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Iran Says it Shot Down US Spy Drone December 4, 2011

Iranian media report that Iran’s armed forces have shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane after it allegedly violated Iranian air space.

The reports quote military officials who say the spy drone was not badly damaged and is in the Iranian military’s possession.

Iranian media say Iran’s military shot down the U.S. drone in the country’s east, but the reports do not say when the incident occurred. There was no immediate reaction to the reports from officials in Washington.

In July, Iranian state-run media quoted an Iranian lawmaker who claimed that Iran shot down a U.S.spy aircraft near the Fordu nuclear site. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard later refuted the report.

The U.S. and its Western allies have been in dispute with Iran over its controversial nuclear program.  Western nations say Iran is trying to obtain the capability to make nuclear weapons, while Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Last month, a report by the U.N. atomic energy watchdog agency strongly suggested that Iran is researching nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Tennessee pileup involves 176 cars December 3, 2011

(CNN) — One person was killed and 16 others injured Thursday in three separate chain-reaction crashes involving 176 cars north of Nashville, authorities said.

Heavy fog and black ice were thought to have contributed to the crashes on State Highway 386 in Sumner County, said county emergency medical services Capt. Vincent Riley.

The incidents began just before 8 a.m. ET, when a car ran off the highway and caused a chain reaction accident in “heavy, heavy fog,” he said.

At least one school bus, with children aboard, was involved in the crashes, he said. None of the children were injured.

The man who died was driving a compact car that went under a semitrailer, Riley said.

The 16 people transported to local hospitals were not critically injured, he said.

The highway remained closed throughout most of the day as authorities attempted to clear the wreckage. As of Thursday afternoon, one side of the highway was still blocked with 50 cars that were not driveable and must be towed, Riley said.

A fog advisory was not in effect for the area at the time of the crashes, said CNN meteorologist Sarah Dillingham, but the heavy fog could have been a localized event.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.


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Kate Bolick: ‘The heterosexual world is a very conservative place’ November 27, 2011

As she approaches 40, Kate Bolick has come to a profound insight: that she – and many American women like her – might never marry. But revealing that fact in the Atlantic magazine caused an outbreak of soul-searching and frenzied comment. Here, she talks to Lisa O’Kelly

Your piece went viral as soon as it was published in the Atlantic magazine in the US in October , sparking a slew of reaction pieces in online magazines such as Slate and the Huffington Post, not to mention 30,000 likes on Facebook. Were you surprised at the scale of the response?

I was really surprised. I had no idea the piece would attract that kind of attention. It’s the second most popular story of the year for the Atlantic and I’ve been asked to do a ton of radio and television; each phone-in programme I’ve done, the lines have been flooded. There have been countless articles about the article. I haven’t even read all of them. It’s a really surreal experience being written about in this way. The reaction has been across the board, from positive to negative. I’m still getting hundreds of emails from men and women of all ages all over the world and those run the gamut. Predominantly, though, I’m hearing from single people who are feeling happy and relieved to hear about this growing demographic and to read someone who is speaking to their experience. I’ve also had love letters and quite a few marriage proposals. That has been really funny.

Why do you think there has been such a tremendous response to the piece?

I’ve been trying to figure it out and I think the main reason is that we are in a very conservative moment socially. This is surprising since there has been so much progress on same-sex marriage, which makes it seem as though we are at a progressive moment for gender relations, but in the heterosexual world we’re in a very conservative place. The fact that a single heterosexual woman simply questioning the primacy of marriage should create such a storm is proof enough of that.

Apparently you have annoyed some male readers.

Yes – I think a lot of men are feeling vulnerable and scared at the moment because their economic power and influence is dwindling and I don’t think I was sensitive enough to that when I was writing the article. I was coming at it from a female standpoint, because that was what I was asked to do and that was how I felt most comfortable writing. But I’d like to see a male equivalent of my article now.

Have any of your exes commented on the article?

Yes, but only in a positive way. They are all very excited by the reaction.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

I do, yes.

What does that mean in 2011?

In essence, the old-school feminist principles such as equal pay, equal rights, a woman’s right to be in control of her own body and her own life – these things still hold true today for everyone. But because of the way the arguments are sometimes framed, there is a lot of misperception of what feminism is now. People say they’re not feminists but then if you ask them if they agree with equal pay they’ll say yes. I wanted to discuss these ideas in a way that was open and accessible. A lot of feminist discourse can be alienating because it is more polemic.

There are now plans to turn the piece into a TV series.

I am beyond excited about it. I was approached by Josh Berman, creator of Drop Dead Diva [a hit US drama series about a pretty twentysomething actress who dies and is reincarnated as an older, frumpy lawyer] who loved the ideas in the article and convinced his executives at Sony that he could turn it into a scripted series, not a reality show. I don’t know Josh but I’ve seen an episode of Drop Dead Diva and I really liked the way it dealt with women’s body issues in a comic but intelligent way. I’m going to be a co-producer and creative consultant once it gets off the ground.

Who will play you?

I have no idea! But it’s quite fun to think about who would be my ideal choice to play the 30-year-old me, who would be the 40-year-old me and so on. I can’t decide.

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Iran ‘arrests 12 CIA agents’ November 25, 2011

Iran has arrested 12 people it claims were working undercover for the CIA inside the Islamic republic, further raising tensions in its already strained relationship with the US.

On Wednesday, the Irna state news agency quoted a senior Iranian official as saying that the spies it claimed to have arrested had been gathering intelligence from Iran’s security and military units as well as its highly sensitive nuclear programme.

“The main mission of this act of espionage was related to Iran’s progress in the fields of nuclear technology and also military and security activities,” said Parviz Sorouri, a member of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, in quotes carried by Irna.

Sorouri told the agency that the network had been uncovered by an operation involving the Iranian ministry of intelligence. “The US and Zionist regime’s espionage apparatuses were trying to damage Iran both from inside and outside with a heavy blow, using regional intelligence services,” he said. “Fortunately, with swift reaction by the Iranian intelligence department, the actions failed to bear fruit.”

Sorouri’s comments follow reports on Monday that Iran and the Lebanese Shia militia, Hezbollah had identified alleged CIA informants.

The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said in June that his group had uncovered at least two CIA informants within its ranks but his claims were met with scepticism at the time. But former US officials told Reuters this week that those arrested were indeed working for the CIA. The officials claimed the agents were “believed to be local recruits” working for the CIA rather than US citizens.

Iran did not specify the nationality of the individuals it has arrested and the CIA has declined to comment on the recent reports, saying “it does not, as a rule discuss allegations of operational activities”.

In October, tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated after US authorities said military factions inside the regime have conspired to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington. Iran denied the allegations and one Iranian diplomat told the Guardian that the US had resorted to a so-called “entrapment technique” in order to smear Tehran in the eyes of the international community. US allegations were met with widespread scepticism because of the sloppy nature of the alleged assassination plot and the limited evidence provided by the US.

In a tit for tat reaction in November, Iranian officials accused the US of committing acts of terrorism in the Islamic republic. Iran said at the time that it had evidence showing the US had been behind “terror” operations in Iran, including the assassination of its nuclear scientists.

“We have 100 unbeatable documents on the US role in directing terror and terrorists in Iran and the region,” the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed. “By releasing these documents, we will dishonour the US and those who claim to be the advocates of human rights and campaign against terrorism among the world public opinion.” Iran claimed it had sent the documents to the UN but has so far not provided them to the media.

In recent years, Iran’s nuclear programme has experienced a series of dramatic setbacks after the assassinations of its scientists and the Stuxnet computer worm, which was designed to sabotage its atomic facilities and halt its uranium-enrichment programme. This month, an explosion at a military base near Tehran killed the architect of Iran’s missile programme. Iran has pointed the finger at the US and Israel for what has been widely seen as a covert war against the country’s nuclear programme and military capabilities.

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Any action against Iran will speed up Israel’s collapse: ambassador November 13, 2011


November 12, 2011

by walden9

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Any action against Iran will speed up Israel’s collapse: ambassador. 12 Nov 2011. TEHRAN – Tehran’s Ambassador to Rome Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini has said that any action against Iran by Tel Aviv not only will be met with a strong and immediate reaction, but will also speed up the Zionist regime’s collapse.

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Worker taken to hospital after nuclear lab incident November 12, 2011


November 12, 2011

by legitgov

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Worker taken to hospital after nuclear lab incident –Sodium fire was second at lab in past week 12 Nov 2011 A worker at a U.S. nuclear laboratory was taken to an Idaho hospital on Friday following a chemical reaction that was not radiological and posed no risk to the public, the lab said. The incident, initially described by officials at the U.S. Department of Energy’s sprawling Idaho National Laboratory as a sodium fire, was the second there in the past week. On Tuesday, at least six workers were contaminated by low-level plutonium radiation and 10 others were exposed following a ‘mishap,’ the lab has said.

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Dems: Bush-era Loan Deserves Same Scrutiny as Solyndra October 29, 2011


October 27, 2011

by legitgov

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Dems: Bush-era Loan Deserves Same Scrutiny as Solyndra 27 Oct 2011 Congressional Democrats have asked House investigators to expand their probe of the Obama Administration’s ill-fated loan to Solyndra to cover another speculative federal lending effort — this one approved under President [sic] Bush. In a letter to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), three senior Democrats called on investigators to broaden their probe to cover a $267 million Agriculture Department loan to a Colorado-based start-up that tried to extend broadband Internet service to rural and underserved areas. “There is also no good rationale for ignoring the $267 million loan to Open Range,” said the letter, signed by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.). “Your reaction to the Open Range bankruptcy could not be more different than your reaction to the Solyndra bankruptcy.” [Oh, but it is. Bush got/gets a pass from hypocritical GOP sociopaths; Obusha does not.]

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Panetta Praises China for Response to Taiwan Arms Sale October 23, 2011

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has praised China for its muted reaction to the latest U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

Last month the Obama administration announced it is providing Taiwan with a multi-billion dollar arms package that includes upgrades to the island’s F-16 fighter jets.

Panetta spoke with reporters on the Indonesian island of Bali where he conferred Sunday with the country’s defense minister, Purnomo Yusgiantoro. The U.S. official said China has handled the Taiwan deal in what he described as a “professional and diplomatic way.”  He suggested that the U.S. administration’s decision to provide Beijing with a “heads up” before the announcement of the sale may have contributed to the measured reaction.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and considers U.S. arms sales as interference in Beijing’s efforts for reunification.

Panetta also discussed U.S. military ties with Indonesia, which until last year had been frozen for more than a decade over alleged human rights abuses by the country’s special forces known as Kopassus.

The U.S. defense secretary is at the start of an Asian tour that takes him next to Japan and then South Korea. The trip coincides with talks between the United States and North Korea on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. Those talks begin Monday in Geneva.

Before leaving Bali, Panetta is meeting with Indonesia’s president, Bambang Yudhoyono, and also with other defense ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) who have gathered on the resort island.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Amanda Knox cleared of Meredith Kercher murder October 4, 2011

Amanda Knox gives her reaction in court after the jury in Perugia overturns her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher

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Amanda Knox reaction: ‘We’ll welcome you with open arms and hearts’

As the jury verdict in the courtroom in Perugia was broadcast around the world, there were cries of “She’s free!” and “We did it!” in a packed hotel room in downtown Seattle where a group of Amanda Knox‘s friends and supporters had gathered hours earlier to await the news.

People cheered and hugged as if the Seahawks had just won the Super Bowl. Mark Waterbury, a forensic scientist and key member of the Seattle-based Friends of Amanda campaign, told the Seattle Times moments after the verdict came through that the freeing of Knox had been the work of “four years and thousands of people. We did it!”

Tom Wright, a screenwriter and friend of the Knox family, said: “To Amanda herself, we say: way to go, kid. We will welcome you with open arms and open hearts.”

Although the jury upheld her conviction for defamation, it was cancelled out by the length of time she has already served in prison, and Knox will be allowed to leave Perugia within hours. What happens to her next is a matter of conjecture.

There has been speculation that an unidentified US television station has arranged for her to fly back to her home in Seattle in a private jet, but that has been denied by friends of the family. At the initial trial in 2009, Knox’s parents had pre-bought her a plane ticket home that was never used. This time they did not tempt fate in such a way, and their travel arrangements are unknown.

It may be that Knox will want to disappear for a while from public view and to spend some time with her family in a secret location away from the inevitable media circus.

Her supporters in Seattle have already been approaching local businesses to enquire about possible work openings for her. Her family has also indicated that she will be interested in writing a book – for which she would be certain to receive massive offers from publishers around the world.

A return to studies is a further possibility. During her four years in prison Knox perfected her ltalian language and maintained her relationship with her former college, the University of Washington, through correspondence course.

All these possibilities notwithstanding, observers predicted it would be a difficult re-entry for Knox into ordinary life. Paul Ciolino, a Chicago-based investigator who travelled to Perugia to research the Knox case, said the experience she has been through will inevitably have taken its toll. “It’s going to be a long journey to recovery. It’s very difficult to put your life back together after something like this.”

Ciolino said that as soon as he had started to dig into the details of the case, the inadequacies of the police investigation had been glaring. “It was sloppy. There was no physical evidence, no eyewitnesses, nothing to show that Knox had ever been in trouble of any sort.”

Gloria Allred, who has represented many women in controversial cases, called Knox’s release a “wonderful verdict. Anything else would have been an extreme injustice – it would have been horrible if she had spent even one more day in prison.”

Allred said much of the blame for the injustice Knox had been through lay with the media, in Italy in particular, which had been “out of control. Knox was portrayed in a way that was completely unfair – to be called a she-devil, Foxy Knoxy out of context, to suggest that she would do such terrible things to her roommate was so unfair to her.”

As part of the judgment, Knox will be fined 22,000 euros for having committed slander. But given the publicity surrounding the case, it is unlikely that her support group will now find it difficult raising that money for her.

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