT

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The British government has asked the New York Times to destroy copies of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden related to the operations of the U.S. spy agency and its British partner, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), people familiar with the matter said.

The British request, made to Times executive editor Jill Abramson by a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington D.C., was greeted by Abramson with silence, according to the sources. British officials indicated they intended to follow up on their request later with the Times, but never did, one of the sources said.

On Friday, in a public statement, Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, said his newspaper, which had faced threats of possible legal action from British authorities, on July 20 had destroyed copies of leaked documents which it had received from Snowden.

Rusbridger said that two days later, on July 22, the Guardian informed British authorities that materials related to GCHQ had made their way to the New York Times and the independent investigative journalism group ProPublica.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE97T0RC20130830

FOX's O'Reilly: I Made Wrong Claim About March

Source: Associated Press


Aug. 30 3:18 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly has apologized for incorrectly stating that no Republicans were invited to participate in a ceremony this week marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for civil rights and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

In fact, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were invited but did not attend. Former President George W. Bush sent a statement in commemoration. O'Reilly had made the incorrect claim on Wednesday, the day of the ceremony.

"The mistake entirely on me," O'Reilly said on his show Thursday. "I simply assumed that since all the speakers were liberal Democrats, Republicans had been excluded. So here's the tip of the day: Always check out the facts before you make a definitive statement and when you make a mistake, admit it."

O'Reilly said the Republicans made a mistake, too. He said they should have been there.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/foxs-oreilly-i-made-wrong-claim-about-march

Experts: Don't Bomb Chemical Weapon Sites in Syria

Source: Associated Press


Aug. 30 6:50 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) You simply can't safely bomb a chemical weapon storehouse into oblivion, experts say. That's why they say the United States is probably targeting something other than Syria's nerve agents.

But now there is concern that bombing other sites could accidentally release dangerous chemical weapons that the U.S. military didn't know were there because they've lost track of some of the suspected nerve agents.

Bombing stockpiles of chemical weapons purposely or accidentally would likely kill nearby civilians in an accidental nerve agent release, create a long-lasting environmental catastrophe or both, five experts told The Associated Press. That's because under ideal conditions and conditions wouldn't be ideal in Syria explosives would leave at least 20 to 30 percent of the poison in lethal form.

- snip -

"It's a classic case of the cure being worse than the disease," Kimball said. He said some of the suspected storage sites are in or near major Syrian cities like Damascus, Homs and Hama. Those cities have a combined population of well over 2 million people.

When asked if there is any way to ensure complete destruction of the nerve agents without going in with soldiers, seizing the chemicals and burning them in a special processing plant, Ralf Trapp, a French chemical weapons consultant and longtime expert in the field, said simply: "Not really."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/experts-dont-bomb-chemical-weapon-sites-syria

Judge: V.A. Can't Deny Benefits to Lesbian Army Vet

Source: Associated Press


Aug. 30 1:49 AM EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that a lesbian Army veteran and her spouse should be entitled to disability benefits given the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall said Thursday that a federal code defining a spouse as a person of the opposite sex is unconstitutional since the high court's decision allowing legally married gay couples the right to health care benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs denied an application from veteran Tracey Cooper-Harris and her spouse seeking additional money and benefits that married veterans are entitled to receive. Cooper-Harris suffers from multiple sclerosis and receives disability benefits.

She and Maggie Cooper-Harris got married in California during the brief period in 2008 when same-sex unions were legal in the state.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/judge-va-cant-deny-benefits-lesbian-army-vet
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