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Journal Archives

German Govt 'lied' to parliament about NSA spying

“We have no knowledge of alleged economic espionage by the NSA or other US agencies in other countries,” the Interior Ministry wrote to the Bundestag on April 14th in response to a question from the opposition Linke (Left Party).

Statements of this kind are signed off by the whole government.

But it emerged last week that Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) had been spying on German and European companies on behalf of the NSA.

Further, officials at the Chancellery, which is responsible for overseeing the BND, knew about the economic espionage and did nothing.

The Chancellery knew as early as 2010 that the NSA had asked the BND to target firms including arms companies EADS and Eurocopter, both since merged into Airbus.



Millennials Favor Hillary Clinton in Harvard Poll

Meanwhile, no Republican contender captured more than 10 percent among that party's likely or potential youth primary voters.

America’s young adults, who twice helped propel President Barack Obama to victory at the ballot box, are lining up to support Hillary Clinton in 2016.

A survey by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics shows that 55 percent of all young adults, ages 18 to 29, would rather see a Democrat maintain control of the White House after the next presidential election.

Clinton, 67, is likely to be among the oldest candidates in the race from either political party. Still, she's overwhelmingly favored among young adults who identified themselves as likely or potential Democratic primary voters, with 47 percent saying they plan to back the former secretary of state.



But will they turn out and vote?

Minnesota House says: 'What climate change?'


On the front page of Tuesday’s newspaper, a headline read: “As summers get hotter, humans get more blame.” This idea is being accepted as fact by most scientists around the world, by businesses and by government agencies such as NASA and the Department of Defense.

Even the pope seems to be down with it.

But apparently climate change is still not accepted in the Minnesota House.


Asked directly if humans cause greenhouse gasses, Gruenhagen said: “I believe there are eminently qualified scientists who would disagree with that comment and I tend to agree with those scientists.”

Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, also deferred to a minuscule number of scientists who debunk climate change, saying: “I’m going to trust they are a lot smarter than I. These are men and women who accomplished many things.”

(I’ll pause here to offer expert rebuttal from Paul Bolstad, a University of Minnesota professor who helped author an important government report on climate change last year: “Almost all of the ‘eminently qualified scientists’ oft cited as denying climate change can safely be characterized as quacks or paid shills, sometimes both. They are neither eminent nor scientists.”)



Congress Coughs up $300 Million to Extend Work on Useless Nuclear Waste Plant

What’s $300 million when a project could end up consuming more than $50 billion over its lifetime? That’s what Congress seems to have said about one of the greatest boondoggles by the Department of Energy (DOE): the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MOX).

MOX was conceived more than a decade ago, when the U.S. and Russia were working on converting plutonium into mixed oxide fuel that could be used in commercial nuclear power plants.

The DOE first said it would cost $1.6 billion to build the MOX at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, which was supposed to open in 2007. It’s now 2015 and the plant is still only 65% complete. The final cost of just building the MOX is projected to be $7.7 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office. A study by The Aerospace Corporation also pointed out that the life-cycle cost of the facility will be $47.5 billion, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

That’s assuming there would be any reason to operate it because the deal with Russia is now over, and there are no other customers lined up to bring their unwanted plutonium to have it converted.



Fury rises at Disney over use of foreign workers

At the end of October, IT employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were called, one-by-one, into conference rooms to receive notice of their layoffs. Multiple conference rooms had been set aside for this purpose, and in each room an executive read from a script informing the worker that their last day would be Jan. 30, 2015.

Some workers left the rooms crying; others appeared shocked. This went on all day. As each employee received a call to go to a conference room, others in the office looked up sometimes with pained expressions. One IT worker recalls a co-worker mouthing "no" as he walked by on the way to a conference room.

What follows is a story of competing narratives about the restructuring of Disney's global IT operations of its parks and resorts division. But the focus is on the role of H-1B workers. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney.

Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, this partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press.



Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest








The Fight

Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Baltimore and US

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Riots and Brutality

Elizabeth Warren Slams the Education Department for Failing Student Borrowers

Corinthian Colleges, once among the largest for-profit educational institutions, collapsed Monday under charges of predatory lending, deceptive advertising, falsifying job-placement statistics, and other abuses. One of the questions raised immediately by Corinthian’s closure is what will happen to the current students who’ve borrowed federal money to attend the sham school—will the government forgive their loans? And what about former students, or those who attended other fraudulent for-profit schools?

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren laid into the Department of Education on Monday for not doing enough to help Corinthian students and others get rid of their debt. Speaking alongside Representative Elijah Cummings at Howard University, Warren said that the department “has all the information it needs to simply discharge the loans” of Corinthian students. “But the department isn’t doing that.” The problem is that many borrowers don’t know they might be eligible for relief, and neither the Education Department nor the companies that service the loans are telling them.

“These borrowers—people who were cheated and people who have been buried in debt— just keep on paying and the government just keeps on collecting,” she continued. “This is wrong…. The government should not be making a profit off the backs of people who are trying to get an education. Can I get an amen on that?” She did.



Nigerian troops rescue 200 girls, 93 women, says military

Source: CNN

(CNN)Nigerian troops rescued 200 girls and 93 women Tuesday in the Sambisa Forest, the Nigerian Armed Forces announced on its official Twitter account.

The armed forces could not immediately confirm if any of the rescued girls were among the 200 schoolgirls the militant group Boko Haram kidnapped in April 2014 from the northeastern Nigerian village of Chibok. That abduction led to a social media movement, #BringBackOurGirls, to rescue them.

Nigerian troops also captured and destroyed three terrorist camps, the armed forces said.

Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group. The name translates to "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/28/africa/nigerian-troops-rescue-women-girls/index.html
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