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Tax babies 'to save planet' COUPLES who have more than two children should be charged a lifelong tax to offset their extra offspring's carbon dioxide emissions, a medical expert says. The report in an Australian medical journal called for parents to be charged $5000 a head for every child after their second, and an annual tax of up to $800. (News.au.com)
Ahmed Wali Karzai is the younger bother of Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan. Senior American officials spent months weighing allegations against Ahmed Wali Karzai: that he pays off Taliban insurgents, that he launders money, that he seizes land, that he reaps enormous profits by facilitating the shipment of opium through the area. And the officials concluded that the evidence, some compelling, some circumstantial, was not clear enough to persuade the president to move his brother out of town, two NATO officials said. The C.I.A. pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.'s direction in and around Kandahar. On at least one occasion, the strike force has been accused of mounting an unauthorized operation against an official of the Afghan government, the officials said. (New York Times)
NY bomb attempt reignites security camera debate The thwarted Times Square car bombing has fueled the debate over security cameras and expensive surveillance for major cities, possibly providing a business opportunity to the security industry. - The bomb scare and quick capture of the suspect prompted U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York and others to ask for at least $30 million more in federal aid for video and security measures for New York City. That would be in addition to the $20 million in federal funding that has already been appropriated for 2010. (Reuters)
Netroots to Obama FCC: Inaction Is Not an Option Bloggers were joined by online advocacy groups including MoveOn, CredoAction, ColorofChange.org, SavetheInternet.com, Care2 and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which are urging the FCC chair not to abdicate his responsibility to stop corporations from picking and choosing how users access information over the Internet. (Huffington Post)
International Institutions and Global Governance Program, World Order in the 21st Century, A New Initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations The program falls squarely within CFR’s historic mission as an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. In fulfilling its mandate, the program draws on the CFR’s unique attributes as a premier think tank on matters of foreign policy; as a prominent forum for convening American and international statesmen and opinion leaders; and as a platform for forging bipartisan consensus on the priorities, terms, and conditions of the nation’s global engagement. Throughout its activities, CFR will engage stakeholders and constituencies in the United States and abroad, including governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society representatives, and the private sector, whose input and endorsement are critical to ensure the appropriateness and feasibility of any institutional reforms. The program is led by Senior Fellow Stewart Patrick. (Council on Foreign Relations)
The Most Powerful Bank You've Never Heard Of Chances are, though, that you've never even heard of what is arguably the most powerful financial institution on earth, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). - A banker's bank, the BIS does no direct business with individuals, governments, or corporate entities. Instead, it deals solely with member nations' central banks (most of which are privately owned). There are 55 of them at present, and the list includes every central bank of consequence in the world. (Investors Insight)
Global Governance Today Jean-Claude Trichet, President, European Central Bank, New York - It was an unexpected crisis -- largely unexpected in its dimension and in its global nature -- even if it was clear that a number of academics; a number of central banks, I have to say; and also, a number of at his own institution very, very clearly -- the BIS -- had signaled that we were living in a world of general under appreciation of risks in the financial markets. And I have to say I was, myself, on record for having said that quite a time before the first turbulences erupted. But that being said, what we have observed is really something which was very big -- bigger than was expected. And with a number of features that were really also unique. - “A set of rules, institutions, informal groupings and cooperation mechanisms that we call “global governance”. (Council on Foreign Relations)
It’s Now the ‘BP Spill’ In the last couple of days, the administration has shifted from calling the spill at a British Petroleum well the “Deepwater Horizon incident” to the BP spill. And President Barack Obama said again today that “BP is ultimately responsible under the law for paying the costs of response and cleanup operations.” (Wall Street Journal)
BP's Worsening Spill Crisis Undermines CEO's Reforms When Mr. Hayward took over BP's leadership from John Browne three years ago this week, the company was at one of the lowest points in its history: badly run, accident-prone and accused in the aftermath of a deadly explosion at its Texas City refinery of putting profits before safety. Mr. Hayward turned BP around, boosting production, cutting costs and significantly reducing on-the-job injuries. Last month, he was confident enough to talk of an irreversible "change of culture" at BP. (Wall Street Journal)
France Finds No Evidence of Hijack Plot U.S. intelligence officials told their French counterparts that members of the al-Qaida terrorist network would try to board the planes over Christmas - None of the passengers on the canceled flights, including those questioned at the airport, were known to French intelligence authorities or found to have links with Islamic extremist groups, the official said. (Associated Press)
FBI blew off killer e-mail to al Qaeda Officials admit shrugging off gunman's e-mails to Qaeda - That's when he sent 10 to 20 e-mails to several terror-related Islamic figures, including Anwar Aulaqi, a radical imam from Virginia who has been openly propagandizing for al Qaeda in Yemen and who had ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers, sources told the LA Times. (New York Post)
“One of the Worst Abandonments of Americans on American Soil Ever” "Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now." - "Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines…" (Think Progress)
PBS Frontline on Autism Resorts to Pseudo-Documentary, Tabloid Journalism I told Kate McMahon, the co-producer of the show, that there was a large group of doctors and others who cannot be dismissed with the facile label "anti-vaccine" because we still give vaccines and see a place for them in the practice of medicine but we do not agree with the current vaccine schedule nor the number of vaccines children receive all at one time. (Huffington Post)
NYPD officer Craig Bartmer stated that he clearly heard bombs tear down Building 7 "The whole time you're hearing boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I think I know an explosion when I hear it" - BARTMER: "If the means and the motive are they where would they pull it off from? The Office of Emergency Management was in Building 7. That was a hardened bunker built to withstand just about anything that New York would face. That building had a lot of important shit in it and there was enough stuff in that building to bury evidence on other fronts - financial records, government records. There's no way that that just fell down on its own, I don't believe it." (Prison Planet)
The Site Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center - By 11:30 a.m., the fire commander in charge of that area, Assistant Chief Frank Fellini, ordered firefighters away from WTC 7 for safety reasons. (New York Times)
Silverstein May Use Insurance Money to Pay Bondholders If Silverstein Properties decides to pay off the bondholders at face value, which it has no yet formally announced it will do, it would decrease the funds available for the company to begin rebuilding, but would avoid a fight with the bondholders, who have argued that they purchased securities backed by an existing property, and did not intend to provide construction financing. (Insurance Journal)
Shame On Jesse Ventura! Shortly before the building collapsed, several NYPD officers and Con-Edison workers told me that Larry Silverstein, the property developer of One World Financial Center was on the phone with his insurance carrier to see if they would authorize the controlled demolition of the building – since its foundation was already unstable and expected to fall. A controlled demolition would have minimized the damage caused by the building’s imminent collapse and potentially save lives. Many law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other journalists were aware of this possible option. There was no secret. There was no conspiracy. While I was talking with a fellow reporter and several NYPD officers, Building 7 suddenly collapsed, and before it hit the ground, not a single sound emanated from the tower area. There were no explosives; I would have heard them. In fact, I remember that in those few seconds, as the building sank to the ground that I was stunned by how quiet it was. (FOX)
Taylor lawyer suspects a cover-up Sandra Berchtold, an FBI spokeswoman in Detroit, and a Department of Justice representative in Washington, D.C., both declined to comment. Haskell is the only known passenger to provide an account of Abdulmutallab being helped by a second man. Haskell's wife, Lori Haskell, said she was distracted by the couple's card game. (Free Press)
Could Terror Suspect Have Had Outside Help? Interview with Kurt Haskell - Did someone help Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab get onboard the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit? Well, according to two American passengers on Flight 253, an older man - tall and elegantly dressed - accompanied the young Nigerian to a counter before boarding. And they say the older man explained to a woman at the counter that the younger man had no passport. (National Public Radio)
Why It's Not Easy to Detonate a Bomb on Board But in one small way, the system did work, because screening effectively forced the alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to use a liquid chemical rather than a more basic or reliable detonator to trigger the powdered explosive that was sewn into his underwear and smuggled on board. And it turns out that pulling off such an explosion on a plane is no simple feat. (Time)
What Is Living and What Is Dead in Social Democracy? The twentieth-century narrative of the progressive state rested precariously upon the conceit that “we”—reformers, socialists, radicals—had History on our side: that our projects, in the words of the late Bernard Williams, were “being cheered on by the universe.”3 Today, we have no such reassuring story to tell. We have just survived a century of doctrines purporting with alarming confidence to say what the state should do and to remind individuals—forcibly if necessary—that the state knows what is good for them. We cannot return to all that. So if we are to “think the state” once more, we had better begin with a sense of its limits. (New York Review of Books)
"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t - Is it a coincidence that these same organizations, from Norway to the Rockefeller Foundation to the World Bank are also involved in the Svalbard seed bank project? According to Prof. Francis Boyle who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by the US Congress, the Pentagon is ‘now gearing up to fight and win biological warfare’ as part of two Bush national strategy directives adopted, he notes, ‘without public knowledge and review’ in 2002. Boyle adds that in 2001-2004 alone the US Federal Government spent $14.5 billion for civilian bio-warfare-related work, a staggering sum. (Global Research)
Detroit terror attack: profile of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab But behind his innocent chiding about the perils of alcohol and western decadence lay a burgeoning pull towards radical Islam, which on Christmas Day, saw him try to take the lives of 278 passengers aboard an American bound airliner. - "I was really shocked when I saw the reports. You would never imagine him pulling off something like this." (London Telegraph)
Source: Terror suspect's father tried to warn authorities The father -- identified by a family source as Umaru Abdul Mutallab -- contacted the U.S. Embassy "a few weeks ago" saying his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had "become radicalized," the senior administration official, who is familiar with the case, told CNN. - Abdulmutallab was granted a multiple-year, multiple-entry tourist visa at the U.S. Embassy in London in June 2008, the administration official said. He was a student in London at the time, and there was "no derogatory information that would have prevented him from getting a visa," the official said. (CNN)
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