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Sunday, August 30, 2015
1,100 union workers to strike at nuclear weapons plant
Previous edition: Dow Jones Industrial Average Plummets More Than 1,000 Points at Open
1,100 union workers to strike at nuclear weapons plant | 29 Aug 2015 | (TX) Union workers at the Pantex nuclear weapons plant -- a sister plant to Y-12 in Oak Ridge -- this week rejected a final contract offer and voted to go on strike, effective at midnightFriday. The strike by more than 1,100 workers at the national security site received the necessary blessing of the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO in Washington, and it reportedly will be the first strike by the main workforce at Pantex since 1970. Pantex and Y-12 are managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security, a Bechtel-led contractor team, and union negotiations at Y-12 have been on hold for months while the situation at Pantex played out.
Morphological defects [abnormalities] found in Japanese fir trees around Fukushima nuclear plant | 29 Aug 2015 | Radiation spewed out by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may be responsible for differences in the growth of native Japanese fir trees in the area. Researchers primarily from the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said Aug. 28 that many fir trees near the plant, as well as other areas, had undergone "morphological defects." They intentionally avoided words like abnormality [but CLG won't], but used morphological defects and change. Their studies showed that the changes occurred more frequently in areas with higher air rates of radiation.
Leaked report cites design flaws in Hanford plant built to treat nuclear waste | 26 Aug 2015 | A nearly completed government facility intended to 'treat' the radioactive byproducts of nuclear weapons production is riddled with design flaws that could put the entire operation at risk of failure, according to a leaked internal report. A technical review of the treatment plant on the grounds of the former Hanford nuclear site identified hundreds of "design vulnerabilities" and other weaknesses, some serious enough to lead to spills of radioactive material. The draft report is the latest in a series of blows to the clean-up effort at Hanford, the once-secret government reservation in eastern Washington state where much of the nation's plutonium stockpile originated.
Luggage and ID checks to be increased on popular European rail routes in the wake of the recent thwarted gun massacre on a French train --Airport-style security checks set to be introduced on European rail routes | 29 Aug 2015 | Airport-style security checks are set to be introduced on popular European rail routes in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on-board a French train last week. European ministers have agreed to introduce tougher identity checks and baggage searches after Moroccan Ayoub El-Khazzani was able to board the Thalys service with an assault rifle. Home Secretary Theresa May and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin were among representatives of nine countries at a summit in Paris called to formulate a response to the atrocity. It came after a massacre was narrowly avoided last Friday when the gunman, 26, was wrestled to the floor and beaten unconscious by three Americans after allegedly opening fire.
Pols urge TSA to ramp up anti-terrorism technology at railroads - especially Penn Station | 25 Aug 2015 | The foiled attack on a Paris-bound train last week has hit home, reminding New Yorkers that the region's heavily traveled railways could be a target for terrorists. Now, Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are urging the Transportation Security Administration to ramp up terrorism-busting technology for the nation's railroads, especially in New York's busy corridors...A TSA spokeswoman said its specialized teams help local authorities visibly patrol railways, spot suspicious behavior and detect explosives.
North Dakota to use police drones with Tasers, pepper spray, sound cannons, and rubber bullets - report | 27 Aug 2015 | North Dakota police have been authorized to equip drones with Tasers, tear gas, and other non-lethal weapons after interference from a police lobby group led to an amendment to a bill, which was initially intended to limit police powers to deploy drones. The adopted amendment to House Bill 1328 enables police drones to use "less than lethal" weapons, such as Tasers, bean bags, pepper spray, sound cannons and rubber bullets. The amendment was pushed through by Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officers' Association, a police lobby group, the Daily Beast reports. The bill was passed earlier this year and initially prohibited "any lethal or nonlethal weapons" on the drones, but that was eventually amended to permit the deployment of "less than lethal weapons"
US pressured Norway to arrest and extradite Snowden, seize all devices - documents | 28 Aug 2015 | The US repeatedly asked Norway to detain and deport whistleblower Edward Snowden if he tried to enter its territory in the aftermath of his leaks on mass US global surveillance, Norwegian media revealed citing formal requests. Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the first letter from Washington shortly after the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor's revelations went public when he was stranded in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. The note, dated June 27, 2013, was quoted by Norway's NRK broadcaster...On the same day, the FBI's Scandinavia office followed up with another letter addressed to justice authorities in Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Federal Court Ruling Supports NSA's Phone Data Collection | 28 Aug 2015 | A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the Obama administration in a dispute over the bulk collection of phone data on millions of Americans. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday reversed a lower court ruling that said the program likely violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches. But the impact of the ruling is uncertain, now that Congress has passed legislation designed to replace the program over the next few months.
Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence | 26 Aug 2015 | The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Wednesday. The investigation was first disclosed by The New York Times. The paper reported that the investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told authorities that he had evidence that officials at U.S. Central Command were improperly reworking conclusions of assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Barack Obama.
Border Force to check people's visas on Melbourne's streets this weekend | 28 Aug 2015 | Border Force officers will check people's visas on the streets of Melbourne this weekend, the Federal Government has revealed. Officers will be positioned at various locations around the city and will speak "with any individual we cross paths with", Australian Border Force regional commander for Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith, said in a statement...The statement said officers would work with, "a diverse team of transport and enforcement agencies to target crime in the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) as part of Operation Fortitude".
'Dust lady' of 9/11 attack dies of cancer | 26 Aug 2015 | Marcy Borders, a 9/11 attack survivor known as the "dust lady" whose photograph became one of the enduring images of the terrorist attacks, has died aged 42 after suffering from stomach cancer, media reported on Wednesday. Borders became known as the "dust lady" after a photo showed her covered in dust as she escaped the World Trade Center during the attacks, BBC reported. She blamed her cancer on inhalingdust during the attack and suffered from alcoholism and anxiety in later years.
WDBJ slayings: Killer fired 17 rounds, identified with 9/11 attackers, police say | 28 Aug 2015 | Vester Lee Flanagan fired 17 rounds from a Glock pistol in killing Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, and wounding the chamber of commerce official Parker was interviewing, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office said Friday in a press release. Flanagan, 41, a disgruntled former station employee, identified "with individuals who have committed domestic acts of violence and mass murder, as well as the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.," investigators said, based on writings he sent to ABC News and a search of his apartment. Other details from the release: Investigators recovered two handguns, both Glocks, from the rental vehicle Flanagan crashed on I-66 in Fauquier County before killing himself. It appears he acted alone. [Of course he did. Where's Sandy Hook? Can we get that in there, too?]
Curiouser and curiouser: Virginia police order BBC journalists to delete footage of suspected shooter's crash | 28 Aug 2015 | BBC reporters Franz Strasser and Tara McKelvey encountered a big obstacle in their coverage of a double slaying of journalists at a Virginia mall. The two reporters were covering the manhunt of the suspected shooter when they were ordered to delete footage by police. On Wednesday night, Corinne Geller, the statewide public relations manager for the Virginia State Police, tweeted at Strasser: "VSP is aware of this incident and we are looking into it, as such actions violate VSP policy."
USA Network postpones Mr Robot finale as it contains 'a graphic scene similar in nature' to the live on-air killings in Virginia | 26 Aug 2015 | The season one finale of USA Network's Mr Robot will not be broadcast Wednesday night as scheduled because it contains a scene that has similarities to the on-air killings of a TV reporter and cameraman in Virginia. USA went to explain its decision, saying: 'The previously filmed season finale of Mr Robot contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today's tragic events in Virginia.' Instead, last week's episode will be repeated and the finale will air in the same time slot next Wednesday, September 2. According to Variety, the scene in question depicts an individual sustaining a fatal gunshot wound during a TV interview.
Two Roanoke journalists killed on live television by angry former colleague | 26 Aug 2015 | The gunman turned on the video recorder just before 6:45Wednesday morning and, whispering a single sexist slur, pointed his black Glock at the TV reporter standing in front of him. Alison Parker, 24, was interviewing the head of the local chamber of commerce live on Roanoke's "News 7 Mornin'" show when the shooting began. Vester L. Flanagan II -- an embittered former colleague -- would soon post the horror he recorded to Facebook and Twitter. The killings were part of what appears to have been an elaborate plot carried out by a troubled man who -- after years of professional turmoil and a growing rage he linked to the mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church -- was determined to wreak vengeance against co-workers he insisted had wronged him.
Savannah State University on Lockdown After Shooting, Officials Say | 27 Aug 2015 | Shots rang out on Savannah State University's campus Thursday, with one student killed and the university placed on lockdown. The shooting, which occurred at the SSU Student Union building, was sparked by an altercation, the university said in a statement. Christopher Starks, a junior from the metro Atlanta area, died in the shooting, the school said...The campus was put on lockdown following the shooting.
Man faces capital murder charge in killing of Houston deputy | 29 Aug 2015 | Sheriff's deputies on Saturday arrested a 30-year-old man who will be charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting death of a deputy at a suburban Houston gas station, a killing the sheriff tied to anger against police. Shannon Miles was picked up for questioning early on Saturday following the Fridaynight shooting, which was captured on surveillance video, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters...Earlier on Saturday, Hickman had linked the shooting of deputy Darren Goforth, who was white, to anti-police rhetoric across the country in the wake of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white officers.
Polio: Vaccinated man 'has spread polio', say British scientists --Scientists now warn that similar cases could trigger new outbreaks and hamper efforts to eradicate the disease. | 28 Aug 2015 | A British man who was vaccinated against polio has been producing the virus for nearly 30 years. He had an immune disorder that mean the weakened polio virus used to vaccinate him in childhood survived in his body. Over time it has mutated into a form of the virus that can cause paralysis and he had no idea the jab had not worked. [A team of scientists] wrote in the journal PLOS Pathogens: "While maintaining high immunisation coverage will likely confer protection against paralytic disease caused by these viruses, significant changes in immunisation strategies might be required to effectively stop their occurrence and potential widespread transmission."
After Katrina, Disgraced Former FEMA Director Continued Disaster Aid. It Didn't Go Well. --'Katrina gave me a great opportunity to reinvent myself.' | 28 Aug 2015 | Michael D. Brown [is] the guy at the center of that infamous quote from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." It was said 10 years ago this week by President [sic] George W. Bush, a few days after Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. At the time, "Brownie" was the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and his reputation in the media was that he wasn't doing a "heck of a job" at all. In fact, he was facing seriouscriticism for his handling of the federal government's response. One notable failure was a $100 million stockpile of ice that never got delivered, ordered by FEMA for stranded victims' food and medicine.
Iowa poll: Sanders surges to within 7 points of Clinton | 29 Aug 2015 | Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-commanding lead in Iowa has shrunk to just seven percentage points, while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has surged in the state whose caucuses will kick off the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, according to a poll released Saturday evening. The Des Moines Register-Bloomberg Politics poll, considered the gold standard of Iowa surveys, found Clinton with the support of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers, followed by Sanders at 30 percent.
Donald Trump wins GOP straw poll after spirited speech in Nashville | 29 Aug 2015 | He's hired. Donald Trump handily won the straw poll at the National Federal of Republican Assemblies event in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday, becoming both the first and second top pick among conservatives here after delivering another boisterous speech. A few hours after addressing a cheering crowd of about 800, Trump was declared the first choice Republican presidential candidate with 52% of the vote, as well as the top pick for attendees' second choice, with 26%.
GOP loyalty oath proposal in Virginia may signal trouble for Donald Trump | 25 Aug 2015 | The Virginia Republican Party is considering requiring a loyalty oath from presidential primary contenders -- a move widely considered an early sign of GOP skittishness about Donald Trump's campaign. State party officials are debating whether to require candidates to pledge their support to the eventual nominee and promise not to run as a third-party candidate -- as Trump has hinted he might do. The development could be an early sign of trouble for Trump, particularly if other state parties consider similar ideas. But it also is being debated cautiously by Republicans who worry that it could backfire and breed resentment among activists who are suspicious of attempts by the GOP establishment to control the party.
Univision reporter escorted out of Donald Trump news conference | 25 Aug 2015 | "Go back to Univision," Donald Trump said when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos [interrupted another reporter when he] tried to ask a question at a Tuesday night press conference. Security guards escorted Ramos out of the room, much to the surprise of the other reporters in attendance. Ramos was allowed back inside about 10 minutes later. Ramos and Trump had a long, sometimes tense back-and-forth, and it ended with Trump saying, "You and I, we'll talk."
Chris Christie wants to track immigrants like FedEx packages| 29 Aug 2015 | New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie [R] said if he is elected president, he will implement a system to track immigrants like packages. FedEx tracks packages using computer bar codes that are scanned at various stages in the delivery process. Christie did not elaborate on how the federal government might implement a tracking system.
Obama gives Joe Biden 'blessing' for 2016 bid | 25 Aug 2015 | Vice President Joe Biden received President Barack Obama's "blessing" to make a 2016 bid for the White House, according to a senior Democrat. But that's if Biden chooses to run -- the decision is his. While he doesn't need the President's permission, of course, a potential presidential candidacy was among the topics of their lunchMonday at the White House. The President made clear he would not stand in his way or counsel him against a run, the senior Democrat said.
MSNBC ending Sharpton's daily show| 26 Aug 2015 | [Obama apologist and corporate shill] Al Sharpton is losing his daily show on MSNBC, with the network saying he'll be downshifted to the weekend. Sharpton's "Politics Nation" has aired at 6 p.m. EDT on weeknights for the past four years at the ratings-challenged news network. MSNBC is in the midst of wholesale changes under NBC News boss Andrew Lack, deemphasizing its left-leaning programming during the daytime hours in favor of more straight news shows.