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Articles Posted by DeaconBenjamin

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  • Peace activists in failed bid to swarm NATO HQ

    04/01/2012 2:33:12 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 8 replies
    AFP ^ | 2 hrs 28 mins ago
    Hundreds of peace activists on Sunday tried in vain to break into the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Brussels, with 483 of them arrested by police. The demonstration, organised by the Belgian association Action for Peace two months before a NATO summit in Chicago, was called to protest the alliance's intervention in Afghanistan and Libya, and nuclear arming. "No demonstrator was able to enter NATO headquarters," spokesman for Brussels police, Christian De Coninck, told AFP. "We detained 483 people for questioning and all of them should be free in the evening." De Coninck said no one was...
  • Distressed Cities Weigh Bold Tactics in a New Fiscal Era

    04/01/2012 1:52:32 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 25 replies
    NY Times ^ | March 31, 2012 | By MICHAEL COOPER and MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
    Robert Stout, the former finance director of Vallejo, Calif., was talking about the spiraling public safety costs that ultimately led his city to declare bankruptcy when he mentioned a fire that broke out two blocks from his home, not long after the city had closed some of its firehouses to save money. “The first fire truck that went by was yellow,” Mr. Stout recalled. “Our fire trucks are red. So the first fire truck to respond was on mutual aid from a town 20 miles away. That gives you some sense of what you are facing when you get into...
  • NBC to do ‘internal investigation’ on Zimmerman segment

    03/31/2012 8:40:58 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 59 replies
    washington post ^ | By Erik Wemple
    NBC told this blog today that it would investigate its handling of a piece on the “Today” show that ham-handedly abridged the conversation between George Zimmerman and a dispatcher in the moments before the death of Trayvon Martin. A statement from NBC: “We have launched an internal investigation into the editorial process surrounding this particular story.”Great news right there. As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters, the “Today” segment took this approach to a key part of the dispatcher call: Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.Here’s how the actual conversation...
  • Video shows Obama stuck on repeat

    03/31/2012 11:40:01 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 7 replies
    The Local (Norway) ^ | 29 Mar 2012 05:25 GMT+1
    Norway's not the only country "punching above its weight": the US president has used the same metaphor to describe a string of Washington's "closest allies", an eagle-eyed Danish TV team has found. In October, Norway's prime minister Jens Stoltenberg fulfilled a long-held ambition to pay a visit to the White House. A staunch NATO ally, Norway received high praise from Barack Obama for its part in helping bring about the downfall of Muammar Gadhaffi. Beaming from ear to ear, Stoltenberg basked in the Washington glow, Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet recalled on Thursday. But in likening Norway to a boxer brawling in...
  • At last – an English bishop with the courage to reintroduce the traditional Latin Mass

    03/30/2012 7:38:43 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 8 replies
    Telegraph (UK) ^ | March 26th, 2012 | By Damian Thompson
    Bishop Mark Davies in a proper mitre Here's a photograph to gladden the heart of any traditional Catholic and to give The Tablet's Bobbie Mickens a fit of the vapours. The prelate wearing that magnificent mitre is a bishop of England and Wales, believe it or not, presiding at a solemn Latin Mass to mark the re-opening of a parish where the worship will be in the Extraordinary Form. More than a thousand people attended. Yes, you read that right. Summorum Pontificum has finally been fully implemented by a diocesan bishop – the Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury,...
  • Child labour re-emerges in Naples

    03/30/2012 7:20:19 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 1 replies
    Le Monde ^ | 30 March 2012
    In one of Europe’s poorest cities, thousands of children are leaving school to help their families make ends meet. Part of a trend that has been accentuated by the crisis, they find work in the black economy or they are recruited for sinister purposes by the mafia. 7 a.m. in San Lorenzo in the heart of Naples: the kid is struggling to carry a heavy crate of canned goods through a humid labyrinth of city streets. Dressed in his faded overalls, hoodie and and busted trainers, little Gennaro has already begun his day at work. No one is surprised to...
  • Amid Debt Crisis, Athens Falls Apart

    03/30/2012 7:12:40 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 13 replies
    Spiegel.de ^ | By Julia Amalia Heyer
    Even Mayor Kanakis, a Greek and an Athenian, avoids certain blocks. He calls the area around Aghios Pantelimonas Square a "national liberated zone." The extreme right rules the area, and the balconies are decorated with flags. There are suspicions that many police officers sympathize with the Chrysi Avgi ("Golden Dawn") party. The name is intended to convey the hope that Greeks will return to glory, "as in the days of Homer," says party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, 54, a member of the Athens city council. "We are nationalists," says Michaloliakos, who points out that his party has more than 10,000 members...
  • Very high radiation, little water in Fukushima No. 2 reactor

    03/30/2012 2:54:01 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 6 replies
    Japan Today ^ | Mar. 28, 2012 - 11:20AM JST | By Mari Yamaguchi
    One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination that renews doubts about the plant’s stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor’s containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Daiichi plant a year ago. The data collected Tuesday showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to...
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calls for layoffs of city workers

    03/29/2012 8:45:05 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 66 replies
    LA Daily News ^ | 03/29/2012 05:15:08 PM PDT
    LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said today he will call for layoffs of city workers as part of his budget to be released next month. "We're going to lay off a large number of employees. I'm not going to say how many," Villaraigosa said during a speech to the City Administrative Officer Investors Conference at the Grammy Museum today. The city's employee negotiating committee, which includes Villaraigosa and several City Council members, recently asked thousands of city workers to put off raises until the city's budget improves. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said this week the city's budget deficit...
  • Total-FINA-Elf Weighs Options As Explosion Fears Mount

    03/29/2012 9:22:17 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 7 replies
    Spiegel.de ^ | By Christoph Seidler and Nina Weber
    French energy giant Total is frantically trying to respond to a natural gas leak discovered this week on a platform off the eastern coast of Scotland. As it weighs options for plugging the leak, the threat of a major explosion and environmental catastrophe loom. Helplessness has apparently gripped senior officials at Total, the platform's French owner, since the leak was discovered on Sunday. Although the company finally succeeded in pinpointing the source of the high-pressure leak, it is still far from being in a position to plug it in a reliable way. Some experts are worried about the gas flame...
  • Azerbaijan denies giving Israel air base access

    03/29/2012 9:13:50 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 1 replies
    Agence France Press ^ | 5 hours ago
    Azerbaijan on Thursday denied allegations made by a US magazine that it had granted Israel access to its air bases which could assist in potential strikes against its neighbour Iran. Citing anonymous senior US diplomats and military intelligence officers, the article published in Foreign Policy magazine on Wednesday suggested that cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel was "heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran". The article suggested that access to Azerbaijani airfields near the Iranian border could give Israeli fighter planes logistical advantages in carrying out sorties against nuclear facilities in Iran, which the Jewish state suspects of developing...
  • Why Don't Young Americans Buy Cars?

    03/27/2012 7:47:55 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 159 replies
    The Atlantic ^ | Mar 25 2012, 9:00 AM ET | By Jordan Weissmann
    Kids these days. They don't get married. They don't buy homes. And, much to the dismay of the world's auto makers, they apparently don't feel a deep and abiding urge to own a car. This week, the New York Times pulled back the curtain on General Motors' recent, slightly bewildered efforts to connect with the Millennials -- that giant generational cohort born in the 1980s and 1990s whose growing consumer power is reshaping the way corporate America markets its wares. Unfortunately for car companies, today's teens and twenty-somethings don't seem all that interested in buying a set of wheels. They're...
  • Live ammunition used in Chinese Army Tibet night drill

    03/26/2012 7:46:16 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 3 replies · 34+ views
    South China Morning Post ^ | Mar 22, 2012 | Teddy Ng in Beijing
    The People's Liberation Army staged its first night drill with live ammunition on the Tibetan plateau last month, a move analysts believe serves as a warning to India over a long-running border dispute. A report yesterday by China Military Online, a website sponsored by the PLA Daily, included photographs from the drill, conducted by a regiment based in Chengdu , Sichuan . "It is the first time for the air force to stage a night-time drill with live ammunition in a high-altitude area and launch attacks against authentic targets of different natures," the report said. It added that the drill...
  • Baltimore May Sell Historic Landmarks

    03/26/2012 6:52:24 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 18 replies · 22+ views
    CBS Baltimore ^ | March 25, 2012 10:56 PM
    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than a dozen historic landmarks in Baltimore may be up for sale soon. But as Gigi Barnett reports, the city first wants to know how much they will bring in first. The city says its historic buildings are a liability, an eyesore and a drain on its pockets. Baltimore’s Shot Tower was the tallest building in the nation back in 1828 and became a national historic landmark in the early 1970s. The city says it wants to know how much the Shot Tower is worth to a private developer. “We have some great properties in unique...
  • Gold investors ditch equity funds, favor bullion

    03/26/2012 2:48:35 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 6 replies · 10+ views
    REUTERS ^ | Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:33pm EDT | By Eric Onstad
    Investors keen on gold showed frustration at underperforming funds that invest in mining firms as liquidations extended for more than four straight months, while money flowed into funds that invest in the underlying metal, data from Lipper showed. Since November, including data for the first half of March, $3.75 billion has flowed into U.S. commodity precious metals funds while about $850 million was liquidated from the equity funds during the same period. The flows reflect the sharp different in performance between the two categories. Over the past 12 months, precious metals equity funds shed 12.1 percent while underlying metal funds...
  • Rising price of groceries forces families to make changes

    03/26/2012 2:41:28 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 46 replies · 57+ views
    Tulsa Beacon ^ | 3/22/12 | by Charles Biggs
    According to the federal government, food prices rose 4.4 percent in 2011. That’s hogwash. I do a lot of the grocery shopping for my family (my wife cooks wonderful meals and cleans up the kitchen – it’s only right that I help in some fashion). And I can tell you, from direct experience, that food prices are skyrocketing. We buy most of our groceries from Sam’s Club, Reasor’s, Food Pyramid, Wal-Mart and Braums. You tend to buy groceries close to your home (you don’t want the ice cream to melt on the way home). We are charter members of the...
  • Government to deploy Patriot missiles in Tokyo

    03/26/2012 8:54:28 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 19 replies · 3+ views
    Japan Today ^ | National Mar. 26, 2012
    Japan is to deploy surface-to-air missiles in central Tokyo in readiness for North Korea’s planned rocket launch, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said Monday. The siting of an anti-missile battery in the densely packed capital city would be in addition to facilities on the southern island chain of Okinawa, Tanaka told lawmakers. “We are working on procedures to deploy the Patriot in the Tokyo metropolitan area, acting on precedent,” Tanaka told upper house members, referring to the PAC-3 surface-to-air missile defense system. “We are also preparing to deploy the Patriot in the Nansei (southwestern) islands including Okinawa,” as the second stage...
  • Doing union work on the government clock?

    03/26/2012 8:39:32 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 1 replies · 2+ views
    Stateline.org ^ | By Melissa Maynard, Stateline Staff Writer
    The Arizona legislature is considering making it illegal for local governments to pay workers for time they spend doing union work. This so-called “release time” is bargained for alongside salary and vacation and sick pay and included in many local contracts. One version of the legislation passed the Senate but stalled in a House committee. Now Senate leaders are attempting to resuscitate the measure by sending it directly to the House floor in an unrelated bill that the House has already passed. Supporters of the legislation say paying union leaders to do union work is an inappropriate use of taxpayer...
  • Federal judge says [Maine Governor] LePage’s decision to remove mural was ‘government speech’

    03/26/2012 8:36:08 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 9 replies · 13+ views
    Bangor Daily News ^ | March 23, 2012, at 6:21 p.m. | By Tim Allen and Jim McCarthy, BDN Staff
    Panel 8 (center) of the controversial labor mural removed by Gov. LePage shows Francis Perkins, President Franklin Roosevelt's labor secretary and an untiring labor activist. Some Republicans claimed that a face in that panel bears a striking resemblance to former Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman.BANGOR, Maine — A federal judge on Friday ruled in favor of Gov. Paul LePage in a lawsuit concerning the governor’s controversial removal of a Department of Labor mural, saying LePage’s action amounted to “government speech.” In a 90-page opinion, U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. granted motions for summary judgment in favor of...
  • Alabama's prepaid tuition program will go broke in three years by one estimate

    03/26/2012 8:29:58 AM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 11 replies · 5+ views
    The Birmingham News ^ | Sunday, March 25, 2012, 9:00 AM
    Alabama's ailing prepaid college tuition program will go broke in about three years without a court settlement or an influx of hundreds of millions of dollars from the state, the state treasurer estimated. The Prepaid Affordable College Tuition plan has about $347 million in investments, but it's paying out about $100 million each year in tuition to families, said Alabama Treasurer Young Boozer. "That gives me basically three years of cash flow," Boozer said. PACT officials thought they had a solution to the program's money woes in a lawsuit settlement with parents that would have capped tuition benefits at 2010...
  • Japan down to one nuclear reactor after shutdown

    03/25/2012 8:47:33 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 6 replies
    Japan Today ^ | Mar. 26, 2012 - 12:00PM JST
    Japan was Monday left with only one working nuclear reactor after Tokyo Electric Power Co shuttered its final generator for scheduled safety checks. The vast utility’s entire stock of 17 reactors are now idle, including three units that suffered a meltdown when the tsunami hit Fukushima, as Japan warily eyes a spike in electricity demand over the hot and humid summer. Only one of Japan’s 54 units—in Tomari, Hokkaido—is still working, and that is scheduled to be shut down for maintenance work in May. The 1.35-million-kilowatt No. 6 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)‘s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant “stopped generating electricity...
  • Brics’ move to unseat US dollar as trade currency

    03/25/2012 2:22:42 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 22 replies
    City Press (South Africa) ^ | 2012-03-25 10:00 | Thandeka Gqubule and Andile Ntingi
    South Africa will this week take some initial steps to unseat the US dollar as the preferred worldwide currency for trade and investment in emerging economies. Thus, the nation is expected to become party to endorsing the Chinese currency, the renminbi, as the currency of trade in emerging markets. This means getting a renminbi-denominated bank account, in addition to a dollar account, could be an advantage for African businesses that seek to do business in the emerging markets. The move is set to challenge the supremacy of the US dollar. This, experts say, is the latest salvo in the greatest...
  • With fiscal crisis looming, Syracuse officials want workers, retirees to pay more for health care

    03/24/2012 7:28:20 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 14 replies · 2+ views
    The Post-Standard ^ | Monday, March 19, 2012, 2:00 AM | Tim Knauss
    Syracuse, N.Y. -- After 33 years of driving a snowplow, picking up garbage and working as a dispatcher, James DiNicola retired last year from the Syracuse public works department. One of his retirement benefits is cheap, high-quality health insurance. DiNicola, 55, pays $180 a year for individual health coverage that costs the city, on average, $6,000 per person. Scott McClurg, a retired firefighter, pays $900 a year for a family health plan that costs the city more than $15,000. McClurg, 62, retired in 1998, after 20 years. Free or cheap health care has always been a perk of city employment....
  • Student-Driven PAC Aims to Blunt G.O.P. in South

    03/23/2012 5:39:21 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 3 replies
    NY Times ^ | March 21, 2012 | By BRET SCHULTE
    At a party last month, students in the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, unveiled a new state and federal PAC. Called Naturally Blue, its aim is to maintain the majority of Democrats in the Arkansas legislature. In a state where Democrats suffered heavy losses in 2010, the new PAC was well received, with the party reeling in about 300 guests, including [disgraced] ex-governor Jim Guy Tucker, and about $13,000. The founders believe that the economics of the South — namely its concentrated poverty — make the region “naturally blue.” Nate Looney, the PAC’s 25-year-old president,...
  • Union leaders gather in Woonsocket to demand more schools' aid

    03/23/2012 5:20:58 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin
    Providence Journal ^ | March 22, 2012 6:46 pm | By Jennifer D. Jordan
    WOONSOCKET, R.I. -- With a $10-million deficit in the school budget, painful cuts in programs, and every one of the city's 500 teachers pink-slipped, national and local union leaders gathered Thursday in front of Woonsocket High School to demand more help from the state's political leaders. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, demanded Governor Chafee and the General Assembly provide more money for schools "if you think the future of this state is important ... if you really care about kids." Weingarten's criticism of Chafee came even though his spending plan includes nearly $40 million more in...
  • 'Scared' German tourists 'avoiding Greece'

    03/21/2012 9:38:26 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 29 replies
    The Local (Germany) ^ | 12 Mar 12 14:33 CET
    German tourists are "afraid" to come to Greece due to widespread anger at EU-mandated austerity cuts that have left the country in a deep recession, the Greek culture minister said on Monday. "There are many Germans who are afraid to come to Greece," Pavlos Geroulanos told Greece's head of state President Carolos Papoulias after a visit last week to Berlin for the world's largest travel fair. "They feel that, after what has happened, Greeks will not welcome them. This is a climate that we must change," Geroulanos said. There is palpable anger in Greece over two years of austerity imposed...
  • Deutsche Bank reduces 'hunger trade'

    03/21/2012 9:35:38 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 2 replies · 1+ views
    The Local (Germany) ^ | 21 Mar 12 09:25 CET
    Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, says it will slow its food-price betting business after almost admitting trade in staple foods was linked to higher food prices and the growing number of hungry people. "We recognise that the proper functioning of agricultural markets (has) wide social ramifications," the bank said in its annual social responsibility report. It said it was "concerned by the growing number of people who find themselves in food poverty." Activists have been protesting against "commodity index funds" by Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs saying they are key culprits in the volatility of food prices around the world....
  • Interview with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Recovery Not Real, Crises Dead Ahead

    03/21/2012 5:36:27 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 13 replies
    Interview with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Recovery Not Real, Crises Dead Ahead A podcast for Ambrose fans
  • Portuguese Emigration -- a beautiful mirage

    03/19/2012 3:42:26 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 8 replies
    Press Europ ^ | 19 March 2012
    Along with a lost generation of young people in low-paid and insecure jobs, the crisis is now pushing couples with families to seek work elsewhere in Europe. Unfortunately, arriving in foreign countries ill-prepared, not speaking the language and low on funds, they often end up in the streets. “Silly emigration” [Emigração parva] is how Eduardo Dias, the representative of the Council of Portuguese Communities in Luxembourg, describes this new wave of Portuguese flowing into the Grand Duchy: couples between 35 and 50 years of age, arriving with children who are still minors, with no prospect of a guaranteed job, without...
  • French spies to stage labour protest

    03/19/2012 3:29:02 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 7 replies
    The Local (France) ^ | 15 Mar 2012 10:27 GMT+1
    The main union representing French domestic intelligence officers, those charged with counter-espionage and anti-terror investigations, called Wednesday on its members to stage a protest. The head of the SNOP union, which represents senior police officers and is the main labour body for members of the DCRI security agency, said his members planned a "gathering" at their Paris headquarters on Friday. Union secretary general Jean-Marc Bailleul said his members were protesting "human resources management" at the spy agency, and in particular the recent naming of a senior administrator to a post normally held by a field agent. A smaller union said...
  • In Sweden, cash is king no more

    03/19/2012 2:27:04 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 34 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | Sat, Mar 17, 2012 | By MALIN RISING
    Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661. Now it's on the path toward getting rid of them. The contours of such a society are starting to take shape in this high-tech nation, frustrating those who prefer coins and bills over digital money. In most Swedish cities, public buses don't accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether."There are towns where it isn't at...
  • China Halts 10 More Airbus Orders

    03/18/2012 9:22:17 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 11 replies
    cnbc ^ | Thursday, 15 Mar 2012 | 7:44 PM ET
    China has suspended the purchase of 10 more Airbus jets, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, raising the stakes in a potentially damaging trade row over European Union airline emissions charges. The move to delay the purchase of extra A330 planes brings to $14 billion the value of European aircraft caught up in tensions over the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, which has angered countries including China, India and the United States. It comes amid urgent efforts to find a solution to the row, which airlines fear could provoke an aviation trade war capable of causing travel disruption...
  • PIMCO chief Mohamed El-Erian expects 'second Greece’ in Portugal

    03/18/2012 4:53:34 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 12 replies
    Telegraph (UK) ^ | 10:32PM GMT 18 Mar 2012 | By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    The giant bond fund PIMCO said Europe has not yet tamed its debt crisis and will soon face a “second Greece” in Portugal as the country’s economy spirals downwards. Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO’s chief executive, said Portugal will need a second rescue as the original package of €78bn falls short, setting off a political storm over EU rescue costs. “Unfortunately, that is how it will be. It will make the financial markets nervous because they are worried about a participation of the private sector,” he told Der Spiegel. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble insists that there will be no further haircuts...
  • Tennessee Republicans see threat in U.N. 's Agenda 21

    03/16/2012 6:15:42 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 13 replies
    Stateline.org ^ | Friday, March 16, 2012 | By John Gramlich
    A 20-year-old United Nations plan aimed at fostering sustainable development around the world is “destructive and insidious,” in the words of a resolution that won approval in the Republican-controlled Tennessee House of Representatives on Thursday (March 15). Tennessee Republicans say the plan, known as “Agenda 21,” amounts to “extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control.” With the help of six Democrats, they won approval for the nonbinding state resolution in a 72-to-23 floor vote. Agenda 21 was adopted by 178 governments at a U.N. conference in Brazil in June 1992. The plan calls on local, state and national governments...
  • More than 20,000 California teachers pink-slipped

    03/16/2012 6:09:21 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 61 replies
    SF Chronicle ^ | Friday, March 16, 2012 | Jill Tucker
    More than 20,000 public school teachers in California opened their mailboxes over the last few days to find a pink slip inside as districts dispensed the dreaded news to the educators that they may not have a job in the fall. The layoff notices are preliminary, the districts' best guess at their funding after the Legislature concludes its annual budget fight this summer. But a proposed tax measure on the November ballot offers more uncertainty. Voters could approve a tax increase that would prevent a $4.8 billion trigger cut to education funding, as proposed in the governor's budget. That cut...
  • Feds will phase out funds for Women's Health Program in Texas

    03/16/2012 5:57:56 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 16 replies
    Houston Chronicle ^ | 10:16 p.m., Thursday, March 15, 2012 | By Peggy Fikac
    The federal government will phase out funding to Texas for a key women's health program, calling a transition period necessary to ensure that low-income clients don't abruptly lose access to screenings and contraceptives. Money for the Medicaid Women's Health Program is cut off because the state exclude clinics affiliated with abortion, even if the clinics "don't provide abortions." The federal government says that's not allowed. The ban notably affects Planned Parenthood. Gov. Rick Perry promised anew that the state will pick up the cost of the program, in which nearly 130,000 Texas women are enrolled. Where that money will come...
  • Connecticut's measures leave business feeling resentful

    03/15/2012 4:58:51 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 10 replies
    Stateline.org ^ | By John Gramlich
    HARTFORD — Larry Cafero, the Republican minority leader in the Connecticut House of Representatives, believes all workers should have access to paid sick days. Like most of his Democratic counterparts here, Cafero thinks workers should not be forced to choose between losing a paycheck and reporting to work sick, particularly if they are waiters or waitresses and come into contact with food that will be eaten by others. Paid sick leave “is very hard to argue with,” he says. But last year, when it came time to vote on a bill that would make Connecticut the only state in the...
  • Greek Q4 unemployment rises to 20.7 pct

    03/15/2012 4:20:49 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 10 replies
    Greece's jobless rate rose to a fresh quarterly record of 20.7 percent in the last three months of 2012, reflecting the country's deep economic malaise, exacerbated by austerity to repair public finances and emerge from a debt crisis. Greece secured a new 130 billion euro bailout from its euro zone partners and the IMF this week, after agreeing further painful budget cuts. But the labour market's sharp deterioration is feeding public discontent and hurting consumer confidence. On Thursday, statistics agency ELSTAT data showed jobs being shed at a fast pace as unemployment rose from 17.7 percent in the third quarter...
  • Greece on the breadline: HIV and malaria make a comeback

    03/15/2012 3:34:14 PM PDT · by DeaconBenjamin · 18 replies
    Guardian (UK) ^ | Jon Henley
    The incidence of HIV/Aids among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250% in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to Médecins sans Frontières Greece. Malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since the rule of the colonels. Reveka Papadopoulos said that savage cuts to the national health service budget, including heavy job losses and a 40% reduction in funding for hospitals, placed Greek social services "under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown. What we are seeing are very clear indicators of...
  • Crime labs struggle with DNA test demands

    03/09/2012 4:51:36 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 3 replies
    Stateline.org ^ | Thursday, March 08, 2012 | By Melissa Maynard
    Twelve years ago, Congress passed a bill aimed at bolstering the capacity of state and local crime labs. It was known as the “DNA Backlog Elimination Act.” The ensuing effort now bears the more modest title of “DNA Backlog Reduction Program.” But even with the new name, it is an ambitious venture. Since 2006, Congress has poured $785 million into helping to fix the logjam in DNA evidence collection at the state and local level through this and other programs. There’s no question that a serious problem exists. Recent advances in science and technology have made DNA a more useful...
  • Saudi Arabia's Eastern Revolution hits the oil sector: pipeline under fire

    03/01/2012 8:00:10 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 9 replies · 12+ views
    For the first time in decades, the Eastern Saudi Arabian volatile situation has reached the vital oil sector. A pipeline between Awamiya and Safwa has been reportedly targeted, and is under fire; the Saudi government sources were quick to claim that the fire is not an explosion and is one kilometer away from the pipeline. Our correspondent in Qatif confirmed that the area under fire is indeed where major pipelines are located; tomorrow is the anniversary of Fatima Zahraa's death, the prophet Mohamad's only daughter. It is an important and symbolic date for Saudi Shiites, and might constitute a suitable...
  • Graduate students campaign to unionize

    03/01/2012 10:12:15 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 1 replies
    Stateline.org ^ | Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | By Melissa Maynard, Stateline Staff Writer
    Can a graduate research assistant be a public employee? States and universities are struggling to sort that question out. Pulling all-nighters in research labs and subsisting on little more than ramen noodles has long been a rite of passage for graduate students. But some are now looking to unions for help setting limits on the austere lifestyle and extreme working conditions that pursuing an advanced degree often requires. They argue that state universities have made a habit of plugging budget holes by asking them to shoulder more of the teaching and research work in the place of regular, full-time faculty...
  • Bernanke warns lawmakers country headed for 'massive fiscal cliff'

    03/01/2012 10:03:32 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 16 replies · 1+ views
    The Hill ^ | 02/29/12 01:26 PM ET | By Peter Schroeder
    Congress risks taking the economy over a “massive fiscal cliff,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned lawmakers on Wednesday. In remarks that hit Wall Street stock prices, the central bank boss suggested the economy could hit a serious roadblock if Congress allows the Bush tax rates and a payroll tax cut to expire and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to be implemented simultaneously in January. “Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013, there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. “I hope that Congress will look...
  • The trade of half a decade: long gold, short Athens

    02/29/2012 5:35:46 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 5 replies
    FT Alphaville ^ | Feb 28 13:29 | Lisa Pollack
    If you had invested exactly five years ago, and done a bit of the ol’ buy-and-hold, here are the returns you would have reaped (according to Deutsche’s Jim Reid and Colin Tan — click to enlarge): The chart is from Tuesday’s five-year anniversary edition the daily Early Morning Reid, and it’s colour-coded according to asset class. Gold reaps the largest return. As Warren Buffet recently pointed out, the main feature of the commodity is not that it can be used for anything productive, but rather that it feeds off of fear and people’s belief that there will always be scaredy...
  • EU Commission pressures Spain on budget

    02/29/2012 4:06:40 AM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 2 replies
    Reuters ^ | Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:09pm EST
    Spain must explain soon to the European Commission why its 2011 budget deficit was substantially higher than expected and deliver clear future budget plans, the Commission said on Tuesday. Spain's 2011 budget deficit came to 8.51 percent of GDP, the finance minister said on Monday, up from early estimates of 8.2 percent and far above forecasts from the Commission for something nearer 6.5 percent. Spain, which has enacted austerity measures and economic reforms to avoid being sucked into the euro zone debt crisis, presents on Friday its 2012 spending ceiling, a key element in the budget for the year. A...
  • Beijing Wants Say in Choice of World Bank Head

    02/28/2012 8:02:50 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 2 replies
    Spiegel.de ^ | 02/28/2012 | By Gregor Peter Schmitz in Washington
    Traditionally, the US gets to appoint the president of the World Bank. But China is keen to make its influence felt in the search for a successor to Robert Zoellick, who will step down in June. The next head may still be American, but he or she will need to get Beijing's blessing. The first person to complain was a Brazilian. Then came an angry outburst from Manila, where the Philippines' Finance Minister Cesar Purisima said that it was time to rethink the selection of the head of the World Bank. Then a representative of Beijing spoke up at a...
  • US Mint touts cost savings in .999 silver switch

    02/28/2012 7:19:31 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 25 replies
    Coin World ^ | Feb. 27, 2012 7:37 a.m. | By Paul Gilkes
    Switching the fineness of silver in the annual Silver Proof sets and America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof set to .999 from the current .900 would produce significant savings in refining and manufacturing costs for the U.S. Mint, according to spokesman Michael White. The move would also open the pool to additional blank vendors, White said. President ObamaÂ’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 federal budget includes a provision to amend Title 31, Section 5112, so that the dime, quarter dollars and half dollars in the various Silver Proof sets would be required to be composed of no less than 90 percent...
  • Georgia Democratic party exec resigns; chairman denies financial crisis

    02/27/2012 7:08:08 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 6 replies · 1+ views
    Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | 10:27 pm February 26, 2012 | Jim Galloway, Political Insider
    The state Democratic party has problems. On Saturday, the chief of staff of the party, Page Gleason, handed in her resignation. The letter announcing her decision included these lines: I have dedicated my adult life to fighting for the Democratic Party and its ideals throughout the State of Georgia. The situation at the Democratic Party of Georgia, however, has made it impossible for me to continue serving effectively as your Executive Director. …I strongly recommend that the Executive Committee and the By-laws Committee review the sections of the Democratic Party of Georgia by-laws…. A thoughtful review and additional wording would...
  • FL Dem. Representative Steinberg resigns over stalker text messages to female prosecutor

    02/27/2012 6:59:29 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 7 replies
    Tampa Bay Times ^ | Feb 24, 2012 12:52 PM | By Marc Caputo and David Ovalle
    Under Secret Service investigation for sending stalker-like texts to a federal prosecutor, Democratic state Rep. Richard Steinberg on Friday abruptly resigned his Miami Beach seat. "The events of the past week have been difficult for my family, for me and for everyone involved," Steinberg, 39, said in a written statement. "After much consultation with my family, my friends and my colleagues in the Democratic caucus — and after some time for quiet, personal reflection — I have decided to resign, effective today, from my position as a member of Florida's House of Representatives." Steinberg's resignation came just as the Republican...
  • Washington State could require abortion coverage

    02/27/2012 6:45:27 PM PST · by DeaconBenjamin · 2 replies · 2+ views
    News Tribune ^ | 02/26/12 5:52 pm | By JONATHAN KAMINSKY
    <p>OLYMPIA, Wash. — At a time when many states are making it harder for women to get abortions, Washington state appears headed in the opposite direction.</p> <p>Fifteen states have passed laws restricting insurers from covering abortions and 12 others are considering similar measures. By contrast, a bill that has passed Washington's House and is working its way through the Senate would make the state the first to require all health insurance plans under its jurisdiction - except those claiming a conscience-based exemption - to include abortion coverage.</p>