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East Coast Pirate

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Member since: Tue May 15, 2012, 02:33 PM
Number of posts: 775

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UAE offers Egypt $3 billion support, Saudis $5 billion

Source: Reuters

CAIRO - Saudi Arabia approved $5 billion in aid to Egypt on Tuesday and the United Arab Emirates has offered $3 billion in desperately needed support for the economy after the army ousted the Islamist president last week.

The Saudi funds comprise a $2 billion central bank deposit, $2 billion in energy products, and $1 billion in cash, the Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf told Reuters.

Egypt has struggled to pay for imports since the 2011 uprising that pushed Hosni Mubarak out of the presidency drove away tourists and foreign investors, two of its main sources of foreign currency.

Since then it has run through more than $20 billion in reserves, borrowed billions from abroad and delayed payments to oil companies.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/09/us-egypt-protests-loan-idUSBRE9680H020130709
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jul 10, 2013, 07:17 AM (10 replies)

NTSB: Co-pilot realized too late plane was flying low, slow

Source: Politico

The instructor co-pilot on Asiana Flight 214 says he realized shortly before the plane crashed that the Boeing 777 was flying too low but was unable to make an adjustment in time, NTSB Chairwoman Debbie Hersman told reporters Tuesday.

The co-pilot was making his maiden voyage as instructor, flying for the first time with pilot Lee Gang-guk, who had just 43 hours’ experience flying Boeing 777s and had never landed one at San Francisco.

About 500 vertical feet away from landing, the instructor pilot realized the plane was low to the ground, but assumed that the plane’s auto-throttles were maintaining the proper speed. At 200 feet, he realized they were not maintaining speed.

The instructor tried to order a “go-around” and a second attempt at a landing, but was unsuccessful.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/ntsb-co-pilot-plane-too-low-slow-flight-214-93923.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Tue Jul 9, 2013, 08:27 PM (17 replies)

FISA court's broad decisions reportedly justified widespread data-gathering

Officials who support the NSA's surveillance program have argued that it's strongly limited and targeted only towards specific people or incidents. But sources have told The Wall Street Journal that the court handling surveillance requests spent the past years broadening the scope of when the NSA can gather data. According to present and former officials familiar with the FISA court, a 2006 decision allowed bulk collection of phone records by defining them as still "relevant" to an investigation, satisfying a legal requirement put in place earlier that year.

The requirement that collected data be "relevant" to an investigation was added when the Patriot Act came up for renewal, and it was meant to create stricter rules. "It wasn't seen that we're pushing the boundaries of surveillance law here," says Timothy Edgar, formerly a privacy lawyer for the National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. "It was the very opposite. You're starting from a huge amount of unilateral surveillance and putting it on a much sounder legal basis."

Shortly thereafter, though, the Justice Department and NSA started making a case for why relevancy shouldn't limit bulk collection. The offices of Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) tell the WSJ that the resulting wide definition of "relevant" information is what they were referring to when they described a "secret interpretation" of US law.

The New York Times revealed similar details last week, saying that according to sources, "the [FISA] court has indicated that while individual pieces of data may not appear 'relevant' to a terrorism investigation, the total picture that the bits of data create may in fact be relevant." The Times' sources also described the FISA court as allowing broad surveillance under the "special needs" provision, which loosens the restrictions on gathering data.

More: http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/8/4504060/fisa-court-broad-decisions-justified-surveillance-says-wsj-nyt
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Tue Jul 9, 2013, 06:39 AM (1 replies)

Corruption getting worse, says poll

More than one in two people think corruption has worsened over the last two years, according to a public opinion survey by Transparency International. Its annual Global Corruption Barometer found 27% of respondents said they had paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last year. The survey covered more than 100 countries. Perhaps it's time to challenge our perceptions of corruption, writes BBC Newshour's Tim Franks.

The evidence suggests a global pandemic, a disease which infects and corrodes and rots. Most people appear to think it's getting worse. And yet the reaction is often just a tut - it's other people's problem, or a shrug - it's always been with us and it always will be.

It is corruption.

It is an act, a fact of life, which occurs - by and large - in the shadows. Some, though, are trying doggedly to draw back the curtain - among them, the Berlin-based pressure group, Transparency International. Its latest global survey of corruption covered 107 countries and 114,000 people. And most of them say that corruption has worsened over the last two years.

There are some depressing, if predictable, trends. You are twice as likely to pay a bribe in a poor country as a rich one. In one in three countries, the greasiest palms belong to the police. In almost one in five, the judiciary. Overall, one in four people surveyed say they have paid a bribe.

Nor is it simply about discreetly folding money into an official's palm. It is political parties, "the driving force of democracies", as TI calls them, which are perceived to be the most corrupt public institution.

More: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23227382
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Tue Jul 9, 2013, 06:20 AM (16 replies)

Just how low can the Republican party go?

What is the single most consequential political development of the past five years? Some might say the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama; others might point to the passage of the most important piece of social policy (Obamacare) since the 1960s; some might even say the drawing down of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in reality, it is the rapid descent of the Republican party into madness.

Never before in American history have we seen a political party so completely dominated and controlled by its extremist wing; and never before have we seen a political party that brings together the attributes of nihilism, heartlessness, radicalism and naked partisanship quite like the modern GOP. In a two-party system like America's, the result is unprecedented dysfunction.

Whether it was the promiscuous use of the filibuster and other blocking techniques in the Senate to stop President Obama's agenda; the manufactured fiscal crises highlighted by the disastrous debt limit showdown of 2011; or the unceasing efforts to undermine the economic recovery by blocking any and all measures to stimulate the economy, President Obama's first term was dominated by the Republican's unbridled obstructionism and disinterest in actually governing the country. That anything was accomplished is nothing short of a miracle.

But after the results of the 2012 election one might have expected the Republican fever to break and some level of sanity and good sense restored to the party of Lincoln.

Think again.

More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/republican-party-demise-continues
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Mon Jul 8, 2013, 08:10 PM (2 replies)

Crew tried to increase speed and abort landing before accident in San Francisco

A passenger jet which crashed in flames in San Francisco tried to abort its landing moments before impact as the crew received cockpit warnings of a possible stall, according to safety officials.

US authorities said that two people died and 182 were injured when the Asiana airlines Boeing 777 crashed late on Saturday at the city's international airport. The plane was carrying 307 people.

National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman said on Sunday that a recovered cockpit recording showed that the crew received a stall warning and tried to increase speed about seven seconds before the crash.

She added that the crew called to abort the landing about 1.5 seconds before impact. There were no other indications of problems in the preliminary investigation, she said.

More: http://aje.me/1a1GFCt
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jul 7, 2013, 06:58 PM (0 replies)

Rarely used Espionage Act invoked seven times in five years, more than all presidents combined

Meet the Seven Men Obama Considers Enemies of the State

By Elias Groll

Late Friday, the Washington Post revealed that federal prosecutors have charged Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor behind a series of revelations about the agency's intelligence-gathering operations, with espionage.

As a state senator, Barack Obama made a name for himself as a defender of whistleblowers. And during the 2008 campaign he pledged that his administration would protect those who speak out against government abuse, arguing that their "acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled."

But as president, Obama has aggressively prosecuted government officials who have disclosed classified information to the media, and has used the 1917 Espionage Act to pursue leakers more frequently than all previous presidents combined. Snowden, in fact, will be the seventh person indicted under the act during the Obama administration. Here's a quick rundown of the men the Obama White House considers enemies of the state.

Thomas Drake

A former senior official at the NSA, Drake was indicted in 2010 by prosecutors for obstruction of justice and allegedly retaining classified documents for the purpose of providing them to Siobhan Gorman, a reporter at the Baltimore Sun who has since moved to the Wall Street Journal. According to the New Yorker, Drake thought the NSA had erred in choosing a group of outside contractors to develop a data-mining program that had been developed more cheaply and more effectively by William Binney, an analyst at the agency. Drake also believed that the agency had stripped away the privacy protections in the programs. He eventually reached an agreement with prosecutors under which he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

More: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/06/22/meet_the_seven_men_obama_considers_enemies_of_the_state
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jul 7, 2013, 07:57 AM (47 replies)

Seconds before crash, passengers knew they were too low


Benjamin Levy looked out the window from seat 30K and could see the water of the San Francisco Bay about 10 feet below.

"I don't see any runway, I just see water," Levy recalled.

Further back in the Boeing 777, Xu Das had the same realization.

"Looking through window, it looked on level of the (sea)wall along the runway," he posted on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

Then, with no warning from the cockpit, the plane slammed onto the edge of the runway. The impact severed the plane's tail and sent the rest of it spinning on its belly.

More: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/07/us/california-plane-crash/index.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sun Jul 7, 2013, 07:00 AM (0 replies)

Will we be blamed for the coup in Egypt?

We've been funding their army for years and you know we didn't want the Muslim Brotherhood in power.

Conservative Muslim Egyptians are furious about this and will only get angrier as it sinks in that they lost their chance to rule Egypt. That anger most likely will be focused on the U.S. before long. This may sound like a conspiracy theory to some but everyone knows we back the Egyptian army.

I'm not sorry to see the Muslim Brotherhood out of power. They would have been very oppressive toward anyone who didn't fall in line. They would have been every bit as bad as Iran. But that doesn't change the fact that the U.S. is pulling the strings in the Middle East. (When that happened to us in the 18th century we responded with violence. Of course when we did it, it was justified.)

Don't forget that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's mentor, and Ali Mohamed (the guy who actually planned 9/11) are Egyptian. This is a very dangerous situation.

Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat Jul 6, 2013, 07:27 AM (31 replies)

Gas pipeline breaks, spills 25K gallons on Crow reservation in Mont.

Source: UPI

CROW AGENCY, Mont. -- A Phillips 66 pipeline that broke twice in 1997 spilled 25,000 gallons of gasoline on the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana this week,officials said.

The leak from the 8-inch underground pipeline was detected Wednesday when workers from Phillips 66 Co., based in Houston, found the pressure on the line had dropped, NBC News reported.

A U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman said the leak, which occurred about 15 miles from Lodge Grass, Mont., was under investigation but posed no safety threat to the public and did not immediately affect any waterways.

The Crow Tribe and U.S. Environmental Protection Administration officials also were investigating.

The same pipeline broke twice in one week in 1997, spilling an estimated 2,300 barrels of gasoline near Lodge Grass and Banner, NBC News said.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/07/05/Gas-pipeline-breaks-spills-25K-gallons-on-Crow-reservation-in-Mont/UPI-19621373064077/
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri Jul 5, 2013, 08:48 PM (13 replies)
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