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Saturday, September 26, 2015
House Speaker Boehner quits after five stormy years
Previous edition: Pope Francis Arrives on Historic First U.S. Visit
House Speaker Boehner quits after five stormy years | 25 Sept 2015 | U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner will step down and leave the House at the end of October after struggling with repeated rebellions by conservatives during a tumultuous five-year reign as the chamber's top Republican. The Ohio lawmaker, 65, stunned Republican House members at a morning meeting on Friday with the announcement he will leave the top job in the 435-seat chamber and resign his seat effective onOct. 30. U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy, 50, of California, the No. 2 House Republican, quickly became the leading contender to replace Boehner as speaker.
House speaker John Boehner to resign from Congress in October | 25 Sept 2015 | John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives and a congressman from Ohio for three decades, has announced he will resign from his seat next month. The Republican leader [TPPimp] announced his resignation to a party meeting on Friday morning, where he told his members he didn't want to become "the issue" amid reports of conservative infighting. Boehner has been under intense pressure from House conservatives, who have repeatedly threatened to stage a coupagainst the speaker and expressed dissatisfaction with his leadership in high-profile fights on Capitol Hill.
U.S.-trained Syrian 'rebels' gave equipment to al-Qaeda's Nusra: U.S. military | 25 Sept 2015 | Syrian 'rebels' trained by the United States gave some of their equipment to the al-Qaeda[al-CIAduh]-linked Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday, the latest blow to a troubled U.S. effort to train local partners to fight foment Islamic State militants. The rebels surrendered six pick-up trucks and some ammunition, or about one-quarter of their issued equipment, to a suspected Nusra intermediary on Sept. 21-22 in exchange for safe passage, said Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, in a statement. "If accurate, the report of NSF members providing equipment to al Nusra Front is very concerning and a violation of Syria train and equip program guidelines," Ryder said, using an acronym for the rebels, called the New Syrian Forces.
Circuit court remands terrorism case on grounds FBI withheld info of al-Awlaki investigation | 26 Sept 2015 | The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has remanded a post 9/11 terrorism case on the grounds that the FBI withheld evidence of its 2002 investigation into the first American on the CIA's kill or capture list, Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as into a northern Virginia Islamic scholar, according to recently released federal court document. Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen by a [US] drone strike in 2011. The case focused on allegations that Dr. Ali Al-Timimi -- a cancer researcher and self-described Muslim scholar - inspired a group of young men from Virginia to travel to Pakistan to join Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the largest terror organizations in South Asia.
Secret Document: NSA Spied on Iranians in New York | 23 Sept 2015 | The NSA will probably spy on foreign leaders like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the UN General Assembly in New York this week, applying a "full court press" that includes intercepting cellphone calls and bugging hotel rooms, former intelligence analysts told NBC News. A top-secret report on a previous NSA operation against Iran's U.N. delegation illustrates just how extensive this electronic surveillance can be. The document, obtained by NBC News, shows the U.S. bugged the hotel rooms and phones of then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his entire 143-member delegation in 2007, listening to thousands of conversations and learning the "social networks" of Iran's leadership. The three-page document, called "Tips for a Successful Quick Reaction Capability," recounted what happened when the NSA was asked by the Bush administration for blanket surveillance of Ahmadinejad's September 2007 trip to the UNGA.
Stampede kills more than 700 at Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca | 25 Sept 2015 | A stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj -- the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca -- has killed more than 700 people and injured nearly 900 others in Saudi Arabia. The stampede occurred Thursday morning during the ritual known as "stoning the devil" in a tent city in Mina, about two miles from the holy site in Mecca, Islam's holiest city.
Pope addresses 20,000 at Madison Square Garden | 25 Sept 2015 | One night only: Pope Francis at Madison Square Garden. Speaking from a specially crafted wooden lectern, Francis used his sermon in Spanish to celebrate the strength of religious faith in New York and other urban areas. "God lives in our cities. The church lives in our cities," said the pope, prompting applause from an estimated 20,000 congregants.
Poverty, nuclear weapons and the environment: Pope Francis at the UN | 25 Sept 2015 | Saving the planet is part of helping the poor and the excluded, Pope Francis told a UN summit. The pontiff called for a ban on nuclear weapons and chastised international finance and 'ideological colonization' for making the world worse. Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Summiton Friday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church made a nod to the importance of the UN, now that technology has enabled humanity to overcome distance and frontiers and "all natural limits to the exercise of power."
It's Il Papa in the Big Apple: Huge crowds greet Francis as he lands in NYC and then leads evening prayers at St Patrick's Cathedral | 24 Sept 2015 | Pope Francis was greeted by thousands of adoring well wishers as he arrived in New York and made his way to St Patrick's Cathedral to lead evening prayers. The next stage of the Pope's whirlwind tour of America saw him driven through the streets of Midtown, Manhattan, in his Popemobile as worshipers who had waited for hours to get a glimpse of him screamed with delight. A huge motorcade of police cars, ambulances and Secret Service vehicles escorted the Pontiff as he made his way along a packed Fifth Avenue to the Cathedral - and even Donald Trump got a view of the Pope's arrival from Trump Tower, where he was watching events unfold with his family.
Pope Francis, in Washington, Addresses Poverty and Global Warming | 23 Sept 2015 | Welcomed with a fanfare of trumpets and a chorus of amens, Pope Francis introduced himself to the United States on Wednesday with a bracing message on climate changeglobal warming, immigration and poverty that ranged from the pastoral to the political. On a day that blended the splendor of an ancient church with the frenzy of a modern rock star tour, Francis waded quietly but forcefully into some of the most polarizing issues of American civic life. Along the way, he underscored just how much he has upended the agenda of the Roman Catholic Church and reordered its priorities.
St. Louis landfill fire could reach radioactive waste in months | 18 Sept 2015 | A fire smoldering underneath a landfill north of St. Louis since 2010 could reach radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project in as little as three months, according to a report released by Missouri's attorney general. Much of the uranium used to make the first nuclear weapons was processed in downtown St. Louis, and the waste was moved around the region for decades. In 1973 aprivate company that bought some of the waste from the U.S. government illegally dumped it at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, a northern suburb of St. Louis...One of the reports released by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster concluded that the underground fire could reach the West Lake Landfill's known radioactive waste in three to six months --the consequences of which remain largely unknown. [But, what *is* known? The corporate-owned US media will not cover this privatized act of eco-terrorism.]
Chicago-area district clears three school buildings due to Legionella bacteria | 23 Sept 2015 | Three school buildings in suburban Chicago were closed and students sent home on Wednesday after annual air quality testing of cooling towers found higher-than-normal levels of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, a school official said. The buildings included a high school, middle school and one that houses central offices and a separate high school program for District U-46 headquartered in Elgin northwest of Chicago, Chief Executive Tony Sanders said in a statement...The district did not say whether any illnesses were reported in connection with the findings.
Hillary Clinton Proposes $250 Monthly Cap on Prescription Drug Costs | 22 Sept 2015 | Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed on Tuesday a 250 monthly cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and other measures to stop what she called "price gouging" by pharmaceutical companies. At a campaign stop in Iowa, Clinton rolled out a plan to encourage the development and use of generic drugs and to end pharmaceutical companies' ability to write off consumer-directed advertising as a business expense. Under Clinton's plan, the monthly cap would limit what insurance companies could ask patients to pay for drugs that treat chronic or serious medical conditions.
In blistering series of tweets, National Review 'editor' Rich Lowry brutally unloads on Donald Trump | 23 Sept 2015 | National Review Editor [sic] Rich Lowry unloaded on Donald TrumpWednesday night, after the real estate tycoon turned to Twitter to express outrage over a critical comment he made about him on Fox News. Appearing on "The [*puke*] Kelly File" earlier, Lowry saidFiorina "cut [Trump's] b*lls off with the precision of a surgeon" at the CNN debate. Trump was angered by the comment and immediately fired back on Twitter.
Jeb Bush's Tax Plan Is a Large Tax Cut for the Wealthiest | 09 Sept 2015 | Jeb Bush's plan stays very much on script for Republican tax plans: It cuts taxes for almost everyone who pays income tax, with by far the largest tax cuts at the top. According to an analysis by The New York Times, Mr. Bush's tax plan would reduce the effective income tax rate on filers making 10 million or more per year to approximately 21 percent, down from 26 percent in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available. The average taxpayer in this group earned 29.2 million in 2013, meaning the plan proposed by Mr. Bush would have saved them an average of 1.5 million that year.
Senate stops bill defunding Planned Parenthood | 24 Sept 2015 | Democrats in the U.S. Senate, joined by some Republicans,on Thursday blocked an effort denying federal funds for the women's healthcare group Planned Parenthood in a move that could help avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. Most Senate Republicans had supported the plan to attach the Planned Parenthood defunding to a bill keeping government operating with the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. But 42 Democrats, two independents and eight Republicans banded together to stop the anti-abortion effort on a procedural vote, 11 more than the 41 needed to block the legislation.
White House threatens to veto budget bill defunding Planned Parenthood | 24 Sept 2015 | U.S. President Barack Obama would veto legislation to continue funding the government if it strips federal money for Planned Parenthood, the White House said in a statement on Thursday. The threat came as Congress considers a bill to fund federal agencies past Sept. 30 and avoid a shutdown even as some lawmakers balk at taxpayer support for the healthcare group, which drawn protests over its use of fetal tissue from abortions. The White House said Obama would not sign any bill that included the Senate amendment eliminating the group's funding.
Giant 'dying polar bear' appears outside Shell UK headquarters in protest over Arctic drilling | 21 Sept 2015 | A giant dying polar bear has been placed outside the headquarters of oil and gas company Shell in a bid to stop their Arctic drilling programme. British actress Emma Thompson was among the protesters who manoeuvred the three-tone puppet into place, locking six people inside so the bear cannot be moved. The bear, which is the size of a double-decker bus, and is named Aurora (after the Northern Lights) is intended to sit outside the company's headquarter in South Bank, London, until they cease their drilling.